Conscience Voting

People are confused about my political views. They’re not the only ones. I’ve been in the middle of  a political identity crisis for a few years now.

I was a teenage anarchist, looking for a revolution.
I had the style, I had the ambition.
I read all the authors, I knew the right slogans.
There was no war but the class war.
I was ready to set the world on fire.
I was a teenage anarchist, looking for a revolution.

Do you remember when you were young and you wanted to set the world on fire?

Thank you, Laura Jane Grace,for providing lyrical narration to my very first political identity. That’s who I was. In my early twenties I went through this weird part of life I cringe thinking about. I became a Mama in my teen years (unrelated to anarchy but I can see why one might try to connect it). I was frustrated by “you don’t look old enough to be a mother” and all the criticism that gets heaped on teen moms without foundation so I did this awful thing and conformed to what a grown ass mother is supposed to be like. Ugh, yeah. I conformed. I wanted my motherhood to be respected and honored like mainstream women. I thought that if I looked like I had my shit together and acted like what was expected by socially accepted models, I’d get it. I know now that I totally had my shit together ,was kickass at the parenting gig, and didn’t need to look a certain way to prove it. I know that now. Thank the gods I got that figured out. Doctor, please get in the TARDIS and travel back to 21 year old me and explain that to her.Make her burn that Ms Suzy Creamcheese dress with the sunflowers on it that she wore all the time while you’re at it.

Part of conforming was registering to vote. My resistance to voting feels alien to me now and I’m glad that I’ve found people on the web who also feel anarchism and voting can be paired. I do still in part cling to Emma Goldman’s idea that “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal” but I’m also a autodidactic student of history and I know better than that. Which is not to say I’m not aware of the flaws and think voting should do more than it actually does. I am too aware. That’s a huge part of my struggle at the moment.

I do still love Emma Goldman. If I had the money right now I’d go get Emma Goldman’s face tattooed on my arm. Sadly I can’t find a tat parlor that accepts my EBT card as payment. If any fox news folks have any leads, hook me up. I would be extra delighted to pay for it with government money. I love irony (and sarcasm).

As I’m creeping into age, I’m feeling my anarchist roots more and more. I’m trying to come to terms with this while also recognizing that there’s this system in place that I hate and instead of fighting it, I need to find ways to work within it. I don’t know what that looks like for me right now.

I was raised in part by a patriarchal figure who was a Reaganite and passionate about politics. We did not agree on anything politically but I cried the other day thinking about how I wish he were still on earth to argue with about this election. Maybe we wouldn’t argue. Maybe we’d discuss things instead of yelling a lot like we used to.
I think he would be horrified by Trump being an actual candidate. He would never vote for Hillary either. Not in a million years. I imagine most of our fights would be because he said something sexist about Hillary and I’d have to jump on that. We’d agree on not wanting to vote for her though. In my ghostly imaginings, I’m glad he and I find common ground on this.

Hillary Clinton is not my candidate. I can leave that statement there without clarifying. I’m an educated and informed voter. I do not feel that Hillary Clinton is a candidate that represents me. These statements are not a request for one of her supporters to enlighten me. I understand what I’m saying. I’m not smarter or more moral than her supporters, nor are they smarter and have higher morality than I do. They have their reasons for wanted to declare they’re with her, I have my reasons for not. You do you, I do me.

There are plenty of people who aren’t really with her but they’re going to vote for her anyway. This is one part of voting that I just can’t even with right now. Because it really isn’t supposed to be this way.

That Reaganite who raised me? My grandfather. The first presidential election I voted in, it was no secret he and I were voting differently. That Election Day, we drove to our polling place together. Before we got out of the car he said, “Well, I guess here we go to cancel each other’s vote. It’s ok. You have to vote your conscience. That’s what you’re supposed to do.”

