The Case For Forgiving Student Debt And “Free” College

I have been in favor of forgiving student debt since first hearing Jill Steintalking about the subject. To be honest, while I have been in favor of universal adult education for decades, I had not considered this possibility until I heard her speaking about it.

I get sick of hearing people calling this idea “Bernie Sanders’ idea”. No, it’s not. Fact is, this has been on the Green Party platform since 2014. Yes, the party platform. Compare to the DNC, which opposes the idea as a party. This is not something which will make it to the DNC platform any more than universal healthcare will. BTW, universal healthcare is also not “his idea”. I have been in favor of universal healthcare for decades also. Numerous countries have had universal healthcare and adult education for as long as 70 years.

If you truly support an idea, an issue, that means voting in a way that you can believe it may be acted upon because it takes more than one person to bring it to reality. When a party opposes legislation and a candidate has a history of compromise on vital issues, then talking points mean nothing at all.

No matter who may or may not bring student loan forgiveness into being, it is a very good, very effective idea which would benefit the economy to a great degree. So, let’s explore how it would help the economy and real people on the ground.

First of all, this would free up billions of dollars in a single year which is currently being paid to banks. In other words, this money is suspended from being used in the general economy. So forgiving student loans would put money back in the pockets of consumers. This is money which would nearly all be spent in the general economy. This would increase real profit margins, maintain and create jobs.

Obviously, this would generate sales tax revenue for municipalities and states. In addition, it would increase income tax revenue from workers who benefited from the jobs maintained and created.

This would not be a short term boost to the economy. A one time forgiveness of student loans would mean increased money in the general economy for years, even decades. Students who currently have large student loans with years to pay on them would instead be boosting the economy with the money currently going to banks for the entire length of the remaining time left on their loans. So this would not be a one-time-and-done deal. Nor would it be like tax breaks for the rich, which just went to increased profit margins and stock repurchases.

Student loan forgiveness would be best if coupled with universal adult education. In other words, “free” college for US citizens.

However, in each case this should come with certain limitations and exceptions to truly benefit the economy.

First, both student loan forgiveness and free adult education should have an income cap. Being reasonable, say only available to students whose family incomes are below $200,000 a year. (Income meaning from all sources.) For families with incomes above that, it would simply result in more welfare to the rich. The wealthy simply don’t even feel the cost of education like poor and middle class people do. That’s not saying they could not deduct tuition, fees, books and student loan interest on their taxes, so that amount is not taxed.

There should also be legislation placing a cap on profit percentage for adult education facilities and organizations. Something reasonable like 15% at most. No deductions allowed for executive bonuses, sports facilities and related expenses, advertising and extracurricular events/facilities/etc. This would limit the continued rise in the cost of education.

Participation in universal adult education should not be mandatory. Colleges and universities that choose to opt out should be allowed to. However, this should come at the cost of no longer receiving any federal or state funding at all. No federal research contracts, either.

For those that object to student loan forgiveness because “I paid for my college”, I challenge you here and now. Pick a college or university. If the one you attended still exists, use that one. Go to their website and look at what the current costs are to attend compared to when you attended. Be sure to include all fees. Then look up the cost of textbooks for the subject you studied. Multiply the cost per credit hour times the number of hours you completed. Do not comment until you do so. When you do reply, be sure and include how much you paid and how much the same program costs now. Then and only then, explain how you don’t understand the situation students face today. No insults, no profanity, no diversions, no exceptions.

If enacted these issues would improve the US economy, the standard of living for millions of Americans, expand availability of higher education and improve the education level of the US, which has badly fallen behind other countries.

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Bernie Is The New “I’m With Her”

Something which started small and has continued to expand as we get closer to 2020 is something I completely expected. Bernie is the new “I’m with her”.

What do I mean by this?

Never question. In 2016, we were not allowed to so much as question whether Hillary had done anything wrong. If you did so, you were ostracized, belittled, called a trump supporter or a Russian troll. Now it’s 2019 and the same thing is being seen by Bernie supporters.

I am a Russian troll. I find it especially ironic to be called a Russian troll by Bernie supporters, seeing that there were claims in 2016 that he was a Russian puppet. That was followed by Bernie himself stating that if his own supporters questioned Hillary, they were Russian trolls or had fallen for Russian propaganda. He used the usual Establishment tactic of making his claim vague, nonspecific and offered no detail on what, exactly, the exact propaganda was. He continues pushing Russiagate even now. Even after the Mueller report, even as millions of his own followers have said they will not vote for him if he continues doing so. There is never mention of the cost measured in tens of billions of dollars in increased “defense” spending. Never mention of the risk of an actual World War which would all stem from this fabrication.

No mention of election fraud. Through 2016 and up until today, the DNC has never directly addressed allegations of election fraud in the 2016 primary. Neither has Bernie. He simply doesn’t talk about it. Which means nothing will actually be done about it. Superdelegates still exist, still hold enormous power within the DNC. The number of DNC candidates is an absolute insurance plan that superdelegates will have their say in second round voting for the DNC nominee.

