25 Things To Love About America

Nascar is a big deal

I have been on a hair pulling rant for the last 48 hours.  I recognize that. I am taking off my Calamity Politics Editor’s cap, and putting on a ball cap, and getting the hell out of this office. The blogger’s life is a good life, most of the time. Sometimes, however, U.S. politics and political rhetoric can just sap the energy from a person, no matter how earnest their intent.

So, let’s take time, lighten up, smoke one and check out, ‘25 Things To Love about America.’ These strange bits of illumination were partly supplied by Bowers’ and Gottlieb’s amazing book ‘1,000 Things To Love About America.’  Although I have used some of their text, but I have changed the numbering.

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Global Sex Trafficking: Part V-North America

 

Runaways are more vulnerable because they have been separated from their support system

Runaways are more vulnerable because they have been separated from their support system

 

GLOBAL SEX TRAFFICKING: PART V – NORTH AMERICA

by T.K. McNeil

“Sex terrorism is the use of illicit sex, violence and threats to intimidate or coerce to the state of fear and submission. Sex trafficking includes the transportation of persons by means of coercion, deception and /or force into exploitative and slavery-like conditions, and is commonly associated with organized crime,”–Erika Klein, activist, writer.

Show Me The Money

Drugs and Sex are the two biggest organized crime cash generators

Drugs, sex and guns are the three biggest organized crime cash generators

Poverty and the desire to get out of it can be a very powerful motivator, although capitalism can also be a motivating factor. For everyone who “pulls themselves up by their boot-straps,” as per the American Delusion, there are more who pursue a darker journey. Taking advantage of the freest of markets in the world. The one that is completely free of any regulation, because it operates outside the law. An estimated two-thirds trafficking victims in the United States are U.S. citizens. With foreign-born women, government statistics estimate between 15,000 and 50,000 are trafficked into the country each year. Foreign born sex trafficking victims for the most part come to the United States legally on various types of visas.

The Need and the Damage Done

The most lucrative illegal market is narcotics. It is the only vice to have a democratic government declare “war” on it. Some of the richest people in North America are drug dealers. As evidence of that fact, Massachusetts has just brought suit against the billionaire Sackler family and their company, Purdue Pharma. Massachusetts claims Purdue Pharma and the Sacklers personally and actively pushed their highly addictive narcotic pain-killer, Oxycontin on an unsuspecting populace.

Gang Activities

Gang trafficking is usually much worse for a victim than a pimp

Gang trafficking is usually much worse for a victim than an a pimp relationship.

Gangs are leaving the drug trade in favor of sex trafficking because it is deemed it is safer and more profitable. In gang trafficking a sex victim will be under the control of the whole gang. In such a situation, the gang members may sexually exploit the girl and also sell her outside the gang. Often MS13 gang members will tattoo a girl’s face to show ownership.

Pimping

In other situations there is a single pimp controlling a victim, or a group of victims. The pimp will exploit the victim for his own sexual needs and sell her body to multiple customers. The exact dynamics can be varied and complicated. The victim becomes dependent on the pimp physically, psychologically, and emotionally.

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Homeless Helping Homeless

Portland, Oregon is a beautiful city with a large homeless population

Portland, Oregon is a beautiful city with a large homeless population. 

Just My Opinion:

By Jennifer Troy

HOMELESS HELPING THE HOMELESS

More Homeless Communities

Tiny homes are being used nationwide to offer housing to the homeless

Tiny homes are the immediate solution of chronic homelessness.

Tiny house communities established by charitable agencies and social welfare groups for the homeless are sprouting up nationwide.   The primary concern is getting people off the streets and into a safe place. A big step. But then what?

Still Lost

What happens now that food, shelter and a safe haven to sleep at night have been given to these people? Is there any real expectation that any of them will re-enter the 5 day-a-week work world? Will they be able to move on into non-subsidized housing? Is there a place in society for them to return to? Even though they are off the streets they may still lack social, physical and monetary resources to keep themselves off the streets in the future. These people have been  lost and need help reintegrating back into the normal world.  Training and/or re-training is needed. Learning how to compete for jobs, interviewing techniques, correct language use, clean and presentable dress. All these skills need to be learned, before self-sufficiency can be achieved. Without such training the risk is more damaged self-esteem and failure.

Reality Bite

Tiny home communities need workshops where members learn a trade

Tiny home communities need workshops where members learn a trade and move on to their own independent, self-sufficient lives

As I see it, what needs to happen within these communities is a mirroring of what life is like for everyone else working their way through this crazy thing called life. Not just three hots and a cot. But, a safe place to relearn, or learn for the first time, the skills needed to function and be self-sufficient in American society. A place where they can be given a “trial run”,  before facing the world again.

Bucking Trends

In many ways this runs counter to current trends. Many seem to think all we as a society need to do is  offer subsidized housing forever to the chronically homeless.  I believe that these people can do more and be more than we are asking of them.  “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” Chinese quotation.  Let’s give them more than a bed, let’s give them an opportunity.  Let’s teach them how to fish. This is where the idea of the homeless helping the homeless comes from.

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The Alphabet Soup of Sexual Identity

Gay pride parade NYC

Gay pride parade NYC 2017.

In My Opinion:

The Alphabet Soup of Sexual Identity

By T.K. McNeil

Too Far

It might be time to come up with a single word expression to replace the alphabet soup of letters & symbols currently in use

One of the most common subjects of mockery, especially on the right is the ever-expanding series of letter & symbols used to identify humans with non-standard sexual identity.

Times have changed as they tend to do. With that change comes discomfort and usually backlash. Look no further than the political corners of YouTube and Reddit for examples of this.   LGBTTQQIAAP has become a subject of mockery. Especially on the right. The the ever-expanding series of letters used to quickly identify humans who have non-standard sexual identity has lost its practicality. There are now up to as many as eleven letters in its longest form. It is becoming obvious that they have a point. Things have gone slightly off the rails in terms understandable and honorable attempts at representation. Though it is also fair to ask where this all started and how things got to this point.

A Good Idea At The Time

For many years the existence of non-heterosexual sexual identity was generally not acknowledged by mainstream society. This changed in the late 1960’s with events such as the Stonewall Riots in 1969 and the first performance of the openly gay play “The Boys in the Band” on Broadway a year earlier in 1968. In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses. The term “Gay Community” came into use as a non-derogatory way to refer in general to men and women who were not heterosexual.

Addendum

Sexual identity can't always be classified

Sexual identity can’t always be classified with letters & symbols

In the mid-1980’s activists decided “gay community” no longer reflected the complexity of what was really happening and the term LGB was first coined to refer to those with a homosexual or bisexual sexual identity.

New Addition

Later on in the early 1990’s, things changed again with the addition of a T to represent those whose sexual identity was transsexual. While not officially recognized until recently, transsexuals, particularly in terms of those who only wear the clothing associated with the opposite gender and do not or cannot opt for surgery, has been identified for nearly 200 years.

Lesson From History

George Sand often dressed as a man

George Sand often dressed as a man.

A trailblazer in terms of sexual identity the British author of the Romantic period George Sand (born Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dudevan), who often reinforced her male persona by wearing men’s suits and smoking cigars. She also had affairs with other women. Which as well as being illegal could sadly have also easily gotten her killed. Some things never change.

General Support

The community was favorable  to the addition of the transsexual identity. The phrase LGBT becoming the accepted term and the official shorthand for anyone with a sexual identity that was not hetero or cis(1.) The new term would enter the mainstream with support and promotion by organization such as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the LGBT Movement Advancement Project.

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