Thursday, February 28, 2019

Gif of the Day

Dramatic robe removal is one of my favorite tropes.

I'll Just Be Face Down on the Floor for the Rest of the Day


Amazon killed Seattle's homelessness-relief tax by threatening not to move into a massive new building, then they canceled the move anyway

After all that. I got called a Trump supporter for saying I didn't like my city being held hostage by Amazon because the future corporate overlord of Earth must be good for me because something something jobs.

Something I haven't talked about before is that I've had headhunters/staffing companies contact me to try and get me to apply for jobs with Amazon. I'm a writer with editing experience and Amazon needs plenty of that. I have former coworkers now working for Amazon. I could probably get a job there easy.

But I don't particularly want to work in a toxic, hypercompetitive environment that literally makes people want to jump off the roof. I get that feeling even in a regular office workplace. I know there are many people out there who don't have much of a choice, and I don't judge them. But don't try to tell us that Amazon jobs are good jobs. The good Amazon jobs are taken by white dudes often shipped in from out of state. The rest are either those horrific warehouse jobs or contract positions with zero benefits that don't pay nearly enough to allow you to live in Seattle. Fuck that. Hell, even capitalists have told me not to work at Amazon because the work environment notoriously sucks.

And now the fucking building that got the Seattle Shill Council to reverse the head tax that could have gotten us some FUCKING AFFORDABLE HOUSING.

Excuse me.

Republican Accidentally Admits the Electoral College is a White Supremacist Construct

This is also a contender for headline of the month:

LePage: Eliminating Electoral College Would Make Whites ‘A Forgotten People’

Former governor of Maine Paul LePage, everybody. Remember this guy? The guy who dropped this racist shit about "drug dealers"?

(Drug dealers) are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty; these types of guys, they come from Connecticut and New York, they come up here, they sell their heroin, they go back home. Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing because then we have another issue we have to deal with down the road.

And then remember when a Democrat called him racist and LePage left him a voicemail calling him a socialist cocksucker? Classic.

Anyway, here he is again, being a racist dumpster fire.

According to a Thursday Maine Beacon report, LePage told local radio station WVOM that the legislation would render him and other whites “a forgotten people.” 
“Actually what would happen if they do what they say they’re gonna do is white people will not have anything to say,” LePage said. “It’s only going to be the minorities that would elect. It would be California, Texas, Florida.”

This is simply amazing. It lays out exactly how much of a white supremacist tactic the electoral college is. If getting rid of it means that white people don't have anything to say, then what do we have with it? Could that mean, LePage, that since the creation of the electoral college hundreds of years ago, people of color had no voice?


In reality, without the electoral college, white people will no longer have all the voice, and will have a regular amount of voice in terms of voting (or would if it weren't for voter suppression tactics but you know) because uhhhh one person one vote?

The rhetoric defending the electoral college is so much smoke and mirrors. Like, if you have to do that kind of mental gymnastics to defend something and the rest of us are over here like "um, one person one vote" then maybe your side is shit? And also, if you're afraid of losing the electoral college because it gives white people more of a normal, fair amount of voice rather than an unfair amount, you might be racist!

Just kidding, you're definitely racist.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Gif of the Day

Orange cat: These are my boys.

This Article About Facebook Moderators Explains So Much


Two days ago, the Verge posted a feature about the fucked up work lives of Facebook moderators simply called "The Trauma Floor." The vast majority of these people are contract employees hired via staffing companies, are paid much less than the average actual Facebook employee ($28,800 per year), and are extremely prone to PTSD and other stress-related psychological disorders.

The findings by the author of this report, Casey Newton, are deeply disturbing. They had me ready to entirely reverse my position on algorithm software being used to moderate social media content vs. real people. What these people are put through is inhumane.

The real solution might be something more like treating and paying these employees better, actually giving them adequate mental health care and time to access it when they need it instead of nine (nine?) minutes of "wellness time" every day in addition to their 30 minute lunches and 15 minute breaks, which they use to wait in line for the bathroom because there aren't nearly enough bathrooms for the number of people they have doing this shit.

I'm certain that what I do, in blogging for free and writing about politics and various social issues for money, has a negative effect on my general mental health. But I don't have to view literally hundreds of disturbing posts every day, from common hate speech and slurs to literal videos of people being stabbed to death while begging for their lives.

We already knew that the worthlessness and general fucked-up-ness of Facebook's moderation policy were causing a lot of the problems, like suspending women for saying "men are trash" but literally allowing posts that say "autistic people should be sterilized" (an actual example from the article because autistic people aren't a "protected group" according to Facebook). But now we can add "moderators are forced to make each decision in about 30 seconds or risk being fired" and "the moderation policy is constantly being changed on the fly" into the equation.

This article is worth a full read. Even the handy "key findings" list doesn't cover every fucked up thing Newton found, including the on-site alleged "counselor" who, when asked by Newton about the high rates of PTSD among moderators, talked about a made-up thing they called "post-traumatic growth."

When I ask about the risks of contractors developing PTSD, a counselor I’ll call Logan tells me about a different psychological phenomenon: “post-traumatic growth,” an effect whereby some trauma victims emerge from the experience feeling stronger than before. The example he gives me is that of Malala Yousafzai, the women’s education activist, who was shot in the head as a teenager by the Taliban.

I'm just a run-of-the-mill psych nerd and this paragraph makes my entire brain scream. I'd exercise caution in showing this to an actual mental health professional because they'll probably break something.

This is just a fancy version of "whatever doesn't kill you make you stronger," which has about as much legitimacy in the field of psychology as "yoga cures depression." I'm pretty sure that even Malala Yousafzai herself would want to punch that "counselor" in the face for evoking her name for such a crock of shit.

Anyway, you've got to read the whole thing. Then we need to have a discussion about how to approach the issue of social media moderation. I think using AI will ultimately be the best solution, but we're not even a little close to being there. So the only option may be to completely overhaul how these employees are treated. They should be paid a LOT. They need to hire a ton more people so that a lot more time can be spent on each case and they can have much more time to take breaks from the onslaught of horrible as needed. They need real counselors, not "post-traumatic growth" assholes who should have their degrees revoked.

Will this cut into Facebook's profits? You fucking bet it will. So really we need to end capitalism for this to work. Shit.

1000 Kids Sexually Abused In ICE Custody Every Year

One. Thousand. Every. Year. Since 2015.

"The federal Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is in charge of caring for under-age immigrants, received more than 4,500 allegations of sexual abuse and sexual harassment between 2015 and 2018. The reporting begins under the Obama administration. Of those complaints, some 1,300 were serious enough to refer to the FBI, but an official says 'the vast majority' proved to be unfounded. 
"Most of the assault allegations involved one minor abusing another. But 178 of the complaints were against staff at the shelters — in particular, youth-care workers who escort the children everywhere they go. The complaints range from inappropriate romantic relationships between children and adults, to touching genitals, to watching children shower."

