PDX Roundup Monday May 16

Portland is rolling out its long-planned “Safe Rest Villages” scheme to house the homeless in pods, led by city councilman Dan Ryan. Today homeless are moving into a “queer affinity” SRV in the city’s southwest that’s already lost the support of its “housed neighbors” who’ve said their concerns about conditions around the park haven’t been addressed–requests such as establishing a no-camping zone around the village have been dismissed out of hand. I don’t know if anyone has challenged the “queer affinity” model’s discriminatory nature–which I think the city has already applied in some of its traditional low-income housing, where a given building will be dedicated to aging queers. The village will be located near an elementary school.

How queer-hood is established I don’t know.

Portland held a rally and march on behalf of abortion Saturday, of course, that was well attended with only a small BLM and antifa presence.

Carjacking suspects led police on a high-speed chase that was abandoned due to safety concerns. Then police lost another wanted suspect who fled a traffic stop. Meanwhile gun violence continues to creep into the previously quiet southwest. Two women were shot last week outside one of the city’s public housing apartments (I think for recovering addicts); one died. This came after a young woman was shot and killed by a former lover just outside of Portland State University in downtown’s south end. A young security guard was found dead from gunshot wounds outside a Marriott hotel on the south waterfront. No suspect has been found in that case. The city’s murder rate for the year is excelling last year’s record numbers.

A trailer loaded with guns and ammo intended for a gun show was stolen from a parking lot and days later was jackknifed on the Interstate Bridge into Washington state as its 19 year-old female driver was trying to escape police. Women drivers, you know. Not all the guns were recovered.

This is Portland.

PDX Diary May 11: Fourth and Washington

A Rolex ad towers over the large multi-retail building that stretches over a city block downtown. It’s been vacant and fenced off for years, periodically swept by graffiti and painted over.

“Yo you need something?” One of a pair of homeless men lying in an alcove says as I pass. “You need something?” At first I think he’s talking to me, trying to sell me drugs; no, he’s talking to a man out ahead of me, who’s looking down the street in our direction. The man is small and frail, dogeared and gray despite not being that old. He’s standing at a bus stop, watching silently and incomprehensibly at the homeless man who’s up and walking toward him now.

I pull up to the bus stop and stand near the little gray confused man.

“Yo you need something? What are you lookin at bro?” The homeless man says threateningly, his hands balled up in fists and trailing behind.

“He’s looking for the bus.” I say, as flatly as I can, stepping forward. I look over at the gray man. “You’re watching for the bus, right?” He barely nods, looking confused; he doesn’t seem to understand what’s happening.

“He’s just watching for the bus, man.” I say, conciliatory, motioning at my own eyes and down the street. My tone is deliberately mild, but I take another step forward, trying to look taller. This is my strategy; my words are almost apologetic but my body language is meant to convey a certain readiness. “It’s okay.”

The homeless guy pulls up and mutters something about how he “don’t fuck around”. I just nod, eying the homemade flail in his belt, a flat piece of metal connected to a short stick by chain link. I don’t fuck around he says I’m not that guy I don’t fuck around. I nod. “Okay. Thank you.” I say as he turns around, revealing a Friday the 13th style hockey mask on the back of his head.

A crazy black man is dribbling a basketball and trying to do tricks with it, but he’s clumsy and keeps losing the ball. As it bounces away he takes a deep, formal bow as if for an audience, and then stops, bent at the waist, swaying a little. He decides to stay there a while. Another crazy black man is shadowboxing with a parking sign, pretending to slip and counter punches; I think he’s inspired by the first guy.

Somebody has excavated the dirt from planter that’s flush with the ground, leaving a round hole several feet deep like a trap. Nearby is still another manic black man, naked to the waist. He’s ripped and trembling violently in little spasms as if an electric current is running through him; splashing water desperately on himself as if he’s on fire.

This is Portland.

PDX Dispatch May 9: Toke and Mirrors

A man was captured on camera vandalizing a mosque and a synagogue in Portland last week as part of a string of similar attacks. On Saturday he was arrested when he turned up at a local news station and demanded to talk to a reporter.

Mike Bivins had been working as a freelance videographer documenting the clashes between local anarchists and right wing patriot groups since Trump’s ascent in 2015. His work has appeared in the local free weekly Willamette Week and elsewhere.

Bivins took a scalp in 2016 when his Periscope video of another local videographer drawing a gun as he was being chased by dozens of left wing protesters led to the man’s arrest. Michael Strickland of the “Laughing at Liberals” channel was later convicted of brandishing a weapon in a questionable prosecution.

