Category Archives: 2016 election

A Quick Explanation of Brazile’s DNC Bombshell and it’s Apathetic Implications for the Future of Truth

Last week, Bernie supporters, DemExiters, and the remaining disillusioned Dems have had our beliefs proven by Donna Brazile’s recent book that finally reveals that the DNC rigged the 2016 election in favor of Hillary Clinton. Most of my compatriots who fall into the aforementioned categories have known that the DNC was not on our side since 2015, so Brazile’s claims aren’t necessarily news to us. However, it is a bit satisfying that our truth has been recognized as such, and that we aren’t the un-American, conspiracy theorists, election-sabotagers that the Democratic Party has made us out to be. I personally have not rejoiced over Brazile’s admittance, although I am grateful for it, because I think the Democratic PR Machine is working right now to dissolve this mess and replace it with their rallying cry of “We did nothing wrong!”. This post is to hopefully help people understand what happened, so that the truth is a bit harder to sweep under the rug.

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Key Players

Hillary Rodham Clinton (HRC): 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary loser to Barack Obama and 2016 Democratic Presidential Candidate loser to Republican challenger, Donald Trump. Since her loss, she has been spending her time promoting her book, “What Happened”, which details the 16 reasons why she lost the election (none of the reasons have to do with her or her campaign, fyi).

Democratic National Committee (DNC): is the organization  that runs the Democrat Party. They help figure out who to run, craft the party’s platform, and create campaigns to get Democrats to win unilaterally across local, state, and national races. It’s main purpose is to raise money and then use this to best strategize ways to get their candidates to win. When people want to donate money to the Democratic party, the DNC is the beneficiary.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz (DWS): She was one of Hillary Clinton’s top aides for her 2008 campaign. She became the chair of the DNC in 2011, where she took Tim Kane’s position, who would later be HRC’s 2016 running mate. She resigned from the DNC in 2016 after emails were published that showed her preference towards HRC during the campaign, among other allegations. She was a close friend to HRC, and didn’t resign herself from the DNC during HRC’s 2016 run, which is pretty unethical considering the chair is supposed to be unbiased. I mean, how can you be unbiased when one of your BFFs, and someone who would give you a top job in her administration, is running for president? For further reading, see this post from 2015 where I was first critical about DWS’ bias for HRC and the lack of Primary Democratic Debates between HRC and Sanders.

Donna Brazile: Took over as interim chair of the DNC in 2016, when DWS resigned, until Feb 2017 when Tom Perez was voted in as chair. Her book, “Hacks“, which this article is based on, comes out November 7th.

Hillary for America (HFA): Hillary Clinton’s official presidential organized campaign.  Under FEC rules, the maximum individual contribution allowed to any candidate is $2,700.

Hillary Victory Fund (HVF): Hillary’s Super PAC- if an individual exhausted the maximum contribution to HFA, they could give an additional $353,400 to this PAC in support of HRC.  In 2016 they raised $529,943,912.

Brazile’s book talks about a conversation she had with Gary Gensler, Hillary’s Chief Financial Officer, when she took over the DNC in the summer of 2016.  He explained to her that in 2015, the DNC, under DWS’s rule, contracted an agreement known as “The Joint Fundraising Agreement between the Democratic National Committee, the Hillary Victory Fund, and Hillary for America”. Apparently, the DNC was in debt in 2015 due to Obama’s campaign, and DWS was a shitty fundraiser and manager.  Under this agreement, HRC would pay off the DNC’s 2 million dollar debt (which is kind of measly, right?) in exchange for having control over the Democratic Party’s finances, strategy, and all of the money raised. Anything that happened within the DNC and the decisions about everything from operations to messaging of the Democratic Party had to go through Hillary. HRC had control of the entire party, ultimately halting any potential support from the party to go towards Sanders. Brazile writes, “The campaign had the DNC on life support, allocating money each month to meet its basic expenses, while using the party as a fund-raising clearinghouse”. 

Brazlie’s book is the proof that all of us who dared to question HRC and the DNC had waited for: that Bernie Sanders’s chance at winning the 2016 primary was doomed from the start due to the pro-HRC biased messaging and spending disseminated throughout the US by the Democratic Machine (DNC), which had HRC at the helm. The question is, now that our beliefs have been confirmed, will anyone who refused to believe that HRC or the party did anything wrong acknowledge and accept this new reality? Sadly, I have my doubts. I believe that the DNC and HRC manipulated messaging and took advantage of creating and promoting identity politics which lead to the formation of the current militant group of anti-Trumpers/HRC lovers, who shun and shame any thought that is outside of the Democratic box. The HRC “Feminist” Facebook Moms, who identify and exploit the message that they were wronged due to no fault of their own, most likely aren’t willing to open their ears to Brazile’s truth, let alone accept it. And that’s the problem. Even though the truth is out there, even though it’s been clear that the deck was stacked since 2015, too many people aren’t willing to accept that their golden calf was actually a serpent  who cares nothing of truth, virtue, dignity, fairness, or the democratic process from inception.

Again, I sadly don’t expect much to happen from this news. I hope it helps persuade people to question the Almighty Democratic Doctrine, but my faith in this is pretty low. I guess all we can do is continue to strive for truth and hope others eventually recognize that the truth is more important than being right.

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I used Brazile’s book excerpt and the actual Joint-Fundraising Agreement as the main sources for this article.

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Narrative Theory in our Political Context

Ok, shit,  guys, we need a plan. I have let myself sit the past few weeks in this sad, heavy, cold, quiet panic of our encroaching doom (T-minus 30 days until inauguration), and I need to jump the fuck out of this thinking. Okay, okay, here’s a quick breakdown of how I think about life: I think there are only two emotions: fear and love, and love > fear. Everything boils down to these two things. And because of the internet, because of widespread and easy communication, it’s much easier to let our thoughts be influenced by others. So, I have let myself become fearful, because the collective feels fearful, the news I read, the people I surround myself with, also have a type of fear- which is completely understandable. I’ve been living with fear the past two years. But now I realize that I need to shift my heart and brain towards love. That is the answer.

