Author: James Sweet III

James Sweet is a reporter for 71 Republic from Lexington, South Carolina. He is an advocate for voluntary association and the free markets, alongside personal responsibility. As well as being a member of his school's FBLA chapter and debate team, James is the Director of the South Carolina Libertarian Youth Caucus. You can contact him at [email protected]

Grandson Is Calling Out Politicians and Corruption Through Music

By James Sweet III | United States

The United States has faced an interesting political climate since the 2016 Presidential Election. We have witnessed Donald J. Trump, the former host of The Apprentice, become the first President without any previous political experience. Celebrities have taken a larger role in American politics than ever before, with Hollywood often calling out the President. Now, a new artist is rising in the music industry, bringing a unique sound and message to the American people and it’s a message that many agree with.

Born Jordan Benjamin, Grandson is a politically charged artist that delivers guitars and beat drops accompanied by a message. He doesn’t hint at his meaning through indirect references, but rather states what he is thinking. Born in New Jersey, Benjamin was raised in Toronto where he taught himself how to play guitar and piano. Now based in Los Angeles, he is signed to the Fueled by Ramen record label.

Grandson’s music can range from talking about being unfaithful to a partner to discussing gun violence, particularly school shooting incidents. Arguably the most politically charged song that he has made, Thoughts & Prayers is Grandson’s way of expressing his anger over the government’s ineffectiveness when it comes to dealing with gun violence on school campus’. The song starts off with a chorus of children singing, and the message is quite menacing for the political opponents of the artist.

No thoughts, no prayers
Can bring back what’s no longer there
The silent are damned
The body count is on your hands

These lines are repeated in the chorus, with anger clearly being a motive for Grandson’s thoughts on the issue. The phrase “thoughts and prayers” is often used by those on social media and in public after a horrible event happens, whether it’s a terrorist attack, school shooting, earthquake, etc.. Grandson appears to be calling out those that use the phrase and do nothing about the problem. He takes his message a step further by accusing some of being, whether partially or fully, responsible for those that are dead. Grandson enters the song during the first verse.

Smile for the camera
Another politician bought
I swear I heard another shot
Cash another payment
Red all on the canvas
It’s murder on the campus

Another press conference
Nothing gets accomplished
The suit is an accomplice
Money is the motive
The war is in the street
Watch history repeat

It is safe to say that the first verse sums up the song’s message: politicians are scared of losing money from organizations like the National Rifle Association, and that those politicians are accomplices in the crimes that are being committed.

Grandson is rising in the music industry and is being recognized by major figures, like Mike Shinoda, co-founder of Linkin Park and solo-rapper. Grandson was featured on Shinoda’s song “Running From My Shadow“. Sooner or later, Grandson will be recognized by his enemies as a true contender, and his allies will rally behind his music as a battle cry. The following list provides an introduction to his songs and the meaning behind them.

  1. Bills – The older adults in society burden the next generations with bills and taxes, but the younger generation is also full of greed in the pursuit of money.
  2. Bury Me Face Down – A story of the strength needed to claw your way up through the music industry, and to achieve the goals you have set.
  3. Kiss Bang – A story of a man cheating on his main significant other with a “side chick”.
  4. Best Friends – A story of finding fulfillment, alongside friends who spill their feelings and how they are trapped.
  5. thoughts & prayers – An anger filled message accusing politicians of corruption and valuing money over the lives of children.
  6. War – A message that is directed at the President of the United States, believing he will lead us to war. The song also speaks out against inequality and other issues.
  7. Overdose – The effects that drugs can have on an individual, particularly hardcore drugs.
  8. Blood // Water –  Arguably Grandson’s biggest hit, the song talks about corruption and greed in politics, and how those involved in these practices will be caught.
  9. Stick Up – A story of a veteran who feels betrayed by the American government, and chooses violence to send a message.
  10. Despicable – A story of a failed relationship, broken off by an individual who may be suffering from depression.
  11. 6:00 – A message about equality and police brutality that many innocent people have suffered.

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Disclaimer: The views conveyed in this article do not represent the opinions of the author or 71 Republic.

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Google Bans Cryptocurrency Adverts

By James Sweet III | United States

In an update from March of 2018, Google announced to the world that they would ban cryptocurrency advertisements on their platforms, effective June. With the 1st of June being in the past, Google has begun to enforce their ban on advertisements from “Cryptocurrencies and related content (including but not limited to initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice)”.

Google isn’t the only company to ban cryptocurrency ads, with Facebook doing so earlier in the year. Facebook had intentions to develop new technology for the company based off of the blockchain, leading many to wonder if Google is attempting to do the same and their advertisement ban is just a way to knock out the competition. A spokesperson for Google stated, “Like many new technologies, we have individuals in various teams exploring the potential use of blockchain, but it’s too early for us to speculate about any possible uses or plans”.

There is seem proper reasoning behind the advertisement ban by these tech-giants, as research shows that 80% of ICO’s are fraudulent. Business Insider has also reported that more “pump and dump” scams have appeared in the crypto-currency community.

While talking to The Independent, Phillip Nunn, CEO of Manchester-based investment firm Blackmore Group, said, “I understand that Facebook and Google are under a lot of pressure to regulate what their users are reading, but they are still advertising gambling websites and other unethical practices”.

I suspect the ban has been implemented to fit in with potential plans to introduce their own cryptocurrency to the market in the near future and therefore removing other crypto adverts allows them to do it on their own terms.

