weekly yikes report for dec 2-dec 9

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Another week so full of news it feels like we are no longer experiencing linear time!

We should all be infuriated by the way our justice system continually fails people of color. This has been true forever, and here’s yet another egregious sentence that absolutely does not address the heart of any issue. Cyntoia Brown has been given a FIFTY-ONE year prison sentence for killing a man who sought her out for sex when she was 16, and feared for her life. If this had been a white woman, she would’ve been hailed as a hero across the news, gotten at least 15 minutes of fame and already signed a book deal by now. Related: Jeffrey Epstein, a terrible disgusting monster, served 13 months in prison in a private wing with his own security and got to go work six days a week.

China is detaining hundreds of thousands of Uighur people and other Muslim minorities in camps to basically brainwash ’em into loving Chinese communism. This seems like a pretty big deal human rights issue that American media isn’t spending time on. China initially denied the camps existed, but are now totally leaning into Islamophobia. The Chinese govt claims the Uighurs are “infected” with the wrong kind of thinking, and laws restricting beard length are definitely going to solve the problem.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson is accused of sexual assault by four women. Ugh. Another nice guy that we put on a pedestal. It’s finally crumbling. This article also touches on the side of the #MeToo movement that doesn’t ever get enough focus: the tragedy of the women who were hurt, careers ruined, lives fucked up needlessly. We always seem to mourn the end of the man’s career, as if these decisions weren’t completely within their control. But hey, how about all the women, the many many women, whose lives are ruined by going public? We never consider the destruction of their careers and devastation they suffer privately.

Tchiya Amet finally gets her story heard because other women have come forward. How do we even begin to parse the behavior of the most famous black scientist? What does all this say about the privilege he assumes? The fact he completely misunderstands his abuse of power? The way Tyson rebukes Amet’s new age beliefs and uses them to rail against her credibility is gross. But correlation is not causation, and just because someone believes crystals have healing properties does not mean they made up sexual assault. Another woman accusing Tyson, Katelyn Allers, has photos of the incident she describes. It oozes with sleaze and awkwardness, and the hat Tyson is wearing doesn’t help.

“When she told Tyson she was quitting, he responded, as he did in his Facebook post, by saying he didn’t realize he’d made her uncomfortable. Then, she said, he read her a speech he’d given about overcoming adversity as a black scientist.”

This bit infuriates me the most. It’s very clear that Tyson does not want to admit he’s abusing his power. He pretends he is unaware of how he’s using his privilege to make women uncomfortable.  I’m not even sure he would admit to that privilege. Whatever Tyson experienced growing up, doesn’t make what he’s done ok. Playing the Adversity Card is a pretty despicable move. Fuck Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

A border patrol agent in Texas has been indicted on capital murder charges of four women. Melissa Ramirez, Claudine Ann Luera, Griselda Alicia Hernandez Cantu, and Nikki Enriquez were all picked up along the side of the road and then left for dead in the rural countryside. Juan David Ortiz was a 10-year veteran of the border patrol. He believed that he was cleaning up the streets by getting rid of sex workers. Several hundred border patrol agents have been charged with drug trafficking and accepting bribes, so things seem real safe and good at the border.

You probably don’t know the name McCrae Dowless. It sounds kind of like a law firm, or the villain in an 80s teen movie where the rec center is getting demolished. Dowless is at the center of emerging voter fraud allegations in a North Carolina Congressional district. He is well-known there as a political operative, specializing in get out the vote efforts. His operation seems to involve harvesting absentee ballots and paying others to fill them out. The elections board has now refused to certify the result, and Democrat Dan McCready has rescinded his concession. Dowless had complaints filed against him in a 2016 election as well, and when questioned by the state he is comically unfamiliar with his own case. This American Life covered this in an episode.

*plays taps*

If somehow you haven’t heard, Tumblr will no longer allow adult content on its platform starting Dec 17th. The slowly sinking blog ship has felt past its time since it sold to Yahoo!, and now that it’s a Verizon property it is completely unsurprising they are against “female-presenting nipples” and “real-life human genitals” showing up everywhere. It’s a shame that what was once such a robust and enjoyable platform has sunk to the level of pornbots and removal from the App Store. The fact is, Tumblr is now in the hands of people who fundamentally do not understand the core userbase, and are shooting themselves in their only remaining foot to attempt survival.

 

Unfortunately for Tumblr, you can’t rely on AI to moderate your content. Algorithms are bad at this. Right now we are all getting the last laugh as Tumblr users share the absurdity of their incorrectly flagged posts. My sincerest condolences to the fandoms looking for replacement homes, it is real sad when you realize an internet platform is giving up on you. May I recommend Mastodon or pillowfort.io?

A quick Late-Stage Capitalism bit: the Trump admin is looking to get asylum seekers to pay a fee in order to apply. ‘Give me your tired, your poor’ indeed!

I’ll write something longer one day, but I must make public on this site my love of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Even before the election, her message real-person creds had me stoked. She hit the streets, worked her ass off, and listened. Now that she’s in Congress a lot of fascinating things are happening. Her use of social media has really brought the process to the people. Catching up on her Instagram stories gives you an actual day-to-day picture of a Congressmember. It’s refreshing and informative.  Not only that, but Ocasio-Cortez livestreams while eating mac&cheese with a coffee stirrer, explaining the different committee chairs and what they do. She is truly committed to serving her fellow Americans and I think her spirit is exactly what we need to revitalize democracy in this country.

As a bonus, Ocasio-Cortez is also living rent-free in many right-wing trolls’ heads. Her mastery of Twitter is beautiful. She understands how to counter all the vile tactics Trump and the right have perfected. A future that has representatives like Ocasio-Cortez, Pramila Jayapal, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Deb Haaland, (I could go on!) fighting for a better America is a bright one. They give me hope.