Category Archives: HOMELESSNESS

Bookworm Beat 5/14/20: Pent up posting about the current scene

I am exploding with pent-up posts going back two weeks, so I thought a Bookworm Beat might be the best way to do a mental download onto the blog.

A good Obamagate overview. During their Russagate heyday, the leftist media had it easy because they could roll with a single message: “Russia! Russia! Russia!” And failing that, “Climate! Climate! Climate!”

Obamagate is harder because it is, in fact, an actual conspiracy. The nature of conspiracies is that they hide away in the dark, and involve serpentine steps to achieve nefarious goals. When brought to light, the malfeasors scurry away like cockroaches surprised by light. Then, investigators laboriously gather up the Raid and your roach motels to unravel the conspiracy and bring the conspirators before the law.

What I just wrote is a helpful analogy, but the actual facts of Obamagate are a bit harder to explain. That’s why I appreciated John Daniel Davidson’s masterful overview of Obamagate. He carefully avoids getting caught in the weeds of endless dates, actors, and lies, and focuses instead on the broad-brush outlines to reveal “the biggest political scandal of our time.” I actually disagree with that statement. I think that, as far as American politics go, it’s the biggest political scandal ever.

Anyway, if you’re struggling to get a handle on the two different narratives (FISA and Flynn) and the way they dovetail into a single concerted attack on the Trump campaign and then the Trump presidency, Davidson’s article is an excellent way to start.

Matt Taibbi continues his lonely journey as an honest progressive journalist. One of the things I didn’t get to blog about while my site was down was an article two law professors – one from Harvard and one from the University Arizona — wrote for The Atlantic about censorship. If you’re expecting to hear that they wrote a rousing defense of free speech, you’d be wrong. Instead, the professors advocated for abandoning constitutional free speech in favor of Chinese-style censorship, complete with tech giants giving the government the help it needs.

Taibbi does not agree, either with the professors or with other so-called “liberals” advocating for wiping out both the First and Fourth Amendments. While Taibbi doesn’t go back as far as Tom Friedman and his love affair with Chinese-style control, he does round up a few recent examples of how the Wuhan virus has been an opening for “liberals” to let out their inner fascist.

(By the way, I never use the word “liberal” to describe Democrats, progressives, or leftists. It is an obscene misnomer, and I won’t countenance it.)

Taibbi using that leftist drive for censorship as an opening to discuss covers the leftist love for “expertise,” its relentlessly scolding tone (think: Karen), and the severe limitations that hamper even good journalists. It’s a tour de force and deserves a read. Indeed, anyone, especially a progressive, who writes this deserves to be acknowledged, and that’s true even if Taibbi’s leftism still blinds him so that he meekly accepts as accurate the canard that Trump told people to inject over-the-counter disinfectants:

We have a lot of dumb people in this country. But the difference between the stupidities cherished by the Idiocracy set ingesting fish cleaner, and the ones pushed in places like the Atlantic, is that the jackasses among the “expert” class compound their wrongness by being so sure of themselves that they force others to go along. In other words, to combat “ignorance,” the scolders create a new and more virulent species of it: exclusive ignorance, forced ignorance, ignorance with staying power.

The people who want to add a censorship regime to a health crisis are more dangerous and more stupid by leaps and bounds than a president who tells people to inject disinfectant. It’s astonishing that they don’t see this.

Bastiat and the problem with the leftists’ apocalyptic world view. Years ago, I read, and fell in love with, Frédéric Bastiat’s famous economic essay, “What is seen and what is unseen.” In it, he examines the fallacy of those who say that even a broken window is a good thing, for it brings work to the glazier. Bastiat, however, points out that fixing something broken is a dead end. The window’s owner might have spent the same money on something more useful and necessary for him. This lost buying power is the “unseen” part for those who can see only a broken window and a glazier. Or, as Bastiat wrote, “Stop there! Your theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen.”

Leftists have this limited “unseen” thinking about gun violence (they see only those 30,000 who die, not the hundreds of thousands or even millions whose lives guns save). They also have it with abortion, where the focus is on women (who can be seen), rather than on the millions of babies who never got the chance to grow up to be women (or men).

For an example of a “seen” woman’s suffering, think of Michelle Obama, who was very explicit about what a terrible choice it was for her to have children:

“My relationship with Barack was all about our equal partnership,” Obama recalled. “If I was going to have a unique voice with this very opinionated man, I had to get myself up and set myself off to a place where I was going to be his equal.”

[snip]

“The thing that really changed it was the birth of our children. I wasn’t really ready for that. That really made it harder,” the first lady explained. “Something had to give and it was my aspirations and dreams.”

“I made that concession not because he said ‘you have to quit your job,’ but it felt like ‘I can’t do all of this so I have to tone down my aspirations, I have to dial it back,’” she added.

I didn’t particularly want children, but I knew it was a necessary thing to do to further my development as a mature human being. I realized that I’d miss the selfish life (and I did miss it), but that life also frightened me because I saw that it was preventing me from fully growing up. Now that my children are themselves grown, the pay-off for having had them is huge because they are delights to have around. For me, despite the lost sleep, boredom, and frustration, it was a win-win.

But back to Bastiat, progressives, and the Wuhan virus. Actually, I won’t spell out the argument in this post because you can read it here.

San Franciscans are paying the price for subsidizing vice. For a very long time, San Francisco has been subsidizing vice. First, it decriminalized crime. Drug taking, public drunkenness, public excretory functions, stealing (as long as the thief took goods worth less than $950) . . . they’re all allowed in San Francisco. For people who like engaging in those crimes, especially stealing, San Francisco is the place to be.

