Ah, Mr. Acevedo, would you fancy some refined white crackers to accompany your beans?

NPR issued a stern “language warning” ahead of its most recent interview with Art Acevedo on All Things Considered, over “an ethnic slur.” I kept thinking he was going to say somebody had called him a beaner or something, but that didn’t make any sense.

The grievously offensive slur came in a short exerpt of Acevedo’s Congressional testimony about systemic police misconduct. “We call them ‘Gypsy cops.'” I could not fucking believe it. I spent fifteen minutes waiting for that segment and listening to it, all ears, and all he said was “Gypsy cops.”

The idiots who run NPR no longer do business in the real world. They can’t even see it from there. The shitcanning of Bob Edwards was an idiot wind. It blows over us to this day, more briskly by the month.

We find ourselves with ro mani problems. We try to fix them with moral window dressing. Gypsy is always a slur, never a descriptor. Language Warnings, tramps, and thieves. we’d hear it from the people of This Town, my God, Halperin; Language Warnings, tramps, and thieves, but every day they buried Tim Russert, we’d sit there in the pews, and fix to lay our money down.

Cher these findings widely; they are signs of our times. It fell on an old wifebeating Chippie to suggest that “Groundhog Day cops” might be a better descriptor, since they kept reappearing: a cheap dodge to a cheap question, but what else can we expect? None of this shit is relevant. It’s an absurd distraction.

It’s NPR.

It’s hard to know where to begin. Oftentimes I sit here, dumbfounded, trying to asbord it all and make faint sense of it. The pettiness, the moralizing, the sycophantic childishness, the sheer unreality: all of it unfolds on an unfathomable plane of thought and existence. Nothing about it intersects with my thinking, observations, or lived experiences. And I went to prep school and college. These are renowned, preeminent reporters. We entrust the news, the first draft of history, to them and their craft.

Maybe Art Acevedo was the Houston Police Chief when one of his riot cops rode his horse over a woman and trampled her, just because she had the uppity nerve to protest the brutality of her city’s police department, and just because he could. Never mind that; Acevedo spoke to Congress, shall we say, inartfully.

What the hell is wrong with them? Are they conniving? Are they just fucking stupid? I had classmates who graduated, apparently in fine academic standing, in a state of stupidity at least as profound as they enjoyed upon their matriculation. I mean, I sat through an admitted students’ roundatble with a girl who used “matrculate” in a manner proving that she believed it to be a synonym for “trickle.” Such are the characters who make the cut. Ponder who doesn’t, and shudder. Then again, I also knew classmates who were deeply amoral, or immoral or, I’m pretty sure, both at the same time.

Who the fuck even told them to warn their audience about a coming ethnic slur and pester the Chief of Police for the City of Houston for using it by way of quoting his own officers’s shorthand for the worst cops in their midst? The schoolmarmish freaks who run that joint always ask for the manager and the owner when they swoop into Fort Wayne or whatever postindusrial junkie dump most recently caught their intenton when their back-of-the-house nerds scanned a map of the Ohio Valley. There’s no way they’re liaising with the village elder of a trailer squat in the backwoods of a palisade peeking discreetly down on the flats of Secaucus for guidance on what to call his clan. Their term for these unwanted visitors would surely be rude; draw up another language warning and get it on air.

The thing about Gypsies is that they’re too busy with the usual Gypsy shit to give a rat’s ass about what a bunch of schoolmarms in Washington have to say about them on Scold Radio. Their interest in the imperial center is pragmatic: manhole covers, the superstitious and their bank accounts, public benefits, getting their fellow Bogles out of the Oregon State Penitentiary and back into the businesses that are worth a damn.

Predictably enough, these are not the sort of things one would worry about as the lavishly salaried host of a radio news show of no particular journalistic standards. So who are they trying to reach? As The Last Psychiatrist liked to say, if you’re watching it, it’s for you. Charles Osgood has yet to see me on the radio, but I’ve got enough trouble without that twee dork.

For better and worse, I’m a college boy. NPR is my cultural residue, an awful and yet irresistable pilgrim journey o fthe mind and the soul. Jesus harrowed hell for three days, which it seems we’re counting at about 25 hours from the Good Friday service to the Easter Vigil; I spend anywhere from two to six hours a day listening to that crap, because, look, I got a rechargeable pocket radio at Target and it’s useful company for laundry or guerrilla blackberry brush clearing or whatever.

Over time, the tics shine through. The cultural compulsions gaze back from the abyss. There is *NO EVIDENCE* that Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself/Seth Rich was killed in anything other than a weird unsolved robbery with no leads in a heavily surveilled and videotaped city/Comet Ping Pong is tied to the weirdly, inexplicably repetitious language in the leaked Clinton e-mails, none of whose context-free words are, say, code for child pornography according to internal FBI manuals.

They’re constantly reporting on their sponsors. Google is a sponsor. Facebook is a sponsor. Amazon is an NPR sponsor. There are hours when they can’t go fifteen minutes without another of these artless disclosures. Yeah, we get it: you’re corrupt. But who the hell is “us?” Just me, I guess, the king of understanding unfortunate things in the news. Wonderful.

KQED radio broadcasts the PBS NewsHour live from Washington at 3:00 pm. BNSF is a sponsor. That’s the amalgamation of, among others, the Burlington Road, the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe, the Great Northern, and the Northern Pacific. and the Frisco. This behemoth is one of Warren Buffett’s Monopoly pieces. He moves properties around on a board in his parlor across town from the Union Pacific dispatch center. Nobody in the news business has a clue that there is one. We presumably prefer trains that don’t rear-end each other at 55 to 79 miles an hour to ones that do, and maybe there’s a skilled trade of people who monitor rail traffic and control signals and switches to help keep that from happening all the time. Maybe one of them is worth more than a bunker full of Tom Brokaw-ass blowhard jagoffs playing Monopoly with 32.500 miles of trust trackage as just one portfolio holding out of hundreds. To assess the relative vocational value of these activitites, it might help to be aware of railroad dispatching as something that a number of people do for a living in Omaha.

Naw, that’s too earnest. Reagan busted PATCO and fired its air traffic controllers en masse because they worked for a living. That was what the working class wanted: the inability to successfully demand better pay and working conditions from a showboating sellout from the Screen Actors Guild. That’s why they voted for Reagan in Chicago and Hibbing and Montesano when they voted for Carter in 1980 and Mondale in 1984.

That’s the kind of shit any of us might be able to make up for a living if we moved to DC. It’s what we call work.

I’m what we call General Stroganoff. Please, to the table. The people may have a little Beef, As A Treat.

Our rulers and courtiers aren’t just broadly ignorant and incurious. They’re ignorant and incurious about their own news and analysis beats. I know exactly why they didn’t see Trump’s election to the presidency coming: they never socialize with non-Brahmins. If they’re adventurous, they branch out to socialize with #NeverTrump Optimate movement conservative dorks in Loudoun County. They spend hours in Panera lobbies in Alpharetta and emerge with no clue that they were surrounded by Trump voters, convinced that the path to a Democratic South runs through a 60% Republican exurban district full of Yankee transplants who are obviously Democrats and mostly Republicans. Conversely, they dredge up the the most crotchety, vile diner geezers to explain why Erie voted for the Donald by way of voting for Hilldawg.

They don’t even look at the fucking county victory maps. These are the Politics Understanders. Forget the crisis of legitimacy for the moment; this is a blatant crisis of confidence. They’re all morons.

Hillary is liberal, they insist. Huh? She’s a spiteful, prudish old scold who’s permapissed at her notoriously horny husband for chasing strange. Her personal morals are pretty fucking asshole-conservative, by that reckoning, at least. Her libertine husband, however, was never measurably any more liberal than her as a working politician. He threw Joycelynn Elders under the bus because Larry Craig and the gang were sore about sex education (as in, hey now, that’s our job!). He triangulated “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law, as a notoriously heterosexual married man himself. He grandstanded in front of a military school yard assembly of prison inmates at Stone Mountain, blustering about law and order.

He fucking flew back to Arkansas from the campaign trail to sign a death warrant for the most retarded guy on death row. Does Ricky Ray Rector even register with these asshats? I was nine and a half when Bill had him killed. It shook me to the core. He got exactly the meal plan Randy Newman promised; it was just that he didn’t want to rush dessert.

I keep noticing that some of us live in a world that has consequences. These aren’t just Monopoly pieces being moved around on a board. These are livelihoods. These are qualities of life. This is people’s basic welfare. These are lives. Bill Clinton had a man with the intellectual capacity of a three-year-old killed because his strategists told him it would win him parts of the Upper South and the Midwest. That isn’t liberalism; it’s overpowering illiberalism, because it’s also chilling psychopathy.

If you’re starting from the premise that Slick Wilie was a leading liberal light and berating me for an hour straight about what an ignorant, reckless fool I am for not voting for his hideous, bigoted wife, whom I’m convinced hates me, yo dawg, it ain’t me, chief. If you’re proceeding to lecture me about my duty, to myself and to our country, to vote for the current mush-for-brains dotard, again because he’s the liberal, I will of course be perfectly fucking blunt: Joe Biden is a handsy pervert, an authoritarian bigot, a serial liar, a man who 32 years ago dropped out of a race for the same office he’s currently seeking after he was exposed plagiarizing a British prime minister’s speeches, and by now visibly a drugged-up mush-for-brains dotard. You may want him, but that doesn’t mean I do, asshole. As it is, I’m barely, possibly in his camp, and that’s only because Donald Trump has veered into armed factional sedition and late-stage Qaddafi-Borgia mashup oratory.

Our soi-disant liberal scolds moan that they want more educated, informed voters. They can sack up and come talk to me about what it’s like to actually be one. Alternately, they can shut the fuck up. I rather enjoy the latter option.

These motherfuckers have spent my entire adolescent and adult lifetime rubbing it in our faces that this whole political spectacle is a frivolous game to them. It is, by their own slobbering accounts, a horserace. They’re degenerate enough to play the ponies, for sure. The only reason they were angry at Brett Kavanaugh was that he didn’t clean up the way they preferred, choosing instead to daydrink and snort a big line on his way to his tantrum in front of some of their faves on the Hill. That, and he raped a high-caste white girl, which is the same thing.

Excuse me, but I am not here to take these pearlclutching, sanctimonious nerds seriously. I’ve been homeless. It’s amazing to get into spats online with #Resistance deadenders about our duty to vote for Joe Biden this time and watch them completely fail to register that I’ve been homeless when I explicitly say so. They aren’t even, like, whoa, shit, are you serious? It flies straight over their heads. I had a guy call me disturbed and a bot for pushing back on his horseshit narrative about the public’s scandalously insufficient deference to the Democratic Party’s eminences grises. For real, I’ll be over on alt, using the same writing and argumentation style I use here, minus most of the shitposting, and I’ll have overpaid idiots calling me a disturbed dipshit and a bot.

One of the lessons from these unfortunate interactions is that cryptoclinically disordered ideations are much more prevalent than advertised. We’re talking paranoid, schizoid, post-traumatic. One of Donald Trump’s strokes of genius is his knack for reaching the schizoid and the paranoid on their own channels. He isn’t exactly one of them, but he vibes with that. He channels the denpa, as the Japanese call it. Normie bipartisan ratfuck politicians never allow themselves to go with a flow so subversive.

Trump uses this gift for little but deep evil. Like any other spiritual gift, it is abused with terrible ease, and the Donald is rarely any better than amoral. Our shitlibs and mostly disingenuous #NeverTrump movement conservatives are still idiots to ignore his spiritual attunement to the ideation of so many of our disturbed shut-ins, given how often they vote.

These bipartisan shitbirds are exactly the scum that rises to the top in a society whose talented tenth bully the rest of us into a political economy devoted to pure, distilled amoral rationality and purged of all spirituality. They’re here to impose hard science and drive out all humanities–all humanity, really. They aren’t actually scientific or rational, but they insist they are, and they have the resources to pay intellectual mercenaries to say so 24/7.

As it always bears repeating, they do not live in any part of our real world. They hardly even visit. When they do, they squeamishly moan about how gross it is. Techbros are trying to gentrify the Tenderloin, for some mindbogglingly fucking bizarre reason. It’s probably just because they’re used to getting their way. It’s probably just because they can. If we’re paying attention to the details of life in San Francisco we might flounder for months scrutinizing the thinking of some asshole like Jack Dorsey and contemplating why he’s also the guy who flew to Burma to sit on the floor all day and injure his ass. This isn’t a particularly foolish pursuit, but it is for naught. That motherfucker pulls that shit, all of it, because he can.

They all do. Every time one of these pricks shows up for another round of gentrification, he’s just throwing his weight around, because he feels like it, and because he can. Occam’s Razor always puts a crude cut on that bitch. It goes full SEPTA 61-Ridge Badlands on a motherfucker, not Dennis Geyer knife time.

It’s so easy to overthink these ghouls. Here’s the dumb but powerful thing: Many members of the upper middle class, scions and arrivistes alike, are not members of the cognitive elite, but a great many of the cognitive elite are members of the upper middle class. It’s subtle but important.

This is a skeleton key to how and why Rex Tillerson very perceptively called Donald Trump a fucking moron. Rex is an engineer who spent a career spanning roughly two generations in the oil industry, delegating the vast majority of the operational work as he rose into the executive ranks but still keeping a keen eye on operations and providing extensive guidance to operational chiefs. The Donald inherited the proceeds of an outer-borough slumlord empire from his sleazy father and wormed his way over the bridge into Manhattan, and you can betcha that meant the part below 95th Street. He plastered his name on a series of showboat businesses that he promptly ran into the ground. Then he went on television and played a shitbag simulacrum of Lee Iacocca.

None of this military school bone spur malingerer’s shtick had anything to do with competence. He’s just an actor. As Doug Casey says, acting is like prostitution: an honorable profession, but one that shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Casey lures bitcoin dipshits to his bugout spread in Argentina, or maybe it’s his buddy’s spread, to violate Argentinian labor laws by working for free in the vineyard, but he’s right about both professions. Kim Kardashian and Lindsay Lohan are entertainers. A healthy, livable society always has its buskers, its orchestra musicians, its stage actors, its Wesley Willis multimedia visionaries, its muralists, its interior designers, and its whores. This is the good shit.

The problem is that we take the more prominent of these entertainers,, who are not coincidentally often some of the more mediocre, as real-life leaders. This is a key driver of our epistemic closure as a nation. As John Regan, my favorite monarchist blogger, says, societies always end up with a hereditary elite, so they might as well collect and curate one for official adoration. I don’t care for this idea, but I have a hard time refuting it. All I can do is enthuse about Nicola Sturgeon, England’s low-key smallholders and craftsmen, and the National Fruit Collection. No, I’m not talking about Elton John; if you look it up you’ll see.

It’s not like I’m necessarily against getting a piece of Caterbury tail. Regan has openly admired Kim’s more demure nudes: not my idea of taste, but if you look at the other stuff I’ve published here you’ll know that I have no business commenting on taste, which I never promise to have from minute to minute. The hilarious thing is that Regan and Kardashian are colleagues; I recall hearing that she’s in law school, and if anyone has ghostwritten law review articles, it’s Kim. A bitch has to balance her personal branding and her intellectual interests.

We do that out on the streets, too, for our own welfare and survival. The idea that Chuck and Nancy or any of the Trump family, maybe excepting Tiffany, have any capacity or interest to relate to ordinary Americans, let alone to the poor of them, is absurd. They live in a different, unreal, surreal world. The homeless psychotic guy at the Metro 40 bus stop at Inglewood and Century, catty corner from the Yoshinoya and the laundromat, who told me about how he was “pretty much traveling between universes right now,” happily and graciously conceded the validity of my only perceptible universe. Is that A340 actually on final approach to 24L, or is it on short final to a wormhole? We can’t see it, can we? Sure, you just landed on 25L without incident this afternoon, but what’s its turbulence?

I’m absolutely serious that Turbulence Dude was more attuned to the lives of the sane, functional people around him than Fancy Nancy and her crew have been in years, if ever. He probably had other bums telling him that he was batshit fucking nuts, and hey, we aren’t all traveling between the same universes at the same time. There’s all kinds of angles for astral projections, shit, a lot of universes, and maybe you’ll encounter a few more on the 40 by the time you hit Western, or maybe you won’t, yeah, that’s probably it.

Nobody tells Nancy that she’s totally full of shit and totally out of touch. She pays for layers of security and sycophancy to cosset herself against this insolence. That’s why I usually show her no manners whatsoever when I call her Washington office and demand the constituent services we’re all due as Americans. She’d catch worse in the Tenderloin. She is domiciled right about two miles from the SFPD Tenderloin Station, the official Heart of the Shitty. I’ve been looking for her home address, which has to be a matter of public record for her to represent the Twelfth District, but I guess they try to memory-hole that shit even though it’s a constitutional requirement to verify it for public office. It’s not like she stays there on any given night away from Washington, as opposed to any of her other opulent properties; I mean, we all know she lives on Zinfandel Lane; but she governs us, so it’s obviously relevant.

Our politicians are ever less our servants, ever more our masters. Lincoln rode around Washington alone on his horse. He walked across the street, alone if nobody wished to accompany him, to the same church whose perimeter Trump ordered goons from his palace guard to violently clear so he could pose with what he called “a Bible.” Harry and Bess Truman retired to their old unassuing house in the Independence town platt. Fancy Nancy would never settle for a single bungalow when she can own at least three castles for her personal use. The third is her pied-a-terre in Washington; that’s a ridiculous term of art for anywhere she lives or works, but the French, bruh.

We’ve had high elected officials, even presidents, who lived in the real world. The Roosevelts were ungodly rich but still had a keen finger on the ordinary American’s pulse. Trump does, too, after a weird fashion, but mainly by way of setting narrow factions against outgroups they already hate and activating segments of the mentally ill.

It’s a good bet that a sneering, mobbed-up centimillionaire Baltimore mayoral daughter who’s been in Washinton forever and represents the next thing to a rotten borough ain’t it, and in Pelosi’s case it’s the correct bet.

Prior to the techbro invasion, San Francisco was a socioeconomically diverse city where people of ordinary means could afford to live, not on Nob Hill but at least somewhere in the Richmond, the Sunset, the Excelsior, or whatever. Tech purged the city of the middle class: the old-timers cashed out and moved out, and the newcomers and local kids found themselves unable to get by anywhere closer than Hayward or Petaluma.

What this exodus left behind was the usual Tenderloin losers, with their 5-10% turnout or whatever the fuck they achieve at the polls (it’s a free country; take your own guess); thousands of non-Anglophone noncitizens cooped up in SRO’s in Chinatown, counted in the census but not on the voter rolls; and the rich. I’m only half eliding this shit. A whole lot of ordinary working people fled or got run out of town. San Francisco’s black population hasn’t been cratering by coincidence.

Members of my native upper middle class ask me, incredulously, how I can possibly believe that Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton hate the poor. Epistemic closure, like every other vice, causes less chaos and damage for the rich, so that’s nice, but let’s look at her with clear eyes and clear minds. Her net worth is mathematically impossible on a Congressional salary. She’s easily worth an order of magnitude more than a six-sigma miser would be able to amass on a Congressional salary. Yeah yeah, she’s got family money–as I note from time to time, her father was a huge mob crook–but she also owns a constellation of successful investment properties and an ample stock portfolio, blind trust my fat white ass, and Congress is crawling with habitual insider traders. Congresscritters don’t just kind of end up in positions to buy into the Napa Valley landed gentry. That takes some combination of marrying well and juice.

/Annoying little Mexican girl meme/ Why Not Both? How could the modal asshole in that joint not work every available angle? It was, what, six or eight percent of the Senate that got exposed insider-trading on information from the Covid-19 briefing over the winter? Plus they’re all positioned to place their kin and cronies in sinecures and get paid for it. There’s an old Anglo-Saxonism for a five- or six-figure speaking fee for spending half an hour at an all-expenses-paid junket regurgitating gobbledygook: we call that a bribe.

The last bus any of these assholes is riding is the Straight Talk Express. The Democrats among them are permanently furious with Bernie Sanders, a rare colleague who for the most part thinks and speaks like a normal adult of ordinary means. Obfuscation is the coin of their realm, and yet they wonder why some of us distrust them. Yeah, asshole, it doesn’t take a proctological exam to determine that a serial liar and fraud is full of shit.

