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… And Then They Destroyed The Greatest City On Earth

This was once a nice place to live.

NYC is a disaster
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ASTORIA, NYC- I have an apartment in the waitress‘s district of Queens — a front row seat to a live lesson on how to destroy a city. What was once a vibrant, diverse neighborhood of unique, locally-owned shops and restaurants was turned into a gauntlet of vacant commercial cavities adorned with for rent signs.

In the wake of the draconian overreaction to the Covid-19 pandemic, a third of the small businesses in New York City have closed for good, over 1,000 restaurants and bars will never open again, and one out of three people are still unemployed. There are 646,100 less jobs in the city than there was at this time last year. 400,000 families can’t pay rent and are looking at being put out on the streets once the stay on evictions is lifted. 83% of restaurants and bars can’t pay their full rent obligations. Even after the city ostensibly reopened, Manhattan remains a ghost town — the wealthy residents split long ago and travel bans annihilated any semblance of tourism. Homeless people were moved into luxury hotels on the once posh Upper West Side on the taxpayer’s dime, where they now lay all over the streets, doing drugs, masturbating, and occasionally stabbing a random passerby. Roving mobs of vandals are still permitted to smash the windows of local businesses in the name of their “good cause.” The murder rate has skyrocketed, and the entire city looks like an economic bomb went off.

I walked into a GNC Nutrition store on Steinway that was having a going out of business sale and chatted with one of the workers. She’d been working at this location for over 20 years — she was there on the first day the store opened and she was there, packing up boxes, on its last day in existence. A few months ago Steinway was a booming commercial street; now it’s a derelict strip of empty shops, ala Buffalo in the early 2000s.

Out of busines store in New York City

“Everybody’s hustling now. It’s crazy out there,” a real estate agent friend said to me recently. “Normally, in the summer I can’t keep an apartment around here open for one day. Right now, I have 27 apartments that I can’t rent out.”

The mass exodus from New York City began in March when the city first shut down. While at that time officials told us that the lockdown would only be for a week or two to “flatten the curve,” anyone with a morsel of sense knew that this was bullshit … and headed for the hills. I caught my downstairs neighbor as he was hurriedly leaving his apartment with a loaded suitcase. “I’m getting out while I still can,” he said. He never returned.

The population of NYC is now declining by 270 people per day. Last year, 61.5% of New Yorkers who moved left the state and just 38.5% moved in. New York has lost over a million people since the early 2010s. Those with the means are getting out — there is an all-out migration of New Yorkers permanently moving to Florida.

And why wouldn’t they? Florida doesn’t have any income tax, there are now estate tax or intangibles tax (on investments), the only businesses that have to pay state income tax are major corporations, and the sales tax is a cool 6%. Meanwhile, people who live in New York City pay some of the highest taxes in the country. Even Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s mother reputedly ditched New York because of the taxes and high cost of living.

According to the governor, nearly half of NY State’s income taxes come from the wealthiest one percent of the population, and these are precisely the people that are leaving. 41% of those who split last year earned $150,000 or more. Gone.

Out of busines store in New York City

The exodus out of New York was making headlines even before the pandemic, and now with draconian, pseudoscience-based, completely illegal Covid-19 policies being imposed as well as work from home edicts, the reasons to stay have dwindled to a paltry nothing. The reasons why many of us moved here no longer exist, so why stay? For the bragging rights that come from being able to say that you watched the greatest city in the world fall to pieces?

The signs of this decline are already evident, as Steinway becomes NYC’s new normal. The state now has a $30 billion budget deficit, and take a guess at what the plan is to recoup these losses? Yup, more taxes, increased prices for public services, less funding for health and education, as well as other misc fees — such as possibly charging people more to ride Uber and Lyft …

De Blasio isn’t shy about his plan is to fill the budget deficient with money from the wealthy — the go-to (and pretty much only) fiscal strategy of the Marxist:

“Help me tax the wealthy,” he said. “Help me redistribute wealth. Help me build affordable housing in white communities… What changes things is redistribution of wealth. Tax the wealthy at a much higher level.”

Redistribution of wealth.

He really said that. If he could have said something more effective at scaring away the rich I don’t know what it could have been.

