Putting the Weiner into Weinstein

Giggity, etc. The Weinstein thing didn’t shock or even particularly surprise me. I was vaguely aware of him as some sort of studio bigshot, i.e., a presumable sleaze. After the scandal broke, I learned that he’s behind a lot of execrably violent art (sic?), some of it frankly toxic, an oeuvre whose gratuitous coarseness is somehow consistent with his being a leading liberal woke bae. That Reservoir Dogs, the inspiration for Greg Lemhouse’s sworn night watch street gang in Medford, is considered compatible with bleeding-heart liberalism speaks volumes about the abdication of principle at play in our supposedly leftist show business. Fittingly enough, Lemhouse is reputed to have been axed a few years shy of a pension for an outburst of on-duty horn and not for bragging about commanding a Terry Stop crew. Our boy Harvey, for his part, got shitcanned by his family enterprise for failing to keep it in his pants, not for beating the shit out of a casual business acquaintance, and that happened years after a model had reported him to the NYPD for sexual assault.

It’s pedestrian that Weinstein ran a casting couch for ambitious starlets; Gwyneth Paltrow sucking and fucking her way to the top (whaddup, Fuhrman) would be an exceptionally unsympathetic claim of quid pro quo victimization in a society that also includes sexually extortionate farm crew bosses and Cousin Gigolo. Homeskillet seriously cashed out, so cry me the fucking Owens, cowgirl. BFD if the cost of jumping the queue to the bigtime at some sleazy private studio is a load or two of the Harv’s Goop.

What’s impressive is that Weinstein was able to curbstomp a guy he barely knew in a fancy part of Manhattan without anyone calling 911. What’s impressive is that none of the women now publicly accusing him of sexual harassment or assault went public with their own claims, damn the NDA’s, full steam ahead, when the NYPD and Manhattan DA’s office were investigating him for forcible groping. Like, yeah, I believe her because he coerced me into sexual favors, too, that kind of thing. A handful of women could have had their lawyers dogpile Weinstein for petitions to invalidate their nondisclosure agreements as unconscionable, a class action, RICO claims, and of course a massive shitload of horribly bad press. The bad press alone would have shut the creep down then as much as it did just now.

Instead, everybody who was anybody was a fucking chicken. No principle, no courage, no backbone, hell, not even any overpowering disgust, just chickenshit all the way down. No one privately conspired with anyone else to band together and blow the putz clear out of the water: wherever two or more are gathered in my name, etc. Fat chance of that, apparently. No lawyers determined that they were unethically helping a predator maintain an ongoing campaign of extremely bad acts, probably in consideration of their own ongoing pattern of making big piles of money.

Everybody straight up to Cyrus Vance got paid to turn a blind eye. The fact that that alone isn’t an explicit professional conflict of interest is damning of the bar. Oh, no, you don’t understand, contributing to the reelection campaign of the guy who didn’t prosecute my criminal defense client was about civics!

Yeah, and I’m Perry Mason.

To recap, we’ve got nobody whatsoever who feels and acts on a moral duty to report Weinstein for serial abuse (not just sexual, either), and only one victim out of dozens with the nerve to publicly cry out at the time and seek adjudication. It was an open secret that this thug habitually made gross sexual overtures to strange women and explicitly threatened grievous violence against other men, sometimes actually committing felony assaults, but look, you can’t do anything about it, he’s just like that.

It was, however, kosher to occasionally rib the vile lech with plausibly deniable pop culture inside jokes: Family Guy gags, crappy celebrity roast rotines, and the like. *Very Jerry Seinfeld voice* And how about that Sandusky character? Heating oil must cost a fortune over there in State College if he’s doubling up in the showers. Man! *A REAL STAND-UP GUY*

Jer RY! Jer RY!

Meanwhile, the same crowd that spent my lifetime to date, until this month, covering for this exhibitionist who throws other men down the stairs in fits of animal rage will have us know that it’s our feminist duty to call out rape culture and our parallel environmental duty to live ascetically for the climate’s sake, but not theirs to stop jet-setting from mansion to mansion on two or three continents. No man is an island, but Brad Pitt probably owns one. Check for yourselves; I’m too jaded to care.

Nice fire complex they’ve got going in Napa-Sonoma; shame it didn’t jump the line up on Mulholland Drive instead. Focus, William Tecumseh! Focus!

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When the yuppie project plays brinksmanship on its host society

Think in terms of parasitism, not hospitality.

One of the (admittedly legion) unconscionable things about the Hillary 2016 run and its enduring aftermath has been the air of brinksmanship, coercion, and we-told-you-so Chicken Little catastrophizing surrounding the whole sordid thing. Since so many voters–quite a few of them, come November, disgusted nonvoters–couldn’t think of a positive reason to vote for Hillary Clinton, generally because they couldn’t fucking stand the bitch, the increasingly desperate Hillbot army deployed a ceaseless barrage of shrill, inconsistently credible threats about the alternative, our current Oaf of Office. To this day the barrage continues, rarely any gentler than it was during the campaign.

The gist is that King Bigly is literally the worst, most dangerous president ever. It’s a dubious, historically challenged proposition shot through with crude presumptions about Great Men (and Women!) directing History. Next thing you know, Sir Winston Churchill Himself (?) (it feels irreverent and profane, but it also feels accurate) will show up, cigar in mouth, blathering sonorously about the glory and honor and duty of war, or perhaps about the glory and honor and duty of his current thoughts on milk price supports. These screechers can’t imagine that, say, Andrew Jackson was enabled in the pursuit of Indian ethnic cleansing and genocide by prevailing public sentiment and the priorities of contemporary government and civil institutions, or that he, too, was one crude, crude bastard and also a president.

Speaking of genocidal maniacs who didn’t much care for the Indians: Winston Churchill. Different tribes, different technologies and scales, same little embarrassing problem. Oops we did it again. Crackers gonna crack. The whip, specifically. The assumption that Trump will get away with all the same atrocities that we don’t discuss in our discussions of Churchill, that he’ll be no less destructive as a tactless shit-stirring political novice who can’t help himself when there’s an opportunity to alienate a key ally than Churchill was as an urbane déclassé aristocrat who shrewdly curried favor with all the no-homo public school hazing buggers at Whitehall, doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense. And yeah, we’ve totally never before had anyone of excessive ambition and terrible moral character in the White House, and no one to points leftward ever said the same things about Ronald Reagan (who, although Trump’s fellow celebrity, honored citizen, and public sundowner, actually knew how to negotiate instead of just putting his name on a crappy ghostwritten book about negotiation). No history of constitutional crises over the rights of our military’s prisoners of war or the president whacking US citizens by remote-controlled missile in my lifetime, either. Glad that didn’t happen.

