Don't be fooled. You don't need what they are telling you to buy. Desire and attachment can be the cause of great suffering. The people who run large corporations truly understand this concept. They create desire, create suffering, and sell relief. However the relief is only momentary and soon you'll be back on the streets looking for your next fix.
There has been a lot of talk about the opioid crisis recently. While it's nice that the problem is finally getting some attention, I am worried that it will soon turn into another Reagan/Bush style War On Drugs. Trump and his administration seem to be addressing the problem by encouraging arrests and getting tough on crime. But the criminals are not street pushers or addicts, they are the corporations that manufacture and market these dangerous drugs. None of this is going to get any better unless we hold pharmaceutical companies responsible for their actions. We can start by demanding that these companies fund treatment centers for people addicted to opioids.
Slacktavism is something we are all guilty of in some form. I see it in myself all the time and it's something I'm attempting to address. It's so easy to get enraged just scrolling through your newsfeed on facebook, and it's too easy to expel your anger by clicking 'share'. You probably should be mad about things that are going on in the world, but we have to get constructive with our anger. Sharing an article or signing a petition isn't a harmful action in itself, but it tricks your brain into thinking that you've actually done something about the problem. Something I've been trying to do recently is balance out my slacktivism with some sort of action. For example, if I share an article I have to actually do something about it. This can be a phone call, having a discussion with someone in real life, emailing my representative, donating time/money, and possibly creating some art.
Earlier this year there was a couple of illegal immigrants that were deported while their infant was undergoing life-or-death surgery in a Texas hospital. They were arrested during the procedure. It got me thinking about how heartless someone would have to be to do something like this. I'm sure each person involved saw themselves as simply doing their job. Bureaucracy and institutionalising is how the powers that be manipulate people into carrying out immoral acts. We are a country that has fundamentally racist law enforcement policies, and these laws are enforced by people who aren't necessarily racist. I say this not to absolve anyone of their crimes but to shed light on the system that corrupts us.
Enter I'm trying to do these every weds. I knew I was going to be busy for the holidays, so I had to put this together pretty quickly last Thursday. Sometimes the pieces that take the least amount of time are the ones you like the most. The inspiration came from an Anti-Flag song(lyrics below). Hope you all had a good Holiday and have a Happy New Year. Keep fighting.
Sawed my feet at the ankles, but I wasn't going to run Grabbed my face, sliced off my tongue Lock off each hand at the wrist So I can't raise my fist!
You can kill the protestor (can't kill) You can't kill the protest You can murder the rebel (murder) You can't murder the rebellion
Lying still now, no way to speak. Nothing to fear, bullets can't silence ideas!
McDonald's obviously spends a lot of money on philanthropic efforts, but I don't buy into the idea that we need corporations to fund these organizations. Even taking their various charities into account, the damage they do eclipses any charitable spending. McD's is the most profitable fast food in the world raking in 36.4 billion dollars in sales for 2016, more than twice their closest competitor, Starbucks(14 billion). McDonald's boasts that they sell 75 burgers per second. Every hamburger is responsible for producing 5 lbs of methane(one of the very worst greenhouse gases) and requires about 600 gallons of water. This means that every day McDonald's is responsible for producing 16,200 TONS of methane and using 3,888,000,000 gallons of water. Really let that sink in...almost FOUR TRILLION GALLONS OF WATER PER DAY. I don't even have the time to break down the health or cultural impact much less other environmental impacts from food transportation, etc.
Enter Your Description HereI wanted to do a piece about FCC and Net Neutrality mainly because I think people should still be talking about this. Everyone raised a big stink about this in Dec, but talk has died down to a whisper due to the 24-hour news cycle. The fight is not over. There are still ways to kill the FCC's plan to destroy the internet. Congress could review the plan and reject it, States could potentially pass their own legislation protecting net neutrality, and many states are planning to sue the FCC. Whatever the mechanics are, it's important that you get in touch with your representative and let them know that the issue is still very real to you and that you expect them to take action.
