Let’s Impeach Trump So Mike Pence Can Be President!

/sarcasm

Donald Trump: A buffoon with not many interests other than himself. Mostly incompetent. Gifted at connecting with angry voters who aren’t sure what they’re angry about. Highly ineffective at passing legislation.

Mike Pence: A charismatic capitalist with not many interests other than his bank account and his religion. Mostly competent. Gifted at nodding behind the President during speeches. Effective at passing legislation.

Among the modern Republican Party’s draconian agenda are these gems from their own platform PDF:

  • “Government cannot create prosperity, though government can limit or destroy it.” Funny, I thought The New Deal was the government successfully creating prosperity and building hundreds of highways, creating millions of jobs.
  • “President Obama and his party will set a record of being the first modern president ever to leave office without a single calendar year of three percent economic growth.” I’m not only amused by the GOP’s inability to update their official platform 188 days after Trump took office (they still think Obama is president), but also their Texas Sharpshooter attempt to pretend that previous Republican presidents such as Bush were totally way better for jobs and the economy than Obama. Except when the Republicans’ deregulation of the banks and housing market crashed the entire planet.
  • “Traditional marriage and family, based on marriage between one man and one woman, is the foundation for a free society and has for millennia been entrusted with rearing children and instilling cultural values.” Yes, for some reason, of all the things that could be the foundation of a free society (such as the Constitution, democracy, or regulating corporate greed), the marriage of the eggplant and the donut is of utmost value. If two women get married to each other, surely we oppressed straight people will never be free again.
  • “We assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed.” *sighs* Unborn child = fetus which cannot exist outside of the female reproductive system, and this fetus is more important to Republicans than innocent death-row victims and feeding impoverished (born) children. Republicans have voted dozens of times to cut essential programs for the poor. They pretend to care about fetuses before they’re born into children, but after that, they can starve. Seems legit.

Now, that’s only four examples out of hundreds of hilariously incorrect statements made in their platform, and I found all four of those examples by skimming down to page 13 of 54. I’d suggest skimming it for yourself by tapping here.

These are goals that are certainly obtainable by the Republican Party. They hold the Presidency, the Senate, and the House, and their Vice President can break 50-50 ties in the Senate. So what’s the holdup? Disorganization and incompetency.

You can only do so much with an elected position, and you can only buy so much with money you get from book deals after you leave congress. Because of legalized bribery in our political system, congress is designed to reward those who take the most bribescampaign donations 😉 from corporations and special interests. Therefore, the federal government is mostly composed of men and women who are incompetent enough to value money and power over serving their constituents. Absolutely no person with a healthy and functional brain will vote to cut healthcare and food stamps for millions of poor people so that they can buy another yacht or golf club membership with their shiny new tax break.

how-money-won-congress_5318eb0e730bd

We know that all of the Republican Party and most of the Democratic Party suffer from gross incompetency, but disorganization is not always the case. The Republicans were able to achieve vast amounts of terrible legislation under President George W. Bush, without the embarrassing loudmouth fake populism of Donald Trump to take care of.

If we’re going to have a right-wing president, we want someone who is so stupid that he or she can’t actually get anything done. If an armed robber broke into your home, would you rather she was a trained sharpshooter, or some idiot barely knew how to disable the safety?

Trump is so stupid that he has trouble getting a lot of terrible things done, and this is great. Yes, he’s an international embarrassment, just as our last Republican president was. Yes, he’s dismantling the EPA and heading our planet towards self-destruction. Yes, he’s succeeded at doing any number of terrible, awful things. I’m not claiming he hasn’t, and I’m sure many more awful things are to come. My claim is this: Mike Pence or any other competent Republican would have scored touchdowns in many places where Trumpicus dropped the ball. 

I give Trump credit for failing in the same way that I would give a young child of terrorist parents credit for being too stupid to figure out how to drive his parent’s car full of bombs onto a bridge. Pence is the competent terrorist who also has the car full of bombs, but knows how to drive. Trump just crashes into a tree and then blames it on Hillary, lol.

The Russia allegations against Trump are either true or they aren’t. There’s plenty of suspicious evidence to suggest that collusion did happen between the Trump campaign and the Russian government in a way that would benefit Russia over the United States. Of course, rather than talking about the climate, healthcare, or jobs, the media (including progressive media) has latched onto the Russia story almost 24/7. While children starve and we bomb the Middle East endlessly, enriching defense companies, the corporate right-wing media like MSNBC spends its time red-scaring everyone with anti-Russian racism and propaganda. (Read: fake news.)

Let’s suppose the corporate establishment media is correct and Trump did collude with Russia. Okay, bad. We don’t like that. The President of the United States should put the United States first, always. That’s his or her job. So what do we do next? Impeach him and get Mike Pence, the competent and farther-right version of Trump on the job?

Mike Pence could score anti-poor, anti-climate, and anti-American legislation with ease as compared to Donald Trump. Like George Bush, but with extra electrocution for gay people.

The entire establishment media is owned by six mega corporations. Corporations, existing only to enrich themselves by definition, want as many draconian tax breaks as possible for themselves. Mike Pence would be a godsend for MSNBC’s parent Comcast, or CNN’s parent Time Warner. These crooked media outlets are dedicated to Trump’s impeachment so that we can get on with more important things like tax-breaks for corporations while our roads crumble, elderly people die, and children starve.

 

Impeach Trump, get Pence, and watch the toilet our planet is stuck in flush even faster.