The alarm about Donald Trump’s blind ambition, narcissism, and rage inevitably gets mixed up with outrage over his blurting out goofy shit and dissing people who could do to be dissed. Between him and the den of barely veiled psychopaths in the Congressional Republican Caucus, there are some serious shortcomings in the US government’s official response to the severe hurricane damage in Puerto Rico, but Brock Long seems to have his head on straight, so the president thinking that the Caribbean Sea is yuge is not one of them. Donald Trump getting the idea in his head that Puerto Rico is St. Helena won’t divert any aid to St. Helena. His calling Hillary Clinton a crook and Rosie O’Donnell a fat pig aren’t attacks on our sacred but vulnerable institutions of self-government and civil society, and if they’re misogynistic, they’re only incidentally so. Even the rash verbal escalation that he has reciprocated with Kim Jong-Un highlights just how badly on edge everyone is about Rocket Man: if Piggy Gangnam Style can actually be provoked to first-strike nuclear war by another fat, loudmouthed sonofabitch talking smack about his fat, goofily coiffed ass, the international community has a dire, insoluble problem on its hands that presumably becomes soluble only upon the confirmed disincarnation of Piggy Gangnam Style.

Come to think of it, the Nork Dork shares an unsettling kinship of the palace with Hillz and her Hillbots. Bernie Sanders was the one who said point-blank during the debates that Kim’s regime is “very weird.” Trump is regularly out on Twitter bragging about how he’s gonna whip that insolent little rocket boy’s punk ass. The establishment consensus in Washington, by stark contrast, is that we must all watch our every word about that third-generation belligerent maniac lest he take offense and decide to annihilate several million innocent people in a fit of pique. Anwar al-Awlaki didn’t have shit on that thug. That’s why “we” whacked him, just as “we” “tortured some folks.” Here we have this spoiled rotten piece of boarding school shit who murders his blood relatives on a whim and has taxed even the Chinese politburo’s patience with his antics, so since “we” are already in the business of assassinating various enemies, this hereditary menace should be at the top of the list and remain there until he’s been permanently delisted from humanity’s earthly rolls.

Bill Clinton and a number of exceptionally good diplomats in his administration have managed to get several foreign prisoner hostages freed from this out-of-control dictatorship over the years, but only at a great effort and by practically debasing themselves before this family of violent, extortionate, insolent dickheads. I get that diplomacy requires more tact than I choose to show around here as a private citizen and that it’s especially tricky to get anything out of that lineage of crazy-like-a-fox autocrats. But that’s the thing: I’m a private citizen. I use these pages to meme Canada’s national embarrassments and still end up being known on the internet mainly for that phoned-in hot take on Gulf Arab sheikhs who shit on Western rent girls. I’m not paid to be all serious and solemn and discreet and act like I don’t totally support anyone who can smear a fatal nerve agent in Kim Jong-Un’s face in any convenient airport lobby.

Like hell am I paid to be all solemn and dutiful and magnanimous in my response to Hillary Clinton. That bitch can choke on it. I’m her two-time prospective constituent. She was answerable to me, and my answer to her when she asked of me, on three ballots in two election seasons, was absolutely fucking not. We have processes and institutions in the United States to prevent the Kims. The Hillbots frankly did everything they could to shame, threaten, and even disenfranchise tens of millions of us for daring to use these processes and institutions against Your Fleek Abuela. They were furious when many of us perceived exactly the same raging will to power in Hillary Clinton that they insisted consumed Donald Trump and made him unfit for the presidency. They remain furious at anyone who got in Hillary’s way, and they use language no more respectful than the Donald’s to lash out at us and at the candidates we supported. Bernie stumped for Hillary and encouraged his primary voters to vote for her in the general election; her camp repaid his work on their behalf with ad hominem smears about his disloyalty and divisiveness, and with ad hominem smears of his voters as died-in-the-wool bigots. That includes me, cracka.

Letting a viciously ambitious crime family back into the White House and hoping that the other branches of government will check them after their reelection seems much less prudent than barring the door to them from the start and forcing them, now as a humiliated faction of the opposition, to wander fruitlessly about outside, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, and where they so perfectly belong. They’ve fressed at the trough enough already. The feminist bitch with the vise grip on her husband’s coattails had already carpetbagged into one of New York State’s seats in the US Senate, like a seedy Bobby Kennedy, and then been taken on as the Secretary of State by a guy she’d spent the previous year attacking with ugly racial invective (as well as bog-standard faux-populist demagoguery) so that she’d be inside the tent pissing out, and her immediate family had already spent decades cashing in on Bill’s presidency and the wifely offices succeeding in amounts of many millions of dollars per year. They had their fortune and their celebrity power; they didn’t need another term of elected political power to further entrench themselves on top of that.

In the midst of Hillz’s coattail career in high federal office, Bill’s presidential legacy became more and more destructive and scandalous. As I’ve said before, I don’t give a shit that he stuck a cigar up his mistress’s cunt; that isn’t what I’d do with a mistress, but that woman, Miss Lewinsky, was not my mistress, and consequently I did not have sexual relations with her. Giggity. What does bother me is the narrowly averted catastrophe of Bill and that hypocritical slimeball Newt Gingrich conspiring to privatize Social Security until an unheard-of buxom Jewess showed up out of nowhere with a little white stain on her blue dress and got Gateside Downlow, Diddlin’ Dennis, and the whole gang into a royal snit about sexual morality. That is not how government is supposed to work. That is not how any one of those crooks is supposed to represent us. There’s something badly amiss when social welfare programs are saved by a bunch of adulterers, an airport closet case, and Coach getting into a lather over the President slipping a Cuban up his starfucking intern’s snatch.

In spite of this Khrushchev-and-Kennedy moment by way of the Hardly Boys, Bill Clinton managed to unleash a delayed-detonation Tsar Bomba on our national economy, and on a good chunk of the international economy, by repealing Glass-Steagall. There’s every reason to believe that he signed the repeal in exchange for bribes to him, his relatives, and the family businesses from FIRE sector criminals after his retirement from the presidency. That may well have been the single most destructive act of official corruption in my country in my lifetime, and it brought the economy down when I was in my mid-twenties, barely out of college. Countless millions of other graduates, generally in the classes behind mine, got it even worse than I did. 2006 turned out to be a much worse year to graduate from college than it looked at the time, but there were unfortunates who graduated in 2009.

