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Firebrand Left http://firebrandleft.com Sun, 11 Dec 2016 01:39:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.3 Welcome to Washington, President Pence http://firebrandleft.com/welcome-to-washington-president-pence/ http://firebrandleft.com/welcome-to-washington-president-pence/#respond Sat, 10 Dec 2016 20:57:28 +0000 http://firebrandleft.com/?p=3241 I could never figure out why Donald Trump would want to be president. He flummoxed me further when he stopped taking his daily national security ...

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I could never figure out why Donald Trump would want to be president. He flummoxed me further when he stopped taking his daily national security briefings while Mike Pence is. Now, I get it. Trump wanted to win because he doesn’t care about running the country. He cares about winning, being the center of attention and making money.

My prediction is that Trump will be president in name only and Pence will run the policy. Trump will spend his days using the White House to make more money. Pence will have free reign to handle all the policy decisions.




This sounds paranoid but I have evidence. Look to the cabinet he is putting together. Trump said he did not want to privatize Medicare yet Congressman Tom Price (R-GA), the nominee for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has adopted House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan, which does just that. Under Ryan’s plan, seniors will be given vouchers and left to fend for themselves. Trump also said he wanted a health care plan that let people with pre-existing health conditions stay on their insurance plan. Price has authored a replacement to Obamacare that specifically doesn’t have that.

Despite wanting to “Drain the Swamp,” all of the people that Trump has selected for top positions are Washington insiders whose political ideology mirrors Pence’s. From Reince Priebus to Senator Jeff Sessions and Congressman Tom Price, Trump is surrounding himself with people who are very comfortable working in the swamp known as Washington, DC. People point to his decision to include Steve Bannon in his inner circle as bringing in outsiders, but many don’t think Bannon is the outsider he claims to be. He has bragged that his website, Breitbart, was a “platform for the alt right” and some think he was using that to get himself into a position like the one he has now. Before he supported Trump, he was a big supporter of Sarah Palin. If Trump wants to “drain the swamp,” he needs to make some different choices.

Some other people Trump is putting forward show just how little he cares about policy. Palin has been floated to be the Secretary of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Some say this is because her “brand” has been linked to veterans because her son is a veteran and Trump is very interested in appearances and brands. Similarly, Ben Carson, who admitted he is not qualified to run an agency when he turned down the Health and Human Services slot, was just tappned to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development. No, a team of rivals this is not.  Trump may not care about policy but Pence does. He will be expected to pick up a lot of the pieces.

This also explains how Pence, a staunch conservative who is deeply religious and believes we should spend money on gay conversion therapy, could stand by when tapes emerged of Trump talking about assaulting women and watching 16 year-old girls change before his pageants. He was loyal because he knew it would be worth it.

For Trump’s part, he has told many people that he can have whatever conflict of interest that he wants. While he is not taking his security briefing, he is spending his days talking to dozens of world leaders. From having his daughter, Ivanka, in the meeting with the Japanese prime minister to hawking his hotels from government servers (and every stop along the campaign trail) he is showing already that he cares more about making money than policy.

As for his need for attention, that’s what the tweets are all about. Trump’s need for attention and a scary view into the only government talk he will care about; silencing his political critics. At rallies he talked about beating up protesters and “shutting down parts of the internet,” and in tweets he muses about stripping the citizenship of flag burners. And if you add in his admiration of Vladimir Putin, he doesn’t want to be president, he wants to be King.

Trump’s actions and statements have already sent one company out of the country. The Way Back Machine, the site that was basically the library of the internet, has said it does not feel safe here anymore.

“On November 9th in America, we woke up to a new administration promising radical change,” the Internet Archive’s blog post reads. “It was a firm reminder that institutions like ours, built for the long-term, need to design for change. For us, it means keeping our cultural materials safe, private and perpetually accessible. It means preparing for a Web that may face greater restrictions. It means serving patrons in a world in which government surveillance is not going away; indeed it looks like it will increase.”




If I am wrong, there will be vigorous debates about the future of health care and Medicare reform. If I am right, both will sail through the House of Representatives and only be stopped by a filibuster.

I hope I am wrong.

Featured Image by Gage Skidmore, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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Americans Are Not Disposable http://firebrandleft.com/americans-not-disposable-gun-control-saves-lives/ http://firebrandleft.com/americans-not-disposable-gun-control-saves-lives/#respond Sat, 24 Sep 2016 19:04:00 +0000 http://firebrandleft.com/?p=3196 A few days ago, I was talking to a fiend about the recent police shootings of unarmed black men in Oklahoma and North Carolina and ...

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black-lives-matter_2A few days ago, I was talking to a fiend about the recent police shootings of unarmed black men in Oklahoma and North Carolina and the protests that followed. She made a comment that went along the lines of “People think this is the worst it has been but it was worse under slavery, it was worse when people were being lynched all over the United States. Things may be bumpy now but it was worse. People do not remember that because they are only seeing what is happening today.”




While that is true, we do not live in the past, we live in the present, it is hard to feel that things are “better” when you know that you or the people you care about can be killed by the police for a host of reasons that make no sense.

They have actually added a few new ways in lieu of recent events but the point is the same. It is hard to see things as being better when you are looking at life through the prism of not being safe from this kind of violence anywhere you go. When a person who has been suspected of planting homemade bombs in two states can have a shoot out with police officers, get hit 10 or 11 times and survive, you have to wonder why these innocent and unarmed people are dead. I am no firearms expert nor do I know everything about law enforcement techniques but it seems to me that the police should have an option somewhere between nothing and lethal force.


