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.

Disincentives to work

My parents and I drove through Tamaqua on our way north from Pennsylvania a few weeks ago. It was my idea. Two of the most resourceful rednecks I’ve ever encountered were from Tamaqua, and I was interested in seeing their hometown, to see what made them what they were.

It is not the right stuff. Tamaqua is one of the most overpowering shitholes I’ve ever transected. It’s rundown, it’s depressing, it has worse traffic than most of Philadelphia, and it has a lot of extremely shady characters hanging out on the porch. Tamaqua is the sociology of Albuquerque stuffed into a half-abandoned neighborhood in Pittsburgh where the trees have all been mowed down. *Extremely “Lebanon’s Looking Up!” Voice* Naw, yous can get work at the warehouse if yous pass the drug screen and have open availability; don’t go rawnd sayin’ we never offered yous nothin’.

Other common things to do for a living in Tamaqua include nothing. I 100% seriously suspect trust fund beneficiaries have a lower rate of unemployment than Tamaquans. We hear about unemployed rich kids more than unemployed poor kids for a number of reasons, most of them involving the very toxic “hustle” culture. That used to be an unambiguously pejorative word, by the way, an epithet for transient characters who might need to roll up their carpetbags and leave town within the hour to escape the wrath of their newly wise victims. Nice racket you were running there, pal; shame if you happened to the ship channel. On Soviet Staten Island, Van Kull kills YOU!

The agitprop to admire proles who live in poverty as a consequence of their 80-hour workweeks and resent trust fund kids for living decently without working is aimed at middle-class normies, or at least at people who, as we call it in this country, work. There are underclass families in this country who lost the plot a generation or two ago. Their deep story, to the chagrin of business owners who would theoretically hire them, is a more honest and cynical one: work is for suckers. Cousin Gigolo and his mother subscribe, and they both have payroll work histories. He’s cleared minimum wage, too, just not by turning tricks. Mom burned down her trailer for the insurance money. I believe she was a sheriff’s dispatcher. One of the local drunks sold the work boots the welfare department gave him and went drinking. That was back in some shit like 1965.

It’s not like the poor or the lower middling have always worked, or the idle rich have not. The rich are the ones who really benefit from getting jobs. They’re the ones who score the good conditions, the good pay, and the prestige. They’re always banging on about how they eat what they kill, unlike their siblings and classmates who are lazy but actually depressed by vice of not being psychotic. Their stories are bullshit: the reason they’re in i-banking or power sales or whatever the hell is that their parents are loaded and networked. If you want to be quality, surround yourself with quality, or have your parents surround you with it from cradle to graduate school, since I guess that’s how we classify third-tier MBA programs. Mind you, I’m a mere bachelor of history who’s never had the drive to pursue a master’s degree in Dale Carnegie Studies. I’m a loser, baby, so why don’t you ignore me, then flip your shit at me when I ridicule your shitty friends for being yuppies?

Here’s a point of comparison: Are 10% of my prep school or college classmates unemployed and adrift? No way. Are 10% of working-age Tamaqua residents? Probably. We can’t trust the statistics because they’re dry-labbed, and we can’t trust local employers because they’re puffed full of shit about their own superiority to the indolent proles they keep saying they’d hire.

Tamaquans aren’t poor because they don’t work; they don’t work because they’re poor. The 1% or 5% or whatever it is of trust fund beneficiaries who actually disengage from the payroll job market are easily more marginal to their class than the 10-30%–shit, maybe more–of working-age people who crash out in hard-hit rustbelt shitholes like Tamaqua. Imperial County’s U-3 rate fluctuated seasonally between about 15% and 30% before the Rona, which is odd because everyone knows Mexicans love to work, but that’s exactly it: piss-poor campesino lettuce cutters and their children are the only workers eager enough for work to jump quantum out of U-6 when they can’t find any and get themselves recorded in the figures published for the normies.

There’s no money in working. It’s for a reason that insolvent Anthracite Country municipalities have been sprouting so many nonunion warehouses. Endemic poverty and official corruption make these facilities viable in spite of the extra transportation costs of sorting freight on remote mine landfills without railheads. Recruitment isn’t a bust. People need the money.

Some of the old-school blue-collar locals need the work per se psychically to an extent that’s rare outside Anthracite County and other heavy industrial regions. Before long, though, the work ethic gets spread thin. The postindustrial nonunion shops blow sunshine up everybody’s ass about how great it is to work for them, and residents who are honest with themselves recognize the injury and insult they face from these companies as a sucker’s bet.

When I lived in Lebanon County as a teenager, I was always coming across happy horseshit about how great it was to work at, say, the chicken packinghouses in Fredericksburg. Hersheypark, where I actually worked, paid less than the chicken plants–I think–but not by much. Mercifully, only the dumbest (and, I assume, best-paid) assholes in the company gave a shit about the Hersheypark Happy bollocks. HR didn’t entirely act like we were just there to run the deep fryers, but the rest of us had the good sense to know it and act the part. We were within spitting distance of minimum wage, and our immediate supervisors’ wages were within spitting distance of our own. By God this carny shit was a job, not a career.

The amount of this sponsored content I encountered for shit-tier votech tracks where the Puerto Rican ladies on the floor were all so happy because they changed spots every two hours to prevent repetitive stress dropped off a cliff after I transferred to the Day School, where Everyone’s A Wiener (TM). Like hell did anyone there want any of us ending up pulling crop all day for eight bucks an hour. They were paid to keep us off the floor, just like the Lebanon Daily News and the counselors back at Cedar Crest were paid to shunt the slow kids from the poor corners of the district off to Bell & Evans. Ironically, that gig at least pays. Yanqui can’t afford to be picky about stuff like getting a paycheck and some damn FICA if he wants farm jobs, is alls I’m saying. Of course nobody on the prep circuit wanted any of us ending up below the station of an i-banker or maybe a cardiologist’s wife. Oops lol.

Everybody who pays a second’s attention to the schools know this. Places like Tamaqua get the ass end of the deal. The townies can tell when their governments don’t think they’re worth half a shit to society. They know for a fact, and a correct one, that their government and the rich pigs who bought it wouldn’t have hung them out to dry in a failing county full of played-out mines, failing infrastructure, and poverty-wage right-to-work shops if they cared about their welfare one damn bit. The state shows which constituents it despises and prefers dead by exposing itself to them exclusively through tinpot tyrants in the schools, the welfare offices, the criminal “justice” system, and the DMV. The rich don’t get anywhere near such a raw deal. Most of them live around each other in the metropoles to assure it.

As I’ve often poined out in some fashion or other, this is one of Donald Trump’s great political strengths in the Rust Belt. No shit there are racists in Schuylkill County, but I thought we were trying to distinguish it from Santa Monica. The high-turnout local notables in the Anthracite Country broke about the same way they always do everywhere in 2016: this time for their fellow Republican business shyster, not the usual starve-the-beast Republican zealot who tries to grease them with some tact. Much of Trump’s working-class base, however, and likely most of it, had an equally savvy reason to vote for him. At last they had a major-party candidate who bluntly called out the entire political system as a huge fraud and racket instead of blowing endless sunshine up their asses about how the system works just fine and would do them wonders if only they changed everything about their lives.

Political parties do NOT tell voters whose support they value to change themselves. The GOP does not tell its local notables to stop being shysters who routinely commit wage theft and use their businesses as collateral for their drug habits. The Democratic Party does not tell its PMC strivers to stop being shitty freaks who need to chill out about college. They’d cashbomb the shit out of workaday–and loafaday!–Tamaquans if they valued their votes. Scolding the locals for being unambitious, clingy to their roots, and set in their ways is a way of saying Wee Haidt,, Yoo. Hunky crack coal; message: we don’t care.

