Category: Politics

Politics

A New Dawn for Cuba?

By Indri Schaelicke | United States

The communist island nation of Cuba is currently undergoing a significant and historic process, which is sure to shape the future of the country. Cuban lawmakers have been working since early summer to create a new constitution, which seeks to modernize the government. The last constitution was created in 1976, meaning the document is due for an update. Former President Raul Castro and his commission proposed a draft version on July 14th. It includes 87 new articles. Several reforms listed have caught the eye of those hoping the nation will begin guarding individual liberties.

Continue reading “A New Dawn for Cuba?”

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Ecuador is Handing Over Julian Assange to the United Kingdom

By Emily Merrell | United States

Ecuador officials are planning on withdrawing asylum from Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and handing him over to the British authorities.  

Ecuador’s president Lenin Moreno went to London on Friday to speak at the 2018 Global Disabilities Summit. He has been in a wheelchair since a 1998 robbery attempt, in which he was shot.  The actual purpose of President Moreno’s trip was to meet with the British government to agree on Ecuador withdrawing protection from Julian Assange, who has been under Ecuador asylum since 2012.

Assange first came to the Ecuadorian embassy after a warrant for his arrest following allegations of sexual assault by the Swedish government.  He denied the allegations and the case was closed in 2017. He stayed in the protection of Ecuador asylum out of worries that he would be prosecuted in the United States for publishing classified documents that were leaked by Chelsea Manning.

Assange has not been allowed to access the Internet. Officials stated that he violated an agreement not intervene in state affairs by tweeting support for leaders in Catalonia to secede last year, which angered the Spanish government.  Moreno, who was elected as Ecuadorian president in May, has considered the Wikileaks founder a “stone in the shoe” and an “inherited problem.”

A source in contact with the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry and the President has confirmed that Moreno is close to finalizing, if not already, an agreement to hand Assange over to the U.K. in the coming weeks.  Such an agreement will depend on the rewards Ecuador will receive by withdrawing asylum from Assange. Former President of Ecuador Rafael Correa informed in an interview that Moreno has made Ecuador a highly “submissive” country toward western governments.

It is likely that the U.K., Spain, and the U.S. will be guaranteed that the U.K. will not extradite the whistleblower to the U.S. The Trump administration has promised to prosecute Assange and eliminate Wikileaks if this occurs.

Assange only has one criminal proceeding for a 2012 arrest warrant for “failure to surrender” which carries a term of three months and a fine. However, his former arrest in the U.K. may count against the pending sentence.

The question is, what will the U.S. Government do?  The Obama Administration was very eager on prosecuting Assange and Wikileaks for publishing thousands of classified documents but came to the conclusion that there would not be a way to do so without also prosecuting the New York Times and other mainstream news outlets.  

However, the Trump administration has vowed to prosecute Assange as it is against the law to publish classified documents.  Mike Pompeo stated that Wikileaks is a “non-state hostile intelligence service abetted by state actors like Russia” and claimed, “we have to recognize we can no longer allow Assange and Wikileaks Freedom of Speech against us.”

While nothing is certain yet, the future for Assange and Wikileaks seems very threatening.


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Trump’s President, Shouldn’t Snowden Be Home By Now?

By Francis Folz | United States

Does anyone remember 2013? To be fair, it was a long time ago. Barack Obama was president and Hillary Clinton was relevant. However, the former real estate mogul tweeted in the wake of Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations, “All I can say is that if I were President, Snowden would have already been returned to the U.S. (by [our] fastest jet) and with an apology!” I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Donald Trump’s been president for over 500 days, and nothing’s changed for Snowden. What changed for Trump?

Trump’s Snowden Flip

I don’t think anyone can say for sure, but Trump’s shift in perspective of the NSA whistleblower happened somewhere between Summer 2013 and Spring of the next year. In April of 2014, Mr. Trump tweeted disdain for Mr. Snowden saying, “[He] is a spy who has caused great damage to the U.S. A spy in the old days, when our country was respected and strong, would be executed”. 

Talk about a 180. To date, Mr. Trump hasn’t specified how Mr. Snowden’s leaked information about the NSA has caused “great damage” to our nation. It’s also important to note that a spy has to possess an allegiance to another country. Mr. Snowden has only held an allegiance to the U.S. and the American public. This makes him a courageous champion of human rights and civil liberties, not a spy.

