Death cult

The Democratic Party’s awesome corruption, contempt for its own voters, and dysfunction as an opposition might be amusing if the major party opposite it weren’t an absolute horror show. We, the people to which the elected are answerable, were denied a decent choice among the two viable presidential candidates last year.

For that reason alone I’m unmoved by all the apoplexy directed at third-party voters who refused to be sheepdogged. Clinton as the only bulwark against Trump was a fucking disgrace, and so, increasingly so as his administration unfolds, was Trump as the only bulwark against Clinton. I seriously considered voting for Trump before bunking down on the Stein Steamer for the last week or two, and I probably would have voted for him had I been registered in a swing state. A close Republican friend of mine voted for Gary Johnson in spite of the “What is Aleppo?” moment, which appalled him, because he believed that Trump was a usurper of the party’s leadership. Another Republican friend told me, “I voted for Clinton and immediately felt bad about it afterwards.” Both of these guys are lifelong Pennsylvanians, so it was other, more downmarket, sorts who got the Trump Train over the hill there. They both have politics that I’m sure would be harmful to the country if scaled up, but they’re true class acts, and I was especially offended by the prospect of the reluctant Clinton voter believing that he had no option but to support someone he abhorred because the only alternative looked even worse.

I don’t think it’s too much to demand that politicians offer us a positive reason to show up and vote for them. If voters individually conclude that the best thing they can do with their vote is to support the least of the evils, I’m fine with that, but I don’t take well to being ordered how to vote. Nope, that’s my decision to make as an individual, because the franchise is granted to the individual, as I’ve been arguing since 2004, when friends in the Newman Club were advancing what amounted to the collectivization of the franchise on behalf of the Catholic Church. I take my individual duty as a voter seriously and go into it as maturely and well-informed as I can; if other individual voters are frivolous or ignorant in their voting habits, that ain’t my damn problem. I don’t mind positive arguments on behalf of a candidate I despise and distrust, even Hillary, but barking at me how to vote? Fuck off, champ.

It’s surprising in retrospect that I caught such flak from establishment Democrats for withholding my vote from Abuela and none from Magaland, which was teeming with creepy authoritarians. I guess it was because I was an apostate from the Democratic Party cult (which I had never actually joined in the first place; I had compelling policy reasons to campaign for John Kerry). It’s easy to lose sight of what a recent development the incursion of cult authoritarians into the mainstream of the Democratic Party has been. Historically, the Democrats have been the undisciplined, disorganized, easy-come easy-go party, repeatedly floundering before the Republican war machine. Funny thing, though: when they tried to go full Churchill on every Republican beach last year, they fucking choked.

What is “Wisconsin?”

One of the morals here is that it’s really tricky to fight fire with fire. Voters figured the Democrats were out to burn them, too, and that if they wanted that they’d have taken a creepy firebug ex-lover in Spanaway. That’s barely on topic, but it’s more fun than anything you’ll hear from the centrists, and you’d be a brame fool to think otherwise. No, the Democratic Party is not, dare we say, sound. This prattle will end when it feels like ending, and it’s still going to show the perezidential faction to be a bunch of out-of-touch retards. *Shit. Shit. Shit.* Voters may trust a campaign that’s businesslike if has a decent conception of the public business (Sanders), but we don’t much care for a campaign that can’t take a joke, can’t make a joke, and treats us, the constituents it’s trying to win, as the joke. That’s why it’s generally a good thing when the candidate who goes on Ellen to do the nae-nae loses, and to resalt that beautiful wound, yes, Virginia, she fucking lost.

But to what? That’s the sick part. I was eager to give the Donald the benefit of the doubt, a chance to show that he was governing in the public interest. Maybe the honeymoon lasted longer than it should have, but it’s looking pretty bad now. Trump got over the top by appealing to distressed, disgruntled workaday voters with gushing talk of populist restraints on big business. By this standard alone, ignoring all the civil liberties and due process violations of his administration (especially on immigrants), he’s a failure. He was not elected to have some corporate shitbird at the FCC repeal net neutrality rules. That did not happen.

Steve Bannon, for all his faults, has been out for months, and with him his advocacy for a more cohesive core American society. The social fabric has been fraying so badly and for so long that someone had to step in and point the way towards its reinforcement. Bannon filled a void that the neoliberal corporatocracy deliberately created. Having the hubris to assume that such a vacuum is sustainable doesn’t make it so, and sure enough, it’s a vacuum no more. Natural law enforces itself in due course of time, and Bannon happened to be the instrument closest at hand when that time came.

But, again, he’s out, so positive law and military-industrial complex hubris are back. And Bannon led just one of several bickering factions within the Trump administration, the rest of them flagrantly venal. GOP establishment crooks were never going to do anything good for the country, and neither were a Stepford Wife like Ivanka, the inbred Don-Don and Eric duo, and the ridiculous Anthony Scaramucci in the family business and cronies faction. This is presumably why we keep business separate from family.

Then there’s Donald Trump’s own raging bigotry. The guy isn’t just foul; he actually looks insane.

Ronald Reagan dogwhistled to the worst elements of the Hard South by starting his 1980 campaign with a speech on states’ rights in Mississippi, the Clintons dogwhistled more subtly but also more destructively, and even Mocha Haole crudely played the good cop to the usual squad of bad cops in his efforts at Community policing, but no matter how vile they were, they had a strong appearance of self-control, of not entirely believing their own bullshit. They were deploying talking points to pander to evil but influential elements of the electorate, so there was at least a faint hope that they might be won over to less evil stances if the political winds shifted or towards discreet moderation if they were given some cover.

Trump, in stark contrast, is constantly fuming unfiltered about the craziest, most reprehensible chain e-mail urban legends and news-talk hoaxes. If he didn’t actually believe this shit, he wouldn’t carry on about it on a social media account that he personally operates. This is separate from his habit of dissing other celebrities and politicians. This is the shit everyone’s deranged, dubiously employable uncle does. Pandering to bigots is reprehensible, but it’s a rational response to bad incentives, so strong counterincentives can be used to limit it. This is different. The highest elected official in the land is constantly mouthing off with his schizoid delusions of persecution. The fucking President of the United States of America is acting like all the paranoid authoritarian assholes who go on Twitter to report leftist shitposters to the Secret Service account and post pictures of Jeff Sessions under the caption “Court is in Session.” (Wrong: he’s just the AG, dumbass; his own horrified colleagues shot down his bid for that federal judgeship.)

This is a crisis of leadership far worse than impulsive rudeness. It isn’t just bad manners. It isn’t just a breach of horseshit Sorkinian norms. It’s a genuine governing crisis. The chief executive of an imperial juggernaut of over three hundred million residents is showing overt signs of mental incompetency and incapacitation. Worse, the batshit insane behavior in question has been normalized, in large part because the president himself is allowed to engage in it without consequence. Congress has not brought articles of impeachment against him on the basis that he’s behaving rashly and belligerently towards innocent parties and blatantly out of his goddamn mind.

But why would it? Trump is the first Fox News president (as well as the first Extremely Online president), but his party, which controls Congress, loves it some Fox News. If they’re comfortable showing their hand so promiscuously, it’s probably because they’ve already normalized every noxious thought process and behavior in question and assume that their constituents consider it all equally normal.

Fume all you like about Trump, because the bottom line is that he’d be neutralized if he were presiding opposite a Democratic or hostile Republican Congress. If Congress actually took an adversarial stance towards him (as so longwindedly encouraged in so many of our nation’s founding documents) he’d be a mere nuisance, and he might well no longer be in office. Congress has the authority to remove the President, whose very title of office was chosen by the framers of the Constitution to convey its tenuousness. The president merely presides over the government from the executive branch; he does not reign or command. The framers hoped that Congress wouldn’t frivolously or lightly remove presidents from office, but they also made it explicit that they considered it a congressional duty to hold presidents accountable as coequal officials, not be subservient to their majesty. Congress obviously has the constitutional prerogative and duty to impeach and remove unfit presidents. If a critical mass of its members determine that the sitting President is unfit for office, they’re completely within their rights to haul his ass up to Capitol Hill and say, listen, dipshit, you do not get an entire term to act like a fucking shit-flinging paranoid schizophrenic in public, because that is not within the scope of your office.

