Wrong color/class in a gentrifying neighborhood? You may get arrested for that

I came across an interesting read last night in the Atlantic, it addresses how local police handle neighborhoods in transition from their being distasteful refuges of the poor to their blissful transcendence into enclaves of the affluent. In most developed countries, the disparity caused by such “urban renewal” remains somewhat genteel, since other affluent nations have broad social safety nets to see that class disparity never becomes so crass. But in the United States? Well, you get this:

When low-income neighborhoods see an influx of higher-income residents, social dynamics and expectations change. One of those expectations has to do with the perception of safety and public order, and the role of the state in providing it. The theory goes that as demographics shift, activity that was previously considered normal becomes suspicious, and newcomers—many of whom are white—are more inclined to get law enforcement involved. Loitering, people hanging out in the street, and noise violations often get reported, especially in racially diverse neighborhoods.


Ahh, “suspicious activity”, the catch-all phrase we use in today’s culture-of-fear(™) to micromanage the behavior of those least convenient to modern real estate marketing.

Before we go further, this is that time of explanation some knee-jerk conservative may demand mid-reading: Yes, some behavior is truly suspicious and warrants reporting; yes, it’s basic common sense that if you witness someone breaking into a house or stealing a purse, the best thing to do would be to call the police (and never, I must stress, confront the perpetrator yourself). But with the increasing paranoia in present day white America, anything and everything people of colour do in animated urban centres can be construed as suspicious by somebody. This is including but not limited to, being black in a neighborhood of white residents whose enthusiasm for diversity stops at having that one black friend they use to clear their name of racism. Dinner at fusion restaurants or their occasional dabbling in the local jazz scene constitutes the right and proper interest the culture of the other. Tolerating too many people on the block whose hue deviates a little too much from the pre-approved resident code? Well, can’t have that!

That the police purport to protect & serve in these communities is by no means indicative this principle is equitably applied. They’re protecting and serving somebody, but it’s a given that it’s likely not those being profiled. 

The modus operandi in gentrifying, urban areas is that law enforcement and their impressive apparatus of structural power are ramping up the platform prescribed by Plato’s Republic; the “guardians” of civilization protect first and foremost, the fiscally indispensable from the societally expendable. In the less advanced stages of ongoing “urban renewal”, higher value residents, that is to say, those who can cough up reliable tax monies, often live in immediate proximity to lower valued residents. And I hate to break it to those of you who think contemporary America is an equitable society, the latter group means poor people with no tax dollars to extract.

Are you a normal person with some sense of demand for justice, seeing this as at least marginally unfair? Then you recognize bad policy. You’re admirably humanistic. Unfortunate, it seems, that humanists aren’t cut out for policy making from the perspective of real estate profiteering, because if you’re seeing the big picture from the eyes of a cold, pragmatically calculated labyrinth of brutalist architecture bound government offices, and the development titans they enable, the top down approach to neighborhood policing reported on in the Atlantic, simply makes real sense. 

It is often said evil shouldn’t be invoked to explain situations that could better be deciphered by revealing ineptitude. When do we ask ourselves how many times this saying should be applied in reverse?


Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe will be rewarded for his brutal regime


“I didn’t do it!!”


As it turns out, there may have been a very strategic reason the bastard held out for a few days in his refusal to resign from the presidency. While the parliament came together to bring forth impeachment proceedings with even members of the ZANU-PF joining in, Mr. Mugabe was negotiating the terms for his departure from the office he’d occupied since 1987. These negotiations will prove fruitful for him. Turns out Mr. Mugabe will receiving full immunity for his family members, the assurances that his business dealings in the country will remain active, and a payout of nothing less than $10 million USD in a country where millions of Zimbabwean dollars only buy a few food items from shops that have infamously been near empty for more than a decade.

In the world in which the average citizen has to live, the intimidation tactics and outright widescale theft employed by this psychopath would warrant prison time. In the world of nation leadership, it’s reciprocated in payouts the Zimbabwean people couldn’t possibly dream of themselves receiving (and I don’t say that lightly; these people have had the dreams summarily beaten out of them by the baton).

Is there any glimmer of hope for the country that Mnangagwa enact liberalization that will take the country in a direction towards healing? There may be. But rewarding the past administration for misdeeds the new boss pretends to condemn is not change for the people. It’s business as usual.

Trump uses the North Korean crisis to advance his pro-military bile

As per the ongoing comments by the White House, seen right this moment on CBS, it would seem our excuse for a president is throwing a temper tantrum over Schumer’s resistance to an unjust and regressive proposed budget while the other megalomaniac across the Pacific may have launched an ICBM that could theoretically reach the continental United States. Further, the excuse of a president is using the crisis to call for a significantly expanded military while also saying he wants lower taxes.

So how does that work, all you fiscal conservative number whizzes? Supply side economics and the unfair tax burden it invariably places on the middle and lower classes has consistently shown itself not to work.

