Supreme Court Allows Immigrants Held Without Bond- A Slippery Slope.

A rotten decision.

The news has been flying hot and heavy lately on a number of different topics. One that has inspired a gigantic response, from both left and right, is the recent news from the Supreme Court that immigrants can be held by U.S. immigration officials indefinitely without receiving bond hearings, even if they have permanent legal status or are seeking asylum, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

In a 5-3 ruling Tuesday, with one recusal, the court ruled that immigrants do not have the right to periodic bond hearings.

 

The court affirmed the right of the government to detain immigrants indefinitely behind bars.

“Immigration officials are authorized to detain certain aliens in the course of immigration proceedings while they determine whether those aliens may be lawfully present in the country,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion.

There has been an ongoing class-action lawsuit about this, spearheaded by Alejandro Rodriguez, an immigrant with permanent legal status who was convicted of possession of a controlled substance and joyriding. He was detained by immigration officials for three years without a bond hearing.

The ACLU took up his case, eventually winning his release and the cancellation of his deportation order. The government’s appeal was begun under the Obama administration, and continued after Trump took office last year. That set a precedent which has now been reversed.

What’s really worth paying attention to here is that a man with permanent legal status, a citizen for all practical intents and purposes, has been yanked off the street on minor charges and done more time than he would have for the charges themselves, just because he was originally from another country.

Besides this decision being absolutely lousy according to any sort of ethical code, it’s also very dangerous.

The right-wing, particularly the ones who’ve been screaming apocalyptically that President Obama was coming for their guns and putting us all in FEMA camps these last eight years, ought to know what it’s like to live in fear of an authoritarian American government running rampant over the rights of the citizenry.

The incident of Ruby Ridge comes to mind as an example of a time when the far right themselves have been on the receiving end. Republicans need to be reminded of this, and it might even get through to some. More people took it seriously in a debate than I’d expected.

The significance of this event is heightened considerably by where it appears on the timeline of all this. It’s another brick in the wall in every possible sense; the Border Patrol is building a piece of wall on California’s land, right now. It’s another big sign that things are terribly wrong, in Donald Trump’s America.

This concerns us all. It’s a slippery slope leading right to the end of our democracy if we’re not careful. There’s no doubt at all that we’re in trouble on many different levels right now, and all of them are based on a steady attack on our nation’s institutions by its own president.

Mike Rogers, our current CIA director, warned the nation today that Trump has literally not given him permission to do anything to prevent the Russian efforts geared at hacking the new elections.

It was also confirmed today the Russians penetrated voter data in seven states at least and targeted at least 21. Still, though, Trump refuses to admit it’s anything but a hoax.

He’s been going around recently, boasting about the seven more years he’ll be in office. Now that Rick Gates is testifying against Manafort, though, it might not be seven more months.

Millennial Democrats will be releasing a piece soon on how to best protect your right to have your vote counted within the next day or two.

As this continues, we’re going to have to record these things for posterity and help to spread awareness as best we can, with the ultimate goal in mind of getting people to vote.

They cannot cheat us enough to win if we show up in our tens of millions.

Rick Gates Cooperates- The End Comes For Donald Trump.

Rick Gates Cooperates

Things have been moving at a tremendous pace in the Russiagate investigation lately. Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating possible Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election, has staggered the “hoax” claims of Donald Trump with over a hundred new charges in the investigation.

This was coupled with the stunning news that Manafort’s associate Rick Gates, the former deputy campaign chair for the Trump campaign, has agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation.

Mueller also charged Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, with a multimillion-dollar fraud related to mortgages.

This sounds innocuous, but Manafort has a history of shady real estate dealings; ripping off Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska on a multimillion-dollar hotel deal in the Cayman Islands is how he landed himself in this stew in the first place.

Both Gates and Manafort had earlier been charged with laundering millions of dollars that they had collected as lobbyists for the government of Ukraine.

Manafort in particular has been making millions since the 1980’s, lobbying for brutal world dictators who’ve been shunned by the rest of the world, such as Putin prop Victor Yanukovych, ousted as president of Ukraine after the Orange Revolution of 2004.

By Friday Gates had pleaded guilty to two different charges: conspiracy with regard to the financial crimes, and lying to investigators. Apparently, he told the lie during prior plea talks. Prosecutors prepared a revised indictment, this time directed only at Manafort.

Donald Trump also is shaking in his boots over perjury. His lawyers are trying to set terms for his testimony before special counsel Robert Mueller. Without a care in the world for their country and its well-being, they’re prepared to wage a court battle to shield him from testifying at all if their conditions aren’t met, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Sources familiar with the situation reported that Trump’s legal team is currently considering all its options in finding various ways for him to testify that would prevent him from perjuring himself, which they know full well he will do within minutes of starting the meeting.

If Trump is speaking, Trump is lying. It’s like breathing, to him.

A few days prior, a former attorney at the law firm Skadden Arps pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about conversations he had had with Gates regarding work that the firm did for Ukraine.

The week before that, Mueller indicted thirteen Russian nationals on charges related to their involvement in the Internet Research Agency, a social-media mill, alleging that it used illegal means to promote Trump’s candidacy.

Its efforts included buying ads on social media and digitally impersonating Trump supporters in Florida. It also involved giving plenty of help to the campaign of Bernie Sanders, one of only two Senators not to vote to sanction Russia this year.

Michael Flynn, the President’s former national-security adviser, had already pleaded guilty to lying to investigators. He had been in legal jeopardy anyway, thanks to his work as an unregistered foreign lobbyist. He too is now coöperating with the investigation. So is George Papadopoulos, a former campaign adviser, who pleaded guilty to lying about his foreign contacts.

As of yet, none of the charges formally accuse the Trump campaign knowingly colluded with the Russians, or whether the President himself obstructed justice. But the ever-growing list of people who are cooperating points to Mueller getting close on both points, particularly if Manafort joins them.

As campaign chairman, Gates sat in on the now famous June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, and Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who contacted Trump Jr. offering “dirt” on the Clinton campaign. Manafort left the campaign two months later. Gates, however, stayed on through the election. He may have much more to tell.

All along, Paul Manafort has come into view more and more clearly as the guy who knew how it all went down on the ground. He’s not testifying, probably out of fear for his life. The best case scenario for him is life in prison.

