As Featured on News Cult: How You Can Help Get Bernie Sanders Elected

If you’re #FeelingtheBern as much as I am, there is a lot you can do to help get Bernie Sanders elected. Here are some ways you can get involved.

Volunteer

Volunteering is probably the best thing you can do. Click on the link above to sign up, and see below for several specific things you can do as a volunteer.

1. Phone banking

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This is one of the most important ways people can volunteer for Bernie. Phone banking is basically cold calling people on behalf of the campaign. It sounds intimidating, because most of us don’t give anyone who cold calls us the time of day. But it’s 100x easier and better than you fear. It’s a simple process and you get to use a tool called the “Bernie Dialer” (how BOMB is that). The above link provides step-by-step instructions, including a script of what to say, and you can do it from basically anywhere, for however long you want during the designated hours on the site, as long as you have a computer or tablet and a phone (perpetually sweatpant/PJ-wearing people, unite! You can literally change the world from your couch).

You’re not even necessarily trying to convince people to vote for Bernie or asking for money, so it doesn’t even get that awkward—you’re primarily gathering data that will be helpful to the campaign, like identifying Bernie supporters and non-supporters, or encouraging people to get out and vote, and so on. The goal of phone banking changes depending on the day (because it relates to which state primaries and caucuses are coming up), which is all updated on the website so it’s easy to understand what the directive is for whenever you decide to do it.

It’s all part of an empirical process, which is not only cool to learn about, but also means that you won’t be doing anything inappropriate—you’ll only be calling people who have made their contact info available to the campaign, (whether by registering to vote, affiliating with a political party in a certain geographical area, or otherwise), so it’s not like you’re illegally invading their privacy. And even if they react negatively, all you have to do is politely thank them for their time, silently curse them, and put them down as “do not call” for the future (you enter the results of each call using the Bernie Dialer so the campaign knows who to not call again, if someone no longer lives at their listed number, and other things like that).

The best part is that people hold phone banking parties, where a bunch of you get together to do it, so you can commiserate, eat and drink (we’ll literally do anything if it means we get fed). And most people who attend phone banking parties don’t already know each other, so you don’t have to worry about feeling out of place. But you’ll basically become family—there are a few things in life that bond people like none other: going to war, raising a child with someone, and phone banking. And trust me, you’ll only get one or two people who yell at you about how they hope Trump wins and “gets those Arabs out of New York,” so don’t even sweat it!

Check the link^^ to find a phone banking party near you. Or host your own! And try to get in some calls before the New York primary tomorrow if you can!

2. Register voters

You can find a training session to attend on the above link so you’ll be equipped to get out and register voters. This is important because when there’s a high voter turnout, Bernie does better. And with all of the voter fraud that’s been going on, it’s important that people are given fair access to their right to vote, and understand what registering under certain political parties means for when/where they can vote, as well as deadlines, voter ID laws, etc.

3. Go to events

There are tons of events you can attend in support of Bernie—rallies, voter registration drives, marches, canvassing opportunities, etc.—where you’ll meet great people and learn of all sorts of volunteer opportunities and other important election info. Check the above link to find an event near you.

4. Spread the word

Information is power, so use any avenue you can, including social media, to spread the word about Bernie, his policies, pertinent election info, etc.

Learn about the delegate process

The delegate process is confusing and largely inaccessible. What most of us don’t realize is that we can take part in it. We can have a hand in choosing who the pledged delegates for our candidate will be. For example, in California, on May 1 we have caucuses to select delegates from each congressional district who will represent Bernie at the state and national Democratic conventions. While the delegate selection process varies state-to-state, it is important to be involved because we need delegates who are strong Bernie supporters to go to bat for him on the floor at these conventions. In some cases, when not enough delegates are elected by the public to fill the designated quotas, the Democratic party will assign them. Which is unfortunate because the Democratic party (i.e. DNC and its surrogates) isn’t very Bernie-friendly—so it may end up assigning Bernie delegates who might not show up when they’re supposed to or decide to switch sides.

This is a broad and far from comprehensive overview of the delegate process, and doesn’t even mention the Superdelegates, which are  equally incomprehensible and I’ll get to below, but it gives you a glimpse of how important it really is. So to find out more about it, please visit the website for your state’s Democratic party to learn about their specific delegate selection process (you can access this info by Googling [Insert state here] democratic party delegate selection process). For example, here is the link to CA’s democratic party’s delegate selection process.