As so often is the case, hardly anyone in power actually gives a shit about principles or norms. Trump’s bizarre outbursts have been so normalized on the right that they’re hardly even an embarrassment to his fellow Republicans. Let’s not kid ourselves: Clinton got impeached by Democrats for being an embarrassment and by Republicans (including our old boy J. Denny Dundiddly) for being a cheap and easy target, so if the GOP Congressional Caucus decides that his bullshit has gotten tiresome and off-brand for the party, they know where to find the levers to catapult his ass back to Mar-a-Lago.

The Republican Caucus tolerates Trump because he and his people cooperate with their grotesque, brazen agenda of nihilistic evil. That’s what the Republican Party has become. Formerly a party of stewards, it is now a party of murderers, rapists, slavers, kidnappers, and vandals. Reagan had a vindictively destructive side, especially vis-à-vis labor unions, and this was excruciatingly ironic and hypocritical for a former SAG president, but even at his worst, shitcanning PATCO en masse and standing back while private capital busted meatpackers’ unions across the Midwest, he was positively restrained and public-spirited compared to those who have come after him in his name.

It’s never the real pirates who hoist the Jolly Roger. We’ve mentioned net neutrality already. Ajit Pai and his crew are obviously out to help the trusts shake down the public for access to infrastructure that was funded and built by DARPA. The Republicans are the ones who tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a working replacement, endangering the lives of sick infants, special-needs patients, and every other medically vulnerable population that the Republican Party’s own sincerely pro-life constituency spends its own energy and treasure protecting to the best of its ability. It’s overwhelmingly Republican politicians who have sandbagged Medicaid expansion at the state level and tried to repeal it at the federal level.

It’s the GOP, inevitably, that is now trying to force through its fresh hell of a tax “reform” bill. Student interest will no longer be deductible, but private jet costs will. This is more nihilism. The Republicans are up on their burn down the ivory tower bullshit again. Anti-intellectualism generally comes from a place of nihilism, and this crew is really vicious about it. They aren’t looking to oversee federal grants to universities more closely; they’re looking to force an already grievously indebted alumni population even deeper into crushing student debt and indiscriminately cut off grant funding wherever they can out of spite.

There are a couple of huge problems here. First, the student debt: 44 million Americans carry student debt, a number eerily close to the 46 or so million who were reported as going without medical insurance during the Clinton Administration. If lenders are in trouble with this class of debt because it’s bad (they in fact are not, and it isn’t), why the hell isn’t it their problem for not having done due diligence? Unsecured loans to people with no apparent marketable skills and no personal assets based on unpredictable future earnings? It’s no wonder the lenders leaned on Congress, including Delaware charlatan Uncle Joe, to exclude student loans from federal bankruptcy protections. This way they get to skip the risk and skim the interest, which is usurious enough to cover a hell of a lot more delinquency than has hit the market so far.

More broadly, though, there’s the nihilism of trying to burn down the academy because it happens to harbor some people one finds annoying, antagonistic, and, supposedly, not adequately useful to society. If we’re looking for jawboning wankers who have no marketable skills, there’s no reason to go on a damn college tour when there’s a Metro Station and long-distance passenger rail and bus terminal a couple of blocks from the US Capitol. Do these assholes have any sense of irony?

Sure, there are wankers and bullshitters in academia. No shit, Sherlock. Anyone who pays attention to federal expenditures, though, knows that they’re marginal, mostly harmless, and kept afloat at a relatively inconsequential public expense. They could be working on the F-35 clusterfuck instead, or riding the maritime demolition derby circuit with the Seventh Fleet.

Must we actually throw the baby out with the bathwater by collectively punishing entire universities just to spite a few losers in humanities cul-de-sacs who are already regarded as embarrassing ne’er-do-wells by their more rigorous and accomplished peers? By Paul Ryan’s reckoning, we most certainly must. That pig-ignorant thieving piece of shit won’t be happy unless we, generally his intellectual superiors, are made to feel pain for no reason. Does that fucker have a science or math background? Does he know how to do long division?

A reasonable response of good faith to concerns about government waste would be to go up to Capitol Hill and hand out 7-Eleven applications. That’s where most of Congress would be working if they had gotten ahead in life by their own merits, assuming they hadn’t been fired years ago. The brightest bulbs don’t go into politics, certainly not in a political climate as ridiculous as ours today. The least we can demand of them is that they have the humility to recognize that they are setting law and policy for people who include their unambiguous intellectual superiors, both in government and out. That clown crew doesn’t have what it takes to work for the FAA or to do crop or climate science research at the University of Nebraska. The decent among them admit as much and act with a fitting modesty, but the last thing anyone can expect of the average congressman is decency and the modesty to go with it.

I’d say that we should send these assholes down into the Metro tunnels after hours to scrape the hair and dandruff and shit off the third rails for fire prevention, but I respect railroad maintenance of way crews too much to send a bunch of worse-than-useless jawboning shitbirds over to get in the way of people who work for a living. This is why we have public assistance: to marginalize those who will inevitably fuck everything up if they engage.

I’m just trying to do right by my great-grandfather here. The union allowed him to raise my grandmother and her siblings in a stable lower-middle-class existence because it shook the damn cash out of the Union Pacific’s pockets. If tamping iron accidents are going to be a tradition, then, they might as well stop happening to the front of the head of some poor bastard like Phineas Gage and start happening to critical parts of the back of the heads of, say, Sam Brownback and Kris Kobach.

Brandenburg, bitch. Tough shit if that got y’all sunflower salty.

What’s the matter with Kansas is the matter with a lot more than just Kansas. The government is the only reason the railroad ever did a thing to keep us safe. Besides, I’m not getting anyone hurt by playing Fantasy Industrial Accident, which is noticeably safer than real professional football. Holler back at me from Congress when Americans are no longer dying because they’re rationing their insulin to make ends meet.

Advertisements

Spanksgiving in the State of Jackoffson

It’s starting to look like Thanksgiving Day will be a workday for me. Today has already been a workday, making Saturday my Monday, or some such shit. Answer me, Dowager: what is a “week-end?” For, as usual, this is not work in the normal modern American sense. What I did this morning was a bit less than two hours of reclamation work on the jungly shit that Joe Dirtbag abandoned for twenty-plus years. Pretty much all of what I reclaimed today was regrowth in areas that I’d cut back last year, but I’ve beaten a slash path back to the edge of the serious thicket, and other than being worried that Joe Dirtbag might show up earlier than I expected and I might have to explain myself to him, it wasn’t too hard. It’s strenuous, but I find it perfectly manageable. I’d be able to put a serious dent into the abandoned vine rows if I spent a concerted full workday at it. Depending on how thick the growth is, I can hack out anywhere from probably six to twenty feet per hour, and that’s with nothing more than a pair of pocket pruning shears. I rarely even bring gloves: not the smartest move, and a disgrace to the Boy Scouts’ oath of preparedness, but my God, Chesterfield, it isn’t that bad to get pricked a bit now and then.

Heh, I just said “prick.” Giggity.

Nobody will be assigning me to do a lick of work on Thanksgiving Day, but Joe Dirtbag will be cooking and jawboning at home most of the day, so I’ll have the space and freedom to sneak back onto his property, since I’m already funding it, and damned if I’ll spend another high holiday being bullshitted by that seedy crew even if they invited me. They’ve blown it with me a few too many times. I’m not sure that I’ll do more bush clearing work on Thanksgiving, but it’ll be a rare long block of daylight when I’ll be pretty sure that JD will be absent, and I’m not eager enough to try to score an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner with any other family or family friends on the West Coast.