We know Trump didn’t get in to the White House by putting forth a traditional Bush/Reagan style Republican platform to voters, and nationalist Trump voters aren’t thrilled with the idea of multinational corporations making a killing in tax breaks while they still continue to ship jobs overseas. So why then is Trump aggressively clinging to a fiscal model that will alienate most voters if passed? The answer is because he’s more afraid of Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan than he wants his Twitters minions to think, especially with 2018 elections coming.

Some military expert should also inform Trump that we could blow North Korea into the Stone Age without increasing military spending, much of which will just go to big defense business contracts.

What would it take to get enough people to vote this guy out in 2020?

If Trump really cares about monopolies…

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…why is he doing absolutely nothing about his FCC appointee, Ajit Pai, planning on getting rid of the internet as we know it and giving unprecedented power to telecom giants?

The answer of course is that he doesn’t share any concern with a prospective ATT/Time Warner merger for the reason that he opposes monopolies; he opposes it because he is vindictive and was made out a fool by nearly every non-conservative (and some conservative news outlets as well, such as the National Review)news source in the country.

What a crybaby we have for a “president”.

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Robert Mugabe is NO MORE

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At the very least, the Zimbabwean president turned long term dictator will no longer be in power of one of Southern Africa’s poorest nations. Mugabe, the man who came to known for practicing the very oppression he once rose against the Rhodesian regime to fight, has resigned as president after the Zimbabwean military placed him under house arrest.

I’ve followed the goings on in this nation very closely for many years, and it always struck me the way in which the Zanu PF took the southern continent’s epicentre of natural resources and turned it into one of the worst economies on the planet. The strife, hyperinflation, and chaos didn’t begin immediately; here’s a clip from 1994 of Dan Rather reporting on the Mugabe regime, which he at the time said had helped put “neither white fears nor black hopes” into realization:

Ahh, but this was some years still prior to the…

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Tim Keller’s Election: Nice to see good win again

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I earlier expressed on the matter of the 2017 Albuquerque Mayoral Race, which I had attended a debate pertinent to, that I believed the final results to be a battle between Brian Colon and Dan Lewis in which Lewis would take the gold.

I’m happy to say this isn’t the case. My choice of candidate from the start was state auditor, now mayor-elect Tim Keller, but thought his campaign would be thwarted by Lewis’ doubling down on the McGruff Crime Dog approach to a city saturated by theft and violence.

Remember that just a couple weeks back Lewis even further ramped up the dirty tricks by attributing to Keller, a quote about “catch and release judges” that has not indication of having been said.

It’s refreshing to see that the people of Albuquerque didn’t let fear or susceptibility to hearsay derail their common sense, and they elected the more progressive…

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Internet echo chambers are an exaggerated phenomemon

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The section in the book Everybody Lies which is reviewed and this link, which addresses the issue of internet echo chambers. In the past year, the news media, both mainstream and alternative, have overestimated the prevalence of a state of affairs in which an internet goer will shut them self off from those who have political views different from their own.

But the section on political views showed that people are actually more likely to come accross those with opposing political views on major websites than in “real life”.

I think the real culprit are not necessarily the “echo chambers”, because it’s clear in many of these online flame wars that people are aware what the other is saying, but the idea, not at all softened by social media based political leaders, that pundits and people on the other end of the ideological spectrum are out to get each…

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I don’t feel sorry for Paul Manafort

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I know I probably said this before but when I notice people such as Alex Jones talk about how supposedly below the belt Mueller’s pursuit of Manafort has been, I wonder if they know or care how below the belt Manafort’s support for thugs such as Jonas Savimbe in Angola or Ukranian agitators was. Is the guy reaping what he’s sown?

And once again, his connection to Trump, in conjunction with a laundry list of other dirty points tell us the Trump administration and everyone connected to it have an awful lot to hide.

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Michelle Goldberg on the hypothetical Trump impeachment

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Some commentators fear “normalizing” impeachment as a tool of routine political warfare. But Bill Clinton’s impeachment already normalized its use against Democrats on the flimsiest of pretexts. Had Hillary Clinton been elected, the campaign to remove her would probably be in full swing by now. Democrats may wish to return to a less destructive brand of politics, but that’s not an option while Trump sits in the White House.

While he does, we’re all better off if he thinks impeachment is a possibility. “I’m hoping that if Trump is aware that he could be removed, that that awareness constrains him to the extent he can be constrained,” Sherman said. And the best way to show Trump that people are serious about impeaching him is to put the message on television.

Good read , but Golberg, unlike say, Lawrence Lessig, has forgotten that the electoral college, the very instrument…

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Trump gets put in his place again — From CNN: Hawaii judge blocks Trump’s latest travel ban

Hawaii judge blocks Trump’s latest travel ban


Tim Kaine said it best during last year’s presidential debates that it’s the customs and immigration agencies’ authority to vet by circumstance not by assuming someone is guilty and denying them entry based on what country they’re from.

That said, we missed out on a great Vice President.