Californian takes in a homeless couple

Whenever someone tries to get me to share his/her/zir/their enthusiasm for helping migrants, I offer to pay all of the expenses to bring a migrant to the say-gooder’s house. So far, this hasn’t cost me anything, but apparently sometimes this kind of offer is accepted.

“They were homeless. I took them in. Would you?” (Los Angeles Times):

This June, I participated in Safe Place for Youth’s Host Home Program, short-term “interventions” for unhoused young people, ages 18 to 24. In December, stuck in L.A. traffic, my ears had pricked up. Marlene and Michael Rapkin were on the radio describing an inspiring three months they’d spent as two of Safe Place’s initial cadre of hosts.

“Welcoming the stranger” is one of my core Jewish values, and I’d helped with the annual homeless count.

[See “White men correctly perceive American Jews as their enemies?” for my take on this last expressed statement.]

But could I take in someone off the street? What with a recent divorce, my kid’s stint in rehab and college expenses, I’d been renting out a guest bedroom to make my monthly nut. But when a tenant canceled, and I learned that Safe Space offered a small stipend to offset hosts’ household expenses, I challenged myself to “walk the walk” of my social justice values.

If she is enticed by the “small stipend” handed out by the homeless industry, this divorcée perhaps should have planned her foray into California family law more carefully…

I offered to house any of the youths I’d met except that heavily tattooed couple. She had the word “cured” in bold block lettering on one cheek and “More Love” above her brow; his forehead read “Less Hate”; alas, a skater beanie obscured “Less.” … Then I learned that Keyawna and Jesse had been living — sweltering — in their 2008 Kia. I’ve complained that my marriage broke up because my spouse and I shared a bathroom.

How much do multi-color tattoos over a substantial portion of a human body cost? Would the homeless couple have had a decent nest egg if they’d stuck with their factory skin color?

But if the city can’t accommodate artists from economically diverse backgrounds, then only the privileged will get to create. I was also certain face tats were job killers, until Keyawna explained that they fit their “brand,” and most were Jesse’s designs. He’s a visual artist; she’s an aspiring rapper and soul singer. … She told me later they’d hidden their valuables from me too.

If they have “valuables”, why are they homeless?

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Why aren’t LGBTQ activists working exclusively outside the US?

A Facebook friend posted “GOP reintroduces bill pitting ‘religious freedom’ against gay marriage”, adding the following:

I realized today that in future I should call this kind of discriminatory justification “Jane Crow”.

Not providing a marriage license? Won’t make a cake? Oh, I see: you support Jane Crow laws. Spread the word.

(As far as I know, he identifies as a cisgender heterosexual male living in a multi-million dollar house in Silicon Valley. So I think that his passion for LGBTQIA+ issues rather than, e.g., housing the homeless, is “yes” evidence for “Is LGBTQIA the most popular social justice cause because it does not require giving money?”)

I was in China at the time that he posted this. Although I agreed that having to find a non-Christian wedding cake supplier might be burdensome for an American, it occurred to me that I was surrounded by people for whom the adoption of rainbow flag religion would be a significant change.

If you want to be a warrior for this cause, you could come over here to China and liberate 1.4 billion people from the tyranny of mixed-sex marriage (link to “China’s parliament rules out allowing same-sex marriage”). Also, I have not seen a single all-gender restroom since landing in Shanghai. So you could pack a suitcase with rainbow flags and introduce the whole religion here! Note that it is illegal to be a single parent here and, since, same-sex marriage is not available, that means that a same-sex couple cannot reproduce (unless wealthy enough to pay for a child’s education, health care, etc. privately).

Why not copy the Gates Foundation with its “All Lives Have Equal Value” mantra? There are people in the U.S. who receive suboptimal health care, but the Gates Foundation folks concluded that, if all lives have equal value, the same amount of dollars and effort would go a lot farther in Africa. If “All LGBTQIA+ Lives Have Equal Value,” then wouldn’t it make sense to concentrate one’s lobbying in a country where same-sex marriage is not available at all, rather than one where same-sex marriage might entail some hassle?

