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Fact Checking Absurd Memes Attacking Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders




One of the driving forces behind this wealth of misinformation we see in today’s society are Internet memes. While memes can be great ways to share information to the masses, the downside is that they can often make inaccurate information seem credible. And being that most people who share memes never investigate the truthfulness of them (most typically just seeing something with which they agree, then click “share” or “retweet”), that misinformation then becomes “fact” for tens of thousands – if not millions.

If you want to support or dislike a particular candidate, or political party, that’s fine – just be sure you’re doing so based on factual information.

That being said, I thought I’d fact check a few of the most common anti-Hillary Clinton and anti-Bernie Sanders memes I see people sharing.

BernieSandersJail2

Obviously, this not a real quote. Not only that, but Sanders’ tax plan doesn’t come anywhere close to 90 percent. For people making over $10 million a year, the rate would be 52 percent. Meanwhile, the rest of his tax rates, even for those making $500k or more per year, would only be 43 percent – or less than half of this “90 percent” nonsense. By the way, all of his proposed tax rates are much lower than what we had during the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s in the very capitalist United States.

HillaryClintonZelfman

Here’s one that’s actually been debunked by Snopes as “False.” As stated by Snopes:

But nearly everything stated in this passage is wrong: Hillary Rodham didn’t draft a legal brief that was “unethical” (save that it made a legal argument Zeifman didn’t agree with), she didn’t “confiscate” public documents, and she didn’t do anything that she hadn’t been directed to do by her supervisor (and Zeifman’s).

Zeifman had no authority to “terminate” Hillary. They were members of different staffs, and Zeifman had no hiring or firing authority over members of the Impeachment Inquiry staff for which Hillary worked. (That authority rested with Special Counsel John Doar and, ultimately, with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Peter Rodino.) Quite tellingly, Zeifman made absolutely no mention of having “fired” or “terminated” Hillary Rodham, nor of telling her that he “could not recommend her for any further positions,” in his 1995 book.

So, that pretty much puts an end to that.

BernieSandersCommunist2

Ah, yes the self-described democratic socialist is somehow a communist. I love how people throw around “socialist” and “communist” like they’re interchangeable when they’re completely different economic philosophies. When someone uses socialist and communist together, all they’re doing is proving that they don’t know what either term actually means. Furthermore, I technically don’t even consider Sanders any sort of a socialist. While he calls himself a “democratic socialist,” all he’s really doing is proposing tax rates similar to what we had a few decades ago (when we were still a capitalist nation), and expanding public education to include public college and Medicare to include everyone.

HillaryClintonSandersGoldwater

Hillary Clinton was born in 1947, therefore, in 1964 she was 17-years-old in a family where she was raised by Republicans. Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders was 23-years-old. So, are we really going to make some sort of political point based on the political beliefs of a 17-year-old girl vs. a 23-year-old man? When you’re 69, do you want people to look back to when you were 17 to hold something against you 52 years later? Also what this meme doesn’t address is that Clinton began to question her Republican upbringing around this time and, in 1968 (when she was 21), she began supporting Democrats. But if you really want to hold the political beliefs of a 17-year-old girl who was raised in a Republican household against her 52 years later, go right ahead.

BernieSandersDemocrat

Again, are we going to hold something against a politician for 31 years? While Bernie Sanders has been an independent, he’s mostly always aligned with Democrats in Congress. Maybe at the time this quote was true, but as I’ve defended Hillary Clinton’s right to evolve and progress, I’ll defend Sanders for having that same right. While people might need to answer for things they’ve said or done in the past to clarify their current position, I’m not going to hold it against someone for changing, evolving or adapting their positions.

HillaryClintonVSBernieSanders

Okay, this one’s a long one because there’s a lot that’s inaccurate in possibly the most shared pro-Sanders/anti-Clinton meme I get. I’ll try to go line by line.

Gay Rights: While it’s true Sanders has been more pro-gay than many, he still never fully came out in favor of the national legalization of same-sex marriage until the last few years. In fact, in 2006, he said gay marriage should be a state issue. When asked at the time if he thought Vermont should legalize it, he said “no.”

Not only that, but “gay rights” is a very vague term. Let’s not forget that Bill Clinton, for his time, was fairly pro-gay. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was bold considering the context of society, finally allowing gay Americans a way to serve in the military. Let’s not forget, in the 90’s, even most Democrats were against many gay rights, including legalized marriage.

Spying on US Citizens: This one is true. Sanders has been an opponent to the Patriot Act and many of the controversial bills that have allowed the government to potentially violate the Constitutional rights of some Americans while Clinton has supported some of these measures.

Snowden on NSA Whistleblowing: It’s true Clinton has said she doesn’t support Snowden’s actions and believes he should face criminal prosecution. However, Bernie Sanders never said Snowden was defending American freedom. In fact, Sanders believes Snowden violated laws and should be prosecuted. In other words, this one is completely false.