What I’m doing isn’t George W. Bush-style cowboy-ass horseshit. It’s partly a way to get some exercise and have something to do, but it’s also progress on a decades-long backlog of work that will make the farm that I’m still funding a less total disaster. Joe Dirtbag was a dissembling sack of shit to say that he was maintaining the berry thickets as bird habitat. Every fucking disingenuous NIMBY shitheel from Bend clear west to the water’s edge has a sob story about the birds. It’s usually some acre of utterly unexceptional oak scrub in an already developed patchwork of exurban mansion tracts a quarter mile from mile upon mile of wilderness that no one has any plans to develop; in JD’s case, it was a couple of thickets of invasive weeds growing every which way over vineyard blocks that he’d abandoned a stone’s throw from a riparian greenbelt that he long ago put into perpetual wildland easement.

What he was really trying to do, I assume, was to Tom Sawyer me into more unpaid work in his death trap of a winery so that he’d have plenty of black market wine for that dipshit radiologist to bootleg into California. No fucking thanks. He screwed the pooch the last time I showed up to help him by mouthing off about Busboy and that cop. Busboy seems to be a lazy derelict, but the way to deal with a lazy derelict isn’t to squeeze him for rent on a blantantly uninhabitable junkyard, harass him for not doing enough unpaid work, and yell crazy shit about an on-duty cop who is conducting official business on one’s property. Besides, Busboy mostly keeps to himself. A derelict who is living peaceably in squalor that his landlord won’t do a goddamned thing to abate doesn’t owe the landlord a fucking thing.

JD would have a case that Busboy is an obstruction to the businesslike operation of his farm and that his curtilage is an eyesore if he cleaned up his own piles of dirty ramshackle shit and brought the farm into compliance with 1930’s rural electrification standards, but he doesn’t. He has jack shit for moral or legal authority as the rent-seeking proprietor of Twenty-First Century Tobacco Road. This shit would have been backwards and squalid by the standards of functional communities in the 1880’s, but we’re all expected to agree that this is just a harmless steampunk underground or some such nonsense.

This is why I’m always tempted to complain to code enforcement again. We’ve got the Ragin’ Canajun living in an unplumbed shack wired with a daisy chain of outdoor extension cords running across a mud parking lot; Busboy and his old woman (I think) living in a thirty-foot used school bus (an upgrade from the short bus!), also without proper plumbing and wiring; some chick living in an old barn last I heard; and a couple shacked up in a bespoke trailer, tiny house my ass. I’m sleeping in my Focus two or three nights a week again; does that make it a tiny RV? For fuck’s sake no one levels about any of this shit. For reasons that surely reflect badly on the local housing supply and the officials responsible for ensuring its adequacy, we’ve got a community not only living illegally in a farm junkyard but paying the landowner rent for a property that he refuses to properly maintain.

This is an abnormal and unhealthy situation, full stop. If Joe Dirtbag wanted to help these people out, he’d let them crash there for free, just as he did for Mixups in my Mind and Psychotarp. Instead, he hoses them for rent money, so he’s obviously in it for the black market cash flow. He and the Family Shrew got that electrician to rewire their house in exchange for the privilege to move into a garden shed in their front yard after he ran away from their career squatter just up the hill, the paranoid Boomer who has held down something like four months of payroll work in his entire life and has apparently spent the bulk of his sixties tinkering with perpetual motion machines based on fruitcake prepper videos he finds on YouTube. The electrician did this unpaid work on an out-of-state license, meaning that JD and FS will hit my parents up for money to repair or replace their house if their insurance company refuses to pay for fire damage on account of the unlicensed electrical work.

We’re all dysfunctional and disreputable to tolerate this horseshit. I’ve repeatedly failed myself and everyone else who has fallen victim to this shady crap by not doing everything I can to force an end to it. The Insurance Schmuck aptly compared JD to the Master of the House from Les Miserables. JD can be disarmingly charming and chummy with those who don’t challenge him, but if anyone gets into a bad housing situation under his authority and becomes disgruntled, he turns immediately to bog-standard slumlord intimidation tactics. I’m not the only one who knows that he’ll turn ugly on a dime if anyone stands up to him for being a deadbeat or housing paying tenants in illegal squalor.

What I’m trying to do with the rescue weeding jobs, then, is to get the farm into something resembling turnkey condition for when Joe Dirtbag either dies or becomes too decrepit to operate it. I don’t know what the hell I’ll do about the rent extortion, tenant harassment, implicit but unmistakable menacing, and squalor in the meantime. It’s a fucking hellscape. It looks like I’ll have a war on my hands if I try to force him to abide by the law. My dad is petrified that JD will go scorched-earth on their relationship if he follows through on his attorney’s advice and removes himself and my mom as farm investors. I’ve very seriously considered going to the District Attorney’s office, various police agencies, local elected officials, and the local newspapers. If I decide to really cross the Rubicon, I can blow that seedy bastard clear out of the water. I’m still ready to call 911 on him if he gets weird or hostile with me again. If he so enjoys manly showdowns, I don’t see why he can’t have one with a policeman, or with whatever ladies of the law happen to be on duty.

Mind you, all of this is happening in a fairly prosperous part of an exceptionally well-governed state. I’m deliberately coy about where exactly, but that’s really just so that those who might use this stuff against me will have a harder time proving anything. I’m not sure that there are even two dozen people I’d rather keep in the dark about what I’ve written here. And I’m not even really stirring the shit up: I’ve been unreasonably forbearing towards Joe Dirtbag for having only gotten code officials onto his property to bitchslap his deadbeat ass and not having gone on the record to publicly blow the whistle.

This clusterfuck has brought the local socioeconomic situation into rather ugly relief for me. When I first came here, I was downwardly mobile but stably housed. Now I’ve been homeless for years due to the extreme white trash dysfunction and shadiness of relatives who get moneyed friends and relatives to bail them out whenever they fuck up, and I take a financial and social hit every time I come back here to do some more work reclaiming parts of the grossly mismanaged farm that I’m helping fund at a time when I haven’t had a stable place of my own in six years. This isn’t highly skilled work, but it isn’t unskilled, either. I’m able to get shit done because I pay attention and know what I’m doing with plants. I have no difficulty focusing on heavy weeding jobs that would either bore or overwhelm many of my friends. That is, I’m not like Busboy or any of the incorrigible transient losers who hang out downtown using dogs as panhandling props. It’s productive, upstanding work, and I should not be regarded as a ne’er-do-well when I get in there without complaint or prompting and fucking do it. I do this work even though the principal farm operator is out of his damn mind to the point that I’m estranged from him and has bullshit excuses for why he supposedly meant to abandon the vine rows that I’ve been reclaiming.

Meanwhile, someone, probably either Joe Dirtbag or the Ragin’ Canajun, has left well over half a ton of pumpkins in a field to rot. At this point I’ve got plenty of patience for RC to get overwhelmed by his workload and none left for JD. JD’s the one who’s always talking about groovy community shit. He and the Family Shrew are the ones who are all into people helping people, which in this case apparently doesn’t include anyone getting into the field to keep hundreds of pumpkins from going to waste. The pumpkins have usually been JD’s thing, not RC’s, for what it’s worth. He can’t get the crops in for a number of reasons, most of them decisively his fault. He never pays anyone for heavy labor, doesn’t provide a decent toilet, arbitrarily harasses people when they’re working for him at his explicit request, and gives shady deadbeats like Captain Flimflam and clinically insane al fresco outpatients like Psychotarp and Mixups the run of the farm no matter how many times tenants or school group organizers have begged him to do something about them.

