My grandmother used to say..

“Democrats fall in love. Republicans fall in line.”

I’m not sure what my grandmother would say about the chaos that makes up our political landscape in 2017, but I think it would be safe to rephrase Grandma’s words as..

“The left thrives on passion. The right thrives on conformity.”

Being a die-hard advocate for Bernie Sanders and the mantra he espouses, I have repeatedly been told that my group and I are “just like the Tea Party”. These words are most certainly meant as an insult, but before we dismiss this assessment out of hand, let’s examine what we have in common with these right-wing radicals and let’s discard all that we do not stand for and use only what was effective for them.

Consider this article a blueprint for political activism.

How can we drag our government, kicking and screaming, to the left?

What tactics made The Tea Party so successful?

And what were the mistakes that ultimately destroyed their movement?

Let’s examine, take what we want and leave out the racism and hatred synonymous with The Tea Party.

teaparty

The Tea Party Was Completely Dissatisfied with their Republican Leadership

A movement needs people and the post 9/11 GOP was simply not conservative enough for millions of Republicans. This dissatisfaction provided fertile ground for the growth of a new populist movement that took the GOP by storm.

Much in the same fashion, the left has grown sick and tired of corporate Democrats who masquerade themselves as representatives for the working class, while cashing huge checks from the large corporations that dictate their policy decisions.

The left sent a resounding message to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic establishment in 2016 by refusing to vote for her, even against a fascist candidate that the Democratic Party intentionally elevated in order to ensure victory for their corporate-owned nominee.

Just like The Tea Party, our movement is issue based and not set up to follow a single candidate. We are the millions who stood up alongside Bernie Sanders, to fight against tyranny, but these same people showed that they were committed to destroying the corporate wing of the Democratic Party, when they blatantly refused Sanders’ suggestion to vote for Hillary Clinton.

Jill Stein claims that 90,000 Michigan voters filled out their down-ballot, but left the presidential line blank and that this proves voter fraud against Hillary Clinton. I counter with the more likely hypothesis that 90,000 Michigan voters wrote in the name of Bernie Sanders for President as a protest against the DNC and their rigging of the “Democratic” primary election.

Some will say that Sanders’ supporters caused the election of Donald Trump. Although Trump is definitely an unfortunate side effect of Sanders’ supporters refusing to vote for a corporate shill, the election results sent a much needed message to the DNC that the left is mad as hell and will no longer be coerced into voting for candidates that do not represent their values.

But we did not rest after the presidential election.

In fact we increased in power.

Recently Cory Booker, a shill for the Democratic establishment and probable favorite to gain the Democratic nomination in 2019, made the mistake of voting against a bill that would have made it legal for Americans to import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada.

Within minutes leftists lit up social media with a list of Dems that had voted against the bill, along with a chart of how much money each candidate had received from Big Pharma lobbyists.

Booker, being the most high-profile Democrat, took the brunt of the blow-back and within 72 hours Booker decided that he didn’t have the constitutional makeup required to stand up to our movement.

Booker announced that he was no longer interested in running for president.

Just as the GOP learned to fear The Tea Party, the Democrats are gradually learning to fear our collective movement.

What else can we steal from The Tea Party to further our collective leftist agenda?

bookertweet

The Tea Party Was Loud

One of the lessons political activists can take from The Tea Party is that they excelled at getting in the face of their representatives.

People often overestimate politicians and think that they do not care about criticism. On the contrary, they live in constant fear of it. Many politicians say that if they receive an email, then they assume that 10 other people feel that way and if they receive a phone call then they assume that 50 other people feel that way.

So what happens when you organize a small group of people and show up at your local representative’s office?

What happens if you and your group show up at a ribbon cutting ceremony that was supposed to be a photo op for your local rep and you bring signs, chant, get up in their face and ask them what they plan to do in regards to an upcoming bill?

What happens is that your rep becomes afraid that this movement will spread and cost them their job.

They become afraid because they know that their actions are being observed.

Recently some lawmakers in my home state decided that it would be a good idea to pass a bill that would allow police officers to use “any means necessary” to disperse crowds of “10 or more” people.

I don’t have to tell you that this bill was clearly designed to make protesting illegal and to make protesters too fearful to protest.

Our local group used social media to quickly organize and we showed up at The State House to make our voices heard. We overflowed the court room and selected some of the more passionate members of our group to speak against the bill. The Bill’s author, a conservative who has also proposed bills to make it easier for drunk drivers to attain gun permits and bills that allow transgender people to be incarcerated for using restroom facilities that do not match their birth certificates, had to deal with us staring into his back the entire time he pitched the bill to the State Senate. After the bill was shot down, this fascist had to push through our army of protesters to get to the door, but more importantly, the other lawmakers, clearly bolstered by our presence, treated him absolutely ruthlessly. The bill was easily defeated due to the tremendous power of our presence. None of the lawmakers wanted to deal with our wrath. They all knew that we were watching their every move.

Politicians are very insecure people for the most part.

They literally live their lives in a perpetual popularity contest.

There is nothing that a politician fears more than a group of loud, organized, concerned citizens.

Being loud and organized are important steps, but there is more we do beyond that.

occupy3

.Where The Tea Party Zigged We Will Zag

The Tea Party was very effective at scaring politicians and that is something to be modeled. Your representatives SHOULD be afraid of you and if they aren’t then you are not doing your job. We are not referring to the use of violence against government officials. In fact, that is completely ineffective on every level, as violence tends to polarize the opposition.

Our movement is a peaceful one, but it is also a movement of great force.

To put it bluntly, we will simply remind our representatives that we are watching them and that they will work for our agenda and vote the way we tell them to vote or they will be voted out of office and then we will actively seek to fulfill our promise if and when the need arises.

Our movement is a non-partisan movement, which allows us to support candidates from any party. This also allows us to pressure candidates of any party. Representatives are simply tools for our agenda, which of course, is what they were originally intended to be, before they were purchased by corporations.

As we discussed in the case of Cory Booker, there are many ways to do this. We can use social media, email, phone calls and rallies to grow our numbers and to make our voices heard.

I’ve created a rough hierarchy for grassroots political activism, to make these concepts easier to grasp. As I said this is only a rough sketch. The creativity of our members is very important to our movement. Please do not view this hierarchy as a prison, but rather as a guideline for your own ideas and activism.

oahierchy

The Next Level

Where The Tea Party relied on threats and hate speech, our movement realizes that this type of behavior may be effective in the short-term, but for long-term changes to be implemented it is better to keep our friends close and our enemies closer.

There is nothing to be gained from creating unnecessary adversaries. On the contrary, it is best to form friendly and peaceful relationships with our representatives, but this does not mean that we are subservient to said leaders.

As part of our mantra, we must ALWAYS be in a position of power, constantly coming from a place where we call the shots and consistently reminding our public officials that they work for us.

This means taking your activism to the next level and having someone from your group (if you can’t find someone, then that person is YOU) who is willing to go and have sit down meetings with your representatives on behalf of the group. This person does not have to be slick or polished. They do not have to own an expensive suit. All that is required of this person is that they be an articulate speaker who is capable of getting your group’s point across, along with the subtle, yet forceful, reminder that you and your group are monitoring your representative and will immediately begin phone-banking and door-knocking on behalf of their opponent in an attempt to destroy their political career if and when this course of action needs to be pursued.

But who is your representative’s opponent?

The Tea Party was good at this as well…

Tax Day Protests

The Tea Party Primaried Traditional Republicans AND WON!!

Empty threats are just that. Empty and devoid of power.

While an organized group of people can be a powerful motivator on representatives locally, eventually, as you move up the ladder of power, you will run into establishment politicians, who not only wield more authority, but simply require a lot more people to scare them into taking the appropriate actions.

Many establishment politicians have been purchased by large corporations and spend the bulk of their time trying to spin and justify their votes to their constituents. These people are adept at rhetoric and pay professional writers to spin lies that make it look like they are protecting their voters, when in fact they are simply working for their donors.

Revisiting the Cory Booker example yet again, Booker claimed that he voted against the bill to import affordable prescription drugs from Canada, because he was concerned about Canadian “safety standards”. While this blatant lie might work on low-information voters, it simply does not work on those who are tuned in. Activists on the left immediately began flooding social media with memes showing that Booker had received $385,000 from large pharmaceutical companies and fact-checking articles that showed that the drugs coming from Canada were actually manufactured in the United States and therefore were already subject to the same standards as drugs purchased in the U.S..

bookerpharma

Our movement does not care about the promises of our representatives. We care about voting records and donor money, things that cannot be disputed. Cory Booker talks a good game, but his voter record and donor money expose him.

Booker was caught in a lie and called out for being the establishment shill that he is. Any chance he had of being president disappeared in an instant. We will need some powerful people in New Jersey to take Booker down even further. Someone there needs to run a primary against him.

This is the highest level activism or what I like to call Capital A Activism. When we come up against a “representative” who does not represent us, we fire them. We do this by continuing to grow our numbers at a grassroots level. That initial group of activists that was applying pressure and affecting local policy must follow though on their threat of unseating the establishment candidate for our movement to be taken seriously.

