The Final Countdown – 4/11/24 – GOP Donors Eye 3rd Party Candidates to Stifle Biden’s Presidential Hopes

On this episode of The Final Countdown, hosts Angie Wong and Ted Rall discuss the latest developments from around the world, including the GOP donors eyeing third-party presidential candidates. 

Tyler Nixon – Counselor-at-law
Scottie Nell Hughes – RT Host
Scott Stantis – Political cartoonist
Dr. Wilmer Leon – Political Scientist, Nationally Syndicated Columnist, Host of The Critical Hour
Andrew Arthur – Resident Fellow for the Center for Immigration Studies
 
The show starts with counselor-at-law Tyler Nixon providing an analysis of the FISA bill, which crashed in the House amid former president Donald Trump’s push to kill the surveillance law.
 
Then, RT Host Scottie Nell Hughes discusses Uri Berliner’s critique of NPR’s coverage of several topics including Hunter Biden and Russiagate.
 
Political cartoonist and commentator Scott Stantis continues the conversation and also touches on a tragedy out of Chicago. 
 
The second hour begins with political scientist Dr. Wilmer Leon, who discusses Cornel West’s announcement of Dr. Milena Abdullah as his running mate. 
 
The show closes with Immigration expert Andrew Arthur analyzing the Biden administration’s shift toward policies reminiscent of those implemented by former President Trump at the U.S.-Mexico border.
 
 

Biden’s Secret Border Agenda: Migrants Fill Our Baby Gap

           I didn’t question the incoming Biden Administration when they rolled back the Trump era’s stricter border control policies in 2021. There’s nothing unusual about reversing a previous president’s approach, especially when he belongs to the other party and the policy in question is roundly criticized.

You didn’t have to be a proponent of open borders to feel discomfort about Trump’s zero-tolerance stance toward both economic migrants and political asylum applicants, which led to kids in cages, his draconian family separation policy, which caused nearly a thousand children to get disappeared into the system and were never reunited with their parents, or his Remain in Mexico scheme, which subjected immigration applicants to gang and cartel violence. By the time he left office, Trump’s handling of undocumented people who attempted to cross the U.S.-Mexico border was viewed as inhumane and highly unpopular.

As we see so often in American politics, we have gone from one extreme to the other. President Biden has swung past the status quo ante toward immigration policies more liberal than anyone alive today can remember. Slightly fewer than two million people illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border during Trump’s four years in office; there have been well over six million under Biden, who still has nine months left to serve. Biden has deported more than half of these.

Where the two administrations’ policies really differ is their handling of applicants who present themselves to border patrol agents and followed the federal government’s legal application process for asylum. Fewer than 200,000 asylum seekers were paroled, i.e. admitted into the U.S. pending the resolution of their claim, under Trump. Biden has paroled nearly 500,000, and he still has a year to go, with big spikes over the past two years. Between those people and others allowed into the U.S. under Biden’s special refugee programs for people fleeing conflict zones like Ukraine, Afghanistan and Venezuela, more than 1,000,000 are now in country.

Now it’s Biden’s turn to feel the heat of popular discontent in an election year. More than two-thirds of voters disapprove of the president on immigration (68%) and border security (69%), according to the AP-NORC poll conducted on March 29th. After the economy, healthcare, crime and guns, immigration is tied for fifth with abortion among the issues voters care about most right now.

Like other leftists, I long assumed that Biden’s “open border” approach was driven by a pair of common well-intentioned albeit shortsighted liberal impulses: opposing all things Trump just because and opening America’s doors to the poor and oppressed masses desperate for the chance to make new lives here, à la Emma Lazarus in homage to our history as a Nation of Immigrants.

Now I think something else is going on.

Biden and the Democrats read polls; they know their border policies aren’t playing well with the swing voters they need to win this fall. Trump’s fearmongering seems to be landing punches. So why is the Administration staying the course? Why are they just standing by and watching as cities like New York and Chicago reel under the financial stress of hundreds of thousands of new arrivals they can’t handle?

As James Carville famously observed in 1992, it’s the economy, stupid. It’s always the economy, especially in an election year. And you can’t hit the ideal GDP growth rate of two or three percent a year if your population—your consumer base and your labor pool—shrinks.

But Team Biden is looking far beyond November.

