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EXPERT OPINION Close

Joshua Tartakovsky

Location: USA

Activity: Journalist, Editor

Articles: 34

Notes: 8

Opinion: 88

Joshua Tartakovsky

specialization:

Israel and the Middle East, US politics

About:

Joshua Tartakovsky is an independent journalist and a graduate of Brown University and LSE where he studied international relations. He lived in Latin America, the US, Europe and the Middle East.  In the past, he worked for the International Defense and Security Team at Transparency International in London and interned for the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (Sarajevo), the Global Public Policy Institute (Berlin) and the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (Jerusalem).  He also taught in a favela in Rio de Janeiro, and produced a short film interviewing students in occupied Palestine. Due to the fact that he grew up in Israel and lived in various developing countries he gained unconventional perspectives from the bottom-up on pressing issues and integrated various viewpoints including those that often remain unheard in the academic ivory tower. He likes to challenge commonly accepted notions by providing original perspectives. He is interested in critiquing Western hegemony, giving a voice to the marginalized and the potential of a multipolar world. He wrote on Greece, Israel-Palestine, Ukraine, Russia and Cuba. His articles have been published on Truth-Out, AlterNet, Off-Guardian, Anti-war, Telesur, CounterPunch and others and he appeared on Press TV and Russia Today. 

LATEST ARTICLES and notes

EXPERT OPINION

Joshua Tartakovsky

GOP LAWMAKERS CALL FOR CURBS, FREEZE ON MUSLIM MIGRATION TO U.S.

Most Republican Representatives Betray Their Voters by Supporting Obama’s Plan to Allow Syrian Refugees to Enter the United States Sen. Rand Paul has been a lone voice of sanity. Republican representatives tend to take a strongly uncompromising line when it comes to attacking Syria, Iran or Iraq. It is therefore more than a little surprising that a majority of Republicans in Congress do not plan to vote against Obama’s refugee settlement plan that will fund the acceptance of 10,000 Syrian refugees and was cunningly tied to the budget. Obama’s plan does not make much sense when one considers that the US already has a bitter experience with Muslim migrants. 26 foreign-born Muslims reside in the United States were convicted of involvement in terrorism in 2015. Minnesota is witnessing a surge of recruitment to jihadist groups, and Dearborn, Michigan is under the FBI’s watch list. But most Republican representatives said they would support Obama’s plan and only offered a standalone bill, brought fourth by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), that will demand that the US government vet Muslim refugees before they enter. But, needless to say, radical Muslims who enter the US probably do not plan to admit that they are members of the Islamic State. House Speaker Ryan Paul (R-WI) not only supports allowing in refugees from the Middle East, but also said that Christian refugees will not be given a preference and that there will be no religious test. Why would Republicans support Obama in a plan that is likely to endanger the lives of American citizens? They are not doing so because of their constituents, since most Republicans and Conservative voters oppose giving refugees from the Middle East a green light to enter the country. They could have made a big issue out of Obama’s refugee resettlement plan but are not doing so. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), has gone against the flow and displayed leadership by saying that he will oppose giving visas to Muslims from 30 countries where Islamic terrorism is prevalent. “The interesting thing about this is people are talking about world-wide war to stop this and you would think the first thing you would do is stop people from coming to our country,” he said.
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Joshua Tartakovsky

More Mexican Immigrants Leaving U.S. Than Entering, Report Finds

Over A Million Mexicans Prefer Living in Mexico Over the US Where Low-Paying Jobs are Hard to Find Between 2009 and 2014, over a million Mexicans left the United States for Mexico. This negative trend is unprecedented. At the minimum, it indicates, as several Mexicans indeed told the New York Times, that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find low-paying jobs in the US. This may be due to a growing competition or since we are facing a “jobless recover” in which economic growth does not mean more jobs. Another ramification from the study may be that many Mexican migrants are unable to secure higher paying jobs. 61% respondents covered in the study by the Pew Research Institute said that they wish to return to Mexico due to their desire to unite with their families or start a new family. The Mexican economy is not doing too well either, but unemployment is lower than in the United States. Understandably, many Mexicans seem to feel more comfortable in their home country since they are not exposed to hate speech and racism there and can enjoy closer familial and communal relationships.
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Joshua Tartakovsky

The Objectification of Muslims in America

The US has always been in need of an external enemy, first it was the USSR, now radical Islam and once again Russia. When the US supported radical Islamists and fostered genuine jihadists in Afghanistan, most Americans did not see Islam or Muslims as an enemy. But following US invasions in the Middle East, Muslims are once again seen as the enemy. Few Americans wonder however, if Islam and Muslims are our enemy, how come do we support the most backward and reactive Islamic state in existence: Saudi Arabia? These two issues are the questions the writer of this article refrains from asking, therefore he examines the symptoms but not its causes.
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Joshua Tartakovsky

Study finds 300 active ISIS supporters online in the U.S.

With the NSA intruding into the private lives of ordinary citizens and monitoring all online communications, one is forced to wonder how did the security enforcement agencies not catch in advance 300 Islamic State sympathizers who operate online. It took a university research project to discover it, probably by students who posed as terrorists and formed online relationships with ISIS fans. The US has been “fighting” ISIS for over a year in Syria, but it cannot track ISIS supporters in its own country. It makes far more sense to argue that actually the US is not fighting ISIS at all but has a direct interest in ISIS existence as it destabilizes the Middle East, removes ‘unfriendly’ stable governments such as Syria, and cuts off Europe from trade with China. Indeed, the Saudis, Turkey, Qatar, Israel, all US allies have supported ISIS or other terrorist groups in Syria. How much longer will Americans continue to believe the official version of events granted by the corporate media and corrupt politicians? (And sadly, it is nearly impossible to find in the US Congress today a politician who is not bought off by larger financial interests).
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Joshua Tartakovsky

US says deadly strike on Afghan hospital was avoidable

GIA expert Panagiotis Papargyris’ fantastic research on the US attack on the Kunduz MSF hospital stated already on November 12 that the US intentionally bombed the hospital. He wrote: “At the time, MSF denounced the US for changing their story four times in four days (indeed, that was the case), accused the perpetrators of committing a war crime, denied that there were armed Taliban or weapons in the hospital and noted that they had repeatedly informed the US army about the position of the hospital. The personnel had also stated that, despite their desperate phone calls to the offices of NATO in Kabul and Washington during the attack, the bombardment continued.” In other words, the attack was not just ‘avoidable’ as the US Department of Defense claims. It was intentional. There is a difference. Al Jazeera is doing a very lousy job in uncovering what took place there.
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Joshua Tartakovsky

Obama On San Bernardino Shooting: 'We Have A Pattern Now Of Mass Shootings'

Obama says there is a pattern of mass shooting. How brilliant of him to realize that. The more I hear his comments on modern day events, the more my impression is that he is a sociopath with no human feelings. This reminds one of how following the incident of the shooting of four Jews in a kosher supermarket in Paris in September, Obama refused to say that it was a hate crime or a terrorist act. Obama said then that terrorism was “overstated.” Well, several months later, the Paris attacks took place. Now he says we have a problem, which means based on earlier logic, that the problem is far larger than he says and things will get far worse in the future.
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Joshua Tartakovsky

Pentagon May Have Wasted Millions On Afghan Villas For U.S. Officials

The Pentagon has until December 11 to respond, but has failed to provide an immediate response. One may wonder what kind of response we are going to get, considering the fact that this is not the first time the Department of Defense has engaged in wasteful spending of US taxpayer’s money. In November 2, 2015 Fox News reported that the Department of Defense spent $43,000,000 on a gas station which could have costed $500,000. It is likely that the money did not go to the building of the gas station but ended up with corrupt officials. Ash Carter should take personal responsibility for this.
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Joshua Tartakovsky

Senate Republicans Just Blocked A Bunch Of Gun Control Measures

While the Second Amendment of the US Constitution has been debated on whether it allows militias or individuals to own guns, the fact is that gun possession has been a proud feature in the United States since its foundation. It grants people the power to protect themselves from tyranny, should the day come. The problem is in this case that Republican Senators refused to place limitations on suspected terrorists from acquiring guns. Why would they oppose that? This makes no sense. Are they mad? There is a difference between the right of ordinary citizens to own guns and that of suspected terrorists. Allowing suspected terrorists to acquire guns is a receipt for disaster since one can only imagine what kind of shooting sprees will ensue. This is insane. How can anyone in his right mind agree to this?
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Joshua Tartakovsky

Why are there no massive anti-war movements in the Western countries?

Very little can be expected from Western socialists to stand up for moral causes around the world and to oppose imperialism in earnest. And that not is only because they profit from the imperialism of their countries as Panagiotis pointed out. It goes much deeper. Western socialists internalized the values of their socieites,  and have long neglected real socialism and anti-imperialism. A majority believe in the corporate media reports they hear, and is  so overwhelmed by a strong sense of guilt, that in the UK for example, the left prefers to fight against the right-wing  (even when this right-wing is in favor of an exit from the EU and even when such a Brexit would lift the burden from the suffering masses of Greeks for instance), rather than fighting against the European Union itself. This shows to what degree Western society succeeded in producing obedient citizens who cannot think outside the box. That the EU is responsible for immense suffering in Greece, for example, is very clear to anyone who bothers to visit and wander the streets of its cities. But the UK left prefers to oppose an exit from the EU just since it may strengthen the right-wing in the UK, even though for Greece the situation is a life-and-death situation while in the UK the economic situation is not collapsing to the same degree for a majority of the population.

In other words, the left wing in developing countriesis, besides the communists, is often liberal, but still adheres to the basic values of the imperialist system and does not seek to challenge it. For instance, it often sees Syria and Cuba as rogue states or undemocratic regimes. But if one truly cares about the third world, and realizes one’s own position of privilige, one would have supported Trump over Hillary since the latter is likely to enjoy more global support in pursuit of war plans. Alas, the left in the West is mostly interested in having a positive self-image of itself as a fighter against injustice, lacks a genuine understanding of the role of imperialism globally and is inhibited by guilt which prevents it from making genuine collaborations (with the Oregon protesters for example). Alas, the socialist Western left inherited from the West its superiority complex and patronizes the rest of the world, this time in the form of patronizing to the socialists around the world. Therefore, we saw, for example, how many socialists in the UK came out against the Greek Communist Party (KKE) for opposing gay marriage. In Greece, people are starving and going through the trash cans, but British socialists are more concerned with gay marriage. Such an approach can only come from those who see themselves as superior, and are not motivated by a desire for real change but rather in having a positive image of themselves.

In addition, Western socialists often make reservations when expressing an opinion and are not fully committed to the cause. We often hear from them that ‘we support anti-fascists republics in Donetsk and Lugansk, but, we do not support the annexation of Crimea.’  With them there is always a ‘but,’ as they are very sensitive to criticism from the liberals in their society and seek to present themselves as balanced and impartial. But one cannot fully oppose the Kiev junta without also siding with the people of Crimea who deserve protection from it. Moreover, Western socialists refrain from committing to any side fully and constantly present themselves as a distant third party and in this way they do a disservice to everyone involved and further obscure the issues. One cannot be impartial in the face of Nazism and crimes against humanity. In our times, taking the lukewarm position is what is dangerous

 

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Front National wins opening round in France's regional elections

Le Pen’s Front National is a genuine expression of many French people who seek to protect their identity and economy. The US is a melting-pot where people had to change their names to adapt fully in the past, so what is that unusual about France today asking the same? Furthermore, Le Pen opposes the war on Syria and seeks a rational relationship with Russia. This makes her far more progressive or at the very least genuinely anti-imperialist than Hollande’s so-called Socialist Party. Le Pen calls for nationalization of banks, a point left unaddressed by the “Socialists.” In fact, in today’s world, the mainstream left is not a left at all and the mainstream right is not truly patriotic. Therefore one should encourage voices of courage and reason from the non-traditional parties to challenge the status-quo. There is no great monster in the room than the NATO/EU/USA Behemoth. One would hope that the French people will not be threatened or intimidated by the demonization campaign carried out against Front National by the corporate liberal media but will only increase their support in the second round.
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Joshua Tartakovsky

Venezuela's opposition party wins parliament in a blow to Maduro

The fact is, many of Venezuelans, among them Chavistas, voted for the opposition.

