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I know that this fact may come to a surprise for some folks around here, but it's absolutely true... I cast my one vote in the Michigan primary for this state's winner, Bernie Sanders.
The reason I did that was quite simple, I pretty much ignored all the reasons his other supporters repeatedly gave to me to vote for him and I voted for him only on my own terms. I figured that's what any conscientious voter should do, cast a vote on their own terms and not anyone else's. Win, lose or draw, the only thing that you need to do is stay true to your own principles.
So be it.
The reasons why I chose Bernie were quite simple... I did the research and calculated that his positions closely mirrored my own. In the same research, I determined that Hillary Clinton came to a close second behind Bernie. To me basically, their positions were more alike than not. Also, Hillary was projected to win the state of Michigan, so rather than feeling as if I needed to triangulate my vote for the winner, since Hillary was projected to win, I cast my vote for the person who shares a closer approximation to my own beliefs.
Again, I didn't have to listen to any of Bernie's fervent supporters to realize this. I already knew it for myself. When you add the fact that I don't like being told what to do, I felt that it wasn't anyone else's business to know who I voted for in the primary. I hate conflict and thus, I never felt it necessary to insert myself into the endless amount of pointless arguments, characterizations and castigations of any particular candidate. Most of that was just plain insufferable behavior to me.
I didn't need it.
When it came to the issues and their suitability for office, I had both pros and cons for both Hillary and Bernie. The cons, none of which were deal breakers. Unlike Republicans, which are nothing but deal breakers. Besides, since I'm putting the premium on keeping a Republican out of the Oval Office come January, I have no qualms voting for our eventual nominee, no matter who it may be. I'm a Democratic partisan, so sue me and I saw no value in saying anything against any of our candidates that I may have to eventually take back in order to still get a Democrat elected.
Now, when it came to choosing Bernie for my primary vote, I did so with the understanding that, if he were elected president, he would come face to face with quandaries where the only options he's left with are either bad or worse. That's just the nature of being the Chief Executive of an imperialist, globe spanning military and social-economic behemoth like The United States of America, a country which has always operated in the world with our own self-interests first and foremost. The nature of the beast also dictates that presidents cannot operate by fiat, they have to juggle and balance and even betray their own constituents from time to time. I know that it wouldn't be long before a President Bernie would have made some dodgy decisions that would have caused all kinds of ruckus with his most die hard believers.
Well, tough shit.
Based on the overall outcome, we call something like that "leadership." And I firmly believe that he'd be rational enough, as President, to set aside whatever principles of his own as necessary to cause the least amount of harm. It's not a pretty story about what Presidents have to do from time to time, but there it is. I'm not egotistical enough to think that I have all the answers, or that I could navigate some policy minefield without blowing everything up. Yes, I know that things are screwed up, but the last thing that I think we should do is screw everything up trying to fix it. Things are the that they are for a reason, Presidents (the good ones) are tasked to find a better way within the limitations that they have, in order to achieve the best possible results.
The great ones transcend boundaries, they create inspirational collective sea change and they shift the overall direction of the country to new horizons. The great ones never do this alone. They need both our help and guidance. Would Bernie have been one of the good ones or the great ones? I have no idea. But unfortunately, if he were given the opportunity either way, much of that would required conflict, cooperation and, sometimes, compromise on his part. Just try not to think of them as dirty words. If we are immersed in and bound by an economic system based on political, social and financial leverage, what else do you expect would happen?
Now, I guess you're wondering if I felt that my support for Bernie was done in the framework of me seeing him as some kind of cause célèbre or prime mover. The answer is no. Bernie, for me, basically was a candidate who shared my own beliefs about how government and society should function, in spite of how it actually functions. Regardless, despite any best efforts that he would put forward while in office, I never felt that he could make any changes all on his own because of the limitations therein. As I said before, my first priority was keeping the GOP from retaking the White House. All other considerations came secondary.
The main reason why I didn't think that Bernie was the force behind a movement was because I didn't see a movement that was independent of Bernie. Movements, at least worthwhile ones, are never about personalities at the top, they're about all the people at the bottom. I could not, in good conscience envision Bernie from his supporters. The thing is, that if his supporters are going to build a viable movement and inflict it on the status quo, it's going to have to be done without the guidance of it's sole leader. Otherwise, that leader is nothing but a figurehead and the movement is nothing more than a sham. I'm not saying that the support for Bernie was a sham, it was quite real. I'm saying that once Bernie were to become President, the people who put him into the White House would have an entirely new set of priorities to maintain and promote, some of which may come in direct opposition of the one person who would then represent just about everything they're fighting against.
The thing is that masses of people, as a group, are not emotionally mature and intellectually savvy enough to handle that kind of conflict of interests. Individuals, perhaps, but not a political mob. Me, I'm only impressed by results. I've lived in this country long enough to know that Americans rarely commit to some kind of general self-improvement as a first resort. We think that we’re too good to better ourselves, we’re the best and number one, and we’re especially too wonderful to adopt best practices from socialist hellholes.
