Mayhem Around the World: A Roundup

Inspired by a Tumblr post, I decided to expand and succinctly contextualize some of the mayhem going around in the world right now. The following is a corrected and much expanded version of this postworld globe

Brazil: Massive Nation-Wide protests and riots caused by, among other factors, monetary focus on the World Cup and Olympics instead of the well-being of the populace. Government happily destroys important monuments and displaces indigenous folks from their homes to make way for things like parking lots.

Russia: Government creates laws against “the propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” (the vote is 436 to ZERO), people protest (and get abused by anti-gay individuals), and the Human Rights Watch reports that anti-gay violence spiked once the bill started getting considered in January.The law imposes significant fines of up to $31,000 for providing information about the LGBT community to minors, holding gay pride events, speaking in defense of gay rights, or equating gay and heterosexual relationships” (source). Also, the Duma approved a law that criminalizes blasphemy with a 3-year prison term for anyone who organizes an activity or stages a performance that aims to “offend religious sensibilities” (on the heels of the whole Pussy Riot debacle, in “which three members of the feminist performance art group Pussy Riot were tried and two of them sentenced to two years in a penal colony for staging a profane performance in an empty church that hurt no one and caused no material damage”).

Venezuela: Massive protests and riots caused by elections that put Maduro in the presidential seat by a narrow margin and people claim it was due to fraud (here’s another source, too). However, after the recount, the National Electoral Council still says the results of the audit corroborated Maduro’s win (CNE). Either way, it is a way closer race than some people expected and sounds like the government might be shifting for future elections.

Greece: Trans* people and sex workers are being rounded up in internment camps, and the health minister has condoned forced HIV tests conducted by the police. Some of the folks who have been detained and found to be HIV+ have had personal identifiable information (including names and photos) published in the media “to protect public health.” And this isn’t counting the many innocent individuals that have been jailed for being “presumed prostitutes.”

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The awesome TX Senator Leticia Van De Putte who also participated in the filibuster and uttered the now-famous line she’s printed on her shirt.

United States: Republicans in Texas aim to pass draconian abortion law (SB5), give media incorrect information about its passing after a 13-hr filibuster, and change online records to fake time of voting, despite the bill being voted on after a deadline and being protested by both the people and a state Senator. (TL;DR: SB5 didn’t pass, but a special session has been convened and further actions will happen after the holiday weekend). Protests at the senate growing, and law enforcement called in. Also, and  even MORE importantly, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 has been gutted and states that used discriminatory practices to bar poor people, immigrants, and people of color from voting no longer have the same restrictions placed on them re: changing voting rules. People will have to prove claims of discrimination AFTER the fact. Less than a few days after the gutting (and in some, after less than 24 hours), several states changed their voting regulations without needing to clear it with any higher authority. Finally, on the LGBT front, tons of reports of anti-gay violence are coming out, and my eye is on New York City (check out the NY Anti-Violence Project’s reports and blog section for more details.)

Australia: Julia Gillard is dumped as prime minister and leader of the Australian Labor Party, while previous Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is reinstated.

Turkey: Protests escalate as people fight back against state-violence (including violence against the press) and “Erdoğan’s increasingly assertive Islamist administration,” sparked by protests against the redevelopment of Istanbul’s Gezi Park. The government violently cracks down on the dissent, detaining even the medics who were trying to treat the protester’s injuries.

What else is going on, folks? This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it’s a place to start.

Fight Against Fraud (Message from ONA)

**En Español abajo**

¡¡Take action with ONA this Saturday!!

The struggle against theft and fraud at Paraiso Multiservices continues…

José Silverio, the man who presents himself as the owner of a remittance agency on Chalkstone Avenue called Paraiso Multiservices, has been stealing money from his customers for over a year. Most of these customers are Latino immigrants who use his service to send their hard-earned dollars home to support their families in Guatemala, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and elsewhere. Last month, a small group of Pariso Multiservices customers came forward to denounce this theft. Since then, they have organized over 30 customers, who together have lost over $50,000, to demand justice. They filed a criminal complaint, and last Saturday they staged a successful picket outside of the business attended by dozens of victims and their allies. (Check out the pictures, attached, and thank you to all who came out!)