Oh, an "official" said the "proved" to be unfounded, huh? Let me ask you something. What do these kids get out of making many hundreds of false reports, exactly? Or do minors abusing each other not count somehow?

Caging these children rather than keeping them with their families or letting other migrants foster them, as many have volunteered to do ONLY TO BE ARRESTED BY ICE, is creating a situation of massive sexual abuse and it is completely unacceptable. This is so horrific that by all accounts, every decent person should walk out of their homes, travel to these facilities, and tear them down, brick by brick, with their bare hands.

And 178 complaints against staff are way, way too many.

Sometimes the horrors of this world are just overwhelming.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Gif of the Day

What kind of white dude entitlement is this. 

It actually looks like the glass shatters moments before he hits it and it's probably a prank or stunt of some kind but it's just a great metaphor for white male entitlement. Like "I'm not gonna take the extra second to open the door, fuck your glass."

RIP Carrie Ann Lucas, Disability Rights Activist

I'm sad that I've never written about Carrie Ann Lucas before now. And the reason she's in the news now is not just because she died at the early age of 47, but because she denied as a direct result of a denial of coverage from her insurance company.

“Carrie Ann Lucas, a disability rights attorney who pioneered representation for parents with disabilities, died after an arbitrary denial from an insurance company caused a plethora of health problems, exacerbating her disabilities and eventually leading to her premature death,” read a February 24 post on her Facebook page.

Lucas was a dedicated and important disability activist and a nationally recognized attorney. She got the Family Preservation for Parents with Disability Act passed in Colorado, which helps to prevent discrimination against disabled parents who apply for welfare for their children.

What started a chain of events that led to Lucas' death was nothing more than a bad cold. But her insurance company refused to cover a specific medication that she needed, which I'm assuming is related to the fact that she had multiple illnesses including a rare for of muscular dystrophy and type 1 diabetes. The cost of the meds was $2,000, which Lucas could not afford herself. She had to settle for a less effective medication, suffered a bad reaction, her health deteriorated (resulting in hospitals stays costing way more than $2,000), and as a result she was robbed of who knows how many years of life. And the rest of us are worse off without her in the world.

Lucas fought for better healthcare and easier access for all of us. Even if her work had only benefitted disabled people, that would have been great and she would have been an amazing human being. But we all need to be grateful, as her work helped stop the repeal of the ACA. Those protests outside of Republican offices in the capital that resulted in cops dragging disabled persons out of their wheelchairs and shaming the nation? That was her doing.

Eventually, the protesters were arrested, which Lucas live-streamed on Facebook. She was the last protester to be arrested and was cited with trespassing and interference with a police officer because she refused to tell the arresting officers how to use her power wheelchair.

Lucas' list of accomplishments in the Rewire article is impressive for anyone. Lucas did all that through disability and systemic ableism. The fact that she died because a health insurance company didn't want to pay $2,000 is a tragedy, an outrage, and a rank injustice. The insurance company killed her.

Universal healthcare now. Rights and protections for disabled people now. Nobody else should ever die because of ableism and/or a lack of healthcare. Health insurance company CEOs are no better than murderers.

Rest in peace, Carrie Ann Lucas.

Women Gives Birth To Stillborn In ICE Custody, Pro-Lifers Silent

Also, a stillborn baby is not considered an "in-custody death," according to ICE. I'm getting this directly from a "Joint Statement from ICE and CBP on stillbirth in custody."

According to the statement, an unnamed Honduran woman was "apprehended" by Border Patrol and told them she was six months pregnant. They took her to a hospital, somehow received only two "medical screenings" in the space of three days, before being "cleared" and sent back to custody. The next day, she started having abdominal pain and was eventually ordered back to the hospital. It sounds like, before she could get to the hospital, she went into premature labor and delivered a stillborn baby.

That same evening, while being processed for release by ICE, she began complaining of abdominal discomfort and was examined by the ICE Health Service Corps (IHSC). The clinical director was called and ordered that she be sent to the hospital. EMS was called. At that time, she conveyed that the baby was coming. She went into premature labor, at 27 weeks pregnant, and delivered an unresponsive male infant. IHSC initiated CPR and EMS transported them both to the Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen, Texas, where the infant was later pronounced dead.

Okay, I have some questions.

How long did it take for her to be examined by this IHSC, then to get a clinic doctor over to her, then to call an ambulance? What's the time stamps on when she reported pain and when EMS was called? How far away is the hospital?

And further, how is a woman in a hospital for three days, only receiving two "screenings" in that time (fuck knows what they even mean by "screenings"), and there's no indication of a problem with the fetus?

Even if ICE can somehow dodge all those bullets, I have an issue with this shit:

Although for investigative and reporting purposes, a stillbirth is not considered an in-custody death, ICE and CBP officials are proactively disclosing the details of this tragic event to be transparent with Congress, the media and the public.

If the fetus was already dead when she was taken into custody, they should have been able to see that while she was at the hospital from February 18 to 22. Therefore, the child died while in ICE custody. I don't see how else that can be interpreted. Sounds like ICE trying to keep another in-custody death off the books to me.

See, even a cold, baby-hating pro-choicer like me thinks that a stillborn child should be considered a person who died under the watch of ICE. Pro-lifers, meanwhile, are apparently too busy trying to paint abortion after 20 weeks as infanticide to care about the 27-week-old fetus who likely died due to Border Patrol brutality and/or ICE neglect.

I might spend the day on Twitter going through the infanticide tag just to tell pro-lifers about this and watch them defend ICE.

I also look forward to hearing the real story from the Honduran woman after she recovers from such a traumatizing, tragic experience. I hope she can find some peace and I hope she's been released and is with loved ones right now.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Gif of the Day

Did I post this one yet? Whatever, baby weasel getting a bath with a glob of suds on his head deserves an encore.

2020 Challenger Lineup: Julian Castro

UPDATE: After his performance in the first Democratic debate in which he was the only Democratic candidate maybe ever to mention non-binary people and laid out the best immigration plan yet, I'm bumping Castro up an entire letter grade to a C.

If you forgot who Julian Castro is, he was Obama's Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and the youngest member of the former president's cabinet. If you still don't remember, he's the one with the really weird smile. Not that such a thing should have any impact on his campaign, but it absolutely will.

As his name suggests, Castro is a Latinx man. I reiterate that he gets automatic bonus points for having the last name "Castro."

Castro is a capitalist and I very much suspect him of being a neoliberal. He has some progressive positions, such as supporting Medicare for All, but holds back in other ways, such as supporting free college for only the first two years. Also, he promised not to take any PAC money for his campaign, but he also formed a PAC in 2017, so it's hard to believe he's really anti-PAC.

