Judging the Clintons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Suck my balls, Tate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A hot take on DACA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Senioritis

The blueberry season is getting close to the end, with a few days’ worth of Legacy left to pick, and I’m getting antsy. Going to Idaho for the eclipse didn’t help. I was out of town for a full week, free of the nagging guilt and acute distress that afflicted me during my walkout last month when I was biding my time in Newport and Portland, and the time to relax was a damn nice refreshment. I also realize that after I got out of Elko, a bleak-ass city where I managed to have an overly athletic she-yuppie in a T-shirt from an annual marathon in Pacific Grove tell me that I’m not homeless because I travel while her husband, in a matching shirt, looked on timidly in something between embarrassment and dumbfounded pain–that after I got away from the surprisingly eerie circumstances of that fucked-up dump of a railroad watering stop and across the unearthly moonscape between Owyhee and Mountain Home, I spent the bulk of my waking hours in Boise and Idaho City around people who were significantly better put together and in healthier and more pleasant built environments than what I normally face at work. An exceptionally friendly and gracious older yuppie couple in a Midlife Crisis Beemer (Mercedes? If they’d been on a train, you’d be hearing the damn specifics) gave me a pair of eclipse glasses right after I pulled into the LDS Church parking lot (initially transcribed as LSD Church; lol) in Idaho City, a few miles into the southern line of totality, a lot that the local Napoleonic faithful had opened up for free with a request on a sign by the entrance that we clean up after ourselves and refrain from alcohol and tobacco use, and with two perfectly clean portapotties on the perimeter of the lot.

Damn, Dynamite, you and the liger came through, man. Groovy shit, cracker. One needn’t grok the Mormons to be able to tell that they do us gentiles many a mitzvah in spite of shit like Jamberry and all the business they provide for the FBI’s white-collar crime division in Salt Lake City. I was straight-up right about that crew, fam. And I was wrong about Boise, which I expected to be a dump but is legit bitchin’.

The real life to which I returned, a bit reluctantly and a day later than I’d been targeting, has me earning four dollars an hour in a very good hour working on a vaguely shabby property (standing portajohn contracts are inevitably Pot-o-Shit Friendly) for employers who try to paper over their recurrently shady business practices by being buddies with me and my exclusively minor colleagues. It may not be a really ominous sign that I’m the only legal adult they’ve managed to keep on the crew for more than a few days this season, but it can’t be good. Most of this shady shit is pretty minor (heh), and I’m happy to give them some extra latitude because they run a scrupulously safe operation in an industry whose prevailing standards include threats to life and limb, but it gets old.

I’m 35 and have a bachelor’s degree. Why do I keep working there? I don’t discuss such things at work; it isn’t appropriate, and it would provoke fruitless chaos in an organization that is already regularly chaotic. One of my motivations is that I love farm work, especially with fruit plants. That much is easily and comfortably explained. The socioeconomic background that got me to the Willamette Valley doing stoop labor for thirty cents on the dollar of minimum wage are a can of worms. Most of the others on the crew this year don’t give me the vibe that they’ve willing to listen and be sensible and thoughtful, and I don’t dare go anywhere near this mess with my bosses. Discussing one’s homelessness with normies, self-described or other-described, is a minefield: hence that PG marathoner dipshit in Elko and her embarrassingly uncomfortable husband.

On my second day back at work after all the cool Idaho shit, the highest-volume picker on this year’s crew bluntly asked me, “Why do you come so late?” After stammering under my breath for a few seconds, I told her, just as bluntly, “Don’t go there.” To my powerful relief, she got the message and didn’t say another word about that. She’s one of nine siblings, three of whom have worked with me, and one of her sisters was the teacher’s pet who tried to sheepdog me back onto my assigned row, which was a useless waste of time and energy, a couple of weeks ago. Maybe it runs in the family. They come from a Warsaw Pact immigrant background that would explain it pretty conveniently. Then again, the third sister, who is doing something that pays kind of decently this year, is nothing like that. But I’ll be damned if I needed another possible stool pigeon on the crew turning me into the butt of gossip. Teacher’s pets are keystones in any authoritarian regime. In the US context, they’re the Uncle Toms. The actual Uncle Tom, the one with the cabin, wasn’t like that, but, well, you know. Or maybe you don’t; I hate to say it, but you wouldn’t be the only one. I knew enough shitheads in college who acted like they’d rat anyone but their true loved ones out to the secret police for internment or gassing or come what may to last me a lifetime. To hell with tolerating another one at a three-dollar-an-hour job. Or two-dollar. Whatever; it ain’t enough for that shit. My punctuality isn’t that chick’s fucking business. Full stop. It doesn’t concern her, and her intrusion into it augured nothing but ill.

