Going Global

Whistling past Hunter Biden’s laptop and taking a break from the Ukraine refrain the Washington Post today returned to its favorite subject, which is its least favorite people, white dissidents:

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Melanie Gabriel became the teen idol of Washington state’s anti-masking movement last fall when she showed up to school and, claiming a medical exemption, marched barefaced to class.

As Gabriel’s protest continued and she was barred from campus, she drew support from self-styled militia groups and other far-right extremists who saw the anti-mandate movement as a chance to rally conservatives toward more-militant stances. Members of the Proud Boys offered to escort Gabriel to class, prompting a security lockdown of three schools.

You might think locking down three schools because of suburbanites with picket signs is unnecessary–but it isn’t if your goal is to shock the normies with the illusion you’re under assault; the action is what the Left likes to call “performative”. Later it will be referred to as proof of the threat presented by the Proud Boys et al–and it has the immediate effect of gaslighting the children and parents. Kids were “sheltering in place” as if in an active shooter–or Cold War-era “duck and cover”–drill.

The aforementioned Gabriel is only 14 years old and the staid old merely liberal Post would have–disingenuously of course, but still–lamented her exploitation by political activists. Of course that might draw attention to the routine use of kids as props by the establishment, and a 14 year old girl campaigning for something like “trans rights” up to and including genital mutilation would no doubt be an inspiring tale of youthful activism. The new Washington Post is all for using children to advance causes, so all they can do is lament the local resistance has their own Greta Thunberg, less the unattractive, well, everything.

Now, with the lifting of most mask and vaccine requirements, Gabriel and her far-right backers are mobilizing the networks they’ve built over the past two years toward a new goal: November’s midterm elections.

Gabriel spoke this month at a gathering that was emblematic of the increasingly blurry lines on the right — it was organized by the far-right Washington Three Percent and sponsored by a conservative student group, Turning Point USA. With the state Capitol dome in the background, speaker after speaker told supporters not to get complacent with mandates gone.

“Just because they’re lifted doesn’t mean they’re going to stay that way, and that’s why we’re all here,” said Gabriel, a striking figure in a bright crimson bob, cat-eye makeup, and a T-shirt with the anti-Biden slogan, “Let’s Go Brandon.” Her bullhorn was decorated with stickers that read, “Say No To Critical Hate Theory” and “Allergic to socialism.”

A man in the audience yelled that Gabriel should run for governor.

“I will!” Gabriel replied. “I will run for governor. And I’ll run for president. And I’ll run for everything!” She waited a beat before adding: “Once I’m of legal age.”

That’s the kind of youthful energy far-right movements are working to harness across the country as they teach the pandemic’s newly minted activists how to get out the vote.

Organized political redress used to be seen as inherently good; now that normalcy itself has been put beyond the pale to make room for trans rights and whatever comes next (Globohomo needs psychological lebensraum, lots of it) unregulated political action is seen as inherently bad–routinely the Left now, with apparent lack of self-awareness, will sound alarm at basic, innocuous political organization on the Right–registering voters goes from sacred to sinister.

Extremist questions vaccination rules at town hall meeting, FBI alerted

Extremism trackers say the past two years of fighting pandemic restrictions have given far-right groups a new generation of recruits and a blueprint for taking the lead in conservative organizing. The midterm season, they warn, brings a heightened risk of political violence, as armed groups build on those gains to push deeper into the mainstream.

“In Olympia today, we saw paramilitary groups and a range of other anti-democracy activists aggressively working to recruit young people and making pledges of unity against what they see as their common enemies,” Eric K. Ward, executive director of Western States Center, a regional extremism watchdog, said in a statement after the event where Gabriel spoke.

Western States Center is a local non-profit whose donors include the Gates and Ford foundations, with a focus on “gender” and race that looks to be in the business of providing institutions with anti-racist “worksheets” and the like.

The Post seems to lament no antifa faction showed up to turn the event violent–which would then be blamed on the demonstrators.

Unlike at previous far-right gatherings in Olympia, no leftist counter protesters showed up, and the event was peaceful. Journalists were encouraged to refer to it as a “freedom festival,” not a rally. On the damp statehouse grounds, leather-clad bikers chatted about gas prices with khakis-wearing politicians. Gun rights activists told college students that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is an example of why they consider the Second Amendment untouchable. A voter registration table sat next to a self-styled militia’s information booth, a reminder that, in this milieu, there are two paths to making change.

Not that anyone’s paying attention, but the peaceful nature of these “far right” rallies is only ever interrupted when black bloc shows up expressly to fight, something this paragraph inadvertently advertises. The author seems to lament no one showed up to ensure the “leather clad” can’t caucus with the “khaki wearing”–and that is the genuine concern here, the subtext of this article howling from the depths of elite progressive paranoia: “the people are conspiring together!” Something must be done.

Articles like this tend to hit all the narrative bullet points (with complete spontaneity, I’m sure), and this one does not neglect the latest, and one we can expect to see a lot more of–the threat of a “global far right”.

