Thursday, March 24, 2016

Why This Feminist Supports Bernie Sanders

As a feminist (I'm already old enough at 53 to be considered a third-wave, old-timey one), I want to throw my support behind Hillary Clinton. I have plenty of friends I respect and admire who have done so. It's not so much that they're "voting with their vaginas"--what an expression! Are they supposedly squatting over their ballots and marking them with a well-aimed "plop?"--but that they're stoked by the possibilities.

Finally, a woman who is practical and wants to get things done having a real shot at the Presidency. Finally, a woman with experience as both a New York Senator and a Secretary of State who may break the political glass ceiling. She's tough when she has to be but not so stubborn in her positions that she can't change her mind if convinced. She holds her own in a debate and has all the qualities of a true leader, one who doesn't play to our baser emotions like fear or anger. She inspires.

I get why my friends, both male and female, find her appealing.

But, I can't find her that appealing, and I would say the same thing regardless of her sex. Simply put, she holds some positions with which I strongly disagree. I'll list them, then back up and explain them all. First among these is that she's a hawk, amply proven by her tenure as Secretary of State and her recent speech to AIPAC. Second is that she's way too comfortable taking money from banks and corporate interests and/or supremely opaque SuperPACs (though they can't donate to her directly, SuperPACs, of course, amount to what I'll call a "financial endorsement"), and though she insists she is not influenced by such money, her stances (or lack of a stance) on certain issues such as free trade and with a track record of holding hands with companies like Wal-mart or Monsanto, I doubt it. She's very much a political creature of the sort the American public is presently rebelling against. Perhaps I just question her sincerity. Actually, I do think she's sincere about some goals--I just think that if that sincerity is stacked up against her greater loyalty to banks and big business, she's going to choose the people funding her every time, unless it "polls well" for her to not do that.

All right, so let me back up now and explain.

First, she's so hawkish she might as well be a neocon. As Secretary of State, she pushed for American involvement in Libya; then we basically abandoned the country as soon as Gaddafi was taken out, leaving that country's people more vulnerable to radicalization and terrorist takeover. (Did we learn nothing from Iraq?) Apparently not, because when Clinton cast her vote in the Senate to support the Iraq War, she referred to it as "a business opportunity." And so it was, to the military-industrial complex and particularly to companies such as Halliburton and other contractors. Not so much for the soldiers we sent over there. Has she changed? She now says voting for that war was a mistake, but just the other day at AIPAC, she made it abundantly clear that she still sees wars as business opportunities. She goes on and on in her speech about the development of even more powerful weapons and then gives props to a "culture of innovation" between places like Silicon Valley and Israeli tech companies and entrepreneurs. Now, the context here is cybersecurity, energy security, and water security, and if you've been paying even a smidgen of attention to what's been happening to the people of Gaza, this should worry you.

And then there's Honduras. She also doesn't seem to mind torture all that much or the surveillance of American citizens (never mind human rights and civil rights) if such things will bring the big, bad evil people to heel. There's a good analysis of her track record in Salon today, here.

As for big money, some will say, "Look, that's just how politics are nowadays. You need the SuperPACs to compete with the other candidates, or you put yourself at a severe disadvantage." Well, that's like athletes who take steroids saying they need to take them because everybody else is, so it's the only way to stay competitive. No, Clinton's own past makes it clear whose side she's on at the end of the day. She's served on the Board of Directors at Walmart (probably the corporation most notorious for its practice of paying workers so little they actually qualify for government aid). She favors GMOs and has ties to big agribusiness, ie, Monsanto. When Bill Clinton pushed NAFTA on through, Hillary was for it. It has resulted in the loss of American production jobs to other countries that pay exploitation wages and created an embarrassing trade deficit. Until recently, Clinton was for the TPP as well, until its unpopularity among voters caused her to flip. Maybe. I suppose her sincerity on that depends on how much you trust her, but, for me, all the objective evidence points to Clinton being very much one more candidate for the corporations, not for the people. Frankly, Wall Street's own admission over a year ago that they'd be fine with a Clinton Presidency rather clinches the argument. (Here is one article that discusses this, if you're interested.)

