Monday, September 7, 2020

Social Engineering Already Here: Branding by the Building

HUD Building looks like Luxury Tower 

                Social Engineering: Name-Branding Your Soul

    While this entry may sound like a personal story, it isn't. It's about a story of injustice and aggrievement being played out over and over all across the country ever since Covid-19. We presume that you are at least half-conscious of the pandemic which has forced global lockdowns and deprived people of their livelihoods, jobs, homes, adequate healthcare, access to public services, etc.

     A shutdown called by independent commentators such as The Last American Vagabond as a poor people's disease, because the rich take medicines we are not supposed to, have immediate access to healthcare, enjoy their vacation at home or escape to their favorite getaway, have gotten more filthy rich than ever due to their lawyers being able to economically engineer the Payment Protection Program (PPP) such that they are able to get a cut for their small business front companies, and laugh all the way to the Swiss bank about it while avoiding taxes.

    Despite TLAV holding the races on super-long broadcasts, leaning libertarian, and painting an information war with Surkov-style apathy, the observations take the rhetoric apart for us to see behind the curtain on what appears to be a move toward medical martial law, martial law, and just plain social totalitarianism. 

    There is the theoretical construct of a social democracy, such as has long existed in Europe, a destination that many refugees flee to when their home countries are stricken by war, drought, poverty, hunger, and disease. Europe appears to be the fat cow with larder enough for everyone, regardless of whether you paid land taxes or not, and a sort of cultural totalitarianism is underway.

    Totalitarianism is being ordered what to do by the authority of the moment, whether a bouncer at a biergarten, team member at your gym, paranoid neighbor, bossy Karen, a manipulative and controlling real estate agent, etc. They have a vested interest, like Trump, in a fanciful Hollywood image of their brand, and what can create more capital for them, and you are branded based on your usefulness to their marketing. Short of that, you are nothing to them.

    Am I being overly harsh about life for the lower 50%? No, on the contrary, things have never looked so bad, and the worst part is that we have an administration that lacks any kind of empathy, and his staff have all taken the personal loyalty oath, meaning they do not serve the people, they serve a private corporation embodied in Trump. At least 60% of the people or more inside the Beltway lean pro-conservative, pro-military, pro-big-business, pro-status quo. As long as their little fiefdoms are protected, they don't mind seeing the musical chairs game. They are advising their sons and daughters to walk around the circle faster, and grab hold of chair to sit on before the music stops. 

    The fortunate squeeze through the door but understand the rules regarding the unlucky. Whether it's a relative, neighbor, friend, they are, in the words of the beautiful eloquence of the Dayz of Noah, now labeled "pre-crime." Pre-crime is the label for the homeless, the unemployed, the underemployed, those without adequate documents, those without a permanent home, any older person of color, any person who is handicapped, any person with poor health, and so forth. One doesn't need to be a rocket scientist to notice that anyone can be suspected of falling into the undesirables category, or mistaken as such, and hence the growing sense of fear, paranoid, and playing cool-in-the-gang-lock-step fascinisto. 

    The point is that unlike in other countries, such as rural villages in the old-country, in China, or elsewhere, your unhappy misfortunate relatives are not welcome to stay with you, not allowed to stay for longer than a week, and you are encouraged to abuse them because "a poor person is bad marketing." 

    Yet what really goes on in some of these smart luxury towers inside the Beltway or in New York or Seattle. Everywhere the image is the same: young white couple obediently wearing face masks trotting out their fanciful dog of choice (who doesn't need a mask) so it can do whatever three times a day. They look like the Dick-and-Jane of pre-Rocky-Horror Picture Show, ever so clean, decent, proper, suave, wholesome-looking, etc. 

     Oh, are looks deceptive, as Eyes Wide Open, Stanley Kubrick's last movie do hint. You can never tell these days, who is post-Rocky-Horror Picture Show, and that is part of the Problem, to add to the heap of problems that the greatest country on Earth does not want to recognize or deal with. The administration is deadset on all manners of sideshows to derail what ought to be the true stories of the day, and what we all should be talking about, if only it were more like FDR. 

