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Tag Archives: election
Posted: November 21, 2016 at 11:03 am
By Robin Emmott | BRUSSELS
BRUSSELS U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg agreed on Friday on the Western alliance’s “enduring importance”, NATO said, striving to reassure Europe that Washington will remain committed to its security.
Trump questioned during his election campaign whether the United States should protect allies seen as spending too little on their defense, raising fears that he could withdraw funding for NATO at a time of heightened tensions with Russia.
“The president-elect and the secretary general both underlined NATO’s enduring importance and discussed how NATO is adaptingto the new security environment, including to counter the threat of terrorism,” NATO said in a statement after a phone conversation between Trump and Stoltenberg.
There was no immediate comment from Trump’s side.
The NATO statement said the Republican Trump, who will succeed Democratic President Barack Obama on Jan. 20, is expected in Brussels for a NATO summit next year.
The two leaders also addressed defense spending and agreed that “progress has been made on fairer burden-sharing, but that there is more to do” – underlining the fact that the United States spends far more on defense than Europe does.
After the break-up of the Soviet Union a quarter of a century ago, NATO’s European members cut defense spending to historic lows, leaving the United States to make up around three quarters of the alliance’s military expenditure.
A more assertive Russia under President Vladimir Putin has begun to change the picture and European governments are again spending more.
FEW MEET DEFENSE SPENDING TARGET
But Britain, Poland, Greece and Estonia are the only European nations to meet a NATO goal of spending at least 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense. Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, spends far less than 2 percent of its GDP on defense.
Speaking before the phone call, Stoltenberg told a conference in Brussels that European defense spending was one of his top priorities and that he had raised it with every NATO member, winning support from defense ministers.
He said the main obstacle was convincing the respective finance ministers who have the keys to treasuries.
“You have to increase defense spending when tensions go up,” Stoltenberg said, citing as evidence failing states in North and West Africa, the threat of Islamist militants and Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s peninsula of Crimea.
“Stop the cuts and gradually increase (defense spending) to reach 2 percent (of economic output) is a very robust message. We have started to move although there is a very long way to go. I am certain Trump will make this his top priority (for NATO).”
Trump’s campaign suggestion of making U.S. defense of its European allies conditional appeared to question the central tenet of NATO – namely that an armed attack against one ally is an attack against all.
Stoltenberg has said he expects an overall 3 percent real increase in European defense spending in 2016. He said on Friday that if all European allies and Canada reached the 2 percent spending target, it would yield an extra $100 billion for NATO.
European Council President Donald Tusk also spoke to Trump by phone on Friday. An EU source said Tusk emphasized the importance of transatlantic cooperation, including on Ukraine, where Russia has supported separatist rebels against government forces in the east of the former Soviet republic.
Trump’s promise to improve Washington’s chilly relations with Russia’s Putin have caused jitters within the EU, particularly eastern member states like Poland and the Baltics.
(Additional reporting by Gabriela Baczynska, editing by Mark Heinrich)
MOSCOW Moscow will deploy S-400 surface-to-air missiles and nuclear-capable Iskander systems in the exclave of Kaliningrad in retaliation for NATO deployments, a senior pro-Kremlin lawmaker was quoted as saying on Monday.
TAL AFAR AIR BASE, Iraq Iraqi Shi’ite militias were massing troops on Monday to cut remaining supply routes to Mosul, Islamic State’s last major stronghold in Iraq, closing in on the road that links the Syrian and Iraqi parts of its self-declared caliphate.
VATICAN CITY Pope Francis on Monday extended indefinitely to all Roman Catholic priests the power to forgive abortion, a right previously reserved for bishops or special confessors in most parts of the world.
Originally posted here:
Trump, NATO chief pledge alliance’s ‘enduring importance’ in …
Posted: at 10:56 am
Finally, Politically Incorrect Women Are Coming Out of the Closet
I feel a strange sort of kinship with Donald Trump: my entire writing career has been built on people who support me privately, but not in public.
Ill never forget the time I found a Southwest Airlines stewardess reading one of my books. I had walked to the bathroom in the back of the plane, only to find it occupied. So I found myself standing in the aisle, sandwiched between two flight attendants on my right who were busying themselves with drinks, and one on my left who was crouched down in a corner.
I happened to look down, and I could see the distinct green outline of The Flipside of Feminism.
I smiled, and asked her: Is that a good book?
She looked up as though shed been caught doing something wrong. When I told her I am the author of the book, she looked at me for a few moments and then checked the photo on the book jacket. Then she smiled from ear to ear and instantly relaxed. She told me:
So she reads it in private, she said.
That exchange is a perfect example of political correctness — the idea that theres a right way to think and a wrong way to think — run amok. And last week Donald J. Trump blasted this phenomenon wide open.
The 2016 election proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that our country is divided into two groups: the elite, most of whom are liberal-minded and thus think the right way, and everyday folks, most of whom are right-leaning and thus think the wrong way.
This narrative has been used to silence women.
In The misogyny apocalypse, Amanda Marcotte wrote the following in response to the election results:
Marcotte’s rhetoric, which is promulgated throughout the country on a regular basis, is precisely the reason that attendant was reading my book in private. If she dared show the world she doesnt subscribe to Marcottes feminist ideology, shed be shamed.
Posted: at 10:56 am
President-elect Donald Trumps Election Day victory was advanced by his plan for tax cuts, his foreign policy outline and his calls to drain the swamp. Former Rep. Ron Paul, (R-Texas), weighed in on whether he is happy with the election results and Trumps presidential agenda.
Ill believe it when I see it.And I think theres going to be some things improved, but we still have a long way to go, Paul told the FOX Business Networks Stuart Varney.
Paul is concerned that Trumps policies would add to the U.S. debt.
I think Republicans have a pretty good record of not being bashful with spending money, especially if they have the House and the Senate and the presidency.And we know that Trump has not been bashful about spending money, so well see.
Paul believes Trumps victory was inspired in part by the fact that Americans felt they were not being heard when they warned of the impact of the inflationary economic environment on their wallets.
I think one of the reasons that Trump did so well is that people are suffering, they dont have good jobs, but the cost of living is going up and nobody will listen to them. Nobody will believe it and they say, oh, there is no inflation so you dont get a cost of living increase. So, I think that is the problem.
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When asked if he voted for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, Paul responded, No, I did not vote for him, Paul continued, But I did not vote for Donald Trump either.
When asked if he put his own name down as a write-in candidate, Paul responded, Maybe the last name was right.
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Ron Paul Questions if Trump Will Drain the Swamp | Fox Business
Posted: October 20, 2016 at 11:33 pm
Donald Trump would not commit Wednesday night to accepting the results of the presidential election if he loses on Nov. 8, in a striking moment during his final debate with Hillary Clinton that underscored the deepening tensions in the race as the bitter rivals defined the choice for voters on an array of issues not three weeks from Election Day.
The debate in Las Vegas, moderated by Fox News Chris Wallace, started with a measured discussion on policy disputes ranging from gun rights to abortion to immigration. But it ended with the candidates hurling a grab-bag of accusations and insults at each other.
Trump called Clinton a nasty woman. Clinton called Trump the most dangerous person to run for president in modern history.
The most pointed moment came when Trump who for weeks has warned of a rigged election was asked whether he will commit to accept the results of the election.
I will look at it at the time, Trump said, citing his concerns about voter registration fraud, a corrupt media and an opponent he claimed shouldnt be allowed to run because she committed a very serious crime with her emails.