This is done by finding (or being) a candidate who agrees with your group’s platform and by doing the grunt work of rallying, phone-banking, fundraising and knocking on doors. This is not easy work, but it is, without a doubt, one of the most rewarding things that you can possibly do.

Your group will be at an extreme disadvantage due to the fact that the establishment candidate will be well funded by their corporate donors and both Democratic and Republican parties are known to funnel money to vulnerable candidates in order to run smear campaigns against their grassroots challengers.

Anyone you select to run for office from your group should be likable, hard working and able to generate excitement in your community. Your job is to work hard on their behalf and motivate others in your community to join the fight.

Just remember that our candidate will always have a huge advantage in the fact that most of your communities problems can be blamed on the current representative and people love the idea of someone new, who is going to make the changes that their community needs.

Use the dissatisfaction with the establishment candidate against them and take their seat.

Never underestimate what an organized group of activists can achieve when they are all in agreement.

Therein lies our greatest challenge.

disagreement

Our movement is based on a shared collection of values. It is not affiliated with any party. It cannot be destroyed, as it exists only as a system of values shared by like-minded people. Like a virus, we seek to infect the current body and take control of it.

The establishment maintains its power by creating division among the opposition, therefore there is no room for infighting within our movement. As a movement that thrives on passion, it is important to constantly come back to our shared goals instead of focusing too hard on our differences in strategy.

Disagreement and constructive criticism lead to better solutions and the awareness of new options, but if one member believes, for example, that developing a third-party locally is the most effective way to achieve our goals, whereas another believes that infecting and reforming the local Democratic Party is the best way, then there is no need for disagreement as both actions are in line with our movement’s goals of putting Progressive pressure on our representatives.

It is always a good idea to compare and contrast strategies in an attempt to find the best method of attack, but in the end, if no absolute can be arrived at, the appropriate response would be to pursue both actions and see which one was producing the best results. Most theories fall apart in actual practice, so it is best to take an action and learn from it, rather than to waste one’s time arguing theory and never actually taking real proactive steps.

As our movement thrives on passion and the left thrives on creativity, there is the potential for division, but if we are to be successful then we must swallow our pride and be willing to work side by side with ANYONE who shares our collective vision.

For example, I have been attending meetings and rallies with local establishment Democrats. I have been making a point to have discussions with these people and for the most part I find that we have common ground on many issues. Getting hung up on our differences is counterproductive when seeking to mobilize people to action. I have also been attending meetings with the local Green Party and other left leaning political groups. I am not focusing on differences and you shouldn’t either. Our movement is not exclusive. In fact it shares goals with other political movements such as Justice Democrats, Our Revolution and Indivisible.

When we defeated the bill in our local House, I looked around the room and saw members of the local Greens side by side with Democrats and members of the local chapter of Our Revolution.

Our disagreements were not an issue, because we all agreed that this bill needed to be defeated.

Ours is a battle for hearts and minds.

We are engaged in a war for truth and justice and we must fight against the establishment which currently holds the reigns of power.

But history has shown as that “when millions of people stand together, they win.”

It is time to stand up and it is time to stand together.

1129
Michael E Sparks is an Independent writer and political activist. He is the founder of the upcoming show Resist/Revolt (debuts in February). He is not paid for his work so if you believe in what he is doing, you may donate $1 by clicking HERE. If you are interested in having your voice heard on Resist/Revolt follow Michael on social media by clicking HERE.

 

 

Bernie Sanders came out on live TV recently and said that he agrees with American intelligence saying that Russia was responsible for the alleged hacks of the DNC and that their goal was to “undermine our democracy”.

Julian Assange has been on record stating that the Russian government was not the source of the alleged hacks.

Whom do we believe when two leftist icons disagree?

Furthermore, why is this even important?

Regardless of who leaked or hacked the emails, the content remains the same. When taken as a whole, we see very clearly that the DNC not only wanted Hillary Clinton as their nominee, but that they were in collusion with corporate media outlets to insure that Sanders never stood a realistic chance to win.

Let us not forget that the DNC sought to use these same corporate media arms to help Donald Trump to become the GOP nominee, because they felt that this would lead to an easy Clinton victory.

America sat by and watched this strategy blow up in Clinton’s face, in an absolutely disastrous election, that saw the Democrats lose control of every branch of government.

Now from the rubble of the Democratic Party come accusations that the Russians are behind the Wikileaks. Some even go so far as to say that we need a complete reelection, starting at the primary level.

This entire situation is such a huge mess that it’s difficult to even begin unraveling it. Even if the Russians were responsible for the alleged hack, this certainly does nothing to change the fact that the Democrats conspired to ruin Sanders and some would say that the source of the leak is not relevant, due to the content found in the emails.

It’s no wonder that Sanders’ supporters find it particularly disturbing that Sanders is on TV saying that the “evidence is overwhelming” that the Russian government is behind the alleged hacks, when he and his followers were the victims of the content found in the emails.

When leftist icons like Sanders and Assange disagree, what are Progressives to believe?

townhall

 

Even though Sanders says that the evidence supports the intelligence claim of Russian involvement, we the people, have no hard evidence that can be linked to the Russian government and there is no reason to believe that Senator Sanders has any more knowledge than the public has.

These accusations against the Russians smell eerily similar to the Bush/Cheney administration’s claims that Iraq was secretly harboring Weapons of Mass Destruction, in the Bush administration’s efforts to sway public sentiment, in order to enter into a war that should have never occurred.

These accusations are dangerous.

What the US government and their corporate media arms hope to accomplish with these allegations can be the subject of infinite speculation, but if we use history as our guide, it is likely a power-play designed to increase the United States’ leverage in their agenda to supplant Assad in Syria, which would give the US access to the building of a pipeline, which would result in trillions of dollars in gains for the corporations that own our government.

Or perhaps it is a ploy to weaken Trump and set him up for impeachment, in hopes of putting the more malleable Mike Pence in charge.

The American people are left to speculate when their government claims that they have proof, but are unwilling or unable to provide said proof.

The unnecessary declaration of war on Iraq lead to the creation of Isis and now we see what appear to be similar maneuverings by our government less than two decades later.

Am I saying that the accusations against the Russian state are untrue? I would not go that far. But upon careful investigation, we see that there is no concrete evidence available to the public to support such a claim.

Forgive us, if we do not trust our government.

But they have a long history of lying to the American people.

assange

Julian Assange has repeatedly busted the American government in the act of cheating and therefore has become a hero to leftists everywhere. But Assange clearly has an agenda and it is not necessarily simply finding the truth.

It is curious that somehow each time Assange finds out something about the American government and its shady dealings, that somehow these findings always seem to benefit Russia. If we are to find truth, we must hold our icons up to the light of skepticism and expect the same transparency that we desire from our own government.

Had Assange released Donald Trump’s tax returns, as Wikileaks originally promised, then the American voter would have had a much clearer picture of the two incredibly corrupt candidates that were running for our nation’s highest office, but Assange reneged on Wikileaks claim that they would deliver Trump’s tax returns and repeatedly focused on Clinton’s corruption. As a result, the American people will learn about Trump’s malfeasance firsthand, once he begins running our country further into the ground by using our nation’s highest office to line his pockets.

Disdain for Hillary Clinton is a separate issue and does not let Assange off the hook here. The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend and Assange has a history of helping the Russian government. Add to this Putin’s desire to see Trump in office and we begin to see Assange’s one-sided agenda through a lens of suspicion.

It is no wonder that Assange has become such an icon for the leftist movement. His boyish good looks, charm and accent make him incredibly likable. The fact that he is hiding from our tyrannical government makes him seem downright heroic. Furthermore, he brought down the oligarchy, which makes him an activist legend. But, if you are searching for actual truth, it is worth asking why Assange’s findings repeatedly benefit the Russians. Assange is literally on the Kremlin payroll, with his show, The World Tomorrow, airing on Russian Times, a network founded by Vladimir Putin.

Putin wanted Trump.

Putin pays Assange.

Assange helps deliver Trump.

Don’t we always say to “follow the money”?

Have we become so angry at our own government, that we are willing to embrace Vladimir Putin and allow him power in our elections?

Are we so disgusted with the findings regarding the DNC, that we forget to ask the obvious questions about the intent of those who went hunting for said information to begin with?

Do any of us actually believe that the Russian government is any less corrupt than our own government, with its recent history of propping up dictators in France, Germany, Austria and the Ukraine?

The American people are right to be suspect of our own intelligence agencies, as they have lied to us repeatedly, but you would be doing yourself a great disservice, if you didn’t ask why Putin was so excited to see Trump’s rise to power.

Just as it would be foolish to accept American intelligence as gospel, it would be equally foolhardy to dismiss the preponderance of circumstantial evidence that points directly to Vladimir Putin and his employee, Julian Assange.

Wikileaks fans will repeatedly point out that Wikileaks have never had to retract a single story in their ten year existence. And while I definitely think they deserve tremendous credit for being one of the only sources of truth left on this tyrannical, corporate-controlled planet, it is the stories that Wikileaks isn’t covering that should make you suspicious of their motives.

putin

So why did Bernie Sanders say that the “evidence is overwhelming” when the American people have no hard evidence to implicate the Russians?

