2018 Could Be 2016 All Over Again

With media predicting an “easy win” for Democrats and loss of control by Republicans, Phil Giraldi points out that “On issues that really matter the Democrats are still clueless.” If they lose again this time, who will they blame? Certainly, they aren’t apt to accept any responsibility for being completely out of touch with most Americans. With Election Day tomorrow, we’ll find out soon enough.

By Philip Giraldi

Am I the only one who thinks the 2018 midterm election smells an awful lot like the 2016 presidential election? In both cases the punditry and media have been promising an easy win for the Democrats, in many cases predicting that the GOP will lose control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. One might argue that those who are praising the Democrats are themselves committed establishment progressives who hate Trump and would hardly do otherwise, but winning will require selling something to voters that is more than that hatred combined with negative vibes for some women coming out of the Kavanaugh hearings.

On issues that really matter the Democrats are still clueless and continue to be a party that reactively plays both a “blame the Russians” and a “diversity” card to confuse, divide, and conquer rather than presenting any programs that would actually resonate positively with voters.

Opinion polling suggests that there are two issues that really are of concern to voters. Top of the list is healthcare. The Democrats rightly excoriate clowns like Paul Ryan—currently on his way to reap his lobbying rewards from a grateful K Street—who has often cited entitlements as the big federal spending problem. He conveniently ignores runaway defense spending and massive tax cuts for the rich, which he promoted while in office, meaning that the budget will always be unbalanced.

But, Paul Ryan aside, anyone who actually pays for health insurance out of his or her own pocket will no doubt observe how healthcare costs have skyrocketed under Obamacare to the point where insurance is available but unaffordable, with premiums that in many cases have trebled per month over the past four years. Those on Medicare and Medicaid might rightfully fear more GOP mischief, but the real damage has already been done by the Democrats, and those who are personally paying for insurance know that.

Trump and the Republicans want to replace Obamacare with something better, though there has been no clarity on what that might mean. But it is an admission that Obamacare is seriously flawed, a viewpoint that many voters would appear to share. So the choice is between something that is very bad for users versus something as yet defined that might just turn out to be better. The Republicans win on that one.

The second biggest issue for voters is immigration, both legal exploiting existing loopholes in the system and illegal. The legal immigration problem consists of those who are allowed to get green cards legally and then proceed to bring their entire families over including cousins. That was not the intent of the 1965 legislation. In fact, chain immigration was dismissed as a possible consequence of the law, with President Lyndon Johnson and Democratic congressmen including Senator Ted Kennedy assuring the public that it would not occur. Of course, they were wrong. Or they were lying.

Illegal immigration is the more visible issue and the Democratic solution to the problem is, apparently, to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) giving the United States open borders. I have a great deal of sympathy for those who argue that the horrible mess in Central America is the result of U.S. meddling in their countries for the past 100 years, but that does not necessarily mean the solution is an open-doors policy that will drastically change America. Bringing in thousands or even millions of uneducated and unskilled migrants who do not speak English and then requiring local governments to educate, house, and feed them is a recipe for disaster. Indeed, it has already proven to be a disaster for many communities, with standards declining and neighborhoods in decay.

Most Americans have sympathy for the poor would-be immigrants, even if their mass migration is currently being funded by George Soros to coincide with an election, but they also long for a return to the time when communities were safe places where everyone knew their neighbors and worked hard to get along. Today the social justice warriors have made a sense of community a crime, because it does not invite enough diversity.

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So, comparing how the two parties stand on immigration, the Republicans win hands down, as they are pledged to stop the illegals and have also spoken out against chain immigration. It is a major issue, and the Democrats are predictably on the wrong side of it, just as they are with healthcare.

My big issue is, of course, foreign and national security policy, but it ranks low in voter concerns, even though it is a cluster of related policies that are corrupt and ripe for exploitation if there were anyone out there bold enough to challenge the status quo. Donald Trump appears to be, with the exception of Iran, disinclined to continue America’s warfare state policies, but the punditry appears to think that he is being consistently outmaneuvered by his hawkish cabinet to come down hard on Russia and China while also remaining in Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq.

Recent elections suggest that there is something like a “peace consensus” in the United States, citizens who are tired of warfare and of the constant discovery of new enemies to fight. I think it is true that Barack Obama’s margin of difference consisted of voters who thought that he would not exercise the military option as frequently as his predecessor George W. Bush. In any event, Obama was worse than Bush, going hard after whistleblowers, assassinating American citizens, and destroying the Libyan government to leave behind chaos, a hotbed for terrorists and even for slave traders.

I also believe that Trump, like Obama, won because of the support of “peace” voters, being far less bellicose sounding than Hillary Clinton, and committed to détente with Russia and retrenchment in the Middle East. I know many voters like myself selected him because of those views, and he received considerable support because of them in the traditional conservative and libertarian media. Unfortunately, he has failed to deliver, but it is possible that the good instincts are still there. They are absent in the Democratic Party, which, because of its crusade against Russia, is far more hawkish and dangerous than the Republicans.

And then there are the intangibles: Having the Clintons and Obama out campaigning for Democratic candidates is like waving a red flag in front of conservatives, who will all make sure they get out and vote. And the economy is growing faster than under Obama. So, on balance, I think the GOP will do well this week with issues-focused voters and will retain its advantage in both houses of Congress. If that is so, the recriminations from the Democrats will start immediately. Will their failure be blamed on the Russians again this time or possibly on the Chinese?

Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest. Other articles by Giraldi can be found on the website of the Unz Review.

Nikki Haley for President?

Israel-firsters are eyeing former UN ambassador and South Carolina governor Nikki Haley for president in 2020, but, as Philip Giraldi points out, “Haley did nothing to enhance American security and only succeeded in pandering to certain powerful constituencies within the United States, to include the neoconservatives in the media and the Israel lobby.”

By Philip Giraldi

The New York Times has produced an astonishing editorial, “Nikki Haley will be missed,” on the resignation of America’s United Nations ambassador.

It is comparable in some ways to the whitewash afforded to the hideous warmonger and self-promoting liar Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on his death in August. The oleaginous Haley eulogy has to be read to appreciate how low America’s self-described newspaper of record has sunk. According to the Times, Haley, a “moderate Republican,” . . . “could talk bluntly” while also proving to be a “practitioner of multilateral diplomacy” who played “constructive roles” and also served as “a pragmatic envoy who could explain the president to a world confused by the chaos in Washington.”

Given that kind of effusive language it would have been interesting to see what the Times came up with to support all the praise. Actually, the bits of her bio cited do little to support the narrative. It is claimed that she “protected some of the American investment in the United Nations against the most drastic budget cuts sought by the White House, while also working to reform the United Nations bureaucracy” for which there is no clear evidence.

Get Out of CashThe editorial also claims that she maintained some independence from the president on relations with Russia, Venezuela, and other matters, though her degree of separation can certainly be questioned, as she was often the one leading the charge using threats directed against foreign governments and their policies. She has also been the seemingly dedicated advocate of nearly continuous pro-Israel positions, ranging from using the UN to disarm Hezbollah in Lebanon, to also including blocking any investigation of the Israeli army’s slaughter of unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza. In addition, she led the effort to cut funds going to the agency providing critical food and medical assistance to millions of Palestinian refugees.

Haley has consistently taken a hard line against Iran, aggressively supporting Trump’s abrogation of the agreement to control its nuclear weapons, and she has ominously warned that Washington will be “taking names” of countries that don’t support its agenda in the Middle East, to include moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and American military engagement in Syria.

Admittedly, going after the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is a bit of low-hanging fruit, as the position seems to attract individuals who like to vent their dissatisfaction with the world while also providing one remedy, namely that everyone should follow the American lead on all things. Former ambassadors include Madeline Albright, John Bolton, and Samantha Power, making it measurably more difficult to rank Haley as the worst ambassador of all time. But there are some firsts associated with Haley. She was the first ambassador to witness an American president being laughed at during the annual speech to the United Nations General Assembly, a response that the Times attributes solely to a decline in America’s international standing under Trump, ignoring completely the impact of Haley’s threatening language and demeanor.

