Good afternoon from Pismo State Beach, Pismo Beach, California. We're here over the weekend as we continue to move northward. Miranda is parked in the Oceano Campground in Oceano, California just south of Pismo Beach.
After leaving St. Cross in Hermosa Beach, California, we traveled to Ventura, California where we spent four days parked in Foster Residence Park about six miles east of Ventura. We'll be parked in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California next weekend where we'll be visiting with a friend of Steven's and her husband and family from my days living in Columbus, Georgia.
Since I've not been posting to Facebook since just after Mardi Gras, for those interested, here's some of what I've been reading with Money Quotes, of course:
George Wallace Tapped Into Racial Fear. Decades Later, Its Force Remains Potent
[Wallace's] appeal for many white working-class men and women extended beyond Alabama’s borders and even beyond matters of race. When he ran for president — briefly in 1964, more substantially in 1968, 1972 and 1976 — he found ready support among white ethnic groups in the industrial Midwest, which even then were wilting economically as factories closed and populations migrated south and west. Perhaps not coincidentally, it is the very region that gave Mr. Trump his surprising triumph in 2016.
The two men fired up crowds in similar fashion. Both appealed to “forgotten” Americans, stoking fear and loathing of “the other” — blacks in Mr. Wallace’s case, immigrants in Mr. Trump’s (though he also has had race cards up his sleeve, as with his embrace of “birtherism” to discredit President Barack Obama). The message from both was that a nefarious other, enabled by a bumbling government, was stealing work and wealth from upright Americans.
“Wallace understood that there were people who were hurting, struggling, losing jobs,” B. Drummond Ayres Jr., who long covered the South for The Times, told Retro Report. “He tapped into that and appealed to that, because folks that are struggling often feel put upon.”
The similarities between then and now are unmistakable.
The Pied Pipers of the Dirtbag Left Want to Lead Everyone to Bernie Sanders
The fivesome of “Chapo Trap House" are not the only bards of the new American left — there is “Red Scare” and another whose name cannot be printed — but they have led the way for a movement that together generates millions of dollars a year. They are on their way to becoming the socialist’s answer to right-wing shock jock radio. Their primary targets, in evidence at that show in Iowa, are not the Republican Party or even Mr. Trump but rather centrist liberals, whom they see as the major obstacle to a workers’ revolution.
In blurring occasionally violent humor, jovial community meetups and radical politics, they are the Tea Party reborn for progressives, and for their fans the appeal is in a bawdy offensive balance to cautious mainstream liberal politics.
They are known collectively as the Dirtbag Left, a shorthand they embrace that winkingly dispenses with any notion of liberal purity or inclusion, a defense mechanism that doubles as a nickname.
Most of the podcast fans would never say out loud what they are listening to onstage or through their AirPods on the commute. It’s offensive, even as a joke.
So why do so many progressives want to hear it?
Trump is pushing a dangerous, false spin on coronavirus- and the media is helping his spread it
Their logic seems to be that the drastic stock market declines in recent days are the result of media overkill, not legitimate business concerns. “What I might do to calm the markets is turn the television off for 24 hours,” was acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s advice Friday to the audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
Some months ago, I wrote about the linguist George Lakoff’s prescription for handling the president’s false statements and lies, an approach that’s become known as the “truth sandwich.”
Rather than lead with the falsehood and then try to debunk it, Lakoff — an expert on how propaganda works — suggested flipping that formula: Lead with the truth, air the falsehood, and then follow with the fact check.
Avoid giving prominence to lies, he advises. Don’t put them in headlines, leads or tweets. It is that very amplification that gives them power, even if they are proclaimed false in the next beat.
An Abortion Clinic's Fate Before a Transformed Supreme Court
[H]ospitals have no incentives to provide admitting privilege. “The State Board of Medical Examiners is in charge of credentialing and licensing physicians,” she said. “They don’t need hospitals’ help.”
Abortion is a safe procedure, she said, and hospitalizations after abortions are rare.