I need to look to the future with a  sense of belief that the future will be AMAZING. That 2017 will be a great year. Because here’s the deal, we have one life, so I better believe that this life is going to be the best life possible. It’s work for me to think like this, and I need to practice thinking about everything this way.  I don’t know if there’s “God”, and I doubt that any religious version of a deity exists, but I think there’s something, even if it’s just little tiny balls of energy sperming around the universe for eternity.

So, the future is coming no matter what we do. We can’t go back in time. This is what we have: A really crazy person with only interests of corporate greed has guided his entire life, who has been filling his cabinet with the worst of the worst, what’s proving to be a hard brick-red Congress, and likely having a conservative supreme court. So, the opposition is in charge of everything and the hand hasn’t been this heavy in decades. This is not how our democracy is supposed to work out. We are supposed to have checks and balances.

So, narrative theory, or “narratology” as fancy scholars like to refer to it. I wasn’t familiar with narrative theory until this past semester in school, where my practice class was about using different theoretical perspectives and figuring out what my own personal lens is (feminist and narrative). Ok, so narrative theory asserts that people have an understanding of their life based on their own personal experiences. How they understand these experiences is what creates the “life story” of the person, and thus influences their thinking and understanding of life and future events.

We get so stuck in these narratives that we believe that it’s all true. For instance, and I hope he doesn’t get mad at me for using this example, but my father recently retired. This has been difficult for him, as it is for most people who have spent their life working and now have that huge part of their life missing. He was talking to me the other day and said that he felt bad because he knew he always imagined fly fishing after he retired, but the river levels have been too low for him to go fly fishing. So I brought up the idea of, “what if you never thought about fly fishing? What if that wasn’t what you had planned your whole life to do after you retire? What would you do then?” and this was a WHOLE brand new thought. He was so caught up in his self-prescribed understanding of what his life would be, that it was like a door opening when he was able to think about the possibility of opening his mind to doing something else- to changing his narrative.

Ok, so narratives are powerful. I have seen the word “narrative” used a billion times during the past year to describe political events. What someone’s narrative is, influences how others to think about them. We love underdogs. So, we think about Bernie Sander’s narrative, and how he worked so hard to become a Senator and spark up this political revolution that is gathering kinetic energy, waiting to explode. This narrative helped people connect with him, because we often judge people by their narrative.

We love good stories. We love a good movie with a great plot, with great character development, that we can relate to, even if it’s just relating on the surface value and of being empathetic. We can’t really relate to Trump’s narrative because it hasn’t been set out for us. But Trump used his voter base’s narratives. He listened to what they had going on and used it to reinforce their thinking. In many places, including towns in Northeastern PA, the consensus is that jobs have been shipped overseas, and that “true” American’s aren’t gaining in life because of illegal immigrants. Trump helped reinforce this narrative by running a campaign that promised to fix these things. He didn’t help these people understand a different narrative, one that is more honest towards the situation. He didn’t come out and say that companies are moving overseas because of trade deals and that illegal immigrants either work for wages that most people wouldn’t get out of bed for and that illegals don’t have any rights (ie to welfare, etc) in America. It is much easier for Trump to reinforce a false narrative than try to expose an honest one. So in this lack of truth, it is easier to appeal to heartstrings than the brain.

Another good example of narrative theory is the Joe Biden-Barack Obama-BFF memes. I love these memes so much. I love that it seems like Biden and Obama are legit best friends forever and that Joe is a hapless dude who acts as the protector little miniature watchdog for Obama. I love thinking about Biden and Obama like this. But you know what, it’s probably not true. And this narrative only allows us to think about Biden and Obama as good pals, and that’s honorable, and thus their candidacy must be honorable too. It leaves little room for doubt or for exploring what an alternative narrative might be. Although I think it is a form of propaganda, I do love a good Biden-Obama meme.

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love it

Alright, I’m not sure if this makes much sense, but it’s something that’s been on my mind the past few months, and I figured I’d try my best to explain how I have been noticing narrative theory used in a way to influence people’s understanding of politics, current affairs, and past actions done by our government.  Narratives are formed in the mind, but can be reinforced by using both love or fear. It just depends on how we want to view them.

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wtf just happened?

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President-Elect Donald J. Trump. Fucking gag me.

We’ll that was a surprise. I, with the rest of the majority of the country, was in shock late Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. How could Trump win the presidency? This isn’t what was supposed to happen. I didn’t vote for Trump or Clinton, but I assumed, because the media told me so, that Clinton would be the victor. What a major underestimate that was.

So why did Clinton lose? Blaming people who voted third party, like myself, isn’t the reason why Trump was elected. I wasn’t going to vote for Clinton or Trump, no matter what. I just couldn’t. I wouldn’t have felt good about my choice. As much as you couldn’t vote for Trump, I couldn’t vote for Clinton. So let go of that blame you have towards people who voted different than you.

My hypothesis of why Trump was winning in battleground states on Tuesday night was low voter turn-out. What else could explain how the polls were so wrong? Turns out I was right, which is a rarity, so I’d like to share these numbers with you.

Voting Eligible Turnout 2016- ALMOST A RECORD LOW.

25.7%-Trump

25.8%-Clinton

Almost half of eligible voters stayed home. WHOA NELLY. (These numbers are from the NPR Political Podcast, which I’ve embedded below)

So can we stop blaming the third parties and take a real look at the Clinton campaign? I know it’s hard to hear, especially when you were so passionate about your candidate. But I implore you, did you do everything that you could do to get Clinton elected? Did you go door to door? Did you make phone calls? Did you help plan rallies? If you did, good! I’m sorry that you worked hard for your candidate and this was the turnout! However, I do think there is a systematic apathy in the Clinton campaign. I can tell from

being involved politically in Northeastern PA, that Clinton’s campaign was absent from my life. Only one person knocked on my door- and they came to speak to my finace, who is still a registered democrat. No one from Clinton’s campaign called my phone to see if I would be voting for Clinton, no one came to my house to talk to me personally about whether I was voting, no one reached out to me to see if I would vote for Clinton since I was part of the Demexit over the summer. And if I had to guess, this is partially what caused her the election. Her campaign thought the blue wall was unbreakable which was a folly in the face of apathetic voters who thought they didn’t need to get out and vote for Clinton because she had it in the bag.

