Thursday, March 5, 2020

Social Credit: More than just money?

Summer Vegetable Garden -- Miriam's Kitchen, Foggy Bottom, Washington, D.C.
I wonder if people have heard about a social credit system before. This would be more than getting a pat on on the back or a friendly smile. (Although that's important too). It could be based on points, sort of like racking up points when you shop at Walgreens. Here's how former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang describes it. "Time banking is a system through which people trade time and build credits within communities by performing various tasks---transporting an item, walking a dog, cleaning up a yard, cooking a meal, providing a ride to the doctor, and so on."

 I could see this being a social good right now for so many of my friends. For instance, Sally volunteers at a community 501c3 club, and pours her heart-and-soul into all the activities. But there are only (4) paid time slots and for some reason, even though Sally can use the money, she and about 10 other people are passed over. Imagine if Sally had about 20,000 Social Credits in a time-banking account! She could trade in points for necessities, services in kind, and even VIP perks, such as getting to meet a celebrity in person. The Sallies I know would be thrilled, and so many more people would start reinvesting in their communities and hobbies such as painting, dancing, writing.

 As a matter of fact, Yang credits Edgar Cahn, a law-professor and anti-poverty activist, as the "founder of Time Banking" in the 1990s. And there are already time-banking systems in about 200 communities around the United States! In Brattleboro, Vermont, their local time bank has 315 members who have exchanged 64,000 hours of mutual work over the past eight years. There is also an active social credit system in China, but in the U.S.A. we have the power to take this to whole new levels with smart "digital social credit (DSC) exchanges" using our free phones, public computers, message boards, empty offices, etc.

Even though I hate getting messaged a lot, even a cheerful "Thanks for helping out today as a Tutor! You have earned 100 Social Credits" might help me feel more than just appreciated. Not too many people I know are like Janet or George, who volunteer so many hours with People for Fairness Coalition; or the exceptional food chefs at SOME, Miriam's Kitchen, and DC Central Kitchen. With time-banking, they can be rewarded and recognized for being great role models and an inspiration for all of us.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Why homeless people become entrapped in the stereotype

N-Street Village Shero Walk shields, October 2018

Why poor people entrap themselves into a losing stereotype?
  
First, we want to thank community shelter programs such as N Street Village and Catholic Charities for helping ensure that homeless people can find a place to stay. Tonight it will be in the thirties for the first time in the D.C. metropolitan region and it's heartbreaking to see that some people sleep outside on a park bench with only a blanket for cover.

Sheltering program savior 

There are people who actually come in from out of town to Franklin Park just to provide the overflow (those who couldn't get into shelters) a nice hot breakfast. The volunteers are often ordinary people who drive in, serve hot coffee and maybe something like hotdogs. We all burn more calories quickly especially when the temperatures start to freeze.

Living at a shelter program, we are considered much more fortunate, even if it is only low-barrier. The categories come in low-barrier, transitional, permanent supportive housing, and vouchers. Low-barrier is entry-level for anyone that is coming in from the cold, and sometimes people stay in low-barrier for years. D.C. has set a goal of placing 4000 people in affordable housing in 2018, but the numbers are tied to area redevelopments that in turn are tied to the availability of low-cost bonds. 

But because of the Trump Administration, even tools for establishing low-cost bonds for affordable housing projects have been axed under the new federal tax bill. Next City reports how Washington, D.C., like many other cities across the country, is dealing with the housing crisis:
"D.C.’s Council recently approved a new $10 million affordable housing preservation fund, and not a moment too soon. The city lost around 1,000 units of subsidized housing between 2006 and 2014 and another 13,700 units have subsidies that are set to expire in 2020."
Gentrification is a hot-button issue in many metropolitan areas, but at least our Mayor maintains her promises. Because there are people holding the government accountable, they must also update their lists of current affordable housing projects underway.

