I wonder if that plan to help renters is bottled up in committee for the same stupid-ass reason as the recreational marijuana bill. Meanwhile, time is running out and you know it won’t be the psychopaths who refuse to wear masks and refuse to social distance because they wanna go to bars who wind up homeless.
It’s been a hot and dry few days. But as I’m about to hit publish here, look what just appeared to our west (in eastern Ohio):
Don’t know that it will come our way and suspect it won’t change the pattern much, but there it is.
George Monbiot conflates the situations of the U.S. and the U.K., declines to call that conflation fascism, and distinguishes this conflation from fascism on specious grounds. I’m beginning to sense a pattern: It is not intellectually fashionable to invoke the f-word (“fascism”), so people bend over backwards to explain how our situation is different so they can still style themselves ‘intellectuals.’
I call what is happening in the U.S. fascism because, crucially, it seeks to build political support through violence, whether structural or physical, against subaltern groups, especially nonwhites and the poor, that enables further violence against those groups. That’s different from what Monbiot says is happening in the U.K., but Monbiot is criticizing anti-intellectualism in both countries and this is how he grounds his conflation.
I’m not prepared to call intellectuals a subaltern group in either country, though I certainly feel a temptation. Whether I would call the U.K. fascist depends on its treatment of subaltern groups and, while I’m not prepared to excuse that treatment, I’m also not prepared to say that that treatment is part of a feedback loop. Here is my previous definition of fascism from the previous update on May 16:
Fascism is an ideology that seeks to institutionalize structural and physical violence against some or many subaltern groups on the grounds of bigotry and to increase its own public support through the exploitation of such violence and bigotry. This bigotry may take several forms including nationalism, scapegoating, sexism, racism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. To the extent that it succeeds, it acts as a self-reinforcing feedback as public support enables further and more extreme violence.
If, on the other hand, I am to consider intellectuals a subaltern group, it cannot be all intellectuals. Some, like economists who enable an intellectually utterly discredited neoliberalism and those who support the political class in other ways, are often richly rewarded. Professors who cling to tenure hardly seem subaltern to me. So I would need a way to distinguish between outcast intellectuals, those who are not sycophants for the ruling class, and those who are.
That’s not as easy as it sounds. It can’t simply be that intellectuals who agree with me are subaltern, but ideological sycophancy might be one distinguishing feature of non-subaltern intellectuals. There are books on my shelf I haven’t gotten to that might help with this and Sergio Caldarella criticizes ideological conformity. There may also be economic considerations: What if the surplus of Ph.D. holders functions, intentionally or not, to undermine intellectuals’ leverage in the marketplace, and therefore intellectualism at large?
For now, I just don’t know. A group I might more easily include as subaltern is that of dissidents. Monbiot criticizes the elite response to intellectual dissent in the U.S. and the U.K., but what if the real objection authoritarian populists and elites have with those Monbiot calls intellectuals isn’t to their intellectualism but rather to their ideas?
So here is how I am further refining my definition:
Fascism is an ideology that seeks to institutionalize structural and physical violence against some or many subaltern groups on the grounds of bigotry and to increase its own public support through the exploitation of such violence and bigotry. This bigotry may take several forms including the repression of dissent or the promotion of nationalism, scapegoating, sexism, racism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. To the extent that it succeeds, it acts as a self-reinforcing feedback as public support enables further and more extreme violence.
All I can say is I guess they’re right to worry. It seems that Max Boot participated in a transition integrity “war game”—I didn’t even know such things existed, but here we are—and has decided we should worry that Donald Trump might refuse to relinquish power should he lose the election. I can’t say he’s wrong. I’ve been calling Trump a delusional raging narcissist for a while now. And certainly others before Boot have worried.
At the same time, I think it will be a disaster, in different ways, perhaps, and not unlike the 2016 election, regardless of who wins. Because neoliberalism is that evil.
It’s happening. It’s not like we didn’t know evictions would happen. Indeed, they already were before this latest article. But if you’re wondering why I think neoliberalism is so evil, well, here is merely one example, with big corporations evicting tenants even when their mortgages are backed by the federal government and their tenants are accordingly protected by a federal moratorium on evictions.
And a judge’s response? “I am not familiar with that [the moratorium], but if someone will show me the law on that, I will certainly entertain that.” And this is a judge who claims “[s]he is ‘very sympathetic when it comes to evictions,’ . . . but landlords can also be hurt in the process.”
I’m betting that participants will not in fact socially distance and will not in fact wear face masks. They will spread the novel coronavirus among each other and then to vulnerable people, who will require hospitalization. They will not be paying the costs of that hospitalization.
How can I be so confident? Mask-wearing has become politicized—Democrats, who are unlikely to participate in the Trump Boat Parade, wear masks much more frequently than Republicans, and men who object to wearing masks often do so because they perceive that their masculinity is threatened.
I don’t want to fucking hear it. If you don’t wear a mask, you should be taken to a psychiatric hospital prison and left there as a psychopath, unfit ever for release into society again. Because at this point, you’re just making this shit up.
There’s no commentary in this issue. I had to take my car into the dealer because the dreaded “Check Hybrid System” indication came on. It looked to me, from what I could see, that the system is in fact still working. I can only hope that that means the battery has not gone bad.
It’d probably cost something like $4,000 to replace that battery. I don’t have it and, frankly, the car isn’t worth it. As of last night, the cost per mile clocked in at 34¢ per mile; this’d likely double that, putting it well past the IRS mileage allowance, even without depreciation.
I’m terrified. And I’m unlikely to hear before the end of the week because it’ll take that long before they even get to it.
I previously noted that “[t]he self-righteousness and sense of entitlement is strong in these folks [landlords]” and indeed they are evicting and harassing tenants by means both legal and illegal.