San Francisco has also been subsidizing substance abuse for quite a long time. Under the banner of decency, it’s made clean needles available to IV drug users and provided them with food, shelter, and other benefits. San Francisco’s progressives say that this is right and proper because drug users are victims too.

It’s true that many homeless people are mentally ill. Of course, it’s a chicken and egg question whether they had pre-existing issues and self-medicated, making themselves worse, or whether the substance abuse itself created the mental health issues. It’s also true that tossing junkies and mentally ill people in jail is not a solution.

These are real problems and require thoughtful approaches. However, you’d also think that someone in San Francisco might have realized that it’s a bad idea to create what is effectively a Utopian environment for disruptive, dangerous, dirty, disease-ridden druggies and other people with anti-social behavior.

Tax-paying, working San Francisco residents have been complaining about the homeless problem for a while now. Still, it’s hard to take their complaints seriously when they elect Chesa Boudin as the town’s DA, the man who promised to decriminalize everything. They also elected London Breed, another hard leftist, to be their mayor.

This is what happens when genuine lifestyle issues (such as being able to walk the streets safely or run a business) crash into virtue signaling. Virtue signaling always wins.

Anyway, the Wuhan virus (or, if you like, the New York virus) has put the whole San Francisco problem on steroids. Daniel Greenfield has a hard-hitting look at what’s happening on the streets of San Francisco:

“People are coming from all over the place, Sacramento, Lake County, Bakersfield,” Jeanine Nicholson, the first lesbian head of the San Francisco Fire Department, grumbled. “People are getting released from jail in other counties and being told to go to San Francisco, where you will get a tent and then you will get housing.”

The people coming to the City by the Bay weren’t wearing flowers in their hair, they were homeless junkies who had heard that they were going to get free hotel rooms, along with pot and booze.

And it was all true. Every word of it.

San Francisco was spending $200 a night to house the homeless, or as the current politically correct euphemism insisted that they be called, the ‘unhoused’, in hotel rooms at a cost of over $100 million.

You have to read his article to believe it and, even after reading it, you might not believe it.

San Francisco always had a wacky edge, but it was an aesthetically beautiful and still functional city. Those days are over. Large parts of San Francisco are sewers with homeless people camped on the streets and affluent citizens hiding in their homes. My old neighborhood, once a working- and middle-class bastion, is the brothel center of San Francisco. The City that Herb Caen always boasted “knew how” is dying.

Go to college; get therapy. Three years ago, I wrote a post about Macalester College, a small and expensive liberal arts college in St. Paul, Minnesota, and its proud boast about having multiple therapy dogs. I was revolted.

If you look at the photo for that post, which is simply the cover of Macalester’s magazine for parents, you’ll see that it shows girls crowding around the therapy dog. That was a familiar sight for me. When I was on a small liberal arts college campus several years ago, one that had a therapy dog, I noticed incoming freshman crowding around the dog, not in a “What a cute dog” way, but in an “I desperately need help way.” I also noticed how highly feminized the boys were, whether they were gay or straight.

Heather MacDonald, who’s a smarter, more knowledgeable, and a better writer than I am, has just written a lengthy article about the therapeutic culture at Yale and other American colleges, something that fuses feminism with mental illness. She describes how students are never told to buck up and embrace their experience. Instead, they are encouraged to revert to toddler-esque panic and equally immature means of relieving that panic. This instruction in helplessness is paired with the bizarre feminization of the therapeutic college culture:

For the last 40 years, men have been an underrepresented minority in higher education, reports American Enterprise Institute scholar Mark Perry. Since 1982, females earned nearly 14 million more college degrees than men. Colleges began a “desperate” search for women faculty in the 1970s that eroded the “intellectual rigor of elite higher education in the U.S.,” says Camille Paglia, the feminist professor and author. “Due to that sudden influx, academe’s entire internal culture changed,” she says. As the female presence has grown, so have claims of a crisis of collegiate mental health.

Nationally, about two-thirds of the students who sought treatment for mental-health disorders in the 2018–19 academic year were female, according to the Center for Collegiate Mental Health. At Yale, therapy use is heavily female and LGBTQ, according to students. “There are few straight men using therapy,” one self-identified “queer” girl in the GLC said. “It’s stigmatized for straight CIS men. Almost all my friends who go to therapy identify as gay or trans.”

I sent my college-attending children links to MacDonald’s article. I think they’ll recognize their classmates, especially their unstable, highly neurotic, angry, and dangerous female classmates, in the article.

You have to read this. Dov Fischer, a lawyer and rabbi, has written an extraordinary article entitled A Time to Hate. He explains how he, like other conservatives during the Obama years, hated Obama’s policies and corruption, while still accepting that Obama was the duly elected president. That is, conservatives understood that Republicans ran lousy candidates and paid the price. It was up to conservatives to step up their game at election time if they wanted something different than the Obama presidency.

Now, however, after three years of unmitigated hysteria, corruption, lies, coups, and other attacks on the core of the Trump presidency (that is, three years of attacks on our constitutional notion of the executive office) Fischer has changed his mind. He has learned to hate.

As I said, the article is extraordinary, and I highly encourage your looking it over.

That’s enough for one day. By the way, as you can see, I’ve changed my “woman writing” picture for a new one that better suits my blog’s format. When you see that image at the head of a post, you’ll know that the post is one that jumbles together a whole lot of things that interest me.

A transnational elite racing its way to a revolution

In America and around the world, a transnational elite postures for itself and despises the people it rules. This is a recipe for a bloody revolution.

The other day, I was listening to Heather MacDonald speaking about homelessness during an appearance on City Journal’s Ten Blocks podcast. She was describing a visit to San Francisco, and it all sounded so familiar.