What these government officials don’t seem to get is that there are two ways to vote: with a ballot and with your feet. And while they can get masses of poor people to band together and vote them into power, keeping the city functioning requires those with means — those who can simply pack up and leave if things don’t go their way.

Right now, the cities of the world are in the middle of a great global competition for high-value people and high-value companies. Municipalities, states, and countries around the world are trying to outdo each other with attractive tax, property, and investment policies to attract those with the equity they need to rise the economic statures of their domains. Rather than sitting in NYC being treated as class enemies or pet cash cows that can be milked at will, the rich are finding more hospitable terrain in places that appreciate them, as NYC enters into a downward spiral.

But I have to recognize here that this may be the point. NYC has become a place that is no longer run by economic fundamentals or what we could regard as normal democratic policy: it’s become a place run by ideology. Low brow populism in the USA now runs to the left as well as the right.

Out of busines store in New York City

New York City is ultimately a luxury; it’s not a place that anyone actually needs. As the mayor trips all over himself to be the voice of the poor, the poor are all he’s going to be left with. And the thing about poor people is that they demand a lot of public services … and don’t have the money to pay for it.

I need to recognize — and appreciate — the fact that I got to experience New York City in what may come to be known as its finest hour. Last summer, this city was a good, safe, prosperous place to live. We walked through the sunny streets and laid down upon the green lawns content and happy, went to community events, and drank inside trendy bars as though it was all so normal. We took how good this place was for granted, and now the city of last year is gone.

New York City has become a place where you need to worry about being hit by a stray bullet while walking your dog down the street. This isn’t hyperbole, it actually happened a few blocks from my apartment last month. A guy was out walking his dog around noon and caught a random bullet in the gut. Dead.

A few weeks later in a location that my family I had walked through just days before, a guy pulled off to the side of the road, stepped out of his Jeep, and blasted a crowd of people standing in the yard of a housing complex in broad daylight. Four hit, one dead.

Gun violence in NYC has surged 166%, with over a thousand people shot so far this year, and headlines such as “49 shot in 72 hours” has become so ordinary that they hardly warrant a reaction anymore. However, you do get to watch cool shootout videos on a daily basis. Such as this one:

Let them eat bread, says AOC, giving us the Marie Antoinette quote of our times:
“Maybe this has to do with the fact that people aren’t paying their rent & are scared to pay their rent & so they go out & they need to feed their child & they don’t have money so… they feel like they either need to shoplift some bread or go hungry.”

Meanwhile, Mayor de Blasio blames the spike in murders on … yes, Covid-19. While I acknowledge that this disease may have some symptoms that we are still not aware of, I highly doubt murderous tendencies are among them.

While city officials pat themselves on the back for bypassing their own regulations to paint political slogans on public streets and de-funding and undermining the police, people are dying, businesses are going under, and those who can are fleeing.

GNC out of business

Perhaps you really do get what you vote for? I’d never been much for voting. In fact, I’ve never done it before, with the Republicans and Democrats seeming like a pair of squabbling siblings from the same household. Obama carried out the same warmongering policies as Bush … But now I’m beginning to question my position.

The case of New York City is fascinating because the place wasn’t destroyed by a natural disaster or an economic collapse. It wasn’t taken out by a marauding army or fire or rising sea levels. No, NYC was destroyed by the conscious decisions of the people we voted into power. Everywhere had Covid-19 and just about everywhere had BLM protests, but only a handful of places destroyed themselves over it.

What’s interesting is that if we look at the places that were massacred they all have one thing in common …

As for me, I’m enjoying the show. It’s not everyday that you get to watch one of the greatest cities on earth implode upon itself.

Filed under: Economics, New York City, Politics

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3617 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

Support VBJ’s writing on this blog:

VBJ is currently in: Astoria, New York

38 comments… add one

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  • g September 2, 2020, 5:51 pm

    Gotta say that I agree with Jerry Seinfeld on this one. Reports of NYC’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. While I personally never cared for them, the world’s alpha cities seem to exert a powerful magnetic attraction on money and people. I would approve but frankly be gobsmacked, if over the next ten years Cleveland boomed while NYC stagnated. I seriously don’t see that happening. Ten years from now this will all be forgotten. Seinfeld’s right.

