China vs. USA, The Clash of the Titans | The Right Seizes Power | America’s Constitutional Crisis

MAY 9, 2019  /   SUBSCRIBE



“Man cannot become attached to higher aims and submit to a rule if he sees nothing above him to which he belongs. To free him from all social pressure is to abandon him to himself and demoralize him.”

“We do not condemn it because it is a crime, but it is a crime because we condemn it.”

– Émile Durkheim




Right Wing Discord: Hate groups certainly existed before Donald Trump. But since his election and ensuing rise of white ethnonationalism in America, far-right identity politics has morphed into a simmering threat of white nationalist terrorism. The president’s anti-immigrant policies, and especially his comments after the neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, were viewed by those in the movement as validation. Incentivized to build on their anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, Islamophobic, sexist, racist beliefs, and protected by anonymity, a growing internet-based extremist subculture has spread across the globe. And nowhere is the breeding ground of hate more fertile than in Canada.

The Globe and Mail, Canada’s most authoritative newspaper, obtained and reviewed a trove of 150,000 social media messages posted between February, 2017, and early 2018 that reveal the private communications of a loosely aligned confluence of Canadian right-wing extremists. The discussions originally took place on a text-and-voice application called Discord, an app meant for gamers that is also popular with the far right. The group called itself the Canadian Super Players, apparently to disguise themselves as video gamers. The skinhead and neo-Nazi groups of mostly socially marginal members of society have been supplemented by a new cohort whose recruits tend to be better educated, better off financially, better organized, and willing to embrace a range of new tactics.

The record of their continuing conversations reveals that the overarching goal for many in the Canadian Super Players chat group was the eventual creation of a white ethnostate; the way to do that was to begin slowly gaining a foothold in a range of institutions and professions, including law, education and the military. The group gathers on the internet to strategize and seek pathways into mainstream politics. Still, there are several recent examples of online radicalization leading to lone-wolf terror attacks. What to do about this growing and often violent subculture of hate is an urgent issue, both for politicians and the heads of some of the world’s biggest social-media companies.





Hard-Right Parties Seize the Levers of Power: Nationalist and hard-right parties are ascendant across Europe, dominating the governments in Hungary and Poland, and acting as junior partners in governing coalitions in Austria, Italy and Estonia. Where nationalists are in government they have gravitated toward key posts that have influence over law-and-order and immigration, like the interior ministry. In Austria, one of the long-time missions of the state security apparatus has been to monitor threats to the country’s constitution from neo-Nazis. When the far-right Freedom party joined Austria’s government 17 month ago, it took over the powerful Interior Ministry. Then, when the head of the anti-extremism unit of the domestic intelligence service was asked by the Interior Ministry to turn over the names of informants who had infiltrated the far-right scene, and she refused, armed police burst into her office and carted away years’ worth of domestic files as well as intelligence from allied nations. (NYT)

America vs. Iran: President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday imposing new sanctions on Iran’s iron, steel, aluminum, and copper sectors, the government’s largest non-petroleum-related sources of export revenue and 10 percent of its export economy. The order effectively bans entities from the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of those minerals and their products from Iran or face sanctions. It also says any individuals and entities would be subject to sanctions if they knowingly engaged in any significant transaction involving those industrial metal sectors.

Hours before the announcement of the executive order Iran had stated it was relaxing some restrictions on its nuclear program, stopping short of violating the deal with world powers for now, but threatening more action if countries do not shield it from US sanctions. A senior administration official said the US was “not escalating militarily against Iran” and accused Iran of being “provocative.” the official said it was in Iran’s best interests to continue complying with the pact. (Reuters) Additional read: Pompeo Makes Unscheduled Visit To Baghdad Amid Rising Tensions With Iran(NPR)




China’s CyberWar Attack Against America: Researchers with a leading cybersecurity firm, Symantec, discovered that Chinese intelligence agents were able to capture hacking tools from an NSA attack on its own computers. In 2016 the Chinese repurposed the code to attack American allies and private companies in Europe and Asia. The discovery, unveiled on Monday, is the latest episode that the US has lost control of key parts of its cybersecurity arsenal. It’s touched off a debate in the intelligence community over whether America should continue to develop some of the world’s most high-tech cyberweapons if it is unable to keep them safe and secure. (NYT)

China vs. USA, The Clash of the Titans




Russia’s CyberWar Attack Against Democracy: Documents reviewed by news media suggest a Russian plan existed to sway the South African general election, which opened Wednesday, in favor of the African National Congress party (ANC). The plan was coordinated by a Russian political technologist who works for Yevgeny Prigozhin, a St Petersburg businessman with close ties to Vladimir Putin. The documents promise a campaign “to support the ruling ANC ahead of elections” and to counteract and “discredit” the pro-western Democratic Alliance party. Prigozhin is known to run the notorious troll factory in St Petersburg called the Internet Research Agency (IRA). In recent years Russia has increased its military and political presence in Africa with the apparent intent to support incumbent presidents and to work against “pro-western” parties and reform movements. Putin will host an Africa-Russia summit in the resort of Sochi in October. (Guardian)




America’s Constitutional Crisis: On Wednesday the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over the unredacted Mueller report and supporting documents related to the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Prior to the vote the Trump administration exerted executive privilege over the contents of the report. The move amounts to a Hail Mary delaying tactic and is legally indefensible because the vast majority of the report has already been released. The committee vote was 24-16 along party lines, and the resolution now moves to the full House for a vote. Even if the full House follows the committee in voting to hold Barr in contempt, the next step would be to send a criminal referral to the US attorney for the District of Columbia, whose boss is Attorney General Barr. As House Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said after the vote: “We are now in a Constitutional crisis.” (NPR)

A Decade Under the Influence: The New York Times has obtainedpreviously unrevealed figures from a decade of President Trump’s federal income tax returns that show $1.17 billion in business losses for the years 1985 through 1994. The president appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual taxpayer for multiple years, despite the publication in 1987 of his highly successful business advice book The Art of The Deal. Trump paid no income taxes for eight of the ten years. Peculiarly, amid monumental loses, Trump reported interest income of almost $53 million in 1989, but the source(s) of the interest is a mystery. He did not appear to have owned anything that could have generated that much interest. Nor is there any such evidence in a 1990 report on his financial condition, prepared by accountants he hired at his bankers’ request. (NYT)






“Work with what you have control of and you’ll have your hands full.” – James B. Stockdale

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