We are living in a political landscape that is currently dissolving, and as it does every day presents new questions, fundamental and human in their nature, some completely new. As they do, we need to separate, observe, and classify them. Dissolution in chemistry means the breaking down of complex compounds into their basic particles. Scientists use this technique as a way to collect feedback and data based on the contents of the issue, and that’s exactly what we have got to do. All of us, not just this or that candidate’s supporters. We have to sort out what kind of a position we are dealing with before we can chart a good strategy, and that is going to take us all.
The Austrian government has purged itself of would-be far-right Nazis, who were diligent enough to resign en masse. Every far-right Freedom Party minister in the Austrian government has resigned. Austria’s Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache was the first to go. He resigned on May 18 over a scandal he caused while colluding with Russia to subvert his nation’s government. They caught him on a sting tape.
Unfortunately for Mr. Strache, his transgression appeared over the weekend in a video from 2017. He probably wasn’t very happy to be watching it. It showed him on the Spanish island of Ibiza, offering government contracts to a woman who claimed to be the niece of a Russian oligarch. Strache’s party has a cooperation agreement with Russian president Vladimir Putin, just like Marine Le Pen of France did.
These countries, in our opinion, should not just let the Russians do whatever they want in their electoral system, which I have always disliked, but it does seem to help them not get taken off guard by this kind of thing. They’re used to it, and it’s not unexpected.
Strache is gone, which is both positive and sadly ironic. It’s sad he was allowed in that position in the first place. Austria is where Adolf Hitler was actually from, not Germany. It’s positive because, well, anytime there are fewer Nazis someplace, that’s positive. This, we can accept on faith as an axiomatic statement. But it’s sad at the same time, because, well, how quickly we forget! In Germany proper, you’re not allowed to go around spouting Nazi filth anymore. They’ll stick you in a cell for that, although it’ll be in a prison, not a death camp. Why not in Austria? In fact, why not everyplace? A prison is a great place for Nazis in any country.
They should be very grateful that not all of the rest of us are just like them. If we were they’d all be dead.
Getting back on topic, my guess is that what we saw Strache doing on that tape is something he knew full well was illegal, not just something “dumb”, like he tried to say on his way out the door. It was for the same reason I think Paul Manafort never left America, although of course, that is speculative.
He didn’t think his alt-right team was going to lose.
Keep in mind, this was 2017. The alt-right had it all back then. Trump was in office over here, having just begun his term. German chancellor, the interim head of the free world Angela Merkel was being severely attacked by that nation’s alt-right primarily by the Free Democratic Party(FDP). These were the chief culprits, of course. But Merkel was also besieged from a different angle, through Martin Schulz, a far-left, Putin-backed and financed candidate who was called the “Bernie Sanders of Russia“.
The list goes on. Marine Le Pen was still giving Macron a hard time in France. and Austrian far-right leader Norbert Hofer came closer to winning a major election than any far-right candidate has since the end of World War II. All over Europe and elsewhere, far-right militarists who were friends of Putin began taking power. Jinping Xi of China, whose state capitalist system is a more efficient version of the Russians, back then called Putin his “most closest, most dearest friend”.
Certainly, the momentum was there, and they were, for a day, riding the crest of a swastika’s black, white, and red wave. The colors were to replace those of America. They wanted this and dreamed about it, and they thought Putin would be able to get it for them. They even manipulated unwitting dupes of the far left on board with ripping up Democrats
Viewed in this context, of course members of Austria’s far-right would be open to cooperating with Russia. Why wouldn’t they be? They thought he was going to build them a new world, one they’d be on top of. Le Pen summed up their viewpoint very well, hailing him as the herald of what she said was a “stone in the building of a new world destined to replace the old one.” She flicked her wrist around the room with the utmost contempt, as if to indicate what Trump would soon be washing away.
Not long after, one of their guys, a nameless trash can killed a girl named Heather Heyer at a now-infamous rally in Charlottesville, Virginia by running her down with a van, and they all cheered about it, and marched around afterward harassing those who prepared a quiet candle vigil for her. It made them feel strong, to murder a woman. Trump told them they were “very good people” and said not a word about what he had done.
How strong do you chumps feel now?
That was all before the FBI arrested George Papadopoulos and kicked in Michael Cohen‘s door, though. Once they arrested Paul Manafort, and still Trump used his pardoning power on no one but Joe Arpaio, the sadistic Arizona sheriff who built concentration camps in the desert for the prisoners of Phoenix, they must have gotten to thinking.
Every time a member of the alt-right has second thoughts about putting their ideology higher in their value system than their behinds and bails, they inspire a few more of their buddies to join them. One by one, and finally in droves, their “brothers” and them all disappeared. Every one of them was a crack in the reservoir for Putin. Now that guys like Strache are actually resigning because of things he made them do, we can look for that crack to widen rapidly.
Sooner or later, that levee’s going to break.
As soon as the incels and other alt-rightists all see that he can’t protect them, they’ll realize they only have three choices, like in the Choose Your Own Adventure books we millennials read as little kids. There are all kinds of different ways to go at first, but sooner or later they all run together, and then there’s only a few, leading to the same three options every time.
Failure, success, or death.
All those guys are thinking about this and weighing the equation in their minds. The jig is up, and they know it. Putin was a long shot from the first, but for a while all his rubles made them forget what they now are remembering in earnest- that it’s not going to happen for them and they know it. Now they’re remembering something else, too, something that people in mobs tend to forget.
Sooner or later, this is going to backfire horribly on Putin, who has been a disaster for Russia. The country is in poverty while he and his pals fly around on private jets holding rallies on American soil. He got them sanctioned heftily, they can’t do business in America, and there’s only so much borscht you can eat.
