I, for one, would rather have Geraldo Rivera grab my ass than permanently wreck my own body cutting cauliflower for bourgeois ingrates

That’s a much more coherent and pertinent statement than it should be. I’m skeptical about the syntax, but like Geraldito before the society ladies, it shall stand.

Since Wow Much travels None homeland Very disorient has me on the road to the LAX Flyaway garage for a bus to Las Vegas and a redeye to Chicago (OJ took his straight from LAX on a walkup ticket), we’ll have to make this one a quickie. Forget it, Fogerty, I can’t spend all night stuck in Lodi again.

NPR ran a piece this evening about how farm workers are getting all old and sickly and worn out from repetitive stress. This supposedly has something to do with Donald Trump having put a scare into the wetbacks, cutting off the supply of fresh blood in the fields. Funny thing, though, I recall exactly the same bellyaching about the allegedly intransigent and obstructive anti-immigration forces under Obama and Bush II, so it’s a bit hard to believe that the Donald is causing the planter class to have an unprecedented sad. It’s always the same old fucking song: we don’t have enough Mexican peasants to do the dirty grunt work that our ever-softening native stock refuses to perform, and the only way to resolve this tragedy is to import more Mexican peasants in some fashion or other, legal, illegal, or whatever. If we don’t expedite another incoming batch of Michoacanos, the crops will rot in the fields and we will cause the baby Jesus to cry at the sight.

Agency has an eerie way of coming and going without notice at NPR. In this case, extreme, debilitating repetitive stress is something that just kind of happens, like an early fall rain or some shit. It is assumed that farm work will inevitably ruin the bodies of those doing it, bodies that will no less inevitably be Mexican. I, Jonqui, have done commercial farm work in every one of the past five growing seasons, so I want to reach out and choke these motherfuckers in a proper Hot Ghomeshi, provided that it isn’t too rough on my wrists. These blame idiots can’t imagine that there are bad public policies or managerial decisions that directly make farm work ruinous to the health and safety of those undertaking it.

The growers for whom I’ve done most of my commercial work care deeply and sincerely about the occupational safety of their employees, but somehow NPR never manages to find anyone in the industry who steps up to the fucking plate and makes sure that the help get enough rest, rotation between tasks, and time off for medical appointments to keep themselves in decent health. I’m sure there’s no shortage of millionaire growers with excuses involving competitive markets and low commodity prices for why their employees are in physical ruins by fifty, because the industry is definitely crawling with owners and upper managers who blame everything that goes wrong on their properties, from wage theft to sexual extortion to Joel Salazar-grade drinking water shortages to failures to provide adequate portapotties and the resulting combination of skipped lunches and turds in the weeds, on low-level managers and third-party contractors who, conveniently enough, are Mexicans or foreign-passible Chicanos. One of the most reliable things about the more troubled parts of the industry, along with the endless bitching about how Americans are too soft for the work and there aren’t enough Mexicans to take up the slack, is that whenever some scandal takes root–whenever some crew boss demands sexual favors from the women under his authority and beer offerings from the men, say, or disappears to Fresno with a week’s worth of pay for two dozen employees still payable and no one having the foggiest clue of where or how to track him down–there’s never a clear chain of command or working grievance process. There’s never anyone in a position of power who is identifiable, accountable, and available for service of legal process. The people who actually run the show are somehow never responsible when people working in supervisory positions under their authority and direction turn out to be rapists, extortionists, deadbeats, derelicts, or fly-by-night cheats. All they have to do to avoid liability for their failure to exercise due diligence is to insist that they were in no position to exercise due diligence.

It’s great work if you can get it.

From the perspective of the peasant reserve army that grows our food, not to mention that of Americans who have an unreasonable amount of trouble finding or landing farm jobs for which they’re perfectly qualified (hey there), sob stories about Bette Midler getting groped by Geraldo Rivera become tiresome. It gets hard to believe that it’s newsworthy when Jennifer Lawrence gets up on her high horse again about nosy perverts violating her sacrosanct Christian womanhood. Athletes who take a knee during the National Anthem are making a broader, more principled point than their own positions, sometimes (e.g., Colin Kaepernick) at significant professional and financial expense. The gripes coming out of the studios seem rather more selfish and narrow. We’re talking about people whose very existences smack of immense privilege admitting that they didn’t have the guts to tell off bigshots for being sex pests or blow the whistle at the time but, now that there’s a bandwagon to catch, oh, gosh, it was totally problematic all along.

It’s ridiculous and over-the-top to think that Bette Midler’s one-time entrapment in a Gerry Grab decades ago is a high priority for public discussion and redress. For the love of God, she’s Bette fucking Midler. A Guyland blowhard grabbed her ass: not commendable for the Guylander, but not a particularly noteworthy trauma, either. When I was in college (merely freshman; aaand I won’t be held responsibllllle), I ran with some senior drinking buddies that included the rudest, coarsest imaginable anthracite country motherfuckers. One of these guys sometimes got roaring drunk, yelled at me to take shots of Jim Beam, and pinched my nipples. I find it hard to believe that Geraldo at his worst doesn’t have more class than that vulgar bastard at his best, and I notice that I still haven’t gotten any lucrative screen roles as a result of putting up with Lieutenant Tittytorque.

Accuse me, if you will, of writing a Story Whore submission about my PTSD, of demanding that you let me TELL you about my trauma. I’m really just trying to keep this shit in some perspective. I don’t get the feeling that Bette Midler would think for a hot second about trading places with some lady who’s been cutting cauliflower sixty hours a week for two decades, can’t find a place at the ranch to refrigerate her insulin, and more often than not has stigmata in her wrists.

Maybe we can give platforms to people who have actually suffered physically doing crucial manual labor for a change? That NPR story should be the one that’s part of an intensive ongoing series. The heavy airtime shouldn’t be going to an A List actress who’s suddenly sore about how she once caught Geraldo’s hands on her rump that one time back in the nineties. Forgive me for thinking that this story makes Seinfeld look deep and is the Whitest White Whine since the dumbass who complained that a family vacation to Europe conflicted with some MyPanera points that were about to expire.

This is what a society gets when it takes every sign of its own class consciousness out into the back forty with a twelve gauge and a shovel. It ends up ignoring recurring Daniel Holtzclaw situations because none of the parties are sexy enough and progressively recalibrating its threshold of titillation from Fifty Shades of Gray to Brock Turner to two rueful seconds of Hands-On Geraldo. That is, from the degradation of easily bored bougie chicks to college girls in distress to starlets in what should frankly be mere annoyance. If Geraldo Rivera as the perp is a mitigating factor, Bette Midler as the victim certainly is. This, not homelessness or grinding full-time employment at poverty wages, is our idea of adversity: a famous movie star getting her ass squeezed without permission exactly once.

This is why I prefer to pigsploit that other Gerald and, as I like to say, rundel in the jungle. Jethro Tull may not be all right with that, but Colby Cosh will certainly agree that farming fish is a real trade in a world that could use more people working in real trades, and that I did not, I repeat, did not, just sing a crappy comedy-folk song about anybody. Be thankful as I hit the road and sleep in a rest area again tonight.

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Travels with G. K. Chestrubber

Geez, Ole, it sounds like the Keillor boy, the one who went down to the Twin Cities to seek his fame and fortune, let the power go to his head and got himself involved in a little ja, don’tcha know. Now, I’ll always remember what Lina said when you came downstairs from your deathbed and snuck yourself a taste of the lutefisk, how she slapped you and said, “Ole! It’s fur de funeral!”, but geez, he looks like he could use one himself.

Be well, bitch.

Watching Matt Lecher and Lord Ewbegone get the ax on the same day was of some interest to me as a new Safeway knockoff Rogaine user. Lauer has always been an exceptionally handsome man. He was able to come to the studio with late-onset male-pattern baldness, a crappy buzz cut, and the shabbiest beard this side of Al Roker and still leave no doubt that he was handsomer than he looked. Keillor has the opposite problem, an enviably full head of hair that doesn’t keep him from looking like a bulldog with an untreated neurological condition affecting the face. CBS, for its part, managed to play a less glaringly bad hand even worse by seating its morning hosts on dumbass bar stools that made Harry Smith look like he was about to wipe his ass with a handkerchief. I don’t want to beclown myself by saying that there are lessons we can learn from these sorry spectacles, but we can always look on and snicker. After all, NBC wasn’t paying Matthew Todd Wankin’ $25 mil a year for us not to watch.

