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The Critical Hour
The mainstream news outlets play it safe by parroting the perspectives of their corporate benefactors. The Critical Hour uses clear, cutting edge insight and analysis to examine national and international issues impacting the global village in which we live.

Trade Wars Turn Into Intelligence Wars, This Time South Korea vs. Japan

Trade Wars Turn Into Intelligence Wars, This Time South Korea vs. Japan
On this episode of The Critical Hour, Dr. Wilmer Leon is joined by Dr. Jack Rasmus, professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California and author of "Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression."

In the latest escalation of a long-running and savagely bitter bilateral dispute that has already bounced from the historical space to the economic, Seoul took a cleaver on Thursday to a military intelligence-sharing pact with Tokyo, shifting the damage into the military space. So, the General Security of Military Information Agreement was up for renewal on Saturday, but Seoul, in a move that had been widely signaled, announced Thursday that it was “terminating” the pact. It was the brainchild of US President Barack Obama’s administration, which sought to promote greater defense cooperation between its two Northeast Asian allies. Both shared separate treaties with Washington, but no official ties linked Seoul and Tokyo until GSOMIA went into effect in 2016. It had been renewed yearly since then. How have we gone from the historic to the economic to the military sphere?

This has been the summer of crippling ransomware attacks. Wilmer — a town of almost 5,000 people just south of Dallas — is one of 22 cities across Texas that are simultaneously being held hostage for millions of dollars after a sophisticated hacker, perhaps a group of them, infiltrated government computer systems and encrypted their data. More than 40 municipalities have been the victims of cyberattacks this year, from major cities such as Baltimore, Maryland; Albany, New York; and Laredo, Texas; to smaller towns including Lake City, Florida. What’s going on here, what’s at stake, and is the national government taking appropriate action?

The Trump administration is planning to hold migrant families in detention for the entire duration of their immigration proceedings. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan says the current standards incentivize illegal entry, which has "caused and fueled" the family crisis at our southern border. Here we go again. Almost every day, or at least every week, there’s a new assault on immigrants.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland is weighing in on the possible return of a surveillance plane to help spot crime in Baltimore. In a statement, the group says the program is a privacy nightmare come to life, and it's the equivalent of requiring residents to wear GPS trackers whenever they leave home. The ACLU says a city with a terrible history of racism and lack of accountability by police should be the last place a secret program of mass surveillance is used. ACLU Maryland Executive Director Dana Vickers Shelley says surveillance technology designed for a military battlefield has no place in American cities, adding that Baltimore is not a battlefield, and its residents are not the enemy.   

A group of miners is continuing to block a coal train from leaving a mine in eastern Kentucky in protest of unpaid wages. Miners with Blackjewel LLC have been stationed along a section of track outside the Cloverlick Mine in Cumberland, Kentucky, since Monday afternoon and say they aren’t leaving until they get paid. According to local outlet WYMT, several supporters have brought food and water to the protesters, including members of a church in South Carolina. The mayor of Cumberland told the station Monday that as many as 100 people were blocking the tracks. Is this part of a larger economic landscape?


Dr. Jack Rasmus — Professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California and author of "Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression."  

Robert Fantina — Pro-Palestine activist, peace and human rights leader, journalist and author of "Essays on Palestine."   

Attorney Mark Shmueli — Manages a solo practice dedicated exclusively to immigration law. Shmueli represents asylum seekers before the Asylum Office and Executive Office for Immigration Review and handles employment-based non-immigrant and immigrant visa petitions. He has authored articles on the immigration consequences of criminal convictions and the Violence Against Women Act for the Maryland Bar Journal and is a frequent lecturer at national and local conferences on immigration law.      

Chris Garaffa — Web developer and technologist.  

Eugene Puryear — Co-host of By Any Means Necessary. 

Nathan Brown — Owner of mobile kitchen JonEvan Jack's.


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