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A New Zombie Cats Movie

Got rid of the theater… long story.

Anyway, it’s given me some time to work on my pet projects. Pet being cat projects. A new Zombie Cats from Mars movie called… Zombie Cats from Mars 2. Maybe I’ll attach a catchy subtitle. The First Scratch. IDK.

I was inspired because a film society in Edinburgh Scotland decided to choose Zombie Cats from Mars for their sleepover screenings of B(ad) movies. I guess you could consider ZCFM a bad movie more than a B movie. Why, you ask? Look at the thing.

Is a new ZCFM movie beating a dead cat, you wonder…? Nah. No, it’s not. I’ll explain.

The writing process of ZCFM1 took less than a month. Casting was done without auditions. The SFX guy quit so the director did his own SFX… and he’s not a SFX guy. It was created to prove a point that, after working on several films, dramas, that people would be more excited to see a piece of crap if it had a cheesy title. Zombie Cats from Mars popped into my head as a title, so I ran with it. The goal was to make the quickest, dirtiest, crappiest film I could to see how people reacted to it. And they’ve screened it in San Diego and in Scotland. It’s been bootlegged and subtitled into French, Arabic, and who knows what other languages. It’s gotten tons of terrible reviews – all unsolicited. Maybe I’m an asshole for doing that.

But then I felt guilty about it. I think it’s too bad to be good. I guess I feel guilty because people review it and say, like… everything about this is bad. But not in the way they say that about Manos or Troll 2, although our IMDb score is higher. I think the difference is that, in both those cases, the filmmakers tried to make good films, so there’s a bit more integrity. I feel guilty because I want people to have more fun watching it, and that’s just achieved with better filmmaking.

I cringe when I see Percis’s scenes filmed in an obvious bachelor pad with a sheet hanging up as a backdrop, rife with continuity errors. I puke a little when I see the nautical theme in Billy’s room. Ok, that’s just how the location was, but putting up a single poster does not a teen boy’s room make. I won’t even comment on the spaceship effects for fear of having to call the suicide prevention hotline. Oh, tripods in the background, a sweatshirt thrown over a window because we shot a daytime scene at night and we didn’t want to give away that it was dark out, visible leashes on the cats as they wondered purposelessly through he neighborhood? I could go on.

Zombie Cats from Mars 2 is different. than. the. first. zcfm. The script has been in development for about 3 years. It’s about the past. It incorporates all of the things that perhaps the first film should have incorporated. There’s a story, there’s depth to the characters. There’s also horror – zombies – killing. For fun, I’ll paste the synopsis.:

ZOMBIE CATS FROM MARS 2 takes place in 1957 and is centered around the Peterson family, their eccentric neighbor Agnes, physicist Grandpaw Bill, and a group of Soviet cosmonauts working under the control of the feline commander Cosmo. With Cosmo at the controls, a newly-launched satellite (Sputnik) beams a signal alerting Earth cats to attack. Agnes falls victim, and the Peterson family assume she’s been attacked by a large animal. When her bandages are removed, she’s revealed to have become a zombie and attacks matriarch Diane. As the Petersons’ world begins to collapse, it is up to young Armand Peterson and family friend Howie to go back in time to prevent the catastrophe that is unfolding.

So, yeah. Soviets, the Cold War, time travel, communist cats, car wrecks, Soviet zombies, and spaceships.

Now the goal: Make this kick ass without losing the low-budget splendor that’s inherent in so many fun films. And to do this, it’ll take $40,000. To raise the first round of funds, I’ve embarked on a fundraiser on Seed & Spark. It’s part of the Communal Nightmares Rally, a contest of sorts. If we can raise $7500 and obtain 1000 followers, we’re eligible for a $25,000 prize and a production and distribution deal with 3311 Productions and The Orchard.

This is where we need your support. The fundraiser goes live on May 14th, and even if you don’t have the cash to contribute, following our campaign will help us reach our rally goal. The fundraising link will not work until we go live, so in the meantime, be sure to subscribe on our website or follow our Facebook and/or Twitter, and we’ll send you a friendly reminder.



A Sexist Theater Company?

I happen to own a theater. It’s called Mister Theater.

I was reading a review of a show produced by another company, and the reviewer was encouraging the producers of that show to get us to change the name of the company to something less sexist. Let me respond.

The name, essentially, came out of a brainstorm for theater names. Since I’m Ryan, and my business partner is Montetré, combining our initials is M.R. Since we were building a theater, MR Theater seemed appropriate – pronounced Mister Theater. Since any company needs a website, I looked to see if MrTheater was available. It was… for like $1,000. But MisterTheater was available for $7, so we went with that.

Now, I understand everyone’s all about inclusiveness, and not offending anyone ever… and I am too! But apparently Mister implies that we’re a no-women-allowed theater, and that seems rather ridiculous.

