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.

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Hostage’s bargain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wet bulb temperature: an inevitable recurrence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judging the Clintons

We might wonder what history will say about the Clintons, what our grandchildren will be able to discern of them from a distance that we are unable to discern from up close. Or we might wonder what current events today have to say about the Clintons, and figure that the first draft is a pretty damn good working copy of what that sanctimonious White House Fibbie Gary Aldrich spent the nineties calling the moosehead truth. I studied history in college, under one professor who forbade passive verbs to be used by us and another who accused me of arguing like a political scientist, so engage the world, bitch. Any of us might devote ourselves to the perfection of some high craft in the humanities or the sciences or the trades, or we might spend our middle and early old age making a living by talking the story about that one drunk back in Los Angeles whose crook buddy kept the theoretically omniscient stuffed moose head on the wall of his office to bear theoretical witness to his crimes.

If that fucking moosehead could talk and you or I repeated what it said, we’d be presumed furlough cases from the state hospital. It’s all outpatient nontreatment these days, so counting Psychotarp and Mixups in my Mind, there are many such cases. If, however, we fit the story of the talking moosehead into a right-wing talk radio context, we, too, might get book deals. If that fucking dog could talk, it would tell us how it fucking got the fucking rotisserie chicken, but I’m sure there’s nothing about its language that this Los Angeles jury hasn’t heard before. I’m reminded of a borderline morbidly obese lady I watched get cited for nonpayment of fare on the Blue Line a few hours before she was booked into jail for not a hell of a lot more than that (I checked booking records weeks later, and sure enough, there she was). After showing me the citation and yelling about what bullshit it was (I think she tore it up, too, but I can’t remember for sure), she complained, “Sheriffs think they the motherfucking po’ lease!” If you think about it, that wasn’t exactly less coherent than Gary Aldrich’s homilies on the fucking moosehead, and homegirl lived in shelters on Skid Row.

My bad: Central City East. Now THAT’s some language that this Los Angeles jury has never heard.

Gary Aldrich is an interesting case of Clintonworld profiteering because his relationship to the Clintons is entirely negative. He exists in unwaveringly, excruciatingly square opposition to them and their dissolute, immoral, parasitic lifestyle. He overplays his hand, but there’s no point to going on the talk radio circuit and not overplaying one’s hand. He’s part of the grievance machine, Hillary’s beloved vast right-wing conspiracy, and airing grievances all year long is how the conspiracy rolls. The Cassandra Class that has accreted itself to the Clintons in permanent opposition to them isn’t entirely wrong or deranged, though: Aldrich and his fellow travelers are right that the Clintons live in a special world of antisocial sleaze, one that they have done much to cultivate for their own enrichment and aggrandizement. That he’s offended by junior Clinton White House staffers for not being distraught with regret for having smoked marijuana exactly once, in the Poppy Bush tradition, is an unfortunate distraction.

So was the sexually repressed frustration of Kenneth Starr, Denny Dundiddly, Gateside Downlow, and that whole pathetic but dangerous crowd on the Big Dog’s occasionally tawdry but frankly consensual affair with his bottom bitch in the blue dress. The Lewinsky thing was just about the most harmless bit of fun in Bill Clinton’s sex life that they could have scrutinized, an infatuated mistress to a man other women had accused of unwanted groping and forcible rape. Worse, Starr and his staff managed to botch their investigations into the Whitewater real estate racket and the Clintons’ other shady side businesses. If there are to be moral disqualifications from the presidency, Whitewater is one, an abuse of licentious federalism facilitated by the most scandalously lax state law on repossession of real estate in the Union and orchestrated by a carpetbagging yuppie couple with no loyalty to place whatsoever. It’s damning of the special prosecutor’s office and Congress both that the Clintons got into less trouble for deliberately robbing workaday people of their vacation and retirement properties over single missed or late payments than Bill got into for sticking a cigar up his mistress’s cunt.

So far we’ve recapitulated the careers of a handful of freaks and scolds in the Cassandra Class who set themselves up to make a living by warning or whining about the Clintons. There’s an unfortunate boy who cried wolf air about many of them, but the financial incentives at play don’t favor modesty and truthfulness. The scrupulous fare poorly in that business. To hazard a guess, there may be a few hundred people nationwide who make a real living pulling this bullshit. The direct Clinton grifters, by contrast, the ones whose relationship to Clintonworld is positive, not negative, are said to number in the thousands. The Clintons maintain an infamously teeming court made up of concentric circles of aides, sycophants, hangers-on, and Anthony Weiner. Sure, they’ve probably cut him out like a tumor for practicing such publicly atrocious tradecraft as a perv, but Bill is still involved with the Lolita Express dude, so moral standards don’t get in the way of their relationships. On the other hand, they utterly hate anyone who challenges them from what they consider their own proper territory, the Democratic Party, especially Bernie Sanders and everyone with the nerve to support him.

Even if they’ve never had any of their enemies whacked, the Clintons operate in the fashion of a crime family. They have no principles, only an obsession with loyalty to themselves and their organization. They consider Sanders, who kept his word and stumped for Hillary after losing to her in the 2016 primary, disloyal for having challenged her in an effort to advance his own principles. They can’t fucking stand him for having the gall to consider the Democratic Party (with which he has caucused for years in the US Senate) an appropriate venue for the advancement of leftist policy goals that have had the support of large parts of the Democratic coalition going back at least to FDR. They can’t stand him for not wanting to do business with them and become a totally amoral sellout. They can’t stand Bernie for scrupulously playing by the rules, even to the extent of keeping his own promise to cease his political challenge to Hillary at the conclusion of the primary season and to fully endorse her. They don’t take kindly to being challenged by someone so upstanding for the control of the party apparatus that they’ve been milking so abundantly. Bernie Sanders isn’t even trying to set himself and his cronies up as a separate profit center in the Democratic Party. If he were leading an upstart rival gang, Clintonworld would long ago have bought him off or shooed him off to some regional territory or political niche that they had no interest in directly milking. If he’d launched a Martin O’Malley-style half-assed technocratic corporatist challenge to Your Fleek Abuela, he would have ended up like O’Malley: forgotten by election day.

