every election!

This is your daily reminder that this is not normal. Donald Trump is unqualified, racist, misogynistic, ill-tempered, unintelligent; he has no grasp of how our government is supposed to work; he has conflicts of interest so numerous that two presidential ethics lawyers have bi-partisanly teamed up to combat them; he’s been sued so many times I can’t list them all here; he’s still being sued by a multitude of people, and will continue to be long into his presidency.

The Russian government blatantly interfered with his election through email hacks and wikileaks: this has been confirmed by multiple national intelligence agencies; he has no regard for the truth, or facts, or scientific data; he gets into fights with people on twitter at  3am.

He called Mexicans rapists and criminals; he wanted to create a registry for Muslim Americans; he doesn’t take no for an answer, whether its coming from a woman or the President of Mexico; he refuses to attend security briefings; he’s costing the government millions by refusing to leave his office in Trump Tower; his cabinet is as unqualified and uninformed as he is.

He lost the popular vote by over three million (3,000,000) people.  The American people did not elect him.  Donald Trump should not be President of the United States.

This is not normal. Don’t ever forget it.

o-sea-dog  asked:

You know, I was gonna ask how you feeling about your upcoming election but I think I know what the answer is

I’m getting wasted with my parents all day until we get the results for the 1st round tonight. We had 3 bottles of wine and my Dad wanted to open my vodka. My Mom said no, took the bottle off his hands and poured herself a shot. She hasn’t touched it, said she kept it for “the right moment”. My 26 years old brother called, apparently he is also drunk and wanted to know my Mom’s paella recipe so he could “eat out his worry”. That recipe is for 6 people and there’s only one of him (and his gf). It’s chaos. Also the neighbor’s dog is there for some reason and NCIS is playing in the background

4

❝ I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change.
I am changing the things I cannot accept.❞

- A N G E L A   D A V I S

↳ for @girlsvstrump

It is no exaggeration to say that if it were to become law, this bill would kill significant numbers of Americans. People who lose their Medicaid, don’t go to the doctor, and wind up finding out too late that they’re sick. People whose serious conditions put them up against lifetime limits or render them unable to afford what’s on offer in the high-risk pools, and are suddenly unable to get treatment.

Those deaths are not abstractions, and those who vote to bring them about must be held to account. This can and should be a career-defining vote for every member of the House. No one who votes for something this vicious should be allowed to forget it — ever. They should be challenged about it at every town hall meeting, at every campaign debate, in every election and every day as the letters and phone calls from angry and betrayed constituents make clear the intensity of their revulsion at what their representatives have done.
 

Perhaps this bill will never become law, and its harm may be averted. But that would not mitigate the moral responsibility of those who supported it. Members of Congress vote on a lot of inconsequential bills and bills that have a small impact on limited areas of American life. But this is one of the most critical moments in recent American political history. The Republican health-care bill is an act of monstrous cruelty. It should stain those who supported it to the end of their days.

— 

Every Republican who voted for this abomination must be held accountable

The cruelty and indifference to suffering embodied by the modern Republican party is appalling. This is a group of people – and their supporters are not exempt from this – who want the poorest Americans, their fellow humans who aren’t as fortunate as they are, to suffer. 

This isn’t just a difference of opinion about marginal tax rates or the effects of import tariffs. This is about fundamental human decency, kindness, and empathy. 

I have a lot of problems with the Democrats, but at least, as a political philosophy, party, and collection of elected officials, they aren’t gleeful about causing tremendous harm to their fellow Americans.

acaramela  asked:

Hey can I ask you something and this is a thoroughly ignorant question but I'm Latina and I grew up learning that Castro killed his own people and that he just was a terrible dictator. I even have friends from around the region that support this and say that Castro and communism are responsible for the suffering of the Cuban people. Could you explain to me why this isn't the case? I just can't find any other reliable sources to inform myself. Thank you.

im sorry this is long, but read the whole thing, its all important information

First, Cuba isn’t a one-man or military dictatorship. A lot of people don’t know this, especially in countries allied with America, but Cuba is highly democratic, and even takes measures to stop corruption in politics. For example, elected representatives are paid workers’ wages, so there is no monetary incentive to run for office, all voting is by secret ballot, votes are counted in public, voting is voluntary, elected representatives can be recalled at any time, women make up 48.9% of the Cuban government (a hell of a lot more than the US which can’t even break 20% in its Congress), it is illegal to spend any money on political campaigns to advertise for particular candidates, and candidates’ biographies and their reasons for standing are posted on public notice boards so everyone has equal exposure.

The nomination and election of local candidates for office is done in public meetings, with return meetings happening every 6 months. There are limitations in higher levels of the government, where voters must choose to either accept or reject a single nominee, but as far as i know, the principles of recall and community nomination still hold true.

You can read more about Cuban democracy here:

Why Cuba Still Matters // Representative Government in Socialist Cuba // Cuban Democracy Fact Sheet // How to Visit a Socialist Country // 

As for the specific claim that Castro is a dictator, its on very shaky grounds (to say the least). Its true, of course, that Fidel and Raul have been the only presidents of Cuba since the revolution. However, the presidency isn’t chosen like it is in America, directly (well, its not even direct in America, but thats another topic). The presidency is chosen through the elected parliament (national assembly).

Delegates to the National Assembly are elected every 5 years, half nominated from municipalities and half nominated by mass organizations (like trade unions, women’s orgs, cultural orgs, etc.). Each nominee must receive at least 50% of the vote. All in all, there are 612 delegates, and 48.9% are women. 

The National Assembly votes on who belongs to the Council of State, which appoints the ministers, Presidency, and Vice Presidency. And following a 2011 Congress of the Communist Party, senior elected officials can only serve two terms (10 years) in office. That means in 2018, Raul Castro will step down and a new President will be chosen.

