A new issue of the paleoconservative journal The Agonist is now available with a lead article from yours truly. Read the entire edition online here.
The New York Times
Fire, garbage and homelessness increasingly plague the Golden State.
SAN FRANCISCO — Christine Johnson, a public-finance consultant with an engineering degree, was running for a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
She crisscrossed her downtown district talking about her plans to stimulate housing construction, improve public transit and deal with the litter of “needles and poop” that have become a common sight on the city’s sidewalks. More…
[Update: At one point, I had been banned from Facebook, with my account subsequently being restored. Apparently, I am now banned again. As I say, I can be reached through the ATS contact page.]
Apparently, I am now under a total ban from Facebook. I’ve encountered more Facebook censorship in the past year than I did in the previous ten years combined. First, Facebook shut down my primary account. I had two back up accounts, one active and one inactive. The second account was shut down, followed by the third one. The Zucker no like me, I guess, lol. As they say, you can judge a man by his enemies. 🙂 Let that be what it will.
In the future, I will likely be exploring other social media options. In the meantime, those who are used to communicating with on Facebook should use the Contact page on this site instead.
By Ann Sterzinger
The Doctor Who spin-off that speaks to the invincible community, or: How I survived a typhus coma without any competent medical help.
Almost a year after falling into a should-have-been-fatal coma due to complications of typhus (yes, the medieval/concentration camp disease; welcome to Los Angeles!) I celebrated my deathaversary last night by searching for confirmation that…
A. Typhus — that is, scrub typhus, the kind I had — actually CAN cause hallucinations, and I wasn’t just imagining all that shit, and…
B. It’s possible to survive that shit without major medical intervention.
According to the Indian physicians who have actually seen enough cases of this crap to have an informed medical opinion, A. is true. But B.? Not so much. If you’re so far gone you’re seeing shit, your next stop on the typhus bus is losing the use of your legs, and then you arrive at Grim Reaper Grand Terminal. Can you elude his Typhus Scythe?
Only if you’re fucking invincible. Only if you’re me.
For those who haven’t been playing along at home, last year my dumbshit landlord and/or roommate let my cat out in Lawndale, California, close to the epicenter of the LA typhus neo-epidemic; cat got fleas, fleas bit me, and a rash and a fever and a couple of office visits to incompetent physicians later, I fell into a bizarre waking coma.
Somehow these “doctors” were able to diagnose me with typhus, but were unable to look up typhus on Google and find the specific antibiotic that doctors in India have found to be effective — doxycycline. Instead they threw stronger and stronger versions of random antibiotics at it till they blew out my digestive tract, which was the beginning of the end.
By Ann Sterzinger
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.
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.
By Ann Sterzinger
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.
By Ann Sterzinger
In which a refugee from whatever the hell Chicago has become prepares to confront whatever the hell LA has become.
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.)
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.
The Washington Post
Dec. 19, 2019 at 3:43 p.m. PST
Facial-recognition systems misidentified people of color more often than white people, a landmark federal study released Thursday shows, casting new doubts on a rapidly expanding investigative technique widely used by law enforcement across the United States. More…
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.
Todd Lewis is joined by Keith Preston, Right Ruminations and Swithun Dobson to discuss the recent electoral upset in the UK in particular and the general populist uprising which includes Trump and La Pen.
I have arrived in Mexico last March, at a time when I had previously lived in Denver. The state of Colorado is known for its brutal cold and mercurial weather, where the climate may change nearly a half a dozen times per day. I was paying $1700 per month for a 500 square foot apartment in the center of the city. The majority of my acquaintances and neighbors were hardened Politically Correct Ideologues and radical leftists. As it happens, my former Jiu-Jitsu instructor from Denver has recently been found guilty of a sexual assault that he almost certainly did not commit.
Mexico is famous for its picturesque beaches, tropical climate and hospitable culture. For good reasons, it is the seventh most visited country in the world, just behind France, Spain, the United States, China, and Italy. All of these aforementioned countries boast a highly developed economy and a significant percentage of visitors arrive for professional rather than recreational purposes. However, the overwhelming majority of the visitors in Mexico are tourists and that much is obvious: few foreigners find Mexico to be an enticing place to conduct their business.
