Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Gif of the Day

Lunch? Not lunch.

My 2010's Retrospective

Enough with the lists, let's talk about me. Everyone's doing their past-decade retrospectives and I didn't mean to follow the crowd but what can you do? Humans love round numbers and the 2010's contained most of my 20's, which were a very strange time. Almost as strange as the decade before that!

Anyhoo, I've been thinking a lot about the person I was at the beginning of the decade and who I have become. I graduated in late 2010, just a couple months after experiencing my first real heartbreak of my life, and not long after that I met the person I hope to spend the rest of my life with. I had to leave Bellingham to find work and for eight and a half years I've been dreaming about moving back. Literally, I have dreams all the time that I've moved back to Bellingham and am happy, though over time my feelings in the dreams have become mixed and sometimes I want to move back to the Seattle area.

I had three jobs post-college that were all very weird in their own way before I scored my first full-time writing position. Nearly two years later I left the world of marketing behind because I hated it, but during that period of barely actually working and feeling guilty for barely actually working, I found social justice.

I started off as a liberal feminist who engaged in White Feminist (TM) rhetoric and bumped up against TERFdom for a minute, but I soon learned about privilege and to shut up and listen to my fellow women. My politics evolved as I learned more about capitalism, communism, and anarchism, and now I'm pretty comfortable calling myself an anarcho-communist. I rejected reform politics and came to believe that radical change is the only acceptable change for our society, which is set up in a way that harms most of us, some more than others, for the benefit of a rich and powerful few.

I tried content writing and got bored. I tried another office job and got so bored and antsy I was dipping into the suicidal spectrum. I got into daily news writing and in spite of, or maybe because of, the instability, I've been able to remain mostly content.

During all that time, I worked through a lot of emotion. I explored and learned to accept my anger. I dealt with periodic depression and, as always, plenty of anxiety. I grieved a vision of my country that turned out to be a lie. I learned things part of me wishes I could unlearn.

Just this past year, I smoked a lot of weed and fell into an intense existential crisis that I'm just coming out the other end of. I grieved a future that I once envisioned for myself that might never come to pass. I came to accept, as best I could, that the future is uncertain and that my life might be cut short due to climate change.

So who am I now, and who do I want to be? So much of my pain from the last few years has come from learning about the injustices festering around the world and how many people are suffering because of them. I've had to face the facts that so many of the things I'd been told were unacceptable evils from the past are either back today or never left. Slavery, still alive and well in the U.S. via prison labor. School desegregation? Never happened, and schools here are more segregated now than in the 1960's. Concentration camps? Not relics of the 1940's that ended with the nazis. Oh, also, the nazis never ended and are making a comeback!

I don't think I'll ever stop being pissed off that I was raised on the mantra that the U.S. is the greatest nation on Earth and had to learn the truth about its horrific origins and its continuous and horrific oppression of anyone who's not a rich neurotypical able-bodied cishet white man throughout its history in my 20's. Nor will I ever stopped being pissed off that I was forced to learn what I would do if concentration camps existed during my lifetime in my country. That I was forced to just have to let myself push it out of my head and not think about it because I couldn't stop them from existing.

I spent a lot of my 20's telling people to take care of themselves first, believing that you have to take care of your own mental health before you can effectively help others. I spent so much time telling people that they're not bad for not doing more, that they're doing the best they can and can't possibly do better than that. But I couldn't take my own advice.

It took nearly 10 years for me to realize the obvious. I spent my childhood in the middle of a lot of conflicts and took on the role of the fixer. I developed poor boundaries and have a hard time being okay if other people are not okay. Teddy from Bob's Burgers? Me. So it's no wonder I came to question whether I could ever be happy in a world with so much suffering and injustice. It's not so surprising that I lost the ability to enjoy the things that used to make me happy. The world became dull, and it felt like I could no longer derive pleasure from the little things.

I started to experiment more with cannabis and experienced some drug-induced euphoria, which if I'm honest with myself, I've been chasing for over a year now without success. Now, weed just brings out whatever emotions I'm already feeling, whether they're good or bad.

That brings us to now. These days, I still spend a lot of time pondering the question, "who am I?" The person I was right after college feels like a stranger to me now. But am I even all that different? I'm still so fearful, held back from what I apparently think of are the only worthwhile forms of helping people by social anxiety and a general low tolerance for stress. Or an ability to stress myself out more than most people, I'm not sure. I still feel like I'm not good enough, though that feeling has transferred from being about writing skill to being about moral goodness.

But I am different. After a whole lot of raging, I'm not as angry as I once was. I still respond to injustice with anger, as we all should, but I've seen so much injustice to such an extreme degree that barely anything shocks me anymore. I still get angry when I see people acting badly who should know better, but I've learned to self-reflect and the anger doesn't burn as hot or as long. I don't know if this is good or bad.

I feel like I want to be kinder. I will always know that anger is an important emotion that we need but I want to react better. I have improved a ton on the whole fighting with strangers on the internet thing, though I do slip back into the habit now and again. But I think I'm pretty much sick of it. I've seen how it goes nowhere. And I'm not proud of many of the things I've said over the decade to people who probably didn't deserve it, particularly in the comments of Facebook posts sometimes made by my friends. Some of it needed to be said but too often I slipped into being mean, even cruel. And I did that simply because I wanted to hurt someone. I felt hurt so I lashed out. I don't want to do that anymore.

Unless you come after the people I love. Then all bets are off.

I've spent so much of my life trying desperately to understand people. I thought if only I could understand them, and understand why people caused pain, I wouldn't hurt so much. But, like every other person before me, I found that every answer only opened a door to a hundred other questions. Still, I keep asking those questions and pursuing answers, or the closest thing I can get - understanding. As futile as it might seem, it feels right. I think the meaning of life might be the endless cycle of trying to understand crap only to find that the only certainty is that you don't know shit. Or something more eloquent than that.

Or not, who cares?