They did so since they had enough of the cronyism, corruption and violence that took place under Maduro.

Maduro speaks now of a counterrevolution, saying it is not permanent, and that there will be future changes and lessons learned.

The first decision a true leader should take after such a defeat is resign.

Voting in democratic elections should not be confused with a genuine revolution as took place in Cuba, China, and Russia.

Maduro has engaged in cheap populism for years, seeking to imitate Chavez and not addressing the root problems. He did not crack down heavily on corruption within the government and army, not at the abuse of power by the poor.

Instead, he constantly pointed fingers at the US and at the opposition at home.

In short, Maduro lacked courage. Which is a quality every revolutionary needs.

One would have hoped Maduro would have learned the lesson. Alas, he still did not.

This is a very difficult moment for those who followed the major gains made under Hugo Chavez, though many steps back were taken in the areas of inflation and security. But to those who truly followed what was taking place in the country, the PSUV’s defeat should come as no surprise.  Personally, I was quite disappointed following my own visit to Venezuela months ago by how bad things were.

 

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Germany: 965,000 migrants registered through November

In an article for Project Syndicate, titled “Rebuilding the Asylum System,” George Soros, the billionaire hedge-fund manager and founder of various liberal NGOs, called on the EU to accept one million migrants per year, at least. He also said each refugee/migrant must be given €15,000 each year for the first two years.

With these kind of incentives offered it should come at no surprise if and when migration increases, even as European countries are unable to cope with such large waves of migrants and where the economy is already mired in deep crisis.

But, in addition, if there is money for refugees, how come there is no money for austerity-stricken countries such as Greece?

Turkey, which was supposed to stop the flow of refugees, and is not even an EU member, was given $3.35 billion by the EU, while Greece, an EU member, was given a mere $32 million. At the same time, Greece ended up absorbing a very large number of refugees. The number of arrivals went down in December but some experts say this is due to the weather and other factors and not necessarily due to Turkey’s decision.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Cuban dissidents report crackdown on Human Rights Day

It has only been since mid-August when the United States opened its embassy in Havana as part of the negotiation process with the Republic of Cuba.  Four months later and the US-supported “dissidents” try to stage protests, which are by no means popular in Cuba, against the widely supported government of the Revolution. One should be reminded that throughout the existence of the revolutionary government of Cuba, there have never been incidents of Cuban police firing at protesters, of dissidents killed or tortured, and of massive protests against the government.  In the United States, the police frequently cracked down with great brutality on protesters.  The American police also shot to death Black people often. Protesters are beaten. Not in Cuba. It just never happened. That is because the Cuban Revolution is genuinely popular among the vast majority of the people, and because most Cubans know well enough than to trust “dissident” counterrevolutionary groups which are given their monthly salaries by the US State Department , other US governmental organs, or sponsors of Cuban terrorists in Miami. The “Ladies in White” (Damas de Blanco) group cited in the article is also sponsored by the  Legal Aid foundation in Miami,  run by  Santiago Alvarez Fernández-Magriña, who provides it with $1,500 a month. He also sponsored Luis Posada Carriles, an anti-Cuban government convicted terrorist, who brought down the Air Cubana flight, killing 73 people and now resides freely in Miami. Charges were never brought against him in the United States. Santiago Alvarez Fernández-Magriña was also convicted of sending people to place bombs in clubs in Havana. Posada Carriles marched in support of the “Ladies in White” along with Gloria Estefan.  Why would Cubans support an organization that seeks to undermine their popular government and that is supported by terrorists who sought to kill as many Cubans as possible? The Cuban government traditionally allows “Ladies in White” to protest, although they are a deeply despised group in Cuba. When they seek provocations, they usually are arrested. Most people in Cuba know that “Ladies in White” are not an authentic protest movement but are paid on a monthly basis by the US or US-friendly bodies. The group gets a lot of money in a country where the average monthly salary is $20. That is why it is usually citizens themselves who seek to put an end to their protests. The attempts at staging unpopular protests and the reported large number of 100 detainees, indicate that the US is not stopping its sabotage efforts against Cuba even while talks are being held and after it opened an embassy. In fact, it may be intensifying them.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

At New York anti-Trump rally, protesters express anger, fear

Malcolm X said about a tragic event in US history, the assassination of JFK, that it was a case of the “chickens coming home to roost.” Similarly, while the US government under Barack Obama has destroyed nations throughout the world, finally one of the presidential candidates turned against sectors of the local population of the US.
 

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Egypt says no evidence of terrorism in Russian plane crash

Rajeev Ahmed has suggested that Egypt is signaling to the US that it is open to negotiations on getting closer to it rather than to Russia. By this line of argument, Egypt is denying a terror attack to win favor with Washington. My own impression is that Egypt is simply very ashamed of the event and of the flawed security it has and is propagating make-believe tales. It is very worried about losing tourists and is getting desperate by engaging in reality denial. If it would have wanted to get closer to the US, it would probably not take on a denial of a terror attacks that a) can be easily disproved and b) contradicts the US version of events that laid blame on ISIL

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Muslim nations form coalition to fight terror, call Islamic extremism 'disease'

The formation of the “anti-terror coalition” by Saudi Arabia, the supporter of international terrorism and Wahhabism throughout the world, can be seen as a response to Washington’s decision to let go of Syria for now. Saudi Arabia which has already been sponsoring terrorists in Syria as did Qatar and Turkey, may now “fight ISIS” by fighting the Syrian Arab Army. Apparently, Saudi Arabia did not even bother to inform Indonesia and Pakistan that they are included in the “anti-terror coalition” and added them without asking for their approval.  We may be entering a new stage where US proxies fight the Syrian Government rather than a direct US engagements. It remains to be seen what Saudi Arabia will do with this new coalition, and there could be room for surprises.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

'Credible terror threat' forces All Los Angeles Unified School District schools to close down

It is a very sad time for Southern California when a rumor regarding  a potential terrorist threat succeeds in closing down over 1,100 schools and keeping over a half a million children at home. In Syria, in Palestine, in Israel, in Pakistan and in Kashmir, children face constant terrorist attacks or wars but still manage to continue their studies as usual and certainly do not stop them unless there is a very valid reason to do so.

The management of schools should show greater responsibility and calmness in the handling of this situation.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Fact checking the fifth round of GOP debates

Ted Cruz argued in the debate that Obama has been releasing “illegal criminal aliens” while George W. Bush deported 10 million and Bill Clinton 12 million.

But, as the Washington Post pointed out, this is untrue. Obama has been deporting migrants in far greater numbers than earlier.  According to the chart provided by the Washington Post, deportations have increased under Obama. Here are the records of recent years removals of migrants from the country. Please note the declining slope.

2014: 414,481

2013: 438, 421

2012: 419,384

2011: 388,409

2010: 383,031

2009: 391,932

2008: 359,795

2007: 319,382

2006: 280,974

2005: 246,431

2004: 240,665

2003: 211,098

2002: 165,168

2001: 189,026

2000: 188,467

1999: 183,114

1998: 174,813

1997: 114,432

1996: 69,680

1995: 50,924

1994: 45,674

1993: 42,542

1992: 43,671

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Baltimore: Freddie Gray case sees hung jury in police officer's trial

The fact that there was a gag order on the case and the prosecutors and defenders alike could not speak freely, suggests that some may be quite concerned about effects of social unrest and protests should the story of the mistrial come out in full.

According to the CNN article, prosecutors are “reluctant” to pursue a new case against Porter. What this means is that he gets to go and no one raises a fuss. The official reason given was that now the defense has too much evidence.

The hung jury that resulted in the mistrial suggests that the jury, as the people of the United States, are still deeply divided on racial issues, decades after the 1960s.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Feds can't say whereabouts of those whose visas were revoked over terror threat

The Feds revoked visas of suspects but their whereabouts are not known. This is a scandal and this negligence can endanger the lives of more Californians and of Americans more generally. If the US cannot keep tab on suspects whose visas were revoked, why does Obama want to let in 10,000 more migrants from Syria, of whom a significant percentage may be radicalized? And if some of them are radicalized and are terrorists, and they can out terrorist attacks on US soil, what will Obama be able to do then? All we will hear will be a “oops, sorry, I did not know” but it will be too late for those who were already harmed.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Peter King: Mosques Surveillance Needed, ‘That’s Where The Threat Is Coming From’

Mosques have been off-limits for the FBI and NSA since October 2011, by the order of Obama, according to an editorial in Investor’s Business Daily (June 12, 2013).  It was also reported in the Washington Times (June 13, 2013) that in February 2011, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the American Civil Liberties Union sued the FBI for placing an undercover agent in a mosque in Los Angeles. Since October 2011, the NSA has not been allowed to monitor mosques. What this actually means that is that not only is it possible that the Boston bombing could have been averted, as the suspect exhibited suspicious behavior earlier, but also that all Americans are now under NSA surveillance besides mosque attendees. This seems to add credence to the argument that Barack Hussein Obama has been the best friend of Islamic jihadists in the Middle East they had ever know due to his support to terrorists in Libya and Syria.

 

 

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Joshua Tartakovsky

How to Crush Erdoğan’s Expansionism

My rushed criticism of the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov for not arming the YPG may have well been premature (in addition to my mocking of him for failing to do so).  It turns out that the Kurds in Syria are far from being an innocent victim who have no motives of their own.

 

For example, recently it was reported in Agenzia Fides (13/1/2016) that there are tensions between Syrian Christians and Kurds in the province of Hassake.

Qamishli and Hassake are two cities occupied by ISIS. In December 20 two attacks took place against two restaurants in Qamishli which belonged to Christians. 13 Christians and six Muslims were killed. It is widely believed that Kurds were behind the attacks. Following the attack, Christians organized in self-defense militias to protect Christian Syrians and Assyrians. But recently one of the strongholds came under an attack by Kurdish militias of PYD, which is linked to the PKK, Agenzia Fides reported. A Syrian Orthodox Christian was killed and 6 Kurdish soldiers were wounded.

The Syrian-Catholic Archibishop, Jacques Behnan Hindo. had this to say:
"Behind these tensions there is also the strategy of the Kurds, who seek to acquire a position of strength with a view to claiming independence. Christian self-defense groups act in coordination with the Syrian government army, and are attacked by the Kurds for that reason too. Jihadists continue to sell oil: there are columns of tanks that from the territories of Deir el Zor head to Iraq and from there go to Turkey. They are clearly visible, but some pretend not to see them. They have to make this journey because the direct route to the Turkish border is now under attack by the Russians".

Therefore, while Christian Orthodox and Assyrians support the government of Syria, the Kurds seem not to as they want their own state, and arming them without the support of President Assad, may be an outright idiotic move as they would turn against the Syrian Government itself when the time comes.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Angela Merkel’s year of living dangerously

Merkel’s open-door policy towards migrants has been largely unpopular, opposed  by many in the CDU and by Schäuble .

However, with the corporate media largely on her side, so far her seat remained mostly unchallenged.

A key question will be how will Merkel’s CDU fare in the regional elections? Will alternative parties emerge?

In March 2016, state elections are expected in Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saxony-Anhalt. In September, elections will be held in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

Sachsen-Anhalt in the East of Germany may very well offer some surprises, as many people oppose the massive wave of migration there. And state elections generally set the tone for neighboring states and then for national elections.  Will many CDU voters move to support  Alternative for Deutschland and Pegida? If the two eurosceptical parties make significant gains in the regional elections, this could set the tone across the country.  It would signal a growing disillusionment with Merkel and a popular turning away from and will put the migration crisis squarely on the table. Obama is expected to visit Germany in April.

