The permanence of the temporarily embarrassed millionaire

Let’s be perfectly blunt. America, as it is popularly understood and celebrated, is predicated on a carefully unexamined magical assumption of upward mobility for all in due course of time. This is the founding myth without which its sociopolitical regime would immediately collapse. We tried race-based chattel slavery and ended up with a civil war barely beyond living memory of independence, followed by a fitful decade-long postwar reform effort and, not quite another century later, a peacetime federal military intervention to forcibly secure the civil rights of African-Americans in the South over the violent objections of their local and state governments. There’s still a horrific percentage of Americans who believe in eternal racial attainder, but one is socially marginalized for openly expressing anything of the sort outside a narrow, aberrant swath of the Deep South. For all the talk about how racist Alabamans are, that shit hasn’t flown on the shop floors of Birmingham’s steel mills since sometime around the Second World War. You read that right: Bull Connor didn’t even have the monolithic support of his own Whitey local.

This isn’t to say that LBJ called all the Congressional bigshots into the White House shitter for some legislative shuck-and-jive and racism magically evaporated like so much morning fog from Cicero to Southie to the Upper East Side. The point is that it was driven at least partway underground, so that for the past half century bigots have generally had to offer explanations other than righteous racial attainder for why African-Americans continue to have such a large share of the poor outcomes in the United States. Overpowering social conventions have forced them to blame the shortcomings on communal cultural problems (Bill Cosby famously keeping his pants either all the way up or, in the presence of Quaaludes and fetching women not his wife, all the way off) or individual behavioral problems inhibiting individual success (e.g., non-Cosby criminality). The Overton Window was budged pretty hard, and it still hasn’t been pushed back to where it was under Jim Crow. It’s still considered beyond the pale to insist that the black man not be allowed to rise by his own merit because he was put on this earth, and certainly this continent (gee, wonder how that happened), to pick a bale by sundown.

Old-line African-Americans and the more troubled Indian tribes are the only ethnic groups that are routinely exempted from or ignored by the assumption of permanent upward mobility. African immigrants are generally believed to bypass the socioeconomic problems that bedevil native-stock blacks (Nigerians very much so, Ethiopians as a matter of course, Somalis and Liberians somewhat less so). To the extent that specific Indian nations are recognized beyond the Rez as discrete societies rather than a vague red mass, the Cherokee and the Mohawk have a reputation for levels of human development that most other tribes sadly do not. Remember, blacks and Indians are the exceptions here. No other racial or ethnic group on the face of the earth has a significant number of Americans prejudging it incapable of upward mobility upon its arrival in the United States. Yes, I’m including Cambodians and Micronesians. That’s how deep the American belief in upward mobility is.

Occasionally we get a leader who recognizes that ever-increasing and broadening prosperity is happy horseshit and cuts the brightsiding. Clintonworld hates the shit out of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump for calling bullshit on its scam and insisting that something actually has to be done to restore America to what it should be. Trump is mainly a vector of false reform, a man who has shown himself to be evil and surrounded by advisors who are even worse, but it’s striking how salty he made both the center-left and the center-right with a four-word slogan implying that not everything was sunshine and lollypops and it was time for the government to do something on behalf of those constituents it had been forsaking. Trump and Sanders were appealing to an overlapping suite of grievances, so of course they got a huge amount of overlap in their voters (YUGE!). In the past, we’ve gotten blunt candor about things being bad from Jimmy Carter, reviled for years on the hard right for the sweater and the national malaise; LBJ, with the Civil Rights Act and the Great Society Campaign; FDR, with the Four Freedoms, the fireside chats, and the New Deal; and his cousin Teddy the trustbuster. If these guys had had continuity of leadership for a century we might be in pretty good shape today. Instead, the periods between their administrations included a number of horrible bullshit artists: Harding, Coolidge, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, another Bush, Obama, and nearly another Clinton. This ignores all the authoritarian horror shows orchestrated by our best and worst modern presidents alike: Hoover’s ideologically driven ineptitude and consequent rumble with the Bonus Army look benign compared to the eugenicist lunacy and authoritarian extremism of Wilson, who, by the way, blew the singular chance to win Ho Chi Minh over to the American side at Versailles because, duh, that cracker never had any truck with a gook. Yankee Doodle Dien Bien Phu, my old boy.

What’s scary is how rarely we get leaders who have the courage to tell us that we do not and will not just magically end up with a chicken in every pot. It’s idiotic to assume that we’ll automatically remain free, healthy, and prosperous because we’re the greatest nation in the world, ever. It’s deeply scandalous that this is a mainstream political opinion and that dissidents marginalize themselves by challenging it. It’s the language of toddlers at a sporting match. Why would we not be the champions of the world? Of course, “we” won the Second World War, or our fathers did on their way from *FACT CHECK* Bethlehem to Asbury Park for the Fourth of July weekend, never mind that the USSR sustained fifty times as many casualties and had to recapture much of its own most productive territory on its way to Berlin. Yeah, maybe we’re somewhat exaggerating the amount of fashy ass we kicked as one of the last parties to join the Allied war effort.

Fixing the mess we have now means untangling seventy years of ever more muddleheaded national mythology, which is expressed in all sorts of unexpected, disorienting ways. We’re taught that we’re a wealthy, prosperous, stable country, always on its way up to greater things and always lifting up the less fortunate peoples attached to our own. We aren’t taught to ask who the fuck is “us,” an increasingly pertinent question at a time of bifurcation between a lucky, affluent, sheltered minority and a proliferating underclass of the damned. “We” kicked all that fashy ass, came home and porked our Yankee broads for some Boomers, did the civil rights thing, something-something Goodnight Saigon but whatever, spent the eighties getting rich and the nineties cutting our hair and having the emo angst but still getting even richer, kept that good shit going for most of another administration, and then, when it all came crashing down, internationally and spectacularly, decided that it was just a short “recession.” The five million-plus who disappeared from the official payroll from 2008 to 2009 were erased just as effectively from the national discussion about why the hell we even have an economy.

I mentioned the Baby Boom above. It’s axiomatic in hip circles that the Boomers are Satan incarnate, and that isn’t entirely the fault of the small, beleaguered successor generations that they barely birthed. Their most prominent members have behaved execrably for decades and left the young in a world of hurt. In many cases, however, they’ve also ruined their age peers or themselves. It’s Boomers who keep making the news for being too broke to retire. Whether they frittered their money away on stupid shit, lost it to Wall Street scammers, were obliterated by medical debt, or just got vaguely in over their heads in an increasingly hostile economy, it’s gone.

The money they lost in whatever combination of these bad moves and misfortunes isn’t coming back, so we might as well not get too worked up if a different pool of money is diverted to them through, say, Social Security. As a rule of thumb, we need to get these fuckers out of the workforce to make room for youngsters who have never been given a decent chance, and no-strings-attached cash disbursements are the best way to go about it. Also, working the indigent elderly like draft animals when their bodies are already wrecked is evil.

At a more detached philosophical level, though, the proliferation of a new cohort of elderly poor raises some interesting questions about the classic American trajectory of upward mobility. The elderly are supposed to have savings and income because of the magical economy and shit, i.e., Mr. Roosevelt giving us all Social Security, God and Paul Ryan willing, but also a lifetime of thrift and whatever. Or, as the famous RV bumper stickers say, “I’m spending my children’s inheritance!” (Also available to articulate providential respect for one’s grandchildren.) The linear shit is supposed to make everything get better over time.

It sounds ridiculous when it’s phrased so plainly, but this is exactly what we’re taught. We don’t keep seven generations (TM) in bondage; we manumit the children of our Mexicans. The only surviving member of a sibship that the Ottoman authorities otherwise arrayed on crosses on a road into Yerevan begat a rug salesman in Glendale begat defense counsel to Mr. Orenthal James Simpson begat the lady with the famous picture of her ample rump covered in coconut oil begat North and Chicago, but certainly not Humboldt Park.

Divergent lineages begat three successive generations of supercilious assholes who own three thousand acres of almonds and citrus and half the car dealerships in the valley while their self-serious cousin reads the six o-clock news in Fresno, but we don’t need to worry about any of that. I’ll be Mayor Bridgeport Daley if these aren’t classic all-American stories of grit, determination, and in no way unspoken emergent ethnic mafias that make a downwardly mobile honky appreciate Robert Mugabe’s land tenure policies in racially neutral terms. Just in California we’ve had Dutchmen, generic whiteys, Portuguese, Japanese, Armenians, Sikhs, Italians, and lately occasional Mexicans buy up untenably large holdings that leave nothing worth cultivating for anyone else. We’ve got an ethnically-American diverse planter class that won’t hire anyone but indigent Mexicans to do the grunt work on their haciendas (love too learn Spanish!), or Thais if the wetbacks get uppity. Whoop de fuckin do. Dora can teach your children how to communicate with the maid and the gardener while a tiny mixed diaspora drawn and descended from the most ruthless people from a dozen old-world countries exploit loopholes in American land ownership policy and labor law and publicly defame the employability of the US citizenry in a campaign to ensure their supply of unenfranchised foreigners who won’t complain about workplace safety problems and wage theft.

None of this is any reason not to give America a participation trophy. It continues to exist as a polity, after all, and it’s Already Great. That’s why Hillary is here to make it whole again, you deplorable basket of shit. Somehow a generation of young people was ruined by parents and coaches who didn’t go full Karolyi on their asses with constant playing fields of Eton horseshit about how sports are a crucial preparation for life, and yet the deterioration of an entire country’s labor market, social cohesion, morality, and overall health had nothing to do with the same adults failing to adequately steward their society for thirty or forty years. There are people who earnestly complain that Millennials have difficulty finding work and functioning in the workplace because AYSO failed as a vocational training program. It couldn’t possibly be something more proximal, like the modern Anglo-American workplace being a Black Mirror hellscape of precarity, artificial scarcity, and managerial aggression.