Are people complaining about Mister Theater being sexist the same ones that complain about children being allowed to play with Mister Potato Head? Does Mister Softee only employ men? Are we boycotting Mr. Show? I saw a lot of women in Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. Do we opt for a more inclusive plumber, or do we call Mr. Rooter? Would Mrs. Clean do a better job cleaning our floors than Mr. Clean? For those what like a bit of sexism served with their morning joe, do they opt for the Mr. Coffee? Why does Planters have to ram Mister Peanut down our throats? Why are people fine with burning a man, but not a woman at Burning Man?

While I’m on the subject, should I be offended as a man that one would assume Mrs. Field’s has better cookies than Mr. Fields? Is Dairy Queen only for women and men who wear ballgowns? Why not Dairy King and Burger Queen? Should that offend me as a gay person? I found this place in Denver: Mister Tuna.  Don’t female tuna matter?

I think the whole thing is just silly. Maybe it’s easier being offended by the assumed gender assigned to an inanimate object or a place that’s inclusive of any gender, sex, religion, race, color, sexual orientation than by… oh I don’t know, actual injustice in the world.

Oh, and how do people know Mister Theater isn’t a female theater that prefers to use male pronouns and honorifics? Would people be equally offended if the theater was named Mrs Theater? The kind of people that complain about the name of a place seem like the kind of people who carefully interject in conversation that their friend happens to be black, or who tell everyone about their trans friend and take great pride that they generally remember to use the correct pronoun. Yeah, I could see if it was named Whites-Only Theater or No-Fags-Allowed Theater [I’m gay, I can say that]. But it’s not. It’s named the same way as a potato-shaped toy, a plumbing service, a funny TV show, a crappy ice cream shop, a coffee machine, and what seems to be a pretty nice restaurant in Denver.

So, to wrap up, people should focus their energy on actual injustice and stop being offended at every little thing they perceive to be sexist that really isn’t sexist just so they can feel like they’re better, and more inclusive than everyone else.



10 Reasons to Support Hillary

Hillary Rodham Clinton

(AP Photo/ Alexander Zemlianichenko)

It’s abundantly clear that Hillary Clinton cinched the Democratic Party’s nomination back in June 2015 when a bunch of political insiders and lobbyist Superdelegates picked her, so it’s annoying that some other person came along to try and derail the otherwise super-democratic process by getting millions of people to support him and winning, like half, of states.

All of Bernie Sanders’s little supporters with their cute little dreams of a political process free of financial influence of mega-conglomerates and corporate lobbyists just have to suck it up and admit their tiny voices don’t matter in a political system dominated by the super-wealthy and politically powerful. Their silly dream of such extravagant things like basic healthcare, infrastructure, the right to an affordable education, and a livable environment was fun while it lasted… but get real. Unless you make 6-figures a year, you don’t deserve nice things, so get over it.

Here are the top reasons why you need to shut up and support Hillary Clinton.

1. She’s a woman, and would be the first female President, and that would be historic. Remember, you’re sexist if you don’t support a female candidate. That’s why we all rallied behind Sarah Palin back in 2008.

2. Hillary cares about all the things Bernie’s supporters care about…like Campaign Finance. You like how Bernie raised tens of millions from individual voters in small, $27 increments, and you felt that your individual contribution actually made a difference in the political process? Quaint. Hillary cares about this too, and she hates corporate money influencing politics. That’s why over the course of this election, she’s going to raise over a billion dollars through SuperPACs and corporate donors to fight Citizen’s United and the corporate influence of money in politics.

3. Hillary is basically the same as Bernie when it comes to Wall Street. Sure, she made a few $225,000 speeches to Goldman Sachs and CitiGroup, but she was basically just telling them that when she becomes President, the gravy train will come to an end. That’s why she didn’t release her transcripts, because she was afraid voters would think she was too tough on the Big Banks. So, never mind her transcripts. She would have released them if there was anything interesting in them.

4. Hillary supports gay rights. Always has, always will. Sure, she opposed gay marriage until 2013, but only because no one else supported gay marriage. She just wanted to  make sure that supporting gay marriage wouldn’t harm her politically.

5. Just like Bernie, Hillary takes a peaceful approach to foreign policy. That’s why she supported the military overthrows of Qaddafi, Saddam Hussein, and Manuel Zelaya, which has done nothing but to stabilize their respective regions. Those were bad, bad people. Yeah, I know, she lacked the foresight to see the power vacuums these topplings would create, and, yeah, it led to the proliferation of international terrorism and ISIS, but she also oversaw the transfer of $165 Billion in arms sales while SoS, to countries that supported the Clinton Foundation, which further promoted peace… because terrorists never get their hands on American weapons. She supports Israel in their fight against those pesky Palestinians, too. Unlike Bernie, Hillary has found that delicate balance between supporting the American military industrial complex and promoting peace throughout the world.

6. Hillary hates fracking almost as much as Bernie. That’s why she only supports fracking in places like the European Union, Latin America, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Pakistan, China, India, and the United States… and she only supports it because it’s cleaner than coal, and Hillary hates coal. Unless she’s campaigning in West Virginia. She even clearly articulated how much she hates fracking during the debates. Pay attention!

