Friday, February 21, 2020

Gif of the Day

Such graceful creatures.

Order More Chinese Food

Apparently, people are being extra racist against Chinese people and any and all individuals who racist people might mistake for Chinese (because racism) because the coronavirus seems to have originated from a region in China. This is some bullshit considering the fact that fucking measles, which is much more dangerous than this respiratory illness, came back in the U.S. just because some rich white ladies fell for a scam and stopped vaccinating their kids.

This isn't the first time a virus has made people show their racism.

The coronavirus exposes the history of racism and “cleanliness”

This has ranged from street harassment to right-wing conspiracy theorists claiming that the Chinese government made the virus on purpose.

Racism about cleanliness coming from Americans is pretty rich considering the fact that only 31% or our men and 65% of women wash their hands after using the bathroom.

The racism is so bad that it's actually hurting Chinese businesses. So if you're able, please go out and help your local Chinese-owned establishments by shopping their more often until the coronavirus panic passes. Get Chinese food when you don't feel like cooking. It's great. If you don't have a lot of cash to spend, you could probably just order from a teriyaki joint and make a difference because racists don't know what Chinese food actually is.

And if you're spreading racist bullshit around the coronavirus or anything else, you suck.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Gif of the Day

This is so strangely beautiful.

The Centrist Attacks On Bernie Sanders Are Just Sad

I don't even know what centrists are doing in terms of trying to draw support away from Bernie Sanders. I mean who knows, maybe it will work, but it doesn't seem like a good strategy to try and lean into Bernie's "being ridiculously rich is bad for everyone else" philosophy, which I thought centrists didn't like, in order to attack Bernie for having some money.

This is apparently supposed to be an actual attack on Bernie. I guess what they're going for is trying to paint him as a hypocrite for having kind of a lot of money in comparison to average people while pushing the idea that having a billion dollars or more is maybe too much and they should probably be taxed quite a lot if they have that much cash lying around.

I just don't think it works very well. Bernie is worth about $1.2 million. Most of the remaining Democratic candidates are worth more than that, including the most centrist candidates (on a U.S.-based scale, at least). Joe Biden is worth $9 million and I'm sure he has a vacation home himself. Then, of course, there's Michael Bloomberg. Want to see his house?

Which one? The one in New York that he bought for $3.5 million in 1986 and has added on to, bringing it to a total of 12,500 square feet? Or the one in London that's only 6,266 sqft but is worth $25 million?

Yes, Bernie has some money. They actually pay Senators quite a lot. If you're going to try and paint him as some kind of dangerous socialist who wants to take away all your money and stuff, stop pointing out that he has money and stuff. If you want to paint having enough money for a vacation home on the lake as bad, then you can't be supporting people who have a crap load more money than he does.

Figure your shit out.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Gif of the Day

I did this once when I worked at a cat adoption place for a cat we were socializing and it made me fall so deeply in love with him.

Michael Bloomberg Fucking Sucks

It's so weird and annoying to have Democrats attack Bernie Sanders for not being a "real Democrat" while you're sitting there being like "yeah that's a huge point in his favor for me" and knowing that a ton of people feel the same way and having to remember that there are so many humans out there in the U.S. who think that Democrat is as left as it gets and that everyone left of center must be a Democrat like what a weird way to live.

Meanwhile Michael Bloomberg is an actual fake Democrat who was a Republican just a few years ago until he decided that the best way to buy his way into the presidency was to go through the Democrats even though he's basically a slightly more discreet Donald Trump with better business sense but is worse at playing the public.

Please don't let his relentless ads convince you or your loved ones to vote for him, he's awful.

All this also has me thinking about the Vote Blue No Matter Who crowd, and it's such a seductive slogan that makes so much sense on the surface and has the entire horror and trauma of the Trump presidency propping it up, but I still feel like it's an insidious thing. People are using this "better of two evils" logic to try and convince people to support Bloomberg by claiming that he'll have the best shot of beating Trump against all evidence.

Most polls on the subject show Bernie, the leftiest candidate, has the best change of beating Trump. But they're telling you that Bloomberg has the best change like it's objective truth and like it's obvious, preying on this false idea that the middle is the best. But the U.S. center isn't the center, it's to the right, and in between "nobody deserves to die from poverty and we should take care of each other without judgment" and "poor people should either be our slaves or fuck off and die" is not the ideal place to be.

I'm also remembering the compromise of the "Vote Blue No Matter Who" thing that was like "hey you can go ahead and support whoever you want in the primaries, just vote for the Democrat in the general election!" But whoops, now I'm seeing demands for various candidates to drop out to give other candidates a better chance to get the nomination because they have a better chance in the general election. So much for that, I guess.

And yeah, Bernie supporters are doing this, too. A lot, in fact, and at Elizabeth Warren. Which is really annoying because it was primarily the Bernie supporters who were like "we should be allowed to support who we want without compromising for political strategy" and look just pick one or the other, I can't stand hypocrisy, people.

Which is best? I honestly don't know anymore. All I know is that the fact that we've been forced into this choice between following your heart and maybe not letting the country continue to shift to the right in the long run and preventing another four years of child concentration camps and all the other horrible things that have already been caused by Trump as well as the ripple effects that could occur from another four years of him makes me feel like THIS COUNTRY IS FUCKED.

This is not a good choice to have. So many potential outcomes are really bad. This is why people say we need a revolution.

This has been a collection of random thoughts I've been having around the election but in conclusion Michael Bloomberg fucking sucks DON'T VOTE FOR HIM.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Gif of the Day

Guess what I watched.

Medicare For All: Common Arguments Against And Rebuttals

ReBUTTals. Heheh.

The headline was really formal so I had to balance it out. You understand.

Anyway, it's looking like in spite of the DNC's best efforts, Bernie Sanders is likely to be the nominee for President. If we want to get Trump out of office four years early, which will be the real challenge because the incumbent always has the advantage, we need to be ready to counter all the shit that's going to be lobbed at Bernie and his policy positions.

Let's start with Medicare for All, because Jon Oliver did a segment on it and it really lays out the most common concerns with it in a fair and hilarious manner.

I like this show a lot.

