Over the past several weeks in Seattle we have seen an acronym, CHAZ, emerge. So, what is CHAZ? CHAZ stands for the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone. It is roughly a six block area wherein the City of Seattle, under the leadership of Mayor Jenny Durkan and law enforcement, have ceded control to protesters for occupation. Since the end of May, a network of artists, beatnicks, anarchists, business professionals and Black Lives Matter (BLM) members took to the streets. It reminds me of People’s Park — Berkeley — in the early days. With that said, though, this article is not about the George Floyd protests or their proto-genesis. It is about CHAZ and whether or not it could ever pass the litmus test, in reality. It is about how white people drowned out the message from Black Lives Matter, and created their very own Burning Man festival on Capital Hill.
The timeline of where we pick up our story about CHAZ — and the proverbial shot heard around the Nation — was when a gunman drove his car into a crowd at 11th and Pine. A black man reached into the car to stop it’s Mad Max rampage, and was shot. A video shows the chaotic scene that left the intervening black man hospitalized on the 10th night of George Floyd protests. Later that evening, on the night of June the 8th, the abandonment of Seattle Police Department’s 11th Precinct went down and the antagonizing of protesters was enhanced by the deployment of tear gas, pepper spray, and flash bang grenades. This happened even after the municipal government ordered a 30 day moratorium on their use. And for the first time in history, that I am aware of, a major metropolitan area ceded control of a portion of its municipality to non governmental occupiers.
One of the first lessons military commanders learn on the battlefield is to stay focused and on point. As of the 14th of June, CHAZ missed that lesson. Six days after the permanent occupation of Capital Hill, CHAZ has been renamed to CHOP — Capitol Hill Occupied (or Organized) Protest — depending upon whom you ask. One unnamed protester was quoted as saying, “[…] this is not an autonomous zone, and we’re not trying to secede from the United States.” Probably a good thing that was clarified. Ah, the joys of understanding the subtleties of democracy. In fact, while confusing the message about its Cause, this move may have had the added benefit of preventing the National Guard from legally intervening. The federal government has this pesky, no tolerance policy for succession as many will remember from the Civil War — which was anything but civil.
The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), referred to simply as the Zone and Free Capitol Hill, is a self-declared autonomous zone in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. The Zone, covering approximately six city blocks, was established on June 8, 2020 by George Floyd protesters after Seattle Police Department (SPD) vacated its East Precinct building at Capitol Hill.
Local governance in the Zone is decentralized, with the goal of creating a neighborhood without police. Purported demands associated with the Zone include rent control, the reversal of gentrification, the abolition or defunding of police, funding of community health, and the dropping of charges against those arrested for involvement in the protests.
Reactions to the Zone have varied through the political spectrum. President Donald Trump referred to the occupants as “ugly Anarchists” and called for the governor of Washington and the mayor of Seattle to “take back” the Zone, while Mayor Jenny Durkan on June 11 described the Zone as “four blocks in Seattle that is more like a block party atmosphere. It’s not an armed takeover. It’s not a military junta. We will make sure that we will restore this but we have block parties and the like in this part of Seattle all the time … there is no threat right now to the public.”
On June 12, Black Lives Matter protesters were reportedly negotiating with local officials to leave the Zone. SPD Chief Carmen Best said that officials were working to return police officers to the precinct. She stressed the “need to have officers responding to calls in a timely fashion. And with the occupation that’s taking place, we’re not able to do so in a timely way”.