“Something there is that does not love a wall”, said the famous American poet, Robert Frost, in his famous poem Mending Wall, and that seems like a good place to start, in discussing the proposed border Wall of Donald Trump, a completely unAmerican project if ever there was one. A constitutional crisis has come to our Southern border, latest in a long line of artificial disasters created by the illegitimate and infantile man who with Russian help stole the 2016 election.
Returning again to his use of executive power to bring chaos to the country and deflect national attention from his crimes, crimes which his old campaign manager Paul Manafort got a 19-year prison sentence recommended for last week, Donald Trump has declared a national emergency where there isn’t one, announcing his intention to try and build the Wall he’s been screaming about, twelve hundred miles worth of ugly mess and dark symbol on our entire Southern border.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff gave us the story Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “He’s pretty much daring the court to strike this down,” the California Democrat said. “It is going to be a real test for my GOP colleagues in Congress and their devotion to the institution.” Knowing the Republicans, they will roll right over for Trump.
It hardly bears repeating why this whole thing is moronic and despicable. Readers of this blog will most certainly already know. But what’s the other side of the story? How can the Republicans possibly justify this? What are the Fox News talking points? How could the fight be worth it in their ridiculous eyes? As they see it, here’s how the story goes, at least in the observations of this Millennial Democrats contributor.
The Wall is not immoral because it has a door. People will be allowed through according to legal channels. The current state of affairs wherein new waves of immigrants pass under bushes and across the desert to flock into our country by the hundreds will be ended. What Trump is doing is understandable, he needs it for his base, and above all, the fight is not worth it for the rest of us. It cost the country $7 billion.
Their solution? We should simply give up the fight and let him build the thing.
Let’s start out in the Aristotelian model, by conceding that there are aspects of truth to this. As always with Trump, like Charles Manson, he is very good at taking the truth and making a lie out of it. Another point to consider is that if the president of the United States wants a $5 billion appropriation for a pet project that’s important to him personally and partially fulfills a campaign promise, then he ought to be able to get it.
This is also true. The time-honored way for him to get it is to do what Trump promised above all else- come to the negotiating table, and make good deals. But back at the beginning of 2018, we were ready to cut a deal that could have given him the wall if in so doing we could have secured legal rights of citizenship for our DREAMers, the roughly two million Latino-Americans who were brought here by their parents as small children.
We, Democrats, came to the table offering a compromise involving wall money and a path to citizenship for DREAMers. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer came up with a good plan and brought it to the table for him to sign. He almost went for it, too. It was immigration hardliners in Trump’s own administration who scuttled the deal, and that is what brings us to the core truth of this whole standoff.
The Wall is a completely pointless waste of time.
Everyone knows it, including the immigration hardliners. They themselves clearly don’t think the wall is particularly useful or important in the real world. If they really wanted a wall, they would go get a wall by offering something in exchange for it, like protection for the DREAMers or letting the immigrant children their thugs have hijacked out of the warehouses they’re keeping them in, or some other thing. Nothing has been offered and nothing will be, because the only one who wants this done is Trump. As for the aforementioned hardliners, they know the whole concept is idiotic, so they won’t offer to trade for it. It’s as simple as that.
That the Wall is pointless and not worth it is true enough, and it is also Trump’s fault. He himself immediately admitted, “I didn’t have to do this” and then went on to recite his worn out old stump speech for the umpteenth millionth time. This whole boring episode makes it clear that Trump is even more isolated in his position that what’s happened on our southwestern border constitutes any kind of a national emergency than he was when he first caused the #TrumpShutdown. The immigration hardliners and the sane center agree on that much.
But where considerations of silver and gold are all that kind of person sees, it’s only where we’re getting started.
For one thing, the belief that a wall alone will keep anyone out of anything is just plain stupid. It’s a ridiculous concept all around. It’s a medieval solution to a post-industrial problem. If they really wanted to keep immigrants from crossing the Rio Grande they would lock up the guys hiring these guys. If they didn’t know they could come here and get jobs easy, they would stay back home.
Trump cites the “migrant caravans” as a reason why this is a crisis, pointing to the disgraceful failure that is Venezuelan socialism and noting that the refugees heading out of that area are in desperate straits. He sent our troops to the border in response to one of these just before the midterms.
Now that was disgraceful.
Militarily speaking, there are no modern examples of a wall being a successful defending strategy, but there sure are lots of examples of their failure. We don’t have to go all the way back to when the Mongols hopped right over the Great Wall of China, nor do we have to make mention of the founder of Rome, Romulus, having killed his brother Remus for mocking the wall he’d built around the city. He laughed at him, just like we’re all doing at Donald, which should serve as an abject lesson of how ugly people can be in a state of wounded pride.
Fixed fortifications failed the French at the Maginot Line, which was the most heavily equipped fortress of a border there ever has been. The Germans simply drove tanks through the Ardennes Forest around it, and conquered France in a little over six weeks back in 1941.
Likewise, in 1944, American troops stormed the beach at Normandy and cracked Hitler’s vaunted Atlantic Wall in one day.
France proved our point again on its way to dragging the United States into Vietnam, by getting themselves annihilated at a fortress called Dien Bien Phu.
But above all others, it was a non-military barrier as this one will be, as ideological as physical, the border of the Berlin Wall that stood for many years as the world’s largest eyesore.
The premier of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khruschev, put it up across Berlin in 1967. It was the result of a fit of petty rage, his own pride wounded when he understood just how unpopular his communist system was, that many people were escaping to the free lands of the West through the part of Berlin controlled by the Allied powers.
This was because, above all else, people wanted to be free than live under the hells of socialism. We still do.
Someone ought to tell Bernie Sanders that, not that he’d listen.
