Tag: criticism

(TRIGGER WARNING) Comparing Bernie Sanders to a domestic abuser minimizes domestic abuse

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog post contains a tweet that includes an image depicting violence against women. Reader discretion is strongly advised.


The Democratic Party is being increasingly dominated by two forms of progressivism. One form of progressivism prioritizes human rights issues, especially in regards to women’s reproductive rights, over other issues. This form of progressivism is associated with very liberal voters who voted for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries/caucuses, who are the core base of support, although not 100% of the support, of the resistance to the Trump Administration. The other form of progressivism prioritizes economic issues, especially in regards to efforts to reduce income inequality, over other issues. This form of progressivism is very strongly associated with Bernie Sanders, in fact, Sanders has often by criticized by progressive critics of Sanders for having supported candidates for public office who oppose abortion rights (although Bernie himself has a very pro-choice voting record as a U.S. Senator) and not regarding reproductive rights as an important issue.

Sanders has come under extremely heavy criticism for publicly endorsing Omaha, Nebraska mayoral candidate Heath Mello, who, as a member of Nebraska’s unicameral state legislature, voted for legislation that required doctors to give women who consider terminating a pregnancy a list of ultrasound providers. Although Mello has publicly disavowed his past support for anti-abortion legislation, the bill that he supported as a state legislator was designed purely to shame women, and nobody can re-write history.

Sanders’s support for Mello has prompted a large amount of criticism from progressive critics of Sanders. While most of the criticism has been over the fact that Sanders has, despite being pro-choice himself, endorsed anti-choice politicians from time to time, as well as Sanders not regarding women’s rights issues as important, there has been at least one example of criticism of Sanders that goes straight into the gutter of American politics. This was a tweet that somebody going under the alias “BroStoogeRally” posted about Bernie endorsing Jon Ossoff, a pro-choice and anti-interventionist Democrat who is running in a special election in the 6th Congressional District of Georgia:

Really? Bernie endorses a candidate with a realistic chance of winning a U.S. House seat that was previously held by a Republican who is now a member of the Trump Cabinet, and this guy has the gall to compare Bernie to a domestic abuser? Bernie is, to my knowledge, not a domestic abuser, and comparing someone like Bernie to a domestic abuser minimizes violence against women, which is a serious problem in America. Although these statistics date back to no later than late 2014, nearly 5 million American women each year experience physical violence by an intimate partner, one in four American women will be victims of severe violence by an intimate partner, and over 38 million American women have experienced physical intimate partner violence at some point in their lifetimes. It is inherently clear that domestic violence is a major problem in America, and using graphic images of domestic violence to compare political figures who aren’t domestic abusers to domestic abusers minimizes the serious problem in America that is domestic violence.

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Hillary tries to help a Republican win a full term on the WI Supreme Court

It’s clear to me that Hillary Clinton doesn’t believe in the concept of an independent, impartial judiciary. That’s because last night, Hillary made remarks about the race for one of seven seats on the Wisconsin Supreme Court that offended one of the candidates running in the state supreme court race:

The progressive candidate who is running against Rebecca Bradley is JoAnne Kloppenburg, and Kloppenburg’s campaign wants no part of presidential candidates talking about the state supreme court campaign:

Not suprisingly, Republicans are wasting no time trying to tie JoAnne Kloppenburg to Hillary Clinton, an attack line that is totally bogus:

What a lot of people who aren’t familiar with Wisconsin’s progressive traditions don’t understand about Wisconsin’s progressive traditions is that a judiciary that is independent of partisan politics, big-money political influence, and conflicts of interest are valued far more than some east coast politician’s opinion on a state supreme court race. By being a presidential candidate and criticizing the de facto Republican candidate in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race, Hillary is effectively trying to help the far-right Republican, Rebecca Bradley, get elected to a full ten-year term.

If you’re a Wisconsin voter, please vote for JoAnne Kloppenburg for Wisconsin Supreme Court on April 5. She’s not above the law (and doesn’t want to be), but she is above presidential politics.

Donald Trump launches an attack against this blog, blogging in general, and freedom of the press

This is an actual quote from Donald John Trump, the likely Republican Party nominee for President of the United States:

I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We’re going to open up those libel laws. So that when The New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace or when the Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected. You see, with me they’re not protected, because I’m not like other people, but I’m not taking money — I’m not taking their money. So we’re going to open up those libel laws, folks, and we’re going to have people sue you like you never got sued before.