The developed world is facing a fertility crisis. For the population to remain stable, the average woman needs to have 2.1 children. (The fraction over two accounts for disease, accidents and mortality in general.) A study published in The Lancet finds that the fertility rate for Western Europe, 1.53 rate in 2021, is expected to drop further to 1.37 by 2100. A major population drop-off could cause a crisis as a smaller workforce is unable to support an older, larger cohort of retirees. Demand for homes and other trans-generational products could collapse, dragging down consumer goods and leading to a deflationary doom loop.

Fortunately, report co-author Natalia V. Bhattacharjee says, there’s a solution: liberalizing immigration from places like the Global South, where birthrates remain high. “Once nearly every country’s population is shrinking, reliance on open immigration will become necessary to sustain economic growth.” She told Al Jazeera that “sub-Saharan African countries have a vital resource that ageing societies are losing—a youthful population.”

            Here in the U.S., our fertility rate has dropped from 3.65 in 1960 to 2.08 in 1990 to 1.66 in 2021. At the same time, population has risen from 181 million in 1960 to 250 million to 333 million in 2021. Immigration, legal and illegal, has filled the void created by our failure to make enough babies.

            Under Trump, not so much.

            I am increasingly convinced that, behind securely locked soundproof doors in the White House and other corridors of power, top Biden officials are staring at demographic charts that show the rate of population increase leveling off toward even, and dripping sweat over the fact that the current economic model, which is predicated on consistent expansion, is imperiled by a fertility crisis neither they nor the media ever talk about. Where Republicans see an uncontrolled flow of people from Central America and elsewhere pouring across the border with Mexico as threats to American jobholders, possible criminals and perhaps cultural harbingers of a Great Replacement theory, Democratic economists view them, like Bhattacharjee, as a convenient solution to the intractable demographic issues of Americans getting married later and in fewer numbers and thus having fewer children than required to keep growing the economy.

            There are ways to encourage American citizens who already live here to have more kids. One city in Japan, whose economy has struggled against a fertility crisis since the 1990s, has succeeded in growing family sizes by investing free medical care for children, free diapers and, most effectively, free daycare. Other places have achieved similar results. There is a direct correlation between low birth rates and expensive child daycare. But there’s no sign that Washington cares about the issue, much less is about to act.

That leaves immigration. Given the stakes and the undeniable capitalistic logic that necessitates throwing open the floodgates, President Biden might want to take a shot at something he seems both to hate and is not good at: explaining the facts to the public.

(Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, co-hosts the left-vs-right DMZ America podcast with fellow cartoonist Scott Stantis. You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)

 

The Final Countdown – 4/10/24 – Congress Grills Top Military Brass Over Ukraine, Israel Funding

On this episode of The Final Countdown, hosts Angie Wong and Ted Rall discuss a wide range of topics from around the globe, including top U.S. military officers facing Congress over funding to Ukraine and Israel. 

Scott Stantis– Cartoonist for The Chicago Tribune
Jamie Finch – Former Director at the National Transportation Safety Board 
Jeremy Kuzmarov – Managing Editor of Covert Action Magazine 
Mark Sleboda – International Relations and Security Analyst 
 
The show opens with cartoonist Scott Stantis to weigh in on U.S. military aid to Israel and Ukraine, the political drama involving Marjorie Taylor Greene’s threats against Speaker Johnson.
 
Then, Former Director at the National Transportation Safety Board Jamie Finch delves into the transportation sector’s recent challenges, including Norfolk Southern’s significant settlement, Boeing’s halved deliveries amidst heightened quality checks, and a whistleblower’s alarming revelations about the 777 and 787 models.
 
The second hour begins with Managing Editor of Covert Action Magazine Jeremy Kuzmarov analyzing the escalating tensions in Gaza, including Elizabeth Warren’s predictions about the ICJ’s potential genocide declaration, Netanyahu’s announcement of an invasion date, Turkey’s sanctions against Israel, and accusations against Iran.
 
The show closes with international relations analyst Mark Sleboda examining the allegations against Ukraine’s Burisma, accused of funding terrorist attacks.
 
 

The Final Countdown – 4/9/24 – Brazil and Elon Musk at Odds over Free Speech

On this episode of The Final Countdown, hosts Angie Wong and Ted Rall discuss a plethora of topics from around the world, including a renewed Russiagate hysteria campaign from the Democrats. 