The Berlin Wall came down in 1991, right behind the evil empire of the Soviet Union that was propping it up, and it’s nothing but a memory now. But the scars it has left on the psyche of the human race are very large and have yet to fully heal. Something there is that does not love a wall, indeed. Willy Brandt, the Social-Democratic mayor of Berlin, and soon to be chancellor, called it the Wall of Shame. The term caught on quick and was totally accurate. If Trump does build a new one, it will be revived.
In the end, it isn’t all a question of money and impracticality. Trump’s Wall is a symbol and an evil one just as much as the one in Berlin. As Nancy Pelosi said, it really was total immorality. To placate his base would be insane, since they are all insane, and there’s no sense in appeasing dictators or their bases anyway- because it can’t be done. They will take and take until there is nothing left.
As the old saying goes, and as we have written in the past, never give Poland to Hitler. If we rolled over on this Trump would be emboldened to try for the next wicked item on his unending agenda of corruption all the harder, not that that will ever happen. Walls keep people from coming together, and that’s exactly what the human race does not need. Our history is vibrantly sad already. It’s time for us to begin learning how to heal, not to begin inflicting new wounds.
All cancer comes from one form of inflammation or another. This has gone on for too long. It’s bad for the presidency, it’s bad for America, and it’s bad for the whole human race. The border must remain open, the government must remain open, and Donald Trump must be made to stop using his powers in this egregiously ridiculous and damaging way. America has had enough.
The 2018 midterm elections were among the most anticipated races in history, and they did not fail to deliver dramatic results. Throughout the election cycle, word of a Democratic Blue Wave gained momentum, and a watershed voter turnout was the satisfying result. It was the highest for any election held in the United States since Watergate, which seemed suitable for such a high stakes contest. In many cases, the primary considerations of the voters seemed to counterbalance one another. These were the strong economy and the personal repugnance of Trump himself. The president has managed to snatch credit for the strength of the economy, but his low approval ratings pointed to Democratic gains (Washington Post). History has favored the minority party at the time of the president’s first midterm. This tendency, combined with American disgust for Trump himself as a man, to give Democrats control of the half of the Congress known as the House of Representatives by a wide margin.
The achievement of the Democrats can hardly be overstated. Reporter Dan Balz of the Washington Post gave us a few statistics with which to illustrate this point. Democrats flipped about two-thirds of the competitive districts won by both Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Barack Obama in 2012 or by Clinton in 2016 and Mitt Romney in 2012. They also picked up one-third of districts won by Trump in 2016 and Obama in 2012. In districts where both Trump and Romney had won in the previous two elections, Democrats gained about a quarter of the competitive seats (Washington Post). Democrats even managed to break even in net seats in the Senate, though they had faced crushing electoral odds in that chamber. Twenty-five Democratic senators were up for reelection as opposed to only eight Republicans, and many were in states that went solidly red in 2016. Managing to hold the line places Democrats in a fantastic position to retake the Senate in 2020, when the shoe will be on the other foot. While immediate domestic concerns are likely to be given precedence, the effects of the Blue Wave in 2018 are sure to reverberate worldwide.
This tremendous level of electoral enthusiasm was all the more remarkable in that midterm elections in general are not captivating to most voters. In a normal year, only the most ideologically driven and committed members of the electorate tend to turn out for them, and certainly overseas interest is not typically overwhelming. But in recent years, a radical polarization has gripped the global society’s political atmosphere. The specter of World War Two has risen and people are getting scared. A great acrimony and division has spread through America and the rest of the world. Some are calling it a civil cold war, and its battlefields can be found on many fronts. Trenches are being dug under national borders, in some cases, and along gerrymandered district lines in others. People in all corners of the globe had good reason to pay attention, as the struggles highlighted the dramatic and worldwide trouble the human race is having in getting along with itself.
The quality of the candidates selected by the two parties speaks in volumes to the quality of those who did the selecting. Democrats elected eight new scientists. Republicans elected three felons and a dead pimp (Post-Tribune). Something has got to give here. Somebody is going to hold power in America, the world’s sole superpower. We have to look closely at whom. The moderate wing of the Republican Party used to have some allies in it. There were men like John McCain, who in spite of their party affiliation was sound and unselfish Americans. Some of them could be counted on for bipartisan dialogue concerning issues of paramount importance. McCain is now gone, however, and with him the moderate wing of the Republican Party. This type of candidate took serious damage in the midterm primaries. They were discarded in favor of candidates more in line with the views of Donald Trump. Many of these came from the ranks of the alt-right, though the elections also played an important role in illustrating a trend of worsening extremity taking root in the far left. Only center Democrats have reliably proven they can put themselves to the side enough to do what is best for the country.
The 2018 election was in many ways a referendum on the 2016 election, and the events immediately surrounding it. The victory of Donald Trump combined with Brexit constituted significant blows to the American-led, liberal world order, and empowered the radical right. It also empowered Russian president Vladimir Putin, who had spent millions of dollars to defeat Hillary Clinton and get a guy in office he found more pliable. “Putin likes Trump because he supports this view of the world, that the big guys can carve it up,” explained former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov in an interview for Gentlemen’s Quarterly. After Trump won, Kasparov, who is Putin’s former opponent in a Russian presidential election, wrote some predictions down in his new book on the future of the Western world order, Winter is Coming. He believed we had eighteen months in which to turn around the sequence of events that had been started, two years at the most. If we didn’t find a way by then, he felt, it would probably be too late. I thought of those words many times on the way to the voting booths this year. They perfectly summarized the reason it was so important for the Democrats to win the midterms in 2018. Only the full force of American conviction can activate its might enough to keep the world safe for democracy.
