its good for the economy!

6

i don’t think i do much shameless advertisement of my redbubble on my tumblr as much as i do my other social medias so:

here are some cuttlefish that you can buy as stickers.  they have names and biographies and i poured my gay little heart into each and every one of them.  link here!

Achievement Hunter Minecraft Kings AU Headcannon

Hear me out on this one guys- We get so much Mad King Ryan in this fandom and I love it. Love it to pieces but I’d really like to bring your attention to my new favorite thing-

Master Ryan Haywood, the Mad DAD King!

-The lads breaking into his castle to steal food and Ryan is just pissed at first but when they finally get caught he’s really impressed but worried “You’re really good at thievery and I can’t believe you made it past my guards- wait you did this all for bread? Like you have no food to eat?!”
- Ryan giving them positions around the castle and making sure they are fed.
-”You dont have a place to stay? Well stay here then of course!”

-Ryan speaking with his adviser Geoff a lot. Not because he needs the advice but because Geoff is funny and kind and honestly Geoff needs the socialization.
-Ryan being worried about Geoff drinking too much. So Ryan stays with him or makes sure he gets home safe.

-Ryan slipping extra gold into people’s pockets

-Giving lavish gifts to his court

-Ryan sending all the extra food from the palace into a village or something for less fortunate people to have

-Ryan who BUYS things rather than demand or take from his people “Its helps stimulate the economy, I can’t be a good King if my people live in poverty. Property value is going to be on the rise.”

-Festivals ALL THE TIME!

-Ryan LOVING animals. And he just keeps bring them home and making them his royal cat/wolf/squid/etc. He has a large game preserve that NO ONE is allowed to hunt off of lest they feel is wrath. And he uses it to protect animals and refugees. 

-Ryan being a good healer. Honestly, he’s so smart and dorky- if any of his subjects or members of his court come to him, he’s always game to help.


BUT ALSO-

Ryan rules all major wrong doers with an iron and cruel fist. But when the crime isnt that serious or his trusted court members are involved he doesn’t know what to do?! But he feels like he should punish them somehow? Like Disappointed!Dad! Ryan?

Dad! King Ryan who fucking LOVES dad jokes.

Dad! King Ryan who is a literal disney princess when it comes to animals

Dad! King Ryan who takes ruling his kingdom seriously and is very protective

Dad! King Ryan who lives modestly

Dad! King Ryan who makes a family out of his court


JUST. DAD! KING RYAN

dailymail.co.uk
Trump to sign executive order opening up offshore drilling
President Trump is expected to sign a flurry of executive orders in the run-up to his 100th day, which is Saturday, including one that would open up offshore oil drilling.

Ace nails it shut…

By the way: You know who doesn’t want Alaska pumping out oil?

Putin.

And Saudi Arabia.

Low oil prices are objectively good for the American economy and good for its foreign policy goals – most major oil exporters are hostile or at best frenemies, and being able to open the spigots whenever we want to send a message would be a terrific piece of foreign policy leverage that also amounts to putting money in American pockets.

One Step Forward

“…really not gonna like what happens next.” Frisk looked up from their position curled against the wall to see… blue. They blinked.

“Piss off, short stack,” the blond human snarled. “This is nothing to do with you, so shove it.”

“Nah. Think I’ll stand here for a bit. S'a terrible view but what can ya do.”
It took a second for the insult to click, and then the enraged man took a swing at the other, new human.

Things happened so fast Frisk almost missed them. The blue jacketed human stepped smoothly, almost lazily forward to the side, the yellow hair human, Flowers they’d called themselves, travelling forwards in surprise and momentum… and then crashing down face first into the snow.

Frisk didn’t blink, didn’t dare take their eyes from the humans, and that was how they were able to see that, as the blue human stepped forward, their left hand and left foot had moved ever so briefly and slightly; just as nonchalantly as the rest of the movement.

“Whoops,” the human said, back still to them as Flowers cursed and spat. “Guess this snow is pretty slippery, huh. You want to try that one again?”