That said, I didn’t come by just to indulge in gross imagery about overpaid and overrated broadcast celebrities. Most of my traffic is still (of course) for Dubai Porta Potty, so it’s the rest of you who should apologize for your taste, not me for mine, but still, what interests me about the latest gents to get sprayed by this artesian well of sexual grievance isn’t just who’s the better-looking bald guy or who can’t stop wasting his shabbily coiffed hair on his own face. These pages are effortposts, and that alone, good dirty fun though it is, doesn’t justify the time or energy to hammer out a screed. What actually brings me over tonight, rather, is the sick ways in which Matt Lauer and Garrison Keillor interact with and inform the atrocious American class system.

Lauer is a middlebrow reporter who won a crapshoot in the big leagues and became filthy rich doing the yeoman’s work of broadcast news presentation on the main stage. He’s exceptionally gifted, to be sure, but there are countless dozens or hundreds of equally well put-together on-air reporters and anchors biding their time at two-bit affiliates out in the bumfuck middle of nowhere for a hundredth of his pay, or less, and the vast majority of them aren’t going anywhere better or more prestigious because there just aren’t enough openings. If Mark Finan or Joe Calhoun, say, were kicked up to the Rock, it’s unlikely that they’d choke under the pressure. The business still has its tendentious dipshits, like Ed Weinstock, the white Art Fennell, and Art Fennell, the black Ed Weinstock, and they’re hardly the worst to be found, but there’s still a huge oversupply of impressive on-air talent languishing in the provinces compared to the tiny number of front-of-the-house openings at headquarters.

Explain for yourself why in the everloving hell Hoda Kotb isn’t working in Mobile or Omaha. I don’t have an answer for everything; sometimes #TheMoreYouKnow, the less you understand, and some of these decisions are beyond forgiveness. Forgiveness. Even if, even if. Of course that was awful, but keep in mind that I’m trying to avoid spending an entire screed writing about downers like NBC.

If I were writing this stuff for financial gain, I suppose Don Henley could sue me for copyright infringement. I have to say that I’m disappointed to see that that ditty wasn’t by Bryan Adams, because that would have made for a smoother segue into our latest recapitulation of Kwesi Millington’s reputation management lawfare against the CBC. I hope you weren’t too shocked to hear about him again. Matt’s able to sue NBC for firing him just for being a handsy fucker with a secret button under his desk to remotely lock his office door because he’s Matt Motherfucking Lauer, bitch.

That, and because our fine continent’s news trusts have deep pockets. What the hell did Northside Juice have to offer a plaintiff’s attorney? Horsemanship lessons for his daughter and the neighbor kids? Actually, Lauer must be in a pretty strong position just for knowing where all the bodies are buried around the Rock. All Meatless Muscle and his legal muscle were doing was shaking the old council oak to see if anything good would fall out. However Matt Lauer and his lawyers are shading their case, what they’re doing by demanding a payout is blackmailing NBC, which, conveniently enough, is the most scandalous, blackmail-prone of the big three networks. One cannot imagine how the network that rehabilitated Donald Trump would have anything to hide.

Matt Lauer was an interchangeable part on a middlebrow morning news program whose host network surely has talent scouts who could call any number of reliable reporters up to the major league from the farm teams to replace him. He’s a talented but not all that exceptional guy who lucked into a rare spot as a headliner and spent the next two decades milking it for all it was worth. This is where the incentives and the behavior turn perverse. It’s precisely because he squeezed so much money out of NBC for so long that he’s now able to squeeze it for even more money because it fired him for cause. Any normal person working in any normal job wouldn’t be able to do anything of the sort. With luck, a nobody who just got fired for sexual harassment on company time might be able to threaten to blow the whistle on illegal or unethical practices involving others and get paid to shut up. More likely, the outcome would be walking away in disgrace, scarlet letter duly affixed, and on the precipice of financial ruin.

Of all the people who need the money after an adverse employment termination, Matt Lauer has to be the damn near the last. Unless he’s been a Michael Jackson-grade spendthrift for twenty years straight, he’s loaded. I’ve seen estimates of his contract being worth up to $25 million a year. At that rate, he could maintain a very solidly upper-middle-class income just on the investment proceeds of one year’s worth of net income from his NBC gig.

In a sane and equitable society, that would mean something, as would the sheer gratitude for having gotten away with sexually predatory behavior under company auspices for years and made good money the whole time. Matt doesn’t live in any such society. He is shaking NBC down for the same reason that a dog licks its own balls: because he can.

Garrison Keillor operated at a lower level of show business for a smaller, more marginal audience, and for quite a bit less direct payment, but he has had a much more notable and, I dare say, pernicious effect on a key demographic of American society. He made a living by poisoning the minds of liberal yuppies in a way that no one else could quite figure out how to do.

Matt Lauer neither reified nor attenuated the fresh hell that is NBC. That mercenary piece of shit could be paid to read goddamn anything on air with a subtly pained but straight face. He could be paid to ask any brain-dead question of any equally brain-dead celebrity that the producers and marketers thought would sell. He never gave a rat’s ass about whether or why some vainglorious asshole was banging some other bumptious fuckjob or about some fashion model moron’s thoughts on geopolitics and how her new clothing line could help.

Again, this is one of the things we can say in Jerry Springer’s defense: though a Londoner by birth and a New Yorker by upbringing, by vocation and avocation both he is a true Cincinnatian. It would be gross to call his feelings about his calling to national broadcasting love, but he makes a solid living doing what he quite enjoys. Whenever Lauer was interviewing some moronic asshole or doing Phineas Gage-grade call-and-response water cooler talk with his fellow overpaid mercenaries in a fake living room, he had a silent internal script running, which kept telling him, what the fuck, man, you’re a tragedy for dignifying this fucking garbage.

I can say the same thing in my own defense that I can say in Jerry’s, only more so. Sleeping in my car two or three nights a week doesn’t force me to debase myself like that, and neither do farm work or the deposit bottle hustle. Chaka Can. Chaka Can. Chaka Fattah’s making less money than that these days, Chaka Can. Make of it what you will that the Dunkin’ Doorman is a civic improvement over Matt Lauer for not having to pretend to be interested in anything other than coffee money.

Keillor’s problem is that his shtick comes from the heart, and his heart is deeply troubled. He tapped into a guiltily, unmentionably avaricious yuppie liberal zeitgeist and focused and reinforced it in perniciously unhealthy ways. We’ll all be dealing with the fallout for a decade or two to come.

Being the alumnus of a fancy-ass school crawling with Main Liner shitheads and wannabes drives this point home. No, I’m not referring to Lancaster Country Day School; that’s a bit of an eccentric outfit, and a plenty wealthy and privileged one, but it’s all right. I refer, of course, to the Big Dick. GO DIPLOMATS!

When I was back for Homecoming over the fall, this alumni council hotshot whom I supposedly shocked by saying that I’d go to a state school in California if I had to do it over again got all defensive on our asses about how he had done pretty well for a hick from Missouri. First of all, I know damn fucking well what Humboldt State is like for a non-matriculant, and I’m not pig-ignorant about Chico, either, town or gown, so I didn’t pull any of that out of my ass. Second, I took our Show Me dude to be just another puffed-up dipshit from the Main Line. It never would have occurred to me that he was from Missouri; the other Missourians I’ve known are mostly chill as fuck, not defensive, disingenuously self-deprecating dorks. If I want to make fun of a Missourian, I have plenty of material on the Highway Patrol; maybe this fool was jealous of Flexineck and the Bone Crusher for hogging my attention. I’m not the one who had a problem with him for being from hick-ass Missouri; that was his problem, and his alone. My dad was raised by a mother who had gone to business school and a K-State grad who had been the first in his family to go to college, both of them from rural Kansas, and none of their kids turned out stupid. The University of Nebraska has fallen victim to some pretty disgusting political interference, but I never figured that it became a powerhouse in climate science by collecting a bunch of retards.

If we’re in the business of making regional judgments, Pot-o-Shit Friend doesn’t say anything good about people from Providence by way of Baltimore who move to Oregon, or whatever the fuck he did, other than be a hipster who, in spite of his trash can, didn’t look like he got enough to eat. I heard bits and pieces, but I never cared enough to investigate. Joe Dirtbag was all like, oh, you’ll hit it off with him, he’s from Baltimore; obviously an erstwhile Philadelphian wants nothing more than to yuk it up with an Old Bay-ass weenie in Coke bottle glasses who has all the force of personality and muscle tone of a wet noodle. So, no, I don’t go touring the Midwest in search of my shit-in-a-bucket constituencies; Midwesterners are sensible enough to appreciate indoor plumbing, and the ones who aren’t I expect to find me in Oregon.