I know. I know. Here in America, most people aren’t afforded the luxury of actually voting their conscience. You have to vote for the person who is against the person you hate the most. I get it.I really do. In this election, it’s especially scary to think of Trump getting into The Oval Office. The other day I imagined a Trump presidency and felt ok for a minute realizing that he would screw up badly in the infancy of his term and be effortlessly impeached . Then I realized that Trump being impeached would mean Pence would take office and that is terrifying . Unlike Trump, Pence has actual experience legislating discrimination and public policy that harms people.

Some recent polls of Millennials reveal that more than half are interested in being third party voters.  The commentary on this is that it proves that Millennials are selfish little pricks who don’t give a shit. I’m the mother of three Millennials (wait,no….FIVE if I include my step kids) and I disagree. They are interested in third party candidates because they do give a shit. They see two candidates who aren’t ideal . They’re looking for an alternative.They want actual change.

The rest of registered voters are listening to the chant of the Democrats explaining that a vote for a third party is a vote for Voldemort. (Sorry. I hate typing that orange guy’s name. It makes me nauseous.) Some of these voters will definitely fall in line and become “Girl, guess I’m with her” voters.  A lot of those voters are not going to vote at all. They will stay home because they’ve been made to believe that voting any way other than Democrat or Republican is a wasted vote.

And I know. I know. This is a scary election. The uncertainty makes us unwilling to take the risk. It doesn’t help that the main third party candidates might not seem qualified to most or that thanks to media, we just don’t know enough about them. So, I get it. I’m not saying this is the election to shake things up by putting a third party candidate in office but let’s not rule it out for the future,ok? It has happened before. Lincoln was technically a third party candidate when he was elected.

I am currently an undecided voter. Maybe I’ll vote for Hillary. Maybe it’ll be a third party candidate. Maybe I’ll write in Emma Goldman. I have no idea.I don’t think I’m alone. I do know that no matter what the outcome, we’re all in this together and there will still be work that needs done.Maybe there’s an advantage in accepting the idea that no matter who is elected, it won’t be someone I want to be President. It keep me ready to fight , ready to stand up for things that need standing up for. People stay on their toes and become active pugilists in the heat of an election year only to fade into complacency once the election cycle comes to an end. Participation in democracy can’t be cyclical. It has to be a  never ending commitment with eyes wide open.



“I Want A Dyke For President” (1992) by Zoe Leonard, artist, activist, member of Fierce Pussy



“Fuck the Poor” – Paul Ryan



No, not an actual quote from Paul. At least not publicly.
This video is a social experiment conducted by The Pillion Trust Charity.
I was way ahead of the punchline. I see this every single day.

“We knew you cared. Please care enough to give.

Not that everyone CAN give but hey, pennies add up and nearly everyone has spare change.

Speaking of pennies…




This is the Memorial to the Missing and contains over 50,000,000 pennies to represent the lives of each American child abandoned to abortion by a society and a culture that has embraced their destruction. We must prevent the need to add to this memorial. Take a stand. Get involved.
 ”How we treat the least of us defines us.”

"should I use this $500k to help struggling parents and pregnant people or should I put it in a glass box"

can somebody break this and give it to some real live kids who are actually starving right now

oh yes, let’s make a memorial to remember the lives that never had conscious thought
let’s make a memorial using real money to represent lives that made absolutely no impact on the earth whatsoever 
let’s just waste all this money in a useless box and start shoving prolife down people’s throats
instead of actually taking a chance to listen to
the teenagers that made a mistake
the people who were violated, and had heavier consequences than the scars in their mind
the people that didnt know better
the people that couldnt afford it
the people that didnt want it
the people that chose not suffer their lives and the child’s life 
lets build a giant reminder to why humans are not allowed to make their own choices based on biological factors they cannot control
lets also just waste a fuck ton of money for no reason. 

This is a glass house a anti-choice organization filled with $500k , all in pennies. It’s a memorial to aborted fetuses. Huh. I don’t think you can really call yourself pro-life (hence, my term anti-choice) if you hoard pennies as symbolism instead of using that $500K to help struggling families who have children living on this planet.