It will be interesting to see how Germans will vote locally and whether they will be fearful of voting for eurosceptical  parties as was the case in France with Front National. The mainstream media will most certainly portray AfD and Pegida as extremist, and it will be interesting to see if Germans will be concerned with being perceived as such or will they be concerned about the migration crisis to the degree needed to muster the courage to vote according to their convictions.

But the larger problem is that the mainstream parties tend to pursue a certain line regardless the will of the people. Even if SPD’s Sigmar Gabriel is elected as chancellor, will much change?  But Germany is a significant and powerful country and a change in its leadership means much as it is not as simple to pressure it as the smaller states.

Additionally,there is growing pressure on the EU both within from without and at some point something will break. 

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Spain deadlock deepens as political turmoil rocks Catalonia

The key factor missing in the article is the wishy-washy approach taken by the Socialist Party (PSOE) headed by Felipe González. As an balance breaker standing in between, it could have either joined the center-right People’s Party or the supposedly anti-Capitalist Podemos. Alas, the Socialist Party already lost much of its votes due to the emergence of new anti-establishment forces and if it would have joined with PP it would have lost more of its core voters and the same applies if it would have joined with Podemos. The trap in which PSOE found itself is testament of the crisis of the system at large, not only in Spain but across social democracies throughout Europe.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Cologne mayor's 'arm's length' advice to avoid sex attacks draws ridicule

The European Left has really lost it. It is impotent. In the face of sexual molestation and rape by migrants in Cologne, it refuses to condemn the actions. It engages in political correctness. Its leaders say women must remain silent and allow themselves to be abused by flocks of men.  It brushes the problem under the rug.
This will lead to people turning to the right and eventually to the far-right.

Apparently, the PC masters decide that the Other, in this case the Muslim Arab, is allowed to do anything and everything he does is justified. The rights of women are ignored. This is madness.

Here is what a the Turkish Hurriyet’s op-ed by  Belgin Akaltan had to say (title: Grabbing and groping ‘Western women’, 16/1/2015). I wonder If this could be said in a European paper:

“What we have experienced all our lives, as modern Turkish women, that awfully shameful phenomenon; the one that we have developed so many defensive tactics and shields against, the one that has wounded our souls and made our characters rather bitter and our faces sullen; this sour feature of our society; I now see that cities of Europe are being infected by the same illness… The unknowing European women, in this recent case, the poor women of Cologne, have been given a dose of this unacceptable, unbearable, inhuman, horrific, life-shaking malady.

We, here, first came across them in masses (We have come across them individually at all times, in all dimensions, on all the streets of Istanbul) in 2006. It was, again, a New Year’s Eve and just like in Cologne, they attacked and harassed women who were having fun at the popular square of my beloved city, Taksim Square.

…Since then, everybody stopped going to Taksim Square on New Year’s Eve. Even street parties in nearby neighborhoods ceased. Now, there is an average of five plain clothes and five more uniformed police officers at Taksim for every standing person. As far as I know, the harassment incidents have decreased. The herds of animals who wander there cannot find any women because the area is full of only them. Apparently, we have exported some of them to Germany.

… In a nut a shell, I think it comes from the fundamentals of the conservative male mentality, the conservative Turkish and, inevitably, the Middle Eastern male mentality that sees women in two categories. One is the heavenly and unreachable “mother and wife” type while the other is the “loose Western women” type. And we, the normally dressed, modern Turkish women fall into the second category.

These animals cannot look in a woman’s eye and speak to a woman normally, let alone flirt or have a friendship, an ordinary human relationship with a woman. They can only stare from a distance, with “dark sparkles” in their eyes… Modern women are unreachable, way out of their league for these men. Normal sex is out of question for single men and women in a conservative society… “

That’s a Turkish woman in a Turkish newspaper. But of course, the European feminists will betray her as they betray the women of Cologne.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Bilal Erdogan in Bologna

The story of Erdogan’s son’s money laundering came out only yesterday in the mainstream media while Alessandra Benignetti, with impressive courage, wrote about it over a month ago. 

Bravo, Alessandra!

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Oregon: The United States Cracking Down on Farmers Under Liberal Pretenses.

I may have conflated at times between ranchers and farmers.  But they both suffer from the same plight: prosecution by the Federal Government. For example, while ranchers have seen their lands being taken away by the federal Birds and Livestock Management (BLM), and there have been cases reported of  fires caused by the BLM that kill animals while the court do not press charge,  farmers have been facing an onslaught by the USDA with its “war on raw milk,” and the EPA has taken over waterways and wetlands and preventing their availability to farmers.  There are many other examples, which perhaps deserve a separate essay. In fact, what has been going on is that the Obama administration has been using environmental laws to make life harder for farmers, supposedly to protect the environment. At the same time, USDA has approved of genetically modified food,  and has allowed for pesticides while being sued for repressing scientific findings which argue that this presents a health risk, and Monsanto food is now to be found in many food products in the US while citizens may not always be aware. Furthermore, as corporations buy more and more private lands and farmers face economic difficulties, the government has revealed whose priorities it has in mind.

What I find most disturbing about the demonization of the protesters in Oregon by the American liberals, is that they are entirely silent about the fact that the Hammonds were sentenced for terrorism under the Federal Anti terrorism Effective Death Penalty Act for setting up a fire. I would have expected more progressives to stand up for them, but American progressives too are widely constructs of their environment and despise the physical reminders of the colonial past, although the real crimes today are committed by the government itself.  I suppose they really believe in the government's noble intentions regarding federal parks, and that these cowboys are seen as wild and as spoiling it for everyone else. Even if the ranchers are not perfect, it is outright naïve and dangerous to blindly trust the Federal Government. As far as the hatred with which American socialist regard white ranchers, those who claim to be socialists should recall Lenin did not hesitate to work with bitter and disillusioned Navy soldiers against the system while rallying for their cause.
 

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Rape of Germany

So let’s see. We have already seen the arrival of one million Muslim migrants, many of them men without families, and that already is resulting in mass rape throughout Europe. Now Merkel wants to bring around a few more million.

The few possible explanations for this which makes any sense are that either she really needs cheap labor, but then this does not really explain, since more sexual attacks are not good for anyone, or she is seeking to turn the state even more authoritarian, to render it into a full out police state responding to a crisis and street violence, while a declining middle class will focus on ethnic issues and civil strife will ensue - rather than focusing on the awful state of the economy.  In other words, the migration crisis serves as a distraction from the social issues and gives the state an excuse to become more authoritarian and place police on the streets, besides the fact that there are profiteers who will benefit from clashes and small  (or big?) wars. With China stagnating, more wars and crises mean more profit for some. Added to this is the fragmentation of the German and other European people and their atomization which serves well for the market.

But whatever case it may be, with her pro-migration stance, and her insane policies of not even screening fully who comes in, Merkel is turning against her citizens, especially of the female sex. And that she is doing this, despite all political and common sense, means we need to work harder to understand why and what Europe may turn to in the coming years.

It’s an urgent time to raise tough questions and not be suppressed by political correctness. There is no time to lose.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Swedish police banned from describing criminals anymore in case they sound racist

According to a report by Ingrid Carlqvist and Lars Hedegaard for Gatestone Institute,  since Sweden opened its doors to migration, violent crimes rose by 300% and rape by 1,472%. The writers claim Lesotho in South Africa is the number 1 rape country in the world, while Sweden sits in the honorable number 2.

The Swedish newspapers have long stopped mentioning the ethnicity of rapists and attackers, describing them instead as  “Swedish men.”
Women in Sweden have naturally felt very unsafe over the years, and many Swedes are turning now to the anti-migraiton Swedish Democrats.
In Sweden as in other European countries, the Left has remained shanefully silent on crimes committed by migrants and has failed to protect women, thereby openning the door for the far-right.

The latest decision of the Swedish police may be due to the fact that throughout Europe there has been a surge in attacks by migrants against women, and the government is trying to cover this issue up.

On a technical level, it will make it harder for the police to find rapists. It will also cause people to react even more strongly eventually. In short, this is an escapist, short-sighted move which will only exaggerate the problem.

 

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Austria says it turn away migrants aiming to pass through Germany

It did not take long for Merkel to denounce this action taken by Austria, and continue to oppose closing borders reneging Schengen.  Her popularity is still very high, at around 44% according to Reuters, while SPD’s Gabriel is only  at 16%.  Merkel’s strategy seems to be - despite the strong opposition in CDU and across the board for more migration – searching for an intermediate ‘reasonable’ solution, then for another intermediate solution, and then for another intermediate solution. In the mean time, the migrants keep pouring in, at a pace of 3,000 a day. By the end of 2016, one million Muslim migrants are expected to arrive.  1.1 million migrants are already inside Germany.  It is likely that Austria will be penalized and punished if it blocks migration. On the other hand, it’s hard to see how migrants can make their way through Switzerland, which is likely to take a harsh stance and cannot be punished as it is not part of the EU. Otherwise, migrants will chose to enter Germany through the Czech Republic which is more susceptible to German pressure.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

The Nation That Gave the World the Magna Carta Is No More

As I wrote earlier in my article ‘Trump, Demonized by the Liberal-Corporate media, must now appeal to Latinos,’ this petition and other actions against Trump in the UK indicate that some seek to view themselves as superior while hanging on to empty words as if words are as bad as actions. It was the British Parliament which authorized an illegal war of aggression against Syria, which Trump opposes. Trump has not called for wars, he has called for migration control which is his legitimate right. Cuba has also called for migration control in the past (in the case of visas issued by Ecuador). But many self-satisfied Brits prefer to point an accusing finger at Trump rather than look at the mirror and see how they continue to engage in imperialism, continue to support terrorism in Syria, support a Nazi junta in Kiev, and uphold anti-Russian sanctions for no reason.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

The Risk of Nuclear Catastrophe Is Greater Today Than During the Cold War

What I find most incredible about this article is not the acknowledgement that a nuclear war is possible, it is indeed possible and the way things are going now, even likely. John Pilger, Michael Gorbachev, Stephen Cohen and Oliver Stone all said this openly. What I find most incredible is the denial of the writer of the responsibility of the Obama administration to the current crisis and the growing possibility of a nuclear war, all while presenting the US as a victim of Russian aggression and that the US must defend itself of the inevitable.

The writer explains that “the New START Treaty in the first term of the Obama administration… entailing modest reductions in our deployed nuclear forces. But since then, reductions have stopped.” It is true. The new START treaty was supposed to entail the reduction of nuclear warheads in Europe. What happened then? Well, the US withdrew from the Anti-ballistic missile treaty (ABM) which was held since 1972.  ABM was all about limiting anti-ballistic missiles used to defend areas from ballistic missiles that carry nuclear weapons since the two super powers found themselves in a never-ending competition and wanted to lower down the danger of a confrontation. However, the US decided to withdraw unilaterally from ABM in 2002, although Russia kept its obligations. Most recently, since around September 2015, the US placed B61 nuclear bombs in the Büchel army base in Germany. So which side is pushing for a nuclear war? William Perry is advocating building a new nuclear bomber while ignoring the fact that the US is the one pushing for a nuclear war and in fact taking part in creating disinformation and in presenting Russia as a danger while it wanted to maintain the ABM agreement and supported a reduction of tension.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

“Don’t harm!” - On the Weakness of the Left

Danny Orbach writes about the weakness of its left, its unrealistic or even delusional pacifism, and its tendency to be conflict averse. I wholly agree though perhaps not for the reasons he mentions. It appears quite evident to anyone who studies history, that liberals with their pacifism usually allow fascists to take over, while it is the hard-core communists who fight Nazis and fascists by the use of arms. Similarly, throughout the developing countries, colonized people took up arms to fight and regain their freedom.  Of course, the Cuban revolution did not happen by holding signs and singing John Lennon. However, it appears that nowadays many on the western left have not only lost their masculinity, when it comes to men, but also fear any kind of confrontation and have nothing to offer besides naïve, and childish pacifism which also happens to mean in most cases, absolute surrender.