On balance, Haley did nothing to enhance American security and only succeeded in pandering to certain powerful constituencies within the United States, to include the neoconservatives in the media and the Israel lobby. Praise of her on her impending departure from the UN is suggestive of whom exactly she managed to please while she was in office. The ubiquitous neocon-in-chief Bill Kristol, who now hangs his hat at the Foreign Policy Initiative and the Emergency Committee for Israel, has long been promoting Haley for president. One leading member of Kristol’s neocon chorus, Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, tweeted “Thank you [Nikki Haley] for your remarkable service. We look forward to welcoming you back to public service as president of the United States.” Dubowitz is a Canadian and it would be nice if he could be deported to a remote Internet-free spot on Baffin Island where he can cease interfering in American politics.

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Haley was also praised by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the Twitter social media platform, “I would like to thank Ambassador [Nikki Haley], who led the uncompromising struggle against hypocrisy at the UN, and on behalf of the truth and justice of our country. Best of luck!” The Israeli army itself had nice things to say, tweeting “Thank you [Nikki Haley] for your service in the UN and unwavering support for Israel and the truth. The soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces salute you!”

Angry responses to the IDF tweet observed “‘Unwavering support’ aka, blind allegiance. You love her for the reasons the rest of us despise her. She left the Human Rights Council, pulled the U.S. out of the Iran deal, slashed funds to UNRWA, moved embassy to Jerusalem, and was exaggerated in her support for the IDF when they abuse Palestinian human rights.”

Like many others in the foreign policy establishment, Haley is all about Israel because she understands that leaning that way provides instant access to money and plenty of positive press coverage, including in The New York Times. She has declared that Washington was “locked and loaded,” prepared to exercise lethal military options against Syria and its Russian and Iranian allies, seen as enemies by Israel. Immediately upon taking office at the United Nations she complained that “nowhere has the UN’s failure been more consistent and more outrageous than in its bias against our close ally Israel” and vowed that the “days of Israel bashing are over.” Not surprisingly, she was greeted by rounds of applause and cheering when she spoke at the annual meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in March, saying, “When I come to AIPAC I am with friends.”

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Haley’s embrace of Israeli points of view is unrelenting and serves no American interest. If she were a recruited agent of influence for the Israeli Mossad she could not be more cooperative than she apparently is voluntarily. In February 2017, she blocked the appointment of former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to a diplomatic position at the United Nations because he is a Palestinian. In a congressional hearing she was asked about the decision: “Is it this administration’s position that support for Israel and support for the appointment of a well-qualified individual of Palestinian nationality to an appointment at the UN are mutually exclusive?” Haley responded yes, that the administration is “supporting Israel” by blocking every Palestinian.

Haley is surrounded by neocons. Her speechwriter is Jessica Gavora, who is the wife of the leading neoconservative journalist Jonah Goldberg. A profoundly ignorant Haley apparently also has bits and pieces of her own foreign policy apart from Israel, which makes her particularly dangerous. She has declared that Russia “is not, will not be our friend” and has described the Russians as having their hands covered with the blood of Syrian children.

So it’s Israel all the way for Haley, and we are likely to see her again in 2020 in spite of her pledge to Trump that she would both support and not run against him. The Jewish publication Forward recently published a speculative article suggesting that if she were to run for president a majority of American Jews might well vote for her, turning the Jewish community from solidly Democratic Party Blue to Republican Red. It would be the first time that a majority of Jews voted for a national GOP candidate. Though a great victory for Israel, it would also be a disaster for the United States if she were elected, like a proudly ignorant Sarah Palin on steroids. That outcome does not seem to bother the editors at Forward one bit, unfortunately.

Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest. Other articles by Giraldi can be found on the website of the Unz Review.

Is War Against Iran the President’s November Midterm Surprise?

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced he’ll head up a new “interagency task force” that wants to “come down hard on Iran”—just in time for U.S. midterm elections. Former CIA counter-terrorism specialist Philip Giraldi says this is just “the latest journey into fantasy.” He notes “many observers believe that the United States is being manipulated and played as a patsy against Iran by Israel and Saudi Arabia” but wonders if that’s what this is really about.

By Philip Giraldi

Will a new war be a midterm elections surprise? It is a demonstrated fact that the United States government, be it Democratic or Republican, is not very good at certain things. Every time the White House starts a new “war” on abstractions like poverty, drugs, or terror it gets dragged down into a bottomless pit that seems to empower the very things that it is fighting, leading to the belief that when it says “war” what it really means to say is “quagmire.” And then there are places like Afghanistan where real wars continue ad nauseam with no real objective and no real plan to “win” and exit.

The latest journey into fantasy is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent announcement that the Trump administration is setting up an “interagency task force” consisting of an “elite team of foreign affairs specialists” that will coordinate efforts to come down hard on Iran. Pompeo described the venture as follows: “We are committed to a whole-of-government effort to change the Iranian regime’s behavior, and the Iran Action Group will ensure that the Department of State remains closely synchronized with our interagency partners.”

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According to the press release, the group will be responsible for directing, analyzing, and coordinating all phases of the State Department’s Iran-connected activity, though it is unclear whether State will be the principal agency seeking to destabilize the Iranians.

Pompeo elaborated: “For nearly 40 years, the regime in Tehran has been responsible for a torrent of violent and destabilizing behavior against the United States, our allies, our partners, and indeed the Iranian people themselves. . . . We must see major changes in the regime’s behavior both inside and outside of its borders. The Iranian people and the world are demanding that Iran finally act like a normal nation.”

The new action group’s director, senior foreign policy adviser Brian Hook, also spoke at the launch, saying that the administration was taking “a comprehensive approach to Iran because the scope of Iranian malign activity is so wide-ranging.” He specifically mentioned Iran’s “aspiration for nuclear weapons” as well as its support for terrorist activity and added that he would be talking to America’s strategic partners to make sure everyone is on board with the new sanctions.

The CIA in IranInteragency ventures in government rest on a basic premise that grew out of the so-called war on terror and 9/11, namely that if everyone sits around a table to share information and viewpoints the outcome will be superior to any single agency going it alone. The concept is, however, flawed, first of all because interagency reviewing slows down the entire process as it attempts to find consensus on issues that do not necessarily lend themselves to simple formulations. Second, attempting to find consensus ignores the fact that a number of the government entities sitting around the table are competitors rather than colleagues. Pompeo is delusional if he thinks that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Security Agency (NSA) are going to allow the State Department to take the lead in bringing Iran to its knees.

Those who hate Iran and want to see everything possible done to damage it, are, of course, delighted to see a group dedicated to doing just that. Mark Dubowitz, head of the neocon Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which has been taking the lead in Iran bashing, enthused:

“Secretary Pompeo’s establishment of the Iran Action Group led by Brian Hook, one of his most trusted advisers, is further evidence that the Trump administration sees Iran as one of its top foreign policy and national security priorities. The group will be empowered to leverage all instruments of national power to squeeze the regime in Iran.”

Pompeo has considerable experience in beating on Iran. When he took over at CIA in January 2017, one of his first acts was to set up an Iran Working Group to focus clandestine efforts to weaken and eventually subvert the Iranian government. In May, shortly after President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear agreement, he spoke about a broad program that most observers would define as regime change, pledging to “crush” Iran economically and militarily to bring about major concessions over its behavior in the Middle East. He specifically demanded that Iran end all nuclear-related programs, stop developing ballistic missiles, and cease support for “terrorists and militant partners around the world.”

The White House has advised that countries doing business with Iran will “not be doing business with the United States” and has also unilaterally declared that after Nov. 4 anyone buying Iranian oil will be subject to secondary sanctions, which has created problems with both friends and foes worldwide. China, Turkey, and Russia have declared that they will not submit to U.S. demands, while close allies in Europe are seeking exemptions or creating mechanisms that will move such transactions out of the dollar zone.

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The new task force will not really be doing anything beyond what is already being done both openly and clandestinely to inflict pain on the Iranian people in hopes that they will rise up and bring down their government. The obsession with Iran on the part of the Trump administration is curious in any event, as Iran is surrounded by hostile regimes that are militarily far superior to it. Tehran does not threaten the United States or U.S. interests in any serious way, and its alleged nuclear program is a fiction. Iran is, in any event, fully compliant with the nuclear agreement (JCPOA) that it signed together with the U.S. and five other countries, an agreement that was subsequently endorsed by the United Nations.

