Nationalism Today, Fascism Tomorrow

Nationalism is dumb.

Nationalism everywhere
Nationalism… If only it had more memes.

Oh, sure, I’m all for apple pie and the Star Spangled banner, fireworks, and hot dogs on Independence Day – but the racism, xenophobia, and outright bullshit are a deal-breaker for me.

Just to be clear, the “nationalism” I’m talking about is the Webster’s variety, or:

Nationalism (noun): “A feeling that people have of being loyal to and proud of their country often with the belief that it is better and more important than other countries.

Emphasis mine, of course.

See, you can justify a lot of crazy things by throwing the word “patriot” around. Don’t like Muslims, refugees, or the LGBTQ+ crowd? Well, you’re not prejudiced, you’re patriotic.

Tired of feeling bad about being a white male, constantly put down by all the brown people in society and their liberal, Marxist policies? They may call you a bigot, but deep down in your heart, you know you’re really just a God-fearing patriot.

Think everything will be fine with America as long as women can’t get abortions and students aren’t allowed to learn about climate change in schools? Don’t worry, you’re not an idiot, you’re just a concerned, hard-working, American patriot.

That’s really what nationalism is about, right? If you believe your culture, your nation, is really better than everyone and everything else, you should be a good little patriot, fighting against all other ideologies and calling people “cuck” in the comments section.

I realize I’m being a little dramatic, but allow me to support my point of view with some facts.

Nationalism is Trendy, and Nationalist Groups are Popping up Like Weeds

It would be hard to miss the constant bleating of the Bullshitter-In-Chief, or the rhetoric machine cranked up by the far-right these days. While it’s tempting to blame Donald Trump, the real problem has been a constant and growing concern for years now.

The Southern Poverty Law Center actively tracks the numbers for various hate groups in the United States. By their definition, hate groups have, “beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.” This can be anything from the KKK, to that group of old Baby Boomers who meet at the Legion hall and bitch about Sharia law undermining western values.

As of now, there are 917 active hate groups in the United States. That’s down from the peak in 2011 at 1,018, but a significant increase since 2014, when the number dipped down 784. 130 of these groups are chapters of the KKK, and 193 are black separatist groups, just to give an idea of what that ‘917’ means.

The SPLC keeps a full map of hate groups across the country, which I strongly encourage everyone to check out. But the real kicker for me is that of the 917 groups listed, 663 are considered, “anti-government ‘patriot’ groups.”

These groups are spread all over the country; Alaska and Hawaii are the only states that don’t show any activity on the map, but this is likely an error of omission rather than proof that no such activity exists. California has almost 80 hate groups, while even my home state of Fuck-Off-In-The-Middle-Of-Nowhere Idaho has 12.

That example I gave before, about crotchety old people complaining at the Legion hall? Even that’s not an exaggeration – I based it on Idaho ACT for America, which has two chapters, and is itself part of the larger “ACT for America” organization.

Even college and universities, stereotyped as strongholds of liberalism, aren’t protected from the sewage-laden tide of nationalism.

For months, if not longer, white supremacist and nationalist groups, i.e. groups on the ‘Richard Spencer’ end of the political spectrum, have been recruiting on college campuses, and the rhetoric has been chilling. CNN had a story just last month about this – watch their video, and listen to the people they interview.

These people – these nationalists – don’t think of themselves as hate groups. They think of themselves as the oppressed, as the downtrodden, as defenders of American values and the white, Christian way of life.

Seriously. Watch the CNN video.

“We are being replaced in our own country,” Nathan Damigo, the founder of Identity Europa, said. In his mind, and in the minds of people like him, they’re not attacking other people, they’re just opposing the false narrative of contemporary society! They’re not spewing propaganda, they’re just providing alternative facts!

These groups are everywhere, by the way. This was put up all over my local university campus just today:

Boise Nationalists
Boise Nationalists group flier posted on college campus

And that’s the second time this group has posted fliers. At least in our case, students immediately showed opposition by tearing down the fliers, and even posting anti-fascist fliers of their own – but don’t make the mistake of thinking these are isolated incidents, or that you’re far removed from it because the incident you just read about happened hundreds of miles away. Nationalism is trendy these days, and it’s probably not hard to find in your own town.

Resistance Is NOT Futile

Honestly, I feel like I shouldn’t have to explain why these so-called nationalist groups and the values they represent are a problem. If you’ve paid attention in history class, you know all about how the Nazis rose to power, you know all about the rhetoric used against Japanese-Americans during WWII, and you don’t need me to tell you about the humanitarian disasters caused by Manifest Destiny.

