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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.

 

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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.

 

A new feature film. More zombies, more cats.

Greetings!

I have written a new movie. Actually, it’s my first feature film script. It’s called Zombie Cats from Mars, and it’s currently in production. It’s also the craziest thing I’ve ever done. Here’s the timeline:

October 29th: Montetré and I are helping Rob Taylor move some giant trees for his film The Mad Scientist. We are talking about Glare. We discuss how hard it is funding art. I recall the premier of Holed-Up and how, after our premier there was a line around the block to see a collection of internet cat videos. I said “Why do we try so hard making a good movie? We could do Zombie Cats from Mars, and everyone would want to see it”. The idea was born.

October 30th: 3am – we had a plot outline, and Josh Mackey had drawn up a promo poster. We had an ad on Craigslist for actors. What?

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October 30th: 10am – work began on the script. It took about a week to write the initial script. Montetré made some good suggestions, adding some crucial plot elements to the story. The final script was complete by December 2nd.

November 5th: The initial castings were complete. Throughout November we worked on pre-production, securing a crew, finding locations and finalizing the cast. We also contact Marci Koski, feline behavior specialist and volunteer with Furry Friends – a no-kill cat rescue organization.

November 25th: We launch our Kickstarter.

December 2nd: We acquire fake cat paws from Toys “R” Us.

December 6th: We begin shooting the movie, and it looks awesome!

So, there you have it!

Check out our: Facebook, Twitter, and Kickstarter!

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Thank you, Goats

Greetings!

For those of you who know me, you know that a few years ago, I opened a coffeehouse called Lents Commons. A started it with a Craigslist-sourced business partner and a bunch of saved up Army bonus money. I had been inspired to open a creative-space/coffee house after working on Pickled, a film by Montetré. Having been a lifelong dream, I embarked on creating a space in which coffee would support art. I discovered a big, vacant corner store in a neighborhood that I had never stepped foot into. The rent was cheap, and the opportunity was there, so I went for it. A few months later I was the owner of an expansive coffeehouse wedged between a crumbing dive bar (and not the good kind of dive bar), a crumbing… whatever you want to call the New Copper Penny, and a gas station. Long story short, after two years, I found myself consumed with the minutiae of running a not-so-successful business with little time for anything else. But in the process, I had discovered a community existed in this oft-maligned part of Portland – a community who wanted good things to happen.

A recent article in the Willamette Week talks about the unrealized potential of Lents Town Center. This is the same potential I thought I was going to be a part of back in 2010 when I started work on the coffeehouse. We had the farmer’s market, art co-op, coffeehouse, MAX Greenline, and $96-million to throw at making Lents the next Belmont. Big projects would happen, so I thought – a New Seasons, a mixed use development in the old ballpark, maybe some new retailers and office space. The mayor even showed us a neat video with new 3 and 4 story buildings plopped on top of where (we all wish) the New Copper Penny used to be. But all I see are big holes – the PDC wiping the slate clean, preparing for the development that for sure will one day spring up. How I miss the Rapery… at least a physical standing structure made the intersection feel a little less like Ground Zero.

But while the pace of neighborhood development can, at best, be described as glacial, there are signs of life. The strip of storefronts to the north of Lents Commons did get a facelift. Riley’s did become the Eagle Eye, complete with a proprietor who cares about the neighborhood. At least there is somewhere to go. I see tiny libraries and a tool library. Lents Commons’ space is now a juice bar – maybe not ideal, but it’s better than nothing.

BUT THERE’S NO COFFEE. Ok, you can get coffee at Chevron, at El Pato Feliz, at Olivers, at the Eagle Eye. Heck, probably even at the Old Copper Penny. Sorry, New Copper Penny – at least in the parking lot. One of the things I loved about Portland was the ability to throw a rock and hit a coffee shop no matter what intersection you were standing at. I loved spending my morning, drinking excessive amounts of caffeine, reading the New Yorker, and interacting with the neighborhood people. For me, the neighborhood coffeehouse was the ground-zero of community, and my failure at maintaining a coffeeshop is probably why Lents is a series of vacant lots fronted by bio-swales.

So, I failed at catapulting Lents into becoming the next Belmont. But soon, Lents will have something that Belmont won’t have… GOATS! I see this as the first step in transforming Lents into the neighborhood we all want it to be. I must be a part of it.

After escaping from Lents Commons, I took some time to recover. Working 12-hours-a-day, 7 days a week tends to burn a person out. I went on road trips, went to national parks, I went to Burning Man. I finished college with two degrees (community development and geography), I produced a feature film and I realized… I needed to be able to pay the rent. I went to work at our lovely, local Fred Meyer, where I got to see many of my old LC customers. But even being a manager (or Person in Charge, as it were), I detest the fact that I’m working my ass off to enable the CEO of Kroger to make more in 4 hours than they pay me in a year. Granted, Freddy’s gave me the opportunity to not become homeless, and it is nice getting a meager paycheck every Friday, it’s not fulfilling. Enough time has passed that I can look back on the days of LC and think, maybe I wasn’t making a killing, but I was part of something more important. But I think the most valuable education I received in the last four years wasn’t from PSU, but from being a struggling small business owner.

As I move forward, it’s important to understand the past. What was wrong with Lents Commons? It didn’t start with the right focus. The ridiculous theatre concept never paid off (the one theatre tenant we did have stiffed us on a major portion of their fees), the lack of a proper HVAC system turned the space into a defacto oven in the summer (not good when your business was selling coffee), lack of parking, unreliable hours, personnel issues, low profit margins on food, and the sheer expansiveness of the space created a sparsely populated, unwelcoming environment. It was trying to be too many things: a music venue, a bar, a coffeeshop, a restaurant, a gallery, but it was never really set up to succeed at any one thing, but that’s not for lack of involvement from the community. It was wonderful to see people who cared set up improv nights, open mic nights, poetry nights, etc. But a business is a business and all of the community stuff happening doesn’t matter much when you can’t pay the gas bill.

So, now we have goats. Seeing everyone get excited about goats made me think that there is a shimmer of hope for this community. The goats are a sign of progress – of something happening. It makes me want to make something happen, to be part of the community again. The goats, the tool library, the farmers’ market, miniature libraries, the Eagle Eye, the grocery co-op, a community is an aggregate of all these things and more, but it’s lacking that coffeehouse in which to gather and share ideas, and that’s what I want, even if only for the purely selfish reason that I love coffee. Aside from waving at people at Freddy’s, I haven’t felt like part of the community. I consider getting involved, and going to meetings where people talk about the things they want to see, but for me, creating a place makes me feel included.

I have considered a location and concept for a coffeeshop. The focus is coffee and pie. I’ve talked to a baker. I want to create a much more intimate space, make it nice, capitalized, and consistent. Simple. Coffee and pie, a community bookshelf and a decent selection of magazines (the kind with more words than pictures). By the slice, or whole. Good pies, handmade. No cans of pumpkin puree, the real deal. I have begun work on a business plan, and will be seeking input of the community as to what they want to see in a neighborhood business. I want to apply the lessons that I learned with LC and apply them to a new venture that meets the needs of the community while paying my rent, and freeing myself from the shackles of big-corporate-grocery. I want to create jobs for the community, and I want to contribute to the success of Lents.

Call me crazy.