Incoherent and Inconsistent- G7 Summit Ends in Chaos.

G7-SUMMIT-CANADA

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.

Theresa May of Britain referred to the summit as a “difficult occasion”.

Angela Merkel of Germany used the term “sobering experience”.

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.

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Cold War Two- The West Is Not Anti-Russia. Just Anti-Putin.

#NeverTrump

Cold War Two is heating up, as the diplomatic conflict between Britain and Vladimir Putin, caused by the murder by poison of ex-double agent Sergei Skripal is reaching a fevered pitch. Moscow’s embassy in London has been urging Russians against traveling to the UK or sending children to school there.

Putin’s orders to the embassy were to tell their citizens that British authorities may single out Russians for various persecutions, citing “the anti-Russian policies and an escalation of the British side’s threatening rhetoric”.

The Russian embassy even urged fans of football team CSKA Moscow flying to London for Thursday’s Europa match with Arsenal to exercise “extra vigilance” because of Britain’s “anti-Russian campaign”.

Britain does not even have an anti- Russia campaign.

It doesn’t even have an official anti-Putin campaign, although it needs one.

Everything everywhere needs to have an anti-Putin campaign. Not anti-Russia. Anti-Putin.

The two are not synonymous. Russia produced Stalin and Putin, it’s true, but it gave us Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, and Alexei Navalny as well. Russian people are not our foes unless they’re here on Putin’s orders to disrupt and destroy our countries. And even then, they’re just extensions of Putin.

Millennial Democrats would like to extend our sympathy and solidarity with Russia’s people, and with all good people everywhere who are stuck beneath the heel of that tyrant, or any other tyrant.

Putin has continuously kept pushing this matter. He’s not going to just let it go. He’s angry because he’s finally met resistance where there didn’t use to be any.

Next, Putin ordered the summoning of British ambassador Laurie Bristow on Friday. He wanted to tell her that London is being given a month to cut the number of diplomatic staff in Russia to the same number Russia has in Britain.

The measure came after Russia expelled 23 British diplomats, closed a British consulate in Saint Petersburg and halted the activities of the British Council educational and cultural organization last month.

Bristow was evicted by Putin along with the heads of missions from 23 other countries, almost all of whom are EU member states.

Russia suggested parity. The British side has more than 50 more people,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told AFP.

Parity? Did we come into your lands, and poison anyone you granted asylum, Vladimir? It probably wouldn’t be too hard to get at Julian Assange, the pet rat you keep in that Ecuadorian embassy cage(they just shut off his Internet! LOL!), but we don’t, out of respect for the rule of law.

There’s no parity in Putin expelling a single one of those diplomats. We didn’t do anything to him. We’re not the ones extending tentacles of chaos all throughout the world, encouraging ethnic violence and poisoning people we disagree with. We are also not the ones who keep on with continuous escalation.

The Pentagon’s concern this whole time has been not that Putin is strong, or fearsome, but rather that he’s getting old and sloppy.

They fear that he’s finally deluded himself into thinking he’s rebuilt the Soviet Union- Russia’s economy is a sixth of what the Soviets enjoyed- and will make a gross miscalculation that leads us all into war, as Hitler eventually did.

The way in which Putin is encouraging distrust among his people against any outsiders is also Hitleresque. A tyrant needs to have his country’s population scared and angry so that they will fight like desperate men, if he wants to try and conquer the world by force.

But he had better realize he will never have enough power. You cannot kill the human desire for freedom. And you cannot push us into giving up what we hold sacred. Donald Trump will not be in power forever.

Hitler found this out, too, once upon a time. The Western powers are goodhearted and kind and will give you the benefit of the doubt. But don’t be fool enough to delude yourself into thinking that means you can push us past a certain point. Or sooner or later, you will find two things out the hard way.

First, that the West has a very hard core.

And second, that we do not like being cheated.

Putin Divvies Up Syria, Trump Spills Israeli Intel- The Puppet Strikes Again.

#demontroll
Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted a trilateral summit with the presidents of Iran and Turkey in Russia’s Black Sea resort city, Sochi. Putin gave a warm welcome to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and declared that the three countries deserve all the credit for helping to maintain “stability” in Syria.
Turkey, which is still a NATO member and U.S. ally, announced that it may soon open talks with Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria, in a joint effort with Russia and Iran to return stability to the region. America was not invited.
Trump seems to have agreed to back off in exchange for Russian help last year. As a result, the future of Syria is being largely determined without significant input from Washington, the world’s single superpower.