At the core of the CHAZ — oops I meant CHOP (at least for today) — movement there appears to be a desire to demonstrate to the world that this enclave is capable of living without the assistance of the government and more specifically, without law enforcement. Imagining a police-free community, though, is one thing. Making it a reality, in a capitalistic society, is completely different. The moniker Think Global Act Local, comes to mind. Whether or not anyone wants to admit it, law enforcement serves a purpose in our society both in the civil and criminal arenas. There are three principals which our Founding Fathers placed in the Declaration of Independence — We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. It continues, though — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. And finally, which is probably where CHOP should be focusing their legal attention upon,
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
So, we have set the foundation for today’s debate. And to be clear, neither I, nor as best I can tell CHOP, are advocating for insurrection. Other than an occasional scuffle — less significant than a typical Friday night at a bar — there is no violence occurring within the CHOP area of occupation — unless, perhaps, you carry the American Flag. While there is graffiti ongoing, I am unable to locate any reports of long term damage. Moreover, though, CHOP strikes me as the quintessential People’s Park of the late 1960’s we saw in Berkeley. To those observations, though, I first want to discuss Liberty. We all have a liberty interest in our tangible property whether it be a home, a business, or the backpack resting upon the shoulders of a homeless individual. It was important enough to be included in two distinct parts in the 14th Amendment. Even more interestingly, it granted citizenship to the recently emancipated slaves during the Civil War by in July 1868, by Secretary of State William Seward.
No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
The Liberty interest in property, at its very core, is that which allows for capitalism. Whether or not we are witnessing true capitalism today is an argument for for the scholars. With that said, if we are not capable of ownership — and ownership that does not have to be protected by our own personal sword — then we have limited ability to protect our property and even less desire to labor for it. And as opposed to the Wild Wild West, as US citizens, we have bound ourselves to a codification of laws, rules, and regulations which protect our Liberty interest. As such, we have set into play a series of judiciaries whose final arbiter is the US Supreme Court by and through which creates a societal framework to protect our liberty interests. To that point, the enforcement of the aforementioned falls squarely upon the shoulders of law enforcement.
Wikipedia continues with respect to how CHOP is currently governed,
Reports describe the Zone’s structure as a cross between Occupy Wall Street and an independent student housing cooperative. Occupants have said their intentions are to create a neighborhood without police and a society where the police are no longer necessary. Protesters have accepted the open carry of firearms as a provision of safety. Members of the self-described anti-fascist, anti-racist, and pro-worker Puget Sound John Brown Gun Club (PSJBGC) were reported on June 9 as carrying rifles in the Zone. The Washington Post reported on June 12 that PSJBGC was on site but with no weapons visible, and USA Today the same day reported that “no one appeared armed with a gun”. Reporters from a local Seattle-based Fox affiliate were chased out of the Zone by occupants on June 9.
Occupants of the Zone favor consensus decision-making instead of designating leaders, who according to one protester can be “taken out”—killed or arrested. However, City Journal in a June 10 article claimed that former mayoral candidate Nikkita Oliver formulates the commune’s political strategy. Seattle officials have not seen evidence of Antifa umbrella groups organizing in the Zone. The Cut has accused the right-wing media of attempting to portray the Zone as “both dangerous and violent”. An exposé by The Seattle Times on June 12 found that Fox News had digitally altered photographs of the Zone to include a man armed with an assault rifle.
Now, reports came in of Fox News reporters being chased out of CHOP, early on. Personally, I don’t listen to Fox News; however, they are a media outlet entitled to First Amendment protection. Whether or not Fox News digitally altered photographs, which is now a foregone conclusion, should not constitute their ability to traverse upon public space. They are, in part — by and through their taxes —paying for the streetlights, the electricity, the WiFi, the debris removal and the porta potties all being provided to CHOP at taxpayer expense. Ditto for the American Flag carrying protesters. CHOP, from the point-of-view of allowing freedom of movement and ideas, fails the smell test. See, that is the problem with an all or nothing strategy. CHOP appears to want all the perks and benefits which society has to offer and yet they do not want to conform to the same laws which those providing the services must adhere to. Fundamentally, the noise currently being emitted by CHOP is drowning out, in my opinion, the seminal message of that which the Black Lives Matter protests are all about.
The targeting of others — Fox News aside — whom attempted to engage in peaceful protest and carrying the American Flag has become the norm as documented across Twitter in multiple videos. The real irony here is that multiple white protesters chose to call a black man a race trader for carrying the Flag. Are you fucking shitting me? Is this not the epitome of hypocrisy? This is the problem with cognitive dissonance. This phenomena is even more pronounced when it is circulated in a hyper vacillating echo chamber. And while I support the right of anyone to voice their opinions, seizing public property, at the expense of the taxpayer, to emit one voice and silence another, silences any probative value of discussion.