You’ll probably have to do a lot of digging, because this information is intentionally made hard to find, so if you have specific questions, let me know in a comment and I’ll help.

Help woo the Superdelegates

Superdelegates are chosen based on their position within a political party. They are unpledged, meaning they can choose to support whichever candidate they want. So they have a lot of power and are not obligated to reflect the popular vote. Thus, it’s important to strategize a way to woo them.  Here are 4 ways you can help us. Please share:
 
1. Sign and share all 16 petitions addressed to the 16 states won by Senator Sanders. Here is the Google doc with the petitions.
 
2. Sign and share this petition that is asking the Superdelegates to consider voting for Bernie as he has the better policies and a higher chance of winning the general election.
 
3. We are looking for 25 people to write personal letters to the Non-Politician Superdelegates (i.e. non-elected officials who don’t hold office). Please let us know if you would like to help with this by filling out this form.
4. We are also looking for 25 people to help us call / contact Politician Superdelegates (i.e. elected officials who hold office). Please let us know if you would like to help with this by filling out this this form.

The average contribution to Bernie’s campaign is $27. More than 2 million people have contributed almost 7 million times. This campaign is a true grassroots movement, and any little bit helps. We’re showing the world that the power does not belong to those who pay $353,400 to have dinner with a presidential candidate. It belongs to us.

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/can-help-get-bernie-sanders-elected/

As Featured on News Cult: Why I’m Not Voting for Hillary Clinton, Even if She Wins the Nomination

Pick your jaws up off the floor, fellow liberal minds, and before you accuse me of treason, hear me out. I’ve already explained why I’m voting for Bernie Sanders. But, perhaps what is more important, is why I will not vote for Hillary Clinton, even if she ends up winning the Democratic nomination. Why? Let me count the ways…

She is a warmonger

She voted for the Iraq War, and we all know how well that turned out. Regarding her vote, she has said: “I thought I had acted in good faith and made the best decision I could with the information I had. And I wasn’t alone in getting it wrong.” I’m not sure I’ve ever heard such a childish attempt at excusing “one of the worst foreign policy blunders in the history of the United States,” as Bernie Sanders—who, with the same information as Clinton, voted no on the same war—aptly calls the Iraq War, (in no small part because it resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of innocent lives).

Additionally, Clinton’s disastrous intervention and push for regime change in Libya, which she asserts was justified based on the unsubstantiated claim that Gaddafi was going to massacre the people of Benghazi, resulted in the irreparable “postwar chaos that’s left Libya without a functioning government, overrun by feuding warlords and extremist militants.” But rather than recognize or admit to the deadly consequences of her actions in Libya, Clinton has opted instead to betray her militaristic nature by saying things like, “We came, we saw, he died,” about the killing of Gaddafi.

And as if that wasn’t enough, Clinton wants to force yet another regime change in Syria by ousting Assad, which is an inherently flawed plan, and her proposal for a ‘no-fly’ zone in Syria is tantamount to declaring war against Syria and Russia.

Plus, the cherry on top: she is advised on foreign policy by the same firm that advises Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio—GOP candidates who both expressed “understanding” for Donald Trump’s bigoted proposal to ban Muslims from the U.S.

She is a liar

For example, in the Democratic presidential debate in New Hampshire on December 19 , 2015, Clinton claimed that Bernie Sanders’ proposed single-payer healthcare system would cost the U.S. government “$18 to $20 trillion.” This is a lie. In fact, Sanders’ proposal would save nearly $5 trillion dollars over 10 years.

In the same debate, Clinton claimed that only “3% of [her] donations come from people in the finance and investment world” and she has “more donations from students and teachers than [she does] from people associated with Wall Street.” This is, at best, an untruth aimed at misleading voters into thinking she’s not in Wall Street’s pocket, but rather is an ally to the working class, the average man, the 99%. In fact, Wall Street has contributed more than double 3% of her campaign funds. Additionally, Clinton has received about $2.5 million in itemized campaign contributions from the securities, investments, and commercial banking industries (i.e. “Wall Street”), plus more than $3.5 million in contributions by Wall Street to Super PACs that back her. On the other hand, she’s only received $747,493 “from those who self-identified as ‘students,'” and “those who said they were “teachers” have provided $518,495.” (Contrast this with Sanders, who has gotten record-breaking numbers of individual donations, averaging less than $30 each).

