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Why Italians should vote ‘NO’ in their Constitutional Referendum on December 4th

In a year that has brought us Brexit and President-elect Trump, Italians have an historic opportunity to save their democracy from elitist authoritarianism.

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One of things I’ve always admired about the Republic of Italy is that her citizens, her culture, her rich traditions both modern and ancient, are able to exist and thrive in spite of her government. The Italian Parliament is famous for deadlock and whilst Italians are generally never shy when it comes to complaining about their righteous grievances against government corruption and inadequacy, the current Italian Prime Minister wants to transform Italy from an imperfect yet functional democracy into a kind of technocratic state ruled by Parliamentary super-majorities and a presidential Prime Minister.

On the 4th of December, Italians will vote on Matteo Renzi’s Constitutional Reform Referendum, a piece of ill thought out and poorly written legislation designed to bring Italy in-line with the kind of political system that will make further domination from Brussels more effective and thorough.

The referendum seeks to abolish the Italian Senate in all but name, curbing so many powers of the currently co-equal legislative chamber, that it would effectively make it nothing but a gilded talking shop.

At the same time, the Referendum if passed, would allow for Parliamentary super-majorities in the Chamber of Deputies, with fixed terms of rule. No matter how bad a government, it would be difficult to thrown it out.  This would drastically curtail the power of small parties that have a lot to say and offer.

It would allow megalomaniacs like Renzi to act as powerful presidential style leaders. The ability  of the Chamber of Deputies to put checks and balances on government power would be reduced to  mere window dressing. This would destroy the imperfect but rich nature of Italian democracy, wherein many parties have a say in the running of a large and diverse country.

I hope that Italians know that when complaining about the two part system in modern Britain (though this is slowly changing in Britain thanks to UKIP and the Scottish Nationalists) and America, Italy is often looked to as an example of a country where small parties can make a big difference.

The referendum is anti-democratic to the core. Whilst many in Italy see it as establishing a system whereby Rome dominates the rest of Italy, it will really mean that a power hungry Renzi will be sitting on his throne in Rome, waiting for Brussels to email him his marching orders which he could then push through a docile Chamber of Deputies and an irrelevant Senate. Inside Italy is the Holy See where the Pope sits on his gilded throne. Italy doesn’t need both Pope Matteo and Pope Francis.

The referendum proposals would also curb regional powers which are crucial to preserving Italy’s existence as a state. Bismarck famous referred to Italy is a mere geographical expression rather than a unitary state. The fact that Italy with her diverse regions became a united kingdom in 1861, actually helped inspire German unification. The intellectual discussion at the time stated that if Cavour, Mazzini and most importantly Garibaldi could help to unite the historically divided and diverse states of Italy, than surely under Prussian military and economic leadership, with the long established Zollverein, the Germanic states leftover from Napoleon’s dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, could do the same.

Frankly, there are two things one should never do out of jealousy for Italians: start a restaurant or start a state. The Germans have done both. Now the German dominated EU with help from an obedient and complicit Italian Prime Minister, seek to dominate the country whose unification was one of the reasons there is a Germany in the first place. The irony is almost too bitter to swallow.

Opposition to the referendum is diverse, ranging from Communist and socialist parties to Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and Lega Nord (the Northern League). Inversely, all of the Eurocratic and technocratic liberal parties are for the changes.

Most crucially, Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement are vehemently opposed to the referendum. In many ways Grillo is staking his political career on the referendum failing as much as Renzi is staking his on its success. As Alexander Mercouris recently wrote, of the many anti-neo-liberal parties emerging throughout the western world, so derided and erroneously labelled ‘populist’, Grillo’s is the most unique. Grillo’s ideas are, for me, a mixed bag for this very reason. Yet in many ways he speaks for the frustrations of ordinary Italians and isn’t afraid to proffer highly original and anti-dogmatic ideas to help make Italy better for her citizens.

Put simply, I’d take a democratic Grillo over a pseudo-dictatorial Renzi any day.

The Italian Referendum of December the 4th represents an opportunity to be the third and final electoral blow against the establishment and the elite in a year that has already seen the success of Brexit and Donald Trump. But do not vote no, merely to prove a geopolitical point that Italy too can join the Brexit bus and the Trump train. Do it for yourself, do it to save your country. Do it to preserve your culture which is so widely loved throughout the world.

I shall end with the word of Lord Byron who said the following of Italy in his epic poem, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.

The commonwealth of kings, the men of Rome!

And even since, and now, fair Italy!

Thou art the garden of the world, the home

Of all Art yields, and Nature can decree;

Even in thy desert, what is like to thee?