With respect to services now being provided, pro bono to CHOP, the Capital Hill Seattle wrote this,
Seattle Public Utilities, meanwhile was at the scene with a large crew of contractors clearing up debris. As crews grabbed a pile of signs, one volunteer ran over. “Those aren’t trash!” she said as the nonplussed worker dropped the pile of soggy boards and cardboard back to the sidewalk.
The mayor said previously she hoped the crews would help to clean up the area daily. The city is also maintaining chemical toilets in Cal Anderson and will add a new bank of toilets outside Seattle Central on Broadway in a bid to avoid the health problems that dogged the neighborhood’s Occupy camp nearly a decade ago.
Ironically, if there is all this pent up concern with respect to the rights of all, I have yet to see a sign advocating for the return of the CHOP occupied zone to the Duwamish Tribe. Yeah, the Duwamish are the indigenous people whom once occupied Seattle and surrounding areas. I have poured through hundreds of protest photos and videos and have yet to find that sign hung up anywhere. Maybe — just maybe — it is because mentioning this would be an uncomfortable conversation to have, I don’t know. Vini, Vidi, Vici I suppose, ‘eh?! Blame everyone else for one’s own occupying actions. Neither here nor there. Revolution — change — is difficult in the best of times. CHOP has become a mini Burning Man, for want of better words. And that is what generally happens when the demographic is overwhelmingly white. King County, home to Seattle, has about 2.2 million residents, and is about 65% white and roughly 6% Black. This isn’t saying that Black Lives Matter couldn’t put their own protest together — and I submit this was theirs before Whitey co-opted it — it simply reveals the demographics. Fact of the matter is that protesting is in the DNA of most Americans. With that said, though, change was already underway in Seattle, according to an article in USA Today,
In 2012, President Barack Obama’s Justice Department implemented strict oversight of Seattle police, leading to a 60% drop in the use of serious force against the community over the next eight years as taxpayers poured an extra $100 million into the department. In early May, city officials asked a federal judge to remove the decree, arguing Seattle police were no longer the racist, violent department they once were.
Now, whether or not the Seattle Police Department (SPD) has turned the proverbial page is unknown to any but their officers. If recidivism statistics are any indication of success, then I am not optimistic. The problem, though, is that CHOP hasn’t really thought through that which it wants. Change, real and meaningful change, is not orchestrated sitting around the fire circle and passing the pot pipe. You get one shot, one opportunity to quote Eminem. And CHOP missed that.
Here is a list of the demands that CHOP published on Medium,
The Justice System
- The Seattle Police Department and attached court system are beyond reform. We do not request reform, we demand abolition. We demand that the Seattle Council and the Mayor defund and abolish the Seattle Police Department and the attached Criminal Justice Apparatus. This means 100% of funding, including existing pensions for Seattle Police. At an equal level of priority we also demand that the city disallow the operations of ICE in the city of Seattle.
- In the transitionary period between now and the dismantlement of the Seattle Police Department, we demand that the use of armed force be banned entirely. No guns, no batons, no riot shields, no chemical weapons, especially against those exercising their First Amendment right as Americans to protest.
- We demand an end to the school-to-prison pipeline and the abolition of youth jails. Get kids out of prison, get cops out of schools. We also demand that the new youth prison being built in Seattle currently be repurposed.
- We demand that not the City government, nor the State government, but that the Federal government launch a full-scale investigation into past and current cases of police brutality in Seattle and Washington, as well as the re-opening of all closed cases reported to the Office of Police Accountability. In particular, we demand that cases particular to Seattle and Washington be reopened where no justice has been served, namely the cases of Iosia Faletogo, Damarius Butts, Isaiah Obet, Tommy Le, Shaun Fuhr, and Charleena Lyles.
- We demand reparations for victims of police brutality, in a form to be determined.
- We demand that the City of Seattle make the names of officers involved in police brutality a matter of public record. Anonymity should not even be a privilege in public service.