Before we attempt to answer this, let’s first congratulate the corporate media, on finally getting Sanders to say something that they can use.

For nearly two years they have been putting microphones in Sanders’ face and asking him tough questions, much tougher questions than any other candidate was ever asked. Each time, Sanders did what he always does, he answered with the truth and then the corporate media did what it always does, they cut out everything he said, only to air a sensationalist story to deceive and distract the public.

But that’s not what happened this time. This time Bernie Sanders said something that actually was consistent with what the corporate media wanted him to say and they have ran the sound-bite on a nonstop loop since he uttered it.

As Sanders attempts to reform the Democrats in his image, those scorned by the party, have been quick to accuse Sanders of being a puppet for the corporate establishment, a scenario that is possible, but highly unlikely.

Sanders has no such record of being in bed with these corporatists and has literally spent his entire life fighting them. Sanders’ life would have been much simpler had he buckled and joined the Democratic Party decades ago, but instead he literally spent his entire career fighting against the Dems and the GOP simultaneously.

What’s more amazing is that he won most of these battles.

Let us also take note that since the general election, Sanders has been incredibly critical of the Democratic Party, saying that it was not enough to say “I’m a woman. Vote for me.” and repeatedly calling on party leaders to shed their corporate ties and serve the American people again.

So if there is no concrete proof of Russian involvement in the DNC hacks, why did Senator Sanders say that “the evidence is overwhelming.”?

I submit that Sanders simply said it because he believes it to be true.

Sanders was asked a direct question on live TV and he spoke on the matter for 30 seconds and never revisited the topic.

He did not bring it up.

He did not say that it cost the Democrats the election.

He said that he “agreed with the intelligence community’s assessment” and based on this, many on the left went right to the “Bernie sold us out” rhetoric that has become the mantra of wannabe revolutionaries.

Of course, it makes perfect sense that every word Sanders says is amplified with white-hot intensity. It is, at once, the best and worst part of his revolution. Sanders brought new blood into politics. Many of the people who follow him are incredibly passionate, but passion can be a double-edged sword. The same people who exult Sanders one minute, will oppose him with intense anger a moment later.

Sanders has become a leftist political icon, but perhaps his followers put him under too much scrutiny, constantly looking for the tiniest defect to prove their hypothesis, that all politicians are corrupt, much in the same way that a teenager will rally behind an obscure punk band, only to turn on that band when the band achieves some measure of commercial success.

Sanders has become Kale Soup for the Leftist/Activist Soul.

When the mountain seems too steep to climb, Sanders’ supporters think of him speaking to those empty Senate floors and feel emboldened. When they feel overwhelmed in their attempts to free our country from tyranny, they think back to the young man who was so determined to fight injustice that he had to be dragged away in handcuffs.

Sanders’ has become more than just a politician. He has become a symbol of hope in the face of impossible odds. So it is only natural that his followers would hover a microscope over his every word and action, looking for cracks in the facade. It is only natural that Sanders’ followers would have a religious zealotry towards this great man and come apart at the seams at the possibility that he has been absorbed by the very machine they have been attempting to bring down.

But Sanders isn’t in anyone’s pocket.

He simply believes that Russia was behind the alleged hack.

You can choose to believe him.

You can choose to believe Julian Assange.

You can choose to believe neither and hope that further evidence comes to light.

 

The truth is out there.

But in this case, we will probably never know.

015
Michael E Sparks is a Progressive independent writer. If you believe in the importance of his voice, you can donate $1 by clicking HERE.

 

 

 

As I reflect back over 2016, I feel a deep sadness, for what might have been and for the beautiful people who worked so hard, giving time, money, sweat and tears to the cause of getting Bernie Sanders elected to the presidency.

I feel for my sisters and brothers, because I know that it would be very easy to feel defeated, after such a historic rise and subsequent crashing and burning of what was the greatest political campaign of many of our lifetimes.

I understand that our planet’s outlook never looked bleaker, with a madman in charge of our military and his band of billionaires planning to gut our country’s economy to line their coffers.

I fear that many people will turn away from politics, with an awful taste in their mouth and never return.

And who could blame them?

It is incredibly difficult to battle the creeping death of cynicism, when you see the American dream sold to multinational corporations. It is hard to believe that you have any real power, when you worked for a just cause, only to have victory stolen away from you by a lying, cheating, corporate party that was supposed to represent our ideals, but instead silenced our voices.

If the tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it…

What is the sound of one hand clapping?

Do you even have a voice when your government is owned by billionaires?

cops

There are many reasons to bow down to our own helplessness. We could be like Hillary Clinton and lock ourselves away and selfishly cry about our loss, but somehow, through wisdom or delusion, I come out of this mess feeling optimistic.

I feel excited, because I have seen how hard they had to fight to silence us.

I know that Americans are awake like they have never been before and I know that positive change is inevitable.

As I type this, Bernie Sanders is on the Senate floor, using his now prominent voice to shake things up. He came out with a giant poster board, featuring a tweet from Donald Trump, challenging him to tell the House and Senate that he had already promised not to cut Social Security or Medicaid.

Bernie is a master-level strategist and knows that Trump’s huge ego provides a convenient lever by which to manipulate him.

Bernie does not intend to rest and we won’t either.

Sanders has an army of well-trained political revolutionaries.

All Trump has is a huge ego and a job he doesn’t know how to do.

trumptweet3

trumpmedicareTrump is rudderless.

He has no direction.

Sanders recognizes this and will spend the next four years battling him tooth and nail. But Sanders is nothing without us. His power comes from having millions of people at the ready, willing to stand up and fight for political revolution.

A few days before the Trump-tweet speech, House Republicans voted to get rid of an independent ethics committee. No sooner had they passed the legislation, than phones in state-houses all over the nation began ringing. The constituents were outraged. Trump himself tweeted that he felt that House Republicans should be focused on bigger issues.

House Republicans backed down.

Sanders had barely had time to express his disagreement, before the phone calls started coming in and this is exactly the way he wants it. Sanders wants his revolutionaries to make decisions for themselves.

The time for hand-holding is over.

When Sanders stood on podiums all over America and repeatedly said “Not me, us.” and “When millions of people stand together…” he was not telling us just to elect him. Sanders was striking at something much greater.

He was demanding that Americans get out of their comfort zones and take their government back.

Bernie babied us for eighteen months and taught us how to stand up and take our first steps, but now with the country in the hands of greedy men, who would take us back to the stone ages, if we allowed them to, Sanders is now pointing his mighty finger and ordering his troops to march into battle.

Sanders is fighting the GOP with his right hand and rebuilding the Democratic Party with his left.

Sanders movement has grown in power. No longer are his followers political neophytes. They have grown in knowledge and in number.

Sanders’ revolution is alive and well.

As the GOP crumbles and the Democratic Party is rebuilt in his image, America is primed to become the Progressive Socialist country that Sanders envisioned.

But revolution takes time and hard work.

It is not for the meek.

bernieflag2

The Trump-tweet speech is the template for what it means to be a political revolutionary over the next four years.

Trump and the GOP are not on the same page and Sanders knows this and will exploit it at every given opportunity.

By standing up and saying “This is what Trump promised his voters”, Sanders not only rallies his band of rebels, but also paints Trump into a corner with his own followers. Paul Ryan and the rest of the GOP are actively involved in a tug-of-war against the very people who voted Trump into office, demanding Trump carry out their agenda, but Trump actually cares about what the masses think. This is why he is constantly involved in Twitter wars. No enemy is too small for this tiny excuse for a man and Sanders knows this and is already showing that he will use it to control Trump’s maneuverings.

In decades past, Trump would have played ball with the GOP and signed backroom deals and millions of people would have lost their health coverage, but now Sanders has the attention of the people and he will use his powerful voice to expose every single misstep by Trump and as The Donald does not like to be embarrassed, he will be jumping through hoops to please Sanders or else face the wrath of his legions.

Before his presidential run Sanders was just a minor annoyance, a punchline for corrupt politicians.

Now he is literally the voice of The People.

Trump was actually planning on cutting Social Security and Medicaid. Now if he does, millions of his voters will know exactly who to thank for their hardships and many will punish the GOP during the 2018 midterms.

Sanders knows that The House can swing to the left in 2018.

He played ball with the Democrats and made himself the most powerful voice in politics.

Now he is using that voice to orchestrate master-level moves, under extremely hostile conditions.

Sanders knows Trump talks out of both sides of his mouth. Trump literally has made his billions being a professional liar, but this is not real estate, this is politics and Bernie Sanders vs Donald Trump in a political chess match is a one-sided affair.

Trump isn’t even in office yet and already the battle has begun.

And when Trump backs down and 22 million Americans get to keep their healthcare, then you will know beyond any shadow of a doubt, who the real President is.

As if there was ever any doubt.

canvassingforbernie
Hey guys, we have a political show coming out in February called Resist/Revolt. It’s a show about activism and how we can make positive changes locally and globally. We will be live streaming to Facebook and then editing for YouTube and Podcast. Your voices will be the central part of our show. If you want to donate to the cause you can do so by clicking HERE. Keep fighting warriors. You are all my heroes!!

 

I walk into my local bookstore and see my favorite human, Bernie Sanders, staring at me from directly inside the store window. His book, Our Revolution, is flying off the shelves.