For Gates, it’s different. He was not the man on top, and it’s not too late for his redemption. In that case, he would go from being one of America’s most repugnant criminals to being one of its saviors, the guy who looked himself in the mirror and found courage enough in himself to decide to tell the truth and save the country.

It is the opinion of Millennia Democrats that if he knew what Manafort was doing, and he can testify that he was doing it with Trump’s blessing, that may very well be the final shot needed to bring down Trump.

This is also the opinion of former White House counsel to Richard Nixon, John Dean, one of the leading figures in the Watergate scandal. On Saturday, Dean said the news should be of great concern to former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who faces multiple charges in the case, as well as to the White House.

All of this is very different from the pornography film that was Ken Starr drooling in the tabloids twenty years ago. These are Americans, who have actively attempted to sell out America to its most hostile, powerful, and implacable foe. They deserve nothing less than the ultimate penalty of law.

In the last analysis, the biggest threat to Trump in the matter of Russiagate is not Robert Mueller or even Paul Manafort. It is he himself that is most to fear. His scorched-earth attacks on the FBI and on Mueller through the early part of the year failed to do anything but make him look more guilty. Something is in the air, and the tension is palpable. America will have to wait and see.

 

J.B. Pritzker, Billionaire with a Heart-The Right Man For The Job.

MillennialDemocratsForPritzker

The Democratic frontrunner for the Illinois governorship, J.B. Pritzker, is a pretty good guy.

When speaking of the very richest people, a common mistake is the tendency to fall into all-or-none thinking, and create a false dilemma. Not all billionaires are like the Koch brothers.

In this world, we are all born where we are born. No one should be judged by the sum of their bank accounts. Whatever one’s economic status, we are all defined by the sum of our choices and the quality of the work we do.

J.B. Pritzker has done a tremendous amount of good work. In this regard, he has carried on the legacy of his family.

The Pritzker family did not make their fortunes running houses of ill repute as the Trump family did(said brothel was turned into a tourist attraction last fall, to help us remember that). They came from poverty and worked their way up through hard work and cleverness.

The patriarch of the family, Abram Nicholas, was the son of a Ukrainian Jewish immigrant who had come to Chicago in 1881 from Kiev. Abram Nicholas put himself through Harvard, earning a law degree in 1920 before going to work in his father’s law firm, later known as Pritzker & Pritzker.

He and his brother, Jack Nicholas Pritzker, left the firm in 1936 to try their hand at commerce.  The family fortune quickly grew, due to their ability to invest wisely in real estate and small companies, particularly around the Chicago area.

Abram Nicholas also became a philanthropist on a large scale, helping establish the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago and giving several million dollars annually to other causes. This started a long and proud tradition of Pritzker support for humanitarian causes.

The philanthropic causes the Ashkenazi Jewish family supports are almost as diverse as the real estate and business investments that made them rich in the first place.

The Pritzker Family Philanthropic Fund is a major supporter of Jewish charities in the Chicago area, including Jewish education programs.

Examples include $3 million given to the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago in 2002 and $1 million for the Treblinka Holocaust Memorial in 2007.

Memorials for the victims of the Holocaust are another of the Pritzker family priorities. J.B. Pritzker led the campaign to build the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, which opened in 2009.

The impressive statistics just keep rolling in; they read like a grocery list.

As of 2014, the Pritzker family has donated the staggering sum of $16.9 million to the Chicago public school system.

J.B. Pritzker personally spearheaded the effort to build a coalition capable of raising the funds to expand prekindergarten programs for low-income children in Chicago without incurring costs for taxpayers. The plan worked.

Early education is one of J.B. Pritzker’s pet causes; he also partnered on a project to invest $20 million in an Early Childhood Innovation Accelerator to develop and fund programs for disadvantaged children.

Yet another example of J.B. Pritzker standing up for regular folks can be found in his early support of the LGBT community, a time-honored tradition in Chicago. The Society for Human Rights was founded by Henry Gerber in 1924 in Chicago. It is the first documented gay rights organization.

Just the same, even the concept of gay rights was repugnant to many bigots in the early days. For many years, the cause received little support from the halls of government, and the psychiatric community refused even to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for another 63 years, until 1987.

But J.B. stood up for the gay and transgender communities. And he did so long before it was considered “safe”.

His cousin Jennifer Pritzker was born as James N. Pritzker, and underwent an official legal name change in 2013. She identifies herself as a woman and is known as the world’s first and only openly transgender billionaire. She recently made a $2 million grant to a university in Canada to establish a chair for transgender studies, a position unique in all the world.

Nancy Pelosi recently made some kind remarks on his behalf at the Equality Illinois 25th Anniversary Gala, which are given below. They illustrate clearly that respect for persons of LGBT orientation was strongly held by J.B.’s mother.

“Earlier, it was referenced that he drew his value of respect for the LGBT community from his mother.  I said to J.B. there was something I would tell him tonight that he might not know about his mother that is very special to me.  When I was chair of the Northern California Democratic Party, she was the treasurer – our offices were together; our desks were in the same room.  And she was very instrumental in writing the 1982 – well, we wrote it in ‘81 – a platform that was passed in January of ’82: the California Democratic platform which supported LGBT families – 1982.  Sue Pritzker. So, he comes by his support, his values, in a family way.  Thank you, J.B.

It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that “Thank You” is indeed an appropriate thing to say, to someone who has spent an entire lifetime sticking up for people who don’t have billions of dollars to stick up for themselves.

J.B. Pritzker has been carrying on the philanthropic tradition started by his grandfather, all the days of his life. Every evening, while he sleeps, the organizations he created do more good for actual people than the life’s work of Chris Kennedy and Daniel Biss- his opponents in the Democratic gubernatorial primary of Illinois– combined.

Kennedy, a milquetoast shadow of his famous relatives, could not even manage to drag himself out of bed to attend the debates earlier this week, citing a bad back as the reason why.

Lol. These men put together do not have a tenth of the capacity or skill that J.B. Pritzker does..

These same two guys are adding fuel to the fire and attacking Pritzker constantly, even though they know they are doing no good to anyone except but the hideous Bruce Rauner when they commit to that course of action.

It is true that the man shot his mouth off like a pig ten years ago when Rod Blagojevich tried selling him Barack Obama’s Senate seat. He made some really stupid, ugly comments about black people and has justly come under serious fire for it- as anyone should.