Many observers believe that the United States is being manipulated and played as a patsy against Iran by Israel and Saudi Arabia, who do have an interest in bringing down the Iranian government. That is certainly true, but there might be another explanation for the strenuous activity by Pompeo and others. Midterm elections are coming up, and there is nothing that rallies the voting public quite as well as a good little war in which the bad guys are soundly whipped.

But, recalling Iraq, one should also consider that a war with a nationalistic and prepared Iran might not go as planned.

Every concerned American should be watching very carefully over the next 60 days to see what is developing around the Iran Task Force. Will Trump adhere to his pre-electoral promise to get out of ongoing wars in the Middle East, or will it be yet another politically motivated bait-and-switch with a bloody new war initiated by a false-flag operation or a deliberate provocation to turn an election?

Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest. Other articles by Giraldi can be found on the website of the Unz Review.


Regime Change—American Style

Will 2019 be the year of the war of all against all? It’s looking like it. Buchanan asks whether the next generation will rise up and say, “Enough!”

By Patrick J. Buchanan

The campaign to overturn the 2016 election and bring down President Trump shifted into high gear this week.

Inspiration came Saturday morning from the altar of the National Cathedral where our establishment came to pay homage to John McCain.

Gathered there were all the presidents from 1993 to 2017, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Vice Presidents Al Gore and Dick Cheney, Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and Henry Kissinger, the leaders of both houses of Congress, and too many generals and admirals to list.

Striding into the pulpit, Obama delivered a searing indictment of the man undoing his legacy:

“So much of our politics, our public life, our public discourse can seem small and mean and petty, trafficking in bombast and insult and phony controversies and manufactured outrage. . . . It’s a politics that pretends to be brave and tough but in fact is born of fear.”

Speakers praised McCain’s willingness to cross party lines, but Democrats took away a new determination: From here on out, confrontation!

Tuesday morning, as Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court began, Democrats disrupted the proceedings and demanded immediate adjournment, as scores of protesters shouted and screamed to halt the hearings.

Taking credit for orchestrating the disruption, Sen. Dick Durbin boasted, “What we’ve heard is the noise of democracy.”

But if mob action to shut down a Senate hearing is the noise of democracy, this may explain why many countries are taking a new look at the authoritarian rulers who can at least deliver a semblance of order.

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Wednesday came leaks in The Washington Post from Bob Woodward’s new book, attributing to Chief of Staff John Kelly and Gen. James Mattis crude remarks on the president’s intelligence, character, and maturity, and describing the Trump White House as a “crazytown” led by a fifth- or sixth-grader.

Kelly and Mattis both denied making the comments.

Thursday came an op-ed in The New York Times by an anonymous “senior official” claiming to be a member of the “resistance . . . working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his (Trump’s) agenda.”

A pedestrian piece of prose containing nothing about Trump one cannot read or hear daily in the media, the op-ed caused a sensation, but only because Times editors decided to give the disloyal and seditious Trump aide who wrote it immunity and cover to betray his or her president.

The transaction served the political objectives of both parties.

While the Woodward book may debut at the top of The New York Times best-seller list, and “Anonymous,” once ferreted out and fired, will have his or her 15 minutes of fame, what this portends is not good.

For what is afoot here is something America specializes in—regime change. Only the regime our establishment and media mean to change is the government of the United States. What is afoot is the overthrow of America’s democratically elected head of state.

The methodology is familiar. After a years-long assault on the White House and president by a special prosecutor’s office, the House takes up impeachment, while a collaborationist press plays its traditional supporting role.

Presidents are wounded, disabled or overthrown, and Pulitzers all around.

No one suggests Richard Nixon was without sin in trying to cover up the Watergate break-in. But no one should delude himself into believing that the overthrow of that president, not two years after he won the greatest landslide in U.S. history, was not an act of vengeance by a hate-filled city that ran a sword through Nixon for offenses it had covered up or brushed under the rug in the Roosevelt, Kennedy and Johnson years.

So, where are we headed?

If November’s elections produce, as many predict, a Democratic House, there will be more investigations of President Trump than any man charged with running the U.S. government may be able to manage.

There is the Mueller investigation into “Russiagate” that began before Trump was inaugurated. There is the investigation of his business and private life before he became president in the Southern District of New York. There is the investigation into the Trump Foundation by New York State.

There will be investigations by House committees into alleged violations of the Emoluments Clause. And ever present will be platoons of journalists ready to report the leaks from all of these investigations.

Then, if media coverage can drive Trump’s polls low enough, will come the impeachment investigation and the regurgitation of all that went before.

If Trump has the stamina to hold on, and the Senate remains Republican, he may survive, even as Democrats divide between a rising militant socialist left and the Democrats’ septuagenarian caucus led by Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, John Kerry, Bernie Sanders, and Nancy Pelosi.

2019 looks to be the year of bellum omnium contra omnes, the war of all against all. Entertaining, for sure, but how many more of these coups d’etat can the Republic sustain before a new generation says enough of all this?

Pat Buchanan is a writer, political commentator and presidential candidate. He is the author of 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, Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? and Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War, all available from the AFP Online Store.


Way Too Easy to Alter

An 11-year-old at a hacker convention changed the vote tally on a replica secretary of state election data website in under 10 minutes, and 30 other kids hacked similar sites in under 30 minutes. Are our votes being correctly recorded on election day, or have the vote-fraud activists been right all along? 

By Mark Anderson

In less than 10 minutes an 11-year-old boy was able to hack into a replica of a state election website and change voting results. An 11-year-old girl named Audrey made changes to the same website in under 15 minutes. In sum, more than 30 kids hacked similar replica state sites in under 30 minutes. This is certainly alarming news considering a majority of U.S. votes are now cast via electronic voting machines.

The youth cyber-security competition was part of the Vote Hacking Village at this year’s DEF CON, held Aug. 9-12 at Caesar’s Palace. DEF CON, held annually since 1993 in Las Vegas, is among the world’s largest hacking conventions.

Young Emmett Brewer of Austin, Texas, “accessed a replica of the Florida secretary of state’s website” and altered the record of votes, which had already been counted and were simply posted online for media and public access.

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DEF CON spokeswoman Molly Hall assured AFP Aug. 20 that while the young hackers were able to hack into and dramatically alter the results of already-counted votes, the minors were not involved in trying to hack into actual voting machines used at polling places. Ms. Hall said the effort by adult hackers to access and change the data in voting machines was a separate component of the Hacking Village. A third component saw adult hackers successfully access Ohio’s voter-registration data, though they were not able to alter it.

“Emmett was able to change names, vote numbers, and the parties,” Ms. Hall said, adding that the young hacker even inserted his own name as a “winning” candidate.

A DEF CON tweet paints a much broader picture of the Hacking Village’s findings than what the mainstream media has presented, noting: “The Village had participants find or replicate vulnerabilities ranging from passwords stored on the [voting] machines with no encryption, to buffer overflows in critical input routines.”

Specific hacks also included:

  • “Discovering 1,784 files, including mp3 audio files of Chinese pop songs, hidden among the operating system files of a voting machine;
  • “Hacking a mock election so that an unlisted candidate received the most votes; and
  • “Hacking an email ballot [often used by soldiers overseas] so that the recorded vote was different from what was selected.”

Nico Sell, the co-founder of the non-profit r00tz Asylum, which teaches children how to become hackers and helped organize the event, told “PBS NewsHour”: “These are very accurate replicas of all of the [S.O.S.] sites. These things should not be easy enough for an 8-year-old kid to hack within 30 minutes; it’s negligent for us as a society.”

Interestingly, one of the “big three” voting machine manufacturers—Election Systems and Software, or ES&S—raised “questions about the value of the Voting Village,” noted DEF CON. “It is unfortunate that ES&S is making vague and unsupportable threats that distract from the real issue: the integrity and security of our electoral process.”

ES&S’s comments seem “designed to create questions and cast doubt in the minds of researchers and election officials, discouraging them from pursuing these vital lines of inquiry,” DEF CON added.

