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.
Bernie Sanders, the self-professed “Democratic” socialist, has become the one Democratic candidate in the 2020 presidential race who’d be unacceptable to nearly every Democrat, according to a recent set of polls. When asked, “Are there any presidential candidates that you would be disappointed if they became the Democratic nominee?”, 21 percent of those polled responded Sanders. That same poll has him losing now not only to Joe Biden but Elizabeth Warren too.
Apparently, Bernie Bros aren’t representative of the country’s views, even though they can shout so loud behind keyboards.
Who would have ever guessed?
Back in 2016, nobody knew Bernie well enough to say for certain what is now an inexorable fact, namely, that the man is truly unthinkable in the context of the United States president. Nearly thirty years in the Senate has yielded little more than two renamed post offices.
Thank the Lord God above, thought I, upon seeing these polls. At least people have finally woken up about one of the many vile former residents of the neo-Pandora’s Box that is the Trump era. Seeing Bern crash, the one man without whom none of this could have been possible has been the one really good thing on our entire political spectrum. Everything else is just tragedy and chaos, the whole miserable world is on the brink, it’s far from only here. In France, Marine Le Pen is leading Macron in the polls. This is a complete disgrace.
It’s been a long couple of years and no mistake. There’s not a single person in my life doing any kind of well in the slightest way. More than one of these, I am exceedingly sorry to say- like, really, sorry in the absolute extreme- are people I went to school with that bought into Bernie or Bust. They haven’t learned, either. One girl I know who voted Stein in the end just got fired from the Dollar Tree. Prettiest girl in the school, back in the day. God, how depressing.
I remember how hard I tried three years ago to tell people how it would be. Every front will be one on which we’re going to get assaulted, every day will be a fresh indignity, every right we have will be up for libertarian grabs, and every person in the country will soon be broke. They just didn’t care. You couldn’t speak to them. And when they were done, they did all they could to just blend right back in among the real anti-Trump Resistance.
Now, look at us.
Being right is one lousy consolation prize, but it is what it is. How do you like Bust, Bernie fans? Bust is here! We are living and wallowing in Bust, like pigs in slop! Are you really still naive enough to think Bernie Sanders can fix it? He hardly makes sense when he talks! This whole thing would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic. “Curse God and die,” said the wife of Job, who refused.
It’s clear to me Job must have been a Democrat.
They’re saying the 2020 recession‘s going to come next year, but it really seems to me it’s here already. The stock market is showing signs of crashing. Gas prices are up by a dollar a gallon. Productivity is not terrible but the people never see it. The economists can run around with all the fancy words like “macroeconomics” they can find, but they can’t make it so people aren’t broke. When they say the economy is good, they just mean that most people have jobs. This standard terminology ignores the question of how much those jobs pay, or which classes of society reap the gains.
But you won’t find that out by watching Fox News.
Wages are rising too slowly compared to the cost of living, which means the monopolists and not the workers are to capture the gains from productivity growth. Lower productivity also means less wealth available for the government to redistribute.
In other words, economists and commentators are calling the economy “great” because that’s what they’re used to doing. They just mean that most people have jobs. In fact, it’s a very real problem faced by people in America today, a serious problem that requires a serious solution.
How in the heck is it possible for anyone to conclude the shambling wreck we saw blathering about Franklin Roosevelt on TV Wednesday night is the man to handle it?
The point of having a State of any kind is to protect and administer well the resources possessed by the nation. Bernie doesn’t understand this, which is why his whole speech was so depressing to watch. Some of his ideas are similar to ours, some are blatant thefts, all are ill-explained and murkily conceived of. It’s just a disgrace.
Readers of this blog will not generally need reminders about why we all came together. A new entity arose online in 2016, on Facebook and elsewhere, one financed by a hostile foreign power and infiltrated by extremists from the left and right alike. Robert Mueller’s report stated clearly that the Sanders campaign was “central” to the Russian plot. We were woefully behind and unprepared compared to the opposition. Now we’re not, and that’s the one thing we’ve got going for us.
We’ve spent a lot of time since then vetting Bernie, and helping people to understand how insincere and ugly his whole crusade really was. People are listening, too. Bernie is now not only behind Joe Biden in the polls, either. Sincere progressives, serious ones, have begun to coalesce behind Elizabeth Warren, which is fine. Will they end up winning some liberals over to their plans?
If they make sense, of course, they will!
Traditionally, we’ve taken the side of the moderates when writing of Democratic politics. But progressive ideas are a big part of our time-honored Warren was not an enemy back in 2016. She did not fall for the “Run Warren Run” scam the year before, an attempt on the part of Bern’s eventual financers to hamstring Hillary Clinton using another female candidate- they chose Bernie instead! He wasn’t even their first choice. Warren was, and if it ends up being her in the end, she can sure count on my wholehearted support against Trump.
