obligatory 9-11 post

I blogged about 9/11 on September 12, 2001. Here's what I wrote back then:

I watched the second World Trade Center tower collapse from a friend's sixth floor apartment window. It was very surreal and scary: it disappeared in seconds.

I can't watch TV or listen to the radio anymore -- Day One was news; Day Two it's all platitudes and jingoism, with "America Under Attack" graphics and theme music. The 24-hr. news radio station WINS has a sickening montage they play every half hour or so, of professionally edited sound clips from yesterday: (Dirge-like musical chords under) "Oh my god, the building's collapsing!" "There were bodies falling..." "I saw people linked arm in arm..." (Little girl's voice): "Why did they have to die?" (Actually that last bit is probably from the sound library, or maybe it's the station owner's daughter.)

In an early speech, Bush referred to the terrorists as "cowards": uh, I don't think so. Those acts took nerves of steel and utter conviction that the US was an enemy.

The conservative columnist David Horowitz says "America is in denial that much of the world hates us, and will continue to hate us. Because we are prosperous, and democratic and free." They hate us, all right, but it's because we're perceived as a bully and an empire-builder; they (rightly) abhor the corruption and repression of our client states (Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, etc.). Personally, I think we just paid a price for the cynical realpolitik we've practiced in the Middle East: one minute we're propping up Saddam, the next minute he's our sworn enemy, etc. It's all about the oil, isn't it? We act like we're entitled to it, so we can drive SUVs and run our air conditioners around the clock.

Here's an interesting quote from Michael Zanini, a graduate fellow at the RAND corporation, from a Salon interview: "Bin Laden actually issued a declaration of war against the U.S. in the mid-1990s. For his organization, the larger aim is to liberate the holy sites. Their problem is the U.S. military occupation of the countries of the greater Middle East. They want the Middle East to be free of unbelievers, among other things. And they probably also have an opposition to U.S. hegemony worldwide. They've declared war, and up to this point, they've targeted government assets and infrastructure: U.S. embassies and the destroyer USS Cole. That's U.S. government property, which is what an army would target."

Another friend has been listening to the call-in shows, lest he be out of touch with the Real America: he says it's all "let's kill the towel-heads." Great.

guest DJ set list (Sept. 2, 2021) - Brazil '68-'06

Thanks to ffog for inviting me to guest-DJ again on his weekly internet radio show, Myocyte.
The mix was "simulcast" on anonradio and tilderadio, and has been archived by anonradio (scroll down to "Ffog - Pleasure & Discomfort Myocyte"). An mp3 version of the mix is here: [1 hr mp3] (The show was broadcast at 1 am on September 3 UTC, which is 8 pm Central, September 2, in the US.)

The tracks highlight Brazilian music or musicians (with a few outliers such as Arto Lindsay, an American who grew up there, and various collaborators).

While the tracks were playing I "announced" via text chat on the #sally and #tilderadio channels on IRC (Internet Relay Chat), as well as anonradio's chat service "com," which runs on a command line terminal. Listeners could comment or ask questions. This is an interesting way to DJ, very different from my old FM radio days and a few steps up aesthetically from having everyone's data and souls leeched out on Spotify, Mixcloud, etc.

00:00 Stan Getz/João Gilberto, Águas de Março (1976) - The Best of Two Worlds

04:35 Hermeto Pascoal, Just Listen (Escuta Meu Piano) (1977) - Slaves Mass

09:59 Arto Lindsay, Mundo Civilizado (1996) - Mundo Civilizado

14:12 Nana Vasconcelos, Anarrie (1989) - Rain Dance

16:51 Os Mutantes, Algo Mais (1969) - Mutantes

19:26 Nana Vasconcelos, Eh! Bahia (1989) - Rain Dance

24:08 Os Mutantes, Fuga N° II Dos Mutantes (1969) - Mutantes

27:42 Jorge Ben & Toquinho, LK (Carolina Carol Bela) (DJ Marky & XRS Land Mix) (2002) - The Brazilian Job

31:15 DJ Marky, DJ Patife & ESOM, Só Tinha Que Ser Com Voce (Cosmonautics Mix) (2002) - The Brazilian Job

34:15 Os Mutantes, Panis et Circensis (1968) - Os Mutantes

36:19 Os K-rrascos & Vanessinha Do Picatchu, Bochecha Ardendo (2004) - Funk Carioca mixed by Tetine