Before I get to Heather’s riff on the homeless, I want to do a little riff of my own about the homeless and others in America’s underclass. As long-time readers know, I actually have a conduit to the homeless and the underclass. A very dear childhood friend of mine has made life choices that see her living amongst them. When I visit her, I meet her friends, all of whom have, or have had, some extreme form of drug addiction. They also count among their number the homeless, although I haven’t met those guys personally; I’ve just heard about them.

When Obamacare was an issue back in 2009/2010, I learned something very interesting from my friend. Because she came from a middle class background, she was delighted to know that she could finally have subsidized middle class insurance. Her friends, however, were less delighted. Why? Because contrary to the assumptions in Washington, D.C., these people don’t have middle class values that include constant health maintenance and monitoring and they don’t care about having a personal relationship with a physician and a hospital.

What this meant in 2010 is that, without exception, this cohort of chronic drug users and homeless people were unimpressed by the opportunity to get fully insured for $50 or so per month — that is, to get the type of insurance middle class people were paying hundreds for monthly or that steered middle class people  to jobs with benefits and kept them at those jobs even if they were unhappy. To my friend’s friends, this would be $50 wasted every month. After all, why pay even that much when you can go to the emergency room for free?

This insight was yet another reminder that top-down policies do not reflect people’s needs. Moreover, the Left’s top-down policies exist only to serve a very narrow echelon of the Blue upper class. What the governing class is doing is virtue signaling. It makes assumptions about ordinary Americans (85% of whom liked their insurance before Obamacare destroyed everything), but doesn’t want to go near these same Americans to learn what they value.

Another one of those virtue signaling policies without regard for the concerns of most Americans can be seen in the Dem presidential candidates’ insistence that all Americans should be on the line for the student loans that kids take out to get useless degrees. And when I say “useless,” I’m not exaggerating. It’s not unheard of for people to amass hundreds of thousands in debt for a gender studies or fine arts major. There are no jobs out there in those fields that will provide enough funds for anyone to pay back one of those loans before death.

Ordinary people work hard and try to stay out of debt. When they incur a debt in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, the bank usually gets a security interest to protect itself. But not student loans. They just hang out there with us, the taxpayers, on the line. We’re on the line because student debt is expensive for America as a whole (more debt, less wealth) and we’re on the line because Leftists keep threatening to make us pay for the kid who opted, not to go into dad’s plumbing business, but to learn advanced puppetry on our dimes.

Which gets me to Heather MacDonald and homelessness. Once again, our governing class makes assumptions. Sitting in ivory academic towers and political offices, our governing class assumes that people don’t want to be homeless. That’s certainly true for working and middle class people who are down on their luck, but these aren’t the people filling the streets in Blue cities, especially West Coast Blue cities with temperate climates.

What MacDonald pointed out in the podcast is that these people want one thing and one thing only: drugs. Blue city policies enable that. In the name of “humanity,” they give the homeless free food, they don’t arrest drug dealers, they do nothing to stop homeless drug use, and they no longer do even minimal policing against disturbing the peace, public nudity, or soiling city streets. All of this is ostensibly to decrease homelessness but the reality is that these policies make homelessness more appealing to those who want only food and drugs. In other words, these are virtue signaling policies.

These same policies are a disaster for the Normals living in the City: the people who go to work, buy homes, have children — and see their streets made filthy and dangerous by people high on every type of drug and, of course, now carrying medieval diseases on their person. And sure, there’s a mental illness component, but a lot of the mental illnesses involved are not the type that would ordinarily render people dysfunctional. There aren’t many schizophrenics out there. Instead, there are people who self-medicated ordinary depression or other dysfunctions and the medication got away from them.

The elite government policies aren’t for the homeless or for the taxpayers. They are financially beneficial for those in government (on the taxpayer dime) and those attached like parasites to government (sucking up the taxpayer dime). And as I said before, they’re emotionally beneficially for people who believe in virtue-signaling more than problem solving. The governing class, like warped fireflies, is sending out smug signals to others in the governing class: “We spent $12 million on the homeless and gave them free needles! We’re so very, very good.” And then they profess themselves bewildered as the homeless multiply on the streets like wire hangers in a closet.

The same disconnect between the governing class and our country’s needs shows itself with the military that Obama bequeathed to Trump. I covered most of that in this post: Under Obama, there came to be a cancer in the Pentagon. My point in that post is that Obama deliberately created an officer class more concerned with social justice and virtue signaling about things such as climate change than concerned with winning wars. It was this officer class (with some Clinton-era holdovers) that has professed itself shocked! Shocked that Trump would pull our troops out of theaters of war in which they shed their blood without benefit to America or that Trump would jettison social justice in favor of killing our enemies. (It’s a good post. If you haven’t read it, you might give it a look.)

During my podcast yesterday, I discussed that post — and I added a couple more points about the Obama military’s disconnect from ordinary Americans. Those points are relevant here, because they remind us that our governing class does not like us and does not share our goals or concerns. Even as Obama was firing officers who might well have been committed to more traditional military values, he was definitely encouraging officers to embrace his social justice, Leftist agenda.

That’s why, during the Obama years, this happened: In 2011, Obama did away with Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in favor of open gay service. Frankly, I have no idea how this has turned out for military readiness. I just know that, in 2018, a proud, official Navy press release and a laudatory article in the Navy Times introduced us to Yeoman 3rd class Joshua Kelley, aka Harpy Daniels, a drag queen performing on Navy ships. I don’t mean to harsh on Kelley. He sounds like a perfectly nice young man whose father was in the Navy, so Kelley thought of the Navy as a good option when he was having a hard time making a living as a professional drag queen.