As I bring it to the register the clerk says..

“I read it. I cried. I love Bernie.”

And we are immediately friends…

Leaving the shop, I pull up at the stop-light and start looking for the latest Young Turks podcast on my phone. As I do there is honking from behind and beside me. I look up to see what is going on. The guy to my left gives me a thumbs up. It says “Feel the Bern 2020” on both sides of my car. The girl in the car behind me also gives me the thumbs up and then starts taking pictures of my Bernie-mobile.

This happens almost every time I stop at a light.

berncar

Someone told me that Bernie Sanders lost the election, but to say this would be to miss the point.

Bernie Sanders won and we won.

More importantly, we are still winning, because Sanders started something and we will not stop until it is finished.

Everywhere I go, I meet people who believe in Sanders message of compassion. The air is alive with people talking political change. This is the most informed generation in our country’s young history. I can go anywhere in America and find people who believe as I do, that every man, woman and child deserves the right to healthcare, a living wage and an opportunity to pursue higher education.

Bernie Sanders made it okay to be a proud Socialist and taught millions of people what the word actually means.

He woke us up and we aren’t going back to sleep.

He introduced us to each other and we are a powerful force to be reckoned with.

That is the incredible gift that Bernie Sanders gave to all of us.

writein4

The revolution is going on right now.

It began the moment Sanders stood up in the backyards of rural areas, where Democrats fear to tread and said what we had all been thinking.

Bernie was clear from the beginning that it was about US. He told US to stand together and we would win. I know that it is hard, right now, with the utter mess that our country’s political system has become, but out of chaos arises opportunity.

The confluence of America’s political system hitting rock bottom at the same time as this great man rising up and becoming a voice of awakening for an entire generation, is exactly what needed to happen for our country to take a giant leap forward into a new Progressive era.

Sanders started a conversation and traveled from town to town sharing these truths that we hold to be self-evident.

Now it is up to US to continue the conversation.

It is up to US to help our neighbor. It is up to US to fight injustice. It is up to US to run for office, to boycott corporations, to push until every one of Bernie’s dreams becomes a reality.

Because Bernie’s dreams are our dreams.

Before Sanders, we were fragmented. We felt alone and powerless.

Now awake, we are an unstoppable force.

As I walk into a local coffee shop, Bernie Sanders is on corporate media. He is applying pressure to Barack Obama to declare Standing Rock a national monument. Later the same day, I walk into the gym and one of the Republican guys yells…

“Boy, Ol Bernie is really lettin em have it, Mike!!”

I look up at the TV and Sanders is on talking about reforming the “Democratic” Party and ridding it of corporate influence.

“Show this guy your Bernie tattoo!!” another one of my Republican friends hollers.

I do and they all laugh and tell me how Bernie is “just what this country needs”.

tattoo2

Bernie has a platform now. People are awake. They are listening. And anyone who knows anything about change, knows that first people have to become aware of what needs to change before change can begin.

For the next few years, things will be hard and we will have many opportunities to band together to fight injustice and if we fight hard enough and make our voices loud enough, we can begin usher in a new age of enlightenment in America.

It is up to US to take this wonderful gift that Bernie has given us and continue to give it to everyone we meet.

sanderscrowd

 

After doing some (non-corporate) Christmas shopping, I returned to my car to find a note.

I cringed, thinking that some Trump supporter might have taken umbrage with my First Amendment right to express my Socialist views.

I was wrong.

Instead there was a beautiful letter, from a friend I haven’t met, leaving me warm and fuzzy this holiday season.

This was just the latest in a million reminders that our movement has only just begun.

Happy Holidays to all my amazing Bernie friends everywhere.

2016 brought us together.

In 2017 we will continue the fight.

bernienote

johnoliverclaus
Michael is an independent writer who does not take money from any corporate sources. If you believe in his voice and would like to support what he does, you can donate $1 by clicking HERE.

Donald Trump has won the presidency and suddenly Hillary Clinton supporters are up in arms over the electoral college.

Given my dislike for Hillary, you may be surprised to find that I actually agree with her supporters on this issue, but my disdain for the electoral college preexisted this travesty of an election.

Personally I find it appropriate that a candidate who had to use $uper-delegates to “win” her primary, lost to the EC, but my love of Democracy supersedes my Schadenfreude.

Not only is the electoral college undemocratic and favors Republicans, but it ultimately prohibits any chance of an Independent or third-party candidate from becoming president.

Before I venture into how the electoral college prohibits Independents and third-parties from rising to power, I want to point out some of the inherent flaws in this system.

And before you start waiving your pocket Constitution around, talking about how “the founding fathers were infallible”, let me remind you that these men were wise enough to create The Constitution as a living, breathing document, that is meant to be amended as the citizens see fit.

Here are several reasons why we need to write a Constitutional Amendment that will overturn the Twelfth Amendment.

convention

The Electoral College is Based on Slavery

In 1787, when the Twelfth Amendment was drafted, a direct election for president gave more power to the Northern states, due to the fact that Southern states had large populations of slaves who were not eligible to vote.

The Southern states opposed a popular vote system and pushed for a system that was based on population.

In the end those who drafted the Twelfth Amendment agreed to count a slave as 3/5ths of a person and thereby awarded Southern states with hefty amounts of electoral votes based on their huge slave populations.

I don’t have to tell you how outdated this system is when it is based on awarding votes to people who were not even counted as actual human beings, but what further complicates matters is that the electoral college has been calibrated to where some voters actually have nearly four times the voting power as other voters.

Which brings me to my next point…

ec

The Electoral College Gives Voters in Small States More Power Than Voters in Large States

The idea behind the electoral college is that each state is awarded one electoral college vote for every 565,166 residents.

But this system is not properly calibrated and is actually weighted to give voters in small states, which are mostly rural, more power than voters in large states, with many urban population centers.

In short, many people have their voting power diminished and are counted as less than a whole person (what do you expect from a system based on counting slaves as 3/5ths of a human being??!) while other voters are counted as MORE THAN THREE PEOPLE!!

For example, California with its population of 39 million should have 69 electoral college votes (39,000,000/565,166 = 69) but only has 55 electoral votes.

That is 14 electoral votes that California is being robbed of every four years.

To be fair, deep red Texas should have 49 electoral votes, yet only has 38.

But still the left is punished more intensely under the EC.

For example, New York, an uncontested blue state, with the third largest total of electoral votes, once again penalizes the left disproportionately.

New York should have 35 electoral votes, but they only have 29.

Illinois, the third-largest Democrat stronghold, should have 23 electoral votes, but only has 20.

The electoral college favors Republicans and is actually weighted to give rural voters more voting power than city voters.

In other words, a city voter is counted as less than one whole person, whereas a rural voter is often counted as multiple people.

If you ever wondered how Al Gore and Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, yet still lost their respective elections, the answer is simple.

Urban votes are worth less to the electoral college.

Let’s remember that the electoral college was designed to appease Southern slave owners.

trumpfakestats

Move to a Small State and Triple Your Voting Power!!!

Where do all the electoral votes go that are stripped away from the urban areas?

They are awarded to small states that are mostly rural.

Let’s look at some of the states that have small populations.

Populations of Small States with Disproportionate Voting Power

Alaska – 743,000

Delaware – 942,000

Montana – 1,032,000

North Dakota – 753,000

South Dakota – 867,000

Vermont – 626,000

Wyoming – 588,000

As we have already discussed, one electoral vote is supposed to be awarded for every 565,166 citizens, so the above states should all have ONE electoral vote, correct?

But each of the above states has THREE electoral votes.

This means that if you live in one of these states your vote has the power of two or three people voting, while conversely a California voter is not even treated as one whole person.

Let’s put this into perspective.

Let’s imagine that Candidate A won the state of Florida and Candidate B won the seven small states listed above.

Candidate A, by winning Florida, a state with 20 million people, would be awarded 20 electoral votes.

Candidate B, by winning the seven small states, with a total population of 5.5 million, would be awarded with 21 electoral votes.

Candidate A may have four times as many voters, but will still crawl away with less electoral votes.

That, my friends, is a deeply flawed system.

george-w-bush-1

Inconsistencies such as this abound all across the map and undermine the voting power of tens of millions of Americans.

The electoral college is nothing more than gerrymandering of our nation’s highest office.

In short the electoral college is completely undemocratic.

There is no reason why a voter in one state should have four times the voting power as a voter in another state.

It’s worth pointing out, that this system could be exploited by grassroots efforts in smaller states, because in effect you are converting 3-4 voters every time you convert one.

For example, an upstart party gaining 200,000 members in a large state such as California or Texas would probably go completely unnoticed, as it would make up less than 1% of the state’s population, basically giving zero voting power to the movement, but achieving 200,000 voters in each of the small states would be the same as achieving 600,000 voters in any other state (not to mention that this insurgent party would have complete control over the state’s local politics).

An insurgent third-party could achieve 21 electoral college votes, simply by making strong movements in the seven small states listed above.

This may not seem like many EC votes, but when you consider that this could be achieved with a total voter base of 1,400,000 people you see that this type of election hack provides a tremendous return on investment.