The Big Dog marked his territory on us. We were his territory, and we remain his hideously shrewish wife’s territory. No thanks, assholes. You blew it the first time around, at our expense, and walked away rich and connected beyond our most feverish dreams. You don’t get a do-over, pal. Sometimes I’m offended that the Clintons disobeyed their cue to retire from public life in 2000, but when I think about Glass-Steagall, the clusterfuck unleashed after Billary had scurried mostly off the scene, and the Byzantine horseshit of Dodd-Frank, I’m convinced that the Clintons had a calling to refrain entirely from public life starting in Arkansas a decade before I was born. They have been an affliction upon the rest of us. We managed to haphazardly check-kite our way through the dot-com and parallel FIRE sector bubbles in the late nineties, following the repeal of NAFTA and in the midst of all the cruel disruption that it caused to honest labor, and over the next eight years the whole edifice weakened and then catastrophically imploded.

This is the family that is so obviously more fit for office than Donald Trump. This is the family whose duty to reelect to the presidency was ours, including those of us who could explain exactly how the legacy of the first Clinton presidency had done us extreme personal harm. We had this guy who was mostly kind of a motormouth dickhead, who was saying inconsistent but coherent things indicating that he understood our plight and intended to address our grievances, and we were being ordered by people who obviously looked down on us to vote for a feminazi whose sleazy husband had recklessly caused our socioeconomic ruination. We were berated with assertions that Donald Trump was uniquely coarse and vicious, assertions that were made by and on behalf of a woman who laughed about Muammar Qaddafi’s gruesome death and whose husband had flown back to Arkansas to sign the death warrant for a guy too retarded to understand that he wouldn’t be able to have dessert after his execution. One of the most calamitous power couples of our time was insulting our intelligence and our worthiness as voters for daring to consider the possibility that her opponent, an exceptionally disorganized man with little political capital in Washington headlining a party that he had apparently divided against itself, might usher in lesser calamities upon his election.

As I’ve said before, these threats that the Clinton machine made about Trump were, and still are, on par with Muammar Qaddafi’s threat to unleash a flood of refugees from Subsaharan Africa into Europe to punish its governments for disrespecting him. We were repeatedly told that if we didn’t vote for Clinton, we would inevitably unleash unfathomable chaos and crisis upon ourselves. We were threatened with the endangerment of our liberty and our lives at a maniac’s hands in the event that we dared to withhold our votes from a known crook who had interfered in her own party’s primary process to sink a much stronger, less divisive, and less compromised candidate, one voters actually admired in large numbers.

I’m far from the only person who has taken offense over the past couple of years at Clintonworld’s Talented Tenth Avenue Freakout. It’s a bad look. Anyone whose reaction to a political opponent is so excruciatingly limbic has to perceive an existential material threat. That kind of reaction isn’t about values; it’s about interests and only interests. In Trump’s case, it’s a swarm of yuppies shitting bricks with fear that they’ll lose their elite status and be reduced to roughly the level of the modest workaday people they’ve spent the last quarter century or more smugly dispossessing. Do recall that I commonly sleep in my car as I reiterate that I have no reason to feel great sympathy for their salty, salty waterworks. This is a class that cannot bear the thought of relinquishing the whip hand. These are meritocrats who must, at all costs, remain on top.

Bizarrely, even as they fume that Trump duped a bunch of uneducated ignoramuses in flyover country with his bogus populism, they grossly overestimate his interest in reform because they’re on edge waiting for the day when he’ll do something adverse to them, like stop handing out government contracts to bomb the Middle East into ever earlier parts of the Stone Age. They have revealed that they would rather side with the most reprehensible chickenhawk war criminals than with laid-off mill hands who don’t want their children being shipped off to the desert to be turned into hamburger meat with Swiss cheese for brains. With all the cruel reversals of fortune that they’ve used their power to impose on their vulnerable countrymen, they fully deserve some modest reversals of fortune themselves, like having to work for a living or claim public assistance. Trump’s working-class voters tended to vote for him as a Hail Mary pass, figuring that he might do something for them; it’s affluent liberals who swear to God (weak oaths, etc.) that he’s going to destroy everything he touches.

Incidentally, but relevantly, the affluent have been using the same brinksmanship tactics to bully the reluctant young into college, or even graduate and professional schools. Stay in school or else. Submit to this arbitrary regime with no particular relationship to the real world and succeed in it or you will forever live in poverty and vulnerability. It’s an extortion racket. When moral panics about adolescent behavior this side of Brock Turner rear up, it’s also a blackmail racket.

It’s very simple: free citizens do not tolerate such treatment and are not treated in this fashion. Period. Great Books for Men, the intersectionally autistic/psychotic mainstay who used to hang out in Chateau Heartiste’s comment threads, made a comment about not being able to get a job as a Starbucks barista because his GPA was too low. It was presumably fiction, and most of it was barely intelligible gobbledygook, but it was true. That is exactly what has been happening to countless millions of people in the corporatized neoliberal West. Starbucks is a relatively minor offender, but the point stands.

This is not a reputable or moral regime. The people who have been running it are neurotic cutthroat bullshitters pretending to be high technocrats. There was a very real rationality, wisdom, and even prudence last year in voting for the unabashedly shambling novice who kept promising to shake shit up and give normal people a fair shake for once. There were no guarantees of reform, but large parts of Trump’s platform actually made sense, and I absolutely would not have been embarrassed if I had voted for him. I still would rather have voted for him than for Clinton, and the rage that Jill Stein has attracted as an alleged spoiler (LOL) confirms that I made a good choice in helping her clear five percent of the vote in Humboldt County.

Threats of doom aren’t so credible when they come from officials who have already doomed millions of decent people to penury just to grease their own baksheesh scams. Thundering about racism isn’t so compelling when it comes from a woman who doesn’t seem to feel uncomfortable about having accepted the services of frank house slaves on loan to her and her husband from the Arkansas Department of Corrections. That was just some kind of misunderstood regional cultural quirk, which being a union coal miner is not.

It’s still refreshing to have a president who shows the same degree of respect for the institutions he has been elected to lead that these institutions have been showing his constituents for decades. Josiah Bartlett was never my president; the Lincoln Bedroom pay-to-stay sleazeball was. Fuck decorum. If we’re going to have some again, it’s time we had some damn civic morals to go with it. We deserve honesty from our leaders, and Donald Trump is too impulsive not to show us some. It was our right to vote for that yutz every bit as much as it was our right to vote for the shrew who did the nae-nae on Ellen and was prevented by the combined psychological warfare of Jill Stein, Bernie Sanders, their dumbass voters, and the Kremlin from stumping in Wisconsin.

How gracious of the lady to publicly withhold her absolution of America’s noncompliant women for failing to vote for her. I can’t imagine how she failed to transcend all misogyny.

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 start of something new

It was scary to watch the fourth largest metropolis in the United States get biblically flooded last week. Harvey brought out the best in humanity on the Texas coast, but also the worst: federal prisoners in Beaumont being given only half a pint of water per inmate per day in a facility without air conditioning, Tom Llanas calling the police on looters for taking staples from a grocery store.

