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.

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Suck my balls, Tate

Today’s report from the what 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. 

The permanent business plot

Being decisively on the same side of a contentious political debate as Tom Cotton is disorienting for me. It’s like one of my occasional mornings on the road when I wake up with no idea within three hundred miles of where I am. This must be the famous horseshoe theory. It certainly doesn’t give me the feeling that I have not been hit in the head with a horseshoe.

What Cotton said on behalf of his new immigration bill the other day was morally sound and pitch-perfect. He is absolutely right that it’s time to start doing right by Americans who work with their hands and work on their feet. He’s absolutely right that concern for the welfare of destitute foreigners is harming the welfare of working-class Americans.

Our leaders are not making a credible or sincere effort to reconcile these conflicting interests. Cotton at least recognizes that these interests conflict and takes an aboveboard position on whose interests he’s advancing. His opponents are too chickenshit and craven by a long shot to admit that they’re on the side of immigrant scab labor. That would look bad, and looking bad costs politicians reelection. Hence the rising chorus of complaints about excessive democracy from the center-left and the center-right. Democratic representation that actually represents the demos is problematic because it fails to represent the revolting elites. Let us #NeverForget how violently the Bern and the Donald have infuriated antidemocratic highbrow elements by appealing to downmarket constituents who hope for faithful representation.

Tom Cotton is probably first or second in line to infuriate them next. I haven’t checked the internet, but I have no trouble imagining denunciations of him for being a hapless hillbilly ignoramus legislating on the basis of old wives’ tales about the labor market and a spirit of herrenvolk reaction. What I heard from him in the press conference clip that NPR played was a clearheaded, workmanlike, and eminently coherent description of a serious problem that he has correctly identified and the reasonably good start that he wants to make towards solving it. His focus isn’t exactly where mine would be, but his goals overlap enough with mine and seem morally sound enough that I’m not of a mind to quibble over the mechanisms. He’s showing a hell of a lot more responsibility than the rest of Congress.

Before I get strawmanned (which will happen anyway), I should lay out exactly where I stand on a number of the points in question. I consider David Perdue’s comments about immigrants on welfare spurious and needlessly inflammatory. I do not approve of deficit concern-trolling or the opportunistic shaming of public assistance claimants, especially ones who work. That said, I can’t object to the immigration bill just because one of its sponsors is a minor public shithead.

I have no objection to the use of English proficiency as a criterion for visa approval. This seems perfectly reasonable and prudent. The United States is an English-speaking country. This is a matter of fact. Every other language spoken here is relegated to some marginal subculture; an inability to speak English drastically limits the ability of a person to function in this country. In this context, I see no reason to give a rat’s ass what languages have historically been spoken within the borders of the United States today or how objectively bizarre English is as a language. These are immaterial, distracting points, and I’m pretty sure that most of those advancing them damn well know it. It’s a language of empire, but tough shit. We’ve inherited an empire, so it’s up to us either to steward it and maybe bring it back into control as some kind of republic or be derelict and let it go totally to seed. The Mother Country gave us some ugly civic and political inheritances as part of the mix, but we’d be in worse shape under almost any legal system that we might have inherited in place of the English Common Law. The guys who ran colonial Mexico, at the time including most of the present-day Southwestern United States, were godbothering, slavedriving, tyrannical pieces of shit. Everyone living in that part of the country is lucky that the Spanish toffs were demographically and militarily overwhelmed, leaving behind a legacy of mission architecture, a bunch of misprounounceable street names, and some taco recipes.

Consequently, English is, as they say, our Lingua Franca. (It’s not just for the Franks anymore.) The possibility of there being anything controversial about this indicates a frothing overproduction of elites. Communication in English in no way necessitates utter agreement with everything the worst of the English have ever done. It is the language of anti-imperialism in the Anglophone world, too. Ooh, galaxy brain! It’s no less useful for running Commonwealth governments. Personally, I’ve always figured that if English is good enough for Jorge Castañeda, it’s good enough for me.

The point here isn’t to be bigoted or narrowminded. Having large, enduring enclaves of foreigners who cannot readily communicate with the native population presents a number of serious problems, for both the enclaves and for the native society surrounding them. This isn’t some angels-on-a-pinhead academic exercise. The wholesale presence of Mexican peasants in meatpacking towns has enabled the ruination working conditions, including safety, in American slaughterhouses. People have gotten killed in preventable industrial accidents on account of our feckless immigration policy.

The clubbable aren’t supposed to think about these things. That kind of work is for someone else, probably someone less American and definitely someone less educated. Meatpacking jobs were relatively safe, well-paid, and highly sought-after, sometimes to the point of years-long waiting lists for new hires, in the midcentury. They’re always been grueling, but today they’re needlessly grueling, terribly paid, supervised by cruel floor managers, and exceedingly dangerous. None of this just happened. Management spared no aggression in breaking the unions and replacing dedicated American lifers with disposable Mexicans, who have been replaced in turn in some meatpacking plants by Somali refugees.

