Stealth Bananas!!!

…crony capitalists hate free markets, with all the fairness and transparency that they imply. Competition is a serious drag on enormous profits and introduces significant uncertainty and risk.

As soon as the game is underway, successful capitalists are constantly pushing the envelope of the rules, seeking to establish rents, monopolies, unfair advantages, and debt traps to snare the bulk of the players and stifle the profit-eroding tendency of real competition….

…Good government takes hard work and constant renewal and reform. Human systems do not maintain themselves, and are almost never self-improving, but rather given to entropy, manipulation, and deterioration….

…The common wisdom is that only big business and government use social network analysis. Yet, there are many individuals and groups that are learning the craft, and solving local problems. Although social network analysis can not be learned by reading a book, it does not require a PhD either. Any intelligent person, under the right guidance, and with the proper tools, can apply the methodology to an appropriate problem and gain enormous insight into what was previously hidden.

The folks who exposed the actual slumlord network, used in the above example, have a step-by-step lesson on how they did it. Let the Sun shine in!

“America the Beautiful,”…The lyrics were written in 1894 by the Massachusetts poet Katharine Lee Bates, an ardent feminist and lesbian who was deeply disillusioned by the greed and excess of the Gilded Age.

Her original third verse was an expression of that anger:

America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till selfish gain no longer stain
The banner of the free!

…It is a privilege to expect someone to confront you on any kind of prejudice politely! I go through every day knowing that I will be offended and there is no politeness when it happens but in return I have to be nice? I have to be polite?…
…The entire reason the concept of politically correct expression came about is because people realized that voicing a bigoted opinion helps to perpetuate it. Even the most well intentioned person can set the wheel of bigotry going. It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe what you’re saying, chances are you’re affirming to someone listening that that shit’s okay and they should continue to believe and act on it….

kiriamaya:

[warning for cissexism]

The Fundiegelical: “You may think you’re ‘happy’ by wearing the clothing of the opposite sex, but you’re living in sin and you’re going straight to hell! Jesus loves you.”

The “Enlightened” Liberal: “But gender doesn’t even matter, because deep down, we’re all the…

People with more privilege, in contrast, can easily imagine that they are independent. A big mark of privilege is that social and economic networks tend to facilitate goals, rather than block them. This makes it easier to ignore the social and economic networks around us; and it makes it easier for the privileged to imagine their accomplishments are the result of their own pure merit.

Verbatim:

1) Don’t Assume. Don’t assume you know why a person is in the sex industry. We’re not all trafficked or victims of abuse. Some people make a choice to enter this industry because they enjoy it, others may be struggling for money and have less of a choice….

2) Be Discreet and Respect Personal Boundaries. If you know a sex worker, it’s OK to engage in conversation in dialogue with them in private, but respect their privacy surrounding their work in public settings.  Don’t ask personal questions such as “does your family know what you do?” If a sex worker is not “out” to their friends, family, or co-workers, it’s not your place to tell everyone what they do….

3) Don’t Judge. Know your own prejudices and realize that not everyone shares the same opinions as you. Whether you think sex work is a dangerous and exploitative profession or not is irrelevant compared to the actual experiences of the person who works in the industry. It’s not your place to pass judgment on how another person earns the money they need to survive….

4) Watch Your Language. Cracking jokes or using derogatory terms such as “hooker”, “whore”, “slut”, or “ho” is not acceptable. While some sex workers have “taken back” these words and use them among themselves, they are usually used to demean sex workers when spoken by outsiders….

5) Address Your Prejudices. If you have a deep bias or underlying fear that all sex workers are bad people and/or full of diseases, then perhaps these are issues within yourself that you need to address.  In fact, the majority of sex workers practice safer sex than their peers and get tested regularly….

6) Don’t Play Rescuer. Not all sex workers are trying to get out of the industry or in need of help. Ask them what they need, but not everyone is looking for “Captain Save-A-Ho” or the “Pretty Woman” ending….

7) If you are a client or patron of sex workers, be respectful of boundaries. You’re buying a service, not a person. Don’t ask for real names, call at all hours of the day/night, or think that your favorite sex worker is going to enter into a relationship with you off the clock….

8 ) Do Your Own Research. Most mainstream media is biased against sex workers and the statistics you read in the news about the sex industry are usually inaccurate. Be critical of what you read or hear and educate yourself on who exactly is transmitting diseases or being trafficked….

9) Respect that Sex Work is Real Work. There’s a set of professional skills involved and it’s not necessarily an industry that everyone can enter into. Don’t tell someone to get a “real job” when they already have one that suits them just fine….

10) Just because someone is a sex worker doesn’t mean they will have sex with you. No matter what area of the sex industry that someone works in, don’t assume that they are promiscuous and willing to have sex with anyone at any time….

11) Be Supportive and Share Resources. If you know of someone who is new to the industry or in an abusive situation with an employer, by all means offer advice and support without being condescending. Some people do enter into the sex industry without educating themselves about what they are getting into and may need help. Despite the situation, calling the police is usually never a good option. Try to find other organizations that are sensitive to the needs of sex workers by contacting the organizations listed below….

12) As you learn the above things, stand up for sex workers when conversations happen.  Share your personal stories if you so choose.  Don’t let the stigma, bigotry and shame around sex work continue.  Remember it’s important that sex workers be allowed to speak for themselves and for allies to not speak for sex workers but to speak with sex workers….

Realize that sex work transcends ‘visible’ notions of race, gender, class, sexuality, education, and identities; sex workers are your sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, lovers, and friends. Respect them!…

If you’re an ally to an oppressed group, it is possible to make jokes about that group and have them be received in the way you intend, if and only if you have built up enough of a reputation that they know you’re deeply committed as an ally. Even if you’ve done that with one group within that community, if you make your jokes to people who don’t know you, your social capital doesn’t transfer over. If your best friend is queer or Black or a sex worker and knows that you’re just being funny, that doesn’t mean that anyone else thinks you are. And since the vast majority of such jokes are meant to belittle, hurt, and insult, it’s on you to make sure BEFORE you make them, that your audience will understand your intention.
…[helicopters] previously circling over the Occupy Oakland protests for ABC and CBS news, both suddenly cut transmissions and returned to base - citing a lack of gas. Minutes later the cops moved in and attacked the protesters with batons and teargas, from which reports of much unsavoury police brutality emerged. Americans were spared Arab Spring-style scenes of protest repression and only short clips later appeared on news broadcasts. Huge coincidence or state forces at work – you decide!
Always criticize power. Even if you agree with it, you should criticize power.
Lupe Fiasco (on the Colbert Report)