Changes in Congress could put an end to ‘endless’ Middle East quagmire.

The 2018 U.S. election is over, with a few exceptions. From how to control the border on the right, to protecting pre-existing conditions on the left, Americans were swamped with promises. One subject politicians of any stripe refused to touch was war. That’s odd considering war touches every citizen.

Some children who weren’t born when this latest round of war began will join the military when they graduate from high school in seven months. If they are to die in Middle East, Americans should know why.

The U.S. has spent some $900 billion in aid to Afghanistan since 2001. Congress approved some $5.6 trillion for combat in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001. The bill has gone directly to the national debt, something not debated during the election. Interest debt is expected to add another $1 trillion a year by 2023, according to a Brown University study.  In addition, nearly 6,800 deaths of U.S.military personnel in the theater have been reported since 2001.

Are we at war?

The Constitution gives Congress the exclusive power to declare war. However, the legislative has body refused to exercise this requirement since World War II. Instead, Congress grants the executive branch free reign in combat through an authorization for the use of military force (AUMF).

Congress wrote President George W Bush a blank check to usher in the end times by attacking al Qaeda and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 attacks. Of course almost all of the terrorists who hijacked the planes used in the attack were Saudis. Still, the Bush White House and military industrial complex managed to fabricate a story the media sold to the public in support of the endless war for which the U.S. still has no exit strategy.

Will the 116th Congress change this? The ball is now in the Democrats’ hands.

Democrats should have at least a 10-seat House majority when all is said and done. (Some races are so close recounts are needed.) The party of the donkey could spend all of its time investigating everything the president does – some oversight is certainly needed – or it could take a broader view and pass spending bills and investigate.

Bring troops home

Stopping the current AUMF would satisfy both. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) cited the “overly broad powers” granted the chief executive when she cast the lone vote against the so-called war powers act. In 2017, the House Appropriations Committee approved Lee’s amendment to repeal the 2001 authorization for the use of military force, but it failed on the floor.

The Afghani government might control 44 percent of that country. Neither the Syrian situation, nor ISIS existed when this authorization passed. Losing in Afghanistan is nothing new. The British and Soviets did it when they had strong militaries. Once troops are redeployed and DOD waste eliminated, the debt, healthcare and infrastructure repair can be addressed.

If combat is necessary, the president can always ask Congress to debate a declaration of war in public. Of course if the president’s desire is based on faulty intel, i.e. “a slam dunk,” the public may get to the truth before the vote and influence Congress.

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Did ‘the Jews’ silence former spook?

Journalist Philip Giraldi has been combatting undue Israel-influence on Washington for years. The author thinks he went too far in an article for Unz.com “America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars.” Giraldi had a long business relationship with The American Conservative (TAC) magazine and website.

Philip-Giraldi
Philip Giraldi

The editor of TAC cut ties with Giraldi once the article appeared Sept. 19, according to Giraldi. TAC said the article was unacceptable. Giraldi was described as a former CIA case officer and army intelligence officer who spent 20 years overseas in Europe and the Middle East working terrorism cases, before his falling out with TAC. He graduated from the University of Chicago and has a Ph.D. in European History from the University of London. TAC did not respond to an inquiry about this article.

Giraldi says he attempted to make several points concerning the consequences of Jewish political power vis-à-vis some aspects of U.S. foreign policy. He also named names. Bill Kristoll, David Frum, Max Boot and Bret Stephens were outed as war hawks on Iran. Giraldi added Mark Dubowitz, Michael Ledeen and Reuel Marc Gerecht of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies; Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum; John Podhoretz of Commentary magazine; Elliot Abrams of the Council on Foreign Relations; Meyrav Wurmser of the Middle East Media Research Institute; Kimberly Kagan of the Institute for the Study of War; and Frederick Kagan, Danielle Pletka and David Wurmser of the American Enterprise Institute. And you can also throw into the hopper entire organizations like The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) and the Hudson Institute to his list.

“They’re all Jewish, plus most of them would self-describe as neo-conservatives,” he wrote. “And I might add that only one of the named individuals has ever served in any branch of the American military – David Wurmser was once in the Navy reserve.”

As important as what Giraldi said is what he did not say. Giraldi did not say every single Jew in America is driving America’s wars. “Some individual American Jews and organizations with close ties to Israel, whom I named and identified, are greatly disproportionately represented in the government, media, foundations, think tanks and lobbying that is part and parcel of the deliberations that lead to formulation of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Inevitably, those policies are skewed to represent Israeli interests and do serious damage to genuine American equities in the region.”

His accurate report reporting has left the author with some familiar labels. Harvard law-god Alan Dershowitz referred to Giraldi as “a well-known anti-Semite” on national television. Critics also claim he is a conspiracy theorist.