People are strange.

Ok, now back to Paul Ryan. I keep hoping he’ll just go away. Instead, he proposes budgets that cut everything that ever helped a low income America living in poverty, and to get out of poverty. If made into law, it would  cut $5.1 trillion from safety net and social welfare programs, like  Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps, college grants, medical research….

He does so out of love,you guys! This is how the poor will be elevated out of poverty. Don’t worry about the lack of logic behind it. Trust him. It’s all for your own good.

Yeah, I think he really needs to go away now.

Embedded image permalink


(I know,I know…I was supposed to clean up my language for this blog. Allow me one cursing post per week. That’s all I need)

3.25.14: The Republicans want MORE food stamp cuts

News,thoughts, and going-ons…


The Republicans have the balls to be asking for more cuts to SNAP. Yes,really.

In this 5 minute segment, Bernie Sanders lays out the picture of poverty in the U.S. right now and the insanity of the Republican party’s agenda. “It’s ugly”, he says. There isn’t a better way to put it. Inequality is widening and the immoral Right just push their class warfare deeper and deeper.

Al Sharpton  touches on the gross suggestions that poor kids work for their free lunch ,too.

These people are so disgusting. They purposefully are causing the media vilification of poor people. They actually pay trolls to create the focus on blaming the poor and distract from the true issues. 10 red states are also the poorest and have the most people who need food stamps.

I just can’t even….



Fullscreen capture 3252014 104025 AM


Tell it, Prof.

via one-mandrinkinggamess




Rising inequality forever? Thomas Piketty’s sweeping account of the “central contradiction of capitalism”
t’s a long read but worth it. An excerpt:

Piketty believes that the rise in inequality can’t be understood independently of politics. For his new book, he chose a title evoking Marx, but he doesn’t think that capitalism is doomed, or that ever-rising inequality is inevitable. There are circumstances, he concedes, in which incomes can converge and the living standards of the masses can increase steadily—as happened in the so-called Golden Age, from 1945 to 1973. But Piketty argues that this state of affairs, which many of us regard as normal, may well have been a historical exception. The “forces of divergence can at any point regain the upper hand, as seems to be happening now, at the beginning of the twenty-first century,” he writes. And, if current trends continue, “the consequences for the long-term dynamics of the wealth distribution are potentially terrifying.”

In the nineteen-fifties, the average American chief executive was paid about twenty times as much as the typical employee of his firm. These days, at Fortune 500 companies, the pay ratio between the corner office and the shop floor is more than two hundred to one, and many C.E.O.s do even better. In 2011, Apple’s Tim Cook received three hundred and seventy-eight million dollars in salary, stock, and other benefits, which was sixty-two hundred and fifty-eight times the wage of an average Apple employee. A typical worker at Walmart earns less than twenty-five thousand dollars a year; Michael Duke, the retailer’s former chief executive, was paid more than twenty-three million dollars in 2012. The trend is evident everywhere. According to a recent report by Oxfam, the richest eighty-five people in the world—the likes of Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Carlos Slim—own more wealth than the roughly 3.5 billion people who make up the poorest half of the world’s population.

Eventually, Piketty says, we could see the reëmergence of a world familiar to nineteenth-century Europeans; he cites the novels of Austen and Balzac. In this “patrimonial society,” a small group of wealthy rentiers lives lavishly on the fruits of its inherited wealth, and the rest struggle to keep up. For the United States, in particular, this would be a cruel and ironic fate. “The egalitarian pioneer ideal has faded into oblivion,” Piketty writes, “and the New World may be on the verge of becoming the Old Europe of the twenty-first century’s globalized economy.”