Election reform? One vital step we need in election reform is a paper trail. If Bernie has mentioned this, it has only been in the form of attacking the GOP for not approving federal funding for paper ballots. He does not mention that this is something funded and implemented at the state level, not federal. So it is simply a divisive tactic created and dictated by the DNC. Do we hear him talk of ranked choice voting? His followers may openly discuss ranked choice voting but does Bernie, himself? Eliminating corporate money from politics would be an extremely valid option for having more valid elections. Rescinding Citizens United is not enough for that. The only real way to eliminate corporate money in politics would be through federally funded elections. For a self-proclaimed Socialist, don’t you find it strange Bernie has not suggested that?

Passive-aggressive warmongering. In the case of Venezuela, Bernie has issued mandates to Maduro, saying Maduro must hold another election. A “supervised” election. Supervised by whom? The election in Venezuela was monitored by observers from 40 countries and deemed valid. Bernie pushes that 50 nations back Guaido but fails to mention that at least 75 countries back Maduro. Bernie also insisted Maduro must allow Western aid into the country. He never mentions that Venezuela received aid from numerous other countries. Russia, China, Mexico among them. While Bernie claims to be against regime change, notice that he never says what should happen if Maduro does not comply with the mandates. Sanctions? Sanctions kill. They are acts of war. Sanctions are how Venezuela came to be in the condition it is in. All of this being aside from the fact that all these demands are exactly what Trump has been demanding. No doubt Hillary would just have Maduro assassinated but regime change is still the end result. US hegemony is still the end result.

Kindly explain to me in rational detail how Bernie is raging about election integrity in Venezuela yet still silent about the 2016 primary rigging. I’ll wait.

DNC Loyalty Pledge. Bernie publicly signed the DNC Loyalty Pledge, stating if he does not get the Democratic nomination, he will endorse any candidate the DNC runs. Any candidate. Think about that. How is that any different from 2016? He has literally promised to do the same thing as 2016 all over again if he is not the nominee. Admittedly, Hillary demanded the DNC be loyal to her rather than the other way around but the result for us is still the same, that none of that loyalty is to we, the voters.

Your choice. None of this is saying Bernie is completely evil. He promotes and has promoted some good ideas. I campaigned for him ferociously through the 2016 primary. I will not say do not vote for him. What I am saying is that you should not be blind to facts. Don’t be another “I’m with her” voter who denies all doubt, all discrepancy, all danger. Don’t cheer for Medicare For All when there is so much else attached to it. We can work toward universal healthcare. It does not need to have one name attached to it when the majority of Americans support the concept.

We have no heroes. We are our own heroes. Let’s act like it.

Playing Both Sides Against The Middle

If a candidate (or anyone else in general) appears to be or claims they are being criticized or attacked by two or more sides of an issue, there is a good reason for that.

They have not actually chosen a side. Or they are being deceptive regarding the side they have chosen, considering their intended audience.

Not clear enough? If a candidate claims to be Progressive but adopts centrist or right wing opinions and policies, they will not just say so.

There are several things to note about a person being attacked from multiple sides. For one thing, it may be intentional to get attention. They make themselves the victim so followers defend them. Even when the followers originally disagree with the opinion. This is a form of manipulation and brainwashing. The followers have come to oppose their own opinions willinglyso much that they will go on the attack against people who voice the very opinion they once had. That is, before they signed on to defend a name.

A candidate who is always attacked from both sides consistently espouses opinions and plans which ride the middle lane, trying to dodge attacks from either side while being assailed, rightly, from all sides.

A candidate who rides the middle lane, straddling the center line is not a revolutionary leader. They may be able to enact some minuscule changes but not the radical change that is needed at this time. We have been dealing with incremental change for decades and the changes that have occurred have dragged us ever further to the right, to the edge of the abyss we now face. We are teetering and about to go over in the next errant breath.

Nobody can please all the people all of the time. Nobody can be loyal to the people and a corporate-friendly war machine party. It has to be one or the other. If they will not make a choice, it is up to use to make that choice for them and walk away. We can do better. Stop making excuses.

Nobody can be loyal to one country realistically while opposing the sovereignty of other nations. While propagating stories fabricated to divide, to cause tensions with dangerous opponents that could be powerful allies in the times ahead.

No leader should propose sanctions which injure our allies. Our allies have suffered enough damage from us and it is only a matter of time before they are no longer allies. Sanctions which innocent human beings. Stop calling sanctions peaceful.

Our country comprises 5% of the earth’s population. We neglect and bully our friends while we antagonize our opponents. What happens when the other 95% just get sick of our shit?

Our country is dominated by 0.1% of the population. So we have 0.1% of 5% of the world population attempting to dictate rules to the entire planet. And people are terrified puppets, fawning slaves and slobbering, mouth breathing, knuckle dragging sycophants to these less than 200 people on a planet of 7.7 BILLION.

If you’re not standing up, you’re useless at this point. Stop standing in the middle of the road before the rest of us run you down. Pick a side and stop blocking traffic.

Russiagate Is Not Benign

With the 2020 Democratic campaign ramping up, many voters and the media make it seem as though Russiagate is merely an electoral issue.

For years, the media has portrayed Russia as an aggressive threat while also portraying Russia as a weak power easily contained. Meanwhile, we are now in our 18th year in Afghanistan against the relatively poorly armed Taliban and 17th year in Iraq against terrorist factions with resources dwarfed by our own.

