Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 26, 2022

Open Thread (NOT Ukraine) 2022-73

News & views not related to Ukraine ...

Posted by b on May 26, 2022 at 12:48 UTC | Permalink

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Posted by: Foxbat | May 26 2022 22:18 utc | 80

Have you not noticed the regular low paid homeless service employees on the night circle route buses of "Silicon Valley" ?

Posted by: Bad Deal Motors On | May 27 2022 0:12 utc | 101

Some personal anecdata re: housing affordability and scarcity.

I lived in a particular Central Texas city that has become well known for being the "it" place to be to a lot of people. There has been, since the late 90s, less residential (SFH, MFH, apartments, etc.) construction to meet demand. What is being built can only be classified as 'luxury' residential. I lived in the center of the city as both a renter and a mortgager. The zoning laws are loose when it comes to non-historical residential property. So whenever a long-term resident or family passed away and/or moved away, their perfectly viable SFHs were razed to the ground and replaced with multiple homes or condos, all (meaning each) of which went on the market at a higher price than the original SFH. So reducing scarcity did little to increase affordability - quite the opposite. And on top of that, come annual tax appraisal time, the new properties drive up the tax bill for surrounding neighbors. I'm talking a single home appraised at $350K being torn down and on the same lot building 4-6 condos or smaller homes each listed at $650K. Talk about a return on investment if you're a developer, eh?

Regardless, affordability also of course relates to wages and salaries. What's affordable to a Facebook programmer isn't affordable to a teacher or fireman. In general, across the board, US urban real estate is overpriced and unaffordable to the majority of workers. That's why it's perfectly acceptable to say that the homelessness crisis is also one of unaffordable housing, whether it's technically "scarce" or not.

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | May 27 2022 0:16 utc | 102

So 'we' (that means you) have the almost dead Joe Biden in the US and the disgraced clown Boris Johnson in the UK. Both are likely to disappear any day. Then the happy result could be Harris + Truss with their combined IQ < room temperature.

How would that pair impact international relations? I looks like an even worse disaster than today.

Posted by: Norwegian | May 26 2022 14:47 utc | 12

I assume that in Norway (a) you heat the rooms properly, plenty of fuel and electricity, but you use Celsius scale. After dividing the result, say 24, between the two ladies, you estimate their intelligence somewhere between a hedgehog and a koala. And being a piece of work, you surely would wish to replace Scholtz with Bearbock, and to split 24 for between three ladies.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 27 2022 0:17 utc | 103

RE: RUS lit chat here

Solzhenitsyn died on August 3, 2008, a few months short of his 90th birthday. Only two weeks later, it was announced that Moscow’s Great Communist Street (ulitsa Bolshaya Kommunisticheskaya) was to be re-named “Alexander Solzhenitsyn Street”, an honour bestowed by a personal decree from President Putin.

On the first anniversary of Solzhenitsyn’s death, Vladimir Putin sent a telegram to Solzhenitsyn’s widow in which he described Solzhenitsyn as “a global individual, whose creative and ideological heritage will always hold a special place in the history of Russian literature and in the chronicles of our country”.[ix]

In October 2010, it was announced that The Gulag Archipelago would become required reading for all Russian high school students. In a meeting with Solzhenitsyn’s widow, Putin described The Gulag Archipelago as “essential reading”: “”Without the knowledge of that book, we would lack a full understanding of our country and it would be difficult for us to think about the future.”

Posted by: Tyrus | May 27 2022 0:36 utc | 104

That's why it's perfectly acceptable to say that the homelessness crisis is also one of unaffordable housing, whether it's technically "scarce" or not.
Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | May 27 2022 0:16 utc | 101

I'm not so sure it's perfectly okay to say, when it's almost deliberately misleading, the way most people conclude more building is a remedy to housing scarcity. Your local anecdotes illustrate the same point I'm making about where I live, and also show that we possibly share this expectation: No matter how much housing they build, it never does a thing to remedy the "scarcity of housing".

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 27 2022 0:36 utc | 105

Canada’s national broadcaster publishes article describing OUN nationalists as “ordinary Ukrainians”
“Lawyers, a factory worker among the ordinary Ukrainians holding the line against Russia at Izyum”

“During the Second World War, the group fought for Ukrainian independence under its controversial yet revered leader, Stepan Bandera, allying itself with whoever served its nationalist aims.”

Posted by: jayc | May 26 2022 17:17 utc | 35

Being an ignoramus on history, I wrack my brain to figure out what those "whoever served its nationalist aims" could be. Perhaps Francisco Franco, a fellow Galician? Is it why he send División Azul to the Eastern Front from faraway Spain? However, Germans send the valiant Spanish, surely including Galicians, to the vicinity of Leningrad. WIKIPEDIA: "The division was awarded a Blue Division Medal, personally designed by Adolf Hitler. Spanish casualties in all of the Soviet-German conflict totalled 22,700—3,934 battle deaths, 570 disease deaths, 326 missing or captured, 8,466 wounded, 7,800 sick, and 1,600 frostbitten. In action against the Spanish Division, the Red Army suffered 49,300 casualties. (Those numbers are quite different in Википе́дия).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 27 2022 0:43 utc | 106

Posted by: bevin | May 26 2022 23:02 utc | 89

Israel has the so called right of citizenship extended to all person of the faith. Strangely this citizenship does not seem to apply to pedo's . One of whom was sent back to Melbourne Oz. To face her criminal past of seducing young under age female children . At a prestigious expensive school of the same faith..........

Yet is a country awash in corruption. A through Z.

Sadly, racism and discrimination extends even deeper. To the people of the same faith. The so called lost tribe rescued from Ethiopia .

Posted by: Bad Deal Motors On | May 27 2022 0:52 utc | 107

jailbird lit

The oldest English book I know of, written entirely from jail: The Pilgrim's Progress from This World, to That Which Is to Come (1678) by John Bunyan. Bunyan inhabited the King's gaol (a bridge in Bedforeshire County) for years because he was an itinerate preacher at a ticklish time when only officially approved preachers were allowed. After holding him a few years, authorities told Bunyan he could have his freedom if he promised to stop preaching. He replied that if he were freed today, he'd be back to preaching tomorrow.

So they kept him locked up, albeit happily occupied with manuscript paper, pen, and ink. The book he cooked up there is very strange indeed. Probably the most influential, almost completely forgotten book in English literature. What makes the work truly fascinating is Bunyan's class background. There's virtually no occasion in history for people of Bunyan's stratum to produce literature.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 27 2022 0:58 utc | 108

Eamon McKinney at Strategic Culture today

"...The global economy is on the brink of implosion. Sri Lanka has recently defaulted on its international debts. This will immediately create at least a $500 billion hole in the global economy. Alarmingly, according to the World Bank more than 70 other countries are in a similarly perilous economic condition. For most their debts are un-payable, and the IMF solution of structural adjustment (austerity) privatisations, and cuts to government services, would consign these countries to generations of deprivation and social unrest. Or, they could repudiate the debt completely and abandon the Western banking model. Both China and Russia have alternatives to SWIFT and welcome countries who want to escape the neo-liberal financial plantation. Both offer investment for development, non-interference and respect for countries’ sovereignty. All things valued by every country, but unachievable under Western domination. Decisions will very soon be made by countries throughout the Global south about who they want to align their futures with...."

Posted by: bevin | May 27 2022 1:09 utc | 109

Do Re Mi
Words and Music by Woody Guthrie

Lots of folks back East, they say, is leavin' home every day,
Beatin' the hot old dusty way to the California line.
'Cross the desert sands they roll, gettin' out of that old dust bowl,
They think they're goin' to a sugar bowl, but here's what they find
Now, the police at the port of entry say,
"You're number fourteen thousand for today."

Oh, if you ain't got the do re mi, folks, you ain't got the do re mi,
Why, you better go back to beautiful Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Georgia, Tennessee.
California is a garden of Eden, a paradise to live in or see;
But believe it or not, you won't find it so hot
If you ain't got the do re mi.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 27 2022 1:16 utc | 110

One of my all time favourite songs, Don. And straight out of Woody watching the John Ford movie of Grapes of Wrath.
There used to be a Dustbowl Ballads Album in which Cisco Houston introduced "Reuben James" with a long rigamarol including a reference to just another ordinary "day in '44...and the big Red Army took a hundred towns.."