Rachel Blevins – Host of The Back Story
Ajay Pallegar – Criminal and civil attorney
Armen Kurdian – Foreign and Domestic Policy Expert
Peter Coffin – Journalist, Youtuber
 
The show begins with the Host of The Back Story Rachel Belvins, who discusses the renewed frenzy over Russiagate 2.0, as the Democrats peddle the narrative that Americans are being influenced by Russian disinformation.
 
Then, criminal and civil attorney Ajay Pallegar explores the latest developments in the legal battles surrounding former President Trump, including his plans to sue the judge presiding over his hush-money case. He also touches on the latest out of Fani Willis’s saga. 
 
The second hour opens with Armen Kurdian, who discusses a Biden-appointed judge reprimanding the Department of Justice for disregarding congressional subpoenas related to the Hunter Biden investigation.
 
The show wraps up with journalist and Youtuber Peter Coffin examining the situation in Brazil where Elon Musk is under investigation for his decision to reactivate several right-wing social media accounts.
 
 
 

The Final Countdown – 4/8/24 – Mike Johnson Battles His Own Party to Push Through Divisive Ukraine Aid

On this episode of The Final Countdown, hosts Angie Wong and Ted Rall break down current events including House Speaker Mike Johnson pushing the Ukraine aid bill. 

Andrii Telizhenko – Ukrainian whistleblower
Tyler Nixon – Counselor-at-law
Robert Hornack – Political consultant
Mitch Roschelle – Media Commentator
 
The show begins with Ukrainian whistleblower Andrii Telizhenko discussing the ongoing efforts of House Speaker Mike Johnson to secure aid for Ukraine despite internal divisions within the GOP. He also discusses the recent drone attack on the Zaporozhye nuclear plant.
 
Then, counselor-at-law Tyler Nixon sheds light on the escalating tensions between Special Counsel Jack Smith and Judge Aileen Canon in the high-profile case concerning classified documents found at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
 
The second hour starts with political consultant Robert Hornack delving into the fundraising campaigns of both President Biden and former President Trump, analyzing their strategies.
 
The show closes with media commentator Mitch Roschelle discussing House Speaker Mike Johnson’s efforts to rally legislative support for the reauthorization of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
 
 
 
 

The Final Countdown – 4/4/24 – Biden on Edge: High-Stakes Call with Netanyahu Looms

On this episode of The Final Countdown, hosts Angie Wong and Ted Rall discuss various current geopolitical events, including Biden and Netanyahu’s high-stakes call.

Tyler Nixon – Counselor-at-law
Jamarl Thomas – Host of Fault Lines
Mark Sleboda – International Relations and Security Analyst
Mohamed Gomaa – RT Journalist
 
The show begins with Counselor-at-law Tyler Nixon discussing the intricacies of a high-profile case in San Diego, where defendants charged in connection with a street fight argue that Antifa, the group they are associated with, lacks the formal organization to be held collectively responsible.
 
Then, Jamarl Thomas, Host of Fault Lines, joins to delve into the groundbreaking realm of quantum computing, discussing Microsoft’s stake in the new technological era and its potential ramifications.
 
The second hour starts with Mark Sleboda, discussing Russian military advancements in Ukraine and NATO’s ongoing plans for aid to Ukraine. 
 
The show closes with RT Journalist Mohamed Gomma, who analyzes Egypt’s role in ceasefire talks between Gaza and Israel amidst ongoing hostilities, including a recent Israeli strike on a World Central Kitchen convoy.
 

 

 

What’s Left 9: Foreign Policy Under the Left

            Every country needs a coherent foreign policy. And it’s impossible to overstate the importance of the United States’ military and diplomatic posture.

            The U.S. has the world’s second-largest and most sophisticated nuclear arsenal, exclusive comprehensive command over the oceans, perfect strategic geography, has nearly a thousand military bases overseas and is by far the biggest dealer of weapons and ammunition. And it uses them a lot: we have been at war throughout all of our history since independence from Britain.

            Backed by this “hard” power, which is used to disrupt and overthrow governments, destroy infrastructure and economies, and generally wreak havoc and mayhem, the U.S. deploys formidable “soft power” via its cultural and linguistic hegemony, which has established English as the world’s lingua franca. It determines whether up-and-coming nations are “permitted” to join the “nuclear club” or whether they can be recognized as sovereign countries. It controls a vast array of intelligence operations (including those purporting to work for other countries) and non-governmental organizations, which pull the strings of foreign-based media outlets. The U.S. even hosts the United Nations.

