Books · Diversions · documents analyses · Fiction · literacy · Migrants · observations · racism · research · white nationalism · white supremacy

How to Watch Gone With The Wind

Been wracking my brain for the past few days for a way to tell folks how to watch one of my favorite movies of all time. Everything would be much simpler if everyone would read the book. It is long, but extremely readable and will pull you along as it sweeps through one of the most turbulent times in our history. Reading Mitchell’s work did more to encourage my study of the American Civil War than any other work I’ve read.

Reading just the first two lines of the book will alert you to the fact that the movie is strictly a production based upon the book. Much of Scarlett’s life is not depicted in the movie. The war provides a backdrop to the foregrounded “romance” but GWTW is not a romance, but an historical novel that records many of the significant battles that took place from 1862 forward. People tearing down the statue of US Grant don’t know their history. Hell, his affiliation is in his initials. It is true that he owned one slave, but he came through when it really counted.

Line one: “Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.” Vivien Leigh was pixie cute, white folks think of her as beautiful. She definitely did not look like Scarlett as she is described in line one. Hence, the movie is a production designed to bring folks to the theaters. Remember, too, this movie was released in 1939; America was in the grip of Jim Crow segregation and the Great Depression, in need of diversion. The film is beautiful, the costumes are beautiful, the players are beautiful. The film was supposed to divert and make everyone feel better as they struggled to live.

Line two: “In her face were too sharply blended the delicate features of her mother, a Coast aristocrat of French descent, and the heavy ones of her florid Irish father.” For me, this line tells me that Scarlett’s parents are not white because whites of the time were Anglo-Saxon Protestants. French descent and florid Irish say immigrant past to me, and if one was an immigrant or emanated from immigrant stock, one was not white. Gerald O’Hara married up when he wed Ellen of the aristocracy. His ownership and management of a successful plantation was his entreé to acceptance as a white man. People were suspicious of the O’Hara’s because they did not brutalize their slaves. They were Catholics, Papists. You can’t come to this interpretation unless you read the book and know some history.

Some folks are dredging up the old nonsense about the portrayal of stereotypes when it comes to the Black characters, particulary Hattie McDaniel’s portrayal of Mammy. I still quote her and I first saw this movie when I was ten. “It just ain’t fittin’.” Mammy spoke her mind, she called white trash white trash and wasn’t reprimanded for it. In fact, Mammy was the disciplinarian in the house, firmer than Scarlett’s mother or father. All deferred to Mammy. I don’t believe this was the stereotyped behavior of house slaves, particularly in the houses of true whites. Butterfly McQueen’s portrayal of Prissy paid her royalties until her death in 1995. She said she took the role so she could pay for her furniture. Two hundred dollars a week in 1939 was a queenly sum. She thought no one would come to see a movie “about slavery.” McDaniel said she’d rather play a maid or slave than actually be one when subjected to criticism by the Black critics of then and now.

If you won’t read the book, which is great, second in popularity to the Bible, and I don’t believe that many people have actually read the Bible, at least read something that gives some context about the war. I’d recommend My Vicksburg by Ann Rinaldi. It is a young adult novel and won’t take a lot of your time to read. You’ll learn about the conflicts within white families when one brother fights for the Union and the other brother fights for the Confederacy. The Civil War was all about white boys killing the hell out of other white boys over the institution of slavery.

Watch GWTW with the understanding that it is portrayed as a romance, but the book is a Bildungsroman and a story about survival once all you’ve known of stable society is destroyed. GWTW is more rightly classified as an historical novel. The film is a romance with Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh. That’s how they got the box office. Remember it is a production meant to distract people from their economic despair. In 1957, Gable would portray a slaver in love with one of his purchases. Sidney Poitier was a major player in this film with Yvonne DeCarlo and Gable. I have never heard Poitier mention his role as Rau Ru in this movie based on a book, A Band of Angels, by Robert Penn Warren, who was a civil rights activist, journalist, and novelist. If you can find it, read the book, then see the movie. All about miscegenation, slavery, passing. Just think, in 1957 movies were still being made about slavery and related topics.

All this pandering by corporations to remove Uncle Ben (never liked that plastic rice), Aunt Jemima (I can make my own damn pancakes), and the gentleman on the Cream of Wheat box (he always reminded me of a Pullman Porter and I like remembering those working men of the past). Why are white people trying to erase history now? They just discovered racist iconography? Sumbitch.