Additionally, in Sunday’s Democratic debate, Clinton essentially blamed Bernie Sanders’ for the 2008 economic crash as a consequence of the passing of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act (CFMA)—a bill which was signed into law by Hillary’s husband, then-President Bill Clinton, one month before he left office, and of which, as Robert Scheer writes, “a key author was Gary Gensler, the former Goldman Sachs partner recruited by Clinton to be undersecretary of the treasury… Today, Gensler is the top economic adviser to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.”

She is inconsistent

Clinton seems to vote according to trends. Again, she voted for the Iraq War like a teen would excuse his underage drinking: ‘well everyone else was doing it!’—and now that it’s popular to denounce it, she does so. But apparently not one to learn from her mistakes, she made sure to leave her mark as secretary of state with Libya, which was essentially her Iraq. She’s also gone back and forth on supporting gay marriage. It’s fair to say the one thing she has not flip-flopped on over the years is her loyalty to bad pantsuits and that tacky haircut.

She is corrupt with greed

Not only does Hillary have an affinity for Wall Street and Super PACs, but, according to Forbes, her net worth is $45 million—and, of course, the two are not unrelated—between 2013 and 2015, she made over $2.9 million by making 12 speeches to big banks. And the lengths she will go in the name of greed don’t stop there: she also approved increases in weapons sales to Clinton Foundation donors. To top it off, she was a “proud” member of the Walmart board of directors for 6 years—arguably one of the most corrupt corporations, renowned for its poor, not to mention illegal, treatment of workers and child laborers.

In contrast, Bernie Sanders, whose net worth is estimated by Forbes at $700k, denounces Super PACs, has gotten only $47,187 in campaign contributions from Wall Street, and is intent on breaking up the big banks and their “greed and corruption that led to the 2008 financial crisis.” It seems to me that as a ‘public servant,’ an elected official’s job is to spend his or her career attempting to better the lives of the public, not amassing private, excessive wealth.

Considering all of these facts, I cannot in good conscience vote for Hillary Clinton. I hear a lot of people say it’s better to vote for her than a Republican—the idea being that “liberal”/Democrat, in any form, is better than “conservative”/Republican. But that kind of bandwagoneering is exactly what politicians and the media rely on to sway our votes. They’re counting on the fact that we won’t look past Hillary’s socially liberal shell and dig deeper into the truth of who she is and what she really represents. They’re banking on the fact that because popular celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Amy Schumer, and Lena Dunham have recklessly, irresponsibly, publicly endorsed Clinton, we are going to mindlessly follow in their footsteps. They’re relying on the female vote for Hillary—because it would be un-feminist not to. 

Well fuck that. By that logic, it would be racist not to vote for Ben Carson, the raging psychotic bag of shit that he is. Fuck the lesser of two evils argument—why vote for any evil? If we don’t take stands as matters of principles, we are sending the message that we are complicit. And I am not complicit in what Hillary Clinton represents.

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/im-not-voting-hillary-clinton-even-wins-nomination/

As Featured on News Cult: How to Get Through Airport Security

It’s no secret that TSA officers are the least qualified people to do their jobs. Thus, it takes a special kind of witchcraft to be able to get through their security hoops. But I’ve got it down to a science, so fear not—here’s how you make it through airport security.

1. Pray to the gods of TSA Pre√

Pre√ is like Nutella—Heaven sent. It means you get to keep your shoes on, your laptops in your bags,  you get to skip the line of losers who didn’t make the cut—the world is your oyster with Pre√. Unfortunately, it’s up to a random iPad to assign it (I think there are also other ways you can get it permanently, like if you travel often enough, or pay a fee or some bullshit like when you get to use the HOV lane without carpooling as long as you buy a transponder), so your prayers may only be as effective as those who pray to end gun violence.

2. Do whatever the fuck you want with your liquids of 3-oz. or less

Unfortunately the equal to or less than 3-oz. rule is still in effect, but I’ve found that it is no longer necessary to fit all 3-oz. or less liquids into a quart-sized plastic bag. How did I learn this? By just ceasing to follow the quart-sized plastic bag rule a couple years ago, and getting away with it every time, with no mention of protest by any TSA dipshit agent.

