We Are Change Mail
- White House Survey Asks Public: Should The Presidency Be Eliminated?
- Reports: North Korea Plans To Take U.S. Tourists In South Korea Hostage If Provoked
- FBI Agrees To Pay $299,000 To Anti War Journalists For Legal Remedy
- Trump Promises ‘Massive Tax Cut’ as Soon as Next Week
- Report: Airstrike Fired On Syrian Army By Israeli Forces, Zero Casualties
|White House Survey Asks Public: Should The Presidency Be Eliminated?
Posted: 22 Apr 2017 11:38 AM PDT
The Trump administration recently launched a public survey on the White House’s website where participants can indicate which federal departments they believe should be eliminated.
While some survey options fall in line with the traditional Republican agenda, such as cutting the Department of Energy and the National Endowment for the Arts, others appear to flout the power of the Washington D.C., establishment. The CIA, FBI, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Pentagon, and National Security Council are also options.
The survey allows users to select entire departments or bureaucracies within each department. It also features a question regarding which agencies survey participants would like to reform rather than eliminate.
Most surprisingly, however, is the option to eliminate the “Executive Office of the President” altogether. Users can also select smaller branches of the executive office and other agencies. Even U.S. Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement are options under the larger umbrella of Homeland Security.
Users can select as many options as they like and are also provided write-in boxes where they can list their suggestions and ideas in more detail.
The survey is an apparent result of an executive order President Trump issued on March 13. According to the website:
It claims the president is seeking Americans’ input to achieve this goal. “President Trump wants to hear your ideas and suggestions on how the government can be better organized to work for the American people,” the website’s statement reads. The survey will remain online until June 12 of this year.
It is unclear whether or not the president, like any other politician, is actually eager to hear the ideas of his constituency and Americans in general. While that could be the case, the website appears to be a useful tool, at the very least, for creating the appearance of accountability and concern with what voters actually want.
For now, the results of the survey are hidden, and the site does not specify whether the final results will be made public. Notably, however, a disclaimer at the bottom of the page warns users that the White House “may not respond to every comment that is submitted and submissions do not bind the Office of Management and Budget or the Administration to further action.”
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|Reports: North Korea Plans To Take U.S. Tourists In South Korea Hostage If Provoked
Posted: 21 Apr 2017 05:02 PM PDT
North Korea plans to take U.S. tourists hostage in South Korea if the U.S. attacks the nuclear power, according to a Daily Mail interview with Ung-gil Lee. As reported by the Daily Mail, Ung-gil Lee is a North Korean who ran to South Korea after allegedly serving in one of the “snatch squads” which are poised to infiltrate South Korea and kidnap diplomats, tourists, and foreign businessmen.
According to the interview, Ung-gil Lee said that “the best case would be to round them up and take them north, but if not they will take the foreigners hostage in South Korea,” he continues to say that “they will all be killed, come what may – this goes hand in hand with assassination.” Lee goes on to describe the process by which this would be carried out, saying that:
According to the interview with the Daily Mail, Lee changed his opinion about North Korea after watching the American movie Saving Private Ryan, saying “the first American film I saw was Saving Private Ryan. I was amazed. I was taught that only our soldiers had a sense of brotherhood and honour but I saw these Americans with an immense sense of love, honour, and brotherhood. I began thinking that maybe all I had been taught in the army was false.”
This report comes after this week’s failed missile launch in North Korea in celebration of a national holiday. During the Obama administration, there is evidence of cyber attacks utilised by the USA to sabotage North Korean missile tests, it is unclear whether or not U.S. cyber attacks stopped this test. However, it is important to keep in mind that North Korea has had several successful tests in the past, and their status as a nuclear power should be taken seriously.
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|FBI Agrees To Pay $299,000 To Anti War Journalists For Legal Remedy
Posted: 21 Apr 2017 04:53 PM PDT
Journalists from Anti War Eric Garris and Dennis Raimondo sued the FBI in 2013, after they realized that their work was being monitored by government agents. According to a report from Courthouse News Service, the two journalists are set to be paid $299,000 from the FBI pocketbook to settle legal fees.
Garris and Raimondo would have perhaps not known they were being monitored if they didn’t notice their names on a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request available online. In this document, they realized that the FBI conducted a threat assessment in 2004, regarding whether or not Antiwar.com and their work could “constitute a threat to national security on behalf of a foreign power.”
In other words, the FBI thought that these two humble journalists could be fighting against the U.S. Constitution as part of an international espionage scandal. Thanks to the help from Julia Mass, an attorney from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) branch based in northern California, these two journalists received legal help.
With attorney Julia Mass by their side, the two Anti War journalists were finally able to begin utilising a legal means to protect themselves and their company from FBI monitoring. The two filed a FOIA request to have all of the FBI files regarding them released. According to a statement gathered by Courthouse News, she said that:
Mass had previously said that she believes “government surveillance of news organisations interferes with journalists’ ability to do their jobs” and that “freedom of the press is a cornerstone of our democracy, whether it’s the Associated Press or Antiwar.com.”