The press release and article tout Kelley’s “knack for life as a sailor,” something that sounds good. Except when you read down in the articles about Kelley’s life as a sailor, it sounds as if he’s sailing on the USS Social Justice, rather than a war ship. Thus, we’re told that Kelley was voted to be the president of Strike Fighter Squadron 115′s Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions and that he became the public affairs officer for the carrier Reagan’s Gay, Lesbian and Supporting Sailors association. He even got a “blue jacket of the year” award, not for being the person who keeps Navy pilot’s planes safe or ships running well . . . but for his work on the Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions.

I don’t mean to slam Kelley. I’m just saying I find Kelley to be a surprising choice for the Navy to boast about. The Navy’s purpose, after all, the reason we taxpayers pay the big bucks for it, is to defend us in war against enemies, not to make drag queens feel good about themselves.

Obama also opened the military to transgender people (before Trump shut that down). Transgender people have a 40% or higher suicide rate, higher than any other population group. It’s trendy to point at discrimination as the culprit for these tragic numbers, but the fact is that other groups that have also been on receiving end of terrible discrimination (e.g., blacks) never had suicide rates anywhere comparable to that.

Moreover, transgender individuals, like other people in the cohort that Dave Chappell calls “alphabet people” have higher incidences of alcohol and drug dependency, risky sexual behaviors, suicide, depression, self-harm and spousal abuse. All of these are terrible things. I don’t wish them on anybody . . . but I also don’t wish them on our military!

Obama also opened combat to women., something that’s been a disaster in all standing militaries but for those, like the Kurds, that live on the front line. Even Israel, a front line country, backed away from women in combat when it was able to do so. Women’s presence was (a) dead weight because women are less physically able than men and (b) disastrous for unit moral, because of rivalries and the men’s inability to cope with the women being hurt or killed in battle.

And then there are those green, green climate change initiatives. In 2014, I had the tremendous pleasure of attending the commissioning ceremony for the USS America. It was a wonderful experience. But as I wrote at the time,

[S]ince this is a 21st century, here’s your assurance that the ship is as green as green can be. (I didn’t hear anyone assure me that a green ship is a safer ship or a better fighting ship, but I might have missed that part.)

USS America - Energy Warrior

I’m all for green ships if they save taxpayer money without impairing the military’s efficacy — or, even better, if they increase the military’s ability to fight wars. But that really wasn’t the issue there, was it?

Put simply, during his eight years in office, Obama revamped the American military so that it was dedicated to (a) social justice and (b) climate change. Interestingly, in 2017, not long after Obama left the White House – and before Trump could put his imprimatur on military — the Navy had a spate of terrible accidents:

A US Navy plane crashed into the ocean southeast of Okinawa on Wednesday afternoon, marking at least the sixth apparent accident involving a Navy asset in East Asian waters this year.

The C2-A Greyhound transport plane was carrying 11 crew and passengers to an aircraft carrier when it crashed into the Philippine Sea, the Navy said. As of Wednesday evening, eight people had been rescued, and three were missing.

Wednesday’s crash comes three weeks after a Navy and civilian panel recommended sweeping changes in a comprehensive review of the Japan-based US 7th Fleet, which covers East Asian waters.

The review found that two deadly accidents — the collisions of the USS Fitzgerald and the USS John S. McCain with commercial ships in June and August, respectively — were avoidable.

The review’s recommendations include new processes for scheduling ships; “ready for sea” assessments for all Japan-based ships; disseminating lessons learned form “near misses”; and ensuring that ships routinely transmit on their automatic identification systems to prevent collisions.

Of the six incidents, Wednesday’s is the only one directly involving a Navy aircraft. The others are collisions involving US warships.”

Maybe just bad luck – or maybe the military had changed its mission under Obama. After all, the fish rots from the head.

If you’re wondering why all these disparate anecdotes belong in a single post, here’s my answer: They remind us that America’s ruling elite has no concern about ordinary Americans. Hillary was speaking for an entire governing class when she said people who won’t hope on the Leftist train are a “basket of deplorables. *** They’re racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic – Islamophobic – you name it.”

We’re racist because we want to be color-blind, rather than engaging in endless victim wars and because we believe that a nation without borders is no nation at all. We’re sexist because we believe that women and men are different. We’re homophobic because we’re troubled by the pressure LGBTQ activists are placing on American institutions. We xenophobic because Hillary and her followers are proud of knowing a big word with Greek roots. We’re Islamophobic because we’ve noticed that 10% of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims actively want to kill or enslave us and are supported by a much larger number than 10% — including, perhaps, the House’s own Ilhan Omar.

The anecdotes I told are concrete manifestations of this hatred. While ordinary people look to the military to protect us from foreign enemies, our self-styled elite class, which controls most of the levers of power in America, sees traditional military readiness as a tattered, irrelevant doctrine. For them, the military is a giant social justice experiment that pays homage to all the other Leftist shibboleths: only engaging in wars that are not for America’s benefit (because America bad), fighting climate change, and making marginalized people feel good about themselves. Once upon a time, marginalized people (i.e., the poor and/or minorities) felt good about themselves because they became highly competent parts of something much greater than each individual, creating indissoluble bonds and a sense of pride. Now they get awarded “blue jacket” because they advance alphabet people causes.

Likewise, homelessness is a problem, not to be wiped out, but to be magnified so as to showcase the enormous financial and spiritual generosity the elite class doles out to the homeless: using our money and making our cities dangerous at so many levels.

After thinking about homeless projects that magnify homelessness; military initiatives for victim classes, rather than America’s defense; high tax demands that will destroy a thriving economy; the insistence that grown men have access to little girl’s bathrooms; the fight to open our borders so that poor and working class people can lose jobs and housing to illegal immigrants; and all the other initiatives coming from the Leftist leadership in politics, in education, in entertainment, and in the news media, I have to ask: Just who do these people represent?