What’s relevant about this particular Missourian is that he’s yet another dipshit who’s got a chip on his shoulder about his backwards hometown. Garrison Keillor’s shiznit appeals to every social climber who thinks everyone else from back home was a hopeless smallminded dolt. He got every fucking valedictorian in the country listening to the same twee, condescending horseshit spoken-word stories about local-yokel simpletons in the Great White North. He got many of them to buy his series of companion novels and read his sermons in the Washington Post. 

Look, I’ve dealt with some fucked up country bumpkins in Pennsylvania, so I don’t assume that life in rural Minnesota is all sunshine and lollipops. I can imagine that it sucks, that it can be awfully stifling and if nothing else bloody fucking cold. Moving to the Twin Cities or, hell, to Santa Barbara might make some sense. The thing about the Lake Wobegon stuff, though, is that it’s so sappy and sentimental. Like, are there really entire towns in Minnesota populated by these stuffy, simpering, tendentious dorks? Listening to these crappy vignettes, I couldn’t help but think that they didn’t square with what I’d been able to pick up about the rural Midwest, specifically, that they were markedly worse. Garrison Keillor routinely ran stuff whose production value was only marginally better than the “Up the Snitz Creek” columns in the Lebanon Daily News. I shit ye not: that was a real column, and it’s a real creek that I’ve never since been comfortable crossing. It’s understandable that such items would be run by the shittiest possible newspaper of record, but Keillor got his crap syndicated on NPR.

There’s no charitable explanation. Here we’ve got this wheezing, sighing, bulldog-looking cunt up on stage telling longwinded, gratingly sanctimonious stories about the retarded minutiae of small-town gossip interspersed with bluegrass jingles about an imaginary brand of fucking biscuits, the kind of childish, nonsensical horseshit you might have to sit through at your second-grader’s school play, and he’s putting it on for an audience of neurotic overachievers who are force-feeding their own teenage children AP coursework and extracurricular activities until they drop.

Again, this toolbox was producing this elaborately twee shit for an audience of highly educated, affluent adults. Mr. Rogers must not have been too emotionally even-keeled and modest for their tastes. That’s what happens when there’s an actual adult in the room who has the decency to act like one: hey, let’s put on our zip-up sweaters and go tour this pencil factory, then we’re gonna talk about some heavy psychological shit, like, death and bullying and stuff, but I’ll try not to upset you, and then, for the fun part, I’m sending you on a special Honey I Shrunk the Kids trolley through a wormhole into a funhouse land ruled by a freaky-ass genderfluid king whose neighborhood mailman is legit bipolar, but don’t worry, you should never feel embarrassed to talk to a grown-up if any of this starts feeling weird.

I’ll actually be on the real Pittsburgh subway-surface trolley system next week, which I assume is also run by and for adults. Yeah, Wow Much travels None homeland Omg mr mcfeely Very disorient. Our old boy Keillor, though. Holy shit. That twit was always ever-so-gently ribbing the yuppies, as if a pleasantly warm slow roast was praxis because, my gosh, dear hearts and gentle people, we all have our foibles. Actual independent thought about the yuppies would be more like the old-school Comiskey Park shit, but nobody ever had the stones to bring a “Go Home Yuppie Scum” sign to the Fitzgerald Theater. Nobody was about to get uppity in there and encourage anyone else to pack that fancy-pants shit up and take it back up to Addison. That would require taking a firm stance, you see. That would require principles.

‘Twould harsh the mellow, and one can’t have that. We’re all just here for an evening of forced levity and shitty spoken-word bildungsroman stories about how we’re all just plain and simple country folks, that we might momentarily forget, and yet be subliminally reminded, that little Taylor here won’t amount to a damn thing in life if she doesn’t get into Haverford. We certainly wouldn’t want her to take a job at some gas station in Anoka County, surrounded by this evocatively narrated town full of hopeless losers.

Garrison Keillor lived his way into some kind of spiritual picture of Dorian Gray situation. I’ve been reading that he wasn’t such a bitter yuppie blowhard and smug, precious dork back in the eighties, when he first became a big deal. It seems that over the years his shtick became both softer and more vicious, that it mutated from jaded, occasionally abrasive truthtelling into its current format of cheap easy-listening hate radio. Like all too many other liberal yuppies, he’s gotten salty about Trump and Trump’s voters for all the wrong reasons, blowing whatever moral high ground and credibility he might have had on self-righteous pot shots. He’s pissed off at all the losers back home who made fun of him in high school and now have trouble getting by on their gutted pensions from the cement factory or whatever, his premise being that they have no reason to be sore about their lot but he has ample reason to be sore about them for being sore. He’s got teenage grudges against people who spent decades barely scraping by in honorable and productive but tenuous lines of work while he jawboned his way to fortune and fame, but reliving high school at his age is less embarrassing than putting on variety show items that would annoy a precocious fourth-grader.

So here he is now, laid low by accusations that are impressively PG-rated. He touched some woman on her bare back when she was upset. He lustfully tried to console a bitch. I’ve been hearing through back channels about stage shows where he got visibly horny with the women performing alongside him, to their discomfort, e.g., some half-assed Al Franken shit. Don’tcha fucking know, Ole. Sven, ya catchin’ any o’ this? Some great Minnesota ethnic diversity we got right here; too bad I’m not awake or culturally aware enough to make fun of the Finns, too. These guys sound pretty rude and obnoxious, but the Keillor stuff especially sounds like it could be handled by telling him, hey, maybe don’t do that again, and I’ve gotten my nipples pinched–not mime-groped, straight-up pinched while I was fully awake–by way the hell worse than Franken. The guy who did it would have been a hardcore douchebag even if he’d kept his hands off my tits. It was some kind of anthracite country problem drinking thing, or maybe this guy and his buddies were just fucking assholes. I dunno.

Geraldo, though? If Geraldo sexually harassed me, I’d have no choice but to consider it a high privilege and honor. I’d want John Tesh to perform a big band number about the incident. I can’t help it; it’s some kind of Long Island deep cultural immersion thing. If sexual aggression is about power, the power might as well come from a true son of the Guyland (Joey Buttafuoco works, too), not from some simpering Minnesota dipshit who’s all bashful that he was caught not being nice. I’m still straight, now, you hear? Okay, the John Tesh comments didn’t do much to confirm that.

But holy hell, are we actually having a conniption because Garrison Keillor put a hand on some crying lady’s back? Is this for real, dawg? I get that we want to discourage sexually forward behavior on the part of those who are too arrogant or socially stunted to respond normally to social cues, but fuckin’ A, we seem to be raising the bar pretty high here and then kvetching that a notorious dork didn’t clear it. And now Minnesota Public Radio is talking about renaming A Prairie Home Companion. They’ve got a different, more Southern-fried earnest mofo at the helm now, and they’re still worried that we’ll associate the show with this tainted dirty old man who once touched a woman’s back and maybe leered at some other chicks.

Here’s an idea: A Prairie Ho Companion. I doubt it’ll be the best work of art about Chicago hookers, but it’ll be better than Sister Carrie. 

This is what I get for not doing my assigned reading in school. I’m out of work again and banging this stuff out at one in the morning for an audience of maybe a dozen. What can I say? Dreiser sucks major ass. And it figures that Lake Wobegon doesn’t have a town whore; it doesn’t have anyone with remotely normal emotional patterns. Hey baby, your chatterbox isn’t working so great on my powdermilk biscuit, if you know what I mean. Hey, Noir, I know you’re watching us, so can you tell me what’s wrong with this chick’s mouth that she can’t get my dick up?

That’s some fucked up fan fiction from a guy (hey, now!) who isn’t even a fan, but it’s normal human dialog informed by normal human interaction. More or less. That’s a low bar to clear because I’m trying to beat a thrice-married dork who acts like the old maid running the village schoolhouse in one segment and an autistic seven-year-old in the next. I’m nowhere close to going fully native.