What I want from that pursuit of understanding is empathy and an increased capacity for kindness. And I don't mean treating those who already have a ton of power with kid gloves. That's not kindness. I don't mean going easy on celebrities with tons of public influence when they cause harm. I don't mean being kind to the people I like but don't even know personally at the expense of people who are already struggling every day. That's not kindness. But I think it's time for a little more patience and empathy with those who are a lot like me but haven't had the same laser focus on social issues as I have. I want to work on my defensiveness and remember the hurt and rage that plagued my young adulthood and consider how that might have manifested without some key influences in my life.

I might even have to be kinder to myself.

But I will still be calling out bigots by directly naming the bigotry involved and if you have a problem with that, you can leave my space.

Who am I and who do I want to be? I'm the person who wants to be a person who helps. I want to make the world a slightly better place than it would have been if I had never existed. I can't possibly know if I accomplished that, I can only do my best to try and make it true. And in order to that, I need to function as a human being. I'm sure I will figure out the specifics of all that over the next decade.

Happy New Decade.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Top 10 Worst Trends Of The Decade

Someone on Twitter pointed out that every article they had seen with a headline like this had left out some very important and very shitty trends. So here's my take on the decade as we wind up the last days of the 2010s.

The 10 Worst Trends Of 2010-2019, In No Particular Order:

  1. The global resurgence of fascism.
  2. The increase in white supremacist activity.
  3. The increase in racist and antisemitic hate crimes.
  4. The yearly increase of trans people murdered for being trans, especially black trans women.
  5. The yearly spiking of income inequality.
  6. The continuing monopolization of industries as part of late-stage capitalism.
  7. The degradation of worker rights and benefits.
  8. The increase in prison populations along with worsening conditions thanks to privatization.
  9. The rising rates of mental illness and suicide.
  10. The increase in the number of unhoused people in the U.S. as millions of homes sit empty.

Now, because I'm trying to focus more on positive stuff for my own sake, and because that didn't take long, I've just now decided to add a Best Trends Of The Decade In No Particular Order list:

  1. The global resurgence of anti-fascist activism.
  2. The improvement of LGBTQ+ rights and protections overall.
  3. The increased understanding and awareness of gender identity and trans issues.
  4. #MeToo and the increase in powerful men facing consequences for sexual harassment.
  5. The rise of acceptance for different body types.
  6. The overall increase of diversity in popular media.
  7. The increase of women and people of color running for office and winning.
  8. The increase in youth activism and political engagement.
  9. #BlackLivesMatter and the fight against police brutality.
  10. Nazis getting punched and covered in milkshake.

It's been quite a decade. May the 20s be much, much better.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Gif of the Day

Technically I know some context for this but it doesn't really make it make any more sense.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Monday, December 23, 2019

Gif of the Day

Happy Hanukah to all my Jewish readers!

Afternoon Announcements And Super Cool Video

Part of me didn't want to take time off this week after I just did from the flu, but I think I am gonna take this week at least because it was a bummer to have to get up today and work. Working from home rules but as a freelancer, paid time off doesn't exist for me. Plus I'm honestly still recovering, dealing with leftover fatigue and chest congestion that feels like it will never go away. This is from smoking all that weed, isn't it?

Anyway, I do have something for you today. I was finally able to make a video of the ceremonial Removing of the Impeach Trump Bumper Sticker From My Car on Saturday. I wanted to do it Wednesday but it was dark by the time Congress finally shut up and voted, and the next two days it rained so much it set a 20-year record.

Anyway, here it is:

See you next week!

Friday, December 20, 2019

Gif of the Day

Moths are actually awesome.

Guest Post: 7 Household Items You Can Reuse to Reduce Waste

Kate Harveston is a political writer from Pennsylvania. Her favorite topics are feminist-focused, but she writes on a wide variety of social and cultural issues. If you enjoy her work, you can follow her on Twitter or visit her blog, Only Slightly Biased.

Landfill pollution continues to create problems for the air and the oceans. Citizens have recently started putting increasing pressure on big corporations to reduce the incredible amount of waste and pollution they put out into our world.

These are multifaceted problems that require widescale measures to solve. However, in the meantime, we can each do our part at home to reduce waste. One way to do this is by reusing materials you'd typically discard. The holidays are approaching, and while many of us have plenty of merry things to be thankful for, this is also a time of year that’s arguably become too focused on collecting material items. It’s worth considering how you can avoid contributing to more needless waste.
Where can you get started? Take a look around you. Chances are, you can find multiple objects in every room that you can supply with new life. 
1. Soup Cans and Food Containers
When was the last time you enjoyed a bowl of vegetable soup or emptied a carton of almond milk? That container may have been designed to hold food, but that's not all you can do. You can create many arts and crafts projects with them and give them to family members as gifts.
If the winter weather has you down, you can also do a kind deed for our feathered friends by building a birdhouse. You can save seeds from your vegetables and start seedlings in the containers. You can also use them to hold other objects, like pencils and crayons. Cut a piece of paper and decorate it, then glue it to the outside. 
2. Toothbrushes
The last time you rolled up your blinds, did a cloud of fairy dust appear in the sun's rays? Chances are, you don't have a tribe of pixies living in your house. Give your blinds a professional cleaning using an old toothbrush to get between the slats. 
Hopefully, you change your air filters each month, but sometimes debris builds up on the metal slats. This buildup creates a mess quickly if you have four-legged friends — all that fur! Use the toothbrush to remove lint. 
3. Paper Towel and Toilet Paper Rolls
If you toss these into the recycling bin, that’s great! But you may actually be missing out on some of your household's best organizing tools. If you have long hair, you probably have a stash of ties cluttering up a drawer. Loop your scrunchies around a roll, and voilà! Your hair accessory drawer is neat and tidy. 
The same goes if you have extension cords. Cut a small slit at either end of the roll. Tuck one end of the cable into one slit, then wrap it and secure the other. You can do the same with your Christmas lights when the holidays end. 
4. Shower Curtains 
When your shower curtain starts to get filmy, it's time to replace it. However, don't throw that sheet of plastic in the trash where it will make its way to the ocean. Instead, eliminate the need to scrape your windshield ever again by turning your shower curtain into a windshield cover to prevent frost build-up
Cut the plastic to size with a bit leftover at the top and bottom. When the forecast calls for ice or snow, tuck the base under your wipers. Secure the topside with paint-safe tape, and you won't need to shiver while you wait for the defroster to work in the morning. 
5. T-Shirts 
You can use old tees or nearly any fabric waste to create new wares. Bring new life to your living room throw pillows by creating new covers for the ones you have. Does your child's dolly need new clothes? Use the fabric to make some. 
If you know how to knit, you'll never throw out anything with yarn — new rolls cost a pretty penny. You can reuse pieces from old, worn socks to make a new pair. 
6. Egg Cartons 
Do you need a new ice cube tray? You could head to the local discount store. But why waste the additional plastic when you can create uniquely shaped ice cubes in an old egg carton? 
Egg cartons also come in handy when it's time to sort small objects. If you have a sewing kit, you can separate buttons and needles. Do you enjoy acrylic painting crafts? Save the product by squirting only the small amount you need into one of the spots. 
7. Wine Corks
Maybe upcycling the corks won't spare you the full embarrassment of taking your wine bottle-laden recycling to the curb, but these pint-sized wonders do come in handy. You can make individualized keychains using the corks, or a wreath for nearly any holiday with a round mold and some acrylic paint. Alternately, you can make a bulletin board for hanging the honey-do list. 
Reduce by Reusing Everyday Items
You can keep many common products out of landfills by reusing them for another purpose. Doing so can save you money while giving the planet a much-needed hug.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Gif of the Day