Neoliberalism’s contradictory nurturing of Ukranian nationalism as a proxy in its war against Putin’s Russian nationalism is, like most things when you own the Megaphone, a feature not a bug, and any expected reckoning with Azov if and when the Ukraine is wrested completely from Russia folds perfectly into the budding propaganda campaign casting domestic resistance as connected to a global right wing terror matrix being pushed hard by our aforementioned friends at Western States Center as well as far bigger and more influential entities.

In this video from something called the GW Program on Extremism a man named Cohen tells us all about the threat of the rising global right, based entirely it seems on the entirely predictable increase in dissident speech online responding to the Great Reset, the Racial Reckoning, Covid, Critical Race Theory and now war hysterics. They are telegraphing their pivot, away from a global war on “Islamic terrorism” to “right wing terrorism”. The ghouls, spooks rather of the intelligence community get to keep partying on the taxpayer dime and the final suppression of dissent is achieved. We won’t be able to say we weren’t warned.

Blast from the Past

From Pendennis, completed in 1850, by William Makepeace Thackeray:

“There sits the Chinese Ambassador with the Mandarins of his suite, Fou-choo-foo brought me over letters of introduction from the Governor-General of India, my most intimate friend, and I was for some time very kind to him, and he had his chopsticks laid for him at my table whenever he chose to come and dine. But he brought his own cook with him, and — would you believe it, Mrs. Bungay? — one day, when I was out, and the Ambassador was with Mrs. Archer in our garden eating gooseberries, of which the Chinese are passionately fond, the beast of a cook, seeing my wife’s dear little Blenheim spaniel (that we had from the Duke of Marlborough himself, whose ancestor’s life Mrs. Archer’s great-great-grandfather saved at the battle of Malplaquet), seized upon the poor little devil, cut his throat, and skinned him, and served him up stuffed with forced-meat in the second course.”

“Law!” said Mrs. Bungay.

“You may fancy my wife’s agony when she knew what had happened! The cook came screaming upstairs, and told us that she had found poor Fido’s skin in the area, just after we had all of us tasted of the dish! She never would speak to the Ambassador again — never; and, upon my word, he has never been to dine with us since. The Lord Mayor, who did me the honour to dine, liked the dish very much; and, eaten with green peas, it tastes rather like duck.”

PDX Diary March 16: The Sun and Chris Abide

The same March sunlight obliterates the tattered grey clouds with the same brilliance as every year, oblivious to the city’s transformation. With blithe equanimity it alights upon the contorted maw of the schizophrenic no less than upon the fair face of the young woman going wide around him, and the same pure light graces the puerile black power murals as the occasional classic architectural line. Our world is changed, and the weather is indifferent.


Multnomah County Courthouse

Suddenly portable toilets are posted at intervals along the stretch of Barbur Boulevard south of downtown, appearing as if overnight. Here and there are pods of three–like banks of phone booths. One of these appears placed to service an encampment I’ve been watching sprawl up a wooded hillside for months. Days ago I saw a clean-up crew–one Mexican with a pickup–hauling garbage out with a wheelbarrow to his truck, a good quarter mile up the road.

On the other side of the street past a broken vehicle gate there’s a dirt service road paralleling the highway just out of sight, abounding with heaps of refuse even the homeless no longer want.

The homeless are migrating down the highway out of downtown into Portland’s southwest, where they are still few. Before the one-two punch of Covid and BLM rioting the southwest’s conservative neighborhood association had been taken out by the city and activists, making way for the rezoning that will densify and diversify this calmer quadrant of the city–and make it more welcoming to the homeless.

The economic deprivation since has slowed the progressive/real estate developer alliance and their plans. Developments are going up all around downtown–such as the massive boomer basin for an “active 62-plus” clientele rising up in a grim forest of rebar nearby, that I whistle past like a graveyard–but these represent a clot of projects delayed by Covid, and the forecast is for less development, as downtown businesses continue to fall out even as the buildings go up. Yet the people still come, many abandoning the rural south of the state, and the increase in rental trucks I’ve been noticing lately aren’t escapees but arrivals.

The park blocks across from the still barricaded–new normal–Justice Center and federal courthouse, are empty and just a dozen or so tents with no visible human presence, the last stubborn trace of the occupation of 2020, line Main Street where the Elk Statue once stood.

From the advantage of his elevated position atop an obelisk the perpetually vigilant doughboy of the Soldiers Monument survives the iconoclastic racial reckoning; but he couldn’t save the good settlers of The Promised Land–promise broken, their pedestal remains with its inscription quoting Thomas Jefferson imploring settler and Indian alike to live in peace in the conquering but benevolent embrace of Uncle Sam.

“Cops Kill —>Cops” taunts the graffiti on the soldier’s obelisk, referencing a policeman killed by friendly fire recently. A junkie on the nod and I are the soldier’s only company.

Summer 2020

“Chris!” I called out. He was passing me by oblivious, hobbling along in the orthopedic boot he’s been wearing on his wrecked right foot for years.

“Oh hey Dennis.” He said in his lilting slur, turning his sleepy eyes on me, smiling. “How you doin’?”