Rather, hunky cracked coal. And Lord have Mersey on your fairy ass if you don’t suppose a Pollock ever had a bad thing to say about his fellow Slav.

The Brahmins need to hear this. There are worse, in fact much worse, things for a politician to be in a washed-up rustbelt shithole than a boorishly vulgar playboy who pretends to be rich for a living and flimflams his way into getting bottomless cash and credit dumped into his lap. For real, I was around and some cases personally knew people in Central Pennsylvania who owned, among other businesses, Maier Bread, Ward Trucking, and Turkey Hill. I have one degree of separation from the fucking Sheetzes. Yes, I mean exactly the Sheetzes you have in mind, not that my career is made-to-order lmao fml. I have never known or even known of anyone in Central Pennsylvania who acts like Donald Trump. Dude’s alien, even if his son-in-law is REALLY alien.

Hillary Clinton is another matter. She’s a very serviceable example of what made people in places like Tamaqua hate school. Plenty of rich people in rich areas also hate power-hungry incomptents who lord it over those they were hired to serve, but the rich get results for putting up with them. Tamaqua is poor. Hillary would fit in as a principal or a district attorney, and provincials who salivate over DA’s screwing the proles over hate Hillary.

Do we still wonder how Trump won Schuylkill County?

Affluenza cases who ringfence their entire lives to hoard all the good shit don’t like dealing with ill-tempered, capricious tinpot authority figures, either, as we learned from Operation Varsity Blues. Rick Singer got er done, and he wasn’t particularly unpleasant about it. In the poor, left-behind (TM) districts, the sacrifice zones, much of the population cannot remember an interaction with an authority figure that wasn’t bad. Their cops are thugs, their bosses are passive-aggressive assholes or outright predators, social services clerks give them the runaround and look down on them, their schoolteachers think they’ll never amount to a thing, and preachers look at them as something between embarrassing lost causes and two-bit revenue streams. It doesn’t play in Schuylkill County to be a cringe mashup of a pearlclutching church lady, a schoolmarm, a detention monitor, and a guidance counselor who’s always telling the poor kids to consider an exciting career in logistics, i.e., get paid shit to slave away in a warehouse up by the freeway while the company bathes in tax breaks for being a “job creator” with 0% collective bargaining in its shops.

The Donald may have lead poisoning, but Hillz looks down on Anthracite Country for having a case. Trump’s hardhat shtick was always crude and usually vague, but it worked under an assumption of high union penetration: jobs everywhere, money everywhere, shove it up their shaft if they try again to shut down the mine. More to the point, like any other constituency in, say, Bethesda or Streeterville, poor voters in Tamaqua want their elected officials to fucking do something for them. In coal country, that means, well, what else are you thinking besides coal?

Not much of the locals ain’t it, Hillz.

A Trading Places deal between Tamaqua and Chevy Chase Section Five would get Tamaqua’s government recalled within the month. I can’t say this enough: the affluent DO NOT put up with that degrading shit. The only ones who dabble in it are local notables who prefer to stick around town and lord it over the local poor until they’re even worse degraded than to move somewhere with a decent quality of life in exchange for modestly less power.

Like all other politics, this is about power. Does ya gots it or doesn’t ya? Rich liberals are pissed off at provincial hardhats for voting FOR their own interests, not against them. Trump intermittently threatens portfolios and destabilizes the force fields of clout around other ungodly rich and vain celebrities. Crucially, he does it in a way that makes politics look disreputable, as our politics most assuredly are. Trump pisses Washington off for crashing its party at the invitation of mere constituents. To the extent that ordinary voters in Schuylkill County are aware of ghouls like HR McMaster and John Bolton, it’s as the guys who got their friends shipped home from the desert as hamburger meat.

It’s awful that people who never catch a break because every level of government constituted to serve them has deliberately failed them don’t care about the pronouncements of the Intelligence Community about Vladimindcontrol Putin. Pissing a bunch of Beltway scolds off is more than they usually get from their officials.

Tamaqua in an extreme but by no means unique example of a community that gives its citizens no reason to invest one minute in maintaining the system. I’ve spent enough time in nearby parts of Pennsylvania to be pretty sure that if I were from Tamaqua I’d throw up my hands and walk away from it rather than try to fix it. There is a LOT of misgovernment around there. Something had to go pretty fucking wrong for multiple levels of duly constituted sovereign government to produce the slums of inner-city York and Lancaster, the north and east sides of Harrisburg, or Reading in general. For God’s sake Harrisburg is the state capital! It’s a seat of government, and no government with jurisdiction over it can keep it inhabitable for a population of under 50,000!

When full-time employment in productive, physically demanding jobs leaves people living like that, it’s hard to seriously conclude that the answer is to get a job. No, just take a fucking look around and tell me that a reasonable resident of this shithole would consider it worth working to fix and not instead demanding that one or more of the governments aggressively asserting sovereignty over it steps up to the goddamn plate for once.

While we’re at it, let’s not kid ourselves about what bougie normies mean by “work.” That’s what they call 3-4 hours of identifiable work over the course of roughly 8 hours between an air-conditioned office and air-conditioned vehicles. If we’re using the same words to describe the job duties of a strawberry picker, a dentist, a good-looking lazy bullshitter who styles himself an internist, and an utterly no-account college administrator, we’re using words that don’t mean shit. Grossing $160k to sit around an office in Plymouth Meeting filling out Phillies backseat coaching schematics for six hours and looking up insurance law questions for fifteen minutes is “work” the same way Carley Gomez is “my girlfriend.” Gimme a fucking break, Stossel.

These don’t seem like characters who should be questioning my work ethic or work history, or those of anyone else in this country who occasionally pulls weeds, so of course they’re the ones with all the clout and all the civic power.

The night before my parents and I drove through Tamaqua, a friend took me out to dinner in East York. He’s one of the best friends I’ve ever had, but mercy the fucking normcore. He does office work and (mostly?) light field work for a commercial real estate company with a middling regional property portfolio. I’m not clear about how much of his job is actually work. However much it is, it seems to give him a lot more downtime than any farm or yard job I’ve ever had. “I’m clearing a blackberry patch. Okay, I’m mostly just standing around in a half-daze looking at what I haven’t cut, listening to another excruciating hour of NPR for some awful reason.” Come to think of it, yet again, this is what I have to keep reminding myself. Every hour I spend picking blueberries or clearing invasive weeds is a good 40-50 minutes more than some of my classmates spend over the same period walking down the hall to the Keurig machine.

Again, what we’re trying to keep straight here is what the hell is work. It seems to mean about as much as “conservatism.” It’s only Maine Family Values if they’re Mainers; otherwise it’s just Flinty Incest. That’s what the French call an Appalachian D’Origine Controllee. /Most Immigrant Paul LePage Voice/ If I was them I wouldn’t let me into the gene pool, either. The French–not the Quebeckers; figure that lot out for your damn self–the French, since we’ve been mentioning them an unseemly amount, aren’t lazier than us. They’re about as productive; they just aren’t lying showoffs about it. Did it take some work to drive this tractor into Paris? Oui. Did it take some work to hose the agriculture ministry building down with this tank of liquefied cowshit? Mais oui. Are there leftovers? Hon hon hon, is food for piggy!

It is to protest. Shitposting isn’t exactly work, but it isn’t exactly not work, so call it what you will. Two hours a day doing concerted but easy work is a far cry from eight doing mentally and physically taxing work. Our national language makes zero distinction.

Am I trying to say that we’re right to make fun of our compatriots for being lazy or underworked? If they’re loud about their full-time employed status or work ethic, uh, yes I am.

