The Blade Reboot

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Very soon, or not so long ago, in either this universe or an adjacent one, Hollywood will green-light the production of a Blade reboot fitting for a generation that demands fan service. The following details are what I have managed to glean during my time in The Ether*:

In the opening scene, Blade will sneak into a studio, where a Trump-figure is giving a speech to a lone camera, and cleave the head of the Commander in Chief clear off his body. After which, Blade will utter something to the effect of, “four years of this shit is just too long”, right before kicking him off the dais. A brief fight will take place, where Blade will slice up the president’s human body guards until he is confronted by vampire secret service, which will lead in an elaborate chase scene where Blade will demonstrate his ability to run off of walls, and parkour off of buildings, as he tries to make a daring escape.

And just before he gets caught, an ally will swerve into his path and tell him to get in. (This is where Whistler is introduced.) Blade’s reaction will be something like, “you?”, to which Whistler will reply “you were expecting a grizzly biker dude? This is Thanksgiving ’07 all over again; get in”, (Typical of Hollywood trends, Whistler will be portrayed be a woman.) Blade will ask her how she knew how to find him, and she’ll indicate that it’s all over the news. Then she’ll ask what that was all about, and Blade will say something like, “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.” Whistler will just stare at him awkwardly and inquisitively. And Blade will reply, “and you know the rest”.

Later, Blade will go on to explain that Trump-figure was just a puppet; a part of a larger scheme, and that something more sinister is going on in our government, though just what that is will require more digging.

We will learn, that the U.S. government has been infiltrated and is being manipulated by a shadow government, composed of an elitist coven of ultra-fair-skinned vampires, and that they’re using religion to justify congress passing sweeping legislation that would ban the practice of abortion. Blade will comment about how the true purpose of organised religion has always been to manipulate the feeble-minded public.

We’ll come to learn that the abortion ban is a crucial step in a conspiracy to force women to unwittingly carry vampire spawn to term. Like Blade, these vampires be all be immune to the sun, yet a few experimental others will have been given genetic enhancements by their obstetricians during routine checkups. And, of course, none of the mothers would survive child birth. This tugs at Blade’s heartstrings, because he knows that his mother bore him at a time when women hadn’t yet won the right to choose.

Later, details of the locations of key facilities involved in the conspiracy are revealed, including that of the chief scientist overseeing the development of vampire spawn. Whistler will break into this facility and confront the chief scientist, andsay “I thought you scientists were supposed to be objective, seeing things more clearly; why are you doing this?” And the chief scientist (a female, and her equal) will say something like, “don’t you know that all lives matter?” And whistler will respond with, “that doesn’t apply to parasites” right before bashing up cylinders and petri dishes filled with zygotes and foetuses and various other experiments—absolutely wrecking the lab—until the scientist loses her temper and tries to strangle the vigilante. The scene ends with her dead, and the fate of Whistler uncertain.

Later, when Blade confronts the elitist vampires, they’ll talk about how they are ushering in a new age he should be on their side, as vampires are clearly the superior race. Blade will respond with something like, “every tyrant thinks he’s better than his predecessors, and that he’s offering something new to his people, but it’s always the same story. And now I find myself, once again, in the uncomfortable position of having to water the Tree of Liberty”. The leader of the elitists will quip, “history is written by the victors”, and Blade will respond with, “we’ll see about that”.

He’ll then begin to eliminate the elitist vampires, even as they try to overwhelm him with their numbers; yet using superhuman moves never before demonstrated outside of video games, he will overcome them. And then, when it comes down to the very last vampire, he’ll say something like, “It’s true what they say: history repeating itself. But this generation, it’s not going to put up with that kind of shit anymore,” before landing the killing blow.

*often, while engaged in activities that involve water, my mind slips into a realm where all ideas (past, present, and future) litter a river of collective thought known as The Ether.

Legalised Prostitution: A Dirty Trick

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The other day, while I was doing the dishes, one foot stuck in the Ether, I started mulling over an article I’d read online about a Liberal Democrat across the pond asking “why it is that schools don’t teach prostitution as a viable occupation” and that got me thinking: what would become of the dark, dingy world of sex work if the practice was legalised, here, in the U.S.?