The biggest argument against seems to be the cost, and I want to point out a couple things that Oliver didn't. First of all, Fox News anchors love to put that special bit of emphasis on TRILLION when they give the price tag. Let's be clear -- the U.S. annual budget is already measured in the trillions. I know it still seems like an uncommonly large number, but the same used to be for billions. Inflation has raised us to the point that you're going to start hearing the word "trillion" more and more often. Don't let it scare you away from actually using your brain.

Second, U.S. healthcare as it is already costs $3.5 trillion every year. Pundits always talk about the cost over the course of 10 years, so if you use basic maths, $32.6 trillion over 10 years means saving $240 billion even by Fox News numbers.

Of course, Oliver makes a good point in saying that we don't know for sure how Medicare for All will really cost until we get the bill. I would argue that it's worth a shot seeing as Medicare for All will save lives and I will pay higher taxes to do that even if those taxes would cost me more than what the elimination of health insurance premiums, co-pays, and deductibles would save me.

Also of interest is a new study that came out just last Friday. I was already high as a kite by the time I saw it but I was so excited about it that I still managed to email one of the lead study authors for the full text of said study because you can do that instead of paying to get past the paywall and it works 99% of the time, just FYI.

I haven't had time to read through the entire thing yet, but I did convert it into a Google Doc which you can access here because FUCK paywalls for scientific studies. Thank you, Dr. Alison Galvani.

The paper was authored by five experts from three different universities and declares that Dr. Galvani "was an informal unpaid adviser to the Office of Senator Sanders regarding the Medicare for All Act, 2019," with no other possible conflicts of interest listed. The summary lists some highly promising potential results.

Taking into account both the costs of coverage expansion and the savings that would be achieved through the Medicare for All Act, we calculate that a single-payer, universal health-care system is likely to lead to a 13% savings in national health-care expenditure, equivalent to more than US$450 billion annually (based on the value of the US$ in 2017).

That's some serious annual savings, but let's talk about human lives.

Furthermore, we estimate that ensuring health-care access for all Americans would save more than 68 000 lives and 1·73 million life-years every year compared with the status quo.

That. Is what I am talking about.

The only other common argument that Jon Oliver doesn't address is the idea that the government will be making health decisions for people. This is, I'm assuming, a remnant of the "death panels" bullshit from the Obamacare debates.

The bottom line is that if you want to keep costs down (and I'm not saying I do lol), then somebody does need to be out there to say "no, we're not going to pay for your third face lift" or "no, we're not going to pay for you to get a sixth finger grafted onto your left hand because you think it would be cool," or whatever. Right now, we have health insurance companies with a clear profit motive to deny you as much coverage as they can for whatever reason they can pull out of their asses and people are dying on the regular as a direct result of this system.

Hypothetically, we could have a system wherein a government worker who does not get paid bonuses for saying "no" could make some kind of final call on controversial cases based on doctor recommendations or however they do it in every other country where they have this system. That doesn't seem so bad.

I get not trusting our government. I sure as hell don't. But at least governments are SUPPOSED to be for and by the people. A properly-funded system done right could save tens of thousands of lives and make life so much better for so many people, reducing so much of the stress that takes god knows how many years off our lives. Yeah, government corruption happens, but at least it's illegal. At least it's considered to be wrong.

For-profit companies are, as described, FOR PROFIT. That's all. All they care about is sucking as much profit out of YOUR pocket as possible, and they don't give a single fuck if that means you DIE, and that's how it's supposed to be. Which do you prefer to make your health care decisions?

Oh, and there's also the assumption that because the U.S. has a higher population than most countries with universal healthcare, the presumed added bureaucracy would create additional problems. While that might be true, I feel like the potential to save tens of thousands of LIVES every year makes Medicare for All worth a shot. Like yeah, obviously problems are going to crop up here and there. Maybe we can work on those as they appear? We can do it.

I honestly don't understand the instinct to dismiss a system which could save so many lives just because it might have some issues that will make it worse less than absolutely perfect. My hope is that most of the people doing this just haven't thought it through and are still stuck in the reactionary "SOCIALISM BAD" mode courtesy of propaganda from the government they don't trust.

Please, people. Lives are at stake. Try to exercise some critical thinking on this issue.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Gif of the Day

Happy Valentine's Day!

Pete Buttigieg Is Full Of Shit

Oh right, this is why I don't like Pete Buttigieg.

Helpful hint to Pete: Tweeting this bullshit again in Spanish doesn't make it any less shitty.

I guess because I had written off Buttigieg as a viable Democratic candidate, I had forgotten how much I hated his "Medicare For All Who Want It" fuckery.

I know I said I was going to get deeper into Pete's positions in general this week but long story short I got high and picked up Skyrim again, soooo....

But honestly, why should I have to go through all that effort when all you need to know about Pete Buttigieg is that he is completely, utterly full of shit? This guy actually wants you to believe that there is a large section of people out there who are fond of the health insurance graciously given to them by their employers so much that they wouldn't want the same thing only with no premiums, no deductibles, no co-pays, and no being denied life-saving care for whatever reason the insurance company can pull out of its ass.

And now he has the nerve to push this lie about union-won health coverage? Not only do union workers not love their "employer-provided health benefits" (provided under threat of strike but whatever), they don't want to have to fight for healthcare.

But don't ask me, ask union leadership!

Medicare for All is not an affront to unions. Union members overwhelmingly support it. Pete is being completely dishonest here, and you should be pissed. He's bullshitting. He's using convoluted, twisty-turny logic to try and obscure the fact that "Medicare for All Who Want It" will create a two-tiered healthcare system in which the rich get all the good healthcare and those who can't afford the good stuff are the only ones left to pay into Medicare, leaving it underfunded and shitty. That's when the Republicans and neoliberals come in and go "LOOK HOW TERRIBLE THIS SYSTEM IS, WE SHOULD GET RID OF IT ENTIRELY."

And universal healthcare in America is dead once again.

There is no good reason to put the "for those who want it" exception onto Medicare for All except to destroy it. But he can't say that, so he's feeding you bullshit. Doesn't that just make you so mad?

It makes me mad. Could you tell?

Personally, I like rats. Like, the animal. They're cute and sweet and intelligent and don't deserve the bad reputation they got just because they take advantage of what we call garbage. But I can see why people call him a rat. He won't even be honest about his own goddamn height.

I know people are biased toward the tall but come on, Pete.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Gif of the Day

via Gfycat

Is this what I'm reduced to? Embedding gifs like a corporate SHILL???

Cute dog though.