    So yes, we are faced with a growing number of homeless, of desperate home-owners, of jobless, of insecure, and these people of course are also stressed because our society will duly ostracize them and shame them if their instability is uncovered. These people probably have no time or energy to protest, but the orchestrated circuses of BLM vs T-Party Militia seemingly absorbs all of prime-time media. There are no bombs going off in Lebanon, no wildfires raging for months on end, no children trapped in detention centers, no crowded families squeezed into wire cages (as depicted by Amnesty International). Just a growing potential for what the administration wants most: more strife for more martial law.

    The people inside the Luxury Towers are not saints. Not by any stretch of the imagination where my sister lives. On the contrary, no actually saintly person would want to live there. It's the very reification of High Rise, a novel in which the upper floors of the Tower persecute and shame the lower floors. This is the problem with the rich who have no heart: they end up like the 40 Thieves in Alibaba, attempting to do one another in, showing one another up, with endless strife and competition because they have no sense of inner peace and grounding.

    Their sins are manifold, yet they are immune to prosecution and guiltless because they belong to The Club. So inside, they hold their rave parties, their footsteps on the floor sounding like sheep hooves prancing over your ceiling, for even though where my sister lives is pricey, the slab floors are thin and the wooden floor covering conveys the rattataptap until the wee hours. They swim or rather stand in the shallow rooftop pool, pasty Eastern skin slathered in gourmet coco-butter to spread sweet scents and entice the wrinkled but powerful. They gather in bunches at the pool sitting side-by-side, in-front of one-another, possibly even engaging in grinding motions. And whether or not there are bodily fluids leaking into the rare pool, when it leaks down to the floor below (which it does every other year), those occupants get a special kind of shower...

    This is social-engineering at its finest, Brave New World style. The nearby universities encourage their coeds to stay at this luxury apartment building, and the building always offers them a generous discount during their first year. College coeds, paying hefty tuitions, are not discouraged from meeting up with a sugar-daddy or two whether in the building, or welcomed into the building during their weekend parties. The local dealers all know which luxury building they can connect with, cultivating connections, and cruising around at night to peddle their pharmacopia from trunks. Just like Eyes Wide Open, the staff, the security, the so-called responsible establishment do not see these going-ons. They are never acknowledged, since that would be bad for their business.

    But everyone knows its part of the brand. That is also conveyed by the ghastly looking paintings hung on the wall, done in oil, perversion of scrimshaw, scrawls dribbled in phantasmagoria, conveying the psychedelic, and awakening the unsound senses. Knobby sculptures hinting of the body but missing major parts. Cheap slate flooring mistaken for expensive because of the floozy at the front desk. Sanity represented by male concierge in a suit who calls out his greetings to Floor 9, but ignores Floor 1. Everyone must go out of the same door, and come back in by the same door basically too. The managers come and go, but they always owe their longevity to who they can curry the most favors with among the residents. 

    Marvelously, there is never shortage of prospective residents hoping to view the showplace where my sister lives. The Problem is that my sister is not in good health, in fact, she is in rather poor health, especially mentally. Thus she hardly ever listens to her phone, checks her email, and avoids social contact. She lives like a recluse in the building and is afraid to move away, since it's the only home she's known in DC for the past 15 years. There are many available units on sale right now in DC due to the building craze going on. Many older residents can hardly recognize their old landmarks, because they stand beneath or beside new faux natural stone or mortuary ash-brick boxy custom McUrban towers. 

    The curators of these buildings do vary. Some are rather friendly, and quite a few even do a follow-up. However at my sister's place, because of all the high-powered residents, a frosty nastiness is evident. If you dare to comment or complain about anything, unless you are above floor 4, you are not taken seriously. Even if you are live above floor 4, the response is often flippant. Unfortunately the way the building is designed, they have sewer drain pipes running down along the corners of units of the inner bearing wall of the central corridors. These leak every now and then and my sister has had her toilet backed up at least once, which freaked her out so much, that I ended up cleaning up the floor and carpet for her. Of course it would have taken half a day at least for the staff to come and do it, and so I had to, even though she hardly thanked me. 

    There are actually complaints about the sewer overflowing in the tub of another resident recently on Yelp, with an unsightly photo of the tub 1/4 filled with scummy grey water. How long Yelp will keep that review up, I don't know. Yelp claims to keep their reviews up indefinitely but they shuffle the poorly rated ones down or even put them in the hide-section (which are not viewable on Android phones). And they also do restructuring of the website every so often to basically thin-down the number of reviews. 