THE FIRST THING THAT COMES TO MIND IS

This could only boil to the frothy surface of the mainstream after having been thoroughly sanitized with requirements of business licenses, meticulous bookkeeping, and strict health and safety standards. Some of you may scoff at the absurdity of the thought, but just consider this: a few years ago Cal/OSHA ruffled a lot of feathers by announcing new health and safety standards in the pornographic industry. And while the measures ultimately failed, by attempting to ensure the safety of the actors in the industry, our bureaucracy had taken a positive step towards normalising, and legitimising this line of work. So I foresee that, if legalised prostitution was a reality, it would go down like this:

PROSTITUTION WOULD HAVE TO BE RE-MARKETED: “”WE’RE NOT HOOKERS, WE’RE CONDUCTORS OF THE CONSENSUAL ARTS”

This could be accomplished fairly easily be requiring that prostitutes attend classes in order to procure business licenses (consider this and this ).

While the endgame for the students would be to obtain certification and licensing for their practice, the endgame for the industry as a whole would be to get their students to actually believe in what they were doing. Much like the way in which instructors at massage therapy schools drill into their students that “we’re not masseuses, we’re massage therapists/a masseuse is a whore, a massage therapist is a healer“, instructors in the consensual arts would instill within their students a keen sense of superiority when regarding their predecessors due to their strict adherence to health and safety codes, and their broad training on the various arts of sensual activities. They may even adopt a sense of pride in their work.

THE COST OF GOING SOLO WOULD BE HARD TO KEEP UP

Prostitutes would have to use prophylactics and/or birth control and provide it to their clients; log the number of clients and services rendered unto them;  purchase and keep current liability and health insurances; and pay weekly visits to STD clinics, all just to keep the board of health, the IRS, and frivolous lawyers from tapping their assets. That said, chances are pretty high they would take the path of least resistance and opt to join a brothel.

ANYONE YOU CAN SCREW, WE CAN DO BETTER

Once it went mainstream, you can bet some ambitious Yuppie would realise that any whorehouse worth running could only be made all the more profitable by being bought out and run by a clean, efficient corporation. And then, upon news of its success, a thousand more would spring headlong into the market. Over time, all brothels would be owned and operated  by corporate masters. But eventually those thousands would sell out or buy up their competitors, and then it would be down to a few hundred, and then dozens; but, inevitably, all brothels would be clenched in the fists of but a few, tightwad corporate entities.

Naturally, the wages would start off competitive, benefits would be fair, and many would even offer to cover the costs of training and licensing. But like all other industries, once competition was systematically eliminated to just a handful of parent companies, wages would eventually begin to stagnate; making just enough money to get by, but not enough to live comfortably. Many would permit or even promote tipping, while others would discourage this practice in favour of higher ratings on services such as Yelp!. And like so many businesses these days, upward mobility would be hindered by a lack of higher education. So if one ever had dreams of striving for the position of Pimp or Madam, they could keep on dreaming unless they had an MBA tucked into their G-string.

SPEAKING OF PIMPS AND MADAMS

The handful of CEOs running the industry would inevitably try to collude with one another in stabilising the market, agreeing on fixed rates for various services, benefits offered to their employees, &cet. But like every other industry, they would be subject to the same anti-trust laws as everyone else. So if they ever got caught, class-action lawsuit settlements like this would likely manifest in a requirement of free services of a predetermined value, and for a limited time.

“IF YOU’RE OPEN FOR BUSINESS, YOU’RE OPEN TO EVERYONE”

Not long after the stigma had been lifted, clients who felt they got rubbed the wrong way would feel free to openly challenge prostitutes in court. And thanks to progressive public accommodations laws, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex, gender-identity, religion, nationality, race, &cet, the court would likely rule in favour of the plaintiff.  That said, I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to suppose that, quite literally, a client could sue the pants off of a prostitute just to get a rise, lest she face her imminent demise.

THAT’S ABOUT THE SIZE OF IT

It might seem like a good idea at the time, and certainly the consumers will be the first to come out ahead, but if the hookers of tomorrow aren’t savvy enough to reach around these little hangups, it won’t be long before they find themselves in too deep to come out on top.

What Went Wrong In Arizona

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Last Tuesday we had our primary here, in Arizona. And suffice to say, it was a complete and utter disaster. So how could so much have gone wrong when so much went right up to that day? Among innumerable other volunteers, I have been actively campaigning for Bernie Sanders for a few months, now. And we’ve made a lot of phone calls, knocked on countless doors, and rallied the progressive people of Arizona to get out there and fight the good fight, using the only weapon they have at their disposal: their vote; their voice. And, to be honest, we succeeded, as everyone came out to participate in the election of a lifetime, only for our hopes and dreams to be snuffed out in one perditious day.