Pressed again whether hes prepared to concede if he loses, Trump again said: I will tell you at the time. Ill keep you in suspense.
Clinton delivered a sharp rejoinder: Thats horrifying.
That is not the way our democracy works, she said. He is denigrating, hes talking down our democracy and I for one am appalled.
Trump responded by calling the Justice Departments handling of her email probe disgraceful.
The exchange was among many contentious moments at Wednesdays debate, which covered several issues including the national debt that have gotten little attention in the race so far but flared with arguments between the candidates over WikiLeaks, over Russia, over the Clinton Foundation and over womens allegations of groping against Trump.
Through the thicket of accusations and personal animus they never shook hands on stage the candidates tried generally to mount a closing debate-stage argument about experience.
For 30 years, youve been in a position to help. The problem is you talk, but you dont get anything done, Hillary, Trump said. If you become president, this country is going to be in some mess, believe me.
Clinton countered by contrasting some of her experiences against Trumps. She said when she was monitoring the Usama bin Laden raid in the Situation Room, He was hosting The Celebrity Apprentice.
Im happy to compare my 30 years of experience with your 30 years, and I will let the American people make that decision, Clinton said.
Trump, meanwhile, again disputed the multiple allegations of groping that women have leveled against him since the candidates last encounter. He also said he thinks the Clinton campaign is behind the claims, charging, They either want fame or her campaign did it.
Clinton said, Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger. Trump repeated that nobody has more respect for women than him.
Trump then shifted to blast the Clinton Foundation as a criminal enterprise. He pointed to donations from countries like Saudi Arabia to question Clintons commitment to womens rights. He asked her if she would return money from countries that treat certain groups of people horribly, which she did not answer directly.
The candidates third and final debate now sets a bitter tone for the homestretch of the 2016 presidential campaign a race that already stands out as arguably the most personal, caustic and unpredictable White House battle in modern politics.
Trump, slipping in the polls amid various campaign controversies, said at the last debate that Clinton should be in jail. Clinton has blasted Trump all along as temperamentally unfit for office.
Since the second debate, numerous women have come forward to accuse Trump of groping them, allegations he denies. WikiLeaks also has embarrassed the Clinton campaign by releasing thousands of hacked emails purportedly from her campaign chairmans account. FBI files alleging a State Department official sought a quid pro quo to alter the classification on a Clinton server email added to the campaigns and Obama administrations woes.
The WikiLeaks controversy came up Wednesday night when Clinton asked if Trump would condemn Russian espionage. He denied knowing Vladimir Putin but said the issue is the Russian president has no respect for her.
Thats because hed rather have a puppet, Clinton shot back.
Trump responded, Nope. youre the puppet.
Trump later said he condemns any interference by Russia in the election.
The candidates also sparred over gun rights, with the Republican nominee charging that the Second Amendment is under absolute siege and would be eroded if his opponent wins.
We will have a Second Amendment which will be a very, very small replica of what we have now if Clinton wins, Trump said.
The Democratic nominee countered, I support the Second Amendment.
In a graphic exchange, Trump said Clintons position on abortion is nearing a point where one could rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month. Clinton accused him of scare rhetoric.
They also clashed on immigration, with Trump saying they need to deport drug lords and deal with bad hombres in the country. Clinton said violent offenders should be deported but then mocked Trump for not pushing his controversial border wall proposal during his high-profile meeting with the Mexican president. He choked, she said.
Trump said Clinton wanted a wall when she voted for an immigration overhaul a decade ago and now wants open borders, which she denied.
To date, the mounting controversies facing both campaigns have appeared to hurt Trump more than Clinton, who gradually has expanded her lead over the GOP nominee in recent polls.
A Fox News national poll released on the eve of the Las Vegas debate showed Clinton with a 6-point, 45-39 percent lead over Trump in a match-up that includes Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
Trump, in the final three weeks, is thought to be zeroing in on several key battlegrounds including Florida, Ohio and North Carolina but the polls suggest his path to the presidency remains narrow, as even once-reliably red states like Texas are being contested by the Clinton campaign.
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Trump, Clinton Clash Over Second Amendment At Debate
Posted: October 8, 2016 at 10:22 pm
United States Constitution
Twenty-fourth Amendment, amendment (1964) to the Constitution of the United States that prohibited the federal and state governments from imposing poll taxes before a citizen can participate in a federal election. It was proposed by the U.S. Congress on August 27, 1962, and was ratified by the states on January 23, 1964.
In 1870, following the American Civil War, the Fifteenth Amendment, guaranteeing the right to vote to former slaves, was adopted. The Twenty-fourth Amendment was adopted as a response to policies adopted in various Southern states after the ending of post-Civil War Reconstruction (186577) to limit the political participation of African Americans. Such policies were bolstered by the 1937 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Breedlove v. Suttles, which upheld a Georgia poll tax. The Supreme Court reasoned that voting rights are conferred by the states and that the states may determine voter eligibility as they see fit, save for conflicts with the Fifteenth Amendment (respecting race) and the Nineteenth Amendment (respecting sex). It further ruled that a tax on voting did not amount to a violation of privileges or immunities protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. In short, because the tax applied to all votersrather than just certain classes of votersit did not violate the Fourteenth or Fifteenth Amendment.
During the civil rights era of the 1950s, particularly following the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954, such policies increasingly were seen as barriers to voting rights, particularly for African Americans and the poor. Thus, the Twenty-fourth Amendment was proposed (by Sen. Spessard Lindsey Holland of Florida) and ratified to eliminate an economic instrument that was used to limit voter participation. Two years after its ratification in 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court, invoking the Fourteenth Amendments equal protection clause, in Harper v. Virginia Board of Electors, extended the prohibition of poll taxes to state elections.
The full text of the amendment is:
Section 1The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.
Section 2The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
amendment (1920) to the Constitution of the United States that officially extended the right to vote to women.
…the United States to deny federal funds to local agencies that practiced discrimination. Efforts to increase African American voter participation were also helped by the ratification in 1964 of the Twenty-fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which banned the poll tax.
…in Southern states into the 20th century. Some states abolished the tax in the years after World War I, while others retained it. Its use was declared unconstitutional in federal elections by the Twenty-fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, effective in 1964. In 1966 the Supreme Court, going beyond the Twenty-fourth Amendment, ruled that under the equal protection clause of…
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Twenty-fourth Amendment | United States Constitution …
Posted: October 3, 2016 at 1:04 am
As Nov. 8 looms, a dismayed, disconsolate America waits and wonders: What is it about 2016?
How has our country fallen so inescapably into political and policy gridlock? How did pandering to aggrieved niche groups and seducing blocs of angry voters replace working toward solutions as the coin of our governing class? How could the Democratic and Republican parties stagger so far from this nation’s political mainstream?
And the most pressing question: What should tens of millions of voters who yearn for answers do with two major-party candidates they disdain? Polls show an unprecedented number of people saying they wish they had another choice.
This is the moment to look at the candidates on this year’s ballot. This is the moment to see this election as not so much about them as about the American people and where their country is heading. And this is the moment to rebuke the Republican and Democratic parties.
The Republicans have nominated Donald Trump, a man not fit to be president of the United States. We first wrote on March 10 that we would not, could not, endorse him. And in the intervening six-plus months he has splendidly reinforced our verdict: Trump has gone out of his way to anger world leaders, giant swaths of the American public, and people of other lands who aspire to immigrate here legally. He has neither the character nor the prudent disposition for the job.
