AirBnB and LA’s Housing Hell, PART THREE: The Killing Fields Reply

By Ann Sterzinger

Medium

In which the conspiracy sends a teenager to try to disgustingly fuck me (so what else is new?) and tragically kills my little cat.

Something (Else) Rotten in the State of California

In California, I soon discovered, AirBnB has metastasized into a whole new economic underworld.

The ridiculous prices listed on regular apartment rental sites are just the tip of the vast iceberg of housing limbo that lies between the penthouse and the tent-house. There’s still that high-rent bulge at the top of the market, and that high-visibility explosion at the very bottom, where long-term homeless bunker down in their hand-built trash castles. But there’s also a melon-sized colonic tumor on the bottom-middle end of the socio-economic ladder — where the “normal” rental market no longer functions, even if you aren’t quite camped on the sidewalk — and it’s become a crazy little society unto its own.

(Catch-up: Click here to read Part I and/or Click here to read Part II.)

Like Uber, the AirBnB site began with all kinds of yammering about the sharing economy. In theory it was designed for vacations.

The bottom has opened out into insane goddamn tenements that operate beyond the pale.

Remember those delusional show-biz kids who all need housing (Click here to read Part II)? Most of them have no real job skills that would allow them to pay the rent on an apartment. And not all of them have rich parents.

But most of them are filthy assholes, as I was soon to find out. Christ, even the young poors are entitled slobs now.

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AirBnB and Los Angeles’ Housing Hell: PART TWO. Reply

By Ann Sterzinger

Medium

THE FILTHENING. Oh, and how I could have escaped.

Peace Is For People Who Know How to Drive

My lease in Chicago was ending, but Hammer Man took his sweet time. He and Psycho Roommate were supposedly cleaning the place up, but a month after I forked over $1700, they hadn’t begun. They were very busy and important people, and they would need another month.

Note: If you have a normal attention span and you want to begin this tale at the beginning, CLICK HERE to read Part I of this series.

My lease in Chicago wasn’t going to give me another month. Furthermore, every day I stayed in my apartment was another day my rapist had to come back at his leisure and maybe kill me for real this time. Oh God, Ann, shut up and don’t tempt the Fates.

Pffffft. If there are Fates, they are so incoherent, I’m firing them from this story. You hear that, Fates? YOU ARE FIRED.

Fortunately, the writer Jim Goad was kind enough to say yes when I asked if I could sleep on his couch in rural Georgia. (He doesn’t live in a couch; he has a house. Actually, two, but that’s a whole other hilarious story.) Well, I flew to Georgia (yes indeed, the devil went down), but I didn’t actually sleep on the couch. Which wasn’t as much fun as it should have been due to the urinary tract infection I got due to being shot up with every goddamn antibiotic ever invented post-rape, but it was good anyway.

In fact, it was lovely. Jim told me that people are often surprised that he is quite tender, because of all that stuff in ANSWER ME! and whatnot. Which is a bit shocking to me, because if you do read ANSWER ME! (and all the hundreds of thousands of words he’s written subsequently) and you are actually literate, you get an eerily accurate picture of his character: straightforward but kind.

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AirBnB: The Weird Measure of LA’s Housing Hell. PART ONE. Reply

By Ann Sterzinger

Medium

In which a refugee from whatever the hell Chicago has become prepares to confront whatever the hell LA has become.

Beautiful LA street scene
LA is a land of stunning beauty….

Yes, it’s very easy to get shot through the head if you stay in Chicago. Or raped through the ass, eye, vag, head, or elbow. But if you want to move to the real second city, get ready for a real trip to the third world. Well, unless you have $3000 you can spend every month on rent.

How bad is the rental market in Los Angeles? Whatever you imagine the level of befucklement to be, double it, and there’s your low-water mark. It rises.

True, the prices for rental listings aren’t as bad as San Francisco or New York City. Per Rentcafe, Los Angeles is merely the fifth most-expensive metro area in the US. (And if you’re looking to buy — ba ha ha! — 81 percent of San Fran’s homes are worth a million or more, whereas “only” about a fifth of LA’s housing stock is valued in the million-plus range.)