7. Hillary Clinton will carry on the legacy of Obama, in all the ways we were disappointed with Obama. Hope and Change became Settle and Compromise, and Hillary plans on maintaining that legacy of ‘meh’. Just remember, since Obama took office wages have gone up dramatically. For some. Not you. But remember, it is Hillary, not Bernie, who supports a $12 minimum wage.

8. Not Trump. People love voting against someone, and who better to vote against than Donald Trump! Yeah, sure, Hillary attended Trump’s 2005 wedding, but only because Bernie declined Trump’s invite, and he had to fill that vacancy somehow. See, Hillary knows a good party when she sees one. She’s cool! Bernie: not cool. What a party-pooper.

9. Hillary is the most electable candidate. She polls at a whopping 57% of millennials in a head-to-head matchup against Trump. She received the support of a mindblowing 17% of Democrats under 30 against a grumpy old Jewish Senator who lost his hairbrush back in 1984 and never bothered to replace it. A jaw-dropping 37% of people find her trustworthy. She beats Trump in some polls! Real Clear Politics polling average gives her a comfortable 1.5% lead over Trump, whereas Sanders only beats Trump by 10.4%. Remember, the Superdelegates are there to ensure that the most electable candidate becomes the nominee.

10. Hillary supports down-ticket candidates… with money, supposedly. Remember, the only person Republicans hate worse than Obama is Hillary, so it’s imperative that Democrats and Progressives regain the House of Representatives, and key to those victories will be high voter turnout among Millennials. No one has done more to appeal to Millennials than Hillary Clinton, and those voters will enthusiastically turn out in record numbers come November to support other Democrats. Did I say appeal? Oh, I meant alienate. There’s nothing Millennials like more than to feel like their voices have been silenced by a political system that relies on Superdelegates, hoards of corporate cash, and a corporate media hell bent on discrediting Bernie Sanders’s candidacy at every opportunity.

And there you have it. 10 solid reasons to toss your ideas and beliefs aside, and vote Clinton! She’s got your back*. Oh, and if you live in California, she already won, so don’t bother to vote tomorrow.



*as long as you’re a defense contractor, Wall Street executive, movie star (excluding Rosario Dawson and Susan Sarandon), banker, Saudi Arabian prince, CEO, high-dollar funder of the Clinton Foundation, six-figure or higher campaign contributor, Donald Trump, George Soros, or a Walton.


It’s About the (Pledged) Delegates

Bernie needs to win the next 22 contests with 55% of the vote.

Much fuss has been made about the insurmountable delegate lead that Hillary Clinton has over Bernie Sanders. There are still 22 contests to go in the Democratic Primary, and I’m going to resist the calls from the Corporate Media and Hillary supporters to throw in the towel and back Hillary.

Consider this: Bernie Sanders won the last 5 contests with an average of 76.3%.

But Clinton is leading with 1739 delegates over Sanders’ 1070 delegates. He needs to win 67% of remaining delegates. Impossible!

Yes, this is the media narrative, but given the fact that Sanders has won the last few states (albeit Sanders-friendly ground) by over 76%, it’s plausible that he could pull big wins in the remaining states. But 67% is a big number.

The media uses this narrative because they [heart] Hillary, and they really need her to win because… I don’t know, SuperPAC money is good for them?

But what the media are doing here is including superdelegates in their tallies. Since the supers can vote for whoever they damn well please, let’s take them out of the equation. Ah, now it looks a bit closer: 1266 for Hillary and 1038 for Bernie – a 228 delegate difference. Now, consider what just happened in Nevada. In a process that literally no one in the world understands, Sanders seems to have gained pledged delegates, but that won’t be decided until the State Convention in May. I hear that may shift the number 10 points in Bernie’s favor which lowers his delegate deficit to 208.

As it stands today, there are 1747 pledged delegates available, and Bernie needs 988 to win (before Nevada), which means he needs to average 56.5% in the upcoming contests. It’s also likely that he’ll do well in Wisconsin, and if he wins by anywhere near the margins of the last few caucuses, that average will go down to 55%.

55% is not an unachievable number. It won’t be easy, don’t get me wrong. But Bernie’s been steadily gaining in both poll numbers, and on her share of pledged delegates. Additionally, Hillary’s exhausted her supply of red-landslide states. However it turns out, it will be close, and Bernie is right to keep fighting.

Oh, but the superdelegates! Since superdelegates exits to ensure the establishment-backed candidate will prevail over a grass-roots candidate, it makes sense to assume that the supers will boost Hillary to the nomination, and this might just happen. If Bernie is able to secure the 2026 pledged delegate lead, imagine a scenario where your governor or congressman ignores the will of his constituents in voting against the favored candidate. We’ll remember that at the polls. Since the majority of young voters (aka the future of the Democratic Party) support Sanders, what message will using the superdelegate vote to nominate Hillary send, and does the DNC really think that millions of young voters having their voices silenced is going to bode well for them in November (and beyond)?

For now, don’t worry about superdelegates. Let’s just all collectively work, as Bernie supporters and Progressives, to bring him to the 2026 magic number.