Mexico is attractive to tourists for obvious reasons: the prices are low, it’s close to the United States and the weather is ideal in the winter, just when the snowbirds seek to escape the brutal cold that characterizes this season in most of North America. Yet, in recent years, Mexico witnessed a different type of a “gringo”. Not only are North Americans visiting Mexico on a short-term basis, but many are also becoming increasingly likely to live here for an extended period of time. The status of permanent residency is easy to acquire here and at one point, I encountered a crooked government official who was willing to sell that privilege to me for merely 80,000 Mexican Pesos, which is a little more than four thousand U.S dollars. For many compelling reasons, I have politely declined, yet in my place, many would have gladly jumped on that opportunity.
Murray Bookchin is something of a saint in the anarchist community. His ideas on social ecology and what he termed “libertarian municipalism” and “communalism” have influenced generations of self-declared leftists, and he was frequently cited as an ideological force behind the anti-globalization and Occupy Wall Street movements.
Bookchin became especially influential in Kurdish circles after Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), adopted his ideas to advance a vision of “democratic confederalism,” a vision his followers later attempted to implement in northeast Syria — with the help of the US military.
What is not often mentioned, however, is that — like many of his anarchists and “libertarian socialist” peers — Bookchin was very soft on imperialism, and in some cases downright apologetic.
Specifically, Bookchin was a Zionist who publicly whitewashed and even rationalized Israel’s crimes against humanity. He also frequently demonized independent post-colonial governments in the Global South, echoing imperialist propaganda and chauvinistic myths about countries targeted by the United States for regime change.
Todd Lewis is joined by Right Ruminations, Keith Preston and Swithun Dobson to discuss Hoppe’s conflation of Republics and Democracies and the broader political debate on how they relate to each other.
Charlotte, NC (December 2, 2019) – “Is Your State Destroying Your Money?” asks the Sound Money Defense League and Money Metals Exchange with the release of the 2019 Sound Money Index.
The Sound Money Index is the first index of its kind, ranking all 50 states using twelve different criteria to determine which states maintain the most pro- and anti-sound money policies in the country.
The Sound Money Index evaluates each state’s sales and income tax policies involving precious metals, whether a state recognizes the monetary role of gold and silver under the U.S. Constitution, whether a state holds pension, reserves, or debt denominated in gold or silver, whether a state has imposed precious metal dealer/investor harassment laws, and other criteria.
Wyoming, Texas, and Utah emerged as the best states on sound money in the nation, and South Dakota, Alaska, New Hampshire, and Washington are not far behind.
Maine, Tennessee, Ohio, and Kentucky joined Vermont, Arkansas, and New Jersey as the worst states on this issue.
Money Metals Exchange, a national precious metals dealer recently ranked “Best in the USA,” and the Sound Money Defense League, a national, non-partisan sound money advocacy group joined together to produce the authoritative ranking
“Federal policy and the privately owned banking cartel known as the Federal Reserve System are the root causes of inflation, instability, and currency devaluation,” noted Jp Cortez, Policy Director at the Sound Money Defense League.
“However, there are steps states can take to protect their citizens from the ill effects of America’s unbacked paper money system, and many of them are taking those steps,” Cortez noted.
By Caitlin Johnstone
If you’re skeptical of western power structures and you’ve ever engaged in online political debate for any length of time, the following has definitely happened to you.
You find yourself going back and forth with one of those high-confidence, low-information establishment types who’s promulgating a dubious mainstream narrative, whether that be about politics, war, Julian Assange, or whatever. At some point they make an assertion which you know to be false–publicly available information invalidates the claim they’re making.
“I’ve got them now!” you think to yourself, if you’re new to this sort of thing. Then you share a link to an article or video which makes a well-sourced, independently verifiable case for the point you are trying to make.
Then, the inevitable happens.
“LMAO! That outlet!” they scoff in response. “That outlet is propaganda/fake news/conspiracy theory trash!”
Or something to that effect. You’ll encounter this tactic over and over and over again if you continually engage in online political discourse with people who don’t agree with you. It doesn’t matter if you’re literally just linking to an interview featuring some public figure saying a thing you’d claimed they said. It doesn’t matter if you’re linking to a WikiLeaks publication of a verified authentic document. Unless you’re linking to CNN/Fox News (whichever fits the preferred ideology of the establishment loyalist you’re debating), they’ll bleat “fake news!” or “propaganda!” or “Russia!” as though that in and of itself magically invalidates the point you’re trying to make.
And of course it doesn’t. What they are doing is called attacking the source, also known as an ad hominem, and it’s a very basic logical fallacy.