What Donald Trump is saying goes against everything that this country stands for. Many of the people who helped build this country in its earliest years fought for, and won, freedom of the press, which is enshrined in our nation’s Constitution as part of the First Amendment. What Trump is proposing is an idea straight out of a fascist society…the idea that, if one merely criticizes someone, even if that criticism is factual in nature, the person or entity being criticized can file a defamation lawsuit and get money out of it. That is absurd, frightening, undemocratic, and likely unconstitutional.

I will assure you, that, in the coming days, weeks, and months, I will be writing a ton of blog posts criticizing Donald Trump, and I will assure you that every one of my criticisms of Trump will be absolutely 100% factual in nature.

The one person that Bernie Sanders wants criticizing him…criticizes him

If I were Bernie Sanders, there would be exactly one person I would want criticizing me. That person is Lloyd Blankfein, the head of Goldman Sachs.

Since Goldman Sachs has become a political talking point to many, I’ll remind everyone who they are. They are a very large investment banking firm that was heavily involved in the subprime mortgage crisis that was one of many factors that contributed to the Great Recession of the later part of the previous decade. Additionally, Goldman Sachs has served as a revolving door between governments in multiple countries and Wall Street, with former U.S. cabinet members and current Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull having also worked for Goldman Sachs.

Now, back to my original point…Blankfein thinks that Bernie criticizing the undue influence of Goldman Sachs on our political system is a “dangerous moment” for America:

The head of Goldman Sachs believes being singled out for criticism by Bernie Sanders represents a “dangerous moment” for the country.

Lloyd Blankfein, the Wall Street giant’s chief executive, said Wednesday that the Democratic presidential candidate might have gone too far in personally targeting him.

“To personalize it, it has potential to be a dangerous moment. Not just for Wall Street … but for anybody who is a little bit out of line,” he said in an interview with CNBC.

Bernie isn’t personally criticizing Lloyd Blankfein. Instead, he’s taking on both a financial industry where greed is rampant and a political establishment that is beholden to same financial industry. Lloyd Blankfein is, in many ways, the personification of a lot of what is wrong about this country, and we’re taking back our country from people like Lloyd Blankfein and the politicians who are beholden to people like him! Let’s rein in Wall Street and protect American consumers! Greed is dangerous to America, not people who want to save capitalism from its own greed.

The REAL reason why The Washington Post is smearing Bernie: it’s about those Viagra ads

The Bernie Sanders presidential campaign has begun to push back aggressively against an editorial by The Washington Post that viciously attacked him for running for president and advocating for common-sense ideas to make America great again. For example, Sanders retweeted this tweet from David Sirota of the International Business Times pointing out WaPo’s hypocrisy:

However, that isn’t the real reason why WaPo is attacking Bernie. In this paragraph, one line really stood out as being something about Bernie’s proposed Medicare for All plan that would have a specific negative impact on the corporate media:

Mr. Sanders’s story continues with fantastical claims about how he would make the European social model work in the United States. He admits that he would have to raise taxes on the middle class in order to pay for his universal, Medicare-for-all health-care plan, and he promises massive savings on health-care costs that would translate into generous benefits for ordinary people, putting them well ahead, on net. But he does not adequately explain where those massive savings would come from. Getting rid of corporate advertising and overhead would only yield so much. Savings would also have to come from slashing payments to doctors and hospitals and denying benefits that people want.

(emphasis mine)

The fact that WaPo is complaining about Bernie’s plan (possibly) eliminating direct-to-consumer advertising (keep in mind that I’ve never heard a major-party presidential candidate in this year’s election actually advocate for eliminating direct-to-consumer advertising) of prescription drugs is a dead giveaway as to why WaPo is smearing Bernie.

Direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs and medical devices is allowed in only two countries (the United States and New Zealand), and it’s a major contributor to why health care costs in America are ridiculously high. Late last year, the American Medical Association (AMA), a group representing American physicians, called for a ban on direct-to-consumer advertising. Obviously, such a ban would likely result in less advertising revenue for corporate media outlets, since big pharmaceutical companies pay big bucks to corporate media outlets for advertising.

While I’m not sure how much money WaPo makes off of pharmaceutical advertising, WaPo is going to bat for the corporate media in a desperate attempt to preserve the corporate media’s stream of money from the makers of erectile dysfunction pills like Viagra and Cialis.