… Just as long as you don’t look down.

But Los Angeles governs a bigger, more patchwork landscape than its superiors in the rent-gouging race. The top end of the rental market in LA is heavily loaded, but so is the bottom; if you wanted to see the middle class get wiped out in real time, you’ve come to the right place.

If you want a safe no-frills apartmentfor a reasonable price, you have come to the WRONG place. Your choices: trash castle, or actual castle. On the ocean shore, you can live in a hippie Star Trek bungalow, where the art installment wipes your ass for you.

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China, Iran, Russia to start military drills in Indian Ocean, Sea of Oman on Friday Reply

Watch here.

Iran, Russia and China have begun a four-day joint maritime exercise in the Indian Ocean and the Sea of Oman area.

The “Marine Security Belt,” as the event is codenamed, will last until Monday. On Wednesday, Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi, the spokesman for Iranian Armed Forces, said the event was meant to promote the security of international trade in the strategic regions, adding that sharing experience in maritime rescue operations was also to be pursued in the maneuvers.

The Signs Swirl All Around Us, so Is the Monetary Reset at Hand? Reply

By Chris Powell

For most of this decade owning gold and gold-related investments has required the patience of Job, and the sector is so obscure that it is hard to be sure of anything.

But for months now the unusual developments have been piling up so much that it may be possible to regain some optimism.

There are indications of a shortage of metal not just at the New York Commodities Exchange, where for months now most contracts have been settled through a supposedly “emergency” procedure called “exchange for physicals,” but also in London, the hub of the world gold market, where the usual flow of metal to Switzerland recently reversed, with metal flowing back to London amid increasing demand.

This corresponded with announcements of gold acquisitions by central banks that had not shown any interest in gold.

For months, the usual central bank-inspired smashes in the gold futures markets have not been having much effect, even as Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee (GATA) consultant Robert Lambourne has reported increasing intervention in the market by the Bank for International Settlements

The Comex has just quickly authorized a vast expansion in what bullion banks can use as collateral for their selling – “pledged gold” held off the exchange, supposedly in London, for whose existence and unimpairment there is no public evidence.

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US call to Japan indicates ‘divergence of interests’ with regard to Iran Reply

Press TV. Listen here.

US President Donald Trump’s phone call to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss a recent trip by the Iranian president to the East Asian country reveals an escalating “divergence of interests” between Tokyo and Washington in their relationship with Tehran, an American analyst in Virginia says.

“What’s happening here is that the interests of the United States and Japan are diverging quite a bit in terms of their actual foreign policy goals in relationship to Iran,” Keith Preston, chief editor of AttacktheSystem.com, said in a phone interview with Press TV on Sunday.

“Japan is a country that is closely aligned with the United States but also has a much different set of interests when it comes to Iran,” he added. “The primary interest that Japan has when it comes to Iran is that it simply imports petroleum produced in Iran. It would be in the interest of Japan to simply normalize relationship with Iran because it would be beneficial to the Japanese economy.”

Japan’s Kyodo news agency, citing a government source, said on Saturday that Trump had requested the phone call a day after Abe met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tokyo, the first meeting in Japan between leaders of the two countries since 2000 and a major development that could affect a current political stand-off between Iran and the United States.

Trump phones Japan’s Abe to discuss meeting with Iran president: Report

Trump phones Japan’s Abe to discuss meeting with Iran president: ReportJapan’s Kyodo says Trump has talked over phone to PM Abe to discuss his meeting with Iran

“The interaction between President Trump and the prime minister of Japan indicates the ways in which the divergence of interests of the two countries are becoming more manifest and this will probably continue to escalate in the future,” Preston said.

“We will see Japan as well as other countries becoming increasingly critical and skeptical of the position that the United States has taken regarding Iran even if it’s not in their interest,” he added.

Japan heavily relies on energy imports from the Middle East. It used to be a major buyer of Iranian oil before the American sanctions were imposed on Tehran more than a year ago.

Japan’s Abe has sought to help de-escalate tensions between Iran and the US, especially since May this year when several incidents in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman sparked worries about a major military conflict that could impact the safety of energy transport throughout the region.

