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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Rantings Of A Pissed Off Progressive

Being registered with The Democrats has had me thinking that they were much better to be affiliated with than the corrupt, souless GOP. Now I'm realizing that that's been a total lie from the beginning. Just like the Repubs, the Dems are taking money from the very same sources in return for political favors. I can't back either side at this point, but if I had to I'd go with the Republicans at this point, as their message of how they'll screw me over when in power is exceedingly transparent. The Democrats, if they nominate Hillary Clinton, are going to sweet talk me, but then stab me in the back when in office. That's the main difference between the parties. This is wrong and it has to change! This is why I'm praying that if he's nominated, Donald Trump destroys Hillary in the general election in November. This is not about voting against my own interests, this is about sending a message to the Democratic Party that they're not to take my vote for granted, they have to earn it.

To all those who say that Donald is a loose cannon and a danger to all of us when in The White House, let me say this: he's more manageable than Hillary will ever be. Hillary is a war waiting to happen. She's too hawkish, and just about every major policy decision she's made, she's been dead wrong about. As I've said on Facebook and Twitter, what she's pushing for is exactly what the armaments industry has clamoring for, for years. These same players are openly calling for a nuclear war with Vladimir Putin's Russia. That's the most dangerous and dumbest position to take for this reason: the Russians have the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world. What are we going to accomplish with that? Nothing. To be courting these players is like playing a round of Russian Roulette, meaning that we could pull the trigger at the wrong time. China's another target on their radar. Again this will accomplish nothing. If anything, it turns us into a bully abroad, and we need to get rid of this image.

Toe the line is not something I can do with Hillary as the Democratic nominee, not unless she makes some serious commitments to tackle many of the issues facing my generation and sticks to them. Any straying by Hillary will lead to me voting her out of office in 2020 if she's elected in November. In my eyes, Hillary is the least qualified candidate to be President. This view largely holds true in my generation as well, and to many hard-working Americans who are barely scraping enough money to get by. Being told how to vote by the DNC is not what this country is about. It only strengthens my resolve to fight on for Bernie Sanders all the way to the convention. The current status quo is not sustainable and everyone gets that. A vote for Hillary is a vote for oligarchy, and it's not too much different with the Republicans (only they're more blatant about it). We need to get rid of Neoliberalism, just like we need to get rid of Neoconservatism.

This should be a wake up call to everyone, including myself. I don't care how much Hillary and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz try to rig the primary elections in their favor, they're not getting my vote, or many others' votes for that matter. Paid trolls won't make me change my position that she's unqualified. It's a desparate move to harass her detractors into supporting her. It's not going to work, because it will result in more bad-blood from Bernie's supporters. The time has come to send Hillary and the DNC a clear message: if they want our vote, they need to earn it. Not buy it, not coerce it, earn it, the old-fashioned way. Meaning they have to come to us and tell us their plans of trying to resolve many of the issues we're working with. However, they're too busy enriching themselves and engaging in stale theatrics with the RNC. As repugnant as many of the Republicans' statements are, they're little more than a sideshow distraction from the larger theft going on. Same with the Democrats. We're not all Democrats and Republicans (or whatever other political affiliation), we're Americans. Party affiliation is just a label; nothing more, nothing less.

Also, I'm tired of being condescended upon and dismissed by the same party that wants my vote in November. While I'm one of the luckier stories of not graduating from San Francisco State University with debt hanging over my head, I know people who were less fortunate than I was. This is for them, when I say get our debt foregiven and removed. This is absolutely stupid that people of my generation have to go into debt just to get an education. It's irresponsible on the part of policymakers and it's not right. To say that our dreams are too pie in the sky is more of a reason not to vote for the establishment, which just wants to profit off of our suffering. Sorry Hillary and Debbie, but incrementalism won't work, especially when we're facing do-or-die circumstances that require drastic action to resolve. Too many of us are drowning, while you and the rest of the DNC continue to engage in a constant cycle of mutual demonization with the RNC, and are calling out for help. That's in addition to a change in tone, where there's more people coming together to try to solve problems, not to enrich themselves and their benefactors, while engaging in devisive rhetoric to keep us out.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Why Hillary Will Lose In November

Based on current polling that I looked up on 270ToWin and read about on The Hill, it's a bad sign for Hillary Clinton no matter which Republican she faces in November. At the moment, Donald Trump is running a statistical tie with her, and his numbers may climb as the primary campaign grows to a close. As for both Ted Cruz and John Kasich, it's pretty much the same deal, but in different ways. Cruz, like Trump, is slightly trailing Clinton, but is more or less running a statistical tie. Kasich, on the other hand, is leading Clinton by about 5 points. Which says 1 thing to The Democrats if they nominate Clinton: be ready to piss away the White House in November.