NSA don't interact.

Donald Trump Got Impeached!!


This was very predictable but still, I've been waiting nearly three years for this day and it was so satisfying to watch that vote counter roll over from 215 to 216, the minimum number of votes necessary to impeach Trump. Then again for the second article of impeachment.

If you didn't know, impeachment does not mean removal from office in this weird country. The actual trial will move to the Senate, which will need a supermajority (67/100 votes) to convict, which would mean Trump's removal from office. Since Republicans are the majority in the Senate and, you know, like this now, this outcome is extremely unlikely.

Regardless, impeachment is a black mark on Trump and the entire Republican party. It's especially satisfying after so many Trump supporters tried to claim that impeachment would help him in the polls. If that were true, Republicans wouldn't have fought so hard against it, and wouldn't be now trying to claim the impeachment was invalid using any excuse they can dream up. Trump himself said he doesn't feel like he's been impeached because something something hoax.

Who was it who said "facts don't care about your feelings"?

Democrats are now considering delaying sending over the articles of impeachment to the Senate, without which they will be unable to hold the trial. This has made Republicans really mad and is really funny, especially when you remember how they did the same thing to Merrick Garland, who should have been appointed to the Supreme Court by Obama but was stonewalled because Republicans said FUCK DEMOCRACY.

So yeah, I heartily approve of them fucking with Republicans on this.

Once it does go to the Senate, Republicans will rush it through as fast as possible and refuse to convict. This does not invalidate the impeachment. Bill Clinton and Andrew Jackson were each impeached and not removed, and the impeachment status still stands throughout history. Now, whenever a Trump supported mouths off, you can just say "impeachment." It'll make them so mad.

Do something to celebrate today! There's been so little to celebrate over these past three years. Take some time to focus on the positives and renew your will to fight. Fuck Donald Trump!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Gif of the Day


Meet The Pain Toilet, Brought To You By Capitalism

Holy. Shit.

So the Daily Mail apparently reported yesterday on some company literally called StandardToilet, but the toilet they've dreamed up is not exactly standard. I hate the Daily Mail, but luckily Geek.com had a hilarious take on it.

We Must Fight Back Against This Awful Office Efficiency Toilet

As reported by Daily Mail, the group (hilariously backed by the British Toilet Association) is deeply concerned about the lost money and productivity that comes from workers, you know, needing to take breaks every so often. After all, the greatest “problem” for capitalism to solve is nullifying the pesky inefficient humanity of humans in the never-ending pursuit of profit. You won’t see this toilet in executives suites.

The toilet is not in production yet, but are you ready for the concept art?

Are we absolutely sure that capitalism is the best we can do as a species? Really?

All joking aside, this hell john is absolutely coming to a workplace to you unless we abolish capitalism or society collapses first. Remember, capitalism can only function if profits keep improving, and they're definitely running out of ideas.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Gif of the Day

Just havin' some gal time, summoning the spirit of Lilith to curse any man who may cross us.

Everyone, And I Mean Everyone, Should Get Free College


The more I hear the argument that universal college education is bad because that means kids from rich families get it for free, too, the angrier I get. It's not because I love rich people, it is extremely obvious that this is not the case. It's because it's such a disingenuous argument that's online designed to obscure and convolute the issue. Every one of use should be angry at any politician who tries to pull this on us.

Obviously we could make an income threshold if we wanted. We do that for public services all the time. And if we didn't, there are currently so few families in the U.S. that would be unaffected by a bill in the tens or hundreds of thousands, which is what a four-year college education costs in this country, that an income threshold probably wouldn't save us much money while just increasing bureaucracy.

The Democratic candidates who use this bullshit argument, namely Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar​, are intelligent and well-education people. They know that this argument is just a distraction meant to cloud the issue so that nobody gets free college. We've already seen how, as the field narrows, Buttigieg is drifting further right and evidence of his progressiveness being a show is building. I have no doubt that if he were to become president, free college and Medicare for All will be left in the dust.

But it's more than just that, though that is plenty enough. Brigid Keely, as well as some others, pointed out on Twitter recently that even if rich parents can pay for their kids' college, that doesn't mean they will.

We've all heard stories about kids whose parents would only pay for their college education if they studied a particular thing, regardless of what the kid wanted. And even I can admit that some children of rich people don't end up being assholes. In fact, some are queer or trans and are disowned by their rich families, left with absolutely nothing and end up homeless. Do they not deserve free college? Do you really want to have a system where someone has to go through the process of trying to prove that their parents are abusive, homophobic, and/or transphobic assholes who won't pay for their education even though they can?

Any time you start trying to decide who does and does not deserve things like basic necessities, rights, or a path to a secure future, someone is going to end up fucked. And chances are, that person is going to be someone who is already oppressed by our society.

