Eatin’ good in the neighborhood

We’ve got mail:

Good afternoon tenants,

Lately we have noticed that people have been leaving food items by the dumpster, and now starting on top of the mail box. We ask that you please stop doing that, as this is adding to the current issues we are having with the homeless coming into the property. For those that may not be aware, we have had recent break-ins into cars as well as items going missing from the property.

I understand you may be doing this to help the ones in need during these difficult times, however if you would like to donate food, clothing items, etc., please take it to the local food bank/charities.

Thank you for your understanding.

I can’t object. I really can’t. To any of it: the letter, the food by the dumpster. The onsite manager who e-mailed us this letter is wonderful. She’s in a bad spot, we’re in a bad spot as her tenants, the neighborhood homeless are in a terrible spot, and one of our city councilors used to go around stealing gear from encampments on vigilante missions back when he was a cop. He bragged about it at a social services working group meeting. He was a Santa Rosa Police Department liaison. Multiple committee members filed official complaints under their own names. Nothing happened.

It doesn’t take much attention to look at the city council during meetings and guess that Ernesto Olivares is the cop. His strain of bumbaiting bourgeois supremacy runs deep around here. He’s far from the worst cop around here, by the way. The SRPD’s rank and file supposedly can’t stand the Sonoma County Sheriff’s deputies. The assistant district attorneys are so insane that judges tell them to shut up right now in camera.

Last fall we had the shit show on the Joe Rodota Trail. A veterinarian’s wife told me that the trail was an absolute clusterfuck, totally out of control. /Borat Voice/ My part-time wife told me that it was a self-governing community, with zoning expertly triaged by need and social function. California has Pervert’s Flat in rural Antioch for the Megan’s Law cases; Santa Rosa has the hills above Bennett Valley.

The vet and his wife weren’t the most obnoxious Americans I met in New Zealand. The expat Americans working in the service sector were great. I didn’t encounter any American shitheads in Australia. I don’t remember encountering Americans at all. The security guy at the Hobart Airport, an absolute sweetheart who hugged my mom after she told him that he and his colleagues were nicer than their American counterparts, assumed we were flying home to Adelaide. When my mom described where she and my dad live in the Adirondacks, his eyes lit up. “Noooice!”

Depending. I’m glad my mom came down with the Dread Ailment or whatever she caught in New Zealand, not back home in the States. Yes, that one. She suspects she had it months before the Wuhan lockdown, let alone the Kiwi lockdown. There’s a mayor in New Jersey who thinks he caught it around the same time, although around town, not around Grammers. There were no horseshit marketeering or HR signs on the hospital campuses in Invercargill and Queenstown. My mom received excellent care at Southland and at Lakes District. Both hospitals were modest but reassuring inside. The outdoor energy at Southland was exactly what I needed. My mom loved watching the Air New Zealand A320s take off while she sat in the day room on the ward at Lakes. She likes busy Maori liveries much more than I do.

The veterinarian fumed to us about the wretchedness of Invercargill. I liked the town all right when my dad and I got there. I’m absolutely serious that Southland Hospital was my favorite part. There’s no point to traveling so far afield and not getting a passing idea of what the hell is actually up in the host communities. I guess I’m in the travelers’ minority on that one fml, but shit, doc, Fat Cracka’s got room for another mince pie, in the suitcase if need be.

The vet told us he was the highest rated in the county. I looked him up a few months later, and I think I identified him, although I’m not pawsitive. Good Lord there’s something wrong with me. We met him and his wife at dinner. The guy who’d built the house back in the Gilded Age got into Parliament, got into debt, and fatally shot himself in his office in Wellington. One of our servers that night chuckled when I told him that I’d had classmates fly over to study a broad–as /Borat Voice/ my part-time wife says, “They’re fine from the neck down”–and return stateside complaining about not being able to afford heat for their flats; students are always having trouble getting by, he said. In retrospect, I think I heard the heat quota story from a tradcon chick who’d studied in Dublin. Most of the complaints I heard about foreign bathrooms started, verbatim, “One time when I was in England, and I had to take a shit….”

I would rather have heard these stories from the chick who went to Dublin, but this is not a world that caters to our preferences. We aren’t all veterinarians.

A full week in Queenstown more than convinced me that New Zealand has a tourism problem. I guess it doesn’t so much this year lol, but strange times live through us as much as we live through them. I do, however, think I paid enough attention on our way through drive-through country and on my solo excursions into the working parts of Adelaide and Christchurch to accurately assess some of the shit that any country harboring it tries to sweep behind the curtains, and the impressive thing is that none of it looked really bad. The equivalents in the US are terrible. If I get back to Australia–not ruling it in, but not ruling it out–I’m planning to visit Macquarie Fields. I looked at some satellite and street view images of it, and I couldn’t believe that that, of all neighborhoods, was rumored to be one of the roughest parts of Sydney. It’s like going to 20th and Clement and being told, authoritatively, this is the worst corner in San Francisco.

I saw a handful of homeless in Sydney and I think Adelaide. On equivalent transects of Los Angeles or Sacramento I’d have seen dozens, probably hundreds. I haven’t done a deep or broad survey of Australian housing, but from what I’ve read and seen I get the feeling that there is nothing along the lines of Skid Row or the Tenderloin or Near North Sacramento in the whole country. The only city where I’d expect it is Darwin, and I’ve heard about extreme squalor and poverty in the deep outback, overwhelmingly in Aboriginal communities, but we’ve got the Rez, the Ozarks, the deep Appalachians, the Black Belt. Joe Schillaci will see you on the scene of that 31 in the Pork-n-Beans.

This really is a shithole country. What other conclusion is hanging around for us? What are we supposed to make of Australia’s most dire social problems being concentrated in a territory whose population rivals those of Buffalo and Reno? Australia’s superannuation scheme is a racket, but Statewide Super had free wi-fi in Glenelg when I went out on the tram. I recall getting straight on, with no commercial, and there was definitely no e-mail tracking like the DFW does for passengers who are already paying facility fees through their airfare.

Little things like that, one after another, array themselves to paint a damning picture. We have 24/7 staffing at more of our rural gas stations, but they have a working medical system. These probably aren’t mutually exclusive, this probably isn’t a case of one or the other, no mix-and-match, but we shouldn’t have to deliberate and weigh the tradeoffs. We should be able to come right out and choose.

Guess we chose wrong. Fuck.

Back home we have so, so many places where we get assaulted by the squalor and the dysfunction every time we step outside. We can’t keep it out of the fanciest recreation districts in our cities. The passenger rail terminals in Los Angeles and Chicago officially close down for a few hours overnight, for no credible reason but to ward off the homeless. Rent-a-cops make the rounds at LA Union Station every night to do the bums’ rush. As of a year or two ago the Portland Greyhound terminal had regular DAYTIME closure hours. A quick look outside shows why: skid row. It spreads: Pioneer Square; Pershing Square; Venice and Santa Monica; just about everywhere else in the Los Angeles Basin; all through and around the Gaslamp Quarter and the Convention Center; all over San Francisco; long stretches of El Camino; Midtown Sacramento and downtown Reno; across otherwise well-maintained parts of downtown Seattle like so much maritime moss, a dude lying face-down in the grass on a freeway embankment in his underwear on a near-freezing winter morning, 911 refusing to dispatch an ambulance because the caller reports that he’s breathing.

How many billions of dollars do we have to spend on cops and spooks and naval combat vessels that dent and fighter jets that dissolve in the rain and serial deathtraps like the Osprey whose crews take flight only because they’d be court-martialed otherwise, before we get our shit together on services that we actually need to survive as a society? We’re operating at a level on Maslow’s hierarchy below normal, healthy function and way below prosperity. What does it take to walk out onto the streets from the highrise hotels in the San Francisco Financial District or downtown LA or San Diego, or out of the investment banking towers of Lower Manhattan into the visibly disintegrating subways, and come away unshaken in the assumption that the governments responsible lavish too little on private redevelopment hustlers and too much on social services and public works? What the hell are we using? Grey Goose? Freebase? Xanax? Build-your-own?

The moneyed sorts who do business and leisure in our fancy neighborhoods are short on empaths and long on psychopaths–they are not, regardless of their protestations, liberal–but it’s incomprehensible how they don’t walk through the local hood and straight away see serious problems demanding serious solutions. Most of them aren’t even cutting off the nose to spite the face. They’re in our dynamic, forward-thinking cities with two thirds of the GDP precisely because they want to make bank and live well or cash in what some of what they’ve already amassed to live well. These are, after all, people who have done more than their share of international travel.

It’s bizarre that they don’t expect the same public goods and services that Europeans, Japanese, urban Chinese, and so forth take for granted and demand when not granted: water fountains; well-maintained public restrooms that encourage users to clean up after themselves and have janitors on call in case they don’t; not having to dodge films of piss and piles of shit on the sidewalk left by the desperate, the mentally ill, and the homeless; not having street people lying around semiresponsive and stewing in two weeks’ worth of bodily filth because they have nowhere decent to go; the ability to walk into an intact, fully functioning rapid transit station and promptly board a tolerably clean train that works. It’s bizarre, for that matter, that the horseshit security theater of the TSA and its contractors hasn’t come under sustained and withering attack from travelers who have cleared security at domestic airport terminals in Australia and not gotten into crashes on Qantas. Airport stories out of Mexico include employee cadences of “Please/ do not/ take off/ your shoes.”

Nothing here fucking works. What’s crazy is that things don’t work in cities teeming with affluent professionals whose business takes them to places like Frankfurt, London, and Hong Kong. These same cities teem with foreigners from every corner of the world, many of them from highly developed and well-run cities abroad. It’s surreal to imagine what it must be like to relocate from inner-city Sydney or Adelaide, for example, as an occasional to regular train rider, and to arrive in Manhattan, the nerve center of the international financial system, the biggest and proudest city in the global imperial center, on a filthy, ramshackle train serving a subway station with water pouring in through a gash in the wall.

Let’s assume, again, that the Millennial Business Success Spawn are looking to get rich, the tourists to luxuriate, and the conventioneers to get rich or learn things or hang out. They’re all looking, now or later or both, for a good quality of life. Reconcile this with decades of intensifying threats to the personal safety and welfare of the general public, threats now aggressively spreading into neighborhoods frequented or inhabited by the rich and the powerful. The “revitalization” campaigns proceed apace, in Hudson Yards, Pilsen, the SoMa, the outskirts of the USC campus, and so forth, but everything around them is falling apart.

Deluxe condominiums are sold and occupied in a downtown tower that is somehow, despite one of the most process-oriented city governments on earth and a host state historically home to some of the world’s leading engineering brain trusts, listing from its foundation on up with the floors very noticeably off-level. A new bridge span, a seven- or ten-minute drive away in light traffic, is built with overseas steel that the highway department is concerned has not passed inspection. These edifices are located in a world-renowned earthquake zone.

A few hours away by plane, the mayor for some damn reason, probably soft ethnic cleansing, or maybe just cruelty, arbitrarily closed dozens of neighborhood schools in ways that forced minors to cross through rival gang territory twice a day. In city after city, millions of dollars gush into the guard labor apparatus, billions in the national aggregate, to issue citations and effect bench warrant arrests over shit like $2.75 fare jumps. The NYPD excels at this. It has the same jurisdiction as the elected governments that tried to give Jeff Bezos hundreds of millions of dollars in a single consolidated package to build a megaoffice that would turn the already snarled streets fubar, until their constituents made it clear that the incumbents pushing that crap would have to find new jobs, or hobbies, if they succeeded.

They always could have talked to Matt Lauer.

The retention of violently juiced-up cops who ride around poor minority neighborhoods jumping out of vans and throwing groups of peaceable teenagers up against the nearest wall makes some sense, although not much, in the context of Greek Life business elites who abuse cocaine. It’s fairly common for the same aspiring masters of the universe never to have lived in the real world of laundromats, slumlords, crosstown bus lines through the ghetto, and sometimes even DIY grocery shopping and home laundry. From where you’re sitting right now, there’s sure to be an above above the above.

There’s no reason that sheltered rich assholes with reactionary views they usually keep to themselves or their close friends for business reasons–that’s actually asking quite a bit, as leaks from many of our elite circles regularly show–take the cops for their loyal buddies or mercenaries. American cops get away with shit that neighborhood crew bosses would bring to an immediate stop in the Crips, the Bloods, or the Latin prison gangs, but it’s been said before: lighter shade of blue, no cross, no shield. Norm Stamper, I think it was, divided American police misconduct into three main spheres: corruption, brutality, and incompetence. They’re all wicked valid, Mak; that’s why your awe stayeff sayagent. Between the NOPD’s who dat throw your ass on the floor in a jumble for dissing the jambalaya private details, the Dirty Thirty, the jumpout squads, the Ramparts snort-n-sell ring, Homan Square, the other Mark with the glove on the Westside and without it on 77th Street, Ferguson, the DEA’s cash grab crews, HSI’s inconsistent policies on sex with suspected trafficking victims, Daniel Holtzclaw’s personal off-duty policies, and the widespread anabolic steroid use on police forces across the country, nobody should trust the police a second longer than the nearest cops appear to be holding it together in a non-criminal capacity.

This list is not exhaustive. I omitted other cops.

It’s usually feasible for a portion of a society to live off the avails of its neighbors’ labor. We’re much closer to a scenario in which everybody’s trying to rob, extort, blackmail, bribe, or defraud everybody else for a living. Hilariously, this is why Olivia Jade Gianulli’s parents had to pay Rick Singer to bribe USC. Their daughter, already a socioeconomically successful and connected celebrity, was really looking forward to, like, partying and going to games. Kid: the only reason they’ll try to bar the door against you is because you’re the other OJ. This is the College of Montepuliafito, girl. Chill.

If we look at the top, hardly a soul is doing a thing that’s worthwhile, and few are doing anything interesting. Jeff Bezos is a monster who smiles while his warehouse grunts soil their adult diapers and pee in bottles next to parades of customer packages. Elon Musk is an acutely coked-up megalomaniac who bribed and bullied his way into positions as a named founder and flips his shit at anybody who expresses or shows expertise exceeding his own in any field, notably including the British expatriate caver he called a pedophile for warning that his submarine wouldn’t work to rescue that group of boys and their chaperones from a Thai cave that he knew better than anybody else. The fuck are the Kardashians doing? Dad was a lawyer, at least. Another connection to the Original Juice: how bow dah. Bruce Jenner? Excuse me, Caitlyn? I mean, Brutlin? There are some extremely weird and unhealthy family dynamics in that whole deal.

I often ponder what it means that the Amish are cutting hay, Japanese smallholders with quarter-acre plots in the path of the second runway at Narita are growing rice by hand when they aren’t going at the riot police with pitchforks, Chinese researchers are doing advanced biotherapeutics research (and, uh, chuman work with that Yankee creep), the Germans and the Swiss are still machining ultraprecision gears and measuring devices and shit, and a whole lot of us are over here crashing international financial markets, swindling the poor and the middling out of their houses, and lounging around with our thumbs up our asses while we venerate that troupe of attention-whoring freaks. Or Musk or Bezos or any of our other famous crooks, blowhards, and frauds. We hear, from people claiming great political authority, that Nancy Pelosi is an indispensable member of the center-left. Gavin Newsom is marginal and modestly effectual among elected Democrats for coordinating one of the best responses to the Dread Ailment in the country, while Fancy Nancy is a champion advocate for preemptively capitulating to Mitch McConnell and standing in front of a chest full of $10/lb. artisanal gelati while her Michael Jackson-looking face dribbles off in real time.

That’s cool. It’s great to see that actions inform reputations and that we’re living abundantly in the observable, real world of real lives and real happenings. I meant to mention: I’ve been in bed with multiple Borgia mistresses on the Neapolitan waterfront all night and also colocating to an onsen full of blissfully half-awake capybaras and baboons on the slopes of Mount Fuji, because these are also true things that happened.

The psychosis in this country is unbelievably prolific and pervasive. It’s almost impossible to find anyone in a position of power or wealth who isn’t afflicted. Tom Steyer appears to be one, but his presidential campaign flopped and he threw in the towel after South Carolina. The heir apparent to Her mantle–this is already going just great–is a manifestly brain-damaged bully and phony who was forced out of the running in 1988 for plagiarizing his speeches and who habitually lies about his legislative record, his class background, the extent of his personal wealth, what he earned as a young lawyer in Wilmington, and his scholarship status and class standing in law school. The new rape accusation, because we just knew this guy would be a pervert we’ve covered extensively for putting his hands and nose all over everything that moves, has the ‘liberal” chattering classes in the throes of a normal one. Katha Pollitt would vote for Joe Biden even if he boiled and ate babies. Whoa, bitch: sit the fuck down and take your lorazepam. This is not good, to be saying that just because the incumbent is a loudmouth and a shitposter.

Yes, many less prominent, socially engaged, and influential people have psychotic parasocial relationships with Donald Trump. So what? They may have dysfunctional parasocial relationships over the computer with catfish drones working for the Kremlin in satellite cube farms. So what? We are not a society that visits its shut-ins. Do we sound Amish?

The hope for a better tomorrow rests, amazingly, with the Trump campaign. This is an extremely relative statement. It took rampant corruption and sclerosis to get him into office and more yet to populate his cabinet and staff with its trail mix of relatives, cronies, family retainers, movement conservative creeps, hardline nativist nuts, and evangelical end times Looney Toons. It’s some ridiculously dysfunctional shit, and the more competent it is, the scarier. But the Donald understands communication, not just on a social level but on something like a spiritual, mystical level. Most of it is bullshit, but Biden is an incorrigible bullshitter, too, and he has no spiritual range or depth.

Trump’s campaign has a positive, affirmative vision. For the most part it’s a terrible one, and that old-time Republican nihilism is always boiling just below the surface, but he offers reasons to vote FOR him. Biden and his team are flailing about grasping for reasons to vote AGAINST Trump. If they had so much as a platform they believed in themselves they wouldn’t have the likes of former Nation writers striking child sacrifice and cannibalism as disqualifying factors for the presidency. A normal, well-adjusted voter hearing that the ghost of Jeffrey Dahmer is a respectable Democratic candidate for the presidency, and in fact a crucial one should Joe Biden kick the bucket between now and November, would vote Republican. Nah, lady; Jeff, he ain’t it. Goes for the other pervert with the island and all the rich friends, too.

Take it from a man who prays: thinking informs argumentation, but argumentation absolutely informs thinking. This goes even for prayers as simple as the liturgical Catholic grace (or, as Protestants call it, Oh, it’s over?). I could bog down in a daybreak lay missive about the power of the Rosary, or other spiritual shit that will Men’s Warehouse guarantee to bog me down because that’s exactly what it always does (sample search terms: “intercessor”; “St. Richard Russell”), but [indefinite blank period of the mind, on the night shift (on the night shift)] as one of our best confessors and preachers told us, “Neurons that fire together wire together.” That’s clumsy and off-point for where I’m trying to take this bitch, too reductive and corporeal, somehow, but he’s right. Having a full-blown public mental breakdown over a public official being hella rude (which, as the records of every predecessor through Reagan show, is what drives this nonsense) and reacting by blurting out that cooking and cannibalizing babies would be an improvement over a guy who now draws a federal salary to be a drama queen leads to a greater freakout, which leads to more invitations to insurgent partisan rape, to a more intense freakout, and frankly we’re deep into the realm of the mad by the time we raise the specter of boiling babies.

Let’s pause to reflect on the matter of a well-known, well-established, basically well-respected author going on the record to declare that Donald Trump is worse than a hypothetical baby cannibal. I mentioned Dahmer because Pollitt invited us into his wheelhouse for a voyage none of us wanted but all of us must make. Nah, go back to Dubai Porta Potty or the Levine shit if it’s less disturbing; I don’t mind. I’m done repeating it for a sentence or two, but that statement is not hyperbole. Go to the far side of hyperbole and it’s still beyond the horizon. That’s an utterance that is inevitably, prima facie an effect and a cause of major mental illness. Most people would think about crossing the street if they heard a passerby speaking like that. It’s more troubling as a cause because it aggravates the most destructive ideation and, worse for bystanders, proliferates it into the community. It’s ill-advised to read lines of that nature as an actor with on-demand psychiatric support. This is definitively not the ideation or the language of a person we want interacting with others below the scope of practice of a psych tech at the moment.