We have to do better.

When you think about the idea that “things are better now…” You can apply that to the rights we give the LGBT community. Now that same sex marriage is legal, things are better but… it is sill legal to be fired for being gay.


It matters little if you can get married if doing so will get you fired. New laws in places like North Carolina that dictate what public restrooms people can use are both horribly discriminatory but  meet the criteria of being a solution in search of a problem if there ever was one. Republican lawmakers have been on the wrong side of this issue for a long time but comments like some made by Florida Congressman Ted Yoho do not help. He said:

“If I feel like a dog today and I want to urinate on a tree outside, can I do that because I felt like a dog? I mean, that’s kind of where we’re going,” he said. “Boys are boys, girls are girls. And the ones that are in between, you know, I’m [going to] be real insensitive, but there’s bathrooms that have both men and women on them. It doesn’t have to get involved in the…national debate.”

You can watch this exchange here:

Things have gotten better for this community but we must do better.

When you look at the history of how women have been treated in the United States, it is easy to think that, “you’ve come a long way, baby.” In 2016, women do not make the same amount of money for their work as their male counterparts do. In 2009, the very first bill that President Obama signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Act that made it illegal to pay women less but the fact is, it still happens. In terms of other problems women face at work, you only have to look to the recent problems with Riger Ailes at FOX News. He was forced out because Gretchen Carlson was smart enough to record her conversations with her boss. It is sad that this is something that we have to do in 2016 (it is also sad that I agree with Carlson on anything).

Violence agains women is another problem that may be better now than it was but one in six women is raped or has been the victim of attempted rape in the United States. One in three women is the victim of domestic violence (men are also victimizes, one in four men will be abused this way). One problem I had with George W. Bush was his appointment of the “Concerned Women for America” to watch over the enforcement of the Violence Against Women Act. They think the act should be repealed because it has “special protections for homosexuals.” They have also been instrumental in the defeat of the ratification of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, which basically says, “We do not support child abuse.”

I lived in New York City when America’s Mayor Rudy Giuliani was in charge. During that time, Amadou Diallo was shot 41 times by the police when he reached for his wallet. One of those officers was later promotedAbner Louima was brutally sodomized by the police after he was arrested. I remember one instance where the police broke down the wrong door in a home in the Bronx. Giuliani’s response was pretty much, “shit happens.” I was more afraid of the police than I was of the criminals.

It is not enough to be in a “better” place than we were 10, 20, 30, 100 years ago. We need to be in a better place than we are today. It is not acceptable for people to live in fear of their government. Doesn’t the famous Thomas Jefferson quote go, “When the people fear the government, there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is democracy.” We need a little more democracy and a little less tyranny, doncha think?

As long as we treat any people like they as disposable, we are all disposable.

Here are the last words for some of these victims.

Photo by MDGovpics



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This Is How Genocide Starts http://firebrandleft.com/this-is-how-genocide-starts/ http://firebrandleft.com/this-is-how-genocide-starts/#respond Sat, 24 Sep 2016 16:55:54 +0000 http://firebrandleft.com/?p=3181 Over the past few days, I have been spending some time over at a pro-Donald Trump Facebook group. While I have found a lot of ...

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Over the past few days, I have been spending some time over at a pro-Donald Trump Facebook group. While I have found a lot of things I have heard Donald Trump say to be upsetting, frightening or just plan confusing, nothing I have heard him say comes even close to what his supporters say. They say the United States constitution is “outdated.” They do, support the Second Amendment but the rest was written by people who did not have to deal with modern day terrorism. This is how they justify hating Muslims. Islam, they say, is not a religion but a political ideology.


screen-shot-2016-09-24-at-11-13-03-am

This is not helpful for any real conversation but that is not the real problem. While I do not think it is appropriate to define 1.6 billion people this way but that is not the real problem either. The problem is not even that anti-Muslim rhetoric makes gives the extremists more ammunition to use against us or that it makes it harder to fight terrorism. The problem is that when you start defining this way, we are taking the first step towards genocide. That’s not the America I think we want to live in.
You may be thinking, “That’s pretty extreme.” It is but there is something that people do not realize about genocide. If you look at the phenomenon across centuries and continents, you will see genocide follows a predicable pattern. From Armenia and Germany to Rwanda and the Sudan and then to Cambodia, there are ten steps all of these genocides follow. They are (per Genocide Watch):

  1. Classification
  2. Symbolization
  3. Discrimination
  4. Dehumanization
  5. Organization
  6. Polarization
  7. Preparation
  8. Persecution
  9. Extermination
  10. Denial

We are hovering somewhere between step one and three. We have not quite gotten to the point of actual discrimination but there are measures that have passed or considered to ban Sharia law in all but 16 American states. Who is behind all of this? A number of high profile Republicans such as Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann have spearheaded the “anti-Sharia” movement.


This belief, that Americans need to be protected from Muslims, has been advanced by the Trump campaign. HIs famous promises to build walls along the Mexican but not Canadian border and to ban entry by Muslims advance the cause of racism and Islamophobia. We need to be protected from what we see as “them.” Americans are Christian (and sometimes Jewish). That’s the ‘us.” Muslims are not true Americans who pay their taxes, love their families and serve in our military, they are outsiders to be feared and demonized.