Listen To A Homeless Man Explain How Sweeps Hurt Him

Seattle is still being absolute shit in its treatment of the homeless population thanks to our faux-progressive mayor who has continued and expanded police "sweeps" of homeless camps, big and small. I can't for the life of me get my head around the logic of calling yourself progressive when your solution to the issue of homelessness isn't "give people the resources necessary to not be homeless" and instead is "disrupt their already difficult lives at random every time they find a place to put down anything that could keep the constant rain from soaking them or the frost from killing them."

It's winter, and this is a single homeless man and small dog who dared to set up a single tent in a park and bother nobody while he tries to survive:

Each video is about a minute and 20 seconds long. I encourage you to watch each as this man tells his story. He also explains that he is unable to access a nearby homeless shelter because he was assaulted in the laundry room and he fought back too hard, so they kicked him out. Many others living in tents do so because they can't access shelters for various reasons, whether because it's transphobic, because staff is abusive, because of various hostile rules, or perhaps because they won't like you keep animals like Babygirl.

Riley explains the absurdity of this "sweeps" policy perfectly. He's just trying to survive day to day, he doesn't have enough money to afford a place, there is no affordable housing in Seattle and no I am not counting the so-called affordable housing apartments that offer a small discount on rent because $1,200 per month is not "affordable" for Riley no matter how you try to twist it.

So what should Riley do? He's asking for help, so if it was available he would surely take it. But it hasn't been. It's the same for every other homeless person. How does destroying their tents and stealing and throwing away their meager possessions help either them or the rest of the city? It just makes it harder for them to get out and more likely that they'll die homeless.

The existence of homelessness is a failure of society. This is Durkan's failure and Riley deserves an apology and compensation for his damaged property.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Monday, February 10, 2020

Gif of the Day

This is... the greatest gif of all time. I'm crying a little.

Feels Update


As I continue to get better, emotional health-wise, I'm starting to get a clearer picture of what happened to me leading up to my full-on existential crisis last year. I think that the ongoing horrors of the Trump administration and my inability/unwillingness to avoid looking at them combined with some other events, particularly finding out that the guy who writes the music that was previously leading me down a path toward something like spiritual health is a rapist, led directly to a crisis point.

I was faced with the human rights horrors created and perpetuated by the country I live in, up to and including concentration camps and likely child trafficking, and I felt absolutely unable to do anything concrete about them. Any action that felt like an appropriate response would lead to the end of my life, either through imprisonment or actual death, and anything less than that felt like it would be little more than something that would make me feel better without doing anything to confront the roots of the problem. Meanwhile, kids were disappearing and dying.

I'm pretty sure I accidentally came to the conclusion that I wasn't allowed to be happy as long as that kind of suffering was taking place. I'm pretty sure I've touched on this before but it seems really clear to me now. At the very least, I wasn't allowed to be happy unless I was dedicating my life or all my free time to doing something to help people in a way that my brain felt was enough. That's why I couldn't enjoy any of my old recreational activities anymore. I shut down.

But I couldn't just go and join every charity organization around and spend all my time volunteering, either. In fact, I did none of that. Because I was already weighed down by anxiety, depression, and massive amounts of guilt that my brain, the same one yelling at me that I needed to DO SOMETHING, was also screaming that it needed rest and self-care. A lot of that was really it running to its old favorite defense mechanism -- avoidance.

Basically, I wanted to distract myself from all that shit with video games, but I couldn't enjoy them because of the nagging guilt that I wasn't DOING SOMETHING, until eventually video games themselves became an anxiety trigger. It was a vicious cycle spiraling down into absolute fuckery.

I'm not sure if cannabis helped me or hurt me during all of this, or somehow both?

What I realized recently was just how much guilt I was pouring onto myself and how this all culminates in one of my core issues, perhaps the root of all my issues -- that I'm not good enough. Fundamentally, as a person, I'm not good enough. This is a belief I've been trying to kick to the curb since my first therapist brought it to my attention at age 16. It reaches its insidious little tentacles into everything. I'm not a good enough writer. I'm not a good enough friend. I'm not a good enough student. I'm not a good enough gamer, for fuck's sake.

But the root of this belief is that I am not good enough as a person, somehow. And that really hits when it comes to the thing that has become the center of my life, my one real goal, the thing that guides my every action. I want to be a good person. I want to do good. I want to lessen suffering and bring people more happiness than they had before. I want to leave the world a better place than it would have been if I had never existed.

If I felt I could not be a good person as long as concentration camps existed in the U.S., it's no wonder I shut down and eventually had a crisis and a depressive episode. Some of it almost seems silly now. I'm not supposed to be patriotic, I'm not even a fan of borders or the very concept of nations. So why should I only freak out when human rights abuses happen in "my" country? I also had to contend with the idea that we've always had concentration camps in the form of our standard prisons. That slavery was never abolished because our prisons became work camps that we filled with people of color. Then I read that book about how we never desegregated our schools, holy fuck.

Not to mention how our demand for modern technology has fueled child slavery in the Democratic Republic of Congo, China has re-education camps for its Muslim population, also most chocolate is brought to you by slaves, and probably coffee, etc. Why did I only freak out when it came closer in physical proximity to where I live?

The answer is probably because that's how the human brain works. Things become more real the closer you can associate them to yourself. It sucks and it's absolutely still wrapped up in racism but the point is, it was arrogant of me to believe, on some level, that I was immune to that.

Human-made horrors have existed for every moment I've been alive. I know that. This doesn't mean I'm going to stop trying. I believe my goal to lessen those horrors and promote justice and well-being as much as I possibly can is sincere. I also believe, or am trying to believe, that the more psychologically healthy I am, the more able I will be to make that happen. This crisis of mine is good evidence of that. I wasn't able to much during that whole thing, which really lasted over a year if you count the year leading up to it in which I was using cannabis to further avoid dealing with my issues and feelings.

The good news is that I'm coming out of it. I had a moment a couple weeks ago where it felt like I settled back into the real world, if only for a few seconds, in a way I hadn't been for many months. It's possible I have been low-key dissociating for quite a long time. But I know I'm getting better because I'm starting to feel again, really feel, both good and bad emotions, and either way, it's just good to feel. And I'm starting to really feel like it does feel good to feel even when the feeling is bad. That might not make any sense but it's how I FEEL okay I'm done.