I believe RC when he says that JD has shot his credibility with the local labor pool and isn’t the beloved community grandpa that he thinks he is. All he’s got now is the Ragin’ Canajun plus a handful of marginal losers and cheapskates living on his properties. As far as I know he’s been on his own for harvest and crush this year, and frankly I hope that’s actually the case, because he damn well deserves to go shorthanded.

Volunteerism has gone too far around here. We’ve got too many earnest dipshits running around trying to do good when they should be demanding a fucking paycheck as a condition of their showing up. Just today I saw a group of mostly teenagers removing blackberries along some creekbanks. That’s worthy enough work, so why the fuck isn’t the city paying a crew a market wage to pull the damn weeds, which were located on city property? Then there’s the charity woodlot that Joe Dirtbag has allowed to set up shop on a carveout parcel on the edge of his farm, which also had a work bee going this morning. I’ve never seen such fucked up, waterlogged, rotten, useless firewood as the loads JD gave me from the charity lot to use in the winery stove. No one with a shred of sense would pay $80 a cord for that shit.

That’s how the valley gets such bad winter air quality, by the way. Having a bunch of drugstore homesteaders burning wood for frivolous lifestyle purposes doesn’t help, either, but using properly seasoned firewood or pellets in a hot stove cuts down on the amount of soot that’s available to settle in during air inversions. The garbage wood the charity lot somehow finds burns dirty as all hell. The worst chunks are almost as noxious as burning leaves, that classic Pennsylvania asshole falltime tradition.

The government could step into the fray and eliminate the need for this sopping-wet horseshit wood supply by buying some five-dollar bags of wood pellets on a bulk discount and giving them away to poor households on demand. Instead we have a bunch of earnest assholes who know jack shit about firewood out swinging axes all morning because belching the most toxic biomass smoke possible into a stagnant air supply is woke praxis now.

NB: I’m not against providing the poor with free firewood. It’s just that this shit is the equivalent of handing out day-old baloney sandwiches to the poor and pointing out that the mustard is a vegetable. Anyone who isn’t either an idiot or a scumbag can do better than that. These assholes with the woodlot are assuming a completely bogus scarcity mentality. If I can buy high-quality, low-soot stove pellets for five or six dollars a bag at Bi-Mart, what the hell is forcing them to hand out shitty, high-soot firewood that won’t burn properly to the poor and then feel smug all week? I would never offer that shit to someone for use as a fuel supply because I was offended and annoyed when Joe Dirtbag gave me the load that he’d schnorred off the woodlot fuckheads.

Did Tocqueville curse us by chronicling us? Handing out piles of barely combustible charity wood to the poor might have been an advancement in human development in Kentucky in 1835, but it isn’t exactly 1835, and I notice that Oregon is not a part of Kentucky. Hell, any self-respecting Appalachian woodsman would own the shit out of that clown crew for not knowing how to properly hew and season its rounds. Volunteerism and charity can theoretically do some good, but we don’t ask nearly often enough how many of our voluntary and charitable organizations are worth Pot-o-Shit Friend’s housewarming gift. Hey there, American Red Cross!

Nah, that medley of showboating thieves is in it for the money, and there’s a measure of self-respect to be had in running a successful con. I hate to find a group that I respect even less for its charity than the Red Cross, but here we are. If the woodlot posse tried to take my blood, I’d be about as well off having Lynn Majors do the sexy deed.

We’ve got a real problem in this country with being too earnest and cowardly to tell worse-than-useless showboating do-gooders that they’d be less trouble for the rest of us if they spent the morning recreationally heaving logs over a fence. That would be stupid enough, too, but we wouldn’t have to worry about the effects on air quality. And the idea that that charitable happy horseshit is an adequate substitute for government social services is pernicious. When government works, it really is a word for the things we choose to do together. I’m already paying taxes (yes, in Oregon, too), so I’d rather see the money go to pay people decent wages to do decent work than get wasted on nonsense while the workload gets sloughed off onto earnest pushovers, most of whom are utterly fucking clueless and harder for a competent person to supervise than to personally do the damn work.

What I’ve been doing at the farm this week isn’t volunteerism, because I’m done with that shit. It’s work aimed at someday, somehow cashing out. Gonna make it right, but not right now. But at least we got Kroeger down here for the ceremonies and not Pickton, since we already have Picktonian squalor to abate. That’s why I’m involved again with this crypto-Benedictine agricultural discipline that sure enough isn’t getting me laid (you get what you pay for, as they say). That, plus I have a travel schedule this winter that isn’t compatible with the overmanaged institutional nonsense that we like to call work. Psychotarp might be able to remotely join a wedding party in Pittsburgh while working a retail job in Sacramento or whatever, but we can’t all be that special.

Nah, that’s not true. He’s too crazy to shovel gravel into a pothole. Then again, we’ve got sane people around here who aren’t good for a hell of a lot more than that.

The Further Adventures of the Dick Strict Attorney

When the sex pest allegations against Roy Moore really started sounding credible, I expected him to scurry away like a little rat within a day or two. There were too many women going on the record with serious allegations indicating a pattern of serious sexual misconduct to write the scandal off as a dirty political trick. The things Moore was accused of having done to young women, in his capacity as a sitting county prosecutor, no less, went directly against his ostentatious public religious morality, which, as extreme or crazy as it could be, had looked sincere enough. National Republican leaders who normally would want nothing to do with a Democratic colleague from the Alabama delegation to the United States Senate lined up on short order to declare their scandal at what Moore was accused of having done, asked him to step aside if there was any truth to the allegations, and began working on plans for a write-in campaign. Beyond mere politics, the cultural environment looked newly inhospitable to someone in Moore’s position: a wave of powerful men, most of them famous, had just had their careers quickly and publicly go down in flames over mostly decades-old allegations of sexual harassment or assault.

It turns out that Moore is the one guy caught in this delayed-action Chris Hansen trap who’s arrogant enough to maintain his frame and go down swinging. Maybe this shouldn’t be too surprising after his notorious tenacity on the Alabama Supreme Court, but it surprised me. What he’s doing takes a truly special level of bravado. It takes a truly special combination of chutzpah, confidence, and acting skill. Moore looks a bit rattled from time to time, but most of the time he looks self-righteously angry at the same secular elites he’s been accusing of campaigning to destroy Alabama’s cherished Southern Christian culture for his entire career. Three or four times already I’ve heard some news bulletin about the Moore scandal and expected him to finally tear up and admit that he did some folks wrong, only to see that, no shit, the son of a bitch once again doubled the hell down.

It’s an amazing episode. I get plenty jaded and cynical about American politics as it has come to be practiced, I’m less and less easily shocked by extreme hypocrisy and sleaze, but the Moore thing is something else. The revelations (heh) that he got frisky with uncomfortable young women half his age are the least of it, even though I never expected Roy Moore, of all people, to get caught with his pants down. The really crazy part is the guy’s reaction. The fights that he picked with the federal judiciary over his beloved courthouse religion and then over same-sex marriage weren’t personal crises; he was acting fully in accordance with his own sworn principles. This new Lolita stuff is a personal crisis, but damned if he isn’t steaming full David Farragut straight into the firestorm all the same.

No white flag, he will go down with this ship. Dido has nothing on this fucker. *Leon Bridges, back on the bridge* Good. Stay on your own ship, boss.

At a strictly personal level, Moore’s confident defiance is more dignified than the shambolic stories of one Hollywood rat after another scurrying off to Cannes or Sedona or who the fuck knows where for “intensive” sex “counseling” (one out of three is a start), and in circumstances like these a man’s man like Roy Moore inevitably carries himself better than George “Russia Did It” Takei. No way around it, these are Darwinian limbic exercises, and Moore is just the reptile to hiss and fight his way out of a good hard bind.

