San Francisco wrap-up

Photos from this week’s visit…

“With all of the trash along the side of the road [I-880], this really looks like a Third World country,” noted Senior Management. Not sure this boarded-up-against-the-riots post office changed her view:

Getting near the freeway entrances was an experience akin to being in a zombie movie, with hundreds of disfigured and derelict humans lining the sidewalks and wandering into the road.

The Ferry Building looks great:

Right across the street a needle disposal toilet represents the height of “civic pride”:

There was also a playground, equipped with elaborate rules and no children:

The science museum is still fun for kids. Family of four… $115. That’s the kind of “social justice” from a nonprofit org that a Silicon Valley millionaire can support!

Reading material at a shop near Union Square (populated during our morning walk by a screaming guy):

Sculpture highlighting the achievements of Eurocopter and mechanics:

And, of course, some helpful tips for urban life..

30 thoughts on “San Francisco wrap-up

  1. Yeah, SF really sucks these days. I grew up near there and now find it very unpleasant to visit. Crowded, dirty, and difficult to get around in. (There have always been a lot of raving lunatics there, but now they really dominate the public places)

  2. I’ve just made: “Things are getting better all the time with technology!” my informal email sig.

  3. > The science museum is still fun for kids. Family of four… $115. That’s the kind of “social justice” from a nonprofit org that a Silicon Valley millionaire can support!

    Yeah, I visited the California Academy in Golden Gate Park a few months ago for the first time and was appalled at the prices for a Science Museum and then appalled again at basically how paltry the Museum actually is.

  4. The coast guard here flies an Augusta Westland rather than a Eurocopter. Funny seeing a feminist book in the world headquarters of getting rich by becoming a secretary & marrying a venture capitalist.

  5. I just find it hard to believe that in San Francisco, with all the money they have, they can’t at least spruce up the zombies so they look better coming out of the needle-drop booths. Put a stylist in there, at least. Give them a shower, comb their hair, and give them a place to go. Then San Fran will really be a beautiful city.

  6. Not that many people in San Francisco believe in God, except their own.

  7. I just keep wondering why Elon Musk can’t help. He wants to build glass houses on Mars and drill tubes through the earth, launch rockets and electrify cars. But the man, the legend, the government-subsidized Entrepreneur of the millenium, just can’t figure out this homeless housing thing?

    (By the way, his idea for the Hyperloop in evacuated tubes was in physics textbooks for undergraduates back in the 70’s and ’80s. Not an original idea.
    I have the textbook.)

    • Definitely better than the Academy of Sciences, and many science museums worldwide license their interactive exhibits. Did you know it was started by J. Robert Oppenheimer’s brother Frank, who was blacklisted as a possible Communist and forbidden from working in physics?

    • @Fazal: That wasn’t based in fantasy and neither was it unsubstantiated.

      Their first child Peter was born in May 1941,[70] and their second child, Katherine (“Toni”), was born in Los Alamos, New Mexico, on December 7, 1944.[69] During his marriage, Oppenheimer continued his affair with Jean Tatlock.[71] Later their continued contact became an issue in his security clearance hearings because of Tatlock’s Communist associations.[72] Many of Oppenheimer’s closest associates were active in the Communist Party in the 1930s or 1940s. They included his brother Frank, Frank’s wife Jackie,[73] Kitty,[74] Jean Tatlock, his landlady Mary Ellen Washburn,[75] and several of his graduate students at Berkeley.[76]

      “He was followed by Army security agents during a trip to California in June 1943 to visit his former girlfriend, Jean Tatlock, who was suffering from depression. Oppenheimer spent the night in her apartment.[86] Tatlock committed suicide on January 4, 1944, which left Oppenheimer deeply grieved.”

      Oppo. was a great man, but I’ve always preferred John von Neumann, myself.

    • After events of 20th century one would think that persecution, if not outright extermination, of communists was wholly justified. Communism is the most deadly cult in the entire history of mankind, and hundred million people murdered by communists is the ample reason to shoot communists on sight. There is no justification for giving these cultists any benefit of doubt, not anymore.

  8. Those ‘no pooping’ signs ought to show a bum doing his business. Walking down any street in SF is a constant exercise in avoiding ‘land mines’. The dog turds are only half the problem…

  9. > “The science museum is still fun for kids. Family of four… $115. That’s the kind of “social justice” from a nonprofit org that a Silicon Valley millionaire can support!”