Also, vote.


Why I’m Not Not Voting for Bernie Sanders

I came across this article on Facebook, and I thought I’d respond to it. Not because I don’t see a shit-ton of either pro-Hillary or pro-Bernie propaganda everywhere, but because I feel that the commentator really misses the point of why I, and millions of others, am supporting Bernie Sanders.

Now, keep in mind that this commentary comes from the New York Observer, which happens to be owned by Donald Trump’s son-in-law, and we all know that publications owned by people closely connecting to political candidates are never biased, amiright, Blue Nation Review? (sarcasm). Anyway, the opinion piece in question, written by Rebecca Unger, is:

I’m a Young Liberal and There’s No Way I’m Voting for Bernie Sanders.

So, for fun, I’ll just copy it here, and respond to it. It’s my blog, I can do what I want.

I am a 22-year-old Democrat living in New York City. I work in a creative industry that pays a low salary. I am socially liberal: I believe in LBGT rights, a woman’s right to choose, women’s rights across the board, racial equality, gun control and confronting climate change in a major way. I am upset about income inequality. I believe rich people should be taxed more to help fund policy initiatives that benefit poorer people: healthcare and education and better infrastructure, for example. And yet the idea of voting for Bernie Sanders never once crossed my mind.

Why not? Everything Bernie Sanders has espoused throughout his political career falls exactly in line with everything you’ve said about yourself. But I digress… continue…

This is not about disagreeing with the message Bernie is preaching to Americans — I happen to agree with a lot of what he says. This is about the simple fact that his is an idealistic, naïve agenda that could never be put into practice in America. In this country, to legislate even one tenth of such an ambitious plan would take degrees of cooperation, sacrifice, even manipulation and such an immense amount of ‘give-and-take’ tactics that an idea that once stood untarnished, glistening at the campaign podium, would come out looking like a child’s napkin after a meal of spaghetti Bolognese. Yes, there may be some white patches left around the edges, but no bleach will ever get out all the stains.

What you seem to miss is one of the fundamental messages of Bernie’s campaign: Political Revolution. This doesn’t mean that Bernie would show up to the White House on day one, wave a magic wand, and fix the country… because that’s not going to happen, and I don’t think many Bernie supporters are diluted enough to think this is going to be the case. If you actually listen to Senator Sanders, you’ll learn that Political Revolution means that more people become involved in the political process – showing up on election day, demanding things from elected officials, standing up for what we collectively believe is right. The writer of this commentary herself said that she agrees with Bernie’s message. Voter complacency amongst so-called liberals has given us majorities in both houses of Congress. Political Revolution depends on young progressives voting in midterm elections for progressive candidates, and much more-so than Hillary, the Millennials are the wholesale fundraisers of Bernie Sander’s campaign. We have skin in the game, and understand the message that Senator Sanders is sending us. Vote for him, and vote for a progressive Congress.

Perhaps Bernie hopes that focusing his energy on a single issue will make the job easier. The Senator has openly embraced, rather than repelled, being dubbed a “one-issue candidate.” “My one issue is trying to rebuild a disappearing middle class. That’s my one issue,” he declared at the Democratic debate ahead of the Michigan primary. While this is an extremely important goal — Michigan certainly welcomed it (and Hillary also supports it) — what is troubling is that the person occupying the Oval Office will be faced with a multitude of other important issues, not least a foreign policy roster that will require a great deal of time spent in the Situation Room.

Single Issue? Have you listened to one Bernie campaign speech? I have, and he covers many issues. To name a few issues he’s talking about: Campaign Finance Reform, Immigration Reform, Universal Healthcare, Gender and Racial Equality, Income Inequality, Tax Reform, Foreign Policy, Fighting Terrorism, Veterans’ Affairs, Native American Affairs, Fighting HIV/AIDS, Environmental Reform, Clean Energy, Trade, Access to Education, and more. And I suppose many of these contribute to the issue of rebuilding the middle class. But #ImSoSick of Bernie Sanders being called a one-issue candidate.

This sanctum is designated for dealing with issues of national security and not, for example, enforcing regulations on Wall Street. The hostilities in the Middle East present a formidable challenge to any seasoned politician, let alone one whose references to foreign policy have almost exclusively been confined to “I voted against the war in Iraq.”

Again, if you’d listened to Bernie Sanders talk about the issues, she’d find out that his foreign policy credentials extend past “I voted against the war in Iraq”. He authorized the military strikes in Afghanistan after 9/11, he supported the Iran Nuclear Deal, and he understands that the United States must act against ISIS without taking a unilateral approach. American interventionist foreign policy has created far more problems than it has solved. American involvement in Afghanistan created the conditions that fostered the rise of the Taliban. American involvement in the Iran/Iraq war created the conditions of a Saddam Hussein with chemical weapons. North Africa, Somalia, Nicaragua… Bernie Sanders understands the long history of Western involvement in foreign countries, and the results of those interventions. And although it’s satire The Onion makes some good points about American foreign policy.