- We demand a retrial of all People in Color currently serving a prison sentence for violent crime, by a jury of their peers in their community.
- We demand decriminalization of the acts of protest, and amnesty for protestors generally, but specifically those involved in what has been termed “The George Floyd Rebellion” against the terrorist cell that previously occupied this area known as the Seattle Police Department. This includes the immediate release of all protestors currently being held in prison after the arrests made at 11th and Pine on Sunday night and early Saturday morning June 7th and 8th, and any other protesters arrested in the past two weeks of the uprising, the name Evan Hreha in particular comes to mind who filmed Seattle police macing a young girl and is now in jail.
- We demand that the City of Seattle and the State Government release any prisoner currently serving time for a marijuana-related offense and expunge the related conviction.
- We demand the City of Seattle and State Government release any prisoner currently serving time just for resisting arrest if there are no other related charges, and that those convictions should also be expunged.
- We demand that prisoners currently serving time be given the full and unrestricted right to vote, and for Washington State to pass legislation specifically breaking from Federal law that prevents felons from being able to vote.
- We demand an end to prosecutorial immunity for police officers in the time between now and the dissolution of the SPD and extant justice system.
- We demand the abolition of imprisonment, generally speaking, but especially the abolition of both youth prisons and privately-owned, for-profit prisons.
- We demand in replacement of the current criminal justice system the creation of restorative/transformative accountability programs as a replacement for imprisonment.
- We demand autonomy be given to the people to create localized anti-crime systems.
- We demand that the Seattle Police Department, between now and the time of its abolition in the near future, empty its “lost and found” and return property owned by denizens of the city.
- We demand justice for those who have been sexually harassed or abused by the Seattle Police Department or prison guards in the state of Washington.
- We demand that between now and the abolition of the SPD that each and every SPD officer turn on their body cameras, and that the body camera video of all Seattle police should be a matter of easily accessible public record.
- We demand that the funding previously used for Seattle Police be redirected into: A) Socialized Health and Medicine for the City of Seattle. B) Free public housing, because housing is a right, not a privilege. C) Public education, to decrease the average class size in city schools and increase teacher salary. D) Naturalization services for immigrants to the United States living here undocumented. (We demand they be called “undocumented” because no person is illegal.) E) General community development. Parks, etc.
I can dig a lot of the demands. And to that point, I have taken the liberty of highlighting some of the positions that I believe would be impossible to happen, barring an armed rebellion. So, dealing with the abolition of law enforcement and the judiciary, I believe some folks might take issue with that. I mean does anyone want murders to remain free and continue their predatory behavior? Should we have an amnesty for the terrorists we have already convicted — probably not going over well with the 9/11 victims or their families. Yeah, that’s a quandary, you see, if you want to get rid of the very people and institutions whom protect you from them. You see, without law enforcement to apprehend and without the judiciary to convict, things could get far more ugly than they currently are now. And if you want no armed response when your mother and father are held hostage, you are a far better person than me. Next, if you do not like how your municipality is operated now, you are in for a real treat when the Feds arrive. Make no mistake whatsoever that President Trump has made no bones about how he envisions his Empire as Emperor. Retrials of only people of color would strike me much like reverse racism — see, that is the tricky thing when the pendulum swings.
And for those in the CHOP faction whom believe that Emperor Trump and his fanatics are the saving grace, with respect to intervention, here is the federal government’s opinion of CHOP,
On June 9, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz from Texas stated that the Zone was “endangering people’s lives”. The next day, President Donald Trump demanded that Governor Inslee and Mayor Durkan “take back” the Zone, saying that if they didn’t do it, he’d do it for them. Inslee condemned Trump’s involvement in the situation, telling him to “stay out of Washington state’s business”. Trump followed up by calling the protesters “domestic terrorists“.
And finally the abolition of imprisonment is the epitome of insanity. If you honestly believe that releasing murders and terrorists are the ideal way to transform a society, I am going to presume you have no problem hosting them in your own home, upon release. With respect to the Naturalization Services, I am not even going to wade into that mess as it has nothing to do with the extrajudicial execution of George Floyd and strikes me as a red herring. I mean is the theory that if we make all undocumented individuals in the US legal citizens, that magically police brutality against African Americans ends?
