Oops, I guess I’m a conspiracy theorist now

As the old proverbs and shit hold, don’t ask the question if you don’t want to hear the answer. Today’s question, from my dad, was why on earth Barack Obama allowed Congress to strip the DEA of the authority to seize suspect opioid shipments from pharmaceutical companies. My answer, to his chagrin and scandalization, was that Obama had probably been paid off, just as he’d certainly been paid off to lobby for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I guess I was supposed to have a different answer, maybe one preserving Mocha Haole’s air of high principle under a veil of inscrutability. Instead I called him a crook at a time when all the social cues are to call him a man of impeccable principle and manners, no matter how corrupt and useless his legacy, in a grand effort to highlight the coarseness and crookedness of his successor.

Well fuck me. Donald Trump being a crook does not preclude Barack Obama being a crook. *Sticking our Tricky Dick into the thick of it* Christ, don’t look at ME! This is exactly how the Deep State, and the larger, more diffuse Blob slimily adhering to it, have been trying to rehabilitate George W. Bush as our dear leader. *Briefly recovering from a fatal Kim Jong-Illness* Who called for me? If they’re using the same language as the North Korean regime (specifically, great leader, but far be it from me to resist the opportunity to poke fun at Rocket Man’s dad for his Il health), they’re using the language of the North Korean regime. Full stop. They don’t get to subvert democratic norms by trying to dictate fealty to shitty rulers through their crude social controls and then turn around and call dissidents antidemocratic. That’s bullshit.

A key difference between North Korea and the United States is that we, unlike them, have a large class of yeomen, proles, and lumpenproles who rudely maintain our right to speak freely of officials who displease us. This liberty causes our social superiors in and orbiting various cryptoroyal courts to be butthurt longtime. They have to bite their lips for any hope of favor from the sovereigns they flatter, so what gives us the right to be so licentious as to freely speak ill of our superiors? Our dissent gets between their noses and our rulers’ assholes; how rude of us.

Of course, it isn’t really license; there are generally consequences to such candor, including unspoken but unmistakable limits on the advancement of dissidents in politicized workplaces. The problem for the rulers and their brownnosers is that many of us are already effectively paying these consequences for the most overdetermined reasons due to the regulatory capture and secular collapse of the international economy. It isn’t just some tyrannical authoritarian shithead inside the Beltway who won’t give us a job because we won’t get with the program. The economy still sucks nine years after the financial collapse, although we aren’t supposed to talk about that. Questioning the official numbers is conspiracy theorizing, too. On the other hand, some of us follow the Colby Cosh Rule and do things with our hands for a living (sic?). What are they gonna do, sing a crappy comedy-folk song about us? This pisses the courtiers off, too.

A whole lot of floridly crazy shit has been said about Barry O, unfortunately for those of us, some of us his former voters, who have bad things to say about him that aren’t insane. I don’t believe that Obama has ever taken delivery of a suitcase full of cash or made clumsy incriminating phone calls about things fucking golden. That’s why he gets to cavort with Richard Branson on yachts while the Rod Unspared gets the opportunity to join the Rocky Mountain Club for his efforts to sell Barry’s old seat in the United States Senate. Mocha Haole doesn’t do his banking with his home freezer like that dumbass Jefferson down in Louisiana. He’s too smooth for any of that. And as I like to point out around here, that makes him dangerous. In the hands of a discreet sleazeball like Obama, courtly norms of decorum and shit are numbing paralytic agents injected by the parasite into its host. Basically, we can’t criticize a guy as long as he’s nice to his fellow crooks. May I remind you, Mr. Goldman, that O. J. Simpson was a model prisoner, and even, like Dennis Hastert, a coach.

Obama’s actual legacy sucks ass. Thank Chuck and Nancy it isn’t his alone, but he showed shit for leadership and screwed millions of Americans over. If he’d had some real principle, we wouldn’t have the kludgy, Byzantine mess of Obamacare. Sure, it’s a lot better than nothing, and the Republicans are vile to try to destroy it out of spite with no replacement, but it still sucks. It’s still a scandal and a disgrace. If the Democrats had had any fucking principle or accountability over the past, hell, thirty or forty years, they’d have broken the insurance industry’s legs by the turn of the millennium, with the option to either act in their policyholders’ interests forevermore or be dissolved and have their business handed to government plans. Instead, the Dems agreed to be bought off by the insurance industry. They had no electoral mandate to do anything of the sort, but they’d been captured, and they’re nice captives. They’re good boys and girls, because they know that good boys and girls get more candy.

Public service my fat white ass. They don’t give a shit about us. There was never a popular mandate for the bullshit “marketplace” incrementalism and income-based siloing that they passed instead of straightforward universal coverage. If they’d felt answerable to us, we wouldn’t have heard about the “marketplace” because they would have been too ashamed to utter the word.