The Bern doesn’t fit anywhere into the Clintons’ nine circles of deluxe hell and he doesn’t play by their arbitrary rule of men, so he’s a threat, a prime deplorable who must be insulted and humiliated and rebuked.

Clintonworld is on course to tear the Democratic Party asunder with this hostile refusal to repay a shred of the goodwill and support they’ve been granted, but none of them give a shit. They’ve gotten what they came for, and they’ll scheme to get more of it from whatever tattered rump of the party is left with the most corporate money and extreme personal wealth. Billary and company will inevitably blame any disintegration of their party on Bernie, the Berniebros, the entire basket of deplorables, and other resentful losers. If the left successfully retakes the Democratic Party and restores its political viability, the Clintons will fume about the majesty that has been stolen from them and move on to some other den of crooks for future cash infusions. If the left sets up a credible third party that marginalizes the Democrats, the Clintons will keep drilling the remnants for whatever cash and influence they will still yield.

It’s not at all farfetched that they might formally defect to the GOP if a solid leftist majority in the Democratic Party tells them to get fucked. The Bushes were already on their side against Trump during the general election last year, after the entire slate of movement conservative candidates got beaten back by Donald Trump’s insurgency and Please Clap got his ass handed to him on a golden platter. It’s hard to imagine there being enough political space and campaign money to fund two major parties catering to affluent, college-educated voters with extreme technocratic, corporatist, and bourgeois supremacist sympathies if a third party successfully establishes itself as the representatives of normal people who have been the victims of bogus meritocracy, so the consolidation of corporatist grifters like the Clintons into a single party that, say, pays homage to Hillary’s old homeboy Barry Goldwater is perfectly plausible. I, for one, relish the prospect of Main Liners being instructed to either shut up and listen to the union shop stewards and community organizers or fuck off back to the GOP, where they belong.

The Clinton machine famously choked like the willing victim of a summertime Cabbagetown dalliance with Sweet Baby J last fall, but it still has all these assholes running loudmouthed interference on its behalf. It still has Joy Reid spouting condescending nonsense onto every medium she can find a moment to hog. It still has Neera Tanden blathering abuse at Woke Slay Queen’s critics and reporting them to Twitter for terms of service violations. More than ever it has Peter Daou, the Verrit shithead who was part of a Lebanese death squad.

What in all hell motivates these freaks to publicly debase themselves? Money and influence. Duh. As the thief asked Jesus on the cross, remember me, Lord, when you enter into your Kingdom. By his own private testimony, Jian Ghotmesi doesn’t forget, and neither does Billary. The Clintons already rule over an earthly kingdom parallel to whatever duly constituted civil governments and illegitimate absolute monarchies and juntas they happen to be milking, so no one need peer beyond the veil to imagine his due reward. Peter Daou, Joy Reid, and their ilk constantly beclown themselves because that’s what it takes to keep mainlining that Clinton machine sugar sweet. That must be just like living in paradise, and one wouldn’t want to go home from such a lifestyle.

These people don’t give a shit how many normal people they beggar to keep their sinecures going. They’re running the Saudi royal family, but for yuppie cronies. It should come as no surprise that a fair amount of the money needed to fund their shitty operation comes from the actual House of Saud. Of course this operation magnetically attracts shysters who have no desire whatsoever to do anything reputable or productive for a living. It’s a new money royal court, and royal courts always attract embarrassing sycophantic shitheads. Just look at the damn Windsors and the national fruit collection that goes on television to gush about their glamour.

Had they come of age during the Great Depression or the Second World War, the Clintons probably would have either plugged into some healthy, well-governed professional matrix and done modestly well for themselves or gone into an equally modest life of crime ending on short order in incarceration and disgrace. It’s also possible that they would have worked their way into an existing organized crime family and kept their heads down enough to avoid screwing the pooch. Instead, they came of age in time to get in on the yuppie project at its very start when they were barely thirty and then take a lead in dismantling the New Deal and the Great Society. They did very well for themselves indeed by collecting Bill’s hit man’s fee on Glass-Steagall in installments after his retirement. Their daughter shows no aptitude or interest in anything, a classic regression to and then beyond the mean, but the family organization collected hundreds of thousands of dollars by renting her out to NBC (Donald Trump’s buddies, and also Jenna Bush’s) for a bullshit make-work job lasting a few months. Of course they cleared out space for that mediocrity; they’re NBC.

Meanwhile, they want the rest of us to compete against each other under baroque regimes from which they’ve conveniently exempted themselves. If we want Bernie Sanders to relevel the playing field for us and reestablish a safety net, it’s only because we’re bitter, hopeless, useless losers and also misogynists and racists. Chelsea is out collecting graduate degrees like David Clarke collects uniform jacket medallions at a time when her public utterances are consistently some of the most fucking retarded shit ever, and meanwhile I’m a family embarrassment for having a work history that, spotty though it is, is objectively better than her dabbling in obscenely overpaid “work” at NBC for an hour here and there and doing God knows what at the family foundations, other than just hoovering up money for nothing. I’ve picked several thousand pounds of fruit as an adult, including over three quarters of a ton this calendar year, and that useless bitch has her parents and their cronies making her out to look employed by getting NBC Universal to slushfund her as much gross income in half a year as a full-time farm worker might make, depending on the crop and the terms of employment, in two or three decades.