There is yet another level of irony in this situation. President Trump has a record of contradicting himself in many ways. While Mr. Trump was a presidential candidate, he promised to drain the swamp, condemned our nation’s failed neocon foreign policy agenda, and even expressed love for Wikileaks at one of his rallies.

However, since his election, Mr. Trump has flipped on those positions at times. For example, despite President Trump stating the Iraq War was a failure, he has embraced further conflict in the Middle East by bombing Syria and aiding Al-Qaeda forces in the area. 

In addition, he has partnered with the Saudis, despite calling them an evil empire in the past, to commit human rights violations in Yemen.

A Cabinet of Neocons

Mr. Trump has appointed deep-state neocons John Bolton, Gina Haspel, Jeff Sessions, and Mike Pompeo to various positions within his office. Pompeo has called Wikileaks a “hostile intelligence service” and has called Mr. Assange a coward. Sessions has stated that Mr. Assange’s arrest is a “priority” for the Trump administration. Both Pompeo and Sessions have expressed disdain for Snowden. It would seem like these men and their rhetoric directly contradict the president. However, since Trump’s inauguration, he no longer shows support for Wikileaks.

Considering how President Trump has altered many of his former perspectives, it should be no surprise that the President reauthorized an even more watered-down version of the FISA Amendments. Those same laws may have been used to spy on his own campaign. Prior to Trump reauthorizing the FISA Amendments, the president had tweeted displeasure with the programs Snowden revealed back in 2013, placing himself on similar ground with the NSA whistleblower before bowing to the Swamp.

Edward Snowden’s Fate

Although nobody can say for sure what Snowden’s fate will be during this administration, the Russian government has insisted Mr. Snowden’s future is self-determined. This contradicts a statement from Donald Trump on the campaign trail which he stated if he was president, the Russian government would hand over Edward Snowden. But for now, Russia’s foreign minister has stated that Mr. Snowden is the master of his fate and that it is unlikely his name will come up at the Helsinki Summit.

President Trump has made headlines for using his presidential power to pardon individuals, many of whom having committed nonviolent offenses. It is time for the president to heed his words of yesteryear, pardon Edward Snowden, and bring the human rights defender home to safety, despite the objections of the neocons in his administration.


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America: Closer to Mussolini than the Founders’ Goal

By Jack Parkos | United States

In 1776, the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, breaking away from tyrannical British rule. Thirteen years later, they ratified the Constitution after years of fighting and many deaths. The Founders differed on many issues, but agreed on the ideas of self governance and limited government. They also believed in the idea of inalienable rights that government could not take. They were heavily influenced by “The Wealth Of Nations” by Adam Smith, which was published in the same year America declared independence. This book created the idea of Laissez-Faire Economics. The Founding Fathers wanted a capitalist nation with a limited government. This government system, of course, would be a Constitutional Republic.

The Rise of Mussolini

However, the 19th and 20th Centuries saw the rise of extreme ideologies, most notably Marxism and reactionary movements. One such movement was fascism. Nowadays, fascism gets thrown around commonly as a buzzword without a full understanding of its meaning. Fascism is a highly nationalist ideology, consisting of a mixed economy, militarism, and an authoritarian government. Fascism rose in between the world wars. One of the most famous fascists was Benito Mussolini.

Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because its the merger of state and corporate power.

Mussolini’s quote explains a lot about fascism, which partners the state and corporations over the people. Mussolini promoted heavy elitism and bureaucracy, which resulted in his totalitarian state.

Economically, corporatism supports private ownership of the means of production. The state very tightly controls production of goods. But once produced, distribution is generally controlled less.

Now we look at modern America: where are we on this spectrum? Are we the limited government the Founders wanted, or are we under a totalitarian state? Of course, we are not one hundred percent either. But we are now closer to Mussolini’s ideology than the Founders’. We do differ from Mussolini in ways, yes. We still have elections, political freedom, and some civil liberties. But our socio-economic system is a near replica of Mussolini. This is not an attack on one party or one politician. Both parties are guilty of corruption. Let us first examine the economics.

American Corporatist Economics

What economic system is America? Most people think we are capitalist. However, we are only capitalist in name. Modern American economics is closer to cronyism and corporatism (though it often may be called “mixed economics”) than capitalism. We truly haven’t had true capitalism in long time. People associate capitalism with corporate rule and bailouts for the rich as this is what our government does. But this isn’t capitalism at all!