My normie friend’s complaints had to do with the CARES Act, specifically with the way the $600 weekly unemployment benefit “disincentivized work.” I interjected, “and it saved a lot of people’s lives,” and he pushed on: “Yeah, but it disincentivized work.” Shucks, I guess we lost the plot there. In rough economic terms, what keeps the poor alive is consumption, not production, and we produce so much stupid and destructive shit that if we retooled and redeployed workers who are already producing we could add to our already large reserves of /astonished Ethiopian bus driver voice/ stuffs. Besides, too much of it is made in China to take seriously the claim that our rulers want us to be producers, as opposed to the consumers they won’t stop prodding us to be.

Some commercial tenants had told my friend that nobody is even turning in applications. They’re always complaining about that shit and they would best plead their case by shutting the fuck up about it. One of these stores was Dollar General. While we’re on the subject, fuck your Dollar General. My friend said some of the stores were paying a $12.00 minimum wage, which is possible but not convincing when Sheetz is trying to hire managers at only $13.50. Maybe they’d get more applicants by paying employees more. Maybe retail supervisorial responsibilities should start at $15 or $18 an hour. Dollar General might be able to recruit clerks at a starting wage of $20 in its capacity as a soul-sucking shithole. Sometimes it’s just the money, but not always.

The gist of this whining is that the economy owes these fuckheads people who show up as ordered and work as ordered in exchange for compensation packages that won’t keep them safely afloat. Every fucking time they try to make their own recruitment easier, they go for punitive measures that threaten the health, welfare, and lives of employees, not for reforms that would make it possible for anyone who feels like working to work without fear of immiseration, impossible paperwork, and denial of public benefits. They could push for everybody to get a government guarantee of publicly-subsidized healthcare free at the point of service with no questions about billing: Medicare for All, check this box if you want Medicaid, whatever, just not the snowballing horror show we’ve been suffering through for decades. They could push for $600 a week for everybody, the money and the cash that we all welcome in a manner fully allowing and in fact encouraging us to additionally welcome the money and the cash of payroll work. Instead they’re all No Soup For You.

They’re always moaning that these measures would cost money. Yeah, genius, like everything else. The government isn’t stopping them from evading taxes by working for cash under the table–as a practical matter, this goes unenforced–or heading to Eugene in a VW bus and bartering it for a barrel of pickles. What’s stopping that is the desire not to be wheeling a fucking barrel of pickles down Highway 126 like Tom Joad when the truck breaks down. A handful of marginal freaks want a thing to do with any of that. Some things are pricelessly stupid and stupidly priceless. For everything else, there are media of exchange.

Somehow the military-industrial complex and the carceral system don’t register very loudly for businesspeople and their more gung-ho managers as huge public money sucks. What registers for them at earsplitting volume is the waste of giving ordinary citizens public benefits that they’ll mostly plow back into the productive economy, e.g., the businesses they complain they can’t staff. If they think their tax dollars specifically are going to pay for public benefits, they’re nuts. Leaving aside the merits of modern monetary theory, their taxes are being pooled with hundreds of millions of other people’s taxes and some measly shit like 5% of that pool is going to public benefits. Ian Welsh writes that it was more back when we had regular political bombings.

What they actually object to is the government providing for its own constituents in ways that keep them from having to subordinate themselves to people who mistreat them in jobs they don’t like. In causative terms, they expect the government to deprive the poor of their rations as a way to coerce them to work for others. In other settings, such a gratuitous, manipulative deprivation might veer into felony child abuse or a war crime. In this setting, it’s normal. It’s what we’ve always done.

So was slavery.

My dad lately loves to tell about how a hardware store owner he likes asked a couple of girls who had come into the store to apply for work what they planned to do with their lives. The girls appalled him by forthrightly telling him that they wanted to work for a bit and then go on welfare.

We might have more of an American work ethic if we had less of a Chinese export ethic, as displayed on the shelves of that very store. Please enjoy dumping, the traditional and typical of Chinese glorious industrial policy. Plus our dude asked the question. I didn’t need to take a confirmatory look around the county at, say, the quality of company my grandmother kept, to believe that he might not like the answer.

It would be awful to turn into a society where the degraded remnants of the working class go out on the street and sell the work boots they got from the welfare department for an afternoon’s drinking money. We were too proud and self-respecting to do a thing like that back in, like, 1970, when a friend of my grandmother’s boyfriend did exactly that not five miles from the same hardware store. To keep it clear (lol wut), that’s Cousin Gigolo’s grandfather’s buddy. The guy whose daughter and grandson both committed insurance fraud kicked it with a guy who fenced a pair of presumably shoddy boots the welfare department had given him so he’d get a job. I can’t imagine why other citizens of this fine community, where all but a few hundred yards of lakefront is owned by or in trust for out-of-towners who can afford to be jagoffs all summer, show limited interest in working for a living in a store whose merchandise was once made in American mill towns, quite possibly ones in the Mohawk and Hudson Valleys, but is now made in China because Americans don’t want to compete for the job.

Welfare is one way not to compete. The problem with decades of vile propaganda about how the American working class is lazy and overindulged is that some of the working class who are meant to react with shame instead react with renewed aspirations to collect a check just like Momma does. Oops. No shit there ends up being a black market of food stamps for bunks, government board for private room. What else are the losers supposed to do? Crime? That’s always an option, as Cousin Gigolo and his mother show.

No, I do not mean prostitution or drug dealing. That’s work. It’s fine to say that’s no basis for an economy, but neither are summer camps. Nobody who comments on this shit knows a damn thing about it. Pricing in this country is meaningless. The only thing backwards counties in rural Nebraska do is sell grain and meat on glutted commodities markets, depending for their survival on charity from the big cities. All you can do with foodstuffs is eat them.

NPR helpfully advises us that the government cheese program was inefficient. The government had to hire cheese graders, which no private bulk cheese purchaser ever does, and some of the cheese was substandard. Thank God we have to go to the government for shitty cheese that’s free and can’t just go pay for cheese that’s even worse at Walmart. Markets are the efficient way to allocate resources. They would never allocate bulk milk produced by our job-creating commodity dairymen into the Des Moines River starting no later than 1931.

If I were cynical, I’d posit that the entire welfare apparatus in the United States is designed to discourage gainful employment and then blame beneficiaries for being out of work. If the goal is for beneficiaries to get their shit together and get a job, how about not throwing their benefits into chaos when they do that? *Smug headtapping meme*

Our officials know this. They defy FDR’s wisdom about universal benefits because they seek to profit by sowing division among their constituents. Social Security and Medicare are popular because they’re structured to minimize resentment. Reach retirement age and they’re yours.

That’s only a modest simplification. Other programs get nonclaimants and rejected applicants hot and bothered about their neighbors’ free lunch. We wouldn’t need cashiers in our school cafeterias if we had one, come to think of it. There’d be less complaining about food stamp “abuse,” the usual shit about the lazy poor arrogating the right to buy steak at the IGA just because they have the money on their SNAP cards, if all it took to get the free grocery money were to put one’s name and mailing information on a form and sign it as an affidavit of one’s desire to welcome the money and the cash. Believe me: every millionaire currently living on canned beans in a shanty and bitterly complaining about food stamps for lobster would fill out the form and claim the gibs. That’s an extra few hundred a month to stuff into old Folger’s cans and National Geographic collections and leave around the shack, too deep in the junk for anyone else to scavenge. Not one of those miserable bastards turns down Social Security or Medicare, benefits paid for with their hard-earned tax dollars as much as any other function of government.

This shit is ridiculously straightforward. Want to encourage the poor to work? Eliminate all penalties on their reported earnings when they get jobs. Turn their earned income into a 100% marginal benefit on top of their welfare checks.