 

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Fight for Equal Rights without Being a Feminist

We can win, but we must embrace tolerance and equal rights with fierce persistence.

Egalitarian
adjective
asserting, resulting from, or characterized by belief in the equality of all people, especially in political, economic, or social life.

There was a simpler time in society where phrases like “all lives matter” and “men’s rights” weren’t trigger phrases for short-haired gender-fluid feminist whales. I’m an ex-feminist, current egalitarian for several years now. Belonging fairly solidly to the progressive movement myself, I was quick to slap labels on myself if it meant advancing the things that are important to me, like (in no particular order) animal rights, women’s rights, men’s rights, racial equality, LGB rights, etc.

Now is not a simpler time. At the complete convenience of feminists, word definitions either matter or don’t matter. The definition of the word “feminism” (it modernly means “women’s rights”) is extremely important and overrules any and all man-hating done by feminists, but the definition of “all lives matter” (it modernly means “all lives matter”) is extremely unimportant and if you use it you’re a racist white nationalist sexist pig. Logic.

So if I’m not a feminist, and the definition of feminism is “women’s rights,” does that mean I’m not for women’s rights? Nope.

Here we have to explore a very important concept: Just because I oppose a movement doesn’t mean that I oppose all of what they’re fighting for. The most shocking part for feminists while I’m debating them is that I completely support a woman’s right to choose, taxpayer-funded birth control as part of a medicare-for-all system, and voted for Jill fucking Stein in the 2016 presidential election. I also want to see sterilization become free and widely available for young men and women who want a happy and financially stable future without children.

Just because I oppose a movement doesn’t mean that I oppose all of what they’re fighting for.

Any notion that women have a gender-specific role in society is outdated and disgusting. If a young woman wants to be a mother, okay. Have at it. If a young woman wants to become the next billionaire CEO of a tech company, she should have an equally-footed chance to do so alongside her coworkers, with equal pay for the climb.

Any notion that women have a gender-specific role in society is outdated and disgusting.

So if I’m strongly in favor of much of that which feminism claims to fight for, why not just label myself “feminist”? For one: I’ve got a better label, egalitarian, with a clearer definition. But secondly, I believe in several things which are in stark contrast to typical liberal/feminist/progressive ideology, with my intent being to advance equality rather than blanket tolerate every asinine claim of oppression.

100% of my values are aimed at making society a safer and more equal place for people of both sexes and all ethnicities. In order to be an effective egalitarian, you have to beat feminists at their own game. You must embrace equality, tolerance, sympathy, and love for all beings.

When you see a feminist chowing down on a piece of meat which was once part of an innocent beingthat person is not for equal rights.

When you see a feminist supporting programs that give certain ethnicities advantages over other ethnicities, that person is not for equal rights.

When you see a feminist encouraging women be fat and to increase their risks of cancer and heart disease, that person is not for equal rights.

What you absolutely cannot do is confuse feminists for women. Men can be feminists, and women can be anti-feminists. As I wrote about earlier this week, most women hate feminism. In a survey of 1,000 American adults, ~820 said they “believe that men and women should be social, political and economic equals,” but only ~210 identified as feminist.

We have the numbers on our side. What we lack is organization and tolerance.

Scientifically speaking, a fetus is absolutely not a human life and could not exist outside of a womb. The surgical process of aborting a pregnancy is not any less ethical than getting a haircut. To be an effect egalitarian, you should be pro-choice.

The days when women lacked the same Constitutional rights as men are thankfully over. Women have proven to be extremely effective in the workplace and in society, and are increasingly the breadwinners in households. To be an effect egalitarian, you should embrace the success of women in our economy.

The notion than any land on this Earth belongs to a certain skin color or group of people is medieval. Europeans were not the first on American soil, Native Americans were. All of us have to share this planet. We must not only treat our land with respect, we must treat each other with respect. To be an effective egalitarian, you must share the planet.

I created Mad Indies because I’m a mad independent. I’m not a liberal, a Republican, a conservative, or a Democrat. I look at each issue on an issue-by-issue basis, weight the facts, and come to a conclusion. I’m also happy to change my mind on something if I’m proven wrong. I want to be effective in leaving society better than I found it.

You should too.

Poll Shows Americans Reject Feminism; Believe in Gender Equality Instead

Remember when it used to be a good thing?

Disclaimer: All usage of the word “feminism” in this article refers to third-wave feminism.

If something is wrong, blame it on privileged white males. Well, the writer of this article just so happens to fall under about two-thirds of that demographic, that is, white and male. Privileged? Not so much. It’s a new saying invented by people with nothing better to do and no real problems in life. We like to call these people feminists.

The word “feminism” has taken a lot of turns in recent history. As noted by Dictionary.com, the word originally admitted to its true definition:

When the term feminism first entered English toward the mid-19th century, it meant “feminine qualities or character,” a sense no longer in use.

Dictionary.com

What we’ve seen now, however, is an inelegant attempt to rebrand the word to mean “equality.” You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, however, and we’ve seen countless examples of feminism promoting child mutilation and body negativity in young boys, flat out racism, and the abolition of free speech.

Thankfully, feminists remain a disliked 20% of the American population.

I’m not a math surgeon, but it looks like 66% (!) of respondents view feminism either neutrally or negatively, with only 26% of people viewing it positively. Amusingly, this is 6% more than the percentage of Americans who even identify as feminist (20%), meaning 6% of people secretly like feminism but won’t admit it because they know the sane majority of society will dislike them!