In 2017, in a ruling striking down the law, Judge John W. deGravelles, of the Federal District Court in Baton Rouge, wrote that the admitting-privileges requirement was a solution in search of a problem.
“In the last 23 years, Hope Clinic, which serves in excess of 3,000 patients per year, had only four patients who required transfer to a hospital for treatment,” Judge deGravelles wrote. “In each instance, regardless of whether the physician had admitting privileges, the patient received appropriate care.”
Ms. Pittman said doctors who perform abortions are often unable to obtain admitting privileges for economic and political reasons unrelated to their competence.
“There is no reason for a hospital to provide admitting privileges to any physician that’s not bringing something to the table,” she said. “Then you add to it public outcry. The whole abortion issue is such a hot-button topic for so many people, so why put themselves in the cross hairs as a hospital?”
Stop Touching Your Face!
Trump's baffling coronavirus vaccine event
As Netanyahu claims win, Israel loses U.S. Democrats
Although Netanyahu may feel vindicated in his right-wing agenda — which Trump has backed aggressively — it has accelerated a parallel process that has huge implications for the future of the U.S.-Israeli ties. U.S. Democrats are increasingly wary of the Israeli prime minister and the trajectory of his rule. And there’s a growing divide between American Jews, particularly the younger generations, and the Israeli voting public.
This was on stark display at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual conference this week. AIPAC is the most influential pro-Israel organization in Washington and a mainstay in the city’s politics. But some leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination opted out of attending this year, including, most significantly, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the democratic socialist who could be the country’s first Jewish president. Sanders did not just politely decline his invitation to address AIPAC; he issued a statement attacking the organization for giving a platform to far-right figures, including evangelical pastors and nationalist European politicians, who “express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights.” He branded Netanyahu a “reactionary racist.”
“What makes Sanders’s statement radical is his use of the word ‘bigotry’ in conjunction with Palestinian rights,” wrote Peter Beinart last week in Jewish Currents, a left-wing publication. “In establishment American discourse, the category of anti-Palestinian bigotry barely exists. That’s been the case for decades — not only among Republicans, but even among progressive Democrats.”
That’s starting to change: The United States has not matched the rightward drift of Israeli politics and public sentiment. “The Israeli government has moved right. AIPAC has gone with it,” said Ilan Goldenberg, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a think tank in Washington. “The American Jewish community has not.”
She was Excited for a New School. Then the Anti-Semitic 'Jokes' Started
Paige’s story offers a glimpse of what can happen when a bias incident spirals out of control, at a time when there is a surge in these events in educational institutions across the country.
In New Jersey alone, bias incidents reported to law enforcement increased by 55 percent between 2016 and 2018, following a decade of decline. Nearly half of those incidents were committed by minors, police statistics show.
School administrators’ response, experts say, is supposed to include discipline, support for the victimized students, investigation and education to stem any patterns of hate that might be bubbling. But in reality, schools often treat bias incidents as one-offs, minimizing or even ignoring them, according to a 2019 reportby the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“When we have incidents of bias and hate in our schools, a lot of the time they are met with just a slap on the wrist, and a promise not to do it again,” said Gurbir S. Grewal, the New Jersey attorney general. “And I don’t think that’s appropriate. More often that not, it is symptomatic of something greater happening in that school or that broader community.”
Before Clearview Became a Police Tool, It was a Secret Plaything of the Rich
Clearview was unknown to the general public until this January, when The New York Times reported that the secretive start-up had developed a breakthrough facial recognition system that was in use by hundreds of law enforcement agencies. The company quickly faced a backlash on multiple fronts. Facebook, Google and other tech giants sent cease-and-desist letters. Lawsuits were filed in Illinois and Virginia, and the attorney general of New Jersey issued a moratorium against the app in that state.
In response to the criticism, Clearview published a “code of conduct,” emphasizing in a blog post that its technology was “available only for law enforcement agencies and select security professionals to use as an investigative tool.”