Get with me after you read the book, see the movie, read Rinaldi, or you just want to talk history, slavery, and the living history we’re making and living through right now.

Peace, Beloved

aging · Community · death · Disaster · excess death · Health and wellness · Migrants · observations · power · racism · social observation · sociological imagination · trauma

What I’m Seeing

Don’t go for a run in Georgia. Don’t try to enforce masking rules and laws. Don’t respect your neighbor’s legitimate fear of infection and go right ahead and wipe your nose on them or spit on them. This is what I’m seeing.

Sick people are processing the meat some people desperately want. We have no decent information about this virus, which seems to have mutated and become more virulent while it has the ability to hide in plain sight in asymptomatic people. If the virus could jump from meat to humans just through exposure, not consumption, might it have the ability to jump from asymptomatic meat handlers into the meat? The virus does not like warm, moist environments. Could it possibly like cold, raw meat? I don’t know about you, but I’m going meatless unless I know for certain where the meat was processed. I loved Peculiar, Missouri. There were meat processors in the rurals who hunted, slaughtered, and dressed all the meats they sold. They catered to the exotic selling squirrel, opossum, and chitterlings! Of course, I didn’t eat these meats, but it was interesting to know there were some people who still possessed the skills to get their own meat independent of the corporate processors.

I want to see the sick people get care. I want to see them get food and shelter for themselves and their families. I want to see corporations place people before profits.

I believe I’m gonna go blind.

Bad Faith · Community · death · Disaster · Health and wellness · News and politics · power · racism · Religion · social observation · sociological imagination · trauma · white nationalism · white supremacy

SHUNNING in the Name of Public Health

It is my fervent belief that the Hate Yam needs shunned. He should not be heard. He should not be seen. He should be paid no attention because he is an incompetent.

The Hate Yam needs shunned. He lies. He lies. He lies. He lies. He lies. He lies. He lies.

The Hate Yam needs shunned. He is endangering all our lives. He is profiteering on our collective catastrophe.

The Hate Yam has no medical knowledge. Neither does that eyed potato that is his second and leading a task force on COVID19. He is the worst representative of the elites, but elite he is. Why is the Hate Yam not funding the acquisition and distribution of necessary medical supplies out of his boundless wealth? Why is he not temporarily nationalizing whatever industry we have left to generate the ventilators and other medical supplies we desperately need?

The Hate Yam should have been 25thed a while ago. He should never have gotten into office. He should be shunned and we need to let the PIC (people in charge) know that we are shunning him because we have no confidence in his sanity, his word, because of his failure to act for the benefit of the public health of the American people.

aging · AS · Bad Faith · Building Contractor Scam · Civil Court · Class · Criminal Organizations · Disaster · documents analyses · Economic Anger · ethnography · fraud · gentrification · Homeless People · Homeownership · housing · Insurance · Insurance Claims · Insurance Scam · Law · observations · Paralegal Studies · power · Probate Housing Creditors Mortgages Mortgage Fraud · racism · social observation · trauma

What I’ve Lost

I am certain it is not clear to you the extent of my loss. The lemon tree that took 19 years to bear fruit; buried atop my son’s placental home; planted by my mother who died in my son’s nineteenth year in her bedroom, in the house I’d lived in all my life-she knew him, she helped birth him, she drove like a javelin to Santa Monica, to the converted farmhouse that served as a freestanding birthing center, ensuring his literal birth in a barn. This lemon tree was cut down…by the subcontractor…who is now dead.

My son grew up in that house. He called it a crapshack because he was, in childhood, quite gangling and sometimes ungainly. He was forever stubbing his toes. It was a cottage. It couldn’t be helped that he was a bull in a china shop. Nevertheless, that crapshack was his childhood home and the satellite around which we wove our travels in the world.

We built, my mother and I, a library in that house. Venice thrift shops provided much of our largesse.  We collected, and read, hundreds of books. Destroyed, now, many of them, the bookcase standing in the yard with many of my other klediments.