Let’s get real, though: feminists are not bad people… by default. They notice problems that women have that men do not, and conclude that women need some work done in a lot of areas. And they’re right. Every category of people has unique issues for those people. Women have certain problems that men do not, and men have certain problems that women do not. We face the issue that half of the equation is often ignored, leaving only women’s issues to be recognized. Call me crazy, but I think we should recognize all injustices.

If we ignored all the assholes belonging to the movements, we’d be left with healthy men’s and women’s rights movements, and everybody would belong to both instead of one. All too often, we get feminists who shit in their hands and throw it at the men’s rights guys, and then the meninists piss all over the women’s rights gals. Generally speaking, a battle of words is stronger than a battle of issues. We should start by getting rid of stupid words. “Feminism” is a stupid and misleading word. The definition states something that the word doesn’t imply.

  • Christian implies that you find Christianity to be the best religion.
  • Feminist implies that you find femininity to be the best culture.

I’m not a feminist, but I believe that abortion should be safe, legal, and free. I believe that birth control, tampons, and pads should be free (because men don’t have to pay for these things.) I believe that women and men should be paid equally for equal work. I believe that rape is bad, and that “sluts” and “whores” are just women with more sexual freedom than the grumpy old closeted gay men would prefer.

I’m not a meninist, but I believe that war drafts that send only men to their deaths across seas should be unconstitutional. I believe that insurance companies shouldn’t be allowed to charge men more for insurance. I believe that the porn and modeling industries shouldn’t be allowed to hire more women than men. I believe that men should not automatically be assumed guilty on rape charges, which are often fabricated.

Egalitarian

Asserting, resulting from, or characterized by belief in the equality of all people, especially in political, economic, or social life.

Dictionary.com

If you’ve read my rejection of popular labels and found yourself angry that I won’t call myself what you think I should call myself, then you’re focusing on all the wrong issues. I like egalitarian, and I like the idea that we should care about everyone. You probably do too.

Or maybe you’re just an asshole.

Check out my newer article on how anti-feminists can beat sexism and racism.

Transgenderism Is a Mental Disorder

If you want to hurt transgender people by furthering and enabling their mental illness, you are transphobic.

Once upon a time, I said that man-made climate change is a liberal conspiracy. And I was wrong. This is because there is overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary of my claim. Sea level rise, global temperature rise, warming oceans, shrinking ice sheets, extreme climate events, ocean acidification, and decreased snow cover are all reason to believe that recent human activity is destroying the planet.

“The climate debate is an interesting one. If you ask any scientist, are you sure that human activity is causing global warming, any scientist should say no. Because you can not be sure. On the other hand, if you said, do you think we should put an arbitrary number of trillions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere and just keep doing it until something bad happens, they’ll probably say no too.” –Elon Musk

The liberal claim that right-wing climate change denial is anti-science is true. 

The conservative claim that left-wing gender fluidity theory is anti-science is also true.

Once upon a time, I said that gender is a social construct, and people are whatever sex they feel comfortable identifying with. And I was wrong. This is because there is overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary of my claim. Unlike climate change, which requires multiple examples of warming and a connection to the chemicals our factories and machines create, establishing one’s sex is as easy as examining their chromosomes and some word definitions.

Let’s first examine the American College of Pediatricians‘ explanation of sex:

Human sexuality is an objective biological binary trait: “XY” and “XX” are genetic markers of male and female, respectively – not genetic markers of a disorder.

American College of Pediatricians

Next, let’s examine the official definitions of “sex” and “gender”.

Sex

“Either of the two main categories (male and female) into which humans and many other living things are divided on the basis of their reproductive functions.”

Gender

“Either the male or female division of a species, especially as differentiated by social and cultural roles and behavior.”

Now, if you tap on either of the hyperlinks above, you will see that there are multiple attempts at defining things like sex and gender. For example, Dictionary.com also offers a similar category of human beings that is outside the male/female binary classification and is based on the individual’s personal awareness or identity.” Strangely, this definition of gender specifically does not include males or females, meaning that men and women don’t have a gender. Oh well.

For all intents and purposes, it appears as though sex refers to which reproductive system someone has, and gender refers to an open labeling system which includes but is not limited to “male” and “female”. Therefore, one’s sex is absolutely not debatable: Sex refers to your reproductive system. One’s gender is debatable: Gender is an answer to the question: “What are you?” And just like real answers, your gender can be correct or incorrect. In other words, if your sex is male, and you claim you are female, then you are a male with a female gender. Your gender is indeed female, as that is your claim. Actually, you can change your gender as much as you want, whenever you want, to be whatever you want. But unless your gender matches your biological sex, your gender is incorrect. (Feminists are the ones who made this needlessly complicated, not me.)

At any point, I can say that “2+2=7,” and that is genuinely my answer: but my answer is incorrect. At any point, I can say “I am female,” and that is genuinely my gender: but my gender is incorrect even if I dress like a girl and have my reproductive system modified.

Disorder

“A disturbance in physical or mental health or functions.”

A study in Sweden determined the indisputable fact that transgenderism leads to seriously dangerous outcomes such as suicide, with the attempt rate as high as an unprecedented 40%. The only time a population has had a comparable suicide rate was that of Jews living under Nazi control. To feminists, this is either completely fine or they blame the suicide on bullying (I can’t imagine why someone who makes demands about their preferred pronouns and gets offended easily would be disliked by other members of society.) In reality, this is because many post-operative transgender people regret having the surgery, and there is no evidence that surgery improves the lives of those suffering from gender identity disorder.

