The New Left: An Orgy of Idiocy

Let me begin by enunciating a hard truth. This is a truth that most young people involved in politics, such as myself, are already well beyond familiar with, as they have been a part of administering it. It is a truth that many in the current political establishment have failed to recognize, due to the fact that they may have yet to be personally affected by it. However, the ignorance of these corrupted career politicians notwithstanding, this fact remains such; the old “Liberal vs. Conservative” paradigm of American politics is dead. If any substantation of this certainty is necessary, look no further than the massive insurgencies during the 2016 election cycle of Senator Bernie Sanders on the left and President Donald Trump on the right.

No longer is the Democratic Party a unified, grounded front pushing social liberation, individualism, and peaceable foreign policy. No more does the Grand Old Party trumpet its olden-and-golden tune of sensible economic approaches, American exceptionalism, traditionalism, and free trade. These ideals, or at least the way they were approached by the Democrat-Republican binary, have been discarded to the ashbin of history, just as the conflicting policies of Federalists and Democratic-Republicans, or of Democrats and Whigs, were centuries ago. This death of the “Liberal vs. Conservative” archetype has been barreling towards congressional bigwigs and well-monied elitists since the rise of Independent candidate Ross Perot in 1992. It is a long time coming, and should be fervently embraced by all those currently involved in politics and government. In the sumptuous decay and implosion of these two sects of American politics, of liberalism and conservatism, two new ideologies have sprung up to claim the hearts and minds of voters formerly held by the now-dying political establishment; progressivism and right-wing populism (otherwise known as the alt-right).

In theory, such a shift in ideals should bring about positive change and an overall advancement of our governmental process. In fact, however, this political change has not been positive for all sides of the political spectrum, particularly the left. To reiterate, the traditional liberalism of the Democratic Party has begun falling by the wayside within the Party in favor of progressivisim. This ideology of progressivisim is ironically named, given how corrosive and violently regressive it is in actuality. The tenets of progressivism are identity politics, corrective justice, anti-traditionalism, and anti-Constitutionalism. To highlight the downright idiocy and radicalism of the new collection of principles that is 21st-century progressivism, it is best to delve into its basic ideas in full detail.

The root of identity politics is the belief that people should be regarded as a collective rather than as individuals. To the progressive, it is convenient to place people into boxes based on which innate characteristics they are given at birth in order to apply their agenda of corrective justice. The traits they tend to utilise the most are race, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation. The progressive views white people as inherently privileged within American culture and society, and so places all white people below all racial minorities in terms of how much corrective justice they should earn. Furthermore, the progressive believes that modern America is a “patriarchy,” and therefore generalizes all men as more privileged than all women. This patriarchal society, the progressive claims, also exerts its oppressive moral standards over the LGBT community. Therefore, all homosexual, lesbian and transgender people are less privileged than all straight people. The progressive, of course, completely neglects the rate of white poverty being higher than that of Asian poverty, or the statistic that female graduates take home higher wages than male graduates, or the fact that all of their flawed, absolutive ideas on how American society works can be explained away by basic reasoning or the slightest statistical research. They are also completely disillusioned with the idea that everyone has the same chance to make their way in this country, and that those who have not done so are simply not capable or resourceful enough to succeed in a market-based economy. They would much rather dwell in a puddle of ignorance, spouting off new caterogies for their so-called “Oppression Olympics,” including physical and mental disabilities, place and time of birth, left-handedness, and proximity to wealth.

The dogma of corrective justice is itself an offshoot of identity politics, and is how progressives believe that institutionalized oppression of minority groups should be righted. The progressive argues that since African-Americans were enslaved by white Americans some 150 years ago, blacks today should be given reparations by modern whites. No white American alive today has ever owned slaves, nor has any living black American ever been a slave. In other words, no living American is a slave or slaveowner. Yet it is Caucasian Americans who must turn over the wealth and assets which we have earned to the state — simply because of our skin color, no less — in order to correct for an atrocity which was ended by an army almost wholly made up of white men nearly two centuries ago? Simply put, this is lunacy. In radical cases, progressives have also called for the overturning of land and mineral resources to Native American tribes who once owned these lands many years ago, and for the direct enrichment of African countries with resources that they did not create to adequately correct for historical colonization which Americans did not even participate in.

Anti-traditionalism and anti-Constitutionalism both seem to go hand-in-hand in progressive ideology. The two principles stem from an idea indirectly discussed previously; that America is a patriarchy, an institutionally oppressive, racist, sexist, and homophobic nation. Progressives blame this nonexistent institutional discrimination on both the traditional social order and certain Amendments to the Constitution, such as freedom of speech and the right of the citizenry to keep and bear arms. Accordingly, progressives seek to rebrand America socially, economically and politically to fit their worldview. Socially, progressives call for a complete deconstruction of the traditional American way of life. The family unit, private school, national pride, retention and preference for the proper English language, individual success, and personal responsibility are all facets of the traditional and respectable American life which progressives would like to abolish. Economically, progressives view America as far too privatized and economically opportunistic. In turn, they advocate for tax hikes, destruction of any semblance of trade with other nations, and the enroachment of the state on the rights of businesses and private industry. Simultaneously, progressives want taxpayers to subsidize their college tuition, so that they can earn their BA in gender studies, women’s studies, or liberal arts without having to work for it themselves at all (There’s that abhorrence for personal responsibility again). Politically, progressives wish to completely undo fundamentally American ideas, such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the right to own guns. Instead of these ideas, which are so intrinsically American that erasing them would require the erasure of American society itself, progressives want protections from speech which they deem hateful or bigoted, such as at least half of the things I have thus far espoused in this column. They want a federal blacklisting of all words and ideas considered by them and their cronies to be inappropriate. They make such egregious statements in the name of silencing legitimate racists and sexists. Again, this is simply lunacy. In reality, all Americans — yes, even progressives — would suffer from restrictive anti-free speech laws. The reason why is simple; when people are not allowed to espouse the full scope of what they think without fear of federal retribution, the only possible end result is dreaded totalitarianism.