One more feeling. It feels like coming alive again. Like I'm in an early Spring period of my life.

I still have loads of guilt piled up. I'm getting back into video games again and I'm trying to allow myself to just enjoy them, but the guilt does keep coming. Guilt is such a sticky and nasty thing, it really doesn't do us any good when we let it pile up like I have. It might make us behave better as a society but if we don't let it go, it really becomes just a useless weight that's so difficult to get rid of.

I think I just need to let myself feel it all in order to do that. Not all at once, that would be overwhelming, but a little at a time.

Writing this out is also helpful, and I hope it can help other people who might be going through similar stuff. Let's all feel things and forgive ourselves be good people together, huh?

It's okay to feel good. It's okay to feel good.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Gif of the Day

Professional wrestling makes for so many amazing gifs.

Revisiting Pete Buttigieg

Since the race for the Democratic nomination seems to be coming down to Pete vs. Bernie, which I did not see coming, let's take another look at Buttigieg as a candidate. I did a post on Pete back in March 2019 and rated him a C+. It was a bit difficult to figure out exactly where he might land on the political spectrum due to his limited political experience and the fact that his campaign website didn't actually say anything about his positions on the issues. That has now changed.

A quick going over of the issues the new page addresses reveals that Pete is on the same page as Liz and Bernie on a good number of issues, but he shows his more moderate politics in plenty of key areas. His "Medicare for All Who Want It" plan is still shit and the disingenuousness of it still pisses me the fuck off. Same goes for his college plan, which provides free college to 80% of people whose parents have incomes under 100,000 per year, still ignoring the issue of financial abuse.

Another thing that really stands out is an apparent lack of any plan to tax the rich. It's definitely not on the list on the main page, though it might be buried somewhere, but it seems that if Pete does want to tax the rich, he's not trying to let people know about it. Might upset his wine cave pals, maybe.

There's also still the matter of his shitty handling of the racism in his police department.

I see Pete as being somewhere between Biden and Warren. He's more moderate than I would like, more imperialistic, more pro-military and pro-police. He does not say anything on his campaign website about abolishing or even reforming ICE, at least not mentioning the department by name. He is very much a reform guy and often doesn't give as many specifics as Warren about his plans, very often falling back on language about making things better with small, easily-reversed-by-the-next-republican-president changes.

I'm going to do a deeper profile on Pete next week, but for now I'm just going to say that I don't really understand why people like him so much. And yes, it would be nice to have a gay president, but not at the expense of people who need good healthcare or racial justice.

Support Bernie or Liz instead. Preferably Bernie.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Gif of the Day

I wanted to say something sarcastic but the dog's just too pure.

Good News: Humanitarians Who Left Water For Migrants Un-Convicted

Hey we need some good news this week, yeah? A decent judge heard the case of the humanitarian activists who were leaving food and water in the desert for migrants and overturned their convictions. They were charged with trespassing in early 2018, but, wisely, appealed.

Judge overturns convictions of volunteers who left food and water in desert for migrants

"Defendants met their burden of establishing that their activities were exercises of their sincere religious beliefs, and the Government failed to demonstrate that application of the regulations against Defendants is the least restrictive means of accomplishing a compelling interest," Márquez concluded.

The next paragraph is fucked up, though:

Monday's reversal of the four convictions is the latest blow to government prosecutors who sought to take a tougher stance and prosecute humanitarian-aid workers in the past two years.

Imagine being the kind of person who seeks to take a tougher stance against HUMANITARIAN-AID WORKERS. Why is this country allowed to say anything about the human rights abuses in other nations?

Still, glad the convictions were overturned. Hopefully prosecutors will leave it the fuck along instead of voluntarily setting fire to their own souls.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Gif of the Day

There is something so funny about Kermit's flailing.

On The Iowa Caucus, SOTU, And Impeachment Vote

Wow it's been quite a week, huh? What do you mean it's only Wednesday?

I was so surprisingly nervous about the Iowa caucuses that I actually had live news on YouTube while I played Stardew Valley, so I was able to watch the panic slowly grow in the eyes of reporters as they tried to fill air time while the results continued to not come in. The best parts were when they would interrupt some bullshit with a BREAKING NEWS ALERT to confirm that there were still 0% results because something had gone wrong but they didn't really know what exactly, back to you.

I know there are a lot of conspiracy theories, or maybe just one basic theory with slightly different versions, and I've seen a lot of people yelling on Twitter that people shouldn't engage in that, but honestly, the democrats have earned this. You can't buy an app from a company literally called Shadow Inc. and be surprised when people become suspicious when it doesn't work for a very important vote. I'm not gonna lie, there's a voice in my head that remembers what happened at the caucuses in 2016 and is loudly speculating on how interesting it is that Pete Buttigieg did so well, narrowly passing the candidate that the establishment hates the most.

Don't blame me, blame the fuckers who want to run the country.

My feelings about Buttigieg are mixed. He's obviously too moderate for me, but part of me is just so happy that Joe Biden did so badly. But another part of me is sure that if Pete gets it, he'll shift right over to Joe Biden's realm of politics. He's definitely going to owe some of the people who own those wine caves, so that's not great.

But, you know, it would be pretty sweet having a gay president after Vice President Mike Pence.

Then again, could he beat Trump? Even putting all homophobia aside, which isn't easy, I don't know if he could.


As for the State of the Union address, I didn't watch it and I don't want to know what he said. I don't think Nancy Pelosi is some kind of national hero for tearing a piece of paper in half, but I'm glad she did it because fuck Donald Trump. Also he snubbed her handshake and generally fuck all the nerds whining about how un-civil it is to rip a piece of paper when Trump threw a ton of little children in cages and is a serial rapist. I also honestly liked Pelosi's response of "I wanted to do something worse" to all the complaining.

Finally, the Senate impeachment vote. Extremely predictable/inevitable, yet still oddly depressing. Also not really impressed by Mitt's vote to convict but also, oddly, I'm a little nervous for him and his big Mormon family? I know I shouldn't be because all the privilege but if anybody was going to put a hit out on Romney, it's this president.

So those are my feelings on all the shit that's happened in the last three days. I'm tired now.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Gif of the Day

Not Sorry Feminist officially endorses this disorienting gif of Bernie Sanders hitting a punching balloon thing for President of the United States.