There was never anything humanitarian about any of this. All this concern for the welfare of destitute foreigners is a disgusting conceit. It’s misplaced and wrong to blame the Mexican and Somali scabs for this arrangement; they’re just trying to get by after fleeing life-threateningly dysfunctional and violent homelands. All-American management teams, or at least very heavily American ones, saw an opportunity to exploit them in their desperation, and they took it. Throwing their fellow citizens, their fellow Americans, under the bus was just one of the costs of doing business.

Their fellow Americans have not forgotten a bit of it. The yuppie swarm moved past it, if they ever saw the faintest problem with it in the first place, but not the poors left behind to desperately try to hang on to a decent existence in wrecked factory towns. They remember. Few of them forgive. How can they forgive bad acts that are still being done to them in the most calculating, predatory, premeditated spirit? They aren’t fancy, but they aren’t a bunch of drooling retards, either. Society would grind to a screeching halt without the skills that they’ve spent their careers honing; it would carry on just fine without the fucking MBA’s.

I picked fruit again today. I’m unaware of any MBA’s who did that. Tom Cotton recognizes that there’s some hard work that needs to be done. From what little I’ve heard of his comments, he actually holds most of his fire. The extent to which educated elites, many of them proudly liberal, look down on and demean working men and women is unbelievable. Cotton’s pushback against this bigotry has been quite restrained. He’s standing up very politely on behalf of some of the most shit-upon constituencies in the United States at a time when there really isn’t anything wrong with standing up rudely on their behalf. The educated elites are all but literally biting the hands that feed them. How the hell do they expect that to end in their favor?

If you think I will or must vote Democratic because I’m educated or fancy, you’ve got your head up your ass. No one is hooking me up with the good stuff. This is what Tip O’Neill meant by all politics being local. My own local is full of yuppies who talk a great game about networking but never network me into jack shit. To be crude about it, my interests don’t intersect with theirs, and I’m not sure they ever did. Donald Trump humiliating and sandbagging their crowd is a good thing. They could do to be brought down a rung or two in a society whose working men and women have been dropkicked off the ladder straight into a pile of pigshit.

If I’m going to vote Democratic, i need a reason to vote Democratic. I’ve repeatedly voted for Dale Mensing for Congress solely because he’s listed on the ballot as a cashier. He could be nuttier than an Almond Joy on any number of issues, but that wouldn’t stop him from bringing Congress some much-needed insights about how menial workers are treated from day to day in this country. Loretta Sanchez gave me reasons to vote Democratic twice last year, but if Tom Cotton carpetbagged his way into a general election against Kamala Harris, he’d have to really screw the pooch for me not to vote for him. I wouldn’t assume that he doesn’t generally suck, but I know that Harris generally sucks, and I’d be thrilled to have someone coherently advocating and legislating on behalf of workaday Americans in the Congressional delegation from my first home state in its time of extreme yuppie infestation.

These are not sources of shame or embarrassment for me. I’m no MAGA shitlord, but I’m not the least bit embarrassed to say that much of what Donald Trump has been saying gives me rare hope and welcome schadenfreude. I didn’t expect him, of all people, to be the one to publicly take on the yuppies after his real estate and television careers, but I’ll take it, and joyfully so. For that matter, Anthony Scaramucci, an obvious prick, doesn’t disturb me the way Washington’s traditional lanyard dork army does. He looks and sounds sort of normal, other than his being a prick. The number of visibly abnormal people rushing around Washington is scary.

I wouldn’t be surprised if that hasn’t somehow disturbed Tom Cotton, too, and inspired him to push back against the yuppie swarm. The situation on the ground in Washington is hard to imagine from flyover country. It’s deeply pathological, verging on the Antebellum South in its hypocrisy and moral cowardice. Hiring exclusively Latin American staffs of presumably irregular legality is obviously a cheap and shady practice. Around Washington, it’s treated like a fucking Rotary cultural exchange, and no one has the courage to say otherwise. Of course it was never sincerely meant to be any sort of people-to-people shit. Has Marion Barry been handing out free crack rock in Northwest, or are they just a bunch of fuckheads? Hint: rhymes with “Buckhead.”