Trump and his supporters point out the recent attacks throughout Europe, in Orlando and in New York and New Jersey. They do not mention the fact that the gunman in Orlando was born in New York nor do they talk about the Oklahoma City bombing by a United States born terrorist or the multitudes of shootings by Americans. No one was talking about religion when they looked at the massacres in Sandy Hook, Columbine or at 101 California Street. We are not being killed in mass numbers by Muslims coming into the country. We are too busy killing ourselves.

The problem with the people who think, and my feeling is that they really believe the things they are saying, that we are facing an existential threat. Adolph Hitler really believed that the world was engaged in an epic battle for survival against the Jews.  When people say things like, “there are no good Muslims and bad Muslims…” they are reading right out of the Nazi Germany playbook:

This is not what this country is all about. We cannot become complicit to the mentality that is promoted by the Trump supporters. We are better than that. I hope.

Photo by Gage Skidmore

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Five Years Later, Occupy Wall Street Has Changed America In Big Ways http://firebrandleft.com/five-years-later-occupy-wall-street-changed-america-big-ways/ http://firebrandleft.com/five-years-later-occupy-wall-street-changed-america-big-ways/#respond Sat, 17 Sep 2016 20:28:33 +0000 http://firebrandleft.com/?p=3173 Today Marks The Fifth Anniversary Of The Start Of The Occupy Wall Street Movement Five years ago today, A large group made up mostly of ...

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Occupy Wall Street

Today Marks The Fifth Anniversary Of The Start Of The Occupy Wall Street Movement

Five years ago today, A large group made up mostly of teenagers and young adults stormed Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan. Their goal? Occupy that park with a peaceful, long-term protest. And today, it’s safe to say that their movement, Occupy Wall Street, effectively changed America for the better.

If you time-traveled back to September 16th of 2011 and asked random passersby on any street in America to define “income inequality,” they’d probably tell you it’s when a coworker earns less for the same job, or when a couple argues because one earns more money or less money than the other.

Few understood then that 99% of new income in America was flowing directly to the top 1% of the wealthiest Americans. That wages had stagnated since the 1970’s while costs continued to rise uncontrollably. That big, powerful financial institutions like Goldman Sachs and Bank of America had infiltrated nearly every corner of the government and had obtained the unprecedented ability to write their own laws, to buy their own politicians, to author their own bailouts.

And then came the Occupy Wall Street protests. It started small in New York City on September 17th, but the movement quickly grew and spread to every corner of the United States. Occupy Wall Street camps were springing up in practically every American city. And for a time, it seemed like the movement wasn’t going anywhere.

And then it started to die.

Occupy Wall Street had no real chance of staying alive, and the writing was on the wall for everyone watching from the outside, even the millions of us who openly supported their cause. They had no leadership. Their communication was Neanderthalic. They had no infrastructure, no concern for logistics, no unified message. Occupy Wall Street was crude. Chaotic. A disaster from the word go.

My girlfriend and I used to frequently visit the Occupy camp in Binghamton, New York. Neither of us were willing to participate by actually camping out, but we did join in with their protests. We brought food and blankets. I wrote articles mostly in support of their cause. That was how we got involved. It wasn’t a lot, but hey, it was something.

But in that time spent amongst Occupy’s rank and file, we learned just how disheveled the movement really was. In a brief one-minute span, I counted how many messages I heard. Income inequality. Racial profiling. Save the whales. Petco’s alleged local animal cruelty during Binghamton’s tragic 2011 city-wide flood. The messages were all over the place, and at times, they bordered on wacky conspiracy theories.

When Occupy Wall Street fell apart a few months later, I was disheartened and saddened, but ultimately not surprised. With planning and sensible leadership, OWS could have easily gone on for a year or even longer, but it wasn’t meant to be.


But while Occupy Wall Street’s camps may have deserted, the overarching theme stood its ground: the government is corrupt. The two-party system is doing more harm than good. Income inequality is causing everyday people to suffer immensely. America deserves better. And more people are talking about it, educating themselves, and trying to fight back than ever before, thanks in large part to the OWS movement.

Today, five years later, America seems drastically changed for the better, at least ideologically if not legislatively. Politicians on both sides of the aisle have made income inequality into a serious talking point, for better or worse. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign was historic in far too many ways to count in a single article, and his primary loss to Hillary Clinton is still being challenged by millions of Americans who believe said primary was rigged and stolen, an allegation that gains momentum each and every day.

Thanks to the efforts of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the American public is better educated, more conscious, and more demanding of politicians. Democrats are more willing to question the party establishment and put their ideology ahead of the needs of the party itself. Progressivism is entering a golden age, and we owe a great deal of that to those young protestors who began occupying Zuccotti Park five years ago today.

What will America look like five years from now? No one can say for certain. But one thing I do know is that whatever progress we’ve made in the fights for income equality, campaign finance reform, and financial reforms, we’ll owe a great deal of it to the efforts of the Occupy Wall Street movement… and we’ll probably still have a lot more work to do.

Photo by DonkeyHotey

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Will Hillary Clinton Really Be Replaced By The DNC? http://firebrandleft.com/will-hillary-clinton-really-replaced-dnc/ http://firebrandleft.com/will-hillary-clinton-really-replaced-dnc/#respond Wed, 14 Sep 2016 19:40:26 +0000 http://firebrandleft.com/?p=3161 Rumors Are Flying That Hillary Clinton Will Be Replaced By The DNC Is the Democratic Party really considering dropping Hillary Clinton from the 2016 ticket ...