One thing to understand up front is that Russia and China are military alliesin an arrangement similar to NATO. If one is attacked, they will both respond. Something else our media does not make clear, so most Americans do not grasp.

The US currently has military bases and ships encircling both Russia and China in threatening postures, invading their territorial waters, in some cases attempting to block their shipping lanes. Meanwhile we are engaging in trade sanctions and tariffs meant to limit their trade options, even though our allies largely oppose US actions due to the increased cost and negative effects on their outgoing trade with Russia and China. Europe was trading with Russia, China and Iran before the US ever existed as proven through the archaeology and historical record.

At this point, the House already closed their Russia investigation last year, citing no evidence. The Senate investigation remains open but not for long, as they released a report also stating no evidence of Russian “collusion” regarding the election. Just don’t ask certain neoliberal sources who continue fabricating stories. Mueller is expected by all sources to close his investigation soon with no convictions related to the sole purpose he was granted special counsel authority. The indictments he has issued to that effect have been all theater which resulted in either no defendants (Russian Intelligence officials) ever expected to be in court or defendants having representation in court, which was hilarious! The 13 Russian internet trolls were not expected to have lawyers arrive for court but did. To which Mueller’s team attempted to deny discovery of evidence based on classification of evidence. The judge said that won’t work, discovery is mandatory. Nobody can be litigated without the right to see the evidence being used against them. That was the last I heard of that case.

If Saint Mueller issues his report with nothing directly against trump, the very people who have been screaming, “Just wait for Mueller!!” for two years will crucify the Saint. His investigation is not supposed to be about findingevidence, it is supposed to be about fabricating evidence. Though if that was what he were doing, he would have been finished long ago. Trust me, he’s done the best he could and not get busted.

Still, the worst things about Russiagate are the very real consequences which we have only begun to see the effects of. So far, those results have been non-violent compared to what they could have been.

We have seen confrontations between US and Russian military forces in Syria. Those would have wound up with a hot war if not for Russia’s restraint on the matters. We also saw Israel shoot down a Russian bomber, to which they did not respond militarily. Some claim this is a sign of cowardice. Since when is not wanting WWIII cowardice instead of sanity?

We have seen our very own independent media being censored with “Russia” being stated as a rationale. Much of the media censored was Progressive and anti-war media, such as Antiwar.com, Police The Police, the Ron Paul Liberty Report (Because we all know Ron Paul is a Russian stooge, right?), Reasonable People Unite, Counterpunch among others and temporary bans on Caitlyn Johnstone, Venezuelanalysis, Telesur and more. Do you really believe that neoliberal corporate media that works hand in hand with CONgress would not continue their censorship? Just wait until 2020, Mueller or no Mueller.

Immediately after the midterm elections, when the Democrats gained a House majority, they announced no less than 85 additional investigations regarding Trump. Investigations which did not exist before the election. Those “investigations” divert time, attention and resources which should be spent on governing this country. Between “investigations”, fundraising, campaigning, caucuses, primaries and conventions, how much governing do you expect to see before at least 2021? It’s already sounding like half the Democrats in CONgress eligible to run for president will be running.

Russiagate has resulted in the “defense” budget being increased by over $100 billion per year over the last two years. With another increase already planned for next year. To “defend” against a country that spends only 6% or less of our military budget for their military.

Since this debacle began, NATO has expanded further and further eastward to Russia’s doorstep. Then our government blew a gasket, calling it “Russian aggression” when they conducted their annual military war games without crossing outside their borders. Yet we are arming the Ukrainian military.

In addition, Colombia was offered membership in NATO. As a reminder, NATO is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Tell me, what part of the North Atlantic does Colombia occupy?

Of course, the reason for that is that Russia and China have over $80 billion in trade investments in Venezuela, next door to Colombia. This is an attempt to bring all of NATO into the conflict if the US invades Venezuela to illegally seize that country’s oil, resulting in a direct confrontation with Russia and China, who would be defending Venezuelan sovereignty along with their own investments.

Now the US has withdrawn from the INF Treaty. You know, because that’s what Putin wanted. Sure. Now Russia has stated that if the US places intermediate range nuclear missiles on their border, they will place their own in international waters off our own borders. Only theirs are hypersonic and would have a flight time of merely seconds once launched to reach our shores. plus they are mobile, mounted on submarines and ships. Have fun targeting that.

So, keep considering Russiagate to be a harmless or inconvenient electoral issue that poses no threat, has no consequences. Go ahead and encourage the candidates who push this narrative. By no means should you hold them accountable for their words and actions. Donate money to show you approve of these risks.

What’s the worst that can happen?

Why Be Offended By The Term “Cult”?

A number of people have been offended by my use of the term “cult”. So, I find it somewhat necessary to delve deeper into my rationale for the use of that term. It is a term less judgmental than an honest analysis of too common behavior.

First, I want to offer a similar viewpoint by Marley K, while she refers to the same phenomenon using the term “groupthink”.In her article, she references the book by Irving L Janus, titled “Groupthink”, published in 1972. So this is not exactly a new observation. https://medium.com/@marleyk/how-social-media-encourages-groupthink-e4b4b2f2a5f8

BTW, Marley is a great writer who you should be following.