Bitches set themselves up, in both senses. These are not ones to live humbly or austerely or in truth. They’d much rather live grandiosely, lavishly, and in falsehood. Like #TIMMEH, they’re #LIVINALIE! More than a few of them look like they’ll imminently revert to his level of executive function, too. That has to be a great town to find a diaper fetishist. *Strom Thurmond, still going strong all night long* Now, that is no fetish, son; it is an expediency. Do I look like a man who remains clothed around a colored woman? *Strom Watch Expired*

I never expected Tom Cotton to be the one to notice that something was off about the joint and to try to fix it, but that seems to be where we’ve landed. Nah, more like washed up. But if he has the only fresh set of eyes capable of noticing that our federal government really is operating out of a fetid swamp, that’s better than St. Jean de Breboeuf driving an oil train through Lac Megantic. *Voice crying out in the frontier, probably in French* Brother, can you spare a pair? I can’t find mine.

That was unforeseeably bad. The bad stuff in Washington is all too foreseeably bad, and it isn’t just obscure blogging in bad taste. I’m in it for the art, and I guess the page views; they’re in it for the money and the power and the majesty. It’s past time that someone stepped up and tried to correct it. It’s happening in the midst of what may still be a real political realignment, so it won’t necessarily make sense. That’s okay. John Fremont was a Republican. William Jennings Bryan was a Democrat who got into religious meddling by way of positive law late in his career. We don’t need saints. As we saw in the previous paragraph, we really don’t need saints. We need political leaders who are halfway honest. Cotton and Trump are giving me that 53% feeling again, and oh hell yes, I do like it.

A very convenient target with a very convenient sequel

Al Gore will be on Terry Gross today. We might say that that sounds gross, and we’d be right, however repetitively we took our entendre. Those two certainly know how to repeat themselves, so Wow Much lectures Such tendentious Many neurotic Omg brenda jorett Very annoy will be one reason for me to skip this afternoon’s radio mass. The climate change-intersectional heat wave hitting the Northwest and the resulting 11:30 quitting time at the berry farm will also help me skip our daily dork assembly with Mr. Werman. Bill Buckley’s comment about preferring to be governed by the first 250 or whatever names in the Boston phone directory than by the top 250 Harvard faculty members is, at least in this case, bolstered by the traditional place of W in the English alphabet. Shit, we already tried that at the national level, and look how it turned out. The fuck, Buckley? Your section of the White Pages keeps letting us down, white boy.

“Zest for life” is a fucking obnoxious phrase, and I really ought to mention how much Buckley’s fellow highbrow Masshole Teddy Kennedy always loved to ride the Ducks, just to get the taste* out of our mouths (Go Sea Lions!) (*since when did anyone hanging around here have any?), but our old boy Billy, he had that zest. He’d have gotten Cheryl Crow trashed on Old Fashioneds by 11:30 and relished every bloody minute of it. The posh bugger was not conflicted or pained or guilty or tortured about his proper place in the world. Unusually among wealthy Americans, he was antifragile on account of his wealth and privilege. His fanciness, precisely because he relished it so heartily, was received at lower stations as a sort of reputable plainness, a living practice of modest, down-to-earth, unpretentious values more sincere and true than anyone would ever expect of a silver spoon.

As the lady from the Cleveland ghetto told her doctor when she was asked if she got depressed, “No, I gets de Plain Dealer.” With Billy B., we all gots de plain dealer. Those of us who felt uncomfortable or distrustful about the influence of the privileged didn’t have to convince anyone else that our lord William was anything but caricaturishly privileged. What we saw was what we got. What we saw was fucking surreal. And yet, because it was so unabashed and aboveboard, it wasn’t the least bit eerie.

William F. Buckley has not been available for interviews lately, but Al Gore has. The problem here isn’t a degradation of public thought; there were hideously stupid and vulgar public figures outcompeting Buckley for attention throughout his career, and there are still intelligent, eloquent people taking part in the public discourse in spite of the much greater attention and praise lavished on pathetic shitheads. That’s part of what I’m doing here, trying to elevate the discourse and bear witness to things that ought to be discussed. Another part of it is the serial canucksploitation of fine downeaster (upeaster?) Melissa Ann Shepard and others of her home and native land. #TeshTips: A romantic Atlantic boat ride with her isn’t a good idea, either. Coffee is to the broad middle class what liquor is to the upper and lower ones, but I’m sure not to get mine from her. *Point of clarification from Monty Robinson* Vodka and the simultaneous operation of motor vehicles in the vicinity of maritime bays are important parts of my culture, too. Are you calling the RCMP fancy now?

All of that is less disturbing than Al Gore. He’s the last place I’d look for some Fresh Air. I don’t have to listen to what he has to say to Terry Gross because I’ve heard it all before. It’s as predictable as the sunrise. Gore is a priest of the postmodern age, in the sense of a homilist so insufferable that even the bishop is out at parish hall Q&A sessions admitting that, yeah, we probably ought to do something to improve the preaching around here. As the line cook who eventually bought and took over Joe Dirtbag and the Family Shrew’s restaurant told us, “You can go to church on the internet now.” On the radio, too. I’m already missing Marco Werman as I write this, so I am not wasting my afternoon.