    I find this puzzling. You spend half the posts on this blog complaining about leftists and how their ideology is so broken. But when they display a typical attribute of your beloved right-wing mates (greed), you chastise them for not being left enough!

    And it is also an exercise in the paradoxical to complain about homeless as if this was the problem of only one city, and of policies of the left! If only they got enough beatings, surely these homeless would get in line and get their lives back in order, start contributing to society and stop being worthless losers! (Like any good upstanding citizen.) You seem to conveniently forget, or not be aware, that these homeless exist precisely because of conservative policies of exclusion: user-pay healthcare (leading to personal bankruptcies), lack of safety net to help people make do between jobs (and before it is too late, like many of SF’s homeless), lack of community healthcare (and in particular mental health). You have built a society that emphasises greed at all costs and throws away those that fall through the machinery, and then complain these people exist!

    The prevalence of so many homeless is an embarrassment to a country that sees itself as a world power, and takes place on a scale vastly larger than anything on any other developed country. Even China, a terrible communist country, with brutal concentration camps for opposing minorities, does not have the plague of homeless. Social democratic Europe, a much better example for Americans that think binary (either limitless greed or Venezuela), despite its problems, shows a much better display of humanity at providing safety net, healthcare, and avoiding homelessness.

    What shall we do with these homeless? We could incinerate them, move them to another righ-wing fantasy corrupt town (Portland?), or just get rid of them in some other way. But soon more would appear, because they are a by-product of your society. Toxic thinking like the one you show is largely to blame for the current situation.

    • John: The Silicon Valley billionaires who say that they care about social justice could build an apartment building for at least some of those who are currently homeless to occupy! And they would still have plenty left over to pay a chef, hire a mental health concierge, etc. They’d also have plenty left over to endow the science museum to become free like the Smithsonian!

      (Separately, I don’t think it is reasonable to bash the Chinese. Americans are holding more than 2 million people in prison. Did the Chinese overreact to an Islamic separatist movement? Consider what happened when the South tried to secede from the U.S. We started a war (“War of Northern Aggression”) that killed roughly 10 percent of adult American men. And today we valorize Abraham Lincoln, who was the main author of the war.)

  10. @averros Communism is a terrible scourge and I for one wish it nowhere. However, it is laughable and demonstrably false than any significant communist movement exists in the US (especially in SF). Even the few in the US that dare identify as socialist are WAY to the right of real socialist policies. At most they should be called “social democrats”, but that doesn’t have the sound bite of a Venezuela or North Korea. Even in Western Europe, that bastion of communism and inefficiency, where it is not a thought crime to identify as socialist and god-forbid even have so-called socialist parties in government, the most right-wing governments (e.g. Netherlands or Austria) have policies that are way more to the left than the US Democratic party.

    It must give you a warm and fuzzy feeling to know that the policies closer to true communism come in fact from your beloved GOP. Blind ideology following the leader. Anti-intelligentsia drives. Modern-day agitprop through social media and increasingly polarised news networks. Distortion of science to suit ideology (e.g. climate change, COVID-19, see scientific communism). Strong opposition to democracy and democratic norms, subversion of elections (see recent saga of the sore loser).

    I recommend you read a bit more into the history of communism and paths to communism.

    • I dunno, AOC has a pocket book with a commie star right there in the middle of her “O” in San Francisco. The history of communism and paths to communism are always right here before us. She learned that in Boston. So did we!

      I look forward to your expatiation of how America needs to move left to compensate for its inadequacy.

      Our news networks aren’t polarized: they’re almost universally against Trump and everything he thinks (if it can be said he thinks anything). Your problem is really how to deal with the Deplorables.

    • Where in the world are you getting the idea from the media in this country that COVID-19, Climate Change, and all the rest come from Trump? For the vast majority of Americans, those are all mainstream topics in the news every single day, through the “corporate” mouthpieces of the media. Not to mention academia, which are all – almost to a person, from what I can tell – diametrically opposed to everything Trump has done.

      And he’s been rejected by lots of Conservatives also. So what are you talking about?

    • @John Fitzgerald —

      methinks that you’re barking up the wrong three.