It’s really funny, as in hilarious and odd both, that this sickly, wheezing, bulldog-looking dork who’s suddenly in trouble for touching a woman on her back while she was wearing a low-cut dress or some shit had a recurring segment that he ended with a line about how all the women are strong and all the men are good-looking. Can you imagine anyone from this crowd raising children who aren’t neurotic fuckups? Garrison Keillor having a regularly scheduled segment in which he talks explicitly about a community full of handsome men is like Matt Lauer going out on the street to look for ugly guys: “Hey there, Savannah, we’re out here in Crown Heights to look for the ugliest motherfucking Jews, and we’ve already found some butt-ugly kikes. Take a look.”

Admit it: that would be an awesome thing to watch Matt Lauer sunnily deadpan. I don’t care how offensive some overly sensitive twit may find it. Normally I’d be hesitant to write anything quite that coarse, but in this case it’s relevant, pretty far out there by any normal standard but not gratuitous. The blunt truth of it is that we are not dealing with normal standards here. We’ve got these self-serious dipshits on our broadcast media studiously pretending that there’s no such thing as the Id while the Id rears its ugly head all around us, more flagrantly than usual. Garrison Keillor is in trouble for barely touching a woman in a manner that few people would find edgy, and Al Franken for posing for a photo in which he pretends to grope a fellow performer’s breasts while she’s asleep. Meanwhile the sitting President of the United States faces no consequences for habitually blurting out fantasies about how he’d like to assault his enemies, sexually and otherwise, for being the target of dozens of specific accusations of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and forcible rape, and for having bragged about his incestuous attraction to his own biological daughter.

When the rape culture critics insist that Trump has to face consequences as an example to other sexual assailants, they’re absolutely right. That fucker makes Bob Packwood look like St. Anthony. We can’t be serious about deterring sexual assault, especially from positions of power, when we’re knowingly tolerating a sitting president who won’t stop openly acting like a Borgia Pope. A consistent standard of intolerance for sexual exploitation from positions of power would require the removal of Donald Trump from office for being a ragingly scandalous lecher.

The same thing goes for all his other abuses of power. This guy’s deal isn’t that he likes to get laid. That may actually be what’s up (heh) with Franken and Keillor, and even to some extent with Lauer. (That remote-control lock button, though.) Trump is a grand sadist, rather like Hillary Clinton, but with different focuses. The cultural rot goes deep enough that people are now saying in all seriousness that Matt asked Hillary tough questions at the debate just because he’s a misogynistic sexual harasser. I’ll say it again: I don’t hate Hillary Clinton because I’m a misogynist; I hate her because she’s a grandiose, gratuitously misandrist cunt. Among other reasons, of course. I’m not conceding the moral high ground to anyone who cackled about the assassination of Muammar Qaddafi, not one inch. What’s next: smearing Matt for calling Aileen Wuornos a creep? There must be a special place in hell for women who oppose her, too.

Me? I’m just going hypergraphic and Extremely Online again. My insolence doesn’t translate into power. Besides, come summer, I notice that the above-average aren’t picking a hell of a lot of fruit. That would get in the way of investment banking and shit.

Be Well, Do Good Work, and, ooh giggity giggity, Keep in “Touch.”

Old McPickton had a farm

E-I-E-I-Ew. What interests me about the Sick Willie case isn’t just that he’s a Canadian serial murderer, although there’s that, or that he was a test that the RCMP failed for years until that newjack swore out the search warrant over the gun complaint, driving home the impressively terrible track record that the Mounties have with guys named Robert on the Lower Mainland. These are the memes that sustain us, but what caught my attention about Robert Pickton as a local nuisance was that at a time when the Vancouver Police and the RCMP had their thumbs up their asses in the face of citizen suspicions that he was committing serial murders, the local authorities in Port Coquitlam successfully took him to court over code violations on his property. They got all up in his face about the squalor and disorder and noise and told him, look, champ, this ain’t a farm. They got a court to agree that keeping a few pigs in the middle of a junkyard and unlicensed rave venue was not a legitimate farming or animal husbandry practice and to broadly enjoin not just Pickton but anyone who was found on his property from being a dirty, licentious pain in the neighborhood’s ass.

This sort of code enforcement action chaps many an easily bruised rear. Hey, now, you can’t tell me what I can do with my own property! Oh yeah? We just did. Government overreach is certainly a possibility, but every derelict slumlord nuisance in the land thinks that his own catastrophe of a property is the victim of government overreach when the authorities tell him to clean it the hell up, so we get a whole lot of boys crying wolf. I don’t suppose Joe Dirtbag thought anyone had any business calling code enforcement over Pot-o-Shit Friend’s housewarming gift and the proliferating rat mess, never mind that the trash can Pot-o-Shit Friend filled to permanent ruination was a piece of winery equipment stolen from a winery that I had helped fund and operate for years.

On second thought, I shouldn’t assume the permanent ritual uncleanliness of a trash can full of some pitiful little weenie’s shit in a community that tolerates Pot-o-Shit Friend in the first place. There’s always the chance that some filthy derelict will try to clean out the housewarming gift and puts its fine vessel back into normal service; this is the same farm where I once listened to a dipshit talk about how it was okay to cut corners on the composting of human waste in Hawaii because, you know, the weather is hot there and that moves things along. Joe Dirtbag isn’t necessarily any cleaner or more upstanding.

That whole joint is an infinitely intensifying haidt-fuck. That’s why society needs code enforcement: to forcibly clean up after the antisocially filthy. If no one forces them to clean up, they’ll endanger those living on their property and their neighbors. Fuck anyone who acts like government in Oregon has the meddlesome overreach of Santa Monica, the public corruption of Nigeria, or the incompetence of Somalia. I’m not here to run interference for dirty, derelict motherfuckers who allow their tenants to shit in trash cans or wrap their turds up in newspaper and toss them out the trailer door next to a heavily trafficked footpath.

Again, these things have actually happened on property that continues to be funded with money under my control. I’m a minority owner in the LLC, with a stake of only $15,000. There’s a total of something like a quarter million dollars in investor money tied up in this shit, in addition to probably over a hundred grand in outright gifts directed towards farm operations (including fifty from my dad alone to stave off foreclosure after JD orally amended the mortgage contract and came within months of losing the whole farm as a result.) Then there are all the other gifts that Joe Dirtbag and the Family Shrew solicit from their moneyed pushovers in one breath before proclaiming their proud self-reliance in the next: $15,000 from my dad for a Subaru, $5,000 or some shit for a new stove and refrigerator at home. Not that there’s any reason to stop at that when they can also get an electrician to rewire their house on an out-of-state license and no bond in exchange for the privilege to move into a garden shed in their front yard, after he’d spent several months paying them rent on behalf of his erstwhile roommate, their lifelong squatter, who had run the electrician out of his shack by going psycho again; or for JD to stop illegally collecting rent under the table on a collection of junkyard tenants when he shows no signs whatsoever of using any of their rent money to make renovations that have been past due for three decades.

If I ever take this shitshow over, I’m kicking the losers off the property as soon as I can line up adequate (i.e., much better) accommodations for them. This is all seriously fucking shady and unacceptable. When I go down to the farm, I do bona fide, productive work towards the maintenance and improvement of a property where money under my legal control is already tied up. I don’t go down there to live in an illegal trailer park. I imagine I’ll get pretty cross if any of these losers raises objections to my activities on the property, which include doing much of my work by flashlight or moonlight late at night. I work as quietly as I can to avoid disturbing anyone, and again, my money is tied up in that shit, so, yes, I damn well should be allowed to come and go as I fucking please. Nobody else seems to be clearing out the abandoned vineyard blocks. I’m getting shit done in a pretty unfavorable situation, not as much as I’d like but a decent little chunk of decades-deferred work.

If Joe Dirtbag were a normal person I’d talk to him about clearing out the abandoned blocks instead of sneaking onto the property like a guerrilla when he isn’t there, but he’s abnormal, and I’m not about to get sucked into one of his sandbagging campaigns. He can hem and haw and get in the way of productive work with someone else. For all I care, he can be shunned, leaving him with no one to sandbag but himself. I’m not about to reach out to liaise with any of his tenants, either, including the Ragin’ Canajun. I happened to talk to RC about what I was doing to clear out the abandoned shit a year or two ago, and he appreciated what I was doing, so I don’t really expect trouble from him. At the same time, I resent the very idea of people who are living in squalor on that property, against my wishes, claiming or being given a stake in my activities on separate parts of the property that, until I went in with my pruning shears, were entirely abandoned. This is first-in-time, first-in-line shit. I’m not letting anyone else actively obstruct my homesteading efforts there. I’m not hacking my way through that shit foot by foot in order to be groovy or sociable; I’m trying to get this property closer to turnkey condition for whenever JD dies or becomes too decrepit to keep fucking it up.

