Category: Uncategorized

Bayard Rustin’s Vision is Why Bigots Use Dog Whistles

Bayard Rustin was an American civil rights icon. He was the main organiser of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. He also influenced Dr. Martin Luther King Jr to use non-violence as a tactic in the fight for civil rights. He said:

” Our job is not to get those people who dislike us to love us. Nor was our aim in the civil rights movement to get prejudiced white people to love us. Our aim was to try to create the kind of America, legislatively, morally, and psychologically, such that even though some whites continued to hate us, they could not openly manifest that hate.” 

Bayard Rustin; From Montgomery to Stonewall (1986)


This has come to pass, people can’t openly manifest their hatred in public. That doesn’t mean that hatred and bigotry go away. Bigots have found other means to inject their bigotry into society. Social conservatives do this frequently. They will talk about the “traditional family” being under attack, or that the transgender agenda is destroying society.

When Seth Andrews tries making the point that Nazis don’t exist (because the National Socialist German Workers’ Party/Hitler was defeated in 1945), Thomas Smith tries to claim that New Atheists haven’t merged with right-wing conservatives, or Sam Harris claims that white supremacists have no cultural influence/that they’re the fringe of the fringe, they are being destructively pedantic.

T-Party Podcast: BlackBlockPolitics with Eric

From the Tik-Tok channel BlackBlocPolitics, Eric joined me to talk about communism, capitalism, building community, and much more.

Everything Old is New Again

This blog is back to where it was around 2008. I actually lost the domain because I forgot about it and someone snatched it up and basically wouldn’t let get until the SEO rankings dropped.

Needless to say, a lot has changed since I owned this URL back in the day. Blogging isn’t so much of a thing as it used to be. I live in the UK now, I’m no longer the editor of the Transadvocate, and the world has fallen apart more than I thought it could back in the day. After using different social media platforms, I’ve decided to come back to this platform (personal hosted WordPress blog).

I mostly have returned to it, because social media has turned into something I can’t stand. Everything is monetized, even Twitter and Facebook. You don’t have much reach these days unless you’re outrage farming on social media for someone else to profit off of. That’s not who I am, and not what I want to do. Mostly what I want to do here is write from the perspective of the life I’ve lived.

I’ve got a lot of cleaning up to do just to get this to look how it did previously. I might have a professional do an upgrade at some point but right now I just want to get this back to what it was. I’ve recently moved from Twitter to Mastodon, and I plan on centralising everything I do online here.

It’s Foolish to Think of the Saving of Obamacare is a Victory

Many Democrats are celebrating this morning the defeat of the Republican’s attempt to “repeal and replace” Obamacare. What the hell are Americans celebrating?

I’m an American expat working for the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom. I’ve been a health care provider in the US system for 29 years, before coming to the UK. If you’re a citizen here, you get healthcare that’s free at the point of service. It’s true, your hospital may not have:

hospitals

  • a football field
  • a swimming pool
  • a basketball court
  • a grand piano

But you do get good quality health care.  That’s my opinion as a provider, and as a patient.

hospitalstay

 

But that’s not just my  opinion, it’s a fact. Health care in the UK costs less and has better outcomes than the USA.

You’ll have US politicians speaking out of both sides of their mouth. They’ll stand there flag waving saying America is the greatest country in the world, while saying America can’t afford to do what the rest of the civilized world already provides for its citizens. They’ll say this while spending more on defense than China, South Korea, Italy, Germany, Japan, France, India, Iraq, Australia, Brazil, Israel, and the United Kingdom combined (and Donald Trump wants to spend 54 billion dollars more).

Since September 11, 2001 the United States has spent 4.79 TRILLION dollars on two wars and the so called “battle on Islamic terrorism.” If you’re an American citizen, do you feel safer? Do you feel like the world is a safer place making that kind of investment?

If you’re celebrating Obamacare, you’re like this guy:

nobike

He might be happy that he’s got a car to drive, but he’s still driving a clunker.

