10/27/20

Liberty is the Key Issue of the US 2020 Election

By: Col. Lawrence Sellin (Ret.) | CCNS

Over many decades, the United States has become an oligarchy, a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes.

The oligarchy is primarily composed of the Democrat Party, the media, academia, the permanent federal bureaucracy, and the multinational interests that provide its financial support.

Republicans like Mitt Romney are also members of the oligarchy as well as the greedy political operatives, who profit from candidates like him.

Such Republicans falsely claim to be putting “country over party,” but are actually putting oligarchy over democracy.

They do so because of their private dislike for Donald Trump or simply for their own power and profit, often both.

The “damage” Democrats and the anti-Trump Republicans claim he has done, has not been to the country, but to the power of the oligarchy and its growing attempts to control and exploit the American people for personal gain.

The oligarchy rejects democracy, preferring authoritarianism or, increasingly in the Democrat Party, the totalitarianism of Big Tech, Antifa, and Black Lives Matter.

Like Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden is the candidate of the oligarchy.

In a September 6, 2016 article in The Hill entitled “Why Donald Trump appeals to ordinary Americans,” I wrote:

“This election is not simply a contest between the Democrat and Republican ideologies, but a battle between the entrenched power of the bipartisan political establishment versus the freedom and well-being of the American people.”

Compared to four years ago, the threat to individual freedom, the Constitution, and the rule of law emanating from the oligarchy is both greater and imminent.

In 2016, I said:

“The federal government and the media are, as institutions, hopelessly corrupt and, although we have elections, we no longer have representative government.”

Yet, even the most cynical among us, could not have imagined that politically-motivated elements within the federal government would use its immense law enforcement power in a coordinated attack with the media to destroy the lives of innocent citizens and patriots like General Michael Flynn and organize what amounted to a coup d’état against a sitting President.

Like what I stated in 2016, most of the social chaos and extremism we are currently witnessing in our Democrat-run cities is the product of a well-funded and well-organized anti-American, radical, leftist agenda.

It is the direct consequence of educational and media political indoctrination coupled with the divisive rhetoric and destructive policies of the Democrat Party.

In the face of the present turmoil, many in the Republican Party have chosen to stand idly aside, unwilling to defend the rights, liberties, and well-being of American citizens.

Those anti-Trump Republicans have chosen to no longer represent the Americans who had once been their constituency, but, instead, have adopted the identity of junior partners in a ruling class.

It is a fundamental principle of democracy that the efficiency and effectiveness of government are directly dependent upon the trustworthiness of government officials as representatives and executors of the views and desires of the people.

Americans now believe that we are not citizens of a republic, but subjects of an elected aristocracy, composed of a self-absorbed permanent political class, which serves the interests of international financiers at the expense of the American people.

The oligarchy maintains its authority by an ever-expanding and increasingly intrusive government and uses a compliant media to manipulate public opinion in order to sustain the illusion of democracy.

Three years before the start of the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln said a government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free — that a house divided against itself cannot stand.

Likewise, a government separated from the people cannot stand.

There remains a winning coalition in America, one which Donald Trump represents, one inclusive of all Americans, and one for all those who believe in a simple proposition — honest, representative, and effective government.

This column was originally published at WION.

Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is retired from an international career in business and medical research with 29 years of service in the US Army Reserve and a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq. He is a member of the Citizens Commission on National Security. His email address is [email protected].

10/27/20

Brace for Impact by Facebook Around Election Day

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

FB: As the U.S. braces for election-related unrest next month, Facebook executives are implementing emergency measures reserved for “at-risk” countries in a company-wide effort to bring down the online temperature.

The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that the social media giant plans to limit the spread of viral content and lower the benchmark for suppressing potentially inflammatory posts using internal tools previously deployed in Sri Lanka and Myanmar.

ZUCKERBERG: FACEBOOK WILL RESTRICT LESS CONTENT AFTER US ELECTIONS

The tools, now a key component of Facebook’s strategy to prepare for the contentious U.S. election, would only be activated in “dire circumstances” and instances of violence, people familiar with the matter told the Journal.

The measures would loosen the threshold previously established for content deemed dangerous on the platform, and would slow down the dissemination of specific posts as they begin to gain traction, the Journal explains. An internal adjustment would also be applied to news feeds to control the content available to users.

“Deployed together, the tools could alter what tens of millions of Americans see when they log onto the platform, diminishing their exposure to sensationalism, incitements to violence and misinformation, said the people familiar with the measures,” the Journal writes. “But slowing down the spread of popular content could suppress some good-faith political discussion, a prospect that makes some Facebook employees uneasy, some of the people said.”

Facebook spokesman Andy Stone told the Journal that the company has  “spent years building for safer, more secure elections,” and that their strategy is based on “lessons from previous elections, hired experts, and built new teams with experience across different areas to prepare for various scenarios.”

The move comes days after Facebook censored a story from The New York Post detailing allegedly corrupt business deals by Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden — which prompted harsh backlash from President Trump and Republicans who have long criticized the platform’s role in regulating content.

At the time, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the company would impose fewer restrictive rules on content following the conclusion of November’s election, but that they had implemented policy changes to address any uncertainty and the perpetuation of disinformation for the time being, according to BuzzFeed News.

FACEBOOK AND TWITTER REDUCING DISTRIBUTION OF NEW YORK POST HUNTER BIDEN STORY

“Once we’re past these events and we’ve resolved them peacefully, I wouldn’t expect that we continue to adopt a lot more policies that are restricting of a lot more content,” Zuckerberg said.

Facebook: Russian ads sought to sow political division ...

Adding more details:

Company higher-ups have said these tools are the nuclear option and will only be used in the event of election-related violence or other dire circumstances, people familiar with the planning told the outlet. Some employees at the company said they were uneasy about these measures and particularly concerned that they could suppress legitimate political discussions and viral content, according to the Journal.