Another big problem I had from this campaign was Clinton supporters ostracizing Trump supporters. By making Trump supporters afraid to admit that they were Trump supporters for fear of being called racist or sexist or bigoted or stupid… well that ended any conversation that may have been possible to change their minds and open up their ears to listen to a different perspective. And don’t think for a second that Clinton supporters didn’t make Trump supporters feel as though they were the other. The turnout numbers show that that there had been a much greater number of silent Trump supporters than originally thought, and a reason for this has to be partially due to the combative political climate that Clinton helped create. How much sense does this make: Clinton supporters have been much meaner to me and called me stupid and naive for voting third party than Trump supporters. In fact, no Trump supporter I know said anything negative about me voting for Stein. So… I think that’s something that needs work on over the next four years within the democratic party.

I know that passion can get the best of us and it’s so important to be passionate FOR someone. It gets dangerous when that passion transfers into being AGAINST someone. Its this type of attitude which deepens the divides. 15% of people who said they couldn’t stand Trump voted for him… if this doesn’t show how dangerous a vote against someone can be, then I don’t know what is.

So what happens now that Trump is going to be our president and all three of our branches of government are going to be republican and conservative? Well, we organize. We preserve our freedoms locally in order to have a sturdy foundation to challenge our federal politics. Don’t loose hope that it can’t be done- you just have to get involved! All this energy from the aftermath of the dystopian results on Tuesday needs to be bottled up! Don’t let it dissipate! In the end of 2017, when the ACA is probably going to be repealed, and 22 million people lose their health insurance, remember your passionate energy you have now and stand up!

Wondering how you can actually do something, other than just post shit on facebook? Join local chapters of your party, join organizations like the IWW, get informed about your local ACLU chapter, go to your city council meetings, write your editor, write your congressman, GET INFORMED!

And don’t let fear get the best of you. Fear is crippling. Fear will tell you to not get involved. To only worry. To stay at home. To tell others to stay at home. To blame others. Fear is the leader of all these emotional pulls. Stay present, stay woke, stay positive. Being scared and spreading fear won’t accomplish anything.

If there is any time for revolution, it will be within the next four years. I urge you to take a stance!

Local chapter links to get involved:

Lackawanna County Green Party

NEPA IWW November Meeting

ACLU of PA

Lackawanna County Young Dems

 

NPR Political Podcast on Voter Turnout:

https://www.npr.org/player/embed/501499225/501505068

 

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What Happens When You Don’t Get What You Want… ;(

Bernie Waving

AND IIIIIIIIIIIIIIII WILLL ALWAYS LOOOOOVVVEEEE YOUUUUUUU

Man oh man, have I been procrastinating processing my feelings about this one: Bernie’s not going to be our president. Only last week did I hang my head as I took down my “Bernie 2016” sign from my front window. Ugh. And the thing is, I knew this going into the campaign. I think many of the Sander’s supporters who were overwhelmed by Sander’s appeal well over a year ago knew that Sander’s probably wansn’t going to get the nomination. He’s anti-establishment, running against the establishment, in a “race” created by the establishment. Every aspect of the presidential run was stacked against him, with the exception of American populism. But even all these truths doesn’t make my bleeding heart burn less when I’m faced with the fact that the man I really believed in isn’t going to be our president.

As the months progressed, and Bernie became more popular and influential, a lot of Bernie supporters thought that this might be enough. That the amazing divine power of social media and grassroots organizing would lead us into the next candidacy with a renewed faith in how our government and politics are run. I did my best to think as realistically as possible, and continued to focus on Bernie’s issues and needs in key states and key areas like Northeastern PA. I knew if I started to buy into the idea that Bernie would be president then I would be greatly disappointed, and maybe I might slack off in my campaigning for him. I can tell you, the first time I think I really cried of happiness over Bernie was staying up until past midnight, waiting to see who won Iowa back in January, because I couldn’t believe how close it was. How the hard work was paying off.

So what now? A lot of people I know are angry at Bernie for endorsing Clinton, but truth be told, he said he was going to do so from the very beginning. He was positioning himself to make sure he could still have influence on the Democratic Platform, and the influence he’s had over it is way more than what I had hoped for last year at this time. Bernie’s given us the MOST progressive platform ever in the democratic party. Even if the democrats don’t follow it, his guidance is there. We are the ones who need to hold our politicians accountable for following it.

He also said he’s not going to run as a third party candidate.  I had written a post about him being Stein’s VP, which was a pipe dream, and a fun thing to think about, but Bernie has integrity. Even though the entire DNC ran a coup against him, he continues to stick to the POLICIES and ISSUES, not what is grabbing headlines. This is admirable. What is even more so, is that Bernie has asked his followers to keep this movement going. And that’s the best thing he can do- and it’s a really big thing! Now that so many people feel EMOTIONALLY connected to politics, we can make a real change.

How does this happen? Well, let’s keep in mind what we do want. Some things that I care about: Cut military funding and stop perpetuating wars in far off lands, redistribute our budget to give more federal money to states for schools and human services, and start to make the transition to a new green deal. Now, that I have some goals in mind, how do we make this happen? Well, if you watched Bernie’s speeches, one of his favorite lines is “Change doesn’t come from the top down, but from the bottom up”.  Local elections are so important. Everything from School Board to City Council, these are the people who are elected to really get something done. It would be pretty naïveté to think that Bernie could have gotten much done (other than appoint true, really, social justice warriors for Supreme Court instead of waify, corporately influenced, democratic titled judges) without the help of electing other REAL progressives in the House, Senate, and at the State and Local levels.

I don’t think Bernie losing was a loss for Bernie supporters. Sure, it’s okay to feel a little disappointed, but now’s the time to stop dwelling on it. Let’s figure out how to use the momentum that was created to continue to strive for REAL change. Bernie did such a wonderful thing bringing issues to the forefront instead of ad-Revenue-debacle-content that we see covered as “the issues” on all mainstream media.

The most important thing we can do is stay together and work towards change. Bernie was the catalyst that got us going, but we’re going to have to be the real soliders that begin to overthrow this corrupt oligarch that is American politics and government, starting from the bottom up.