Now that’s not to say say that the NHS is perfect. It’s underfunded and stressed, but what do the people being served by it fear? They fear the NHS becoming something that mirrors the US health care system.

I understand why people are relieved that the health care they have now won’t be taken away, but celebrate? Being screwed over a little less is no reason to celebrate. This should be a wake up call, not a party.

Supporting The Nominee Like my Life Depended on It

I’ve had a few people on my Facebook wall arguing #BernieorBust. I put together some audio in response.

Long audio file:
MP3
Short audio file:
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqLAZynXnPc]

Bernie or Meh, The Clinton Path to Defeat

I’ll say it up front, I’m a Bernie Sanders supporter that:

  • thinks Sanders has a very narrow path to the nomination (almost impossible).
  • will vote for Clinton if she’s the nominee.
  • thinks Democrats and the Clinton campaign are setting themselves up for a massive defeat in the fall.

The Democratic Party seems to want to have a fight with Bernie Sanders. Today’s post from the Hill:

Bernie’s not a Democrat. What are we worried about? Why would Bernie want to play nice?” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). “I’m just saying if a person doesn’t even want to conform to be Democratic, it’s kind of hard to say, ‘OK, all of a sudden you have to do all these things.’ ”

Sanders isn’t a Democrat? Huh. I guess then they didn’t count him as a Democrat from 2008-2010? He wasn’t a Democrat when Obamacare passed by 1 vote? The reality of this election cycle is that to win, Hillary Clinton supporters need Sanders supporters. Sanders may not be a Democrat, but a very large portion of HIS SUPPORTERS ARE.

There are no super-delegates in the November general election. Clinton my be on the verge of clinching the nomination of the Democratic Party, but she may also be heading for a massive defeat in the fall.

Trump could just rerun Obama’s 2008 ad:
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGqD8-a-REQ]

The ad said:

“The Washington Post says Clinton isn’t telling the truth. […]

“But it was Hillary Clinton, in an interview with Tom Brokaw, who quote ‘paid tribute’ to Ronald Reagan’s economic and foreign policy. She championed NAFTA –- even though it has cost South Carolina thousands of jobs. And worst of all, it was Hillary Clinton who voted for George Bush’s war in Iraq.

“Hillary Clinton. She’ll say anything, and change nothing. It’s time to turn the page. Paid for by Obama for America.”

Since 1994 Ohio has lost 320,000 manufacturing jobs since NAFTA was enacted. You can argue whether or not those job losses were from NAFTA, but what I don’t think is arguable is how effective a talking point it is in states that have been hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs.

If Trump keeps hammering Clinton on her support of NAFTA and the Iraq War, while stoking anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment, he has a very good shot at becoming the next President of the United States.

Clinton and the Democratic establishment aren’t going to win over Sanders voters by falsely labeling them as violent. They won’t win Sanders voters over by painting Sanders as a lonely outsider, effectively aligning his voters out in the cold with him. Say 2/3 of Sanders voters do vote for Clinton, and most Republicans vote for Trump? Trump would win Pennsylvania and Ohio. Clinton’s ahead in the polls in Florida by 1 percentage point.  I have a  question for establishment Democrats. How’d that whole letting Florida decide the election in 2000 work out for you?
 

Iain Lee, Tabloid Media, and What Racism Means

If you follow me on social media or on this blog,  you’ll know I’m a fan of talk radio. I found a new talk show network forming in the UK called TalkRadio, so I gave their shows a listen. One of the shows in particular caught my ear. Iain Lee hosts a show on the network that I’ve come to really enjoy listening to. I even sent him an email telling him (and have told his producer in tweets) on how much I like the show. Lee seems  to be a very honest host that really puts his heart and vulnerability into his show/art.