I knew the man who built my crapshack, by hand. He was a JW. His name was Elmer Lambert. His wife’s name was Ima. I remember they had a daughter, but might also have had a son. The house was a one-bedroom cottage with hardwood floors, built in cabinetry, a counter between front room and kitchen that could be used as a table, serving area, and lookout point. The front door boasted a barn-door type window, giving an unimpeded view of the front and side yard. The doorway was wider than average.

All the doors in my house, save the front entry, opened to the left. Behind the door to the bedroom, Mom had built a linen closet to house our dishtowels, cuptowels, bath towels, sheets, small blankets, some small kitchen appliances. The left-opening door, when left open, provided cover for the cabinet.

I had to step down once into the kitchen. I had a white ceramic sink that was deep, and boasted knobs for hot and cold. It was a piece of a countertop, cookware storage, and under the sink storage unit. Facing the sink, my stove was to my right. I had hooks, hangers, cabinets on the upper walls to the left; a hanger for mugs, a couple of places to hang dish towels. Had a mirror mounted in there, and a light. The large rectangular window above me provided morning light from the east.

I love to cook. My son loves to cook, but he has to have a whole lot of room and prep area. Me? I can whip up something palatable with a couple of burners, but it gets monotonous. I’ve been living like poverty for over a year now with a gas stove that is not connected to the gas line because the contractor left the line capped, providing no connector. There are many gas lines under this structure because a gas line was run to operated the gas dryer I do not have and to the hot water heater that was placed alongside the “driveway” because this structure was built without plans.

The flooring in the bathroom is mushy and feels about to give way at any moment; there’s a leak somewhere, likely because the shower was not installed properly and was not sealed. I have no warranties, even thought I was promised three years of warranties by Safeco Liberty Mutual if only I worked with their preferred contractor.

I had a back door, through which I could generate cross-ventilation, get to my back yard easily. I still have the t-poles for my clothesline, but my undamaged workshop was torn down to make way for a “garage”. There was a scheme to turn my verdant paradise into a heat island, bordered by asphalt and cement. My yard was full of green and flowering plants, including succulents, bougainvillea, lavender, night-blooming jasmine, honeysuckle, a variety of roses. This in an area zoned for livestock and farming. I live in the County of Los Angeles. There are horses here. There are chickens here. There are nurseries here. But the County is gentrifying, which brings me to my property tax status.

In California, in Los Angeles County, in 2015, my property taxes were ~$650 per year. Now, in 2019, my property taxes have tripled. This job, done by Vince Paglia, was accomplished by tearing down my 1923 hand built Rambler home. I had a workshop in the back yard with a waist-high, full-length hard wood worktable. There were shelves that I remember saving magazines in because of the vertical dividers in the cabinet. There were shelves and cubbyholes on the walls. There was a great, heavy wooden drawer, that I possess still, that fit into the worktable. Vince Paglia tore down my workshop, the unpermitted expansion that was used for storage to put up a parking lot and I don’t eeeven have a car.

I miss Segovia. Segovia was a death cactus that grew in a ring of tires. Segovia was very tall, perhaps 7′-8′, and bloomed at night. When in bloom, Segovia’s scent wafted over the yard, blending with the night-blooming jasmine, sometimes the honeysuckle and lavender very faintly. Segovia provided most of the privacy in my back yard, grown along with the honeysuckle that grew on the fence. When Mama Gin lived next door, she was a homeowner who worked for the IRS. Her son served in the Air Force. Her daughter was a flit. She and Mom shared the care of the trees planted along the property lines between the houses. Mr. Lambert took care of most general maintenance, but Mom was pretty handy with tools.  Mom and I took care of the gardening and yard maintenance when I was growing up.

I remember Mr. Lambert gave me my first nickname. He called me Sputnik because I was his satellite as he worked about the place, prattling to him with my 2 or 3 year old self. Ima, Mrs. Lambert, always offered me fruit. I grew up kindly towards the JWs because I grew up with experience of the Lamberts.

I used to play and work in my workshop. I haven’t been able to use my spinning wheels because the inadequate garage is packed to the gills with my household goods. I haven’t been able to unpack because the house is now smaller, configured differently, has not even a closet, though a one-bedroom, one-bathroom was paid for. More than $80K was given to Paglia for goods not in this structure. I wish I did have the vent-free, infra-red heaters for which he received pay. I wish I had my back door. I wish the attic vents had been installed instead of the fire sprinklers for which I have no instruction manual. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with these things because I never had them in my home before.