Tied to drug abuse history or worse

What makes it difficult for even the most liberal empathetic observers is how homeless people conduct themselves in public. Not all, but many exhibit deranged behaviors which are particularly troubling in communications. Some of this may have to do with their dishabille or their mental habitue. That is amplified by their homeless state, by their sense of insecurity, but also by their excitement when they compare themselves with others. 

In this blog, we described already how those of the rentier class aggravate the humiliations of the poor, but now we want to flip the perspective, how the poor operate to entrap themselves. This is not to say that the security guards and police are not also carrying out acts of intimidation----they are. But it is also the case that the acts of a few ill-bred homeless people can stand out and breed more contempt by passersby. Passersby even draw faulty conclusions about race and poverty, when it has become a class divide: those who gainfully employed (dollars) versus those employed but not as gainfully. 

The in-drifters from other parts of the country are setting up near places which are often important transition points. They set up a bed and stay there all day guarding their bedding, blearily conducting conversation with one another, and pan-handling.

Especially this is so because the D.C. has become known as a welcoming place, now certain areas have become homeless congregation points. Because of their mental incapacity, many homeless people literally just sit around all day. They may read the newspaper, watch some entertainment on YouTube, but otherwise they literally don't seem to do much. 

Giving the shelter a bad reputation

In a conversation the other night overheard among some women at our shelter, they were wondering aloud why certain women, usually the bad-apples in the cart, stand around outside the shelter for hours at a time. It goes beyond just being outside to have a smoke or share some camaraderie. They pointed out some hidden need to negatively mark their turf. 

Why do they have to mark it off in a way that gives our shelter a poor reputation?

It's a worrying thought when most reasonable liberals observe that incoming reactionaries (of which a predictable lot came with Trump) do try to upset the apple cart when they make known they don't want said homeless shelter near their luxury apartment building. They have the power to attend neighborhood council meetings, file complaints, and make their views known. 

Don't shelter residents know this? Can't they connect the dots between poor behavior and consequences?

Sadly for the decent poor women at our shelter, disturbed residents just don't give a sh*t. That is really their philosophy---and they call that street toughened---even street smarts, when the don't give a sh*t manage to scare off, intimidate, delude, or otherwise manipulate someone into believing they are other than what they want from you at the moment.

Why they don't give a sh*t

The loser-dialectic is similar to the learned-helplessness dialectic and runs along the lines of: 
"I can't be helped no matter what you do, so let me just wallow in my helplessness."
Most normal adults quickly grow out of any kind of learned-helplessness because they realize it is not just a crutch but an impediment if they want to become responsible people. However a good percentage of homeless people don't outgrow their learned helplessness, and it even inflames into the loser-dialectic: 

"You can't tell me what to do. I can disrespect you however I like, but you better not disrespect me. I will mess with you anytime I want to just for fun."
Women don't often display the loser-dialectic in public, but they will inside the shelter. Why? Because for a lot of women, home is their domain, their seat of power. And especially the dorm room, where many mind-games are played to establish "pecking order." 

The most brutish women repeatedly bait, insult, deride, "dress-down" targets, and when the target reports, the gang will even use group denial, imply target was imagining things, or even counter-attack the advocate. (Advocates themselves can become targets for "breaking in" whether abuse or sistering).

Also certain women (and men) come to love shelters because of the voyeurism-exhibitionist possibilities. They love the idea of undressing and sitting around nude for others to see. 

The pecking order is usually arbitrary and even morphs, but it generally is done to test the system, to challenge authority, for entertainment, and to "break" vulnerable residents. We say it is arbitrary because the losers are not motivated by any kind of ideals, but often from ingrained psychological habitue. It doesn't matter who the victim is except that they are seen as more vulnerable than the rest. The victim could be liberal, easy-going, working part-time in education, and except for residency at the shelter, even a well-adjusted person in society.

Or it could be someone who "they" observe who "farts too much, coughs without covering her mouth, sneezes too much, doesn't bathe often enough." Or it could be someone who "keeps to herself" and therefore doesn't have enough allies to defend her. Whoever it is, they just try to keep at it, every day, no matter what measures are taken to smooth things over.

