Friday, April 29, 2016

Corruption in Politics: The Root of it All

Ever find yourself overwhelmed by the state of the world and wonder how we got here? Facing so many problems it seems impossible to focus your energy on just ONE?

I have and I believe this feeling is at the heart of the Bernie movement.

We’ve hit a state of crisis, not just in our country, but globally. Issues like climate change, the refugee crisis, polluted water and air, mass shootings, fracking, toxic waste, homelessness, hate crimes, discrimination against lgbt people, out of control police shooting black people, devastating impact of industry on our environment, and rampant (steadily increasing) poverty, just to name a few.

At the core of it all is one thing; A corrupt political system.

There is a system in place, an elected government, a CONSTITUTION, that is there specifically for the benefit of the American people.

“in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America”

I don’t know about you, but I think they have FAILED MISERABLY at carrying out their duty upholding the Constitutional rights of the American people and our future generations.

Their actions have been motivated, not by justice, truth, and the best interest of the people, but instead by incentives from large corporations that keep the wealth in a (very) small group of individuals that benefit monetarily while the state of our nation, not to mention our environment, suffers catastrophic and sometimes irreversible damage.

Every issue facing our nation can be linked directly to a government body that has failed to implement productive policies for the people, instead promoting their own personal financial interests.

Perhaps we were a great nation at some point. A global leader. But now we are nothing shy of an embarrassment.

Our so called leaders have lost their sense of humanity (if they ever had it), and replaced it with greed. They have exchanged integrity for a payout, livelihoods for a boost in personal wealth. An unnecessary financial boost when you compare the average salary and benefits for members of the house and senate (174,000 plus benefits) to the average salary of the average American (overall average of 53,000 with over 14% of Americans below the poverty line: >24,000 for a family of 4!).

The scope of ignorance and greed is hardly a mistake. They clearly have access to the data, statistics, and scientific facts and still take a payout to work intentionally against the health of the people and environment.
At some point the history of ‘mistakes’ adds up to a character flaw and a continuous lapse in judgement that can’t be excused by the willingness to admit, in hindsight, that you were wrong.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough. We don’t have time for business as usual. The answer to addressing the catastrophic problems we face is to get involved in the political movement and demand that things change. It is the responsibility of our government to protect the people, ALL the people, the economy, and the environment, not to use taxpayer dollars to abuse their position for personal financial gain.

It’s time to demand they do their jobs. It’s not just about the presidential election. It really is about a political revolution. One we desperately need.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

No, We Aren't Dropping Out!

The pressure is real!

And it’s only fueling the fire of the Bernie movement.

After the most recent ‘wins’ for HRC in northeastern states, Bernie Sanders and his millions of supporters are being called to get in line to support Hillary. The game is over, they tell us. Go home. Bernie is being asked to step aside and throw his support, and encourage his supporters, to back Hillary Clinton.

As much as I full heartedly support the concept of “Democratic Unity” in a standard election between two status quo candidates, it won’t happen this time and for damn good reason.

Bernie is under ruthless attack as if his refusal to step aside for the ‘obvious winner’ is standing in the way of progress. Quite the contrary, his refusal to step aside to allow a corrupt process to run it’s course is exactly the kind of progress we need in this country. A politician listening to the will of millions of people who are demanding the change he represents.

Regardless of whether Sanders supports Clinton if she wins the nomination, the people supporting Sanders are highly unlikely to support her in great enough numbers to elect her to the presidency. The people who support Bernie Sanders mobilized because they want something other than the status quo. Many of these people will NOT vote for Hillary, she is the embodiment of the fundamental system corruption they are fighting against. Many will vote independent, or they won't vote at all. So why didn’t Bernie run on an independent ticket?

If Bernie had run on an independent platform, it is highly unlikely he would have created the massive movement he has. By running on the democratic ticket, he not only unveiled the massive flaws and corruption in our “democratic” process, he also put his agenda, and the agenda of the people on a mainstream platform where it would be heard in a way it wouldn't have been if he had run as an independent.

It worked.

Despite the mainstream media’s valiant attempt to shut him out, his success has been remarkable to say the least. We don't honestly know the true extent of his success because the mainstream media has cockblocked him through the entire process. We do know that he has gone from being virtually unknown to the American public, to bringing out record breaking crowds of supporters.