A high-calorie hate parade in a Suzhou cake shop:

A righteous friend (another cisgender heterosexual male, I think) answered in the negative:

sadly, I think in this case we need to fight it here to keep our own house safe. then we can go deal with other nations. I am unhappy to say that, but it would be a shame to be off fighting for right in a foreign land, and then suddenly discover that you are no longer welcome back home….

I poked at him:

in the US, it seems that at worst a same-sex couple might have to patronize a cake shop run by the righteous. In China, the unhappy couple wouldn’t be able to get married at all (and if they traveled to Massachusetts on the spectacular Hainan Airlines for $650 round trip, as I just did, their MA marriage wouldn’t be recognized back home I don’t think). The Gates Foundation realized that the greatest need was overseas. Why isn’t the same true for the rainbow flag evangelists?

He responded:

a persons ability to BE an evangelist, and work a foreign country on issues like this, is 100% dependent upon that person having a strong place to stand in their home nation. the fastest way for the Chinese (or whomever) to sabotage the ability of americans to work in China on this (or any issue) is to attack them in the US, and I do not know if we get to blame China for the current difficulties here in the US, but those difficulties are certainly happening.

Me (jetlag is a great motivation to prod the Facebook righteous!):

couldn’t you make the same argument for the Gates Foundation then? Until every American has perfect health care, they shouldn’t be trying to improve things for the world’s poorest? (separately, do you truly think the “difficulties” faced by an American same-sex couple are in any way comparable to the challenges overseas? In the US, a same-sex couple in which neither adult works can have four children, live in public housing, be on Medicaid (MassHealth here), and shop with food stamps (SNAP/EBT). In all 5 states (subject to public housing waiting lists) they can live an entirely taxpayer-funded same sex lifestyle, regardless of whether this proposed bill passes.)

Him:

if someone was threatening the gates foundation with the ability to exist, then yes, absolutely. but we all know that is not the case, they are a very richly endowed and powerful operation, so they do not have this problem.

Me:

I didn’t realize that this bill proposed the extermination of same-sex couples and their children. In that case, it is brave of opponents to take a stand against the US military and police state! (Like the NYT and CNN here in China. They bravely cover the crimes of Donald Trump, but don’t say anything about Hong Kong. Once Trump is fully impeached they will have a sufficient base of virtue to say something on the topic of Hong Kong.)

Him:

I do NOT think that the problems of same sex couples in other nations are the same as those in the US. In some countries, they would simply be executed. But, my point is not at all about making such a measurement of one vs. the other. I was pointing out that the ability of a US person to take the fight to other nations is very much based upon their ability to be at least somewhat secure in their selves here in the US.

Me:

like NYT/CNN! When the last Republican dies of old age or moves to Mexico (Canada having already been claimed by the Trump-resisting Democrats), they will then feel secure enough to cover events in Hong Kong in their China-distributed content.

Despite this learned exchange, the question in my mind remains live. Instead of trying to ferret out the last pockets of resistance to rainbow flagism in the U.S., why wouldn’t it make sense for LGBTQIA+ warriors to proselytize to the large populations worldwide that have never heard the Good News?

(Separately, I think it would be interesting to go to China with a male friend and go into a series of cake shops asking for an “Adam and Steve” themed cake for our upcoming nuptials. Ideally, get it all on video!)