We have a republic, if we can keep it. Guess what? We aren’t fucking keeping it. Maybe it really is that the Boomers had it too easy growing up. It’s appalling how many examples there are of Boomers graduating into a healthy job market and society and leaving in their wake an unnavigable pile of rubble and shit. As Stefan Molyneux and his boys like to say, good times create soft men, and hard times create hard men. If I had drawing skills, my DeviantArt page would include reworkings of this sacred instructional imagery to include the Hardly Boys among the Moguls. Ew, get a clue!

The odd thing is that I wouldn’t describe most of what I’ve heard of postwar prosperity as soft or softening on those raised in it. For one thing, we’re talking about birth cohorts that were raised with more marketable skills than young adults today were taught in childhood. These are people who apparently knew how to cook, clean, sew, fix things, and so on by the time they started high school, let alone graduated. I’d be surprised if these skill sets haven’t deteriorated since the midcentury. And there was nothing soft about the yuppie aggression of the eighties. The Summer of Love nonsense, for that matter, tacitly brought out a latent suite of Darwinian behaviors that were antisocial but very much competent and adaptive: being the shithead who scored the pussy in that jungle took adult wiles, not the regressive neurosis and anxiety that plague so many young people today.

The bad stuff wasn’t actually started by the coddled and the soft. It was started by amoral aggressors who took advantage of the prosperous and mildly permissive times of their youth to become ethically and civically lax, then spent their middle and old age responding to ever-worsening incentives and exploiting ever more licentious loopholes. We’re barking up the wrong tree if we think these people fucked up their society and left us with a mess because they didn’t have any work ethic or drive. What they didn’t have was the sense of noblesse oblige to give a damn about those less successful than themselves. This is why we have Uber and unpaid internships instead of a national industrial policy.

To scale the fractal down to the local, where Tip O’Neill claimed to take his politics, Pot-o-Shit Friend is too lazy to steward a healthy society, or a healthy living room. Joe Dirtbag is not too lazy, but he gets his jollies from watching losers live in squalor on his property and illegally charging them rent when he can. He had the work ethic to run a restaurant and still has the work ethic to maintain several acres of wine grapes to near-commercial standards, but as the Ragin’ Canajun perceptively noted, he doesn’t have any maintenance ethic, and so his property is in shambles. Hell, if he were apathetic and inattentive, he wouldn’t try to bait other men into dangerous feuds like he did with me, Busboy, and the cop.

Busboy sitting on ass all the live-long day isn’t the problem in this context. It’s unfortunate, and the reclusive idleness of Pot-o-Shit Friend and Lady Pisspan was really unfortunate, but there is no fucking incentive to have a work ethic around there. No one fucking gets paid, and showing up to work for Joe Dirtbag means risking entanglement in some beef that threatens to turn violent if anyone responds in kind to his fighting words. This fucker owns a couple dozen acres of prime farmland, and it is literally impossible to work for a living for him. If he’s wondering why more people hanging around his property don’t work for a living, that’s why. If he doesn’t pay anyone a cent for doing heavy labor for him or lift a finger to maintain the shanties he rents out, who the hell does he expect to show any fucking responsibility as an employer or a landlord?

This is why the shady pay arrangements at the berry farm where I work the summer harvest doesn’t bother me so much. It isn’t what it should be, but the In-Laws deduct and remit FICA taxes and live by a halfway respectable labor theory of value, not to mention that they don’t harass employees the way Joe Dirtbag does, care about employee safety, and maintain a safe workplace. (Mother-in-Law’s occasional outbursts are seat-of-the-pants emotional failures of self-control, not chilling gaslighting campaigns, and she beats herself up about them afterwards more than I wish she did. If the bullshit stops and I don’t see it back on the horizon, I’m cool.) This is a case where the perfect is the enemy of the good, and the piece rate is good enough.

The Joe Dirtbag situation is an evil which is the enemy of the perfect and the good. He isn’t a decent guy who’s just kind of cheap. He’s a petty feudal lord. The down-and-out exist to be “helpers,” as the Family Shrew says, compliant little fruit bitches and shack tenants who never complain about how they’re paying an adequately housed landlord to live in a fucking travel trailer with a pit outhouse in the yard and no indoor plumbing or farmworkers whose landed boss always has a cool story about how he doesn’t have to pay anyone and will have steam coming out of his ears if anyone calls bullshit.

These fuckers act like the universe will magically provide paid work to anyone who actually needs the money while they Tom Sawyer pushovers into being their unpaid field hands. Years ago JD had the nerve to chide me for referring to a semi-paid employee of his as a field hand. For fuck’s sake, do I sound like I’m offended that my bosses at the blueberry patch refer to me and my colleagues as pickers, when that’s exactly what we are? Again, scrupulous OSHA compliance and partial compliance with wage and hour laws is a hell of an improvement over flippant noncompliance with all laws and regulations restricting nonpayment of wages, the maintenance of death traps, and harassment.

It’s absurd, nay, superstitious, to expect anyone else to step into the breach and abide by the laws of the land and common decency to make Joe Dirtbag’s farm irrelevant to the labor and housing markets when he’s allowed to do whatever the fuck he goddamn pleases at whatever cost to those around him with near-total impunity. Just as with unpaid internships and unionbusting, this shit has a contagious degrading effect. None of the hundreds of thousands of dollars that he’s obtained at below-market rates from investors has gone to ensuring that the winery building is safe, clean, and intact or that anyone on the property has a sanitary place to bathe and shit. The rent he collects doesn’t go to any of that, either.

These are the job creators of American small business. Will it surprise you to learn that JD and FS have dabbled in superstitions about trickle-down economics, just world theory, and how disloyal theoretical customers eating at Burger King and Denny’s fucked up their restaurant business in a market harboring neither of the former? Last I checked, the Family Shrew had a handwritten affirmation on a wall in their house saying, “Every day, in every way, I am growing richer.” Counterpoint: Bitch you are not. This is a woman who has gotten no less than $15,000 from my parents to cover emergency household expenses (money my dad gave JD to buy a new Subaru), in addition to tens of thousands from other parties that are beyond my ability to calculate, and she was still eating half-wilted, half-rotting lettuce out of an old one-gallon sour cream container.

I am not going to find a portal into an authentic or functional working-class existence from either of these two dipshits. They’re proud crackers whenever anyone is on to their schnorring act, mortally offended bourgeois business leaders whenever anyone is on to their insolvency, and humble pensioners just trying to get by in embarrassingly hard times whenever anyone acts like the reputable thing for them to do for their staff would be to set up an accounts payable operation. If they’re the moral standard, I shouldn’t be online writing this shit; I should be out by the freeway flying a sign. I swear, the only thing I’m paid to do when I’m working on their property is to scavenge deposit bottles. That’s it. It’s reason enough to limit my efforts to my own reclamation projects and leave JD to his own devices in the parts of the vineyard he hasn’t abandoned.

We can tell that we’re having a second Great Depression, not a fucking recession followed by a recovery of green shoots and sunshine up my ass and yours, because there are still people living on that filthy death trap of a farm and the county authorities aren’t down there every week to respond to citizen complaints. It’s a version of the rural poverty that preceded and helped precipitate the first Great Depression.

This shit won’t fucking restabilize itself. JD knows all the local do-gooders and half the elected officials. He’s married to a goddamn social worker. There’s no making this shit up. The Family Shrew has a bachelor’s degree in social work and five years’ professional experience in the field, and she’s got people shitting in a one-holer outhouse and sleeping without heat on her property. This is the kind of shit LBJ was horrified to discover in Appalachia half a century ago. But no, it harsh the mellow to blow the whistle on any of this.

Maybe I’ll be there to shake your hand. Maybe I’ll be there to share the land and then share my story about it with sheriff’s dispatch. It’s forecast to be down to twenty next week, but as JD and FS will agree, their country cabin is so warm and cozy. FS actually preened about this on a night when Island Boy sent me back down to the farm with a pair of winter socks. A few days later I nearly drove back up there and threw the socks at that mofo, Kajieme Powell with the pastries-style.

This is how they treat family. Franklin Roosevelt bragging about his warm fire on the radio was satire when the Onion published it. Around here, it’s real life. Of course these shitheads assume that blood’s thicker than water. They figure that renting a dump without plumbing from an asshole who presumes himself above all laws is thicker than water, too. Nice phone number they’ve got at Port Coquitlam code enforcement, Willie. Shame if I called it, eh.

I’m one of the ones who thinks of ways to demand redress for these horror shows without resorting to violence. That isn’t all of us in the United States. Put that CCR record on the turntable, look out your back door, and see if that isn’t a storm on the horizon. Ain’t all of us got the Walgreen’s royalties to see us through the bad times, Fogerty.

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The short, lame arm of the law

Some down-and-out Johnny Come Lately has been sleeping in an unheated car on Joe Dirtbag’s farm, right across the parking lot from the winery building next to the perimeter fence. I personally saw him rummaging around with a flashlight with the windshield fogged up on a night last week when the temperature was down to barely above freezing. I didn’t even try to ask whether he was too cheap to warm the car up or too broke; I’d come to the farm to weed the abandoned vineyard blocks that I’ve been reclaiming, not to make small talk with some random dipshit who had decided to share the land.

