Friday, February 28, 2020

Gif of the Day

I need more footage of dolphins in my life.

Gee, Why Don't People Like The Democrats?

Democrats are all like "omg Trump is so un-democratic, Republicans are attacking democracy, they don't want people to have a voice like we do" and then go and do shit like this:

Democratic Leaders Willing to Risk Party Damage to Stop Bernie Sanders

And that's the New York Times saying that.

Dozens of interviews with Democratic establishment leaders this week show that they are not just worried about Mr. Sanders’s candidacy, but are also willing to risk intraparty damage to stop his nomination at the national convention in July if they get the chance. Since Mr. Sanders’s victory in Nevada’s caucuses on Saturday, The Times has interviewed 93 party officials — all of them superdelegates, who could have a say on the nominee at the convention — and found overwhelming opposition to handing the Vermont senator the nomination if he arrived with the most delegates but fell short of a majority.

Alright here's a fucking question. How can you have the most delegates and not have a majority at the same time? This is why people hate politics.

Anyway, it baffles me that so many liberals still think that "but Bernie Sanders isn't a real Democrat" is a good argument for them to make against Bernie Sanders.

Fuck the Democratic leadership. They are rich, mostly white male and generally privileged assholes who are more invested in protecting their own power than doing anything for the vast majority of the people they're supposed to be representing. They are part of the problem.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Gif of the Day


We Live In A Society

As it's looking more and more likely that Bernie Sanders will be the Democratic nominee, I highly recommend putting some effort into getting yourself ready for the tsunami of absolute bullshit that will come spewing out of the right on the subject of socialism. And it's going to be effective on a lot of average Americans, particularly those of older generations who were propagandized by red scare shit without the benefit of the internet providing access to actual information.

I've heard from multiple people in my life who don't have the space to look into this information themselves that they hold a general distrust for the government. I absolutely understand that. The difference that I've observed is that a lot of people distrust "government" in general. They don't want "government" in their healthcare or whatever else. I, on the other hand, don't have a problem with "government" in general, but with the U.S. government specifically, and I am skeptical that a representative democracy system could ever function without falling to corruption or simply a disconnect between the representatives and the average people.

Let's talk about what a government actually is. Government is simply a number of people getting together and agreeing to live in a society that has rules everyone agrees on and follows. In a representative democracy, this means people electing other people to "represent" them, their needs, and their desires. The idea is that these representatives will make the laws that the rest of the people desire while we can go on with our everyday lives.

What's super weird is that the average American "libertarian," or those who think they're libertarians, holds this kind of anti-government sentiment without realizing that the closest political theory to theirs is that of anarchists.

It's important to understand that anarchists are not anti-government. They are against the idea of representative government. They see the corruption that happens in this kind of system and conclude that nobody should have power over someone else.

Are they right? Can humans have power over others without becoming corrupt? I don't know. It's an old and complex question. What I do know is that we live in a society.

Let's all of the sudden switch to talking about the coronavirus. Trust me, it's very much related. Multiple threads on Twitter have popped up by people expressing fears that the pretty much inevitable spread of the coronavirus in the U.S. will be so much worse than it has to be due to the way in which we treat our service industry workers.

Here's just one, written by fellow queer freelance writer Lori Fox, starting with the story of how they could have died of pneumonia if a considerate doctor hadn't sat at one of their tables.

Fox, like many others, then points out that it's extremely common for service workers to continue working while sick, even while extremely sick. There is a 100% chance that there will be service workers who get sick, know that it could be COVID-19, and go to work anyway. Because the alternative could be getting fired, not being able to pay rent, eviction, homelessness, etc.

So they will work while sick. And contagious. And those of us who can afford to stay home from work sometimes will catch what they have.

This is a perfect example of the concept of We Live In A Society. I am still in the process of figuring out how much and what kind of government is ideal, but let's be practical for a second. How much the coronavirus spreads and how many people die from it depends a whole lot on the government.

It's our government that decides the minimum wage, which affects how much those living on that wage are able to save up for emergencies like getting sick with a dangerous virus. It's our government which decides whether or not paid sick leave should be required, how much, and for whom. "Less" government inevitably means less of all of that. And those of you lucky enough to not have to work in the service industry will therefore be more likely to catch it.

You won't be able to avoid it by avoiding restaurants. This is more than food service. The working poor stock your groceries. They pick, slaughter, and process all the food you consume. They fix your cars. They clean your homes. Unless you have enough money to buy up enough supplies to last for many months and basically seal yourself off from society, and I'm betting that you don't, you're going to be exposed to this virus because the working poor cannot afford to stay home when they get sick.

And that's because the people in this country said they wanted less government, at least when it comes to healthcare and making company owners pay and take care of their workers.

Is this really what you want? I hope that while you're in bed sweating through the fever and waiting to see if you're one of the 2%, you take some of that downtime to consider whether you really don't want "government in your healthcare." Think about what happens when people decide they don't want to take care of each other. Is this really a good thing? Are you sure "government" is the thing you don't want?

Think about it.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Gif of the Day

This gif does something to me.

This Tweet Won Last Night's Democratic Debate

I wish this was Warren instead but still:

I didn't actually watch the debate either because it's all the same shit every time but I'm pretty sure that wins.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Gif of the Day

Why did I save this? The world may never know.

Let's Talk About Reality Tunnels


Turns out there are some benefits to being in a relationship with someone who is really into philosophy. For example, I am glad that I was introduced to the idea of reality tunnels. Or really, to the term, because I had already formed the idea myself without know that someone had come up with a name for it already.

Basically, the theory of reality tunnels says that reality is in the eye of the beholder. Two people could look at the same situation and, because of the way they were raised and the beliefs that they hold and the influences that shaped them, they could each see something completely different. I look at a homeless person and see an individual failed by society, while a conservative might look at the same person and see a failure of the individual.

I think a lot of us have experienced confusion and distress when something happens, usually something highly emotionally charged, and our view and interpretation of the thing is wildly different from someone else's. It's disturbing and frustrating. We might assume that the other person is lying for some reason. It might seem like they live in an entirely different reality. Talk to people with significant enough political views and you'll probably experience this.

Maybe, in a way, they are living in a different reality.

Let's apply this to a particularly annoying aspect of 21st-century politics: online arguments. I think becoming skeptical of electoral politics in general has resulted in an ability to step back a little because I am less invested than I used to be in any particular candidate. Every current Democratic candidate is flawed. Some are less flawed than others, but you'll never find anybody who is squeaky clean.

And yet, finally making the decision to "officially" support Bernie seems to have made it easier for me to be drawn back into the same bullshit, wanting to argue with people who attack him. Isn't that interesting?

Anyway, a common complaint about Bernie is that his fans, or at least some of them, pile onto anyone who criticizes him in any way online to the point that it's harassment. In response, some Bernie supporters have claimed that these "pile-ons" have often in fact only been a few people responding in somewhat sarcastic tones.

So which is true? Both, of course. I've seen people get piled on by hundreds of people on Twitter for making reasonable complaints about Bernie and his fans and I've seen Bernie fans say horrible, fucked up things to and about these critics. I've also seen people throw some pretty wild, bullshit smear at Bernie, get like 90% supportive messages and a few people being like "dude no" and then claim that they were getting dog-piled by the mean Bernie Bros.

And I've seen both situations play out with critics and supporters of Elizabeth Warren. And let's not pretend that both Bernie and Liz supporters are shitting on Mike Bloomberg all day every day. He deserves it, but I mean, we are doing that.

I wish we could talk in a more productive way about our "bubbles." Bubbles are related to reality tunnels but the only time they come up is usually when some alt-right fuckoff is telling you that you're just living in your liberal bubble or echo chamber or whatever the fuck without having a shred of self-awareness about the fact that they have their own bubble/echo chamber that they're about to retreat to and declare victory to their like-minded buddies after getting blocked yet again.

We all surround ourselves with like-minded people. It's completely natural and expected human behavior. Every one of us has a bubble and an echo chamber, and if not, you're probably extremely lonely. Humans have been doing this since we started existing, and then suddenly we invented the internet and thrust ourselves right up into each other's business and we're all baffled and angry all the time now.

I'm in a position right now where I'm definitely left of liberal and connecting with more and more people who are the similarly leftist or further left while still maintaining a lot of connections with and admiration for people who are actually liberal. So I a lot of what's going on in both of these groups. But if you're totally enmeshed in either group, you have to go out of your way to see what's going on in the other. And I am still in a bubble, just like everyone else. We can't see all of Twitter. It's too big.

If you think Warren fans never attack Bernie fans the way vice versa, you're wrong. If you think Warren fans are lying about Bernie fans ever piling onto them, you're wrong. Who does it more? I don't know, I think it would take some kind of software or tech thing to figure that out and clearly I would have absolutely no clue how to go about making such a program. But until such a thing exists, we can't know which fans are worse.

But we can all acknowledge that our perspectives are limited by what we've seen. I think that would be super-duper healthy and beneficial to all of us. Knowing about reality tunnels has helped me to step back and resist the temptation to butt in with my every thought.