“I’m alright. How are you? Holding up?” It’s been almost a year since he fell back onto the streets, after a respite of four months or so renting a room. His booted leg was mangled in a work accident, he says; he’s a carpenter. But I know he’s got a drug problem too. “You still over there?” I motioned north; he had been living in a tent pitched near a homeless center in Old Town where he could get food and an occasional shower or phone call.

“It’s rough here,” he said when I saw him there last year, “those guys over there are dealing” he indicated a tent-complex nearby where a fat black brother skulked. “Lot of crazy people out here.” He had been recently beaten up. “I’ve been in more fights these three months than in my whole life. These young guys will challenge me to fight,” he grimace-smiled, “and I don’t know how.” He laughed bitterly. “I never hit anyone in my life.” They were singling him out because he’s weak and makes for good practice, I thought; shit rolls downhill on the streets, I imagine, and one bullies one who bullies another. “I don’t know how to fight,” he complained. “I can’t even lift this arm over my head” he raised it weakly a quarter rotation to demonstrate. That was almost a year ago.

Today he told me he’s found a bed in a shelter; I know the place, near Union Station which, naturally, is rotten with homeless. It looks rough, I said. He nodded; it beats sleeping on the street. I noticed his right hand was swollen, and grotesquely at the joints; the skin was red-purple and taking on a sheen; the base of this thumb was like a small plum. The hand looked like a rubber prop. He noticed me appraising it.

“I got nerve damage. I can’t close this hand at all.” He demonstrated, weakly flexing the fingers. “I got beat up again, on Christmas.” He shook his head with a grimace. “They hit me with a bat,” he pointed at his right eye with his club-hand; his temple looks dented there, as if by a ball-peen hammer.

“Yeah” He said with morbid enthusiasm. “I’m all fucked up along here,” he indicated his side; “I can’t really see out of this eye…”

As always, with the same miserable grin he relates his troubles, shaking his head.

“Jesus. You need anything?”

“Nah.” He says, turning dark, as if delivering an unfortunate diagnosis.

“You want a smoke?” I ask. “What do you smoke, Marlboro Reds?”

“I smoke whatever,” he smiled.

“Come on, I’m going to buy you a pack of cigarettes so I can bum one.” He protests briefly but falls in as I head north. The wretched little 24-hour convenience store near an off-track betting place has been cleaned up a bit; the usual collection of the most wretched of the homeless is not occupying the alcove of the abandoned store next door. I chuckled bitterly at the price; how do the homeless afford it? Back out front I handed Chris the smokes and he gave me one back. I coughed a little drawing in the smoke along with the crisp air.

“You need a ride?” I asked.

“Nah.” He said, glumly; nowhere to go.

I watched him trundle north on Fourth Avenue, wondering, as always, if this will be the last I see of him.

“Hoy Dennis.” It was my neighbor Malachi and his Irish brogue. I was back home.

“Oh hey.” I said, putting my keys away. “How you doing?”

“Foine, foine.” He says. As we engage in small talk the subject of the homeless comes up–he’s read a recent news report that seventy percent of our record-breaking traffic fatalities last year were homeless pedestrians.

“I heard. I guess the mayor instituted a ban on camping near freeway onramps and the like, but he’s catching hell even for that. Can’t tell people where to live.”

“Yoo kneow what happened to my friend?”

Of course I don’t

“Ookay: hae’s over on —, by the —“; I pretend I understand, as it doesn’t matter. “Hae’s maykin’ a rooight tarn, yoo kneow, hae’s maykin a rooight tarn, yeah” Malachi tends to repeat phrases “end theare’s a boous theare, yoo kneow, a city boous, pulled up to a boous stop, yeah? end Bob, yoo kneow hae can’t see round it, yoo kneow? End hae goies to make his rooight tarn, coming round the back of the boous, rooight?”

Right, I nod.

“Soo hae’s lookin” he mimes someone with hands on the wheel looking over their left shoulder for traffic “foor carrs cooming, rooight?” Again I nod. “End hae poonches it, you kneow, thinking it’s cleer. Next thing hae kneows, Bob says, a homeless goy, a homeless goy hae din’t see–Bob was blocked boy the boase, hae din’t see–currashes into the windshield.”

“Holy shit.”

“Yeah. Yeah. Bob says the goy breaks the windsheeld en goes over the roof uh the carr en comes down on the raeer windsheeld taoo, en et breeks. Yeah. That’s heow hahrrd Bob hit him, yeah?” He pauses courteously to let me absorb this. “Soo boy neow Bob has het his breakes, only neow, yeah? end the poar bastard comes back over the roof of the carr! Over the roof of the carr, end lands in the street en frent of et!”

I let him know how impressed I am by this story.

“Soo thay call 911, yeah? end an ambulance takes the goy away. Noabody says anything to Bob, you kneow, and hae gooes ahome. But hae’s awooried, right? Hae’s awooried about this goy end hae mooight be in some trouble, yeah? Suoo, hae goes to the cops, yoo kneow, end hae tells em his stoory, right?” He pauses. “End thay tell him not to woory about it. Jest goa hoame thay say.”

“What about the homeless guy?”

“Hae’s in hospital. Hae’s in hospital, yeah. Thay din’t seay how hae is. But thay told Bob to goa hoame. Thay doan purrsoo these cases now, thay say.” He laughed. “Noo woories I guess.”