The most ironic part of this whole charade is the fact that most of the principles which progressivism is assaulting — freedom of speech, personal responsibility, and freedom of the press — are classically liberal. This authoritarian bilge of safe spaces, blacklisting of words, identity politics, and corrective justice, is coming from the controllers of the party which once espoused liberalism. Yet, it is a sorry truth that classical liberalism no longer has a home within the Democratic Party. The left-leaning freethinkers, sympathetic white working-class, and traditional Democrats have been forever banished from the banner of the donkey, in favor of Islamists, Marxists, radical environmentalists, black nationalists, third-wave feminists, lazy collegiates, and feeble-minded civilians. In essence, the Democratic Party is now an unholy alliance of the worst sort; the progressive sort.

The Rise of Right-Wing Populism

In the years leading up to and in the months following the election of President Donald Trump, there has been an explosion of right-wing populism onto the political landscapes of several countries. Much of the western world has experienced a spike in popularity of the alternative right, particularly the populist right, in recent elections and polls. Candidates who speak in plain language about issues that are pertinent to the lives of common citizens have gained much support in nations such as the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Poland, Austria, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Italy, and Greece. The meteoric rise of these candidates is almost too sudden and shocking to relate. Take, for instance, the rise in support for the Sweden Democrats, a far-right, anti-mass immigration party in Sweden led by Jimmie Åkesson. In the 2006 Swedish general election, the Sweden Democrats received 2.9% of the vote. In the following election, the 2010 election, their share of the vote increased to 5.7% and translated into 20 seats. By the time of the most recent election, in 2014, the Sweden Democrats garnered 12.9% of the vote. This put the party in third place overall, and grew their seat total to 49 seats. In summation, a new political paradigm is fundamentally changing the geopolitical landscapes of many nations. To understand why this shift is taking place, and in order to pinpoint the issues causing it, it is best to look at this populist wave in the scope of three specific figures; Donald Trump of the United States, Marine Le Pen of France, and Geert Wilders of The Netherlands.

President Donald Trump, once a billionaire real estate mogul of New York City, was never meant to be President. He had been implored to take the massive leap several times in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, but consistently refused, only flirting with the idea once very briefly in 2000. Making the momentous decision to run in mid-2015, Trump made very clear from the very launch of his campaign the populist nature that he would be taking on. Hitting hard on mass illegal immigration, and promising to build a wall on the United States’s southern border, Trump quickly gained sweeping support from members of the working class and both conventional liberals and conservatives alike. Obviously, this particular populist was very successful with his aim, winning the 2016 presidential election with 306 electoral votes. This major victory for right-wing populism shows the strength and seriousness of this new political ideology.

Marine Le Pen, daughter of French political figure Jean-Marie Le Pen, is heiress to one of the oldest wings of the modern right-wing populist movement. Inheriting her father’s anti-immgration and Eurosceptic (defined as anti-European Union) party, Front National, the Le Pen family has been known for its open criticism of Islamization, cultural invasion, and globalization. On April 23, 2017, Le Pen will contest the French presidency. In her announcement speech just three days ago, Le Pen promised to — if she should be elected — combat the “two totalitarianisms of globalization and Islamism”. Due to a combination of a floundering political establishment struggling to find decent candidates to oppose her, coupled with an outstanding level of electability in her own rite, Le Pen is currently leading the polls for the first round of voting, and closing in on the two major threats to her success in second round head-to-head polls.

Geert Wilders, founder and leader of the Partij Voor de Vrijheid (Party for Freedom), is often considered by many in The Netherlands to be the Dutch equivalent of President Trump. This comparison is not unfounded, and is visible in three major areas; the pompous, flowing blond hair of both men, the populist, anti-immigration rhetoric of both men, and the fervent popularity of both men respective to their own countries. Wilders, an author and lower-level politician within The Netherlands, now seeks the position of Prime Minister of The Netherlands. Championing the independence of The Netherlands, and declaring a need to “stop Islam,” Wilders has gone so far as to campaign for banning the Quran in The Netherlands. The PVV have taken first place in the polls, and are projected to win enough seats to mandate a coalition majority.