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What I Learned from Spending One Day w/ the Green Party

green party pic

Monday evening I attended the first meeting of the Lackawanna County Green Party. I’m not a registered Green Party member and am still part of the Young Democrats of Lackawanna County. However, after last night’s meeting, I sincerely am rethinking my political affiliation…

I have been learning about the Green Party only over the past month. I became interested when Jill Stein started showing increased polling and saw mainstream political articles sternly lecturing Bernie supporters that they better not support Stein. I did believe that Stein could hurt our country by aiding Trump by basically taking votes away from Clinton. This is a valid fear, however the mainstream media extremely exaggerates it. CNN, MSNBC, Politico, The Hill, WP, and NYT all have had some type of article where they demonized Bernie supporters who may be thinking of not supporting Clinton. In my opinion, this is a pretty shitty way of getting Bernie supporters to back the establishment that we have been fighting against.

So ANYWAYS. Monday night: I was at the Green Party meeting and Mr. Carl Romanelli spoke about his experience over the past 16 years as a Green Party member in NEPA and his run for US Senate in 2006. He spoke about the Green Party’s history which started in Germany in the 80s and spread throughout Europe. He also spoke about the Green Party’s history in NEPA and some of their accomplishments in the area, such as making the 7 Tubs in Luzerne County a public area.

I also met Jay Sweeney from Falls Township who is running for PA State Rep for the 112th District. Sweeney also has been active in the Green Party for the past 16 years and graciously gave me a copy of “The Green Pages”, the National Newspaper for the Green Party, which I wasn’t even aware of.

There were a lot of good take-aways from the meeting. Romanelli compared political parties to religion in the idea that almost everyone is born into one, but only through self-reflection and research can someone find the best fit. I see this a lot in some of my friends. They were raised a certain way, and to think differently, or attempt to explore different viewpoints is sacrilegious. Something else that Romanelli said which resonated with me was “America doesn’t so much need new ideas or pure hearts- we just need a new way of looking at things”. I agree with this wholeheartedly. I think a real change of perception, and a close examination of American values are crucial to our country’s fate of being the “land of the free”. A friend of mine, Alex Lotorto, explained the Green Party as the party that puts all social movements on the ballot.  I’ve been saying recently that I wish there was a “Progressive” party, and I think I found that affiliation last night.

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look at these threatening people…

After the meeting I took a petition to get Jill Stein on the ballot in November in PA, and walked to a local bar to participate in their weekly trivia night. I thought this would be a good opportunity to gather signatures since this bar gets pretty busy. The first person I asked questioned me a lot, and asked me why I would try to get Stein on the ballot since it might help Trump. My response, which is my conviction, is that I really want to vote FOR someone, not AGAINST someone. I also want headway for the Green Party. WE NEED A THIRD PARTY. Things aren’t black and white. I’m fed up with establishment politics and am ready for a real change. I explained this in so many words.

Then I approached another friend who refused to sign it, saying that it would help Trump. I tried explaining that I see this effort as a way of gaining recognition for the Green Party, but she still didn’t want to sign. She said this was the first time she stood up for something, so I get it and respect her, and anyone else’s, refusal.

After an hour and a half into the night, I asked the woman next to me if she wouldn’t mind signing. This was a mistake. If I ever saw distinct party lines, it was within this conversation. She first accused me of not knowing what I was talking about, and that the Sanders’ campaign doesn’t teach its supporters how to answer questions. NOTE: She didn’t ask me any questions- this accusation was the first thing she said to me. I told her I respected her opinion and was happy to listen to her. She then continued to lecture me on not voting for Clinton because I should be supporting our first women president. This is an argument that I have a real issue with (ironically enough, I was asking for her help to get another WOMAN presidential candidate on the ballot) and deserves a blog post of its own. I can understand where this feeling comes from, but I can’t stand behind someone who I don’t believe in. This woman continued to question my intelligence and belittle me, and then reduced the Green Party to just a pro-marijuana group. I was happy to get out of the conversation as soon as possible.

This is the issue though. People are afraid of the unknown. America has had a two party system forever, adding a third (or a fourth! or a fifth!)  is a hard concept for people to swallow. But this is the route we need to go. Issues aren’t black and white, and our parties are as polarized as ever. There isn’t room right now within our political system for a revolution, which I believe is what we need. Our elected officials don’t live in the same reality of their constituents. There needs to be a change, and I believe supporting third party candidates is a good place to start. I haven’t changed my party affiliation yet, but the more and more backlash I get from within the Democratic Party makes me very tempted to do so. As someone who cares about real issues, not the surface value entertainment the media dishes up as news, the Green Party’s platform carries real weight.

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Is a Stein-Sanders Ticket a Fairy Tale?

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once upon a time, there were two progressives who wanted to beat the big bad wolf and the evil witch…

So I’ve been learning more and more about the Green Party Presidential Candidate hopeful, Jill Stein, and she seems pretty great.

She recently wrote an open letter to Senator Sanders, in which she applauds his campaign’s progressive agenda, his “inspiring grassroots movement”, and makes note of the unfair attacks from the establishment and media against him. She ends the letter by inviting him to speak with her about “collaborative ways to advance the effort and ensure the revolution for people, planet, and peace will prevail”.  Sanders still hasn’t responded to this invitation, but I’m curious if he might after the DNC in Philadelphia hands over the nomination to Clinton. Sanders campaign has demonstrated a sense of integrity since the beginning- and since Sanders promised supporters he would take his campaign all the way to the convention, I believe he will do so, and that this might be delaying him from speaking with Stein.

Stein’s platform lines up very closely with Sanders. Her “Power to the People Plan” includes creating millions of jobs from transforming the country’s dependence on fossil fuels to renewable energy, end poverty by providing helpful social programs to increase social mobility, creating a single payer healthcare system, providing free education, including college education, break up big banks, increase minimum wage to $15 and hour, and make GMOs transparent. Because of this progressive stance, it’s easy to understand why Sanders supporters would embrace a Stein-Sanders ticket with open arms.