They certainly don’t represent the interests of the average American or the majority of Americans. We’ve come to the point at which we no longer have “government of the people, by the people and for the people.” Instead, we have a government class that despises the people.

Moreover, this is true all over the world, not just America. A friend sent me an email pointing out that there are revolutions in Chile, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Lebanon, England, Baghdad, France, Holland, and Iran. Some are bloody, or likely to be bloody, revolutions (Chile, Hong Kong, Iran); some are voter revolutions (the 2016 election here, Brexit in England); and some are tractor revolutions in Holland or yellow jacket revolutions in France.

In all cases, though, they represent the same thing: People fighting back against political and cultural leaders who have become an international class bound by ties, not to their own countries, but to other world leaders. The transnational elites posture for their fellow transnationals and enacts policies that enrich only themselves. The one thing they’re not doing is taking care of the people in their charge.

Back in 1992, when I was a Democrat, I remember that one of cheers that Bill Clinton liked to use at his rallies to get the audience revved up was, “It’s time for them to go” — with “them” referring to the Republicans who had held the White House for 16 years, to America’s tremendous social and economic benefit.

I don’t look back fondly on the Clinton years, and regret my votes at the time, but I like that theme. Across the world, as weary, beaten-down people look at a ruling class that sees them as despicable, dirty deplorables, these ordinary people, these normals, need to rise up and say, “It’s time for them to go.”

And here’s a word of warning to the ruling class: You managed to keep a lid on things for seven decades after WWII. The people’s discontent, though, is boiling. Bad things happen when the pressure from that boiling finally blows off that tightly pressed lid. I suggest that the Western world’s ruling class, as well as the ruling class in China and the Middle East, gracefully backs away from the levers of power before its members get their greedy, smug little hands blown off of those same levers.

Be assured that I’m not advocating a bullet-style revolution. I prefer my revolutions at the ballot box. But when a people become too discontent, the ballot box is suddenly no longer an option.

The post A transnational elite racing its way to a revolution appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

No. 6 Bookworm Podcast : The multitude of reasons behind mass shootings

In my latest podcast and in this post, I examine the myriad reasons behind mass shootings today and — surprise! — none of them have to do with guns.

I know it’s been almost a week since the terrible shootings in El Paso and Dayton, but I’m still stuck on them — perhaps because the Leftists are still using them as a reason to gut the Second Amendment without bothering to to through the constitutional amendment process. I therefore used today’s podcast to discuss the multitude of reasons behind mass shootings, none of which is the availability of guns. Guns are merely a tool nor a motivation.

(You can listen to the podcast below, or find it at Apple Podcasts or at Libsyn podcasts. Or you can read this post which, while not a verbatim transcript of the podcast, covers much the same content. As always, if you like the podcast, please share it. I’d love to have an audience share one day that actually generates ad revenues.)

The primary thing to remember is that guns are not the only means to commit mass murder. Back in 1927, an angry man used bombs to blow up a school in Bath Township, Michigan, killing 38 kids and 6 adults, and injuring at least 58 others. We know from headlines around the world that those intent upon mass murder will use knives, cars, trucks, airplanes, and bombs to kill as many people as possible.

When it comes to murder, human ingenuity is endless. The reality is that man is hardwired for violence. It is the work of civilization that has shut that limited those violent impulses. I recommend two books on that point. The first is Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. The second is Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History Both books explain in great detail our violent past and our impressively less violent present.

So if guns are merely one avenue by which humans express their innate violence, what’s really going on now? Why are we seeing so many mass shootings? I think there are a multitude of reasons for current mass shootings some or most of which tend to be present in all the events we hear about lately. Here are my theories, in no particular order:

Violent Rhetoric. I think in this case, a picture and a movie promo are worth a thousand words:

Violent Rhetoric from the Left

Fatherlessness. Many (not all) but many mass shooters are fatherless. Indeed, if we expand our horizon outwards from the shooters who go after suburbanites (that is, the ones that get the media all excited) and look at the mass shooters who terrorize Democrat-run inner cities (about whom Leftists care not a whit because there are no votes to be grabbed there), I’d bet that most mass shooters are fatherless.

Fathers are absolutely necessary to a young man’s mental health. Mothers provide love; fathers provide discipline. “Wait until your father gets home” is a stereotype because it’s a phrase with real power.

Among poor people, the welfare state has supplanted fathers. Among inner city blacks, prison has become the default home for fathers, which is why I hope that Trump’s crime bill, even though it will release criminals back into society, will still prove to be a good thing by releasing fathers back into communities. Even among the middle class, women’s increased ability to provide an income has made fathers less important.

In pop culture, fathers are downplayed or erased. It’s ironic knowing now who Bill Crosby really was, but back in the 1980s, people celebrated his show because it showed a black family with a powerful father figure. Most TV shows then and now, whether for black or white audiences, had either done away with father figures entirely or played them for morons. The old idea of “father knows best” was replaced with “Dad is an idiot.” For example, Disney’s very popular Hannah Montana show, aimed squarely at young kids and tweens, had the father as a meaningless, foolish appendage. Also ironically, it turned out Bill Ray Cyrus was playing himself and look how well (NOT) that turned out for poor Miley Cyrus.

The data is pretty clear that boys without fathers are more likely to become criminals and girls without fathers are more likely to become promiscuous. Then these promiscuous girls hook up with those “alpha” criminal boys for a second generation and a third generation and, eventually, endless iterations of that terrible cycle. The bad boys pass through, leaving fatherless children in their wake. The children are then raised by single mothers or subject to the common terrors of violently inclined boyfriends. It’s a sure bet that some of those boys will grow up to kill. They’ll kill for petty crime or to make big statements or because their nihilists, but they’ll kill.