These three candidates are different in terms of the issues they talk about which are specific to their nations. However, there are a certain set of issues which cause their popularity and which are visible in all of their platforms. The common denominator of all three candidates, and of right-wing populists in general, is their rhetoric on immigration and Islam. It is unlikely that it is purely coincidental that the same sort of justifiable skepticism towards immigrants can be found in the words of Le Pen in France, and Trump in the United States, and Wilders in The Netherlands, and Åkesson in Sweden, and Petry in Germany. It is also no misnomer that these candidates refer to themselves and are referred to by their many detractors as “populists”. These are the candidates who speak for the majority of their populations. It is indicative of the fact that Europeans and Americans simply do not want any more mass migration into their countries that candidates who call for such radical statutes as the banning of a religious text or the deportation of all illegal immigrants are winning national elections. The established political paradigm should — if it does not work to more properly address this major issue — expect to be overthrown in the months and years to come in favor of this new, far-right, populistic agenda.

An Open Letter to My Fellow Millennials

Dear fellow millennials,

Hey. I recognize that you have other things to do, such as messing around on your phone or tending to your ever-growing pile of homework. Maybe a lucky few of you even have jobs to get to. Therefore, I intend to keep this piece both brief and simplistic.

First, I need to ask you a question: What happened to us? We as a generation are one of the worst in the history of western civilization. Why is it that we are the least culturally aware generation? Why do we not value the traditions and statutes of our forefathers? Why do we not see the necessity for a strong connection to God, or in a broader sense to the Judeo-Christian values that have been the bedrock of the western world for centuries?

It is indisputable fact that we are the most privileged generation in human history. It is expected that our generation will top the previous one, Generation X, to become the most educated generation in the history of the civilized world. Fascinatingly, our wages will be higher than those of our generational predecessors, as well. Yet we are the most homebound generation, with up to a third of us still living at home in our twenties and thirties. We are the generation with the least moral integrity, being the first generation in American history with a religious minority and an atheistic or “irreligious” majority. The millennial generation of white Americans is the most ashamed of their race, with many white millennials in several surveys discussing the need to “deconstruct whiteness as a social construct,” and to “awaken whites to our privilege.”

What has caused all of these problems for us as a generation? What is the root from which these issues stem? Is there any way to correct them? A look at history and the politics of the time which preceded the end of the previous generation will provide some clarity on these topics, and perhaps even answers.

Throughout the 1980’s and into the early 2000’s, a wave of coddling of children swept much of the western world, especially the United States. Our parents, having been raised in the politically, socially and economically uncertain era of the Cold War, felt the need to be protective of us as their children. We were the seeds from which the future would be sowed, after all. It was thought that the children of the day should be protected not just from external threats, such as terrorism and invasion, but also internal threats, such as economic problems and domestic issues. However, at a certain point, this mindset of shielding children from internal threats reached too far. Soon, attributes of realism in the lives of millennials such as winning and losing at games, prayer in schools, and even harmless playground tomfoolery and recess, were largely wiped away from the public education system. By 2000, the last laws protecting the right of public schools to hold prayer sessions were struck down.

All of these mind-boggling limitations on the daily lives of children were created in an effort to, as previously stated, protect the children from harm. In reality, however, these measures did more harm than good in the long-term. Removing prayer from the public education system ripped the collective moral backbone out of the millennial generation. Simultaneously, participation trophies in place of keeping score during sports matches removed the ability of young kids to lose gracefully. Finally, the curbing (and in some cases, outright removal) of recess in schools caused childhood obesity rates to sore.

In concurrence with these catastrophically negative impacts on the then-burgeoning millennial generation, curriculums in the public school system began to change for the worse. The societal cancer of social justice began to be injected into classroom curriculums. Instead of traditional morals and values which have served the people of America well for over two hundred years, young schoolchildren have been indoctrinated into the new groupthink-based belief structure of social justice. Principles of social justice include globalism, historical revisionism, and modern retribution for historical acts. By implementing this core set of immoral and illogical values into the public school system, the seed of anti-American sentiment was planted in the minds of millions of young Americans. In higher education, namely high school, high schoolers were (and still are, I might add) blatantly indoctrinated into the belief structure of social justice. A fair number of high schoolers in the public education system today are informed about the collective responsibility of Americans for their ancestors’ denigration and oppression of minorities in decades past. In very radical cases, it is beat into the brains of some European-American boys and girls that their heritage is filled with hate, greed and colonization, that they spring from racism, and that they hold a societal privilege. It is indubitably true that the actions of some Caucasians in the past towards racial minorities were reprehensible. However, to blame white Americans today for the actions of their ancestors from decades or even centuries ago is to rest the sins of the father on the sins of the son, which the Holy Bible teaches us never to do.

All of these changes made to the society in which we raise our children took place over the span of only a decade. Yet these regressions of both morality and educational standard have led an entire generation into a dead end. With the situation as it currently stands, we can expect only the further decay of traditional American values and the death of religiosity and cultural awareness in this country.

The worst fact of all of these, however, is the fact that so many of my fellow young people are not aware of the precipice on which we are poised. The responsibility of millennials such as myself, who see what is going on, who notice and abhor the decline of morals and of national pride, is to take it upon themselves to ensure that such horrific circumstances do not befall the next generation. In order to raise a generation of healthy, functioning, ethically-sound adults in our wake, we must reverse the negative reforms made by our parents. Our children deserve nothing less than to be raised more competently than we were.

Sincerely,

John Duff, a millennial

Inauguration Day

Today the nation watches as Donald J. Trump takes the oath of office and assumes the office of President.  This is a day that I, personally, have been hoping for since January 20, 2009.  We look forward to a new direction from the 8 years of Obama and hope that our elected representatives set aside their partisan differences and work together to improve the lives of all United States citizens.