In related news, highly-classified Israeli intelligence was offhandedly revealed by Donald Trump to Russian officials earlier this year. Earlier this week we found out what it was.

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.

Earlier this month, the “dead” ISIS leader Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi was spotted in the hotly contested Syrian town of Boukamel.

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.

Of the six individuals who have been at the helm of the terror group, at least three of them served in Saddam Hussein’s army. Another is dead, and the very top guy, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was supposedly killed by Russian airstrikes back in June.

Imagine our surprise, seeing him strolling around in Syria healthy as a horse, and releasing more hate-filled videos calling for more terrorism. Claims of his death appeared to have been just more Russian disinformation.

If al-Baghdadi is alive, then Russia was most likely lying last summer, which was predictable. Russia lies about everything, routinely and by way of self-defence, like the ink-cloud of a giant squid. 

But what might Russia hope to gain by claiming the death of al-Baghdadi? What might they hope to gain?

A large amount of Turkish effort has been placed into acquiring this oil. Gaining energy autonomy to avoid having to depend on Russia for fuel has long been a goal of Turkish foreign policy.
But in spite of these attempts to diversify their energy sources and become more self-reliant, Turkey still depends largely on Russia for its energy needs, as do many other countries in Europe. They still have to depend on the goodwill of Vladimir Putin for things to run smooth.
Fortune 500 rated Vladimir Putin as the fourth richest person in the world last year, but some believe he is far wealthier than that. Hermitage Capital Management CEO Bill Browder believes Putin’s fortune to be in excess of $200 billion. Either way, if he wants things to stay that way, he’s got to stay in control of Russia.
Oil is obviously very important to us, but to Russia it is everything. Oil is essentially all that Russia has. It controls a huge mass of the world’s strategic oil reserve, and it comprises Putin’s fortune, which is sizeable by any standard, regardless of his Fortune ranking.
This dependence on oil as a source of wealth and income is also the case for Turkey and its leader Tayyip Erdogan.
Under President Bill Clinton, the United States and the EU engaged with and attempted to include Turkey as part of their efforts to strengthen the liberal international order, and it worked. They’ve been an ally for decades. Their fortunes in the Middle East were always fundamentally tied to ours. The Turks and the Russians have been rivals since the days of the Ottoman Empire.
And here is where we reach the ominous part of the story, the focal point of the developing narrative.
In spite of all these decades worth of progress strengthening American interests in the region, a perplexing area of cooperation between Russia, Turkey, and Trump seems to have arisen on Syria, with anti-EU undertones, and without American involvement.
Little by little, an outline begins to take shape. The way things looks from here, it’s a huge quid pro quo, in which Assad, Erdogan, Putin, and Trump came to an arrangement to simply leave alone Russia’s narrative about having killed al-Baghdadi.
For al-Baghdadi’s part, keeping the illusion alive would have given him months to regroup, lay low, and try to come up with something. In the meantime, there are those oil routes heading for Turkey, that the eyes of the world are not on. To all outward appearances, this is a strategic ceasefire if ever there was one.
 Assad gets to stay in power, and start seeing order restored to his country. Erdogan, who just survived a coup attempt last year, gets the sanctions applied by Russia for the fighter plane shot down in Turkish airspace in 2015 lifted and regains his ability to use Russia and the EU as a counterweight. Just last week, Erdogan and Putin met for four hours. Everybody’s happy- but all of them will soon be presented the bill.
Currently, Putin and his cronies are all smiles. They’re chopping up the spoils. And America was not invited. Trump seems to have agreed to back off in exchange for Russian help last year. As a result, the future of Syria is being largely determined without the world’s only superpower.
None of this could have happened without Putin, who will get the best that everyone has to offer. From Syria, a warm-water port in the Mediterranean Sea. This has been a dream of Russia’s for generations. From Turkey, restored good relations, and a subservient oil client. From Trump, an America weakened and thrown into chaos.
And from them all, Russia’s hold on the Crimea tacitly acknowledged, at the expense of ignored and pilfered Ukraine. Their criminal long game has become all too clear, and Trump is doing nothing. Please help us raise awareness.

Merkel Besieged by Far Right and Left- Stand With the Chancellor!