The cultural exacerbation of this nightmare is very, very real. Some of the institutions caught up in the hurricane are truly psychopathic. Some of them hardly care about the welfare of those under their authority on a regular basis, under normal weather conditions. These are examples of the evils that the United States still fails to confront as a unified nation a century and a half after Appomattox. Federalism is not a valid excuse for the torture and negligent killing of prisoners.

On the other hand, the inability of multiple state, local, and federal agencies assisted by exceptionally robust ad hoc private squads to promptly rescue those stranded by the flooding is disturbing for opposite reasons. Houston is better governed than New Orleans, and its emergency response to Harvey isn’t the shambolic mess that New Orleans achieved during and after Katrina. To a great extent, Houston as an entity was unable, not unwilling. Texans cannot actually do anything. An impressive response cannot overcome impossible circumstances, and the circumstances that Houston and points east faced last week were awfully close to impossible. The emergency services were overwhelmed. Minimizing this with happy horseshit about Texas resilience and grit is irresponsible, a terrible disservice to those (tending towards the poor and the vulnerable) who were dependent on these overwhelmed rescuers for their survival and may well be dependent upon them during future floods.

We need to be realistic. That’s us as a nation. We have a huge metropolitan area critical to our energy and chemical supply that has been built on a coastal swamp with an exceptionally large paved area. Oops. This absolutely should be a national oh-shit moment. This is a region whose infrastructure needs to be brought up to Dutch standards immediately. As self-reliant Americans, we show awfully few signs of doing anything of the sort. Local control of urban planning has had mixed and heavily negative results. Houston famously has no zoning, for better and worse. The worse includes FEMA and the National Guard having to head into a dangerous, days-long storm to clean up after municipalities that are exceptionally licentious about paving over their floodplains. During severe floods, they end up socializing the costs of their negligent urban planning onto the federal government and forcing federal employees from out of town to risk their lives on emergency responses whose scope has been dramatically widened by the same shitty urban planning.

We’ve clearly reached the point at which the federal government should impose stringent federal standards on metro Houston as a condition of its continued receipt of federal aid. We can’t afford many more clusterfucks like Harvey. The next one could kill hundreds of thousands. The national human and logistical capacity to respond to these disasters is not limitless, and we’d be morons to keep testing the limits. The resources that were deployed in and to Southeast Texas were barely enough to maintain minimal lifesaving services for a week. If we don’t shape things the hell up across the board right now, during the rebuilding effort, and examine every aspect of the disaster with total sobriety, the next big storm may well take a death toll closer to the Boxing Day Tsunami than Katrina.

Gotta love having Ted Cruz as a statewide elected official in these times.

Meanwhile the Pacific Northwest is on fire. Oregon is under a blanket of smoke. The National Weather Service is forecasting smoke from Lake Tahoe to the Canadian border for the next couple of days. Great Labor Day barbecuing weather, eh? Rafael Edward, any tips here, friend? Looks like we’ll be able to smoke our meats without even trying. Ourselves, too.

I’m in the Dalles right now, and I’ve been holed up all afternoon because the air is some of the unhealthiest I’ve ever seen. It would be on the bad side in modern Los Angeles. Okay, not this weekend, with the Verdugo Mountains going off like Roman candles. We’ve had a couple of bad local fires of our own get going in the Mount Hood Wilderness over the weekend, bad enough that a few hikers had to be airlifted off a trail near Cascade Locks and 140 more had to shelter in place overnight last night and then start a fourteen-mile detour hike out at daybreak.

There should be stiff onshore winds coming up the Columbia River Gorge at this time of year. Instead, we’re just socked in. It’s like someone turned the exhaust fan off.

This is another example of what I like to call savoring our own flavor. We’ve pumped a shitload of greenhouse gases into the air, and now we’re reaping the whirlwind, which around here isn’t currently a wind at all. We’re basically living in our own filth. We’ve overenergized the system, and now the system is haphazardly discharging huge piles of shit on us: nine trillion gallons of water in Texas, several states’ worth of precipitating soot in the Northwest, triple-digit record highs in San Francisco and Salinas. Sure, weather can be weird sometimes, but this is really, really fucking weird weather. The Northwest is waiting on moisture from the remnants of a Pacific tropical storm to come in a few days from now, from Southern California. It’s summer, and San Diego is one of the wettest spots in the West. What the fuck?

This really looks like climate change. I’ve been skeptical about climate change in the past, but this time the negative feedbacks are failing and huge swathes of the country are getting hammered, to extents that are either extreme or unprecedented. This is in addition to extreme weather overseas (notably, thousands dead in floods in South Asia) and in the Honorable Rafael Edward Cruz’s home and native land, which is graciously sending us smoke to complement our own. Aside from the opportunity to order Gerry Rundel to drop the net and fill the bailing bucket, it’s troubling to see the extent to which light northerly winds have been able to wreck air quality over areas hundreds of miles wide this summer. Fire crews in Montana and British Columbia get overwhelmed, and Oregon and Washington end up on the verge of an air quality crisis.

I don’t like to catastrophize these events, but areas downwind can be really fucking unhealthy. Looking downgorge, I’d estimate that the Dalles has visibility of about a mile right now. The hills recede into the haze on the first bend in the river, and the sun, still well above the horizon, is bright orange. The lighting was a lot neater during the eclipse. This is mostly just gross. And I’m lucky that I don’t have to breathe it without ventilation. Many aren’t.

We’re pretty much getting hit from all sides. The bulk of the smoke today seems to be drifting in from the fires that just started in the wilderness up the hill from Cascade Locks, and the Dalles is nearby, so there’s no surprise there. But I’d have to go hundreds of miles to escape this shit. Going east would put me in the path of smoke from Central Oregon, Northern Idaho, and Montana. Going north would still leave me downwind from something like 150 active fires in BC. To the south, I’d be headed for Chetco Bar (*Donald Trump voice* Yuge fire! The biggest!) and the bullshit that closed down Highway 138, driving the hippies out of Umpqua Hot Springs (the small blessings that we count, etc.). Lewis and Clark and the gang made it as far west as I’m prepared to venture.

Never mind: it looks like the hair clog still has access to Umpqua and its literal federal shithole from the east. Fuck. Being downwind from the trialside shitter there is a stank-ass experience in the best of weather, and the Forest Service charges five bucks to not maintain the access road. Dropping $500k on a fancy shitter in the Pocono Water Gap, Indiana slate roof and all, starts looking good by comparison to the Pot-o-Shit Friendly alternatives. Still, the fire may have broken up the hair clog just because, shit, man, not groovy, dude, and I’m cool with hippie fuckjobs bitching to each other anywhere beyond my earshot.