If our family friend who has worked at the same flower shop for over a decade straight because she isn’t focused or driven or hopeful enough to finish the bachelor’s curriculum that she started at a poorly ranked commuter school can be a family embarrassment and a failure to launch, and if I can be one, Chelsea Clinton can damn well be one, too. So can the older Trumpspawn. These dipshits have never shown any fucking merit. There’s no motherfucking way a thoughtless repeater of brain-dead talking points like Chelsea Clinton was academically competitive at Stanford, Columbia, and Oxford. That is impossible. They’re all shitting us, pure and simple. Is it really possible that this woman who happens to be the daughter of a US president and Rhodes Scholar is a genius in her own right even though she can’t articulate a single independent thought? Yeah, these institutions totally never approve legacy admissions for the children of centimillionaires with gigantic international political machines.

If we’re up against corruption that entrenched, why, as a moral and civic consideration, should we NOT go on welfare? Going on public assistance precisely because Bill Clinton gutted it and preened about what a benevolence he was for doing so would serve him right. On the other hand, if we want legitimate moral leadership, why the hell wouldn’t we vote to marginalize this crime family every time it shows up to sup anew at the public trough? It these fuckers can’t steward eighty or a hundred million dollars well enough to get by for generations to come, they’re hapless, but under a Sanders regime, there’d be space for them on the relief rolls, too.

Do the Clintons see it that way? Hell no. Something very weird happens beyond a wealth threshold that no one that I’m aware of in my extended family has ever reached. Marketplace Morning Report, I think it was, had some ex-NFL guy on the other day to talk about how he needed to open a small chain of restaurant franchises because he’d grossed ONLY $28 million in pro football, and there’s just no way a person could retire on that. I don’t blame him at all for wanting to stay busy and keep some structure in his life, but I have to wonder how the hell he had been spending his money or feared he would waste it. He sounded too prudent to get into the serious Allen Iverson bullshit. AI blew every cent he could get his hands on and now calls the managers of his trust fund to pester them for advances, pleading broke (the Insurance Schmuck has these shit-upon retainers as colleagues), but that’s because he’s AI.

Not everyone who comes into money is such an idiot. I’m not, for example. I’ve done the math, and absent a medical crisis, I doubt I’d be able to exhaust principal of less than seven million dollars in my lifetime, and probably a lot less. That’s assuming maximum interest of 0.75%, equal to what I currently earn on my savings account at Capital One 360, and no earned income, i.e., no deposit bottles, no farm work, no data entry work, and no Social Security if I survive to retirement age. I can’t imagine not having a nest egg in effective perpetuity if I somehow grossed $28m by the age of forty.

How do I do it? By having mostly middle-class tastes. That’s where the Clintons and their kind would run smack into a big buzzkill. I travel almost exclusively by coach, drive a Focus, routinely sleep in it, hesitate to buy new off-brand slacks, dine for miles, generally order some of the cheapest items on the menu, rarely buy alcohol, etc. ad nauseam. It adds up. Heh, I initially wrote that as “ads up,” but I’m self-deprogrammed, unless the ad is for bonus gas points at Safeway. Then it might become worthwhile to spend an extra nineteen cents on brand-name peanut butter.

It’s not hypocritical of me, then, to strive to do business with organizations that are funneling little or no money into shitty outfits like the Clinton and Trump organizations. Or with ISB and ISBF, who, respectively, spend more than my total annual cash flow on the summer rental of a shore house and carry more credit card debt than my net worth, including the resale value of my car. From this perspective, their being cokeheads stops looking so objectionable. I could be balls-deep in whores every week for a year or two straight for the $14k that that ditz spent on her wristwatch.

Bill Clinton catches a regular ride on Jeffrey Epstein’s Gulfstream to Lolita Island. I’ve never been to the Caribbean at all, even in the extreme ass end of an A321 out of Miami. It’s not that I’ve sworn to God never to go there; it’s just that it’s out of the way and expensive, or in the case of Puerto Rico, out of the way, chronically dysfunctional, and not necessarily on the schedule for grid repairs until sometime next year. Glen Campbell, pray for us. Robert Dziekanski and Frank Sinatra, too, come to think of it.

Smear me for writing such things when I’ve replaced Dodd-Frank with absolutely nothing. Take it any way you fancy, but the Rat Pack had some bitchin’ horn sections, and Bill Clinton would have failed their sax auditions. Giggity.

At least I did part of my part by voting for Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein. She may be an incorrigible dork who curries favor with antivaxxers and healing crystals freaks, but at least they’re marginal. We’ve seen what the Trumps and the Clintons have done with their power.

Suck my balls, Tate

Today’s report from the What Fresh Hell Hath Afflicted NPR Desk comes from America’s most representative city, Muncie, Indiana. According to NPR, “Downtown Muncie, Ind., has seen revitalization over the past several years.” Since we’re on the subject of Hoosiers and their vitality, we might also note that a number of sexy male nurse Lynn Majors’s patients have seen devitalization over the past several decades, although they weren’t exactly there to see it, but that would be too tasteful and upstanding. You may not be interested in another merciless haidt-fucking, but today’s haidt-fucking is very much interested in you, Mr. Ben Dover.

Sexy male nurse Lynn Majors memes are fun. Contemplating the possibility of an openly gay mayor of South Bend (hey, I just said “bend!”) named Pete Buttigieg is fun, with an emphasis on “possibility;” I’m still not entirely convinced that the dude isn’t made up. (Joey Buttafuoco is bizarre but believable, because that kind of thing really does happen on Long Island.) Listening to managerial-class shitbirds bitch on a taxpayer-funded public radio program about how their neighbors are nothing but useless druggies who are exacerbating a tight labor market with their absenteeism and their failed drug tests is just disgusting.