3. Request the metal detector instead of the full-body scanner

Maybe because you don’t want your organs to be zapped by x-rays, or for the security agents to be able to see right through you, or you just want to fuck with them. But insist, for whatever reason you make up, that they let you go through the metal detector, and see how flustered they get. It will be sufficiently amusing. Please note: this may/probably will entail a pat down. During which, you come on to the person patting you down. Male or female—it doesn’t matter. Turn the tables on them—they get to molest you? You get to sexually harass them, verbally. Some suggested lines to use on them:

•”Oh boy, I haven’t been touched like that since last night. When I touched myself. But I much prefer this. Keep going, please. Almost there..” [of course escalate your volume and heavy breathing as the sentence progresses]

•”Are you single? Because I’m visiting my family and they’re going to be severely disappointed that I haven’t found a mate yet. How do you feel about kids? Which holidays are you required to spend with your family? What are your thoughts on buying a home? Jenn or Angelina? Miranda or Gwen? Bernie or Hillary?”

•”Where would I even hide a bomb? You, on the other hand—is that an explosive device in your pants or are you just happy to see me?”

4. Use a tray for every item you have

Even Kanye has to do it. #thereisaGod

Nothing pisses them off more than when you put everything you have in individual trays. Your shoes go in one, your laptop goes in another, your coat in a third, your purse in a fourth, your roller bag jams into a fifth, and so on. And insist on waiting to proceed until you’ve watched each and every one of your trays go a safe distance onto the conveyor belt. If they urge you forward, insisting you abandon your trays, tell them you don’t trust them not to steal something out of one of your bags while it’s still stuck on the metal rolly things, before it gets on the belt, and while you’re waiting in line to be violated. This will piss them off even more, and then you’ll say, “Why are you so upset? You know, people usually don’t react so adversely to criticism unless it touches on some insecurity in them. So, what I’m getting from this interaction is that you, yourself, don’t trust that you won’t steal one of my valuables,  and you simultaneously hate and get some elicit pleasure from that aspect of your personality. Did I get it right? Hmm? What do you have to hide, Fred??”

5. Pack embarrassing things at the top of your carry-on

I’m talking hemorrhoid wipes, XS condoms, underwear that says “#squadgoals,” and a self-help book entitled Coping with Everyone Else’s Inferiority. So that when they pull your bag aside to search it by hand, you can make unwavering, confident eye contact with them as little bits of their soul die off, one by one, for each personal item of yours they grope. Feel free to narrate each item as they pull it out, too, for added effect.

6. Wear shoes that are easy to take off

All kidding aside, having to untie elaborate laces or pull off knee-high boots is just not what we want to be spending our time doing, so I say strap on those Uggs and get it over with. MAKE SURE to wear socks. We don’t need to be contracting any foot fungi from the thousands of disgusting people we are forced to accompany through the same carpet space. To balance out the unfairness of the shoe game, wear a hoodie with nothing under it. Then, when they insist you take it off, you’ll get to flash everyone, and when they freak out about it, you’ll get to say, “Well you told me to take it off—I’m getting mixed signals here. I’m just following the rules you told me, Fred. It seems like you’re the one who’s lacking an understanding of the proper procedures here, Fred, not me. Fred, if I may be so bold, how did you get your job? Did you have to do any training at all, or were you simply let in because you have a proclivity for blindly following orders without so much as a thought to question what you’re taught, like, for example, a Nazi would’ve done?”

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/guide-getting-airport-security-quickly-humanly-possible/

As Featured on News Cult: Why I’m Voting for Bernie Sanders

You mean besides the fact that he’s ridiculously good looking and has a voice that can only be described as sensual? There are lots of reasons I think Bernie Sanders should be the next U.S. president. Before now, I had lost all hope in the U.S. political system. I was convinced it wasn’t even worth voting anymore, because the only choices were evils, just on a scale of lesser to more. And I still think that’s the case, except when it comes to Bernie Sanders. I think he’s our one and only beacon of hope before we plunge further into an irreversible,  corrupt, 2 party system that’s ostensibly democratic but in actuality run by corporate America. And a lot of people think he doesn’t stand a chance. But he needs to be given a chance in order to stand one–don’t count him out before he’s had a fair shot.

