Up the Hershey Highway again

If Jimmy Carter had nominated Rachel Levine for a cabinet office, Joe Biden would have spent the month fuming, verbatim, about “the trannies.” I don’t see why he isn’t talking like that in private this month, assuming he’s verbal (and that’s assuming a lot!) That’s exactly the crudity of thought that got Levine nominated in the first place.”C’mon, man, I’ve got a Negress, a bunch a’ other broads, a faggot, and a transvestite! Gimme a break, Jack!”

There’s no political strategy to Levine’s nomination. There’s a narrow technical argument to be made that it shores up the support or enthusiasm of cultural liberals, but that’s a risky strategy. Trans rights are politically fraught, to say the least, in case anyone was puzzled by the spate of mishaps at “gender reveal” parties (#TeshTips: The noun, possibly mentioned in the Bible, is “revelation”), and voters who find ladyboy idpol inspiring are all Blue No Matter Who cult freaks. “How can we alienate the most swing voters by pandering to the narrowest, most marginal, most controversial part of our coalition?” It’s certainly a question Democrats ask, and yes, I wish I meant that sarcastically.

Biden, or Harris, nominated Levine for even coarser, seedier reasons. It’s an inept, offensive gambit to keep the coalition’s unruly leftists in line. Geez Louise, Jack, we gotcha your he-she, Mack! Voting against the presidency responsible for this nightmare would be bigotry. Huh. Am I allowed to be bigoted against a person because I’ve personally met shit and had a bad personal experience with shit? What I’m saying is, I refused to darken that freak’s exam room a second time back when she was still Richard. I have higher priorities than what the nomination to high federal office of the worst physician who has ever examined me means for trans rights or representation in government. That’s a case of whoa, she should NOT be in medicine, and she needs to be banished down out of medicine, not up into a position of official authority over it.

We hear a great deal these days about “qualifications,” always in a bogus credentialist sense meant to subvert the plain, expressly narrow constitutional qualifications for office. Rachel Levine is old enough and American enough for an assistant cabinet post. So am I, and I’m more fit. I’d consider the office a burden requiring me to live up to great, solemn duties of public trust. Levine is trying to get herself Peter Principled, and I know she never meant to have one, up out of an equivalent state-level position in which she got hundreds of medically fragile constituents killed just last calendar year. What assholes who bitch about the “qualified” versus the “unqualified” mean by the former is 1) having jumped through professional hoops, in a manner prioritizing outcome over process if there’s any conflict between the two, and 2) being politically agreeable. The honorable thing for them to do would be to focus on political agreeability, which is their actual aim, and shut up about “qualifications” as a synonum for fitness for office, since they’d never tolerate a callous freak like Levine if they actually cared about fitness. I don’t expect them to do anything of the sort, of course. They’re thoroughly dishonorable.

What I don’t entirely understand is why Tom Wolf, who seems overly idealistic but sensible, ever elevated that freakish dipshit to appointed statewide office. For all I know it may have been blackmail. Damned if I can say blackmail of whom, but hot diggity, Denny, we can take the plausibility of this one straight to the mat, way down low. Is #FOOTBALL also heterosexual, like wrestling? I ran cross country in high school, back when I still lived in Pennsylvania. The first mile was always easier.

#WeAre! #TooSoon! Wolf was probably just being a bleeding heart. It’s also all too plausible that he was prevailed upon to remove Levine from full-time clinical duties at Hershey. There’s always a benefit to removing a case of that extremity from medical practice. Elevation to a directorship of public health is a terrible way to do it, but it doesn’t eliminate what Mainers call the relative benefits. Instead of practicing medicine all the time, she was practicing medicine some of the time, or maybe just instructing unfortunate medical students, and spending the rest of the time either fucking off for a living or telling other doctors what to do.

In a more functional society, public office would have served Levine, and crucially the public, as a veal pen. Fatten up, moo a little bit, just don’t wander out here and bother us while we’re trying to work. Instead she meddled catastrophically in the Covid response and got constituent’s her mother’s age killed en masse in nursing homes. Did she leave her mother in the home? Hell no. She got Mom the hell out of that dump to save her life.

But that’s just one bad officer holding one office in one state out of fifty and one commonwealth out of four. Between the states and the territories, there were dozens of people the Biden Administration could have chosen over Levine from exactly the equivalent offices. There were hundreds upon hundreds of state cabinet officers they could have chosen.

Levine was Wolf’s problem. She’s not a problem I’d want to have, but I haven’t voted in Pennsylvania in over a decade. Now she’s up for confirmation to a federal cabinet office. Goddammit she is my problem after all. Son of a bitch. Why in all hell did they have to No Peter Priciple her into HHS?

Oh yeah. Shit. They have to keep the voters they’re ratfucking in line to reward them for committing serial abuse. Don’t dwell on how we’re betraying you every bit as badly as you feared when you voted for us; think about the diversity of our cabinet, trannies and all.

I don’t think it’ll work. It’s a perfect setup for a whopping Bradley Effect in 2022 and 2024. Levine is arguably the most fucked up person they could have elevated out of an organization that has also recently harbored Our Lord Joseph, His Servants Gerald and Graham, a child psychiatrist who was caught with child pornography on his office computer as part of his unapproved “study,” and another psychiatrist who got his card yanked by the medical board for marrying his patient. Don’t worry; the only one who summarily fired was the Boer spook, and he promptly washed up on the shores of the Beltway.

Seriously, nobody’s gonna fucking vote for that shit if they keep refusing to deliver. Levine will be either irrelevant or notorious. They expect to bully and shame us all into keeping both Democratic caucuses in the majority and Kamala Harris in the White House. Let’s face it: Biden isn’t even the president now lmao. He’s the titular president, and he pipes up with suggestions from time to time. Harris can obviously run circles around that skull full of cream of wheat. Of course, they’re gonna all be like, hey, look! A faggot! A tranny! A colored gal! I paraphrase. Ordinary voters will be disgusted that they all had to be dragged out of the uncanny valley. NPR caters to the hardly overpowering faction of well-to-do voters who can stand to listen to woke idpol shit. It catches some downwardly mobile ascribed bougies and some social climbers, too, but if the economy doesn’t turn around come the midterms–and I mean the whole real economy, including everything involving money, like healthcare and schooling–they’ll lose the last of their patience and help hose the Democratic Party off the Hill.

Joe Biden is a bigoted asshole who decided to start bringing freaks and phonies into his orbit for use as tokens, in the disgraceful hope of distracting the public from his rotten misgovernment. He’d still be fuming about forced bussing if that were still where he saw the clout. It’s considered unfit for polite company these days, so he doesn’t. It’s off-brand for a man of “empathy” and “decency,” i.e., still what he believes as a reactive thug who challenges other men to fistfights for asking him policy questions and feels up their wives. He still says the same kind of shit on hot mics that he was saying on the Senate Floor before I was born, just sometimes with less coherence.

He isn’t plainspoken; he’s a foultempered bigot, always on the lookout for a chance to punch down. He’s still racist as hell. That’s how he got to spend eight years as the lieutenant for a fellow white supremacist, the man whose office he now holds, if he’s able to hold anything for ten seconds. Joe Biden is Richard Nixon, but less gracious, less liberal, and less intelligent.

That’s the fucking thing. All a politician has to do to convince our retarded Washington press corps that he’s “working-class” is use some shit-tier folksy syntax. Those are supposed to be some of the keenest political minds in a country of over three hundred million, and all it takes to hoodwink them is to very crudely play against type. Tricky Dick, who was painfully aware of his own modest blue-collar upbringing, made a point of speaking in full, coherent, grammatically correct sentences. LBJ, the Texas-bred graduate of a normal school, took the same approach. Sonny Bush, a legacy Yalie and legacy president from the summering set, headfaked a nation of goobers with strings of downhome gibberish: food on your family, power to power the power of the generating plants, other shit the scrambled likes of which he definitively did not say in private. Trump, too, was less lucid in public than in private, although it takes true oratorical skill, including mental organization, to say some of the outrageous things he said and loop back onto topic from ridiculous streams of consciousness. Our presidents have been good Toastmasters, crummy Toastmasters, great Toastmasters, horrible Toastmasters. Woodrow Wilson’s PhD was neither from MIT nor from a crummy college. Yes, Virginia, there were racists in New Jersey back then, too.

Biden is granted “working-class” and “blue-collar” street cred for making utterances ranging from the rude to the abusive to the belligerent in a moderately rough Mid-Atlantic accent. It works because he does it for other worse-than-useless mandarins. It isn’t for the working class; it’s for affluent and rich twerps who have never socialized with anyone from the working class. Some of the most urbane people I’ve ever known come from genuinely working-class upbringings. One of them is the son of a Pittsburgh steelworker. Inweaved in the Extensive, whose parents owned “a goddamn steel mill” (a different one, I’d hope), had the son of a shop steward for the mail carrier’s local in Scranton editing his term papers. This wasn’t the smart leading the dumb so much as the exasperated brilliant trying to teach the intelligent to write English as well as they spoke it.

Any of them are enough to convince me that Funny Uncle Joe’s shtick is lame. He’s a salesman’s son who’s spent his career trying to convince idiots that he’s somehow not a lawyer by using obnoxiously meaningless sales talk sprinkled with half-coherent legalese. He was never blue-collar, and his father was never blue-collar. It’s some bullshit his handlers helped him make up, same as the “decency” and “empathy” of a dotard too senile to reliably walk in the right direction for twenty yards who was going to “hit the ground running” upon his inauguration.

None of this horseshit points to anything he’s ever actually done, other than being buddies with some Amtrak conductors. He’s a total phony.

We’re entirely right to resent First State Skull Pudding and everyone around him with a passion. They’re fully qualified for public office. So is the morbidly obese Plymouth-Whitemarsh community trust retard I once met, the one who told me about how he’d chat up the teenyboppers guarding the pool at his apartment complex: “So I go up to them, and I say, hey, sweetheart. What’s your name? Where do you live?” We’re absolutely right to resent anyone who confuses qualification for office with fitness as a way to buffalo ideological opponents out of the way. That retard wasn’t fit to be undersecretary of health, either. To his credit, though, he never tried to practice medicine.

Yes, Rachel Levine is qualified for cabinet appointment. She’s a US citizen of constitutionally sufficient age who has not been adjudicated liable to ask the lifeguard where she lives. Actually, that’s exactly how clumsy Levine was when he examined me. By the way, she looked worse as a man. You /sagest Dril voice/ do not gotta hand it to Kenneth Fitzhugh for murdering his wife, or for being normal, but you do for looking all right. Charles Cullen was never sexy enough for an Indiana license, either.

Again, that does not mean Levine has any business anywhere near public office. Do they even fucking vet these assholes? Gee, let’s check with her last employer and, well, shucks, that isn’t what we were hoping to find. Instead, Jen Psaki is up there smugly noting that Janet Yellen is a woman, not a crook. For God’s sake Stephanie Lazarus is a Jewess, too, but I don’t think many of us would be complaining about her conflicts of interest if she were appointed director of the National Endowment for the Arts. Also she’s killed fewer people.

That’s the quality of leadership that gets coughed up in our meritocracy. No, not Steph; it’s a miracle she didn’t make RHD in time to investigate herself. And not the creepy silver foxes or the fat retard, either. I mean the rest of them. They’re awful. Meritocracy that slow guy’s ass, and mine, too. They do not merit our respect. They merit our scorn and fury.

Messing with Texas

Yankee shitlibs refuse to confront the ugly truth that the gross misgovernment of the South mainly harms Southerners, most especially poor Southerners. It’s probablly because they’re racists. This evil country has been building common cause between Confederate brutes and Union appeasers since Appomattox. Charles Sumner got his insolent white ass caned on the Senate floor for refusing to accommodate his fellow cuntrymen, a misspelling he would wholeheartedly agree is not one. Some of speak more deeply in the Vulgate than others, some of the time. The good old classists–goodness, classicists–of the Good Old South were, as Sumner provocatively pointed out, Daniel Holtzclaw, just prissier. That was enough for Preston Brooks, Southern Gentleman, to forcibly get Charlie off his political bullshit. #CHAHLEE!

True Song of the South: I had the pleasure and honor, in my troubled youth, of briefly getting to know Mr. Charles and his owners. Mr. Charles was a nice pussy. They lived in a bed and breakfast outside Luray. Good folks, of all breeds. Mr. Charles was far from the worst Southern Ginger. Any of you fools read about the characters who founded this nation? My parents were taking me to a summer camp between Harrisonburg and New Market. Mr. Charles had his shit way more together than my modal peer or chaperone at camp. That outfit put the loco into the parentis indeed.

These days I’m much less troubled on my trips to Virginny, new, old, and dead. I’m talking about trips where I do shit like break down in tears in an easily bent-out-of-shape Marylander’s arms when we see each other for the first time in fifteen years and she asks me how I’m doing. “I keep thinking I see her.” All alma sane, y’all, is, some of us are less fucked up than we used to be. Take courage! Take comfort! In a world when so many things regress, some nerds advance!

Huh. We’re recycling our #content again. But ask: How much is there that is new under the harsh Texas sun? The ugliest members of the gentry are still grievously torturing their socioeconomic, and hence racial, inferiors. It remains the official policy. The scions of old-line Jeffersonian families do it because it’s what their families have always done. Canadian immigrants and other arrivistes in the Jacksonian mold do it because it’s what the Jeffersonian master class has done since time immemorial. We’re examining here the examples the American Adams of their diseased culture set in their own lives, not the ideals they proclaimed. That’s some perverse phrasing I used, but it’s not like we just started deploying seedy political accusations of treason and incest.

To plunge into the truly odd, our recently departed Oaf of Office, a man of publicly avowed incestuous interest in his own daughter, is consistently accused only of treason, which there is absolutely no evidence he ever committed. Did he get entanged in foreign rivalries, against the sage advice of our wiser framers and in the immediately recognizable fashion of every predecessor holding his office in his lifetime, as well as that of multiple framers of the United States Constitution? You betcha. Was whatever he thought he was trying to accomplish in the Russia and the Ukraine treasonous? Good God, y’all. “Woody Allen adopted that girl? Okay, but he’s Julius Rosenberg.” Come again? Dafuq?

The Russia obsession is the psychotic political equivalent of Ella Emhoff’s style of dress. That bird of prey goth bullshit is itself an updated version of the extant tradition of dressing up in starched shirts and neckties as a sign of one’s transcendence of physical labor. We’re encouraged to believe she does that to shock the bourgeoisie. Huh uh; homegirl is doing that to BE the bourgeoisie. The smartly dressed black bum on the San Diego Trolley who told his Goodwill muumuu-class white girlfriend “I can’t afford to go to the bank no more” dressed respectably because he couldn’t afford to go to the social capital bank no more neither.

John Regan would probably argue this is why we maintain monarchies. I take a different stance. This is why we mock monarchies. This is why we mercilessly mock all who butt in with aristocratic or monarchical pretensions. Go back to Canada and take that fancy-pants imperial condescension with you. “Oh. Which Canadian?” Yeah, that’s the fucking problem. We’ve got one in the fucking White House and still have one in the Senate. I’m afraid we can identify Regan as one of the good ones because he fled for Canada, not from it. They can’t all be Chad Kroeger or the Mentionable Justin. If I was them, would I let me in, like they did Dziekanski? I’d like to think so, but honestly, I’m interested in the backchannels–ironically by surf and turf, not sky–more than I am tempted.

Many of us, then, are stuck here. Do I sound like the kind of Cancunt who gets into Congress? Guadalajara? Oh no. Volaris is the Greyhound Airborne. Let’s see if there’s some room on the business standby list for Houston. Well shit, in that case maybe there’s a couple cops waiting for me back home, at the airport.

Bitch you could fly to Calgary instead, eh?

Rafael Edward’s Mexican Adventure is, in strictly technical terms, a distraction from the catastrophic failure of ERCOT and many of Texas’s municipal water supplies under the onslaught of a cold snap that was accurately forecast days in advance. That said, it’s of a piece with Ted Cruz’s decision to fuck off to Mexico during a statewide crisis, blame his minor daughters for making him abandon his constituents, and telling a press scrum at the Cancun Airport that he was flying home to roll up his sleeves and work on the grid. Cruz wore a Lone Star Flag mask for his airport press conference. He literally, bodily justified himself from behind the cover of his state’s flag.

Don’t mess with what now? Who dat living on the Gulf of Mexico and vacationing down at a different part of it to get out of the cold? Cruz’s block got priority grid service at a time when his constituents were on the verge of dying of thirst, dozens of them as a preliminary estimate had already died of exposure or carbon monoxide poisoning, and he and his family had fled out of country, not just out of town.

Everything they say happens to political cultures and supply lines in communist countries just happened in Texas, on an even worse extreme and grander scale. Indigent Texans are lining up for bottled water at drive-through delivery points. Will Rogers thought it was absurd that America went to the poor house in the automobile. That’s how we, as a country, are going to the soup kitchen and the open call for fucking water rations. It’s an astoundingy dystopian work of science fiction, and the citizens of a hypermilitarized police state, the subjects of the sole remaining global imperial superpower, are living in it. That’s our real life.

Fuck off about bitch-ass Russia. That joint at least seems to more or less work. The Gulag was a chronic atrocity, nothing to dismiss or justify, but it was never the fault or immediate business of the United States. It was a Soviet atrocity. Americans were right to denounce it in its day. But the United States is currently operating its own Gulag archipelago. It’s committing many of the same atrocities against its own prisoners, many of whom it incarcerates for political reasons. This is what America is doing to its own people today, as I write and you read. Our prisons deny their inmates food or serve them food that is unwholesome and barely edible. They deny their inmates clean facilities and clean water. This week, Texas prisons have been denying their inmates water, period, denying them heat, and even denying them blankets.

It’s controversial to say that the United States is a nation founded and run on genocide. Maybe we should think about something less unpleasant, something less recent. Mercy, O’Hara.

Mercy, Mr. Charles.

Most politicians, even the psychopaths, are keenly aware of how important it is to show empathy. The psychopaths among them at least try to mimic empathy to an extent that they figure will fool the rubes. This is exactly why there’s such a concerted campaign to praise Joe Biden for his “empathy” and “decency,” and Kamala Harris for her “warmth.” It’s a sickening effort to rehabilitate two armchair thugs who have devoted their careers to doing evil and continue, to this day, to deliberately do evil. The point of this campaign is to gaslight genuine liberals who voted for Biden and Harris in ambivalent but desperate hope that they’d be better than Trump. This same jumble of bullshit and lies is also good for writing the story of American politics from scratch on the blank slate of the low-information voter’s mind and reassuring illiberal propertied Wilson-Deukmejian Republicans who believe in life without parole much more than life with it that they’re in fact good bleeding-heart liberals.

The message is Message I Care. Poppy Bush was a psychopath pandering to the worst angels of the American electorate’s nature, but geez, they make a federal case out of it if you’re walking around the shanty in Kennybunkport in your plaid PJ’s at three in the afternoon just because you’ve got a case of the sniffles, so geez, Argentina, go cry for that papist collaborator fellow Bergoglio instead or something, and let me know how pork bellies are doing on the Exchange before I’m all out of rinds.

The point of this shtick is to bamboozle the public. They’re eager to minimize the cohort of dissidents openly wondering why that goody-two-shoes piece of shit spends so much time Downeast and never goes riding with Teddy. The gambit worked with the Bushes because their elders and family retainers teach them from birth the need to maintain the false front of noblesse oblige. The false modesty of WASP shabby chic is a way to avoid rubbing it in for the losers. They won’t vote for you if you flaunt it too much, kid. Behave yourself. Keep the guillotine memes directed at someone else, some idiot and fool who doesn’t know what’s best for him.

Ted Cruz’s message is What, Me Care? Message I Don’t lol sucka. The free press is eternally vigilant, always on the lookout for an easy dunk. The public enjoys an easy dunk and is increasingly furious with its officials. A savvy, refined politician knows this. The Bushes all try to act like they care. It isn’t just an old money thing, either: Marco Rubio and John Kasich try to show some fucking modesty, too.

Cruz is too arrogant to try to show any fellow feeling with his constituents. He’s too shameless. He doesn’t have it in himself even to make an insincere show of gratitude for having a lavishly compensated six-year contract for a position of public trust ostensibly requiring part-time hours but subject to no meaningful attendance or performance standards. He doesn’t have it in him to act like he’s got a good gig and is lucky to have it. He shows no interest even in pretending to want to repay the trust the public has placed in him. He flew back early from Cancun because he got caught. He put his name on the fucking upgrade standby list.

Cruz won’t resign for being so self-serving and irresponsible in the face of an arguably unprecedented crisis, the way the asshole mayor of Colorado City did after lashing out at his constituents on Facebook with a tirade about how he and the rest of the government didn’t own them a damn thing. That guy was a two-bit local yokel, used to doing whatever bad deeds he felt moved to do in obscurity, slithering around in the muddy dark. He must have been taken aback to get pushback for blaming his constituents when they begged for help during the infrastructural crisis of their lives. Cruz is used to the limelight and the savagery that comes with it. He’s used to being not just hated but one of the most hated members of the Senate. His colleagues can’t stand him or Mitch McConnell. By some accounts they have more patience with McConnell.

Scumbags whose understanding of communism is members of the Nomenklatura fleeing to their dachas on the Black Sea while ordinary Russians living in shabby housing estates wait in bread lines all day are here to tell us all about how their tropical vacations in the thick of a deadly breakdown of civiliation were perhaps ill-advised in hindsight, but privatized utilities issuing $200k household electric bills because they felt like market-surging the costs of energy they just barely delivered, when they delivered it at all, onto their ratepayers. This is capitalism, bitch. This is the free market. This is what we must defend against imperial interference from our own federal government, no matter the hardship.