As for Clinton's ongoing scandals, they'll be catching up to her, but that's not going to be her biggest problem. The fact is that she pissed away the youth vote during the primaries by saying that our voices and aspirations don't matter, or are unworthy of consideration. That's utter bullshit, and she knows that full well. Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that we the youth will not turn out for her in a way that can help her win unless she really takes into consideration most-to-all of our issues. The fact is that we know that we're going to get screwed over, it's just a matter of how bad. We're less naive than the Clinton campaign and DNC would lead everyone to believe, and we'll be able to figure out if she's lying to us.

So if it had to come down to the lesser of 2 evils, would we go with someone who will backstab us, or with someone who's openly telling us how they'll screw us over? As repulsive as Trump is to us, many of us actually believe he's the lesser of 2 evils. The fact is that if the Democrats piss away the Presidency in 2016, they'll have a likely shot of taking back Congress, and any of the 46 state legislatures and 36 governorships that will come up for a vote in 2018, and the Presidency in 2020. If the hashtag #BernieOrBust means anything, it's that we're tired of the party screwing us over to enrich themselves; and that if they're going to get our vote, they have to earn it. This is why to most of us young Americans, Clinton is unqualified for President as she has absolutely no transparency or workable solutions to our issues.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Hillary And Anti-Semitism And How It Disqualifies Her

Apparently Hillary Clinton has forgotten the memo that attacking Bernie Sanders based solely on his religion is a real way to turn off the Jewish vote. Way to go with the goysplaining, it's really burying you deeper. I can't stand this, she's peddling in the same hate that we would expect to see from either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. I mean, really?

Anyway, I found the actual piece that Hillary submitted to The Times of Israel, via Truthdig. It sickens me to think that someone is telling someone else that they're betraying their own religion when they're calling out extremism and calls for genocide. This is exactly what Bernie was doing when he said that someone has to say to Benjamin Netanyahu that he's not always right, especially when it comes to dealing with the Palestinians. To call Bernie a self-hating Jew for saying that we need to rein in Israel's disproportionate military responses to the Palestinians & the continual incitement to violence is absolutely bogus. If anything, it proves that we need to do more to end this cycle of dehumanization on both sides (but most importantly the dehumanization of the Palestinians by Israel) and the ongoing cycles of violence.

Anyway, Hillary's level of disrespect to Bernie by calling him a self-hating Jew is just sickening and hardens my resolve to make sure she doesn't become the nominee for The Democrats. By going into the "Who is a Jew" debate, she's completely disqualified herself. This lady is vile and should never be given the duties that come with being the President. It also proves that Hillary has no idea what the heck she's babbling about with those spoon-fed talking points from AIPAC, which is to conflate Anti-Semitism with criticizing Israel. This is a false equivalence and also completely bogus. Both largely have nothing to do with one another. It's not always Anti-Semitic to criticize Israel, especially when it comes to Human Rights, or if it's not adhering to its international responsibilities.

The fact is that Bernie has a lot more crediblity from having been in Israel, and actually working on kibbutz there. He also understands that there are extreme voices on both sides, just like there are voices of calm and reason.So to tell him to fall in line with AIPAC's talking points is just stupid and wrong as it misses much of the larger picture with all of its nuances.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Why I Can't Trust Either Hillary Or The Republicans With The Presidency

I'll make this one as brief as I can on the biggest reasons why I'm not able to trust either Hillary Clinton or the GOP with the Presidency. The reasons are actually fairly simple for both.One is foreign policy (aka the nuclear football). Hillary, as many know too well, is a militarist and is actually too dangerous in my eyes to leave in charge of the football. In this respect she's the same as the Republicans, basically doubling down on the policies that got us into Iraq. Example: the no-fly zone in Syria. That's guaranteed to start a war with Russia (the nation with the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons), which happens to be one of Syria's major allies (the other being Iran). How smart is it to place a no-fly zone, when there's literally a Russian naval station in Tartus?

Secondly, Hillary and the Republicans would most likely work together to get rid of the rest of the social safety net. This runs contrary to what most people want here at home. In fact, there have been several instances where some loud voices have called for their expansion. For example, we have enough money in the Social Security Trust Fund to keep it solvent until about 2037, which is when we'll run into trouble. We can make it totally solvent if we just scrap the cap on how much income is taxed for it (currently the cap is $118,500). As for making people survive on less while prices climb ever higher is asking to put people out on the street again.