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.

Toxic Trump and Bubonic Brexit- Symptoms of a Nazi Plague.

2016 may well go down in history, as the year that everything changed. Polls became worthless. Rationalism became a diminishing return. Electoral power was wrested from the many. Geopolitical explosions have continually shaken the earth.

From the election of the foulmouthed Duterte in the Philippines, to the first North Korean nuclear testing, the global civilization of mankind was staggered last year with a terrible succession of tremors. But of them all, none has been more indicative of this bubonic plague of a trend known as Brexit.

The UK Independence Party (UKIP) is a political party in Great Britain. Its principal aim is to see the UK leave the European Union(EU), which it has been a member of since the end of World War Two. In June of 2016, it succeeded.

The idea of some kind of a Brexit has been gathering steam since 1988, when  Margaret Thatcher decried a European superstate on the horizon. But it wasn’t until 2004 that the UKIP really started gathering momentum.

Within the next few years, UKIP, the British version of the Trump voting alt-right was increasingly threatening the right-flank of the Conservative Party.

With this in mind, following his party’s victory at the 2015 UK general election, then- Prime Minister David Cameron decided it was time to settle the UKIP once and for all. So he called their bluff by announcing the referendum.

This reckless and ridiculous choice was based on Cameron’s hope more people than not were just grumbling about aspects of membership in the EU, and would vote to stay if it came right down to it. They didn’t, and their choice has thrown the entire global order into disarray.

Many of the people who voted for the Brexit have bemoaned their decision ever since it went through, which is not something many thought would happen. The polls all said otherwise, as did every other conventional metric.

We learned this year to treat metrics and poll results with a grain of salt. Polls (and the betting markets) all showed a narrow victory for “Remain.” Instead, Britons voted 52 to 48 percent for “Leave.”

In many ways, Brexit was Great Britain’s version of the Donald Trump campaign. It started as a protest vote, a way of expressing displeasure with a trend of developing liberalism that was moving too quickly to suit those unprepared for it. One is reminded of the people here in America last November who used their vote- something thousands died to give them- to write in Mickey Mouse, or Bernie Sanders.

BBC reporter Fiona Trott wrote about a scene that summed up the general mood, in Hartlepool, a town where seven out of 10 people backed Brexit. “It’s been a vote against the establishment,” one man said. Unemployment here is 9.4%. People feel hard done by. So why not vote for change?”

Economics writer Chris Dillow has argued that, among other factors, feelings of bitterness and defeat contributed strongly toward convincing people to make a decision likely to worsen their lot even more. The sociological concept of Prospect Theory may help us to shed some light. This concept points out that people who feel they’ve lost a bet, want to gamble even more to break even.

Working class British citizens who felt they had lost out from immigration, voted to Leave. They felt they had little to lose from doing so. On the contrary, most who voted to stay had educations and money, and had been able to survive under the current system. The vote highlighted Britain’s fundamental divisions.

This closely resembled the section of the American populace who voted for Trump. Nixon once called them the Silent Majority. In Britain, the term “The Left Behind” was used to describe these older, socially conservative white voters.

Many of these people have seen their ranks thin and their neighborhoods become economically marginal with the passing years. Their tendency has been to blame new arrivals on the job market, rather than the large-scale social issues that are stopping society from making room for everyone. In the case of both Trump and Brexit voters, this manifests in anti-immigrant sentiment.

The World Economic Forum, in 2017, discussed in its Global Risks Report that “the Brexit and Trump victories featured appeals to sovereignty rooted in national identity and pride” and that it would “be challenging to find political narratives and policies that can repair decades-long cultural fault-lines”.

Nigel Farage, the leader of the UKIP and the most iconic spokesman for Brexit, was able to isolate and target those faultlines. And he had a lot of help. Farage has close ties to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The head of the CIA described that outlet as a “hostile intelligence service” that cooperated with Russian agents.

Links between Farage, Assange and the Russian government have made Farage a “person of interest” in the US counter-intelligence investigation that is looking into possible collusion between the Kremlin and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the Guardian reported in January.

As with the Trump campaign, disinformation- and often Russian disinformation- proved an effective tool against a stubborn and truth-resistant public. Russia used its vast intelligence apparatus during the run up to the U.K.’s June referendum on EU membership in favor of the winning “leave” vote.