Most dangerously, hormonal modifications and puberty blockers are extremely dangerous to one’s health and lead to serious medical complication. Feminist parents who allow or encourage children to have fantasies about becoming another sex are the same as religious parents who deny their children medical treatment in the name of a fake god. In the case that the child attempts suicide after having hormonal modifications, the parents could justifiably be tried for manslaughter.

The youngest recorded case of parents mutilating their child’s body with the intent of a sex change was child-abuse victim Tim Petras, who began surgery at the age of just 12.

kim_1289556c

Pre-pubertal children diagnosed with gender dysphoria may be given puberty blockers as young as eleven, and will require cross-sex hormones in later adolescence to continue impersonating the opposite sex. These children will never be able to conceive any genetically related children even via articifial reproductive technology. In addition, cross-sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) are associated with dangerous health risks including but not limited to cardiac disease, high blood pressure, blood clots, stroke, diabetes, and cancer.

American College of Pediatricians

When a boy looks in the mirror, and is uncomfortable with the fact that he is a boy, this is a form of under-confidence which must be kindly and compassionately dealt with, much like how suicidal thought must be dealt with: By encouraging the boy to cut his penis off and encouraging the suicidal person to jump off a building! Oops, typo. I meant to write: Encourage the boy to become comfortable with who he is (a male) but not to feel pressured to conform to societal normals about males. As far as I can tell, there isn’t anything dangerous about a boy doing typically girly things. Although I find a boy applying makeup and playing with dolls to be strange, there definitely isn’t anything wrong with it. But enabling a young and confused child to believe that they can modify their sex is child abuse, and a parent doing such a thing should probably be relieved of their custody.

A person’s belief that he or she is something they are not is, at best, a sign of confused thinking.When an otherwise healthy biological boy believes he is a girl, or an otherwise healthy biological girl believes she is a boy, an objective psychological problem exists that lies in the mind not the body, and it should be treated as such. These children suffer from gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria (GD), formerly listed as Gender Identity Disorder (GID), is a recognized mental disorder in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-V).5 The psychodynamic and social learning theories of GD/GID have never been disproved.

American College of Pediatricians

A particularly insane case involved a fifty-two year old married father of seven children pretending he is a six year-old girl.

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This is not mental illness, according to transgender rights activists and feminists.

Now, Stefonknee lives with friends who she cans her ‘adoptive mommy and daddy’ as a six-year-old girl, dressing in children’s clothing and spending her time playing and coloring with her adoptive parents’ grandchildren.

Another case, this time not having to do with gender identity disorder, is a human woman who believes that she is a cat. Yes, really. Species identity disorder. Justification of this is likely next on the agenda of feminists.

nano_snake_bites_3561185b
Totally normal

The 20-year-old has opened up about her life as a puss, describing how she has a superior sense of hearing and sight which allows her to hunt mice in the dark.

I believe there is hope and a future for those suffering from transgenderism, but it starts with a society that wants to help cure them from their mental illness, not enable and encourage it.

Facts, not ideology, determine reality.

Whites Don’t Owe Minorities Anything

Expectations based on someone’s skin color is actual racism

“owe”
verb
  1. have an obligation to pay or repay (something, especially money) in return for something received.

At birth, nobody chooses their physical appearance. You’re born a display of your genetic makeup. Nobody originally consents to their skin color. While primarily the concept of superiority or inferiority based on the tone of one’s skin is ludicrous, another reason that decent members of society reject racism is that discriminating against someone based on factors that they cannot control is fundamentally unfair. One’s skin tone affects not more than how well they fare under the summer sun.

At this point, anyone reading this article coming from an anti-racist egalitarian standpoint should agree with this premise:

The color of your skin should give you neither advantages nor disadvantages in a fair society, and nothing more or less should be required or expected from you than someone of another skin color.

Needless to say, if you couldn’t make it past my last sentence without disagreeing with me, you are racist by definition.

Let’s talk about ownership. Ownership of blacks by whites is claimed to be one of the main instigators of the Civil War in America. (English lesson time) The word “owe” is derived from “ownership.” The hypocrisy of third-wave feminists who claim that whites owe various minorities various things (such as reparations) is that this is an argument for the ownership of one race by another.

Feminists who support reparations believe that whites owe labor (in the form of money) to blacks.

Confederates who support slavery believe that blacks owe labor (in the form of service) to whites.

Only a very small minority of the white population actually owned slaves, yet convinced the poorest of Southerners to fight a disgusting war to uphold their right to own other humans for profit. Northerners mainly enlisted to fight for the Union because they believed in a unified America and the abolition of black slavery.

The Civil War was essentially hundreds of thousands of white Americans sacrificing their lives and sometimes their families in order to free black Americans from ownership by the wealthy.

Northern states had outlawed slavery long before the Civil War began. While there was a draft that forced hundreds of thousands of young men to reduce themselves to cannon fodder (making Abraham Lincoln one of the worst presidents in history), many Northern whites voluntarily joined the Union to end black slavery.

Never in the history of the world has there been such an example of one ethnicity coming together to sacrifice themselves exclusively for the wellbeing of another ethnicity.

Today, egalitarians and anti-racist activists such as myself combat the notion that a person is a representation of their race as a whole. If 9/10 whites are racist oil executives, 9/10 Mexican Americans are illegal immigrants, and 9/10 blacks are violent rapists, that does not mean that the white, brown, or black skin tones possess any inherent qualities. All it shows is exactly the (fake for the sake of this example) statistic cited above; nothing more and nothing less.