I mean, is this a crazy thought? Would it be impossible for a Stein-Sanders ticket to materialize? I don’t think so. This could be a way to get around the outdated, bought and sold, two party system and start a real revolution of the people. Sanders has said that he will not run as a third party candidate, but he never said (to my knowledge) that he wouldn’t accept a running partner position.

This would cause an even bigger problem than the DNC is worried about now with the #StillBernie and the #BernieorBust movement. These diehards would certainly give their support to a Stein-Sanders ticket, and people who are on the fence about who to vote for if the options are Clinton-Trump (meaning, do I write in Sanders? or compromise to vote against my own convictions and choose the lesser evil, which arguably is Clinton), such as myself, would be so relieved to see this ticket as a viable option.

There are still things that Stein needs to accomplish before she can seriously think about getting Sanders on her side. She still needs to get on the ballot for a lot of states, including PA. If she hopes to gain media attention and be invited to debates, she will have to receive at least 15% of the electoral vote which can be difficult if she doesn’t have Sanders supporters already.

So for all you naysayers, just let me have this daydream. I don’t want to give up on the hard work I, and so many of my new friends, have done for the Sanders campaign. If I allow myself to give up on my own ideology, then ultimately the entire establishment has won.

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Short Intro to John McAfee who is Running for President as a Libertarian

I’ve wanted to write about John McAfee for a while, but ironically enough, my computer has been out of commission for the past month because of a corrupt file when downloading McAfee virus protection. This isn’t John McAfee’s fault, he sold the company years ago. He’s the first to criticize the software that bears his name,  calling it garbage since he sold it over 20 years ago. I have to agree with him on this.

John McAfee is running for president

John McAfee displaying how I felt when the company he no longer owns, but created 20 years ago, really fucked up my computer last month.

ANYWAYS, I was first introduced to John McAfee when I was researching the iPhone San Bernardino case. The first interview I watched was this, on RT News-and I totally recommend it as a starter as an introduction to his ideologies and character. He strongly defends Apple, explaining that a “backdoor” that Apple would have to create to unlock the phone would cause a way for hackers to get into phones. McAfee’s definition of hackers isn’t defined as the 15 year old kid who hacked into top secret FBI files in February, or the 16 year old who hacked into the personal email account of the head of the CIA.  When John McAfee talks about hackers, he’s talking about the government.

When John McAfee speaks about cyber security he does so with an air of confidence, truthfulness, and callous. He rivals Trump on outrageousness (watch that link, it’s not anything that you think its going to be… seriously. oh and he may have murdered a man) but has the alternative congeniality that could certainly gain him Bernie supporters. However, anyone who argues that they’re not afraid of the government seeing all of their internet activity (the “why does it matter if I’m not doing anything wrong?” people) may hear McAfee’s rhetoric as Orwellian as he describes the dystopia that giving up privacy for security will cause. He’s pretty persuasive though, and I think if he’s able to get his message out, more people will understand the risk that giving up our right to privacy is.

I agree with McAfee on a lot of issues, which I tend to do so with many libertarian views. I’m wondering how he might mess up the Democratic Party too now that he is finally be recognized as a presidential candidate. The Hill posted this “campaign ad” today… which will definitely start to help gain him attention. He’s certainly an alternative to Trump and Clinton. What I wonder about is how many Sanders’ supporters he will gain (that is, if Sanders’ doesn’t get the dem nomination). The Democratic Party could really be fucked then, with the #StillBernie crew pledging their allegiance in the general election and McAfee possibly persuading even more young dems for his vote.

Who knows. There’s a lot to come. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if McAfee’s name becomes household before November… at least I hope it does.

 

 

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How to Vote 101 (Because Sometimes Its Scary To Ask These Things When Adulting)

Fellow Pennsylvanians, tomorrow is our primary. I have been anticipating this day since last year at this time (when Bernie announced he’d be running). Tomorrow is very important. Even if you’re not into politics, which is totally okay, I urge you to go vote if you’re registered.

How can you tell if you’re registered to vote in PA? How about finding where you’re polling place is?  Here’s the link that will tell you all of that. 

Maybe you know you’re registered and where to go already, but you’re nervous because you’ve never voted before. That’s totally okay. I know that it might seem scary and complicated, but it’s not. And if you’re someone who doesn’t like to ask questions to the people working at your polling location, I can guarantee that there are printed directions posted everywhere in the polling place on how to vote.

If you’re still nervous, I’ll tell you what goes down:

You show up to your polling place. You walk in. There will be a table and probably a little old lady sitting there with a signature book. She will ask your name. You’ll tell her. Then she’ll find your name in the book and have you sign it. If this is your first time voting you will need ID- a license, birth certificate, etc.  If it isn’t your first time, you don’t need anything (Although, I bring my ID just in case something fishy happens).  You’ll then get a paper ballot for your registered party and will be told to go to a little booth which has a curtain around it for privacy. Then you fill in the circle of the people you’re voting for. If you don’t know who to vote for for a particular race, say for example the Attorney General Race, feel free to just leave it blank (or vote randomly). When you’re done, there’s a printer looking machine that you feed your ballot into.

Its that easy. Seriously.

If you don’t know who to vote for and are registered as a democrat, I beg of you to vote for Bernie Sanders for US President and John Fetterman for US Senate. If you weren’t planning on voting, please reconsider. It’s one of the things that makes us American and one of the only ways to get our control back as a people. 

trix voting

voting’s really important

 

 

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What does America Value? I’m seriously asking.

So last week I had a paper due about ethics and values and stuff like that. And it got me thinking about American values, and well, what are they in 2016?

fuck, we're screwed

Is this what we value?

I’m seriously asking because I’m not sure what America cares about anymore. WHERE U BE, AMERICAN VALUES? For real though, the only time I hear the word “value” is when it comes to a fast-food meal or a big savings on Keurig machines at Walmart. But then, that kind of makes sense, right? That maybe these are our values now- immediacy and materialism? I think it’s fair to say that as Americans we want what we want, and we want it fucking right now. And we basically have a holiday that celebrates materialism- god bless the brave, the 3am risers the day after Thanksgiving.