If the left ever finds itself in what some like to call a ‘revolutionary moment,’ they are likely to ignore it rather than pick up arms. And even if they had arms, they would probably engage in endless discussions, hesitate, think back and fourth, and find the guns too heavy to take a shot.

Real change requires real sacrifice. Confronting evil requires taking a stand, as men (although it is of course politically incorrect to say so). But the western left is incapable of any of that. All it has to offer is subdued masculinity, surrender and utopian visions which are so detached from reality that not only do they not become popular outside of academia but they also can never bring about in real lasting change in the cruel neoliberal world in which we live, as we move to an ever-growing crisis.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Fears Grow In Wake Of Confirmation Of 1 Case Of Zika Virus In LA County

The Oxitec company has genetically engineered mosquitoes which can pair and mate with infected mosquitoes and prevent any offspring. Alas, the US Food and Drug Administration needs to complete an assessment on the environment first. Judging by the past, FDA is more concerned about the “environment” than about human lives, and is responsible for approving of pesticides which cause harmful effects to humans (and a complaint was issued against it by a former researcher). FDA went on a war against the selling of raw milk but cannot protect people from Zika.

The Cuban Granma reported that one in five infected by Zika show symptoms, which appear two to seven days after infection. The rashes may also appear as slightly elated red spots on one’s skin, a Spanish doctor said. There is no vaccine or immunes for Zika. 

According to the Cuban newspaper Granma, the Zika virus was first found in a monkey in the forests of Uganda in 1947 in a study carried out by researchers of Yellow Fever. The first known Zika infection was discovered in 1952 in Uganda and Tanzania, Granma reported.
Still, it is interesting that decades passed before its sudden outbreak.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

The appeal to 'shoot the migrants' is attracting unprecedented support

Frauke Petr, the leader of AfD (Alternative for Germany), a growing popular party that will garner at least 12% of the vote in national elections according to polls, finally dared to address the burning migrant crisis which is on everyone’s mind. She said that according to the law, migrants can be shot at the border if needed, with the hope of deterring a major inflow. Of course, she was not advocating exterminating the migrants per say; German law, as many other countries, allows for the use of force to guard its borders; it is a fact that western countries shoot infiltrators when they are overwhelmed.

Migrants have already attacked the Macedonian, Greek and Hungarian police. Which other country would agree to take one million migrants in with millions more to come, despite various sexual and other attacks besides Germany? Petr merely repeated what German law says. But that was enough to garner a warning by SPD’s Sigmar Gabriel who in a Stassi-style fashion said AfD must be monitored for threatening democracy. Since when does mentioning German law on the right of a state to guard its borders an experiment in undermining democracy? On the contrary, silencing critics who dare question the madness of accepting millions of migrant males from a very different culture who do not wish to integrate is undemocratic. But in light of AfD’s growing popularity, we can expect more and more of their demonization by mainstream politicians who try to stem their growing shift in support.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

EU agency says: 10,000 migrant children lost in Europe

Frauke Petr, the leader of AfD (Alternative for Germany), a growing popular party that will garner at least 12% of the vote in national elections according to polls, finally dared to address the burning migrant crisis which is on everyone’s mind. She said that according to the law, migrants can be shot at the border if needed, with the hope of deterring a major inflow. I disagree with this method but she just repeated German law.

SPD’s Sigmar Gabriel said in Stassi-style fashion in response that AfD must be monitored for threatening democracy. Since when does mentioning German law on the right of a state to guard its borders an experiment in undermining democracy? One does not need to agree with Petr, but the law is the law. But by silencing critics who dare question the madness of accepting millions of migrant males from a very different culture who do not wish to integrate, clearly Gabriel is concerned about AfD’s growing popularity. We can expect more and more of AfD’s demonization by mainstream politicians who try to stem the growing shift in public support for alternative parties.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Health officials confirm spread of Zika virus through sexual contact in Texas, first in US

While it is true the Carribean and Latin America have been largely afflicted by the outbreak as the article mentioned, with the Dominican Republic being one obvious example, Cuba has had zero cases of Zika so far, and its tight medical scrutiny of new arrivals at the airport as well as tight medical control, means that Cuba remains safe for travel while cases of Zika have already been reported in the mighty US.  Indeed, that Cuba has remained isolated from the outbreak is not merely miraculous but is due to the high level of medical control in the country.  It has managed to isolate itself from the storm waging around it and life is very peaceful and calm in the country with no panic on the issue with tourism coming in at even larger numbers than usual.  In any case, in Cuba people are having sex as usual, while I’m not sure the case is the same in the US.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Top House Republican demands Kerry explain $1.7 billion Iran payment

In July 2015, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that Iran was to gain $50 billion in frozen assets, and outright denied the figure was $150 billion.  Now it turns out that the US paid Iran $170 billion.  There are a few options here. Either Kerry was dishonest and lied about the real figures in his attempt to deflect massive criticism of the Iran deal, or facts on the ground changed- such as the taking hostage of American navy who infiltrated into Iranian waters – and this pushed Obama to expand the payment.

In any case, Obama’s argument that most of the money ($130 billion) was interest due to money owed to Iran seems unlikely [following the 1979 Revolution, the US refused to return to Iran money paid for the purchase of arms].  For one, surely the Obama administration knew about the accumulating interest long ago and Kerry insisted in July that the payment lies at $50 billion. Additionally, to the best of my knowledge, Iran did not announce an end to claims on this issue. Had a full interest finally been paid, any good businessman would demand an official statement that no further claims will be made, especially as the US claimed that the interest had to be paid now to avoid incurring costs.

Furthermore, the Commander of the Basij forces in Iran, Mohammad Reza Naqdi, said that “this money was returned for the freedom of the US spy and was not related to the [nuclear] negotiations.” He also said that the US “doesn’t understand anything but the language of force.”
 

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Stopping Islamic immigration is a matter of survival

Islam depends on the wisdom of the people who practice it, who are not few in number and it has a nearly infinite number of variations from Qom to Istanbul to Cairo to Damascus to Riyadh to Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur.

However, Arab Sunni Muslims, by and large, do not have a rich tradition of not imposing their view on minorities, once they become a majority.

Moreover, at a time when Europe’s economy and the global economy is already in deep crisis, those who seek Muslim migration to Europe, if they are not naïve, what they actually seek is to create a civil war between Europeans and Muslim migrants while the profiteers and elite profit. It does not take a genius to realize that taking millions of Muslims from the Middle East to secular European societies will result in trouble, as we indeed have already seen in Cologne, and of course, this is just the beginning.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

The money, the migrants and the coasts

Merkel blackmailed Renzi, now Renzi arrested Erdogan's son. The story of Erdogan Jr.’s money laundering just came out yesterday in the main press, but it appeared on GIA over a month ago in an article by Alessandra Benignetti (Bilal Erdogan in Bologna, GIA, January 11, 2016).

Let's see what happens but my guess is Merkel will pressure for his release. The drug trade, the weapons trade, the prostitution trade, the child trade, all must continue. The cycle connecting German and Turkish banks will not be disrupted. A brave choice by Italy, however. Renzi must have serious concerns, perhaps due to the next elections, perhaps due to patriotism.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Magazine causes outrage showing white woman being sexually attacked by 'migrants'

The facts in this article are incorrect.

It is said regarding the Cologne sex attacks: “security officials have admitted not only the majority of the assaults were rather a theft than a sexual offence, but also that only three out of 58 suspects have claimed for the asylum as a refugee from Syria or Iraq.”

But in an article on Breitbart, Left Media Migrant Rape Cover-Up: HuffPo, Indy, AND United Nations Claim Cologne Attackers ‘Not Refugees’, German Prosecutor: ‘Total Nonsense’ (Feb. 15 2016), Raheem Kassam and Liam Deacon, reported that [my emphasis in bold]:

“Mainstream media outlets have been blasted for peddling “total nonsense” today as left-wing newspapers coalesced to claim with one voice that “only three” of the suspects involved in Cologne’s mass migrant rape on New Year’s Eve were recent migrants or refugees.”

But Cologne’s prosecutor, Ulrich Bremer, has said that the claim is “total nonsense” after an interview with German paper Die Welt this weekend was misinterpreted and reported in a way that the left-wing outlets wanted, rather than what the truth was.”

“The Huffington Post, the Independent, theMetro, and Russia Today all jumped on clumsy reporting from liberal outlets on the European continent, going so far as to heavily editorialise their news copy on the issue.”

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Trump to Pope: When ISIS attacks the Vatican, he will wish I was president

Pope Francis is making less and less sense every day. While he rightly warned about the ongoing Third World War and about the dangers of today’s Capitalism, he gullibly believed the Mexican government’s arguments against a wall. But had he been more aware, he would have asked himself whether the Mexican government gains from the drug flow from Mexico to the US.  What right does he have to intervene in US sovereignty and demand that they not build a wall? Cuba is also in favor of migration control and asked Costa Rica not to give visas to Cubans. Nowadays any drug addict or dealer can cross across the border to the US… The only ones benefiting in large from uncontrolled migrations are the transnational corporations as more and more Mexicans are returning home, far more than those entering the US, as GIA had already noted.   As others mentioned, if the Pope wishes to let go of borders, he should set an example and demolish the walls surrounding the Vatican. Alas, Pope Francis wants open borders. This means only one thing: the Islamization of Europe. What will he say the day ISIS takes over the Vatican? And does a true Christian question the faith of other Christians just because they support borders and want to protect their country from a flood of migrants?

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Trump scores more than Rubio and Cruz combined in Nevada

What this article fails to mention is that Trump won 45% of the Hispanic vote. Only 27% voted for Rubio and 18% for Cruz. That says a lot. It means that Hispanics had no trouble voting for Trump contrary to claims by the liberal media. In fact, white liberals must be eating their hearts out as say Hispanics vote for Trump more than they vote for Latino candidates.

Of course, it’s not this simple. Those who voted for Trump were already Republican and Trump needs to work much harder to get the Latino vote nationwide.

But it is possible. After all, George W. Bush got 44% of the Latino vote in 2004, and Barack Obama got 71% of the Hispanic vote in 2012, according to a CNN article (What Nevada showed about Trump's Hispanic support - and what it didn't, Rafael Romo, CNN.com, February 25 2016). But Obama turned himself into a disappointment with many Hispanics.  They think he is weak and clueless.

It is true, as the article states, that a majority of Hispanics tend to vote Democrat: 36% of Latinos vote Republican and 62% tend to vote Democrat. However, Hispanics, unlike white liberals, know there is a major problem with the porous border, that too many migrants are coming in, and that the economy is not as good as it used to be as more Mexicans are leaving than coming). They want to see a better economy, they know the Mexican government is not innocent, and they don’t care if Trump says what is on his mind. What matters to them is that he is real  unlike Hillary.

Trump can win and get the Latino vote. But a big dilemma would be who would he chose as his number 2. I recommended Ted Cruz earlier, but that was a mistake. Perhaps a Latina Republican would be a better choice.

To conclude, Hispanics can and do vote for Trump. They are realistic about the problems the nation is facing and they care more about the economy than about political correctness.  Trump needs to appeal to their hearts and explain how he will improve their lives. And to be straight, getting a hot Latina as his number 2 on his side, can be a winning combination.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Living in slums, Greece's migrants fight hunger and cold

Let’s look at the facts. EU forced Greece to create Hotspots for migrants and refugees. Initially we were told they would be given bracelets and could then travel to Europe. But that’s not what happened. Now most of them are stuck in Greece.