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Hillary Clinton

Rumors Are Flying That Hillary Clinton Will Be Replaced By The DNC

Is the Democratic Party really considering dropping Hillary Clinton from the 2016 ticket after her recent, seemingly-cured bout with pneumonia? The Internet has been overrun with those rumors for the past several days, with many speculating that Bernie Sanders would be the only logical choice to replace her. But is there any merit to the story?

The short answer: We don’t know for sure, but probably not.

The rumor started when Al-Jazeera reporter David Schuster tweeted on September 11th that the Democratic Party was planning to hold a secret “emergency meeting” soon to consider potentially ditching Clinton and replacing her with an unidentified candidate. This information allegedly came to Schuster via high-level party operatives.

With Hillary Clinton being one of the most disliked and untrusted presidential candidates in American history, and with Schuster being a pretty reputable source, this rumor has all of the ingredients necessary for internet combustion. But everything being said beyond Schuster’s Tweet is little more than speculation and guesswork, educated and otherwise.

Snopes and many Hillary Clinton supporters were quick to counter the story by claiming the DNC’s bylaws prevent the party from replacing Clinton unless she first steps down from the race. But believing that requires a level of grade school political naivety that is frankly upsetting to see in adults. If they really want Hillary Clinton gone, they’ll definitely and easily find a way to either skirt that rule or force Clinton into abandoning the ticket.

The real question few seem to be asking isn’t whether or not the DNC can replace Hillary Clinton, but why they’d want to replace her to begin with. And if you’re a Hillary Clinton supporter, the answer is about to make you yell a few vulgarities at your screen. Make sure there are no children around. All clear? Good… Hillary Clinton is a dishonest and untrustworthy person.

You want me to stick what where? Yeesh… kiss your mother with that mouth?

Every single time Hillary gets caught up in a scandal, regardless of the scale, her kneejerk response is always to lie to the public. Always. Not sometimes, not occasionally… always. You could have an argument over whether or not Hillary Clinton is the most dishonest candidate in American political history, but that’s about as fruitless as arguing over whether John Bonham or Neil Peart are the greatest drummer in history. Everyone has their favorites.

Pneumonia? She lies to the public. Having classified emails on her private server? She lies to the public. Taking sniper fire in a foreign country? Not true. It would probably take five listicles to go through Hillary Clinton’s greatest hits. If you think she’s an honest person, you’re either delusional or something far, far worse.

Worst of all, she’s secretive when she really has no need to be. Why on Earth would Hillary Clinton conceal pneumonia — something you, me, and everyone else has had at least once or twice in their lifetimes — from the public? Why is her default state always to cover things up, to keep secrets, to mislead voters?

That’s why Clinton is performing so poorly in the polls. With less than two months to go before election day, Hillary is barely treading water over Donald Trump. In fact, she’s only ahead by 2 points as of this article being written. If Bernie Sanders had won the primary, he’d easily be 20+ points ahead of “The Donald” right now. Trump would be losing so badly the replacement rumors would be coming out of the Republican camp.


So yes, David Schuster’s claim does hold a certain degree of merit so far as being logical is concerned. It’s obvious the Democratic Party has reasons to want to replace Hillary Clinton, and they certainly have the means to do it as well. But does that prove the rumor true? Absolutely not.

If the 2016 Democratic Primary taught the nation anything — especially those of us who supported Bernie Sanders — it’s that the party will bend over backwards in support of Hillary Clinton. You can travel to literally any State in the nation and find voters (by the thousands, if not hundreds of thousands or even millions) who will tell you personally about corruption and fraud they either witnessed directly or heard about first-hand from someone they trust. It was that widespread. So it’s questionable at best whether the DNC would actually replace their beloved Hillary, particularly with an “outsider” like Bernie Sanders… even if Sanders consistently polled stronger against Trump than Clinton, which he did all throughout the primaries.

If there is any truth to this story, we’re going to find out pretty quickly. It’s pretty late in the game to consider replacing Hillary Clinton as the nominee, so the party would need to act immediately if they hoped to salvage the race. As beloved as Bernie Sanders is, he’d need time to get into the full swing of a national campaign after having been off the trail for several months.

Of course, the story might be true and go the other way; party leaders might meet to discuss replacing Clinton, but ultimately decide to keep her. And if that’s the case, we’ll likely never get a full answer about what really happened.

If there’s one big takeaway from this story, it’s this: Hillary Clinton needs to become a better candidate, and she’s running out of time. The secrecy, the deceit, that stuff all needs to end right now, or Hillary will continue to sink in the polls. Her supporters can argue until they’re blue in the face, but the simple, undeniable fact is that Hillary Clinton has a proven track record of secrecy and dishonesty, and the American public knows it.

If Hillary loses this election, she has no right to blame Jill Stein voters, or former Sanders supporters who refuse to trust her, or “vast right-wing conspiracies,” or anything else. The only person Hillary Clinton gets to blame for a loss in November is Hillary Clinton. And when facing off against the likes of Donald Trump, failure really isn’t an option.