The reason for the term “cult/cult thinking/cultism” has a goal associated with it. It’s a simple goal. Spreading personal awareness. To make people examine their own behavior and attitudes critically. If a person finds the term offensive, there tends to be a reason. That they see some aspect of that term in their own behavior. I expect many people to be initially offended by the term. I probably would be, myself.

My own cultist past. The entire reason I understand this is that I have seen it in myself at times in the past on limited subjects. I was pretty much a ferocious cultist for Bernie in 2016 and truly believed. I expected him to contest the convention, which of course did not happen. never expected him to campaign for Hillary. Or do the DNC Unity Tour. Or push Russiagate.

My first use of the term. The first time I used the term “cult” was in reference to Trump supporters in 2016. Then, over time, I stepped back and realized that my own view was limited. That was when I realized that all parties are cults. Then that evolved to the understanding that all names are cultsWhich then became one of my mottoes or most often used statements.

Back to 2016 tactics. Now previous Hillbots have been using the same references they did in 2016, calling me “butthurt” and similar terms, only this time to say I should support Bernie. Because that behavior worked so well in 2016.

A candidate has to earn my vote with policies. Let me say it now. Bernie has no right to my vote. He has to earn it. Yes, you do need the true Progressive vote. So don’t start with the Hillbot behavior of saying, “We don’t need you” or “Beat Trump”. That is not enough and it’s not going to do it. That is cult thinking at it’s finest.

Definition. So let me define this. Cult thinking includes:

The conviction that “nobody is perfect” and using it as a rationale to ignore any danger involved with blindly supporting a candidate. Including such dangers as war with Russia. (Jonestown or Heaven’s Gate, anyone?)Which, as I detailed in my last article, includes the censorship of independent and social media, plus the attacks on Julian Assange. You cannot support a candidate who promotes Russiagate and support Assange, they are directly opposed to each other.

You reject any and all negative points regarding a candidate or party without reading or listening to the points being raised. You consider all negative statements to be untrue, including questions.

You consistently seek out only articles, shows and even memes which support your views.

You limit your social interactions to people that reinforce your views. Even going as far as attacking anyone with differing views. To the degree that if someone says you want to hear from all candidates, not jump into a commitment to a candidate when 2020 is still 10 months away. Not all the candidates who will be running have even announced their campaigns yet. This is a form of declaring someone a heretic for not sharing your belief system. You feel you must convert them or sacrifice them to prove your own True Faith, that you are a Believer.

When someone tries to discuss issues, you divert the subject to personal attacks on the person directly, refusing to stay on topic.

You have cognitive dissonance and may actually know it but don’t care. If someone brings up a point with documented facts, reasonable, rational questions that manage to break through, you can feel your eyes glaze over as you seek something to respond with to reaffirm your faith, not to address the evidence.

You are willing to accept “evidence” which has no proof to back it up. As long as you can quote someone who agrees with your beliefs, that is considered evidence to you and sufficient.

You will give your time, money, effort to your chosen cult without reading the fine print. You don’t need policies. Because you have been promised heaven later for your dedication today.

You quote things which the person never said, cite policies that do not exist, accomplishments which never happened. When asked to name your source, rather than provide it you tell the person asking to look it up for themselves. Because you know that will never happen again, right?

You don’t want to discuss issues. You just want to silence any and all dissent. Then call it democracy.

You are willing to harm other people or close your eyes to harm for your Faith. If someone does not Believe, they deserve what comes to them.

You criticize others for an “us versus them” or “those who are not with us are against us” mindset, yet are guilty of the same thing.

Exaggerated emotional response. Let me repeat that. Exaggerated emotionalresponse. Emotions displace critical thought. Responses from a cultist are based on emotion regarding the cult and most often include only emotion.

Summary. As you can see, people are literally turning political campaigns, parties, candidates into actual religious cults. It is too soon to even adopt a specific candidate when the primaries are over a year away, national election a full 21 months away, barely under two years!!

We already have the longest election cycle of any country on earth. That would be fine if that time were used to announce and examine policies so voters were more informed. Instead, that time is used for personal attacks by candidates and supporters. We don’t choose who is the best candidate, we choose who is the most popular. Which means some high school elections are more valid and fact-based than our official elections.

We cannot keep doing this as a nation. At ground level, this is what is destroying us as a country. If you see cult thinking in yourself, it’s okay if the statement offends you at first, that’s understandable. It’s what you do after that which matters. Watch for cult thinking in yourself and be brave enough to call it out in others when you see it. It’s difficult but necessary. If you have ever been a teacher, a leader, a manager or a parent, you know that correcting harmful behavior is unavoidable. Don’t try to be popular, don’t try to be in the “right group”. Be informed. Discuss issues and policies objectively. That is how we plan for a future.

Final note and reference. If you truly doubt my assessment above, which was written from my own knowledge of cults, then read this from an expert on cults and a former cult member. Then assess again. If you still doubt, do a web search on cult characteristics. If you find something which contradicts what I have to say, I’d be happy to hear it. http://cultresearch.org/help/characteristics-associated-with-cults/

Bern Your Progressive Card

This week Bernie Sanders announced his 2020 campaign run for president. Of course, millions of people jumped enthusiastically on board with no pause or consideration.