The sermonizing really is excessive. I underplayed my hand above, come to think of it. There are priests who are not only clunky homilists but also sexually repressed in a projectile way. For Al Gore, the great vice isn’t lust but a specific form of gluttony, one that ravenously devours fossil fuels. And yet, look at how that motherfucker lives, flying around the world on private jets to warn about the dangers of fossil fuel use when he isn’t luxuriating in a remote Tennessee mansion that would make the Branch Davidians think, damn, that’s a fine-ass compound. He lives in a state of chronic guilt, but instead of voluntarily living more ascetically (which, for him, could still be unfathomably luxurious for most people), he lashes out at everyone else to adopt a punishing austerity from which he is conveniently (hey, that word!) exempted by virtue of his own virtue as an advocate. That was a kind of crappy way to put it, but as I think over what I’m too lazy and literarily constipated to have the energy to edit, I think it was apt. There is a shitty recursiveness to Gore’s shtick. He’s virtuous because he talks about how virtuous he is for talking about the virtues that he never, ever practices in his own life.

Gore took a lot of flak, some of it disingenuous and antisocially snarky, for being a clunk speaker back when he was the vice president and a presidential candidate, e.g., SNL’s “lock box” ridicule. In that case, he had a really clumsy, uninspiring, annoying way of promoting the manifestly sound policy of securing FICA deductions exclusively for their intended uses (most famously Social Security, but also Medicare and other social insurance programs) and not dump them down the shitter whenever they felt like wasting some more public funds on pork barrel. Over time, I’ve come to think that he got an unfair shake in the media for the lock box, which was worlds more prudent and aboveboard than anything George W. Bush was scheming to do with Social Security.

The mainstream media encourage a degrading vanity on the part of public figures, and it ought to be resisted. To return to actual priests for a moment, one of the most hapless homilists I’ve ever heard was also one of the most perceptive and helpful confessors, and it would be a damned shame for someone like him to be sidelined within any organization just because his public speaking skills are mediocre. Al Gore has had a similar problem for his entire career, even when he hasn’t been doing anything phony, and it’s wrong for bullshitters to snark at him so.

His climate change advocacy is something else entirely. It’s one of the phoniest things ever. Caulfield, you following any of this? Gore would surely intone to our boy Holden about how he should consider walking or taking public transit because cabs contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Americans in particular chafe at this sort of hectoring. It might possibly fly in Europe or Japan; stateside, it inspires every possible conspiracy theory about liberal elites, one-world government, population control, and a bewildering variety of other shit, a surprising amount of it somehow true. Here’s some rich prick who lives in a mansion, flies all over hell on the lecture circuit, and has four children of his own, for those who are aware of the Darwinian angle, and he’s bothering everyone else about how we’re all gonna roast and also drown to death if we don’t tighten our belts and stop driving and flying everywhere.

It’s blatantly hypocritical. To many, it looks like a scam buttressed by a hoax. All the cool celebs in Hollywood are also up on their high horses about greenhouse gases and global climate change, and they all have Gulfstreams. There has to be some kind of ulterior motive to it. Right?

It’s hard to make sense of some of this shit. I still can’t figure out the psychology behind it, except to have no doubt that it’s profoundly disordered. Leonardo DiCaprio and a droning ex-veep flying around like the Criminal Minds team to lecture other people about how wasteful they are is unbelievably fucked up. What kind of twisted psychological profile does it require to keep this shit up month after month without breaking from all the cognitive dissonance and guilt? What profile does it take to be even publicly comfortable with the idea that one deserves endless absolution for one’s own profligacy while everyone else deserves another ominous lecture for being not a tenth as wasteful?

The notion that this is all a grand scam, say, to dispossess and marginalize the middle class and make more room for the ultrawealthy, isn’t all that farfetched. There probably are some outright psychopaths hanging around in the business. There are definitely legion amoral opportunists. Hollywood is involved, so there are definitely narcissists.

In Gore’s particular case, I think there’s an Occam’s Razor explanation, less grandiosely malevolent but hardly any less disordered, for the jet-setting in service to Gaia. I think he mostly just kind of fell into it, that he had a policy interest in climate change that mutated into its current grotesque form as all the starfuckers in public relations kept showing up to suck his cock and give him, already a scion of wealth who was unusually successful in his own right, more and more money and flattery for saying the right things about climate change and the need for personal and communal responsibility.

