A voice whining petulantly in the desert, lecturing an audience that may or may not be there

It’s hard to compile an exhaustive list of things that are childish, deranged, or otherwise embarrassing about the Panera Democrats meme. My initial foray into this swamp was just the first draft of history and shit, and it’s a hell of a lot to process, to I missed some things.

The proclamation of Panera Democrats as a crucial part of the base may be the apotheosis of limousine liberal centrist triangulation. I don’t want to jump the gun and announce that this frontier has been closed only to watch the Democrats slouch across some even worse horizon of privilege, but maybe, just maybe, we’ve finally wandered down to rock bottom on this wretched journey. Bill Clinton’s famous soccer moms were heavy on tiger moms overscheduling the hell out of their precious snowflakes and running themselves ragged to no good end in the process, but at least their lifestyle was understood to revolve around their family affinity for a team sport. The conception of Panera Democrats is explicitly of overly precious bougies who hang out in pretentious, overpriced suburban cafes with surprisingly bad coffee. The implicit sense of the target demographic’s lifestyle degenerates from some fashion of involvement in athletics to a strictly construed interest in lunch under the auspices of a specific upscale marketing affiliation. One gets the sense that sex would require too much exertion. The Democratic Party’s campaign strategy is subsumed into the marketing strategy of the one allegedly affordable place where Bougie feels comfortable getting lunch.

Even more pathetically, much of this target demographic obsesses neurotically over its weight as a way of bodily demonstrating its own superiority to the fat poors. #TeshTips: If you eat at Panera regularly and never get a cinnamon crunch bagel because you’re worried about the calories, you’re a fucking loser. If a diabetic has the good sense to take a supersized dose of insulin in preparation for the Price Chopper strudel (grandma’s taste didn’t always revolve around gallon jars of mayonnaise and government cheese), what the hell is wrong with you? That’s the one good thing I’ll concede about Karen Handel: she looks like she wouldn’t let Dotson finish all of Johnson and Belmar’s leftover fries at Steak-n-Shake. That is, she has really healthy eating habits compared to the woke college-educated quasiliberal base the Dems were trying to catch with Jon Ossoff. So does Fat Sammy, and that boy can eat.

Am I done insinuating that in my own stress-eating I, too, serpas the emotional and psychological maturity of America’s affluent social anorexics? I dunno, but I do know that I spelled that entire sentence correctly. WHO DAT. I have to get to bed pretty soon so that I’ll be safe to drive my parents to Albany for a medical appointment tomorrow morning, so the answer to my original question is probably yesish on second thought. For real, Billy Nungesser has a healthier relationship to food than some of these lettuce eaters at Panera; one has to figure that he enjoys some jambalaya, and some more jambalaya, and that he gets his somewhere better than Safeway. I’m pretty sure that this substantial detour is an exclusive function of my insomnia, jet lag, and fucked up sleep schedule, so, as I said, it’s hard to compile an exhaustive list of what’s wrong with the Democrats. Life is like a box of chocolates that way: you never know what you’re gonna get, but you can be pretty sure that Sam Dotson won’t put it back in the box. Never mind. I’m pretty sure that last part was nonsense, but these essays are too much trouble to edit, and it’s wicked late, so bon appetit, bitches.

One of the things the Democrats are striving to reward and turn into the basis of an enduring political movement is terminal alienation from all means of production. I’m kind of fat, but I’m also kind of a fruitboy. The Dems’ goal is to stop the working class from climbing back out of the dumpster where they disposed of it and instead to lavish praise and constituent patronage upon useless eaters who neurotically deny themselves normal meals without observing Lent (long story, sort of, but it’s an old agricultural holiday) and drive all over hell to fuck around in gyms because the cosmos provided Mexicans to do all the heavy labor. It’s foolish to get into high dudgeon with bougies for being so wasteful per se, but why the fuck does a major party have to cater to this shit? We saw it a few years ago with the bizarre health insurance exchange ads featuring two Millennial women in Lycra tights sitting on exercise balls with hearty glasses of wine in hand. This was part of the same advertising campaign that gave us Pajama Boy. #GetTalking. Roissy got into a snit because the wino chicks were fat, although to be honest they had only slightly more cushion for the pushin’. The real scandal, of course, is the celebration of entire classes of needlessly wasteful useless eaters and the concomitant maintenance of a separate class of foreign peasants to do all the dirty work.