We should also talk about what exactly “dictatorship” means. All societies are dictatorial for some and free for others, because all states are institutions of class rule. Cuba, while I don’t believe it has a socialist economy (and thus not a socialist government) has absolutely shown what can be done with the support of the mass power of the people, and drawn a line between it as a free and independent country and imperialists.

So how is Cuba in service of its people? It raised literacy from 60-70% to 96% in two years- today 100% of Cubans are literate. It has a massive amount of doctors per capita and has lower rates of infant mortality, HIV, and malnutrition than the US. They have state subsidized SRS and HRT, some of the best current LGBT rights in the Caribbean, despite their historical struggles with homophobia. They are the most sustainable country in the world, despite the embargo. 

(The Embargo is absolutely devastating to the Cuban economy, too. Never let a discussion of Cuba’s economy go on without discussing the impact of the embargo)

Still, compare those achievements to Haiti. A country that has been and still is politically and economically crippled by US and French imperialism, which suffers under a neocolonial elite, which is paid starvation wages to make Levis and other commodities for the US, which receives little to no aid when natural disasters hit (which are exacerbated by the ecological devastation of the island).

What is really responsible for the suffering of the people, not just in Cuba, but in Haiti and all countries in the global south? Is it really the ideology of socialism that fights for greater rights and the accessibility to basic needs? Or is it capitalist-imperialism, which strangles Cuba with economic blockades, and parasitically leeches off of its neighbors?

As for the claim that Castro killed “his own people”… the phrasing of this (and of course this isn’t your fault, anti-communists always phrase stuff like this) makes it seem like its better if politicians kill others in imperialist war. Killing “your own people” is somehow far worse than killing the people of countries you want to invade or control. Castro and Che did kill people, yes Cubans. But again, we have to look at the class forces involved. Who were those fleeing? Who were being killed? Historical records show most were rich, white Cuban plantation owners or otherwise of the middle and upper classes, who backed the former military dictator Batista:

All weekend a Cuban exile contingent of right-wing ‘gusanos’ have been gathered on Calle Ocho street in Miami’s “Little Havana” to celebrate the death of Fidel Castro. However the hatred was always mutual; as Fidel characterized the first 1960’s waves of wealthy white parasitic former land owners who were part of the Batista dictatorship he overthrew as “gusanos” (worms), based on their reactionary politics, intransigent support for the blockade, and desire to team up with the CIA to carry out terrorist attacks all across post-revolutionary Cuba. (Note, not all exiles fall into this category, especially more recent arrivals).

The zenith of gusano interference was the 1961 U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion, which Cuba’s government defeated, and afterwards Fidel pointed out the wealth of many of the 1,100 exile soldiers that his troops captured (and later released back to the U.S. in exchange for baby formula). Within those 1,100 soldiers were: 100 plantation owners, 67 landlords of apartment buildings, 35 factory owners, 112 businessmen, 179 living off inheritances, and 194 ex-soldiers of Batista.

Over the decades since that time, the aging gusano contingent in South Florida has proven to be perhaps the most corrupt group (on a per-capita basis) in American politics—which is saying something. In their dying off ranks you can find Batista’s old BRAC secret police goons, ex Cuban mafia, CIA contract killers, and former oligarchs of vast latifundias. As essentially Miami is still controlled by the remnants of Batista’s dictatorship and their off-spring, a regime which killed 20,000 Cubans and tortured tens of thousands more.

(from here)

Almost all (and i only say almost because i don’t know of any who were not) of those executed were members of Batista’s army, informants, rich landowners who backed Batista, etc. And, contrary to the idea that these were executions against the people, they were actually popularly sanctioned:

Serving in the post as commander of La Cabaña, Guevara reviewed the appeals of those convicted during the revolutionary tribunal process.[9] The tribunals were conducted by 2–3 army officers, an assessor, and a respected local citizen.[105] On some occasions the penalty delivered by the tribunal was death by firing squad.[106] Raúl Gómez Treto, senior legal advisor to the Cuban Ministry of Justice, has argued that the death penalty was justified in order to prevent citizens themselves from taking justice into their own hands, as happened twenty years earlier in the anti-Machado rebellion.[107] Biographers note that in January 1959, the Cuban public was in a “lynching mood”,[108] and point to a survey at the time showing 93% public approval for the tribunal process.[9]Moreover, a January 22, 1959, Universal Newsreel broadcast in the United States and narrated by Ed Herlihy, featured Fidel Castro asking an estimated one million Cubans whether they approved of the executions, and was met with a roaring “¡Si!” (yes).[109] With thousands of Cubans estimated to have been killed at the hands of Batista’s collaborators,[110][111] and many of the war criminals sentenced to death accused of torture and physical atrocities,[9] the newly empowered government carried out executions, punctuated by cries from the crowds of “¡paredón!” ([to the] wall!),[100]

thats from wikipedia, no less

Always remember- all states are the power of one class over another. Whether that class is the working class by itself (or in alliance with a progressive and anti-imperialist bourgeoisie as in Cuba), or whether it is a reactionary or imperialist bourgeoisie armed against the working class of the world (as in the US)- states are not just democracies or dictatorships- but institutions of class power. Its interesting how we call Cuba a dictatorship when the rich landowners flee or face persecution or god-forbid *gasp* their land is redistributed to campesinos! But the United States, which has the largest (mostly black and brown) prison population in the world (both by number and per capita), which is established on stolen land, and which regularly exercises its power to interfere in and mess with other countries independence, is seen as “free.”