The premier visited Iran in June in a historic visit that many saw as an attempt to broker a dialogue between Iran and the US.

Iran has dismissed calls for direct talks with the US, saying such negotiations would only be possible if Washington removes all of its illegal sanctions and returns to a landmark nuclear deal signed between the country and world powers in 2015.

US using China, Russia threat to justify its military–industrial complex: Analyst Reply

PressTV. Listen here.

The United States is magnifying and overstating the growing threat posed from China and Russia to justify maintaining the country’s armed interventions and its military–industrial complex, an American analyst in Virginia says.

“We have to understand that the United States regards Russia and China as insurgent nations against US hegemony,” said Keith Preston, chief editor of AttacktheSystem.com.

The US “now sees Russia and China as much greater geopolitical rivals than it did perhaps some years ago,” Preston told Press TV.

“We also have to consider that the United States military–industrial complex is extremely powerful…and it’s clearly necessary for the expenditures that are provided to the military production to be justified somehow,” he added.

Pentagon chief says plans to shift US military focus to Russia, China

Pentagon chief says plans to shift US military focus to Russia, ChinaUS Secretary of Defense Mark Esper says he aims to shift the American military

President Donald Trump’s administration has shifted focus away from the Middle East and toward countering Russia and China, two countries seen increasingly as a threat by Washington.

US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said on Friday that China and Russia were the Pentagon’s top two priorities, as they pose a challenge to the world order through their rising military power and various tools of influence.

“Both nations are rapidly modernizing their armed forces and expanding their capabilities into the space and cyber domains,” Esper said during an event at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

Esper also said that it is important to develop fifth-generation wireless technologies to counter China’s 5G developments.

The US has been implementing an Indo-Pacific strategy, a combination of military and geoeconomic policies in the hopes of containing China’s military expansion in the Pacific and the Indian oceans.

Erdogan: Turkey will not turn back from deals signed with legitimate Libyan government Reply

Watch here.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Ankara will step up its support for the internationally-recognized government in Libya, if necessary.

Erdogan said Turkey will absolutely remain committed to the military and maritime agreements it has signed with the Libyan government led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. The Turkish president said his country is fully aware of the reasons behind efforts to topple the UN-backed government of al-Sarraj. Erdogan’s comments came a day after forces loyal to Libyan renegade commander Khalifa Haftar seized a Turkish ship to search its cargo. The forces have been engaged in military operations against Libya’s UN-backed government troops near the capital Tripoli for months now. 

(Happy Christmas) Forever War Is Over: If You Want It…. 3

By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

Exile in Happy Valley

So this is Christmas, and what have we done? Another year over, and a new one just begun.

I’ve always loved this season but I’ve never been much for Christmas carols. The new ones are moronic garbage and the old churchy ones tend to depress the shit out of me. Too many ugly memories of being a differently gendered dirty secret in a harsh Catholic climate. Too many old wounds. Some still haven’t healed. Some probably never will.

Since I’m in the confessional kinda mood, I might as well admit that I’ve never been completely sold on the apparent sanctity of The Beatles either. They’re not a bad band, the hype just always felt a touch contrived to me. To be perfectly honest with you, they always struck me as a glorified boy band before they dropped acid, and even then they always sounded second fiddle to The Rolling Stones shambolic heroin blues.

But I’ve always loved John Lennon. I spent about 15 minutes as a teenage hippie between Goth and punk, and John and those fantastic Yippies are the only two relics that remain. I’ve also always loved Yoko. I felt that she brought the best out of John, artistically, politically and spiritually, not to mention being a brilliant provocateur in her own right. For this she was naturally rewarded with the brand of chauvinistic racism and sexism that often creeped just beneath the hippie veneer. And it was John and Yoko who created the one Christmas carol I truly cherish outside of the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack.