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ES&S sent a “proactive” message to its “valued customers” the day before DEF CON began, in part complaining about DEF CON hackers’ access to the all-important secretive, proprietary software with which the voting machines operate: “Often jurisdictions that purchase new [vote-counting] equipment will sell or trade their used hardware, which is a legal transaction. We understand that DEF CON organizers and other researchers have obtained equipment in this manner. What is not legal, however, is the transfer of the use of the software . . . unless [it has] been properly licensed to the new owner. ES&S has not licensed software to any non governmental agencies for their use.”

Election-fraud researcher Jim Condit Jr. understands election fraud from its earlier days before computer hacking was possible and points out that the core problem is internal, not external—because the big three vendors’ electronic voting machines used almost universally in the U.S. can be internally programmed to “flip” votes and steal an election without a necessity for external hacking.

“It’s the big-three voting machine vendors, ES&S, Hart InterCivic, and Dominion that need to be investigated for keeping the true vote-count from the public,” Condit told AFP.

Furthermore, given what happened at DEF CON, Condit expects an intensified effort to centralize elections.

“Are they only admitting this vulnerability [at DEF CON], so they can centralize things?” he wondered, adding, “Yes, an 11-year-old can do this, but now let’s hand it over to DHS [the Department of Homeland Security] to keep things ‘safe.’ ”

Of note, on Aug. 15, DHS completed a three-day “National Exercise on Election Security,” described as the “first of its kind.” While the exercise simulated “voter system interference” scenarios, the gathering drew officials from the District of Columbia and 44 states, along with the Election Assistance Commission, the Departments of Defense and Justice, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Security Agency, and U.S. Cyber Command.

While the “suits and spooks” at the DHS event poured over external-interference scenarios, all initial vote counts should be done manually, at the precinct level, with paper ballots without externally hackable or internally alterable machines to begin with, said Condit.

Mark Anderson is AFP’s roving editor.

Trump Right About John Brennan

The former CIA director’s security clearance should have been pulled long ago, maintains former CIA analyst Philip Giraldi. President Trump should go a step further, he argues, and pull the security clearance of everyone who no longer has a reason to have it. 

By Philip Giraldi

It is quite amazing to watch how the mainstream media and alleged “former senior intelligence officials” are rallying around to defend ex-CIA Director John Brennan, who has had his security clearance taken away by President Donald Trump. It is the usual bit of pretentiously high-minded blather that makes one cringe, considering the questionable track records of the loudest voices being raised to defend a man who actually has no need for a clearance and who, quite possibly, abused his office by working with the Hillary Clinton team and foreign intelligence services to dig up dirt on Trump during the election campaign. Brennan appears to have also been party to an attempt to delegitimize the president-elect even before he took office, in the latter days of the Barack Obama administration.

Consider for a moment how, back in 2013, John Brennan, then Obama’s counterterrorism advisor had a difficult time with the Senate Intelligence Committee explaining some things that he did when he was still working at CIA. He was predictably attacked by some senators concerned over the expanding drone program, which he supervised, over CIA torture, for the kill lists that he helped manage, and regarding the pervasive government secrecy, which he surely condoned to cover up the questionable nature of the assassination lists and the drones.

But the area that is still murky regarding Brennan relates to what exactly he was up to in 2016 when he was CIA director and also, quite possibly, simultaneously working hard to help Hillary become president. In May 2017, his appearance before Congress was headlined in a Washington Post front-page featured article as Brennan’s explosive testimony just made it harder for the GOP to protect Trump. The article stated that Brennan, during the 2016 campaign, “reviewed intelligence that showed ‘contacts and interaction’ between Russian actors and people associated with the Trump campaign.” Politico was also in on the chase in an article entitled “Brennan: Russia may have successfully recruited Trump campaign aides.”

Brennan, an ambitious man with a checkered history who was strongly disliked by his peers at CIA, appears to lack either a moral compass or any sense of restraint. He was still going after Trump well after the election, playing a part in the notoriously salacious Steele dossier, which was surfaced in January just before the inauguration. The dossier included unverifiable information and was maliciously promoted by Brennan and others in the intelligence and law enforcement community. And even after Trump assumed office, Brennan proved to be unrelenting.

The May 2017 testimony by Brennan included this statement: “I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals. It raised questions in my mind whether or not Russia was able to gain the cooperation of those individuals.”

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The testimony inevitably raises some questions about just what Brennan was actually up to. First of all, the CIA is not supposed to keep tabs on American citizens, and tracking the activities of known associates of a presidential candidate should have set off warning bells, yet Brennan clearly persisted in following the trail. What Brennan did not describe, because it was “classified,” was how he came upon the information in the first place. We know from Politico and other sources that it came from foreign intelligence services, including the British, Dutch, and Estonians, and there has to be a strong suspicion that the forwarding of at least some of that information might have been sought or possibly inspired by Brennan unofficially in the first place. But whatever the provenance of the intelligence, it is clear that Brennan then used that information to request an FBI investigation into a possible Russian operation directed against potential key advisers if Trump were to somehow get nominated and elected, which admittedly was a longshot at the time. That is how Russiagate began.

More recently, Brennan has attacked Trump for congratulating President Vladimir Putin over his victory in Russian national elections. He said that the U.S. president is “wholly in the pocket of Putin,” definitely “afraid of the president of Russia,” and that the Kremlin “may have something on him personally. The fact that he has had this fawning attitude toward Mr. Putin . . . continues to say to me that he does have something to fear and something very serious to fear.” And he then administered what might be considered the coup de main, saying that the president should be impeached for “treasonous” behavior after Trump stood next to Putin of Russia at a news conference in Finland and cast doubt on the conclusion of the intelligence agencies that Moscow interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

Trump’s decision to pull Brennan’s clearance attracted an immediate tweeted response from the ex-CIA director: “This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics. It should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out.” He also added, in a New York Times op-ed, that “Mr. Trump’s claims of no collusion [with Russia] are, in a word, hogwash.”

But hogwash aside, these claims that Trump is a recruited Russian agent or is being blackmailed by the Kremlin are serious, and Brennan characteristically provided no evidence. As many have noted, he is playing fast and loose with his “security clearance” and CIA background to provide credibility for his remarks, which have to be viewed as politically motivated.

Prior to the Brennan incident, most Americans were certainly unaware that any ex-officials continued to hold clearances after they retired, and the controversy has inevitably raised the question why that should be so.

The media should be asking why Brennan has a security clearance at all. A clearance is granted to a person, but it is also linked to “need to know” in terms of what kind of information should or could be accessed, which means that when you are no longer working as director of the Central Intelligence Agency you don’t necessarily need to know or have access to classified information.

All Out War on Trump
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If you are allowed to keep your clearance it is a courtesy, unless you directly transition into a directorship or staff position of a major intelligence or security contractor, which many retirees do. If that is the case, you might need to retain the qualification for your job, which makes the clearance an essential component in the notorious revolving door whereby government officials transit to the private sector, double dip with a large salary on top of their substantial pensions, and then directly lobby their former colleagues to keep the flow of cash coming.

The real problem arises when former officials, like Brennan, use their clearances as bona fides to enhance their marketability for non-clearance jobs in the media or corporate world, particularly when those individuals are criticizing current government policies and behaving in a partisan fashion.

So was Trump justified in taking away Brennan’s clearance? Absolutely. And going one step farther, he should take away all the clearances for all former government employees who are no longer working on classified issues. They don’t need them, and it is a courtesy that has outlived any usefulness it might once have had in the days before America’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies became politically compromised.

Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest. Other articles by Giraldi can be found on the website of the Unz Review.

McCain Behind Targeting of Tea Party

It was Arizona Republican Senator John McCain, not President Obama, who urged weaponizing the IRS. Judicial Watch has documents showing “that it was McCain’s staff urging the Obama administration to use the IRS to target tea-party and other political opposition groups that were threatening both the Democrat and Republican Party establishments.”

By Dr. Ed DeVries

Remember when Obama weaponized the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to target tea-party and other conservative and nationalist groups following the 2010 midterm and 2012 general elections? Many of us at the time postulated that the real criminal mastermind was not Obama but Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.). Come to find out, we were right.

Judicial Watch, a conservative legal watchdog group, is now in possession of documents, obtained from the IRS through a Freedom of Information Act request, proving that it was McCain’s staff urging the Obama administration to use the IRS to target tea-party and other political opposition groups that were threatening both the Democrat and Republican Party establishments.

