Of course these motherfuckers booked up all the fancy hotels

Oleander, growing outside her door, soon it’s gonna be impossible to get a room up in Annandale. By which I inevitably, and unfortunately, mean Carlisle. What a creepy little shithole of a city, or a borough, or whatever the fuck that den of authoritarian rednecks wishes to call it. I’m planning to go back to *MY OLD SCHOOL* this weekend regardless, loosely in the tradition of that guy sitting next to me on the Coast Starlight on his way to SeaTac to visit his buddy from Lompoc Camp and not on his way to shutting up for five blessed seconds. Well, don’tcha fuckin’ know, a funny thing happened on the way to Homecoming: the nice hotels in town sold out, while prices in the nice hotels on the outskirts floated up to the obscene and some of the crappier motor lodges near the War College did some modest surge pricing, but there are still rooms available for $46 a night on Friday and Saturday at a Travelodge a few miles out past the Miracle Mile on Route 11. #TeshTips: If you’re unfamiliar with the Miracle Mile, you may not actually be a Scholar. I learned about it from a weird-ass lunch buddy who did a research paper on it. It’s the strip of truck stops between 81 and the Turnpike where the five-oh likes to arrest truckers in prostitution stings.

Of course, knowing about any of this, let alone giving a shit, would get in the way of donning the Lacoste and being an insufferably supercilious useless eater. And let’s not gloss over the true fact that the homecoming crowd is a bunch of downtown drunks. The Miracle Mile and beyond would mean some combination of cab fare, drunk driving, Uber, and bitching to no end about the inability to get an Uber. Some of these fuckers were reputed to drive home drunk across the west side of Carlisle from the Gingerbread Man. Holy shit, I just realized that I personally knew the affluenza kid. Not him specifically, but his avatars, and that’s way too close for comfort. Heeby jeeby. I suppose I knew Brock Turner as well. What’s-her-name with the CEO daddy and the laxboy meathead crushes who roomed with Charlotte Simmons was dozens of my classmates.

If the Borough of Carlisle were governed by officials of any moral consistency whatsoever, it would go dry. It wouldn’t give the fucking G-Man a business license, for God’s sake. That won’t happen because Carlisle is the land of the damned. It’s trapped in the Slow Ghomeshi chokehold of the positive law fetishists who somehow needed a decade to catch the shady creeps at Deli Creations selling hard drugs. In the meantime, including my entire time at Dickinson College, the authorities were either grossly incompetent or on the take. That much is a binary. Practically the entire student body either assumed or claimed to personally know that Deli C was a drug front, and neither the Borough nor Cumberland County was run by anyone nuanced, discreet, or self-controlled enough to deliberately allow a brick-and-mortar drug distributorship to operate peaceably (if tenuously so) in the interest of public safety and order.

That’s the kind of shit that many of my classmates found charming. They considered it a memorably entertaining inside joke featuring the local color. In point of fact, it was downright insane. The guys who ran that place looked like they’d walked in out of a mugshot tabloid in rural Arkansas. They had a lot more wrong with them than just drugs. It was always a kind of what-the-fuck experience to wonder why a creepy, aggressive, hypervigilant outfit like the Carlisle PD hadn’t shut them the hell down years earlier.

The bars are allowed to fester because of the college, pure and simple. Or, to be accurate, impure and fancy. If the townies forced the borough to go dry, or even if they so much as shut down the G-Man as the obvious nuisance that it is, Alma Mater, Tried and True would throw a fucking shit fit, and the Chamber of Commerce would join in with its own amicus whinings. The privileges to yell at the top of one’s lungs until the middle of the night and apparently to drive across town drunk as fuck afterwards are for sale, at a price of fifty grand or some shit per year.

Let’s not pretend that there’s anything upright or admirable about this dynamic. The constraints on municipal sovereignty in this sorry-ass give-and-take-and-take are not judicial or moral but strictly financial. The Big Dick (Go Hard!) has the townies by the short-n-curlies. Let’s imagine that the borough rescinded all liquor licenses and refused to grant new ones, on the basis that these licenses were contributing mainly to gross behavior by Pareto power players, purporting to be “students,” with more money than sense, and that a municipal government has no duty to cater to such louts. Let’s limit this scenario further by assuming a crackdown targeting the G-Man specifically for having both the cleanliness and the socioeconomics of the restrooms at Wrigley Field. (Any of you white motherfuckers wanna get on the train for free?) Now, let’s go even deeper into the counterfactuals, so deep that Mr. Rogers will have to send the trolley after us to bring us back out, and assume that the layoffs stemming directly from the dump’s closure are a moot point politically because (bear with me here) Carlisle is governed by pragmatic, understated Mennonite socialists who hold themselves accountable to first and foremost to their most vulnerable constituents and consequently have robust public assistance and job placement programs in place to immediately assist the unemployed.

If you’re famliar with Carlisle (NB: not Dickinson, in case you’re a dumbass), you’ll agree that the foregoing is smashed in his knees with a two-by-four crazy. Smashed in his knees with a sledge HAMMA! You could have a speed train–if you lived in Harrisburg instead, or in Lancaster. *GO DIPLOMATS!* Ain’t none of what I just described happening. But let’s go full speedy delivery and assume that it is. How hard would the Big Dick go on the townies?

I don’t know if you’re getting a clue, but I’m getting a solid one. Ooh! The college would extort the borough government into compliance by threatening to leave town entirely. It would overplay whatever hand it was actually dealt, obviously, just as it does whenever it pesters us for money, but it would threaten to fuck off to wetter pastures, and with several hundred employees in a jurisdiction of only twenty thousand, that threat would be hefty.

The mechanism, in all its crassness, would start with the Hall and Oates Effect rich kids, in particular the Greeks (generally WASP’s, plus some lace curtain Irish whitey mongrels), would transfer, threaten to transfer, get their kin and cronies to stop applying, yell at the staff in general in their best may I speak to your manager tone, cut back on the charitable (sic) giving, and otherwise stir up shit with the administration, which both parties agree the bigshot alumni donors employ. This is how the Go Hard Big Dick thing became a scandal in the first place: some butthurt money alumni cornered Bill Durden and threw a fit. The donors must be granted their precious highbrow decorum, the Durd must maintain the flow of that alumni sugar sweet (his successors, too, if they want the donors not to throw another shit fit and scheme to remove them from office as they did Nancy Roseman), and little Parker, Sloan, and Taylor here must not be denied their special sippy cups. May the circle be unbroken.

The administrators know to dance with them that brought them. The teetotaler students are there on scholarships. They care about Dickinson’s educational mission, they’re exactly the underserved community that Durden always bragged about admitting more frequently and assisting more generously than his peer institutions, and they aren’t out strutting around with low-functioning blame-fool antics by Thirsty Thursday. (*Most Downton Dowager Voice* What is a “week-end?”) Their shortcoming is that they don’t lavish their old boys (and girls!) at Noble Dickinsonia with lots and lots of money. Washington Heights and Grand Concourse aren’t known for their wealth management clients. Someone has to be the doorman south of 110th Street, and someone else has to pay for these freeloaders.

And for however many hundreds of thousands of dollars our esteemed president is being paid per annum to tell cool stories about Benjamin Rush and his crew at propaganda sessions cum fundraisers. As I’ve mentioned before, Bill Durden devoted a bumptious speech at commencement to quoting himself at some length. I was there. I heard it. I wonder sometimes how that fucker didn’t end up sleeping over a steam grate.

Barring some marginal, anomalous psychological profiles, no one pays for that shit twice without getting the damn goods in return. If I’m sleeping in my car anywhere but Donner Pass on Saturday morning, in time for hiking and #SPORTS, I’m not being delivered the goods, asshole. If this is pay-for-play, put me in, Coach, and then I’ll think about paying. No, not you, Mr. Speaker. J. Denny Dundiddly memes are less disgusting than this shit. How could they not be? So are discussions of the grope and the perv of our Lord’s Servant Gerald, which are uncomfortably topical. Basically, it takes a rich, smug shithead to contribute to the pledge drives that I answer with a barrage of one-sided declarations that Dickinson does not deserve and will not be receiving any of my money before hanging up.

By the way, that shitty school has the nerve to have student employees place fundraising calls in the eight o’clock hour on Sunday evenings. I have no problem with critical workers holding down shifts on the sabbath–hospitals, Amtrak, clergy (uh…), Denny’s–but that? Indiscriminately cold-calling alumni to brownnose us for money after dark on a day of rest when everyone assumes that several days’ worth of schoolwork have untenably piled up? That’s fucking appalling. That’s inexcusable, for me and for the phone banker.

