The permanence of the temporarily embarrassed millionaire

Let’s be perfectly blunt. America, as it is popularly understood and celebrated, is predicated on a carefully unexamined magical assumption of upward mobility for all in due course of time. This is the founding myth without which its sociopolitical regime would immediately collapse. We tried race-based chattel slavery and ended up with a civil war barely beyond living memory of independence, followed by a fitful decade-long postwar reform effort and, not quite another century later, a peacetime federal military intervention to forcibly secure the civil rights of African-Americans in the South over the violent objections of their local and state governments. There’s still a horrific percentage of Americans who believe in eternal racial attainder, but one is socially marginalized for openly expressing anything of the sort outside a narrow, aberrant swath of the Deep South. For all the talk about how racist Alabamans are, that shit hasn’t flown on the shop floors of Birmingham’s steel mills since sometime around the Second World War. You read that right: Bull Connor didn’t even have the monolithic support of his own Whitey local.

This isn’t to say that LBJ called all the Congressional bigshots into the White House shitter for some legislative shuck-and-jive and racism magically evaporated like so much morning fog from Cicero to Southie to the Upper East Side. The point is that it was driven at least partway underground, so that for the past half century bigots have generally had to offer explanations other than righteous racial attainder for why African-Americans continue to have such a large share of the poor outcomes in the United States. Overpowering social conventions have forced them to blame the shortcomings on communal cultural problems (Bill Cosby famously keeping his pants either all the way up or, in the presence of Quaaludes and fetching women not his wife, all the way off) or individual behavioral problems inhibiting individual success (e.g., non-Cosby criminality). The Overton Window was budged pretty hard, and it still hasn’t been pushed back to where it was under Jim Crow. It’s still considered beyond the pale to insist that the black man not be allowed to rise by his own merit because he was put on this earth, and certainly this continent (gee, wonder how that happened), to pick a bale by sundown.

Old-line African-Americans and the more troubled Indian tribes are the only ethnic groups that are routinely exempted from or ignored by the assumption of permanent upward mobility. African immigrants are generally believed to bypass the socioeconomic problems that bedevil native-stock blacks (Nigerians very much so, Ethiopians as a matter of course, Somalis and Liberians somewhat less so). To the extent that specific Indian nations are recognized beyond the Rez as discrete societies rather than a vague red mass, the Cherokee and the Mohawk have a reputation for levels of human development that most other tribes sadly do not. Remember, blacks and Indians are the exceptions here. No other racial or ethnic group on the face of the earth has a significant number of Americans prejudging it incapable of upward mobility upon its arrival in the United States. Yes, I’m including Cambodians and Micronesians. That’s how deep the American belief in upward mobility is.

Occasionally we get a leader who recognizes that ever-increasing and broadening prosperity is happy horseshit and cuts the brightsiding. Clintonworld hates the shit out of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump for calling bullshit on its scam and insisting that something actually has to be done to restore America to what it should be. Trump is mainly a vector of false reform, a man who has shown himself to be evil and surrounded by advisors who are even worse, but it’s striking how salty he made both the center-left and the center-right with a four-word slogan implying that not everything was sunshine and lollypops and it was time for the government to do something on behalf of those constituents it had been forsaking. Trump and Sanders were appealing to an overlapping suite of grievances, so of course they got a huge amount of overlap in their voters (YUGE!). In the past, we’ve gotten blunt candor about things being bad from Jimmy Carter, reviled for years on the hard right for the sweater and the national malaise; LBJ, with the Civil Rights Act and the Great Society Campaign; FDR, with the Four Freedoms, the fireside chats, and the New Deal; and his cousin Teddy the trustbuster. If these guys had had continuity of leadership for a century we might be in pretty good shape today. Instead, the periods between their administrations included a number of horrible bullshit artists: Harding, Coolidge, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, another Bush, Obama, and nearly another Clinton. This ignores all the authoritarian horror shows orchestrated by our best and worst modern presidents alike: Hoover’s ideologically driven ineptitude and consequent rumble with the Bonus Army look benign compared to the eugenicist lunacy and authoritarian extremism of Wilson, who, by the way, blew the singular chance to win Ho Chi Minh over to the American side at Versailles because, duh, that cracker never had any truck with a gook. Yankee Doodle Dien Bien Phu, my old boy.

What’s scary is how rarely we get leaders who have the courage to tell us that we do not and will not just magically end up with a chicken in every pot. It’s idiotic to assume that we’ll automatically remain free, healthy, and prosperous because we’re the greatest nation in the world, ever. It’s deeply scandalous that this is a mainstream political opinion and that dissidents marginalize themselves by challenging it. It’s the language of toddlers at a sporting match. Why would we not be the champions of the world? Of course, “we” won the Second World War, or our fathers did on their way from *FACT CHECK* Bethlehem to Asbury Park for the Fourth of July weekend, never mind that the USSR sustained fifty times as many casualties and had to recapture much of its own most productive territory on its way to Berlin. Yeah, maybe we’re somewhat exaggerating the amount of fashy ass we kicked as one of the last parties to join the Allied war effort.

Fixing the mess we have now means untangling seventy years of ever more muddleheaded national mythology, which is expressed in all sorts of unexpected, disorienting ways. We’re taught that we’re a wealthy, prosperous, stable country, always on its way up to greater things and always lifting up the less fortunate peoples attached to our own. We aren’t taught to ask who the fuck is “us,” an increasingly pertinent question at a time of bifurcation between a lucky, affluent, sheltered minority and a proliferating underclass of the damned. “We” kicked all that fashy ass, came home and porked our Yankee broads for some Boomers, did the civil rights thing, something-something Goodnight Saigon but whatever, spent the eighties getting rich and the nineties cutting our hair and having the emo angst but still getting even richer, kept that good shit going for most of another administration, and then, when it all came crashing down, internationally and spectacularly, decided that it was just a short “recession.” The five million-plus who disappeared from the official payroll from 2008 to 2009 were erased just as effectively from the national discussion about why the hell we even have an economy.

I mentioned the Baby Boom above. It’s axiomatic in hip circles that the Boomers are Satan incarnate, and that isn’t entirely the fault of the small, beleaguered successor generations that they barely birthed. Their most prominent members have behaved execrably for decades and left the young in a world of hurt. In many cases, however, they’ve also ruined their age peers or themselves. It’s Boomers who keep making the news for being too broke to retire. Whether they frittered their money away on stupid shit, lost it to Wall Street scammers, were obliterated by medical debt, or just got vaguely in over their heads in an increasingly hostile economy, it’s gone.

The money they lost in whatever combination of these bad moves and misfortunes isn’t coming back, so we might as well not get too worked up if a different pool of money is diverted to them through, say, Social Security. As a rule of thumb, we need to get these fuckers out of the workforce to make room for youngsters who have never been given a decent chance, and no-strings-attached cash disbursements are the best way to go about it. Also, working the indigent elderly like draft animals when their bodies are already wrecked is evil.

At a more detached philosophical level, though, the proliferation of a new cohort of elderly poor raises some interesting questions about the classic American trajectory of upward mobility. The elderly are supposed to have savings and income because of the magical economy and shit, i.e., Mr. Roosevelt giving us all Social Security, God and Paul Ryan willing, but also a lifetime of thrift and whatever. Or, as the famous RV bumper stickers say, “I’m spending my children’s inheritance!” (Also available to articulate providential respect for one’s grandchildren.) The linear shit is supposed to make everything get better over time.

It sounds ridiculous when it’s phrased so plainly, but this is exactly what we’re taught. We don’t keep seven generations (TM) in bondage; we manumit the children of our Mexicans. The only surviving member of a sibship that the Ottoman authorities otherwise arrayed on crosses on a road into Yerevan begat a rug salesman in Glendale begat defense counsel to Mr. Orenthal James Simpson begat the lady with the famous picture of her ample rump covered in coconut oil begat North and Chicago, but certainly not Humboldt Park.

Divergent lineages begat three successive generations of supercilious assholes who own three thousand acres of almonds and citrus and half the car dealerships in the valley while their self-serious cousin reads the six o-clock news in Fresno, but we don’t need to worry about any of that. I’ll be Mayor Bridgeport Daley if these aren’t classic all-American stories of grit, determination, and in no way unspoken emergent ethnic mafias that make a downwardly mobile honky appreciate Robert Mugabe’s land tenure policies in racially neutral terms. Just in California we’ve had Dutchmen, generic whiteys, Portuguese, Japanese, Armenians, Sikhs, Italians, and lately occasional Mexicans buy up untenably large holdings that leave nothing worth cultivating for anyone else. We’ve got an ethnically-American diverse planter class that won’t hire anyone but indigent Mexicans to do the grunt work on their haciendas (love too learn Spanish!), or Thais if the wetbacks get uppity. Whoop de fuckin do. Dora can teach your children how to communicate with the maid and the gardener while a tiny mixed diaspora drawn and descended from the most ruthless people from a dozen old-world countries exploit loopholes in American land ownership policy and labor law and publicly defame the employability of the US citizenry in a campaign to ensure their supply of unenfranchised foreigners who won’t complain about workplace safety problems and wage theft.

None of this is any reason not to give America a participation trophy. It continues to exist as a polity, after all, and it’s Already Great. That’s why Hillary is here to make it whole again, you deplorable basket of shit. Somehow a generation of young people was ruined by parents and coaches who didn’t go full Karolyi on their asses with constant playing fields of Eton horseshit about how sports are a crucial preparation for life, and yet the deterioration of an entire country’s labor market, social cohesion, morality, and overall health had nothing to do with the same adults failing to adequately steward their society for thirty or forty years. There are people who earnestly complain that Millennials have difficulty finding work and functioning in the workplace because AYSO failed as a vocational training program. It couldn’t possibly be something more proximal, like the modern Anglo-American workplace being a Black Mirror hellscape of precarity, artificial scarcity, and managerial aggression.

We have a republic, if we can keep it. Guess what? We aren’t fucking keeping it. Maybe it really is that the Boomers had it too easy growing up. It’s appalling how many examples there are of Boomers graduating into a healthy job market and society and leaving in their wake an unnavigable pile of rubble and shit. As Stefan Molyneux and his boys like to say, good times create soft men, and hard times create hard men. If I had drawing skills, my DeviantArt page would include reworkings of this sacred instructional imagery to include the Hardly Boys among the Moguls. Ew, get a clue!