The mystery and shame of Trump’s rise we have red, white and blue coffee mugs that are more genuinely Republican is the party’s inability or unwillingness to repulse his hostile takeover. We appreciate the disgust for failed career politicians that Trump’s supporters invoke; many of those voters are doubly victimized by economic forces beyond their control, and by the scorn of mocking elitists who look down their noses to see them. He has ridden to the White House gate on the backs of Americans who believe they’ve been robbed of opportunity and respect. But inaugurating a bombastic and self-aggrandizing President Donald Trump isn’t the cure.
The Democrats have nominated Hillary Clinton, who, by contrast, is undeniably capable of leading the United States. Electing her the first woman president would break a barrier that has no reason to be. We see no rough equivalence between Trump and Clinton. Any American who lists their respective shortcomings should be more apoplectic about the litany under his name than the one under hers. He couldn’t do this job. She could.
But for reasons we’ll explain her intent to greatly increase federal spending and taxation, and serious questions about honesty and trust we cannot endorse her.
Clinton’s vision of ever-expanding government is in such denial of our national debt crisis as to be fanciful. Rather than run as a practical-minded Democrat as in 2008, this year she lurched left, pandering to match the Free Stuff agenda of then-rival Bernie Sanders. She has positioned herself so far to the left on spending that her presidency would extend the political schism that has divided America for some 24 years. That is, since the middle of a relatively moderate Clinton presidency. Today’s Hillary Clinton, unlike yesteryear’s, renounces many of Bill Clinton’s priorities freer trade, spending discipline, light regulation and private sector growth to generate jobs and tax revenues.
Hillary Clinton calls for a vast expansion of federal spending, supported by the kinds of tax hikes that were comically impossible even in the years when President Barack Obama’s fellow Democrats dominated both houses of Congress. The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget calculates that Clinton’s plan would increase spending by $1.65 trillion over a decade, mostly for college education, paid family leave, infrastructure and health-related expenditures. Spending just on debt interest would rise by $50 billion. Personal and business taxation would rise by $1.5 trillion. Sort through all the details and her plan would raise the national debt by $200 billion.
Now as in the primary season, Clinton knows she is proposing orgies of spending, and taxing, that simply will … not … happen. She is promising Americans all manner of things she cannot deliver.
That is but one of the reasons why so many Americans reject Clinton: They don’t trust what she says, how she makes decisions, and her up-to-the-present history of egregiously erasing the truth:
In the wake of a deadly attack on American personnel in Libya, she steered the American public away from the real cause an inconvenient terror attack right before the 2012 election after privately emailing the truth to her daughter. The head of the FBI, while delivering an indictment minus the grand jury paperwork, labeled her “extremely careless” for mishandling emails sensitive to national security. In public she stonewalled, dissembled and repeatedly lied several were astonishing whoppers about her private communications system (“There is no classified material,” “Everything I did was permitted,” and on and on). Her negligence in enforcing conflict-of-interest boundaries allowed her family’s foundation to exploit the U.S. Department of State as a favor factory. Even her command and control of a routine medical issue devolved into a secretive, misleading mission to hide information from Americans.
Time upon time, Clinton’s behavior affirms the perception that she’s a corner-cutter whose ambitions drive her decisions. One telling episode among the countless: Asked by a voter if she was for or against the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada, she replied, “If it’s undecided when I become president, I will answer your question.” As we’ve asked here before, will Hillary Clinton ever get over her consuming fear of straight talk?
Taken together, Trump and Clinton have serious flaws that prevent us from offering our support to either of them. Still, come Nov. 8, tens of millions of Americans willmake a draw that they consider beyond distasteful.
We choose not to do that. We would rather recommend a principled candidate for president regardless of his or her prospects for victory than suggest that voters cast ballots for such disappointing major-party candidates.
With that demand for a principled president paramount, we turn to the candidate we can recommend. One party has two moderate Republicans veteran governors who successfully led Democratic states atop its ticket. Libertarians Gary Johnson of New Mexico and running mate William Weld of Massachusetts are agile, practical and, unlike the major-party candidates, experienced at managing governments. They offer an agenda that appeals not only to the Tribune’s principles but to those of the many Americans who say they are socially tolerant but fiscally responsible. “Most people are Libertarian,” Johnson told the Tribune Editorial Board when he and Weld met with us in July. “It’s just that they don’t know it.”
Theirs is small-L libertarianism, built on individual freedom and convinced that, at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, official Washington is clumsy, expensive and demonstrably unable to solve this nation’s problems. They speak of reunifying an America now balkanized into identity and economic groups and of avoiding their opponents’ bullying behavior and sanctimonious lectures. Johnson and Weld are even-keeled provided they aren’t discussing the injustice of trapping young black children in this nation’s worst-performing schools. On that and other galling injustices, they’re animated.
We reject the cliche that a citizen who chooses a principled third-party candidate is squandering his or her vote. Look at the number of fed-up Americans telling pollsters they clamor for alternatives to Trump and Clinton. What we’re recommending will appeal less to people who think tactically than to conscientious Americans so infuriated that they want to send a message about the failings of the major parties and their candidates. Put short:
We offer this endorsement to encourage voters who want to feel comfortable with their choice. Who want to vote for someone they can admire.
Johnson, who built a construction business before entering politics, speaks in terms that appeal to many among us: Expanded global trade and resulting job expansion. Robust economic growth, rather than ever-higher taxation, to raise government revenue. A smaller, and less costly, federal government. Faith in Americans’ ability to parlay economic opportunity into success. While many Democrats and Republicans outdo one another in opposing the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, or TPP, we’re amused by this oddity: Today the nation’s two most ardent free-traders arguably are Barack Obama and Gary Johnson.
That said, Obama and Johnson are but two of the many candidates we’ve endorsed yet with whom we also can disagree. Johnson’s foreign policy stance approaches isolationism. He is too reluctant to support what we view as necessary interventions overseas. He likely wouldn’t dispatch U.S. forces in situations where Clinton would do so and where Trump … who can reliably predict?
But unless the United States tames a national debt that’s rapidly approaching $20 trillion-with-a-T, Americans face ever tighter constrictions on what this country can afford, at home or overseas. Clinton and Trump are too cowardly even to whisper about entitlement reforms that each of them knows are imperative. Johnson? He wants to raise the retirement age and apply a means test on benefits to the wealthiest.
What’s more, principled third-party candidates can make big contributions even when they lose. In 1992 businessman H. Ross Perot won 19 percent of the popular vote on a thin but sensible platform, much of it constructed around reducing federal deficits. That strong showing by Perot the relative centrist influenced how President Bill Clinton would govern.
We wish the two major parties had not run away from today’s centrist Americans. Just as we wish either of their candidates evoked the principles that a Chicago Tribune now in its 170th year espouses, among them high integrity, free markets, personal responsibility and a limited role for government in the lives of the governed. We hope Johnson does well enough that Republicans and Democrats get the message and that his ideas make progress over time.
This year neither major party presents a good option. So the Chicago Tribune today endorses Libertarian Gary Johnson for president of the United States. Every American who casts a vote for him is standing for principles and can be proud of that vote. Yes, proud of a candidate in 2016.
Join the discussion on Twitter @Trib_Ed_Boardand onFacebook.