No worries I guess.

Barbur Blvd

Nothing to Crow About

Dennis’ desultory YouTube channel is suspended until April for like, you know, disinformationing on the Covid yo, and Dennis gets a strike.

Regarding YouTube’s “strikes”: doesn’t it feel like the pitches aren’t in the strike zone at all? The pitch is over everyone’s head, into the bleachers, and an umpire with clown-hair spins in the air 180 degrees to land hard and emphasize: “steeeee-riiiike, queen!” Argue with they/them, get the hand.

The American pastime.

Boomer Breaking Badly

Breaking Bad was a well-regarded television series about a middle-aged high school science teacher who becomes a drug lord after a terminal cancer diagnosis and a chance encounter with a former student, who he finds is now a petty dealer. The two, pointedly named White and Pinkman, boomer and millennial, share in common only whiteness and squandered potential as they team up to put the underemployed science teacher’s uncommon skills as a chemist to use producing high quality crystal meth.

Two themes prevail, first the well-worn trope nice guy goes alpha by going outlaw and, the means by which our beta breaks out, reason and logic prevail. Vulnerable and unskilled in violence while navigating the world of cholo gangs, Mexican drug cartels and outlaw bikers, protagonist Walter White repeatedly turns to inventiveness and ingenuity to prevail over his crueler enemies in a theme reminiscent of what Edgar Allen Poe called “tales of raciocination“: stories of individuals solving problems through the application of acquired knowledge. The film The Edge addresses the theme directly. The pair’s tragedy plays out in the tacky dullscape of post-white American decline, with New Mexico excelling in the role.

One storyline ends thus: the pair, who’ve found themselves first working for and then falling on the bad side of a more powerful drug lord–mixed race, black, vaguely Hispanic, of indeterminate nationality, emotionless and refined, a globalist cypher played by Giancarlo Esposito–who originally hired them to produce for him their market-dominant signature meth recipe. Esposito has captured them and has them tied to chairs in their meth lab.

Why shouldn’t I kill you, he asks. Because we’re the only ones with the know-how to produce the product you need, White says. Our international man of mystery then brings forward his loyal Mexican henchman, until now a silent assistant, who demonstrates the white guys’ procedure for them step-by-step. As obvious as the symbolism is here, I’d be willing to bet few good liberals among the show’s fawning critics got it.

Breaking Bad was a lament of white decline and celebration of white virtue that just made it past the censorious class by indulging their long-cultivated reverence for the anti-hero; to get them to cheer for the White Guy the author made the white guy a drug dealer and killer. Somewhere someone caught on and felt betrayed–here they thought they’d been innocently cheering on criminality, when it was whiteness the whole time!

While the density of critics must be presumed, it’s hard to imagine Bryan Cranston, who won raves for this brilliant portrayal of white rage and toxic masculinity, doesn’t see it. Perhaps that’s why he feels he needs to atone, er, “learn“:

“I’m 65 years old now, and I need to learn, I need to change.”

The words tumble with intensity out of actor Bryan Cranston’s mouth. He sits beside an unlighted fire pit in his backyard on a recent windy morning. Chimes ring mournfully in the breeze, and small white blossoms from a tree twist and twirl their way to a soft landing in the nearby pool.

Cranston is telling me why he chose to step away from an offer to direct a show at L.A.’s Geffen Playhouse and how that decision led him to take the role of Charles Nichols in the theater’s West Coast premiere of “Power of Sail,” written by Paul Grellong and directed by Weyni Mengesha, running through March 20.

As Nichols, Cranston plays an aging, highly respected Harvard professor who faces intense backlash for inviting a white nationalist and Holocaust denier named Carver to speak at his annual symposium. As student protests intensify, Nichols presses forward, claiming his intention is to give Carver and his repugnant ideas a thorough dressing down in a debate.

Two people named Grellong and Mengesha are lecturing Americans about the dangers of free speech, using respected actors as their marionettes (not that I expect the Geffen Playhouse need worry about crowds):

An avowed “free-speech absolutist,” Nichols says, “The answer to hate speech is more speech.”

“Power of Sail” had its world premiere in 2019 at the Warehouse Theatre in Greenville, S.C., but Cranston believes the play gained resonance in the wake of the pandemic and the social and racial justice uprisings following the murder of George Floyd.

As those occurrences shook the world, they also transformed Cranston, who says in these troubling years he came face to face with his own “white blindness” and privilege. It was necessary work for a man tasked with playing a character whose white privilege prevents him from seeing the very real harm caused by his actions until it is much too late.

I don’t know if Cranston can see it coming–if his “blindness” extends to actual reality or not–but if they should eventually come for Breaking Bad in their ongoing revision and cancelling of pre-woke works deemed problematic–virtually everything pre-racial-reckoning; and if they come to the same conclusions I have above, Cranston will be seen as just what he describes above: guilty of having caused real “harm” by acting out his “white privilege.” Whether he understands or not–but I suspect he does–his handing himself over to play the carnival geek for woke kitschmeisters is cheap insurance against personal and professional devastation later. Cheap for him; the cumulative effect of countless talented but mediocre people like Bryan Cranston abandoning art to pitch propaganda is very expensive indeed for the rest of us.