Already we have hints that the Democrats are going to continue their post election petulant tailspin as 66 Democrats are refusing to attend the inauguration in protest.  Instead of reconciliation and hope we have sad publicity stunts and stalling tactics.  It is becoming consistently more clear why the Democrats are losing in many states.  Outside of their liberal bastions in New York and California and other deep blue states, Democrats have lost ground across the nation.

The embrace of radical left wing tactics may score points on CNN or in the offices of the Washington Post, it seems the rest of the nation is not so convinced.  Celebrities are collectively losing their minds over the incoming Trump administration.  I am quite sure that the precious snowflakes in Hollywood will survive well enough in the lap of luxury.

In the final moments of the Obama years the left-wing-beast he helped to foster has loosed itself on the streets of DC smashing windows and attempting to disrupt this important day.  The fervently anti capitalist and pro-communist “DisruptJ20” protest seem to be only a minor bump in the road as we march towards the swearing in of Donald J. Trump.

As a nation we need to end the divisive and racially charged age of Obama and work to Make America Great Again.  Within the coming days we will surely hope to see the replacement of Obamacare and the end of numerous overreaching executive orders.  We hope for lower taxes, more money in our pockets and better jobs.  We look forward to working with our adversaries such as Russia in a spirit of cooperation and mutual benefit.  In just a matter of moments we will move into a new era and I, for one, am excited to turn the page.

In Defense of General James Mattis

The following is an essay I wrote recently for my AP English class. We were told to write about one of Donald Trump’s cabinet picks and justify whether or not that person should be confirmed by the Senate. Please enjoy and feel free to give honest, constructive feedback.


After the acclamation of Donald J. Trump to the presidency in the 58th quadrennial American presidential election, there was a flurry in the media and in mainstream politics over his prospective cabinet appointees which took place. Many establishment pundits and orators expressed concern over who he might choose, and worried that those nominees may be too inexperienced or outlandish. When President-elect Trump actually began announcing some of his picks for key cabinet positions, these fears were realized in some cases. However, one specific nomination of Trump’s was a genuinely wise choice; General James “Mad Dog” Mattis for Defense Secretary. As a decorated military hero and veteran, the story of General Mattis is one of duty, heroism, and experience. For these reasons, as well as for his distinguished leadership in high-ranking governmental roles, General Mattis should be confirmed for the position of Secretary of Defense for the United States of America.
The United States Defense Secretary should ideally be someone who has had substantive experience in not only military service, but successful and notable military service. As the Department of Defense deals with military service and overseeing military combat, the leader should obviously be someone who has served the United States in wars. Few people who have had the privilege to serve in the United States Armed Forces have had such a long-lasting, accomplished, and distinguished career as General Mattis. Over the course of forty-one years, General Mattis has served in some capacity in the military. According to one biographer for Encyclopedia Britannica, “As one of the lead assault elements of the 1st Marine Division’s Regimental Combat Team 7, Mattis’s battalion was one of the first into Kuwait. Mattis was awarded a Bronze Star for valour… During the planning stages of the Afghanistan War, he was chosen to lead Task Force 58… Mattis led the 1st Marine Division during the early stages of the Iraq War, overseeing the longest sustained overland advance in Marine Corps history” (Ray 1). Few men or women are more uniquely poised to adequately serve as Defense Secretary than someone who has not only served in three separate wars, but has also achieved awards for their outstanding valor in those wars. Therefore, in the area of military experience, General Mattis is more qualified than even most of his fellow veterans to serve in the responsibility-latent position of Defense Secretary.
Though seasoned military experience is integral to the résumé of anyone aspiring to the role of Defense Secretary, it is not the only defining factor of a quality candidate for the position. A deserving candidate should also have experience in government, as well. The functions of the Department of Defense are much closer to how the Department of Education works in their mechanisms than those of a military battalion. Fortunately, in this respect, General Mattis is in no way lacking. Following the resignation of General David Petraeus, who was serving as the Director of the Central Command at the time, General Mattis was tapped to succeed him in the role by the Obama Administration. Serving in the role from 2010 to 2013, General Mattis was, according to one journalist, “responsible for [overseeing] the arc of crisis stretching from Egypt to Afghanistan” (Thompson 1). During this perilous and uncertain time, many Middle Eastern countries were experiencing violent uprisings against their dictatorial governments, known as the Arab Spring. It was General Mattis who led the Central Command during this turbulent time, an essential role for ensuring the stability of American military presence in foreign nations. During his time in a government role, General Mattis proved that he has the steady hand and level head that it takes to run a Department, especially one that is as riddled with turmoil as the Department of Defense — which deals with overseeing the dealings of the American military — is.
Since Donald Trump began naming his choices for the variety of cabinet positions which need to be filled, many political commentators and experts have espoused discontent at some of the names on his list. While this dissatisfaction is justified for some of President-elect Trump’s more bold and radical nominees, the same cannot be said of his choice of General James Mattis for Defense Secretary. General Mattis fills all of the essential criteria of someone which would commonly be considered an ideal candidate for the position. Over the course of his forty-one-year-long career, General Mattis served with great distinction in three wars and was correspondingly ordained with many awards and recognitions for his outstanding valor and courage in combat. Additionally, Mattis has the experience of leading in a governmental context as well as in a militarial context, serving as the Director of Central Command for three years. These unique and outstanding leadership qualities are those of a man who would undoubtedly serve with great poise and level-headedness as Defense Secretary. It is therefore the case that General Mattis should be confirmed for the position of Defense Secretary.