Another book written not in but soon after prison: House of the Dead by Dostoevsky.
'After his mock execution on 22 December 1849, Dostoevsky was sentenced to four years imprisonment in a katorga labor camp at Omsk in western Siberia...' wikipedia.

Posted by: bevin | May 27 2022 1:25 utc | 111

SWIFT will die

Mastercard CEO Teases CBDC Panel: SWIFT May Not Exist in 5 Years

Michael Miebach joined a panel on central bank digital currencies during the World Economic Forum's annual meeting.
DAVOS, Switzerland — Mastercard (MA) CEO Michael Miebach made people gasp. He answered “no” when asked if SWIFT, the current interbank messaging system that allows for cross-border payments, will exist in five years' time.
He smiled during his answer but the crowd seemingly took his answer seriously.
Miebach spoke on a panel adjacent to the World Economic Forum’s annual (WEF) summit hosted by the Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC). The panel discussed the future of cross-border payments and the potential of CBDCs in the financial system.
“If you can get a payment with all the data attached that you need as a company [...] the cost savings of that in addition to a payment cost that is lowered, and the overall productivity boost, we can expect if we do this well, that’s the real goal here,” Miebach said on the panel.
The conference officially kicked off Tuesday, with crypto being mentioned frequently in panels adjacent to the conference. The subject is bolstered by the strong presence of crypto companies on promenade, the main street leading up to the Congress, where official WEF panels take place.. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 27 2022 1:27 utc | 112

Some Texans are getting quite angry with their cowardly police. This is from AP:

After two days of providing often conflicting information, [Texas Department of Public Safety] investigators said that a school district police officer was not inside the school when Ramos arrived, and, contrary to their previous reports, the officer had not confronted Ramos outside the building. Instead, they sketched out a timeline notable for unexplained delays by law enforcement.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 27 2022 1:27 utc | 113


Posted by: Don Bacon | May 27 2022 1:36 utc | 114

Deportees (excerpt)

Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye Rosalita
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria
You won't have a name when you ride the big airplane
And all they will call you will be deportees.

A sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos canyon
Like a fireball of lightning, it shook all our hills
Who are all these friends, all scattered like dry leaves?
The radio says they are just deportees.

Is this the best way we can grow our big orchards?
Is this the best way we can grow our good fruit?
To fall like dry leaves to rot on my topsoil
And be called by no name except deportees?

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 27 2022 1:38 utc | 115

Okay, lets try it again.
Speaking of dustbowls Lake Mead, a provider of power and water to several states, is drying up as seen here

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 27 2022 1:40 utc | 116

@ Aleph_Null | May 27 2022 1:27 utc | 111

All too often the police demonstrate a distinct preference for shooting only those people who can't shoot back.

Posted by: malenkov | May 27 2022 1:49 utc | 117

@ 113
The US couldn't function without illegal immigrants.

Their representation in particular industries is even more pronounced, and the Department of Agriculture estimates that about half of the nation's farmworkers are unauthorized, while 15 percent of those in construction lack papers – more than the share of legal immigrants in either industry. In the service sector, which would include jobs such as fast food and domestic help, the figure is about 9 percent. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 27 2022 1:57 utc | 118

re: police shooting people

They call it, “The Badge of Honor.” For a generation, a secretive clique within the Vallejo Police Department has commemorated fatal shootings with beers, backyard barbecues, and by bending the points of their badges each time they kill in the line of duty, an investigation by Open Vallejo has found. The custom was so exclusive, some officers involved in fatal shootings were never told of its existence. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 27 2022 2:01 utc | 119

@ Foxbat | May 26 2022 22:18 utc | 80

thanks! "In the Belly of the Beast" looks like an intense book.. i don't think i can read that book based on the reviews i read.. it might be quite good though.. same deal "A Hero of Our Time"... maybe i am a wimp when it comes to reading some stuff.. i looked at the overview on those books, but i am scared to read them! thanks regardless..

@ bevin | May 26 2022 22:35 utc | 84

thanks... "Borstal Boy" on the other hand looks like something i could actually read! i have never heard of all these books before..

@ bevin | May 26 2022 22:44 utc | 88

it only sounds sweet because it is not the reality! i play up and down the island and it is part time, although i was playing full time back in the 90's... i have had to play many styles of music - blues, rock, country, theatre shows and etc. at this point it is mostly part time.. i used to teach as well, but i haven't done much of that since covid.. although i get a pension i continue to play live shows because i love playing.. i did a jazz gig on monday - the holiday) down in victoria at an outdoor church member celebration for the family.. it was like family day - hamburgers, hot dogs, fun games and etc. for kids and adults.. it was super fun and i got paid a nice amount.. now with gas prices, travelling 60 miles, or 100 kilometers for a gig is expensive.. a few of us carpooled together.. nanaimo is too small to just play jazz, although i wish i could play jazz more often.. i see you are into woodie guthrie.. i enjoyed the bio i read on him by joe klein .. i wanted to know more about him given how influential he was as a musician, activist and etc. etc.. i enjoyed the book.. i have read a lot of musician, songwriter bios, or autobiographies..

Posted by: james | May 27 2022 2:20 utc | 120

The US is consistent, anti-Israel is antisemitism and the Gulf autocracies are golden.
. . .from State:

The United States is deeply disturbed by the Iraqi Parliament’s passage of legislation that criminalizes normalization of relations with Israel. In addition to jeopardizing freedom of expression and promoting an environment of antisemitism, this legislation stands in stark contrast to progress Iraq’s neighbors have made by building bridges and normalizing relations with Israel, creating new opportunities for people throughout the region. The United States will continue to be a strong and unwavering partner in supporting Israel, including as it expands ties with its neighbors in the pursuit of greater peace and prosperity for all. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 27 2022 2:32 utc | 121

lots of good comments here.
Tom_Q_Collins | May 26 2022 22:04 utc | 77

too much to refer to and recall, but I think Don Bacon and others, maybe yourself, have proven how something can be both very real and not real at the exact same time. there is nothing but a superabundance of housing and money in the US, before we even get to every third business being shuttered on a typical US city street.

one major problem is that the "helping agencies", churches, social services public and private, are there to put truly heroic efforts into things like building more "tiny homes" or getting some "affordable housing" built. totally unnecessary activities that are utter wastes of resources and contrary to any principle of environmental protection. i know this very up front and personal.
but by not having a iota of conflict with the general social setup, all these "helpers" get to be superheroes, who become quite resentful, like every good capitalist, when shown what a "vanity of vanities" their labor is. watch the daggers come out if you suggest that the ever increasing numbers of homeless prove that these do gooders are wasting their time. "the parched eviscerate soil gapes at the vanity of toil." maybe when it hits 130F people will stop their pointless labor? nah. what are they going to do if they aren't chainsawing a tree or a cow or a Palestinian village?

Posted by: rjb1.5 | May 27 2022 2:51 utc | 122

@ malenkov | May 27 2022 1:49 utc | 115

I find it fascinating all the crazy ways this school shooting fractures into our various wells of assorted reprehensibles. Police neglect in my part of the world is just standard operating procedure. For instance: We had three squad cars parked, just observing a dispensary robbery, a few weeks ago in SF.

The elementary school that got shot up had a completely useless "school resource officer" -- as is customary. We should know by now that SRO's are intended to frighten the children, not to protect them. 90 minutes it took before the Border Patrol charged in, and nobody has any explanation why in heck's name it was the Border Patrol (specialists in shooting Mexican children, perhaps?)

In this bizarre context of nothing ever making any sense, here come Andrew Anglin's flakes to allege a Democrat plot to ruin the upcoming NRA convention, by means of ordering the police to embarrass themselves? Wow, I hadn't thought of thinking so deeply! Naturally, because everything in Unzland has to be about wokeness, a new fact-checking industry has sprouted up to debunk wild, ozmotic, self-seeding rumors about sexual or perhaps dress-up habits of the shooter. This is what exquisite national agony looks like, with graduation season just around the corner.

