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Roger L. Simon

Gypsy Encampments of the Hollywood Freeway

March 19th, 2013 - 12:05 am

On our way to downtown Los Angeles Saturday night for the annual Churchill Dinner of the Claremont Institute at the venerable Biltmore Hotel, my wife Sheryl and I took the Hollywood Freeway, a route we had taken uncountable times before.

Only something was different.  Small encampments of homeless had been set up on the edge of the freeway.  We were used to them under freeway bridges, but these were more elaborate, makeshift tents and blankets positioned on slopes along the freeway, so that, we speculated, they were in full view of the constant passing traffic.  That way the violence frequently visited on the homeless by themselves and by others would at least partly be discouraged.

I was reminded of Victor Hanson’s poignant descriptions of the California Central Valley and also of when I lived in Southern Spain and would see impoverished gypsy encampments along the roads to Grenada and Seville.  But that was decades ago and that part of Spain, Andalucia, was desperately poor then, struggling to play catch up with the rest of Europe. It did — for a while anyway.

The Hollywood Freeway was not so simple.  This was a parade of the haves and have-nots, Mercedes and Lexuses, streaming past the tattered homeless:  Obama’s America.

The president has a solution to this problem, even as it gets worse.  Tax those folks in the Mercedes. Only that’s been tried a thousand times, most notably in the Great Depression, and it never worked. For someone so versed in Frankfurt School “critical theory,” the president has a convenient way of forgetting history.

He prefers, as we know, the pursuit of “fairness,” but in so doing he has seemed to make things less fair.  The stock market is up at the same time as the number of those who have dropped out of the labor force reached a jaw-dropping 89 million in January.   I wouldn’t be surprised to find gypsy encampments along all the freeways soon. African-Americans, as we also all know, have been hurt worst of all.

And yet Obama’s adversaries are accused of racism. La vie à l’envers, life upside down, as the French say.

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Actually, the people who have been hurt worst of all are those of modest means who attempt to pay their own way, who refuse to allow government benefits to shape their lives, who look to the father and grandparents for help before demanding the rest of us be their child's father, who did not borrow more than they could afford, who did not then get in line to get special forgiveness for their extravagance (note that bailout programs favored those who didn't pay rather than those who attempted to keep up with their bills), who did not receive special set-asides based on race as they struggled to put themselves through community college or gain a contract, who did not get a special set-aside from the SBA when they wanted to expand their small business or make payroll.

The healthy dependent classes -- ie. welfare recipents and all quote single moms living off the rest of us, almost universally with baby daddy sharing the household, have experienced absolutely no negative effects from the recession. Self-inflicted wounds aside, the people who are suffering most are those from the unstable yet independent working class who refuse to live off others. And yes there are many African Americans among them. But not all or most.

Homeless people are almost overwhelmingly that way because of substance abuse or untreated mental illness or both, no matter what the activists say. Add in illegal status as a complicating factor but one that most throttles the job chances of the endangered American workers discussed above.

It is 2013. Take a look at who is bagging groceries and who is using food stamps while diddling their smartphones through forty dollar nail wraps. 20 years in social sevices and Atlanta politics, where the amount of money redistributed racially is mind-boggling and never-ending, left me cynical. The Mercedes and Lexuses there are far more likely to be driven by the race activist with the no-show school administration job than by the guy who owns a small construction company that can't meet the city's mafioso affirmative action standards. We all know it. Perhaps if Republicans would find their spines and pull their own paws out of the racial/ethnic spoils honeypot (Rubio, anyone?) more often, the productive classes (poor, middle, and upper classes) could feel as if someone was representing them.

There are only two kinds of people: those who try (whether they succeed or not) to be productive and independent, and those who exploit one ghost, memory, or scapegoat after another in their quest to line their pockets or avoid responsibility for their own lives.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"but that budget could feed and house a lot of homeless, possibly all of them, for some time."

And then when that money is gone, they're back to starving on the streets where they started...or you have to confiscate more money to keep feeding them.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (29)
All Comments   (29)
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".... our president who seems bent on preventing the future..."