Capitalism promotes a free market with voluntary transactions.  Members of Bernie Sanders’ movement often call out the merger of big corporation and our government. And they are right, this is a problem! But they are wrong in calling it capitalism. Mussolini called for state and corporate merging. Mussolini was not a capitalist. Capitalist philosophers like Adam Smith (who influenced the Founders), Ayn Rand, or Milton Friedman would simply never promote cooperate and state merger.

America’s history of corporatism and cronyism really starts with the New Deal, when President FDR started getting the government involved in the affairs of businesses. People who support this say that government and business merging would help untie the classes of the people. That has not worked out. It is true that the rich are getting richer. However, this isn’t the result of capitalism. This is the result of the government imposing heavy taxes on the people, but then allowing corporations to be exempt with loopholes. Your average big corporation can buy a politician in congress and manipulate the economy. The state and business can do whatever they please to “benefit society”. A small business owner or middle class family does not have this power.

This Isn’t What the Founders Wanted

Does this sound like what the Founders wanted? The men influenced by Adam Smith, the men who fought for freedom? Of corse not. There are examples of them speaking against this. One example of this is Thomas Jefferson. He actually stated:

The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed corporations.

But Mussolini would have liked this. Through the way the corporations and state may have differed, Mussolini would have loved the result. Having the power to control the economy. Remember him saying his ideology (fascism) is the merger of corporation and state? Is that not modern America? America may not have an autocratic leader, but do we truly have the republic our Founders gave to us? Perhaps not.

Mussolini, of course, wanted a strong, authoritarian, and imperialist government. This is not at all what the Founders wanted. Now the elephant in the room, the federalists. They wanted a “strong” government yes, but not even close in comparison to Mussolini’s government or even modern America’s government.

Just How Far Down the Road are We?

Is America the complete totalitarian state Mussolini dreamed up? No. But we are closer to that than we are the Founders. The Supreme Court, the branch that was supposed to block the government from growing and taking away liberties, allowed it. The Founders believed in God giving unalienable rights and that the sole purpose of the government as to protect those rights. Now, the view has shifted to “Government given rights”. Such a belief entails the notion that the government decides what rights we do and don’t have.

There are also similarities in foreign policy. The Founders wanted peaceful relations for nations. Mussolini, on the other hand, was very aggressive on foreign policy. Fascist Italy was very militaristic. Mussolini wanted to “recreate” the Roman Empire. What about modern America? We are essentially the world police, which The Founders never wanted. Of course, no fascist ever reached this status. But becoming the world police is closer to creating another Roman Empire than it is to peaceful relations.

Thus, the early and modern American governments are not remotely similar. It is truly sad that we have drifted closer to fascism, rather than maintaining the beautiful country so many fought and died for. Today, the patriots need to take a stand and work to go back to those days when freedom rang.


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Spoiler Alert: Israel Has Nukes

By Joe Brown | United States

Nuclear weapons are in season, and just like that old pair of jeggings in your mom’s closet, it doesn’t look like they will ever go out of style. While the trend originated in the United States, it’s found popularity all over the world, quickly becoming the hottest method of strategic deterrent and staying that way for over 70 years. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, there are 9 countries which possess nuclear weapons – the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, and of course everyone’s favorite – North Korea, with the combined nuclear arsenal of all of the above listed countries totaling to over 16,000 nuclear weapons. “But wait” all you clever mathematicians are saying. “That’s only eight countries. Who’s the ninth?”

If I were to ask the average American to point to a country in the Middle East which possessed nuclear weapons, half of the votes would end up in Zimbabwe…but even if we were to pretend that most Americans knew basic geography, the majority of fingers would point to Iran. But what would you think if I told you that the real culprit was in fact, the Jewish state? There are nukes in the Middle East without a doubt; but they’re owned by Israel, not Iran.

Amidst all the hullabaloo concerning forged Iranian missile blueprints and underground test sites, Israel has conveniently remained silent concerning its own history of stealing weapons grade uranium from the United States, and has declined to comment on how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was involved in smuggling nuclear triggers to develop the Israeli Nuclear Program.