Gore used to be in politics, but he’s a full celebrity now. The levelheaded, competent, no-bullshit experts and career analysts who used to surround him when he wasn’t helping Bill Clinton turn the White House into the synthesis of a university development office and Dennis Hof’s Bunny Ranch, are gone. In their place, he has a metastatic entourage of show business bullshitters. The finest minds and most public-spirited souls never go into Hollywood public relations. Their prevalence in politics and policy is wildly exaggerated by outlets like NPR, but there are some reputable people in Washington. Hollywood has no higher purpose that it fails to pursue because it gets corrupted along the way. Its fundamental purpose is absolute, unadulterated shit.

I don’t mean the motion picture or record businesses specifically (I swear, I’m only 35, but I also got only, like, five and a half hours’ sleep in my Focus last night, so make what you will of my language); some of that is more or less reputable. I mean all the celebrity-fluffing horseshit that piles up around the studios and clings to them like so many barnacles of unspeakable filth. When Gore got started on climate change, as a high elected official, he was proceeding with a layman’s understanding of the science but was surrounded by professional scientists and extremely well-informed policy advisers. He’s still operating with an educated layman’s understanding, but now he’s surrounded by pig-ignorant shitheads from the entertainment business who would psych themselves up to say and believe absolutely anything if they thought it would let them make a good living.

There is no exaggerating how fucking vapid and amoral these people are. Al Gore is working with and around people who will say anything for a buck and have all the IQ of a celebrity gossip rag in the checkout lane at Walmart. As a guilt-racked silver spoon done very well by his own right who previously spent eight years under the tutelage and authority of Bill Clinton, he was more prone than most to go native in Hollywood.

Your guess is as good as mine as to what the hell the real purpose of this propaganda is. It may just be a gambit to fleece the Whole Foods crowd; if they’ll fall for Seventh Generation, it’s worth a try. Al Gore is the worst person climate change activists could take on and promote as a circuit lecturer if they actually want to mitigate the effects of greenhouse gases. He is unbelievably self-discrediting and discrediting of everything he promotes that involves any sort of asceticism (say, not driving everywhere). My guess, under Occam’s Razor again, is that this is probably more a moneymaking scam than a dominance play by cunning superelites, although the self-righteousness clearly fits in well for the entertainment business’s hardcore narcissists. Gore probably isn’t as narcissistic as he looks.

The whole thing looks like a monkey trap, with these idiots furiously holding onto the rich fruit in the jar with a fist that they can’t fit back out through the neck. The ethical flaw, and hence the glaring credibility flaw, in their model is that everyone with the star power to back up a worthy cause like climate change activism by mere celebrity fiat is also wealthy enough to live like a god. The idea of having showboating narcissists who have bought themselves exemptions from all the normal rules lecture the little people about virtue is fucking ridiculous, but the crowd that thinks these brilliant campaigns up doesn’t think through them that deeply. Why on earth would Leonardo DiCaprio or George Clooney (layer of smug!) voluntarily forego opportunities to jet off to Crete to fuck around on a luxury yacht? This would require guys who are surrounded by entire staffs of sycophants and totally loaded to go against peer pressure and the pressure of every dipshit trying to live vicariously through them. Ain’t gonna happen.

Meanwhile, an aggressively advertised culture of what Jim Kunstler calls happy motoring has taken hold in most of the United States and large parts of many other countries. The US takes it to particular extremes with motorhomes nearly the size of Greyhound buses towing SUV’s the length of a standard European camping trailer. Who is Al Gore to tell a workaday retiree to forego these little creature comforts? We can ignore, as the retirees would like us to do, the possibility that they’re financial millionaires with multiple real estate holdings and $60k in combined CalPERS income. Al Gore travels; who is he to tell other people not to travel?

Who am I, for that matter, to call anyone out for driving around the country in Rascal Flatts’ tour bus with a State Department limousine in tow? I’m just a fruitboy loser who regularly sleeps in his Focus. That would theoretically give me some relative credibility, but being a poor would not. Any number of people who regularly commute by bus or light rail set a good example of austerity falling short of hardship, but they’re poors, too, and PR types don’t care for the poors.

The intractable problem that campaigns like Al Gore’s face is the huge culture of Ephesians 3:20 cargo cult fuckwits who don’t want a silver spoon elite liberal killing their vibe. The Kamping Krowd successfully codes itself as lower middle-class, further improving its own image relative to Gore’s. Upon examination, it looks much, much more affluent than it lets on (how else does it afford its rigs?), but reputation management isn’t done on second thought. It’s much more politically feasible to tell this constituency that the oil is still there and always will be there because, hey, we need it there pending the Rapture and God provides for those who believe, or that the liberal elites are running an evil conspiracy to deprive workaday Americans of the good life that they would never deny themselves, than to level with spendthrift boomers about energy return on energy invested and by the way we’re basically running our car in the garage with the overhead door closed.