Why? Among many other reasons, I believe she’d do a better job handling economy and infrastructure. So would Joe Biden, obviously. Kamala Harris is a Senator, Pete Buttigieg speaks seven languages, and so on. These are people who could perform the tasks this country needs better than Donald Trump could. All of them are acceptable.
On the other hand, look at Bernie. Just look at him! That blue clown suit! “To me, democratic socialism means democracy, basically,” he said once, hilariously enough. He has got to know what he’s doing, by conflating our system constantly with one of left-wing dictatorship, but what of it? Taking a dump on the lawn is what he does.
The other night’s speech was all about hearing Bernie out while he finally finished giving a coherent definition of the “democratic” socialism he’s been telling us about for all these years.
His supporters do not know what socialism is, and their habit of using the term imprecisely has caused a tremendous confusion on the topic, and everyone has been very excited to hear what he was going to say to clarify.
Those who were expecting something new was to be disappointed entirely. It was the same tired stump speech from one rally after another back then.
We’ve covered this before, on this blog, but thanks to the good old Bern, here we go again.
Socialism and social democracy are just not the same things at all, period. They’re not even kind of the same. They’re really not even alike, except for the letters their names share. The whole misunderstanding is just a mess that Bernie made. It’s a deliberate and destructive confusion in terms. Nothing more.
The difference between social democracy and “democratic” socialism is what its advocates want to do to harness capitalism, e.g. the power source known as the free market.
One of these recommends upkeeping and protecting it, the other wants to light it all on fire.
The former advocates a tempering of capitalism’s harshness with a social safety net. The latter consider it broken already and intends to make sure it’s broke some more. Darn broke, in fact. Wielding the hammer is Bernie’s plan.
The progressive section of the community has two halves, like any other. There’s the rational and serious half, and there’s the Bernie or Busters.
The former knows that social democracy is the term in Europe used to describe adherents of a governmental system designed to augment and improve market-based, democratic societies using techniques derived from socialist theories, e.g the social safety net that gives American citizens the right to basic health care.
The latter want to pretend its whole deal means making the United States just like Norway and Sweden, but those are capitalist countries that protect the free market and recognize its importance. They are free people, like Americans who lived before the Trump era (according to the World Freedom Index, we haven’t been a full democracy since Trump took office), and they have stated over and over again that Bernie is wrong and that they resent his “socialist slurs”.
Bernie Sanders was lucky to be able to get to the Soviet Union in 1988 and praise all its stunning socialist achievements before the entire system and empire collapsed under the weight of its own spectacular failures. pic.twitter.com/bENmwVKi0g
— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) February 25, 2019
Left-wing socialist countries like Venezuela, the Soviet Union, and North Korea use the markets as well, but they treat their citizens like captives and place bureaucrats in the places of businessmen. They create captive markets that monopoly capitalists can exploit. Capitalism per se is not the problem. It’s just a power source. The problem is the cancerous appendix it’s developed, the branch we call monopoly capitalism.
It isn’t like the left never has any good ideas or makes any good observations, and this excellent term is one of them. It was Vladimir Lenin, founder of the Soviet Union, who first argued that laissez-faire capitalism had mutated into monopoly capitalism after World War One, and that the free market was now an illusion. Our answer is that this goes too far, the free market does exist, and the limits of human power often manifest in our inability to control it. But it certainly has gotten sick. We’ve been seeing this more and more in the last few decades.
So make no mistake- Bernie Sanders is one hundred percent right to be talking about economic inequality in the United States. It’s a HUGE problem, and we will figure something out about it. The first step is to know just what we’re dealing with. In that aspect, Bernie is in some ways a bigger hindrance than Trump himself. Confusion swirls after every word he says.
Sanders has made a contribution to humanity by getting people worried about this. It’s just that in refusing to talk about the role the left wing has played in the degenerating of our global order, he is deliberately blinding himself and his people to a critical half of how the whole thing has come to work. Left-wing and right-wing aren’t that important to guys like Putin and the Koch Brothers. They will finance any ideology if it helps them achieve their goals of world domination; a critical component of fascism. The threat is two-pronged, and one head is not less dangerous than the other, big talk from one about helping the “masses” notwithstanding.
The socialist powerbrokers, like Raul Castro or Nicolas Maduro, eat like kings themselves off the deals they do with the capitalists they despise. Left-wing dictatorship is no less loathsome than right-wing dictatorship, and all dictatorships today are totalitarian, meaning Stalin and not the Tsar, for example. But Sanders didn’t talk about them.
We’re in trouble here.
It certainly is true that right-wing type dictatorships are badly on the rise. Sanders was right to bring up Hungary’s Viktor Orban, for example. That’s the guy who came up with the model they all want to use, to get rid of democracy using democratic means. It was disgusting when Trump invited him to speak over here last month.