I’m glad that I nipped her aspiring keyholder act in the bud, and I’m relieved that I was able to nip it in the bud without walking off the job again. If she resents me for not having to come to work at the same time that she does, she has no business letting it get back to me, and she also has her head up her ass. This isn’t a normal job deserving industry-standard attendance or punctuality or loyalty. I’m already more loyal than most people would think sensible to a company whose internal prevailing standard is maybe trying not to be a total fucking twerp all the time. DiLH told this year’s ADHD twerp that they’d like to keep him on to weed for a few days after the harvest: “Your dad says this is your job to lose.” Personnel decisions involving the Ditzney Princess’s mother were swell, so I gain much by not being a part of the local community, which sounds fucking miserable. That kid wanders around and stares at the river in a vaguely forlorn state of disorientation because his old man thinks it’ll teach him some things about life and growing up and shit. God bless America and the Protestant work ethic. I’ve come to enjoy the kid’s company, but fuckin’ A. I have to wonder how many competent, focused adults the farm has lost because it has all these twerpkin running around, some of them doing God knows what from minute to minute. I can certainly attest that it takes exceptional devotion to the work for a grown-ass adult to come back for another shift with the Ditzney Princess.

The new teacher’s pet has gotten the message, at least. I had some credibility to spare, some political capital, because I’m not a whiny little brat like so many of the other pickers. Office politics shouldn’t be rearing their oily head at this crappy job, and usually they don’t with any virulence. The stuff that Americans find so captivating and resonant on The Office is fucking aberrant. It’s pathological, inimical both to morale and to getting a goddamned thing done at work. I might put up with some for $15 an hour, but my environmental consulting days made me question whether a less sexualized but more vicious version of it was possibly worth $19.75 plus benefits, as most of those around me insisted it ultimately was. Putting up with political bullshit at a portable shitter job site for $2.70 an hour plus under-the-table cash tips as low as a quarter? Go to hell.

That’s the thing. For what I’m earning, that job had damn well better be enjoyable and low-stress and flexible. My bosses don’t pay for the right to make it suck. On the whole, they get this, and I respect them profoundly for this. I don’t mean to imply with my complaints that I’m not immensely grateful for this. I keep coming back to this job and to others like it, when I can find them, because I love the work and consider it a calling. I don’t come to work to be a jackoff or a space cadet. If some of my colleagues consider that a good use of their own summers, that’s their circus and their monkeys. I come to plug in, get shit done, and make money. This feels like an excessively mature stance towards such a badly paid job at such a chaotic, low-key shady company, but no matter how pretentious or bumptious this may sound, the craft transcends most of this bullshit. I figure that some of the twerpkin may come to enjoy or treasure the work themselves or to take pride in it in due course of time, since I’ve seen colleagues who started off thinking that these jobs suck come to enjoy them.

None of this means that anyone has cause to give me lip for not showing up at 6:30 sharp. What the fuck? That’ll cost minimum wage with 100% FICA deductions, no shortcuts, no excuses. Our bosses are chiseling on FICA deductions with the cash tips, which we might as well inflate by two or three orders of magnitude to justify the trouble of reporting them to the IRS. Adulthood involves thinking about this shit. Or, for those who drop out into third-generation disability or professional sign-flying, it doesn’t. I’m working for people who aren’t setting the best example of diligent taxpaying, so yeah. Petty cash under the table, even unto dem shine George coin, doesn’t inspire me to get my ass out of bed right away.

Or out of the driver’s seat. I have no hope of explaining to most of these people that sleeping in my car is better than fearing domestic battery at Joe Dirtbag’s hands, constant domestic verbal abuse and gaslighting from the crossfire of his shitty marriage, or murder at the hands of an ex-Army Ranger paranoid creep of an apartment superintendent. Bizarrely, the Ditzney Princess might have gotten it on some weird level; she had maybe the soberest, least salacious, most empathetic reaction I’ve ever seen to the abridged story of Pot-o-Shit Friend. Still, I wasn’t about to risk the possibility that she’d run her mouth about it and get me into a mess.

And as much as I love this work, I’m not about to devote all my energy to an underpaid job on a shabby property run by a chaotic family on the outskirts of one of the shabbiest towns in the valley and burn the candle at both ends all summer when I can spare some energy to dick around a few hours a day in much nicer, healthier, and ultimately more edifying built and social environments instead. Again, that isn’t a lifestyle concern that I want to raise at work; I’m trying to be tactful here, and I’m trying to navigate social dynamics that could turn into a clusterfuck any minute. I’m not about to go in and tell anyone, yo, dawg, this is a crap job on a property where y’all curate a literal pile of crap in a plastic box in a shithole town, please to take it and shove it until at least 0800 hours daily. I’d like to maintain some fucking subtlety and discretion, and I’m able to pull it off when no one’s getting weird with me.

