Tag: far-right

Republicans are making their atrocious health care bill even worse to appease the far-right

If you thought the Trumpcare bill in Congress was bad, well, Republicans are now trying to make Trumpcare, which is the proposed legal vehicle for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that provided millions of Americans with health insurance, a lot worse in order to appease members of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of far-right Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Republicans have, since Monday, made two major amendments to the original Trumpcare bill.

The first is the so-called “manager’s amendment”. What the manager’s amendment, if enacted, would end the popular and effective Medicaid expansion a lot sooner than the original bill would have, allows states to raid federal Medicaid funds and use them for purposes other than Medicaid, and makes the Medicaid funding cuts from the original bill a lot more severe, giving state governments, particularly those controlled by Republicans, an opportunity to deprive large numbers of people of health insurance. ThinkProgress, a left-leaning website, gave a more detailed description of the manager’s amendment here.

The second is the Meadows Amendment, named after U.S. Representative and House Freedom Caucus member Mark Meadows (R-NC). Among other things, the Meadows Amendment would allow private-sector health insurers to:

  • deny health insurance to those with pre-existing medical conditions
  • force women to pay more money for the same exact health insurance that men receive
  • enact annual and/or lifetime limits on health care coverage
  • force people to pay money out-of-pocket for vital preventative care, such as mammograms and vaccinations

It’s not hard to understand why most Americans don’t like Trumpcare.

There is a serious anti-Semitism problem in America

The election of Donald Trump to our nation’s highest office has emboldened anti-Semitic extremists in America. Two recent example of this involves the desecration of Jewish cemeteries in the St. Louis, Missouri and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania areas.

Last week, vandals damaged dozens of headstones in Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University Park, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. More recently, a similar act of mass vandalism occurred in Philadelphia at Mount Carmel Cemetery. While I don’t believe in God or the afterlife, I view grave desecration as blatant disrespect to the deceased and something that I have zero tolerance for. I thank those who have assisted in repairing the damage done to the cemeteries in Missouri and Pennsylvania, especially to the Muslim community in America, which has raised funds for, and assisted in, repairing the damage done to the Jewish cemeteries.

On a related note, after narrowly losing the Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair race this weekend, Keith Ellison was picked by new DNC Chairman Tom Perez to be DNC Deputy Chairman. While many on the right, and some on the left, have smeared Ellison by trying to paint him as an anti-Semitic extremist, Ellison’s first act as deputy chair was to condemn the desecration of Jewish graves:

Even before the desecration of Jewish graves in Missouri and Pennsylvania, there have been incidents where American Jews have been threatened since Trump’s election. Prior to Trump’s inauguration, a neo-Nazi website called for an armed march against the Jewish community in Whitefish, Montana. That march was postponed, and a block party in defense of the Jewish community in Whitefish was attended by several hundred people.

I call on Donald Trump to, at his address to Congress tomorrow, strongly condemn threats, intimidation, violence, and vandalism against Jewish people and institutions in America.

PETITION: Tell the Senate to hold confirmation hearings on Steve Bannon’s appointment to the National Security Council

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog post contains the body of an online petition, written by the author of this blog post, republished in full.


President Donald Trump has appointed Stephen Kevin “Steve” Bannon, one of Trump’s closest allies and a top White House adviser to Trump, to a seat on the National Security Council (NSC). The NSC is responsible for advising the President on matters affecting America’s national security.

A federal statutory law, section (a)(6) of federal statute 50 U.S. Code 3021, requires that civilian appointees to the NSC receive confirmation by the U.S. Senate for appointment to the NSC. Although the creator of this petition is not an attorney, it appears that Bannon, whose legally holds the offices of Senior Counselor to the President and White House Chief Strategist, would qualify as an individual of the (a)(6) category, meaning that Bannon would be legally required to receive Senate confirmation in order to legally become a member of the NSC.

Confirmation hearings for Bannon’s appointment to the NSC would give Senators opportunities to question Bannon over his work at the far-right website Breitbart, allegations that he physically beat his wife, and his offensive anti-Semitic remarks. It is very much possible that, even with Republicans holding a 52-48 majority in the Senate, Bannon may be rejected by the Senate.