ERCOT’s executives have been quick to accept blame–not all, but some–for their failures. They must be horrified by how badly they got caught off guard. It’s an unfortunate name, ERCOT. Watch your gonsonants; you good gadge a gase of id. The truly embarrassing part is the R. It stands for reliability.

Oops.

There’s a reason for their relative accountability. Independent system operators are run by people with extensive, granular technical knowledge. They’re forced to work in the real world, and deeply so. ISO’s attract people who take intense pride in their work. They literally keep the lights on. They’re embarrassed when they don’t. In episodes as dire as what just ravaged Texas, they’re powerfully alarmed.

Rick Perry is able to mouth off about the honor of enduring hardship for the sake of the continued independence of an electrical grid that just catastrophically failed because he suffers little hardship from the failure of public utilities and he socializes exclusively with peers who suffer little hardship. The cognitive dissonance doesn’t register with him because he casually, instinctively dehumanizes fellow Texans who do not live on properties with industrial-grade home generators. It helps to think they deserve hardship for being losers, and therefore of low character, but people of his class, even people I’ve known who are merely upper middle class and have a chip on their shoulder about somehow living in precarity and having to fight to kill what they eat, fundamentally conceive of “people” or “Americans” or “New Yorkers” or whatever else they find resonant as themselves and their class peers. “My Uber tonight was a sweetheart!”, that kind of thing. If she lives in her car and parks for the night at the hopelessly overcrowded rest area on the hill above Vallejo, she won’t breathe a word about it.

Rick Perry is a few stations up the line from there. He doesn’t understand what it’s like to live in a normal house. When his ilk arrogantly issue grandiose pronouncements about “Texas” or “Texans,” they’re pontificating about nothing of the sort. It’s Trolley Time with Uncle Fred. Everybody in Thailand has a servant. They need the servant to drive the family elephant. It’s awful when the family elephant has to go to the vet and they have to cross Bangkok on the elephant bus to their jobs as their servants’ servants

I’m fuller of shit than the elephant’s ass right now: the servants are not part of “everybody.” Duh. They’re excluded. They’re the underclass the law binds but does not protect, bound to their due station to serve the overclass which the law protects but does not bind. It’s no coincidence that rich, cosmopolitan parts of the United States are hardening into caste societies, in ways that overlap with race but in no way entirely map onto it. It’s no coincidence that famously liberal Santa Monica is ever more infested with property owners who foam at the mouth with fascist rage, good Democrats who privately concede that Stephen Miller has some good points but they don’t want him clamping down too hard on the beaner supply lines that keep them in gardeners and maids.

When Rick Perry blusters on behalf of “Texans,” he excludes the vast majority of every major Texas city, with the possible but unlikely exception of Fort Worth. That’s the most generous possible description. He’s actually excluding damn near the whole fucking state. The simultaneous, nearly statewide failure of electrical, water, and natural gas supply lines during and on account of an extreme cold snap is an entirely different beast from differences of regulatory philosophy or practical day-to-day engagement between the state and federal governments. The Texas state government allowed electric and gas utilities to decline to weatherize their key facilities in the interest of short-term investor profits. This was the regulatory regime AFTER a similar but milder cold snap in 2011 caused widespread power failures.

Working stiffs will not stand for this shit, in the name of Texas or in the name of anything else. The mythical hardscrabble pioneer stock the likes of Rick Perry claims to represent in fact exist. In parts of the state they’re prevalent. They’re mythical in the sense that their hardiness and prevalence is somewhat exaggerated for lyrical effect. If they supported the separation of the ERCOT grid from neighboring megagrids, it was to make it easier for the people running the system on the ground to keep it affordable and reliable. That kind of thinking isn’t just belligerently ideological. The continental-scale cascading failures precipitating the 2003 Northeast Blackout were a consequence of ill-designed and ill-managed interconnectivity on a continental scale. That blackout was truly nightmarish. My parents and I were lucky enough to be visiting family and friends in Oregon when the grid failed and to have booked ourselves on a return flight that arrived after the grid was back online in our part of Pennsylvania. If ERCOT were tied into any of the megagrids in the same haphazard, brittle fashion as the regional ISO’s are tied into one another within the megagrids, the results could be calamitous.

The North American electrical grid is designed, constructed, and operated for shit. ERCOT is not uniquely dysfunctional. The current (heh) blackouts were exacerbated by inadequate interties to neighboring ISO’s. In this instance, ERCOT’s unusual regionalization and operational separation from neighboring systems inhibited its capacity to import power from outside and then distributed it internally. In the event of a big sectoral blackout on the scale of 2003, ERCOT’s independence might well keep most of Texas fully powered.

Again, this shit isn’t about Texas. Exploitative bad actors in public office and corporate marketing departments want to make it about Texas. They want to make it about their lies about renewables failing during the blackouts to distract from the failures of deliberately unwinterized fossil fuel infrastructure. It’s about calculated disinvestment in already vulnerable and poorly maintained public utilities.

In a word, it’s about looting. Vulture investors get corrupt governments to give them the license to loot. They encourage them to gouge ratepayers, strip company assets, effectively embezzle capital on hand, and make a shambles of what they’ve been chartered to run. Texas is one of the states whose governments they’ve most thoroughly corrupted, and hence one whose citizens they’ve most thoroughly beggared. It isn’t because Texas is Republican. They pull the same shit in Democratic states. I’m due to pay PG&E $150 this week. I have no control over the stewardship of my utility payments. I have no control over how much of it goes to infrastructural improvements versus administrative costs versus embezzlement. About a third of it is going to Sonoma Clean Power. Do I have any goddamn way to direct that cut, or to know what the hell they’re doing with it? Of course not. It’s probably more transparent than PG&E, but for all I know it may be a huge pile of bullshit, and if it is, that’s a low-priority agenda item on the civic triage chart.

Yeah, we’ve got a lot of smug Californians–PG&E ratepayers, no less–shrieking about the absolute awfulness of Trump and the Republican Party and the states they win, rather than taking the beam from their own eye. Greg Abbott would probably find a way to make PG&E even worse, but that’s no excuse for blaming ordinary Texans. For the love of God cut that shit out. They don’t deserve to suffer because they vote Republican. They don’t deserve to suffer because their states voted Republican.

The demographic breakdown of the latter might skew darker and poorer than Mark West, but I can’t White see how.

Covid and me, but enough about Covid

Some overly earnest Marin ditz went on Forum to warn Krasny and the whole crew (failspawn represent) that, while the Rona lockdowns may be provoking mental health problems in our children and suicide and so forth and so on, “they will never be able to live with themselves,” I think it was, with the knowledge that they may have killed their family elders because they just had to return prematurely to their brick-and-mortar schools. I don’t know for a fact that she was from Marin, but she was totally from Marin, in the same way that little Sierra will definitely feel intense permanent guilt for the statistical possibility that she will hypothetically kill Grandma at a time when the entire general public is also liable to accidentally kill Grandma if we insist on being so selfish as to send her back to a socially engaging institutional environment that has historically kept her from being acutely suicidal on a daily basis.

This comment offers much too consider,,, about Hellth. Our children will, by that scold’s reckoning, definitively and inexorably feel lifelong guilt for harm that they will subjunctively cause by a combination of unknowable, uncontrollable variables and random chance. We need to spare them this inevitable possible psychic harm for their inevitable possible reckless child and adolescent behaviors.

Forum is a forum for many, not just one, to air their morning Perspectives. Mine is that Michael Krasny was too unbiased before that piece of work and would have done better, civically if not conversationally, to cut her off midsentence and change the subject. This is why I have parasocial relationships with the characters who are actually at the controls. Michael State gets paid to monitor his one o’clock rebroadcast of Shitty Arts and Lectures. Am I dropping a check in that collection plate? Not as long as Amazon is! Sure, there’s value in respecting other people’s opinions, in listening respectfully and all that shit, but these are curated conversations, discreetly but to good effects knowable only to those who go to the back of the house to watch the sausage being made in real time. They have producers at the phones to screen out (or, in Rush Limbaugh’s case, screen in) the real nutter butters and abrasives. The producers must have thought that woman had a reasonable Perspective.

The guilt she was promising our troubled young for not hermetically sealing themselves off from the world is conditioned. It’s the result of neurotic, obsessively micromanaging adult authority figures putting chronic pressure on the children in their lives to conform to unreasonable strictures. This pressure commonly crosses the threshold of emotional abuse. Telling children that they’re risking their grandparents’ lives by visiting friends is alarming and distressing. Adults should have an utterly compelling, easily explained reason to dare say such a thing to a child, or even about a child. Otherwise they would never get over the guilt of having distressed the least of these. Right? I heard it on me State Radio.

Different State, alas. Good morning, it’s whine o’clock.

It’s a Brahmin Thing. Why else would I listen to it? That’s quite a way to disappoint Mom and Dad. Traditionally, we pulled it off by not getting into Swarthmore and having to settle for a safety school, maybe one of the Claremonts. These days we’re doing it by killing Grandma. They always wanted us to stay in school. Now they need us to stay out of school. It seems like a reach to accuse us of such things, even as seniors, not mere freshmen.

Oh Lord I’m using words in sentences again, and I’m using them wrong. We’ve been over it before. There is, in fact, an appropriate way to use “reach” and “safety” in a sentence. That sentence is this: “It would have been a good idea for Robert Sanchez to reach for the emergency brake in the interest of passenger and crew safety.” Please. Do you imagine for a second that any of these assholes send their children to good schools? I don’t hear about them filling out applications for Ryerson or Trinity Western!

*Terminal Robert Dziekanski Voice* Must you always write these stories for the shock value? Hey, these are morbid cultural contexts, but they’re about chains of causation that can be traced. They are not prophecies of our young surely experiencing lifelong guilt and grief for possibly theoretically killing their elders with the plague. They’re manslaughter stories, not stories of some poor harried kid getting blamed for a death that may or may not have occurred and may or may not have been the poor young person’s fault. Like, maybe I’ll write some Stephanie Lazarus-series noir, or maybe I’ll write some stories about a cop feeling sad for being on the same bus as a guy who got shot that night.

Fuck. I just heard her on the rebroadcast. Ditz was from Oakland. “No child will ever get over the trauma of knowing that they….” possibly were responsible for possible deaths in their families. As I said above, it’s conditioned guilt. It assumes the most tragic possible means to the worst possible end, in this case in the confidently predicted subjunctve likely fact that the kids will possibly kill their statistically future dead family elders.

“I know it’s hard….” Yeah, social deprivation to the point of suicidality? You don’t say! That sounds like it might be a hardship! It sounds like something a society might want to limit by reintegrating children and adolescents with their peers! We have a growing body of evidence showing pervasive, acute, severe mental illness arising in minors during prolonged social isolation, in a correlation too strong for the isolation not to be causative–let’s be blunt: this is where common sense becomes science–but we can’t send the kids back to school, because if we let them interact with classmates they will statistically murder their grandparents and then feel bad about it.

Most Americans will agree that suicidality is usually a sign of an unsound mind. Many will say it always is. Most of the same Americans will also insist that suicide is a choice. It’s a choice made of free will with an unsound mind. This is horseshit normcore that persists mainly because it goes unchallenged. If the only reason people want to kill themselves is because they’re crazy, it’s illogical to expect them to mindset their own way back to mental health. This isn’t just a case of the down in the dumps. Come the fuck on. If we’re barring the door against assisted suicide for the lucid terminally ill, we’re out of our own minds to expect the acutely agitated to muster the clarity of mind to step back from the ledge as a matter of mindset discipline. We’ve already established that they’re incapable of exercising personal responsibility because they’re insane. Yes, the suicidal should have a better mindset and should try to cultivate one, but they fucking can’t. That’s why they’re suicidal. Sweet Christ on the Cross.

Ah, right, that’s capital punishment. That’s the good stuff we support, as a Christian Nation, doing to our prisoners what the Romans did to Jesus. This isn’t just an American problem; Constantine was pretty pre-American, a guy who would have been all like, dafuq is America, could you cut out the prophetic shit for five minutes. Christian support for the death penalty is an embarrassing example of what happens when a movement of oppressed imperial subjects is elevated into the religion of the imperial oppressors. Hence the paradox of functionally post-Christian countries in Europe abolishing the death penalty, recognizing that if it was a bad thing to do to Jesus it’s plainly a bad thing to do, while the world’s leading extant empire extols executions as godly, as an empire would if it had originally been confederated from colonies whose economies revolved around the discipline of chattel slaves with extra ad hoc Stations of the Cross.

What other passably mainstream strains of political thot blessed this new country? This part’s fun, too. The two other competing strains that stand out are crooks who had goons squat on waterfalls until they could have piss-poor workmen build factories (lately fictionalized for celebration in song) and tyrannical religious busybodies.

All we have to do to build ourselves a nightmare society is pick out some of the worst aspects of each of these models from the buffet of American civics. That there’s a plateful. It does something to explain why we have a woman calling in to a radio show all bent out of shape about how children are bringing upon themselves a lifetime of earthly damnation upon themselves for accidentally infecting their elders with a deadly contagion–as Yaakov Smirnoff says, conscience examines YOU!–in a country with some of the world’s most lavishly funded, overstaffed, ill-disciplined police forces and governments catering to heinous corporate shakedowns.

With any self-reflection as a society we’d be breathing down the necks of our prison, social services, and regulatory agencies to do absolutely everything in their power to stop the spread with voluntary measures individuals would be eager to take, like better occupational and residential conditions, and only THEN trying to figure out how much life-threatening emotional distress our children should sustain to keep their relatives alive. The positive test rates at San Quentin were through the fucking roof. What did we expect, though? Our prisons are crowded and unsanitary. They provide woefully deficient healthcare. No shit they’re incubators.

Empire always comes home, unless it crashes for the night with its mistress in El Cerrito.

These aren’t the only reasons why we’re blaming children for individually infecting and killing their families. To understand it, we must understand the culturing of narcissism via the self-esteem movement and its offshoots. Spare the lasch, spoil the mind. YOU are special. YOU can do anything. YOU can change the world. /Yaakov Smirnoff Voice/ In Post-Soviet America, anyone can do YOU!

Killing Granny would make for quite a change, huh.

What’s odd about this fixation on the child self in these circumstances is that the rest of the country is trying to kill her, too. Rona wants the Honored Citizenry dead. We are all its vessels; it, our master. Junior isn’t the only suspect in this case. There are other actors, JonBenet. Sweet baby girl there are other actors.

Many are grown-ups.

I ain’t sayin they act the part. Ever looked at our governments?

Grown-ass American adults are clueless about first-mover advantages and disadvantages. The children of overbearing helicopter parents are hopeless to reeducate themselves. The luckier ones may start the process in earnest sometime in adolescence; the unlucky never do. Not all fruit of the flying tiger can successfully launch.

The first-mover advantage for neurotics trying to protect their sick or, worse, hypochondriac loved ones is modest to nonexistent. Affluent families with living space to spare are detectably endangered by infected visitors; poor families living in crowded congregate homes are so endangered by immunocompromised working adults that secondhand exposure to school transmission is a distraction from the real threats. There are strong negative feedbacks at play in both cases, too: the affluent can afford better, prompter medical care than the poor can hope to get for free, while poor children enjoy potentially lifesaving health benefits, for themselves and others, from free school meals.

Did I ever mention that Americans’ holistic thinking is shit?

Imaginary first-mover advantages in a cultural milieu of generalized communal narcissism explain many of the stupidest things about mainstream bougie America. There is no perceptible first-mover advantage in the real world to buying an electric car: it’ll be more expensive and suffer from glitches that will be worked out in later, more affordable models. The main first-mover advantages to taking the train instead of driving are less crowded, possibly less delayed trains and avoiding parking and traffic in crowded neighborhoods. A minor one is a greater proportional effect on ridership and farebox revenue, assuming the planning and funding bodies weight these metrics heavily enough for them to make an appreciable difference. Saving the world by not driving is not a first-mover advantage. Get the fuck outta here. It may be helpful for an individual to get into the habit of using transit or biking or walking or whatever, but tens of thousands of your neighbors will be driving over the hill to Tahoe once the storms clear for a day or two regardless of your decision to /New Day Brian Watt Voice/ stop miss riding on BART and get your approval-seeking East Bay ass on BARTTTT. Take the kids out for a day trip. Shit, man; main thing they’re fucking up are the headways. It’s still a sweet-ass ride.

This is how carbon offsets were ever able to find a market. It takes an awfully selective self-esteem to believe that flying to Bali or Cozumel or whatever (it isn’t JUST Americans, mate) does not change the world for the worse but paying a third party to pay a fourth party to pay a fifth to not let a sixth poach a jungle for timber and also the palm oil we need for our “carbon-neutral” biodiesel or whatever feed stock we need for “carbon-neutral” jet fuel will save the world, one individual act of powerfully world-changing virtue at a time.

For the record, I’m still against dawn charters to Cilacap, but hoo boy is there some Anglosphere imperial proxy violence behind the penal archipelago of Nusakambangan, and the individual voter has a rather piss-ass first-mover advantage voting for Gough Whitlam. Her Majesty votes too, you see, through Her Security Services. #StillWithHer. Okay, #NotInScotland, ya dense cunt.

So, yeah, United Fruit–I mean, Chiquita! Ole!–Shit, Sven, they sell that in Hibbing, too, don’tcha know, and only da wurst grocers ever barred da Finns from da store–is a company worth not patronizing, same as whatever we’re calling Standard Oil these days, but your high virtue-signaling is not why. My understanding about my great-grandparents in East Kansas is that this isn’t why they kept gardens. Hey, Swanson, ya need some tomatoes? Well now what’s that got to do with the immorality of driving to the supermarket in Topeka? Can’t see why you’d be looking to save anything but the gas, or maybe your tires, but yours always have more tread than ours.

Shucks. None of this makes any sense.

It warps people’s mind to constantly tell them that they have the power as individuals to change the world. One way or another, it goes to their heads. Some become crudely grandiose. Others turn neurotic, anxious, and self-loathing, convinced that they’ll never measure up to expectations.

This is why the same communities that vomit forth so many condescending know-it-all collegiate (but rarely collegial!) professionals had full-blown epidemics of mental illness on the eve of the shutdowns, as they started their crash course in performative social isolation. It’s rough on everybody exposed to it, but it has an especially powerful warping effect on the young, who are particularly impressionable and dependent on older authority figures for their prosperity, if not their survival.

*****

Believe it. It’s bad. A few years ago my youth minister friend in Maryland met one-on-one with the teens he was mentoring in Howard County and asked them, entirely open-ended, if they thought there was anything they thought they weren’t discussing in their classes and needed to start incorporating. Every one of them immediately said mental health. These kids were living deep enough in the liminal geography between the relative normality of Baltimore and the overpowering abnormality of Washington to have to process additional unwelcome weirdness, including constant ambient exposure to NSA employees, but the pressure to excel was nothing that would have been out of place in Greenwich or Palo Alto.

The subordinate naturally read their superiors better than their superiors read them. This is germane to the downmarket strata of the Trump coalition, among other things the overbearing parents of my friend’s teen mentees are disinclined to consider. I’d say this less confidently if he’d had these conversations in Loudoun or Prince William or some shit of that nature, still not exactly good but on the other hand not situations indicating that the rest of the capital metroplex must immediately be culturally partitioned into Baltimore and the residually Southern parts of Alexandria. There’s something bad happening out past the Patapsco, hun. What the hell’s going on there, hun.

It’s White People, Randol, and I’m afraid that includes PG. How’s that for insight?

You think I’m just shitposting. Huge swathes of Metropolitan Washington (we already have a DMV here in California, tyvm, and the one in Ukiah isn’t half bad) are overloaded with courtiers. Tom Fucking Friedman is basically a courtier for God knows whom above him, the spooks who own the families who own the newspapers or whatever. Jeff Bezos is not in fact a nerd, but he’s some kind of CIA asset; it came in as a help when he decided to buy the Langley Ledger.

The gist of it is, nobody around there below the top stratum, the one that can just be glimpsed from down here on a clear day, lives with anything like freedom of thought. The adults all have to censor any politically incorrect thoughts they harbor. Fuck, Nancy Pelosi toes the same dogshit stupid line because it helps her grift the PMC normies. It’s The Prosperity Gospel, by Lin-Manuel Miranda. They all act like if they stop believing and parroting the unhinged prevailing community understanding of how the world works the world will stop turning and they’ll float away into the void.

Shit, I dunno, maybe you could drop out and get mom and dad to cash your disappointing ass out to Havre de Grace. It’s cheaper than GMU!

As we discussed above, Baltimore is a sphere of its own, but its cultural hinterlands are strangely delineated, like they’ve been gerrymandered: York County is part of Baltimore, but they have to share their airport with Washington. Dredge that in a bowl of Old Bay seasoning and smoke it. As cities go, though, Baltimore is pretty normal. It has its horseshit gentrification, but not to an impressive extreme. It’s a fractal of real communities, rooted in purpose and place, not a summoning swamp for the spirit orbs of a continent’s worth of ghouls.

It’s similar to the Virginian parts of NoVa that way. There’s somewhat less deranged insularity in the politically integrated parts of NoVa, like outer Loudoun, because they’re settled by newcomers with somewhat stronger ties to the real world back home. They’re less of a scrum of social climbers desperate not to alienate some two-bit authority figure or snitch and lose their meal ticket.