I haven’t yet gotten tired enough to fall asleep in the afternoon this summer. Given that I’ve nearly fallen asleep at the wheel in previous seasons after work, I dare say this is healthy. I’m not a wanker. A wanker doesn’t pick three quarters of a ton of blueberries by hand in a month and a half in spite of days when management sandbags everyone with row assignments that waste our time. I honestly don’t even know if I’d have picked much more by getting to work on time every day; I might have been too tired to stay so focused and productive. Regardless, it isn’t the business of some teenage gossip who’s trying out for a Mean Girls sequel. Girlfriend, I don’t even GO here! As they say in Midtown, I live by the light rail station in Rancho.

If these twits are trying to learn or, worse, teach lessons about what it means to have a job, I have one: find another job that isn’t such a joke. Spare me the lectures, Weber. I’ve been doing farm work since the current teacher’s pet was in preschool. Scavenging deposit bottles isn’t exactly a job, but it isn’t exactly not a job, and you betcha I notice that it doesn’t inflict an office politics on me as long as I keep an eye out for OTE roustabouts and staties. Chaka Can Chaka Can. It’s something of an Oscar the Grouch/Psychotarp intersectional lifetyle, but those two have better morals than Mother-in-Law on a bad day. Punctuality is for jobs where no one’s sneaking around the edges of Wage and Hour Division regulations and then handing out quarters as tips for a full day’s work.

Every day on the savanna, a lion and a gazelle both wake up, knowing that only one will survive: the gazelle. The moral of the story: be the microdicked shithead dentist from Minnesota who needs a full day and a full night to shoot the lion and then watch it bleed to death from a badly placed arrow wound.

Sts. Francis, Cecil, Cecil, and Jericho, pray for us. You’re shaking my confi–never mind, that’s starting to sound like a Baden-Powell tale. Chesterfield!

Feel free to recommend any money and/or personnel intercessors in the comments. Retweeting cash cats and the $115 badger makes about as much financial sense as taking my ass to work again tomorrow morning. The sad thing is that that’s more sense than trying to spell out adult finances for some teacher’s pet at a job where no one really earns a living. I’d be flying a sign at the rest area if I were in it mainly for the money.

Adulting, bitch.

Americans are too lazy and soft for farm work, but not for CrossFit

Walking around the Oregon Garden and recreationally looking at plants for an hour and a half after work this afternoon was more tiring and harder on my body than picking over 72 pounds of blueberries over the course of six hours in the fields today. Recreational plant nerd shit is like recreational sex: haters gonna haidt, but if you have the time and the money for it, you might as well. I made a special pilgrimage to the blueberry planting (that wasn’t absurd; absurd would be u-picking blueberries after shift, and I’m not that ridiculous), and another special pilgrimage to the olives; the blueberry cultivars were all past their fruiting season and the olives had shit for fruit sets, but blueberries are bae and olives, especially this far north, are bae as fuck.

They’ve got some cool shit up there, and the presentation is really well done. The stoop labor to plant and tend it is done mainly by volunteers, because America talks about the labor theory of value much more than it observes or cherishes anything of the sort. I’m not sure that I’m enough of a bitch to join that effort, but I can’t count it out. Trail maintenance is another great job for the volunteer bitch pool; it’s obvious to anyone who hasn’t taken a shovel to the head that the Tahoe Rim Trail is an excellent public good, but apparently there’s no regular budget to pay anyone to do the heavy labor needed to maintain and improve it. Americans won’t pick fruit for pay, but we will do heavy trail maintenance for free? Someone isn’t talking straight here.

Picking blueberries requires some attention and effort. We sometimes have pickers on the crew who spend much of the day with their thumbs up their asses, and not surprisingly they don’t get much done. I am not one of them, so I get a fair amount done. On a hot day, or worse, a hot, humid day with calm winds, the work can get pretty tiring. It’s still consistently less tiring than spending the same amount of time hiking in the same weather. Sometimes it’s much less tiring. I love hiking, so I’m not trying to suggest that hiking is a fool’s errand or a form of masochism. I don’t do shit like summit all the high peaks at Philmont eating nothing but peanut butter out of squeeze tubes for 36 hours straight, so your mileage may vary. Even the two- to five-mile day hikes over easy to moderate terrain that I usually take are physically harder than picking blueberries and about as hard as picking wine grapes on vines where the fruit is tangled up in the middle of a thicket of leaves, canes, and trellising wire.