All of this arises from a profound failure of coherence. Couldn’t the elliptical spinners be hooked up to electrical generators? No. That would require too much thought about electrical shit when we’re here to pay the creative class, not some peon electrician who’s already overpaid for not having a respectable and worthwhile skillset.

This, I’m afraid, is the dark crux of the matter. Don’t assume that I’m actually right about this; I still have to get to bed, so as Lambert Strether says, talk amongst yourselves, and as I say, it’ll be Christmas in July if more than one of you shows up here. There could be something even worse that explains the prissiness and impracticality of the Democratic establishment, and I’ll need to think about something much more retarded to have a hope of falling asleep.

What I meant to say before Wow Much words None concise is that the Democratic establishment very much wants to live in a world that does not force it to reckon with the existence of anyone who’s uneducated, unskilled, or poor. From this perspective, Panera is a great place to pretend. One is free to ignore the help, and given how shitty some of these college boys and girls are to the help, that may not be an entirely bad thing. It’s like a badly decorated version of the college cafeteria. The poors are priced out of the joint, peons magically keep it clean (for which we must punish them for not staying in school, of course), and one’s peers of a certain suitable class consequently stop by in abundance for an adequately foo-foo lunch on the go. Clintonworld Democrats would like to think that they aren’t so heartless, but if they aren’t there yet, they’re well on their way. What did you think “nudge theory” is? There’s also, of course, curtain theory, which holds that any unaccounted-for Secret Service agents can probably be found hiding behind the curtains. I know I wouldn’t have made that up if it weren’t a quarter to two in the morning, but it’s still way not creepy compared to shit that neoliberals earnestly promote. Abuela, she don’t like the little people thinking for themselves, you see. If we did, we might not agree that the only reason we’re racist is that we didn’t stay in school and then make lots of money.

This faction wants to campaign in Panera because it is deeply uncomfortable with the possibility that the rest of the country (which it immiserated) is not much like Panera. This is a good indication of how fucking sheltered and useless and idiotic the Democratic Party has become. Going to a recycling warehouse in Pennsyltucky and gladhanding forklift operators is a breach of fun stuff. A McDonald’s that was just mopped from end to end is several orbits beyond their comfort zone. That Donald Trump seems to actually enjoy talking to deplorables about industrial policy, if perhaps more than he enjoys actually thinking through it, must mean that he’s a troglodyte.

The factories are coming back, folks. They aren’t gonna do that. It isn’t the smartest, but if Donald Trump, who construes fun stuff to include jawboning about industrial policy in ways that may actually yield decent jobs after this and that and whatever (elegant!), is the true sign of our times, at least it assuages my recurrent fear that Crystal Harris is the greatest prophet of our age.

Stick a fork in the Nork Dork

If anyone alive today has forfeited his right to life, it’s Kim Jong-Un. There are others who are no less intrinsically heinous but precious few who are as threatening both to their own countries and to international stability.

Chide me if you like for advocating the assassination of a foreign head of state, but realize that I do not determine Piggy Gangnam Style’s longevity. (Nor am I the first to call him by this utterly appropriate epithet; I learned it from High Arka.) I am as effective at dereifying Piggy Gangnam Style as I am at reifying Mariska Hargitay into my bed to give me a Slow Cosby. If competent international men and women of mystery decide that it’s time for the fat bastard to go, it’s most probably that time of the autocratic cycle again. Do I mean to imply that there will be blood? Of course, but that ain’t necessarily so: Juche Porky had his own non-Spanish-speaking Dominican brother taken out in a cleaner fashion, although not his sleepy uncle. Alternately, and perhaps more feasibly, someone in his own government might decide that it’s time to Stauffenberg Kim, or that he’s murderous enough that his executions might as well not all be undertaken in vain. Some underling or underlings of his might determine that they’re hardly any less likely to be executed for taking him out than for leaving him unharmed, and that they have a good chance of finally triggering national reform three quarters of a century late by excising him from the body politic.