As Colby Cosh would say, that’s the part of Toronto that works for a living. It’s a geographical and cultural fringe, fading bit by bit from the imperial center into the near perpihery. The shift is starker to the northeast, where the imperial blob smears up against Baltimore and is brought to a definitive stop. That’s what happens around a city with a working deepwater port, a working railhead, and a working base of heavy industry. There are naturally more people around who can explain what the hell their jobs are. This has salutary effects.

Washington is exactly the deracinated seat of imperial power where officials would issue plague decrees and then get upset with the subjects in public for disobeying them. DC is connected in a sort of node-and-synapse network to an archipelago of equivalently deracinated and sheltered outposts of the imperial center. Pete Buttigieg cares more about K Street than the poor neighborhoods of South Bend. The Beltway teems with mandarins who are aware of San Francisco and Manhattan but clueless about Winchester and the Eastern Shore.

The official shit-flipping at Trump for butting into Covid policy and making a mess of it was never really about competence or reverence for science; it was a retaliatory attack on the bridge-and-tunnel oaf for one-upping the career credentialed on their own turf. It was frankly harmless to blather nonsense about using orthoscopic probes to blast UV light up everyone’s blood vessels when the supreme priest of American medicine orchestrated a campaign of lies about the efficacy of masks and then admitted on the record to lying about herd immunity thresholds to manipulate public opinion on vaccines.

It isn’t Trump’s fans who set the gold standard for medical gullibility here. They didn’t take his bullshit about UV blood disinfection seriously. They were aware that at least some of his public health commentary was entertainment, not advice. They also recognized that he was surrounded by hostile liars engaging him in a pissing match over their superior credentials. They could see through Anthony Fauci, the imperious figurehead who lied about masks through a weeks-long Chernobyl moment provoked by a looming failure of the supply chain (the most charitable explanation) and later tried to play it cute by reassuring America’s children that an imaginary out-of-shape fat old guy was immune to Covid-19. Trump didn’t demand reverence in the midst of his worst performances.

*****

The skeleton key to this mess isn’t reason versus superstition. It’s obedient fealty to credentialed authority figures versus resentment and defiance.

It goes back to the Puritans and the Cavaliers. Two of the major factions still battling for the soul of America were well defined and understood in Britain at the time of first colonial settlement in North America. In parallel with the agitation of the latter-day Cavaliers–a name we might say fits a bit too squarely in the horse’s mouth–and often in tandem with it is a very old-school peasant revolt, in this case against the clerisy. Proles aren’t crazy about the petty aristocratic aims of the provincial bourgeois elements leading the revolt against the Covid restrictions, but the booj are reliable allies in this fight.

An emotionally untethered, grandstanding provincial businesswoman like Lauren Boebert would have less public trust and confidence back home if she weren’t lashing out at enemies she and her poorer, less propertied, less capitalized neighbors have in common. The antics of showboats in small business have limited currency in the provinces. Word gets around if the owners do wrong by their help, and many do. When Beltway swamp critters with terminal degrees start yelling at them for not following doctors’ orders, the coalition alignments shift into something closer to what Our President (Nothing But Respect) calls the rural versus ural.

This shit is about motives, not facts. It’s about process, not outcome. Few antimask zealots would object to sneezing into an elbow as a courtesy to others. Yeah, you cover your fucking mouth when you sneeze or cough. No shit. Don’t be an asshole. The core reason why antimask woowoo has a following is that it’s a dramatic adverse reaction to imperious authority figures who never actually gave a damn about them in the first place. The American medical system is a disaster zone. The provincial know it’s bad. Opposition to the ACA is especially rational and coherent in states whose governments refused to expand Medicaid: another unfunded mandate with burdensome paperwork, thrust down from on high by hostile gods.

There’s simply no getting a critical mass of voters to believe that the same governments crookedly allowing medicine to degenerate into a racketeering cartel Shanghaiing patients and their families into debt bondage at random for quack treatments and drylabbed chart printouts, causing countless deaths and ruining countless surviving victims, is suddenly consumed with deep concern about the wellbeing of ordinary Americans in the face of a new plague. They didn’t give a shit about Vioxx or opioids or the extreme occupational stresses and bad medical care driving workaday Americans to use painkillers or Flint or the tobacco industry’s deadly fraud, but put rich city slickers at risk of a respiratory disease they’re probably healthy enough to weather because other rich city slickers won’t stop traveling overseas to disease hot spots, and suddenly everybody needs to do their part to stop the spread. Suddenly everybody needs to bear the pain. The same city slickers won’t give up their country houses–their refuges–or their on-demand delivery services, but they’re happy to bar the restaurant door to country folk who’ve always done their own grocery shopping, leaving the owners and employees to twist in the wind.

*****

Normie centrists are hopeless to get into the heads of their Rona truther enemies because they’re smugly clueless about the cultural context actually driving the shrillest opposition to their cherished Science. The shutdown orders are a triggering event for the provincial right wing, not a self-contained set of grievances. The metropolitan neoliberal center has, in fact, looted and pillaged many of their communities for profit. The natives have reasons to be up in arms.

These grievances are not secrets. The town goes to hell when they shut the mill down. Yank a tenth or a quarter of the local jobs, including many of the best-paid, and no shit there’s trouble. Occupational conditions and prospects going to hell do much to explain the severity of the opioid epidemic, property and violent crime, housing precarity and homelessness, hunger, and infrastructural decrepitude out in the provinces. In thousands of American communities one factory, one mine, or a cluster of facilitites in a specific industry were the socioeconomic linchpins. Removing them predictably caused ruin.

The provincial dispossessed are in no mood to forgive and forget. Why would they? They’re able to read the ruling class in the imperial center better than their rulers can read them, and they know imperial hostility when they see it. They’ve watched the credentialed centrist wrecking crew stand back and point at them and laugh and sneer while their world, already smaller and more stifling than anything the masters and administrators of this empire can imagine suffering in their own lives, comes crashing down.

Elite demagogues and grifters exploit precarious provincials. Absolute wackjobs like Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene move in to bear their standard. What else did the political establishment expect? It refused to represent ordinary Americans; it was too busy robbing them blind. Power abhors a vacuum. They shouldn’t be so whiny about unsavories seizing territory they abandoned in a spirit of open disgust.

They can’t help it, though. They’re too privileged.

*****

The left behind, as they’re known in the Christian press, expect nothng good for themselves from that distant puritanical overclass. This is true across the board: working-class normies, combative local notable Cavaliers pursuing beefs with rival Puritan elites for social control (again, Boebert is a restaurateur), cynical System D hustlers, dropouts of all sorts, the schizoid elements of the welfare underclass. Many such cases!

What’s weirder to them is the apparent extent of the Brahmins’ self-destructiveness on account of Covid. Scandals that find hypocritical officials retiring from their daily health scoldings to mask-free sit-down dinners at fancy restaurants or departure areas for forbidden flights en route to forbidden reunions with their kin–in meatspace, not the eerie ether–are obnoxious but relatable. They show officials to be humanly shitty. Michael Moore lied about not owning stocks, Al Gore flies between his gigantic mansions on private jets, Bill Bennett is a degenerate high-roller, J. Denny Dundiddly, which is both a full sentence and a title of dishonor: These guys are disreputable, but they aren’t WEIRD. They indulge in comprehensible human vices, not performative mental illnesses.

The horrors of the Republican Party today would be sitting ducks for a functioning left-wing party. The true base for the worst hard-right wackjobs is provincial upmarket, not hillbillies crawling around their travel trailers looking for loose change to pay for some heat. We like Uncle Bernie! The rural underclasses aren’t looking to cast their lot with a collection of moralizing hustlers and perverts, let alone with stuffy high church twits like William of Values. It’s a mischaracterization to blame Alabama’s white poor for elevating a mall-cruising piece of gentry trash to the state supreme court and then to the US Senate, or poor Illinoisans or Iowans for sending Coach to Congress. Much of the vote for these seedy characters is always local elites, people whose British counterparts certainly would certainly be above using a scrupulously heterosexual sport of rolling around on the floor and groping other young men as a program of hazing and grooming.

All the same, none of this perversion is a form of alienation from humanity. It’s of the flesh, not just the spirit. It’s nothing like the newly fashionable Brahmin gnosticism for hypochondriacs. They’re shut-ins because they are desperate to mortify the flesh to save it. This is why they have retreated into a reclusive domestic life revolving around contactless deliveries and computer-mediated interactions of pure spirit. They dare not fuck. They dare not even hug.

It does, in fact, rhyme. Stay home if you sicke; come over if you thicke. People out in the provinces notice that postmodern sexual dysfunction is more advanced in the hip cities than it is downhome. The idea of being monogamous because an affair will transmit a deadly respiratory virus to multiple third parties doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense to them as medical advice. They see it as another manifestation of cosmopolitan neurosis. The taint of ritual impurity could come from sex outside one’s pod, or it could come from kids playing outside their pods, or it could come from visiting friends and family in the normal course of normal, healthy relationships, again outside the pod.

No, if I’d meant friends with benefits, I wouldn’t have said family. We don’t use our acronyms the same way here in Bar Harbor, pal. We protect each other against stranger danger by staying home.

We might say that reclusive neurosis is the new Maine Thing for the smart set. People in the rest of the country peer into the SuperZIPs and feel uneasy at how the adults are behaving and how they’e raising their kids. Another cohort of dysfunctional overachievers is about to drop, looking to save the world but really to rule it, or at least to get rich trying. The kids are gonna turn out like shit if they keep being warned that they’ll kill their grandparents with a hug and have to interact with all but members of their own households over screens. It won’t do them any good to live life by videoconference. Big crops of sexually clueless and dysfunctional porn addicts are cumming. Yeah, breeders in American Dork–goodness, I mean American Fork–watch porn, too, because somebody around there has to be driving the Utard consumption stats through the roof, but there’s no reason a person who reads the sports section of the Deseret News every day can’t play some pickup hoops.

*****

The truly fatal mistake the cosmopolitan health scolds make is to meddle yet again, and more disruptively than ever within living memory, in the family lives of people who never wanted a thing to do with their strictures. The feeling in the imperial periphery is that it’s okay for the elites to fuck their own children up with terrible upbringings but they had better not mess with kids whose parents are trying to raise them right and teach them some social skills.

The grievance that the family is under attack is valid. The specifics can be pretty muddleheaded. The LGBT righs movement is at most an oblique attack on the family by way of an important assertion of individual rights against mob attacks and busybodies. Sex education in general, e.g., teaching adolescents about proper condom use and how the hell adult bodies work, is certainly not: venereal disease and the accidental bearing of unsupportable children make family life worse, not better.

These particulars serve as distractions from the very real economic attacks on the family from without. Everybody who’s upset with liberals for corrupting their children with instruction in fornication and godlessness agrees that children are expensive and that it’s a problem. The potential for misdirection is huge, and the right wing takes full cynical advantage of it. This doesn’t negate the proven fact that avowedly center-left Democrats in the neoliberal wrecking crew have spent the last several decades seeing to it that college is a prohibitively expensive necessity for employment. It doesn’t negate what they’ve done to the quality of medical care or what they’ve done to turn life into a fruitless bureaucratic maze.

Family can survive these onslaughts. Individual members may perish, life expectancies may plummet, but a cohesive family may yet muddle through and come out on the other side into God knows what but at least into something. This probably sounds like some kind of Guideposts-ass Chestertonian primer, but it’s absolutely true. The dispersion of my own family all over the country has had disruptive effects on me. It’s given me reason to travel and see some glorious places I would otherwise miss, so I’m not trying to call whine-one-one here, but the socioeconomically disruptive effects of having a dispersed family are worth keeping in mind.

Telling total strangers to uproot themselves and move to the city because there are no jobs left at home–gee, wonder who took them?–is heartless. For the upper and upper middle classes, the uprooting may be a traditional intramural hazing ritual, bad news but very local news. When they put the same pressure on outside communities they’ve dispossessed for profit, it’s an act of war. Trashing the economy trashes the family, and trashing the family trashes the economy. The mutual feedbacks are plain as day. Any fool can see them.

It raises questions about why the elite mainstream is hellbent on doing things that weaken families, communities, and local economies. It makes their antinatalism sound suspect: they’re idiots to neurotically avoid having chidlren of their own, but why in all hell do they have a problem with US for having children?

The precedents for the same elites conspiring to destroy poor and middling communities are countless. It’s perfectly reasonable to suspect that any given campaign they’re running in neighborhoods not at parity with their own is an outside attack. It’s exactly what they always do.

Do they possibly have good reasons for wanting the children of their socioeconomic inferiors to grow up without interacting with loved ones in the flesh? This lockdown shit has been going on for almost a year, with no projected end date. The US government has a long history of chemical and biological experimentation on unwitting citizens. It has a long history of poisoning and killing citizens with chemical and radiological materials, in ways that routinely involved immunosuppression.

Out on the streets and Facebook, the new town square, conspiracy theories circulate about the Rona being programmed with a kill switch that the government will flip once it’s achieved the cull quota. To middle-class normies it sounds batshit crazy, but if it’s science fiction, it isn’t fictional by much. The capacity of the gain-of-function creeps at Fort Detrick to breed strengthened and attenuated strains, in effect contagions and wild vaccines, is without a fucking doubt there. Anthony Fauci is by his own shameless admission a serial liar. Americans who’ve been on the wrong side of American medicine are right to distrust that asshole. We all should. Top infectious disease expert my fat white college-educated ass.

If family is all we have, we should visit our families. If friends are all we have, we should visit our friends. Should these visits be physical? Sure. Why not. The rest of the community is breathing the plague on us, too, forcing “us” to hole up inside like we’re in the path of a hurricane. Should these visits be sexual? It depends on how many of you are Mainers.

Geez, that was gross, Terry. I mean, Jerry, or Larry. For real, though. Every fractal of this thing is broken. It’s up to each of us to repair our little pieces of it. We can start by not traumatizing our children with tall tales about how they’re murdering their grandparents. No, you’re just a kid, not Governor Cuomo.

Why is my applicant pool full of derelicts with disqualifying backgrounds, like having trash in their cars?

The NewsHour, like its sister programs on NPR, is great at burying its ledes. Perhaps you were wondering why young Americans no longer want to go into paid apprenticeships in trades that can reliably pay six figures. Whaddaya fuggen know, the bosses are happy to go on the boob tube to complain that kids these days have poor work ethics, have drug records, have traffic records, got fired, by the way the wage progression is five or ten years slower than advertised in the bold print, and drive to interviews in cars full of trash.

That last one is a red flag. It corroborates my suspicion that housekeeping is worthwhile in a structure adequately serving as a house but that, space permitting, it’s civic indeed to leave incidental trash in yours, regardless of its effect on your boss and his lost feelings of accord. It’s widely understood on the streets that employers make excuses to walk by applicants’ cars during interviews so they can scan for prejudicial cues. A common one is car seats. It’s illegal to discriminate in hiring based on family status, so it’s risky to ask applicants if they have children, but we’re all about smalltalk under duress, here in America, and as Funny Uncle Joe knew and used to good political effect, we’re all about our cars. There’s something wrong with you for taking the bus to work. Why are you poor?

The story about the deteriorating youth work ethic is horseshit. There have always been lazy people; in the American South, they were often called planters; but this is not generallee a country that gives its people good reasons to work. Fewer Americans would quit or get fired if American workplaces weren’t so toxic. Improvements in work conditions and compensation reduce turnover. Everybody in business who isn’t a moron knows this; when they act surprised it’s because they’re bluffing in hope of a discount and don’t care about having a stable workforce. Lower turnover means more pie, but some of these characters wouldn’t pay for their slice like I do at Safeway. How the hell do you think they caught Robert Durst? Are we surprised to discover that a prevailing business culture giving license to employers to make jobs abusive and ill-paid coinciding with a secular consignment of the young to precarious contingent positions doesn’t result in an overflowing pool of eager young talent?

Vinny what’s-his-name in Seattle is a classic public broacasting crybaby employer. He went on TV to whine about how his applicants are shit and that sucks because he’s desperate for apprentices to help him with his plumbing businesses. Maybe that’s why so many marginal applicants show up. He says he’s desperate; let’s see how desperate he is lol. He’s basically saying, man, I need a girlfriend. No, I mean I need Dagmar Midcap in my bed right now.

How many shit-tier books do we have about cultivating a mentality of abundance instead of a mentality of scarcity? I guess that genre is another style of All-American abuse. I already knew it was a huge grift.

Aaron Bady made an impressively perceptive point after that militia crew in Michigan got popped for plotting to assassinate the governor and photos circulated showing the country dump where one of the plotters lived: “the obsession with rural clutter really does map onto an inability to conceptualize real poverty, with disturbing preciseness.” One of the reasons my cars accumulate trash is that I don’t litter. Others include half-cocked plans to burn paper trash and deposit bottle storage pending cashout runs. Chaka can. Chaka can.

The clutter of genuine poverty takes specific forms that are hard to describe but unmistakable. It’s an obscenity, as Potter Stewart would say. It isn’t a car full of trash as much as a car full of old clothes and knicknacks haphazardly mixed with bits of trash. It certainly isn’t owning a yard full of unsold junk with resale value; that’s property, not poverty. People end up too broke to afford groceries in spite of their junkyards; they don’t own junkyards because they’re flat broke or piss-poor. The chaotic clutter of genuine poverty is unmistakable. It can be found in any weekly motel. We’re still doing nothing about homelessness in this country, so there’s no need to hurry up and visit it before it’s gone.

For what it’s worth, Seattle has a severe homelessness problem, including a large population of warm homeless living in rundown vehicles. I’m in no mood to humor a Seattle plumber who brags about how much he pays his employees and then whines that his applicants keep pigsty cars. He was complaining about cars in conditions that many of his neighbors and much of the NewsHour’s audience would immediately take as evidence of homelessness. It wasn’t until I was on the verge of homelessness that I really started accumulating piles of shit in my cars. After I became fully, undeniably homeless, this became a habit. It’s still a habit, and I haven’t been homeless in over a year and a half.

Fuck you and your plumbing business if you think it’s a problem, and fuck the PBS NewsHour. They need to start sending Paul Solman on assignment to interview people who show some goddamn manners when they go on television.

No, this doesn’t mean I’ll stop listening to that shit. It’s a trunk full of deposit bottles and paper trash for the mind, if I may be so charitable about an organization that’s always asking me for money instead of paying me some.

Before we talk about your investments, what’s new? Anybody hiring so we don’t all have to keep trying to game the market for a living? Franklin upfront and I’ll try fixing your sink.

A December to Remember, if we’re still around to remember it

There is no refined or delicate way to put this. Americans will get killed for reporting or trying to break up Christmas and New Year parties this month. 

It’s a recklessly nasty thing to do in the best of times. This year, it’s a death wish. We’ve been through so much this year. We’ve been asked, nagged, begged, screamed at, and ordered to make sacrifice after sacrifice while officials flout the rules the same week they promulgate them and our medical system melts down across the board. We’re pitted against each other, the genuinely sickened and frightened in league with resentful health nuts against those who insist on continuing to live their lives while they still have lives to live. It’s a barrel full of crabs, the ambitious clawing back at the resentful for clawing them back from their bolt for freedom. It’s Shawshank Redemption for hectoring stool pigeon trustees who send terrorized blockmates to the canteen to do their shopping. 

Bent but traceable through lines run back from this discord, through the English Civil War to the DIY Puritan Transportation and the Norfolk Company, and back from there, if more fuzzily, to Medieval peasant revolts. Wat Tyler’s ghost beholds our antics and smirks. It’s an old feud. No matter our modern technological innovations and postmodern decadence, we embrace tradition. 

It can be confusing. It can feel incoherent. The shrieking about how it’s an unscionable infringement of inalienable godgiven brithight liberty to have to put on a mask to go into Whole Foods during a respiratory pandemic currently coinciding with flu season comes overwhelmingly from a batshit crazy combination of establishmentarian zealots who want the government to dictate strangers’ sex lives and generally secular property owners who want the police to beat their homeless neighbors to death in the interest of neighborhood “character” (real estate values). Both off these coalition partners skew affluent. 

Watching the American Revolution from the Motherland, Samuel Johnson asked, “How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of Negroes?” Gee. That sounds oddly familiar. It’s the same question. Can you believe it, Rodriguez? Fly all the way to Johanesburg and you still can’t get away from it. 

Thomas Jefferson proclaimed a rather different agrarian ideal for his constituents from the one he lived as a planter in Monticello. That’s a deal where a rich guy has whip-wielding thugs force other people to do the planting. It should go without saying, but surprisingly few Americans are aware of these small details, on which not only lawyers but soldiers and armory raiders dwell. As upcountry praxis, rather than Piedmont ideal, Jeffersonian agrarian virtue spread across the new country, over mountainous swathes too broken, remote and nonarable for largeholders to bother infesting for conversion into estates, then over the prairies under the Homestead Act, which was basically Honest Abe and the crew telling the vulgarians of the industrial trusts to restrain themselves and be grateful to monopolize minerals, metallurgy, and the railroads. Only in some instances did this model degenerate into Jacksonian coarseness.

Still, Tocqueville made America, the whole of it, sound like one huge sprawling village of the insufferably smug. Government services were meager to nonexistent; taxes, less so. But what else should we have expected of a federal government whose first CEO personally led a cavalry raiding party overland across Pennsylvania for the sole purpose of shaking down frontier crackers for excise taxes on homemade hard liquor? “We haven’t the funds to pay our war debts.” Shit, George, with that spread you’ve got down by the river, maybe it’s because you have the money. The immediate civic upshot of this thievery, in the decades before the granges universally came to the conviction that the railroads were somehow a worse racket than the Erie Canal even though there were so many more of them and they operated all year in almost all weather, was the consensus that neighbors were responsible for neighbors, every man his brother’s keeper, but in ways requiring countless formally chartered voluntary organizations, and somehow yet allowing deep poverty to fester throughout the land in spite of whatever the hell these organizations and their ostentatiously busy members thought they were doing.