The odd thing is that I wouldn’t describe most of what I’ve heard of postwar prosperity as soft or softening on those raised in it. For one thing, we’re talking about birth cohorts that were raised with more marketable skills than young adults today were taught in childhood. These are people who apparently knew how to cook, clean, sew, fix things, and so on by the time they started high school, let alone graduated. I’d be surprised if these skill sets haven’t deteriorated since the midcentury. And there was nothing soft about the yuppie aggression of the eighties. The Summer of Love nonsense, for that matter, tacitly brought out a latent suite of Darwinian behaviors that were antisocial but very much competent and adaptive: being the shithead who scored the pussy in that jungle took adult wiles, not the regressive neurosis and anxiety that plague so many young people today.

The bad stuff wasn’t actually started by the coddled and the soft. It was started by amoral aggressors who took advantage of the prosperous and mildly permissive times of their youth to become ethically and civically lax, then spent their middle and old age responding to ever-worsening incentives and exploiting ever more licentious loopholes. We’re barking up the wrong tree if we think these people fucked up their society and left us with a mess because they didn’t have any work ethic or drive. What they didn’t have was the sense of noblesse oblige to give a damn about those less successful than themselves. This is why we have Uber and unpaid internships instead of a national industrial policy.

To scale the fractal down to the local, where Tip O’Neill claimed to take his politics, Pot-o-Shit Friend is too lazy to steward a healthy society, or a healthy living room. Joe Dirtbag is not too lazy, but he gets his jollies from watching losers live in squalor on his property and illegally charging them rent when he can. He had the work ethic to run a restaurant and still has the work ethic to maintain several acres of wine grapes to near-commercial standards, but as the Ragin’ Canajun perceptively noted, he doesn’t have any maintenance ethic, and so his property is in shambles. Hell, if he were apathetic and inattentive, he wouldn’t try to bait other men into dangerous feuds like he did with me, Busboy, and the cop.

Busboy sitting on ass all the live-long day isn’t the problem in this context. It’s unfortunate, and the reclusive idleness of Pot-o-Shit Friend and Lady Pisspan was really unfortunate, but there is no fucking incentive to have a work ethic around there. No one fucking gets paid, and showing up to work for Joe Dirtbag means risking entanglement in some beef that threatens to turn violent if anyone responds in kind to his fighting words. This fucker owns a couple dozen acres of prime farmland, and it is literally impossible to work for a living for him. If he’s wondering why more people hanging around his property don’t work for a living, that’s why. If he doesn’t pay anyone a cent for doing heavy labor for him or lift a finger to maintain the shanties he rents out, who the hell does he expect to show any fucking responsibility as an employer or a landlord?

This is why the shady pay arrangements at the berry farm where I work the summer harvest doesn’t bother me so much. It isn’t what it should be, but the In-Laws deduct and remit FICA taxes and live by a halfway respectable labor theory of value, not to mention that they don’t harass employees the way Joe Dirtbag does, care about employee safety, and maintain a safe workplace. (Mother-in-Law’s occasional outbursts are seat-of-the-pants emotional failures of self-control, not chilling gaslighting campaigns, and she beats herself up about them afterwards more than I wish she did. If the bullshit stops and I don’t see it back on the horizon, I’m cool.) This is a case where the perfect is the enemy of the good, and the piece rate is good enough.

The Joe Dirtbag situation is an evil which is the enemy of the perfect and the good. He isn’t a decent guy who’s just kind of cheap. He’s a petty feudal lord. The down-and-out exist to be “helpers,” as the Family Shrew says, compliant little fruit bitches and shack tenants who never complain about how they’re paying an adequately housed landlord to live in a fucking travel trailer with a pit outhouse in the yard and no indoor plumbing or farmworkers whose landed boss always has a cool story about how he doesn’t have to pay anyone and will have steam coming out of his ears if anyone calls bullshit.

These fuckers act like the universe will magically provide paid work to anyone who actually needs the money while they Tom Sawyer pushovers into being their unpaid field hands. Years ago JD had the nerve to chide me for referring to a semi-paid employee of his as a field hand. For fuck’s sake, do I sound like I’m offended that my bosses at the blueberry patch refer to me and my colleagues as pickers, when that’s exactly what we are? Again, scrupulous OSHA compliance and partial compliance with wage and hour laws is a hell of an improvement over flippant noncompliance with all laws and regulations restricting nonpayment of wages, the maintenance of death traps, and harassment.

It’s absurd, nay, superstitious, to expect anyone else to step into the breach and abide by the laws of the land and common decency to make Joe Dirtbag’s farm irrelevant to the labor and housing markets when he’s allowed to do whatever the fuck he goddamn pleases at whatever cost to those around him with near-total impunity. Just as with unpaid internships and unionbusting, this shit has a contagious degrading effect. None of the hundreds of thousands of dollars that he’s obtained at below-market rates from investors has gone to ensuring that the winery building is safe, clean, and intact or that anyone on the property has a sanitary place to bathe and shit. The rent he collects doesn’t go to any of that, either.

These are the job creators of American small business. Will it surprise you to learn that JD and FS have dabbled in superstitions about trickle-down economics, just world theory, and how disloyal theoretical customers eating at Burger King and Denny’s fucked up their restaurant business in a market harboring neither of the former? Last I checked, the Family Shrew had a handwritten affirmation on a wall in their house saying, “Every day, in every way, I am growing richer.” Counterpoint: Bitch you are not. This is a woman who has gotten no less than $15,000 from my parents to cover emergency household expenses (money my dad gave JD to buy a new Subaru), in addition to tens of thousands from other parties that are beyond my ability to calculate, and she was still eating half-wilted, half-rotting lettuce out of an old one-gallon sour cream container.

I am not going to find a portal into an authentic or functional working-class existence from either of these two dipshits. They’re proud crackers whenever anyone is on to their schnorring act, mortally offended bourgeois business leaders whenever anyone is on to their insolvency, and humble pensioners just trying to get by in embarrassingly hard times whenever anyone acts like the reputable thing for them to do for their staff would be to set up an accounts payable operation. If they’re the moral standard, I shouldn’t be online writing this shit; I should be out by the freeway flying a sign. I swear, the only thing I’m paid to do when I’m working on their property is to scavenge deposit bottles. That’s it. It’s reason enough to limit my efforts to my own reclamation projects and leave JD to his own devices in the parts of the vineyard he hasn’t abandoned.

We can tell that we’re having a second Great Depression, not a fucking recession followed by a recovery of green shoots and sunshine up my ass and yours, because there are still people living on that filthy death trap of a farm and the county authorities aren’t down there every week to respond to citizen complaints. It’s a version of the rural poverty that preceded and helped precipitate the first Great Depression.

This shit won’t fucking restabilize itself. JD knows all the local do-gooders and half the elected officials. He’s married to a goddamn social worker. There’s no making this shit up. The Family Shrew has a bachelor’s degree in social work and five years’ professional experience in the field, and she’s got people shitting in a one-holer outhouse and sleeping without heat on her property. This is the kind of shit LBJ was horrified to discover in Appalachia half a century ago. But no, it harsh the mellow to blow the whistle on any of this.

Maybe I’ll be there to shake your hand. Maybe I’ll be there to share the land and then share my story about it with sheriff’s dispatch. It’s forecast to be down to twenty next week, but as JD and FS will agree, their country cabin is so warm and cozy. FS actually preened about this on a night when Island Boy sent me back down to the farm with a pair of winter socks. A few days later I nearly drove back up there and threw the socks at that mofo, Kajieme Powell with the pastries-style.

This is how they treat family. Franklin Roosevelt bragging about his warm fire on the radio was satire when the Onion published it. Around here, it’s real life. Of course these shitheads assume that blood’s thicker than water. They figure that renting a dump without plumbing from an asshole who presumes himself above all laws is thicker than water, too. Nice phone number they’ve got at Port Coquitlam code enforcement, Willie. Shame if I called it, eh.

I’m one of the ones who thinks of ways to demand redress for these horror shows without resorting to violence. That isn’t all of us in the United States. Put that CCR record on the turntable, look out your back door, and see if that isn’t a storm on the horizon. Ain’t all of us got the Walgreen’s royalties to see us through the bad times, Fogerty.

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The short, lame arm of the law

Some down-and-out Johnny Come Lately has been sleeping in an unheated car on Joe Dirtbag’s farm, right across the parking lot from the winery building next to the perimeter fence. I personally saw him rummaging around with a flashlight with the windshield fogged up on a night last week when the temperature was down to barely above freezing. I didn’t even try to ask whether he was too cheap to warm the car up or too broke; I’d come to the farm to weed the abandoned vineyard blocks that I’ve been reclaiming, not to make small talk with some random dipshit who had decided to share the land.

I wasn’t worried about this dipshit’s safety that night. That situation was fucked up, but it seemed safe enough. This week, when the lows dropped into the low twenties, a near record for this time of year, I got pretty rattled. That’s definitely cold enough to kill a person. All it takes is one night mistakenly thinking that one is hardy enough to tough it out, and there’s no shortage of hard cases and foolhardy knuckleheads with something to prove about their own toughness living on the fringes in rural Oregon who spend the winter fixing to do exactly that. I’d been out of town for a few days, but I’d looked at the forecast and realized that it was definitely cold enough for winterkill, and Lady Pisspan had already provided the precedent for being found frozen dead in one’s vehicle in the same parking lot.

After a couple hours of prevarication and online research of the local and state social services apparatus, which didn’t provide a clear idea of where to turn for help, I left a voice mail with the county Health and Human Services department describing the situation as I’d been able to piece it together and my fear that someone would end up dying of exposure on that property. My call was returned first thing the next morning. I was told that HHS didn’t have jurisdiction over what I’d described and that if I wanted any further assistance I’d have to contact the police.

I still can’t tell that I’m not missing something about what the county or the state can do about this mess. The police should not be given primary responsibility for social services in nonemergency situations. It isn’t that they’re necessarily unable to deal with social services calls professionally or are inherently dangerous to those they’re sworn to serve; this is an area with some of the best cops on earth, so chances are that we’d draw a good squad, and Mixups in my Mind and Psychotarp being gone from the property means that the chance of a Robert Dziekanski situation is diminished to negligibility, to my great relief. The problem I see is that the emergency services, both police and fire, generally consider nonemergency situations involving individual welfare low priority. I didn’t see anything productive coming from my calling the sheriff’s desk to say that I was out of town but worried about the safety of someone who was probably sleeping in his car on the property because I’d seen him doing so before on a warmer night. It seemed likely that my call would be dismissed as a crank call, and that if deputies did conduct a welfare check they’d rile up the guy in the car without doing anything to improve his housing situation. The situation was obviously bad, but it wasn’t blatantly dire or life-threatening enough to demand an emergency response.