Related:

  • “The Struggle for Gay Rights Is Over” (Atlantic): For those born into a form of adversity, sometimes the hardest thing to do is admitting that they’ve won. … Despite evident progress, however, many gay-rights activists are hesitant to exult in their victories. To listen to some movement grandees is to think that the situation has actually never been worse. … If you had told gay activists 10 or even five years ago that their energies would center upon campaigns related to various foods—forcing pious pastry chefs to make cakes and boycotting Chick-Fil-A, or “hate chicken,” because its Christian owner has donated money to efforts opposing same-sex marriage—most would have considered their missions complete.
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Speechless in Seattle

“Amid outcry, Seattle Public Library weighs decision to provide venue for ‘radical feminist’ event criticized as anti-trans” (Seattle Times):

Community members including transgender locals and trans allies have inundated the Seattle Public Library with calls and emails, asking the library system to cancel an upcoming event hosted by the Women’s Liberation Front— a self-described “radical feminist organization” that has publicly espoused what critics call anti-trans views.

The group’s event, titled “Fighting the New Misogyny: A Feminist Critique of Gender Identity,” is publicized as “a critical analysis of gender identity” that will “make powerful arguments for sex-based women’s rights,” according to the event page. The event, scheduled to be held Feb. 1 in the Microsoft Auditorium at the Seattle Public Library – Central Branch, has placed the library at the center of a firestorm over how it can maintain its commitment to evolving ideas of intellectual freedom, provide access to information for the entire community, and be an inclusive space where all patrons feel safe and welcome.

Sometimes the best way to be inclusive is to exclude!

The library bureaucrats had only the best of intentions in selecting the kind of speech that would be allowed in this taxpayer-funded venue:

Marcellus Turner, chief librarian for the Seattle Public Library (SPL), said in a statement that the event request from the Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF) was initially processed because it was labeled as a women’s-rights talk.

What if government bureaucrats are too busy to censor and deplatform on their own? Help is available from Alabama:

WoLF is not listed as a hate group in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s extensive documentation of such groups in the U.S.

(If the SPLC lists WoLF next year, they can do another story about how hate is thriving under the hated Hater in Chief: “Hate groups reach record high: The number of hate groups operating across America rose to a record high – 1,020 – in 2018 as President Trump continued to fan the flames of white resentment over immigration and the country’s changing demographics.”; note that the same SPLC page says that the number of hate groups in 2011 was 1,018. U.S. population was only 311.6 million in 2011 while it is 330.1 million today and therefore the number of hate groups per capita has actually fallen by roughly 6 percent. The Age of Trump is the dawning of a new Age of Brotherhood/Sisterhood/BinaryResisterhood?)

Below, the proposed venue in which attendees may be triggered by hearing that “Women are female and men are male. It’s just not complicated,” from “Kara Dansky, a lawyer, WoLF board member and a scheduled speaker at February’s event.” If anyone needs to run out to find a safe space, he/she/ze will have a $166 million palace of hardcopy books in which to seek shelter. What turned out to be a Rem Koolhaas homeless shelter opened three years before the Amazon Kindle was launched from the same city (2004 and 2007):

Related:

  • “Is LGBTQIA the most popular social justice cause because it does not require giving money?“: “Seemingly at least half of the retail stores in Seattle have an overt expression of support for the LGBTQIA community, e.g., a rainbow flag. Americans identifying as LGBTQIA are not half of the population, right? Why would stores managed and staffed by cisgender heterosexuals hang rainbow flags outside of Pride Month? Maybe folks in Seattle are unusually big-hearted and sympathetic to the vulnerable and victimized? Evidence against that theory is the enormous population of homeless who wander the streets and receive no assistance or attention from passersby. The good citizens of Seattle will step over a homeless person to get into a Tesla and drive to the rainbow flag shop. I didn’t see any store with a sign admonishing customers to do more or care more for the homeless or the poor.”
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Possible explanation for media enthusiasm for middle class welfare

American newspapers are tireless advocates for what are essentially middle class welfare programs: affordable housing, Medicare for all, etc. These proposals won’t help the poor, all of whom are already eligible for taxpayer-funded housing, taxpayer-funded health care (Medicaid), taxpayer-funded food (SNAP), and a taxpayer-funded smartphone.

