Tag: politics

The Remaining Presidential Candidates Rated in Poop Emojis

I do not advocate voting. Ever. Electoral politics is a spectator sport for me, in which I wish every candidate could lose (because every time someone wins everyone else loses). Politics doesn’t reward decency. With that in mind, here is a ranking of all of the remaining relevant candidates for POTUS, from terrible to the absolute worst. Note: The list of everything wrong with each candidate is far from exhaustive. I need to make this snappy enough for mass consumption, mmkay?

6. Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders is definitely one of the more earnest, genuine politicians I have ever seen. He is also terrible.

The Good: He voted no on the Patriot Act. He has a good record on racial justice issues and feminist issues, including a lifetime pro-choice record. He thinks marijuana should be legal to reduce incarceration rates. He supports limited immigration reform and his foreign policy is much less hawkish than his opponents. He’s always been against the death penalty.

The Bad: For a candidate who is supposedly anti-corporation, he has voted for a lot of corporate bailouts under the guise of economic stimulus. His free education plan would seriously devalue higher education, meaning more Americans will be overeducated for the jobs they can actually get. Bernie would continue the drone program, which continues to take countless innocent lives abroad. His anti-corporate sentiment often comes in the form of increased regulation to diminish competition, leading to more corporate oligarchy, not less. He opposes privatizing social security, an unsustainable system destined for bankruptcy.

The Ugly: Bernie’s protectionism is not only economically disastrous, it’s downright xenophobic. In the same vein, he does not support open borders because he believes it brings down American wages (more xenophobia and economic illiteracy). He voted for the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, leading to the resignation of one of his staffers. He called the police on Code Pink and Occupy protestors at his office, which makes his past protesting arrest significantly less endearing.

Rating: 8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c


5. John Kasich

My partner told me that people would complain if I didn’t include Kasich in this list. I don’t think he’s relevant, but he’s definitely terrible.

The Good: Compared to most Republicans, he’s pretty decent about gay people. He thinks government officials should respect the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage, saying it’s time to move on. He supports a balanced budget. Against ethanol subsidies. Supports school choice.

The Bad: He thinks the federal government should have a Department of Judeo-Christian Values and thinks that bible stories are historical facts. He’s bad enough on abortion to be a Republican. He supports the death penalty. He opposes drug legalization.

The Ugly: He wants mentally ill people to “register” to make it harder for them to access guns. Wants to bar all Syrian refugees from the U.S. He proposed creating a Department of Propaganda.

Rating: 8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c


4. Ted Cruz

To his supporters, Ted Cruz is not just a Republican. He’s a conservative. He’s also the biggest threat to Trump’s nomination.

The Good: Against bank bailouts. Wants to end sugar subsidies and corporate welfare. Not opposed to marijuana legalization. Supports localized education. Wants to eliminate the IRS, HUD, and Departments of Commerce & Energy.

The Bad: Supports the death penalty. Wants to undo the Iran nuclear deal. Opposes amnesty, as a son of an immigrant.

The Ugly: He thinks Planned Parenthood sells the parts of unborn babies, which is factually untrue. He said the SCOTUS ruling on gay marriage “undermined” the Constitution, and led prayers against the ruling beforehand. Wants to defend Judeo-Christian values against “liberal fascism.” Wants to bomb the Middle East until the sand glows in the dark.

Rating: 8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c

3. Marco Rubio

The Republican establishment’s golden boy is falling behind in this race, but if he can win Florida, he may have a chance.

The Good: Opposes economic stimulus packages. Recognizes that regulations help big banks because smaller banks can’t afford to comply with them. Acknowledges corporate influence in government.

The Bad: Opposes gay marriage but accepts it’s the “law of the land.” Opposes amnesty, as a second-generation American. Replace all property taxes with a 2.5% increase in regressive sales taxes.

The Ugly: Rubio has referred to abortion providers as barbarians. Wants to modernize all three legs of the nuclear triad. Thinks being the world’s largest military power makes America safer. Thinks defense spending is the most important federal obligation, and would increase defense spending as president. Thinks we need a coherent, classified interrogation strategy (torture). Supports the NSA’s collection of data to fight terrorism. In America’s fight against ISIL, brushed off civilian casualties as “unfortunate but inevitable.” Led a chant: “Boots on the ground! Boots on the ground!” (okay he didn’t actually do that).

Rating: 8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c

2. Donald Trump

I remember seeing Trump speak in person last July at Freedom Fest in Las Vegas. I don’t know why the hell he was there, but at the time I thought of his speech, and his presidential campaign, as one big joke. He now dominates the Republican primary race, and I’m not laughing anymore.

The Good: He slammed Cheney for starting the Iraq War, and has mocked every other politician in this race as well as made a mockery of the political process in general, which I’ll count as a win for liberty.

