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July 2013
By Akira The Don on Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

GODLIKE GENIUS AWARD GOES TO THE PROPHET BILL HICKS, who first illuminated my consciousness when I was 13 and changed my life for ever, THANKS BILL.

This is one of my favourites, and you can watch the whole thing right here right now thanks to the INTERNETS (and DARPA, ironically enough).

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— By Akira The Don on Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

By Akira The Don on Sunday, July 28th, 2013

These guys are SMART.

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— By Akira The Don on Sunday, July 28th, 2013

By Akira The Don on Saturday, July 27th, 2013

“I! Came ‘ome wiv sick! All! Dahn! Ma traaaaw-seeeeerrrrssss!”

Woke up with this my head for no good reason I can think of today. One of my most very favouritest records of all time. Can you believe this was a B side? This was a B Side. To If The Kids Are United. Word the fuck up.

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— By Akira The Don on Saturday, July 27th, 2013

By Akira The Don on Saturday, July 27th, 2013

Yo this is fucking righteous and I knew it inside out after a single listen, THAT IS HOW DOPE A SONGWRITER GINGER WILDHEART IS.

Just remembered I got drunk with him a few times back in the late nineties when I was a teenage fanzine writer, fucking uppercase G through and through. Also a big influence on this sort of stuff:

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— By Akira The Don on Saturday, July 27th, 2013

By Akira The Don on Saturday, July 27th, 2013

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By Greg Palast for Truthout
Thursday, 25 July 2013
Dear Mr. Martin,
I have a 16-year old son. I cannot imagine losing him because some beast decided to play Lone Ranger.

And so, with cautious humility, I make this suggestion, this plea.

Sue the beast. You must.

I understand you are reluctant to launch another painful trial of uncertain outcome and cost, monetary and emotional. And I know a money judgment won’t bring your son home.

But imagine this: George Zimmerman gets a half-million-dollar book deal and $25,000 a pop to appear at gun shows – plus a fee to put his name on a 9mm semi-automatic. The ‘Zimmerman Protector.’

There’s only one way to put this monster out of business: Justice can only come out of the barrel of a lawsuit.

Only in a lawsuit can you force Zimmerman to the witness stand. That’s crucial. In the criminal case, Zimmerman’s daddy, a magistrate no less, could say it was poor George yelling for help on that desperate phone call.

In a civil action, your son’s lawyer can say to Zimmerman, “Come on, George, let’s hear you scream for help. George, let’s hear you scream that this skinny kid is going to kill you. Come on, George, show us how Trayvon somehow grabbed your big fat head while he was taking the gun from your hand.”

A federal indictment won’t do that: Zimmerman can’t be called as a witness in a criminal case. A federal trial won’t disgrace Zimmerman nor stop him from getting rich off your son’s corpse.

A civil trial has none of that “reasonable doubt” crap that can get Zimmerman off the hook with some fantasy story about Trayvon as the dangerous aggressor. Zimmerman’s consigliere said it was Trayvon’s own fault he was murdered. The “decision [to get shot] was in Trayvon Martin’s hands more than my client’s.” Do you want that to be the last word about your son?

Maybe you don’t want the money. OK, then: Set up a foundation and make Zimmerman turn over all that blood money, those book deals and gun show fees, to the Trayvon Foundation. Make him work every day of his lousy life for Trayvon.

There’s another advantage to civil action. To be blunt, you won’t have to rely on painfully befuddled prosecutors like the ones we witnessed in that courtroom. In a lawsuit, you can choose the best legal gunslingers in the country.

I’m not guessing about that. I asked fearsome Florida trial lawyer Mike Papantonio if he and his partner, civil rights attorney Bobby Kennedy Jr., would take on the case if called. Papantonio said his firm is standing by, ready to help your legal team if asked. And I have no doubt there are other great plaintiff lawyers who would leap to your cause.

Americans love to complain that there are “too many lawyers.” I agree that if some corporate defense lawyers drown in their hot tubs, only their mothers should cry. But it is our unique system of tort law that gives Americans the true Hammer of Justice. Plaintiff lawsuits, even more than government agencies or the FBI, are what keep drug companies from poisoning us and keep dangerous toys from maiming our kids. And, using section 1983 of the federal civil rights statute, it’s the power of the plaintiffs’ bar that stops racist jerks from denying jobs, mortgages and freedoms to people of color.

And there’s one final reason to bring a civil action. Let the word go forth to any Zimmerman wannabe dreaming that wealth and admiration requires only their hunting down another dark-skinned kid in a hoodie: Maybe sick Florida law will keep you out of prison, but you will have your sorry ass dragged onto a witness stand, where you will be ripped up, ruined and busted for the rest of your life.

So I’m asking you, as one dad to another, stand your ground and sue this killer – for Trayvon and for all our kids.