The reason I don’t trust Fancy Nancy, Hillz, the Big Dog, or any of the rest of their ilk to do a damn thing for the poor is that I have every reason to distrust them. That’s a circular argument for my distrust of the circle jerkers, but I’ve been over the particulars more times than I can count. Homelessness, emotional abuse (in my case, consistently at the hands of overt or tacit socioeconomic superiors), and hard downward mobility have resulted, inter alia, in my acquiring a worldview divergent from that of the Brahmins I left behind up there. Their worldview and interests are not mine.

This is a suprisingly hard teaching for them. As I keep having to ask, who the hell are “we?” It ain’t me, governor.

There was, of course, a mass delusional break among establishment Democratic officials and their voters in 2016. A guy they really disliked caught them off guard and won the presidency. All of a sudden, everything was the Kremlin’s fault. This is an overt delusion of persecution. We often see such ideation in the clinically psychotic.

This is not, however, a case of denpa, but rather a flareup of mass hysteria with an indefinite half-life. This shit is extremely fashionable among the fashionable. It is not a low-class hobby for schizoid shut-ins; it’s much, much worse. Change any of the characters in this play and see how it sounds. “John Cox would have won the California gubernatorial election, but Angela Merkel had German junior intelligence analysts under her direct command catfish as American chat buddies and brainwash entire communities of conservative Chicanos.”

Out on the streets, that’s what we call nuts. We’re walking the 5150 block on that journey. Some of us have reasons for being sick of that shit. For one thing, it isn’t even fun. Most psychotics aren’t just trying to deflect blame for shitting the bed, the way the Democrats have been doing for the past four years. It’s always someone else’s fault. In my case alone, it’s my fault for taking negatively to Hillary, for having positive reactions AT ALL to Donny Fingers, for having an affirmative enthusiasm for Jill Stein. It’s a batshit insane binary: #WithHer or Against Her, and Against Her means with HIM. This is nonsense: one of the reasons I voted for Stein was that Trump put me off, too. I got sick of that fucker by the time I got my ballot.

These dipshits construe the entire 2016 election as a humiliating, scandalous breach of deference. Why America’s yacht dealers and dentists wanted to defer to the pussyhatters in the first place is beyond them, too, because Trump’s Optimate base does not exist to them. This is why I’m one of their scapegoats for not taking their orders in the completion of my legally secret ballot.

Fuck that, of course. What’s crazy is that these delusions of persecution are a high-class phenomenon. This is political astuteness, too Them. That guy from Inglewood needs to catch the bus and run some universe checks on these freaks. Listening to millionaires, some of them bigtime multmillionaires, whine about the breach of their aesthetics and their norms, and now pivot to the frantic assertion that the election of a different rapist and flagrant sex pest is feminism, doesn’t impress me in a good way.

Besides, if the plan is to convince me that Biden or the Clintons or some such trash love the poor like Jesus and Trump hates the poor, it might be a good idea to demonstrate either some personal familiarity with what it’s like to be poor or else some working observations. They never show up with this. It’s hopeless for me to explain how and why I have to observe and understand them more accurately than they have to observe and understand me. It’s the stuff of a basic human education, which they so proudly completed, In School.

Add this to the treasury of things not understood about Christian teaching and practice in this, Our Christian Country. The average Hindu seeker who’s looking in bashfully and wondering what possesses us to lay it all on a single god-guru and the two other gods who are part of him understands Christianity better than our biblethumping leaders ever do, just by not being hardhearted and idiotic.

Ever since Constantine we’ve been discovering anew how pigheaded and disastrous it is to try to mold Christianity into an official imperial religion. Christian discipleship, which, to lightly paraphrase Gandhi, sounds like a marvelous idea, is, leaving aside questions of strict divinity, a lifelong pilgrimage in the path of a humble mystic, healer, and almsgiver who was put to death for defying the Roman imperial authorities and one of their Levantine satrapies. Even if we’re convinced that he’s a god, not the God, or what have we, reading from Eccleasiastes to clap back at a political opponent for holding “a Bible” up as a crude talisman who’s power didn’t even interest him and then proceeding to do nothing for the poor and vulnerable among one’s legislative constituents plainly ain’t it. Remember, “as you do to the least of these, you do to me.” This sure seems like it applies to civil officials who wield great power to provide for the needs of the poor, or to refuse them all aid.

The confusion over this discord between word and deed starts to lift as we consider that American governments are formed mainly from incarnations of the Antichrist. Hypocrisy doesn’t always sound quite right as an explanation; it’s at least a significant component, but we’re talking about people with serious delusional disorders, the loudest of them having to do with Russian spook sabotage and chat bot mind control. They’re evil, but they aren’t JUST evil. There’s a whole lot going on here.

In any event, we do have a leadership class of Structural Antichrist. Casual but sincere students of Christian scripture and tradition know more than well enough what’s wrong with this shit and why it’s a huge fraud. Countless outsiders who have studied Christianity look at what passes for Christianity in the United States and think, correctly, what the fuck.

The synthesis here is gross but compelling. We’re all about epistemic closure, we’re all about in-your-face Christian piety, and so, QED, epistemic closure in the name of Christ Jesus is extremely our shit. Reading some decontextualized bollocks about seasons of life from Ecclesiastes for the sole purpose of one-upping a political opponent for being proudly ignorant of the whole book of books is what we call Christianity, instead of suspecting that the Tenderloin is exactly Jesus’s beat and he wants us to at least try to do something about it.

As I said, Fancy Nancy is in a position to really do something. I show up in the confessional guilty that I was curt with some bums and knew I could spare them a few bucks. Most of us fail here more than we succeed and fall down more readily than we get back up, and it’s a good reason to seek maybe not so much absolution as guidance, but I’d say we could use some fucking help from that bitch on this job. We could certainly do worse than to rebuke her and her kind as rudely as seems useful.

Our rulers need to be dragged, kicking and screaming if they insist on being so graceless, back into the real world, to do the jobs they owe us. All they’ve been doing lately is making messes and contemptuously leaving them for us to clean up. The quality of lawmaking and administration they offer us is abysmal.

This is why we had to have the police brutality protests. Our lawmakers would feel differently about cops kneeling on people’s necks if cops barged into their living rooms and knelt on their necks. These atrocities are always for the little people. The high theory holds that with great power comes great responsibility; the low practice ensures that with great power comes great power. Power asserts itself for its own sake. Our rulers have the same morals and appetites as a cancer.

One difference, of course, is that cancer doesn’t stage a Kente Cloth Kneeling Ceremony for the purpose of exorcising the centuries-old racial sins of a nation founded on chattel slavery. There’s no making this shit up. Nancy got down on her knee, like, a week and a half after reading from the Book of Ecclesiastes. It feels like it could have been months. It should have taken decades, because she should never, ever have been involved in anything of the sort. Still in Kente shawls, Chuck and Nancy glared down at the press pool from behind their masks like two exceedingly hostile and condescending birds of prey. In fairness, though, they look only marginally less contemptuous from the dais when they’re unmasked and not dressed like Kwanzaa show-and-tell fools.

It’s all inconceivably absurd. They have a job to do, and that ain’t it. Even by P. J. O’Rourke’s reckoning, their branch of the government is money, not television. Nothing about kneeling on the floor for over eight minutes in a doofus waka waka hey hey vestment is a reasonable or bona fide way to respond to a police misconduct scandal in which a cop knelt on a man’s neck until he was dead. We’ve living in the twilight zone of elected assholes who will always resent us, their constituents, for demanding their representation. God help us if we deserve the grandparenting of Chuck and Nancy.

The Kente Cloth Kneeling Ceremony is an exceptionally flagrant example of our epistemic closure. In a single outrageously self-absorbed stunt the Congressional Democratic leadership provocatively recapitulated the murder of George Floyd in a gesture that was at the same time bathetically meaningless, elevated vacuous style over crucial substance, dicked around in ethnic garb like a Nigerian federal cabinet with Swiss bank accounts full of embezzled oil royalties and bribes, clumsily tried to stand back up, preened about their racial magnanimity at a time when blue-on-black killings had their nation at the flashpoint, and declined all around to do their fucking jobs. They’re shitheads, but they aren’t JUST shitheads. They expected this provocation to bear political benefits. They of course arrogantly assumed that the serfs they didn’t want reacting peevishly to their contempt would miss the show, or at least would hold their peace (fuck off lol), but they were pandering to a core constituency every bit as performatively vapid as themselves. Nancy know her neighbors. No, not the ones hard up in the Tenderloin, a mere two miles down the hill, but the ones who matter, the ones like herself. Duh.

This horseshit is never about Africa. An interest in West Africa might inspire astute observations of the culture that Congress shares with its counterparts in Nigeria, specifically, their common love of being huge crooks who live to take bribes. Instead, the usual suspects, Inner Party and Outer Party alike, are again walking around with their thumbs up their asses, proud that they are at last getting justice for Kunta Kinte. It’s an odd way to react to protests over a guy from Houston getting murdered by a cop in Minneapolis. That sounds pretty American and not very Ghanaian. It doesn’t seem like a national evil we can purge by holding a seance with Kwame Nkrumah.

Then again, Africa has had blameshifting no-account incompetents in high elected office, too, and Jerry Rawlings is white. Kente Cloth didn’t have anything to do with OJ, either, until the Dream Team decided it did and got Lance Ito to compliment them on their ties. Still, I’m down here, thinking that if I traded places with Fancy Nancy I’d be working on telling the police what to do, such as immediately arresting their colleagues upon establishing probable cause for murder if they want federal appropriations to continue, and not making a huge ass of myself by doing Motherland cosplay on the boob tube.

This cosplay was much more crudely and divisively racialized than anything about the Black Lives Matter movement. The point of BLM is to demand that the police stop murdering black people. The police have been murdering African-Americans ever since there have been Africans in the Americas. They aren’t reachable like black street gangs or lone hotheads, either. They go around murdering people at will.

Sometimes those people are white. The “All Lives Matter” countermovement doesn’t actually give a shit about life. Provocateurs like Matt Walsh pop up out of the woodwork to scold BLM protesters for not demanding justice for Daniel Shaver or whoever, reasonable points that might be well taken if they’d had anything to say about these cases in the years prior to the murder of George Floyd. The emblematic All Lives Matter demonstration was the attempted point-blank bow-and-arrow attack in Salt Lake City. Protesters nearby agreed with him sufficiently to bumrush him and stop him from fully acting on his violent disdain for life.

The “Black Lives Matter” framing is divisive, but only incidentally so. Exceedingly few people who are horrified by Floyd George’s murder would say that Daniel Shaver had it coming as a honky or that Brailsford is a good cop. There is no natural antagonism between those who want justice for Floyd and those who want justice for Shaver. Any distrust can be assuaged.

BLM is not a movement of racists who want Whitey to be murdered by cops. It’s an interracial movement of people demanding an end to police brutality. Its emphasis is on black lives, as opposed to all lives, because African-Americans bear the brunt of police violence. Cops preferentially harass, menace, assault, and murder black people. Where black targets are scarce, however, or for that matter whenver a non-black person pisses them off, they’ll gladly take it out on Caucasians, Asians, Hispanics, American Indians, or whoever else is in the vicinity, especially if they’re poor.

This is a profession whose members have been given carte blanche authority to batter, strangle, rape, and murder people under color of law and force of arms. Support for these thugs and their enablers correlates with affluence and wealth: the moneyed know that the police, the managers of Outside, are their de facto mercenaries; the poor know that cops are as shitty and abusive as they feel like being. The downwardly mobile feel the injustice acutely as a looming threat to their own welfare and survival.

We can guess, with perfect ease and accuracy, which side Fancy Nancy takes in this war. That’s right: not ours. She hates poor people and demands servants; cops are overpaid servants who hate the poor.

By NPR’s reckoning all of this has to do with Gypsies. “Gypsy cops” is a slur on the Romani, not on lemon dance thugs. The United States has very little communal tension between Gypsies and the rest of us, so NPR is there to inadvertently foment it through its sheer woke ineptitude. But Chief, why do your officers them “Gypsy cops?” Jesus tapdancing Christ, you fucking nerd, why the hell do you think? How much of an asskissing dork do you have to be to ask that in the first place?

Mary Louise Kelly is here to distract Art Acevedo from police reform. I need to take up drinking again.

Right on target

It’s beautiful. The week I start shopping at Target again, one goes up in flames smack dab in the Homeland, on the southside of Minneapolis, in the ghetto (in the ghetto).

We aren’t waiting to start Hot Summer this year like we did in Ferguson in 2014 and Baltimore in 2016. In those cases there were ambiguities, ones that did not favor the police but offered them weak reasonable doubt. There is absolutely no ambiguity whatsoever to what Derek Chauvin did to George Floyd. He murdered an innocent man in cold blood under color of police authority. Floyd’s first cries for help would have been justification for any bystander, police or civilian, to shoot Chauvin in the head at point blank range. Deadly force is legally and morally justifiable to stop a murder in progress. I understand that’s one of the things they teach at academy. Bumrushing Chauvin or forcefully beating him on the head would have been preferable, but only if practical. The other cops watching him calmly choke a man to death by kneeling on his neck apparently approved of his conduct and so would have rushed to his aid, not his victim’s. 

There are few worthier reasons to be judged by twelve than ensuring that such a thug be carried by eight. I feel degraded for writing these things, hardened, but I’m just conforming their own violent language to the heinous circumstances they caused. 

These circumstances arose in an ugly civic context. The Twin Cities were past the threshold to justify violent rebellion by the time Chauvin took the knee. The violent police repression of the protesters who took to the streets afterwards is all the proof we need that Chauvin’s cold-blooded homicidal violence and his squadmates’ calm approval are part of a dire systemic problem. MPD Homicide should have had him in custody within the hour. Detectives never have such compelling probable cause fall into their laps. If his own colleagues refused, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprenehsion should have moved in and apprehended him on suspicion of, don’tcha know, being a criminal. He committed a murder in uniform and broad daylight a ten-minute drive from an FBI field office. 

Nobody from any of these agencies responded to arrest this thug. Other cops are reportedly standing guard in his yard out in the suburbs, where the rest of the department lives, too. This is why Homicide should have hauled his ass in without delay. The US Marshals could end up in a Ruby Ridge-style siege if it tries to serve his arrest warrant now. It’s just a possibility; the feds got the Danziger Bridge Boys to surrender peaceably, through a receiving line, in suits. It’s still dangerous to have armed cops guarding a murderous ex-colleague on 24-hour rotating like they’re in the fucking Secret Service. There are no guarantees that this part of the clusterfuck will end well, either. 

This whole disaster could pull a 180 while I’m writing about it. By the prevailing standards of our times, the mayor and the chief shitcanned Chauvin and his three accomplices at warp speed. The mayor, Jacob Frey, sounds genuinely saddened and outraged in his public comments about the murder, and he’s absolutely right that he or anyone else but a cop would already be in jail for doing that. For some reason, however, he’s stlll giving his press conferences in Coptic. He’s using the same passive voice about things that tragically happened they always use. 

The culture is sick. It’s deeply sick. 

The Third Precinct riots are just medicine. The dose isn’t always on time. Frey is asking for backup from the National Guard, for his seditious cops, instead of backup from MPD Homicide for his constituents. He seems like a geniunely decent and responsible person. Something is badly off about his failure to get any level of law enforcement to have Chauvin under arrest and indictment. There’s a good chance he’s being threatened. 

Minnesota Public Radio reports that the MBCA and the FBI are investigating the Floyd murder. Maybe they aren’t slow-walking the job. I’m not particularly prejudiced against them in these cases.

Press statements of this sort still do not explain why the hell Derek Chauvin is not already in custody. The case against him is overwhelming. One witness attesting to the authenticity of the video in front of a cop is enough to have his ass downtown. Chauvin and his squad effected Floyd’s arrest on probable cause consisting of a complaint from a lone witness that he had committed a forgery for $20 in a convenience store. This was how Chauvin came to murder Floyd.

It is taking every level of law enforcement an astoundingly long time to make an arrest in one of the strongest cases ever to come their way. This is why the Target had to burn. 

The Target in question is an eerie one. It’s located in a strip mall district, in the midst of a variety of fast food restaurants, grocery stores, and the Minneapolis Police Department Third Precinct stationhouse. It’s across the street from the cop shop. The Target is at the far end of a parking lot at the northwest corner of the intersection of 26th, Lake, and Minnehaha; the stationhouse is on the southwest corner. Entirely coincidentally, Target, headquartered in downtown Minneapolis, uses this store to field-test its new security procedures and technologies. 

The Third Precinct building got fucked up pretty badly in the Target Campaign. The police are outraged, in the same way that any ordinary private citizen would be outraged to find a brick through his living room window at the hands of a man whose son he had just murdered in broad daylight. Chill, bruh. Ya, don’tcha know, ya just gatta chill da fuck oat, cool da fuck doane, and stap bustin my balls oover dat. Da mayor, he wants us to make peace and go back to telling Norwegian jokes on da radio wit Garrison, too.  

Be well, citizen. 

That’s the store where HQ figures oat ho to stap–if you wish, out how to stop–criminal failure to scan Good & Gather Andouille four-packs at self-checkout. These are the neighborhood constituents the company uses as test subjects for the optimization of the military intelligence-grade surveillance loss prevention surveillance. Like any other normal department store in any other normal neighborhood, it’s located across the street from a major police patrol base for an extremely troubled department. 

Target sounds like a chain that would call the police on a customer over a $20 bad check, but hey, the Floyd murder was only, like, Chauvin’s twelfth incident of serious official misconduct and third or fourth on-duty homicide or whatever. Beside, the test store is only three miles from the mothership downtown. How could the imperial periphery be so close to the imperial center? 

This is a wholesome chain store for wholesome people. It’s deep suburban Hennepin County normcore. Who could object? That sourpuss Franzen? We aren’t racist, but–okay, ya gatt us, we’re sooper dooper racist. Combine the cruelest, most passive-aggressive Midwestern Nice with extreme white flight paranoia and compulsory corporate cheer and, well, you can see how maybe there was a reason why the officer had his knee on that fella’s neck for nine straight minute. Blue lives matter, too. All lives matter. Black-on-black crime is a real problem, but you wouldn’t know it from the liberal mainstream media. 

It’s all too easy to see how these communities could have orchestrated the Holocaust. Communal relations there are terrible. The suburbs project febrile racial paranoia and grievances onto the city. Michele Bachmann and Keith Ellison represented adjacent Congressional districts. Suburban normcore is heavily mediated by television. Television is run by suburbanites and suffused with their prejudices.

On Post-Soviet Prairie of Home Companion, epistemology closes YOU! 

In the midst of this horror show, I can’t get that embarrassing corporate word salad out of my mind. Good & Gather. That makes negative sense. Nobody comes up with a name like that without being brainwashed unto mental retardation. It feels cringe to write about this, to spearfish the barrel in circumstances as grievous as these, and yet I can’t shake the feeling that there’s an important connection hiding out behind the wholesome facade. We’ll cover up anything with a veneer of cheery, ditzy wholesomeness, here in America. Hennepin County isn’t as divergent from the Black Belt as we’d like to assume. 

These are inchoate thoughts in the aftermath of a police lynching and the riots it provoked. I guess the common thread is the unspoken rule that life is good and we are not to complain. Cynicism and critical thinking are party fouls. Good & Gather? Professional marketers came up with that moronic name, one assumes. Are we really, seriously expected to stipulate that this is an intelligent brand name and that the “professionals” behind it are fit for white-collar employment? Please. And that the corporation distributing its packaged foods is unobjectionably wholesome and All-American when it operates a private surveillance state and field-tests new tools in that state’s arsenal across the street from a police station? 

Thinking does not happen in a vacuum. That name is disembrained, but it didn’t just float into some dipshit’s mind out of nowhere, with no cultural context. There’s a reason; we just have to look. The dumbest motherfuckers on earth all draw their stupidity from one cultural context or another, and usually from one that’s ambient. The ambient culture bathing that branding decision has to be one holding that The Brands Are Good. They provide us with our health plans. 