Apparently Bivins had a change of heart over the last couple of years and became a “monarchist”, according to local lefties. His Twitter account has recently criticized Joe Biden and praised Elon Musk’s taking over the site.

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For anyone who cares one iota about cannabis and its future, Cultivation Classic is the event of the year.

The science involved in the fourth annual organic cannabis competition—organized by Willamette Week—is on the cutting edge. And each year, that science drills deeper into the mysteries of this incredibly complex plant.

“What I want to underscore is that this event will stoke an exciting, relevant discussion for consumers,” says organizer Steph Barnhart. “So many cannabis cups celebrate potency, where the most THC equals a big trophy. And that is the opposite of what we are trying to do here.”

I wonder if Mike has been spending a little too much time on the cutting edge of cannabis recently.

Mannish Girl

Warning: gendered abuse ahead.

Joe Biden’s new Ministry of Information Czarina has the look of the crazed, of course, because most of us look at least a little like what we are, but she also has somewhat masculine features.

That look of oblivious self-satisfaction doesn’t help soften things either.

I was trying to place what looked so familiar about this unfortunate photo, and I recall moving to Portland, rotten with drag queens, and seeing that they’d taken, for some inscrutable reason, to wearing (I think) prosthetic chins that jut forward like the prow of a ship.

Welcome to the Ministry of Truth, kids

She’s got a career as a drag queen waiting if the Ministry of Truth deal falls through. We know she can sing.

In admiring that strong chin I couldn’t help thinking of another ball-buster, the Facebook “whistleblower” and censorship advocate Francis Haugen.

“And I found the trauma wrecked my t levels”

PDX Dispatch March 2

Shit Show

A tiny political rally for Oregon gubernatorial candidate Stan Pulliam, Republican and police supporter, was attacked by antifa with small explosives and water balloons allegedly filled with feces.

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Oregon is a one-party state that last elected a Republican governor in 1982. Republican opposition in the legislature is meager, when the party’s leaders aren’t signing on to Democratic legislation. 2020 radicalized (or just emboldened) the Democrats who took advantage of the shock and awe of rioting to pass a host of bills limiting the police and transferring wealth to black people. The resultant chaos and penury has made Democrats and their policies extremely unpopular. Kate Brown, who ascended to the office after the popular John Kitzhaber was ousted in a scandal, is the least popular governor in the nation. So the unthinkable has occurred: Republicans have a chance. This is causing some panic, not least within antifa. Pulliam has drawn some attention for his and his wife’s membership in a swinger’s group in the past.

The attack occurred across the street from the still barricaded police station, but police response was delayed long enough to allow for antifa’s escape–though it’s not likely they would have been arrested anyway. 911 callers said they were put on hold by police who then suggested they leave the area and meet with them in another, safer location to report the attack–their response was to try to lure the victims away from the aggressors. Whose streets? answered again.

Translation: “The Jews”

Also the words “Die Juden” were painted on a synagogue in Northwest Portland, overnight and it’s everyone’s fault, naturally:

“It’s easy for us in Portland to think this doesn’t happen around here. That we’re free of anti-Semitism and hate speech, but the reality is it’s very much a part of our world,” Cahana said. “It’s very much of a part of the Pacific Northwest.”

We’re all antisemites now.

Ragtime Justice

Last year Oregon passed the Menstrual Dignity Act mandating free tampons in schools, as part of the “period poverty” movement for “menstrual equity” on behalf of girls and young women. Last week the state began implementing the policy, which includes tampon dispensers in the boy’s room. The Oregon Department of Education toolkit makes no mention of girls or boys, and advises schools on language:

Recommendations for Gender-Affirming Language
● Refer to menstruation without calling in gendering order to be gender-affirming for
trans, non-binary, and two spirit students. Emphasize physiology during puberty
education more broadly.
○ Use “menstruating students” instead of “girls”
○ Use “menstrual products” instead of “feminine hygiene products”
○ Explain “someone with a uterus and ovaries may begin to menstruate” instead of
“girls may begin to menstruate” during puberty education
○ Use gender-inclusive “students” “folks” “everyone” “learners” or “they/them”
instead of “boys and girls” or “he or she” when referring to students
● Use open wordslike “most” or “typical” or “another” instead of binary “opposite” or
“normal” or “other” (e.g. “another gender” instead of “opposite sex”).

Naturally the boys find the dispensers a source of amusement. This article from a student newspaper suggests the dispensers themselves aren’t being treated with much dignity:

Since the menstrual products were added to all the bathrooms, including male restrooms, another sophomore Jaiden Cerda provided a guy’s point of view on what appears to be the disrespectful abuse of the products. Jaiden said, “It’s not good because it’s against the law, and if you get caught you can get into huge trouble.”