For starters, Bernie is a true public servant. Meaning he has spent his career working for the people, not getting rich or dying trying. Different sources will give you different numbers, but on average his net worth seems to be between $300-500k (in 2013, it was $330,506). Which basically means he owns a house. In stark contrast to Hillary Clinton and most of the other candidates, whose net worths are in the tens of millions. He believes that there shouldn’t be such extreme wealth inequality. Which to me is just a basic human principle–how is it ok that there are people sleeping on the street, starving, lacking adequate healthcare and access to education, while the next block over there are people living in such excessive wealth, corrupt with power and greed, setting sail on their yachts after they cheat on their taxes and earn money off the backs of underpaid laborers (for example, please see: Walmart, which Hillary Clinton was on the board of for 6 years, or Bernie Madoff, or Republican proposed tax cuts for the wealthy, or Wells Fargo’s subprime lending fraud, to name a few)? How can we all sleep soundly knowing that such disparity in wealth and corruption of power exists?

Sanders’ emphasis on wealth inequality represents his focus on fixing domestic issues in the U.S., which leads his international policy towards peace. Because if there is peace, there is no need for war or for the U.S. to engage in it internationally, which leaves more time, money and effort to spend on fixing domestic issues. It really is that simple: he wants to work on improving the United States, and not making things worse abroad. And he has a proven track record in this: he voted against the Iraq War, has been advocating to lower the U.S. military budget since 1992 in favor of redirecting those funds to domestic issues like poverty, education, industry, etc. (the military budget has gone from $270 billion in 1992 to now $610 billion), and has consistently condemned the inhumane use of torture as a tactic of war. Again, to me, peace is a basic human principle: it makes no sense to fight violence with violence. Call me naïve, but war is so clearly and disturbingly counter-intuitive, and if we ever have a shot in hell of it ending, we need a president who will actually work to end it (Obama insisted he would, but in reality has waged deadly drone wars and didn’t pull troops out of Afghanistan as promised).

Sanders supports less overstepping, meddling, and violence by the U.S. not only abroad, but also domestically. For example, he supports an individual’s right to determine what to do with his/her own body, as opposed to the government being able to choose; he supports racial justice and the demilitarization of police in the U.S.; and he supports an individual’s right to privacy, as his consistent voting record on the Patriot Act proves. And he supports not only each individual’s right to these freedoms, but also government oversight for the sake of protecting those individual freedoms. For example, he advocates for the right of every person to be able to access healthcare and education by way of government measures.

All of these stances Sanders takes, as far as I’m concerned, boil down to believing in humane treatment and equal rights for everyone. Of course there are countless other issues to consider, more than I can cover here, but these examples give you a good idea of his overall platform. It’s easy to oppose him on grounds of wealth privatization–in other words, if you believe in hoarding wealth, and an “every man for himself” ideology, it’s easy to accuse him of being  a grubby communist who doesn’t believe people should be able to keep the money they earn. But what that argument fails to take into account, besides a basic level of compassion for humanity, is that a lot of the wealthiest people don’t earn their money all by themselves. They earn it by employing and underpaying laborers, through inheritance when they’re born into privilege, and by cheating, whether by insider trading, evading taxes, or tying up their money in trust accounts so that the countless people suing them can’t access it. Yes, those are just a few, broad examples, but if we’re being honest, we know that’s often the case (again, please refer to the above examples I gave: Walmart, Bernie Madoff, tax cuts for the wealthy, and Wells Fargo). So why should those people’s wealth be protected above all else–including other’s rights to live, above the poverty line, with access to adequate healthcare and education?

And even if the top 1% earned their money completely above board, where is the recognition that all lives matter, not just rich lives, and that maybe it doesn’t make sense to be spending billions keeping the wealthy wealthy, when so many people are living in such despair? And if nothing else, can we at least all agree that the wealthy shouldn’t be getting tax breaks, compared to the wealth-less? I mean seriously, fine, keep your billions of dollars, Top 1%–but don’t expect to pay less taxes than someone who makes 1/1,000,000 what you make while they struggle to keep food on their table, their families healthy, and to get their kids through school day in and day out.

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/?p=70775