Change is for losers and much to scary to try without a net.
But then, it’s always some last resort that we force upon ourselves, because it's in our nature to balance all of our myriads of self-interest against the common good only until we exhaust the last possible opportunity and then some. It's like disaster is always around the corner, along with the wolves in our fold who prey on us. We're too motivated by fears and prejudices and profit motives at this stage in the game. And I fear that before it gets exponentially better, there's always some gaggle of assholes who are willing to take us to the precipice and delight themselves in kicking someone over the edge, even if they have to handcuff themselves to their own victims.
Does that make me cynical? I don't think so, I think that it makes me a pragmatist. And yes, I know that dreamers hate pragmatists. It looks like we're always doing our best to harsh the mellows of some dreamers. Oh, well.
The secondary issue for which I had qualms about a Bernie presidency is this, and again, it's not about Bernie, it's about the system. OK, if we put him in the White House, but we fail to give him the Congress that he needs to fully implement any of his policies, what then? Also, he has to contend with the massively lopsided upward distribution of wealth holders, the vast majority who see him as some kind of crazed loon, a right-ward leaning judiciary and decades of semi-fascist precedent, a corporate owned agit-prop apparatus that we call "the media," a disaffected and repressed voter base, and a country where half the population is either stone cold ignorant, batshit crazy or both.
What's your movement going to do about that... Build trebuchets and guillotines and roam the streets with torches and pitchforks, looking for the ruling class to demolish? Of course, not. I don't want to hear about destroying the system, only to rebuild it, because then again, you're going to run headlong into a problem of not causing the least about of harm. Unless we're all willing to topple this house of capitalist and imperialist cards that each and everyone of us are invested in, in one way or the other, it's not going to happen that way. The only people who talk that nonsense are the same people who are protected from feeling the pain of ordinary people.
Now that everything points to Hillary Clinton becoming our next President, we have to consider what we have to do next. Well, unless that answer is keeping a certain bigoted, small handed, serial marrying, truth deficient, megalomaniacal oompa-loompa out of the White House, I don't want to hear it. I really don't. It's not about your movement for now. The movement is going to have to operate independently of the general election cycle and it shouldn't be based on a single candidate, any candidate. How this happens, it's not my concern right now.
I will say, however, that I would love for the people who want to build a new American Renaissance to surprise me. Just do it in a way to keep GOPers from fucking it all up. Pretty please.
Lastly, and most importantly for me, my chief concern right now and for the coming future is the total dismantling of the systematic American white supremacist infrastructure. I made of point of not connecting anything I've written in this piece about the candidates to that issue, because it has always operated independently of the politics. Whether or not Bernie or Hillary addressed white supremacy while on the stump, again it's not like I'm naive enough to think that either one of them would have the power to abolish systematic white supremacy even if they wanted to. It's not about them, it's about us.
So, the party's kinda over, everyone. It's time to otherwise get the work... We have some primaries and a convention to seal the final deal and we have an election to win in November.
The nation is depending on all of us to drag the rest of their sorry, ungrateful asses along, kicking and screaming every god damned inch of the way.
Posted by MrScorpio | Fri Jun 10, 2016, 09:55 PM (25 replies)
Black students are disproportionately suspended from school when they’re as young as three-years-old, according to new data released by the Department of Education this week, suggesting that the school-to-prison pipeline is set in motion even earlier than elementary school.
Despite fewer black children being enrolled in preschool, they’re 3.6 times more likely to be suspended from school as white children, the report found: http://fusion.net/story/310792/black-students-school-suspension/
Posted by MrScorpio | Wed Jun 8, 2016, 10:25 AM (12 replies)
White supremacy and anti-black bias, we're systematically programming these into our national psyche. The media, ordinary people, the education infrastructure, it's all woven into the fabric of how we're supposed to define reality.
This Guy’s Simple Google Trick Sums Up Racism In A Nutshell
Posted by MrScorpio | Wed Jun 8, 2016, 10:15 AM (3 replies)
by James Hoover / June 5th, 2016
As suggested by Jane Mayer in Dark Money, never have two members of one American family spent so much time and money to control our democracy, and in their effort, foster economic damage for most Americans. The guilty parties: Charles and David Koch. It is also likely that self-delusion and insularity from the less-fortunate have rendered both impervious to any recognition that their course is detrimental to the well-being of a great majority of Americans.
Ironically, “well-being” seems to be an overblown term Charles has used to describe his goal for the good of all Americans, claiming that free-market ideology naturally brings well-being to the many through Adam Smith’s laissez-faire economy. But the Koch alibi for selfishness and self-interest totally ignores Adam Smith’s distrust of greed and monopoly and the pronouncements of an early defender of democracy, John Locke, who cited a moral imperative for the common good.
A war cry in the summer of 1971 was the Powell Manifesto. It was Lewis Powell’s guidelines, a total antithesis of the Communist Manifesto, all for a radical right-wing shutdown of a rising tide of liberalism. He urged America’s capitalists to wage “guerilla warfare” against a growing progressive movement. Specifics of his manifesto called for huge financial backing for extreme cultural changes from the bottom up: planting conservative ideas in books, television, newspapers, education, religion, the arts, sciences and politicians – penetrating all avenues of communication, relentlessly repeated.