I’m reminded of the creepy janitor back at Corvallis Junior High, who once thought it great fun to chase a couple of us dangling a bloody pad. With shame I recall we found it hilarious.

PDX Dispatch April 27: Pirates of Portland

From Portland’s ABC affiliate KATU:

PORTLAND, Ore. — Just past the “Entering Oregon” sign on the Interstate 5 Bridge over the Columbia River is one of the first things people see, and it is not a very pleasant welcome to Oregon.

At the base of the Interstate Bridge on Hayden Island are two old military vessels — the Alert and the Sakarissa. Ownership issues have left the ships vulnerable. Within the past year both have been boarded, damaged and tagged by people living in a growing homeless camp on the shore next to the ships.

“You can kind of see the progress over the months. They’ve been completely vandalized. They’ve now been broken into. I can only imagine what has been taken and stolen from the insides,” said Sgt. Steve Dangler of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s River Patrol Unit.

His regular beat includes monitoring the vessels and the camp near them.

“Unfortunately, what we end up finding is a lot of debris in the water. We have drug use that occurs. We’ve actually had one drowning out here,” Dangler said.

Right after giving KATU News a tour of the problem, Dangler and his partner returned to the camp and found a stolen sailboat and a 15-year-old runaway.

Hayden Island residents and business owners have a name for the thieves.

“The Pirates of the Columbia,” said Carol Kersley whose boat was stolen, “because they steal anything that’s not nailed down.”

Coincidentally days before this article appeared I had a conversation with a friend who used to live aboard a boat near the above-described pirate’s cove. I remarked how bands of homeless sometimes resemble nomadic groups from the long past, with their improvised attire like animal skins and weapons strapped to their sides.

“No kidding. When I lived on the boat there were pirates. I mean, they looked like real pirates. I watched this guy steal two kayaks, very nice, expensive. He comes along rowing one and towing the other and uses our dock to climb out of the water.”

He laughs.

“I swear to God it was like something out of Pirates of the Caribbean. His face even: he’s got everything but the eye patch and knife between his teeth. His pants are stuffed into his boots and he’s got a massive Bowie knife strapped to his side. I watch him as he takes these expensive new kayaks and drags them up the rock bank–ruining them instantly–to wherever he’s going.”

What we have going on here in Portland, unappreciated, is a grand experiment demonstrating the effects of individual de-socialization on a mass scale. Our feral people are sorting themselves out spontaneously, developing sub-groups and cultures of their own in a natural process that plays out perversely under the influence of drugs in a “normal” world that is less normal every day.

The homeless are increasingly disconnected from us but not blind–they see the working world (which they reject or feel rejected them) failing, they see its confidence faltering, they see its most despised or troublesome aspects–for them–such as law and order, receding. Their contempt for us is palpable and maybe a little deserved.

And the Portland Lab is just getting started with this fascinating study.

PDX Dispatch April 25: Snitches Get…Snitches

Oregon’s first-in-the-nation 1987 “sanctuary” law shielding illegal immigrants from federal immigration law, the Sanctuary Promise Act, was expanded in 2021 allowing anyone to sue public officials for reporting immigration violations to federal authorities, providing “an option to hold accountable individuals and entities that violate this policy”.

That should not be read to include, just yet, private citizens, but would enter individual violators acting in a public capacity into a database maintained by the state’s Criminal Justice Commission, which has been tasked with recording and considering for investigation each and every complaint. Naturally the CJC is focused on “restorative” justice and limiting police authority to reduce incarceration.

Now Oregon’s Department of Justice has launched a telephone hotline where anyone, including illegal aliens themselves, can snitch on those who snitch to federal authorities:

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon launched a statewide Sanctuary Promise Hotline this month for anyone to report suspected violations of Oregon sanctuary laws in any language.

According to a press release by Oregon’s Department of Justice, the Oregon Legislature recently provided funding for the DOJ to staff the hotline with culturally responsive and “trauma-informed” advocates. The department will investigate all allegations of sanctuary promise law violations.

“For the first time, any person in Oregon can report a sanctuary law violation to a hotline designed to support and meet our communities’ needs,” said Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. “Our immigrants, refugees, and migrant workers are our friends, neighbors and co-workers, and they are a vital part of our social and economic fabric. Oregonians value fairness and dignity, and all people should feel safe in their communities.”

She added, “No one should feel like they cannot show up to work or school for fear of being arrested, detained or deported. We intend to follow up on every single call and urge all Oregonians to be aware of and use this new resource.”