I wasn’t worried about this dipshit’s safety that night. That situation was fucked up, but it seemed safe enough. This week, when the lows dropped into the low twenties, a near record for this time of year, I got pretty rattled. That’s definitely cold enough to kill a person. All it takes is one night mistakenly thinking that one is hardy enough to tough it out, and there’s no shortage of hard cases and foolhardy knuckleheads with something to prove about their own toughness living on the fringes in rural Oregon who spend the winter fixing to do exactly that. I’d been out of town for a few days, but I’d looked at the forecast and realized that it was definitely cold enough for winterkill, and Lady Pisspan had already provided the precedent for being found frozen dead in one’s vehicle in the same parking lot.

After a couple hours of prevarication and online research of the local and state social services apparatus, which didn’t provide a clear idea of where to turn for help, I left a voice mail with the county Health and Human Services department describing the situation as I’d been able to piece it together and my fear that someone would end up dying of exposure on that property. My call was returned first thing the next morning. I was told that HHS didn’t have jurisdiction over what I’d described and that if I wanted any further assistance I’d have to contact the police.

I still can’t tell that I’m not missing something about what the county or the state can do about this mess. The police should not be given primary responsibility for social services in nonemergency situations. It isn’t that they’re necessarily unable to deal with social services calls professionally or are inherently dangerous to those they’re sworn to serve; this is an area with some of the best cops on earth, so chances are that we’d draw a good squad, and Mixups in my Mind and Psychotarp being gone from the property means that the chance of a Robert Dziekanski situation is diminished to negligibility, to my great relief. The problem I see is that the emergency services, both police and fire, generally consider nonemergency situations involving individual welfare low priority. I didn’t see anything productive coming from my calling the sheriff’s desk to say that I was out of town but worried about the safety of someone who was probably sleeping in his car on the property because I’d seen him doing so before on a warmer night. It seemed likely that my call would be dismissed as a crank call, and that if deputies did conduct a welfare check they’d rile up the guy in the car without doing anything to improve his housing situation. The situation was obviously bad, but it wasn’t blatantly dire or life-threatening enough to demand an emergency response.

There are jurisdictions in the United States today where the emergency services blow off calls like these. Seattle 911 operators get annoyed by frivolous calls about some guy who’s spending a cold winter morning lying face-down with his head pointing down a hill, his pants around his ankles, and naked of all other clothing but a pair of bright red underwear. The LAPD beat cop I flagged down on the subway over the severely disturbed guy who’d been lunging around our car and yelling at the top of his lungs thought that what I’d alerted him to sounded normal. These are shockingly dire situations that the police may or may not prioritize, depending on how much of that kind of thing they see on their beats on a day-to-day basis. I guess the good thing about most of Oregon is that these are relatively stark deviations from the prevailing community standards. In Seattle and Los Angeles, the authorities can easily enough find the inspiration to redefine “community” as whoever is storming around skid row with a bowie knife and a length of rebar right now.

We used to have mental hospitals for such cases. Today we have transit systems. Perhaps when we reopen the state hospitals we can install hills on the yard, as habitat features. Send a nurse out every fifteen minutes to make sure that no one’s extremities are turning blue; the contrast with the red should be helpful. Every zoo has its keepers.

As rude as that was, I’m crudely groping towards a better world, one that exists more in our most hopeful minds than in our cities. As I said, I’ve been told by a county HHS official that the only way to get help from local government with the clusterfuck at the farm is to call the police. This mess falls through the cracks. No one involved is juvenile, elderly, crazy, retarded, or crippled enough to fall into a protected class that can bring out social services. Being a more or less normal adult who got into an exploitative, shady, or just plain bad situation isn’t enough. The people staying on Joe Dirtbag’s farm can’t be the victims of adult abuse because they’re theoretically able to advocate for themselves. That a number of them have already been bullied into abiding by illegal rental agreements for uninhabitable dwellings doesn’t establish any sort of legal vulnerability because, again, they theoretically can walk away, into God knows what, or stand up to a Master of the House slumlord thug who enjoys trying to bait other men into feuds with one another and with random cops.

The guy I saw sleeping in the car appears to be endangering himself more than anyone else is affirmatively endangering him. Much of what bothers me about this particular arrangement is that it exposes JD and anyone else involved with the farm whom a plaintiff’s attorney might try suing to civil liability in the event of his injury or death. Dude doesn’t happen to be sleeping on some disused, out-of-the-way part of the property, as some other homeless do in parts of the greenbelt that JD owns; I saw him sleeping in the curtilage of an active winery building, next to a heavily used gate to actively tended fields. We’ve got a property manager married to a bachelor’s-level social worker, with a six-figure investment fund dedicated to the operation of the property, and neither of them is doing a fucking thing to adequately rehouse our boy in the car or any of the other down-and-out who have been festering in their Hooverville for years. Why would they, when they can cajole unpaid heavy labor from these losers from time to time instead?

We’re approaching the point at which the only thing I can do is to cut the kumbaya shit and haidt-fuck every recalcitrant party into compliance with the law. The harm and fairness gloss is that Kumbaya, m’Landlord has everyone living in squalor, to the point of endangering the lives of the more vulnerable and reckless among them in the winter. The authority gloss is that, no, you do not have the right to live in or preside over La Colonía de los Cráqueres on a property that I’ve been funding for agricultural use. Any moral sense of purity is heinously assaulted by the mere mention of Pot-o-Shit Friend. Wanna round it out for an even five for five by appealing to my sense of loyalty to Joe Dirtbag and the Family Shrew? No luck, white boy. Purity and authority were why the Port Coquitlam municipal government ordered Robert Pickton to clean that shit up in his hardcore Monty Robinson for Sheriff days, and authority was one of the reasons that Mountie newjack got the search warrant that exposed a lot more than just illegal firearms on the old pig poo plantation.

Beyond some point, the process-oriented objections to imperfect ways of forcing a derelict to clean his shit up become untenable distractions. At JD’s farm, we’re just about there. I have no good reason to give a shit about some asshat’s high libertarian theory that the government should mind its own business when private citizens are choosing to live in squalor and cold. I’ve got money tied up in that shit, so I’m within my rights to tell a man that he is not allowed to sleep in my driveway all winter. I’m not invested in the farm because I want to help a bunch of losers fall through the cracks and enjoy Simon and Simon cool changes in the yard whenever there’s a hard freeze while antisocial landowners who have been adequately housed their whole lives enjoy their noble savagery from the sidelines. Joe Dirtbag and that fucking radiologist who’s bootlegging his wine into California may find this shit cute. They may enjoy it as latter-day Jacob Riis poverty tourism minus the documentary value. I fucking do not. This horseshit interferes with the operation of the farm and exposes my parents to liability for the endangerment of losers they never meant to have languishing indefinitely in grossly deficient, even dangerous, conditions.

It will inevitably be taken as a provocation if the police are called to the property for any purpose, but I’m very close to the point of absolutely ceasing to give a shit. It isn’t my fault that a bunch of dipshits who either won’t take adequate care of themselves or won’t take adequate care of those living in squalor on their property will get salty if I call a pork rally. The tenants in the Ghost Ship squats in Oakland had cool stories about how they had to live in that ramshackle deathtrap because they were starving artists trying to get by in the city, and now three dozen people are needlessly dead. The authorities might have saved their lives had they raided the building from floor to floor and end to end and fully evacuated it. The fire department had repeatedly flagged it as dangerous.

Sleeping in an unheated car when it’s well below freezing is dangerous, too. I’m not interested in the relativism of how it’s less dangerous than the Grenfell Tower or sleeping in the same car when it’s below zero Fahrenheit, not just Celsius. We’re on course to have someone die from exposure to cold on the farm again. I can’t say for certain that Lady Pisspan was killed by the cold, but I can very reasonably assume that the cold was a factor in her death, since her travel trailer had no apparent source of heat or cooling.

It’s one thing if people insist on spending the winter living and dying on a pile of filth under a lean-to in the greenbelt or a freeway overpass. It’s a tragedy that it happens anywhere and a scandal that it happens in my country, but I’m not Captain Save-a-Bum. I’m not here to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, nor am I here to shake your hand and share the land, which went just great in the Ukraine.

We have our own land tenure problems of a rather different sort in the United States. One of them afflicts Joe Dirtbag’s farm, a significant plot of prime farmland that has gone to ruin and shit because it’s owned by an incorrigible deadbeat. Believe me, this situation is enough to make me wonder whether Robert Mugabe wasn’t so much wrong as overly ambitious. Any effective economic system would reallocate JD’s land to someone else. That’s all there is to it. It is definitively a failure of American capitalism that JD is allowed to abandon large swathes of his land, let crops go to waste by the half ton, run tenant farmers off his property by behaving erratically and harboring wackos, and repeatedly harass the few tenants who remain. It’s almost like allowing a maneating lion the run of the land.

Cecil and Jericho, pray for us.

Yes, we live in the animal kingdom. Hakuna mafuckintata, honky. We’re all slaves to the sinful nature and shit. Fair enough. But we fucking ought to aspire to something more refined and civilized than that, say, by expecting that our business partners not be apes in their dealings with us and then scream bloody murder when we fail to be angels before them in return. #GorillaMindset. If you act like a rutting bull elk in front of me, I’m allowed to call the police, rough men (and women!) ready to do violence in civilization’s name. My own sexual impulses are more civilizational than that, if I do say so myself. I came to Oregon to learn and ply agricultural trades, not to get baited into a goddamn fight club. Put on some antlers, go out into the forest come fall, and lose me with that shit.