Illinois taxpayers are on the hook for the University of Illinois’s war on academic freedom

It’s been recently announced that the University of Illinois (U of I) reached a legal settlement with Stephen Saliata, who had a job offer revoked by the U of I because he tweeted his personal opinion about far-right Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a staunch opponent of peace in the Middle East.

Last year, Saliata was offered a tenured professorship at the U of I. After the U of I received backlash from students, alumni, and donors who are to the Netanyahu regime in Israel than they are to America, the U of I pulled their offer of a tenured professorship from Saliata. Saliata rightfully sued the U of I for infringing on his First Amendment right to free speech and infringing upon academic freedom, and the lawsuit has now been settled, but not before the U of I is legally bound to pay out a total of $875,000, $600,000 of which will go to Saliata himself, and $275,000 of which will go to Saliata’s attorneys.

In short, Illinois taxpayers are on the hook for the U of I’s war on academic freedom and caving to pro-Israel interests. Had the U of I actually hired Steven Saliata, it would have cost Illinois taxpayers less than what it cost to settle the lawsuit over not hiring him for political reasons.

Meet Sady Doyle, the most vocal critic of Bernie’s Army out there

Sady Doyle, a Hillary Clinton supporter, resident of New York City, and freelance online journalist for the British newspaper The Guardian, has taken to Twitter in recent days to attack me, other Bernie Sanders supporters, the people of the State of Vermont, and rural America.

First off, Doyle has aggressively attacked and mocked Bernie Sanders, his home state of Vermont, and rural America:

I want to make two points here. First, Doyle, who is from the New York City borough of Brooklyn, is attacking Bernie for being from Vermont, a state that is mostly rural with small towns (although Bernie is from Burlington, Vermont, the state’s largest city, and was the mayor of Burlington for much of the 1980’s). This is a classic example of urban Democrats trashing rural Americans, which is one of many reasons why Republicans control both houses of Congress and most state governments. Second, U.S. Senators are responsible for representing the people of their home state, not serving as some kind of absolute monarch or imperial ruler, and, unlike most politicians in this country, Bernie completely lacks any kind of a royalist mindset.

Doyle didn’t stop at attacking Bernie himself. She mocked and attacked the legions of Bernie supporters, which I like to call Bernie’s Army:

There are two main themes that Doyle is using to attack Bernie’s Army. First, she’s accusing Bernie’s Army of being a group of racist and sexist Bernie supporters. Second, she’s attacking Bernie’s Army for supporting a presidential candidate who actually agrees with them on the vast majority of issues.

Regarding the first point, Doyle thinks that it’s a valid crime for white men (who are considerably less than 100% of Bernie supporters; there are many women and people of color who support Bernie) to be politically active in this country. In my opinion, if you’re a U.S. citizen, and you’re old enough to vote, it’s an important civic duty to be politically active, regardless of your race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

Regarding the second point, in regards to the Democratic nomination process, I’d rather support a candidate that I agree with nearly 100% of the time than a candidate who doesn’t really share my values but is the favored candidate of party bosses. Since America’s political party system is a strong two-party system, I support the candidate nominated by the left-most of the major parties (in this country, the Democratic Party) in the general election. However, for the Democratic Party’s nomination process, I usually, but not always, support what I think is the most progressive candidate running in a Democratic primary, caucus, etc. For the 2016 presidential election, that candidate is Bernie Sanders.

Pivoting back the first point, while I’m a Bernie supporter, I am not someone with a “bro” personality. I’m from a redneck part of Illinois, I consider myself to be a redneck, and I love country music (especially older country music) and NASCAR. I guess one could me a “BernNeck”. Also, Doyle made an implicit comparison of Bernie supporters and “PUMA” supporters of Hillary in 2008. For those of you who don’t remember who the PUMAs were, they were a group of Hillary supporters in 2008 who refused to support Barack Obama after he won the Democratic nomination. While PUMA officially stood for “People United Means Action”, it unofficially stood for “Party Unity My Ass”. While there are probably a few Bernie supporters who would not support Hillary if she were the Democratic nominee, I’m not one of those kind of Bernie supporters, as I’d vote for Hillary in the general election should she win the Democratic nomination.

Doyle didn’t stop at just attacking Bernie’s Army as a whole. She took a couple of swipes at me:

While I thank Doyle for referring to me as “heroic”, she clearly attacked me for criticizing a lame reference to pop music singer Miley Cyrus that she made about the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, as well as for saying that female supporters of the Bernie campaign (which there are a large number of), aren’t interested in silly pop culture references. Most supporters of the Bernie campaign, both male and female supporters, aren’t interested in silly pop culture references; they’re interested in making America a better place to live.