Vince Paglia and Kent Stiles of Safeco Liberty Mutual have put me in a bad way, I tell you what. I learned from reading the legal bric-a-brac that your insurance provider is not supposed to leave you any worse off than you were before you filed your homeowner’s claim. Maybe this is why Stiles has changed my claim number from 12-digit number to 22-digit number, and when I call to inquire about this claim number that I don’t recognize, no one else recognizes it either.  This brand new claim number is recorded on my claim history with the databases that record such data and hold it for seven years, along with the date of loss of every claim I’ve ever allegedly filed with Safeco Liberty Mutual, the cause of said loss, and the amount paid out to mitigate the loss. This brand new to me claim number even says my loss was caused by water. Imagine, the insurance company is recording false information; my loss was caused by the wind.

If my claim settled and paid out $48K under one claim number, why are $430K and $439K recorded under that new claim number as the amount paid out on those official records? Those records can impact the premium I’ll have to pay for insurance when I manage to escape from Safeco Liberty Mutual.

I have referred to the scam through which I’ve been put as GASLIGHTING. I hate being gaslighted, especially by a corporation that should have a fiduciary responsibility towards me, the insured, who paid premiums, on time, since 2011. Instead of being appreciated, I’ve been robbed.

I believe Safeco Liberty Mutual and Paglia and Associates do not appreciate the severe loss they have caused me. I think the dead contractor kindled the wrath, though….

AS · Bad Faith · Building Contractor Scam · Civil Court · Criminal Organizations · Disaster · fraud · Homeownership · Insurance · Insurance Claims · Insurance Scam · Paralegal Studies · Probate Housing Creditors Mortgages Mortgage Fraud · racism · research · social observation · Sociology · trauma

The Case of the Changed Claim Number

Kent Stiles, adjuster for Safeco/Liberty Mutual Insurance, changed the claim number of the claim I filed on 22 April 2016. If you’ve followed my blog, you know I have been submitting descriptions of my first-time consumer experience of submitting a homeowner insurance claim with Safeco Insurance.

Kent Stiles and Nahal Mazandarani changed a settled $48,000 claim into one for more than $430,000, though I am certain much more money than this has been expropriated. The scam is too widespread, too longlasting, involves too many players for the sums recorded on paper to properly compensate them all.

After figuring out Mazandarani and Stiles were conning me, I asked Mazandarani if she was on drugs. She had us move into what I described at the time as an “abandoned” project. This same language is used in the citation issued the contractor, Vince Paglia dba Protech, by the Contractors State License Board. Mazandarani took extreme umbrage to my suggestion that she must be out of her mind if I was supposed to move into a building with an open trench in my back yard and a pallet serving as the step into the only point of ingress or egress without resorting to a window. I spoke with Stiles about this; he claimed to be her supervisor. I may have suggested to both of them that I would whip Mazandarani’s ass if she showed her face ’round me ever again in life. Hence, all subsequent interactions have been with Kent Stiles.

I patiently waited for the Department of Insurance agent, John Mort, to help me get answers to my questions about the irregular ways my claim has been handled. Little did I know John Mort was working for Kent Stiles even though the Department of Insurance is supposed to be looking out for consumers. Kent Stiles has a very long reach is what I’ve learned in this 3.5 year homeowner claim experience. John Mort had to have been aware of the change in claim number; homeowner claim history is recorded in external databases for at least seven years. The claim number for the claim I filed 22 April 2016 and for which I possess a physical claim file, has been changed. The new number is something I have never seen before. For the past 3.5 years it has listed the cause of loss as water when the actual cause was wind, like those blowing fire now. The tree that lost the limb that fell on my bedroom still stands and sways in the high winds, but Kent Stiles paid for project, that now adds a rescinded Certificate of Occupancy to its faults. Recently, through the dispute process with one of the databases, Kent Stiles reversed himself, changed the cause to wind, but holding fast to the more than $430K charged against my insurance policy, charged against the consumer, charged against this unfamiliar- to – me claim number.

Think the IRS needs to know about this?