Keep reading

6

Trump’s tariffs will make almost everything more expensive

  • In Trump’s view, countries such as China and Mexico are stealing American manufacturing jobs. 
  • He’s vowed to try and bring those jobs back by imposing tariffs on goods imported from those nations, as well as others, in hopes of deterring companies from making their products abroad.
  • According to CNN, Trump may use an executive order to impose a 5% to 10% tariff on all goods imported into the United States.
  • Tariffs are specifically designed to increase the cost of goods imported into the country, making them pricier for the average consumer 
  • Companies that do decide to move manufacturing back to the U.S. would need time to build local manufacturing plants. 
  • That process could take years and would present an additional cost to the company, which could potentially be passed onto consumers. 
  • Without a corresponding boost to wages, experts say the increased cost of goods could hurt consumers and possibly stunt economic growth. 
  • In fact, studies have shown trade wars disproportionately hurt the spending power of lower-income Americans. Read more

Meanwhile, China is already firing back against Peter Navarro, Trump’s controversial trade advisor

  • China just fired back against Trump’s increasingly hard-line approach to China — in more ways than one.
  • Trump ahas appointed Peter Navarro, an economics professor at the University of California at Irvine, to a newly created role overseeing global trade.
  • Navarro is the author of three books, including Death by China: How America Lost its Manufacturing Base, that take a seriously hard-line stance that not only are China’s trade practices unfair, they’re one of the world’s “central problems." 
  • First the Global Times, China’s partially-state-owned newspaper, published fiery editorial condemning Navarro. In the editorial, the newspaper wrote that Navarro’s nomination alone "may raise risk of Sino-US conflict.”
  • Then, less than a day later, China announced a nearly $29 million fine against U.S. auto giant General Motors over its “monopolistic pricing.”
  • Read more
Traumatic Backstory for Black Character in Historical Fiction

Anonymous asked:

Hi, I’m writing a historical-fiction/mystery story that takes place in 1920s America with a panromantic asexual black woman as the main character. She does deal with racism from time to time, though it doesn’t take up a huge part of the plot except for in her backstory. 

When she was a little girl, she lived in an area where lynching was very common, and her parents would occasionally have arguments about whether or not they should move somewhere else. The father didn’t want to leave because the town was where he grew up, he didn’t want to have to go through the struggles of trying to find work again, and he was worried about the costs of traveling(because they didn’t have much money). 

The mother wanted to leave because she was scared for herself, her husband, and their daughter. The murder of the father was what finally prompted the mother to take her daughter and leave for Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she heard good news about its wealthy economy and the successful African-Americans who lived there. 

My protagonist’s backstory also delves into the “Tulsa Race Riot” that happens a few years later, which led her to suffer from ptsd and harbor resentment towards white people as a result. While these incidents did deeply affect my protagonist, they do not define her character and I try my best to flesh her out and give her a well-rounded personality.

My main worry about this is that as a non-black poc, would writing about those particular topics would be inappropriate and overstepping my boundaries? I don’t want to do anything that would be disrespectful, so I’d love some advice. Thank you

I don’t think that by covering these topics you’re automatically overstepping boundaries. It’s how you handle the topics and treat the affected character(s) you’re dealing with.

~Mod Colette

You should do your research and make sure that you handle these issues with understanding. I wouldn’t recommend relying on info dumps or extended flashbacks to tell this aspect of the characters story because it can slow down the overall narrative. 

It’s important that these events connect to how the character acts and reacts in the present time of the story since it’s stated that she has post traumatic stress and resentment. These need to be handled delicately and make logical sense for the character. 

~Mod Najela

What were we trying to make here?
Asked before the start of the Neon Genesis Evangelion animated series.

“The year: 2015. A world where, fifteen years before, over half the human population perished. A world that has been miraculously revived: its economy, the production, circulation, consumption of material goods, so that even the shelves of convenience stores are filled. A world where the people have gotten used to the ressurrection-yet still feel the end of the world is destined to come. A world where the number of children, the future leaders of the world, is few. A world where Japan saw the original Tokyo destroyed, discarded and forgotten, and built a new capital in Nagano Prefecture. They constructed a new capital, Tokyo-2, then left it to be a decoy-then constructed another new capital, Tokyo-3, and tried to make it safe from attack. A world where some completely unknown enemy called the "Angels” comes to ravage the cities.