He sets.
He shoots.
He SCORES!
Nothing but net.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In politically correct language, they should be called Bushvilles. Historically, Hoovervilles were called that after FDR had already been President for over 8 years. All public poverty is automatically the responsibility of the last Republican President. However, if you have any common sense these communities would be properly called Obamavilles.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I don't know about any of you, but I felt the last election was a kick in the teeth, a slug in the throat, and a good upper-cut.
I had invested emotionally waaay too much in getting barry out. I felt drained. Slowly I am coming back. The Churchill quote helps.
I hope it is not too late by 016.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
That makes 2 of us. Very well expressed, M Jagger. (And please give my best to K Richards.)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
That makes three of us.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Actually Obama's America is a real film noir. The cast of characters are straight from the 1930's- Axelrod with his hair parting,mustache and suits from that era- Denis McDonald- put a Stetson on him and there's the gang spirit.Obama thinks that he is the decider who takes away people's rights/assets/even lives without restraint- in Obama's America Gypsy homeless people are props for agitation/unrest/chaos. If Obama cared for these jobless,homeless,some mentally ill people - it would be easy to reduce the salaries of Obama Czars/aides/spending accounts/flying around with his teleprompter to give the Horror Show Sequester Series and say simply- for my fellow Americans- I show the way and give a damn.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Cultural despair paved the way for fascism and Nazism. I hate to see it here. For a critique of the over use of the world "totalitarian" see http://clarespark.com/2012/10/15/orwell-power-and-the-totalitarian-state/. It is relevant to cultural despair. We cannot save ourselves without rational political participation and understanding of how we process the past.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It is time, Ladies and Gentlemen, to face the fact that we are unable to save the country. It is time to focus on saving ourselves.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Do you not have kids or something? We have to make sure that there is a future for our families here. We can't afford the luxury of despair. We have to be tougher than this. Our grandparents got through the depression and WWII. I fought in Afghanistan. I'm going to make sure that my family can provide for themselves.

1. Teach your kids to defend themselves. Martial arts, firearms, etc.
2. Teach your kids a trade. Let them know that student loans are the kiss of death. Teach them about the barter economy.
3. Teach your kids to budget.

The gun ban just flopped in the Senate. The House actually had the guts for the sequester. Admittedly, it's a minor cut in projected growth, but it's a start. We still live in a country where blue collar skills will earn a living. The unemployment problem is largely a white-collar problem. Many of the trades are still screaming for people.

Obamacare is our biggest obstacle to progress, but when people are suffering enough under leftist policies, and other people's money runs out, the system will collapse. People that are self-sufficient will be the ones to survive.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
'Tis an oft-told tale'

John Brunner's 'Shockwave Rider' may be the best version.
The refugees from the collapse of California move East into
the desert and are quarantined there by the government;
Problem solved. >:)

Every crisis is an opportunity to get rich. Offer the many
soon-to-be jobless, homeless, hopeless a safe haven in
return for their government compensation.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Exactly my point. Simon and Hanson's real-time comments are almost indistinguishable from dystopian science fiction of the late '60s early '70s. But they're real. And while today's reality becomes a dystopian nightmare, today's SF writers are diddling with zombies and tribbles and whining about black and female writers. Can anyone say "Nero?" How about "fiddles?"

SF LITERALLY has an SF convention called "Diversacon." How much stupider can artists get than that? That used to be a ha-ha joke, never happen. Now it's staring us in the face. Why not rename the SFWA the Diversa-Glee Writers of America or the Literary Suicide Cult of America?

We need a group of new writers to warn us against the dangers of SF writers. We're so far into The Onion territory here it makes my head spin. It's like being lectured about justice by monkeys or dragging Winston Smith's lifeless body to the Ministry of Love and asking for advice.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In January of this year the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops at their annual meeting could not or would not issue a statement on the economy. Why? As the recession grinds on and grinds so many of us down one answer is that the Bishops Conference does not want to alienate Obama Catholics. Here in the Archdiocese of Detroit that is a significant number and the pulpits have also been silent. So we "pray for unity and love..." You go to Mass for many reasons and one main one, but there is also the hope of some acknowledgement, some recognition, something like consolation. But that apparently is perceived as "politics." It difficult not to see things as hopeless under this economically illiterate and pitiless occupant of the White House.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"It difficult not to see things as hopeless under this economically illiterate and pitiless occupant of the White House."

Apparently, at least half of the population of the USA who voted him in the second time is also economically illiterate; they are also historically illiterate and morally bankrupt. They don't care if the country crumbles, so long as they are OK or come out on top.
The driving belief of the left was summed up by Milton quite nicely:
"Better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven".
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It is the oligarchy, hubritic to the max. The Middle Class has been starved of Disposable Income since 1974, relative to the Top 3 [three] % and the bottom 20%. The latter will always be taken care of and their disposable income has risen in real terms and outstripped the Middle Class who have gone down. The Folks on Top have refused to let the 'trickle' part of 'trickle-down' operate. Instead of increasing middle salaries, commissions and wages, they further line their pockets and Cayman/Cretan/Thai accounts. What you are seeing along the freeways are excess poor created by the Obama econiomic brain trust which has the Dow going over-the-top [TARP] and Joe Lunchbucket defaulting on his mortgage. Hamilton's Federal Republic is run by blind swine, red and blue.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I fully expect full fledged huge hillside shack towns to spring up on the roadsides in and around our major cities within the coming decades, just like you see in South Africa and Brazil.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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