No matter how many times I told Kent Stiles something was wrong, he either ignored me or told me a lie. No matter how many people I spoke to at Safeco/Liberty Mutual, no one batted an eye at what Kent Stiles was doing and continues to do to me, my claim. If I spoke to one person, from supervisors, managers, the Presidential Service Team, I spoke to twenty and er’rbody was ultimately working for Kent Stiles.

Can anybody tell me why Kent Stiles would change my claim number; why John Mort of the Department of Insurance, regulatory body, would let me waste two years waiting for his intervention in helping me get, what I thought at the time were, documents relevant to my claim? The Stall is a major part of this scam. Time must elapse so that the unassuming consumer won’t catch wise until the claims history disappears from view.

This seems like embezzlement to me and fraud at my expense, conducted by an institution I am forced to use to protect my property. I question the impartiality of the regulatory body, the Department of Insurance. I question how Safeco/Liberty Mutual is allowed to stay in the insurance business, except I’ve always thought insurance is a racket.

Bad Faith · Building Contractor Scam · Criminal Organizations · Homeownership · Insurance · Insurance Claims · Insurance Scam · Law · Paralegal Studies · Probate Housing Creditors Mortgages Mortgage Fraud · social observation · Sociology · trauma

AVOID SAFECO INSURANCE AND PROTECH CONSTRUCTION

If you have an insurance policy with Safeco Insurance, you should look for another provider. There is something terribly wrong with a company that is supposed to have the consumer’s trust but won’t answer questions, lies to your face, bullies you, and destroys your home with no consequences.

The low premiums lure you in. Just don’t file a claim. It took 19 days to get a response from Safeco after a huge tree fell on my home. Good thing my home was made of old, hard walnut wood, else I might be dead now.

Finally, an adjuster responded, sent an appraiser to assess the damage. He couldn’t make a full assessment because he could not see the inner workings of the house, the beams and such, so he called for an engineer. The engineer assessed the damages as being confined to my bedroom. No other rooms were involved and no damage was done to my workshop at the rear of the property. The amount needed to repair my home was set at $48K, detailed in a dated engineering report (Donan Engineering) with an expiry date of March 2018.

How did my bill come to $430K? Come back tomorrow and I’ll tell you.

Community · ethnography · Language · observations · power · research · social observation · Sociology · trauma

I Don’t See Color

Here’s a phrase that sincerely chaps my ass. What if the police ask you to describe me? Whachugonsay?

Discovered my disgust with this statement after getting into a discussion about who can and can’t say nigger. We concluded with the thought that anyone can say anything (conditional) because this is a country that constitutionally guarantees freedom of speech. I added that saying anything means being ready and able to take the consequences of those utterances.

See, you can’t say nigger to everyone. I don’t care how you spell it, inflect it, think it’s cute or a term of endearment, you can’t say that to everyone. Some folks have a reflexive action to being called nigger. They will bust you in the mouth, with love, ’cause they ain’t having it. I think I am one of those people.

Nigger is a slur, an ethnophaulism. How’d you like it if I walked up to you and called you my Dago, my Wop, my Mick, my Chink, my Gook, my Buddhahead, my Guinea, my Spic, my Kike, (recent) my Beaner? Does it grate a little? If not, do you know someone who might not share your attitude?

It is difficult to find a slur for whites that carries the same punch as nigger. By becoming white, those ethnics who look more like the dominant group eventually became white. Hunky or honky no longer packed a punch. Even Jews thought, and think, they were white. It only takes a second to be disabused of that notion when faced with real crackers who think the kikes are out to replace them.

We are all color struck. We are overly concerned with the color of another’s skin because to be anything other than a variation of pink is to be diminished in the world. We don’t talk about slavery. We don’t talk about Jim Crow. We don’t talk about the Trail of Tears. We don’t talk about segregation, an active factor in our lives today. Why are we all color struck, especially those who come here from other countries where there may or may not be a racial history of torture and abuse? Loss of cultural and historical memory? Loss of self-awareness? Loss of our humanity? For certain, it is because we have been taught to be conscious of color, particularly for purposes of differentiation and separation.

We need to speak to one another in the way we wish to be addressed. Don’t come @ me with your nigger speak. I really will bust you in your mouth, with love, and dare you to call the police. Since you don’t see color, you won’t be able to give a credible description and I will go on my way, hoping I taught you something of value.