There are jurisdictions in the United States today where the emergency services blow off calls like these. Seattle 911 operators get annoyed by frivolous calls about some guy who’s spending a cold winter morning lying face-down with his head pointing down a hill, his pants around his ankles, and naked of all other clothing but a pair of bright red underwear. The LAPD beat cop I flagged down on the subway over the severely disturbed guy who’d been lunging around our car and yelling at the top of his lungs thought that what I’d alerted him to sounded normal. These are shockingly dire situations that the police may or may not prioritize, depending on how much of that kind of thing they see on their beats on a day-to-day basis. I guess the good thing about most of Oregon is that these are relatively stark deviations from the prevailing community standards. In Seattle and Los Angeles, the authorities can easily enough find the inspiration to redefine “community” as whoever is storming around skid row with a bowie knife and a length of rebar right now.

We used to have mental hospitals for such cases. Today we have transit systems. Perhaps when we reopen the state hospitals we can install hills on the yard, as habitat features. Send a nurse out every fifteen minutes to make sure that no one’s extremities are turning blue; the contrast with the red should be helpful. Every zoo has its keepers.

As rude as that was, I’m crudely groping towards a better world, one that exists more in our most hopeful minds than in our cities. As I said, I’ve been told by a county HHS official that the only way to get help from local government with the clusterfuck at the farm is to call the police. This mess falls through the cracks. No one involved is juvenile, elderly, crazy, retarded, or crippled enough to fall into a protected class that can bring out social services. Being a more or less normal adult who got into an exploitative, shady, or just plain bad situation isn’t enough. The people staying on Joe Dirtbag’s farm can’t be the victims of adult abuse because they’re theoretically able to advocate for themselves. That a number of them have already been bullied into abiding by illegal rental agreements for uninhabitable dwellings doesn’t establish any sort of legal vulnerability because, again, they theoretically can walk away, into God knows what, or stand up to a Master of the House slumlord thug who enjoys trying to bait other men into feuds with one another and with random cops.

The guy I saw sleeping in the car appears to be endangering himself more than anyone else is affirmatively endangering him. Much of what bothers me about this particular arrangement is that it exposes JD and anyone else involved with the farm whom a plaintiff’s attorney might try suing to civil liability in the event of his injury or death. Dude doesn’t happen to be sleeping on some disused, out-of-the-way part of the property, as some other homeless do in parts of the greenbelt that JD owns; I saw him sleeping in the curtilage of an active winery building, next to a heavily used gate to actively tended fields. We’ve got a property manager married to a bachelor’s-level social worker, with a six-figure investment fund dedicated to the operation of the property, and neither of them is doing a fucking thing to adequately rehouse our boy in the car or any of the other down-and-out who have been festering in their Hooverville for years. Why would they, when they can cajole unpaid heavy labor from these losers from time to time instead?

We’re approaching the point at which the only thing I can do is to cut the kumbaya shit and haidt-fuck every recalcitrant party into compliance with the law. The harm and fairness gloss is that Kumbaya, m’Landlord has everyone living in squalor, to the point of endangering the lives of the more vulnerable and reckless among them in the winter. The authority gloss is that, no, you do not have the right to live in or preside over La Colonía de los Cráqueres on a property that I’ve been funding for agricultural use. Any moral sense of purity is heinously assaulted by the mere mention of Pot-o-Shit Friend. Wanna round it out for an even five for five by appealing to my sense of loyalty to Joe Dirtbag and the Family Shrew? No luck, white boy. Purity and authority were why the Port Coquitlam municipal government ordered Robert Pickton to clean that shit up in his hardcore Monty Robinson for Sheriff days, and authority was one of the reasons that Mountie newjack got the search warrant that exposed a lot more than just illegal firearms on the old pig poo plantation.

Beyond some point, the process-oriented objections to imperfect ways of forcing a derelict to clean his shit up become untenable distractions. At JD’s farm, we’re just about there. I have no good reason to give a shit about some asshat’s high libertarian theory that the government should mind its own business when private citizens are choosing to live in squalor and cold. I’ve got money tied up in that shit, so I’m within my rights to tell a man that he is not allowed to sleep in my driveway all winter. I’m not invested in the farm because I want to help a bunch of losers fall through the cracks and enjoy Simon and Simon cool changes in the yard whenever there’s a hard freeze while antisocial landowners who have been adequately housed their whole lives enjoy their noble savagery from the sidelines. Joe Dirtbag and that fucking radiologist who’s bootlegging his wine into California may find this shit cute. They may enjoy it as latter-day Jacob Riis poverty tourism minus the documentary value. I fucking do not. This horseshit interferes with the operation of the farm and exposes my parents to liability for the endangerment of losers they never meant to have languishing indefinitely in grossly deficient, even dangerous, conditions.

It will inevitably be taken as a provocation if the police are called to the property for any purpose, but I’m very close to the point of absolutely ceasing to give a shit. It isn’t my fault that a bunch of dipshits who either won’t take adequate care of themselves or won’t take adequate care of those living in squalor on their property will get salty if I call a pork rally. The tenants in the Ghost Ship squats in Oakland had cool stories about how they had to live in that ramshackle deathtrap because they were starving artists trying to get by in the city, and now three dozen people are needlessly dead. The authorities might have saved their lives had they raided the building from floor to floor and end to end and fully evacuated it. The fire department had repeatedly flagged it as dangerous.

Sleeping in an unheated car when it’s well below freezing is dangerous, too. I’m not interested in the relativism of how it’s less dangerous than the Grenfell Tower or sleeping in the same car when it’s below zero Fahrenheit, not just Celsius. We’re on course to have someone die from exposure to cold on the farm again. I can’t say for certain that Lady Pisspan was killed by the cold, but I can very reasonably assume that the cold was a factor in her death, since her travel trailer had no apparent source of heat or cooling.

It’s one thing if people insist on spending the winter living and dying on a pile of filth under a lean-to in the greenbelt or a freeway overpass. It’s a tragedy that it happens anywhere and a scandal that it happens in my country, but I’m not Captain Save-a-Bum. I’m not here to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, nor am I here to shake your hand and share the land, which went just great in the Ukraine.

We have our own land tenure problems of a rather different sort in the United States. One of them afflicts Joe Dirtbag’s farm, a significant plot of prime farmland that has gone to ruin and shit because it’s owned by an incorrigible deadbeat. Believe me, this situation is enough to make me wonder whether Robert Mugabe wasn’t so much wrong as overly ambitious. Any effective economic system would reallocate JD’s land to someone else. That’s all there is to it. It is definitively a failure of American capitalism that JD is allowed to abandon large swathes of his land, let crops go to waste by the half ton, run tenant farmers off his property by behaving erratically and harboring wackos, and repeatedly harass the few tenants who remain. It’s almost like allowing a maneating lion the run of the land.

Cecil and Jericho, pray for us.

Yes, we live in the animal kingdom. Hakuna mafuckintata, honky. We’re all slaves to the sinful nature and shit. Fair enough. But we fucking ought to aspire to something more refined and civilized than that, say, by expecting that our business partners not be apes in their dealings with us and then scream bloody murder when we fail to be angels before them in return. #GorillaMindset. If you act like a rutting bull elk in front of me, I’m allowed to call the police, rough men (and women!) ready to do violence in civilization’s name. My own sexual impulses are more civilizational than that, if I do say so myself. I came to Oregon to learn and ply agricultural trades, not to get baited into a goddamn fight club. Put on some antlers, go out into the forest come fall, and lose me with that shit.

Scout’s Honor, by Chesterfield, if Joe Dirtbag were merely a recreational elkfucker I wouldn’t have anything nearly so critical to say about him in these pages. The time one spends fucking God’s other creatures is time one does not spend feeding a feral rat colony while it beshits the floor of one’s winery or personally filling a trash can oneself. Go figure that Pot-o-Shit Friend, the ultimate Darwinian cul-de-sac, had a place in the farm community under the authority of Captain Flimflam and Joe Dirtbag, both of them animalistic bullies. That’s what they got when they finally brought someone meek onboard. Surely nightsoil is a form of earth that one might inherit.

It’s no accident that the English literary treasury that we have inherited as rebellious peri-Commonwealthers is so heavy on aristocratic imperialist authoritarian garbage like Austen, Kipling, Paddington Bear, and Thomas the Tank Engine (what we get for giving clergymen publishing contracts) and so light on wholesome stories about Kentish fruitboys and their townie whores. We pretty much have to go back to the Canterbury Tales to get some, uh, Canterbury tail. Pot-o-Shit Friend likes dudes, but don’t let anyone tell you that he’s part of the National Fruit Collection, or that that little faggot will ever have his own jet airplane. By the way, this is the first paragraph in this screed that isn’t totally fucked up, because it’s basically the least disturbing thing that can possibly be written about English sexuality since the Reformation, nay, the Norman Conquest. This is the crew that gave us Jimmy Savile and the public schools. I want my, I want my, I want my BBC. Say what you will about David Cameron, but the pig wasn’t in a position to mind.

That was an indulgence in false hope, mostly. What we return to when we return to the real world is fractals of imperial aggression and brutality, a society in which only some of us are granted human rights and dignity and the rest of us, if we’re assertive enough to call, have someone from the county telling us that we’ll have to call the police to reclaim ours. I’d like to make it through Ash Wednesday without another farm squatter returning prematurely to dust, and I don’t mind expressing my relief that that bitch Pickton doesn’t get to choose between the eight, noon, and six o’clock services these days. My problem with the clergy is specifically with guys like that Anglican tankie fuckhead with the train stories, not with ones who just smear ashes on my forehead and tell me I’m gonna die. Sexy male nurse Lynn Majors expressed similar sentiments, but that’s why they moved him, in all directions, away from Terre Haute.

Yes, I’m only trying to make sure that we are NOT cullen the herd. I don’t want people dying of exposure on property where I work and am invested. The fucked up thing is that I’m around people who think find this controversial.

Adventures in bourgeois feminism

How do I put this delicately? You guys are gonna get Donald Trump reelected. Excuse me, you girls and/or gals and/or strong independent women and/or buddies and friends. I guess those last two are inclusive, but mainly of Canadians, not that I can ever resolve to avoid the near occasions of canucksploitation when Sweet Melissa of the Maritimes herself got a government grant to go on a speaking tour about how to be a battered wife, since the husband she’d run over with her car had a prior scheduling conflict. I’m not here to say that he definitely didn’t rape her, but she definitely did poison that other husband’s coffee on their honeymoon in Newfoundland, and I’m not the only one you’ll find Online.