Kinda cucked.

As Lincoln rued would be excruciating but morally necessary and inevitable, the blood drawn by the slavedriver’s lash was repaid with the bullet and the bayonet, in pastures and wheatfields and forests and (I’m always driving up Pryor Road like an incorrigible wanker to look at the trees on my way to the perimeter of Camp David for more fucking trees) peach orchards where, in our decadent postmodern times, a tourist might quietly whistle Ashokan Farewell on a leisurely midday stroll, think sucked to be here back then lol, and drive over to the General Pickett Buffet. I probably still have the punchcard for the chef’s dozen somewhere.

By the way, that place sucked ass. So did employment in the Catoctin Furnaces. The ironmasters in Cornwall looked down on their grunts for being filthy peasants. The sun came out once a year, when they cleaned the furnaces. Everybody went blind for the week. Down the hill, the construction of the Union Canal was notoriously micksploitative. The same crowd drove the 1863 draft riots in New York. Fiddle dee fuggen dee, m’love; oil beef hooked to doy fur some bloody Yankee race shite, Huizenga.

Break out the lonesome fiddle, Kenneth. Ply me a poignant tune on me telly.

Really, the Yankee Puritans lost the plot the day they left Appomattox. Lincoln was a railroad lawyer before he was an uncomfortable but resolute wartime president. His son Robert became a railroad lawyer, railroad executive, and golfer. Yankee and Rebel junior officers preemptively made nice with each other over graduation week, in unctuous farewell letters cluttering college archives. Sometimes I wonder whether they let in the coeds soon enough or too soon; one would hope for a moderating influence on the boys, a let’s fuck the parietal rules and fuck each other kind of deal, but they were exactly the shitty high-middlebrow Victorian broads who always married the overwrought messy he-bitches of the age.

Reconstruction failed. The old Union turned ever more into a Hamiltonian industrial dystopia. Jeffersonian virtue retreated into the deeper hills of West Virginia, of all incredible places. eventually taking a stand against the railroad and mining trusts, their backs pushed to the wall, pushing through now their only way out. Their descendants still do railroad sit-ins, or more accurately sit-ons, with whatever outside allies wish to join them, and you love to see it, or maybe you don’t so much if you voted Bye, Don.

As we noted near the start, this shit gets incoherent and confused. We don’t discuss this all too recent unpleasantness, but Po Whitey hated his masters passionately enough to take up arms with black slaves as One Community Under Bacon and later joined integrated trade unions in the Jim Crow South which we absolutely do not mention. Shanda fur die Yankim. Hush, child. George Wallace addressed black lawyers as Mister in his court and raised black teachers’ salaries in tandem with whites’. Bitterly racist downhome Cajuns? “We like Uncle Bernie!” It isn’t something the Jews say much in Greenwich. Funny, that. Is this some kind of money thing? Is this some communist class warfare?

It’s Russia, Rachel. The crackers and the honkies and the hunkies and how the hell did the Nigerians in Atlanta start voting for this shit over You Ain’t Black are all in it for the gold-plated Kim Philby treason, not the trade and industrial policy, which was never anything an Atlanta cardiologist ever wanted, so maybe the Nigerians really are trying to become white (they’re already White), although with the all the micks and wops on the force in New York City it’s a miracle there’s a soul left in Nassau County who isn’t colored.

Gimme a break; for once I’m just listening to NPR While I Poast,, not chronicling it. Fucking gimme one, Stossel.

*****

I don’t know what I was trying to say, other than what I just said. If Monty Robinson’s mutual cousin with Todd Palin bore Kwesi Millington a bastard, that would be the wrong kind of Afro-Indian for the vice presidency, and God have mercy on me for writing about shit I heard about the worst possible Canadians on NPR again. No, I don’t mean the Mounties, and I don’t mean Sweet Melissa bringing me coffee in deathbed, either; that I learn by reading. Is Fundamental. It is to study.

Come to think of it, if any of us can figure out why I did, the Palins are worth another quick review. The village idiot knocked up a union oilpatch tradesman’s kid, but Grandma was America’s Milf Governor, and none of it sat well with equally affluent families whose median ages were floating into the fifties while their babies pushed thirty, these precious brats all in graduate school under whatever duress it took to keep them on the straight and narrow path. Why couldn’t that stupid slut get an abortion? For crying out loud she was still eligible for dependent’s benefits under Obamacare when she did it again! A brat in elementary school, a second at the breast, nobody to keep her out of trouble when she got into trouble except for however many dozens of siblings and cousins who’d been changing diapers since they were ten and fighting over who got to hold the latest baby since they were five and could probably borrow airfare from the community chest if it came to it and would definitely be game to do some babysitting in Phoenix instead of the Mat-Su Valley for a change, and only a judgmental asshole from the Salvation Army or the Republican Caucus Sarah always helped the Democrats sandbag, or maybe Walt Monegan because he’s still upset about having to let what’s-his-name the alkie Trooper be Safety Bear, would care that you’re trading food stamps for a ticket to Sky Harbor and Xanny for the flight Outside, if you can cash me dare, Rollins, because there’s no shame in taking a trip to give your fiftieth cousin a break from your sixtieth and seventieth; but I mean, Jesus Christ, who the hell let the mother of such a woman run for the vice presidency when there are so many qualified professionals like Kamala Harris, girlbosses who stayed in school.

This is subsidiarity. No, not that fucking Canuck bitch; Sweet Melissa would at least have the domestic graciousness to bring me coffee in deathbed, and I should hope we would flee for protection to better death penalty abolitionists than that goddamned Anglo-Quebecker when we have Nob Hill Dreamboat holding the dual offices of the governorship and Napa Valley Job Creator Customer in Chief. Gavin said it himself, in a Gabbin: We’re decisions, not conditions. I’d certainly like to imagine we are, but Kamala’s are terrible because she’s been living in a bad one her whole career.

Against the odds, which the goods famously are in Klondike Country–it took me just as forever to find a California girl to tell me “Buddy you aren’t my boyfriend,” but the produce is better AND cheaper, and the drive over to her doublewide isn’t on roads covered in snow, drunks, and moose–I know where I’m headed, even though I’m taking my thots for another walk. It’s an Amtrak conductor who told a group of us, “The fifteen-year-old and the sixteen-year-old fight over who gets to hold the baby. It’s great.” He meant it. He spoke with 100% Napoleonic sincerity.

Yes, I’m aware that it’s usually Republican shitbaggers leading the charge to defund publicly chartered common carriers and cast the dedicated, competent workers running them out into gig app destitution or whatever the hell else they can find for themselves, but once again, that wasn’t Sarah Palin’s scene as governor. In rough terms, she was a center-right mayor, a center-left governor, a politically unclassifiable candidate for the vice presidency–hockey mom subsidiarity, Howard Jarvis-ass whining about taxes because it’s expensive to be a hockey mom, Northern Exposure Annie Get Your Gun shtick, walk-the-talk pro-life grandstanding mashed up with the usual persecution complex grievances-, and most recently a mostly hard-right cable television personality.

Whatever all she is, You Betcha is a vigorous free thinker. She’s a freer thinker than Mocha Haole. So is our thicc moist boi, the Oaf of Office. This is where we must unfortunately look again at liberlism and what fresh horrors have become of it. We can be confident that it is wack, not good, but what is it all about? Wot is ANY of that all about? To judge from recent commentary, it’s largely about what we’ve just as erroneously taken to calling conservatism. John Bolton and George W. Bush are statesmen of great character now. It’s because they don’t yell. John Bolton has always been notoriously abrasive and foultempered, but he only yells about, like, how he has perfect policy and everybody else’s is trash, not how Anna Wintour is lame or Pete Buttigieg is an Alfred E. Newman tryhard.

The Democratic rank and file need to vote for Joe Biden because a growing list of Republican grandees say they’re voting for Joe Biden. We need a Democrat to take back the White House. Huh? Why doesn’t that mean that Biden is the Republican candidate? The most bloodthirsty Beltway demons are upset with Trump for challenging core Republican policies and then getting distracted again: grasping junior lanyards, chiefs and deputy chiefs from all the spook nests, House Voice creeps on NPR, Taylorist armchair generals who tell actual generals to shut up about how they need workable plans for rear-echelon operations to win foreign wars. Trump wins entire states with margins of victory totaling fractions of his share of antiwar registered Democrats who would gladly vote for Bernie Sanders, too.

We’re rubes for questioning this Alice-in-Wonderland freak show. It’s now normative to insist that Vladimir Putin, who has little to say about domestic affairs in the United States and not a huge amount to say about US foreign policy, is orchestrating wholesale mind control of the American people out of a few cube farms full of junior intelligence operatives doing chatroom and comment thread work in English (after a fashion) all day, in contrast to the horde of ever more aggressive US intelligence operatives and assets who openly, forwardly tell private citizens what to believe but would never, ever try to brainwash anybody by catfishing as everyday housewives concerned about the direction the country is headed.

The Bircher wackjobs pushing this nonsense are, among other things, the same class of scolds who clutch their pearls at the trashy, low-class dysfunction of the Palin clan, often while enjoying their expensive upper-downer regimens much less than the Palins enjoy their grab bags of whatever they thought looked good at the liquor store on their way to pick up their latest pick-me-up from Levi’s one buddy who just finished another shake-and-bake home batch. “Oh, but you’ll get into trouble with drugs. You’ll have trouble focusing at school and work.” Fair points, but I never see Sutter Home trying to produce LESS Chardonnay.

“Drug use will keep you from getting into a good school and landing a good job.” Ah, it’s great to be back on the bullshit again. You mean low class. Everything the Brahmins ridicule about the Palins is something they look down on as low-class: starting a big family young; teen pregnancy; carrying a teen pregnancy to term; conceiving and bearing children out of wedlock; police calls over domestic disputes; middling educational attainment, always miscategorized as low as possible to imply idiocy and unemployability; clumsy, explicit nepotism, as opposed to the smooth, implicit kind, which Rod Blagojevich also neglected; an interest in state fairs; police employment; DUI; Beef with the Chief because he refused to give one’s drunk-driving in-law trooper a prized costumed PR post at the State Fair; unionized trade work; snowmobiles; pickup trucks; low-key statehouse bipartisanship; unabashedly having fun at politics; open, rambunctious religiosity; enthusiastic free-association riffs on Mama Grizzly and the Sourdoughs as political oratory.

A number of these things are statitically class-neutral or upper-middle-class. It doesn’t matter; we’re journeying through Wonderland, and it ain’t the one where the Blue Line ends. On second thot, that sounds like it might be misconstrued. Specifically, we aren’t at the one where we’ll be forced to get Charlie off. #CHAHLEE!

There’s a very deep, very broad resentment at play here. Brahmins resent the Palins for freely, boldly living their lives, and especially for suffering no discernible socioeconomic consequences. Those who stray are to be punished. It is their cosmic destiny. Don’t even dare say it’s a result of bad public policy. The policy we have is the only policy we can have.

These objections are the same ones that got Colonial authorities upset about settlers running away to live with Indians. I don’t mean this racially; the same people would have exactly the same ugly reaction to the Palins if they were undeniably white. They and their below-average children are a rebuke of us and a threat to our above-average children. Their refusal to miserably jump through hoops all their lives negates OUR dutiful payment of OUR dues.

“Liberals” would be less upset with them if they were blatant three-sigma fuckups. They’d have no problem with the Palins if they had a life expectancy of 35 and a lifestyle of cycling between the drunk tank and a home life of eating instant noodles for dinner under a sheet of plywood in an unheated ditch. This is about the degree of concern they show for the homeless in general.

What rankles them is that the Palins are a reasonably normal and well-adjusted family who showed up on the national stage affluent, uneducated (they expect law degrees), and expecting their first grandchild in their forties. The discovery that the voting public can pass credentialed, polished candidates over for promotion in favor of a loud, proudly uncredentialed and unconventional woman with a blue-collar husband and a happily pregnant minor daughter scared them. It still does. It reminds them that their own bosses will hurl them to the curb like so much trash if they step out of line, or even if they just lose the superhuman energy so many of them need to meet their quotas.

They hate being upstaged and outranked by a family of breeders whose heads of household at the time they became famous were a non-civil service salaried public employee and a trade unionist. It makes their beloved Democratic Party look like it doesn’t care about unions or their members, and it in fact is an aggressive unionbusting organization. This is not a circle they wish to square for skeptical voters.

When they say that Barack Obama is smarter or more eloquent (no, Joe, not articulate!) than Sarah Palin, what they mean is that he’s more urbane and makes more of a show of being educated. It’s like if I wrote in Cory Lerios for president because I prefer Pablo Cruise deep cuts to Justin Bieber. What he actually says is routinely as vacuous as it comes, or cunningly evil, or both and more: the Flint water supply is fine because he “drank” it (took a tiny sip from a glass whose source was and is untraceable), there’s no reason for NBA players not to go back to work, “we tortured some folks”–he actually said that, verbatim, in public–, I had to drone them, but I did it all cool and conflicted and Eichmann-like.

Obama is heinous. Palin runs hot and cold, unmodulated, rather like Trump. As I keep saying, here and everywhere else I think to mention it, this is the safe style of politics. It’s truth in advertising, a shock to voters, not the chronic numbing, soporific effect of the smooth scumbags who usually float themselves to the top. Obama is the leech injecting its paralytic agent into its host, to feed on it until it is killed.

Idpol was notoriously a primary factor in Obama’s career, and he tacitly encouraged it every bit as energetically as he rued it in his public denunciations, but I’m not sure I can decide from week to week how important it was to his career. The Palins got jack shit worth of idpol points for being Alaska Native (or American Indian, as Sarah looks to be more than Elizabeth Warren). Jesse Jackson lost Obama’s base to Michael Dukakis and Poppy Bush. Message: I Don’t Care If You Ain’t Black. Joan Didion’s extended dispatch from the trail makes Jackson sound like a predecessor not to Obama but to Ross Perot, Bernie, and the Other Dr. Jill. No, the elector may not have a little Rainbow Coalition, as a treat, unless he first has a little Massachusetts governor, as a vegetable. Obama’s elections were greatly aided by his running against two loose cannons representing the unpopular party of an open dipshit two-term incumbent during an abrupt economic crash, then against a fake-wholesome Dudley Do Right Mormon and his openly contemptuous hangdog starve-the-beast Wisconsin wackjob lieutenant.

There’s a serviceable argument that the only thing the Democrats had to do not to lose in 2008 and 2012 was hold off on what they did in 2016. It’s barely a variation on why America elected an Afro-Indian Canuck broad to the vice presidency this time. The competition said it all. The Oaf of Office refused to act like an adult for an afternoon during a once-in-a-century public health crisis. Mike Pence didn’t even try to pretend that he didn’t consider his constituents filthy little piggies at the debate. These were the only fucking things these guys had to do for a shot at reelection.

Four years beyond the retirement of a half-black childhood expatriate weirdo from the presidency, the country elected as its next veep a hella weird half-black teen expatriate turned highest-ranking Wilson-Deukmejian Republican holding elected office in California. We still have to drown in NPR cringe about that creep, because NPR, and additional racist cringe about how Gavin grabbed a beaner to replace the bindi negress in the Senate, but not so much about how the replacement just happened to have ratfucked Bernie in the primaries as the California Secretary of State, but this isn’t necessarily anyone who couldn’t have been elevated to such unacceptable height while white (like Mike the Greek lol). The racebaiting helped, but it was a lily-gilding operation.

I think. I hold too many thots.

What the Brahmins actually demand of their officials is devotion to the polite fiction that merit matters. Again, pay attention to who does NOT get idpol points for being a kike or whatever. Would I have voted for Bernie Sanders AND Loretta Sanchez a third time? Of course. Is that diversity? No. Why? Because the same radio scolds are giving the same celebratory homilies as ever. Besides, Bernie is antisemitic because something or other about Israel, which is all Jews, but really because they would never, ever, ever say that about a self-loathing Jew. The psychology is elegant, not elaborate.

Here’s the deal. You can’t spend your thirties doing fuck-all on pirated electricity in a travel trailer and maybe some shitty hippie carpentry and then just show up in the mayor’s office because you convinced enough voters that your platform made sense. You can’t run for the presidency on the stipulation that we aren’t comfortable here because we aren’t from here but we’ll start to become more comfortable through the healing of withdrawing from the fruitless overseas bloodbaaths we started with the pashtunwallah on the orders of the Baltimore Walrus. Mr. Bolton is a statesman!

No. You need to pay your dues, and not to whatever low-class bullshit was repping Todd Palin against BP. You need credentials. You need qualifications.

It certainly helps to be colored, like Kamala Harris or Pete Buttigieg. A Maltese is an Italian who’s an Arab, but also an Englishman. *Defiantly Scottish Mark Knopfler Voice* That little faggot. As Yogi Berra pointed out, only in America could a Jew be elected mayor of Dublin. The fork in the road worked either way because he lived in Montclair. There are of course other islands that are equally controversial to call America, m’love, yeah? Upsetting the ancestors and not even offering them any King’s rolls, yeah? That’s why we move to the mainland to start our political careers, yeah? Back in da neighbor islands da police chief puts on a lei to peddle influence true his wife da prosecutor, who also dresses like dat too even doe she’s Portuguese, and dat’s white, not wetback or some kine.

This is why our politicians swoop in from states their fellow haole idiotically assume to be free of all public corruption and win election by telling them, look, folks: You can trust me. I’m from Chicago.

Our idea of diversity is always some wooden cipher who turns out on examination to be blood-curdlingly cold. Dad translated Gramsci into English, so let’s talk all smooth and then wreck the Canadian bread market and get schoolchildren killed by shutting off streetlights to save the city a few bucks on its electric bill, but let’s be all gay and Midwestern about it. Alex Padilla: now is that guy a beaner or what? Uh, dawg, I get that you’re trying to get surplus elites to bark at each other from the veal pen like they’re resegregating Compton, but did you have to find somebody who, now that more of us are looking into his record, turns out to be another slimy crook?

It’s the Yugoslavian crackup, but as farce. Some of the more anxious types, like Michael Grasso, are worried sick that the rising tide of Brahmin idpol will provoke truly dire communal violence. They have a reasonable point, but my gut read is that it’s a sideshow to the actual vectors–moronic but resonant white supremacist Facebook memes, #BackTheBlue Punisher merch, the hypervigilant paranoia of the Karen ethnic minority on NextDoor–i.e., insufferably obnoxious, a serious political and civic problem, but ultimately inert in the streets. If cops were just like, hey, stop calling us just because some guy is taking a walk in your neighborhood, that shit would become REALLY inert.

It’s more hypocrisy. Becky may well have a BLM sign in her yard. In this house we believe in tolerance, lov–hey, get your skell ass off my lawn before I call 911! Zooming out to the structural elements of the fractal, although we really ought to stop using that videochat horseshit and go meet out friends in the park or something, we see Kammy again. Of course we do. The criminal undesirable can have a little prosecutor of color, as a treat.

Many on the right are aware of this. It’s an awfully easy script to flip on the libs. Donald Trump might have carried California if he hadn’t convinced so many kids in San Berdoo and Solano that he was out to deport their family and friends. Or maybe the Republican-identifying Wilson-Deukmejian Republicans would have voted for their girl and kept this here shit as blue as Monterey Bay. This is the quality of analysis I bring to the table, and I live here. Then again, look at what we all have before us,,, too Anal Eyes.

*****

Something of this nature is inevitable when only one side correctly reads the other for deep libidinal urges. This whole thing is about sex and death. The right wing, as we’re lately construing it for half-coherent reasons, is the only one that openly figures we might as well have some first. We’re riffing ever more elaborately on the little-discussed undertones of 2016 as a fight between a warm, gregarious libertine and a frigid, bitter prude. That was another good reason to claim my stateroom on the Stein Steamer and see if anyone else wanted to grab a berth: a ticket of two apparently well-adjusted adults talking about grown-up subjects in ways that made sense, instead of a vicious scold scorned diagonally opposite a he-scold church hug dork who was all like, oh no, a man should not be in the same room as a woman, lest he become lustful and cause scandal (yeah, like the raging horndog you allowed to hire you as his lieutenant when he was already known to shamelessly walk in on teenyboppers in the girls’ dressing room).

It’s what we call a political realignment. It didn’t make hella sense in the nineties, when Tipper Gore was whining about rap lyrics and the Big Dog was throwing Joycelyn Elders under the bus for encouraging young women to *Tom Lehrer Scoutmaster Voice* be prepared, as part of his vain effort to win over a Republican caucus full of serial divorcees and perverts. It doesn’t make sense today, with #MeToo veering into neurotic, avoidant paranoia about all awkward sexual interactions being assault at the same times as characters such as Soulja Boy get record labels and nightclub airtime for their songs of the celibate and the alt-right workshops the notion that it isn’t rape because she secretly wants it.

This nasty scene wouldn’t happen to feature some cringe racial tropes, would it? Oh sweet innocent baby child it fucking does. The left–again, as we’re construing this ridiculous shit–crashes into raging upset about the often dark poor trashing its property values by recreating in “its” neighborhoods, has another partially overlapping segment of the poor do its driving and shopping, and bit by bit decrees the poor, servant class and surplus underclass alike, as ritually impure.

Out in the provinces, loud and proud Republicans get their own damn groceries, chatting amicably with the cashier at checkout. They hear about this caste system, and the polite fiction that it is liberal. They smirk, knowingly: another crop of libs begging to be owned.

