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Tag: putin

Endorse This! 5 Funny Nicknames Biden Should Call Putin

Former defeated President Trump was notorious for giving nicknames to any leader or official whom he didn’t care for, preferably over Twitter in some garbled rant. Whether calling Joe Biden “Sleepy Joe,” Hillary Clinton “Crooked Hillary,” or North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un “Rocketman,” the fact remains that hacky nicknames were Trump’s specialty. But what about President Joe Biden?

We all know Biden’s love for old-time expressions that only grandpas would say, including “Malarkey,” but what we don’t really know is what nicknames, if any, Biden uses to mock his rivals. He seems to like calling Fox News’ Peter Doocy a “stupid son-of-a-b#tch,” which isn't inaccurate. That really begs the question of what nicknames Biden might secretly have for Russian President Vladimir Putin, especially now that US-Russia relations are at an all-time low.

1. Vladdy Cakes

Sometimes it really seems like Putin is nothing but a moldering corpse inside a meat suit. He's sort of like Mark Zuckerberg but far more evil. Calling him Vladdy Cakes seems to slightly personalize the evil autocrat.

2. Putin on the Fritz

We've all seen Mel Brook's Young Frankenstein and the famous "Puttin On the Ritz" scene, but Vlad might actually be even more monstrous and glitchy than Victor's Frankenstein, hence Putin on the Fritz. Get it?

3. Pouty Patootie

When Russia's dictatorial leader is not perpetually frowning, he almost looks like he's pouting. You know, like if one of his generals doesn't bring him back a bunch of Ukrainian corpses, he'll immediately start to pout.

4. A$hole Riot

Pussy Riot, a Russian feminist protest punk rock and performance art group based in Moscow, has had plenty of issues with Putin over the years. The group gained global fame when five members of the group staged a performance inside Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Saviour on February 21, 2012. The women said their protest was directed at the Orthodox Church leaders' support for Putin during his election campaign. So Biden can play off the name of this wildly popular Russian band in a snarky nickname for Putin.

5. The Longtable Loon

Although poisoning journalists and having his political opponents suddenly disappear are among Putin's favorite activities, he seems to favor those super long tables that look straight out of Game of Thrones. So why riff on of his weird affinity for long tables with this simple but effective nickname?

Michael Hayne is a comedian, writer, voice artist, podcaster, and impressionist. Follow his work on Facebook and TikTok

Endorse This! Obama Blasts Putin-Trump Axis And Likens Bannon To Russian Dictator (VIDEO)

President Obama, a man who was tortured by non-stop lies and insane conspiracies about his place of birth from the future divider-in-chief Donald Trump, knows all too well how the spread of disinformation across social media is poisoning our democracy. Speaking at Stanford University this past Saturday, Obama explained how social media companies need to start clamping down on deliberate disinformation and fact-free hate in order to preserve democracy.

“One of the biggest reasons for democracy’s weakening is the profound change that’s taken place in how we communicate and consume information,” Obama said. He urged social media companies to be more transparent in sharing how their algorithms determine news feeds.

“So much of the conversation around disinformation is focused on what people post,” Obama said, according to The New York Times. “The bigger issue is what content these platforms promote,”

Obama specifically called out far-right, alt-fact, white nationalist Steve Bannon and likened him to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

“People like Putin, and Steve Bannon for that matter, understand it’s not necessary for people to believe disinformation … You just have to flood a country’s public square with enough raw sewage.”

Watch the entire speech below:

@yourltldogtoo #obama #trump #clinton #facebook #twitter #instagram #russia #putin #election #2016 #2022 #news #fyp ♬ original sound - yourlittledogtoo

Michael Hayne is a comedian, writer, voice artist, podcaster, and impressionist. Follow his work on Facebook and TikTok

Neofascists In Russia’s Invading Army Expose Putin’s ‘Denazify’ Propaganda

One of Vladimir Putin’s primary propaganda points when rationalizing his assault on Ukraine as a “denazification” program is to trot out as proof of his claims the Azov Battalion, the Ukrainian fighting unit founded by neo-Nazi nationalists and still reportedly dominated by them. In doing so, he has effectively obfuscated the reality that Russian forces are even more riddled with fascist elements—including forces currently leading their fight in the Donbas region of southeastern Ukraine.