If I weren’t recapitulating the usual story about how the Lady is my Shepard, I’d be going straight into repulsive commentary that one can’t avoid by refraining from dating online or joining the Halifax Police Service, specifically, NPR. From one perspective, I should have left the radio off when I turned it off on account of the hourly news segment about whiners who got butthurt over #GrammysSoMale. From another perspective, I would have missed a worthwhile roundtable of Ira Flato, Zeynep Tufekci, and some techie Mick Gavin something-or-other about proliferating surveillance technologies. I’d have equally missed it had I merely expected Ira Flato to neurotically chap my ass like usual, so there’s that, too. Look it up for yourselves if it sounds that interesting; I don’t mind readers thinking that I’m not a feminist, but I do mind y’all expecting me to be your ever-loyal link bitch.

Other perspectives include bright-and-early plural ones, with Lionel Osborne. Everybody’s welcome and his son is dead. That’s certainly better than the “female perspective” that a feminist friend insisted would make me feel less kindly about prostitution. This woman isn’t a dummy at all, but that comment was part of a massive, catastrophic failure of American thought. This failure affects a hell of a lot more than just high feminism. This is a society whose mainstream earnestly reads Tom Friedman without asking whether that fool is on speed, or on coke. There’s something pretty wrong when random women who wouldn’t personally feel comfortable engaging in sex work do feel comfortable unilaterally erasing the individual decisions of other women with, you know, other individual perspectives. The blatantly crazy thing to anyone who looks at this mess holistically is that prostitution is the most overwhelmingly female line of work this side of surrogate pregnancy and wet nursing. I’ve never gone around claiming that Cousin Gigolo is statistically representative of the business; I assume there are more women than men turning tricks with their landlords (and ladies!) for a rent discount or waiver, and that most of them aren’t exactly my cousins, either. It’s like Kato Kaelin but with sexual privileges, and also usually with lady parts instead of gentleman parts.

By the way, what’s really wrong with these arrangements is the slumlording, but we don’t do class consciousness around here. That’s how #GrammysSoMale even became, as they say, a thing. We’re all socialized to identify with the most unattainable heights of success and get sore because what theoretically stopped us from becoming movie stars is Harvey Weinstein, not the statistical fact that most SAG members don’t get enough work or earn enough royalties from prior work to make rent. There are, what, five billion people of working age on earth and a few thousand bigshot slots in entertainment, plus a few tens of thousands of less prominent but still comfortable positions? Do the math. #STEM: Making good minds GREAT!

We’re all temporarily embarrassed millionaires. We all just wanna be big rock stars. Thanks for erasing my recurring aspiration to get legal status to pick fruit in BC, eh. It wasn’t enough to leave me to my own devices to run into walls on the HRSDC website. Seriously, I’ve felt about harvest job listings in Abbotsford the way some Mexicans feel about jobs cutting lettuce in El Centro, except that, but for the grace of God and whatever other luck went into it, I’m not desperate enough to climb sacred perimeter fences. But there’s a broader point here. It’s nigh impossible to find Americans, or at least mainstream bourgeois Americans, who admit to aspiring to do an honorable job well and earn honest wages for honest labor. Everyone insists on being excellent, which in practice means going into management and degrading subordinates for profit. It’s easier to make a living under this model by unsheathing the long knives than by developing and applying productive skills. Betsy DeVos swears that she’s all about hard work, but if you’ll excuse my indulgence in radical labor theory, collecting commissions on one’s downline is not work.

Complaining that too few women were honored in the one of the most prestigious music awards shows on earth and that anyone who feels that the honorees were chosen for merit is a raging misogynist is batshit insane. The syntax of that sentence wasn’t much more lucid, but whatever; I’ve shaken off worse than complaints about that, including relationships with leading citizens of Wyomissing. For the vast majority of Americans, including ones from affluent families who are arrogant enough to presume themselves fully exempt from economic downturns, identifying with Taylor Swift is nuts. Using gender non-parity in an awards show to infer a misogynistic conspiracy to marginalize female vocal artists is flamingly fucking nuts. Like, do you cunts EVER listen to the radio? Don’t stop, ’till there’s nothing but the, but the, nah, that was kind of gross. The Krush: 92.5: Still not the Central Coast’s favorite listen-in-prison station. Or maybe, for all I know, it is. I do know that that bullshit station has never hooked my white ass up with a job in the wine industry that it so ostentatiously celebrates.

Our catastrophic failure of thought includes, not surprisingly, a catastrophic failure of empathy. In plain terms, why the fuck would I give a shit about gender parity in the Grammys when I’m regularly sleeping in my car? Normal people with normal concerns quite frankly do not give a shit, and anyone secure and privileged enough to spare the concern for successful female entertainers who got snubbed in an awards show should realize that this is a hobbyhorse with which people of more modest means and more pressing concerns will have limited patience.

Then again, it’s stunning how sheltered some people have been raised to be. They wallow indefinitely in their comfortable ignorance because no one around them has the nerve to tell them that they’re fucking idiots. If anyone stopped by to tell them off for erasing their social inferiors, they’d just angrily erase the bearer of rude news. On Facebook, this can be done in a single majestic click.

Some of them are barely more like Taylor Swift than some waitress; they’re just secure enough. The Insurance Schmuck’s ex-fiancée is one. Like Taylor Swift, she selectively uses feminism to assert herself as a strong independent woman, but she also has an uncanny ability to find affluent boyfriends, and she all but openly cares more about the welfare of dogs than the welfare of the poor. I was warned in the past not to share this story, but fuck off if it chaps your ass, because a few years ago this chick managed to get her father to drive drunk in the middle of the night from Erie to Rochester while the Rochester Police were doing a lengthy welfare check on her and the Insurance Schmuck at her mother’s request because she hadn’t responded to the most recent text messages that her mother had sent in the aftermath of a domestic dispute that these two fine young lovers had had in their hotel room. She was in her twenties by the time this shitshow went down. If I recall correctly, she had already graduated from college.

Here’s what bothers me about this. I’ve had my parents stage similar interventions later in my life, if nothing quite that ridiculous, but I’ve always recognized that these interventions indicated some inability on my part to function independently. This chick is duplicitous enough to want to have it both ways, and from what I can tell everyone around her has spent her entire life tacitly encouraging her to do exactly that. These dipshits think her shtick is cute. In reality, it is objectively antisocial and dyscivic. Scaled up, it destroys societies.

This woman never struck me as particularly talented. In a healthy society, that would be fine because she’d still be able to make a decent living doing something requiring mediocre talent. Unfortunately, she lives in a particularly licentious corner of an extremely unhealthy society. This is why I’m convinced that she specifically is a fount of fascism, under one partisan label or another. And I’m picking on her because she’s frighteningly representative of the failspawn of our generation, in particular the downwardly mobile young women. We have a huge number of children of affluence who are inevitably reverting to the mean in a period of extreme socioeconomic dysfunction and cutthroat immorality. They’ve been indoctrinated since early childhood with a toxic combination of self-esteem drivel, devious horseshit about their own meritocratic worth, and exhortations to greatness.

Do tell that this may not end well when it coincides with a Fourth-Turning secular collapse of the international economy. I’ve been in the schools. I’ve seen it. I’ve met the results of this campaign. Some of them have turned out better than could reasonably be expected of them. Others are fucking nightmarish.

This mishmash of braindead talking points is most effective on the least talented. These are the ones who need to get in on whatever identity politics scam they can to get ahead since whatever talents they do have will leave them in poverty under our current socioeconomic dispensation. Bourgeois feminism works for up to half of them, give or take. Mostly take, because lower-class women know damn well that this song and dance isn’t being performed for them. All this Lean In shit is part of the grand Dunning-Kruger operation to convince children of privilege that they’re as special as their own upbringings and to shield them from the disheartening evidence that their own desultory skills would wash them down into the beleaguered underclass without outside intervention.

Sheryl Sandberg is shrewd enough to tell that there’s a market for this garbage. Oprah is definitely more functional and thoughtful than the women she targets; Sandberg probably is. I mentioned Zeynep Tufekci above, and I don’t recall hearing her bitch about ridiculous petty grievances of the sisterhood. Nor do I often hear women who are competent and accomplished at much of anything, from running a farm to practicing nursing or medicine to just being really fucking well-read and well-spoken, gripe promiscuously about shit like how hurtful it is that so few women were honored at the Grammys and some male chauvinist pig had the balls to justify it on the basis that most of the worthy honorees the committee found were men. I do sometimes hear them complain about the sort of women who do complain about this shit, if you can stand the meta world discord (don’t say I didn’t, say I didn’t warn you about that sort of thing), and I do know that if I saw prominent, privileged men carrying on like on a regular basis and getting platformed by major news organizations I’d be furious.

This still doesn’t answer why I keep listening to NPR. I can’t account for myself, except to say that it’s pretty impossible to catch any of the good stuff without at least risking exposure to something absolutely fucking retarded and disgraceful. #SPORTS are mixed up with shameful talking points about Russian meddling that Scott Simon has been instructed to disseminate, but I end up sleeping straight through #SPORTS, half-waking for five seconds of commentary about the President’s foul mouth, and remembering nothing at all after I’ve finally awoken for good for the afternoon but Chicago Senpai saying “shithole” on air. I’m actually doing all right today, since I caught most of a mostly good episode of Science Friday, which I always expect to suck ass. I don’t suppose I have a good voice for radio, but with talent like that, and the Radio Lab and TED Radio Hour assholes, I can’t say that I’m uncompetitive. As they say about sex in Maine, it’s all relative.

My problem is that I keep listening to a network that revolves around people who at least pretend to be doing something with their college degrees. Before I came in to write this I was scavenging deposit bottles from parking lots in Reno. Grievances about butthurt divas getting other women butthurt because they think they’ll be Taylor Swift someday if only men stopped being so mean obviously resonate with me. I’m in a nice part of Reno, as Reno goes; I’m not a fucking mascochist, now; but I’m not out here pretending that a fancy college education in the liberal arts and also some sciences enable me to function in American office cultures that are Dilbert hell minefields, is why I recognize which cans the State of *OPSEC* Whore Gone will pay me to turn in when I’m next in *THIS PLACE DOESN’T EXIST, EITHER* Slammeth Balls, or produced the literary skill to traffic “lyrics” of “Benny and the Jolts” and “Gerry and the Hearstoppers” “tunes.” Did I mention that modern American society devalues the shit out of independent and informal education, along with independent thought? I don’t expect all of my own material to be original when I’m shitposting about Mounties again, nor do I expect payment for recycling my shiznit. What, me Durden?

As Lenin said, the intellectuals are not society’s brains, but its shit. He wasn’t entirely wrong, and Soviet state radio wasn’t entirely worse than NPR. I’m just some asshole with a blog. They’re just some assholes with a federally funded, Congressionally chartered national radio network. Mark my words: any fund drive that I undertake won’t be THAT bad.