But why not Nicolas Maduro? Wouldn’t the Venezuelan example have been worth mentioning, as a way for the Bern to establish himself as a thoughtful, generous-minded future crafter of American policy? Would that not have been a good time for a concession statement? The display he made the other night was disgracefully unserious. My English 1A teacher would have failed him. The rubric we use would have done him like a chainsaw.
Sanders didn’t want to talk about Maduro because he calls himself a “democratic” socialist, which suits his agenda. That is unforgivably misleading and deceptive. Bernie owed it to the people to show us he understands that dictatorship of any flavor is equally horrible and wrong. In the timeless accusation of the Big Lebowski, he completely failed to achieve. Sure, Jair Bolsonaro’s presidential victory in Brazil was and is troubling in the utmost. But Venezuela also is collapsing! The crisis on the southern border is largely due to the failure of socialism!
The Trump administration can and should be justly reviled for the methods they have used to deal with the problem, as locking little children in dog cages cannot be considered right no matter what the circumstances are, but they didn’t cause it. This willingness to ignore the other side of the problem was the primary fallacy of his blind-in-one-eye argument, as presented on CNN the other night. It has been all along.
Going forward, look for Bernie’s name recognition and past enthusiasm to fade in comparison to the plans and viable paths to solutions offered by other candidates.
You can’t even squeeze blood from a turnip, let alone a viable political theory we can build a working system from. St. Bernard is not Karl Marx.
If we ever need a President of Post Office Renamers, Bern, we’ll give you a call.
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.
Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, is reportedly being considered for a pardon by President Donald Trump.
On April 20, 2017, CNN revealed that US authorities have prepared charges and will seek the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for intelligence leaks dating all the way back to 2010. There’s a grocery list of charges, but the big one is espionage, for which he could receive the death penalty.
There’s a lot of evidence against him. In 2015 Google notified representatives of Wikileaks that they had handed over all their emails and metadata to the United States government. These notifications included a list of the charges that originated the warrant to Google, as well as that the secret grand jury intends to use them against WikiLeaks and likely Assange too.
Obviously, the very idea of a presidential pardon being granted to anyone who committed a series of crimes this serious, is being taken seriously in intelligence quarters, where it has caused a great deal of concern. This seems logical, since Trump has proven time and again that whether or not somebody likes him is the fundamental principle by which he evaluates their worth.
For example, Joe Arpaio was one of Trump’s campaign buddies, and he helped Trump get in. So when he got in trouble, Trump gave his buddy a pardon, in an offhand and cavalier manner that gives us every indication that he might do the same thing again.
It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that it is very possible Assange may be pardoned as well, and for the same reason. In this case that would be unbelievably dangerous. Joe Arpaio is a deeply unpleasant man, but for all his flaws, he is not a spy or a traitor. Assange is a criminal of an entirely different order, the very worst kind. Dante reserved the lowest level of hell for traitors.
The initiative behind the Assange pardon concept comes from another man who has come under scrutiny for his ties to Russia, Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif). On Sean Hannity’s radio show Monday afternoon, Rohrabacher said he wanted to brief Trump about the contents of a meeting he recently had with Assange regarding the hacking of our election. The California congressman said that meeting was in the process of being set up.
The evidence so far suggests it’s a weapon that Putin has used to great effect.
Moving forward, Democrats will learn from the crimes perpetrated against us, and become stronger because of them. But it’s going to be important to keep our eyes out for the vipers that have struck at our heel in the past. There is none more venomous or wicked than Julian Assange, the man that our President may reward with a pardon, for subverting our entire democracy. By raising our voices and making this known, we can make sure it never happens.
I. On the manipulation of foreign powers by Russia, through means of homegrown radicalism.
The hostile world power that is Russia has crafted a meticulous plan to realign the European order as subordinate to the interests of the Kremlin. Their big obstacle was America. So they hatched a plot to remove us from the playing board. Our nation has been victimized. This is a foreign act of war unparalleled in all of history. And we have no leadership who can help us navigate this crisis. Our President is a dangerously childish and unbalanced man.
Trump is not the first corrupt politician in the history of the United States, but he is the first to use his presidential power outright to attack and dismantle the country’s skeletal structure. He is actively working on selling us to the Russians, just to spite all the people that hate him. Updated are the days of Fireside Chats, where unifying speeches of comfort were given by a wise and resolute leader of the world’s strongest nation, directly to the people. These days, our President speaks directly to the people as well, by taking to Twitter daily to berate and insult them.
While he amuses himself with sundry nonsense, Vladimir Putin and Russia are getting away with bloody murder. Soon, his presidency will be over. The Russia thing isn’t going away. But the damage he can do in the meantime, by allowing a thirsty ogre like Putin to have a nice drink of our blood, might not be possible to undo. Putin really is what Trump is only playing at– a billionaire tyrant willing to crush any and all who oppose him. He’s got his claws in us and he’s pulling hard to bring us crashing down.