The Ragin’ Canajun is a serious, competent, upstanding farmer, and to be clear, I’ve never had any trouble with him; I’m just worried that he may get drawn into some drama opposite me at some point in his capacity as the lead tenant farmer. If he’s still at the farm, that is; since I haven’t socialized with anyone there this year and often work at night, I’m not sure, but I’ve noticed that his old truck hasn’t been there. I have no such generous feelings towards the other tenants. I basically figure, look, I don’t know who the hell you are, but I do notice that you’re living like Oscar the Grouch. What, you need to park your trailer right here, on a lot without a toilet? It’s already up on wheels and could be pulled out by any high-horsepower pickup truck, so no you fucking don’t. And stop calling it a “tiny house.” If it feels like a reduction in the standard of living to move into an seven-by-fifteen trailer, that’s because it’s a reduction in the standard of living, you daft cunt. Stop polishing that turd.

The bottom line is that these people are fucking pathetic. Any tenants’ rights movement would come down on Joe Dirtbag like a ton of bricks. They are never going to get minimally adequate housing out of that derelict bastard without taking him to court. He’s the one with the electrician living in a shed in exchange for off-the-books work that’s liable to get his home insurance policy canceled, if he has one. The electrician is on the lazy side, but he’s done extensive work both as a licensed electrician and as a short-order, which is how he met JD and FS; he was one of their employees. A day or two per year in either of his lines of work should more than pay for his fucking shed. The dipshits with the tiny house at the farm aren’t getting jack shit out of JD, either; all he did was allow them to haul a turnkey trailer that they’d build offsite at their own expense onto his property and set up a semi-legit electrical hookup. They owe him nothing beyond their electrical bill.

Then there’s Busboy, or whoever else may be living in the new and improved rundown thirty-foot school bus now that the funky old short bus is gone. It was reprehensible of Joe Dirtbag to harass him over his otherwise routine run-in with the cop, and Busboy and I both would have been well within our rights to sue JD over that shit (not so much for financial damages as to force him to account for his actions in a court of law and show that there are consequences for harassing workers and tenants). Busboy’s victimization does not, however, mean that he has any business living on the farm. I don’t mind him, but I certainly don’t need him around, either, and a sensible landowner would not have allowed a couple of losers to park a fucking stove-equipped school bus next to the path up from his fields to the main farm gate.

This is where the Ragin’ Canajun’s attitudes start to bother me. He was all annoyed that Busboy was such a slacker when his girlfriend was such a go-getter, with her plans to volunteer at the women’s collective in Nicaragua or whatever the fuck. Gee, a woman who doesn’t mind living in a fucking school bus is shacked up with a ne’er-do-well? You bloody don’t say. I always assumed she’d be the governor’s mistress.

The real problem here is expecting ANY work ethic or initiative from people who live like that. No one can legitimately demand reciprocity from people living in such half-assed conditions in the developed world. They have been given nothing of any worth to inhabit, so they owe nothing in return. They shack up in piece-of-shit disused school buses that would otherwise be broken up for scrap. For all I know, they’re setting up the next Pot-o-Shit Friendly treasure hunt for whoever cleans out their junkyard when they leave by making their own arrangements to avoid the pit outhouse. I got a really bad feeling when I saw a bucket sitting behind a tarp a bit past their junkyard a couple of years ago.

When I moved into my apartment in Eureka, which was managed by a building manager and an office staff who all belonged in federal prison, I had to clean some hair off the walls and some detritus off the stovetop. When the Ragin’ Canajun moved onto Joe Dirtbag’s farm a couple of years ago, he had to put on coveralls, get splashed with literal shit that sloshed out of a brimful trash can while he was disposing of it, and scoop piles of rat waste eighteen inches deep out of the walls. I would not be out of line to tell a man, no, you are not allowed to charge rent on a goddamn bat cave. I was not out of line to complain to code enforcement. I will not be out of line to call 911 if JD gets hostile with me for standing up to him about any of this horseshit.

I don’t envy Busboy for sitting on ass and having no ambition, but that’s his problem. JD using him as a source of drama and illegal rent on a property that we all funded to operate as a farm is my problem. JD allows the worst possible people down to the farm as de facto stakeholders whose interests must be considered, at the expense of ours, because they’re now wandering around the property for no good reason and likely as not getting in the way. It’s expensive enough for me to drive to Oregon and absorb overpriced lodging costs in order to tend the farm. Joe Dirtbag dumped another few thousand dollars’ worth of indirect expenses on me by tolerating Mixups in my Mind, whose presence seemed incompatible with my car’s. The ten dollars a day that I’ve spent on parking at no fewer than three airports functioned as a sort of loss damage waver on a planned nonoperational filing. That’s every bit as fucked up as it sounds, but the alternative was the risk of my car spatially coexisting with Mixups’ apparition of Satan during one of his smashing rages.

That’s JD’s problem more than his, since JD was sane enough to recognize that Mixups was violently psychotic and had a serious drinking problem. He’s the one I’d have to give most of the blame if Mixups somehow mixed up my car’s windshield with the Devil and took a length of pipe to it. That was the last straw for my parking my car at the farm while I was out of town. I wasn’t about to risk one of the craziest guys in the county waging spiritual warfare on my car at a time when I wasn’t carrying damage coverage. Besides, what would I tell the adjuster? Oh, yeah, that was just the paranoid schizophrenic squatter who sometimes bashes the nearest window to shards in fits of rage?

I love the virtue of doing farm work, so I feel no resentment of lazy dipshits who don’t as long as they stay out of my way. Busboy does. Mixups in my Mind and Psychotarp don’t, but they’re too crazy to be held accountable. Joe Dirtbag doesn’t, and that’s why I make sure that he’s away before I set foot on the farm.

Surely this well of piss shall not soon run dry.

That time Little Charlie rose to the occasion wasn’t the worst of it

Lordy, here I go again up to Old New England, where they also don’t so much pronounce their ahze, on a mission to get Charlie off. CHAHLEE!

Sure, Charlie Rose sounds pretty gross in private, but television is overflowing with talent (sic, often unto death) that’s shockingly gross by any decent standard in public and on purpose. Just the certainty that Rose’s hotel room and mansion appearances, toweled and otherwise, were not Bernaysian mass mind control works strongly in the droning geezer’s favor. A full hour of Charlie Rose making noticeably erect pelvic thrusts through his sweatpants on the LA Metro Gold Line would be less painful than the average minute of DeGeneres, E.

That name. They aren’t even trying to be subtle anymore. I was able to specify the agency, route, and clothing above because I once had the misfortune of witnessing exactly that on the part of a fellow much crazier, less handsome, and more disheveled than Charlie Rose on the way into Pasadena. I suppose I could have called 911 or some shit, but what would have been the point? There were already too many deputies and rentacops on the trains, mostly for over-the-top fare enforcement; as a fellow inbound Blue Line passenger complained to me upon receipt of her citation and not five hours before she was booked into jail for the night, “Sheriffs think they the motherfucking po lease!” On the letter of the law, she was all kinds of wrong, but civically she wasn’t too far off the mark.

Will I see YOU tonight? Amtrak runs the only train through Reno, so no. Instead I have television to keep me company in our common time of thanks. I’ve already managed to catch bits of Live PD and Chrisley Knows Best, and I didn’t come across anything so brain-deadening at Donner Pass last night, so I’m not off to the best start. I also tuned halfway in to Jeopardy, more because why not than why, and didn’t actively enough tune out the utterly meretricious human interest story of the day on the local news, about a homeless veteran in Philadelphia who got $160,000 in contributions a viral GoFundMe page set up by the stranded couple he bought gas with his last $20. Methodically and reliably giving a larger number of the down and out more manageable sums of money must not be heartwarming enough for this Satanic nation. I keep feeling bad that I dogged on the Dunkin’ Doorman for pestering me for a mere 20% cut of my lost and immediately found money. I got curt with a guy who may have the most middle-class set of values in Atlantic City, just because he was a whiny pain in my ass.

