I have the Right to have a Right to have the Right

I like to think of myself as a compassionate man but compassion
is difficult when one considers the damage people do on purpose.

How do we find compassion for people who, riven with envy, lie without hesitation, damage reputations, and steal the hard work of other people?

How do we find compassion for people who abuse their power, who insinuate themselves into the lives of others to control them and who take without giving back?

How does one forgive years of abuse from an alcoholic parent?

How does one forgive a friend who plays mind games designed to make you doubt yourself, who projects their failings onto you and who malignantly smears you to your friends and colleagues.

Trust is essential to effective communication and to the work of forging a working social contract.

Here is a brief list of behaviors I consider unforgivable:

Slander; especially hurtful gossip; when you maliciously smear the reputations of decent people you lose the right to respect and compassion.

Users; these are people who treat the generosity and resources of other people as if they are their due.

Emotional Abuse: it is unforgivable to target the weaknesses of
others for abuse.

Any intentional act or decision that results in the death of
a child.

Any intentional behavior that meets the definition of torture.

Blatant and intentional hypocrisy.

Any abuse of power that limits the resources and opportunities of
our children, our elderly and our disabled.

Any use of the Federal Government to empower racists.

Treason and collusion with treason.

How do we find compassion for the unforgivable?

Take away my family,
Take away the right to speak
Take away my point of view,
Take away my right to choose

(c) Rob Goldstein 2015-2017




…And I think It’s Going to Rain Today…

I saw my first homeless person in December 1981,  35 years ago.

I shot this video on Thursday, December 15, 2016.

View at full screen, if you can.

Most people consider a sight an elderly man shoving a cart of wet
belongings in a drenching rain normal.

They want to live like this, we say.

The State Hospitals were so much worse, we say.

It’s too expensive to fix, we say.

Think of all the lies we have to tell ourselves
to make the daily sight of human suffering
seem normal.

Then remember that all of it is the result of our vote.

Tin can at my feet
Think I’ll kick it down the street
That’s the way to treat a friend

The video is made from photographs of San Francisco’s mentally ill
homeless between 2012 and 2015.

“I Think it’s Going to Rain Today”
Song by Judy Collins
Lyrics by Randy Newman

62 Seconds of Soul Murder in San Francisco

Homelsss people leave messages of anguish on the walls of alleys.
Homeless people write on the walls of the alleys in which they sleep.

This November, San Franciscans will vote on a proposition to ban
homeless encampments and to allow police officers to remove
the people and their possessions within 24 hours.

Proposition Q.

The Tent encampments are new.

The homeless used to sleep in doorways.

The tents are provided by nonprofits like Tents-4-Homeless.

Plenty of mentally ill people still sleep in doorways because they’re
too too disorganized or depressed to care.

Surely, the sight of homeless tent encampments against the backdrop
of one of the wealthiest cities in the United States is a vivid example
of the corrupt squalor of our wealthy elites.

“There is “illegal activity of every type” occurring in the encampments and “this
should not be allowed in any civilized city.” 
Jim Lazarus of the San Francisco
Chamber of Commerce

A hospital tossing the sick and disabled onto the street is legal, you see.

My solution is to fully fund mental health, restore the option for long-term in-patient
treatment to the mental health system, and revise commitment laws to make it easier
for families to get their loved ones into treatment.

Jim Lazarus went on to say that The City should, “put people into shelter  by our standards
of humane treatment and not the standards that the homeless people may want us to abide by.”
San Francisco Examiner

I don’t know what to make of that statement, I’ll let you decide.

The term Soul Murder describes the effects of child abuse.

I define Soul Murder as the willful hurting of people who are helpless and
relatively innocent.

Soul Murder is always an abuse of power.

It’s all too easy to imagine that the Third Reich was a bizarre aberration, a kind of mass insanity instigated by a small group of deranged ideologues who conspired to seize political power and bend a nation to their will. Alternatively, it’s tempting to imagine that the Germans were (or are) a uniquely cruel and bloodthirsty people. But these diagnoses are dangerously wrong. What’s most disturbing about the Nazi phenomenon is not that the Nazis were madmen or monsters. It’s that they were ordinary human beings.  Less Than  Human, The Psychology of Cruelty

A man at a muni stop at Church and Market Street in San Francisco, Califiornia
A patient recently discharged from a hospital to the Street.
I took a walk to my dentist last Thursday.

My dentist is over on Powell and Sutter Street.

I chose to walk along Market Street.

My Walk to the dentist takes about thirty minutes.

Below is 62 seconds of that walk,.

5 chance encounters with people whose public suffering is palpable
and unnecessary.

I’ve arranged these short videos in order in which they were made.

62 seconds of random soul murders in one short walk in San Francisco.

San Francisco’s wealthy property owners want to banish their sins:
these victims of forty years of tax cuts and privatized medical greed.

But our sins are the sins of our nation.

We know what we have to do…but we choose instead to dehumanize
and scapegoat the  victims.

I’m not a wealthy man.

I don’t travel by limo and plane.

When people have no where to
piss but the street

I have to smell it.

I’m not a wealthy man, I can’t
shit where I eat and jet to the
illusion of a cleaner place at
the table.


A homeless man asleep on Dolores street
A man sleeps on bare concrete on Dolores Street


All Content (c) Rob Goldstein  2016




Mother, You Need Shoes

Mother, You Need Shoes


I would not have noticed her had our subway car not cleared of people
at Lexington Avenue.

She wore a tattered stocking cap.

She removed it and stuffed it into her jacket.

She held a grimy white bag between her legs.

She reached into it and pulled out half a doughnut.

That was when I noticed her shoes.

The uppers had split from the soles; she wrapped
her feet in newspaper and rags.

I thought, Mother, you need shoes.

I wondered if forty dollars would do.

I looked up and watched her untangle a lock of matted grey hair.

She reached into her bag and found a bobby pin.

She styled the loosened lock of hair into a bun

I had forty dollars.

But it was for vitamins; specifically, anti-oxidants.

My body is rusting faster than a wet Ford.

The crows feet around my eyes whispered: erase us; your happiness
is our absence.

I examined the old woman’s cracked and broken shoes; they
were useless for January in New York.

She closed her eyes, ready to savor a long warm ride.

Maybe she lives in the subway!

Like those people in Dark Days.

If she never leaves the subway she doesn’t need new shoes!

My crow’s-feet said yes!

But that can’t be right, I thought; an old woman, alone, with
nothing but a stale doughnut for dinner.

I felt myself stand and watched as I took two twenties out of my wallet.

Then I knelt and said, “Mother, you need shoes.”

She smiled at me and nodded in agreement.

“Will forty dollars do?”

“Yes,” she said, “God bless you.”

I smiled and returned to my seat, and listened as my crow’s-feet maliciously threatened to spread.


Rob Goldstein (c) 2014-2017 All Rights Reserved