Or, if we work down on East Lake, they probably don’t, but America is a land of opportunity, but we don’t want the wrong elements moving into our neighborhoods and doing damage to our good schools. The question is always who’s us. Statistically, most of us are not. The conditions the normies would rather not mention are available for those who push the subject; shit in the punchbowl and they’ll rattle off a bunch of brain-dead, prejudicial nonsense that, by the time it’s over, has excluded a majority of Americans from the protections of our governments. They’ll deny and elide the channels of earthly power that they use on a daily basis until there’s no way to restore a semblance of accuracy on any of the subjects they’re discussing without steamrolling them, fact by excruciating fact. I hate having to do this in real life, but I can’t stand to roll over and go along with such weak, misleading argumentation pertaining, say, to the American medical-industrial complex, or the basic moral rectitude of Uber. Like, since you brought it up, we have to look at possible means of coercion other than the government telling us to do something or Thomas Jefferson having us put to the lash. 

For crying out loud it is not too cynical to express reservations about ceding control over one’s health insurance to a police department that tolerated serial killers in its ranks until this week or a chain retailer that markets sausages under off-brand names that are absolute gibberish and also detects its customers’ pregnancies before they do. This company and Walmart sound like exactly the companies to leave as the only browable bookstores in counties of over half a million. There couldn’t be an equity problems with this plan. 

For some reason I didn’t remember the Target teen pregnancy test scandal until just now. It’s probably because it was so close to life and far from death. 

You ain’t black

The days last for months. It took something like 24 or 36 hours for Joe Biden to follow up Katha Pollitt’s boiled baby outburst with his own, in which he accused a black radio host to his face of being Rachel Dolezal. The conditional clauses don’t matter: “you ain’t black” is one of the most arrogant and inflammatory things a white person can say to a black person. The conditional clause in this case was a spicy purse hot sauce meataball, a testy proclamation that negritude is conditional on a vote for Joe Biden. Vote for me, Rachel, you phony bitch.

I’ve edited for clarity.

Biden and his campaign are preternaturally good at wresting defeat from the jaws of victory. They’re fucking idiot-savants. They’re challenging an incumbent who is wearing out his welcome with the American public by bullshitting us all about a global pandemic, so they mouth off about how it’s okay if their guy is a rapist or a baby eater and about how they decide who is and is not black on the criterion of submission to their political patronage. The Democratic Plantation memes rattling around in the Republican arsenal are all too apt.

Biden made sure to roll around in the bed he’d freshly shit by calling into a Black Chambers of Commerce conference to say that he did not take African-Americans’ votes for granted and had been misunderstood. He’d been understood perfectly. He had made himself perfectly clear. He expected every black voter to turn out for him in lockstep. He would not stoop so low as to defend or explain his own record or answer questions about it or listen to criticism, all of this during a campaign interview he had agreed to do.

His grievance was simple: an uppity black guy had disrespected him to his face.

He would not take it, after all he had done for Them. It was the same mix of useless paternalism, belittling, hostility, and menacing we’ve had since Jamestown and in earnest since Bacon’s Rebellion. The early planter class was terrible to white indentured servants, too, but it strategically hardened the racial lines to deter future Bacons and their foot soldiers from being uppity. It doesn’t take an intimate familiarity with the particulars to know that what Joe did was outrageous, and Joe knew it.

When Trump goes honey badger at press conferences or on Twitter, he has the maturity to stand his ground honorably. He does not grovel with insultingly fake apologies to those he has just gotten done deliberately attacking. The last thing Biden needs right now is a bad rap for being a sore loser, but that’s exactly what he is. He’s rude and callous like Trump, but in much less entertaining and more arrogant ways, and he has the dishonor to get up in other people’s faces with fighting words and then, the moment the heat hits him, scurry for cover behind the sacrosanct Beltway norm of the “apology” for “misunderstandings,” which ordinary Americans living in normal parts of the country despise. He plays dirty and then waxes eloquent about his respect for the rules.

Biden is an idiot, a thug, and a scoundrel. The only halfway credible argument in circulation for him is that he’s an Upper South ex-segregationist with a hearty dose of residual prejudices whose idea of a gentleman is Strom Thurmond, not Adolf Hitler. Strom was, of course, the John the Baptist to Joseph’s Jesus, making straight the path out to lunch. Joe is shockingly meanspirited and treacherous. He’s always been prone to uncouth, uncalled-for racial comments that an official of any class holding his offices would have the decorum not to utter in public. He was one of the most crooked members of Congress and one of the most reactionary members of his Democratic delegations. He oozes used car dealer energy.

This is not the guy to beat the Republican folk devil. His capacity to erode his own polling leads into lags is bottomless. He’s a shameless serial liar propped up by a flimsy latticework of bogus mythology: the ordinary guy who spent, like, four hours a day on the train, and not as a conductor; the workaday, down-to-earth fellow from the neighborhood; the public-spirited policy wonk; the consummate gentleman of intelligence and class, here to do battle with that fucking moron. None of this shit is true. To the extent he’s a wonk, it’s in service of the worst goals. He’s been great at throwing people into dungeons and slave labor camps for nonviolent drug offenses and trapping people in debt peonage. This is what he does for his constituents. Charlemagne tha God challenged him on these points and gave him the opportunity to defend himself, so he spat racist fighting words. People who’ve watched the entire interview say he was pulling that shit the whole time, although not as dramatically as he did at the end.

What a coda. He’s Anthony Weiner, but for personal outbursts, not dick pics.

Many observers, including some very astute ones, think he can recover from this crash and safeguard his nomination. My assumption when I went to bed with the news of it was that Biden was toast. Calling a popular syndicated black radio host a fake black had to be the only nail his coffin needed. The Democratic kingmakers had to take this as a breach of their firewall from within and a comment too egregious to let his campaign stand. I got to sleep a bit after nine in the morning, and I was wired and almost delirious by the time I learned of the scandal. I wasn’t thinking straight. The Democratic Party isn’t run by strategists; it’s run by out-of-touch idiots who take themselves for master strategists and tacticians because they surround themselves with courtiers who don’t talk back and are also out of touch. Of course they still think Biden is unbeatably strong. At least they’re still unified enough to keep up the appearance.

I was wired enough from this horseshit that I looked up the nigger wop incident. That’s the one where renowned Italian-American Andrew Cuomo told a radio interviewer that “they” “called us nigger wops.” Grease weasel that he is, he added a longwinded caveat that he was just quoting the New York Times.

When I heard about that particular spicy meataball at the time, I was confused as to who was calling whom a nigger wop. It sounded awfully ugly and archaic for the upbringing of young Christopher and Andrew. This was a second-generation New York State governor speaking, a guy born in 1957,  at the very peak of the Baby Boom. The Italians were already turning white. Were neighborhood bullies really walking around saying shit like that to a political bigshot’s kids in 1970?

They were not. The bedtime reading I did on the incident indicated that the language Cuomo had quoted on the air was nothing that he’d heard. It was more like what they called Sacco and Vanzetti.

He made the comment on an interview for Columbus Day, the day when we all agonize over the Solomonic choice between honoring wops and dishonoring redskins or honoring redskins and dishonoring wops. What the fuck else am I supposed to say about that? We reserve a high civic holiday in the mid-fall for an annual national bum fight between the Italians and the Indians.

The transfixingly hilarious thing about the interview, though, is that it was with Alan Chartock. Chartock emanates the most powerful high stoic New York Book Jew energy. I hear him on WAMC from time to time when I’m back east. He’s the mensch of a Jewish grandfather who will put the whole family to sleep just about as fast as the agriculture committee of the New Zealand Parliament. The greasy Italian sitting Governor of the State of New York went on his radio show and said “nigger wops.” It might as well have been a Terry Gross interview with Beavis and Butthead.

Where the hell do they find these putzes? This is a man whose father was one of the staunchest and most principled death penalty abolitionists of his time as governor, and there he is, following in dad’s footsteps by going into a public radio studio and stepping on his own dick. It was all to explain what it is to be Italian, eyyy, like, ya godda learn to cooka da mannicot and da spicy raviol and simma low widda glassa De Wine, Murray, and next thing you know, badabing, you’s bangin’ da wop broad and off da gefiltefish.

Fuck, never mind that. The Jewish side of that family is Chuck Schumer.

Idpol is trash. We’re cursed. It should come as no surprise that jobs chattering about ethnic identities and their meanings are attractive nuisances for the unemployable. Maybe we can get Joe Plagiarism and Brett Michael on the line to discuss what it means to be Irish. It would be fascinating to hear their comments about the names “they” “called us.”

Meanwhile I know how to do my own laundry and cooking and cleaning and grocery shopping and ride transit buses. I get the feeling, though, that the presidential politics in this country are not meant to speak to or serve losers like me. Fat Cracka ain’t black, neither. The Isaac Chotiner of the Top Forty Talk format, however, appears to be.

Prevailing community standards

There’s a conspiracy theory holding that Al Franken got done dirty over trumped-up sex pest charges for ulterior political reasons, i.e., that he was driven out for being a sincere leftist, not a groper. Mojrim pushed this theory as an aside in a comment here some time ago, and it caught my attention, but other things caught more of my attention, so I filed it away in the back for later.

Well, whaddaya fuggin know, Feldman, it now is later. I triaged it at the time as not my rabbit hole, not my hunt. As the sexual misconduct of Joe Biden becomes more and more inescapable, Kirsten Gillibrand’s sincerity as an activist against sexual harassment and assault comes into question as never before. She’s on the spot, and she’s handling it badly. They’ve got Uncle Joe dead to rights. Tara Reade is credible. Multiple witnesses remember her confiding in them that Joe Biden had sexually assaulted her. Her own mother called Larry King under veil of anonymity to accuse a “prominent US Senator” of preying on her. Plus there’s the copious footage of Joe’s nose and hands all over women and girls of all ages.

So what the fuck was the deal with Franken? It sounded like he was a bit rude and off-color, but the only photographic evidence against him showed him miming a titty feel on an entertainment colleague who was sound asleep on a flight back from a USO tour. This guy is unacceptable, but Joe’s all right? Get outta here. That’s absurd.

Second Mountin’ and Mark Jowls were on the NewsHour to review the claims against Biden this week. D-Bro made some sonorously milquetoast comments about how, well, maybe it’s serious, but we don’t know, and problematic or not, that’s what I like about him. Shields, who usually offers some reasonable thoughts from behind that fine set of flaps, got stupid. “Washington is a small town.” We know who the leering weirdos are, the handsy bastards. “Word would have gotten around.”

Cracka be trippin’, yo. Did this guy get his brain wiped after the Denny Dundiddly deal? Yorkville is smaller than the District of Columbia. Surely its good citizens would never fail to circulate gossip that the prominent high school wrestling coach was fucking his underage athletes. And again, Joey Hands. That shit wasn’t rumor or conjecture. It’s on video. There are memes about it. How many parish priests, scoutmasters, coaches, team doctors, and whoever else in positions of authority over minors have to be exposed as sex pests, rapists, or outright practicing pedophiles before these nerds admit that Joe Biden, who is amply on tape rubbing and sniffing them whom he didn’t bring to the dance, may have uglier skeletons in his closet than the ones he proudly displays in the living room?

The same thing goes for the pudding our boy has for brains. He goes incommunicado for days at a time, even weeks, over one of these periods releasing only a heavily edited video address strongly indicating that he couldn’t read a script for five seconds. He couldn’t even pronounce “legislature” with consonants other than a starting L and a string of zhshshch. This would be fine if he were retired. The only reason we’re hearing about it, inevitably, is that he’s running for the fucking presidency of the United States of America.

He’s apparently broken lucid over the past few days, but as his true believers keep pointing out about Trump, that isn’t a job fit for a brain-scrambled oaf and his streams of gibberish. Is it suddenly okay to take a week or two off without notice to play club-to-head golf? Is that presidential?

Bernie Sanders has none of these liabilities. He’s consistently lucid, spry, physically normal around others, and not accused of sexual assault. We’re supposed to believe that he isn’t electable or fit for office, but Lord Hair Plugs of the Loose Hands is?

Do we wonder why people don’t trust politicians or the press?

Gee whiz, could the absence of gossip and whistleblowing about Biden have anything to do with his colleagues saying nothing bad about his groping and hairsniffing and smearing anyone who breaches their wall of silence? “Oh, it was a different time. He’s from Delaware.” Bullshit. Did Delaware have slimy car salesman-ass grope artists in 1970? Of course it did. So did every other state, and the other 49 aren’t mailbox rental storefronts with 2,500 boxes for 125,000 customers. Midcentury Wilmington isn’t why he’s a sex pest; it’s because he’s a predator. The times weren’t different; he is. “Ah, but nobody said anything.” Yeah, and nobody said anything public about Hastert until the FBI showed up over the suspicious bank withdrawals, in this century and millennium, not the last. It wasn’t tolerable, just tolerated. Must we explain the difference?

This assumes that Shields isn’t just straight-up lying. He’s either an idiot or a liar. Look, I listen to those clowns for entertainment. I even watch them when I’m hanging out with my parents and their TV. Last time I was back east Ion played the Manor Hall episode, about the whore-ass man a fellow could become by staying in school. It’s fiction, but it’s honest fiction. Flip both parts 180 to understand Politics Friday; flip 360 for the Polish translation.

It’s beautiful how this shit is just a different culture from a different time, back when you could harmlessly pat a broad on the rear end but for some reason if you did that on the Rome Metro the lady of your interest would curse you out at the top of her lungs and every other woman in the car would smack you with her purse until you fled like a pants-shitting coward at the next stop. Not appearing in public is a campaign strategy now, not a sign of a hopelessly weak campaign or a compromised candidate. Joe Biden is a liberal.

No shit, Smalley, this regime really is special and, goshdarnit, lovable just the way it is.

Summering with Nancy in the Heart of the Shitty

We are not, as a polity, going to have a coherent one this summer. It ain’t on the agenda, fam. Our once-in-a-century plague, all too likely a preview of more frequent coming attractions, will not take the summer off here any more than it has taken the permanent Philadelphia summer of Southeast Asia off in Singapore. The sun comes out. The barbecues and beer coolers follow. The sap rises. Melanomagenic public nudity beckons. School’s out.

Is any of this a thing that can be cancelled?

Or, government depending, school’s back in session. The only student I know of who applied himself for summer school was a kid back east who told his teachers that he would be damned if he was gonna land on the crew at his father’s paving company again. Kid had to work to maintain his grades. Universal homeschooling has not gone too swimmingly this spring, and congregate schooling in July and August will be controversial, to say the least. The months of May and June are straight down the shitter in an ordinary school year anyhow. The old sap is up too high to focus. Of course a vigorous young thing can get worn out pulling titty at four in the morning in Ferndale any time of the year, but shit, Bessy, who am I kidding? I’m entirely too agrarian-minded for this country.

We’ve lost instructional hours, they say. We’ve lost learning. The bottomless spring break (giggity?) will disrupt the instructional flow for our hardworking young people, in contrast to the annual summer break, which never does that. What percentage of Americans have any idea of how we ended up with a summer break from schooling? 8% of students? Two fifths of teachers? Supposedly less than one percent of Americans live on working agricultural or pastoral properties. I think I’ve heard figures of two million in total.

It’s wryly entertaining that these earnest doofuses construe instruction as the purpose of the American K-12 schooling apparatus in the first place. What planet do they inhabit? At least the commute to ours gives them scientifically relevant experience in space travel. Gotta take what we can in this business.

It seems the modal American is thoroughly ignorant of the contours of the postmodern superstructure holding our country together in a state of haphazard civilization, let alone of how this superstructure interlocks with the past, or as some of the sober among us think of it, real life. Food comes from Whole Foods. It contains the whole store of the foods, right? Sure. There’s no point to explaining these things willy-nilly; we choose our battles to fight. To the fish, before its conversion into sticks, what is “wet?” Wha, whaddaya mean, what’s “wet?” Ah, you aren’t from around here, either! The music immersion program in these parts is phenomenal, Mr. Ross. Say, why don’t you play some? Goodness, it’s the summer. What else would we do? Toil on farms all day, like a bunch of wetbacks?

Wha, whaddaya mean, “wetback?” They’re all dying in the desert. That’s how badly they desire to come here, as aliens.

Brenda Jorett herself posted photos of her own decadent ass lying in the Jersey sand when she wasn’t scolding the kids these days for having no work ethic. We’re all just working for the weekend, cranking it out for the opportunity to lay out. Why, yes, I did personally know some wretchedly self-satisfied jagoffs back east. You may have read about them.

Much of this is arrant bullshit. It’s beside the point. This is the culture we inherit and now steward. As the dumbest, most brainwashed motherfuckers on the face of the earth like to say, it is what it is. It’s our programming. The point is a more intelligently and reputably stoical one: we’re in no position to expeditiously roll back several generations’ worth of hardening cultural idiocy that’s been woven straight into the drapes of the dysfunctional funhouse in which we live out our very weird communal hangups over sex and work (separately or in tandem) just because we’re getting our sick on.

Well over a tenth of the US population lives in California, and most of that lives on the maritime side of the crest. With spring mostly behind us, the only thing we can do now is to pray for a wet summer that is not on deck. We’ll be lucky if we get some good and heavy coastal fog. We’ll be lucky if the June Gloom has any soporific effect at all this year. The cabin fever is only getting worse. The beaches down south were a mob scene over the weekend. Contrary to popular belief out of state, it usually cools down and clouds up noticeably along the Pacific seaboard going into summer, and the summer fog is in no way exclusively a San Francisco thing, but the forecast so far looks good, and that means it looks nothing but bad.

Nob Hill Dreamboat is uneasy, and he has every reason to be. He’s in charge of a hive with no queen bee. Getaway traffic surges unstoppably out of the metropoles when the sun comes out. The only things the authorities can do, realistically, are to close parking lots and deploy spotty park patrols. Spring erupts and a hundred thousand motorists all descend on the same hot spots with adequate parking for a quarter of them. This is what happens with or without a pandemic, and as they say in the dumber parts of Pennsylvania, this year we’re going with.

Look at it this way: Gavin Newsom is the governor of California, not of Instagram. The problem isn’t comfortably or safely housing 8,000 or 16,000 residents per square mile in a city, as the horny-for-sprawl urbanist squad is now concern-trolling in the name of public health, not just in the name of Joel Kotkin’s grandmother who always hated Brooklyn. That’s bollocks, and Kotkin is, as always on urban density, full of shit. Another outer-borough Jew with a chip on his shoulder needs to work out his insipid personal problems: who cares?

The actual problem with California’s urban planning is a thornier one, because it’s cultural in nature, not infrastructural. Eight million private cars are garaged in the same metroplex on direct lines inland from the same stretch of beach running from Pacific Palisades to Santa Monica, and it’s a pain in the ass to drive to Point Mugu. No, that does not mean that Point Mugu will have parking. Are you out of your mind?

Not everybody makes a break for the coast all at once; it just feels like they do, because it takes nothing but a sunny day to send the traffic spiraling out of all control. There’s any number of things that people could do on their days off that don’t involve all going to the same overcrowded patch of sand, but the crowd surges at play are inevitably irrational. Some vapid fuckhead logs onto Instagram to post dogshit-retarded influencer pictures from some place she first heard about last week, and the next week it’s so popular nobody goes there anymore. Plus people who work or do marketing for a living don’t have the gumption to research every getaway spot that might possibly be within a safe round-trip driving distance and also worth visiting. Inclement weather or remoteness could make a place unsafe (Salton Sea much?), which would tend to make it not worthwhile, and there’s some empty-ass wild shit not very far from city hall in Los Angeles or San Francisco.

It’s the same spat the Malthusians always have with the anticolonialists they always accuse of being pie-in-the-sky morons, who always accuse them of being eugenicist bigots. What, exactly, do we mean by enough space? Potter Stewart himself would never have the clarity of sight to know it. It looks a lot more spacious if there are free seats on the Expo Line than it does if there isn’t free pavement on the 10. We have, in all but the most extreme times, such as this spring, the civil liberty to go to the beach. Does that mean that we have the birthright to drive there right this minute and find parking?

Of course it does. We’re Californians! Gavin said it himself: California is all about living in a dream house in the hills. He’s pretty astute as politicians go, but that’s every bit as ridiculous, irrational, and provably false as insisting that everybody in LA has a car. This shit is so pervasive that we don’t even have to make it up. I had to look up census data and transit ridership statistics to learn that any of this is happy horseshit. Am I supposed to take the rest of the state for such losers?