The state’s long-standing sanctuary laws restrict state and local law enforcement as well as state and local government agencies from collecting, storing or sharing information about a person, said the DOJ.

This information can include national origin, immigration or citizenship status, for the purposes of enforcing federal immigration law. Examples of Sanctuary Law violations include civil arrest without judicial warrant or order from a court facility and arrests by federal immigration agents of a person on their way to or from court or while in court.

The state is tying the sanctuary hotline to their Bias Response Hotline, casting, say, a sheriff’s deputy in rural Oregon reporting a suspected rapist to ICE as akin to the proverbial and vanishingly rare skinhead committing a hate crime.

This isn’t the first hotline the department has created.

In January 2020, the Oregon Department of Justice launched the Bias Response Hotline, which has fielded over 3,000 reports of hate and bias occurring throughout Oregon, said the DOJ.

If you or someone you know was targeted in violation of Oregon’s Sanctuary Promise laws, you can call 1-844-924-7829 or the Spanish direct line 1-844-626-7276.

People can also call the hotline to receive support or be connected to resources. The DOJ says it may open an investigation into the violation, if reported.

Operators for the hotline are standing by 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday with interpreters in 240 languages.

Oregon bolstered the sanctuary law in 2017 in response to Trump’s nationwide immigration raids and turbocharged it in the riotous environment of 2021 with the lawsuit provision and the–increasingly and sinisterly standard with this type of legislation–database.

Of course being a sanctuary state costs Oregon–more when Trump was in office than now–and we’ll lose among other things federal funds compensating us for the many illegal aliens in our jails–but that’s only fair. We claim even the worst of them as “Oregonians”.

The Musk v The Megaphone

Many challenges to the neoliberal revolution from above–to “Globohomo“–have shown up confident in their logic and appeal only to end up absorbed in Globohomo’s vast and dense obtuseness like lost travelers in the Amazon. Consider the campaigns against CRT and “grooming”; heading into the midterm elections they’re winning–politically they’re irresistible–yet past experience suggests they’ll simply be outlasted, after Republican mid-term candidates and Fox News take advantage. Many a presumed breaking point has been passed along our way; many a bridge has proven not too far at all for Globohomo.

Globohomo succeeds in all its offensives and repulses all attacks, undefeated at home and away. But these wins are in ways fraudulent–logically unsound and popularly unappealing. So control of the media is essential. Team Globohomo gets to cheat because it holds the Megaphone.

No challenge was bigger than Trump’s election campaign and administration. From joyous optimism in 2016, through the disappointing slog of his administration, to the humiliating debacle of January 6–all with the effect of consolidating Globohomo’s power and ushering in our present endgame of censorship and repression–pessimism isn’t just understandable, it’s practically mandatory.

But Elon Musk’s challenge to Twitter by offering to buy it is cause for optimism. Despite underperforming for years now as it’s flailed about for a growth strategy (that doesn’t involve greater freedom of speech) and being the shrimp among the social media companies, Twitter’s influence, as an immediate global arena where anyone might reach anyone else, is immeasurable. Through content sharing on its platform Twitter is social media’s linchpin in a way her fat cat peers covet but can’t reproduce. Twitter practically is the Megaphone.

So Twitter being essential to Trump’s insurgency–with the added horror of Trump’s campaign enlivening the site and being very good for business–is a sin for which Twitter must atone. A belief shared by Twitter. The threat Trump revealed–of the site’s suitability for a genuine populist movement–remains, and Twitter is on notice, from within and without.

So “get woke go broke” isn’t necessarily untrue, it’s just irrelevant.

No one is trying to gauge how much censorship and its chilling effect is costing Twitter–justice knows nothing of opportunity costs. But the company’s refusal to consider Musk’s generous bid demonstrates Twitter is seen from within and without primarily as a speech moderating institution, not a profit-making venture. The company’s implied balance sheet in the economy of power is more important than their financials,

I think there’s an understanding within the company and board that Twitter will be given leeway–that shareholders won’t be roused by poor performance, for one thing–because of the company’s unique importance to the control of the media. Twitter is counting on something akin to the “Greenspan Put” indemnifying against losses; call it the Woke Put. But those pesky investors, like voters and citizens, remain out there.

Musk’s wealth has put him in a position to at least force Twitter to publicly impoverish its shareholders and–hopefully, if Musk mounts an investor revolt–to be seen fighting savagely (and I do expect that) against profitability.

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No one has been more vociferous in opposing Musk’s meddling in Twitter and in defending censorship generally than The Washington Post, of course. Here’s an example:

Elon Musk’s vision for Twitter is a public town square where there few restrictions on what people can or can’t say on the Internet.