Things invert. It is now conservative to have casual sex. This sounds like nonsense, St. Robert Bruce Ford soberly partaking of the venerable rock, but if liberalism stands opposed to liberties of interpersonal physical intimacy in these times of contagion, and sex is obviously one such liberty, what else CAN casual sex be but conservative?

It’s baffling, but it’s coherent enough for American politics. This isn’t that fucking wizard shit. The lower orders of our ruling class cherish a series of fantasy novels about the white moderate. Hear me out: the Bartlet Administration, but everybody dresses up like an absolute dork and flies around on a broom. Huh. That sounds dreadful; let’s write up the contract and pay out the advance right here. By all means, be sure to perpetuate an ambiguously enslaved underclass in this storyline but communicate that the exploitation of this underclass for the support of the overclass on its multidemensional antigravity CIA brooms is only modestly problematic to those who examine these things too closely.

It’s normcore, but it’s normcore for batshit insane idiots who are without a doubt exploring the Spectrum. Many such cases! Let’s be sure to ridicule conservatives for their religiosity while we’re at it, and of course make fun of them for their oopsie babies.

That’s the thing. One couple’s–one community’s–career-ending unplanned pregnancy is another’s spontaneous family formation, one child born in the world to carry on. How can this be a bad thing?

Of course, the devil is in the details, and so when the ideals of family values subsidiarity fail in practice they often fail hard, and transitively so. Their failure fails families. George W. Bush probably said it, too, or Dan Quayle, but it’s true.

On the other hand, when it works, it works beautifully. That’s who Bristol Palin did for her family. She could’ve picked smarter, but the kids will probably be all right. There’s no need to stress about getting the kid into the right preschool.

Glorious Nation of Bougiekistan is intersectionally horrified by this alternative model because it sets an uncomfortably bad example. It raises the specter of being outnumbered by a horde of dysgenic zealots; let us be sure, then, to denounce the white ones and be tactful about what brown can do for you, too, on demographics. The booj are scared to death that their own precious brats will go native with low-class breeders. It’ll wreck their college and career prospects. It will dilute family fortunes and family standings.

This helps explain the intramural controversy over socialism in the Democratic Party. The PMC normie centrist wing very much does not want free money going to low-class losers who will waste it on bullshit like raising their low-class loser kids; these precious, scarce funds are to be stewarded for the education of the worthy elect (and the military). The broad left wing–Trump-curious blue-collar types, service sector workers (an actual working class the lib normies dare not contemplate because its existence would trash their prejudices), ruined surplus elites bitter that they got such a raw deal–damn well want the free money. If it’s good enough for Bezos, it’s good enough for us. The fuck is the problem with giving everybody two grand? The rich may not give a shit to get it, but the middling and the poor will be grateful because they need it. Do we really gotta means-test this shit again? Aging MSNBC tiger parents aren’t all like, please, means-test my Social Security check and reduce it if I exceed the eligibility threshold.

It’s always somebody else who must be strangled with the red tape. The neighbors can have a suitably little Castilleja School, capped at an enrollment of 415, as a treat. I don’t know if any of you wanted to be apprised of Palo Alto again; I didn’t particularly, but Palo Alto reached out to me by yard sign on my way to Christmas Tree Lane. It’s like the new father of the pride eating the last schmuck’s cubs, but for good down-to-earth public school supporters who love them some Walter Hays and can’t stand the rich bitches half a mile up Embarcadero.

The difference between this obnoxious horseshit and the means-testing of welfare is the difference between a bitchfest about the neighborhood quality of life (the worst people making the best arguments about street trees and traffic for the worst reasons) and government massacre by determination of ineligibility. We’re dealing here with politically hyperengaged property owners who are convinced, existentially and libidinally, that their survival depends on the Darwinian murder of the unfit. Mind you, they’re good woke liberals, so they insist on decimation by bureaucracy. It must be bloodless and deniable. There’s no way they could have known that their beloved elected officials would get their poorer constituents sickened and killed by insisting on proof of eligibility for public benefits. Yeah, no way except for their frequent, adamant refusal to provide for universal public benefits. Are we really expecting a single mother who’s desperately trying to piece a living together from minimum wage jobs to afford a lawyer or an accountant to dispute denials? Or are we secretly, subconsciously satisfied–even relieved–that this regime we support by always voting for weasels who enact it keeps her off-balance, precarious, and indigent?

These conditions make her a better servant, yes?

The Population Bomb guy’s only child is a nonprofit lawyer turned dog groomer or some other bullshit like that. Yeah, I guess I’m really one to talk, but that’s what a community gets for setting up a runaway real estate boom instead of an annual per capita sovereign wealth dividend for its legal residents.

The loud and proud right looks at the deracinated, barren, low-key eliminationist eugenics of America’s SuperZip freak zones and wonders, quite reasonably, whether the locals ever get any action. They hire proxies for their wars, just as they do for their grocery runs, and they sure don’t act like they get laid. They practice and insist on propagating a quasicelibate form of toxic eliminationist eugenics. Since that’s what the libs are already doing, what the hell is wrong with a socially exuberant, sexually active, fertile expression of fascism? That’s toxic, too. It veers into martial genocide, babysnatching, and rape. It yields performative horseshit like gender reveal parties (excuse me, children, I believe you mean revelations) and T-shirts with unfortunate gross discussions of how daddy splooged in mommy as passive-aggressive territorial patrol against the homo tranny shit and whatever.

I’m not saying it’s good. I’m saying it’s already here, it’s morally comparable to liberal one child policy eugenics and the associated overwrought hygienic protocols (see Palo Alto, obviously), and it gets a fool some ass. Hence President Trump. That, and trade and industrial policy and not being a prissy squeamish bitch around the hardhats.

We’ve been over Trump’s role here again and again. It’s predictable enough that the Donald takes the lead from time to time on cutting the damn check while Third Way shitbirds and their nominal enemies on the Republican right throw fits about procedure and fiscal discipline and other crap they suddenly stop believing when Lockheed-Martin shows up for another feeding.

*****

The relatively reasonable aspect of the respectable center’s objections to the healthy sexuality and familial abundance of clans like the Palins is that little people following their example won’t be able to afford to raise the spawn they so recklessly conceived. Back when the respectable center racialized this scolding campaign in the nineties under the auspices of welfare reform, welfare-to-work, and similar nerd-ass policy followups to Reagan’s Cadillac welfare queen slur, Toni Morrison made the ridiculous offer, in the first and second persons, to raise young black single mothers’ babies while they go to medical school and become neurosurgeons. I come up with grandiose cringe plans when I’m hypomanic, too. She was on to something, though. Our first black president and his wife could afford to hire the village to raise their child.

In many ways, government really is just the name we give the things we choose to do together. Contemplate it and shudder. Dat subsidiarity, tho. Who will be there to help the single mother raise her children, or the young, unprepared, unwed couple theirs?

Call me old-fashioned, but I keep thinking about ad hoc combinations of union pay and benefits, local friends and family, and government assistance. Gee, these are exactly the things our shitbag centrist rulers keep denying us! It’s impractical to expect these things of society and unreasonable to demand them of the government, but huh, whaddaya fuggen know, the same politicians who chide their constituents to be more reasonable about these things and wait in patience for incremental progress towards them (it’s called progressivism now) always find a way to oppose these same things when they come up for a vote. When push comes to shove, it is our lot to live deracinated, indigent lives doing on-call servant work for a pittance, scattered to the winds from hometowns our rulers have decided to gut and rebuild for their own private use (gentrification) or strip and abandon in full (the Rust Belt).

The hell is “voting against their own interests” supposed to mean when this is the agenda voters try to defeat at the polls? Voting for Trump the populist is coherent. Voting for Trump the liberal or Trump the leftist is coherent. It’s a longshot, it’s a Hail Mary pass (in this house we pray not for football, a vulgarity of the earth, but to St. Richard Russell, an aerobat, for support from the skies), but it’s coherent. Remember the lesser of two evils? Silverado Trail remembers! Where else would I go to be forcibly bathed in cope for grabbing my spot on the Stein Steamer, a voyage towards the affirmatively good, even though I easily preferred Trump to Clinton but didn’t see the point to voting for the dumbass who thot he’d keep the cartel drugs out with a wall when we were still, like, a decade away from ranked-choice presidential voting? Okay, yeah, Mark West or anywhere from Blossom Hill to the Marina and on over the bridge to some shit like Novato (but maybe not the poor part of town down on the frontage road between the freeway and the slough, out by the airport); that shit would work, too, because this state is right fucked.

It’s just as coherent for the affluent to vote for the Democrats’ predatory agenda because it works to their socioeconomic benefit, short-term and if they’re as lucky as they hope also long-term. Good liberals that they are, I guess we just have to keep listening to their psychotic rationalizations about how their voting habits are altruistic, or else retreat from civic life into Benedict Option escapism. The Amish get ass like they’re Mormon, you know. No, I mean one wife in American Dork–I mean, goodness–maybe two if you’re discreet, not some Colorado City bullshit where you have your private police force run surplus young men out of town because you fancy their sisters, which sounds different from the rest of America more than it is diffferent. In a still far from ideal society, grown-ass adults indulging in the faddish fixation on Hamilton would admit that they’re dipshits with bad taste in art, not act like they’re doing civics by soundtrack. Still, notice that they get the absurdly fresh groceries, delivered, by government when they can’t by courier.

Don’t blame me for using that language. I learned it from Dave Freeman. That unfortunately fits into the puzzle, too. KQED is now encouraging its listeners to donate by the end off the year so they can get a tax break for keeping their money in California. Slushing money to other rich people is charity now, but in high circles it always has been. The cope we’re using here is the ridiculous assumption that California’s net contributions to the federal treasury are paying for Mitch McConnell’s necrotic ass, not for the merest creature comforts for piss-poor dying Kentuckians out in the trailer park hollows who got that way by trying to work for a living or collecting much smaller government checks. McDowell County is about a tenth black these days, but it’s pointless to think about actual highland demographics and their implications on the left coast campaign to #StayWoke. We’re just trying to maintain #BlackLivesMatter as the archipelago of yard signs it should be. Swear to God, we’re just trying to kill off the honky-ass West Virginians, who have to be the whole population. Oh, the Black Belt is a net recipient of federal funds? Huh. Surely we aren’t trying to kill poor negroes from our 99.5% nonblack neighborhoods, through policy.

*****

How, as our Parkhomenkometer flatlines at its hard upper mechanical limit, could Bernie would have won?

Duh: by appealing to poors out in the provinces who maybe hold crudely retrograde racial views or maybe have dear friends who are black or maybe have both. We like Uncle Bernie! The Ragin’ Cajun doesn’t, but he isn’t one to work for a living. As we discussed above, that ain’t a check you get from the gubbyment by /extremely Guyland voice/ filling out forms, standing in line, and waiting here, for the Pennsylvania you never found.

Yeah, Bernie wears his mask. He isn’t a scold about it, though. He and Jane shooed a group of volunteers back out on the sidewalk early in the Rona, but they were Jewish grandparently about about it, not assholes. No, no, wash yaw hands befaw you come in faw dinna! Okay, you ready faw some bawsht? The other thing is, he’s trying to keep Americans alive, not starve the poor to death.

Many Americans are just trying to side with life this winter, not death, even in this death cult. They want a spiritually, socially, physically meaningful life.

TSA throughput numbers are credible, but what Anthony Fauci says about them is not. No, I’ve been lying to the American people about the herd immunity threshold for their own good. What nuclear reactor explosion? Why the hell are the Swedes saying it’s our radiation. How awful it is that some of them flew to see family this Christmas, as slightly fewer but still many did for Thanksgiving, in these times when travel means looming death but it’s also something we could all catch in the supermarket and the authorities are doing approximately jack shit to mitigate it. How dare they try to live their lives while they still have lives to live? They should be content that “we” are, as ordered, simply having a virtual Christmastime.

The drive to the airport is still the most dangerous part. That’s why I try to take the train.

Decency

Mike Mersky assaulted me for using profanity in a school hallway. He bumrushed me up against a wall in front of dozens of other students for two or three syllables of unmemorably light Heavy Seven. You pricked your finger and then fingered your prick? Use some lotion next time! 

If I’d had a set of fucking balls I would have gone to the police and probably had him fired within the week. It’s fine to squirm around courtside and bark moves at the lady ballers, but the safe way to act like Bobby Knight is to be Robert Montgomery Knight, and Mersky wasn’t it. He wasn’t even a Benjamin Montgomery Robinson; that was no union gig he had with us. My problem was that I was being low-key community blackmailed over mental and behavioral health moments that were more innocuous than the Mike Move but seedier.

I’ll still swear, to this day, that Mike Mersky assaulted me in his capacity as a school principal, to wit, the immediate successor of Headmaster Dick Johnson. That was why we needed to watch our language around the Day School. It would have been scandalous of us to address one another as the man in charge of all thirteen grades at our school. 

Mersky wasn’t any coarser than Lieutenant Tittytorque, but he was worse. Lieutenant Tittytorque forcefeeding me Jim Beam, slamming four times as much Jimmy himself, and then grabbing my nipples to tune in WWVA was 100% voluntary association, just as Tocqueville wanted it. None of that was ever a good idea, but that beefy freak did not hold authority in loco parentis. When the principal is acting like that, or God help us all the school cop, it’s past time to nip that shit in the bud. 

It hit me this evening, as I walked out on Joe Biden’s unseemly victory speech celebrating the recording of the Electoral College’s statehouse voting conventions to pick up an order of dim sum: Mike Mersky is Joe Biden is Mike Mersky. They’re the same fucking bastard. They’re the same coarse, insufferably greasy middlebrow Mid-Atlantic piece of shit. They talk the same, they strut the same, they bark abuse the same. 

I have no reason to believe that Mersky is a sex pest or a pervert–worth mentioning, obviously, because Funny Uncle Joe is overtly both–but otherwise they’re the same dangerous, disgusting thing. Mersky loved to say, “I’m gonna be perfectly honest with you.” Yeah, that’s what I expect you to be, you cunt. You run this fucking school. Malarkey, we might call it. Man alive, Corn Pop, I’m gonna brain ya with this chain, Jack. 

First State Skull Pudding has the permanent, total privilege to utter threats and fighting words at close range in front of witnesses and news cameras, grope, assault, and forcibly rape where Mike Mersky does not because Joe is two or three quanta farther up and out. When teachers do that it’s a contigent privilege, innit, Denny. Put me in Coach! I mean, put Coach in me! I mean, gimme some cash, Coach! You’re ready to pay! In ways it’s surprising that Denny Dundiddly went down for what Denny Dundiddily dun, but he was after an ex-Speaker with a personal fortune in the mere mid-seven figures. What stands out about so many other sexually compromised guys above him–Clinton, Trump–can be accused on the record of forcible rape and suffer no consequences. Nothing ever happens to them. The Big Dog got deposed, I think. Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby, pudding his pop where it didn’t belong, there to pound more than just cake, got off Scot free for decades. Men who are known to have traveled abroad on a custom private jet with a convicted serial molester and his barely teenage sex slaves are allowed to do whatever the hell they fancy, and in their public lives, no less. Joe gets to put his hands wherever he damn well pleases. 

Nothing happens to these creeps. Nothing ever happens. 

Here’s the mindbending part. 

My parents both found Mike Mersky sleazy, shifty, and abrasive. I have never told them about what he did to me, because I always assumed they’d blame me and don’t want any unpleasantness over that bullshit. They didn’t need to hear a thing about his being physically aggressive or menacing for them to dislike him for chronically being a greasy prick. 

What do they tihnk of Joe Biden, then? He’s restoring decency to American politics. He’s restoring the rule of law. He’s a unifier, not a divider. Whatever he did for the banks, it wasn’t as bad as Trump. Whatever he did to make life hell on the vulnerable poor in neighborhoods he flooded with jackbooted cops enforcing newly draconian laws, it wasn’t as bad as Trump. Whatever horrible things he’s trying to od to this day, he is in no way as bad as Trump. 

It’s so dispiriting to hear people who always distrusted a shady sleazeball rally around Joe Biden, of all ghouls, because he’s a man of decency. How could he be a rapist, a molester, a groper, a white supremacist bigot, a fascist, an armchair jailhouse slaver, a superintendent of mass debt peonage, or even a dementing weirdo? For fuck’s sake it’s because he’s proven to be all of these awful things. Yes, he’s that bad.

I’ve heard “decency” more this fall than I heard it over the five or ten years prior. In tandem with the full-blast firehose of idpol the centrist elements of the chattering classes have been blasting on us since the election, they keep repeating that Joe’s decent, a man of decency. Audio and video of him from THIS CALENDAR YEAR show him lashing out with terrible indecency: Go vote for someone else then; you’re full of shit, a horse’s ass; meet me outside; you ain’t black. If the average A-List figure were carrying on like that, it would be all over the news all the time. Look at how they react to Trump. Instead they just flat-out make shit up about Biden’s character and repeat it ad nauseam.  

The idpol this fall is like nothing I’ve ever witnessed. I expect some gross idpol from the MSM, and certainly from the hopeless veal pen inmates who kiss up to PC Principal from the inept margins of academia, but the Celebration of Diversity they’re throwing in observance of the current interregnum is a world of its own. NPR has had days with multiple items about who of what communal identity has been nominated for what. Meanwhile, the Biden transition team’s nomination process has crashed on launch, disintegrating into a rubble field of corruption and dysfunction. 

What’s happening here, as has been happening across so much of mainstream American life, is that words mean everything and actions mean jack fucking shit. We saw this in a bad way in the pathetic dispute, still under litigation in some quarters, over Trump’s Pussy Comment. The real problem with this publicly accused rapist and unannounced girls’ dressing room visitor is the time he bragged about his louche sex life to a giggling Billy Bush. One of the least credible forms of self-incriminating testimony imaginable is a salacious locker room story for a trust fund dipshit with a celebrity gossip show. There’s no positive, intrinsic reason to believe that any of it is true. Trump habitually lies about all sorts of things to make himself sound successful and brash. 

Even if it’s all true, the troubling thing about the public reaction to Storytime with Billy Bush (again, how are these characters real people?) fixated on the pussy part. Very little agonizing effort was expended denouncing him for bragging that he “moved on them like a bitch” or his explicit claim that he did not ask permission or look for any expression of comfort or consent. What these hysterics feel so deeply about (as he said) is that the future president used common street slang to brag about his promiscuous sexual habits. He used the same word the vast majority of American adults use for the vulva and the vagina when they talk about sex in private.

The pussyhatters’ thinking is more confused yet. Few of them object to the general coarsening of public life with loud sexual language and imagery, which is unmistakable in many places. Genuinely conservative religious voters who sincerely want talk about sex to stay tactful and private quietly facepalmed when they heard that naughty tape from the Republican nominee for the presidency. Pussyhatters skew the other way, ridiculing the religious right for being prudish and repressed (about most of the avowedly conservative “values voters” in this country they have an unfortunately good point).

What they find so objectionable is that Trump, specifically, used that word. It gets even dumber (does it ever not?), because very few of these hysterical performative feminists objected to Trump’s ostentatious public coarseness when he was peddling it as a celebrity developer and television cosplay executive. The pushback against Trump’s obnoxious antics in the eighties was marginal and ineffectual. The pushback against The Apprentice was EXTREMELY marginal. It was impotent. I was around normies all the time. The only people who even tacitly or tangentially criticized “reality” television were a handful of lefty eccentrics and conservative Benedict Option types.

Then Trump ran for the presidency. He ridiculed politics as self-serious bullshit, humiliated Jeb!, insulted the full slate of movement conservatives on the debate stage, and stood up against immigration and for a reinvigorated industrial policy. All of a sudden he was unconscionably coarse and dangerous. Tens of millions of diehard Democrats who were basically okay with however nasty he was on TV as an apolitical celebrity, including quite a few who enjoyed it, were appalled that he dared speak ill of hard-right ghouls who should have been choked out by furious constituents the first time they workshopped their evil schemes as members of the school board.

This is what centrism gets us. The runup to the election was saturated with deafening campaigns to rehabilitate the very worst Republicans the moment they tested the waters as Trump critics. It’s surreal.

There’s no actual principle to this shit. It’s gone with the wind by the time W. and the gang get rehabilitated. God knows we’re still entangled to death in the desert, but Trump sometimes expresses a keen interest in winding down the desert wars and bringing our boys and girls home for good. Of course the bloodless chickenshit nerds who got us into that ruinous bloodbath in the first place hate him.

The deep story behind the pussyhatting outrage, the movement conservative-Third Way neoliberal alliance’s annoyance over Trump’s distracted wanderings through fleetingly but impressively coherent interests in left populism, the neoconservative objections to his sporadic desire to bring the troops home, and the constant lectures from the Intelligence Community (which did not exist as a formal public concept prior to his 2016 campaign) is that Trump is out of his lane and out of line for expressing political opinions. Nobody gave HIM permission to speak! Nobody gave HIM permission to run for office!

This is why so many people complain that Trump is declasse and his base is exclusively the white working class. The elite and subelite factions so upset by his presidency are uncomfortable with working-class agitation of any kind (because it threatens their wealth, privilege, and power) and hurt that other educated and moneyed people have in-your-face dogshit reactionary politics, not the usual “socially liberal but fiscally conservative” centrist moral evasion or mild-mannered movement conservative politics amenable to centrist Democrats (because that means they have class peers who will never go to the dance with them). Biden’s nomination and election are a soul balm for these insufferable nerds. His victory over Bernie and that whole rabble of downwardly-mobile class traitors and the unwashed generationally poor is soothing lotion for their bunghole.