Al Gore is mostly right on the technical points, but the optics of his austerity for thee but not for me IFL Science sermons sucks ass, and hence his entire message sucks ass. We don’t need that shit. Having him around makes Republican climate change and peak oil denialists who sound batshit crazy but are really just disingenuous and squirrelly an inevitability. He’s the shittiest messenger possible for his message, and Terry Gross shouldn’t be stooping so low as to dignify his stunt.

Hey, I still have nearly half an hour to listen to Fresh Air on the local affiliates, but I do wonder what Marco Werman had to say this afternoon. No, I don’t. I’m sure it was retarded.

Stray summertime thoughts on getting Americans to do farm work from an American who’s picking your damn fruit again

Posting help wanted ads in English is always a good start. Making sure that the ads are scrutable is also good; that way applicants know where the fuck to report for work and roughly what they’ll be facing. So is NOT having an application process beyond showing up with I-9 documents, completing the federal paperwork, and being basically ablebodied and compos mentis. This standard excludes Mixups in my Mind and Psychotarp, both of whom I would gladly exclude from any farm job under my supervision. I don’t support discrimination against the mentally ill per se; I support discrimination against the utterly incompetent, Sweet Jesus this fucker is a useless nutcase mentally ill, because I’ve worked around them and don’t care to do more unpaid outpatient social work for permanent charity cases who can’t be induced to shut up within the next 45 minutes upon the unsealing of their mouths.

The owners of the berry farm where I’m now starting my fourth season don’t abide by all of the pointers above, but they come a hell of a lot closer than most growers. If they didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to keep all the Craigslist farm help wanted ads in Linn and Benton Counties straight. Mother-in-Law has, as they say, issues, or as Timmy says, TIMMEH!, which probably explains most of the farm’s high employee turnover and, I’d also guess, my having been one of only three pickers on duty the other day: not good, but still a hell of a lot better than all the asshole growers who keep showing up on the radio (Hockenberry: the fuck?) and in the papers to bitch about how they can’t find enough help because Donny Boy over there in Washington is scaring off all the Mexicans. Mother-in-Law doesn’t want the Mexicans on her property in the first place, since she had some bad experiences with them years ago, so we Yankees are as golden as we possibly could be with someone who still gets wound up from time to time and lectures the younguns. I think she figures that I’ll ghost her again and force her to phone me days later to get me back if she bugs me again, so I’m in even better shape.

By the way, #TeshTips: MiL’s problem, as far as I can tell, is specifically with profoundly non-Anglophone Mexicans from Mexico, especially when they come by the crew, not with, I dunno, Cruz Bustamante. That is, she doesn’t discriminate on the basis of national origin, or even necessarily on the basis of nationality, but on the basis of not being able to speak English or interact adequately with Americans. That’s a huge improvement (yuge!) over the industry standard of discriminating on the bases of nationality, national origin, and race against Americans. The farm isn’t a Whitey Rez, and neither, sanctimony about historic racial covenants in the state constitution and enduring Wow Much Whitey notwithstanding, is Oregon. Oregon has become a safe community for integrable members of the Community. Going back to 1850 to look for the uptight white who weren’t comfortable with the local color reveals many such cases, including Abraham Lincoln. If the pro-covenant explicit white nationalists and the anti-covenant revealed white nationalists insist on fighting over the racial composition of Oregon, Orange County, or Northern Idaho, that’s their problem for being such losers.

The ethnic and caste composition of America’s farm crews, on the other hand, is worth some spilled pixels. The hoary chestnut about Mexicans being willing to do the shit jobs that Americans won’t is one of the most racist things that can be said in polite company. Precisely because it’s so polite, it’s much more pernicious than the open lunatic racism of the doofus on the berry crew two years ago who peddled racist jokes about the Obamas (thanks for making me feel sympathy for those crooks, asshole). It’s racist against Americans, by shutting us out of labor markets, and it’s racist against Mexicans, by treating them as an entire nationality of indentured subalterns who must work themselves to death in the hope of being belatedly given a civic stake in the country that they’ve been hired to run.

This bigotry is hardly any less unfair to Mexico as a nation, which it treats as an endlessly refilling pool of surplus peasant labor that can be siphoned off at will to fill cut-rate shit jobs in El Norte. Mexico’s rather white elites (Wow Much Reflective) are mostly cool with this dysfunctional arrangement, since they’re able to buy their families hereditary shelter from its ill effects, but for everyone else, this bigotry and the policies arising from it are powerfully negative. One of these ill effects is suspiciously infertile Yanquis claiming to admire the family-oriented culture of the Mexican people. To translate this into English, rich white motherfuckers want the beaners to keep being good breeders for their own continued socioeconomic benefit as classy crackers.