If you understand that history, you know that the American dream isn’t a given – it has to be periodically upheld and fought for, and the people who would willfully pull us backward must be resisted at all costs.

I don’t have all the answers. Maybe it’s better to protest, or to write to Congress, or to form organizations of our own. Or maybe you can do what these counter-protesters did in Dallas:

…or not.

I’m not advocating violence, of any sort. But you do have a legal right to protest, and a legal right to bear arms – as far as I’m concerned, if you’re doing anything, as long as you’re doing it legally, you’re fine, and we should be doing everything we legally can do to stand up for our rights and the rights of others.

The nationalism genie may not go back in the bottle – but we can sure as hell make him regret coming out.

 

 

Credit Score: Is it Time to Check Yours?

Have you been weighing up your options for taking out credit? Or have you perhaps been baffled by why you have been turned down for a loan or card?

Whatever the case, it is always great to be more knowledgeable about lending and how you score with credit companies. We have created an article that is aimed at helping you to learn more.

What are the most common forms of consumer credit?

credit-card-1520400_640

Credit is a luxury for many. It is a means of affording what we otherwise couldn’t. It allows us to be able to purchase products by getting an advance on the cash needed in order to pay for them.

One of the most common forms of consumer credit is a credit card. You can use the cards in order to buy the things you need — then, later on, you pay the company that issued you the card. This is a great way of being able to purchase items you would otherwise never be able consider buying.

This is a means of purchasing items can also have an adverse effect, as you could  end up going out of your limits with borrowing, so it is an area that needs great responsibility.

Non-Installment Credit

This is a way of getting credit that is either secured, or unsecured. It depends on the company that provides you with the credit to begin with. It does not come with a set figure for the monthly repayments, and instead is due in one lump sum, for the full amount that was borrowed. When this type of credit is issued, it is usually done so in a short timeframe, usually, say in the space of one month.

Installment closed-end credit

This is a form of credit that allows consumers to buy multiple items, or one particular item. Car loans are closed-end credit, as they do not go beyond the price of the car. Also, the borrower can pay back the credit in installments over a period of time instead of paying it back in one lump sum.

Revolving open-end credit

Consumers usually find this kind of credit via credit cards. Consumers have a certain amount of credit available at their leisure, and a set amount has to be paid off each month. This credit never closes, unless the company shuts down the account, hence the credit is ‘revolving.’

What does my credit score mean?

Your credit score is a figure  calculated via how likely you are to be offered loans to companies. It is the figure a lender will assess when asking for a loan.

So how is this calculated? It looks at your payment history, the amount you owe, and the length of time it took you to pay off previous loans. It can affect a lot of things, like how much interest you must pay to the lender.

It can be the difference between getting a loan — or even being rejected for a loan.

Basics of credit scores

Your credit score helps lenders assess the risk that you pose to them if you borrow cash. Many different credit scores are on offer — one popular one is Vantage Score, which was developed by three popular credit lenders, Experian, Equifax and Transunion.

Another is FICO, which ranges between 300 and 850. Vantage Score credit reports have a range of between 501 to 990. The higher you score, the better chance you have of getting a loan. A high score means that you are low risk to the lender.

An ‘Excellent’ score: 720-850

If you are lucky enough to have a credit score in this range, you are considered very responsible when managing repayments.

You’ve had no late payments, and all of your balances on credit products are low as well. As a result, you could be offered lower interest rates! This is what you need to aim for.

‘Good’ credit score – 690 to 720

If you have a ‘Good’ credit score, credit companies will deem you responsible with your cash and repayments. Your balances will be low, and you are a good candidate to get a loan.

‘Problem’ credit score – 650 to 690

If your score is here, you have a bad credit history. You may have struggled to repay loans to more than one company, and it could show you have loan default. You are likely to be declined for more credit as you are deemed a risk who will not make your payments in a timely manner — or at all (in the eyes of the credit card company).

‘Poor’ credit score ratings – 350 to 650

You are ‘damaged goods’ to lenders. Several lenders have found you have issues with paying them back on time — or you have declared yourself bankrupt. Unfortunately, this will stay on your report for around 10 years.

If this is your credit score, you should talk to someone in finances in order to get advice on how to repair your damaged credit.

Having no credit

This means you haven’t yet borrowed cash.

Good for you — but not so good to the companies. You must establish a credit history, and when you have been approved for your first loan, make sure  you pay back the installments on time to gain a good credit report.

The ability to take out a loan is a good thing; sometimes as it can help you balance your cash. It’s all about making sure you can take steps to pay it off each month and be responsible with your repayments.

Why is my credit score important — also, how can I get a better score?