Happy Xmas (War Is Over) didn’t begin as a hit song. It began as part of an avante garde guerrilla marketing campaign to coincide with John and Yoko’s ’69 Bed-ins. Billboards across 12 major cities worldwide were decorated with the simple message “WAR IS OVER: If you want it- Happy Christmas from John and Yoko.” Two years later this message was set to the traditional English ballad “Skewball” and accompanied by the Harlem Community Choir. It was a deceptively radical message for mainstream radio, even in the peace and love era. In 1971 the war was far from over. There were still millions of bodies to be buried beneath blankets of napalm and Agent Orange. What John and Yoko were conjuring wasn’t a Utopian fantasy but a simple Christmas wish. Happy Christmas, in the name of god, cant this wicked war be over? It can. If you want it. And today, nearly half a century later, that wish seems more cruelly unfulfilled than ever.

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The Real Reasons Tulsi Gabbard Did Not Vote to Impeach Donald Trump 7

BINGO!

Sputnik News

” She also introduced a resolution calling on the House to censure Trump on five issues she implied were far more substantial. Those include carrying out wars without congressional approval, illegally “occupying and pillaging” Syria, “recklessly enabling” Turkey to invade Northern Syria and ethnically cleanse Kurds (a U.S. ally), continuing to support Saudi Arabia’s “genocidal war” in Yemen and scrapping nuclear agreements with Iran and Russia, thereby strongly increasing the risk of nuclear proliferation.”

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Jp Cortez: Sound Money State Index Identifies Friends & Enemies of Precious Metals Investors Reply

Mike Gleason: It is my privilege now to welcome in JP Cortez with the Sound Money Defense League, a nonpartisan national public policy organization working to restore sound money at the state and federal level. JP is a proponent of and has studied in the Austrian school of economics and his role at SMDL as Policy Director has him regularly testifying at legislative hearings and speaking at various events around the country. His articles and analysis have appeared in many national news publications including the Washington Examiner, Huffington Post, Mises Institute, Foundation For Economic Education and many more, and he’s a frequent guest on various podcasts and national radio shows to talk about the importance of sound money legislation. And it’s a real pleasure to have him back on here with us on the Money Metals Podcast.

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Globalization is Dead. Long Live the New World Order! Reply

The BRICS are merely the Eastern division of the global ruling class and largely consist of backwater provinces in international capitalism. It’s regrettable that so many “tankie” and “far-right” types (who are among the best critics of the Atlanticist-Zionist-Wahhabi axis) buy into the idea that the Eastern provinces are some kind of “alternative.” It was the same way in the 19th century when Marx and Engels were actually praising liberal-capitalist imperialism as progress with European social democrats in the early 20th century assuming a similar stance, and Western leftists in the Cold War period praising god-emperor states as the supposed enlightened future of humanity.

The Panarchist Solution to a World Divided Reply

By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

Exile in Happy Valley

In these days of epic collapse, with the established order rapidly disintegrating before our very eyes, mankind seems to be tearing apart at the seems and resorting to the bipolar extremes of the far-left and the far-right. And why the hell not? Poor people across the globe have grown weary of the false promises and bald faced lies of the so-called moderates. The one thing the warring camps of extremes seem to agree on is that the mass democracy of neoliberal globalism is an epic wash. A rigged shell game that only pays out to the house, and now the house is on fire.

So we witness the spectacle of populism on both the left and the right. Record numbers of young people embracing the once tainted label of socialism while the kind of xenophobic nativism which was once only uttered in hushed tones at the far corners of church potlucks has now become mainstream fodder, openly brandished like Hermann Goering’s revolver. These are the times that we live in but we’ve seen them before. Whenever empires crumble and the fixed markets of state capitalism find themselves in peril. The people who stand to gain the most from the cataclysm find themselves divided on the opposite ends of the barracks. Stalinists and Brown Shirts. Antifa and the Alt-right. It’s times like these when the call of Samuel L. Jackson’s prophetic DJ in Spike Lee’s classic dissection of urban upheaval, Do the Right Thing, rings like tinnitus through my eardrums. “Can we live together?! Together, can we live?!!” I’ve spent my life in search of an answer to that existential question. I believe I’m getting closer.

I’ve always found myself on the far-left end of the barracks, even while the proletariat was still drunk on the delusions of progress that came with a first black president and Apple Store commodity fetishism. I discovered Marx young and Chomsky shortly after. I spent the lion share of my teens flirting with a caraselle of Libertarian Socialist ideologies, Chomsky’s Syndicalism, Red Rosa’s Council Communism, Subcomandante Marcos’ Zapatizmo. All set to a hard driving soundtrack of Billy Bragg, Joe Strummer and Zack de la Rocha.