We can start to understand the profound sickness of NPR by considering that the people who run it today find nothing inappropriate or offensive about clearing out space on their platform for affluent, powerful local elites to whine about the scandalous and hurtful noncompliance of the labor pool in their communities with their intrusive, humiliating, hostile employment drug testing regime. They can’t imagine that there’s anything off about this situation. They can’t imagine that the local elites they encounter are anything but perfectly upstanding, aboveboard, and inherently incapable of abusing their authority. They can’t imagine class power dynamics that are abusive or tyrannical.

They’re clueless, but what else would they be? NPR is operated by life’s winners. Third-generation meritocratic victors aren’t raised to look critically at the system. It lavishly benefits them and theirs, and those it deprives surely must have done something wrong: dropped out of school, gotten into drugs, gotten into trouble (criminal or gestational, whatever). The incentives not to examine their beloved meritocracy are overwhelming.

What’s actually happening on the ground in Muncie, and for that matter inside the Beltway, too, isn’t actually meritocracy. The local elites in most small cities gladly lord it over their poorer American neighbors, whom they accuse of comprehensive vice. The national Beltway elites prefer to lord it over their hired foreigners, whom they condescendingly accuse of great virtue that the restive natives cannot hope to equal. Both of these stances are rotten to the core. Neither one is informed by a sense of equality. The local details vary, but the elites in both cases dare not imagine a regime in which they are not in charge. One expects the continued latitude to hire Guatemalan nannies and Mexican gardeners of irregular status with impunity; the other is upset that its effective ability to fire its American help in a spirit of hearty, self-righteous moral censure has been curtailed by a labor market that has finally swung back in labor’s favor after decades of increasing managerial aggression.

NPR doesn’t find anything seedy about a factory owner who happily agrees to be photographed standing on the edge of the floor wearing pearls and bangles and condescendingly complains that she doesn’t want to say that she’s relaxing her company’s standards by hiring and retaining employees whose drug use scandalizes foreign clients. This is both a weird situation (who the fuck wears easily snagged jewelry down to the factory floor, especially someone who runs a factory day to day?) and an extremely unseemly one, but NPR, almost as a unanimous entity, assumes that the poor will and should have to dance before the international ownership class to earn their supper, so of course the crews it sends to Indiana side with the may I speak to your manager chick when she goes on the record to trash her own employees. This is normal, especially for someone who is forced to hire deplorables because her town isn’t larded with nice meek immigrant help. It’s just as normal and worthy in these princesses’ eyes to present the owner of a successful, well-established furniture company as the George Bailey of his generation for having the sheer generosity not to demand drug tests of the young guys with strong backs he’d rather hire to hump couches around his shop than exhausted old guys whose backs are already wrecked. After all, if the furniture roustabouts didn’t want to piss in a cup as a condition of employment, they should have stayed in school and learned the mad skills of the knowledge economy, like being Yuki Noguchi, so a bit more gratitude for the second chances Furniture Forklift Hero is offering them would be a good luck.

I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to do contingent menial labor for such walking generosities. The clerks at the welfare office don’t need to do much to end up providing better customer service than that. Funny thing, those who talk loudest about the dignity of work never seem to be the ones who bring the damn dignity. Paul Ryan doesn’t have a problem with bosses who constantly belittle employees they’ve made piss in a cup. The Democrats are more hesitant to mount that high horse, but they’re in strong bipartisan agreement that the native poor, especially the rural white native poor, ought to cut out the damn drugs and jump through more hoops for their betters. The Republicans are steaming mad at the poor for no longer going to church and the altar and work, while the Dems are butthurt with them for not being joyously #WithHer, but they share office space on Capitol Hill and hang out at the same hip restaurants and clubs and coffeehouses (Muh Fuckin Panera), so the common cause is rarely as distant as it looks.

Don’t assume that you aren’t their common enemy. I have no such illusions about myself. I don’t personally sneak into diner bathrooms to warm up a dope snack with a cigarette lighter and a teaspoon, because that sounds fucking dreadful, but I don’t believe for a hot second that I’ll ever do anything Stakhanovite enough to get safely into the good graces of the ruling class as it is so scandalously constituted today. If they valued productive manual labor, they’d do something to restore lost dignity and compensation to it. Their insistence on keeping it degrading shows that they don’t value it. They’d all rather import Mexicans or Somali refugees or your guess is as good as mine who next to do the grunt work than start engaging as civic equals with the native working class that they already have right here and right now. The more forward-thinking among them are surely already drafting an official sob story about how Muncie needs a dedicated foreign guest worker or immigrant settler quota to fill all the great service industry jobs downtown that the local druggies are too busy shooting dope to take, even though the consensus of the local employers is that they’re disgusting, contagious, and unreliable for having drug problems and that it is a great mercy on their part to consider relaxing drug test and background investigation standards on behalf of such shifty losers.

Going on welfare is not only a rational response to such a bigoted power structure, but an appropriate one. But that’s only part of the solution. The other part is to insist on aggressive I-9 enforcement, with stiff penalties, and restrictions on the granting of further work visas for menial positions, so that the capitalist class is unable to sneak around and hire foreign scab labor to clean the bed it’s so abundantly shit. As I keep saying, voting for Trump was a savvy and rational for those who wanted the federal government to finally start cracking down on the lawlessness of capital and management, a Hail Mary pass maybe, but more sensible than sitting the election out (many such cases in the underclasses, even in 2016) or, for those who could barely stand it, voting for the full restoration of the House of Clinton.