This is roughly the world-view for Neon Genesis Evangelion. This is a world-view drenched in a vision of pessimism. A world-view where the story starts only after any traces of optimism have been removed.

And in that world, a 14-year-old boy shrinks from human contact. And he tries to live in a closed world where his behavior dooms him, and he has abandoned the attempt to understand himself. A cowardly young man who feels that his father has abandoned him, and so he has convinced himself that he is a completely unnecessary person, so much so that he cannot even commit suicide.

And there is a 29-year-old woman who lives life so lightly as to barely allow the possibility of a human touch. She protects herself by having sufarce level relationships, and running away.

Both are extremely afraid of being hurt. Both are unsuitable-lacking the positive attitude-for what people call heroes of an adventure. But in any case, they are the heroes of this story.

They say, ‘To live is to change.’ I started this production with the wish that once the production complete, the world, and the heroes would change. That was my true desire. I tried to include everything of myself in Neon Genesis Evangelion-myself, a broken man who could do nothing for four years. A man who ran away for four years, one who was simply not dead. Then one thought. 'You can’t run away, came to me, and I restarted this production. It is a production where my only thought was to burn my feelings into film. I know my behavior was thoughtless, troublesome, and arrogant. But I tried. I don’t know what the result will be. That is because within me, the story is not yet finished. I don’t know what will happen to Shinji, Misato or Rei. I don’t know where life will take them. Because I don’t know where life is taking the staff of the production. I feel that I am being irresponsible. But… But it’s only natural that we should synchronize ourselves with the world within the production. I’ve taken on a risk: It’s just an imitation. And for now I can only write this explanation. But perhaps our original lies somewhere within there.“

Author: Hideaki Anno (Writer and Director)
Source: Neon Genesis Evangelion Vol. 1
Dated: July 17, 1995

The year: 2015.  A world where, fifteen years before, over half the human population perished.  A world that has been miraculously revived: its economy, the production, circulation, consumption of material goods, so that even the shelves of convenience stores are filled.  A world where the people have gotten used to the ressurection-yet still feel the end of the world is destined to come.  A world where the number of children, the future leaders of the world, is few.  A world where Japan saw the original Tokyo destroyed, discarded and forgotten, and built a new capital in Nagano Prefecture.  They consructed a new capital, Tokyo-2, then left it to be a decoy-then constructed another new capital, Tokyo-3, and tried to make it safe from attack.  A world where some completely unknown enemy called the “Angels” comes to ravage the cities.

This is roughly the worldview for Neon Genesis Evangelion.   This is a worlview drenched in a vision of pessimism.  A worldview where the story starts only after any traces of optimism have been removed.

And in that world, a 14-year-old boy shrinks from human contact.   And he tries to live in a closed world where his behavior dooms him, and he has abandoned the attempt to understand himself.  A cowardly young man who feels that his father has abandoned him, and so he has convinced himself that he is a completely unnecessary person, so much so that he cannot even commit suicide.

And there is a 29-year-old woman who lives life so lightly as to barely allow the possibility of a human touch.  She protects herself by having suface level relationships, and running away.

Both are extremely afraid of being hurt.  Both are unsuitable-lacking the positive attitude-for what people call heroes of an adventure.   But in any case, they are the heroes of this story.

They say, “To live is to change.”  I started this production with the wish that once the production complete, the world, and the heroes would change.  That was my “true” desire.  I tried to include everything of myself in Neon Genesis Evangelion-myself, a broken man who could do nothing for four years.  A man who ran away for four years, one who was simply not dead.   Then one thought.  "You can’t run away,“ came to me, and I restarted this production.  It is a production where my only thought was to burn my feelings into film.  I know my behavior was thoughtless, troublesome, and arrogant.  But I tried.  I don’t know what the result will be.  That is because within me, the story is not yet finished.  I don’t know what will happen to Shinji, Misato or Rei.  I don’t know where life will take them.  Because I don’t know where life is taking the staff of the production.  I feel that I am being irresponsible.   But… But it’s only natural that we should synchronize ourselves with the world within the production.  I’ve taken on a risk: "It’s just an imitation.”   And for now I can only write this explanation.  But perhaps our “original” lies somewhere within there.

July 17, 1995,
In the studio, a cloudy, rainy day.

PS.