The key problem is, as socialist economist and political leader Dimitris Kazakis explained in an interview with him, is that the EU does not follow international law. According to international law, refugees and migrants have freedom of movement. Not in the EU where they are confined to Greece and where they can be used as slave labor by corporations.

We have reached a stage in transnational capitalist development where the human itself is turned into a commodity into a means to an end. 

After Greece was raped and pillaged by austerity, now it is the gathering ground of migrants and refugees who are stuck here although the economy is doomed.

This serves as a double purpose. The migrants can be used as slave labor, and can also riot and attack others when things get bad, resulting in a civil war while the war profiteers profit and NATO is sent in.

The migrants are not the enemy, in fact, they are the victims of smugglers, wars and Angela Merkel.  A war against the migrants is what the elites want as wars and conflicts are the main sources of revenue these days. However, piling up migrants in Greece is not helping anyone. Greece should leave the EU before it is faced with millions of migrants and it loses its identity forever. 

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Two female militants attack Turkish police on a street in broad daylight

It goes without saying that the EU has nothing to say about the brutal and bloody crackdown of the Erdogan regime against Kurdish Cizre in southeast Turkey. The videos which recently came out after two and a half months of siege reveal the horror. With EU betraying its own “European values” and offering billions to Erdogan after he butchered Kurds and supports ISIS, one should not be surprised to see Kurds taking the law into their own hands and resisting. After all, they know that Brussels and Berlin do not care about human rights in Turkey and no one else will help them gain their freedom. Considering the ongoing siege in Sur which has been going on for over four months, Kurdish responses to Erdogan’s brutality are likely to increase.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Bruce Jenner Supports Ted Cruz, Wants to Be Cruz’s ‘Trans Ambassador’

Ted Cruz participated in a dinner in April 2015 organized by two gay hoteliers of the OUT NYC hotel in New York and received their donation which was the maximum allowed, according to another article in The Advocate (Trump: Ted Cruz Is a 'Total Hypocrite' on Same-Sex Marriage).

Of course, Cruz is entitled to do as he pleases. But why did he come out against “New York values” saying everyone knows what he meant? 

Cruz also took money from Goldman Sachs at a time when it was pushing for LGBT equality on Wall Street, according to Michelangelo Signorile in the Huffington Post (How Ted Cruz Might Actually Support 'New York Values' and Gay Marriage More Than He Lets On, 1/15/2016). 

It seems that the son of the pastor is engaging in the anti-gay marriage rhetoric but has no problem having cocktails in the gay scene and taking money from pro-LGBT corporations. Politicians should be entitled for their views but not for hypocritical behavior or double lives.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Europe’s patience finally runs off

In an interview with Bild am Sonntag from Saturday, March 5, 2016, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Greece needs to work harder to accept more refugees. “Originally, Greece should have created 50,000 accommodation places for refugees by the end of 2015,” Merkel said in a translation provided by Reuters. "The backlog must be resolved now at lightning speed because the Greek government has to guarantee decent accommodation," Merkel added. She also said that “I know from my talks with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras that he wants to do this.”

But two days earlier, on March 3, 2016, European Council President Donald Tusk, actually met with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens and asked refugees not to come to Greece. As the New York Times reported, Tusk sent a message to migrants: “Do not come to Europe. Do not believe the smugglers. Do not risk your lives and your money. It is all for nothing. Greece or any other European country will no longer be a transit country.”

Needless to say, Greece is not in a terrific financial situation and cannot even provide for its own citizens at the moment. Merkel who has shown zero flexibility with Greece’s economic demands in the past, now wants more migration and is issuing orders for Greece to work faster. Tusk is now arguing otherwise after he actually went to Greece, but Merkel on Saturday had the final say. 

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Joshua Tartakovsky

‘Happy And Glorious’: Queen Elizabeth Backs Britain Leaving The European Union

The Queen, in theory at least, is supposed to have the interest of the United Kingdom in mind. Therefore her support for a Brexit makes perfect sense. What makes far less sense is why the Labour Party headed by Corbyn does not support a Brexit. The EU has proven itself to be a neoliberal prison for its poor members in the periphery as the strong Euro meant that their industries were more expensive abroad while German industries triumphed. EU brought financial ruin and austerity in various shades of grey to Spain, Portugal, Italy, and of course to Greece. If the British Labour cared about “internationalism” it would support a Brexit. But the issue runs deeper than that.  Lord Rose, the former head of Marks & Spencer and now head of the “Britain stronger in Europe” campaign said that wages would go up for low-skilled workers if Britain were to leave the EU (The Telegraph, March 3, 2016). That is quite evident too. If restrictions are placed on migration, British employers would be unable to hire cheap labor from Bulgaria or Romania but would have to pay decent salaries to British workers. But the Labour Party does not care about the British workers, and that is the problem.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Greece is Being Filled with Economic Migrants, Not Refugees, While Merkel Orders More

Interestingly enough, it is precisely at times as these when a Marxist analysis can prove useful. For example, Press TV and other Muslim leftists, sympathize with the migrants and appear to encourage more migration, while they fail to understand that the migrants will be used as slave labor and as pawns in a civil war. Similarly, many supposed leftists feel bad for “refugees” and call for accepting more when Greece’s economy is destroyed and when it is clear there can be no employment for newcomers. While Marxism can rightly be attacked for looking at the external framework while ignoring man’s inner condition, at times as these it can also prove essential for understanding the broader framework.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Russian hostility 'partly caused by west', claims former US defense head

Let’s examine the claims made regarding the Clinton years.

First, the issue of NATO expansion is a major one. Gorbachev at the time agreed for the unification of Germany despite the Russian trauma from World War II in which Nazi Germany invaded deeply into Russia, only since Secretary of State Baker promised that NATO will not expand. Of course, that promise was broken though Gorbachev was a fool for not demanding this commitment in writing.

Secondly, anyone who looks at the map of NATO missiles in Europe will see that Russia is surrounded by missiles from on both sides. The official reason, that this is meant to deter Iran, makes less sense when one sees how Russia is simply encircled.  Also, Iran has never made even the smallest move to suggest it wishes to attack Europe, although one could argue it may want to attack Israel.
Thirdly, the “color revolutions” in Georgia and Ukraine were not spontaneous as the US claimed but were instigated and pushed for by various US-sponsored NGOs. That is not to say that many in Ukraine for example, do not wish to be part of the EU, although this wish has recently been dashed by Juncker. But as Victoria Nuland admitted, the US spent over $5 billion in what it terms “democracy promotion” in Ukraine. Needless to say, until today, no official investigation has been conducted regarding the snipers in Maidan in Kyiv who fired on protesters and were of the opposition and not sent by the former Ukrainian president.

Finally, According to the Washington-based Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), the US has six nuclear weapon facilities in five countries in Europe: Belgium (10-20), Germany (10-20), Italy (60-70), Netherlands (10-20) and Turkey (60-70). For what purpose? 

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Joshua Tartakovsky

The last bastion of Trump’s media defense has fallen victim of a friendly fire

Pushing people down for asking a question is unacceptable regardless of who it happens to. Trump would be wise to fire the two. They are causing trouble and pushing away the few reporters who actually give Trump a fair coverage. Even if they overreacted or made a mistake, it is unacceptable and shows a lack of control. The media uses the smallest incident to demonize Trump, Trump doesn’t need people who work for him to help them to get more such stories in the headlines.  One may argue that Trump’s people are causing trouble for him intentionally but since blacks and Muslims have been attacked before in Trump’s events, this should not come as a surprise. While Trump cannot control every lunatic who is in the crowd, he should not accept such an attack coming from his own co-workers.  An apology should be issued as soon as possible. Firing the two will send a strong message. But if Trump is serious and not engaging in a show, then this incident cannot be allowed to pass, at least if he is serious about running. 

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Apple hits back at 'corrosive' claim by US government

The prosecution is trying to present this a single case of trying to obtain data that will help in the investigation. But in fact, the FBI is seeking a back-door into all iPhones so that none of us will be able to enjoy even a minimum level of privacy. Indeed, as Apple attorney Bruce Sewell said “Everybody should beware because it seems like disagreeing with the Department of Justice means you must be evil and anti-American, nothing could be further from the truth." What the US government is pursuing is the esscence of anti-Americanism as it seeks to erode civil rights and privacy rights. Constitutional lawyer KrisAnne Hall made a convincing case in her article for GIA (“Apple Customer Letter: Constitutionally Sound”, February 19, 2016), on how the FBI’s pressure violates the 4th Amendment, Article 6 and Article 3 of the Constitution. KrisAnne Hall writes: “Article 6 section 2 tells us that any action by the federal government that is not "made pursuant" to the Constitution, is not the supreme law of the land and therefore not binding upon the States.”In other words, the FBI is violating the Constitution, it has no right to impose itself. Actually, FBI is de facto seeking to assume the role of a Big Brother. Who would have imagined that such things would happen in the United States? We often hear about the “cruel dictatorship” in China where the government monitors everything. But what are we to do when the US government carries out intrusions into our privacy and its creeping reach means that a faceless government bureaucrat will know about every message we write and picture we take?

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Obama points finger at Britain, France over Libya chaos

It has been said that a victory has many claimers but a failure is an orphan. There are various loopholes in Obama’s argument. He claimed that because Libya “is not at the core of our interests, we need to get a UN mandate; we need Europeans and Gulf countries to be actively involved in the coalition.” But if Libya was not a core US interest, why did the US have to get involved in the first place? Supposedly, one would argue, to save Libyan lives. But tens of thousands were killed due to and following the Western intervention. What most people do not know is that Gaddafi was threatened by al Qaeda and radical jihadist groups, who in fact received help from NATO. A majority of Libyans supported Gaddafi and Libya was a prosperous and stable country prior, as a friend who lived there testified to me personally. But Gaddafi was removed by the US, France and the UK, due issues which had nothing to do with humanitarianism. Sarkozy owed a heavy financial debt to Gaddafi who provided for his campaign and Sarkozy got rid of his debt by destroying Libya. What the US achieved in Libya was the take-over of Islamic radicals and the deaths of many innocents. To claim that ““the degree of tribal division in Libya was greater than our analysts had expected” is to engage in outright lying as anyone who knew the ABC about Libya, knew it was a tribal society held stable by Gaddafi. The creation of chaos in the Middle East is not a mistake. It is the US’ open goal and otherwise its actions on the ground make little sense. From Iraq, to Libya, to Syria, US has been toppling or attempting to topple stable secular regimes and allowing chaos to take over. Of course, Obama blamed France and the UK while absolving himself and Hillary Clinton. He claims that “we prevented what almost surely would have been a prolonged and bloody civil conflict” but forgot to mention that the jihadist uprising against Gaddafi was supported by Western intelligence agencies and that the creation of chaos in the Middle East allows the US to maintain its hegemonic economy, as even Yannis Varoufakis 

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Turkey’s Erdogan warned of Brussels terror just days before it happened

The problem is President Erdogan may truly be suffering from megalomania.  He reportedly told European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker that “Yes I am a prince.” Erdogan threatened to flood Europe with tens of thousands of bodies of dead children, according to a recorded version of the meeting which was publicized in the Greek media.

Erdogan expressed admiration for Hitler’s system of governance and may see himself as a sultan although he does not come to the heels of the historical sultans, even the worse of them.

So, could have Erdogan ordered an attack by his allies ISIS, to ensure that his words have weight, following the PKK’s laying out of tents in Brussels in protest at Turkey’s attacks on Kurdish areas? It is possible. From a supporter of ISIS, anything can be expected.