Once former CIA analyst Valarie Plame Wilson retweeted Giraldi’s article, establishment critics attacked her as an anti-Semite. She reminded them of her Jewish heritage and tweeted, “Many neocon hawks ARE Jewish.” She latter bowed to public pressure and apologized.

#conspiracy

Should sports stick to athletic competition?

Sports are being used to make cultural and political commentary now more than ever before. Whether it is NFL players taking a knee or locking arms during the national anthem in the United States or a former tennis champion standing for traditional marriage in Australia, free speech is also under attack.

The more President Donald Trump denounces protesting football players, the more the attention of the protest moves from social justice to anti-Trump. When Jemele Hill, a black woman, called the president a “white supremacist” in a tweet, she was suspended for two weeks. A few years ago, a white commentator, Curt Schilling, was fired after posting a statement opposing transgender people from using bathrooms that do not match their birth gender. Both commentators were employed by ESPN. The disparity in their punishments has raised questions about free speech and culture at the Disney-owned sports network.

 

NFL

Free speech is also moving toward center stage in the NFL debate. The controversy arose in 2016 when then-San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem. He said he was protesting social injustice, particularly police shooting unarmed black men. A few players joined him. Hundreds, including several owners joined the protest this season after Trump began tweeting nasty remarks about players demonstrating.

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The NFL is facing a backlash. Television ratings and attendance are down. CBS, NBC, ESPN and Fox pay about $5 billion per year to the league for coverage rights. That deal expires in 2020. Much of that money goes to ever increasing player contracts. A Gallup poll released Oct. 13 shows the NFL has dropped 10 percent in popularity among U.S. adults between 2012 and 2017.

Kaepernick accuses NFL owners of not signing him since Kaepernick walked out of his contract with the 49ers earlier this year. The quarterback’s high-priced lawyer says it is all about politics.

However, the 49ers were 1-10 with Kaepernick at the helm in 2016. His ESPN qb rating—a measure of quarterback performance that incorporates all of a quarterback’s contributions to winning, including how he impacts the game on passes, rushes, turnovers and penalties—was 49.5. The highest in the league was 79.6; the lowest was 37.5. Kaepernick’s passing rating was 90.7, No. 16 among 30 qualifiers. Passer ratings are calculated using a player’s passing attempts, completions, yards, touchdowns, and interceptions.

Should homosexuality be forced on society?

If you think America is the only place sports and politics are interwoven, think again. The winningest women’s tennis player of all-time is under fire in Australia for supporting heterosexuality. She and a former WNBA player Candice Wiggins were both scrutinized for claiming their sports were full of lesbians.

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Some claim athletes influence on social change is many who have come out as members of the LGBT community thus challenging social stereotypes and influencing more acceptance of LGBTs. Some ask if that is a good thing? Others point to the negative example set by athletes who say “I am not a role model.”

Tennis champ rebuked

Margaret Court, the women with the most Grand Slam major titles in history, was forced out of the Cotteslove Tennis Club in Perth. Now a Pentecostal pastor, Court’s sin is opposing a same-sex marriage referendum underway down under.

“No amount of legislation or political point-scoring can ever take out of the human heart the knowledge that in the beginning God created them male and female and provided each with a unique sexual function to bring forth new life,” Court was quoted in The West Australian newspaper in an interview last month. “To dismantle this sole definition of marriage and try to legitimize what God calls abominable sexual practices that include sodomy, reveals our ignorance as to the ills that come when society is forced to accept law that violates their very own God-given nature of what is right and what is wrong.”’

Vote

Australia is embroiled in a national, non-binding same-sex marriage vote. Voters have until Nov. 7 to mail their votes. The results are scheduled to be announced Nov. 15. Parliament is expected to vote on changing the marriage law if “yes” votes win.

Australia has a “temporary” ban on “hate speech” through the end of the election. Those found guilty of vilifying, intimidating or threatening harm “on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, intersex status or religion” could face a $10,000 fine. Australian Conservatives Sen. Cory Bernardi told ‘No” supporters that a change to the Marriage Act could lead to the criminalization of thoughts or speech, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Confusing children?

Court says she does not use Qantas airlines in protest of the company’s support for same-sex marriage. Further she opposes the country’s SafeSchools anti-bullying program. It, Court said, leaves children confused by telling them it is permissible to identify with a gender other than their birth sex.

“There is a whole plot in our nation and in the nations of the world today to get the minds of the children,” Court said. “That’s what Hitler did and that’s what communism did – got the mind of the children. And there’s a whole plot in our nation, and in the nations of the world to get the minds of the children.”