Long story short, centrist Democrats trying to pose as progressives hate abused, trans, and queer kids and are also lying fucksticks who can go lick the underside of a pickup truck.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Gif of the Day

Have the world's smallest Pikachu.

2020 Challenger Lineup: Michael Bloomberg


Really? We're really back here? I really have to write up another one of these because yet another entitled rich dude was like "oh fuck looks like the American people are getting it wrong, I'd better go buy the country and set it right"?

Look, you already know I'm giving Michael Bloomberg an F for being a white male billionaire with the kind of audacity unique to white male billionaires that allows him to think it's at all a good idea to enter this race this late when much of the sentiment has been "billionaires have too much money." But let's take a look at some of his worst behavior just for the sake of having a decent length of a blog post. Actually, let's just look at his sexism, because that's enough.

Michael Bloomberg Is the He, Too, Candidate

Nice headline, Slate. Respect.

So in the year 2000, Bloomberg settled a sexual harassment lawsuit that contained complaints such as:

- Bloomberg asked the woman who sued if she was giving her boyfriend "good" oral sex. 
- He said "I'd like to do that" and "That's a great piece of a--" to describe women in the office. 
- When he found out the woman was pregnant, he told her "Kill it!" and said "Great! Number 16!" - an apparent reference to the number of women in the company who were pregnant or had maternity-related status. 

That last one is just fucking weird. But it keeps going.

Comments attributed in the suit to Bloomberg include: "I'd f--- that in a second," "I'd like to do that," and "That's a great piece of a--." 
Once, according to the suit, Bloomberg pointed out a young female employee and told Garrison, "If you looked like that, I would do you in a second."
The suit also accused Bloomberg of referring to Mexican clients as "jumping beans" and saying of another female colleague who was having trouble finding a nanny that "all you need is some black who doesn't even have to speak English to rescue it from a burning building."

The fuck does that even mean? I know I said I'd limit it to sexism but racism and sexism constantly overlap, you know. Anyway:

The individual said Bloomberg admitted in a deposition, which never was made public, that he had said the words "I'd do her" about Garrison and other women.

Aside from the lawsuit, Bloomberg has a long history of proudly being a sexist creep.

The public got a glimpse of this in 2003, when he told a pair of disc jockeys on a radio program that he would "really want to have" actress-singer Jennifer Lopez.
"I like theater, dining and chasing women," he once told a reporter. "Let me put it this way: I am a single, straight billionaire in Manhattan. What do you think? It's a wet dream."

Good god no.

In his 1997 autobiography, he boasted of keeping "a girlfriend in every city" during his years as a young Wall Street up-and-comer in the 1960s and 1970s. 
A less-restrained Bloomberg was also portrayed in a book of quips, quotes and anecdotes attributed to him and put together by employees for a birthday present in 1990. It contains such statements as: "If women wanted to be appreciated for their brains, they'd go to the library instead of to Bloomingdale's." 
Or, as he is quoted as saying about his invention, the Bloomberg computer terminal that made him rich, "It will do everything, including give you (oral sex). I guess that puts a lot of you girls out of business."

That is all from one article published in 2007. All those quotes. All of them in this blog post so far. There are even more and worse details in the Slate article.

We already have an entitled white male sexual predator and (maybe) billionaire in the White House. We don't need a new one who will pretend to care about women while really not doing anything at all for us and probably pushing policy that will hurt most of us in the end.

Fuck you, Bloomberg, drop the fuck out.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Gif of the Day

I'm still fighting off this flu, which was definitely a nasty one. The fever's gone but now it's taking its sweet time going all the way away and I still feel all exhausted and weird in the head and my appetite won't come back. But I had to celebrate the last Friday the 13th of the decade.

I'm hoping a weekend of rest will bring me back to normal. And that your December is going better than mine.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Uh Oh

It's that time again.

Pretty sure I caught something from someone who has been sick all week and having a fever and shit so uhhhh fuck.

I don't feel terrible yet but it's my policy to rest as much as possible as soon as I feel it coming on in the hopes that it will help my body fight it off faster. If only our government and every company had the same policy, we all probably wouldn't get sick as often as we do.

See you folks some time in the future.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Gif of the Day

Fozzie said "fuck homophobia."

Pennsylvania Fights For The 'Most Ridiculous Abortion Bill' Crown

The war to out anti-choice each other continues between U.S. states. Here's the latest bullshit dreamed up by a Republican only interested in scoring points with the religious right:

A Pennsylvania bill would require death certificates for fertilized eggs that never implant in the uterus

Failure to produce a death certificate for an expelled fertilized egg could result in a $50 to $300 fine or up to 30 days in prison.

50% of fertilized eggs do not implant. Half. For every pregnancy that happens, there's a zygote that, for whatever reason, failed to implant and was expelled via menstruation. And for every time that happens, Pennsylvania Republicans want to waste money and paper on a death certificate for reasons that include ??????? and misogyny.

But that's only half of why this bill is absolutely absurd. The other half is that fertilized eggs that don't implant dissolve in the uterus into something indistinguishable from the rest of the menstrual material. So if you thought that the bill would require menstruating people to sift through the blood and mucus and tissue for a teeny tiny zygote, typically about 0.1 mm in diameter, you were wrong, because the egg won't even be there.

This is the second time in as many weeks that Republicans have tried to pass anti-abortion bills which require something that is actually impossible. First, Ohio requiring doctors to re-implant ectopic pregnancies, which is impossible, and now Pennsylvania requiring people who make eggs to get death certificates for their expelled fertilized eggs, which are impossible to detect.

This is why I can't take a single thing that anti-choicers say seriously. You know, other than the general "we're going to get abortions banned." I take that seriously. But nothing else.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Gif of the Day

I could watch this all day.

Recommended Reading

I've been busy trying to get a new phone set up today and almost forgot to blog so here's just something I read over the long weekend. It's a pretty long article but worth the time.

Be warned that the headline does not adequately capture the piece.