Happy Iowa Caucus Day Ugh Fuck

Anybody else surprisingly anxious about the Iowa caucuses today? I really shouldn't be surprised, considering the fact that I'll get anxious over just about anything and also if Joe Biden gets the nomination I'm gonna be real tempted to just give up on politics forever.

Anyhoo, I did kinda sorta finish the policy positions part of that spreadsheet comparing Bernie and Liz. At the very least, every issue I came up with is filled in and it's decently organized now, though I feel there are many more issues that could probably be addressed. It's completely lacking their positions on farmer issues because I have absolutely no knowledge on that shit, which is definitely not good. We leftists need to reach out to farmers and the rural community way more. They are our comrades and we've neglected them horribly.

Depending on how today goes, I might not bother comparing their records because it's kind of seeming like it's not going to come down to Bernie vs. Liz like I was hoping. Early polls indicate she's in 4th behind fucking Buttigeig, and Bernie and Joe are neck and neck. But who knows at this point.

If you need general help deciding who to support, hopefully you don't live in Iowa because you have like two hours to figure it out, but also I found some other helpful resources during the making of the Bernie vs. Liz spreadsheet:

Politico lists a bunch of key issues and sorts the candidates based on their general positions. It's pretty basic but it's a great place to start.

The Network for Public Education Action gives each candidate a letter grade on key education issues with an explanation for each grade. Bernie Sanders looks to be valedictorian in this group.

As usual, I'm also touting Vote Smart if you want a complete list of each candidate's voting record. It's a slog going through everything, especially for the older career politicians like Bernie, Liz, and Joe. They also have a "positions" section that outlines many of the most popular issues with a helpful indicator of whether their position has been stated outright or whether Vote Smart has inferred it from their various statements and actions. You can also view their ratings from various organizations and look at their speeches and funding sources.

We're gonna get through this year, folks. We're gonna do it together. Just hang on.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Gif of the Day

Shoutout to the slightly cross-eyed cat from The Fifth Element.

Get Ready To Hate The DNC Again

Oh my god okay it's not even February yet and I'm already having 2016 flashbacks in terms of DNC fuckery. At least this time we knew to expect them coming after Bernie. I think this is part of the reason why I kind of wanted to support Warren for a while because I knew she was viewed as less of a threat but now she's behind in the polls and ughhhh this shit:

DNC members discuss rules change to stop Sanders at convention

In conversations on the sidelines of a DNC executive committee meeting and in telephone calls and texts in recent days, about a half-dozen members have discussed the possibility of a policy reversal to ensure that so-called superdelegates can vote on the first ballot at the party’s national convention. Such a move would increase the influence of DNC members, members of Congress and other top party officials, who now must wait until the second ballot to have their say if the convention is contested.

Even if you don't support Bernie, this sucks. Giving more power to DNC members and Congress means less power for you, the actual voter, who is supposed to be the one choosing the next president. This is an attack on democracy and this is why superdelegates are fucked up and this is why we need to abolish the entire electoral college system.

The only good news is that this is a small group thus far and they're saying that what they want to do would be difficult. But let's go ahead and get up in arms about it now because I am not sitting through another round of nomination theft. We're watching you, assholes.

But wait, there's more!

DNC overhauls debate requirements, opening door for Bloomberg

The Democratic National Committee is drastically revising its criteria to participate in primary debates after New Hampshire, doubling the polling threshold and eliminating the individual donor requirement, which could pave the way for former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg to make the stage beginning in mid-February.

Okay cool so when your shitty rules were causing candidates of color to drop like flies you were like "them's the rules" but now that a white cis straight male Christian billionaire wants on the debate stage, it's time for a change!

This is why Republicans keep getting elected. Because you, the Democratic party, make everyone FUCKING HATE YOU.

Complaining about the Senate impeachment trial and Republicans breaking rules and shifting the goal posts when you're pulling this shit, fucking hypocritical fuckwads.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Gif of the Day

There's something inherently funny about bee attacks on TV. Also I love The Good Place.

Bernie Sanders vs. Elizabeth Warren: Impressions

I've gotten a lot done on the comparison spreadsheet. I got through everything on Bernie's campaign website and more, though I still need to get through some of Liz's positions because she seriously has sooooooooo many. I should at least be done with policy positions by Monday, when the first primary polls close. I also wanted to compare their actual voting records, plus I still need to organize the thing properly and maybe split them into sections. It's quite a project.

The most important thing, I think, is the impressions I've gotten from making this thing. Part of the reason I wanted to do it was to help me make a decision myself on who to support. I've been leaning pretty heavily toward Bernie and this has really solidified that position.

Bernie Sanders definitely seems to be, in general, further left than Elizabeth Warren. There are some minor areas where she seems like she could be a little more lefty than Bernie, but overall, the Bernster out-lefts Liz most of the time.

At the same time, Liz has consistently outlined more specifics into her plans and positions on the issues. Her reputation as the plan lady is well-earned. That's why many of her boxes are longer than Bernies'. This may be a point in her favor, depending on your perspective. It's also worth saying that just because a position or more information on a position isn't on Bernie's campaign website doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It might just mean that Liz's campaign team put more effort into her website than Bernie's did into his, which generally seems to be true. Liz's even has a search function, which has come in handy.

I have appreciated how both candidates have brought up how many issues specifically affect marginalized populations. Both addressed things like environmental racism, income inequality for women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ people, and spent a good amount of time specifically addressing how they will treat Native Americans. There was a lot of "this thing is bad for everyone, but worse for this oppressed group in particular." Good stuff.

I was especially impressed that Warren specifically noted the epidemic of murders of trans women of color, including a list of names.

What really decides it for me is that Warren has specifically called herself a capitalist, while Sanders, though I don't consider him to be a real socialist, at least calls himself a Democratic Socialist. I want to make the idea that socialism is actually good more mainstream and get this ridiculous country over its red scare, if possible. I don't see that happening with Warren, who has already signaled willingness to compromise some of her most leftist positions.

Anyway, I'm going to keep working on this for the benefit of those who are still on the fence and might be confused about all the contradictory information that's been pushed by avid supporters of either. I've opened the spreadsheet up to comments, so if you see something you think is incorrect, have suggestions, or want to make a request for a specific issue I might have missed, please do!