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R.I.P. Paul Volcker, the Last “Good” Central Banker Reply

By Jp Cortez, Money Metals Exchange

The last true enemy of inflation the Federal Reserve has seen died earlier this week.

aul Volcker

Paul Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1979-1987, has passed away.

Credited with tampering incredibly high levels of inflation during the Carter and Reagan administration by jacking up interest rates to unpleasant levels, Volcker’s passing harkens back to a time when central bankers weren’t afraid to make tough choices.

Volcker instinctively knew that central planning of the economy by tugging on monetary policy levers was not only a tall order, but also wouldn’t ultimately succeed.

In an interview the former chairman said about the Keynesian “religion,” “…I was a bit turned off by the precision and certainty that these people attached to the doctrine. The analytical framework was very convincing but this feeling they had, that they could press the right buttons and manage the economy pretty exactly, for some reason it turned me off.”

Tall Paul (Volcker was reportedly 6’7”) was also the last chairman of the Federal Reserve who maintained plausible political independence, publicly butting heads with President Carter and President Reagan.

Though Volcker was one of the main architects of closing the gold window and once declared that “gold was the enemy,” he nevertheless seemed at least to understand the severe damage that inflation causes.

In an interview with PBS, Volcker said, “inflation is thought of as a cruel, and maybe the cruelest, tax because it hits in a many-sectored way, in an unplanned way, and it hits the people on a fixed income hardest. And there’s quite a lot of evidence, contrary to some earlier thinking, that it hit poorer people more than rich people…”

At a lecture in Singapore in 2008, when asked about a return to fundamentals of the Austrian school of economics as a response to the Great Recession, Volcker acutely answered, “you know, they [Austrian school economists] have some insights that maybe we have forgotten about…The idea of credit creation being important as one symptom of what is going on has certainly been vindicated.”

Volcker continued, “[Financial firms, investment banks, and commercial banks] all built up the balance sheet on the liability and asset side because of a sense of easy credit and no problems. That’s what’s come home to roost because suddenly they haven’t got enough capital to support the credit, which wouldn’t surprise most Austrian economists, I suspect.”

Former Chairman Paul Volcker wasn’t an Austrian economist – or even a strong proponent of sound money, despite including the term in the title of his memoir. But he understood the perils of inflation and the harm wrought by technocratic manipulation of the economy.

Volker’s approach stands in sharp contrast to that of current Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and his ilk. Far from fighting inflation, they are openly engaging in a campaign to push it higher.

Jp Cortez is a graduate of Auburn University and a resident of Charlotte, North Carolina. He is the Policy Director of the Sound Money Defense League, an organization working to bring back gold and silver as America’s constitutional money. Follow him on Twitter @JpCortez27

Sorry Lefties, Your Impeachment is Bullshit 1

By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

Exile in Happy Valley

The ongoing impeachment of one Donald J. Trump is bullshit. There, I said it and I’ll say it again just to make sure you heard me right. This impeachment is fucking bullshit, and I’m tired of pretending otherwise. I don’t care if this makes me a bad leftist or a bad libertarian or whatever, its the stone cold honest truth and I stand by it.

The left has poured so much of their identity into apposing Trump for the very sake of apposing Trump that they’ve lost all touch with reality. Their entire identity has become as defined by this moronic ass-wipe as his unblinking supporters. The Resistance has become a mirror image of what they despise, a pack of hyperventilating paranoid deplorables who have lost themselves 5 miles up their own asshole after crashing the Hybrid in their own fucking shit. They’re a bunch of inconsolable babies and they desperately need a good slap on the ass to clear their throats.

This isn’t to say I’m defending Trump. Not by a long shot. If it were up to me, he’d be in shackles at the Hague, answering for the cold-blooded murder of little Nora al-Awlaki and his putrid children’s concentration camps on the border. Trump can burn in hell. What I hate is this Ukrainegate nonsense. Just like Russiagate, it’s little more than a hodgepodge of rumors and second-hand gossip being trafficked by the only class of people more deplorable than Trump. What’s worse is that the entire spectacle is so obviously a complete and total farce designed to self-destruct just in time for that other complete and total farce known as the 2020 Election.