How the hell is it inconceivable that the guy who signed this expensive, burdensome, punitive, Kafkaesque patchwork nightmare into law, conveniently providing private insurance companies with a market coerced into buying coverage with threats of fines, got paid off in some fashion by major corporate interests? How is it inconceivable that he got some sort of quid pro quo for all the sweet-talking and arm-twisting he did, although ultimately to no avail, on behalf of TPP? Cyrus Vance was bought off for ten grand in indirect payment to his campaign fund. That was enough to get him to conclude that Harvey Weinstein had a legitimate business reason to grope a model’s breasts without prior warning or permission. The campaign contribution may not have been the entirety of the bribe, so maybe Cyrus isn’t quite that cheap a date, but it’s misguided to think that elected officials need to be set up like kings directly and straight away to consider selling their souls.

For that matter, it’s awfully harsh to construe a rental agreement as a sale.

We’re at least 55 years behind Canada in the implementation of single-payer medical insurance because our elected officials keep pretending that it’s unpopular and doesn’t work. Our last president bragged about assassinating dissidents on other nations’ sovereign territory and tried his best to sell our own national sovereignty to a cartel of secret corporate tribunals. Our current president blusters to no end about all the enemies he wants to blacklist or get blacklisted for crossing him and the worst of his voters. Congress is full of fucking ghouls who listen to their constituents only after having the Capitol Police bodily drag protesters out of their offices. How the hell is it problematic to assume that Barack Obama is a crook? I’m not even trying to argue that the Donald isn’t one himself. I’d certainly like to think that Bernie Sanders is an exception, but seeing how he got ratfucked out of the Democratic nomination by a political machine and crime family, I guess he’s the exception that proves the rule.

If the GOP self-destroys in an orgy of mutual recrimination between the biblethumpers, the objectivists, and whatever the incomprehensible fuck Trump and his crew are, we’ll be one for two. We’ll still have the Democratic Party to destroy until, if we can imagine the possibility, it ceases trying to destroy us. Saying that the Democratic Party is automatically better than the Republicans (especially Trump, who’s all over the damn place) is like saying that sexy male nurse Lynn Majors is better than Elizabeth Wettlaufer.

That was still less disgusting than Congress. They’re all just Cullen the herd, but I’m obviously the crazy one for assuming that they don’t have our best interests at heart and joining the part of the herd that keeps braying back, Neigh! Neigh!

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Putting the Weiner into Weinstein

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

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

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

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

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

Yeah, and I’m Perry Mason.

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

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

Jer RY! Jer RY!

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

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

More like the Hiscox Endowment

The Dickinson (giggity) College Endowment (giggity giggity!) publishes annual reports on its assets* and performance**. The 2016 report discloses total assets of $412.6m, including “non-pooled assets” of $74.7m. Non-pooled assets, according to the footnotes, include, inter alia, “deferred gifts” and “pledges receivable.”

Oh. I guess that means that when I apply for a loan I’m allowed to declare to the loan officer a net worth that I have calculated on the basis of what I expect to earn in my next pay period or two, the value of the deposit bottles that are probably in the neighborhood trash cans, and whatever I figure my parents will be transferring me in the next few months or whatever. Cool. If some guy from the corner swears to you that he’s gonna pay you for the crack rock, go ahead and add it to your net worth. It’s your bling, dawg; flash it.

Do we still wonder why the accounting industry has acquired a reputation for being shady? An undisclosed percentage of just over eighteen percent of the endowment is neither in hand nor in trust, and its eventual delivery is entirely contingent upon the honor and solvency of the “donors” who have pledged it. That’s like if I told the Dunkin’ Doorman to shut up about how I’m a cheap bastard because I told him that I’d buy him a coffee at some point but right now I’ma buy myself a damn coffee instead, the better to enjoy life while I’m here to enjoy it.

It’s doubtful that *MY OLD SCHOOL* has any realistic recourse to compel the payment of pledged donations from parties that, for whatever reason, refuse to follow through with them as promised. Depending on the circumstances there may be a binding contract that the bagmen can sue to enforce, but that would involve nicely dressed lawyers, and cracka that ain’t cheap.

Can I go to Bank of America with a story about how, okay, so this one guy says he’s gonna give me some money, and then this other guy promised me some other money, and my man D-Money promised me some money, Smoothie, ya feel me? Of course not. That wouldn’t do me jack shit. I’d still be on the hook for whatever I’d charged. That’s why I take my ass down to the nearest ATM when I’m within range and feed it some Jacksons. I don’t get a fucking eighteen percent discount on my statement balance because my old boys promised me some shit. God.

How can we take these jokers seriously when they conflate the receivable with the received? They’re marketing their institution based on an undisclosed percentage of their capital, possibly verging on a fifth, not actually being available for their use and not having a set, enforceable date of availability. That’s a level of trust that no normal private citizen is accorded by the financial industry.

And what the fuck are they gonna do if some flake or sleaze or secretly bankrupt-ass loser reneges on an endowment pledge? A small pledge wouldn’t be worth the costs of a small claim. Let’s say that I pledge the endowment twenty bucks and then decide not to pay up–or, in awah feyah city, Vishnu Payup. What’s the filing fee, bitch?

Hey, that model sounds scalable.

These fuckers are using money that they discreetly admit not having to goose their endowment bottom line in order to goose their US News & World Report ranking and suck in more application fees and tuition. How much of it don’t they have? Take a guess, lol. It’s rather like Donald Trump: the fat bastard may not exactly be rich, but he looks rich. No, it’s more like Joel Osteen: tithe to him in anticipation of future earnings to curry the favor of the money gods; bathe in the balm of his face and be blessed.