With respect,
Greg Palast

— By Akira The Don on Saturday, July 27th, 2013

By Akira The Don on Friday, July 26th, 2013

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There aren’t enough hands in England to make the kind of applause this merits. From Orgzine:

[TW] Milena Popova reviews David Cameron’s measures on internet censorship, from a personal perspective.

I am a survivor: when I was a teenager, I was sexually abused by an uncle. So when David Cameron proposes a raft of measures which amount to censorship of the internet, all in the name of protecting “our children and their innocence”, I find that deeply offensive.

I am not going to tell you about the potential harmful side effects of these measures, or why none of them are actually going to workOther people can do this far better than me.

Instead, I want to move on this debate. I want to tell you about some of the factors in my environment that made my abuse possible, because maybe that will give Mr Cameron some idea of the real issues he needs to tackle if he wants to protect children [1].

Like many kids today, I grew up in an environment where parents were deeply uncomfortable talking about bodies, or sex and sexuality. When I got my first period, my mother gave the most boring textbook in the universe to read. It covered basic anatomy and mechanics of sex, but I must admit I didn’t get very far into it. A year or so later she arranged for me to have a chat with her gynaecologist, who was a friend of the family. What I would have learned from that chat, had I not had access to other materials on sex and relationships, was that oral sex is dirty and horrible and not something one should ever engage in. What I actually learned from the whole experience was that my parents were not willing to discuss issues of sex and sexuality with me. So when the abuse happened, when I would have needed to discuss those things with them and get help, I didn’t feel able to do so.

Now, I appreciate the argument that simply saying “leave child protection exclusively to parents” is middle class privilege. However many parents, middle class and otherwise, would greatly benefit from some help and advice on how to approach difficult issues like sex, sexuality and relationships with their children, and how to create a safe space where children can raise concerns and ask questions without fear of being judged or getting into trouble.

Like many girls today, I also grew up in an environment where a woman’s sense of self-worth was directly proportional to how liked she was by others, particularly men. That translated into being conditioned to be less confrontational, always having to be polite, being told I needed to keep the peace regardless of personal cost. This is not a great way to learn to establish and enforce personal boundaries. When the man who harassed me on the way to school told me it wasn’t very nice to swear at him, I felt guilty.

Here’s the thing: You know what the most insidious part of our culture is that sends precisely those hugely damaging messages to girls and women? No, it’s not porn. It’s romantic comedies. The idea that behaviour which amounts to stalking and sexual assault is romantic is deeply ingrained in the genre; and trust me – many more kids have access to romantic comedies from a much earlier age than they do to porn. If you want to talk about normalising the idea of violence against women, it’s there that I’d start, not at rape porn. Of course this doesn’t mean I want to ban romantic comedies. However, helping both parents at teachers look critically at the damaging parts of our mainstream culture and discuss them with children would protect many more children than filtering pornography.

Like many kids today, I received sex education that was patchy, focused on the mechanics and on avoiding pregnancy and STIs. Oh, and some of it was distinctly anti-abortion – talk about personal boundaries and bodily autonomy elsewhere. At no point was pleasure discussed. At no point did we ever talk about consent. At not point did a teacher make me feel like I could ask questions, express concerns or confide in them. I knew all about the mechanics of sex. I had a very good idea of what was happening to me when I was being abused. I had no idea how to stop it.

This is the biggest bone I have to pick with the government on this subject. David Cameron has the audacity to tell us that the solution to children viewing pornography is both “about access and (…) about education”. Yet the kind of education he means is not sex and relationships education – it’s education about “online safety”. At the same time his Education Secretary can’t even utter the words “sex and relationship education” without sniggering like a 12-year-old behind the bike sheds. His party (and the LibDems) almost unanimously voted against an amendment to the Children and Families Bill which would have created a statutory provision for sex and relationship education in the national curriculum.

Pornography (extreme or otherwise) and images of child sexual abuse (vile though they are) played absolutely no role in my abuse. I am not going to argue that they play no role at all in anyone’s abuse, or that without the proper context they can’t be damaging to children and young people. What David Cameron is doing, however, is lulling us all into a false sense of security while actively working against measures which would genuinely protect children and young people. This is not a man who is well-intentioned and ill-advised. This is a man who is deeply cynical and hypocritical; a man – and a government – incapable of doing the right thing, and only capable of doing the easy, wrong thing which will gain them votes. This is a man who should hang his head in shame.

As an abuse survivor, I find the measures outlined by the Prime Minister today objectionable, offensive and disgusting. As an abuse survivor, I demand that this government face the facts and either admit that they have no intention whatsoever of protecting children or actually put measures on the table which will do so. As an abuse survivor, I hold my head high today – but I don’t think David Cameron should.

[1] While I do believe children need protection from some things, I find the talk of protecting their “innocence” deeply squicky and disturbing. Kids do not become guilty once they find out about sex.

 

— By Akira The Don on Friday, July 26th, 2013