Institution treats the stereotype

Something any resident must get used to is the hardened jaded social worker. Someone who has bounced from one job to another in penal, hospital, group homes and such so much they, too, "no longer give a sh*t." One's impression when one encounters the institutional sergeant is exactly what they intend more or less:
"You better not tell me what to do. I can disrespect you however I like, but you better not disrespect me. I will mess with you anytime I want to just for fun."
In other words, they are the mirror image of the "don't give a sh*t" inmates or residents; they even aid and abet one another in their schemes, as one sees in movies like "Escape from Alcatraz." So long as residents float along contentedly with the day programs, they get a free meal ticket and some positive strokes. Residents who are the targets of bullies, ironically, even become the targets of institutionalized social workers. 

Gratefully, N Street does know about their bullying problem by now. They can't help but take action in an area which is churning out new social workers every semester, with some of the more hapless college students ending up having to live in the very same system. Social advocates and workers are encouraged to rotate floors and even shelters. Other methods are also being created to prevent too much bonding which can create favoritism, etc. 

But the bottom line is whether or not homeless people are really helped? Beyond food, housing, clothing, does their outlook and person change? The social worker perspective, much like Carl Rogers philosophy, is once the whole person or student is provided for, they are empowered to learn, change, grow.

Can't change people from the outside

Maybe the bottom line is you can't change people from the outside. Spiritual types such as Jains, are known to starve themselves in order to improve their potential for enlightenment. If you institute religion, mandatory courses, that the homeless residents must take there can be some improvement. It really depends on the individual and quality of the classroom.

For instance, at the low-barrier shelter, we used to have daily morning programs. To save money, they cut that out early in the summer. The results are not that much different. When the program was in place, at least a quarter of the women would attend at least one class. The class topic usually included communication, assertiveness, motivation, art, computer learning, etc. These are very basic classes because of the spectrum in abilities. 

Our observation was it seemed to help, but the positive improvement didn't last. For many "street-hardened" types, these kinds of classes are like sugar-coating on a cough drop. It can help the taste of cough drop, the cough drop will help control the coughing, but the underlying problems are still there. 

Another analogy is the "don't give a sh*t" who attends church, maybe even bible school. This gal genuinely embraces bible-learning, knows the readings, knows all the parables, has formed friends, and by all appearances has advanced in spirituality. Yet for the most part her behavior at the shelter is much the same. She is exhibitionist, voyeuristic, loud, meddlesome, and sides with other bullies often instinctively. For her part she believes that she has advanced reasoning skills because she reads a lot, talks a lot, learns a lot. Nevertheless her taste for gossip-mongering, her expression of prejudices, her scheming tendencies are very much embedded in her character permanently.

Its not that "don't give a sh*t"will never change. One cannot fault her for not being "street smart" enough since she always knows where the next bazaar is going to be. She essentially loves where she is at, and she can commiserate with so many who also reinforce her worldview and prejudices and behavioral tendencies and high self-regard. 

High self-regard will be confuted for self-esteem

As long as a bevy of women can sit around and cite intelligently the details of Empire tv show they all share a high self-regard. This self-regard is founded upon the notion that they are empowered to act empowered by whatever means necessary. This includes embellishing their biographic details, obsessing over things loud and long, switching personas, etc.

Inside, although they know that should they actually challenge themselves, they have barriers to overcome. Separately, as they stand outside the shelter or hang around the neighborhood, they know they are not doing what other people are doing; they know that they may see their peers at the shelter working part-time or full-time, and feel jealous. 

But that is really the extent that they challenge themselves is to try to balance their feeling of jealousy by bullying vulnerable residents or the working resident if they decide it is convenient. The self-regard is stroked by assuming the responsibility for predicting outcomes in a t.v. show. Our society recognizes and rewards delusional self-regard, and no one is explaining where true self-esteem comes from anymore. You might even say there the  national model for overcoming jealousy is by enacting whatever necessary to remain first; therefore, beating up on minorities by other minorities is vicarious social-learning.