On another note, both Hillary and the Republicans would work tirelessly to retain the neoliberal status quo at all costs, which goes against what people are calling for.They're tired of neoliberalism, and how it's absolutely corrupted our politics and economy. We need a new direction for America, one that takes on the corporate excess. Not one that continues these pay-to-play politics, and where corporate board-rooms decide public policy. That's all neoliberalism has given us. Corruption to the worst degree since the 1920s.

Additionally, think about the fact that Hillary and the Republicans will make sure that we don't have a livable minimum wage. The federal minimum wage at the moment is $7.25/hr, which is a starvation wage. What's to say that Hillary won't just accept scrapping the minimum wage altogether? That's the point, with Hillary, you just don't know. She has a habit of saying one thing and then doing the exact opposite.

Now for me personally, along with the reasons listed above, it's about making sure I have something to work with, not to fight against. For example, because I'm Autistic, I need to go through behavioral training and changes. I don't know if my insurance will even cover it next year (or next month), given some of the changes implemented under the Affordable Care Act (which needs a lot of tweeking to work properly). Anyone who votes to uphold or to repeal it, better have a good idea in place for how to make it work or have a better replacement. I'm not getting either of those from either Hillary or the Republicans. Because of that I don't feel that I can trust them. Additionally, if there's a draft, who's to know if my friends or members of my family get called in for military service, or worse, get killed in action? I can't support anyone who's even thinking of going to war as the first resort. That's all I hear from Hillary and the Republicans, the glorification of war.

This is why I often unsurprised to hear musings of comparing America to Nazi Germany at times, especially by Russia's Vladimir Putin. This isn't to say that Putin's entirely right or wrong, but it shows the ill effects our country's militarism has and how corrosive it can be. Even China's getting worried about it, just like Russia. Even our own allies, like Great Britain and France, will end up worrying about us, too. We need a new look at how to connect to the rest of the world, one that emphasizes soft, rather than hard power.

I can say very clearly that our approach to Russia is not working. Hillary and the Republicans may think that reseting relations with Russia means that the Russians will become submissive to our dominance and fall in line. That won't happen, since they're only going to cooperate with us if we treat them as an equal. I think it's time to move past all the bluster that both Hillary and the Republicans have been serving us, the Russians, and the rest of the world, and create a new environment that includes, not excludes, everyone's voices.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Verizon Just Got Berned

It's a sign that we're heading into a new era of reining in corporate excess, and an era where labor is taking a more assertive stance. That's what we can see when the Communications Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers called the strike. Verizon is starting to get heat from the growing support for the strikers, especially when many of the workers are not paid very well, or when they're in agreement with the unions over expanding their Verizon fios broadband service. The fact is that the expansion has never happened and that's partly contributing to why both unions went on strike.

What's really interesting is the recent war of words between Bernie Sanders and Lowell McAdam, Verizon's CEO. Apparently McAdam hated the fact that Bernie called out Verizon's stashing profits off-shore to avoid (really to evade) paying US taxes. Just to be clear Verizon's pre-tax profits between 2008 and 2012 were $19.3 billion, and they got a rebate back of $535 million. This comes at a time when Verizon pays many of its employees starvation wages and provides them with very poor benefits. This comes out of a report by Americans for Tax Fairness published in 2013. Going back to the war of words, Bernie made the case fairly clear that Verizon's not adhering to its responsibilities as a corporate citizen by not paying any form of federal taxes and to make the point of saying that Verizon is only 1 of many bad actors executing loopholes in our Federal Tax Code. The icing on the cake is that Bernie channeled FDR when he said on Twitter that he welcomed the contempt of McAdam, and other CEOs of large corporations. Here's the Tweet in its entirety. Enjoy!


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Why The Dynamic Of 1972 Is The Wrong One For 2016 And Why 1968 Is The Right One

As I mentioned previously on here that 1968 is the real dynamic that this year's election mirrors, I realize that I forgot to add in how 1972's dynamic is absolutely wrong. There are a a couple of factors as to how that's the case and I'll describe them here.