How the fuck do you suppose ordinary Americans would feel about Canada if prominent, socially acceptable Canadians kept yammering on about how great it is that rural Mainers and Mississippians from the most dirt-poor families in our most dysfunctional counties are so fecund, and how great that is for Canada? It shouldn’t be too hard to imagine a strong Fuck Canada lobby in this case. Now assume that the Canadian government were also provoking drug cartel violence verging on a state of civil war in the streets of New York and Chicago. Try to tell me now that Mexicans aren’t more gracious towards us as a people and towards our government than any of us have cause to expect. We’re fucking monsters.

Sick Willie and Colonel Underpants are, too, but they aren’t structural problems, eh.

The ruling class of the US loves living in a country whose two main neighbors include a non-English-speaking one with large pockets of effectively third-world dysfunction. It’s an awfully convenient arrangement. A prosperous, well-governed Mexico would be a rather inconvenient development. It might even become prosperous enough to singlehandedly boost its outrageously troubled southeastern neighbors into a state of stability and prosperity, choking off our nanny supply. What fun would Guatemalan nannies be if they just up and left because they got tired of working for a family of assholes? Hell, what fun would it be for Chiquita if their relatives reliably went on strike and the local police totally flooded the zone any time there was a credible threat of corporate violence against union leaders? We don’t know these things because we don’t try.

We do know that the children of Latin American immigrants tend to integrate healthily into American communities, as do their parents when given a chance. The problem is that management doesn’t want them to integrate, especially in the first generation and especially those from the poorest, most destitute points south. Why waste an existing land bridge with through rail service to the US border? The way this multiculturalism is supposed to work is for the campesinos to maintain a parallel culture of poverty, ignorance of sexual hygiene conducive to large families, and no civil rights, allowing Yanqui to maintain its culture of indolence, thievery, family planning, and full civil rights. Latin American family planning, even just in the sense of let’s not have any more kids right now, has the potential to really crimp our style fifteen or twenty years down the road.

No American is about to venture into Michoacan and put saltpeter in the water supply; we’re much more likely to see scandals involving defective condoms distributed by shadowy groups with inferred ties to US intelligence and/or reactionary elements of the Roman Catholic Church. What we’re really likely to see, though, are continued efforts to keep rural Mexican government at service levels worthy of Niger. There are powerful elements in the United States that very much do not want Mexicans voluntarily choosing to have small families because their country and their communities have become stable, prosperous, and well-administered. For reactionary Catholic elements, family planning is a great excuse for a pissing match with evangelical upstarts over “their” spiritual territory in Mexico. For US intelligence and corporate interests, Latin North and Central America are great places to pay off local elite shitbirds to destabilize their own governments. All three very much enjoy the maintenance of in-country “cultures” centered around having unmanageably large families due to a combination of pervasive forcible rape and sexual ignorance.

The point of all that is that it’s harder to orchestrate the importation of a foreign peasantry from overseas. Management has to do more advance work and spend more money. WAFLA’s asshole “boots on the ground” buses rolling up and down Highway 97 may be empty billboards, for all I know. Washington State’s big growers don’t really need a dedicated bus service to transport legal Mexican field hands when they’ve got a semilegal Mexican peasant workforce voluntarily paying its own way north. I have no idea how much Donald Trump’s hostile language and beefed-up ICE deployments are actually scaring illegal immigrants away from the fields. There’s probably something to it, but the big growers and their lobbying associations have a compelling incentive to muddy the waters and a long, sordid history of fabricating labor shortages for political purposes. They’re just about the first association I’d expect to orchestrate false flag attacks against itself.

What’s problematic about the children and grandchildren of immigrant farmhands, of course, is that they soon start thinking of themselves as Americans. Maybe they go back to the old country to visit relatives from time to time, or maybe they go as tourists, but with their American identity they demand American pay and working conditions, and that’s a huge pain in the ass for the planter gentry. Maybe I should exclude American pay: the berry farm is understaffed more because it hardly advertises for help and because Mother-in-Law keeps alienating pickers than because the piece rate is shit. The work is really meaningful and pretty enjoyable on the whole, but of course we’re well within our rights to expect zero drama and to quit when that expectation is violated.

But that’s the thing. Many of us earn effective hourly rates that are objectively awful but still more or less stick around. Daughter-in-Law is able to keep at least a few of us satisfied with our working conditions by treating us well, and Mother-in-Law mostly stays out of the way. The 2015 season featured a special kind of crazy, and that’s probably part of why so few pickers returned in 2016, but the spotty help-wanted advertising and the below-industry-standard piece rate can’t helped.

They’re able to get Americans to show up anyway, so yeah, we’re truly a nation of feckless wastrels.