Today’s world, like today’s Republican Party, is busy coping with an uptick in reactionary far-right movements, movements that in many cases and nations border on fascism. Alt-right candidates were present in greater number than ever before in the 2018 midterms, and this too is part of a worldwide trend. From Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil to Norbert Hofer in Austria, adherents of racist nationalism have been growing increasingly violent and brazen. A man screams “Hail Trump!” in a movie theater; another during a performance of the Fiddler on the Roof. “Middle America is rallying to the flag of the alt-right,” said Kyle Bristow, a self-described member of the “alt-right” and the attorney of infamous white nationalist Richard Spencer. These candidates mostly lost, but their sheer proliferation is a terrible sign. It goes without saying that all of them were Republicans. The race was representative of the political atmosphere worldwide in that it was ideologically polarized. It saw its fair share of triumphs for liberals and progressives, but it also saw a rise of far-right, white nationalist candidates. Some of these were victorious. The low quality of the Republican candidates has negative consequences for every level of government.
A Democratic retaking of the House of Representatives was a critical first step in containing and reversing this virulent problem. It is why the Resistance showed up in such numbers at the polls. For two years, liberals and progressives have been helpless to do anything but sit idle, as one travesty after another has rocked the global community. We have not had the power to protect our people, or even to get many others to listen or to understand our plight. But with the power to form committees of Congressional inquiry, we can finally start to put the bad guys under a microscope. The power of the House is, in this case, the power of defense.
The elections were not completely without problems for the Democrats. It showed us that ideological faultline is still existent not only in the Republican Party but in the Democratic as well. The rift between the supporters of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton has healed to an extent, and there have been improvements made in this area. Our shared victory in the midterms demonstrated that the progressive wing of the party is beginning to learn from the tremendous mistakes they made in 2016, where undercurrents of far left hard feelings allowed the Russians an easy way to turn the 2016 Democratic primaries into a zoo. The radical left’s extreme love for the Bern reached the levels of a cult by the end of the primary. From the day the Bernie or Bust petition began circulating, it was obvious we were in for trouble. If they couldn’t have Bernie, they said, they would rather have Trump. This attitude was allowed to get highly pervasive, and it killed us in the end.
This time around, Democrats did a far better job of managing conflicts between the two wings of the party. They simmered at a low boil all the way through the midterm primaries but managed to keep from becoming a fight instead of a contest and ruining the Blue Wave. This is a positive sign, suggesting the far left might have learned from 2016, which is good. Most mainstream Democrats have been pushed to the left as far as we will go, and are starting to get ready to push back. Centrist groups like Third Way have been pushing candidates to read up on history and polling. “The party is not going to go in the direction of Sanders-style socialism, because it’s not winning on the issues and it doesn’t win politically except in a very, very limited number of places,” Third Way president Jonathan Cowan tells TIME. “It’s going to go in the direction that won it two presidencies” (Elliott). The last two two-term Democratic Presidents were mainstream Democrats. [That’s] what’s going to get the House back.” It’s important to emphasize here that mainstream Democrats do not seek reorientation of the party. We’ve been doing an excellent job under the worst possible conditions.
Progressive Democrats from the Sanders wing were not without a few reasons to cheer in November’s elections. The upset primary victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over twenty year veteran Joe Crowley for New York’s 14th District stood out on a number of levels. Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest Representative ever elected, and her zealot’s love for socialism has given the Sanders wing a new face and voice to cheer for. My thoughts are that this is not the worst thing in the world, because we need them, and it appears that some healing has taken place. Clinton supporters and Sanders supporters used to very nearly hate each other, and that no longer feels as acutely so. It appears that the left has achieved a degree of unity for now, but it remains to be seen whether this newly placid status quo can survive another presidential primary.
The immediate battles to be faced come January in the House of Representatives are only one part of a much larger problem. Democracy is under attack worldwide. It is being replaced one plank at a time like the proverbial Ship of Theseus. At what point in all this replacing does it become a different ship? Only one thing is certain, at least in the gut level instinct of this writer. Since Trump got elected, this country does not feel the same at all. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, America has been rated as being less than a full democracy for the last two years. The EIU produces an annual review ranking countries on their adherence to 60 distinct democratic values, including electoral processes and press freedom (“America Has Been Classified as a Flawed Democracy”). According to their standards, we’re not a free country anymore. America is now more like Viktor Orban’s Hungary, or Vladimir Putin’s Russia. The rich want to get into power and stay there, and quote the ideals of freedom as the reason they ought to be able to use any means to do so. The only way we can hope to turn this all around is to get the Democrats back into power and keep them there.
The biggest net effect of the midterms is the Democratic retaking of the House because it gives the sane center of the country back the power of defense. Democrats can now protect our country from anymore disastrous Trump ideas. This also sets back Putin’s plan of attaching more of his tendrils and creepers to the grand old castle walls that hold up our country. Proactive measures are more limited. Democrats can form investigative committees, and hold hearings for the purposes of questioning and gathering information. Resources are certain to focus on raising awareness about the Russiagate scandal and other serious challenges facing our democracy. The conduct of Trump and his allies can be highlighted and brought to the forefront of public consciousness everywhere. It should be understood that even with a legislative chamber in blue hands, Republicans still hold the White House and the Senate, and the cooperation of all three is needed to pass a law. Nothing in recent history suggests hope for bipartisan cooperation on any issue, regardless of the issue’s importance. People will see once again how obstructionist and unfair the opposition is, and afterward, it will be easier to help people understand the truth- everything we hold sacred is in danger. If things keep on as they are, the days of American supremacy will be numbered.