What else does America value? I’d say: beauty over brains, money over philanthropy, and mine over yours. Not that we don’t care about brains, philanthropy, or helping others; those are just secondary values. Honestly, we’re Americans. We want our movies to have full frontal nudity, as long as it isn’t Lena Dunham (am I right?). If there were sexy female scientists, would they have a Netflix special where they explain the cosmos?  And of course we occasionally give an extra $5 to a homeless person, but dontcha know I’m gonna let you know about it. I hardly have an extra $5 myself!

What we value is what we get. There was a saying I learned during a very confusing time of my life, “If you love something, you take care of it”. And I completely believe that. So what do we take care of in America? Our media, our entertainment, our solidarity with those who think like us. We care about watching Donald Trump causing a hate-fueled ruckus wherever he goes because it’s funny. Wow, he says whatever he wants! He speaks his truth! And maybe you think he’s right, so you’re gonna make sure you get other people to vote for him, because that’s what you value. And, that’s your right as an American. And through this right, you’re helping shape American values.

And our entertainment. God forbid that Netflix ever goes down on a Friday night. Could you imagine? What would become of us? Or if the big sport game wasn’t televised. What would happen? We allow celebrities and athletes to make millions of dollars, while we can’t feed our poor or get proper healthcare for our veterans. But celebrities and athletes are on TV and on the internet, we don’t have to look at poor people. We take care of what we value. 

The Declaration of Independence says that we’re supposed to have “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”. So I guess our definitions of Life, Liberty and Happiness has changed since 1776. But what are these definitions now? Does life just consist of what we have? From a big house, to a doctoral degree? What is liberty? Is Donald Trump a new definition of Liberty? And what about the pursuit of Happiness? IS that a $8 monthly subscription to streaming videos? I’m seriously asking, because I have no idea.

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I Transcribed the GOP Debate in a quick and easy to read format because i’m scared of people not caring.

Look at this group of winners.

I WISH THEY WERE HOLDING HANDS.

Alright. I’m getting weary of the media, no matter the bias. I watched the whole GOP debate on Tuesday night, which deeply frightened me for our country. Wednesday morning I see no media actually reporting on the debate. I tried to find explicit articles about specific points of the debate, but couldn’t. I did however find lots of soundbites and commentary on who won the debate, and who attacked who, and how entertaining it is.

I know a lot of people probably didn’t watch the debate and just waited to watch or read about it on the Facebook headlines. And this is what makes me nervous. I’m weary of leftist and right media.

My semester of gradschool is over for the holiday so I decided to spend my entire Wednesday re-watching the entire debate again and decided to transcribe it in an easy-read way for anyone who wants to hear the GOP candidate’s ACTUAL stance on foreign policy. I’m also going to add anecdotes in italics of my own commentary mixed throughout. I absolutely have a left bias. There were three commentators, Wolf Blitzer, Dana Bash, and Hugh Hewitt. I’m only going to use MODERATORS for the sake of simplicity. I tried my best to make headers, but there was so much overlap chronologically between issues discussed.

Here’s the Washington Post’s transcription I used and the YouTube playlist I used to re-watch on Wednesday. There are links to clarify things that I thought would be handy because I had to look them up myself.

OK, here we go:

INTRODUCTIONS

PAUL: Let’s not close the internet or ban religions. Let’s stop arming ISIS allies. Only Arab Nations should have boots on the ground

KASICH: I have a daughter. We need to unify our country.

CHRISTIE: Obama and Hillary sucks.

FIORINA: I’m angry and I started out as a secretary. 

( This is like a rocket scientist  saying that he started his career by being a life guard in 10th grade at the Scranton Country Club) 

BUSH: I love war. Obama and Hillary sucks.

RUBIO: America was great once, I know, my grandpa told me about it.

CRUZ: We’re at war. Don’t let in refugees who are terrorists. Being politically correct is dumb.

CARSON: Let’s all pray silently for San Bernardino (5 second silence).  Let’s kill ISIS.

TRUMP: Wall. Build up military. Iran deal was stupid, I said that first.  Also everyone fucking loves me.

HOW TO KEEP ISIS OUT

MODERATOR: Trump, what do you wanna do to keep ISIS out?

TRUMP: Wall. If refugees are here they have to go back.

MODERATOR: Bush, why don’t you agree with Trump?

Bush: (looks so nervous having to be the first person thrown to the Trump Fire Pit): We need to destroy ISIS. We can’t ban all Muslims bc then we can’t have a coalition w/ Muslim countries. The Kurds are our best allies. Do you really want circus boy Trump? He’s a chaos candidate.

TRUMP: Bush sucks. Let’s make America great again.

BUSH: Trump, you’re dumb. We need to engage with the Muslim world to defeat ISIS.

RUBIO: ISIS is growing, we need to get rid of them.

CRUZ: Everyone understands what Trump has proposed, and I am not going to speak against Trump because I’m scared of him. I introduced legislation that would suspend America from taking in refugees for three years from any country that ISIS and al Qaida are in (basically every country). Obama and Hilary suck. (Cruz is questioned again about disagreeing Trumps ideas, which he never answers). Radical Islam isn’t a religion, it’s a political and theocratic ideology that wants to kill us.

FIORINA: We need solutions, not lawyers arguing over laws. We need to do something here and there. Caliphate. We need to do two things- bring back the Patriot Act and ask the private sector to help because the government can’t figure out this new, gosh darn, technology thing.

CHRISTIE: Fuck Bush and Clinton. Restore Patriot Act.

KASICH: Let’s do the Gulf War again. Saudis organized a lot of Arab nations. We need to teach local police forces how to spy on their citizens using the Patriot Act.

Wolf Blitzer: Hey Cruz, you signed the Freedom Act which isn’t a Republican.

CRUZ: Yeah, but it ended the fed govt from collecting the bulk collection of phone metadata for millions. It strengthened the spy tools we have, before we could only spy on a small amount of Americans and mostly land lines. Now we can spy on virtually everyone, regardless of communication vessel.

RUBIO: Cruz, you’re dumb. I didn’t sign Freedom Act because bc we need more tools. The Metadata Program we lost was a “valuable tool that we no longer have at our disposal”.