Cranston was set to direct a perfectly awful sounding play about an Englishman foiling a KKK plot, but likely saw the white savior genre as untenable post-reckoning; if things had stopped there we could say at least the present madness spared us that. Alas:

So he stepped aside, telling Shakman, “If you find a play that you need an old white guy to act in, then maybe I can be available for that.”

Cranston also stipulated that he wanted to be a part of “something that changes the conversation.” In his estimation, the measure of success in theater is always “Does the conversation continue after the play is over?”

For Cranston, “Power of Sail” meets that criterion with its pointed critique of America’s devotion to the primacy of free speech.

The play asks if there should be limits to free speech, and if so, why? It tests the boundaries of the free speech ideal by examining the traditional arbiters of that speech — those who get to decide whose voice is lifted and whose voice is quashed. It suggests the existence of a moral compass in an age when truth is often called relative by special-interest groups opposed to it.

Brandon Scott, who plays the Black academic Baxter Forrest in “Power of Sail,” tries to stop Nichols from hosting Carver at the symposium while citing 20th century philosopher Karl Popper’s “paradox of tolerance.” Popper’s idea is that if a society — in pursuit of tolerance without limits — tolerates the intolerant, the latter will eventually destroy that society.

Cranston is taken with the theory and leans forward in his chair while discussing it.

“There need to be barriers, there need to be guard rails,” he says. “If someone wants to say the Holocaust was a hoax, which is against history … to give a person space to amplify that speech is not tolerance. It’s abusive.”

Cranston and White are emblematic of a generation and its vanity. On television Walter White threw off his beta chains to die like a man; in reality Cranston draws the chains around him to live like a slave.

“Thank you Deonte, may I have another?”

Portland Dispatch Feb 4: Peak Portland Achieved

“Make yourselves ungovernable” is a favored slogan of rioting Portland anarchists. Through their activist organizational arms they walk this walk, making it as hard as they can for the city to maintain public spaces and basic services. Their advocacy on behalf of the homeless has for them the incidental if not deliberate feature of making the city less livable–Make Portland Unlivable would do for a chant–and contributing to their Marxian dreams of bringing it all crashing down.

In addition to January producing ten homicides Portland also reported a record year-on-year increase in traffic deaths that likely stems directly from the visible withdrawal of police from traffic enforcement, a result of their defunding, demoralization and understaffing–all frank goals of antifa and BLM. Seventy percent of those traffic deaths in 2021 were homeless pedestrians. A cynic might say the BLM movement in Portland, by achieving their goal of reducing police on the streets, has cost not only some black lives but a good many homeless lives as well.

And, naturally, if black lives must be sacrificed to Black Lives Matter, homeless lives must be sacrificed to their respective cause; the homeless must die so the “houseless” may live. After the traffic numbers were released Mayor Ted Wheeler announced a ban on camping along high-traffic dangerous roadways. Last year the city relaxed the rules and now allows tent and car camping virtually anywhere. Street sweeps clearing out camps are rare now and the city is providing hundreds more beds for the homeless and launching a plan to distribute small homeless villages throughout the area.

Nonetheless, asking people to camp somewhere other than a freeway onramp is just too much, in Portland:

“[We] strongly object to the emergency declaration to sweep encampments and further displace unhoused community members from alongside our most dangerous roads,” the letter reads. “The presence of unhoused people does not make our streets unsafe; rather poor roadway design, ongoing neglect and deferred maintenance, recklessness in the form of speeding, operating a vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol and other dangerous behavior are all well-documented reasons why there is this alarming uptick in deaths.”

Most notably, the letter’s signatories include several of the advocates who publicly decried the rise in homeless people killed crossing streets. That suggests the mayor’s office did not consult the groups closest to the problem—and that Wheeler’s ban is poised to become the latest political impasse in a city paralyzed in the face of a housing crisis…

The signatories of the letter today hint that Wheeler’s reasoning for the ban—what he’s publicly stated as a measure intended to better protect people living along major roadways—is an inappropriate way to decrease traffic deaths.

“Nowhere in any transportation study, advocacy campaign nor community forum seeking to address our roadway safety problems has it been suggested that unhoused people and encampments should be swept or outright banned as a partial solution to this crisis,” the letter reads…

Of course the answer to this crisis stemming from too few cops is fewer cops still:

The proposed safety measures include fully funding Portland Street Response, closing high-crash corridors to drivers as an emergency order and reducing the speed limit to 25 miles per hour on all city-owned roads, and increasing visibility at 350 of the city’s busiest intersections.

The letter also mentioned a legal precedent that the city of Portland has found ways to circumvent regarding when it’s legal to sweep people: the Martin v. Boise ruling in the 9th Circuit Court, which said that a government can only sweep people if there’s enough shelter for each individual. (There is not, by a long shot.)

Heck of a job, antifa!