What I am not advocating is anything remotely as brutal as what Kim had his criminal justice system do to Otto Warmbier. As a matter of principle I’m in favor of some incidental vengeance, but mainly I’m interested in seeing a third-generation psychopathic serial murderer, tyrant, and international nuclear menace neutralized for good. The local circumstances seem idiosyncratic enough, and crucially very different from those under any of the dictators in Arab Spring country, that the assassination of Kim would stand a good chance of catalyzing a German-style reunification rather than some kind of factional bloodbath. Korea is a rare case of extreme political tension arising in the practically total absence of religious and ethnic tensions, a cohesive, ethnically unified nation that got split arbitrarily by a truce line into one half that evolved over the next several decades into an exceptionally reputable member of the international community and another half that entrenched itself as a sclerotic, hypermilitarized international pariah state, overtly threatening nuclear war with its neighbors on a regular basis.

Capturing Kim Jong-Un and hauling him before an international tribunal would be a restrained act of retaliation against a man whose family kidnapped Japanese civilians for lifelong enslavement as cooks and tutors, but doing so would risk provoking the remainder of his government into doing something much crazier than usual in a gambit to win his release. Assassinating him might cause enough chaos in his government to enable an international military invasion followed by a latter-day Marshall Plan, all of it under the direction of the other, much more competent Korean government, the one whose parliament recently impeached the scandal-plagued president and whose courts subsequently had her peaceably arrested and placed into pre-trial detention.

When dealing with a regime like North Korea, there’s definitely something to be said for communicating to its henchmen in language that they understand, i.e., cross us and die. That, after all, is exactly the stance that Pyongyang takes towards Seoul, Tokyo, Washington, Beijing, its own citizens, disfavored foreign visitors including Otto Warmbier, and even immediate members of the ruling family. There’s no shame in telling a thug like Piggy Gangnam Style that since he lives by the sword, he should be prepared to die by the sword. The practical impediment is that he’s always getting up in everyone else’s face and rattling the biggest, sharpest sword. The rest of us are scared of him, and with good reason. He’s the third successive member of a lineage that starves, enslaves, or butchers everyone who gets in its way domestically and threatens to annihilate every foreign enemy within range of its missiles, a troubling stance for a government that construes as its enemies any party asking it to stop firing nuclear-capable missiles into foreign airspace or start abiding by minimal human rights standards at home.

Otto Warmbier made a foolish, tragic mistake in a moment of passion and paid for it with his life. As a practical matter, cautioning foreign tourists in North Korea not to disrespect the regime is like cautioning Canadian anglers and their relatives not to try to share the same section of stream with actively fishing grizzly bears. It’s only prudent. The disanalogy, of course, is that a grizzly doesn’t bear (heh) moral culpability for swiping a fool’s face off in a fit of territoriality. For that matter, grizzlies don’t usually go looking for trouble with humans. The ruling Kims, who are human, do. There are reasonable arguments, mainly ecological, to be made for coexisting with grizzly bears. There are no such arguments to be made for coexisting with Kim Jong-Un and his henchmen, except that they’re liable to kill us if we try to kill them. Kim Jong-Nam, the Tokyo Disneyland enthusiast with the deficient Spanish proficiency, wasn’t even assassinated for getting in his little brother’s way or threatening his hold on power, but for being an occasional family scandal who spent the bulk of his time traveling internationally on a deliberately low and apolitical profile. If a wildlife officer would blow a bear’s brains out because the animal is imminently or repeatedly threatening human life, why the hell shouldn’t a capable party euthanize an absolute dictator who won’t stop threatening everyone around him? The North Korean regime offers show trials, torture, artificial famine, nuclear proliferation, a standing threat to physically obliterate Seoul, and most recently the unexplained fatal medical neglect of an American prisoner it had held incommunicado for over a year on a fifteen-year hard labor sentence for what would have been a minor infraction in any country with the rule of law. We may owe ourselves or South Korea the restraint not to provoke another world war, but we sure as hell don’t owe Juche Porky and his goon squads a damned thing.

The unfortunate thing about Stauffenberg’s bomb was that fucking table leg. Sturdy German construction again.