Russia is also believed to have leveraged its “troll army”– the very same producers of fake social media content who made our lives a hell all through the primary and general elections here in America last year- to focus on messaging around the referendum campaign.

Both RT and Sputnik, which are Kremlin-funded English-language news outlets, produced often misleading news coverage sending a message matching the campaign’s, urging voters to leave the EU. Michael Dougan, Professor of European Law at the University of Liverpool,  described the Leave campaign as resorting to “dishonesty on an industrial scale.”

The Leave campaign has been identified as one of the first large-scale examples of what is now being referred to as “post-truth politics“. Debate is now to be framed largely by appeals to emotion, rather than the details of policy or objective factual analysis. As one Trump voter said last year on a thread discovered by Millennial Democrats, “Liberals just use facts, so that they don’t have to think for themselves.”

That is one criticism we Democrats are glad to accept, at least in part. We do use facts; actually, this is what allows us to think for ourselves effectively. That is why there is not a Democratic analogue of Rush Limbaugh.

That is also why we don’t ever fall for nonsense like the toxicity of Trump or the breaking bad of Brexit. We have known all along that America never stopped being great for one second. We understand the importance of maintaining strong social cohesion with our allies in Europe and elsewhere. We don’t need a party line developed by propaganda specialists. We have critical thinking skills.

We are going to need them now more than ever. Because Brexit isn’t just Great Britain’s problem, any more than Trump is a threat only to us. What is happening here transcends national bounds. America and Brexit and Trump are entwined. The Trump administration’s links to Russia and Britain are entwined. In point of fact, Brexit is a key component of a consistent and growing sequence of aggressive Russian attempts to rebuild at the expense of NATO and the United States.

Russian efforts to hack the French elections between President Emmanuel Macron and Marine  Le Pen last year run parallel to their efforts in our election. They have also been actively attempting to undermine and hamstring Angela Merkel in Germany’s election this month.

There is a worldwide, far-right conspiracy in this world right now being headed by Vladimir Putin.  His strategy is to divide us internally, dissolve the bonds that link our alliances, and separate us from our holdings one piece at a time. His motivation is to make Russia the foremost world power. Above all, Putin wants to be respected, but he will settle for merely being feared.

Our defense is simple. We stick together, we involve ourselves in each other’s battles. No one goes into a fight alone. We have all the troops, and we’ve got justice on our side. Going forward, it will be necessary for us to realize that we’re all fighting the same fight against the Nazis. Regardless of where you happen to be, know that you have backup. #RiseAndOrganize!

 

The Chancellor Leads the Charge! Stand with Merkel to Condemn Nazis.

Since being elected president last November, Donald Trump has behaved like an angry chimpanzee, slinging its feces defiantly at faces seen only through the glass of a Twitter feed. Having turned the White House into a zoo, he is nonetheless unhappy to find himself the star exhibit.

While he has raged against his own chosen fate, the rest of the free world has found itself having to look after its own affairs. To an extent it hasn’t seen since World War Two. A leader was needed. The voice that has raised most clearly above the din, is that of the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, who is up for reelection in another few weeks.

Germany’s general election is set to take place on Sept. 24. Chancellor Merkel is considered an overwhelming favorite to be elected for a fourth term. Her party is currently polling near 40 percent.

As recently as two years ago, this still was not the case. Her decision to open Germany’s borders to refugees from Syria and other Middle Eastern or Third World areas was unpopular. It was considered unlikely she’d end up elected again. But that was all before the Brexit, which was hotly debated as recently as Thursday.

That was followed by the disaster of Donald Trump’s election, and the America First policies he promotes. These events, along with the strengthening on Russia’s position viz. the EU, have fundamentally altered the global political landscape.  In this set of circumstances, her style of leadership has offered a quiet and unostentatious approach to navigating an increasingly darkening course.

Political analysts worldwide are asserting with increasing frequency that Merkel has become the leader of the free world.

This is new for us. We have all grown up in a world where American supremacy was always assured. Even at the height of the Soviet Union, we were always the stronger of the two superpowers. After it collapsed it wasn’t really necessary for Americans, including millennials, to know so much about elsewhere, particularly European elsewhere. There was so much going on here, after all, and they focused on it in school very little.