The largest of these is the Russian Imperialist Movement (RIM), a white supremacist paramilitary organization listed by American authorities as a terrorist body, and the Wagner Group, a private military proxy closely linked to Putin with a history of neo-Nazi activity. Russian troops arriving in Donbas have been recorded flying the RIM flag—a combination of historical Russian flags from its imperial era—while Wagner Group’s mercenaries have been sighted in Donetsk and elsewhere; notably, German intelligence has connected them to the atrocities in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha.

Social-media videos out of the Rostov Oblast have shown Russian troop convoys heading toward the Donbas region with soldiers bearing the RIM flag and other imperialist banners. The same flag flies at RIM marches, where the rhetoric is thick with bigotry directed at Jews and Ukrainians. Denis Valliullovich Gariev, the militant leader of RIM who was one of three RIM leaders sanctioned by the United States, was quoted as saying, “We [RIM] see Ukrainian-ness as rabies … either quarantine or liquidation, or he’ll infect everyone.”

The same flag was seen in mid-March flying with Moscow-backed separatist troops in Donetsk on a Telegram post shared by a pro-Putin channel. Much of the far-right content on these Telegram channels—as well as the Russian social-media platform VKontakte (VK)—is related to a neo-Nazi unit called Rusich that is part of Wagner Group, some of it bearing the Wagner name and logo.

Pentagon authorities estimate that about 1,000 Wagner mercenaries have been deployed in eastern Ukraine, where Russia has refocused its current war effort. Rusich militiamen have been spotted on the Russian-Ukrainian border where the offensive is being launched.

Russian officials deny having any connection to the Wagner Group, which does not officially exist. An incredibly secretive organization, its true ownership and funding sources remain unclear. But experts say it has served as a tactical tool for the Kremlin in hot spots where Russia has political and financial interests, and has deep ties to Putin—in fact, it is widely considered his private army.

Putin is reported to have ordered Wagner Group operatives into Kyiv to assassinate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has reportedly survived about a dozen such attempts. About 400 Wagner mercenaries were reported to have entered the Kyiv area from Belarus, and were offered “hefty bonuses” for killing key political and media figures, including the mayor of Kyiv, Zelensky, and his entire Cabinet.

According to German intelligence officials, Wagner Group operatives were primarily responsible for spearheading the butchery that has been reported and substantiated in Bucha. Der Spiegel reported that comments from troops intercepted by German intelligence—including flippant remarks about shooting men on bicycles, and orders to first interrogate soldiers and then shoot them—that demonstrate the atrocities in Bucha "were neither random acts nor the product of individual soldiers who got out of hand."

The Wagner Group mostly comprises retired regular Russian servicemen, typically aged between 35 and 55. The Kremlin has effectively used their mercenaries to wage deniable war and otherwise prop up its interests in places like Syria, Libya, Mozambique, and more recently in the Central African Republic and Mali. They also played a key role in Putin’s long war on Ukraine, with its fighters helping him illegally annex Crimea in 2014.

The group’s founder, Dmitry Utkin, named it after Hitler’s favorite composer, Richard Wagner, and is himself fond of fascist symbols; he has a Nazi eagle, along with swastikas and SS lightning bolts, tattooed on his torso. Reportedly Wagner mercenaries have left behind neo-Nazi propaganda in combat zones, including graffiti with hate symbols.

The Wagner militia unit Rusich has been spotted in southeastern Ukraine as well. It was founded nearly a decade ago in St. Petersburg by a Red Army paratrooper named Aleksei Milchakov and Yan Petrovskiy, a Norwegian neo-Nazi, after the pair met at a white supremacist RIM event.