This week, while the state police continue to investigate this theft,
these customers are taking their fight back to the streets!
Join them this Saturday, July 28th for a picket outside of José Silverio’s house to say ENOUGH is ENOUGH-
stop stealing from our community! 

Picket to Demand Justice!
Saturday, July 28th
5pm
532 Plainfield St, Providence

Have questions? Want more information? Call ONA at 401.228.8996

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¡¡Toma acción con ONA este sábado!!

La lucha contra robo y fraude en Paraiso Multiservices continua…

José Silverio, el hombre representándose como el dueño de Paraiso Multiservices, una agencia de remesas en la Chalkstone, ha estado robando a sus clientes por más de un año. La mayoría de estos clientes son inmigrantes Latinos que usan el servicio para mandar su dinero ganado con sudor a sus países de origen para sostener a sus familias en Guatemala, Mexico, la República Domincana, entre otros lugares. En junio, un grupo de clientes de Pariso Multiservice se levantaron para denuniciar el robo. Desde entonces, ellos han organizado más de 30 clientes que han perdido más de $50,000 para demandar justicia. Ellos hicieron una denuncia formal, y el sábado pasado ellos organizaron un piquete exitoso con 40 victimas y aliados afuera del negocio. (Mira las fotos anexadas, y gracias a tod@s que vinieron!)

Esta semana, mientras que la policia estatal continua con su investigación,
estos clientes van a llevar su lucha a las calles otra vez!
Venga este sábado, 28 de julio para un piquete afuera de la casa de José Silverio para decir YA BASTA-
¡deja de robar de nuestra comunidad!


¡Piquete para demandar justicia!
sábado, 28 de julio
5pm
532 Plainfield St, Providence

Tienes preguntas? Quieres más información? Llama a ONA: 401.228.8996

Supporting Your Local Veg-Places

So this blog isn’t just about sex and sexuality, though those are the topics I most frequently address.

I want to talk about the importance of supporting businesses that are vegetarian- and vegan-friendly. Even if you aren’t vegetarian or vegan, by keeping places like that in business, you make it much easier for people who ARE to have places to go. You make it so that EVERYONE has easier access to vegetarian/vegan products, and for some people, this is really really important; these are ethical, not just dietary, choices they are making.

Often, I’m of the mind of “CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP! SAVE MONEY!” but one SHOULD put ethics and different types of value (it’s not just about the money, folks) before the cash. My primary partner lives like this. He doesn’t often splurge on goods, especially while living on a meager Americorps salary, but you’ll never see him at, say, a Wal-Mart. He makes purchases from business that somehow align with his ethics, as much as he can manage to do it.

So while my first instinct is to dive into bargain bins and immediately go for the cheap stuff, or go to stores with crazy sales, this summer I have been (and hopefully will continue to be) more discerning, especially since I have my family’s economic support and can afford to do so. When I have to support MYSELF it shall be another issue, since I’ll have to be dealing with my own finances, but for now, this is my plan. Because I hope to stay true to my ethics, though, I’ll try my best to put my money where my mouth is even when I’m the sole breadwinner in my life.

That’s great and all, but how do I know which places are veg-friendly if I, myself, am an omnivore? Well lucky for you, I’ve compiled a list of awesome places you should support! Now it should be easy-peasy.

Suggestions for vegan/veggie-friendly food-places in Rhode Island (mainly in Providence, unsurprisingly):