Photo by veni markovski

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Add #HackingHillary To The List Of Ridiculous, Phony 2016 Scandals http://firebrandleft.com/add-hackinghillary-list-ridiculous-phony-2016-scandals/ http://firebrandleft.com/add-hackinghillary-list-ridiculous-phony-2016-scandals/#respond Sat, 10 Sep 2016 22:41:19 +0000 http://firebrandleft.com/?p=3134 #HackingHillary Isn’t A Scandal. Not Even A Little One With a presidential candidate as controversial and generally disliked as Hillary Clinton, you’d think right-wing media ...

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#HackingHillary Isn’t A Scandal. Not Even A Little One

With a presidential candidate as controversial and generally disliked as Hillary Clinton, you’d think right-wing media outlets and the mainstream media itself would have plenty of fodder to use against the former Secretary of State. But apparently, it’s more fun to ramble on about fake scandals like #HackingHillary than to focus on all of her real ones.

For those of you who somehow missed it this past week: Hillary Clinton has been coughing on the campaign trail, and that’s scandalous. Why, you ask? Because Clinton is a secret Iranian spy smuggling a top secret bioweapon into the United States might have a cold.

All week, news outlets big and small have been “reporting” on the fact that Hillary Clinton recently coughed during a campaign rally in Cleveland. And this, coupled with TV doctor Drew Pinksy’s unprofessional assessment that Clinton was on her death bed, has fueled a ridiculous new “scandal” with no real evidence supporting it. A scandal which, if true, would have absolutely no bearing whatsoever on Clinton’s would-be presidency.

Hillary Clinton — she’s 68 years old, by the way — has been on the campaign trail for roughly a year and a half. In that time, she’s been speaking at campaign rallies, televised debates, swanky fundraisers, and in interviews. Most days, she’s doing two or more of those things each and every day. And let’s not forget that she has an absolutely insane travel schedule that most Americans couldn’t withstand for 17 hours, let alone 17 months.

Amid all of that talking and traveling, Clinton is also shaking hands with countless supporters and donors. Her personal space is constantly flooded with unfamiliar faces. Presidential candidates are essentially walking, talking petri dishes for bacteria and germs. Well, other than Donald Trump. He’s a large, orange, multicellular fungal bacteria that has assumed the shape of a quasi-human. He doesn’t count.


Add all of that together, and what do you get? A coughing fit not unlike the one Hillary Clinton experienced in Cleveland. She’s only human (unlike Trump, as we just explained), and presidential campaigns are exhausting. Most of you reading this right now couldn’t physically or mentally handle one. It doesn’t really explain this gross video, but everyone does gross things now and then. Right now, someone is reading this while another person is popping their butt zits. Yes, I’m talking to you, sicko.

In the end, there’s one very simple fact we all need to take a few moments to acknowledge: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the two least-liked presidential candidates in American history. And while their respective supporters won’t appreciate this statement, it’s a fact all the same: they’ve given themselves their bad raps more than anyone else possibly ever could.

There’s more than enough fodder with which Hillary Clinton can be attacked legitimately and fairly, without needing to invent phony scandals out of thin air. I’d say the same about Donald Trump, but in his case, he creates scandals so often that it’s rather impossible for anyone to really keep up with him.

So no, the #HackingHillary scandal isn’t really a scandal at all. No, Hillary Clinton’s having coughed on stage doesn’t indicate she’s clinging on desperately to the last thread of her life. Seriously, America… there’s real shit happening in the world each and every day. Get a grip.

Photo by mdfriendofhillary

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President Obama Primes RWNJ Heads To Explode With Latest Court Nomination http://firebrandleft.com/president-obama-primes-rwnj-heads-explode-latest-court-nomination/ http://firebrandleft.com/president-obama-primes-rwnj-heads-explode-latest-court-nomination/#respond Wed, 07 Sep 2016 21:21:56 +0000 http://firebrandleft.com/?p=3125 President Obama’s Latest US District Court Nomination Will Make Conservative Heads Explode If you’re standing next to a conservative, you might want to take a ...

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President Obama

President Obama’s Latest US District Court Nomination Will Make Conservative Heads Explode

If you’re standing next to a conservative, you might want to take a few steps away from them. A few more. One more. Good. Now grab a raincoat, and once you’ve put that on, grab some plastic and hold it up as a shield. Yes, just like if you were at a Gallagher show. Ready? Wait for it…

President Obama just nominated America’s first Muslim to the U.S. District Court.

Ker-plow!

See? Aren’t you glad I made you do that extra bit of preparation?

On Tuesday, the White House announced that President Obama has nominated high-power lawyer Abid Riaz Qureshi to the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia. If he’s confirmed, Qureshi will become the first Muslim to ever become a Federal judge.

Qureshi’s resume may be rock-solid as a partner at a swanky DC law firm, but give it a few days, and this is going to be added to the lengthy list of non-scandalous “scandals” conservatives are losing their stuff over. Why? Because Qureshi is a Muslim. He was born in Pakistan. President Obama nominated him. It’s the perfect storm to create a right-wing conspiracy theory!


So what do you think the controversy will be? I’m guessing the right-wing brain trust at Breitbart and CainTV will allude to the idea that Qureshi is actually a secret agent, tasked by President Obama with infiltrating the District Court and instituting Sharia Law right before he leaves office. Ooh! Or maybe he’s helping Obama sneak refugees into America by providing legal cover? That might be it. We all know how much conservatives loathe brown-skinned refugees.