This shit has to be done to squeeze money from assholes who fondly remember being highbrow problem drunks. One of the coarser fraternities was said to stage hazing rituals in which pledges were forced to guzzle hard liquor until they vomited into trash cans and beaten with an old schoolhouse paddle by their pledgemasters. Uh, yeah, that’s when you call 911. There’s no act of depravity or pile of filth that these fuckjobs won’t earnestly admire, nay, worship, the moment it’s declared highbrow. There was nothing of the sort that Bill Durden wouldn’t tolerate on the part of the fraternities as the frats kept it more or less discreet and kept lavishing Dickinson with their alumni donations. Rather, it was our duty as independents to give Dickinson so much money that donations from Greek alumni were rendered superfluous; then and only then would he drive old Dick See down. Until then, Greek Life had total license to do anything as long as no one got maimed, killed, sued, arrested, or celebrated in the newspapers.

Yeah, sure, I’d love to call the local detachment and tell them about Pickton, but only if you first give me enough money to buy his farm.

We can’t have adequate public housing, welfare, or a jobs guarantee, but we sure can grant legacy shitbirds the privileges of crony employment and luxury housing, provided that they first pay $50k per year for four years of seasonal housing, with no option to turn down squalid accommodations, and then maybe submit to forcible alcohol poisoning and premeditated felony battery in a flophouse dungeon. As they say to points north, Ithaca is Gorges, and oops you just fell right into one during your initiation.

Yup, guys, college totally makes its alumni more liberal, lol. I have no idea what this class has to do with elite and corporate capture of government and the dispossession of the vulnerable. Beats me, man.

When I go back to campus this weekend, I figure I’ll be mostly be looking for a handful of needles in a haystack, one whose every sheath has been carefully dipped into Pot-o-Shit Friend’s housewarming gift. I wish that were just rhetorical; word on the street was that in certain houses the objection to his trash can would have been that he filled it from the wrong end. As for me and my house, etc. That which comes forth from the mouth isn’t necessarily any more vile, although I guess I’d rather think about Pot-o-Shit Friend squatting while also renting than these overschooled but undereducated assholes who confirm my suspicion that language is Original Sin. After all, it was the Ragin’ Canajun who got splashed with another dude’s shit; I’m just the college boy who called code about it.

Go in piss, and GO DIPLOMATS!

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It’s all getting quite tiring

The towel-hurling dipshit we have in the presidency this term got there because the entire US political system broke down catastrophically, leaving him as the closest thing to a reformer with a shot at the White House by the general election. Americans have successfully been propagandized not to vote for third-party candidates, whom most voters have generally never heard of in the first place on account of coverage blackouts in the mainstream news media. I have friends who follow politics reasonably closely and take their duty as electors seriously who had never heard of Jill Stein until I mentioned my intention to vote for her. The Republican and Democratic establishments both choked because their candidates couldn’t relate competently to normal people. They showed no understanding of or empathy for our very real concerns about the dire state of the economy as we have been experiencing it. A fractious Republican establishment fielded Carly “May I Speak to Your Manager” Fiorina, misplaced Albertan Ted Cruz (reviled by his own colleagues and sympathetic ideologues), the likeable but platitudinous Marco Rubio, amateur Egyptologist Ben Carson, Radio Deluxe Country winner John Kasich, and the unfortunate Please Clap: basically every asshole from the management team at your office, plus a kooky neurosurgeon and a pathetic try-hard silver spoon with an obvious chip on his shoulder on account of the former presidents in his own immediate family. The Democratic Party pulled out all the stops to narrowly crown its woke slay Queen Abuela, a walking caricature of academic arrogance from the shrillest corner of the women’s studies department, eternal yuppie social climbing, influence-peddling, nepotism, and public corruption.

The Oaf of Office was, against the odds, more down-to-earth and credible than his Republican challengers and the terrible candidate the Democratic kingmakers (excuse ME, queenmakers) insisted on deploying, at the cost of poisoning the own well for the bulk of their own base, so here we fucking are with the President of the United States throwing rolls of paper towels at constituents whose entire island has been thrown into full Cormac McCarthy apocalyptic dysfunction due to years of colonial rentseeking and deliberate federal disinvestment. Here we are with this out-of-touch, narcissistic shithead treating a disaster zone like a goddamn rock concert, throwing toiletries willy-nilly into a mess tent crowd on our dime.

Consider that the Secret Service, already stretched to the breaking point, has to deploy with this fucker at full vigilance while he stages fourth-rate show business games in a retarded effort to psych up the same constituents whose lives he has been endangering for weeks with his dereliction. He’s actively increasing his own risk of assassination with these antics by giving perfectly sane Puerto Ricans reason to reluctantly conclude that assassinating him would be an act of self-defence.

I don’t know whether the Secret Service takes its protectees’ public behavior into account when assessing their risk of harm, but watching this horseshit in the relief tent and hearing Trump’s comments about Puerto Rico’s debt obligations, I’d say that it should. For one thing, its agents, closely vetted innocents who consider it their solemn duty to transcend politics on the job, are in physical danger whenever someone attacks one of their protectees. Donald Trump is obviously provoking normal people to thoughts, and likely plans, of physically attacking him in a desperate effort to compel the delivery of crucial, time-sensitive, and so far needlessly delayed federal aid. It isn’t just the usual crazies and hotheads who need to be held at bay this time. We have Caligula down there slumming with desperate subjects he’s been leaving to twist in the wind and acting like they’re all at Covey training or some shit.

This ain’t Thon, cracka. We need some fucking gravitas here. We need some adult leadership. Of course, the Secret Service is unlikely to publicly or officially express any objections to Trump’s frivolous travel or provocative behavior. What we’ll see instead are more quiet resignations by agents who are perfectly fit for duty under any normal circumstances but driven to exhaustion and their wit’s end by this late imperial decadence. If we’re lucky, some of them will blow the whistle after they resign. This shit is worse than His Vigor Kennedy and the open motorcades, which drove the Secret Service to exasperation. There they had a foolhardy protectee who had pissed off a grab bag of the usual kooks and thugs. This time they’re protecting the synthesis of second-term Ronald Reagan’s mental faculties and Andrew Jackson’s uncouth belligerence on the road in places where his consituents are literally dying from official neglect.

It gets even worse. If this shambling geezer, having abundantly shown himself to warrant both impeachment and removal from office under the 25th Amendment, gets put out to pasture, his replacement will presumably be a Christofascist nutjob who deliberately stood back while a rural AIDS epidemic sickened and killed his constituents back home in Indiana. Mike Pence is dangerously urbane. Establishment Democrats will excuse every evil thing he’s done just for the opportunity to kiss up to a fellow ass-kisser who doesn’t go around publicly trash-talking his colleagues. The same thing applies at least equally to every shitheel in Congress who’s scheming to deprive the public of what little health coverage we’ve secured under the Affordable Care Act. Good old Chuck and Nancy would rather do business with anyone across the aisle, including the Donald, than with Bernie Sanders.

Pence has no mandate of his own whatsoever. He was brought onto Trump’s ticket for murky reasons, not just the usual team of rivals shit: to be a poison pill, a minder, a president-in-waiting, who knows. Dude would have gotten nowhere against the Republican primary field last year, and if he had he would have gone up against Hillary Clinton with a losing combination of hardline evangelical establishmentarian weirdness and disregard for the welfare of the vulnerable and the marginalized. Trump was an extremely rare bird just on the basis of his erratic populist rhetoric, which Pence has never shared.

I’d be enthusiastic to give Rex Tillerson a turn at the presidency, but no one in the line of succession will be getting out of his way, least of all Mike Pence and Paul Ryan. As things stand now, our next president will be a Democrat, if Trump completes a full term, or a Randroid Republican ghoul. If whatever the hell the Trump presidency really is disintegrates, it will be replaced by the death cult. Those guys aren’t resigning in the interest of national peace and prosperity. They’d rather get their own constituents killed by bad policy and then have the Capitol Police bodily drag the protesters away from their offices. To hazard a guess, I’d say that Pence is on the human end of their spectrum, since he looks more like a mere scorched-earth zealot than a psychopath.