A standing offer to Dickinson College: cash me ousside, how bow dah

Bhad Bhabie is inevitably a civic improvement over *MY OLD SCHOOL.* How could she not be? The young lady cherishes her freedom. She knows that Dr. Phil and his audience are officious authoritarian creeps who resent her for her refusal to submit to their authority, and she knows that, unlike, say, juvenile probation and the police, their authority ends cold at the studio door, the Threshold of Ousside. Beyond that point, out in the streets, they’re just creeps chasing a vicarious thrill by pestering a minor they’ve never met. What are they gonna do? Street-fight her and risk criminal charges? She’s the juvenile, after all.

Yes, she’s a Florida Woman. What the fuck else would Bhad Bhabie be? Compared to anybody reputable she’s a disgrace. But we aren’t talking about the reputable here. We’re talking about Dickinson Fucking College, and Dr. Phil, which is only marginally worse. Her deal is to challenge repressed wine moms to meet her out front and put their money where their loud mouths are if they’re so upset about her not particularly impressive juvenile delinquency. Sure, you’re amped up to talk shit about me in here, but any of you cunts wanna go out and rumble with my jailbait ass in front of the Hollywood Division? Ousside Melrose, and Olympic Division can get in on the action, too. How bow dah. I didn’t know that myself until just now, when I actually did the requisite Google-fu, because there’s something wrong with me that isn’t wrong with the Bregoli girl. She gets the gist of it, though. She can tell that witch hunt fantasy land is an indoor space, and that if any of them follow her outside they’ll be on much less favorable turf, where even a reviled juvenile delinquent has rights.

*Anthony Rollins rolling through the yard, in a Different Sunburned Country* Stop talking about “Outside,” you condescending asshole. Don’t know the reason, he stays there all seasons. Actually, I do: serial rape. The Bulger fellow retired to Tucson, too. I wouldn’t want to bunk with him, but like Muhammad Ali and the VC, no skull-cracking Boston shanty mick with rat statuary in his apartment ever tried to brainwash me with yuppie talking points about the incalculable value of a fancy college education and then badgered me for money. Forcible Northern Exposure never did a thing like that to me, either.

By now, something’s gotta go wrong with this story, ’cause I’m feeling just too damn good about how little #CanadianContent there is in this All-American clusterfuck, but one does not rundel in every jungle. Surely that came as quite a shock. What else will I fish out by the time we’re done here? Honestly, it’s harder to write these things without Fish Friend and the Fibbing Foursome memes. That requires editing and shit.

It’s 3:00 am, I must be living in an unfathomable underworld of the mind, but look, if the sergeant on public information duty at your local detachment has a side gig selling freebase to the interior BC home bake crowd, that’s because there’s a market for that shit that goes far beyond Rob Ford and isn’t all like, okay, buddy, I only did that because I was blind drunk. One of the nice things about drug dealers is that they go hustle someone else once they realize that they’re dealing with someone who isn’t looking for any damn drugs. This is absolutely not the case for cult bagmen whose targets are not interested in giving tithes and offerings to a fucking cult. There’s no sense that, you know, this guy thinks were a bunch of assholes for bothering him, so maybe we should stop calling after the third or fourth time he tells one of our phone bank cold callers to stuff it and hangs up. There’s no discernment that it might be a good idea to stop sending junk mail to someone who hasn’t given a dime in over a decade and has nothing but hatefully bad things to say about the development office.

These are nice ideas, but we’re dealing with a cult. These people do not give a goddamn. Any alum who has a problem with them is the unreasonable one. If their incessant whines for alms offend anyone, it isn’t on them. It’s obviously the audience’s fault for being bitter and, say, warm homeless. Hey there. This is another thing that’s worth an explicit recapitulation: the Distinctively Dickinson Education or whatever the hell the marketeers are calling it these days is inherently so goddamned enriching and enlightening and edifying that no one receiving it can possibly fail to graduate with a skill set enabling the singlehanded conquest of the whole wide world, but if, say, no fewer than two 2006 graduates have ended up homeless in the subsequent decade, and I’m apparently the more fortunate of us, or if we have some kind of problem finding work, that’s because we, as individual graduates, have been doing it all wrong. No way did a school that chronically and obnoxiously oversells itself for fundraising purposes do anything not fully deserving of our annual first fruits. No one in charge of that joint thinks, gee, if we promised them the world and they’ve degenerated into hobos with sporadic employment prospects, maybe we failed them.

This isn’t just a judgment-free zone (TM); it’s an accountability-free zone. Dickinson operates in the fashion of Tammany Hall, usually implicitly, although sometimes implicitly, as in the case of a young lady nicknamed Emily Bailout, whose parents were said by senior student government officials (sorry for not providing a barf warning; okay, not sorry at all) to have purchased her an entry-level administrative sinecure for an even fifty grand. Imagine how admirable these sleazy crooks would make Whitey Bulger look if he’d just bribed his way through life instead of doing business by having everyone whacked. The thing about traditional mob and machine politics is that the organizations rewarded their supporters by directly delivering the fucking goods. They knew that no one with the patience to put up with their corruption had the time to wait for some bullshit neoliberal self-actualization scheme that they were peddling to bear fruit in their lives. They needed the damn street repaved, and, plus or minus some delays to accommodate ethnically or clan-tinged factional juju, they dispatched a crew to repave the damn street.

Imagine Old Man Daley condescendingly charging three or four years’ median household income for some seminars on how to shovel hot patch into a pothole and then blaming the deplorable fuck-ups who took the classes for not adequately applying themselves. That’s the first time the thought ever crossed your mind because that never fucking happened. Sure, Boss Tweed’s got a suitcase full of cash here and a suitcase there, the Who-Dat Jefferson fellow keeps his in the freezer so he won’t forget where it is, and the Daley boy does his old man proud by secretly having his dozer goons wreck Meigs Field at a quarter to daybreak, but at least when they’re going into their secret places to collect their graft and/or have a mad about the city council not taking theoretical waterfront aviation terrorism seriously enough, they lose the bootstrap horseshit.

Fuck, I just started remembering the rough contours of Wee Dicky D’s neoliberal redevelopment scamming, so it wasn’t all broad shoulders and plain dealers when the constituents came knocking. Still, old-school ward bosses don’t have that college boy attitude problem. They get that the regular folk won’t want a thing to do with them if they’re always looking down their noses at them with a haughty sneer. More than a few of them, I imagine, take pride in delivering the goods for constituents who would otherwise be languishing, and feel vicariously happy for those they’ve helped. They have enough respect for their constituents not to openly make fun of them, at least, and certainly to refrain from blaming them for being dissatisfied with city services that they keep failing to provide. Some of the time, anyway, they recognize that they have a duty to their constituents to actually get shit done. Maybe I’m romanticizing a bunch of unwashed thugs, but it sure seems that they don’t go around blaming their less successful constituents for being unemployable in one breath and haranguing them for joyful love offerings in the next.

As we’ve discussed before, the Dunkin’ Doorman doesn’t care about my feelings for him as long as I give him some coffee money. He’ll probably spend the money on coffee, or maybe on hashbrowns or donuts: to wit, Friends of Coffee. Dickinson has millions of dollars’ worth of annual administrative salaries and frivolous fringe expenses to fund before it gets around to forthrightly feeding anyone, and keep in mind that it hoses its parents for a dedicated stream of food service gibs to cover its regular cafeteria expenses. For stewardship, there’s no contest: it’s the Dunkin’ Doorman all the way. The nice thing about Atlantic City, but not Carlisle, is that once I get sick of giving his whiny ass money or, to be more accurate, listening to him whine at me for not giving him money, NJ Transit offers an excellent style of ride straight back to Philadelphia for, like, eight or ten bucks, although not as fine a style of ride as Amtrak does by converting the same cars into California Clippers. These outfits provide me with passenger rail service in exchange for my fare money, and they don’t bitch at me about how I haven’t been spending enough time on the train.

There’s a reason why I gratuitously admire refurbished commuter rail rolling stock in these pages. If I didn’t, I’d have to focus unwaveringly on unspeakably disgusting subjects, like American higher education. If we’re talking about how much money Dickinson needs per enrolled student in order to facilitate whatever the fuck it’s supposedly doing on the student body’s behalf, it has something like $164,000 per capita currently available JUST IN ENDOWMENT PRINCIPAL. I doubt the Dunkin’ Doorman has a $164,000 interest-bearing savings account that needs to be supplemented with petty cash requests all morning to fund his cuppa. Go figure that he has the much less offensive attitude. I still do quite fine without him, but as robber barons and moral busybodies go, he’s a petty robber baron. He isn’t the one sending me mail every month or two on the assumption that I admire his fine fundraising institution and that there’s something wrong with me if I don’t. He isn’t the one trying to run a decades-long brainwashing operation on me.

Neither is College of the Redwoods. CR isn’t run by grandiosities who assume that the education their school provides is fucking magical and that anyone who disagrees is scandalously uncouth. No one who isn’t self-marginalizing gets upset if an alumnus complains that CR turned out to be worth jack shit. On top of that, CR seeks its funding from the State of California, which hasn’t been scavenging deposit bottles for pocket change and something to do, and not from me, its alumnus, who has. That’s an institutional affiliation that I’m proud to have. It doesn’t provoke me to repeatedly assert that I never wanted a thing to do with pushy yuppie cult shitheads and their nonexistent boundaries and can only revile the institution that has formed them into such noxious trash because they donate to fundraising drives more readily that way.

It doesn’t inspire half-serious thoughts of reaching back out to that socially climbing fuckjob from the alumni council to tell him that it took me all of ten seconds’ research to discover that he graduated from Parkway South High School. Nobody at College of the Redwoods ever catfished me as some kind of J. D. Vance of Outer Branson and then turned out to be from St. Louis. This fucker’s attitude wouldn’t bother me if it made him stick out like a sore thumb in a community that was otherwise grounded and reputable. Instead, it’s just a particularly galling and provably misleading version of the same goddamn song and dance everyone who shows up for alumni events keeps performing. These people can’t or won’t stop lying, dissembling, and saying unscrupulous things that the faintest, most optional relationship to the observable truth, all in service to a pat, ragingly bogus narrative of excellence and prestige. Just realizing that it takes extra mental energy to process and discard their torrent of happy horseshit is an exhausting mindfuck. Not wanting to slide into a state that even feels like psychosis, I insist on keeping myself oriented in the real world whenever they construct for themselves a more self-aggrandizing parallel alternate reality and try to force me to inhabit it with them. They can go to hell if they think this makes ME the abnormal one.