  • FOO(d) – The AS220 Café
    • Super inexpensive AND delicious (one of my favorite things to get is their crispy chickpeas appetizer). Their priciest dish is only $10, and they have a bunch of vegetarian and vegan options. The atmosphere is fun, though it can get loud when bands are playing in the AS220 performance space. If you like a hip joint with cheap and awesome food, definitely go. One of my favorite places in Rhode Island, hands down. The free WiFi is also nice, and there’s a bar located in the restaurant space too, if that’s your fancy. Depending on when you go, it can be a nice place to read and chill out. They also have outdoors seating, which is great when the air is cool.
  • White Electric Coffeehouse
    • American deli style, with a sweet artsy vibe. Some of my favorite items on the menu? Cranberry-walnut bread, hot chocolate, and cheddar/avocado sandwiches. Om nom nom. Also very decently-priced, and there’s free WiFi! Another great place to go to get some food and catch up on your reading. It’s fairly small, though, so it can’t seat large groups or anything.
  • Fire+Ice Grill & Bar
    • Mongolian BBQ place where you choose your own raw ingredients (vegetarian ones are marked with a green label, and the staff can fry your stuff in a separate pan), put them all in a bowl, and then see them stir-fried right before your eyes. You can also taste the sauces before committing to one for your dish. It’s a fun place with bright colors, and it’s decently-priced. Mondays are college-nights and dinner is $10 with a valid college-ID. This place is good for big groups because it’s huge (seats 326!), unlike most of the others on this list, which are more medium/small-sized. 
  • United BBQ
    • Cheap food, with a variety of vegetarian AND vegan options, all in the style of a typical BBQ place. Check out their menu! If you hate the idea of BBQ places because, well, they do offer meat, maybe skip out. Otherwise, I recommend it.  
  • Julian’s
    • One of my favorite places in Rhode Island, hands down. SO GOOD. SO DELICIOUS. There’s something for every price-range (e.g. dinner stuff ~$8-$28), the restaurant itself is charming and artsy, and the bathroom (yes, the bathroom) is adorable. Everything about this place is awesome. JUST GO. TRUST ME. They serve brunch & dinner, and they have a bar. GO GO GO.
  • The Garden Grille
    • A small, casual restaurant that serves “American” vegetarian food and has vegan options. They’re also a juice-bar, if you’re into that. It’s one of the more expensive v-friendly restaurants in Rhode Island, but many say it’s worth it. Their priciest entrees are ~$15.
  • The Like No Udder ice-cream truck (you can also follow them on Twitter and Facebook)
    • An adorable purple ice-cream truck with none of the dairy and ALL of the flavor. They serve smooth, smooth soft-serve (vanilla and/or chocolate, with a variety of toppings), shakes, floats, candy bars, and nachos. Everything is vegan AND kosher, and they don’t use any hydrogenated ingredients used. Be aware, though: they only take cash!
  • Nice Slice Pizzeria
    • If you’re looking for a place that serves tasty, tasty vegetarian/vegan pizzas and has a super friendly staff, you’ve found the right place. Nice Slice offers vegan cheese and faux-meat toppings (“chicken, bacon, sausage, steak, and pepperoni”) for their pizzas, and they also serve vegan sandwiches. Awesomeness all-around, plus they deliver and stay open late.
Also, remember that many Indian and Middle-Eastern restaurants are vegetarian-friendly! I’ll specifically mention Kabob N’ Curry on Thayer St. because, not only is it fucking DELICIOUS, but they have a sweet meatless buffet on Saturday mornings (11AM-3PM or so) for ~$9.

    When ECON-speak fails, try Pokemon analogies

    If you don’t know what the hell is going on with the economy and only know that it’s kinda majorly fucked, read on. (This article is resposted from HERE)

    ——

    Economist Kevin Nguyen explains the country’s economic woes to his younger sister, using Pokémon as an analogy. Seriously.

    The following is an actual conversation I had with my younger sister, Olivia. She likes to draw, play World of Warcraft, and now, she’s the only fourteen-year-old girl who understands the U.S. economic crisis.

    Kevin: Have you been following the news?

    Olivia: Yeah, I don’t really get it.

    Kevin: Imagine that I let you borrow $50, but in exchange for my generosity, you promise to pay me back the $50 with an extra $10 in interest. To make sure you pay me back, I take your Charizard Pokémon card as collateral.

    Olivia: Kevin, I don’t play Pokémon anymore.

    Kevin: I’m getting to that. Let’s say that the Charizard is worth $50, so in case you decide to not return my money, at least I’ll have something that’s worth what I loaned out.

    Olivia: Okay.

    Kevin: But one day, people realize that Pokémon is stupid and everyone decides that the cards are overvalued. That’s right—everybody turned twelve on the same day! Now your Charizard is only worth, say, $25.

    Olivia: Uh-huh.

    Kevin: At the same time, you’re having trouble paying back the $60 you owe me. So what would you rather do: try and pay me back the $60 or just default and give me your $25 Charizard?

    Olivia: I’d give you the Charizard.