In the full notes of an April 30, 2013, meeting, McCain’s high-ranking staffer Henry Kerner recommends harassing non-profit groups until they are unable to function. Kerner tells IRS Director Lois Lerner, Steve Miller (then chief of staff to the IRS Commissioner), Nikole Flax (IRS Office of Appeals), and other IRS officials, “Maybe the solution is to audit so many that it is financially ruinous.”

In response, Ms. Lerner responded that it is her job to oversee it all.

The Judicial Watch report goes on to add:

“Henry Kerner asked how to get to the abuse of organizations claiming section 501 (c)(4) but designed to be primarily political. Lois Lerner said the system works, but not in real time. Henry

“Kerner noted that these organizations don’t disclose donors. Lois Lerner said that if they don’t meet the requirements, we can come in and revoke, but it doesn’t happen timely. [Veteran IRS executive] Nan Marks said if the concern is that organizations engaging in this activity don’t disclose donors, then the system doesn’t work.

“Henry Kerner said that maybe the solution is to audit so many that it is financially ruinous. Nikole [Flax] noted that we have budget constraints. Elise Bean suggested using the list of organizations that made independent expenditures. Lois Lerner said that it is her job to oversee it all, not just political campaign activity.”

New Babylon, Mike Piper
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When Judicial Watch reported on this meeting in 2013, McCain issued a statement decrying “false reports claiming that his office was somehow involved in IRS targeting of conservative groups.”

The IRS had blacked out the notes of the meeting in documents obtained by Judicial Watch back in 2013, but the redacted portions were discovered in the notes attached to subsequent documents recently released by the agency.

So why did the supposedly “conservative” McCain ask the Obama administration to target “conservative groups” and why did the Obama White House play along?

Obviously both the GOP “establishment” and Donkey “establishment” were being challenged by tea party candidates. Primaries were no longer a shoe-in for establishment-selected candidates of either party. Power was being confronted. The party elites were willing to do whatever it took to eliminate the challenges to their political power.

We were not surprised when the Obama Department of Justice announced in October 2015 that it was dropping its investigation into the IRS, Ms. Lerner, and the unlawful weaponizing of the IRS against conservative groups. We were, on the other hand, shocked when the Republican-led congressional inquiry into the matter was also dropped. But now we know why. The GOP leadership was just as guilty in the matter as the Democrats. Continued investigation would have only made the existence of their “Uniparty” all too obvious.

Perfidy: Abandoning Our Prisoners of War
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So now we know that the Republicans and Democrats worked together and mutually benefitted from the weaponizing of the IRS and the targeting of the tea party and oppositional politics as far back as 2010. Add to that our previous understanding that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), Sen. Mitch

McConnell (R-Ky.), and a cancer-ridden McCain—drug into the congressional chamber from what was then thought to be his death bed—were leading the Uniparty in opposition to President Donald Trump’s effort to kill ObamaCare.

Overlay this Machiavellian power play against the latest understandings of how McCain dispatched another member of his staff, David Kramer, to act as go-between and facilitator for the Christopher Steele dossier used against then-candidate Trump. The dossier was the foundation of the entire Mueller, Russia-collusion phony investigation. With Mueller, a Republican, and two Democrats, FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, working together, the Uniparty is on display again.

A pastor and in-demand traveling speaker, Dr. Edward DeVries is the editor of the Dixie Heritage Newsletter and a contributing editor at THE BARNES REVIEW. He is the author of 30 books including the two-volume Glory in Grey. Some of his other titles include Sacred Honor, The Truth About the Confederate Battle Flag, Prayer is Simple, Every Member a Minister and Coaching Youth Baseball the Right Way. He is also the host of TBR RADIO’S “Dixie Heritage Hour.” Please check it out at www.BarnesReview.org.

Do Democrats Want an Impeachment Fight?

Democrats are assuring Americans they don’t intend to impeach the president, but a new Congress will be seated in 2019—which may be majority Democrats, who’s “rabid followers” are crying IMPEACH—and, Buchanan says, “We are in for a hellish year.”

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“If anyone is looking for a good lawyer,” said President Donald Trump ruefully, “I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen.” Michael Cohen is no Roy Cohn.

Tuesday, Trump’s ex-lawyer, staring at five years in prison, pled guilty to a campaign violation that may not even be a crime.

Cohen had fronted the cash, $130,000, to pay porn star Stormy Daniels for keeping quiet about a decade-old tryst with Trump. He had also brokered a deal whereby the National Enquirer bought the rights to a story about a Trump affair with a Playboy model, to kill it.

Cohen claims he and Trump thus conspired to violate federal law. But paying girlfriends to keep past indiscretions private is neither a crime nor a campaign violation. And Trump could legally contribute as much as he wished to his own campaign for president.

Would a Democratic House, assuming we get one, really impeach a president for paying hush money to old girlfriends?

Hence the high-fives among never-Trumpers are premature.

Kingdom Identity

But if Cohen’s guilty plea and Tuesday’s conviction of campaign manager Paul Manafort do not imperil Trump today, what they portend is ominous. For Cohen handled Trump’s dealings for more than a decade and has pledged full cooperation with prosecutors from both the Southern District of New York and the Robert Mueller investigation.

Nothing that comes of this collaboration will be helpful to Trump.

Also, Manafort, now a convicted felon facing life in prison, has the most compelling of motives to “flip” and reveal anything that could be useful to Mueller and harmful to Trump.

Then there is the Mueller probe itself.

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Twenty-six months after the Watergate break-in, President Nixon had resigned. Twenty-six months after the hacking of the DNC and John Podesta emails, Mueller has yet to deliver hard evidence the Trump campaign colluded with Putin’s Russia, though this was his mandate.

However, having, for a year now, been marching White House aides and campaign associates of Trump before a grand jury, Mueller has to be holding more cards than he is showing. And even if they do not directly implicate the president, more indictments may be coming down.

Mueller may not have the power to haul the president before a grand jury or indict him. After all, it is Parliament that deposes and beheads the king, not the sheriff of Nottingham. But Mueller will file a report with the Department of Justice that will be sent to the House.

And as this Congress has only weeks left before the 2018 elections, it will be the new House that meets in January, which may well be Democratic, that will receive Mueller’s report.

Still, as of now, it is hard to see how two-thirds of a new Senate would convict this president of high crimes and misdemeanors.

Thus we are in for a hellish year.

Trump is not going to resign. To do so would open him up to grand jury subpoenas, federal charges and civil suits for the rest of his life. To resign would be to give up his sword and shield, and all of his immunity. He would be crazy to leave himself naked to his enemies.

No, given his belief that he is under attack by people who hate him and believe he is an illegitimate president, and seek to bring him down, he will use all the powers of the presidency in his fight for survival. And as he has shown, these powers are considerable: the power to rally his emotional following, to challenge courts, to fire Justice officials and FBI executives, to pull security clearances, to pardon the convicted.

Democrats who have grown giddy about taking the House should consider what a campaign to bring down a president, who is supported by a huge swath of the nation and has fighting allies in the press, would be like.

Why do it? Especially if they knew in advance the Senate would not convict.

That America has no desire for a political struggle to the death over impeachment is evident. Recognition of this reality is why the Democratic Party is assuring America that impeachment is not what they have in mind.

Today, it is Republicans leaders who are under pressure to break with Trump, denounce him, and call for new investigations into alleged collusion with the Russians. But if Democrats capture the House, then they will be the ones under intolerable pressure from their own media auxiliaries to pursue impeachment.

Taking the House would put newly elected Democrats under fire from the right for forming a lynch mob, and from the mainstream media for not doing their duty and moving immediately to impeach Trump.

Democrats have been laboring for two years to win back the House. But if they discover that the first duty demanded of them, by their own rabid followers, is to impeach President Trump, they may wonder why they were so eager to win it.

Pat Buchanan is a writer, political commentator and presidential candidate. He is the author of 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, Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? and Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War, all available from the AFP Online Store.


Former Georgia Rep. Says D.C. ‘Occupied by Zionists’

Former Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) talked with AFP’s Dave Gahary about Israel’s influence on Washington, D.C. and the pledge AIPAC expects legislators to take—something she knows all about from her 12 years in office.