There is no doubt his comments were repugnant. It always sucks when people sound off like morons and get themselves into trouble, especially when they’re actually decent sorts.
But- Let’s face it! A lot of guys have talked that way behind closed doors. You can’t chase all the Democrats who ever talked like a pig out of office, without handing over the reins of power to a much worse set of swine.

Hopefully, by now, it is not news to anyone that the country is in a really bad situation. We cannot afford the luxury of sidelining the talents of our most able countrymen, just to punish them for saying something lousy.

J.B. Pritzker is funding his own campaign. He has outspent the monstrosity Rauner by $16 million and rising. He has travelled all over the place on a literal apology tour, taking accountability for the awful words of his mouth, and showing people his plans to make up for it with concrete plans and actions. Why is it up to anyone else, to relentlessly savage him for that?

The Black Women of Illinois Forum accepted his request to allow him to go there and speak. If it’s good enough for them, it ought to be good enough for everybody.

Pritzker’s opponent next fall, the incumbent governor Bruce Rauner, is a truly despicable human being. We don’t need a hot mic to know how he feels about black people. We’ve got his voting record. That guy could spend the rest of his Earthly days on an apology tour, and it still would not be good enough.

But J.B. is different. He’s a good man who said some bad things, and who has done a lot of good things. It is the rarest of all possible combinations in today’s society, to find someone who is on the top, having lifelong compassion for people nobody else used to care about.

You don’t find that every day. Even if there wasn’t a Bruce Rauner, the only sensible reaction to having a guy born for the job of governing one of our largest and most populous states step into its shoes is to thank the heavens and prepare to get behind him.

Beyond all other reasons, when filling a job, we should consider how well its function can be performed by its occupant. There is no one on the political radar of Illinois who has a sliver of the talent or ability possessed by J.B. Pritzker. The greatest amount of good can be done for the greatest amount of people, by giving power to the person best able to use it.

In the case of the state of Illinois, that person is J.B. Pritzker. And we’re going to stand behind him, with everything we’ve got.

First They Came For The Dreamers.

Resist the wall.

On the issue of immigration, America has been brought to a truly sickening pass by its chief executive.

Construction started on a California section of Trump’s border wall on Wednesday.

This time, we have got to get good and mad. If we acquiesce to Trump building that wall, it will be a stain on the country’s honour that no amount of centuries can wash clean.

Ultimately we will do whatever is necessary to save our friends and loved ones, and Trump knows that.

But what’s to stop him from pulling this again? What’s to stop him from grabbing any number of us, and holding our needs hostage to use against us later? DACA represents an obvious way to hijack us, but it’s not like there aren’t others; sooner or later, there’s something we all don’t want to lose.

Appeasement never works. Never. All throughout history, the only way to stop a bully from picking on you has been to knock his block off.

Never give Poland to Hitler, as the saying goes. Something has to come along and stop this.

Our leaders have done all they can and achieved remarkable successes, but past a certain point they have no power. We’re not in control of a single one of the halls of government currently.

Now that President Obama has been out of office a year, we’re going to start feeling the results of Trump’s new policy real soon.

To pay for this waste of a wall, there will be no end to new regulations, state and local increases, etc. It’s going to be a gigantic and constant defiling for everyone who’s not a billionaire.

It all comes back to how we take it. There is a point past which they cannot function. If all of us steadfastly refuse to participate, business as usual cannot possibly continue.

One is reminded of the Robert Frost poem beginning “Something there is that does not love a wall,” as he then goes on trying to convince his neighbor not to rebuild one on their property line.

If you truly want to make America great again, you don’t build a wall that symbolizes everything that America shouldn’t be and has always stood up against.

The Wall is an eyesore. Forget about what a waste of money it is, walls as fortifications haven’t done much good since the development of modern artillery.

Wall or no wall, there’s no keeping watch over 1300 miles of borderlands to keep people who are desperate to get here out.

These big nationalist types talk about making America great again by kicking out all the Americans who came from Mexico. But they’re also the ones hiring them on the sly to save money. If Trump really wanted illegal immigration to stop, he’d crack down on these big employers. 

Last week around this time, the Senate rejected a bipartisan plan to save our Dreamers, even at the cost of conceding to the wall. Republican leaders joined the White House, intentionally blowing the likeliest chance for immigration legislation this election year. Nice work.

The White House threatened to veto the measure, which underscored the issue and emphasized what a hot button the issue has become, for both parties. The profound lack of partisan compromise remained as intractable as it’s been for years.

Even the focus on Dreamers, who polls show win wide public support, was not enough to overcome opposition by hard-line conservatives and far-left Democratic presidential hopefuls afraid of angering the voters they’ll soon be begging.

In the meantime, Customs and Border Protection is replacing a little more than 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) in downtown Calexico, a sliver of the president’s plan for a “big, beautiful wall” with Mexico.

We are down to the line, folks. The long game of the opposition is becoming clearer by the day. The outline of a plot to reverse the entire trend begun by the civil rights outline is taking form as the dust settles.

If the people of this country go back to sleep this time, if we quietly sit back and allow Trump to be normalized, we will never get up again. It will not matter that we aren’t in favor of the awful things they’re doing because we will not have any power with which to stop it.

It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that we’ve got a year or two at most to turn this thing around. We will do this using the same means we’ve been using all along. Raising public awareness to expose and reveal these people for who they are and what they are doing. Hope is not lost, but it’s going to take a lot of hard work on the part of us all. Please join your strength with ours. Help us fix this. Before it is forever too late.

 

NO MORE MASSACRES! Regulate Guns and Protect Our Children!

Protect Our Children.

How do we interpret the Second Amendment in a way that makes any sense?

This is the controversy that is ripping through America today.

Earlier this week, a maniac Trump supporter murdered seventeen of his fellow Americans in Parkland, Florida. This person was a scumbag, who doesn’t deserve to get his name in print. He was photographed proudly on Instagram wearing his stupid red Make America Great Again cap, and was obsessed with racism and violence.

In Florida, victim Scott Beigel’s funeral is still going on, but not before the NRA had already held a gun show. This revoltingly insensitive spectacle of misplaced values is the same show the NRA puts on every time, as Michael Moore showed us in Bowling for Columbine.

The 2nd, like most other Amendments, is a failsafe written into the Constitution by the Founding Fathers designed to defend America against a centralized tyranny of the type they were suffering under King George, while also avoiding the type of populist nightmare that led to the Reign of Terror in France.