The Importance of Term Limits

Throughout the more than two hundred years of politics in the United States, various campaigns for a slew of different governmental and societal reforms have swept the political discourse. Often, these campaigns have central ideas that are integral to the lives of those running them, which is their primary motivation for taking up the campaign in the first place. Another common feature of these movements is that they will spring up as if out of nowhere, quickly gain momentum over a few short years, achieve their goals and then fizzle out. This is true of the women’s suffrage movement, the pro-integration movement of the 1960’s, the social movement for women’s rights in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and the marriage equality campaign of the 2010’s. However, the particular push for reform I am prepared to discuss has had its followers and advocates dating back to the foundation of the nation. Up to 80% of the public supports the measure, and only in present times has an organized campaign been launched to actually accomplish it. This reform, of course, is term limits on members of Congress.

Despite the fact that this particular issue does not receive the attention of some of the other modern calls for reform — probably because it does not revolve around bashing and shaming white people or men on the basis of their skin color or genitalia — it is nevertheless a necessity that this reform of our governmental system takes place. In a nation whose government purports to be of the people, by the people and for the people, it is essential that the citizenry can rely on their leaders to conduct the business of governing in a moral and wholesome manner. However, over the past hundred years or so, and as a result of this lack of term limits, a certain type of person has evolved in Congress; the career politician. The career politician is, in a few words, someone who will remain in office for decades while achieving next to nothing. The distinguishing feature of a career politician from a regular politician is that while a regular politician will do what they feel is morally right, a career politician will do what will get him donation money or votes. The career politician abuses the privileges that come with being a high-ranking elected official while losing sight of the purpose of being an elected official to begin with. Rarely is the career politician present when meetings of his chamber are in session, but often can he be caught dining or fraternizing with Washington, DC’s upper crust, celebrity backers and business elites. Only when his reelection or salary depend on it can he be compelled enough to show up to vote on legislation. He is a menace to his district and the bane of the existence of anyone who believes in a decent governmental procedure and clean players.

As previously stated, over the past century, Congress has become increasingly riddled with these leeches on the republic. They have been nothing more than a drain on effective policy, often setting aside or pushing against legislation that would set positive changes at the behest of rich lobbyists. This relationship between lobbyists and career politicians is nothing short of a match made in heaven, an almost symbiotic relationship; the career politician offers voting power for the lobbyist’s agenda, and the lobbyist offers handsome monetary rewards to be spent on reelection campaigns. This system of career politicians being controlled by rich lobbyists through money has caused a series of crooked dealings in Washington. Much of the legislation which is today voted into ratification by Congress has been concocted to forward the oft-unwholesome agendas of these affluent lobbying groups. The language of these bills is often overcomplicated and elaborate, so as to confuse the citizenry. Is this the purpose of a government run of, by and for the people? To produce legislation that favors a few rich lobbyists and their cronies, and is so complicated in its phrasing that that same population is unlikely to understand it?

While it would be easy to get bogged down in the specifics of the situation, it is important to recognize that this complex set of issues all stem from the same root; a lack of term limits on members of Congress. If there is simply action taken which sets term limits on elected members of Congress, the career politician will become a dying breed. They will no longer be allowed to indefinitely represent their district with an incompetent fist. They will, instead, have limited time to do actual work for their citizens. This measure would therefore have the effect of not only exterminating career politicians from Washington, but would also make the time of congressmen more valuable. Future Senators and Representatives would have to get right to setting to work, for they would only have four or six or ten or twelve years to make waves, so to speak.

In summation, this is the case for term limits for members of Congress. In a turbulent and divisive political time such as this, it is never more necessary than now to have a good, clean government. Therefore, it is never more necessary than now to hold congressmen accountable for their positions as elected officials, and to put people in Congress who actually want to get things done for their constituents.

The Benefits of a Russo-American Friendship

Throughout the eighteen-month-long 2016 election cycle, Russia and how it should be dealt with was a major talking point during debates and town halls. Whether it be Russia’s alleged yet unsubstantiated involvement in the hacking of Hillary Clinton’s private email server, or the question of whether it should be Russia or the United States who takes the lead in repairing the unstable and ever-fracturing Middle East, the national political dialogue seemed to revolve around Russia. Seeming to hark back to the Cold War, many candidates for President — including Carly Fiorina, Chris Christie, Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, Rick Santorum, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, to name a few — took positions of harsh unfriendliness toward Russia. Some candidates even suggested being prepared to “use force” against the nation if necessary, a true throwback to the rhetoric of politicians such as Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Dan Quayle of the 1980’s. There is an understandable element of this anti-Russian sentiment, especially in the area of Middle Eastern foreign policy; as politicians running to become the President of the United States, it makes perfect sense that they would prefer that it is the United States who retains the most influential role in that area. However, in terms of the general discontent toward President Vladimir Putin expressed by most of these candidates, it is wholly illogical to be so repudiating. The fear of President Putin is based in whole or in part on unfounded rumors and assumptions about alleged censorship taking place within Russia perpetrated by the Putin administration. Though these are only rumors, they have been allowed to take control of how many Americans — including American politicians — perceive Russia. It can lead us nowhere good to have such baseless fears.