      First of all, I’m ethnic Russian, and the first half of my life lived in the USSR. So I know exactly what communism is in the real life (as opposed to communist propaganda pushed by American academia – and, yes, it *is* communist propaganda, there’s no ifs or buts about that). I also happened to personally know older people who’ve been inmates in GULAG (and some former guards, too). My Moscow State University transcript lists courses such as “Philosophy of Marxism-Leninism”, “Political Economy of Socialism”, and “Scientific Communism” (American Left didn’t invent “believing in science”… in fact, they are remarkably lacking in any innovation – pretty much every insanity they push now was done by Soviets nearly a century ago). I did well under Soviet system, too, and have medals from the USSR government to show for it. I also was a member of Communist Youth Union (Komsomol) – I refused to join the Communist Party, though.

      So excuse me for presuming that I know history, theory, and practice of socialism/commuinism much better than any American “trained Marxist” [sic] ever will. That includes you. You’ve read some books and maybe seen some movies. I’ve been there and had seen it with my own eyes.

      Secondly, I’m not a fan of GOP or Trump (I’m a libertarian) – but I also see that Dem party is being overtaken by hard-core communists – even if these communists are so ill educated that they don’t realize where the violent junk filling their heads came from.

      Your claim that US socialists are somehow to the right of the Soviet ones is quite laughable, since Soviets had to be somewhat grounded in reality – they were pragmatic (as much as they could within their ideological straitjacket). American Left is horribly clueless about the inevitable outcomes of their policies, simply because they get to parasite on and loot a (formerly) strong capitalist economy, which absorbed a lot of damage they caused. So American
      Left is a lot more ideological than the Soviet communists of post-WWII era ever were (the blatant hypocrisy and kleptocracy of the “elite” are pretty much identical).

      What you American moderates fail to understand is that THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE between “moderate” socialists and the genocidal ones of Soviet or Chinese ilk. Just as Nazis (national socialists) weren’t thinking of themselves as bad people, neither did the international socialists (aka “communists”). The fundamental point of socialist creed is “expropriation of expropriators” or naked violence towards more successful people justified by the notion that their success is result of some vague criminality (such as “expropriating the additional value”). This is exactly the same as “tax the reach” (taxes are collected by violent means), and the entire Dem party is OK with that. The difference between their current position and Lenin’s or Mao’s is merely one of degree, not of substance.

      Now, communists always justify their institutionalized violence by pretending to care for less fortunate. In practice, they always end up with personality cult of their Dear Leader (Obama, hell yeah, – a peace Nobel winner war criminal) and assorted socialist psychopaths (the Butcher of la Cabana aka Che Guevara would be one example), massive censorship (MSM and Big Tech don’t even bother to pretend to be impartial these days), intimidation of populace (Antifa and BLM… with open support by democrats in power), denying dissidents employment (just ask James Damore), and finally mass murder of people who dare to disagree with their cult’s dogma (there’s already plenty of talk about making lists and “punching fascists”, in addition to actual street violence by leftist brownshirts).

      And if you think the genocide is far away, think again. You already lost your civil rights (because of some relatively harmless virus, they always find excuses for tyranny). It’s only a short step from lockdowns and curfews to night-time arrests and concentration camps. And, yes, US already had concentration camps – all the way into 70s, so don’t “this cannot happen here” me.

      The only thing which keeps the American communists from turning fully genocidal is armed population of “deplorables”. Thus the Democrats’ monomaniacal insistence on banning firearms effective in urban combat (AR-15 and other “scary looking” small caliber rifles) – there is no other explanation for this mania: these rifles are seldom used in crime (practically all firearm fatalities in US are from handguns).

      And, yes, the anti-intelligentsia canard. The right-wing opposition is not to “intelligentsia”, it’s to the communist cultism of this so-called “intelligentsia”. I have yet to meet a right-winger who is against reason or science – and people on the right are usually smart enough to understand the difference between the actual science and scientism with its bullshit masquerading as “science” – the bullshit pushed by the public “intellectuals” to justify stealing more rights or more fruits of labor from the people.