This is what they mean by decency. They love Biden because his election restores the sacred reservation of high office for careerists who pay their dues (payable out of the US Treasury) and toe the centrist bipartisan line. It resubordinates the rabble to their centrally-approved political betters. It’s easy for them to ignore Delaware Brain Dribble’s repeated foultempered outbursts, expressions of deepseated bigotry, condescending contempt for the acute needs of ordinary Americans, and episodic overt senility because they’re brainwashed and insane. It’s easy for them to become and remain convinced he’s better than Trump: less of an asshole, not an asshole, less of a rapist, not a rapist, I mean, gosh, really, there’s nothing wrong with him for being physical sometimes, he’s just a stutterer who puts his foot in his mouth.

They object to Trump for being too human for politics: too passionate too emotional, too vulgar. His off-color comments are retroactively problematic because he had the nerve to intrude, agitate the undesirables (i.e., the poor crackers they insist are the full extent of his base), and make the lanyards and professional chatterers look like exactly the joyless dorks they are. Never mind that he spent his whole career prior to 2016 bragging about dicking bimbos; one is shocked that the President would speak and comport himself in that low manner.

At the same time, they celebrate Biden for being the genuine human we need in the White House in these troubled times. He’s down-to-earth, he’s poor for a career Senator, he has working-class roots, he’s liberal, and ad nauseam with the bullshit and lies. He’s definitely rich. His parents were white-collar upper middle class by the time he started high school. No attentive, honest obsever would ever make him out to be a poor simple country lawyer whose daddy worked in a wildcat mine.

Mind you, they don’t mean sexually human. That little something-something with the Defense Secretary’s wife didn’t happen. He doesn’t grind she-bikers on his lap in front of their husbands. He doesn’t sniff little girls’ hair. Or if it does, it’s a nothingburger. (Centrism is braindead straight down to its catchphrases.)

This is shit that would get an ordinary man throttled in a church parking lot or beaten to death in a bar brawl. The rules are different for grandees who are guarded by dedicated squads of crack federal agents standing by within lunging distance whenever they leave the house. A man would get tackled or shot for reclaiming his wife from Joe Biden. When a man has that level of protection and publicly, repeatedly makes moves on women in front of their husbands,who are painfully aware they cannot safely do a thing but outwait, that man is not decent. He shows what he is. He’s a predator.

Back east, I used to run with some frisky chicks in MontCo and Manayunk whose boyfriends didn’t mind if they danced up on me, and I on them. Shit, Burmila, I used to have it. Guess I still do, after a fashion, but good God I’m in here writing this crap. One of the chicks was Irish. Her boyfriend was super chill about it, not cucked, just laidback. Two others, both of them Italian, were both dating low-key weird and messed-up Jews. The one chick was the distant, hella crazy kind of Italian. The chubbier, more approachable one named her ugly-ass tomcat after me. That cat was like if you put G. K. Chesterton in a fur suit and then ran him through the warp setting on FaceApp.

It was still an honor.

There’s something wrong with the Italians, but we knew that. Point is, we basically maintained the normal give-and-take that normal people maintain in normal interactions and relationships. (The Insurance Schmuck was how I knew these people, so it was a small miracle.) Nobody showed up with the Mormon answer to a rapper’s entourage and threw his weight around all night. I sure as hell didn’t.

It’s perversely encouraging to consider that a fair chunk of Biden’s coalition only thinks it admires him for his character. The last thing good property-owning liberals want to do is admit that they vote as property owners, not liberals. As I’ve said before, it’s refreshingly apsychotic to get the feeling that the shitlib booj are voting their interests, not acting on an eanest terminal obsession with the tiresome Schoolhouse Rock shuck and jive about civic values.

This shit is why GnocchiWizard encourages his followers to walk away from politics and focus on art, on making the world a more beautiful place. Does this essay count? I feel less brainscrambled than sometimes from The Craft, so there’s that. We’re all just crying out into the void, into the wilderness or some shit. But we still have prayer, just like Jesus. We still have the prayers handed down to us. We can still pray for our politicians. St. Michael the Archangel, defend us against that shitty creep. We didn’t order that. Return to sender.

You think I’m kidding. I wish I were.

A most curious afternoon on the old plantation, as the overseers lay down their whips in horror at what is being demanded of them

There’s something unfortunate, even embarrassing, about revering a junta of nine as the fount and bullwark of rights for a nation of over three hundred million. It was disgraceful to elevate to the same nation’s highest court a blackout-drunk cokehead, serial sex pest, and leering deviant who appeared before the independent, coequal body constituted to approve or reject him for appointment, visibly under the influence of alcohol and cocaine, and who verbally abused its members in their own house on live television.

If this country is in fact governed at the consent of its citizens, the deliberations and rulings of its Supreme Court are a rather embarrassing spectator sport. It’s the Triple Crown for nerds. Don a fascinator and go down to Pimlico for another round of degenerate betting and muddy animal cruelty. Watch that 727 full of containerized pens land on 10 under that Indian Summer soup. The semen will be arriving overnight on dry ice, expedited FedEx. Or maybe it has its own plane. Who the hell knows. Make also horse have milky explosion. Make benefit Glorious Nation of Bougiekistan.

P. J. O’Rourke is right: It’s teen pregnancy, only more so. It’s the third, most inexplicable, branch of government. It’s Bullshit. The power of its writs is the extent to which the people will tolerate them. Ask Chappaquiddick Cool Change what his theoretically fellow Boston Irish thought of edicts from Brahmin judges that they send their children to integrated public schools. It’s often the worst who resist such orders the most: Old Hickory and his henchmen, ethnic bigots in New York during the Civil War, Thanks for the input, Taney. How many Marshals you got?

The courts are famously our bulwark against majoritarian tyranny. If some generationally rich thug wants to pay you a pittance of scrip for sixty hours a week of blood, sweat, and tears in his bakery, well, maybe the scrip is a problem, or maybe it’s all right, or shucks, maybe we’d best restrain ourselves around Mr. Roosevelt. Do a bunch of shitheads from the Chamber of Commerce whose idea of an economy is minimum-wage concession jobs for the local pool of surplus poor in your postindustrial city full of residually leaded walkup apartments need your house for the new ballpark? What do you do if the Oracle of Nine says yes? Go out front against a sheriff’s SWAT team with a pitchfork? Come on. This isn’t Japan. What two-bit plot of rice do you think you’re defending out by the airport?

The whole point of the Federalist Society is to enforce and perpetuate this regime. Pick a name off the list, tell the Thicc Moist Boi he’s the guy, psych him up a bit, and let him go back to his rageposting and celebrity smackdowns and shouting fits on Hannity. It’s the permanent government behind the provisional government. Trump clumsily but deftly straddles the two, i.e., he’s a front-of-the-house distraction from Stephen Miller and the (increasingly overt) spooks, but he’s also allowed to commit forcible rape. Cosby and Weinstein were, too, until they weren’t. Maybe the Donald will do his own Harv Time. He probably won’t, but as one of the whore-ass men on the Manor Hill episode told his classmates on their way to the apology assembly, these are strange days.

The Federalist Society allows presidents, and none less than the one we enjoy today, to wander away from the nuts and bolts of judicial nominations and return to the more engaging crimes of their office. In Trump’s case, this largely means not crimes, but cringe. It takes focus to post. The libs are owned by the most ridiculous distractions. A few minutes of braggadocious locker room talk with Billy Bush is dispositive of his being a sex offender, as opposed to the general incredibility of Juanita Broaddrick’s public accusation of forcible rape against Bill Clinton, or E. Jean Carroll’s against Trump.

We’re using our words against other people who are also using their words. In no way is language Original Sin for enabling us to lie.

*****

Presidents are busy men–and yes, Kamala, women, too–with great burdens on their agendas, like prevailing on foreign officials and Secret Service details to stay at their branded properties and cheating at golf. The FedSoc streamlines the chores. Here’s who we have up next in the ghoul pen, Donny. He’s a good conservative. Get stoked!

Government is a powerful strange attractor for charlatans and incompetents. Most of This Town is stone out of its mind about how any community of ordinary Americans thinks. The Federalist Society only sounds crazy. It’s an outpost of shrewd, disciplined, ruthless operators in a 90% straight-ticket Democratic cityscape of teminally out-of-touch crybabies. The average American doesn’t want psychopathic right-wing nutjobs dictating the laws binding ordinary Americans any more than he (or she!) wants center-right Nudge Theory creeps calling out the rules at will. Disingenuous appeals to liberty work because people genuinely want genuine liberty. It’s the same thing with appeals to fairness. Ordinary Americans do not want devious elites waiving and warping the rules to oppress them.

Some are arrogant enough to think that are among these elites wielding the whip hand, and a few in fact are. Most, however, realize that a strong measure of fairness is essential to liberty and want both. The overclass is hyperaware of this sentiment.

In California this fall, this elite awareness was on garish display in the aggressive, fraudulent campaign Uber and its peer companies ran on behalf of Proposition 22. The app gig companies demand the rule of privilege, not the rule of law. When the state government denied them their way in the public interest and placed them under the ordinary regulations limiting the misconduct of ordinary businesses, they shamelessly, ruthlessly lied their way out of the jam. Their ad copy was all about how the apps allow working people–carefully coded as stable, not precarious–to make extra money when they have extra time, are essential to minorities, busy working mothers, and people who don’t want their loved ones killed by drunk drivers, and other diversionary frauds. They said nothing about the proven facts that Uber–one of the major backers of Prop 22 and one of the worst offenders in the sector–has a great many drivers working themselves to exhaustion, sleeping in their cars because they’re homeless, and increasingly leasing their cars from Uber on subprime loans.

Uber isn’t acutally a jitney cab network. It’s a con and a racket. It’s been a criminal enterprise since Day One. So have many of its peer companies. The happy horseshit about “side hustles” is a wholesale cult abuse tactic. They’ll never say, oh yeah, we prey upon earnest, downwardly mobile poor kids who want to do right by their families, Shanghai them into accelerated depreciation on their cars, cash them out at deep poverty wages, hose them for subprime rents since we’ve exhausted the pool of financially creditable drivers, and leave them flat broke and sleeping at rest areas, because it sucks to be from Vallejo lol but really because our purpose in life is to make ourselves and our degenerate rich cokehead buddies rich enough to gentrify the Tenderloin. The companies did not dare be honest. They knew the consequences.

It’s no coincidence that this is exactly the same playbook used to lure the gullible, the overly hopeful, and the desperate into paying for distributorships at Amway, LuLaRoe, and Jamberry. It’s exactly how shysters in real estate convince working people to exhaust their life’s savings on worthless building lots in California City. We’re good wholesome evangelicals here. We’re good Mormon mommas. We’re pinoy. Let’s talk about how I’m definitely not Quisling on commission, in Tagalog.

It’s vile. The companies hire amoral marketing whizzes to cynically, strategically appropriate AAVE buzzwords, sanitize them of any underworld connotations, and deploy them to convince underemployed normies in Fairfield that it’s reasonable and not at all sketchy to run their cars into the ground driving the pampered affluent around the Bay Area until they abritrarily get fired by computer. You don’t want to be a burden and a shame on your family for not working, do you? You want to start adulting, don’t you? Uber lets you stack cash!

Here’s a backup plan: Show me a suite of incentives that makes some fucking sense and I’ll think about it. Millennials have been systematically traumatized, and “hustle culture” is a big factor. One group works itself to death for no good reason. Another can’t find work at all. #VanLife somehow stopped being Chris Farley as object lesson. Early thirtysomethings who aren’t able to live in their childhood bedrooms in San Bernardino with no employment history end up in tent shantytowns that get raided periodically by police goon squads. Call Ernesto Olivares if you need camping supplies.

Everything went to hell in 2008. There were private meeting where Hank Paulson talked with colleagues about the possibility of supply lines abruptly collapsing and civilization with them. We’ve never recovered. Ranch houses wouldn’t cost a factor of 10-30 over what are most likely overestimated median household incomes in neighborhoods where the better-off end of the local working class sleeps in its cars and the worse-off half get their encampments swept around like so many dust bunnies from block to block whenever the property owners throw a fit.

Normies keep thinking, oh, this is America; this is Norman Rockwell, just maybe with crappier architecture. It damn well is not. It’s Brazil. In places it’s India. Did you get your picture taken with a precious street urchin in a Calcutta orphanage that time you visited on vacation, or mission or whatever you’re calling it? The authorities found diapers in one of the hand-dug shelter tunnels they discovered in Kansas City.

*****

This is the future liberals want. It sounds outlandish until we remember that the Democratic Party’s highest-ranking officeholder in California is a Wilson-Deukmejian Republican. DiFi and Fancy Nancy are both out to brunch. Good morning. Sunday morning. Nancy is exactly the freakish lady of the house who would beat her maid in Sao Paolo for a living. Eric Garcetti is her psychopathic son who sneaks out of his mansion to shoot bums and tramps for sport with dirty cops.

They used to send us Sacco and Vanzetti. Can you believe it, DeAngelo? A colored fellow can hardly get a foot in the door at the Save-Mart warehouse these days unless he speaks Spanish, though, and even then it’s no guarantee.

The Federalist Society wants this shitty future, too. That’s why it preaches its virtues and pipelines extremist young lawyers into the federal judiciary, to unilaterally legislate this future from the bench. The FedSoc’s difference is one of tone: it loudly and proudly wants most of the same tyrannical evils its ostensible enemies in liberalism abashedly want. There are those who are shameless, and there are those who pretend to feel shame.

The partisan rancor of American politics in the new millennium, so notoriously corrosive of our trust in government and civic health and shit, is little but petty squabbles about tone. They represent the Brahmins and the Optimates, two castes with highly overlapping class interests but acrimonious disputes over precisely which set of terrible aesthetics to use in the fulfillment of their interests at the expense of their social inferiors.

Trump occasionally upsets both of their apple carts for a few minutes, then wanders away because he’s bored with populism again. Pay close attention to who comes out of the woodwork on the Republican side to denounce him and praise Democrats for being unifiers in a time of great division, and pay attention to what they think Trump is doing wrong on policy. It’s the same chickenhawk neocon/neolib ghouls as ever, bitching about how we need to keep our military (“us”) embroiled in ruinous imperial campaigns against scrappy desert tribes instead of asserting our rights as a sovereign nation to pursue an adversarial trade policy with openly adversarial trading partners like China. Trump’s shouting and coarse jingoism are problematic, but so is driving a hard bargain right back on Xi Jinping. We can’t dare retaliate against China for dumping industrial exports on our shores or refuse to play chicken when it threatens to boycott our soy. These are the laws of economics.

It makes me wonder: How long is a Chinaman? I dunno. How long? Whaddaya mean you don’t know him? He’s been running that fucking laundry since 1870!

The Democratic Party’s sniveling centrist twerps are appalled by Trump’s crude antics, but they love any other Republican who genteelly promotes even worse policies with a focus and organization Trump doesn’t care to cultivate. The idea it’s heartwarming to see Rick Wilson agree on something with Nancy Pelosi or Elissa Slotkin is barfworthy. These are some of the worst people on earth. What’s happening here is pretty much just some Optimate shitheads contingently defecting to the Brahmin camp because they get heartburn when Trump and his unsavories throw their shouting fits. There’s no fucking principle to it.

It’s exactly how the celebrated bipartisan comity of the midcentury came to be, too. The politics were different but the underlying dynamics were the same. Midcentury elected officials were too scared by what they’d seen in the Depression to dare comprehensively screw over their constituents for profit. George Wallace increased the salaries of white teachers and black teachers alike. Taft (does it matter which one?) mostly behaved himself. If they would have admired Newt Gingrich, they didn’t act like it. They understood the political consequences of telling constituents to go die in a ditch. It was to their constituents that they were more or less accountable.

One look at Mitch McConnell and he’s obviously a miserable cunt. He’s also truly evil. What are we supposed to do with him? Outcivil the son of a bitch? It’s sure worked so far. Then we get smarmy pricks like Ben’s Ass–now goodness, how do I keep misspelling that?–having centrist circle jerks with the amoral twerps on Wait Wait about how a better way is possible, by following their lead. LBJ would rightly have backed Mr. Ass into a corner like he was T. F. Green until he cut the #PassItOn bootstrap bullshit about the all-around incompetence of his own constituents at adult activities of daily living. On the other hand, the nice Cornhusker says nice things about NPR listeners and their weak centrist politics to Peter Sagal, so maybe he’s good.

The moment these ghouls show their faces–Newt, Gateside Downlow, Mitch, Diddlin’ Dennis, Ass–is the moment the Democrats unsheathe their tongue depressers for the gunfight. They resent the old-school pols among their supposed fellow travelers for fighting fair: Bernie hammering the overclass, Traficant wearing a thick top and wide bottoms to the whipping fence, for that matter Tlaib for hitting back at the Donald, even if she confuses Ivanka for his mother. They’ll stoop to the ghouls’ level on policy, but never on decorum.

It’s a preposterous thing to say about Fancy Nancy, but she believes it. We’re allowed to live in our own realities. Mr. Rogers was cool with a little of that, but know this: We have to pay our pound of flesh for the privilege now. We’ll cut off Mina Kim’s interview with Jesus Kristof and Wife unless we hear from our pay pigs. No, better, we’ll cut it off for the balance of the hour to reach out to our pay pigs.

We’re all good little pay pigs!

*****

That’s what we used to call the offertory, or the collection plate. This here ain’t civics; it’s church. Mother Nancy is our high priestess, Adam Parkhomenko our loyal deacon. How could Avignon would have had a pope?

Remember: we’re virtuous. That’s why we’re here. We’re the bulwark against an illiberal president like Donald Trump droning father-and-son birthright US Citizens to death without a warrant oops and mentally unstable bigoted rapists in the White House oops again and the drone president’s emeritus Solicitor General arguing before the Supreme Court that the Nestle Corporation should be allowed to own child slaves well Jesus Christ there’s no way he could have said that.

Of course he did lol. It was just subcontractors tending sharecroppers’ cocoa patches in West Africa. We really wouldn’t want one of our beloved Brands to face civil liability under the Alien Tort Act for practices that are also felonies in every other country with a functioning government. Let’s not be unreasonable here. Sometimes you drive just over the hill from Calistoga on 29 with a case of used seltzer bottles and fill up at the 0.005 cfs watering tub. Sometimes you buy the entire aquifer from an obscure but crooked charter township and sell it back to Flint at a hundred thousandfold markup. Sometimes you prune your own vineyard. Other times you chain a Mexican kid to an avocado tree and whip him until he makes quota.

Right? We’ve all been there. Besides, there are legal reasons not to hold US-chartered multinational corporations liable for violations of the Thirteenth Amendment and subsidiary criminal statutes when the violations were committed in foreign countries whose governments the same corporations bribed to ignore their already laxly enforced laws against slavery. We should leave the corporate corruption of West African governments a local concern. Corruption probably isn’t a big political issue in Nigeria anyhow. Okay, in that case let’s not fixate on how everybody with a political blog in Nigeria is fed up with corruption. Let’s try not to imagine that public sentiment is similar in nearby countries with weaker internet conections.

It’s like if a thousand Bangladeshis die in a preventable factory collapse. Are we really going to put them out of work to keep them safe? We need the underwear. We need the chocolate. They need the work. We know this is true. Matty is a Democrat.

My shirtwaist is getting into one hell of a triangle right now. Neal Katyal actually argued before SCOTUS that Nestle should be allowed to own slaves. It is a spicy Vindaloo. It is a hearty Jollof Rice.

This is starting to sound awfully like our next veep. Kamala is a slavery enthusiast of color. Neera Tanden isn’t white, either. I guess that’s good to know for some reason. Africans sold their own people across the ocean, just like what the old English elites did to their people, specifically to the Cockneys and the Irish. Do you have a problem with any of this straight talk about race? Waka waka hey–Hey, you ain’t black!

Normally I’d feel bad about strawmanning, like, maybe Katyal is just a huge piece of shit, not a Western supremacist or whatever, but this shit is insane. It’s hard to miss the touchy racial and geopolitical implications. Grease it up with some moral relativism and the idpol flies straight through the looking glass. This is not, in fact, how we like to #RaceTogether, here in America. You get food to eat, Ricky Ray, just like we told you.

The allegations against Nestle and Cargill are much worse than just slavery. They include maiming and permanent disfigurement. Our first half-black president’s ex-solicitor general doesn’t think our poor American corporations should be on the hook for their contractors or subcontractors skinning their workers alive. This is really hideous stuff. It’s the worst of the South. American or Global, it doesn’t matter.

The Alien Tort Claims Act was enacted to provide foreigners living under inept or corrupt judiciaries at home recourse to sue US defedants in US courts for crimes the defendants committed against them at home. The slavewhipping Framers of 1789 foresaw the inadequacy of the Ivoirian courts to hear slavery claims. They knew the titans orchestrating the whole thing would take the money and run. It was the same thing they and their cronies did. For God’s sake what fool would leave valuables lying around in front of the slave shacks?

Of course they were hypocrites. It’s bad, but they bequeathed a good framework to their better successors.

And then this creep Katyal showed up. Oh, this isn’t anything we should be worried about, publicly traded companies with US charters and domiciles profiting from the torture and maiming of kidnapped adolescents. Jefferson is easy enough to understand. Katyal is dumbfounding. It’s inconceivable for a lawyer to make those arguments in open court, and in a civil case at that. It’s /Terminal Robert Dziekanski Voice/ shocking. I’m mostly used to the United States being a moral disaster zone, but dear fucking God, that’s bad.

Eichmann got hanged for putting Neal Katyal’s arguments into action under force of law. That’s what Katyal is. He’s a latter-day Eichmann. Arendt you glad his kids don’t go to school with yours?