And as Elizabeth Warren has described, Clinton will stab people in the back, including women, in the name of political expediency and assisting, well, her big donors.  Don't take my word for it. Watch:

So, look. In a country where the gap between the rich and the poor has gotten so wide--as in Gilded Age wide, the excesses of which caused the Great Depression--and a once-thriving middle class shrinks even more and more, we don't need any more representatives of corporations sitting in government. The people need representation for a change. The 2008 recession is still going on for all but the wealthy, and this is why "indicators" such as more money being loaned or the stock market booming mean nothing to most of us. Unemployment may be lower, but how many of these "new" jobs are crappy part-time minimum wage jobs without benefits? Washington has completely lost touch with what daily lives are like for the majority of people living in this country.

We need a candidate for the people, not a candidate for the status quo, banks, multinational corporations, and interminable wars.

And this is why this feminist supports Bernie Sanders for President.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Not Too Late to #FeeltheBern--Don't Let The Spin Psych You Out

As we now move away from mostly the South (they're typically red states anyway), we can expect primary and caucus results to be different, if the voting elsewhere in the country is any indication of a larger trend. There's no reason to think not, so I suppose that might explain why the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party insiders are ramping up the "Bernie can't win, so he should concede now" chatter. 

Ah, politics. Such a nasty game. 

But, let's do a reality check and look at some actual numbers. As of this writing, Clinton has 1,132 pledged delegates based on voting. Sanders has 818. That's certainly not anything for Sanders supporters to be alarmed about, considering that there are still 2,394 unpledged delegates to be earned (since those states haven't even voted yet). Let's not call the football game at halftime.

But, then some people are bringing up the specter of the super delegates. Now, it should be enough to know that super delegates are referred to as "unpledged" until they actually cast their votes at the Democratic convention (in June). It is also true that they can, and have historically, flipped their votes from their original commitment. For example, sometimes super delegates change their votes based on the popular vote in their states.

In any case, there are a total of 715 super delegates. Clinton claims that 465 of them are hers, have always been hers, & never shall they part. Setting aside the fact that this is untrue, at the moment Sanders has 24 "unpledged" delegates, and that leaves 225 super delegates who are not even remotely committed in any way. (There's an oddball one left over who committed early to Martin O'Malley, who is now out of the race. I doubt that delegate will abstain at the convention.)

Bigger crowds than Trump's, and certainly more than Clinton's.
Meanwhile, the mountain states and the West Coast, where Sanders is much more popular than he is in the South, haven't yet voted, and a state like California sure has a lot of delegates. Like, more than 400 the last time I looked it up.

The bottom line is this: Don't believe for one minute the "spin" intended to make you think Bernie is already a lost cause. That's meant to psych you out. Instead, get out there and vote! YOU must speak first at the ballot box. Voting is your right, and it is your privilege. And if you think your vote doesn't matter, erase that thought from your mind. Clinton recently won Missouri by under a thousand votes. Your vote does matter, tremendously.

Let us work together for real change instead of apathetically handing off our collective power to the status quo; the same ole-same ole; the second verse, same as the first.

Read Sanders' stances on the issues here and how he intends to pay for his programs here

Monday, March 14, 2016

Why I #FeeltheBern... And So Should You

I'm tired of the politics of division and obstruction, the politics of favoring the 1% over everybody else in this country.

And, if you hesitate because you fear Bernie is some kind of Commie socialist, I invite you to educate yourself further on the matter. Give this speech a listen. I'm not exaggerating when I say that at least a dozen people I know who are lifetime Republicans are saying to me they will vote for Bernie over Trump (too crazy) or Clinton (too status quo). Bernie reminds them of FDR, not of Stalin or Mao or whoever the spin tries to make him out to be.

He's a capitalist, just like you and me. BUT, he does believe that our tax dollars should not continue being wasted on wars and all the breaks being given to the corporate masters and banks presently dictating government policy. Our tax dollars should be used to work for us--we, the people, ALL of the people. It's our money, after all.

Join us so we can all work together! And get out to the polls and vote!