But Moore is no more a private man than any of the past month’s other newly exposed sexual predators. As a general public matter, the way Moore has been reacting to the allegations is no less disgusting than the stances taken by any of his colleagues in perv, and for being so defiant and demagogic as a candidate for the United States Senate he is uniquely dangerous to his nation. A person who doesn’t follow pop culture or celebrity gossip might be completely disinterested in the existence of Kevin Spacey or Harvey Weinstein. Any American who follows our national politics will inevitably be confronted with the rude, gross truth that for God’s sake this handsy godbothering piece of shit in tighty whities may actually be elected to the United States Senate, to make law and policy for us all.

Roy Moore has cultivated, flourished in, and brought out the very worst of the hard right wing. He’s reinvigorated a bunch of deeply sick motherfuckers. He’s got all these people who talk a loud game about conservatism and law and order (specifically SVU, am I right) insisting that a sitting county prosecutor going around serially pestering the local high school girls for easy action was in fact nothing more than a Southern gentleman looking to go a-courtin’ to put an end to his thirty-something bachelorhood. He did eventually manage to take a young woman’s hand in marriage as a result of this ongoing effort, but that was practically a coincidence. Seriously dating women who were young enough to be his daughter wasn’t why he got banned from the fucking mall. Five-O wasn’t cultivating Paul Blart as a permanent informant because the DA had a mildly scandalous private romantic life. Moore was banned from the mall for repeatedly harassing strangers. That isn’t an acceptable thing to do under desexualized auspices to a legal adult. There are certain things that one just doesn’t do if one wants to remain welcome at the mall, like incorrigibly harassing other customers against their obvious wishes to be left alone.

It wasn’t just a weirdo being weird after hours, either. Moore implicitly threatened to perjure himself against at least one of his victims in his capacity as a court officer if she dared press charges against him. Who’re they gonna believe: the Deputy District Attorney or a child? The sexual liberty for me but not for thee guy selectively regarded high school girls as old enough to consent to his sexual advances but also too young to be believed in a court of law if they dared refuse their consent, i.e., too young for civil rights.

Why on earth shouldn’t we utter his name in the same breath as Daniel Holtzclaw’s? They used exactly the same playbook to prey upon and intimidate the vulnerable.

Then there was the rest of the Etowah County public safety and legal community, the cops, prosecutors, judges, social workers, clerks, and so forth who twiddled their thumbs for thirty years while a man they either suspected or outright knew to be a raging creep rose to the highest judicial office in their state. It was only after national news outlets based a thousand miles away did the legwork, as outsiders, to confirm allegations against Roy Moore that these good old boys and girls back home finally admitted that, yeah, we kinda knew the fella was a bit off.

Great timing, honkeys. They could have done all sorts of things to put an end to Moore’s perverted behavior around Gadsden or sabotage his career. What they actually did about him, as far as I’ve heard, was jack shit. Did some dirty cop with an aggrieved sense of right and wrong frame him for some penny-ante drug crime just to make him squirm and shrink away in disgrace? Of course not. Did anyone in power give him 48 hours to leave town or be exposed? Nope. Did anyone in a position of authority publicly blow the whistle on him? Hell no. Did anyone privately complain to the Alabama Bar Association about Moore’s moral turpitude and ask it to investigate his fitness for membership? Possibly; an ethical complaint, especially an unsubstantiated one, might not be publicly divulged; but unlikely. A security guard at the mall told a reporter that a Gadsden police officer wouldn’t tell him why he wanted to be called right away if Moore showed up again, just that he’d “take care of him.”

This wasn’t mere discretion. It was a systematic coverup of a powerful man’s misdeeds by a town full of chickenshit officials. They knew that what Moore was doing was wrong and scandalous; that’s why they kept mum. This shit was kept hush-hush for three to four decades–roughly my entire life–until the Washington Post and the New Yorker finally aired Gadsden’s dirty laundry because its most famous native son was on the verge of winning a Senate seat that might determine the balance of federal power.

If we’re to conclude anything about small-town values from this political history, it’s that they come straight out of hell and should be eradicated. The rural South has a reputation for being a hotbed of gossip, and yet when Roy Moore was imposing himself on unwilling young women under color of his authority as a prosecutor, the grapevine mysteriously went silent for two full generations, until the Yankee press showed up during a statewide election of national importance to rake the town muck.

This is fucking disgraceful, a far worse scandal than the DA being a local wannabe teenybopper sex pest. I realize that gossip can be a crude tool of spite, and I’ve personally benefited greatly from gossip items about me going cold because the second or third degrees of separation from the source couldn’t be bothered to give a shit. But Roy Moore wasn’t some common adulterer or drunk. He was abusing his office to facilitate and cover up serial sexual assault against underage girls. He was getting himself banned from the mall, and then sneaking back in when security wasn’t looking, as a thirty-something court officer in the same fucking county. It isn’t gossip to go to the State Attorney General’s office or the State Police and say, look, I don’t like doing this, but I’m really concerned that Mr. Moore is committing rape.

Scum-of-the-earth outlets like Chateau Heartiste celebrate Roy Moore for being a sexual predator because they’re the scum of the earth. It’s unfortunate but predictable that predatory authoritarian evil is a latent element of the human condition that sometimes asserts itself in ugly ways. The internet harbors everything under the sun, not all of it wholesome. What’s more troubling from an American political perspective is that we have entire states, in this case Alabama, acting as regional reservoirs of privileged depravity and wholesale dysfunctional behavior enabling it. The owners and managers of malls network with one another across county lines. One might expect the commercial real estate magnates in Gadsden to pass the word about Moore to their colleagues in Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile, Huntsville, and so on. They have an obvious interest in not allowing a good old boy to harass teenage girls on their property.

Or so one would think. The Southern Country Club set has a reputation, poorly appreciated in the North, for being scandalized by seedy good old boy antics, but there’s a fair amount of overlap between the two groups. In rural areas especially they can form a single unified overclass. It’s conceivable that Moore wasn’t bad enough for business in a town like Gadsden to be worth challenging. It might have been different if his teen fancying had driven away interstate or international engineering talent from, say, Mobile or Huntsville. Mind you, I’m not arguing that the Country Club snots have any sort of moral compass or spine, just that they won’t countenance bullshit that threatens the bottom line (bathroom bill grandstanding driving convention business away from Charlotte and Raleigh, to take a prominent example), and that, depending on local group dynamics, they may get terminally fed up with good ol’ boy horseshit for what are basically aesthetic reasons and decide to clean house.

This is where Alabama’s economic backwardness comes into play. North Carolina and Georgia went through major economic transformations starting in the mid-twentieth century that involved huge influxes of newcomers, diluting their old-line white electorates. One fascinating explanation I’ve seen for Alabama getting stuck in ye olden Bull Connor times is that Atlanta got the big Southern hub airport, not Birmingham. That is, Delta Airlines was in a position to lift one Southern state out of the dark ages, and it chose Georgia. This is something of an oversimplification, but it makes sense. Not long before its merger into Delta, Northwest ineptly tried to set up a small hub at Memphis (Mississippi’s biggest airport, to be honest), where FedEx was already successfully operating a cargo superhub. American ran a half-assed hub at Raleigh-Durham for a decade or two, briefly along with a much shorter-lived hub at Nashville, before folding the lion’s share of its operations in the Mid-South into the Charlotte hub that it had taken over from US Airways. (AA continues to serve Florida Man surprisingly well out of Miami, but we’re focusing on the Upper 47 here.)

Southern partisans don’t much care to hear that sort of argument from a Damn Yankee. I’d defer to them if I could be convinced that I’ve been arguing out of prejudice or bad faith, but it’s disingenuous authoritarian shitbirds like Roy Moore and his defenders who are poisoning this well, and they’re poisoning it for our entire nation. I’m not here to denigrate the folkways of Appalachian coal miners or Cajun shrimpers. My paternal grandmother was born in rural Alabama, about a third of the way from Gadsden to Atlanta, as it turns out, and raised from the age of eight onwards in rural Northeast Kansas at a time when Topeka was still legally segregated. This was the side of the family that lost its load of watermelon to high water, not hell. I’ve known quite a few Southerners who have had reasonable objections to the way they’ve been smeared with a broad brush by prejudiced Northerners.