     Their current staff is more nasty than ever, because the high-powered are now working in a Republican administration, and they really do not care for people of color or any kind of deplorable. Of course, where deplorable goes, it is a completely arbitrary label. In my view, having a floozy working at the front desk, with very fake dyed hair, cleavage showing, very pushy and manipulative, and frankly looks like a person who might have once worked in housecleaning at a cheap motel, sends mixed messages. And she was obviously cherry-picking among the visitors, who would immediate get to go on a self-guided tour, and who might have to wait for a long time, and who would never gain access.      

    The long and short of it was the floozy and manager waved the white visitors on up, whether they were dressed in shorts or had no drivers license to show. The Asian visitors were told by the floozy to sit and wait, and the manager never came out. The Asians finally managed to wheedle their way for access. This former resident, with a clean security record, whose brother is also on the lease as a medical doctor, and probably parents as well, was told she was not allowed upstairs unless there was a direct invite from my sister.

    My sister's condition is such that days and nights are sometimes indistinguishable, and her self-care is at times questionable. She does barely qualify for her unit, and it is probably thanks to my brother, a military officer in the Navy, but she still earns at least 50% AMI. So anyway, because the costs for living there are always high, including amenities, and her best friend who used to help with lease renewal bargaining has moved away, she still spends at least 50% on rental. Then due to Covid, they also cut off the free Breakfast Bar. They always bragged about the free Breakfast, but they also always watched you like a hawk. This is because they skimped on breakfast items in order to snack on them themselves. I used to see them snacking on them or wrapping them up to take home. And my sister relied on those free bagels and apples or bananas alot! 

    So yes, my intention to share some canned goods, and make up from our fight from 3 years ago has come to naught so far because of the staff always obstructing my entry basically. I know my sister has written to encourage me to visit, even told me what times, but she doesn't answer her phone and her call bell is wired to her phone. So every time I try, I am basically rudely turned away. When I try and mention that they used to allow guests, especially next of kin, to just sign in (if they are known by sight) and go upstairs, they cut me off short. They even threaten to call security. This kind of awful snobbish treatment is unlike the other luxury towers I am touring, which at most might require you leave your drivers license with the front desk. 

    But these luxury towers, again only base your credibility upon your monetary value and appearance. And even if I dress well, look confident, start off courteously enough, and am generally patient, these evil staff are acting as if I am already "pre-crime" maybe because I don't act as constipated as some of these Republicans generally do. I don't know. It is obviously discrimination, and an attempt to indirectly affect my sister and family well-being by being obstructive.

    As a matter of fact, there are many past reviews of this and other apartments where the resident complained of being ostracized or treated like dirt after the resident suffered the humiliation of losing their employment. Other comparable experience is graduating and no longer being offered grants or loans. The staff at my sister's place share and gossip about the personal information that is provided, and draw unfair subjective conclusions, and they have amassed a very indiscrete amount of personal, financial, career, employment, health profile of my sister, my brother, my parents, and probably they are sharing it with the NSA due to the presence of high-profile residents in the building, "for security reasons." 

    Rest assured, they might even have a mark by name or face recognition feature where they have identified such-and-such as a journalist, reporter, misfit, lower 30% or whatever. The point is that for no reasonable specific reason, they have chosen to try to treat me as a pariah (even though I have repaired my relationship with my parents, have marvelous relationships with cousins, friends, boss, co-workers, and students). This is impacting my ability to check up on my sister, and try to convey to her important personal information, and also collect personal belongings that I own in her keeping. 

    The other point is again how this Luxury Tower preys on wealthy people by pretending to cater to all their needs. For instance, even though my brother is on the lease as a resident, as a matter of fact, he owns a couple other flats, and is often away. In fact, once Covid hit NYC, he and his Ukrainian wife moved back to the Ukraine, and he has been hiding out there ever since. It's really not such a safe place there due to all the radioactivity still emanating from Chernobyl, and also their biological research labs, and also the ordnance from skirmishes with Russia. And now especially because of an influx of Bela-Russians. But the point is that staff don't really care or mind because he has the title, honor, and wealth. 