Out here in the streets, we call that fraud.

** ********* (!)

Footnotes:

*Giggity.

**GO HARD BIG DICK!

Of course these motherfuckers booked up all the fancy hotels

Oleander, growing outside her door, soon it’s gonna be impossible to get a room up in Annandale. By which I inevitably, and unfortunately, mean Carlisle. What a creepy little shithole of a city, or a borough, or whatever the fuck that den of authoritarian rednecks wishes to call it. I’m planning to go back to *MY OLD SCHOOL* this weekend regardless, loosely in the tradition of that guy sitting next to me on the Coast Starlight on his way to SeaTac to visit his buddy from Lompoc Camp and not on his way to shutting up for five blessed seconds. Well, don’tcha fuckin’ know, a funny thing happened on the way to Homecoming: the nice hotels in town sold out, while prices in the nice hotels on the outskirts floated up to the obscene and some of the crappier motor lodges near the War College did some modest surge pricing, but there are still rooms available for $46 a night on Friday and Saturday at a Travelodge a few miles out past the Miracle Mile on Route 11. #TeshTips: If you’re unfamiliar with the Miracle Mile, you may not actually be a Scholar. I learned about it from a weird-ass lunch buddy who did a research paper on it. It’s the strip of truck stops between 81 and the Turnpike where the five-oh likes to arrest truckers in prostitution stings.

Of course, knowing about any of this, let alone giving a shit, would get in the way of donning the Lacoste and being an insufferably supercilious useless eater. And let’s not gloss over the true fact that the homecoming crowd is a bunch of downtown drunks. The Miracle Mile and beyond would mean some combination of cab fare, drunk driving, Uber, and bitching to no end about the inability to get an Uber. Some of these fuckers were reputed to drive home drunk across the west side of Carlisle from the Gingerbread Man. Holy shit, I just realized that I personally knew the affluenza kid. Not him specifically, but his avatars, and that’s way too close for comfort. Heeby jeeby. I suppose I knew Brock Turner as well. What’s-her-name with the CEO daddy and the laxboy meathead crushes who roomed with Charlotte Simmons was dozens of my classmates.

If the Borough of Carlisle were governed by officials of any moral consistency whatsoever, it would go dry. It wouldn’t give the fucking G-Man a business license, for God’s sake. That won’t happen because Carlisle is the land of the damned. It’s trapped in the Slow Ghomeshi chokehold of the positive law fetishists who somehow needed a decade to catch the shady creeps at Deli Creations selling hard drugs. In the meantime, including my entire time at Dickinson College, the authorities were either grossly incompetent or on the take. That much is a binary. Practically the entire student body either assumed or claimed to personally know that Deli C was a drug front, and neither the Borough nor Cumberland County was run by anyone nuanced, discreet, or self-controlled enough to deliberately allow a brick-and-mortar drug distributorship to operate peaceably (if tenuously so) in the interest of public safety and order.

That’s the kind of shit that many of my classmates found charming. They considered it a memorably entertaining inside joke featuring the local color. In point of fact, it was downright insane. The guys who ran that place looked like they’d walked in out of a mugshot tabloid in rural Arkansas. They had a lot more wrong with them than just drugs. It was always a kind of what-the-fuck experience to wonder why a creepy, aggressive, hypervigilant outfit like the Carlisle PD hadn’t shut them the hell down years earlier.

The bars are allowed to fester because of the college, pure and simple. Or, to be accurate, impure and fancy. If the townies forced the borough to go dry, or even if they so much as shut down the G-Man as the obvious nuisance that it is, Alma Mater, Tried and True would throw a fucking shit fit, and the Chamber of Commerce would join in with its own amicus whinings. The privileges to yell at the top of one’s lungs until the middle of the night and apparently to drive across town drunk as fuck afterwards are for sale, at a price of fifty grand or some shit per year.

Let’s not pretend that there’s anything upright or admirable about this dynamic. The constraints on municipal sovereignty in this sorry-ass give-and-take-and-take are not judicial or moral but strictly financial. The Big Dick (Go Hard!) has the townies by the short-n-curlies. Let’s imagine that the borough rescinded all liquor licenses and refused to grant new ones, on the basis that these licenses were contributing mainly to gross behavior by Pareto power players, purporting to be “students,” with more money than sense, and that a municipal government has no duty to cater to such louts. Let’s limit this scenario further by assuming a crackdown targeting the G-Man specifically for having both the cleanliness and the socioeconomics of the restrooms at Wrigley Field. (Any of you white motherfuckers wanna get on the train for free?) Now, let’s go even deeper into the counterfactuals, so deep that Mr. Rogers will have to send the trolley after us to bring us back out, and assume that the layoffs stemming directly from the dump’s closure are a moot point politically because (bear with me here) Carlisle is governed by pragmatic, understated Mennonite socialists who hold themselves accountable to first and foremost to their most vulnerable constituents and consequently have robust public assistance and job placement programs in place to immediately assist the unemployed.

