Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Bicycles are, like, so gay

I like bikes. I like the idea of sweat-powered transportation, and of cars being a quirky, inefficient novelty in an ideal society filled with pristine, safe, soundless mass transit. The Federal Reserve tax-leveraged debt slavery system that so many people support as a means to forcing enslavement to yet another facet of our police-state's subsidized transportation network, though, is inimical to those former decencies. It will further ensconce the idea of centralized planning, death-enforced payroll withholding, and a host of other unpleasant things, such as:

* Fed, IMF, TPPA & successor cartels' ability to use transportation funding to break local resistance to centralized banking decrees;

* All the integrated nation-/world-wide nepotism and aggregation of marketing budgets in political campaigns resultant from such power;

* The creation and expansion of travel tariff firms that use the "responsibility" of individual operators/owners to justify rent-seeking behaviors, such as design and maintenance violations, victimless moving violations, and "public health" checks like emissions tests for vehicles of a certain "age" (e.g., market value, reflecting the purchasing power of the owner).

Traveling farther down the road of another form of "everybody drives" transportation further ensconces the massively complex schemes meant to justify how safe it is for nearly everyone to be a licensed vehicle pilot, establishing unilateral standards for ninety-year-olds, sixteen-year-olds, and people of nearly all ethnicities, sexes, chemical dependencies, criminal records, IQ, and dynamic spatial intelligence levels. The gradual phasing-down of cars that would accompany the transition to a better world would be entirely dissimilar from the further cementing of a "me go in my machine!" philosophy of bikes. Once you subsidize bike paths further, you'll get handicapped people claiming the civil right to use motorized bicycles--and they will deserve it, and earn that right. And then you'll get less- and less-handicapped people receiving that right, and eventually, bike lanes will just be "small car lanes," and it'll work its way right back to the highway.

Bike advocacy is so heavily centered around the "urban" lifestyle, which is what makes it so gay. Take Manhattan: you have a bunch of trendy, self-centered assholes who think they're really cool for taking the subway, walking, riding bikes, and (maybe) occasionally sharing a cab. Stretch that out to the rest of the city lifestyle, though: the city is a tumor, in as literal a sense as is possible for a settlement of people. Cities are gigantic dumps of energy, resources, and life. When you live in a city, it seems really cool and fancy and great and modern--all that shit. But then, what happens if the cables of power, the pipes of water, and the truckloads of food, products, and young people stop coming in? The city dies. Even taking into account the hyper-breeding of a bunch of imported dwellers, the financial and governmental conglomerates that keep a city going only exist because of the resources that they suck up from hundreds of miles of surrounding countryside.

If the food stops coming in, the city dies. It cannot feed itself. If the power turns off, the city dies. Some of them can power themselves, but only for a little while, because the raw materials they need to keep the plants running come from somewhere else. Even if a (dense, urban) city has its own factories, it isn't a net producer of anything. It can't be, because the dense city-scars we have now are still, in their hearts, the Dickensian, Sarumanish cities of early industrialism, built around the gilded townhouses of the managers and the sprawling tenement hells of the proles, with very little (or, more frequently, zero) room in-between for (actual, productive) rivers, farms, mines, forests, plains, and all of the other things Terran humans still need to live. (If you've read the history of NYC's Central Park, or of the "design" of San Francisco, you'll recall the failed attempt to address some of these issues, now reduced to a means of controlling real estate prices and availability.) It's quite possible to build and use cities that are different than these, but the trans-suburban appendages expanding now still aren't offering the sustainable fix.

The situation remains the same for people, too. Without younger people coming in to look for jobs, culture, opportunity, et cetera, the city dies. Twenty-year-old interns, rent-controlled septuagenarians unaware of an outside world, and forty-year-old fund managing bachelors, do not keep the city alive, any more than the city keeps the nation alive. People interested in kids, aging, and other aspects of nature, tend to get the hell out of the city, and though cities are always eager to attract dusky proles to drive down prices in the service sector, they can only obtain renewals of their managerial class by forming a monopoly on regional theater, music, art, etc., and using the city's advertised "prestige" to cause people to continually want to move there. There are so many movies about New York and Los Angeles, and there were so many stories about London and Tokyo, because something always had to motivate a new crop of kids to want to move to the big city and become cops, actors, bookkeepers, doctors, etc., able to maintain the parasitic edifice that draws in the rest of the province's water, calories, power, and youth.