It’s fact that 43% of Americans are now registered as independents and not allowed to participate in many primaries. It is a fact that Bernie has stayed in stride with Hillary against all odds, catching up to her in the polls from her staggering 60 point lead in 11 months. It is also a fact that we will very likely see a contested convention (of which history shows could have a positive outcome for Bernie, or at least the party). Voter suppression has been rampant and the people are finally paying attention.

The last thing in the world we are prepared to do is accept that this game is OVER because the media told us so.

The media is full of… (insert expletive here) their own agenda. They have proven this repeatedly by reporting propaganda over facts again and again and again. I'm not saying Bernie will necessary get the nomination, or even become president. I am saying that we don't yet KNOW how it will turn out, and the establishment and mainstream media alike are pushing for us all to accept defeat and go home which is exactly why we won’t.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Americans Under Attack

At this stage of the primary fiasco, no one is surprised by the Bernie Sanders blackout on mainstream media.

I suppose it was only a matter of time before the social media platform was dragged onto the political battlefield.

Well it’s happened.

This primary season, social media has exploded into the forefront of the political arena as an independent news source for the people as traditional media outlets prove biased and unreliable.

True to the classic pathetic form of a status quo politician, Hillary Clinton launched an attack, hiring a million dollars worth of Social Media trolls to shut down the voices of tens of thousands of American people who support Bernie Sanders on facebook.  

I’ve never seen a political race that didn’t get heated, and underhanded, but I find this particular move downright nauseating. Maybe it’s just me, but I somehow expect better decisions and behavior from the people running for the highest seat of government our country has to offer.

Hiring trolls to use any means necessary, including posting child pornography on the community pages of Bernie Sanders, is downright despicable, and unforgivable behavior for anyone, especially from someone pursuing the presidency.

Aside from the fact that Hillary is supposedly for the people, and the blatant hypocrisy of an attack on social media while claiming to be a supporter of net neutrality, she continues to further alienate the people by displaying the very behaviors people are mobilizing to change.

Again and again she misses the point; it’s not as simple as winning by any means necessary, it’s about integrity, the good of the country, and the voice of the people.

If her goal was to prove that she can play a dirty political game alongside the big boys, then well done, Hillary. Mission accomplished. You managed to put yourself on the stage with just as little integrity as so many political clowns before you. In fact, this latest tactic is right up there with the Trump approach. If you don’t like them, shut them down, shut them up, and build a bigger wall. I guess Clinton and Trump have more in common than a tax haven address in Delaware after all.

Considering that these kind of antics are a considerable part of what Bernie supporters are fighting against, it seems painfully obvious that using underhanded, not to mention disgusting, and despicable behavior to silence the voices of the opposing party is a counterproductive move.

We have a massive movement of people fighting the establishment and politics as usual; angry that our voices are continuously being shut out. Instead of using her position to de-escalate an already heated political climate, Hillary continues to exacerbate the problem by proving the validity of our concerns about, not just her integrity as a politician, but the bigger picture of an entirely rigged system.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Surprise! The System is Still Rigged!

Okay, all you Berners out there. We didn’t win New York. Guess what? Obama didn’t win New York either!

Reports of voter suppression and voting machine issues in Yesterday’s primary are, not surprisingly but remarkably, similar to the voting issues in the 2008 primaries between Obama and Hillary.

There are huge (Yuge!) numbers of people involved in this year’s primary for the first time and while the harsh reality of our failing democracy is new to many, it is not new at all.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m pissed off too!

The whole point of this political revolution is to change the very system we are trying to use to reclaim our democracy! It’s true, the system is rigged, but that didn’t happen overnight. It’s been happening for decades while we’ve been too preoccupied with American Idol and reality TV to care. Changing an established corrupt system from within the system when the people in power are benefiting from the corruption is going to take time, and grit. The establishment is pulling out all the stops and using every trick in the book to maintain control because they BENEFIT from the system the way it is.

Mainstream media this morning, in a surprise to absolutely no one, blasted the Victories of Hillary over the airwaves as if this were the end game and she has unequivocally won the nomination. Don’t we know by now that mainstream media is promoting their own agenda without regard to integrity or, god forbid, factual information?

Let them play their games and tout their lies. The people are paying attention now. The curtains have been pulled back to reveal the reality of our flawed system. The establishment wants us to think there is no point in showing up, that we have already lost, but it has never been more important to get back up and brush the figurative dirt from our pant legs.