The urgency of the present is going to last all summer. It’s gonna look great. Take your ass down to Men’s Warehouse and get fitted. Millennia of weather and a century of proliferating automobility are crashing into what is so far a brief season of compromised public health. There’s no way Memorial Day this year doesn’t make things snap. Memorial Day is one of the smattering of extant quasiracinated American holidays marking the seasons. It’s the one that inaugurates hot summer. My God, Caray, you couldn’t ask for a more beautiful day for a health scare and a ballgame.

This thing is operating on a timeline that the wisdom of the crowd finds alien and intolerable. All is not well on the homefront. Families are at the breaking point, which is exactly what every sober observer of Alaska expects all winter. (Nah, all year.) We’ve got millions of people who literally, direly need some time outside. The public health orders are exacerbating every local inequity and disparity in access to open spaces, parks, pedestrian-safe streets, and other places to not just sit around inside all day like prisoners.

This is a good example of how they’ll shit the bed by reopening the schools before Labor Day. Zoom conferences, online curriculum portals, and other horseshit forms of distance “learning” have exhausted the patience of the parents trying to coordinate their new unsupported mandates and the “students” who in a great many cases frankly wouldn’t be learning jack shit worth knowing in the best of times. I learned how to read in school. Does anyone glancing at this blog possibly fucking think I learned how to write there?

Like any other metastable social stress, there’s no identifying the point or time of failure in advance. Things hold, and then suddenly they snap. The reason to expect governments to face a crisis of legitimacy by Memorial Day this year is just that the statistics of our national holiday culture are decidedly not on the other side of that bet. Regional American governments are unwilling to hold the line for the duration of the popularly observed spring. California is a different beast from Georgia, Florida, or the line between them: it’ll be a cold day in hell when we elect a pulsating sleazeball like Brian Kemp or a hapless, ideologically addled dipshit like Ron DeSantis. We do, however, absolutely have roughly our fair national share of loudmouthed death-drive zealots who love shitheads of their caliber for being shitheads. John Cox got over forty percent of the vote against Gavin Newsom in the last general election, and some of the stuff he was pushing was crazy.

The plane of cleavage that busts this whole thing open may not end up being exclusively political in nature, but I fully expect politics to play a prominent, ugly role. It’s a Democrat virus. Hydroxychloroquine is the Republican drug. John Cox loves cars and the car lovers who drive them, so Gavin Newsom is a limousine liberal who hates cars and farmers and everything else that keeps America great. It’s pretty inaccurate, but we curate our own truths. This is America. Leaving enough surface water in the rivers to forestall saltwater intrusion all the way back to Stockton and Clarksburg and the ruination of every riparian, estuarine, and near-estuarine marine ecosystem from San Ysidro to Smith River is a liberal plot against growth.

Yes, this stuff is insane. Yes, people believe it. Remember, the notionally left wing of our political class consumes Harry Potter and Josiah Bartlet wholly in earnest. It’s #content, bitch. The political spectrum in the nation maintaining the global Allied nuclear umbrella spans a riotous diversity of ideology from nerds who believe in castles full of wizards and elves to the guy who looked at the sun with unprotected eyes because he’d been told it would be covered and now wants to develop orthoscopic ultraviolet irradiation of the blood stream as an antiviral treatment.

It’s shockingly politicized. Why would any of it not be? We believe in science and rationality; that’s why we strive for a crypto-English aristocratic utopia based on a series of trashy fantasy novels featuring a species of elf serving as domestics for dilettantes who fly around at will on broom adventures, and it’s also why our ideal government is a version of Bill Clinton who has no personality and never fucks. We believe in the economy and the prosperity springing up from it, and we believe in Jesus Christ; that’s why we insist that there’s nothing potentially troublesome about spewing waste products of proven toxicity into the atmosphere with total abandon, and it’s why we believe in cheating the workers we hire, stopping the courts from judicially legislating bans on the use of lethal injection chemicals that will torture the condemned to death from within, putting tenants out on the streets on three-day unlawful detainer actions, barring church groups from hosting free meals for the poor in city parks, and denying school lunches to chronically malnourished children on account of two-bit billing disputes with their deadbeat parents.

The conservative thing to do is to dump trash into the commons, and high Christian praxis is to torture a convict to death in the state’s name, not to be executed like a loser. Duh. The liberal enlightenment is about–what else?–wizard lords, elf servants, and triangulating realpolitik reactionaries who won’t even permit themselves a half-consummated affair with a plump Jewess.

This is why Gavin Newsom is headlong on his way into a genuinely inevitable political crisis. It doesn’t pay to be the grown-up in that room. We’re jumping off from a baseline political discourse that’s stone fucking nuts: sworn liberals who carry on like timid little authoritarians constantly on the verge of shitting their pants and scold everyone over sex, most drugs, posting cringe, sleeping in, junk food, and pretty much anything else that might be fun, squared off against sworn conservatives forever up in arms about liberals taking away their liberties. You read that right, because it’s all wrong. Let not your heart be troubled, though; a public health crisis with no clear end in sight will be just the thing to inject sobriety into our debates and bleach into our veins.

This much truly is not his fault. Nob Hill Dreamboat is doing a damn good job given the alternatives (Cuomo? Dear God), and he’s up against some nasty obstacles in the way of his effort to maintain the semblance of the State of California in this space. There’s no better example of how the Democrats will be sure to tear defeat from the jaws of victory and screw the pooch raw than Nancy Pelosi. Newsom is more helpless than ever to scare some goddamn sense into that bitch, and she absolutely could not care less about what he’s trying with such great effort to do for their neighbors. He’s preppy as fuck, but he’s serious and on point in crises. Then Fancy Nancy shows up and reminds everybody that the two of them share a city and a political party. It’s absolutely vile that a man of such impressively resolute character is forced to navigate the same political waters as that malignant grand narcissist. We’re facing a global public health crisis, and that fucking cunt is up there foodie-vlogging in her mansion with a pastel sweater tied around her shoulders, showing off her freezer drawer full of high-end ice cream.

It is supremely arrogant to expect ordinary Americans not to be incandescent with rage before that spectacle. THEY are calling US deplorable? Come again? We have to wonder when they’ll get the message, or if they even care. They basically don’t.

Cool. That was easy.

They had Trump dead to rights for stirring up deadly communal tensions, all-around crookedness, and apparent gross mental unfitness for office (which he did and said practically nothing to dispel until after his acquittal), so they mounted a Q Anon string flow chart-ass prosecution over incomprehensibly complicated breaches of lawful foreign policy, violations which looked quite defensible on their strict policy merits, all the while insisting that there was nothing at all unseemly about Joe Biden’s crackhead failson holding a flagrant sinecure at a major oil company in one of the two countries where they claimed to have incontrovertible proof that Trump’s activities were illegal. They have the nerve to brag about Biden’s low net worth, crudely attempting to distract the public from his decades of extreme malevolence and public corruption and also from the suspiciously high net worth of so many of his colleagues whose main disclosed source of support was a flat Congressional salary.

It doesn’t work. It just doesn’t. The Blue No Matter Who crew bray about how Trump is so openly reactionary in so many ways, so he cannot possibly outflank a single Democrat on the left. This is pathetic. What the fuck is so outlandish about the possibility that there are two virulently reactionary parties, not just one? What’s so outlandish about the Donald tacking to the opposition’s left 5% or 10% of the time? The same scolds are constantly in a state of high dudgeon that the president is so erratic. #TeshTips, asshole: that means there’s no predicting the guy. He’s facially obsessed with owning the libs, and he starts shit with other Republicans just for kicks, too. He was on the hard left flank of the Republican primary field in 2016 on, at the very least, the permanent imperial war state and labor and industrial policy.

This isn’t to say that he will push left; it’s to say that he may, because he at times already has. Meanwhile we’re told to take Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden seriously when they assert themselves as the saviors to deliver the nation from this reactionary authoritarian madman. How dare we disbelieve them!

Shush, hun. Ask a rude question, get a rude answer, and maybe think about inspiring more positivity in the body politic by showing some fucking manners next time. Some of us actually read about voting records. Some of us pay attention to our officials’ coarse social cues and take them seriously for their policy ramifications.

As with politics, so with wealth: just because Donald Trump is a rich vulgarian doesn’t mean that his opponents aren’t as bad or worse. It’s that renowned liberal rationality again. How could Ben Shapiro not market himself as one of America’s keenest political minds? It’s never prudent for only one party to show up to a battle convinced that it is the only rational and sober one present. That’s how we swooped into Afghanistan and got our asses whipped by Toyota cavalry squads with firepower no heavier than our own gifted surface-to-air missiles, from back when the same militias were smacking the poopoo out of the Red Army, with our help. (Why not?) It doesn’t matter that the Republicans are insane. That never stopped the Taliban when they were forbidding women to leave the house with more than their eyes showing and stoning citizens to death for adultery. The gross truth of it is that the Republicans know their enemy in this fight and they fight to win, and the Democrats don’t. Blackhawk Down may take some light rocket science, but this story doesn’t.

There they go again, wearing their beanbag slippers to an East End pipe fight with James Mack. Gee, why does Mack the Pipe keep braining us all the way to Newport? How? Ow! This is so unfair.

This is the minefield Nob Hill Dreamboat must navigate. He has his wits about him, and he’s wise enough make common cause with the death drive wackjobs across the aisle, but once again, that in no way means that he doesn’t share a caucus with partisans every bit as evil and deranged. As I keep saying, Kamala Harris is the Uncanny Valley Girl of present-day Deukmejian-Wilson reaction. She’s our junior Senator. Saying that Harris and Newsom are Democrats is like saying that Rob Ford and Mark Saunders are both from Toronto. It’s fascinating, but they aren’t both falling-down drunk somnambulant crackheads. Yeah, yeah, I know, the Mayor is dead. Long live the Mayor, etc.

The popular grievances coming to a statehouse near you this summer (or spring!) may veer into the petulant, the overwrought, or the flagrantly bogus. It doesn’t matter. What always matters about these dustups is that people believe in their causes and show up itching for a fight. They don’t pull their crew cabs over on the way down from the fancy-pants foothills and ask themselves, huh, we gross $225k and live in a mansion in Granite Bay with a powerboat in the garage, does this make sense, huh. Of course not. Do any of them look like they do? The point is that they’ve got the damn fire in the belly and know what limbic strings to pull. Nancy’s mansions are fancies. They’re plural. She wants nothing more than to take away our freedoms. Gavin is a Democrat.

It’s irrational, but the mistake the usual shitlib suspects keep making is to assume that the loudmouths at these protests care about rationality or fair play or any of that liberal shit and can be shamed into having some. The lie the same illiberal liberals tell is that they care about the plights of ordinary constituents. This is bollocks. Nancy cares about her ice cream collection. You do gotta hand it to her, if you’ve got a spare carton.

Voters notice. There’s no way around this. Gavin Newsom is as capable as any politician of confronting the crazies and holding the line on public health, but he won’t be able to control the firestorm on the hard fringes if the yahoos get up a full head of steam about how Nancy Pelosi isn’t denying herself the creature comforts due to a woman of her stature, is denying her constituents the right to go to the beach, and is the same nanny state liberal swamp creature as Newsom.

If the most extreme five percent on the hard right get riled up about this stuff it’ll be a huge mess. Different strains of woowoo about the virus being a hoax have already been in circulation on Fox News and the low-class samizdat channels on YouTube and Facebook.  For the more downmarket of these audiences, credence before this crackpot nonsense tracks uncannily with poor clinical treatment, bad bedside manner, abusive and fraudulent billing practices, and poor outcomes in allopathic medical care. Add Rush Limbaugh’s florid, ill-tempered conspiracy theories about environmentalism being nothing but a pretext to strip hardworking Americans of their hard-won possessions and we’ll be having us a grand old partisan time. Dumping sewage into the fishing hole and wondering why it smells or not doing that are just some of the Opposing Viewpoints (TM) that leaven our discourse. What the hell do you mean, it smells? Are you a liberal?

Some of this noise is the seething of angry people who operate in bad faith or the outbursts of the chronically paranoid. Demagogues and grifters are always on duty to activate the angry and the paranoid. It’s one way to look at Trump, but scapegoating him for decades of ugly American politics, or really centuries, is disgracefully reductive and pat. None of this started with him, and frankly in many ways he has toned the ugliness down from prior presidential administrations.

Since his candidacy center-left lcircles have been overrun with hysterical assertions that Trump is the worst, most narcissistic, most dangerous, most evil, coarsest, most sadistic, most out-of-control, most demented, most malicious, most all-around atrocious president in the history of the United States. Few ask, compared to whom? The historical memory to make these extreme claims can’t date back past about 2004, which was roughly when the most acute and dynamic threats to civil liberties and the rule of law under the Bush Administration, Cheney Regency, or what have we finally started to attenuate as the memory of 9/11 at last dulled enough for Americans to think clearly. It takes evidence to demonstrate that the Trump Administration is significantly worse than that, in any specific or broad way, and nobody who carries on about it offers evidence.

By contrast, it’s almost hilariously easy to find #Resistance histrionics who suggest that Trump is the ONLY bad president ever. By their reckoning we have never before been governed by a sadist, a crook, a scoundrel, a narcissist, a liar, a bully, or a manipulator. Instead we were led by men who were, like, a little bit problematic or imperfect or eccentric or whatever. This is full-blown delusional. These wackjobs are aware of past presidents and the rough contours of their administrations. The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind shit starts only when the Donald lurches into view. At that point, everything before 2016 vanishes into thin air: Flint, the foreclosure crisis, Abu Ghraib, whatever the hell really happened on September, the Lincoln Bedroom, Ricky Ray Rector, Iran-Contra, Watergate and the Evenings with Dick Tapes, Japanese internment, slavery.

These things flash straight out of their minds because an oaf is mouthing off at the national dinner party. Trump’s deeds and worst words are of secondary consideration; the triggers is that he yells, rambles, and talks trash. It’s reasonable not to want this horseshit in a president or his White House. It’s even more reasonable not to want the misdeeds enumerated in the preceding paragraph as functions of government.

Many of the histrionics have a big problem with his trashing other prominent politicians: Jeb, Joe, Hillary, Chuck-n-Nancy. Point of order, if I may: what in the hell is wrong with that? They’re all scoundrels, too. Besides, Lee Atwater was never as much fun. Our dude has done a lot of bad things, but one of these was not the invention or reification of racism in politics. Good God, y’all. It’s fucking nuts; might as well stick your schlong in the almond butter jar and go at it.

This bitchfest started in earnest when Trump squared off against the woman who is very arguably the most reviled machine operator in American politics today, a woman whose husband happens to be a rather corrupt and sleazy president emeritus himself. She shows up fresh off an internecine ratfucking, and we’re worried about the ethics and decorum of her opponent? Cool. That’s definitely lucid thought and not at all the psychological projection of an elaborate cult apparatus. It couldn’t possibly be that the Russia horseshit is a projectile outburst or a red herring having to do with our own three-letter agencies and their shady relationships to Clintonworld. Everybody’s panties are in a twist that he doesn’t trust G-men and spooks. You fucken for real, dawg? This dude is somehow a Mancurian Candidate for a latter-day Tsar who shows little but disinterest in him, but the Bushes are not suspect for their custom of holding hands with Saudi princes and kings? Bitch please.

There’s every reason to be distrustful of these scathing denunciations, even paranoid. It’s farfetched to fly to the other extreme and insist that, Nothing But Respect, My President is looking out for the little guy, when he can hardly be counted on to look out for, or at, the same thing for two straight minutes. He does, on the other hand, show that exuberant, irrepressible interest. Hillary? Nancy? GTFO. Neither has an empathetic bone in her body, although Hillz did–does?–from time to time have a bone that feels your pain in hers.

Returning to our springtime airing of grievances, the little guy in this scenario is whoever says he’s the little guy. Is he a dentist? A yacht dealer? It doesn’t matter. It matters that the yahoos show up and fuck shit up, or at least act like they might. Since the prevailing community standard is already to relate to our politicians in bizarre parasocial ways, let’s give some thot to who these characters are as parasocial friends. On the one hand, we’ve got the Chappaqua bitch–it took me a few seconds to place why Chappaquiddick seemed not quite right–with her hundred million-dollar family fortune, her hale philandering husband turned scarecrow, their worse-than-useless faildaughter, and their foundations and initiatives and shit; and on her team we also have the sneering Baltimore mayor’s daughter with the wine estate on Zinfandel Lane, the pied-a-terre at the top of Divisadero, and, but of course, the ice cream. On the other hand, we have the guy with the name-branded archipelago of usually faiiling privately-held businesses, the gilded penthouses, the golf courses, and the sporadic but boisterous interest in factories and mines and the hardhats who run them.

Some will object that Trump is just a better actor. It’s a fascinating critique. Does that sound like a liability in politics?

Now review which of these phonies is on which side of the partisan divide between the austere Puritanism of science and the Cavalier exuberance of opening back up for business. Gee, it’s Donny Fingers for the latter, and the rich girls for the former. We’ve been cooped up, or so we say. Can we have a little day out on the town, as a treat, or can we have a little lecture about social distancing, as a treat? Is it a trick? Look at Nancy. Just look at her. Would you take “candy” from a stranger who approached you like that? Those are Melissa Ann Shepard barista hours she’s living.

It’s exactly what rubs people the wrong way about Al Gore’s climate activism, but for having the government’s blessing just to go outside. Again, what matters here is the perception, not the facts. The amount of showing off that affluent liberals (sic) have been doing about their “quarantine” and “lockdown” routines can’t be doing anything but convincing conservatives (pretty sic themselves) that it’s all a big liberal hoax, just like the carbon thing. #NeverForget: It was a quaranpreening episode that inspired Fancy Nancy to beclown herself with the gelati showing in the first place. It’s plain as day who she has in mind as her audience for that shtick: her fellow virtue-signaling cosmopolitan jagoffs. There’s no better platform for that performance than one’s pied-a-terre in the City. This is, for a party striving to be relevant to a diverse coalition of Americans, the chef’s kiss of messaging.

No, my point isn’t that I care if she lives in Napa. All I’ll say about this for now is that when Milton Street lived in New Jersey, or didn’t, he didn’t care himself, and he was fun about it.

Some have more places to lay down their heads than others. To judge from Fancy Nancy, many homes make for hardened hearts. I personally know people who are hella rich and not the least bit like that–hysterical liberals who watch The West Wing for therapy, sure, but good people–but damned if that miserable hag doesn’t give them all a bad name by confirming the worst prejudices of the rest of us.

She has a base for her stunts: the talented tenth, the aspirational 14%, something in that ballpark. That’s the problem, though. Ordinary Americans despise them with just as much white hot rage. The Democrats can’t even keep the affluent and educated at large on their side because they keep preaching killjoy sermons from their palaces. The stench of the hypocrisy is overwhelming: we luxuriate at home, but you go to your shift at Whole Foods, because you didn’t earn what we did; Uber Eats and Grubhub and Instacart for me, but no Applebee’s for thee.

Many affluent reactionaries are parasites themselves. So what? Their ideology and rhetorical framing are too muscular for them to roll over for coddled, sneering Bay Area pissants. That’s the thing about politics: there’s no monopoly on bad faith. It’s a free market and a free-for-all, not an exclusive franchising opportunity.

Nob Hill Dreamboat’s latest public health order, for the targeted closure of the beaches in Orange County, looks petty and reckless as boss moves go, and yet somehow even that seems refreshingly aboveboard compared to the party standard. Of course, derelict local officials could explain more than a bit of it. What are we going to hear next? Posh cunts in Aliso Viejo refusing to vaccinate their children? In any event, this is not a needle a dipshit can thread. We’re talking about locals whose fathas fawt the Second Wooled Waw, and now we’re telling them that it’s no weekend for a Shaw trip? Eyy, that won’t do, Billy!

Drop the accent and see how it plays in RSM. It might not go over so great. At least Gavin carries himself like a big boy. He doesn’t show up on Instagram looking like, oh, shit, we’re late getting Granny her Xanny. The thing about some of these other coastal elites is that there’s so much ocean for them to enjoy and yet so much of them safely on land, failing to enjoy it. As Guy Hagi says, see you out in the Pacific!