Being on my feet for an hour and a half this afternoon as a tourist visiting my fruits (it was, indeed, fabulous!) left me much sorer than six hours of work today. It was especially hard on my legs because I spent much of the time standing around. I had the same problem manning game stands at Hersheypark, which is some of the most useless fucking bullshit I’ve done in my life. I wasn’t feeling sleepy this afternoon, so what I was feeling was direct physical stress on my legs, not fatigue. I’ve had afternoons when I’ve hardly been able to stay awake for the drive back from the farm, but today wasn’t one. Even so, my legs got sorer from walking around a tourist garden, doing nothing of any use to society, than I’ve gotten all season from picking well over half a ton of blueberries.

If you’re ablebodied and in decent shape, you could probably pick fruit easily enough, too. I’m in good shape but no sort of athletic shape, and I pick some damn fruit. And I notice that everyone who insists that my fellow Americans and I are too soft to do manual labor for a living talks like Mary Mayhew.

Feel free to throw a lobster pot at a bitch. I’m not trying to be sexist, because I know that there are some hard Downeaster broads in the business; I’m trying merely to be classist. The Kennedys and the Bushes haven’t done a thing that useful on the water, although Teddy did successfully ride the Ducks. Don’t be bashful with the lobstah infrastructshah. I don’t currently have the upper body strength to do a proper pull-up on the old CCC bar at the Peavy Arboretum, but I don’t speak on behalf of my fellow Americans on such matters, and I have more confidence than you might think in the fortitude of my people.

Millennials are driving less. The reasons why may surprise you–if you’re a pathologically sheltered dipshit who takes retarded thinkpieces at face value.

As I write this, I’ve just woken up from two successive nights sleeping in my car at rest areas, but I spent last night on the outskirts of Wilsonville, not five minutes from a classy-ass Starbucks, so fuck yeah. I have a car, so I drive, too much, actually, but I pay some fucking attention to how a wide variety of other people live, in the interest of not being a damn idiot, so I recognize my own good fortune to be able to pile a bunch of shit haphazardly into a not too heavily used Focus and not into a stolen shopping cart.

We’ve enjoyed some crude language already, so let’s enjoy some more, this time as part of a vicarious cold Chicago morning. Some Chicagoans live in the ghetto (in the ghetto); others get out of the ghetto on a regular basis to operate the CTA’s free fare program. I heard about this from a guy who chatted me up at the cell phone charging stations in front of the Metra ticket windows at Union Station, but it’s way the hell more credible than probably forty percent of what I read in any newspaper of record, so I believe it. The way the free fare program works is that a bum with a free unlimited CTA fare card will go up to Addison on Cubs game nights and call out, “Any of you white motherfuckers want to get on the train for free?” Because their black ally has accurately assessed the moral character of his White clientele (not much), the answer is oh fuck yes, more drinking money. The bum then swipes preppy shitheads through the turnstiles by the dozens in exchange for whatever tips they offer him; they’re loaded, often in both senses, so the tips can run into the hundreds of dollars an hour, but the bum usually quits within a few minutes, after he’s cleared about forty.

This is one of the least racist things to happen in Chicago. The White Community involved in this scam makes its contribution to the Society for the Prevention of Kwesi Millington for Sheriff. The bum isn’t meanspirited or bigoted for calling them white motherfuckers; he’s just making sure that he’s getting through to his target customer base, which is assuredly white, and most assuredly White, and isn’t exactly not motherfuckers. They all know that the farejumpers aren’t proper old church ladies. I don’t enjoy ripping off transit agencies, even badly run ones, so I wouldn’t Fly the W for being invited into a seedy racket like that, but I’m not a preppy Northside cocksucker. I’ve never been to Lakeshore Drive. The El doesn’t go there, and I’m always le tired when I visit because I’ve been humping luggage around after some redeye train ride or flight. What, me Royko? Also, I’ve seen some dystopian shit in Whole Foods and don’t expect it to get better if I wander even further north.

Seven generations from now, the CTA may have recovered from the Emanuel administration. RAHM SHANTI, RAHM HARE HARE. Fare-whoring bums aren’t crapifying the CTA by having loose morals with their cards. The assholes they’re swiping onto the El are doing more than their fair share as private citizens to screw over the system, but they’re still relative bit players. (Yes, I inevitably started to write that as “fare share.” Faaaaaahhk.)