I have to admit, I'm excited to see the first results of the primaries. I really hope Joe Biden doesn't turn out to be the frontrunner. It would be amazing if it was between Bernie and Liz. And I honestly can't wait for Yang supporters to SHUT UP.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Gif of the Day

I can't tell if this is on fast-forward or not.

WA State Republican Congressman Is Literally A Domestic Terrorist

So over here in Washington State, one of our representatives for the fucking federal government is actually a domestic terrorist. Trump has his base all riled up about refugees and asylum seekers who are less likely to hurt anybody than a U.S. citizen, actual fascists want you to think that antifa are terrorists, and people have the nerve to call the leader of another country's military a terrorist. But will Representative Matt Shea face any consequences for LITERALLY BEING A DOMESTIC TERRORIST?

That's a long list of evidence there in that report concluding that Rep. Matt Shea, Republican congressman, is a domestic terrorist.

Yet instead of like uhhhhhh arresting him for the crime of domestic terrorism like anybody who wasn't a rich powerful white man would be, the only consequences he's seen were to be suspended from the Republican caucus, resulting in him losing his office (the room, not his position as a lawmaker) and his committee assignments. Meanwhile, other Republicans have called for his reinstatement.

For example, the Grays Harbor Republican Party passed a resolution accusing one co-author of the Shea report of being “a far left socialist democrat contributor and Marxist …” The resolution called Shea “a great representative” and requested his reinstatement.

Gotta love that sweet American justice.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Gif of the Day

When someone tries to insult you for being fat but you know that being fat is awesome.

Bernie Sanders vs. Elizabeth Warren: Progress

No, it's not done yet. But I thought I would share what I have so far.

Some notes: Most of the information is taken straight from each candidates' campaign websites, while anything linked is taken from a different source. The info provided on each issue is distilled way down from typically long pages of information and explanation and is neither perfect nor done without bias because I'm a human being. I encourage you to do deeper reading into the candidates' positions on issues that matter the most to you.

I'll be working on this more today.

Bernie Sanders vs. Elizabeth Warren comparison spreadsheet.

I currently have this set so people can view but not edit through that link. If you want to help, definitely let me know and I'll be happy to grant you access as long as you're not an obvious troll!

The first primary votes are due next Monday, February 3rd. Make sure you figure out who you want to be president and vote for them to face off against Trump in November. Here's a handy guide to when primaries/caucuses are scheduled in each state.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, January 27, 2020

Gif of the Day

This may be the most tender inter-species cuddle I've ever seen.

On Joe Rogan's Endorsement Of Bernie Sanders

If you're paying attention to this kind of shit, you probably already know that Joe Rogan kinda sorta endorsed Bernie Sanders, saying on his show that he would "probably" vote for Sanders. The Sanders Twitter account then tweeted a video of the part of the show in which Rogan said this, also quoting him in text, which was widely interpreted as an acceptance of this endorsement.

Up front I'm gonna say that I do not like Joe Rogan. I think he's a perfect representative of the privileged cis straight able-bodied white dude who is mad that he can't throw around slurs and generally be a piece of shit without consequences anymore, but he also has a lot of money so he made a radio show about it. I blame him for having to hear my own brother say the phrase "social justice warriors" in that snotty tone and for introducing him favorably to fucking Jordan Peterson. I have been worried that my brother would be drawn into white nationalism because of Joe Rogan, because that seems to be what Joe Rogan does, knowingly or not.

People's issues with Rogan go far beyond the fact that, as some Bernie worshippers have tried to claim, saying a couple problematic things in the past. He is misogynistic, racist, transphobic, rankly ableist and fatphobic, and spreads all of this to his millions of loyal listeners. In my view, he is a shitty bigot who has occasionally had a decent thought pass through his brain. But more than that, he is a dangerous public figure who functions as a gateway to the "alt-right" and the fascism and white supremacy beyond.

Does this mean I won't be supporting Bernie anymore? No, it doesn't mean that. It does mean I don't want to support him, which is the same thing I felt back when Bernie went on Joe Rogan's show last summer. I feel like people didn't get as upset about Bernie's friendliness with Rogan back then, but that is perhaps because the primaries are about to begin and Bernie is now very clearly at the front of the pack with Biden.

There is one point that Bernie supporters have made about this that I think is a good one -- that it is just as bad or worse that Elizabeth Warren accepted the endorsement of the New York Times, or half of it, or whatever. They rightly point out that although no one blinks at a New York Times endorsement, the news giant is a neoliberal beacon that has supported imperialism and other policies that have killed more people and caused more suffering than Joe Rogan ever could, hopefully.

Though the NYT may not be as overtly shitty as Rogan, they have more influence and in a more subtle way have likely done more damage. I also feel like the split Warren/Klobuchar endorsement seems sexist. Like, Bernie and Warren have a lot more in common than Warren and Klobuchar. Liz and Amy aren't interchangeable because they're women, NYT.

Rogan has also claimed that Warren, along with most other Democratic candidates, sought to be on his show. I don't trust Rogan, but Warren's camp has neither confirmed nor denied this. As far as I can tell, they haven't commented on the Rogan endorsement at all, which I find curious.

Some people have tried to claim, or seemed to vocally hope, that Sanders was simply unaware of Rogan's shittiness. I don't buy that for a minute. Rogan is a famous man well-known for being basically South Park incarnate and Sanders' campaign managers undoubtedly held meetings to decide whether he would go on Rogan's show and whether they would accept his endorsement. If they didn't totally suck at their jobs, they weighed the benefits of gaining some of Rogan's fans against the possibility of losing some people who Rogan has harmed.

We know what he chose. That's just the reality of it. As usual, my plea to people is not to support or reject Bernie but to LEAVE PEOPLE ALONE if they're angry or publicly deciding not to support Bernie because of this. Bernie Sanders accepted that he would lose a certain number of trans people, women, people of color, disabled people, fat people, etc. You should, too.

You're not going to get anywhere yelling at hurt marginalized people that they shouldn't be feeling hurt, no matter what Bernie has done to try and help them in the past. And more importantly, you're an asshole for doing so. They have a right to their anger and their hurt. Neither you nor Bernie has a right to their support.

I know many people feel that the ends justify the means. I have in the past felt strongly that if we can't save ourselves without hurting those already in the most pain, we don't deserve to survive. Right now I just feel tired.

Just 10 months and four days until November.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Gif of the Day

When you're coming out of an existential crisis.