Whatever their ridiculous conspiracy theory ends up being, rest assured it’ll be born from a place of pure, unfiltered ignorance with a heavy dusting of hate. Oh, and it won’t end up actually being anything of consequence either… that part was a given, though.

Abid Qureshi was a great choice for the Federal Bench. His nomination has nothing to do with ethnicity or religious affiliations, and everything to do with his impressive CV.

Of course, that won’t stop conservatives from making stuff up about him out of thin air. But for those of us who live in the real world, Qureshi is a quality choice and yet another excellent nomination by President Obama. Will right-wing nutjob heads explode in the proper sequence to force Republican politicians to rabble-rouse their way into blocking Qureshi? Only time — and racism — will tell.

Photo by Pete Prodoehl

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Not Standing During The National Anthem? Here Are 10 Unpatriotic Things Conservatives Do http://firebrandleft.com/not-standing-national-anthem-10-unpatriotic-things-conservatives/ http://firebrandleft.com/not-standing-national-anthem-10-unpatriotic-things-conservatives/#respond Sun, 04 Sep 2016 21:48:44 +0000 http://firebrandleft.com/?p=3111 Are You Sick Of The Colin Kaepernick/ National Anthem Scandal? Me Too In the history of scandals that weren’t really all that scandalous, Colin Kaepernick’s ...

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Are You Sick Of The Colin Kaepernick/ National Anthem Scandal? Me Too

In the history of scandals that weren’t really all that scandalous, Colin Kaepernick’s peaceful, silent protest of not standing during the National Anthem rates somewhere between Howard Dean’s shouting and Hillary Clinton eating at Chipotle.

And yet, this story is inescapable. It’s on every square inch of social media. Your Mom has strong feelings about it one way or the other (you thought I was going to make a joke there, but I didn’t! Ha!).

As one might expect, conservatives are the ones making the biggest stink over Colin Kaepernick’s National Anthem protest. A black athlete taking a stand against police brutality by refusing to participate in a costless gesture of patriotism? Yeah… it’s pretty obvious where their views stand.

Conservatives like to tell themselves they’re the most patriotic people in all the land. They pride themselves on their outward displays of empty, quasi-phony patriotic platitudes and their penchant for play-acting American exceptionalism, at least when it isn’t propping up any idea they don’t personally like.

So when a black person like Colin Kaepernick or Gabby Douglas fails to meet or exceed their standards of civilian patriotic duty, they blow a gasket.

There’s just one problem with their outrage: it’s a huge double-standard, coming from a group of people who do unpatriotic things every single day without batting an eye. One could easily list hundreds of unpatriotic infractions conservatives commit on a daily or weekly basis, each of them worse than refusing to stand during the national anthem. Don’t believe me? Here are ten such infractions, listed in no particular order.

#1 – Yearning for our President to fail for your own political gain. There’s a difference between pointing out perceived failure, and wishing and hoping for failure. Conservatives have spent the past 7+ years doing the latter, actively and openly encouraging President Obama to fail just so they can pat themselves on their backs and tell themselves they were right about him all along. Need examples? Find literally any conservative quote referencing President Obama made since January 20th of 2009.

#2 – Openly praising Vladimir Putin. I mean, this one explains itself doesn’t it?

#3 – Patriotic underpants. I’m not sure if I can name something less patriotic than running the stars and stripes through the crack of your butt. Wait, I can! Farting on it! So yeah, stop with the patriotic underpants, folks.

#4 – Selectively ignoring the Founding Fathers:
Them: The Founding Fathers meant for this country to be a Christian nation!
Me: Actually, they founded The United States based on secularism [*presents evidence*]
Them: Hey, it was a long time ago, none of us know what the Founding Fathers really thought!

#5 – Deciding for yourselves which parts of the country belong to “Real America.” Newsflash, conservatives: all of America is real America. And our different philosophies and our cultural amalgamations are a huge part of what actually, truly makes this country great. So when you try to claim that only parts of the country are “real” or otherwise legitimate, guess what? You’re being a dick, and worse, you’re badmouthing the country as a whole.


#6 – Persistently attempting to set back education. All of this nation’s greatest accomplishments came at the hands of education. Every. Single. One. From the Founding Fathers being well-versed in ancient history and literature and using that knowledge to develop our Constitution, to our lengthy list of American inventions, to landing on the moon, to being able to read this article on the Internet via a miniature computer you can hold in the palm of your hand, education and intellectualism have always played immeasurable roles in making this country great. When you try to force conservative and Christian views into our schools in the place of real science and honest history, you’re actively trying to prevent our country from being great in the future.

#7 – Congressional obstructionism. I’m not really sure which is worse: Republicans on Capitol Hill intentionally derailing our government to prevent the President from winning, or their doing so without actually presenting comprehensive ideas of their own. Either way, voting for officials who do either or both intentionally does actual harm to the country. That’s not very patriotic, is it?

#8 – Supporting Donald Trump. What could be less patriotic than wanting to hand the country over to a petulant orange brat who is openly embraced by hate groups and hasn’t presented a single idea with even the slightest semblance of substance? A vote for Trump equates to open encouragement for the Republic itself to fail. That’s about as unpatriotic as unpatriotic gets.

#9 – Politicizing the deaths of American citizens by inventing phony scandals. Benghazi. ‘Nuff said.