Are we still concerned that Grandma thinks Trump is personally looking out for her, like Jesus but also Caesar, and enjoys messaging with her special Russian computer friends? This wack-ass talk is on course to make the Democrats shit the bed with the devout, even with a loud cradle Catholic of some credible pro-life sentiment and background at the head of the ticket. They’re already compromised on matters of religious belief and practice just by virtue (sic) of holding it in such obvious contempt. Their opponent, meanwhile, has made common cause with religious busybodies and has his own inchoate but irrepressible spirtual inclinations. Howdy Modi! I love the Hindu! Can you believe how many gods you could find in the virus? Panpsychism. Phenomenal. You love to see it.

A guy like Trump doesn’t have to seem coherent or even in his right mind to seem human and reachable. He could have a new astral projection every minute with a 50% false positive rate and still be more spiritually grounded than Joe Biden or most of the rest of the Democratic A List. Voters notice. It doesn’t have to be conscious to have a powerful effect. The electorate is maybe 1% Data, 19% Spock, and 80% Captain Kirk. I pulled the numbers out of my ass, but not entirely. I don’t think you want to know about my sleep schedule in this, our time of plague. Heh heh heh heh, I said “ass, but.” Huh huh.

Then again, Biden is leading Trump in the swing state polls, Trump is wearing out his welcome with the flimflamming over the Ailment, and lead poisoning is not confined to the hard right. Biden does convey a probably bogus but oddly cloying emotionality, when he’s lucid enough for emotions at all.

That’s a pile of verbiage about a pile of horseshit that serves greatly to distract American voters from things that actually matter, like homelessness. Again, we are not having a sane one. That’s a national scandal and tragedy that every president starting with Reagan has addressed by sucking his own cock. Reagan released the inpatient insane from the state hospitals without community support as governor, then trashed the economy for working people as president. The Bushes didn’t do much about homelessness, except to tangentially aggravate it in the same fashion as Reagan. Clinton was on the scene for a Twilight Zone incident in which a homeless person froze to death in a bus shelter across the street from the HUD headquarters, emblematic precisely because it was the same shit the federal government and most subsidiary governments had been doing for the homeless for over a decade by that point. Obama contributed generously to homelessness by mouthing insincere platitudes in the face of a foreclosure crisis he strategically allowed.

Biden might be better than Trump on homelessness. He might be worse. He’ll probably just be different. We absolutely have not had a president show meaningful moral or practical leadership on aything pertaining to homelessness since Jimmy Carter. Joe Plagiarism doesn’t look like the guy to break this streak, but nobody cares, or at least not much of anybody who votes.

It’s like it’s a fucking ballgame. The Yankees always play dirty, but we love our Nationals. It’s no coincidence that a guy who reasons like this tried to get me down to Camden Yards for a bachelor party in the midst of the Hot Summer of Freddy Gray and later, upon Trump’s victory, told me, almost despondent, “I guess there are a lot more uneducated people in this country than I realized.”

Trump is the fault of Raiders Nation, in that case. Cool. Are you fucking ready for some. Don’t go looking for money to get people off the trailer park frontage roads along the Nimitz; it’s all gone into the Coliseum.

We unhoused some folks.

Even if we assume that the Bay Area is now governed for worse-than-useless solipsistic narcissists who refer to their own low-key homeless neighbors as “my Uber,” it’s bizarre that they don’t see something really, badly wrong with the scene along the Nimitz or El Camino or all over San Francisco, in a way that a more robust social welfare apparatus is the only thing that can help. What are we trying to replicate here? Sao Paolo? Lagos? Bombay? Possibilities are flicking straight through my mind: probably not Addis Ababa, maybe Manila or Nairobi, definitely not Kigali or Buenos Aires or Santiago, no public escalators so it can’t be Cali or Medellin or wherever they did that. We’re on a chute straight into the midrange Third World, just maybe with worse medical care.

I mailed a donation to Loaves and Fishes about sixteen hours before I opened the e-mail I reproduced at the top, the one about the homeless and what we may and may not do for them. I’m not about to risk trouble, for me or for anyone else, by putting leftovers out by a dumpster in the courtyard of my apartment building. I should do something along those lines, a calling I doubt I’ll answer, but if I do I’ll take it out into the neighborhood a bit.

It doesn’t matter, though; not the charity, but the location. In a narrow sense it may, but word is already out on the streets that my building is a place to look for food. The reputation will attract who it will attract, in ways entirely beyond my influence. I was informed about this situation after the fact. There’s a guy I take for homeless who sits in one of the entry hallways listening to music, and who I think stays with one of the tenants on some basis, but he’s always seemed harmless. I have no idea whether he’s been burgling cars, but mine is probably too messy to attract many people, so I’m not worried. Someone did once get in and throw papers everywhere, but I found nothing important missing. I have it parked in my assigned spot under the carport with the windows partway down, the doors unlocked, and the battery dead oops lol, but the chip keys are getting worn again because either Jones West or the plant fucked something up, so, hey.

That’s no battle I’m about to fight. I live in a pretty nice tenement in a nice neighborhood. The neighbors run the gamut from squirrelly but harmless to wonderful. We have three unguarded, ungated entryways to the building, all from a public street. The neighborhood has mixed zoning. The building next door is fully gated and locked. A couple of weeks ago a cop asked me how to get in there to deal with a noise complaint over a late-night pool party. I told him I thought he’d have to wait for a tenant to let him in. Cool cop, cool neighbors; no idea about the pool until I heard the splashing. Even then I initially thought it was coming from a TV in my building.

The building next door is a gentry fortress. Ours is not. We aren’t hiding out behind the palace walls, quaking in our boots about our safety and (extremely nerds voice) Our Purchases. We aren’t Brazil. The pool building isn’t either, really, but it’s headed there, with the rest of us in tow.

We have homeless in the neighborhood. Most of them are over towards the Safeway, but they’re around. There are board and care homes in the neighborhoods, some with furlough programs. There’s a row of redwood trees fifty or a hundred yards away, across a parking lot, with tarps and cardboard and a sofa and stuff in the underbrush. I saw a guy shitting on one of the redwoods on Memorial Day last year, with a cop making a glacially slow six-point U-turn fifteen feet away across a chain link fence.

It’s bigger than me. Then I hear about assholes like Musk and Gates and especially Bezos, and I remember who needs to foot the bill for this shit: them. It would work true wonders to expropriate Bezos, tax him at 99%, flood his facilities with labor inspectors, and overall grind him back down into the uppermost reaches of the vaguely human upper class. How the hell is a billion dollars not enough? He has $150b or some shit. He’s supposedly on course to become the first trillionaire. Mocha Haole is being celebrated as our first prospective billionaire president emeritus. Harry and Bess Truman moved back into their bungalow or whatever the hell in Independence with the Secret Service in the yard. Carter put his peanut farm into a blind trust. Why aren’t we making Barry pass us more o da kine, yeah? What is wrong with us?

This isn’t a village with a cartwright, a potter, a stingy barber surgeon, a ruined prince, and a hundred mentally retarded field hands. Bezos amounts to a rogue knight who socializes with the town gossip, orders his neighbors to work in his shop for free and sleep in an outdoor pigsty, lounges around in a hammock telling them what to do for him, and gets up with a cat-o-nine-tails in hand and wails when they refuse to approach the whipping post at his command and instead walk off the property. On his own, he’s laughably impotent.

Musk is even worse. an even more useless prick who’s also the town drunk.

Rich assholes like these love talking about the state of nature, the lion and the gazelle both getting up each morning (there aren’t clocks on the savannah, dumbass), and dog-eat-dog, sink-or-swim fights to the death through pure merit. In an actual state of nature, as opposed to their skillful arbitrage of postmodern complexity and plenty, they would likely be assassinated by junta. This is the subject of significant anthropological and zoological study. There are limits to the arrogance primitive societies will tolerate. They can be suprisingly low, enforced with surprising vigor and dispatch.

Of course they can end up with incest and pedophilia and domestic battery, and until around 1700 in Europe and today in parts of Africa, routine cannibalism, but then again, beef: it’s not what’s for Donner. Jeff might have a cookbook to lend.

Before I got distracted a few thousand words ago, I meant to say a bit about a jarringly absurd biography of Cornelius Vanderbilt from 1877 or thereabouts. Some forgettable fuckhead, a total idiot and sycophant, got wound up about the Commodore’s contributions to society, including the steam engine, the railroad, the telegraph, and civilization itself. He invented civilization, just as the Italians had to invent the Fiat 500 in order to have sex and, one imagines, Italians. India has freaks from the engineering faculties (where else?) who dismiss Robert Oppenheimer as a dullard before the Mahabharata, a chronicle not only of nuclear warfare but also of two dozen different models of aircraft. You know, that kind of thing. We can perhaps see Mr. Explodeypants from that vantage point. That suckup Victorian asshole, by contrast, assured his readers that the Commodore was personally responsible for technologies first developed in Georgian to proto-Indo-European times.

It rather evokes Elon Musk braying about how he’s going to show that pedo the business by replicating Alvin from scratch and piloting it into a cave he’d known about for a week. Atrios has that grandiose cokehead pegged: If Elon says something questionable and people are talking it up, replace “Elon Musk” with “my uncle Larry.” “My uncle Larry says that limey cunt in Thailand is a boy-diddling pervert. Uncle Larry’s sending a custom submarine into the cave to rescue those kids, once he’s out of the bathroom and on his way back from Minneapolis.”

Come on. He just wanted us to know he wasn’t a fag. Jealous of a nasty, naughty boy? Goodness, no, just heterosexually outraged. Still, if it sounds crazy coming from a weird as hell rancher, it shouldn’t sound any better coming from a cokehead who looks like he just cleared immigration at Roswell.

Raise the marginal rates.

 

George Washington’s teeth

New Zealand has placed orders for about 1,300 square feet of human skin. I swear I did not make that up. It’s enough to carpet my apartment and stop by to visit with the neighbors, bearing leftovers. Beautiful day, stranger. It’s more or less enough to refloor my parents’ house, WITH HUMAN SKIN.

New Zealand was very recently the site of a gruesome natural disaster, a violent volcanic eruption on White Island, or, as they call it around 80th and Lex, Tuesday afternoon. That is to say that they didn’t place the orders for the lulz. They need graft material. They have medical reasons. In New Zealand, an English-speaking country, the technical term is me dickle raisins. Those sound like a delicious chutney for me Invercargill mince pie; stop by if you have a minute to see if they’ve got any next to the hot case at the Cal-Tex.

I understand there’s a book with these recipes. It’s a cookbook.

Mind you, New Zealand has world-class medical care. It’s the beast cone tray with the beast sex hose peedles, a great place for Dr. Nassar to practice veterinary medicine until they catch him at it.

Nah, I’m just back on my shitposting. It’s for real a better place to seek medical care than the United States. A nurse in Queenstown told me that Invercargill is a better place to get mince pies, too, with a look on her face implying that there’s something just a touch wrong with the locals wicked south.

Granted, this is the kind of skin order that could be rolled up and dropped off at a shady Armenian’s rug warehouse in Glendale, but the problem here isn’t with its destination. The cause for concern is the origin. The provenance is questionable. This is America. Our actual history with medical ethics is worth a read. As Faulkner said, the past isn’t forgotten; it isn’t even past.

Remember a few years ago, when there was a minor international hubbub over the shipment of human organs from China and the implications about their sourcing? Observers were looking at this impressive supply of sometimes surprisingly healthy organs, cross-referencing them with the mainland Chinese judicial system, and, to their gathering horror, connecting the dots to what they call high-impact lead poisoning in certain ethnic neighborhoods back east. We might say that China is a different east. Fly there, but maybe not so much to the southern part, on Northwest Orient. RIP. Delta did us dirty by buying and repainting that venerated big metal. Of course there are worse places to fly than Atlanta: say, a dawn charter, ground transportation included, out of the private terminal at Ngurah Rai to Cilacap.

The Chinese are surely still up to these tricks. This is the same country with a strong enough market for ivory and ground-up tiger balls and that kind of thing to get Joseph Kony into the elephant poaching business. There have been questions about China’s export pharmaceuticals and baby formula.

That’s an odd nation to maintain a relatively low incarceration rate. Sure enough, though, it does. All we have to do is compare it to the American rate. We’re the world champions. For a while we had, like, the fucking Seychelles or some shit beating us due to a passing political crackdown, but I’m pretty sure that ended.

We all know that medical care in our prisons is top-notch. Prison is a great place to go to get hale, happy, whole, and well. They say so on Fox News, right? Some poor schmuck on the outside has to pay through the nose and wait, and meanwhile it’s free at the point of care in the clink. At the very least, Chad Kroeger insinuates that he spent some time on the inside, and he looks great.

We can consequently rest assured that the American authorities, at all levels of government, are not harvesting skin from prisoners they have neglected to death or murdered, did not conduct syphilis experiments on black airmen at Tuskegee, and did not test chemical or biological weapons from the top of the Pruitt-Igoe Towers. None of this happens in America. You get food to eat.

Again, the Kiwis are not the problem here. You go to the operating room with the ethically sourced grafts you have, not the ethically sourced grafts you’d like. You may notice one word in the last sentence that’s doing the Pareto power player lifting. As an erstwhile Turkish drinking buddy said, “Why don’t we put it back in the dumpster? Too much ethics!” He said this in the course of his studies (sic), as a speaker of English (sic), towards his master’s degree (sic) in business (sic). He’s officially more educated than I am; read it and puke. If you’re practicing medicine, emphasis on practice, at San Francisco General, the other thing you take with you into the operating room is your own stumbling drunk ass: that is, unless a woman in the waiting room goes full Bear Flag Republic mama grizzly on it, and on you, and threatens to call the Medical Board the moment you cross the threshold.

The beast me dickle in a pickle system: we’ve got that, too. The reasons to be alarmed that this shambolic, bumptious country functions as the world’s strategic skin reserve go well and far (heh) beyond the strictly ethical. Can we, or anybody else, have trust and confidence in the safety and reliability of our blood and tissue supplies? Our surgical or dental equipment? Much of anything that we still manufacture? Boeing has manufactured over 400 units of the 737 Max since the Ethiopian crash, playing chicken with every civil aviation authority under the skies, and isn’t done shipping these fine ships into storage yet. This is how a corporation renowned for decades as one of the All-American best is making its manufacturing and business decisions. We’re gonna spend another month hammering these bad boys together and flying them to the Sonora Desert and then, uh, uh, yeah. That’s it! We’ll shut the assembly line down THEN, to save money! The federal executive and a federal legislative majority are perfectly happy to smugly shut the government down until air traffic controllers reach their wit’s end and shut down La Guardia for leverage. At that point, the brain geniouses in Washington soil their diapers anew, freshly (or not so freshly) scandalized and shocked that mere workers have such power over them, their masters.

Medical care in the US in general is frankly terrible. The only reason this isn’t universally understood domestically, as it increasingly is abroad, is propaganda. We advertise fucking cardiac surgery at base hospitals in cities of 30,000. Fucking St. Joseph’s runs ads on Cool 105 and shit. Do you REALLY not want to be medevacked to San Fran for that? Because you Van Morrison-ass heard it on the radio, on the radio? On top of the ads, we have decades’ worth of spurious, bad-faith, flagrantly apples-and-oranges comparisons of, like, Johns Hopkins or the Cleveland Clinic to random Soviet-era base hospitals in Murmansk or Krakow or Leipzig that in point of fact usually provided world-class care, without the Hershey advertising budget and without cherrypicking their patient pools for better outcomes and the aggrandizing US News and World Report-ass statistics these skimmables yield. #TeshTips: They’re lying to you. It’s Powell Memo praxis all the way down.

We call this conservatism.

Again, medicine is just one critical sphere where this manifests. Are our feedlots and slaughterhouses clean? Lol. Somebody shits in a Salinas lettuce field instead of taking unpaid time off to hit the crapper, and a week later an unsuspecting grandma in Boise or Holdrege dies of E. coli.

This is definitely where the world should source its skin grafts, the world-leading exporter of mercenary blood. Go down to the near eastside of Reno, over by the rescue missions, if you’ve got some to spare and a local ID. It’s a real healthy donor pool in that part of town, all lining up for the cash money. As they say on the Penny Hoarder, we’ve all done these things to make rent. “We?” “All?” Who the fuck is “us?” This sounds like the kind of shit that would go down in a bad part of Manila, selling blood on the open market until it’s a higher aggregate-value export than soy or corn. Yeah, we’ve got some rice, we’ve got some pork, we’ve got some cassava and taro, we’ve got some usable veins.

Christ. The chilling theodicial banality of it: hey, we all gotta do what we gotta do to get by. Times are tough, so you gotta hustle. Look, I have no moral objections to $20 blow-n-go by the UP mainline. The, uh, scenery is prettier a thousand miles to the east, up on Moon River, but I’m not the one down on the low track paying for any of that. Thing is, this shit is not about public morals; it’s about public health. Blood-farming the indigent for the export market in neighborhoods with prevalent ill health and disease is an international public health threat. There was a minor moral panic of sorts maybe twenty years ago about the United States having to import blood from Switzerland, complete with news footage of a Swiss A330 on short final. Cool. Pretty airplane. That story increased my trust in the blood supply. What we’re doing these days is legit scary.

This is not the behavior of a confident, capable society. These are the death throes of a failing empire. We’re over here bragging about how we’re the best in the world, and meanwhile we’re tripping all over ourselves to excuse 95% safety and reliability in critical operations, or 90%, or, shucks, 75%. Boeing wanted to reassure the flying public that the Max was 99+% safe. That must be comforting for passengers on the other 1%. Recall that the FAA was the last civil aviation authority of any significance to ground the Max. We measurably, manifestly fell behind Ethiopia on safety standards. I’m not trying to be PC here; we fell behind fucking Indonesia. We did this deliberately, to curry favor with a once-trailblazing aerospace manufacturer that was being run headlong into the ground. Who’s us here? Hey, our government did that, in our name.

Radio Free Tom Nichols was just on World Affairs to bitch to Ray Suarez about how everybody back home in Chicopee has turned into an obese opioid addict stuffing his face with Big Macs while demanding that the government save him from himself. I couldn’t help myself. I had to listen to the whole broadcast once it came on. He veered into moral and mental clarity from time to time, but hearing from him about the death of expertise was reminiscent of Larry Craig’s bitter complaints about the death of chastity.

This is a guy who traffics stereotypes so habitually and thoughtlessly that he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know and doesn’t care. He stirred up a shitstorm on the D-List post-or-die left by declaring that Indian food sucks, period. I really didn’t care, and I still don’t. I’ll eat his goat curry if he won’t; I’ll even eat Her Majesty’s leftover chicken tikka masala, and that’s something that the best chefs can fuck up by not using potato cubes instead. It turns out that this woke-v.-broke horseshit was, in fact, significant. Radio Free Tom broadbrushes all sorts of things, most of them higher-stakes than not eating his bowl of Jaipur karhi. He’s every bit as shallow and coarse about industrial policy.

What we’ve got here is a contemptuous social climber cum know-it-all blowhard. It sounds bad when I phrase it that way, but Tom’s pretty modest and decent by the prevailing community standards in the philosophical wreckage that passes for his set’s idea of a community. Think about who socializes with people who in any professional capacity know Ray Suarez. As they say around Independence Mall, it’s kinda gross, Terry. Dealing with people who are peripheral or orthogonal to the truly bad actors of the Acela Corridor is revealing, provided we have some idea of how to extrapolate from those who don’t make us barf into those who do: the lanyard losers, the think tank creeps, the bigshot talking heads, the professional right-wing provocateurs walking around with shit-eating grins, the Congressmen, the lobbyists.

Being around that human mess for decades without current points of references in the real world has to have a distorting effect on one’s understanding of how America runs under the hood. If we’re claiming that a revolt against expertise cost Hillary the election and elevated the Donald all the way to the top, we might want to explain what in the hell kind of expertise it was that made it impossible for Her professional political nerds to miss the evidence that she was widely reviled in a whole bunch of swing states, or that her opponent was campaigning on some planks that were extremely attractive in the same parts of the country. That’s like if I said, oh, grapes? Yeah, that grows on, like, a tree or a bush or some shit, I dunno, you asked, go fuck yourself.