Following the election of now President-elect Donald Trump and the simultaneous defeat of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, these attacks on Russia in the realm of American politics have reached a fever pitch. This is mainly due to the accusation that President Putin had an indirect hand in hacking the previously mentioned private email server of Clinton and feeding those emails to Wikileaks, an international non-profit organization. This, despite the founder and owner of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, repeatedly denying these claims and instead citing an anonymous and unaffiliated person as the source of the 30,000 deleted emails that were published by Wikileaks. Nevertheless, these allegations have unearthed old stereotypes of Russian politicians as being authoritarian demagogues and sparked much debate about whether Russia deliberately influenced the American presidential election. The cohorts of the defeated Clinton in the mainstream media and the United States government have been quick to condemn President Putin for his supposed hand in assuring Trump’s victory through passing the emails to Wikileaks — again, despite there being no proof of this. However, it is admittedly easy to brand President Putin as guilty of purposely disrupting the election in such a way that the outcome would be skewed in favor of Trump, given how Putin has been prone to praise Trump and vice versa.

As a result of these understandable yet unreasonable fears and worries concerning Russia, it can be hard for some people to imagine what good can come of an improved relationship with Russia. In reality, Russia is an economic and political powerhouse with virtues of representation of the people and tradition ingrained into the society. In these ways, Russia and the United States are very much alike; many of the American people view traditional values such as liberty, freedom of speech, cultural maintenance, and the free market as vital to the upkeep of the society in which they live, and so do many Russian people. These similarities, as well as the parallels which can be made between the political power of Russia and the United States, present a massively overlooked opportunity for the mutual propserity of these two nations. A Russo-American friendship would make leaps and bounds in every possible facet. For instance, the combined forces of the United States and Russia backing Assad’s regime in Syria would quickly put an end to the Syrian Civil War that has been raging on for years. Terrorist organizations in the region such as ISIL and Al-Qaeda would be invariably brought to their knees with the joined might of both American and Russian intelligence forces. Israel would receive much stabler protection as a result, as no longer would there be power struggles between Russia and America as to who should be the greater influence on the Middle Eastern region. This sentiment is echoed by the recent maturation of relations between Russia’s President Putin and Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu; for the second time in a week, the two officials have met for what were both later described as effective and amicable talks.

In summation, the prospects of amicable relations between Russia and the United States are tremendous. The benefits are evident in the might and efficiency that such a relationship would bring. It would be an almost symbiotic relationship that would be beneficial for both partners. As such, President Putin and his nation should be welcomed by the American people, not rejected, and the fears and stereotypes of Russians in American society should be laid to rest, not restored to the former pedestal they enjoyed during the Cold War. Though it is true that the USSR was an authoritarian, regressive regime, the same cannot be said of the now-republican Russian Federation. Those who reject Russia’s newfound friendliness on the grounds of utterly unverified accusations, such as Russia meddling in the American presidential election, are — with all due respect to those people — fools without the gifts of neither realism nor opportunism.

Obama’s Abandonment of Israel

For much of the history of the state of Israel, it has dealt with challenges to its existence. Two wars have been waged by several Arabian Islamic nations, including Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, to do away with the Jewish republic once and for all. Fortunately, both attempts failed catastrophically, and out of the ashes rose a stronger, fairer, and more efficient Israel. The threats that have been posed to the continuation of the prosperity of Israel have, in more contemporary times, stepped outside the realm of warfare and into the realm of politics. From 2006 to 2013 alone, there were 45 condemnations of Israel made by the United Nations Human Rights Council. This, despite there being absolutely no substantiations of the allegations made against the Jewish state in any circumstance in which a condemnation was made. Additionally, the United Nations has seen it fit to attempt to curb Israel at every possible turn, whether it be the discouragement of raids against violent Palestinian protestors by the IDF, or the encouragement of the recongition of the terrorist state of Palestine through accepting it into the General Assembly as an observer nation. The denouncement of Israel as an aggressor state or as an apartheid state only serve to strengthen the calls for these condemnations against Israel and foments contempt for Israel and Jews in general.

Until recently, one of the most trusted allies of Israel was the United States of America. As a member of “The Big Five” of the UN Security Council, and as a global superpower with much prestige and a large sphere of influence, the United States has had the ability to shield Israel from much of the assaults to its existence made by other nations. The United States has vetoed over 80 resolutions that would have condemned Israel through its veto power as one of “The Big Five”. I say “until recently,” because over the past few weeks, the Obama administration has moved to begin neglecting our friendly ties to Israel. For seemingly no reason other than to destroy as much of the American diplomatic integrity as possible before leaving office, Obama’s Department of State has decided to turn its back on Israel in the UN and in the public eye. Instead of using the aforementioned veto power that comes with being one of “The Big Five” in the Security Council, the United States’s Ambassador to the UN acted on orders to abstain from voting on a resolution that condemned the existence of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Simultaneously, the outgoing Secretary of State, John Kerry, gave a speech in which he was quoted as saying, “If the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic — it cannot be both.”