By Dave Gahary

In the shadow of the more than 500,000 Americans who are homeless on any one night, Congress is poised to give the Zionist state of Israel $38 billion over the next decade—more than half of all direct military aid the U.S. provides worldwide—forcing many Americans to ask who really controls the levers of power in this once-great nation.

One of those Americans, former Rep. Cynthia Ann McKinney (D-Ga.)—currently an educator, as well as an anti-war and human rights activist—knows more than most who’s in charge, and for those who still think it’s their president, senators, or representative, it’s time to smell the coffee.

Kingdom Identity

Ms. McKinney—who earned her Ph.D.—sat down with this reporter for an hour-long candid discussion of the power of Israel in the United States. She is one of several U.S. politicians targeted by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) for not being sufficiently servile to the Mideast state, and who lived to tell about it, specifically about the pledge of allegiance to Israel all U.S. politicians are forced to sign if they want any real chance at reelection.

AIPAC targeted Ms. McKinney for termination for her refusal to sign “the pledge,” but many other politicians weren’t as lucky, like former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

“He’s in prison not because he had a conversation,” explained Ms. McKinney. “It’s because of his appointment to the Senate. The Israel-first people had their candidate he was supposed to appoint to the Senate, and he didn’t do that . . . and they sought their revenge. That is the underlying reason for his prosecution.”

She continued: “You can cite as an example to Rep. Jim Traficant. They’ve got a whole trail of people who have been in prison. You can go to Bob Ney from Ohio. You can go to Curt Weldon; he didn’t go to prison, but he got kicked out, with an FBI raid, just because he talked about 9/11. So, you’ve got a trail of detritus, the carcasses of politically dead politicians—with my carcass there as well—for the vultures to feed on.”

AFP Podcast
Dave Gahary talks with former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) about Israeli influence in D.C. and “the pledge.”

Ms. McKinney first detailed “the pledge”—a result of President George H.W. Bush’s defiance of AIPAC—on a PressTV episode, which she elaborated upon to this reporter. “The pledge was a piece of paper that was faxed to my home,” she said, unabashedly sent from AIPAC. Its demands were clearly listed. “I only remember the first three,” she said.

“There were five or seven. I can’t remember.” Jerusalem is the capital, the military superiority of Israel, and economic assistance were the three that stood out, she said. “The third one that I remember was about keeping the levels of aid consistent with Israel’s request,” she explained, “so that I would not vote for aid levels to go down.”

“In other words, do everything that Israel wants?” asked this reporter.

“Yes,” she answered. American-Jewish politicians did AIPAC’s dirty work, with Congress resembling more the German Democratic Republic’s Volkskammer (unicameral legislature) than the bastion of representative democracy.

“You knew when there were these certain point people,” she explained, “and when those point people [Ben Cardin, Eliot Engle, Jerry Nadler, Jerry Ackerman] authored legislation, you knew that was AIPAC’s making, and they were also in the room taking notes on who said what during the deliberations of the bill.”

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Ms. McKinney recalled a time when AIPAC’s authorship of a bill was exposed. “There was a letter or bill or something that AIPAC had sent over to one of the congressional offices,” she explained, “and the congressional office was not savvy enough to erase the original title, which was AIPAC’s. Then that became like a little mini-firestorm, but there is no such thing as a real firestorm with AIPAC, because they are able to suppress everything.”

Ms. McKinney lasted through six terms without ever signing the pledge. “I was offended by it,” she said. “My entire 12 years in Congress was bumping up against these people who controlled everything. They literally controlled the budget process; what got in the budget, what got a line item.” Ms. McKinney explained how AIPAC uses “the pledge” to control Congress. “I would get a call and the person on the other end of the phone would say, ‘I want to do a fundraiser for you,’” she explained. “And then we would get into the planning. I would get really excited because you have to have money in order to run a campaign. And then two weeks, three weeks into the planning they would say, ‘Did you sign the pledge?’ And then I would say, ‘No, I didn’t sign the pledge,’ and then my fundraiser would go kaput.”

She added: “The Zionist, Israel-first money is what underpins the Republican and the Democratic parties.”

She then described how it’s done. “The way it works is that the pro-Israel money is in your environmental PAC [political action committee], is in your labor union PACs, is in your corporate PACs,” she explained. “It’s across the board.”

Ms. McKinney, who never took a “free” trip to Israel, remains unapologetic. “The U.S. national interest is not equivalent to the Israeli national interest,” she stated.

“Is the U.S. a Zionist occupied government?” asked this reporter.

“Yeah, yeah, for sure,” she chuckled.

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

Trump’s Tweets End the Myth of Fed Independence

By the end of his first term, President Trump could appoint six of the Federal Reserve’s seven board members, writes Ron Paul, and fear of a Trumpian Fed could lead some to support the Audit the Fed legislation. Passing that bill would be the first step in protecting Americans from the Fed.

By Ron Paul

President Trump’s recent Tweets expressing displeasure with the Federal Reserve’s (minor) interest rate increases led to accusations that President Trump is undermining the Federal Reserve’s independence. But, the critics ignore the fact that Federal Reserve “independence” is one of the great myths of American politics.

When it comes to intimidating the Federal Reserve, President Trump pales in comparison to President Lyndon Johnson. After the Federal Reserve increased interest rates in 1965, President Johnson summoned then-Fed Chairman William McChesney Martin to Johnson’s Texas ranch where Johnson shoved him against the wall. Physically assaulting the Fed chairman is probably a greater threat to Federal Reserve independence than questioning the Fed’s policies on Twitter.

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While Johnson is an extreme example, history is full of cases where presidents pressured the Federal Reserve to adopt policies compatible with the presidents’ agendas—and helpful to their reelection campaigns. Presidents have been pressuring the Fed since its creation. President Warren Harding called on the Fed to lower rates. Richard Nixon was caught on tape joking with then-Fed chair Arthur Burns about Fed independence. And Lloyd Bentsen, President Bill Clinton’s first Treasury secretary, bragged about a “gentleman’s agreement” with then-Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan.

President Trump’s call for low interest rates contradicts Trump’s earlier correct criticism of the Fed’s low interest rate policy as harming middle-class Americans. Low rates can harm the middle class, but they also benefit spend-and-borrow politicians and their favorite special interests by lowering the federal government’s borrowing costs. Significant rate increases could make it impossible for the government to service its existing debt, thus making it difficult for President Trump and Congress to continue increasing welfare and warfare spending.

President Trump will have a long-lasting impact on monetary policy. Two of the three sitting members of the Fed’s board were appointed by President Trump. Two more of Trump’s nominees are pending in the Senate. The nomination of economist Marvin Goodfriend may be in jeopardy because Goodfriend advocates “negative interest rates,” which is a Federal Reserve-imposed tax on savings. If Goodfriend is defeated, President Trump can just nominate another candidate. President Trump will also be able to nominate two other board members. Therefore, by the end of his first term, President Trump could appoint six of the Federal Reserve’s seven board members.

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The specter of a Federal Reserve Board dominated by Trump appointees should cause some to rethink the wisdom of allowing a secretive central bank to exercise near-monopoly control over monetary policy. Fear of the havoc a Trumpian Fed could cause may even lead some to support the Audit the Fed legislation and the growing movement to allow Americans to “exit” the Federal Reserve System by using alternatives to fiat money, such as cryptocurrencies and gold.

Given the Federal Reserve’s power to help or hinder a president’s economic agenda and reelection prospects, it is no surprise that presidents try to influence Fed policy. But, instead of worrying about protecting the Fed from President Trump, we should all worry about protecting the American people from the Fed. The first step is passing the Audit the Fed bill, which Congress should do before adjourning to hit the campaign trail. This will let the people know the full truth about America’s monetary policy. Auditing, then ending, the Fed is key to permanently draining the welfare-warfare swamp.

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.

Did Tariffs Make America Great?

Pat Buchanan offers an American history lesson to remind us what made America the world’s greatest economic power in the first place. He explains it was economic patriotism that put America first, that made America first.

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“Make America Great Again!” will, given the astonishing victory it produced for Donald Trump, be recorded among the most successful slogans in political history.

Yet it raises a question: How did America first become the world’s greatest economic power?

In 1998, in The Great Betrayal: How American Sovereignty and Social Justice Are Being Sacrificed to the Gods of the Global Economy, this writer sought to explain.