Today happens to be the one-year anniversary of a mass-shooting at a local transit agency, VTA.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 27 2022 2:52 utc | 123

James @ 29:

Thomas Malory wrote "Le Morte d'Arthur" while in prison and O. Henry started his career as a short story writer while in prison. "O. Henry" in fact was the pseudonym used by William Sydney Porter to publish his stories while he was in prison to hide the fact that he was serving time (for embezzlement) from his publisher.

It must be said that not all books written by prisoners are interesting or insightful. Adolf Hitler wrote "Mein Kampf" while he was in prison.

Posted by: Jen | May 27 2022 3:10 utc | 124

Aleph_Null | May 27 2022 2:52 utc | 121
omg! someone's gun(s) and badge and uniform and training and titles and duty and morality and rationality didn't override their "fight or flight" response! it must be a conspiracy. the politicians cost us Vietnam, and now they won't let ICE burst into a school of Mexicans in a blaze of gunfire. if that's not the demise of this country, where you can't shoot la escuela in order to save it, i don't know recognize this country any more.


Posted by: rjb1.5 | May 27 2022 3:18 utc | 125

@ rjb1.5 120
Yes, it's possible to live cheaper and better. One possibility is an RV Park Model which is available in the $20-50+ K price range, while living in an RV park can bring other amenities.
The "bible" for this type of living of course is Thoreau's Walden. What are the essential things in life? An $1800 a month mortgage payment? I don't think so.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 27 2022 3:20 utc | 126

@ 113 aleph_null - What is Deportes? I was born in SoCal but my parents moved up to the yay ( cool kid slang for Bay area ) We wound up in wretched Stepford Wives Saratoga- next door to Los Gatos.
I enjoy your comments, and I too am a Donald Goines fan. A friend introduced me to him a the Marcus Garvey book store which used to be on Filmore street just off Geary back in the day.
It has been a couple of decades though. I may have a few things wrong.
I think our host needs to create a sort os social space beyond the usual fighting for political points stuff. There is a bit of a community here. I am glad that I seem to be accepted. The real world is a bit of a drag as of lateMuch love to y'all

Posted by: lex talionis | May 27 2022 3:37 utc | 127

Okay. We all tee'd it off so my most favorite , jen, can make a hole in one with the Mein Kampf reference.
Gallow humor at its best. Jen rules!

Posted by: lex talionis | May 27 2022 3:43 utc | 128

Tom_Q_Collins | May 26 2022 22:04 utc | 77
RE: Joshua Katz, it appears that the Princeton students who work at their newspaper think *everyone* gets it wrong.
well, this is one student saying this...I am not saying Katz should have been fired, or not fired. I don't know. no dog in that fight. he's such an insufferable prick when talking about himself, my tendency to side with the person against the institution is somewhat restrained. I read some of the past articles about Katz from "the prince" (ugh, what a name; what about how anti-democratic and royalist names like "princeton" are?) and one of my first thoughts was, "Here's the next Ronan Farrow." so much innuendo, slander, and yes filthy muckraking into Katz's (and other students') privacy. How many students are already being cultivated by the state's full spectrum info warriors and how many are careerists jumping on a #metoo pile-on in 'the prince's' coverage of this one story?

in any case, how many ever students are involved doesn't determine per se whether the school admin finds an issue "useful" or not. the mercifully short-lived and excruciatingly self-important and thoroughly bourgeois "black justice league" seems to have gotten a lot of face and ear time w/the admin. E Pyne seems to have more "white culture studies" profs than classicists these days, with one more likely being added due to Katz's dismissal, so mission accomplished?

however, regardless of the particulars of this case, Princeton and the Ivies are about this kind of crap, neither black justice nor classical philology, but russophobia, cultivation of nazis (at PU? no way!) and warmongering...oh and blaming another Ivy grad for everything wrong in Ukraine, the Trumpster dumpster, who can't even spell Ukraine or find it on a map. maybe we need a math degree to determine how long Biden has been prez. nah, just blame trump.
Former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch ’80 reflects on her moment of decision

Posted by: rjb1.5 | May 27 2022 3:51 utc | 129

@ Aleph_Null | May 27 2022 0:58 utc | 106

sorry, i neglected to acknowledge and thank you for your post on this topic... i was riveted by your response to malenkov @ 121 as well.. thanks for your posts..

@ Jen | May 27 2022 3:10 utc | 122

you never cease to amaze me jen... thanks for this education too! i agree with lex, lol!

Posted by: james | May 27 2022 3:59 utc | 130

Don Bacon | May 27 2022 3:20 utc | 124
i get it. thanks for the Walden suggestion. simplify, America.

however, how many long lines of broken down RV's with trash spilling out into the street and sidewalks are there along vehicle arteries (lol) en route to hospitals? so many people with vehicles that died in walking distance of a hospital. and people bitching about how these mountains of broke back vehicles and people are interrupting emergency vehicle traffic. and, around here, RV lots have become so common that many are priced out of that market as well. in the Pacific NW, how long does it take before an RV becomes unlivable due to the rain and thus mold, without proper ongoing care? that in itself is a huge deal around here.

mold or meth? mold or meth? big questions.

Posted by: rjb1.5 | May 27 2022 4:04 utc | 131

@ rjb1.5 | May 27 2022 4:04 utc | 129

i find your posts thought provoking.. that is a good thing.. cheers..

Posted by: james | May 27 2022 4:14 utc | 132

@ rjb1.5 129
There's no rain in the desert, but I will check it out this summer in PNW. I have a poncho somewhere.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 27 2022 4:17 utc | 133

@ 131 don.. there is a lot of rain in the north west.. it is raining here right now.. the garden likes it.. well, maybe not the squash and tomatoes but mostly everything else.

Posted by: james | May 27 2022 5:26 utc | 134

Pakistan's Imran Khan on Twitter yesterday:

Nation starting to pay price for Imported govt's subservience before foreign masters with 20% / Rs30 per litre hike in petrol & diesel prices - the highest single price hike in our history.The incompetent & insensitive Govt has not pursued our deal with Russia for 30% cheaper oil
In contrast India, strategic ally of US, has managed to reduce fuel prices by Pkr 25 per litre by buying cheaper oil from Russia. Now our nation will suffer another massive dose of inflation at the hands of this cabal of crooks.

Posted by: Antonym | May 27 2022 5:33 utc | 135

It appears that I picked a bad time to ask my previous question on a non-Ukraine open thread re: life in Mexico.
I don't know if that question will be answered this time around, or even this one, but if it's not too much trouble:

I was visiting a Duran page discussing homicides, murders, etc. in the US, and one commentator posted links to statistics of murder rates in each country, which listed Russia as having more intentional homicides per 100,000 people than the US, and Mexico having it even more so.
His links were:
It has me worrying. I would hate to imagine that there is no country other than Russia and China (and maybe Iran too) that is safe to walk alone at night in, especially for children, and that isn't a USAian vassal state at the same time.
Are these statistics re: murder rates in Russia and Mexico vs the USA even legit? Or is it bogus created by Western 'intelligence' agencies?
(Then again, there are those who live in Mexico or have been there and are still alive and kicking, so maybe it's not as big a deal as I'm making it out to be?)

Posted by: joey_n | May 27 2022 9:20 utc | 136

Posted by: Antonym | May 27 2022 5:33 utc | 133

Khan is playing a very interesting game, paying lip service to the Pakistani military while simultaneously putting the leaders in an uncomfortable position for supporting/carrying out the coup against him.

Posted by: pretzelattack | May 27 2022 9:25 utc | 137

Confronted with surging energy prices and rocketing inflation, but determined to deny that the policy of blocking imports of Russian fuel has anything to do with it, the British Government have come up with a clever trick to "bring down" inflation by announcing £400 off household energy bills.