Portland Diary February 2

A month or so ago I first noticed the camouflage netting screening a pair of cars just off the street–Barbur Boulevard about a mile south of downtown where it skirts the West Hills, where I once saw a pair of lost deer loping down the street in daytime traffic trying to find their way back into the woods–more like two months already. Someone had fashioned a crude structure out of scavenged logs and brush nearby that blends into the backdrop.

As the trees went bare this year they revealed a little village of a dozen or so tents following a dirt road up into the hills; the camouflage netting is now a gate where the trail opens to the road–probably one of the public hiking trails the city has marked out that traverse city and greenway alike–and behind the netting in mud deep enough to make me wonder if it’s stuck there’s an SUV blocking the way. Three more cars are parked near this entrance, illegally; one of them is late-model, shiny. Certainly better than the ride in which I’m passing by.

“You’re the one with the winning smile” I later said to the stranger with whom I’d had a brief conversation before. She took it with ease–well beyond her blushing years no physical reaction was going to betray her. She was a woman transitioning from pretty to “handsome”; her default expression was open, friendly and curious, and her smile, served with a certain tilt of her head, seemed to lean forward and greet you inquisitively. Her hair was styled in the fifties’ ducktail fashion preferred by butch lesbians, evangelicals and the menopausal.

“Certainly someone’s told you that before.” I said, deliberately looking away and speaking absently, eager to not convey I was Flirting With Intent.

“Before masks.” She said.

“I know. I hate them.” I said. We talked about the mask mandate here, which Oregon, of course, is trying to make permanent. Somehow we ended up talking about the George Floyd riots. I told her part of my story, of having witnessed what’s happened here. She revealed she’d come to Portland from Minneapolis, and had witnessed the rioting there. I proceeded gingerly–this is Portland–and complained in as non-political a tone as I could about some of the depredations coming as a consequence.

She was enlivened and eager to ask my impressions of it all, as if this was a rare conversation. I offered my opinions unvarnished but incomplete, wary of going too far even as a sort of enthusiasm–the enthusiasm of the witness–drew me on like an undertow.

For her part she reported seeing out-of-state license plates all over Minneapolis during the first days of rioting, when police had mostly abandoned the streets. At about four days in authorities decided to close the freeways into the city–I don’t remember learning this in the news–and she found herself scrambling back into town to avoid being stranded.

She told me she came here to be with her adult son, who’s found his way to helplessness like so many. She shook her head wearily:

“He’s Norwegian, from Minnesota…he came straight here, right into this and…this all is just…for him it’s…he just can’t help himself…I don’t know…” She groped to express something, about his impressionability when confronted with–was she talking about covid or the riots? No, she was talking about Portland. Her naive son, earnest and liberal as his home state, had gone directly from that place still mostly insulated and white, to Portland, just as the age of authoritarian black fetishism was launched in a months-long orgy of rioting and grotesque kitsch that still befouls our walls and buildings.

I had the feeling of coming across a reliable first-hand account of something I’d known only in legend, the midwestern square-headed Scandinavian ethno-masochist. I couldn’t help it:

“Is he really into the rules?”

“Very much.” She said.

We fell silent upon that.

Portland Dispatch February 1: Wokeness and its Discontents

The Portland Business Alliance is one of the few organized opponents of the fundamental changes wreaked upon Portland in the nearly two years now of radical progressive dominance effected by months of anarchist rioting and intimidation of political opponents, with some help from, ironically, law enforcement in the form of Multnomah County District Attorney Micheal Schimdt.

So it’s the PBA that brings us this poll showing a profound lack of faith in Portland’s direction and government:

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A new poll of Portland metro voters shows the top concerns are crime and homelessness and most said the region is the wrong track.

The poll from the Portland Business Alliance showed a decided shift in attitudes since 2017. Andrew Hoan, the head of the Portland Business Alliance, said he was surprised by the results.

He told KOIN 6 News the survey makes it clear what people think is wrong with the city. Nearly half said homelessness is the top concern and shared their views on what should be done.

Nearly 88% of voters polled by DHM research say the quality of life in Portland is getting worse. That’s up from 47% in 2017.

Most surveyed support requiring people living outside to instead live in shelters or designated camping sites. And most said downtown Portland was either much less safe or somewhat less safe than a year ago.

Meanwhile, 90% of voters “strongly” or “somewhat” support funding to require police officers to wear body-worn cameras, which Portland is currently beginning to implement.

Police abolitionists have been unenthusiastic about police body-worn cameras, likely because they tend to result in fewer overall complaints against police; this from a cop-friendly source:

Quicker resolution. Body-worn cameras may lead to a faster resolution of citizen complaints and lawsuits that allege excessive use of force and other forms of officer misconduct. Investigations of cases that involve inconsistent accounts of the encounter from officers and citizens are often found to be “not sustained” and are subsequently closed when there is no video footage nor independent or corroborating witnesses. This, in turn, can decrease the public’s trust and confidence in law enforcement and increase perceptions that claims of abuse brought against officers will not be properly addressed. Video captured by body-worn cameras may help corroborate the facts of the encounter and result in a quicker resolution

But there are other reasons for police abolitionists to distrust body cameras:

Corroborating evidence. Footage captured may also be used as evidence in arrests or prosecutions. Proponents have suggested that video captured by body-worn cameras may help document the occurrence and nature of various types of crime, reduce the overall amount of time required for officers to complete paperwork for case files, corroborate evidence presented by prosecutors, and lead to higher numbers of guilty pleas in court proceedings.