The employment situation in Muncie can’t be as good as NPR makes it out to be. For one thing, they’re all bitching about how U3 of under 4% is a shorthanded catastrophe for employers. That’s suspicious. The moment the job market becomes favorable even just for the more enterprising applicants, they throw a fit about how employers don’t have a prayer of being able to staff up in a market so tight. That ignores, of course, the true size and nature of the pool of the truly discouraged, but NPR isn’t a place to go looking for U6 figures and honest commentary on them.

NPR signal-boosts entrepreneurial whiners because it’s run by teachers’ pets who socialize exclusively with other teachers’ pets. This is a serious long-term problem with no obvious solution. The prestigious parts of the educational and corporate systems in the United States today select aggressively for teachers’ pets, and it’s been getting worse for thirty years. I’m thankful to have found a handful of employers, even for temp work, who don’t have their heads up their asses with that poisonous nonsense, but for similar reasons, I’m very much on the side of anyone who reacts to this brownnosing fascist bullshit by dropping out onto the welfare rolls, System D, and whatever casual work they can pick up from employers who aren’t condescending, invasive, moralistic pieces of shit. Employers who disrespect their employees do not deserve attendance, punctuality, or retention. My idea of a nudge theory is the help nudging employers to drop their damn superiority complexes by not showing up if they don’t.

Should it involve hard drugs? I’d rather it didn’t, but that isn’t my scene. That said, even though gaudeamus igitur can be a reason to use drugs, something tells me that Hoosiers aren’t sneaking into restaurant bathrooms to cook dope on spoons that they lifted from the dining room because times are good. That something hasn’t been in touch with anyone at State Radio of Venezuela–I mean, NPR–for years.

On Donald Trump’s great wealth and business acumen

Donald Trump is a man of awesome wealth and a captain of industry in the same way that I’m the chief of surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering and also the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He ain’t none of that. He’s a hustler with exceptionally shady personal finances, a trail of bankruptcies in his wake, and a reputation for wealth and business savvy that he established by nothing more than brute assertion to uncritical, compliant news media and a crappy TV show in which he played a ridiculous caricature of a Fortune 500 executive. As much as he brags about his personal wealth, there are no credible statements of his net worth in wide circulation, or even any strong indication that his net worth is positive. It is, however, well established that he serially stiffed contractors, including small ones that couldn’t take the financial stress, repeatedly filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection (hence much of the contractor fleecing), ran company after showboating company into the ground, and was blacklisted by the US banking industry for effectively defrauding lenders with habitual strategic defaults.

After everyone reputable who did due diligence on him wised up to his constant bullshit and shut him out, Trump went to the intersectional Russian mob/oligarchy/government for additional capital and–where else?–to NBC for reputation management and, as they call it in the entertainment business, work. He was enough of a hustler that his old boys in the track suit crime syndicates presumably didn’t expect to have to take a crowbar to his knees down the road, since he’d have some lesser dupe holding the bag by the time they fancied repayment. Those who presume the big broadcasting networks more or less reputable might wonder what the fuck NBC saw in that washed-up permafailure, but NBC was actively turning itself into the most openly and aggressively corrupt of the big three legacy networks, so a big pimpin’ blowhard who enjoyed verbally abusing others and offered the executives the prospect of easy money in exchange for low outlays and cheap production values was right up their alley.

That’s the inexcusable part. Mobbed-up Russians of a certain moral character are expected to be vulgar, amoral, gaudy, and crass, but NBC is a preeminent national broadcaster with a large news division and a slew of FCC charters. In principle, someone would have stood up, publicly if private protests didn’t work, and said, whoa, this dude is too toxic for prime time. In principle, the bigshots in the C-suites, the guys at the Top of the Rock, would have seen the taint and recoiled, refused to dignify the bastard with a show of his own to make himself look like a corporate visionary when he’d actually just put his name on a bunch of shit that he had then promptly let go down in flames, and told him to go bother someone else with his shitty pitches because, look, we have standards around here and a good name to protect, and also just because yuck.

That didn’t happen because there were no standards and reputation to defend, just a pathological compulsion to stack cash. For the Donald, The Apprentice was an extended powwow with his own tribe. He was mad into money for the sake of money, and so were his bosses at NBC Universal. It was a fine cultural fit, if we dare call that a culture. In the sense of E. coli on a petri dish, it certainly was one.

The NBC shysters took him on because they were greedy shysters. Trump actually needed the money. As the sitting US president, he still needs the money. As Bruce Springsteen would say, he has debts that no honest man can pay. Good luck catching the prick on the 552 bus, though. He’s spending his presidency selling his cultists an expanding range of MAGA swag and hosing the federal treasury for all it will possibly yield with rent on all the properties he conveniently owns.

The Clintons would have done no less if they’d owned so much real estate, so he isn’t the uniquely crooked figure that a narrow focus may make him appear to be. Wow Much lincoln Such bedroom Very compensate. Trump, though, came into the presidency with much heavier and vaguer debts than the Clintons bore for their legal bills as they vacated the White House. The Clintons were yuppies who went into public service (sic) to do good and, in due course of time, did very well indeed. Trump was never content to be a mere yuppie. He had to put his name on shit and show off all the bling and bitchin’ pads he owned. Right there he had a grotesquely inflated cost of living for nonsense like owning a penthouse and a helicopter. Precious few people can make yuppies look modest, but he pulled it off. The Clintons prior to 1993 were graspingly aspirational, but they lived like cloistered religious compared to him.