Scout’s Honor, by Chesterfield, if Joe Dirtbag were merely a recreational elkfucker I wouldn’t have anything nearly so critical to say about him in these pages. The time one spends fucking God’s other creatures is time one does not spend feeding a feral rat colony while it beshits the floor of one’s winery or personally filling a trash can oneself. Go figure that Pot-o-Shit Friend, the ultimate Darwinian cul-de-sac, had a place in the farm community under the authority of Captain Flimflam and Joe Dirtbag, both of them animalistic bullies. That’s what they got when they finally brought someone meek onboard. Surely nightsoil is a form of earth that one might inherit.

It’s no accident that the English literary treasury that we have inherited as rebellious peri-Commonwealthers is so heavy on aristocratic imperialist authoritarian garbage like Austen, Kipling, Paddington Bear, and Thomas the Tank Engine (what we get for giving clergymen publishing contracts) and so light on wholesome stories about Kentish fruitboys and their townie whores. We pretty much have to go back to the Canterbury Tales to get some, uh, Canterbury tail. Pot-o-Shit Friend likes dudes, but don’t let anyone tell you that he’s part of the National Fruit Collection, or that that little faggot will ever have his own jet airplane. By the way, this is the first paragraph in this screed that isn’t totally fucked up, because it’s basically the least disturbing thing that can possibly be written about English sexuality since the Reformation, nay, the Norman Conquest. This is the crew that gave us Jimmy Savile and the public schools. I want my, I want my, I want my BBC. Say what you will about David Cameron, but the pig wasn’t in a position to mind.

That was an indulgence in false hope, mostly. What we return to when we return to the real world is fractals of imperial aggression and brutality, a society in which only some of us are granted human rights and dignity and the rest of us, if we’re assertive enough to call, have someone from the county telling us that we’ll have to call the police to reclaim ours. I’d like to make it through Ash Wednesday without another farm squatter returning prematurely to dust, and I don’t mind expressing my relief that that bitch Pickton doesn’t get to choose between the eight, noon, and six o’clock services these days. My problem with the clergy is specifically with guys like that Anglican tankie fuckhead with the train stories, not with ones who just smear ashes on my forehead and tell me I’m gonna die. Sexy male nurse Lynn Majors expressed similar sentiments, but that’s why they moved him, in all directions, away from Terre Haute.

Yes, I’m only trying to make sure that we are NOT cullen the herd. I don’t want people dying of exposure on property where I work and am invested. The fucked up thing is that I’m around people who think find this controversial.

Will I see you tonight?

Some thug spent most of ten minutes trying to beef with me on the light rail last night on the way into–this is a real station; look it up–Watt-Manlove. I deliberately tuned out most of his screed, on the theory that depriving him of an audience would deprive him of the fun he was hoping to have and that deescalation would be safer than waiting for the police to respond. It was when he blocked two different doors on his way off the train, opening the second one from outside to berate and glare at me after blocking the first one on his way off the train, that I confirmed for sure that he was a thug, not just a loudmouthed punk. He was within seconds of the operator getting on the PA system to order passengers away from the doors by the time he finally walked away, to menace God knows whom else on the streets. That takes a stouter set of stones than it takes to nurse the remnants of a split of champagne on the trolley while freestyling about how the guy across the aisle is a “fat cracka” in a society unfortunately beset by a proliferation of “bitch-ass niggas.”

There are those who would insist that this was a racial problem, but really it was a crime problem. There’s hardly a person in Sacramento whose admiration I cherish less. I don’t give a shit about this jailbird’s thoughts on what a fat white bitch-ass nigger I am. I do mind that he tried to put me in fear for my safety. It takes more than some fool mumbling racial slurs on the trolley to get my guard up: say, repeatedly raising one’s voice and making erratic movements from immediately across the aisle while I ignore the performance as studiously as I can. This dude reflected on nobody but himself and a few dozen or hundred other of Sacramento’s worst parolees and ex-cons, and that’s irrespective of race. I’m not the fool who’s cool with a white guy behaving like that right in front of me in close quarters. That shit is not okay on anyone’s part.

#TeshTips: Some riders have the social proof to licentiously use America’s most reviled racial slurs on common carriers. They’re usually from Rancho Cordova. You and I aren’t. Let us give thanks. Or, as that cashier at the Safeway on Alhambra told the other customer, “He lives by the light rail station in Rancho.” I didn’t need to be reminded, but I guess the other guy did, and I’d volunteered the information myself. Also, I was the one who had made the decision to *STAY, NOT LIVE* out by Sunrise, immediately next door to the guy who called me “sir,” “dog,” “boss,” and “man” right after he got done trying to whup another dude’s ass on the platform for having sold meth to his kid sister.

I have no fucking idea how Lester Holt is from Rancho. #TheMoreYouKnow, the more you realize that not everything in this world makes any goddamned sense. I guess there’s some kind of middle-class community in the neighborhood that’s off the train by seven every night and also isn’t in the news for murdering anyone on Routier Road. The latter, thank God, is who rides the bus in Land Park and Pocket. It would be nice if any of those lines ran on weekends, or, depending on the clientele extended service would encourage, not nice.

The deeper problem here, of course, is that Sacramento can’t figure how what the hell to do with its intersectional criminal, behavioral health, and substance abuse communities. Turning Rancho Corvoda into the banlieue works great for anyone who isn’t also priced out to fucking Rancho. Somehow last night was the night that RT didn’t have any security officers on the train to simmer my boy the fuck down. This didn’t stop the Rancho Cordova police from parking two cruisers on the platform at Power Inn that afternoon while their sworn drivers did some unexplained shit on the trains. Love too have a police force that is allowed to park on the sidewalk in nonemergency situations but not expected to deter street crime on the transit system that it patrols.

I’m still convinced that there are awfully few people who belong in jail, but my swing shift trolley buddy isn’t necessarily one of them. If the Menendez brothers were on the trolley, they’d probably try to teach me chess. Ione isn’t that far away. Stephanie Lazarus, whose doppelganger I saw in a floral print house dress on the Gold Line a few years ago, is all right. Hey, Wettlaufer, you ought to try getting a date with the Ruetten fellow; I hear he’s quite handsome and charming. That was unfair; other than serial murderers, most murderers are pretty reformable. Plenty of others are discharged from prison without hardcore criminal proclivities or behavioral problems. The trouble is with the ones who aren’t, such as the one I got to ride with yesterday evening. I don’t know for a fact that he was in the system, but I can’t see how he wasn’t. CDCR does sweet fuck-all to rehabilitate its problem inmates. If they’re too much trouble to put on a work crew, they’re stashed on some hell yard until they reach their release date and converted into some hapless local government’s problem. That’s why we’ve got this thug on the loose who, let’s face it, is on the fast track back to jail if he keeps getting up in other riders’ faces on the light rail. In the meantime, innocents are in unnecessary danger because no level or agency of government in California is able and willing to control him. Is it any wonder, though, that the judicial apparatus that insists on keeping the Menendez boys in hoosegow for life as heinous dangers to society doesn’t know its ass from a hole in the ground when it’s time to release someone with manifest behavioral problems?

This is the sort of thing that makes me miss Philadelphia, a city of broad shoulders and vigorous natural law whose drivers and private citizens police bad characters on the bus so effectively that the formal police hardly ever have to be called. That is reserved for the aftermath of the knifepoint groping attacks and hammer murders that are traditional on the subway system.

Gotta love any jurisdiction where the security apparatus is overbearing and yet ineffectual. In this context, it’s hard to resist the appeal of foothill towns that basically exclude the rough street element. It’s bad praxis and ethics, but for those lucky enough to be able to get up the hill, it works. Whose place is it to tell anyone else who’s competent enough to get out of Dodge to wait an unforeseeable number of additional years or decades for the dysfunctional valley towns and the even worse state criminal justice system to finally do something about the inadequately supervised assholes who fuck up the light rail system ten hours a day and all day on weekends? Victor Davis Hanson is right: woke and idealistic though one may be, the ground is just more defensible up there.

Good luck getting any transit-oriented development into actual transit-oriented use in a city with a teeming, entrenched transit-oriented unemployable underclass. Sacramento Regional Transit isn’t a public transportation agency; it’s an outpatient psychiatric and social services pavilion. It’s one thing to convince people that trolleys are fly as shit as an ideal; it’s quite another to convince them that it’s worth their time and patience to put up with an expensive system whose ridership is otherwise the hardest cases off every skid row and Section Eight complex in the service area. It takes a big-ass lot of normies to push a system back over the tipping point that turned it into a fleet of hell of wheels loser cruisers.

I’m not complaining that poor people ride RT; that’s the case with every local transit agency everywhere. I’m saying that it has a number of lines, including its entire light rail system, whose riders are routinely drawn exclusively from the most shambolic, disreputable, menacing, hardened, criminally inclined, and flamingly mentally ill people in the entire fucking county. I’m saying that it is not uncommon to step aboard and see no one else in the entire vehicle who is capable of behaving normally and appropriately in a mainstream professional setting for five minutes. Exhorting people who can afford alternate means of transportation to take RT means badgering them to allow extra travel time in order to be the only normal, functional people on a likelier than not dirty vehicle otherwise full of horrific cases that they’d otherwise see only in extreme institutional settings. I’m rarely the least bit afraid for my safety on public transit, but I’ve often come away from trips on RT wondering what in all hell I was doing wasting half an hour in the midst of such incorrigible, unreachable losers. San Diego MTS is another good agency for such experiences, especially during off-peak runs through downtown, not a particular surprise for a city that has been hosing its streets down with bleach in an effort to stop a shitborne Hepatitis A outbreak.