This doesn’t have to be about punishment. Whether Kim is to be punished for his atrocities can be left to whatever awaits him on the other side of the veil to decide. This is exactly how I feel about Chapo, by the way. In retrospect, I wish one of the Marines who recaptured him had shot him like Khrushchev’s boys shot Beria. Chapo wouldn’t have whimpered as much in extremis, and the responsible Marine would have been an instant national hero in Mexico. Many of the guys who have been brought before war crimes tribunals have been pitiful has-beens (Eichmann in his Argentine shack, Saddam in his rat hole). Someone like Chapo, who’s still active and in touch with an army of hit men, is so conclusively guilty and dangerous that a trial would be little more than an opportunity for adversarial showboating and his continued survival itself is a threat to the lives and safety of countless thousands of people who have crossed his cartel.

The one difference in Kim’s case is that since he’s a state actor it might be possible to neutralize him by forcing him into an Idi Amin-style exile. That’s not a risk that I’m particularly inclined to take, and it’s certainly not a courtesy that I’d like to see extended to him. There’s a great deal of honor, although admittedly also some real risk, in putting a foot down and telling Pyongyang that the Warmbier incident is the last straw. Even if it’s a bit hypocritical for US officials to take such a hard line on a foreign government when their own government has an understanding of federalism licentious enough to allow states to deny consular access to condemned foreign convicts, they’d be entirely in the right morally to take that hard line and then either stand back or help out when domestic activists try to level consular access standards up for foreigners incarcerated in the United States.

This idea that, oh, we forgot to mention that the citizen of yours whom we disappeared into our gulag after terrorizing him in a show trial has been in a coma for over a year is really unconscionable. I suspect that the officials who released Warmbier for medical evacuation back home had an oh-shit moment during their negotiations over the prospect of repatriating his corpse. They probably had prison doctors telling them that Warmbier was dying, and as nihilistic and madcap as the Norks can be, they are not self-destructive enough to want to be the ones pronouncing an American political prisoner dead. Hell, the doctors were probably shitting bricks at the thought of taking the fall for allowing their prisoner to die instead of merely medically clearing him for torture, as instructed. They were in a position to save their own lives by getting him back home and not allowing him to die under their care in service to a hereditary megalomaniac who had his own uncle executed by anti-aircraft fire for falling asleep at a cabinet meeting. The news reports have had a lot to say about high-level diplomacy, some of it mediated by Swedish intermediaries, leading up to Warmbier’s release, but Pyongyang won’t give a credible explanation of what happened to him medically while he was incarcerated, and at least three other US citizens remain in North Korean custody, so there’s no reason not to think that prison doctors sounded the alarm about their maintaining a terminally brain-damaged man as a sort of in-house zombie Mao and successfully begged their superiors to get him the fuck out of the country before they stopped being able to keep him alive.

I know that we’re supposedly dealing with the most inscrutable Orientals here, but this is a regime with an uncanny knack for self-preservation in spite of its own extreme eccentricity and belligerence. It seems to understand that brinksmanship doesn’t work for regimes that go all the way over the brink. There’s some real value, then, in demonstrating to these thugs that they don’t get to start shit with everyone else and then back down at the eleventh hour, often in exchange for international financial sweeteners. There’s an extremely unfortunate realpolitik to the moral hazard of playing along with this family junta in the hope that it won’t lash out catastrophically, but the really honorable and effective thing for the international community to do would be to forcibly finish what North Korea has started. I feel rash just for suggesting all of this, but at the same time this is a pariah regime that thrives by repeatedly showing other, less vicious, more responsible governments that it lives in a parallel world without consequences of its own making and that there’s nothing that the rest of them can do about it.