This class is completely unwilling to imagine that there are large numbers of their fellow citizens who take pride in plying what they consider lowly trades, seek to keep plying their own trades, and do not wish to see their industries consigned exclusively to Dhaka or Phnom Penh. They aren’t content just to be idiots; they insist on being loudmouthed, belligerent idiots.

I’m not even annoyed at Radio Free Tom in this case; for the most part I’m just cheaply entertained. There is, however, something surreally arrogant about this prick from the Naval War College being platformed on state radio to spend his portion of a fifty-minute hour sniveling about how the ordinary taxpayers contributing to the national treasury that helps pay for his frequent appearances are unfit for self-government. It’s a bizarre own goal for a sworn expert who presumably takes pride in being a communicator, a debater, a presenter of arguments.

It’s a bewildering mess of the mind, but one thing that stands out about it is the profound, dripping ingratitude. Who does Radio think does the real, tangible, physical work that keeps him alive and comfortable? Who do any of his peers think does that? Fellow talking heads?

We’re going out on a limb to assume that they think at all. This is too petty for their thoughts, too pedestrian, too crass. Giving thanks would prick their bubbles.

Somebody has to sow, tend, harvest, process, sell, and cook their food. Somebody has to keep their water supply clean and reliable 24/7. Somebody has to pave their streets, drive their Ubers, and, if they’re so down-to-earth, maintain their Metro system. (I assume we all know which one.) Somebody has to fly, maintain, navigate, and direct their planes. Somebody has to clean their bathrooms and cut their grass. Acela doesn’t drive, dispatch, track, or highball itself.

This is why they hate air traffic controllers. They don’t do any of this shit for themselves. Most of it is credibly menial and unskilled work: like, who gives a shit, we aren’t out of Guatemalans. Air traffic control is so obviously so highly skilled and critical, no matter how boring or rote, that even our worst useless eaters aren’t sheltered or deranged enough to pretend that it isn’t. So they misdirect: Oh, they’re just extorting Congress. They’re just bitter that they never landed the good gigs on the Hill. That’s why they demand to be compensated. We should come up with a computer program to replace them. No, I don’t know how to reboot my computer when I virus-crash it on dicey porn sites.

Huh. Having other people do the work and then complaining that they are too demanding and uppity sounds, uh, maybe a touch familiar from points south, and in some cases north, of Gettysburg. I can’t imagine there’s a rapid transit station in Ole Virginny rhyming with Darlington Flemetarry where a rising Union-turned-Confederate army officer got violent with the help before violently getting his men’s asses kicked and then going hat in hand over fly to a place that doesn’t possibly rhyme with Fappomattox Short Blouse and son they took the farm, you know, blood on the scarecrow, blood under the plow.

*Freshly resalted General Sherman voice* Sick burn, kid. Say, to stray a bit off-topic and a lazy afternoon’s float down the river–same damn bank; mercy, Mr. Davis!–, there’s a strain of impertinent Yankee thot holding (giggity*) (*your affiant needs sleep) that certain, shall we say, recently unpleasant cultural practices stymied innovation and held Dixie back. That sounds impossible. He went to Protestant confession for whacking the cherry tree, right? It’s in all the books, books from a time before plagiarism. He owned people and stuff, but they all did. How could he mistreat them?

They teach us about his modest suckface limp upper lip. They teach us about his dentures. They do not teach us that George had a tooth bank.

Even the ladies and gentlemen knew in their hearts the proper thing to call this tooth bank:

People.

Cunt indunker

It’s expensive to keep a harem in San Diego. Who knew? Clarification: it’s expensive for White People to keep a harem of fellow White People. I do not wax fictional when I relate what my abrasive ginger drinking buddy told us on a visit back to the Philadelphia drunkards’ circuit during his study a broad or two time around La Jolla and Kearny Mesa, that everybody there had blonde hair and blue eyes.

Yeah, who’s “us,” buddy? Not the Mexicans. Duh. We won’t even grant Mexico Guantanamo-style port and safe passage rights to a harbor concession in Imperial Beach. It is because we’re racist pissants. That’s what governs us, in any event. This isn’t about geography. Real prominent geographic feature right there, the Gadsden Line, uh huh. Say, I wonder if we borrowed California’s name from a neighboring state. Nah. Who’d do that? Why would a country located next to Mexico ever need its own Mexico? Look, there are the neighbors a country ratfucks as the treaty party controlling the upstream portion of the Tijuana River, and there are the neighbors a country, by generously hosing itself, ratfucks as the upstream treaty party to the Colorado. Wet? What’s “wet”? Not you bitches, lol.

We’re definitely doing right by Mexico. Bolivia has a goddamn navy.

SANDAG is worth the horseshit culture of its local constituencies. Mostly. A big arc of them elected and reelected Duncan Hunter to Congress. Are we to believe that they are shocked to discover that the gentleman does not share their values? If our position is that Mexico would do worse governing this territory, we need evidence that Mexico would do worse, and Duncan, he ain’t it. He’s a piece of what self-government got us, and he was a lifer in Congress, so “us” is all of us. He’s my fellow American and Californian, too. I’ve never cared for the guy, but he is.

Let’s say it again: culture has consequences. There are cultural reasons why a big chunk of East County and North County kept voting for a guy who was hopelessly mired in debt and overdraft fees on a Congressional salary plus side income, partly because he was six-timing his wife with yuppie-chasing bimbos.

This isn’t to say that San Diego County is the sweet home of the great American extramarital affair, or a cesspool of sexual dissolution in general. I have had two different women in Santa Rosa independently tell me that local repertory theater directors demand sexual favors in exchange for parts. One of them told me explicitly that she was directly propositioned “for a blowjob or something;” the other spoke more generally but implied that she’d been asked, too. I’ve known women who are hysterical dipshits, but these two aren’t. Believe me, I believe them.

This shit, I assume, is everywhere. I just fucking love the idea of having to suck some shithead’s cock to get a role singing “Cooking With Gas” at the Arkley. First prize: one week in Eureka; second prize: two weeks. I used to live there. It isn’t exactly Pitcairn Island, but it isn’t exactly not. Say what you will about Toledo, but realize that it has mainline passenger rail service on tracks rated for the full 79 just beyond the outskirts of town and that it’s, like, an hour or an hour and half by car from Ann Arbor. *Dr. Nassar, uncalled for, on call* Ah, how is she? I’ve always wondered about her.

You don’t have to be Mormon to have two families on the Upper East Side. You do have to be Mormon to have two families in American Fork, because your other wife just came over, unchaperoned, with a full dish of pineapple Jell-O salad and “sat” with me for an hour.

Perhaps these are tacitly chronicles of celibacy, just as Soulja Boy’s “Crank That” is very much what one says about sexual activity as a recent and frequent participant. But at least epidemic anorexia isn’t a Napoleonic thing. Nobody’s like, ugh, too thicc for Utah. Everybody in San Diego has a meltdown about being too fat for the beach. Bitch what the fuck? You’re going there to get mostly naked and give yourself skin cancer, and you’re upset that your BMI is 8-10 points below mine? Fuckin’ chill, dawg.

By “everybody,” I’m referring again to the White Community. But of course. It is by no means San Diego’s only Community, but it’s the big one. It’s mostly racially exclusive, but not entirely. Verily, even dolezally, one can be nonwhite and White. One can even dance and stay uptight, as Van Morrison might know if he or his associates spent more time with the flyover freaks who grace our purity balls. *Most Sentimental Garrison Keillor Voice* Norwegian Balls That Are Pure, Mostly.

Balls, that is, that are too fatty for what we’re not erasing from San Diego. Sex is only a partial explanation. Tijuana’s main red light district is on the north side, so close to the United States of America and so far from God. Our boy Duncan lives in Alpine. It isn’t far. It doesn’t matter. He still had to chase amateur tail in San Diego and–think for a minute what a fool it would take–on Capitol Hill. This is like living in the Outer Sunset and flying to Zurich for dim sum.

There is perhaps a bit of vanity at play in these relationships. There was recently a “scandal” about Border Patrol recruits going whoring in TJ on graduation weekend. Instead of patronizing Mexican women who are just trying to do business–an awful way to put out, I mean, to put it–and catering to the worst fantasies of bored housewives in Point Loma, it might be more helpful to question the wisdom of young men pursuing sexual self-actualization by crowdsourcing their sexuality from their colleagues on one of the worst-disciplined police forces in a country of over three hundred million, when they could take the opportunity presented by any coincidence of discretionary cash flow and thirst to go solo to Zona Norte. But we are not nearly so wise as a society. For one thing, internal command over the Border Patrol is vested in the see-nothing say-nothing brick house that is Helga Carla Provost. She’s a lifer, you know, and it has always been an excellently run agency.

Women can be Eddie Johnson, too. God bless America.

The civilians, in any sense of the term, aren’t doing any better. San Diego is, as I briefly implied, swarming with dipshits who insist on the existence of rampant human trafficking, by which they mean sex trafficking. Let’s face it: nobody cares about fucking farm or construction workers. Everything about the thinking here is insane. It’s a powerfully toxic confluence of narcissism, jealousy, mateguarding, Darwinian kneecapping, scorned revenge, and all-around drama, with policy implications poisoning the whole nest and threatening to seep into a separate sovereign nation whose citizenry and government want approximately jack fucking shit to do with any of it. Why is my husband screwing the nanny? You hired her, genius. Okay, she was kidnapped and raped, then. No, she probably has a sex drive of her own, and she paid coyotes to sneak her over the border because you’ll never vote for NAFTA Schengen.

Affluenza isn’t just about pleading spoiled to a DUI charge or climbing the nearest stout live oak to take a shit straight onto the trail. It’s all of that, and more. It’s too crazy for Wesley Willis the way it’s lived in *NORTHWEST AIRLINES* San Diego. Why not have a second-generation House lifer maintain Brett Kavanaugh-grade personal finances while sermonizing about fiscal discipline for a living?

There is always an economy, no matter how ridiculously we call it that, undergirding these arrangements. In San Diego, it isn’t particularly one. To be frank, it’s mostly transfer payments. The Navy is the main show in town on the waterfront, the premeh contendah, and it’s mostly bullshit, progressing from maybe 50% in-house to 80% bullshit in the outside contractors. Remember, it’s Fat Leonard’s preferred branch. YMMV, but as a rule it’s a great place to show up, pass probation, and then skim. We’re cruising for years, Pablo.

In fairness, of course, the other services are swarming with crooks of their own, and the Navy is mostly free of the Marine Corps’ house style of hair-trigger bruiser and the Air Force’s in-your-face religious zealots. All the same, the reason San Diego is bigger than San Luis Obispo is that the whole town’s on the government tit. This is statistically the case. The counterfactuals don’t yield a metropolitan population in the range of two million without also having me wrap this essay up right now because Dagmar Midcap just called me for some afternoon delight. We haven’t even touched the water supply, which is a series of ambitious, heavily subsidized public works.

Duncan Hunter’s scene is a grab bag of ex-military pensioners, military-adjacent grifters, collateral beneficiaries, RattLife trash, offroad flatbillers, and other quasiemployable walkaways from the beloved free market. He’s surely got some guild racketeers in the mix, too, dentists and cardiologists and orthopods and whatnot, but it’s mostly either layabouts or rise-and-grind hustlers who aren’t actually producing, or in some cases really doing, anything. RattLife’s work is, as they say, a work. Realize that everybody in the fucking county who’s up to anything seedy or shady is close enough to have an influence on Duncan’s district. These shysters all more or less run with each other. That peppy fashy chick from CB East I used to know who’s living and theoretically working in, like, PB or some shit is a Republican. Hitler loved dogs, too. For all I know she may have voted for Kamala Harris. There are indeed many such cases, and somebody’s gotta keep the Reagan/Deukmejian/Wilson strain of Republican politics alive, with or without the charm, so there we fucking go.

It’s insufferable to listen to these assholes whine about fiscal discipline. Hell, buddy, if you’re so into it, why don’t you fucking have some? These cunts always bitch that the government is taking their money and beggaring them, that they’d be able to make ends meet if their tax burden weren’t so onerous. The Hunters are a useful object lesson to the contrary, a high-income “conservative” couple so spendthrift that no libertarian tax regime would be enough to get them out of hock or keep them there. Their bank statements resembled those of a single mother working as a supermarket cashier, not what a constituent would reasonably expect of a sitting second-generation Congressman and his wife.

They obviously figured, if you can’t make it, fake it. Activate the poor man’s credit line on the debit card. Embezzle that which is within reach for the taking. God wouldn’t have left it there if he didn’t want you getting into it. We have preachers on the television proclaiming worse than this. Can I get an amen, Pastor Joel? Amen! It’s 3:20 somewhere. Probably in Adelaide. The time zones there are all fucked up.

The small business community, so consistently such rock-ribbed Republicans, doesn’t mind. We really need to read less of what entrepreneurs have to say about themselves and more of what their employees have to say about them, off the clock and out of their earshot. Small business is lawless throughout the country, but suburban San Diego is a rather immoral part of it with an exceptionally pervasive background noise of congratulatory sycophancy targeting the likes of our “job creators.” There are other places where the ownership class at least has to pretend to be humble and accountable. Hunterville is a postmodern military dependency full of right-wing nutjobs in a border zone on the moneyed side of one of the strongest osmotic migration gradients on earth.

It’s no wonder that one of the local Congressmen, also the son of a Congressman of the same name, decided that he deserved to live like a prince, and that if he could not afford to do so in a statutorily lawful manner, he would do so as a statutory criminal. I say statutory because Congress, much like San Diego’s portside bandits, is chock full of looters who do everything in their power to rob the commonweal without technically breaking the law, and much to break the law in ways that they expect not to get them caught. He was surrounded by grasping, immodest people. He didn’t have to go native; he already was.

And now we’ve decided–“we”–that he needs to do a five-year bid in the federal system. Excuse me? What the hell is this going to accomplish? We keep feeding political crooks into the buzzsaw, and nothing changes, except the federal prison population, which has risen dramatically since 1980. How the fuck do we figure that Rahm is better than Rod? Rostenkowski and Traficant, Laski and Cianci, Ryan and Blagojevich, Stewart and Huffman: every one of these two-bit scammers had to go into the joint for some reason. No, Martha, it is not a good thing. Ruh-roh! Allen Stanford and Bernie Madoff are serving sentences with nonparole periods of well over a full century. These guys were scumbags, but did they magically turn into Michael Rudkin between conviction and sentencing, or are we up on our high horse again?

Notice that we do nothing to prevent such scum from running their rackets and frauds in the first place. The FDIC’s mandate and jurisdiction are awfully narrow for a society known to be harboring these characters. Abject employee extortion rackets including Amway, Jamberry, and LuLaRoe are perfectly legal under federal law, and apparently under the laws of all or most states. You can make professional subordinates sign a contract to pay YOU for their work in this country. We really are Soviet Russia, just with somewhat less in the way of public services. Not less in the way of gulags, though; on that much we’re champs. Meanwhile a multilevel marketing heiress is the Secretary of Education. Truly this is the American Way of Celebrated Living.

That was awful, but come at me about it after you’ve listened to Andrew Lelling. Listen to any of the Nancy Grace wine moms and other insane freaks we retain as our prosecutors. Anne Marie Schubert and Scott Jones hauled that geezer ex-cop downtown from Citrus Heights, from home, hearth, and roast, on serial murder and rape charges just in time for their uncomfortably close reelection bids. They’d looked at every cop in the metro area and beyond, and somehow they’d missed Officer DeAngelo’s dismissal from the Auburn PD for shoplifting dog spray and a hammer right in Citrus Heights. Some of us call it the East Area.

Yup, that’s totally what happened. We can trust these folks.

From time to time the courts process a defendant who is a serious threat to society and truly needs to go away for a while. This was the case for our old boy JJ, which must have been why they gave him a four-decade head start to work on his warehousing career and roasting skills. A number of women have disappeared or been found dead on Long Island in recent years, in manners pointing to a military or paramilitary background on the part of whoever killed them, and outside observers have noted a couple of NYPD rubber room cases who sound like they fit the bill. What, then, are the inside observers doing? Who the fuck knows. Not observing too closely is a good guess, since sending another round of sworn city boys upstate might be awkward, especially for something like that. At least they managed to thread the needle for Lazarus in the sweet spot between shitcanning her before her pension could vest and getting her onto RHD in time to investigate herself. The only thing we can be sure stopped that was the Ocean’s 187 detail she snagged on the same floor.

Great work, Meyer. Say, speaking of Lyle, who’s also got some spare time, it’s past time to get Steph down to Donovan to teach the whole yard something in the way of hobbies besides goddamn chess. It’s always inmates or retirees or unemployed youth who are dicking around with that shit, and it’s no wonder: it must help to be powerfully fucking bored.

Against the odds, there’s a point to this, too. Americans have no bloody idea of how long five or ten or twenty or a hundred fifty years is when it comes to prison sentences, let alone how much longer it comes to feel in a prison, let alone how much longer yet any of this time feels the way we run our prisons. We’ve got all these self-righteous sadists who act like they personally harrowed hell after an evening in La Guardia or the Port Authority, then hear about some poor patsy getting sent up to Fishkill for two years and insist it’s no biggie, like the guy got off light or something. It says bad things about this country that it’s possible to get an entire political movement or two to cater to one’s worst impulses on these matters by yelling about them instead of being encouraged to return to the Port Authority and discuss them out front, where the prevailing community standards should be more consistent with the public airing of these grievances.

These are things to keep in mind when we hear about Duncan Hunter getting a five-year sentence for a plea deal to dramatically reduced charges. We’re so inured to the sheer enormity of the time we steal from our prisoners that it’s all meaningless. Five years is long enough for a prisoner to have leave a newborn on the way in and come home to a kindergartener on the way out. What the hell do we think this is? A leisurely afternoon playing golf?

Scapegoating Duncan Hunter does nothing about his constituents or his constituency. We only pretend that the entire sin is saddled upon him and expiated through his “serving” us in the federal prison system–which, by the way, is not a nice place to be confined, no matter how resentfully we describe it as Club Fed or some shit. Removing him from San Diego County leaves behind the rest of San Diego County. It’s a very shitty form of earthly rapture, and an expensive one.

Hunter’s constituents elected him. He would never have gone to Congress without them. His sleazy behavior was downstream of their sleazy values. They’re the ones who rewarded him for his seedy hypocrisy. They could have elected someone else in his place. They chose him. They approved of his shambolic, bogus “conservatism”: his adulterous pro-life family values, his imperial militaristic idea of small government and fiscal discipline, his grandstanding about a tough border and immigration regime that they all tacitly mean to keep arbitrary and selectively porous. His horseshit was politically viable because it was their horseshit, too.

We can start to appreciate how these psychotic politics ever stood a chance by looking at the local sociology and demographics, specifically who is and is not enfranchised around San Diego. To put just a slightly blunted point on it, the electorate is not the residents running the joint. This is a region that assigns every bit of blue-collar and service labor it can to the Mexican peasantry.

This society isn’t just a local problem; it’s a national problem. We’re paying for much of this shit by not taxing it into abatement. At the very least, we’re selling ourselves short by not loudly denouncing the citizens of Duncan Hunter’s district for trafficking horseshit and grifting for a living while in provable fact living off the avails of exploited foreigners’ labor and federally subsidized water infrastructure. Their case for deserving lower marginal tax rates is weak; we all know, if we’re familiar with them, that they’ll spend the savings on under-the-table cash payments to their household servants, tacky mansions, tacky luxury travel, test prep, de facto bribery, and other unjustifiable labor arbitrage freeloading, corruption, and pure waste.

We’ve seen this fucking movie before. We’ve been watching it since Reagan was wandering the Oval Office soiling his sweatpants.

These are the conservative values whose protection demanded the banishment by bullying of Katie Hill from Capitol Hill, as George Papadopoulos will agree. This is prudence. This is rectitude. This is Christianity. Dagmar Midcap is my wife. America, a-yagshemazh.