Needless to say, Hillary Clinton’s qualifications here far exceed those of Bernie Sanders. Yes, Clinton has made ‘slip ups’ and she will inevitably be criticized for them, but experience is built by learning from one’s mistakes, and her acumen in this area is something American people should take into serious consideration. We need a Commander-in-Chief who understands the importance of what commanding the most powerful armed forces in the world means and knows how to exercise such an enormous responsibility.

I, personally, want a Commander-in-Chief that understands the long term effects of military action, and as much as Hillary can look back at the invasion of Iraq and claim she made a mistake in authorizing the invasion, she did authorize the invasion and failed to grasp the power vacuum removing Saddam would create. She failed to understand that raining bombs and missiles upon an islamic country that had nothing to do with 9/11 might spawn a new generation of terrorists. And really, has Hillary Clinton learned from her mistakes? Just one of her mistakes cost thousands of American lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, not to mention the after effects, such as the insurgency, destabilization of the Middle East and ISIS… and that’s not taking the cost of prolonged veterans’ care into account.

As Democrats we can, however, congratulate ourselves for belonging to a party that has not deteriorated into the terrifying, juvenile, mud-slinging, and even violent mess that has come to characterize the Republican race for the nomination. Between insults about spray tans, excessive perspiration and penis size, candidates discuss their vision for America, or in the case of front-runner Donald Trump, spew noxious sound bites with no informational value.

Yes, we can.

The reason I bring up the Republican race — aside from the fact that it’s always fun to punch a conspicuous punching bag — is that someone recently said to me that they think Bernie is the extremist equivalent of Trump for the Democrats, in the sense that he is galvanizing support for a radical leftist cause. This notion is wrong. Bernie is no raging socialist and I don’t think his ideas for America are all that radical when taken in the context of global politics.

I agree. Bernie’s only extreme when you have a narrow vision of the future of our country.

No one would bat an eyelid in Europe for a candidate with his checklist. I say this as someone who lived in Germany for four years and in London for almost five. The problem is Bernie is running to be the President of the United States, and in the United States, no matter how many young, frustrated, liberals there may be who dream of a more equal America with better opportunities for people across the social and economic spectrum, there are far more people who don’t believe that is the role of the state at a fundamental level.

It’s fair to say this, but the federal government creates the rules in which we must abide. As I learned in PoliSci 101, according to Lasswell, Politics is the control of who gets what, when, and why; the study of influence and the influential. One of Bernie Sanders’ biggest talking points is the influence of power and money over politics. Do we have wars because there’s a clear and present danger to our homeland, or do we have wars because Lockheed Martin, Halliburton, and Raytheon stand to profit? Do we have trade deals because it benefits American workers, or do we have trade deals because the corporate campaign contributors can increase their profits by manufacturing in China for a fraction of the cost? Do we have the most expensive healthcare system in the world because doctors make a lot of money, or because lobbyists influence congress into maintaining a healthcare system that necessitates a for-profit model of healthcare distribution? Do we have the highest prison population in the free world because there are so many more criminals in America, or is it because Corrections Corporations of America has lobbied Congress and paid millions to lawmakers to keep marijuana use illegal?

The enactment of legislation necessitates compromise (a fact enshrined in the constitution), or in the words of Senator Sanders, “As we all know, there are bills in Congress that have bad stuff, there are bills in Congress that have good stuff. Good stuff and bad stuff in the same bill.” Yes, Bernie, but as President the bad stuff will mean a watering down, or outright counteraction of many of your goals.

As one can imagine, it’s difficult to pass climate measures and green energy initiatives when the oil and gas industry is bankrolling the campaigns of every senator and representative in congress. Even Donald Trump himself admits that he gives to political campaigns because he expects favors in return. It it that far of a stretch to think that an uncorrupted politician can help reverse that trend? If Bernie Sanders succeeds in the nomination process, he will set a new precedent that says voters care more about integrity than how much a candidate can raise in corporate donations, or how big their SuperPAC is. By relying on small individual donations, Bernie Sanders is bought and paid for by the voters he will represent when he becomes President. Of course, there will always be compromise, and there will always be a middle ground, but that compromise should be based on the notion that politicians are working for the voters and not for the conglomerates that paid their way into power. This starts with Bernie, it does not start with Hillary.

Take healthcare, for example. Bernie advocates Medicare for all — a national, single-payer health insurance system that would replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) made law in 2010. Hillary also has every intention of making healthcare cheaper. But rather than uproot a program that represents a huge milestone in American healthcare policymaking and was also incredibly difficult to implement because of Republican opposition, her proposal is to build on and improve what we have managed to achieve already.

One can’t argue that cheaper health care would be a bad thing. But what will Hillary do to make healthcare cheaper in an environment where the (likely) GOP congress is bought and paid for by health insurance lobbyists? Universal healthcare is an attainable goal, it just takes political will. That political will comes from voters who insist that the congressmen they are electing into office work on their behalf to realize that goal. If there’s enough political will to launch a $1.5 Trillion F-35 program, and to launch a $1.5 Trillion war, the prospects of a healthcare system that is equitable and affordable to everyone shouldn’t be that big of a hurdle.