For a proud lifelong Yankee, then, I’m awfully protective of the good names of Southerners and the South. I find it disreputable and embarrassing for other Northerners to scapegoat an entire sector of our country based on their most ignorant prejudices in the interest of failing to examine their own racial and class bigotries.

Roy Moore doesn’t represent the decent South. He represents the indecent South. I’m a Yankee, but I can tell the fucking difference. That man lives to subjugate other Southerners: the black, the poor, the non-Christian, the non-evangelical. That’s blatantly obvious by now. He picked up a minor outside a fucking child custody hearing, for crying out loud, and now that he’s been exposed as a predator he’s got dipshits earnestly comparing him to Joseph, Stepfather of God.

How hard is it to imagine that the Alabamans who exploit this predatory privilege do so at the expense of other Alabamans? It was local girls that Roy Moore regarded as competent adults when he felt being his supremely gentlemanly underwear-clad self with them and incompetent children the moment they threatened to blow the whistle on his predatory behavior. The Alabama Constitution currently disenfranchises thirty percent of its black citizenry by barring ex-convicts from voting, but don’t think for a second that the local fuzz never locks up a cracker.

The Roy Moore dirty thirties scandal is showing once again that Alabama is an unreconstructed slave state. It’s run by a rogue’s gallery of slavers, holy roller nutjobs with closets full of sexual skeletons, and other equally dangerous thugs. A free citizenry has no obligation to tolerate anything of the sort in its own country, let alone to speak kindly of it.

Imagine some dipshit insisting that Diddlin’ Dennis is the epitome of Midwestern values, the Flower of the Heartland. That would be fucking ridiculous. Imagine assertions that Our Lord’s Servant Gerald is truly one of the great and sacrosanct Pennsylvanians. I don’t have to imagine such veneration of Our Lord Joseph, since I was around for it. It was vile, of course. I’d already heard plenty of bad things about Penn State in general from the inside, but the JoePa worship was a special evil. This is why I approved of the otherwise bumptious dipshit buddy of the Insurance Schmuck, the one who wrote into the alumni magazine with the blather about Nisbet and Durden being great Dickinsonians, when he heard “Sweet Caroline” playing on the loudspeakers at the Homecoming football game and told us, “They like to play this one at Penn State, in honor of Jerry and Joe.”

Turning to Roy Moore as a defender of local values in the face of his exposure as a serial sexual predator is disreputable and scandalous. That’s all there fucking is to it. Only a cult would vomit up a man of his rotten character as an indispensable paragon of Christian virtue. The Deep South would have been unable to maintain chattel slavery for centuries and Jim Crow for most of another century had it not been run as a totalitarian cult. One of the treasured cult leaders has gotten caught up in a particularly sordid and hypocritical sex scandal, but it’s axiomatic that he dindu nuffin, because crime, you see, that’s for the colored folk and the white trash, and so several decades’ worth of compulsory try-hard cultural conservatism evaporates overnight, replaced by an orgy of postmodernist nihilism.

The US Senate has its own closet full of skeletons, but this clusterfuck out of Alabama is serious enough that, should Roy Moore actually pull it out and win the election, the worthiest thing it could do would be to refuse to seat him. Send his ass back to Alabammy, back to the arms of his dear old mammy, etc. Moore has already fucked up badly enough that Republican kingmakers are scheming to kick their old boy the Third Mr. Jefferson Beauregard Secessions (well now, WHY do I keep thinking of him in that fashion?) back down to his very recent spot in the Senate by drafting him as their endorsed write-in candidate next month. That smirking Keebler-looking piece of shit shouldn’t be anywhere near the federal government, but demoting him back to the August Body would be an improvement over the wretched scandal of allowing him to serve as the Attorney General, and sending Roy Moore back home like a dirtbag Roland Burris would be better than seating him.

This is why we’re singin’ Song, Song of the South, Millington for Sheriff and I shut my mouth. Mercy, that again! I know that Southerners still admire FDR for rural electrification, not urban electrification, so I have no idea what got into me. The TVA never was battery-powered, so I have no idea why I keep seeing Roy Moore throwing the bench at little Jefferson’s elf house, either. Or why I keep thinking that Northside Juice and the Shady Blues are THE defense against the Asian carp getting into the Great Lakes.

Nah, I know exactly why: it’s because fishing, even if it’s really just Monty Robinson getting piss-ass drunk and falling out of the Jeep into the river, is such a relief from politics. In this case, it’s also a great opportunity to remind a downhome creep about options for intervention from the North, whose drunks have historically also included Ulysses S. Grant.

A fella cain’t hardly take it no moore

The Roy Moore thing just goes to show how disturbed the Republican Party has become. Nothing that I’ve heard or read about the GOP under Eisenhower, Nixon, or Ford remotely resembles this horseshit. Reagan triangulated his way to power with the help of some unsavory Christian theocratic elements, using them in a rather cynical and insincere fashion, it seems, but he didn’t cater to their sick, repressed impulses. Even George W. Bush, the vicious scion of a crime family, was a paragon of sexual virtue and coherence by comparison to the unfolding freak show that we’re forced to watch under Trump. All he had to do to look good in this regard was refrain from directly pandering to the creeps, and indeed, he appealed mainly to higher-minded elements of the Christian right wing.

The stuff that Chateau Heartiste is publishing about this mess is inevitably filthy. I don’t feel like inviting the trolls over here again by linking to it, but it’s instructive to look at this shortread that Roissy (or whatever the fuck mass of self-loathing Jewry is running the show now) published under an allied user’s comment on Gab, a sort of anti-Twitter, accusing Jonah Goldberg of being bitter and resentful because he, in contrast to Roy Moore, is married to an older woman:

So much sublimated bitterness and spite from prissy white knights who couldn’t pull the young tail Roy Moore pulled. The history of the world can be explained by the envy of the beta bitchboy mob and ugly feminists clawing and tearing at anything beautiful and true and natural.

That’s ugly but credible until we remember that what Roy Moore did to his jailbait wasn’t exactly pulling tail. He mostly just slobbered all over them while they squirmed uncomfortably and told him to keep his hands to himself. He stumbled shambolically into first or second base with a string of reluctant girls, some of whom couldn’t stand him. This doesn’t mean that the internet’s incel hordes can’t be induced to live vicariously through the pitiful, long-past exploits of this dipshit, or that they can’t be convinced that Donald Trump’s presumably undersexed marriage to his dimwitted, gold-digging Slovenian ice queen is the most enviable relationship on earth. That a thirty-something Roy Moore was more sexually active and satisfied than these losers wasn’t a great sociosexual accomplishment. As far as Jonah Goldberg is concerned here, I don’t know enough about Mrs. Moore to say whether I’d have any desire to fuck her, nor do I care to investigate, and I assume Goldberg is equally disinterested in this line of inquiry.

The same guys who abet this coveting of neighbors’ wives in one breath endlessly bemoan the secular liberal assault on traditional, conservative Christianity in the next. As an expression of Christian morality, this should feel devious and immoral, but for the most part it feels merely pathetic. Then again, I stopped taking this shit seriously years ago, around the time I started seeing prostitutes, and I have only a vague idea of the wretched cult followers I’ve left behind and just how disordered they are.