This union-authored study of pay at the Washington Post may provide some insight:

For the 290 salaried male newsroom employees working at The Post, the median salary is $116,065. For the 284 salaried female newsroom employees, it is $95,595.

(Separate question: if women are less expensive to employ and work just as effectively, why does a profit-oriented guy like Jeff Bezos hire any men at all?)

In other words, it turns out that the folks who author the news in D.C. are earning close to the income limit for affordable housing for a family of 4 in D.C. If they get a pay raise they end up in the slavery zone for an American: not rich enough to afford a decent apartment in a nice area, not poor enough to qualify for any subsidies. The result is an apartment in Rockville or a house in Frederick and 2-3 hours of daily commuting.

So it is possible that they advocate for a planned economy and lavish middle-class handouts for purely altruistic reasons, but this advocacy is also consistent with their personal situation.

Related:

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Billionaire Raj: only a bigger government can address the inequality create by a big government

I’m listening to the Billionaire Raj on Audible. For those of us who live in a U.S.-centric bubble, there is a lot of interesting modern history regarding India’s most successful people and enterprises, including Mukesh Ambani who lives in a $2 billion house in Mumbai and was rich enough to spend $30 billion building a from-scratch mobile operator called Jio. Some of the success seems to come from rapid growth in an immature economy, which therefore offers niches that don’t exist in Germany, Japan, or the U.S. (what start-up could realistically compete with Verizon, for example?). The author attributes most of the success, however, to cronyism. Current Indian billionaires were those who got early licenses and permits from paid-off friends in politics and government. Maybe they don’t need to bother with bribes now because they have huge market share and momentum.

The author, James Crabtree, makes righteous-sounding statements about the dramatic income and wealth inequality that prevails in India today. Implicit in his decrying of the current situation is that the Indian government needs to grow in size and capacity until money can be taken away from the undeserving billionaires and distributed to the worthy poor. He draws dozens of comparisons between India’s current crop of billionaires and the robber barons that grew rich in the late 19th century United States.

The book itself contradicts this comparison. Crabtree paints India pre-1990 as having a centrally planned economy with at least as many restrictions as the Soviet Union. Nobody could buy or sell anything without approval from a government bureaucrat. Nobody could get on a plane and leave the country without government permission. The Indian government, even in its stripped-down post-1990 form, is vastly larger and more powerful than the U.S. government was in the 1800s.

There are some good sections on the infrastructure of corruption. Most people don’t know how to bribe government officials and wouldn’t want to learn how. Thus, a corrupt society encourages the development of a layer of middlemen agents who obtain the required permits from government officials. If they’re paying bribes, the customer of the agent never need know.

Ever wonder why the folks calling with credit card refinancing scams all have Indian accents? There are plenty of people worldwide who speak English and quite a few are willing to work at low wages. Crabtree makes the case that India has the world’s richest and deepest tradition of corruption.

The author studied government and public policy and his proposal for India is essentially that government be “reformed” so that bribery and inefficiency are eliminated in favor of enlightened technocracy. Once that is done, presumably, then an Elizabeth Warren-style sanding down of the billionaires will take place to address the scourge of inequality.

Yet it is unclear how this glorious reform is to be achieved. The author describes Indian politics as driven by castes competing for victimhood status and parties promising to dole out government jobs and other government-controlled resources to victim castes. All party activities are fueled by cash from successful businesses and business owners. (Corrupt politicians are punished, however; after 18 years of prosecution and procedure, J. Jayalalithaa was sentenced to 4 years in prison (she served one month before returning to office).)

Ultimately the book is unconvincing regarding the source of wealth of current Indian billionaires. The book describes some of them going bust after making investments that were a bit too daring. The book describes Ambani being unable to get the government to approve helicopter operations off the roof of his $2 billion house. If he’s a government crony, why can’t he get his helipad? GE was able to get their cronies in the City of Boston to approve a helipad in South Boston that nobody else had been able to get (a condition of GE moving its HQ to Massachusetts). Certainly it seems that the Indian billionaires gambled big and won big as the economy continued to grow. And probably they faced a less competitive environment than in some countries with smaller governments and markets closer to the Econ 101 ideal.