First off, we need to understand that Bernie Sanders' campaign today does not mirror George McGovern's campaign in 1972, it mirrors Eugene McCarthy's in 1968. When McCarthy ran well to Lyndon Johnson's left on the issue of the Vietnam War, it gave him the propulsion necessary to bring him within striking distance of capturing The Democrats' nomination that year. What happened? The Democratic establishment in a swift, though reactive, move placed the incumbent Vice President at the time, Hubert Humphrey, on the top of the ticket which really infuriated and demoralized the Democratic base (Humphrey, as an important side-note, never campaigned for the nomination). Many felt that their vote had been robbed from them, and as such, either sat out the election, or voted for third parties. The Democrats would manage to pick up on their mistake 4 years later, but by the time they did, it was too late.

Which leads to the next point: how was it that George McGovern was so badly blown out in 1972? That's actually very simple, the Democrats caught the message of 1968 and campaigned on it 4 years after the fact, when it was no longer in people's minds. McGovern's platform was unable to gain any traction from the message no longer having any real relevance. The electorate was tired of liberal activism that year, and they saw Richard Nixon as having finally restored some sense of order following the chaos of the late 1960s. The prevailing wisdom at that time was that "Democrats can't govern," and that only the GOP could be entrusted to do so. That wisdom had a lot of traction up until about 2006 or so, when the electorate finally understood that Republicans don't govern. That came on full display again in 2015-6.

That leads to the final point of saying that nominating Hillary Clinton is guaranteeing a lost opportunity. I know, that on paper, Hillary has an impressive resume that's worth considering, but that's not a good enough reason to give her the nomination. Hillary's judgment on several past decisions were off target (Iraq War, Libya, Syria no-fly zone, etc.), and resulted in people getting hurt or killed. Now, the problem with nominating Hillary, in my eyes, is that it will depress voter turnout in the general election, or worse, give us united government under the Republicans. If you think I'm off target, I'd suggest looking at polls on 270ToWin's website. In just about every election between 1968 and 2012 (with some notable exceptions like 1992 and 2008) we've a seen a continual drop in voter-turn out. With more and more people failing to turn out, it makes our democracy that much more susceptible to corrosive corruption by big-moneyed interests and hijacking by extreme voices. None of this is good for us, not at a pivotal moment such as this.

Keeping these points in mind, now you can see how comparing today's political dynamic to 1972 if we nominate Bernie is wrong, and how 1968 is actually the right comparison.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

How Bernie Is Another Step Closer To Potentially Overtaking Hillary

Bernie Sanders just got a big win in Wisconsin (there were 96 delegates up for grabs), and this has increased his campaign's momentum onto the nomination. How this is significant is that he's won 7 of the last 8 primary/caucus contests, and that may change the way the race goes. So far Hillary Clinton has been on the defensive, along with The Democrats' establishment, looking for ways to woo Bernie's voters and falling all over themselves.

Face it, people are tired of establishment politics, especially several segments of the Democratic base. We're ready to go big and bold, even if it challenges conventional wisdom. There's too much at stake with corporate fat-cats controlling both party establishments. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Need To Repeal The Anti-BDS Law ASAP

Barack Obama has done us no favors by signing the anti-BDS bill into law. This law does not delegitimize Israel, as Benjamin Netanyahu's government would like us to believe. This is a direct violation of the 1st Amendment and also the 9th, 10th and 14th Amendments. I certainly hope that when Bernie Sanders becomes President that he will repeal this odious law immediately.

What Israel is doing to the Palestinians does not reflect the values as ascribed by the Talmud. Nowhere in the Jewish faith is there any means to condone this type of suffering. This is racism and moreover ethnic hatred at its core. Demonizing the Palestinians, many of whom are suffering from the worst human rights abuses. Think about this, this is an example of our tax dollars being wasted. We should not be subsidizing the Israeli War Machine. Here's a look at how much we've wasted courtesy of Haaretz.

This law does not reflect who we are as Americans. We don't root against the underdog. As an American Jew I may get a lot of heat for saying this, as someone who has no sympathy for the people who suffered the worst of the Holocaust, but it needs to be said. We should not be emulating the worst of our historic oppressors, the Nazis. We're behaving just like them. I can cite numerous examples of this, such as this video for starters:

In this video, we get a glimpse of how hatred of Arabs and Palestinians starts in Israeli education (much like how the madrassas operate in Saudi Arabia and other places under the control of the Wahabist sect of Sunni Islam). Think about how this may be coming from our tax dollars. Why should we be funding this? It makes little sense to me.

That's the whole point behind BDS, it says that allowing this type of separation and repression should end now. If Israel wants to be treated as a respected member of the community of nations, then it better adhere to its responsibilities and the basic rules of the road. What is it going to take to get that into the Israeli Government's head? The kind of pressure BDS brings.

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