There is no way at this point that I can support Bernie. I know my views will be immensely unpopular but they are based on objective observation and rational thinking. I cannot base my political views or the future of this country and the planet on mere emotional response.

I give Bernie credit for his 2016 campaign and what it achieved for us. His campaign made Socialism an acceptable word for millions, after decades of indoctrination which made the word unspeakable in public. While the original ACA had suggested but never lived up to the promise of universal healthcare, Bernie’s campaign made it a dominating narrative which remains intact. He brought millions of us together who had felt isolated in our views. His campaign was the major impetus for the rise of independent media as a force to be reckoned with. New voices are being heard which would have been nearly silent otherwise.

However, it is time to move on from 2016 and face the current reality. This is a list of criticisms which cannot be denied as that reality.

Cult mindset. Of course, in true cult fashion they have since attacked anyone that does not fully support Bernie without question and if they cannot convert you, they unfriend you, block you, disown you, whatever. It doesn’t matter at all how progressive your views are, to them you are not a real Progressive unless you join the cult.

Is this sounding familiar? Is this sounding an awful lot like the Hillary campaign in 2016? Are they going to start telling us, “We don’t need you”?

Or how about, “Third parties can’t win”? That makes sense. Bernie is once again running under the DNC banner. Never mind that he is allegedly Independent. Never mind many of his claimed followers have been saying for over 2 years that we should not trust the DNC.

Donate to the DNC! Not only that but if you donate to Bernie, that donation will go through ActBlue, which is the fundraising entity of the DNC, so a percentage of each donation goes directly to the DNC and their authorized candidates. So if you give to Bernie, you are donating to Kamala Harris, Warren and maybe Biden. Have fun with that. BTW, that arrangement also means if you donate directly to his campaign and bypass ActBlue, Bernie is mandated to still pay the same percentage to the DNC. They’ve been at this a lot longer than you have and know every trick to look for.

Russiagate is being used against Bernie once again. However, that does not stop Bernie himself from pushing the Russiagate narrative still. I am making a prediction right here and now. Bernie pushing Russiagate will lose him more votes than it gains. He has pushed Russiagate to the point that he has accused his own 2016 followers of being Russian trolls or being brainwashed by Russian propaganda if they so much as questioned Hillary’s dedication to a Progressive agenda.

Danger. Russiagate comes with a long list of dangers inherent to it. Aside from the obvious risk of hot war with Russia, there is censorship. Russiagate has already been used as a rationale for corporate media to censor Progressive media. Over 600 Progressive pages were removed from Facebook and Twitter a few months ago, citing “Russia” as a rationale. Just recently, we saw In The Now blocked from Facebook and YouTube because they get part of their funding from RT.

The worst part of this is that, if Bernie does not back down from pushing Russiagate immediately, he will not be able to do so later. The fact that he has continued pushing it means he is complicit in the corporate silencing of Progressive media. The same media that hailed him in 2016 while corporate media conducted a complete blackout of his campaign unless to attack him. In other words, he has absolutely turned his back on the people who brought him to popularity and has fully embraced the Establishment narrative and corporate visibility.

At no time has Bernie broken with the Establishment narrative to suggest diplomacy with Russia and decrease tensions.

Julian Assange. The fact is, you cannot support both Bernie and Julian Assange. They are diametrically opposed. Bernie pushes Russiagate, which implicates Assange. Bernie has remained as silent on Assange as he has about election fraud in 2016. Which makes him complicit in the attacks on Assange. 

Loyalty. Some claim that in 2016 he kept a commitment. A candidate’s commitment should be to the people that supported him, that donated their money, time and effort to promote him. So yes, he kept his commitment, or rather revealed where his commitment truly resides. With the Establishment he claims to oppose.

Bernie lost no pay or benefits. Something should be noted here. Bernie never lost his job, his income or his health insurance as a result of the 2016 election. Over 7 million have lost health insurance in 2 years. Hundreds of thousands have lost jobs and/or been forced to take even lower wages than they were earning even in 2016.

Sanctions. Bernie has openly promoted sanctions on numerous occasions. I have detailed on numerous occasions that sanctions kill. Sanctions are acts of war. More so when not approved by the UNSC. Not only that but sanctions impact industries and economies of our allies. They decrease trade in those allied countries. They cause dissent with those allies which will only grow worse as long as we continue imposing unilateral sanctions on other countries. Bernie has not suggested even lifting sanctions which do not have UNSC approval, he has supported unilaterally imposed sanctions by the US Empire.

Drones. Bernie has publicly supported US drone strikes in other countries. While drone strikes reduce the physical risk to US personnel, they still cause massive loss of innocent lives and PTSD for drone pilots. Not to mention the fact that the average cost of a missile launched from a drone is $80,000, which does not include the cost of the drone, itself.

Independent media. I mentioned above that his 2016 campaign was a major impetus for the rise of independent media. However, it was not the only thing which drove that rise. Independent media was already in existence and increasing in popularity before 2016. His campaign accelerated that rise and drove the motivation for new voices, including my own to a point. On the other hand, he has not exactly been a staunch supporter on social media. Jimmy Dore is a very strong public fan of Bernie’s who has invited Bernie on his show numerous times. Bernie has not only not accepted the offer but last I heard had not even responded to the invitation. RT was the only major broadcast channel to cover his 2016 campaign yet Bernie did not accept invitations to appear on RT, either. Some shows such as TYT claim to be Progressive but are actually known neoliberal sources that support the DNC blindly and spout Russiagate as frequently as Rachel Maddow. If he appeared on those shows and not Jimmy Dore or Thom Hartmann, that says a lot in and of itself. Though Thom endorsed Hillary, which should not be forgotten.