What are the “forces of divergence” that produce enormous riches for some and leave the majority scrabbling to make a decent living? Piketty is clear that there are different factors behind stagnation in the middle and riches at the top. But, during periods of modest economic growth, such as the one that many advanced economies have experienced in recent decades, income tends to shift from labor to capital. Because of enmeshed economic, social, and political pressures, Piketty fears “levels of inequality never before seen.”

djlineEven NASA is concerned that the rising inequality gap

Natural and social scientists develop new model of how ‘perfect storm’ of crises could unravel global system


Now excuse me while I go pack my bug-out bag and go hole up in the woods.


Petition to the President to end hunger

When We Deliver Our Petition to the White House Will Your Name Be Included? – Bread Blog

Next Wednesday, I will attend a meeting at the White House and hand-deliver Bread for the World’s petition. We are asking President Obama to set a goal and work with Congress to end hunger.

More than 25,000 people have signed thus far, but we want the strongest possible showing for this meeting with White House staff. Help us get to 30,000 signatures! Please take a moment to add your name to this effort by signing the petition. Once you sign, we’ll keep you updated on our efforts.

Let’s show the president that the movement to end hunger has momentum. Let’s show him that there’s a strong constituency waiting for him to speak up about poverty.

Together we can compel our leaders to show moral courage and work to end hunger. That’s why we started this petition, and that’s why we need your voice.

God’s grace in Jesus Christ moves us to help our neighbors, whether they live in the next house, the next state, or on the next continent. Adding your name to the petition is a simple but powerful way to help your neighbors. Speak out against hunger just as the Hebrew prophets spoke out against injustice in their time.

I invite you to stand with us by signing the petition. I would be honored to bring your name with me to the White House next week.

LaVida Davis is Bread for the World’s director of organizing and grassroots capacity building.

If you can get 10 of your friends to sign, we’ll send you a pack of 10 Bread for the World Christmas cards to say “thank you.” The deadline for signatures is 11:59 p.m. on Monday, August 5. Your friends can indicate that you referred them when signing the petition. You can use Bread’s online petition recruiting page or share the petition usingFacebook.

Tianna Gaines-Turner’s testimony as a witness to hunger and Melissa Harris-Perry’s letter to Paul Ryan

I talked a little bit about Paul Ryan’s “War on Poverty” hearings here and the lack of real knowledge of poverty represented. Melissa Harris -Perry addresses exactly that and his committee’s refusal to allow Tianna Gaines-Turner to testify about her firsthand knowledge of poverty. You can read her written testimony here.

After she was not allowed to testify in person, Tianna Gaines-Turner of Witnesses to Hunger sent in written testimony to Rep. Paul Ryan and the House Budget Committee about her family's current experience living in poverty.

Melissa Harris-Perry’s letter to Paul Ryan

Last week on this show, U.S. Representative Barbara Lee said she would ask the House Budget Committee chair to invite our guest, Tianna Gaines-Turner, to testify about anti-poverty programs. Tianna is a “Witness to Hunger” and a married mother of three who receives food stamps and other federal benefits to help make ends meet.

But the Republican chairman of the committee refused to have Tianna at his “war on poverty” hearing. My letter this week is to that chairman, Congressman Paul Ryan.

Dear Congressman Ryan,

It’s me, Melissa.

Look, it’s great that you had a hearing on poverty. That you asked whether we’ve made any progress in the “war on poverty” in the past 50 years. I’m glad you had four experts on poverty programs, including our favorite nun-on-the-busSister Simone Campbell.

But you know what would have been a hell of a lot better? If you heard from someone who’s actually living in poverty! Someone who’s working, and still struggling to feed and clothe her children, and to afford health care. Here’s the kind of thing you may have heard from Tianna,describing her life on our show in May:

“Food insecurity is not just a depression or a stress for an adult. It’s very much on the minds of young children every day. And I don’t understand how people can sit and sleep, knowing there’s a child somewhere, 8 years old, 4 years old,  worrying about, is my mom gonna eat?”

You had the chance to hear her, Congressman Ryan. But you refused, only allowing Representative Barbara Lee to enter Tianna’s written comments into the record. Would things have been different if she was there? Would you have been able to look Tianna in the eye while telling her that you care about the poor?