SEPTA is nothing like this. Like the city it serves, it has some serious failures of cleanliness, but I don’t recall ever being on a SEPTA bus or trolley where most of the other passengers didn’t look normal. The old 100 high-speed line, running between shitty termini in Norristown and Upper Darby on a diagonal through a very pleasant and fancy swath of the Main Line, notwithstanding the locals along the way, experiences socioeconomic and racial pole reversals in its ridership between rush hour, which adheres religiously to bankers’ hours, and off-peak, but the off-peak crowd is mostly normal, functional, upstanding people commuting to work or going to medical appointments or the like. This has been the case on every trip I can recall taking anywhere on the SEPTA system. It’s pretty much people who look like they have or indisputably have a sensible reason for traveling across town on the bus, and the one guy who’s occasionally blurting out that he used to have family on Torresdale Avenue (“Dayyum! Shee-yut!”) is sitting somewhere conveniently out of everyone else’s way, peaceably and still.

A bourgeois supremacist might object to contamination by the poors on SEPTA. A person who’s perfectly at ease around the poor in general might become completely fed up with RT’s off-peak services because of the ubiquity of people who are unable and often enough unwilling to function halfway normally in society. It’s a shitshow: some guy opening the slit window above his seat to throw an orange peel out of a moving train, a homeless guy with anger management problems yelling at the fare inspector and anyone else within earshot while lunging around in the stairwell, assholes blocking the doors while the operator barks at them over the PA system to get out of the way so the train can depart, some sauntering yardboy with a jumpy look in his eyes whose pants would be around his ankles if he didn’t have them cinched up with a length of burlap rope for a belt, the front half of the lead car taken up by roller gimps doing electric bumper cars in the aisle every time they board and alight, but not all of them too disabled to get up out of their scooters with a healthy-looking gait and range of motion, like, cool, I’ma stand all the way up like a more or less able-bodied adult and then sit down on this-here seat, so as my rig can have its own parking space right behind the only wheelchair-accessible door on the whole dang train.

#TIMMEH is canon, guys. This is what they call * CLEAN * SAFE * CONVENIENT *. It’s always great and not at all Communist Chinese to reify a public transit system worth riding by putting a ridiculous slogan on the side of the trolley. I guess the budget line item for that happy horseshit is less than the combined line items for actually making the system good enough to attract riders who look like they have somewhere to be at a specific time sometime in the rest of their lives. There might just be a ten or twenty percent chance that a given RT run on one of the bad lines will be colonized against normies, but every other form of transportation in the region, including walking and bicycling in neighborhoods that aren’t overwhelmed by the hopelessly down and out, consistently wards off the third-party dipshits.

On the positive side, a single-ride light rail ticket used to be valid for two hours of this shit, but now it’s valid only for an hour and a half. First prize: one week in Toledo; second prize: two weeks. This is an excellent model for passengers who were hoping to run errands or some shit without fishing out another $2.75 for a return ticket. It’s a disgrace that this city and its transit system are so fucked up, but the $19.50 that I’ve contributed towards the clusterfuck this week is less taxing than my efforts to chronicle the mess. Fat Cracka out.

Shithole. Shithole. Shithole. *PISSHOLE* coming out of Donald Trump’s *ASSHOLE*

The only reason I’d be embarrassed by that title under my nation’s present political circumstances would be if I’d reverted completely to verbal reflex and blamed Tom Perez for the Levitical emissions in question, but I was careful enough not to do that. I’m aware that I’ve wagged the rude finger at Bill Durden for quoting himself, but when I licentiously paraphrase myself, at least it’s fun.

So, we might concede, are our national politics, in a grand decline of Rome sort of way. Is this, at last, the final fall, or is there a trapdoor lurking beneath the shithole of our national discourse, ready to plunge us without notice into an even deeper and dirtier shithole? I’m happy to learn that Mr. Trump’s comments were translated into Croatian as “vukojebina,” retranslated into English as “place where wolves like to fuck.” “Wolffuckery” has a certain crisp Anglo-Saxon ring to it, if I doo say so myself, but keep in mind that this is fuckery in the fashion of a nursery, a place, not in that of nursing, the profession of Charles Cullen, Elizabeth Wettlaufer, and sexy male nurse Lynn Majors. Since we’re off the subject, I might as well mention how much fun it is to learn of the death of convicted murderer Edgar Ray Killen. That’s living poetry unto Joey Buttafuoco.

I hardly know where I’m going with this shit (into the hole?), but neither do Congress or our fourth estate. Ooh, please let’s have an episode of the Fifth Estate aboot this incident; I can’t wait to hear the Canucks self-seriously recrapitulate it in their crisp highbrow accents. But I’m just a shitposter with a free WordPress blog. A bunch of professionals who draw solid six-figure salaries either to run or to report on the federal government have been thrown into a foaming crisis over the president basically saying, dude, Nigeria isn’t a place where anyone wants to live.

Context matters, of course, and Trump’s context was ugly, as well as idiotic: that foreigners should be denied the opportunity to immigrate to the United States precisely because they’re trying to flee their impoverished, dysfunctional homelands in search of something better. To the extent that humanitarian concern is a value in our immigration policy, this is ass backwards. The whole give me your tired thing can be overblown and used disingenuously by capitalist overclass shitheads to justify the importation of scab labor, but even so, it has admirably and very reasonably been a point of pride for many Americans that our nation has welcomed so many foreigners from so many troubled countries, often with great success for the immigrants and their native neighbors alike. This is one of the things that foreigners most admire about the United States; hearing good things about America from relatives who immigrated here does a lot more for our international reputation than bombing the shit out of our recalcitrant imperial holdings in the greater Middle East because we’re governed by people who can’t resist an opportunity to rape a hornets’ nest.

The stray thoughts that I have about this shit over the course of five or ten minutes contain more nuance and detail than everything I heard about this dumbass scandal on NPR today. Governmental dysfunction and corruption in the Third World drives much of the immigration that has Trump’s tighty whiteys in a bunch, but instead of hearing about how we’re getting the brain drain and humanitarian flight from these countries, we heard about how African leaders are offended. Just because that’s true doesn’t mean that it’s germane. There was a great deal of hot kabuki outrage on behalf of our hard-working immigrants, too, which inevitably missed the bum fight that the overclass has orchestrated between immigrants and the native stock. In spite of, or rather because of, everything NPR tendentiously tells us about our government, it very rarely tells us how we are actually governed, i.e., by master psychopaths. Thanks to this furor over the president’s recurrently salty mouth, we got to hear about how Paul Ryan respects the shit out of African immigrants in Janesville and will never forget that he’s the descendant of shanty micks. Excuse me, but that motherfucker does not care about the poor of any national origin. He’s a scion of local wealth and power who catfishes as a scrappy bootstrapper in an effort to rob his entire nation of constituents blind on behalf of the serious money that sponsors him.

Here’s another fun item that slipped into the ATC broadcast in between longwinded discussions of the president’s scandalous mouth: an objectivity-boner interview with the bumptious governor of Utah about how a Medicaid work requirement is imperative because Utahans believe in work. That’s nice, but Mormon Madoff affinity scams for latter-day suckers and multilevel marketing rackets aren’t work. I might put partial stock in this happy horseshit if I didn’t know that the FBI’s second largest white collar crime squad is based in Salt Lake City. NPR guests are basically allowed to make up whatever the hell they want. Gary Herbert, our gubernatorial Utard, had a great deal to say about the states as the laboratories of democracy, which anyone attentive and honest would have cut short by reminding him that Medicaid is a fucking federal program. Does this gasbag think he should be allowed to make Amtrak switch to a three-foot gauge at the state line to comply with his construal of Utah’s idiosyncratic railroading culture, too? Notwithstanding the operational and political problems with devolving the administration of Medicaid to the states and their moralizing governments, the feds have no duty to allow the states to torpedo federally mandated and funded social services programs out of devotion to the spurious cultural origin myths of their grandstanding elected officials.

Serious question: does this kind of shit happen in Canada? Feel free to chime in in the comments if you know anything about this. I haven’t researched it in any depth, but what I have read suggests that the provincial options exercised over Medicare administration mostly have to do with things like which specific cutting-edge cancer treatments each province authorizes on its formularies, not whether Albertan values demand the impressment of the poor into workhouses, in contrast to BC values of lounging around on a nude beach all the live-long day and Saskatchewan values under which it’s your own fault if you missed free afternoon chow at the social services center because you were otherwise occupied getting piss-ass drunk in a sod ditch. It appears to be regarded pretty much across the country as an assault on the national social contract to use cool stories about provincial culture as an excuse to deliberately weaken social services. At the very least, the provinces are not given the local option to make up their own human rights and criminal due process standards, as our states are licentiously granted on a fairly routine basis.

Torpedoing Medicaid to spite the workshy poor doesn’t get NPR up in arms, but calling Nigeria a shithole does. They won’t lower the boom on behalf of truth and decency toward the native poor, but for the wounded pride of aspiring foreigners they enthusiastically will. Reading “shithole” above the fold on the New York Times homepage was a salacious joy. If It Fits, I Shits; Hit “Print!” NPR sanctimoniously let us behind the scenes to learn about the process by which it determined that there was a public interest in broadcasting Dick Durbin’s uncut hearsay about Donald Trump’s unutterable comment. Other than having to do its own independent reporting to corroborate the story, it amounted to because reasons. The Cubs will win the World Series before NPR explains why the same standard of newsworthiness and candor did not apply to Rod Blagojevich’s “fucking golden,” which strongly implied his attempt to sell Barack Obama’s former seat in the US Senate and got the Mayor sent off to fucking Littleton, which they aren’t gonna let him leave for fucking nothing. Fly the Fucking W, bitch. It’s also good salacious fun that NPR’s admitted standard for the utterance of “shithole” amounts to only once an hour and only from Durbin’s lips, not their own. Love too use a sitting United States Senator as a shabbos goy for the purpose of repeating the heinous comments of the sitting President.

