Rand Paul is gearing up for a fight — should President Donald Trump choose the intensely hawkish Elliott Abrams as Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson’s second in command.
“In a country of 300 million people, surely there are reasonable foreign policy experts who have not been convicted of deceiving Congress and actually share the President’s foreign policy views,” Paul writes in an op-ed for Rare to be published on Tuesday, provided in advance to We Are Change.
The #NeverTrump neoconservative is Trump’s rumored pick for the Deputy Secretary of State position, despite his fondness of interventionist policy, and is said to be meeting with the president on Tuesday. Trump is also scheduled to meet with Tillerson at 3 p.m.
Abrams was a staunch critic of Trump throughout his campaign, even warning Republicans to “keep your distance” from the now-president. The area where he was most critical was in foreign policy, calling Trump’s non-interventionist stances “dangerous.”
He was also convicted for withholding information from Congress during the Iran-Contra affair while serving as assistant secretary of state for Inter-American Affairs under President Ronald Reagan — though he was later pardoned by President George H. W. Bush.
“You can’t just brush off being convicted of lying to the Senate when asking for another confirmable job,” a senior aide to Paul told We Are Change. “And you can’t just dismiss that you have blasted the foreign policy and general qualifications of the President. There are lessons from our recent foreign policy and President Trump has learned many of them. He deserves high level foreign policy staff who have learned them too.”
Perhaps most troubling is that Abrams worked as the Middle East director on George W. Bush’s National Security Council staff. We all know how that went.
“The Bush administration incubated a generation of ideologues rather than diplomats who created the mess that is now the Middle East. Almost without exception, they backed Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in the belief that Clinton would pursue Utopian globalism,” David P. Goldman wrote in a piece for PJ Media, titled An Arsonist as Fire Chief at the State Department? “They bitterly opposed Donald Trump’s national-interest realism.”
With Paul promising a battle, it is unlikely that Abrams will pass through the 21 member Foreign Relations Committee, which is comprised of 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats — unless a Democrat opts to come out in favor of him.
Sen. Rand Paul announced on Wednesday that President-elect Trump has stated his support for the “Audit the Fed” bill that Paul just reintroduced to Congress, according to The Hill.
Auditing the Fed is something that started with Rand Paul’s father, Ron Paul, who has been pushing for years to have the Federal Reserve central bank audited. That measure may soon become a reality if the new Congress votes in favor of the legislation.
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have re-introduced the controversial “Audit the Fed” bill, after a similar effort failed with the last Congress in January 2016.
“The U.S. House has responded to the American people by passing Audit the Fed multiple times, and President-elect Trump has stated his support for an audit. Let’s send him the bill this Congress,” Rand Paul said.
Key points this time around include the fact that both the house and senate are controlled by Republicans who have long been critical of the Fed’s policies. Trump himself also has said before on Twitter that he would audit the Fed.
Under the bill, the Fed’s monetary policy would be subject to outside board review by the Government Accountability Office. However, if the U.S. central bank is ever fully audited, it is assumed that massive fraud would be exposed.
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke previously said that if an audit of the federal reserve was to take place, the dollar and the U.S. economy would be in danger:
“My concern about the legislation is that if the GAO is auditing not only the operational aspects of the programs and the details of the programs but making judgments about our policy decisions would effectively be a takeover of monetary policy by the Congress and a repudiation of the independence of the Federal Reserve would be highly destructive to the stability of the financial system, the Dollar and our national economic situation.”
Bernanke’s former advisor infamously said that “People Would Be Stunned To Know The Extent To Which The Fed Is Privately Owned” in April 2016.
Janet Yellen shared a similar sentiment, when she said that the U.S. dollar and the U.S. economy would be in danger when questioned by Senator David Vitter (R-LA) in November 2013:
“So I strongly support as indicated transparent and openness on the part of the fed and I think with respect to monetary policy in terms of the range of information and the timeliness of that information we are one of the most transparent central banks in the world. What I would not support is a requirement that we diminish the independence of the federal reserve in implementing and deciding on monetary policy. For 50 years congress has recognized that there should be an exception to GAO ability to audit the fed to avoid any political inference in monetary policy I believe it’s critically important for the economic performance of this country and we’ve seen this around the world that allowing a central bank to be independent in forming monetary policy is critical to assuring markets and the public that we will achieve price stability and I would be very concerned about legislation that would subject the Federal Reserve that could interfere with that independence.”
Former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has also expressed his concern for missing money in the Federal Reserve. He confronted Bernanke in 2009, and asked, “WHERE IS THE MONEY?” for the TARP bailout, which consisted of $2.2 trillion that the Fed lent out to anonymous banks.
There is also the case in which $9 trillion went missing from the Federal Reserve in 2010. That’s not to mention the “billions” of dollars that went missing out of the money the Feds sent to Iraq during the Iraq War.
[RELATED: Ron Paul Looking To Join Trump’s Federal Reserve Board?]
Ron Paul’s statement on auditing the Fed:
“I applaud my son Senator Rand Paul and my friend Representative Thomas Massie for their leadership on the important issue of auditing the Federal Reserve. Audit the Fed is the type of change the American people demanded when they went to the polls last November.
For 105 years, the Federal Reserve has exercised almost absolute and unquestioned authority over America’s monetary policy. The result has been a boom-and-bust business cycle, growth in government, increasing income inequality, and a loss of over 90% of the dollar’s purchasing power. No wonder almost 80% of Americans support Audit the Fed!
While campaigning for President, Donald Trump not only criticized the Fed’s easy money policies, he also endorsed Audit the Fed. With a President who supports Audit the Fed finally sitting in the White House, Congress has no excuse to not quickly pass this bill and finally let the American people know the truth about the Fed’s conduct on monetary policy, including its dealings with foreign governments and central banks.”
