Category: World

My predictions for the World Golf Championships Match Play golf event

Starting several hours from now, 64 of the top male golfers in the entire world will converge on Austin, Texas for the playing of the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play, or WGC Match Play for short. The tournament is unusual by professional golf standards, as, instead of using stroke play, in which the lowest number of strokes wins, match play, a head-to-head format of golf in which the golfer shooting the lowest score on each hole wins the hole, and the golfer winning the most holes wins the match, is used.

Barring schedule changes due to weather and/or other factors, the format of the WGC Match Play is as follows:

  • On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, round robin matches, with all 64 golfers, each of which were drawn into one of 16 pools of four golfers on Monday and are scheduled to play a single 18-hole match each day, are played, with each player playing the other three players in his pool at some point during the first three days of the event. Only the winner of each pool advances to the elimination portion of the event; the winner of each pool play match receives one point towards determining the winner of each pool, whereas both golfers receive half a point for a halved (i.e., tied) match in pool play.
  • On Saturday, the 16 golfers who qualify for the elimination portion of the event will play a round of 16 match, with the winners of those playing in quarterfinal matches later in the day.
  • On Sunday, the four golfers advancing out of the quarterfinal matches will play in morning semifinal matches, with all four semifinalists playing in the afternoon. The semifinal winners will play each other for the WGC Match Play championship and the Walter Hagen Trophy, whereas the semifinal losers will play each other in a consolation match for third-place.

For pool play, here are my predicted winners:

  • Group 1 – Dustin Johnson
  • Group 2 – Emiliano Grillo
  • Group 3 – Lee Westwood
  • Group 4 – Hideki Matsuyama
  • Group 5 – Jordan Speith
  • Group 6 – Justin Thomas
  • Group 7 – Jon Rahm
  • Group 8 – Bernd Wiesberger
  • Group 9 – Patrick Reed
  • Group 10 – Tyrrell Hatton
  • Group 11 – Russell Knox
  • Group 12 – Charl Schwartzel
  • Group 13 – Thomas Pieters
  • Group 14 – J.B. Holmes
  • Group 15 – Brandt Snedeker
  • Group 16 – Tommy Fleetwood

I predict that Patrick Reed will win the WGC-Match Play title.

Republic of Ireland PM slams Trump’s xenophobia in Trump’s presence

Since today is St. Patrick’s Day, a national holiday in the Republic of Ireland, I’ll share with you what the Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland, Enda Kenny, thinks of U.S. President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration policies:

“It’s fitting that we gather here each year to celebrate St. Patrick and his legacy,” Kenny said. “He, too, was an immigrant. And even though he is, of course, the patron saint of Ireland, for many people around the globe, he is also the symbol of — indeed, the patron of — immigrants.”

Kenny went on to explain that in past centuries, the Irish were “the retched refuse on the teeming shore,” who nonetheless “believed in the shelter of America, in the compassion of America, in the opportunity of America.”

Kenny said that while standing right next to Trump inside the White House:

Yes, Kenny’s claim of Saint Patrick being an immigrant is correct. Those who celebrate St. Patrick’s Day are celebrating a holiday named after an immigrant. Remember that.

IMPEACH SESSIONS

While under oath during his confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, then-U.S. Senator, and now-U.S. Attorney General, Jefferson Beauregard “Jeff” Sessions III claimed, “…I did not have contact with the Russians.”

As multiple media outlets are now reporting, Sessions did, in fact, have contact with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States, on at least two occassions during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions met twice last year with the top Russian diplomat in Washington whose interactions with President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Mike Flynn led to Flynn’s firing, according to the Justice Department.

[…]

Sessions met with (Sergey) Kislyak twice, in July on the sidelines of the Republican convention, and in September in his office when Sessions was a member of the Senate Armed Services committee. Sessions was an early Trump backer and regular surrogate for him as a candidate.

Regardless of what type of communication took place between Sessions and Kislyak, two indisputable facts are important here. First, Sessions told a U.S. Senate committee that he “…did not have contact with the Russians”. Secondly, and contrary to Sessions’s statement under oath, there are at least two documented instances of Sessions meeting with the Russian ambassador to the United States during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.