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    • VBJ September 3, 2020, 11:54 am

      Yes, that could be true. Most of the problems that the city is facing are not actually natural problems that occurred because of something out of our control but from the conscious decisions of political leaders. There were other — and probably better — ways of dealing with the pandemic than forcing most businesses to close, the crime rate wouldn’t be out of control of they didn’t marginalize the police and do away with the very anti-crime units that cleaned up the city a couple of decades ago, they wouldn’t have an issue of so many high-value people and companies leaving if their taxes weren’t so high and they didn’t fear additional increases. They wouldn’t have had a mass exodus from the Upper West Side if they didn’t move a bunch of homeless people in there (that’s actually real — I know people who had fled from there). And because these are problems that come from a series of decisions it seems to me as if they could be remedied … if they wanted to.

      What’s worrisome to me is that they seem to want things to go how they are. It seems as if they are trying to create a new culture and a new form of governance. It sounds like BS, but the mayor really is a socialist — a socialist leading the financial capital of the world. In many ways, this pandemic seems to have been exactly what they’ve been waiting for.

      But Seinfeld may be right, in 10 years this will be forgotten because the changes that are happening now will just seem normal by then. People have this strange way of not being able to comprehend how things change.

      Or maybe it really will just stay all the same. Hope so.

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  • Rob September 2, 2020, 10:26 pm

    I was reading something last week and it was talked about the sack of Rome and they mentioned the next time it was sacked, I can’t recall the time separation but one person could have lived thru both the sackings.
    Rome is still going.
    NYC is there because it’s a good place for a city. Cities are growing world wide & filling with the people who used to live rural. Urban is the normal now.
    The city will come back, it will be different because the world has changed in the last few months but the reasons for NYC to exist in the first place are still there.

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    • VBJ September 3, 2020, 11:43 am

      That’s true. The city will remain, but it’s function will change over time. NYC has become too top-heavy and will fall over and then have to build itself back up. What’s interesting to me is the impact that the work from home movement is going to have. I was actually working on a film about this right before the pandemic, and what has happened since has expedited this movement at least 10 years. It was inevitable that companies would discover that it’s way cheaper to have a large portion of their staff location independent. Not only can they save on office space, insurance, and all that, but they no longer need to source people living in expensive cities like NYC and can therefore pay them less. Someone living on NYC cannot compete on price point with someone living in Thailand. Someone in Thailand can live like a king on half the income that an NYC based worker would need just to scrap by. Even the big banks know this now, and the impact is going to hit hard for places like NYC and have a trickle down effect on hospitality, retail, rent, etc. One of the reason that a huge number of people come here — my wife included — is for work, but if this work no longer demands being here in person then that totally changes the game. Even before the pandemic there was a lot of tension between how much companies wanted to pay low and mid-level white collar workers and how much these people need to live in NYC. Now the geographic chain has been severed.

      Right now the city is still kind of on life support. A huge percentage of people are still on unemployment and the stay on evictions remains. But what happens when people are no longer getting money from the state and have to pay rent again? Then there’s the downstream impact on landlords (huge numbers of people and businesses have stopped paying rent) and then on tax revenue (because so many people stopped paying rent huge numbers of landlords stopped paying taxes) and then on the city not having the revenue to pay employees and having to lay tens of thousands off … as the cycle continues.

      We’re just at the start of this mess, and if Steinway is any indication, the worse is yet to come. It’s almost like those brief moments after jumping off a rope swing when you’re suspended in the air before you hit the water below. What happens next may get ugly.

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      • Rob September 3, 2020, 12:09 pm

        The “life support” will continue until the election.

        This pandemic was no different from the ones in 1957 or 1968. Look at Sweden, they did not stop the economy and came out just like everyone else pandemic wise & way better financially.

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        • VBJ September 3, 2020, 12:21 pm

          I agree. I hope this is little more than a ruse to make people as miserable as possible so they vote for change and after that they will let up and let up.

          I agree that the pandemic was little different than ’57 and ’68. The CDC just released a report that said only like 7 people in the entire country have died from Covid without any other co-morbidities. We destroyed ourselves for this? What’s insane to me was that they knew the original modeling was wrong a long time ago — one of the greatest shams in world history — but that had no impact on their policy. Very strange.