The Bad: “Evolved” on abortion, for the worse. He wants to restrict free trade for the same reason as Bernie, and thinks free trade is losing a “competition” between nations. Blames mass shootings on mental health issues.

The Ugly: Thinks police are the most mistreated people in America. Touts racist rhetoric about immigrants raping and killing American citizens to justify the Great Wall of Trump. Makes jokes about women being on their periods when they challenge him (Megan Kelly). When I saw him speak at Freedom Fest, a Mexican-American challenged him on his stance on immigration, and Trump asked if the Mexican government had sent him.

Rating: 8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c

1. Claire Underwood Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton will say whatever it takes to get elected. She has changed her mind on gay marriage, gun control, immigration, mass incarceration, the Iraq War, and the keystone pipeline. Some of these changes have been improvements, some have not, but regardless, we can tell she pays close attention to the polls. Why is she worse than Trump? She has a voting record.

The Good: Pro-choice. Supportive of gay marriage (now). Supports immigration reform (now). Against mass incarceration (now). Against the Iraq War (too late).

The Bad: As First Lady, she supported DOMA. As a Senator, she voted for the Iraq War. She voted to loosen restrictions on cell phone wire-tapping. She voted to authorize and reauthorize the Patriot Act. She co-sponsored a bill to criminalize flag burning. I mean, come on. She supported massive bank bail-outs, claiming that Lehman Brothers and AIG weren’t big banks. She supports the death penalty.

The Ugly: She referred to young black men as “super predators.”She also supported three-strikes laws and the 100-to-1 sentencing disparity for crack powder to cocaine, targeting poor, black communities. She voted to build a fence on the Mexican border to keep out “illegal immigrants” and then bragged about it even after “flip flopping” to support immigration reform. She happily models her foreign policy off of that of her close friend Henry Kissinger. She is the candidate for the military-industrial complex.

Rating: 8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c


Emma Goldman: Woman Suffrage and Feminist Idols (Revisited)

Emma Goldman: Woman Suffrage and Feminist Idols (Revisited)

March 8th is International Women’s Day, a day dedicated to “celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.” I decided to celebrate by honoring one of my favorite women, Emma Goldman. As I have before with Voltairine de Cleyre, I will revisit one of her classic essays from a modern perspective.

As an anarchist, Emma Goldman had no patience for the women’s suffrage movement of her era. In her 1910 essay, “Woman Suffrage,” she called suffrage a fetish and an idol. In her own words, “In her blind devotion woman does not see what people of intellect perceived fifty years ago: that suffrage is an evil, that it has only helped to enslave people, that it has but closed their eyes that they may not see how craftily they were made to submit.” Goldman thought that activists should be focused on radical revolutionary goals, not asking for greater privileges within an inherently unjust system. She viewed suffrage as a distraction, not an end goal.

More than one hundred years later, and 94 years after the ratification of the 19th amendment, was Goldman right?

In short, yes. Legislative changes are lagging indicators of cultural change. Asking an oppressor to grant the oppressed more privileges has never been the most effective strategy to achieve social change. The eventual success of woman suffrage, the great golden idol of the early women’s movement, effectively quashed the women’s movement for fifty years.

By focusing an entire movement on one specific legislative change, we lose sight of our end goal. The right to vote is not an end goal, but a means to further the end goal of equal socio-economic and cultural status for women as for men. By forgetting their end goal and focusing on voting, the early women’s movement set women back immeasurably.

Another, more recent example of a movement losing sight of the end goal is the gay rights movement’s focus on gay marriage. By avidly pursuing legislative changes to marriage laws and forgetting the end goal of equal socio-economic and cultural status, much of the movement subsided when equal marriage was achieved. An activist wrote that the gay rights battle was over for libertarians, as though strides could or should not be made outside of the government. At the altar of marriage equality, we forget to look beyond and take into account the full LGBT+ spectrum, as well as our overarching goals.

Emma wrote of woman suffrage in other countries and its effect on the long-term goal:

The women of Australia and New Zealand can vote, and help make the laws.  Are the labor conditions better there than they are in England, where the suffragettes are making such a heroic struggle? Does there exist a greater motherhood, happier and freer children than in England?  Is woman there no longer considered a mere sex commodity?  Has she emancipated herself from the Puritanical double standard of morality for men and women?

Emma’s observations that her society had a deeply problematic view of women, which voting could not change, did not catch on again until much later, with the rise of second wave feminism. Second wave feminism came and went in a flurry of revolutionary, powerful rhetoric and seemingly lofty, but inspiring goals. Decidedly white-centric and trans and sex-worker exclusionary, second wave feminism was far from perfect, but it was about more than a vote, more than a piece of legislation, it was about rocking the foundations on which society thought of gender.