The Democrats know full well that this media circus will die on the vine once it reaches the GOP packed Senate, but they also know that it will drive the campaign conversation away from anything mildly resembling the radical change that their loverboys Joe Biden and Mayor Pete have zero intention of delivering on, while keeping the irate electorate distracted by empty partisan shit-slinging. This suits Trump just fine as well. He gets to play the anti-authoritarian martyr that Middle America relates too, even while he robs them blind and sends their sons and daughters to die in a dusty oilfield.

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"Liberal CIA" and New Left Foundations, Media, and Activist Groups Reply

The involvement of the CIA and other state security services in the US Left is a topic that is all-too-frequently ignored. This would certainly explain why so many “left-wing” and “anarchist” groups in the US take positions that amount to anarcho-Democratic Partyism, anarcho-MSNBCism, or anarcho-State Departmentism.

By Joel van der Reijen

NGO Study Center

Image result for congress of cultural freedom

An interesting collection of articles and links.

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Federalism in Proudhon and Ostrom 1

By David S. D’Amato

Libertarianism.Org

When people, libertarians included, think of federalism, chances are good that they do not think of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. More likely, they think of the The Federalist and its authors, and of the Constitution and its particular federalist structure. Federalism scholar S. Rufus Davis refers to Proudhon’s treatment of federalism, The Principle of Federation, as “a teasing puzzle,” long neglected as a bizarre and unwelcome entry in the story of the federal idea. Published in 1863, shortly before his death, The Principle of Federation arguably represents Proudhon’s mature thought and offers a robust account of federalism deserving of study among students of the idea, particularly libertarians. As we shall discuss here, certain libertarian thinkers, notably Vincent Ostrom, have perceived the importance and relevance of Proudhon’s federalism to a thoroughgoing approach to the idea itself and to a theory of the free society generally.

It is frequently argued that a variety of collective action problems demand a single central decision maker, one uniquely empowered to make final determinations. But centralized, hierarchical organizations are actually ill-equipped to provide effective solutions to collective actions problems, constrained both by their distance from the problems at hand and by the incentive problems associated with monopolies, which are insulated from feedback and competition. Indeed, as both Elinor and Vincent Ostrom’s work demonstrates, successful and efficient collective action requires just the opposite—a polycentric political and social order in which there are several centers of decision-making power, often even overlapping. Here, Proudhon’s federalism remains highly relevant and applicable to contemporary social and policy problems.

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Why Racists and SJWs Are Wrong 4

Recently, in the main N-AM group someone asked this question:

“Is race “real”, or a social construct? What does science and biology show? If real then are the White Nationalists correct in their views? If a social construct then are the Anti-racist SJW types correct?”

This was my response:

“In a social context, I’d say race is like religion. It’s a real as you want to make it. Definitely a social construct in that sense. From a purely scientific perspective, “race” is a continuum that contains many variables, not absolute or easily quantifed categories. The real question that makes race controverisal from a scientific perspective involves claimed differences in intelligence. That’s really what the argument is about. Do differences in intelligence exist, and if so are they genetic or environmental or both? Some IQ testing seems to indicate such differences, althought there is also evidence that IQ is elastic for both individuals and populations and impacted by social factors such as malnutrition. Also, high IQ does not equal high functioning. Therefore, racial/IQ determinism like many race realists promote misses the mark, I think (it’s like the Marxist view that all of history is economic categories fighting for power, or the vulgar economism of many neoliberal and libertarian economists). For instance, in the USA Nigerians have basically achieved the same model minority status as East Asians even though according to race realist theory they’re not supposed to. Also, I consider transracialism to be a legitimate personal identity. There is plenty of historical precedent for members of different tribes being adopted by other tribes and subsequently adopting the norms, appearance, and practices of their new tribe. In early American history, there were whites adopted by American Indian tribes, for example (and vice versa).”