A close look at the playing field this election has left us with will prove useful as we step into the future. Blue Wave 2018 hit home for the midterms, and it gave us a great start. But the world remains beneath the dark shadow of a large-scale hatefulness and mayhem. The potential for danger and disorder is so great that it seems almost redundant to say so. As someone who has lived through all this, and read not just eight articles about it but hundreds, I feel that this narrative is being neglected and understated. This is due to responsible journalists not wanting to sound alarmist, in some cases, and it’s comforting to tell ourselves we’re in less trouble than we are. But the country’s divisions have been highlighted and exacerbated by hostile foreign powers such as Russia, who also targeted the 2018 midterms. This has added urgency to the issue and made them even more difficult to ignore. Going forward, it will be incumbent on the Democratic leadership, under the new Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, to use their regained power dexterously. To show the people of the country that there is a reasonable alternative to the bedlam created by the current administration, resources must be channeled wisely and well. Good thing we’ve got a professional headed for the Speaker’s Chair. We’re really going to need her.
In studying the political history of America, the scholar will note along with Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., who wrote in his Age of Roosevelt that foreign radicalism has never taken deep root here. From the visceral horror felt by the Founding Fathers toward the bloodbath going on in France to the resolute pursuance of seeing an end to the Nazis, America has always managed to resist being taken in by extremism from left or right. The source of our strength as a nation’s people has always lain in our ability to value compromise and moderation, which are necessary if we wish in times of crisis to be able to pull together with the full force of American conviction behind us, like when we fought World War Two. When these values are abandoned, democratic nations start to fall. If we lose our ability to communicate, we clearly can’t coordinate strategy. Only the full force of America’s people can activate its might enough to keep the world safe for democracy. Our ability to hold the center is why we have become and remained so strong.
After looking at all this, a simple question remains. Has America ever faced a midterm election like 2018? In considering its potential impact of it on the country and its global standing, many would argue that the answer lies in the negative. The Trump administration has been a disaster of colossal proportion. Every day that America is represented in its highest office by a man who many would argue is both corrupt and deeply incompetent is a day in which we are vulnerable in the eyes of the world. Resisting his demented policies has taken everything we have, but we managed it even though we held so little power. After two years of that, holding the House of Representatives feels like a tremendous luxury of strength. We can assure the Trump presidency will be a lame duck from this point on. We can’t start setting things to rights just yet, but we can stop the current Oval Office occupant when he tries to do further damage. We can block his cruel new policies, and removing his ability to hamstring our future with corrupt appointees like the Supreme Court’s Brett Kavanaugh. This is why it was so crucial for the Democratic “Blue Wave” to sweep America.
Agerholm, Harriet, 2018. “America falls short of being a full democracy for second year running, report finds.”
/www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/america-democracy-rated-donald- trump-not-fully-democratic-us- president-report-the-economist- a8195121.html
Balz, Dan, and Scherer, Michael, 2018. Washington Post, Washington Post. “For Democrats, A Midterm Election That Keeps On Giving.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/for-democrats-a-midterm-election-that-keeps-on- giving/2018/11/09/b4075ef2-e456-11e8-ab2c-b31dcd53ca6b_story.html? utm_term=.754bc43973ad
Beauchamp, Zack, 2018. “The midterm elections revealed that America is in a cold civil war.”
https://www.vox.com/midterm-elections/2018/11/7/18068486/midterm-election- 2018-results-race-surburb Campbell, Alaistair, 2018. “Garry Kasparov on Putin, Trump, and their deal to carve up Europe.” https://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/article/garry-kasparov-alastair-campbell-interview
Elliott, Philip. Time, Time, 2018. “The Middle Road.”
Frier, Nancy, 2018. Time, Time, 2018. Facebook Discovers an Ongoing Effort to Influence the 2018 Midterm Elections.
Grand Magazine, 2018. “Urgent: The United States Has Been Classed As A Flawed Democracy.”
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been indicted by the United States! It’s a beautiful day for a neighbor.
This story’s release was not destined for the front page- at least, not right away. It was found in an unsealed court filing in an unrelated case. The document contained the phrase “Assange has already been charged”. What is thought to be a simple copy/paste error has got the entire world talking.
The evidence so far suggests it’s a weapon that Putin has used to great effect.
There is nothing more important than a free press, an independent press like the one Putin destroyed in Russia. That is not in question. But there is a big difference between journalism and doxing, and the difference is that one is edifying and one is malicious. One seeks to educate and enlighten, and the other seeks only to destroy. In the last analysis, intent speaks for itself, and you get what’s coming to you.
Humanitarian concerns keep us from wishing physical harm on the man. The death penalty is wrong, and torture is wrong, regardless of the circumstances, no matter how egregious the criminal. We don’t feel he should be waterboarded at Guantanamo- the hole at United States Penitentiary-Leavenworth is hard enough. And even though the slipup was actually revealed in a pedophilia case, it is important to note that Assange has only allegedly raped two women in Sweden. Those are two more of the reasons why he needs to be taken somewhere and tried.
When Ecuador first gave asylum to Assange, he was still a hero to many on the left, and to many opponents of “US imperialism”. This sentiment runs deep in South America, and not unjustly so. So he was given asylum; a very decent act on the part of Ecuador.
But that was before he started using their place to hack our elections and do harm to everyone who’s breathing. What a guy. If I were Assange, I would start a GoFundMe for commissary.
And I would feed my cat.
The G7 summit was held in Canada over the weekend, and America had to suffer the indignity of being represented there by its president.
Trump was at his very finest this weekend. He blew it every chance he got. His conduct was so awful that Putin could have scripted it.
This annual summit, to say the very least, is a big deal.
It involves the bringing together of seven major industrialized nations, nations who represent more than 60% of global net worth between them, to discuss economic conditions and other major global issues. It’s something that is best not taken lightly for anyone who happens to be the president of one of those countries.
Trump arrived late, left early, and used the opportunity to start a petty fight with his peers. In doing so, he showed everyone exactly how seriously he takes major global issues.
In so doing, he has thrown the international trading order into chaos, and most likely put the US on the path to a trade war.