Trump’s big deal was playing rich. He was trying to fake it to make it. His fluffers on the alt-right actually praise this as tight game, acting like everyone criticizing him is a sore loser for taking his claim to be worth ten billion dollars literally, like, lighten up, man, that’s just a nice round number to convey the gist of his message. Yeah, if I go into Burger King with a small handful of nickels and tell the cashier to think rich like I’m thinking and imagine that it’s a ten spot, I’ll totally be allowed to get a Whopper Meal. If Trump exaggerates his assets in an application for credit, that’s fraud, as it is for anyone else. Hence the open secret that he got himself unbanked in his own country. He obviously considers his net worth material to his worthiness as a leader; if he didn’t, he would never have spent so much time bragging about it; so, no, it isn’t petty or resentful of the rest of us to call bullshit on him for lying to us about it or to regard everything about that situation as antisocial.

The alleged source of this guy’s money is business brilliance, as explained in “his” book, The Art of the Deal. First off, that isn’t his book; he paid a pathetic mercenary ghostwriter to take notes on his bullshit artistry and then bought his way into a vanity press. I write this stuff myself, without so much as an editor (if I had one, less of it would be about the same rough dozen embarrassments to Canada); I’m a writer. That son of a bitch was never a fucking author. He hardly even maintains a narrative thread for two minutes on Twitter, and he does not have the exceptional talent for short-form writing that would justifying calling that shit writing in the publishable sense.

Aside from the disrepute of giving him credit for a pile of cheap, trite blather published under his rent-by-the-hour byline, he doesn’t know shit about dealmaking or running a business, either. He put his name on an air shuttle service that he had bought from Eastern Airlines and expeditiously bankrupted it. The guy is made out to be another Freddie Laker or Richard Branson when he couldn’t even keep a turnkey short-haul air carrier afloat in populous, affluent markets including his own country’s national capital and largest city. Putting on the ritz with Michael Jackson’s help in a decade of mandatory putting on of the ritz, he flamed out of the Atlantic City casino business on short order.

God, Wacko Jacko, another excellent steward of personal finances. What fine company Trump keeps.

These piles of shit, along with an obscenely overpriced adjunct seminar series branded as his personal “university” and a mail-order steak marketing operation, are Donald Trump’s “business background.” I have a stronger business background from three days of PCI Lockdown training and the proficiency tests that I failed. Amway distributorships are a sorry excuse for entrepreneurship, but they’re closer to what the public has in mind when it hears of Trump’s “business background” than the shit Trump actually pulled in his business life. This fucker is promoted as a great businessman because he plastered his name on a bunch of gaudy Eighties Excess enterprises, many of which went belly-up and left dumb money other than Trump holding the bag. As I discussed above, the banks got wise to this shit after a few years and cut him off as an entire industry.

More recently, he’s been celebrated as a businessman by sole virtue of his literally playing an executive on television. That crap wasn’t a business operation. We don’t see Bill Gates or Warren Buffett or Rex Tillerson (an impressively upstanding and well-spoken character for the clown show currently employing him) sitting at a conference table with a bunch of tearful D-List celebrities, pointing at them and dramatically telling them in so many words that they’re fired. Rex spent too much time in the back of the house actually running ExxonMobil to dick around with shit like that, and besides, the personnel office at any halfway well run corporation would intervene immediately if it heard of anyone in management firing employees in such a gratuitously humiliating and combative manner.

Tillerson is the real deal, and yet I’ve heard much more about Trump’s bogus business background than about Tillerson’s actual business background at the helm of the world’s largest oil company. We’ve got a Secretary of State who ran a Fortune 500 company successfully and without noteworthy scandal, and his reputation as a businessman is eclipsed by a bumptious yutz who serially bankrupted companies that he’d named after himself and who acts like a try-hard circuit-riding motivational speaker, the kind of blowhard who is on course to be fired within the quarter when his corporate sponsors discover that he’s an embezzler and a pathological liar.

Our national understanding of what it takes to run a business is absolutely fucking insane. This is the case in large part because NBC, a sleazy, amoral outfit, aggrandized Donald Trump into a business genius and every other faux-objective news outlet followed suit, parroting every bit of idiot drivel they’d overheard about the fellow. It’s the both-sides bullshit again, except with only one side, the positive, uncritical one. He and his people said that he’s a great businessman and it isn’t blatantly false, so it must be true. The assertion that Trump is a businessman can’t readily be fact-checked; that would require thinking and inquiring about what exactly he has done in day-to-day operations, planning, conceptualization, and the like, which would be le hard. His claims of great net worth might be fact-checked more easily, but that would get in the way of the cool story that everyone’s trying to tell about him.

A great deal of mainstream journalism today is nothing more than the dictation and repetition of whatever horseshit some PR flack spouts, with no critical thought or analysis whatsoever, like, is what this motherfucker saying credible or even possible. As long as it can be attributed to some mercenary fuckjob with an ax to grind, it’s fit to print. This is the sort of crap that passes for fact. Someone with the social proof and/or baksheesh capacity to make the papers runs some bullshit by a pet stenographer and it is entered into the record as space and stylistic considerations permit. Mixups in my Mind’s probably accurate story about the derelict bum’s fucking dog and the fucking rotisserie chicken is not backed up by the requisite social proof, but Donald Trump’s patently nonsensical and fraudulent backstory about being a business visionary and titan is, so in it goes.

The amount of marketing bullshit that the allegedly hostile media keep repeating on Donald Trump’s behalf is exceptional. Ronald Reagan was an actor, too, but no one was like, oh wow, what an amazing business background. An embarrassing number of his critics got so caught up in his status as a has-been B actor that they forgot about his also having completed two full terms as the governor of California. Gee, can’t see how that would prepare a person for high executive office. With Trump, we have an amazing number of his sworn political enemies without a basic working knowledge of some of the most basic, long-established opposition research on him. Like, dude, this is the clown who screwed the pooch with the airline and the casino and stiffed everyone in his path. This isn’t some eleventh-hour tempest in a teapot like the Bushspawn pussy tape; it’s serious stuff that’s been a matter of public record for decades.