This is not an “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” move. This is a rational plan to achieve a realistic goal compared with Bernie’s unrealistic plan that would require so much dilution to make it Republican friendly redundancy kicks in. Would single payer, universal healthcare be good for America? Possibly. However, at a basic level a great many Americans instinctively reject anything that would give the government control over a social issue. Obamacare is an essential step in the right direction and Hillary is wise to take it further rather than switch gears and head off into new, uncharted territory.

Yes, single payer, universal healthcare would be good for America. Free tuition to public universities would be good for America. As a note: that should include trade schools. I somehow owe $100,000 on $40,000 of student debt. The meteoric rise in the cost of tuition vs. the average income is insane. Nothing Bernie Sanders says is necessarily unrealistic. It’s just not plausible under current congressional leadership. Again, it will take a political revolution to change things, but the coalition that Sanders is building are the future politically engaged 40-somethings. It’s really a matter of time, unless our collective voices are silenced by those who decry Bernie’s vision as too unrealistic.

Bernie Sanders is the only candidate I’ve heard in a long time talking about capitalizing on America’s human resources to rebuild our infrastructure. I suppose Hillary has a plan, but Bernie has a bolder vision. I recall back in 2008/2009, when the great recession happened. Millions of jobs were lost, and Americans were paying half a trillion dollars to extend unemployment benefits to those out of work. Why couldn’t we have invested that money in infrastructure thus creating jobs, instead of paying people to look for jobs that were no longer available? Why couldn’t we subsidize the cost of adding employees to small business for a period of time? A public-private agreement would have mutual benefits, build skills, strengthen infrastructure and ultimately the economy.

Hillary Clinton would also be a far stronger candidate against whomever the Republicans put up in the general election. Bernie’s policies would give any Republican a field day: it would only take a few moderately conservative brush strokes to paint him as a pink threat, prepared to sully the values that bind this country together. Hillary is without doubt the palatable alternative for moderate conservatives who will flat out refuse to tick a Republican box with the name Donald Trump next to it. Having Bernie on the ballot beside Trump might lead to an increased number of abstainers.

There’s one person universally hated by the GOP more than Barack Obama, and that is Hillary Clinton. Many of the Democrats I know do not like Hillary at all. In fact, some Republicans I know have told me that they have much more respect for Bernie Sanders than Hillary Clinton. Sure, the Republican candidate will call Bernie Sanders a Socialist. Oooh, scary scary. A bit of education and people will know the difference between a social democrat and Karl Marx. They called Obama that too, and a lot worse, and he’s still standing. Besides, they’ve been calling Bernie that since the start, and it hasn’t fazed him thus far. Let me ask you this? You don’t think the GOP is going to have a field day with Hillary Clinton? She brings decades of baggage, all of which will be exploited by the GOP. Benghazi, the email scandal, Whitewater, paid speeches to Wall Street, her fib about coming under fire in Kosovo, etc, whether or not it’s true or fair, it will be a relentless, never-ending attack. Remember when Swift Boat Vets for Truth sunk John Kerry in 2004?

Speaking of John Kerry, Hillary Clinton brings almost as much enthusiasm to the Democratic Party as Secretary Kerry. In 2008, Barack Obama brought out over two million more young voters than in 2004. This enthusiasm for a candidate they cared about and thought reflected their values was a big reason for this. Now look for a moment at Bernie Sander’s demographics. He won 82% of the youth vote in Nevada (17-29), 81% of the youth vote in Michigan and Ohio, and 86% of the youth vote in Illinois. These are important states for the Democratic candidate to win in November. He even won the youth vote with 64% in Florida, a battleground state he handedly lost last month.

Now, counting on the youth vote is a tricky proposition, but history has shown that when younger voters turn out at the polls, the Democratic candidate usually wins out. But this isn’t about picking a candidate for the Democratic Party. It’s about picking a President that will help shape the course of history that young people and myself have to experience, and it’s about picking congressional representatives that will help or hinder the next President. While it’s nice that your 75 year old great-aunt loves Hillary Clinton, she’s not going to be around all that much longer to reap the benefits of income equality, universal healthcare, and a saved environment. Look at it this way, whether Hillary or Bernie is the nominee, against Trump, both will probably win, but Bernie brings an enthusiasm that will reverberate down the ticket.

So I hate to break it to you my fellow Millennials, but a vote for Bernie Sanders is a selfish act: an indulgence of a fantasy, an impractical, high-minded quixotic vision for an America that can never exist; it would be like striking a match against a damp surface. I therefore urge all Bernie-inclined Democrats to make their vote count and choose Hillary Clinton. Whether you agree whole-heartedly with her policies or not, she is the best person for the White House. She will be able to realize an agenda closest to what you crave for this country because she has the experience, the pragmatism, the smarts, the thick skin and perhaps most importantly, the ability to work across party lines to gain the necessary support to get anything done.

