Tag: Russia

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 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.

Israel and our own country’s warmongering politicians are the biggest threats to the United States

Earlier today, a framework was announced in the ongoing talks between Iran and the P5+1 nations (the United States, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany) in an effort to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons that could be used against the United States and its allies. There is a June 30 deadline for a final nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 nations.

Already, Republican politicians have used the announcement of a framework in the Iran nuclear talks to threaten to blow up any Iran nuclear deal. Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a likely Republican presidential candidate, has, once again, promised to blow up any Iran nuclear deal if he’s elected president. Not to be outdone by Walker, Republican U.S. Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois, one of 47 U.S. Senators to sign the traitorous Tom Cotton letter, compared the P5+1 framework with the Iranian government to the 1938 Munich Agreement. The Munich Agreement allowed German dictator Adolf Hitler to annex the Sudetenland, or areas of what is now the Czech Republic that had a large percentage of German-speaking people prior to World War II. Not to be outdone by his own false equivalence, Kirk went as far as to call for a nuclear attack on Iran, saying that anything that would result in sanctions on Iran being lifted would “end with a mushroom cloud somewhere near Tehran”.

It’s not just hawkish American politicians who are trying to sabotage diplomacy with Iran. Yuval Steinitz, a member of the Benjamin Netanyahu-led Likud party and the Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister, reiterated Israel’s commitment to sabotaging any Iran nuclear deal, saying that Israeli officials will continue their efforts to “explain and persuade the world in hopes of preventing a bad (final) agreement”.

Make no mistake about it, Israel and our own country’s warmongering politicians are the biggest threats to the United States. People like those U.S. Senators who signed the traitorous Tom Cotton letter, people like those in Israel who support their own country’s self-destruction, and people like those Republican presidential candidates who call for the U.S. to “stand with Israel” by opposing diplomacy with Iran are putting America at risk of a nuclear attack by Iran. That’s because sabotaging any Iran nuclear deal would allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons that could be used against the United States and its allies.

If you’re standing with Israel and opposing diplomacy with Iran, you’re effectively opposing the national security of the United States of America.

Vladimir Putin ally Dmitry Medvedev signs discriminatory measure banning transgender people from driving in Russia

In cased you missed it, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, a key ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, signed into law a legal amendment banning, among other groups of people, transgender Russians from driving in the country:

Transgender people have been banned from driving in Russia, according to a new legal amendment published this week.

The regulations, which affect people deemed to have “sexual disorders”, also affect fetishists, voyeurs, exhibitionists and transvestites, and were immediately condemned by human rights activists as discriminatory.

The amendment to the law listing medical impediments to driving was signed by prime minister Dmitry Medvedev at the end of last year, but only published this week.

(editing to correct a grammar error mine)

This act by the far-right government in Russia discriminates against transgender Russians and many other Russians based on their gender identity and sex life. There is no scientific basis whatsoever to ban people from driving based on their gender identity and sex life, yet the far-right Russia government is doubling down on their bigotry by trying to blame transgender people for the country’s high rate of automobile crashes:

The Russian government says the new rules are to help cut down on the number of car accidents. Although most of the provisions refer to physical impairments, such as blindness, “gender identity disorders” including transsexualism and dual-role transvestism are referenced in the revised provisions. Sadomasochism and exhibitionism are included as well, according to BuzzFeed’s J. Lester Feder and Susie Armitage.

(editing to correct a grammar error mine)

While I can understand banning blind people from driving, as that is a legitimate reason to ban someone from driving, banning transgender people and others based on their gender identity and sex life is absolutely absurd and blatantly discriminatory. Instead of enacting new regulations to make automobiles safer, making roads and highways safer, expanding public transit, and other measures to actually make Russian roadways safer, the far-right Russian government blames transgender people for the country’s high rate of automobile crashes. That logic is absurd and bigoted.

I thank Meg Gorski, a progressive political blogger here in the United States, for bringing this discriminatory measure by the Russian government to my attention.