Goodness, that was not an aloha thing to say about a national matron just because she wants us obsequiously serving her for a pittance or, better, dead. We really shouldn’t indulge our minds with such juicy disturbances, yeah? To be fair, Hawaii has a ridiculously passive-aggressive name for its local travelers’ aid outfit, the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii, whose latest deal is to ship your haole ass back to the mainland on the company dime if you show up without the money for a fortnight of lodging or the inclination to stay put in that which you’ve booked.

I hate to say it, but it makes more sense than some of the federalism we’ve got in the other 49.

Ah well, I reckon we have a fun summer coming. To paraphrase Louis Uccelini, you may not be ready to shred that shit, but that shit is always ready to shred you. It also applies to Yaakov Smirnoff and politics. The upshot of these nearly six thousand words, then, is that we’ll just have to wait and see what happens when it’s time to head to the beach, baby, beach, baby, there on the sand, from July to the end of September, when, God willing, the rains will at last return.

Avuncular aspirations

Hysterical aesthetes who conceive of themselves as my manager get frantic, scandalized, and otherwise bent out of shape when I tell them that I will not be voting for Joe Biden. God, does that mean that I want Trump to win? Until recently I would have said yes; now that his kin and cronies are using armed federal agents to steal medical supplies from hospitals, I’ll say no.

It’s not that I consider this a germane point, mind you: there are more than two political parties, as I know as an ongoing consequence of voting for some of them, and Trump or no Trump, Biden is a piece of shit. I don’t feel a preference for either of those asshats at the moment. Either one will be a disaster, Congress as currently assembled looks unlikely to rein either of them in, there’s awfully little daylight between them anyway, and I no longer see a downside at all to voting third-party. Since I no longer prefer Trump to Biden or this cycle’s lucid but still execrable spring offerings, there’s no upside to punishing them by voting for the Donald. We’re past the lesser of two evils with that matchup, best I can reckon, and no amount of sound and fury from Pelosiland will change that, because it’s irrelevant, distracting nonsense. Your boy needs facts.

We’re also past the point at which Gropey Joe pisses me off anywhere near as much as his handlers. As I’ve stressed time and time again, that guy is manifestly fucking out to lunch. Astoundingly, he’s now even worse. You or I wouldn’t just be advocating to institutionalize him at this point if he were a loved one; we’d be itching for a fistfight with anyone objecting to his immediate placement in a closely monitored environment with round-the-clock care or to barring him from ever entering into another contract for the rest of his life. He’s a terminally senile man whose mail we would intercept. Snicker to taste, if you can muster some, about his gullibility before the Nigerian princes in his family; that man has no idea whatsoever how to file his tax returns or pay his bills. He’d put the mortgage bill in the trash can or the wood stove, just to cut down on the clutter. He can’t speak normally for ten seconds. He can’t even look the least bit normally at a nearby focal point, such as a television camera. P. J. O’Rourke’s other coequal branches are Money and Bullshit, so by golly we’re off to a great start.

We’re giving this dude the launch codes? Not with my vote we fucking are not. It doesn’t take a boarded neurologist to tell that he’s lost every one of his marbles and ain’t getting them back. I thought Trump was senile until his post-acquittal victory presser about the bullshit of dirty, dirty cops, and I can imagine that the weight lifting from his shoulders gave him a cognitive rebound that hasn’t yet ended. I increasingly take Trump for a better actor than most politicians, certainly including Biden, and it’s well within his capacity to gaslight his audience, although with his attention span it could just as easily be stream-of-consciousness bullshitting. 12-dimensional chess? Gimme a break, Stossel. Lyle and Erik aren’t wasting their stamps mailing moves to that fool.

The august opposition is now responding to an incumbent who doesn’t look as befuddled as he once did by running a severely brain-damaged septuagenarian who is visibly unable to manage his own activities of daily living. If he can dress himself I’m General Stroganoff, and yes, I’ve got beef. Son of a bitch cannot function without a nurse, and the things he can accomplish with one-on-one assistance are hardly worth trying.

If he wins there is no possible damned way that his duties will not be delegated in their absolute entirety to aides. (His doodies, too, in observance of Strom Thurmond Permanent Diaper Days lol.) We might as well have Edith Wilson prop up her stroked-out husband next to her on the stage like a scarecrow and call him Mr. President.

Who, then, are they proposing in the way of aides? Why, Larry Summers. Gag me Ghomeshi. I rarely say this, but for once I’d prefer to get Charlie off. #CHAHLEE! Of all the luminaries they could have floated, they found a shock doctrine thug who’s also an obnoxious blowhard about how women can’t do math.

These fuckheads keep insisting that there are reasons to vote for Joe Biden, nothing but reasons. Cool. What in the hell are they? He was an incorrigible reactionary, but that’s gone with the wind in the new presidential dispensation, the one incapacitating him from pulling up his own pants.

How do they even get him out of bed without a hospital lift team? No doubt about it, they’re mainlining him speedballs just to keep him awake, and it isn’t working. This shit is worse than my late grandmother’s verbal and spatial function when she was snowed all day on lorazepam. They can’t dose him on straight Addy because he’d veer into foulmouthed tirades and lunge and punch at anything within reach, including bystanders, so they’re modulating the uppers with some heavy-duty sleepytime goodness, but not so much that he’s fully asleep. He’s keeping Ambien hours. If they weren’t dragging him out and telling him where to stand in front of the camera and where to look, like that’s worth a damn, he’d probably be drawing water into a stopped basin to brush his teeth, laying down on the floor, and going to the ER if anyone happened to be within range to hear the water running and discover him passed out in his soaked pajamas.

The courts? Are you shitting me? He’s the guy who pushed Anita Hill out of the way for being a scurrilous slut to get Clarence Thomas onto the Supreme Court. How do we forget these things? Any amateur courtwatcher or general-interest Beltway wonk knows about that. Or maybe not. It’s fucking surreal. Hell, Merrick Garland isn’t what the doofuses who save a physical seat for him advertise, but we can’t expect Joe to even try to nominate judges who don’t piss off the base straighaway. On the 10% chance that he still knows what a federal judge is, we can’t expect him to nominate any who are worth Pot-o-Shit Friend’s housewarminng gift. Who will his aides pick for him, in that case? They’re all shitheads, too, so it doesn’t matter.

Do I wax cynical? Do I don the foil hat? Look, I wouldn’t be saying this if they were giving me reasons to think that he or the party were offering anything worth having. His handlers are treacheous shysters and he’s permanently out to lunch. They’ve got a thicket of prejudices to break through to reach me now, and it’s their own damn fault.

The court appointment problem goes much deeper and broader than Joe Biden, no matter how little he helps to rectify it. The deal with the Thomas nomination was that the Republican caucus and the talking points cronies at its affiliated policy shops were hella sore that Robert Bork had had to make a case for his confirmation instead of just reading some retarded platitudes off a stack of loose sheets. This was unseemly because it breached ancient and sacred norms, by which they meant that they really wanted that shitty reactionary scold on the high court. They wanted him seated straightaway to throw red meat into the veal pen for the godbotherer base and write mercenary opinions for their sponsors. The Congressional oversight mandated in the US Constitution was a bridge too far. They borked him! He was qualified!

So? How shortstaffed do we seem to be for lawyers? A law degree and a bar admission aren’t even constitutional qualifications for the Supreme Court. Any one of millions of intelligent, thoughtful, conscientious Americans could have appeared before the Judiciary Committee as the nominee and refrained from insisting that the Senate had a solemn duty to grant the Court carte blanche authority to eviscerate civil liberties and the commonweal just because the guy wandering the White House in a befuddled daze soiling his adult diaper had delegated judicial nominations to a committee of pushy ideological wackjobs.

Bork was the historical context. The Democrats listened to some of the worst, most mala fide right-wing ideologues pout like a bunch of whiny bitches about how they hadn’t been given their way by the coequal branch of government constitutionally responsible for approving or rejecting the guy they’d just tried to shove down its throat, and instead of using their backbone to stand up and tell the Republicans to get fucked again if they tried it again, lol jk what backbone, of course they fucking caved. What else would they do? The President can have a little confirmation, As A Treat.

That was it. They didn’t want HW and his attack dogs, scumbags like Lee Atwater, on their asses for applying the same standard to Thomas as they so recently had to Bork. Plus it dovetailed nicely with Joe Biden’s provable reactionary tendencies. Win win!

Ideology had been Bork’s undoing. There were no allegations impeaching his personal character as a private citizen, but he was an extremist kook hellbent on forcing his deranged personal sentiments on his nation. Thomas was pretty extreme, too, but his Achilles Heel lived in his pants. The standard for confirmation went from don’t be Business Plot John Calvin to gee she must be accusing the poor guy of being a sex pest because she’s a crazy lying slut.

At no point in the prevailing confirmation process was it asked whether the White House shortlist included prospects who did not walk around the office talking to discomfited subordinates about Long Dong Silver on company time. That story alone was blatant grounds to return the distinguished gentleman to sender. Like, here’s the breaks, Pops: this guy you sent us is a highstrung grandstanding kook who won’t keep it in his pants. Try again; he ain’t it, chief.

The Senate had the constitutional prerogative to do this as many times as it took to yield a nominee for the lifetime judicial appointment under consideration who wasn’t horseshit. You wanna fill it, Herbie? Okay, tough guy, send us someone, anyone, who doesn’t directly insult our ethical discernment. It’s a basic assertion of advice and consent: our advice is that this bastard fucking sucks, and we do not fucking consent. Next!

Never mind; that takes normal adult assertiveness. The Hill had been, from time to time, a bad place to swing by and piss on a member’s leg with a cheery comment about how the reservoirs were down and so I reckon we could use some rain. This was the threshold for minimally acceptable behavior that the Congress had set as recently as 1986, by shitcanning Bork’s application. When push comes to shove, the standard is, listen, boss, we don’t like him and we aren’t gonna take him. It’s the same standard as Reagan and Bush had used for their nominations, just in reverse: me likey, me sendy.

What? They no likey? There just might be a solution rattling around somewhere in here, like not repeatedly sending nominees up to the Hill when they’re dogshit. It’s an elementary proposition: consent can be granted, or consent can be denied. Boy Lordy are there some emeritus ranking members of the Judiciary Committee who could use a lesson like that. The point is, this ain’t a no-backs deal. The nomination is a yes-or-no question; because it is a yes-or-no question, the body answering it is allowed to say no. Good God y’all, even Ricky Ray Rector recognized the right to say no to dessert now in the joyful hope of dessert later.

None of this crap is how adults should do business with one another. It’s basically toddlers throwing tantrums over the most obnoxious, devious shit until their parents relent. In this case the parents relented without delay because they’d fielded a tantrum a couple of years before. At some point it’s time to Just Say No, Nancy. Which Nancy? There’s no need to go to Panera for a You Pick Two, cracka. Heh. Two cracka.

It’s so pathetically fucking basic. If a bunch of pushy shitheads keep asking the same obnoxious question, they need to be given the same firm answer denying them their unacceptable requests until they get the hint and cut that shit out. It took Slick Willie one iteration per request to get the message because he was a little weenie; see Guinier, Lani. The Republicans stood their ground and got their way, again, because the Democrats were trembling little weenies.

A self-respecting Congress would have put its foot down and told the president coughing up these shit-tier nominees that repeatedly asking the same question would repeatedly yield the same answer. That shit you pulled didn’t fly last time, and it doesn’t fly this time. It’s still a hard no, boss. Who wears his beanbag slippers to the hardball court? (Duh: a Democrat.) The result is that extremist freaks, busybodies, crooks, and fellow-traveling trash who have no business being in public office keep pushing the envelope with outrageous demands, like, you need to confirm this fine gentleman because me and my buddies will get upset if you don’t. A proper adult would ask, who the fuck is that? Some asshole doesn’t like being told now? That’s groovy, fuckwad, because I didn’t like being asked. Go ahead and prepare me my place in hell, bitch.

Some demands are so outrageous that the answer should never change. We don’t just shovel Pop Tarts into a trough to get our kids to shut up about how they’re hungry again. Or maybe we do. I am not my brother’s keeper at the Chinese buffet in Gallup; I would never have heard of it but for the misfortune of having been its customer. You live; you learn; you let it go to waist and wait for the Beetus Bird to bite. But at some point one just has to stop rolling over like a whipped little bitch every time some shitbird throws a fit.

We all have our little asks. Hey, if you don’t mind, I think I’ll lash this all-steel carving fork to your forearm with this roll of copper wire and stick the tines into that electrical outlet. Uh, excuse me, you will not. Are you out of your mind? Did Dr. Mengele send you? That, my good binch, is off the agenda.

That’s the Republican MO: demand outrageously evil concessions, then squeal like a herd of stuck pigs at the sound of every objection. Whadday mean, we’re killing people? We’re just keeping the government from interfering in other people’s healthcare by giving them healthcare as well. We’re just saving taxpayers who won’t notice the difference on their refunds from having to fork over an extra fractional-fractional cent per dollar so their neighbors eat for free instead of getting a job and still going hungry.

Just hurl a volley of chillingly heinous demands at the wall and see what sticks. With the Democrats in opposition, that’ll be most of them.

They wonder why we’re so cynical about politics. They wonder why we don’t trust and admire Nancy Pelosi as a liberal progressive leader of great moral character. It couldn’t possibly be that they’re all rich insider traders who have exempted themselves from ordinary life and seceded from it.

It will be swell to field the next round of seething broadsides about how I and the rest of the left are privileged for even thinking about not voting for Biden. We’ll be lectured to recognize and agree that the perfect, a compos mentis candidate of credibly good motives and free of accusations of sexual aggression, is the enemy of the good, a permanently and severely demented retired rapist with an exceptionally lengthy and recent history of groping women in full public view. It fucking rocks that the only reason Joe has retired from the game is his comprehensive failure of neuromotor function.

Yes, certainly, it is our duty to vote for this sack of seeping brain mush in a suit who in no way evokes the late-stage Soviet Politburo’s succession of a disheveled cripple, a guy who kicked the bucket in a matter of weeks, and a mute. For fuck’s sake these duds made the guy with the port wine stain sprawling across his bald spot look like a spring chicken.

Like hell is it privileged not to vote for a piece of shit who’s decomposing in real time. Are they kidding me? It isn’t even a privilege not to vote in general. The main reason I vote is that I’m residually middle-class. The poor don’t vote. The statistics prove it. The sociological anecdotes about why, however, are the humiliating part. Hint: if you’re scolding them about it, they don’t like you.

Only a moron would fail to recognize any of this. Only a moron would go into politics.

Education special

Back in the late aughts there was a great deal of excited chatter about the MOOC. The massive online open course was basically a 100-level auditorium lecture, but free at the point of service, and on the computer. This fad coincided with the Second Great Depression, a global financial crash, deliberately mislabeled as a recession for propaganda purposes, which had nothing to do with education and everything to do with terrible elite immorality and incompetence. The crash was precipitated by college boys and girls, many of them with degrees in the liberal arts, who were utterly ignorant of the Great Depression. It was proof positive of a collossal international fuckup spanning much of the Global North, and it was strong evidence that education had nothing to do with education, either.

In any event, a bunch of proles looking for the big new thing and the grifters pandering to them salivated at the prospect of a free, zero-barrier college education, spurred by pangs of fear that higher education was becoming completely unaffordable. In truth, it wasn’t college that was unaffordable. What was unaffordable was allowing rich cokeheads off the leash and into positions of financial authority and power. Telling these shysters to drop out of the workforce already and devote themselves full-time to their drugs was too forward–this is America–so they reinvented a mashup of the mail-order audio lecture on the Great Books and the homecoming roundtable.

Detective Munch once took a coffee appreciation course at the Learning Annex; I once listened to George Schultz tell a one-liner joke, as the audience consensus construed it, about how Stanford was practically a subsidiary of corporate high technology. The farthest I ever got with the NYPD was the civil service exam, which was a lot more normal than the officers administering it. Some of us pass the test, for what that’s worth. One of the tests Munch passed had to do with judgment in class enrollment, and our lateral transfer from Balimore had it.

The NYPD doesn’t take lateral transfers, and dear God, Carisi, it doesn’t do 5150’s. If you want to really get your brain into a twist, consider this: Peter Scanavino is from Denver. There’s no need to sit for the exam to know any of this, just the intellectual curiosity of the hardcore barrio-bred cashier at the Steak-n-Shake in Fogelsville who’s jazzed up to talk shop across the counter because “I think they’ve got one in Ohio, too!” They don’t teach this in college. They do teach how to lose all critical thinking ability and then brag to classmates about how one’s alma mater, tried and true and all that other plagiarized pomp and circumstance and shit, taught the critical thinking needed to succeed. It’s fucking baffling. They’re always saying shit like, I didn’t learn how to write until I came to Dickinson. Da fuq? You still can’t.

Some of the more idealistic cynics, like Twitter’s Haircut_Hippie, argue that most people shouldn’t even try. This isn’t a terrible idea. There’s not nearly enough time to read the good writing, so it would be a blessing and a mercy not to weigh it down with piles of shit. It occurs to me, though, that it’s easier to write well about things one finds interesting and germane than it is to respond coherently and artfully to pointless, excruciatingly boring academic prompts. Those of us of a certain class (or theoretically so lol) are expected to jump through these hoops on command under the same defined-period, outrageously expensive institutional auspices where we’re encouraged to cultivate our friends, lovers, spouses, cronies, cult handlers, lives of the mind, purposes in life, and various other good things presumably never again to be so vigorously catalyzed in our lives, but don’t let your GPA drop, kid.

We pay for this? We actually PAY for this? Christ.

As another new decade looms, the Groaning Twenties, we brave the Dread Ailment. Circumstances force us to take our instruction alone and from afar. It’s a beautiful new frontier in learning, a ramshackle, spur-of-the-moment MOOC costing upwards of a hundred dollars a day. The institutions converting so abruptly to this format inevitably include the same ones that don’t advertise their discount fares or offer them without copious paperwork, but which atone by constantly pestering the “members” of their “communities” for tithes and offerings. Ed Burmila is right: the professors are now pretending to instruct, the students are pretending to study, and the schools are not at all pretending to collect tuition.

They don’t news this about, but the big cheeses in Silicon Valley send their children to select, expensive private schools strategically stripped of superfluous advanced gadgets. Technology for thee, but not for me. It’s pretty basic: if you’re slinging crack, you don’t wanna get addicted to crack. I assume they aren’t being told to bushwhack through barely operable computer portals to facilitate their own children’s education, already paid for under contractual terms stipulating in-person professional instruction. /Borat Voice/ My part-time wife is doing exactly this, and guys, this shit is not working. It just isn’t. I believe I could put together a serviceable curriculum in the time she’s spent navigating the portal for her kid’s school and troubleshooting it for other parents. They’re supposed to have fucking staff for this shit. One way or another we’re paying property taxes. Instead they’re dumping batteries of unaided, spottily funded mandates onto individual parents. I completed much of my own schooling before all this gee-whiz Flinstones electronic nonsense, so I know for a fact that there’s no reason they can’t just ship out the books and the assignment packets.

My bad: there’s no operational reason. Profits are being realized. Those realizing them have children enrolled in low-tech Montessori and Waldorf schools tucked away discreetly up the hill from the Bayshore.

Once again I’m all for parents Benedict Optioning their kids out of this pointless mess. They may receive deficient instruction or not learn much from their bespoke homeschooling curricula, but at least they’ll flounder intellectually in ways less aggravating and exhausting for their parents, and as we all know, brick-and-mortar schools are renowned for the spotless absence of academic, social, and behavioral difficulties on the part of their students. The commission here is, we might say, not so great: if you’re down for it, go for it. There’s nothing stopping you if you’ve got the gumption to tell the school board to get fucked. Besides, if you’re reading any of this, I Men’s Warehouse guarantee you that you will not be one of the bad homeschooling parent-instructors.

It seems we’ve got a lot of kids stewing at home this spring and learning jack shit. It’s like school that way, minus the congregate setting. Lose me with the moral panics. Fat Cracka don’t care. My great-aunt, the one who graduated from the eighth grade at the age of 22, received gracious and patient tutoring in astronomy from Staten Island’s premier autodicact, for what John Dennis Diddly that was worth. Some will win, some will lose, some are born to tell the fellow to take the telescope and shove it up his ass. Is astronomy gay? I’m agnostic, but have you tried wrestling? It’s the straightest thing in the Basin if Sunny 107 doesn’t have John Tesh on to talk about traction alopecia from man buns and spin One Direction records.