Damn the FCC; full steam abreast! Ew, that again. It’s true, though. NPR isn’t ready to die on this hill of broadcast indecency in service to the unvarnished truth; it is ready to kill on this hill and fully hold its ground. In a way, it’s like Halloween in Southeastern Michigan for egging the neighbors’ houses, or the strike of midnight in the New Year in Manhattan for flashing one’s tits in front of Nicole Papamichael, or Mardi Gras for flashing the Who Dat on the Horse Squad in exchange for a strand of plastic beads and God willing they won’t pump your torso full of duckshot on the Danziger Bridge. It’s a special time when one is allowed to say “shithole” on CNN, have Dick Durbin say “shithole” on NPR, and/or print “shithole” in the Grey Lady. We can put the eggs back in the fridge on All Souls Day and reclothe our knockers come Lent. Or something like that. *Gary Johnson, tongue all over the place again* What is “Lent?” An extraordinary feast day has been decreed; gaudeamus igitur, bitches.

But to think that this is what it took to convince the chickenshit mainstream media to pull out all the stops and let the word, singular but repeated, fall out. No official policy is heinous enough, but the president mouthing off about how a number of countries that are notoriously abandoned by their most successful citizens, by way of trying to taint the brain drainers by association, did the trick. That was what it took to make the bigshots stop cowering before the FCC: hearsay about the POTUS blurting out one of the Heavy Seven at a meeting with legislators who have pretensions of acting as checks and balances on him. No bullshit, Bareilles, that’s what got them to stop cowering in their hole and be brave for once.

This is an example of the elite pushback that I expected against Trump more than against a second President Clinton. To that extent, at least, I’m still relieved that he was elected and not, so to speak, #Her. But this shows how frighteningly superficial these avowed watchdogs are. A loudly anti-immigration president got into hot water for some uncouth comments about his racially inflammatory reasons for wanting to restrict immigration and the bigoted mechanism that he wished to impose in furtherance of this restriction. Meanwhile he’s the one grandee who seemingly can’t be fired for sexual assault, not to mention for abetting police brutality.

This is a political problem, but Trump is a symptom more than the disease. When push comes to shove, impeachable offenses are whatever Congress construes them to include. In the 1990’s, this was an adulterous office affair. Today? Who the fuck knows. Congress could stand up and say, listen, asshat, there are standards of presidential decorum that we are going to enforce, and going on social media to accuse the leader of a hostile nuclear superpower of having a small penis is a violation of these standards. Congress can make it clear to Trump that the acceptable scope of his duties does not include impulsively mouthing off at foreign leaders in fits of grandiosity and disparaging entire nations in order to dogwhistle to white supremacist lunatics about how he’d rather have more immigration from Norway. Congress is not a body that has the moral credibility to stand up to the Donald for being viciously childish and give him one last chance to act like a fucking adult, but it has the constitutional authority to do so.

We may not be a decadent people, but we’re certainly governed by a decadent leadership. God help us, because we may be on the verge of having a crew of national embarrassments including Chuck and Nancy finally hold Donald Trump accountable for, of all things, insulting black and brown people by rudely denigrating the homelands that so many of them are so eager to flee, not because this is an appropriate process, but because it’s the only politically viable process under our current atrocious leadership.

As they say, Secretary of State Rebukes President; Moron This Later.

Great crimes and great fortunes

There are no good billionaires. Let’s get out heads out of our asses. Living in a ranch house in Omaha does not make Warren Buffett authentic. I’ve been to Omaha three times. Two of these trips were limited to a fresh air break on the depot platform, but I was awake and attentive to the landscape as I rolled through Western Iowa and Eastern Nebraska. On the second trip I was able to catch sight of the Nebraska capitol tower, which is not illuminated, on the way through Lincoln. I keep meaning to make a dedicated trip through that part of the country, on both sides of the Missouri, best when the daytime highs are somewhere above twenty degrees. I’m cold-hardy, but I’m also a Californian and not a toolbox. But I do not for one fucking second imagine that that miserly Tom Brokaw-acting cunt gains a shred of virtue or wisdom for living in Omaha. What’s next? Asserting that sexy male nurse Lynn Majors is authentically murderous for being a small-town Hoosier? I was born in a small town, my grandparents lived in that same small town until, you know.

At least I don’t take this shit seriously. At least I know that it’s just Memetime in America. If sexy male code enforcement officer Lynn Rader commits his next mail violation by sending out tendentious stock tips, will that make him the Oracle of Wichita? *Glen Campbell, back on the line* I didn’t say anything so rude about a Kansan, now.

Warren Buffett has basically the same values as any other billionaire, values that are absolute garbage. His public brand drives him to make a show of being a cheap piece of shit, but if he were comfortable being modest or downwardly mobile he’d have done something else with his career. Hell, if he weren’t rapacious he’d cut the stockmongering and retire into something less Rich Uncle Moneybags: RVing, gardening, hunting, poker, high-volume golf, I dunno, but definitely not what he’s made a name for himself doing.

The specific cultural problem extrinsic to Buffett is that every dipshit journalist who hasn’t spent any time in the Midwest figures that instead of traveling there sometime and taking a look around it would make more sense to repeat shopworn talking points from the PR machine of the same bumptious fuckjob who happens to be famous for famously being from Omaha. Like, if we listen to him, we’ll pick up all these great heartland values. Again, how does this not apply to our old boy Dennis Lynn Rader, who also enjoys regular correspondence from the nation’s midsection? What the hell do these motherfuckers represent? If I somehow became buddies with the Omaha country club set to the point of making them schnorrable for meals, I reckon they’d take me out for steak, not to fucking Dairy Queen. There’s no way the Nebraska business elite mumble half-coherent breakfast orders in the McDonald’s drive-through as a high folkway. That just ain’t so, cracka. They may be plainer in their dress and manners than the fanciest New Yorkers, but they cherish primer cuts than that. Besides, in case we’re trying to live in the real world here, most of them don’t actually give off a tell-tale vibe that they aren’t possibly from Alpharetta or Narberth or Torrey Pines.

The categorical error that craven assholes in the mainstream media keep making is their insistence that there are normal billionaires and billionaire wannabes. (Think Trump; surely the hallmark of solvency is the failure to pay FAA registration fees on one’s private jet fleet.) Here we have an overclass that is wealthy and powerful enough to live like gods incarnate, and we’re told that they’re actually like you and me. Yeah, and I’m Kevin Vickers. Go high enough and everyone’s warped. I’m close to a number of financial millionaires and near millionaires. The superrich I read about in the news do not share their values. They do not have a worldview or set of cultural practices in common. Too many merely bourgeois social climbers haphazardly try to ape the mogul overclass, mainly on weekend evenings, but most of them revert on short order to more or less normative bourgeois behaviors. Most of them revert to a decent measure of thrift, industry, sobriety, and modesty, knowing, for one thing, that those who don’t are ruined.

Beyond some murky threshold, well into the tens, if not hundreds, of millions for the obscure and probably in the low tens for the famous, attitudes and behaviors go through a funhouse mirror. Betsy Devos plucked elementary school mentees effectively at random, parachuting them into exclusive private schools. In exchange, she paid their parents and older siblings to clean her mansions. Aside from the perennial question of why our public schools are such intractable dystopias, this raises questions about why the fuck the DeVoses need so much housecleaning. What is wrong with them that they can’t get by with just one mansion in Southwestern Michigan? This is nuts.

Again and again the very wealthy demonstrate that they have too much money to spend well. The lakeside compound that Bill Gates built with his fortune is batshit insane. The Google boys bought a used Qantas 767, on the cheap, actually (the finest styles of ride tend to depreciate, too), and proceeded to bicker about its interior decoration. The scandal here, of course, was that they weren’t doing their aviation on the equivalent of their famous Priuses. This innocently, foolishly, presumes far too much principle on their part. Why would they claw and slash their way to the top just to fly coach? Al Gore has the same problem, but more so, with his infamous Tennessee horse country mansion and its air conditioning bill, not to mention all his profligate international travel for the purpose of admonishing others to travel less profligately. Likewise the rotating cast of entertainment celebrities who have hypocritically made climate change their cause: they have enough money and connections to live like gods, too.

This isn’t the only gross political manifestation of extreme wealth. We’ve got the Koch brothers, a well weird duo, buying pet Congressmen and governors, lately including the sitting Vice President, and the Mercers hiring and then punishing Steve Bannon in the fashion of their wayward house slave. They’re decadent imperial Roman grandees, and he’s their reprobate Greek. All gall is divided however it must be to enable these shits to shove around an accomplished millionaire, of all people. Imagine how they must treat their gardeners and maids. These are people for whom American politics is a fucking board game. It’s for the little people, the rest of us, their host society, to suffer the consequences of their grandiosity and greed. To them, an autodidact with a background in investment banking and high-profile internet news is just another servant, maybe not quite as disposable as a day laborer picked up in the Home Depot parking lot to rake up the leaves but not much more valuable than that.