Despite the logical contradictions and absurd dreams of hyper-efficient and hyper-honest government in a country that has a multi-century tradition of the opposite, the Billionaire Raj is useful for shaking the American reader out of the notion that the U.S. and China are the only places where big business happens.

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Whites cashing in on non-white victimhood

Tonight at our local school (free tickets):

Waking up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race

Please join the Lincoln community as we welcome Debby Irving – local author, racial justice educator, and public speaker. Debby will present in a workshop format utilizing stories from her life to exploring systemic racism that goes largely unnoticed but feeds long-held radicalized belief systems. By sharing, her struggle to understand racism and racial tensions, she offers a fresh perspective of bias stereotypes, manners, and tolerance. As she unpacks her own long-held beliefs about color blindness, being a good person, and wanting to help people of color, she reveals how each of these well-intentioned mindsets actually perpetuated her ill-conceived ideas about race. She also explains why and how she’s changed the way she talks about racism, works in racially mixed groups, and understands the racial justice movement as a whole.

From Amazon:

Debby Irving is an emerging voice in the national racial justice community. Combining her organization development skills, classroom teaching experience, and understanding of systemic racism, Irving educates and consults with individuals and organizations seeking to create racial equity at both the personal and institutional level.

Irving grew up in Winchester, Massachusetts, during the socially turbulent 1960s and ’70s. After a blissfully sheltered, upper-middle-class suburban childhood, she found herself simultaneously intrigued and horrified by the racial divide she observed in nearby Boston. Her career began in a variety of urban performance-art and community-based non-profits, where she repeatedly found that her best efforts to “help” caused more harm than the good she intended. Her one-step-forward-two-steps-back experience of racial understanding eventually lead her to dig deeply into her own white privilege, where she found truths she never knew existed. Waking Up White describes that journey and the lessons learned along the way.

Now a racial justice educator and writer, Irving works with other white people to transform confusion into curiosity and anxiety into action. She’s worked in private and public urban schools, both in the classroom and at the board level, to foster community among students, teachers, staff, and families by focusing on honest dialog that educates and connects people through shared interests and divergent backgrounds. A graduate of the Winsor School in Boston, she holds a BA from Kenyon College and an MBA from Simmons College. Waking Up White is her first book.

Amazon reader reviews:

A summary of the book: a white person from a wealthy, old-money, well-connected family has a crisis of conscience, then proceeds to take the pain and suffering of hundreds of millions past and present people of color, co-opts it and makes it all about herself, then sells a book to other white people and makes even more money. At the center appears to be a desperate concern about what others think about her. She wants you to think that she is a good person. Your opinion on that topic matters greatly to her.

She gave a talk at my school. Her examples are very dated and her research limited.

There are few books that will lower one’s IQ faster than this smarmy self-centered tome dedicated to the joke called “white privilege.” Leftist drivel combined with pitiful and laughable narratives combine to make a it a horrific read. My horror mounted as I realized that some poor students probably had to read this dreck and pretend that it has meaning in order to obtain the mandatory credit in a self-hate course.

Complete and utter trash. Ideal for use with an open fire, BURNS WELL!

Related:

  • the school building, renovated or brand new as of 25 years ago, will soon be bulldozed and replaced with the most expensive, per-student, school ever built in the United States (residents voted enthusiastic for the spending project and are now arguing bitterly over how to distribute the burden of paying for it!)
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Bill Gates: Income taxes great; wealth taxes bad

“Bill Gates criticises Elizabeth Warren’s plan for tax on super-rich” (BBC):

Under the original plan, households with a net worth between $50m (£39m) and $1bn (£780m) will be charged with a 2% “wealth tax” every year. This would rise to 3% for any households with a net worth of over $1bn.