The couple that set up the GoFundMe page are distributing extra money to other homeless, but it’s still striking that they didn’t gross $160k in a week or whatever by setting up an general-purpose page to fund relief for the homeless. We are ever so fucked up to get our heartstrings arbitrarily tugged by this cloyingly sappy shit. The corporate powers that greenlight cherry-picked feel-good stories about do-gooders in a time of pervasive, unmet need that they deliberately fail to cover are plainly evil. As a people, we absolutely should not feel good about ourselves because we are objectively bad to one another. That’s the painful truth, and I don’t give a shit how offensive anyone finds it. It SHOULD be scandalous.

In this context, I can deal with some fucking Charlie Rose. The guy can be rather tendentious and self-serious, but he has a nice underrepresented regional accent, not another case of the House Voice. I don’t have the damnedest clue of what he finds so compelling about plain black studio backgrounds, but I’ve seen worse. Actually, on second thought, he’s probably just subtly communicating that we’re all groping our way haphazardly through life, gazing as we go into the featureless void.

Hey, I just said “grope!”

Correction: Hey hey hey! Do we not all want it? Do we not all want to hug, or at least to rhyme?

Charlie Rose will never be as bad as Nightly Business Report. Other than World News Tonight and the local weather report, that’s what I really watched this evening. To return to our topic from the other day about reasons why PBS doesn’t actually need or deserve our viewer support, that shit is produced by CNBC. Maybe it can also be funded by CNBC, then. They’re up to their eyeballs in corporate money; why the fuck do they need our money to air that shit, too?

When I was thinking about not writing this screed, it occurred to me that NBR must have terrible ratings and therefore be an inconsequential curiosity. On second thought, I realized that however bad its ratings are, its audience turns out to vote and probably does more than its expected share of bitching to elected officials until it gets its way, so I guess it’s worth a look.

Aesthetically, NBR is a small group of boring af bougies who are totally on Xanax, but small, carefully calibrated, old money doses, not holy Mother of God I’ll flip my shit and get fired and end up out on the street if I don’t get my ass medicated new money doses. Charlie don’t care how much Xanax he’s popping, and he dun’t care if you care, either. NBR’s target audience tends towards Group 2, intersectional problem drinkers who will never quite feel socioeconomically secure. That, by the way, is the group I’m most smug about exposing for its substance abuse problems; it’s always lecturing someone conveniently other than itself for not being disciplined and sober enough to function properly in our ever-changing economy.

The social attitudes on display here are functions of socioeconomic upbringing, but not in any straightforward way. I know for a fact that anxious, backstabbing new money includes the children of financial millionaires with terminal degrees. That’s the Insurance Shmuck, for one thing. He’s the one who was all like, oh, no, I didn’t drink a drop of alcohol until my senior year, all I had was an entire bottle of Nyquil at bedtime every weeknight until my rowdy drunk-ass rebound girlfriend told me she was worried about my health and got me to binge-drink hard liquor at least four nights a week. (I paraphrase, of course; it’s useful sometimes to edit for clarity.)

When I was little, I used to pick up bits of Louis Rukeyser’s shows when my dad was watching them in the kitchen. I remember Rukeyser having a combination of unabashed but reputable personality and natural poise that’s missing from television today, much as Fred Rogers bequeathed his children’s television tradition to the assholes who came up with Barney the Dinosaur and Dora the Explorer. What I remember from the old Rukeyser shows and Nightly Business Report episodes in the eighties and nineties was a surprisingly charming host would yuk it up with some pleasant and functional enough dork who’d just researched a class of hella obscure stocks that might be worth buying. It was never a do-or-die horror show in which the entire audience had to put aside at least ten percent of its inexorably stagnating wages in the face of unpayable student debt or never be able to retire. The wicked returns meant being able to buy a nice car or fund the kids’ college accounts early, not possibly avoiding medical bankruptcy with some good planning and better luck.

Obviously, this sort of programming is directed at a well-to-do, educated audience, and when I first started seeing segments of it I was too young to fully appreciate it, but certain ugly aspects of other television were clearly absent. There was no forced, contrived abundance mentality; it was understood that the audience was in a position to build personal wealth from a foundation of genuine stability and prosperity. For the same reasons, there was no air of investor coercion; that is, the stock market wasn’t being pitched as the only way for a yuppie to stay afloat in an increasingly unstable, unpredictable, and dysfunctional economy. That ramped up under Clinton and Bush II and went entirely off the rails around the Bush-Obama transition, which was of course also when the international economy crashed violently into the shitter. Meanwhile, overtly commercial investment broadcasting, always a somewhat cruder art, went completely fucking bonkers, taking on raging nutcases like Jim Cramer, who was fit to be shot with a wildlife tranquilizing dart.

Barring a few grossly overhyped wildcard situations, the dice have been cast for the last time for the Baby Boomers. They’ve got what’s coming their way, or, more commonly, not got what’s not coming their way. Gen X is a boring segment for the marketeers, but that still leaves me and my (mostly younger) people, the eternally shit-upon Millennials, not to mention whatever metapostmodern gobbledygook we’ll be told to call the crop of rising young adults as they continue to mature into twentagers.

This really is some fucking Francis Fukuyama shit, a horizon beyond which there’s nothing. Millennials are infamously workshy, but it might be worth considering that we’ve become detached from the workforce because there aren’t any damn jobs. Five million-some jobs in the United States alone vanished into a fourth-turning secular economic catastrophe between 2008 and 2009. The workforce participation rate dropped by five points year over year and has stagnated ever since. A measurable percentage of the population doesn’t suddenly up and say take this job, bundle it with all other possible jobs, and shove it. If a job that doesn’t require advanced formal education isn’t illegally reserved for immigrants (often illegal), it’s reliably some shady 1099 bullshit like Uber. The social ties that might lead the unemployed out of this nightmare have disintegrated across huge swathes of the native stock.

Nightly Business Report’s coverage of this burgeoning dystopian precarity is understated on strictly artistic terms, but it’s a fucking shitshow. NBR takes several clashing premises that can’t possibly fit together and pretends that they somehow cohere into a navigable whole. First there’s the chronic assumption that the working affluent deserve magical returns on their financial investments because they already have lucrative jobs. This is ridiculously inequitable, but in times of more or less broad prosperity it might not be a disaster. Since we’re going through times of uncontrollably growing precarity with no real sign of relief, though, we get to add the premises that:

–individual workers need to goose the shit out of their retirement accounts if they want to have any hope of retiring, and they’d be fools not to make maximum employer-matched contributions if their employers offer them;

–lol jk, individual workers can’t afford to fund their 401(k) accounts because what would have been discretionary income twenty or forty years ago is now devoted to student debt that they can barely afford to service;

–but it really doesn’t matter in the end, because this fitness class in Palm Springs and this other geezer who we found in Burbank taking classes to be a background actor prove that the elderly have no plans to retire.

By the way, our aspiring background actor lost a logistics business to the Second Great Depression, and NBR mentioned in passing that the percentage of employees whose employers offer pensions has dropped from something like 90% to 30% in thirty years. Yeah, I’m sure that just happened. I’m not convinced that the pension figures weren’t somehow garbled by sloppy research, but it’s indeed true that defined-benefit pensions have mysteriously vanished from the private sector, and that labor unions have mysteriously vanished over the same timeframe. This must have just been some inscrutable act of God having nothing whatsoever to do with leverage buyout thugs breaking the meatpackers’ union in Albert Lea and then doing the same thing thousands of times over in dozens of industries in practically every state of the Union.

Medical expenses got a brief mention on NBR tonight, too. You may not have a union in your shop or anywhere on the horizon, but did you know that doctors are still unionized, even in avowedly open shops? It’s called the American Medical Association. The worst rentiers in medicine, however, either get MBA’s or sell out to the MBA’s and go into hospital administration. But again, none of this has anything to do with the uncontrollably rising costs of medical care and health insurance.

Like hell we’re going to strategically invest and reskill our way out of this dystopia. PBS, which is actually CNBC, has some nerve to imply that we will. It never ceases to amaze me how modest and civic the Dunkin’ Doorman is in his whiny calls for alms, but that’s the difference between funding a coffee habit on Sunday morning and funding five nights of neoliberal atigprop a week.

We’ll need more than a stiff cup to stay woke for this fight.

Russian to judgment

Uh, shit, that was uncalled for, but so is the endless Democratic Russia hysteria.