The Collapse of Civilization May Have Already Begun

That's clickbait. What the article really goes over is the views of a number of different climate scientists on how bad the climate situation is and whether it will cause society to collapse. The real answer to that last part is that climate scientists can't predict societal collapse because that requires expertise they don't have. Societal collapse involves economics, politics, and sociology. In fact, there's a whole field of study on how societies collapse completely separate from climate change.

The piece also makes the interesting point that on a small scale, there have been collapses related to or even caused by climate change. Syria, for example, has pretty much collapsed into ongoing civil war that resulted in a refugee crisis, and the tipping point for that whole mess was a famine caused by a crop failure caused by climate change.

And finally, it explores what societal collapse actually means. Something that is considered to be a "collapse" doesn't necessarily mean Mad Max. Don't get me wrong, it'll be bad for a lot of people. But it might just end up being a rapid transition period that could launch humanity into something better. Kind of like how wildfires allow for new growth. The difference is that in this situation, some humans will definitely die and already have. Sometimes from wildfires. You know what I mean.

I went into it thinking it would validate my feelings of hopelessness and instead it got me thinking about the entire idea of collapse differently. It's weird because on a distant, macro level I wonder if this is all a good thing that could even spell the death of capitalism and allow us to finally have something better. On a micro level, though, I don't want anybody to suffer or die before their time.

Also, there is still some possibility that climate change will wipe out the entire human species, and I definitely don't want that. We definitely still need to change course like right now. Please?

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Gif of the Day

Muppets are really good at being reaction gifs.

Afternoon Announcements

I'm really feeling that bottomless pit of exhaustion in the pit of my soul for some reason right now so I think I'm just going to take the rest of the week off from blogging. Tomorrow I will be getting together with family and eating a lot but as you probably already knew or assumed, I am not a fan of Thanksgiving.

However, I hope you have the next two days off and that you spend tomorrow with people you really love who are supportive and lovely and that you get to enjoy yourselves, rest, eat, and have fun. We all deserve to enjoy life, and if it weren't for the rich, we would all get to do it a lot more.

Happy Living!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Gif of the Day

You thought you were going to get a simple gif and instead you got a whole story and a couple possible copyright infringements.

Can Capitalism Be Fixed?

Last week, a friend of mine whom I love so so so much omg asked me a question that I realized is likely to become a question asked by many, especially if the more progressive side of the Democrats continues with its current momentum. Basically she asked me this:

"Could Elizabeth Warren fix capitalism?"

Essentially, the question is whether a progressive candidate/president implement reforms that would make capitalism work in a way that I or others would find acceptable. It's a really interesting question, and to get into it, we need to break down some of the assumptions and concepts that go into it.

The first step, I think, is to ask ourselves: "Is capitalism broken?"

Any economic system is going to have problems. No system is immune to corruption. But here's why I'm an anti-capitalist. To me, capitalism isn't broken. It is the very nature of capitalism to create the exact kinds of situations we have right now. Capitalism is about growth. Eternal growth. If capitalism stops growing, it comes under threat. It could die, like that weird myth about how sharks will die if they start swimming.

Think of it on a smaller scale. What is every company concerned with under capitalism? Growth. Profits. Making more, building more, acquiring more, more, more. It's not normal for a company under capitalism to be okay with breaking even. They need to be doing better than that, because that's what capitalism is about. Capital. Capital is good, more capital is better. It's only by human choice that a company would stop growing and just sustain itself, and everyone would find that weird, right?

This is why we have monopolies, and manufactured shortages, and climate change, and layoffs, and mass human suffering. And when capitalism hit a wall with actual physical money, the only way it could survive was to create a system of imaginary money. We call that the stock market. Now, companies must join the stock market to continue growing, but that makes the problem worse. A company that isn't growing in the stock market isn't making money for shareholders, and so said shareholders will ditch the company, sell off the shares, and the company dies. If a company doesn't grow, then without substantial human intervention, that company will die.

We have tried to fight against the constant pull of capitalism to grow, but we've failed miserably. We can try to pull back on the reins again but as long as capitalism exists, the powerful will continue to try and amass more money and power by rolling back regulations and putting us in literal doomsday scenarios like the one we're in right now.

Can you fix that? Is it broken? It's kind of like when a rich white person "adopts" a cougar cup (yes this happens) and then it grows up and mauls them to death randomly one day. Is that cougar broken, or is that just its natural instincts kicking in when its dinner was a little late one day? How is a cougar acting as a wild apex predator broken?

I don't think it's a good idea to have to struggle against the nature of capitalism forever, especially when we haven't done a good job of it so far and we're already facing down a possible apocalypse. At least the intended nature of socialism is about society, as in people. Yes, it can be corrupted and become shitty, but at least you could actually call that system broken and try to fix it.

Could Elizabeth Warren fix capitalism? I would say no, because capitalism isn't broken. It's just being capitalism. Can she maybe drag the beast back a little, beat it down, chain it up, and try to contain it? Sure, but capitalism is a bigger force than a cougar. It would be better compared to a dragon, and have you ever heard of even a fictional situation in which chaining up a dragon worked out well for humans? Me neither.

And that's why all the candidates are wrong and why my mental health is so fragile! Happy Tuesday!

Monday, November 25, 2019

Gif of the Day

*music intensifies*

CBP Denied Flu Vaccine To Migrants, Three Kids Have Died, Few Reporting On It Anymore

Kids kept in our migrant concentration camps are still dying, but I guess we're at the stage where we've accepted that to the point that few mainstream news outlets bother to report on it anymore. They're dying right now of the flu because even though the CDC recommended it to them and even though it would have been free, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol declined to provide the flu shot to detainees and predictably.

At least, I'm pretty sure three kids have died since they were denied flu shots, but I can't get to the actual Washington Post article to confirm because it's behind a FUCKING paywall.

But according to an ABC article, the offer and denial for the free flu vaccine happened in August.

“To us in the medical community the situation is alarming. When the CBP stated in August that they weren’t planning on vaccinating we saw this as egregious to deny basic health care access to people forced to stay in their care," said Dr. Bonnie Arzuaga, a Boston-based pediatrician and one of the founders of Doctors for Camp Closure.
The organization is a volunteer group of 2,000 U.S. based physicians who support the closing of the Customs and Border camps because of public health concerns. The organization volunteered to provide free influenza vaccines to those detained but the government never responded. 
“We got no response, not even an acknowledgement of the letter," said Arzuaga.