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          • Jack September 3, 2020, 3:49 pm

            Yeah, it’s just some fluke of nature that the US has had a quarter of a million excess deaths vs normal in the first 6 months of the years. Those people with high blood pressure and diabetes would have died anyways…maybe 30 years from now but good they died now. Saves us a bunch of money on health care.

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  • Bob L September 3, 2020, 9:10 am

    One other problem, is that they leave places like New York City, then they go to the new place and vote in the people and the policies that destroyed the last place. I’m seeing people up here in New Hampshire looking for houses And one of the few concerns they have is that there are so many Republicans up here. They will vote in the same people and destroy our area too. If they don’t, their kids will.

    We don’t want them, but we can’t stop them.

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    • VBJ September 3, 2020, 12:15 pm

      That is true. For all my life up to now I didn’t really see the point in voting. The Dems and Republicans seemed pretty much the same to me: Obama carried out the same warmongering and homeland security policies as Bush. Both sides were run by the corporations. Why waste my time participating in the shit show that is the presidential election? But things seem very different now. The Democrats have become a different species than they were during the Obama era and the Republicans have moved way more to the left.

      What’s interesting is that much of what Trump has actually done — blowing up globalization, not starting any wars, making moves to reduce the powers of many multinational corporations, regulating drug prices, taking a non-violent stand against the most brutal state we’ve seen in generations, and bringing back US business — falls directly in line with my political viewpoints as an idealistic, far leftist 20-year old. It sounds very strange to me, but much of what Trump has done has been classically left. But I don’t want to delve too far into this.

      But you’re right, voter demographics are shifting with such migration. Just like in the late-90s, early-2000s when an exodus of people from the rust belt went south, I think we’re in for a similar pattern. But, yes, they will flee places because of the taxes and regulations and then vote for political positions that raise taxes and introduces new regulation. They move other places to be freer but then start trying to tell everyone there what to do and what to believe.

      The culture war is becoming a real thing. Kind of interesting, kind of frightening.

      But what I don’t get is why leftist think it’s alright to kill and maim people because they have a different political opinion. It’s like the Cultural Revolution all over again.

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  • Trevor Warman September 3, 2020, 9:22 am

    Mental

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    • VBJ September 3, 2020, 12:15 pm

      Seriously.

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  • Rory Doolan September 3, 2020, 9:42 am

    I agree with some of the others here. NYC is likely just go through another transformation just as it has done many times. It used to be far different in the 70-80’s. It is a real shame to see whats happening to all of these businesses and people now but perhaps its giving others a great opportunity to start. With so many open store fronts and apartments for rent you’d think that for once maybe prices would go down.

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    • VBJ September 3, 2020, 10:06 am

      That’s very true. Places change fast. We all know this, but we have a difficult time comprehending it when we are immersed in these changes. We seem programed to believe that what we are currently experiencing will always be the same, that if NYC was nice yesterday it will be nice tomorrow. The truth of the matter is that NYC has only been a nice place to live for a relatively short period of time in recent times. As you point out, in the 70s and 80s much of the city was a shit hole. They then underwent an intentional rejuvenation program, cleaned up the streets, reduce crime, etc … and what’s absolutely fascinating is that many of the policies that ultimately made the city a prosperous, safe place to be are now being intentionally walked back. What do they think is going to happen?

      I believe that 70s-80s era NYC is on a come back. But, like you pointed out, this was the time when the city hit one of its cultural heights — it was an era of art and music and the more nefarious, exciting sides of life. A cleaned up NYC is perhaps a boring NYC. If the prices drop — and they are (I’m going to request a rent decrease as soon as I finish writing this comment) — maybe the people will come back who were priced out long ago?

      Or maybe this is wishful thinking?

      History moves in cycles, and it’s seeming to me that the heyday of the big city has again climaxed. They will be back, sure, but it’s going to take a while.

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      • Rory Doolan September 3, 2020, 12:36 pm

        A lot of what they did to clean up
        (police policies) were pretty bad. Racial profiling and unconstitutional police practices were a major issue. You’ve been around the world and i’m sure seen the way various governments handle things differently as far as ends justifying the means for a “nice” and “prosperous” place to live.