The witch hunt for “fake news” and “Russian propaganda” has been kicked up a notch, after the House passed a bill quietly tucked inside the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, designed to crack down on free speech and independent media.
Under “Title V—Matters relating to foreign countries,” the bill seeks to “counter active measures by Russia to exert covert influence … carried out in coordination with, or at the behest of, political leaders or the security services of the Russian Federation and the role of the Russian Federation has been hidden or not acknowledged publicly.”
It lists media manipulation as:
- Establishment or funding of a front group.
- Covert broadcasting.
- Media manipulation.
- Disinformation and forgeries.
- Funding agents of influence.
- Incitement and offensive counterintelligence.
- Terrorist acts.
“It is easy to see how this law, if passed by the Senate and signed by the president, could be used to target, threaten, or eliminate so-called ‘fake news’ websites, a list which has been used to arbitrarily define any website, or blog, that does not share the mainstream media’s proclivity to serve as the Public Relations arm of a given administration,” Global Research reported.
The frightening attack on speech and independent media was opposed by only 30 members of the House, including Tulsi Gabbard, Thomas Massie, and Justin Amash — who stated that he fought against it.
“As long as the government engages in intelligence activities that violate our rights secured by our Constitution, any Intel Authorization bill should be opposed,” Justin Amash told Sputnik News.
The bill must now pass through Senate, though a senior Rand Paul aide has told Sputnik News that the Senator is currently holding the intelligence bill for several reasons — and that they are looking at this specific issue very closely.
“Curiously, the bill which was passed on November 30, was introduced on November 22, two days before the Washington Post published its Nov. 24 article citing ‘experts’ who claim Russian propaganda helped Donald Trump get elected,” Zero Hedge noted.
The ‘experts’ the newspaper cited was a group called “PropOrNot,” although it have refused to name the experts behind the operation. The organization has promoted a Ukrainian hacker group on their Twitter feed.
PropOrNot also listed over 200 websites that they accuse of peddling Russian propaganda, including extremely popular news websites on all sides of the political spectrum, including The Drudge Report, Zero Hedge, TruthOut, Sputnik News, and even WikiLeaks.
Former presidential candidate Ron Paul’s website is also mentioned in many of the articles on so-called fake news, an issue that should be concerning to those who believe in free speech, including his son, Senator Rand Paul. The elder Paul has long been a vocal supporter of freedom of speech, as it is enshrined in the Constitution of the United States, and he and his supporters have repeatedly been the target of finger pointing and demonization.
In 2012, a risk-assessment report from a Missouri-based fusion center stated that support for Ron Paul’s presidential bid was a sign of membership in a “domestic terrorist group.”
“For purposes of this definition it does not matter whether the sites listed here are being knowingly directed and paid by Russian intelligence officers, or whether they even knew they were echoing Russian propaganda at any particular point: If they meet these criteria, they are at the very least acting as bona-fide ‘useful idiots’ of the Russian intelligence services, and are worthy of further scrutiny,” the so-called experts cited by PropOrNot state.
Many of those listed on censorship hit lists are speaking out against the attempt to stop independent media.
“Information is dangerous and with this new reactionary shift of people making ban lists of so called ‘fake news,’ it shows us how afraid they are of knowledge and differences of opinion that spur people to have an open mind,” Luke Rudkowski, the owner of We Are Change, one of the sites on the blacklist, previously told Sputnik News. “Information is very dangerous for the establishment status quo that tried to keep things the way they are.”
The bill, Zero Hedge notes, will soon proclaim much of the internet to be “criminal Russian propaganda if it is allowed to pass.
I originally published this piece on Sputnik News
Senator Rand Paul
In a bold move, Senator Rand Paul has filed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to compel the Senate to publicly release the 28 classified pages of the 2002 investigation into the 9-11 attacks — if they want to get their defense budget.
Paul, along with the families of victims, activists, and other lawmakers, has long fought for the release of the classified pages.
“Information revealed over the years does raise questions about [Saudi Arabia’s] support, or whether their support might have been supportive to these al-Qaeda terrorists,” Paul told journalists last year.
“We can not let page after page of blanked-out documents be obscured behind a veil, leading these families to wonder if there is additional information surrounding these horrible acts.”
The Kentucky Senator’s amendment would require that the pages be released within 60 days of the NDAA being signed into law, but “identifying information” would be permitted to be kept secret if the release would create “imminent lawless action or compromise presently ongoing national security operations.”
Paul’s effort comes just after the Senate passed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, which was promoted as aiming to simplify the process for the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia and other foreign sponsors of terror. However, an amendment was added in the 11th hour by Senator Charles Schumer, granting the attorney general and secretary of state the power to stop any litigation against the Saudi government.
“How do I feel about the Justice Department being given this power? Not good,” 9/11 widow Kristen Breitweiser told the New York Post. “Their failure to bring their own Saudi indictment reveals how little they care about holding the Saudis accountable for either their funding or operational support of the 9/11 hijackers.?”
Many believe that the 28 classified pages will help prove that the Saudi government was involved in funding al-Qaeda and colluding on the attack.
“Nearly every significant element that led to the attacks of September 11 points to Saudi Arabia,” Terry Strada, National Chair of 9/11 Families & Survivors United for Justice Against Terrorism, and widow of Tom Strada, who died in the north tower of the World Trade Center during the 2001 attacks said, adding that “Money is the lifeblood of terrorism. Without money, 9/11 wouldn’t have happened.”
President Barack Obama is expected to make a decision about whether or not they will declassify the 28 pages in June. In the meantime, the White House is currently threatening to veto the bill.