In general terms, the problem with coveting one’s neighbor’s spouse is that such covetousness tends to destabilize society. Manosphere demagogues discuss this destabilization from time to time, usually to express their assumption that the men they’re trying to reach are already living in extreme social chaos that they’re hopeless to navigate left to their own devices, hence the need for advice about the cultivation and use of crude sexual trickery to bed amoral bar sluts. For extra fun, this poison is routinely mixed with the most vile sorts of racial bigotry, even on sites that started off eschewing racebaiting, such as Return of Kings. The chronic griping about how hopelessly immoral Western society has become is punctuated with gushing assertions about how Donald Trump is the sine qua non panacea that will magically fix everything. It doesn’t take awfully much critical thinking to see how embarrassing it should be to fall for this facile shtick, but the creeps advancing it are obviously catering to timid, socially disoriented, cult-prone authoritarians.

Until recently, I assumed that garbage like Chateau Heartiste was a small, marginal part of the right wing. It alarmed me and looked capable of turning into the next Nazi Party, but I assumed that it had yet to start its integration into the Republican mainstream and its empowerment. Really, however, I wrote it off as a fringe clown show because I didn’t have the stomach to think seriously about how deeply closely related forms of psychosexual toxicity had infiltrated the Republican Party or how influential they had become. I wanted to believe that there was still a strong rump of active Republicans who were reasonable people of goodwill. Barring the goodwill that was obviously going AWOL, I wanted to believe that no matter how greedy and conniving the party faithful were, or how much lazier than they’d ever admit, they were at least sane and coherent.

They aren’t. The hardcore elements that have taken over the party are full of raving lunatics who want to rut with the crazy bitches they see on Fox News because they go on air wearing short skirts and low-cut tops. Oceans of ink have been spilled denouncing Fox News for degrading the reporter’s craft and standards, and rightly so, but it’s a hell of a thing to stop merely conceding in cold intellectual terms and start directly observing and contemplating. It’s a national psychosis. The prospect of entertainers reverting to forms of public sex work, in accordance with ancient traditions, isn’t scandalous to anyone familiar with cultural history. What’s dangerous here is that the women Fox News deploys have explicit pretensions of being reporters and political analysts. It’s a gigantic mindfuck. Sean Hannity is similarly dangerous in a highbrow masculine way: he’s the fraternity pledgemaster who somehow never went to prison for felony assault. (Bill O’Reilly brings nothing to the table but stewing ill humor.)

For years I looked away from this horror show because it was so dispiriting. I’m finding it harder to ignore now that it’s injecting outrageous derangement and fraud into a US Senate race in a state that has repeatedly been a political millstone around this nation’s neck. Alabama gave us more than its share of vicious slavers and Jim Crow thugs. It gave us Jeff Sessions, first as a Senator too scandalous to be confirmed into high federal office, then as one who lasted long enough as a regional curiosity to finally be confirmed as Attorney General by colleagues whose collective morals had gone to shit. Now it is giving us Roy Moore, not just as a longtime religious scold but as a repressed, hypocritical freak who used his office to chase high school girls around the courthouse square during his working hours and then pester them for sex come nightfall.

But it isn’t just Moore. Todd Akin, the legitimate rape guy, was vile, but he immediately turned himself into a pariah in his own party by running his foul mouth to vent his foul mind. Moore has proxies for his party’s sitting president praising him as a great sexual conquistador and good old boys down home comparing him to Joseph, of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Some asshole (I don’t care to look up who) went on the radio to assert that the marriage of Mary and Joseph was between a grown carpenter and a teen bride, and that turned out well, so we’d be wrong to judge Roy Moore for engaging in the Christian courtship of a Southern gentleman.

Good fucking grief, these guys are nothing but vipers. They’re turning their entire party into a snake pit that makes James Carville look mammalian. I’m familiar with conservative Christian courtship rituals, albeit as a quasi-outsider. What Roy Moore did with those teenage girls was not Christian courtship, and anyone who says it was is a lying sack of shit.

This is one of the stunning things about religious right apologetics. When activists trying to liberalize conservative Christian denominations deploy disingenuous talking points, they immediately sound untrustworthy, condescending, and ridiculous. When reactionary authoritarians deploy equally false talking points from the hard right, they have the brute confidence and aggression to sound like they’ll actually convince their followers of their arguments, which are consistently some of the most vile things on earth. They run scorched-earth campaigns against enemies who look uncomfortable taking up secondhand pocketknives as arms.

It’s conceivable enough that a thirty-something man and a teenage girl might enter into an affair worthwhile to both of them: a teacher and a student, say. It would probably become messy, but so do many relationships, and the morality of such an affair is separate from its strict legality or illegality. What Moore is accused of doing doesn’t even rise to the level of a proper episode of adultery. He’s handsome, charming, and apparently socially capable enough that it’s hard to see how the hell making a sex pest of himself to girls he hardly knew was the only way he could get some action when he was barely past thirty. That is, he doesn’t look like a guy who would have gotten desperately thirsty. His impositions on these young women, some of them very young, were fucking pathetic, but we’re being told that he was just channeling old St. Joseph. A good Southern Christian dominionist wouldn’t dare think to compare his fellow gentleman of faith to one of the many pertinent characters in the Holy Bible, which, as Mark Twain gloated, has some impressively dirty parts.

Rahab would be an improvement over any of these freaks. Getting everyone involved in this blooming onion of sexual repression and coercion, as a participant or a spectator, laid regularly couldn’t hurt. The Democratic Party establishment might conceivably have a principled stand to take against these seedy bastards, but they’re all too busy turning to Bill Clinton for celebrity inspiration, and that handsy old rapist actually does make Roy Moore look like a gentleman.

The high school girl I overheard telling her friends about how much dick she could have gotten that week but didn’t needs to run for city council the moment she attains majority, even if her platform is nothing more than Sequoia is a fucking bitch. We need sexually well-adjusted officials in public office, not a grab bag of resentniks and perverts. We need to recolonize the ecosystem against the next Gateside Downlow and, God forbid, J. Denny Dundiddly. They’re starting to rehabilitate Coach as a worthy political emeritus, you know. He’s out; put me in!

I have no idea whether Sequoia is actually a bitch. It’s not like she’s Roy Moore or the Third Mr. Jefferson Beauregard Secessions.

Moar gunz

The Second Amendment is a constitutional gift that keeps on giving, a bottomless chalice of poison. It famously gives Americans the permanent, inviolable right to keep and bear deadly weapons in any private capacity that appeals to us. Or, by alternate reckonings, it confers upon individual citizens no right of the sort but has been misconstrued by the federal courts to allow every freelance ammosexual in the land the license to carelessly brandish weapons that the framers meant to restrict to properly disciplined and supervised military organizations: the famous well-regulated militia. As a day-to-day practicality, this debate is moot, since the Constitution is basically whatever the Supreme Court says it means. I know, Wow Much judicial Such review Omg marbury madison Very confuse.

This goes far deeper back in history than the usual Impeach Earl Warren shit. It goes straight back to the source. The framers fell somewhere between chickenshits and consummate pragmatists. They were openly queasy about slavery, but being mostly wealthy slaveholders trying to patch together a new nation from a dozen bickering overseas royal colonies (Rhode Island optional), they left the resolution of the slavery problem for later generations to tackle during, among others, the Lincoln, Grant, Eisenhower, and LBJ administrations.

The gun question was even stranger. Formally, the goal was to maintain the male citizenry as a sort of New Switzerland, ready to drop its plows and grab its muskets like so many reverse Cincinnati (for once, NOT governed by Jerry Springer) whenever the call was cried out. The hardcore slave states took endless advantage of this policy encouraging mass gun ownership to recruit their white men into fugitive slave patrols.

Some leftward elements react to this ugly history by asserting that guns are inherently inimical to the rights and welfare of African-Americans. They forget the history of the Black Panthers and Harriet Tubman’s reliable habit of packing heat and knowing how to use it, not to mention the large number of black subsistence hunters who have tried to eke out a living in the rural South in the same fashion as their poor white neighbors.