Even more troubling, the major parties have figured out how to pay off enough private citizens–roughly a quarter to a third in decent times–to vote for this agenda. Between gerrymandering, the apathy of the dispossessed, and the engagement of the privileged, they’ve held this shit together for thirty years. Donald Trump’s election was their most obvious failure since the launch of the yuppie project, but there’s no discernible ideological or policy theme to his presidency, other than some racist dogwhistling that Ivanka and Jared reluctantly tolerate. Instead, we’re treated to an ongoing three-way brawl between factions that hate the shit out of one another, under the nominal direction of a guy who’s got his thumbs up his ass. We have this because it was the closest thing to reform that a critical mass of voters could discern last year. Trump ran on promises including a revamped industrial policy benefiting points left behind; safely in office, he appointed and, in due course of time, fired an orthopedic surgeon who used the federal treasury to fund his Rich Kids of Instagram lifestyle under the guise of crafting and administering health policy.

Trust me on this much: Obama-Sanders-Trump crossover voters didn’t vote to aggrandize an orthopod with government jets. That did not happen.

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What’s YOUR price for flight? Mine was something like $143, bag fee included, for cattle class on the Dreamliner from LAX to O’Hare, but as an old crush told me, I’m a cheap date. These boys aren’t. They’ve got planes and beaches and lanyards and shit. All I’ve got is birthright citizenship, Humboldt County voter registration, and a mailbox across the street from the California State Capitol that I need to get stuffed with a permanent absentee ballot the next time I’m ready for some civics. Hey there, Devin. What’s happening. Is that someone has to watch over this smoldering joint. What’s also happening. Is that I have much cooler plants in the hood than Pressboy here.

Hostage’s bargain

Donald Trump’s fuck-up of hurricane relief in Puerto Rico is the first episode of his presidency to make me wish that Hillary Clinton had been elected instead. No president should be so callous towards a US possession and the citizens living in it, and trash-talking the mayor of San Juan on Twitter while she was out in chest-deep water personally helping with relief efforts was especially inexcusable. Hillary would have done nothing of the sort, and for political reasons I’m not even convinced that she would have gone ahead full-throttle with the shock doctrine land grabs that Trump’s cronies are apparently scheming to pull off. That might have been the one instance in which she’d actually feel some human sympathy for her constituents to complement her usual self-interest in using the minority ingredients in the national salad bowl as her client bases.

Dan Savage has been–shit, I’m actually going to say this–savaged on the dirtbag left for proposing that Puerto Ricans move to swing states to punish the Republicans for leaving them to the elements, but even if he’s crude or tasteless or heartless, as a practical matter he’s right. If Trump’s attacks on Puerto Rico have a political effect on him, the effect will be negative. Diaspora Puerto Ricans and those close to them may well turn out to be enough to swing Florida and Pennsylvania decisively to the Democrats, especially if the diaspora swells on account of incompetent relief and reconstruction efforts.

The optics of talking shit about US citizens in the aftermath of a major natural disaster are not going to work in Trump’s favor; too many Americans, including ones who voted for him or support significant parts of his agenda, are fed up with his vicious petty antics in times of crisis. There’s no way this shit isn’t deeply offending Mennonite voters, who are concentrated in northern swing states. If he keeps it up and lets it eclipse his big island/really big ocean comments (which are his muddleheaded way of describing the ferocity of Hurricane Maria), he may precipitate a crackup of the Republican Party by driving its genuine religious conservative values voters away from the herrenvolk authoritarians, aristocratic revanchists, and Social Darwinists. The more he delegates to Brock Long, the better for him and the Republicans politically.

Yes, I really think this is worse than Trump’s international failson reenactment of Khrushchev and Kennedy opposite Kim Jong-Un. Piggy Gangnam Style is provocative and intractably menacing. No one in Puerto Rico has done a thing to provoke Trump that would provoke a normal person. He’s probably got Mnuchin and all the other Wall Street shitbirds whispering in his ear about Puerto Rico’s sacred debt obligations to mainland banks, and he’s impressionable enough from minute to minute that these ministrations might put him on the war path against his own citizens in those minutes when less arrogant heads (say, Brock Long) aren’t reminding him about the big damage in the middle of the big ocean. (Sad!) I haven’t heard anything specific about anyone reminding Trump that the banks are still really fucking loathed on the ground in all fifty-plus states and territories, i.e., that harping on PR’s debt obligations won’t play so great in Peoria. Reminding mainland Americans that Puerto Ricans are US citizens too is enough to get all but a vicious fifth or less to say, oh my God, yes, let’s get them the aid they need straightaway.

On the other hand, Trump’s crudity may end up being the only thing to make a critical mass of reporters, voters, and Congressmen call foul on the shock doctrine rollout. The guy is too impulsive and unwashed to be a high-functioning psychopath. He doesn’t clean up as well as Marco Rubio or Hillary Clinton. We’ve still got an oaf of office who can’t help but say what he means, even when he tries to dogwhistle. The big unanswerable question I have is whether Abuela would actually have meant better than Many Sides does in his most imperialist moments.

Jill Stein wasn’t a viable choice or a perfect one, but at least she wasn’t a shitty choice, and my vote for her would still be infuriating the Hillbot Army even if they were still accusing Trump of doing unconscionable things that I considered either neutral or positive. Fuck yeah we got her over five percent in Humboldt County. Suck on it.

I guess I can suck on the knowledge that Your Fleek Abuela was the one who crushed in Humboldt. Spoiler my ass, then. I’ve got old schoolmates relitigating Stein v. Clinton on Facebook right now, and inevitably it’s #WithHer that’s salty about her not having been with her. It kills me. So, softly, does his song.

It is our lot to have the wrong women going to the White House and to federal prison. Yes, I went there. (Ed.: Not bodily. Wow Such coherent Much midnight Many express.) If Danbury is good enough for Lauryn Hill and Piper Kerman, orange is good enough to be the new Chappaqua white bitch. Quite a convenient location, too, yes? *Martha Stewart voice over the mighty Appalachians* It’s a good thing. Alderson, oh Alderson, I am so attached to meming. *Glen Campbell, back on the line* What the hell is wrong with that son of a bitch?

Not as much as with our political process. I’d rather be associated with antivax healing crystals freaks in Corona Del Mar (who I’d guess voted for What Is Aleppo anyway) than with the offerings I was told to choose from in our shitty first-past-the-post system. We, the people, are supposedly the ones directing this whole thing, not some bumptious asshole who keeps threatening to throw us into the Gowanus Canal, which she conflates with her opponent, if we decline to vote for her.

I can’t justify it, but I’m weirdly optimistic. There aren’t a hell of a lot of places to go from five percent but up.

When the yuppie project plays brinksmanship on its host society

Think in terms of parasitism, not hospitality.

One of the (admittedly legion) unconscionable things about the Hillary 2016 run and its enduring aftermath has been the air of brinksmanship, coercion, and we-told-you-so Chicken Little catastrophizing surrounding the whole sordid thing. Since so many voters–quite a few of them, come November, disgusted nonvoters–couldn’t think of a positive reason to vote for Hillary Clinton, generally because they couldn’t fucking stand the bitch, the increasingly desperate Hillbot army deployed a ceaseless barrage of shrill, inconsistently credible threats about the alternative, our current Oaf of Office. To this day the barrage continues, rarely any gentler than it was during the campaign.

The gist is that King Bigly is literally the worst, most dangerous president ever. It’s a dubious, historically challenged proposition shot through with crude presumptions about Great Men (and Women!) directing History. Next thing you know, Sir Winston Churchill Himself (?) (it feels irreverent and profane, but it also feels accurate) will show up, cigar in mouth, blathering sonorously about the glory and honor and duty of war, or perhaps about the glory and honor and duty of his current thoughts on milk price supports. These screechers can’t imagine that, say, Andrew Jackson was enabled in the pursuit of Indian ethnic cleansing and genocide by prevailing public sentiment and the priorities of contemporary government and civil institutions, or that he, too, was one crude, crude bastard and also a president.

Speaking of genocidal maniacs who didn’t much care for the Indians: Winston Churchill. Different tribes, different technologies and scales, same little embarrassing problem. Oops we did it again. Crackers gonna crack. The whip, specifically. The assumption that Trump will get away with all the same atrocities that we don’t discuss in our discussions of Churchill, that he’ll be no less destructive as a tactless shit-stirring political novice who can’t help himself when there’s an opportunity to alienate a key ally than Churchill was as an urbane déclassé aristocrat who shrewdly curried favor with all the no-homo public school hazing buggers at Whitehall, doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense. And yeah, we’ve totally never before had anyone of excessive ambition and terrible moral character in the White House, and no one to points leftward ever said the same things about Ronald Reagan (who, although Trump’s fellow celebrity, honored citizen, and public sundowner, actually knew how to negotiate instead of just putting his name on a crappy ghostwritten book about negotiation). No history of constitutional crises over the rights of our military’s prisoners of war or the president whacking US citizens by remote-controlled missile in my lifetime, either. Glad that didn’t happen.