Vote on Wars: Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan & Syria: So much wrong with this one. For starters, Sanders actually voted in support of the Afghanistan war. Though, as we all know, he opposed the Iraq War. But there was no American “war” in Libya or Syria – nor any “vote” to go to the non-existent war. Not only that, but the military actions President Obama has taken against ISIS in Syria and Iraq happened after Clinton was no longer secretary of state. So she wouldn’t have had anything to do with “voting” for Syria. By the way, secretary of states don’t “vote” for war.

Prisons for Profits excessive incarceration: Well, considering Bernie Sanders voted for Bill Clinton’s “tough on crime” bill which many credit with driving for-profit prisons and harsher punishments, I would say at one time he did support both. Though it’s clear he’s changed his stance on this over the years.

Regulation of Wall Street: Sorry, Glass-Steagall is not the only form of Wall Street regulation that exists. While it’s true he does support reinstating Glass-Steagall, this implies Clinton opposes Wall Street regulations – which isn’t true. She called for regulations early on in the financial crash, supports Dodd-Frank and has called on taking on shadow banking (the main cause of the 2008 crash) if elected president.

TPP, NAFTA & Offshoring Jobs: Now it’s true that Sanders opposes both NAFTA and the TPP while Clinton supports NAFTA and once supported the TPP – though she’s since come out against it. Is her change of heart genuine? Well, that’s clearly subjective. But the fact is that she now opposes it.

Campaign Finance Reform – Citizens United – Super PACs: Considering both candidates have been vocal about overturning Citizens United and getting money out of politics, this is disingenuous. Many well-respected liberals have or had Super PACs, including President Obama. Not only that, but it’s a bit of a misnomer to claim Sanders isn’t being supported by any PAC money – when he is.

Climate Change: Another one of these categories that both candidates have been on the same side of the issue in stressing the importance of combating climate change. In fact, Hillary Clinton’s plans have been called “to the left” of what President Obama has done.

Keystone XL Pipeline: While it’s true Sanders has opposed it from the beginning, at no time did Clinton ever support the project. In fact, she came out stating she opposed it last summer.

Basically what I’m saying is that this meme is almost entirely filled with misinformation and lies.

BernieSandersSocialist

Just because someone has been in Congress for over two decades doesn’t mean they can’t have great ideas. Even most Clinton supporters like Sanders and what he wants to do, they just doubt whether or not many of his bold plans are realistic. While there might be a debate over whether or not a 20+ year veteran of Congress is or isn’t “establishment,” to try to discredit the reality that Sanders does, in fact, have rather bold ideas that are far different than the what we’ve seen in this country is childish.

Oh, and while this isn’t an “attack” on him, sorry folks, this is not Bernie Sanders in this picture:

BernieSandersMLK

Sanders was at MLK’s 1963 march on Washington. This photo is from the Selma march in 1965.

While there are more, I’ll cut it off there. Though I’m sure even though I sourced and linked almost everything I’ve said in this article to back up the fact-checks, many will read it and simply believe whatever the heck they want to believe. Unfortunately, that’s how “realities” are for many people nowadays. What’s factual matters far less than what some people want to be real.

Hit me up on Twitter or Facebook and let me know what you think.




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Copyright 2016 Forward Progressives
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Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on both Twitter and Facebook. Have feedback, inquiries, criticism or compliments? You can email him as well.

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  • Harley Benner

    My online mantra: “With so much information available, ignorance is a choice.”

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  • PMC

    http://www.dsausa.org/what_is_democratic_socialism

    There is a paper-thin difference between what the Democratic Socialists of America (who support Sanders across their pages) and communists want.

    • Eva Cutler

      I seriously doubt you REALLY understand the difference between communism and social democracy? You mean you would NOT have voted for Roosevelt? I guess You DON’T LIKE THE IDEA OF SOCIAL SECUTITY and MEDICARE EITHER. Fools like you should get their information in checked instead of making assumptive comments.

      • PMC

        I am NOT the fool here. You obviously did not read the link. Sanders has never repudiated the Democratic Socialist theory of the ownership of the means of production at the link:

        “We believe that the workers and consumers who are affected by economic institutions should own and control them.

        Social ownership could take many forms, such as worker-owned cooperatives or publicly owned enterprises managed by workers and consumer representatives. Democratic socialists favor as much decentralization as possible. While the large concentrations of capital in industries such as energy and steel may necessitate some form of state ownership, many consumer-goods industries might be best run as cooperatives.”

        Central economic planning, worker ownership, etc. are also hallmarks of the communist regimes.Note that he does NOT describe himself as a Social Democrat: why not?