If you’re famliar with Carlisle (NB: not Dickinson, in case you’re a dumbass), you’ll agree that the foregoing is smashed in his knees with a two-by-four crazy. Smashed in his knees with a sledge HAMMA! You could have a speed train–if you lived in Harrisburg instead, or in Lancaster. *GO DIPLOMATS!* Ain’t none of what I just described happening. But let’s go full speedy delivery and assume that it is. How hard would the Big Dick go on the townies?

I don’t know if you’re getting a clue, but I’m getting a solid one. Ooh! The college would extort the borough government into compliance by threatening to leave town entirely. It would overplay whatever hand it was actually dealt, obviously, just as it does whenever it pesters us for money, but it would threaten to fuck off to wetter pastures, and with several hundred employees in a jurisdiction of only twenty thousand, that threat would be hefty.

The mechanism, in all its crassness, would start with the Hall and Oates Effect rich kids, in particular the Greeks (generally WASP’s, plus some lace curtain Irish whitey mongrels), would transfer, threaten to transfer, get their kin and cronies to stop applying, yell at the staff in general in their best may I speak to your manager tone, cut back on the charitable (sic) giving, and otherwise stir up shit with the administration, which both parties agree the bigshot alumni donors employ. This is how the Go Hard Big Dick thing became a scandal in the first place: some butthurt money alumni cornered Bill Durden and threw a fit. The donors must be granted their precious highbrow decorum, the Durd must maintain the flow of that alumni sugar sweet (his successors, too, if they want the donors not to throw another shit fit and scheme to remove them from office as they did Nancy Roseman), and little Parker, Sloan, and Taylor here must not be denied their special sippy cups. May the circle be unbroken.

The administrators know to dance with them that brought them. The teetotaler students are there on scholarships. They care about Dickinson’s educational mission, they’re exactly the underserved community that Durden always bragged about admitting more frequently and assisting more generously than his peer institutions, and they aren’t out strutting around with low-functioning blame-fool antics by Thirsty Thursday. (*Most Downton Dowager Voice* What is a “week-end?”) Their shortcoming is that they don’t lavish their old boys (and girls!) at Noble Dickinsonia with lots and lots of money. Washington Heights and Grand Concourse aren’t known for their wealth management clients. Someone has to be the doorman south of 110th Street, and someone else has to pay for these freeloaders.

And for however many hundreds of thousands of dollars our esteemed president is being paid per annum to tell cool stories about Benjamin Rush and his crew at propaganda sessions cum fundraisers. As I’ve mentioned before, Bill Durden devoted a bumptious speech at commencement to quoting himself at some length. I was there. I heard it. I wonder sometimes how that fucker didn’t end up sleeping over a steam grate.

Barring some marginal, anomalous psychological profiles, no one pays for that shit twice without getting the damn goods in return. If I’m sleeping in my car anywhere but Donner Pass on Saturday morning, in time for hiking and #SPORTS, I’m not being delivered the goods, asshole. If this is pay-for-play, put me in, Coach, and then I’ll think about paying. No, not you, Mr. Speaker. J. Denny Dundiddly memes are less disgusting than this shit. How could they not be? So are discussions of the grope and the perv of our Lord’s Servant Gerald, which are uncomfortably topical. Basically, it takes a rich, smug shithead to contribute to the pledge drives that I answer with a barrage of one-sided declarations that Dickinson does not deserve and will not be receiving any of my money before hanging up.

By the way, that shitty school has the nerve to have student employees place fundraising calls in the eight o’clock hour on Sunday evenings. I have no problem with critical workers holding down shifts on the sabbath–hospitals, Amtrak, clergy (uh…), Denny’s–but that? Indiscriminately cold-calling alumni to brownnose us for money after dark on a day of rest when everyone assumes that several days’ worth of schoolwork have untenably piled up? That’s fucking appalling. That’s inexcusable, for me and for the phone banker.

This shit has to be done to squeeze money from assholes who fondly remember being highbrow problem drunks. One of the coarser fraternities was said to stage hazing rituals in which pledges were forced to guzzle hard liquor until they vomited into trash cans and beaten with an old schoolhouse paddle by their pledgemasters. Uh, yeah, that’s when you call 911. There’s no act of depravity or pile of filth that these fuckjobs won’t earnestly admire, nay, worship, the moment it’s declared highbrow. There was nothing of the sort that Bill Durden wouldn’t tolerate on the part of the fraternities as the frats kept it more or less discreet and kept lavishing Dickinson with their alumni donations. Rather, it was our duty as independents to give Dickinson so much money that donations from Greek alumni were rendered superfluous; then and only then would he drive old Dick See down. Until then, Greek Life had total license to do anything as long as no one got maimed, killed, sued, arrested, or celebrated in the newspapers.

Yeah, sure, I’d love to call the local detachment and tell them about Pickton, but only if you first give me enough money to buy his farm.

We can’t have adequate public housing, welfare, or a jobs guarantee, but we sure can grant legacy shitbirds the privileges of crony employment and luxury housing, provided that they first pay $50k per year for four years of seasonal housing, with no option to turn down squalid accommodations, and then maybe submit to forcible alcohol poisoning and premeditated felony battery in a flophouse dungeon. As they say to points north, Ithaca is Gorges, and oops you just fell right into one during your initiation.