The post added: “We recognize that powerful tools always have the potential to be abused, regardless of who is using them, and we take the threat very seriously. Accordingly, the Clearview app has built-in safeguards to ensure these trained professionals only use it for its intended purpose: to help identify the perpetrators and victims of crimes.”
The Times, however, has identified multiple individuals with active access to Clearview’s technology who are not law enforcement officials. And for more than a year before the company became the subject of public scrutiny, the app had been freely used in the wild by the company’s investors, clients and friends.
The 1619 Project
What Part of Illegal Don't You Understand?
The American government generally does not allow innocent people to be imprisoned, raped and shot in the back. These are the kinds of experiences refugees who come here seeking safety are fleeing.
We can have a pragmatic, compassionate refugee policy. We don’t have to choose between letting everyone in and no one in.
Conservatives may not like this, but we have to let through people who say they are afraid. Allow applicants into the United States and monitor them until their court hearings (which nine in 10 do show up for). Don’t lock them up, as we are doing with some 60,000 immigrants a night, in places where they get inadequate medical care. At least seven migrant children have died in immigration custody since 2018. This simply didn’t happen before. Our government is killing children through neglect.
Make the court process fair; make it fitting of our country. Take our increasingly politicized immigration courts out of the Department of Justice and make them independent. Make sure that immigrant children have a government-funded lawyer, since most cannot afford representation, which basically guarantees they will lose. From October 2017 to June 2018, 70 babies went to court alone.
Liberals might not like this, but we also have to deport migrants who lose their cases. President Trump refers to asylum as a “loophole” in our system. That’s bogus. Yet there is another loophole that must be addressed: A vast majority of those who lose their asylum cases don’t leave the country. They stay and blend into the woodwork. This rightfully riles Americans who believe these unsuccessful asylum-seekers are thumbing their noses at our legal process. Require Immigration and Customs Enforcement to focus on deporting people who have just lost their asylum cases, not the parent who has been here 30 years.
Democrats need to get woke and realize that any immigration reform plan has to show they believe in the rule of law. I’ve lived in a country with no laws. Democrats don’t want that. We cannot take in everyone, so we need to prioritize those fleeing harm. Stop talking about idiotic things like open borders. Or liberals will keep losing on this issue.
There’s something ready-made for Americans who care about this travesty to lobby for: the Refugee Protection Act, introduced in Congress in November. It would require the United States to take in far more refugees, including at least 100,000 a year from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras alone. It would prevent the government from forcing people to apply for asylum in other countries they passed through on the way here, and prohibit ports of entry from pleading overcrowding as an excuse to turn people away. It would exempt migrants from criminal prosecution for crossing without documents, and allow asylum-seekers to be released temporarily in the United States if they pose no risk to public safety. It would reverse a Trump administration decision that bars people fleeing domestic or gang violence from obtaining asylum. And it would require our government to appoint lawyers for migrant children.
Americans need to stop whining and ride Congress to pass this bill. Every one of my fellow Jews in this country should have their hair on fire over this — especially folks like Jared Kushner, whose Polish family, like mine, found safety here.
I often get asked: What part of “illegal” don’t you understand? Well, our laws say we have to help people who are running for their lives. Take it from a Nazario: President Trump is the one who has broken the law.
How Working Class Life is Killing Americans, in Charts
When the economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton first published their research on “deaths of despair” five years ago, they focused on middle-aged whites. So many white working-class Americans in their 40s and 50s were dying of suicide, alcoholism and drug abuse that the overall mortality rate for the age group was no longer falling – a rare and shocking pattern in a modern society.
But as Case and Deaton continued digging into the data, it became clear that the grim trends didn’t apply only to middle-aged whites. Up and down the age spectrum, deaths of despair have been surging for people without a four-year college degree...
I'm Going to Die. I May as Well Be Cheerful About It.
All of my life I have loved snow.
When I was a girl in the 1950s, snow fell often in the long winters of western Nebraska. I remember one winter when, after the streets were plowed, mountains of snow 10 feet tall stood in the middle of the streets. As a young mother, my favorite days were snow days when our family could stay home and play board games. I would make soup and popcorn. I relished taking my children outside to do the things that I had done in the snow as a girl. I loved falling asleep with my family safe on a blizzardy night when the streets were impassable and a blanket of peace covered our town.