If you have any form of credit, you should take active steps to improve it. It affects mobile phone contracts, car loans, insurance payments, bank accounts and much more. Credit ratings are always shrouded by myths, but we will tell you what you need to know when it comes to getting a better score.

First of all, each lender rates you with a different scoring method. Just because one lender has turned you away does not mean another one will. Credit scores are not universal.

Secondly, you must borrow money to get a good credit score — quite often, those who have had bad credit scores have not ever borrowed cash. You can start to take out credit with small baby steps, like getting a mobile phone contract, or signing up for a store card to pay off purchases via a monthly statement.

The more you borrow — providing the payments are met in time — the more your credit score will increase.

Credit scoring is a means lenders use to predict your payments in the future; it doesn’t indicate you will or will not meet the loan payments. Most of the behavior is based on how you’ve performed in the past.

Another weird thing — sometimes the bad guys get higher credit scores! If you are going to pay off your cards religiously before the end of the loans, then this means you will not offer the companies a lot of leg room to gain profit from you.

The whole idea of credit companies, and what makes them tick, is to loan cash to make you pay back interest. If you pay off loans before they are due back, then this could have an adverse effect on your credit scores.

Where can I go for more information?

In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the nation’s consumer protection agency, and it will help you learn how credit ratings work.

You can also write to the Annual Report Request Service and request a copy of your credit report at PO. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA, 30348-5281.

Of course, here at Uninkable we are not promoting going into debt, or getting credit cards. However, if you can maintain your finances responsibly, then a credit card, loan, or the like could be the answer to your prayers.

This article has been designed to help you learn more about credit scores — before you apply for credit! Good luck!

How to Cook Turkey for Thanksgiving

How to Cook Turkey: Three Favorite Methods

Thanksgiving is this week, and there is nothing more important on Thanksgiving day than a perfectly cooked turkey! How to cook turkey is up to you, but we’ve chosen a few of our favorite methods, just in case you still haven’t made up your mind!

How to cook turkey

 

Choosing Your Turkey

You can’t decide how to cook turkey if you haven’t chosen what kind of turkey you want to cook!

Choosing a turkey can be as simple as grabbing a prepackaged bird from the supermarket, but if you have the time and a little extra money, you might consider buying a premium variety.

Raising your own animals for food is probably the best way to ensure quality, but that’s a lot of work, and probably not very practical for most home cooks! The next best option is to source a local producer; they’ll be happy for your business, and you’ll be happy with the taste!

You can also try looking for a free-range or certified organically raised turkey. These usually cost more, but are often raised on higher quality feed, making a healthier, tastier meal for your Thanksgiving table.

Smoked Turkey

Smoking a turkey is about having a passion for food!

You’ll need a barbecue full of charcoal, and you need to light it with lighter fuel, leaving the charcoal to go red as you prepare your turkey.

Preparation

Next, take your defrosted or fresh turkey and start prepping it.

Take out the giblets from the turkey. This part can really gross you out, but trust me, it pays off!

I like to remove the giblets and then rinse the inside of the bird (as politely as possible, though–it’s a bird’s butt, show some respect).

You can do this under the tap for the best results. This is not for the faint of heart, as it can really be gruesome with all the blood and gore.

Seasoning

Next is the fun part! Take an orange and chop it into two, then stuff the orange inside the turkey, where the giblets used to be. If smoked turkey with orange is not your taste, you can swap the orange for cranberry!

Now, the spices that you use are totally up to you, but salt and pepper are a must, and be sure to use plenty of butter! Turkey is a really dry animal, so the more butter the better, as far as I’m concerned.

Completely melt the butter, then turn the turkey in the melted butter, making sure that it is completely drenched. You then can use the salt and pepper and sprinkle to taste in an even coating all over the bird.

Smoking

Check that the barbecue is hot and that the coals are red, and then put your turkey on its way to smoking heaven.

The trick is to make sure that you turn the bird regularly. Depending on the size of this bird, it can take a long time to cook.

Enjoy some great company, and make sure that you have a few cans of beer or a glass of wine to keep you entertained as you smoke your turkey!

Some Extra Smoking Tips and Tricks

There is another method of smoking a turkey, which is a little bit of a cheat: you can use leftover meat from a previously cooked bird, and add it to your barbecue to add some flavor from the original recipe that you used to cook it.

The plus side is that it does not take long at all, since you are just reheating leftover meat, so it can be a great starter dish to hand around to people as you are prepping the other food.

Also, if you’ve never cooked with smoke before, and are worried about sanitation or cooking temperatures, the USDA has a helpful video to help walk you through:

Fried Turkey

Now, if you are not a barbecue type of guy or chick, then you can actually make some tasty turkey by frying it!