What do you think? Is Google trying to protect their users from fraudulent ICO’s that are stealing their money, or are they planning for something bigger in the future?

Italy’s Populist Government Materializes

By James Sweet III | Italy

In Italy, the xenophobic League party, led by Matteo Salvini, has organized a governing coalition with the Euroskeptic Five Star Movement, led by Luigi Di Maio. This new government would be heavily based on Euroskeptism, populism, and skepticism to refugees and immigrants.

Giuseppe Conte, a law professor at Florence University, is going to become the next Prime Minister. With the nation being the third largest economy in the European Union, other members fear for the future for the European Union’s overall economy. Both parties support cuts in taxes while also increasing spending, a harmful move for a nation whose debt has recently soared to become 132% of its total GDP. For comparison, that is the second worst in the European Union, with Greece being the first. 15% of the European Union’s total GDP derives from Italy, and 23% of its debt belongs to the nation.

The two parties have agreed on three major policies: universal basic income, tax cuts, and a lower pension age. The proposed basic income would be €780 a month, which is equivalent to $917. The proposed cuts to taxes would lower the rates to a number between 15% and 20%. Capital Economics predicts that, if these policies were enacted, Italian debt would rise by 150%, relative to their GDP, over the next five years.

Federico Santi, an analyst at Eurasia Group, stated, “their plans on fiscal policy would result in a huge increase in the deficit, a blatant violation of EU deficit rules. If implemented in their current form [these proposals] would still result in an additional €100 billion ($117.8 billion) in additional spending or lower revenue.”

Member nations, like France, are concerned over the new government of Italy, with the Economy Minister of France, Bruno Le Maire, believing the stability of the Eurozone would be at stake. Euroskeptism is rising in the Union, and it’s only time until they reach a breaking point.


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North Korea Warns The United States

By James Sweet | United States

While the United States and the executive branch believes its sanctions and tough diplomacy against North Korea is working, a North Korean Foreign Ministry official thinks otherwise.

The official believes the American government is “misleading public opinion” by believing the sanctions are the primary reason behind Korean peace talks. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un are set to meet in the next few months, although a time and place has not been publicly announced.

The North Korean government has also stated that the United States should refrain from putting “pressure and military threats” against the regime. “The US is deliberately provoking [North Korea] at the time when the situation on the Korean peninsula is moving toward peace and reconciliation thanks to the historic north-south summit and the Panmunjom Declaration,” says a statement from the regime.

“This act cannot be construed otherwise than a dangerous attempt to ruin the hard-won atmosphere of dialogue and bring the situation back to square one. It would not be conducive to addressing the issue if the US miscalculates the peace-loving intention of [North Korea] as a sign of ‘weakness’ and continues to pursue its pressure and military threats against the latter.”

The state news agency, KCNA, reported that the North Korean government was giving credit to their leader and his “boldness, patriotism and leadership” for the new diplomatic revelations.


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Rand Paul Betrayed Us, But He Is Not Alone

By James Sweet III | United States

Rand Paul has been described as a liberty-loving, charismatic, honest man, paving the way for small government in the United States Senate. From filibustering the Patriot Act renewal to live-tweeting his reading of the most recent omnibus spending bill, it is safe to say that many describe the senator accurately. He has caused great anger among establishment Republicans (for good reason) by disobeying their partisan politics. Sadly, he is human, and humans make mistakes. He voted in favor of a positive report for Mike Pompeo, who is now the new Secretary of State. This was a blatant betrayal of the ground he and many of his supporters stood on.

Senator Paul openly stood against the nomination of Mike Pompeo, with the former CIA Director’s statements on striking Iran being a main concern for the senator, and rightfully so. Secretary Pompeo has also stated in a CBS interview that “make no mistake about it, we are doing things today that the CIA was not doing a year ago, and there’s more risk attached to those.” Expanding the surveillance state is something that Rand Paul stands against, and he knew that Mike Pompeo was okay with expanding it. Yet, he still decided to change his mind and vote in favor of Mike Pompeo.

Why?

Senator Paul tweeted his decision to vote in favor of Pompeo.

Having received assurances from President Trump and Director Pompeo that he agrees with the President on these important issues, I have decided to support his nomination to be our next Secretary of State.

Senator Rand Paul

@RandPaul

He was assured that Mike Pompeo believed the Iraq War was a mistake. It’s great knowing that the Secretary recognizes the mistakes made in the past. However, it means nothing if he believes in striking Iran or expanding harsh tactics before diplomacy. After all, the Secretary of State is one of the leading diplomats of the nation.

Senator Paul wasn’t the only senator on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that betrayed us that day. Senator Chris Coons is a Democrat, and initially followed in with his party, voting against Mike Pompeo in the committee. However, with Rand Paul voting in favor of Pompeo, and one senator absent, the vote was now 10-10. The missing senator was a Republican, but was busy at a funeral, speaking at it.

The committee could’ve waited until the senator returned, with his vote being the tiebreaker, but Senator Coons decided to not wait. He announced to the Committee he would abstain if a second vote occurred. Of course, due to this announcement, a second vote did occur. The new tally: 10 in the affirmation, 9 in the negation, 1 abstention. Because of this “bipartisan” move, the Senate gave Pompeo a positive report, enabling his senate confirmation.

Senator Rand Paul voted a war-hawk into the position of Secretary of State, and Senator Chris Coons compromised his principles and policies for a quicker and easier process for someone he disagreed with. It is disappointing to see that two Senators compromised their beliefs due to outside pressure to do so.


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