Honestly, my best guess is that the Chinese will be the ones to cross the Rubicon, that is, the Yalu. Japan and the United States have sea buffers, South Korea is scared to death because its capital city is fully within the short-range artillery “kill box” bordering the DMZ, and Russia has only a few scattered homesteaders and the like who can be evacuated away from the border if shit starts hitting the fan. China is the country that has a militarily troublesome neighbor disgorging impoverished non-Chinese-speaking refugees into a number of its industrial border cities and generally stirring up shit while simultaneously angling for military aid and cooperation. For a number of years the Chinese Politburo has been getting awfully sick of all the Nork bullshit, and it’s historically educated enough to know that this wouldn’t be its first modern military invasion of Korea. Beijing’s frank amorality is precisely why it has devoted so much effort to establishing civilian business colonies throughout the Global South. Surely it looks at South Korea, not a fellow people’s republic, as a more harmonious and stable trading partner than the economically moribund, batshit crazily revanchist communist crime family in the North. As much as Red China doesn’t want to fully disavow Mao, it has little use for a egregiously dysfunctional neighbor whose government won’t stop reenacting the Cultural Revolution with extra doses of nepotism and family intrigue.

I don’t want to see another ill-advised international bloodbath (gee, like we have going RIGHT NOW IN YEMEN, for the most godawful geopolitical reasons), but I won’t be upset at all if someone gets in there and cuts the head off that snake. That’s a hermit kingdom the same way Ariel Castro was a hermit bus driver. Good riddance if it goes.

The West Valley Special, and I do mean “special”

Mormons have a reputation for wholesome, edifying living, and also for valuing education. Some of the least fucked up sexual fetishes in the Americas feature LDS MILF’s, and BYU is legit. So I don’t have a prayer of explaining the Salt Lake City light rail system. It isn’t that a retarded woman chatted me up on a platform; that happened, too, but as retards go, she was pretty well-adjusted (e.g., able to take nonverbal cues better than many normies and end our chat gracefully). Besides, Mormons are as good as anyone at taking care of their ‘tards. What blew me away was the succession of five other, much less functional, fellow passengers who blessed me with their company over the course of three hours earlier in the afternoon. As Fred Rogers always said, “Hello, neighbor!” Try to put yourself in at least two pairs of other men’s shoes and imagine a neighborhood trolley, or, worse, a neighborhood, populated by neighborly beauties like these:

1) A fat, slovenly woman of about forty with no volume control on her voice who asked a deadheading train operator, “How do yous steer these things?” The operator, who had just finished his shift and was catching his daily ride back to the yard, was patient enough to explain how the train runs on rails. Gee, you don’t fucking say. Hint 1: Rhymes with “might fail” conductor school. Hint 2: Rhymes with “Trax.”

2) A young man who sauntered onto the train wearing a hoodie and pajama bottoms—at a quarter to four on a Monday afternoon, with his slightly better dressed girlfriend in tow. Let’s call him the Marginally Attached Gentleman.

3) Another fat, slovenly lady who made a fist, punched a sheet of green paper, partially folded the sheet back up into its very neat two-inch squares, put the paper into her duffelbag, and then blew a series of extra-farty raspberries.

4) The latter thick bitch’s boyfriend, a fat, slovenly (duh) dude with a bushy beard and a receding-hairline instamullet, who was wearing an extremely shabby old red-and-black knockoff motorcycle jacket over a secondhand Batman T-shirt.

5) A she-tweaker from the intersectional tobacco/substance abuse/mental health community, dressed in Uggs and sagging sweatpants, her hair cohering into emergent whitey dreads, who convulsively took off her Uggs, carressed the long-dead butt of a Camel, moaned desperate nonsense at anyone who made fleeting eye contact (my mistake), and forlornly berated a bouquet of plastic flowers that she’d pulled from a Wendy’s takeout bag.

Salt Lake City proper, in spite of its being the site of the LDS Church’s headquarters and the focal point of its holy land, is Utah’s most notoriously gentile city. But this doesn’t explain any of my trolley losers except the She-Tweaker. She boarded downtown, Sally don’t you even think about it. The rest of them were from South of Eden. Number One, the fat lady with family in Lakewood (it figures), made her scene on the way to West Valley Central. The other three were aboard the inbound train from Draper by the time we left Murray, with the Marginally Attached Gentleman and his (marginally) better half on board by Sandy. There are Mormons who regard Salt Lake City beyond the Temple precincts as something akin to Sodom, but these fine Utards all have connections in more Napoleonic parts of the valley. Maybe it’s by strategic political design that the light rail stops short of American Fork. FrontRunner, the more expensive heavy rail line, runs all the way from Ogden to Provo on all days but the Sabbath, and at surprisingly good service levels for a new system in a middling metropolitan area, but its fare schedule may be steep enough to keep it from serving as a loser cruiser and bringing the undesirables into the proper breeder suburbs. If you’re still in your fucking PJ’s during evening rush hour, you’re probably interested in the cheap train.