This game isn’t even close to over.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Democracy is Dead

As the New York Primaries come to a close, it’s difficult to call it anything short of a disgrace.

A system that intentionally undermines the vote of the people can not be called a democracy.

60,000 democratic voters “purged” from the system in Brooklyn alone in the last 5 months. 60,000! Polling places changed at the last minute, “glitches” in the voting machines that don’t allow a vote for Bernie Sanders, voting machines changing a Sanders vote to a Clinton vote, and democratic voter registrations mysteriously changed to independent voter status.  Not to mention redistricting, voter ID laws, superdelegates, and the fact that both republican and democratic parties are actually privately owned corporations (the democratic party contributes to HRC’s campaign).

I’ve got news for you; a democracy that suppresses and manipulates the vote of the people is NOT A DEMOCRACY.

A whopping 48,000 people showed up in support of Bernie Sanders in New York April 16th, 2016, outshining Obama’s astounding 24,000 attendees in 2008. There is no denying the phenomenal support there is for Sanders.

Unfortunately, there is also no denying the fact that the Democratic party is doing everything in their power to steal this election, not just from Bernie Sanders, but from the American People.

The American people including many underrepresented demographics are mobilized to take part in the political process in historically significant numbers this election. They are showing up to voice their support for their chosen candidate by voting, some for the very first time, and they are being met with a disillusioning truth about the sorry state of our government.

Disappointingly, the mainstream media has refused to cover the real news focusing instead on shoving their electoral favorite down our figurative throats, and the state of our nation becomes painfully and undeniably clearer as the party’s rig the primaries, and suppress the vote of the people to promote their own agenda state after state.

I’m not the first to say it, but this nation is ripe for a revolution and, in my opinion, it’s about time!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

“The Moral thing to Do” The disconnect between Big Money and the People

In the latest display of the People versus Big Money, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam called on striking Verizon employees to, “look at the facts” and “partner with us in creating a sustainable, competitive, and profitable company.”

By “partner with us” I can only assume he means, “sit back while we move your jobs out of the country and cut your benefits while the exec’s continue to rake in huge bonuses on top of million dollar salaries.”

Is this guy for real?

McAdam, who, I might point out, made a whopping 18.3 MILLION dollars last year, thinks the people protesting to keep their jobs and benefits need a reality check?

While I agree with McAdam’s that changing times call for change in business, the company shows profits up nine percent from last year. True, this is down slightly from the prior years profit margin, but it’s still a significant profit that awarded McAdam a hefty chunk of change. Furthermore, McAdams argues that landlines and DSL are in decline, which is true, but he doesn’t mention that Verizon’s FiOS Broadband business continues to grow steadily and makes up an increasingly large percentage of the wireline business.

McAdams even writes, “We’re generating the profitable growth that allows us to invest in America.” so tell me again why the workers who contributed to the success of the company should be called upon to make sacrifices while the CEO makes millions off of this profitable growth?

The point is, while Verizon may be paying taxes and providing jobs for Americans, there is no denying the disconnect between the 1% and the working class in our country. A profitable company with healthy profit margins should be rewarding more than just the company executives.

When Bernie Sanders refers to big corporations “destroying the moral fabric of this country,” He’s right.

The “moral fabric” of this country is based on corporations having integrity and loyalty to the workers who made it possible to succeed. Instead we have corporations who call upon their workers to make greater and greater sacrifices even as the top tier executives reap financial benefits unfathomable to the average American.

McAdams is right about one thing, though. It is dangerous when “rhetoric becomes disconnected from reality.” But in this case it isn’t Bernie Sanders or the Verizon employees who need to be called to task.