The framers were aware of this economic necessity: there were a number of parties to the Constitutional Convention, although not so much our current golden boy Hamilton, who reviled tyrannical regimes in the Old World, especially the Old Country itself, Great Britain, for infringing upon the natural right of their citizens to hunt on common lands for their own sustenance. These framers, notably including Thomas Jefferson (a tyrannical, violent piece of shit in his own domestic and business life), took full advantage of their unusual nation-building opportunity to protect smallholders against the campaigns of the landed gentry to have the sheriff summarily behead them for trespassing on the estate and killing one of its rabbits for supper.

It’s awfully simplistic, then, to assert that gun ownership is conservative and an aversion to guns is liberal. A much more coherent political philosophy regards the right or privilege of individuals to use firearms as a liberty, i.e., a cherished product of liberalism, and restrictions on gun use in the interest of public safety as conservative assertions, in the sense of conserving the bodily arms of innocent passersby from the erratic shots of out-of-shape, trigger-happy yahoos in tree stands who confuse every bump and rustle in the woods with a twelve-point buck. To get all Galaxy Brain, forbidding the carrying of firearms into the city limits of, say, old-timey Dodge City was a conservative measure implemented to safeguard the liberty of parties to feuds and innocent bystanders from attacks by thugs who didn’t mind shooting up a saloon to settle a score. It’s what they used to call life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, not that a person could make any of these arguments in mainstream American society today without being regarded as batshit insane.

None of these considerations have anything to do with machine gun massacres. The guys who shot up Newtown, Las Vegas, and now Sutherland Springs weren’t out hunting for venison for the family freezer. They weren’t protecting themselves or anyone else from a violent attack at some other deranged person’s hands. They were pissed off (and, in Adam Lanza’s case, wicked psychotic) and out to take out their anger on as many innocents as they could hit.

And, my God, the things they carried. Hunting technology has advanced quite a bit since the Founding Fathers’ time, so it’s reasonable to assume that they didn’t expect hunters two centuries into the future to still be tamping powder three feet down a barrel before every shot like fucking Davy Crockett. As a group, they would have been proud to see later generations of their countrymen hunting and sport-shooting with state-of-the-art rifles and shotguns manufactured by innovative American craftsmen. This is exactly what the sort of civilizational advancement that they meant to encourage. They did not consider it an inalienable natural right for the town paranoiac to wheel a loaded Gatling Gun around on the village green. They did not consider it a infringement of the rights of a free citizenry to be forbidden to enter the city library or market hall carrying enough military assault weaponry to storm Omaha Beach.

It’s tacitly understood, by all but the most feverishly extreme fringes of the ammosexual hard right wing and the most insane libertarian purists, that there are reasonable, natural limits on the rights of individual citizens to possess deadly weapons. No one with any popular credibility is asserting the right of the individual homeowner to keep Fat Boy and the Enola Gay in his garage. This isn’t to say that literally no one is making such an argument, but that it’s made by the kind of people who phone into Coast to Coast AM at three in the morning to talk about how, no, seriously, George, a space alien really did stick a probe up my ass. Even the most belligerent reactionary freaks know that the other side also has its hands on the Overton Window, and that the ammosexual movement has a limited amount of credibility at its disposal to expend on the assertion of absolute fruitcake rights. They understand that the current political climate, even in a country as amenable to ammosexual extremism as the United States, limits gun rights to something right around the threshold of light artillery.

This is why they’re trying to hold the line in defense of the individual right to bear .50 caliber rifles, which are adequately serviceable short-range antiaircraft guns. They cherish and jealously defend the individual right to keep at home firearms capable of shooting down a 737, not that anyone would ever think to do such a thing. Besides, guns don’t kill people; people kill people. Anyone thinking of doing harm with such an instrument is obviously mentally ill, or maybe Muslim, or probably a mentally ill Sharia Arab antifa Muslim.

It’s a bad sign that we have a major national political party advocating this insane shit. It’s a huge problem that one of our two major parties throws a goddamn toddler’s fit every time someone reacts to the latest massacre of dozens of innocent Americans by arguing that it’s time to put some limits on private citizens maintaining military-grade assault weapons at home and carrying them around loaded in crowded public spaces. No one has to convince me that the United States has a serious problem with the untreated mentally ill; I’ve spent enough time in bad parts of our major cities to be painfully familiar with the number of batshit crazy incompetents we’ve got on the loose, unable to care for themselves. But I never see them walking around the Greyhound District with bump-stocked AR-15s. It’s no wonder that they’re armed with nothing more than pocketknives, if they’re lucky: oftentimes they can hardly afford a plate of chow mein.

Of course the GOP insists on stigmatizing the mentally ill and scapegoating them for our nation’s gun violence problem as a way to avoid upsetting its base of angry shitheads who are affluent enough to buy enough military weaponry to equip a platoon. What else would it do? Counsel its most loyal and motivated crazies to be more modest and maybe get some help? Adam Lanza had psychiatric problems that are obvious to anyone who has looked at a photograph of him, but he also had a mother who was foolish enough to buy him an AR-15 and take him shooting as a mother-son bonding ritual. I’m sure every other disturbed aspiring gunman’s relatives will conscientiously alert the FBI to his history of major mental illness when the federal government tries to shrink and background-check its way out of having to limit individuals’ access to massacre-ready infantry weaponry for recreational use. And I’m equally sure that this process will never be abused by any hypervigilant dipshit who imagines a nutter behind every bush or anyone with an ax to grind.

What we’re hearing from the ammosexual right this week includes sappy thoughts and prayers about how blessed one is to be shot in a church sanctuary, nearer my God to Thee, etc. I don’t have the stomach to wade through that swamp myself, but Gin and Tacos often does, and the Hammer of the Blogs has a useful summary of the weekly nut crop. Sweet holy shitballs are these people out of their damned minds. First, as a practical matter of crass realpolitik, if they’ll dredge up a silver lining to the massacre of a group of Southern white evangelical Christians in their house of worship on Sunday morning, there’s no one, and I mean no one, whose untimely, violent death they won’t exploit to make a point about the sanctity of personal assault weapons. From a position of principle, it has to be utterly horrifying to watch people be gunned down during Sunday services in one’s own church, to watch friends and loved ones be murdered in cold blood by in a place that everyone assumes is safe and off-limits to worldly violence.

A priest I once knew casually, Fr. Eric Freed, was murdered in the rectory by a man he was trying to help, his body discovered by a deacon when he was late for mass. I hadn’t set foot in the parish in years, and I’d never known either Fr. Freed or the deacon very well, but it was still a frightening thing to hear on the news, and it was still a terrible tragedy to hear about a priest whose masses I had attended and who had heard my confessions being murdered for carrying out his ministry. The one-off nature of his murder made it less worrisome to me on a strictly personal level, but it was still a hideous tragedy, no cause to say, hey, it’s all good, he’s with Jesus now, even if he is.

The threat assessment implications of the Sutherland Springs massacre for the average churchgoer are much worse. Clergy and religious can expose themselves to an elevated risk of bodily injury or death by ministering to troubled people with violent ideation, and laypeople with violent relatives are obviously at direct risk of attack, but what can a congregation do about a homicidal man who is armed to the teeth and nurses a grudge against an innocent congregant who happens to be one of his relatives? This particular attack happened to take place at a Baptist church in small-town Texas, but it could have happened at any house of worship anywhere in the country.

The same thing is true of the Las Vegas attack last month. It could have happened at any outdoor concert in any city. I’ve never been anywhere near San Antonio, but I travel through Las Vegas fairly often on my way to or from the East Coast, most recently in June.

Yes, we do have an assault weapon problem. I don’t see how else to assess our recent history of mass-casualty gun violence. Then again, as Lynn Majors likes to say, stop blaming the needle, bitch, and you should know by now that I rarely mind ending these screeds on a scrubbed-up sexy note.

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!

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.