Put another way, "don't give a sh*t" are satisfied knowing how to spell, define and characterize what self-esteem is, but are content to look the other way when it applies to themselves in a genuine way. Whether homeless people are just another manifestation or product of a society that is given to superficiality and exploitation is a topic for another day.




























 

Monday, August 13, 2018

Big Brother's Little Brother: IT Workers

Image from http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/Alien

There's a bit of negativity to this but it can only come from the alienated feeling you get seeing how BAD IT workers are nowadays. They have moved enmasse into every major metropolitan area in the country. The excuse is that proximity to power centers help. However one can't help wondering if this is planned displacement of lower income race populations. The displacement doesn't just mean that black residents are forced to relocate across the border and must make longer commutes.

It's a cultural displacement as well. When there are less solid black voting blocs in the D.C and other Metropolitan regions that has a negative impact on the politics. According to The Root.com:

These days, D.C is more of a caramel-latte-colored city. While the black population reached as high as 71 percent in the 1970 census, it now stands at 47 percent. Blacks are no longer the largest ethnic group in Oakland, and the New York City home of Biggie, Jay Z and Spike Lee is now the poster child for large-scale, sweeping gentrification.

That representation is already reflected in the number of black council members in D.C. as if in lockstep with the lowering percent. There are only six black council members out of thirteen possible. Could it be that this will change the voting demographics as well?

Gentrification is changing the nation, and with it, the face of the American political landscape is slowly shifting. Areas that were once no-brainer Democratic strongholds are slowly transforming into whiter, more affluent regions where party lines have been blurred in the last decade. As cities across the country become more diverse, their black populations have decreased significantly, leaving the traditional base of the Democratic Party struggling for a foothold in national politics and diminishing the power of the black vote.

The presence of more affluent young white people (millennials) in the area do bring some advantages. There are lots more trendy eateries, coffee shops, pet grooming salons, and bicycle stores than there used to be. There are also bars, taverns, urban outfitters, whole foods, trader joes, and all the stuff that identifies with a more highly paid rentier class with money to throw away including on tattoos, whores, and wild parties.

It is sad to notice that these white people are so self-indulgent, but it's not a new phenomenon in the nation's capitol. But breeding of callousness does inculcate a sense of classism, entitlement, privilege, and contempt for the poor. It's visible on young faces and even laughable.

They don't OWN the concrete box they live in, mostly they just RENT like everyone else. The luxury apartment owner is the one raking in millions of dollars a month. The luxury apartment owner keeps the residents on the LEASE-LEASH, meaning often times there is no sense of real community in these buildings, just a sense of "clubbism" that is endemic with name-branded identity.

So yes, it's very sad because we've been here before in history, with the British Colonials. They don't care that the mean colonized citizen is earning such paltry amounts that they can barely survive. They don't seem to understand that they are being used as Little Brother and Little Sister in monitoring and manipulating the public. They don't realize that the tables might turn once Artificial Intelligence truly takes off and robots can perform all types of computer upkeep and maintenance.

Just as in George Orwell's 1984 novel, the totalitarian state needs to keep a tight lid on all media, and so the Internet is becoming increasingly policed. Young IT workers relish their role like physical security guards. They think they are doing a great thing 8-10 hours a day, so that once they leave work, the party can begin.

Thanks to them our democratic society is slowly dying away. Courses in literature and readings in self-improvement don't mean much in a society with so few bookstores. They may be scrolling through self-selected or AI selected news, but serious reading is no longer popular in the Age of Trump. Besides what if they decided to read Gilded Age by Mark Twain? Wouldn't they be learning too much on the ultimate price of our new-found fossil-fuel glories?

Contemporary culture has already furnished them all they need to know! Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Buffy the Vampire, and all those (trashy) shows for the girls, and lots of Mine-craft or World of Warcraft for the boys. How could we mistake them for being willing dupes or brainwashed?