Hot damn, we’re closing in on half a mile of visibility now, and ODOT is on standby to close Intetstate 84 through the Gorge if the new fire above Cascade Locks starts downsloping for the river. By new, I mean not yet burning for 27 hours. Who’m I gonna believe: Al Gore and Terry Gross, or the air, which is not the least bit fresh? NPR isn’t the only Gross thing going around here. In capitalist broadcasting range of KODL, air is on YOU! I’d almost sooner go back east for a coffee break with Melissa Ann Shepard than stick around for the next daily coffee break from Cousins’ Restaurant, but as lonely bachelors go, I’m not that desperate.

Well, would you listen to that, a left-liberal carrying on about his purity-based morality again. Haidt-fuck us all, Ghomeshi. Fuck out my brains, Juicy Lucy, and choke-a-by Sweet Baby J. What the fuck am I saying? I don’t need that creepy Canuck to make me choke tonight, although I wouldn’t mind it if Captain De Coutere thought less about rough sex this weekend and more about air support logistics. Hell, even Colonel Underpants isn’t the worst Canada has to offer us this summer. The only one I don’t want out on the fire lines is Sick Willie, because that useless son of a bitch can’t even slop a hog pen without the town government telling him that he isn’t actually a farmer. Otherwise, circumstances have gotten extreme enough that I’m not here to pickton and choose.

No, that wasn’t tasteless. Tasteless is what I’ll face when I go offline and venture into the parking lot tonight. Turn Big Ears Teddy any damn way you please; this show can be enjoyed by all five moral AND physical senses. Laura Wettlaufer? Hey, I just said “wet,” and we could use some wet. That’d be a majors help.

Don’t mind me. I’m just trying to justify another few minutes in Starbucks, because I’m looking at the alternative just beyond the threshold, and it’s gonna be nasty nasty nasty when I brave it.

Say, Fagan, you know who else was never going back, to his old school? Pol Pot.

Our old boy the other Donald is back out on tour with a band you’ve never heard of at venues you’ve never heard of, either, supposedly because he’d be broke as fuck otherwise (what do they ever do with their money when they have some?), but we can safely say that he came out of the seventies looking better than Structural Kill Piggy did by rattling Ho Chi Minh and the crew so badly that they rolled in and put a stop to it, making themselves look like the good guys in the safely bespectacled eyes of sober international human rights observers. To his credit, Pol Pot was not involved in the production of Blues Beach. Some inherent contradictions of capitalism are for real: for example, a free market that could produce music worth playing but instead produces in undue course of time the unbelievably atrocious self-plagiarism of John Fogerty. Sundown, you better take care, if I find you’ve been creeping round my back stairs insulting Nickelback for doing such a thing.

In my darker moments, I fear that the arrogance of the college-educated and the sleaziness of the schools with which they so proudly affiliate themselves will become so overpowering, and the routine opportunities to check this arrogance and sleaze so belligerently foreclosed, that the eventual reaction against them will turn into an uncontrollable crowdsourcing of the Khmer Rouge. The anger towards college as an institution is present, and it’s legitimate. Academia has bullshitted, outright lied to and defrauded, humiliated, and beggared a huge and growing pool of alumni whose expectations of success it deliberately inflated beyond all modesty and reason.

It has inevitably produced a dispossessed former middle class that now stews with anger and resentment and boiling grievance, the bulk of it perfectly well-placed and apt. If I sound cross, read some law school scam blawgs; some of them have a revolutionary tone that wouldn’t have been out of place in debates about British colonialism in the 1770’s or slavery in the 1850’s. For all the utterly tone-deaf, smug, haplessly stuck-up Lacoste turdblossoms that the academy discharges into the world, especially from its elite undergraduate divisions, there are still a few here and there coming down that rude stream who don’t just float along with the flow, and some of these surely have the moral clarity and aptitude to reach a broader, not uniformly educated audience. Disgruntlement with college as an institution comes from diverse motivations and personal experiences, any of which might be united into a common cause by a savvy leader. There are dropouts who couldn’t handle the absurd workloads and extracurricular expectations and the resulting destabilization of their mental health, graduates who are permanently annoyed with the preppy shitheads they’ve had the misfortune of being prevailed upon to take into the core of their social circles during their precious youth, hopeless student debtors with or without job prospects, first-generation students who got robbed blind by frankly criminal for-profit schools, law alumni whose alma maters may or may not be marginally more honest about their job placement statistics than “career institutes” that advertise on daytime television, uneducated people who hate the educated (likely with good cause), those who generally regard universities as dens of scandal (WE ARE!), and a variety of people who adhere to one of the enduring strands of anti-intellectualism and Philistinism in American politics.

The frightening question is who will unite these constituencies, and how. Some of the precedents, like Cesar Chavez and William Jennings Bryan in spite of the monkey business, are better than others, like Charles Coughlin and Andrew Jackson. I’m not kidding when I name Pol Pot as a model. I’m not dumb enough to think that the Cambodian cultural, economic, and civic context in 1975 wasn’t different from ours in the United States in 2017, but the recent colonial atrocities that France had justified with its happy horseshit about a mostly bogus mission civilisatrice is relevant, and Pol Pot’s personal background as an exceptionally well educated man by local standards who had studied in the innermost imperial center certainly is. Woodrow Wilson rebuffing Ho Chi Minh at Versailles was another real swift move, but that son of a bitch resegregated the District of Columbia, so it wasn’t particularly out of character for him to solicitously cater to Whitey across the seas.

We could have had Bernie and Jane Sanders in the White House. Instead we have Donald and Melania Trump, plus the intensifying successive generation of failspawn. But the over-the-top elite anger that Trump has provoked, much of it having nothing to do with the principles that the upset elites swear they cherish, just goes to show why the reaction to elite overreach is and will probably continue to be so extreme. Trump pisses the college set off by disregarding the Constitution and other norms of civil society, but he also pisses them off by half-coherently articulating a reinvigorated industrial policy and being rude to Mika Brzezinski. It’s reasonable to conclude that the upset is coming not from principled patriots but from morally unhinged incumbent crooks who are furious and desperate over a new president who cries foul on them and threatens their sinecures. This isn’t the only reasonable conclusion, but it’s a hell of a lot more reasonable than the assumption that the Clintons, the Bushes, and everyone at National Review have their country’s interests at heart and not their own.

Parallel to the elision of all objections to Donald Trump into an impenetrable mass of Brahmin rage, the same smart set has continued to elide all functions and components of the university into a sacrosanct institutional blur that emits nothing but inchoate assertions of prestige. That’s a hell of a dubious thing to declare sacred, but this is ultimately not a very wise or nuanced crowd. This shit does not come from the academic departments or from the campus nerds; it comes from the development offices, Greek Life (unrecognizable in Greece, a country of Greeks), and, at more #FOOTBALL-oriented institutions, the athletic programs. The nuances are easily lost, though, just as they’re designed to be; these fuckers didn’t muddy the waters for clarity.