In fairness, this regime would put certain people out of work. Specifically, it would unemploy the legions of gatekeeping bureaucrats responsible for operating the means-testing regime. It would put the desk detectives out of work, or “work.” There’s no need to investigate welfare claims that are expressly lawful. They’ll be returned to the wellspring in the form of taxes if they’re going to anyone who isn’t poor or living deep under the table.

Jeff Bezos could file his own welfare claims, too, but he’s always too busy buying his payouts from corrupt government officials whose staffers are much obliged to fill out the necessary forms. These benefits keep ordinary people afloat. They are not how the rich piece together their fortunes. Please.

Universal or on-demand public benefits would free Americans to do some of the actual work that needs to be done around here. Tamaqua has more than its fair share of deferred maintenance. So do countless other Trump Country dumps. Means-testing doesn’t achieve the deferment of maintenance on its own, but it sure helps. Keeping people too busy on the phone with benefits clerks and too exhausted afterwards to do anything productive is a good way to keep a shithole down and dirty.

The real purpose of means-testing is to keep useless eaters and surplus labor more broadly employed (if they’re middle-class) or to cull them from the herd (if they’re poor and overwhelmed). Our rulers good and goddamned well know what they’re doing. They want the poor to have a life expectancy of perimenopause. Their family values talk is misdirection: at a minimum, they want the lower half of the elderly to be too poor to pay for a decent meal, just as they were when Social Security was first established. Fancy Nancy doesn’t want her fellow Italian grandmothers hanging around unless they have gelato money, just like herself, and she ain’t handing it out from the US Treasury.

We need to give up on the idea that hard work is how Americans get ahead. It isn’t enough for that to be true for half of Americans, or even two thirds. What about the other third? Guess they can go eat shit and die.

There’s basically no correlation. Dentists work hard, and lawyer-cop-politicians (the Democratic Party, as we now conceive of it) show up to do whatever it takes to brutalize and ruin their constituents and feather their own nests. This doesn’t answer why crooked flimflamming slavedrivers who’ve spent their careers catering to sadistic shakeddown artists deserve a dentist’s retirement fund and thirty-year veteran strawberry pickers don’t.

There are certainly plenty of no-account derelict scumbags and thugs who live in poverty and squalor, but their morals don’t dictate their station in life. Our Old McDonald friend Captain Flimflam could use his existing skillset to get rich running a cult. He’s a few barely perceptible tweaks away from being a pre-gas Shoko Asahara. The Ragin Canajun–who doesn’t dress like an Amishman and look like Bruce Springsteen, doesn’t bend over to cut a 20×20′ patch of wheat into hand-sized sheaves with a little pre-UFW scythe and then fuck off two hours and two valleys over for the night to lose money playing a $200 bar gig with his folk garage band, reliably shows up to tend his farm plots, disposes of piles of human waste when he encounters them instead of letting shit pile up to seat level of portapotties he’s agreed to have replaced, and is the farthest thing from shady trash–the Ragin Canajun is the one who’d have trouble getting ahead in that business if he tried.

America is a society that kinda sorta sometimes does code enforcement. It’d be a longshot to fill Pot-o-Shit Friend’s housewarming gift in Palo Alto and then fly back to Raleigh, but that’s because it’s Palo Alto. Otherwise, it’s basically cool to charge rent on that mute twink’s pre-rural electrification shack and/or some weekly motels. There’s no stigma to preening that hard work explains one’s net worth when it’s a matter of easily provable fact that 60% of it is real estate inflation.

Work per se isn’t the chump’s game here. Do I sound lazy? I write this stuff on my own, but for the love of God if that sounds like a jagoff’s pastime I’ve personally operated an estate winery. This is pretty reputable in a country where it’s considered public service for one pervert to tell another pervert on live television, “Oh, you’re cool. You aren’t a pervert; she’s a lying tramp!” This is why we need Joe Biden, for the courts.

The chump’s game is acting like the system is owed a goddamned thing. The overclasses it’s structured to benefit don’t care about being productive as long as they get paid enough to compel their inferiors to do the work. Trump, Pence, Biden, and Harris all indulge in the same general mode of living: scamming and bullying their inferiors into doing the work. The Angola Penitentiary is literally, geographically a plantation. Senator Girlboss don’t mind. She likes it that way. Two slavedriving scumbag lawyers are running for the presidency and the vice presidency to unseat a mob money laundering frontman cum serial business cum intelligence asset (ours, not Vlad’s lol) and a talk radio grifter. Who the hell would enthusiastically do the work allowing any of these four to keep lounging around and bossing other people around? They deserve to go hungry until THEY come groveling to US. Withholding labor from them is righteous.

The last thing Joe Biden is is working-class. Half the people I know from around Philadelphia who talk like him are lawyers or cops or six-figure sales hustlers. His carrying-on about being from Scranton isn’t entirely false, but the implication is. His daddy never worked in the fucking mines. Dad was a transiently ruined bougie turned used car salesman. Joe’s the town mill owner’s kid who’s always up in his hardhats’ faces for giving him backsass and up in their wives’ privates at company events. American voters are willing to look past this, especially after what they forgave in 2016, but like his opponent, the guy’s a liar, a cheat, and an upper-crust rapist.

To no great surprise, people like them abandon the same troubled postindustrial districts our elected officials have been abandoning for the past two or three generations, depending on which left-behind dumps we’ve been abandoning and how young their girls get pregnant. Our rulers want the residents of these communities to move away to endure worse poverty away from their loved ones, die young, and raise just enough surviving adolescents to provide a suitable number of servants.

They do not want Tamaquans asserting a right to stay in Tamaqua and be given help getting by. That’s a privilege reserved for rich assholes in Chevy Chase. No lie, Billy, they have in fact taken all the coal from the ground, even burned met coal in steam locomotives to keep some rich bitches’ dresses white. In a civically healthy society this would be a reason to fund the maintenance that has been deferred in coal country and fund other economic development projects that actually fucking develop constituents’ economies. In what passes for American society these days, it’s an excuse to drive them into overpriced metropoles and into student debt, to deracinate them for purposes of private service.

It is what the Germans used to call an incentive to make free. These are cultural learnings of America for make benefit the worst possible people now. Thus has it always been. You get food to eat, but only as an incentive.

Strong change he leaves in a pine box

Things are not looking good for our Large Adult Son in Chief. Rarely have the thicc been so sic. A family friend who spent decades doing professional editing sees a pronounced stylistic change in Trump’s tweets since his admission to Walter Reed and is convinced that he’s no longer writing them. His last proof (sic) of life (sic) was a photo op in which he was shown signing his name in the middle of a blank sheet of paper with nothing else on the desk. A hospital-wide shelter-in-place order was texted to Walter Reed staff in the 21:00 hour Saturday night. It remained in place for over half an hour, without explanation. Observers believe it was for an emergency test, probaly a CT scan of his lungs.

Trump’s medical and political entourage, if I may repeat myself, are blowing sunshine up the national ass. Everything they announce about his medical condition is hours old and heavily sanitized. Information leaked on background within the same hour is consistently much more dire.

Gerontocracy is a whole-ass Mood.

Honestly, I’m not opposed to or in support of Trump’s death. To paraphrase His Thiccness himself, it will be what it will be. I’m entertained by the effusive schadenfreude, but I’m entertained from a distance.

It’s Greekly tragic that he may already have William Henry Harrisoned his fat white ass. Was I, Fat Cracka, in any position to save him from himself? Of course not. Am I so fat, slovenly, and chronically stuffed with McDonald’s? Nope. Fat Cracka gets fed better than that. I do yard and farm work. I’m able to negotiate stairs and ramps.

Even odds he leaves alive, and that’s to be generous. A city of over 200,000 departed surely has room for one comorbid more.