The alarm about Donald Trump’s blind ambition, narcissism, and rage inevitably gets mixed up with outrage over his blurting out goofy shit and dissing people who could do to be dissed. Between him and the den of barely veiled psychopaths in the Congressional Republican Caucus, there are some serious shortcomings in the US government’s official response to the severe hurricane damage in Puerto Rico, but Brock Long seems to have his head on straight, so the president thinking that the Caribbean Sea is yuge is not one of them. Donald Trump getting the idea in his head that Puerto Rico is St. Helena won’t divert any aid to St. Helena. His calling Hillary Clinton a crook and Rosie O’Donnell a fat pig aren’t attacks on our sacred but vulnerable institutions of self-government and civil society, and if they’re misogynistic, they’re only incidentally so. Even the rash verbal escalation that he has reciprocated with Kim Jong-Un highlights just how badly on edge everyone is about Rocket Man: if Piggy Gangnam Style can actually be provoked to first-strike nuclear war by another fat, loudmouthed sonofabitch talking smack about his fat, goofily coiffed ass, the international community has a dire, insoluble problem on its hands that presumably becomes soluble only upon the confirmed disincarnation of Piggy Gangnam Style.

Come to think of it, the Nork Dork shares an unsettling kinship of the palace with Hillz and her Hillbots. Bernie Sanders was the one who said point-blank during the debates that Kim’s regime is “very weird.” Trump is regularly out on Twitter bragging about how he’s gonna whip that insolent little rocket boy’s punk ass. The establishment consensus in Washington, by stark contrast, is that we must all watch our every word about that third-generation belligerent maniac lest he take offense and decide to annihilate several million innocent people in a fit of pique. Anwar al-Awlaki didn’t have shit on that thug. That’s why “we” whacked him, just as “we” “tortured some folks.” Here we have this spoiled rotten piece of boarding school shit who murders his blood relatives on a whim and has taxed even the Chinese politburo’s patience with his antics, so since “we” are already in the business of assassinating various enemies, this hereditary menace should be at the top of the list and remain there until he’s been permanently delisted from humanity’s earthly rolls.

Bill Clinton and a number of exceptionally good diplomats in his administration have managed to get several foreign prisoner hostages freed from this out-of-control dictatorship over the years, but only at a great effort and by practically debasing themselves before this family of violent, extortionate, insolent dickheads. I get that diplomacy requires more tact than I choose to show around here as a private citizen and that it’s especially tricky to get anything out of that lineage of crazy-like-a-fox autocrats. But that’s the thing: I’m a private citizen. I use these pages to meme Canada’s national embarrassments and still end up being known on the internet mainly for that phoned-in hot take on Gulf Arab sheikhs who shit on Western rent girls. I’m not paid to be all serious and solemn and discreet and act like I don’t totally support anyone who can smear a fatal nerve agent in Kim Jong-Un’s face in any convenient airport lobby.

Like hell am I paid to be all solemn and dutiful and magnanimous in my response to Hillary Clinton. That bitch can choke on it. I’m her two-time prospective constituent. She was answerable to me, and my answer to her when she asked of me, on three ballots in two election seasons, was absolutely fucking not. We have processes and institutions in the United States to prevent the Kims. The Hillbots frankly did everything they could to shame, threaten, and even disenfranchise tens of millions of us for daring to use these processes and institutions against Your Fleek Abuela. They were furious when many of us perceived exactly the same raging will to power in Hillary Clinton that they insisted consumed Donald Trump and made him unfit for the presidency. They remain furious at anyone who got in Hillary’s way, and they use language no more respectful than the Donald’s to lash out at us and at the candidates we supported. Bernie stumped for Hillary and encouraged his primary voters to vote for her in the general election; her camp repaid his work on their behalf with ad hominem smears about his disloyalty and divisiveness, and with ad hominem smears of his voters as died-in-the-wool bigots. That includes me, cracka.

Letting a viciously ambitious crime family back into the White House and hoping that the other branches of government will check them after their reelection seems much less prudent than barring the door to them from the start and forcing them, now as a humiliated faction of the opposition, to wander fruitlessly about outside, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, and where they so perfectly belong. They’ve fressed at the trough enough already. The feminist bitch with the vise grip on her husband’s coattails had already carpetbagged into one of New York State’s seats in the US Senate, like a seedy Bobby Kennedy, and then been taken on as the Secretary of State by a guy she’d spent the previous year attacking with ugly racial invective (as well as bog-standard faux-populist demagoguery) so that she’d be inside the tent pissing out, and her immediate family had already spent decades cashing in on Bill’s presidency and the wifely offices succeeding in amounts of many millions of dollars per year. They had their fortune and their celebrity power; they didn’t need another term of elected political power to further entrench themselves on top of that.

In the midst of Hillz’s coattail career in high federal office, Bill’s presidential legacy became more and more destructive and scandalous. As I’ve said before, I don’t give a shit that he stuck a cigar up his mistress’s cunt; that isn’t what I’d do with a mistress, but that woman, Miss Lewinsky, was not my mistress, and consequently I did not have sexual relations with her. Giggity. What does bother me is the narrowly averted catastrophe of Bill and that hypocritical slimeball Newt Gingrich conspiring to privatize Social Security until an unheard-of buxom Jewess showed up out of nowhere with a little white stain on her blue dress and got Gateside Downlow, Diddlin’ Dennis, and the whole gang into a royal snit about sexual morality. That is not how government is supposed to work. That is not how any one of those crooks is supposed to represent us. There’s something badly amiss when social welfare programs are saved by a bunch of adulterers, an airport closet case, and Coach getting into a lather over the President slipping a Cuban up his starfucking intern’s snatch.

In spite of this Khrushchev-and-Kennedy moment by way of the Hardly Boys, Bill Clinton managed to unleash a delayed-detonation Tsar Bomba on our national economy, and on a good chunk of the international economy, by repealing Glass-Steagall. There’s every reason to believe that he signed the repeal in exchange for bribes to him, his relatives, and the family businesses from FIRE sector criminals after his retirement from the presidency. That may well have been the single most destructive act of official corruption in my country in my lifetime, and it brought the economy down when I was in my mid-twenties, barely out of college. Countless millions of other graduates, generally in the classes behind mine, got it even worse than I did. 2006 turned out to be a much worse year to graduate from college than it looked at the time, but there were unfortunates who graduated in 2009.

The Big Dog marked his territory on us. We were his territory, and we remain his hideously shrewish wife’s territory. No thanks, assholes. You blew it the first time around, at our expense, and walked away rich and connected beyond our most feverish dreams. You don’t get a do-over, pal. Sometimes I’m offended that the Clintons disobeyed their cue to retire from public life in 2000, but when I think about Glass-Steagall, the clusterfuck unleashed after Billary had scurried mostly off the scene, and the Byzantine horseshit of Dodd-Frank, I’m convinced that the Clintons had a calling to refrain entirely from public life starting in Arkansas a decade before I was born. They have been an affliction upon the rest of us. We managed to haphazardly check-kite our way through the dot-com and parallel FIRE sector bubbles in the late nineties, following the repeal of NAFTA and in the midst of all the cruel disruption that it caused to honest labor, and over the next eight years the whole edifice weakened and then catastrophically imploded.

This is the family that is so obviously more fit for office than Donald Trump. This is the family whose duty to reelect to the presidency was ours, including those of us who could explain exactly how the legacy of the first Clinton presidency had done us extreme personal harm. We had this guy who was mostly kind of a motormouth dickhead, who was saying inconsistent but coherent things indicating that he understood our plight and intended to address our grievances, and we were being ordered by people who obviously looked down on us to vote for a feminazi whose sleazy husband had recklessly caused our socioeconomic ruination. We were berated with assertions that Donald Trump was uniquely coarse and vicious, assertions that were made by and on behalf of a woman who laughed about Muammar Qaddafi’s gruesome death and whose husband had flown back to Arkansas to sign the death warrant for a guy too retarded to understand that he wouldn’t be able to have dessert after his execution. One of the most calamitous power couples of our time was insulting our intelligence and our worthiness as voters for daring to consider the possibility that her opponent, an exceptionally disorganized man with little political capital in Washington headlining a party that he had apparently divided against itself, might usher in lesser calamities upon his election.