    Now the fact is this brother is quite a little dictator in our family, an authoritarian who breaks into screams and tirades when things don't go his way. He was actually a clean decent Naval Officer, but because he is Chinese-American, and because he didn't want to go to all those weird perverted military parties, they moved him up as slowly as possible. And because he was moved up in pay and rank ever so slow compared to his Naval Academy buddies, he succumbed to this careerist mentality whereby instead of being wholly concerned with his profession as a medical doctor, he was developing all these interests in the stockmarket, in trying to amass wealth, and in dabbling in real estate. Of course a lot of doctors are secretly into the title, honor, and glory of being in medicine, and tempted by the junkets and wealth associations. Nevertheless the imbalance can become pronounced, such as his urge to collect money from my parents for any advice and treatment he provides them, for charging them for stays at the fancy downtown Four Seasons, with the price tag including rooms for his six dogs, and insisting that he take charge of the family trust. 

    Both he and my other brother have been squabbling over their authority over this trust, or being able to take it over totally someday. And this brother has also treated, or both of them have treated me with utmost contempt, and in fact they still do, because they really hope that I disappear off the face of the planet. I am in their opinion, both an unwanted threat and burden, and even if things are better for me now, and I do part-time work, and I have my own place to stay, and I have a healthy social network, and I maintain my professional licenses, these brothers are not happy about my having made up with my parents. They would prefer that I be basically disowned, dead, or completely forgotten. This way there would never be any inheritance for me, even though to be honest, I don't even cash the checks my parents mail me! My brother was mad at me, enraged that I refused his money. He thinks that as a poorer person, I should be lapping up his offers of whatever he has to offer me, even though I have a sense of dignity, and if I didn't want a large HDTV to deal with, I will actually just give it away. 

    So this is how both my brothers are, and the staff at my sister's apartment complex realize that since I am the proverbial black sheep, they hope to participate in furthering the separation in their own mean mealy-mouthed ways. I love both my brothers, and pray for them often, but their usurious interests are quite hypocritical and they will try to pretend, like the staff, that it is all about me. In fact, their latest gambit is to just block off my phone, put me on lockdown, and not return emails. This is to short-circuit any attempt at communication, while pretending that I don't exist. I still have their emails, and they have not blocked that yet, but the pecking order is quite clear. They do not believe I can or should be allowed to be of any consequence in the family, even if I actually have my parents' interest at heart. 

    The crookedness of the staff at the Luxury Tower where my sister lives is such that they will pretend that they can provide accommodations to sick, elderly, and disabled people, even when they, in fact, regard them as an extreme nuisance. During my stay, the maintenance engineer would try my door even if I had not filed any request for maintenance, even popping his head in the door to take a look around. When I complained about that, of course it was dismissed. The culture of the Luxury Tower is all about money, status, and pretenses. So everyone has this noveau riche air, whomever they are. It is like trying to ask the current President to care about the people being evicted from one of Jared's many slumlord apartment complexes. He might throw them a roll of toilet paper for a good laugh, but that's about all he cares. People at the Luxury Tower are being behaviorally conditioned and monitored in order to entrain them with the dialectics of capitalist bestiality. You must not care about the lower 40%. All that matters is who lives here, maintaining your ethos of respectability, doing your strut, and supporting our culture of ruthless hedonism. 

    The worst part of the Problem is that with a sort of John le Carre unfolding macabre nightmare, my poor mother might actually have to move in with my sister and brother at this horrible Luxury Tower should she be widowed. It is my duty as a daughter to help keep her informed of better options in the Metro DC area. There are so many nicer gentler communities for older retirees in upper NW, and these communities also have Chinese people living there too. But my mentally disabled sister, and unstable brother, both would not be able to reason that my mother might want her own place, but force her to live in this horrid Luxury Tower, where they routinely isolate, target, and prey on vulnerable people, as they have basically already done to my sister. 

    For instance, after she was laid off from her place of employment with the government over eight years ago, they began secretly shaming her, and browbeating her, but being the conforming type, she basically just kept clinging on there. "It's the most beautiful apartment building in Washington, D.C." she has always gushed. She even convinced me although at the time, I had very little choice. They used to keep the architectural book about the building on the coffee table, and she would paw through it, marveling at each and every photo. I could hardly believe that anyone found the place so fascinating, but yes, my brother is about the same way. He has always loved to build model ships and he loves everything in kits and in ready-to-assemble form, so the idea that these luxury homes have everything about your lifestyle made-to-order probably seems like quite a bit of freedom coming from his neck of the woods.