Milchakov has previously posted horrifying pictures of himself on social media slicing off the ears of dead soldiers, as well as selfies in which he is carving the kolovrat, a Slavic far-right version of the swastika. He also has boasted about being a neo-Nazi and claims he "got high from the smell of burning human flesh."

Rusich is believed to consist of several hundred soldiers, and their signature uniform patch is a white supremacist valknut insignia. Its idea of humor on social media is a cartoon of a Russian soldier returning home with gifts for his family, stolen from Ukrainians and covered in blood. Its caption reads: “If you are a real man and a Russian, join our ranks. You will spill liters of blood from vile Russophobes, and become rich and cool."

One of Wagner’s key functions, according to the Soufan Center, a New York-based nonprofit think tank, is that it provides the Kremlin with “a thin veneer of plausible deniability as it engages in the pursuit of finance, influence, and vigilantism not in keeping with international norms.”

The Daily Beast reported in late January that dozens of Wagner mercenaries were pulled from the Central African Republic to join Russian forces massing at the Ukraine border.

The Ukraine war has a broad mix of mercenaries and extremists from all sides participating in both sides of the conflict, as a report from the Soufan Center explores in detail. As the war drags on, active online recruitment suggests that a drawn-out conflict could attract many more volunteer fighters, according to Stephan J. Kramer, the head of the domestic intelligence agency in the German state of Thuringia. An eagerness to take up arms, he noted, reflects the motivations of right-wing extremists, including within the ranks of the German military.

For neo-Nazis and white supremacists, “Ukraine could become their version of what Afghanistan was for the jihadi movement in the 1980s,” said Steven Stalinsky, the executive director of the Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute. “Being on the ground in a real-world fighting situation will allow them to gain valuable experience, as they further hone their skills in weapons, planning attacks, using technology in war including communications and encryption, and using cryptocurrency for clandestine funding of their activity.”

Outfits like Rusich are the spear tip of a much larger neofascist element within Russia, embodied by the Russian Imperial Movement. Its ideology is much more than simply nostalgia for the Russia of two centuries ago; concerned with fighting against globalization, multiculturalism, and liberalism, RIM is part and parcel of a broader international white supremacist project, which also enjoys Putin’s sponsorship and support. Its “membership is rigid and adheres to the dualistic beliefs that members should be part of the Russian Orthodox Church and conform to the group’s view of the necessity of creating a Russian Imperial state,” according to the Soufan Center.

RIM’s activism now includes running a kind of international “summer camp” for young right-wing extremists called Partisan, a paramilitary training course it sponsors near St. Petersburg. It claims to train civilians for upcoming “global chaos.” It draws participants from around Europe.

Two of its graduates from Sweden, both members of the neo-Nazi group Nordic Resistance, returned home to Gothenburg and attempted to blow up a home for asylum seekers, as well as a gathering of leftists at an alternative bookstore. (Another bomb was accidentally ignited by a garbage worker who was permanently maimed in the blast.) They likely learned how to construct the bombs at Partisan.

Jonathan Leman, a researcher for the anti-racist pressure group EXPO, explains that the training reflects a tactical shift of consciousness within European neo-Nazi movements like Nordic Resistance that occurred over the course of the Ukraine crisis.

“As the role of the EU and the United States in the war becomes more apparent,” he told us, “you could see that pro-Kremlin propaganda was having a greater impact on far right websites in Sweden.”

The focus of Partisan, its website says, is to prepare civilians for “the collapse of civilization.” RIM’s leader, Stanislav Vorobyov, turned up in uniform at a summit organized by Nordic Resistance in 2015 and warned about “a full-scale war against the traditional values of Western civilization.” He told them his uniform should be regarded as a symbol of their joint fight against the “Jewish oligarchs in Ukraine.”

While the RIM has a long and well-publicized record of sponsoring far-right activities throughout Europe, its presence in North America has been limited. Matthew Heimbach, former leader of the neo-Nazi Traditional Workers Party (TWP), at one time hosted a RIM leader and visited with him at historic sites in Washington, D.C., and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Heimbach continued to cultivate those ties, traveling to Russia to return the favor by meeting with RIM leaders at their annual gathering, the World National Conservative Movement conference. “I see Russia as kind of the axis for nationalists,” said Heimbach. “And that’s not just nationalists that are white—that’s all nationalists.”