Our system is on the verge of total collapse, and radicals on both sides of our political spectrum are deliberately clueless to this- or stupid enough to believe it’s a good thing. Putin knows all this quite well, of course. It’s the lightning bolt he has readied to strike us down. If we don’t wake up sometime very soon, the day is going to come where we don’t have a choice anymore. We’re going to wake up one day as slaves.
The way that things are now, America’s own press is out of the loop. Trump is actively working together with Putin and others to see that it stays that way. If you want to know what’s going to happen next in America, you must now pay close attention to what is being done and said elsewhere. When the treasonous disgrace stinking up the Oval Office met with Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, and Sergey I. Kislyak, Moscow’s ambassador to the United States earlier this year, he excluded the American press, but let the Russian press in.
At this same meeting, Trump spilled crucial intelligence relating to a terrorist plot being cooked up by ISIS. He went rambling off script, like the cocaine addict so many suspect him of being, and gave away secrets he was not supposed to share. This may well lead to a moratorium on transfers of intelligence data between us and Israel, our most important Middle Eastern ally, and they keystone of stability in the region.
Recently, Hungary’s foreign minister Peter Szijjarto called Putin’s visit to Hungary “timely”. He then added that sanctions against Russia were “useless”. During a recent visit to Moscow, Szijjarto said: “So far, whenever we tried to work on improving our bilateral relationship, we had to face American pressure not to do it and European pressure not to do it.
“Now … there will be no American pressure.“
The most critical fracture point currently on the map is Ukraine. Ukraine’s nearly three-year battle against Kremlin-backed separatists in the east erupted into the worst fighting in two years in late January. Exactly why the fighting intensified recently remains unclear, though such encounters have occurred with some frequency during unrest that included Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March 2014.
The small city of Avdiivka, 90 miles north of Mariupol, became the epicenter of the recent violence. The fighting quickly spread along a 300-mile line separating the Ukrainian government-controlled lands and those claimed by separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. One can only imagine what it must be like for those people, living as they are directly under the Russian cleaver. The Russians came into these people’s town, gave money and guns to the local Mafia, and used domestic grievances as a cheap excuse to have at their slaughter. If we leave Ukraine to its fate, do we deserve better? Who will rescue our children, if we let theirs be fed to the beast?
If Russia can gain a toehold using ideology and the stupidity and arrogance of Westerners who have never known war, why wouldn’t they? Russia had to pay cash for its allies in Europe. Trump gave it up for free, like the Slovenian slob he married. Elsewhere, Putin had to spend a lot of money to help promote his rightward agenda. He found his first proxy in France’s Marine Le Pen, prominent leader of the far right French National Front party. Because of the National Front’s racist and anti-Semitic past, French banks have consistently and to their credit declined to lend her party any money.
Marine Le Pen has been financed by the Kremlin from the start. She was bought and paid for by Putin.
In 2014, the National Front took Russian loans worth €11m (£9.4m). One of the loans, for €9m, came from a small bank, First Czech Russian Bank, with links to the Kremlin.
The negotiations over the loan coincided with Russia’s annexation of Crimea, a move roundly condemned by EU governments. However, Marine Le Pen publicly stated the opposite view, leading some to question whether the loans were a quid-pro-quo. Far right parties across Europe as well, including the German AfD, the French Front National, and the Austrian FPO, depend on Moscow for their support and backbone. The once-sincere values of conservatism, embodified as an ideal in Theodore Roosevelt, have now been dragged so deeply through the mud as to become little more than a euphemism, meaning “Putin’s donkey”.
Putin has expressed the unkind and ungrateful view that the West “would like Russia to be down at the heels”. He said, “I sometimes get the impression that they love it when they need to send us humanitarian aid. These so-called ruling circles, elites — political and economic — of those countries, they love it when we are impoverished, poor and when we come hat in hand. As soon as we start declaring some interests of our own, they feel that there is some element of geopolitical rivalry.” This is mostly unfair, considering that much of the over $22.6 billion dollars raised by the International Monetary Fund created to aid the Russians in their post-Soviet reconstruction was raised by the United States, who never got any of it back.
Mighty Russia, for all its cyber-terror and nuclear weaponry, still has only around the economic strength of little Italy. Every thought Putin has, every strategy that motivates him, is how he can assert strategic control over all those resources. His primary objective towards achieving that ultimate goal depends on two things. First, to reassert Russian international power. To Make Russia Great Again. He wants it to resume what he considers its rightful place as a respected world power, although he will settle for being merely feared. To secure this world power, he must first shore up and be in firm control of Russia’s domestic power. An understanding of all of this is where U.S. policy must begin.