Trump orders HUD to suspend evictions and foreclosures Reply

Is Trump going mutualist?

By Brett Samuels and Sylvan Lane

The Hill

President Trump on Wednesday directed the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to suspend evictions and foreclosures through April as Americans grapple with the fallout of the coronavirus.

“The Department of Housing and Urban Development is providing immediate relief to renters and homeowners by suspending all foreclosures and evictions until the end of April,” Trump said at a White House press briefing. “So we’re working very closely with [HUD Secretary] Dr. Ben Carson and everybody from HUD.”

The moratorium will apply only to homeowners with mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration, a HUD agency that backs affordable home loans issued through private firms. 

READ MORE

With Coronavirus, Will Authoritarian Impulses Prevail? 1

By Kelley Beaucar Vhalos

The American Conservative

s the number of coronavirus infections topped 3,100 in the U.S. as of Sunday afternoon, including 63 deaths, major cities appear to be considering lock-downs as we have seen in Europe—everything shut down by the government—including borders—except for essential grocery stores and pharmacies.

Hoboken, N.J., which has has had a reported three cases of coronavirus as of Sunday, has shut down all bars and restaurants and has instituted a curfew of 10 p.m. for all residents. Hoboken is also suspending street cleaning, closing playing fields, recreation facilities, and playgrounds, as well as day cares and pop-up camps for children, and limiting City Hall services. Senior activities had already been canceled.

As of Sunday there were 72 cases identified and two deaths in New Jersey, which is one of the country’s most densely populated states (8.9 million), and the Democratic governor is reportedly considering a state-wide shutdown.

READ MORE

Say It Ain’t So, Andy Reply

The Left’s attempted assault on neoliberalism has completely failed. Now, it’s just a matter of “Anybody But Trump” and “Vote Blue, No Matter Who.” Because that’s worked so well before.

Andrew Yang has endorsed Joe Biden, becoming the latest former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to throw their support behind Biden’s White House bid.

Otherkin Are People Too; They Just Identify as Nonhuman Reply

No tribe left behind.

By Amber Roberts

VICE

Otherkin are people who identify as partially or entirely nonhuman. A dragon, a lion, a fox—you name it—there is probably someone out there who feels like they are more these things than they are human. The otherkin community can be found lurking on Reddit, Tumblr, TV Tropes, and other online forums.

The popularity of the otherkin phenomena seems to have been steadily increasing—particularly on Tumblr—since 2012. But what does it mean to truly believe you’re nonhuman? Do people genuinely wake up one day and think that they are a fox or is this just a bizarre form of escapism? Is it body dysmorphia or fantasy?

READ MORE

Why Bernie Sanders’ Communist Misadventures Still Matter Reply

I’m neither a Bernie fan nor a Berniephobe. I tend to think his election to the presidency would be good for the cause of pan-anarchism/pan-secessionism because it would result in an emboldened far left, resentful far right, and demoralized establishment center, resulting in increased fractiousness. I suspect a Sanders presidency would be even more controversial and divisive than the Trump presidency. And how would the Deep State respond?

Hillary, Donald & Bernie: Three Who Would Make a Catastrophe Reply

By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

Exile in Happy Valley

America is a country that both loves and hates its conspiracy theories. On the one hand, our popular culture is lousy with them, from cinema to the president’s goddamn Twitter account. On the other hand, we host an academic elite which not only views such cultural trends with disdain, but seems to see our history, their history, the “official story”, as some kind of irrefutable biblical fact. Few people make the connection between these parallel trends, the likelihood that the overly presumptuous and at times downright jingoistic orthodoxy of our ivory tower elites is precisely what drives pedestrian America to search for alternatives to their “truth”. That old adage, consider the source. The reality is that history in and of itself is not black and white science. At its most accurate it is a collection of narratives, different perspectives from the ground floor that could easily be described as conspiracy theories. What appears to be a conspiracy theory from Arlington or Manhattan, looks a lot more like bad memories from Hiroshima or Tuskegee. Any true revisionist historian must become a collector of conspiracy theories, viewing all available narratives with a healthy grain of salt.

More…

In Support of Brexit and Independent Catalonia Reply

This was quite a captivating performance. Regardless of whether you support Brexit or decry it, it’s hard not to identify with the mobilizing passions Nigel Farage appeals to.