Thy very weeds are beautiful, thy waste

More rich than other climes’ fertility;

Thy wreck a glory, and thy ruin graced

With an immaculate charm which cannot be defaced.

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Possible terror attack at California mall thwarted by ant-jihad activist

Angry Muslim women and a shady Muslim man’s carefully-placed backpack were all part of the terrorism scene at the LA shopping mall on July 7.

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Los Cerritos Center, Los Angeles. Photo: losangeles.cbslocal.com

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office and the Los Cerritos Shopping Center are hush hush for now. It’s not yet clear if it was an attempted terror attack or just a dry run, but what is clear enough is that an observant anti-jihad activist thwarted the plans of some ill-intentioned Muslims on Saturday, July 7.

According to Big League Politics, Steve Amundson, the founder of the Counter Jihad Coalition (CJC), trained to detect security threats, noticed several alarming clues that led him to believe a terror attack was underway.

The last straw was when an angry Muslim carefully placed his backpack under the CJC’s table outside the Los Cerritos Shopping Center and walked away, later refusing to retrieve it.

Amundson was on the street that day with a pastor colleague, passing out literature about Islam and the threat it poses to America and other Western nations. An unidentified Muslim man wearing a backpack approached the pastor and began furiously arguing with him.

“Before leaving the table, Amundson says he witnessed the Muslim man strategically place his backpack underneath the CJC booth and walk away,” Laura Loomer writes for Big League Politics.

Amundson asked the pastor if he knew the Muslim man. When he said no, Amundson immediately reported the incident to mall security.

Loomer lays out the events and “red flags” leading up to mall security being called:

The events that unfolded next are shocking, and quite disturbing. Amundson told Big League Politics that after he alerted mall security, they approached the man and asked him if the backpack was his. The man said the backpack did belong to him, but he then refused to retrieve his backpack that he had placed underneath the CJC booth before walking away.

After a discussion with security, the Muslim man walked away with security, and security carefully took the backpack.

Over the past six months that Amundson and his colleagues have been tabling, he has experienced an increase in physical attacks against himself and his booth. For this reason, Amundson says he and his colleagues are trained to detect security threats and what they call “red flags”. While passing out literature on Saturday, Amundson says he witnessed and documented several red flags at the Los Cerritos Shopping Center.

The first red flag occurred when two Muslim men inside the mall began snapping pictures of the CJC booth and making phone calls shortly after. Amundson witnessed this and recognized it as “red flag one.”

bigleaguepolitics.com

The second red flag occurred when two Muslim women approached the booth and began cursing at the CJC’s booth operators, calling them liars. Mall security observed the hostile interaction and began speaking to the two women. It was at that moment when the two Muslim women distracted security that a white haired Muslim male walked over to the booth and slid his backpack under that table.

Mall security has thus far declined to confirm if the Muslim man was arrested or if the bomb squad had been called. Thus, it remains unclear if this was a dry run or the real deal.

The report continues:

Amundson’s experience at the shopping center is disturbing and concerning for many reasons, primarily because it appears as though the mall security and Sheriff’s Office are actively working to keep the public and Amundson in the dark about what appears to be a dry run of a jihadi attack. What happened to Amundson at the shopping center is a very serious incident the needs to be further investigated and disclosed to the public to ensure that people are aware of the threat that is clearly present within their own community.

Amundson applied to have another CJC booth at the same mall on July 21, which mall security rejected, citing safety concerns: “While we understand your organization’s right to engage in free speech subject to reasonable time, place and manner rules, we must consider the safety of the Center’s patrons.”

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Maria Butina, her crime: A love of the NRA and being Russian (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 61.

Alex Christoforou

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has communicated to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Russian national Maria Butina must be set free and allowed to return to Russia, after she was arrested by US officials on dubious spy charges.

Lavrov said that the US should immediately release the Russian gun activist, who is being held in the US on espionage charges, after a phone conversation with his US counterpart.

Lavrov called the charges levied against Butina “fabricated.”

In his conversation with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday, “Lavrov stressed that the actions of the US authorities that arrested Russian citizen Butina on fabricated charges are unacceptable.”

In an official statement the Russian Foreign Ministry called for her “immediate release.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine the oddly timed, out of the blue arrest of Maria Butina, who is being held by US authorities for what they claim to be a violation of the FARA act.

In reality Maria Butina’s crime is much more troubling than simply failing to register as a foreign agent.

Maria made the double mistake of being in the United States of America as a Russian citizens who loves guns, at a time when racism and bigotry against Russians and NRA supporters is surpassing McCarthyite levels.

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Via RT

The Foreign minister raised the issue during phone conversations that were made at the request of the US and aimed at “further normalization of the US-Russian relations” following the summit between the US President Donald Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. Lavrov and Pompeo also discussed the process of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, as well as the situation in Syria.