How stirring, really, that cities have come to be considered progressive. When they were first formed in the modern way, cities were seen as the tumors they are. Cities were the bastions of the robber barons who built reeking fortresses in which to hide the wealth they had stolen from ordinary people. In the first few decades of cities, the majority of liberal, progressive people realized this (even Marx and Engels noted it), and they lamented the ways in which the old guard had set up these extractive new settlements to stymie human progress.

Back to art. That's actually a hilarious part of a lot of cities--the theaters--because the audiences come primarily from the suburbs, outer boroughs, or out of town. The "locals" might go a lot because they're close to it already, but they can't support the industries by themselves. If cities allowed their artistic monopolies to dissolve, or lost control of the ability to summon people to centralized courts, filing and licensing authorities, or had to give up their museum artifacts, then--like people abandoning congested traffic for a seat on the magna-train--cities would go the way that the car would, and no one would come to the awful places anymore. It takes a lot of money, a lot of advertising, and a lot of political requirements to keep government offices running in capital cities, so that less disgusting, lower-crime financial and political districts can't develop in competing locales.

Oh yeah--the gay thing. This dovetails with homosexuality because cities, being non-renewing, are Homonormative. It would be great if we could all just live in little apartments, suck each other off a few times every week, evaluate corporate HR filings for a living, ride bikes or take the subway whenever we need to get somewhere, and appreciate all that life has to offer. But if the truckloads of food, power, goodies, and young people stop coming in, it all dies. The ability to do all those things--to receive resources in exchange for imaginary makework; to pedal to the corner market for organic Chilean mangoes; to suck all those cocks--exists only because of the vulgar breeding, building, trucks and factories that spill out of the badlands.

As Marie Antoinette might have said, "Let them ride bicycles."

Breaking Weeds

It's been way too long since they put out a new movie where a white person gets into the drug trade at street level and proves their inherent superiority by dominating the field. What the hell, man? I want to see a mundane suburban white early-forties gal and/or dude successfully beating down urban minorities while juggling parent-teacher conferences.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Plaques and Pots

You can all but kill a flower, then stick it into an iron lung of sorts on your patio or breakfast bar, cramping its roots into a pot of limited size, watering and trimming it, and keeping it zombie-alive for a very long time to appreciate its, err, colors; shape; smell...?

That's old news. But how long will it be before a hunter can all but kill a moose, cut its head off, and mount it on a nutrient platform that keeps the head "alive" for a very long time to appreciate its colors, shape, smell, noises, etc.?

All of these little flowers, tugged out of the ground and brought into tiny flower-terrariums in people's apartments, looking so terribly pretty, so longingly beautiful, as they imitate what it means to actually be a flower. Alive, but not alive; free to grow, but not actually free to grow. As soon as we can upgrade our technology from "flower pot" to "moose pot," when I visit hunters, there will be this severed moose head attached beautifully to the wall, grunting and horking and making moose sounds, attached to neurons that plug into the house's electrical power system to keep its mind and fur fresh, so that everyone can appreciate exactly how beautiful moose truly are.

"Oh, is that an eastern Canadian?" "Yeah, I got it at the Trader Joe's. Fresh caught." "Oh, those last a long time if you charge them every week." "Yeah, I know. We had one a few years back that used to make the neatest little sounds...remember, honey?" "Can't we just get some squirrels? Moose are so expensive."

Monday, October 5, 2015

Bike Argument

I had a bikes v. cars (wealthy or upwardly-mobile urban fantasist (UMUF) v. rural poor) discussion recently, in which the UMUF offered a pretty good spread of pro-bike stuff. Recording here for posterity. Jen Sorensen offered this cartoon which started it off:

High Arka: Should people who can't afford to live closer to their jobs pay increased payroll taxes in order to fund special roads for people who enjoy riding their bicycles to Whole Foods?

Alan Barta: No, HighArka, you are ALREADY paying higher taxes for not installing bike and pedestrian accommodations, which actually cost almost nothing, just paint street appropriately after they repave it, which has to be done anyway. By comparison, dedicated bikeways including land acquisition cost on average only $500,000/mile to install, whereas interstate highways cost $10,000,000/mile. More money goes to construction workers for bikeways than does for highway, too. The US government spent $1 trillion on highways in the last decade, and that doesn't include state matching from income and property taxes. In other words, you are getting ripped off royally for highways that exclude bicyclists, and pay an additional penalty for ignoring vulnerable users.