In the same way that it is uncivil to consider all blacks to be rapists only because a small minority of them commit violent crime, it is uncivil to blame whites for slavery only because a small minority of them owned slaves hundreds of years ago.

We mustn’t forget that white ownership of blacks is far from the only form of slavery that the world has seen. In fact, the word “slave” is derived from the ownership of white Slavic people by Muslims. I truly believe that nobody is born racist. Culture, ethnicity, and diversity of people is something that exists and will for as long as society is around. When done correctly, a land of many peoples like the United States is a beautiful thing. But when politically and financially motivated, it can be a terrible thing as the majority race enslaves those of other races. This is the reality of how various forms of capitalism work. When there is a profit to be made from slavery and insignificant legal protections against it, slavery will happen.

The word “slave” is derived from the ownership of white Slavics by black Muslims.

So no, whites don’t owe minorities anything. The injustices of the past are but a lesson to be learned from our history books. Slavery in the United States is an example for the generations after it of the effects of greed on mankind, and the great toll it took on our nation. No race should be owned by another race, and no race owes anything to any other race. Forcing blacks to pick cotton and forcing whites to pay extra taxes is how to increase racial tensions, not extinguish them. Third-wave feminism is making a competition out of who can claim the most oppression. It’s not a competition.

As a civil society, we all owe it to our fellow man and fellow woman to treat each other with equality, decency, and respect, regardless of skin color, sexual orientation, or gender. This is how we build a world where everyone is equal.

Religions Are Not Ethnicities

I can definitely be more wary of someone who believes in a religion that oppresses women and minorities

America is home to a very diverse set of people. We’ve got every ethnic background, every sexual orientation, and increasingly a movement to claim that there is an infinite number of genders. In and of itself, diversity of this sort is neither a good nor bad thing. With regards to treating your fellow Americans with respect, their orientation, gender, skin color, country of origin, or other genetic factors shouldn’t play a roll. Look at the core of someone’s decency, work ethic, and kindness, or any other set of personality characteristics to make your decisions about how you treat him or her. This is the concept behind egalitarianism.

Somebody’s skin color does not inherently affect how they behave in a society. Having black skin doesn’t make you more likely to commit crimes, having brown skin doesn’t make you more likely to fly planes into skyscrapers, and having white skin doesn’t make you more likely to be a racist executive of an oil company. What does affect your life choices are your core sets of beliefs: Culture and religion. We all discriminate against others based on their choices. Did they choose to rape a boy in college, or did they choose to raise money for environmental causes? Did they drive a truck filled with bombs onto a bridge and detonate it, or did they volunteer to help clean a public beach? Your culture and religion play an important factor in which choices you make throughout your life, as they are generally a loose set of subconscious or written rules to follow. Having brown skin does not impart any cultural or religious teachings, it just makes you burn less in the sun. Studies show that atheists are far less likely to commit crimes than religious and spiritual people, which we can explain by guessing that atheists are more likely to base their morality on common sense rather than 2,000+ year old political hate doctrines like Christianity and Islam.

This doesn’t necessarily solve the problem of why statistical differences exist in a significant fashion between skin colors and ethnicities. Although blacks only account for 13% of the US population, they commit about half of all homicides. While this absolutely does not mean that having black skin makes one more likely to murder someone, it does mean that blacks are statistically more likely to be raised in poverty and listen to music with hateful and disrespectful messages (music that I also enjoy listening to from time to time.) Persons in poverty are both more likely to commit crimes and be the victim of crimes, with no significant correlation related to the person’s skin color or gender. An article for another day will explain how improving the economy in poor communities and raising the minimum wage can eliminate the ethnic gap in crime.

Culture and religion affect your behavior, and therefore affect your quality as a person. There is no similar argument to be made about sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity, or country of origin. What we do unfortunately see is that the latter characteristics definitely affect how you are viewed by others. In the same way that impoverished people are more likely to commit crimes, we also see that black Americans are more likely to be jailed for crimes they didn’t commit, and men receive 2-3 times longer prison sentences for the exact same crime as women. We profile others based on factors we should not take into consideration, either intentionally or subconsciously, and it needs to stop.

The movement to blanket accept Muslims and religious refugees from conflicted areas of the planet also needs to stop. These are mostly impoverished people who believe in great falsehoods and religions and received no useful education in their country. These are not the people who are going to make America “great again.”

Ditch Your Current Texting App and Switch to Telegram

WhatsApp and Apple can read your messages if they really want to.

This article is not sponsored. Telegram does not pay for sponsorship. These words are my personal opinions alone.

2013 was the year that my messaging crisis began.

I move around. A lot. New York, Tennessee, cities. My friends and family don’t move with me. I rely heavily on messaging and calling to keep in contact with those I care about. I thought that my messages and calls were private conversations.

Then Snowden happened. (TL;DR: The government reads all of your stuff to “protect” you.)

2013 was a time when pretty much every messaging solution sucked except for iMessage, and even iMessage sucked because it was often disorganized across multiple devices and only works within iOS and macOS devices (Read: You can only read your messages on Apple devices, and you can only message your friends if they’re on Apple devices.)

hangouts-logoAt the time, which now seems like a laughably terrible idea, I was using Google’s Hangouts solution to message my friends. They created it from scratch, so Google had every opportunity to revolutionize messaging using privacy, encryption, beauty, and AI smarts. Instead, we got a laggy, crashy, sort of green funnel into the NSA’s servers.