What the hell are the rest of us supposed to make of a regime in which a handful of scions of unfathomable wealth have, conservatively, a budget of thirty million dollars apiece at a time to lavish on pet political operatives and propagandists? What does this do to the national sense of truth and justice? The Clintons are grotesquely aggrandized in their own right, but what are we to make of a society whose waters Richard Mellon Scaife has enough personal wealth to muddy at will with fever-swamp tales of their immorality?

I sit down and write this stuff on my own. All I need is the time, which I usually have, and the energy, which, uh, well, uh. The point is that I don’t have a fucking staff for this shit. I don’t have a fucking think tank. I’ve got friends, relatives, acquaintances, passersby, and the like who inform my screeds or act as sounding boards, but I’m not in a position to hire, say, Megan McArdle. Not that I would if I could, because yuck. Michael O. Church is right that the socioeconomic elite is in no way an intellectual elite. The fact that McMegan has found people with a think tank budget who didn’t take one look at her and think, damn, this bitch is dumb, is evidence enough.

Then again, living in truth gets in the way of living in wealth. This helps explain why at the top, much as at the hard bottom, everyone acts like a fucking animal. I have no idea whether the story about Donald Trump’s private White House gorilla channel is at all accurate, but it’s a fun story, and ultimately it’s true. It’s definitely true that the shitheads up top get salty when the apes don’t fight enough for their taste. #GorillaMindset

Affluence can alienate people from mainstream society, but there’s a huge difference between being able to afford to eat out somewhere nice and being able to basically force Thomas Sowell and Victor Davis Hanson to have a shovel fight in the yard to determine which one gets the only think tank job. Money is power, but there’s a difference between having enough power to incent a few restaurant employees to make one coffee and dinner once or twice a day and having enough power to deploy a dedicated household staff of professional libelers against one’s enemies. Besides, normal people routinely have to make tradeoffs, going without some nice things in order to afford others. I, for one, eat better by sleeping in my car every two or three nights than I would by getting a room every night, so I don’t fucking care to have some planter-class asshole paying Tyler Cowen to lecture me about how I don’t often enough eat beans out of a tin. Fuck him.

That motherfucker has actually run his mouth about how times are getting tight and we, okay, not him, but the rest of us, will have to economize and make do with beans. At what point does our food insecurity stop deriving from there not being enough to eat in a nation with some of the most productive farms on earth and start deriving from the nation’s wealth being concentrated enough for those who possess it to afford to hire Tyler Cowen? If student debt is forcing graduates to eat Top Ramen, that’s fundamentally a debt peonage problem, not a food security problem. At some point, and we’re far past it, it becomes reasonable to tell the managerial class that we’ll throw them into the ship channel if they move our cheese again. Hell, in a functional, productive society, we’d all cut our own.

I’ve picked several tons of fruit commercially, so don’t look at me. If Travis Kalanick and Jeff Bezos are salty that any of us are privileged or stubborn enough not to be impressed into their servant precariat, that’s their wound to lick. The rest of us might as well stand back and snicker, accusing them of licking themselves. Remember, they exploit their inferiors for the same reason that a dog licks its own balls: because they can.

Rooms into which Lucretia walks: a disgusting tale of violence and extreme prejudice

From time to time my Facebook feed burps up a reposting of an old saw by Mark Twain about how travel is fatal to prejudice and shit. I believe “fatal to prejudice” is a verbatim excerpt, but I really don’t feel like looking any of that shit up for accuracy. It’s a twee, insipid, foolish sentiment, one of the great Victorian self-owns. Living in the bizarre hellworld of our current gilded age is excruciating, but at least we don’t have Mark Twain, a wildly successful novelist, directly lecturing an audience made up overwhelmingly of his socioeconomic inferiors about its duty to travel–basically, yo, get out and broaden your horizons, doggy–instead of considering the possibility that intractable circumstances having to do with their limited means prevented them from leaving town, meaning that one can’t necessarily afford to travel, nigga. At least I must hear of this happy horseshit only secondhand, a century and change after the fact.

No, I will not be looking up the date, either. I can place Twain’s gross, meretricious utterance in the correct part of the American socioeconomic cycle and opposite the correct suite of transportation technologies, and that’s enough. It was a time when one might have traveled to Cleveland by steamboat, or by train, also a steamer. You could have a water-level speed train, if you’d just lay down the tracks. *Peter Gabriel, one hand on the wireless, other hand caressing the emergency brake* Good God, this guy makes me sound normal. It was also a time when Cornelius Vanderbilt had his wife committed to an asylum for refusing to leave Staten Island. She must have preread Momma Leone’s Note.

This was not a healthy, balanced society. Mark Twain condescended to the homebody poor about the virtues of travel in the midst of a quite full human lifespan of intensifying vice and social dysfunction in his country. It’s my country, too, but it doesn’t always feel like it. Love it or leave it? I was looking into the Canadian immigration process under Harper and Obama, friend. By some measures, it took the Great Depression and the Second World War to put a stop to an orgy or elite rapacity and meddlesomeness that started around the time that the Erie Canal was completed. The precise dates are only vaguely important. Historians, such as I theoretically am at the bachelor’s level, get too fucking intellectually invested in idiotic trivia, basically chiding their peers and the noncredentialed about how the madman’s subway screed started at 17:35 on the Uptown 6 train, not at half past five on the 2 Train, while missing the part about how he wasn’t just muttering rudely about all the bitches he’d bang but was also explicitly threatening to gut his enemies with a bowie knife.

Direction notwithstanding, will I see YOU tonight? Just yesterday afternoon I saw a guy on the LA subway who was so violently insane, yelling at the top of his lungs on board the train about how there is no God and no Devil and he couldn’t find his daughter, that I flagged down a passing cop after we both got off, me for some extra space and him God only knows why. The cop thought that what I described sounded utterly routine (“We always have that”), but he came back a few minutes later to tell me that he’d shown the fellow the way out of the station. It was a fair enough point for the cop to think that I must not have been used to the neighborhood, but the guy on the train had been 1% of the 1% batshit insane, a blatant threat to the safety of anyone within lunging distance. He wasn’t just sitting on a bench muttering, “Smashed in his knees with a two-by-four; smashed in his knees with a sledge HAMMA!” In that case, I’d have found another bench, for some love away from my brother. I was, for better and worse, not his keeper, and the LAPD didn’t know what to do about our old boy yesterday other than to usher him upstairs, to be the Hollywood Division’s street beats’ problem. The subway was historically the LASD’s turf, but I guess, to paraphrase a lady on the Blue Line who was booked into jail not six hours after she showed me her citation for jumping fare, po lease think they the motherfucking sheriffs.

To be clear, I didn’t witness anything that looked remotely like police misconduct in the midst of this mess, and the cop I flagged down comported himself excellently. I wouldn’t have been as eager to alert him if he hadn’t looked so levelheaded. At the same time, I don’t think the department dealt with this guy as effectively as it should have. Casting him out of the darkness and bouncing him upstairs got him out of the confined spaces, and since it’s an especially bad idea to physically corner people who are so agitated, that was a big help, but there’s still an unaddressed public safety problem when someone who is so acutely agitated in public is turned into a departmental hot potato and bounced around from division to division and watch to watch until some cop who doesn’t mind the extra paperwork (and, let’s be honest, the overtime for filling it out) dumps him on Men’s Central Jail, turning him into the Sheriff’s Department’s custodial problem. Realistically, that’s where dude was headed and still is headed every time he’s out on the streets. It just isn’t likely that anyone, sworn or not, will reach out to offer him the psychiatric care he so urgently needs and divert him from the revolving door at Men’s Central.

Come to think of it, I’d be interested to hear the thoughts of Dion Joseph or someone else with equivalent experience on Skid Row about whether or not this guy was in fact way above the baseline for street crazy, as I thought. I know there’s some really gritty shit out on the streets, and I don’t assume that I have a comprehensive sense of how bad it gets. Maybe our friend from the subway isn’t out of the ordinary on Skid Row. In that case, it’s a damn scandal, because there are peaceable, decent people who are trying to get by there, and they don’t deserve to be menaced by the most violently insane people in the county any more than peaceable, decent people living in Westwood or Burbank or the Hollywood Hills.

Let’s not forget that this chaos, squalor, and privation isn’t festering in Lagos or Manila or Tegucigalpa, but in developed parts of Los Angeles. This is the situation in the second largest city in the United States. We have no fucking idea of how to address our national poverty problem. And it is a national problem. LA doesn’t have a homelessness problem just because it’s a wicked city that fails to take care of its own or tolerates vices that other places don’t. It’s a prime dumping ground for people from across the country who have been abandoned by their local governments and communities. It’s the Law of the Westbound Bus: that bus is headed west, and you, a bum, are getting on it. Wesley Willis, pray for us. You can bet the oil patch that the Kern County authorities send their undesirables over the hill when they can. (The Bay Area works, too.) In Capitalist Inland California, Grapevine hears it through YOU!

Those who can afford to travel out of town and overseas can afford a shitty crosstown bus transect. You’re interested in exploring the cultures of, like, Bali and Phuket and maybe Puerto Vallarta? How about Silver Lake, bitch? I have a number of first- and second-degree contacts who are into something that they like to call “Deep Travel.” Oddly, or not, it does go as deep as Florence and Normandie. I drove my parents across Normandie the day before Christmas Eve. The GPS suggested it. As a guy from Huntington Beach by way of Aliso Viejo said at Christmas dinner, wow, that’s deep LA. He’s right about that. Maybe the 405 is so backed up for a reason. Every asshole who wants to defund Metro has a cool story about how the automobile democratized Los Angeles, in contrast to rich New Yorkers in their cabs and limousines. LA not having mass transit or cabs must be why I took a cab ride and traveled another one or two hundred miles by Metro this calendar month.