But last week, Ms Warren suggested doubling the latter rate – from 3% to 6%. She said the money raised from this new tax would be used to fund her healthcare plan, which is expected to cost the federal government $20.5tn over 10 years.

Mr Gates hit back at the idea during a talk at the New York Times DealBook conference in New York on Wednesday.

I’m all for super-progressive tax systems,” he said. “I’ve paid over $10 billion in taxes. I’ve paid more than anyone in taxes. If I had to pay $20 billion, it’s fine.

“But when you say I should pay $100 billion, then I’m starting to do a little math about what I have left over,” he added. “You really want the incentive system to be there without threatening that.”

(I don’t understand his statement that he has paid $10 billion in taxes. If he mostly let his Microsoft stock sit or donated it to his foundation, why did he have to pay capital gains tax? Certainly he would not have had a substantial amount of ordinary income that would attract the high ordinary income tax rates that he has advocated. Maybe the $10 billion is capital gains tax on venture capital investments that he made on which he was forced to exit, e.g., due to an acquisition? Plus some from selling Microsoft stock to diversify? Or he is referring to corporate taxes paid by Microsoft (see below) that he paid indirectly?)

He’s “all for super-progressive tax systems,” but with one exception!

Related:

  • Microsoft’s pre-Trump corporate tax system: “By conducting sales from places with small populations and low tax rates, and routing some profit through virtually tax-free jurisdictions like Bermuda, Microsoft has cut billions of dollars from its tax bill over the last decade.”
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49 percent of Washington State voters see themselves as victims

Yesterday’s post regarding Kshama Sawant, the immigrant running for reelection on a platform of “the rent is too damn high,” motivated me to check the election results. Ms. Sawant was the only incumbent to have lost. More interestingly, 48.7 percent of Washington State voters say “yes” to reinstating affirmative action:

I-1000, the measure passed by lawmakers, aims to increase diversity in public contracting, employment and education, while barring the use of quotas or preferential treatment.

Affirmative-action supporters say such measures are necessary to address longstanding and broad discrimination against women and people of color. One example they cite is data showing a drop in contracts with the state for certified women- and minority-owned businesses.

But throughout the campaign, opponents of affirmative action — led by a group of Chinese immigrants — said the policy gives the government the power to discriminate.

If we assume that people vote their self-interest, then we can conclude from the election result that nearly half of the voters in Washington State expected to benefit from official victim status.

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LGBTQIA is out at Brown University…

…. because TGQN is in.

I visited a group house in which the students attending this Ivy League university vow “We reject systems that create and reinforce inequality” as a “guiding principle”.

I visited the FBO at the nearby airport, whose ramp was groaning with private jets that had arrived for Parents’ Weekend. Sometimes it is only by spinning three turbojet engines that one can reject inequality…

I had a sandwich at U Melt, which welcomes everyone except those without money:

(The sign plus the absence of any kind of program to provide meals for the poor is more evidence for my theory that social justice causes that don’t cost more than the price of a sign are the most popular.)

Fun on the main student drag:

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Evidence for theory explaining LGBTQIA promotion popularity

Back in August, I asked “Is LGBTQIA the most popular social justice cause because it does not require giving money?”

Here’s some evidence for the theory, from downtown Washington, D.C.:

The church is surrounded by begging homeless people and a McLaren automobile that costs roughly $150,000 per seat (perfect for sitting in D.C. gridlock!). Are the church and its parishioners concerned about poverty or inequality? Apparently not, since the only cause promoted with a sign regards LGBTQIA.

(In this cause, the church is competing with the D.C. government. City building a few blocks away:

“The District has a higher level of income inequality than any state in the country” and yet the “Mayor’s Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Affairs” has its programs featured in the taxpayer-funded building rather than anything to do with poverty.)

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