Coming from a true Clinton fan. So basically what she’s asking us to do is to vote for the lesser of two evils, hoping the lesser evil wins in November, because she prefers Hillary Clinton. I’m sorry, this isn’t about November for those of us supporting Bernie Sanders. This is about the future; this isn’t about winning a contest. This isn’t about the Democratic Party. Bernie Sanders is running for President because he’s responding to a want, need, and desire from millions of young (and old) American citizens who want to reclaim America from Wall Street and the billionaire power players. Hillary Clinton is running for President because she’s responding to a want, need, and desire from Hillary Clinton to be President. We want a bold new agenda, not a politics as usual agenda.

Bernie supporters need to recognize this, leave the bandwagon, unite behind Hillary and show Republicans once and for all that the Democrats are an unstoppable force and will govern the White House for four more years.

In all honesty, I could give two shits about the Democratic Party. Sorry to be so blunt, but what has the Democratic Party done for anyone lately, lost a bunch of congressional and gubernatorial elections? As I see it, it’s about as financially corrupt as the GOP. I also find this last paragraph slightly insulting. The bandwagon has been gaining momentum for a reason. Do us a favor, and let us vote for the candidate who best espouses our values. From day one we’ve been told by the corporate media, who in-part funds Hillary’s campaign, that we, as Bernie supports, need to give up. He’ll never win. He’ll never beat Trump (or whoever). He’ll never succeed. The corporate media is losing their credibility. Also, don’t delude yourself into thinking that the Democrats are an unstoppable force. Every 4 years, the Democratic party clings narrowly on to a Presidential victory, or a sliver of a majority in congress. The DNC has lost touch with the voters in favor of moneyed interests. A Party that represents the people does not create a system of super-delegates to ensure that candidates that represent Wall Street don’t have to run against grass-roots candidates. If Hillary wins (especially if she wins by virtue of super-delegates), it will be the beginning of the end for the Democratic Party. Disillusioning millions of young voters will be the death of the Party.

What Am I Voting For?

Since it’s one of those big-time election years, I find myself increasingly sucked into the drama. Let me say from the outset that I’m a Bernie Sanders supporter. I thought I’d use this platform to lay out what I’m thinking.

This election campaign really started November 7th, 2012 when Barack Obama easily won re-election, setting up the stage for the inevitability of Hillary Clinton to replace him in 2016. Ah, there it is… the first time I saw “Ready for Hillary” pop up as a hashtag or whatever on Facebook. But for me, even then, Ready for Hillary was reminiscent of sitting in a dentist office waiting  room, getting ready for an unpleasant dental procedure. “The Dentist is ready for you, Ryan”. Great. I just have to get through this, it won’t be fun, but at least my teeth won’t fall out. So, yeah, I guess I was Ready for Hillary… sigh.

Now, I’ve always been a Democrat. I’ve always looked at Republican shenanigans and thought to myself: I could never be a Republican. I’m a proud Democrat. After all, it was the Democratic Party, under the leadership of President Obama, that pushed forward a bunch of legislation that benefitted me directly – the repeal of DADT (which, as a gay National Guardsman was a big deal), the Affordable Care Act (even without single payer – which I favored), and the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. These were big deals! President Obama had also pulled us out of the Great Recession, and I looked on at the encouraging numbers – job growth and economic recovery, the doubling of the DJIA, all the fiscal trend lines going up, up, up. Better times were on the horizon!

At some point last  year, about the time that a veritable zoo of GOP candidates were entering the Presidential race, I read a couple of books. One in particular, Aftershock, by Robert Reich, really opened up my eyes to what was going on behind the scenes in American politics. Granted, I’d known that the primary benefactors of the great recovery were the super-rich (or Job Creators, as the Republicans like to say), but the connection between big money and political influence became clearer and clearer. When I looked around, I could see it – most people I knew were trapped in a cycle of low wage jobs and coming out of college to find that the doors a higher eduction were supposed to open were bolted shut.

It was also around this time that I started seeing stuff floating around about a Socialist Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders. I watched some videos of his stump speeches and interviews and thought “Yes, this is my guy, this is who I want to support”. The more I learned about him, the more I liked him. But, of course, I had to search to find things about him, as the mainstream media was focused on the GOP circus and who was better able to beat Hillary. So, I figured, the best thing would just be to come out in support of Sen. Sanders and tell my friends about him. The more people learned about him, the more popular he became. I wasn’t alone – by August, Bernie Sanders was filling massive stadiums, rallying tens of thousands of people at a time. But what is it about an old, white democratic-socialist Jew that was appealing?

As it turns out, Bernie Sanders was talking about all the things that politicians have paid lip-service to, but with a record to back it up. He was also talking about the stuff I had read in Robert Reich’s books. He talked about the influence of money in politics and campaigns. Most Democrats do. Hillary does. The key difference is that Hillary has made millions on paid speeches to Wall Street, while Bernie has not. Hillary takes millions in corporate funding through SuperPACs, Bernie does not. Hillary’s campaign is funded by the media outlets that control the flow of information to voters. The DNC is led by the Hillary 2008 Campaign co-chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Conflict of interest? Um, yes. There’s also the issue of consistency. As much as she hates to admit, Hillary did support the Iraq War, she did support traditional marriage, she did support trade deals that made it easier for corporations to screw American workers out of jobs in the name of profits that benefitted the elites. Her interventionist policies as Secretary of State are another point to consider.