Here are some more resources on Cuba:

[Documentary] Cuba: Defending Socialism, Resisting Imperialism // 20 Reasons to Support Cuba // Cuba: A Revolution in Motion // Cuba and its Neighbors: Democracy in Motion // Work and Democracy in Socialist Cuba // The Sugarmill: The Socio Economic Complex of Sugar in Cuba 1760-1860 // Cuba and the US Empire: A Chronological History // A Hidden History of the Cuban Revolution // Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War // The World Economic and Social Crisis // The Economic War Against Cuba // Race in Cuba //

We have general elections every year in the US. VOTE THIS YEAR.

Among other things it’s doing, the federal government is looking to devolve more power back to the states.  VOTE THIS YEAR, and help to swing your state’s government.   Off-year elections have the smallest turnouts and so they are EASY TO SWAY by getting out there to vote.

VOTE THIS YEAR. Off-year elections can affect Congress and they affect local and regional offices whose policies can hold people accountable in their bases of operations if the federal government refuses to. For 2017 we have:

  • 1 US Senate seat (Alabama)
  • 6 US House of Representatives (California 34th District, Georgia 6th District, Kansas 4th District, Montana At-Large District, South Carolina 5th District, Utah 3rd District)
  • 2 State Governors (New Jersey, Virginia)
  • New Jersey General Assembly and Senate, Virginia House, North Carolina General Assembly (a special re-vote with the de-gerrymandered district lines!)
  • Lots of mayoral and local elections that will MATTER IN COMING YEARS because city mayors can carry a lot of influence in elections and also act as leaders and innovators to model policies and programs (see: sanctuary cities)

anonymous asked:

Could you clearly explain what the term neoliberalism actually means? Because it is used so often to describe such a variety of things but always in a vague manner

Neoliberalism, as I and others talk about it, is a broad ideology that really started becoming popular in political, economic, and governmental circles in the 1970’s and reached its peak in global popularity in the 1980’s. It describes the political paradigm we are in right now, the political conditions of modern society. As the name suggests, it calls for a revitalization of the classical liberal view of economic policy. Concretely, this means free trade, low taxes, deregulation, privatization, and balanced budgets.

This post is going to shortly explain the neoliberal story as it took place in America. I only mention the experiences in other nations at the end for brevity, relevance to my followers and I, and because I don’t understand them as well as I understand America’s.


Neoliberalism emerged as a reaction to the Keynesian welfare state politics that had become popular in the West. In the 1970’s, the American economy was experiencing a phenomenon called “stagflation”- simultaneous stagnation and inflation- that the old-school Keynesians who had been the dominant group in American economics had believed to be impossible for any extended period of time. In the intellectual gap their failure left, economists like Milton Friedman made the case not only for a different approach to monetary policy in order to solve stagflation, but also for the idea that many forms of governmental involvement in the economy being harmful. Others, like James Buchanan, made the case to the economics profession that government bureaucrats acted in selfish self-interest, not the public interest, and thus that policy prescriptions should be much more cautious in calling for governmental solutions to economic issues.

At the same time, businesses began to be more aggressive in asserting their interests in politics. This development was prompted in part by soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr. writing a memo to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 1971 arguing that “the American economic system is under attack” from progressive critics of big business, and that the business community should fight back. A number of conservative and libertarian think tanks and advocacy organizations were created and expanded in order to make the intellectual case for “freer” capitalism, including the Heritage Foundation (1973), the Cato Institute (1974), and the American Enterprise Institute (founded in 1938 but became influential during the 1970′s).

Take all of these trends, throw in increased public skepticism of government after Vietnam and Watergate, and you have a recipe for fundamental political change.

Between the economic disarray, the public distrust, and both intellectual and financial support for an alternative to post-war welfare statism, a new ideology became dominant in the political sphere. This ideology was encapsulated by Ronald Reagan, who summed it up perfectly with his famous quote: “in this current crisis, government is not the solution to the problem; government is the problem.”

That’s is standard conservative fare today, but we forget how radical both that message and Reagan himself were at the time. I’ve noted before that, even at the time of his election, Reagan was seen by some as too far right to win. The last (elected) Republican president before him, Nixon, created the EPA, OSHA, and a number of other progressive programs. He also called for healthcare reform even stronger than Obamacare, and an expansion of welfare, the latter of which was the inspiration for the Earned Income Tax Credit, passed shortly after he left office. Parts of Nixon’s economic agenda (but not many other parts of his agenda, I should note) were noticeably left-wing, so much so that one journalist at the time noted that he left the Democrats having to resort to “metooism.”

But Nixon was simply responding to political pressures from the left, the same pressures that had forced LBJ’s hand with civil rights legislation and the war on poverty. In the late 1970’s, those pressures began to be outweighed by increasing pressure from businesses in the direction of neoliberalism. This started under Jimmy Carter, who oversaw the cautious deregulation of airlines and the trucking industry. However, it was Reagan who truly delivered the neoliberal agenda in America and institutionalized it into government.

The Reagan era also saw the start of the growth in importance of campaign donations. Republicans had not only a strong base of think tanks to provide them with a network of intellectual support, they also had far more donations from the corporate interests they were serving. Congressional Republicans beat their Democratic counterparts in campaign expenditures in every election year from 1976-1992.

Traditionally, Democrats had relied on unions as a critical source of both campaign donations and organizational support. With union strength declining (thanks, in part, to attacks by the Reagan administration), the Democrats were being totally outgunned. Recognizing that the game has changed, a number of Democrats (including one Bill Clinton) joined together in the Democratic Leadership Council with the stated goal of dragging the Democratic Party to the right and boosting campaign contributions. They succeeded. When Clinton eventually won the presidency, he cemented neoliberalism as the law of the land by making it clear that the Democrats would not challenge the fundamental new doctrine of limited government involvement in many parts of the economy, and as a result made the Democrats competitive again. (Read Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson’s “Winner-Take-All Politics” and Thomas Ferguson and Joel Roger’s “Right Turn” for more on this issue).