Yup, guys, college totally makes its alumni more liberal, lol. I have no idea what this class has to do with elite and corporate capture of government and the dispossession of the vulnerable. Beats me, man.

When I go back to campus this weekend, I figure I’ll be mostly be looking for a handful of needles in a haystack, one whose every sheath has been carefully dipped into Pot-o-Shit Friend’s housewarming gift. I wish that were just rhetorical; word on the street was that in certain houses the objection to his trash can would have been that he filled it from the wrong end. As for me and my house, etc. That which comes forth from the mouth isn’t necessarily any more vile, although I guess I’d rather think about Pot-o-Shit Friend squatting while also renting than these overschooled but undereducated assholes who confirm my suspicion that language is Original Sin. After all, it was the Ragin’ Canajun who got splashed with another dude’s shit; I’m just the college boy who called code about it.

Go in piss, and GO DIPLOMATS!

It’s all getting quite tiring

The towel-hurling dipshit we have in the presidency this term got there because the entire US political system broke down catastrophically, leaving him as the closest thing to a reformer with a shot at the White House by the general election. Americans have successfully been propagandized not to vote for third-party candidates, whom most voters have generally never heard of in the first place on account of coverage blackouts in the mainstream news media. I have friends who follow politics reasonably closely and take their duty as electors seriously who had never heard of Jill Stein until I mentioned my intention to vote for her. The Republican and Democratic establishments both choked because their candidates couldn’t relate competently to normal people. They showed no understanding of or empathy for our very real concerns about the dire state of the economy as we have been experiencing it. A fractious Republican establishment fielded Carly “May I Speak to Your Manager” Fiorina, misplaced Albertan Ted Cruz (reviled by his own colleagues and sympathetic ideologues), the likeable but platitudinous Marco Rubio, amateur Egyptologist Ben Carson, Radio Deluxe Country winner John Kasich, and the unfortunate Please Clap: basically every asshole from the management team at your office, plus a kooky neurosurgeon and a pathetic try-hard silver spoon with an obvious chip on his shoulder on account of the former presidents in his own immediate family. The Democratic Party pulled out all the stops to narrowly crown its woke slay Queen Abuela, a walking caricature of academic arrogance from the shrillest corner of the women’s studies department, eternal yuppie social climbing, influence-peddling, nepotism, and public corruption.

The Oaf of Office was, against the odds, more down-to-earth and credible than his Republican challengers and the terrible candidate the Democratic kingmakers (excuse ME, queenmakers) insisted on deploying, at the cost of poisoning the own well for the bulk of their own base, so here we fucking are with the President of the United States throwing rolls of paper towels at constituents whose entire island has been thrown into full Cormac McCarthy apocalyptic dysfunction due to years of colonial rentseeking and deliberate federal disinvestment. Here we are with this out-of-touch, narcissistic shithead treating a disaster zone like a goddamn rock concert, throwing toiletries willy-nilly into a mess tent crowd on our dime.

Consider that the Secret Service, already stretched to the breaking point, has to deploy with this fucker at full vigilance while he stages fourth-rate show business games in a retarded effort to psych up the same constituents whose lives he has been endangering for weeks with his dereliction. He’s actively increasing his own risk of assassination with these antics by giving perfectly sane Puerto Ricans reason to reluctantly conclude that assassinating him would be an act of self-defence.

I don’t know whether the Secret Service takes its protectees’ public behavior into account when assessing their risk of harm, but watching this horseshit in the relief tent and hearing Trump’s comments about Puerto Rico’s debt obligations, I’d say that it should. For one thing, its agents, closely vetted innocents who consider it their solemn duty to transcend politics on the job, are in physical danger whenever someone attacks one of their protectees. Donald Trump is obviously provoking normal people to thoughts, and likely plans, of physically attacking him in a desperate effort to compel the delivery of crucial, time-sensitive, and so far needlessly delayed federal aid. It isn’t just the usual crazies and hotheads who need to be held at bay this time. We have Caligula down there slumming with desperate subjects he’s been leaving to twist in the wind and acting like they’re all at Covey training or some shit.

This ain’t Thon, cracka. We need some fucking gravitas here. We need some adult leadership. Of course, the Secret Service is unlikely to publicly or officially express any objections to Trump’s frivolous travel or provocative behavior. What we’ll see instead are more quiet resignations by agents who are perfectly fit for duty under any normal circumstances but driven to exhaustion and their wit’s end by this late imperial decadence. If we’re lucky, some of them will blow the whistle after they resign. This shit is worse than His Vigor Kennedy and the open motorcades, which drove the Secret Service to exasperation. There they had a foolhardy protectee who had pissed off a grab bag of the usual kooks and thugs. This time they’re protecting the synthesis of second-term Ronald Reagan’s mental faculties and Andrew Jackson’s uncouth belligerence on the road in places where his consituents are literally dying from official neglect.