High Arka: Are you of the opinion that motorized vehicle travel by interstate highway, motorized vehicle travel by city surface street, and bicycle travel, are interchangeable? No. Bicycle travel is for the privileged few who have the free time, wardrobe and employment and appearance flexibility, and health privileges to bike places.

For those who have to show up at work exactly on time in a uniform, and who can't be sweaty or disheveled from a bike ride, and who have to make it to another job within a certain amount of time, bicycling is impossible.

Check your privilege. Biking is great for upper middle class university students, "interns," and bookstore-cruising latte-sippers in Portlandia. It is great for people who live in safe, low-crime areas where they will not be threatened with violence or harassment for being exposed to the elements, or other people, without a layer of automobile in between them and other people. It is not appropriate for the rushing poor, the physically vulnerable, or people living in low-density or dangerous environments.

Making working people pay for special non-motorized lanes for those who have the privilege of making convenience-based choices to cruise around town is theft. I completely support you having bike lanes as long as YOU pay for them, instead of robbing the paychecks of working mothers who have to go from a retail job to a waitress job in a 30 minute gap, change uniforms, and NOT get groped, grimy, or have their hair blown into a huge mess by trying to bike across the County.

And those same people shouldn't have to work more hours to pay for your special bike lanes, either.

Alan Barta: It's one misconception after another with you, HighArca. There are one billion bicyclists in the world, all poor except for a tiny percentage of spandex privileged, second only to walkers. Motorists only number in the low hundred millions, yet they get all the funding. Not democratic at all, total favoritism. Cyclists see less than 1% of budget, because they don't need much, just properly apportioned streets as already required by law. Wheelchair users get more attention because of the ADA, which demands curb relief and ramps as well as, duh, bikeways. In many cases you can arrange around motoring with several different, less costly modalities: bike, bus, cab, subway, train. This way you're not victim to the average $7600/year cost of car ownership, and, who'd have thought, might actually get around faster than driving. I routinely beat bus and traffic into city center, as do the typical 600,000 bike commuters into NYC every day who can't afford and don't want to drive. Though inconvenient, never had a problem refreshing in a lavatory, equally safe to other ablutions. A decent new bike cost only $300, not on average $25,000, 83 times more, plus insurance, license, mandatory maintenance, registration, and taxes. They collect castoff bikes and ship them to Africa so grateful rural villagers can commute to cities, earn a living, and improve their lives. Best part is you're 20 times safer cycling than driving. The fewer motorists you allow, the less crime and urban terror, which has been proven in cities around the world.

High Arka: Assuming, foremost, that your Cycling Monthly gush report was accurate about the readership-stoking estimation of "one billion"--assuming that without question--it is highly disingenuous of you to use "worldwide" bicyclists statistics to justify tax policy in a modern industrial nation.

You live in a giant concrete tumor that survives by financially exploiting hundreds of other states and nations, in order to suck up an egregious portion of the world's energy, food, and other resources. In order to obtain the kind of vulgar financial concentration you have there, you need to level the natural resources and disperse the populations of many other places, including even sister states in your own "nation," whose populations have to travel a much greater distance than your commute to "city center." Your fantasies can only apply to such a narcissistic bubble, because for many other people, having a pickup truck to drive fifty miles to a job site, laden with old blankets and tools, is a necessity in order to eat each month. People who clean houses, fix toilets, care for and transport infants and children and the elderly, and many other occupations, do not have the option at all of "choosing" to bicycle.

There are also billions of people in the world who are not surrounded by a massive police force, with a lot of witnesses nearby, on their commute to work. Many people work at night, and many people work in rural areas.

Ironically, it is the festering sore of places like New York City that have extracted so many resources from the rest of the world via the FIRE sector that peripheral wastelands are unable to afford public transportation. Check your privilege: most people do not buy a $25K car. They drive a hand-me-down vehicle with no warranty, 50-150K miles on it, and it was bought off Craigslist for $3,000 cash. The statistics you're citing from NPR's Marketplace only apply to privileged white people who think that a new Toyota Prius is a comparatively cheap car. Obviously, you've never lived in an area where the local high school track coach's $22K Camaro is the fanciest vehicle in town.

Now let's talk public transportation: it may have escaped your notice inside your cosmopolitan FIRE bubble, but many people find public transportation a rapey, violent place. Particularly if they're not a young, wealthy, fast-moving person traveling to the financial district with hundreds of their kin during peak business hours.