If a third-party wants to gain serious power, but is under-funded, they would be wise to concentrate on these small states, where every citizen has 3-4 times the voting power of people in larger states.

jillsmile

Before we get too excited and start planning the leftist equivalent of The Free State Project, let’s take a look at how the electoral college prevents third-parties from winning the presidency.

Bernie Sanders ran as a Democrat for the presidency in 2016, even though Hillary Clinton and other prominent Dems were quick to remind us that “Bernie Sanders has never been a Democrat.”

Why did he do this?

Why not just run as an Independent or third-party?

The answers to these questions are numerous and complex, but foremost among them is that the electoral college makes it nearly impossible for an Independent or third-party candidate to win the presidency.

Let’s explore how the electoral college handicaps Independent and third-party candidates using the 2016 election as an example.

Just for the sake of simplicity, let’s imagine that American voters are split down the middle 50% whose values lie on the left and 50% whose values lie on the right.

I know that nothing is this simple, but for the sake of this example, we are going to imagine that it is a 50/50 split.

Imagining a 50/50 split is not radical by any means.

In 2012, Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney with 51% of the vote (obviously Romney pulled in 49%).

Let’s further imagine that a populist candidate rises up as an Independent or under the umbrella of a third-party.

For the sake of this thought experiment, let’s see what would have happened if Bernie Sanders had run as an Independent in 2016.

Let’s say Bernie pulled many people from the left over, who usually voted Democrat.

And let’s exaggerate the numbers in Bernie’s favor, so we can see how even an incredibly powerful candidate is completely incapable of overcoming the electoral college, without the support of the two corporate parties.

Let’s say that Bernie pulled so many people over from the left that it looked something like this..

 

Voters on the Left (Sanders voters): 35%

Traditional Democrats (Clinton voters): 15%

Republicans (Trump voters): 50%

 

In this scenario the left is extremely handicapped, splitting the votes between two strong candidates.

Republicans walk to an easy victory and the electoral college is not a huge factor.

Sanders knew this, which is exactly why he ran inside of a party that he described as “ideologically bankrupt”.

Sanders knows how the system works and knows that under our current system an Independent or third-party simply has the cards stacked against them to the point that it is nearly impossible to win, even if you have popular support.

To illustrate why this is true, let’s run a second thought experiment and in this experiment Sanders runs under the Green Party umbrella and is so incredibly successful that he actually pulls in 10% of Republican voters as well (while it is a fact that many Republicans would have voted for Sanders, it was actually less than 5% of total Republicans. It is highly unlikely that 10% of Republicans would have voted for him).

That scenario would look like this.

 

Voters on the left + 10% of voters on the right (Sanders voters): 45%

Traditional Democrats (Clinton voters): 15%

Traditional Republicans (Trump voters): 40%

In this outlandish scenario, Sanders wins right?

WRONG!!!

In this scenario, no candidate would receive the 270 electoral votes required to “win” the presidency, so the House of Representatives would vote on whom they believe the president should be.

As the House is Republican controlled, Donald Trump would be awarded the presidency.

trumpfinger

We can run an infinite number of scenarios in which a third-party or Independent runs an incredibly successful campaign, but in each of these scenarios the best that they will achieve is to split the voters on their side of the ideological line and get the election thrown into the House, which will either be controlled by the Democrats or the Republicans and each time the House will vote along party lines and leave the Independent or third-party candidate out in the cold.

So the next time you hear an uniformed voter say “Bernie Sanders sold out!!” you can inform them on the truth of the matter.

Sanders did the only thing he could do inside of a corrupt system.

He ran inside of a party and tried to change it from within.

You simply cannot change the system from the outside.

People have been trying for over 200 years.

Those in power know all the tricks.

They have built in safe-guards against actual Democracy.

The only scenario in which a third-party could possibly win the presidency, under the electoral college, would be to win the 270 EC votes required to win the presidency outright.

Considering that the two corporate parties in the United States are backed by billions of dollars and have the Twelfth Amendment protecting them, this is very nearly an impossibility.

Donald Trump is not a Republican.

Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat.

But both men knew that the only chance they had to win was to play within the system.

Obviously this system needs to be reconstructed.

sanderstrump2

How to Overturn the Electoral College

There are many more problems with the electoral college that I will not get into in this article.

If the fact that the electoral college was built on slavery and gives some voters nearly four times the power as other voters, while simultaneously locking us into a corrupt two-party system, doesn’t convince you that this system needs to be overturned, then hopefully realizing that we have now elected two unqualified candidates, who lost the popular vote, into the White House, through this system, in the last 16 years will.

In 2000, Al Gore won the popular vote, but lost to the electoral college and George Bush subsequently went on to invade Iraq and create Isis.

Don’t blame Ralph Nader who received less than 3% of the vote.

Blame the electoral college.

The people spoke and the electoral college silenced them.

Now just 16 years later, another candidate who lost the popular vote and has no business being in charge of our military, will wreak havoc on the planet for the next four years.

Never mind that Al Gore and Hillary Clinton are both awful candidates.

That is a conversation for another time.

The point is that the American political system is broken and becoming worse all the time.

A systematic strike to take down this antiquated Amendment can begin turning things around, as well as providing Americans more choice in parties going forward.

Drafting a Constitutional Amendment begins at the state level, which means that YOU can take action immediately in your state.

Using social media to coordinate with others who are doing the same in their states, a 3/4 majority can be achieved.

Writing a Constitutional Amendment is not impossible.

It has been done 27 times, about once per decade, so it is completely achievable if people organize at a grassroots level.

This would not be the first time that a Constitutional Amendment overturned a previous Amendment.

The 21st Amendment legalized alcohol by overturning the 18th Amendment.

The 28th Amendment will overturn the antiquated 12th Amendment and allow American citizens true voting power.

I am hoping that this article can band together third-party voters with disgruntled Democrats, as well as Independent voters who value true Democracy and are tired of seeing their voting power usurped.

There are enough of us out there, that if we band together, we can write an Amendment to The Constitution.

We have the numbers and we have the knowledge.

Now is the time to bring Democracy to America.

1129

Michael E Sparks is a freelance writer who literally spends every free moment he has researching and writing in hopes of bringing truth to the Progressive masses. If you want to support his work, please donate $1 by clicking HERE.

 

 

 

Dear Barack Obama,

As I sat down to write you today, it occurred to me that being President is a thankless task.

When you do something well, it is overlooked.

When you make a mistake, it is amplified.

Eight years ago, I dragged my children to stand in line on a cold and rainy Indiana day, so we could vote for you as a family.

They were so little at the time.

Chloe was 6 and Dravin 11.

I wanted them to experience this moment with me, because you were the first candidate in my lifetime that actually made me excited to vote.

I felt like you were going to be a legendary president and I wanted my children to be part of that.

I explained to my babies that “a long line was good for us, because it meant that Americans were standing up for hope and change.”

As I walked into the voting booth, I was surprised at how emotional I became.

I teared up as I filled in the little bubble next to your name.

Barack Obama was going to be my president.

obama3

I think your presidency must have been one of the more difficult presidencies in our country’s history.

You faced opposition from all sides and dealt with a House that attempted to block everything you tried to do.

Yet somehow you managed to stop Keystone XL and pass the Affordable Care Act, which for all of its flaws, was a major step forward for millions of Americans.

I have not agreed with you on everything.

I radically opposed TPP and I was extremely disappointed that you did not speak up for the Occupy Wall Street protesters.

I read your book and loved your honesty, when you admitted that taking corporate money had negatively affected your presidency.

So you can imagine how disappointed I was when you endorsed Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders.

But I do not write you today to tell you about all the ways in which I agree or disagree with you.

I know you get more than your fair share of critics and detractors.

I know that all great leaders must make tough decisions and that people who are on the outside cannot understand the intricacies of these hard choices.

Even though my politics might fall far to the left of yours, I have defended you consistently and I believe that you are a good man.

I even voted for you again in 2012, because I still believed that you were our best shot at hope and change.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for caring and for doing your best.

Heavy is the head that wears the crown and with great audacity, I ask of you a favor before you leave office, one last swipe of your pen to remind the great people of America that there is still hope, even in the darkest of times.

The good guys really need a victory right now.

And I know you are one of the good guys, so I’m calling on your help.

I’m asking you to declare Standing Rock a federal monument.

obama4

By declaring Standing Rock a federal monument you will stop the senseless violence against our Indigenous sisters and brothers and secure your legacy as a president who stood for hope and change.

I understand that corporations are powerful forces, but right now, you are even more powerful.

We can no longer “wait and see how this plays out.”

This is about more than just legalities.

This is much bigger.

It became bigger the moment that attack dogs and rubber bullets were brought in to assault these peace-loving people.

It became bigger when we watched the absolute brutality of our own government spraying freezing water on these good people.

Have the Native American people not suffered enough at the hands of this occupying force of which you are currently the leader?

After centuries of unmitigated rape of their culture, can we please, just this once, side with the people who rightfully own the land?

On behalf of our brethren in North Dakota, I can tell you that we will not back down, because our cause is just and at some point the American people MUST take a stand.

The winter will be long and difficult, but our numbers will grow.

My wife and children have asked me not to go, but I cannot, in good conscience stand by and allow innocent people to be treated with such aggression.