The city of Quebec hosted the event, which was quite a miserable place to be, by all accounts.
And French President Emmanuel Macron criticised Trump’s “fits of anger”.
The fight started after Trump pulled the US out of a newly arranged agreement, blaming the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau whom he derided as “dishonest and weak”.
A sort of agreement called a summit communique was finally reached, thanks to an all-night negotiating session by officials from all sides. For a few brief hours, it started to look like the nightmare was ending.
But after leaving for Singapore, Trump tweeted personal attacks on the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and said that he had told his representatives not to sign, turning what had already been a tense meeting of the world’s leading industrialized democracies into a fiasco.
“PM Justin Trudeau acted so meek and mild,” he tweeted. “Only to give a news conference after I left saying that ‘US tariffs were kind of insulting’ and ‘he will not be pushed around’.
“Very dishonest and weak” he claimed, adding in a separate tweet: “I have instructed our US reps not to endorse the communique.”
Trump was very unhappy with the likes of Trudeau and Merkel, our time-honored and trusted allies. But he wasn’t so unhappy with the G7’s missing partner Russia, which was suspended from the group – then called the G8 – in 2014 because of its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
On Friday, Trump called for Moscow to be readmitted to the group, making it the G8 once more.
This is no longer unbelievable. Recently retired four-star general Barry McCafferty recently commented sadly that he believes Trump to be a “threat to national security” because Putin has something on Trump.
This seems clear to us, and if he’s not being actively directed, it’s because he’s too predictably destructive to require that type of micromanaging. Better to just let him sling his feces as he will.
It’s usually a point with Trump not to pay his bills, but this time he seems determined to keep his promise to pay off for the Russian dictator. He accepted the job of busting up American alliances at Putin’s behest.
Ruining our relationships with our closest European allies is what Putin’s Russia wants. They hope to create complete and total chaos, enough to bring down the entire world order so that they can realign it as subordinate to Russian interests. It is why they put so much time and money into getting him elected.
It’s as if Littlefinger crawled out of Game of Thrones and off the TV screen. I can see him now with his little ratty face, saying “Chaos is a ladder.”
As this goes down, we’ve got to raise awareness. We have to continue to let people know what’s going on because our president is lying to us with a zeal that would have impressed Joseph Goebbels. Regardless of what he may say, the other countries of G7 deserve our love and support.
We’ve all been in this together for a very long time, long enough for history to show many times over that internal discord and disunity in the Western world give openings to extremist enemies. We who live in the G7 nations need each other.
The era of isolationism is over, for better or for worse. It’s never coming back. America can either live up to its international obligations or watch the world order that it’s holding up collapse. It is a disastrous disgrace that so much can be decided by one awful and incompetent man.
In future days to come, when millennials hold the majority of the seats of power, it will be our responsibility to see that a failsafe mechanism against a repeat of this situation is installed. In the meantime, however, we’ve got little choice but to watch as Trump makes his mess. This is how a teacher of preschool must feel.
Donald Trump has dealt a severe blow to the global order with his decision to pull the United States out of the Iranian nuclear agreement, causing a major rift with European allies and raising tensions in the Middle East.
Concerns are growing daily that the recent decisions made by Donald Trump will do much to destabilize a region that has long been unstable anyway.
Israel and Iran, both of whom seemed emboldened in the face of the new situation, fired missiles at each other Wednesday across the Syrian border. They followed up with bristling threats in a steep escalation of tensions.
In days, we’re set to make the Israeli embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, something other US presidents have held off on, due to their reasonable belief that it would not help us keep the peace down there.
The merits and flaws of the embassy move itself are not our points of focus here. It’s a separate issue.
We’d like to give our best wishes to the people of Israel and Iran, and all other people, for that matter. If everybody there is cool with the embassy being in Jerusalem, then we’re happy for them. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Our issue is the haphazard and ill-thought out manner in which the current executive administration made this decision. There is no sign at all that Trump fully understands just how serious his decisions have become. He’s not a reality TV star anymore.
We have also seen this recently in North Korea, as Trump boasts of his ability to “bring the North Koreans to the table”. The North Koreans bring themselves to the table, every time they need a few bucks. But Trump doesn’t get it. He seems to really think that Kim is giving up his nukes.
Kim is never giving up his nukes, of course, and neither will anybody else who manages to get them, now that they’ve seen how Trump reneged on the nuclear arrangement we had with Iran. What a mess. It’s been quite a while since Iranians were burning American flags in the streets, and screaming “Death to America!” But they sure are doing it now.
Former Mideast negotiator Dennis Ross, speaking on NPR, said Trump’s decision to abrogate the terms of the nuclear deal is likely spurring Iran to show the US that it will pay a price, which most likely led to the missile launches Wednesday.
Dr. Alina Polyakova of the Atlantic Council gave a talk on the world order last year, in which she illustrated its fracture points, meaning geographical locations that constitute stressors upon it. Ukraine was one, Syria was another. We can now add Iran and Israel to that list.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Europe could no longer depend on the United States, comments that were echoed by French President Emmanuel Macron. Both leaders had made eleventh-hour trips to Washington to try and talk Trump out of the leaving the Iran pact.
“It’s another blow to the trans-Atlantic alliance,” said Sen. Bob Menendez(D-N.J.), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “The Europeans don’t know what to make anymore about how strong and how deep our alliance is with them. And we need them. We critically need them to achieve many of our goals, both as it relates to Iran and other things.”
Everyone in the world seems to get this, except for our 45th president.
Perhaps the situation was summed up worst by the National Security Council’s senior director for strategic assessment, Victoria Coates.
“I think it shows you that the President is absolutely doing the right thing here,” Coates said to reporters during a press conference held Friday. “It is not upsetting any regional balance; in fact, his leadership is what’s bringing the region together.”