Look, I’ve been to Russia. I spent a full month staying with host families there, first in Moscow and then in St. Petersburg, in the summer of 2002. My personal feelings about Russia are complicated and ambivalent, but they’re personal. They have to do with stuff that has no bearing on Russia’s foreign policy and only accidentally anything to do with its domestic policy. I don’t feel like ruminating over the details, but my worst experience was a run-in with some bad cops, so I have no trouble believing that Russia has serious civil liberties shortcomings. I also walked by at a distance of ten or twenty yards while a guy was getting kicked repeatedly in the guts by two other men on a side street off the Nevsky Prospekt, in a part of St. Petersburg that I otherwise took to be exceptionally prosperous and orderly, and quite a few of the Russians I’ve met over the years, both in country and back in the US, back in the USSA, have had an unnerving nihilistic bearing. I also know full well that I came nowhere close to seeing the worst that Russia has to offer.

The point is that no one has to convince me that Russia can be fucked up. Mine own lying eyes have seen it. Truth be told, few things have made me prouder or more grateful to be an American than personally discovering and then reading further about what a social and political clusterfuck Russia is. In many crucial ways it is a deeply troubled and unhealthy society. I doubt any significant part of it has fully turned the corner in the past fifteen years, and by some measures it regressed greatly after I made it back home (notably, on racist and xenophobic violence). So I’m not averse to legitimate criticism of the old bear den.

Nothing about the moral panic over Russian interference in the 2016 US elections is legitimate or sane. It’s the batshit fucking insane raving of pig-ignorant political extremists. It’s rabies. These deranged shitbirds have poisoned the well so badly that I can hardly trust a bad word about the Kremlin from the BBC, an organization that would hopefully be in a position to hold the Kremlin to some account. NPR is a hopelessly lost cause. I thought things were getting sketchy after they fired Bob Edwards and ramped up the House Voice, but I couldn’t see anything this surreally crazy coming down the pike.

Every time Russia engages in some modest bit of statecraft or spycraft, it magically becomes the world’s premier force of fifth-column subversion and international mind control. It’s unbelievable that we’re hearing about this absolutely insane shit on NPR and not on Coast to Coast AM. The Kremlin hired a few hundred undercover PR flacks to propagandize and troll American voters on social media. It spent a couple hundred grand on Facebook ads. Big fucking deal. We just had an election season that cost multiple billions of dollars and produced a big drop in turnout from 2012, along with a huge undervote in the presidential race, which is usually the main attraction when it’s on the ballot. The Kremlin was an irrelevancy. It was spitting into the wind.

Besides, everything the Kremlin has been accused of doing is done on a much wider and more sustained basis by Western spooks, lobbyists, and fellow-traveling shady pieces of shit. We never hear the hysterical Russia horseshit broadened to criticize AIPAC, the Pentagon bot army, or the multinational corporate leviathans. These outfits are the ones responsible for the serious propaganda. It’s not an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s a start. The Kremlin hiring underemployed twentagers to engage Americans with their our hearts go out to the Ceausescu family, sad day for Nicolae English can’t hold a candle to this fog machine.

If we’re worried about their ads corrupting our citizens’ minds, uh, Citizens United, fuckwits. Pervasive, unrelenting advertisement campaigns orchestrated by Bernaysian master manipulators are fine as long as they’re being run out of the usual WASP nests (Madison Avenue, K Street, Langley, Silicon Valley) (and, yes, they’re cooler than they once were with the Irish and the Jews and so forth), but Katie bar the fucking door if someone shows up at a Moscow ad agency with a hundred grand to spend on English-language copy. When our old boys do it on a colossal scale, it’s mere advertising; when the damn Red Octobers do it on an almost bashfully modest scale, it’s high treason.

Now we’re hearing feverish calls for Russia Today to be registered and surveilled as a foreign lobbying organization. Gee, with a name like that, you don’t say that it has possible cultural or political ties to Russia. What’s so rich a Yank could barf about this is that RT is open about its presumable ties to the Kremlin (not much of a Union of Right Forces organ, to judge from its coverage), while CNN, the WaPo, and so forth fraudulently pretend not to be crawling with Anglo-American spies, junta-ready generals, ruling politicians, seedy party hacks, and similar trash.

This doesn’t even begin to touch the endless corporate interference, even in NPR and PBS, our federally chartered and funded public broadcasting syndicates. Julie Rovner reports for Kaiser Health News now; no way that’s run by a major for-profit health insurance company and hospital operator that might have a political or policy ax to grind. And no way are my insurance premiums somehow being pooled to fund this highbrow Intelligence for Your Life crap. The mainstream media in the US are little more than payola, product placement, and Pravda-grade regime bulletins these days. NPR and PBS manage to simultaneously suck up every bit of compromising corporate funding they can sniff out, tangle with bumptious, grandstanding Congressmen in annual government funding disputes, AND bother their viewers with grating, guilt-trippy calls for alms several times a year. The PBS NewsHour is brought to you by Tote Bag Nation, some passive-aggressive assholes in Congress, and BNSF: The Little Engine That Could Get Out of the Southwest Chief’s Way But Totally Won’t.

Then we’ve got the cool stories about blackmail, the famous Piss-Trump kompromat. Yeah, nothing reminiscent of the Hastert thing there, or possibly similar to Roy Moore’s political relationship to Alabama’s business elite. The same assholes who got blindsided, or so they say, by J. Denny Dundiddly and Gadsden Lovin’ are sure that the most unabashedly louche president anyone can remember is vulnerable to Kremlin blackmail because he was videotaped getting off while a couple of hookers peed on a hotel bed.

A couple of questions come to mind here. First, who the fuck is Christopher Steele? He sounds like the pen name of a third-rate potboiler spy novelist with a first-rate drinking problem. Does he exist? Did the guy playing him ever work for the clandestine services? Is he a mercenary crisis actor, or is he a glory-whoring fabulist? Nobody has produced the fucking pee tape. Nobody has even produced a forgery purporting to show King Bigly and the Honeypot Rent Harem defiling the sacred one-time marriage bed of his predecessor. Plenty of people have fabricated ridiculous stories to position themselves under the glow of much lesser glories. Maybe the bastard is who he says he is and did what he says he did, but we can’t exactly believe him or anyone associated with him. His supposed employers, Her Majesty’s Spying Limeys, are some of the most incorrigible liars and dissemblers on earth. They’re a bit on the ridiculous side, but the idea that they’d keep some washed-up Oxbridge decoder ring wannabe with an unsubstantiated story about a video showing some whores wetting a bed on their international A Team is strictly for public consumption. One way or another, they’re punking us with this fool.

The Democrats used to lose elections honorably. Nobody really had great hopes for Mondale or Dukakis. Gore was reluctant to challenge the results of a blatantly corrupt election in Florida, by some accounts because he’d been advised that being a sore loser who brought the Brooks Brothers Rioters into the disrepute that they deserved was not the way to secure a feeding spot at the retirement trough. My man Long Face acted like, well, I tried, but shucks. He failed me and a whole lot of other hopeful Democratic voters, but he didn’t dishonor us.

2016 was the first time that the Democrats dredged up a ridiculous foreign scapegoat for their failures. It figures that they did this after trying and failing to force the pack to eat a sickening helping of their dog food on behalf of their raging bitch of a candidate. It figures that they did this after their scandal-plagued disaster of a queen failed to follow up her party coronation with campaign stops in the Midwestern swing states everyone with a lick of sense knew she needed to win, managing to lose the Electoral College in spite of a national popular vote lead in the millions. The Clintons have always had a loose relationship with the truth, but under Bill this relationship was cordial enough. Under Hillary it’s frostier than a February dawn in Vladivostok. He was the irresistibly charming Arkie son of a bitch; she is the repulsively charmless ice queen who’s bitter towards her husband for being a chronic adulterer, bitter towards Mocha Haole for beating her the first time around (“that man,” as Bill is said to refer to him), bitter towards Bernie for nearly beating her even though her operatives tipped the scales, and bitter towards the Donald for having the unexpected amateur’s horse sense to actually pull off a victory as a first-time candidate for public office.

If anyone would blame Kremlin mind control for a political loss, it would be this grotesque hag and her sycophants. The disreputable response is a function of a disreputable candidate and campaign. These losers lose sorely because they’re sore losers. Their form is too disordered to permit normal functioning.