Socially, Castro is liberal, supporting LGBT rights and abortion. However, he wants ICE to be "reconstituted" rather than abolished.

There's not much on Castro since his only lawmaker experience is being the mayor on San Antonio. I don't think of a lack of experience as being a dealbreaker necessarily but it does make a candidate harder to predict. Also, his 2020 campaign website doesn't even have a platforms section. How are we supposed to know what he would do as president?

As Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Castro did successfully work toward making housing more affordable. One of his "signature projects" was ConnectHome, which worked to get internet access to more communities and to kids in public housing.

Interestingly, Castro violated to Hatch Act while vocally supporting Hillary Clinton as HUD secretary in 2016.

He and his twin brother, Joaquin, once sought advice from Lionel Sosa, "a Republican political sage who ran the largest Hispanic advertising agency in America," according to this Atlantic article. I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel for details here.

Honestly, Castro is very unlikely to get the nomination unless he does something drastic, and nothing about his positions makes him interesting. To me, he is another neoliberal who would probably not fight for Medicare for All if he somehow became president. There is speculation that he's only running to further his career, not to jump to president but to get some attention before he inevitably drops out. If that's true, his shitty campaign website makes sense.

I'm giving Castro a D for lack of effort. Keep in mind that this grading scale doesn't even take Republicans into account. This is a scale for Democrat candidates only. It's not like I would give Mitt Romney a D as well. If anything, any Republican would get an automatic 0. So. Don't @ me.

Next week, Kirsten Gillibrand! She hasn't officially filed yet, only formed an "exploratory committee," but it seems like people are generally expecting her to run. And I'm interested in her, as she seems quite progressive. I'm excited to look into just how progressive she really is.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Gif of the Day

Really an underrated Pokemon right here.

Schools Can't Improve Kids' Reading Scores? No More Food For Poor Kids.

Such is the policy proposed by an Arkansas Republican.

Arkansas legislator proposes cutting lunch funding from schools that struggle to improve reading skills

Excuse me but uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh what the fuck??

Rep. Alan Clark (R-Lonsdale) proposed a bill that would cut lunch funding in schools that struggle with reading, and he is working to get others to support the idea. 
Clark's proposed bill, if passed, would reduce a district’s “national school lunch funding” if they’re struggling in the reading department over a period of time. 
"I don't understand, and hopefully that bill won't get passed in Arkansas," Laquita Chalmers, a parent in West Memphis, said.

Yeah, I don't understand either. How exactly is starving poor kids supposed to improve reading scores? Why are they punishing little children with hunger for the failure of the schools, and by extension, the government, including lawmakers like Rep. Alan Clark?

People are asking Clark just these questions and he literally offered this as an "explanation."

I am not new to controversy. You don’t get anything important done without confrontation and taking a few knocks. Seeing that Arkansas children can read is worth a few bruises. When we were at 32 percent reading proficiency I was told my bills were too controversial and we couldn’t do any better than we were. Now we are at 41 percent so I am thankful I didn’t listen. But that still means that almost 60 percent of our kids are graduating and can’t do the most basic thing we send them to school for well: Read. My bill would require that a school district improve their reading proficiency by .0001 every 2 years. In most businesses I would be laughed at for suggesting such a small goal. But sadly many educators act like I have asked them to storm the beaches at Normandy. Improve .0001 every 2 years. Basically, the standard is just don’t go backwards.

Hi, yeah, Mr. Clark? That literally doesn't explain anything at all. It just makes it seem even more like you're holding children hostage because you're blaming a failure that's partially on you on schools you not only refuse to fund properly, but are now threatening to take away more funding, for food, which people, especially kids, need to function, let alone learn to read.

"It appears I have much more faith in our schools than many of our educators do," he says.

Hey Alan? I have something here that might motivate you to improve your basic human decency levels.

I have faith in you, Alan.

This is what I mean when I say Republicans are inhuman monsters. How can I come to any different conclusion?

The Right Is Utterly Terrified Of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

If I haven't made this clear yet, I am absolutely enamored with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who I like to refer to as "the AOC." Get it? Feel free to steal that. It's so much faster to type than her full name so I want it to become standard.

Anyway, watching the right devolve into a complete meltdown state over AOC, the Green New Deal, and the general push to the left headed by the younger generations of Millennials and Gen Z, is deeply satisfying. But it's also alarming how much money they're already pouring into attacking the AOC and other progressives and we need to be ready to defend them

The Mercer family, as the AOC points out in a follow-up tweet, are a bunch of ultra rich fucks who are a part of what they call the "Job Creators Network" (insert image of someone making the jackoff gesture here) that has been "extensively promoted" by Breitbart.

They've since put up even more billboards (yes, since fucking yesterday) and the right wing media machine is red-lining itself to push the most ridiculous lies about the Green New Deal. I've seen clips of Fox News pundits like Hannity literally claiming that it means no one gets to own cows and that it means all of our buildings will be torn down.

In reality, it's a non-binding resolution that outlines a number of suggestions for an appropriately aggressive strategy against catastrophic climate change such as changing what we feed cows, citing studies showing that giving them seaweed reduces their methane emissions (yes, cow farts) by like 95%. Same amount of cows, but less butt stink. Somehow, over at Fox News, that translates to banning all cows forever. I don't know where they got the tearing down all the buildings thing.

Meanwhile, the Bezos-owned Washington Post has already run four negative articles about Bernie Sanders since he announced his 2020 campaign. Unless they've run more since yesterday. In 2016, they ran a total of 16 negative stories against him. Will they do 19 this year? At this rate, I'm guessing the answer is no. They won't stop at 19.

The four articles they ran in two days are all trying to push the narrative that Bernie Sanders is no big deal, with one even specifically pushing the narrative that the $6 million he raised in 24 hours is whatevs! The author bets that Joe Biden would totally out-raise Bernie, ignoring the fact that Biden totally takes corporate donations while Bernie absolutely does not.

This is all part of a reaction by the rich and their bought and paid for Republican party against a sudden and very popular push to the left and support for everything that threatens to loosen their stranglehold on the rest of us, our lives, and our futures.

It means we're doing exactly the right thing. Keep fighting, keep speaking up, keep pushing back. They should be afraid of us.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Gif of the Day

Technically today is an animal/cute gif day but this is just too appropriate.

Cops Love White Supremacists

Another thing that's been in the news this week but that also keeps developing is the fact that it appears a police lieutenant in Portland has been real buddy-buddy with Patriot Prayer, the far-right group that holds demonstrations up and down the Pacific Northwest whining that the left is oppressing them and then instigating fights with antifa or just attacking random peaceful protesters, typically via their close friends, the violent chauvinist group the Proud Boys.