It was late 2014 that I discovered a nifty little gem: Telegram.

t_logo
neeeeooooowwwwwmmmmmm, swoowsh!

Classy, speedy, and named after the original electronic messaging service, actual telegrams, ahem, Telegram is almost everything that a good messenger should be. It’s also one thing that Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, and iMessage can never be: Not operated by a gigantic multinational corporation with ties to numerous governments around the globe.

Perhaps the biggest endorsement for Telegram came, ironically, from Apple itself when its chief lawyer attempted to criticize the service but ended up just confirming the service’s value and security:

“One of the most pernicious apps that we see in the terrorist space is Telegraph [sic]. It has nothing to do with Apple.”

The disconnection of powerful people from the needs and desires of ordinary people is unreal. Apple also apparently mishandles Telegram updates, according to Telegram co-founder Pavel Durov.

Did you know that the only way to get apps on your iOS device without “jailbreaking” (a lengthy and dangerous process) is Apple’s App Store? All apps on iPhone and iPad have to follow Apple’s rules, and they can reject apps for any reason at all, including if they just feel like it. While the Cupertino company’s steps towards user privacy are admirable, their steps towards user freedom are nearly non-existent.

In fact, in an illegal and monopolistic move, Apple temporarily deleted the Telegram app off of the App Store for several hours, citing bogus and false claims of “objectionable content” on January  31st, 2018. In reality, they are concerned that Telegram competes with their precious iMessage and makes it difficult for their buddies at the NSA to unconstitutionally spy on Americans.

If you hardly care about the context of security, privacy, encryption, and ethics, worry not, Telegram is feature packed even for those that would be happy to steam their every move to Trump himself.

Features

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  • Way faster than any other messaging app I’ve tested, significantly so
  • Group chats (of up to 5000 members)
  • Crystal-clear voice calls (that sound way better than WhatsApp calls)
  • Voice messages
  • Sending gigantic files of any type
  • Automatically compressing photos and videos to save data
  • Optionally not compressing photos and videos to save quality
  • Channels (which are public group chats where only some people are allowed to post, sort of like a.. channel.)
  • Sticker packs, made by anybody
  • Bots, made by anybody and addable to any group chat
  • Link previews with the ability to play YouTube videos directly in the app
  • Optional “Last Seen” badge for your contacts
  • See when your messages were read by the recipient
  • The ability to let someone message you by giving them your username but not your phone number (ladies?)
  • Optional profile photos
  • Customizable notification settings on a per-chat basis
  • Mute certain chats indefinitely, or just for a few hours
  • The ability to automatically delete your account if you don’t sign in for a few months
  • Custom chat backgrounds and themes on Android
  • Native phone, tablet, desktop, and web apps – there’s even an Xbox app.
  • An open-source client code and encryption protocol for easy audit by third-parties
  • APIs for developers to create their own bots and even Telegram apps (for example, on Xbox where Telegram itself has not yet created an official app)
  • Secret chats, which can self-destruct and are not stored on Telegram’s servers and cannot be backed up
  • Non-secret chats are stored encrypted on Telegram’s servers, and the keys to these chats are stored in a different geological location such that physical intruders or local engineers couldn’t ever decipher a non-secret chat (more on this later)
  • A much nicer and classier name than WhatsApp, which sounds like a child trying to make a pun
  • A comprehensive FAQ

telegram-appFor the privacy-minded: A completely secure Telegram.

There are some things you have to know if you want to maximize your security when using Telegram. Firstly, by default, all you or an attacker (your wireless carrier for example)  need to login to your Telegram account and access all of your non-secret chats is access to a code that Telegram will text to your phone.

To circumvent this, Telegram allows you to set an additional password that is needed on top of the verification code. That way, to login into Telegram, you or the attacker will need to receive the text message, enter it into Telegram, and then also enter your password. Keep in mind that Telegram will always notify all other devices with your account any time a new device is added.

Remember that secret chats, which are not stored on Telegram’s servers could not be compromised in this way because they’re only available on the two devices they were originally sent to and from. If you’re discussing something highly sensitive, always use secret chats, just in case. If you’re just sending embarrassing photos from the Christmas party, regular chats are absolutely fine, especially if you’ve taken the steps above.

By the way, you may wonder, why not just do all secret chats? Well, you can, but Telegram notes why they don’t make all chats secret by default:

All Telegram messages are always securely encrypted. Messages in Secret Chats use client-client encryption, while Cloud Chats use client-server/server-client encryption and are stored encrypted in the Telegram Cloud (more here). This enables your cloud messages to be both secure and immediately accessible from any of your devices – even if you lose your device altogether.

In regards to why even “cloud chats” are very secure, Telegram offers this:

To protect the data that is not covered by end-to-end encryption, Telegram uses a distributed infrastructure. Cloud chat data is stored in multiple data centers around the globe that are controlled by different legal entities spread across different jurisdictions. The relevant decryption keys are split into parts and are never kept in the same place as the data they protect. As a result, several court orders from different jurisdictions are required to force us to give up any data.

Thanks to this structure, we can ensure that no single government or block of like-minded countries can intrude on people’s privacy and freedom of expression. Telegram can be forced to give up data only if an issue is grave and universal enough to pass the scrutiny of several different legal systems around the world.

To this day, we have disclosed 0 bytes of user data to third parties, including governments.