Is Trump right?

Critics were quick to suggest Donald Trump was living in a dream world when he suggested the trade deficit is a U.S. foreign policy problem. The Establishment insists globalization: Lowering economic levels to the lowest common denominator, elimination of borders, environmental “justice” that moves the First World backwards, etc. will bring peace. They have no evidence, but that is they’re belief.

more tradeWhen Trump used the term “America first” to describe his foreign policy, critics insisted he was moving to back to American isolationism of the 1930’s.  These same critics would have been better served considering Pat Buchanan’s vision of an America first policy when he ran for president later in the 20th Century.

“For the foreign policy routinely disparaged as ‘isolationism’ is always on the table. It is the foreign policy most deeply rooted in America’s history, heart and vital interests. … It is our oldest tradition,” Buchanan wrote.

“Though that tradition may be dismissed by our foreign policy elites as antiquated, selfish and un-idealistic, it is the elites who are out of touch. They do not know the country they live in. They do not know the American people. They never have.”

Soon, very soon, the Establishment must realize what U.S. workers and multinational corporations have learned about so-called free trade: It handicaps Americans.

Academics have found “there is now abundant evidence linking international trade to the decline of U.S. manufacturing jobs.” The 47-page paper suggests a “polarization effect,” where negative economic shock increases the election of both non-centrist left-wing and right-wing members of Congress.

“Voters are thus seeking answers to a common source of economic decline from very different types of political actors,” the paper says. One result is “China bashing” from Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders on the left.

Emerging nations have reportedly attacked foreign multinationals with fines, investigations, raids and closure. In addition, the expected fast­-growth revenue channels and inexpensive manufacturing opportunities from overseas globalization failed to materialize. This hurts U.S. investors and well as laborers. It only seems right that politicians who support “free trade” be held accountable.

If “… ending the theft of American jobs will give us resources we need to rebuild our military, which has to happen and regain our financial independence and strength,” sounds out-of-touch with pundits, think tanks and the rest of the Establishment, they should get to know the American people.

In 2015, the United States had $365.7 million trade deficit with China. The difference was$57 million through February of 2016.

“China respects strength and by letting them take advantage of us economically, which they are doing like never before, we have lost all of their respect,” Trump said. “We have a massive trade deficit with China, a deficit that we have to find a way quickly, and I mean quickly, to balance. A strong and smart America is an America that will find a better friend in China, better than we have right now.”

A fair trade policy, where trade partners are treated equally, might sale to American voters in 2016. It looks like Trump will find out.

Time to change basic political system

revolution1You say you want a revolution. It is neither the Constitution nor the institution, as John Lennon wrote; the real solution is changing the conscience of people with minds that hate.

The 2016 U.S. presidential campaign is a perfect example. The dialogue between Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Donald Trump has been light on policy but high on toxicity. Cruz and Trump have sunken so low their wives have been drawn into the fray.

Visitors to Washington, D.C., notice Congress and the White House are barricades.  So-called representatives are afraid of the public. They have distanced themselves so far, only big money interests are perceived to have access. Democrats and Republicans do not tackle problems. They refuse to work together. Leaders in the self-described conservative Senate refuse to hold hearings on the liberal president’s Supreme Court nominee because it is an election year. Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution is ignored by these alleged constitutionalists.

The way President Barack Obama and a Democrat-controlled Congress rammed through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010 cost Democrats Congress, but won him reelection. The president has since attempted to bypass Congress through executive orders with dubious results.

So what should Americans do in 2016? Take Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) advice: Revolt! A quarter of Democratic voters have done this by voting for a Democratic-Socialist in caucuses and primaries. Democratic socialists reject capitalism as an economic system and want to replace it with state ownership of the means of production (i.e. the state owned factories, businesses, land, housing, and so on) combined with political democracy.

In the other corner sits Trump, a one-percenter who has supported Democratic-front runner Hillary Clinton, is pro-choice, is a ruthless businessman and has made some ridiculous statements on the stump such as banning Muslims and nuking ISIS. Does he want to be president or is Trump enjoying the game?

What the two have in common is anti-establishmentarianism. They recognize Washington does not work. U.S. trade agreements have cost workers and devastated blue-color labor. America’s infrastructure is ignored. The safety net needs adjustments. If America is at war, put it on the budget.

This revolution is not new. In 1996 and 2000 there was Pat Buchanan preaching much of foreign trade Sanders is preaching today. In 1992 Ross Perot warned of the national debt. In 1968 George Wallace warned the Democrat Party’s big tent was too big. All of these represent times in the past 50 years large groups of Americans could have split from the two parties and set the United States on a political system featuring proportional representation.