The last few days Lee has been under attack by British media for supposedly being racist. Lee was on a game show (for charity) and this happened:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdX1DLZzYyg]

Lee defended himself quite well on Monday’s show (May 2, 2016), saying that he thought the girls where in a corner-shop and it was nothing more than that.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxQvndPbLEk?t=931]

On Tuesday night’s show, a caller phoned in to engage with Lee concerning what is referred to as casual racism. I found his treatment of this caller to be rude, and dismissive. He wouldn’t let the caller get his point across, and even used the dictionary argument.  Going on a radio show as a caller always puts the the caller at a disadvantage. The radio presenter always has control over the call and the conversation, and I felt Lee was harsh and refused to listen to what the caller was saying.

Casual racism isn’t always something the person engaging in it even knows they’re doing. Everyone has implicit biases, and sometimes those biases cause us to engage in behavior that we’re not even aware of. He posted after the show on Twitter that the earlier caller had made the observation that black people can’t be racist:

Actual tweets at Storify

FireShot Capture 46 - Editing 'Iain Lee Show _ - https___editor.storify.com_57294eca936b6de4593cf642

The natural response when being called out on pretty much anything in life is a reflexive denial. White people (cisgender heterosexual males) especially don’t like being called racist. Even overt racists don’t think or say they’re racist. But I wasn’t even SAYING Lee is a racist. I was critical of his treatment of someone that was trying to explain casual racism to him.  By criticizing him for his rude treatment of a caller, supporters of Lee have accused me of cyber-bullying.

FireShot Capture 47 - Editing 'Iain Lee Show _ - https___editor.storify.com_57294eca936b6de4593cf642

Even though as soon as Lee asked me to stop tweeting him, I did, I’m a bully. I do understand how difficult it is for white people to hear something they said or did might be racist. I learned this the hard way. I wrote a blog post  in which I typed out the “N” word fully. Soon after I was taken to task by people of colour. I had to listen, because as a white person myself, I’m not the arbiter of what is, or is not,  racist.

For many white people being called racist is something akin to being called a child abuser or a rapist in terms of the public shame. Casual racism isn’t using the N word or lynching someone, it’s a hell of a lot more subtle than that. My issue wasn’t with Lee’s game show performance, but his dismissal and rude treatment of someone that called him on his privilege or the possibility that he MIGHT have been casually racist. As a friend of mine said of Lee’s reaction, it’s as if someone stepped on your foot and the following conversation ensued:

Me: “Excuse me, I believe you just stepped on my foot.”
Them: “ARE YOU CALLING ME A CLUMSY MONSTER??”
Them: “ARE YOU SAYING NOBODY EVER STEPPED ON MY FOOT??”
Them: “IT’S CROWDED GET OVER IT!”
Me: “But you’re still standing on my foot.”

Regardless, I wish nothing but the best for Lee. Lee stated that he has blocked me because he’s struggling with depression. I hope he feels better soon.

 

 

Sassy On Tech: Fitbit Blaze, Garmin VivoSmart HR, and the Dying Charge HR

Recently my Fitbit Charge-HR fell apart. It started with the side button disappearing/falling off. The charging cover proceeded to fall off, making it unusable. I was irritated that the Fitbit fell apart just after a year of use. So I decided to Give the Garmin Vivosmart-HR a shot. I based the purchase on seeing this review:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJE-P7IdU0o]
It seemed to mirror the Charge-HR in terms of features. I did like the screen. It’s flawless in the sun or bright light. But I’m a night shift worker and my bedroom is blacked out, so I need to be able to see the screen in a very dark room. The Vivosmart HR fails under darkened room conditions.

That was annoying, but what had me return the device was the sleep tracking feature. I’ve been spoiled with the Fitbit’s automatic sleep tracking. As a night shift worker, it makes me very aware of how much sleep I’m getting and when I’m getting it. If I took a nap before work, the Fitbit caught it automatically. With the Garmin device, you have to set times for it to record your sleep patterns. I took a nap before work (outside the set sleep times) and the device totally missed recording it.