The body cams are now being implemented finally at the behest of the Department of Justice, as a condition of lifting a long-standing federal injunction settling a pattern-and-practice lawsuit with Obama’s DOJ. Against soft opposition Eric Holder’s enforcer Thomas Perez forced reforms regarding the Portland Police Bureau’s treatment of the mentally ill in 2014. The city was to labor under federal injunction until 2021; then George Floyd happened.

The settlement agreement in effect since then and requiring annual review deserves a brief revisiting. After a Portland cop shot and killed a mentally ill man in 2010 Oregon Senator Ron Wyden and Congressman Earl Blumenaur sent this letter to Eric Holder’s DOJ requesting a federal investigation. Portland’s police commissioner and city council member Dan Saltzman joined them with his own. The result was all but a given; the chief of police (and now Multnomah County Sheriff) Mike Reese, something of a woke cop, was making reforms before the settlement came down and moved aggressively to implement recommended changes.

Before policing broke down in the city the changes were visible in police encounters with our ever-present and growing mentally ill population; more than once I saw three or so cops conducting careful interviews, standing a little further away (social distancing!) and deliberately assuming a less aggressive posture. But I don’t see that any more because I don’t see the police engaging with people at all any more; but I do see more of the mentally ill now, shooting up on the streets and sleeping beneath gaudy BLM murals on boarded-up businesses.

Despite the city’s eager compliance and following Biden’s election the Department of Justice turned its (already feeble) attention away from the anarchist mobs that spent a month in 2020 attacking the (still barricaded) federal courthouse here and decided to apply the settlement ruling–on engagement with the mentally ill–to engagement with rioting antifa. No one uttered the joke that must have occurred to many: it was no stretch to apply an order on the treatment of the mentally ill to the treatment of antifa rioters. One could say the only difference is between personal and organized crazy.

Months before the city was set to be released from the federal injunction aggressive DOJ attorneys demanded a “plan of remediation” for how the police handle violent protests, uncritically accepting the anarchist line of “6,000” incidents of police use of force during the riots (every one unjustified, no doubt). The federal boot did not lift but applied a little extra pressure and forced, among other things, police body cams, which police abolitionists may come to regret.

They are very much aware of that. Jo Ann Hardesty, city commissioner and leader of the police abolitionists, had to be convinced by friendly DOJ attorneys to support cameras, and the abolitionists are now lobbying to establish control over the footage, which is where the fight now lies.

Portland Dispatch January 31: Great Reset PDX

The Portland City Council voted last Wednesday to take over the city’s designation of historic properties to allow in more development that will densify and diversify Portland’s historic neighborhoods.

The changes include more flexibility for developers to build affordable housinog in historic districts and adapt existing historic properties to accommodate more residents. They also require a stricter review of proposals to demolish property within those districts…

Under the new rules, the City Council would locally decide which landmarks or neighborhoods are historically significant and given special protections under city code. Until now, those protections were conferred to properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which is administered at a national level.

Some proponents of the code amendments said it would allow the city to recognize landmarks significant to communities whose history in Portland has received little recognition — including the city’s Black, Indigenous and LGBTQ communities.

“I’m eager for a new era of historic inclusivity,” said Commissioner Carmen Rubio, who also oversees the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.

The new rules will allow more housing density in historic districts than a typical Portland neighborhood, by permitting multiple homes on the same property or multi-unit plexes not otherwise allowed by the zoning code. It will also make it easier to build rent-restricted affordable housing in historic districts for low-income residents.

The changes were four years in the making and will go into effect on March 1…

In the near future, he said, the city expects to discuss making historic designations for places that are significant to Portland’s LGBTQ community.

And while there are no immediate affordable housing projects that have been proposed, he said there are a few ongoing developments that offer a blueprint for how developers might use existing buildings and adjacent vacant property to build affordable housing. He cited the Anna Mann house, a historic building in the Kerns neighborhood that is being redeveloped as apartments for low-income residents.

The Anna Mann House project is adapting what was originally the Anna Lewis Mann Old People’s Home, donated by settlers and which resembles a well-tended insane asylum, into housing to give 128 low income residents access to the resources of an affluent neighborhood:

The Anna Mann House is a historic Portland property located in the amenity-rich Kerns neighborhood, adjacent to Laurelhurst. Redevelopment of the Anna Mann House will provide low-income households, including immigrants and refugees and other communities of color, with the opportunity to live in a location packed with supportive amenities offered by the Kerns/Laurelhurst area, including grocery stores, highly rated public schools, three city parks (Oregon, Laurelhurst and Grant) and the Northeast Community Center. The site is steps away from the Sandy high-frequency bus line and three-quarters of a mile from the 42nd Avenue MAX station. In addition to bringing much needed affordable housing to the neighborhood, the project will also drastically increase density and ease the impacts of gentrification. Luke-Dorf, Inc., a community based mental health provider, will provide supportive services on site and Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) will provide outreach and referral services. The Anna Man House redevelopment is targeted for completion in three distinct phases: the South Addition in mid-winter 2023, the East Addition in late-winter 2023, and the existing Anna Mann House in early spring 2023.