The messages, first reported by Willamette Week, show police Lt. Jeff Niiya keeping in regular contact with Joey Gibson, leader of the violent far-right group Patriot Prayer. Police sometimes communicate with groups like Patriot Prayer that host regular demonstrations, but Niiya’s messages with Gibson suggest a friendly relationship. The lieutenant is seen passing Gibson information about leftist protests, and counseling Gibson on how to prevent one notoriously violent fighter’s arrest.

I know getting cops fired is next to impossible even when they straight up murder someone but in any kind of sense-making world this would be seriously against police policy. It's bad enough to give a violent group intel about their opponents, especially considering the fact that Patriot Prayer and their associates have put people in the hospital and even killed people. That guy who stabbed and killed multiple people on the bus in Portland? He was with Patriot Prayer.

But he's even giving them tips on how to brawl, which cops are supposed to be against (lol), and avoid getting arrested?

Is it still hard to swallow the "cops love white supremacists pill?

“BTW, make sure Tiny has his court stuff taken care of,” Niiya texted Gibson in December 2017, according to messages released by Portland police. “I was told on the radio at the Jamison Sq event he had a warrant. I told them we would not be arresting Tiny right now. So please be sure he’s good to go before coming down.”

"Tiny" is the nickname of the leader of Patriot Prayer, full name Tusitala Toese.

I've been saying for years that the police have been protecting Patriot Prayer and other white supremacist groups during protest/counter-protest events. Police say they're just trying to keep groups separated, but routinely stand with their backs to the white supremacists and face their bodies and riot gear and weapons toward leftists and the common people who don't want violent white supremacists around. We're the ones who get hit with flash bang and smoke grenades, pepper spray, and batons. Then once the white supremacists pretend to leave, police escort them away or just conveniently disappear so that Proud Boys can swoop down into groups of leftists or general counter-protesters to attack them. Then the antifa who defend the nonviolent protesters get arrested after the assaults occur and Proud Boys get to walk away free.

This has happened in Seattle time and time again. I've seen it.

Now we have proof that cops work directly with these violent white supremacists/chauvinists. Portland PD has announced an internal investigation, but we all know how that usually goes. Meanwhile, the police union is claiming that communications with Patriot Prayer prevented violence. If that's the case, why not do the same with the left? HMMMMMM.

In the PPA letter to its members, Turner wrote that "My experience is that those familiar with law enforcement recognize that Lt. Niiya was performing his duties according to not only PPB protocol but also according to best practices used by police agencies nationwide for the safety and protection of those involved in protests and free speech events."

I wouldn't be surprised at all if Niiya WAS working within Portland police protocol, becaaaaaause...


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Gif of the Day

What I would like to know is whether she meant to do that and whether she even knows she did that or is just walking around being unaware of her awesomeness.

Here's Fascism!


Yesterday I was so exhausted that I spent all of my free time trying to sleep because we couldn't quite get through Seattle's snowmageddon without my partner slipping on ice and possibly cracking a rib, and U.S. healthcare is a fucking joke. The one thing we do have is a shit ton of pain meds but doctors won't give them out anymore because we allowed big pharma to go hog wild with them for decades and now we have an opioid addiction and overdose problem.


This is something that's been on my radar and I wanted to talk about it Monday but here it is now.

A Florida boy was arrested after refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in class

So what happened is this kid's class had a substitute who got all upset when he refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, they got into an argument, the sub called the school's office because she "did not want to continue dealing with him," they sent in the school cop because that's a thing we have now, and the child was arrested for "disruption."

The student was taken to a juvenile detention center and charged with disrupting a school function and resisting arrest without violence. He was also suspended for three days.

Couple things.

Firstly, what the fuck is "resisting arrest without violence"?? He didn't skip over to juvie with a smile on his face? How is that a charge? How is this something we charge an 11-year-old child with???

Secondly, I may be an ancient, decrepit 30-year-old, but in MY DAY, kids weren't fucking ARRESTED for disrupting the class. They were sent to the office to get a talking to by the assistant principal, maybe have their recess privileges taken away for a time, and we all moved on with our lives without having to see a fellow child arrested by a cop, which seems more disruptive than anything a pre-teen could do. People are arguing that this was okay because he was arrested for "being disruptive" rather than being arrested directly for refusing to cite the pledge, but is this really that much better? Why are we arresting children for acting like children???

I witnessed all kinds of disruption in class. When I was in high school, a classmate of mine nearly gave our teacher a heart attack by taking a piece of paper with a bit of tape on the back and a staple on it, then smacked that piece of paper to his head with a stapler in his head while screaming, making it look like he had stapled a piece of paper to his own forehead. That was very disruptive (and hilarious) and yet no cops were called and no one was arrested! And he was like 16!

Of course, he was white.

I just don't remember when disrupting the class went from an inevitable consequence of trapping kids in a single room together and forcing them through a shitty education program to a CRIME that could land you in fucking juvie at age 11.

And lastly, can we use this to kick off a nationwide discussion about how fucked up it is that from the age of like five, kids are made to stand, put their hands on their heart, and pledge allegiance to a country every goddamn school day before they're old enough to understand or even pronounce "allegiance"?? No other Western country does this. There might be a couple countries in general that do this, like North Korea, but otherwise people outside the U.S. are shocked to learn that we do this shit. And when you think about it, it's fucked up. Why do we still do this?

When you put all of this together, it becomes a picture of fascism and white supremacy. A black 11-year-old refuses to recite the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance, calling it racist. The teacher responds by basically telling him to go back to where he came from. The 11-year-old. She tells him to leave the country. Because that's a thing an 11-year-old can do.

After the boy told his substitute teacher that the American flag is racist, she asked him, according to her report to the school, “Why if it was so bad here, he did not go to another place to live.” The boy reportedly responded, “They brought me here.” The teacher then said, “Well, you can always go back, because I came here from Cuba, and the day I feel I’m not welcome here anymore, I would find another place to live.”


Then this teacher basically calls the cops on him because she doesn't want to deal with him anymore and he's charged with disrupting the class, which I guess is a crime now, and "nonviolent resistance," which I guess is also a crime now.

Hopefully the press on this case will help keep him out of juvie, because otherwise this will become the poster for the school-to-prison pipeline in a fascist, white supremacist nation. Either way, this experience could have easily been traumatizing for the child, and will certainly affect his future. I hope he's as well as he can be after being victimized like that.

And the rest of us need to fix all of this bullshit. No more Pledge of Allegiance, no more cops in schools, no more making "disruption" and "existing while being arrested" a crime, no more putting any kids in any cages, no more school-to-prison pipeline, no more white supremacy, no more fascism. No. More.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Gif of the Day


2020 Challenger Lineup: Tulsi Gabbard


UPDATE: Due to new information coming to my attention about Gabbard post-debate including the fact that she has many alt-right fans (as weird as that is) and spread the lie that "Mueller said no collusion," I'm changing her grade to an F. Extremely disappointing.