Now, snow has become a profoundly spiritual experience. When it snows, I sit by my window and watch it fall. I go deep into its purity and softness.
Snow falls inside and outside of me. It settles my brain and calms my body.
I hope death feels like watching the snow grow thicker and thicker. Doctors call dying of a morphine overdose being “snowed.” I would not mind that at all. I would like to disappear in a whiteout.
A Sanders Voter, Weary of Debt at 29: 'I Have Nothing to Lose'
Now, as the fight for the Democratic nomination approaches what could be a final, critical stage with primaries in Michigan and Wisconsin, the future of his candidacy rests on these voters and whether they will turn out in larger numbers than they have so far. The Democratic Party also faces a risk: Should Mr. Sanders lose the nomination, some of his supporters — tired of being offered conventional solutions — could sit out the general election, or vote for Mr. Trump or a third-party candidate.
For voters like Mr. Michelz (pronounced Michaels), Mr. Sanders has inspired loyalty because he is the rare political leader who has both diagnosed the source of their problems and tried to offer solutions. Mr. Michelz is part of a generation scarred by the Great Recession. After borrowing more money for their education than their parents did, many are treading water in jobs that do not pay enough and delaying marriage and children.
Mr. Sanders’s message has resonated deeply with these voters. In the recent California primary, 47 percent of voters who said income inequality was their most important issue picked Mr. Sanders. Just 13 percent voted for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Don't Let Trump Pay Back Evangelicals Like This
The Trump administration is now proposing to eliminate these Obama-era safeguards. And true to form, they did so earlier this year, on the increasingly Orwellian-sounding annual Religious Freedom Day in January.
One purpose of the new proposed regulations is to make sure that organizations receiving taxpayer money are exempt from the kinds of anti-discrimination law by which nonreligious organizations must abide. If that sounds like a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, that’s because it is — or at least it should be.
Under the proposed regulations, faith-based aid organizations that receive public money are free to hire and fire their workers and subcontractors on account of their religion, sexual orientation, or any other behavior or characteristic that the organization finds religiously appealing or objectionable. Aid-providing organizations will no longer have any obligation to let members of the public receiving their services know if there are available nonsectarian options. Organizations that receive their money through vouchers and other forms of indirect aid can now proselytize, require that recipients participate in religious activities or ask that recipients pledge their loyalty to Jesus. And the government itself is no longer required to offer a nonsectarian option for those whose beliefs or conscience make it impossible for them to accept aid on these terms.
“The proposed rules would strip away religious freedom protections from people, often the most vulnerable and marginalized, and even allow faith-based organizations to discriminate in government-funded programs,” Rachel Laser, president and chief executive of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, told me. She added that this puts the interests of these organizations “ahead of the needs of the people seeking critical services.”
Why is the Trump administration so determined to tear down the wall of separation between church and state? The long game is clear: because that’s the way you “take back America” and make it a Christian nation.
I've mentioned the homeless problem in California before. They are everywhere we travel here in Southern California. We found them at most of the churches, on the streets, under the interstate highways, etc. They live out in the open, in makeshift shelters composed out of available materials, tents and recreational vehicles, some of the vehicles operational, some not.
The problem seems pervasive.
We stayed in Orange, California several times while we were visiting churches in the area. One of the benefits of staying where we did was access to the Santa Ana River Trail. The trail runs from the Pacific coast into the foothills about 50+/- miles.
One day I was out riding and an RV park neighbor mentioned to Melanie how lucky we were to have the trail in the condition it's in presently. Seems only about a year has passed since a rather large homeless encampment was cleaned up and fences erected along the river. When asked I asked what happened to the homeless, Melanie told me our neighbor didn't know.
So, when I had a minute, and because I wondered what was being done, if anything, I did a small piece of my own research to find out how people down and out are fairing here in California.