Instead of challenging the entirety of Reagan’s assertion of government as problem, Clinton espoused a “third way” ideology: in his second inauguration, Clinton said that “Government is not the problem, and Government is not the solution. We—the American people—we are the solution.” Though he made concessions to left-liberal voters with things like mild tax hikes on the wealthy, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Family Medical Leave Act, he continued the neoliberal march of rolling back progressive achievements through the deregulation of Wall Street, conservative reform of welfare, NAFTA, and gutting public housing.

Clinton himself was aware of the way that American politics was moving to the right, and he was sometimes frustrated with it. Allegedly, he once entered a meeting in the Oval Office complaining:

Where are all the Democrats? I hope you’re all aware we’re all Eisenhower Republicans. We’re Eisenhower Republicans here, and we are fighting the Reagan Republicans. We stand for lower deficits and free trade and the bond market. Isn’t that great?

But he didn’t really do anything to slow the process. Most of the Democratic Party accepts their role doing nothing more than, to borrow a phrase from Roberto Unger, “to put a softer face on the agenda of their conservative opponents.” They’re there to make things a bit better for the little guy here and there, but never to fundamentally shake up the political-economic system in any way. This is why people will refer to many Democrats as neoliberals even when they don’t literally advocate for a “free market.”

As a result, the Republicans continued to push further right under the leadership of Newt Gingrich. The Democrats started to dig their heels in and push back a little for the first time during the later part of the George W. Bush administration as his (and the wars’) approval ratings sank, and they now seem to have stabilized more or less. An increasingly loud progressive wing of the party continues to push for the type of reforms that would have been center-left in the 1960’s, but the party establishment is now fine just holding on to ideological territory to the right of where it was several decades ago.

With the establishment of both parties accepting neoliberal ideology, it achieved status as what Antonio Gramsci called “cultural hegemony”: because the most powerful class of America accepted it as fact, it was instilled into the American consciousness as “common sense” that can’t be seriously challenged. Ex.) “You want to raise taxes to pay for universal healthcare? That’s ridiculous, everyone knows taxes need to be cut, even the Democrats want tax cuts for the middle class!,” “Everyone agrees there’s too much regulation today,” etc.

But things are changing. What we’re seeing now in this election is the collapse of neoliberalism’s hegemony. Republican elites took neoliberalism being their root organizing principle for granted while running campaigns utilizing dog whistle racism (that’s a whole post in itself), never realizing that they were attracting a base of voters who hated immigrants a lot more than regulation. The Republicans have drifted so far to the right that unabashed nationalists like Trump can now take the lead of the party, even though he’s running on racist xenophobia and protectionism that are in conflict with neoliberal ideals. The Tea Party was the first hiccup, and Trump is the new one. The GOP’s electoral strategy is coming back to haunt them.

Even during their neoliberalization, the Democrats always had a left-wing occupied by social democrats who wanted to continue the progress that was abandoned in the late 70’s. They were empowered by both opposition to the Iraq War late in the Bush era and the subsequent economic crash that occurred as a result of neoliberal deregulation of the finance sector. Obama ran as a semi-progressive but governed as a standard Democrat who wanted no fundamental changes (Obamacare instead of single-payer, Dodd-Frank instead of reshaping the finance system, etc.), leaving progressive disappointment and frustration to rise to the surface again once a primary was held to determine who would be the Democratic candidate after Obama. Thus, the Bernie phenomenon.

I think that the collapse of neoliberalism is embedded in the formula of neoliberalism itself, very similar to Marxist views about how capitalism creates its own life-threatening crises (which, I should clarify, I don’t believe). Neoliberal globalization results in devastating deindustrialization in blue collar parts of America, leaving a class of people unemployed and feeling totally forgotten by their government, especially since government aid to the poor is often seen as shameful in a hyperindividualist neoliberal environment. This prompts an inevitable political reaction. The center-left (ex. Clinton) and center-right (ex. Jeb Bush) sing the praises of neoliberal globalization, the left (ex. Sanders) vigorously attacks the “neoliberal” part, and the far-right vigorously attacks the “globalization” part (ex. Trump). If you can’t tell, my position on the left leaves me disliking neoliberalism and believing that the far-right’s disdain for all forms of globalization is a distraction and misidentification of the root issue, using foreigners and people of color as scapegoats.

A number of other industrialized countries have underwent neoliberalization on roughly the same time frame and are now experiencing similar backlashes: The U.K., neoliberalized under Thatcher, now has UKIP, Jeremy Corbyn, and social democratic Scottish nationalists. France has the National Front. Germany has the AfD and Pegida. New Zealand has New Zealand First. Sweden has the Sweden Democrats. Spain has Podemos. Neoliberalism was pushed on much of Latin America through the “Washington Consensus” doctrine of the U.S. government and international finance organizations like the IMF, leading to a revitalization of Latin American left-populism in many countries.

There are exceptions of course: Australia, weirdly enough, doesn’t have as much far-right or far-left activity as the other nations, as far as I’m aware. Mexican politics don’t have very strong far-right and far-left forces either right now, though the Zapatista movement was undoubtably the type of response I’m talking about. Russian politics are odd enough that it’s kinda hard to determine whether what’s going on there is the result of their neoliberal shock therapy after the fall of the USSR or not.

Regardless, the only countries where neoliberalism has had serious economic success are nations with authoritarian political systems that can suppress dissent: neoliberalism was forced upon the people of Chile under the brutal rule of Pinochet, and China underwent large scale economic liberalization under the brutal rule of Deng. For all of the other problems that may have occurred, both resulted in astonishing economic growth. Regardless, these experiences seem to directly conflict with the classical liberal argument of a strong correlation between a laissez-faire economy and political democracy, at least at all points on the curve.