Academia is begging for a violent pushback. This institutional aggression is not something that should go unchecked, nor can it likely go unchecked for long. Most workaday Americans’ points of contact with the elite gatekeeping apparatus are with college-educated professionals and petty functionaries, many of whom have atrociously condescending or even hostile attitudes. Mass education hasn’t dispossessed anyone, but mass credentialing very much has, and the streets know it.

The solution, in addition to the mass cancellation or repudiation of student debt, is to return the rudeness. Publicly proclaiming an institutional affiliation with any school noticeably more prestigious than a state directional school should be made socially painful. Just as the wealthy were driven physically into the depths of the woods during the Great Depression in flight from furious proletarians, the college-educated should be mortified for going out in public with swag from their fancy schools. That should be as utterly embarrassing for them as it would be to hang out at the train depot wearing a mustard-stained Batman T-shirt like a retard. No, more embarrassing. Honest retardation is harmless enough; there’s nothing honest or down-to-earth about these shitheads. They should confess their institutional affiliations as openly as a crackhead who’s trying to keep up appearances among the sober confesses his debt to the Italians downtown. College boy needs to become an insult again. Elite higher education is already poisonous to its host society, so there should be an undeniable taint upon the names of its institutions.

I don’t personally have the balls to make this happen, but maybe some of you do. Help a cracker out. Reclaim the quorum from these pieces of shit. The better alternatives include Boston-style school busing, this time irrespective of race, and Yanqui Chavismo. The worse ones would make Robert Pickton feel unenterprising.

Shitting on the sidewalk in downtown San Diego helps, too. Respect. I’m already in circumstances that force me to savor the bad flavors. Let’s share the wealth with the wealthy.

Much Coherent. Wow.

Bumper sticker crops even more obnoxious than the one chronicled in this classic Success is Overrated shortread are too common in hip parts of Oregon to be worth mentioning, but today I saw one in Salem hat blew the prevailing liberal layer of smug the fuck out with a countervailing smugfront from the sniveling hard right, including:

–Scott Walker for Governor (Oregon tags, so yeah, some real authentic Wisconsin values right there);

–PALIN;

–“I have noticed that everyone who is against abortion has been born.” Ronald Reagan;

–Restore the Constitution, a Hillsdale College project;

–Some shit from Reagan about liberty being forever only a generation from disappearing because we stop defending it and stuff (written next to a portrait of Chief Sundown, in any event, but too trite to be worth confirming attribution):

–I Support Our President/God Bless the USA.

I didn’t take an exhaustive inventory, but that was the gist: two governors whose actual political records are at nearly total cross-purposes, one of them having since erased her own record to go on wingnut welfare; a campaign to defend the US Constitution by aggressively subverting it on behalf of religion by means of positive law; a cowardly, servile profession of structural Lewinsky towards a head (heh) of state and government whose very title was meant by those originally conferring it to humble its holder, literally the presiding executive, with a reminder of his office’s tenuousness; some happy horseshit about liberty from a bullshitter who would legislate it away for nothing more than a few dozen electoral votes captured from Mr. Peanut; and, from the same shamblingly ill-concealed Alzheimer’s case whose production of war movies had convinced him that he’d actually gone to war, a dimwitted gradeschooler’s moral logic about abortion.

Faux-conservative, i.e. lying reactionary, elements have had most of a lifetime to erase Reagan’s record as Governor of California, which included not only taking the guns away from the colored folk and incidentally removing a number of them beyond the pale but also signing the most liberal laws on divorce (hence the future White House astrologer, Air Force One dispatcher, and drug scold) and abortion, which Reagan supported even though he’d never been one. The reactionaries have had a bit less than my total time of political awareness to date to fabricate their old boy’s presidency so that it now excludes some of the most active and gracious diplomacy in US history and also Ollie North’s little Hispanopersian thang, to which Visions of a Sunset pleaded psychotic instead of guilty or justified. His heart told him that he dindu nuffin vis-a-vis the assault rifles and the beards and the hostages and the death squads, but the facts told him otherwise. #TheMoreYouKnow. Sarah Palin needed only a few months to convince the same constituency that she had not possibly governed Alaska from the left with the lockstep support of the entire Democratic Caucus and over the fuming objections of most of her fellow Republicans. Mama Grizzly didn’t take shit from the oil companies, unless by “shit” we mean billions of dollars of extra royalties. In the Simpsonian parlance, she made them give the state its fucking stuff.

Rolling #TCOT doesn’t admire these two for having done anything halfway sensible or productive or competent or accommodating of bickering factions. It admires them for talking all bogus on the boob tube and throwing red meat into their lion pit. That’s how Reagan and Palin end up on the same Jeep panel (nicer and newer Jeep than it looked, I suspect) alongside Scott Walker, who is an absolute, unrelenting antisocial piece of shit. Battle Bob, pray for us. You or I can give countless hours of reflection to the moral and practical nuances of abortion, only to see it undone in the public discourse by some opportunistic shitbird from the movies splashing into the fray with scripted comments that are borderline retarded for an adult. I’ve given more thought to abortion just by stumbling across some Chesterton one-liners on Facebook than Twilight in America betrayed during his presidency, to judge from his loyal survivors.

That motherfucker didn’t give the appearance of giving a shit. Instead, like the Big Dog a few years later, but more subtly and behind the scenes, he put a wet finger to the wind (*Big Lewinsky Voice* Hey baby, need to wet it again?) and sussed out a triangulation strategy that allowed him to peel a few states’ worth of authoritarian godbotherers away from Jimmy Carter (whose appeal to a very broad swath of evangelical Christians, especially in the South, has been smeared out of the popular histories) and then successfully double down four years later by not fucking up in the face of a generally improved national economy and an increasingly hapless Democratic Party. Pretty effective for a guy who visibly sundowned during a televised debate in 1984, I have to say. Some liberal media not to point that out, too, but look at how little they’ve actually pointed out about the Donald, including the possibility that he has a negative net worth and the verified truths that he is not a successful businessman and that his book about his dealmaking prowess is vanity press bullshit that he paid a not particularly self-respecting publishing industry mercenary to ghostwrite.

