What does it mean to care about the wellbeing of sex workers?

Once again, Oliver Thorne has created an important, informative video on an issue laden with controversy and bad intentions.


For those who can’t see, at the beginning and end, Ollie is in a dressing room applying makeup. During the portions where he talks about gambling, and magic, he illustrates his points with card tricks, combined with a gambling scenario in which he plays the role of the House, in a three-piece suit and a leather armchair, casually demonstrating how he holds all the cards, and the sex worker, presented as the viewer (Based on camera angles) isn’t even allowed to keep hold the cards in their hand, having them replaced with jokers as the various entrapping rules are described.

Important context for understanding what’s happening in Latin America

I think the closed captions cover the material OK, but the TL:DR is this: Aid for Latin American countries has often come with strings attached. Leaders who don’t give favorable deals to wealthy nations and corporations (and “favorable” means “keeps the tropical country poor”), the people sent to talk to them start getting less friendly. Over time, the nice people in suits are replaced by “do what we say or you’ll die. Badly.” And if you don’t take the money in the first place? Well, then we just skip that step.

The United States, and the corporations protected and served by the United States, have done a LOT of harm to the global south, while the population of this country has, for the most part, turned a blind eye. Until we accept what we’ve been doing, and stop doing it, it is right and just for every poor country to view the United States as a hostile power. So far, we haven’t learned. We continued these atrocities under Democratic and Republican presidents, and congresses, and it sure looks like we’re continuing them now.

A vision of the future from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is fighting an uphill battle, but I think she’s fighting it well. She seems to be one of the very few politicians who can grasp the scale of the problem we’re facing, including the difficulty many of us have seeing a path forward. This is… Far more optimistic than I feel right now, but it does represent something that we are capable of doing.

Fox was never news

First off, sorry for the long silence. I’ve been working on other projects, and they’re taking most of my energy. I’m mainly dipping back in to relay a reminder that Fox News was NEVER anything more than a propaganda factory, even though there’s a history of everybody pretending they were news.


“Turning the page” – how the GOP has gotten away with a series of criminal presidents

Nixon, Reagan, Bush, Bush, Trump – five Republican presidents who grossly violated the law at various points in their careers, and were pardoned preemptively, or just allowed to get away with it. Clinton was “punished” for lying about sex, but not for the people he bombed to distract from that lying.

We need to end the trend of holding presidents above the law, and the GOP is at the forefront of political criminality. There is no justice but the justice we make, and ignoring the crimes of Republican presidents for the sake of “moving on” has taught them that they are above the law.

Hope for the holidays: What it looks like when Republicans accept reality

Over the past year, hope has been a bit hard for me to find. One climate report after another came out, like the slow tolling of a Doomsday bell, ringing out across the world, only to be swallowed by the howling chaos of rising authoritarianism in the United States, and around the world. Things are not good, and try though I might, I can’t find any clear signs that they’re going to get better any time soon. It feels like we’re headed for a confrontation between a global civilization falling off a cliff, while a tiny handful of people claim the billions of parachutes they control belong to them, and them alone.

The one sliver of hope I can see for humanity is the fact that we have all the tools we need to make planet-wide progress on both adapting to the warming climate, and ending our contribution to the problem. In the coming year, I’m planning to spend a lot more time adding my voice to the many who have already made the case for that claim. We, and most of the rest of multicellular life on this planet, are headed for extinction right now, but we don’t have to suffer through that horror. We could build a better world, we’re just not doing it nearly fast enough.

Case in point: Georgetown, Texas; population somewhere over 70,600, and the largest city in the U.S. to be run on 100% renewable energy. The Republican mayor of the town is enthusiastic about the change, not just because it’s the right thing to do for the future of our species, but also because it’s the smart thing to do from the oft-touted “fiscal conservative” perspective: [Read more…]

Climate change, responsible governance, and potable water

I think there’s a fair argument to be made that the only governments taking their responsibility to their citizens seriously right now are the island nations who are doing things like trying to find a place to relocate the entire country. This shows a disturbingly rare understanding that a nation is its people, and the first duty of any government is meeting the basic survival needs of those people.

One of the many ways in which the government has failed in that duty is in the protection of our water. We’ve known for a long time that many of our fresh water supplies are not sustainable at the current rate of use, but not only have we failed to make the many obvious changes that could address that problem, we haven’t even stopped people from poisoning the water we do have. When you add in the vital need to keep existing nuclear waste and nuclear power plants from irradiating large portions of the landscape, it’s clear that we’re going to need to have a much better grip on how our nation uses and distributes water.

The good news is that – as with so many other environmental challenges – this is a problem we could solve, if we wanted to.
[Read more…]

De-regulation kills

We have an outbreak of E. Coli O157:H7 which makes you vomit blood, have bloody diarrhea, and even pee blood as you lose your kidneys. It's all because Trump overturned Obama-era rules to test our farm water. Farmers saved 12 million so that we pay $108 million in medical costs.

Also breaking: diseases are caused by small “germs”, and not evil spirits!

There are regulations that are bad. Calling all regulations bad is a declaration that you don’t value human life.

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