The Economic System
- We demand the de-gentrification of Seattle, starting with rent control.
- We demand the restoration of city funding for arts and culture to re-establish the once-rich local cultural identity of Seattle.
- We demand free college for the people of the state of Washington, due to the overwhelming effect that education has on economic success, and the correlated overwhelming impact of poverty on people of color, as a form of reparations for the treatment of Black people in this state and country.
- We demand that between now and the abolition of the SPD that Seattle Police be prohibited from performing “homeless sweeps” that displace and disturb our homeless neighbors, and on equal footing we demand an end to all evictions.
- We demand a decentralized election process to give the citizens of Seattle a greater ability to select candidates for public office such that we are not forced to choose at the poll between equally undesirable options. There are multiple systems and policies in place which make it impractical at best for working-class people to run for public office, all of which must go, starting with any fees associated with applying to run for public office.
De-gentrification is an interesting concept and I am in agreement with rent control. I am somewhat curious, though, whom is going to be ordered to give up their Liberty interest in their property first and whom will make the decision that they must. I mean do we start pulling addresses out of a hat? Free college is probably not that bad of an idea; however, the term reparations for the treatment of Black people is extremely concerning. Reparations is a slippery slope. Whom is entitled to what and for how long?
On June the 13th, a CHOP orator made good on the demand to collect reparations. In a speech which has gone viral, a demand for all white people to give black people $10, was made. I mean you cannot make this shit up. Really? Let me get this straight. Where the fuck did concerns about the death of George Floyd factor in with respect to this?! More on point, though, how about the homeless whom don’t have two wooden nickles to rub together? Can they pay in EBT — food stamps?!
The world is replete with cases of every color persecuting other colors and their own color. The Irish were horribly treated when they first came to America along with the Italians whom were labeled Enemy Aliens and had many of their civil rights suspended and were lynched, en masse, on multiple occasions. The Japanese, as well, were imprisoned in camps during WW II and had all of their property seized. The depravity of humanity upon itself — REGARDLESS OF RACE — is universal. That is simply in the US. And the term reparations is a dangerous one. It conveys the legal concept that, upon payment, the matter is resolved. I do not believe that this is the justice anyone is looking for.
Health and Human Services
- We demand the hospitals and care facilities of Seattle employ black doctors and nurses specifically to help care for black patients.
- We demand the people of Seattle seek out and proudly support Black-owned businesses. Your money is our power and sustainability.
- We demand that the city create an entirely separate system staffed by mental health experts to respond to 911 calls pertaining to mental health crises, and insist that all involved in such a program be put through thorough, rigorous training in conflict de-escalation.
Telling anyone that they must do something — and especially when you tell them what they are or are not allowed to buy — is generally a non-starter. Ordering Seattlites whom they must do business with and where they can spend their money is pretty piss ignorant. Requesting solidarity through supporting black owned businesses, though, would make a hell of a lot more sense.
- We demand that the history of Black and Native Americans be given a significantly greater focus in the Washington State education curriculum.
- We demand that thorough anti-bias training become a legal requirement for all jobs in the education system, as well as in the medical profession and in mass media.
- We demand the City of Seattle and State of Washington remove any and all monuments dedicated to historical figures of the Confederacy, whose treasonous attempts to build an America with slavery as a permanent fixture were an affront to the human race.
Out of everything thus far, telling me what training I must have to write my opinions is probably where I draw the line. Everything else is basically represented by a dollar amount which the US Government can conjure out of thin air as it is doing now with respect to the trillions of dollars under COVID. Telling me that I must take training, of any kind, in order to convey my opinions, well let’s just say that ranks up there with donating to tele-evangelists. It is a slippery slope of gargantuan proportions. What is the cut off between small and mass media? Whom is the final arbiter of anti-bias? I mean it would appear that there is extreme hatred and bias for white people — granted justified in the eyes of those whom put together these Demands. Still, though, is that bias? And how far does the anti-bias training go? I mean should I not be allowed to write about my perceived belief that it is stupid to burn down stores in a local neighborhood which means now locals lose jobs and more importantly removes the ability of local Black entrepreneurs to keep working? Big Dave, a black man in Atlanta, tends to think likewise,
Big Dave’s Cheesesteak’s was forced to close Saturday after being vandalized Friday night during protests. The restaurant, located on Forsyth Avenue blocks from Centennial Olympic Park, opened in August. In a video on the Big Dave’s Instagram account, owner Derrick Hayes expressed disappointment over the damages.
