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Meet Ken Salazar: Clinton’s Head of Continuity Team

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Hillary Clinton twisted the knife in Progressives’ backs when she appointed Ken Salazar as Head of her Transitions team, which is an important appointment, albeit an underrated one. Salazar must suggest candidates for Clinton to appoint to  powerful positions of federal agencies, which are routinely criticized for lack of accountability.

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There are hundreds of positions that Salazar could influence. Salazar as the Head of Transitions team is disastrous for personal liberty, the climate, and working people because as Former Colorado Senator, Obama’s head of Interior, and present Partner at WilmerHale, Salazar has demonstrated support for fracking, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), and the Keystone XL pipeline.

Transition teams suggest potential cabinet secretaries and administrative agency positions and smooth the new president’s transition into the White House. Progressives were understandably upset by Clinton’s vice president choice, Tim Kaine. For a presidential candidate so whiney about party unity during the Democratic National Convention, her policies and appointments sure don’t indicate a genuine interest in collaborating with Progressives.

Salazar’s position as  the Head of Clinton’s “Transition” team is misleading. The very definition of transition means change. Change is not what Salazar has to offer. He brings continuity – in the best case scenario – and that’s exactly why Clinton chose him.

Politicians (like Clinton) and lobbyists(Like Salazar) inside the “Washington bubble” benefit from America’s (broken)system. What incentive do they have to change the system to work for all Americans, including the 90% at the bottom?

Salazar’s work for WilmerHale is Disastrous for the Middle Class because his job is to protect large corporations  — and those interests direcly contradict Middle Class values. 

 

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Salazar is partner (lawyer) for WilmerHale, which is a colossal lobbying group.

You can check out the comprehensive WilmerHale client list here. The most (disturbingly) notable clients are: At&t, Boeing, Monsanto, Pfizer, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, and huge banks: Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, and Credit Suisse.

Cigna, a health insurance provider, is a client unlisted on the site. Cigna seeks to merge with Anthem.

Under WilmerHale’s Guiding Principles, it reads:

We operate much like our clients, using fresh and inventive approaches and benefiting from the collaborative strength of multi-disciplinary teams. Many of our lawyers have degrees and first-hand experience in business and government. Innovation has always been a key element in achieving and sustaining our progress. Staying ahead means not only participating, but more importantly, playing a leading role in shaping change. Over the years, our firm has used innovation and entrepreneurial thinking to effect significant change in the practice of law and the conduct of business.

This is the coded language of corruption. The quote demonstrates WilmerHale’s crony capitalist agenda by describing how it seeks to shape/create laws to benefit itself by benefitting its clients, which are huge profit-driven corporations. Lobbyists, like those that work for WilmerHale, write laws that govern the very corporations that sign their paycheck.

This is as preposterous as Barney Frank, banker and co-writer of the Dodd-Frank Act, co-authoring the legislation purportedly designed to “regulate” Wall Street and big banks after the crash in 2008. Dodd-Frank is little more than watered down lip service to faux bank regulation. Frank profited from the greed and recklessness that lead to the 2008 crash. Then, he was asked to write the law regulating the very banks that made him richer. That’s like asking a convicted murderer to write the laws dictating murderers’ prison sentences: it’s preposterous. Dodd-Frank was purportedly designed to prevent banks from engaging in the same risky and fraudulent behavior that lead to the economic downturn. Frank has no incentive to regulate the system responsible for his massive wealth.

More on banks later…

WilmerHale also represents huge corporations belonging to one of the most perverse and corrupt privatized systems in the U.S.: Healthcare. Privatized healthcare doesn’t care about people; it care about profits. WilmerHale represents pharmaceuticals and insurance companies, which are problematic in distinct ways.

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  1. Private health insurance agencies, like Cigna and Anthem, are corporations that make money by denying healthcare coverage to those it insures. That’s how the system works. Clients pay monthly/yearly premiums in return for a lower copay and coverage of the U.S.’s exorbitant medical costs and procedures. Private healthcare is a business and the goal is to make maximum profits. Therefore, the more medical coverage its clients are denied – the more money to be made. Moreover, WilmerHale lobbies for laws legalizing coverage denial to as many people as possible because WilmerHale has a fiduciary responsibility to ensure maximum profits for its insurance-provider clients, like Cigna. This is a clear case of crony capitalism and profit over people.
  2. Pharmaceutical companies (A.K.A. Big Pharma), like Pfizer and Millennium Pharmaceuticals, produce medicine. The problem here is three-fold: 1) cost;  2)  cures disincentivized; and 3) addiction.
    1. Cost: Big Pharma makes more money by charging higher prices. The Epi-Pen, for example, is now 400x more expensive than it was in the past. This is arguably a life saving medical instrument and it’s unaffordable(if out-of-pocket) for most Americans. Pharmaceutical prices have risen substantially over the past few years. This is life or death because people die when they cannot take necessary medication.
    2. Cures Disincentivized: When a patient can stay alive by taking medication everyday, there is no economic incentive for Pharmaceutical companies to explore new drugs to cure illnesses. Pharmaceutical companies are large corporations concerned with maximizing profit. It’s not moral or immoral: it’s amoral because corporations only exist to make maximum profits.
    3. Addiction: Because Pharmaceutical companies want to maximize profits, often times doctors are persuaded to giving, or prescribing, medicines like highly addictive painkillers (e.g. oxycodon) to their patients, who then become addicted. Prescriptions for addictive drugs have skyrocketed. There is a heroin epidemic in the U.S. and doctors are still prescribing these highly addictive drugs like candies.

No civilized society should privatize the healthcare system because corporations, by their very nature, are profit-driven and profit-driven insurance companies and drug companies are uninterested in keeping humans healthy. The sick and the chronically underinsured translate into billions and possibly trillions of dollars in profits. The human cost is devastating. The same can be said of the private prison industry but that’s a can of worms that can be opened at another time.

Capitalism isnt the enemy of the state: crony capitalism is.

Moderately regulated capitalism works in industries like mattress manufacturing. Healthcare must remain largely in the public sector.

AT&T & Verizon

WilmerHale represents AT&T and Verizon Wireless, the behemoths of the wireless industry. In 2008, for the first time in American History, Congress supervened in pending lawsuits against the companies to grant the telecoms blanket immunity. AT&T and Verizon were losing in a massive court battle. The companies were sued for illegal and unconstitutional wiretaps that wildly violated the Fourth Amendment and was initiated under the Bush Administration.

In other words, lobbyists convinced Congress to pass a law protecting AT&T and Verizon after the companies were sued. The telecoms collected data from their paying clients and handed it over to the government without being presented a warrant. So, AT&T and Verizon customers were paying for telecommunication services and unknowingly had their privacy (and other) rights violated because lobbyist like WilmerHale convinced Congress intervene in a pending lawsuit, which effectively denied justice.