What do we do about parts of the electorate that actually consider it more scandalous to make a crude comment about promiscuous grabtwat to a film lot dipshit than to bankrupt innocent family carpentry businesses by cynically using Chapter 11 to avoid paying them for services they’ve already rendered? God help us. Then again, this constituency was strongly #WithHer, and we’ve seen how that worked out. While we’re on the subject, which kind of emolument-whoring fuckhead do you prefer, the one with the private air fleet and the undisclosed debts or the one with the government planes at her disposal for over a decade and the hundred mil in post-presidency payoffs? Go ahead and call me names for voting for Jill Stein again.

Let’s keep in mind throughout this mess that it’s Trump himself and his organization that seeded the ridiculous notion that he’s a captain of business. No one goes around all like, oh yes, William H. Macy, truly one of the great American businessmen. We hear awfully little about Macy on the gossip circuit because he’s made a point of quietly being a mensch, not an uncontrollably raging piece of shit. It’s hard to imagine him getting upset over criticism of some business venture that he happened to set up. If he blew it as an entrepreneur, we’d either hear nothing of it or a few words straight from the horse’s mouth to the effect of oops, that didn’t go so well. With Trump, by contrast, we have not only his own personal narcissism but the structural narcissism of a celebrity-worshiping press that can’t bear the thought of criticizing someone so sacrosanct. Remember, he still has NBC and everyone who wants to stay in NBC’s good graces reflexively running interference on his behalf, not in his capacity as the sitting president but in his capacity as recent prime-time talent. The people running these sleazy operations know better than to recklessly dribble egg all over NBC’s face by criticizing it for publicly associating with him. That’s the dirty laundry that one dasn’t air.

Hmm, looks like I just grabbed a box of clothespins and strung out a line. Wow Much inside Many edition. Shit, who am I kidding? My Focus and my sleepy ass in the driver’s seat at the West Coast’s rest areas don’t come anywhere near that scene, so these are not my confidences to break. Sometimes I have inside information, but I’ve adequately heated up this take with exclusively public information. I just synthesized some basic background information about a loudmouthed arriviste who could never imagine taking a millionaire-next-door approach to building his fortune (unlike the Clintons, let’s remember, who didn’t get seriously loaded until they were well into middle age) and the scandalous episode (many such episodes, in fact) in which he got into a seedy symbiotic relationship with one of our major news broadcasters for exposure and moar bling in exchange for ratings.

The problem with Trump isn’t that he’s an actor who ran for president. The problem certainly isn’t that he’s a businessman who ran for president, because, as we’ve been tendentiously discussing, he isn’t a fucking businessman. On a higher moral plane, he might be able to use his disillusionment with the game to actually try to reform it, but as he said himself, he isn’t putting anyone on a moral plane. The main thing I’d like is for everyone to stop acting like the guy’s career background is as anything more than a bottomfeeding hustler and a one-trick acting pony with a revoltingly tawdry persona. Is that too much to ask?

Of course it is. This is America, Barnum. This is America.

A hot take on DACA

1) Barack Obama, noted deportation machine, didn’t actually give a shit about the welfare of immigrants. He cynically stood back while ICE deported Adam Crapser to South Korea over exactly the sort of trifling paperwork irregularity that is misleadingly attributed to adults who personally chose to immigrate illegally to the United States. Adam Crapser is as culturally Korean as Otto Warmbier. He was shoved into the buzzsaw because his extremely abusive adoptive parents failed to take action to naturalize him as a minor and then, having been acculturated into Greater Spanaway, he fell into an intermittent life of crime. He could be Pierce County’s problem; instead he’s South Korea’s now. And the president who could have stepped in on his behalf and protected him, papers or no papers be damned, as a fellow American? Barry O don’t care.

2) Gee, it looks like we have another of our little federalism problems here. Crapser has state records in Oregon and Washington that the governors couldn’t be bothered to vacate. Oops. It couldn’t be that the governors and, say, Washington State Attorney General are really just craven grandstanders, could it? Might that explain the appearance that the welfare of foreign refugees takes precedence over that of a guy who got chewed up and spit out by the federal immigration maw just because the parents who adopted him from South Korea and raised him as an American were the shittiest derelicts on the adoption circuit?

3) Immigration enforcement is an area of exclusive federal jurisdiction, but immigration non-enforcement is generally devolved to the states and municipalities. Glad we cleared that up. State and local governments are allowed to assert themselves as sanctuaries now, and state governors have been allowed to issue pardons since Jamestown, but being shitheads, give or take a few, they don’t do that. They maybe won’t hand detainees over to ICE, but they also won’t vacate the criminal records of technical aliens who have no meaningful ties to their birth countries. Funny thing, they keep all these small-time ex-cons and child arrivals on ice for years instead of taking constitutionally sound action to permanently regularize their status and integrate them into American society. It’s almost as if they aren’t really looking out for their welfare, but are instead trying to score political points on the cheap and also keep the day labor hiring lots staffed up. It’s almost as if they don’t really want to have more legal, enfranchised constituents when they might otherwise continue to lord it over vulnerable alien client pools.