Besides, it’s rare that any of these in-your-face assholes could provide for themselves or anyone else in the real world. I’m the one who’s taken up agricultural trades while a bunch of mostly useless eaters who studied borderline liberal arts quasihumanities like international relations and economics (without learning anything about the actual economy, inevitably) badger me for not being more enthusiastic about our alma mater and all the excellence it shits out upon the near and far corners of the earth, when they aren’t making fun of me for being a marginally employable fuckup.

This is why, like Bhad Bhabie, I relish the thought of luring these little snots out for a reeducation with people who don’t give a shit about their precious degrees and expect them to demonstrate that they’re worth having around based on some kind of actual merit: productive skills, sound judgment, intellectual capacity that doesn’t reflexively refer back to their pedigrees for an instant assertion of superiority, not being preppy assholes who must have stood Chappaquiddick Cool Change up on a seaside date. The mash, that’s pat of the sea, too, you bastid.

These pricks could use a trip beyond, far beyond, the limestone walls, to engage a world that is definitively not theirs. Ousside, bish. Cash midriff?

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That looks pretty Outside to me, AM I RIGHT, ROLLINS? The owner of this humble abode has been exposed to a lot more than just the Anchorage Police Department. So, to a lesser extent, have I. This is how Megan McArdle would be living in a genuine neoliberal meritocracy, although a University of Chicago umbrella would work, too. At long last we have someone who recognizes what college is worth. GO DIPLOMATS!

The steam grate, though, that’s socialism. As they say up north, but not all that far up north, look at this photograph. Every time I do, I realize that Amtrak is one of our better shelter providers, and that Dickinson College never gave me any damn reward points.

 

Of Spartans and Trojans

My cousin’s husband is a Michigan State alumnus, and even though he admires some players that my cousin openly ridicules, including one who I recall being famous for swinging his junk around, I can’t envy him these days for his affiliation with the school that’s best known for employing Pedo Doc. That’s a hell of an institutional reputation to live down. I know quite a few people who are affiliated with Penn State, and the Jerry Sandusky scandal had an ugly effect of splitting them between those who were honest enough to admit that the whole thing was deeply shameful and a seething horde of deranged amoral apologists. WE ARE!

And don’tcha fucking know, Michigan State turns out to have a cover-up to go with its sex abuse scandal, just like the Shittany Lyins. It’s majestic. The school spent the length of the scandal implying that, oh, gee, we had no idea about the creep, we must have been running our HR department out of Oopsilanti. In the midst of Larry Nassar’s state sentencing hearing, though, it emerged that sixteen-year-old girls had complained internally about Nassar abusing them to a woman named Kathie Klages, the director of a youth gymnastics program and future MSU women’s gymnastics coach, and Klages “cautioned them from reporting.” This Spanieresque profile in cowardice appears to have done jack shit about Doc Diddles for the rest of her career, which she finally weaseled away from in a disgraceful abrupt retirement the day after she was suspended for offending her athletes by covering for Nassar after he was finally exposed in 2016. This can be inferred not only from Nassar’s continued employment in general but his return to work after a third sexual assault complaint, filed by a recent graduate and investigated by the university under Title IX and by the local police as a criminal matter, in 2014. The Title IX investigation determined that the young woman “did not understand the nuanced difference between sexual assault and an osteopathic medical procedure” to treat her hip and back pain.

For some time I wondered why none of Nassar’s victims were alarmed enough by his sexually invasive “examinations” at the time to immediately complain, but it turns out that at least three of them did complain. It’s an unfortunately low percentage of his victims, who one would hope would have recognized with full clarity that exams for most non-OB/GYN complaints should have little to nothing to do with their genitals, but it still proves that the school was aware that patients believed he had sexually assaulted them and retained him on its medical staff anyway. The rationale for keeping him on staff after he was investigated by the police and barely not prosecuted was that the offensive exam had only felt like a sexual assault to the patient. The administration didn’t even make him do the dance of the lemons. It let him stay on through at least three patient complaints of sexual assault, two by minors, and continue treating adolescent girls and young women under the auspices of a competitive athletic program.

Kathie Klages is a fucking monster, much worse than Mike McQueary. McQueary is a partially sympathetic character, a guy who found himself in an awful situation and became paralyzed: not admirable, to be sure, but also not execrable. His witnessing Jerry Sandusky raping a child put him in a terrible spot vis-à-vis the Penn State football juggernaut, and most of us really have no idea of what we’d do if we found ourselves in such a nightmare at work. What Klages did was to affirmatively interfere with two minor sexual assault victims reporting a predatory physician to police and university administrators.

This is why we can’t trust authority figures unless they give us unambiguous reasons to trust them. These seedy institutional cover-ups are legion. Kathie Klages didn’t want the girls under her authority rocking the boat. This was in consideration of her own interests, not theirs. Reporting a sexual assault to the police is no walk in the park, and there are agencies that deliberately mishandle sexual assault complaints by siding with suspects or retaliating against complainants (a huge, basically ubiquitous problem for sex workers, who are one of the most exceptionally vulnerable populations to sexual assault), but it is not a fucking coach’s place to determine whether a victim cries out or holds her peace.

Given the evidence of institutional negligence and accessory to sexual assault, the earlier victims should have sued the bloody shit out of Nassar, Klages, and Michigan State. It’s just more evidence of our national deference to institutions, including atrocious ones, that they did not. This is a blatantly corrupt organization that allowed all these patients to be molested by a team physician. It’s exactly the sort of institution that should immediately be cornered by anyone it has exposed to a staff predator.

For one thing, cult shitheads might be less obnoxiously enthusiastic about a school that is a defendant of record in civil suits over sex crimes committed under its auspices. That kind of thing tends to tarnish the good old athletic glory. It might inspire a measure of contemplative silence in pieces of shit like Joel Ferguson, the Michigan State trustee who wants to keep the school’s embattled president in office because, hey, MSU is about a lot more than just the team doc diddling gymnasts. “I mean, when you go to the basketball game, you walk into the new Breslin [Center], and the person who hustled and got all those major donors to give money was Lou Anna Simon.” Also, “This is not Penn State. They were dealing with their football program.”

Gee, that’s fascinating. I understand that Yorkville High was dealing with its wrestling program. I mean, when you go to a wrestling match and walk into Hastert Hall. The Penn State Board of Trustees also included a faction that felt duty-bound to represent alumni, students, and fans in general (do think about the etymology, specifically, “fanatic”) who considered it appropriate to be complicit in child rape because, come on, the Sandusky stuff was a distraction from the glory of #FOOTBALL. Are you ready for some, bitch? It’s a religion for these assholes, in the worst possible way.

Speaking of Oopsilanti, Dr. Nassar surely rues the fact that he didn’t have the opportunity to “examine” the Arbor girl. Oh dear, I have family in Ann Arbor. That was terrible.  So is this Eastern Michigan football standout:

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Oh, what a beautiful morning! Oh, what a beautiful day! Say, that isn’t a good feeling at all, you fucking creep. Sometimes, it has every bit as much to do with good-faith policing as it does with good-faith osteopathic medicine, which is about as much as wrestling has to do with heterosexuality. Not that J. Denny Dundiddly necessarily minded an opportunity to suck white dick. OJ is a gentleman of restraint and good manners compared to any of these, and Carmen Puliafito, wrapped or not, doesn’t have a damned thing on any of them.

Love too manfully instill Virtue in the Nation’s Youth through Sport.

Siraj and Me

When I saw lefty Twitter elements telling Siraj Hashmi to get fucked for dissing Chelsea Manning, I thought, gee, I think I may know that guy, and then, holy shit, I think I went to school with him. I didn’t recognize his picture, but the name is awfully unusual, and sure enough, it’s the same dude.

My first reaction upon confirming this was to hate Dickinson College even more than usual. Of course our dear Dickerson Collitch was sending meritocratic hotshots to the imperial center to enforce Democratic Party orthodoxy on Ben Cardin’s behalf for a living. *MY OLD SCHOOL* really is a hidden Ivy.

I didn’t exactly know Siraj, but I knew who he was, and by Facebook’s count alone, we have dozens of friends (“friends”) in common. But knowing most of these people is absolutely fucking useless. Learning that yet another social climber I often saw around campus gets a byline to drag primary challengers who threaten the incumbencies of elected officials who feel entitled to their jobs didn’t make me wonder why the hell I’m scavenging deposit bottles for the pocket change (duh: the money), but why in God’s name I can’t get payroll employment and decent housing on demand. No one pays tuition to a bumptious school like Dickinson on the suspicion that the completion of its coursework and receipt of its diploma won’t be a safeguard against unemployment and homelessness. It really is that simple; shove the talk of individual meritocratic pluck back up your ass if you disagree.

It isn’t just the amount of money that that school’s graceless, ungrateful administration hoovers up from all possible directions: I also knew far too many people with overt psychiatric or substance abuse problems that were serious enough to call into question their employability, and as far as I can tell the vast majority of them are gainfully employed, usually in prestigious positions. There’s something other than meritocracy at play when dozens of people who consistently acted like they were on course to end up drifting between rehab programs, psych wards, and SRO’s on the Bowery instead end up living in nice apartments in nice parts of our most expensive cities and holding down well-paid, stable, professional (sic, ish) jobs. So help me, I am not the only dysfunctional graduate among the people I knew there, or the most dysfunctional, and I’m sure in retrospect that there in fact was a great deal of coke drifting around campus, even though I only recall hearing about other drugs (mostly pot, hash, and shrooms). I say this because Dickinson enrolls and duly barfs back out exactly the class of entitled, belligerently grandiose prep-ass shitheads who drive cocaine demand worldwide.

Okay, not so much in interior BC; that disgraced Mountie sarge from the public information office at the Kamloops detachment wasn’t all about selling that base to investment bankers. That market figures, why buy crack already baked when you can bake your own at home, like Papa Murphy’s? *Sloppy second opinion from Rob Ford incoming* Because by the time you’re ready to smoke some crack, you’re too fucking blacked-out drunk to cook shit. I mean, I don’t see why else I’d smoke crack. Do you guys smoke that shit when you’re sober? Jesus Christ, Lillooet must be a shithole.

Cool, the one word that I was awake enough to hear Scott Simon utter on air over the weekend and still remember after I properly woke up. #StayWoke. Monty Robinson doesn’t need crack to commit perjury and DUI vehicular manslaughter. Here we go again; what a shock. I know most of you didn’t come here to rundel in the jungle; y’all are still here for that crap I wrote about Gulf Arab gents shitting on Western rent girls, and that’s gross. Not that I can dictate another man’s taste, of course. As my second-degree acquaintance Taylor Swift always says, haters gonna haidt; sheikh it off.