I believe, with all my heart, that the pen is mightier than the sword, so I ask you to look inside yourself and put an end to this atrocity.

I know you are a good man.

I know that you are losing sleep thinking about this situation, along with a hundred others.

You, Mr President, are our last hope.

If you do not intervene then I fear that this will ultimately result in the deaths of many good people.

Perhaps of equal import, is that we need to know that you hear us and that you are on our side, because in a few months someone will be sitting in your chair who is not on our side.

The American People need to know that our voices matter.

The American People need to know that our government still represents us, because the level of cynicism and despair is palpable right now, Mr President.

I’m asking you to make one more difficult choice before you leave office.

I’m asking you to make Standing Rock your legacy.

I’m asking you to declare Standing Rock a federal monument.

From one father to another, I want to be able to look my kids in the eye and remind them of the time we stood in the rain for over an hour, because we believed that you were truly on our side.

I still believe that you are.

Happy Holidays from my family to yours and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your service.

Sincerely,

Just One Voter

harrypottercupcake
Michael E Sparks is a father and a freelance writer. If you would like to support his work, you can click HERE to donate $1. But more importantly, please send donations to Standing Rock to help the brave water protectors with provisions for the upcoming winter.

 

Sorry.

I lead you in here under false pretenses.

On the plus side, overweight introverts DO get laid all the time!!

I swear it’s true.

Ask my girlfriend.

I’m 40 lbs overweight.

I’m a complete and total nerd.

Yet somehow, the girl is crazy about me.

But there are no studies to back up my headline.

If I were really committed, I would commission one.

But I’m way too lazy (just a side-effect of being a mega-genius).

If I were less lazy, I would throw together a small think-tank, give it a scientific sounding name like SciCorp (ooh..that sounds like something from a movie!!) and manipulate the variables until I achieved the results I wanted.

I know that’s not REAL science.

Therein lies the actual point of this article.

introvert2

The Internet has become engorged with click-bait articles that exploit people’s insecurities by spinning them into positives.

This way people will feel good about themselves and share the article with others, which leads to visibility and revenue for the garbage website.

You know the articles I’m speaking of…

Articles with titles like..

New Study Shows That People Who Are Overweight Are Actually Smarter Than Thin People

Or

People With No Friends Actually Live Longer and Are Funnier Than Popular People

Or all the ones about introverts (because everyone’s an introvert right?)…

Introverts Proven To Be Better In Every Way According to New Study

Articles like these play on human frailties and the desire we all have to feel good about ourselves.

Why get out of our comfort zones when there is an article that tells us that we are superior BECAUSE of our weaknesses?

Why try at all when it’s so much easier to just find an article that tells us EXACTLY what we want to hear?

And it’s all backed by science, right?

Studies show that we will not only click the article.

Studies show that we will even share it.

Studies show that we have been duped.

introvert3

Perhaps these articles provide a valuable service.

Most of us have bodies we view as flawed and social skills we wish were better.

Most of us have messy houses and disorganized lives.

Articles that tell us that we are superior due to the very things we previously felt guilty about are like receiving a virtual Hallmark card from a benevolent stranger.

Suddenly that extra fat is the mark of a superior intellect.

Our messiness isn’t caused by laziness, but rather by our genius.

And the fact that we haven’t been to a social gathering, since, since…hmmmm…oh yeah, there was that time in 2015, means that we are highly evolved and do not require the same stimulus as the weaker extroverted airheads who fill up the bar and party scene.

Now we get to experience the good feeling of a paradigm shift that tells us that our antisocial behavior is not actually our fault, but is due rather to a genetic evolution that requires us to binge-watch Netflix at least three times a week and thus necessitates us making up lies to the few friends we have left, who haven’t completely given up on us.

Because leaving the house is hard.

Who wants to find the time to find the clothes that cover up our weight-gain and participate in the unpleasant rituals required to feel attractive enough to be seen in the real world?

And who are these people who always look like they stepped off the front of an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog?

How do they always look so together?

Of course we are going to hate those people.

Their mere existence makes us look awful by comparison.

I change clothes six times before I leave the house, each wardrobe malfunction reminding me beyond any shadow of a doubt that my current workout routine isn’t working out, only to arrive at the party and be told that I have a mustard stain on my shirt and my zipper is busted.

So why bother at all, when I have studies that PROVE that sitting on my couch, eating Ho Hos makes me superior in about 19 different ways to these vapid, stunning individuals who actually go to parties and mingle and network and make new friends?

If our weaknesses make us superior, then the superiority of others makes them weak.

The clear but veiled meaning behind these articles is that people who are outgoing and physically fit are just awful people and it’s okay to hate them.

Finally, we are avenged for high-school!!

We always suspected that we were superior and now we have the science to prove it!!

Those with the audacity to excel in life should be hated or at the very least they should recognize that we anti-socialites are a superior breed and now we have the studies to back it up.

“The meek shall inherit the Earth” can be replaced with more modern expressions like..

“Stay home on Saturday night and eat junk food and all your dreams will come true.”

or

“Blow off your friend’s request to have coffee for the third time in three months and re-read that David Eggers book and you will be superior to everyone.”

Because we all want to feel good about ourselves, but very few of us are willing to put forth the effort to actually DO the things required to feel good.

Constantly lying to ourselves becomes exhausting, but not quite as exhausting as taking the steps required to actually change the things we know we need to change.

It’s much easier to find a study that tells us that we are actually just as we should be.

These articles are popular because life is hard and no one wants to be told that their failings are their own fault.

Publish an article with a title like..

Work Harder and Stop Making Excuses for Your Failures

And no one is going to read it.

But write something with a title like..

You’re Just Totally F&%king Great and The Reason Why You Don’t Have Any Friends Is Because Everyone Is Jealous of You

Well now you have something marketable.

And marketability is more important than truth in a world where everyone wants their fifteen minutes of fame, but no one has an attention span exceeding six seconds.

These fictitious articles provide a public service.

They allow us to slide down into the warm embrace of mediocrity, while being celebrated for our surrender, as we mainline click-bait heroin until all the guilt of our failed ambitions wash away into a sea of precariously propped up self-esteem and the white noise of social media waves crash hard and drown out the incessant nagging of our conscience.

Studies show that there are worse ways to go.

016
Michael is a crowd-funded Independent writer. If his work adds value to your life, please consider donating $1 by clicking HERE. Michael will probably use the dollar to buy junk food and DVDs so he can add to his overwhelming sense of superiority.

 

 

I threw a party Saturday night.

A lot of people showed up late, because they were at my city’s anti-Trump rally.

I did not attend, as much as I dislike Donald Trump.

I’m more of a proactive guy, rather than a reactive guy.

I had already spent the last 18 months of my life protesting Donald Trump by doing everything in my power to get Bernie Sanders elected, so I didn’t see the point in crying about it now.

Instead I threw a Thank God This Fucking Election Is Over party and we imbibed alcohol from various lands and talked about what we could do to make the world a better place, despite our recent catastrophic election.

One lady said that she had been creating care packages for the homeless and was just keeping them in her car and passing them out to people who needed them.

Another lady said that she was working on creating an activist website.

Another guest was convinced that the Green Party was the answer.

I passed out Bernie Sanders buttons along with the challenge that people wear the buttons everyday, as a reminder to people who might be afraid, that they had allies.

“Bernie Sanders has superseded politics and is now a symbol of love and equality” I reasoned aloud.

Everyone liked the idea or maybe they just liked the idea of getting free Bernie buttons.

Regardless, everyone took a bunch and everyone put one on.

Then the safety-pin people showed up.

safety_pin_1

The safety-pin people had just come from protesting Donald Trump and told us that by wearing a safety-pin we could signal people who felt fear of violence and discrimination that we were a safe person.

“Oh, just like my Bernie button idea!” I said.

“No.” they said “This movement involves wearing safety pins.”

“Oh, like the paperclip resistance of Nazis during WW2!” I said.

They all looked at me like I was crazy.

No one had ever heard of that.

Someone produced a box of safety pins and soon everyone was wearing them, strutting around, feeling good about themselves for defending the downtrodden..

“So what happens when bad people wear safety-pins to trick people into letting their guards down and becoming victims?”, I asked.

“Oh Mike!!” one girl said “Don’t say things like that!!”

I had sucked the air out of the room.

They didn’t want to worry about things possible complications.

They wanted to wear their safety pins and feel good.

I could hear the sound of a thousand corporate think-tanks conspiring on ideas to make millions from this new trend.

“Don’t be outdone by your liberal suburban friends. Our fair-trade safety pins are all organic and help get clean water to aboriginal tribes in developing nations. These safety-pins are just $49.95 each and symbolize to the world that you are much more compassionate than the people who wear the competitor’s safety-pins.”

safety-pin-white-power

As much as it smacks of the worst parts of white-guilt liberalism, I honestly don’t have a problem with the safety-pin.

Although I’m confident if we researched the origins of the safety-pins passed out at anti-Trump rallies across America, we would probably find they were ironically created in Chinese sweatshops by eight-year olds.

Still I know the wearer means well.

And it’s important to not underestimate the sacrifice these protesters are making.