On week two of this series which may or may not be at all helpful to anyone, I'm taking a look at Tulsi Gabbard. She announced her campaign on January 11, 2019, the first to do so other than that weird white dude I profiled last week.

Gabbard has already been hobbled by her homophobic past. She used to be a "traditional marriage" activist, working with her father to create a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Hawaii. She even opposed civil unions, and worked with a homophobic PAC that promoted conversion therapy. She opposed and protested against bills to give the same rights to same-sex couples in civil unions as those in marriages between men and women as well as research on LGBTQ+ students. This went on as recently in 2004. By 2012, she had publicly reversed her position, saying "tours of duty in the Middle East" changed her mind. I don't know how that works.

As a pansexual person, I'm skeptical of Gabbard. I'm suspicious that any change of heart could just be because it became untenable to be a Democrat who was against same-sex marriage. Then again, she could have switched parties. It is possible for people to genuinely go from being homophobic to not homophobic, but I think any suspicion against her is warranted and the whole thing will hinder her.

Gabbard is a woman of color. She's Samoan, Indian, and openly Hindu. It would be awesome to have a woman of color as President who is also not Christian.

Her positions are, in general, fairly progressive. She supports Medicare for All, strongly opposed the TPP, supports abortion rights, supports a $15 minimum wage, supports free college for anyone with family income under $125,000. She looks to be generally against "U.S. involvement in regime change," and rightly said that that imperialist shit is "counterproductive" to defeating organizations like ISIS. I may have paraphrased. She extends this policy today to Venezuela. Then again, she criticized Obama for refusing to use the phrase "Islamic extremists," which was some Islamophobic bullshit.

She supports Israel and voted against condemning them for building illegal settlements on Palestine land.

She voted to condemn Holocaust distortion in Poland and Ukraine.

She's highly critical of Saudi Arabia and once basically called Trump Saudi Arabia's bitch. Big points there. Even so, she opposed Obama's decision to bomb the country because it just causes more problems. She has also said that the U.S. is "complicit in a humanitarian disaster" in reference to Yemen.

She joined the protests against the "final leg" of the Dakota Access pipeline as one of those awesome veterans. She's pretty awesome on environmentalism in general.

She is one of the few Democrats who has committed to not taking any corporate money for her campaign and has been endorsed by End Citizens United.

She wasn't as strong against Trump as she could have been early on. She was the second Democrat to meet with Trump. According to CNN, this is her justification:

"President-elect Trump asked me to meet with him about our current policies regarding Syria, our fight against terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS, as well as other foreign policy challenges we face," Gabbard said in a statement. " 
I felt it important to take the opportunity to meet with the President-elect now before the drumbeats of war that neocons have been beating drag us into an escalation of the war to overthrow the Syrian government -- a war which has already cost hundreds of thousands of lives and forced millions of refugees to flee their homes in search of safety for themselves and their families. 
She added, "While the rules of political expediency would say I should have refused to meet with President-elect Trump, I never have and never will play politics with American and Syrian lives."

This is Gabbard's full voting record. I'm too tired to look through it all in detail but it seems consistent with her positions.

Gabbard's campaign website promotes some additional policies such as being against spying on citizens, wanting to "reduce barriers to the ballot box," criminal justice reform like reducing mandatory minimums, being for mandatory GMO labeling, being for a federal ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, being for net neutrality, taking care of veterans, and wanting to break up big banks and restore the Glass Steagall Act.

Her website also explicitly lists Universal Healthcare as something she believes in, which is better than "Medicare for All" or a single-payer system.

There is also a section on ending the "war on terror" that includes some language like "Islamism" and "jihadist" that's iffy as fuck.

My overall impression is that there are some things to be excited about when it comes to Tulsi Gabbard. It's too bad that she's held back by her homophobic past. Even if I forgive her and decide that her admission of homophobia and ability to change are real and a positive sign, many others will not. Without that, she would be a much more viable and exciting candidate.

Gabbard may actually be one of the most progressive, leftist candidates right now. She campaigned for Bernie Sanders. She is willing to go some places that establishment Democrats will not. She stood up to Obama on some things that deserved to be criticized. I like the fact that she seems pretty much opposite of Democrats like Hillary Clinton when it comes to foreign policy. She may actually be anti-imperialism. I really like the fact that she's for full universal healthcare, not some semi-capitalistic crappier version of it. Free college for most is also great.

I'm worried that she may be Islamophobic and would continue the country's support of the apartheid and genocide in Palestine. She still seems to want to interfere in the Middle East with her plan to "end" the "war on terror" rather than calling that out as an eternal fake war designed to feed the military-industrial complex and steal resources. I would prefer her to be for a "living wage" rather than stopping at $15 per hour, which is not enough in many parts of the country, including where I live. In her voting record, it looks like she voted in favor of at least one of those bills that hurts sex workers under the guise of fighting human trafficking.

It'll be interesting to compare Gabbard to Bernie Sanders. She may be nearly as progressive as he is with the bonus of being a woman of color. She's not perfect but she caught my interest on a few issues. I think I'll give her a B+. She would have gotten an A- if not for the past homophobia thing. If I can end up forgiving that, definitely A-. And I doubt any current candidate will get an A from me.

Next week I'll be looking at Julian Castro. He gets instant bonus points because the idea of a U.S. President named Castro tickles me.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Gif of the Day

This show.

Meanwhile, ICE Still Needs To Be Abolished

Remember how Democrats backed off on the idea of abolishing ICE one (1) second after it became clear they got the House back? The agency is still being terrible.

You probably heard about rapper 21 Savage being arrested by ICE all of the sudden after his visa had been expired for years because he's actually from the U.K. The whole affair was fucked up. The fact that 21 Savage is black, an immigrant, and that just a single week before his arrest he ad-libbed lyrics criticizing Trump's immigration policy during a performance on the Tonight Show, combined with this interview with the man after he was released, paints a terrifying picture of the state of the country.

According to 21 Savage, ICE did not declare him under arrest, but said "we got Savage," suggesting that it was a targeted arrest rather than a random traffic stop. The artist believes that it was targeted.

So a public figure was probably arrested by ICE for criticizing immigration policy. Um.

Here's Fascism Part 2 for today? Absolutely.

At the same time, RAICES is down at the border interviewing incarcerated migrants through a chain-link fence because ICE won't let them in. They keep the lights on at all times, which is a torture technique. Illness is rampant and there is "no doctor."

Meanwhile, churches are desperately trying to save immigrants who have lived here for many years and literally done nothing wrong from deportation to dangerous countries where they will have nothing.