Surely you’ll be asking the Lord to have Mersey upon me if I force another Gerry and the Heartstoppers meme into this discourse. On this side of the 49th Parallel, it’s traditional for a man to take up fishing for his midlife crisis, so as much as I, SDPD reject and all, admire those who somehow get onto the force hella late in life (Chuck Quackenbush, too), I can’t help but question Fishy Horse’s judgment for going to Depot. No, that’s not true; it’s the recreational fishermen who are disturbed. None of this is to say that the RCMP isn’t a shitshow; it was having salacious sexual harassment scandals years ago, before that was cool, to the point of routinely sidelining disgruntled female constables on long-term disability at 100% pay because their corporals were assholes that the brass didn’t feel like disciplining. The RCM Buddy/Guy RC is a great agency for those who want to get paid to look dead sexy on a horse, then get paid to drink all day in their apartments and/or quietly wish that they were back on the island in chest waders, tugging on a big-ass net.

Dickinson graduates get paid for dumber, more useless shit than any of that. Hell, my parents live near Saratoga Springs, and Sauce Boss never did anything that ridiculous with a horse. That right there is the kind of thing that seems to happen to those who are blessed with discretionary income more than they are with sense. They dress up like Pride and Prejudice extras to go watch runts batter thoroughbreds with riding crops until they break their legs. It’s an elaborate mating ritual, and the eugenics aren’t just for the horses. It’s that feeling when one must court exclusively with those who are suitably white, or at least suitably White, so that those who marry into the family can afford their gambling problems. If you come across a bunch of inbred-looking mediocrities at the track, that’s probably why.

The asshats whose stranglehold on Maryland politics Chelsea Manning is trying to break have more of that hybrid vigor, but this doesn’t mean that they’re defensible. I’m guessing that the Pimlico crowd is Republican, which is just as well, since they’re just about the last constituency that the reputable parts of the Democratic base would want dictating the agenda.

The clarifying thing about shooing the Main Line trash off to the Republican Party was that it maintained a reasonably coherent adversarial relationship between a highbrow reactionary party and a lowbrow leftist party. It forced the affluent to admit that they were looking out for their own class interests, in case anyone was gullible enough to think that they were doing anything else. It limited the cognitive dissonance to have William F. Buckley squaring off against Cesar Chavez or what have you.

What we have today is a clusterfuck. The Democrats still swear that they’re looking out for the workingman, but Katie bar the fucking door against anyone who gets in the way of total yuppie aggrandizement. Then they wonder why the poor vote “against their interests,” since the Democratic Party is obviously defending the interests of laid-off miners and assembly line workers by catering obsequiously to MBA’s, corporate lawyers, and fellow-traveling SuperZIP desk jockeys. The poors must just be a bunch of ignorant,  uneducated religious zealots, certainly not attentive observers fed up with a party that insists on brownnosing every asshole who has ever tried to lay them off and then condescendingly blame them for being out of work.

The Democratic Party’s base in Maryland is said to be even worse: specifically, dominated by government workers. If these were just schoolteachers, yeomen running the region’s public works, and the like, it’d be fine, but what it really means is that the Democratic Party sucks up to every self-serious piece of shit who works for the NSA, along with every equally mentally disordered social climber who is attached in some capacity to Capitol Hill or the White House.

These are the worst government employees in the country. Only Virginia rivals Maryland for the low moral character of the residents it has working in and around government. This is why the Old Dominion has gone light purplish-blue: enough hangers-on in the functionally reactionary arms of the federal government have been convinced that the Democratic Party is the protector of their livelihoods and that their own welfare rises and falls with that of the alphabet soup of three-letter national security agencies to swing NoVa 60-40 or better in favor of Democratic candidates. That, and the Republicans have their thumbs up their asses on the regional traffic problem. Their increasing cultural affinity for the Democratic Party, though, is premised on the party being tacitly but fundamentally reactionary. They’re the imperial enforcer class. They aren’t about to get stoked for anyone who explicitly condemns the imperial order and implies that their jobs make them personally complicit in war crimes.

Hence all the dipshits this region sends to high office: Tim Kaine, Steny Hoyer, Ben Cardin. This list alone includes the weirdo who did jack shit for Hillary Clinton’s campaign except make her look bad by association with him, the gutless wonder who (along with Nancy Pelosi, because of course) forced Barack Obama to scuttle his plan to tax 529 college savings plans, as one does when one represents Affluenza Acres in Congress, and the tyrannically censorious shit ticket who wants to criminalize the BDS movement. That alone is reason enough to run Cardin out of Congress. He’s so eager to curry favor with the worst Jews on earth that he’s proposing to abrogate the US Constitution in fealty to a regional imperial power that, incidentally, once bombed a US naval ship, causing multiple casualties. I’m not exactly Jewish, but I’m Jewish enough to assert that this whole sick spectacle makes American Jewry look bad and that I will blame Ben Cardin if I ever catch blowback for it.

The way everyone involved in this movement for compulsory Zionism and fealty to whatever governments besides Israel’s are sloshing around in the garbage bag of official US allies is batshit fucking insane. Releasing video evidence of war crimes by US military personnel is treasonous, but moving to subvert the US Constitution on behalf of a foreign power is not. In what parallel civic universe is it acceptable to shitcan the First Amendment because a foreign government is butthurt about activists calling it out for human rights abuses? It would really be worthwhile to reinvigorate a Yiddish tradition of shanda smackdowns in this country, just so that troublemakers from AIPAC think twice before starting shit that makes other Jews and Semi-Semites look bad. No joke, I’d rather be ethnically associated with Harvey Weinstein; at least that way, I could point to Our Lord’s Servant Gerald and J. Denny Dundiddly as gentile concelebrants in the fellowship of the grope and the perv.

Siraj Hashmi trots out barely sourced anecdotes about how “some think” that Manning is a traitor who belongs in prison for the rest of his original term and shouldn’t have gotten hormone treatments for the purpose of sex reassignment behind bars. It’s no great accomplishment to find Beltway loudmouths who indulge in such gross fantasies of uninterrupted revenge, but why should the Democratic base tolerate, let alone cater to, this trash sack of bullies and hired thugs? This is extremely illiberal argumentation. A reasonable political alignment might include one major party with a bloodlust for carceral overdrive, but we already have the GOP for that, and that’s as good a place as any to shoo off anyone who tries to corrupt the decency of the Democratic Party with shitty bureaucratic revenge fantasies. I’d be quite happy for the Democrats not to contest the Republicans’ claim on depraved authoritarians and their heinous fantasies of incarcerating political prisoners for decades on end and punitively denying them medical care. That’s hateful, toxic garbage that no decent party should welcome.

“Some” “think” all sorts of crazy shit. This doesn’t mean that they deserve a platform for the normalization of their vicious lunatic notions. The guy on the LA subway the other week whom I had the beat cop go check in on thought that his daughter might be on the train and looked like he might lunge at any of our throats in his quest to find her. I’ve encountered other disturbed people who were muttering stories of blunt-force trauma to the knees or thought we all might be surrounded by portals to other dimensions. There’s no reason to give them a platform just because they have a story to tell. If a nutjob shows up with violent hallucinations and delusions of persecution, there’s no reason not to let him find his own audience, or to have patrol turf him out to the Hollywood Division if he won’t maintain an indoor voice and gait on the train.

We all ought to be as sensible about no-platforming equally disturbed political movements. A college education might be worth something if it taught the discernment between the decent and the indecent, the sane and the insane, and instilled the moral courage to call out disordered argumentation without fear or favor, but it wasn’t in college that I learned how to call out authority figures. As the half-cocked excuse for political science in the link shows, college didn’t do that for Siraj Hashmi, either. That’s a great example of what’s wrong with the selective objectivity of American journalism. We end up with the equivalent of soundbites from Kevin Vickers and Melissa Ann Shepard about whether or not it’s wrong to kill people for money and amusement. There’s no discernment of the bad from the good, and, so long as there’s a faction advancing it, no refusal to give a position a platform because it’s blatantly heinous.

The horserace concern-trolling has Hashmi all worked up about how omg Manning primarying Cardin might make deep-blue Maryland elect, if you’ll get this, a Republican. What, like Larry Hogan? LOL. Love too learn that a novice primary challenger is the reason why the Democratic Party may not have a stranglehold on statewide elected office in Maryland, as opposed to Maryland’s sitting Republican governor.

And if Manning spoils the election for some theoretical Republican? Boo fucking hoo. Cardin hasn’t alienated me to the extent that Hillary Clinton has, probably because ignorance is bliss, but he’s one US Senator out of 100, representing a state that has been exceptionally corrupted by some of the worst possible federal largesse. If that AIPAC-rimming dipshit is indispensable to the Democratic Congressional Caucus, the Democratic Party is screwed.

Besides, Cardin and the voters whose support he most cherishes are exactly the constituency that needs to be humiliated for the national good. We aren’t talking about an incrementalist moderate like Doug Jones running against the execrable Gadsden Lovin’, or Claire McCaskill, a Blue Dog embarrassment under normal circumstances, holding the line against a sexually superstitious religious zealot like Rep. Legitimate Rape. Don’t tell my heart, my akin breakin’ heart. We’re talking about a constitutionally transgressive blowhard running interference on behalf of a foreign government and representing a state where, in spite of the commanding lead that his party usually holds in statewide elections, his partisans are up in arms about how the party will be wrecked by a primary challenge, and he therefore deserves to proceed into the general election unopposed.

Already I like the idea of a Republican junior senator more than that of another six years of Ben Cardin. As a rule of thumb I prefer Democrats to Republicans, but I won’t mind losing one seat out of a hundred to punish these assholes for their boundless sense of entitlement. This is for the same reason that I enjoyed Trump as punishment, and still sometimes do. The people who get saltiest about these upsets are exactly those I want to see humiliated with a dose of their own medicine. If they throw a shit fit over the loss of “their” Senate seat in Maryland, I’ll just point and laugh.

It’s the same thing I would have done had Trump won Oregon or Vermont. The 2016 election was so dynamic, and the underlying sociology so unspeakably weird and unstable, that I thought he had a perceptible chance of carrying California. I didn’t consider twenty- or thirty-point swings in his favor from the professional polls to the electoral returns to be out of the question. In both Oregon and Vermont, I thought that the proud independence of the electorates might sink Hillary’s chances, with traditionally Democratic voters bristling violently at the dictatorial campaign to compel them to be #WithHer. Losing either Oregon or Vermont would have made the Democratic establishment shit bricks. That’s their territory, after all, and they weren’t ones to consider the possibility that it’s bad political strategy to demand the unbroken loyalty of a state whose very popular US Senator they just ratfucked out of a presidential nomination that he would have taken straight to a general election victory. Hell, even a one-state Bernie win in the general or a victorious cruise of the Stein Steamer down Lake Champlain would have been glorious, not just as a positive win but also as a way to pump up the beautiful Hillbot salt works.