Hatred for men. We have become a culture that despises men — not just fathers, but all men. The current Leftist phrase “toxic masculinity” says it all. We tell our young men that they are violent, hate-filled, stupid, regressive beings that need to be sidelined and silenced. Instead, we should be telling boys that they have wonderful virtues — they’re brave, and loyal, and imaginative, and energetic. Then, we should work on harnessing those virtues.

The Leftist way creates violent, angry, nihilistic men who are completely disconnected from society. The smart, humanist way creates kind, brave people who protect the weak, rather than try to destroy everyone.

A cultural loss of respect for life. For all the Left’s hysterical cries about kids in concentration camps, the point of that protest is simply to open the borders to replace America’s existing voting population. It is not about life. If it were about life, the Left would stop enticing people, especially families, to make the dangerous trek across the deserts and rivers that separate Latin America from North America.

The Left’s real lack of respect for life is shown in other ways. It’s shown by the way abortion has become its central platform. I know from living in the suburbs for decades that the women in my world are pretty conservative — except that they will go to the mat for abortion. It is their central political/religious tenet. It is the one thing, more than any other thing, that activates their political neurons. To keep those neurons firing, the Left has shifted from “keep abortion safe, rare, and legal,” to “abortion should be legal up to, including, and after birth.” That’s not a life cult; that’s a death cult.

The attack on the death penalty is also a lack of respect for life. In my podcast, I bumbled through an explanation based upon my reading of Dennis Prager’s excellent The Rational Bible: Exodus, which I already read, and The Rational Bible: Genesis, which I am currently reading. Here, though, I’ll let Dennis Prager explain it himself:

We are also losing our anthropocentric world view, which diminishes the value of human life. The Bible is about man as the center of a God-created world. Every human life is a reflection of God, so every human life is infinitely precious. Western history has also been a human-centric history. Whether Biblical, Greek, Roman, or Western, we learn about great men (plus a few great women). Sure, most of history has been about slaves and other masses ruled by these great men, but our histories still imbue the men with personality. We’ve seen our world driven by their desires, angers, insanity, visions, etc.

Starting 150 years ago, though, with Marx, history stopped being driven by individuals — that is, individuals stopped mattering — and we were told that it is driven by mass movements of faceless groups and classes. No wonder, then, that Stalin said, or reputedly said, “One death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.” Once you start viewing death statistically, you’ve lost entirely any reverence for human life.

Within our own life times, we’ve seen the return of pagan Gaia — or Nature — worship. Leftists in thrall to this belief system openly yearn for a mass die-off of humans or demand that humans cease reproducing. They want to return the world to a presumably Edenic pre-human time. The fact that Nature, untempered by humanity, is red of tooth and claw, that it’s an endless, bloody, violent, painful fight for survival, seems to elude them entirely. All that the Gaia worships know (or think they know) is that humans are bad and Nature is good.

As I understand it, when it came to the El Paso shooter, this kind of Gaia-centric world view, or eco-fascism, was the driving force behind his murder spree. He didn’t want to kill Hispanics because they were inferior, which would be a racist, or white supremacist, view. He wanted to kill them because his environmentalist world view says Hispanics coming to America is putting unneeded, excess pressure on our environment. That’s pure Leftism.

De-institutionalizing the mentally ill. I’ve been grumbling about de-institutionalizing the mentally ill for decades. I remember as a child how San Francisco’s Summer of Love in 1967 morphed into the endless winter of mentally ill, drug-addicted people taking over San Francisco’s parks and streets. Once upon a time, Americans more humanely put people with severe mental illnesses or addiction problems into institutions, where they were safe, clean, fed, and cared for.

There is no doubt that some of those institutions were cruelly run places and needed reform. Thanks to the ACLU, though, we didn’t reform them, we destroyed them and put their residents onto the streets. People with intractable mental illnesses were suddenly left to fend for themselves. They ate out of garbage cans, slept in gutters and doorways, and literally rotted to death before the eyes of people hastening to and from work in downtown San Francisco. The scary ones ranted and raved to invisible demons and, occasionally, acted out by attacking passers-by.

As news reports about Leftist cities such as San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Sacramento show, there are more and more of these pathetic people now. It’s entirely possible that the prevalence of marijuana is worsening the situation. I strongly suspect that the young male shooters who pop up in the news on too regular a basis are regular pot users.

It is a cruel, stupid society that does not care for its mentally ill or for those rendered incompetent by substance abuse. Moreover, the more functional ones are periodically going to be very dangerous.

Psychotropic Drugs. In lieu of institutionalizing people, we drug them. We also drug them when they’re unhappy. And, when it comes to normal boy energy, we drug boys so that they’ll sit quietly in classrooms the way girls do and willingly talk about their emotions. The latter class of drugs — the amphetamines used to treat ADD and ADHD — have a paradoxical effect in children, which is to calm them down, rather than rev them up. As the boys get older, though, they find themselves addicted to drugs that rev them up, increase violent tendencies, and generally turn their brains to cottage cheese.

There’s also a growing body of evidence that the other meds so freely prescribed can make people violent and/or suicidally depressed. I believe that most of the young men who engage in mass shootings outside of inner-city ghettos have been on psychotropic drugs (although I know nothing about the past weekend’s shooters). We are medicating ourselves into murder.

The Media. Here’s a bonus idea that I forgot to include in the podcast. In a media age, whether the old media of television or the new media of the internet, everybody, especially young people, wants their 15 seconds of fame. How better to get it than going out in a blaze of glory? Keep in mind in this regard that young people consistently fail to understand that, when they’re dead, they’re not experience that blaze of glory. They always imagine a post-death future in which they are still actively participating — and the media promises them a celebrity they can only dream of in life.