The 29-year-old Russian student and a gun activist was arrested in the US about a week ago and charged with acting as a foreign agent without registering her activities with the authorities. Butina has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

On July 16, a DC Federal Court rejected Butina’s bail plea and ordered her to be placed in custody pending trial over fears that she could flee or contact Russian intelligence officials. Her lawyer says the trial is being politicized and Russian embassy staff were only allowed to visit her in jail on Thursday.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has called Butina’s arrest politically motivated, adding that it could have been aimed at disrupting the Helsinki summit between Putin and Trump. On Thursday, the ministry also launched a campaign hashtagged #FreeMariaButina on Twitter to raise awareness of her case.

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Ugly breakup at FBI: Lisa Page throws ex-lover, Peter Strzok, under the bus (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 60.

Alex Christoforou

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While Peter Strzok’s testimony put a face on the deceptive and secretive Deep State, GOP lawmakers who were present at Lisa Page’s closed-door deposition said they learned a lot of new information from the ex-FBI lawyer, and ex-lover of Peter Strzok.

Lisa Page confirmed to GOP lawmakers that the text messages sent between her and her lover Strzok “meant exactly what they said,” contrary to Strzok’s testimony.

According to The Gateway Pundit, one damning text message in particular sent from Strzok on May 19th, 2017, just two days after Robert Mueller was appointed Special Counsel, intrigued investigators and the public alike.

“There’s no big there there,” Strzok texted.

According to investigative reporter, John Solomon, Lisa Page confirmed that text from Peter Strzok did indeed refer to the Trump-Russia case.

Strzok knew it was a nothing-burger yet he forged ahead.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou, RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle, and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss how Peter Strzok’s testimony has undoubtedly contradicted Lisa Page’s cooperative deposition, as the ex-FBI lawyer is preparing to save herself, while throwing her ex-lover under the bus.

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Via The Epoch Times

Representatives John Ratcliffe and Louie Gohmert of Texas recently shared their observations of the closed-door testimony of former high-ranking FBI lawyer Lisa Page, which concluded on July 16.

One of the major questions regarding the testimony was whether it would match the one given by FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok.

But while Ratcliffe said he found a mismatch, Gohmert wouldn’t go so far.

Page and Strzok played major roles in the investigations on both 2016 presidential candidates: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia. During the same period, Page and Strzok had an affair and exchanged thousands of text messages expressing a strong bias against Trump and in favor of Clinton.

“When I questioned Lisa Page on Friday about the anti-Trump text messages that were sent between herself and Peter Strzok, there were significant differences in her testimony and Strzok’s as it relates to what she thought some of these text messages meant,” Ratcliffe said in a July 16 tweet, shortly before the second round of questioning.

“Page gave us new information that Strzok either wouldn’t or couldn’t, confirming some of the concerns we had about these investigations and the people involved in running them,” he wrote.

On July 17, Ratcliffe expanded on his further statements about Page’s testimony. Radcliffe told Fox News…

“There are differences in their testimony.”

“In many cases, she admits that the text messages mean exactly what they say, as opposed to agent Strzok, who thinks that we’ve all misinterpreted his own words on any text message that might be negative.”

Via The Epoch Times

In one of the texts, Strzok vowed to “stop” Trump from becoming president. In another, the two discussed having an “insurance policy” in the “unlikely” event that Trump would win the election.

Strzok, who gave a closed-door testimony on June 27 and a public one on July 12, said the first message meant he and the American people would stop Trump. The second, he said previously, meant he wanted to pursue the Russia investigation aggressively, in case Trump won.

GOP lawmakers were furious with Strzok’s attitude and unwillingness to answer questions. In a scathing monologue, Gohmert even linked Strzok’s credibility to the fact that he was unfaithful to his wife.

President Donald Trump repeatedly called Strzok’s testimony a “disgrace.”

The lawmakers said Page was comparatively more cooperative.

“There were times the FBI lawyers would be reaching to the button to mute her comment, and she would answer before they could mute her comment,” Gohmert told Fox News.

He said Page didn’t contradict Strzok “so much,” but “has given us insights into who was involved in what.”

“I think she’ll be a good witness,” he said.

Page ditched her first testimony appointment on July 11, prompting GOP lawmakers to threaten her with contempt of Congress. She then agreed to appear on July 13, which gave her the opportunity to review Strzok’s public testimony before giving hers.

The lawmakers are probing the FBI’s and Justice Department’s decisions before the election, suspecting they were influenced by political considerations.

Texts between Strzok and Page suggest that the FBI initiated an offensive counterintelligence operation against the Trump campaign as early as December 2015.

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