If the British Office for National Statistics decide the £400 off energy bills is a rebate, rather than income support, it will bring down inflation because the full rise in energy bills won't be counted.

So a technical measurement decision which ultimately has zero impact on reality could decide whether the headline inflation rate is over 10%.

Therefore, expect British inflation to "drop", other Western Governments to follow, and calls that the West is winning.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | May 27 2022 10:23 utc | 138

Posted by: Jen | May 27 2022 3:10 utc | 122

Thanks for that post, I have a favourite O'Henry story too :) Didn't know about his being in jail though that somehow does not surprise.
This place is a real treasure trove.
and I like that the social aspect is interspersed amongst the political postings.

Posted by: K | May 27 2022 11:45 utc | 139

my favorite short story writer from that period was H.H. Munro. Sredni Vashtar was a masterpiece.

Posted by: pretzelattack | May 27 2022 11:50 utc | 140

Hi Jen, according to Preparate's " Conjuring Hitler " professor Karl Haushofer instructed the future Chancellor of Germany in geopolitics during his comfy stay at the Landsberg, whilst in the background the faithful Hess transcribed the verbal results of this instruction - so it is open to question whether Hitler actual wrote the book and whether the Landsberg was indeed a prison for him, rather than a subsidised gothic retreat where Germany's future saviour could " chill and get his head together ". A young niece of mine, who is very keen on history told me she had read it recently " to see what all the fuss was about ". I asked what she thought of it, quick as a flash she said to me "Concentrated hate ". Young people can be so refreshing and so very perceptive.

James pity the reviews put you off but I share your behaviour concerning some books I haven't read - too afraid to take the plunge - fortunately for the likes of us the world is full of great books, so it does not matter. Jack Abbot was a cause celebre back in the day, with amongst others Norman Mailer championing him (I think he wrote the forward in the copy I read). However the sad and squalid end to Abbot's life story is, in my opinion,very difficult to factor into our normal social experience. For that reason his story remains clear in my mind, despite decades passing since I became aware of it.
My main discomfit with "A Hero of Our Time" came from the "hero" - a more modern character I have not come across in any other fiction I have read, despite the work being written in the 19th century. He reminds me of a brilliant but flawed commentator (no not a Nazi one) at somewhere like Unz, analytically powerful, yet completely unfathomable. Are these two, Jack Abbot (a real person) and "A Hero of Our Time" (a fictional character) example of the monsters that are born in the interregnum between two epochs? I am starting to think so.

Posted by: Foxbat | May 27 2022 13:23 utc | 141

@Tom_Q_Collins #81
Michael Shellenberger has studied homelessness in San Francisco.

He says it is not a function of housing prices per se - it is a function of mental illness and/or drug abuse.

And the drug thing isn't an exaggeration. The methadone is only a part of it; the free needles, the basically utter lack of law enforcement (you can see people shooting up all over the place, not just the bad parts anymore) all contribute to making SF a junkie paradise.

My own multiple decades in SF give me the same view.

The reality is that the homeless on the streets in SF are not:
1) old people forced out of their homes by high rent. The really old either have already moved out or live in rent control. I ran an in-home senior care franchise for 18 months and met quite a number of them personally. One of the first I met was a lovely 82 year old lady (back in 2008) who was a hair stylist in the 1960s/1970s; she lived in a 2 bedroom, 1 bath Cow Hollow flat which would have gone for $2500 then, easily ($4K now) but she paid $219/month rent.
2) families with kids. I don't see ANY children in the homeless encampments
3) working age people who actually work in jobs. My prior place - there was a literal stolen bicycle chop ship down the street from me. There were 3-5 tents that changed proximity and order every week or two, but every one had a pile of bike parts (or several piles) next to it and a yellow truck would pull up once in a while and upload working bicycles. The occupants were 4 men and 1 women - all under 30.

I actually know people priced out of SF - not unusual given that SF has literally the highest average rent in the entire world. They don't go homeless, they move to the suburbs or out of state. But on the other end of the spectrum: one of the guys I hired to help me move lived in 500 Folsom: one of the literally brand new, high rise condominium complexes. He is in one of the heavily subsidized, low income housing set asides and described the draconian conditions he lives under. On the other end of the spectrum, the low income housing projects in the Western Addition and back side of Potrero Hill are pretty decent outside from a distance, less so in close proximity.

Posted by: c1ue | May 27 2022 13:27 utc | 142

@malenkov #86
No, it is more than that. Alphabet people talk is "stylish".
And if Bill Maher is saying that, it means something:

Bill Maher segment on Along for the Pride

Posted by: c1ue | May 27 2022 13:31 utc | 143

@ Foxbat | May 27 2022 13:23 utc | 139

If Lord Byron and Yevgeny Onegin had a boy child, he'd be Pechorin, the (anti?)hero of Hero of our Time.

Posted by: malenkov | May 27 2022 13:31 utc | 144

@ c1ue | May 27 2022 13:27 utc | 140

I suspect that a lot of the working homeless live in their cars. A couple of years ago I had a coworker who did just that. Amazingly he was allowed to park on the shopping center parking lot.

Posted by: malenkov | May 27 2022 13:33 utc | 145

@Tom_Q_Collins #91
A significant part of that is Proposition 13.
There is a very clear divergence between both housing and rent costs in states with high property taxes vs. states with Proposition 13 type setups.
Note that California housing even in inland cities such as Fresno are far, far more expensive than say, Texas - so it isn't just a function of income disparity.
Proposition 13 is also at least partly responsible for the crapification in SF. Go to Redfin or Zillow sometime and randomly browse the property taxes paid in high price districts in SF like Pacific Heights. You'll notice that a huge number of these $5M+ Zestimate properties are paying $2500 or less a year in property taxes due to Prop. 13 when the exact same property purchased by a new owner would be paying $50K+ a year in property taxes.

Posted by: c1ue | May 27 2022 13:36 utc | 146

@Bad Deal Motors On #95
Frankly, the meme the Democrat party is trying to pass off: that the high prices are due to profiteering - is mostly nonsense in the energy sector.
There are definitely areas of monopoly where excess profits are being reaped - look at the US health care system.

Oil and Gasoline isn't one of them.

Gasoline has only recently exceeded the price of milk.
Once again: oil prices are an outcome of supply vs. demand. Harris Kupperman has been saying for 9 months now that there is a structural shortfall of 1 million barrels per day between supply and demand.
While this is not much compared to the ~100 million barrels per day consumed by the entire world - prices are set at the margin, not the base.
And I have repeatedly been putting out links - also for 9 months+ - where Kuppy and others have noted that fossil fuel capex is simply not increasing with energy prices; something completely unprecedented.
Kuppy thinks it is ESG and COVID.
I've seen others saying that it is the Saudis and Emiratis filling up their war chests before Iran completes its nuclear deal, so that they can crash oil prices after and also take down the frackers.
Pozsar has noted a commodity supercycle plus Five Eyes/EU/Japan sanctions hosing the entire commodities trade market makers.
But whatever it is, it isn't "profiteering" per se. Let's not forget the enormous losses the fracking industry suffered just in the past few years including mass bankruptcies of even major companies.

Posted by: c1ue | May 27 2022 13:44 utc | 147

@Altai #99
You are correct and incorrect.
Yes, any centralized system is a higher penalty for privacy/security failure than a distributed system, but the capability to confer privacy/security is greater as well.
For example: you cannot execute a credible cyber security program without literally 8 digits of annual budget - and mid-8 digits to low 9 digits. Just having a single expert in each of the 5 major domains is 7 digits of payroll right there; the tools are also extremely expensive to buy/rent and cost more payroll to operate.
Without these people and tools, you are deploying security through obscurity.
If you are really concerned about maximum privacy and security - don't use the internet at all.
Cloud storage is a privacy implosion waiting to happen, as is multi-device calendar or any other type of sharing.
Convenience <> privacy and security.
But in the context of Google vs. Proton: which do you think is more likely to at least attempt to secure your data? from everyone including itself?
I'd say the latter...

