Saturday, April 27, 2019

Week in Review Discussion on The Critical Hour (4/26/2019)

On this episode of The Critical Hour, Dr. Wilmer Leon is joined by Jon Jeter, author, two-time Pulitzer Prize, former Washington Post bureau chief and award-winning foreign correspondent; and Jim Kavanagh, political analyst and commentator and editor of The Polemicist.

The United States government is seeking to extradite and prosecute Julian Assange for one reason: to punish him for publishing true and embarrassing information about US crimes and intimidate every journalist in the world from doing so again. If the US government succeeds in doing this, it will strike a devastating blow to the fundamental elements of democracy throughout the world — the freedom of the press and the related ability of citizens to know what their governments are doing. 

[My related article: Avoiding Assange]

Joe Biden joins the 2020 Democratic presidential race. As I listened to the morning cable shows, the coverage is all Biden all the time, and Joe Scarborough would have you believe that Biden not only walks on water but he also parted the Red Sea. How does this portend for the Democratic field? What does this do for the country? 

The Pentagon is preparing to loosen rules that bar troops from interacting with migrants entering the United States, expanding the military’s involvement in President Donald Trump’s operation along the southern border. Senior Defense Department officials have recommended that Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan approve a new request from the Department of Homeland Security to provide military lawyers, cooks and drivers to assist with handling a surge of migrants along the southern border. The move would require authorizing waivers for about 300 troops to a long-standing policy prohibiting military personnel from coming into contact with migrants. According to the Washington Post, the requested expansion of military activity along the border would cost an estimated $21.9 million through the end of fiscal year 2019.

The Supreme Court’s conservative majority seemed willing Tuesday to defer to the Trump administration’s plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 US Census despite evidence it could lead to an undercount of millions of people. Unmentioned during the nearly 90-minute oral argument were the partisan stakes: An undercount estimated by census officials of about 6.5 million people probably would affect states and urban areas with large Hispanic and immigrant populations, places that tend to vote for Democrats. The lower court judges starkly rebutted Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ claim that the information was requested by the Justice Department to enforce the Voting Rights Act, which protects minorities, and they noted his consultations with hard-line immigration advocates in the White House beforehand.

An extraordinary chapter in the ongoing saga of Venezuela has been taking place, virtually unnoticed, at the Venezuelan Embassy that lies in the heart of swanky Georgetown in Washington, DC. A group calling themselves the Embassy Protection Collective, all activists opposed to the prospect of the Venezuelan opposition taking over the embassy, have been living inside the building for the past two weeks, working side-by-side with the skeletal Venezuelan diplomatic staff that was told by the State Department that they had to leave by April 24. The protesters are still there, but many believe that the US government will take action tomorrow. 

[My related article: The Siege of Venezuela and The Travails of Empire]


Jon Jeter - Author and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist with more than 20 years of journalistic experience. He is a former Washington Post bureau chief and award-winning foreign correspondent.

Jim Kavanagh - Political analyst and commentator and editor of The Polemicist.

Listen to "Top Stories: Assange's Fight, Biden's Race To WH, Census Questions Who's In US" on Spreaker.

The Critical Hour is a daily 60-minute news analysis and talk radio program on Radio Sputnik hosted by Dr. Wilmer Leon. Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.

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