A neo-Nazi organization that recruited members online, The Base, also has potential ties to Russian intelligence, and its American founder currently resides in Russia. That group also held paramilitary training sessions in the Pacific Northwest. Several members of The Base were arrested in January 2020 just prior to a planned right-wing gun rally in Richmond, Virginia, where they reportedly intended to wreak violent havoc by opening fire on police forces and civilians.

It’s true that American extremists have long been attracted to Ukraine’s Azov Battalion as an opportunity for paramilitary training. Members of the California-based Rise Above Movement participated in such training prior to their participation in the deadly and violent 2017 Unite the Right riot in Charlottesville, Virginia, for which several of them have ended up facing federal charges.

The Azov Battalion formed in 2014 and later joined the country's National Guard after fighting against Russian-backed forces in eastern Ukraine. Experts estimate nationalists comprise about 2 percent of Ukraine's population, with the vast majority having very little interest in anything to do with them, but the Azov group is considered to be one of the Ukrainian army’s more potent fighting forces.

Nonetheless, according to the Soufan Center, their extremism in the current context is vastly overstated. It cites experts on the European far right like Anton Shekhovtsov, who say the Azov of 2022 is nothing like the group from eight years ago, since those seeking to fight with Azov today are motivated, for the most part, by Ukrainian nationalism and not far-right extremism. However, it notes: “Despite the evolution of the movement since 2014, its brand still remains popular with far-right extremists, and its future trajectory will bear watching.”

A Washington Post report on the battalion interviewed Azov fighters and one of its founders, as well as experts who have tracked the battalion from its beginnings, and found a more complex and nuanced situation than the Kremlin’s crude characterizations. They concede that while some extremists remain in their ranks, the militia has evolved since 2014 and, under pressure from U.S. and Ukrainian authorities, has toned down its extremist elements.

“You have fighters now coming from all over the world that are energized by what Putin has done,” said Colin P. Clarke, director of research at the Soufan Group, an intelligence and security consulting firm. “And so it’s not even that they’re in favor of one ideology or another — they’re just aghast by what they’ve seen the Russians doing.

“That certainly wasn’t the same in 2014,” he added. “So while the far-right element is still a factor, I think it’s a much smaller part of the overall whole. It’s been diluted, in some respects.”

A recent article in RIA Novosti, the Russian state-owned domestic news agency, titled "What Russia Should Do with Ukraine," reveals the shallow rhetorical ruse of Putin’s claims. It author, Russian political consultant Timofey Sergeytsev, openly admits that "denazification” has nothing to do with eradicating any far-right ideology, but is simply a euphemism for "de-Ukrainization"—the annihilation of Ukraine as a nation-state and a cultural entity.

Putin has argued since at least last year that Ukraine’s very existence is “anti-Russia.” Sergeytsev follows the logic: Ukrainian national identity, he says, is "an artificial anti-Russian construct that has no civilizational content of its own"; it is a "subordinate element of a foreign and alien civilization." In a culture long accustomed to considering Nazism anti-Russian, Ukraine is easily translated into “Nazi.”

Adam Hadley, the executive director of Tech Against Terrorism, a London-based counterterrorism initiative, said their analysis indicated that Russian-backed forces in Ukraine, including the Wagner Group, are “almost certainly connected with extreme far-right organizations.”

Hadley added: “Given Putin’s absurd demands for the ‘denazification’ of Ukraine, we suggest he should first root out neo-Nazis in his own ranks before pointing the finger at others.”

Published with permission from DailyKos

Kremlin Promotes Tucker Carlson’s Lies About Ukraine Biolabs

The Kremlin is once again using Fox News host Tucker Carlson to justify Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, this time promoting his recent segment pushing the Ukrainian biolabs conspiracy theory.