Mark Zuckerberg Promises That Facebook Will Not Interfere ...

Facebook established its toolkit for humanitarian intervention after facing widespread criticism for mishandling violent hate speech against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. As far back as 2014, human rights activists implored Facebook to crack down on inflammatory rumors and calls for violence against the minority Rohingya population. After years of violence, mass exodus, and thousands of deaths, Facebook admitted in 2018 that it had been “too slow to act” and wasn’t “doing enough to help prevent our platform from being used to foment division and incite offline violence.” The company pledged to better prepare for future crises and promptly banned several high-profile figures that were named by the United Nations as complicit in the genocide.

Facebook announced last month that it would not accept new political ad submissions a week before election day and plans to ban all political ads indefinitely once the polls close. It also said it will label any premature declarations of victory by either candidate (though, really, we all know which one they’re worried about) and include “specific information…that the counting is still in progress and no winner has been determined.” Facebook’s VP of global affairs and communications, Nick Clegg, recently said that, to date, the company’s rejected 2.2 million ads and withdrawn 120,000 posts in total across Facebook and Instagram that were trying to “obstruct voting” in the 2020 presidential election. More here.

10/27/20

Trump’s Re-Election Could Bring Several New Cabinet Secretaries

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Axios reports:

If President Trump wins re-election, he’ll move to immediately fire FBI Director Christopher Wray and also expects to replace CIA Director Gina Haspel and Defense Secretary Mark Esper, two people who’ve discussed these officials’ fates with the president tell Axios.

The big picture: The list of planned replacements is much longer, but these are Trump’s priorities, starting with Wray.

Wray and Haspel are despised and distrusted almost universally in Trump’s inner circle. He would have fired both already, one official said, if not for the political headaches of acting before Nov. 3.

Why it matters: A win, no matter the margin, will embolden Trump to ax anyone he sees as constraining him from enacting desired policies or going after perceived enemies.

Federal Agencies Struggle To Quantify Data Consolidation ...

Trump last week signed an executive order that set off alarm bells as a means to politicize the civil service. An administration official said the order “is a really big deal” that would make it easier for presidents to get rid of career government officials.

There could be shake-ups across other departments. The president has never been impressed with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, for example. But that doesn’t carry the urgency of replacing Wray or Haspel.

The nature of top intelligence and law enforcement posts has traditionally carried an expectation for a higher degree of independence and separation from politics.

Be smart: While Trump has also privately vented about Attorney General Bill Barr, he hasn’t made any formal plans to replace him, an official said.

Trump is furious that Barr isn’t releasing before the election what Trump hoped would be a bombshell report by U.S. Attorney John Durham on the Obama administration’s handling of the Trump-Russia investigation.

Durham’s investigation has yet to produce any high-profile indictments of Obama-era officials as Trump had hoped.

“The attorney general wants to finish the work that he’s been involved in since day one,” a senior administration official told Axios.

Behind the scenes: “The view of Haspel in the West Wing is that she still sees her job as manipulating people and outcomes, the way she must have when she was working assets in the field,” one source with direct knowledge of the internal conversations told Axios. “It’s bred a lot of suspicion of her motives.”

Trump is also increasingly frustrated with Haspel for opposing the declassification of documents that would help the Justice Department’s Durham report.

A source familiar with conversations at the CIA says, “Since the beginning of DNI’s push to declassify documents, and how strongly she feels about protecting sources connected to those materials, there have been rumblings around the agency that the director plans to depart the CIA regardless of who wins the election.”

As for Wray, whose expected firing was first reported by The Daily Beast, Trump is angry his second FBI chief didn’t launch a formal investigation into Hunter Biden’s foreign business connections — and didn’t purge more officials Trump believes abused power to investigate his 2016 campaign’s ties to Russia.

Trump also grew incensed when Wray testified in September that the FBI has not seen widespread election fraud, including with mail-in ballots.

A senior FBI official tells Axios: “Major law enforcement associations representing current and former FBI agents as well as police and sheriff’s departments across the country have consistently expressed their full support of Director Wray’s leadership of the Bureau.”

Trump soured on Esper over the summer when the Defense secretary rebuffed the idea of sending active-duty military into the streets to deal with racial justice protests and distanced himself from the clearing of Lafayette Square for a photo op at St. John’s church.

Trump indicated to Axios then that he “really wasn’t focused on” firing Esper. One senior official cautioned that others who want the Pentagon job could be driving speculation to undercut Esper. But one source, who discussed options with Trump, told Axios he urged the president to wait until post-election to replace him.

Chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement that Esper “has always been and remains committed to doing what is best for the military and the Nation.”

Trump 2.0 would bring more loyalty tests

Chris Liddell, Trump’s deputy chief of staff for policy coordination, is heading the White House’s transition effort, including vetting potential new Cabinet officials, two White House officials told Axios.

He’s working closely with White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Johnny McEntee, who runs the Office of Presidential Personnel and has been conducting “loyalty tests” to weed out “Never Trumpers” from the administration.

In 2016, Trump famously blew up his own transition process. The officials said Liddell is determined to avoid a repeat. Liddell declined to comment.
Politico first reported on Trump’s transition team.

Don’t forget: The transition between first and second terms is traditionally a time when presidents who win re-election accept resignations and switch out their teams.

Former chiefs of staff to Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, speaking on David Marchick’s “Transition Lab” podcast, said their administrations didn’t prepare enough for a “robust transition” between terms.

Bush’s former chief Josh Bolten said he’d advise Trump to “rethink all of your personnel and know what your priorities are.”

White House spokesman Judd Deere told Axios: “We have no personnel announcements at this time nor would it be appropriate to speculate about changes after the election or in a 2nd term.”