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Posted: at 12:54 am
In the United States, Mussolinis March on Rome (1922) inspired self-reflection and visions for the near future; some mystically hopeful, others soberly scared.
In late October, 1922, Benito Mussolini followed a column of 30,000 Black Shirts into Rome, where he was greeted with an automobile furnished by the King of Italy himself, Victor Emmanuel III. The king refused a petition to declare martial law tendered by the existing government led by Prime Minister Luigi Facta, tacitly recognizing Fascisti rule in the personage of the new movements leader. In the following months, Mussolini and the Fascists terrorized their enemies throughout Italy and consolidated political power; the movement birthed in Mussolinis private circles of veterans only a few years earlier bloomed into an international curiosity, Fascism. In the United States, American opinion-makers exhibited reactions ranging from shocked disbelief to impartial curiosity and what can properly be described as jubilant and mystical support for a nation of people reclaiming their government from leftist radicals and feckless politicians alike. The Kansas City Star identified Mussolinis fascism with the by-then familiar concept of 100 per cent Americanism, while joining a host of other observers in praising the Fascists unmatched anti-communism and supposed returns to individualism, the rule of law, and respect for private control of property. Papers like the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reacted to Mussolinis rise to power with measured unease rooted in fears of another general European war sparked by Italian conquests along the Adriatic. Even many of those who supported his anti-communism feared Mussolinis militaristic rhetoric. Common to these accounts is the certainty that fascist success depended upon appeals to the Italian middle class and veterans of the First World War. As such, many American citizens positively identified with the fascist movement and found the events in Italy useful for interpreting their own more immediate, local world. In the years of its infancy, fascism provided Americans with either an image of what they could achieve as a united, 100 per cent American whole, or a portent of disruption, war, and desolation to come.
Assistant Editor for Intellectual History
Fascisti Idea to SpreadExiled Russians Would Adopt Plan in Own CountryOne Million Men in Italy are Banded Together to Advance Nationalism and War on Socialists and Communists.
Rome. Aug. 9.
FOUNDED BY AN EDITOR
Fascism is not three and a half years old, having been founded in Milan by Sig. Mussolini, editor of Popolo dItalia in April, 1919. The first action took place April 19, immediately after its organization, when only 350 members, all distinguished war veterans, attacked and destroyed the offices of Avanti, a Socialist newspaper. Since then with each attack on anti-national forces, thousands of youths have flocked to Mussolinis banner, just as sixty-two years ago they flocked to the army of Garibaldi, who started the war of redemption for Italy in Sicili with one thousand men and by the time he reached Naples had nearly one hundred thousand followers.
The Fascistis ideals consist of 100 per cent nationalism. They believe in applying patriotism with force; they not only have no patience with 50 per-cent Italianism, but they believe also in clubbing 50 per centers. They have no special theory of government, but want the best government that is obtainable. For the time being they are monarchial, but if tomorrow they should see that a republic would be better for Italy they would be republicans. What they want is the greatest well being and the maximum prosperity for the nation, not by class struggle, but by co-operation among the various classes.
NOT A SECRET ORGANIZATION.
Fascism is not a secret organization like the Ku Klux Klan, for everybody knows its constitution, and its members wear uniforms which everybody can see. They use illegal means because the constitutional powers do not deal with the situation.
Sig. Mussolini is only 38 years old. Until the end of 1914 he was an ardent Socialist and director of Avanti. The world war converted him to nationalism. He founded the Popolo dItalia, fought bravely in the war, was elected a deputy at the last elections and is now considered the most powerful man in Italy. One million men obey him without ever questioning his orders.
Disciplineand Work Aim of Italys Man of Hour and Fascisti Head
By the United News.
Rome. Aug. 20.Benito Mussolini, Italys Man of the hour, is planning for the future, when the Fascisti, which he leads, comes into political power, according to him.
The Fascisti, at a word from Mussolini, have laid down their arms and are organizing as a political party. They came into existence in 1919, since when their chief object has been to combat Socialism and Communism.
Mussolini, who shies from interviewers, answered questions briefly.
What would be the first step you would take if in power?
Discipline for all. That covers everything for a beginning.
And your foreign policy?
Equilibrium and conciliation.
What definite steps would you enforce to put Italy on a firm economic basis?
Work. Discipline and work. Fascism is great because it is a constructive, creative working force. Italy can be the same.
Italys three political parties will be Mussolinis, the Popolari and the Socialists.
Of the last named, Mussolini said:
They have become bourgeois. As soon as they are definitely removed from Bolshevism, need from extreme Fascism will be over.
Referring to the Popolari, or clericals, Mussolini said: Priests should celebrate mass and not mix in politics.
Fascisti Leader Backed by 1,000,000 Armed Men is Now Unchallenged Ruler of Italy
By Paul Scott Mowrer
Paris. Oct. 30.Benito Mussolini, leader of the Fascisti, seems to be the unchallenged dictator of Italy.
Owing to the severe censorship that has been established in Italy the news from that country must be taken with some allowance but it appears that the black shirts and army helmets of Benito Mussolinis nationalist reactionaries are already supreme. The Fascisti, of whom there are said to be 1,000,000, are mobilized. Barracks and armories have been occupied and arms seizedAlready masters of Piedmont and Lombardy fascisti hold Florence, Siena and Pisa. In Rome they occupied the railway stations and public buildings until they were taken over by the army, which is honeycombed with fascism.
Made Feeble Protest.
Before disappearing the Facta government made a faint show of resistance and ordered up a poster accusing the Fascisti of sedition and promising to preserve order at all costs. It also desired to proclaim martial law but the King refused to sign the decree. It is therefore Benito Mussolini who has proclaimed and is executing martial law. All the bourses have been closed and Parliament, which was to have reconvened Nov. 7, will probably be dissolved.
Italian Free Masonry has issued a proclamation recognizing the Fascisti movement and the Pope, through the bishop, has appealed for peace and union. The Fascisti have proclaimed loyalty to the King, who is apparently well disposed toward the Fascisti.
The Fascisti program is frankly nationalist and perhaps even reactionary. The Fascisti proclamation announces that military, political and administrative powers are transferred to a committee of action of four members with dictatorial positions.
The rights of workers of all categories will be respected, according to the proclamation, which adds that the new regime will be generous toward nonmilitant adversaries but inexorable toward others. The aim of the movement is declared to be the safety and grandeur of Italy.
The chief points of the interior program appear to be the exaltation of the army and a strong patriotric union of all Italy and especially of the north and south. Fascism originally sprang from the disgust of the moderate conservative elements at the governments failure to uphold the laws when the workmen seized the factories two years ago and at the apparent powerlessness of the government to repress the communist violence which followed.
Reds Were Fought.
Groups of Fascisti were first formed to combat the reds with their own weaponsassault and riot. They were so successful that communism seems to be effectively rowed in Italy. The army and navy are sympathetic; the organizations of war veterans are on their side and they also claim to have enrolled 800,000 workmen from the labor unions. Their professed desire is to put an end to the undignified feebleness and vaccilation which have marked the Italy policy, not only internal but especially external, ever since the armistice. They promise to insure respect for Italians and Italian interests all over the worldThey will insist on greater recognition of Italys claims in the Mediterranean and especially in the Adriatic. They demand that Jugo Slavia shall free Montenegro and they talk of annexing Dalmatia.
This program, unless modified, seems somewhat ominous for peace with Italys neighbors.