No one has excited me more, as a candidate, than Bernie Sanders – but I knew, just like everyone else, that securing the nomination for President was… impossible? The pundits that did discuss Bernie did so in a way that delegitimized him as a candidate while acknowledging him as an influence on the election – he’ll push Clinton to the left, he’ll give Clinton someone to debate, he’ll help maintain the illusion of a democratic process. BUT HE’S A SOCIALIST! But suddenly polls came out showing him gaining on Clinton… a few. Talking heads were quick to point out that a couple polls showing Sanders tied, or leading Clinton in Iowa and New Hampshire didn’t mean much. New Hampshire was next to Bernie’s home state of Vermont, and underdog candidates always do well in Iowa (see Rick Santorum). None of that mattered because Bernie was double digits behind in nationwide polling, and 50-60 points behind in most state polls to date. Clinton would be the nominee, no doubt about it. She was already winning by 500 or so superdelegates.

Oh, superdelegates. They were invented in the early 80’s to give more power to the DNC and political elites in the nomination process. Since the Party knows best, as DWS puts it,superdelegates are put in place to prevent the nomination of a grass-roots candidate (like Bernie). So, without the support of the obviously pro-Hillary DNC and media, Bernie Sanders has had to forge his own path by connecting directly with voters in the Sisyphean task of overcoming the monster-truck machine of the Clintons. The interviews Sanders was granted were always peppered with questions like “Will you endorse Clinton when she wins the nomination?”, “Would you be willing to be Hillary’s Vice-President?”, “Don’t you think you should drop out to unify the Party”?

Yay Democracy. These questions came at times when Bernie was actually winning states – some by overwhelming margins. He didn’t do so well in southern red states, but pulled off upset victories in the industrial Midwest, the Northeast, and the West. The media reinforced their bias by flashing headlines that painted a rosy picture of Clinton – she is still leading by hundreds of delegates. Many hundreds. Because superdelegates. While the real delegate count of pledged delegates (the ones we vote for) is 1266 to 1038, the media chooses to report the much-more-skewed 1737 to 1069 including the supers. Keep in mind that there are 4051 pledged delegates at play, and 1747 are still unaccounted for. Bernie has won 15 states to Hillary’s 20 – but 4 of those Hillary wins were statistical ties, within 2 points of each other. State-to-state they’re basically tied – not the landslide that everyone had pre-determined for Clinton. But data manipulation won’t win the race for anyone, it’s (supposedly) up to the voters to decide.

And there are big contests still to come – Wisconsin, New York, California, Oregon! The race isn’t over, and only time will tell what the ultimate outcome will be. Is it a tough road for Sanders – yes. But it’s been a tough road since the beginning. I, and millions more, will continue to support Bernie Sanders until the end. I have much more to say about this election, but I will save that for other posts.


Honesty in Politics? Honestly. Ranking the Candidates.

We all know that politicians like to make stuff up. As the 2016 presidential race heats up (go Trump, just kidding) I was curious to see who the most honest politicians currently running are. Lucky for me, Politifact, the nonpartisan, Pulitzer Prize winning website, dissects all that these hopefuls say, and determines whether it’s true or pants-on-fire false.

Politifact Scorecard
My methodology is this:  I assigned a weighted point value to each category. True – 3 Points / Mostly True – 2 Points / Half True – 1 Point // Mostly False – 1 Point / False – 2 Points / Pants on Fire – 3 Points. The points are multiplied by the number of statements in each category. In this case – Trues 48, 52, 21 and Falses 24, 28, 6. Then, I added up the “Trues” and the “Falses”, and subtracted the Falses from the Trues to get the baseline score.  In this example, 121 – 58 = 63. I then standardized the score by dividing the baseline score by the total number of statements. Here, it’s 63/103 = .611. I multiplied by 100 to get the final score 61.1.

The scores can range from -300 (total liar) to 300 (always true). I repeated this methodology for all of the candidates to find who is most honest (or at least makes the most true statements).

As it turns out, Jim Webb is the most “honest” candidate with a score of 188.8. Donald Trump, believe it or not, is the least “honest” candidate with a score of -134.8. In fact, Trump doesn’t have a single completely true statement on file at Poltifact. Here’s how everyone did. Those whose lines go to the right of the centerline tend to tell the truth more in public statements.


Just for fun, I also calculated Sarah Palin, who was pretty center at -0.80, President Obama, with a solid 101.2, and my favorite politician Michele Bachmann with a whopping -115.0.

Update: I forgot Rand Paul. He scores a 73.8. There are too many Republican candidates to keep track of.

So, next time you hear a candidate say anything, you’ll know who to believe.