“It’s a real sad day in Atlanta,” he said. “I’m black owned, I actually help the community…and then they come back and break all of my windows.”
How about how the National Review’s lead in puts it,
The New York Times and the Washington Post have in recent days provided sympathetic and even outright celebratory coverage of the Seattle “Autonomous Zone,” emphasizing the “freedoms” secured by the far-left anarchists who drove the police out, rather than neutrally reporting on the phenomenon of militia-style checkpoints choking off American streets.
What should be the penalty for those voicing opinions others do not like and whom will enforce it? I mean remember CHOP wants no more law enforcement and no more judicial oversight. CHOP is cosplay at the expense of Seattle’s taxpayers, no two ways about it. CHOP is bifurcated, at best, in its ideology. More sinister, though, is the simple and salient fact that CHOP is drowning out the voices of Black Lives Matter. A more important question, though, is whether or not the concepts CHOP is bringing to the table appear to have influence anywhere else. In Asheville, it lasted less than an hour. Portland’s experiment did not fare much better. And an attempt to do the same, in Nashville, was met head on by Tennessee’s Governor Lee stating that it would not be tolerated. So, for the time being, CHOP is an experiment isolated in Seattle.
So, what is the overall goal of CHOP? It was a question presented to an informal representative whom was on Reddit,
What’s with the tents in the park? Is this now a homeless tent city?
Only in the sense that Seattle’s always had homeless tent cities.
And why do we need gardens when there are grocery stores? (Talking about planting gardens in the occupied park)
Some people like to grow their own food. They weren’t needed so much as wanted.
I’m just seriously curious about the end goal here.
There really aren’t any. Or rather there is no cohesive agreement on any. So they range from “no end goal, just living” to the various lists of demands that have been circulated.
Another Redditor put it a bit more sanguine,
I don’t think any of those white trust fund hippies and Antifa losers have experienced anything equal to the racism blacks have to deal with and therefore they should shut the fuck up and sit the fuck down. Hope that clarifies my position for you.
And that really hits the crux of the matter. Whitey has shown up and grabbed the megaphone to promote Burning Man v2.0 in Seattle. Black Lives Matter have every right to be livid. And I am saying this from the point-of-view of one whom could never appreciate their anger. The white noise — no pun intended — being emitted from the housies whom commute in and out after hitting the showers and sucking up mom and dad’s A/C, has completely overridden any meaningful discussion. And I am going to tell you something, this isn’t your mom and dad’s Occupy Wall Street movement. Here is what I mean,
Financial donations to Black Lives Matter are hitting hundreds of millions of dollars. Bail funds, for protesters alone, eclipsed $90 Million. Big names like Apple, Google, and Facebook are getting behind the funding. And with money, the potential for real change could be on the horizon.
I say potential because I have no idea how the money is used and whether or not Black Lives Matter have constructed the sophisticated network of lobbyists necessary to exact their desired change. And if it was simply a dollar amount necessary to institute change, I am pretty sure we could cut the check in the morning. And that is always the problem, at the end of the day — reparations. People are more than willing to throw money at a problem in hopes that it will go away. Simply cut a check from the comfort of your suburban home and pay it no more mind. It is a Sally Struthers hustle. Here is how the New York Times put it,
Money has come in so fast and so unexpectedly that some groups even began to turn away and redirect donors elsewhere. Others said they still could not yet account for how much had arrived. A deluge of online donations has washed over organizations big and small — from legacy civil rights groups to self-declared abolitionists seeking to defund the police.