Posted by: c1ue | May 27 2022 13:49 utc | 148

@Bad Deal Motors On #100
That is false.
I ride the late night bus to the airport fairly regularly - it isn't the service workers trying to sleep on it.
The service workers get on at the various low rent parts of town to get to work at the airport or the hotels around it; the homeless ride up and down during the winter.

Posted by: c1ue | May 27 2022 13:51 utc | 149

malenkov if such a union were to come to pass, the child could be said to have been born with the horn - a true monster of the interegnum!

Posted by: Foxbat | May 27 2022 13:56 utc | 150

malenkov if such a union were to come to pass, the child could be said to have been born with the horn - a true monster of the interegnum!

Posted by: Foxbat | May 27 2022 13:56 utc | 151

@Tom_Q_Collins #101
I lived in Austin for 5 years in the late mid 90s.
Yes, Austin has become "it" recently but I guarantee you rents are still far more affordable than SF :)

But yes, the notion that building more fixes the problem is not inherently correct. I've lived in the same neighborhood in SF since I moved here in 2002. Despite the influx of literally 15+, 20+ to 40 story residential towers plus an entire neighborhood of 4-6 story apartments not more than 1/2 mile away, rents have done nothing but increase after 2009 until COVID.

We are seeing a fascinating experiment go on right now: the US is in an interest rate raising regime such that the median price US house at average mortgage interest in 2022 is literally 2x the monthly payment vs. the exact same median price house at average mortgage interest in 2021. This is essentially the Wolfstreet view.

Harris Kupperman has noted, however, that the number of houses built since the 2008 implosion has underperformed vs. population growth ever since - and so believes the housing market is not going to affect housing prices because the cost increases are not going to deter those who have money and want to enjoy mortgage interest deductions and greater quality of life.

Posted by: c1ue | May 27 2022 13:57 utc | 152

I once lived in my '78 VW Westphalia pop-top camper for over five years; think of the rent money I saved. A lot of the time was down in Baja California. In the van I had an inflatable kayak and inflatable raft with sail kit, also a small library and an electronic chess set -- hiked all over the place -- what a (homeless?) life!

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 27 2022 14:00 utc | 153

The major problem with America? This country has fallen in love with a mantra that says;

"Business uber alles", and the more money you make, the better you are. "By any means necessary".

And that mind-set has permeated the whole of our society, to include our foreign and domestic policies, from top to bottom.

The health and welfare of the people and society is not considered. It's ALL about $.

And that mindset has made this nation (empire), mean and greedy.

Exploiting humanity, here and abroad, has become the U$A's prime religion.

Posted by: vetinLA | May 27 2022 14:04 utc | 154

@joey_n #134
Re: mexico
There is a major war going on between drug traffickers and the Mexican government (and each other). This is going to skew murder statistics, especially when scenes out of that war are only slightly less Mad Max than Ukraine. I've been in both the "good" and "bad" border towns; Tijuana was dirty and smelly and filled with badly behaved Americans but I never saw any violence or bodies/heads hanging from bridges etc. I've also been in Los Algodones - a literal Dentist-town right across the border from Yuma, AZ. I walked for 45 minutes around late at night - no activity whatsoever. No gunshots; the "men's entertainment" clubs closed at 8 pm - to give an idea of just how dead it was.

Russia: I've only spent time in the 2 big cities. I've visited Russia more than 10 times starting in 1999.
I have never seen a violent crime there or even heard of one. I have had a couple pickpocket attempts in the early 2000s visits, but nothing since. I have also been in a couple of barfights there as well as broken up a couple more, so it isn't like I'm just hanging out in the tourist areas.
Russia, at least in the 2 major cities, is extremely safe. Not Tokyo safe because nowhere is Tokyo safe, but an idyll of peace and safety compared to San Francisco.

My wife and I regularly get in encounters with homeless; she because she's a woman and I because I feel I need to stand up against some of these fuckers when they try to bully women and children, or very very occasionally, me.
As I am 115 kg/250 lbs of not all fat, the homeless trying to pick on me are clearly insane but I've only had physical encounters twice in 20 years - and those weren't homeless.

Posted by: c1ue | May 27 2022 14:08 utc | 155

@malenkov #143
I would agree with that.
There is also a kind of in-between: homeless who don't work but live in their cars.
I know guys who lived that life, but it is precarious.

Posted by: c1ue | May 27 2022 14:11 utc | 156

Some news from Canada’s largest city, Toronto. (That’s in the province of Ontario which elects a new government on June 2.)

Police shoot man armed with a pellet gun fatally, while area schools were locked down.

An investigation has been launched.

Russian airplane (Volga-Dneper airline) sits at Toronto’s Pearson airport, forbidden to fly.

“In February, the Antonov An-124 arrived into Canada from China, via Anchorage and Russia. The plane had planned to leave Toronto shortly after arriving in Canada, but that flight was cancelled.”

Satirical news outlet the Beaverton pokes fun and at security delays at that Pearson airport.

“Officials at Pearson International Airport confirm that extensive delays have resulted in a 26.7-kilometres-long lineup for security, stretching all the way into the lobby of the downtown Billy Bishop regional airport.”

CBC’s The National gives a brief report on a rash of carjackings in Toronto

And Global News features a special report — protecting agricultural land from urban sprawl in the Greater Golden Horseshoe area, which is centred around Toronto

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | May 27 2022 15:01 utc | 157

Sputnik: "Pet Hamsters & Guinea Pigs Could Be Culled as 'Last Resort' to Stop Monkeypox Spread - ECDC"


I reckon, the mechanisms of bestialitydroplet action are not well understood.

Posted by: sln2002 | May 27 2022 15:17 utc | 158

Posted by: Foxbat | May 27 2022 13:23 utc | 139

I think it's more likely Abbott just got institutionalized and couldn't adapt to the so called free world.

Posted by: pretzelattack | May 27 2022 15:29 utc | 159

sin2002, "bestiallitydroplet action" lol. You must know something I don't - Does it condense or aerosolise?

Posted by: Foxbat | May 27 2022 15:30 utc | 160

Aleph_Null @113
Lex Talionis @126

Here's Joan Baez and Bob Dylan singing Woody Guthrie's song about the deportees killed in the plane crash at Los Gatos canyon.

Posted by: Chas | May 27 2022 15:47 utc | 161

Blinken's China Policy speech merely repeats the same old projections and lies, which is what we've come to expect. This Global Times article immediately highlights this one:

"Even as the war rages in Ukraine, Blinken said that the US remains focused on China as the country has 'become more repressive at home and more aggressive abroad.'"

This accompanying Global Times editorial does a good job of parsing Blinken's words and notes they weren't as war-like as Pompeo's were in 2020:

For example, Blinken expressed the willingness to strengthen direct "communication across a full range of issues" with China, adding that Washington "does not seek to transform China's political system," and "does not seek to stop China from growing their economy," the US "does not want a new Cold War," "does not want to sever China's economy from the global economy" and "does not support Taiwan independence." However, as an old Chinese saying goes: "We do not only listen to what one says but also watch what one does." We will wait and see.

Of course, that is not the whole content of Blinken's speech. Those "beautiful words" often come with a following sentence, like stating that Beijing poses the "most serious long-term challenge" to the international order, and it is necessary to ensure that China complies with international rules while the US "will shape the strategic environment around Beijing" and "call for change, not to stand against China, but to stand up for peace, security, and human dignity." The US policy toward Taiwan island remains unchanged, but "what has changed is Beijing's growing coercion."

The diplomatic rhetoric still requests Beijing to submit to Washington's hegemonic demands and this speech on China policy follows Washington's inconsistency between minds and words. It wants to be in the international moral high ground while putting the interests of the US first.

We certainly hope that Washington is serious about not falling into a "new Cold War" with China, but the biggest problem is that it always says one thing and does another. US President Joe Biden announced the launch of the "Indo-Pacific Economic Framework" during his just-concluded Asian trip, which is considered to be a "clique" to exclude China, and issued a joint statement with many parts of the content targeting China after the Quad summit. On many occasions, the US has talked a lot about "avoiding a new Cold War," but in practice, it has divided the camp with ideology, put the pluralistic world into a battle between "democracy" and "autocracy" and arbitrarily asked other countries to choose sides. Isn't this paving the way for a "new Cold War?"