#10 – Whining about Colin Kaepernick. You know that “freedom” you’re always rambling about? Yeah… about that. Freedom means you’re free to think for yourself. You’re free to stand up (or in Kaepernick’s case, sit down) for what you believe in. You’re free to speak your mind openly and not be jailed for being critical of the government.

Thanks to freedom, Colin Kaepernick has every right to sit, stand, do cartwheels, or dance a jig during the National Anthem. You’re free to criticize him for that, too… however idiotic that criticism makes you sound. So by scream-crying about Colin Kaepernick and demanding he be punished for his peaceful protest, you’re actively protesting the very freedom that makes this country great to begin with.

Photo by jkbrooks85

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Hillary Clinton Had Chats With The Dead. And That Actually Makes Trump Look Bad, Believe It Or Not http://firebrandleft.com/hillary-clinton-chats-dead-actually-makes-trump-look-bad-believe-not/ http://firebrandleft.com/hillary-clinton-chats-dead-actually-makes-trump-look-bad-believe-not/#respond Sat, 03 Sep 2016 19:32:32 +0000 http://firebrandleft.com/?p=3089 Remember When Hillary Clinton Tried Communicating With Dead People? In 1996, Bob Woodward revealed to the world that then- First Lady Hillary Clinton, anthropologist Mary ...

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Remember When Hillary Clinton Tried Communicating With Dead People?

In 1996, Bob Woodward revealed to the world that then- First Lady Hillary Clinton, anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson, and “adviser” Jean Houston would sit around together, trying to chat with the dead. For real. That’s actually something that happened. Hillary even admitted to it!

Clinton apparently held conversations with Eleanor Roosevelt, asking her for advice and help in being a better First Lady. She would also annoy the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi with needless conversation.

We’ll have to take Clinton at her word when she claims these “chats” didn’t include Ouija boards, candles laid out in pentagrams, bowls of pigeon blood, or nakedly chanting in some ancient dead language.

Now, the headline for this article mentioned that this story makes Donald Trump look bad, and you’re probably wondering how that’s possible, especially since Trump didn’t participate in these séances (well, as far as we know anyway). Well, that answer is pretty obvious: Hillary Clinton isn’t suing my pants off right now, and I think I can safely say she never will.

Bill Maher, Prostitutes, And Other Wacky Times The Trumps Have Sued

It might be one of his least presidential pastimes, one that should disqualify him from the presidency in the eyes of any voter with an IQ higher than their own shoe size: Donald Trump loves to sue people. He uses lawsuits the way some people use marijuana. And if that analogy were any more on-point, Tommy Chong would be Trump’s running mate.

In 2006, Donald Trump sued journalist Tim O’Brien after O’Brien wrote in a book that “The Donald” was worth less money than Trump claims he’s worth (it’d be nice if he’d show us his tax returns so we can actually verify that worth, wouldn’t it?).

In 2013, Trump threatened to sue comedian Bill Maher over a joke, after Maher likened Trump to an Orangutan. Also in 2013, Trump sued Miss USA pageant contestant Sheena Monnin after Monnin alleged the contest was rigged.

And Donald isn’t the only Trump to love throwing around lawsuits. His wife and favorite plagiarist, Melania Trump, recently threatened to sue the Daily Mail and any other news outlet that dares report on the story after the U.K. tabloid looked into whether or not Melania was ever a prostitute during her modeling days. That story is still developing as I write this.

And Trump isn’t offering any indication that he intends to slow down with these types of lowbrow “I know you are but what am I?” lawsuits. In fact, back in February of this year, Trump vowed that if he’s elected president, he’d “open up” libel laws, making it even easier for him to sue those who have the audacity to slight or insult him.


Let that sink in for a moment: if elected, Donald Trump might just sue anyone in the media who challenges his regime. Anyone who points out his mistakes. Anyone who tells jokes about him, his goofy hair, or his tiny, tiny, tiny hands.

And now we come back full-circle to Hillary Clinton. Whether or not Clinton has any kind of sense of humor remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: she doesn’t throw around lawsuits over libel or defamation, probably because her skin is thicker than a roll of toilet paper dumped into a bucket of orange juice and left to soak for an hour or two.

I’ve been live-writing a book, White Houses, Blue Dresses, for the past few months, with chapters published weekly. The book is a work of satire, turning Hillary Clinton into a proper villain, and goofily romanticizing the Bill Clinton/ Monica Lewinsky scandal. I doubt Hillary Clinton even knows that my book exists, but if she did, I’m pretty confident she wouldn’t sue me over it, regardless of how not-funny she’d think it was.

Why? Because she’s not a spoiled child, that’s why.

No one mention to Donald Trump that there’s a chapter in said book where he goes golfing with Bill Clinton and makes unwanted sexual advances toward Monica Lewinsky, okay? Thanks.

I’ve been incredibly critical of Hillary Clinton in the past decade or so. I’m definitely not a fan. But however much I dislike Clinton, and regardless of the number of reasons why I think she’d not be a great president, it’s pretty obvious that she’s a rational, mature adult human. She’s someone who can take pointed criticism and not utterly lose her stuff.

Entrusting someone like Donald Trump with nuclear launch codes — someone who sues comedians and journalists and beauty queens — could be the most dangerous thing the American people have ever collectively decided as a society to do. Teddy Roosevelt once gave a speech after being shot by a failed assassin. Donald Trump can’t even take jokes. Let that sink in before you make your decision this November, folks.