People traveling bad routes, who aren't able to physically protect themselves, who don't want to get shot or stalked or shouldered constantly, or who just don’t want to be surrounded by a dozen aggressive, unfamiliar poor men having an argument about something scary, every time they need to carry their cashed payroll check home, understandably prefer an alternative, and always will. And when you’re asking those people to reduce their take-home pay even further, so that special new “proportionately cheaper” lanes can be added to make it easier for rich white MBAs to get to NASDAQ in a “greener” fashion,’re definitely an American.

* * *

That's where it is so far. Carry on.

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Quintessential Now

"If humankind had determined a fact, I would have already heard about it and decided to believe in it."

How emblematically postmodern; how timelessly ancient, to believe that you know everything important. It does so echo the birthing squalls of the jealous viral god, does it not?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A small slice of the missing trillions

The question is not, "Does USG engage in child pornography because it stores child porn and uses the stored porn to entrap pedos?" Rather, the question is, "Does USG engage in child pornography because it stores child porn, assists Red Wa, Chao Pho, Dubai and Saud, the Sinaloa and Juarez cartels, and the Northern Alliance, et. al., in maintaining an offsite network of rape, slaving, and picture-swapping, while coordinating its own public laws, moral statements, and selective financial enforcement in order to ensure that its underworld partners will maintain their monopoly on the flesh trade?"

In Japan, the Yakuza took well to the western model after the WW2 Reconstruction, learning how to use "intellectual property" and "obscenity" statutes to nudge prostitution and pornography into a gray area of partially-monitored legality, where public opinion is guided into approving and disapproving of certain arbitrary guidelines so that a black market, with its corresponding profit margins, can develop--in the modern Japanese case, primarily in mere uncensored imagery. Everyone knows that, but that's just pictures--when it comes to actual rape, chattel concubinage, erotic mutilation, and snuff, the process works the same way: private wealth installs executives, legislators, judges, and journalists who establish the obviousness and reasonableness of social boundaries, and the plausibility of police investigations, then selectively enforce to permit only partnered underworld elements to operate.

When you hear people complain about the Fed, you tend to think, "Oh, yeah, it's terrible how they manipulate stock markets and currencies and stuff, but, like, Wall Street is this really consumerist thing, and that sorta stuff is always so shady anyway, so I'll just invest in local bonds." If you can focus long enough to realize how the financial and legal warlocks drive war, you can start to realize how truly demonic the Fed, the Supreme Court, etc., really are. All those dead bodies, right? Sure, it's horrible when NATO rubs out another room full of sleeping two-year-olds, but war is war and life isn't perfect. We've long learned to assimilate that stuff and continue paying our VAT.

You need to make your perspective on things still more visceral than that. The careful shepherding of criminal subcontractors; the nurturing of public awareness of permissible issues and non-issues; the elaborate maintenance of a worldwide network of intellectual property, street-level police "priorities," the forming or non-forming of legislative committees, the decisions to seek out and hear cases, foster or neglect careers; the delicate imposition of selective enforcement across banks, companies, and individuals: these are the things they do that put not just exploding drones into Afghan cribs, but tourist cocks into child orifices. Janet Yellen, Barack Obama, Ruth Ginsburg, and all their somber, responsible buddies are not mere murderers or bagmen. They're not the banal kind of capos who arrange for a "hit," but rather, the far worse kind, clad in blood-spattered black robes, chanting curses in Ancient Aramaic as they bring about the worst sorts of things you can imagine. (You may not care about what America's "Planned Parenthood" does to fetuses, but perhaps the thought of those same things being done to five-year-olds--screwing, dicing, and slicing, for profit--can help better illuminate for you the legal and financial systems here at play.)

Granted, it's certainly possible that they're mere gullible idiots who know not what they do. It's possible that Janet Yellen just doesn't understand where the money went, or how banks and economies work. It's possible that Ruth Ginsburg doesn't have the authority to speak out on important issues and guide millions of people to expose corruption at the highest levels. It's possible that Obama's hands are tied by his deep and abiding respect for the inviolable privacy of American citizens and foreign nationals.

Or maybe they simply don't have the resources, the platforms, the access that they would need to figure these awful problems out and do something about them.

(Really, people. How did you think it was all happening?)