By the way, Shinji’s name came from a friend of mine.  Misato’s name came from the hero of a manga.  The name Ritsuko came from a friend of mine in middle school.  I borrowed from everywhere.  Even names that have no bearing on anything actually came from the countless rules that govern these things.  It might be fun if someone with free time could research them.

— 

Hideaki Anno

Today is the 20th anniversary of the beginning of work on Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Book Review: Her Name in the Sky by Kelly Quindlen

I have recommended this book many times, and I have given it good reviews elsewhere; however, I realized that I have never given the book a full review here on Tumblr, so here it is:

Her Name in the Sky, by Kelly Quindlen, tells the story of Baker Hadley and Hannah Eaden, high school seniors and best friends who find themselves falling in love and struggling with the conflicts that grow out of their same-sex attraction in the context of their Catholic community and close-knit group of friends.

Now, given that I am well beyond young adulthood and my initial coming out process is long past, I no longer find adolescent coming out stories to be as compelling as they once were; some of the tropes have become a bit worn. It was therefore on a whim that I decided to give this book a try. Since it appeared to be yet another YA coming out story, and a self-published one at that, written by a new author I had never heard of, my expectations were not high. Once I started reading, though, I realized that I was in the presence of some genuine writing talent.

The first thing that struck me about this book was its very realistic depiction of adolescence: The two protagonists, as well as their peers, are portrayed as basically good kids who do well in school and have loving relationships with their parents and families, and yet at the same time they are also involved in an entirely separate world of after-hours parties where sex, drinking, swearing, and typically ugly teenage behavior are commonplace, occurring – usually – without serious consequence or adult involvement.

I also found the book to offer an enlightening view into the parochial school environment: having no such background myself, I was surprised to learn that the Catholic school curriculum includes theology classes and compulsory masses. These, laced as they are with unapologetically anti-gay rhetoric, understandably cause pain and conflict for the two main characters. Still, the book maintains a balanced view of Catholicism, portraying both positive and negative aspects of the Church and its teachings.

Although Her Name in the Sky can be enjoyed as a straightforward adolescent romance/coming out story that is not so very different from many others, it can also be appreciated on another level: in keeping with the protagonists’ struggle to reconcile their sexuality with their faith, woven throughout the book is an ingenious and quite beautiful pairing of sex and the forbidden fruit, sin and salvation, and holy communion and human love. With only minor exceptions, the symbolism is handled with subtlety and grace. Although I am a nonbeliever, the religious theme did nothing to detract from my enjoyment of the book; indeed, I found that this added dimension greatly enhanced the power and beauty of the story.

The author is able to successfully balance the lighter and darker sides of adolescent life; leavened as it is with humor, the book never becomes too weighed down by angst. Still, the pain, confusion, and isolation experienced by the protagonists are depicted in a way that I felt was achingly honest and realistic. Both girls are likeable as well as flawed. Likewise, numerous secondary characters – friends, family members, and teachers – are portrayed in a multidimensional way, with sympathy as well as humor.

The writing is extraordinarily good: Quindlen’s prose is remarkable throughout for its precision, economy, and beauty. Notably, there is a moving, lyrically described love scene which somehow manages to be both explicit and oblique at the same time – a seemingly impossible feat that the author accomplishes through her skilled use of language and metaphor. She is also adept with the rhythms of speech: Not only is she able to create multiple characters with distinct voices, but the dialogue, much of it rendered in an almost uncannily accurate adolescent vernacular, is snappy, realistic, and often humorous.

Yes, I love this book; no, it is not perfect. At the beginning, its seemingly heavy focus on teenage repartee and partying made me wonder where the book was going, and I found the large cast of characters a bit hard to sort out at first. There were also a few passages that I felt could have been handled with greater subtlety. These are minor complaints, though. I also think it’s worth noting that the book’s excellent Amazon reviews indicate that it has struck a responsive chord with many other readers besides myself.

In addition to being a very sensitive and honest LGBT coming-of-age story, Her Name in the Sky is a truly lovely book about redemption, forgiveness, and love. Highly recommended. 

anonymous asked:

Thoughts on Texit and Calexit?