It is the opinion of this Millennial Democrats contributor that most people respect the Second Amendment, but more than anything, they want little kids to stop getting shot when they go to school. There has to be a happy medium somewhere.

Undoubtedly, the right to bear arms is an important and fundamental American tradition. Once it was critical. It was not granted us by the British, who did not respect us as equals. They labelled us rebels and traitors and treated us as though we had no rights at all. We had to fight for our rights, by forming citizen militias called Minutemen, heroes who beat back the oppression of the British soldiers in the area to mistreat and abuse them and set our country forever free during the Revolutionary War.

These sections of American history are an important part of the heritage of victory we all hold dear.

That is what makes it all the more tragic, when slovenly packs of rednecks like Cliven Bundy get together, misappropriate these terms for their own insane and unnecessary purposes and drag them through the mud.

The kinds of people who call themselves Minutemen these days are not heroic at all. What they are, is a problem.

The gun culture in this country has gotten out of control. It’s just that simple. When 11,000 people in the country are shot dead every year, you’ve got a problem that is out of control.

In the aftermath of the Orlando shootings, CBS News found that 36 percent of U.S. adults either own a firearm personally, or live with someone who does. Furthermore, that huge number is the lowest gun ownership rate in nearly 40 years.

There are more guns in America then there are human beings. And 3% of our population controls 50% of them.

In 2016, there were a total of 384 mass shootings. That’s better than one a day.

According to data from the Gun Violence Archive, a total of 346 mass shooting incidents occurred in 2017, which is a slight decrease than last year. But in terms of the numbers of dead, it was the deadliest year in American history.

On October 1, 2017, 64-year old Stephen Paddock opened fire on 22,000 people at a country music festival from his hotel suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel on the Las Vegas strip. The attack, which left 58 people dead and more than 500 injured, marked the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. The death toll surpassed the Orlando Pulse nightclub massacre, which took the lives of 49 people in June of 2016.

Paddock had an arsenal with him that defies belief.

Authorities eventually discovered that he owned 47 guns. At least 12 of those in the hotel room were outfitted with bump stocks, which allowed the semi-automatic weapons to mimic the gunfire of automatic ones, according to Jill Snyder, special agent in charge of the ATF’s San Francisco field division.

Under federal law, gun stores are required to report multiple handgun purchases to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives but not multiple rifle purchases.

The lack of notification for multiple rifle purchases creates a loophole where people can stockpile assault weapons, similar in design to those used by the military and police SWAT teams, with little federal detection, said David Chipman, a former ATF special agent and senior policy adviser at Americans for Responsible Solutions, which advocates for stricter gun regulation.

This problem is not going away. People are going off the rails like this because the tension in our society has been rising like a pressure cooker for years. Now that Trump is in office, it’s likely to get much worse.

When it does, we can certainly expect even more people to reach their breaking point. When they get there, there will be plenty of guns, and that is the crux of the problem.

In nearly every case of a mass-shooting, easy access to a firearm at the time the perpetrator felt most aggrieved was what tipped the situation into violence.

Sooner or later, something’s got to give. We aren’t advocating for the government to kick doors down and forcefully snatch people’s guns away, but we can’t sell AR-15’s out of vending machines either. This country is in desperate need of a reasonable and far-sighted set of gun regulations. Until it gets one, the body count will just keep piling up.

Our hearts and best wishes are with the town of Parkland, Florida, and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. They have vowed that theirs will be the last mass shooting. Godspeed, you guys. Good for you.

R.I.P. Alyssa Alhadeff, Nicholas Dworet, Scott Beigel, Aaron Feis, Jamie Guttenberg, Meadow Pollack, Christopher Hixon, Luke Hoyer, Carmen Schentrup, Gina Montalto, Alex Schachter, Peter Wang, Alaina Petty, Martin Duque Antiano, Helena Ramsey, Joaquin Oliver, Cara Loughran, and all the others. You are not forgotten.

 

Mueller Indicts Russian Trolls- Trump Proved Wrong!

#TrumpIsWrong

It had been looking like a rough month for the Russiagate investigation. Trump has seemed panicked and disjointed, and his slanders have grown desperate and shrill. The Nunes memo, the attacks against the FBI, the talk of firing Robert Mueller, the accusal of bias toward Trump on the part of investigators involved with the case.

All of it pointed a giant red arrow toward something big coming down in their direction. And on Friday, we found out what.

Three defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and five defendants with aggravated identity theft. They were also charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, the Department of Justice announced Friday.
“The defendants allegedly conducted what they called information warfare against the United States, with the stated goal of spreading distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said.
Trump was quick in taking to Twitter to point out that this hasn’t proved collusion yet, but come on. As Bob Dylan once said, you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.
The indictment is sweeping and describes in detail an unprecedented campaign by Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election. The longstanding conclusions of the US intelligence community have now been fully vindicated.
It is also completely at odds with Trump’s repeated denial of those conclusions, which has continued throughout his first year in office. According to CNN, Trump is still not convinced that Russia meddled in the election, and of course, we know he’s ignored Congress in upholding the sanctions on Russia.
Trump is always talking up how he knows everything about everything. It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that he knows everything about this topic, at least.
The indictment gave us many new details, of communications between unnamed Trump campaign officials and the Russian defendants.

A personal anecdote. The editor of Millennial Democrats was online alongside legions of others, out there for HRC from 2015 onward, every day, for many hours. Anyone who was there back then can tell you. It can be stated categorically that there was a tangible, palpable disinformation campaign going on.

You would go into groups and talk to people, who were steadfast in their refusal to listen far beyond the bounds of reason or even fanaticism. These guys were professionals.

It was like they were getting paid per response. They all seemed to be equipped with the same list of hit points about Hillary Clinton. This became clear after a while because the very same slanders would be laid out every time, in sequential order. In many cases the wording was actually identical, although most took the time to switch about at least a thing or two. And they were just as prevalent on the left as on the right.

It got especially bad during the last month of the Democratic primary, which was a very horrible time filled with chaos and division. During this time, we were savagely attacked. Anything we posted would be Reported as Spam/Abuse by political adversaries from both the far right and left. We were barraged with nasty messages and threats. One particularly rabid group of Bernie Sanders supporters told one of our contributors that they hoped she was gang-raped. The list is very long, and very sordid.