Here's a video of a portion of the trail as it existed when the encampment was there.
The Court Case That Forced Orange County to Stop Ignoring Its Homeless
At first, Orange County's quality-of-life spectrum seemed to start at tidy apartment complexes and end in eight-digit, oceanfront estates (a recent search of Realtor.com turned up a home in San Clemente for $63.5 million).
Then I crossed the Santa Ana River flood control channel one day on the 57 freeway and O.C.'s massive "Skid River" tent city came into view. I was immediately reminded of a similar encampment I'd seen years ago when crossing into Tijuana from San Diego.
At its peak, just before the county cleared the Santa Ana riverbed encampment out completely in February, an estimated 800 to 1,500 people considered it home. It was divided up into something like neighborhoods: there was a large cluster of tents that butted up against the fence around Angel Stadium, for example, and another on the other side of the river, in a grassy, secluded area just south of some railroad tracks.
When I first toured the encampment, in the spring of 2017, I found that it had its own, sizable quality-of-life spread. Some camps seemed more like junk piles while others had neatly swept perimeters and extra comforts like full-sized couches, makeshift showers and electricity powered by solar panels.
As of February, it's all gone. The people who used to live there have melded back into other realms of society. Some have found housing and jobs, others have gotten the mental health care they desperately needed; some have simply pitched their tent elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Judge Carter, who has overseen several lawsuits filed on behalf of O.C.'s homeless, has used his position to force local officials to get serious, and speedy, about addressing the county's severe lack of shelters and supportive housing.
The Santa Ana riverbed homeless encampments have been cleared out. Timeline
Feb. 2018Federal judge orders Orange County to stop evicting homeless from riverbed. In response to the lawsuit filed a federal judge has granted a restraining order. It will allow homeless inhabitants to remain until at least Feb. 13. The restraining order also allows deputies to continue to police the area and arrest people for committing crimes or for violating probation or parole.
OC to provide motel vouchers for 400 homeless inhabitants. Orange County officials plan to clear out the Santa Ana River homeless encampment next week and supply as many as 400 motel vouchers to displaced inhabitants under a tentative agreement reached Tuesday, Feb. 13, in a federal lawsuit that had challenged recent efforts to evict people from the populous tent city.
Federal Judge David O. Carter takes walk through homeless encampments. A day after forcing a short-term fix to what has been one of the county’s most intractable problems, U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter led dozens of public officials on a four-hour morning march through the makeshift tent city. “We’re going to be moving people out Tuesday,” Carter warned. “Just be packed up and ready to go.”
O.C. supervisors approve aid package. The Orange County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an emergency aid package to supply short-term shelter and food vouchers for up to 400 homeless people camped along the Santa Ana River. The authorization partially satisfies the county’s end of a newly ratified legal stipulation that will allow it to clear the riverbed tent city beginning Tuesday, Feb. 20.
County scrambles to put homeless in motels rooms. At least 116 homeless people had been relocated from the riverbed to numerous local motels. Another 80 beds were expected to open up by Monday. The county also was working on a six-month lease of 100 more rooms in a motel with accommodations large enough to house up to 282 people, the court documents stated.
The homeless encampments are finally set to be cleared. After federal judge David. O Carter lifted the restraining order for the homeless encampments, the homeless population was officially set to be cleared. Judge Carter brokered a deal to place homeless inhabitants into temporary shelters.
Clearing of homeless encampments moves to Angel Stadium. The inhabitants were given until Friday at 6 a.m. to vacate the area. The county moved in to clear the last stretch of the homeless encampments. About 424 homeless inhabitants were moved from the Santa Ana riverbed encampments in the span of a week. The total figure of people removed from the encampments is estimated to be over 700.
Who are the homeless living in the shadow of the Big A? 11 Stories
We spent a week talking to people who live along the Santa Ana River trail. Like any neighborhood, the people are diverse, but most share a common goal: They’d rather be paying rent than living in a tent.
Here are 11 profiles of people who, for now, call River View Village home.
Steven and Melanie