On top of Strawberry Hill’s sister

Young women today report that they are aware of hardly any female peers who have not willingly taken or sat for nude photographs. The ubiquity of intimate nude portraiture may well vary regionally and subculturally, but we’d be fools to believe what provincial elites declare about the modesty and chastity of THEIR girls. There are genuinely conservative religious communities that I might believe have significantly lower rates of sexting than the modern cosmopolitan average, but what their leaders have to say about communal morals has John Dennis Diddly to do with it. The sexual practices of Hindus in rural India, Muslims in Indonesia or Saudi Arabia, various conservative Christians in the Americas, or what have you are practices, not sermons.

Mainstream American culture is too fucking retarded to get this. We know, however, what Polish cradle Catholic Robert Dziekanski would say about the ubiquitous production, transmission, and curation of digital home pornography in this, our time of equally ubiquitous and reliable* electricity: You’re killing me, Biggie; I’m literally shocked.

*Yeah, yeah, too much wind for the hydro, eh; true dat, Juice. The point here, of course, is that a society does not in fact consistently create what it communicate. That’s bullshit.

And that’s why mainstream Americans believe it. Ours is a deeply, deeply disturbed national culture. If it weren’t, we might more readily notice how utterly divergent so much of what passes for Christianity in the United States is from Christian scripture and tradition as they have been passed down over the centuries nearly everywhere else.

A full treatment of Christian sexual ethics would be exhausting and largely superfluous. Suffice it to say that what prevails as an excuse for Christian sexual ethics in American public life today is thoroughly mala fide and bogus. We’ve watched the parade of serially married adulterers, teenybopper fanciers, loudly anti-buggery closet cases, serial accessories to sexual assault, and outright rapists angrily thump the Bible on the capital steps. These are worth a periodic review: the Katie-bar-the-door (lol) Ten Commandments judge who got banned from the mall during his time as a county prosecutor because he kept cruising the premises for jailbait, and the square in front of the courthouse, too; the Brokeback Mountain-ass anti-sodomy activist, previously investigated for using the Congressional Page program as a catamite reserve, busted by a plainclothes vice cop for trying to hook up in the men’s room; the Speaker of the US House of Representatives who divorced his second wife as she lay dying from cancer and he dogged the President over an office affair; the subsequent Speaker, also a self-righteous Slick Willie wrangler, who turned out to have spent his prior career as a high school boys’ wrestling coach fucking his way through his teams; the powerfully turnt Supreme Court nominee who screamed his way to confirmation after belatedly being exposed as a blackout drunk with a lengthy history of assaults, sexual and otherwise.

These are, not coincidentally, Republicans. The last Democrats of national stature to be so bold and shameless about their prerogatives as duly inaugurated officials, or about their privileges in general, must have been Bill Clinton and Jim Traficant. The Big Dog is indeed a rare bird (don’t overthink the phrasing), or was, before he lost his touch. So was Traficant, albeit in starkly divergent ways. The House Democratic Caucus pretended to be scandalized to learn that Traficant was an extortionate, freeloading crook; its true but unspeakable objections were that he said the quiet parts about the prevailing business practices out loud and refused to get with their neoliberal program. They don’t mind a mobbed-up freak per se; what gets their panties into a twist is a mobbed-up freak who defiantly plays to type. I’ve sat on the outskirts of the Hill at rush hour and been attentive, or present, as they say, and I can testify to what I saw. Jimmy was bullshitting if he meant to imply that any of the fucking nerds who run things in that neighborhood would ever loosen up enough to widen their bottoms.

Pay close attention to how the Republican Party reacted to these scandals. In most of these instances, it went to the mat for its shitheads. Ironically enough, it did not so much go to the mat for J. Denny Dundiddly, who knew a thing or two about what we might call the fucking mat.

Goodness, we don’t talk like that; we’re good Christian conservative sex pests with that old-time religion-style thing for the jailbait. Gadsden Lovin’ said so himself. It was old-fashioned Southern Christian courtship, as Southern Gentlemen have always practiced upon unchaperoned ladies of early debutante age out behind the general store. That guy was too shameless and crass under fire even for the national kingmakers not to disavow, but he stood his damn ground. It was the same song with Todd Akin, another of the silent teachings committed by an overly exuberant disciple to hymns of praise and sung with raucous spiritual abandon in the streets.

The Denny Dundiddly deal provoked the opposite sort of crisis PR response. Diddlin’ Dennis corncobbed himself through the federal court and prison systems. Meanwhile his fellow travelers, freshly scandalized to be associated with a man of his character, acted like the dog that hadn’t just shat on its master’s tucker box: oyt, mate, let’s use our misdirected gazes to dereify the pail and the turd by denying them the object permanence they demand.

This is a surprisingly relevant and important sidebar. The authorities in Australia don’t throw a goddamned fit over the publication or broadcasting of the Heavy Seven. The story about the dog who shat on his master’s tucker box was reprinted in so many words in the Qantas inflight magazine. One can read about it aboard–Scout’s Honor, this is a real plane; I was just on it–Kakadu.

Said you like the way, I pail my shit now; lemme be yaw caga. I’m absolutely not trying to humblebrag here. Thinking these episodes over on a trip through a foreign country peopled and led by what seem to be psychosexually normal and well-adjusted adults is powerfully clarifying. I’ve tuned into Australian news broadcasts, and I’m detecting NOBODY in a position of civil or cultural power who id overtly deranged enough for Capitol Hill. Observing a political class that acts like reasonable grownups really drives home the truth that the prevailing community standards in American politics are The Lord of the Flies with the launch codes. Hearing from premier of the year ScoMo, Anthony Albanese, and even onion enthusiast Tony Abbott highlights the sheer dysfunction of the US Congress for deferentially extending one to two full terms of executive power and supreme military command to a sundowning geezer who habitually barks bullshit at the press pool through deafening prop wash. I get the feeling that that messy bitch wouldn’t last a month in Australia’s most celebrated summer gig.

Culture has consequences. American political culture is not eccentric or quaint or charming. It is insane, toxic, and dangerous in ways that should alarm the entire world. Grabbing an airsickness bag and returning to Trump, we may recall that, in addition to carrying on about inflammatory communal grievances like a discount bin Radovan Karadzic, he is accused on the record of serial sexual assault, has bragged about barging into the dressing rooms of underaged models, and is widely reputed to be the subject of an FSB blackmail videotape featuring watersports in a hotel bed in Russia, presumably as something like a sex hex on Barack and Michelle Obama.

This is all utterly outrageous. Even the unproven rumors are outrageous enough for impeachment. Like, okay, champ, here’s the breaks: you do not get to distract the rest of us from the people’s business and disgrace our government with your low-functioning sexual deviance; therefore you are being removed as the head of state and government. For the same reasons the tarmac shouting fits are enough for impeachment on THEIR own, the point being that the Congress will not tolerate in a sitting president the mad king cosplay of a narcissistic celebrity asshole who abuses pool reporters detailed to his office by yelling at them over the engine noise of waiting executive aircraft instead of using any of the dedicated venues available to him on demand for press conferences or impromptu pool interviews.

That is, this is a serious office with serious duties, and we will remove your sloppy fat ass from it if you hold it flippantly. Besides, routinely yelling at reporters in front of running jet engines and helicopter propellers without ear protection is an obvious physical and mental stressor, especially in an obese elder of mediocre physical fitness. This motherfucker is the head of state and government in the world’s preeminent imperial power, and he cannot refrain from engaging in thrillseeking behavior involving his household air fleet on live television.

There’s an overwhelming public interest in deterring such bad behavior by removing from office those high officials who insist on engaging in it. This geriatrically adolescent piece of shit deliberately holds pressers in the noisiest environments available, spends hours a day having emotional meltdowns while watching extremist talk shows, apparently abuses Sudafed for the high, and is a safe bet to call a cokehead.

It gets better. This fuckhead’s party is the same one that impeached his recent predecessor for having a very modestly sexual affair with a junior subordinate. The Clinton impeachment queered the impeachment process for decades. One exceptionally insane faction with its own closet full of skeletons used impeachment to humiliate an opponent for his least vicious sexual misdeeds, and now it’s spoiled for cases of rape, incitement to genocide, and manifest unfitness for office.

The Republicans could not have cared less about the threshold of high crimes and misdemeanors, or about where the Arkie-on-Cuban-on-Angelena hanky-panky fell relative to this threshold, wherever Congress chose to draw it. They ultimately impeached Clinton for failing to confess his sex life with scrupulous honesty to an inquisition including Ken Starr and Brett Kavanaugh.

These were their values. Pass it on, bitch. The plump Jewess engaged Slick Willie with full enthusiasm. He, not she, put the brakes on the affair. This was the Big Dog’s mistake. Surely we no longer imagine, if ever we were so naïve, that Kenneth and Brett Michael object to rape.

The Clinton impeachment, along with the nonimpeachments of all three successive presidents to date, set the standard for what Congress will and will not tolerate on the president’s part. It is an impossibly incoherent and arbitrary standard. The Republicans prefer it that way; the Democrats are too comfortable losing to particularly care.

The shitlib pearclutching after Rashida Tlaib’s “impeach the motherfucker” outburst was all too instructive. The liberals scolding Tlaib for being so rude professed to revile Trump, but they were, as always, such limp little weenies that they insisted on despising him civilly. This absolutely is not principled Christian cheek-turning; consistent with their sore reaction to Tlaib’s bluntness, they never hesitate to punch left, or down on the poor. Remember our boy Wide-Bottom Jimmy again, and how he discomfited the PMC enforcers in his own caucus by being proudly, trashily rude before them, so menacingly threatening to kick them in their assets.

These are favors they hate to have returned by their inferiors. The Donald, whom they swear they so deplore, is an odd case, famously rich* but proudly vulgar. (*The boy ain’t. He’s a hustler who plays his wealth times orders of magnitude on TV.) This confuses the shitlib response a bit. Tlaib is more straightforward in class terms. She, like inferred reluctant Trump voter Michael Moore, has credible working-class ties.

To be fair, Trump is not by inclination a motherfucker, but a daughterfucker. The devil is in the details, and these are sick. So is the DLCC response to this hostile scumbag, this Hitler-curious Borgia as interpreted by a sundowning Don Rickles. What the hell do these sniveling losers imagine they owe HIM? He could choose to defend himself against impeachment by not doing everything in his power to insult and humiliate sitting members of Congress. He’s old enough to understand this. He’s of age. (LOL.) I’m not talking about his sex partners.

Acting like somebody is owed a fucking apology for hearing a fed-up official speak coarsely of that widely hated asshole is pathetic. The Speaker, of Chuck and Nancy, didn’t even have any believable tactical concerns about how to proceed against Trump. She’s just another prissy rich bitch whose material are served by 1) ongoing liberal fear and outrage about an entrenched impeachment target and 2) Trump’s own platform. Of course she’s sandbagging members of her own caucus who are more popular nationally than she’ll ever be. On Zinfandel Lane, who wouldn’t?

This brings us to Katie, unable to bar the door against her own soft expulsion from–yes, your cracker is here to say it–the Hill. Katie Hill went down on history so early in her career for having threesomes with a staffer, followed by something more like twosomes after her husband, originally the number two, made sure to act the part, being as he was in possession of photographs and memories.

Hill is hot. She is also bisexual. Let’s go stroke it to someone else. This is a salacious distraction. Her ex-husband, a bitter, angry piece of shit, retaliated for the divorce by leaking a set of nudes to the gutter press. Will it surprise you to learn that he was abusive while they were still together, too? The guy didn’t get all bent out of shape by being dumped; he proceeded from love to loss already like that. It was why she got rid of him in the first place.

She isn’t the problem; he is. It’s appalling that this has to be spelled out, but it does. He’s the one who held and then released blackmail material on a sitting member of Congress. The material itself, although salacious, was and is wholesome enough: a private orgy among three competent, consenting, fully grown partners who enjoyed one another’s sexual affection. The ex turned it into blackmail material by releasing it for revenge after their relationship soured, knowing that it would stir up a furor among the sorts of people who get titillated by the sex lives of elected officials and documentation thereof, a furor entirely out of proportion to Hill’s innocuous sexual activity in comparison to that of any of the (ostensibly) undocumented molestations, forcible gropings, sex trafficking conspiracies, and rapes publicly attributed to her colleagues.

This is an egregious transgression. That scumbag’s life needs to be turned upside down. The temptation to salaciously expose or threaten sitting members of Congress needs to be chilled with immediate consequences for all who are nasty enough to try. It’s a disservice to their constituents not to fuck the creeps up. It’s subversive of constitutional government.

In her resignation speech Hill rued the barrage of rape threats she had received since the leaking of her nudes. There’s something badly wrong when anyone over the age of fifteen thinks it’s possibly at all safe to communicate threats of violence to a sitting member of Congress, to think that anything that even plausibly sounds like a threat won’t call down hellfire from every available cop, lawyer, and private investigator.

This isn’t really about what’s strictly illegal. A competent detective squad or plaintiff’s legal team can jam an edgelord miscreant up for days, if not months, before all actions against him are dismissed or appealed to exhaustion. This assumes, by the way, that the defendant has absolutely no prior history of similar bad acts that can be used as corroborating evidence or pursued separately until all legal avenues are exhausted; i.e., not in any way a fellow whose relatives or buddies or exes can say is a creep.

We have a model for this. The Secret Service scrambles squads to investigate threats against protectees. This is universally understood, to the point that only a hardcore idiot expects to brag promiscuously about harming a current or former president or presidential dependent without being confronted by armed G-men.

This is of course another reason to impeach Trump, on the basis that a protectee should forfeit his office if he insists on abusing it to incite violence, inevitably provoking additional threats against himself by parties he has threatened or angered, and forcing the Secret Service to investigate these threats. Like, look, pal, you’ll still get the detail, but you’re done with the official bully pulpit to waste its already stressed resources.

Americans know better than to go all Manuel Ramos about how they’re gonna fuck the President up. There’s no ambiguity. The hyperbole or figurative license has to be unmistakable to prevent an interrogation. This isn’t lie, oh, lighten up, I was just kidding. They don’t give mulligans for that trap.

This makes it impossible not to wonder what the hell went wrong to make it seem viable to mail or call in threats of premeditated felony violence to Congressional offices. There are draconian sentencing ranges just for the criminal use of telephones or the US Mail. Rape and murder threats would seem to meet the threshold for shit you aren’t allowed to communicate via federally regulated media. They’ll hand out tenners for running mail-order numbers rackets.

Where the fuck are the cops? These threats demand all-hands-on-deck interagency investigations. They are not legitimate grievances. They are not complaints to elected officials that they’re disserving constituents or are of unfit character to hold office or anything like that. They’re campaigns to subvert self-government.

And where are the trial lawyers and PI’s to hound the creeps if the cops won’t? Nancy can personally afford the bill. The Democratic Party sure as hell can.

A lot of this shit would be too menacing for anyone without a violent criminal record to consider sending to a fellow private citizen. Either the cops will be banging on their door within the hour or a vigilante will drop by for an extrajudicial full-body kneecapping. “Bitch I’ma fuckin’ rape you you slut.” Gee, do you suppose that’s a thought you might want to keep to yourself? Christ. And that’s on the mild side as rape threats go, according to their addressees and staff curators.

We can tie ourselves into knots making devil’s advocate arguments about how it’s hyperbolic or figurative. These are fair defense arguments, but let’s think about how a reasonable person would react to a graphic rape threat from a stranger. This ain’t the BDSM issue of Penthouse Letters. Ask: Is this something appropriate to tell a stranger? If Vinny No-Knees phones me about what nice knees I’ve got–he’s still got his, you see, EY–do I take him for a hapless criminally inculpable lunatic, or do I pick my brain for cops I trust and start placing my own calls?

It doesn’t have to be about sex, although I suppose when it’s coming from alt-right pied piper/incel trash and addressed to Katie Hill, it does. It does have to be about power and force projection. If the Secret Service didn’t track down and investigate every threat intercepted against its protectees, the discourse about the executive branch would be 24/7 boasting about going full East Timor Brimob on the White House. Instead, it takes a Stauffenberg to pursue such plots anywhere close to fruition, and most of these losers are no Stauffenberg.

This is how the Democratic Party would respond to blackmail dumps and threats against its elected if it took such attacks seriously. It does not. It prefers to lavish its millions on otherwise unemployable grifter scum. Neera needs her spot on the milkline. Without his own, how could Adam Parkhomenko would have worked? The party has the cash flow to fuck the creeps up with lawfare, and it’s exactly the worthy insurance benefit voters would be glad to help fund if the coffers started to credibly run dry. Ordinary constituents would not need much convincing that it’s worthwhile to fund legal programs to dogpile this insurrectionist scum with FOIA demands, summonses, injunctions, demands for legal fees, digital and in-person contact traces on their associates, background investigation-grade interviews, the whole fucking hog. The consequences for so much as playing cute with the caucus about this shit should be a week tops till they know everything about the aggressor that he hasn’t taken active measures to hide.

It goes unmentioned in the salacious news reports, and most likely uncontemplated, but Katie Hill practices much better opsec in the curation of her nude portraiture than most threatmongers do. These guys are pretty fucking dumb. Rarely are we dealing with savvy operators who use misdirecting noms de guerre and encrypted transmissions on virtual private networks. Some of the professional right-wing candid camera gotcha goons are no more professional themselves. James O’Keefe does not particularly comport himself in the fashion of a man capable of his own toileting. Counterinsurgency lawfare isn’t just for the proletarian stochastic outburst types. It’s powerfully salutary on wingnut welfare shysters like O’Keefe, to show them for once that they are fundamentally stupid and that their fathers cannot bully, cajole, or bribe them out of their every self-inflicted jam.

Using Katie Hill as an object lesson in recklessness with digital media is surreally insane. She fell victim to a treacherous spouse. The fashy armchair foot soldiers and shit-for-brains silver-spoon grifters they worship need about five minutes in front of a computer to make her look like Snowden. One of the crazy things about this is that she sets herself apart from so many of her colleagues and socioeconomic peers just by tacitly recognizing that there can be consequences for reckless or controversial behavior and acting accordingly. She was quite discreet about her sex life; it was her ex-husband who found her discretion so stultifying, and who so spectacularly and unilaterally breached it. She got into trouble for private threesomes involving a woman she and her then-husband knew well, and don’t come around here acting like she’s the only Esteemed Colleague to be getting frisky with a staffer.

This woman is too judicious for our national political class. What was so emblematic about Brett Kavanaugh absolutely flipping his shit the first time in his career that he was asked pointed, adversarial, intrusive questions by a hiring committee was that he had made it into his fifties assuming that the universe would always expunge his record on demand. Anthony fucking Weiner was never so arrogant. He’s known for years that he has a problem and that his problem keeps making a huge mess of his life. He was on the record about this long before he slipped into FMC Deviants–I mean, mercy, Rajaratnam did a bid there, too; why am I impugning him by association?–for his residency as a mandatory Masshole.

Hill wasn’t impulsively sexting strangers for the thrill. She wasn’t chasing or grooming jailbait like so many of her incumbent and temporarily embarrassed colleagues. She wasn’t sexually assaulting anybody. She wasn’t blacking out drunk and either spreading her cunt over some casual acquaintance’s face at a house party or staring at a total stranger and then starting a bar fight with her because she thought she was Gwen Stefani. She was sexually and romantically involved with a staffer who had attained full majority.

She understood from the start that this was salacious enough to try to keep out of public view, and /questionably sober Steely Dan voice/ Katie tried. We don’t have to call what the mob and her own party’s leadership did to her a half-crucifixion to say that it was totally out of line. I can’t be the only one who would bloody well like to see any of the congenitally privileged wingnut shitbirds who have outlasted her in office face half the consequences she’s faced for their incomparably egregious misconduct and criminality. Hill was absolutely right to take a direct parting shot at Trump in her resignation speech, explicitly stating that he remains in office and has been publicly accused of rape. She was right not to roll over like a cowed little bitch and take all the blame.