ClarkHat, paraphrased because I can’t find the exact quote:

California secession is a good idea, but its economy is so linked to the rest of the US that it would need some kind of pact to guarantee it free trade across state borders. And ts defense is so linked to that of the other 49 states that it should probably contribute to a common military too.

I think a good solution would be an independent California that’s allowed to make its own laws on things like marijuana and whether people have to bake cakes for gay weddings, but which exists within a shared framework of economic, military, and diplomatic cooperation with the other forty-nine states.

OH, WAIT, WE USED TO HAVE THAT. IT WAS CALLED “THE CONSTITUTION”.

Hillary Clinton loves black people. And black people love Hillary—or so it seems. Black politicians have lined up in droves to endorse her, eager to prove their loyalty to the Clintons in the hopes that their faithfulness will be remembered and rewarded. Black pastors are opening their church doors, and the Clintons are making themselves comfortably at home once again, engaging effortlessly in all the usual rituals associated with “courting the black vote,” a pursuit that typically begins and ends with Democratic politicians making black people feel liked and taken seriously. Doing something concrete to improve the conditions under which most black people live is generally not required.

Hillary is looking to gain momentum on the campaign trail as the primaries move out of Iowa and New Hampshire and into states like South Carolina, where large pockets of black voters can be found. According to some polls, she leads Bernie Sanders by as much as 60 percent among African Americans. It seems that we—black people—are her winning card, one that Hillary is eager to play.

And it seems we’re eager to get played. Again.

The love affair between black folks and the Clintons has been going on for a long time. It began back in 1992, when Bill Clinton was running for president. He threw on some shades and played the saxophone on The Arsenio Hall Show. It seems silly in retrospect, but many of us fell for that. At a time when a popular slogan was “It’s a black thing, you wouldn’t understand,” Bill Clinton seemed to get us. When Toni Morrison dubbed him our first black president, we nodded our heads. We had our boy in the White House. Or at least we thought we did.

Black voters have been remarkably loyal to the Clintons for more than 25 years. It’s true that we eventually lined up behind Barack Obama in 2008, but it’s a measure of the Clinton allure that Hillary led Obama among black voters until he started winning caucuses and primaries. Now Hillary is running again. This time she’s facing a democratic socialist who promises a political revolution that will bring universal healthcare, a living wage, an end to rampant Wall Street greed, and the dismantling of the vast prison state—many of the same goals that Martin Luther King Jr. championed at the end of his life. Even so, black folks are sticking with the Clinton brand.

What have the Clintons done to earn such devotion? Did they take extreme political risks to defend the rights of African Americans? Did they courageously stand up to right-wing demagoguery about black communities? Did they help usher in a new era of hope and prosperity for neighborhoods devastated by deindustrialization, globalization, and the disappearance of work?

No. Quite the opposite.

* * *

When Bill Clinton ran for president in 1992, urban black communities across America were suffering from economic collapse. Hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs had vanished as factories moved overseas in search of cheaper labor, a new plantation. Globalization and deindustrialization affected workers of all colors but hit African Americans particularly hard. Unemployment rates among young black men had quadrupled as the rate of industrial employment plummeted. Crime rates spiked in inner-city communities that had been dependent on factory jobs, while hopelessness, despair, and crack addiction swept neighborhoods that had once been solidly working-class. Millions of black folks—many of whom had fled Jim Crow segregation in the South with the hope of obtaining decent work in Northern factories—were suddenly trapped in racially segregated, jobless ghettos.

On the campaign trail, Bill Clinton made the economy his top priority and argued persuasively that conservatives were using race to divide the nation and divert attention from the failed economy. In practice, however, he capitulated entirely to the right-wing backlash against the civil-rights movement and embraced former president Ronald Reagan’s agenda on race, crime, welfare, and taxes—ultimately doing more harm to black communities than Reagan ever did.

We should have seen it coming. Back then, Clinton was the standard-bearer for the New Democrats, a group that firmly believed the only way to win back the millions of white voters in the South who had defected to the Republican Party was to adopt the right-wing narrative that black communities ought to be disciplined with harsh punishment rather than coddled with welfare. Reagan had won the presidency by dog-whistling to poor and working-class whites with coded racial appeals: railing against “welfare queens” and criminal “predators” and condemning “big government.” Clinton aimed to win them back, vowing that he would never permit any Republican to be perceived as tougher on crime than he.