That's probably because the cruelty is the point.

The CBP tried to claim that it would be tOo HaRd to give all the migrants they're holding the flu shot when they're only supposed to hold people for up to 72 hours, but we all know that many migrants get held for longer, sometimes for weeks or months without even seeing a judge. Also, I could go to either QFC or Safeway right now and get a flu shot on demand after signing a couple of easy forms. I've done it before and it took like 10 minutes.

Maybe you could divert some of that money you put into catching and imprisoning the migrants that you don't even have enough room for into more medical staff who could easily go around to these people who spend most of their day sitting in cells doing nothing.

The ABC article doesn't mention any kids dying but this is how most people die in overcrowded concentration camps that don't provide anything close to adequate medical care for human beings. Anne Frank died of typhoid. Latine kids from Central America die of the flu.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Gif of the Day

Old footage of Bill Gates taking a pie right to the face. Amazing.

Boundaries Are Good, Actually

So there's a Twitter thread going around right now that is creating quite a hubbub. It was penned by Melissa A. Fabello, PhD in Human Sexuality Studies and was about how wonderful it is when her friends ask if she has space for discussing an emotional/potentially triggering topic before simply unloading on her and ended with a possible template for saying "no" in a way that is still supportive. It's some of the most emotionally and socially healthy shit I've ever seen come out of Twitter.

And man, a lot of people HATE it.

It's been a while since I've written about how a lot of people hate when others put up healthy boundaries, but they sure still do.

Here are the parts people seem to object to the most:

As you may know, I have some experience with therapy and some knowledge of human psychology, and when I saw this I was like "fuuuuuuuck yes girl spread that healthy shit." In fact, I had shared something kind of similar on Facebook several months ago suggesting that people ask their loved ones if they have the time and emotional energy to talk about heavy stuff before just doing it, and some of my friends and family have used this with me to great effect.

I have an issue where I want to fix everything and will sacrifice my own well-being to try and take care of others. This can result in my becoming emotionally overwhelmed, depressed, and if it happens enough, even resentful of the individual or everyone in my life who ever seems to want anything from me at all, resulting in self-isolation and even lashing out at people.

This is, of course, my issue, and it's my responsibility to work on it and set the necessary boundaries. That is why I was so stoked to see this Twitter thread and I may even use a version of that template in the future. Plus, people asking me before talking to me about heavy topics or personal problems makes it so much easier for me to say no, and I've even been able to do so recently when I feel I need to. This has worked out so well, though I have only really done so with people who I know understand the importance of boundaries and would be supportive with me taking care of myself like this.

And that's what this is. THIS is that fabled self-care people talk about so much. It's recognizing that you have limits, being able to recognize when you've hit that limit, and declining to push yourself beyond it. At the same time, it's still supportive and puts effort into making sure the other person gets what they need. It's pretty much ideal.

I saw a lot of people balking at the rather formal language in the "template" provided by Dr. Fabello, which is not necessarily surprising. Yeah, it does sound a bit like a form letter or an office email, but nowhere is it written that you have to use the EXACT language in the "template" she provided. You can obviously be less formal if you want. But people have gone so far to call this "sociopathic," which, no.

Others have described the language as "transactional" which I don't understand at all. There's no transaction happening here. It's simply recognizing one's limits and practicing self-care. It's being aware that nobody has an unlimited capacity for emotional stressors and no one is always available to talk. And it can be hard for some people (like me) to say no, and this is a way to do so while ensuring that the other person will still be okay without your immediate support.

Then there was one guy on Twitter who, when I expressed that I don't get why people have a problem with this, said the following:

"There is absolutely a way that this kind of language is used to lead towards more isolation, less freedom to express feelings, and enforce hierarchies of control by those with more power in the relationship."

And when I asked him to explain which language and how, I got silence. I feel like this is a case of a dude using super academic language, the understanding of which comes from the privilege necessary to get a really good education, and declining to explain when someone without that privilege doesn't understand.

So, ahem, hierarchies and power.

And I really don't get it, because this kind of honesty, self-care practice, and boundary-setting has already allowed me to avoid isolation and given me more freedom to express feelings. The only thing I can figure (and can't figure much else if someone doesn't explain) is that he means "I will be sad if you don't sacrifice yourself to listen to me vent whenever I want."

That's not a friend. That's a user.

This is important to me because I was raised in an environment where it was expected that I would sacrifice myself on command to provide emotional support, and saying "no" at all in any way would be selfish. This only led to mental illness, resentment, and a hell of a time learning how to practice real self-care and set boundaries way later in life than I should have. It only caused problems and pain.

Boundaries are good for everyone. You don't have to set them with formal, PhD language, but set them and let others set them. They will improve your relationships and make everyone happier and more secure. I promise. Try it for yourself.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Gif of the Day

Apparently there are treats in there. This is such a good idea, especially for kitties who like to dig.

Ohio Sets Record For Most Ridiculous Abortion Ban Yet

At this point, it's difficult for Republican-controlled states to outdo one another on abortion ban bills. Total bans with no exceptions, charging the pregnant people and doctors with first-degree murder punishable by the death penalty if they get/perform an abortion, all of these have been proposed by Republicans trying to get the so-called "pro-life" vote. How could it possibly get any worse?

Ohio Republicans found a way.

Ohio's proposed abortion ban would require doctors to reimplant ectopic pregnancies, but that's not possible

It was bad enough when one Republican suggested that transplanting ectopic pregnancies was a possible thing, because it's extremely not. Somehow, other Republicans have glommed onto this impossible idea to the point that they're now trying to require it by law.

The new proposal would also require doctors to attempt to reimplant ectopic pregnancies in the uterus, where it's supposed to grow. Ectopic pregnancies occur when a fertilized egg attaches itself outside the uterus, where it can't develop. 
But the Ohio proposal ignores the fact that reimplanting an ectopic pregnancy is "physiologically impossible," said Dr. Chris Zahn, the vice president of practice activities at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. In fact, attempting that is extremely dangerous, and the technology needed to do it doesn't even exist.