Remembering the man.
This is a topic that I honestly can't even begin to pick apart in a social media post. In 2017 American Law Enforcement killed 1188 people. This is a totally shocking and disturbing number. Just so you get a sense of scale, China(whose population exceeds ours multiple times over) has about 10-20 deaths from police violence per year. According to Globalresearch.ca Police in the US Kill Citizens at Over 70 Times the Rate of Other First-World Nations. There are a lot of factors that go into this, but we need to start by acknowledging that there is something fundamentally wrong with our approach to law enforcement. Also, I pulled the 1188 number from killedbypolice.net, who is doing very important work. Check out their page and consider making a donation.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified processed meat as a carcinogen, something that causes cancer. And it has classified red meat as a probable carcinogen, something that probably causes cancer. Now, this study was somewhat blown out of proportion by some which led to a lot of people disregarding the study altogether. Because processed meats were placed in the same category as smoking the story became "processed meat is as bad as smoking" which isn't an accurate comparison for a plethora of reasons. Smoking is probably still worse for you, and if you smoke cigarettes, you should probably stop. However bad headlines and improper reporting do not discredit the study. The study is large, well regarded, peer-reviewed, and confirms what numerous other studies have shown. All this just addresses the risk of cancer, red meat and processed meats increase your risk of heart disease, obesity, etc, etc, etc.
Enter Your Description HereI actually had another post ready to go for today, but the recent targeting of the bay area and other sanctuary cities throughout America brought ICE back to mind. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency was never something I've liked, but it seems to have gotten even more oppressive under Trump. I really can't(and probably shouldn't) get into how low my opinion is of every single person doing this job, but like I said in a previous post they are cogs in a machine, and this is a systemic problem that is not going to be solved anytime soon. In the meantime, there are organizations that provide support to immigrants that have been arrested, and activists prepared to make things as difficult as possible for ICE to function. If you have information about an ICE raid or witness and ICE raid there is probably a local organization you can call. I have done some research for the Bay Area, but a quick google and you should be able to find what you need.
Enter Your Description HereThis is my first #humpdayeditorial of Black History Month so I thought it would be cool to focus on Emory Douglas. Emory Douglas was not only an amazing designer and illustrator but a true revolutionary. He was a key member of The Black Panther Party and served as the Minister of Culture. His work for The Black Panther Newspaper is truly amazing, every image he created feels urgent but also timeless. A lot of artists make art that is political, but Douglas' work really feels like a political statement taking form as art. I tried to incorporate some of his style into this portrait and I don't think I was entirely successful, but this was a fun experiment.
Enter Your Description HereIf I was better at the internet, I would have planned a Valentine's Day post, but I'm not, and I didn't. I wanted to do another Black History-inspired post. These days there are a lot of liberals rooting for the FBI, but it's important to remember that the FBI is a predominantly right-wing authority that has done(and continues to do) terrible things. COINTELPRO was a program designed to systematically infiltrate, discredit, harass, and destroy The Black Panthers and other socialist or anti-war organizations. It is regarded by most as a mistake and an embarrassment, but even today we see BLM being investigated by the FBI and it's not hard to imagine what sort of nefarious methods they might be using given today's surveillance culture.
I've been busy with a lot of self-initiated work lately, but still managed to knock out one of these #humpdayeditorials. This one is a little different. I've been pretty stressed about my work lately. I went full-time freelance this summer after the agency I worked at went out of business. I took the opportunity to try and make freelance work as my only source of income and it has been rough. One of the hardest parts is that I feel a lot of pressure for everything I make to further my career aspirations. Anything I make and post could potentially get me a job, and it's very stressful. The Quote here is from the Bhagavad Gita, and it sums up one of the key messages of the Gita, which is to do your work without clinging to rewards. Letting go of the end result and focusing on the process alleviates a tremendous amount of stress. This is not to say that you shouldn't set goals or strategize, but I try to think of these things as just part of the process rather than life or death.