So,  why was the most populated county in Arizona such a clusterfuck? In this article, I hope to explain what I believe occurred, to the best of my abilities, using multiple sources supplemented with anecdotal evidence.

County Cutbacks

Due to cutbacks, participating voters had to endure unforgivably long lines and longer waits—some as late as five hours. As a Bernie Sanders volunteer, my team was tasked with simply cheering people on, encouraging them to stay in line, and demand to be allowed to vote as long as they were in line before the cut-off time of 7pm. Consequently, even while many still broke away in order to get to their classes, pick up their kids from daycare, or make it to work on time, many stood their ground.  But why did it come to this?

“Last year, over the objections of county elections officials, the Legislature cut the amount of money for the counties to run the presidential preference election.

“For Maricopa County, that meant a $1.9 million shortfall, according to figures compiled by the counties and the Arizona Secretary of State. In February, the county approved an extra $1.1 million for the election.

“Elizabeth Bartholomew, communications manager for the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office, told The Republic on Tuesday that the election change “saves a lot of money.” But on Wednesday, she told the paper she couldn’t say exactly how much money was saved. In fact, she contended that the cost savings weren’t a major reason why the Elections Department made the change to have only 60 polling places.

“Early this year, the Legislature and Gov. Doug Ducey promised to reimburse the 15 counties for their full costs, as state law requires. When the money wasn’t immediately approved, the counties were left to come up with their own plans to make the election work.

“Two bills to restore the funding are currently stalled in the Legislature.”

http://www.azcentral.com/…/maricopa-county…/82174876/

Apparently, in 2008, we had 400 polling places and, in 2012, it was reduced to 200. And from County Recorder, Helen Purcell’s own words, her department was “required by law to have no more than half of the normal polling places”—which would have brought them down to 100—yet she figured that, factoring in low turnouts,  that 1/3 of voters would be independent, and thus ineligible to vote and, with the increasing popularity of PEVL ballots, we could get by with a mere 60 polling places.

Now, what I want to know is, why has the state stalled on the funding? Why, with a growing number of registered voters/taxpayers would they decrease funding, thereby decreasing overall polling places? How long has this been going on?

How were they able to get away with that? It goes back to the Supreme Court case of Shelby County vs Holder which struck down a key provision in the Voting Rights Act of 1965:

“Section 5 of the Act required States to obtain federal permission before enacting any law related to voting—a drastic departure from basic principles of federalism.”

Why was it struck down? Because the court believed it unnecessarily discriminated against certain states.

“Until the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling that weakened the Voting Rights Act, Arizona and its local governments were required under the VRA’s Section 5 to get approval from the federal government before making any changes to their election rules. If the change might harm minority voters, it could be blocked.”

http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/weakened-voting-rights-act-some-arizona-voters-wait-hours

The reality, of course, was that the very protections this was meant to afford minorities was denied, as polling places were vastly eliminated in Latino areas.

Party Status Changed

To add insult to injury, many voters who made it to the end of the line had to wait even longer to vote, as the precincts had run out of ballots and voters had to wait for them to print more while others, less fortunate, received terrifying news that their party affiliation had been changed . As it stands, Arizona maintains closed primaries, which means voters may only vote for candidates of their own respective parties, and that independents, being unaffiliated with either the Democrat or Republican parties, would not be qualified to vote for either party without first re-registering as a member of one of those parties at least a month before the election.

“One man was a lifelong Democrat who was listed as independent. He left the precinct, went to his house, and came back with a card showing that he was registered as a Democrat. But when I called the election center (administered by the county recorder’s office), they told me to just give him a provisional ballot anyway.”

5 Outrageous Examples of Voter Suppression in the Arizona Primary

Of course, they were offered provisional ballots, but Helen Purcell, herself confirmed that they would not be counted. Needless to say, a lot of voters were disgusted with their experience.

As it is, with the long lines and learning that their party affiliation had been changed, and then to learn that Clinton had won the primary even while thousands remained in line, waiting to vote, many voters were understandably, yet unnecessarily—though almost certainly intentionally—discouraged.

The GOP Is Pissing Its Pants Over Trump

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The GOP establishment is pissing its pants over Trump, and I’ll tell you why:

Donald Trump is here as a counterweight to Bernie Sanders (a radical in an age of partisan conformity and polarisation), and to divide and conquer the Republican party by exposing its weaknesses from within.