You might as well pass a bill requiring doctors to supply patients with unicorn blood. If there was a way to reimplant zygotes that have implanted outside of the uterus, then they would already be doing that. But it's not like reattaching a cut-off finger. When a zygote implants in the uterus, it kicks off a process within the organ that involves the creation of the placenta and the production of necessary pregnancy hormones.

If it implants outside of the uterus, this process doesn't begin, and attempting to do it artificially is not going to cut it. The zygote has already begun growing. You can't sew it into the side of the interior of the uterus, which sounds really hard and invasive and dangerous to begin with, and expect the uterus or the zygote to act like it's still just a multiplying zygote that naturally implanted.

This is why I laugh at people who try to claim that you can't speak out against gun violence or be in favor of common sense gun control unless you know everything about guns.

Hopefully this bill won't pass, and if it does I would think it would be challenged and definitely lose in court. Because you can't order doctors to do the impossible. But the fact that this is an officially drafted and proposed bill at all is just embarrassing to the entire human species.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Gif of the Day

By the way there are new episodes of "Too Cute" on Hulu and it's the best thing ever.

Feels Update

Haven't done one of these in a bit, and I figure I should let people know who might want to, I'm doing really well. I have had a couple days where depression crept up, and I still get anxious when I at all think about the whole "having anxiety over doing anything non-productive" thing, but I'm dealing with it well. I've been able to play video games without getting anxious or depressed again and I've been enjoying them. I got back into Fallout 4 after playing the Outer Worlds.

I still feel like an ant in the face of all the suffering and injustice in the world. I'm still worried about what the future will bring. I still feel guilty about not doing more and still dread the social awkwardness that comes with any form of public activism.

I think I'm still unsure of my place in the world. I still find myself questioning why I exist and why anything exists. Maybe that's normal for a politically active person of my age who doesn't have or want kids? What's normal isn't important, though.

Video games may not be "productive" or help much in my personal development, but they distract me from the constant yammering of my brain over these questions and from the horrors of the modern world, and I need that. Hopefully over time I can gain more confidence, work on my anxiety issues, and spend more time volunteering and getting involved in real-world activism. But for now I've learned the hard way that guilting myself for not doing more only leads to disaster.

I'm not a superhero. Neither are you. I see a lot of people expecting so much of themselves, forgetting that we're all only human. And I know some people really are out there doing so much, but we're all different. We all have to go at our own pace. And we all need to be taking the kind of advice we're giving out on our blogs and social media pages LINDSEY.

Be kind to yourselves. Now I need to go play that NukaWorld DLC I bought and never played.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Gif of the Day

The person in the snail costume backing up traffick for miles is weird enough but why is this gif in rewind?

2020 Challenger Lineup: Deval Patrick


Yep. Thought I was done with this, but it's back, because some centrists are so threatened by the real progressives running that they've switched from their "anybody but Trump, get that guy out of the office no matter what" stance to "crowd the playing field even more."

Patrick is definitely a centrist Democrat, having extensive ties to Mitt Romney and leaning heavily into the reform message rather than system overhaul. He also has quite an extensive "Controversies" section on his Wikipedia page and oop this paragraph:

On September 17, 2014, Patrick fired the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board chair Saundra Edwards and placed director Jeanne Holmes on paid administrative leave because they pressured the board to force Patrick's brother-in-law to register as a sex offender, based on his conviction for raping his wife, Patrick’s sister.

F-, 0/10, two thumbs running the hell away from this rapist-loving asshole, bye.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Gif of the Day

This is amazing but I also really want to help that poor cowering cat.

What's Happening In Bolivia

Okay so, you might have heard that some shit is going down in Bolivia. Now, the headline might be a bit misleading. I can't claim to know what's happening as I don't live there, nor was I paying attention before the recent election went haywire.

This is what I know. Protests broke out during the recent Bolivian presidential election because some claimed that the early results pointed to fraud. After things got violence, some people said that sitting President Evo Morales voluntarily resigned and others said he was forced out due to a coup. Either way, he's out.

A lot of leftists from the global North are calling this a coup. I've seen some claiming to be from Bolivia saying that this is a lie and that nobody in Bolivia liked Morales and that he was abusing his power to eliminate term limits.

As a U.S.-based white person, I don't want to speak over actual Bolivians and declare what is true. But there is something that we need to pay attention to. The Bolivia salt flats contain a huge amount of lithium, which is an essential ingredient in electric car batteries, smartphones, and laptops. I've seen people warn before that there will be a battle for resources essential to renewable energy sources as the effects of climate change accelerate.

It does not seem like a coincidence that Morales had very recently nationalized the nation's lithium industry. Also, we can't ignore the fact that there are a large number of brand new Twitter accounts claiming to be made by Bolivians churning out identical anti-Morales messages in what is clearly a bot swarm.
Whether this was a coup or not, I have little doubt that the U.S. and the CIA had some hand in what went down. At the very least, I would bet the entirety of my sweet ass that the U.S. and other wealthy nations will turn their sights onto Bolivia and try to take advantage of the chaos to seize their natural resources. This will absolutely be at the expense of the Bolivian people.

The demand for the materials necessary to make laptop and smartphone batteries has already created child slavery in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and we were largely ignorant/silent about it. It doesn't have to be like that this time around. At the very least, we need to demand that the natural resources of Bolivia stay in Bolivian hands and condemn attempts by wealthy nations to steal it. Don't let your country create child slavery in Bolivia, too.

We need to confront the capitalistic imperialism that devastates vulnerable nations full of people of color. It's not worth saving the species from climate change if the result is enslaved children.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Gif of the Day

For some reason I took many days to post this, but a friend of mine took the original gif and made it one of a little girl princess-blasting Ronald Reagan's grave. Art.

What The Outer Worlds Gets Wrong About Anarchy

As you might have guessed, I seem to be getting past my weird anxiety around playing video games, helped in part by an exciting new game my partner and I bought called The Outer Worlds. As it turns out, I found the game to be only okay, worth playing maybe only for the chance to shoot murderous capitalist overlords in the face. 