In what otherworldly dimension is this collection of lying, amoral, inflammatory shysters respectable? What the hell of anything that they do is worth supporting? Donald Trump won’t even stick to his guns when a solid majority of his constituents agree with his avowed gut feeling that it’s past time to leave Afghanistan to its own devices. Then there’s his increasingly shrill and provocative commentary on Confederate apologist imagery and those who publicly cherish it. He’s pandering to the neosecesh and fellow-traveling violent trash because they’re his target market for MAGA merch. This fuckhead is willing to literally provoke the start of a civil war because that helps him sell his line of ball caps. The Russia stuff is the liberal Benghazi, but his catering to his own personal brand in the face of imminent threats to public safety and order is an obvious impeachable offense, a turducken of public corruption, dereliction of duty, and deliberate endangerment of the public for profit. Meanwhile he’s bleeding the Secret Service dry and running its agents into the ground even harder than usual by making them fly all over hell with him and his horrific coterie of spouse and spawn, every one of them working some sleazy profit angle at great public expense.

Trump has a history of vicious public bigotry dating back decades, or at least a public appearance of bigotry (the hang-the-bastards invective he published about the Central Park rape suspects was reprehensible), but he probably believes the Night They Drove Old Dixie Down horseshit as wholeheartedly as Reagan believed whatever crap the Moral Majority wanted to hear from him. Maybe these guys believe their own bullshit; maybe these are method acting performances gone totally out of control. This is more likely with Many Sides, who lacks the breadth of experience and training in professional acting that Goodnight Simi Valley enjoyed and used to such political benefit. There is a suite of self-disciplines that Reagan cultivated as a screen actor and Trump, who simply played himself, did not. Reagan discharged the public speaking responsibilities of their office using his long-honed craft; Trump simply discharges all over the place.

So what does that bling-flashing Queens bullshit artist actually think about Marse Bob and Stonewall and that whole gang? Probably not a hell of a lot, in any sense. Jefferson Davis was savaged by his own Confederate planter contemporaries as an intractably disagreeable piece of shit, but that’s the last thing a blowhard like Donald Trump knows about the Recent Unpleasantness. He latched onto the Lost Cause nonsense almost out of nowhere over the summer, probably because Chad Wealthingrape and the boys down at UVA were giving him shout-outs (shouts-out?) and buying his hats. His declaration of common cause with the postindustrial underemployed, by contrast, feels ancient. (Gin and Tacos has a strong counterpoint, very much worth reading, here.)

Many would argue that the difference between Trump and Reagan is that Reagan had principles to forsake, but they’re both so deep in the bullshit that I don’t feel like trying to conclude anything about this. The idea that Reagan had a Road to Damascus experience coinciding conveniently with his campaign for national office during a time of increasing establishmentarian revanchism isn’t awfully plausible, but he was far too skilled and confident a communicator to get tripped up by his being a divorcé remarried to a doofus whose fascination with dime-store occult nonsense was too trippy for the New Age Democrats, not just too heretical for the positive-law godbotherers taking over the Republican Party. Similarly, or maybe more so, the idea of Trump suddenly developing a personal interest in the mail-order statues on the South’s town squares in his seventies right as a bunch of aspiring Klansmen were ramping up their rally schedule doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense.

The real question may be just how much of the American public actually believes any of this garbage, and how reliably this portion votes. The crazy reliably jacks up turnout, so there’s definitely some amplification. The Republican primary electorate is neither representative of nor very much of the electorate at large, but just look at the floaters it churned up last year who barely lost to Trump. And I’m not trying to imply that I’ve stopped considering the Democratic Party a smoldering trash barge in its own right, or Hillary Clinton its terminally grandiose captain.

Either way, to quote Richard Nixon, perhaps verbatim: Christ, Bob, we’re fucked.

Total eclipse of the head

Working over the summer in an area that will be under totality and keeping an ear on the radio, with and (preferentially) without Annnnnngellllllla Kelllllnnnnerrrrrr, has given me as much advance notice as anyone on the mess that’s expected to descend on Oregon this weekend for the eclipse. It sounded like a huge clusterfuck was on the way north, so I got out of Dodge on Thursday and started south. As I left the area, there had already been a couple of horrible rural traffic jams around Prineville, but every time I’ve checked Google Maps traffic since, the area looks pretty clear, so maybe the hippie importation into the Ochoco National Forest is mostly complete. KLCC had some ranch owner and real estate magnate on to brag about how his redneck values of self-reliance and grit forced him to do business with hippies in order to make ends meet in tight times, hence his inviting the organizers of upcountry Burning Man onto his property, which is miles from the nearest street address. Dude probably ain’t as strapped for cash as he makes himself out to be, but as Greg Gianforte would say, bullshitting city slickers about such things is the Montana Way.

On my way south, I stopped in Bend, a badly underrated city, as it fell under the pall of smoke from a huge wildfire west of Sisters. I had a panoramic view of the smoke coming across on Highway 20 and then got to savor the flavor for 150 miles. Hours after I left Bend, this jumped a containment line and prompted the closure of Highway 242, the windy mountain cutoff between Sisters and McKenzie Bridge. This is frankly a minor example of the shit I’ve been fearing. An active fire season is always possible in Oregon, and we’ve been having one this year. The more I think about it, the more relieved I am that 242 got closed days before the eclipse: a mass evacuation of flatlanders from the path of an oncoming fire in such rugged terrain along such a windy road would very likely have gotten people killed, quite possibly by the hundreds. Dozens of mostly local residents were killed earlier this year in Portugal when a forest fire that they were trying to flee burned over the road that they were trying to use as an evacuation road and trapped them in their cars, and that was in much more prosaic, normal circumstances that Oregon is expecting for the eclipse.

One of the reasons why I left was that I was worried about a mass-casualty fire scene even worse than that. I’m still a bit worried, but less so, since the traffic jams aren’t as bad as I was expecting. The northbound traffic I saw on my way south was heavy but orderly and not jammed up, and the timing of the eclipse, on the Monday morning of what many tourists will be able to make into a three-day weekend, should limit the rush the day and night before. The Monday afternoon exodus is still expected to be a zoo, though, and I’m glad to avoid that. I’d only get in the damn way. Nor did I relish the idea of sticking around an area where the last two rooms I could find, at a property that I often book for sixty or seventy dollars a night, were going for $1,399, plus generous taxes and fees.

I’m still trying to plan a trip to see the eclipse, but wicked inland, probably in Idaho. Napoleon Dynamite Country shouldn’t attract as many freaks and idiots as the Left Coast. Maybe I’m naive, but no matter how embarrassingly crunchy Western Montana is, it doesn’t have the sheer population to disgorge into Rexburg and Idaho Falls that California has available for John Day. Sensible Mormons seem like a good idea in times like these, and the Wasatch Front has many such cases. Better to have them colonize the eclipse path than the hippie swarm. They tend to bathe.