Fox News personalities have repeatedly defended Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and pushed pro-Kremlin talking points. The Kremlin has amplified Carlson and Fox Nation host Lara Logan, and Mother Jones recently reported that a leaked Kremlin memo said “it is essential to use as much as possible fragments of broadcasts” of Carlson.

On March 29, Carlson used his Fox News program to once again push the false claim about biolabs in Ukraine.

The Kremlin was clearly pleased with the segment and has been promoting it online through its various media channels.

The Russian Embassy in Turkey tweeted the segment on March 31:

Russian Embassy in Turkey promotes Tucker Carlson

The Russian state-owned RT promoted the segment on its website with the headline: “Fox News: The Pentagon has funded biolabs in Ukraine for at least 14 years.”

And the Russian state-owned Sputnik Brasil also promoted the segment on its website:

Sputnik Brasil promotes Tucker Carlson segment

Further, the BBC’s Francis Scarr noted that Vyacheslav Nikonov, a member of the Russian Parliament, promoted Carlson:

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Anti-Vaxxers And ‘Wellness’ Influencers Line Up Behind Putin’s Genocidal War

Support for Russian President Vladimir Putin is by no means universal on the America right. Many conservatives, from Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah to media Never Trumpers like The Bulwark’s Charlie Sykes, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and the Washington Post’s Max Boot, have been blistering critics of Putin — especially during the brutal invasion of Ukraine.

Yet in the MAGA cult, Putin has had his share of apologists — from Fox News’ Tucker Carlson to “War Room” host Steve Bannon to former President Donald Trump. And Mother Jones’ Kiera Butler, in an article published on March 24, focuses on a bizarre trend: far-right anti-vaxxers and online “wellness influencers” who have become cheerleaders for Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Butler previously reported on pro-Putin anti-vaxxers in a March 2 article, and since then, the Mother Jones journalist stresses, the “overlap” between pro-Putin propagandists and anti-vaxxers “has only grown.”

“(On March 19), the Toronto Star reported a startling correlation between vaccination status and beliefs about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” Butler explains. “More than 80 percent of vaccinated Canadians said they believed their country should help defend Ukraine, compared to less than a quarter of unvaccinated people. This dynamic is especially pronounced in extremist spaces. Some of the anti-mandate trucker convoy chats on Telegram now seem dominated by Putin cheerleading.”

Some online “wellness influencers,” according to Butler, have been claiming that President Joe Biden is “trying to pull a fast one on them by painting Russia as the aggressor” in Ukraine.

“Should social media platforms flag influencers’ content as disinformation,” Butler observes, “it only serves to reinforce their belief that they are being punished for their righteous truth-telling. Some influencers have monetized their self-proclaimed martyrdom by sharing disinformation about Ukraine and hawking their own wellness items.”

Instagram, according to Butler, is one of the social media platforms where pro-Putin anti-vaxxers and “wellness influencers” have been plentiful.

“Beyond the oils and the tinctures, influencers are selling something much more valuable: a sense of fierce and uncompromising maternal identity,” Butler observes. “The account bios frequently mention natural childbirth, breastfeeding, and attachment parenting — and their posts and stories tie events in Ukraine back to defending their families from what they see as government overreach.”

Anti-vaxxers who are sympathetic to Putin, Butler writes, are also more likely to be influenced by the far-right pro-Trump conspiracy group QAnon.

“Factions of anti-vaccine groups increasingly embraced COVID denialism and dabbled in QAnon,” Butler notes. “The Russians’ initial plan of dividing Americans had worked better than they could have possibly expected — so that by the time Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year, anti-vaccine activists were primed to believe that Putin was the good guy.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

#Endorse This: Jimmy Kimmel Reveals Biggest Sanction On Putin Yet

The Biden Administration is levying a whole slew of new penalties on Russia as it continues its brazen assault on Ukraine. While many sanctions and other punishments are aimed at the elites, such as the oligarchs, who are losing yachts and money, there appear to be some aimed directly at Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Late Night comedy host Jimmy Kimmel appears to have zeroed in on a sanction that might hurt Putin the most

Much like his favorite puppet and wannabe dictator in former "defeated" President Trump, Putin is a hopelessly insecure narcissist who goes to extreme lengths to appear young and tough. Jimmy Kimmel pointed out a sanction that includes the halting of pharmaceutical company Abbvie, a maker of Botox, from operating in Russia. It seems Putin has been using botox for decades.