Whatcha gonna do when war is no more? Whatcha gonna do when war’s verdun?

We wait in joyful hope for the Blessed Eschaton, the day to come, not right now but someday, somehow, if you can hold fast to patience, Kroeger, we will climb aboard the Cruise Ship, leave it all behind, sail to Lahaina, and get into a street fight over a picnic table with a family of Micronesians.

This is how we allocate territory and resources more aloha. That’s almost an anagram for haole, whose insolent ass the Visitors Aloha Society of Hawaii will gladly return to sender, with or without an escort to the gate from the Attorney General’s office. One of the meanings of aloha is “goodbye,” yeah? She jus toldja, Pablo, yeah? She ain’t invited ya to da luau dis time, not to come here and pass da kine dacha coffin.

When push comes to shove, to wax delicate about these rude matters, the rules are whatever the hardest group of hard bastards to show up to the pig roast say they are. Indigeneity is an arbitrary, nebulous concept. “We were here first; who the hell are you?” is a reasonable position, but reasonable doesn’t carry the guns. Multiple indigenous tribes fight for control of the same patches of the Levant, the Caucasus, and the Balkans, with renowned results. Maybe they aren’t indigenous after all, depending on whom their ancestors charged in and beat to death first.

As Rachel Dolezal will agree, we’re all Africans. Pitcairn Islanders are mixed and at the same time inbred. They’re like Mainers, always thinking they’ll accomplish something by miscegenating with the Canucks. If you’re here, you’re family, and you might not want to be.

Back here on the Mainland, haole be talking the story all words-like about how we need to respect and obey our kupuna, notably including John Bolton. That Chesapeake Walrus was on NPR again, this time for his book (duh) but also to promote in-person voting, the civic pilgrimage of standing in line with the rest of the neighborhood. Why wouldn’t that pompous son of a bitch act like a quadrennial or biennial trip to the school gym to vote is the only time Americans ever leave the house to engage in the agora or the polis? Yeah yeah, we have off-year and primary elections, too; whole lotta folks showing up for that lol.

Voting is expressly and strictly a mechanism for the individual citizen to tell the government what to do. For example, a common constituent demand is “mail me my ballot, bitch.” In other words, I’m telling you what to do for me, and I’m telling you from home, asshole.

This is meta, but barely. We have to fight for our right to fight for our right to tell John Bolton to fuck off from the goddamn radio. That ghoul got over a million people killed for no good reason and tens of thousands more grievously injured or maimed, and there he is, using a book plug to complain that voters aren’t sufficiently reverent in how they vote. That’s what this shit is. It’s a procession. It’s a pilgrimage. It’s the fucking Stations of the Cross and the Camino de Santiago and all that shit, but for Norman Rockwell-ass nerds. Of course we should resent the government for pushing this shit on us. Of course we should vote the bastards out if they don’t put a stop to it and let us vote with maximum convenience.

John Bolton wants us to wait in line like dutiful pilgrims to express our will to our governments. I don’t suppose the lines at his polling places resemble those in, say, Atlanta under Brian Kemp, probably in large part because his neighbors think it’s ridiculous and demand ballots by mail. I fucked around at the County Center for a few hours on election day in March and watched traffic at the drop box, but I’d be pissed if Sonoma County told me to do that as a condition of voting, and I’m annoyed to hear John Bolton, of all Strangelovian horrors, being the faux-folksy codger who says that’s how it ought to be. Andy Rooney wasn’t behind a string of war crimes.

At some point, I have to wonder what isn’t meeting tonight to make waiting in line to vote feel so resonant. The Rotary? The Knights of Columbus? We do rather more of that than we should, as Americans, and we have precious little to show for it. The good Tocquevillean shit doesn’t work so well when Carnegie and Frick hire their Pinkerton goon squads. Standing up to such thuggish scum is how people wrest back their rights from tyrants. Queuing up in a parish hall like it’s the fucking unemployment office doesn’t connect cops with bricks.

We’re confusing upstream and downstream here, just as Bolton and the gang would have it. Since riots and other protests have been flaring up this year, we’ve been hearing more than usual about how much our public officials and other supercilious derelict busybodies respect peaceful protesting but abhor rioting, violence against police, and every other tactic that forces them to pay attention and do something. Of course they want a few handfuls of doofuses milling about on the National Mall in tricorn hats. Of course they want the pussyhatters, wearing a different style of tricorn watering the tree of liberty with a more peaceful flow of blood.

They started allowing us (sic?) to vote in the first place as a way to figure out how to keep the bricks in their place in times of popular grievance, i.e., by keeping the cops in theirs. It wouldn’t be unproductive to stage a runway sit-in anymore than it was unproductive of Richard Daley to send that streets crew into Meigs Field at half of dawn. Remember, we’re trying to get our way here, not express fealty to officials who can’t be bothered to care. *Most civic antigentrification Roger Schafer voice* I didn’t do shit to the dozer! I was cutting concrete!

The same tyrannical impulse drives all the scolding our Oaf of Office caught a few weeks ago for calling our war dead losers and suckers. The war dead he caught the most flak for disrespecting were from the First World War, the War so Great they didn’t try to plan for one greater. In other news, Francisco Franco is still dead.

I’m unaware of Americans of any importance making a patriotic stink about the Grand Army of the Republic in my lifetime. This is in stark contrast to Vietnam, although somewhat oddly not Korea. In effect, Trump holds the majority opinion on honoring our WWI dead, specifically, that it’s unimportant.

The namecalling doesn’t play as well in Peoria. Constituents who support Trump’s effort (lol sic) to get our boys (and girls!) out of the desert may well take offense to hear their antiwar president speak so contemptuously of war’s victims in the United States Armed Forces. Again, though, the doughboys he was dissing have been dead hella long, and the media shot their load on the story by focusing on Trump’s disrespect for our irrelevant war dead from the trenches of the Western Front and not on those who didn’t manage to run through the jungle.

As obnoxious or offensive as our Thicc Moist Boi’s private commentary may be construed, it was heartfelt. He genuinely and personally believed that the cemeteries weren’t worth visiting. The shitheads who piped up about his disrespect for our war dead don’t care about our war dead themselves. Many of them obviously treat military personnel, dependents, and casualties with dripping contempt. They did the same thing here as always. They seized on the latest bullshit controversy to impugn Trump’s character because they resent him for being a messy bitch from Queens who lives for drama. People of his character should not usurp high office, they fume.

What they mean by character, of course, is poor manners. Most of his predecessors were men of shockingly bad character. It’s just that they cleaned up well and the Donald does not. SuperZIP gaslighting victims now esteem George W. Bush, a man who respected our troops enough to get thousands of them killed in a war he started on false pretenses, with the main effect of destabilizing a country whose strongman the Blob hated for some reason, even though he was one of the less hostile officials in his region. Fuck off if you think I’ll grant that cokehead failson the good repute of caring about the military personnel under his command. He cared about them as much as he did the victims of 9/11. *Suprisingly high-energy Jeb! voice* Please, collapse.

Donald Trump gets war in a way few of his recent predecessors have. There may be an idiot-savant element to it, but he has the good sense to recognize that it was disastrous of the US to intervene in WWI and a Vietnamese civil war. Framing the disaster in terms of the gullibility or lameness of the grunts who fought these wars is pretty close to the mark, even if offensive. If they’d refused to go, we wouldn’t have gone, because they were us.

The battlefields and cemeteries don’t really tell us what happened. They’re misleading if we aren’t careful. I’ve walked around Valley Forge and Gettysburg. They’re deceptively peaceful. They’re long cleansed of the blood and piss and shit and moans of death. We watch Ken Burns for some drumming, a quick spot of shooting, and another spin of that sweet-ass Ashokan Farewell. Gettysburg wasn’t like that, either.