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The connection? WilmerHale, the lobbying group Salazar is a Partner at, represents and lobbies for both AT&T and Verizon, which continue to violate constitutional rights. As Salazar’s additional position as Head of Transitions team, you can count on Salazar recommending that Hillary appoint administrators that will continue the lawlessness.

Besides Hillary’s appointment of Salazar, this is one of the most illustrative examples of the proverbial “revolving door” that corrupts American politics where lawlessness grants justice to the rich and powerful while the powerless are exploited. Only to then reward the lawbreaker a high paying job later.

Boeing

Besides the fact that Boeing is one of the largest defense manufacturers and war profiteers-ers in the world, Boeing has special ties to the Clinton foundation.

Judicialwatch.org reported that Boeing received a $7 Billion dollar aircraft deal with Russia after Clinton persuaded the country to buy aircraft from Boeing. Two months after the Russian aircraft deal was made, Boeing made a $900,000 contribution to the Clinton Foundation. Some estimates claim the Clinton Foundation recieved $2 million dollars in donations. What an investment for Boeing! It invested $2 million dollars for a return of a $7 Billion dollar contract.

WilmerHale represents Boeing, a company not only steeped in corruption but also in profiteering off war. Remember, Boeing is one of the largest weapons manufacturer in the world. The products Boeing make are used in war. Therefore, Boeing has an interest in continued war. WilmerHale’s job is to ensure Boeing makes money and therefore it will continue to lobby for laws against peace, and for continued war. Therefore, Salazar will suggest Clinton appoint people who believe in continued profits for Boeing and thus never-ending war.

This week we saw the human cost of war. Remember, when you vote for Hillary and her team filled with crony capitalists, like Salazar, you get continuity. You get this:

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In a moment of honest reporting, CNN had this to say about Omran, the little boy from Aleppo, Syria:

 

Monsanto

Roughly 20 countries have banned at least 1 form of Monsanto’s products. Monsanto produces genetically modified crops and harmful pesticides that have been linked to microcephaly(the same birth defect caused by the Zika virus caused by some mosquito bites). The pesticides have also been linked to cancer. Often times, chemicals from the pesticides contaminate water supplies. Communities using the water suffer higher rates of birth defects and cancer.

Proponents of using genetically modified organisms or foods (GMOs) argue that they can be used for alleviating world hunger and growing food in a barren climate.

However, proponents of Monsanto products fail to recognize different methods to combat hunger. Lifting families out of poverty by creating jobs is a solution. “Going green” saves the climate and prevents barren-climate farming.

Proponents of GMO crops are unbelievably naive. We have enough food to go around and are constantly throwing out food that could be given to the needy and hungry. In fact, France recently enacted a law that requires foods not sold by the date on the label must donate the food to shelters or other charitable organizations that combat hunger.

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Let’s be honest with ourselves here. Hunger is a problem right here in America. Instead of enacting laws to help the hungry, states and municipalities have enacted anti-homeless laws prohibiting feeding the homeless. The U.S. criminalizes homelessness and poverty, which goes hand-in-hand with hunger. Proponents of GMOs must be delusional to think Monsanto would actually help with hunger when our own lawmakers are not even up to the task. We’re talking ability versus willingness.

Monsanto is a huge corporation and seeks to maximize profits. It maximizes profits by selling GMOs and pesticides to small farmers, who are then unable to use other seeds on their lands. It is also known for putting small farmers out of work through litigation. This prevents small organic farms from producing more nutritious and safe food for consumers. It creates a monopoly on farm food.

Chris Parker wrote an exceptional piece in the Miami New Times titled “How Monsanto Is Terrifying the Farm World.”

WilmerHale represents Monsanto. Salazar will recommend Clinton appoint pro GMO and pro Monsanto employees to her administration.

For example, Justice Clarence Thomas was previously in-house counsel for Monsanto. Thomas ruled favorably for pro-GMO and Monsanto litigants in every case remotely connected to Monsanto and the effects have been disastrous. Unsafe drinking water is one example of an ill-effect caused by Monsanto’s products.

Banks: GoldmanSachs, JP Morgan Chase, City Group, Morgan Stanley

JPMorgan Mortagage Bonds Probe

 (Image Credit: AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

WilmerHale represents all the big banks that caused the 2008 crash. Remember, that the risky investing that caused the crash was made possible by then-president, Bill Clinton. He signed the Graham-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999 that repealed Glass-Steagall, which was part of the 1933 Banking Act.

The Great Depression was caused by the 1929 crash. The 1933 Banking Act contained Glass-Steagall, which prohibited the very same risky investments that caused 2008 crash. Bill Clinton repealed it. Again, he repealed it. Bill Clinton made millions last year from bank speaking fees alone. These are the banks he essentially allowed to ruin the economy. Jobs were lost, families were destroyed, and poverty skyrocketed.

Hillary Clinton has also received enormous speaking fees from Goldmansachs. Clinton will continue to help big banks profit off the working class. Her cabinet, and especially Salazar who works for WilliamHale, which writes laws on behalf of big banks, will also continue to help big banks destroy the American Dream.

This is the death of the “American Dream.” It doesn’t exist anymore. Wages are too low and living expenses are too high. The Middle class has nearly been taxed out of existence. Working Americans are working more hours for lower wages.

Remember Obama bailed the banks out as soon as he got into office. Clinton and Salazar ensure continuity.

WilmerHale represents the crooks that lied, cheated, and stole their way into billions of tax-payer money. Money that could have been used for jobs programs, education, and healthcare. Instead, WilmerHale lobbyists work for crooks to continue to hurt the middle class. Salazar will suggest pro-big bank appointees to Clitnon.

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This bank deserved its very own section. It recently plead guilty to tax evasion and was fined $2.6 billion dollars. Notice that not one banker went to prison. Not one. The poor go to prison for tax evasion. Banks and corporations might get slapped with a fine but it amounts to no more than a slap on the wrist because the payout for breaking the law is worth the $2.6 billion dollar fine.

WilmerHale represents Credit Suisse. He has no interest in regulating a bank guilty of tax evasion.

This is significant because huge banks like Credit Suisse, which help high-profile clients evade taxes, shift the tax burden on to the taxpayer already buried in taxes and struggling to survive with the increased cost of living and stagnant wages.

Salazar’s job is to act in the best interest of WilmerHale’s clients. This essentially means that he must do whatever he can to make his clients money. A conflict of interest arises as Clinton’s Head of Transition team because he will be appointing  secretaries and administrators that help to enforce and make policies that average Americans must follow.