Men and Affairs
Washington, as well as the rest of the United States, has been struggling the past few days to get itself straight on Fascism, the Fascisti and the new Fascist government in Italy. It is not likely, however, that the Fascisti will ever have the vogue in this country that the Bolsheviki had. Americans soon go the idea that the Bolsheviki was somebody against the government, and against everything, so America adopted the word and it is now an indelible part of the English language. It is not so easy to classify or place the Fascisti and Fascist does not roll off the tongue like Bolshevik.
Mussolini, the Fascist premier of Italy, says that Fascism is a purely Italian question that as bolshevism is a purely Russian matter. It is possibly true that bolshevism is a purely Russian matter, but lots of American people have been officially classed by their friends or enemies as Bolsheviks and bolshevicks they will be until they die.
Fascism seems a bit more intricate. It means, as far as can be judged from this distance, Italy for the Italians. The Fascisti in this country call it America first. When it was said of Mr. Wilson that he kept us out of the war, it was a fascist sentiment that said it. When it is said of Mr. Harding that he kept us out of the League of Nations, it is again the fascist sentiment that speaks.
There are plenty of the Fascisti in the United States, it seems, but they have always gone under the proud boast of 100 per cent Americans. The English language appears to grow more and more inelastic. It is pitiful to have to say such awkward compound words as pro-leaguer and anti-leaguer, when in most of the foreign languages an expressive single word would suffice. Of course we have had in this country a faction known as the Wilsonites, but even that is not a pretty word like Fascisti or Bolsheviki.
Some of Premier Mussolinis political opponents recently accused him of flirting with the Germans and possibly with Russians with the idea of forming an international Fascisti, or a sort of reactionary international movement. He denounces this as absurd, the Fascisti are for Italy first, last and all the time, and the rest of the world can go hang. The Democrats say it was the American Fascisti won the election in 1920.
Revolt Against Socialism
Both the accession to power of the fascisti in Italy and the defeat of the labor party in the British municipal elections point the same wayrevolt against socialism and return to individualism as the way to bring cost of government within revenue and to reduce it further in order to reduce taxes
National ownership of railroads, telegraphs and telephones, municipal ownership of public utilities and government monopolies of such commodities as tobacco are common in EuropeFascism began in Italy as a revolt against socialism, and Mussolini evidently intends to go the whole way in restoring the public services and monopolies to private enterprise. That will relieve the government of enormous losses and will remove a horde of people from the public payroll. If the experience of France is an indication, all public services are greatly over-mannedHe evidently sees that hard work and economy from the head of the government down to the humblest workman must be combined with that efficiency that is possible only for private enterprise in order that Italy may pay its way, reduce its debts and regain prosperity.
The deplorable fact about this return to economic sanity is that it is undertaken by a distinctly militarist party. If the fascisti should attempt to make good the claim to all the territory that was once Italian, they will embark their country in wars that will destroy all the fruits of their economic reforms.
Middle Class Takes Fascism to Gain RightsRevolt in Italy Projected by Underpaid White Collar Folk, Says Writer
By J. W. T. Mason. (Written for the United Press)
The Fascisti success in Italy marks Europes turning toward the middle classes. If the young and untried men Premier Mussolini has taken into his cabinet show an ability to handle the technical machinery of government, there will be a full recovery of the economic ground lost by the middle classes during the war.
As Bolshevism was an attack against all classes by the Russian workingmen, so the Fascisti movement is an attack against both the idle rich and overpaid laboring classes by the white collar men.
Mussolini has formed an alliance with various workingmen groups. But, this is for the purpose of using them against the capitalists who crush the middle classes. Mussolini supports the policy of syndicalism. That is to say, he wants the workingmen to have a voice in the management of the factories. By setting workingmen and capitalists thus at odds, Mussolini expects the middle classes to hold the balance of power and acquire more for themselves.
The gravest problem Europe has had to face since the war has been the plight of the white collar classes. The workingmen of Europe have never before had such high wages, measured either by a money standard or by purchasing power. Similarly, the capitalists reaped enormous profits when war prices reigned.
Middle Class Loses.
But, the middle classes have lost ground. Their wages have not kept pace with the increased cost of living. The problem is especially acute in Italy, where middle class technical education has far outrun working class education. Italy in consequence has too many doctors, lawyers and other professional men for the number of inhabitants who have been educated to the point of using their services.
This is the fundamental reason why the middle class revolt against postwar conditions has started in Italy rather than in any other country. There is that additional burden for the middle class Italians to bear. If Mussolini can solve his own middle class problem, therefore, other countries will be incited to taking action themselves, since their own difficulties are not so complicated.
Only Hope of Recovery.
Without a recovery of the European middle classes, it is hopeless to expect the world ever to get to right. The cultural responsibilities of the middle classes will not be assumed by the other classes. The white collar men alone among the Europeans are willing to make sacrifices for social progress as distinct from economic progress.
But, under the financial burdens imposed on them by the war, they have been unable to do much more than keep alive. They are wearing the same old clothes, concealing their poverty as best they can.
They are now reaching the end of their patience. The Fascisti movement represents to them the possibility of successful self-assertion. For that reason, Italy has suddenly become the middle class leader for all Europe.
The Cure for Bolshevism
Five years agoand lessEurope meditated in anguished accents the need of a defensive front against the advance of bolshevism. Today, communism, through its third international, searches fanatically for means to combat the tide of fascism. This is as it should be. The pendulum swings.
So long as communism is only the goal of a fraction of the worlds population it was inevitable that it should flow back to its mean limits. So long as fascism is only the goal of a part of the population, that, too, in time, must flow back to its boundaries. Fascism came into existence as a result of communism, the disease gave birth to the remedy.
Fascism is not far removed from normalcy; it is the existing order reduced to the terms of the small merchant and wage-earner who does not believe in millenniums but clings pathetically to the practical need of three meals a day. Bolshevism in Italy brought starvation and chaos, fascism drove out communism, which is in hiding, and reasserts popular authority. There is only one weapon bolshevism can use to repel advances against it and recapture its superficial influence, and that is to abandon communism. The majority, where not held in subjection as in Russia, inevitably asserts its desires.
Communism, on the fact of the facts, is not one of them.
Letter Tells of Conditions Now in Italy
An interesting letter has been received from Mrs. Gerda Hellberg Castelli of Romewritten of the conditions and especially the Fascisti in Italy, to Mrs. R. D. Campbell of this city. Mrs. Castelli and Captain Castelli will be remembered as residents here some years ago
The letter follows:
We, both my husband and I, are great Fascisti and bless Mussolini who swept away the clique of rotten and selfish and incompetent politicians! I do not marvel if the countries abroad do not understand all what this means and have to judge Fascisti, but one who has lived here for long and knows the Italians, feels that such a marvelous movement could not grow up so quick in any other country but Italy. It has been grand to witness, and I was sorry my husband way away at a congress in Bologna just the days of the revolution! Because such it was, but one where not a workman went on strike, not a peasant left off work; it was done before they had time to think and move. Both peasant and workman of the saner type were glad for and desired the change, as it was felt everywhere Italy had no government at all! And chaos cannot last for long. And really it is quite a spiritual movement as well as patriotic, and idealistic, and we needed that badly after all these years of demagogism and party Socialism, and the world everywhere needs a bit of Fascism, it seems to me.