He is here to echo the dissatisfaction that conservative voters have wanted to voice for the last sixteen years—tactless, shameless, and with impunity—while revealing just how hollow the neocons’ campaigns really are. And he can get away with poking fun at the senators’ and governors’ track records simply because he doesn’t have a record of his own to criticise.

What he does have is his renowned success as a businessman and celebrity, and the establishment Republicans simply don’t know how to fight that kind of opponent. Truly, Donald Trump is a wildcard.

But don’t dare double-down on him, for Trump is the house, and the house is secretly dealing for Hillary Clinton—a woman who knows how to bluff, and has hitherto played this game close to her chest—and the house always wins

Screaming In Primary Colors

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For years, both the republican and democratic parties have been polarising politics: forging solidarity by consolidating voter support, by systematically dividing voters on key, hot-button issues, thereby erasing the subtle hues from the perceivable spectrum.
 
Yet, in 2016, we are starting to see some of those colours flood back into perspective, and for good reason: a good director knows how to frame a shot using colour, contrast, and saturation to make the details he or she wants us to see stand out. And the billionaires back in Wall Street have invested a lot of money in the best directors and producers, in what is turning out to be the biggest blockbuster election of the millennium.
 
Before starting his campaign, corporate lobbyists knew that Bernie Sanders was a serious threat to the establishment, as he was always “one of those politicians not like the others”—most especially because, try as they might, no amount of green in the world could change the man’s colours. Here, everyone was either red or blue, and yet his ideas were so hot, he was near-ultraviolet, so the directors were tasked with coming up with a good counterpart to capture the audience’s attention, and that’s where Donald Trump came in.
 
Now we suddenly have near-infrared to balance out the ultraviolet, and the directors have skillfully framed both candidates to be unstable, and unviable; drawing an otherwise lackluster Hillary Clinton into perspective, as she is suddenly perceived to be the only sane choice among them.
 
The truth is, if you’ve been following her campaigns (that is, for the Senate and for President in 2008, and again 2016) you’d realise that she is neither red or blue, hot or cold, but lukewarm. Her temperature changes with the climate as she tailors her skin to match the local colour; and if you were to watch her when she’s not performing in the spotlight, you’d see that her act is really just a transparent façade intended to impress voters and throw off her adversaries. Where does she really stand? Where she has always stood: silhouetted behind the desk of the Oval Office.

How to Dystopian Justice

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After getting in a fight with a friend over the justification of killing sexual predators instead of making them serve long prison sentences—thereby, arguably, burdening the taxpayer unduly—I’ve slept on the matter, given it further thought, and determined that perhaps there is a way to give my friend (and all supporters of capital punishment), as well as those like myself (those who oppose capital punishment) a fair compromise. Of course, the compromise is a complete and utter dystopian nightmare, inviting fraud, waste and abuse, but if the world can accept that, then my solution ought to be considered.

Step 1. Legalize euthanasia
Step 2. Give all sexual predators mandatory life sentences
Step 3. Give all prisoners the right to receive euthanasia, but only if at least one doctor and one psychologist sign off, declaring that the prisoners are receiving a significantly diminished quality of life
Step 4. After one year, require all prisoners serving life terms to receive evaluations on their health, psychology, and quality of life.
Step 5. Grant the prisoner mercy.

Psychologists: Select a prisoner, evaluate him or her: inquire about his or her experience, about his emotional condition, and determine his quality of life, but do not inform the prisoner that this is the point of the evaluation.

Doctors: Select a prisoner and evaluate him or her: check his or her vitals, search for bruises, breaks, any sign of physical trauma or ailment, and follow up with personal, leading questions about his or her quality of life.

After at least one doctor and one psychologist has signed off, issue orders for the release of the prisoner into the custody of the chief medical doctor of the prison. If the prisoner asks where he or she is going, simply inform them that he or she is simply being released into the doctor’s custody.

After the prisoner has arrived, confine him or her to a chair in a special examination room. Place a mask dispensing nitrous oxide over the nose of the prisoner until the prisoner has been rendered unconscious. Afterwards. administer a syringe cocktail, consisting of sodium thiopental, pancuronium bromide, and potassium chloride.

Mercy granted. Justice served. Mischief managed.

You’re welcome. 😉

Re: Fast Food Workers: You Don’t Deserve $15 an Hour to Flip Burgers, and That’s OK

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Dear readers: I am writing this as a response to the conservative author, Matt Walsh, for his insensitive and unrealistic article about raising food service workers’ wages.