This post is already way too long, and I’ve probably tried to cover too much, but the concept of neoliberalism is so important to understanding our modern world that I feel like all of this is important to cover.

i really cant emphasize enough to my (especially young) followers belonging to any minority like you fucking do not have to feel like you have to be an activist every 2 seconds and if all you do today is get up and shower and eat two meals, you’re already doing everything they don’t want you to be doing. your existence alone is revolutionary

Fourth of July Explained for Non-Americans

The Fourth of July is the holiday on which Americans give thanks twice as much to George Washington, George Bush, George Herbert Walker Bush, and Jimmy Carter.

One common American tradition on the Fourth of July is that of the Presidential Prayer Beads. At dinner time, one family member takes out a bracelet with 45 beads and uses it to help name each president and their role in building America. Every time the country elects a new President, families add a bead to their bracelet. Highly observant families also have bracelets devoted to the number of states, Constitutional Amendments, and Sessions of Congress.

Families settle down to the Independence Dinner after they finish counting and reciting all their beads and praying to each president. There is no single type of Independence Dinner. This reflects how America is a melting pot or tossed salad of different cultures and ways of life. In fact, that’s just what a lot of Americans do: they serve melting pots and tossed salads, but what’s in those meals differs with each region, city, or even neighborhood!

During the Independence Dinner, all Americans have their tv, radio, or web browsers open, listening for the First Bite made by the president. It’s customary that no one in the family starts eating until the President takes a bite of his or her own dinner, which has been broadcast throughout the country as long as there has been sound recording equipment or word of mouth in the Washington, D.C. It used to be a custom that the President would visit a household and take the First Bite from their dinner, but this ended with the Scalding of 1949.

After the Independence Dinner, Americans set out their lawn chairs on the grass, dirt, balcony, or in front of an open window. They do this to get a perfect view of the Fourth of July Fireworks. If you are staying in America during the Fourth of July, you will not need to travel very far to see the show because they are visible in virtually every part of the country. If an American does not live closer to a fireworks show, there is a good chance that their household plans to hold a fireworks show that year. Many states restrict the sale of fireworks, but if an American goes to a store and says I am holding a Fourth of July Fireworks show the law enforcement will usually look the other way. In major cities, this is less important because the town government will pay for the fireworks show.

When the Fourth of July Fireworks end, most Americans go to sleep. All burnt fireworks are recycled and all unused fireworks are sold back to retail stores at half price. If an American lives near the border with Mexico or Canada, they may cross the border to spread the festivities.

I hope this has been helpful. Criticisms and questions are welcome. If I missed something, please let me know. Happy Fourth of July!

There has been a Decepticon emblem somewhere on my person every day since the election.

Today I saw a post that upset me. It was basically stating that half the fandom is incorrect to see the Decepticons as the ‘real’ good guys, and reiterated all the reasons that they’re terrible and the Autobots are, were, and always will be the only good guys. 

I may have growled ‘fuck you’ at the computer, almost reblogged with an angry comment…and then looked at myself with horror, because I make it my policy not to be negative at someone I’ve never met, or their thoughts, on such slim basis. Compassion is more important than anything else; we are all hurting, and it is so easy to do further damage that, especially on a platform such as tumblr, it does well to watch one’s words very, very carefully. Fictional characters are not worth doing real, tangible harm over. 

So why the hell was I so upset that I almost broke my own rules?

The election.

I have worn a Decepticon emblem somewhere on my person every day since the election. Earrings. My windbreaker. A t-shirt. But mostly the earrings, since they’re subtle and pass mostly unremarked. I’m even contemplating a tattoo, more seriously than ever before. 

I’m in agony. I’m a policy student; I specialize in public health policy. A few weeks ago, my mentor quite literally told me to hold off on entering the workforce for the next four years; he feels that me starting a career under the Trump Administration would be a very bad idea. At the same time, I’m significantly changing the course of my immediate future in light of the election; I’m applying to Teach For America, which has an LGBT initiative to recruit LGBT teachers. It’s intended to make up grade and graduation (and survival) differences between LGBT and straight students. I’m going to actively pursue being placed in a red state, where I can do the most good. 

It’s not like I don’t understand this is dangerous. There is a large part of me that wants to flee the country (New Zealand being the favorite refuge, right now). But my family didn’t leave China during the Cultural Revolution, though it killed my great-grandparents and led to the torture and humiliation of many of my other family members. My grandmother had to be almost forcefully sent to the US because the rest of the family knew damn well her opinionated nature and total disregard for her own safety would get her dead. But it wasn’t the first time the family had weathered horrors. I know too well that it won’t be the last. And if my great-grandparents could stay in China then, then no incompetent orange baboon’s arse will chase me from the United States. 

I’m bi. I’m multiracial. I’m a woman. I’m an intellectual. This is not a good combination in Trump’s America. But I’m not afraid. 

Because I think about Megatron every time I start browsing the New Zealand visa site. Megatron, and my family. 

We’ve been weaponizing words for generations. Two thousand years, in fact. Megatron, the young miner working in the dark for a better world, shaping words to change sparks, speaks to me on a deep level. This is what we have done for those two thousand years. And like Megatron, we have paid a price. Very often in blood. We’ve never been good at shutting up. 

Megatron is both a power fantasy and a cautionary tale for me right now, and right now, what I really need is the power fantasy. I feel incredibly helpless; I am not the only one. Megatron, someone who starts out so utterly helpless, gives me hope that I, too, may yet be powerful one day. That I may be capable of righting the injustices that cause me such pain now. 

I do not mean to excuse his atrocities. I am repulsed by them perhaps more than many others, because I understand how easy it might be to slip over the edge to committing them. (Anyone who tells you it is easy not to slip over that edge is a person to be very frightened of; they obviously do not see themselves as capable of horror, and those people are the ones most likely to commit horrors–they do not examine themselves or their motivations, they believe they are utterly in the right, and that is the most dangerous of persons). 