The basic principles underlying proportional representation elections are that all voters deserve representation and that all political groups in society deserve to be represented in our legislatures in proportion to their strength in the electorate.

Australia, Canada, most of Europe, Israel, and many other countries use this system. America should try it.

Action Speaks Louder than Words

I am a journalist. I report on things. I value the First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

When the rich, elite, or media attempt to skirt the law it makes my blood boil. People can say almost anything they want in this country. Sometimes the media broadcasts these statements. Sometimes people listen, but no one has to listen.

So what happens when a candidate rents a hall for an event and thousands of un-American protesters violently block the entrance and auditorium and prohibit the candidate’s speech from taking place? What happens when thousands of listeners are blocked from meeting and hearing? If the candidate’s name is Donald Trump, he is blamed for the actions of the protesters.

However, the thugs illegally disrupting the event are the ones in the wrong.  They are the ones violating the civil rights of peaceful assembly and speech. When other candidates blame Trump, they are part of the anarchy. That is what the media fails to report.

“The ugly, divisive rhetoric we are hearing from Donald Trump and the encouragement of violence and aggression is wrong, and it’s dangerous,” Hillary Clinton said at an event in St. Louis. “If you play with matches, you’re going to start a fire you can’t control.”

Klinton should know. She was a disciple of Saul Alinsky in the 1960s. Rule 1 of Alinsky’s 12 Rules for Radicals is: Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have. Power is derived from two main sources – money and people.

The old Clinton front-group Move On, with Black Lives Matter, and others provide the people. Filthy-rich supporters like Jonathon Lewis and George Soros provide the money.

The final rule is: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Now the Klintonites cutting off the support network [Republican Party] and isolate Trump from sympathy via the media.

Dr. Todd Gitlin suggests in a recent column that Trump is at fault for violence and protests around him. He compares Trump to 1968 Democratic presidential candidate George Wallace as hate mongers. “The result, as in 1968, is a growing climate of violence,” Gitlin concludes.  “It feels as if, somewhere, fuses are lit.”

Let me suggest action speaks louder than words. If Democrats erupt in violence they are breaking the law and should be held accountable. Gitlin mentions the Democratic convention of 1968. I would encourage him to consider Democrat politics in the city today.

Jessica Soto and Bradley Fichter were arrested after attacking Robert Zwolinski, a political opponent of state Rep. Cynthia Soto, D-Chicago. The politico is Jess’ Mama.

The goons beat the man to the ground, broke his nose, Soto grabbed his genitals and stapled his forehead, according to prosecutors. Rodham-Clinton is from Illinois. I have heard neither she, Move On, nor anyone else calling on state Rep. Soto to step down. Nor have they opened fundraisers for Zwolinski’s medical bills.

 

Can We Afford Free Trade?

 

Don’t believe all of the hullabaloo more trade.jpgthe establishment media is feeding you about how Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was lying in Michigan as he cited the number of US job losses due to so-called free trade. “NAFTA, supported by the Secretary [Clinton], cost us 800,000 jobs nationwide,” Sanders said in the March 6 debate. He used 2014 research from the Economic Policy Institute.

The media is under constant pressure to get the story first. I understand that; I am a journalist. I try to get the story right, as well as first. I guess that is one of the reasons I am not working in the establishment.

The flock correctly cited a 2015 Congressional Research Report, The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which states “NAFTA did not cause the huge job losses feared by the critics.” Unlike my colleagues in the establishment media, I read the report. It does not contain one iota of research supporting the claim, which appears in the summary. The fact is the CRS report speaks in terms of capital deficits and trade balances. The report never analyzes job creation or job losses in numerical terms.

The U.S. had a trade deficit with Mexico of $54 billion [in 2013] but with China, it was [a deficit of] $318 billion, so the [U.S.] deficit is five times bigger with China than with Mexico. In other words, you would calculate, maybe for every job we have lost in the U.S. to Mexico, five [jobs] were lost to China, according to Wharton management professor Mauro GNAFTA-job-losses-chart-e1387307604809.jpguillen. America had a $36 billion deficit with Canada in 2014.

An EPI researcher went industry by industry and converted trade deficit and surpluses into an estimated number of jobs.

“We are generating inequality [in America] because the lower wages are either stagnating or going down,” the professor says. “How do they go down? When a factory worker is earning $35 an hour, gets laid off and has to go to the service sector and only makes $12 an hour.”

On the other hand, “NAFTA has been great for Mexico,” he added. Ross Perot was right when he predicted, “There will be a giant sucking sound going south.”  The concern here is much larger than Democrat politics or fair trade vs. free trade, the big question is: Do you believe in a nation state or in a country called the United States.