These policies are also detrimental to average Americans because continuity entails more constitutional rights violations, more of their sons and daughters sent off to fight unnecessary unwinnable wars, unsafe food and water, and exploitation of their low-wage labor.

The Head of the Transitions team matters because Clinton’s appointments matter. Salazar won’t be recommending Progressives that care about issues that affect the middle and lower classes — he’ll be reccomending climate-destroying pro-fracking pro-Keystone XL pipeline, pro-war, pro-big bank, pro- big pharma, pro-low wage TPP-supporters, and pro-crony capitalists like Clinton and himself.

Ken Salazar is the prime example of crony capitalism. Writing the laws to be governed by is how profit-driven corporations rig the system. Smaller businesses can’t compete and Rule of law becomes inconsequential – a farce, if you will. Credit Suisse committed tax evasion and yet it’s still allowed to operate and it’s clients benefitting from tax evasion are still unnamed and un-charged.

Everything about Salazar oozes corruption.

This is what modern-day oligarchy looks like. Get used to it because Clinton represents continuity. She doesn’t give a damn about progress.

Those that will vote for Clinton in November vote from a place of privilege. To them, continutity hasn’t robbed them of their opportunities yet. They say that we can handle 4-8 more years of the same suffering before we can get a real Progressive in office. Maybe THEY can wait. Most of us, however, don’t have that privilege. Continiuty of a failing system hasn’t caught up to them yet. For the rest of us, Clinton is detrimental because we have no more time to work, no other employers to offer a living wage, and no sufficient safety net or healthcare system.

I thought Hillary was a Progressive that got things done. The only thing she’s getting done is making good on her promises to other cronies.

 

 

 

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The Day Democracy Died

Yesterday, July 26, 2016, Democracy …Err… the Democratic Party died.

Okay, okay, you kill joy – America was never intended to be a “democracy” and our founding fathers despised full democracy because they were terrified of majority rule. They formed a constitutional republic.

All true.

And some of you might even allege the infamous Citizens United case killed democracy. To which, I would respond to by kindly asking you to revisit a case from the 1970s called Buckley v. Valeo, which haunts us to this very day. In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that spending money is a form of speech. It was all downhill from there.

So, you might even claim that democracy died with the Supreme Court’s decision in Buckley.

Again, all true.

But the purpose of this piece is to respond to the very undemocratic and down right tyrannical actions of the Democratic Establishment at the Democratic National Convention.

This was a contested convention in that both candidates didn’t secure enough delegates to with the party’s nomination outright. Therefore, there was to be a role call of delegates to determine the winner. Anyone watching the race closely knew that Hillary Clinton was the likely winner.

Clinton ran a dirty campaign wrought with lies and deceit. And that doesn’t even take into account election fraud or the money laundering alleged by Wikileaks. That is a different story for a different time.

Democratic National Convention: Day One

Tape covering the mouth of a delegate from Michigan reads “Silenced By DNC” on the first day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

At the Democratic National Convention Bernie Sanders’ delegates faced:

  • Clinton supporters with Clinton signs purposely standing in front of Bernie supporters so as to effectively write them out of history by keeping them out of pictures and videos
  • Bernie supporters being denied credentials at the Wells Fargo Stadium
  • Bernie Delegates being stripped of their titles
  • Bernie Delegates being placed in the back rows of the stadium (The purpose was to for news cameras to shoot the stadium appearing to be packed with more Hillary supporters than Bernie supporters)
  • Bernie supporters’ signs being taken away while Hillary supporters were permitted to keep their Clinton signs.

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[Image Credit: 90 Miles From Tyranny]

The image above is an iconic image depicting a Bernie delegate/supporter being silenced and forced to support Hillary. They were given Hillary signs and had their Bernie signs confiscated. The Democratic National Committee (DNC), an arguable agent of the government, suppressed speech, compelled speech, and created a modern day prior restraint all in one fell swoop.

Freedom of speech is one of the very most basic American rights. The First Amendment has a messy history but there’s one very, very clear purpose of that Amendment. It was created as a reaction to England’s suppression of speech and press that existed until 1694. The founders sought to never let America suppress speech like England, which had a system of prior restraints that prohibited publication without government licenses.

William Blackstone said:

The liberty of the press consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published … To subject the press to the restrictive power of a licenser… is to subject all freedom of sentiment to the prejudices of one man, and make him the arbitrary and infallible judge of all controverted points in learning, religion, and government.

Erwin Chemerinsky, one of the most widely acclaimed Constitutional Law scholars says, ” It is widely accepted that the First Amendment was meant, at the very least, to abolish such prior restraints on publication.” Prior restraints were viewed as was counterintuitive to interests of public welfare.

Here, members of the DNC wouldn’t let news outlets film Bernie delegates and supporters holding their own signs to support the candidate that best represents their ideas. They were forced to display Clinton signs. The 1st Amendment prohibits government interference of the Press.

Here, employees working on behalf of the Clinton campaign  – many of whom are State or Federal employees –  took away and replaced Bernie signs, thus speech, and replaced them with Clinton signs in an effort to make it appear like Clinton is more liked than she really is. The purpose was to ensure Bernie delegates’ speech was favorable to the Clinton campaign before the news outlets filmed the event.

If Clinton, former First lady, Secretary of State, and current presidential candidate can be said to be an agent of the government – shouldn’t her campaign workers be considered employees of the State? Therefore, wasn’t this an unconstitutional government use of prior restraint on press publication because this happened before the news reported on the convention? Sure there was no licensing involved but the Clinton threshold still had to be passed before the press reported, or published, the convention news.

Wasn’t this also an unconstitutional government suppression of Bernie delegates’ and supporters’ political speech?

If Bernie delegates didn’t comply, they were stripped of credentials and even titles.

And what part did the media (corporations) play?

Though it probably doesn’t rise to the level of illegality or unconstitutionality, there’s an argument to be made that if government actors controlled very important political information, that free speech and, therefore, democracy died on July 26, 2016 because the government actually controlled (and falsified) the information at a Democratic National Convention – the very place where it should be acceptable to speak freely. This is the time for robust political debate and the Democratic Establishment’s base, members of the DNC, chilled free speech.

Democracy is messy, glorious, and absolutely necessary. Without free speech, there can be no democracy, because there can be no true exchange of ideas. Clinton and her cronies quashed the exchange of ideas. The Democratic Party is supposed to be the party of ideas; whereas the other party, the Republican Party, is the party of history and tradition. I expect far better from the Democratic Party.