In the wake of this election, we all feel helpless. We are suddenly enemies in our own countries. Our neighbors turn on us for our compassion, for our liberal sentiments and our belief that all people are created equal. Does We the People still cover us? We’re not sure. There are so many who would say no. There are so many who believe we’re seeing the rise of another Hitler. 

Megatron rebelled against an authoritarian government. The lowest of the low, he shattered the monstrous system that treated him and his fellows as disposable objects. We are facing a future in which we are disposable objects. Is it any wonder we find hope in him? Is it any wonder that, seeing Trump get another pass for a lie, or use a tweet to cover up his nefarious dealings, you are being deceived gains new, immediate meaning? How about rise up? 

It’s not Optimus who gives us hope, Optimus who was a cop in IDW, Optimus, the well-meaning supporter of the status quo (that very same status quo that has so failed us!).

It’s Megatron, who may have fallen from grace, but who understands. Who was the miner who toppled an empire.

You may interpret canon as you wish. I would never want to step on someone’s toes for that. But for all you folks wondering why the hell fandom has suddenly decided the Decepticons are more appealing…

…it’s very simple. We’ve just realized we’re in their position. 

Since before Trump was elected I’ve seen discussion of using magical action against his presidency, and alongside that, I’ve seen criticism of said magical action. It’s now almost nine months since he was elected, time enough to gestate a friggin’ baby, and the 200th day of his presidency. That’s enough to evaluate both his presidency so far and the results of any magic against him and his agenda, and it’s also time enough to evaluate the criticisms of that magic.

Here are the usual criticisms I see levied in regards to magical action against Trump or other public figures:

  • It isn’t working because magic against a public figure you’re not personally connected to doesn’t work.
  • It isn’t working because too many people are casting at once.
  • It isn’t working because someone is countering for the person/the person’s position lends them protection.
  • It isn’t working because people were public about using magical action.
  • It isn’t working because everyone doing magic is an ineffective newb.
  • It isn’t working because you’re not doing magic the way I think you should be doing.
  • It isn’t working, and in fact through some convoluted logic it’s helping him instead.
  • It isn’t working because I’m assuming that every single person did that one binding spell that was published and also did it exactly word for word and on the exact dates it was planned for, and nobody did any different kind of work whatsoever or adopted different kinds of tactics.

Now, I can rebut a lot of those points, but I want to address a fundamental thing all those criticisms share: “it isn’t working.”

My question is: says who?

Do you read the news? I have been reading the news, both Politico’s main page and a scan of Google News’s top international and US stories, almost every day since the election began drawing near. Since Trump’s presidency started, I have seen a clear pattern: he has barely gotten any shit done. It’s his 200 day mark right now and many of his 100 day objectives remain unfulfilled. He’s got his own party controlling the entire US legislature and he can barely pass anything. Not only that, but he and his family and associates are constantly getting tarred by allegations of Russia collusion that will not go away because firing the special prosecutor in charge of looking into those allegations would be political suicide for him. He only makes his situation worse and worse as time goes by, either not appointing enough people to get his agenda done or fouling up negotiations over his own legislature or outright saying different things than his own communications office says on the same dang day. The Republican party leadership is largely troubled by Trump’s effects on their party and how to keep hold of congressional seats in 2018 and even how to keep their party united. Last year, Trump was looking like one of the best things to happen for them, a guaranteed way to pass lots of conservative Republican legislation and tilt the entire US further towards their party. Now the legislature is mired in quicksand and the current president has the lowest approval ratings in the history of approval ratings. (Like I don’t think that binding spell was the absolute best constructed spell ever but… a lot of these legislative agenda results do seem like what you’d get from a general binding against an agenda causing harm…)

I think some people expect immediate success from a spell to, say, make him fall over into a coma or make him immediately be impeached. The latter is largely unrealistic barring some very direct connection to the target of a spell and the former is entirely impossible because of how actual impeachment procedures go. But seeing neither happen, some people assume that any magical action must be failing completely or in its failure is producing the opposite results.

Exact magical results can often be difficult to determine in a complicated situation and so that’s why people are often prompted to do divination to determine those results. So I ask people who claim that all of the magic is completely ineffective or propping Trump up: what is telling you this? Since it can’t be an examination of the news and of the current political reality in the US, have you been applying divination towards this task to see just what the effects of the magic have been? If not, then what exactly are you basing your criticisms on?

Because from my vantage, what I see are three different reasons for the criticisms being made:

  1. “I don’t want this magic to be successful, so I’m going to say it’s not a success regardless of any proof of the results.” This comes from two fronts: people who disagree with the use of the magic in general, being anti-curse or anti-use of magic in politics, and people who are pro-Trump and therefore obviously biased against this sort of thing.
  2. “I don’t think the people casting are competent, either because I assume they’re all new at it or because they’re not me, and since I’m much better at magic at them that means their magic just won’t work.” This is usually from people who have difficulty imagining magic from other people’s perspective and often comes from a bias towards one specific system of magic (which is always the system the critic uses). Honestly it’s based out of a kind of arrogance that tends to get the critic in trouble eventually.
  3. “I’m projecting an attitude that these people are incompetent and their entire endeavor is a bad idea because I’m covering up the fact that I’m doing the same damn thing.” Props to you for obscuring your work but honestly, this is a shitty way to do it. If you want to keep a secret about something then just don’t talk about it. Using it as an excuse to tear other people down is not only being an asshole, it shows that you’re not a very good person to discuss magic with because you’re more concerned with your own image as a badass magician than with what actually works.