Oh, and while she was at it, Doyle admitted that Hillary is a bought-off corporatist politician:

I thank Doyle for reminding us what the primary reason we dislike Hillary so much is! Oh, and regarding Doyle’s claim that no other moderate Democrat has faced as much criticism of Hillary has, I can think of several moderate/conservative Democrats that have faced far more criticism than Hillary has. The most notable one that I can think of off of the top of my head was Mary Burke, a charter school supporter who was the Democratic nominee in last year’s election for Governor of Wisconsin (losing to Republican incumbent Scott Walker).

Last, but certainly not least, Doyle claimed that the vast majority of women that she knows are leaning towards supporting Bernie:

Keep in mind that Doyle is a known Hillary supporter, and she admitted that the vast majority of women that she knows are…you guessed it…leaning towards Bernie. Bernie is going to win the Democratic presidential nomination, and no Miley Cyrus references or attempts to divide Democrats based on gender are going to convince us to support Hillary for the Democratic nomination.

I now await the Twitter wrath of Sady Doyle…

Chicago Tribune columnist Kristen McQueary wants a Hurricane Katrina-style event to rid Chicago of black people

Kristen McQueary, a far-right columnist for the Chicago Tribune, recently wrote a column calling for Chicago to be hit with a natural disaster on the level of Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed New Orleans, Louisiana and the surrounding area 10 years ago this month, in order to wipe out what she considers to be Chicago’s problems.

While McQueary, to my knowledge (I haven’t been able to read her column due to the Tribune’s website not working properly), didn’t explicitly call for cleansing of black people in Chicago, it’s evident from her mentality that she thinks that ethnic minorities, especially black people, are what she considers to be Chicago’s problems. In fact, when Katrina devastated New Orleans, it caused New Orleans’s black population to decline, caused New Orleans’s white population to increase in percentage, and made the black people who remained in New Orleans far worse off than they were prior to Katrina. These changes made New Orleans, as a whole, smaller, wealthier, and whiter, however, the people of New Orleans didn’t individually become wealthier because of Katrina, and many people in New Orleans live without running water and electricity nearly ten years after the storm passed. Natural disasters are something I’d never wish on anyone or any place.

McQueary has received a ton of criticism on Twitter over her column, and she deserves every bit of it. Her column is a textbook example of coded white supremacism. In fact, McQueary’s column is leaving me wishing that there was a Joe McCarthy-like figure on the left who’s willing to expose white supremacists in the far-right corporate media in this country.

The Donald does a better job of attacking The Walker than most Wisconsin Democrats

I would never vote for an overt racist like Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, but I will say one favorable thing about Trump: He’s far better at attacking Scott Walker than most Democrats in Walker’s home state of Wisconsin:

He went down a list of criticisms that seemed the result of an overnight opposition-research effort. “Wisconsin is doing terribly,’’ he said. “The roads are a disaster because they don’t have any money to rebuild them, and they’re borrowing money like crazy.’’

He cited figures for the state’s budget deficit. “I wrote this stuff all down but I don’t need it because I have a really good memory,” he said.

He also accused Mr. Walker of flip-flopping on the Common Core education standards, having once supported them. “Scott Walker changed when he saw he was getting creamed, so now he’s not in favor,’’ he said.

While I am a Bernie Sanders supporter, I disagree with Bernie’s support for Common Core; in fact, it’s one of only a few issues where I disagree with Bernie. I don’t like the idea of wealthy people like Bill Gates determining every state and school district’s curriculum and academic standards.

Anyways, back to the main subject of this blog post…while Trump is a blowhard and a half, he’s right when it comes to how awful Scott Walker’s far-right agenda has been for Wisconsin.

However, trying to find Democrats in Wisconsin who are even half as effective as Trump when it comes to attacking Walker is like trying to find a tennis racket at a golf pro shop. Most Democrats in Wisconsin tend to focus on only a few issues like reproductive rights and student loan reform, and they usually try to sound as nice and moderate as possible. When most Wisconsin Democrats criticize Walker, they usually come across as weak, tepid, defensive, too mild-mannered, and appeasing toward Republicans. There are a few exceptions to this, mostly Democratic/progressive elected officials from the Madison area and many progressive activists throughout Wisconsin.