            Our military, economic, cultural and diplomatic power is incalculably formidable—and our reach is infinite.

            We have an awesome duty to exercise our massive power responsibly, intelligently, with restraint, and in service of the greater global good; sadly, the opposite has been true more often than not.

            When the Left takes over control of the nuclear missile silos, the defense budgets and the embassies circling the globe, everything must change radically.

            President Jimmy Carter hinted at what is possible when he promised to prioritize human rights in foreign policy. Though he fell woefully short of his self-professed ideal, propping up brutal dictatorships like the Shah’s torture regime in Iran and arming the far-right anti-Soviet jihadis in Afghanistan, the U.S. did not launch any wars or proxy conflicts during the late 1970s.

            First and foremost, the U.S. must adopt a fully defensive military posture. Troops may only be deployed, and then aggressively, in the event of an invasion or armed incursion—or imminent threat thereof, as defined under international law—of U.S. soil.

            The U.S. must never enter into any treaty or mutual-defense arrangement under which it might be legally or otherwise obligated to assist or intervene as the result of a conflict to which it is not a party. For example, we should cancel our membership in NATO, a mutual-defense pact whose member states treat an attack on one as an attack on all, Three Musketeers-style. As the lead state that created NATO, we should encourage its dissolution as the type of dangerous interlocking alliances that triggered World War I.

            A defense-only defense policy will allow the “defense” budget to shrink to a small fraction of current levels, freeing up trillions of dollars to attend to urgent yet long-neglected domestic needs like fighting poverty and improving our schools. It will eliminate such misbegotten foreign adventurism as the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, covert participation in regime-change “color revolutions,” backing coups such as those that transformed Libya and Honduras into failed states, and the current doomed proxy war against Russia in Ukraine as well as our support of Israel’s war against the Palestinians. Countless lives will be saved and improved as a result. We will acquire fewer enemies, thus reducing the possibility of future terrorist attacks. Here at home as well, we will see fewer hate crimes directed as those who seem to somehow be affiliated or related to whatever nation-state or ethnicity we happen to be designating as our enemy at any given time.

            A key part of a comprehensive swords-to-plowshares strategy is to close all of our hundreds of military bases around the planet and bring our troops home where they belong. This will bring an end to the perverse practice of stationing soldiers in a place where they are likely to provoke an attack only to then double- and triple-down on our presence in order to protect the previous force. Smarter not to station them there in the first place.

            When a foreign crisis or conflict seems to call for military intervention in order to restore law and order, as may be the case currently in Haiti, to stop genocide as we saw in Rwanda in the 1990s, or for some other benevolent reason free of self-interest, U.S. involvement should be reluctant and carefully considered, and then, should be voted upon directly by the people rather than our elected representatives. Then, should we choose to be involved, any such action must be coordinated by the U.N. in conjunction with a coalition of other member states. The U.S. is neither the world’s policeman nor its mob enforcer; it ought not to pretend otherwise.

            As the world’s foremost arms developer, dealer and distributor the U.S. is uniquely positioned to initiate and organize a bold new era of arms control and deescalation. A leftist U.S. will unilaterally point the way forward by methodically dismantling its nuclear stockpile, while encouraging others to do the same. Many countries, like China, Russia and North Korea, spend money they don’t have to build nukes for fear of a U.S. first strike; they would welcome a statement from U.S. that we would never fire nuclear weapons first and that they no longer need to try to keep up with us. We should join the international treaty banning the use of landmines. Similarly, we should forswear the manufacture, deployment and use of unmanned drone weapons, and ask the world to join us in a global convention prohibiting assassination drones.