It isn’t just a matter of avoiding potentially contagious Anglo-Saxonisms such as the itch, the twitch, the mange, and the grunge. The dirty motherfuckers who choose to harbor such wonders (and the traveling ones are moneyed enough that it indeed is a fucking choice) are, as they say in activist communities, intersectional with the carriers of woo-woo. From what I’m hearing, a total eclipse is really worth watching, but I’d rather watch it with Mormon breeders who stockpile canned goods in a bunker than with healing crystals assholes. All the New Age bullshit is about to flood interior Oregon from Ashland and Nevada City and Santa Cruz, in an almost biblical sense, and I’ve had enough of that crap already. If you haven’t been exposed to it, you probably have no idea how fucking obnoxious it all is. The ideas that these losers have about the eclipse have to be UFC heavyweight wrestler fucking dropkicked that dumb bitch I did insane. I get the gist of it and can tell at a glance that it’s all retarded, so I really don’t need the details.

I don’t need another helping of the wholegrain vegan pancakes, either. Mixing whole wheat flour, olive oil, baking soda, oatmeal, and water into a batter (sic, and adequately sickening) might seem like a great idea to someone who also believes in “neurolinguistic programming” (Major Bones: “You realize, all that means is learning how to talk! Oh my God!”) and scatters affirmations that “EVERY DAY, IN EVERY WAY, I AM GETTING RICHER” around the house while snacking on rotten lettuce all afternoon. The Family Shrew earned her epithet in part by being a pushy bitch about how such a lifestyle would be edifying for me, too, and really for everyone. I have never figured out whether the nasty salad mix snacks (without dressing, because that woman knows how to wander out of her fucking mind) were entirely a health cult discipline or had something to do with her and Joe Dirtbag not being able to afford groceries at times when my dad had been giving them tens of thousands of dollars.

So, no, I do not want to go watch some special lunar shit with this crowd. It sounds miserable. It’s bad enough that I can’t reschedule it for a year not featuring a secular high in socioeconomic inequality in the OECD and an allegedly liberal Neo-Victorian IFL Science bourgeoisie that wants to tell the poor how to live and is successfully turning Donald Trump into the Millennium’s William Jennings Bryan as well as its FDR. There was a big-ass eclipse in 1888, too, during the Gilded Age. Back then all the fashionable moral people were open eugenicists who expected their breakfast cereals to double as laxatives and triple as masturbation suppressors. That’s where science got J. H. Kellogg. One fucking loves it. Everyone who wanted a cut of his money for research had to pretend that he wasn’t batshit insane for going to the zoo to watch chimpanzees shit and taking notes. #GorillaMindset. Grant writers today have to pretend that Uber isn’t a mashup of COINTELPRO, Dr. Mengele from the psychology department, and 38 Special Vinny from the taxicab racket, that there isn’t anything wrong with Elon Musk for wanting to colonize Mars and run a maglev pneumatic tube from New York to Washington at a time when no level of government in the United States has the wherewithal to fund a third heavy rail bore under the Hudson into Penn Station, and that Ashton Kutcher and Nicholas Jesus D. Kristof are international authorities on forced brothel labor, coextensive and coterminous with all sex work because they say so.

Shit, white boy. I haven’t even gotten to all the flak that the poor take for being fat. The eclipse is sure to be another excuse for people who expose entire communities to measles because Jenny McCarthy says vaccines are giving their brats autism to accuse churchgoing Christians of superstition. Okay, some cool shit is happening with the sun and the moon, but it doesn’t give some asshole who dicks around on the NASA website grounds to make fun of snake-handling holy rollers for being ignorant and backwards (they know a thing or two about animals, after all), and it doesn’t give some other asshole the dispensation to swirl a fucking amethyst crystal in front of my third eye. I say this as someone who took the plunge and went through with RCIA in order to avoid taking the literal plunge into the bathtub of a wacko cradle Catholic turned hardline Missouri Synod Lutheran/straight-up John Knox Presby hellfire preacher who wanted to summarily baptize me at a soiree that he was hosting.

I’m wary of zealots because I’ve gotten mixed up with a few. There are only two words that I need repeat about my institutional experience with Dickinson College: GO DIPLOMATS! Seriously, I’ve considered actually donating to Gettysburg and F&M just to spite the development office shitheads and the cult horde that they indoctrinate. It’d probably be a five spot, but I’d make damn sure that it’s enough to get my name on a published donor list. The eclipse already has the IFL Science community preening about its own superiority to uneducated religious ignoramuses who don’t fucking love science, so, yes, I’d rather go to Idaho Falls and see if any of the LDS MILF’s made some extra Jello salad. Remember: more sister wives means more recipes.

It also occurs to me that maybe Mormon eclipse-watchers in flyover country are Safety Bear enough not to start wildfires by driving on the grass. John Waters is full of shit about America being able to take in more people because there’s so much space, but there is something to be said for getting into a relatively unpopulated part of the country on a weekend when the populated part where I’ve been working is going to have a wildebeest stampede of flatlanders into climatic and vegetation regimes that they dangerously fail to understand.

There’s definitely something to be said for being rational about this stuff, to doing some real planning and trying to steer clear of those who don’t. The Boy Scouts taught me about more than just Chesterfield. Much of what we did there was retarded, but not all of it was. The BSA isn’t exactly an organization of heteronormative neurotypicality, so Our Lord Joseph’s Servant Gerald applying the DENNIS Method to one’s Heartland under its auspices shouldn’t come as a total surprise, but it did teach us some extremely useful things about gun and knife safety and wilderness survival when it wasn’t handing out merit badges like candy to anyone who spent a week at camp weaving dumbass kit baskets. In retrospect, I side with the kid who got frustrated and threw his basket into the campfire. Those who aren’t into arson can learn much from the BSA about how not to accidentally start fires. It isn’t a good place to send Jim DiMaggio or Sexy Male Code Enforcement Officer Lynn Rader for training (God, not another DENNIS Method), but the worst boys I encountered through it were average bullies or whiny little twerps, not psychopaths.

It’s true that none of my recurring memes are bad by BSA standards. It’s true that what’s most grievously missing from its camps are the camp whores. That sounds like an American Pie sequel, but prostitution would actually cut down on the juvenile bullshit, and it’s a lot more realistic than amateur hour with Mrs. Robinson. These boys aren’t about to get it on with Stacy’s Mom; I was one of them, and I know that we did not got it going on.

It’s a weird damn organization, Rex Tillerson being one of the exceptions that proves the rule, but as I said, it managed to teach some of us some good shit, and the people I’m trying to avoid in Oregon this weekend include ones who never got the personal hygiene merit badge. That’s the one you get by coming out of the bath not smelling like shit. Left-liberals can have a moral sense of purity, too, bitch. People who smell bad after they bathe offend mine, and they overlap significantly with idiots who start fires by driving on dry grass, smoke being another source of offensive impurity, but you know what they say: haters gonna haidt.