Photo by FDR Presidential Library & Museum

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Binghamton University Offers “Stop White People” Course, And RWNJ Heads Explode http://firebrandleft.com/binghamton-university-offers-stop-white-people-course-rwnj-heads-explode/ http://firebrandleft.com/binghamton-university-offers-stop-white-people-course-rwnj-heads-explode/#comments Fri, 26 Aug 2016 20:25:07 +0000 http://firebrandleft.com/?p=3098 Binghamton University Is Trying To Teach RA’s How To Deal With Racist Idiots, And Racists Idiots Don’t Like That When you’re confronted with a racist ...

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Binghamton University Is Trying To Teach RA’s How To Deal With Racist Idiots, And Racists Idiots Don’t Like That

When you’re confronted with a racist nincompoop, how do you typically react? Some will get angry and scream, or even turn violent. Others will opt for the “deer in headlights” method, staring blankly, unsure of what to say or do. Me? I usually just bombard them with humorous insults until they walk away or, if the Gods are just, cry and start cutting themselves. That second one hasn’t happened yet. Fingers crossed.

Binghamton University — a school that is maybe ten minutes away from my home — decided to answer this question with a diversity-centric course offered to residential assistants (“RA’s”) that teaches them how to interact and deal with racist idiots. It’s meant to teach those RA’s about white privilege, and how to spread that knowledge to others. Sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it?

There’s just one problem: They named the course “Stop White People 2k16.” And now, right-wing Americans are scream-crying because, you know, “reverse racism” is something that they think exists (spoiler alert… it doesn’t).

The story, which was broken earlier this week by Binghamton Review, has picked up nationwide attention, trending as a top story on both Twitter and Facebook for two straight days. And as one might expect, there are two types of responses to this story: nods of approval from the educated, and bulgy-veined, scratchy-voiced outrage from everyone else.

Amidst that latter, dumber group of people are subsects of idiocy. First, you have the mouth-breathers who see the headline, ignore the article, and presume the university is teaching a course in how to literally “stop white people.” Like, eradicating white people, or making them abandon their way of life, or some other silly thing the school definitely doesn’t intend.

Then you have those who believe the school is teaching a course on how to be “racist” toward white people. As if the school is teaching students pejorative phrases to use against white people in conversation, like calling someone a “honky” or a “cracker.”

And then you have a third group of people: the ones who understand what the school intends with the course, but are opposed to it because teaching diversity — educating young people on white privilege and trying to explain to them how words and actions can harm others, emotionally or otherwise — is somehow a bad thing.

These intellectually-challenged quasi-humans need to understand a few bullet-points on racism in America. I doubt they’re going to learn, but hey, I’ll list them out anyway. It’s sort of my job. For those of you who are hate-reading this article, prepare yourselves: I’m about to use some big words, so you might want to open up Google in another tab, okay? Thanks.


  • Prejudice is when someone “prejudges” someone else, usually (but not necessarily) for their immutable characteristics. It’s possible for anyone to be prejudice against anyone else; yes, black people can be prejudice against white people.
  • Racism is a system where society at large, or pockets of said society, exhibit collective prejudice against minorities that results in unfair treatment toward that group of people.
  • A racist is a person who uncaringly benefits from racism, and/ or actively participates in racism. We colloquially use that phrase to label people who are showing prejudice toward others, but that’s incorrect.
  • Discrimination is a byproduct of either prejudice or racism (typically both). It means that a person, party, group, or entire culture are being denied the same rights as others. Teaching a course on diversity is not “discrimination,” unless that course is only available to one group of people and not another.
  • White privilege is a byproduct of racism specifically, whereby white people are treated more fairly (if not preferentially) by society as a whole, and benefit unknowingly from that treatment. It does not mean that white people get free things constantly or that all white people have better lives than all black people.

So is this course prejudice? No, because it’s teaching people how not to be prejudice. Is it racist? No, because the school isn’t weaponizing this course or using it as a stepping stool for radical changes that would harm white people. Is it discrimination? No, because every RA is allowed to take it, regardless of their skin color.

Yes, the course’s name could have been more thoughtful; someone should have thought up a better name for the program, one that was less controversial. But perhaps that controversy was intentional, and for all of the right reasons.

Coming from a background in satire, I know as an absolute fact that sometimes, it’s better to use a controversial headline that shocks people into reading content where I can then expose them to truths they wouldn’t otherwise experience. That tactic doesn’t fly in legitimate news; you won’t see any of that on Firebrand Left. But my goal with every satire article I ever wrote was to shock them into reading something they wouldn’t read otherwise, and then peppering that message with comedy so the message sticks. I think that system worked pretty well in many of those articles.

Perhaps Binghamton University intends to do the same: to use this controversy to lure in students who otherwise wouldn’t participate in such a class, and then those students will leave with a better understanding of all those terms we mentioned here a bit ago.

It’s only natural that racist imbeciles would react negatively to this story, especially after learning what the program is actually meant to accomplish. Spreading tolerance and teaching people how to be sensitive toward others is bigotry bug spray. It’s no wonder your run-of-the-mill Trump supporter feels threatened when they’re confronted by tolerance. It’s also no surprise that intolerance toward their own intolerance makes them squeamish. How dare someone challenge their stupidity?

Photo by jacquesy_m

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