The fact that Sessions committed perjury during his confirmation hearing for U.S. Attorney General is grounds for impeachment. U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has called for Sessions to resign the office of U.S. Attorney General. I am not an attorney or a Member of Congress, but Sessions should either resign from office or face at least one impeachment charge (for perjury).

The Resistance comes to GOP town halls in Iowa

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The topic of this blog post was chosen in a Twitter poll, although only one person voted in the poll.


Both of Iowa’s U.S. Senators, Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst (both Republicans), held town hall events in their home states yesterday. Needless to say, the people of Iowa were not impressed with Grassley and Ernst siding with the Donald Trump agenda to destroy America, and they had serious concerns about a wide range of issues, including immigration and foreign influence in U.S. elections.

During Grassley’s town hall in Iowa Falls, Grassley was asked by Zalmay Niazy, an Afgan man who assisted U.S. forces as a translator and is now in the U.S., about Trump’s Muslim ban:

At a town hall in Iowa Falls, Iowa, Tuesday, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley received a question from an Afghan man who asked him for help to stay in the US in the face of the Trump administration’s immigration executive order.

Multiple federal courts across the country have granted requests to temporarily halt enforcement of the order, which bars foreign nationals from Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Iraq and Yemen from entering the country for 90 days, all refugees for 120 days and all refugees from Syria indefinitely.

[…]

“Who is going to save me?” he asked Grassley. “I am a person from a Muslim country and I am a Muslim. Who is going to save me here? Who is going to stand behind me?”

In Maquoketa, Ernst was asked a question by a U.S. Army Reserves veteran about Donald Trump’s ties to Vladimir Putin and the Russian government:

Trinity Ray, a 41-year-old veteran from Iowa City who spent eight years in the Army Reserves, pressed Ernst to investigate Trump’s ties to Russia and alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 American election.

“I appreciate that a lot, because I have said repeatedly that Russia is not our friend,” Ernst said, as Ray yelled that she should “say it louder.” She added that Trump “needs to stand up against Vladimir Putin.”

Ray wasn’t satisfied.

“If you were serious about this situation, you wouldn’t rest until you had an answer,” he said afterward. “We swore to defend against enemies domestic and foreign.”

Ernst refused to support a special congressional committee to investigate Russian influence in the November 2016 U.S. elections.

Rural America is beginning to realize that Trump and his Republican cohorts are not acting in the best interests of Greater America. People who are attending town halls in an attempt to let their voices be heard are not paid protesters. They’re ordinary people.

California secessionist leader lives in Russia

The president of the pro-California secession group Yes California lives in…wait for it, Russia:

Louis J. Marinelli is a man on a quixotic mission: to help California secede from the United States and become an independent country.

Surprisingly, this quest has been going relatively well of late. Marinelli’s group, Yes California, is attempting to collect 585,000 signatures necessary to place a secessionist question on the 2018 ballot. Buoyed by California’s already tense relationship with President Donald Trump, the campaign has received a large amount of press coverage and support over the past few months.

But for the 30-year-old Yes California president, there remains one annoying problem: People keep asking him why he lives in Russia.

There’s a lot more to Marinelli’s ties to Russia than the fact that he lives there. He’s appeared on Russian state media outlets, which are notorious for their pro-Vladimir Putin media bias. Furthermore, he attended a conference, partially funded by the Kremlin (i.e., the Russian government), for leaders of U.S. state secessionist movements:

Marinelli’s ties to Alexander Ionov are perhaps bigger conspiracy fodder. Ionov is the founder of the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia, a group that supports various secessionist movements around the world. Last September, he put on a Kremlin-sponsored event in Moscow for Western secessionists that Martinelli and other representatives of Yes California attended.

Furthermore, there is a political movement within Russia to make California part of Russia:

Mikhail Degtyarev, a (Liberal Democratic Party of Russia) Duma deputy, has asked the Russian foreign ministry to clarify the status of land that had belonged to Russia in what is now the US state of California because he believes that Washington did not pay for it as required by a nineteenth century bilateral agreement.