    Kevin: Exactly. Who wouldn’t? Now, the bank—I mean me—has lost $25 when I expected to make $10. What’s the lesson here?

    Olivia: Pokémon is dumb.

    Kevin: True, but keep going.

    Olivia: That Pokémon cards might be worth less later than they are now?

    Kevin: Close. You just can’t rely on them appreciating in value forever. There’s one other good lesson in this analogy.

    Olivia: That you shouldn’t lend me money?

    Kevin: A-ha, exactly right! You’re fourteen and have no source of income. What would convince me to lend you money if I’m not sure you can pay it back?

    Olivia: Because you could’ve taken my $50 Charizard. So you could have either made $10 or gotten something worth what you gave me. If people didn’t realize Pokémon was dumb, then there was no way for you to lose anything.

    Kevin: Now, instead of a loan of $50, imagine that it’s hundreds of thousands of dollars; then instead of a Pokémon card, it’s your house. The U.S.’s prosperity was built on the idea that real estate/Pokémon would never go down. Multiply this wishful thinking by thousands of people in America and you can see the scale of our problem.

    Since you couldn’t pay me back, I can’t pay my bills and I can’t loan out any more money. Our country is dependent on the ability to borrow money.

    Olivia: That doesn’t make any sense. If I borrow money from you, I’m going to spend it.

    Kevin: Well, the idea is that you’ll spend it in a way that will make you more money in the future—like college or starting a business.

    Olivia: Oh, okay. I have a question for you: did you use the Pokémon example because you think I’m a nerd?

    Kevin: I just wanted to make it easy for you to understand.

    Olivia: Fine. But stop telling people I play World of Warcraft. I’m totally over that.

    Kevin: Don’t worry, Olivia. I used to be into way nerdier things. Have you heard of Magic: The Gathering?

    Olivia: What the hell is that?

    ———–

    A friend of mine said this was only half the picture, so I told him to take a crack at explaining it using the same analogy. This is what he came up with:

    After loaning the $50 to his little sister and taking the Pokemon card as collateral, Kevin makes ten similar $50 loans to his sister’s friends, who each give him another Pokemon card as collateral. So, now he’s got $600 owed to him by ten different people, and an expected profit of $100. Kevin would like to make more Pokemon Read Moreloans, but he doesn’t have the cash available to do it.

    Kevin’s solution is to go to Lyndsey. Lyndsey offers to buy Kevin’s right to collect the Pokemon loans from him for $550 — so that Kevin reduces his profit from $100 to $50, but now has the cash in hand to make more Pokemon loans. Lyndsey is betting that because Kevin has exercised good judgment as a lender and the Pokemon cards are expected to hold their value, she is pretty much assured of a $50 profit…

    Meanwhile, Kevin continues to make Pokemon loans, and Lyndsey continues to buy up those loans from him in ten-loan packages. Now that he doesn’t have to bear the risk of the borrowers failing to pay him back, however, Kevin starts giving Pokemon loans to ANYONE. Random 12-year olds walk in off the street and ask him for loans, he hands out Read Morethe money, and then quickly turns around to sell the loans to Lyndsey.

    Meanwhile, Lyndsey’s loan-buying strategy becomes popular. All of her friends start buying up Pokemon loans as well.

    By the time that Lyndsey realizes that these borrowers are far riskier than she’d thought, Pokemons have been devalued. She is forced to shut down her loan securitization business, files for bankruptcy, and defaults on all of her debts to various other friends. But all of those other friends have made the same risky decisions, though, this causes a domino effect of ever-worsening unpaid debts within her entire social circle.

    This Is Your Nation On Privilege

    I fully support and encourage introspection. I think if more people thought about their lives and the what, why, how, when, etc, things would be pretty different. So click on the following articles and read them through; you may be surprised by some of the things you take for granted. AND remember to please read the critique at the end (last link)–it provides necessary critique/analysis of all these lists, which, while helpful and illuminating, are certainly not perfect (and are of course problematic in their own ways, as most things are).

    via HERE.

    ————

    I’m hoping that the comments to this post can be used to interactively keep this post up-to-date. So if you know of a link that you think is relevant to this post, or if you notice that one of these links has died, please leave a comment.

    UPDATE: Maia has a critique.