By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
Once upon a time, in a land far far away, There lived a group of magical white Christians called the Pilgrims. After growing weary of their King’s discrimination against witch trials and buckle-hats, they climbed aboard a magic ship called the Mayflower and sailed the deadly Atlantic on a quest for religious freedom and laissez-faire capitalism. They found a wild, mysterious and sparsely populated New World and quickly busied themselves building the foundation of the exceptional American Dream. When they came face to face with pestilence, they graciously excepted agricultural advice from an unwashed horde of noble savages, who were intern thanked with an invite to a grand feast of Thanksgiving.
Well, there’s the official national fairy tale, here’s the open handed bitch slap of reality. The sainted Pilgrims were a clan of puritanical Christian wack jobs sent by King James as a sort of glorified death squad to wipe out the Native Peoples of Turtle Island. There was no multicultural feast. That was another Christian tradition scalped from the Pilgrims original pagan victims back in the old country, where a successful fall harvest was celebrated with a tribal village feast. The first Thanksgiving was a work of fiction propagated to pacify the citizens of this country during times of great social upheaval, first during the Civil War, then revamped in it’s current form during the Great Depression. It’s a fable designed to unify an empire, not around family and community, but around the state that robs us of both and fucks us until we bleed. The very same state that systematically butchered the native peoples of this continent, only to use their distorted memory as token props for the pageantry of American Exceptionalism.
But history ain’t a straight line, my dearest motherfuckers. It’s a circle and that circle is coming back around again. After the “savages” coexisted relatively peacefully on this continent for thousands of years without the modern perversion of the state, the righteous, enlightened, Europeans have managed to burn out after just a little over two centuries of rabid over expansion. America and Western Civilization as we know it stand on the brink of collapse. It turns out all that raping and pillaging isn’t a particularly sustainable model for economic solvency after all. With bases on every fucking continent and a bloated military apparatus that would make Darth Vader wet with envy, the American giant is coming apart at the seams. A morbidly obese, blood spattered glutton, drowning in debt, endless war and staggering economic inequality. To many this fate is terrifying, after all, the fall of Rome was followed by a Dark Age. But as a bluntly anti-American anarchist, I see this coming upheaval with a devilish glint of hope. The Dark Ages came about when Europe fell into denial over their failure to control the world. If America can boldly face the truth that the empire is not only dead but deserved to die, this could be a new beginning. An opportunity for hope.
By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
The horror film is hands down the most woefully underrated genre in cinema. Art at its very finest provokes and there is no subject more provocative than death. Death is the only existential constant in the human experience. Like it or not, we are all born to die. So it only follows that human beings should be both fascinated and terrified by death in equal measure. This fascination is precisely what powers the commercial drive behind the horror industry. There has never been a time since cinema’s infancy when audiences haven’t flocked to the theater to be frightened. People are drawn to fear but when that fear is followed through with analysis they become too uncomfortable to enjoy the cheap thrill of being terrified without consequences. But there are always consequences.
This is why mainstream horror movies have largely been reduced to the cheap thrills alone. The last thing Hollywood wants is for terrified people to think about what terrifies them most. This isn’t just a grave disservice to an entire genre of art. It is a grave disservice to society as a whole. Only when confronted by that which makes us most uncomfortable can we collectively overcome it. Since, as an anarchist as well as a lifelong horror movie buff, nothing makes me more uncomfortable than the state and the established order that thrives in its haunted architecture, I’ve decided to compile a list of movies that should both terrify and provoke anyone’s god-given anti-authoritarian impulses. Not every movie on this list is a horror film in the traditional sense, but they all foster skepticism of authority through the strategic use of terror. These are scary movies for anarchists to watch in the dark and maybe, if we’re lucky, a few of them will be scary enough to create a few new anarchists in the dark this Halloween.
They Live (1988)- The first film on this list isn’t exactly scary, what with its cheesy one-liners and comically over the top street brawl (“Put on the fucking glasses!”) But beneath the B-movie grime, few films have done a finer job of illustrating the cryptic authoritarianism that lies just beneath the shiny visage of liberal democracy. Once Roddy Piper puts on those shades, he sees right through the trappings of glossy magazines, fiat cash and Reaganomics and becomes literate enough to read the true message of the extraterrestrial oligarchy, loud and clear. When it comes to capitalism, they live and you sleep. This is a movie about getting woke. Now put on the fucking glasses cause we’re just getting started.