The problem is Merkel and the EU are in bed with Erdogan. Both Erdogan and Merkel serve the financial system of the elites, with Erdogan using Islamism to hide his crimes and enthuse the population and Merkel relying on “morality” on the need to accept mass migration which is resulting in organ trade, gun and drug trafficking and prostitution.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Syrian forces capture Palmyra city from ISIS militants

Robert Fisk for the Independent, (“Why is David Cameron so silent on the recapture of Palmyra from the clutches of Isis?”) wonders why US and UK did not congratulate Syria for the liberation of such a monumental historical site. Fisk is known to be critical of both the Assad government and the rebels, but it seems that for him enough is enough and the Syrian army are far better than the alternative. Fisk says that the Syrian army will determine the future of Syria and should liberate Raqaa too. But what’s more, Fisk more than hints that the US has no real interest of destroying ISIS.
Robert Fisk writes: “I could not help but smile when I read that the US command claimed two air strikes against Isis around Palmyra in the days leading up to its recapture by the regime. That really did tell you all you needed to know about the American "war on terror". They wanted to destroy Isis, but not that much.”
With the English tendency for understatement and careful phrasing, I take that to mean: actually, if the US really wanted to destroy ISIS, would have it not done so already? Or maybe the US has an interest in ISIS staying there for the war that was never meant to be won, just as it created chaos in Iraq and Libya, allowing jihadists to take over? How many times can one take the same action and say it was a mistake?

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Pope denounces terrorism in Easter Mass amid tight Vatican security

The picture of the Pope washing the feet of migrants exposed, perhaps, on the heart of Western Christianity and its limitations. The message of the Pope, is in fact similar to that of liberal Europeans and human rights advocates: rather than a truthful analysis of the situation and realizing that love without setting limits and compassion without tough action when needed -  can lead to disasters and rob people of agency and responsibility, we see a kind of one-sided compassion  while neglecting one’s brain and common sense. We see only the outpouring of the heart in pity but no critical analysis. This approach may be emotionally gratifying but is unsustainable and unhelpful to anyone.
People are not to be pitied, they are to be empowered to take action, and at times they need tough love. “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him” (Proverbs).

When the economy is in shambles, taking in a countless number of migrants as cheap labor is not helpful for one’s own population.  Opening the gates to millions of migrants due to what feels good is not true compassion, not when rape, conflict and unemployment ensue, it is not thinking about tomorrow. A famous Jewish teaching says that one must treat the poor of one’s own city before he treats the poor from a different local.  Another teaches “Those who are merciful to the cruel will end up being cruel to the merciful.”  True compassion involves understanding the broad picture, and setting limits, not prostrating oneself entirely to the wishes of the other. There must be a hierarchy and common sense, each person can only operate at his level. But the liberal approach is to give those deemed victims everything and to accept every action they take, which humans will of course abuse. Jesus said "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Pakistan Mourns Deadly terror attack

Terrorism in Pakistan has its roots in US support for the mujhadeen in the 70s against russia – which became the Taliban - and in Zia’s islamization of the country. As Brzezinski told the mujhadeen, “God is on your side” and they took his message seriously. He has no regrets and said that Islamic terrorism was a small price to pay for the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, now is the time for Pakistan to entirely disengage from Saudi Arabia. The Western financial hegemony has an interest in jihadists taking over the entire Middle East all the way to China as they profit from chaos and war and do not want any competitors. The people of the world need to wake up to this no-longer-hidden agenda, since a lot more terrorism and wars is on the cards. And it will never end. There is no reason for it to end as it is profitable. Pakistan then should cleanse the country of the fanatical scums and form a closer alliance with Russia, it already has a tight military alliance with China. But in any scenario, it should stay out of the Saudi “anti-terror Islamic coalition”. One would hope that the people of Pakistan will not allow their government to join the Saudis for a personal profit while the country turns into jihadi-land.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Turkish President Faces a Cool Reception in US Visit

As was clear from the interview done with The Atlantic, Obama seems to say he is not a big fan of Erdogan. Now he gave him the cold shoulder. But Erdogan is on full speed with his program for an Islamized Turkey, and Turkey enjoys full NATO support. That didn’t change. Obama is on his way out and his personal actions towards Erdogan, which may even be motivated by personal rivalry, will probably not be of significance. 

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Fidel Castro scorns Obama's Cuba visit

Fidel Castro, a master of hidden meanings and of careful maneuvering, writes that he once picked up a biography of Nelson Mandela and discovered to his surprise to encounter Obama’s preface to the book at its beginning. Fidel writes right after mentioning this that Mandela’s writing was always very small. A clear jab at Obama for his big ego, pretensions and narcissism. 

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Egyptair aircraft hijacked, lands in Cyprus: Cyprus radio

According to emerging news, the plane was kidnapped due to a major fight the kidnapper had with his ex-wife. One may laugh in response. But what is that laughable about this claim? After all, do liberal apologists for Islamic terrorism not always make the claim that people act in violence due to psychological-societal reasons and not due to what seems as terrorism itself?  Since liberals project their fantasies on the Other, and assume any action people take was due to being personally oppressed while ignoring ideologies, different identity systems and formations, then here actually someone did act according to a personal tragedy. In other words, his actions were done as an individualized atom, not as part of a wider collective. 

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Joshua Tartakovsky

FBI-Apple case: Investigators break into dead San Bernardino gunman's iPhone

A company in Israel with Japanese ownership called Cellebrite, based in Petah Tikva, managed to break into the phone. Initially the FBI was concerned that by breaking into the Iphone the information inside will be damaged but it managed nevertheless.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Families of US military, government workers ordered home from southern Turkey

The most plausible explanation for the order to evacuate US families from the south of Turkey, as well as the tense relations between Obama and Erdogan, is that Erdogan plans a military invasion of north Syria, and Obama does not want it to take place at this time during election year. As I said in the past many times, it is almost inevitable that Erdogan will invade northern Syria.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Colorado GOP Deletes #NeverTrump Tweet After Ted Cruz Sweeps Delegates

In the EU, EU plans to go ahead with visa-free right to the citizens of Ukraine, despite the Dutch vote several days earlier precisely against an association agreement. In Colorado, the delegates turned over to Ted Cruz and a popular vote was cancelled. Every passing day it becomes more and more clear that we don't live in a democracy, we have something else. And with time that something else will become more visible.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Trump set for Republican nomination as Cruz pulls out

The pundits are at loss at explaining Trump’s triumph after dismissing him early. Two common claims made are that Trump got more media time than other candidates and that voters in Indiana voted for him since he had the most votes anyway. But actually, the mainstream corporate media constantly presented Trump in a negative light who made no sense and was irrational. CNN would often run false claims arguing that Trump is quitting the race. But, in fact, voters knew better. In Trump they see a reliable candidate who cares for them and speaks from the heart on his plans to protect American workers and provide jobs, not one who sold out to corporation. Ted Cruz spoke eloquently, but he did not strike people to be as sincere as Trump nor as capable. As for the argument that people decided to give him a chance due to kindness, the entire Republican elite turned against Trump and pundits constantly warned about the dangers of a Trump victory.  Voters, however, knew better simply since they are suffering from the economic crisis and have nothing to lose. Americans are tired of the lies of the establishment.

Earlier, there was a growing speculation that Cruz will manage to steal delegates away from Trump. But while I feared this undemocratic measure would happen, Trump has been winning the popular vote in a big way and Cruz could not stop the tsunami. Now delegates will be forced to vote for Trump even though they think he may not be good for the party, since they cannot stand in opposition to the popular will. They are probably also pragmatic and realize it is the party’s best chance to return to power. The funny thing is that the New York Times seemed to hope that delegates will vote against Trump, although this is a clearly undemocratic act running against the popular will. Democracy is winning.

On a side note, we also have a short period of grace now in which both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump will attack Hillary. With Sanders gaining a growing number of Independents we are reaching that promising moment where the center cannot hold. 

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Syrian civil war: Russia, U.S. to work together

For several days now, the BBC has been running footage from Aleppo’s bombed hospital and ruined streets and giving the false impression that the Syrian government was behind the atrocities. It constantly played an interview with a UN official who argued, with a pained expression on his face, against states going for realpolitik and failing to enact a humanitarian intervention - which would mean attacking the Syrian Arab Army, as the Syrian Army is the only force besides the Kurdish YPG that is truly fighting ISIS.  Now US Secretary of State John Kerry took a courageous stance and admitted that rebels shelled the hospital and not the Syrian government.  He is seeking to work for calm.  Kerry has long taken a mature and reasonable position on Syria, the problem is not all issues are under his control. We are likely to see Kerry trying to keep the flames lower while he is in office (with all hell breaking loose later if Hillary gets elected). This is a good time for Americans to educate themselves about the reality in Syria and how President Assad, with whom Viriginia State Senator Dick Black just met, is protecting the minorities of Syria and fighting against jihadists and terrorists, supported by the US, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and Israel. There is a window of opening for people to realize that Assad is not “killing his own people” but that western-backed terrorists are the ones killing Syrians. 

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Joshua Tartakovsky

EU group proposes visa-free travel for Turks in Europe

Turkey met 67 criteria out of 72. The five missing criteria are completing a new data protection law, cooperating closely with Europe’s police agency Europol, amending the Anti-Terror Law and cooperating judicially with EU member states, reported Hurriyet Daily News. Only Turkish citizens with biometric passports that will include fingerprints, to be handed in June, will be able to travel to EU visa-free. But when one looks beyond the formalities, a worrying picture emerges. The Turkish Parliament just approved a proposal to strip of immunity members of parliament who vocally ‘support terrorism’, e.g. the Kurdistan Worker’s Party - PKK, that would result in immunity being removed from deputies of the pro-Kurdish Party Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP). The proposal may not pass due to objections of deputies from other members (367 votes out of 550 will be needed), but the wider trend is the same: various journalists have been arrested on a regular basis, it is forbidden to mock the president, and Kurdish areas in southeast Turkey have been brutally bombed by the Turkish army with many atrocities taking place. Civilians have been targeted intentionally. That EU is rewarding Turkey for this behavior reveals that ‘human rights’ is an empty slogan. EU would never consider Israel as a member as long as it occupies Palestine but with Turkey, different standards apply. Since Erdogan supports ISIS and is pursuing an islamization of Turkey, EU member states will soon get to taste a bit of his tea. 

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Joshua Tartakovsky

UK bows to pressure, will accept Syrian children from Europe

Only an outright racist or Aryan purist would oppose the adoption of children. Children are likely to integrate very quickly into the host culture and are fast language learners. If given the right families and a good environment, they will hopefully grow to be psychologically healthy and lead successful lives. While comparisons with Kindertransport of 1938 are a bit simplistic, it is nevertheless fascinating that the UK has a noble history of accepting needy children during times of wars and chaos. 

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Obama commutes prison sentences of 58 people

Japan should be aware of the extreme insensitivity of President Obama and ask itself whether it must remain a loyal partner of the US while the former cannot even bother to apologize for committing one of the worse atrocities of the 20th century.  Moreover, precisely at a time when Obama has been placing nuclear bombers in Germany and nuclear missiles in Europe, his lack of regret or sadness over the unspeakable horror and crime against humanity in Hiroshima and Nagasaki raises a concern whether the US learned from the past or does it intend to use nuclear weapons in the future. So far, US is the only country in history to actually use the atom bomb against helpless children, men and women, causing immense scarring that will leave a mark in Japanese consciousness for another 1,000 years at least. The historical reason given was the need to frighten the Soviet Union. That’s as if I will kill a hundred innocent babies just to scare off my opponent.  Moreover, with all the talk of the catastrophe in Chernobyl which was caused by human error and not intentionally, there has been no talk at all of the Vietnamese innocent victims of Agent Orange used by the US army. How many more innocent people will be exposed to biological, nuclear or atomic weapons by the US? And can the world really afford to allow the US to cause such immense suffering and not even apologize for it, or is it time to move to a multipolar world?