In the third wave, we can bring forward the end goals and broad focus of second wave feminism, but uplift all women. We should remember that feminism is not all about electing a war criminal woman as president, or passing the Equal Pay Act. Our feminism is about challenging what it means to be a woman or a man and knocking down the idol “gender” that society holds so near and dear. We have the potential to change the world, so let’s take a clue from Emma and leave the idols behind.

Bernie Sanders, Mental Illness Is Not a Joke

Bernie Sanders, Mental Illness Is Not a Joke

On Sunday night in Flint, Michigan, Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders thought it would be cute to hint that the Republican presidential candidates were mentally ill.

“When I’m elected president, we’re going to invest a lot of money into mental health and when you watch these Republican debates you know why we need to invest in mental health,” the Vermont senator joked at the last Democratic debate before the Michigan primary.

Bernie Sanders, mental illness is not a joke. Depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia are not funny buzzwords to hurl at opponents. “Mentally ill” does not mean stupid or incompetent. Feeding into harmful cultural stereotypes about people who think differently to knock other people down is neither progressive nor amusing; it is regressive and cruel.

Sanders claims to care about supporting the mentally ill, as he brags about the money he will spend on mental health as president, but he still thinks mental illness is an appropriate insult.

As I have previously written, “Much of mental illness is socially constructed. By using medical diagnoses to condemn patterns of thinking, we stigmatize and alienate anyone who thinks differently from what the capitalist, patriarchal state will accept.”

To those who are stigmatized and marginalized by harmful characterizations of mental illness, Sanders’ remarks are nothing new. We hear comments just like them every day in the news, from our families and friends, from strangers. Every time we are lumped in with a demagogical presidential hopeful or a mass shooter under the pretense of helping us, we fall further to the margins.

Bernie Sanders, and all those who tote us around to further their political careers: mental illness is not a joke, and joking at the expense of those you claim to care about is the opposite of being an ally.

Bernie Sanders: The Candidate the Establishment Needs

New Hampshire was Feeling the Bern in the Democratic Primary last night. The Associated Press called a win for social democrat Bernie Sanders late Tuesday night, an expected victory, but one of few for the upcoming primary season, as Hillary is largely predicted to win the Democratic nomination. The contentious fight between Clinton and Sanders has reached all-time highs, leading to epic Twitter wars, and even former president Bill Clinton slamming Bernie supporters for being sexist.

Bernie fans (and Bernie himself) flame Clinton for her record on foreign intervention and her ties to Wall Street, claiming she is an abhorrent, flip-flopping, establishment moderate. Bernie’s rise to popularity has been linked to growing discontent with establishment politics, and reminds many of us with libertarian backgrounds of Ron Paul’s race in 2008 and 2012 (albeit more successful).

The Bernie Sanders campaign serves a vital purpose for the Democratic Party: he draws hordes of enthusiastic, passionate supporters, supporters who had lost faith in a broken political system — supporters who will all jump ship to Hillary when Bernie inevitably fails. Because Bernie’s supporters are so passionate and invested in the political system, they will feel they have no option but to vote for the “least bad” candidate once the general election comes around.

Bernie’s campaign is inspiring.

Even as someone who could not be more uninterested in electoral participation, I can understand why Bernie’s supporters flock to the crazy-haired, outspoken senator from Vermont. Bernie is not afraid to stand up to Wall Street, he’s better on war than anyone else running (though far from perfect), he wants to get money out of politics, and he stands up for the “little guy.”

But that’s just it — Bernie is a politician. He is a part of the machine that he claims to despise. And not only that, he is working hard to guarantee a Democratic win in November, not for himself but for Hillary Clinton. Is this a behind-the-scenes conspiracy between him and Clinton? Probably not, but it doesn’t matter.

He’s exactly the candidate that the waning establishment needs to regenerate excitement about electoral politics and win voters for the general election. As much as Sanders supporters despise Clinton now, they will choose the “lesser of two evils” and jump to Hillary

So, Bernie supporters who have no other options, listen up. Politicians are self-interested individuals just like everyone else. They do not care about you. It does not matter who wins in 2016 — Clinton, Trump, Cruz. The Black Lives Matter movement has made leaps and bounds in public awareness and police resistance without endorsing a candidate. You can make such a difference in your community and world by devoting your time and energy to methods of creating change other than electoral politics. Here are some ideas to get you started: organize a protest, host a roundtable discussion, volunteer at your local soup kitchen, start a community garden, videotape police stops, write letters to local prisoners, and do not vote for Hillary Clinton because she is an evil war criminal who will say anythingto get your vote.

This article was originally published on February 10, 2016 at C4SS.org.