Look at his old boss, though. No Drama Obama looks bad in hindsight for hiring the creep, but we didn’t need to learn about any of this ugliness to expect bad things of Mocha Haole. We’re just trying to burn dissidents and their minor children to death with remote-control missile jets more aloha here. Mamma followed that bumiputra fellow home under Suharto and the Ford Foundation because, see, I–eh, never mind. It’s a hearty deep dish pie we’re eating here on the South Side tonight.

These are birds of a feather. Kamala is of the flock as well. One thing I’ll say in Barry’s favor is that he’s less in-your-face vile than that bitch. She’s just awful. We’ve been through that before. The latest festivities, to fill the uncanny valley with the bizarre, involve the search for a Senator of Color, perhaps even a Woman Senator of Color, to replace Her, a process that has obliviously missed Loretta Sanchez. I knew they’d do that, but I hadn’t thot of it in a minute. I’m still going insane. Alex Padilla worked for DiFi, so of course he’s colored. I forget who else they were talking about, although I’ve heard nothing about Antonio Villaraigosa. He must not be crooked enough. He isn’t creepy, just sleazy. You call that Spanish? You call that English? John Hatfield Maglited a black guy as a Latino, so I’m afraid so. Last I heard he was gonna be a nurse.

At least Harris and Garcetti aren’t our only colored role models in high office. My grandfather liked to call my uncle Kike Douglas, so I’m sure it’d be hella fun if the Jews were made off-white again.

*****

As I was saying, this Katyal stuff is driving me nuts. How are his arguments not top-of-the-fold front-page national news? Rhetorical, of course; we know why; but still.

We have slavery in the United States, too. We just declare our slaves criminals. In fairness, that guy we scalded to death in the prison shower in Florida was too crazy for a work detail, and Kamala’s idea of slavery involves nothing more than keeping the nonviolent in prison longer so they remain excempt from the minimum wage as firefighters.

Imagine a country where Paul Tanaka is the national police chief and the entire country is the Louisiana State Penitentiary, the other Angola, but they’re all black. This is the Ivory Coast. It’s close enough in a society where a retired government lawyer in good standing with the bar can tell the high court that it’s okay for companies to employ malnourished, grievously maimed chattel slaves, because why not.

*****

Here’s the thing about the Federalist Society, though. Its SCOTUS picks are not operating as programmed. Kavanaugh and ACB listened to Katyal’s chilling proposal and were like, what the fuck man. Gorsuch is a trailblazer on Indian Nation sovereignty.

A couple of things are happening here. ACB seems to be a sincere TradCath. You’re saying they can do WHAT to kids? Excuse me? Kavanaugh is a sexually disordered hot mess, the kind of guy who might be found helping Bob Hanssen set up his bedroom peephole camera after the Opus Dei meeting, but for the Smut Prince of the Lewinsky Hearings his jurisprudence is surprisingly liberal. As bad as his sexual misconduct was, it was always just booze-soaked sexual assault or flashing in the heat of the moment. Press-ganging kids onto a cocoa plantation and leaving them with stigmata is way beyond anything he’d ever do, or even imagine doing. Like his newest colleague, he was genuinely horrified. Judges are expected to maintain a poker face, and they often do so diligently, but these two have consciences and feelings. Gorsuch, in spite of his sometimes atrocious appellate jurisprudence, is normal for a lawyer.

More broadly, though, what’s going on here is that these justices, like so many of their colleagues, care deeply about their legacies. Judges who don’t give a shit about the law or equity per se get cowed into bowing before stare decisis because they hate being ridiculed by colleagues. These three seem to care about the law, not just their reputations.

Neal Katyal cares only about honestly I can’t tell what. He’s unbelievably soulless and amoral. He’s like his old boss. There’s a whole lot of that in the law. The C students become rich, as they say.

All we can do now is wait for the decree of a Jewess, a spic, an abrasive wop, a bunch of honky motherfuckers, and that Gullah weirdo about what exactly constitutes African-American law for Nestle and Cargill. Maybe it’s a bad sign that counsel for Monsanto is on the case. That’s one they didn’t keep down on the farm for sure. What I’ll be most interested to hear is what those who are scandalized by my language think about two Fortune 100 companies having Barack Obama’s lawyer argue that it’s good of them to buy from thugs who went full King Leopold’s Ghost on emaciated captive teenagers.

It should be fun. They’re Harris voters. I should scalp some yard signs.

The civil liberty to dine in at Denny’s buck naked and smear stool on the stool

It would be instructive, and most likely encouraging, to see what communities beset by Covid-19 could do just with mask use. Chinatown in San Francisco is a piss-poor neighborhood with large numbers of residents living in crowded SRO’s. Its infection rates are some of the lowest in the United States. Chinamen wear masks.

That’s what happens when a foreign enclave operates on a longstanding set of cultural norms oriented towards good public and personal health. The Inscrutable Oriental covers her face. The gaijin can have very little eye contact, as a trick.

The key here is that the mask compliance comes from internal peer pressure. Do honored elders riding the 1-California without a dozen words of English between them give a damn about what some rich white bitch thinks about the faddish public health measures? Of course not.

The Mexicans take the same path to a very different place. We might call them a different kind of dirty. Goodness gracious, Dora the Explorer never taught our children to say such awful things about the maid! How dare one? Dad’s banging her! Down in the crowded parking lots, out for some prayer time–look, Siegler, they may be Hispanic Latinos, or they may be Latino Hispanics, or they may be Latinx Hispanx, and this obviously has something to do with what it’s like to live in a plywood shack without indoor plumbing heaving watermelons into a truck for condescending landed Armenians–but in any event, you can see them there, on Saturday morning; they hold hands, stand up, and sing about what it’s like up there.

Given the current circumstances, I’m more inclined to be concerned about what it’s like down here, where I find myself the only masked party in all too many crowded public buildings. If syphilitics were walking around in supermarkets unpredictably splooging straight at other shoppers’ bussies with firehose force, I’d want them to wear pants, and I’d goddamn fucking well wear pants.

Did I mention that sex education in the United States is really bad? That it’s haphazard, squeamish, and disingenuous? Explaining masks as condoms for the face doesn’t work on those who have internalized ridiculous misinformation from sexual busybodies about how condoms don’t work.

What the hell do we expect Mexican peasants to think about any of this? Yanqui scolds want to limit their family formation but also want them (tacitly, tacitly!) to remain a reliable supply of scab labor. America, as Americans conceive of it, is squirrelly about giving them a civic stake, again because prompt naturalization in full would scotch the cheap labor deal. Do they really want to listen to a bunch of rich Dawkinsbots who suddenly care about their health as a likely disease reservoir endangering the White Community tell them to walk around in public wearing surgical masks? “The eugenecists don’t want us getting them sick because we live in poverty to feed them, sweetie.” Hoo boy, that’ll go over just great.

Encouraging foreign customs means suffering from foreign customs. There isn’t an option here to pick just the good stuff (cheap, meek help; taco trucks) and leave the bad stuff (The El Centro Center of Respiratory Excellence). This ain’t the Golden Corral. What the elites are insinuating here is arrogant and crass: Oh, we wanted you to breach the rules by coming here and putting up with housing that never met code, but we NEED you to follow the rules now that OUR health is at stake!

Yeah fucking right.

That’s the thing about the puritanical health cult. The lower orders can smell puritanical scolding before they can see it. There are usually two things that make Brahmins suddenly care about the health of the inferiors they consign to naturally unhealthy lives. One is their own superiority complex. Positional flexes require relative positions. The other is pissant defecit hawk concern-trolling of the public budget. They don’t want to pay modestly higher taxes to help the less fortunate live healthier lives without coercion, so they impose sin taxes on soda and cigarettes to cover the gaps between Michael Bloomberg’s actual and proper tax burdens and to give the little people “nudges,” such as the Mayor might enjoy off the platform and into the tracks on his celebrated subway ride.

Any of the rest of you white motherfuckers wanna get under the train for free?

The simple, elegant explanation for much of the baffling psychology of American politics is that people hate being condescended to and bossed around. College-educated centrist normies pretend, rather unconvincingly, to find it acceptable and justifiable, if not enjoyable. In point of fact, a healthy society would deal with Cass Sunstein by repeatedly stuffing him into a locker. How’s that for a “nudge” lol bitch. Is it so hard to grasp why there’s popular resentment of a socioeconomic regime based on nothing but nagging, indoctrination, surveillance, and coercion? Anybody normal and sensate would be livid.

The Rona would have taken and would still be taking a very different trajectory in the United States if the average American weren’t chronically exhausted and on edge. I can’t prove it, but I guarantee it. We eat terribly, at once too much and too little. We’re chronically short on sleep because we’re expected to work like draft horses all the time, regardless of how much work there actually is to do, and in ways that strategically leave crucial work undone. (See the poor state and limited extent of our rapid transit systems.)

Living in the United States is its own crushing cognitive load. Our medical system is designed to Shanghai patients into life-ruining debt if they get sick. Our health insurance schemes are insane: baroque, designed to divide rich against middle against poor, designed to mentally and emotionally ruin patients with gratuitous paperwork, and generally useless, even under the ACA. Every American lives in chronic fear of violent street crime at the hands of our unaccountable police. (I don’t believe for one second that Blue Lives Matter loudmouths are truly comfortable around cops. An unspoken but major reason for their boorish extremism is a deeply repressed desire to flatter a violent armed gang into turning its violence against anyone else.) Our hiring managers and line supervisors are exactly the power-mad busybodies who should be last in line for authority over others. As with the police, everyone in the country knows this but few dare admit it. Many won’t even admit it to themselves.

Everything about this nightmare is the profile of a society that will inevitably do a horrifically bad job of mitigating contagious disease. Indeed, before we suffered the Rona and did so little about it, we allowed diseases including hepatitis and tuberculosis to spread unconfronted among inmate and homeless populations. The officially, if tacitly, sanctioned conditions in our prison and homeless encampments are manifest threats to public health for the civilian population at large, not just deliberate atrocities against a vulnerable scapegoat caste. The spread of respiratory diseases and HIV from inmates to unwitting noninstitutionalized civilians via guards is inevitable. In coarse terms, guards and inmates bang each other. They breathe on each other. It’s somewhere between naive and delusional to expect Americans, of all peoples, to get a grip on our congregate institutions and put a stop to that shit. We can hardly (ooh, a clue!) get our own dumbasses to use condoms.

This isn’t a society that’s just funny around the edges. There’s nothing harmless or endaring about this. It is not incidental dysfunction. Objectively, it is systemic, catastrophic mental incapacitation. I’m absolutely serious about this. The mainstream American population is too mentally overwhelmed to think critically about this shit and make reasonable decisions about how to respond to it. The intellectual, emotional, and psychological burdens of coping with, shall we say, this American life on a day-to-day basis put us in a position as bad an any country on earth to respond adequately to a pandemic, and also our ruling institutions are systemically corrupt.

Considering the scandalous clusterfuck that passes for normcore in this sick country, we’re doing much BETTER than we should at dealing with this shit. I’m seeing people generally wearing masks around strangers in public and not making a stink about it, for masks or against them. This is encouraging. We were fated to suffer at least as huge a flood of paranoid and traumatic ideation, disinformation, self-absorbed grandstanding and scolding, and embarrassing woowoo from the Dread Ailment as we’ve gotten from it. Expecting better is like giving Rob Ford a fifth of whiskey at the close of business and wondering why there isn’t any left to take for one’s cough at bedtime. Shit, partner, I musta been drunk to smoke crack!

Our media amplify the stupidest, crookedest, most irrational voices. Desperate cloutchasers stumble all over each other in the cheap seats to ape whatever mental and behavioral health problems They are modeling for them. To paraphrase Colby Cosh, couldn’t you fucking DO something for a living?

*Smug Dril voice* No. Working for a living has been made precarious, degrading, and often not much of a living. It’s perversely rational to dig in with one tribe or another and post ideological bullshit for a shot at patronage. According to our national mythology, we want less of this, not more, but it would make our very worst people clutch their pearls and maybe yell if we broke HR’s back and told the furloughed to look for work or claim public assistance like any other loser they’ve chosen to culture for a paycheck, so we shut up and put up.

Who’s “us?” You tell me. How many people do you find making the Benedict Option work? I ask sincerely, not rhetorically. I only sound like a Socratic shitbag (in this paragraph, at least). We all bob around in the sea of everybody else’s bad decisions. Here in America, these decisions are, as I said, cultured.

That sounds like something we (“we”) do with coronaviruses at Fort Detrick. Hey now! #TooSoon. *Driling the whole goddamn way down again* John Mick Cane is alway’s telling Congress not to funding Amtrak, butt he care ;snot of funding,, thre “Anne Thracks.”

How bow dah. We still haven’t figured out how we cashed the ultrapotent weapons-grade anthrax ousside the suspiciously weak biosecurity cordon at the other end of 270 from the mailing addresses. Honestly, why are we concerned that Red China may have been up to similar monkey business just outside–for real–Wuhan? I mean, that would be no good, too, but it would have to get past US customs for direct innoculation of civilian constituents of a hostile power. In this analogy, our own Intelligence For Your Death services are the mad scientists, and we, the people, are the hostile power. Either the Chinese hosted the 2019 military olympiad in Wuhan to blame their dirty work on us, or we sent a delegation to Wuhan to blame our dirty work on them. If either or both are up to that shit, it’s good and goddamn well my stance that we are to scrutinize the bioweapons lab half an hour from where one of my best friends lives.

That is, our own.

The popular reactions are insane because the circumstances triggering them are insane. Things would be much more normal and comprehensible if we were facing only a pandemic. What we’re really facing here is worse. It’s more complicated and intractable. The same underlying sicknesses we’ve failed to treat, let alone cure, for decades–comorbidities, if we may–are with us more than ever, now that they have a runaway communicable disease outbreak as a channel through which to work their ruin. Before the Ailment, our job market, housing market, medical system, schools, and social safety net were all busted for those trying to use them. The effect of the Rona is to push these failed institutions over a tipping point into even worse states of dysfunction and evil.

The question, of course, is failed for whom. Are you forced to use these failed institutions? Do you truly think it’s bad that they have been failed? Is there anything the officials that sabotaged them into their current state can do to repair them, either by changing their own behavior in office or being forced back into private life?

Do you vote?

Take me for Shitty Socrates again, if you wish. For my part, I wish these were just rhetorical questions, and I were just being a pain in the ass. It has not been good for anyone’s grasp on reality to hear constant screaming at fighter jet volume to the effect that the Democratic Party is the American left. How the fuck does that work? Biden is a Democrat. So was Strom Thurmond. The Jefferson-Jackson Dinners that county party affiliates often host are not polisci roundtable discussions of the left-liberalism of either of those thugs, any more than the GOP today gives a shit about anything Lincoln had to say, or did not have to say from his back pew at St. John’s, since we were not the God he petitioned. [Insert gratuitous carrying-on about Intercessors for Protestants, to taste (sic).]

Washington warned Jefferson and Adams to flee from all political factions. Oops lol. That bit of counsel against monkey business sure went to hart! Still, the political alignment of Teddy Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, and Jesse Jackson (upon information and belief, a Clinton) opposite Reagan, Deukmejian, Wilson (bad vibrations, Pedro), Gingrich, and that whole gang made sense. We properly classified our right-wing psychopaths. We called them by their true names.

These days, Confucius say, Wow None rectification Such psychotic Very confuse. It started in earnest with the Clintonite-Blairite Third Way bullshit. It was easier to recognize Gropey Joe as a sleazy crypto-Dixiecrat throwback with Dick Gephardt on the scene. His Hairhat Widebottom Jimmy helped make sense of moderately liberal Republicans like Arlen Specter. Moonbeam, also a moderate liberal, was too far left to be a California Republican.

So what the hell is Kamala Harris? She’s a Wilson-Deukmejian Republican, duh. Homegirl ain’t got no need to cook with gas when she can nonfatally stew them and pull them from the crockpot now and then for discount duty on the firelines, but otherwise, that’s glaringly what we’re facing in our next vice president. I’m going insane to listen to the same freaks who have spent the last four years calling Trump a bearfucking traitor shriek that she’s the bulwark we all need against right-wing reaction. Cracka ya shittin me? Either they’re gaslighting us or they’re batshit insane. Or, /annoying little Mexican girl meme/, Why Not Both.

Wesley Willis was psychotic, but these cases (many such!) are not to insinuate that Wesley was the psychotic one. Vibing at 24th North and 24th West but knowing that it’s for the best to cut the outpatient behavioral health before you head up and out for San Diego is the genesis of nothing crazy enough for the Democratic mainstream to tolerate today, Aftab.

Normal constituents walking the genpop yards with something resembling critical thinking skills often mangle the details. Donald Trump is a trusty old Epstein associate, not an avenging angel waiting to swoop in on a child liberation mission with information that may lead to the arrest and execution of his associate Hillary Clinton. Bribes of $2k per chart to drylab Rona diagnoses doesn’t quite ring true for the corruption of our esteemed medical doctors. Where are the busty pharma reps? Where are the dinner junkets and the free pens? The classic fill-and-bill doesn’t require bogus diagnoses, just diagnoses. Patient’s eye were equally reactive and dilated. Please insert my usual review of systems.

What the Fauci fans don’t get here is that an embarrassingly inaccurate story can be a scandalously true story. It gets into the air when Mina Kim goes on air for an hour of publicly AND corporately funded conversation returning often to grievances that public disregard for the season’s ominous warnings hurts the feelings of doctors.

PPP, baby. PPE? Wha dah? Huh. We’re just keeping the focus on the things that matter. It’s the insolent individual’s fault that our extremely ill-equipped physicians and nurses are sick and scared, not the fault of the hospital groups nickel-and-diming them on N95 masks to satisfy their own boundless greed.

Surgeon-Quisilngs like Bill Frist and Tom Price are doing their best to bait laypeople into a bum fight with their own colleagues. Love too bee in the Medical Fraternity. It isn’t as cunning or successful as they think. It never is. As the most successful, they win the battle but lose the war. No matter how passionately unlicensed workaday Americans hate or resent doctors for being arrogant, incompetent, and spoiled, they know on some level that the student debt, “health” “insurance”, and hospital “nonprofit” rackets are the ones Shanghaiing them to death for being injured and sick. If they have problems with their own internists for misdiagnoses or terrible bedside manner, they’ll definitely have problems with shitsack social climbers drawing federal salaries to fly around for leisure on government jets or make insane speeches before Congress about how the last defense against the culture of abortion is the heroic effort to keep a woman who obviously has a life expectancy measurable in hours on life support because she’s one small miracle away from pulling a Lazarus trick. It’s pretty easy to direct attention away from banally mediocre doctors doing the yeomen’s work of medicine and back to the bigshots, where it belongs, by noting that the Terry Schiavo guy was a surgeon cosplaying as America’s neurologist and also a beneficial owner of a huge, hyperprofitable, morally seedy hospital group.

Eyy, now, same ting applies to you, Tony. Sayin’ Santa don’t get da cold aw da flu, ya coal dat medicine, pal? This ain’t Miracle on 34th Street, asshole. We can tell that we’re dealing with a cult when people who gush about Anthony Fauci as a scientific authority coo about how it’s cute or some shit for him to reassure our nation’s children. No. Absolutely fucking not. Either Covid-19 is serious or it’s a false alarm. The hysterics do not get to have it both ways. The chief of the main national infectious disease lab used a global pandemic as an opportunity to joke about how a tubby old sack of lard who exercises for 24 hours straight and sits around the rest of the year is immune to a virulent disease whose comorbidities include obesity, old age, and cardiovascular decrepitude.

Say it again: If this shit is serious and you’re in charge of explaining how serious it is, you do not get to joke around about it in public. You don’t get mulligans for burning public confidence.

This bullshit, like so much else about the official response to the Rona, and about America in general, is psychotic. This dude is the leading public authority on what he and his peers ominously insist is the gravest threat to public health in a century, and they’re all expressing their horror at the prospect of ordinary Americans spreading the contagion by visiting each other over the winter holidays. In the midst of his longwinded warnings, he abruptly pulled a Transformers mindbend from reality into fantasy and back by incorporating flagrantly misleading make-believe patient information into a children’s story about a mythical character amounting to a hybrid of Messrs. Grayling, Ross, and McFeely. This–mental health, do you call it? It’s delicious. We haven’t got a thing like it on any of the Offworld Planets.

It’s nuts. We’re badgered to listen in rapt reverence to the medical pronouncements of this man who is crescendoing about how we all need to cancel Thanksgiving the same week he’s on the record playing doctor about the perfect health and prognosis of an ancient beltstretching fatty from a series of Bernays-era Coca-Cola ads who rides around in the sky behind a team of reindeer.

This barely fit for Sesame Street in normal times, a few characters short of a cast. We could have a clumsily functional community with a bum, a bickering gay couple, an obnoxious hypomanic stress eater, and a moping depressive. Instead we have a cargo cult for children featuring a workhouse full of peasant shorties manufacturing toys for Deer Team Shoko Asahara. Obviously, though, the real problem here is that this year’s most prominent doctor carries on in earnest about this bitch-ass wizard crap like a kindergarten teacher and then snaps back into his usual harangues about how we’re going to kill Grandpa by having dinner with him, because he’s old.

There’s an ugly theme to these lectures on public health. Our officials are telling us, in rapid fire, what Christianity is, what Judaism is, what family life is, what friendship is, what dating is, what school suddenly is, what sports are, what children’s play is. We can’t control for how aggrieved citizens feel about mask requirements or dining room closures because these are proxies for fiercer upset about orders from on high to stay out of churches and whorehouses. Our rights of free association are abrogated by governments that can’t compel basic hygiene in nursing homes during an infectious disease crisis–or, worse, won’t. These are the authorities ordering us to stay out of each other’s living rooms and backyards. These are the ones instructing us to keep our children locked up indoors and allowed closely supervised play dates with peers from a maximum of one other household, lest they kill us all.