Just weeks before the critical New Hampshire primary, Clinton proved his toughness by flying back to Arkansas to oversee the execution of Ricky Ray Rector, a mentally impaired black man who had so little conception of what was about to happen to him that he asked for the dessert from his last meal to be saved for him for later. After the execution, Clinton remarked, “I can be nicked a lot, but no one can say I’m soft on crime.”

As president, Bill Clinton mastered the art of sending mixed cultural messages.

Clinton mastered the art of sending mixed cultural messages, appealing to African Americans by belting out “Lift Every Voice and Sing” in black churches, while at the same time signaling to poor and working-class whites that he was willing to be tougher on black communities than Republicans had been.

Clinton was praised for his no-nonsense, pragmatic approach to racial politics. He won the election and appointed a racially diverse cabinet that “looked like America.” He won re-election four years later, and the American economy rebounded. Democrats cheered. The Democratic Party had been saved. The Clintons won. Guess who lost?

* * *

Bill Clinton presided over the largest increase in federal and state prison inmates of any president in American history. Clinton did not declare the War on Crime or the War on Drugs—those wars were declared before Reagan was elected and long before crack hit the streets—but he escalated it beyond what many conservatives had imagined possible. He supported the 100-to-1 sentencing disparity for crack versus powder cocaine, which produced staggering racial injustice in sentencing and boosted funding for drug-law enforcement.

Clinton championed the idea of a federal “three strikes” law in his 1994 State of the Union address and, months later, signed a $30 billion crime bill that created dozens of new federal capital crimes, mandated life sentences for some three-time offenders, and authorized more than $16 billion for state prison grants and the expansion of police forces. The legislation was hailed by mainstream-media outlets as a victory for the Democrats, who “were able to wrest the crime issue from the Republicans and make it their own.”

When Clinton left office in 2001, the United States had the highest rate of incarceration in the world. Human Rights Watch reported that in seven states, African Americans constituted 80 to 90 percent of all drug offenders sent to prison, even though they were no more likely than whites to use or sell illegal drugs. Prison admissions for drug offenses reached a level in 2000 for African Americans more than 26 times the level in 1983. All of the presidents since 1980 have contributed to mass incarceration, but as Equal Justice Initiative founder Bryan Stevenson recently observed, “President Clinton’s tenure was the worst.”

Some might argue that it’s unfair to judge Hillary Clinton for the policies her husband championed years ago. But Hillary wasn’t picking out china while she was first lady. She bravely broke the mold and redefined that job in ways no woman ever had before. She not only campaigned for Bill; she also wielded power and significant influence once he was elected, lobbying for legislation and other measures. That record, and her statements from that era, should be scrutinized. In her support for the 1994 crime bill, for example, she used racially coded rhetoric to cast black children as animals. “They are not just gangs of kids anymore,” she said. “They are often the kinds of kids that are called ‘super-predators.’ No conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.”

Both Clintons now express regret over the crime bill, and Hillary says she supports criminal-justice reforms to undo some of the damage that was done by her husband’s administration. But on the campaign trail, she continues to invoke the economy and country that Bill Clinton left behind as a legacy she would continue. So what exactly did the Clinton economy look like for black Americans? Taking a hard look at this recent past is about more than just a choice between two candidates. It’s about whether the Democratic Party can finally reckon with what its policies have done to African-American communities, and whether it can redeem itself and rightly earn the loyalty of black voters.

* * *

An oft-repeated myth about the Clinton administration is that although it was overly tough on crime back in the 1990s, at least its policies were good for the economy and for black unemployment rates. The truth is more troubling. As unemployment rates sank to historically low levels for white Americans in the 1990s, the jobless rate among black men in their 20s who didn’t have a college degree rose to its highest level ever. This increase in joblessness was propelled by the skyrocketing incarceration rate.