Therefore, when we found out today that according to the indictment, Russia’s Internet Research Agency had a “strategic goal to sow discord in the US political system”, including the election, it was far from a surprise to us.
At the time, nobody wanted to listen. We were treated like we were crazy. But it became clear before long that we were not paranoid, although it was difficult not to come off that way in real life conversations. We expected a certain amount of eye-rolling, and we got it.

We didn’t blame the people, though. The whole thing was unprecedented, not to mention pretty implausible. Even our intelligence agencies were not fully aware of what was going on. This kind of thing has never happened here before. This sort of attack has in the past been used only by superpowers against small, Third World countries. We were never considered so vulnerable.

The anger and despair caused by the 2016 election opened a door. The smear job on Hillary Clinton represented a quarter- century’s work and God only knows how many millions of dollars on the part of the GOP. They had long ago ensured there was no end of mud to sling. And trusty Wikileaks was always around to make sure there was no shortage of new indecencies. We were all online for this, every single day.

The new information, as confirmed today by Robert Mueller’s indictment, states clearly that thirteen Russians posted “derogatory information about a number of candidates”.
They bought ads and communicated with people tied to the Trump campaign and others in order to coordinate political activities. They even went so far as to coordinate their activities on our soil.
The indictment also mentions a February 2016 memo to Internet Research Agency staff. The instructions given were to post political content on US social media sites and “use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump — we support them).” No wonder his people don’t want him to touch “the Russia thing”.
This is solid confirmation of what we have been saying all along. The specific mention of Trump and Sanders shows that the Russian government decided early on to oppose Clinton. Looks like we finally know for sure why Bernie would not vote to sanction Russia.

Being involved as a Democratic activist has often been really scary because of the constant Russian harassment. It was a violation of everything we are entitled to as American citizens. Russia used their disinformation machine against us with tremendous effect, just as they have done in Ukraine or Syria. We were actively being targeted, by foreign agents, for participating in our own electoral process.

We had wanted to make our voices heard, and to make a difference in our own futures. Instead, we found ourselves on the front lines of a virtual battlefield, fighting the first skirmishes in this new kind of proxy war we were to be fighting with the Russians.

 

This, combined with the blatant insanity of the Trump base, and the rabidly overzealous conduct of a dangerously high percentage of Bernie Sanders supporters made for an extremely nasty cocktail of filth for the Russians to fling about on social media, amplifying their messages through a mixture of robot armies and highly targeted advertising.

It is to be hoped, now that our American leaders know, that they will do something to give us a hand. We are still here, and ready to be of service, and as warriors of the information age, we are the ones best placed to do it.

The best defence against Russian trolls is a well-educated public and a lot of tech-savvy Democrats beating them back. No amount of disinformation can ultimately prevail against facts. The key is to get our message out there as far as we can, to as many people as we can. Raising awareness constitutes the one sure path to an ultimate victory.

Trump Goes After SNAP, Ruins All He Touches- How It Came To This.

Trump in his element

Donald Trump has proposed a grocery list full of bad ideas as legislature since taking office thirteen unlucky months ago. This newest one is actually going after groceries.

The fattest president in the last hundred years of American history is trying to take away half of the people’s food stamps and replace them with a revolting government food box complete with shelved milk.

Another particularly vile specimen we happened to notice recently was that he’s made it legal for hunters to shoot hibernating bears.

Since Trump took over, we’ve been beset on all sides. Every aspect of our rights, needs, and value systems is being systematically discarded and trampled underfoot. Far from getting all the cool free stuff that Bernie Sanders was promising back then- $30 trillion dollars worth– we’re fighting a losing battle on every front, just desperately trying to hold on to what we’ve got.

Things are not improving, and will not improve until the Democrats are back in power. There has never been a time when this wasn’t so during our lifetimes, but it has never been truer than now.

An analysis of the events leading up to these events is provided in the form of this anecdote from one of our contributors, as well as a warning, from a Millennial Democrat who cares. The opinions thus expressed are the views of this contributor, and are not necessarily the views of the organization by and large(although they’re pretty close.)

I never wanted to get involved in politics.

Politics were boring. Plans, charts, talking heads- I couldn’t stand a bit of it. Made my head hurt. I figured that America the Great could take care of itself and did not really need my help.

One day, though, around the year 2000, a filthy animal named Ralph Nader crawled out of a toilet somewhere and burned all that to the ground, at the behest of his Republican masters. Soon after, just when I’d started to think the world wasn’t as bad as I’d thought, that the days of Bush and Reagan were behind us, that maybe we at last were close to making some kind of progress, it was all smashed to bloody bits by 9/11.

After that, everything was different.

Bill Clinton had worked hard for eight years to balance the budget and had even added a surplus to it. That was all squandered in ten months. The feeling of progress and decency that had been growing since the Berlin Wall collapsed was gone. Soon it was the Patriot Act and war with Afghanistan. A completely pointless and random war with Iraq was to follow.

Ever seen the HBO series, Generation Kill? With the American soldiers in Iraq just riding around the country, randomly blowing things up? That is how it was. We had no objective and no clear purpose. We knew perfectly well that democracy was not really threatened by Saddam Hussein. But Bush had sent us over, so there we were. It was really stupid. It messed up a lot of my friends.

After that, nothing was the same. Everyone hated Bush, but he was a Bush, after all, and we were at war. People felt like he would be a good wartime president because his father had resembled The Terminator on a number of different levels. Remember the old legends about the leaders of men being giant lizards, loose under the earth? The alien theorist guys always show a clip of the good old H.W. licking his lips in support of their theory. There can be no doubt he looked reptilian.

Unfortunately, W. was not the equal of his father, who in turn had not been the equal of Ronald Reagan. He bungled it at every turn. No weapons of mass destruction, no Middle Eastern democracy in Iraq, no launching pad for us to slowly take over everything else from. It was all for a great big nothing.

By the time the second Bush was gone, we had a mess to clean up on every corner of the globe. And even though his historical successor Barack Obama proved to be a genius, he couldn’t do more than get the country pointed back in the right direction. No one could have, in eight years. It’s much easier to destroy than create.

At length, Obama succeeded in his Herculean task and reoriented the country toward something decent. ALL WE HAD TO DO, WAS WALK FORWARD TOGETHER.

Telling this part of the story is where I always start to get mad.