An area I like even better than Gettysburg is the Catoctin Mountains. I’ve walked around the ruins of the Catoctin Furnace and read the interpretive signs. It may have taken a loser or a sucker to run the forge for the rich degenerates who owned it. It certainly did to work for Carnegie. It takes nothing of the sort to divert ball bearings to the riot police. Horsey go wheeee!

Donny Fingers cares about that every bit as much as he cares about Camp David. What good is it for golf? The fucking government owns it, so he can’t charge for accommodations. That loser Lincoln only has one Bedroom.

Camp David has been used for peace, though, and so, in bizarre ways, has Donald Trump. That’s one of the reasons he’s so hated in Washington. He won’t mouth their deadly pieties. He’ll mouth his own, of course, but not theirs, and hoes mad.

A screaming eagle on fire, perched on a beam of steel

It’s been nineteen fucking years. The twentieth we’re keeping in reserve in Colorado lol. #TooSoon, of course. I was young then, so I feel kind of old now, no longer merely a freshman in this society where nobody is ever held responsible.

Not the ones who do the deeds, at least: remember, George W. Bush is a good liberal now. Even if he didn’t, uh, start the fire, he’s been on the record all along for ordering campaigns of official torture that would have gotten him hanged at Nuremberg.

It makes me feel like I’m having a stroke. Any Hannibal Lecter scumbag who doesn’t trick himself out with MAGA gear or talk trash about centrist celebrities is the #Resistance. My parents and their peers get really uncomfortable when I argue that Trump is not the most illiberal president of my lifetime and definitively is not the first illiberal, divisive, or immoral man to hold the office. Whenever I hear another round of that shit I point out that every other president going back to Reagan, my birth president, was at least as divisive, illiberal, and immoral as the current Oaf of Office, based on actual policy, not just the warm fuzzy feeling that they didn’t yell so much back then.

I think many liberals have spent the past twelve years but especially the past four doing everything they can to forget the horrors of the Bush-Cheney Regime. Trump doesn’t exactly have a Cheney figure; Barr comes close, but he’s a new kid on the block–preowned, actually–in an administration with exceptionally high churn and low institutional memory. If we’re actually looking to limit their damage, we should be grateful that they don’t know where anything is around the office. Few things stand between the Trump Administration and its missing administrative incompetence than the Donald’s own impulsiveness, disorganization, and drama.

This popular centrist derangement makes sense when we remember that the Democratic Party is a cult whose liturgies are set by Josiah Bartlet and folk devils exorcised by Rachel Maddow. We have always been at war with Eastasia, chap!

The Inner Party is mostly grifting; it’s again rid itself of its true threat, Bernie, and can now focus on cynically pretending to oppose Trump for being the worst ever. As long as Bernie isn’t their standard bearer and is given minimal influence over the platform and agenda, Chuck and Nancy truly do not care. They can work with Trump; the record shows that they regularly do exactly that.

The rank and file in the Outer Party take that bullshit much more seriously. This is what makes the cynicism of the Inner Party so heinous. The rich are ginning the merely affluent and in some cases the middling into hysteria so they’ll give more money. It’s despicable.

A spray-tan blowhard in elevator shoes calling people losers almost at random isn’t enough to make me forget or forgive the paranoid hysteria that erupted after 9/11. Bush and Cheney still deserve nothing but ill will for that. Most of the incumbent political class at the time does as well, including the Democrats. The mainstream media sure as hell do. I guess my memory and span of attention are longer than Trump’s. It’s cause for gratitude and relief that we haven’t had a definitive Reichstag Fire-ass casus belli on Trump’s watch. Compared to precedent within my adult life, this is no small mercy.

By the way, why the fuck do the Democrats have to slobber all over every general’s staff in exchange for his endorsement of their latest reviled shithead? Trump is bad, but he doesn’t make them good. Between the all-around weirdness of our old soldiers and spooks and the calamities they’ve made of our foreign engagements, maybe we ought to stop listening to a thing they tell us until we’ve confirmed it with someone we can trust.

Seriously, they’re bad news. Just by taking the usual Beltway shit less seriously Trump is an improvement. He doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing, either, but he’s less of a snake, and he calls bullshit from time to time. If we’re doing attack retrospectives, something too consider,,, about 9/11 is that the fourth anniversary of Pearl Harbor was celebrated under President MacArthur in Japan. We’re nineteen years out from an attack that served no clear military objective per se, still raping hornets’ nests abroad in countries whose regimes were vaguely or fictionally connected to the attacks, and meanwhile the Saudis are still our good buddies in spite of it all.

This must be why generals who thought, and still think, our military adventurism in the Middle East was necessary or justified or plainly good are now indispensable defenders of democracy against a Commander-in-Chief who occasionally says they’re full of shit. #Resistance dipshits don’t turn to them for backup just when Trump is mouthing off about not leaving office or pursuing a third term; they turn to them when he’s merely calling our foreign and military policy stupid, or said to have called our World War I dead losers and suckers. Talk about an ability to #NeverForget anything but the lessons of our worst wars.

Forgetting 9/11 wouldn’t be the worst thing we could do, especially when our remembrance has had such disastrous effects for so long, not just for other countries and nations but for our own. The only proper way to remember, it seems, is with the spicy memes. They do more to defend our freedoms than the US government has ever attempted in response to 9/11.

Losers and suckers

They want us dead. If our elected officials didn’t want their constituents dead, they’d show some sadness at the news of the suicide epidemics killing ordinary Americans, the number of Americans medicating themselves to death, and the frankly pandemic levels of suicidal ideation among the American poor. A 25% self-disclosure rate in response to a survey question about suicidal thoughts over the preceding month is not a case of the damn blues. It’s a pervasive mental health crisis, and our politicians good and goddamned well know it.

They don’t care. They’re aware of the opioid epidemic. They know it isn’t a bunch of recreational users who finally have the time to enjoy a dope set. They think it’s funny that despondent people who see no prospects for themselves for the rest of their lives are routinely found unresponsive in Sheetz bathrooms with hypodermic needles sticking out of veins non-users don’t even know they have. They think it’s funny when they become unresponsive by first becoming dead.

It’s a cruel joke to them. They wouldn’t blame entire communities that their own policies deliberately, strategically ruined for falling on hard times if they took their citizens’ grievances seriously. The fucking bumpkins expect us to hand out jobs like candy, they grumble; serves them right to die at 25 for dropping out of school and getting into dope. They should have learned to code.

I’m not joking about any of this. Ripping away people’s livelihoods, doing jack shit to get them into jobs offering them comparable or better pay and conditions, blaming them for being too backwards to do something else for a living in a business their elected officials don’t decide to destroy on a whim for profit, and telling them to shut up and take it like grown-ups is not anything officials do in a spirit of respect or duty or stewardship. It’s depredation, and it’s on purpose.

When Hillary Clinton bragged about how her administration was going to put a bunch of coal miners out of work, she didn’t speak inartfully. She said it because she thought it. Her thinking was as crude as she expressed it: we are going to destroy you. She didn’t mysteriously fail to articulate her thoughts about how she had environmental concerns and saw the market looking rough on account of all the gas coming online. If anyone should be prone to such thoughts, it should be a notorious former commodities trader. She didn’t mysteriously fail to articulate her ideas of how to get mining communities through the hard times and into a more sustainabble economy truly serving the needs of those taking part in it on the other side.

No. She was there to express her smug satisfaction with her own plan to punish the coal miners among her constituents, along with their families and neighbors. To heaven with me, to hell with them; I, of the Elect, righteously proclaim them damned for their sins.