After all, when a Hillary supporter pierces a safety-pin through their $250 Aeropostale sweater it’s a greater sacrifice than when I do it, in my ratty $2 thrift-store t-shirt.

Not to say that everyone who protested also voted for Hillary.

More than half of the protesters arrested at many anti-Trump rallies didn’t even bother to vote.

If only there had been something they could have done BEFORE the election to stop the government from falling under alt-right control.

If only there had been a candidate who actually beat Trump by 18-24% in head to head polls, that they could have rallied around when they had the chance.

If only there had been a candidate that could have kept Trump out of The White House, who had a longstanding record of defending the LBGT community and a perfect animal rights record.

If only there had been someone who had spent their entire life fighting for civil rights.

If only there had been some other option besides Hillary Clinton, then maybe all of these Trump protesters would have been getting drunk with me by my bonfire instead of waiting until AFTER THE FACT and then protesting A DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED PRESIDENT!!!

If only there had been someone like that, then all of this silliness could have been avoided.

berniedork

But I guess these protesters were probably pretty busy during the last 18 months, when there was a clear and present danger rising in our nation.

They probably didn’t have time to worry about such things as universal healthcare and ending mass incarceration and a for-profit prison industry that funds the wealthy elite.

Who can be troubled to vote when there are book clubs and youth “everybody wins” soccer games to attend.

Why volunteer for a crowd-funded candidate when it is “her time”.

Why bother working hard when your candidate is simply “more electable”?

Just be “with her” and ignore the “basement dwellers” screaming about the giant orange iceberg protruding through the fog.

After all, a safety-pin on your NPR tote bag just means so much to the 20 million people who will now lose their health insurance.

Everyone knows that a safety-pin clipped to a Whole Foods bag will be more than enough to offset the tens of thousands of elderly who will die as a result of the GOP gutting Social Security.

In the light of Trump’s alt-right Supreme Court justices and the threat they will pose to Roe v. Wade, perhaps we should all wear tiny coat-hangers instead.

Too soon?

Okay, we will stick to safety pins (get it? stick?!?).

I’ll take Symbolic Gestures That Don’t Mean Shit for $500, Alex.

In the event of a crash, your safety-pin can be used a flotation device.

You’ll still sink and die.

But at least you’ll feel extremely good about yourself while drowning.

safetypin

All kidding aside, I hold no grudge against the safety-pin movement.

There’s nothing wrong with feeling good about yourself, as long as you actually take action and really stand up for equality.

I don’t begrudge anyone grandstanding for minorities, as long as they are willing to actually engage in true activism.

It bothers me that people can show up and protest Trump’s DEMOCRATIC election over a candidate who needed $uper-delegates to “win”, when the people of Standing Rock are fighting for their basic human right to water.

Why don’t these protesters show up in North Dakota and stare down the armored police?

Perhaps it’s easier to complain and wear pins than it is to stare down rubber bullets and attack dogs.

Still, there is nothing saying that we can’t do both, so when I see my friends wearing safety-pins, I will congratulate them on their commitment to activism and ask them what they are working on at the time.

I will probably even help them with whatever initiative they are working for and hope the next time we have the chance to vote for an honest candidate who actually cares about the American people, we don’t bury our heads in the sand and support a corrupt corporatist who has taken money from for-profit prison lobbyists and stood on the broken backs of the very minorities we are suddenly so concerned for.

Because when you don’t vote or you support an inferior candidate based on gender, then your safety-pin becomes the liberal equivalent of Republican “thoughts and prayers”.

I choose to believe that my safety-pin friends are awake now and ready to fight against any and all oppression that may come our way.

I choose to believe that America is awake now.

And I really hope that we are.

I’d really hate to see a bunch of people running around in 2020 wearing staples on their clothes.

Or an actual stapler..

Or a three-hole punch..

Or any other office supplies, for that matter.

plannedparenthood
When Michael isn’t dressing silly and attending Planned Parenthood rallies with his daughter, he is an independent writer. You can support his work by clicking HERE and donating $1!!

Donald Trump is President of the United States and liberals are in chaos.

Around the country people rally in anti-Trump protests.

I can’t help wondering where these people were when Bernie Sanders supporters were screaming from the rooftops that Hillary polled poorly against Trump, whereas Sanders beat Trump in a head to head match-up by a record-breaking 18-24 points.

Actually, I know exactly where they were.

They were at their jobs and in their homes, living their lives, just as they normally would.

Sanders supporters were screaming about the impending iceberg, while Clinton voters were calling them “sore losers”.

They weren’t out knocking on doors.

They couldn’t be bothered.

Bernie people knocked on doors.

In fact we traveled from state to state interrupting people in their homes to talk to them about Bernie Sanders.

It wasn’t just that we believed that Bernie was a better candidate.

It was also because we had looked at the numbers.

We knew that it was likely that Clinton would lose to Trump.

I even wrote articles reflecting the reasons WHY this would happen.

But our voices were silenced.

Hillary supporters didn’t want to hear about universal healthcare or creating 13 million new jobs repairing America’s crumbling infrastructure.

They didn’t want to hear about expanding Social Security or making sure all qualified students could attend public colleges, regardless of socioeconomic level.

They didn’t want to force corporations to pay their fair share of taxes and they didn’t care about ending mass incarceration in for-profit prisons.

They wanted a woman president.

“It’s her time” they told me.

“It’s time for a woman.” they said.

“She’s just more electable.” they parroted.

hillarysad

The Hillary supporters didn’t seem to know why they were voting for her, outside of the fact that she was female and electing a woman president after a black president just seemed like the next step for liberals.

Never mind her hawkish record or weekly scandals.

They didn’t want to hear it.

They didn’t need our votes.

We were just “basement dwellers” who tried to disrupt their coronation.

When I tried to speak with my Hillary supporting friends about real issues they would say either…

“I don’t believe that!!”

or

“So what? You want Trump then?”

We didn’t want Trump.

We wanted Bernie Sanders.

We wanted free and fair elections.

We wanted veteran’s programs.

We wanted a fair living wage.

We wanted a candidate who supported LBGT rights since day one, not someone who supported DOMA and only came over to our team when it was politically expedient to do so.

We wanted someone who wouldn’t install a no-fly zone over Syria and start a war with Russia.

We wanted a candidate who could beat Donald Trump.

solidarity

Now liberals are pointing fingers wildly.

Jill Stein is to blame.

The electoral college is to blame.

James Comey is to blame.

Sexism is to blame.

I have even heard people say that Bernie Sanders is to blame for not campaigning hard enough for Hillary.

Of course all of these arguments hold little basis in reality and point to an overall victim mentality that Hillary fostered throughout her campaign.

She, like her supporters, reminded us often that she was a woman, as if that should hold more weight than $153,000,000 in Wall Street speaking fees.

As if Hillary’s gender was going to make us forget how she helped to create Isis by selling her Iraq war vote to George Bush.

As if BEING a woman made it okay to sell arms to countries that OPPRESS women.

Bernie Sanders would have been our nation’s first Jewish president, but he never mentioned it, because Progressives know that it is inexcusable to vote for someone based on race, gender or sexual orientation.

Voting for someone based on gender is just as insulting as voting AGAINST someone for this reason, yet still Clinton and her supporters seem to point the finger at everyone but themselves.

I guess this is to be expected from someone who literally played The Woman Card as part of her disastrous campaign.

womancard

The blame for this complete and utter defeat lies clearly at the feet of the “Democratic” National Committee and Hillary Clinton and any attempts to blame others will keep the Dems from learning the lessons they so desperately need to learn in order to rebuild their crumbled party, which has become completely out of touch with the working class it once represented.

Hillary’s loss was not the fault of third-parties.

Jill Stein received 1% of the vote and if you look at the states where Clinton lost close races like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, you will see that Stein was not a factor at all in those states.

The Dems would do better to ask themselves why people feel so disenfranchised that they need to reach out to an underdeveloped party to feel represented.

Voters on both sides of the aisle are fed up with corporate money controlling their politicians.

When Sanders stood up and said that he refused to take money from super-pacs the people responded in a YUGE way.

Instead of the “Democrats” adapting, they just sabotaged Sanders and in doing so sabotaged their party.

Of course it is much easier to blame others for Clinton’s epic fail, than to ask why her campaign had multiple field offices in deep-red Texas, yet never stepped foot in formerly-blue Wisconsin.

Before blaming a third-party, it might be important to ask why 90,000 Michigan voters filled out their down-ballot, but refused to vote for president.

Perhaps they couldn’t bring themselves to vote for another Clinton after watching NAFTA send their jobs overseas and destroy their cities and towns.

Perhaps they could no longer support a party that left the children of Flint to drink poison water under the Obama administration, while Clinton used their suffering as a campaigning opportunity.

Of course it’s easier to blame James Comey for dropping a bombshell a week before the election, but perhaps the finger should be pointed at the party itself, who chose to force an already rejected candidate down our throats when The People clearly did not trust her.

And of course, winning the popular vote while losing in the electoral college is heartbreaking, but any Clinton supporter who cries foul is engaging in blatant hypocrisy, as they blindly supported a candidate who used closed primaries, corporate media propaganda and $uper-delegates to insure a “victory” for a candidate that was highly vulnerable against Trump.

sexism

And yet there are still Clinton supporters who actually believe that her loss was about sexism.