We, the signatories of this petition, hereby call for the U.S. Senate to hold confirmation hearings for the appointment of Stephen Kevin “Steve” Bannon to the National Security Council.

You can sign the petition here.

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.

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.

Donald Trump uses imagery of Russian soldiers in campaign ad, retweets a neo-Nazi

In the last couple of days, Donald Trump has done two things to prove how awful his candidacy for president truly is.

First, Trump took to Facebook and used imagery of Russian soldiers to claim that undocumented immigrants in the United States are treated better than American veterans:

Donald Trump put a new veteran-focused campaign ad up on Facebook today, but it was pulled down before most anyone could see it after commenters pointed out that the footage clearly depicted Russian veterans wearing the distinctive St. George ribbon and pins with the Communist hammer and sickle.

…“Our great veterans are being treated terribly,” Trump intones his most serious voice. “The corruption in the Veteran’s administration, the incompetence is beyond. We will stop that.” The ad then cuts away from Trump sitting at his desk and to footage of faceless decorated veterans who happen to be wearing a distinctive orange-and-black ribbon.

That is absolutely disgusting, and, sadly, it’s something along the lines of what Trump has done in the past. When Trump ran his first television ad of the campaign, he used a video of Moroccans trying to enter Melilla, a Spanish city on the African continent.

Second, Trump retweeted a picture of Jeb Bush that was originally posted by a neo-Nazi who uses a “white genocide” Twitter handle:

Donald Trump’s penchant for retweets once again raised eyebrows, after he recirculated a tweet on Friday from a user with the handle “WhiteGenocideTM.”

The profile — with about 2,300 followers — used the name “Donald Trumpovitz,” linked to a website containing a pro-Adolf Hitler documentary, featured a background photo with red lettering saying “Get the F— Out of My Country” and had a location of “Jewmerica.” The account also includes a photo of George Lincoln Rockwell, founder of the American Nazi Party.

The account’s Twitter feed was largely a collection of retweets about violence allegedly committed by African-American suspects and anti-Arab posts.

The truth of the matter is that there is no genocide of white people either ongoing or imminent. Furthermore, the fact that Trump would retweet anything from someone with overtly racist views is just the latest example of how much of a danger Trump is to America.

Bundy Family and militia takes over Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters, CNN isn’t reporting about it online

Ammon Bundy, the son of far-right anti-government crackpot Cliven Bundy, two of Ammon’s brothers, and far-right militiamen have taken over the administration building of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon.

As of 9:30 P.M. PST/11:30 P.M. CST, CNN.com, CNN’s website, has reported absolutely nothing about the right-wing militia taking over the Malheur NWR headquarters. There’s nothing on the front page about the takeover, and there’s nothing on the U.S. page about the takeover. In fact, the Wikipedia page on Malheur NWR was edited at 1:57 A.M. GMT/5:57 P.M. PST/7:57 CST to include a one-sentence reference to the Bundy/militia takeover.

This story is clearly of national importance, because right-wing terrorists and members of the Bundy family of right-wing extremists have responded to the legitimate conviction of two Oregon ranchers who set fire to federal land set aside for the protection of wildlife, not for ranching, by an armed takeover of the Malheur NWR headquarters.

Furthermore, some corporate media outlets are trying to claim that the Bundy/militia occupiers are non-violent protesters, when, in fact, Ammon Bundy has openly called for militia members to join the occupation and bring weapons with them. This is clearly not a non-violent protest, although I’ve heard no reports of shots fired or any other acts of violence at this time.

CNN has become an absolute joke of a news organization, and most other corporate media outlets are not much better.

An Arkansas pastor speaks the truth about conservatives and their un-Christian ways

Melanie Tubbs, a college professor and Christian pastor from rural Arkansas, wrote this piece a little more than a month ago on the progressive website Liberal America about how conservatives in this country, while promoting their Christian faith at every opportunity, act in a very un-Christian manner. The piece is certainly a must-read, even if you’re not of any kind of Christian faith (I’m an atheist, and I’ve read the piece).