This blatant anti-Semitism is a huge veer away from the orthodox position of America, which is to affirm and encourage the existence of Israel as a Jewish state. The reality is that Israel IS both a Jewish state and a democratic state, and it is tangibly hateful towards Jewish people to suggest that a Jewish state is inherently an anti-democratic state. If it is true that a state cannot be both Jewish and democratic, is it also true that the Islamic nations who have recently become allies of the outgoing Obama administration are exempt from being democratic societies? Must an entire nation be completely devoid of religion before it can be considered democratic? If the answer is yes, that this principle goes for all religions, then it is clearly an indirect affront to the moral boundaries created in western societies by Christianity. If the answer is no, that this principle is exclusive to Judaism and Jewish states, then it is indicative of a bias against Jews and what the cultural and religious traditions that come with Judaism stand for. Either way, this statement was a heavy-handed condemnation of one of our most trustworthy, respectable friends on the geopolitical landscape.

By damaging diplomatic ties with Israel in the waning days of his administration, President Obama has shown to a greater extent his lack of maturity and ethicality. He is pursuing a policy of scorched earth in an effort to make it as hard as possible for the incoming President, Donald Trump, to do his job adequately. It is no less than an attack on intrinsically American values to conduct oneself in the way that President Obama has been conducting himself since his preferred candidate, Hillary Clinton, was defeated on the electoral battlefield by Republican Trump. These recent radical turns at the United Nations are only one example of the many destructive actions that President Obama has been pursuing in the last month of his presidency. However, these actions against Israel are much more damning and cut much deeper. They are even more of a severe damage because of our historical affinity for Israel due to our love of Judeo-Christian values in this country. As such, the shock caused in the western world by our diplomatic turn against Israel will reverberate for much longer than some of Obama’s other recent rash decisions, such as his easily-reversible sanctions against Russia. However, the worst part of these actions is not the long-term damage to our relationship with Israel, but the emboldening of the enemies of Israel which it will cause. These, the same barbaric enemies who tried to extinguish the flame of the Jewish state as it was beginning nearly 70 years ago.

The Russian Hacking Fraud

In the waning days of his administration President Obama is throwing an epic tantrum on the world stage.  Not only did he send his stooge, Secretary of State John Kerry on a quest to snub Israel in the UN this week (grab a glass of water next time) he has also decided to lash out at the Russians – again.  Since his failed and embarrassing Russian Reset through the current situation in Syria, US relations with Russia have suffered significantly due to the ham-fisted diplomacy of the Obama administration.

President Obama’s immaturity through his recent decision to expel 35 Russian diplomats and shut down several Russian entities within the United States illustrates his arrogance towards the voting population of this country, voters that voted for change in 2016. He excused these rash actions with the accusation that Russia had an indirect hand in hacking the private email server of one Secretary Hillary Clinton. In reality, his ambitions in these recent moves are far more sinister. He is on a mission of scorched earth, and his actions are comparable to those of a petulant child that did not get his way and so is breaking all the toys. While most former United States Presidents have worked with their incoming successors and stayed relatively quiet during transitions, Obama sees fit to make waves and leave the new administration with some large issues to solve. This, on top of the damaged international relations and domestic policy that he was already set to leave behind.

Obama’s allies in the mainstream media echo these claims of Russian interference. They drone the same message in repetition, as if repetition can afix truth to their lies. The report itself, published by the Department of Homeland Security at the behest of Obama personally, begins with a disclaimer that immediately diminishes the credibility of the report.  The document goes on to make indirect references to the email of John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee.

These claims are made despite months of rumors and statements that the DNC emails were leaked, not hacked, by insiders that were disgusted by the party’s treatment of Bernie Sanders. Some DNC documents were hacked and published by a hacker calling himself Guccifer 2.0. Although his identity and motivations still remain unclear, he himself has claimed that he is not a Russian agent.

As for creepy John Podesta, his egregious and irresponsible handling of technology seems to have been taught to him by his then boss, Secretary Clinton herself.  He lost his cell phone getting out of a cab, sent his password in unencrypted emails and was stupid enough to fall for a spear phishing attack. It is abundantly clear that the responsibility for the emails being hacked should be lain at the feet of those from whom the emails were taken, and not scapegoats such as the Russian government.

Opposing views to the Russian hacking hoax are not given much press by those who generate narratives at the mainstream media. Notable cybersecurity pioneer John McAfee, for instance, makes the case that we may never be able to determine who is responsible for hacking the DNC or John Podesta. McAfee was quoted as saying, “I would use Russian techniques of breaking into organizations so there is simply no way to assign a source for any attack – this is a fallacy.” and that this report is a part of a ploy to “manipulate our opinions.”

There has been little to no proof made available by the Obama administration concerning these allegations against Russia. Though the CIA sees it fit to broadcast to the public that Russia may have been involved in hacking the emails of certain election officials, they do not see it fit to substantiate these serious accusations to the same public. There seems to be a concerted partisan effort afoot to sully the results of the election in the eyes of the public, in a repeat of the way the Democratic Party acted in the 2000 election.  The Russians certainly did not hack voting totals nor the electoral college results.  In fact, the only state that has proven to be a victim of hacking is the attempted hacking of State of Georgia, and that was traced to the Department of Homeland Security.