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  • Jack September 3, 2020, 3:51 pm

    Why doesn’t everyone move to Florida? Two words: Florida Man.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/FloridaMan/

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    • VBJ September 3, 2020, 5:04 pm

      Hahaha! Sounds like my kind of guy. (These days, at least).

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      • Trevor Warman September 4, 2020, 10:36 am

        Thought it was Mexico! Seems like though it should be 3 words THE Balkans MAN

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  • Jeffrey September 3, 2020, 10:53 pm

    Great debate. I lived in the New York under Mayor Dinkins and the New York under Mayor Giuliani. Under Dinkins, it was a dangerous hell-hole, and under Giuliani it quickly became far less dangerous.

    I lived in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. When I worked at NYU, back in the early 1990s, I was a regular at a bar on the Lower East Side called Max Fish. My friends lived right on Ludlow St., just a few storefronts down from the bar. We met at the end of the day there, usually at around eleven o’clock, to chat.

    At the bar, we met all kinds of people, all of them trying to make it in a wide variety of professions. New York was a place to come and meet people in your field. My friends and I talked to all of them beer while listening to good music on the jukebox.

    Artists and business people and academics and skateboarders and aspiring Grunge musicians all mingled together in the bar each night. As an aside, I first saw the video of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in Max Fish.

    And that mixture of talents–and the multiplier effect–is what cities at their best allow. People who study where innovation happens point to places like New York. So the question might be: Can the US maintain innovation without cities like New York?

    And did you hear what Cuomo said to Trump?

    “He better have an army if he thinks he’s gonna walk down the street in New York. New Yorkers don’t want to have anything to do with him. …He can’t have enough bodyguards to walk through New York City, people don’t want to have anything to do with him.”

    Can you imagine if a governor of a state said to Obama that he better have an army with him if he ever plans to walk through a major city in the state?

    And do you think that statement makes people more eager to move to New York?

    Hey, move to New York, just make sure you bring a bodyguard.

    Well, from Wade’s recent entries, that’s not too crazy of a statement.

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    • Rory September 4, 2020, 9:45 am

      Excellent insights.

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    • VBJ September 4, 2020, 7:20 pm

      Hello Jeffrey,

      Thanks for this story.

      “At the bar, we met all kinds of people, all of them trying to make it in a wide variety of professions. New York was a place to come and meet people in your field.”

      Yes, that is exactly why people move to cities. It’s why I came here. It’s why my wife came here. Before the pandemic this aspect still existed to a certain extent — I could go into my neighborhood dive bar and meet people working in film, finance, insurance. We talk the talk and learn some shit. But these kinds of interactions always tended to be a little less than I was expecting it to be. It actually didn’t really compare with many other places in the world, especially in Asia. It was seeming as if NYC was culturally cresting, that some kind of crash was almost inevitable: the place has just become too top heavy, too expensive, too hard to make it (in an annoying way). There just didn’t seem to be enough fresh action, it was like everything was already set and established. The dynamism seemed subdued.

      I still liked the place. Still do. But it was clear that it was going to change. What they did to the city in the name of the pandemic took care of that … and then some.

      Yes, it’s incredible how far politics has descended into the gutter. Trump really broke the mold on this. He changed how politicians talk, how they communicate, and, especially, what is acceptable. What’s fascinating to me is that his opponents didn’t take the high road but they became just like he is. It’s some weird psychosis, almost as if they believe that if they want to beat Trump they need to dive into the swamp deeper than Trump. They are playing his game … and its a game that he’s a master at. This is an election that the Democrats should have easily won … but it’s looking like they’re throwing it all away. At the beginning of this it was difficult for me to imagine politicians worse than Trump … but now there’s seemingly an entire party full of them.

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  • Jack September 4, 2020, 6:51 am

    Bill doesn’t give a flying f#ck about the kids, the poor, the pandemic, or even the city. He cares about one thing: Bill Blasio. He is no different than any other politician.

    This pandemic response is a phenomenon that I’ve only noticed since coming back to the US in 2013, but I’m sure it’s been going on for a long time. It’s where people have a feeling and want everyone else to feel the same feeling. Everyone needs to feel the exact same feeling and have the same response. I can’t say that is wrong. We should mourn with those who mourn and stand in comfort with those that need comfort. The difference is that you MUST feel the same way that I do and I am going to FORCE YOU to feel and respond the same way that I do.