3a) Allowing the Louisiana Department of Corrections to enslave, torture, and arbitrarily kill prisoners on the intact grounds of an antebellum plantation is good federalism. Allowing the states to authorize their own immigrants according to their own policy goals under federal supervision, after the pattern of Canada’s provincial nominee program, would be bad federalism. Canada is an English-speaking federal nation founded under British common law and sharing an extensive land and navigable water border with the United States. How in the everloving sweet hell would we possibly be able to adopt best practices from such a nation when Ottawa is several tenths as far from the District of Columbia as San Jose? And what sort of healthcare system might those furry friends have? It’s probably just the guys from the Red/Green Show and a neighborhood Indian shaman, so there’s really no need to look there.

Sure, the states would abuse the shit out of any such program and turn it into a scab labor gravy train for the ownership class, but they’re already doing exactly that in negative terms, by establishing local policies that expressly contradict and contravene federal immigration law. What’s our goal here as a nation? Do we have any coherent sense, even at a Schoolhouse Rock level, of how federal we are determined to be? Are we doing anything but setting up state and local governments to be scofflaws before the federal government, to some awkward, confusing, and untenable end? *Larry Craig, taking a stance as wide as the moonscape of Mountain Home* And I believe that the people of Idaho will agree with me that Robert E. Lee is not just a naughty boy, but a nasty, naughty boy.

4) As disingenuous as DACA was, it was implemented to protect and regularize immigrants who had entered the United States as unemancipated minors and subsequently put down roots. There are strong social, cultural, and civic policy interests in protecting the residency and work authorization status of the Dreamers. That’s a kind of dumbass and unctuous name, but the civic reasoning behind DACA is sound, no matter how smarmily and disingenuously it is expressed.

A weaker but ethically consistent civic argument can be made for the Hart-Cellar Act and the family reunification that it prioritizes. Hart-Cellar has helped millions of immigrants immigrate to the United States in a fashion that keeps their family and community ties exceptionally intact and cohesive. It allows them to come here already knowing loved ones who are established in local communities and, unless they’re utterly averse to assimilation (in certain Chinese restaurants, many such cases), to proceed with their own integration in a supportive, functional social environment. It’s a solid, high-functioning policy of subsidiarity. Natural law is decisively on its side.

Fuck anyone who’s butthurt that Hart-Cellar only facilitates the importation of hostile swarthies and beta waifu. It’s an imperfect law, but it’s an exceptionally successful implementation of true, honest-to-God family values. The downward pressure that it puts on the wages of Americans could be mitigated by liberalizing family visit visa regulations and prioritizing residency permits for relatives who are not seeking employment in the United States, i.e., elderly grandparents and the like. We don’t want to be handing out family reunification entry permits to Chapo (oops, we’ve already taken the bastard in, and he won’t be a cheap date for any of us when he’s bundled off to Florence to chill out with Theodore the Hermit and Mr. Explodeyshorts), but our authorities are sensible enough to screen the likes of him out, and besides, the really determined thugs and crooks find ways to sneak in regardless. There’s plenty of room to tweak Hart-Cellar to minimize its abuse as a scab labor trafficking racket.

5) H-2A and H-1B serve no cultural, family, or social interest whatsoever. The holders of temporary work visas aren’t coming here to maintain familial or social ties. They have no civic stake, formal or informal, in the United States or any part of it. They’re nothing but roustabout mercenaries. There are legal farm workers who commute in from Mexico every morning and commute back every evening. Why the fuck should we cater to their interests when their revealed personal interest in the United States hardly lasts for sixteen hours at a stretch?

Besides, if anyone is formally admitted into the United States because management wants to screw over and dispossess the incumbent working class, of whatever ethnicity and national origin, it’s them. The existence of any category of work visa that offers no path to permanent residency and citizenship is a bright red flag. It’s the most unmistakable sign there is that immigration policy is being abused to dredge up disposable scab labor.

Admitting foreigners who are here to visit friends or family is fine. Admitting foreigners who are here to go shopping or to check out the cool shit as tourists is fine. Admitting manageable, integrable numbers of foreigners who aspire to become civically and socially engaged members of American society and perhaps US citizens is fine. Admitting the foreign spouses and other close relatives of US citizens is great.

What’s not fine is allowing corporate scumbags to order squads of foreign temp workers like they’re choosing donuts at Safeway. That’s the point at which the government is right to step in and put a stop to it. Doing so is nothing less than the duty of government to its actual constituents, who in no way include temporary work visa holders. Conflating this with Hart-Cellar and calling it all “immigration reform” is totally fucking bogus, an expression of dripping contempt for those who are already here and trying to hack out a viable existence as civic stakeholders. It’s appropriate to grant a partial stake to immigrants who are settled here or sincerely seeking settlement, and to expand this stake to citizenship as they demonstrate a commitment to the United States. The State Department should get in touch with Adam Crapser and invite him over to the Seoul Consulate for naturalization and a passport at his convenience.

It’s utterly inappropriate to grant a civic stake to foreigners who come in only for work and will be sent home once their temp contracts expire or are arbitrarily canceled by their employers. There’s no legitimate policy interest in muddying the waters and disrupting the labor market with their presence. Dole wanting to save payroll on field hands is not a legitimate policy interest. Google wanting cheaper, more compliant code monkeys is not a legitimate policy interest.

We’re too dense and dishonest as a polity to tell the difference because that’s how we’ve been programmed. Shit, what do I mean by “us?” Grays Harbor County, an Obama-to-Trump jurisdiction, must not be part of us. I’m heading there shortly, or maybe a bit farther south, both to make a pilgrimage to the Cobainian corner of Magaland and to get away from the smoke this evening. Hard red southwestern Washington may briefly be the only part of the Pacific Northwest without smoke, and as far as I’m concerned, the knowledge economy hipster shitbirds in Portland and Seattle who keep voting to dispossess me can fucking suck on it.