Mass shootings are still extremely rare, no matter what the Left tells us. Nevertheless, it would be nicer if there were no mass shootings, rather than occasional shootings. Getting rid of guns is a meaningless exercise that erases one of our pivotal natural rights without addressing the myriad reasons young people, especially young men, today feel that killing people en masse is a good thing.

The post No. 6 Bookworm Podcast : The multitude of reasons behind mass shootings appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

Homelessness and drug addiction in Seattle: Message from a dying city

A locally-produced news story about Seattle’s homeless problem is a microcosm of what Leftist governance will do to a community.

You may already have heard about the hour-long special a local Seattle station did about the homeless crisis in that city. The video is very well done, although a bit heavy on the banal philosophical moralizing and curiously quiet about the immediate cause of this problem (which I won’t be quiet about in this post).

If you haven’t yet watched the video, I suggest that you do. It’s an hour well spent. I’ve embedded the video immediately below. I’ve followed the video with my observations:

The images are not new to me. As the video points out, San Francisco, my natal town and a mere 12 miles from my house, is in worse shape than Seattle. More than that, I was present at the genesis of this urban decline because I grew up in the City during the hippie area. Haight Ashbury, a former working class neighborhood that shaded into very poor inner city housing, was a microcosm of what whole cities have become: drug addled people using the streets and Golden Gate Parks as their home, with all the anti-civic behavior that entails, such as public filth (feces, urine, vomit, fleas, lice, etc.), car break-ins, robberies, muggings, and just a general degradation in the standard of living for those taxpayers still trying to live a traditional life.

I don’t know if San Francisco initially put up a fight against these behaviors, but I do know that, by the late 1960s and early 1970s, as the City took a hard Left turn, City Hall turned a blind eye to the lawless behavior driving this civic collapse. It helped that the problem was confined to a few specific neighborhoods: the Haight, the eastern end of Golden Gate Park and, of course, the usual suspects in the Tenderloin area south and west of downtown.

There’s no doubt that deinstitutionalization has a lot to do with the terrible problems we see today. In the years leading up to the de-institutionalization movement were pretty dreadful places. Two movies — The Snake Pit and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest — capture some of the horrors of mental institutions.

They were dirty (in part because it’s hard to keep seriously mentally ill adults from soiling their environment and in part because there was no impetus to clean them), patients were subjected to awful “experimental” treatments, and there was simply a lot of brutality involved, both because of the aforesaid difficulty handling mentally ill people and because, sadly, sadistic people were attracted to working around made-to-order victims. These institutions were also a convenient way for families to rid themselves of difficult family members. Something had to change.

I found a great timeline here about deinstitutionalization and I’ve cherry-picked some of the (to me) more interesting facts:

1955 – The number of patients in public mental health hospitals reached a record of 558,000. They suffered from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and severe depression. Many had organic brain diseases such as dementia and brain damage from trauma. Others suffered from mental retardation combined with psychosis, autism, or brain damage from drug addiction. Most patients were not expected to get better given the treatments at the time. Congress passed the Mental Health Study Act of 1955. It established the Joint Commission on Mental Illness and Health to evaluate the nation’s mental health situation.

[snip]

1962 – Ken Kesey published “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. It was a fictional story about abuses in a mental hospital. The author dramatized his experiences as a nurse’s aide in the psychiatric wing of a California veteran’s hospital. The book helped turn public opinion against electroshock therapy and lobotomies. These were procedures commonly used at the time.

1963 – President John F. Kennedy signed the Community Mental Health Centers Construction Act. It provided federal funding to create community-based mental health facilities. They would provide prevention, early treatment, and ongoing care. The goal was to build one for every 125,000 to 250,000 people. That many centers would allow patients to remain close to their families and be integrated into society. But it ignored statistics that showed 75 percent of those in hospitals had no families.

[snip]

1967 – California’s Governor Ronald Reagan signed the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act. It limited a family’s right to commit a mentally ill relative without the right to due process. It also reduced the state’s institutional expense. That doubled the number of mentally ill people in California’s criminal justice system the following year. It also increased the number treated by hospital emergency rooms. Medicaid covered those costs. Other states followed with similar involuntary commitment laws.

[snip]

1977 – Only 650 community health centers had been built. That was less than half of what was needed. They served 1.9 million patients. They were designed to help those with less severe mental health disorders. As states closed hospitals, the centers became overwhelmed with those patients with more serious challenges.

[snip]

1990 – The Food and Drug Administration approved clozapine to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia. That strengthened the prejudice against hospitalization of the mentally ill.

2004 – Studies suggest approximately 16 percent of prison and jail inmates or roughly 320,000 people were seriously mentally ill. That year, there were about 100,000 psychiatric beds in public and private hospitals. In other words, three times as many mentally ill people were in jail than in a hospital.

2009 – The Great Recession forced states to cut $4.35 billion in mental health spending in three years.

The material I snipped out mostly discusses various federal laws that tried to make mental health care a community issue while moving money hither and yon. Somehow mental health always got shortchanged.

Again, the Bay Area was a good early warning system of what was to come. I attended Cal from 1979 through 1983 and avoided Telegraph Avenue as much as possible. It was a haven for the homeless and many were manifestly mentally ill. Some just quietly muttered to themselves, but many had manic, violent arguments with invisible people, and would confuse passers-by with their invisible opponents. I saw the same thing in Austin, when I was at school there, for “the Drag” (Guadalupe Street) was a small scale Telegraph Avenue.

When I started working in downtown San Francisco, in the second half of the 1980s through the end of the 1990s, it was more of the same. Scattered throughout Market and Montgomery Streets were mentally ill people, sitting or lying in their own filth, begging and scrounging for food in garbage cans, and frequently covered with oozing sores. As long as they were not an immediate threat to themselves or others, they could not be taken off the streets on account of mental illness, and of course San Francisco had long since stopped enforcing its laws against loitering, begging, or public urination or defecation.