Want To Make A Difference In The 2020 Election? Primaries and Caucuses Time

Do you not live in a swing state? Are you annoyed by feeling like your vote doesn't really count because your state's electoral college is already decided? Do you live in a swing state but want to have more of a say in who you get to vote for in November?

It's a great year to participate in primaries and caucuses!

There are still several Democratic candidates for president and early voting in some states has already started. State primaries/caucuses will decide which of these candidates goes up against Trump in November. There are many different opinion about which candidate is the most likely to defeat Trump and which will be the best for the country in the long term. This post is not about that. I just want as many people as possible to participate in this very important part of the process of electing the U.S. president.

Because this country is a mess, every state does things a little bit differently, and things can change year to year. For example, Washington State just switched from a caucus system to a simple primary vote, to take place in March.

Unlike a direct comparison spreadsheet between Bernie and Liz, which I am still working on, there are already guides out there for voting for your preferred Democratic presidential candidate. The AARP has a great one on when the primaries/caucuses happen in each state. For those who can't access that, here's a simplified list I stole from them:

  • Alabama — March 3
  • Alaska — April 4 (D)
  • Arizona — March 17 (D)
  • Arkansas — March 3
  • California — March 3
  • Colorado — March 3
  • Connecticut — April 28
  • Delaware — April 28
  • District of Columbia — June 2
  • Florida — March 17
  • Georgia — March 24
  • Hawaii — April 4 (D) - Caucus
  • Idaho — March 10
  • Illinois — March 17
  • Indiana — May 5
  • Iowa — Feb. 3 - Caucus
  • Kansas — May 2 (D)
  • Kentucky — May 19 (D); March 21 (R) Caucus
  • Louisiana — April 4
  • Maine — March 3
  • Maryland — April 28
  • Massachusetts — March 3
  • Michigan — March 10
  • Minnesota — March 3
  • Mississippi — March 10
  • Missouri — March 10
  • Montana — June 2
  • Nebraska — May 12
  • Nevada — Feb. 22 (D) - Caucus
  • New Hampshire — Feb. 11
  • New Jersey — June 2
  • New Mexico — June 2
  • New York — April 28
  • North Carolina — March 3
  • North Dakota — March 10 (D) - Caucus
  • Ohio — March 17
  • Oklahoma — March 3
  • Oregon — May 19
  • Pennsylvania — April 28
  • Rhode Island — April 28
  • South Carolina — Feb. 29 (D)
  • South Dakota — June 2
  • Tennessee — March 3
  • Texas — March 3
  • Utah — March 3
  • Vermont — March 3
  • Virginia — March 3 (D)
  • Washington — March 10
  • West Virginia — May 12
  • Wisconsin — April 7
  • Wyoming — April 4 (D)-Caucus; TBD-Caucus

I can't find a guide that outlines the process for every state's primary or caucus, but if your state does a caucus, I recommend looking up instructions for where to go and what you'll need to bring and do to participate. I did it once and it was a lot more complicated than just voting. We had to travel to a nearby school and follow the instructions there to sign in, find out what group we were in, fill out forms, then we were given time to debate and discuss within our groups, then assign a group leader to deliver our individual votes for our preferred candidate.

It took hours. I'm glad we're just doing a primary vote this year. But try to do it anyway if your state is doing a caucus because not very many people participate. Your voice will have a much bigger impact in a caucus than in the November national election.

Enjoy our country's messed up and disjointed electoral system!

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Gif of the Day

Never let me near something like this. Just the gif has me wanting to lick that molten metal.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Gif of the Day

I forget what this Pokemon is called but somebody did this and I just want to eat one, maybe just a nibble?

Trump Administration To Expand "Travel Ban"

Hey. Remember when Trump instituted a Muslim ban and we all freaked out? But now the Overton window has shifted so dramatically because we weren't able to stop it and everyone's focused on the massive sham circus that is the Senate impeachment trial?

Well the so-called "travel ban" is not only still a thing, but Trump's gonna expand it to include seven other mystery countries and basically create a partial immigration ban.

Unlike the travel restrictions currently in place, the new rules could limit certain immigrant visas from the additional countries, said a US government official — essentially creating a partial immigration ban. 
Not all of the restrictions are uniform, said the official, adding that the proposal limits some immigrant visas from one country and other visas from another.

The new ban is "still under review" and apparently there's fuck all we can do about it. Trump won't say which countries will be added but I bet they're full of a certain type of people, I do.

Meanwhile the U.S. continues to lock away tens of thousands of migrants every month, banking a total of 851,508 "apprehensions" in the fiscal year 2019. Only 126,001 were deemed "inadmissible." It continues to be very difficult to figure out how many people are currently detained.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Gif of the Day

I cannot figure out what the fuck that is on his head.

Afternoon Announcements

So I'm currently working on an extensive spreadsheet directly comparing the policy positions and records of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in order to help people make their decisions in the upcoming primaries and caucuses. It's taking longer than expected because between the two of them they have about a billion positions laid out on their respective campaign websites, not to mention all of Warren's plans, plus I'm trying to go deeper on the important issues to make sure what they say on their websites appears to be accurate.

I'm going to be plugging away at this I'm guessing for the rest of the week. I'll do my best to blog some but today I really need a nap. Being right all the time is exhausting, you know.

Oh, but I do have a quick feeling to express about Hillary Clinton trashing Bernie and refusing to say she'll support him if he turns out to be the nominee:

Have a nice day everyone except Hillary Clinton!

Monday, January 20, 2020

Gif of the Day

People calling Rey a Mary Sue because she's too good of a Jedi apparently forgot Luke Supermanning the fuck out of this pit.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Gif of the Day


Oakland Police Evict Black Mothers With Riot Gear And Armored Vehicles

What a great country we have, full of so much freedom and people being allowed to live without being oppressed by big mean oppressive governments hahahahaha I'm just kidding.

Cops in Riot Gear Evict Homeless Mothers From Vacant House

So these four black homeless mothers have been engaging in civil disobedience, protesting aggressive eviction practices and gentrification by occupying a vacant house that was bought up by a house-flipping company. You know, those assholes who snatch up all the affordable places to live and makes them expensive and sells them to my fellow white people. And by "occupying," I mean fixing up the place themselves and paying the bills and living there with their children who would have been homeless otherwise.