In the absence of a mighty Soviet Union to constantly fear and prepare against, and in the aftermath of 9/11, what global interest Americans have had has mostly been focused on the Middle East. As a result, a troubling stereotype has grown increasingly prevalent in Europe and other countries about American lack of knowledge and interest towards global affairs.

Even here, there is widespread concern about this. The late comedian Patrice O’Neal did a sketch making reference to this issue“We don’t know the name of anybody else’s president, he said. We don’t know and we don’t care.” 

There is some truth to that, as sad as it may be to admit-a 2007 study conducted by a George Washington University researcher showed 80 percent of the surveyed students didn’t know that India is the world’s largest democracy, and couldn’t point out places like Israel on a global map.

That all came to a screeching half, when Russia’s cyber-disinformation apparatus became strong enough to throw a stick in our wheels last year by successfully hamstringing Hillary Clinton.

Since then, it has become necessary to become very much interested in the affairs of other parts of the world, particularly Germany. With Trump on Putin’s side, they are the ones shouldering much of the weight of the torch for progress and liberal values. The one at the head of that procession is Angela Merkel.

This is why the eyes of all those concerned with the future of the world are pointed at Germany’s election on Sept. 24. In any civilization, it has always been the center of the populace who hold it together.

Millennials, who will be the ones responsible for the management of world affairs twenty years down the road, have a particular responsibility to educate ourselves on world affairs and take part in them here and now. The stakes are very high, and the danger is immediate and present.

Vladimir Putin has long been out to destroy Merkel. His attempts to undermine the German election, will be on behalf of the underdog Schulz.  Putin was also for Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, and for the same reason. The inexperience and lack of discipline they bring to the table with them are weaknesses he can exploit.

With certainty, we can say that weak leadership will weaken also the countries they govern. It stands to reason Putin will wish to weaken his enemies in NATO. Tough and resolute world leaders, like Angela Merkel or Hillary Clinton, know exactly what it takes to keep a bully like Putin from acting up on the geopolitical schoolyard. Of course he’d prefer their alternatives.

Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, who fled Russia to New York after being hounded out of his home country for opposing Putin, claims the Russian leader sees the removal of Mrs Merkel as the key to crushing the European Union.

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.

The rest of the European world has been dealing with this as it grew, for the last decade. Attempts to warn us have mostly fallen on deaf ears, and so our opportunity to catch it early has already long passed us by. And so we return to our current situation today, where far-right white nationalists in Germany had the indecency to pelt their own Chancellor with garbage.

In case anyone is still wondering why this affects us, simply consider that these are the very same Nazis we’re fighting over here. Putin is literally paying the bill for all of them. We’re tired of these people. We know them well. We saw them in Charlottesville, where they murdered our sister, Heather Heyer.

Richard Spencer, the despicable coward who claims to have invented the term “alt-right”, slobbers all over himself at the merest mention of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, describing the country as the “sole white power in the world.” He led a smaller protest in Charlottesville, in May, in which torch wielding white nationalists chanted “Russia is our friend.”

Matthew Heimbach, co-founder of the white supremacist Traditional Workers Party,was in attendance at the larger, lethal August rally. He’s got a lot of love for Putin, too.

“I really believe that Russia is the leader of the free world right now,” he recently told Business Insider. “Putin is supporting (white) nationalists around the world.”

In 2015, he led a rally at which Russian and Confederate flags were flown alongside each other.

Whether in America or Germany, the face of the enemy is the same, regardless of what country they’re from, or even whether or not they wear swastikas openly. Those who show up in number, to suppress free speech with violence, are Nazis. In order to fight them, we’ve got to stick together, and we’ve got to not stoop to their level.

What’s being threatened now is a very different type of struggle than ever before. A new type of World War seems to be looming on the horizon, a sort of Civil World War, with populists from the right and left squaring off in numerous countries and across borders around the world. This could be a conflict in which trenches are dug through backyards and in between houses. Nationalism will be an excuse, but the struggle will transcend all bounds and sides will have to be taken.

Until such a time as we can clean up our backyard, and resume our rightful place as leaders of the free world, Angela Merkel is the single biggest obstacle to that terrible fight beginning in earnest. In other words, that’s our people. We will not have Nazis pelting her with filth.

Our hearts are with the Chancellor of Germany and the European Union, and there’s a lot more of us then there are of them. So long as that’s the case, neither Putin, nor any other white nationalist, will ever lead the free world again.