There is a sort of irony however, in all this talk of hacking and cyber security given the over two-year-long effort by the White House, State Department and Media Gatekeepers to ignore and downplay Hillary Clinton’s risky handling of sensitive and classified information with her unique interpretation of cyber security.

While Trump and his transition team work towards his inauguration, we here at The Duff Column wonder what else the outgoing Obama may have in store for us in the final days of his unaccomplished, uninspiring administration.

The Idiocy of The Young Turks

Before I became a member of the rightwing, I was a young, naive, indecisive centrist. With my exposure to the political side of the Internet, I found myself floating amongst a massive ocean of ideologically diverse opinions in every form. From the most progressive, leftwing Twitter feeds and YouTube channels to the most ultra-conservative blogospheres and alternative media organizations, I found it easy to immerse myself in geopolitical affairs and to be engaged in complex political discourse. This is a sentiment that is felt by most of those who partake in the political portion of the vast World Wide Web (politicosphere?). Even if someone does not happen to be one for browsing political blogs or channels, politics still permeates the overwhelming majority of casual social media and news feeds. One might readily assume that most if not all of these online political groups or feeds have something that is at least mildly intelligent to say. Personally, I was taught this as a general rule by my family; everyone has something worthwile to espouse. I attempted to carry this belief with me throughout my political discussions, and managed to do so, until I was exposed to a news organization known as The Young Turks.

The Young Turks, suspiciously named after the autocratic regime that carried out the Armenian Genocide, is a leftwing alternative news media channel. Incidentally, it is headed by a former Armenian Genocide denier, Cenk Uygur, who identifies as a member of the progressive left. Some of his cohorts include Ana Kasparian (an Armenian, ironically enough), John Iadarola, Jimmy Dore, Ben Mankiewicz, and Michael Shure. After consuming hours of their media through their YouTube channel, I am convinced that this smug, biased, uninformative news organization and its faces have nothing of value to say. In lieu of unbiased political commentary, The Young Turks would rather take part in smearing and demeaning their political opponents, or more generally those who disagree with them in any way. For instance, on Election Day alone, there were two instances of outright slander in their live broadcast; first, when Kasparian called all female supporters of Donald Trump “fucking dumb,” and second, when Mankiewicz denounced the Founding Fathers as “white, old slaveowners who died in their forties… not such geniuses.” Such other examples of their petulant libel include a six minute long video making fun of Donald Trump for allegedly liking his steak well-done, accusing the President-elect of choosing his cabinet based on looks, attempting to connect Trump winning the election with a racist official being re-hired by her employer (when the two were in no way correlated), and childishly jeering at former Representative Michele Bachmann for praising God because Trump had been elected President.

This simple-minded skullduggery on its own would simply be indicative of The Young Turks fitting right in with the majority of online news sites; a flashy creator of clickbait with enticing video titles and precious little actual information. What seems to set The Young Turks apart from other clickholes masquerading as news outlets, however, is its Islam apologism. A large plurality of the videos produced by The Young Turks have something to do with Islam, and most all of them have something to do with defending Islam from reasonable attacks. In the wake of both the November 2015 Paris attacks and the Berlin truck attack earlier this month, this news outlet released videos playing down Islam as an ideology’s role in the motivations of the attackers, going so far as to brand the perpetrator of the Berlin attack as being of Polish descent before actual information on his nationality was ascertained. In actuality, the man was a Muslim migrant of Tunisian background; yet this did not stop Uygur — who was making the report — from jumping to conclusions which precluded the terrorist from possibly being a Muslim. Another example of The Young Turks‘s shameless defense of the regressive ideology of Islam is a video entitled “Suicide Bombings Have NOTHING to Do with Islam”. This, despite the fact that, according to the INSS’s annual report on suicide bombings, 450 of the 452 suicide bombings committed in the year 2015 were committed by Muslims. It is doubtful that an ideology whose members are responsible for 99.6% of the suicide bombings in a given year has nothing to do with suicide bombings. While Uygur, who manages content production for The Young Turks, is fine with his organization and its main commentators promoting discrimination against Christians through their opposition to religious freedom laws (which would protect business owners’ rights to refuse service to people on the basis of their religion), he visibly recoils at any and all criticism of Islam. Islam’s inherent flaws and its connection to barbaric terrorist organizations notwithstanding, Uygur will excuse Islam for the behaviors of Muslims who commit acts such as rape, shooting, beheading, suicide bombing, or plowing a truck through a crowd of innocent civilians. He will act as though Islam does not promote attacking nonbelievers, even though it does so in over 100 passages.

In summation, The Young Turks is easily one of the most low-quality, egregious, blatantly biased political organizations one can come across. It is a sad reflection on the ever-growing, largely-rational alternative media when a news organization whose commentators say things such as “Poor white people deserve what they get,” and “I have no respect for women who voted for Trump… I think you’re fucking dumb,” is allowed to be a part of the moniker. However, the most scary thing about this website is neither what its correspondents believe, nor the misleading nonsense that it publishes. No, the most horrific part of this blight on the online political discourse is its massive and growing following of nearly 3.2 million subscribers. To relate why the fact that this bilge factory has so many followers is so bad, I will end this piece with a quote from fictional Star Wars character, Ben Kenobi: “Who is more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him?”