ICE is still out here being terrible, but abolish ICE isn't heard from Democrats anymore, is it?

Fuck ICE, fuck Republicans, fuck Democrats, and fuck fascism.

Here's Fascism!

Welp, here we are. Trump declared a national emergency just so he could force the government to build his wall. Because Congress refused to give him the funding for a wall across the entirety of the giant border between the U.S. and Mexico, he'll probably have to take funds out of disaster relief programs like those for Puerto Rico, which is still fucked, and out of funds to rebuild after hurricanes and fight wildfires, which get worse every year due to the climate change Trump is still denying.

This is one of those red lines that, when crossed, lurch us closer to a full, openly fascist state. Semi-reasonable people, including Democrats, have been warning that this will set a dangerous precedent. Pelosi even directly warned Trump that if he went forward with this shit, Democratic presidents in the future could declare national emergencies to fix actual problems in this country. Like gun violence.

That sent the right into a tizzy, oh yes.

Regardless, Trump did the thing. There will be national protests at noon on Monday, February 18, which I plan to attend. Meanwhile, there will be court challenges, though I'm nervous because of the current state of the Supreme Court, though I'm not sure if this case will get there or if it will need to or exactly how that works. It'll be interesting to see how this goes. I have read multiple times that Republicans have been warning/begging Trump against declaring a national emergency because it will go terribly for him. I hope they're right.

Meanwhile, let's talk about the state of the border, and the fate of the refugees/asylum-seekers there. Many of the people who walked here in the "caravans" have been trapped back in Mexico because for some reason Mexico agreed to hold these refugees on their side of the border. That is going terribly.

If you can't click through to Twitter to read the full thread, here is the rest of Commotion.World's report:

Police [h]arassment of families inside the camp has been continuous before this, according to #mutualaid teams and refugees who'd been based there. Yesterday, firefighters at the station next door refused to come put the fire out.  Cops crammed 75 #refugees from the camp into three vans to take them away. Cops seized the water tanks #refugees used at the camp. Some inhabitants are refusing to disperse.  One said: "We began this together. We will be here until the end, together." They - #refugees deprived of clean water and subject constant police violence - are the targets of Trump's #NationalEmergency.  We need to #blockthewall and support vulnerable people, regardless of their citizenship papers.

Human rights violations? In Mexico? I have a question for all the people who said that the refugees of the "caravans" should just stay in Mexico since the country offered them asylum, and said that's what they would do if they had been in that situation. Y'all like having your meager belongings stolen and burned, then being thrown into a police van with 24 other people and being taken away to somewhere who knows while your family is left with no clean water?

I'm waiting for your answer.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Gif of the Day

This gif has an A+ loop AND an adorable black cat with giant pupils???

Guest Post: 4 Health Issues Unique to the LGBTQ Community That We Need to Work on Fixing in 2019


Kate Harveston is a political writer from Pennsylvania. Her favorite topics are feminist-focused, but she writes on a wide variety of social and cultural issues. If you enjoy her work, you can follow her on Twitter or visit her blog, Only Slightly Biased.

Every population faces health challenges unique to minuscule differences in genetic code. Members of the LGBTQ community, however, face greater challenges than being born this way. Due to societal bias, even finding a doctor who treats LGBTQ individuals with the care and respect they deserve poses difficulty.

Individuals identifying with non-conforming gender or sexual identities suffer from anxiety and depression at far greater rates than do those who conform to cisgender, heterosexual norms. In addition, LGBTQ individuals experience harassment and violence at far higher rates than their peers. To consider our nation a truly inclusive place that celebrates equal rights for all, we must address the problem of making health care accessible to everyone regardless of gender or sexual identity.
1. The Prevalence of Sexual Assault
More than half of all women identifying as bisexual have endured sexual assault and rape. The rates of sexual assault prove higher across the line for members of the LGBTQ community. Rape not only traumatizes a person mentally but also exposes them to sexually transmitted diseases. Worse, the attitude of "she was asking for it" crosses gender lines, as even emergency responders judge those who exhibit any degree of flamboyancy with the same critical eye they generally reserve for women clad in miniskirts, crop tops and heels.
Trying to seek justice against their attackers often re-traumatizes LGBTQ individuals, and continuing bias among those who make up juries makes it difficult to obtain recompense. Women may find themselves pregnant with a child they never intended to have and possibly lack the means to raise. Almost all victims go on to struggle with psychological issues, while at the same time, far too many lack the means to visit a therapist or afford psychiatric medication.
2. The Impact of Bullying
Students identifying as LGBTQ often experience bullying far more frequently than other children. Sadly, the harassment doesn't end when they reach high school graduation. LGBTQ community members in college continue to experience higher levels of bullying and even assault.
A 2017 research report indicated that LGBTQ children experience bullying at twice the rate of their peers. Bullying leads many of these children to develop anxiety and depression. Some sadly die by suicide as a result.
Students of all ages who experience bullying often find that reporting what happens leads to further isolation from others. Just as women who report assaults face questions about their attire and behavior, members of the LGBTQ community endure such scrutiny simply for being themselves.
3. Using Opioids for More Than Pain Relief
Depression often leads to substance abuse disorders, as many LGBTQ individuals turn to drugs or alcohol in an attempt to escape from the reality of living in a biased society. Between 20 and 30 percent of LGBTQ community members struggle with addiction.
The nation's current opioid crisis has disproportionately impacted members of the LGBTQ community. While many businesses now provide employee assistance plans, those identifying as LGBTQ often hesitate to utilize these services out of fear of professional repercussions. Others simply lack health insurance or financial resources, rendering inpatient and outpatient substance recovery programs out of reach.
4. Varying Levels of Care
When the time comes for their annual checkup, many members of the LGBTQ community shy away from calling the doctor due to experiencing past discrimination from health care providers. While many physicians do display empathy toward LGBTQ individuals, others openly criticize them for what they interpret as a lifestyle choice, not a biological reality. Most medical school programs spend only a few short hours training new doctors on how to treat those with different sexual or gender identities.
Transgender individuals wishing to transition face long waits before being approved for surgery and sometimes encounter medical professionals who harshly criticize their choice. Before being cleared for surgery, transgender community members must wait two years from the date of their initial mental evaluation and at least one year after commencing hormonal therapy.
Better Health for All
Meeting the unique health needs of members of the LGBTQ community will take time, but no alternative to moving forward exists if we are to continue calling ourselves an equal society. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane." By addressing the health care needs of those identifying as LGBTQ, we demonstrate our commitment to embracing equal rights for all.

Rep. Ilhan Omar, Certified Badass, Shuts Down White Man


Rep. Ilhan Omar, who has been in the news recently because a suggestion that she may have engaged in antisemitic tropes while criticizing Israel and the right fell all over themselves to be hypocritical assholes about it, is continuing to piss off white dudes and making me fall in love with her.