CRUZ: That’s not true and Rubio knows it. Mark Levin. Rubio’s super PAC is running ads they know are lies that is Alinsky like. The old program covered 20-30% of civilians, new one covers 100%.

RUBIO: You just gave out confidential information, bro. Nothing under the freedom act is new. (Cruz looks at moderators like, wtf is this dude talking about and nervously chuckles to himself) The freedom Act took away a good tool that let NSA spy quickly. The next terrorist attack, America’s gonna be like, oh shit I wish we didn’t have the Freedom Act bc we could’ve found the terrorist before they did something.

PAUL: Oh, Marco, you get it all wrong. We’re less safe bc were distracted. Rubio opposed security at every point. The Gang of 8 bill would of liberalized immigration. Rubio sucks, he likes liberals and has love for Schumer.

Rubio: Oh yeah, well your amendment sucked only 10 ppl signed it bc it would ban everyone from coming to US.

Paul: Naw, it would halt immigration from high risk countries. Every terror attack since 9/11, the terrorist came here legally. I want background checks.

CHRISTIE: “Listen, I want to talk to the audience at home for a second. If your eyes are glazing over like mine, this is what it’s like to be on the floor of the United States Senate.” (Christie does look high af) In NJ I used the Patriot Act and it worked.

CARSON: No more PC talk. We’re at war, I told congress, “go ahead, declare the war”. We’re in danger. The Muslim Brotherhood said in the Explanatory Memorandum that was discovered in the Holy Land Foundation Trial that we can attack America when they use PC talk.

Moderator: Carson, which person was right before, Rubio or Paul?

CARSON: Idk, let them answer and fight over it. (What a great way to not answer the question or have an opinion)

BUSH: Some Muslims want peace. Destroy ISIS.

SURVEILLANCE AND INTERNET

Moderator: Silicon Valley hasn’t been helping the NSA by turning over user’s records. Should they?

FIORINA: The US sucks at technology because they are using wrong algorithms. The kids today are smart at technology. DHS says we can’t look at terrorist facebook page- well wtf, I look at my kids facebook pages, isn’t this the same thing? We don’t have to force the kids to making them work with the NSA but we should ask them nicely. (I feel like she’s saying to her kids, “Kids, can you come and help me set up the DVD player?”)

TRUMP: ISIS is better at the internet. Let’s filter and close parts of the internet.

KASICH: That’s dumb. Lets just give local authorities the tools to spy. (what a fucking scary idea)

CARPET BOMBING ISIS

CRUZ: Hell Yeah! Let’s use overwhelming force, like in the Gulf War. We need to spy on ppl. Doesn’t everyone wanna spy on everyone else’s phones and emails? (no) I don’t know how I would carpet bomb ISIS without killing everyone in the city, but let’s do it anyways. I wanna fuck up ISIS so bad.

RUBIO: We need ground force to kill ISIS from Suni Arabs. Our Air Force sucks.  Every war has a propaganda proponent and ISIS is winning at propaganda.  Cruz votes for less money for military stuff and iron dome (He probably said this to make Cruz look anti-Israel)

CRUZ: I told Texas that I wouldn’t hold citizens w/o due process so I couldn’t sign the Defense Authorization Act. Rubio loves Obama and Hillary.

RUBIO: If some is an American citizen and love ISIS then we’ll treat them as a member of an army attacking this country. (This type of talk makes me nervous, basically saying that anyone who is seen as a terrorist can be shot in the face by US army) Our navy and air force sucks.

TRUMP: ISIS doesn’t care if we kill them, but they care if we kill their families, so lets kill their families.

BUSH: That’s really stupid.

TRUMP: Bush sucks.

MODERATOR: Carson, you cool with killing kids?

(Audience boos at this question.}

CARSON: I look in kids eyes and they don’t like me, but then I cut open their heads and fix their brains, and then they like me. Better to look at the big picture.

Moderator: So you’re okay with killing kids? That is what war involves.

CARSON: I’m not ruthless, but I’m tough. I’ll do what I gotta do to protect America.

 

HAS AMERICA FUELED THE GROWTH OF ISIS?

Rand: We armed allies of ISIS who were against Asad, that was stupid. Gaddafi in Libya was stupid. Also, Trump is stupid for thinking of closing the internet. Also, if we kill kids we won’t be part of the Geneva Convention.

TRUMP: Wait, I think I just want to infiltrate the internet and close Syria’s internet.

PAUL: A Regime change is dumb and never works. We have ppl coming now to foreign relation committees like, ‘Hey, ya’ll should arm Al-Qaida’. This is stupid. If we tackle Asad shit’s gonna get even more kray-kray.

KASICH: We need boots on the ground with allies. Gulf War.

RUBIO: We can’t have a coalition bc the Arab countries think Obama sucks. Arab countries wanna kill ISIS a lot too. BC Obama lead from behind meant there were no other troops on the ground when the Asad rebel attacks started.

(You can hear someone say “That’s factually incorrect” on stage).

FIORINA: I’m tough and strong. I’ll get ISIS. Bring back warrior class. Quotes Margaret Thachter.

CHRISTIE: I’ll meet with the King of Jordan because he’s my bro.

CARSON: Let’s kill the caliphate bc that gives ISIS legitimacy. We need to take their OIL  because ISIS is rich (happy to hear OIL brought up). ISIS is rich and they give money all over the world.

CRUZ: Obama and Hillary suck. Gaddafi, Mubarak, and Asad are bad, but at least they helped fight ISIS.

RUBIO: Revolt against Gaddafi was started by the people, I sided with Obama then because shit was gonna get crazy no matter what. Gaddafi cooperates because he thought we were gonna Saddam Hussein him. We need to work with Jordan and Saudi Arabia, but not Asad because he’s anti-American and pro-Hezbollah.

CRUZ: No such thing as moderate rebels. Netanyahu is against Asad too and he doesn’t’ want to see Syria controlled by ISIS.

KASICH: Asad is aligned with Iran and Russia. Make sure they don’t make a Shia Cresent all long Middle East. Let’s fuck up Asad cuz that’ll fuck up Russia and Iran.

TRUMP: (Protesters start booing him) We did a disservice to humanity. Should’ve saved our money. Middle East is a mess.