It gets even worse. If this shambling geezer, having abundantly shown himself to warrant both impeachment and removal from office under the 25th Amendment, gets put out to pasture, his replacement will presumably be a Christofascist nutjob who deliberately stood back while a rural AIDS epidemic sickened and killed his constituents back home in Indiana. Mike Pence is dangerously urbane. Establishment Democrats will excuse every evil thing he’s done just for the opportunity to kiss up to a fellow ass-kisser who doesn’t go around publicly trash-talking his colleagues. The same thing applies at least equally to every shitheel in Congress who’s scheming to deprive the public of what little health coverage we’ve secured under the Affordable Care Act. Good old Chuck and Nancy would rather do business with anyone across the aisle, including the Donald, than with Bernie Sanders.

Pence has no mandate of his own whatsoever. He was brought onto Trump’s ticket for murky reasons, not just the usual team of rivals shit: to be a poison pill, a minder, a president-in-waiting, who knows. Dude would have gotten nowhere against the Republican primary field last year, and if he had he would have gone up against Hillary Clinton with a losing combination of hardline evangelical establishmentarian weirdness and disregard for the welfare of the vulnerable and the marginalized. Trump was an extremely rare bird just on the basis of his erratic populist rhetoric, which Pence has never shared.

I’d be enthusiastic to give Rex Tillerson a turn at the presidency, but no one in the line of succession will be getting out of his way, least of all Mike Pence and Paul Ryan. As things stand now, our next president will be a Democrat, if Trump completes a full term, or a Randroid Republican ghoul. If whatever the hell the Trump presidency really is disintegrates, it will be replaced by the death cult. Those guys aren’t resigning in the interest of national peace and prosperity. They’d rather get their own constituents killed by bad policy and then have the Capitol Police bodily drag the protesters away from their offices. To hazard a guess, I’d say that Pence is on the human end of their spectrum, since he looks more like a mere scorched-earth zealot than a psychopath.

Even more troubling, the major parties have figured out how to pay off enough private citizens–roughly a quarter to a third in decent times–to vote for this agenda. Between gerrymandering, the apathy of the dispossessed, and the engagement of the privileged, they’ve held this shit together for thirty years. Donald Trump’s election was their most obvious failure since the launch of the yuppie project, but there’s no discernible ideological or policy theme to his presidency, other than some racist dogwhistling that Ivanka and Jared reluctantly tolerate. Instead, we’re treated to an ongoing three-way brawl between factions that hate the shit out of one another, under the nominal direction of a guy who’s got his thumbs up his ass. We have this because it was the closest thing to reform that a critical mass of voters could discern last year. Trump ran on promises including a revamped industrial policy benefiting points left behind; safely in office, he appointed and, in due course of time, fired an orthopedic surgeon who used the federal treasury to fund his Rich Kids of Instagram lifestyle under the guise of crafting and administering health policy.

Trust me on this much: Obama-Sanders-Trump crossover voters didn’t vote to aggrandize an orthopod with government jets. That did not happen.

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What’s YOUR price for flight? Mine was something like $143, bag fee included, for cattle class on the Dreamliner from LAX to O’Hare, but as an old crush told me, I’m a cheap date. These boys aren’t. They’ve got planes and beaches and lanyards and shit. All I’ve got is birthright citizenship, Humboldt County voter registration, and a mailbox across the street from the California State Capitol that I need to get stuffed with a permanent absentee ballot the next time I’m ready for some civics. Hey there, Devin. What’s happening. Is that someone has to watch over this smoldering joint. What’s also happening. Is that I have much cooler plants in the hood than Pressboy here.

Hostage’s bargain

Donald Trump’s fuck-up of hurricane relief in Puerto Rico is the first episode of his presidency to make me wish that Hillary Clinton had been elected instead. No president should be so callous towards a US possession and the citizens living in it, and trash-talking the mayor of San Juan on Twitter while she was out in chest-deep water personally helping with relief efforts was especially inexcusable. Hillary would have done nothing of the sort, and for political reasons I’m not even convinced that she would have gone ahead full-throttle with the shock doctrine land grabs that Trump’s cronies are apparently scheming to pull off. That might have been the one instance in which she’d actually feel some human sympathy for her constituents to complement her usual self-interest in using the minority ingredients in the national salad bowl as her client bases.

Dan Savage has been–shit, I’m actually going to say this–savaged on the dirtbag left for proposing that Puerto Ricans move to swing states to punish the Republicans for leaving them to the elements, but even if he’s crude or tasteless or heartless, as a practical matter he’s right. If Trump’s attacks on Puerto Rico have a political effect on him, the effect will be negative. Diaspora Puerto Ricans and those close to them may well turn out to be enough to swing Florida and Pennsylvania decisively to the Democrats, especially if the diaspora swells on account of incompetent relief and reconstruction efforts.

The optics of talking shit about US citizens in the aftermath of a major natural disaster are not going to work in Trump’s favor; too many Americans, including ones who voted for him or support significant parts of his agenda, are fed up with his vicious petty antics in times of crisis. There’s no way this shit isn’t deeply offending Mennonite voters, who are concentrated in northern swing states. If he keeps it up and lets it eclipse his big island/really big ocean comments (which are his muddleheaded way of describing the ferocity of Hurricane Maria), he may precipitate a crackup of the Republican Party by driving its genuine religious conservative values voters away from the herrenvolk authoritarians, aristocratic revanchists, and Social Darwinists. The more he delegates to Brock Long, the better for him and the Republicans politically.