      Same goes for “distortion of science” (such as “climate change” (former “global warming”) – which is not science at all, as far as I can tell, since it fails basic physics, and is based entirely on unverifiable and mathematically insane models which failed to predict anything interesting – such as the 20-year long warming hiatus). Real science requires skepticism, Telling people who are not convinced to shut up because “official” scientists made their pronouncements is the best indication that the “science” so defended is nothing more than politicized kookery. Again, American academia isn’t doing anything new here, Soviets had Lysenkoism long before (and, yes, everyone daring to question it was labelled “anti-science” and “anti-intellectual” so you are parroting Stalinist propaganda – even if you are oblivious to this fact).

      So, excuse me for holding that if something walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, the best explanation is that we are dealing with the duck. Or, in this case, indigenous actual American communists complete with totalitarian ideology which they are busy imposing on us.

      And, frankly, Americans are fools to think they won’t get the same treatment as Russians and Chinese (and Cambodians, and Venezuelans, or any other people who suffered in socialist hell-holes) if they allow these indigenous communists to seize power and disarm the populace.

      The moderate supporters of the leftists are doubly fools, because if they actually bothered to learn the real history (and not the propaganda force-fed to them by academic communists) they’d know that they will become the first victims, simply because they won’t be resisting attacks from “their” side, and thus will be used as disposable foddler for intimidating those who can resist by sheer savagery of violence towards apostates.

    • correction: “additional value” -> “surplus value”. Has been decades since I studied The Capital.

    • @averros: 1945-48 in Poland. I used to have people in my family who were alive then, and not alive afterward.

    • @averros:

      >And if you think the genocide is far away, think again. You already lost your civil rights (because of some relatively harmless virus, they always find excuses for tyranny). It’s only a short step from lockdowns and curfews to night-time arrests and concentration camps. And, yes, US already had concentration camps – all the way into 70s, so don’t “this cannot happen here” me.

      And that’s absolutely correct. The 2nd Amendment was not placed in the Constitution to protect people’s right to hunt and shoot pieces of paper. It was placed there because the Founders knew that rights and courts and due process, the presumption of innocence, the right to a trial by jury, and indeed all the rest of the rights in the Bill aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on in the last final analysis. And all the rest of it is surprisingly fragile – it’s just that not many people in the United States have ever (until this Pandemic) seen just how quickly they can disappear.

  11. @ averros,

    As someone who has read more than a little of Marx, Engels, and Lenin, and has scanned hundreds of English-language books published in the Soviet Union including textbooks on scientific communism (the scanned works can be found here:, I find it telling that you do not actually give concrete examples of how Democrats are “hard-core communists.” The closest seems to be your ridiculous claim that the American capitalist state increasing taxes on those with high incomes is somehow tantamount to Marx’s statement that the proletariat will be compelled to expropriate the means of production held by the capitalist class.

    It is also amusing to hear an anti-communist who joined the Komsomol talk in superior tones about the “blatant hypocrisy” of Soviet officialdom. At least someone like Brezhnev pursued policies which, effectively or not, sought to advance the interests of socialism at home and abroad, no matter what Brezhnev or any of his entourage “really” thought of Marxism-Leninism. That is more than I can say for you or others who joined the Komsomol or the CPSU merely for career advancement.

    You might have more in common with Lysenko than you’d like to admit, given that he also never joined the party and said the following to an American in 1970: “You think that I am a part of the Soviet oppressive system. But I have always been an outsider. I came from a simple peasant family, and in my professional development I soon encountered the prejudices of the upper classes. Vavilov came from a wealthy family, was as a consequence well-educated, and knew many foreign languages. When I was a boy I walked barefoot in the fields and I never had the advantage of a proper education. . . My knowledge came from working in the fields. Their knowledge came from books and laboratories, and was often mistaken.” (Loren Graham, Lysenko’s Ghost, pp. 74-76)

    In other words, Lysenko’s efforts to persecute legitimate scientists came from his own feelings of inferiority and/or paranoia, not from Marxism.

    As for Cambodia, need I remind you it was the Soviet Union which supported Vietnam ousting Pol Pot’s regime, whereas the United States denounced this as “aggression” and spent the 1980s supporting Pol Pot’s “government in exile” in the United Nations, to say nothing of helping provide cover for actual arms shipments to the Khmer Rouge against Vietnam and the post-79 socialist-oriented Cambodian government?

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