            A Left country prioritizes peace. Thus it is absolutely imperative that a Left-governed United States establish and maintain full and, to the fullest extent possible friendly, diplomatic relations with every other country, no matter what. Because we value and respect each nation’s right to self-determination, it is not the place of the State Department to attempt to pressure or influence the political orientation or style of government of any other country. Whether or not we agree with a foreign state’s ideological, economic, religious or cultural attitudes is irrelevant; a leftist diplomatic corps is always willing to talk to anyone about anything and to remain available to assist U.S. nationals traveling or living in other countries. In keeping with this openminded approach, the United States will end any and all economic and other forms of sanctions against all foreign governments, and promise never to deploy them in the future for any reason whatsoever, no matter how seemingly justified. Sanctions are coercive gangsterism. As the socialist government of Cuba plainly proves, they don’t work anyway. And sanctions only affect ordinary people, never the elites.

            The U.S. should never wield trade policy as a cudgel, such as imposing tariffs against imports from one producer but not another. While trade policy should always prioritize the protection of American companies and workers, tariffs and regulations should be applied uniformly to all imported goods without favor or disfavor to one or any group of producers.

            To the world, we say: we wish to be your friends. And if we cannot be friends, we will at least do everything in our power not to turn ourselves, as we have done so often in the past, into your enemy.

            Next time, what the Left should do about law, order, policing and punishment.

(Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, co-hosts the left-vs-right DMZ America podcast with fellow cartoonist Scott Stantis. You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)

 

The Final Countdown – 4/3/24 – Biden’s Record Fundraising Falls Short Against Trump’s Hold on Six Swing States

On this episode of The Final Countdown, hosts Angie Wong and Ted Rall discuss a variety of political topics including Trump leading in swing states. 

Andrew Langer – Host of the Andrew Langer Show
Scott Stantis – Editorial cartoonist
Rachel Blevins– Host of the Back Story
John Kiriakou – Former CIA Officer and Host of Political Misfits
 
The show begins with Andrew Langer delving into the political landscape, examining RFK Jr.’s assertion that President Biden poses a threat to democracy, alongside Donald Trump’s leading position in several pivotal swing states.
 
Later, editorial cartoonist Scott Stantis, explores the growing trend of discontent among voters, leading to an increase in protest votes during primary elections.
 
The second hour starts with  Rachel Blevins sharing her perspective on a recent Israeli military strike that targeted a convoy of the World Central Kitchen and the latest out of Gaza.
 
The show closes with Former CIA Officer John Kiriakou discussing the latest accusations against Russia of being linked to Havana Syndrome.
 
 

The Final Countdown – 4/2/24 – AT&T Data Breach Unveils Dangerous Crack in America’s Data Security Fortress

On this episode of The Final Countdown, hosts Angie Wong and Ted Rall discuss various topics around the globe, including the AT&T data leaks. 

Armen Kurdian – Political Commentator
Peter Coffin – Author, Journalist, Podcaster
Esteban Carrillo – Journalist and Editor of The Cradle
Steve Hayes – Tax Lawyer
 
The show opens with political commentator Armen Kurdian talking about the potential mutiny against Speaker Mike Johnson over his push to bring the House to a vote on the Ukraine aid.
 
Then, author and journalist Peter Coffin talked about the AT&T data leak that revealed the issues with data collection in the U.S.
 
The second hour begins with journalist and Editor of The Cradle Esteban Carrillo discussing the Israeli strikes on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria. 
 
The Final Countdown wraps up the show with tax attorney Steve Hayes who shares his expertise on Trump’s ongoing legal drama, including the latest from his hush money trial. 
 
 

The Final Countdown – 4/1/24 – House Speaker Johnson Pushes Ukraine Aid to Vote Despite GOP Resistance

On this episode of The Final Countdown, hosts Angie Wong and Ted Rall discussed current events from around the globe, including House Speaker Mike Johnson possibly being ousted. 

Steve Gill: Lawyer and political commentator 

Daniel Lazare: Constitutionalist and journalist
Jeremy Kuzmarov: Managing Editor of CovertAction Magazine
Steve Abramowicz: CEO of Heartland Journal 
 
The show begins with lawyer and political commentator Steve Gill, speaking about a collection of current events related to the 2024 election. 
 
Then, journalist Daniel Lazare weighs in on the possibility of Mike Johnson being removed from Speakership due to the Ukraine aid bill. 
 
Later, Managing Editor of CovertAction Magazine Jeremy Kuzmarov spoke about the Israeli protests and the Israeli military operation at Al-Shifa Hospital. 
 
The show closes with Steve Abramowicz who discussed the implications of RFK Jr.’s candidacy and how it will affect the Republican and Democratic candidates. 
 
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