I’m not gonna discuss too in-depth what I’ve observed about the reality of the magic aimed at Trump, because quite honestly, secrecy is… a good thing? But I’d suggest anyone critiquing the whole of all magic that’s been cast for this reason start thinking a bit more realistically about the results. Start reading the news from some informed outlets and learning how politics works if you’re going to do commentary on political magic. Start thinking seriously about how others do magic and how other magical systems work before immediately writing their effectiveness off. And for goodness sakes, if you’re doing your own magical work in this area, don’t publicly tear others down to throw off suspicion about your own measures or as a way to brag about what you’re doing without actually outright bragging. That’s crass and your actions are obvious to those who know how to see through them. Get some perspective and start giving other people than yourself credit for being able to do magic competently too. A competent magician or magical system isn’t the Highlander–there can be more than one.

I’m in a very “late-’90s nostalgia” place right now, so let me pick up where I left off last night and ramble on about why Animorphs was so fucking great.

So, in the beginning, the series had very distinct good guys and bad guys.

Now, what made them good guys and bad guys?

Well, their goals made them good guys and bad guys.

One side was fighting to enslave humanity and destroy the Earth. The other side was fighting to keep that from happening.

And, in the beginning, that was enough.

But it’s a sixty-book series, and a little ways in, by about book sixteen, the kids are starting to ask themselves (and each other), “Hey. Wait. No. Can we honestly pretend the ends justify the means?”

“Can we honestly tell ourselves that, because we’re defending our planet, literally anything we do is automatically justified?”

“Is it not possible for us to go too far?”

“Are there moves that it’s fundamentally morally indefensible to make?”

And from that point onward, it’s not just about goals. Now it’s also about tactics. They’re the good guys because they have Limits, because they have Rules.

They say, “No, we’re not going to pretend the ends justify the means.”

“We’re not going to sink to the level of our enemies.”

“We’re not going to be cruel. We’re not going to be cutthroat. We’re not going to be inhumane or controlling. We’re gonna be clean. We’re gonna be good. We’re gonna be ethical and compassionate.”

“There’s no point fighting our enemies if we just become them in the process. We have to be the bigger people.”

And, again, for a while, that’s enough.

But if the series is about anything, it’s about how war breaks down everything you think you know about yourself. By the end of the series, all six main characters have committed atrocities on a massive scale.

There’s one book late in the series where they literally threaten to nuke their own hometown, and all the innocent people in it, because it becomes strategically advantageous.

Now, they end up not having to because the enemy folds, but the fact that they almost did it, the fact that they would have done it if they’d been pushed just a little bit farther, fucking haunts them.

But at least they didn’t, right? Like, if nothing else, at least they have the small, quiet comfort of knowing it ultimately didn’t come to that.

Oh, except, four books later, they end up nuking it, anyway.

It’s that kind of series. You’re never out of the woods.

In the beginning, the good guys’ leader, Jake, is specifically a reluctant leader. He didn’t want the job. He didn’t ask for it. If he could, he’d happily give it to someone else. He becomes the leader because he’s the one every other member of the group instinctively turns to when times are tough.

He becomes the leader because they need him to be the leader.

Not because he wants power, not because he likes it, not because he thinks he’s the best guy for the job. But solely because, when the chips are down, he’s the one they turn to. Every time.

They elect him, despite his own protests.

He is humble, and he is brave, and he’s this very idealized archetype.

He’s very much cast in the mold of, like, Pop Culture George Washington, the venerated veteran who naturally, effortlessly just exudes strength and power and wisdom and confidence and charisma but honestly really just wants a moment alone in the shade.

That changes by the end of the series.

By the end of the series, he is just a straight-up dictator. He has seventeen thousand defenseless prisoners executed just because he can.

Just because he wants to watch them die.

It’s actually pointed out in the last book, in canon, that he is, by all rights, a war criminal several times over – and that the only reason he’s not being prosecuted is because he was on the winning side.

A lot of fucked-up shit happens in the last five or ten books. Probably the most downright sickening thing is when the good guys recruit a small army of physically disabled kids, then basically throw them at the enemy as a momentary distraction. And they’re slaughtered. All of them.

But what makes the series memorable isn’t just that a lot of really dark and shocking stuff ends up happening. That’s not special by itself.

It’s that the characters spend so much time talking about it.

You know, it’s a kids’ series – these are, like, fourth-grade reading level – that isn’t remotely afraid to have hard conversations about how there’s no such thing as a good war, how even good people can be swayed to do terrible things, and how no one is ever above reproach.

I’m not going to say it’s necessarily perfect, sensitivity-wise, but it’s kind of amazing how much it doesn’t take for granted.

It’s very willing to have the debate (whatever debate happens to be at hand), show all sides, and let that play out to its natural endpoint.

And all this exists in a series that also has plots like, “I turned into a starfish, and a random little kid chopped me in half (because kids are jerks), and then both halves regenerated into a separate me, except one is good and one is evil, weirdly, for some reason, and we need to recombine ourselves by electrocuting each other.”

- Mod A.

anonymous asked:

you keep talking about how democrats need to stop waiting for the perfect candidate otherwise they will keep ending up on the "wrong side of election results" but would you rather be on the right side of history even if it means being on the wrong side of elections

You don’t get to achieve the important things that put you on the right side of history if you are always on the wrong side of election results. In this country, with the system of government that our Founders created after declaring independence on this very day 241 years ago, you have to actually win elections to get things done, to protect people’s rights, and to make sure that those accomplishments survive which help more Americans live better lives for as long as possible while making the world a safer place for everyone.

We can’t achieve our goals with protest votes in every election. That’s why Republicans currently control the White House, the Supreme Court, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, the majority of state legislatures, and a majority of Governor’s seats. Because….wait for it….Elections. Have. Consequences.