Here’s a couple of points that Pastor Tubbs made in her piece:

I live my life for God, but I do not think God belongs in our Constitution. Separation of church and state; It’s a thing. Look it up.

[…]

Consenting adults have a constitutional right to get a government document certifying their legal marriage. The 14th amendment guarantees it. Not only that, marriage is love, what this country is needing to combat the hate and violence we are infected with. Love and marriage are not what we should be focusing on. Starving children, mass shootings, immoral lobbying, planet destroying, violence, and hate, those are our problems.

I strongly encourage other progressive-minded people in Republican strongholds to speak out about their values. There are many progressive-minded people in this country, even in the strongest of right-wing strongholds.

Paul Ryan opposed abortion rights for women impregnated by rapists during failed 2012 VP bid

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the unsuccessful Republican vice-presidential nominee in 2012, is now officially considering a bid for U.S. House Speaker after previously having repeatedly refused to do so.

However, Ryan won’t negotiate with the House Freedom Caucus, a group of Republican right-wing extremists in the House that have refused to back a GOP establishment candidate for speaker unless said establishment candidate agrees to giving the Republican rank-and-file, which is chock full of right-wing nuts, more power in the House and cover-your-rear-end treatment from the GOP leadership every time someone in the rank-or-file says or does something incredibly stupid.

While Ryan considers whether or not to seek the speakership, I think it’s appropriate for me to mention that this is an actual quote from Paul Ryan from when he was running for vice president in 2012:

Well, I’m very proud of my pro-life record, and I’ve always adopted the idea, the position, that the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life.

What Paul Ryan effectively said was that he thinks that any woman who was impregnated by a rapist should be forced to carry the fetus(es) to term, even if she does not want to. That’s because Ryan was asked by an interviewer about his thoughts on whether or not women who are impregnated by a rapist should be allowed to seek an abortion, and Ryan said that he was strongly anti-abortion and that the “method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life”. That is an absolutely barbaric point of view. While there was YouTube video of Ryan’s remarks online back in 2012, the video has long since been removed from YouTube. However, I’ve been able to confirm that Ryan actually made the remarks, because the International Business Times, which is where I got the Ryan quote from, and several other websites with credible political reporting and/or commentary, such as the Huffington Post and AlterNet, reported on it back in 2012, and their articles are still online.

Paul Ryan’s view that women impregnated by rapists should be forced to carry their fetuses to term is barbaric and sexist. Now, he wants to be House Speaker so that he’s in even more powerful of a position to control women’s bodies by legislative fiat, especially if a Republican were to win the White House in next year’s presidential race.

Right-wing extremist Kyle McCarter to run in GOP primary against Republican Congressman John Shimkus

Republican Illinois State Senator Kyle McCarter (R-Vandalia) intends to run against incumbent U.S. Representative John Shimkus (R-Collinsville) in the Republican primary in the 15th Congressional District of Illinois.

As a Democrat who lives in the 15th District, I think that Shimkus and McCarter are two absolutely awful right-wing politicians.

Shimkus has been a loyalist to John Boehner, and big-money special interests as a Member of Congress. Furthermore, Shimkus ran his first congressional campaign on a pro-term limits platform, but has now become the ultimate D.C. insider, with Shimkus running for an 11th two-year term in Congress. As a Member of Congress, Shimkus has built up an extremely conservative voting record that reflects the interests of big businesses and bible-thumping zealots, not the interests of the people of the 15th District.

McCarter would be an even worse Member of Congress than Shimkus is. As a state senator, McCarter was one of the most vocal opponents of marriage equality, even going as far as to try to repeal the Illinois marriage equality law. While Shimkus is very conservative on social issues in his own right, McCarter is even more of a Religious Right nutjob than Shimkus is.

If you want proof that the Republican Party is in complete disarray, look no further than the Republican Party in my home congressional district.