But the utopian ideal envisioned by the Tesla CEO ceased to exist long ago and doesn’t take into account what’s happening in the real world, tech executives, Twitter employees and Silicon Valley insiders say. As Musk seeks a $43 billion hostile takeover bid for Twitter, critics say his ambition for what the platform should be — a largely unpoliced space rid of censorship — is naive, would hurt the company’s growth prospects and would render the platform unsafe.

Typically this type of “but some say” article looking to shoot down something like Musk’s little adventure here is bogus, citing a few people in activist organizations who would be completely irrelevant if they weren’t quoted in such articles, but in this case the cited represent the mood of a good section of Twitter itself. The article quotes Musk:

“My strong intuitive sense is that having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization,” he said.

That’s self evident enough to be a platitude. But hold on a second, The Post responds:

Some pro-free speech networks have been found by researchers to be havens for white supremacists and those who wished to harm society.

Perhaps it’s important to understand the censorship of “white supremacists” isn’t just about censoring white supremacists–we are few and powerless–but using the bogey of white supremacy to establish the principle that speech must be limited. White supremacy exists, ergo, the First Amendment is obsolete, is the argument.

White supremacy is not a real thing. The First Amendment is less and less a real thing–selectively applied any law becomes a lie–because of the bogey of white supremacy. And this is how one lie is made to produce another.

Elon Musk might get to Mars before we get to freedom–the former is a problem of physics, whereas the latter is a problem of evil. Physics problems have answers.

But today is a better day because of Musk’s crusade.

PDX Diary April 15: Raggedy Androgyne

Portland’s downtown library is open to the public again, no mask requirement. There are no padded chairs or sofas, too inviting to homeless, just high backed wood chairs lining long narrow wood tables. They’re not too bad though; you can lean back and work in them in surprising comfort and there are plenty.

Across from me a young homeless man is telling his story to a young female librarian. Occasionally one of the librarians sweeps through wearing an N95 mask, grim and wraithlike. A homeless guy, obliviously voluminous, has convinced them to lend him the phone at the librarian’s desk in the high-ceilinged room–rose colored with great high arching wood vaulted windows flashing bands of cloud-traversed sky–and he’s well into a meandering conversation. Two librarians have joined one behind the counter to stand by miserably waiting for the right point to intervene.

I decide to browse the books and find social sciences well stocked with progressive tomes; a whole bank of black grievance kitsch beckons, obliviously condescending, histrionic, hectoring and humorless, an obtuse obelisk. At one of the tables nearby is a person; he’s wearing dolphin shorts and a tight girl-cut tee shirt with some sort of harness or belt around his fat middle. His pixie-cut hair is a pastel sea foam color. His enormous, girlish thighs are covered in a fine hair that doesn’t look right; my God, are they dyed? I refuse to look directly at him. I see him fidgeting about conspicuously in my peripheral vision, as if trying to get my, or anybody’s, attention. I move on, resisting the seductive leer of the latest Michael Eric Dyson.

In the lobby on the way out a frail masked librarian is solemnly shadowing the loud-talking phone-borrower; it seems she’s made progress in coaxing him toward the exit. This is the low-key method I’ve seen them use–from my few days haunting the place–to deal with the low-key harassment of the homeless. Low-key harassment and passive aggression have become trademarks of our parasitic class, taking advantage of our increasingly permissive stance.

I pass out the foyer and off to my right someone appears to be receiving counseling sitting at a sort of low ticket-window; he’s animated about something. The weather is as ugly as the city for a change I think as I take in the scene in the little bleak corner where the library is. It’s offensively cold and little hard drops of rain half-frozen pelt me as I squeeze past a construction crew fixing a section of sidewalk and the crazy black woman engaging them with low-key harassment.

Later I’m on the other side of town and I see him: he’s running with his arms crossed tightly in front of him–it’s the gender-strange guy with the sea foam hair–and, my God, what is it he’s got under one elbow? Is that a small dog? I wonder with alarm, because whatever it is, its head is slapping back and forth violently–obscenely–as he skip-runs along in exaggerated female fashion. He’s running at an angle across the empty intersection, and the few other people on the street take no notice of this giant–that’s it, I realize, that’s the aesthetic he’s going for!–Raggedy Ann skipping across a downtown street in the middle of the day, barely dressed in forty degrees.

Then I noticed what it was he held, tightly between his arms crossed in front of him–deliberately mimicking the way of a young girl: a Raggedy Ann doll.

Well that’s a relief. At least no animals were hurt in the making of this madness.