The real trouble comes from the elected officials and cronies that the preppy fuckheads cherish in their municipal government. Rahm is surely steak-knife-into-the-table livid about the fare-whoring bums up at Addison, because they’re running an unauthorized paleoliberal racket under the auspices of at least two administrations of social democracy, not an authorized neoliberal racket under the auspices of a mayoral administration that gets schoolchildren killed on their way to school by closing their neighborhood schools and forcing them to cross rival gang territory. The bums can’t take part in some bullshit scam to give Metra riders free Uber rides for signing up for some app; getting driver’s licenses would get in the way of being severely mentally ill and drunk, and besides, parts of the El run all night. The guy who told me about the swiping scam said that the welfare authorities and the CTA probably figure they’re nutty as fuck, “Yeah, I’m gonna get on the bus five times in a row and then get on the train another three times.” I don’t doubt that they’re card-carrying members of the mental health community, because I know that they carry cards.

What I don’t know, and what the guy who told me about this racket didn’t say, is whether the police turn a blind eye to it on the Northside specifically in furtherance of white privilege and, for that matter, White privilege. Dude was mixed-race black and not squeamish about discussing racial problems, but that didn’t come up and I didn’t think to ask about it. I recall him making some comments indicating that the scam is allowed in racially integrated skid row neighborhoods, too, but some of what he said faded into my sleep-deprived haze, pursuant to Wow Much Travels.

So far we have white motherfuckers who are also embarrassingly White driving less because their brothers by very other mothers are there to swipe them on to the train. Some of them probably take the El in sober daylight hours, too. A friend of the Insurance Schmuck’s has been driving less because she totaled a car that her parents had bought for her in a drunk driving accident; since then, she has been commuting to work in Center City on the old R6, getting around Conshohocken on Uber, and still getting sloshed at the Great American.

Many of my other contacts in greater Philadelphia’s White Community, however, continue to drive all over hell. It takes a lot to get Americans out of their cars. SEPTA, by this reckoning, is not a lot. I still use it when I visit, and I can confirm that it kind of sucks. On dysfunctional lines and at bad times of day, it sucks major ass, and I’ve never tried to argue that it isn’t a great place to get work as a total numbskull. By contrast, the LA Metro Rail system has been exceeding ridership expectations. I’ve used LA Metro quite a bit, too, and it beats the shit out of almost anything that SEPTA runs, so I think that’s why. A cherished Angeleno car culture makes more sense to pop culture consumers in flyover country who never visit LA and to TV executives who live off Mulholland Drive than it does to anyone normal who tries to commute on the 101. Reason Online doesn’t change that by concern-trolling Metro and LA voters with dispatches from empty trains on the Expo Line on the first day of service. It didn’t take long for normies to notice that the line really worked and to start mobbing it.

LA now has excellent rail service in some areas and slow boat to China bus service in others. Philadelphia continues to have shitty transit service in many areas. San Diego continues to have a trolley system culturally fit for Tom Perez and Bill Durden and logistically fit for not a hell of a lot. It takes really good transit service to get affluent people who demand reliability out of their cars. If they vote for Rahm, that’s an oops for all of us. There will always be a hardcore minority of Kardashian-aspirant assholes who insist on taking limousines to clubs with bottle service, unless mass media trendsetters start recoding limos as trailer park trash trucks, but they’re marginal and susceptible to peer pressure holding that buses aren’t for losers anymore.

The obstacle to walkable neighborhoods, to arrangements like being able to safely stumble home blind drunk on account of Conshohocken’s geography, is speculative rentier parasitism, and that’s as American as apple pie and industrialists approaching Smedley Butler with coup proposals. It isn’t immutable; America has evolved from good to evil to good to evil in the past; but there’s a shitload of defensive, possessive, easily riled up, belligerent incumbent elites who have to be overcome if walkable urban planning is to be redemocratized.

The places where people without cars are left in the meantime can be pretty fucking ugly and difficult, even dangerous, to navigate. Remember, I live by the light rail station in Rancho. I don’t stay there, but I lives here; can I come in? Rancho is reasonably walkable for a suburban shithole, but it’s still sketchy and poorly appointed. Northeast Salem is much safer and sociologically upstanding, but its urban planning is worse. East Salem, trashier but no Rancho and certainly no transit-oriented San Diego, has been described to me as “Felony Flats;” it also has bad urban planning. There are densely populated streets in Salem with apartment complexes but no sidewalks.

The reason people in these neighborhoods get by without cars is that they cannot afford cars. It’s that simple. The Salem bus systems, Cherriots and CARTS (Scout’s honor, that’s what they’re called), don’t operate on weekends. Not a lot of people move out to Lancaster Drive to walk for their health.