Frying things is a little lazy, but it can make the animal taste moister, and of course, more like fast food. It’s not for everyone, but some vastly prefer fried turkey over other methods.

A Word on Frying

Frying anything involves high temperature and hot oil. Separating your bird into smaller pieces will make cooking easier, faster, and safer. You can get your local butcher to chop up the turkey into pieces for you, pretty much like KFC, and then you can prep it for frying.

Frying the whole bird at once can be dangerous, but if you really want to give it a try, constructing a fry derrick like Alton Brown’s might be a safer alternative:

Preparation

Leaving the skin on is best. As with all meats, you’ll need to rinse it before prepping and frying.

Once the meat has been rinsed, a great trick to making sure that the meat is soft and does not go dry is to soak it a little in a pan full of laban, a kind of fermented yogurt milk. Buttermilk is also fine.

After an hour or so of soaking, you can get your salt and pepper shakers and let loose! You can also add some chili powder to the mix if you want to spice things up a little and not be as traditional.

Frying

It is best to deep fry using vegetable oil, and to use a good fry pan with netting inside..

As you fry your turkey, the trick to getting the best results is to keep the vegetable oil inside the pan, and make sure that it is heated up before popping the meat inside.

When  the oil is heated, add the turkey, and make sure that you keep checking the turkey pieces as they fry, turning them around so they are evenly cooked.

Once the meat is crispy, take it out, let it settle on paper towels, and pat to remove the excess oil. You can serve this with vegetables, chips, or roast potatoes. It is completely up to you!

Roast Turkey

Turkey roasting is an art! The trick to getting a finely roasted turkey is overnight preparation, a lot of foil, and butter!

The result is a pure classic. When people think about Thanksgiving, the image of a beautifully crisp, brown, roast turkey is often first to mind.

Preparation

Make sure that you get your turkey ready! Much like the previous methods, you’ll want to clean it, remove the giblets, and wash it.

Choose the desired flavors that you would like to stuff your bird with. You can use an orange or some cranberries, but adding in some stuffing is a great method, too.

The Stuffing

While some prefer to cook the stuffing outside the bird, and then add it to the platter as a garnish, cooking the stuffing inside the turkey can add extra flavor to both dishes.

Just remember that more mass means longer cooking times, and it’s easy to burn the stuffing or under-cook the turkey without realizing!

If you do decide to use stuffing, you don’t have to be fancy. A basic stuffing is comprised of pieces of bread and seasonings, as well as a liquid to hold it together. Seasonings vary wildly based on region, taste, and tradition, and the liquid can be anything from water, to milk, to stock, etc.

In a pinch, you can even use instant stuffing; just add water to the stuffing flakes, and they are ready to put inside the turkey.

Keeping the Turkey Moist and Juicy

Another secret to making sure that the turkey is not dry and tasteless is to get a knob of butter and completely melt it. Put foil into the roasting dish, add the turkey on top of the foil, and butter the outside of the bird, ensuring that it reaches everywhere on the turkey skin.

Next, pour a jug of chicken or vegetable stock all over the bird. Don’t worry if it looks like your turkey is taking a swimming lesson! You want the meat to be kept as moist as possible.

Alternatively, you can use Gordon Ramsay’s method, which involves stretching the skin of the turkey, and then stuffing seasoned butter underneath:

Adding strips of bacon over the top helps trap in moisture, while also giving extra flavor to the gravy.

Seasoning and Roasting

Add salt, pepper, and any other the seasonings that you enjoy. Wrap the top of the turkey in foil, making sure that it is sitting tight inside the pan, and pop it into the oven!

Roast turkey is so delicious, but it will take a long time to roast, so you need to have patience! You will need to stay in the house as it roasts and keep checking throughout the day.

There is no dead set method with regards to timing, as it depends on the size of the initial turkey, what oven temperature that you use, and of course the type of oven. But as a reward for waiting, your house will smell like a bistro!

When the turkey is done, take a knife and make sure to check that the meat is fully cooked and not displaying any redness or blood in the middle. If the knife comes out clean, remove the turkey.

Be sure to let the bird rest for a while before carving; this will allow the meat to cool slightly, and reabsorb some of the juices.

Enjoy!

Now that you have some ideas of how to cook turkey, feel free to mix and match techniques to your heart’s content! There’s no “perfect” way to prepare a Thanksgiving feast, so find the way that works best for you, and enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Clare Louise Al-Aufi is a UK-based writer with a passion for all things Internet, and the owner of Freelance Content Creation. She can be reached at freelancecontentpayments@gmail.com.