However, as the blazing issue of that day was Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton, it was no easy task to steer interviewers around to the McKinley Tariff.

MidEast Chess Board

Free trade propaganda aside, what is the historical truth?

As our Revolution was about political independence, the first words and acts of our constitutional republic were about ensuring America’s economic independence.

“A free people should promote such manufactures as tend to render them independent on others for essentials, especially military supplies,” said President Washington in his first message to Congress.

The first major bill passed by Congress was the Tariff Act of 1789.

Weeks later, Washington imposed tonnage taxes on all foreign shipping. The U.S. Merchant Marine was born.

In 1791, Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton wrote in his famous “Report on Manufactures”:

“The wealth . . . independence, and security of a Country, appear to be materially connected with the prosperity of manufactures. Every nation . . . ought to endeavor to possess within itself all the essentials of national supply. These compromise the means of subsistence, habitation, clothing, and defence.”

During the War of 1812, British merchants lost their American markets. When peace came, flotillas of British ships arrived at U.S. ports to dump underpriced goods and to recapture the markets the Brits had lost.

Henry Clay and John Calhoun backed James Madison’s Tariff of 1816, as did ex-free traders Jefferson and John Adams. It worked.

In 1816, the U.S. produced 840,000 yards of cloth. By 1820, it was 13,874,000 yards. America had become self-sufficient.

Financing “internal improvements” with tariffs on foreign goods would become known abroad as “The American System.”

Said Daniel Webster, “Protection of our own labor against the cheaper, ill-paid, half-fed, and pauper labor of Europe, is . . . a duty which the country owes to its own citizens.”

This is economic patriotism, a conservatism of the heart. Globalists, cosmopolites, and one-worlders recoil at phrases like “America First.”

Campaigning for Henry Clay, “The Father of the American System,” in 1844, Abe Lincoln issued an impassioned plea, “Give us a protective tariff and we will have the greatest nation on Earth.”

Battling free trade in the Polk presidency, Congressman Lincoln said, “Abandonment of the protective policy by the American Government must result in the increase of both useless labor and idleness and . . . must produce want and ruin among our people.”

In our time, the abandonment of economic patriotism produced in Middle America what Lincoln predicted, and what got Trump elected.

From the Civil War to the 20th century, U.S. economic policy was grounded in the Morrill Tariffs, named for Vermont Congressman and Senator Justin Morrill who, as early as 1857, had declared, “I am for ruling America for the benefit, first, of Americans, and, for the ‘rest of mankind’ afterwards.”

To Morrill, free trade was treason:

“Free trade abjures patriotism and boasts of cosmopolitanism. It regards the labor of our own people with no more favor than that of the barbarian on the Danube or the coolie on the Ganges.”

William McKinley, the veteran of Antietam who gave his name to the McKinley Tariff, declared, four years before being elected president:

“Free trade results in our giving our money . . . our manufactures and our markets to other nations. . . . It will bring widespread discontent. It will revolutionize our values.”

Campaigning in 1892, McKinley said, “Open competition between high-paid American labor and poorly paid European labor will either drive out of existence American industry or lower American wages.”

Substitute “Asian labor” for “European labor” and is this not a fair description of what free trade did to U.S. manufacturing these last 25 years? Some $12 trillion in trade deficits, arrested wages for our workers, six million manufacturing jobs lost, 55,000 factories and plants shut down.

McKinley’s future Vice President Teddy Roosevelt agreed with him, “Thank God I am not a free trader.”

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What did the Protectionists produce?

From 1869 to 1900, GDP quadrupled. Budget surpluses were run for 27 straight years. The U.S. debt was cut two-thirds to 7% of GDP. Commodity prices fell 58%. U.S. population doubled, but real wages rose 53%. Economic growth averaged 4% a year.

And the United States, which began this era with half of Britain’s production, ended it with twice Britain’s production.

Under Warren Harding, Cal Coolidge, and the Fordney-McCumber Tariff, GDP growth from 1922 to 1927 hit 7%, an all-time record.

Economic patriotism put America first, and made America first.

Of GOP free traders, the steel magnate Joseph Wharton, whose name graces the college Trump attended, said it well:

“Republicans who are shaky on protection are shaky all over.”

Pat Buchanan is a writer, political commentator and presidential candidate. He is the author of 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, Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? and Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War, all available from the AFP Online Store.



Rand Paul: Former CIA Head Is ‘Bigoted,’ ‘Biased,’ ‘Unhinged’

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was a breath of fresh air and common sense when he made the rounds on television talk shows yesterday to defend President Donald Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

By AFP Staff

Republican senator from Kentucky Rand Paul appeared on a series of cable news talk shows yesterday to counter the ridiculous claims made by former CIA Director John Brennan that President Donald Trump should be charged with treason for not sticking up for U.S. intelligence.

On Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson’s show, Paul, who also happens to be the son of former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), blasted Brennan, saying, “You have to realize John Brennan started his illustrious career by voting for the Communist Party—you know, that’s who he wanted to win the presidency back in the ’70s—so he voted for the Communist Party.”

He added that Brennan “is one of the most powerful people in the world, who has the ability to destroy anybody in the world and gain information on anything you do . . . yet with all that power he was coming to work each day with a bias and a hatred of the president. It should worry us all. What other things he could possibly have been doing with that power?”

You can watch the full interview below. Then, after you hear what Paul has to say, please take a moment to tell us what you think in the comments section.


Behind Trump’s Exasperation

President Trump is understandably frustrated with G-7 leaders’ expectations that the U.S. will continuously fund their nations’ security while they “rip us off on trade.”

By Patrick J. Buchanan

At the G-7 summit in Canada, President Donald Trump described America as “the piggy bank that everybody is robbing.”

After he left Quebec, his director of Trade and Industrial Policy, Peter Navarro, added a few parting words for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

“There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door. . . . And that’s . . . what weak, dishonest Justin Trudeau did. And that comes right from Air Force One.”

In Singapore, Trump tweeted more about that piggy bank.

“Why should I, as president of the United States, allow countries to continue to make massive trade surpluses, as they have for decades . . . (while) the U.S. pays close to the entire cost of NATO-protecting many of these same countries that rip us off on trade?”

To understand what drives Trump, and explains his exasperation and anger, these remarks are a good place to begin.

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Our elites see America as an “indispensable nation,” the premier world power whose ordained duty it is to defend democracy, stand up to dictators and aggressors, and uphold a liberal world order.

They see U.S. wealth and power as splendid tools that fate has given them to shape the future of the planet.

Trump sees America as a nation being milked by allies who free ride on our defense effort, as they engage in trade practices that prosper their own peoples at America’s expense.

Where our elites live to play masters of the universe, Trump sees a world laughing behind America’s back, while allies exploit our magnanimity and idealism for their own national ends.

The numbers are impossible to refute and hard to explain.

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Last year, the EU had a $151 billion trade surplus with the U.S. China ran a $376 billion trade surplus with the U.S., the largest in history. The world sold us $796 billion more in goods than we sold to the world.

A nation that spends more than it takes in from taxes, and consumes more of the world’s goods than it produces itself for export, year in and year out, is a nation on the way down.

We are emulating our British cousins of the 19th century.

Trump understands that this situation is not sustainable. His strength is that the people are still with him on putting America first.

Yet he faces some serious obstacles.

What is his strategy for turning a $796 billion trade deficit into a surplus? Is he prepared to impose the tariffs and import restrictions that would be required to turn America from the greatest trade-deficit nation in history to a trade-surplus nation, as we were up until the mid-1970s?

Americans are indeed carrying the lion’s share of the load of the defense of the West, and of fighting the terrorists and radical Islamists of the Middle East, and of protecting South Korea and Japan.

But if our NATO and Asian allies refuse to make the increases in defense he demands, is Trump really willing to cancel our treaty commitments, walk away from our war guarantees, and let these nations face Russia and China on their own? Could he cut that umbilical cord?

Ike’s Secretary of State John Foster Dulles spoke of conducting an “agonizing reappraisal” of U.S. commitments to defend NATO allies, if they did not contribute more money and troops.