Most recently, she challenged Venezuela envoy Elliott Abrams, an old white guy who supported multiple U.S.-backed coups in Latin America in the 80s. Omar is already getting a reputation for saying things that others are afraid to say, whether it's about Israel or the fact that the U.S. has been backing violent right-wing coups to overthrow democratically elected leaders in South and Central America for decades. And for that, of course, I am becoming a huge fan. But what I want you to pay attention to today is Abrams' face when she shuts him down at this hearing.

Omar ends her admonishment of Abrams by saying "I fail to understand why members of this committee of the American people should find any testimony that you give today to be truthful." When Abrams says he would like to respond, Omar simple says, "It wasn't a question."

Abrams' pause followed by absolute indignation that not just a woman, not just a woman of color, but a Muslim, hijabi woman would tell him "no," publicly and decisively, is so delicious and filling it almost fills up the vast emptiness inside me where hope for the future used to be.

She talks over him. She says "I reserve the right to my time." Abrams is ready to throw an entire tantrum at this point.

And it just gets better. Abrams is so pissed off at this direct challenge by a hijabi woman that it takes Omar multiple times asking a question that should be the world's easiest "yes" for him to finally give in and answer.

If you can't watch the video, I took screenshots of my favorite moments.

Abrams's face the moment he realizes he's just been shut down by a Muslim hijabi woman:

Abrams wagging his finger at her because he's outraged a woman is refusing to let him speak during her time when she didn't ask him a question:

Abrams looking to the chairman for support like "how could you let this happen to me, a rich white man???"

Abrams leaning back in his chair all mad after being repeatedly shut down by Omar and realizing that he can't trample over her like he probably does to his wife:

Abrams angrily poking the table while basically saying that a massacre of 800 people and the rape of 12-year-old girls by U.S. soldiers in El Salvador is a good thing because they have democracy now so everything's great! (Fact check: They don't and it's not).

Omar's amazing condescending smile that she paused full seconds to give him to punctuate the fact that he didn't answer her question, so here is the question again with a "fuck you" smile because you are not getting off the hook with your cute little indignant white man tantrum and you will answer the question:

Abrams throwing up his hands and looking to the chairman again because how DARE he be made to answer a direct question that could make him look bad for supporting genocide:

Abrams' look of defeat after finally answering the question/being forced to lie that preventing rather than supporting genocide and human rights violations is "always the position of the United States."

I might watch this video every night before I go to bed so that I can fall asleep with a smile on my face. Thank you so much, Ilhan Omar. I love you.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Gif of the Day


Recommended Reading


I call this recommended reading but I cannot recommend it to anyone who has been sexually assaulted or had a young child die. I don't actually know if I recommend it to anyone other than rape apologists and anti-choicers. Who probably won't ever read this blog, but fuck it, I have some things to say.

I just finished reading this incredible article by the incredible Dina Zirlott.

I Wish I’d Had A ‘Late-Term Abortion’ Instead Of Having My Daughter

I both read and write some brutally honest stuff, but this article made even me go "whoa, damn." And that is exactly why I stopped everything to read it in its entirety. It made me cry. A lot.

The story begins with Zirlott's story of being violently raped at age 17. After reading about how the horrible trauma derailed her young life, made her go from honor student to high school dropout, made her actively suicidal until her mom finally figured it out and got her help, I paused my reading to do something I've done many times before.

I imagined finding out that a friend of mine had been raped. I imagined going out and buying a gun, tracking the rapist down, and unloading it into his body. Then I imagined going outside and waiting for the police to come arrest me. I imagined opening my mouth and unleashing an inhuman scream from the depths of my soul. Screaming in my head over and over and over before collapsing into uncontrollable sobs punctuated by moans and howls.

Back in real life, I cried. I don't know why I imagine these things, but it happens most of the time when I read a story about rape. Sometimes the victim is a friend or other loved one, sometimes it's me. Sometimes the imagined reaction is more violent than simply shooting the imagined rapist to death. But it always ends in silent screaming. And I wonder if I will ever finally open my mouth in real life and unleash all the pain I have stored in the depth of my guts as I have imagined time and time again.

I read the rest of the story crying. And I realized that maybe the reason I don't talk about abortion much is not because I feel it's impossible to change an anti-choicer's mind or because I have nothing new to say on the subject after many years as a feminist. Maybe it's because the thought of such a fundamental attack on bodily autonomy is too horrifying. Because rape is the ultimate violation of bodily autonomy. Denying someone the right to an abortion is not far behind.

I still feel like nothing will change the mind of an anti-choicer, whether it's because they're too wrapped up in the highly emotional idea of "infanticide" or because they really don't give a fuck about anything except how much power and money they can hoard for themselves. But at the very least, if anyone can motivate those who don't care enough or think it's important to defend bodily autonomy, Dina Zirlott can with her incredibly powerful article.

Listen to me when I am talking to you. I am a human being, and I am more than a vessel and I speak for my daughter whom I never heard cry. I speak for that 17-year-old girl bent across a kitchen counter. I speak for the strange woman I have become. And I speak to all of the women like me, the ones who came before, and after, who have been or will be in the same position ― or perhaps your story is completely different and powerful in its own right. 
These are our bodies and our lives, and so rarely do we ask for the circumstances that command the weight of these critical decisions, but these choices are ours. We should not have to beg for permission to decide what is best for ourselves and our children, even the ones who may never be born ― and maybe never should be born.  

As a writer, woman, human being, and attempted truth-teller, I am in awe.

People Are Getting Laid Off Because Capitalism Is Imploding


Good morning! It's your friendly neighborhood anti-capitalist here to explain to you how capitalism is the root of all your problems.

You might have heard recently about all the layoffs at large news media outlets like Buzzfeed and Vice, and most recently, at the recently-merged video game publisher Activision Blizzard. What you need to know about these layoffs is that they were not the result of these companies being in trouble or not being able to make profits. They were making plenty of money. But they weren't making enough money.

Jim Sterling has been talking about this in relation to Activision Blizzard and gaming companies a lot lately, and I see him getting to the root of the problem. He's incensed that companies are laying people off and pulling other bullshit like promoting loot boxes because they can't just make a profit. They have to promise shareholders extreme profits and when they inevitably fail to deliver, they have to do something drastic.

Shareholders and the stock market in general might seem like the root of the problem, but they are just another symptom. The real problem is that capitalism, by nature, has to keep growing. That's why big companies are constantly chasing bigger and bigger profits by merging, laying off, and relying on forms of online gambling to rake in ever more cash. They're compelled by capitalism. The problem is, of course, that we live in a finite planet with finite resources.