Clinton proved that she doesn’t care about the progressive part of the Democratic Party. She chose a pro T.P.P. corporatist Vice President. She nominated Debbie Wasserman Shultz as honorary chair of her general election campaign even though Wikileaks proved Shultz’s collusion with the press to sabotage Bernie’s campaign.

Bernie, pursuant to the rules of the DNC, was forced to agree to endorse Clinton before he could give a speech at the convention.

One of the most significant things to come from this election is how important the press is when it comes to information. The easiest way to control people is to keep them uninformed, uneducated, and subjected to State-sponsored propaganda.

The appearance of Clinton support was enough for news outlets like ABC to report that there was party unity. The Clinton machine is concerned with giving the appearance of party unity to stifle debate about her fitness for the Oval Office. In reality, the party couldn’t be more divided.

R.I.P. Democracy.

 

Preventing Progress: #AllLivesMatter & #BlueLivesMatter

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Falling prey to rhetorical devices that perpetrate a reincarnated southern strategy, #AllLivesMatter and #BlueLivesMatter proponents actually prevent equality because these “counter-movements” seek to discredit #BlackLivesMatter.

I’d hoped I wouldn’t have to write this but it’s time… #BlackLivesMatter, as with all ideas, must be analyzed in context.

#ContextMatters.

Before #Fill in blank hereLivesMatter spiraled out-of-control, it all started with #BlackLivesMatter, which was born out of a non-police involved shooting of Trayvon Martin in 2013. Zimmerman, the shooter, and Martin are pictured below.

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In 2014, #BlackLivesMatter gained national attention after police shootings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

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#BlackLivesMatter didn’t stem from a belief that black lives matter more than other lives.

#BlackLivesMatter didn’t stem from a belief that police lives don’t matter.

In fact, many of our outstanding officers are people of color. It’s also true that white people suffer from police brutality – and yes, their lives matter, too. #BlackLivesMatter seeks not to just bring awareness about the disproportionate and discriminatory policing of blacks, but also to fix the infrastructure that perpetuates the problem. Lack of officer accountability, disproportionate sentencing, and disproportionate incarceration work to keep blacks locked up and locked out of society. (Remember that felons can’t vote. Each time a black person becomes a felon, another black vote, and voice, has been robbed. This is another issue for another time.)

#BlackLivesMatter stands for the idea that black lives (should) be valued as much other lives.

#BlackLivesMatter doesn’t hate white people.

The reality is that #BlackLivesMatter stems from a deep-rooted frustration with an infrastructure that doesn’t value black lives in the same way that it values other lives. Some have said there is an implicit “too” or “also” at the end of #BlackLivesMatter.

#BlackLivesMatter exists to change the social, political, economic, and unequal reality of black Americans. Sure, there are some fringe members that claim allegiance to #BlackLivesMatter but they don’t represent the entire group. The core values rest on attaining equality in a system built to keep people of color down. #BlackLivesMatter’s organizing is non-violent – even though mainstream media often depicts the group as looters and rioters, which reinforces the stereotype of the angry black person. The looters and rioters are fringe parts of #BlackLivesMatter, if they’re even members at all. Over 90% of the protesters are non-violent.

American (in)Justice.

The Prison Policy Initiative compiled data from the U.S. 2010 Census Summary. It found that despite being only 13 percent of the overall U.S. population, 40 percent of those who are incarcerated are black. See graphs below:

This week, Rudy Giuliani was all over mainstream news claiming blacks commit more crimes than other races according to FBI stats. This is false. Blacks get incarcerated at higher rates. Giuliani’s assertion is false because it doesn’t take into account discriminatory policing.

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Cenk Uygur from The Young Turks had a fascinating interview with an ex-Baltimore police officer. (You can watch it here.) Michael A. Wood, Jr. discusses why he was trained to police black neighborhoods. He couldn’t police white neighborhoods and arrest white kids because if he accidentally arrested the son of someone in power, like a judge, then officer Wood risked getting in trouble himself – even if  the kid had committed a crime and there was probable cause for arrest.

Recently, the Brooking Institute found blacks commit drug crimes at a lower rate than whites. Yet, Blacks are about 4 times more likely to be punished for drug crimes.

 

Officer Wood’s account and studies like the one mentioned above by the Brookings Institute show that blacks are disproportionately policed, which likely accounts for high rates of black incarceration.

There’s also a perverse incentive to lock up Americans –especially for drug crimes– for profit. The Byrne Memorial Grant Program allocates federal funds for state and local police departments. The amount of money allocated to each department is directly contingent upon quantity of drug arrests. Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group, America’s two most profitable private prison corporations have made contracts with state and local lawmakers that contain occupancy requirements. In 2013, these requirements were found in 41 of the 62 contracts between private prisons and states/cities. Occupancy requirements ensure 80-100 percent of the prison occupancy is filled, regardless of whether crimes are actually committed.  This is how discriminatory policing turns into a cycle that works to keep people of color down.

Unfortunately, blacks are also more likely to serve harsher sentences than other races. According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, between 2007 and 2011, sentences for black males were 19.5 percent longer than those for whites.

So, the purpose of #BlackLivesMatter seeks to respond to the systematic discrimination that is built into the criminal justice system.

 

Rhetorical Devices keep everyone at the bottom fighting each other(A.K.A. Southern Strategy).

#AllLivesMatter is a direct response to #BlackLivesMatter. This is a rhetorical device used specifically to discredit the suffering and misery that black people face every day. Do all lives matter? OF COURSE, ALL LIVES MATTER. However, if #AllLivesMatter really wanted to prove that all American lives are valued, then proponents of #AllLivesMatter would recognize the injustices of systemic oppression, which disproportionately affects black people, and they would join #BlackLivesMatter. However, this is not the reality. #AllLivesMatter is used to minimize the continued discriminatory policies and impact of awful policies like the War on Drugs. #AllLivesMatter is used to oppose #BlackLivesMatter and to discredit the specific suffering that plagues black communities.

In fact, in 1994, Harper’s Magazine interviewed a top Nixon aide, John Ehrlichman. He said the reason for the Drug war was to target the anti-war left and black people. Ehrlichman, who served time for Nixon’s Watergate scandal and had nothing left to lose said:

You want to know what this[War on Drugs] was really all about? […] The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.

Fun Fact: the War on Drugs was initiated by Nixon at a time when drug use was on a decline.

#BlueLivesMatter, is also a rhetorical device used to minimize black suffering caused by discriminatory policing practices. It is a backlash to #BlackLivesMatter. OF COURSE, POLICE LIVES MATTER. Often times, proponents of #BlueLivesMatter disregard black struggles and justify clear cases of police brutality by calling the victims “criminals” or “thugs.” There are issues with officers’ body cameras not working. Subconscious biases make police feel more threatened by a black person than a white person. That’s why there are more black people who are met with deadly police force than whites that are met with deadly force.