There is no way to throw eight years of effort into a few sentences. Suffice it to say, what Obama had achieved was worthwhile, and it should have been stood up for. And of course, those of us who fought hard for Hillary Clinton did do our best to stand up for them. I’m here to tell you, it was not easy.

To you who reads these words- Did you ever try to have a rational debate about policy or legislature with a member of Bernie or Bust? Because I have, and I am here to tell you. It was impossible.

By the time 2015 was drawing to a close, I had a really bad feeling about what the left was up to. Signs of an impending communication breakdown were everywhere.

People who didn’t know a thing about any of it were of a sudden fervently expert in the field. All the mountebanks and pseudo-intellectual theorists in the country crawled out from under the rocks of their coffeehouses.  And the moronic faces of either Trump or Bernie were everywhere you looked.

By the time 2016 came around, it had become frightfully obvious to me that things were NOT going to simply continue to take care of themselves.

People were going nuts. Free college, free healthcare, free everything. To listen to these guys tell the story, money itself would soon be obsolete in the brave new Bernieverse. In fact, previous success in the financial world was enough to disqualify your entry.

Within these circles, reality became more and more distant from the discourse as the year went by. And by the time I realized that having started out fresh after New Year’s of ’16 was not going to be able to do much more than scratch the surface, that I had started out too late, it was too late everywhere. The schism in the Democratic Party was a fait accompli, and Trump went on to win because of it.

Jill Stein, the leader of the Green Party for that election cycle, proved a worthy successor to the legacy of Nader. Once again, the loony left stole just enough crucial swing state votes to cost us the election.

The Libertarian Party won out big, taking more third-party votes than any candidate has since 1996.

And the Republicans took control of every part of the government.

Nor was that the end. Even the ultimate disaster of Trump being elected was not enough to bring those people around. They’re out there even now, knives in their teeth, savaging people at the local level. They go by lofty-sounding names like Our Revolution and the Justice Democrats, but they’re just as noisy and insolent as when they were Bernie or Bust. They’re not fooling anybody.

Thanks in large part to them, every American on every side of the conflict got screwed. Putin was victorious. The way things are now, we can’t even agree to keep the air clean, since Trump pulled us out of the Paris Accord.

We’ve got a babbling baboon, strutting around like an obese rooster, with people calling him Mr. President. They will never get the stink out of the showers.

Every bathroom in the White House will have to be redone, at the taxpayers’ expense.

They’re all running wild in there, beating their wives and molesting one another like chimpanzees. And me? The guy who wanted nothing to do with politics? It looks like I’m in it for the long haul. Because until the day comes when things calm down again, and politics go back to being boring, I don’t have a choice.

This is about my future. It’s about the future of my children, who I don’t want having to join the Trump Youth. It’s about the future of my parents, who they want to throw out in the cold by snatching Medicare away. These things are not just important. They are life and death. See you in the trenches.

Berniecrats Forget Who To Fight, Attack Democrat J.B. Pritzker in IL Governor Race.

We're with J.B. Pritzker and all real Democrats.

So-called progressives are getting together all over the country, hijacking local chapters of the Democratic Party. They are attacking our candidates everywhere.

There has never been a set of midterms so crucial. Everyone on every side knows this. The best chance we’ve got of getting rid of Donald Trump before 2020, except maybe for the 25th Amendment, is to turn the Congress blue. The guys we’ve got in there now would never have impeached Nixon. We need Democrats in the legislative branch to impeach Trump. Period.

Our electoral road to success is an uphill battle. Twenty-five Senate Democrats are up for reelection this year, for example, as opposed to only eight of the reds. A plausible path to control of the Senate has arisen since Doug Jones’ stunning upset of the perverse Roy Moore, but it’s still going to be very hard.

In spite of all this, there’s a certain element in the party that refuses to care about any of this, and instead insist on fighting their own people.

I saw a good point in an article today about progressive energy at the local level; awesome. It takes us all. Working together, and not against each other. It’s not about rejecting progressive ideas; we’re all progressives. The 2016 platform was progressive to a magnificent degree. Time to start focusing on the positives and putting the past to bed.

It’s insane to have a primary where Democrats are fighting each other in a year when every cent is needed so desperately to fight the real enemy. Anyone who is forcing us to waste time and money thus, and worsening the interparty divide in the process, should be viewed as extremely suspect.

Take the Justice Democrats, for example. They were the first ones to howl for Al Franken’s blood.

Take also this situation with J.B. Pritzker. He’s the Illinois billionaire who’s running as a Democrat against Bruce Rauner down there. Someone dug up old audio on him, talking to Rod Blagojevich ten years ago about who the best guy to fill Obama’s Senate seat would be.
He made some very unpleasant, stupid, racist, ugly remarks about black folks. There is no doubt his comments were repugnant. It always sucks when people sound off like morons and get themselves into trouble.
But- Let’s face it! A lot of guys have talked that way behind closed doors. You can’t chase all the Democrats who ever talked like a pig out of office, without handing over the reins of power to a much worse set of swine. As soon as Bernie Sanders resigns for his essays on rape fantasy, then we’ll talk.
Bernie Sanders, of course, is the name constantly invoked by finger-waggling naysayers, who are now all crowing like roosters at the dirt that has been dug up. Pritzker’s primary opponents are standing right alongside the governor, Bruce Rauner, who is a truly despicable human being. They are adding their attacks as fuel to the fire, even though they know they are doing no good to anyone except Bruce Rauner. 
This sort of blind attachment to unrealistic purity standards has left to a rift in the Democratic Party.
Accusations of an “inevitable” candidate. Accusations of a rigged primary. Opponents who lack any hope of defeating the absolute villain who’ll be stinking up the seat of power adding their fuel to his fire, attacking the one person who can, the Democratic candidate.

The Illinois Democratic primary for governor sounds a lot like Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential primary campaign, which didn’t end up well for us, or for the country, or for the entire human race.

Evoking Sen. Bernie Sanders, Pritzker’s top competitors whine that they’ve been elbowed out at every turn by party insiders.

“The establishment that’s supporting Pritzker wants us to not worry about Pritzker’s electability” in a general election, said Sen. Daniel Biss.

A great rebuttal was offered at a meeting of Sangamon County Democrats last week, Bill Houlihan, who is an elected member of the Democratic State Central Committee, said he wanted Biss to quit giving fodder to Republicans as he criticizes a rival.