The AAA game is perhaps the first to explicitly bring anti-capitalist and even anarchist ideas to the forefront. I don't remember ever seeing this in-game, but according to Wikipedia, this is the backstory:

The game is set in an alternate future that diverged in 1901, when U.S. President William McKinley is not assassinated by Leon Czolgosz at the Pan-American Exposition. As a result, Theodore Roosevelt never succeeded him, allowing large business trusts to dominate society well into the future, where megacorporations have begun colonizing and terraforming alien planets, to varying results.

Leon Czolgosz was an actual anarchist, as anarchism was at the time a serious political affiliation in the U.S. with a small but not insignificant membership. That was before the entire idea of anarchy was successfully propagandized as nothing more than a bunch of criminal terrorist kids running around in black causing property damage or lawless piracy in Somalia.

In The Outer Worlds, a far-off space colony is run by a "board" of corporations that have taken capitalism to an extreme, completely dominating people's lives and making not working a crime, pretty much completely destroying any line between the capitalist wage system and slavery. Workers have no rights and there is an extreme class separation between the rich and poor with escape from poverty being nearly impossible except for by lottery. And, spoiler alert, the result of that lottery is not what it seems.

So it's probably not at all surprising that I was excited for this game. The criticism of capitalism is impossible to ignore, with some of the policies of the colony overlords bumping right up against real world policies from companies like Amazon. For example, the idea of being punished for "time theft" from the company is a real thing that the most exploited Amazon employees have been fired for.

However, the game still manages to misrepresent actual anarchism and presents it as an idea either for literal cult leaders, naive kids, or completely selfish people willing to let hundreds of other starve rather than help them. What the game really pushes is the false idea that something in the middle is the ideal. In other words, liberalism. While it criticizes capitalism and the class system, the characters who are clearly presented as being the most reasonable and logical are constantly saying shit like "we have to have some kind of structure," by which they mean a hierarchy that is exactly what anarchism is against.

It's so bad that on one of the planets, there's a conflict between a town led by a former member of the Board who believes in re-joining the board and influencing them to implement "reforms" (liberal) and the leader of a religious group called the Iconoclasts who is in all ways other than name presented as an anarchist who believes you can't compromise with capitalists. Yet when you mention anarchy to the guy, he immediately rejects the idea, saying that they're not anarchists because "there have to be laws" or something like that.

This is the essential misunderstanding of the nature of anarchism. Anarchism doesn't mean "no laws," it means nobody has power over other people. In a true anarchist system, the community would come together to make rules for said community as a true democracy, with one person having one vote and nobody put in a position of power to make rules for everyone else, as is the case of the U.S. representative democracy system. If someone broke the rules, the community would again come together to discuss what would be done.

And yes, these kinds of societies have existed and do exist today. They're rare today, because capitalists absolutely hate them, and capitalist power is massive right now.

I'm still glad The Outer Worlds exists and I would recommend getting it when it goes on sale (it's not worth full price in my opinion for various reasons), but I felt the need to put out the message that its depiction of anarchism is unfair and at times completely inaccurate. Anarchist ideas are, at the core, about freedom and fairness above all things, and in general are really interesting. Anarchists also love making their educational materials accessible to everyone, so it's real easy to become more educated on the subject.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Gif of the Day

Knead and nom.

People Are So Terrified Of Calling Anyone Prejudiced

This is what happens when you live in a neoliberal society in which bring up any kind of prejudice, let alone naming prejudice within a system or an individual, comes to somehow be considered worse than the existence of prejudice itself. You get tweets like this:

Employers aren't sexist, they just think women are worse than men at things.

It gets better/worse when you click through to the article. It's all about a paper which has a title even more Britney-face inducing than Quartz's tweet about it.

Employers favor men not because they are prejudiced against women, but because they have the perception that men perform better on average at certain tasks, according to the forthcoming research paper “Is Gender Discrimination About Gender?”


For the love of all that is fuck, just say it. It's sexism. Sexism exists. Employers are sexist. People are sexist. We all grew up in a sexist society and now we're all sexist, even the women, we internalize it, holy shit I promise no one will die if you just say the word SEXISM.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Gif of the Day

Why are humans like this.

Family Separation Never Stopped And 70,000 Migrant Kids Have Been Locked Up In 2019


Welp, this thing we collectively failed to stop, particularly those in power, is back in the news again as an AP report found that nearly 70,000 migrants kids have been locked up for being migrants at any time in 2019, breaking our previous record and once again putting the U.S. at the top the worst kind of list.

About 4,000 of these kids are in custody right now. Some of the nearly 70,000 have been released to family, others have been deported back to dangerous countries. The AP report details examples of child trauma endured by specific kids including some really triggering stuff, so proceed with caution.

US held record number of migrant children in custody in 2019

This month, new government data shows the little girl is one of an unprecedented 69,550 migrant children held in U.S. government custody over the past year, enough infants, toddlers, kids and teens to overflow the typical NFL stadium. That’s more children detained away from their parents than any other country, according to United Nations researchers. And it’s happening even though the U.S. government has acknowledged that being held in detention can be traumatic for children, putting them at risk of long-term physical and emotional damage.

As though the current administration gives a single fuck about the well-being of migrant children.

The government says that all of these kids arrived here "unaccompanied," but many of them were separated from their families and then labeled unaccompanied anyway in order to keep going with their evil, outlawed policy designed to punish desperate people for trying to save their families' lives. Sometimes this happens because CBP uses "exceptions" to the family separation ban, claiming their guardian is dangerous in some way to the child or that they have committed a crime or are affiliated with a gang.

Who wants to bet these exceptions are abused? With little to no oversight, border patrol and ICE can do pretty much whatever they want. Why not just take the kids and lie about them being unaccompanied?

People will say that these kids have to be locked up, but reports come out constantly about families desperately trying to get these kids out of detention and being ignored for months. We can't be sure whether this is entirely malicious or a funding issue, but a funding issue could be solved at any time if the administration felt like it. But they don't.

Let the kids go. They would be better off almost anywhere than these horrible detention centers. I will take care of one in my apartment if I have to. Let them go.