That is not how the Republicans roll. Brett Michael spent an afternoon seething through a mist of tears about how he was suffering the Passion of St. John Dennis Hastert for facing threats, ultimately lasting about two weeks, to his career coaching a teenyboppers’ girls’ basketball team in More Than Friendship Heights. The Democrats, and in fact our entire godforsaken republic, could use more leaders who show some fucking backbone in the face of flagrant dirty tricks. The Republican Party at this point is Doug Ford casting the deciding vote to install Rob Ford on the Supreme Court, then turning around and berating the Democrats for being crooks, drunkards, and vulgarians with rude things to say about the Jamaican community. By all means, this country needs a viable left whose members have the nerve to start their journeys into the wilderness by pissing back into the tent on their way out.

As they say, it ain’t beanbag. It’s more like Gateside Downlow having a page push the beanbag into his bussy for textured pleasure while he bellows at his opponents that they’re nasty sodomites. That was gross, but ask yourself what you’d think if you were minding your own business taking a shit and some rando stuck his hand under the stall divider to show you his wedding band. That is exactly what Larry Craig did in his fruitless prairie home effort to ya, don’tcha know with the nearest available companion.

Hmm. In that case, let’s stipulate that you are not well, are doing questionable work, and do not need to keep in touch. Every one of these ridiculous, shambolic, antisocial sexual deviants will seize every possible opportunity to call Katie Hill a filthy slut. Jealousy isn’t quite it; half of them are gay, and her ex is available. It’s more an ultrarefined entitlement and spite. Those of us who could stand to watch it got to see Gadsden Lovin’ go full George Wallace in the schoolhouse door about how the people of Alabama demanded to be known for and represented by himself, a persecuted Christian. There’s no making this shit up.

Frankly we need to purge Washington of every one of these creepy perverts before breathing another word about how Katie Hill was reckless with digital media and young women should learn from her mistakes. She was one of the rare birds on the Hill (lol again; why shouldn’t I?) to recognize the risks of her sexual practices and take measures to minimize them. Her much seedier predatory colleagues always assume that they’ll be able to have their way and do what they please without consequence.

There’s a class element here, I suspect. The armchair threat traffickers discussed above tend to come from the criminal underclass. They’re often in and out of jail for exactly the low-functioning impulsive behaviors that have people in and out of jail. The professional dirty tricksters who goad them on are much more often from the upper-middle and upper classes: hence their smugness and smirking and shrieking like stuck pigs when challenged and shady backgrounds that magically vanish from the public record for decades at a time. Katie Hill presents as solidly middle-class, specifically as somebody who has things to lose for being reckless. She acts like she is expected and expects herself to function as a competent, upstanding member of a community in some fashion or other.

Hill recognized all along that it was better to exercise some tact than to brag indiscriminately about being a slutty dipshit. There’s a stark class divergence between her discreet, private, consensual, apparently sober sexual activity and Brett Kavanaugh’s habit of raging around the Yale campus in a drunken rage thrusting his cock into everyone’s face.

Here’s the big problem: Hill’s mode of living is not the Washington norm. What’s-his-name from Arkansas or whatever the hell who splashed into the fountain at the Tidal Basin because he thought he was being chased by buzzards was too grounded for the current crop of unaccountable freaks. Afterwards, released from police detention, he was like, shucks, I was drunk. It takes nothing short of an lace-curtain Irish lawyer from the MontCo house party scene to yell at the Judiciary Committee about how he liked beer, but legally and responsibly. One does not so thoroughly elide and erase one’s own seedy behavior without it. Fuck, even Rob Ford came down off that perch to say that he must have been real drunk to smoke crack.

Posting nudes is a distraction. What we need to talk about is the truly sleazy shit that Americans either post or brag about, then throw a fit when somebody they either didn’t keep from becoming aware of it or expressly authorized to see it or was present when they said it uses it against them. We’ve previously discussed these shitheads in painstaking, even excruciating, detail. I wouldn’t be nearly so interested in their shitty behavior if I hadn’t been there for it and witnessed it with my own lying ears and eyes. It’s beyond chutzpah; it’s extreme hubris, the malicious, gratuitous aggression of people who have never in their lives been meaningfully deterred from or punished for their bad behavior, no matter how vile.

The sequence here is gross. These creeps do something outrageously offensive or scandalous, then flip their shit and cry betrayal when their bad act is publicized and used against them. How could this uppity little pig I’ve always abused ever dare have the nerve to say I’ve abused him? We’re friends!

In case you were wondering about the American college fraternity system, this is it. There are exceptions, but not as many as a decent person would hope. I was unaffiliated in college, but in some crucial ways I wasn’t. Michael Pennington and the Insurance Schmuck hazed me and ran our clique as a frank cult. Brett Kavanaugh reminds me of these guys for good reasons, and for equally good reasons Mark Judge reminds me of myself. Both of those guys are still dipshit enough to post cringe on main under privacy settings allowing me to lawfully access their work. I believe, and I would say quite reasonably so, that this is more evidence of their privilege and arrogance. Scold me all you like for posting cringe of my own, but know this: If there’s anything I’ve created that I don’t want either of those fuckers seeing, it’s locked down such that they’d have to hack it or schmooze a buddy to be their third-party mole.

The misdirection over sexting isn’t very subtle. We keep having a moral panic over the old Nudie Judy and not considering that there might come a tipping point at which our nation’s many RICO-ready fraternities get prosecuted into dissolution. It’ll probably coincide with prosecutions of white collar fraud at the big banks, which we used to do, until rather recently. It’s more alluring, for those of who are male and straight, to crank it to pictures of Katie Hill brushing her staffer girlfriend’s hair, but say, maybe little Brock over there would be wise to shut up about his rights of voluntary association when there are dozens of witnesses to his using these rights to paddle some schmuck’s bare ass while the guy vomited his last ten shots of Jim Beam into a trash can. You know, just an idea, kid.

Although it’s unduly entertaining that Lesbos is Greek, Katie Hill doesn’t act like she ever was. Granted, sororities are usually less physically psychosexual than fraternities. Nebraska Coeds is fiction. It might as well be Harry Potter. Nah, on second thot, it mightn’t. The wizard shit is worse. The point, however, still stands, as she said. Katie doesn’t act like a mean girl. Nancy does, and Chuck’s right with her, but Katie seems all right.

If you’re thinking about suiting up and mounting your white horse to rankcheck any of these characters like that bumptious Army lifer son of a bitch Vindman did for himself, don’t. It won’t make our politics any better; it’ll just make you worse. Auspol saves itself a whole lot of buffoonery by paying no heed to that horseshit. One would hate to be called “mister,” “sir,” “boss,” “man,” “dog,” or “you fucking weirdo,” all of which I’ve been called to my face by my most unemployable neighbors.

As I was ostensibly saying, Katie is a few cuts above her own party’s leadership, and certainly above the current baseline for American politics. The prevailing community standards do not allow Members to focus on doing something for the homeless. Both houses have, as Chuck likes to say, six ways from Sunday about not doing anything about any of that.

It’s suspicious, and for the leadership awfully convenient, that Hill got caught up in a single two-bit sex scandal and had to leave town. It’s suspicious that, quick on the heels of her resignation. Cenk Uygur boosted himself from C-List center-left political commentator to Congressional candidate. He isn’t exactly bad; in absolute terms he’s all right. But there’s no way the ghouls who run the Democratic Party aren’t relieved to be able to push the Overton Window back to the right by switching their bullpen midgame. It’s a bit foily to say so, but ((extremely nerds voice) My Totebags) This I Believe.

Hill wasn’t about to bounced from the Hill. Yes, I enjoyed writing that, because she wasn’t. She got ratfucked. For the love of all truth Larry Shittershagging Craig got to leave on his own terms. Hill could have run out the clock for the balance of her term, waiting for whatever slap on the wrist her colleagues and their staff felt like administering at the end of their investigation. She well might have been able to win reelection. By the ethical standards of her office as they are actually enforced, she didn’t do jack shit wrong. The hell were they going to do to her? Pass a censure motion? Have Gateside Downlow call her a nasty, naughty girl?

I can’t blame her for not having the fight in her to stick it out in the face of violent threats at a time when her own caucus and leadership did so little to back her up. That might have made the difference Hill needed to stand her ground. It would have been brutal for her regardless–it’s much worse than they make it look on television–but she never had the opportunity to try to salvage her career and agenda under the protection of a party that gave her its full support.

This is a key reason why we’re taking the wrong lessons away from this scandal if we’re interpreting it as a cautionary tale for young women who are tempted to be unabashedly sexual. Hill sat for nudes and then got ratfucked. It wasn’t some inexorable natural law that caused her to face such a chilly reception from the leadership of her own caucus. It was Nancy Pelosi. Let’s not beat around the bush. It was Nancy who yanked out the linchpin.

And let’s fucking face it: that bitch is troublesome. The young guns in her caucus have good reasons to distrust her. Everybody’s tiptoeing around her, scrupulously refusing to breathe an ill word on the record. There are some not terrible reasons to be so discreet, but I good and goddamn well don’t have any myself. Chuck and Nancy are the nexus of their party’s dysfunction and disunity more than Bernie or the Squad, if you ask me. They didn’t ask me, but do I sound like I give a shit? What the fuck are the Republicans gonna do if a dispute between the centrist shitlib establishment and the upstart leftists goes public and makes the party look fractious? Hate Nancy Pelosi even more? At least the lefties have the self-respect not to crawl around in the mud trying to kiss the asses of enemies who will never work with them in good faith or good cheer. Chamberlain was hardly such a suckup before Hitler. It’s disgraceful.

A rogues’ gallery of creeps who couldn’t care less about their own sexual propriety might call Katie Hill a slut, and it made the Speaker and her henchfolk uncomfortable. Fuckin’ A. This is the shit the machine bosses wanted to nip in the bud. They preferred to grovel before Jim Jordan about how their fellow traveler had been a bad girl instead of sticking up for her and showing some damn honor. Mind you, when I describe them as fellow travelers I’m taking some license; they were never exactly on the same trip.

Forget keeping your legs shut, missy. A better lesson to learn here is that dogshit mentors can be a useless pain in the ass. This is exactly the lesson the idpol hustlers want us all not to learn. They seek to prepare for the distaff among us Madeleine Albright’s special place in hell for women who don’t support other women. Framed that way, it sounds like an oath that would bind Nancy to defend Katie, but these rules are for commoners, not queens.

You don’t have to put on the foil hat, but I do. The hopelessly grasping and neurotic #LeanIn sleazeballs who run Washington as women resent fellows like Katie Hill for being at liberty, not in bondage. I’m serious. Warning that employers or background investigators for security clearances or some such censorious trash will take adverse action against applicants for posting horny is servile as hell. I’ve known the kinds of women (and men!) who craft their lives, or at least document their personas, to exclude and erase all evidence of sensuality, all possible gaudeamus igitur levity.

They’re fucking freaks, is what they are. I’ll be damned to concede that Katie Hill is disordered and they aren’t. Fuck off with that. Washington is full of such cases. If nothing else, Hill doesn’t act like one of them. It doesn’t seem coincidental that the Democratic Party is seedily content to soft-86 Hill from the Hill (lmao, that again) and at the same time flood the zone with spook trash like Buttigieg, Slotkin, and Vindman. Cenk Uygur is a few cuts above that, but again, it seems awfully convenient to the bosses for him to march so promptly into the vacuum following Hill’s resignation.

If it seems politically or socioeconomically germane that our girls are immodest sluts, we’re doing it wrong. We don’t even have a liberal party, in the senses that make liberalism mean something. The Republicans, except for Trump and a few of his secular advisors in their more liberal moments, keep thumping the Bible about fornication, adultery, sodomy, and their other favorite customs. The Democrats keep shitting their pants about how an incautious fleeting episode of loucheness or sensual abandon could ruin their children’s careers and lives. It’s all test prep and reputation management and resume-padding in their world. They aren’t exactly better than the GOP; they’re mainly a different style of rotten.

We need points of light to guide us out of this abyss of finding young women problematic for being sexual in their capacity as young women. In times like these, I often think back to the chick I overheard at a Starbucks in Stateline or thereabouts telling her friends that 1) “I could have gotten so much dick last weekend,” and 2) “Sequoia is a fucking bitch.” As I wrote at the time, that young lady needs to run for elected office ASAP. She’d have a hard time making our politics any worse. If it feels like a relief that she’s politically absent, take another moment to recall who’s present. Sex negativity does nothing to get rid of the promiscuity; it just serves to degrade it. We definitely need more leaders who are regularly getting action in healthy ways and aren’t all weird or hungup about it.

We obviously need more whores in our politics, too. They’re even better than sluts, because sluts are crazy. Nicole Papamichael may wonder why her best friend from high school became a hooker, but I don’t. Nor do I want the detective eeso much as registered to vote until she’s either gone full-time back into the bag or taken her streetcorner dom act into the private sector, where it belongs.

Being genuinely disinterested in sex when it’s time for politics is another option, but it’s a fearsomely ambitious one for America. Good luck.

Infelicities of the admissions and orientation process

Ruh roh! Felicity’s going federal, and she’s going for a full fortnight!

It’s the dumbest shit ever. Two weeks in federal prison, and they’ve got to give her the full initiation: the strip search, the medical and psychological intake screening, the threat assessments, the A&O book, supposedly the single roll of toilet paper to last her through her stay.

Does any of this horseshit sound serious or sensible? Of course not. She’s a grasping social climber, a crook, and maybe an asshole, but none of this serves any believable public interest, let alone a public safety interest. There are women who need to go into the big house NOW: crazy bitches wiretapped in flagrante delicto trying to arrange hits on their estranged husbands, to take a glaring example. Felicity Huffman is obviously just a scapegoat. This isn’t a serious process; it’s a self-serious process. Why else would Andrew Lelling be a party to it? Huffman didn’t do it the right way, by paying for a new campus building in her name and happening to have her brats admitted to study (sic) within the hallowed precincts of that fine institution. Bitch tried to use the discount window.

Ruh roh!

The story above about the single roll of toilet paper as part of the intake dop kit is a window into the philosophical abyss of what we like to call criminal justice. I haven’t confirmed that the BOP ever does this, but neither, I suspect, did the authors of the wire report where I read it. One of their other comments was that Huffman would be “stripped searched.” The wire services are fucking content farms now. Our Hearts Go Out To The Muffman Family, Sad Day For Filliam H. This shit might as well be written by a surplus Indian sperg, in between rounds of despair over the time-delayed ramifications of sex-selective abortion and infanticide, articles about how if you don’t know what “on fleek” means that may mean that you have never had a girlfriend, and gang rapes on the Delhi bus system.

Reporting and editing standards have gone to hell, not at all in the dipshit nostalgic sense that the whole darn world has gone to heck, but in the sense that it was a lot harder to get away with that sloppy shit through the broad middle of the twentieth century, whether because an editor would have caught and corrected the sloppy copy or a newsroom boss would have shitcanned the motherfucker who wrote it for being a derelict son of a bitch. More specifically, though, journalistic standards in the United States for reporting on prisons have never been any good in my lifetime.

Nobody who opines loosely on prisons in the guise of reporting in this country has a rudimentary layman’s interest in or grasp of penology. If they did, we wouldn’t keep hearing shit about how federal prisons are posh or cushy. Of course they aren’t; they’re fucking prisons. Where the hell do we think we are? Norway? Ain’t no cracker bunking with Breivik in any of these joints. There’s a tennis court? Correction: there WAS a tennis court, back before the tabloid-grade business press stirred up a moral panic about coddling white-collar inmates? That’s real nice. Andrew Chan had tennis court privileges at Kerobokan. As you may recall, he was passed away in the middle of the night, tied to a cross with a chest full of lead. Or, if you write about prisons professionally as a journalist in this country, you may assume I made this story up. How fucking idiotic are these journalists to think that prison athletic facilities are a bad idea? The regulars at the Butner Jewish Gentlemen’s Kaffeeklatsch get by peaceably enough in their idleness, but they sound bored out of their minds, and Madoff gets annoyed with the rest of them for spending so much time gossipping about who’s queer.

Sure, some prisons are better than others, and the lower-security federal facilities are apparently better than most state and county facilities. We might think of FCI Dublin as Felicity Huffman’s reach prison. Perhaps Alderson can be her safety. It’s a good thing. So, in fact much more so, is the alternate timeline in which Robert Sanchez decides to reach for the emergency brake in the interest of passenger and crew safety.

I insist on using words, or as a single mother friend would call them, my words, appropriately. Sometimes.

God protect us from the yuppie sunk cost FOMO assholes if we insist on assessing Huffman and her fellow discount window shoppers as products of a disordered culture. That would surely ruffle the wrong feathers and break the wrong rice bowls. The entire culture of the elite college application process is astoundingly fucked up. Parents routinely try to haze their children into academic programs that exist to further haze them, and they pay top dollar for this. Most of the children involved are unemancipated minors without the resources to safely flee, so this process as it has come to be practiced is, every bit as much as incest or domestic battery, child abuse. One difference is that if a stepfather is charging around the trailer in a wifebeater with a razor strap in hand, the authorities and informal community leaders may take allegations against him seriously.

The mental health effects of this dogshit-stupid rat race are measurably terrible. A youth minister friend asked something like one or two dozen teenagers for suggestions about what they perceived as the threats to their peers’ welfare and safety that they felt needed to be addressed. Every last one of them brought up mental health. The community where he works is not, by any indication I’ve heard, in the top tier of tiger mom hazing SuperZIPs. It’s bad, but it is not the worst. My childhood hometown of Palo Alto has had rashes of adolescent suicides by Caltrain, often by high school students on their way to school in the morning. That said, if kids there are being pimped out to any of their local Brett Kavanaugh coach figures, I haven’t heard of it.

I have, of course, heard of Blood Will Tell, the true story of Kenneth Fitzhugh, the Charles Cullen-looking lowkey creep who coached my youth soccer team and later highkey murdered his wife for love AND money. Love too encourage youth sport’s,,

The Operation Varsity Blues prosecutions are an official terror campaign against the upper strata of the petite bourgeoisie, along with whatever haut bourgeois or truly rich are socially needy enough to ape them in their desperation to get their precious brats into good schools. Filliam H. Muffman fell for the siren song of this vicarious academic achievement, even though it’s hard to imagine how their daughters, no matter how lazy or hapless or dull, would fall from their station into destitution if they applied the least prudence to their financial affairs. If Macy no longer thinks he married right, he’ll never tell Terry Gross. Lmao, I recall he got henpecked as Sgt. Mooney, too. Cherzhez la fucking femme.

The target demographic for this terror campaign is narrow, perhaps surprisingly narrow. It sounds broader than it is because it’s the native class of most major-league working journalists today and the target of most coverage in general. It’s had many names: the Talented Tenth, the Outer Party, the Nomenklatura, the Downton Abbey audience. The very top fractions mostly transcend this particular crassness; as USA Lelling helpfully pointed out, they can afford to sponsor named university buildings. Some endow entire graduate or professional schools in their own names. The Bezoses and the Gateses need not stoop so low. The Greater Kardashians, too, may rise above this fray, although certainly not for taste. They seem to be perversely inoculated against academic social climbing because their personal brands are so vapid and tacky. The most famous Armenians, they are also the least Armenian Armenians. Good luck finding a tile dealer in Fresno who’s proud to raise a navelgazing dipshit of a daughter who marries a black guy with overt psychological, personality, and behavioral disorders.

This is why I trust the Kardashians. They are ethnically unifying, not clannish and divisive. Yeah, yeah, they’re a garbage family. I’ll say it again: the Armenians, not Warren Zevon, are the Jews of Fresno. This is why I trust [all genuflect] Joey Buttafuoco. The guy could sire the next Billy Joel with that act. Far be it from me to trust Brender and Eddie and their idea of spanakopita, and ideally a guido isn’t such a thug when he steps out on his old lady, but I’ve seen some of the horror shows that pass for wholesome ethnic identity politics in this arrogant shithole of a country, and my good honky, the tawdry ones are never the worst.

Think about it: it’s earnestness that got Rick Singer, Felicity Huffman, and the rest of his clients into their big jam. They were deeply cynical and conniving about their ability to game the process, and they were shamelessly corrupt, but they fundamentally believed in the capacity of the process to serve them and their college-age children, if only they played it like the cheap fiddle that so many parents in their circumstances hope it to be.