#BlueLivesMatter is a special kind of pushback. Police are the enforcers of oppression. In roughly 90% of Supreme Court cases concerning police officers, they are given deference due to their training and experience on the force. Police are some of the most powerful people in America because they get to pick and choose when to enforce laws and arrest, and even shoot, members of the communities that they are to protect and serve.

All lives have not faced the particular sort of oppression that plagues black American communities.

Police have not faced the particular sort of oppression that plagues black American communities. In fact, they hold more power than the average person. So, the use of #BlueLivesMatter is ludicrous because police have not faced decades of systemic discrimination and injustice that leaves their communities wrought with hopelessness and misery.

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Yes, police have terribly difficult and dangerous jobs. They signed up for dangerous jobs. There are plenty of great officers out there. I have friends and family on the force and love and respect them. The difference is that they can leave their jobs at any time. A black person can’t change their heritage or the color of their skin. They can’t stop being affected by deeply racist policies simply by “following the law.”

#AllLivesMatter and #BlueLivesMatter are rhetorical devices used to keep everyone fighting each other about whose lives matter. ALL lives matter but in America some lives are valued more than black lives. Black lives matter, too.

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You don’t have to agree but please stop obstructing justice and preventing progress.

Each utterance of #AllLivesMatter and #BlueLivesMatter isn’t just ignorant: it’s harmful. It knowingly, or unknowingly, seeks to discredit an entire demographic that has to stand idly by and watch its sons, fathers, mothers, daughters, sisters, brothers, children, and grandparents get killed without explanation. To make matters worse, family members of victims unjustifiably killed by police almost never get justice. They’re often met with ridicule and accused of “complaining” too much. Their family members died! They died and now they’re told to shut their mouths and be silent. There’s also hefty unplanned financial hardship that goes along with planning funerals and memorial services. Remind me, again, what is the definition of oppression(?)

You don’t have to agree with #BlackLivesMatter. You don’t have to protest. Hell, you don’t even have to acknowledge its existence but please, please, please, stop hindering progress. Stop preventing change and healing that America so desperately needs. #BlackLivesMatter, too.

What Chelsea Handler Gets Right – and Wrong- About Abortion, America, and Rights

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Chelsea Handler

Chelsea Handler arrives at the fourth annual amfAR Inspiration Gala at Milk Studios on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Dan Steinberg/Invision/AP)

Recently, Chelsea Handler penned an open letter in Playboy about having two abortions when she was a teenager.

She deserves praise for unapologetically and openly describing her experiences because fiercely defending the right to abortion, as Handler does, is still taboo in America. However, she misses the bigger picture when she addresses women’s rights and voting rights because she seems to think these rights can’t be rolled back. This piece serves as a thoughtful response to Handler’s letter.

Handler is a comedian who is known to be a little wild and blunt. Sure, maybe she is not the most popular comedian but it’s important to respond to her letter because she is a celebrity and the things that she says matter because she has a bigger microphone, and audience, than most. It’s important to give her praise where it’s due and respond critically when her rose-colored Hollywood lenses cloud her opinions on American civil rights.

First, here goes Handler again breaking the mold of how American women talk about reproductive rights. So often in the discourse surrounding abortion, Americans discuss it as an awful burden — and they do so apologetically. There’s talk of rape, incest, and danger of the mother’s life. There’s almost never discourse about simply being human and fallible and making bad choices.

Handler deserves credit for being honest when she says, “Getting unintentionally pregnant more than once is irresponsible, but it’s still necessary to make a thoughtful decision. We all make mistakes all the time. I happened to fuck up twice at the age of 16. I’m grateful that I came to my senses and was able to get an abortion legally without risking my health or bankrupting myself or my family.”

However, after this part of the piece, comprehensive sex ed should have been addressed. It’s admirable that Handler took full responsibility for the abortions she received at 16. The reality was that she was still a minor. Her boyfriend wasn’t wearing a condom. She didn’t make him wear a condom. Also, she wasn’t on birth control. Adequate sex ed could have prevented those abortions. After the first abortion, she went back to having unprotected sex and wasn’t on birth control. That’s a failure in the system – the school system and how society treats female sexuality. Comprehensive sex ed works. States like Mississippi, which teach abstinence only sex ed, have one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country.  States like California, which teach comprehensive sex ed, have much lower teen pregnancy rates.

She also mentions the cost of raising a child. The burden of the unplanned child would have fallen on her family’s shoulders. There’s the burden on the mother who, as a female in America, doesn’t have the same earning opportunity as the father, or men in general. Women that have children at a young age fall further behind their peers in terms of earning opportunities. She’s correct in identifying the cost of having children.

However, she seems to think opinions about whether women should hold  high-powered positions are insignificant. She goes on to say, “There are people who think women shouldn’t hold high-powered positions, or who think Obama is Muslim, and it’s okay for them to have those thoughts; they just can’t act on them in a civilized society.” But they do, Chelsea! Those opinions matter because women still aren’t receiving equal pay for equal work and Congress, 80% of which is comprised of men, hold those opinions AND actively vote to keep allowing employers, who are mostly men, to keep paying women employees less than their male employees. It’s 2016 and women still have to make the case for equal pay for equal work. Her success and years in Hollywood have prevented her from understanding the realities of average women.

Handler also wrote, “I don’t buy that Roe v. Wade is in danger. We’re too far ahead of the game. Once you go forward in history, you don’t go backward. That would be like the government saying, ‘Okay, we’re taking away your right to vote too.'” Here is where she gets it exactly wrong. Here’s why: 1) Roe v. Wade is in danger and 2) Voting rights are in danger because rights can be rolled back at any time. It’s up to the holders of the rights to fight, and continue the fight, for them – otherwise, they will be stripped away.

Roe v. Wade has been under attack for the past 40 years and in the past decade state legislatures and proposed and passed thousands of sweeping bills that effectively eviscerated the average woman’s access to abortions. Abortions are more difficult to get because of waiting periods, informed consent laws, fetal viability tests, and TRAP laws that are used to shut down clinics for silly things like ceiling height or freestanding oxygen machines. Perhaps Handler didn’t read the subsequent case Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), which eliminated the bright-line trimester rule from Roe v. Wade and instead held that abortions are legal until the fetus is viable outside the womb. Casey also shifted the broad right to abortion previously granted by Roe and narrowed the right by instituting the undue burden test, where government regulation of abortions prior to viability should be allowed unless there is an undue burden on access to abortions.