Why is this not common knowledge? Because government statistics like poverty and unemployment rates do not include incarcerated people. As Harvard sociologist Bruce Western explains: “Much of the optimism about declines in racial inequality and the power of the US model of economic growth is misplaced once we account for the invisible poor, behind the walls of America’s prisons and jails.” When Clinton left office in 2001, the true jobless rate for young, non-college-educated black men (including those behind bars) was 42 percent. This figure was never reported. Instead, the media claimed that unemployment rates for African Americans had fallen to record lows, neglecting to mention that this miracle was possible only because incarceration rates were now at record highs. Young black men weren’t looking for work at high rates during the Clinton era because they were now behind bars—out of sight, out of mind, and no longer counted in poverty and unemployment statistics.

To make matters worse, the federal safety net for poor families was torn to shreds by the Clinton administration in its effort to “end welfare as we know it.” In his 1996 State of the Union address, given during his re-election campaign, Clinton declared that “the era of big government is over” and immediately sought to prove it by dismantling the federal welfare system known as Aid to Families With Dependent Children (AFDC). The welfare-reform legislation that he signed—which Hillary Clinton ardently supported then and characterized as a success as recently as 2008—replaced the federal safety net with a block grant to the states, imposed a five-year lifetime limit on welfare assistance, added work requirements, barred undocumented immigrants from licensed professions, and slashed overall public welfare funding by $54 billion (some was later restored).

They are not just gangs of kids anymore…they are ‘super-predators.’ —Hillary Clinton, speaking in support of the 1994 crime bill

Experts and pundits disagree about the true impact of welfare reform, but one thing seems clear: Extreme poverty doubled to 1.5 million in the decade and a half after the law was passed. What is extreme poverty? US households are considered to be in extreme poverty if they are surviving on cash incomes of no more than $2 per person per day in any given month. We tend to think of extreme poverty existing in Third World countries, but here in the United States, shocking numbers of people are struggling to survive on less money per month than many families spend in one evening dining out. Currently, the United States, the richest nation on the planet, has one of the highest child-poverty rates in the developed world.

Despite claims that radical changes in crime and welfare policy were driven by a desire to end big government and save taxpayer dollars, the reality is that the Clinton administration didn’t reduce the amount of money devoted to the management of the urban poor; it changed what the funds would be used for. Billions of dollars were slashed from public-housing and child-welfare budgets and transferred to the mass-incarceration machine. By 1996, the penal budget was twice the amount that had been allocated to food stamps. During Clinton’s tenure, funding for public housing was slashed by $17 billion (a reduction of 61 percent), while funding for corrections was boosted by $19 billion (an increase of 171 percent), according to sociologist Loïc Wacquant “effectively making the construction of prisons the nation’s main housing program for the urban poor.”

Bill Clinton championed discriminatory laws against formerly incarcerated people that have kept millions of Americans locked in a cycle of poverty and desperation. The Clinton administration eliminated Pell grants for prisoners seeking higher education to prepare for their release, supported laws denying federal financial aid to students with drug convictions, and signed legislation imposing a lifetime ban on welfare and food stamps for anyone convicted of a felony drug offense—an exceptionally harsh provision given the racially biased drug war that was raging in inner cities.

Perhaps most alarming, Clinton also made it easier for public-housing agencies to deny shelter to anyone with any sort of criminal history (even an arrest without conviction) and championed the “one strike and you’re out” initiative, which meant that families could be evicted from public housing because one member (or a guest) had committed even a minor offense. People released from prison with no money, no job, and nowhere to go could no longer return home to their loved ones living in federally assisted housing without placing the entire family at risk of eviction. Purging “the criminal element” from public housing played well on the evening news, but no provisions were made for people and families as they were forced out on the street. By the end of Clinton’s presidency, more than half of working-age African-American men in many large urban areas were saddled with criminal records and subject to legalized discrimination in employment, housing, access to education, and basic public benefits—relegated to a permanent second-class status eerily reminiscent of Jim Crow.

It is difficult to overstate the damage that’s been done. Generations have been lost to the prison system; countless families have been torn apart or rendered homeless; and a school-to-prison pipeline has been born that shuttles young people from their decrepit, underfunded schools to brand-new high-tech prisons.

* * *

It didn’t have to be like this. As a nation, we had a choice. Rather than spending billions of dollars constructing a vast new penal system, those billions could have been spent putting young people to work in inner-city communities and investing in their schools so they might have some hope of making the transition from an industrial to a service-based economy. Constructive interventions would have been good not only for African Americans trapped in ghettos, but for blue-collar workers of all colors. At the very least, Democrats could have fought to prevent the further destruction of black communities rather than ratcheting up the wars declared on them.