Not knowing John Dennis Diddly about squat and cough about the most famous cities in our own country, we’re totally gonna learn lots of interesting shit about other countries if only we spend a week or two at a time visiting their luxury resorts. This is what the upper crusts and those catering to their travel interests mean by travel and cultural immersion. We can tell that they’re full of shit about cultural immersion, even if they aren’t deliberately bullshitting anyone, just by looking at the Indonesian prison system. That has to be one of the most genuine cultural immersion programs on the face of the earth. The Bali Nine weren’t planning to travel that deep, but, hey, two of them got to visit Nusakambangan as well. You wouldn’t believe how degraded the experience of air travel has gotten. Myuran Sukumaran was initially known to the police as “the negro,” but they shot four Nigerians alongside him, in addition to others in other midnight mass executions, plausibly enough because they were black.

The Southern Cross thing rattled quite a few Australians, and for good reason, but Americans (okay, not Frank Amado) are distant and sheltered enough from this particular violence to continue not giving a shit. Who is Frank Amado? Let’s put it this way: from a parochial American perspective, “Who is Frank Amado?” is worse than “What is Aleppo?” Indonesia, which has condemned an expatriate US citizen to death for drug trafficking, isn’t even our worst ally. It’s in the second or third tier for human rights violations among US foreign military aid recipients.

This is why Fat Leonard should be president. Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, the United States: name the country, and he has a better human rights record than the incumbent.

Those who don’t and won’t learn about other cultures in their hometowns won’t learn jack shit about foreign cultures by swooping in, hanging out for a few days, and then launching back out, but we don’t often hear about how fucking ignorant the jet set is because it’s a set that’s basically never told point blank that it’s full of shit. No one has the nerve to tell these people, uh, no, you’re wrong about that. Who’s around them when they travel abroad? The local intelligentsia (Lenin: “The intellectuals are not society’s brains, but its shit”), other Westernized elites (Lenin again), merchants, and servants. This is not a representative cross-section; it’s a fucking Tom Friedman column. Friedman isn’t surrounded by people who tell him that he’s full of shit, either. #TeshTips: Hotel staff are recruited and paid to put up with bullshit from ugly Americans. Construe to apply to other nationalities as needed; we aren’t the only ones.

God is it a surreal elite conceit to believe that servants are honest about touchy subjects with those they serve and that they aren’t actually servants anyhow. Sure, your Uber driver is your social equal, and I’m Junipero Serra.

Travel doesn’t inherently broaden horizons. That’s as insane as thinking that one’s daughter may be on the train, so maybe one should open the door and lunge into the next car while that fine-ass rolling socialism is swaying around at 70 miles an hour. For most bourgeois travelers, let alone the hardcore elites, it narrows perspectives and confirms prejudices. Like, Van Nuys and Compton are gross, ew, so let’s go somewhere overseas where the poors aren’t so uppity. Why can’t America’s lower classes be more like our waitstaff at the Sandals Resort? People actually think like this, maybe not explicitly but definitely to an extent that warps their perceptions of reality, and then they turn out at elections.

The greatest sin here, the greatest affront to truth, is that most of them won’t admit that that they’re trying to get away from unpleasantness, and in some cases won’t even admit that there is anything unpleasant that they might possibly want to flee. I’ll admit that I’ve been holed up in Starbucks for a couple of hours because Starbucks isn’t all fucked up like 7-Eleven or the average bodega. I try to do business with companies that aren’t all fucked up. That’s a little itty-bitty something to make the world an imperceptibly better place. One reason why I so appreciate this joint is that I got coffee the other day at a 7-Eleven in Twentynine Palms and I do not feel like doing that again.

Is it too much to ask my fellow Americans to pay some fucking attention to our own godforsaken society? Is it too much to ask people who are mentally capable of paying attention to get their heads out of their asses and do so from time to time? Instead of engaging the world, maybe we should engage our own fucking society. That was unfortunate but inevitable; I can’t forget the sorts of internationally meddlesome dipshits who studied alongside me at *MY OLD SCHOOL.* Great, another fool who goes on service trips to the Caribbean but never takes SEPTA at home. There’s no end to this crap. Can’t we at least, though, admit when we’re fleeing something unpleasant? I suppose I’d rather go hiking in upcountry Mexico than watch the mentally ill wander around Silver Lake in a state of chronic disorientation and collide with street thugs who never deal with their own severe behavioral problems. That’s why I take the subway when I’m in town. I know, that went just great yesterday.

Could we have some humility, though? Ivan Illich was openly working through some profound psychological and existential problems in his writing, but he was onto something when he got all, like, hey, feel free to come down here for a hike, but for the love of God don’t come here to lecture us. He would have loved the deal where Busboy’s girlfriend had to pay rent to live in a school bus under a slumlord’s authority in order to save up money to go volunteer at the women’s collective in Nicaragua or wherever the fuck she meant to do that. That’s why she had to live half a stone’s throw down the hill from Pot-o-Shit Friend’s all too humble abode. I’m the one who complained to code enforcement about that clusterfuck. In English. In the same county. Near where I often drive for a lengthy coffee break from shit that I don’t have the energy to fix.

I suppose Illich would have needed another handle of tequila for the story about my cousins who flew from San Francisco to London to Accra and then drove north for hours to show the Mohammedans the “Jesus film,” instead of maybe staying home in Humboldt County to try to socially orient the tweaker problem in a way that they might possibly do something positive about it. We never care to bless our own damn rains. This was the same crew that boldly decided not to cancel its travel plans after its local contact, from the Christian South, was beaten nearly to death over a fatal road accident. If that’s Christianity, lose me with that thumper shit. Oh, and this is fun: most of the congregation and even most of the mission group described the heavily English-speaking country where they had gone to minister to non-Anglophone Muslims in the rather near aftermath of sectarian violence “Africa.” I don’t need to bless anyone’s rains when I can instead bless the efforts of any interested Ghanaian to describe Reno as part of California. That’s beyond fair.

I’m on the road yet again, so I’m in no position to lecture other Americans to learn to be still, but learn to be still, bitch.

Steamertown USA

All the little kids growing up on the skids say, hey, what’s wrong with him? My sleep patterns, mainly. On alternating nights I’ve been jarred awake by a Next-Gen 737 with surprisingly bad pressurization at 0500 Central and a conductor telling me that we were coming into Cleveland at 0525 Eastern. In the intervening night I slept, no joke, from about four in the afternoon until nine the next morning, with an eleven o’clock snack break for the remainder of a bag of chili lime cashews and some coffee. This is not normal, so what the hell do any of you expect of me?

Cleveland isn’t quite as fucked up as it should be, but it isn’t in great shape, either. It manufactured more stuff back when the fire department had to put out the river, so that much is a mixed blessing, but it’s since fallen into quite a bit of neoliberal marketeering horseshit: a casino in Terminal Tower, the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, a bus called the HealthLine. Meanwhile I couldn’t find a ticket vending machine in the light rail station by the Amtrak depot, which is out by not much more than a dumbass science museum and a wind turbine even though I was on the only train that comes through after, like, three in the morning (surely one must be lonely!). I ended up entering the station backwards and walking out through a gate that had been left open all night. What is this, a Prince number from “Twilight Zone: The Musical?” I’ve been on a shitload of mass transit systems, and I don’t think that would have been normal had I been normally awake.

The Amtrak schedules can’t help, and neither can the condition of the Amtrak depot, but the state of Ohio never seems interested in subsidizing additional service at less fucked up hours of the day. I don’t entirely get the state-level politics behind these decisions, e.g., why Michigan has kept up its Amtrak subsidies, but there’s probably a strong class, racial, and political fuckery angle here. As a body politic, the suburbanites really have it in for Cleveland and Cincinnati, where there be Negroes. Other sorts of po’ folk, too, and Democrats. I believe it was Parma that was for a time the largest city in the United States without a mass transit system. Cleveland and Cincinnati have really neat urban cores, definitely neater than Columbus, but the political and business interest in investing in them is spotty and flaky. Hence light rail stations that look like they were abandoned by a late-stage Polish politburo that didn’t think to turn off the lights. Hence, also, all the tourist trap gimcrackery.

This bullshit was a long time coming. The most exquisite description I’ve heard of Cleveland in the sixties, from my mom, was that the blacks on the East Side and the Slavs on the West Side periodically squared off in race riots while the Italians and the Jews looked on. I can’t help but admire the diaspora Joel/Fischer/Buttafuoco crowd for treating that as a spectator sport. My uncle really should have married an Italian girl. What’s wrong with the Italians complements what’s wrong with the Jews, which complements what’s wrong with the Italians in return, while the Jews and the Poles are too busy with their semi-Semitic bum fight to compliment one another. *Very Temple Clinger Suburban Pollack Voice* Whoop Whoop Compliment. Nah, I shouldn’t be so harsh on that spergy mofo: I’ve never gotten any indication that he understands Jews as a concept, and he’s unfiltered enough that if he did he’d surely have something ridiculous to say about them on Facebook.

Or about us, since I’m Jewish enough for Hitler, and my self-loathing Jew of an uncle with the Polish/Shanty Mick wife doubly so. She’s the one I’ve sometimes been tempted to tell that I’d seen her possible paternal relatives from Staten Island at Hersheypark, but I think they were Black Irish.

#RaceTogether, bitch. The Dirty Dog will be here to pick me up soon enough and I’m already Too Very Online, so until we convene again, full steam abreast!