Facebook Messenger and other cloud-chat services do not use this method, making them vulnerable to warrants from just one government. Unlike Telegram, Facebook is an advertising corporation and wants to increase profits by keeping governments happy and selling your information to advertisers (including 100% of your metadata on WhatsApp). Telegram doesn’t sell ads, charge fees, or care about getting blocked in a specific country. In fact, the only precautions I see Telegram take are ones to remain on Apple’s draconic App Store and Google’s much friendlier Play Store. This makes sense to me, as the best push against Apple’s monopoly on iOS apps would to be to fight them with pro-freedom legislation. Otherwise, Telegram will just get banned and lose all its traction.

In order to grow Telegram into the gigantic network that it needs to be to defeat the corporate messengers of our world, Telegram needs secure backups. That’s what people want, and that’s what the Telegram team gave them, along with secret chats for those who don’t.

For the sake of speed in poor connection areas and on old phones, Telegram also rolled their own encryption method called “MTProto,” which has yet to be cracked in any contest (even when Telegram offered $300,000 to do so). It has drawn criticism from both good guys and bad guys who claim that less tested encryption methods shouldn’t be used by those seeking absolute privacy. However, these dogmatic idealists fail to rank the probability of MTProto being broken way below someone simply stealing your phone’s passcode and reading your messages that way. There are many methods a hacker or government would want to deal with before attempting to crack MTProto, as this would likely involve spending billions of dollars (try covering that up) on computing power to run algorithms. Even then, Telegram would patch it immediately, or way more than likely (>99% chance) the invading force would fail altogether.

MTProto relies on stronger versions of classic and simple encryption methods, which is why Telegram is the fastest encrypted messaging app in the world. Plus, it’s open-source and doesn’t require licensing, unlike Signal’s encryption, which is slower and much more corporate. Reportedly much of the criticism of MTProto comes from a media push from Open Whisper Systems to bully everyone into using their own method, thus needing to pay them fees. Funny. More on “Signal” later.

Telegram Voice Calls

4a68dedb2b8f10c50cThey’re great. Lance Lettieri and I have tested these from across the country, comparing them to FaceTime Audio, WhatsApp calls, and actual phone calls. Telegram has the best voice quality by far (about equal to Discord, though), and uses AI to automatically adjust settings to improve call quality as your network connection varies while driving or walking around. These calls are also end-to-end encrypted just like secret chats are, meaning that there is a 0% chance Obama tapping your Telegram calls. Or anyone else, all jokes aside. Telegram never stores these calls on a server and attempts to connect your devices directly when possible, circumventing the need to bounce off of a server altogether. You can finally talk about your otter-this-world otter porn collection, privately.

whatsapp-son-surum-indirWhy WhatsApp is 100% encrypted, yet completely insecure

WhatsApp was the original Telegram. When both launched, their themes were nearly identical and they both served nearly the same function and purpose: messaging. However, WhatsApp was eventually acquired by Facebook (startling on its own) and fails to open-source its client code.

WhatsApp, while encrypting all messages by default (via the Signal protocol), negates the value of encryption entirely by giving itself the ability to secretly change the keys on your device and resend messages with new keys. What this means is that Bob from the NSA could tell Facebook (who is very good friends with the NSA) to fork over absolutely any WhatsApp messages that are still on at least one person’s phone.

This article, by Telegram’s co-founder Pavel Durov, is filled with useful information on the weaknesses of Facebook-owned WhatsApp.

WhatsApp can remotely trigger key changes and resend messages using a new key, even when the users didn’t request it. As a result, WhatsApp is able to get transcripts of entire conversations without sending any notifications to the participants.

This completely negates the purpose of encryption in the first place if you’re worried about spying. Yes, the hacker next to you in the coffee shop can’t steal your messages on public WiFi, but the orange baby with nuclear codes watching Fox News in the White House can. I’ll take the hacker anyways.

WhatsApp also chooses to ask users to back their messages up to iCloud or Google Drive; unencrypted beyond the cloud’s own. This means that if either you or the person you’re chatting with has chosen this method, your messages are stored on a government accessible hard disk somewhere. Since Apple’s iCloud, Google’s Drive, and other major cloud services hand over their user’s information when legally required to or where financially motivated to, Uncle Sam (or whoever your country’s uncle is) has nearly complete control over when he gets to snoop on your private life.

EFF.org has this to say about WhatsApp’s push for users to use unencrypted cloud backups:

Unencrypted backups

WhatsApp provides a mechanism to back messages up to the cloud. In order to back messages up in a way that makes them restorable without a passphrase in the future, these backups need to be stored unencrypted at rest. Upon first install, WhatsApp prompts you to choose how often you wish to backup your messages: daily, weekly, monthly, or never.  In SSD, we have advised users to never back up their messages to the cloud, since that would deliver unencrypted copies of your message log to the cloud provider. In order for your communications to be truly secure, any contact you chat with must do the same.

As mentioned earlier, Telegram also stores your chats in the cloud, but using the secure multi-jurisdiction method detailed above and without a profit motive, unlike WhatsApp and Facebook. Telegram is also blocked in several countries where WhatsApp is not, leading me to believe (because governments throw temper tantrums when they can’t thought police their citizens) that said nations can actually access WhatsApp messages, even if it’s a lengthy process involving collaboration with Facebook. They therefore block Telegram completely since they cannot read those messages, even with a warrant.

facebook-icon-preview-1Speaking of profit motive, WhatsApp was fined $3 million for forcing all its users to give their personal information to Facebook, including those without a Facebook account. Even without scanning each WhatsApp message in order to target interests for advertisers, Facebook can see all of your unencrypted metadata. This is who you talk to, when you talk to them, how often, and what your phone numbers are. Trust me when I tell you that advertisers and governments alike cherish knowing this stalky information about you. They’re building gigantic sociograms that will eventually be combined with AI to predict your every move for advertisers, or any other reason.