One of the absurd things about the supposed shortage of American farm labor is how many all-American crews can be found bucking hay. Hay bucks are a special kind of misery, far worse than any kind of fruit I’ve commercially picked or tended. I’ve spent one afternoon in my life bucking hay, three years ago, and that’s more than enough for now. I’ve never picked strawberries, which I’ve heard are their own special hell, but picking pretty much any other kind of fruit is better than heaving fifty to sixty pounds of hay onto a trailer again and again all day long. I’m not even sure that stooping over in a strawberry field is worse. To clarify, I’m assuming that none of these jobs are chain gang shit or Mexican day slavery; I’m thinking instead of how awful each job inherently is when it is not under the supervision of anyone who belongs in federal prison for slavedriving.

We’ve got one of the worst jobs in agriculture being done by some of the most all-American crews. If any farm job should be left to Mexicans because it’s so horrible, bucking hay should be it. The prevalence of free Americans in the hay fields indicates that hay, unlike many crops, isn’t grown by cartels of landed gentry assholes, but by upstanding yeomen.

By comparison, picking blueberries or grapes is the easiest thing in the world. It’s the difference between finishing the workday a bit tired and maybe sunburned and wondering what in God’s name one just did to one’s shoulders, back, and hands. These aren’t the only easy crops to work, either. I enjoyed picking olives much more than the olive-growing class in this country enjoys having people like me around picking ONLY 160 pounds on a slow day because it’s hot as fuck and I was deliberately put on an underpruned tree with dead wood jutting every which way. I’ve never picked apples or pears commercially, but they don’t look too hard. The problem, again, is managerial: payment by the full crate (900 pounds or so, if I recall correctly) is nuts.

There are some weird local cultural problems, too. Linn County has one of the highest  birthrates in Oregon and, probably not unrelated, a lot of parents who want their kids to get a damn job. Thirteen is the minimum hiring age for farm jobs, assuming that one doesn’t have community connections enabling the under-the-table hiring of twelve- or ten-year-olds. I ain’t gonna hate on any of that; the perfect is the enemy of the good here, and there’s a whole lot of bad in the industry. There’s a hell of a lot more accountability in this child labor arrangement than there is in the American day labor, farm labor contracting, or illegals-at-the-ranch-gates industries. If Mother-in-Law gets seriously out of control with the little ones or if the property becomes squalid, the minor pickers’ parents will hold her to account. For a smallholder point of comparison, think back on Joe Dirtbag and Pot-o-Shit Friend.

Getting paid aboveboard by owners who generally treat their help quite well and run a physically clean operation is some good shit. Or, as Pot-o-Shit Friend would say, I’ll show you some! If you liked it then you shouldn’a put a lid on it. Seriously, the alternatives in this industry can be horrific. Hell, two or three dollars an hour at a lowball piece rate is better than any of the legion WWOOF shysters who never pay their help a dime. In my case, I don’t feel like jumping ship and having to establish business relationships with a new set of growers growing the same crop in the same valley just to get closer to minimum wage, and if there are berries to pick on payroll, I sure as hell don’t feel like wandering into the midst of some let’s-you-and-him-fight set-up across the driveway from a simpering little putz who’s shitting in a trash can.

The constituency for shitshacking hippie communes is too bourgeois for me. I’m in it for the money; I welcome the money and the cash. It isn’t always much, but I still welcome it. What I find incomprehensible are all the bougie parents who would rather have their children work unpaid for totally derelict shysters who maintain their properties in squalor because they make a show of being organic than get paid to work for a grower who’s less groovy but basically upstanding. FICA deductions, no yo-and-him-fight, and no endlessly festering piles of shit are upstanding enough for me. I’m not saying that fourteen years of age is too late to teach the kids a work ethic, but it’s probably because my bosses are so lax about hiring teens that I’ve been able to get work with them year after year in my thirties.

I’m lucky to have found a reliable, near-zero-bullshit employer in a field that I love. I imagine that my employers are avowedly reactionary in their formal politics, but they’re obviously liberal enough towards their employees. (Mostly; the ones they recruit through their parents get to deal with some bullshit that the owners know better than to inflict on me or on their older teen pickers.) It’s the groovy hippie boomer retirees in places like Hood River County who would rather have their own sparse descendants either work for free in a pile of shit in the incoherent interest of career advancement or stay the hell out of fields that were never fit for anything better than a Mexican peasant in the first place.

If you want a real downer, think about what the common cause of moneyed pseudoliberal dipshits with the planter class means for the future of the Democratic Party. Or for the future of American politics in general. Child labor one can outgrow in a matter of a few years. Good luck outgrowing what the overclass and the bourgeoisie aping it have made of America.