Just yesterday, there was a glimmer of hope. In the most significant victory for abortion rights in a generation, the Supreme Court struck down provisions of a sweeping anti-choice law in Texas. This is good news because other states are also likely to file suit to invalidate similarly restrictive laws. However, there’s still a long way to go.

In the documentary about the rollback of abortion rights called Trapped, Marva Sadler of a women’s healthcare clinic, told a story about a patient seeking an abortion that restrictive laws barred Sadler’s clinic from helping:

In order to see her, I need to put her to sleep. And in order to do that, I need a nurse anesthetist. And because of this crazy law, it is impossible to find people to work for us. She’s 13 years old, and she is a victim of rape, and she drove four hours from McAllen to San Antonio. And we had to turn her away, and there was nothing I could do to save her. And so, now, if she has a procedure—and that “if” is huge—she’ll have to go all the way to New Mexico and pay $5,000 and get there and spend three days. It will never happen. We know it won’t.

It seems that Handler couldn’t have been more wrong about the rollback on the right to abortion.

What about voting laws?

Unfortunately, just like abortion rights, voting rights have also been eroded. Remember when the Supreme Court overturned Section 3 of the Voting Rights act that mandated counties with a history of voter discrimination petition the Court to change voting laws? The very next day new legislation was proposed limiting voting rights.

Handler also seems to think voting rights won’t be rolled back. They already are! Really, Chelsea, voting rights won’t be rolled back? Tell that to a poor black man in North Carolina. Or what about the Democratic primary riddled with voter purges and election fraud that made those voters voiceless? There wasn’t a poll tax, or literacy test, or voter i.d. laws, but it still barred the right to vote. What good is a right if you can’t exercise it?

Handler’s ignorance deserves as much attention as her candor. She gets credit for opening the platform for discussion about abortion as a right and option but her logic falls woefully short when she shares her idea of how the America works. The struggle is real for the rest of us average Americans.

 

Warren Endorsement: Too Little Too Late

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Fed Chairman Bernanke Semi-Annual Monetary Policy Report To Senate Committee

 

“Leaks” have trickled out of Washington indicating that within a couple weeks Elizabeth Warren is expected to publicly endorse Hillary Clinton.[Update: It appears she made a public endorsement minutes ago but still no word on her position in Hillary’s administration] In other words, the Clinton campaign is testing the waters to see if Warren’s endorsement, or even a possible VP/ cabinet position, would persuade #BernieOrBust voters to support Clinton. Warren left progressive voters high-and-dry when they needed her the most. This election is about speaking truth to power and refusing to play establishment politics. Therefore, Berners MUST send a message by telling Washington that even a “golden-child” Elizabeth Warren VP won’t translate into votes.

Tell them with your voices, your votes, the Democratic Party is irreparably fractured. Send the message that Hillary can win the primary but she won’t win the general election. It’s simply too late. Debbie Wasserman-Shultz’s resignation won’t translate into votes — and neither will Warren’s endorsement.

It’s time to send a very clear message to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) that tipping the scales so far in the favor of Clinton that it may have won the Democratic Establishment its primary candidate but come the general election in the fall – Clinton, and the DNC, will fail. They may have won the battle but Progressive Berners will win the war.

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Voting for Hillary just because she chooses Warren as a running-mate, or cabinet member(as her role is yet to be determined), will solve nothing. This is a bandage over a gaping wound that needs to be cleaned of the filth before stitching it up. Clean money out of politics and then we can discuss a Clinton/Warren ticket. Until then, Berner voices remain unheard and unwanted(by the Establishment).

This primary is about the Establishment vs. the 99%(i.e. everyone else). Once again, Hillary proves she’s utterly tone deaf. A vote for a Hillary/Warren ticket is a vote for the Establishment. #BernieOrBust voters are anti-establishment and won’t be fooled by this trick. Plus, they’re still a little salty about Warren’s refusal to endorse Bernie — especially in Warren’s state because the race was so close that her endorsement would have won Bernie the state.

#BernieOrBust voters have been let down by Elizabeth Warren. They already feel robbed of their candidate and their vote. They feel silenced, hopeless, and stagnant in an economy that only works for the upper echelon of American society. Warren’s addition to Hillary’s crew is a nice gesture that sounds promising but will end with the very incremental change progressives loathe.

Clinton’s campaign is frantically scrambling to figure out ways to unite the fractured Democratic party. Even pairing up with Elizabeth Warren won’t make Bernie supporters fall-in-line. Better luck next time.. Perhaps, 3rd time’s a charm (?)

Recently, Warren sent twitter ablaze with her feisty Trump tweets. It’s clear that Warren has an agenda and her first priority is to ensure Trump doesn’t become president. Uniting with Hillary is a bad strategy. The way to ensure Trump isn’t president is to unite with Progressives — news flash: that’s NOT Hillary.

If we’ve learned anything about Hillary, it’s that she’s not two-dimensional. There’s likely another reason that she’s choosing Warren. Could it be to ensure Warren wouldn’t run against her in four years and steal her presidential crown? This is mere speculation, of course but the Clintons work in complex and underhanded ways and Warren’s alliance buttresses Hillary’s power.

Warren is considered the 2nd most progressive Senator in Congress and Bernie needed her support in his campaign. A Progressive tsunami is set to hit America very soon. It’s set to thrash every obstacle that prevented Bernie from a fair run. It’s not that Berners don’t like Warren; it’s that they don’t like Hillary. #NeverHillary means never Hillary.

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Sorry, Warren, you strayed from speaking truth to power to joining power. We love you but we can’t stand for that. We’re done with Establishment politics and it’s time for a change. See you on the other side.

 

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NO, Hillary Isn’t the Nominee – Berners, NOW IS the Time to Organize

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First things first: NO, CLINTON HAS NOT WON THE NOMINATION.

 

Yes, yesterday was an utterly shocking disappointment for California voters, myself included. But, neither of the candidates won the nomination outright, yet. That means we’re still on for the convention. Remember that even if Bernie had won California with 80% of the vote, we’d still be going to the convention. So, try not to mope. We’ve still got work to do.

 

This primary season represents many battles:

Old Media vs. New Media

Baby Boomers vs. Millennials & Generation Y voters

Establishment vs. the outsiders

Corruption vs. Anti-corruption

Rich vs. Poor

 

Berners need to organize immediately. It’s not over. We start in California at its convention. It’s true that the momentum from a California win, would have been great but that’s not the hand we were dealt. Unless there’s a recount or election fraud can be proven, we’ve got to move on to the next call-to-action.

 

California’s convention:

Let your representatives know whom they are representing. If your precinct went to Bernie, then let your representatives know you’re watching them. Let them know when they’re up for re-election, they won’t be getting your vote if they vote against Bernie. This also applies to the super-delegates that will attend the Philadelphia convention.