#IFYL, #TeshTips is a #BigBandStyle disaster, it’s capitalism, and it’s a low-key form of disaster capitalism. Who the fuck would give a shit about that bollocks in a healthy, prosperous, stable society? “Goodness, I only listen for the music.” Music notably excluding Johnny Paycheck, from what I’ve heard. That doofus should be off dropping crank to fuel a ten-piece swing set and dicking MILF groupies, not telling America how to get a job and keep it.

Our Radio Guylander, however, is just an example of the chronic minor inflammation afflicting the body politic. The good shit is landing as we speak. Betsy DeVos is not one to pass up an opportunity to trash stable, functional institutions and their prosperous unionized employees in order to make way for the latest gee-whiz scab racket. The same goofoffs who can’t pay attention to their teachers for two minutes when they’re in the same classroom are totally going to learn and thrive through this new paradigm remote instructional module, because innovation. Her beloved charter schools selectively divert students from their home districts into standalone siloes, the kind of joints where a bumptious thirty-year-old with a TfA stint under her belt and a master’s diploma on the wall is the principal, in the same fashion that the Union Army handed out lieutenants’ commissions to college boys like so many pieces of candy.

Resin up the bow to play the Ken Burns Fiddle Serenade for THAT. Since we’re already shunting kids into dodgy alternative schools, some of them extremely dodgy, and letting their owners operate them as slush funds, why not remove the teachers? Why not set up an understaffed Rube Goldberg portal for office hours and call it instruction? If this were about learning, we’d have public librarians draw up some recommended reading lists and hold down the fort at the desk to counsel those still confused.

But that was never the point. They’re just riding the grift horse again.

The last thing the DeVoses need is more money, so of course this whole thing is a scam designed to enrich them above all else. Hire bargain-basement IT dipshits to run the kludgefest, hire exhausted adjuncts who sleep in their cars to do any teaching (and there doesn’t have to be), set up the chief aides and other cronies with their windfalls, and personally make mad bank. Do welcome the money and the cash. That ass-ugly mansion on the outskirts of Grand Rapids doesn’t pay for itself.

What many liberals get wrong about Betsy DeVos is that she knows nothing about education. The awful truth of it is that she knows a fair bit about education and is passionate about it. Specifically, she’s passionate about all the same dogshit-stupid talking points the most hopeless Republican normies enthusiastically snort straight up their piggy snouts. An apathetic ignoramus would allow institutional inertia to keep the Department of Education going where it’s going, asleep on the bridge of that garbage barge sailing down the Cuyahoga River. DeVos knows what she’s doing. She used to tutor in the public schools in Grand Rapids. Already a billionaire, she took a normally obscure cabinet job at the upper end of the civil service pay scale, a penny-ante gig per se for a woman of her wealth and power. Of course, the salary in these jobs is just a fringe benefit; everybody knows the real money is extrinsic to the earnest Jimmy Stewart on the Hill shit.

The way that woman and her family think society should be run is absolutely fucking insane. DeVos occasionally spirited her most promising tutoring mentees out of the public schools and into the Dutch Reform private system, Ragged Dick-style, but she demanded that they work for it, not just academically, but by cleaning her mansion. Cross-referenced with the bizarre death drive of the hardline Calvinist worldview, it checks out that she’d consider it adequate educational policy to have poor students arbitrarily transferred from the general public school track onto the Christian prep school track just because they happened to have been assigned to her as mentees, and that it’s reasonable to indenture them and their mothers to her as superfluous domestics. It happened, so God knew about it, and God knew about it, so God willed it. The whole thing is a gullible dimwit’s book report on Candide, unfolding in real time with real schoolchildren.

The uncomfortable question that always arises in the aftermath of these gifted student teleportations is what the hell is to be done with or for those Left Behind (TM). We’ve been doing No Child Left Behind (TM) standardized testing for close to two decades now, and the results are still the same: not all children are above average. This produces the scandalous circumstance of certain school districts being ranked at the bottom of the rankings. How could they let that happen? The superintendent knew they were going to be ranked! Shockingly, some teachers in troubled districts help their students cheat on the ranking and proficiency exams: same thing the cool kids do in Corona Del Mar, just for the general and vo-tech tracks, the losers who’ve never heard of “reach” and “safety” schools. Robert Sanchez should reach for the emergency brake right now and stop this train in the interest of passenger and crew safety.

What? Was that a stupid thing to repeat? Compared to what? Dipshits who are stunned that the same districts in an increasingly immobile and sclerotic society keep performing at the bottom on tests that are specifically designed to rank districts? Goodness, how does this do-or-die competition keep producing losers?

In Pennsylvania, a perennial contender for last place is the York City School District. 501st out of 501. They’re all supposed to be above-average. Why isn’t is above-average? I take a quick sober look around town and can say exactly why. They ring-fenced the Great Migration ghettosiders, the Boricuas, and the Great Value Crackers into the municipality with the lead paint instead of the tax bases, where their kids are raised in chaotic homes without enough food. Groovy shit. Somehow this yields lower standardized test scores than Dover and CB East. How bow dah, Bregoli.

I’ve got the answers. This isn’t a great mystery. But how the fuck do I explain it to property-owning normies? They ask questions they don’t want answered, and the questions are retarded, so the answers are also retarded. The proximal fixes are pretty straightforward: beef up funding and instruction for YCSD and eliminate the tests. You know, do shit instead of constantly measuring it and talking about it. Come to understand, somehow, that some teams don’t make it to the Super Bowl.

The distal solutions aren’t so hard, either: make it so it isn’t the end of the world if a kid is a late bloomer, a jagoff, or just real slow. They’ve still got HACC and Millersville, right? Except maybe they’ll take fewer reverse-commute shifts at Panera if the rules of the game are relaxed. Who knows if it’s good, or if it’s wack? We might have to wait another five or ten for an overpriced bougie sammich because the training and management in the back of the house are as appalling as the clip art on the walls in the front. We might have to go home and make our own really shitty French onion soup. When we hear boosters earnestly saying that Inner Harbor and Camden Yards are the economic engines of Baltimore, it starts to seem like there’s no good reason to stay in school, or at least to do anything there but socialize. Either you’re part of the big club and you ain’t in it, or you’re slaving away for a pittance in the clubhouse.

Call me when they’re running a real economy again. They aren’t entirely jackin” it at Inner Harbor, but they’re sure trying. As they say on NPR, Here and Now’s Peter O’Dowd visits three piles of trash in Baltimore. Listen, I’m the last one to shade any of that, but all it amounted to was a skeleton crew at the incinerator, some dump truck drivers, and a neighborhood guy running the compost pile at a community garden in the outer part of the inner city. Otherwise they’re trying to fix the ghetto with some dead-end food service jobs on the deindustrialized waterfront that involve a whole lot of weird racialized socioeconomic shit from Whitey from the County. This is exactly what we get for being a society run by navelgazing idiots who can’t do rough mental arithmetic using factors of ten.

Huh. I thought that was supposed to be on the math test.

Remedying any or all of this might be expensive, as opposed to the DeVoses’ obscene compounds. Many graduates of our most lavishly funded, highly regarded schools truly do not understand that Jeff Bezos is worth a lot more than their dentist. Perhaps you understand now why I declined to call these schools our best. That said, schools are an expedient turnkey way to keep our young people, and our young at heart, from doing whatever else they might be doing.

It turns out that teaching, counseling, coaching, mentoring, socializing, and otherwise occupying a good third of the American population is expensive. If we know anything about the most deranged Dutch Reform shitheads in Southwestern Michigan, it’s that they’re cheap. They aren’t Book Jew cheap, either, like, I went over to the takeout place at Seventy-First and Eighth, but you wouldn’t believe it, they’re charging $7.50 for a half a dozen pot stickers, so I just got the pork chow mein. That shit’s all right, the chow mein and the decisionmaking. The DeVos clan all insist on ruling. Erik Prince just has to be a mercenary meathead who kills disfavored factions of Middle Easterners for their oil and minerals. The DeVos family has to preside over a multilevel marketing empire, collecting the tribute that is their due for being at the top of every upline every time some submissive schmuck from church sells a bottle of stovetop cleaner. Betsy has to make scholarship students clean her fucking house. I want that self-righteous bitch to answer me: what in all hell is wrong with more clutter and grime, or with less house? She’s a megalomaniac, and she’s also a miserable cunt.

These fuckers obviously don’t want to work for a living. They wouldn’t be joining armed raiding parties or running the most notorious MLM racket in the country, and maybe the world, if they did. Do they really think a Chicano kid from the wrong side of the tracks hasn’t heard of the idea of getting a job? And why does the job have to be for her benefactress? This arrangement is feudal. A woman with an estate that would astound most medieval kings has members of a family already overloaded with other duties perform domestic tribute on her mansion, which is one of many her family own in various places. This shit ain’t about self-reliance, which Betsy could model by doing her own damn cleaning, allowing her scholarship beneficiaries to do something actually worthwhile, like just study.

Southwestern Michigan is one of the most mental places in the country. Parts of Grand Rapids proper aren’t too bad, but the region is a clusterfuck. The DeVoses have more living and recreational space than they could possibly use, and meanwhile there are places half an hour away where the government is unable to maintain the roads. The local factory owners discovered early on that the Dutch, and the Dutch alone, were eager to cross picket lines and get to work. They like this: it was easier to have a conference of dour preachers boss them around on capital’s behalf than to dispatch Pinkertons to beat the shit out of Pollacks.

This culture is unrecognizable to the actual Dutch from the original Holland. The Dutch Dutch, historically liberal on the whole, mostly stayed that way, developing an impressive variety of productive indusries run by competent but assertive workers and an off-the-clock culture with a strong respect for individual liberty. The Michigan Dutch mutated into grandstanding managerial-class busybodies whose children play heaven. I’m not making that up. There are families in Ottawa County whose children play heaven.

Thank God my Michigan relatives are in Ann Arbor. Say what you will about the dueling anti-deer cull activist groups or the bougie business enclosure efforts; at least they aren’t a gaggle of the most impossibly preoccupied mummers blustering about a handful of out-of-context biblical passages and reveling in their own utter alienation from the natural world–creation, as some of us sometimes call it. Of course the Southwesterner zealots revile the Southeast’s raucous pagan-Catholic syncretic spirituality, with its sense of the meeting that, whatever the religious authorities say, the high holiday of Halloween is the capstone of the most important season, the Fall. Expose a kid to that and she might learn the wrong things about death, but also about life, and Walt Kowalski, and 28-year-old virgins who hold the hands of old ladies and promise them an eternity, and bequeathing the Gran Torino to the gook because he’s a friend now and God knows who else will take care of that poor Lab, and light? I’ve got a light.

Can’t have the little ones imagining that there’s a ghost inside that pumpkin. It’s of the Devil, just like praying for, or more often to, St. Richard Russell. Chill, bruh, I’m not saying he’s your intercessor. I’m not trying to monopolize Beebo, either, but if I’m bashful about disclosing my private litany of saints to my fellow Catholics when the first thing they say about their grandmothers is that they’re their intercessors, I suppose I’ll keep it close to the vest around hardline Calvinists of the sort who approve of summary bathtub baptisms.

The dude who made me that offer was a cradle Catholic. Go figure. Five Points, man. Talk about a religion for engineers. You know, just a little something to keep in mind in case militant Wahhabism isn’t working out so great. That one lady gave Mr. Explodeypants a Rosary and a Bible at his sentencing, I recall. I just get a not so good feeling about how he’ll use either of them, especially the one with the words. And we know all too well the characters who proselytize in prisons and around the Air Force Academy.

#KeepClimbing

Hey, a foreign US intelligence asset may have good professional reasons for learning how to follow but not waive the rules before he has bad ideological reasons. The DeVoses and associates don’t even learn how to keep buildings from falling down or anything like that by being horny for rules. It’s because taking the neighborhood mindset to engineering school would be too honest and require too much work. The incentives to have tangible skills at all at their station in life are nonexistent. It would just result in some dumb bastard doing the work the servants were hired to do.

Wack-ass Calvinism is in no way fundamental to becoming or being a billionaire. For the DeVoses, however, it coheres all too neatly. It’s some bad, bad shit. I can’t stand Warren Buffett on his own, but if these asshats are the alternative? Roll that beautiful Brokaw footage. The average billionaire is all like, I have the money so fuck you is why you work for me. These ghouls have an elaborate religious theology justifying their privileges as the lords and ladies of their manor empire and the apex predators at Amway. John Calvin had a less scatalogical but more disturbed dispute with the Catholic Church at a time when the latter was extra corrupt, and here we are half a millennium later, watching his adherents justify their own wanton predation and corruption in the name of his austere theology.

In case that isn’t funny enough, they’re doing it all under the ethnic auspices of the same nation that was too liberal for the Mayflower party. Mamma mia it is a blanda mushy pea! African-Americans often rue, and quite reasonably so, that they’re so deracinated from the Motherland, that they hit dead ends every time they try to trace their ancestries. We’ve traced some of our own family trees back into the 17th century, and these seem like good things to be able to learn, so I don’t want to make light of people with a similar interest in their ancestries hitting brick walls at Emancipation. Seeing what certain white people do with their old-country ties to Europe, however, makes the whole endeavor seem absurd. Italian identity is being a territorial paranoiac. Irish identity is being a belligerent territorial drunk. Scotch identity is a marginally more sober highland brawling thang. #PureMichigan Dutch identity is all about using personal religious zealotry as a cudgel to beat public policy until it conforms to the ideological will of one’s congregation.

It’s foolish to expect cultural stasis lasting centuries, but the examples above involve divergences running from the significant to the unrecognizable. It doesn’t help that Americans spend more time listening to crude ethnic marketing kitsch and the grandstading of the most obnoxious local ethnic representatives than they spend socializing with foreigners from the countries of origin in question. Pelosi? Snucchi? La Situazione? Eyyy, Guido, it ain’t a so autentico a meataball, #EY! I’m not just shitposting, though: I’m far from convinced that any of the three know anything materially true and useful about Italy.

God knows they’re solipsistic enough to be Americans.

That cold detachment

Eyyy, Fancy Nancy, she like a de gelati, #EY! And Mamma Mia, it is a slimy Isa Cream!

We can hardly even score a fun Eye Tie for these gigs. We’ve got Schumer, and we’ve got Cuomo–two of them, Christ–and fucka me Chucka, dats all we gots. Lawdy Mista Rosavelta, dissa coulda beaner D’Abilli Joel, but day plane, Frankie, day plane.

Some accuse Bernard of the Brothers of carpetbagging. I figure that move to Vermont was just cultural assortation. It’s never the aggro Money Jews who move north from the city full-time; it’s the principled Book Jews, the ones who are from the Outer Boroughs and aren’t ashamed of it, and by Bob Moses that train was leaving the freshly remodeled Penn Station with or without him.

We might figure there’d be some old-line Genovese or Turiners in North Beach, maybe even some Arab Southerners in the Excelsior or what have we, who could have claimed that wop slot first. We’d figure wrong. A little upwardly mobile Irish something-something happened to Moscone and Milk back at the zenith of the Great Compression, and you can betcher racially ambiguous Wasilla ass we didn’t get one of the good Jews out of that deal, either.

Look, I’m not up on my high horse here grandstanding about how I’m a cracker crossbreed Catholic. That’s for the Baltimore mayor’s daughter to do, As An Italian. So was Gramsci, bitch.

The Pelosi Ice Cream Controversy is petty, but it’s revealing. The Marie Antoinette energy is strong in that one. The whole episode is emblematic of postmodern American politics as celebrity.  These aren’t public servants; they’re celebrity divas. The public service they do perform is incidental to their privilege. They have to perform some local constituent services to hold their seats, because at some point even their cult diehards will start to wonder what the hell they’re doing on Capitol Hill if they don’t, but in the grand scheme we’re all constituents of Congress, and as guardians of the national commonweal most of them, Nancy Pelosi included, are disastrous.

It stands out that these crooks never socialize with anybody who understands how ordinary Americans live or has the courage to tell them. It’s of a piece with the unmooring from reality of our elites across the board. The people behind our television entertainment have little ability to tell the stories of ordinary Americans and practically none to design a sitcom set resembling an average American house or neighborhood. Newspaper reporters and staffers in the seats of our governments come more and more from the upper middle and upper classes. Elected officials at the state level are consistently statistically or functionally multimillionaires; at the federal level they’re either multimillionaires who live and think like centimillionaires or centimillionaires who live and think like billionaires.

Christopher Lasch’s revolt of the elites framework was overwrought in its emphasis on the secular liberalism of the upstart elites rising in the late midcentury; loud religious piety and cultural conservatism have long been more of a middle- to upper-middle-class hobbyhorse than generally framed for normcore consumption, and less of a fundamental value set of the lower classes, although the regional and local nuances are worth keeping in mind. Lasch’s overarching model, however, wasn’t just perceptive. It was prescient. This was especially true of the socioeconomic aspects of his framework, which he sketched out ably, although lightly and as part of a distracting effort to integrate them into a grand model of decadence, alienation from workaday life, and hardening arrogance.

The guy had his odd fixations, but he was a fucking prophet. He still is, really. There is simply no way that a rich, pampered socialite like Nancy Pelosi will allow her descendants to plummet into the mere middle class in her lifetime, unless they seek out a middling station of life and refuse her help. A descent into the lower class is something that would take them a heroic effort. Even if they choose to live frugally and shabbily, their parents and grandparents will be there to bail them out of the legal consequences of any addictions they indulge, or at the very least to blunt the ill effects. They know how to find top-notch criminal defense attorneys and can easily afford legal fees. They’re able and generally willing to bribe police departments and prosecutors’ offices. They keep and curate their blackmail files. Maybe the Chief is a sexual deviant who studied for his psych exams; a fellow couldn’t brame him for that. Maybe the DA is a psychopath who abuses her help. To be clear, this is not the Bill Scott energy, but that is the Kamala Harris energy. Remember, Dick Pic Tony dindu nun wah Denny Dundiddly dun. As far as we know, in any event. No homo, we just like to roll around on the mat and grab our fellows’ asses, but Carolina Jailbait knew his deal when she reached out to him, here, , On Line. They say Diddlin’ Dennis did it to straight dudes, too, though. Put it in, Coach!

This is just a fun scenic detour, a Taconic State Parkway of perversion. Listen, young lady, you shouldn’t let just any old guy run his Taconic peak down your professionally mowed parkway. I don’t figure it was a good idea to publish that, but it was an idea. Most of y’all are still stopping by for Dubai Porta Potty and the Levinian dude looks like a lady of the uncanny valley shit, right? Just thot I’d check. The sex is always more fun than the budgeting, but that’s just for us little people, ain’t it, Leona. Fancy Nancy, that girl can budget. It’s easier with reserves and credit lines. $190k down the drain for poker, or maybe to pay to poke her, or for a gentleman to powder his nose, or for shit even I am of no mind to mention, or, goodness, it must have been for the National Pastime, was no problem for Brett Michael. They’ve got friends. They’ve got associates.

They get their parents or family cronies to set them up with patent sinecures on command. The sky’s the limit on the bullshit make-work. NBC paid Chelsea Clinton a “salary” on the order of half a million dollars to show up at the office if she felt like it and pretend that she was employable. She quit this job to do “charitable” and other foundation “work” and get brownnosed by family scholars on retainer to reassure her that she knows all about executive function and therefore isn’t a useless idiot.

There’s a litany of repulsively sleazy grifts the Trump family organization has run–for a general hint, consider that they’re openly described as a family organization–but reestablishing Florentine Renaissance family patronage in the arts for the degraded purpose of making the family regressions to the mean sound educated is not one of them. Eric Trump’s selling points do not include the transcendence of mental retardation.

A survey of twenty-first century academia and publishing indicates that it’s impossible to make a living as a reputable writer or academic in the humanities, the arts, or the soft sciences, but there are depressingly numerous openings in marketing, including those devoted to burnishing the reputations of politically connected dimwits as intellectual visionaries. Kissing Chelsea’s ass in the name of intellectual vigor is night-and-day worse, intellectually, than anything Steve Bannon has done as a public intellectual adjacent to political power. Bannon is a dissipated alcoholic polymath who took the Third Successive Mr. Jefferson Beauregard Secessions on as his political fighter, then the Oaf of Office, and before long got turfed out, on the path of so many colleagues, for crossing his messy bitch from Queens who lives for drama. Nothing But Respect For A Thick Moist One. These guys are wrecks, but against the odds they’re humble wrecks.

