Tag Archives: Russia

The Dangerous Effects of Far-Right Populism on Global Peace and Economics

Last week, a New York court charged white supremacist and army veteran, James Jackson, with second-degree murder for fatally stabbing a black man, Timothy Caughman, to death. Jackson later revealed that his frequent usage of neo-Nazi website, The Daily Stormer, informed his hate views confirming the violent rise in far-right activities.

Like other hate-fueled crimes committed in the last few months across Europe and the U.S., an unrestrained progression in far-right attitudes, especially those ignorantly propagated by political leaders, might trigger more racial intolerance, negatively affect economies and serve a victory for religious extremism and communist states.

Most of these violent opinions have reversed racial and religious tolerance, triggering attacks on minority groups, and, if unchecked, might brook more violence with threat on social diversity. It could also re-institutionalize racism, leaving a negative backdrop on the prolific tourist industry in Europe and the U.S. since one in ten enterprises in the non-financial business economy of European states are linked to tourism.

These over 2.2 million enterprises employ 12 million persons. In fact, Germany and France are top beneficiaries, with an average of over €38 billion in revenue between them. Likewise in the U.S., tourism supports over 7 million jobs and produces an economic output of over $1.6 million.

Continue reading at Outset Magazine

Snowden Claims “All Governments Break the Law,” Comments on Russian Hysteria

Dearborn, a town in Michigan with fewer than 100,000 residents, has one of the largest Muslim populations in the U.S. An astounding number of people in Dearborn are on the U.S. government’s watch list. That these two exist at once should come as no surprise, said writer Jeremy Scahill, as he opened the eighth episode of Intercepted and began interviews with Muslim rapper Kayem and Edward Snowden.

With Kayem, he talked about the surveillance state and targeting of Muslims. Kayem talked about how he’s been needlessly harassed, forced to go through insane scrutiny during airport security (which recently went so far as to prevent him from boarding), and placed on watchlists. He joked that he tells friends, “If something happens and I’m in the news…I didn’t do it!” laughing about the degree to which he’s been wrongfully targeted as a Muslim-American. Scahill chimed in.“The ‘Shaggy’ defense––it wasn’t me!” they laugh, as they found a way to mix glorious hip hop references into an otherwise-difficult conversation.

As the interview progressed and Snowden appeared via video call, Scahill’s questions centered around Russia hysteria and the rise of Trump. Snowden gave many familiar answers related to the value of transparency and the clear constitutional problems associated with mass data collection. Snowden’s thoughts on Trump, though, were less alarmist in comparison to many political observers––perhaps because every aspect of mass surveillance is alarming, Snowden remains unsurprised by the alarm of someone like Trump being elected.

“This isn’t actually new,” reminded Snowden, reinforcing the idea that unchecked abuse of power has pretty much always been happening––this time, though, the Trump administration is “so inept” that they’re honest about their wrongdoing or so bad at hiding it that it’s clearly visible to us. Perhaps visibility of power expansion and incompetence, although awful in the short term, can invigorate longer term structural change.

“All governments lie,” Snowden continued, “and all governments break the law.” If anything, the transparency with which we see the incompetence of the Trump administration might remind us that limited power is always better than its rampant, unchecked alternative. The problem is deeper though––many government officials, despite wrongdoing, have never seen the inside of a courtroom in a criminal proceeding.

But part of the problem with the current administration––and mainstream media reporting––is unbridled Russia hysteria. “MSNBC has basically transformed into a Cold War opponent of the Soviet Union,” laughed Scahill.

Snowden is no stranger to Russia-related fear mongering. When critics fabricated theories about his connection to Russia after the U.S. revoked his passport mid-transit to Latin America, his credibility was put on the line––with no evidence presented by said critics. In an effort to smear him, he was painted as a potential NSA contractor-turned-Russian spy.

Although frustrating, Snowden made it clear that he thinks skepticism is good. Reducing standards for evidence tends to be a bad thing and being conscientious arbiters of which information is true and false is crucial. But both Scahill and Snowden remained fiercely critical of the media’s handling of Russia-related topics, talking about how Russia has been an easy scapegoat for the past few years, given Cold War history, lack of public trust in Putin, and general uneasiness about the Putin administration’s unpredictability.

This makes even more sense put into the context of recent events: as of this month, Politico has started a histrionic Russia timeline, politicians and journalists have been quick to discredit Wikileaks’ trove of CIA documents due to Russian connections, and MSNBC has been fixating on Trump’s relationship with Russia, at the expense of other news. Many in the media are thoughtlessly jumping to quick conclusions about Russia instead of accurately assessing the foreign policy landscape. When hysteria wins, we all lose. Perhaps we should heed Snowden’s advice and be better skeptics, clear-headed arbiters of fact and fiction intent on thinking for ourselves.


Liz Wolfe is Young Voices’ managing editor.

Obama’s Quarrel with Russia Is a Dangerous Way to Try to Delegitimize Trump

Politico recently ran a piece by Bill Scher on the 1980s miniseries Amerika, a program that depicted a Soviet puppet government installed in the US “after a sham election in which both major party candidates were Soviet stooges.” Scher’s dystopian piece compares Amerika to the election of Donald Trump, hysterically rhapsodizing about “American conservatives with a nationalist, and even authoritarian, bent like Donald Trump [who] are not unnerved by the prospect of Russian influence over the U.S. government.”

Scher’s hysterical tone conveys exactly what the highly distrusted left-media means it to, namely that Trump is an illegitimate aberration whose every move must be thwarted. The fourth estate recoils at the effectiveness of Trump’s Twitter bully pulpit, and recognizes that the formerly dominant “media gatekeepers” might soon be settling into a diminished role. Despite the fact that Obama is the one who doggedly pursued media whistleblowers, Trump’s non-cooperation with news outlets who despise him—ditching the press pool time and again—has been labeled “a dangerous precedent.”

Astute observers will recognize that the controversy about Russian meddling in the election has more in common with Wag the Doga film in which the president’s PR men fabricate a foreign policy crisis as a means of distracting from the commander-in-chief’s sex scandal, than it does with Amerika.

Of late, Barack Obama has done his damnedest to politicize the intelligence community and escalate tensions with Russia to distract from this conclusion from the Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian hacking: “DHS assesses that the types of systems Russian actors targeted or compromised were not involved in vote tallying.” The left-wing calumny that Russia changed the results of the election simply can’t be substantiated.

Continue reading at Townhall.