Good thing Iran doesn’t have any nukes. In a few years, though, hold on to your hats.
Donald Trump has got us into the worst fix yet, this time.
The United Nations voted overwhelmingly to condemn his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Some 128 countries voted for the resolution, while nine voted “no,” and 35 nations abstained, including Canada, Mexico and Australia.
This was about the only respectable thing to do. Rash, reckless, and random is not what adult human beings are about.
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley angrily issued a direct threat from the US to pull funding from the world body if it voted to condemn Trump’s decision.
“The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in this assembly,” Haley said. “We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution” to the UN.
The US President’s decision to spill the information during a meeting with foreign minister Sergei Lavrov was described as having brought Israeli spies’ “worst fears” to life.
During Trump’s meeting with Lavrov and Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak, Trump revealed the details of a covert Israeli operation that exposed ISIS plans to create bombs out of laptops and smuggle them aboard commercial airliners.
Israelis were horrified.
The Iraqi Media News Agency quoted an anonymous source in Iraqi News as saying: ‘In a yellow taxi, Baghdadi fled Iraq and headed to Syria.’
The question of whether al-Baghdadi is dead or alive has been a continuing source of mystery and confusion. Russia claimed in June that he had “likely been killed” in an airstrike just outside of Raqqa. But they offered no proof, and there are many questions about the relations peculiar to the relationships of the parties involved.
Russia had a good working relationship with Iraq under Saddam. Although it always repeatedly denied giving military or security assistance to the Hussein regime, the Russian government under Putin expressed intense disagreement with the U. S.-led war on Iraq.
In April of 2003, after the fall of Baghdad, documents were found in a Baghdad office of the Mukhabarat, the Iraqi secret police under Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime. Those documents showed that a Moscow- based organization had been training Iraqi intelligence agents as recently as September of 2002.
In other words, Russia was training some of Saddam’s best generals and their secret police. We know it went on for several decades. They spent billions of dollars on it.
The leadership of the Islamic State of the Levant consists primarily of former Baathist leaders, Saddam’s generals all coalesced again without him, like a hydra that grew back tens of thousands strong.
But what might Russia hope to gain by claiming the death of al-Baghdadi? What might they hope to gain?
A terrible blow against world stability was struck on Sunday when coalition talks broke down between Angela Merkel’s conservatives, the center-right, pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the Green Party.
This has caused a great unrest in Europe, particularly in Germany. One man, who asked to be called Achim, said, “I constantly worry what Germany might unleash on the world, particularly with Britain leaving the EU, which just gives Germany more power in Europe. And I fear what might happen in this current climate of uncertainty if Merkel is unseated.”
The situation is so unstable that the parliament itself is in danger of being dissolved. There may have to be a new election held. The president of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, admonished the political parties on Monday that they had a duty to compromise and form governing alliances, rather than just call for a new election. But his role in Germany’s system is largely ceremonial. There is only so much he can do.
Nigel Farage and his #Brexit are infamous, and the hashtag #Dexit(for Deutschland Exit) has begun to rear its head. The division of their country would lead to a great division in the E.U. Putin wants to break us off bit by bit.
There’s already chaos here in America. Remember the #CalExit?
The day after the election, a small and previously ignored fringe movement called Yes California was trending on Facebook and Twitter, using the aforementioned hashtag, #CalExit. They’d been around since 2014, gathering signatures to get a vote for Californian secession in the voting referendum. It didn’t go very far back then, but in November of last year, a lot of people stopped at least long enough to give it a think.
For a week or two, in the chaos and despair surrounding the election of Trump, a lot of people were looking for answers and solace anywhere they could find them. In this terrible state of mind, California becoming its own country almost seemed like a good idea.
Trump was Russia’s dog, and we were not willing to live under Putin’s thumb. So it felt to many like we had to come up with something. And so, Yes California gained some adherents and raised some enthusiasm.
But then, in December, a very unlikely visitor showed up in Russia, as a fresh emigre.
It was Lous Marinelli, the self-proclaimed leader of the #CalExit movement.
Speaking to a room full of reporters in Moscow, flanked by photos of Vladimir Putin and Hugo Chavez, Marinelli went on to bitterly rail against American hegemony. From Washington’s foreign policy to the difficulties of the U.S. immigration system, Louis Marinelli decided, he could “no longer live under a U.S. flag”, and that henceforth he would make his home in the southern Ural Mountains.
On that day, near the end of 2016, Marinelli unveiled his primary project. With its logo emblazoned on a banner unfurled behind him, Marinelli welcomed visitors to the “Embassy of the Independent Republic of California.”
The whole episode just goes to show that the far right is not alone among radicals in terms of problematic Russian entanglements. The far left has its fair share as well.
Currently, Germany stands on the brink of a collapsing government and new elections because bipartisan support for Angela Merkel is lacking. The right-wing Free Democratic Party(FDP) under Christian Lindner is the chief culprit, of course, but her opponent in September’s elections also has categorically ruled out any renewal of what they once called the Grand Coalition.
That opponent was Martin Schulz, leader of the Social Democrats (SPD), who has been referred to as the Bernie Sanders of Germany.
Germany’s Die Linke party, which literally means “The Left”, has outdone itself in support of Russia. One of its leading figures declared that Crimea legally belongs to Russia, a sore point throughout all of NATO.
The day after Donald Trump referred to NATO as obsolete, German opposition leader Sahra Wagenknecht on Tuesday added her voice to calls to dissolve it. In terms of policy, one would not consider those two figures similar. What links them is their ideological extremity, and their ties to Russia.
The radical left group European United Left/Nordic Green Left in the European Parliament supports the Kremlin with words and votes (in 78% of the cases), in the Council of Europe.