Extrapolate this by a few thousand to account for all the other towns whose cores have been gentrified by hipster shitwads, and the implications for those displaced into the banlieue aren’t so groovy. The implications for declining motor fuel demand are pretty dystopian, too. Every time gas prices drop, Americans start trading in sensible cars for gas guzzlers again. We’re an awfully profligate people. If gas demand remains low in spite of this ostentatious waste, it makes sense that it’s because lower classes of Americans have been dispossessed from car ownership entirely. That’s a great way to kill fuel demand while still allowing those with enough credit or cash to continue to buy shiny jacked up crew cab pickups for the proper manful display of truck nuts.

No one at the farm where I work, staff or owner, drives anything of the sort. It’s because we aren’t useless assholes. It’s because we aren’t drugstore cowboys. We leave it to others to waste money on vain shit like that.

It goes to show that it’s easy enough for a country to be ruined and beggared by an aspirational ten or fifteen percent. All it takes is an organized, pushy minority, another minority that figures it may someday enjoy the same privileges, and a disorganized, apathetic majority that doesn’t particularly care for the bullshit but can’t figure out what it can possibly do to combat it. Why the hell should RV touring take precedence for policymakers over weekend bus service in cities of two hundred thousand? Because RVers vote; that’s why. As their bumper stickers brag, they’re spending their grandchildren’s inheritances.

Our leaders cater to those who demand things of them, and the circuit-riding senior bling crowd is demanding. Why wouldn’t it be? These are people who believe that they’ve earned the right to drive around in fucking buses. They believe that such a luxury can be earned. Some of them have the nerve to pretend that they’re of modest means while driving $200,000 rigs tens of thousands of miles a year. Bull fucking shit. Even if they bought their boomer cruisers on credit they can’t sustain, that’s no modesty.

We distribute the goodies unequally around here. It’s the Amway, I mean, the American Way. Borrowing from future generations, born already and yet to be, is some solid DeVos shit, too. We can’t all live on Wealthy Street. Some of us would have to expatriate to the Netherlands to become Dutch. Dick and Betsy don’t carry no paper ten-stamp Dutch Mafia card, dumbo. They don’t get their cream by the shot, and they aren’t the kind of white motherfuckers who are down for a welfare swipe onto the subway. America, America, God shed some dregs you don’t even want to imagine on this joint.

More Panera Democrats: different blame rules for different blame fools

The Democratic Party cannot organize anything like See You at the Pole. It hardly even has the discipline to stand back and allow a movement of the sort that is consistent with its purposes to do its thing without nitpicking interference or other neurotic distractions.

That the GOP has See You at the Pole and the Democratic Party has nothing analogous is telling, and damning of the Dems. See You at the Pole isn’t exactly a Republican movement, but it’s tactically and strategically shrewd and consistent with the goals of every significant extant faction of the Republican Party (get thee back to the hearth, Rockefeller; nice job locking up all the black folk for drugs, tho), and so Republicans of all remaining stripes work in concert with it, just as it works in concert with them. Secular movement conservatives don’t try to engage the flagside establishmentarians in internecine warfare; the flag prayer circle dipshits, in turn, basically punch left, putting aside what they assume are relatively minor differences with secular Republican factions to focus on what they believe (mostly rightly) are major differences with liberals and leftists.

See You at the Pole is horseshit, but it’s effective horseshit. Those who aren’t familiar with religious right cultural touchstones may be having salacious thoughts of what Lambert Strether calls ladies of negotiable affection more on the pole than at it, but it isn’t anything that reputable or upstanding. *Beavis butting in, head and all* Hehheh, uh, I’m, uh, totally upstanding right now, but you might be more comfortable kneeling to, uh, polish my pole. *Huhhuh* There’s something touchingly innocent and earnest about a bunch of (mostly) young people who believe in their own ideals and in their own power to effect their ideals coming together in a prayer circle around a flagpole, but on reflection it’s a dubious and even dangerous authoritarian bonding ritual blurring the lines between religion and civics. There is no aspect of sincere Christian praxis that requires such a pushy stunt; this shit is Constantinian church-state aggression updated for a modern Protestant-leaning right-wing sensibility and reweaponized; but this is precisely why Republicans, both of the sort who sincerely believe in the religious right agenda and of the sort who secretly ridicule the religious right as a rabble of useful idiots, encourage this muddled public worship. It’s great agitprop for all of them. It organizes people who otherwise might wander down rabbit holes to the left (labor unionism, say) under the auspices of a public religious preoccupation that directs any political impulses back to the hard right.