Of course, it can be said that it’s unfair to criticize the Clintons for punishing black people so harshly, given that many black people were on board with the “get tough” movement too. It is absolutely true that black communities back then were in a state of crisis, and that many black activists and politicians were desperate to get violent offenders off the streets. What is often missed, however, is that most of those black activists and politicians weren’t asking only for toughness. They were also demanding investment in their schools, better housing, jobs programs for young people, economic-stimulus packages, drug treatment on demand, and better access to healthcare. In the end, they wound up with police and prisons. To say that this was what black people wanted is misleading at best.

By 1996, the penal budget was twice the amount that had been allocated to food stamps.

To be fair, the Clintons now feel bad about how their politics and policies have worked out for black people. Bill says that he “overshot the mark” with his crime policies; and Hillary has put forth a plan to ban racial profiling, eliminate the sentencing disparities between crack and cocaine, and abolish private prisons, among other measures.

But what about a larger agenda that would not just reverse some of the policies adopted during the Clinton era, but would rebuild the communities decimated by them? If you listen closely here, you’ll notice that Hillary Clinton is still singing the same old tune in a slightly different key. She is arguing that we ought not be seduced by Bernie’s rhetoric because we must be “pragmatic,” “face political realities,” and not get tempted to believe that we can fight for economic justice and win. When politicians start telling you that it is “unrealistic” to support candidates who want to build a movement for greater equality, fair wages, universal healthcare, and an end to corporate control of our political system, it’s probably best to leave the room.

This is not an endorsement for Bernie Sanders, who after all voted for the 1994 crime bill. I also tend to agree with Ta-Nehisi Coates that the way the Sanders campaign handled the question of reparations is one of many signs that Bernie doesn’t quite get what’s at stake in serious dialogues about racial justice. He was wrong to dismiss reparations as “divisive,” as though centuries of slavery, segregation, discrimination, ghettoization, and stigmatization aren’t worthy of any specific acknowledgement or remedy.

But recognizing that Bernie, like Hillary, has blurred vision when it comes to race is not the same thing as saying their views are equally problematic. Sanders opposed the 1996 welfare-reform law. He also opposed bank deregulation and the Iraq War, both of which Hillary supported, and both of which have proved disastrous. In short, there is such a thing as a lesser evil, and Hillary is not it.

The biggest problem with Bernie, in the end, is that he’s running as a Democrat—as a member of a political party that not only capitulated to right-wing demagoguery but is now owned and controlled by a relatively small number of millionaires and billionaires. Yes, Sanders has raised millions from small donors, but should he become president, he would also become part of what he has otherwise derided as “the establishment.” Even if Bernie’s racial-justice views evolve, I hold little hope that a political revolution will occur within the Democratic Party without a sustained outside movement forcing truly transformational change. I am inclined to believe that it would be easier to build a new party than to save the Democratic Party from itself.

Of course, the idea of building a new political party terrifies most progressives, who understandably fear that it would open the door for a right-wing extremist to get elected. So we play the game of lesser evils. This game has gone on for decades. W.E.B. Du Bois, the eminent scholar and co-founder of the NAACP, shocked many when he refused to play along with this game in the 1956 election, defending his refusal to vote on the grounds that “there is but one evil party with two names, and it will be elected despite all I do or say.” While the true losers and winners of this game are highly predictable, the game of lesser evils makes for great entertainment and can now be viewed 24 hours a day on cable-news networks. Hillary believes that she can win this game in 2016 because this time she’s got us, the black vote, in her back pocket—her lucky card.

She may be surprised to discover that the younger generation no longer wants to play her game. Or maybe not. Maybe we’ll all continue to play along and pretend that we don’t know how it will turn out in the end. Hopefully, one day, we’ll muster the courage to join together in a revolutionary movement with people of all colors who believe that basic human rights and economic, racial, and gender justice are not unreasonable, pie-in-the-sky goals. After decades of getting played, the sleeping giant just might wake up, stretch its limbs, and tell both parties: Game over. Move aside. It’s time to reshuffle this deck.