Deeds, actions and behavior, not words is how China will judge the Outlaw US Empire since it's very well known that its oft stated aim is to eliminate Russia as a competitor so it can then reduce China. IMO, Blinken did nothing to prove to China that the latter policy is no longer sought. China will continue as is has.

Meanwhile, China's FM Wang Yi began his important South Pacific Tour, stopping first in the Solomon Islands where he declared:

"Solomon Islands shows respectable courage in developing ties with China." [My Emphasis]

Wang YI's words were aimed specifically at the other South Pacific nations he'll visit and more broadly at the entire Global South. IMO, it's very clear that China and Russia's messages to the Global South are urging similar behavior: Don't be coerced by the Outlaw US Empire; the time is now to stand up to its lawbreaking with us and our allies.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 27 2022 15:56 utc | 162

Just to keep the Book Club going. The Brothers Karamazov might be a better book than Dead Souls. If there is third book to compare with either of those two I don't know what it is. (Tristram Shandy?)

Posted by: bevin | May 26 2022 17:29 utc | 40


Posted by: ld | May 27 2022 16:03 utc | 163

What is Deportees?
@ lex talionis | May 27 2022 3:37 utc | 125

It's another great song by Woody Guthrie, about California (also see Guthrie's capsule adaptation of Grapes of Wrath, called Pastures of Plenty). These aren't just songs, and the books discussed in here aren't just books. History traverses our entire culture, and always has, every single day. Hopefully this point doesn't sound too pedantic: my studies into Russian thinkers (Berdyaev's book on Dostoievsky, for instance) leave me with a strong impression that basic cognitive categories break down differently for different peoples. From our Western point of view, it might sometimes feel like theology, anthropology, psychology -- not to mention geopolitics -- are getting too mixed up in works such as Dead Souls, Brothers K, or Master & the Margarita. Russian artists have this tendency, it seems, or would clarification be a simple matter of changing the prescription on our spectacles?

I'm really glad there's another Donald Goines fan in the bar. In my case, a random gentleman bumped into me in the fiction aisle of Shakespeare & Company (on Telegraph, in Berkeley), specifically to recommend Goines' works. That really happened, just once, many years ago -- never before or since.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 27 2022 16:12 utc | 164

pretzelattack I think that fair and very probably true. I was not impugning Abbot, indeed I still felt great sympathy for the man after writing a college paper on his case. My reference to "...monsters..." is more to do with how society perceives such individual examples of aberrant behaviour rather than any universal morality that would condemn such individuals to the outermost darkness. The problem that the thinkers of the so called free world have, is the new paradigm will not, in any way resemble the old. What today is "a monster of the interegnum" can just as easily be tomorrow's new normal.

Posted by: Foxbat | May 27 2022 16:26 utc | 165

pussy comitatus.

pity the one guy who fled. at least he's honest.

oh my prophetic soul! How long before Biden gets up on national TV and says to a kid, "You are not likely to get coronavirus or pass it to your parents from school."

oh wait. he already said that.

"you are not likely to wind up like that pile of corpses at that school in Texas whose name I can't remember."

biden will soon be leading the nation in lots and lots of "moments of silence", while his failing mental excel spreadsheet tries to fit the rows and columns and formulaic words to the tragedy of the hour.

where's the national truant officer in this time of crisis? she better start practicing on filling for Joe,

sista soljah, rub some onion on the back of your hand to fake a tear when needed. you and pelosi.

Posted by: rjb1.5 | May 27 2022 16:27 utc | 166

the psychology of people who walk thru homeless camps and don't hear babies crying is quite fascinating.

oh wait, no, it's not. drugs. it's not money that answers everything (Ecclesiastes), it's drugs. good thing people who pound whiskey aren't denied housing.

Posted by: rjb1.5 | May 27 2022 16:31 utc | 167

rjb1.5 | May 27 2022 16:27 utc | 166
pussy as in fraidy cat. mother courage seems to have been on the job. so much so that pussy comitatus had to stop them. can't have someone else doing your job, now can you? especially not a woman.

Posted by: rjb1.5 | May 27 2022 16:45 utc | 168

Posted by: Foxbat | May 27 2022 16:26 utc | 165

I agree, and it's really hard to tell what normal is anymore. apparently it is, as Caitlin Johnstone says, sitting on a sofa eating pop tarts while cheering on war and waving little blue and yellow flags.

Posted by: pretzelattack | May 27 2022 16:48 utc | 169

@ pretzelattack | May 27 2022 11:50 utc | 140

i don't know about those books either! thanks for all your posts!

@ Foxbat | May 27 2022 13:23 utc | 141

thanks man! yes, apparently the books highlight really revolve around his correspondence with norman mailer - yet another author i have not read... as you say - the world is full of so much great literature and we can possibly only read a fraction of it... thanks so much for sharing your personal insights here..

all you folks at moa never cease to amaze me! put me in the same category as lex!!

Posted by: james | May 27 2022 16:57 utc | 170

the psychology of people who walk thru homeless camps and don't hear babies crying is quite fascinating
@ rjb1.5 | May 27 2022 16:31 utc | 167

I detect some taste of bitterness, possibly even sarcasm, in that statement -- which I appreciate. But honestly and seriously, for a moment: rentier psychology is not something which fascinates me. Neither am I fascinated by the inferiority complex of white supremacists. I have enough problems of my own to figure out, and common forms of viciousness are tedious as all-heck.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 27 2022 17:10 utc | 171

@161 chas & Aleph_Null - Thanks for the Woodie Guthrie explanation.
And Aleph, you don't sound pedantic at all. I think a lot of the collective West needs a trip to the ophthalmologist to help with their capabilities of seeing things clearly. That is a nice metaphor. ( I had to try like 8 times to get ophthalmologist spelled correctly. )
God willing, we will make it through all of this. Much love to everyone, especially our host!

Posted by: lex talionis | May 27 2022 17:11 utc | 172

@ 162
During his 10-day visit, Wang is planning to make stops in Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomons, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Vanuatu, and East Timor. All these nations recognize PRC.
Islands not to be visited are islands recognizing Taiwan including Palau, Marshall Islands, Nauru & Tuvalu.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 27 2022 19:12 utc | 173

Posted by: Michael.j | May 26 2022 23:22 utc | 94

Iran has responded in kind. The Greeks assisted with the theft of Iranian oil, so two of their tankers have allegedly been captured by Iran.

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | May 27 2022 19:13 utc | 174

American pigs allowed active shooter to fire his weapon for 12 minutes outside the school in Uvalde.

And this town of 16,000 has a SWAT team for what, exactly?

Guns are now the leading cause of death for American children.

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | May 27 2022 19:15 utc | 175

Posted by: c1ue | May 27 2022 13:57 utc | 152

Agree with all of that, of course. Yes we lived in Austin. Myself off-and-on from 1991 (engineering school at UT) to 2021. I moved back and forth to El Paso, then Irving and San Antonio before moving back to Austin in 2002. I saw the changes first hand. And rents, effectively anyway, are just as unaffordable as San Fran when you adjust for the income disparity between the working class (teachers, firemen, police, etc.) and the technocracy/oil money class. Old money in Austin has always been trial law, land and oil. New money is tech and healthcare.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 27 2022 0:36 utc | 105

OK, dude now you *are* getting pedantic. I don't really have time to argue over semantics with someone whose opinions I share.

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | May 27 2022 19:19 utc | 176

Aleph_Null | May 27 2022 17:10 utc | 171

which comes first - the chicken of drugs or the egg of losing housing?

and where are the drugs coming from? mostly the same place mental illness comes from. some of both is at the liquor store.