FIORINA: Obama and Hillary suck.

TRUMP: We have nothing from the Middle East pursuits. We need to take the oil (As soon as he says “oil” the buzzer goes off), not bomb it, just take it and distribute it. It wasn’t so fashionable to say “take the oil before” but I’ve been saying that for three years, and now they are saying it.

 Oh, and Ben Carson is a really nice guy.

CARSON: The Middle East has been fucked, how can we fix that with little bombs?

BUSH: We need strategy for stable Middle East. We’re unsafe. Obama sucks.

PAUL: We did good when we killed Saddam Hussain. Both sides of a war has evil. Regime change just brings chaos and rise to radicals.

CRUZ INTERRUPTS: We should be defeating our enemies, we should have regime change in Iran because Iran has declared war on us.

TRUMP: Asad is a bad guy. We’re backing up ppl who we don’t even know who they are (rebels). One thing at a time. We need to get rid of ISIS first, than Asad.

CHRISTIE: Obama sucks and fucked up shit with Iran deal bc it helped ISIS. Iran causes ISIS.

PAUL: Regime changes are stupid, it was dumb in 2013 when we gave al Qaida arms and now we’re fighting against our own arms. We need realistic foreign policy, its dumb to think of a Utopian world that we spread peace and freedom

KASICH: US shouldn’t be part of civil wars. “There’s a difference between Iraq, where you have Sunni, Shia, and Kurds together after the first World War by the Western powers. It doesn’t work. It needs to break up into three parts”. “We need to punch the Russians in the nose” and Russia is threatening our Eastern European allies.

FIORINA: We should walk away from Russia like Regan did at Reykjavik. Putin sucks, we can’t talk to him until we have a new deal with Iran and air space and allies, and we’ll cut off the money flow and will rebuild things under his nose and do military exercises in the Balkans. ISIS is because of Obama and Hilary.

CHRISTIE: I’ll shoot down the Russian plane in a no fly zone. I’ll talk to Putin all the time. Obama is a “feckless weakling”.

PAUL: Russia was invited by Syria and Iraq to fly through that zone. Shooting down a Russian plane will start WWW.

BUSH: “I know what I don’t know”. Need bigger military.

TRUMP: Bush sucks. I was talked about a lot in the first debate so CNN has good ratings. (Protersters start yelling)

BUSH: Trump won’t be president by insulting his way and ratings don’t matter.

KASICH: We’ll be great when we can all work together and strengthen our economy

CARSON: Because I don’t talk a lot means I’ll be a good president.

IMMIGRATION (AGAIN)

RUBIO: My path to citizenship is work visa for 10 years and then you can apply. I know this isn’t very Republican of me.

CRUZ: I’m not like Rubio. Gang of 8 Bill gave Obama ability to take in refugees without doing background checks. We need more boarder control.

RUBIO: 2013 refugee had a different meaning than today. Cruz supports immigration.

CRUZ: Rubio is just trying to confuse everything. I was against Rubio’s legalization. I’m fighting to secure the border, Rubio isn’t.

TRUMP: Walls work, just look at Israel!

BUSH: Obama sucks.

CARSON: Syrians don’t want to come to USA anyways, they want to go back to Syria. We need to give their allies weapons, but we’re afraid the Kurds will them. And when we give weapons to Saudi Arabia to distribute to allies, only 10% of the weapons get out of Saudi Arabia. Refugees that come to America will definitely be terrorists, so we can’t take any.

PAUL: Rubio was wrong about Gang of 8, it had no provisions for extra safety for refugees. Why hasn’t Rubio tried to strengthen border control?

RUBIO: We probably shouldn’t take refugees bc they might be terrorists.

PAUL: Gov’t shouldn’t be giving out charity like food stamps and housing, and charity would be helping out the refuges. My church holds donation drives.

CHRISTIE: Naw, no refugees, too dangerous. Obama sucks. Women can be terrorists.

KASICH: I kept Ohio safe, except that one time when the government placed Central Americans in Ohio and I didn’t know about it.

NORTH KOREA:

FIORINA: We need China’s help to tackle Kim Jong-Un. I’ve done business with China so I can do it. We got to push back against their cyber fuckery and not let them control the trade route in the South China Sea. We need help from Australia, Japan, and the Philippines.

CARSON: China has more influence on N. Korea. N. Korea is fucked financially because they built their military but let their ppl starve, so we can capitalize on that. We can do that with Putin too. We need to get rid of old energy laws. We have the energy, we just need to lead in energy. Economic power > Military Power. If we don’t get the military right, nothing else matters. (I love the contradiction in the last two sentences here).

BUSH: Fuck Obama and Hillary. 23 million American cyber files are in the hands of China right now. We need to give reliability relief to private sector. We need to retaliate against China and then they’ll respect us.

NUCLEAR TRIAD?

TRUMP: I don’t know what that is. Nuclear is bad.

RUBIO: You idiot. The triad is the ability of US using airplanes, nuclear subs, and from the ground to shoot nuclear weapons. All three of the triad needs to be modernized because they all suck now.

MODERATOR: ASKS ABOUT CRUZ’ OPINION OF TRUMP.

TRUMP: “I’ve gotten to know Cruz over the past 3-4 days, he has a wonderful temper, don’t worry about it”  THEN: TRUMP TO CRUZ: You better not attack me (like a dad threatening his son)

CRUZ: I have daughters. We gotta kill ISIS and Iran.

TRUMP: I won’t run as an independent, promise.

CLOSING REMARKS- WHY U BE PRESIDENT?

CHRISTIE: I was in NJ when 9/11 happened.

FIORINA: I put more security in our company when 9/11 happened.

BUSH: Hilary sucks. My detail plans will keep us safe. I don’t make false promises.

RUBIO: This is the most important election of the generation. It’s the election that will “usher in the best era of our country”.

CRUZ: Obama sucks. Regan was good. Fuck terrorist. Big military.

CARSON: I’m happy I was born in the USA. I hate PC language.

TRUMP: Shout out to the veterans. Nothing works. We are losers now. I’ll make us win. “We’ll have a great, great country, greater than before”

 

FIN

 

 

 

 

 

 

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