Read the rest over on Sassy on Tech

Giving Banks Credit

Now that I’m almost a year into fixing my credit, I’m starting to get a lot of offers for credit. Well sort of. Most of the loans in being offered are really absurd; a loan for $1000 that will cost $500?! I’ve also received a lot of credit card applications. Many of these offers say “pre-approved” or “prescreened.” I’m finding that what that means is that they’ve realized my credit is improving, but this doesn’t mean they’ll approve me. First National Bank of Omaha sent me this kind of offer.  I had a discussion with FNBO here.

Chase Bank has sent me these kind of offers too, and they denied me as well. This isn’t some random act. I’ve never received these types of solicitation before my credit repair efforts, so I KNOW it’s not some random event. When  I contacted customer service, they apologized but didn’t really offer give any signals that they would change the way they send out offers. This annoys me to no end. If you send me offers that look as if it’s been looked over when it’s not, that’s misleading. Not only that, but every credit inquiry has an impact on my credit rating. So it’s not only a waste of my time, but a negative to my effort to repair my credit.

That being said, there’s not a lot I can do about it. Well, there’s not a lot I can do, save one thing. I’ve decided that even if it costs me over the long run, I’m going to be brand loyal to those that sent me offers and came through for me (namely Capital One and American Express). I know that my credit will get better over time. I’ve had my credit rating increase around 70 points in a year, and I plan on keeping up my monthly pay-offs of my credit cards.  Even if they’d offer me an interest free credit card, I won’t bite. The only way I can protest this type of  business practice is to reward those that don’t do it with my business, and refuse business with those who do.  It’s something small, but it’s what I CAN do.

Renee Zellweger, Abortion, and Trans Bodies

Wading through all the comments on Facebook about Renee Zellweger’s “new look” have made me think a lot about a common thread between abortion rights, trans bodies, and body modification through surgery. The common issue is between them all is bodily autonomy, the right to make choices about what happens to you your own body.

“But she looked good/better/different before the surgery!”

“She looks ok, but I think she was more attractive as a guy!”

According to who? I’m kind of dumbfounded when someone agrees a woman should have the right to choose what do concerning an unplanned pregnancy, but will comment on a person’s choice for elective body modifications. Why is that ok? It seems to me that it’s Feminism 101 to say that women should have the right of bodily autonomy.

I find celebrity culture to be a tad bit creepy. People will comment freely about a woman’s body as if it’s something of theirs to critique? It’s objectification at its highest level. They probably wouldn’t appreciate the same level of critique of their mother, sister, or partner’s bodies, but they seem to feel they have a right to comment on the body of someone they’ve never met and don’t know? How far is this from the religious fundamentalist (or TERF) who will say:

“The writers of Scripture viewed any attempts at overriding one’s birth-sex as abhorrent, a sacrilege against the structures of maleness or femaleness created by God, and ultimately a rebellion against the Creator who made our bodies,”

The underlying theme is the same, regardless of who it’s coming from. It’s an assertion of ownership, outside of one’s own body. It’s an assertion that bodily autonomy is harmful, and that any change to the “natural body” is mutilation:

“Now one of the things I find puzzling about it is that, when I look at the House of Lords debate on this legislation, those I agree with most are the radical right. Particularly the person I find that I agree with most, in here, and I’m not sure he will be pleased to find this, is Norman Tebbitt… Tebbitt also says that the savage mutilation of transgenderism, we would say if it was taking place in other cultures apart from the culture of Britain, was a harmful cultural practice, and how come we’re not recognising that in the British Isles. So he makes all of these arguments from the radical right, which is quite embarrassing to me, but I have to say, so called progressive and left people are not recognising the human rights violations of transgenderism or how crazy the legislation is. – Sheila Jeffreys

My belief (regardless of if we’re talking about trans people, sex workers, Renee Zellweger, or someone who is pregnant) that it is “my body, my choice.”  The right to make choices about your body is a basic, fundamental human right.

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