Additionally, Trump’s far-right agenda isn’t much different, if any different at all, than Walker’s far-right agenda or the far-right agendas of the other Republican presidential candidates. For Trump to enact his political agenda nationwide would likely be as bad, if not worse, than Walker’s agenda has been for Wisconsin.

Also, regarding Trump’s remarks about roads in Wisconsin being terrible, he’s actually right…only Connecticut and Illinois have a higher percentage of roads in poor or mediocre condition than Wisconsin.

Trump’s rise in the polls for the Republican presidential nomination has prompted Walker’s supporters to get really desperate, even using left-wing attack lines of their own against Trump:

A fundraiser for Scott Walker’s presidential campaign called Donald Trump “DumbDumb” in a fundraising invitation and said electing the New York developer would be “a total and complete disaster for the country.”

“As you’ve seen Gov Walker is now well ahead of everyone not named DumbDumb (aka Trump) in the national polls,” wrote Walker fundraiser Gregory Slayton, a New Hampshire venture capitalist who served as consul general to Bermuda during the George W. Bush administration. “He’s also a plain spoken member of the 99% (as opposed to someone pretending to be so)…and that will be a (key success factor) in 2016.”

Walker may not be a member of the 1%, but his policies benefit the 1% and virtually nobody else. Electing Trump, Walker, or any other right-wing Republican to the White House would be an unmitigated disaster for this country…Wisconsin has basically been a lavatory (pun intended) for a far-right political agenda for the last four and a half years, and it’s been an absolute disaster there.

Chris “Capper” Liebenthal has an excellent post about Trump’s attacks against Walker here.

As he launches his presidential campaign, Scott Walker compares Wisconsinites to special interests

Approximately 19 seconds into Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s presidential campaign announcement video, an unnamed narrator for the Walker campaign said that Walker “beat the special interests” over a video clip of progressive protesters supporting the unsuccessful recall attempt against Walker in 2012. At around the 39-second mark of the video, Walker himself spoke in front of the camera and talked about taking “power out of the hands of big government special interests”.

In reality, Walker compared the people of his state to special interests, while allowing special interests like big business interests and the school voucher lobby to benefit from the very big government that Walker rails against.

For Walker to compare Wisconsinites to special interests is not only false, it’s also offensive. More specifically, Walker compared Wisconsin progressives to special interests, and, having followed many of them on blogs and social media for the past few years, I can certainly say that they are not special interests. They’re people who want to make their state and their country a better place to live. They care about their communities, and they support workers’ rights, women’s rights, the middle class, open government, equality, and other progressive ideals. As Meghan Blake-Horst, a co-founder and the market manager of the MadCity Bazaar flea market in Madison, Wisconsin, put it, “Yes, we have special interests in feeding, educating and providing our kids a healthy place to grow up. And running our small businesses.” Comparing people like Blake-Horst to special interests dehumanizes people.

The truth about Walker’s record is that he and his political allies in Wisconsin have given special interests, such as big business interests and the school voucher lobby, effective control over Wisconsin’s state government. Those special interests have, in turn, helped Wisconsin’s state government, among other things, hand out tax breaks to the wealthy, give out tons of corporate welfare to businesses, privatize and cut funding from public K-12 education, cut funding from higher education, strip tenure away from college professors, make it harder for Wisconsinites to vote, make it harder for Wisconsin women to get the reproductive health care they want, bust unions, drive down wages, hurt Wisconsin’s economy, run up massive state budget deficits, and destroyed Wisconsin’s reputation. Martha Laning, the Chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW), didn’t mince words one bit in her statement criticizing Walker as he launches his presidential campaign. Laning stated that Walker’s record “is one of unprecedented corruption, division, extremism and a failure to foster economic growth and opportunity”. Laning also took Walker to task over “stagnant” wages in Wisconsin, “job growth that’s dead last in the Midwest and trailing most of the nation”, a corporate welfare agency “that’s known more for scandal than economic development”, and a massive Wisconsin state budget deficit “created by his failed policies”.

While Scott Walker compares the people of his home state to special interests, the truth of the matter is that Walker is beholden to real special interests that own him and his political allies, and they’ve completely wrecked Wisconsin’s economy, reputation, and quality of life. If Walker is elected president, Walker, his political allies, and big-money special interests will turn America into a third-world country by enacting the same far-right political agenda they enacted in Wisconsin.