Michael Hayne is a comedian, writer, voice artist, podcaster, and impressionist. Follow his work on Facebook and TikTok

#Endorse This: Schwarzenegger Delivers Beautiful Message To Russians

So we now live in a world where members of one major political party (ahem, Republicans) are feckless, disgraceful attention-whores siding with Vladimir Putin -- and former action stars are thoughtful, empathetic, and patriotic leaders.

While Fox News is pumping a steady stream of Kremlin propaganda , renowned actor and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has appealed directly to the people of Russia as he seeks to “debunk mistruths” surrounding the invasion of Ukraine.

Schwarzenegger, claiming to be a “longtime friend of the Russian people”, told them bluntly that “Ukraine did not start the war”.

“Those in power in the Kremlin started this war. This is not the Russian people’s war,” the actor said -- and they “are not being told the truth about consequences.”

Putin’s Rants Are Literally Parroting Tucker Carlson

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin spoke Wednesday at a televised government meeting, during which he denounced U.S.-led economic sanctions that have isolated Russia’s economy as well as targeted the overseas assets of the country’s oligarchs in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine. Putin’s response was a tirade of culture-war themes about a supposed elite class attached to liberal values instead of their own country — themes that felt oddly like they could have been copied from right-wing media in the United States.

Among the targets of Putin’s ire were so-called “national traitors” who have taken up Western values, combining luxury goods and liberalism including “foie gras, oysters, or so-called gender freedoms.” Putin claimed that such people “would sell their own mother, just to have permission to sit at the entranceway of this higher caste.” Putin added, “they want to be like them, imitating them in various ways,” according to English subtitles on a video of his remarks.

While we have become almost desensitized to the way Fox News prime-time host Tucker Carlson has parrotted pro-Kremlin propaganda, it now seems like Russia’s leader is parroting Tucker Carlson. This development comes in the wake of a recent memo from the Russian government, directing the country’s media outlets to promote as many clips of Carlson as possible.

Notably, Carlson has a long history of attacking gender equality, insulting women in the military, and falsely claiming that transgender rights were "an issue for rich people." Carlson has also railed against diversity as a “core” national weakness, which he claimed was to blame for everything from higher gasoline prices to the looming downfall of society.

Putin also claimed that the West was now seeking to “cancel” Russia, echoing one of Carlson’s own arguments from three weeks ago. As the war against Ukraine began, Carlson exhorted his viewers to resist attempts by the media to get them to hate Putin, with Carlson invoking numerous culture-war themes in his defense: “Has Putin ever called me a racist? Has he threatened to get me fired for disagreeing with him?”

During his televised rant, Putin also denounced persistent economic inequality in the West. But, according to multiple reports, he could potentially be the richest person in the world. He had an estimated net worth of $200 billion in 2017, stemming from his alleged control over significant chunks of Russia’s energy sector, and he also presides over an inner circle with vast wealth of their own. And while he heckled “those who have a villa in Miami” or “the French Riviera,” he’s got his own palace on the Black Sea, and a lifestyle of yachts, cars, and reported “secret girlfriends.”

Carlson also does quite well for himself, with a reported net worth of $30 million and a family fortune that afforded him a privileged upbringing, which included attending private school in San Diego and an elite prep school in Rhode Island. His father Dick Carlson is a retired banker and media executive with lengthy government experience, whose résumé included stints as director of Voice of America and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Carlson has made an entire career out of his fake-populism scam, claiming to oppose a cultural "ruling class" and to speak out against rich people on TV — when in fact he is one of the elite, is supported by wealthy benefactors, and those wealthy individuals he does attack tend to be people in minority groups.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters