Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Bernie or Bust - Trump's Terrible But Hillary's Worse?

I would rather have Donald Trump as president than Hillary Clinton, and no I'm not kidding!

I've told a few different people this and every time they look at me like I have a second head growing out of my neck. Immediately they ask incredulously, "So you're voting for Trump if Hillary wins the nomination!?!?" Uh...no. But I'm also not bastardizing my vote for a woman who is certain to continue the subversive oppression she, her family, and her friends have guided the Democratic party to support over the past 30 years. I'm voting Bernie Sanders for President NO MATTER who wins the primary. I believe that he (BY FAR) is the best candidate for President, and I'm not the type to vote for the lesser of two evils just because they have the best chance of winning (according to who?). Further, I believe the notion Hillary is favored is simply because her friends (read: millionaire/billionaire club) control the conversation through their media outlets and super pacs, and that Bernie Sanders, due to his ability to rally liberals and independents alike, has the best chance of winning against a Republican counterpart . Those nuts have gone so far off into their own bigotry that self-respecting, intelligent Republicans must want nothing to do with them (this is an assumption, but I mean really, any republican that isn't lying to themselves must cringe at all of this hate rhetoric, right Jeb?)

When I consider this election's place in history, it will say a lot about the path this country takes going forward. As things look today, we have 3 front runners for nomination in the two parties: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.

Bernie Sanders - If Bernie Sanders wins, it will further embolden progressives nationwide, priming for an extremely disappointing congress to see massive turnover in the 2018 mid-terms. Bernie, building off what the Obama administration has done, will continue to urge individuals to demand change instead of solely relying on the legislative process. He will try to redistribute our tax dollars from death (war, prisons, pharmaceuticals, fossil fuels) to life (healthcare, infrastructure, education). He will likely succeed in some areas and fail in others, but that will depend on how beholden to corporate interests the Democratic party remains. If he's able to overturn Citizen's United, however, that will go down as one of the most equalizing pieces of legislation ever and will help neutralize the corporate governing class. As a result of Bernie's policies, the general populous will be smarter, healthier, and better employed.

Donald Trump - If Donald Trump wins the Presidency, and he's serious about his rhetoric, he'll likely try to build a massive wall against Mexico (because that worked so well for the USSR) and go to war with Iraq/Iran/ISIL AND North Korea. He'll cut top tier tax rates, arrest undocumented immigrants (and documented ones), outlaw gay marriage, increase incarceration rates, deregulate everything, and just basically shit on everyone that's not wealthy. Just like after George W. Bush stole two elections, the country of progressives will come out and vote for a progressive champion like Elizabeth Warren. It will represent the fluctuations over the fight for power between the wealthy elite and the masses. It will also invigorate the flows to the ballots at mid-terms to transition congress. Supreme Court appointment(s) would be the major long-term risk here.

Hillary Clinton - While I believe Trump would be a greater harm to this country in the short term, for long-term destruction look to Ms. Hillary for that one. Michelle Alexander, Cornel West, and Amanda Girard have already penned wonderful breakdowns of why both Hillary AND Bill Clinton have been bad news for black folks, so I won't rehash all of that here. But it's important to realize what is happening in the Democratic Party. While they speak about having liberal, progressive aims, in practice they're getting massive donations from Wall St., Big Pharma, Private Prisons, Fossil Fuels, etc., and legislating so that these massive companies and wealthy individuals can continue to profit off of our economy while not contributing their fair share into it (outsourcing, tax evasion, etc.). This is why Hillary Clinton is so dangerous. She will fool a large portion of of the country into thinking she's working for them while she's really just working for the benefits of a few. It's the same goal as the Republicans have, just cloaked in progressive rhetoric. Our country has been part of the fervor growing world-wide against corporate/wealthy control. Occupy Wall St. and the Tea Party were both formed as a result of the Western World's banking-led economic recession and distrust in our Government's allegiances. Hillary, a long time supporter of all things corporate, is capitalizing off of the successes of President Obama (the same guy she ran a dirty campaign against 8 years ago) and Bernie Sanders amongst progressives, and trying to shape herself as one. Unfortunately for her, we have the internet for all that. But if she wins, I fear that the fire that is pushing us to elect someone like Bernie Sanders will be smothered in complacency for at least the next 4-8 years of her presidency (and possibly longer if this rejuvenates the Republican Party). We will fall back into the same traps that Democrats set up for us in the 90s to create an astoundingly large prison population, pockets of warring activities all over the world (much caused by forced regime change), deregulation of banking, etc. Complacency has been our greatest barrier to self-determination for decades since the Hippies, Panthers, Freedom Fighters, et al last fought for our freedom, and a Hillary Clinton presidency will just be another in the line to exacerbate that. The progressives and independents will be dejected by knowing the closest thing we have to a "liberal machine" is still beholden to corporatist establishment ideals, and the rest of the party (the ones ok with the new democratic party) will feel confident having voted in the first black President followed up by the first woman President, and will fall back into complacency, just like Democrats tend to do at mid-terms, priming us for yet another oppressive, regressionist Republican Congress.

All-in-all, it comes down to if you're going to believe a corrupt media when they tell you who to vote for. Are you going to continue the cycle of destructive, corrupt, complacent, subversive political appointments because the opponent is too scary? Or are you going to tell both sides of the coin that we're done falling for their shit. We've figured out the game: Heads they win, Tails we lose. This time, though, are you gonna flip their coin again or will you bring your own?

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Mind And Addiction

I just finished the second half of a #StuffedAvocado I brought home from the restaurant on Tuesday night. After finishing the last morsel, I said aloud to myself, "that was SO good!" And I think about how that's my reaction every time.

20-30 minutes before finishing my lunch I found myself resigning to the fact that I'm not gonna go out in the snow for food even though I "feel like I want something with bread in it, and I don't really want a stuffed avo right now..."

I've been cutting out sweets from my life lately, but I constantly find my mind telling me how much I want a snack.

The more research I do into the food that I eat, the more I learn about things like pleasure centers, chemical receptors, and the functionality of the brain. It's public knowledge so it's easy to come across wide swaths of analysis on the data, and after a time, you find your research intertwining with drug research. It's natural for it to take this course since so many drugs are chemicals synthesized from plant matter: Cocaine from Coca; Heroin, Opium and Morphine from Poppey; Aspirin from Willow.

When I was in high school I read Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle." A story about life for immigrants in a big city around the turn of the 20th century working in meat processing plants in Chicago. It harkened back to learning about Robber Barons - the industrial giants who forced slave-wages/conditions on the masses by controlling oligopolies in their industries through financially leveraging politicians to control public policy.

I remembered that throughout history it has been shown that corporate and public interests are often not aligned. In a capitalist society the main goal of a corporation is to run as efficiently, and thereby as profitably, as possible. This means that if the head of a corporation is ONLY concerned with fulfilling their duty to the company, when a subject arises that is good for the company but bad for anyone (or everyone) else, they will choose in favor of the company. For example: if a food company is researching plant matter and finds out that adding a certain kind of sugar to their batter will trigger chemical receptors in the brain that control cravings and thereby make the consumer crave it once they've tried it, but that same sugar does not metabolize properly and turns rapidly into fatty tissue, the food company exec will move forward with the added sugar so as to protect the profitability of the company, despite the negative effects of the product.

So as I finished my stuffed avocado, I thought back to how certain I was that I wanted some bread, maybe a snack, and that my avocado wouldn't be satisfying. I sat, overwhelmed with a feeling of satisfaction from my meal, trying to remember this feeling so I could start to reprogram my synapses. It's amazing the hold these foods have on me. I can physically feel the craving, but as I continue to acknowledge them I believe they'll continue to be undone.