Yes, I really think this is worse than Trump’s international failson reenactment of Khrushchev and Kennedy opposite Kim Jong-Un. Piggy Gangnam Style is provocative and intractably menacing. No one in Puerto Rico has done a thing to provoke Trump that would provoke a normal person. He’s probably got Mnuchin and all the other Wall Street shitbirds whispering in his ear about Puerto Rico’s sacred debt obligations to mainland banks, and he’s impressionable enough from minute to minute that these ministrations might put him on the war path against his own citizens in those minutes when less arrogant heads (say, Brock Long) aren’t reminding him about the big damage in the middle of the big ocean. (Sad!) I haven’t heard anything specific about anyone reminding Trump that the banks are still really fucking loathed on the ground in all fifty-plus states and territories, i.e., that harping on PR’s debt obligations won’t play so great in Peoria. Reminding mainland Americans that Puerto Ricans are US citizens too is enough to get all but a vicious fifth or less to say, oh my God, yes, let’s get them the aid they need straightaway.

On the other hand, Trump’s crudity may end up being the only thing to make a critical mass of reporters, voters, and Congressmen call foul on the shock doctrine rollout. The guy is too impulsive and unwashed to be a high-functioning psychopath. He doesn’t clean up as well as Marco Rubio or Hillary Clinton. We’ve still got an oaf of office who can’t help but say what he means, even when he tries to dogwhistle. The big unanswerable question I have is whether Abuela would actually have meant better than Many Sides does in his most imperialist moments.

Jill Stein wasn’t a viable choice or a perfect one, but at least she wasn’t a shitty choice, and my vote for her would still be infuriating the Hillbot Army even if they were still accusing Trump of doing unconscionable things that I considered either neutral or positive. Fuck yeah we got her over five percent in Humboldt County. Suck on it.

I guess I can suck on the knowledge that Your Fleek Abuela was the one who crushed in Humboldt. Spoiler my ass, then. I’ve got old schoolmates relitigating Stein v. Clinton on Facebook right now, and inevitably it’s #WithHer that’s salty about her not having been with her. It kills me. So, softly, does his song.

It is our lot to have the wrong women going to the White House and to federal prison. Yes, I went there. (Ed.: Not bodily. Wow Such coherent Much midnight Many express.) If Danbury is good enough for Lauryn Hill and Piper Kerman, orange is good enough to be the new Chappaqua white bitch. Quite a convenient location, too, yes? *Martha Stewart voice over the mighty Appalachians* It’s a good thing. Alderson, oh Alderson, I am so attached to meming. *Glen Campbell, back on the line* What the hell is wrong with that son of a bitch?

Not as much as with our political process. I’d rather be associated with antivax healing crystals freaks in Corona Del Mar (who I’d guess voted for What Is Aleppo anyway) than with the offerings I was told to choose from in our shitty first-past-the-post system. We, the people, are supposedly the ones directing this whole thing, not some bumptious asshole who keeps threatening to throw us into the Gowanus Canal, which she conflates with her opponent, if we decline to vote for her.

I can’t justify it, but I’m weirdly optimistic. There aren’t a hell of a lot of places to go from five percent but up.

Lives of quiet desperation and shit

This story is going to be way too emo, even for my worst tastes, but my dad and I barely avoided an outright argument over my plan to go out to Stewart’s and get some half on Saturday night instead of having him pick it up when he went to get (what else?) the damn Times on Sunday morning. I somehow managed not to escalate things, and he relented after a few rounds of this shit over the course of half an hour. My parents finally have a third car available for my express use, after some really nasty family fights months ago about whether or not I was stranded at their place or had reason to feel that way, but in spite of my having a car of my own here I still get into these bizarre, unhealthy situations where I feel unabled to get the fuck out of the house for an hour or two without a well thought out excuse, and hence trapped.

My parents would swear that I’m exaggerating everything again if I argued that their house can feel like a prison, but the obvious definition of a prison is a place that one is not allowed to leave without permission, and they’re often almost uncomfortable with my wanting to leave their house just to get the hell out for a bit. I’d really rather not spell out that this is a major purpose of my wanting to make extra trips to Stewart’s. Stewart’s is the closest thing to a corner store around here, so if I have nothing else in particular to do but can’t just swing over there because I feel like it, yes, Virginia, that is a fucking problem. There’s something very, very wrong with my even faintly sensing that I have to justify that to my parents. I shouldn’t need a damn pass to leave the family compound and go to the neighborhood convenience store. Getting out of the fucking house and having normal face-to-face social interactions with people other than my parents when I’m staying up here does much to keep me sane. On what planet is this a problem? It should go completely without saying. If my dad’s notion that I’m Temple Grandin and shit were serious and not just a catastrophization that Joe Dirtbag occasionally provokes in him by gaslighting us, he’d be relieved that I’m getting out and transitively socializing myself.

This is another situation in which I get myself into trouble by giving a shit. I start to feel guilty for being frivolous and wasteful for driving eight or twelve miles in a region with absolutely no public transit on trips that I know full well do more to improve my mental health than I’d ever expect of psychotherapy. I feel pangs of guilt that I’m wasting my parents’ money, even when I’m filling the car up and buying whatever three or five dollars’ worth of stuff I splurge on at Stewart’s out of pocket. I don’t ask them for extra money to cover this shit.