To add insult to injury, much of this is still done with taxpayer subsidies. Among the very rich, private, tax-exempt foundations have been fleecing taxpayers for ages. The law requires them to donate to charities in exchange for tax deductions. The only problem is that the rich control the foundations and determine the charity, often a disguised cause that actually filters into schemes that help the rich. Today many are called 501(c)’s (“social welfare”) groups, actually used only for only the welfare of the very rich.
Posted by MrScorpio | Wed Jun 8, 2016, 10:03 AM (4 replies)
After Being Rejected For A Booking Because Of His Race This Black Tech Entrepreneur Started Noirebnb
A study conducted by the Harvard Business School reveals that travelers with distinctly “black sounding” names are significantly more likely to have their requests rejected when trying to book accommodations on Airbnb than travelers with “white sounding” names. Rohan Gilkes, a black traveler and tech entreprenur who experienced overt discrimination when trying to use Airbnb has created Noirebnb, in hopes of offering black travelers a safe, inclusive alternative.
Back in April, Black users used the hashtag #AirbnbWhileBlack to relay stories of rejected bookings and questionable interactions, while trying to use the platform to reserve a place to stay. In early May, one user shared his story of being rejected by a host on Airbnb and then being accepted for the same booking, when he created 2 new profiles for a fictional white users.
We're not going to let white supremacy hold back black excellence, now are we?
Posted by MrScorpio | Wed Jun 8, 2016, 08:32 AM (5 replies)
These ‘so-called United States of America’ has always played favorites. Even though many have seen as well as witnessed some of the strides people from all walks of life have accomplished, there is without a doubt the notion that ‘white male privilege’ is still dominant. Let me say it this way. Whenever ‘white male privilege’ gets to flex its muscle, either financially, politically, and in the recent case of Brock Turner, judicially, people are reminded that we have a long way to go to see justice and equality.
The recent sentencing of Brock Turner to only six months in jail by Judge Michael Aaron Persky shows how corrupt our criminal justice system continues to be. Think about it for a moment. Black and Brown people are convicted and sentenced to longer sentences for much lesser crimes than the sentence Turner received after being convicted of rape. There is no justification towards the leniency Judge Persky handed down to this rapist. A letter from the father stating his son had no prior legal troubles contributed to the judge’s decision. In addition to that, it should be noted that Judge Persky was probably looking out for a fellow Stanford student. How deep is alumni loyalty to a fellow student who commits the crime of rape and gets off with a slap on the wrist?
America needs to wake up and address the disparity of handing down prison sentences. No one is so naive as to think there isn’t any difference in how Blacks, Whites, and Latinos are sentenced. Those who have the financial means are afforded the best attorney’s and resources while those who don’t have the financial means or should I say (the have not’s) are stuck with insufficient representation.
What’s so troubling in this ‘white male privilege’ case of Brock Turner is that the victim has to relive her nightmare. Often times, the ‘white male privilege’ syndrome doesn’t care who it/he hurts. It’s all about self-gratification. Let’s be real for a second. ‘White male privilege’ is alive and well. Because it’s alive and well, it will crush, degrade, and demean anyone and anything that gets in its way. As soon as those who are not privileged to that upper echelon come to grips with this idea, perhaps change will happen.
Posted by MrScorpio | Wed Jun 8, 2016, 04:51 AM (8 replies)
Wrongfully Convicted Black Man Who Spent 5 Years in Prison for Rape Comments on White Student’s Lenient Sentence
Brian Banks was a high school football star with his whole life ahead of him when a false rape allegation landed him in prison. Banks, who has since been cleared of the charges, can be counted among those who are outraged by the lenient sentence handed down to a white swimmer convicted of rape.
Stanford swimmer Brock Turner was by all accounts an all-American student before he was convicted of sexual assault. Turner had been facing up to 14 years in prison, with prosecutors requesting he be sentenced to six.
Judge Aaron Persky, however, dismissed both the sentencing guidelines and the recommendations of prosecutors in sentencing 23-year-old Turner to six months in prison for assaulting a female student behind a dumpster. It is likely that with good behavior, Turner will be out of jail in only six months.
“I would say it’s a case of privilege,” Banks said. “It seems like the judge based his decision on lifestyle. He’s lived such a good life and has never experienced anything serious in his life that would prepare him for prison. He was sheltered so much he wouldn’t be able to survive prison. What about the kid who has nothing, he struggles to eat, struggles to get a fair education? What about the kid who has no choice who he is born to and has drug-addicted parents or a non-parent household? Where is the consideration for them when they commit a crime?”
Although the judge was empathetic to Turner, Banks said the judge in his case couldn’t have cared less.
Posted by MrScorpio | Wed Jun 8, 2016, 04:44 AM (9 replies)
Posted by MrScorpio | Tue Jun 7, 2016, 02:39 PM (7 replies)