    Dude, I disagree with you wholeheartedly about the dangers of this pandemic and you know it. But I could give a rat’s a*s if you wear a mask or not. I don’t really care if you decide to go out to the bars or restaurants or wherever. I don’t care how you feel about it and how you respond to that. We all respond differently to different stimuli. And you know what? I might be wrong with my own assessments. I ain’t such a moron to think I know everything.

    But we got d*mn politicians who want to force us to do what they want us to do because it’s the “right way” to feel and act. Like what the h*ll is that? Who decides what is “right” and “wrong’?

    I subscribe to the idea that people should be educated and then allowed to make their own choices. They might make “wrong” choices, but they are the ones choosing. It’s their right to choose to screw themselves over.

    Look at seat belts. Tell people what they are and what they protect against and then let them choose whether they use them or not. I’ll think they are screwing themselves if they don’t wear one, but that’s their choice. (Side note: The seat belt laws were actually pushed by insurance companies who didn’t want to pay out so much in damages from people killed or injured by other drivers.)

    It should be simple, right? Nah, politicians like Bill want to tell people what to think and then force them to make the “right” choice.

    And he “loves” the poor. Why? Many of them have been screwed out of a decent education and listen a media that is controlled by people like Bill. It’s easy to tell them what to think and do. Throw in a little cash and it’s a done deal. He just wants to screw them over. He’s probably laughing all the way to the bank. That moron lost all credibility when he implored all New Yorkers to embrace Covid and seek out places to get sick from it in February. (i’m liberally paraphrasing but since the news media does it, why not me?)

    What about the non-poor? Oh those pesky people are easily controlled by fear. Fear the poor people.

    And both sides do this. Just look at Fox News.

    And people are worried that personal freedoms are under assault because Walmart asks them to wear a mask before they go into the store. They have been giving up their freedoms for decades. They don’t know about freedom really. They can’t go fishing without permission from the government. They can’t drive without permission from the government. They can’t own a weapon without permission from the government. They can’t take a dump in a toilet without government permission. And people like that control and people will end up liking that new control in NYC.

    I could go on and on, but I’m going back to sleep now. This all probably isn’t very coherent, but that’s ok. I’m tired…and just not sleepy.

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    • Jeffrey September 4, 2020, 8:52 am

      Jack,

      Excellent punchy comments. Some real zing there.

      They have been giving up their freedoms for decades. They don’t know about freedom really. They can’t go fishing without permission from the government. They can’t drive without permission from the government. They can’t own a weapon without permission from the government. They can’t take a dump in a toilet without government permission.

      I really laughed at this mini-rant, and then said to myself, “Well, he’s not wrong.”

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      • Jack September 4, 2020, 10:20 am

        thanks, I wrote it so that people who get it would laugh. 🙂

        One of the towns nearby passed a mask ordinance. The County Sheriff made a long post saying how they wouldn’t enforce it because they don’t enforce any municipal ordinances and moreover, requiring people to wear a mask takes away their rights so he won’t enforce any law that takes away people’s rights. Scroll a bit and you see him talking about Click it or Ticket.

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    • VBJ September 5, 2020, 6:36 pm

      “Dude, I disagree with you wholeheartedly about the dangers of this pandemic and you know it. But I could give a rat’s a*s if you wear a mask or not. I don’t really care if you decide to go out to the bars or restaurants or wherever. I don’t care how you feel about it and how you respond to that. We all respond differently to different stimuli. And you know what? I might be wrong with my own assessments. I ain’t such a moron to think I know everything.”

      This describes what we used to call “smart people.” Now thinking like that just makes you everyone’s enemy haha. But for some reason I don’t think you mind this haha.

      I agree about Bill. But he seems to be playing for a different audience. However, many of these protests movements / “Marxist” politicians seem to be backed by people with a lot of money, so who knows???

      And he “loves” the poor. Why? Many of them have been screwed out of a decent education and listen a media that is controlled by people like Bill. It’s easy to tell them what to think and do. Throw in a little cash and it’s a done deal. He just wants to screw them over. He’s probably laughing all the way to the bank. That moron lost all credibility when he implored all New Yorkers to embrace Covid and seek out places to get sick from it in February. (i’m liberally paraphrasing but since the news media does it, why not me?)