Joe Biden has a different but even worse liability. He has himself a Hunter problem. There’s old Joe, wouldja just look at him, doing the yeoman wonk’s work for his humble Senator’s salary, living in his corrupt yet inexpensive second First State, keeping his net worth down, and well shucks, don’tcha know, his boy got discharged from the service over drugs and picked up a job on the board of a foreign oil company. The whiff wafting off this scene sticks. The Democrats spent four decades cultivating Uncle Joe and his colleagues as serious, upstanding technocrats, and now, as it emerges by the week that their golden boy of the year is not only a handsy hair-sniffer and reactionary extremist but also apparently a rapist and progressively senile, they’re whining at the top of their lungs that it’s unfair. It’s unfair for Trump to get a pass for doing the same shit. It’s unfair for Trump to hypocritically accuse Biden of doing the same sleazy and predatory things he’s done himself.

Beanbag come to mind as a wholesome, fair game. Anybody who’s so much as observed Capitol Hill as a rank amateur should know better than to expect one of the most boisterously outrageous celebrities in the country to go easy on a scandal-plagued opponent who is actively angering a good half or more of his own party’s nominal coalition by being a reactionary ratfucker and is truly losing his damn mind in real time. Trump’s key tactical strength here isn’t that he’s shameless, but that he’s shrewd and astute. The shrill charges of hypocrisy ring hollow. The Trumps and their Business Success Associates relish their own corruption. Burisma? Of course I would have put Junior or my hot daughter or the blond retard on the board; we were just busy with a bunch of other scams. It isn’t the hustle the Donald disrespects; it’s the whiny hypocrisy, the nerve of the sleazeballs opposite him to cry out for the mods to stop him from doing the shit they’re doing, too.

Of course the Democrats aren’t actually interested in playing beanbag for a living. They’re dirty as hell, and they have the nerve to add insult to injury by bitching and moaning about how they keep getting done dirty. We hear endless scolding about how Trump is unqualified for his office. Everyone sniveling about that needs to shut up and read the Constitution. Donald John Trump was a natural-born citizen over the age of 35 at the time of his inauguration. He’s full-stop 100% qualified. What the Democrats actually mean is that they dislike him. They resent him for not paying his dues inside the Beltway. They resent him for not kissing the rings, i.e., for exactly the shit that ordinary voters in the provinces cannot fucking stand and exactly the shit the candidates pandering to them make a show of not doing.

As we’ve reviewed before, too extensively, the Democrats had copious grounds, as they say in Detroit, to impeach the motherfucker, but instead of making a strong case proving that he was heinous, they slow-walked the process, then got horny for rules and droned on about a mishmash of incomprehensible diplomatic points of order having to do with foreign lands where our government was unwisely entangled. James Madison isn’t here to chide them for reverting to a lower old-country parliamentary threshold for shitcanning the bastard, or to have his fellow human beings whipped to death for being too slow picking tobacco. They could have told him, all right, asshole, you’ve been inciting pogroms and sending people into our chambers to shit on us, and you’re leaving town. Go to your branded hotel down the street if you want, but you’re evicted. You’re #fired.

It would have been muscular, mature, and sensible. Of course they fucking didn’t do it.

Unless they change horses midcharge–another thing that might well make too much sense to consider–we’re only in the early stages of watching that hated oaf curbstomp their new mush-for-brains standardbearer. More assuredly than that we’ve got at least another seven months of sputtering grievances about how the Party is being unfairly denied the very things it has done everything in its power not to earn. The assholes can’t help themselves. They just have to shit on core constituencies for being uppity and scream at them, demanding their votes.

Fool I ain’t in dawg. The constant weaponization of privilege wore out its novelty years ago. There’s no shortage of us who are terminally sick of hearing from ungodly rich thieves and parasitic sinecure holders that we have to check our privilege while we live, out of sheer necessity, in some version or other of the real world. Is it possible to live at the top of Divisadero, own a large vineyard on prime Napa Valley bottomland, and not be a shithead?

Democratic Party politics are a scheme for posh miserable cunts to gaslight their socioeconomic inferiors into indulging in psychotic parasocial relationships with treacherous elected officials. That was the point of the ice cream horseshit. Fancy Nancy and Gropey Joe have known each other in real life for decades, and they still carry on a bizarre parasocial relationship over Twitter, pour l’encouragement des autres. They probably have their People do the grunt work (Trump does much of his own poasting), but that’s beside the point. Any reputable politician who saw that kind of belittling Marie Antoinette preening on an official campaign channel would fire the comms staffer who posted it.

The Democratic Party has pushed its way into a state of decadence and hubris so extreme that Bernie Sanders was its only viable candidate for the presidency who lived at all deeply in the real world. Warren came close, depending on what we’re calling close. The clown car hangers-on who managed to live likewise abroad from the Land of Make-Believe were a strange bunch: the steady-as-she-goes normcore Castro, the postmodern economics nerd Yang, the deceptively astute activist moneybags Steyer (who had actually put in serious ground work, in person, in South Carolina, for years), the unabashedly syncretistic spiritual guide Williamson, opening for us all the portal into an astral overworld we dared not imagine. She said it herself: we’re uncomfortable here because we’re not from here. It just goes to show, we never know who will crash in from the New Age book circuit out of the blue and effortlessly explain Washington.

The rest of them are cultists who project their rank cultism onto Bernie and his bros of all sexes. They expect us to relate to them because they keep expensive ice cream in extremely expensive freezers. Bitch who the hell is us? The fuck do these supercilious scumbags have in common with us, and what in God’s name do they have to offer us? Nancy’s record is really bad, and Joe’s is atrocious. Do they seriously think that posting that twee, preening, self-congratulatory shit about one another’s excellent domestic taste makes it a good time to have a neck?

Leaving that aside in the basket (how deplorable!), their domain is what might be called war by other means. What, pray tell, is it good for? Not a hell of a lot, it seems, the way they’re waging it. It is categorically, statistcally false that not voting is a privilege, or that voting third-party is a privilege. Fuck outta here. The median voter hardly ever votes. Maybe 1% of Americans could say who Jill Stein is. Once again, they mean something ridiculously different. They mean that it’s a privilege, but really an offense, not to vote as they dictate. How does that fucking work? It takes some combination of high ascribed class and high attained class to be exposed to their talking points in the first place; the poor figure they’re all bastards anyway, except for Bernie. We like Uncle Bernie. Is it a privilege not to drink Shoko Asahara’s bathwater? He surrounded himself with medical doctors and (why am I not surprised?) chemists and engineers, and he charged by the jar, so I don’t think so.

The freak with the rallies and the shouting fits and the inept spray-on tan and the empire of resort properties and wearable merch branded in his own family name is running the LESS cultlike presidential campaign. The loudmouthed conservative is tacking to the left of the loudmothed liberal, as he’s been doing on the spur of the moment for his entire career as a serious politician. What am I supposed to believe: the pronouncements of professional idiots who keep getting it totally wrong, or my own lying eyes? These are parochial concerns for the Parish of One, perhaps, but the average dipshit knows that the personal is the political. Bougie Democrats and the political types catering to them sure know how to make things that aren’t even about them personal, just as much as they know how to cause gratuitous personal offense to downwardly mobile losers like me. It’s that cult programming again. Scientology doesn’t appreciate it when members break out of the compound, either. Shoko doesn’t want the supplicants demanding better than boiled vegetables. Sarinday, in the park, I think it was the Cough of Oh My, here comes that gassy day feeling again.

You float?

By the way, and I am not imagining this or bluffing, I am on the moderate end of escapees from the Democratic Rez. I’ve been homeless, and I’ve nearly been the victim of domestic violence, but there’s a whole world of hurt out there that I haven’t suffered, and I’m grateful. To wax rhretorical and passive-aggressive, do yinz want me voting against your bullshit politicians, or should I not vote at all? I’m residually clubbable enough, and whatever else, to still believe in electoral politics, in fact, fiercely so. I’m not a Bernie-or-bust diehard, either: I’ve been listening to some of the daily broadcasts of the Gavin Gabbin’, the discourses about old African proverbs relevant to the State, not only of California, and as much as I love to fun the guy, if they swap Nob Hill Dreamboat in for First State Brain Pudding, I’ll be on board. Believe me, I am not siding with Trump because I don’t want to cut the bullshit, but because I do.

This is a specific preference. GTFO with the Blue No Matter Who extortion. Christ alive, can these asshats not recognize a cult tactic when they’re swinging it around like LBJ’s schlong? I suppose [Sean Connery voish] the firscht rule of Shite Club izh shy lensch, but some of these cases may actually be too stupid to see what they’re doing. The real world is not their scene. It may well be easier, for the dissociative, to disscociate from the moral horrors facilitating their own secure, luxurious lives.

It’s striking that so many of the Blue No Matter Who scolds, as well as so many of the upmarket core MAGA crowd, presume it right and just that a bottomless servant class exists to materialize at their command out of the ether to wait on them, then vanish back into thin air upon the completion of their appointed tasks, like so many ghosts. Like hell am I the privileged one in this scenario; I don’t use those platforms. I’ve never signed up. Then there’s the homelessness crisis, which intersects with the gig economy in a pretty big way, and which Bougiekistan refuses to confront. Gavin seems to care, but Nancy? Lol. Kamala? We’ve seen what she does to prisoners, another disproportionately homeless group. Think of it as a rapid rehousing program.

San Franciscans and Californians keep these creeps in power because they terrorize the poor. Even Newsom is too politic to rock the boat enough for them to notice without a compelling cause. This, I fear, is the horror show Democratic strategists are getting at when they insist on reaching out to disaffected suburban Republicans. Kamala Harris is a Deukmejian-Wilson Republican minus the charm, but the property owners around here have gotten all squeamish about out Republicans, so they flee for protection to the closet cases.

It’s even grosser. Deukmejian and Wilson were vicious, but they were grown-ups. They were honest about what they were selling. A lot of it was death and terror, but they weren’t squirrelly. The heavily Democratic extreme right in California today is too disingenuous, for the most part, to admit that it despises the poor, the incarcerated, and the otherwise marginalized. We’re good liberals, you see. That’s why we vote for the great incoherent liberalism of London Breed, the greater incoherence of Fancy Nancy and DiFi, whatever the hell other than criminal aggression explains Ernesto Olivares, and the incomprehensible incoherence of Kamala Harris. The last two are cops, and the former got a uniform for his trouble.

If Democratic electorates are voting for these creeps and sleazeballs, that says something about the Democratic Party and its voters. It fits together too snugly with the decadent, morally insenate antics of YouTubers in Venice Beach and the pathetic dipshit proposal to win back the US House by appealing to Panera Democrats. Straight from the mouth of National Oracle Crystal Harris: fun stuff for me, adult stuff for thee. Sitting around in Panera and posting about masturbatory West Wing fantasies on a laptop? Fun stuff. Grance halls? Union halls? Factory floors? Picket lines? Not fun stuff. Driving for Uber, as opposed to telling others to drive for Uber? Hell no.

Crystal barely knew who Barack Obama was when Hef took her along to chat with Larry King, and she’s one of the better Harrises.

I can’t imagine why they keep getting thumped at the polls. Shucks, they’re all just Mr. Smith going to Washington, to militate for the stupidest, blindest, prissiest, most disingenuous aristocratic wannabes on the planet. Let’s go scare up some amoral social climbers in Alpharetta and Granite Bay and wherever and see if they wouldn’t rather vote for a team of perennial losers instead. Once we’ve done that, let’s go scream bloody murder at college-educated dead-enders with six-figure debt loads and retail jobs about how they’re apostates.

Eyy, signora, maybe there’s a reason why we ain’t a so heppy widda Mista Giuseppe, #EY! My bad: we’re respectable, devout Italian Catholics. Kyrie eleison from the Geary Expressway to Highway 29 all the godforsaken live-long night.

All of a sudden all these things become unnecessary

Let’s name some of them, bearing in mind the local and factional caveats and other stipulations, but nevertheless, let us name a few, just from memory:

–Evictions;

–Foreclosures;

–Crosstown bus fare;

–Sitting in a tollbooth all the live-long day;

–Office jobs;

–3-1-1 quart Ziploc horseshit at TSA checkpoints;

–Business air travel;

–Winery tasting rooms;

–Tendentious objections to zero-barrier immediate rehousing of the homeless;

–Incarceration;

–Going to school;

–The sacrosanct quadrennial in-person voting pilgrimage;

–Constantly jumping through hoops for medical care;

–Moral hazard whining about UBI disbursements.

Yang Gang, you up?

It makes a constituent wonder whether any of these things were ever necessary, and of course they weren’t. We discover, to the surprise of our worst public intellectuals, that there are still a number of very necessary things: hospitals, groceries, auto supply stores, gas stations, farms. Our radio stations are still on the air; some of us still listen to them entirely too much, but Fat Cracka ain’t even tryna resist DJ Beth Holland Huizenga. The radio: why yes, Mr. Osgood, I will see you on it.

If you’re paying attention, you noticed that the examples just listed are not like those listed at the top. It hardly takes any attention to know, on some level or other, that the former list covers much of what is officially misconstrued as the American economy. Dear God, I fucking thought the last half of that sentence in the Kai Ryssdal voice. Remember what I said about too much radio, kids? That’s fine; I don’t exactly myself. All the same, NPR is like the Tenderloin: you can learn interesting things there. For one, this new dispensation has at once home-confined and spatially liberated Brian Wattttt. For another, it has freed up seats on BARTTTT.

Cut me a break; I’m not listening to Randol White People these days. Watt’s going on with that, Devin. We ought to wonder, though, what it means that traffic and ridership are down 80-90% through multiple notorious bottlenecks, with maybe a 10% drop in total capacity for immediate provisioning of necessities and a stark, sudden improvement in provisioning for certain chronically vulnerable demographics.

There’s an old unholy trinity to describe what went away, old in the same sense as prestressed jeans: waste, fraud, and inefficiency. This term of art is traditionally deployed, in the ancient and venerable connservative tradition of making shit up, as a slur against the government. Mainly it’s used against the parts that work well, such as Amtrak and the Post Office, and withheld to spare those that don’t, such as the armed forces and what we fancy the criminal justice system.

In our current state of emergency, this trinity transforms from scurrilous agitprop to helpful descriptor. Safeway is still operating, frantically. The dense archipelago of cube farms whose inmates were free to sit around repeating what she said as variable combinations of personal entertainment, foreplay, and sexual harassment mostly are not. I keep shouting it into the void: it speaks volumes that The Office is so prominent and popular as an eminently relatable satire of our lives (Who the hell is us? What is this? Bethel Park my fat white Lebanese ass) and not as a serialized work of transfixing Faulknerian estapism, a story in the same broad genre as novels about unemployable paranoiacs who hoard trash.

None of that is what a reasonable observer would call a workplace. I once chatted with a barely solvent flimflammer with a drinking problem who was theoretically selling insurance by day and less theoretically dating a dentist’s widow and the same dentist’s daughter by night. To his gushing amazement, he and I knew the same community-trust retard from Plymouth-Whitemarsh, a smelly fat fiftysomething who liked to go poolside and clumsily hit on thots. The guy was better at storytelling and getting that dentist’s sloppy seconds than he was at sales, but he was way too well-behaved and well-meaning to keep Jim, Pam, or for fuck’s sake Michael company. Meanwhile I hear nine-to-five normies saying shit like, oh my goodness, anyone who’s worked in an office can relate to that show. Huh? Good God, y’all, it’s no wonder we leave the getting shit done to China.

Git ‘er done. Say, I believe that’s what Mr. Jefferson barked at his fellow Virginians.

Emergency or not, we’re inevitably stuck on a timeline in which the toxic racialization of work and play pervades our lives. I get my fix through–what the hell else?–NPR. A fruit grower in Smithsburg, Maryland is the latest whiny landowner to go on the record with his grievances about how he had to charter a van to drive an eight-man beaner crew all the way up from Monterrey with the same focus a caravanner would need to get across the Nullarbor Plain and through the quarantine station at the state line on fumes by 1:30 pm sharp. Smithsburg is just across Camp David from Thurmont, where I insist on a drive-by pilgrimage to a community of some of my favorite peach trees whenever I’m solo and mobile in Maryland.

One ridge over from the Catoctin Furnaces and that son of a bitch was on the radio to piss and moan about how Yanqui never does him a damn thing. These sob stories always seem to feature enrolled members of the Wypipo Nation complaining about their fellow tribesmen. The lib owners of our great land love to titter about this hypocrisy and self-loathing, but it is categorically little to nothing of the sort. Lazy Americans, in these cases (Many Such!), are Americans who don’t own land. This landless refuse is commonly denigrated as white trash, explicitly or more often implicitly, or alternately as the coddled affluent, to distinguish this shitcannable mass from the farm owners defaming them, who are in no way proudly living off the avails of disposible Mexican reserve army labor.

This is at first blush a downhome pastime down at the corner of movement conservatism and liberal wokescolding, but it’s more than that. Complaining about lazy Americans under a whitening gloss, as opposed to the OJ-ready darkening gloss so cherished by Cliven Bundy on his trips to North Las Vegas, is a great way to ward off the idpol scolds on the cultural left, but it’s also a great way to avoid drawing unwanted direct attention from, say, Baltimore City’s unemployed. Too much frankness might cause them to notice that they’re in the same deplorable basket as the average Great Value Catoctin Cracker, and that would be way too reminiscent of an integrated Depression-era crab cannery union on the Eastern Shore. For God’s sake, boys, you don’t tell them that the steelworkers had an integrated local in Birmingham years before anyone out of state had heard of Edmund Pettis. We put the Ashokan Farewell fiddle track on the turntable and reenact Antietam, but we don’t do any of that nostalgic shit for Bacon’s Rebellion: insufficiently recent, perhaps, but certainly too unpleasant.

Speaking of the panda bear poor, guess who’s stuck manning the groceries this month. Asian-Americans are reported to have the highest rate of work-from-home capability, albeit still under 40%, much lower than the American press corps today assumes, and we aren’t talking about Camobians or Laotians here lol. The Onion ran an article years ago about how more and more Asians were defying stereotypes by being lazy and poor, just to show that outfits of its class don’t hire writers out of Fresno or Elk Grove. Any of these insipidly inspirational ethnic narratives is prone to run violently aground, and those who have the stomach to watch are in for some reliable entertainment, but the navelgazing, inflammatory multicultural horseshit is a red herring as much as it is a direct outburst of culture. The ethnic festival genre is a useful veal pen for the less competent and ruthless surplus elites our diseased apparatus of social reproduction keeps shitting out into the job market. The money and prestige aren’t what’s on offer in “consulting” or in i-banking, as a rule, but they’re adequate to forestall the working-class agitation that the wingnut welfare cases across the aisle conflate with Joseph Stalin and Ebonics, under the categorical umbrella of The Left.

It’s worth reiterating here, for the vast majority of pundits and think tank sinecurists who can’t fathom anything so self-evident, that American academia is NOT part of the left. Oberlin is a fucking sideshow. That shithead dean from Tisch who livestreamed herself dancing to REM in front of hundreds of highly educated, downwardly mobile witnesses studying under her authority, by way of refusing to refund their prorated tuition and fees for the cancelled balance of the semester, is the actual revealed moral center of the postmodern American academy. Larry, Jerry, Joe, and Jim worked at right-wing juggernauts. So many states, so few coaching methods! All we have to do is compare how many Americans watch NCAA football or–good riddance for once–March Madness to the audience for the published works of the academic divisions of the academy.

Think about that: we have to fucking specify that these academic institutions have academic operations somewhere in the back of the house. Our young people aren’t being brainwashed by this cabal of hopelessly tweedy dorks. Maybe it in fact exists as a movement. Who fucking cares? Nebraska Coeds exerts more cultural influence.