"when a person is going to begin an entirely new life, they need rehab and wholesome, regular meals. I almost forgot." today's Cecily Cardew

Posted by: rjb1.5 | May 27 2022 19:54 utc | 177

@ 175
Guns are now the leading cause of death for American children.
And there are side effects. NPR had a story on yesterday that I caught just a piece of while driving.
Here's what I heard (subject to correction) from the academic man from Northwestern University(?) as I listened to him.

A study was done on the survivors of school shootings, which have gone on for some time. The study found that the survivors of these shootings, the observers of them, fared significantly poorer later on in life, compared to other peer groups, with lower income, poorer jobs, worse marriages, etc. The weren't killed but they suffered.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 27 2022 19:57 utc | 178

According to pollster Nik Nanos, if the Ontario election was held today Conservative leader Doug Ford would win a majority.

Intrepid on-the-ground lawyer/citizen journalist Caryma Sa’d was arrested —

“Hamilton police arrested and ticketed a Toronto-based lawyer for trespassing near a Progressive Conservative campaign stop on Thursday evening, but Caryma Sa'd says she was targeted for criticizing party leader Doug Ford.”

Ok, what the heck? I thought Doug Ford was “the guy” with the blessing from those who arrange for chaos and mayhem. So is he now not “the guy”? When did he stopping being “the guy”? And who is it now? Or… did the chaos and mayhem solidify his position as “the guy”? Is he still “the guy” but with a few disagreements with the chaos and mayhem sponsors?

Is it all random? The pox virus just happened to be in that sauna in Montreal?? (Francois Legault is definitely not “the guy”.)

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | May 27 2022 20:20 utc | 179

which comes first - the chicken of drugs or the egg of losing housing?
Posted by: rjb1.5 | May 27 2022 19:54 utc | 177

What comes first, for me, is recognizing the pathological tells of rentier psychology, such as the narrative rentier sickos, here in this bar, find so inexplicably attractive: That homelessness originates from drugs and "mental illness". You and all the landlords, conveniently on the same side of the fence. This is what "rentier psychology" looks like. Do you get it now?

Oh. Somehow, I didn't expect you to.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 27 2022 21:20 utc | 180

james- I wasn't being serious. Just making a bad, and silly, pun about Nanaimo bars.
As for the lives of musicians, I have the greatest respect for the courage of people who earn a living gig by gig.

Posted by: bevin | May 27 2022 21:53 utc | 181

(Not aimed at) bevin | May 27 2022 1:09 utc | 109

Whoever this Eamon McKinney is --

-- he needs to practice fact-checking; the idea that Trump lost in 2020 to "a blatantly fraudulent election" is pure balderdash.

First of all, Trump is a scatter-brained ignoramus and a lifelong swindler, having been taught the trade by his racist swindler of a father. He is also a malignant narcissist who cannot abide even the slightest whiff of disagreement and who goes on personal tirades in response to any and every bit of criticism from anyone, anywhere, regardless of how lowly and powerless they might be.

At Trump's direction, his minions took more than 60 cases of supposed election fraud to court, in many cases in courts presided over by Trump appointees, and lost every single one because once in court, those minions had to admit that they had not the slightest bit of evidence, and without evidence no case can proceed to trial.

Some major news outlets began, as early as 2016, to keep a tally of Trump's public lies. Those outlets chalked up similar tallies, most of them numbering in the mid-30-thousands.

Mr. McKinney should stick to China and to his corporate doings there, until he gains at least a bit of knowledge about Trump's lunatic and criminal behaviors.

Posted by: AntiSpin | May 27 2022 21:54 utc | 182

Much of the past decade I've dedicated to studying geophysical realities such as the problem with methane as a greenhouse gas -- as I could not imagine any more pressing problem arising during my lifetime. My autodidactic routine continues in that direction, but since 2/24/22 my focus has shifted, to theodicy, in a sense: how can so very much evil become so overwhelming in the hearts of humans? That's why Hochhuth's The Deputy attracted me: as it illuminates, from the efficient, murderous disposal of the disabled, then Jews and Slavs, eventually even wounded German soldiers, the implications of classifying some human beings as garbage.

The idea of a "human garbage" category means total surrender of the soul to evil -- the closest thing to it I can personally imagine. By that rubric, USA, a world leader in incarceration, is a most evil place. The hatefulness toward homeless people we see expressed above partakes of that evil -- the implication of the grotesque distortion all homeless are addicts and/or insane: they're garbage. Best to efficiently dispose of the garbage, eh?

We can see the basic problem with rentier psychology is you can't distinguish it from Nazi [fascist eliminationist] psychology.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 27 2022 21:55 utc | 183

You are so right.
It is one of the most disappointing aspects of visiting this place that so many customers at this Bohemian Bar are thoroughgoing bourgeois with all the petty prejudices of the proudest congregants of the Church of Conformism beneath a thin veneer of radical dissent.
Still nobody has to drink here. Nobody has to drink at all.

Posted by: bevin | May 27 2022 21:59 utc | 184

@ Aleph_Null | May 27 2022 21:20 utc | 180

thanks for saying all that.. i haven't been following the conversation closely, but i agree with what you say.. thanks.

@ bevin | May 27 2022 21:53 utc | 181

thanks bevin.. i have high regard for you and all the insights you offer here at moa.. keep on truckin'!

Posted by: james | May 27 2022 22:22 utc | 185

@ bevin | May 27 2022 21:59 utc | 184

Thanks for your encouraging words. Right after I worked out rigorous proof of the equation L = N (Landlords are Nazis) -- with which you might not totally agree! This is the only bar attached to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, here. I love the smell of dialectic in the morning, so this is a haven of zero disappointment for me. None of us is "right" imho -- that sort of thing has to be worked out together. In my dotage I've formed the habit of writing quickly, not looking everything up. I was terribly wrong about Bertrand Russel and (my mathematical guru) Gottlob Frege a little bit ago. It's good to be totally wrong in front of everyone, I think, so I can get over myself. Like the flaw inserted by Navajo weavers.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 27 2022 22:29 utc | 186

And this town of 16,000 has a SWAT team for what, exactly? [snip]

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | May 27 2022 19:15 utc | 175

Everyone loves toys, and some folks think that shooting the defenseless is a lot of fun.

Posted by: malenkov | May 27 2022 22:42 utc | 187

Many thanks to all responding to the Russian literature theme - and those who widened the category -- welcome all! I've only skimmed through, apologies as I was absorbed in my own reflections on the first chapter of "The Master and Margarita", seeing the connection in my own mind to "The Brothers Karamazov". So, James, I will address your difficulty with the Bulgakov thusly: it's my own theory, (mightn't lead anywhere for others) that TM@M at least begins taking its 'hero' as Ivan, who is described in that first chapter as a poet who writes under the name of 'Homeless'.

Here I will thank downtownhaiku @ 98, 99 for providing links to the two translations I encountered the first time I was reading TM&M - both seemed well done. I cannot remember how the 99 version translates 'Homeless' - Pevear says in his notes that Bulgakov wanted the name to signify a person without family. That is the difference really between Ivan and Alyosha in TBK - they have the same father and mother, but it is only Alyosha who remembers his mother and even embodies her at one point in the novel.

Also, in that first chapter, Ivan the poet 'Homeless' is described as being 'broadshouldered' -- there's a point in TBK where Alyosha sees his brother walking away with one shoulder higher than the other...

I would say, Block from block8 @ 50, yes, you have a point favoring 'The Devils' (I named a son after Stepan Trofimovich - he's a really fleshed out liberal - I love him!) But though you are correct that Dostoievski died soon after completing TBK, although that work was published first in installments, it was afterwards released as a completed work, and his notebooks show that every page had been carefully worked over before being submitted for publication.

Finally, for James again (send us some of your rain!) asking about prison stories, my favorite Solzhenitsyn novel (found in a thrift shop) is 'The First Circle' - about zheks or scientific prisoners in a converted mansion outside of Moscow, comparing them to Dante's first circle of hell.

Again, enjoy!

Posted by: juliania | May 27 2022 23:18 utc | 188

"...It's good to be totally wrong in front of everyone, I think, so I can get over myself. Like the flaw inserted by Navajo weavers."