At the start of the hearing, you said you want to find ways to lift people out of poverty. You said:

“This is about improving people’s lives. In this country, the condition of your birth shouldn’t determine the outcome of your life. If you work hard and play by the rules, you can get ahead. That’s something we all believe in. That’s something we all care about.”

But your budget proposals paint a very different picture. Your so-called “Path to Prosperity” budget would cut $135 billion from SNAP.  You know, the food stamp program that helps feed 22 million American households a month. Let’s put that in perspective. That’s more than six times the amount House Republicans proposed cutting in their farm bill this earlier year.

Even that much smaller cut–$20.5 billion, to your $135 billion–would be devastating to American families.

According to a new study by the Health Impact Project, the (comparatively small!) $20.5 billion cut could result in 5.1 million people losing their food stamps, including more than one million children. Hundreds of thousands of Americans would go hungry. Is that something that we all believe in, congressman?

The study also found that the SNAP cuts in the farm bill–again, a tiny fraction of the cuts youwant–would increase the poverty rate. Not exactly lifting people out of poverty. And that an increase in hunger and poverty would lede directly to an increase in diseases like diabetes and heart disease in adults, and asthma and cognitive impairment in children.

Tell me, congressman, how exactly that’s “improving people’s lives.” And your plan doesn’t even save any money! The increase in diabetes alone could cost $15 billion more in health costs over the next decade. And the impact from the cuts you want, Congressman Ryan–it would be six times worse.

Could you look Tianna Gaines-Turner in the eye and say you want to improve her life, while taking away the means to feed her family? Could you keep a straight face? Since you refused to allow her at your poverty hearing, I’m guessing not.






The War on Poverty…the war on the hungry (and other recent news bits)

Poverty in the news .

One Wisconsin food stamp bill signed while a second remains stalled – That junk food bill Scott Walker introduced is flawed and therefore, faltering. with the new proposal that prohibits more than 15% of groceries brought with EBT from being spent on “unhealthy” food, there are far too many limitations on what can be purchased. The foods that qualify as healthy are only the foods that can be purchased with WIC, which is a limited list.

Georgia food stamp rolls grow

Over 15% of America was on Food Stamps in April 2013

Paul Ryan organized The War on Poverty: A Progress Report , in which he  stated that we are losing the war on poverty and need to know why…then called witnesses for the Republicans who made it obvious that they don’t know the first thing about poverty and probably shouldn’t be talking in the first place. University of Maryland professor Doug Besharov, director of the American Enterprise Institute’s Social and Individual Responsibility Project was there to talk about the incentives to get people out of poverty ….but he doesn’t even know what the minimum wage is in the country. The only Democratic witness was a nun, Sister Simone, who defended The Safety Net (welfare programs) and was asked questions about the morality of feeding people.

As David R Henson writes in The Shameful Neighbor: Food Stamps, Stereotypes and the War on the Hungry     “There is no war on poverty in this country. There is no war on hunger.Instead, there is a war on the poor and a war on the hungry.”

-In another article I read this week about poverty being at “shocking” levels, a Professor seemed to think that as the race ratio of poverty balances and more white folks become impoverished, the issue will receive mainstream attention and see solutions manifest. As Hensen points out, the poor are vilified as being lazy, good for nothing , failures and burdens on society that are shamed and ridiculed. I see this happen with poor people, period. The race balance isn’t going to change that.

NYC Mayoral Candidates Talk Food Stamps and School Lunches   I think if I was a New Yorker, I’d pay attention to this in the interest of not ending up with another Bloomberg.

Wal-Mart costs taxpayers about $900,000/year due to low wages – I don’t know if it’s practice anymore but at one point, Wal Mart would routinely urge employees to apply for medicaid and food stamps.

This is fairly true for every fast food and big box corporation. Detroit’s Moo Cluck Moo and Trader Joe’s  are great examples of the exception that should be looked at and emulated,