Yeah, Hillary is a Main Line Methodist, not an old time religion Calvinist hardliner like Betsy DeVos. It’s crazy. It’s much too consider,,, But she reveled in the prospect of punishing coal miners for their sins by closing their mines and putting them out of work. Bernie didn’t, because he wasn’t Her, and he wasn’t entirely #WithHer. Hillary did. She wished wrath upon them. Truly that was the depth of her thot.

*****

The denunciations Trump catches for violating norms and being a crooked idiot are outrageous. Bill Barr rolled onto the scene and the usual suspects kept shrieking florid nonsense about Russia. I’d rather see them hold their fire for use on Dr. Strangelove, Pervert Enabler, but what the hell do I know. I read too much samizdat. I even write some.

Trump has committed literally countless impeachable offenses during his presidency. I don’t think I could accurately estimate within a margin of error of 100 how many times he has publicly suborned communal violence. It’s the next thing to background noise. That’s JUST the deal where video keeps killing the star of Radio Mille Collines, the thousand points of hi-fi audiovisual light. His two most recent predecessors committed numerous impeachable offenses of their own, with total impunity, and their predecessor committed some, excluding the government-rate Penthouse Letter about the plump Jewess in the blue dress. *Artfully licentious Stephanie Lazarus voice* Excuse me, I have my own attachment issues around handsome, charismatic men! I, too, am a Jew in blue! John!

Shit. Dan. Greg. Fancy seeing the two of you here. It’s pronouned “Rutten.”

The point, of course, is that Congress could have finally taken some damn action to shitcan the moist boy even though it demurred when Sonny and Mocha Haole committed even higher crimes, but the Russia tale wasn’t it. As I maintain, this was deliberate; the Democrats, or at least Chuck and Nancy and the gang, Bob McCulloch-style threw their own case. They still could take action to this day over, say, the Louis DeJoy scam: no mulligans for that shyster, Don; bitch you are fired.

These shady circumstances should theoretically inspire cognitive dissonance in the Outer Party. The problem is, I hesitate to deem them cognitive. This shit has turned their minds to goo. The Oaf still holds his office, the #resistance is still moaning fortissimo about Bircher nonsense that is somehow as soporific as it is deranged, and the base is still unshakably convinced that its party is a serious and crucial operation, desperately trying to save democracy at the eleventh hour, Winston Churchill as reinterpreted by the smarmiest, most self-important boors in the student government.

No, no, you don’t understand. We had to impeach him because we didn’t like the executive discretion he was using in foreign policy, but we can’t get ahead of ourselves and impeach him again just because the crook he put in as Postmaster General trashed the Post Office to goose the private logistics stocks in his portfolio, no matter how much we love getting insulin to our veterans and hate insider trading. We don’t have the political capital to impeach him again because he did something obviously awful that everybody hates. It just isn’t realistic. Now, if you’ll excuse me, Mother needs her afteroon gelato, you filthy serf.

We never see the limits of their power because they never exercise their power. The House Democrats could shove Trump and the Republican Senate Caucus up against the wall, if they wished, and tell them that either Trump fires DeJoy, the Senate fires Trump and DeJoy with him, or Senators go on the record defending the President for retaining and defending the crook while the USPS goes to pieces on their watch.

This stuff would actually make sense to the voting public. It would convince some of them that the Democratic Party actually has some backbone and that they for once have a good reason to humiliate our Thicc Moist Boi and boss him around. Everything about this scenario makes more sense than the Russia story.

That’s probably why the Democrats aren’t interested, aside from any mutually assured destruction blackmail pact. That’s also possible. Jeffrey had an unfortunate disease. Satyriasis. You should look it up sometime. I hardly knew Jeffrey. He had that horrible disease where he constantly needed to be boning some broad.

We’re well past the point at which the process should be winning outcomes. Lyndon Johnson wouldn’t be sitting around moping about how he has no persuasion or leverage over the Senate; he’d be bodily corncobbing T. F. Green into a fucking closet. It’s hard to believe that Democratic voters don’t realize on some level that their Congressional caucuses aren’t entirely serious about Trump. Mitch McConnell sandbagged Obama’s judicial slate and ran out the clock just to be an asshole, and meanwhile his Democratic counterparts are sitting around with their thumbs up their asses, wondering why their hands are going numb.

The Democratic base’s horror over Trump is mixed up and projected all over the place but largely heartfelt. They want him out. They’re desperate to force Biden over the top for exactly, and sometimes solely, this reason. This allows Biden, Harris, and their campaign to hold them hostage more effectively. Just look at the alternative, they blurt out. We have to vote for Joe.

Uh, who are we calling “us” here? YOU have to vote for those creeps; I don’t. Does that mean I’ll vote for the Donald for real this time? As we say online, fuck around and find out.

The tepidness and ambivalence of the endorsements Joseph and the Witch are picking up is amazing. There’s hardly even the positive feminist message Our Womanhood used last time for Her. Biden-Harris phonebankers are being trained NOT to say anything about the ticket’s platform. Just talk about how empathetic Joe is. The two of them are so warm. They’re making up a huge pile of shit about how that sundowning hairplugged car salesman-ass scumbag is a mensch. Pay no attention to the handsy stuff and the hairsniffing.

Good Lord do these two have the right stuff.

*****

When centrists complain in shock that we’ve never had such a divisive president, what they mean is that we’ve never in their memory had a president who got so messy in public and talked trash about people like themselves or celebrities they admire. The war on drugs, NAFTA, welfare “reform,” mass incarceration, No Child Left Behind, the ACA, and the entire war on terror were all plenty divisive. Busting PATCO and a bunch of meatpackers’ locals was divisive. Pretending to drink tap water in Flint instead of actually making the supply potable again was divisive. None of these fuckers since Jimmy Carter has made a credible effort to unite the country. Carter gets ridiculed to this day as a bleeding-heart pussy for more or less trying.

What stands out about the claim that Trump’s predecessors were uniters, not dividers, is that they all governed in ways that fucked shit up for the poor and lower middling, not the affluent or rich. The unions Reagan and his successors busted had members who were able to save up enough to be modestly affluent, but their busting demonstrated their members’ fundamental precarity. The upper strata are left mostly unmolested in the war on drugs. They’re able to exempt their children from bullshit standardized tests by enrolling them in private schools that leave other, poorer children behind. Flint is out of sight and out of mind, just like everything else about water in Michigan is kept to the extent its officials can enforce. The ACA’s Rube Goldberg horseshit is more navigable for them than for their social inferiors, it enshrines health insurance as a Veblen Good, and it even gets some of their failspawn policy jobs. Discount prison labor and the ratfucking of public benefits claimants makes the servants cheaper for the served.

The talented tenth came out on the blessed sides of these divisions, with occasional exceptions (the war on terror was and still is an all-around horror show). Their kids got the good jobs (or some of them did lol; biotchim whaddup). Their kids got to stay on mom and dad’s health plans through the bitter end of military draft age if they left college first.

Millions of 25-year-old have school-aged children of their own. The non-breeder parts of the upper middle class resent and fear Bristol Palin for personally showing that it doesn’t have to be a total clusterfuck, even if the baby daddy is. *Befuddled deadpan Larry King voice* You were herding sheep. They’re scared of their kids going native with childrearing proles in the same way the Puritan minister-governors of Massachusetts Bay and the joint stock company superintendents of Jamestown were of their citizens fleeing to live with Indians as Indians.

The main thing to keep in mind about the extended adolescence of college per se is that both this arrangement and the hot takes about twentager immaturity swirling around it are profit centers. A bunch of doofuses get to kick the can down the road for a few years and the savvier among them get to turn profits as well. The schools are asymmetrically cynical and crass about this shit; the rest of us aren’t nearly cynical or crass enough.