Facebook knows that they make a ton of money off of selling this data about you, which is why they also block all links to Telegram inside of WhatsApp. This means that WhatsApp is could be sending unencrypted versions of links you share within the app to their servers in order to process whether or not they’re Telegram links (since it’s unlikely that the actual app is doing this offline). They even know when you’re discussing switching away from using their service.

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Besides privacy concerns, WhatsApp is just dry as compared to Telegram’s extensive feature list.

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Just kidding, by the way. Telegram doesn’t support groups up to 1,000 members. They bumped it up to 5,000.

unnamedWhat’s wrong with iMessage and texting?

A lot, or very little, depending on yourself, your friends, and your paranoia.

Practical inconveniences

  1. Firstly, iMessage can only work between Apple devices. The Messages app on iOS will default to hilariously insecure SMS messages if the number you’re texting isn’t activated with an iPhone. SMS messages are so insecure that they are often provided to law enforcement without a warrant. Deleting text messages off of your phone has no effect; they are stored for however long your carrier wants, unencrypted, for anyone inside the company to see. Hope your ex doesn’t work there. By the way, telecoms usually charge police a fee to do this, meaning that law enforcement is using your tax dollars to pay a multinational corporation to spy on you. Great!
  2. Apple devices, iMessage encryption, and iMessage clients are all closed-source and therefore cannot be audited by anyone except for Apple. This always leads open-source advocates like me to wonder: What are they hiding? Just a question. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Technical vulnerabilities

  1. Apple servers distribute encryption keys, meaning that they have the encryption keys. This means that an Apple spy (someone within Apple working with the FBI or China) could at the very least instruct its server to send your device their own key instead of your friend’s key. In other words, you’d be chatting with the Apple spy instead of your friend. The spy could even then do the same to your friend, and then copy and paste your messages between the two and read the entire conversation after the point that they began spying. Keep in mind, this spy could be human or robot, and robots know no limits. I’m not accusing Apple of doing all of this, I’m just saying that they can, which DEFEATS THE PURPOSE OF ENCRYPTION™.
  2. The second vulnerability is the same one that WhatsApp faces- iMessages are backed up to iCloud if either you or your friend has this feature enabled. This allows Apple to read all of your past messages by simply restoring your iCloud backup to one of their own iPhones. By the way, if you’re on an iPhone or iPad reading this, go turn off iCloud backup (assuming you care since you’ve read this far).

Please keep in mind that if you and your contact are using iPhones, both of you have iCloud backups disabled, and neither are suspected of terrorism, there is only a very small chance that you’re being monitored. Apple isn’t an advertising company; they just don’t want to get in trouble with the law. They intentionally leave vulnerabilities like iCloud backup laying around simply to appease governments, but also provide knowledgable users (such as you) to disable these features. I generally like Apple, even if their lawyers start to sweat when big bad Telegram comes around.

wear-messengerAll the other chat services

5dd6ddc5df8620703aThis is where debate can happen. Plenty of other encrypted chat services exist besides Telegram, all plenty safe and usable. So why Telegram? It’s the most usable. Your friends are highly unlikely to be disappointed once they download it, given it averages 4.5 stars in the App Store. You probably already have one or more friends sending off Telegrams on the daily, unbeknown to Facebook. Since it’s based off of your phone number rather than an obnoxious username and email signup, your contacts who use Telegram will show up immediately without having to search for them. It has the most features, the most usability, and the most practical security, period.

Signal

Another praised service is Signal, which is basically Telegram’s “secret chats” but with way less users and no desktop or tablet apps. The developer, Open Whisper Systems, also startles me with their passionate and blunt lies regarding the WhatsApp backdoor engineered by Facebook.

WhatsApp could try to “man in the middle” a conversation, just like with any encrypted communication system, but they would risk getting caught by users who verify keys.

This is Open Whisper Systems literally admitting that WhatsApp is capable of inserting a “man in the middle,” but arguing that they wouldn’t because they could get caught. News flash to OWS: They already got caught. Hence this entire freaking article. Also, as I keep hammering in: If they are even capable of inserting a MITM, then there is no. freaking. point. to. encryption. I hate these people.

Texting

If you’re on Android, you probably know that the built-in messaging app is simply your carrier’s texting service. On iPhone, it’s the green bubbles. As mentioned in my iMessage section above, carrier texts are 0% secure and can be read by anyone at your carrier or in law enforcement. Send only things in text messages that you want the world to know. Carriers make using secure services like Telegram difficult sometimes, since SMS texts are the only messages that can be sent when you have service, but don’t have a data connection. For most folks, this isn’t an issue with the gigantic data plans being used nowadays. But for customers who are constrained on data usage, this means that SMS is the only option between Wi-Fi areas.

Facebook Messenger

I assume I don’t have to mention Facebook Messenger in this article. But just in case it isn’t obvious: It’s also owned by Facebook and possesses all of the intentional vulnerabilities that WhatsApp does. But unlike WhatsApp, Facebook openly scans all its conversations with AI to “report criminal activity to the police.” Even if that was the only reason, that’s extremely creepy. But don’t forget that they’re actually doing this to target you for advertisers, and god knows what other future reasons.

So… what’s my favorite solution to mass-surveillance?

It’s Telegram. Go get it. And then send me a message.

Extra credit: Join our public Mad Indies channel on Telegram.

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