 

Sometimes, in politics, you have to make a point to earn respect. #BernieOrBust is not taken seriously… yet. Make them take you seriously. If they want to take away your voice, you let them know that you’re going to take away their job by organizing against their re-election campaigns. What did they think this was, an Oligarchy!

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Philadelphia Convention:

At the Democratic Convention, starting July 25, the super delegates vote. The Democratic nomination will be decided on July 28th. Call up the super delegates from your state. Let your representatives know you’re watching them. Let them know when they’re up for re-election, they won’t be getting your vote if they vote against Bernie.

 

Inevitably, they’ll probably vote for Clinton. Get ready to vote them out. If they want to play politics instead of listening to the voices of their constituency (you), then it’s time to play ball. If there were no voter suppression, voter fraud, or DNC that rigged the debate schedule and everything else it possible could, then we wouldn’t have to vote vindictively. But the reality is that Bernie supporters are going to have to. Your representatives don’t represent you. At this point, You don’t have a voice in your own “democracy.”

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Stop listening to Mainstream media. In fact, I encourage you to cancel cable altogether. Then donate that money to a real news organization like Democracy Now, The Young Turks, or Scisco Media to help keep them independent. Mainstream Media doesn’t care about you or what you want to hear. Stop paying them thousands of dollars to be inundated with propaganda. Hit them where it hurts – in their wallets.

 

Stop letting the Baby Boomer, or any other generation, tell you that you just want free stuff. Remind them that it’s the younger generation carries the older generation. We didn’t vote for the war. We didn’t crash the economy. We didn’t ask for a “gig economy” where we have to work 2-3 low wage jobs to make ends meet. They lived in a time when public colleges and universities were tuition free and 1 person could support a family on a minimum wage. And they have the audacity to accuse Millennials of only liking Bernie because we want free stuff…

 

Organize, Organize, Organize!

 

Don’t vote for Hillary. There, I said it.

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If she wants to let her surrogates, like Debbie Wasserman Shultz and Barbara Boxer, rig the primary, then don’t vote for her. It’s politics, right? Don’t expect to rig an election, silence millions of voters, and expect to receive their votes. Bernie supporters are tired of feeling like they’re in an abusive relationship with the DNC.

 

Don’t get behind the person responsible for leaving you voiceless in your own community. If Hillary deserved unity, she would think you deserve universal healthcare, a living wage, and less wars funded by your tax dollars. She thinks the opposite. In fact, she’s downright spiteful because you voted for Bernie in the primaries.  She’s not happy she has to “court” you to get your vote.

 

You deserve better representation. It’s not over, yet. Keep Bernin’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul Ryan’s Cronyism 101

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Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, recently endorsed Donald Trump. Ryan wrote an article for The Janesville Gazette, his hometown paper, and voiced his confidence that Trump would further the Republican’s agenda.

Once the Republican puppet masters determine a way to control Trump, there’s not a doubt in my mind that Trump will further the Right-wing’s agenda.

In his article, he also claimed a Clinton presidency “would mean four more years of liberal cronyism and a government more out for itself than the people it serves.” This blog is dedicated to critically analyzing US politics. So, Ryan’s comment deserves some unpacking…

First, he’s quite sure that if elected president, Clinton won’t serve 2 terms. There are 4 presidents that only served one term: Bush Sr., Ford, Hoover, and Taft. FDR, sat for 3 terms before the 2 term limit was set in place.

When objectively analyzing this part of Ryan’s statement, his lack of respect for Clinton is clear. Based on statistical information alone, it’s more likely for our next sitting president to serve 2 terms. So, for Ryan to assume if Clinton were president she would only serve 1 term shows his bias towards her. Even if it was something Ryan didn’t know or realize when he was writing his article, he definitely lacks respect for Clinton and it’s demonstrated in this example of a “micro-aggression.” It seems that Ryan believes Clinton is unworthy of two terms. Maybe it’s because she’s a Democrat. Maybe it’s because she is a woman. Maybe it’s because he doesn’t like her policies. Either way… it’s worth taking note of.

Second, the word “more” implies that the Obama presidency was plagued with “liberal cronyism” and the reality is that the Obama presidency couldn’t have been less liberal. Does he realize Obama nominated a Republican to the Supreme Court? Or that Obama care was originally a plan that was a 1989 proposal by the Heritage Foundation, which is a group with very Republican roots.

Let’s be clear. If “liberal cronyism” existed, here’s what Obama’s Presidency would have looked like:
– Universal Healthcare.
To hell with The Affordable Care Act (Obama care) – it’s not all that affordable.

– Recreational and Medicinal Marijuana would be legalized.
This would significantly prevent discriminatory police and incarceration practices. It would also take some power away from drug cartels.

– There would be hundreds of bankers sitting in prison.
Destroying the middle class comes with benefits here in America: generous bonuses, too.

– The Drone program wouldn’t exist.
Killing over 50% of civilians each time we strike creates more enemies than it destroys. Liberals don’t like more ISIS members. Liberals don’t like war/conflicts.

– NSA would be abolished, too.
Indiscriminately collecting data and metadata, and storing it, is grossly unconstitutional.

– Both Genders would receive equal pay.

– Tuition free public colleges would exist.
Liberals feel education serves the greater societal interest. One might make the argument that furthering one’s education helps them out more than it helps society. The higher the education one earns, the better the job one works, right? Wrong. Less careers are available and many Americans are working a “gig-economy.” In other words, these highly education new graduates are working 2 or 3 low wage jobs just to make ends meet.

– LGBTQI Peoples would be equal under the eyes of the law.

– Paid maternal and paternal leave would be a right.

– Childhood hunger wouldn’t exist in America.

None of the above “liberal” agenda ideas occurred under Obama’s Presidency. How does Ryan think it will continue, when a “liberal cronyism” presidency never existed? Also, Republicans now control the House and Senate. Obama nominated a Republican Supreme Court nominee. He even offered up cuts to social security as part of a deal to appease the Republicans and prevent them from shutting down the government. Obama appointed James Comey, a Republican, to the head of the FBI. If Clinton makes it to the general, Comey has the power to obliterate the Democratic Party by indicting Clinton.

Third, “liberal cronyism” is projection. It’s the Republicans that rigged the economic system with trickle-down economics. It’s Republicans that are responsible for mass incarceration because of its “war on crime” policy. The mass redistribution of wealth to the top income earners allowed them to buy out our political system and keep right-wing policies in place.

Where’s the proof of the “liberal cronyism,” Paul Ryan? This sounds more like GOP cronyism – because that’s exactly what it is.