The Democrats can’t hold a candle to this. As I said, See You at the Pole is not organized under formal Republican auspices, but it’s a very easy thing for Republicans, who already share an exaggerated and explicit version of the tacit authoritarianism informing these prayer rallies, to endorse. If their schedules are free or they really enjoy mixing it up with the values voters, they can drop by for some prayer and readings not in their secret closet. Otherwise, they can rope in a large part of their target constituency just by saying, hey, I’d have loved to be there but couldn’t make it, but you guys are doing great work, keep it up.

Liberal Democrats who try to outargue the religious right on these cheap authoritarian stances regularly get tripped up and made to look ridiculous and impotent. I campaigned for John Kerry in rural Pennsylvania, so I would know. Bernie Sanders has the rhetorical focus and discipline to stake a claim on his own policy territory and not be lured away from it by wedge issue assholes, but as I’ve carried on about at such length already, the Democratic Party as an institution was not down with the old socialist. Hillary Clinton and everyone around her are fucking hopeless against the religious right. Long Face, an unfortunately weak communicator, made a stumbling but sincere effort to present a nuanced approach to reconciling private faith with public policy, and he got steamrolled by anti-intellectual thugs who didn’t give a shit. Hillary, who has long had a reputation on almost every part of the political spectrum except the center-left for exceptional licentiousness, looks like the Devil Incarnate when she tries to appeal to religious voters, not just a possible unwitting tool of the Dark One. This diabolical look is pretty comprehensive for her, actually: the feminazi harpy never-resting bitch face (not the most gracious look) that offends and discomfits so many cultural conservatives is at least loosely of a piece with the commodities trading monkey business (Carl Sandburg and Leroy Brown, pray for us), the barely-legal-in-Arkansas Whitewater scam (Campbell, you on the line again? Afraid we need you, too), We Came We Saw He Died (for various reasons, I don’t even try to get a hold of History Resistance Liberty Glory Revolution), and the Dr. Evil in distress act that she couldn’t suppress late in her last presidential campaign on account of her being in trouble electorally, which she inevitably delivered in an apparently empty room while dressed in the fashion of a lesbian apotheosis of Mao and Nehru.

The overall optics of the Clinton/Kaine campaign were a raging clusterfuck that the Republicans were able to beat just by running a slightly wooden but impeccably wholesome veep candidate under a loose cannon who, regardless of his judgment or his intellect, clearly had a heart. Mike Pence and Donald Trump are both effective campaigners who successfully appealed to complementary parts of a Republican base that Trump dramatically expanded by appealing to disgruntled Democrats, many of them recently berned over. As inferred Trump voter Michael Moore kept pointing out, Hillary just wasn’t getting through in the rust belt; the different things that can be tried on Torch Lake include getting baked as fuck in a MAGA hat or soberly having a KFC family bucket and a half gallon of RC Cola for dinner while finalizing one’s conclusion that the Democrats really, seriously blew it this time and that one’s fellow slovenly fat guy is the real cultural liberal and trade union leftist remaining in the race at the witching hour.

Never Trump will have a shit fit over the last part, but look at the diverse coalition that the Donald brought together just by being all over the place and picking a politically and temperamentally complementary running mate. Hillary could have picked Bernie, and he would have put her over the top, but her priority, and for reasons of corruption her party’s, was spending the general election campaign reminding him and his supporters that their proper place in the coalition was as meek, submissive, whipped little bitches. That worked out great, guys. I didn’t want that woman in the White House, so I don’t mind gloating a bit now and then. Sexist? I didn’t really want Kaine around there, either. Also, I voted for Jill Stein, bitch. It depends on what the meaning of “her” is, and sharing a candidate with a marginal collection of anti-vaxxers and healing crystals freaks is better than sharing one with a horde of insatiable power yuppies. I’m not crazy about Trump getting so easily triggered by the Nork Dork, but at least he isn’t starting shit with our supremely rational and mostly peaceable alleged enemies in the Kremlin, who conspicuously are not joining Piggy Gangnam Style in announcing plans for a nuclear missile attack on Guam.

Etc., but Wow Much Words. #WithHer regards argumentation like that as retardation on the level of someone with Down’s Syndrome talking about how good the hot dogs are at Bear River Pump-n-Play. It’s Wiener Day at the Roth’s in West Salem tomorrow; go choke on one. The refusal to acknowledge nuance on the part of the opposition is not a good look in a sworn liberal party. That doesn’t just alienate conservatives and reactionaries. Donald Trump looking like the more liberal candidate appeals to some of us. If the nominal liberals won’t confront their own illiberalism, maybe he’ll confront it for them. It might be worth a try.