“Dan Biss has been sending out some emails that I think are hurtful to the Democratic Party and J.B.Pritzker, and I think we need to shut that down as soon as possible,” Houlihan said.

J.B. Pritzker is funding his own campaign. He’s been on an apology tour for the last week. He’s been going all over the place, taking accountability for the awful words of his mouth, and showing people his plans to make up for it with concrete plans and actions. Why is it up to anyone else, to relentlessly savage him for that?

The Black Women of Illinois Forum accepted his request to allow him to come there and speak. If it’s good enough for them, it ought to be good enough for everybody.

But this is typical. It’s been going on all over the country with increasing frequency. And the pattern is always the same. Unknown candidates from the far left joining forces with Republicans to slander our candidates and when possible, gathering and attacking like hyenas to eliminate and replace them.

One noteworthy example is Howard Katz, a former Riverside County Democratic Party chairman who was sneakily voted out of the top leadership spot by Bernie Sanders supporters this last October. He moved across town, and they lied and said the rules said they could not call for another election.

Many who cast votes against Katz did so to deliver up a victory for the Sanders wing of the party.

His replacement, one Steve Ruth, made the following statement after his election.

“I think there’s room for everyone — for the people who’ve been around a long time and the Democratic structure,” he said. “But we also need to open our arms to the new people, many of whom are ‘Berniecrats.’”

Berniecrats have been gathering secretly in packs, then making sneaky moves to co-opt us at the local levels. It’s enough to make you sick, especially considering how often Bernie’s chosen candidates have lost since that terrible November.

In order for progressive ideas to be realized, we’ve got to be in power. Nobody’s talking about Medicare for All these days. They’re holding onto Obamacare for dear life.

Millennial Democrats have no use whatsoever for radicals who get in the way of their own causes through stubbornness and irascibility. We also have no use for those who turn their backs when the going gets tough. We see right through the hijacking attempt that’s going on and we’re speaking up about it. And we are asking for your help to raise awareness.

This is not the first time that the far right has used the far left to manipulate the national dialectic. But if Trump and Putin get their way, it may very well be the last. We’re going to have to stand for a lot worse, before it’s all been said and done.

We realize that our leaders are not perfect. We expect Mr. Pritzker to do better in the future, and we will not speak on his behalf in this matter again. In the name of coalition, however, and for the good of the country, we think it best to forgive him and move forward. Should we refuse, it will only be the enemy who benefits.

Just the same, J.B., you’d better hustle on that apology tour. Not cool, man.

A Disaster Named Victory- Trump Sacrifices Economy for Ratings Boost.

A dark cloud on the American horizon
Donald Trump has always gone around saying that he understands the tax code better than any man alive. If true, such a fact suggests to the layman that an ant could do your taxes, if only it could hold a pencil. Actually, however, it is a fundamental truth of American life that the process is very confusing. Litigator Andrew Grossman recently wrote an article, titled Is The Tax Code Really 70,000 Pages Long? 
This is why the approval ratings for Trump and the GOP have recently taken an upward bounce. Although they have wrought a disaster in the form of their new tax plan, they hailed it as a victory. And most red voters have no idea at all why this is wrong.
Paul Ryan tweeted out the following- and promptly deleted it.
“A secretary at a public high school in Lancaster, PA, said she was pleasantly surprised her pay went up $1.50 a week- said that would more than cover the cost of her COSTCO membership next year!”
One doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Is this something to worry about? Yes, it’s scary. Anytime anything good happens for those jackals, it’s scary. But it was easy to predict they would get a bounce off this before it starts to hurt people. The negatives will start hitting home pretty soon. And when they do, we have to catch it and make sure that we give credit where it’s due. 
The bill is a disaster in every way. Fareed Zakaria called it “possibly the worst piece of major legislation in a generation
But even still, they did manage to pass something through a legislature, for the first time in Trump’s entire disaster of a presidency. For that reason alone, this looks like a victory for the GOP on the surface. Unless people can be shown how bad this will cost them, we will not have what we need to get that giant mammal out of the White House.
Remember when Bush got reelected in 2004? He was all smiles and sweetness before the election. Within another year, though, he showed his true intent. The first thing that happened was we had the gas price crisis smash home, safely after he’d have 4 more years to do all the harm he could.
Then, those who’d voted for him were miserable. Lamentations could be heard at every gas station in America. Unkind fate, that gives us what we pay for!
If we wish to avoid a repeat of those horrible years, a number of things are necessary, but certainly among them, developing a working understanding of what state tax dollars do and where they go is critical.
States help educate the nation’s children, build and repair its roads and bridges, provide health coverage to low-income families and their children, and much more.  Many of these services are essential to building strong, healthy communities and the nation’s long-term economic vitality.
Although the exact amount varies greatly from state to state, federal tax money is distributed to all the states and is a sizeable chunk of its revenue, the revenue allotted to the maintenance of these crucial infrastructural expenses.
Thus, less federal revenue means less money for the states. Less money for the states means less money for local areas, which means local and state tax and cost increases.
This is how local and state and cost increases in education and healthcare give such a severe beating to middle income.
Gigantic federal top income tax cuts lead to regular folks getting slammed with state and local increases.
All of this is the pits for anyone who isn’t a billionaire, of course, but the conservative media machine rolled right into effect to make it seem otherwise. The trick is both disingenuous and brutal. 
They cut one part of your taxes, the federal, and make it personal by boasting about it on television. They then take a substantially larger piece of your income from you as state and local taxes, but they make it abstract. They do all they can to keep the two from being related in the minds of the people. 
During Obama’s tenure in office, the data demonstrated clearly that the U.S. individual income tax was very progressive, borne mainly by the highest income earners. In 2014, the top 1 percent paid a greater share of individual income taxes than the bottom 90 percent combined.
Reversing that state of affairs is the reason that Trump was put in power.
Poor people and seniors will get slammed terribly and subjected to varying indignities from those who believe one must earn the right to live. Medicaid is always first on the chopping block; in fact, just last month, the Trump administration announced that it would grant states the right to impose work requirements for Medicaid recipients.
Local and state governments will raise cash by setting more regulations. More fines, more fees, raised vehicle registration, increased water bills. etc.
An expert in the field wrote Millennial Democrats with the following observation.
“Every penny, dime, and dollar that top income gets a tax cut for, low and middle income gets backdoor increases to pay for it.”
The people will get hit from both ends, and then be told that this is because Democrats want to raise their taxes and give the money to Muslims. Middle America gets badly burned, to the sound of the Trump voter cheering for it. 
Low and middle income will get hit with a few hundred or a few thousand cost increases. City officials will literally sit around, thinking up rules for us to break. Whatever minute tax cut we’ll get will be consumed by that. Only the 1% will benefit. 
Before the GOP started in with this crap about the big top income tax cuts, local and state taxes for people of average income was about $800 a year. The average now is around 6 thousand a year per person.
One of the first thing states do is cut funding for college tuition, forcing colleges to hike tuition fees. This is the reason college tuition is so high. Before big Republican tax cuts in the 80’s, college tuition was very low. Millennials, ask yourselves- How many of us can’t even have a bank account now, thanks to lifelong student loan debt?
Another good example is water bills. Water bills used to be very low. But this also is among the first thing cities do when they get less funding due to less federal revenue, and therefore less state revenue. They hike water bills.
It has to be understood that federal revenue is distributed to the states and that state and local depend more on that than they do local and state taxes.
The GOP tax cuts are a massive fraud. They are a titanic transfer of more taxes and costs that average Americans, even upper-middle-income Americans, cannot afford to pay without greatly reducing their living standards. All so guys like Donald Trump and the Koch brothers can strut around like satraps.
Hillary Clinton was the only candidate that ran with a plan to protect average Americans if the market tanked from huge losses. She bothered to take the time about developing one because she realized that the market is a gamble.
If it should take a dive at a time when millions are having to retire, due to health and other issues, they get slammed. Social Security is guaranteed, but this already does not provide enough for most low and middle-income seniors, and the Republicans want to reduce benefits even more.
Republicans are also constantly trying to whack Medicaid. That program, along with Medicare, crucially supplements low-income seniors. This is not going to work. We are going to have a nation full of seniors in dire straits as soon as they can no longer work. Again- Millennials, this will be our parents and ourselves.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, far from being a victory, will be a very serious crisis for America in a decade or two. We will be fleeced little by little from a million different angles. We need to raise awareness of how this breaks down. Getting people to understand how bad they are going to be hurt before they feel it is an indispensable condition for #TheBlueWave.
We simply cannot keep giving top income tax cuts at the expense of low and middle income. The middle class is the backbone of society. If it breaks, we cannot stand up.