Of course people who voted based entirely on gender would think that others refused to vote for Hillary based on this same “reasoning”.

Clinton supporters didn’t want to talk about policy.

 

They wanted to talk about the first woman president.

Even as prominent feminists like Camille Paglia came out and stated why Hillary’s policies were anti-feminist, Clinton supporters continued to blame every criticism on sexism.

If you were to point out how female civil rights leaders were murdered as a result of Clinton’s foreign policy, then you were told that “you just can’t handle women in power.”

Try to point out that Clinton paid her female employees 38% less than male employees, when she was Secretary of State and you were called misogynist.

Ask any Clinton supporter why a feminist would use her power to cut funding to single mothers with dependent children and you would likely receive a lecture about “how women have to make hard choices”.

And let’s never forget that it is MUCH harder to be a woman in America than it is to be a man, but Hillary’s gender didn’t work against her.

It worked FOR her.

America actually wanted a woman president.

They just didn’t want her.

People just don’t like Hillary Clinton.

And to blame that on sexism, would be to dismiss the real reasons why people refused to vote for her.

Before you accept the idea that Hillary lost because of her gender, realize that more white women voted for Donald Trump than for Hillary Clinton.

This election WAS largely about sexism, but not AGAINST Hillary Clinton.

The ugly sexism in the 2016 election was the fact that Clinton supporters voted for a genocidal tyrant based COMPLETELY on her gender.

Had Clinton been male, she would have been susceptible to the same scrutiny as any other politician, but instead her followers saw her as immune to criticism.

In the mind of a Clinton supporter, every scandal was the result of either a right-wing witch-hunt or an attack on her womanhood.

She was the victim of James Comey.

She was the victim of Bernie Sanders.

She was the victim of Jill Stein.

She was the victim of Julian Assange.

She was the victim of the electoral college.

She was a victim of the Russians.

Accountability isn’t part of the faux-feminism of the Clinton supporter.

notwithher

Although I rejoice in the fact that Hillary’s cheating was not rewarded, it is sad that the “Democrats” had this amazing opportunity to reinvent itself as a true party for The People, but instead took the populace for granted and lost all branches of the government.

There is no doubt that there will be hard times in America with Republicans controlling the House, Senate and the presidency and our children’s children will be dealing with these alt-right Supreme Court judges that Trump will nominate.

In the words of Clinton supporter, Morgan Freeman, in The Shawshank Redemption, the time is now for Progressives to “get busy livin or get busy dyin.”

Our backs are against the wall and drastic activism is needed.

Although I find it laughable that Clinton supporters have chosen to wait until AFTER the election to finally start protesting, it’s good that they are learning how to use their voice.

We will need their voice.

Progressives can allow themselves a short period of time to say “I told you so.”, especially after the reprehensible way that they were treated by Clinton supporters over the last 18 months, but ultimately we have to move on and forgive if we are going to have an actual revolution in America.

Progressives and Independents must join forces with the LBGT+ community and Black Lives Matter and take hold of this amazing opportunity to rebuild the broken “Democratic” Party in our own image.

Our revolution is just getting started and we all have a common enemy in power.

The “Democratic” Party needs us more than we need them.

We can use that.

Their firewall is down and they are vulnerable.

Attention DNC,

Move to the left or perish.

Represent The People or be replaced.

If the 2016 election taught you anything..

It should have taught you that we will no longer be held hostage.

Sincerely,

The People

mikeinphilly
Hillary supporters direct your angry comments at this guy. For those of you who believe in Independent Progressive voices, you can support Michael’s work by donating $1 by clicking HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

-Martin Niemoller

RUSSIA-GAY-RIGHTS-DEMO

A friend of mine stopped by my house recently.

She was scared.

My friend was born male, but now identifies as female.

She said…

“I’ve only recently began to be able to walk down the street. I fear that if Donald Trump becomes president, then it will become open season on people like me.”

Our house is a safe haven in the middle of Indiana, a state which is anything but safe for people who are different.

There is a rainbow flag in the window and a Bernie Sanders sign in the yard.

Although my politics fall to the extreme left, I am no idealist.

I believe strongly that we should always attempt to use peaceful means to resolve conflict.

But I know that we must also take extreme measures to insure our freedoms from those who seek to limit them.

I live in the birthplace of the KKK.

It always takes bravery to be one’s self.

But let’s be real.

It takes more bravery to be like my friend than it does to be like me.

My friend is right to be afraid of violence under a Trump presidency.

We’ve seen the rallies and we’ve heard the hate-speech.

“You’ll be okay” I told her “I’ve got your back.”

And then I added…

“Millions of people have your back.”

calltoarms3

I live in a state where Mike Pence was the governor.

He passed laws making it legal for businesses to discriminate against members of the LBGT+ community and he passed laws discriminating against a woman’s right to choose.

We worked tirelessly to get a Pathway to Citizenship referendum passed, but our representatives would hide in their offices and refuse to meet with us.

But our problems are not unique to the Midwest.

And Donald Trump has not limited his hate-speech to members of just one community.

He has made hateful comments and threats to members of the Hispanic community, Blacks, Jews, women, Muslims and the differently-abled.

It is my belief that his nomination to the presidency will give rise to hate in America.

It is my belief that bigots of all varieties will feel emboldened by his ignorance and subsequent rise to power.

It is my belief that school-yard bullies and cowards of all stripes will feel that hate is not only acceptable, but rewarded.

What is a small child to think when they see that someone can stand on a podium and make hateful remarks and then this person can be rewarded to the extent that they are made the most powerful person on Earth?

A dangerous precedent has been set…

And it is up to us to fight every battle that will come our way during the next four years.

If you call yourself a Progressive then I am calling on you to prove it each and every time you see discrimination.

I am asking you to be a warrior.

I believe with all my heart that this is the duty of every American.

calltoarms4

I’ve been all over this country and met tons of Trump supporters.

By and large they are good people.

Most of them are people who have worked hard their entire lives and they have watched their jobs get shipped overseas by trade agreements that hurt the American people.

Many of them lost their houses to a corrupt banking system and these same people are now paying for the bank bailout.

I want to be careful to not encourage the media’s portrayal of the Trump supporter as a dangerous and armed White Supremacist, but at the same time it is important to point out that some of Trump’s support actually comes from this small segment of our population and these people are potentially very dangerous.

It is our job to speak out when and where we see discrimination.

When I use the phrase A Call to Arms I do not mean that we take up firearms.

I sincerely hope that it will never come to that.

I am speaking instead of a much more effective means of fighting.

I am referring to compassion and activism.

I am asking everyone who reads this to be an ally every day in every way that life presents to you.

And I am asking you to look for new opportunities to be brave in a world that is often hostile.

Most of you reading this are more than likely already doing amazing things in your communities.

I applaud you and ask that you hold these questions in the front of your mind…

“What can I do to help the cause of equality?”

and

“What can I do to make the world a better place?”

In the past year we have learned, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that our country has a long way to go to reach equality for all of its citizens.

Some might view Trump’s election and candidacy as a setback to this cause.

Perhaps it is.

But at least the hatred is out in the open now.

Now we know what we are dealing with.

It is the duty of all good people to go above and beyond.

When millions of people stand together..

They win.

calltoarms6

By signing in the comments below and sharing this article with a friend you agree to do the following, as well as millions of other creative acts of kindness.

I promise to smile and speak to people.

I promise to feed those who are hungry.

I promise to speak out against discrimination anywhere and everywhere I see it.

I promise to fight any and all legislation that attempts to legalize hate.

I solemnly swear to defend women’s reproductive rights.

I promise to comfort victims.

I will attend rallies and protests for minority and women’s rights.

I will compassionately educate those with small minds.

I will listen to people and consider their points of view.

I will be slow to anger and quick to forgive.

I will not name-call, fat shame, slut-shame or engage in any other form of discrimination against people based on religion (or lack thereof), appearance or ethnicity.

I will abstain from supporting corporations that do not promote Progressive values.

I will do anonymous good deeds and random acts of kindness.

I will call and write my elected officials and tell them what legislation is important to me.

I will rally people together to vote out politicians who do not support my values.

I will be kind to animals and children.

I will assist the disabled and the elderly.

I will fight for a pathway to citizenship, so that all people who want to truly “make America great again” can come and contribute to our society.

I will treat those in the service industry with kindness and respect.

I will make eye contact and ask people how their day is.

I will listen.

I will fight against pre-programmed knee-jerk reactions.

I will love people.

Not just those who are easy to love…

But all people.

I will make the world a better place.

I will be an ally to anyone who needs it.

calltoarms7

I want to make this page a place where people can celebrate compassion and diversity.

I want to encourage people to come here and share stories of times when you stood up for something good.

Don’t look at it as bragging.

It helps people to be able to read your stories.

It inspires them to take their own giant steps.

It inspires others to be brave.

Thank you for participating in my project.

Love to you all.

lovecenter

Michael is an activist, an ally and an independent writer. If you believe in his work and his mission you can support it by donating $1 HERE. He will probably use it to create a sign for a protest or some other crazy liberal activity.