Everything is suddenly ritually impure, except for nursing aides who work in multiple homes every week, guards who are allowed overtime assignments on different yards from those where they work fulltime, squalid underclass bunkhouses, and every conceivable industrial setting that was already unhealthy and dangerous before the pandemic. These things are fine. Curiously, they allow parasites who already have a huge lot of money to save money and live better. Peasants filthy enough to deserve to shit in the same big bucket under a cubicle the size of a phone booth towed behind a barely serviceable school bus are out of sight and out of mind, as always until it’s time for some more idpol, of ambiguous ritual purity. Oops I just shat in a ditch and wiped my ass with my hand. As a Latina, sometimes you do that and then get back to work cutting lettuce and arguing with your mother.

Amen amen I say to you, the Lord of Leviticus works in mysterious ways. If we were serious about any of this, we’d thrust every landed Armenian but the Kardashians up against the warehouse wall daily until they gave their fieldhands proper flush toilets and time on the clock to use them. Instead we nod along to every horseshit story from some Dutch prick or off-white Nisei Farmers League fuckhead about how the Mexicans are the last people with an American work ethic.

We have ALWAYS known how to prevent or immediately remediate these threats to public safety and health: send inspectors in to raid properties that provide their employees squalid accommodations or do anything to keep them from taking bathroom breaks, including low piece rates, and send goons in after them to kick the shit out of any recalcitrantly filthy bosses. We don’t refrain from that because it’s coarse. We refrain because we prefer to reserve our police violence for the uppity poor, those without restrooms and the time to use them.

The authorities know what they’re doing when they reserve the enforcement of immigration laws for abitrary stochastic use against individual unauthorized immigrants and leave all relevant laws unenforced against employers who pose a chronic threat to workplace safety and public health. They may have known what they were doing when they dragged their feet about recommending universal mask use spring, in the face of swelling public pressure to stop lying about the efficacy of masks for the general public and finally provide the same guidance they’d been giving hospital staff all along. Regardless of the motivation–calculating and evil or just inept–this episode was a prolonged Chernobyl moment. It’s a miracle that it left a meaningful swath of the American public with any trust or confidence whatsoever in our authority figures.

It didn’t leave much.

The weirdness of so much of our current circumstances–the draconian Taylorist crackdowns on students and teachers under the auspices of online schooling; the sudden proliferation and fame of the same glitchy, hitherto unheard-of videoconference platform used for schooling, endlessly promoted as a wonderful alternative to visiting in person; the creepy deployment of the police state as a fnordforce to keep people out of well-ventilated, perfectly safe outdoor public opposite the open official license to dangerously ill-ventilated indoor private establishments to operate at will; the decreeing of interstate and even intercity quarantine orders as obvious CYA measures and public health theater; the scapegoating of religious congregations for a contagion that the officials denouncing and threatening them failed for months to contain–somehow leaves much of the rest of the official response looking inept, the ad hoc work of panicked idiots always caught off-guard, even with months of notice.

The most vivid current example of this ineptitude and panicked haste is the heady blooming official freakout about high-volume holiday travel over Thanksgiving week for communal family meals. Who the hell didn’t see this rush coming? Travelers start making their reservations for holiday trips months in advance. A quick look at the trade literature for the common carrier and lodging associations gives anyone interested months’ advance notice of the year’s travel trends. There’s a thick deck of wildcards this year on account of the pandemic, but all an official had to do was compare, say, one-month and three-month advance reservation volumes for the winter holiday weeks to ordinary weeks on either side. If there’s a noticeable spike, that means there’s a holiday rush coming down the concourse.

The rising volume, tone, and constancy of the warnings and pleas not to travel over the past week or so indicates that the authorities got blindsided, and bad. Any fool could have seen a holiday travel rush coming, along with gatherings for a feast day and seasonably cold weather ushering the congregations indoors. This wasn’t the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

I’ve been listening to NPR again, out of unfortunate tradition but also for the unexpected blessing of a two-cycle Freeman-Huizenga-State hat trick. *Reassuring Voice of the Witching Hour* I’m Michael State. It’s Thanksgiving, at midnight.

If only we all waited in joyful hope for the proclamation. The hysterical Safety Bear scolds have spent the whole week living at 23:59 Wednesday night, sweating bullets, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Their commentary has been getting crazier and crazier. They’ve been unraveling live on air, at first day by day, now almost hour by hour.

There were NHK reporters who stayed calmer covering the Tohoku tsunami, reading ground reports and government alerts on the fly over live helicopter footage of populated areas getting sea-scoured at highway speed while desperate motoists tried to outrun the wave for high ground and JR dispatchers lost contact with doomed trains. The trigger this time is popular defiance of the latest, shrillest public health guidance. The people marinating in this upset and worry enjoy some of the best healthcare and prognoses available in the event of infection. The threat alarming them to the point of hue and cry is almost entirely vicarious.

What stands out again, for those following or studying any of this shit in detail, is that so many of our authority figures are fixated exclusively on holiday travel as the determinant of transmission threatening to overwhelm our hospitals. To judge from the average newscast, the condition and management of our hospitals, nursing homes, jails, packinghouses, and other congregate facilities is irrelevant. That’s just the way it is, Hornsby. Could you just stop being selfish and not hug your grandparents to death this year?

Our betters have stooped to the point of proctoring the Marshmallow Test. Forego this one Thanksgiving and this one Christmas out of faith in all the Thanksivings and Christmases to come. It’s a baffling thing to beg for in the midst of months of wailing about the mounting death toll and the looming toll to come. Who’s saying Grandma will still be with us next fall now? The same grand hysterics insisting that her life expectancy is dropping from years into weeks, of course. This is logic,, and Science.

This is the exasperated pearlclutching tone of prissy, self-serious martinets who cannot believe that THEY will actually defy US. My God, they are actually disregarding our lectures. They are actually doing it.

No shit they are. Families and friends living in an avowedly free country are going through with our longstanding national tradition of visits over the winter holidays, this time in a year when we’re all being warned at impressively full volumes that we need to wait to live our lives because life is shorter than ever. If today was your last day, would you eat that slice of pecan pie? If you won’t, the governor will.

What we’re witnessing is a captain and his first mate clumsily hammering their ship back together with meat mallets while it takes on water and lists upside down. At least that’s how they feel as they shout after us into the void, demanding that we return to quarters at once. This analogy is getting pretty bad, Leon; I can hardly see where its going, even from the bridges.

The prospect of a collection of pissant nerds who ever really want for anything mistakenly assuming that their inferiors are plunging us all into an imminent existential crisis by prospectively taxing the strategically underfunded and understaffed parts of our healthcare system, the parts these same mandarins never use, is pretty funny. It’s a redux of the very salty waves of cringe and cope they’ve spent four years crashing onto apostates and uppity poors (but not their shitty Republican class peers) for riding the Trump Train or–hey yo!–the Stein Steamer. Maybe I’ll finally check this year’s H20 returns. Any of you punks sailing with me?

The incumbent grievances had to do with a messy gossip queen freestyle-beefing with other celebrities from his living room couch while filling his adult diaper and calling it policy. The new reason for the season this Festivus is private citizens going to dinner without permission. First as farce, then as farce again. We still aren’t doing anything to properly staff or stock our hospitals. Will there be an aide to clean you up when you shid your doo-doo ass? It depends.

I’m not taking about our thicc moist boi, though. Not this time. Meditating upon Strom Thurmond, Lisa Novak, and Shoko Asahara, I believe I’ve identified our First VolDiap President.

You love to smell it. Maybe I’m just shitposting about the man who is definitively our first Online President. He’s right about the losers and the haters. They’re upset with him for being openly performative in his official duties, leaving them in the dust as public speakers by being a seat-of-the-pants buffoon, and sometimes having fun at it. He believes in a society where there are jobs for dumb people, crummy students, people with PhD’s from crummy colleges. This is not the future liberals want. Trump is too liberal for them.

You read that right. Did I ever affy that this shit is not retarded?

Tangential to the additional hundreds of thousands who will or alternately will not come to a brutal and untimely end because you chose to maintain Michael Hancock’s family life, we’ve come to the promised land of government as Vanderpump Rules. The incumbent president, agreeing to vacate the White House but refusing to concede, officially proclaimed Thanksgiving a day of gathering and worship (lol wtf). An Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States used a majority concurring opinion to clap back at the Governor of the State of New York that it’s liquor vendors and accupucturists who are getting us all sick unto death, not the Jews. Every one of these freaks draws a government salary. I’ve occasionally cleared minimum wage picking blueberries.

We have Illuminati or Freemasons or CIA or whatever taking advantage of the pandemic to circulate creepy code phrases like “Dark Winter,” “Great Reset,” and “Build Back Better.” Then we have Andrew Cuomo and Neil Gorsuch in a public standoff about what is authentic Catholicism and what is to be done about the Jews.

But again, who’s the liberal in this beef, and who’s the one we’re bound to hear on a live mic, fuming about kikes? Probably the one who went on public radio to say “nigger wops.” /Alan Chartock, miserably stirring a thimble of schnapps into a cup of chamomile tea/ Speak for yourself, Governor. You’re the colored fellow.

It’s hard to imagine how none of these ridiculous characters are able to convince the public to put on a damn mask in the grocery store when the sex education that might provide a conceptual framework for harm reduction is missing, replaced by purity pledges and other pious woowoo, and when the pro-mask authorities are carrying on with sob stories about dead people (over half an hour straight of Rona obits on the NewsHour Thanksgiving evening), statistically challenged panics about holiday travel, “curfews” when the prisons are still badly over their unreasonably crowded design capacities, bans on private gatherings of more than two households (whose actual enforcement will provoke homicides), and grossly unprofesional cutesy blather about a made-up old fat guy who never gets sick.

New Mexico still had its casinos open during a “mandatory” quarantine of arriving travelers from 46 other states. Many cities and states whose officials keep shrieking about the health and death tolls have their restaurant de jure open for indoor dining, or “outdoor” dining in enclosed plywood street sheds with some vents on the sides.

What the hell are we doing? I long assumed public corruption. A more elegant and all too believable explanation is that the governments need the sales tax revenue. *Taking a big hit of primo Duke City Crank and pulling a two heads one cube on the poor schmuck cleaning my face cubicle at the poker table at Isleta Casino* Love these health measures! Love this economy, baby!

A scrum of weird religious mummers bouncing around Brooklyn in top hats and overcoats but not masks aren’t the only ones breathing all over each other in our time of sickness. The only fucking idea we have of Irish culture in this country is low-functioning performative alcoholism. We have plentry of assholes who live to own the libs. Watching Lori Lightfoot, I can’t imagine why.

Scolding fits are easier and more fun than governing.

The cops know

It’s curious how so many violent weirdos are able to carry on with impunity right in front of the police: Dahmer, Pickton, DeAngelo, Wortman, Tsarnaev, Abdulmutallab. Concerned citizens can beg the police to investigate them in the disappearances of missing loved ones, for naught. Other countries’ cops can alert their counterparts through official channels with prophetic warnings of looming attacks: what he did here today he may do there tomorrow, and then, whaddaya fuggen know, Boston gets bombed.

Nobody could have predicted it. Oddly, the FSB did exactly that. That cat has an anger management problem, and he’s running with the beards back home. The Russian security services think he may mean his adoptive homeland harm? You don’t say!

In the Tsarnaev case, the feds iced the meathead principal, iced some contacts with knowledge or involvement, and are itching to ice the kid brother for being a patsy and a whipped little bitch. Gee, maybe one of the tens of thousands of G-Men who didn’t give a shit about what Tamerlan Tsarnaev thought about them because they weren’t his terrified little brother would have been in a better position than poor Dzhokhar was to stop him. I thot that was why we paid them.

Nah, face it, Jack. We know better than that. These things we cherish above Ruby. Up against the wall, signora, if you’ve got space for my book in your depository.

I got sideshowed on my way to the BART station today. Friday, three in the afternoon, jaywalkers everywhere, and some asshole was doing donuts in a stolen hot red Porsche on MacDonald Avenue. I was going to miss my train out of Richmond regardless, and all I got in the end was a free round tripout of Millbrae on Caltrain after one of our sister trains struck a car at a grade crossing around Hayward Park. The transit scene was fubar. The sideshow was the scary part. I stayed calm, and thank God our boy was competing in it as an individual sport. It could have been worse.

/Borat Voice/ My part-time wife chicksplained to me that sideshow cars are stolen. Duh. Always. Whaddaya mean, always? When Lisa Novak goes for a drive, it depends. That explains how fourth-generation welfare claimants living in ramshackle tenements can afford Escalades and Beamers. They come by them the old-fashioned way.

She knows about these things. My woman has an ear to the ground. She showed me a video of an all-night sideshow in Oakland, ten hours of uninterupted footage of caterwauling, twerking, donuts, and honky–I mean, honking. I can’t white see how that happened. You may not be able to say wop on NPR (Andrew Cuomo is!), but you are, indeed, allowed to say WAP. Schitt, Huizenga, oil beef hooked on anything but phonics. I saw enough of that video after two minutes. It was boring. YouTube has ten-hour cab videos of winter train trips across Norway. Still, the white boy can have a little doofus in a gold chain clowing around on the hood of a Mercedes, as a treat.

/BV/MPTW says the sideshow districts are no-go zones for the police. The cops don’t have the courage, physical or moral, to confront the mob. It tracks: they’re barely brave enough to answer the door at the cop shop armed and in full uniform. It’s like they say about the Crips: they’re blue, but they aren’t Blue Shield. It’s good to know that one of the infinite duties the police do not in any meaningful or, God forbid, binding way have is the duty to break up all-night hooligan takeovers of public streets using stolen motor vehicles. You know, #TeshTips, that kind of thing. Our police chiefs would fire Anirut Malee for keeping the peace, not the law.

One might wonder about the capabilities of our police agencies’ proliferating helicopters and BearCats and CCTV cameras and shit to interdict stolen vehicles on their way to sideshows. Shouldn’t these lavishly appointed outfits be able to use their fun toys to stop stolen cars from being driven to sideshows, say, on the probable cause of the registered owner who reported his Maserati stolen out of Piedmont affying that he did not give the current driver permission to drive it to 98th Street? Well, uh. There was a time a few years ago when the only type of crime increasing in San Diego was auto theft. The insurance companies demand their paperwork. There’s no paperwork for threatening to murder protesters for tailing the vans carrying their freshly blackbagged comrades.

Some of these pathologies are in fact particular to local cultures. There are police departments that fire bad cops. There are others that hire the shitcanned as lateral transfers. Constituents had to storm the city council chambers in Fairfield the other day to get their officials to do something about the serial killer thug they’d hired out of Vallejo, one of the homies with the bent points on his star.

In LA, where bitter, hard-aged young men with Huey hours came home to their pick of police work and television work, they do chases. Everybody wants to be a star, Fuhrman. They all want to be stars. Send me a goddamn picture postcard you blotchy creep. No matter how many choppers were on the trail, the LAPD’s ground patrols always ended up escalating the aftermath of their botched traffic stops until their erstwhile quarry crossed a dozen city lines, cleanly felled a palm tree onto an electrical line, and Russell Wellered a six-year-old into a Yoshinoya. Bill Bratton showed up from New York, took a look at this whatthefuckular bullshit, and ordered an end to it. His cops mostly complied, or so the papers said.

The East Bay does sideshows. They’re a team sport. It’s hard to say what it’ll take to stop them, but doing nothing ain’t it. This isn’t a case of standing down when some poor schmuck with a drug warrant gets triggered and flees a traffic stop for a broken taillight. It takes a force to defeat a force.

Or, as we discussed above, the cops could nip that shit in the bud. They’re already contact-tracing every kid in the neighborhood for gang affiliations, real or spurious. Of course, they could also do something about the murders, too, say, by intervening when somebody they know has beef is getting openly agitated. They could tell the hothead’s target to hop in for his own safety and ride out the storm. The violence isn’t senseless. It’s the inevitable reaction of feuds with weapons.

The cops know this. The overtime must be better on homicide than it is on patrol.

Any affluent city policed in the fashion of Oakland would recall its entire government within the year. The Palo Alto Police Department does not allow its officers to ignore car theft reports and fuck up their homicide investigations so they can focus on precrime augury on neighborhood kids’ Instagram accounts and violent jumpouts. No, asshole, you’re here to STOP street crime. Police departments in rich areas don’t have the latitude to blame violent crime problems on prostitution and drugs. They’re forced to investigate actual fucking crimes, not just complain that Kenneth Fitzhugh was loaded on coke and probably motorboated it off strippers sometimes.

That’s what monogamy gets you, boys.

Not for one second do I believe that the Richmond Police were unable to stop that asshole from doing donuts in front of me and dozens of pedestrians on a crowded city street in broad daylight. As we were told some months ago at a Gavin Gabbin, we’re decisions, not conditions. Our cops choose to be bad at both. Those who fire together wire together, and we can all see how our cops have become wired. They’re guard labor for capital, but they can hardly be bothered to do work for the insurance companies.

/Most civic Roger Schafer Spanish Space Program ground control voice/ I didn’t do shit to the bomb! I was cutting government waste!

D mock crass, see cunt in you (D)

Ayelet Waldman announced that she would not be donating to low-income heating funds this winter because too many of her neighbors in Maine fly Trump regalia off their trailers, then passive-aggressively reversed course and announced that she would be pretending not to hate the beneficiaries of her charity, which she was performing to the glory of Joe Biden. Since we’re here to talk about existential threats of a sociopolitical nature, verifiable or hallucinated, I’ll mention that I’m Jewish enough to construe Waldman’s vile outburst as a minor and latent but unsettling existential threat to me, but as they say about sex in Maine, it’s all relatives.

Besides, I try not to be a whiny little bitch. As Colby Cosh would say, uh, you’re some douche with a Twitter account. What are you gonna do, post cringe about me? Waldman’s is the language of a person accustomed to bossing other people around. In this case, the uppity were gentile Mainers daring to show the audacity of the caucasity while Waldman indulged in the audacity of cope. In other cases it’s black and brown people, but we try not to talk about that. We’re members in good standing of the Society for the Prevention of Kwesi Millington for Sheriff.

They’re throwing furniture all over Silverado Trail again. Juice do you copy?

Again, the Beans of Egypt are not why Trump is president, but also again, the cope crew are hella squeamish about blaming their fellow affluent for anything, aside from certain classes of Optimate attacks on the Brahmin affluent (see: Turner, Brock). I’m persuadable on a case-by-case basis that the poor voted for the Donald, but I demand evidence, and just as importantly I demand context. Like, how many laid-off green chain roustabouts living in single-wides out in the pine barrens voted for Trump versus how many shitheads with yacht dealerships?

Mind you, Boater Nation can afford its oil bills. There goes your precious leverage, rich girl.

There’s supposedly been some impressive monkey business in a number of Democratic boss wards this year. Believe it or not, I don’t much care about electoral politics anymore, which must be why I write so much about it, so either way, clean or crooked, the Shit Done Gone Down on the Streets of Philadelphia I’ve triaged to tertiary priority at best. That’s the thing, Milton. We might as well spend more time with our ladyfriends out in Moorestown and less time on that crap. We are going to have an atrocious presidential administration for the next four years either way. What gives me hope is the unpredictable but palpable energy for direct action to do what none of those four shitheads and their entourages will ever do in the public interest.

What I find most interesting about the election, rather, is that it’s so gross. Admit it: That’s why you come here. It’s just like they teach in Outward Bound. The mistake is to fight the tide of filth. Hang ten and you’ll ride it out. *Guy Hagi midnight forecast voice* See you out in the Pacific!

A great example of the season’s grossness, almost as bad as the Holy Roman Empire of “coffee,” the Pumpkin Spice Latte (so, so sic), is the Biden-Harris First Saturday victory party. Either you believe in norms and wait for the concession call, or you don’t and you don’t. Try to square the circle and you’re just Rob Ford insisting that he soberly smoked crack. Our big boy had more self-respect than that. He knew he was round, not square. The Norms Respecters of our Restoration Party wouldn’t even wait 96 hours to do their touchdown dance. They’re promising to govern us, so I say that’s a bad sign.

It’s an unfortunately appropriate time for some All-American whataboutism, given the greater Trump campaign’s efforts to fix the election, if less successfully so than last time around. Still, trump is 100% right not to concede until he’s had his canvasses, recounts, and audits. First State Skull Pudding and his executrix declared victory based on some wire service election calls. That’s like saying that I just got into conductor school because my sister-in-law says I know too much about trains not to apply.

Humor me if I’m in no mood to listen to any more horseshit from or on behalf of those two about how they too passionately cherish our norms and institutions and (God help us) processes to give one inch to Big Orange. And demanding a recount isn’t a coup. Where the hell do they come up with this hysterial nonsense? Does that huge soft loaf LOOK like he’ll barricade himself in the White House and bar the door against an eviction party of US Marshals? Chill out. All he’s gonna do is grandstand and whine. If the standing nonprosecution agreement (cool, another norm) is breached, he’ll flee to Dubai or whatever. Remember, from Japan’s perspective, Carlos is still ghosn.

Meanwhile we also have to hear insulting shtick about how Gropey Joe is working-class. Joe don’t know jack about ball bearings, strikes, and the riot police. That’s a working-class game where the cops might want to check the stables for some “spares.”

You may say neigh; I say /Monty Robinson field statement voice/ Yeah, that’s it. The kid skidded his bike on some marbles.