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Unlike Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton Lacks A Simple, Clear Economic Message

Trump has an idea: “Make America Great Again.” He speaks often against Crooked Hillary. Hillary does not have a simple slogan. But she is the anti-Trump. She is the vote of all those who fear that Trump will bring guns to schools, that he is a fascist and a racist, that they are the enlightened America, that they are educated and progressive while he is a brute. Voters for Hillary engage in identity politics but not in the traditional sense. They view themselves as those who wish to maintain sanity and democracy in America, and therefore must oppose Trump and cannot afford not to. Opposing Trump is who they are. It is likely that the anti-Trump campaign will seek to bring as many concerned citizens to the voting booth. Note the hypocrisy: When Obama and Hillary destroyed entire countries, Americans were not concerned. But when Taco-eating Trump speaks against migration, not killing anyone, just closing the gates, all of a sudden, the “human rights people” are up in arms. If the youth that supports Bernie refrains from voting, and Trump gets out everyone he can, perhaps Hillary will not win, assuming of course that voting will not be rigged.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Cameron on 'Brexit': 'Isolationism has never served this country well'

Anyone who knows a little bit of British history knows that the British always liked to keep a certain distance from Europe and to have things done their own way. Even Margaret Thatcher who went at length to privatize public commons spoke strongly against “an ever closer union” in her famous Bruges address.  As an empire and a sea-power the UK was always different and de Gaulle opposed Britain’s entry due to the fact that it was never part of continental Europe and had no interest in protecting its agriculture (as indeed it opposed the CAP).  Joining the EU has been a very un-English act, in fact. It is also unclear how leaving a union that nearly bankrupted Greece, Spain and Portugal is turning one’s back on Europe. In fact, leaving the EU is the best act of friendship towards these countries, which are undoubtedly Europe, one can engage in. However, the sad aspect is that eurosceptics in the UK may come to realize that just as no one heeded the miners call when they protested en mass against Thatcher and she pursued her neoliberal policies anyway, now it is the EU which is imposing its will against the UK and it’s too late to turn back the clock. The EU is essentially a prison-club that has only one entrance and no exit. But even if one cannot leave the EU, at least a prime minister of a given country should display some basic knowledge of his country’s history. 

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Obama to make historic visit to Hiroshima

Japan should be aware of the extreme insensitivity of President Obama and ask itself whether it must remain a loyal partner of the US while the former cannot even bother to apologize for committing one of the worse atrocities of the 20th century.  Moreover, precisely at a time when Obama has been placing nuclear bombers in Germany and nuclear missiles in Europe, his lack of regret or sadness over the unspeakable horror and crime against humanity in Hiroshima and Nagasaki raises a concern whether the US learned from the past or does it intend to use nuclear weapons in the future. So far, US is the only country in history to actually use the atom bomb against helpless children, men and women, causing immense scaring that will leave a mark in Japanese consciousness for another 1,000 years at least. The historical reason given was the need to frighten the Soviet Union. That’s as if I will kill a hundred innocent babies just to scare off my opponent.  Moreover, with all the talk of the catastrophe in Chernobyl which was caused by human error and not intentionally, there has been no talk at all of the Vietnamese innocent victims of Agent Orange used by the US army. How many more innocent people will be exposed to biological, nuclear or atomic weapons by the US? And can the world really afford to allow the US to cause such immense suffering and not even apologize for it, or is it time to move to a multipolar world?

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Joshua Tartakovsky

State Department says it can't find emails from Clinton IT specialist

In fact, a young man by the name of Marcel Lehel Lazar was recently extradited to the US after hacking into Hillary’s email. He’s likely to have access to the treasure of hidden emails, which are, of course, of immediate interest for the citizens of the United States. However, he is currently in US prison. His extradition raises several questions. First, why Obama has been so incompetent in capturing terrorists but effective in arresting a hacker who hacked into Hillary’s email? Second, why is it legal for NSA to read our emails but we can’t do the same for the elites? Third, what right does the US have to extradite a citizen of a foreign country (Romania) for hacking into an email account of a sitting politician? Is US the global Big Brother? Fourthly, in light of the fact that the US government is essentially hacking into our emails in violating of the Constitution, should we not at least demand the release of this young brave man? And how much longer will Hillary evade our questions?

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Transgender toilet use: US schools 'must respect gender identity'

Let’s take it as a basic assumption that people should be free to live their lives as they see fit.  But what we are seeing is actually the tyranny of a minority imposing itself on a majority.  A transgender should be free to live his/her/its life as it sees fit. But it makes little sense that the right of a transgender to use a restroom of the (former) opposite biological sex - which will make most people in the room very uncomfortable – will override how a majority of the people feel (probably quite uncomfortable, scared, nervous or disgusted) and that his/her/its right comes before everyone else. This is an attempt to impose a post-gender mindset on all people, which is not only an aberration and makes no sense from a liberal standpoint (since a liberal standpoint gives room for people to live their lives as atoms, but not to force it on others), but also may be part of a wider attempt to move into a post-gender asexual world where all boundaries are lost, and we are atomized, confused and rootless. One may oppose boundaries, but one does not have the right to forces others to break their boundaries. Without boundaries, there is no real sexuality and no real masculinity or femininity.  Of course, some may view these notions as outdated or constructed but a majority of people in Africa and Latin America, for example, strongly think otherwise and by and large enjoy a more satisfying sexual life than many in the west and have sex more often. But perhaps those who are pushing this radical agenda would like to see gender itself lose its relevance and with it a declining appetite for sex and fewer babies (who are not needed for capitalism at its bizarre advanced stage anyway). We should oppose this appalling policy, especially if we have some natural instincts left (yes, there is such a thing and they are not just ‘socially constructed’ since they go far deeper), and seek to protect our children. 

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Why unarmed revolutions topple some dictators but not others

We get the impression here that the west truly upholds freedom and democracy but protesters in the US often encounter violence and repression. We are told here that when autocratic countries that got closer to the west fail to practice freedom and democracy, they will be toppled by an audience eager for more. But is this really true? Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are very close to the west but protests in the latter were met by extreme violence and the west did not intervene, even verbally. It did so with Egypt, however, calling for the removal of Mubarak.  Why the discrepancy? Well, perhaps in the case of Egypt, the US had a strategic interest in the Muslim Brotherhood gaining power, as it benefits economically from growing chaos in the region, while in the case of Bahrain, a true democracy would see the Shiite majority express its opinion and secure its rights, which would give Iran an additional partner in the region.

Is the lesson from the article that autocratic governments must be brutal and stay away from western institutions to remain in power? Probably not either. Because Iraq and Syria both kept their distance from the west though they wanted better relations with it, and the former was toppled by a war while the latter is being destabilized by terrorists supported by western and middle eastern countries.

The article is inaccurate for a more basic reason: Libya. Gaddafi sought closer relations with the west and his son Saif al-Islam even studied at LSE and wrote his master on reforming the country along democratic lines. Yet once there were massive protests and terrorist actions, Gaddafi realized he had nothing to lose and cracked down on protesters. He was toppled not because of the discrepancy between his democratic aspirations and reality, but because he was physically murdered unlawfully with US support. Most Libyans wish he would have still ruled the country.

Once the US sets its eyes on a given country, it can be toppled either by war and terrorism, or by popular protests (which do not reflect necessarily the will of a majority but are covered favorably by the media). But can we let go of the notion that the US is a true democracy as it cracks down on protesters and its police is heavily militarized?

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Venezuelan Anti-Government Protesters Clash With Police

As I argued months ago on GIAnalytics, (“Venezuela’s Needs Demand a Chavista Military Coup,” March 9, 2016), the catastrophic economic situation in Venezuela, the aggressive sabotage efforts by the opposition-dominated National Assembly which mean that Maduro cannot govern, and the actual violence and looting carried out in the streets, deserve an appropriate response. For the Venezuelan economy to be saved, the Venezuelan army must step in and restore order. Even though Maduro has been mismanaging the crisis, and although others could have handled it better, he does not need to be replaced for an order to be restored. All he needs to do is to ask the military to take over in the streets to restore security and engage in emergency measures of providing basic goods. I argued then that the earlier the military takes over, the better, and indeed, the economic situation has plummeted since then. But now, the longer Maduro waits, the more there is a chance the US will intervene militarily. Sending in the military now will send a strong signal that he is determined and cannot be played with while hesitation and second-guessing will increase the US appetite for a regime change. And needless to say, the US will seek to replace him regardless as the Brazilian precedent indicates. One may argue that the military taking over would provoke a US intervention, but such an intervention is may happen anyway as Maduro said. Furthermore, in the case of a foreign intervention Venezuelans will unite behind the army as they are a nation of patriots. But if chaos continues to spread, Venezuelans will be afflicted with problems and will not support their sovereignty as much since their basic needs are not taken care of, and they will be busy struggling for survival.  The military must restore the well-being of Venezuelans first and foremost so that they will be proud of their country and confident in their ability to govern themselves.  

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Bank of America $1.27 bln U.S. mortgage penalty is voided

It is pretty evident that giant banks are creating the next crisis just as they created the one in 2008 by selling repackaged derivatives with no genuine economic substance behind them.  Bankers think about the earning of the next quarter, not the well-being of the economy at large. That should be expected as they want to earn more but the question should be why do the US government and justice system lets them off the hook when they bring unforetold suffering to the American people and the world at large. Bernie Sanders was the only candidate to call for breaking up large banks and for that he was mocked by Bill Clinton, who misrepresented his view and claimed Bernie’s supporters wanted to shoot every third banker on Wall Street. Hillary Clinton would ensure the rule of the banksters even further to the detriment of most of us.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Brazil minister ousted after secret tape reveals plot to topple President Rousseff

Romero Jucá, the president of PMDB (Brazilian Movement of Democratic Brazil) and the Brazilian Minister of Planning in the post-impeachment government put in place after Michael Temer assumed power following Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment, was caught openly saying that “we had to stop the bleeding.” He was referring to the investigation on corruption (Operação Lava Jato) in which government officials provided contracts to private companies in return to bribes. The scheme also included Brazilian partially-state-owned oil company Petrobras. Seven of the new government ministers were investigated in connection with the corruption scheme.   Jucá’s statement is important in that it revealed to Brazilians that Dilma was impeached so that the blame will fall on her and to bring the investigation to an end. It is clear now that Dilma’s impeachment was a dirty coup, not a legal impeachment. The investigation indeed did not resume following the impeachment. 

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Health professionals call for Olympics in Rio to be postponed due to Zika

That seems like a fair claim. In fact, even if WHO would not issue such a suggestion many tourists are unlikely to come due to fears of Zika contagion. Had Dilma remained the president, we could have at least expected the government authorities to function professionally (although the anti-terrorism act under her watch was a grave mistake as it was meant to ensure the games will pass peacefully but now is used against dissidents of the coup government). But in the new post-coup government over six ministers are under investigation for grave corruption and the new government officials may very well be busy enriching themselves as they sell off the country while neglecting to carry out their duties. Brazil is in very bad hands at the moment and it’s far from certain tourists are medically and personally safe. A recent gang rape case in Rio that was posted on social media only serves to exacerbate concerns on safety for tourists.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Ukraine's 'Joan of Arc' may be thorn in own leaders' side

Savchenko is a hard-core nationalist and a fascist who seeks to capture territories in East Ukraine although a majority of the people there wish to remain independent (many have returned to Donetsk since the war began). As a pilot she was likely responsible for the murder of two Russian journalists. Her release had its pros: Russia got in return two captive soldiers and demonstrated good will. However, she will embolden Ukrainian ultra-nationalism and will radicalize the already ultra-nationalist currents even further. Israel released about 1,000 terrorists to secure the release of a single captive soldier, Gilad Shalit, held by Hamas, despite the objection of various security officials including Meir Dagan, the former head of the Mossad. By this count (2 for 1), Russia did better. However, Savchenko’s release will do little to restore calm or to foster some kind of normalization between Ukraine and Russia. In fact, it will serve to intensify the conflict as Ukrainian society will become even more radicalized and will seek to capture territories where Kiev/Kyiv is unwanted.