It is not 2020. I’ve pointed this out before and do so again. It is not 2020 yet. 2020 is still 10 months away. To fervently adopt a candidate with no room allowed for questioning is not making an informed choice. It is an emotional fixation, nothing more. Too many people are turning this into nothing short of a religion. There is little or no objective, rational thinking involved in such a decision.

So, I expect a lot of hate messages over this. Do your worst. It’s really nothing I have not suffered through by Hillary or Trump supporters. You can try and tell yourself you’re different but when you support one candidate without waiting for debates, not waiting for policies to be laid out, remain blind to the dangers and even accept those dangers willingly, you are no different at all. Look in the mirror and accept that. You have become the very thing you once raged against.

Bernie Sanders and Alleged Progressives Need To Listen.. This Time

I will admit that the way things are shaping up, I am actually getting a bit excited for 2020 now. Not for the Establishment candidates already being pushed on us like Harris. I am excited for the growing response to them.

Socialism in various forms have taken solid hold in the political landscape. Most are Social Democrats like myself but ideologies run the gamut all the way to true Marxist Socialism. Not in the form of what happened in other countries, which is what is used as a constant hand-wringing threat. We have the advantages today of information and communication, which previous societies did not have. We also have the advantage that should Socialism take hold in America more than it has, we do not have to deal with the capitalist US government and military apparatus to sanction our own country. Of course they can try but you want a civil war? That’s how you get a civil war.

Now we have several candidates claiming various levels of Social Democracy. Though they do not go far enough and they all still subscribe to certain propaganda which holds them back. Bernie Sanders is the most obvious and has the greatest following.

Of course, the issues I am referring to are election fraud and Russiagate. Millions of his former followers will never vote for him as long as he continues to subscribe to and promote Russiagate and ignore DNC election fraud.

Maybe, just maybe this will finally start dying down. I’ve written numerous times that Russiagate was dead. At this point the House and the Senate bipartisan investigations on Russia have closed their probes with the statement that there is no evidence. Meanwhile Mueller has had to rein in press claims and none of his indictments have shown anything. His case filed against the 13 trolls resulted in him trying to deny providing evidence to the defense in discovery, which was denied by the federal judge. Since then I have not heard anything about it. Mueller was not expecting them to have representation in court. The rest of the indictments had nothing to do with Russia, only regular DC corruption. Not to mention his “investigation” has never once looked at the DNC servers, which is the scene of the alleged crime. The scene of the crime is where any true investigation begins.

Russiagate began with claims of Russia hacking the DNC servers. Somewhere along the way that simply disappeared. Funny how that happens. There were some initial claims that the DNC emails were falsified. Until people started demanding to see the originals. That’s when the DNC servers were no longer part of the equation. Then it became that Russia hacked the election. Until it was proven and stated by Obama that that was not technologically possible. Then it became collusion, which a select few people still loosely hold onto. Nobody could ever even define collusion and has not to this day. Then it became interference. The best they could come up with was what amounted to a maximum of $50,000 spent before the election, which was split between promoting Trump, Hillary, Bernie and Jill. I am making the assumption that the reader is actually informed on the real numbers. In an election process which saw at least $2 billion spent between candidates, that comes to $1 of every $40,000 spent on campaigning. Even for those that subscribe to the claim of $100,000 spent by “Russians” you’re still talking about $1 for every $20,000 of campaign spending.

Yes, those are the numbers. That’s how stupid Russiagate is.

Now, Bernie and Tulsi and other candidates who even remotely lean away from the establishment are seeing the Russian claims turn against them. Call it karma but they are once again seeing claims that they are tools being manipulated by Russia.

For what purpose? To provide us all with healthcare? Damn those Russians!!!

No alleged Progressive candidate is going to have the backing of the millions and millions of us who oppose Russiagate. Poll after poll have shown that most of us do not believe the Russian allegations, do not think Russia is any threat to us and that we have much more pressing concerns. The more informed anyone is on the subject, the less there is to be believed in the allegations. What we do know is how much risk there is in continuing this charade. The risk of war with Russia is something we do not care to allow to advance. The cost of always increasing spending for “defense” while more Americans go homeless, jobless and without medical care.

I’ve already covered how the claims of job growth are all lies, here.

So, is it time we can put this to rest yet? Can we start focusing on policies and dispense with the propaganda? Can we stop covering for blatant election fraud? I doubt it. Not as long as people continue tuning in to MSM for their daily or hourly dose of fear, offense, anger and bigotry. Not as long as our media and our elections are governed by military contractors and oil companies. As long as the media is making profits from the lies and parties can distract you from the issues with bullshit, it will continue.

Until this stops, we will still hear about “investigations” which steal time and resources that should be spent on governing, on representing us. We will continue paying money for these things. We will keep spending more on “defense” while placing the entire globe at risk. We will keep listening to how candidates are “resisting” not with policies that benefit us, our economy and our very lives but with even more “investigations”.