Even I burden it with too much honor. I shouldn’t wonder if I didn’t get enough out of a college that charged our parents $50k a year and then sent us “bills” upon graduation for the balance of expenses supposedly covered by annual funds and the endowment. That isn’t what any part of an organization does when its core mission is education.

Mocha Haole, being da smart kine, was careful to tacitly keep college looking good. We’re just trying to interact with pushy, neurotic yuppie shitheads more aloha. It’s generally college-educated parents who have health insurance their grown kids can use as dependents in the first place. College might start to look superfluous if any dumb bastard could check a box for a Medicaid card. I guess we’re expected to get jobs at 26 now. I’m not saying this is a good idea; I’m saying it’s the consensus. Don’t look at me. I’m not the fuckhead who set it up.

A 23-year-old with a child in kindergarten might normally figure, no shit, rich kids have an easier time being jagoffs. She might find it more objectionable that full health coverage is now a 100% guaranteed fringe benefit of that deal as well, especially if she comes from a poorer family and falls into one of the ACA’s strategic coverage gaps on account of arbitrary income guidelines.

This shit was designed to be divisive from the start. I don’t really care whether it was Obama’s fault or McConnell’s. They all spent months and countless thousands of pages of paper to give us, their constituents, an unwieldy pile of shit. Fuck them.

Every one of these pompous shits knows full well that Medicare and Social Security are almost universally popular because they’re universal programs. They chose to play mind games on the electorate for profit and sport. They chose to treat the children of the affluent as permanent sophomores because it manipulated votes out of them by exploiting their parents’ coarse class identity, and the adult children’s to the extent that ones other than me could stand to be belittled so by scummy elected officials.

Centrists insist these were necessary compromises. In that case, fuck compromise. Nobody who gets actual services from elected officials gives a rat’s ass about compromise, either. I despise Barack Obama because he condescended to people like me by treating us as failures to launch who needed our parents’ insurance plans instead of just mailing everybody in the country a fucking Medicaid card. I don’t fucking care how much of a failure I was; it was still Mocha Haole’s civic duty to treat me and people I took to be like me with full respect as voters ready to punish him if he stepped out of line or else forfeit my vote and never ask a thing of me again, personally or by proxy.

This is what Tip O’Neill called local politics. It doesn’t get any more local than the Independent Republic of Oneself. I’m the first voter to be unabashedly selfish in the same way that I’m General Stroganoff of Tsarist Russia, where beef has YOU!

Serve me or shut the fuck up. I’m absolutely serious. Elected officials who put themselves through campaigns every two years for positions that, by firm Constitutional regulation, have one opening per 764,000 residents or some shit act like I’m not doing enough for them as a citizen. Excuse me? They aren’t doing enough for me. I’m sure it’s easier to pick blueberries, but if the $174k plus per diem allowances and other expenses for an optional-show job is so awful they can always quit.

The selfishness of individual voters averages out into whatever the fuck we’re currently calling politics. If you or I don’t get our way, some other selfish bastard will get his. The only reason any of these fuckers sit around in salons and preen about their own civility is that either a plurality of their voting constituents or else some disturbed recluse with think tank money can stand them. They’ll shut the fuck up and do work the moment their pollsters warn them that their smugness may be bringing a critical mass of hostile elements to the polls.

Of course they have to be pressured to do their jobs. They get two-year contracts with statistically low chances of nonrenewal and practically zero chance of extraordinary termination between elections (James “Deep Pile Jimmy” Traficant). Many of them seceded from the real world years ago. Fancy Nancy ventures deeper into the Land of Make-Believe by the month. Their advertising budgets are obscene.

These aren’t slacker dipshits who can be fired from jobs doing yard work because they keep running the mower caddywampus into the hedges. They’re supremely powerful and insulated, and many of them are supremely arrogant. This is true of elected officials at all levels, just truer as they rise higher. They need to have their fucking feet held to the fire. Maybe, God and Country willing, the verbal abuse I phone in to Fancy Nancy’s Capitol Hill comment line will aggregate with enough other constituents’ verbal abuse to get her aides to break it to her that we hate her for a reason.

It’s disgraceful to degrade oneself clamoring for a job like that and then, after getting it, to piss and moan or have proxies piss and moan about how hostile it is. Yeah, genius, that means it’s working as designed. You’re fucking up and hearing about it from your victims.

Think about what it takes to act like it’s unfair to be ridiculed and rebuked by no-name losers for displeasing them as the holder of a very well-paid elected office with some of the most lenient attendance and performance standards in the world. Think about what it takes to convince one private citizen to criticize another for being so unfair and cynical as to call Nancy Pelosi an unaccountable psychopath. I dunno. She’s filthy rich, she has access to all sorts of inside stock tips, she lives in several different palaces, she represents a rotten borough that has been purged of its poor on a systematic ongoing basis for decades, she ran Marion Berry Bitch Set Me Up game on her hairstylist after she got caught getting an indoor haircut in violation of public health orders, and she’s always sneering. You tell me.

It seems much more prudent to presume any of these fuckers psychopaths pending evidence that they are not than to presume them decent pending the almost inevitable evidence that they’re evil. It’s especially insufferable to be scolded for judging politicians too harshly by people whose assessments of Trump are virulently denunciatory. They don’t like him. I don’t like a bunch of other politicians but don’t care for him much either. Some of our faves may be implicated. Many such cases!

It’s not like anybody gets results by actually putting foolish credence in politicians. That’s an act. Voters who get the goods either bug the shit out of their officials or hire lobbyists to bug them. Direct action gets the goods, too, in case you’re really looking to make centrists squeamish.

*****

The carrying-on about what an idiot Trump is for pushing tariffs is revealing. Tariffs are bad for business, we’re told. Yeah, what do we mean by “business?” NPR can always get some guy with a steel fabrication business to bitch about how he needs cheap Chinese steel to make ends meet, because shithead business owners would never go on the radio and lie. I don’t see why we can’t also make steel, not just use imported raw steel in our manufacturing. This is a big country. /Annoying little Mexican girl meme/ Why Not Both?

It’s convenient how the neoliberal cotnern-trolling on NPR, MSNBC, and the likes aligns so neatly with the class interests of their affluent listeners. Somehow the offshoring is good for their portfolios. Imagine that.

We’re back to material interests. Good. This means we aren’t getting distracted by another round of Boys State hocus-pocus about process and civility. Lose me with that shit. We really need to run a regular weasel flush on affluent voters who insist that they’re advocating not for their own interests but for the interests of out-of-state industrial workers NPR picked at random. They’re happy with the incumbent political class, probably including Trump more than they want to admit, because the incumbent political class consistently delivers them the goods.

This certainly applies to their satisfaction with haughty asshats like Pelosi. I didn’t say I think she wants permanently affluent voters dead; I said she wants losers like me dead, and that’s a judgment I’ll make case by case on my damn own before I vote. I’d believe this less if Nancy fucking did some shit for me, but I’m not holding my breath.

One of my favorite definitions of elected officials is that they’re the people we pelt with rotten tomatoes until they build a tram stop by our favorite bakery. It’s a crass understanding, but look, nobody votes for politicians NOT to do that. Please. If upper-middle-class voters are satisfied with neoliberal shitheads like Chuck and Nancy because their stocks and home equity are doing well, that’s disappointing, but at least it’s honest. At least it doesn’t force me to read between the lines again.

The last thing I can stand is another Schoolhouse Rock shuck and jive about how basic constituent services other governments have been providing without incident for decades are impossible in the United States because it’s hard to pass a bill. Nuh-uh. Nancy you work for me my good bitch. Do work.