Portland previously valued and celebrated the settler (read: colonial) history that is now officially anathema and was targeted first with violence by rioters in 2020 and then with legislation by their political allies in power. Politicians wrote into policy the goals and even tactics–such “social justice oriented graffiti” and vandalism–of anarchist rioters. Their means and goals will guide the city in the removal of offensive works as they are identified, as we replace our old history with our new one, which is BIPOC and LGBTQ and Black! all over.

The original draft proposal for the now official Historic Resources Code Project is typical of policy documents now, invoking Equity heavily in pressing for ever-more density and development in “white” neighborhoods and the preservation of black neighborhoods and historic landmarks from gentrification.

People and federal money still migrating to Portland fund the continuing project to remake the city through re-zoning and development despite the city’s hollowed-out downtown core and bruised image. High rise apartment projects, always with a low-income component, are still going up around town. Meanwhile the cost of housing seems unaffected, and Portland is looking at an increase of about ten percent this year–which is “slow” relative to other cities in the US right now, according to the above-linked report. But unlike most of those other cities, Portland saw no declines in the cost of residential real estate during the Covid and George Floyd campaigns despite the collapse of downtown business and retail leases.

The reset proceeds here.

As Seen on TV

For years Black Lady Judge has been a fixture in film and television, a negro of extra numinousity* and implied wisdom, as part of the more than half-century long and continuing propaganda campaign conveying black people as more capable and humane than they are in real life–the cultural tyranny long preceding the present social and political tyranny it has been essential in effecting, and which is now wildly, Wakanda-ly, out of control.

Those of us of a certain age have long known Black Lady Judge, near relation to Black Police Chief (gruff but fair) and Black High School Principal (familiar enough to be parodied, when such things were still allowed): here she is pursing her lips at an insolent attorney; there she is raising her eyebrows and lowering her glasses to warn a line of questioning is straying, but she’ll “allow it” for the moment. See her? Serenely dignified, she always has the best posture.

We grew up with this cast of virtuous characters; for our own good we had to be nurtured on this noble lie. So goes the charitable version–that it’s mere stupidity and not malice by which it was decided the least accomplished of us must be elevated, celebrated and privileged, precisely because of that lack of accomplishment, because it’s our fault, you see, because racism.

The remedy to the mediocrity we’ve somehow forced on black people has long been to ignore mediocrity and force blacks onto institutions, consequences be damned (whatever the case they won’t be known, since to suggest they exist would be racist). Biden’s clown-crash of an administration is a case study.

The practice of equal representation resembles the practice of a cargo cult, whereby the image of ability and character is expected to spontaneously produce the real thing–taking no account of how the real thing is produced, or even what it actually is. This notion occurred to me when considering the musical Hamilton. The rapidity with which that recent cultural phenomenon has lapsed into the quaint, well on its way to being considered problematic, follows the overall course of society–condescension and tokenism within “white systems” and values has yielded less, not more, peace and more, not less, anti-white resentment. Access to the institutions gives way to their destruction.

And we had every reason to see it coming–through the decades Hollywood and New York have been consciously applying a strategy on behalf of black Americans: we’ll-fake-it-til-you-make-it. They’re still faking it and blacks are still not making it. As blacks cannot be found wanting–not against anything–naturally our institutions and ideals must be found wanting. This is precisely where we are–though it would be naive to think, still, that the welfare of blacks is the end goal here. No; it’s the destruction of the institutions that is the end and black people–despite the religiosity of their worship–the means. But that’s a longer story.

Long before today’s seemingly sudden tyranny of color one reigned on TV. First you can’t represent things as they are, then you can’t have them as they are.

All of this came to mind when I saw the latest clown-burst taking out another institutional pillar:

President Joe Biden delivered remarks Thursday on the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer – and confirmed he would select a black woman to be Breyer’s replacement, which prompted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to immediately stoke fears the president would select someone endorsed by the ‘radical left.’ 

‘Our process is going to be rigorous. I will select a nominee worthy of Justice Breyer’s legacy of excellence and decency,’ Biden said. ‘While I’ve been studying candidates’ backgrounds and writings, I’ve made no decision except one: the person I will nominate will be someone of extraordinary qualifications, character, experience and integrity.’ 

‘And that person will be the first black woman ever nominated to the Supreme Court,’ the president added…

Biden said it was ‘long overdue’ and noted how he had made that commitment during the 2020 campaign – as part of a pledge to secure a key endorsement from South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, the most powerful black member of Congress. ‘And I will keep that commitment,’ Biden said. 

Whoever the nominee is, she’s got big shoes to fill. Black Lady Judge wears clown-size.

*This link is to an essay I wouldn’t normally recommend, for it’s actually kind of awful, but the “numinous negro” insight it made must be recognized–just, in reading it now it’s hopelessly naive and wrong in its argument; its original full title: “The Numinous Negro: His importance in our lives; why he is fading“–the author had no clue.