Now, before I start, let me state the following: I’ve worked in food service for over thirteen years, and I think it’s safe to say that this is what I do; this is what I am really good at; and it is because I have spent so much time and service in this industry that I feel qualified to say that Matt Walsh clearly does not understand the problem. To elucidate, I have some facts for you to consider:

Fact: higher education isn’t for everyone, and attaining it is unnecessarily costly.

Fact: not all food service workers make standard hourly wages: many make less than half of state minimum wage, and are expected to make up the difference in tips. (Depending on where you work, you may never make up the difference.)

Fact: plenty of people start families early, whether planned or unplanned; it’s their choice to make, and it’s not our place to judge.

Fact: there is no such thing as a stepping-stone job: there are those who, like me, will make something of a career out of this line of work; but everybody else will take whatever jobs are hiring and/or for which they are qualified. (This is most especially true during recessions, where many employees’ only other options are receiving financial treatments from family, friends, payday loan sharks or, God-forbid, the state.)

Fact: because food service workers do tend to make shoddy wages, many employees receive state assistance, and they still do not live even close to comfortably.

Fact: in the restaurant industry, it is common practice to hire predominantly part-time workers, which disqualifies many employees from working over-time, or receiving many of the benefits that the companies advertise; as a result, many employees work two or more jobs just to pay their bills, yet will never receive compensation for working over forty hours.

Fact: no one is saying that the occupations the author listed off (such as those of teachers, emergency medical technicians, police officers, dental assistants, etc.) should be equivalent in pay to food service workers. (Surely their salaries are over-due for a pay raise, too!)

Fact: it may be difficult for small business to afford to make such wage adjustments, but larger businesses have no excuse, if and when the laws support those changes.

So, let me be frank: if the Capitalist whores who call themselves “job creators” would stop sending jobs overseas, then perhaps many of us in the food service industry would seek training in those other lines of work, when they are once again available. As it is, our malefactors have out-sourced American labour, and taken advantage of poor countries and exploited their labour markets, with their piss-poor wage laws, and their gross lack of health and safety standards. And this Trans-Pacific Partnership bill will only make matters worse.

Now, it is true that there is more value in skilled labour than food service; but we are, predominately, a service-based economy and, as a result, we’re all struggling to get by. And it’s not our fault, either; it’s just the nature of capitalism: an ideology that has no moral imperative except to grow, grow, grow. Capitalism does not value human life; humans are just a tolerated means to an end. Capitalism does not acknowledge the social consequences of its actions, and it flatly refuses to make amends for the damage it has done.

That said, let’s walk a quarter of a mile through a scenario, many aspects of which we all share in this line of work.

Let’s say you’re a stay at home wife, and mother whose husband just up and died on you. Up until now, your husband was, and had always been, the sole source of income in your household, and he made just enough for you all to live bearably mostly.

So here you are: you have no skills outside of cooking and cleaning, possibly thrifty spending habits, and child-rearing; and now you have to go out and find work. You’re thirty-years old, you have three children, you don’t have time to go back to school; but you absolutely need to get out there and find a job. Anyway, at your age, the probability of you receiving higher education gets slimmer with each passing day. So you get a job, flipping burgers at McDonald’s, at minimum wage.

It’s been a year now. You work hard—harder than some, but just as hard as most—helping to generate thousands of dollars in revenue for the company, every shift, but haven’t gotten even a five-cent increase since you started.

You know that you’ll probably be doing this the rest of your life because 1. this is the only job you really know and, 2. the older you get, the harder it is to find work outside of food service, and 3. by the time you’re old enough to qualify for social security, social security will have already run out.

So you stick with Mickey D’s, but you still try to find other work, especially during the seasons when everyone’s cutting hours. The problem is, with your lack of skills, you don’t have many options outside of food service, and those you do have are still just minimum wage-paying service jobs.

Meanwhile, you’re not just living by yourself, and you have three mouths to feed for another twelve years, with the oldest; fifteen for the youngest. And, of course, you know there’s not going to be any money in their college funds; as you already cashed out all of your savings, early on, just to pay rent.

Suffice to say, your story may not have a happy ending. You may well die alone, and in poverty, and with nothing to show for a lifetime of misery.

Matt Walsh would probably tell you to “suck it up”, and that it’s “just a rung on the ladder”. But then, perhaps he is unaware that not everyone gets to climb the same ladders, or that many of them don’t go up that high. Nor that there are still those few who reach up, grasping for that which is not there; as their toes tremble and their knees buckle, and they try not to fall from their precarious position, perched atop a slippery stool.