When the journalists realised that they were being monitored by government agents, they quickly jumped to their online platform to try and get this information out in the open. Sadly for them, this caused some of their heavy donors to stop donating, in fear that they would also become monitored by the FBI. The two said that they lost $75,000 a year since 2011 as a result.
In essence then, FBI monitoring effectively caused the two journalists and their online platform to fall back into a financial crisis. When income starts coming in, it can be devastating to watch it immediately disappear. Recently, something similar happened to We Are Change when YouTube and affiliates pulled monetization from several We Are Change video reports and made the WAC YouTube channel restricted.
After filing an FOIA request to the FBI, the Anti War reporters were refused access to the files which discussed them and their media outlet. As a result, a lawsuit emerged which would last several years before the two reporters were able to see a legal remedy.
Now, the FBI has agreed to provide all of the records they have on Antiwar, as described in the two stipulations filed in the San Francisco federal court, These stipulations are both available online, one available here, and the other here.
Attorney Julia Mass says that “we certainly expect it was everything they had… [but] because that information is in the hands of the FBI, we can never know for certain” when describing whether or not they received all of the FBI files on the two reporters.
The two reporters are now pending two other claims against the FBI in court after dropping their FOIA claims. One claim they are still seeking the remedy for is the alleged inaccurate records on Eric Garris. According to a separate report from Courthouse News, Garris was marked by an FBI file as being a potential cyber terrorist, threatening to hack the FBI website. Garris had reportedly contacted the FBI for help regarding an email he received that was a threat to hack Antiwar.com.
The FBI tried to correct this error in 2014 by creating a corrective action file. Legal consultants for the Anti War reporter have argued that the inaccurate file should be expunged or altered to make it no question that the reporter never threatened the FBI.
Anti War started in 1995 in an effort to oppose U.S. Balkan military campaign during the Clinton presidency. The website’s mission statement says it is “devoted to the cause of non-interventionism and is read by libertarians, pacifists, leftists, “greens,” and independents alike, as well as many on the Right who agree with our opposition to imperialism.”
Anti War is perpetually posted here on We Are Change, and any in the field of independent journalism should see this news as one that rings the bells of liberty and privacy.
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|Trump Promises ‘Massive Tax Cut’ as Soon as Next Week
Posted: 21 Apr 2017 03:27 PM PDT
In an interview with the Associated Press on Friday, President Donald Trump promised that he would be releasing a tax reform plan with “massive” tax cuts for businesses and individuals as early as next week.
The tax cuts for both businesses and individuals will be “bigger I believe than any tax cut ever,” according to the president, and can be expected “Wednesday or shortly thereafter.”
The president then pointed to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and said, “so, go do it.”
“I will, Mr. President,” Mnuchin responded.
Next Saturday will mark Trump’s 100th day in office, and it is expected that the administration will attempt to secure some big wins before the date approaches.
The president gave little details of what the reform will contain, but during his campaign Trump proposed a top individual tax rate of 33% — which is over 6 points lower than the current ceiling of 39.6%. He also pledged to cut the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15%.
Earlier in the week, Mnuchin indicated that the new tax plan would contain three or four tax brackets, instead of the seven that exist currently. He also claimed there would be a “streamlined” tax system.
“Fundamentally, fewer brackets, less deductions, simpler tax code,” Mnuchin said at a DC event sponsored by the Institute of International Finance. “This will be the most significant change to the tax code since Reagan.”
Responding to Friday’s announcement from Trump, the Dow Jones industrial average jumped over 30 points from 20,541 to 20,572 as of 2:07 p.m. ET, Business Insider reported.
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|Report: Airstrike Fired On Syrian Army By Israeli Forces, Zero Casualties
Posted: 21 Apr 2017 01:34 PM PDT
Journalist Sarah Abdallah has reported this afternoon that Israel has conducted an airstrike against the Syrian Army in the Quneitra region.
If these reports are confirmed, this won’t be the first time Israel has conducted a missile strike on Syria. In March, Israeli airstrikes on the country caused Syrian forces to fire back.
According to The Israel Times, the March airstrikes and today’s reports are not the only time Israel has fired upon the country recently. As the local Israeli outlet states: “A number of additional airstrikes attributed to Israel followed as did a drone strike that reportedly killed a member of a Syrian pro-regime militia.”
According to a report from Jerusalem Post following the March airstrike, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quoted to tell Chinese reporters that:
Other Military Actions In Syria By Israel
Israel’s military involvement in Syria didn’t just start within the past couple months. It dates back to the 1948 Arab-Israeli War when Israel faced off against Syria and other countries, if not earlier. The subsequent Six-Day War and Yom Kippur War also were the result of feuds between Israel & Syria, among other geopolitical forces when Jerusalem Post reported in January 2013 that Israeli forces attacked a “truck loaded with weapons” heading from Syria to Lebanon.
Israeli media company Hareetz furthermore asserts that two airstrikes were conducted on Syria by Israel during the week of December 4th, 2016.
Considering Netanyahu’s recent comments to Chinese reporters, the recent airstrikes in Syria by Israeli forces could just be the beginning of an ever-evolving conflict in Syria.
The big question that begs to be asked though, is why is Israel bombing Syrian forces that are fighting terrorists?
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