Dulles died in 1959, and that reappraisal, threatened 60 years ago, never happened. Indeed, when the Cold War ended, out NATO allies cut defense spending again. Yet we are still subsidizing NATO in Europe and have taken on new allies since the Soviet Empire fell.

If Europe refuses to invest the money in defense Trump demands, or accept the tariffs America needs to reduce and erase its trade deficits, what does he do? Is he prepared to shut U.S. bases and pull U.S. troops out of the Baltic republics, Poland, and Germany, and let the Europeans face Vladimir Putin and Russia themselves?

This is not an academic question. For the crunch that was inevitable when Trump was elected seems at hand.

He promised to negotiate with Putin and improve relations with Russia. He promised to force our NATO allies to undertake more of their own defense. He pledged to get out and stay out of Mideast wars, and begin to slash the trade deficits that we have run with the world.

And that’s what America voted for.

Now, after 500 days, he faces formidable opposition to these defining goals of his campaign, even within his own party.

Putin remains a pariah on Capitol Hill. Our allies are rejecting the tariffs Trump has imposed and threatening retaliation. Free trade Republicans reject tariffs that might raise the cost of the items U.S. companies makes abroad and then ships back to the United States.

The decisive battles between Trumpian nationalism and globalism remain ahead of us. Trump’s critical tests have yet to come.

And our exasperated president senses this.

Pat Buchanan is a writer, political commentator and presidential candidate. He is the author of 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 Online Store.


Justice Department Agrees to Share Secret Info on Spy in Trump Campaign

By AFP Staff

Whatever one may think of the current president, inserting a spy directly into Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was next-level Big Brother tactics when it comes to federal law enforcement. Now, Congress is ramping up its oversight, as it is constitutionally obliged to do, and is demanding more details about this intelligence operation dubbed by some as “Spygate,” which actively spied on the leading contender for the highest office in the land.

Washington daily newspaper Politico reports today that the Justice Department has caved to demands from the so-called “Gang of Eight”—eight top senators and congressmen—to probe the spying operation and make sure it was legal.

The Gang of Eight includes Reps. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), and Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

“The Department and FBI are prepared to brief members on certain questions specifically raised by the Speaker and other members,” an unnamed Justice Department official told Politico. “The Department will also provide the documents that were available for review but not inspected by the members at the previous briefing along with some additional material.”

Surprising to no one, the mainstream media has done its best to downplay the implications of law enforcement spying on presidential campaigns, but, when it comes to Trump, all logic goes out the window unless, of course, it’s prefaced with an “I hate Trump, but.”

Even top Republicans in Trump’s own party have been hard-pressed to defend him.

House Speaker Paul Ryan went so far on June 6 as to defend the FBI for using a paid informant to spy on Trump officials.

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Thankfully, a few sounder minds have come forward to blast the operation.

“There is no defense today for Paul Ryan siding with the FBI and Department of Justice against those of us in the Congress fighting for transparency and accountability,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) was cited by Politico as saying on Fox News on the evening June 6. “We need the speaker to be an institutionalist for the Congress, not to be a defender of the deep state.”

The informant in question was outed recently as being Stefan Halper, a professor from Cambridge University. Halper is deeply tied in with the deep state, having taught American foreign policy for decades. He is also director of the university’s Department of Politics and International Studies. Since 2012, Halper has received over $1 million for overt and covert work he has done for the U.S. government.

They Disagree on Everything But Israel

The U.S. legislators voting to gut the U.S. Constitution to promote “free speech” for Israel may be trying to help Israel, but some believe they’re committing treason. 

By Philip Giraldi

There is currently considerable agitation in Congress over what is loosely being referred to as “free speech.” The crux of the matter appears to be that many self-identified conservatives appear to believe that rules put in place by many college and university administrations unfairly discriminate against them, establishing restrictions on speakers whose opinions might be viewed as offensive to liberals and minority constituencies. This has lately led to the blocking of attempts by notable conservative lecturers to speak on campus and in other public fora lest they cause a breakdown in public order. It is interesting to note that the campaign against conservatives is never packaged quite as an actual free speech issue. It is generally expressed as a desire to sustain community values and to avoid violent confrontations.

Many of the groups engaging in agitprop seeking to redefine the First Amendment at the college level are inevitably Jewish, many of them politically liberal, seeking to eliminate hurtful commentary or actions that involve criticism of Israel. A common complaint is that demonstrations or speakers on campus make Jews feel uncomfortable and therefore should be banned. Ironically, the political conservatives, who believe themselves to be victims of a suppression of free speech, often hypocritically support the Jewish students’ drive to curtail the same commodity because they are strong supporters of Israel. That reality demonstrates that the complaints from both parties are more ideologically driven than based on any perception of the need to maintain basic constitutional rights.

More curious still are the actions of some Jewish legislators in Congress. The debate over free speech on campus to allow conservative voices is much in the media, but the desire of many of America’s normally liberal Jews to curtail any and all criticism of Israel is hardly mentioned at all, even though it is in many respects far more serious an attack against the First Amendment, as support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement would be enshrined in federal legislation with draconian penalties attached.

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Two leading Jewish senators, Ben Cardin of Maryland and Chuck Schumer of New York, are the driving forces behind the so-called Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which is continuing to make its way through Congress. It was introduced by Cardin and quickly attracted a number of co-sponsors and supporters, many of whom were predictably Republicans. The irony inherent in the bill comes from the fact that both Cardin and Schumer are solidly liberal in their voting records, to include support of issues generally regarded as protective of constitutional rights and liberties.

Theirs might reasonably be considered reliable votes whenever the Bill of Rights is challenged, but when it comes to Israel they are quite willing to flip 180 degrees.

Schumer might be considered Israel’s senator in Congress now that Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) has finally disappeared from the scene. Schumer has referred to himself as Israel’s “shomer” or protector, a derivation of his own name. If he is challenged at all in that status it would be by Cardin, who votes a straight pro-Israel line when called upon to do so and who is the product of Maryland’s largely Jewish dominated Democratic Party machine. Both are, not coincidentally, major recipients of campaign contributions coming from the Israel lobby. Two years ago both Schumer and Cardin opposed President Barack Obama’s agreement to the plan adopted to monitor Iran’s nuclear program, placing them in line with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in opposition to their own party’s president.

So here is the problem. Many American Jews in politics support Israel right or wrong without any regard for the impact on the rest of their constituents. This is obviously wrong, but they do it shamelessly because they believe that they will never be held to account. Unfortunately for them, attitudes toward Israel and its criminal regime are shifting, particularly in the liberal wing of the Democratic Party.

Cardin has indeed faced some problems with his promotion of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act. The generally Israel-friendly American Civil Liberties Union objected strongly both to the obvious unconstitutionality of the bill as well as the punitive measures that it mandated, which included in the original version civil fines up to $250,000, criminal fines of up to $1 million, as well as a possible 20 years in prison. Two elements of the bill are particularly appalling. One criminalizes anyone even making inquiries about BDS and the other specifies that Israel includes by definition “settlements in the Palestinian occupied territories.” That means that the settlements, which all the world including the United States considers illegal, cannot be criticized under penalty of law.

These draconian features, which essentially criminalize a broad range of any criticism of Israel if implemented, were recently watered down but have not been completely eliminated from the current version of the bill. To be sure, a number of liberal Jewish organizations have come out against the bill but have been unable to make much progress, as the well-funded and much more numerous organizations that constitute the lobby have better access to both politicians and the mainstream media.

Against those who find the bill a bridge too far, even in defense of the Jewish state, one indeed finds an array of Jewish oligarchs who support Israel reflexively as well as the formidable power of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) with its hundreds of employees and $100 million annual budget. AIPAC is America’s most powerful foreign policy lobby. In terms of getting out the votes in Congress it is comparable to the gun lobby for the GOP. It is committed to the Cardin bill and considers it its top priority because it, echoing the repeated warnings issued by Netanyahu, believes that BDS is the greatest internal threat to Israel. Netanyahu is, of course, not rational on threats to Israel. He has long promoted attacking a militarily inferior Iran because it is an alleged threat and his judgment on BDS is similarly 90% scaremongering.

So here we have it again. Two prominent Jewish senators are working to destroy the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and they are doing it to “help” Israel. Some might call it treason.

Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest. Other articles by Giraldi can be found on the website of the Unz Review.