Praying for a Peaceful Winter Olympics- Put Away The Nukes!

Put down the nukes!

The Winter Olympics will be held in South Korea this year, a fact that has caused anxiety to a great deal of the world.  The Korean peninsula has been a troubled place for a long time. It is the site of both the first and last active conflict of the Cold War.

North Korea has urged the U.S. to end international calls for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and to instead support ongoing peace talks geared toward ending the long-running hostilities. To that end, they’ve been going out of their way to be reasonable.

At one point it was feared that North Korea would use the opportunity to try for a hack or an attack or a disruption of some other kind, but it doesn’t really look like that would be necessary.

Kim has his nukes. It’s a fait accompli. He’s got no more real reason to worry, as long as he doesn’t nuke anyone else first. Even the sloppy drunk Steve Bannon had to concede this. There’s no military solution here.

To forget Kim’s nukes, and try peace, like one headline I saw today said, is the only choice we have. It’s that or be ashes. We can’t nuke another country, just because they made more nukes.
If we were going to go that route, we’d have had to nuke the Soviets back in the 50’s.
These days, forget it. You’re nuking half the world, and hoping not one of their nukes will hit you back. Good luck wiping China, Russia, and India off the map. 
Nuke. What a stupid sounding word. Can’t we get past this? Do we really want to live in a world, where our leaders go around like baboons, growling and threatening one another while comparing the size of their…buttons? Haven’t we learned anything at all?
It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that living constantly under the shadow of nuclear annihilation is very boring, but we recognize that is not the opinion of Donald Trump. It’s another one of those 1980’s Glory Days kinds of things, that he and Putin both so love.
I mean, we miss the Go-Go’s, too. Just because we were little kids, doesn’t mean we didn’t love the 80’s. Sadly, however, all good things must come to an end. Like She-Ra. Or the Satanic Panic.
Most of us do not miss the Cold War, or any other war, because we know that war is bad. For human beings, it really is that simple. We don’t want to be smouldering ashes, as Mr. Kim promised we would be, and we think it sensible to imagine that the North Koreans felt much the same when Trump made them a similar promise.
We don’t need to have this fight anymore. It’s pointless and it’s stupid. Everyone knows that. So why does it keep going on? Who benefits? If America were to reopen hostilities with North Korea, who would stand to gain?
When North Korea did its first missile test, on May 19th of this year, the move drew worldwide condemnation. In an all-but-unanimous rejection of any more nukes, the world made known its mind.
Still, all-but-unanimous is still not the same as unanimous. There were a few lone voices of dissent from the wilderness. One of them should not surprise us. That name is Vladimir Putin.
Putin immediately spoke up for Pyongyang, warning the international community against thoughts of military action, and posing as the leader of the world.
One might expect Moscow to show some concern about North Korea’s missile tests. Russia, after all, is one of only three countries to border with North Korea by land. It also wants to keep the nuclear club small. And the missile even landed in Russia’s territorial waters. But Putin did not seem to mind. The casual observer might be tempted to conclude that he is up to something.
In what ways and to what degree does Russia have leverage over North Korea? What outcome would best advance the interests of the Kremlin?

The key to the problem most likely begins and ends with oil. Russia has long been suspected of supplying North Korea with oil, even though international sanctions limit such activity.

However, recent reports from a collective of journalists called Asia Press International claim that the price of oil there has fallen by 40 percent.

We do not know the exact amount of oil Russia has exported to North Korea, but it’s easy to see why Russia would want to help Pyongyang. Keeping the North Koreans dependant could help keep them compliant, which creates leverage that Russia could use in future negotiations with China or the United States.

In addition, Putin’s personal fortune and control of Russia are both completely dependant on Russian oil reserves. His ability to manipulate those markets is the backbone of his empire.

At any rate, it will all have to wait until after the Winter Olympics- an event at which millennials are the bulk of the competitors. The South announced on Thursday its president would meet the North’s Olympics delegation on Saturday. The games will soon be on, and we’d like to send our best wishes and hopes to South Korea along with the American competitors.

Onward to victory!