Funny how little these people notice when businesses go bust, whether it's two or three Panera Breads, Uprising Coffee house, Rural Society, or other places that just didn't make the cut with them.  Their rule of the day appears to be "It's always good, always!"

I would like to write about the wonderful IT warriors and what a sh*t assed job they did objectifying my domain listing at Who.is. Those nice bored jack-offs.


Here's what I wrote regarding the increases in hidden costs for internet hosting where ten years ago, you automatically received HTTPS and SSL with all your domains. Now, not only must you pay extra for SSL but deal with the paradox that the people who pose a threat to my website are IT workers themselves! They are the ones who have the time to place smear tags, conduct trolling, hack websites as a hobby, and write SEO algorithms so indynews sites are snowed under. (And just so you know, my domains have NOTHING in common with the "similar domains" listed. Never has. My domains deal with real-life issues and problems around the world---not treacle for bored boys.)

 IT professionals especially the ones in the big metro areas such as SF, Washington, DC, and Seattle, have a BAD REPUTATION. By BAD they think we mean we think they are a bunch of Harrison Ford Road Warrior types. Wrong. I don't mean macho, although for city boys, they all like to act like they are country cravens, purchase clothing at urban outfitters, eat at Founding Farmers, hang out at bars, shop at Whole Foods where they sit and hang out, and hire out whores. 

One bunch of IT professionals in Bellevue, Wa even designed software so they could run a Pimp Agency pimping out these North Korean girls (K-girls). Another bunch of IT professionals engages in soft porn and kiddie porn marketing all day long, so long and boring are their days. And we all know about Booz Allen Hamilton and warrier Edward Snowden who also used to hang out a lot at the strip bars. Then I also recall that in college, what a bunch of competitive, ruthless, selfish jerks the computer science guys were.

When we think about how much harder other people work for a daily living, and the ramifications of a planet being overrun by IT cyber warriors, competing for defense money and such, and drone bombing all these helpless civilians for fun, just like they are still in middle-school playing a drone-game, it is just plain SICK.

 

Yes, let's hope someday their jobs will be taken over by AI smart IT robots. Then they will really understand what we are getting at. 1984. Big Brother doesn't really need Little Brother.

















Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Our Homeless America November 22, 2017

You have no roots anymore
When you become homeless, it is like you have no roots anymore. There is so much to tell and the problems are so complex that the only way to address Our Homeless America is to start a new blog.

Our Homeless America


At the present time, all the media networks are blaring out the good news.

Everybody please pay attention! We care! 

Don't believe it? There are X-number of Free Thanksgiving Meals being served at X-number churches in your area. Or maybe it is X-number community halls. And X-number of charities and fraternities and sororities are handing out gift-bags filled with healthcare items. And X-number of nonprofits are also giving away piles and piles of fluffy coats this year, too!

What's not to like about America? We CARE about the homeless! 

Buddhist Master Li writes in Lecture 6 that sometimes, giving is not all it's meant to be. It's not that giving is not good. We are all thankful that like never before, mixed in with the salacious news stories are human-interest stories about the homeless receiving their very first something for the first time. 

Become a Street Sense Media Vendor

Most of the social workers consider themselves blessed to be able to give so much as part of their careers. In fact, like never before, this area has lots of social workers. They seem to thrive whenever there is a sanctuary city.

But can they really put themselves in your place?

I doubt they can. This is from close contact with quite a few recently. Actually most are well-meaning. However at the shelter they really get some mean ones for some reason. And at the churches they have some very dithery types as well, who seem to mistake your visit for one purpose as an excuse to address all your problems (as they see it) in one fell swoop.

Sweeping generalizations have never been more rife in America!

Thanks to our highly technological society there is no longer any real need for learning. What we now call learning is more like rote-situational learning. You learn what you need to pass a test, and then forget all about it. Same goes with ethics, social mores, social justice, and all the rest. (In fact, I am convinced that all this massive display of charity is at least partly associated with community based learning and volunteering for college credits.)