4

femblues-deactivated20170623  asked:

If I remember correctly, the KKK, was organized by democrats. Also democrats do continue to be violent and hateful to this day. There are good liberal people and conservative ones. There are also horrible people from every corner of the political spectrum and if you fail to acknowledge this you're probably one of the nuts.

Oh no, it’s this stupid shit again. Sit down folks, it’s time for another history lesson. You do remember some things correctly, but you’re forgetting about 150+ years of political history.

You’re not wrong, in the sense that many of the people who founded the KKK were Democrats, you’re just silly because you’re totally ignoring the historical context of American politics to make a point in our modern political environment and if you took 5 minutes to study the historical development of the parties you would realize how dumb that is.

Andrew Jackson officially founded the Democratic Party when he became president in 1828. He did so by appealing to the poor rural farmers of the South and Midwest. Things like destroying the central banks, removing Native Americans from their land, and leaving slavery just how it was, were all tenets of his campaign.

Andrew Jackson was the first populist in American politics and he rode a wave of angry, rural, white men to the White House. Sounds a lot like Hillary Clinton and the modern day Democrats, right? /s

Here’s a map just so you can get a better feel for it. In 1828 the only really developed part of the country was the North East and honestly that election highlighted the Urban/Rural divide of the time just as well as the election of 2016 did today.

This was a trend that would continue up until the Civil War, with bubbles of xenophobia like the Know Nothings, the rise and fall of the Whigs, and eventually the Civil War itself can all be tied to the agrarian, poorer, rural regions of the country struggling to adapt to the early days of the industrial revolution. It’s not a coincidence the white folks in the North became opposed to slavery incredibly slowly and only as the system of factories could adequately provide everything they needed.

The south developed a lot slower and wasn’t as keen on questioning slavery and the Democratic Party had aligned itself with those interests. After the Civil War many in the South voted Democrat no matter what because the republicans WERE “the Party of Lincoln.”

This is the era where terms like the solid south and “yellow dog Democrat” referring to the fact that people in the South would vote Democrats no matter what, come into use. These are also the voters who would join the KKK. The poor, white, rural voters of the south formed the KKK. Poor, white rural voters also formed the Democratic Party. For decades they handed the South to Democratic Politicians, repeatedly.

Here’s a map from 1896, William Jennings Bryan, the quintessential agrarian populist. Basically every map looks the exact same with Democrats scooping up the South.

Until 1948, wen Harry S Truman decided to integrate the army, against the wishes of the strong Southern Democrats wing of the party. Who broke off and formed “the Dixiecrats.” All to oppose integrating the army.

See how the some voters in the South decided to vote “State’s rights Democratic” AKA Keep the Democratic Party Racist Again.

The Dixiecrats were on the wrong side of history though and the party wasn’t going to back down on integration, which pushed people out of the party slowly over the course of the next 20 years. It would open the door for people like Geeorge Wallace and Strom Thurmand the racist wing of the Democratic Party’s leader would soon switch to the Republican Party, a trend many southern voters would follow.

From 1948 to 1972 you can watch the Southern Democratic Party struggle to maintain it’s identity.

1956 they are still solidly Democrat, race politics weren’t tat big of a deal in that election although you see that little brown sliver in between Mississippi and Alabama, they were still a big deal in South and many of those voters knew they would have to jump ship soon.

In 1964 many Southern states voted Republican for the first time since the Civil War.

In 1968 those same states voted for George Wallace and his segregationist platform, something Richard Nixon was determined to not let happen again in 1972. Which forced him to campaign heavily on his “southern strategy” which was really just being racist in the South and tailoring his capmaign to would be Wallace voters.

It worked.

Basically every election since 1972 the Republicans have won “the solid south.”

All the way up until 2016, since 1972, minus Jimmy Carter, the Republican candidate has won the South. Republicans now run the South just as solidly as the Democrats did from the Civil War on.

So when you and people like you make the claim that “Democrats started the KKK” you’re not necessarily wrong. But it’s stupid because it’s totally ignorant of how the parties have changed over the decades.

The average southern white, rural voter is a Republican today, but was a Democrat for much of American political history. That changed about 40 years ago and doesn’t seem to be changing back any time soon. Their grandparents were in the KKK, their grandparents voted Democrat, but as a block of rural, poor white voters, culturally aligned with the South, they flipped.

So Democrats may have started the KKK, but those KKK members would be Republicans today.

As to your other points, there are definitely good people who are conservative, but I don’t really know what you’re getting at with that. Because good people can make bad political decisions that hurt millions of people, they did it in 1828 and again in 2016. I don’t think every Trump voter is a bad person but I think they all did a bad thing.

washingtonpost.com
Every Republican who voted for this abomination must be held accountable

“I won’t mince words. The health-care bill that the House of Representatives passed this afternoon, in an incredibly narrow 217-to-213 vote, is not just wrong, or misguided, or problematic or foolish. It is an abomination. If there has been a piece of legislation in our lifetimes that boiled over with as much malice and indifference to human suffering, I can’t recall what it might have been. And every member of the House who voted for it must be held accountable…

It is no exaggeration to say that if it were to become law, this bill would kill significant numbers of Americans. People who lose their Medicaid, don’t go to the doctor, and wind up finding out too late that they’re sick. People whose serious conditions put them up against lifetime limits or render them unable to afford what’s on offer in the high-risk pools, and are suddenly unable to get treatment.

Those deaths are not abstractions, and those who vote to bring them about must be held to account. This can and should be a career-defining vote for every member of the House. No one who votes for something this vicious should be allowed to forget it — ever. They should be challenged about it at every town hall meeting, at every campaign debate, in every election and every day as the letters and phone calls from angry and betrayed constituents make clear the intensity of their revulsion at what their representatives have done.”