It can’t be that they fucked up an already weak and shitty campaign; it must have been long-distance Russian brainwashing. The voters who got Trump over the top can’t have had rational or coherent reasons for voting for him and against Clinton; they must have been feebleminded enough to fall for a mind control campaign run by junior political operatives engaged in nothing worse than rude internet chatter. America was already great; there’s no way a sensible American could have thought otherwise, no way that a savvy political outsider could have tapped into the formerly unexpressed grievances of an aggrieved public by hammering on a catchy four-word campaign slogan. Russians must have convinced them that the United States had some kind of unresolved class problem, just as the damn pink Soviets were the only reason why anyone thought the midcentury United States had a race or civil rights problem.

Surely it was the Russians who fabricated the sexual assault allegations against George Takei to interfere with his meme warfare, not anyone who was still personally upset with George Takei for having sexually assaulted him. If that horseshit can be proof positive that the victor didn’t legitimately win the presidential election, surely it can be reasonable doubt for a sexual assault case in the court of public opinion.

Joe McCarthy sincerely regarded the Soviet Union as a menace to his country, not to his party or his career. That’s the difference between honest paranoia and the sorest losers ever endlessly grinding a political ax. These shitheads don’t care who or what they destroy as long as they either come out on top or, barring that, find a way to take cheap revenge on their proliferating enemies.

Fuck the Democratic Party. It has to either be reclaimed by decent people or allowed to convulse its way to its belated death. I can’t stand popcorn, but if I can’t vote it back from its current eighth circle of hell land of make-believe, I’ll be glad to grab a cup of coffee and maybe some hash browns and pull up a chair.

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.

Oops, I guess I’m a conspiracy theorist now

As the old proverbs and shit hold, don’t ask the question if you don’t want to hear the answer. Today’s question, from my dad, was why on earth Barack Obama allowed Congress to strip the DEA of the authority to seize suspect opioid shipments from pharmaceutical companies. My answer, to his chagrin and scandalization, was that Obama had probably been paid off, just as he’d certainly been paid off to lobby for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I guess I was supposed to have a different answer, maybe one preserving Mocha Haole’s air of high principle under a veil of inscrutability. Instead I called him a crook at a time when all the social cues are to call him a man of impeccable principle and manners, no matter how corrupt and useless his legacy, in a grand effort to highlight the coarseness and crookedness of his successor.

Well fuck me. Donald Trump being a crook does not preclude Barack Obama being a crook. *Sticking our Tricky Dick into the thick of it* Christ, don’t look at ME! This is exactly how the Deep State, and the larger, more diffuse Blob slimily adhering to it, have been trying to rehabilitate George W. Bush as our dear leader. *Briefly recovering from a fatal Kim Jong-Illness* Who called for me? If they’re using the same language as the North Korean regime (specifically, great leader, but far be it from me to resist the opportunity to poke fun at Rocket Man’s dad for his Il health), they’re using the language of the North Korean regime. Full stop. They don’t get to subvert democratic norms by trying to dictate fealty to shitty rulers through their crude social controls and then turn around and call dissidents antidemocratic. That’s bullshit.

A key difference between North Korea and the United States is that we, unlike them, have a large class of yeomen, proles, and lumpenproles who rudely maintain our right to speak freely of officials who displease us. This liberty causes our social superiors in and orbiting various cryptoroyal courts to be butthurt longtime. They have to bite their lips for any hope of favor from the sovereigns they flatter, so what gives us the right to be so licentious as to freely speak ill of our superiors? Our dissent gets between their noses and our rulers’ assholes; how rude of us.

Of course, it isn’t really license; there are generally consequences to such candor, including unspoken but unmistakable limits on the advancement of dissidents in politicized workplaces. The problem for the rulers and their brownnosers is that many of us are already effectively paying these consequences for the most overdetermined reasons due to the regulatory capture and secular collapse of the international economy. It isn’t just some tyrannical authoritarian shithead inside the Beltway who won’t give us a job because we won’t get with the program. The economy still sucks nine years after the financial collapse, although we aren’t supposed to talk about that. Questioning the official numbers is conspiracy theorizing, too. On the other hand, some of us follow the Colby Cosh Rule and do things with our hands for a living (sic?). What are they gonna do, sing a crappy comedy-folk song about us? This pisses the courtiers off, too.

A whole lot of floridly crazy shit has been said about Barry O, unfortunately for those of us, some of us his former voters, who have bad things to say about him that aren’t insane. I don’t believe that Obama has ever taken delivery of a suitcase full of cash or made clumsy incriminating phone calls about things fucking golden. That’s why he gets to cavort with Richard Branson on yachts while the Rod Unspared gets the opportunity to join the Rocky Mountain Club for his efforts to sell Barry’s old seat in the United States Senate. Mocha Haole doesn’t do his banking with his home freezer like that dumbass Jefferson down in Louisiana. He’s too smooth for any of that. And as I like to point out around here, that makes him dangerous. In the hands of a discreet sleazeball like Obama, courtly norms of decorum and shit are numbing paralytic agents injected by the parasite into its host. Basically, we can’t criticize a guy as long as he’s nice to his fellow crooks. May I remind you, Mr. Goldman, that O. J. Simpson was a model prisoner, and even, like Dennis Hastert, a coach.

Obama’s actual legacy sucks ass. Thank Chuck and Nancy it isn’t his alone, but he showed shit for leadership and screwed millions of Americans over. If he’d had some real principle, we wouldn’t have the kludgy, Byzantine mess of Obamacare. Sure, it’s a lot better than nothing, and the Republicans are vile to try to destroy it out of spite with no replacement, but it still sucks. It’s still a scandal and a disgrace. If the Democrats had had any fucking principle or accountability over the past, hell, thirty or forty years, they’d have broken the insurance industry’s legs by the turn of the millennium, with the option to either act in their policyholders’ interests forevermore or be dissolved and have their business handed to government plans. Instead, the Dems agreed to be bought off by the insurance industry. They had no electoral mandate to do anything of the sort, but they’d been captured, and they’re nice captives. They’re good boys and girls, because they know that good boys and girls get more candy.

Public service my fat white ass. They don’t give a shit about us. There was never a popular mandate for the bullshit “marketplace” incrementalism and income-based siloing that they passed instead of straightforward universal coverage. If they’d felt answerable to us, we wouldn’t have heard about the “marketplace” because they would have been too ashamed to utter the word.

How the hell is it inconceivable that the guy who signed this expensive, burdensome, punitive, Kafkaesque patchwork nightmare into law, conveniently providing private insurance companies with a market coerced into buying coverage with threats of fines, got paid off in some fashion by major corporate interests? How is it inconceivable that he got some sort of quid pro quo for all the sweet-talking and arm-twisting he did, although ultimately to no avail, on behalf of TPP? Cyrus Vance was bought off for ten grand in indirect payment to his campaign fund. That was enough to get him to conclude that Harvey Weinstein had a legitimate business reason to grope a model’s breasts without prior warning or permission. The campaign contribution may not have been the entirety of the bribe, so maybe Cyrus isn’t quite that cheap a date, but it’s misguided to think that elected officials need to be set up like kings directly and straight away to consider selling their souls.

For that matter, it’s awfully harsh to construe a rental agreement as a sale.

We’re at least 55 years behind Canada in the implementation of single-payer medical insurance because our elected officials keep pretending that it’s unpopular and doesn’t work. Our last president bragged about assassinating dissidents on other nations’ sovereign territory and tried his best to sell our own national sovereignty to a cartel of secret corporate tribunals. Our current president blusters to no end about all the enemies he wants to blacklist or get blacklisted for crossing him and the worst of his voters. Congress is full of fucking ghouls who listen to their constituents only after having the Capitol Police bodily drag protesters out of their offices. How the hell is it problematic to assume that Barack Obama is a crook? I’m not even trying to argue that the Donald isn’t one himself. I’d certainly like to think that Bernie Sanders is an exception, but seeing how he got ratfucked out of the Democratic nomination by a political machine and crime family, I guess he’s the exception that proves the rule.

If the GOP self-destroys in an orgy of mutual recrimination between the biblethumpers, the objectivists, and whatever the incomprehensible fuck Trump and his crew are, we’ll be one for two. We’ll still have the Democratic Party to destroy until, if we can imagine the possibility, it ceases trying to destroy us. Saying that the Democratic Party is automatically better than the Republicans (especially Trump, who’s all over the damn place) is like saying that sexy male nurse Lynn Majors is better than Elizabeth Wettlaufer.

That was still less disgusting than Congress. They’re all just Cullen the herd, but I’m obviously the crazy one for assuming that they don’t have our best interests at heart and joining the part of the herd that keeps braying back, Neigh! Neigh!