Here is one example. So if I happen to be wearing a vest that says:

Street Sense Media, Help the Homeless Help themselves!

The minute I don my vest, my prestige in society takes a massive dive.
Suddenly everyone on the train realizes "She's homeless!" People look at me with chagrin, pity, contempt, loathing, despair. Some guys think I am "free for the taking."

She's a free, liberated homeless woman, boys! Ha-ha! 

You can imagine if I were a lot younger that there might even be a few pimp types, men or women, trying to direct me to sell my body for some sex-work.


NEVER do the brunt of the average unreasoning consumerist-obsessed Americans wonder:

Could she be volunteering for a good cause?

No, most Americans WANT to jump to a NEGATIVE conclusion about me wearing the vest.

HEY WHITEY, YOU ARE HOLDING A DRINK! YOU MUST BE AN ALCOHOLIC!

That's what I want to say to these oafish louts who pass by, never bothering to stop or even ask a question. They are too busy dealing with their addictions.

 THERE YOU ARE WHITEY, BACK AT STARBUCKS AGAIN, SOME DRUG ADDICT!

Americans also no longer think about Whole Foods, Inc. being bought by a slave-driving type entity who exploits workers so he can pretend he is one of the world's richest guys. They don't think about how often the chain lies about foods that are not as wholesome, organic, or fair-trade as they claim. For one thing, most of the chefs and food-workers at Whole Foods often appear harried, so overworked and underpaid, while faced with the bevy of Oh-So-Cool-I-Must-Be-to-Be-Here shoppers. But of course the hipsters are there to look cool, and so it doesn't really matter what is hiding in the back there. Just keep being blind about it.

Everything is under control, said Hal.

In fact, most of the hipsters can't even recall a time when people protested, demonstrated, and lobbied for Earth Day, for environmental food protections, for adequate labeling, for fair wages, for jobs with union pay and conditions, and for paid holidays.

👄 HIPSTERS LIVE ON CLOUD 9. THEY HAVE NO TIME TO CONNECT WITH REAL PEOPLE. 👄

We are all around you, bubba, but you can't be bothered looking around, you are so busy texting while you walk in your cute $100 sneakers. You can't see an African-American except for what he represents: dollar value lent to the developer so your building is now one of the fanciest. All those African Americans around you are just value-laden investment globules for when you sell out. 

In fact, in our homeless America, Americans have become blind to all but the good fortune of success. They don't think, they don't reason, they stare at little tablets, iphones, and boob tubes, while cramming more tasteless overpriced food down their gut. 

 But here is THE SECRET IF YOU ARE A STREET SENSE VENDOR:

They ARE watching you! Having fought and clawed their way up to the Greatest Capital on Earth, they are filled with Schadenfreude. They WANT desperately for you to feel frustrated, lose your cool, become angry. THAT WILL MAKE THEM CRY WITH KARMIC SATANIC JOY. 👿

BECAUSE THEY LOST THEIR SENSE OF HUMANITY A LONG, LONG TIME AGO. ALL THAT NOW MAKES THEM FEEL HUMAN IS GETTING OFF MAKING SURE HOW EVERYONE SEES HOW VERY disengaged, smug, simpering, correct, appropriate, conformist, craven, consumerist they are. They KNOW their function is to HELP LEND A LESS DEMOCRATIC ATMOSPHERE, if not destroy the black democratic voting base, so that there really is no longer much of any kind of democratic party system in America.

And where that ends, there will be No New Deal Anymore for America.  More short term gains in exchange for long term losses for the democratic social contract.

And they won't do anything ever except conform, clap happy hands to the T.V., weep when told to, and adopt an air of philanthropy once a year when everyone else says it's time to.

SO PLEASE, DON'T LOSE YOUR COOL. WHEN EVERYONE BECOMES A DISASTER VICTIM, AS WORLD WAR III WILL SOON MAKE US ALL, EVEN THE SS WILL BE FED UP WITH THEIR SILLY GOOSESTEPPING CLOWN-CAPITALIST NARCISSISM.