By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
Halloween is quite easily my favorite holiday. A heathen celebration the Christians failed to conquer, it’s a time of joyful chaos and youth rebellion decorated by skeletons, scattered leaves, flickering jack-o-lanterns, and bonfire smoke. A holiday where serial killers are lionized and everyone dresses in drag, betraying conformity to expose their darkest desires to be whores and outlaws. It’s the one time of year when a genderfuck malcontent like me can feel halfway normal without having to sell out. It’s also arguably this stupid countries only truly anarchist holiday, or at least it was and it still should be.
There was a time, not so long ago, when Halloween meant one night a year when kids owned the streets, wandering unsupervised from house to house dressed in disguise like demons and monsters, appropriating candy from random strangers under the threat of vandalism like tiny unions of egoists. Trick or Treat began as a threat. You could hand over the good stuff (and it better be good) or you could get your house fucked up in a toilet paper draped act of propaganda of the deed, letting the whole neighborhood and any other passing horde of hoodlums know who fucked up and why. In certain parts of the country there was a completely separate holiday called Hell Night, when children engaged in mass acts of gleeful sabotage against the parents, teachers, clergy, and cops who made them feel powerless during the rest of the year. Windows were broken, tires were slashed, and a sense of justice was returned to the universe.
Halloween and Hell Night weren’t like Christmas or Easter. The only gifts you got where the gifts you took, the gifts you earned. It was an empowering event that celebrated lawlessness and the collective power of us against them. So it should come as little surprise that the thems of this world have conspired to neuter this heathen celebration of unfettered youth power, by badge, bible, or checkbook. Over the last couple decades Halloween has been transformed into something truly monstrous, the worst kind of monster, a fascistically vanilla monster called “normal”. A pejorative so hideously fowl that it could have only been created by an adult, dead from the heart up.
Todd Lewis is joined by Keith Preston, Swithun Dobson and Right Ruminations to analyze the various theories deconstructing modernity from environmental collapse; demographic collapse; banality of bureaucratization; etc.
Press TV. Listen here.
The United States and its key allies in the Middle East are trying to find a way to “hijack” protests in Iraq in an attempt to influence its foreign policy, says an American analyst.
Washington does not like Iraq’s current role in the regional “resistance axis” that is countering Israeli and Saudi aggression, Keith Preston, director of attackthesystem.com, told Press TV’s “The Debate” program.
“I think much of the difficulty that Iraq is experiencing today is largely rooted in the policies that the United States has pursued towards Iraq for quite some time,” he said.
“We’d have to consider the lasting impact of not only the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the destabilization of Iraq that happened as a result,” but the fact that the US also propped up the regime of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussain, Preston added.
Washington’s policies also destroyed Iraq’s industrial effectively, “turning what was once one of the most advanced nations in the Middle East to a pre-industrial state,” the analyst argued.
America’s support for Takfiri groups that first overtook parts of Syria and then proceeded to override neighboring Iraq is also a reason for current problems, said Preston.
PressTV-Iraq: All evidence points to ‘malicious hands’ in unrestOfficials in Baghdad blame “malicious hands” for the killing of both protesters and security forces during the latest bout of unrest that gripped the capital and some other cities.
He said there is no denying that the Iraqi government is partially responsible for some of the shortcomings in people’s lives.
However, he argued, it is only natural to expect the West to try and “hijack” the protests in Iraq for its own benefit, just as it is doing with protests in Hong Kong and France.
“American foreign policy has not been happy with the course that the Iraqi government has taken in recent years,” he said.
Noting that the Americans are unhappy with Iraq’s close ties to Iran, Preston said: “They don’t like the fact that Iraq is largely part of the wider axis of resistance against Saudi influence in the region as well.”
That is why the US and its regional allies, including Israel and Saudi Arabia, see the protests as an opportunity to destabilize Iraq.
The other panelist, Brian Downing, who is an independent national security analyst based in Florida, said Saudi Arabia would use Iraq as a way to take attention away from its failures in Yemen in an attempt to repair its image.
Downing said while US policies also played a role in Iraq’s current situation, most of the blame should go to the Iraqi elite for failing to “evenly distribute” the country’s large oil income.
An issue of demographics is also at play, with Iraq’s large population of youths in their 20s desiring a better life and a better future, he added.