        You will also not find guidance on the Sanders Web site that describes how far the “revolution” will go. I call his followers the Sanders-ista, for good reason.

      • Matt T

        Yeah, you clearly don’t understand the difference. Sanders is accurate to call himself a Democratic Socialist as he does believe workers and consumers affected by economic institutions should own and control them. Communism, on the other hand, would insist on government controlling these economic institutions. That’s a tremendous difference. In this explanation alone, describes the difference between Socialism and Communism. The argument is anything but “paper thin” as you would put it.

      • PMC

        “Workers” == “party/regime” in communist societies.

        Do you really understand are you blowing smoke? More importantly, what does Sanders actually say about the subject?

      • Matt T

        Again, the problem here is you clearly do not understand NOR do you comprehend very well. The main issue with your train of thinking is that you reinterpret the words of another person to fit what you WANT the words to mean. Instead, perhaps you should listen better and take another person’ swords at face value. I can tell a man like you is a horrible manager of people, and I truly pity anyone would would ever have to report to you. You represent everything that is wrong with the U.S. today. It’s especially concerning that you take a person’s words and completely misrepresent them with a wholly new subset of verbiage that resembles absolutely nothing of the original content. Sounds like you watch Fox “News,” and are obviously an ignorant repibliclown.

      • PMC

        Never have watch Fox News and am a life-long Democrat. You obviously are not capable of critical thinking.

        What does any of this mean in terms of policy:

        https://berniesanders.com/issues/income-and-wealth-inequality/

      • Matt T

        You certainly lack interpretation skills. Anyone can extrapolate information in a lacsadaisical manner, such as yourself, and reinterpret it to mean anything he/she chooses, just as you have done. For example: Person 1, “The weather is sunny today.” Person 2’s interpretation, “Crops will die because there is too much sun.” You are an extremist in your viewpoints.

      • Jeremy Baker

        Wow you are beyond moronic Matt. All you can say is “you don’t understand” “you lack interpretation” but cannot actually present any valid information. From your comments I highly doubt you could interpret any policy and likely don’t have any skills beyond Strain, Shit, Wipe. Move to Syria please. Would love to see your head dropping in a bucket on the Tube!

      • Jim Sprake

        Supporters of Young Americans you’re cold war mentality and fear are showing

      • Sport Barry
    • Jim Sprake

      The difference is night and day. Dem. Soc. Want government based on the nordic model, where gheeans of production are privately owned. They want our people to be better educated, healthier, to work for a living wage and retire with dignity. None of the mordic countries are socialist. They are constitutional monarchies or republics.

  • Chaim✓ᴱ-ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    Funny that socialists and communists never say they are the same, yet when you press them to describe the difference they can never give an answer.

    • Justin Klink

      Private ownership is one huge difference. The type of socialism is also important. Socialism is a blanket term that covers many different approaches to socialism.

    • Alejandro Jesús Guapo

      democratic socialist thankfully have an easier time distinguishing from those 2

      • Sport Barry

        Call them the OECD, except for USA,…. well even the USA is a social democracy.

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  • Bill Fedullo

    Hilary Clinton technically didn’t vote for our bombing campaign in Libya, but she had what was actually a more important role in it – according to the New York Times, she was the tie-breaker in Obama’s cabinet who convinced the President to go ahead with it. Likewise, she pushed hard for the US to forcibly remove Assad in the early days of the Syrian Civil War.

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  • Owen Poole

    Communism is simply the principles of socialism enforced by violence due to the belief that most humans will not voluntarily submit to the mandate of equal outcomes. We can talk about the differences between Democratic Socialism, and communism, and which is better, but it is obvious that the only thing that has a proven track record of prosperity is a free market.

    Such a free market system will never be perfect – but neither will a socialist one. Basic human nature will not allow it. And of the two aforementioned ideologies a free market with some common sense regulations will trump a system with mandated outcomes. What we need are a few tax increases on the wealthy, an increase in the minimum wage, etc.

    What we absolutely do not need is a “revolution.” It is strange to me that people are so eager to want to abandon a system that is not perfect but has created freedom and prosperity.

    Venezuela is a prime example of the failings of Socialism. Take a moment to read up on current events there. There are some very obvious current events that display the danger and folly of far left or far right policies. The best path seems to be right down the middle.

    • Sport Barry

      Venezuela is a prime example of ignoring the other 33 countries in the OECD

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  • Philip Weisberg

    True communism calls for the “withering away of the state” as written by Marx himself. We have yet to get that far with any so-called communist government. We only get to totalitarianism. That is just authoritarian and not communist or socialist. We have socialist government in America with social security, Medicare, and a safety net for all (food stamps, disability, Section 8 housing). There is an obvious difference between Sweden and Cuba. That may not fully explain the differences between socialism and communism but use your rational skill set to figure it out.