As I’ve said before, these threats that the Clinton machine made about Trump were, and still are, on par with Muammar Qaddafi’s threat to unleash a flood of refugees from Subsaharan Africa into Europe to punish its governments for disrespecting him. We were repeatedly told that if we didn’t vote for Clinton, we would inevitably unleash unfathomable chaos and crisis upon ourselves. We were threatened with the endangerment of our liberty and our lives at a maniac’s hands in the event that we dared to withhold our votes from a known crook who had interfered in her own party’s primary process to sink a much stronger, less divisive, and less compromised candidate, one voters actually admired in large numbers.

I’m far from the only person who has taken offense over the past couple of years at Clintonworld’s Talented Tenth Avenue Freakout. It’s a bad look. Anyone whose reaction to a political opponent is so excruciatingly limbic has to perceive an existential material threat. That kind of reaction isn’t about values; it’s about interests and only interests. In Trump’s case, it’s a swarm of yuppies shitting bricks with fear that they’ll lose their elite status and be reduced to roughly the level of the modest workaday people they’ve spent the last quarter century or more smugly dispossessing. Do recall that I commonly sleep in my car as I reiterate that I have no reason to feel great sympathy for their salty, salty waterworks. This is a class that cannot bear the thought of relinquishing the whip hand. These are meritocrats who must, at all costs, remain on top.

Bizarrely, even as they fume that Trump duped a bunch of uneducated ignoramuses in flyover country with his bogus populism, they grossly overestimate his interest in reform because they’re on edge waiting for the day when he’ll do something adverse to them, like stop handing out government contracts to bomb the Middle East into ever earlier parts of the Stone Age. They have revealed that they would rather side with the most reprehensible chickenhawk war criminals than with laid-off mill hands who don’t want their children being shipped off to the desert to be turned into hamburger meat with Swiss cheese for brains. With all the cruel reversals of fortune that they’ve used their power to impose on their vulnerable countrymen, they fully deserve some modest reversals of fortune themselves, like having to work for a living or claim public assistance. Trump’s working-class voters tended to vote for him as a Hail Mary pass, figuring that he might do something for them; it’s affluent liberals who swear to God (weak oaths, etc.) that he’s going to destroy everything he touches.

Incidentally, but relevantly, the affluent have been using the same brinksmanship tactics to bully the reluctant young into college, or even graduate and professional schools. Stay in school or else. Submit to this arbitrary regime with no particular relationship to the real world and succeed in it or you will forever live in poverty and vulnerability. It’s an extortion racket. When moral panics about adolescent behavior this side of Brock Turner rear up, it’s also a blackmail racket.

It’s very simple: free citizens do not tolerate such treatment and are not treated in this fashion. Period. Great Books for Men, the intersectionally autistic/psychotic mainstay who used to hang out in Chateau Heartiste’s comment threads, made a comment about not being able to get a job as a Starbucks barista because his GPA was too low. It was presumably fiction, and most of it was barely intelligible gobbledygook, but it was true. That is exactly what has been happening to countless millions of people in the corporatized neoliberal West. Starbucks is a relatively minor offender, but the point stands.

This is not a reputable or moral regime. The people who have been running it are neurotic cutthroat bullshitters pretending to be high technocrats. There was a very real rationality, wisdom, and even prudence last year in voting for the unabashedly shambling novice who kept promising to shake shit up and give normal people a fair shake for once. There were no guarantees of reform, but large parts of Trump’s platform actually made sense, and I absolutely would not have been embarrassed if I had voted for him. I still would rather have voted for him than for Clinton, and the rage that Jill Stein has attracted as an alleged spoiler (LOL) confirms that I made a good choice in helping her clear five percent of the vote in Humboldt County.

Threats of doom aren’t so credible when they come from officials who have already doomed millions of decent people to penury just to grease their own baksheesh scams. Thundering about racism isn’t so compelling when it comes from a woman who doesn’t seem to feel uncomfortable about having accepted the services of frank house slaves on loan to her and her husband from the Arkansas Department of Corrections. That was just some kind of misunderstood regional cultural quirk, which being a union coal miner is not.

It’s still refreshing to have a president who shows the same degree of respect for the institutions he has been elected to lead that these institutions have been showing his constituents for decades. Josiah Bartlett was never my president; the Lincoln Bedroom pay-to-stay sleazeball was. Fuck decorum. If we’re going to have some again, it’s time we had some damn civic morals to go with it. We deserve honesty from our leaders, and Donald Trump is too impulsive not to show us some. It was our right to vote for that yutz every bit as much as it was our right to vote for the shrew who did the nae-nae on Ellen and was prevented by the combined psychological warfare of Jill Stein, Bernie Sanders, their dumbass voters, and the Kremlin from stumping in Wisconsin.

How gracious of the lady to publicly withhold her absolution of America’s noncompliant women for failing to vote for her. I can’t imagine how she failed to transcend all misogyny.

Wet bulb temperature: an inevitable recurrence

My parents’ idiotic failure to install air conditioning in their retirement house is biting us all in the ass yet again. I got into town over the weekend, just in time for record heat, calm winds, and dew points pushing seventy. It’s fucking disgusting, and for early fall in the Adirondacks it’s extreme. I’m back east this week because my parents encouraged me to be here for a visit by a German kid we hosted years ago as part of a YMCA exchange program; he and his girlfriend are currently traveling around New England in a week of half-assed fall colors and weather that, by the end of the year, would be shitty for Florida.

What infuriates me about this is that my parents spent $420,000 on this dumbass retirement house, where I realistically have to spend significant amounts of time every year as a matter of financial prudence, if not sheer personal solvency, and setting foot in it has again become an outright physical hardship because they didn’t and still won’t install a thousand or two dollars’ worth of off-the-shelf air conditioning equipment. The cheapest portable units I’ve been able to find online cost less than $400, and I’d easily enough be able to vent a portable unit through the French doors that they just had to install instead of windows that will fucking open and close, i.e., accommodate window units for the benefit of those who aren’t absolute retards about the functions of architecture.

This situation has gotten to the point at which they’re making all of us physically suffer through artificially stifling conditions so that their precious house doesn’t look low-class. The temperature in the living room and kitchen got up to eighty degrees this afternoon because the room is lit with fixed floor-to-ceiling windows on a southwestern exposure and my dad had been cooking for several hours, inevitably venting heat and moisture into the house. Several hours after sunset, it’s still around 75.

I’m physically suffering due to this bizarre conceit that has come over my parents about not needing air conditioning, and so, I have to figure, are they. The difference is that they’re entirely financially capable of paying for a hotel room every fucking night of the year to shelter themselves from the conditions they’ve allowed to take hold in their house, and I am not. I already spend so much on lodging that I need to cut my lodging expenses when I can so that I don’t go broke when I’m thousands of miles away. For them, this is some kind of unfathomably weird lifestyle game. For me, it’s relatives who are thousands of times more financially secure than I am refusing to provide for our basic physical comfort, and even our welfare, by installing ubiquitous off-the-shelf technology in their house that they already have in all three of their cars. Thirteen grand upfront and another thousand or two a year on that fucking pontoon boat is cool, but cooling equipment that could be fitted into the window jambs of any rundown walk-up apartment building in Port Henry is something we should maybe think about, but not right now, and it doesn’t actually get all that hot here.

Yes it fucking does. The Family Shrew is still impressed by how hot and humid it was here when she and Joe Dirtbag visited in 1973. And though time goes by, I will always be, etc. And you thought Bryan Adams was a precocious GTA tweenybopper. As the one guy in the band from Kelowna or some shit told Shad, slug it oot, gays. Or maybe he told Tom Power. I don’t particularly fucking care to look it up.

Oppressive summer heat didn’t first come to the Adirondacks after my parents moved into their custom modernist greenhouse. So why, exactly, should I slug it out through artificially exacerbated indoor weather conditions that are solely the result of my parents having been disembrained about everything having to do with the Adirondacks and the lifestyle famously accreted to them by the summer people? We’ve been going over this shit for five years now. It was a dire problem in the summer of 2012,  and I have no doubt that it exacerbated the emotional instability into which I’d fallen on account of the huge mess that Joe Dirtbag had recently made of my life on the West Coast. Financial millionaires not having air conditioning in their house is a completely artificial problem.

Now that my parents are keeping a third car at their place expressly for my use when I’m visiting, as a practical matter I could resolve this bullshit by driving to one of the nearby rest areas on the Northway and turning on the air conditioning overnight whenever I start feeling uncomfortable. I know the drill by now. As an interpersonal matter, it would be a clusterfuck. They keep taking this shit about the air conditioning personally and getting upset, and they’re still apparently pretending that I don’t regularly sleep in my own car on the West Coast. They’ve again put me in the position of either having to silently suffer the most pointless physical hardship or provoke a family fight by pleading in vain for them to put an end to this hardship for once and for all by getting some damn AC.