If Putin can pull off ruining Germany it will render the EU as helpless as America now is, and give Russia a free hand everywhere. This is why they are never short of rubles to spend on troublemaking.
Keeping the European Union and the United States in a perpetual state of crisis is a tremendous boon to the Russians. Crisis and chaos are prerequisite conditions for radicalism, and whether it’s right or left doesn’t matter a bit. They’re trying to use each other.
This is another reason why they are doing to Al Franken over here. Of course, Russia has been helping that along all it can.
During George W. Bush’s tenure in office, and for the same reason, Karl Rove and Company paid for Ralph Nader commercials in Florida. Their goal is the same now as it was back then- to destabilize and de-unify progressive liberals- all of us on the left- who they know to be political adversaries.
The GOP grew gangrenous at least fifty years ago, and by now, it really stinks. They will do or say anything to get into power. What we saw with the infiltration of Bernie Sanders groups last summer fits their M.O. perfectly.
Millennial Democrats would like to thank the patriots among the Sanders wing of the party, who loved their country enough to share this information across partisan lines. And once again, we would like to stretch out our hands to those who want to find a way off the crazy train. As we have repeated many times before, #WeWillEmbraceYou. Give us a chance.
Tad Devine, senior adviser to the Bernie Sanders campaign (and also Paul Manafort’s right-hand man whilst both were under the employ of deposed Ukrainian dictator Victor Yanukovych) once said, “Crisis is our brand”.
From the perspective of leftists, this is the only motive that makes sense, as the new Russia is just as much the ideological rival of the left as the Soviet Union was the right.
The left’s affiliation with the Kremlin can be explained better via the “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” principle. Marx long taught that Communists should make any such alliances as are helpful toward the ultimate goal of dissolving the State.
Russia’s state-controlled economy, which promises to keep “big capital” in check, has proved attractive as a model for many far-left anti-capitalists, but there are a few unpleasantries they keep wanting to sweep under the rug. More than half the country’s criminal groups have ties to its government. It is naked, unregulated, brutal capitalism at its worst, without any of the kindnesses our social democracy displays.
The trouble is that all this crisis and empowered radicalism gives both sides many opportunities to incite mayhems. We all saw what happened in Charlottesville. There were violent clashes in Berkeley, CA not long after that. If these tendencies are not held in check by a strong and involved middle class, they will polarize our entire political atmosphere. That would be to the mutual detriment of all Americans, which is precisely what Putin is after.
Linda Curika, a spokesperson for NATO Strategic Communications in Latvia, said Russian support for extremists of either persuasion is all part of the Kremlin’s larger strategy “to weaken political support for the European Union and NATO.” Putin wants to make Russia great again. At our expense.
Director of the Political Capital Institute Peter Kreko has been recently involved in research regarding this matter. He concluded two facts about the intentions of Putin. First, that he is becoming the frontman of a worldwide anti-human rights movement, and second, that he is investing in, stirring up, and inciting radicals on both ends of the spectrum to “sabotage democracy in Europe”.
Kreko describes Russian tactics focused on destabilizing the EU and advancing Moscow’s ideology. This includes supporting parties and candidates on the margins(such as Bernie Sanders, or Ralph Nader’s Green Party) and friendly media outlets. Vladimir Putin spoke highly of Bernie Sanders all the way through the primary.
In America, we are experiencing many problems with who are still insisting, in the face of the overwhelming evidence that keeps piling up, that “the Russia thing” is simply a distraction from the main issue, that in their view being how the DNC cheated Bernie Sanders. These people are doing the entire human race a grand disservice.
By turning a blind eye to the machinations of the most nakedly aggressive power to arise in the world since Hitler’s Third Reich, they are in fact helping to make possible the same specific chaotic social conditions that in the past allowed far-right populist movements like Germany’s National Socialism to thrive in the first place.
They don’t understand that they are being duped by people who long ago grew cynical and bored regarding the socialist dreams and theories Bernie Sanders is espousing. After all, they invented most of it, and more a hundred years ago.
By now it has become clear to all but the deliberately blind and woefully ignorant that what happened in November here in America was not an isolated event, nor one that should have been unexpected. Rather, it is part of a consistent and growing phase of aggressive Russian attempts to rebuild at the expense of NATO and the United States. It is this generation’s turn to manage the old and fundamental struggle of authoritarianism vs. benevolence.
If Angela Merkel falls now, her fate will be perceived across the world as a big setback for the liberal and internationalist ideas that she has championed. Hillary Clinton was ruined in this same way and for this same reason. This will be a giant setback to everyone on the left. We must come together and stand with the Chancellor now.
The Washington Post’s Tory Newmyer summed it up well in an article earlier today. It is clear that a large part of the German chancellor’s current difficulties come from the rise of the far-right and the far-left in Germany.
It’s a shame that simply by pointing some of these things out, a lot of people are going to get mad. It is not our intent to hurt feelings or point fingers. We fully realize that most of Bernie Sanders’ supporters in 2016 stood with him out of genuine conviction. We know they are good people. It is not as though we enjoy being the bearers of bad news. We find it regretful that these things have to be discussed at all.
But the simple fact remains. Moderates have been savaged by a whole galaxy of various dirty tricks. We are up against some really rough customers here. They attack from unexpected angles. We are asking for the help of the progressive wing of the party. Please share with us what you know.
The problem does not belong just to the far right alone, although it’s true that they’re usually the ones paying for it. It has infected the left as well, and not only the green wing. The recent betrayal of Donna Brazile comes to mind. It affects us all, and we will come to the table with anyone who is earnest about finding a way to solve the biggest problem of our times.
Sooner or later, we’ve all got to calm down, shake hands, and start to figure out what we’re going to do. We might as well start now, while we still have time. Soon it will be too late.