Mussolini is marvelous, so far at least; he speaks in a manner quite new (and more honest) to diplomacy and commands respect just for his fearless outspokenness. It is quite a pleasure to read the papers, now. And to see some sixty thousand young, fine and handsome men between eighteen and thirty years go in cortege in the Corso the 31st of October was a sight not to be forgotten. Half a million young men dead in the war, and yet so many fine ones left! Really, this country is inexhaustible!
Wants G. F. News.
I am looking forward to seeing Ruth Carothers here a hear news about all in Grand Forks which we keep in such a good memory! I wonder if we ever shall come over to the United States again. I would like it very much, I assure you
And here in Rome the sun shines always this autumn; such lovely weather we are having.
Now I must stop, with best wishes for a happy Christmas and good New Year to Dr. Campbell and yourself from us both.
Always yours sincerely,
Gerda Hellberg Castelli.
Posted: September 20, 2016 at 7:18 pm
The following is a script from The Libertarian Ticket which aired on Sept. 18, 2016. Steve Kroft is the correspondent. L. Franklin Devine and Maria Gavrilovic, producers.
When you look at your presidential ballot in November, somewhere below the Democratic and Republican lines you will find the Libertarian Party and the Green Party, but for many voters this year they might as well read none of the above.
In a race that features the most unpopular Democratic and Republican party choices in memory, they are the two alternatives to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and for the first time in 16 years third parties could well determine the outcome of the election. Right now, of the two alternatives, the Libertarian Party has the most support and is the only one on the ballot in all 50 states. The ticket of Gary Johnson and Bill Weld is currently favored by about eight or nine percent of the electorate even though 70 percent of the voters dont know who Johnson and Weld are. We thought it was time to give you a primer.
Libertarian presidential candidateGary Johnson and his running mate, Bill Weld
If you dont recognize them, the tall guy on the left is vice presidential candidate Bill Weld. The shorter one is former New Mexico governor and presidential nominee Gary Johnson. Right now they can stroll through a park unmolested by the press and the public. Their rallies usually attract only a few hundred people but they can still make some noise and are not without enthusiastic support.
[Rally: Gary Gary Gary. Bill Weld: The next president of the United States, Gary Johnson. Gary Johnson: You rock. You rock.]
Steve Kroft: Why are you doing this?
Gary Johnson: I think that we would do a really good job.
Mitt Romney wished for it, so Steve Kroft asked-why isn’t Bill Weld at the top of the Libertarian ticket?
Bill Weld: I feel its something of a patriotic duty given how the election season is unfolding. We feel a responsibility to offer the country sort of a sober, sensible alternative.
[Gary Johnson: Has life in this country ever been better?]
They are no political neophytes. Each one won two terms as Republican governors in heavily Democratic states.
On 60 Minutes in 2000, Gary Johnson explained his unconventional thoughts on drug policy –and why he thought using marijuana was “cool”
Steve Kroft: Do you really think you have a chance to win?
Gary Johnson: Neither of us would be doing this if we didnt think that that was a possibility.
Steve Kroft: Let me be a little skeptical here. I mean, right now the people–
Bill Weld: We expected no less.
Steve Kroft: Right. Right. Yeah. The people that do this for a living, to try and do polling, and public opinion surveys and make odds– some of the most prominent experts put your chances at about less than one percent, less than one percent.
The Libertarian candidates have a plan that embraces immigration-so what do they think of Donald Trump’s plan?
Gary Johnson: I think that Donald Trump started out that way. And I wouldve given him that– I wouldve given him that percentage at the very start. But as crazy as this election season is, I think it could be the ultimate crazy and that is is that the two of us actually do get elected.
Steve Kroft: Right. And how does that happen?
Gary Johnson: Well presidential debates– a third alternative, 70 percent of America doesnt even know who we are. And yet we exist. I think theres a lot of opportunity here. And theres still a lot of time left.
[Bill Weld: –we are in a way breaking a glass ceiling–]
Theyre hoping to get a place in at least one of the presidential debates but right now they dont meet the threshold of 15 percent in the national polls.
Steve Kroft: Are you running against a two-party system?
Gary Johnson: Absolutely.
Bill Weld: Absolutely.
Gary Johnson: And Iand I do believe this is going to be the demise of the Republican Party.
Steve Kroft: So you see yourself as a protest vote?
Gary Johnson: No way. I think, a conciliatory vote. Look this is how we wanna come together.
Bill Weld: It happens, Steve, if people do think for themselves and focus on the choices available because the polling shows that nationally people do tend to agree with our approach. As Gary sometimes says, youre a libertarian. You just dont know it yet.
[Libertarian Party Convention: Lets bring back liberty.]
Gary Johnson tells Steve Kroft why he believes marijuana use shouldn’t be a crime-and why changing policy is a matter of when, not if
The Libertarians were founded 45 years ago as an off-shoot of the Republicans. They tend to be fiscally conservative and social liberals who want the federal government out of their pockets, out of their schools, out of their computers, and out of their bedrooms.
[Supporter: So the hats are 25.]
They support the right to bear arms, even assault weapons. But they also believe women have the right to an abortion, gays have the right to marry, and adults the right to smoke pot.
[Supporter: Anybody looking for a bumper sticker?]
They oppose almost every federal program not mentioned specifically in the Constitution, including Social Security and Medicare and the regulatory agencies.
The Libertarian candidate tells Steve Kroft how he plans to combat the terrorist organization, though he thinks there’s a bigger threat
Steve Kroft: Youre making yourself seem like mainstream candidates. But in fact, you know, your positions and the positions of the party arent mainstream, you know. Phasing out Medicare, youre for doing away with private health insurance– as a way to bring down medical costs. Youre talking about abolishing the IRS and imposing a 29 percent or 28 percent sales tax, essentially a sales tax. You call it a consumption tax. Talk about eliminating the Department of Homeland Security. I mean, these arent exactly mainstream opinion.
Gary Johnson: Well what you can count on the two of us to provide is consistency. Were going to always be consistent in looking for lower taxes. And much of what you cite is the Libertarian platform which, you know, we are the Libertarian nominees for president and vice president. But were not looking to eliminate Medicare. We do believe in a safety net. But there has to be reforms for Medicaid and Medicare and Social Security. And if were going to put our heads in the sand, if we say were going to do nothing in any of these areas, its a fiscal cliff.
Bill Weld: And nobody can tell me that no changes are necessary in Washington. Those bozos think that unless the appropriation of every single account goes up five percent, they call that a cut. Well, thats not how we approached our state budgets. And thats not what we would do in Washington either.
Steve Kroft: Do you think most people want to do away with the Department of Homeland Security?
Gary Johnson: Yeah, I do. I do. I think theres a real skepticism. I mean, really, we have the FBI. Wha– why another agency? I mean– and all these Homeland Security cars driving around these days, what are they doing?
Bill Weld: There are functions that youd have to retain and make sure they were attended to. But therere some who remind me of the, you know, muddled bureaucracy in Washington that nobody can quite tell you why theyre essential. And thats where I would go hunting.
They also want to abolish the Departments of Education, Commerce and Housing and Urban Development. They want to cut the Defense Budget by around 20 percent and get American troops out of Korea.
As theyve said, they dont agree with their party on everything — sometimes they dont even agree with each other.
Gary Johnson earned a fortune in construction before making his political name as the first governor ever to advocate the legalization of marijuana, and until earlier this year was CEO of a marijuana branding company.
Steve Kroft: Until recently, you were a consumer
Gary Johnson: Thats correct
Steve Kroft: –of marijuana.