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 27 2022 22:29 utc | 186

Yes, indeed! And the Pueblo natives on whose land I live - One of their crafts is pottery. The rims are usually black, but they leave a tiny gap, so that imperfections imprisoned within the pot can escape. (I need many gaps in my own rim!)

The play you mentioned earlier sounds fascinating - I will see if our library can get it for me.

Posted by: juliania | May 27 2022 23:48 utc | 189

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 27 2022 21:20 utc | 180

Agree with that. The housing and homelessness crises are of course deeply intertwined and the rentier class does all that they can to paint a picture of scumbag drug using nutcases being primarily responsible for the latter. But the rentier class has to resort to different messaging when it comes to why lower- and middle-middle class families and individuals can't afford to pay the rents or mortgages. There they usually end up with some permutation of the 'prosperity gospel' whether they realize it or not. Work harder for your corporate master and maybe you can actually afford a home!

Posted by: AntiSpin | May 27 2022 21:54 utc | 182

Agree with that as well, with one major (albeit not with what you said) quibble. In many ways every US election is 'stolen' and has been for a long time. Whether it's by limiting the vote, turning people off to voting, judicial corruption, backdoors in voting machines, state level politics, preselecting two candidates between whom one "must" choose the LOTE, and in more recent years - ala Trump 2020 - a coalescing of the major media powers and one party over the other to tamp down offending narratives or prevent the population from seeing inconvenient news until the election has passed. That of course isn't anything new in principle, but the scope was pretty unprecedented.

All of that said, there was definitely no voter fraud on any significant level or that favored one candidate over the other and I too am getting fed up with Americans passing off The Big Lie as the truth. When foreigners make fun of our corrupt voting process I don't mind (including b) because after all, "we" are the ones willy nilly declaring the elections of other countries to be fraudulent...when they're on the official enemies list or aren't throwing the doors to their countries' natural commons, welfare state and energy/technology resources to the rabid gangster capitalist western FIRE sector.

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | May 28 2022 0:12 utc | 190

"...I think a lot of the collective West needs a trip to the ophthalmologist to help with their capabilities of seeing things clearly. That is a nice metaphor. ( I had to try like 8 times to get ophthalmologist spelled correctly. )..."

Posted by: lex talionis | May 27 2022 17:11 utc | 172

I am smiling, lex: my first task employed by a court reporter as note reader and typist (way back before computers) was a deposition given by an ophthalmologist. I typed the entire thing (on my rented electric typewriter) misspelling that precious word all the way through! Fortunately my boss was forgiving. I still remember though, could be multiple carbons, and legal pages are long -- 69 cents per page, piece work! I could work at home, but I typed (and listened, and read) all day long...

Posted by: juliania | May 28 2022 0:25 utc | 191

Posted by: Tyrus | May 27 2022 0:36 utc | 104

Re Solz... thank you, very interesting. And it makes it easier for me to entertain the notion that Russia has good intentions fundamentally. After decades growing up and living in the Empire of Lies this is not an easy thing to do.

Posted by: Scorpion | May 28 2022 0:59 utc | 192

"a deposition given by an ophthalmologist. I typed the entire thing (on my rented electric typewriter) misspelling that precious word all the way through! "

Posted by: juliania | May 28 2022 0:25 utc | 191

If there was justice in the world, there should be some logical shortcuts in spelling. If you listen to Bach often, the you could as well listen of Oftenbach, and if you have to write ophthalmologist many times, you are entitled to write oftenmologist. BTW, in my highly logical language, you have optyk and oftalmolog.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 28 2022 1:17 utc | 193

Posted by: bevin | May 27 2022 1:25 utc | 111

Thanks for your posts. You remind me that I wanted to say "The Master and Margarita" is written in a style more used by such writers as Gorky so before Dostoievski was exiled his first work "Poor Souls" was written somewhat anti-Gorky as one of the characters is offended by the short story "The Overcoat." So, D. might also not enjoy the Bulgakov satire. I am trying to see why his 'scriptural' chapters are not scriptural as the Gospels relate -- from the point of view of Satan they of course would not be, yet there are truths there...which takes me back to the epigraph of the novel:

'...who are you then?'

'I am part of that power which eternally

wills evil and eternally works good.'
Goethe, Faust

Which seems to have happened, at least sometimes, with respect to some recent decisions on the world stage.

The time in which Bulgakov is writing his novel, we might say 'cancel culture' has become the norm. That's what makes it relevant, I think. There was a time in the US when the encounter with novels like this were proof of the 'eternally works good' part of the epigraph.

Posted by: juliania | May 28 2022 1:48 utc | 194

Sorry, last two parts of my comment should not have been indented.

Posted by: juliania | May 28 2022 1:53 utc | 195

This video contains pictures of different Palestinian cities during the 1920's and 1930's, before the creation of the state of israel by the zionists in 1948.

Short video / Palestine before 1948

Posted by: Paul | May 28 2022 2:17 utc | 196

re calling human beings garbage

Dehumanisation is the primary weapon of war, whether that be class war, the war on drugs, the war in Ukraine, any war, all wars. I have never met any human garbage even though I have lived my life in an urban slum surrounded by the destitute. My father was conscripted into the air force and upon testing was judged to have the abilities required to fly ground attack. He was trained to fly a small early jet called the Vampire armed with 20mm canon and eight little rockets. He was sent to Korea and spent fourteen months, when performing missions, flying twenty foot above the ground and killing any living person he met. He guessed he had killed over two thousand people, mainly women and children. He would watch their heads explode as the cannon shells and rockets tore into "the enemy". Upon emotional breakdown he was shipped home, given an honourable discharge, a medal and some cash. He was not yet twenty. But it is ok because at best they were the enemy, at worst they were gooks or slopes or garbage. If I saw what my father did today I might call the perpetrator "garbage", but I would be wrong - they too are human. Is this the most vicious of all our vicious circles. Nobody is garbage.

Posted by: Foxbat | May 28 2022 2:32 utc | 197

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 27 2022 0:58 utc | 108

I seem to remember reading "Pilgrim's Progress" at my somewhat high Anglican girls' Grammar school (high school) in New Zealand. Ancient history; I think it was required reading. We sat on the floor of the Assembly Hall for 'Messiah' too; all of it.

Who would true valor see
Let him come hither
One here would constant be
Come wind come weather
There's no discouragement
Can make him once relent
His first avowed intent
To be a pilgrim.

Who so beset him round
With dismal stories
Do but themselves confound
His strength the more is
No lion can him fright
He'll with a giant fight
And he will have the right
To be a pilgrim.

Since Lord thou dost defend
Him with thy spirit
He knows he at the end
Shall life inherit
Then fancies fly away
He'll fear not what men say
He'll labour night and day
To be a pilgrim.

[In honour of Paul Bunyan; I did not know he was in prison. Thanks, Aleph_Null, part of my heritage!]

Posted by: juliania | May 28 2022 2:38 utc | 198

@198 juliania

We used to sing it, in our assembly hall. It comes with a strong cadence, begging to be hymnized. And so we did.

Even to a child, it has a rousing sense to it, a spiritual confidence that cannot be gainsaid by anything in the world - or in the prison, as we now come to understand.

   He knows he at the end
   Shall life inherit.
   Then fancies flee away
   He'll fear not what men say
   He'll labour night and day...

All spirituality I suspect has this same theme of striving to be better in this world and in this body - in this lifetime - in order to invest in a future that will seem like the present when we arrive in it.


I was thinking as I read your comment: how lovely to speak of these noble things. I think that we all thirst to drink at the well of the sacred, all of us, all sentient beings.

Thank you for your injections of the godly from time to time in these threads. They should never be off-topic. We should never be afraid of them. The world would profit from more of them.

Posted by: Grieved | May 28 2022 6:08 utc | 199


And actually, was this thread about books? (I lose track.)

Did you ever read Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger? Someone described it once as one of the loveliest books in the American culture. I always keep it on the top shelf, for the glow that comes from it.

If you haven't read it, seek it out :)

Posted by: Grieved | May 28 2022 6:17 utc | 200

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