      Right on!

      And people are worried that personal freedoms are under assault because Walmart asks them to wear a mask before they go into the store. They have been giving up their freedoms for decades. They don’t know about freedom really. They can’t go fishing without permission from the government. They can’t drive without permission from the government. They can’t own a weapon without permission from the government. They can’t take a dump in a toilet without government permission. And people like that control and people will end up liking that new control in NYC.

      This is true. Each generation accepts a new heightened level of control. Now with AI, security cameras everywhere, and the digitization of currency / sales transactions, this is going to get very ugly in the future.

      I just want things to go back to normal. Normal was good. It’s funny that I’m starting to look back on the 80s and 90s with nostalgia. Somebody save me …

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  • Jeffrey September 4, 2020, 8:43 am

    Okay, this is beyond stupid. A professor is suspended for saying the Chinese word neige (that), which is used by all Chinese as a filler word in spoken Mandarin. I hear it all day, every day.

    The professor used that word to illustrate how filler words work in spoken discourse. The moron students, however, were offended because neige sounds too close to the dreaded N-word, and thus they were offended and triggered. So they notified school officials, who promptly suspended the professor.

    USC Suspended a Communications Professor for Saying a Chinese Word That Sounds Like a Racial Slur.

    Jeezus, man. I’m sitting here in China and really have to wonder what the hell is going on back in the US.

    Is EVERYONE in America a snowflake now?

    I would have kicked those students in the ass and sent them out the door. Bunch of dimwits.

    The school officials are even worse. Defenestration for them.

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    • Jack September 4, 2020, 4:21 pm

      Is everyone a snowflake? Not really, the ones who aren’t snowflakes are Karens. I think Karens are actually worse than snowflakes…..but they are both bad.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karen_(pejorative)

      We’ve got Karens, Kyles, Chads and snowflake. Take your pick…oh yeah and Boomers.

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    • VBJ September 6, 2020, 10:27 pm

      This is, perhaps more than anything else, a sign of just how far gone a large swath of US culture is. We’re so privileged, self-righteous, and power hungry that any instance of being able to point the finger and ostracize someone as the Other we’re going to take. For a couple of decades various writers, comedians, etc have been warning about the potential pernicious impact of sanitizing culture to ensure that nobody is ever offended. Now the young generation just expects the world to be like this … and we’re watching these doomsday scenarios of the 90s and early 2000s being played out right in front of us.

      It is very much like China’s Cultural Revolution. What was absolutely fascinating about it was that it emerged at a time when there pretty much we’re anymore “capitalist roaders” in the country, etc, but that didn’t stop the youth from turning on their own and labeling them as such … often to extremely violent effect. It’s interesting watching the left in the USA do something similar as they label people racist who clearly are not … as though they have no clue what a real racist or real racism actually is.

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      • Jack September 7, 2020, 12:05 pm

        Right on!

        One thing I like is food. I like seeing the different kinds of foods when I travel and live in other places. My wife and I equally do cooking in the house and generally, the food we make is a funky combination of food we have come up with by combining what we know and what we see.

        Once a week or so, I make up an oatmeal porridge. It’s basically made just like the rice soup you find in Thailand but with oatmeal. I was cooking oatmeal one morning in China and asked myself why couldn’t I just add some chicken bouillon and eggs to it? I have refined it since then and the family likes it. It’s unlike anything you’ll find in either Asia or the US. It’s fusion.

        Or as some now call it, it’s food cultural appropriation. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-47892747)

        Let me just say that anyone who thinks food cultural appropriation is a thing is a complete f*cking moron. I don’t believe that ANY food ANYWHERE on the planet is anything but fusion at its heart. People take what they like about a food and make changes or find new uses.

        For example, Thai food is very spicy and they use lots of chiles but that is a rather recent change. Why? Chiles are native to the Americas and the first chiles didn’t find their way to Asia until (probably) the Portuguese traders arrived. Granted, I love what the Thais have done with the chiles and they took something and improved on it and we have all benefitted from it!

        That’s the thing about food. It’s something to be shared and enjoyed….there is no such thing as food cultural appropriation.