    The joker card in The Problem is my brother on the West Coast and his own insatiable materialism, and probably urge to also monopolize the trust. Maybe she will be able to stay on the West Coast, and that would actually be a relief so long as she somehow avoids the clutches of these real estate Luxury Tower monsters. We also have aunts and relatives who might know of where she can stay, but my mother can be quite overwhelmed and subject to the fake concerns and entreaties of my siblings when the time comes. I know for sure that over the past eight years, rather than heal from her losing her job, heal from her mental illness, heal from her fears and reclusivity, in fact, my sister has sort of gotten more extreme. 

    It so reminds me of all the sad and desperate Americans who are facing these kinds of challenges should they try to move in with relatives. They will be treated like a cancer, like an eyesore. They will be ostracized and shamed. The staff of the Luxury Tower will brand them as "pre-crime" and make it extremely difficult for them to move in or even stop by and visit. The staff branding them are not in any way exceptional in mind, heart, talent, intellectualism, or background. Often, like the floozy at the front desk of the Luxury Tower my sister lives in, they are upgraded charwomen, or women who will do anything to ingratiate themselves with the high-powered clientele. The men are immigrants with green cards, who the Luxury Tower can pay a pittance, while collecting over millions of dollars in rent every month. The cleaning staff are so poor that they gorge themselves on the free complimentary breakfast food, and take it home. The lease agents come and go, but one can never tell who they also work for or what information they will take with them. And the residents are all just a collection of fair-weather friends, who rarely talk to God, or try to deepen their spirituality in real ways. 





 


 


 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 
                                                     

 

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Karenism: Taking the Heart Out of Community


Blogging is a relief valve and amid the Covid-19 crisis, where the DC community is still in Phase 2, it's quite a relief to not have to worry about what this editor deems inappropriate. Normally, at StreetSenseMedia, there are several checkpoints. Willy checks, then the intern, and finally the editor. Although well-meant, it perpetuates a limited hangout and often for the sake of optics.

It creates a lacuna between what homeless people can or cannot talk about, and trying to bridge the gap is designed to become your entrapment. You must be ill, you must want money, you must want to cause trouble, you must want to become a famous writer, you must hope to carve a name for yourself...

Actually, no, we just want to broach topics that we are not supposed to be able to talk about because that doesn't fit your marginalization plan for us. Nor does it augment the liberal argument for building more affordable housing that is okay so long as it remains mostly unaffordable. Nor for more educational programs for our betterment, if we can be bettered at all.

Normally in an essay we will take the time to define karenism according to Oxford Dictionary, or whatever else exists out there. But it doesn't take a Masters degree to understand that it is basically the Orwellian version of caring, taken to misconstrue kindness and benevolence as an opportunity to frustrate, to torment, to exert one's petty authority as a minion, to target, to convey harmful messages.

As Poor News Network/Prense Pobre recently described in "Abolishing the Karens" the well-meant Karens (perhaps misplaced feelings about living in a Stepford Wives Neighborhood) are out in force making phone calls to report on black/brown or any Other undesirables in the vicinity. As the case of the Montclair Karen (aka New Jersey Susan) demonstrates, these are acts of hate in the name of security, health, safety, following orders, etc. BlasianFMA's podcast didn't include what the black couple looked like: a respectable Boomer-aged couple who undoubtedly are not the type to cause trouble.



ANY person of color understands the deep rooted fears and implications over a call to the police. Especially blacks/browns. Here in DC, I have had my challenges being on the receiving end of harassment before the new term. If we use the word micro-aggression that is also apropos, but again the liberals often object to its very existence. At Chevy-Chase, I have had people walk or RUN at a full 8-feet distance going out into the roadway just to "stay a safe distance." Obviously they don't do that among themselves or their co-equals, but this is how they have appropriated these distancing measures as tools for objectification and hostility. The same thing has happened along P Street in Dupont Circle, where the woman broke into a sprint to avoid any germs. Bearing in mind that I was dressed appropriately, bathe regularly, had a mask on, nothing unusual except my being nonwhite...