AS · Bad Faith · Building Contractor Scam · Criminal Organizations · Disaster · Economic Anger · Health and wellness · Homeownership · Insurance · Insurance Scam · Sociology · trauma

Caught on to the Mad Movida that is Fraud and Grand Theft by Safeco Insurance and Protech Construction

One of the crimes commited here is conspiracy to commit fraud. Then, there is the grand theft. Corruption of government inspectors may be involved as no building permits exist and code violations continue in effect. From the time Kent Stiles took over the handling of this claim from Trevor Haaswyk, the intention was to defraud, plunder the claim for as much money as possible.

I am so sure I am not the only one who has been victimized by these thieves.

Stiles manages the paperwork. He creates, alters, and otherwise manipulates documents to fit the needs of the time, whatever is needed to facilitate theft. His field adjuster, Nahal Mazandarani, was sent out to gain my confidence, survey the site, and act as if the lack of a foundation under my house was a thing significant enough to warrant the complete demolition and rebuilding of my house and storage shed, even though there was no structural damage done to the storage shed. All destruction, including the cutting down of my healthy, fruit-bearing, 31-year-old lemon tree and the decimation of all of things planted to support pollinators and clear the air around my property,  following from there being no foundation was blamed on Building and Safety inspectors.

Somehow, Protech managed to rebuild this house with plans for repair, regardless of my complaints. It is no wonder I am now short 8 sq ft from my house, according to the company that came out and measured the objects on the lot to provide me with a premium based on the property standing here now, not my 1923 Rambler. Neither Protech nor Safeco notified anyone that this house and shed had been rebuilt. As this work was considered complete in December 2017, when it was abandoned by Protech and my family and I were forced in,  I think the rebuild was never going to be reported. Plunder access point number one.

Tactics to which I was subjected during the commission of this fraud included bullying, gaslighting, lying, and stalling. Stall for time, drag it out. I was given an estimate of 3-6 months to complete the project. Why was I out of my home for 18 months, not counting hotel time? Protech invalidated their own contract by not completing my home within the estimated time frame. It didn’t matter how many complaints I lodged; they had a plan and were sticking to it. The crime is in the plan and the sloppy execution.

The second plunder access point was the $165K in personal property monies that went untouched throughout the claim. I didn’t save the insurance company any money, that’s certain. You’d think they’d care to know how these schmucks not only robbed me, but also them. When I complained to Stiles that the items for which he was being asked by the contractor to pay were nowhere in this house, he told me to file a police report if I thought things had been stolen from the site. He then made the police report disappear by giving the report to another adjuster, telling him to process it as a fresh theft claim. Stiles previously told me that he wouldn’t pay for the items I said were missing, but he sent the police report number and a list made up of items he told me were not covered to the new adjuster. That adjuster processed this new theft claim, charged me another deductible, and poof! the police report with Grand Theft on the cover, that details $75K worth of nonexistent items vanishes as a closed claim.

Because the relationship between adjuster and contractor is confidential, they can accomplish all sorts of tricks with no oversight. It is as if the relationship is sacrosanct. It is because of the nature of the relationship that Stiles and Paglia have likely done this job of work several times over the last 16 years. I know I am not the only victim, but I may be the only one to have realized what was happening and alerted one agency when the estimated 6 months of being out of my home was exceeded. Had to stick it out to the bitter end to really see what was going on. I am 7 months past the time I should have been talking about this, but it is only now that I am receiving paperwork from the Assessor’s Office and Safeco regarding premium renewal that I can see, clearly, how Stiles pencilwhipped me and my complaints out of existence.

My home is smaller and there are many things wrong with it that will necessitate tearing this mess down and starting again, this time with the proper documentation and proper procedures followed. Now, there is an investigation into fake inspections because not one building permit exists for this horribly rebuilt house. No building permits, no warrantys, no invoices, no receipts, except for fabricated ones. Nor were there supposed to be any. It was supposed to look as if Protech was only recently hired on to correct errors for which some other contractor was responsible.

I have 6 estimates for the same job. None of the final numbers match. I was asking for the return of the $80K Safeco paid Protech on my birthday, but I realized I must ask for much more because there is so much that must be corrected and paid for.

I entered into this contract in good faith, and have been treated nothing but badly. I am looking for justice for all of us who have been duped by these scoundrels.