In this context, the impotent embarrassments of Democratic-aligned protest movements is worth a look. Happily married women with large families aren’t natural allies for the pussy hat marchers, whom they’re more likely to regard as barren, bitter, pathological shit-stirrers, even freaks. Appealing to nebulous concepts of virtue like science and reason backfires on those who won’t honestly state and defend their own principles: extensive moral reasoning led Rick Santorum in a very different direction, and now liberals smear him by smugly appropriating his surname for a slurry of post-climactic butt goo, all while he’s married with, IIRC, five living children.

Bernie Sanders stays away from this toxic, distracting shit, but the Democratic Party would rather adopt Dan Savage as a mainstream standardbearer. But it gets worse than that. Bernie is beyond their comfort zone, but he’s closer than most of the voters they’re theoretically trying to reach. He’s a college-educated sitting United States Senator. Famously on the gotcha right and center, he owns several lake houses. The problem, the intractable problem, is that he talks basically like an organizer at a union hall. He relates to coal miners. Like Trump, he’s comfortable reaching out to workaday people, but he does so at a much more granular, thoughtful, and probably honest level, and he has a strong track record in industrial policy benefiting his constituents in Vermont that parallels Trump’s casino bankruptcies and stiffing of small family-owned contractors in Atlantic City.

Sanders has a more honest version of what Republican politicians have and Democratic politicians desperately need: an ability to get into the trenches and interact with ordinary voters on their own turf. It’s hard to say for sure what mix of sincere interest and depraved psychosexual drives motivates Republican politicians to do effective retail politics with voters at state fairs and grange halls and churches and athletic events, but they do it. It comes naturally to them. They look comfortable. Democrats look all grossed out that some pig is about to shit on their Bruno Maglis. Or some voter. Hell, Mitt Romney has a fucking elevator in La Jolla for his cars, and even he had more in common with ordinary voters than Hillary Clinton on account of his involvement in LDS stake leadership, which involves ongoing dealings with congregants at various socioeconomic levels.

Of course this idiot crew can’t connect with farmers or factory hands. We’ve got a political class on what passes for the left that can’t think of a single thing that it has in common with normal, average people in probably eighty percent of US counties and, let’s not kid ourselves, many urban neighborhoods. The client-patron relationship that the Democratic Party presumes with African-American and Latino voters isn’t nearly as sustainable or cordial as the Dems think it is, but when they try to take the same attitude to majority-white parts of flyover country, where voters forthrightly expect not to be treated so condescendingly, the locals invite them to immediately enjoy a hearty serving of Manchego Fuck Yourself. They dig themselves even deeper into the hole by pretending that 10% black counties in Appalachia are 100% white and 100% bigoted, and then return to their contemplation of how bae Nate Silver is for being such a detail-oriented wonk.

GA-06 was their wet dream. Finally they had located a single congressional district in the New South that they thought they had a chance of winning by running a milquetoast Millennial neoliberal against a hardliner Gen X values MILF. And they lost it. Oops. They lost to the Jersey Slugger in Montana, too, but that was because they shut off the party campaign funds to their High Line native candidate as a fuck-you to the Berniecrats. Ain’t no Panera in Cut Bank, either. The proper bougie purveyors of coffee and sammich nicely complemented the obsession with winning over hardliner Republican dentists in Alpharetta instead of reaching out to ranchers who gladly vote for Jon Tester every six years.

Any party that actually valued meritocracy, in the sense of having what it takes not to torpedo one’s organization by being a moron, would tell anyone encouraging more outreach to Panera Democrats in suburban Atlanta to go on public assistance. They’d take the fuckheads down to the welfare office. Any sensible political leader would figure that a belief in Panera Democrats as a viable constituency could only come from the laziest, dumbest, softest, most squeamish motherfucker on earth. The Dunkin’ Doorman hangs out in a coffeeshop, too, but he doesn’t work as a political strategist. I’m writing this from a Starbucks, and I interrupted my writing to go trainspotting out on the sidewalk, twice, but I’m not a fucking idiot who has never talked to poor people. You might not want to hear the stuff I could tell you about the bitchin’ consists that I watched roll by, but I don’t pester the Democratic Party with any of that. The people who do pester the Democratic Party include incorrigibly timid little shitbirds who think they can run the ground war for a successful national political strategy from the lobby of a chain cafe that’s decorated with peak clip art.

I pick fruit commercially, and I think they’re fucking reprehensible.