Not that it would have a measurable effect on their finances, of course. I have to explicitly remind myself that they are in no position to chide me or worry about me for spending literally a few bucks here and there on fast food and shit when they’re servicing debt from the $420,000 that they spent building their dumbass retirement house. That’s where the savings are, not in my refraining from stress-eating mediocre Buffalo chicken pizza in a gas station under an almost hauntingly beautiful February sunset while I beat myself up for not having gotten out of bed until noon. I have a duty to responsibly steward the money my parents give me, but going out to Stewart’s is not bad bad stewardship. (Of course I didn’t write that down correctly on the first try.) Neither does that duty of stewardship extend to living needlessly in painful austerity and isolation for no other reason than assenting to their rather socially unhealthy retirement lifestyle. That’s bullshit.

Even so, I probably feel guiltier about getting a bagel on top of a double order of hashbrowns at Dunkin’ Donuts than ISBF does about the $14k that she dropped on that wristwatch. Two guesses as to which one of us is the cradle Catholic and which one is the RCIA alumnus whose militantly atheist mother has pressured him to go to mass at the nearest parish.

It can be a real clusterfuck. These are White Whines, but we oughtn’t dismiss the possibility that the poor are socialized in ways that limit this smothering horseshit. It’s obviously better to go into any given situation with money than without, but I’ve been around a dismaying number of affluent people who manage to neutralize some very significant advantages of affluence by being foolishly neurotic, meddlesome, chaotic, or otherwise troubled, and by further refusing to admit that a blessed thing is wrong with them. The Insurance Schmuck and ISB are wicked fucked up, the latter also being an awfully credible cokehead. (ISBF, also a cokehead, would be broke to the verge of survival sex work without a rich boyfriend.) The educationally and professionally fraught neuroses of the Insurance Schmuck’s entire immediate family, save Failson Brother, are over the fucking top. Go figure that the one family member with the Kid Rock taste in drugs and the worst behavioral problems is the sanest and most coherent about this shit. I could find any number of much poorer people who are obviously better adjusted than any of us mentioned here so far.

Shit, I’m making a moral equivalency between myself for having a light case of bipolar disorder and ISB and ISBF for getting wound up and launched to high hell on freebase. I don’t know for a legally admissible fact that they’re cokeheads, but they’re cokeheads. I need to make a note to explicitly say so to the Insurance Schmuck by way of poking holes in his vodka-soaked sober living Story Whore nonsense. It’s time he dropped the just world sanctimony and admitted that I have a better sense than he does about his old boy being hopped up on the damn coke. The guy who’s hosting him in Phoenix this week is either chronically hypomanic or on scheduled stimulants himself. I might as well have Rob Ford slur at me that I’m a dissipated fat sloppy drunk.

My dad mentioned to a family friend of his on the phone that I’d rather my parents move back to California than stay in New York. It ain’t exactly so: I’d rather they hadn’t moved up here from Pennsylvania in the first place, and I’d almost rather that they move back to Pennsylvania. I still haven’t entirely gotten used to the logistics that they’ve sprung on me, and I certainly haven’t gotten used to the unhealthy reclusiveness and meddlesomeness that they’ve increasingly fallen into since moving up here. If they’d been interested in taking my wishes into account, they never would have built this bullshit and settled permanently in it, but this was always about my mom pursuing her fucked up psychodrama with her late mother on their vacation lake, not about living sensibly in the present. I’d be less uncomfortable with my parents moving up her had they actually moved so that my mom could take jobs in underserved communities, but her going back to work part-time was an afterthought, so I’m not allowing either of them to dry-lab this shit and blow smoke in my face about their process.

I’d feel ambivalently about their moving permanently to California at this point, but I wouldn’t expect them to show a lick of sense if they did that, either. The suitably classy areas are too expensive, and the less expensive areas have too much summer heat, year-round Mexicans, poories in general, etc. ad nauseam. They don’t want to give up the absurd rent stream that they derive from my childhood house in Palo Alto, nor can I blame them, but I don’t feel like listening to financial millionaire property owners bitch about how expensive it would be to move back to the most surreally expensive part of the nation while my mom sneers at more modest neighborhoods inland where I’d be thrilled to live. We’ve been over that crap before, and I’m happier leaving the hatchet buried. I don’t need to hear projectile neurosis about how some perfectly decent neighborhood not in a nice part of the Bay Area reminds her of her modest but perfectly decent childhood neighborhood on Staten Island. I get it: she has a chip on her shoulder about how she grew up poor in the whitey slums, the child of college-educated, professional homeowners. That doesn’t mean that I’m not mainly looking for places where I feel safe from the local criminal element, including landlords and the police.

Firehat is off-base: we can’t tax the Boomers for our upkeep if we’ve euthanized them. Speaking of off-base: David Russell Williams (Col., RCAF, Ret.), said to be in Port-Cartier, which is about as close to my parents’ current place as the latter is to where we lived in Pennsylvania. #TheMoreYouKnow, losers.