There's a book on capitalism that really opened my eyes on this. It's called Capitalism Must Die. I went into it thinking the title meant that we MUST destroy capitalism before such and such happens. By the end of the book, I understand that the real meaning of the title is that capitalist WILL die no matter what. Because capitalism has to keep growing. It has to make more and more profits. That's why the stock market even exists. Our finite planet ran out of real, tangible resources for capitalism to trade in and so an entire market of trading in imaginary money was born. And that market keeps demanding more and more and now we're seeing an increasing number of monopolies as companies rapidly merge.

The result is layoffs. The layoffs will get worse and worse until the economy won't be able to handle the amount of unemployed, poor people who can't afford to buy things like video games and will collapse and capitalism will implode entirely.

You can argue against the idea that capitalism is bad or that it will inevitably collapse but you can't argue with reality. Things keep getting worse and we are unable to reign it in anymore because the corporations are too big and too powerful and they will pay off politicians to allow them to do anything they want.

Can we end capitalism before the inevitable total collapse that will throw all of our lives into chaos? I honestly don't think we can. But capitalism must die. So if you're not going to become anti-capitalism, at least start stockpiling non-perishable food and other supplies. Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Gif of the Day

Cats asking for pets is just the most precious, wonderful thing in the world.

Fat Hatred and the Tumblr 'Adult Content' Ban

I wrote another thing for the Establishment and it was published today! In celebration, I'm just gonna link it for you here rather than writing another blog post. Then I'm gonna spend the extra time I saved smoking weed. Happy Tuesday!

Two Months After Tumblr ‘Adult Content’ Ban, I Miss The Fat Naked Bodies

And to anyone who wants to pretend they care about my health as a thin veil for their fat hatred that they can really just let go: Kiss my fat ass.

Amazing Women of Color

While the President of the U.S. is busy going into full denial mode about his humiliating loss on the border wall in spite of all his efforts to paint all Latinx people as criminals who are coming to invade our jobs and tie up our women, a Mexican woman and her team of Latinx scientists developed a treatment that eliminates HPV in people who have already been infected, therefore eliminating their risk of developing cervical cancer and stopping the spread of the virus.

Eva Ramón Gallegos was able to use non-invasive photodynamic therapy (PDT) to eradicate the virus in 29 patients who had been infected. This is not a "cure" for HPV as some headlines suggest, but it's very important research that will certainly help lessen and someday end the threat of HPV strains that can lead to cervical cancer. They even found that 64.3% of women with HPV who had already developed pre-malignant lesions were also cured of HPV with this therapy. I'm not sure if that means the risk of cervical cancer in those particular women is reduced or reversed or what, but it sounds pretty freaking cool.

Thank fuck for Mexican women working to cure the diseases that the U.S. won't cure anymore because cures aren't profitable. Thank fuck for women of color.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Gif of the Day

This is funnier without context.

2020 Challenger Lineup: John Delaney

I've already written a couple screeds begging people on the left (by U.S. standards lol) to chill out and let people examine and critique Democrats running for president for 2020 at least until a Democratic nominee is officially chosen in 2020, and I figure it's probably fair (and a better use of my time) to actually write up a summary of each candidate looking at their qualifications, records, and positions. This will help me decide who to support and might help some others as well.

I figured I'd go in order of who declared their candidacy first. You might be saying "John Who?" and for good reason. Delaney declared his candidacy back in fucking 2017. July 2017.

John Delaney was a Representative for Maryland's 6th district from 2013 to January 3, 2019. It looks like he didn't bother to run for anything in 2018 because he's focused on his presidential campaign. Before entering politics, he co-founded two lending companies, which, ew.

During his time as a Representative, Delaney introduced legislation to fight against gerrymandering and make Election Day a federal holiday. He earned a 100/100 from the Human Rights Campaign for his support of LGBT rights. He also sponsored bills to allow more veterans to get paid medical leave, two bills to fund improving infrastructure, and a bill "that would extend coverage of medical foods, vitamins, and amino acids to those with metabolic disorders" via Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP.

These are all good things in my book. He also wanted to raise the corporate tax rate to 23% to pay for those infrastructure improvements.

He sounds like a moderate, and according to Wikipedia is often called one. Here's what Delaney has to say about himself:

People have a hard time labeling me. Some of the things they hear me talking about are on the total progressive or liberal end of the spectrum, and in other ways I'm kind of a solutions-oriented moderate who wants to get things done.

According to his Delaney for President website, he is into "unity" between progressives, moderates, and disaffected Republicans. He says something about making better jobs, which sounds like he at least understands that the low unemployment rate in the U.S. right now doesn't mean things are good.

His third platform is "security" which, ugh.

He then lists "justice" and says he wants to "fix some fundamentally flawed institutions—education, health care, the criminal justice system, infrastructure, retirement security." He cites the American Dream, which suggests he doesn't get that the very concept is bullshit.

You can view his full voting record here. Notably, he voted against that bullshit bill to redefine "crimes of violence." BUT he voted yes on the "Protect and Serve Act," which "Requires a sentence of up to 10 years in prison for an individual found to have knowingly caused serious bodily harm or injury to a law enforcement officer or attempted to do so." That bill passed with flying colors, by the way. He also seems to have voted against multiple department transparency acts, which raises a red flag.

He and also everyone else voted yes on funding to put more cops in schools. He also looks to have consistently voted against anti-choice and anti-immigrant legislation. He voted against the "Thin Blue Line" act which imposes the death penalty for attempted murder of a cop. That also passed, holy shit.

He voted against approving the Keystone XL pipeline multiple times. He voted against a bill prohibiting the U.S. from providing weapons to Syria. He voted yes on the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015 that continued a lot of the bullshit from the Patriot Act. He voted to reauthorize VAWA in 2013.

PLEASE keep in mind if you're looking through his voting record that the names of bills can be very misleading. Some of these bills do the exact opposite of what the name implies. Click on them to read a summary of what they're really about.

Looking for racism in Delaney's past, I only found that he's joined the call for the governor of Virginia to resign after the blackface thing. Nothing on homophobia, transphobia, or misogyny. Doesn't mean it doesn't exist, but nothing immediately came up and I don't have all day.

John Delaney is definitely a capitalist, unsurprisingly.

Mr Delaney said his politics was based on “simultaneously celebrating the power of our free-market economy while insisting that there is a role for government to set goals and rules of the road and take care of those who are left behind.”

Overall, I give John Delaney a solid "meh" as a Democratic candidate. Maybe a C+ or B-. He is, for the most part, your average white male Democrat, with some bonus points for supporting gay rights and sometimes voting against ridiculous cop worship bills. But unless he does something drastic, it's extremely unlikely that I will support him for the nomination.

Tune in next Monday for my overview of Tulsi Gabbard.