I remember having conversations with my friends (all of whom were Leftists in those days) and all of whom felt that these people, while pathetic and irritating, had a right to live as they wanted. I also remember having conversations with my parents (who were old-fashioned Democrats and sane) and we agreed that it is a cruel society that allows mentally ill people to live as these people did. There had to be a better way.

My parents and I were aware, of course, that drug and alcohol abuse played a large role in the problem. Some people behaved as they did because that was the effect active drug use had on them; some behaved as they did because drugs had literally driven them insane; and some people behaved as they did because they were mentally ill and they took street drugs as a form of self-medication — except that the drugs simply made their madness worse. We felt compassion for them, but we also felt compassion for those (such as me) who had to run the gauntlet of these people very day. It was disgusting and frightening.

Regarding drugs, back in the 1980s, law enforcement still took drug possession fairly seriously. However, thanks to a growing generation of young people for whom pot was a normative part of their college educations, the push to legalize drugs — and, in the meantime, to ignore laws making drugs illegal — meant that there was no push-back against the drugs driving the homeless problem in San Francisco. Moreover, as states have legalized drugs, the tacit approval has increased drug use and increased drug problems. Moreover, at least one author has done the research showing that legal marijuana doesn’t just drive up petty crime, and drives up the scary crazy violent crime.

(Incidentally, in the interest of full disclosure, while I strongly disapprove of recreational marijuana use, especially by young believe, I believe in exploring marijuana’s medicinal possibilities. Of late, I’ve used legal CBD to great effect to control both arthritis pain and migraines, without even touching the hallucinogenic aspects of the drug.)

Sometime after I stopped working in downtown San Francisco and moved to a nice clean suburb, governance in major urban areas became more and more left wing. It’s true, as the above quoted material shows, that money to treat mental illness and substance abuse started drying up with the recession. However, the reality is that, also beginning around 2008, with Obama’s election and the beginning of unbridled Leftist ascendance in America’s cities, the new approach was to make addicts and clinically insane people comfortable on the streets. We were told that it was morally imperative for us to give them safe places to shoot up and to ignore their petty crime.

We were also told why we should use this approach: It was the fault of stable middle class people (mostly white) that addicts and the mentally ill lived on the streets as they did. It was our systemic racism, classism, and economic inequality that was the real problem. The mental illness and substance abuse were symptoms that should be ignored or accommodated.

Thanks to this openly expressed hard-Left belief system, what you see in the above Seattle video is the pretty much the norm through Democrat-run cities. I fault the video because it assiduously avoids making that point. Many of those angry citizens you see in the town meeting were screaming at the government they elected:

Earlier this year, national media described Washington as “the epicenter of resistance to Trump’s agenda” after the state became the first to challenge Trump’s targeted travel ban and a federal judge in Seattle ordered a national halt to the ban’s enforcement. Seattle-area tech corporations vocalized support for the legal efforts.

“There’s a little bit of … reinforcing feedback that’s happening,” Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien says of the city’s population growth spurring progressive politics, while people around the country have been “flowing in the opposite direction.”

Political momentum among Seattle progressives reached a milestone in July, when the nine-member City Council – one member of which belongs to the Socialist Alternative Party – unanimously passed a proposal to impose a citywide income tax on wealthy residents to generate revenue to lower property taxes and provide affordable housing, among other funding goals. [That’s what the construction workers were yelling about in the video.]

[snip]

Voter statistics exemplify the phenomenon. In Seattle’s King County, for instance, Clinton won 72 percent of the vote, outperforming Barack Obama’s 69 percent in 2012, The Seattle Times reported.

Roughly 8 percent of voting Seattleites voted for Trump, one of the lowest percentages of any major U.S. city, an analysis by the newspaper found.

[snip]

During Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, he applauded Seattle for the minimum wage change and other progressive milestones, such as the election of U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, who shares similar political priorities, including lowering student debt and reversing climate change.

Sanders won in a landslide victory in Washington Democratic caucuses last spring, taking more than 70 percent of the statewide delegate count compared to roughly 30 percent for Hillary Clinton.

The current approach to homelessness is 100% in line with the voter’s world view. Seattle did its virtue signaling, and the nation’s drug addicts and mentally ill people responded enthusiastically.

No wonder that, in hard Left coastal California, Oregon, and Washington, the citizens are not yet willing to acknowledge that their ideology spawned this catastrophe. Tent cities, medieval plagues, violence, filth, rats, drugs, crime, etc. — it’s all Democrat-caused.

Still, maybe the very real muggings these frustrated citizens are experiencing will be their political “mugged by reality” moment. Maybe they’ll figure out that the rule of law is a good thing, that societies survive best with norms that benefit the middle class taxpayers. Maybe they’ll recognize that pathological altruism is more pathological than it is altruistic. Maybe they’ll examine their closely held belief systems and cross the Rubicon into a new world of conservative beliefs.

Certainly those construction workers in the video had a moment of complete reality clarity. We need more of that if we want to survive as a society. The Rhode Island experiment that the video describes is a step in the right direction: don’t ignore the laws; enforce the laws, and then add in compassion and common sense to help at least the drug addicts walk the straight and narrow.

One more thing: As you can see in Venezuela, once Leftists gain full power, the downfall happens very fast. I was in Seattle in 2010 and there was nothing like this on the streets. The level of decay, chaos, crime, etc., has flowered in less than ten years. (The same is true, incidentally, for the Bay  Area. I go into the City infrequently, and it really seemed as if, from one visit to the next, the entire system had collapsed.)

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