Say what you will about my political judgment, but I think we came pretty close to something of the sort. Bernie didn’t win office in Vermont by barking, okay, listen up, you hayseed ingrates, I’m from Brooklyn and this is how we’re gonna do things. He got there and stayed there by having the humility to listen to people. Donald Trump got into office by sounding like he halfway understood the concerns of workaday Americans and maybe gave a damn, while Hillz lost the Rust Belt, Appalachia, and the entire election with her air of superiority. I was intellectually prepared to see her lose a number of solidly blue states by provoking a stealth male backlash against her feminazi grandstanding, along with Oregon and Vermont for being a carpetbagging city slicker who won’t stop telling her inferiors what to do.

In the end, the Donald didn’t win any states that no one was expecting him to win. He did just well enough at the margins in a bunch of swing states to carry the election without stealing any of the hardcore Democratic strongholds for the majestic offering of salt. That is, Democratic voters who were disgruntled with Hillary and her campaign turned out for her anyway. I bloody well didn’t, but quite a few did. She won decisively in many of the counties where Jill Stein did well. Conversely, Trump overcame serious spoiler challenges from Gary Johnson and Evan McMullin, although to judge from DNC talking points they don’t count as spoilers because, hush, let’s not talk about that.

The shitty ingrates who run the Democratic Party have gotten more loyalty from their disaffected base than they’ll ever admit, so I don’t see why they shouldn’t continue to do without mine. Their conversion of an erstwhile labor party to a rallying cry for overeducated douchebags I used to see around campus doesn’t fucking help.

Joe Biden stealing your wife, stealing your valor, stealing every cent you have deposited in the financial system, stealing your crab

If the Democratic Party actually runs that crooked, gaslighting, falsely modest son of a bitch in 2020, either it’s screwed or we, its constituents, are screwed. Donald Trump’s popularity has retreated into a small hard core of the belligerently authoritarian affluent plus some truly pathetic disturbed cult followers, so a Biden candidacy wouldn’t necessarily be an immediate losing proposition. The general electorate might pine for the hallucinated prosperity and good manners of the Obama years. Trump’s swing voters might well figure, look, asshole, we gave you your chance and you fucking blew it by throwing tantrums every day. One figure I’ve seen for the size of the hardline white nationalist right in the United States is 22 million, a fringe that’s rather large for comfort but nowhere near large enough to dictate the 2016 outcome. Plenty of others, including former Obama/Biden voters, were hoping against hope that Trump might actually govern on their behalf. I barely didn’t vote for Trump, so I was one of these. It’s perfectly conceivable that a disgusted electorate might basically decide every four years that it’s punishment day.

What Biden will reliably do if he wins the Democratic nomination is infuriate the party’s base and provoke an internecine war against the kingmakers. It may end up looking like Chicago 1968, which yielded an electoral defeat for the Democrats, and it may even destroy the party entirely. It’s something of a disanalogy to call student debt the Vietnam War of the Millennials and the post-postmodern generation on its heels, whatever the fuck we’re being told to call it, but there’s some aptness to the comparison. Our current foreign wars affect fewer Americans because they’re being fought by a relatively small, all-volunteer force drawn largely from marginalized poor parts of the country, the classic model being frontline personnel from the hinterlands and the rear echelons from the ghettos and barrios. It’s immoral to ignore the sacrifices being demanded of these service members and their families, especially when the sacrifices are of life, limb, or mind, but as a practical matter, they come from constituencies that are used to being disenfranchised. What Joe Biden’s bankruptcy “reform” has done to dispossess the educated former middle class during the student debt bubble has come as more of a shock to its victims. This is a constituency that has been instilled its whole life with affirmations of its worth as electors and its rights to demand constituent services from its governments. This is exactly the aggrieved constituency that starts and leads revolutions: not the New New Deal/Eisenhower Republican reform agenda that Bernie Sanders figuratively calls revolution, but legit head-in-the-basket, tea-in-the-harbor, Lenin-on-the-eastbound-train revolution.

The Democratic Party elite won’t give a damn if they destroy their own organization by elevating Biden. They never do. He’s one of their loyalists, and they’re all about punishing everyone they perceive as disloyal, i.e., Bernie, who would have won, and the historic base whose turnout would have won Hillary Clinton the presidency in 2016 had they not belligerently alienated it.

Biden’s comments about Millennials being whiners showed just how far that fucker has his head up his own ass. He’s got his fine plugs plugged even deeper into the hole than I assumed, and it’s been a long time since I figured he’d pulled out for air. Again, this asswipe is a prime vector of student debt peonage, and Millennials are the largest pool of victims of the student debt scam, so he’s either too arrogant a fool to recognize that he’s the problem or a stone-cold manipulator. Maybe he’s a dose of both. His shtick about how you need to stand up and advocate for yourselves follows a classic but little rebuked neoliberal intellectual tic: victimizing the subordinate and vulnerable, then smarmily encouraging them to advocate for themselves, offering them “advocates,” or even offering to personally act as their advocates. For a crew that includes so many lawyers, they’re awfully retarded about the existence of conflicts of interest. Like, dipshit, you can’t represent Wells Fargo at the same time that you’re representing disgruntled customers who are suing Wells Fargo; if you’re the assistant office manager for an unscrupulous landlord, you fucking cannot adequately or sincerely represent the interests of a former tenant who is considering taking adverse action against your employer. The pervasiveness of this brain-dead thought process in American business and politics should give us an idea of how the incumbent organizations we have today elevate the stupidest, most disingenuous, most immoral, most amoral people to positions of power and drive out anyone who showed up with any capacity for logic or moral thought, and therefore the burning need to either purge or replace these institutions.

Here’s an idea: You want us to advocate for ourselves? Okay. I’m advocating for you to step into this Eastern Shore shithouse, painted on all sides with larger-than-life portraits of William Donald Schaefer, take your superglued seat, and enjoy your cool change as the weighted bottom sinks your fine vessel inexorably into the mighty Chesapeake. Delaware is close enough, yes? Said you like the way, said you like the way, said you like the way, I sail your ship now. Why, yes, I WILL weigh you down!

In Soviet Mid-Atlantic, Christopher Cross YOU!

That’s the thing. Joe Biden and people like him will never admit that they’re the fucking problem and just stop beggaring their constituents for a spell. They won’t, and maybe can’t, imagine that they could do more good by just being still and retiring from public life to allow decent successors to implement reforms that will, among other benefits, greatly reduce their own exposure as hated racketeers to vigilante or mob violence. They have to be the solution, too. More pertinently, they have to remain in a position to cash in when it comes time to make a show of fixing things.

Goofy old Uncle Joe complaining that the young’uns don’t have the fight in them is awfully rich. The civil rights that Americans today need to reclaim include the civil rights to be free of crushing, often unrepayable, debt, and the infringements of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that result from such debt. Why should we forget that this asshole was and remains a huge part of the problem? And why should anyone not be angry with him for appearing to regard the whole thing as some kind of game? He’s up there acting like a washed-up old NFL bruiser bitching about how the young guys in the game today are a bunch of crybabies and pussies. It’s bad enough when resentful shitheads try to drag athletes wiser and more prudent than themselves down with that line of horseshit. Joe Biden is carrying on in this petulant, self-centered fashion about a political and socioeconomic disaster that he did much to precipitate, by way of trying to goad innocent people who were never part of the problem into cleaning up his mess because they’ll be proud of themselves if they do.

It gets even more ridiculous than this. Biden bragged about how “we” did the heroic work of the civil rights and women’s rights movements. Really? Who the hell are “we?” I believe it was Mencius Moldbug (I know, kind of a paranoid kook) who described this expansive third-person plural as a “nostrism,” or a version of it. It had something to do with Bertrand Russell, like that Russell conflated his own politics with all of Great Britain’s, but no, I am not in the mood to look it up. This cat is a regular Brian Williams, retrospectively showing up where he wasn’t. Biden is (who’da fuckin thunk it?) a Baby Boomer. MLK was not a high school senior when he delivered “I Have a Dream.” If Rosa Parks had been a Boomer, she would have been all of nine or ten years old at the start of the Montgomery bus boycott. LBJ, a man whose feelings on race took some time to evolve towards magnanimity, wasn’t born in fucking 1946. These were some of the most instrumental civic and political leaders in the civil rights movement. I’m not mentioning this because it’s a novel insight; it reads like an ad in American Way for the best plastic surgeons and steakhouses in America; but because these three, and they weren’t the only ones, were a hell of a lot older and more seasoned than Joe Biden circa 1960.

“We” did the civil rights thing in the same way that “we” killed Jimmy Hoffa. Independent activist organizations brought pressure to bear on both major parties to implement civil rights safeguards, and in the end the Democratic Party had a larger role in the legal reforms, allowing the GOP to get overrun by erstwhile Dixiecrats over the next couple of decades. Song, Song of the South, Millington for Sheriff and I shut my mouth. Etc. This does not mean that Third Way, triangulating centrist shitheads from the DNC and the DLCC, the Clintons, Biden, or anyone else in that swamp had a fucking thing to do with the marches across Alabama, the voter drives, the Civil Rights Act, or any of the rest of it. We need to rectify some damn names and be clear about who exactly did what.

Besides, Joe Biden is one of the nastiest catfish in the whole cesspool. That fucker is constantly presented as, God help us, a regular Joe, who, like, takes Amtrak (yeah, the most expensive line in the entire network) and doesn’t have as much money as one would expect of a proper legislative mercenary. Come on, this guy whored himself out to the banks and we’re expected to think that he isn’t part of the national overclass because he has cultivated a slightly downmarket accent and shabby mannerisms? Bullshit. It takes a limited imagination to assume that his personal holdings are the full extent of his compensation. There’s no reason he can’t be the Kato Kaelin of the Delaware trusts. Why wouldn’t they let him chill out at the beach house, on the yacht, on the Gulfstream, tool around in the white Bronco, whatever, as long as he keeps giving them alibis? That crook isn’t exactly doing badly just because he stays in the guesthouse.

The crab theft accusation came from Tumblr, where a woman accused Joe Biden of having stolen crab meat off her plate when she was a little girl and they were in line at a picnic. I believe it because I have an easier time imagining someone witnessing that and accurately describing it than totally making it up. Joe Biden is the kind of guy who’d steal crab off a little girl’s plate, but that’s still an awfully surreal concept to think up independently as libel or satire. I don’t believe all accusers, but I believe some. After all, he did this to the Defense Secretary’s wife:

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This clown only pretends to be less of a dipshit than Gary Johnson.