Simply cutting a check is not the solution. It helps, but it is not the only thing necessary if true change is desired.
Whenever Americans want to change something they declare war on it: The War on Homelessness, the War on Drugs, the War on Poverty, the War on Hunger — you get the point. George Carlin summarizes it up nicely in this three minute clip.
I am going to use the War on Homelessness as an example. For over fifty years, the US waged a war on homelessness. I mean this is not exactly rocket science. We have more land mass than all Nations other than Russia. And when it comes to conjuring money out of thin air — we did $29 Trillion for the 2008 Financial Crisis and have conjured yet another $9 Trillion since September, 2019 — there obviously is no problem. With respect to housing, there is plenty of it in a state of default. Where the problem creeps in is with respect to the entire network of facilitators whom are employed and would lose their employment if we actually fixed the problem. Los Angeles spent $619 Million — that is simply the city and does not include the myriad of public and private funding arrangements — for FY2018 as revealed in a Los Angeles Times article in May of 2019. Curious how much change nearly a billion fucking dollars buys?
The city spent $442 million from Proposition HHH last year developing homeless and affordable apartments, but none of the projects have opened yet and the wait for permanent housing has stretched to an average of 215 days. Thus far, the city’s $77-million shelter expansion plan has produced two facilities, with room for 147 people.
Here are two quotes I want you to read, from the same article,
“Fighting homelessness is not for the faint of heart,” Garcetti said. “We’re housing our homeless neighbors at an unprecedented rate — tens of thousands every year — and we need help from our state and federal partners to step up this progress.”
Authorities reported that 53,000 L.A. County residents were homeless in 2018. Lynn said the 2019 point-in-time count, which was conducted in January, was being held for further analysis.
So, by my math and I am not a mathematician, it would strike me that all homelessness should be alleviated in a maximum of five years. Only problem is that since the early 1980’s homelessness has been rampant and the veritable billions of dollars spent upon it has been for naught. It is how the System works. Period. End of conversation. Drop the mic. No matter what anyone wants to do, we first have to scrape that scab off the wound and get some real blood flowing. Pain is necessary for growth. This is a no bullshit metaphor. To build muscle you must first cut it to allow blood to flow in. It hurts and it hurts bad if done right. I want to reinforce my position that ending the War on anything is simple, provided that you do not have to put money in the pocket of every motherfucker in the supply chain. The Manhattan Contrarian has a good piece out that represents the homeless crisis in San Francisco, entitled The More Public Money Spent To Solve Homelessness The More Homeless There Are. It cited The Bay Area Economic Institute (BAEI) — politician speak for We Are Getting Into Your Pockets — estimates that to house the Bay Area homeless population would cost a staggering $12.7 Billion — that is not a typo. They go further to estimate that every man, woman, and child would require an additional $50,000 per year, per person, for overall maintenance.
Erica Sandburg, of City Journal, puts how all of those billions of dollars are co-opted, at least in San Francisco, before they ever get where they belong,
The plan is wildly expensive. After administrative costs are skimmed from the top, the remainder will be distributed among the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, and the Department of Public Health. Combined, these agencies employ hundreds of government workers, whose average compensation (salary and benefits) is $175,004. The city will then parcel out the rest to dozens of non-profit agencies, each with its own set of directors and employees. Just how much is left for those they purportedly serve remains to be seen, but chances are it won’t be enough.
The end to homelessness is a far easier goal to accomplish than the end of systemic racism or extrajudicial executions performed by law enforcement. And with billions thrown down a black hole, to date, we haven’t been able to accomplish that. For all of the rhetoric that Schumer, Peolsi, et al., have ginned up with respect to the plight of non white people, the bar hasn’t been moved much since President Kennedy. And I submit that a LARGE PART of that problem has been the drowning out of the voices of those whom have been persecuted. Additionally, I submit that when Leadership has been in power and they are approaching their eighties, perhaps it is time to get a fresh set of eyes on the issues and whom understand life outside of the Beltway. I further submit that perhaps — just fucking perhaps — we ought to allow Black Lives Matter state their own case, in their own words, and without the droning noise of Burning Man in the background.