Turn off MSM, cancel subscriptions to WaPo, NYT, etc. Text, write, call, email, tweet to the candidates of your choice that you demand that they stop with Russiagate immediately. That they directly confront election fraud and promote ways to stop the profit motive while repairing our electoral process. Tell them to focus on policies like Medicare For All, raising wages, ending wars instead of trying to start more wars. Do it now. Don’t wait until 2020.

Focus On Right Now

We keep seeing promotions of various candidates and postulations about who will be the front runner in 2020.

Who the hell cares? Few people had heard of Bernie before early 2016. Few had heard of Obama before early 2008. Few heard of GWB before early 2000 and most of us that had heard of him wished we had not. Most never heard of Bill Clinton before early 1992 unless they had been a victim of his sexual predation.

Are you seeing this trend? Are you getting my point?

Let me word it differently. Focus on 2020 in 2020!!!

This garbage of attempting to start the 2020 election a full year+ in advance is nothing but the cults vying for your servitude. Especially the attempts by the DNC. Who is going to be their chosen high priest? In the end, who gets chosen is as much up to you as the next Pope. We know this. That went beyond any question with what has been proven about the 2016 DNC nomination. The DNC nominee was chosen before the primaries ever began, then all control of the DNC was handed to their “chosen one”. Why would you think that 2020 will be any different?!!

Paying attention to the various potential candidates now is merely a distraction. Get your fucking head in the game. The key word is focus.

I don’t know how many times I have to keep repeating this. All names are cults. Trump, Hillary, Bernie, Tulsi, RNC, DNC… If you are cheering for the cult and willing to ignore the atrocities committed or promoted by that cult, you are no different from any member of any other cult. “If you don’t stick to your values when they are being tested, they’re not values. They’re hobbies.”- Jon Stewart.

In 2008 people cheered for Obama, claiming he was some god of “hope and change”. How did that work out for you? In 2016, we heard claims that Hillary would win and usher in some new era of.. more of the same. She lost, of course, because she offered more of the same. In 2018 we heard all about the Resistance which turned out to be The Assistance. All they have offered is a string of investigations which will prevent them from governing for the next decade. Know who pays for all those “investigations”? YOU DO.

So, now we get a push for 2020 including neoliberal corporate whores like Biden, Harris, Warren and O’Rourke. Plus Bernie, who promoted Hillary, Russiagate and continues bowing like a slave to the DNC, never mentioning one word about election fraud.

2020 can wait.

Right this minute, we have increasing tensions with Russia, China, Mexico, South America, Iran, a stalemate with North Korea. We have the media and war machine prostitutes screaming for ongoing illegal occupation in Syria plus ongoing war in Afghanistan. Because apparently 17 years of war is not enough. Most Americans are sick of war. Is the DNC trying to end any war or armed conflict? No. One can argue that the Republicans are being more progressive on that issue than the Democrats are.

Medicare for All has been a hot topic not since 2016, as many claim. That is what was suggested by Obama in 2008 in some form, so it has been a topic for coming on 11 years. Then he turned the ACA into a corporate welfare program. However, it is a really strong issue right this minute, supported by the majority of voters across all party lines. Is either major party promoting it, trying to bring it into being? No.

Right this minute we have tens of thousands of Americans who have been given layoff notices. This is in addition to the hundreds of thousands who have already been laid off or lost jobs as a direct or indirect result of corporate bankruptcies and downsizing. Is anyone trying to resolve this problem beyond shoving propaganda down your throat? No.

Right this minute we have millions of Americans unable to afford medical care or often their own medications. This limits growth in the medical field and indeed is causing closure of hospitals at a rate expected to accelerate in the next year. This is not based on need. It is based on profit margin. This has and will eliminate hundreds of thousands of healthcare jobs and impact the health of millions of Americans. Are any elected officials working to save those facilities, even knowing the long-term impact? No.

Right this minute millions of Americans are homeless. Some even work full time. This is primarily because the cost of rent has increased dramatically since 2008, thanks to equity ownership. Meanwhile, Ben Carson has been making it more difficult and more expensive for the poor to afford low income housing. Are any elected officials working to correct this? No.

Once more, as with so many of my articles, this list can go on and on and on. These are only a few examples of what is happening right this minute.

Some alleged progressives love to scream and cry about privilege. Yet if all you can focus on is trying to push some name for 2020, if you think we can wait that long to take action on the problems we face right this minute, then you are the privileged one. The sick, the homeless, the unemployed, those dying under US military attack and many, many more cannot wait until 2021 for our problems to potentially be addressed. I repeat, potentially.

STFU about Bernie.

STFU about Hillary.

STFU about Beto.

STFU about Tulsi.

STFU about Trump.

STFU about 2020.

Focus on right this minute.

The Diversity Of The True Left

One of the most interesting things about the true left, aka Progressives, is our diversity.

The right and centrists have certain homogeneous traits. The far right is typically either poorly educated and proud of that fact or they are educated and set on taking advantage of the less educated ones. Centrists tend to be better educated in general but middle class who think they are much higher on the feeding chain than they actually are.