Gary Johnson: One of 100 million Americans who have consumed marijuana. I am guilty. The unforgivable in life, hypocrisy, saying one thing and doing anothertelling the truth– I hope more than anything, Im credited here with telling the truth.
Steve Kroft: But youre not using marijuana now?
Gary Johnson: Im not.
[Bill Weld: running on the Libertarian ticket. Live free or die, baby, you know what they say.]
Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld is a card-carrying member of the Eastern Establishment, whose libertarian bonafides are still questioned by the true believers. Until his nomination in May he was a member of the nearly-extinct political species known as moderate Republicans.
Steve Kroft: You werent a Libertarian until a couple of months ago.
Bill Weld: Well, I considered myself a small L Libertarian since the 1970s. And people called me the Libertarian Republican.
They run a frugal low-key campaign in jeans and sneakers and keep a very loose schedule that can change by the hourly. When we were with them, their version of a presidential limousine was a rented red Toyota.
Steve Kroft: Do you have a motorcade?
Bill Weld: No. We dont have a motorcade.
Steve Kroft: You stop for red lights?
Gary Johnson: We do stop for red lights.
Steve Kroft: Do you have a campaign plane?
Bill Weld: We dont have a campaign plane.
Gary Johnson: No. No. We dont.
Bill Weld: We do fly commercial.
Steve Kroft: Do you have a campaign headquarters?
Bill Weld: Yes.
Gary Johnson: Yes. We do. But its– but if you went to the campaign headquarters, you wouldnt find anybody there because this is– you know, this is social media.
[Gary Johnson: Come on, get selfie, get selfie ready!]
They have a big presence on the Internet and claim to have 50 million followers — most of them young people. Johnson and Weld are good friends and say they plan to run a co-presidency sharing the same staff. On the campaign they often stay at each others homes.
Theyve tried everything to get more attention in hopes their campaign would go viral. And 10 days ago it did.
MSNBC/MORNING JOE clip /Willie Geist: Governor good to have you with us.
But it was the wrong kind when Johnson was unable to identify Aleppo as the center of the humanitarian crisis in Syria.
MSNBC/MORNING JOE clip /Mike Barnicle: Aleppo.
MSNBC/MORNING JOE clip/Governor Gary Johnson: And what is Aleppo?
MSNBC/MORNING JOE clip /Mike Barnicle: Youre kidding.
MSNBC/MORNING JOE clip/Governor Gary Johnson: No.
Steve Kroft: Youve been on the front page a lot this month. You made a big splash. And it was a belly flop. Were talking about Aleppo here. Tell me about Aleppo. I mean, how did that happen?
Gary Johnson: Well, the– I– I blame no one but myself. I understand the underlying policy.
Steve Kroft: People have said,This guysnot qualified to be president. I mean, did– how do react to that?
Gary Johnson: Well– that– that I am human. I have a filter. And it starts with honesty. It starts with the truth. It starts with transparency– and would serve as president– in that capacity. When I was asked the question, the first thing that came into my mind was this is an acronym– ALEPPO– American– l–
Steve Kroft: Did it sound familiar to you?
Gary Johnson: Well, it didnt or I think I..but, but look I do not, in any way, want to make an excuse for myself. You know, so many people have said, Look, 90 percent of America doesnt know ALEPPO. Well, 90 percent of America is not running for president of the United States, no excuse. No excuse.
Bill Weld: But at the– at the end of the day, this is just my view, is Aleppo is a very important place name. But its a place name. Does that mean theyre disqualified from running for president? I mean, youd have very few people at the debates if that sort of thing was a disqualify– disqualification to run.
Gary Johnson: Thanks, Bill. But nonetheless, look, we are running for president and vice president.
Steve Kroft: Youre acknowledging that your candidacy has some flaws.
Gary Johnson: As do all candidacies. But I think–
Steve Kroft: But nobody– I– I– Im trying to remember a presidential candidate admitting that.
Gary Johnson: Well, that is the difference here. Thats what youre going to buy into is is that it will be transparent. And theres no quicker way to fix mistakes than actually acknowledging them in the first place.
Steve Kroft: Do you have foreign policy advisers?
Gary Johnson: Well, certainly.
Steve Kroft: Do you have military strategists?
See the rest here:
Posted: at 7:18 pm
FijiTonga relations are foreign relations between Fiji and Tonga. These neighbouring countries in the South Pacific have a history of bilateral relations going back several centuries.
Though relations between the two countries had been good since they both became independent in the 1970s, they deteriorated considerably in early 2011.
By the early 13th century, Eastern Fiji(Lau group) was a province of the Tongan empire. The Empire subsequently declined, but Tonga remained an influential neighbour in Fiji affairs. In 1848, Tongan Prince Maafu settled in Lakeba, establishing a new foothold in Eastern Fiji. He was accompanied by Tongan Wesleyan missionaries, who consolidated the earlier introduction of Methodism to Fiji by English Wesleyan missionaries. Today, Methodism is the primary religion of indigenous Fijians.
Maafu’s influence in Fiji expanded during the 1850s, threatening Seru Epenisa Cakobau’s attempts to establish himself as king of all Fiji. Ultimately, Maafu and Tonga’s support at the 1855 Battle of Kaba was instrumental in enabling Cakobau to cement his leadership over Fiji, temporarily consolidating the Tongan Prince’s status and role in the country. Tonga’s direct influence faded, however, after Cakobau ceded Fiji to British sovereignty in 1874.
Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama received “cheers and thunderous applause” from the Tongan public when he attended a Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Tonga in October 2007; the crowd’s “enthusiastic reception” of Fiji’s leader was likened to “that accorded to a rock star”Radio Australia noted that he had been “the star of this year’s meeting, for the people of Tonga”, while TVNZ reported that he had been “given a hero’s welcome”.
In terms of inter-governmental relations, Tonga has generally avoided pressuring Fiji’s “interim government” into holding democratic elections. However, Tongan Prime Minister Dr.Feleti Sevele has urged Bainimarama “to produce a credible roadmap to the election according to the Constitution and law of Fiji”.
Tonga’s “soft” approach to Fiji’s unelected government during the regional meeting in October 2007 was in line with the approach chosen by other Pacific Island nations, but contrasted with the much harder stance adopted by Australia and New Zealand. The Tongan government rejected “several […] attempts by New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark to lobby for Commodore Bainimarama’s exclusion from the meeting”.
In August 2008, Prime Minister of Tonga, Dr Sevele said at a Pacific Islands Forum meeting 
Unfortunately, the Forums relationship with the interim government of Fiji has now deteriorated from the apparent, promising situation at the Forum last year in Tonga, to one of disappointment and of an uncertain future. As Forum Leaders, we are all extremely disappointed at the interim Prime Ministers decision not to attend this Forum meeting. As Chair of last years Forum Meeting in Tonga and Chair of the last 12 months, let me place on record the fact that the commitments that Commodore Bainimarama made at the Leaders Retreat were not forced on him, as has been claimed. He agreed with and accepted the 7-point communiqu on Fiji, and so told all the Leaders present at the Retreat. Sir Michael Somare and I certainly did not pressure him into making those commitments. We, and all the Leaders, were, and are, keen on helping Fiji move forward, but Fiji has to play its due part. The interim Prime Minister has an obligation to explain in person to the Forum Leaders as to why he could not fulfill those commitments, and we were all looking forward to his doing this at this Forum in Niue. That he chose not to do this is most unfortunate and most disappointing.