"Let it Rain" by Christian Glover

This is not my song, but I wish it was. 
It say's so much about the state of our country and the motivation I feel 
to change in this ridiculous world we live in. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

More than a Political Movement

For decades, economic struggles have put exorbitant pressure on the American people. We have grown increasingly frustrated with our government in the face of our hardship and yet, fewer people have bothered to get involved in the political process. To be sure, there is a lack of education in regards to politics that contributes to this lack of involvement. More than that, there are a great number of (particularly young) people, who have disengaged from the political process -- disgusted and disillusioned by the appalling lack of ability of our elected government to do, well, pretty much anything. Our stress levels rise as we struggle to make ends meet, we're frustrated watching the deteriorating state of our environment, and we're downright disgusted by this greedy, ignoramus of a government dictating our future by a vote in the Senate instead of by scientific facts. Until recently, we've been presented with one status quo candidate after another, all proposing the same 'solutions' that seem to do nothing but increase the wealth of the lucky few. Then this guy, Bernie Sanders, started campaigning. As it turns out, he's been talking about these critical issues for THIRTY YEARS! He's been on the right side of history his whole career, talking about issues every other politician deemed as unimportant. Issues that today, are front and center in the political arena. Bernie Sanders is doing something remarkable for the people. He is putting words and actions to the economic stress and political frustration we have been feeling for decades. He is acknowledging what we have suspected for years: That our political structure is corrupt, that the trickle down economic strategy we've been fed for decades isn't working, and that the struggle, OUR STRUGGLE, is real. No doubt Bernie Sanders inspired a profound political movement, but he has done much more than that. He has inspired an educational movement. He has inspired people to educate themselves about the political system, to educate each other, and to believe, not in a rigged system, but in our ability to reclaim the system to make it work the way it was intended to. We may not have a government on our side. We certainly don't have a mainstream media source on our side. We do have this one guy, Bernie Sanders, who has spent his entire career on the side of the people.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The "Us vs Them" Paradox and the Battle to be Right

In this heated and sometimes ridiculous climate of the political debate, I’m not the only one struggling with the “Us vs Them” paradox. I find myself in the company of many, blood boiling at the blatant ignorance and apparent stupidity coming from the “other” side.

The trouble is, “they” are thinking the same thing about “us.”

The fact is that the truth for each individual is the truth regardless of whether it is actually true. Often, if we believe it, we accept it as true regardless of reality. We are so largely driven by our perception of reality as opposed to actual reality, that sometimes it’s challenging to distinguish the difference.

The bottom line is, it’s terrifying to face facts that make us fearful and insecure in the world, so we cling to our false perceptions and defend them, fight for them, sometimes even to the death. We see this happening, not just in our very own joke of a political race, but all over the world.

Regardless of whether “they” are ignorant, ill informed, bigoted turds, the fact remains that we have a choice in how we behave in the face of our own anger. If we attack “them” in retribution, we become “them.” The same appalling behaviors we see in them become our own.

The historic default path is to battle it out to prove which is the stronger, better, and more righteous group.

Isn’t it time we do better than that?

Bernie Sanders and the people who have rallied along side him, are making strides to leave the figurative pissing contest behind in a massive attempt to create a productive political structure focused on progressive behavior.

Don’t get me wrong, we’re still mad as hell. But what we are doing with our anger is a productive mobilization to take back our democracy, be our own voice, take social media by storm, educate ourselves and each other about how the political structure actually works (or rather doesn’t work), and getting involved to make the changes, one painstakingly small step at a time, that will ultimately change the world we live in for the better.

Now this, is progress.

Democracy is a Myth

For decades we, the American people, have remained tragically docile at the expense of what used to be a democracy. Many people have dropped out of the process altogether believing that their efforts are futile and being involved won’t make a difference. Perhaps this has been true in prior elections when our options were disconcertingly limited to voting for the status quo. This is not the case in this election.

No presidential candidate has inspired and mobilized people into action more than Bernie Sanders. He has inspired us to do more than vote. He has inspired a movement of engaged, educated people to become active participants in, not just the political process, but in being an active part of global change. Bernie Sanders inspires us to transform our anger and disappointment into profound determination to pursue the democracy that is rightfully ours. To be a part of the political process, not through violence and intolerance, but through inclusion and tolerance.

Our democracy is not a lost cause. Even with the intense polarization between political parties, and a sadly corrupt political structure, people still have power. When we show up in great enough numbers, we cannot be ignored and when we create a motivated community united in a cause, we cannot be stopped.

The unfortunate foundation of our political platform will only change if we get motivated enough to change it.

I believe we are.

Voting may seem like a small step in comparison to the epic hill we have yet to climb, but I’m proud to see such passion, dedication, and integrity in the people who, despite the ugliness of this political race, are standing up to demand that our country and the political process be returned to us.

It’s our right.

It’s our country.

Get out there and vote.