On the eve of the Republican National Convention, which begins on July 18 here in Cleveland, we'd like to introduce you to Everett Stern, Independent candidate for the U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania. He is in a campaign to unseat a powerful Republican senator in his home state in a "David versus Goliath" sort of show down. In this year when Independents have made substantial inroads into the political process, we realize being Independent in a two-party system is an uphill battle, and surely an often quixotic attempt to change the entrenched system.
You might not win, but at least your ideas can be heard.
Everett Stern used to be a Republican, but circumstances forced him to become disenchanted with the internal politics within his home state's party to silence his voice and candidacy. He felt in order to get his ideas presented to the public, he needed to become an Independent. In a concerted effort throughout the run up to the Pennsylvania primary, Mr. Stern's candidacy was met with rejection by the state's GOP collective leadership and anointed champion Pat Toomey, the incumbent. He was excluded from many party events that would have gotten his message across to prospective voters.
Before we address anything else, it should be noted that Everett Stern is a whistle blower. As a banker for HSBC, he realized that funds were being diverted to terrorist organizations and individuals. Noting that HSBC was laundering funds to Hezbollah and other terrorist groups, Everett notified the FBI and CIA, launching a massive investigation that resulted in HSBC being fined $1.9 billion. Other allegations followed, and Everett continued speaking out about the laundering of funds. After his patriotic duty, which should have offered him respect and admiration, Everett found himself unemployed and working as a waiter at P.F. Chang's.
As a result of his involvement with the HSBC scandal, and to use the investigative skills he discovered at HSBC, Everett founded Tactical Rabbit, an intelligence firm offering customized investigation services. This organization takes meaningless data, and synthesizes it into intelligence, providing answers to customers' concerns and providing a unique, novel, and legal way to reach informed decisions.
We sat down with Everett and asked him some questions to determine who he is, and what made him run:
Briefly, how would you describe Everett Stern?
Character, Loyalty, Honor, Integrity and Principles
What has been your favorite experience while campaigning?
Meeting voters and learning about how I can help them. It is a great feeling to meet with the
people you are fighting for.
What has given you the greatest satisfaction in life?
Trying to make a significant, positive difference. Believe me, taking down HSBC was a hard choice, but had to be made, to protect us against those who would harm the U.S.
Why run as an Independent for the Senate Seat in Pennsylvania?
The Republican Party in Pennsylvania did whatever it could to keep me off the Republican ballot for U.S. Senate. Why? I challenged their incumbent, Senator Pat Toomey. They wanted me to go away. So I did. I left the party and became an independent. Everything they've done to keep me off the ballot only serves to strengthen my resolve to be heard. The biggest mistake people make is to look at me as if I'm a politician. I'm not a politician. I'm a fighter. And I know how to fight like I've got nothing to lose because I've been there before.
What newspapers and online news do you follow? How do they affect your views
I read about five to ten newspapers a day. I don't have a TV so the newspapers and magazines are how I stay informed. My views do not change. The news serves as a window to the outside world but nothing more. I try to be as nonpartisan and unbiased as possible when I read.
Describe your personal philosophy and how it relates to America?
I believe in assuming personal responsibility and making your own way. I do not want the government interfering in my business or personal life. I do not believe in the redistribution of wealth. The Republican Party I am fighting MUST show empathy for those that are trying to make it. I am not saying people should be mandated to give back. I am advocating for a society where people willingly give back. I want to help create an America where we are all fighting apathy and making a significant, positive difference. I am fighting to ensure the good guys win in the end. America will only become great again by people caring. Maybe I am too idealistic, but I am on a mission to defend goodness while fighting like I have nothing to lose.
You began an intelligence company called Tactical Rabbit as a private alternative to the FBI/CIA paradigm. How does this intelligence gathering prepare you for being a Senator?
My company, Tactical Rabbit, does not just collect information; we turn information into actionable, meaningful intelligence. As a senator I would have to do the same thing. I need to take the information or feedback I am receiving from my constituents and turn it into action.
What is your platform? Please tell us at least three or four causes you will espouse as a U.S. Senator?
I will stop terrorist financing in our banks. I will end "too big to jail". I will restore honor and integrity to Washington.
How do you feel about the Patriot Act?
support the Patriot Act. I've even composed a white paper on the war against terrorism. I am particularly concerned over the use of social media as a recruiting methodology for terrorists. As Americans, we must understand that we too must wage the war on social media and spread our ideology. We must bring justice to terrorists that are using social media to harm the United States of America. We must fight terrorism by monitoring and actively confronting terrorists on this new battlefield.
While I have infinite respect for the CIA, the days of fighting shadow wars are over. The new battlefield against terrorism is the internet - specifically social media. Most people think of Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn as innocent methods for people to connect: Wrong. Social media is a place to spread ideology, intelligence, logistic movements, and recruit impressionable members into terrorist ranks. We need to counter those sites with ones of our own by using the provisions of the Patriot Act to track down and expose the terrorists and their insidious plots against the United States and our allies.
If you are elected, what part could lobbyists or partisan politics play?
What drives you? What is your passion?
believe that in America today, we have an insidious problem with Apathy. Of not caring. Apathy is at the root of many of our problems. When I blew the whistle on HSBC for its poor anti-money laundering practices that led to financing terrorists, I fully expected it would be brought to justice, and not only as an institution. I believed that individuals within the institution would be criminally prosecuted for their roles in facilitating the financing of terrorism. That didn't happen. As an institution, HSBC has paid some of the largest fines in history, and yet those astronomical fines are but a drop in the bucket of its steady stream of profits. No one has served any time for these egregious violations of banking laws and regulations. We live in an era where "too big to fail" also means "too big to jail."
My passion is to restore passion and commitment to America. Not politics as usual, but real change that affects all of us.
Your efforts brought attention to HSBC's interactions with terrorists. If you are a Senator, will you support whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden? Why or why not?
I do not support Snowden because I think his actions were treasonous. What I did was very different. I stole information from a bank and passed it to the CIA. I did not profit from it or cause harm to the government. I helped the government stop terrorist financing.
Other than the HSBC investigation, have you ever done anything that others thought could not be done, stood alone in any public controversy, just because you believed it was right and it needed your courage and conviction?
I have stood alone for my entire life and have built myself from nothing. My company tackles the hard stories, the intelligence no one wants to hear or believe. We did a thorough analysis behind the Sweetbriar College scandal, and the motivations that led to a sudden announcement of its closings. I've followed up with HSBC, and even though they've been given only a tap on the wrist by my opponent Pat Toomey's committee, at least we are on record that they are still funding terror organizations. We've written open reports on such issues as the Herbalife Stock manipulation and the T-Mobile/Sprint merger as well.
What is your stance on the separation of church and state?
There must be an absolute separation.
As for the separation of powers, do you feel that the President should, by his or her constitutional right, appoint federal judges and SCOTUS judges for ratification by the Senate? How do you feel about the current atmosphere in Congress?
Congress is too divided among party lines. It is in gridlock and nothing can get done. I want to get in there and start working with everyone. We have to stop the partisan war.
What is your stance on pushbutton issues? Civil Rights, LGBT marriage? Gun Control?
Anti-choice and others?
I am an absolute advocate for the second amendment. I have a license to carry a firearm and carry often.
I am not against gay marriage.
I personally am pro-life but I am nervous about taking away a woman's right to choose.
Everett Stern is in a fight against a well-funded incumbent who may or may not be linked to the funding of global terrorism, and he's trying to do everything he can on his own. It's truly a battle against the entrenched political engine. We have to applaud him in his attempts to defy the odds and rage against the machine.
One thing is for certain.
Everett Stern is not apathetic.