        I think that travel does a lot to open up our eyes on the world around us, but living longer term in a different country/culture opens your eyes in more ways and you understand things in a different way than a mere tourist. I liked reading Trevor’s account of his time stuck in Kenya because he was able to see, despite being in lockdown, much more and understand more than someone wealthy tourist who spent just a week or two there.

        I think that staying longer in a place changes us. Can it ever be cultural appropriation to accept the changes that a culture or people have had on you?

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        • Trevor Warman September 9, 2020, 6:37 am

          @Jack thanks for the shout out. Remembering the days just now, when peeps read my blog… traffic down by 75%…despite 10 posts a month…

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        • VBJ September 10, 2020, 12:17 pm

          Good story. I don’t believe that cultural appropriation is real. What they call “appropriation” is just the normal ways that cultures have progressed, changed, and improved over time. It’s normal. Like you said, all cooking is fusion. All art is fusion. All technology is fusion. There are very, very few things that are truly native to anywhere. I like it when historians / anthropologist rip apart these stupid latte liberal claims of cultural appropriation by being like, “Well, actually, that style of dress that we attribute to these people was taken from these these people …” But then they talk about power dynamics without realizing that many of the “weak” cultures of today were actually the “bully” cultures of yesterday who “appropriated” whatever they wanted from “weaker” peoples. All cultures take from other cultures. I’m not going to go to India and start complaining about how the men appropriated the plaid button up shirt from my people, thus stripping us of our identity. But, ultimately, it does have to do with power dynamics — the power dynamics of a know-nothing SJW trying to impose their will on those around them.

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      • Jeffrey September 11, 2020, 4:25 am

        Wade,

        It’s interesting watching the left in the USA do something similar as they label people racist who clearly are not … as though they have no clue what a real racist or real racism actually is.

        That’s a very good observation. I’ve seen those videos of the BLM people yelling at people who are just having a meal at a restaurant, accusing them of being racists when they don’t know anything about them.

        I have one sister married to an African (Nigeria) and another sister married to an African American. Together, they are mothers to seven children. But if the BLM fanatics would see my sisters, they’d call them racists just for being European American, ready to put them into a “struggle session” just like during the Cultural Revolution.

        I never thought that kind of madness would take hold in the US. How close are they to hanging placards around people’s neck with the word “racist” scribbled on it?

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        • VBJ September 13, 2020, 11:29 am

          I know. It’s absolute madness. I wouldn’t doubt that they’d also label your sisters’ husbands racist as well for marrying white people.

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  • Rusty Amoromso September 4, 2020, 4:15 pm

    Could it possibly be that there was just TOO much greed ?
    Corporate and predatory capitalism at is finest? And now it’s getting exposed for what it is .
    It’s, people and Governments wanting more-more-more and not being satisfied with enough.
    It’s never enough , especially for Governments.

    This is simply a much needed “reset” we are seeing.
    This world will never again be the way “it was” there will be a new normal, some fine day….

    Never forget the “less is more”
    This is history in the making and I’m enjoying watching it all unfold…

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  • Jeffrey September 6, 2020, 11:06 am

    Anthony Brian Logan on the recent “peaceful protest” up in Rochester, Upstate New New York.

    BLM “Protesters” Tear Up A Restaurant in Rochester Over Daniel Prude!.

    At some point, the majority of Americans (of all ethnicities) will decide to punch back. A reckoning is coming.

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    • Jack September 9, 2020, 10:40 am

      I’d be more worried about the scenario in this video:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C74GXN2fock

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      • Jeffrey September 9, 2020, 11:19 pm

        Jack,

        Amazing. In a way, the Democrats are already conceding defeat on election night, and then game-planning for a legal battle to follow. Yeah, that is concerning, as they say in England and Australia.

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        • VBJ September 10, 2020, 12:29 pm

          What’s insane is that they’ve been trying to plant that seed for months already. It’s like they are trying to fulfill their own prophecy by any means necessary.

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      • VBJ September 10, 2020, 12:26 pm

        Yes, this is going to get very ugly. They seriously need to ban / secure mail in voting.

        What I don’t get is why they don’t have online voting figured out. Theoretically, it seems as if it could be done far more securely than any of the current — even in person — voting systems we have.

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