In each case, right and center, the ones at the top take advantage of those lower down, who never examine the lies they are being told. In most of both cases, they are predominantly white and, while they call themselves Christians, they fail to follow the tenets of their own religion.

I am being quite serious when I say that those to the center left tend to have the highest intelligence and sense of empathy. In today’s terms, center left means far left of neoliberals and slightly right of Marxism.

Any form of extremism is extremism. Whether far left or far right, there is no balance and any extremist system is bound to fail, if not by it’s own shortcomings, then by massive resistance which results in outright violent conflict. While ethically I do see value in Marxism sans fascism, I understand that our society has not evolved to a degree that it is realistic at this time. First and foremost because of the means of motivation which have been conditioned into our culture. If I thought it were realistic, I would be for it. Not in our lifetime, though. We have a long way to go.

Back to the main subject.

Progressives span a wide variety of people across cultures and subcultures, races, genders, religions, income levels and education levels. Too often we are portrayed as lazy or wanting something for nothing. Yet most of us are employed, most educated. In fact, I would venture to say a larger than average percentage of us can be classified as workaholics.

Not all of these people are running for any office but they are all examples of who is on the true left.

Dr Jill Stein. Harvard educated and magna cum laude (Harvard College) physician and social/environmental/political activist who has run as the Green Party nominee in every election since 2012. Prior to that, she ran for various elected offices in 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2010 in Massachusetts.

Professor Richard Wolff. Marxian economist known globally, has taught at Yale, University of Paris, University of Mass-Amherst, New School University-New York, the Brecht Forum, University of Utah and City University of New York. Has a weekly radio program and appears on various leftist TV shows and radio programs in addition to writing.

Dr Ajamu Baraka. 2016 Green Party VP Candidate, most people know. He has also served as founding executive Director of the US Human Rights Network, served on the boards of Amnesty International, the Center For Constitutional Rights and Africa Action and is an Associate Fellow at the Institute For Policy Studies. Prolific and powerful speaker and writer.

Aaron Mate. Journalist who never fails to ask the right questions and challenge interviewees when they speak obvious falsehoods. Currently at The Real News Network, he has also reported for Democracy Now!, The Intercept, Vice, Al Jazeera and the Toronto Star.

Jimmy Dore. While Jimmy is a comedian, he is a voice to be reckoned with, having been on The Young Turks for years, he has his own show on Patreon and YouTube. Any Progressive can love watching him go on a heated rant because he never holds back. He travels the country doing stand-up comedy which is politically intense. His show usually has Stef Zamorano, Ron Placone (who also has his own show on YouTube and also travels doing political stand-up) and frequently Graham Elwood.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. A New York Representative who is making a name for herself on the left. I do not always agree with her on some subjects but she shows promise. Considering the fact that she was a waitress not long ago and has risen to using her first day of her apprenticeship to stage a protest in Nancy Pelosi’s office, I would not call that lazy.

Tulsi Gabbard. Representative from Hawaii who stood up for equal representation for Bernie Sanders during the 2016 election, stepping down from a top position in the DNC. She has traveled to Syria, stood up to the power structures in DC and is an Army veteran. Highly Progressive on many subjects, though again I cannot claim I always agree with her.

Bernie Sanders. Yes, I know some of you will be pissed I did not put him first. On many subjects, he is highly Progressive and extremely vocal on those issues. I still believe he should have won in 2016. He is one of the most energetic members of Congress and definitely one of the most Progressive until recently. This is merely an example, not an endorsement. I have stated clearly what I feel his failings to be previously.

While this is a rather short list, they are some of the most visible. These are all strong voices who work hard and always have. They are capable of seeing and caring beyond themselves. They work toward improving this country and this planet for someone besides the extremely rich. They do not divide people nor do they try and convince one sector of society that that sector is superior to others. They try and unite us all, which is precisely why they encounter so much opposition. None of them endorse the concept of something for nothing.

Not in popularity but in effort, I’d like to include myself in this list. Anyone claiming I want something for nothing could not be more wrong. I am a diagnosed workaholic. I began working when I was 12. Over the years I have been a dishwasher, chef, veteran, auto/diesel/turbine mechanic, assistant military instructor, web designer, freelance writer and a nurse. Right now I work 32–48 hours a week, try and stay on top of issues and attempt to write 4–5 articles a week while making virtually nothing for doing so. If you read my articles, you can see that I do my own research and am not averse to running numbers to prove my point. In fact, I may be spending more at times than I earn from my writing. Does any of that sound lazy or selfish to you?

It used to be a standard that employers provided for medical care for employees in this country. I even had that when working in a convenience store while in college. Now that idea is being considered selfish on the part of the worker. How did we, as a nation, come to care more about the profits of the rich than the suffering of the many?

It used to be a standard that people earned a days pay for a days work in this country. Again, how did this become too much to expect? It is not in any way unreasonable to ask multi-billionaires to part with some of their accumulated hoards which they could not spend in 100 lifetimes so that this country is truly prosperous.

All of this has come about as a result of corporations owning the means of information. It is beyond time to turn off corporate media and see them for what they are.

It is beyond time to look around and see how close to the edge we are as a country. That when we turn our backs on each other, we have nothing left. It is only through diversity that we will gain unity and change the way things are going. The road we are on now runs directly to epic disaster as few Americans have ever dreamed.