40:05 Deise Tigrona, Injeção (2004) - Funk Carioca mixed by Tetine

42:15 Bonde Do Tigrão, Cerol Na Mão (2004) - Funk Carioca mixed by Tetine

43:49 Tati Quebra Barraco, Se Marcar (2004) - Funk Carioca mixed by Tetine

46:20 Unknown, Track 1 (2004?) - Funk Neurotico

49:23 Unknown, Track 2 - (2004?) - Funk Neurotico 23

51:29 Isaac DJ, Jiu Jitsu (Montagem) (2006) - Rio Baile Funk: More Favela Booty Beats

53:56 Unknown (2004) - Diplo: Favela on Blast: Rio Baile Funk 04

58:30 Arto Lindsay, Mundo Civilizado (DJ Soul Slinger Remix) - This Is Jungle Sky IV

bag of money for evictions

Cory Doctorow writes about evictions and skewers a right-wing talking point about "people who don't want to work" (quoted at length to get the whole crux of the argument):

When it comes to delivering aid to the wealthy, conservatives hate red-tape. When it comes to preventing working people from starving or becoming homeless, conservatives put on a paperwork parade that outshine the pettiest Soviet commissar.

This contradiction arises from a cornerstone of conservative ideology -- the idea of "learned helplessness." Learned helplessness is a real thing that psychologists can induce in lab animals, discouraging them to the point of fatal listlessness.

But that's not what conservatives mean by learned helplessness. For them, learned helplessness is the evidence-free conviction that if you give a person a "handout," they will lose interest in "hard work."

Think of all the fast-food "entrepreneurs" whose signage proclaims "no one wants to work anymore" because of "government handouts," conspicuously failing to mention sub-starvation wages, irregular shifts, and abusive working conditions.

In conservativism, wealth is providential. Markets reward virtue, so the wealthy are inherently virtuous. They know the value of "hard work" and aren't at risk of "learned helplessness" so they can get "bailouts" (not "handouts") without risk of "perverse incentives."

But conservativism contains a contradiction: because capital -- by definition -- earns its returns from someone else's labor, any bailout is also a potential handout. If you save a locked down "heroic small business" with payroll support, you also "pay workers to stay home."

And if you bail out landlords by making up their tenants' missed rental payments, you also let the tenants "live for free" (ignoring for the moment that landlords whose mortgages and living expenses derive from tenant payments are literally "living for free").

So here we are, about to endure a gaping, generations-long self-inflicted wound [mass evictions due to covid -- tm]. We're about to cost millions of renters their homes and potentially put their landlords in default because evicting a tenant doesn't get you a nickel in back-rent.

You couldn't ask for a neater demonstration of the extent to which "conservative business acumen" is a LARP -- a set of culture-war performances rather than any kind of meaningful attention to profit and loss.

Because saving millions of your fellow Americans from destitution and homelessness isn't merely the right (and, you know, Christian) thing to do -- it's also the smart business move. Homelessness is infinitely more expensive than rental assistance.[1]

State conservatives are refusing to hand out $41.3b in order to create a decades-long cycle of public liabilities that will easily cost a hundred times that amount, and they're not just hurting poor people -- they're euthanizing a whole shit-ton of rentiers[2]!

As David Dayen writes in The American Prospect, it's the kind of thing you'd expect from a party[3] with "two primary core talents: selling quack supplements and lowering taxes."

After all, if you campaign on eliminating government due to its incompetence, then governing incompetently is a feature, not a bug. But for the nation (and the world) which needs its government to manage climate, pandemic, etc, this is a serious bug.

Meanwhile, Dayen has a great suggestion for how to dispense with all the red tape and save landlords and tenants.

Just station a federal official with a "big bag of money" in every eviction court.[4] Every time a judge hears evidence that a tenant is behind in the rent, the official makes them whole out of the big bag of money, and the eviction is cancelled.

This is literally the worst way of doing it, a monumental waste of court resources and an inhumane way to treat tenants (and landlords, too). The only thing worse would be to allow that wave of looming evictions to wash millions of our neighbors onto the streets.

1. Note what Doctorow is doing here: switching from talk of a business budget to a government budget. The cost of homelessness doesn't affect an individual business' bottom line, except perhaps in raised taxes. As for the mega-corporations, Amazon showed great opportunism in subsidizing trailer parks for its homeless workers.
2. Rent-seekers, an increasingly common species of capitalist that adds nothing to the economy and lives off a stream of payments --tm
3. Both parties --tm
4. For budget-balancers: The bag of money could come from, say, closing several hundred military bases we don't need, especially ones in Syria. -- tm