None of these parents or their facilitators wanted a thing to do with boycotting, bypassing, objecting to, or in any other way standing up to the college admissions process. They very much wanted to make it work. They were fundamentally conservative, not revolutionary. They were there to quietly pay off the gatekeepers, not to rock the boat. The furious moral panic over their corruption of the process wells up in parents and students who are resentful that their sunk costs, financial and personal, have been neutralized by plain crooks who did exactly what they would have done themselves had they had the audacity or the ability. This is an extremely reactionary conservative way of thinking. Do not listen to what they say about their cultural or political affiliations; they are NOT liberal. This is a deeply illiberal way to live, and certainly to make one’s children live. It makes perfect sense that so many of them voted for the easily scandalized tryhard schoolmarm in 2016 and vociferously against the class clown. This was widely reported as a liberal movement against conservatism because political labels in the United States today are whatever the hell some lunatic or grifter or plain scumbag with a stake in the matter declares they are.

Brett Kavanaugh is conservative. Hillary Clinton is liberal. Carley Gomez can’t keep her hands off me. These, my fellow Americans, are our truths.

We’re officially scandalized at the possibility that Olivia Jade Giannulli, a young woman publicly aspiring to become the Platonic ideal of the thot, was not academically fit for undergraduate admission to the University of Southern California. This is what we are as a nation. The usual bougie suspects are speaking for and over the rest of us again, on our behalf. Groovy shit. This gushing, driveling Instagram idiot learned of her parents’ indictment and USC’s mounting concerns about her application file while she was partying on a billionaire’s yacht in the Bahamas. Mr. Caruso, bae as fuck for his bitchin’ boat, caused additional awkwardness on Montepuliafito given the ever more embarrassing circumstances, as he was the chairman of the board of trustees.

The Juice, the Original OJ, didn’t go to USC for the academics, either. Score one for Joel Kotkin’s lament that African-Americans just can’t hold the line in the Bayview. Chuck Quackenbush moved to Florida to enforce the law; the Juice, to flee it. Contra the Latter-Day OJ’s assumption that enrollment facilitated game attendance, If I Did It is the only motherfucker to be told he’s not welcome at games, and even in his case I’m not sure they promised to have him arrested if he darkened the stadium door. Knowing him, it’d just be another cop squad to have over to his pool. Mofo went home to Brentwood estranged from all his old friendly neighbors, kept company poolside by an entourage of his recent jailers from Men’s Central.

Then he went to Las Vegas, and for a spell further north than that. Go Pack!

Your jailhouse dop kit, that is. It’s time to go coach some damn softball, buddy.

We’re all worried about the academic sanctity of the university that admitted both of these fucking dipshits. Its medical school is a riot, too. Chelsea Clinton graduated from Stanford. That woman is so stupid in public that she should be embarrassed to have been admitted to a four-year program. That fucking falsetto bass blood bitch Elizabeth Holmes donned the Cardinal, too. Remember, however, that not all Supreme Court justices have a Stanford pedigree; saucy boi Brett Michael’s is from Yale.

How is it possible to be aware of these asshats and their scholastic pedigrees, even dimly or in general, and believe that undergraduate and graduate admissions in the United States are governed strictly by merit? This shit is too crazy for the night shift at Market East. Clearly the universities are selecting for some extremely stupid and bumptious students. JFK, serviceably intelligent and quite insightful as the president, was admitted to Harvard on the basis of an application essay that was fucking retarded. What is a Harvard Man? Why, he is the epitome of the Harvard Man, which a Harvard man aspires to be, involving some culturally appropriated WASP honor and stuff. Broad-Bangin’ Jack was never at the bottom of that slippery slope. What he had the family ghostwriters craft was an improvement over what Megan McArdle, a Penn and Chicago alumna, publishes under her own name.

These characters are collegiate because they are smart, and they are smart because they are collegiate. Would real smarts include arguments beyond crude tautologies? Worry not your uppity little head about such things.

This isn’t just something I’ve studied. I’ve personally known many such cases. Dickinson taught them the reading, writing, and critical thinking skills they needed to succeed in the world, skills that they in absolutely no way demonstrate in the course of normal conversation, the way I’d expect of an educated person. It’s Dunning-Kruger for braggarts. Knowing many genuinely educated and intelligent people since childhood and then interacting with these fucking assholes is surreal. It’s an out-of-this-world contrast.

There’s also, of course, the cult angle. Man is born free, and yet everywhere thirsts for Shoko Asahara’s bathwater. By “everwhere,” I especially mean fancy schools in the Northeast, although I hear it was once quite a popular drink in parts of Japan as well. *Most five minutes to midnight house of detention voice* Teacher, do you float? We often review just how insufferable this shit is, this cowards’ Scientology. The Church of Scientology has goon squads, and the FLDS outfits in deep Utah have pet cops and members on the force. Dickinson College has sniveling putzes and cowards, Kavanaugh replicants minus whatever difference in cocaine titration stands between them and a gig coaching girls’ basketball in More Than Friendship Heights.

It says something bad that the constant appeals for charitable (sic) contributions coming from and on behalf of this execrable college administration and others like it seem for the most part to work. It’s that cult programming again, plus the vig that we pay to the local mobsters who stand between us and an accredited education. (Who the hell is us?) Mafiosi are nothing if not organization men. American higher education is the extortion of the Sopranos with the aesthetics of the Osteens. There are exceptions, but it takes some searching to find them. The bagmen at the rest are basically Rahm Emanuel telling us to go fuck ourselves for not giving him a love offering as a sign of respect for those public school teachers whom we admire.

Schools that don’t feel like spending the whole store on general-purpose yuppie prestige often lavish it on sports rather than, you know, the school parts of school, the parts failing to capture Olivia Jade’s interest as a Trojan matriculant. Here we can hazard an answer to Jeffrey Epstein’s question as academic benefactor about what does that got to do with pussy. Organized athletics are ordered to determining which warrior gets to take which fair princess into his bed. Schools try to operate academic programs in the midst of these lechers, not surprisingly tending to include in their orbit the likes of Our Lord Joseph’s Servant Gerald, Lawrence of the Labia, and J. Denny Dundiddly, because wrestling is as heterosexual as One Direction. On the teams themselves, we occasionally discover young men of character such as Daniel Holtzclaw, who, tiring of ritualized violence against other gentlemen as a show for the ladies, moved on to direct, unambiguous sexual violence against women he fancied.

We’d be better off with an academic model more like a monastery next to a whorehouse. Yes, Dreher, this is a Benedict Option. Mind you, I’ve got nothing against women’s athletics or academics, and since I’m not running Georgetown Prep I’ve got nothing against Catholic education. What we’ve so often got now instead under the auspices of academia is the sexually deranged remaining chronically horny in the worst ways for the worst vices. This explains both of our cases of OJ. He’s in it for the pussy; she’s in it for guys who are in it for the pussy and other girls who are in it for guys who are in it, in a cultural recursion skipping straight into Gomorrah.

There are paths out of the ape pit. There are also, crucially, gatekeepers lurking around these paths, doing everything they can to lure us all back into the pit. Under these circumstances Olivia Jade is something like a honeypot. There aren’t good reasons to select this dimwitted teenybopper for admission to a selective (uh?) undergraduate program revolving around a meathead sport played so wantonly under academic auspices in this country that Stanford is renowned for fielding the only Division I football team in the land whose players don’t speak like communications majors. I’m not saying this is true; I’m saying people believe it.

Seriously, everybody we’ve heard about at USC should have enrolled at Pasadena City College instead, as Hugo Schwyzer’s gofers and understudies. It’s possible to run more or less the same shitshow for less or much less the budget. Of course they’d complain bitterly about how they aren’t getting any marginal utility in their fight to the death with other social climbers by enrolling in some discount no-cut community college program when they could be maintaining their conceit that they’re at USC for the education.

If we’re going to have a bunch of no-account wankers in this society, and our revealed preferences say that we are, we ought to stash them at the indefinite junior college level instead of putting admissions office shitbirds at fancy schools in positions to be bribed and probably blackmailed. This shit is a small example of what we get for being a developed nation, by the way: half the social and human development outcomes of the early Schengen countries for easily double the cost. Europeans don’t so much get launched into positions of authority, prestige, and above-market pay for pretending not to be like this. (The Brits, obstinately not parties to Schengen, slouch in our cultural direction.) Our huge categorical error is to assume that we, as Americans, don’t have lazy bastards, or that if we do they’re all poor welfare queens, not middle-class salarymen (and women!).

What we’re doing here is developing. We’re moving from degrading, low-value folkways, like getting paid to pick fruit, to self-actualizing, high-value forms of cultural refinement, like paying to be a bitterly thirsty incel at Warped Tour. The closest Gwyneth Paltrow gets to taking up a craft is hawking exfoliating stone dildos. Absolute dipshits like Markian show up on the stage, barking for their own carnivals, and there is not immediately an overwhelming consensus across all spheres of cultural influence that these are examples of how some people unfortunately lead pitiful lives, and there’s no need for others to live likewise just because there are bad role models in this world.

Fat Cracka’s got a question from the cheap seats: If taking freelance photographs of fancy restaurant meals for a living is valid, why isn’t unemployment valid? I feel decadent for getting a ten-buck bowl of hot and sour soup, like, once a week and not letting it go cold just so I can filter it on the goddamned Gram. Given what monetary, industrial, and labor policy have been in this country for the past few decades, we’re going to continue to have the unemployed among us, and I get that there will never be a Final Solution for showboating dipshits who beclown themselves on YouTube. What I don’t get is why we celebrate every parasitic circus freak who barges into our field of vision as a reputable, productive member of society and simultaneously blame campesino lettuce pickers for being poor.

We’re told that we need to stay in school to rise above this sort of backwardness and poverty. And then what? Get jobs in communications? Vlog about what it’s like to wear makeup or date a Latina? Many Latinos speak English; believe it or not, they include Antonio Villaraigosa. I thought I’d mention this since 1) Nob Hill Dreamboat needn’t be the only Golden State Greasy a cracker funs from time to time and 2) “influencers” rarely seem able to name a recent governor or big-city mayor of anything.

Mechanical problems that kept me out of North Carolina this week got me onto a flight from Philadelphia to Albany near a guy who was on his way back to his optional no-show job in Cuomo communications from a solid week of getting tore up with bachelor party buddies around Seattle. He kept telling his seatmate, who himself was preparing to finally quit his nursing and clinical education jobs to focus full-time on his hipster T-shirt startup, that he had decided not to go into work after we landed. I didn’t figure the guy did anything useful. Color me shocked that the State of New York pays him to do PR and/or to fuck off to Wizardland at will like a Harry Potter extra.

Then again, dude sounded way more tired of drinking than the target market is for gambling, the new cherished growth industry in Upstate New York. It’s just beautiful. They used to figure that the way to be economically productive in the Mohawk Valley was to produce or ship something. These days, any scam that allows some loser to be paid minimum wage to mop up alcoholic tourists’ vomit is economic development and job creation.

Meanwhile, out west, the most reliable way to get trained for a fire crew is to be a felon, just not the kind of scary felon who seriously needs to be in prison, but rather a tractable one who got press-ganged into the system for something bogus and then offered work-release. The Norks do this to, like, two dozen Japanese abductees and it’s a major international scandal; Kamala Harris does it to her own constituents by the thousands, and her fellow Democrats can’t imagine that she’s an extra-creepy version of Melissa Ann Shepard who’s too haughty to make a buddy some coffee.

And yes, Felicity is a federal case now. She’s in line for a register number and a personal copy of 73 pages of A&O boilerplate, along with all the other good-ass hazing rituals that make life so rich at Dublin, all for a two-week bid.

This is supposed to send a message. This is what the creeps behind draconian object lessons always say. The message it sends to roughly the bottom two thirds of Americans is that they’d get less time for corrupting the college admissions process than it would take them to bail out on a shoplifting charge. Ordinary Americans who get booked into jail during benders or mental health crises on disorderly conduct charges because it’s that or an inpatient psych bed, and there isn’t one, can go months without their cases being heard, inside the whole time, just because the system is too derelict to grant them the speedy trial that is their constitutional right.

A healthy polis would orient Felicity Huffman’s sentence in an accurate penal context. What, us healthy? Aw, no. It’s all about the humiliating narcissistic injury to Filliam H. Muffman. It’s all about high school gossip reworked into a grand Orwellian telescreen morality play, entirely for our cheap thrill and not at all for our actual moral or civic formation. God forbid the news business to focus on real news and risk giving us the humane education that we so miserably fail to get in college. Huffman and her fellow charged are failures of humane education; they wouldn’t be going to such lengths to get their brats into fancy schools if they weren’t. But must those running the news business be such intellectual failures, too?

They’re surplus elites with fancy college pedigrees, too. You tell me.

Who’s in YOUR wallet?

It’s great to see women in STEM. Truly Paige Thompson is a role model and an inspiration for girls across the country, a woman showing that they, too, can grow up to be computer scientists and absolute dipshits.

I say this as someone who had a he-dipshit fabricating selfie sticks in his childhood house in Palo Alto and then trying to hawk them at trade shows in Emeryville, the gentleman in question being supported by a distinctively non-dipshit wife with a computer science degree, and then not so much supported by a non-dipshit ex-wife, his comments about her having included, “We had to train [/Borat voice/ My Wife] not to sit on the toilet.” He said this in the context of what he insisted was an extreme mite infestation; the exterminators weren’t entirely sure that there had been one.

Granted, Thompson sounds pretty disturbed, almost certainly of diminished mental capacity and culpability. That exhibitionist John Nash energy springs from a well of overt psychosis. It would be a miscarriage of justice to incarcerate her and tar her with a felony record when she has so recently been so genuinely troubled. As a general rule, though, dipshits gonna dipshit, and there’s no shortage of dipshits comparable to her who are more or less compos mentis. To some extent this is a human universal. To the rest of the extent, it’s a function of America’s hideous amalgamation of voyeuristic-exhibitionist dysfunction, celebration of extreme risktaking and thrillseeking as admirable boldness, metastatic celebrity culture, pervasively disingenuous thinking about all sorts of things, and stunningly draconian criminal justice. That Thompson did what she did in Seattle today, as opposed to Duluth or Winnipeg today or Seattle half a century ago, is no surprise. Okay, maybe to Jeff Bezos it is, but he’s too rich not to be a fucking idiot.

A fun aside to this story is Thompson’s roommate-cum-landlord, federal gun felon and abiding gun enthusiast Park Quan. The G Men are fixing to make a frequent flyer of him now. The old boy did federal time for gun possession, and now, barring exceptional judicial mercy or exceptionally competent defense counsel, he’ll be doing some more federal time for practicing additional ammosexuality. To be clear, I find Quan a rather sympathetic character, simply because this country treats ex-convicts like shit and gives them plenty of reasons to be paranoid enough to illegally arm themselves. It’s a bad idea for him to be secreting a home arsenal in his group home for the gainfully employed, but so much about the criminal justice system in the United States is an even worse idea.

One question that this situation raises is why a thirty-something woman with advanced computer skills and a recent employment history as a computer wizard was living with multiple roommates. Seattle rents are the reason, and fuck you, Jeff is the real answer. More to the point, why was this overtly disturbed and distraught young woman living under the roof of a landlord twice her age, along with his home arsenal and bump stock collection? The last thing a mentally ill person needs around the house is a bunch of guns. This is the most basic thing in the world. Ready access to operable firearms is the preeminent suicide risk factor. Every public health resource indicates exactly this. Public health authorities in the Dakotas are constantly, desperately pleading with farmers and ranchers to turn their guns in for safekeeping if they or their loved ones are experiencing mental health crises. Living with God knows who all in a house full of loaded guns–and likely with so far undisclosed financial stressors comparable to those that drive farmers and ranchers to suicide–it’s a miracle that Paige Thompson survived long enough to be arrested.

Mind you, this is America, so we really don’t fucking care about mental illness or prudent gun policy. We have two extremely bad situations intersecting, with predictably violent outcomes. It’s a miracle that there isn’t more gun violence, when we think about it, including more suicide. Say it again: guns don’t kill people; people with guns kill themselves. Or sometimes others. Or sometimes others and then themselves.

We just sustained the Gilroy Garlic Festival massacre, too. That one hit me a bit harder than some, mainly because I’m originally from Santa Clara County and have a lot of ties to the San Francisco and Monterey Bay Areas. It turns out that an old college friend now living in Gilroy was close enough to the festival on unrelated business to hear the gunshots in the distance. It’s for the best that I didn’t think of him in that context until afterwards, when he posted on Facebook that he was safe.

The only fucking thing we do after these massacres is to declare that we are Strong. We were #BostonStrong, thanks to the FBI. We were #UmpquaStrong. I gather that we’re #SonomaStrong, in this case due to the wildfires. Excuse me, I fucking vote there now, and Fat Cracka do not be on board with that.

In point of fact, we are visibly shitting our pants in fear. The Garlic Festival was held in a fenced enclosure, with metal detectors at the gates and police on patrol. In this case, having armed police nearby most likely saved lives. What none of the planners counted on was a madman enterprising enough to sneak through the brush on the perimeter of the venue and cut through the fence. The best-laid plans of mice and men–my God, Lenny, these ones are locals!–once again failed. All the same, what that kid did in Gilroy shouldn’t come as a surprise. He pulled that off as a young amateur. This country is swarming with disgruntled veterans who have deep training in marksmanship, wilderness survival, and orienteering, among other skills: in short, Dorner didn’t miss.

God bless us in our time of federalism. The gun used for the Gilroy massacre was bought in Nevada, specifically in Fallon. Fallon is gorgeous, almost magically so at times, and frankly I feel bad for the shooter that he didn’t just go there to fuck around and look at the hills, fields, and wildlife refuge wetlands. He could have gotten a license and gone duck hunting if he’d had the patience and the vision to wait for the duck season. Instead he decided that he had to go shoot up an agricultural festival in a murder-suicide by cop scenario.

California famously, or infamously, maintains firearms regulations that other states do not. This doesn’t much matter. There are not border controls. CBP operates ports of entry on the Alta-Baja border, of course, but Mexico sources its guns from El Norte, not vice versa. The Border Patrol checkpoints–blatantly unconstitutional no matter what the Supreme Court says–do approximately jack shit to keep guns off California’s streets, again because they’re interdicting traffic from the neighboring state with the most restrictive gun laws, and Mexican federalism does not allow for that bullshit. The agricultural inspection stations are ridiculous. The only times I’ve actually gotten inspected were when Officer Grasick, I think his name was, himself from Northeast Philadelphia by way of South Jersey, saw me show up on 395 from Reno with Pennsylvania plates. These days I usually bypass the station on 395 by taking Red Rock Road. It’s a nice drive. Just this morning I woke up in my car at the Mount Rose Summit, went hiking, and then drove down the not-quite-California side of the hill into Incline Village. There’s no ag station where I’m headed today, either.

I feel fine about this ethically because I’m not bulk-importing agricultural pests. The Gilroy shooter was importing contraband, but nobody stopped him. Apparently there aren’t working interstate registries of firearms purchases. Showing up in Nevada with a California driver’s license to buy a weapon banned in California could be a red flag. Or it might not be. It might just be someone who wants to shoot off the heavy shit at a licensed range in Nevada, completely legally and as safely as any other expression of ammosexuality. The civil liberties concerns about identifying and tracking gun users are legitimate. For that matter, in a free society it would not be necessary to show ID all the fucking time to conduct basic transactions such as, say, the purchase of alcohol.

Gun control is more problematic than its proponents will admit, and it is not a panacea. It won’t cure this sick nation. A huge number of weapons will never be turned in, no matter the positive incentives or demands from the authorities, because large swathes of our culture guard them too jealously ever to relinquish them from Charlton Heston’s cold dead hands. A post-Port Arthur-style nationwide clawback will not work here the way it did in Australia. Too many Americans too wholeheartedly cherish their God-given right to tear shit up.

I guess we aren’t going to do a blessed thing about mental health, either, or about our generally toxic sociology. The problem is much worse than just guns. Guns in a psychically healthy society don’t cause nearly so much carnage. Ours is a society of profound alienation, atomization, and mental illness.