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Come to think of it, the GOP is also the party of discrimination, too. It doesn’t like women, minorities, and poor people.

Ryan is a staunch pro-lifer. Surprising, I know.

He’s also part of the party that uses coded language in its signature policies to discriminate against minorities. Remember in 2014 when he appeared on the Morning in America radio program and said poverty is caused by “this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work.”
Inner cities, thugs, and criminals are all words that are used to describe colored people that are from poor communities where good jobs are scarce.

At a CPAC convention, Ryan claimed Obama’s school lunch program offers kids a full stomach and an empty soul. Rhetoric aside, childhood poverty (and hunger) has risen under the Obama administration.

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Ryan was also projecting his own party’s values onto Clinton when he claimed her presidency would entail a “government more out for itself than the people it serves.” What about Ryan’s use of social security benefits to fund his education at a Ohio public university? He’s been very vocal about cutting social security. He wants to cut the very program that got him to where he’s at today.

After he wrote this article, Ryan made another statement denouncing Trump’s hang-up about the “Mexican” judge, who was born in Indiana, and is presiding over the Trump University case. The GOP is notoriously discriminatory against all minorities. Ryan supports discriminatory policies using coded language. Trump simply lacks tact.

 

Paul Ryan IS the head of political party that cares more about itself than the people it serves. His statements are misleading and desperately needed critical evaluation.

#SanBernieDino

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Bernie Sanders made it to San Bernardino, California.

 

Yes, that San Bernardino – the city that will forever be known as the site of the second biggest mass shooting in America.

 

Before I discuss the rally, I think it’s important to provide a little background about why this was a meaningful rally to me:

 

There were many rallies that Bernie held but I felt particularly inclined to go to #SanBernieDino because I grew up in the town next door. My parents both worked for the San Bernardino school district. Many times, my mother dropped off paperwork or supplies to the Inland Regional Center (aka IRC & site of the mass shooting). When I tagged along with her to work, often times, we had to stop by the IRC. In a way, I felt that seeing Bernie at #SanBernieDino was more meaningful than seeing him in Palm Springs or Irvine or some other location.

 

In 2011 when I was away at college and I was browsing YouTube on night, I noticed the recommendation side bar showed news clips from independent news sources like Democracy Now and The Young Turks. I also stumbled across Bernie’s Senate speeches. I stayed up until 4am watching these videos. I realized everything I’d been taught and perceived about America was a lie. My knowledge of social issues and economics was merely smoke and mirrors.

 

I’ve been a vocal Bernie Sanders supporter ever since.

 

As American politics shifted further and further to the right, my friends and family labeled my beliefs about universal healthcare, free college, abolishment of tax loopholes, and less military intervention as lunacy. Of course, I (rightly) countered that their views were outrageous. Supporting crony capitalism that destroyed the middle class, an inefficient healthcare system, an authoritarian empire that preemptively invades and drone strikes countries under the guise of “spreading democracy” and “freedom” when the US itself is more akin to an oligarchy, seemed crazy to me.

 

Often times the personal is the political. So, when Bernie Sanders’ message began to resonate with the populous, I felt reconnected with my peers. Needless to say, I was stoked when I discovered Bernie would be in San Bernardino.

 

It wasn’t the biggest rally he held but thousands of people from my community went out to support him and hear his message.

 

Mainstream media says Bernie does best with white males. From the looks of the #SanBernieDino rally, you’d never be able to tell.

 

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Vendors sold goods to the attendees. These vendors live in a tough community where high paying jobs are scarce and crime rate is high.

 

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Even the local team’s mascot was feelin’ the bern!

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When I got inside, we were packed in like sardines!

 

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There was a couple next to me who brought their disabled son. He seemed to be autistic and was somewhat apprehensive before and during the rally. They lovingly helped get him through the rally. The looks on their faces indicated that they truly supported this historical candidate and realized this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see him in their hometown.

 

One of the most touching signs was this:

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Palestine is often left out of political discussion because of America’s pro-Israel bias. Bernie is the only candidate to offer up a reasonable and diplomatic approach to Israel-Palestine conflict; not to mention, Bernie himself is Jewish.

 

I’ve watched hundreds of Sanders’ speeches. I didn’t learn anything new about Bernie’s policies that I didn’t already know. Yet, the chance to see him in (the city next to) my hometown was priceless. It was touching to see the love and support my community has for Bernie.

 

 

Trump Pivots Left; Hillary pivots Right and an Independent’s Path Emerges

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Trump Pivots Left; Hillary pivots Right and an Independent’s Path Emerges

By: Ivy Bader

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It looks as if the 2016 general election could actually come down to elitest billionaires, Trump and Clinton. Trump did it. He took down 16 GOP presidential candidates.

Trump has already started the “pivot” to the general election. He seems to think Sanders and Stein aren’t threats and has started waging attacks on Clinton.

If Trump knows anything, it is how to say what he knows his constituency wants to hear. That’s exactly how he beat 16 other candidates. Here’s the problem: it could work to his disadvantage in the general election.

Trump’s hateful speech won him the primary but general election voters will be looking for a different type of leader. Independent voters outnumber Democrats and Republicans. Trump’s strategy to win rests on appealing to voters who are already disillusioned with the current system because he cannot win with Republican voters alone.

Trump’s rhetoric may have already isolated many potential general election voters. After he explicitly stated he will ban all muslims from the US, punish abortion providers, and make Mexico pay for a wall to keep immigrants out of the country, he’s already started pivotting to the general by calling his statements “reccomendations.”

Many of GOP primary voters, voted for Trump because he forcefully stated hateful views. When he pivots to the general and starts to use coded language, his base may find it off-putting. However, the way that Trump will win, is to go after Hillary. She’s a flawed candidate and when Trump brings up the scandals Bernie chose not to talk about, she’s doomed.

Clinton barely survived Bernie’s clean campaign. How will she ever survive Trump’s mudslinging? She spent $1 million on a group of trolls called “Correct the Record.” Its employees didn’t correct any misinformation about Clinton but it did post all sorts of illegal porn to Bernie support pages so the pages were flagged as spam and removed. Since Correct the Record was created, Clinton’s unfavorablility ratings have surpassed Trump’s.

With Clinton alientating more than half of her base, and Trump alienating his base as he pivots to the general election – could there be a pathway for the first write-in or Independent president?

Trump pivots Left; Clinton pivots Right – and Independents are caught in the vaccuum.

Are we witnessing a milestone in the slow demise of America’s two-party system? Maybe 2017 will be the year of the Independents.

 

Ivy also writes for Scisco Media and The LA Free Press.

Follow Her on Twitter! @IvyLeighann