In May 2009, however, Sevele questioned the purpose of Fiji’s suspension from the Forum (which had taken place on May 2), and suggested it was “pointless” to “ostracise” Fiji. TVNZ described Tonga’s position as “a crack […] in the hard line being taken against Fiji” by the Forum.
In February 2011, Sevele’s successor, Lord Tuivakan, stated that Australia and New Zealand’s pressure on Fiji was counter-productive, and that the more they “bother[ed]” Bainimarama, the more likely he might be to do the opposite of what they sought. He added: “Maybe just go easy and they will come around. What you need to remember is that it is an opportunity for other countries, maybe China will step in. […] There’s a lot of other countries looking in and Fiji’s said ‘We don’t want Australia, we don’t want New Zealand, these are the people that’s going to help us.'”
In December 2005, Fiji welcomed Tonga’s accession to the World Trade Organisation.
In 2001, the Fijian Government banned the import of mutton flaps from Tonga. The Tongan Ministry of Labour said in response on this issue that “Tongas experience with Fiji is an example of the difficulties encountered by small developing nations in protecting their interests”. The Tongan Ministry said this “illustrates the difficulty and huge onus that the multilateral trading system places on small and vulnerable developing countries, which lack the necessary resources, capital and institutional means to fully implement the WTO agreements.” 
In August 2007, the Fijian Government called for a review of the Fiji/Tonga Air Services Agreement to allow for increased capacity on the route from 350 to 1000 passengers in each direction. By March 2008, a new aviation agreement had been reached. The Fijian Government said 
This has been factored into the agreement reached by the two states in March 2008 to increase the seat capacity from 350 to 1000 per week with no restrictions to aircraft types or frequencies and both countries had agreed to this. This new provision will certainly assist or facilitate the movement of tourist between Tonga and Fiji.
Beginning in late 2010, and escalating in early 2011, diplomatic tensions opposed Fiji and Tonga over two partially simultaneous issues. Though they are presented separately here for clarity, they were being referred to simultaneously by May 2011.
Both Fiji and Tonga lay claim to the Minerva Reefs, which lie between the two countries. Historically, the reefs are said to have lain in the fishing grounds of the people of Ono-i-Lau, in Fiji. In 1972, Tonga annexed the reefs, which had not formally been claimed by any State, but Fiji has not recognised the annexation, and has stated it considers the reefs to lie within its territory. In late 2010, Fiji responded to news that Tonga had begun construction of a lighthouse on one reef, by saying Fiji reserved the right to take any means necessary to preserve its territorial integrity.
In February 2011 the Fiji government said there was “no official dispute” between the two countries on the issue, but that officials from the two sides were discussing the matter of the reefs’ ownership and usage. A Fiji government official added: “The government of Fiji reiterates its position, that as far as its concerned Minerva Reef is a reef. And as such it lies within the economic, exclusive economic zone of Fiji. And the government of Fiji reserves its right within its directory.” Fiji Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Solo Mara clarified that there was no “conflict”, but merely “overlapping claims” on the countries’ maritime boundary, in the context of “claims for an extended continental shelf beyond the 200 mile Exclusive Economy Zone – as provided for under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea”. Officials from the two countries would hold discussions to determine their maritime boundary.
In late May 2011, during the tension over the Tevita Mara affair (see below), “Fiji navy vessels visited Minerva and ordered New Zealand bound yachts out of the lagoon. They then destroyed navigation beacons” which had been set up by Tonga. The Tongan government issued a statement in protest. Fijis Deputy Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs Sila Balawa subsequently told the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation that Tonga remained “one of Fijis closest friends”, and that, although Fiji clearly owned the reef as it was located within the countrys exclusive economic zone, Fiji hoped the disagreement would be resolved through “peaceful dialogue”.
In early June, two Tongan Navy ships were sent to the Reef to replace navigational beacons destroyed by the Fijians, and to reassert Tonga’s claim to the territory. A Fijian Navy ship in the vicinity reportedly withdrew as the Tongans approached, leading New Zealand’s One News to comment that a military conflict between the two countries had narrowly been averted. A press release from the Tongan government described Fiji’s destruction of Tongan navigational beacons as “an act of vandalism” posing “real danger to international shipping”, adding that Tonga and “the Fijian military junta” could and should resolve their territorial dispute “under International law for the settlement of disputes between civilized societies”. Simultaneously The People’s Daily, citing “Fiji intelligence sources”, reported on June 13 that “three Fijian naval ships” were “on their way to Minerva Reef” to confront the two Tongan navy ships there.
In May 2011, Lieutenant-Colonel Tevita Mara, a former Fiji army officer, who had just been charged with plotting an attempt to overthrow Bainimarama, fled Fiji by boat, and was picked up by a Tongan patrol boat and taken to Tonga. The Tongan authorities issued a statement saying they had picked him up after responding to a distress signal, and that in Nuku’alofa “arrangements have been made for his accommodation by the royal household office in deference to his rank”. Bainimarama issued a statement saying the Royal Tongan Navy ship had entered Fijian territorial waters without authorisation to carry out an “illegal extraction” of the wanted man; he added that his government took “strong exception to such breaches of Fiji’s sovereignty”. He announced he would issue a formal protest to Tongan Prime Minister Lord Tu’ivakano, and would seek Mara’s extradition back to Fiji to face charges. Tui’vakano replied that Tonga’s independent judiciary would hear Fiji’s case for extradition, without interference from the Tongan government, and added that Tonga had no wish to interfere in Fiji’s domestic affairs.
Akilisi Pohiva, leader of the Tongan opposition, described the entry of a Tongan Navy vessel into Fiji waters to pick up a fugitive as a clear breach of relations between the two countries, but added that it was justifiable on humanitarian grounds.
On May 21, four days after the first reports on the incident, the Tongan government issued a statement saying it had received no request for Mara’s extradition, only a note from the Fijian authorities containing what it called “unsubstantiated assertions” and “a personal statement by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji, Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama”. Subsequently, having acknowledged receipt of an extradition request, the Tongan government indicated “it will have to go through the proper channels for legal advice before we can proceed any further”; the authorities would not interfere with the judicial process. In early June, however, the authorities granted Mara Tongan citizenship, along with a passport.
Radio Australia reported that relations between the two countries has “soured dramatically” as a result of the incident.
On June 10 as Tongan Navy vessels moved to occupy the Minerva Reef, an unsigned press statement on the website of the Fiji government denounced “the presence of the Tongan Navy boats within Fijis EEZ at Minerva Reef”, the “issue of Tongan passport” to Mara and “the Tongan Governments inaction on extradition papers”, describing them as “a web of deceit, collusion and a complete lack of disregard [sic] of legal extradition processes”. Blaming Australia and New Zealand, the statement said “the Tongans as seen with their presence at the Minerva Reef will be manipulated through offerings of gifts and aid to try and turn up the ante”, adding: “As far as Fiji is concerned there is no Mara or Tonga/Fiji situation. It is a Rudd and McCully spreading their wings to save face situation”, in reference to Australian and New Zealand Foreign Affairs Ministers Kevin Rudd and Murray McCully.Stuff.co.nz described the statement as an “unprecedented attack” on New Zealand, Tonga and Australia, remarking: “The statement on the website is so completely out of kilter with previous Fiji Government statements that it raises questions over who now is in control in Suva.”
In late June, the Tongan government formally informed the Fiji government that Tongan law made it impossible to extradite Mara.
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