These ills are pervasive. We apparently don’t fucking care. We don’t give a shit if a publicly troubled computer ingenue is living with Gun Daddy. Park Quan found a way to own both rental property AND a home arsenal. It isn’t good, but we don’t have possibly have enough community cohesion to keep an eye on people like him, or like Paige Thompson. We’re always getting worked up about warning signs–human trafficking in Eastern Nebraska and what tattoo artists can do about it, that kind of salacious crap–but when a woman who posts that she thinks she needs an indefinite admission to a mental hospital and turns out to be living with a federal gun convict and his fiery friends because the rent is too damn high, nobody does a fucking thing until the FBI catches her hacking a bank computer.

This is the same shit that happened in the Ghost Ship in Oakland, just with a different outcome. The Oakland Fire Department knew about the code violations. Fire officials had repeatedly been out to the site to look it over, but mainly from the outside. There should have been a multiagency raid to clear that shit out and resettle the residents months before it caught on fire. It would have been cheaper, and it would have saved dozens of lives.

At least there are still a few wholesome, healthy criminals in the home and native land of the free and home of the brave. Just smile and act normal, Saturday in the park, and do pray for us, Terry. We really need a Schengen Agreement with Canada, and we could really use one with Mexico. The Pickton Inquiry recommended increased bus service along Highway 16; extend it throughout the Lower Mainland and it might save us from Sauce Boss, too. Seriously, they’ve got weirdos with pig “farms,” and they’ve also got the Mounties, and there they are acting like the problem with Canada is that some Chinamen walked right in under the Peace Arch, like it was theirs. Like, I lives here. Can I come in?

No, but actually yes. I mean, Sweet Melissa of the Maritimes is gonna be trouble whether she’s sneaking online in Halifax or in Fort Myers. Caveat amator. At least Park Quan doesn’t have to cross borders to be trouble.

Please. Guys, buddies, even friends: yinz need to set up 24/7 drop-in social services at the Peace Arch immediately, along with cross-border interurban service. There’s no need to worry about the ones who just walk by and smile. Ask them if they’re looking for something, perhaps. Oh, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Etobicoke? Very well, then; you may be sick enough to be the Mayor, but you’ve got a few screws tight for the RCMP. We can fix parts of two countries at once. Let us all be Canadians of Convenience. Some of us may be crazy enough to insist that they’re Canadians AND Americans. Our own border authorities keep acting like they can’t even recognize Americans.

Why can’t we be friends? There are reasons. Many of those reasons draw police salaries. At least the Mounties allow long-term no-questions disability for sexual harassment targets with derelict detachment commanders, an excellent personnel model for the CBSA. We, th’American Side, are going to be a burden on Canada regardless. Send Whatcom County a bill for all I care.

I’m not being selfish here. I already have a psychiatrist. The problem is with some of the cases who don’t, and there are many such. Besides, prisons are more expensive and have worse outcomes. All they accomplish is keeping Saucin’ in Tsawwassen off the roads for a spell and bringing whatever Meatless Muscle hustle Northside Juice is working in-house for the time being.

We really need mental health resources besides hitting the crank pipe and listening to KOMO News Radio all night long. It’s not that I’m necessarily against this as an alternative lifestyle. It’s just that there’s no way on earth to safely mix it with nonexistent outpatient slots and ubiquitous guns.

Orange you glad you don’t live in the Chinese part of town

Hoo boy. Orange County’s piss-ass homeless shelter nimbyism has reached the judicial override stage, and it is not pretty. A federal judge, David O. Carter, has partially asserted dictatorial emergency powers over the county government and a number of city governments to compel the approval of shelter sites and enjoin the enforcement of vagrancy laws in the interim. This isn’t a case of the judiciary lording it over the legislature and the citizenry for fun; it’s a proportional, and quite patient, assertion of the human rights of a marginalized, impoverished citizen constituency against a powerful, violently hostile constituency that defines itself by property rights as property owners, not by civil rights as citizens. What the judge is telling the local officials and the propertied agitators driving their intransigence is that they have dragged their feet for far too long on the establishment of adequate rehousing facilities for the residents of the homeless encampments that they are so eager to raze and that they have absolutely no latitude to criminalize the existence of their indigent neighbors to protect their own property rights and precious, precious feelings.

There’s a really ugly ethnic angle to this dispute, one that the white liberal consensus in California finds too uncomfortable to name, but as a homeless honky native to Palo Alto and registered to vote in Sacramento County, I’ll be damned if I’ll be guilt-tripped into holding my peace about it. It’s the fucking Chinese. They’ve behaving execrably. A clannish, racialized, affluent, propertied rabble of immigrants and their children are petulantly trying to criminalize the existence of a native lumpenproletariat, most of the latter from families that have been in what is now the United States since time immemorial.

That’s ethnic cleansing if it happens in Yugoslavia, and it’s ethnic cleansing if it happens here. A bunch of haughty rich asshole foreigners moved in en masse from overseas, established a colonial settlement, and are now sore as hell that the inherent vices of their neighborhood include their native-stock birthright citizen neighbors, whom they defame wholesale as filthy criminals who depress their property values. We now have to listen to these thugs and their spawn, whose family money does not generally come from scrupulously licit sources, carry on about how they’re blameless and worthy and it’s only the native proles whose shit stinks.

There is something dysfunctional about any society where a racialized settler population feels able to lash out in this fashion without fear of retaliatory pogroms. Chinese money, again, from a variety of questionable sources, has driven a good deal of the housing bubble that has made it impossible for the native poor to afford housing in Orange County. This isn’t some insurmountable natural law; the crooked upper crust of a systemically corrupt nation in the early stages of industrialization fled overseas with its wealth and parked it in real estate in a handful of markets that it found culturally and legally hospitable, one of these (a relatively modest one, in fact) being Orange County. This is crude ethnic gangsterism, but with more bigotry than the old Irish, Italian, and Jewish mobsters indulged in their more magnanimous years. The proposition that a cohort of rich, grasping Chinamen who hate the everloving shit out of the peasants back home give a hot damn about the high ideals of ethnic and socioeconomic pluralism of their adoptive land is insulting. This is one of the most illiberal, intolerant populations ever to have landed on our shores.

What do I suppose I’d try to do if I were in their shoes? For starters, I’d try not to act like a raging fucking asshole colonial settler-bigot begging for banishment to the Breslau Ghetto as an unassimilable scion of an incorrigible ethnic crime family. I’m not Jewish enough for temple, but I’m Jewish enough to take care not to be a fucking shanda fur die goyim. This bourgeois ethnic cleansing bullshit in Orange County isn’t the first time propertied overseas Chinese have behaved in ways that called to mind the all-time worst of Europe’s Jews and grievously tested the tolerance of the native ethnic majority in their host nations. Everything that I’ve read about the overseas Chinese indicates that California’s 21st-century native stock is reacting to these provocations with a level of goodwill, patience, and magnanimity that the ethnic Thais and Malays have not historically shown their ancestors in Southeast Asia.

We have no special national duty or, God help us, regional moral duty as a liberal sanctuary state, to be the only host population on the face of the earth to act like this shit is fucking Sesame Street. This right here is the episode in which a foreign lynch mob that had no connections to the neighborhood a decade or two ago tries to burn Oscar alive in his trash can to clean up the neighborhood. There’s some nice happy horseshit at the base of the Statue of Liberty about the tired, huddled masses yearning to breathe free, and my great-grandfather embezzled from his employer in the East End of London to buy a cabin across the Atlantic and the direct admission at the Battery that came with it, but tired, huddled, and breathless ain’t who’s jacking up the cost of housing in the OC, cracka.

If we have sacred values to defend, we might want to consider that this overseas gentrification jet set is too fucking illiberal to share these values, which presumably include allowing those already present in the neighborhood as birthright citizens to live peaceably without being ethnically cleansed by Johnny-come-lately interlopers from families that bought their way into the country. They’re the ones who showed up out of the blue and used money to muscle their way into existing communities with no regard for the welfare or even survival of the neighbors they displaced. They’re the ones who expect native-stock children to compete like their lives depend on it for college admissions and jobs, but without the tight ethnic networks to grease the skids before them.

I’m sure some concern-trolls will preen about how I’m trying to launch a reprise of the Chinese Exclusion Act. That isn’t what’s happening here. The dynamics have flipped. The native stock driving Chinese exclusion in the nineteenth century were bigoted as all hell, and the Chinese they were so hellbent on driving out of the land were peasants, piss-poor, marginalized immigrants who would have been grievously oppressed by their social betters back home had they stayed. What we have now is an affluent native stock that bends over backwards to be tolerant towards an even more affluent and networked immigrant community while the latter takes the lead in efforts to commit the wholesale official oppression of the poorest old-stock Americans in their neighborhoods and drive them east of Eden, or at least east of Corona.

The non-indigent old-liners who might otherwise be upset by this foreign aggression against their fellow citizens, to wit, Americans from long-established families whose ancestors did not purchase residency within living memory, prefer to pretend that none of this ethnic unpleasantness is happening. Well, guess what, white girl? It is happening.

Sure, the Chinese have bourgeois white allies in their fight to bar the door against the riffraff, fancy crackers whose class interests overlap with their own and whose other nimby interests include the adamant belief that El Toro is a terrible place for an airport. Still, they’re further emboldened by the residual hopes or assent or God only knows exactly what of downwardly mobile native-stock young people who were raised to believe in and still refuse to disbelieve every bit of American Experience-ass bleeding-heart horseshit about how we worked through all the bad shit, like, fifty years ago and all get along now. This has the potential to cause some hardcore cognitive dissonance as a foreign population, raised in a dramatically different cultural, political, and civic context with nothing but contempt for the welfare of the marginalized poor, buys its way into a civic stake that it aggressively uses to harass its neediest neighbors.

I’m afraid that this situation really is as crude and ugly as I’m chronicling it. Some of the worst colonial aggression on earth today is coming from the Chinese. The birth hotels in the San Gabriel Valley, a fairly seedy area by overseas Chinese standards, cater to families wealthy enough to afford airfare and long-term lodging for their unemployed expectant mothers. The current Chinese diaspora in Vancouver includes absolute Gulf Arab Eurotrash-grade degenerates who drive their sports cars across toll bridges at triple the speed limit on licenses in bad standing. These asshats and their families have dumped so much cash into the local housing market that the cops who pull them over can hardly afford rent on the Lower Mainland.

These shitheads are not typical Chinese. That would be like insisting that the shittiest yuppies in Central Bucks or North Jersey are typical Americans. If a diaspora of that character took over, say, Tijuana and jacked up the cost of housing beyond what any Mexican of normal means could afford, I’d angrily disavow them as their compatriot. I already can’t fucking stand pig-ignorant Tri-State money wops who condescendingly talk about “percent diversity” at their alma maters like their families have always been High Whitey when my own grandparents were denied public accommodations because they were taken for Jews. If such a constituency were overheating housing markets abroad and doing everything in their civic power to demean and expel the natives they’d already dispossessed with their housing bubble, it would be a national scandal. We’ve got a few goldbug-intersectional bourgeois-supremacist Yanqui fuckwads kicking around Latin America in a spirit of superiority, along with a handful of serious high rollers rich enough to buy bugout spreads in New Zealand, but as asshole emigrants go, we’re pikers compared to High Chinky.

The Chinese we do get in our affluent cities are not looking to play by our most scrupulous rules. They wouldn’t have the money to expatriate anywhere decent if that were how they rolled. Scrupulosity is not how fortunes are made in post-Deng Mainland China. Honorebly feel my balzac for more universal insights into great fortunes and forgotten crimes, but je me fouquine souviens this much about the PRC in particular: that its industrialization as a major exporter in the late twentieth century involved levels of corruption well in excess of the norms in Japan and the industrialized West. We, the greatest nation on earth and shit, started reverting towards our own historic Gilded Age crookedness around the time we started our serious trade with China; the prior standards from which we were, by Bork, slouching towards Gomorrah were of a much higher caliber than what China’s industrialists and their apparatchik cronies adopted. Likewise, it’s safe to assume that a great deal of the money overheating housing markets in the old British colonies (crikey, you mates, too), was expatriated prior to or in deliberate circumvention of the Chinese Politburo’s big anti-corruption drives.

No, this doesn’t account for the entire Chinese diaspora. There are decent people trying to honorably find better lives for themselves and their families who have the misfortune to share an ethnic community with a bunch of belligerent loudmouths pushing a moral panic about the dirty gaijin infesting the place they now call home. This is not enviable. Still, there’s a really disturbing appearance that the entire barrel is being spoiled by the bad apples who speak so loudly on the community’s behalf. I just get a really bad feeling about some of the communal dynamics here, that there are decent people whose personal inclinations are towards tolerance but who are more eager to be buddies with the shittiest social climbers from back home than to stand up for the despised vulnerable. Assimilated members of the first birthright generation must be in a particularly unenviable spot, wondering why the fuck mom and dad are such lunatic bigots.

What I really hate is the appearance that some of the most vicious immigrants a nation could ever admit have successfully hacked our code and turned it against us. At the risk of going full Goldwater, we’re tolerating the intolerant, and that’s no virtue. Actually, it’s even worse than that, and seedier. We’re granting some of our richest immigrants bogus victim points based on atrocities that some of our worst native-stock ancestors committed generations ago against peasants whom the current model minority we so zealously defend would enthusiastically treat just as badly back in the old country. More than a few of us are being over-the-top solicitous towards crooks who buy their failspawn driver’s licenses and academic slots beyond their normal meritorious qualification because we think one of our shithead great-great-grandpas once Marky Mark-style beat the shit out of some coolie. Maybe that happened, or maybe it didn’t, but regardless, it’s a part of our national middle-highbrow lore now. This sure looks like white guilt on behalf of a pushy ethnic clan that will never even try to reciprocate this bent-over-backwards graciousness. We can tell what they’re saying about us in English in public, but many of them are bilingual and have use of ethnically segregated private spheres. Mandarin must be a useful language in which to express one’s amazement at the whitefellas for being a bunch of utter goddamned fools.

By the way, there’s a special place in purgatory for our own goody-two-shoes Orientalist Brahmins and their socially climbing hangers-on. These are as American as apple pie and driving all the chinks out of Frisco. I’ve long had this really unsettling feeling that the open fascination of a large swath of the American upper crust with the outward trappings of Asian culture, a fascination dating back in earnest to the days of Crocker and Stanford, did much to drive the Great Value crackers into their infamous fits of violent anti-Asian rage, first against the Chinese in the nineteenth century and then against the Japanese during the Second World War. The appearance that we’ve been using indigent neighborhood laundry operators as political pawns and battering rams in our own insipid domestic class standoffs since at least the conclusion of our Civil War (you know, the one we held to deal with the whole racial thing) must infuriate Asian observers and convince them that we’re all absolutely reprehensible.

If they’re colonizing our neighborhoods in a spirit of contempt for the poor neighbors whose fellow citizens they seek to become and their US-born children already are, it isn’t without provocation. There is a certain gross reciprocity to the whole enterprise. We certainly don’t have much moral authority if our own bourgeoisie celebrate Asian shiznit as a way to passive-aggressively showcase model minority designer immigrants to the recalcitrant poor as reminders that they’re disposable and replaceable.

Free tea and dumplings at the Irvine Metrolink station in observance of the Chinese New Year? Fuck off, yuppie scum. I can make my own goddamn hot and sour soup.

No, I don’t feel good for having written this. I feel gross. But it has to be said. A pushy, clannish immigrant constituency driving the native stock out of the neighborhood it has colonized is no occasion for tolerance. It’s an invasive horde. It should be given no quarter. Like hell I’m here to celebrate their immigrant story when they’re behaving so rottenly and in such bad faith and I, a native Californian, am sleeping in my Focus again. God, it must be really alienating to live in Irvine as an affluent member of the neighborhood ethnic majority.

So, no, I don’t mind gloating over their being a federal judge’s bitch. They brought it upon themselves. Judge Carter gave Orange County’s municipal governments all kinds of time to fix a human rights disaster that they’d caused, and instead of making a bona fide, adult effort to fix it, they caved to pressure from their worst constituents and did jack shit. The last thing I’m willing to excuse is a bunch of calculating foreign-stock shitheads whimpering like Otto Warmbier because they’re subject to the jurisdiction of the federal courts of the country where they chose to immigrate, like they have any cause to be upset. We have a judiciary precisely to restrain such graceless thugs when they take over elected governments and pervert due process to their private ends. That’s privilege. My using language like money chink to smear bad people who probably call me white devil or some shit in private is not.

The only other thing I’ll say about this is that I want the eventual PBS documentary about this spat to prominently feature the same spare, poignant fiddle music that Ken Burns used for the Lewis and Clark story. I reckon those motherfuckers were more racist than I am, and since this shit is already absurd, I demand that it be aesthetically absurd. No, I have one more demand: that the accompaniment be performed by an all-American bum, of whatever race (even a drop of Chinese blood would be epic), who took up the violin at the age of, like, forty, not by some fucking asshole who clawed into the principal’s chair in the high school orchestra in an effort to secure admission to Wellesley. As Wesley Willis, neither of him a reach school, might have said, GO DIPLOMATS BITCH!

Damned if that isn’t the most wholesome character to wander into this story yet. That’s what happens when you’re told that you have to stop yelling like a wild animal in the Genesis on Western. His problem was that he didn’t clean up well enough to yell like a wild animal in the Irvine City Council chambers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Federal Weiner Trap

By the time we rolled into Reno the other morning, Anthony Weiner had rolled into FMC Deviants–I mean, Devens. How do I ever come by such notions? It couldn’t have anything to do with that mandatory Masshole now living in a facility whose population is 40% registered sex offenders.

They act like they’re gonna fix the sorry bastard by stashing him there. Good fucking luck. It would be possible, and indeed historically was exactly the case, to deal with the town perverts by integrating them into a society that naturally put some limits on their perversions. There would still be the occasional hardcore predator who needed to be segregated or killed for society’s protection, but a minor pest could be convinced easily enough to take his shambling act down to the red light district and refrain from darkening the schoolhouse door. The local children, meanwhile, to the extent that anyone even conceived of them as children, could be taught that anyone old enough to form a complete sentence who deliberately associates with such a ridiculous man is a blame fool, let alone someone who is old enough to bear children herself. There’s no guarantee that vigilantes wouldn’t have assassinated a man of Weiner’s character in ye olden days, or that there wouldn’t have been a bloody code straight out of hell at the ready to burn him at the stake for adultery, but there would not have been the bizarre half-punitive, half-quasi-therapeutic prison hospital apparatus that Weiner must endure today, at such great expense to the federal treasury and everyone who funds it. The guy wouldn’t have ended up chargeable to the state for a term of years just for being notoriously dissolute in a bad part of town.

The internet, as chronically enjoyed by Dick Pic Tony, is an exceptionally bad part of town. Parents in decades and centuries past worried about their teenagers going downtown to gawk at the rent boys and the tranny hookers. Parents in the new millennium worry about their teenagers texting out their nude self-portraits and being prosecuted for child pornography. A feeling of outrage and scandal at the discovery that the sexually mature have normal sexual anatomy and function is for busybody idiots, but that never stopped a grandstanding district attorney, or the federal prosecutorial apparatus, for that matter.

Hence the Weiner Trap. Carolina Jailbait was hanging out on virtual skid row, and don’tcha fucking know, she saw some gross shit. Or so we’re told. We’re admonished that she was a mere child, and yet she was old enough to be a successful honeypot for a former US Congressman, apparently without direct, explicit handlers. I don’t suppose that I’d enjoy the unexpected delivery of a picture of Anthony Weiner’s junk, but I’m a straight guy, and I have no basis to know that Carolina Jailbait was or was not so much as grossed out by the sight of Weiner’s wiener. We do know, as a matter of public record, that his precious victim shopped her story around to every seedy two-bit tabloid that showed a flicker of interest. A credible victim with a credible claim of harm would have been likelier to immediately go to the police, or at least to a teacher or guidance counselor, than to repeatedly masturbate by video hookup for a dirty old man and then, upon the sorry fellow’s exposure as an even edgier sex pest than before, go full Daily Mail Story Whore.