Its a sad day when I have to resort to reporting these types of pathetic incidents because when I visited the Far East, there was no such paranoia, delusionary fears, frantic acting out, or subverting what should be a time of true caring. People everywhere wear masks, and the atmosphere is practical and peaceful. There are no political subterfuges, no targeting of others, no ridiculous scenes.

But perhaps the West is still mistaking mask-wearing for the days of the Wild-West with its romance of train robbers and murderers. Or perhaps the West is in love with the idea of the Venetian Black-nobility with its masked balls, in which there are often political intrigues, illicit liaisons, and treason taking place. Wearing a mask makes the white-race angry because their noses have to be covered up.

This explains the "Cover Your Nose!" bark that I hear from white dudes. I've heard it now from at least two white-minions working at front desks. I've heard it from a couple grocery store workers, but the hostility from the minions was obvious: Unless you conform you will not be admitted! You better know your place! You better obey me! Obey me now!

This sorry demand for respect is self-evident of the petty insecurity of the white-male whose power and self-affirmation is reduced to being a willing participant of the panopticon, where everyone can view and snitch on their neighbors. He's willing to become a Karen, for the sake of patting himself on the back that he is quite an authority.

I mean, seriously, there might be a lot of germs coming from my nose, but hey, if it's Covid-19 virus emanating from my nostrils, do you seriously believe one cheesy mask is going to protect you from my germs? Get a load of yourself, dude, for having such fine critical reasoning skills.

And then there is the stress of family. According to National Healthcare for the Homeless Council:

"Call centers and police stations around the country report a staggering increase in domestic violence; violence in the home has become more common and significantly more severe during this crisis. For many households, safe places and coping strategies have been compromised while family stress has exponentially increased. For some, the threat of homelessness, incarceration, physical harm, and even death are much more pressing and real than the risks associated with coronavirus."

Again it's not rocket-science to realize how many safe-places are shut down due to COVID-19. Having come from a family with occasional domestic violence, school was a safe place, where you could hide from the fear and frustration. If you had a sister who was a bully, you didn't have to see her for a good part of the day, and to boot, you had your own friends, and the wisdom of teachers.

Locally many African immigrant men made especial use of the library because they live in such crowded apartments, and that is the only place where they can study for their community college courses. At Silver Spring Library, one could see how seriously they undertook their studies. They were always already stressed out there, so how much worse might it be at home! The same places are used by various others in the community who are hoping to go out for a short while, and in some places already hurt by austerity measures forcing the closure of parks and museums, this was the last straw.

The entire catastrophe has been made needlessly worse than any other country because American culture is steeped in the Hollywood culture of hedonism, individualism, and atheism. There is nothing preventing us from fostering the nexus of careerism, narcissism, and cut-throat competition, which is what a real successful Karen might look like from the outside. She is more than entitled to her beautiful world and life, because she deserved it, worked so hard for it, and nobody should get in the way of her freedom.

The Karens in our neighborhood might not be as unfriendly as in Chevy Chase, nor as snobby as at Cleveland Park, but they don't have a moment to spare with their homeless neighbor forced to sleep on the church steps. Not a dime to spare for their unhappy sister. Not a kind word of comfort to someone turned out on the street. Instead, all that attention is therapeutically lavished upon their pet dog. This is what their head-shrinks recommend for making them feel good about themselves and to demonstrate they are fully human: to love their pet dog.

Siriusly, these folks don't give an effing-arse for their neighbor so long as they have their concrete box, I mean, luxury home, to escape into with all the right touches, the granite countertops, the stainless steel appliances, the centralized heating and cooling, the rooftop swimming pool and indoor gyms, the business office, the indoor laundromat, the LEED-certified platinum building rating, etc.

It's just not cool to be Christian or kindly anymore. I can tell this from how precipitous the drop is in church attendance everywhere. My friend who grew up during the Great Depression used to tell me that everyone in his middle-class neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio kept a bag of spare food near the door. Any hobo passing by and begging for food would be provided at least a sandwich and a drink of water. They did not have to ransack through garbage bins looking for food, and there were a considerably lot less Karen-ism in those days.

In the 1930s, if you read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, it was okay to be a hobo. I mean, nobody should have to live that way, but if you wanted to travel the country and were desperately poor, you could travel as a hobo. Of course, maybe as white-hobo you had it a world better than a black-hobo. Most likely, yes.