So police came in armored vehicles that are basically tanks and riot gear and bashed down their door with a battering ram and arrested two of them, along with two protesters that had come to be like "hey maybe don't force these people to be homeless again to benefit the rich."

The video of the whole affair is horrifying and deeply, deeply American.

The women have thankfully been released on bail thanks to funds raised by decent human beings. But this country is an absolute atrocity and I don't understand why so many of us think it's right to throw mothers and children out onto the street because rich people are allowed to buy up all the houses and leave them empty for obscene profits.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Gif of the Day

I have no idea what this is about.

Guest Post: America’s Criminal Justice System Sets Criminals up to Fail. What Can We Do About It?

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.

Lots of modern politicians rally their voters under the banner of “law and order.” But there’s nothing especially novel about electing tough-on-crime strongmen. According to the National Research Council’s “The Growth of Incarceration in the United States”, the American prison population was stable between the 1920s and the early to mid-1970s.
After that, public discourse and policy took a punitive turn, resulting in the number of prisoners more than quadrupling over the next 40 years. America’s current penal community is 2.2 million strong, which is one-quarter of the world’s prisoners and an incarceration rate as much as 10 times higher than other democracies.
Furthermore, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, as many as 68% of prisoners get re-arrested within three years of being released. Around 83% of prisoners recidivate within nine years of their release.
These figures are disquieting on their own, but they’re only part of the story. Someone who didn’t know better might suspect that the design of America’s criminal justice system in its current form purposely generates new prisoners and recidivists — not rehabilitates them.
How Did America Get This Way?
In the 1970s and '80s, American politicians found they could score easy points with voters by promising “deterrents,” rather than measures that would tackle the root causes of crime: income inequality, mental illness and drug abuse. Maybe we should call this the “Batman moment.” We started choosing our leaders by how many poor, mentally ill, minority and forgotten citizens they could punish, rather than by the number they could lift out of poverty and struggle.
One of the policies birthed by “tough-on-crime” culture was so-called “truth in sentencing” laws. In the early '80s, the federal government practically threw grant money at states in exchange for passing these laws, which ensured that prisoners served the full measure of their sentence — no matter what.
Another jaw of what some call “the recidivism trap” is the lack of rehabilitative opportunities for inmates once the prison system has subsumed them. We know that attaining education, social bonds, employment opportunities and other connections to people and institutions has a close link with moderating criminal behavior.
After leaving prison, a person who’s gone without treatment for their underlying mental health and addiction issues, if any, and whose station in society remains unchanged from the day they were arrested, has two roads in front of them. One leads to gainful employment and rehabilitation and the other to new crimes and more prison time. We aren’t doing enough to make the first road a realistic option for those who’ve already paid their debts.
Many of America’s Prisoners Are Not Criminals
Worse, we tend to cull this massive and growing prison population from the most disadvantaged communities in America. Those suffering from mental illnesses or substance abuse disorders frequently find themselves at the mercy of the arrest-incarceration and re-arrest-and-reincarceration cycle because they get treated like criminals, rather than victims of disease or environment.
It is also a very poorly kept secret that the reason for escalating the war on crime and drugs in the first place — most notably by the Nixon administration — was to criminalize the black and anti-war communities. Nixon’s advisers have been explicit about this point since.
America is now hearing calls from far and wide to expunge its rosters of low-level drug offenses. Doing so would go a long way toward healing some of the damage wrought by cynical law-and-order presidents and senators.
In a report called “How Many Americans Are Unnecessarily Incarcerated?” the Brennan Center for Justice explained why it believes 39% of the American prison population shouldn’t be there. Their research found what they called “little public safety rationale” behind their sentences. A significant portion of these 576,000 individuals have already served lengthy sentences or are low-level, non-violent offenders.
The latter, argues the Brennan Center, would be far better off receiving treatment, probation, community service and other methods for re-assimilation than with prison sentences. Moreover, returning them to society would free up $20 billion per year, which is enough to hire hundreds of thousands of schoolteachers or probation officers.
How Can We Fix This?
Criminal justice reform is a popular topic among politicians and voters all along the political spectrum. But what forms should it take?
One immediate step is to abolish private prisons. The concept is ethically horrifying to begin with, but it’s also resulted in the assembly of one of the most powerful lobbying organizations in the country.
For-profit prisons hold 8.2% of the U.S. inmate population today, after peaking in 2012. Even so, they have a grossly disproportionate amount of influence on sentencing laws. Private prisons earn $3.3 billion per year off the backs of inmates and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time getting tough-on-crime politicians elected. Bunks get filled and pockets get lined, and our laws stay harsh.
Addressing that harshness of the law is step two. The Brennan Center advocates for eliminating prison sentences for low-level crimes, except in highly unusual circumstances, and making prison sentences more proportional to the crime committed.
There are plenty of other changes to make, too. Some states do not allow past convictions to weigh on your case if you find yourself in court a second time, but this isn’t true everywhere. It’s enough of a problem that The Marshall Project calls it out directly in their steps for reducing recidivism. Doing so requires that we acknowledge “desistance behaviors,” which provide a “social context” for crimes, rather than a binary choice.
In other words, if a person who committed a violent crime in the past later gets arrested for shoplifting, they are exhibiting desistance — or an attempt to become more law-abiding. The United States needs a desistance-minded approach to addressing and preventing crime. A compassionate, rather than punitive, attitude toward low-level criminals.
We also need to stop disproportionately arresting people of color. Full stop. The racial disparities in the American penal system have an outsized impact on communities of color. Communities known for crime tend to stay that way, despite our myths about second chances and upward mobility.
A report to the United Nations about racism in America’s justice system found that people of color are more likely to get arrested, convicted and sentenced to harsh prison sentences than white people. The same has been true for generations. Denying it’s a problem, or that it contributes to recidivism, makes you part of the problem.
What Are Prisons For?
There is rare bipartisan support for overhauling the justice system in America. Getting it right means asking ourselves what prisons are supposed to accomplish in the first place. They’re, first of all, meant to keep the public safe. But as we’ve seen, the policing of our population often has an extremely tenuous relationship with the concept of public safety.
Prisons are, second of all, for ensuring that people who do cause harm to society can atone for their crimes and improve themselves in the bargain. Recidivism is a symptom. It’s a sign that we live in a country that doesn’t care about its neighbors and would rather sweep its problems under the rug than solve them for good. We can do a lot better.