As a result, Degtaryev is quoted by (the Russian newspaper) Izvestiya September 26 as saying, “Russia as before has the basis to consider the territory of Fort Ross its own” and to seek either compensation via international courts or the return of that land to Russian control. In that event, he says, Moscow should install Russian missiles there.

(context added by me)

The Liberal Democratic Party of Russia is a far-right Russian political party that supports an ultra-imperialist Russian policy.

It isn’t a stretch for one to observe the California secessionist movement as an apparent Russian plot to take California from the United States and put it under the control of Russia, and a shocking number of left-wing voters are being duped into supporting the secessionist movement, largely because Donald Trump, a Putin ally, is in the White House.

 

The women of America are leading the opposition to Donald Trump

madison-wi-women-march-1-21-2017
Sign carried by a participant in the Madison, Wisconsin Women’s March (Photo taken by Kari Nelson and provided by Sarah Lloyd)

Ladies and gentlemen, the opposition to President Donald Trump is officially here!

Earlier today, millions of people across the United States and on all seven continents around the world (including Antarctica!) participated in Women’s Marches in Washington, D.C. and numerous other locales. The Women’s Marches are the single largest action by the women’s rights movement that I have witnessed in my lifetime by far.

Although I was unable to attend any of the Women’s Marches, here are some observations from the Women’s Marches (all of these are courtesy of either social media of participants or news sources with an online operation of some kind):

The opposition to Donald Trump is not going to be led by a single person. It’s going to be led by a large segment of the American people.

CAMP’S CONSTANT #1: If women are standing up for their rights, Piers Morgan is being a smug jerk

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a series of blog posts called Camp’s Constants, in which I will write about various things to expect from right-wing extremists and their enablers.


Former CNN talk show host Piers Morgan, who is now a media personality in his native Britain, is no feminist. Sadly, he proved that by taking to Twitter and delivering a screed that would make the far-right and rabidly misogynistic men’s rights movement proud:

Piers’s latest anti-woman screed comes the same day that an extremely large group of women’s rights supporters are descending on Washington, D.C. to take part in the Women’s March on Washington. Unlike what Piers wants you to believe, feminism is not a threat to the male gender, in fact, there are many men, including me, who strongly support the goals of the women’s rights movement. Reproductive rights, equal pay for equal work, and eliminating sales taxes on feminine hygiene products are issues that I view as important. I believe that women should have the right to control their own bodies, receive the same pay that men receive for the same work, and not have to pay sales taxes on feminine hygiene products that they need.

Piers Morgan is a sexist jerk, and I’ll go ahead and predict that, if he holds a men’s march, there would be fewer than 200 people show up to participate. The vast majority of people here in America view the men’s rights movement for what it is: a desperate attempt to preserve the idiotic concept of male supremacy.

I hope that there is extremely large turnout for the Women’s March on Washington, and that many men and young people show up to support women’s rights and gender equality.

The 2016 Order of The Progressive Midwesterner Awards

As 2016 comes to a close, I hereby present the 2016 Order of The Progressive Midwesterner Awards. The Person of the Year will earn a spot on the list of members of the Order of The Progressive Midwesterner. Starting in 2017, listings of individuals on the list of recipients of the Order of The Progressive Midwesterner will become separate from the Order of The Progressive Midwesterner Awards.

PERSON OF THE YEAR – JENNIFER WEISS-WOLF

2016 was, all around, an awful year for progressives, both in the United States and worldwide. However, one bright spot in progressive advocacy is Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, a women’s rights advocate from New York City. Weiss-Wolf’s advocacy for increased access to feminine hygiene products in public restrooms and advocacy for abolition of sales taxes on tampons and other feminine hygiene products has earned her support for her ideas from Democrats and even a few Republicans. States like New York and Illinois have eliminated sales taxes on tampon thanks to Weiss-Wolf’s advocacy, and Weiss’s hometown of New York City has mandated that tampons be made freely available in public restrooms of city schools, jails, and shelters. Jennifer Weiss-Wolf is the ProgMid Person of the Year for 2016.