Karenism, in my view, has a lot to do with what our country is missing due to years of offensive wars and war-mongering. We don't appreciate peace. We don't believe in family values much anymore. It's much more sexy to be satanic and engaged in virtual reality games and able to recite hate-mongering poems. Our politicians care much more about having their election campaign troves filled to the brim with enough cash than about conducting real conversations. 

It's the missing piece in the puzzle about why we feel so disconnected. Not only are we yielding to a culture of artificial intelligence and isolationism, but we revel in it. So communication with a so-called therapist takes only 10 minutes now, because she is not obligated to actually explore your issues. Your sibling, a medical professional himself, might generously offer you money. If you turn it down, he snarls nastily that no wonder you are to blame for your own troubles, when you have so much pride and lack humility. And to complete the jibe, he might say, well I hope you don't suffer too much.

Money is the root of our evils and problems, yet we think it is the panacea. Does giving money replace the pain and suffering of living with a wife-beater? Do these one-time handouts replace the dignity and contributions of work? How well are we addressing the fact that so many have invested years and thousands of dollars in education, only to be told because they didn't graduate at the top of their class, or from the right university, their chance in finding a job will be nil?

And what of all the wage-earners, the taxi-cab drivers, the chefs, the bakers, the baristas, who have all lost their jobs over the past months. Will we just conveniently say it was really their fault too? Will we just focus on a smaller and smaller segment of those who are currently enrolled in pay-to-play universities, where now one does not even hardly get the full advantage of what used to be known as a Learning Community? Sure, it can be conducted all online with Professor Karens, who are mediating the conversation to ensure that some are heard, while others are ignored. Some get to work for the EPA, but only if they agree that others never will. You can teach online, but only if you design a course that will give the University and unknown Third Parties unlimited rights...

There are schools much more important to attend in the 21st century besides the white-washed versions which will tend to lock you into paths for years of servitude and overspecialization, years that we do not have anymore due to impending climate chaos and extinction. You will realize, 30 years too late, that you have frittered away your active life passing away the time watching CNN.

Part of being schooled in life is learning to embrace the reality of silenced youth, adults, and elders in poverty across the globe, silenced only because of being materially poor, even when they may be full of wisdom and streetsense. They've learned to fight back against Karenism because Karens have no problem over your demise, or having other people kill you.


The saddest personal story that I have to share today has to do with a ferocious Karen living on the premises of our home that is shared by a group of low-income women. So on top of the usual stress navigating around troublemakers around town, at home, we have had this person who I shall nickname T-2020, because she dresses in tea-party red, and is a maniac with the glue-gun, being very creative in crafting T-2020 on purse, walker, shoes, sweater, eyeglasses, jackets, coats, etc, so we all know who she admires as the greatest President ever. This T-2020 Karen has an unconscious desire to get-even on those who don't submit to her master. It emerges at night, and against certain persons who she targets. One of them, an African American woman who had a bit of a communication problem, became her gaslighting target. Typical of gas-lighters, she befriends the person, offers help such as free cigarettes, or paid shopping trips, but in return that person must essentially become her side-kick, such as being woken up several times a night for going out to smoke. Anyway, somehow word got out, and Karen had to drop her. But that came at a price, which was a certain enmity. The Karen now became a covert bully, even concocting a necessary restraining order, and calling the police. The eventual ending has been quite tragic.

And this is exactly why we are including this sad-story and indeed, this blog entry. These "Karens" be they man, woman, white, black, brown, red, yellow, or any shade, they are harmful people who utterly disregard humanity over Rules, Things, Following Orders, and justifying twisting such to suit Their Own Bigotry. They may say they are not bigots, but the facts indicate otherwise. When this black/brown/other person passes on, or is imprisoned, or loses their job, or loses their home, or gets divorced, or is expelled from organization, it is STILL ALL ABOUT THEM. Just ask them if they remember that person's name. They don't. Just ask them if they have any regrets. They don't. Just share with them that others feel differently, and do they see that perspective. They don't!

They can't or they won't because they have had their heart operated on, and they may still have a mind, but their heart is damaged or missing. That's the doggone truth about these "Karens" imho.

So beware of the possible fakes out there.

Real cute, but not real people!









 

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.