 

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Joshua Tartakovsky

No Terrorist Groups Took Credit for Downing EgyptAir Flight 804

Terrorist groups tend to claim responsibility for actions they did and did not carry out for the sake of gaining publicity.  It is unlikely that such a massive action was simply a trial for another one. However, the fact that the plane went down at a later stage does not mean that it was not brought down by a bomb. Such an action (the bomb detonating only later) serves to terrify even further as it shows the degree of control and professionalism those who planted it have. We will have to wait for the investigation, of course, but two possibilities come to mind. First, Islamists who support ISIS in Sinai (Egypt) were behind the action, but they did not wish to take credit, as that would legitimize President Sisi sending the army to crack down on terrorist cells in Sinai. The action, then, hurt Egypt under the belt while depriving it of legitimacy in carrying out anti-terror operations or even from sympathy worldwide. In such a scenario, the attack was a masterstroke of psychological warfare. The other alternative is that the bomb was not placed there by traditional terrorist groups but by a third party for separate reasons. This may seem like a wild idea and indeed, cannot at this stage be disproven or proven. However, EU security has been quite lax with a caravan full of arms making its way securely from western Europe to Greece, and the respective European security officials could have not but known about it or, in a less likely scenario, were exceptionally lax. But in light of the Brussels and Paris attacks which were carried out in broad daylight in sensitive areas, we should not have extreme confidence in EU security officials who, again, at best are lax if not worse. If an attack can take place in Brussels’ airport despite earlier warnings made by Israel and the US, then we cannot but wonder if what took place in both cases was more than just security officials not taking their job seriously.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

US-backed Syrian Forces Advance Toward IS Capital

US Special forces along with the 1st Attack Unit of YPG and YPJ will be working together to retake Raqaa. With US providing fire power, and probably also satellite pictures and intelligence, it is probable that the Kurdish forces will take over Raqaa fairly quickly (and especially likely that US special forces will be taking an active part and leading the battles in key areas). It should be noted that at the moment the US army is also helping the Kurdish Peshmerga near Mosul in northern Iraq. This essentially means that the Kurds in both Syria and Iraq are receiving active US support. The same support is not extended to the Iraqi army, the Shiite mobilization units or the Syrian Army, all actively fighting ISIS.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Trump's San Diego rally draws more than 1,000 chanting protesters

The Washington Times makes the argument that the Mexican flags, the vandalism carried out by protesters, the burning of American flags, actually provoked a backlash and resulted in greater support for Trump in California. “When people show up throwing bottles and waving the Mexican flag, you have had a lot of people who may have not been willing to support Trump who see this and say the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” said former Rep. Tom Davis, who ran House Republicans’ campaign committee for two cycles a decade ago. “There is no question these are helping Trump, and Democrats know that.”” (Protests backfire as anti-American images push undecided voters to Trump, Seth McLaughlin, The Washington Times, May 30, 2016).

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Joshua Tartakovsky

50,000 civilians reportedly trapped inside Fallujah as Iraqi forces surround ISIS stronghold

The Iraqi army will probably be facing prolonged battles as some ISIS fighters will probably be hiding in tunnels from which it they can launch surprise attacks at unexpected places, explosives will be placed in roads and homes, and ISIS fighters will fire rockets at Iraqi soldiers from within the civilian population. Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is right to express concern about human life, but that would mean that battles will be prolonged, and Iraqi fighters will face long and tiring battles as they seek to target the enemy by surgical operations. Needless to say, ISIS is not likely to surrender and therefore this will be a test to the ability of the Iraqi army to carry out a long, exhausting fight. Moreover, it will be a test to see how closely Shiite and Sunni fighters can join in a common effort. US killed a senior ISIS fighter in Fallujah on Friday but it has also withheld support from the Shiite forces - despite the fact that they are one of the most effective fighting forces against ISIS - and contrary to concerns of some Americans that the Sunni and Shiites forces will battle each other, in my view it is more likely that Sunnis and Shiites will join. (Cooperation with the Kurdish Peshmerga is far more complex as it has clashed with Shiite forces in the past and sought to claim areas for itself rather than handing them over to the Iraqi government. However, it will not take part in this battle).  Fallujah despite its challenge is also a potential for close Shiite and Sunni collaboration against ISIS, contrary to US wishes. If many civilians are killed due to the fighting, we can expect the Western international media to cast blame at the Iraqi army and the Shiite forces although unfortunately the fact that ISIS embedded itself among civilians makes a high number of civilian casualties likely (and US operations have resulted in large numbers of civilians being killed, as we know.)

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Kurds: Peshmerga target Mosul in advance on ISIS territory

Why are the Kurds interested in Mosul? It is a multiethnic city with a Sunni majority, the second largest in Iraq, which lies outside Kurdistan.  The Caliphate was declared there by al-Baghdadi.

Aziz Ahmad in The Atlantic (No Kurds will Die to Restore Iraqi Unity, May 28) argued that the Peshmerga demand greater financial assistance and arms from the Iraqi government, and autonomy for Sunnis in the Mosul area. The battle for Mosul with US support is, therefore, the battle to fragment Iraq further and strip Baghdad of its power, while turning the once unified country into a series of mini-states within a federation.

In March, Iraqi forces made gains in villages to the east of Mosul, around Makhmour, but they failed to take over Mosul. The US has been pressuring the Iraqi army to join forces with Kurdish Peshmerga to retake Mosul. The US estimated that between 20,000-25,000 soldiers would be needed to retake Mosul while Stratfor estimated that as many as 40,000 soldiers would be needed. The key to retaking the city, which is a Sunni hotbed of extremists, would lie in cutting off its support lines. US has placed pressure on the Iraqi government also to allow Turkish soldiers to enter the war against ISIS while Iraq has been worried about Turkish intrusions. However, US has ruled out cooperating with the effective Shiite mobilization units although their fighters are Shiites of Iraq and not foreigners.

The recapture of Mosul where 9,000 ISIS fighters are estimated to be living would probably not begin before next year. And doing so would require US pressure on the Iraqi government to divulge power with the latter unlikely to concede easily unless faced by numerous terrorist attacks. For now, the Iraqi government has been withstanding pressure to divide the country. A key test is a coming battle in Fallujah and the success of the joint Shiite-Sunni effort.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Snowden's Leaks an Act of 'Public Service,' Holder Says

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder took issue with “the way” Snowden exposed information. But what actually happened to those who worked through the traditional channels and revealed wrongdoings to their superiors?

Thomas Drake, a senior NSA person who complained about wrongdoings by the NSA to his superiors, discovered that telling the truth to his superiors will not solve the problem. He was arrested, charged with severe crimes, his superiors lied to a federal judge and withheld information from the court, and he faced financial ruin. He later found a job as a simple worker at an Apple store with his reputation destroyed (The Guardian, “How the Pentagon punished NSA whistleblowers”).

John Crane, a Pentagon official whose job was to protect whistleblowers found to his shock that he was eventually prosecuted himself. He was made to resign in 2013. (The Intercept, Vindication for Edward Snowden From a New Player in NSA Whistleblowing Saga).

According to Mark Hertsgaard, Snowden learned from the mistakes made by Drake and that was what saved him. Hertsgaard told The Intercept: “When people look at Edward Snowden, he’s the most famous. What they don’t realize is just how exceptional he is. He actually got his message out and he lived to tell the tale. … That is highly unusual. In most cases, whistleblowers pay with their lives to save ours.”

Next year, results of a new Department of Justice investigation into how the Department of Defense treats whistleblowers will become public. One should be forgiven for not holding his breath, but Holder  should examine how past whistleblowers were treated before suggesting that Snowden “harmed American interests.”

 

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Israel Parliament Approves Avigdor Liberman as Defense Minister

Lieberman is likely to take on a pragmatic position and collaborate with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan.  However, he is far more likely than any other Israeli minister to be flexible on the question of Israeli support for terrorists in Syria, assuming he is assured that special measures will be taken to ensure that South Syria, especially the area close to Israel, won’t be taken over by Hezbollah or Iranian forces. He is likely to be more pragmatic than people realize while at the same time trying to forge better ties with Russia. Obama as a lame duck cannot prevent Israel and Russia from forming closer ties as elections are near. If Trump gets elected, the ties can be strengthened, while if Hillary gets elected, Lieberman and Netanyahu are likely to face intense pressure on a so-called peace process. However, it remains to be seen what Lieberman will do when faced with US pressure, whether he will cave right away or whether he will find a way to maneuver. In the meantime, the fact that Russia will be returning to Israel a tank taken during a June 11, 1982, battle in Syria during which three Israeli soldiers were taken captive is a positive sign, as it would probably not be done without the approval of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In my opinion, Lieberman is willing to be very pragmatic but has zero tolerance for terrorism and wishes to have agreements based on mutual respect. Therefore, a grand bargain with Syria and Hezbollah with Russian supervision is more possible than an agreement with the Palestinians (the latter have not been proven reliable in the past, have continued to carry out terror attacks, and are not a unified stable actor). The path to such a grand bargain lies through small but steady confidence-building measures. Also, the Netanyahu government is far more stable than critics realize and is here to stay. However, US is may be placing pressure on the Israeli court system to pursue criminal investigations against Netanyahu.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Reports: North Korea Is Preparing for Missile Launch

The inter-range ballistic missile launched is the Musudan or BM-25.  It was launched approximately four times this year without success, although it was introduced in 2010. Talks in Japan on June 1 will be held between officials from the United States, South Korea, and Japan. North Korea attempted to launch the missile despite these scheduled talks. The missile developed by North Korea closely resembles the Soviet submarine-launched ballistic missile R-27 Zyb (known by NATO as the SS-N-6). The BM-25 can be launched from a mobile position and therefore the location of its launching and preparations for it are nearly impossible to detect.

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Stephen Hawking: Trump 'is a demagogue'

Professor Hawking claims that Trump “is a demagogue, who seems to appeal to the lowest common denominator."  The traditional association of a demagogue is one who seeks power by appealing to people’s lowest emotions.  But how about a cold and scientific look at the actual policy proposals and plans?  And does Hillary not appeal to the gender factor as the main reason why people should vote for her? Trump supports American jobs and opposes more endless wars. Hillary supports American corporations and more wars.  So is the method in which Trump seeks to get elected worse than the actual proposals he offers? Are not almost all politicians demagogic as they seek to appeal to the public through populist means? (Obama created false hope in seeking to get elected). Even if migration were to be limited, are countries not entitle to limit migration or must they face sex attacks by Middle East migrants as in Germany?

Hawking also argues that “Gone are the days we could stand on our own, against the world. We need to be part of a larger group of nations, both for our security, and our trade." But Britain in the EU means it will be exposed to mass migration from the Middle East which has already been hitting continental Europe, so how does EU improve UK’s security? And trade deals cannot be decided by London but must pass through Brussels, so where is UK’s freedom to make the best deals? Hawking says that staying in the EU “promotes the mobility of people. Students can come here from EU countries to study, and our students can go to other EU universities." But that will be held true even if Britain exits as students can easily be granted study visas.  If UK would gain control over its borders, people could continue to come, the only difference would be that UK can decide if it wants young brains to whom visas can be given, or radical jihadists who will come in without asking.

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OPINION

Vladimir Golstein

Vladimir Golstein

The Danderous Acceptance of Donald Trump

James N. Green

James N. Green

Politics in Brazil: Fasten Your Seat Belts!

Barbara H. Peterson

Barbara H. Peterson

Health officials confirm spread of Zika virus through sexual contact in Texas, first in US

Danny Haiphong

Danny Haiphong

WHY IS OTTO(SUPER)MAN ERDOGAN LOSING HIS CHARISMA?

Miray Aslan

Miray Aslan

How relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran reached a breaking point

Navid Nasr

Navid Nasr

How relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran reached a breaking point

Writers

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Joshua Tartakovsky

Analysis should serve as a method to better understand our world, not to obscure it.

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