That they chose to bring this nonsense on themselves by building a badly ventilated house to spec without air conditioning is distressing enough. It’s worse that they seem to find it perfectly reasonable to host me in such conditions at a time when they know full well that I’m indigent or close to it and to repeatedly discount my complaints about the physical discomfort I’m feeling in their house on direct account of their inadequate HVAC system.

No one is being morally formed into something better by suffering through this horseshit. My parents’ self-denial is not making anyone else’s life better. Their asking me to visit them at a time when they cannot provide any of us with comfortable living conditions serves to tax my own patience to the breaking point, and I doubt it’s doing anything great for theirs. This isn’t some movable Lenten sacrifice that somehow facilitates charity benefiting the welfare and dignity of others. We’re holed up in a fucking family compound on the Canadian Shield. Nothing good whatsoever is springing forth from this bullshit. It’s just a goddamn waste.

My parents could have prevented our recurrent physical discomfort by buying a perfectly serviceable turnkey property with air conditioning for probably half or less of what they paid to have this gussied-up piece of shit house built from scratch to their specifications. That still would have forced me to devote an inordinate amount of time, energy, and money to extra travel to visit my friends, but at least the physical plant would have worked adequately. They couldn’t do that because the available turnkey properties were mostly away from the lake (because driving five minutes to a public marina is horrible, but driving 160 miles round-trip for medical appointments is, like, totally normal and doable), and few had the fine-ass modernist style that my parents expected to contrast them from my maternal grandmother and her dimwitted Dann Florek-looking white trash boyfriend. Besides, they had this parcel that my mom had bought decades earlier an eighth of a mile down the road from her parents’ trashy camp. My grandmother didn’t have air conditioning in her lake cabin, either, but I don’t recall hers heating up like a greenhouse, and she hardly put a dime into maintenance, let alone construction. Tree cover, small windows that opened, and some fans were usually enough to keep the temperature bearable, if not the family dynamics.

Since I already have business to do in Queensbury tomorrow (thank God), I’m seriously thinking about bringing either some fans or a small portable air conditioner back with me. I can’t afford to buy my way out of this mess, but that much I can afford. What I fear is that my parents will get all bent out of shape, take it personally, and worry that I’m turning into a home improvement spendthrift. What, me spend $420k on a lake house? LOL. I’m not about to turn into some kind of Imelda Marcos of window units, either; me and AC isn’t about to turn into the new Tom Bradley and socks.

Good God is this shit bizarre. My dad is vocally more amenable to buying me a house than to installing AC is the house he and my mom already have. That’s in addition to the rental house they own in Palo Alto. These are Palo Alto property owners who are inflicting their excruciating but ultimately bogus asceticism on me. I have more than enough asceticism in my own solo lifestyle, thank you very much. That I regularly sleep in my car should be a pretty strong clue to this. I’m foreclosed out of my childhood hometown until the chinks all go broke. That’s crude, but them’s the breaks, cracka. Not that the $80k-plus that my parents gross annually on my childhood home necessarily protects me from the elements and/or several hours’ worth of waste heat radiating from the kitchen, mind you.

One of the latest things that my dad is trying to convince me to do is to sign on with one of the understaffed dock servicing companies for fall removal and storage gigs. Some of the local businessmen he knows are having trouble retaining dock hands because they don’t want to work themselves to exhaustion and risk wrecking their backs manhandling 200-pound platforms for summer people, even with generous hazard pay. I know I’d rather scavenge deposit bottles, especially if I could get some inside info on the serious bottles. I’m not thrilled by the idea of risking my back so that some dipshit can dock his pontoon boat next summer. Or for some fuckhead with a hundred thousand-dollar woody. I couldn’t tell whether these jobs are on payroll or under the table, either, and I’ll be damned if I’ll do that under the table.

The moment my dad started talking these dock removal jobs up, jobs that I might like better and that I might want to apply for right now started gushing into my mind. One of these was the New York State Correctional Academy. I wouldn’t expect air conditioning from block to block, but at least I can rest assured that the kids on the block, old, new, or whatever, aren’t summer people. If no one gets the dock out by first freeze, the ice might crush the scaffolding. Well cry me the mouth of the fucking Ausable. That’s not an infrastructure that I would mourn.

Maybe my problem is that I keep living too low on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, at the physiological level, not the recreational or the high cultural. Gee, that sounds like it’s because, well, my mom flips her shit if I even imply that I’m poor, because her parents were poor at times when they always owned a duplex in a middle-class neighborhood on Staten Island, but all the same, this does often feel like the opposite of rich. White Whines about the shortage of dockboys are cute, but complaints about a fundamental physiological inability to cool one’s body and constant immersion in a festering film of sweat are deeply, provocatively offensive. Asking why a $420,000 retirement house containing over a hundred thousand dollars’ worth of antiques doesn’t have ceiling fans is super problematic. So, presumably, is going to Home Depot or wherever and dropping a few hundred bucks on a Haier wheelie.

Nah, this can’t be the Twilight Zone. I’m sure I’m bitching about this shit only because Kenneth Fitzhugh gave us all participation trophies. He also gave us navel orange wedges just for showing up and murdered his wife for cuckolding him, resulting in his starring role in Palo Alto true crime potboiler Blood Will Tell. Go figure that a Dann Florek lookalike who never went to prison for murder was a much worse threat to my child welfare than the Charles Cullen-looking misfit from AYSO who, not entirely to my surprise, did.

Yes, we Millennials really are that entitled, expecting that the quarters provided us by millionaire Baby Boomers either be equipped or compatible with HVAC equipment that has been industry-standard since before we were born and that the Boomers not get upset when we ask for such equipment or sneak down to Lowe’s and buy it out of pocket. We really are that insolent towards our betters when we could instead go out and buy grotesquely inflated real estate with cash and credit that we don’t have.

Relatively speaking, I don’t have it that bad, but I’m still pretty vulnerable and powerless, and it’s a bad, bad place to be. Beyond a certain point, one starts to understand thoughts of ice floes.

Maybe they really are dream hoarders

Yuck. It is my lot yet again to relitigate the 2016 election and its ramifications. My mom had to bring Trump, his unbelievable election, and the ignorance of his white trash voters up at the dinner table again, and this time I couldn’t let the belittlement slide. I flat-out told her and my dad that I had nearly voted for Trump and been relieved when he won the general election. I was explicit about why I like and trust Trump more than I do Hillary Clinton: that I was afraid Clinton would provoke a nuclear war with Russia; that, absolutely regardless of the very real US human rights violations that my mom sputteringly brought up as a red herring, Kim Jong-un and his regime deserve to be annihilated for what they did to Otto Warmbier, full stop, and that any government capable of whacking that thug, decapitating his regime, and putting an end to its menace to the international community should be encouraged to do so (I was too wigged out to say anything about the kill box in South Korea, which certainly disturbs me, but I believe fully in the assassination of that third-generation sovereign mob boss by any foreign power, regardless of its own imperfections); that Trump’s working-class supporters didn’t expect much of him but very reasonably put more stock in his public comments about doing right by them, as scatterbrained and dubious as they were, than they did in anything Hillary was offering.

The chronic problem here is that my parents have drunk the full serving of bourgeois liberal Kool-Aid and can’t or won’t admit that they’re proceeding from some really faulty premises, including ones about me and my circumstances specifically. Trump in no way has to be a mensch to get me in a way that Hillary does not, to respect me more than she does, or even to end up doing things that advance my welfare. Multiply my own circumstances by however many tens of millions of Americans are in similar ones, and you can get an idea of how the oaf was elected.

My parents have no reason whatsoever that I feel any common cause with Trump’s herrenvolk authoritarian extremism, or that anyone in particular from the white working class does. Aside from increased restrictions on immigration, which I would hope to see made more equitable and humane that the arbitrary patchwork of enforcement and non-enforcement that we have today, I abhor most of that shit, and Jeff Sessions genuinely scares me, as in not feeling like the kind of white boy he would refrain from having abducted, tortured, and extrajudicially executed. The temperamental and intellectual sympathies that I feel for Steve Bannon as a thinker who gets unjustly shit upon for expressing thoughts do not extend to a refusal to challenge him when he advocates nonsense or evil. His opposition can do better than the projectile vulgarity and feigned anti-intellectual retardation of that putz Scaramucci, the Harvard Law boy.