We may not have sports in our time, but, as always, it’s time for #SPORTS! Hollywood shysters like Harvey, Woody, and Roman notwithstanding, and assuming that the arts scene is credibly liberal (i.e., ignoring most of the blockbuster filth it releases), the lion’s share of institutionally facilitated abuse in the United States seems to arise on the right: churches, jails, Jungleland, organized athletics, Scouting. Chesterfield my leg, but usually not in the theater!

Or the theatre! Even assuming that repertory theat[e]r[e] is run exclusively by sex pests, there just aren’t that many theater kids. Nobody watches that stuff. A couple of years ago I dropped a ten spot, I think it was, on a repertory production of Oklahoma at Lebanon High School. A buddy from the berry patch was in the pit orchestra. It fucking whipped. This is the same institution of what we’re encouraged to call education where, if you go out back under the bleachers, they’re not gay, but $20 is $20. I could have brought a date, or I could have bought a date. As my late Kansas State alumni dependent grandmother always said, as a business school graduate herself, shucks.

It’s truly providential that the 2020 Summer Olympic Games have been cancelled. Postponed, delayed: I don’t give a shit; we’ve got a reprieve for a minute. As bullshit economic models go, wholesale intercontinental air travel for the aggrandizement of Bob Costas’s sense of purpose in our world is a whopper. Like every other skybox grandstander you or I could name from the boob tube, only more so, that pompous gasbag has netted more than enough ad revenue distributions to retire to a poolside bar or a squash court or whatever. These are the same games under whose auspices Matt Lauer committed a forcible rape while on assignment in Russia. NBC paid that guy meaninglessly huge amounts of money, he still worked himself like an Amish plowhorse, and he still raped subordinates instead of hiring his pick of working girls. This is of course the same international celebration of athletic greatness that hosted and served as the blessed channel of Bela, Marta, and Lawrence of the Labia. It’s the premier international excuse for eminent domain overreach, construction cost overruns, and white elephant featherbedding. Governments fight each other for this excuse to waste their constituents’ tax payments on lavish receptions for objectively useless foreign entertainers.

This is a beast I don’t mind seeing starved. Whatever national government is the most slickly, aggressively crooked and self-promoting wins the honor of dropping billions of dollars on theoretically reusable flagship venues built expressly to reconvene a quadrennial international exposition on the premise that any given sovereign nation is home to up to a hundred citizens whose accomplishments are remarkable enough to celebrate, but that certainly most of these elite athletes and their teams will fly home officially judged losers, duly humiliated before the world’s television spectators, in the short due course of time.

The cancellation of this spectacle is traditionally inspired by war, but pestilence will do. The Japanese Olympic Committee rode that wave all the way into the Fukushima seawall. I’m just saying, they know construction; they keep it safe. National pride was on the line. A couple thousand of the most pathologically competitive freaks on the face of the earth, earnest young things who had scheduled years of intensive training to optimize their competition performance down to the hour, stood to be heartbroken by, say, the organizers over in the sweet home of New Chernobyl noticing with rising alarm that their country was most prominently in the interational news for having a death ship quarantined in Yokohama Harbor. It took weeks of bitterly tenacious optimism in the face of a proliferating global health crisis for these fools to finally Christopher cross over from pigheaded boosterism to the minimal prudence of, you know, not going through with that.

The international camaraderie of sport can, in fact, wait until a safer time. How bow dah. This whole story is a sensible one to tell me, the slow-moving widebody from the no-cut high school cross-country team; surely these are all well-adjusted young women and men with good reasons for subordinating themselves to the likes of Nassar and the Karolyis. These are the role models we need for our impressionable children. These ceremonies and competitions are a prudent and compelling use of public funds.

I’m General Stroganoff, and you won’t believe what’s for dinner. Hint: it’s a lil sumpin I’ve got with the IOC. Honestly, there is no suitable time to get back up on that earnest bullshit, but as I said, we’ve currently got ourselves a breather, a grace for which we should all, in these contagious times, give thanks.

It gets even worse than the waste and public corruption of the Olympics. Qatar is Shanghaiing slaves to build its World Cup stadia. On the sunny side, though, and you’ll like this one, Chester, football is a sport whose players are constantly getting “injured.” That is precisely the respect international competitive sports deserve. Sepp Blatter is just what happens when the simulation overheats.

Different football, Hernandez.

Some of us are never ready for some. It’s past time, then, for there to be less of the worst of that crap. We are actually, if haltingly, getting back to basics. We’re honest to God cutting hunks of bullshit out of our lives and our societies. At long last we’re moving beyond the shady, questioable minimalist preening of Marie Kondo and all the #VanLife and tiny home influencer asshats. A drive-in storage unit around the bend from the clapboard church gun shop in Yelm stacked to the ceiling with old clothes and blankets was never our true clutter. That old soldier living in the woods out past Fort Wainwright with a barn whose second floor was on the verge of structural collapse from all the junk–the ornery shut-in sourdough who totally had a buddy lined up to buy this truck here, and another guy he knew lined up to buy that truck over there, just gimme another day or two–that gentleman, our broadcast entertainment, led a mentally clearer life than many Americans. Most of the people gawking at him from Outside (your facility carry that show, Rollins?) weren’t living any more purposefully than that. Why else were we watching Hoarders? That crusty geezer, at least his clutter had some resale value.

I said SOME, now.

New contagions emerge from Fort Detrick–goodness, I mean from the wet markets of Wuhan. New heroes rise up unexpectedly from the dust, flawed heroes and yet real ones. Nevada supported itself for decades through what came to be known, quite charitably, as gaming. The authorities did not a thing to regulate it, save some underage decoy stings and weights-and-measures checks. Then Steve Sisolak decreed the new economy. Like, hey, guys, we’re making some changes. You can move into the no economy, and many of you in Goldfield already have, but casinos? Game over, Lansky. We’re whole-ass Doctrines and Covenants quitting that shit, cold turkey, right here, right now.

That was it. Decades of cultural inertia and public corruption straight down the Thomas Crapper, in the name of public health. Tens of thousands of Nevadans woke up with the fresh opportunity to do something honest for a living, in many cases by honestly doing nothing. The hell else were they gonna do? This is the state where an active gold mine on the outskirts of town wasn’t enough to prevent Armpit Days. This isn’t a population chomping at the bit for an honest mode of living.

It’s the kind of bold move that gets the constituents antsy, and there’s bad karma to be had in gloating about thousands of line workers losing their means of support and the daily structure of their lives upon the sudden closure of the crooked business until this month employing them. The serendipity of Sisolak’s order, however, had nothing to do with trashing the keystone of Nevada’s formal economy and moving its workers’ cheese. The governor’s master stroke, rather, was to dramatically wash away all the cultural detritus surrounding Nevada’s storied place in American gaming, like so much winter trash at last floating inexorably down to the Indian fishing grounds with the alpine spring thaw, and humble the Chamber of Commerce boosters for the first time in their lives. These, you see, are the cheese movers, not the cheese chasers. Shoe don’t fit so great on the other foot.

It’s a new day in a brave new world indeed for this seedy cast of characters. Their firewall of horseshit about what makes Nevada Nevada is gone, and they aren’t the one with the authority to invite it back home. They aren’t used to not calling the shots. A teeming scrum of shysters is moping around the Chamber offices, impotently moaning, buh buh buh Governor, this is our folkway! We already have the Reed Rez out in Searchlight. We have our Napoleonclaves for the hardliners. Besides, we all know why we get visitors from Utah. If they wanted to enjoy a plate of jello salad and an invigorating glass of milk, they’d stay in American Fork. Oscar Goodman is our spirit animal! We’re, like, culturally Italian Catholic, like Mr. Martini from that retarded Frank Capra Christmas flick!

It’s a cool story. So is the one about what the working girl said to her client back in Ol’ Virginia City: “No, Father, you’re taking a bath first.”

Don’t look at me. Our popular fiction is about wizards and shit.

This new dispensation is, alas, only a partial cleasing, an incomplete Releasing of the Bullshit. Government, that name for the things we choose to do together, continues to do much to and awfully little for the homeless. Perhaps we aren’t together with them, however we choose to define any of that. There are now social distancing bums’ squares painted on a parking lot in Las Vegas, beneath empty hotel rooms with windows illuminated in a heart. #VegasStrong, you shitty loser. The poor in general, it seems, aren’t exactly part of us, either, especially for the Democrats. Chuck and Nancy are means-testing pissants, and Josh Hawley is a welfare liberal now: truly a horseshoe theory in which the horseshoe goes straight into the political observer’s head. Shh, don’t tell the Washington press corps; they’ll have strokes. As I keep saying, Trump hardly even has to try to be left-liberal; all he has to do is get bored and own the libs.

Mainstream American culture, politics, and policy are so hostile to the poor that these weak, partial, still slow reforms are watershed moments. Gavin Newsom and London Breed talking about not just talking about doing something for the homeless is, by the standards prevailing prior to this crisis, active. Decisive. Effective. I understand Nob Hill Dreamboat and Garcetti and the gang are actually kind of doing something here, fitfully and ever more belatedly. It might be, as ever, the hour to show another month of patience for the failure of one of the wealthiest societies in history to get one’s sorry ass into a decent budget apartment. Alternately, it might be an outrage that it took a discreetly homeless Panera employee five minutes to correct one’s modestly botched rush order.

We have things to do and places to be and grievances to air, unless, of course, we don’t. We see California’s officials, all in all a reputable and responsible lot compared to the domestic alternatives, only timidly dipping their toes into the water of eminent domain. Granted, we’re talking about basic constituent services here, and this is no time to build a ballpark, but, say, that’s the whole fucking point: we have a plague on, and this is no time to build a ballpark.

That’s the damn rub. Even in crisis old habits don’t die easy. Process-oriented stakeholder-responsive processes respond to the stakeholders. If that sounds solipsistic, it’s because it’s solipsistic. If you don’t like holding your own stake, ask Beavis if he’d mind. Hehheh hehheh. The process responds to those who force their way to the table and lay it right out there, just like LBJ.

That is, property owners. Garcetti, Breed, Nob Hill Dreamboat: these characters are too bashful not to ask the owners for permission and then wait for it, and wait, and wait. Asking permission of the tens of thousands of constituents they continue to abandon to chaos, squalor, and mortal danger would be a bridge too far.

It might, then, be time to rock straight over London’s head. Shit, I like her and mostly trust her, and it’s a surreal thing to say, but one of the few ways out of this mess is the Wesleyan tradition. Scream like a wild animal at Wynn and the Hiltons and the Marriotts and the ghouls at Blackstone and all the other cocksuckers until they hand over the keys, pending an official determination that the crisis has abated sufficiently to allow a return to normal business. Does this look like an art store?

Besides, eminent domain takings usually include fair market compensation. Again, this is no time to build a ballpark, and since that isn’t what we’re building, we can rest confident that the owners will tolerate nothing less than fair market. It’d be like Trump suddenly “having to” rent rooms to his Secret Service detail. (The Clintons must resent him, having inherited from Mr. Lincoln and the nation only one spare bedroom.) Hey, I don’t have a problem with this. Not at all. I’d like the government to get a bulk discount, but lawyers also clean up large details, and I haven’t been innocent in decades.

Refusing to be an elected accomplice to homicidally antisocial gangland rentier thugs is a process of its own. Cool. We’re definitely being mature and responsible and responsive in these not at all urgent matters. But it’s Saturday night. Let’s get this fucking party started.

People of wealth

Sonoma and Marin Counties just held their most expensive ballot initiative in history, at a campaign financing cost of over $3m. $1.8m of this financing came from Molly Gallaher Flater, a Santa Rosa construction heiress. Flater, who has variously been described as working at the family business and as the administrator of Oakmont Senior Living, a major nursing home at the urban portal to the Celebrated Sonoma Valley–bear in mind that we’re perhaps using a liberal definition of work–contributed this $1.8 million to defeat the extension of a quarter-cent sales tax to fund the SMART train service to 2059 from its current 2029 sunset. It would be unseemly to impute ulterior motives to the dark money investments of the shady daughter of an influence-peddling construction magnate, and Ms. Flater and her group have been obnoxiously vocal about what they denounce as the SMART board’s lavish waste, so one might impertinently, and righteously, wonder whether perhaps what the lady finds so objectionable is that her political enemies hold patronage jobs. It’s relatable, but it’s hella seedy coming from a woman whose family travels by private jet.

I know, I know. I’m just a Johnny-come-lately asshole from the rest areas with a walkup apartment by the JC and a collection of mostly private misgivings about the rebuilding Fountaingrove at a time when we’re still basically doing nothing for our neighbors fresh off the Rodota Trail. #SonomaStrong, you insolent little punk. Who am I to relay information and belief from credible parties that, in addition to this being a serious misallocation of scarce resources, some of the very worst people in the county live up there? Who am I to remind Sonoma County Day-class passengers slumming it across the aisle from me on a Canadair to Phoenix that the Rodota crew are our fellow citizens, people, not trash? Yoo haidt too here that, , Too.

Do I like the idea of Farhad Mansourian indefinitely collecting rent on a government sinecure with his thumbs up his ass? Of course not. That’s bogus. I’m not convinced that that’s a fair description of his current duties, but I’m willing to stipulate something along those lines for the sake of argument. SMART is not exactly a well-run, efficient agency. On the other hand, it’s one of the newest transit systems in the country. It inherited right-of-way flaws dating back to the original construction of the Northwestern Pacific in the late nineteenth century, a line built for permanent ferry connections to the points south and east across the San Francisco Bay. Public works construction costs in the United States are perenially some of the highest on earth, but that isn’t directly the government’s doing. Private contractors drive it to ensure their own government contracts, the public interest be damned. Many of those contractors are in construction.

You know, like Bill Gallaher.

As I said, the objection isn’t to the patronage jobs; it’s to the wrong featherbedders holding the wrong patronage jobs. Molly Flater objected strongly enough to spend $1,8m in a vain effort to kill this beast. So far it has wound up wounded, not even dead, tonight, in–huh, in ways this feels even worse than Jersey. If there isn’t a single greasy Buddy Cianci type on the scene to play bagman, what the hell is the point? We’ve got all these crooks rattling around, a real scum fraction under any examination, and they’re eerily bloodless. Even Nancy Pelosi is charmless for a mobbed-up Mid-Atlanticker.

That campaign expenditure, though. $1.8 million to partway fuck up a vaguely troubled new passenger train service. It’s bizarre. I have two interest-bearing savings accounts. The cheaper one pays 0.6%, which is pathetic, but the more generous one pays a decent enough, although still rather measly, 1.7%. At the latter rate, $1.8m in savings would yield $30,600 in gross annual income, all in exchange for jack shit in effort. At rich people rates, it would realistically yield more like $70-100k. Assuming absolutely no other income streams, that’s a decent living. The Gallaher-Flater clan has other assets and income streams, obviously.

Of all the things Molly Flater could do with that principal, she spent it on her pissant campaign to kneecap a transit sales tax. That extra quarter percent does not materially lessen her lifestyle or that of her relatives and their cronies. Financially, they don’t notice it. I can’t vouch for the emotional distress attendant upon paying this tax like any other grown-up purchasing taxable retail goods in California, but financially, it’s meaninglessly small to people like them. They will not defer or limit their retail purchases to spiite the JPA. They won’t deny themselves to deny the big bad state. They may hop in the Gulfstream and fly to Oregon to go shopping, but that’ll be a net loss on most purchases, so it’s no reason to give a shit. This campaign is a huge money loser in terms of Flater-Gallaher family finances, cash money down the Thomas Crapper for a fractional-percent return on investment.

If Molly has an indirect influence-pedlding scheme in mind with this expenditure, it has to be baroque and of questionable utility. Besides, she’s been doing a lot of her own ground work on this campaign. Occam’s Razor says Farhad Mansoruian is among the bitches she seeks to cut. This is even more pathetic than public corruption. It’s more pathetic, for that matter, than the exes running against each other for my county supervisor’s seat this year: the Coursey-Zane bitchest was completed for a respectable total price, one suggesting some capacity for stewardship. At least I haven’t seen that race get the Press-Democrat on the record to aver that damn, nigga, that’s hella money.

We need to realize that Molly Flater’s $1.8m was DISPOSABLE savings. It was a pot of money that she and the family trusts had sitting around, pledged to no better use. She was salty with some transit bureaucrats, she had some money, and so she poured out the sugar to season the salt. If it crossed her mind to use it for charity instead, I’m St. Francis of Assisi. She didn’t even think about using it for any of the bogus “charitable” activities and programs that the rich so favor and ensure are so prolific. You may have heard of these on NPR: the Jack Mikokoff Fund for the Support of the Hiscox Endowment, that kind of bollocks. Instead of direct lifestyle financing or a charity ball or, perish the thot, honest-to-God charity, she spent it on mailers and Facebook ads to get a transit district rekt and punish its board for not working as hard and efficiently as she wished.

This is what we call civics around here: an influence-peddling nepotist with combined savings and credit lines well into the multiple millions of dollars beyond the amount necessary to maintain a lavish lifestyle, moneys she chooses to commit to a campaign to fuck up a local joint powers authority and make a point about unaccountable bureaucrats operating a “boutique” train line. Surely that’s a level of waste and unaccountability that the Flaters and Gallahers would never approach. Also I’m sure I could load another ten spot on my Clipper card and catch a quick ride to Novato on their jet.

This is the kind of shit rich people do with their money. We’re encouraged to salivate over the lifestyles of the rich and famous, but purely material yearnings can be suprisingly affordable to satiate, for those who are not completely deranged in their plenty. It’s a modestly big ask, as the semiliterate say, but it’s more or less within reach. We are not encouraged to examine the pathological ways in which the rich pursue power. That was the purpose of the $1.8m: to goad a third or more of Marin and Sonoma voters into serving as proxy punishers of a transit district that an heiress disfavored.

It’s frightening to know that there are Americans–many, many Americans–who have to be convinced that this degree of power is a threat to self-government and the rule of law. Who are we to question how other people spend their money? The thing is, this was no normal expenditure, as normal citizens would define it. It was a seven-figure waste to blow smoke up the voting public’s ass and turn us against the appointed officers of the first agency to provide passenger rail service along a heavily traveled, chronically congested megalopolitan highway corridor in over half a century.

Quite simply, we should not allow this. The devil is in the details, as McCain, Feingold, et al. discovered over the years, but a good start is to raise the fucking marginal rates. Molly Flater chose to sabotage her community’s commuter rail service with money she could instead have contributed to transit development or used to purchase her own short line railroad, in the tradition of serial Law & Order villain Michael Gross. That might be a touch Estermanic, Vartan, but it’s worth a thought.

At some point up the line these funds came to be denominated and accounted for in United States Dollars. They are disclosed to the IRS. The rich are always threatening to go on capital strike and bug out to Switzerland, but in point of fact it takes great aggravation to convince them to do a thing to bypass the official US financial system. This is American money, the proceeds of and seed capital for American crime. Ey, Vinny, we aren’t old boys doing old business in the old country in the old Lire, #EY! These shysters have brokers. They aren’t about to do some low-class who dat shit with a freezer. This isn’t because they would hate to get caught; it’s because it’s too much trouble to wheel the physical stacks of cash into the pantry and put them away, and because they’d have to pay the household staff more for the deposit than they’d pay their broker.

These scumbags need to be taxed into submission. Hell, it isn’t even submission, exactly, just civic equality, which feels like submission to them because wealth has warped their minds. We all have to submit in small measures to the commonweal as a condition of participating in it, like by paying sales tax. It’s something we do so that we aren’t living in a state of nature out on the Rodota Tr–say, the trail crew pays more than its share of sales tax. Ousside and still pain: how bow dah. That’s an alternative repurposing of our raliroad rights of way.

No, this is not Maoism that I’m proposing. We really have trouble extracting our heads from our asses in some political quarters in this country. This is not even a proposal to tax the Gallahers and the Flaters into the middle of the middle class. I’m talking about starting with something like their next $1.8m in rents. If we’re insisting that they’ll spend it more wisely than the government will, we ought to ascertain that they’ve been spending such amounts wisely. You might use $1.8m wisely. I would. That’s why we aren’t construction heiresses. What, Me McMegan?

Naw, lawd, it ain’t me. I’m just here for my annual transit tax burden of approximately one-way railfare to San Rafael, or maybe Novato. We could always have the Gallaher-Flater class pay for transit services through income taxes, but for some reason I get the feeling that Molly would object to that, too.