While it remains an open question whether the UK is better off with the EU or without it, there is much to be said for political self-determination. As the principle of subsidiarity holds, many of the world’s political problems are best solved on the smallest and the most local level of government.

That makes a lot of sense in light of how mayors of towns and governors of provinces know more about their communities than presidents of republics or let alone international governing bodies like the EU. It’s also worth noting that that the local politicians are more attached to their communities and have more of an incentive to do what serves the public rather than their cronies.

On that note, I will also say that I support independent Catalonia, even if I am glad that Franco won the Spanish civil war. George Orwell’s “homage to Catalonia” is often misunderstood to be a one-sided denunciation of fascism. Yet, in the opening chapter, he wrote: “I am not writing a propaganda book, the Republican militia suffered from serious problems”.

Orwell earned his immortal fame critiquing the pathological structure of totalitarian regimes, especially those that emerge in the far-left, with a particular emphasis on Stalinism. While “1984” can be seen as a general critique of totalitarianism, “the Animal Farm” was an attack on Stalinism, where the Old Major represented Karl Marx and Napoleon represented Stalin.

In a similar vein, Orwell went on to show that while the Catalonian forces were home to many well-intentioned, albeit misguided idealists, they were often co-opted by the totalitarian left. Stalin famously supported the Republican forces and his motives certainly were not altruistic or humanitarian. Stalin was a barbarian who probably would have started World War III, had he not died under questionable circumstances in the hands of Kruschev.

Had the Republicans gotten their way in the Spanish civil war, Spain would have been much more like Greece than the civilized, prospering democratic society it is today. It is a little known fact that despite the excesses of Franco’s far-right regime, he presided over the “Spanish miracle” which was a series of reforms in economic liberalization that produced tremendous growth. Toward the end of his reign, the Franco regime even made a number of concessions to tolerate limited pluralism in Spain, which is partly why the Francoist Spain was allowed to join NATO.

These acts of compromise are unthinkable on the far-left: there has never been an economic miracle of this proportion in the former USSR nations or any ex-communist country for that matter. China may be the lone exception, but they will never be a free country.

Freedom is always easier to pry away from the jaws of right-wing extremists than it is from the communists, which is why Chile is now a proper democracy, despite the atrocities committed by the Pinochet regime. Portugal was also afflicted by the far-right regime of Antonio Salazar, but it is now a thriving democracy. With the exception of the Baltic states, this is a result that virtually none of the ex-communist regimes will ever achieve.

The Francoists have made their point and yes, I get it: Real Madrid is the symbol of unified Spain, while Barcelona is the symbol of the insurgency. Yet, enough is enough: there is no threat of a communist outbreak anymore, this is not the coronavirus. If it is clear that the Catalans wish to secede from Spain, Madrid has no business holding them back.

House approves war powers legislation pulling authority back to Congress 1

By Jesse Naranho

Politico

The House on Thursday approved two measures aimed at clawing back President Donald Trump’s war powers, a direct result of recent aggression between Iran and the United States that culminated earlier this month in missile attacks on Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops.

The votes, which passed with four Republican defections on one measure and 11 on the other, mark a victory for anti-war lawmakers who have long sought to rein in the executive’s ability to use military force without congressional authorization. The White House opposed the measures and their support within the GOP was closely watched as a litmus test for loyalty among Republican members to the president in an election year.

Although the White House released individual policy statements opposing the measures earlier this week, the Trump administration’s position on them was muddied Wednesday by the president himself, who wrote on Twitter that members should “vote their heart” — a potential signal that he anticipated some defections.

Rep. Barbara Lee, a California Democrat who has long worked to repeal the 2002 military force authorization that allowed the United States to invade Iraq, said in an interview that she found the president’s tweet consistent with “not knowing what their policy is.”

READ MORE

California Is Booming. But Californians Are Unhappy Reply

The New York Times
Conor Dougherty

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…

Keith Preston Joins Extremist Hall of Fame: Banned from Facebook 18

[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.

Typhus, Torchwood, Chaos, and Immortality: Am I the Face of Boa? Reply

By Ann Sterzinger

Medium

The Doctor Who spin-off that speaks to the invincible community, or: How I survived a typhus coma without any competent medical help.

I’m immortal, son, and you ain’t. But it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and I like your tie.

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.

More…

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.

More…

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.

More…

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.

More…

Federal study confirms racial bias of many facial-recognition systems, casts doubt on their expanding use 3

Drew Harwell
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…

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.