That I still feel more comfortable with the gist of the Trump Administration than with what I was expecting from a feminazi-themed Clinton redux is because I really, truly do perceive something uniquely dangerous about Billary and the sociopolitical context that they’ve done so much to create. In strictly logical terms, they’re crazier than Joe McCarthy on Russia. The Soviets in his day were Stalinist turned barely post-Stalinist hostile power; Russia under Vladimir Putin is nothing of the sort. The Kremlin has stocked its closet with some fresh skeletons, but it’s no Saudi Arabia, either as a threat to the human rights of its constituents or as a foreign power hostile to the United States. No reasonable and attentive American observer would consider Russia worse than a neutral power that gets caught up in unresolved disputes with its US-allied former imperial satellites. The FSB alerted the FBI to the brothers Tsarnaev; Saudi Arabia commissioned 9/11. What’s worse than just the burgeoning insanity of the educated liberal class on these matters, though, is that it’s being stoked out in the open by operatives of the failed presidential campaign of a notoriously sleazy yuppie power couple, fronted by a shrewishly feminist woman who rode her husband’s coattails to fame and the United States Senate. Your Fleek Abuela, the sworn detail-oriented wonk who wasn’t detail-oriented enough to stump in Wisconsin, lost because the Kremlin put a hundred grand worth of ads on Facebook and hired some third-rate internet trolls.

I dare say that my fears of nuclear aggression against Russia in the event of Hillary Clinton’s presidency have been borne out by the incredibly irresponsible bullshit about Kremlin interference that she has been orchestrating as a twice-defeated presidential candidate and former two-term first lady. This is a woman of insatiable ambition and wrath.

Trump is stylistically rather different, but I don’t see how his public comments are any less responsible or sane. Beefing with Piggy Gangnam Style is rash, and I do not want to see those two bring their nations to nuclear war over their mutually wounded honor, but expressing anger and condemnation at such a vile and dangerous character is perfectly sane. The international community has been struggling almost helplessly to contain that porky thug and his ancestors for practically a full human lifetime while they’ve starved their own subjects at will and arrayed enough medium-range artillery along the DMZ to turn Seoul into an ashtray. That’s without Nork nukes.

As rash as Trump’s public beef with Piggy Gangnam Style is, his rude comments are a potential threat solely because the Nork Dork has carried on and beefed up his family’s tradition of threatening to militarily annihilate its neighbors. That son of a bitch should be disposed of as quickly and cleanly as possible, if that’s possible. It would be fair enough to do to him what he had done to his brother in Kuala Lumpur, sauce for the fat gander being sauce for the other fat gander. That won’t be accomplished by Trump returning fire in an international war of trash talk, but the finest diplomacy the international community has brought to the table has done precious little to make that family behave itself.

At least we have independent civil institutions in the United States. Imagine what the Clintons would do in their absence. Or the Trumps. But the Trumps can’t hold a candle to the Clintons’ established insider political and news connections. They’re decades behind on parlaying the Donald’s specific celebrity as an entertainer into backstage political capital. Surely this helps explain why Trump keeps getting savaged in the mainstream media every time he says something coarse while Hillary is basically given a pass for comments that are equally coarse and sometimes even more disturbing, including her joking about Muammar Qaddafi’s gruesome death. Her thoughtless lack of compassion for a man who was pulled out of a sewer where he had been hiding and beaten and raped to death by a mob was cruel and abnormal. If there is a moral qualification for the presidency that’s worth observing, she didn’t do a thing to live up to it.

Meanwhile we keep hearing all this moral outrage about the rude things that Donald Trump has had to say about various domestic political opponents. Very often the same people fume that it’s outrageous for him to abet the police in roughing up suspects, that it’s outrageous for him to encourage NFL owners to fire players for taking a knee during the national anthem, and that it’s outrageous for him to make fun of Mika and Joe. Shit, guys, we’re gonna have to conserve some outrage here. Mika and Joe aren’t fucking vulnerable. Hillary Clinton sure as hell isn’t vulnerable. If they want to stop being savaged by an oaf of office who can’t help but trash-talk other celebrities, they’re free to retire from public life. In fact, it’s past goddamn time for Hillary and her entire family to retire from public life. Bill has been squandering his fading charm on stunts like cornering Loretta Lynch on the tarmac and beseeching her to think of Charlotte.

We have no duty as a citizenry to cater to the easily bruised feelings of the publicly privileged. As a raging Fox and Friends television grandpa, Trump is hit-or-miss, but when he goes after self-important blowhards who have never put a blessed thing on the line for their principles in their lives, he hits, hard and square. The Clintons, whose permanent triangulation in the twentieth century yielded to crude, haphazard stunts  in desperate pursuit of a dwindling viable base in the twenty-first, are perfect candidates for Trump’s attacks. Hillary is a walking treasury of all the bad things about feminism and none of the good ones. It’s little wonder that Hugo Schwyzer was able to successfully hack his way into overlapping activist circles as a male ally who was in it for the pussy. He’d do well in an environment driven by a logic that the only way to check one’s misogyny is to vote for the centimillionaire wife from the Lincoln Bedroom couple who is also, like, the craziest bitch in the country.

I’ll be damned if I’ll be cornered into voting for a woman who obviously looks down on me and wishes me ill for who I am when I’ve already had so much trouble functioning in the nightmare society that she, her husband, and their coterie have done everything in their power to create. One of the cool things about voting for Jill Stein was that doing so was almost as effective as going straight MAGA in driving disingenuous Uber liberals and parallel affluenza cases into a state of utter apoplexy. After all the difficulties I’ve had, I have no problem making them feel uncomfortable and upset. I don’t mind seeing the shoe on the other foot from time to time. Bill claimed to feel our pain; there’s no reason not to make his current political operation and target base actually, personally feel the pain that they’ve caused in the narrow pursuit of their self-interest.

Trump keeps getting flak for disrespecting hallowed institutions. Well fuck me. These are the same institutions that have double-crossed me and countless people like me and made it nigh impossible for us to stay afloat under our own power. The Congressional Republican Caucus would sooner put me in chains and heave me into the Potomac than serve me as a constituent. So would much of the Congressional Democratic Caucus. So, certainly, would Billary. None of these creeps gives a damn about normal people. Their constituents have to gang up on them to get them to provide basic constituent services, like not further fucking up Obamacare and leaving Americans to die by the tens of thousands. The presidency featured unionbusting under former SAG President Ronald Reagan, IRS audits targeting the poor under Bush I, constant sleaze under Clinton, and overt, uncontrolled constitutional crises under Bush II and Obama. Now some loudmouth from television goes off-script and THAT’S the most unprecedented threat to our government institutions? Like hell it is.

Of course I’m sick of the trite, worn-out, Aaron Sorkin-ass presumption of goodwill on behalf of offices and institutions that have clearly been taken over by looters. I went to school with people who now man this machinery, and I have no doubt that as a group they’re in it for nothing but their own power and wealth. In their professional lives, these are anything but admirable people. It’s a fucking tragedy; some of them could have done something worthwhile instead, but they aren’t about to bite the hand that feeds them so lavishly and risk ending up like me.

If Trump makes them feel threatened, good. They’ve turned into a territorial nightmare, and it’s about time that someone else came around and marked their territory. I routinely see people that Trump has not even started to dispossess freaking out more overtly at the prospect of his upsetting their apple cart than I freak out about sleeping in my fucking car. He swings his dick around like LBJ and smacks random ass-kissing celebrities with it, and these lunatics take it personally. We’ve got sworn liberals out rehabilitating Paul Ryan, the entire Bush clan, the FBI, and the CIA just because some quasi-old money yutz with golden toilets makes fun of yuppies. They’ve gone completely out of their minds because he occasionally humiliates their kind the way they habitually humiliate my kind, and they’re too dense to realize that his insults have not made them any less propertied.

It’s disturbing to watch people who allegedly have the finest liberal arts educations on earth get thrown by such crude stylistic attacks. Only a dimwit should be so easily rolled. That’s because they’re functionally dimwitted. They can’t, or won’t, muster actual counterarguments to Trump’s repetitive assertions that the industrial and mining jobs are coming back. They can’t imagine how this plays better in the rust belt than defending NAFTA as an across-the-board good. Both parties have spent decades by now catering to their interests as educated yuppies, at great expense to the uneducated and the poor, but they can’t imagine why the latter respond positively to a guy who promises to flip the rules back in their favor and fight for their interests.