ELECTED OFFICIAL OF THE YEAR – BERNIE SANDERS

For the second time in consecutive years, Sanders, who represents Vermont in the U.S. Senate and unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic presidential nomination this year, is the recipient of a ProgMid award. Although Sanders didn’t win his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination and isn’t technically a Democrat, he has had a significant and largely positive impact on the Democratic Party. Sanders successfully pushed to make the national Democratic Party platform, which is non-binding for Democratic candidates, more progressive than in previous years and decades. Sanders helped bring progressive policies like making higher education truly affordable, single-payer health insurance, and expanding Social Security into the American political mainstream, even though none of those ideas will be enacted in the near future, at least at a national level. Furthermore, Sanders’s candidacy has led to the creation of the DNC’s Unity Commission, which will examine potential reforms to the Democratic presidential nomination process for the 2020 presidential election and future presidential elections after 2020. For his advocacy for progressive ideals and his efforts to improve the Democratic Party, Bernie Sanders is the ProgMid Elected Official of the Year for 2016.

ATHLETE OF THE YEAR – LILLY KING

While 2016 was a banner year for the far-right Vladimir Putin regime in Russia, one thing that did not go well for Russia this year was their performance in the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Russia sent considerably fewer athletes to Rio than originally planned after the Putin regime was caught running a large-scale doping operation. Even worse for the Russians, they were completely embarrassed by Lilly King of the United States, who, after publicly criticizing Russia’s Yuliya Yefimova for doping, defeated Yefimova in the pool for the gold medal in the women’s 100m breaststroke swimming event. King was also a member of the U.S. team that won gold in the women’s 4 x 100m medley relay in Rio. For continuing the time-honored tradition of Americans defeating Russians in international sport, and for promoting ethical competition in sport, Lilly King is the ProgMid Athlete of the Year for 2016.

PLACE OF THE YEAR – REPUBLIC OF AUSTRIA

While the far-right has gained significant ground worldwide, Austria is, to an extent, an exception. Austrians rejected a far-right presidential candidate not once, but twice, in 2016. In the first of effectively two presidential elections held in Austria in 2016, left-leaning European federalist candidate Alexander Van der Bellen received more votes than far-right fascist candidate Norbert Hofer in a runoff election after no candidate received an outright majority of the vote in the first round of the first election. However, the Constitutional Court of Austria annulled the runoff results because Hofer complained of election irregularities, resulting in the runoff being re-held. Voters gave Van der Bellen an even larger majority in the re-run of the runoff, and Hofer finally conceded. For rejecting a fascist would-be head of state not once, but twice, in the same year, the Republic of Austria is the ProgMid Place of the Year for 2016.

 

CONCEPT OF THE YEAR – POLITICAL RESISTANCE

As I’m sure that virtually everybody who reads this blog knows, Republican Donald Trump won this year’s presidential election despite winning a minority of the national popular vote. Not surprisingly, I’ve seen more than a few people on the left, and even many establishment Democrats, call for a non-violent political resistance to the incoming Trump Administration. With a barrage of right-wing federal legislation likely to be enacted starting early next year, progressives are going to expect resistance from the Democratic minorities in both houses of Congress. Political resistance is the ProgMid Concept of the Year for 2016.

Canadian YouTube roadgeek subtly criticizes Donald Trump over border walls

From Canada, the land where curling is the national pastime and ice hockey is the unofficial national religion, comes a YouTube user who goes under the screen name Trans Canada Phil (hereafter referred to in this blog post as TCP), and, judging by one of TCP’s captions on a recent roadgeek video he produced, I’m guessing that TCP no fan of Donald Trump:

Near the end of the video (I’ve set the embed to show the section of the video in question), TCP noted in the video that TCP was driving in the direction of the border between the Canadian province of Manitoba and the U.S. state of Minnesota, and that there were “no fences, no walls” along the actual U.S.-Canadian border in that area of the North American continent. TCP also noted that there were “certainly” no walls that Canadians are “going to pay for”. While TCP didn’t mention Trump by name, I’m nearly 100% certain that TCP was referring to Donald Trump. As a political figure here in the United States, Trump is best-known for stirring up virtually every kind of bigotry and resentment that one can think of, and some of his ideas that he’s campaigned on as a U.S. presidential candidate are deeply rooted in bigotry, such as his proposal to get Mexico to pay for a new wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

While TCP is not a Canadian government official that I’m aware of, I’m guessing that most Canadians don’t want a U.S.-Canada border wall. It’s also worth noting that the last American politician to propose such an idea, Scott Walker, the Wisconsin governor who was briefly a Republican Party candidate for U.S. president, ended up dropping out of the presidential race altogether not long after he proposed such a ridiculous idea.

No, we’re not giving Alaska back to Russia

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This article is written in the English language; a Russian language translation of the article courtesy of Google Translate is listed below.

Примечание автора: Эта статья написана на английском языке; русский язык перевод статьи любезно онлайн-сервисе перевода приведена ниже.


If you think that Vladimir Putin is crazy, the leader of the third-place party in the Russian State Duma is crazier than Putin.

His name is Vladimir Zhirinovsky, and he’s the leader of the misnamed Liberal Democratic Party of Russia. The Russian Liberal Democrats are actually a fascist and imperialist political party, even more so than Putin’s United Russia, which is the main conservative political party in Russia. Until 2011, Zhirinovsky was the vice-chairman of the Russian State Duma, which is the lower house of the Russian Federal Assembly. Think of Zhirinovsky being like Putin, except without any shred of pragmatism whatsoever, and you will not be far away from describing Zhirinovsky.

One example of Zhirinovsky being even more extreme than Putin is Zhirinovsky’s stated goal of retaking Alaska from the United States. Zhirinovsky has described his vision for a Russian Alaska as a place to forcibly relocate Ukrainians to after Russia completely takes over Ukraine. Furthermore, Zhirinovsky has a long track record of making blatantly discriminatory remarks about other people, especially in regards to American politicians, and his track record of anti-Semitism is comparable to that of former German dictator Adolf Hitler. There is an entire article devoted to Zhirinovsky’s controversial track record as a politician here.

One of my biggest fears is that, if Donald Trump is elected president, he would sell Alaska to Russia, thus completing the dreams of people like Zhirinovsky of retaking Alaska without Zhirinovsky actually becoming either the Russian head of state or the Russian head of government. I hope that never happens.


Если вы думаете, что Владимир Путин является сумасшедшим, лидер третье место партии в Государственной Думе РФ является безумнее, чем Путин.

Его зовут Владимир Жириновский, и он лидер Либерально-демократической неверно названы партии России. Российские либерал-демократы фактически фашистом и империалистическая политическая партия, даже больше, чем Путина Единая Россия, которая является основным консервативная политическая партия в России. До 2011 года Жириновский не был заместителем председателя Государственной Думы Российской Федерации, которая является нижняя палата Федерального Собрания Российской Федерации. Подумайте о Жириновского быть как Путин, за исключением без малейших прагматизмом бы то ни было, и вы не будете далеко от описания Жириновского.

Одним из примеров Жириновский является еще более экстремальным, чем Путин является заявленной целью Жириновского пересдавать на Аляске из Соединенных Штатов. Жириновский описал свое видение русской Аляски как место, чтобы насильственно переселить украинцев после того, как Россия полностью берет на себя Украину. Кроме того, Жириновский имеет длинный послужной список делает откровенно дискриминационные замечания по поводу других людей, особенно в отношении американских политиков, и его послужной список антисемитизма сравнима с таковой бывший немецкий диктатор Адольф Гитлер. Существует целая статья, посвященная спорной репутацией Жириновского как политика здесь.

Один из моих самых больших страхов является то, что, если Дональд Трамп будет избран президентом, он будет продавать Аляску России, завершив тем самым мечты людей, как Жириновский из пересдавая Аляски без Жириновского фактически став либо России глава государства или России глава правительства. Я надеюсь, что никогда не бывает.