Even if they can’t be evicted right now, if the courts are closed, the landlords are sending threatening emails, text messages, asking for rent, threatening to lock tenants out.
They’re ruthless in the very ways I have heard so many times over the years that they are.
Nationwide, the coronavirus housing catastrophe is just beginning to pick up momentum. The true eviction cliff could come in August, after the federal $600-per-week boost to unemployment benefits ends. Those benefits are helping tens of millions of households keep up with the rent. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already pledged not to renew these benefits.
Eviction can’t be the answer, but I guess it is, even as housing really already wasn’t affordable for low income folks anywhere in the country, making the burden of catching upon missed rent payments likely insurmountable.
After each name was read, the chief executive of PG&E Corp. solemnly answered: “Guilty, your honor.”
PG&E admitted its guilt Tuesday in Butte County Superior Court in connection with the Camp Fire, the second time in three years the state’s largest utility has been convicted of a felony.
Pacific Gas and Electric pled guilty to “a count of felony involuntary manslaughter for each of the 84 victims and a single count of unlawfully starting a fire, for a total of 85 counts.” The corporation is a repeat felony offender, but it seems very unlikely anyone is going to prison and it seems highly likely the company will be allowed to continue operating.
I had thought the consequences of a felony conviction were supposed to be rather more serious.
So as I have begun to look seriously at housing options (because I think I may need to move next year), I’m seeing a situation around Pittsburgh and, for that matter, pretty much all around the country, in which there are four options:
Affordable housing in desperately poor and likely dangerous neighborhoods. These are likely slums. I’m already unhappy with my present landlord on maintenance issues and these are neighborhoods I don’t even want to drive through at night (they’re fine during the day), let alone sleep in.
Affordable housing in not so poor but white supremacist neighborhoods. This is pretty much the situation I’m in now. It’s quiet and I can sleep at night. Usually, the maintenance is pretty good (just not on a couple issues lately). But I hate seeing the guns. I hate seeing the Confederate flags. I hate seeing all the camouflage paint schemes. I hate seeing the “Blue Lives Matter” flags and signs expressing support for local police.
Unaffordable housing in wealthier, better educated, and often gentrified neighborhoods. Here I find people with whom I can have intelligent conversations. But I can’t afford the rent.
Unaffordable housing in fabulously wealthy neighborhoods, sometimes with fabulous views. Obviously not an option.
The other thing I’m increasingly sensing is that in Pittsburgh, renting generally marks one as poor: Houses can be bought for $300,000, so if you rent, you are either renting a very expensive apartment or you are poor. This bothers me because I am well aware that being poor marks one as a target for the police and I in fact go to great lengths to limit the appearance of being poor (the Uber and Lyft stickers on my car do not help).
I haven’t actually had any trouble with the police here but let’s just say it’s a sensitive point for me.
Even my loyal readers hadn’t read my most recent blog post and I realized the argument could be made stronger. I have revised it and changed the publication date. This affects the URL. It has been updated here.
June 15, 9:50 am:
There has been yet another police shooting of yet another Black man. That blog post has been revised further.
It would seem that some folks just aren’t buying into the whole concept of “lesser of two evils” anymore. That’s probably a bigger problem for Democrats than it is Republicans. They were warned. I warned them but they were also warned by a whole bunch of people besides me all this year.
But of course, that assumes the Democrats even want to win. Which, to me, isn’t at all clear.
One longstanding issue has been that police have increasingly been dealing with social problems, such as drug addiction, homelessness, and poverty. They have one approach, which is pretty much to treat everything and everybody as criminal or as potentially criminal. But it’s completely the wrong approach for many issues, especially where mental health is involved.
Bill Peduto is backing a measure that would enable the police to step back from at least some of these issues so people who are really victims can actually get help rather than ending up in the slammer. It’s a good move.
It’s not like I’m even remotely surprised but this is the first I’ve heard of the U.S. Steel Edgar Thomson plant in Braddock and North Braddock being a problem. The one I’ve been hearing about pretty much since I got here is the Clairton Coke Works, also a U.S. Steel plant. I’ve said this before, but they’re both absolutely disgraceful plants that should be shut down, razed, and replaced with something that would actually benefit local residents.
I see the story of the Pennsylvania General Assembly passing a resolution to end the COVID-19 emergency declaration that would not even accomplish the ends its advocates claim and I think of that restaurant in North Strabane, the one run by a Jewish family—none of whom are wearing masks—in which the father threatened to reopen for dine-in service while Washington County was still in yellow phase, a restaurant which I feel I can no longer ethically patronize.
Clearly this action was meant to appeal to that father and people like him. But to me, the one thing the legislature seems not to be debating is health or lives lost. As I’ve repeatedly noted, the capitalist god is claiming its human sacrifices.
I’m going ahead and publishing this now. The weather has gotten interesting north of here—apparently a tornado near Beaver Falls—and a severe thunderstorm warning has been posted for at least very close to my area.
Hey, fellow white ppl, Defund the Police is not your slogan and so it's not yours to fix or sanitize or make "palatable" from a "branding/marketing" strategy. It's a BLM plank, so roll with it, learn to explain it, which Wonkette proved can be done in a single headline. pic.twitter.com/VhwpeOpxXX
With so many examples of how humanity is not ready for anarchism, it’s quite a surprise to read an account of how a community protected itself without the police and without replicating the problems of the police. I don’t know how sustainable this is or how widely applicable, but it’s quite a story and certainly worth looking at.
Meanwhile Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor looks more broadly, both historically and topically, at the issues the U.S. needs to address—and of course, won’t. I had not seen her article when I tweeted my response to Chuck Wendig above, but I think we’re on the same page.