That's another thing I think we need to acknowledge. It's a very human thing to want to express one's opinion and be heard. Again, the internet has given us the ability to do that as much as we want at any time to a massive potential audience, but there are downsides. You'd be hard-pressed to find a human who has never seen something online and felt the urge to give their opinion on it. We all feel that urge all the time, especially when it's about something important to us. And politics are important to all of us whether we want to admit it or not.

That's why these pile-ons happen. I mean, sometimes there are coordinated attacks, but these are from 4chan and other right-wing cesspools. The vast majority of the time it's that you either have a large audience or are boosted by someone with a large audience and so hundreds, thousands, maybe millions of people see what you said and an opinion or clever bit of bullshit pops into their heads and they all want to share. That's not a bad thing in and of itself, but it can be overwhelming when so many give in to the urge, often without thinking much at all, and the one person who said the original thing wakes up with 500 notifications.

Yesterday I saw a fairly prominent feminist with 92,000 followers freaking out a bit and trying to claim that that thing Bernie wrote back in 1972 about gender roles and their impact on people's sex lives represented sexual fantasies that Bernie actually himself has. He of course did not admit to any such thing, he was just being too edgy in his attempt to catch attention to his essay -- a mistake made by just about every dude in every one of my creative writing classes in college.

I responded to one of her tweets pointing this out and she was not receptive to the idea. Her response also indicated that I was not the first one to make the point I made, which I should have assumed. I then struggled quite a bit to resist the urge to continue replying to her tweets. I felt she was wrong and spreading disinformation that could even harm Bernie's chances at getting nominated (and most polls still suggest Bernie has the best chance of anyone to beat Trump) but I had to tell myself some key things. A) Chances were slim that anything I could say to her would be something she hadn't heard before and B) she was not currently in a state of mind that was at all receptive to other ideas.

And that's okay. Maybe it's not ideal and if you're always in that mode then that's a problem, but I've absolutely been in that place. The subject was about rape fantasies, which is a highly-charged subject. Being emotional about that subject is never wrong. I don't even blame her for being furious that Bernie wrote what he did. He was still using rape for shock value, which is something I hate. Maybe if I hadn't already known about his old writings and had a negative opinion of Bernie, I would have been saying the same things as this woman. It was clear that some people were shocked at the idea that anybody has rape fantasies, and I don't blame them for being upset.

I just wish that more people could put their egos and their hero worship aside and practice a little more empathy. Not with fascists, but we can do it with people a little to the left or right of us, yeah? C'mon.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Gif of the Day

Thank fuck for Animal Crossing.

The Harvey Weinstein Trial And My Bottomless Exhaustion

I looked through my entire gif collection to try and find one that could express how tired this whole thing makes me feel and this is the closest I could get:

There's nothing else I can yell about on the topic of rape culture. It's all been said. I feel like I don't even have any more anger to express about it. Every time it pops up, all I have left to feel is tired. And when I pay attention to and try to explore that feeling of emotional and mental exhaustion, sometimes it seems so deep and vast that I'm astonished I can function at all.

Anyway, Harvey "Serial Rapist" Weinstein was convicted of criminal sexual assault in the first degree and rape in the third degree today. He was acquitted of two other charges of predatory sexual assault, which comes with a maximum punishment of a life sentence, and then there was a fifth charge which I don't know what happened to it because I can barely skim over one article on the subject.

Anyway, it sounds like with these charges Weinstein would get a minimum of six and a half years in prison, though if the supposed health problems that the rapist has been milking for every drop are real, he'll probably be dead tomorrow. In reality, his lawyers said they will definitely appeal, so this will be dragged out for god knows how much longer and he may end up acquitted of all charges. But at least the judge in this case sent Weinstein directly to jail, so he'll get to experience some of that horror even if I don't personally love reveling in someone's having to go to prison, which I am generally against.

So. Goddamn. Tired.

Some are calling this result "bittersweet" but it doesn't feel either bitter or sweet. It sucks that he was acquitted of anything, it sucks that his victims had to go through the horror of testifying, it sucks that his lawyers will appeal, it sucks that any of this exists in the first place. I feel terrible for the victims of the crimes that resulted in the other charges, I feel terrible for the victims whose charges were never considered in the first place, and I want to feel happy for the women who did get some semblance of justice today but I have a hunch that they don't feel great themselves.

I hope some people (the ones who are on the right side of history on this, I mean) feel good about the verdict but I get the impression that a lot of women and survivors are feeling a whole lot like me today. Men, please put more effort into ending rape culture. Please make sure there are no more Harvey Weinsteins. This whole things sucks and should never have happened in the first place. This awful, evil shit needs to end.

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.