And so now they want to fix the bastard by locking him up on a yard full of Jerry Sandusky replicants. For all we know, and God help us, he may be in the midst of baby rapists. A normal, healthy society would never end up with a neighborhood of 40% confirmed sexual deviants. FMC Devens is basically rural Antioch with bars. Antioch, we should keep in mind, was where that creep and his sad sack wife were able to keep Jaycee Dugard for a couple of decades. All the bad shit floats inland in California; feel free to consider Reno a part of my fair state. On the outside, integrated into the general population, Weiner at least had some alternative sexual and social stimuli acting as negative feedbacks, albeit weak ones, on his weirder impulses.

What he has now are certifiable pervs by the full yard and “mental health” and “sex addiction” counselors who are willing to work around hundreds of men like him and worse. The psych staff at that facility are super questionable. They’ve chosen to take up their line of work instead of any of the other options, including the night shift at 7-Eleven and shaking a cup full of loose change in front of the T station. Go ahead and tell me that this staff in no way resembles the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Boston circa 1970-2005, either in composition or in function. Underground sexual minorities naturally form underground communication networks, and pedophilia is pretty deep underground.

My mission here, of course, is to get Charlie off. CHAHLEE! Decent people have suffered grievously from the suppression of homosexuality and prostitution. Those who suffer from the suppression of pedophilia, pedophiles, are a noticeably more indecent lot. There are compelling arguments in favor of forcing the likes of Our Lord’s Servant Gerald to scurry around like sewer rats. With luck, they’ll do less harm that way and be easier to catch.

Putting hundred of them in the same institution under the guidance of staff who choose to work full-time with remanded perverts does not drive the perverts or their perversion underground. If the honor-among-thugs boys wanted to beat the pervs into submission as a public service, as they sometimes do at other institutions, FMC Deviants would have too many of them for a medically healthy population to cow, let alone a grab bag of amputees, diabetics, diabetic amputees, congestive heart failure cases, and other medical unfortunates. What are they gonna do? Have Raj Rajaratnam sit on a creep? Not a hell of a lot of clean paper floating around that joint, big guy.

Anthony Weiner has a weird-ass fetish that would have been utterly impossible a century ago. It might have been barely feasible by fax, a Depression-era technology; any earlier and Weiner would have been a loser sitting around in his bachelor pad surrounded by piles of dirty magazines. Prostitution sounds healthier every sentence. Seriously, the guy’s e-flashing might abate itself if he were just boning hos every night. I’m not into neuroscience (STEM!) or philosophy enough to say for sure that it’s possible to rewire the mind of such a freak, but it would be worth a try. Instead, he’s been sentenced to a sausage fest that will be leavened only by some of the guards, psychologists, social workers, and whatever the fuck else the BOP has the budget to hire in a futile effort to reprogram dirty old men as obedient eunuchs. From that perspective, the saving grace would be the lady guards and shrinks sexing the inmates. Everything else that they’d think to do to the guys would be worse, for everyone, both inside the prison and out. Momma’s got a squeezebox, etc.

Look at it this way: every minute that Anthony Weiner is boning a guard is a minute that he isn’t thinking wistfully with all his mind and all his soul about distracting a tenth-grader from her pre-calc homework and/or Instagram account. Sure, it’s against the rules, but a gigantic shitload of practices that might make our hellscape of a country more livable are against the rules. Paying a squad of slutty guards to take cock all watch would be a waste of taxpayer money, but so is paying shrinks to talk Dick Pic Tony into no longer enjoying electronic junk shots. If we weren’t looking to waste taxpayer money, maybe we’d shut down most of the federal prison system. Maybe we’d empty and close the Gulag Archipelago. Kolyma or Coleman, that’s exactly what it is.

We’ve got a few truly hard cases in Florence Admax who actually need to be in prison: Shoes Go Boom, Mr. Explodeypants, the ex-guard from FCI Danbury who got jealous over his jailbird lover and went around paying for hits on romantic rivals. This doesn’t explain what the hell anyone is gaining from Rod Blagojevich’s twelve-year membership in the Rocky Mountain Club. The correctional unions don’t count; their members are free to seek other lines of work, and it’s political intransigence and malice, not fiscal incapacity, that keeps us from expanding public assistance to a scope that would easily absorb every laid-off prison employee. Our state and federal governments have had overwhelming success in their efforts to order civilians not to be Ariel Castro for a living. There are no technical obstacles to their holding prison staff to the same standards of basic human decency. The problems we face here are political.

My Id found it disappointing not to watch Dick Pic Tony enter his assigned sausage shop. The Rod Unspared looked about as comfortable as anyone in his circumstances could have hoped to feel going through the narrow gate into his new home on the range. J. Denny Dundiddly’s grand entrance wasn’t as much fun, but it was fun enough to feature his bumping his wheelchair into a fucking curb. It would have been fun to watch the Weiner slip into his new hole (giggity), but they’re keeping him at the back end of a private access road or some shit.

This is mainly a prurient interest, but it isn’t exclusively. We deserve to be faced with what we, as a society, do to our convicts, and a small part of me hopes that we might actually learn that what we’re doing to them is evil. For every hardened criminal like Larry Silverstein that we’re trying to segregate for our own safety, we have hundreds, if not thousands, of prisoners who are frankly harmless. The fact that so many of them are allowed to surrender peacefully is a sign that we have no business locking them up.

Certainly not for years at a time. There are predatory criminals who would be reformed by a few weeks or months in prison, but the way we operate our judicial systems is deep into the diminishing returns. Who exactly will think twice about running a Ponzi scheme just because Bernie Madoff won his lifetime membership in the Butner Jewish Gentlemen’s Kaffeeklatsch? Hell, the only reliable way to go to prison for monkey business at Wells Fargo is to rob a branch. Bernie Madoff with the money of a bunch of other Jews. He ran a classic affinity fraud. There’s no jailing a society’s way out of affinity.

At some point, we really have to just suck it up and tell damned fools to stop being so fucking gullible. At some point we have to just tell teenagers that they’re likely to come across some gross shit online, and encourage them not to live their entire lives online. Nobody’s clawing the Madoff money back; excluding what little has already been clawed back, it’s all been spent. We might make the crook do some honest labor now and then as a very partial restitution to society; instead, we’re paying him to sit around drinking coffee and chatting with Jonathan Pollard in a rec room that is at once quite shabby and obscenely expensive.

We gain nothing by punishing con men for ripping off the affluent (and the downright wealthy) of some less than catastrophic portion of their personal wealth. There is a fairly spacious middle ground between actual impunity and a hundred-year bid at Coleman, but we’re too vicious and pigheaded to imagine it. We’re too dense to imagine a regime that deters financial crime without sending an occasional scapegoat to prison for life, or to imagine one that keeps vulnerable people from losing their life’s savings while also encouraging affluent fools on the warpath for that wicked alpha to check out some FDIC-insured products, dawg.

By the way, Club Fed does not actually exist. It’s a fabrication propagated by a sophomorically clever writer and some lazy editors. The United States has luxury prisons in the same way that the Shits-Carlton is a chain of hotels. Andrew Chan had tennis court privileges at Kerobokan, too. I hear he’s doing great now that he’s back home in Australia.

Perspective

Facebook is a fascinating source of ethnographic material. As an objective survey, it’s useless, but as a window into what our society strives to be, as filtered through whatever fresh hell Mark Zuckerberg and the intelligence services have in mind for us, it is, in the sense of the reputed ancient Chinese curse, interesting. It’s a treasury of our communal values, maybe not values that we’d wish to contemplate ourselves holding, and probably to some barely fathomable extent really just those of Zuck as seconded by the most obnoxious elements of the herd, but in that way it’s a diversified online version of America’s hellish mass broadcasting.

We might, God help us, watch Dr. Phil for a glimpse of the mass mind, say, because our tires need a rotation and that’s what’s on at Les Schwab, or, God grant us an airsickness bag so capacious, Ellen. We might listen to #BigBandStyle MILF magnet John Tesh’s laughable but engagingly sonorous ideas of intelligence (they don’t always raise them right on the Guyland, but they raise them fun), or, readying the barf bag anew, put up with whatever excruciatingly maudlin tale of emotionally projectile romantic dysfunction and paired Top 40 Easy Listening horror Delilah is spewing forth to bridge the gap between evening drivetime and Coast to Coast. (Come to think of it, the aliens are more mature and coherent than that, and so are those phoning in with their observations.)

These are terrible options, but the terrible so often intersects with the popular. Of course, there’s always the question of why exactly this shit is popular. K-Love could air Christian music by the Taylor Grocery Band, Blood, Sweat, and Tears, or even Mr. Mister, if I’m interpreting it right. What it actually broadcasts is grating, smug, endlessly preachy horseshit, offenses to art and failures of theology which it is the audience’s solemn duty to listen to exclusively for its own edification. Communist authorities have traditionally taken a similar stance, sometimes with better music. Fuck, I’m waxing all Vaclav Havel now, czech it out. But it’s true. That shit sucks ass, and on the secular side it can be even worse. (NB: Not necessarily worse than the pro-life music that I stumbled upon in Redding, back before I memorized the local NPR and classic rock frequencies.) Secular pop helpfully advises me that I, as a recurrently homeless person who sometimes wakes up disoriented at rest areas and has a sporadic, modestly desultory social life, am like The Bird. #TeshTips, bitch. IFY fuckin L.

Summon him posthaste; I need him to put me out of my misery with his song.

For all else that’s wrong with Facebook, it’s a more novel, varied, and interesting expression of the mass man than any of that. Your mileage may vary, but I’m relieved and encouraged to be in touch with friends, mentors, acquaintances, Romans, citizens, and whatever who aren’t exclusively a rabble of brainwashed gibbering retards. Mind you, I’ve got people in my feed who regurgitate PR copy and post Rich Kids of Instagram shit like they just borrowed Phineas Gage’s tamping iron, but there’s a reasonable breadth to their retardation, and besides, I’ve got others in my feed who comport themselves like respectable adults.

There’s notoriously a whole lot of bias affecting what shows up where in Facebook feeds, and what doesn’t show up at all, and there are too many variables at play to come up with a comprehensive, statistically significant assessment of jack shit. I took a semester of 100-level statistics for my math distribution requirement in college because high school pre-calc had been very le hard, but I know more than some econ majors know about median household incomes in their hometowns and counties, and more about the existence of Hamid Karzai and Pervez Musharraf than some international studies majors. If you or your kids or whoever goes to a fancy college, y’all, too, can be graced with regular high life updates from dozens of preppy douchebags.

Don’t.

So far we have sampling biases, in my case due to the domination of my feed by douchecanoes from *MY OLD SCHOOL*. We haven’t discussed the undisclosed in-house filtering of what Facebook shows us on our feeds and in what order. In pop-psych terms this is called gaslighting. In legal and ethical terms, it’s called pyschological experiementation on nonconsenting test subjects commissioned by the military and intelligence services and undertaken without prior disclosure or institutional review. If I had to bet either that this manipulation provoked suicides on the part of Facebook users or that it did not, I’d bet on suicide. In a properly functioning republic, this situation would have the experimenters and everyone complicit with them shitting bricks; they’d all be online looking up residency requirements in Costa Rica and Switzerland. In our current republic, as we have kept it, those involved are more like, lol, bitch, move to Yemen and we can use a remote-controlled plane with heat-seeking artillery to burn you alive in your apartment.

Then there’s all the self-censorship, brand management, and other disgraceful chickenshit behavior on the part of individual Facebook users. In my experience it’s the Big Dick crowd that goes all in with these impulsive emissions. Giggity. Them, plus a few stray social climbers I met through an MBA program that I audited a couple of times for shits and giggles. I’m a rare bird for publishing uninhibited (or, per the less charitable, disinhibited) rants that don’t sugarcoat every turd I see floating by. An old mentor recently told me that the pattern seems to be six or eight rants followed by days or weeks of silence. That sounds about right. Noted Humboldt County drowning enthusiast Sara Bareilles is right: it’s honesty and bravery and shit.

Hell if I’m not Vaclav Havel again. I don’t want to puff myself up like Jonn Paul II or Lech Walesa staring down a line of tanks on the waterfront or whatever the fuck, but it’s hard not to feel like John the Baptist or some shit for apparently being the only person writing candidly about bad circumstances in the face of an onslaught of scrupulously cultivated false fronts that are constantly being heaved into my feed by dozens of phony, dissembling moral derelicts. Go get ’em, Brando; there’ll be plenty of time for lunch afterwards. Facebook is such an array of funhouse mirrors that it’s hard not to feel like the only person there who isn’t running a fog machine.

My objections aren’t to those who are consistently circumspect online or too discouraged, humiliated, and overwhelmed to know where to start even if they want to reach out to the community for help; rather, they’re to those who blow sunshine up everyone’s ass in public even though I definitively know them to be dysfunctional hot messes, and to those who chide me for not getting with this program. As in programming, in the transitive sense of the term. Much as in any number of totalitarian regimes, the normies and those trying to pass for normal keep their mouths shut. (You think Solzhenitsyn was well-adjusted?) Gee, maybe we aren’t actually a free citizenry; maybe someone has quietly put us in chains.

The ones left speaking candidly, then, can be a pretty sorry bunch. As I’ve implied before, the Dunkin’ Doorman enjoys and exercises more freedom of speech than the Insurance Schmuck, but the Dunkin’ Doorman operates in meatspace. Dude’s old-school. Online, the candor and liberty comes from freaks like a guy I’ll call the Temple Clinger, a fat, slovenly, goofy-looking mid-functioning sperg who uses Facebook to white-knight high-maintenance sexy bitches with hamfisted compliments and post crazy racist uncle comments under socially fraught news stories. Scout’s Honor, his compliments have included a number of close variations on “in words of rapper psy sexy ladies whoop whoop compliment.” No joke, this dense fucker specifies that he’s complimenting women strange to him by appending “compliment” as a Japanese-style all-purpose suffix. It nicely complements his hikikomori-grade social skills compliment.

I’ve never actually met the dude, but I feel like I know him, and he may well feel the same way about me. #Compliment. I added him on Facebook for spergsploitative purposes after he freaked out several of the Insurance Schmuck’s future fiancee’s girlfriends by talking to them obsessively about girls and how he’d never had a girlfriend when he’d just met them. Never had I seen nor have I seen since a white boy who so badly needed to take his ass down to Cecil B. Moore and pay for some caramel lovin’. Nothing else had a chance of blowing off the Temple Clinger’s head of incel steam and piercing his shield of kooky racism.

The Temple Clinger is perverely encouraging just for providing a measuring stick by which I am obviously not THAT fucked up. That’s a start. Otherwise, I’m comparing myself to old friends whose kids I’m watching grow up online, even though I’ve never met them. Worse, I end up comparing myself to all the childless jet-setters. I try to keep these things in perspective, to remember the sheer privilege that these dipshits so blithely and smugly enjoy, and I’m probably better than most people in my circumstances of remaining mindful, but it’s still tricky. Overcoming the gaslight so that it’s now an annoyance instead of a cause of distress doesn’t turn off the damn flame. It still flickers in the corner. It still distracts.

I’ve still got the Insurance Schmuck’s ex-fiancee, who, judging from her feed, does yoga on the beach in San Diego for a living. She claims to work, or have worked, in what I assume is a nontechnical position at some company that does health technology bullshit, but she never seems to mention going to work. I still have the gay New Yorker who is no longer flying from Hong Kong to Sydney every week or two, in addition to trips to Kuala Lumpur, because he’s now living in Sydney. (He isn’t technically American, but his ties to his entirely unexpected old country were ancient history by the time I met him.) I still have the abrasive weirdo, also in some high finance shit, who flew from Brussels to Tokyo via Bangkok the other day and just yesterday posted pictures of brunch just below the cloud ceiling in a luxury hotel room in Nagoya. I still have the friend who travels on a more or less annual basis from the United States to Mexico, Morocco, AND Nepal, through funding mechanisms that I’ve never entirely scoped out but that I know to include enough of an inheritance from her grandmother to buy a house with land in Oregon.

I still have the Insurance Schmuck flying all over hell for conferences and posting horseshit from them, although since his mother set him up with a new girlfriend she’d met at a bar in Havre de Grace (his parents’ new lifestyle is going out and getting drunk as a skunk four or five nights a week), he’s for once not screwing God couldn’t predict whom from weekend to weekend, like that half-Dutch, half-Indonesian bimbo from Tuscon he banged in Denver, the one who didn’t know that Indonesia had been a Dutch colony. I had something close to a panic attack when I excused myself from traveling to Baltimore for #YachtLife during the Freddy Gray trials. It worried me that any of those guys thought it was a good idea to schedule a bachelor party for whitey opposite an imminent bonfire of the vanities in a city they barely knew. That’s what Fred Rogers called the Land of Make-Believe, except he actually knew that it wasn’t for real.

Back on the West Coast I’ve managed to stay in touch with a group somehow isn’t a bunch of stuck-up assholes about living coastside in the OC and owning sailboats, Cessnas, fractional shares of business jets, and the like. I met them through a chick I’d met when I was taking nursing prerequisites in Eureka. They’re old lifeguarding colleagues and buddies of hers. She’s an RN now, and I curate the internet’s sexy male nurse Lynn Majors memes. Don’t worry: that’s still less disgusting than nursing, and it can’t hold a candle to the horror show that is healthcare as we practice it in the United States. Amazingly, none of these people are how I have one degree of separation from Laird Hamilton. That’s my get-baked-and-get-abrasive frenemy Island Boy, who also knows a guy who knows Pierce Brosnan from the neighborhood because he hawks CD’s out of a cart in front of Foodland. The OC crowd is my connection to Dana Rohrabacher. He looks and sounds like less of an asshole than Nancy Pelosi, of Chuck and Nancy, who worked with another friend of mine on a North Bay social services advisory board, where she was uncaring, fake, and useless. If we must have bad leaders, we ought to at least have as our bad leaders hail-fellow-well-met beefcakes who know how to catch a sick wave.

That isn’t an exhaustive list of famous people I almost know. I’m all like dude I met these people on the trolley who know Kevin Faulconer because I omit my connections to the real power players in the interest of dox abatement and shooing away those who might give me shit for namedropping or get worked up about my activities in these pages. Those who are interested and attentive enough should be able to figure it out; it’s just that I’m not giving anyone any direct help, and for the love of all holiness be discreet about it. Levi Johnston, a gentleman, doesn’t kiss and tell, and neither should you. I’m probably not as discreet about my identity as I ought to be, but I’d still like any nosy fuckers among you to connect the dots in a spirit of discretion and reverent silence. Don’t go around bragging about how you boinked the governor’s daughter in her house, that kind of thing. The truth is out there, though, and the internet is majestic.

As Roger Bellin put it, love to engage in the new public sphere , , on line. I’ve got nurses who go to nightclubs and polo matches and shit in my feed, and meanwhile I’m chiming in with reposts of that crazy-ass white meat trooper from the Ferguson press conferences, lengthy denunciations of Hillary Clinton, and stories about how I don’t exactly have a place to live but have been riding around on hella different trains. It’s hard not to feel like a loser compared to some of these people, but I’ll be the one finishing the calendar year with Select Plus status in Amtrak Guest Rewards. #WINNING, bitch. Not that I can afford high rises or business class. When I get back to Reno I’ll be eating at Maverik again, and I’m not in that for the Gram. Hell, that isn’t nearly as bleak as things get out on the ground in flyover country. We can’t all be up in the front of the plane with the champagne and the lie-flat cubicle seats.

Truth be told, the way to keep this shit in perspective is to keep it in Perspectives with Lionel Osborne. Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care? Lionel cares, and he doesn’t quip that it’s time for you to get a watch. Now, there’s a fellow who will give you the time of day. I hate to say it, but that whole gag was less deranged than the dipshits who pollute my Facebook feed from oh, the places you will go. Not me specifically, of course, and maybe not you, either. Do I sound like I’ll be flying business class to Tokyo when I offset the cost of coach rail fare from Schenectady to Chicago against the room I don’t need to book that night? Lol no, mofo. Enjoy the fucking journey.

It’s 4:51 in the AM. Everybody’s welcome and his son is dead.