Trump is all over the place, but some of his assertions are more right than even he may realize. Paying honest wages for honest work is a more equitable and stable economic model than flipping houses, and coal mining is honest work. It’s simplistic, but he’s on to some big things there. If everyone tries to keep collecting rents, before long there will be no one productive enough to make rent. Bill Clinton deliberately set the United States on a course towards everyone scamming everyone else, and W and Obama kept it up to varying but consistently significant degrees. Trump is right that the knowledge economy has dispossessed a whole lot of workaday Americans, not all of them unknowledgeable.

Damn straight I’d rather have a shyster from the real estate business ramble on about these themes incoherently than have the latest political front from a crime family known for its own exceptionally sleazy real estate dealings insist in somewhat more syntactically normal sentences that an economy amounting to serial Ponzi and MLM schemes is obviously sustainable. That shit barely held steady through the nineties, and it crashed into a smoldering pile of rubble just in time for Hillary to lose her first campaign for the presidency. Trump has yet to do anything to cure me of my relief that she ultimately lost her second campaign. It’s refreshing to have, for the first time in my life, a president who overtly shows us how much respect he has for his office and for his constituency. It’s no less refreshing to have the same gaudy oaf of office putting the yuppie swarm on the defensive. Decorum wasn’t taking us anywhere good.

A literal soap opera

Since I was up all night, as in upright, locked, and shoehorned three deep into a window seat in cattle class, I got to spend part of my not quite cold, not quite Chicago morning doing laundry in the sink while Matt Lauer interviewed Bill O’Reilly. It was only a pair of socks, a pair of underwear, and two ball caps, but still, the productive watching the tragic feebly interrogate the pathetic: God bless America.

Matt Lauer, as we’ve discussed before, is a tragic figure, but Bill O’Reilly is not. To be tragic one has to have some sort of wasted potential or failed aspiration or, shit, something. O’Reilly is just an unbelievably spiteful son of a bitch. He’s miserable not just for the rest of us but for himself, too. No joy or serenity or hope or even smugness shines through his miserable bastardy; it’s just the featureless, inchoate resentment of a man who can’t point to anything that has been foreclosed from him personally and can hardly point to a thing that has been foreclosed from those he claims to give voice, other than pervasive assertions of their own superiority and opportunities for tax evasion.

The problem with him isn’t that he’s conservative: Victor Davis Hanson and Rod Dreher believe in things and take hope, if faintly so, in the incremental achievement of those things; Thomas Sowell clearly finds meaning and satisfaction in researching and writing about the hidden histories of Germans, middleman minorities, and the like. Part of O’Reilly’s problem is that he’s a reactionary nutjob, but in his case it goes beyond the ideological and into the deep psychological. If Hillary Clinton and Ann Coulter are creatures of hell, Bill O’Reilly lives in hell here on earth; the sorry fucker isn’t even on furlough. All his money can’t buy him a visible measure of the peace that might cause him to be intermittently gracious.

The recurrent sexual harassment allegations against O’Reilly reared their head, of course, and, good self-serious objective piece of shit that he is, reputed role-playing furry Matt Lauer dutifully asked Loofah Boy to confirm or deny. O’Reilly denied the allegations both unequivocally, as a man of wounded honor, and equivocally, as the client of defense attorneys. Even if the guy is a randy schmuck, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. He was an even sorrier figure, in retrospect, than Paula Deen, who was merely having an unstable televised sad during her Matt Moment four years ago. What was wrong with her was fixable with some sleep, some time, some distance, and maybe some substances. What’s wrong with O’Reilly looks like it’s been wrong for a long damn time and is going to stay wrong.

It isn’t just that he got into trouble for his indulging himself before the casting couch at the expense, if any, of women subordinate to him. That sort of thing is ubiquitous in the industry, and anyone who wasn’t born yesterday knows it. Fox News is particularly open about it, in a half-assedly coy way, in the exceptionally lurid and chauvinistic manner in which it objectifies women on air. A notorious blowhard at the Leg Chair channel is accused of getting lecherous with the ladies under his authority? Color me fucking shocked. The guy was bound to do or say something coarse enough to annoy even a woman who came to him from the whorehouse via a psychiatric nursing assignment focusing on the care of the shit-flinging incontinent. He isn’t just a threat to the hothouse flowers around him. Cracka don’t do subtlety and tact.

Some guys get into trouble for sexual harassment by burning ex-lovers or being socially hapless before treacherous women who would tolerate much more aggressive sexual advances in the workplace from men they find attractive. These guys are sympathetic  because they get tripped up by arbitrary, often ex post facto rules that are routinely violated all around them. O’Reilly looks like he was and remains bound to go totally over the top in his time of horn.

Whatever he gets out of it can’t be healthy. Like so many men, he probably chases after the validation of seducing amateur women that he wouldn’t be able to claim by bedding a prostitute. Seduction makes men feel relevant, virile, and worthy. It also gets them into a hell of a lot of trouble. What O’Reilly is said to have committed isn’t seduction, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t pretend. Why shouldn’t an alpha lion like him enjoy the services of the entire pride? He’s just the victor enjoying the sexual spoils. The guy’s loaded, so there are any number of ladies of negotiable affection who are well with his budget to entertain him on a daily basis and put up graciously with what sounds like his rather vanilla, if still crude, sex drive, but a man of his stature shouldn’t debase himself to negotiating with women who expect frank compensation for their services to him.

Matt Lauer knows a thing or two about degrading himself for money. A comparison with Ron Jeremy came to mind, but Jeremy is a man of unabashed sexual vulgarity, not of lofty journalistic principles to abandon on national television by 7:30 every weekday morning. His better angels must have been whispering to him: why the fuck are you interviewing this bumptious loser? Why the fuck are you going to such lengths to stipulate this blowhard’s newsworthiness in the midst of several catastrophic hurricanes and a renewed GOP push to repeal the Affordable Care Act? Of course, Matt donned the golden handcuffs decades ago and never tried to shake them off. Did he, Miss Swift? No, he most assuredly did not. Matt’s a compliant circus act, you see. He’s a good boy.

In his business, being a good boy means dignifying some of the worst people on earth. Jerry Springer doesn’t pretend that his guests are functional and healthy. He doesn’t pretend to be objective and solemn when some chair-wielding meathead bellows at his baby-mamma that she’s a no-good lying cheating whore. Cincinnati is not a city of solemnity. Neither is it a city of Matt Lauer or the classes of people interviewed by Matt Lauer. From this perspective, what comes through about The First 48 and Police Women of Cincinnati is the sheer modesty: twenty-dollar Over-the-Rhine blowjobs, murders over promises of crack rock not kept, James “Mack the Pipe” Mack walking around the East End carrying a different length of pipe. It’s pathological, but it’s contained, and although it is salaciously watched, ultimately it is not normalized or celebrated. It’s understood that these are marginal, ridiculous characters and that aping them is for blame fools.

Aping Bill O’Reilly would presumably result in riches and glory. Likewise aping Hillary Clinton. Charlie Sheen is rolling in coke and hookers. Ann Coulter gets book deals and airtime. There are a lot of terrible role models in show business, and they’re held up as role models. (On Hillary Clinton, refer to the “Television” section of P. J. O’Rourke’s chapter about the coequal branches of “Money, Television, and Bullshit.”) If power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, we’ve got a lot of deranged, depraved freaks using their power to pursue absolute wrath. Where Bill O’Reilly wants to watch his enemies be left to their own devices to suffer indefinitely in punishment for t heir own lack of initiative, Hillary acts like she wants to strangle them with her bare hands for disloyalty and Coulter looks of a mind to watch hers be executed and then ceremonially urinate on their corpses.

These are not normal, healthy people. We came, we saw, he died. O’Reilly seems positively restrained in comparison for merely wanting all the losers around him to be beggared so that he might become richer yet. We narrowly avoided the presidency of a woman who publicly gloated about a foreign leader being sodomized and shot by a rival warband, and we avoided it by electing a guy who encourages cops to bang arrestees’ heads on the cruiser door jam. Love too be represented by leaders who refuse to transcend the morals of Muammar Qaddafi.

It’s official: I miss Matt on Paula on reheated racism interview now. Why, I do declare that I do. That was a dumbass fucking donnybrook, but it brought Mrs. Butter and a guy who’d robbed her at gunpoint out to confess that they’d done wrong and needed to get their heads straightened out. Think about those two haphazardly leading their nation towards truth and reconciliation while Loofah Boy, supposedly a great political activist, painfully huffs his way through unapologetic quasi-denials of office lechery and Midtown Furry keeps up the pretense that it’s all news.