Saturday, September 26, 2015


Roman and Jared not aside, which is worse--the tribe, or the realtors? I chatted recently with a woman who'd "bought" "her" "first" "home," and it was one of those pseudo-heartbreaking modern moments where you listen to someone's long story of struggles and sacrifices, and you can't tell them how utterly easy it would've been to do it all with an hour on the internet, a couple hundred for the inspection guy, and save 6%--to split half between you and the foreclosed-upon family that is probably scattered in pieces across the Jersey tenements about now, awaiting collection of the remainder from the next seven years' worth of paychecks.

You can't tell her, because if she knew she could have a little over ten grand in her pocket right now, she'd feel like she'd gotten violated, and then she'd have an instant counter-reaction, rationalizing it all something fierce, talking about how incredibly nice the realtor was to get the "contract" done by 5PM on this one particular day, and "showing her" the house literally four times (from her eminently practical but luxurious Hyundai Sonata with the tan leather package, omigod omigod am I good enough to take up her time?) to be sure it was "just right." And the Title Company was so nice because they gave her a bottled water and her kid some crackers, and Jesus himself would weep tears of wine if he knew how they promised to rush the recording ahead a day so that she'd only have to wait until Tuesday to miss work and rush out of her existing apartment to grab those coveted "keys" and jam eight years of post-parental furniture into those creaking sixteen hundred feet.

So what do you do? You shut the fuck up and let the proles take the shaft, maybe offering a little motor oil for next time, like, "Sure, I'd like some of her cards." And no matter what, you don't sue the local real estate place for running a nasty cartel of intimidation and buttfucking, where these amazingly redundant storefronts blanket the entire fucking country, producing even less benefit, yet somehow far more goodwill, than a Chase glioma or a payday loan osteosarcoma.

It shouldn't get one upset, anyway. The drug cartels kill off at least as many people per month as the realtors rape per year, and in the former case, the suffering is of the very literal, visceral, screaming kind, whereas the realtors only bleed people in the initial netherspace of confused financial arcanisms. Close enough to the surface for even some of the proles to understand, gnome sane yoh? But still, it's colossal, a lesser giant among greater giants, like a cluster of three dozen writhing ticks sucking fluids from under an alley mutt's floppy ear. Something about the "up front" nature of the realtors' screw-job, though, makes some observations of the process sting a little more than the subtle skimming of a trio of rattling pharmacists.

Like, why do savvy commercial landlords still kick cash out to the realty club? To some extent there's a family and marriage link issue, and the forming of coalitions to control mayorships and councils, wrest developer tax incentives, and use Sec. 8 to blockbust the cubicle analysts into yet another suburban paradise, but even so, you'd think that the occasional eccentric, the rare localized Trump as it were, would stand up against the Long gang, run his own transfer outfit at 1%, and pocket the remaining 5 as a savings to himself and his terrorized clientele. I'm not even asking for a revolution; just a bit of small-scale counter-corruption.

Workable, and eminently imaginable, especially to dog-shit developers in dog-shit tracts. And yet, you never see it, which means of course that the realty capos are using their local governance and their boondocks "publications" to ensure that Joe Cheap Condos and Sally Revitalized 80s Stip Mall take a few falls down the stairs before leaving town in disgrace. Why are some roads mended and others not? How many months and how many ex-roughnecks does it take to blacktop a fifty meter stretch to nowhere? As many as we fucking say; that's how many. Now take all that little capital of yours and go open an offramp Subway in Nevada before you end up behind on your County library fines, know what I mean?

When you look at these things sticking together, it's pretty hard to believe there aren't Satanic gray alien leptorizoid sauranimals with little rosaries actually running things, after all. Because the local bishop and rabbi, god bless them, are always "working in partnership with" the long-timers on the business commission, handling the assignments on the zoning and tax policy councils, and god knows they're fingering children while they do it. Toss a few more imams into the mix, and horror of horrors, you'll see Coldwell-Sharia Real Estate Brokerages signs cropping up everywhere, golden crescent moon against a starry blue backdrop, while the Baptists and the Sunni join each other in winning a twenty year sales-tax moratorium for the new Walmart megacenter with the educational annex and the bike path.

Oooh, Sharia, a magical word. The first stains of Jenomic corruption begin to touch our pristine sheets! God forbid politics state and local become controlled by a bunch of thieving pedo rapists with souls scarred by the desert god! Imagine those vile hordes flooding this land, defrocking preteens without consequence while they incestuously control every function of speech and trade, propagating lies and misdeeds on the public purse...just imagine those cousin-marrying pervert freaks growing fat on kickbacks and establishing public morality laws--in this country! To arms, free secular Mormijewthic Protesbyterians; to arms!