Israel’s obsession with Iran has played a key role in distracting the world from its own nefarious nuclear pursuits, but Israel isn’t the only one that hypocritically denies nuclear development. American anti-proliferation think tanks regularly harass Iranian and North Korean developments, and international coalition inspector groups have conducted extensive investigations in countries who own nuclear weapons, with Israel being the exception, as always is the case.

The failure of these groups to demand transparency, or even conduct an investigation into, the possession of nuclear weapons demonstrates that these agencies are simply internationally sanctioned weapons against Iran and North Korea, and whose primary purpose is to restrict the nuclear development of select countries, rather than maintain international integrity or safety. Iran has historically practiced military conservatism, whereas Israel has repeatedly engaged in offensive campaigns in Egypt, Palestine, and Lebanon. Iran is within the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and submits itself to regular inspections from the International Atomic Energy Agency, whereas Israel neither recognizes the deal, nor accepts inspectors. Finally, and perhaps most notably, Iran possesses no nuclear weapons, whilst Israel totes up to 400.

Despite the fact that there are weapons of mass destruction in the most volatile and unstable region in the world, this is likely the first you’ve heard about Israel possessing nuclear weapons. Why is it that such crucial knowledge has been hidden from the world? What has been keeping Israel from strutting its stuff on the runway with all the other countries with nuclear weapons, and what is keeping American politicians from talking about it? The answer is simple: Politics.

The existence of Israeli nuclear weapons is the unspoken elephant in the room in American government. Everyone is aware of its existence, from the scientists working in federal laboratories, to the President himself. Likewise, everyone is equally aware that they are never to be acknowledged, or even spoken of. An investigation published by the Atlantic reported that “U.S. officials, even those on Capitol Hill, are routinely admonished not to mention the existence of an Israeli nuclear arsenal and occasionally punished when they do so.” Such was the case of James Doyle, the veteran nuclear analyst at Los Alamos National Laboratory, who paid the price for straying from Washington’s playbook. After writing an article which indirectly mentioned the existence of Israeli nuclear weapons, Doyle’s publications were made classified, his pay was docked, his home computer was searched, and he was censured, before eventually being fired from his position.

The American political machine guards Israel’s secret like OJ Simpson guards his innocence. The problem is that in both cases, everyone knows the truth.

At this point, if you’re like me you would ask “But if everyone knows the truth, why does it matter? What is the purpose in pretending otherwise?”

If you’re like me, you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that like almost everything else in American politics, the Israeli lobby is heavily involved in the issue. The motivation of the secrecy can be found in legislation drafted in 1976 regarding U.S. foreign aid and assistance. The law, known as the U.S. Arms Export Control Act, made it illegal to supply aid to countries found in violation of the National Proliferation Treaty, which was signed in 1968. In order to maintain the supply of weapons and diplomatic support between the U.S. and Israel, American officials are counseled to never acknowledge the existence of the Israeli nuclear program, and instead pretend as if such a thing doesn’t exist. You don’t hear about Israeli nukes because Israel doesn’t want you to know that they are in violation of not only U.S. policy, but international law as well.

But then again, since when has Israel cared about international law?

American officials may be aware of the presence of Israeli nukes, but the figures regarding how many nuclear units remains unclear, partially due to the fact that politicians in both Israel and the U.S. deny their very existence. Rising above the BS and the obvious facade are whistle blowers from different origins, professing the truth about Israel’s nuclear program, and denouncing the lies that Israeli lobbyists have been spoon feeding American politicians for years. One such man is Mordechai Vanunu, the former Israeli nuclear technician who revealed his country’s secret nuclear program as early as 1986. Vanunu claimed that the number of nuclear weapons possessed by the Israeli government is near 200, with media outlets in Jerusalem reporting 115, and American Intelligence Agencies estimating as many as 400 nuclear weapons.

You’ve heard of bureaucratic incompetence, but miscounting 400 nukes as opposed to zero takes some Ralph Wiggum levels of stupidity. Far worse than clumsy government ineptness, this involves a more calculated and conscious lie that is being used to justify the support of an ethno-nationalistic state.

Trump may have paraded the concept of “America First”, but don’t let the enthusiastic slogans or his trade deals fool you. This is Israel’s America, and it has been since the moment American politicians prioritized the support of the Jewish state over the needs of the American people. Decades of hidden deals and billions of dollars have created a system that serves those who can afford it, and as of now, Israel wants America to stay silent.

Yes, Israel has nukes…but you didn’t hear it from me 😉


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