But I’m spitballing, for the most part. Beyond the Salt Lake City limits, the entire state has a strongly Mormon ambient culture. That’s the default setting. Salt Lake City is an outpost of mainstream US urban culture, but its southern suburbs are not. They’re too locally rooted and idiosyncratic for that. Hell, even the nice parts of SLC are Sweet Jesus and the Golden Tablets Mormon by the gentile standards of, say, Denver.

If a Mormon sense of maybe don’t get totally fucked up on hard drugs and dress like an incorrigibly derelict ragamuffin in public doesn’t rub off on the poors, what the hell will? Utah has the lowest Gini Coefficient of any state in the Union, Salt Lake and Utah (?) Counties have one of the healthiest metropolitan job markets in the country, and still there’s all this crazy white trash on the train. I forgot to say so explicitly: this was a vibrant diveristy of white people and nothing but white people, none of them White. There was a variety of racial minorities on the light rail, too, but they weren’t nearly as nuts. It was exclusively the crackers that were cracking me up. The cracker traditionally cracks up intransitively as well—that’s how the name came about—but in our case the dysfunction may have nothing at all to do with Scotland. These losers could be 100% Dutch for all I know; there’s certainly a lot of high Anglo-Saxon blood floating around in the local gene pool.

They look unreachable. I don’t get the feeling that they’re reacting to or rebelling against Mormonism. They aren’t emos or goths. It isn’t a stance to get a rise out of the squares. They’re too disinhibited not to be earnest. Irony is beyond their capacity. And isn’t it ironic, like ra-a-a-a-a-ain/on your wedding day, that the fat lady who didn’t understand trains (which one steers) has so many relatives in the metro area that raises and harbors the most well-adjusted, physically fit, stylish, naturally confident fat women I’ve ever encountered. She declared her people in Woodinville and Auburn, too, not that anyone on the train asked. I must have been in the valley of the damned for my local connection to the Sound to be a postureless, graceless loudmouth with no sense of style and a slow toddler’s understanding of how trains work.

And she may have been the least deranged of the whole lot. The Marginally Attached Gentleman looked like bad news; a society whose men comport themselves in his fashion is surely on the skids. The She-Tweaker was terrible news. The two lovers were just fucking uncouth. Here I had five people on two trains, pushing rush hour, no less (meaning that the loser count should have been swamped by commuting normies), all of them living in strongly Napoleonic jurisdictions, only one of them with a visible drug problem, and yet none of them socialized by the Mormon hive mind. It was the kind of shit I’d expect of Reno.

On my way out of town, I took the light rail past the St. Vincent de Paul rescue mission. Holy shit, Brigham. Salt Lake City has the premier housing-first program in Anglo North America (not LDS feel-good bullshit, either; independent housing activists give it top marks), so I was shocked to see dozens of people sleeping on the sidewalk in front of St. Vinnie’s. I’d hardly have given it a moment’s notice in Sacramento or Reno, where that kind of wretchedness is ubiquitous, but everything else I’d seen around Salt Lake had been so clean and orderly, and everything I’d heard about the city’s homeless outreach services had indicated that they’re unwaveringly on point. The only hopeful possibility is that that crowd was entirely new kids on the block who had recently assembled in the social services district and were already on waiting lists for placements. The turnover could be a great deal higher than it looks, and frankly there’s nothing unethical about charity-shopping one’s way to the one city in the country that seems to take housing placement seriously. The worrisome possibility is that this isn’t the case.

By the way, nice job dumping all that dysfunction right on the way to the Greyhound and Amtrak stations when the eastbound Zephyr rolls through at three in the morning. Nice cab we got here; shame if you got mugged for not taking it.

Brahmin pornography

It’s another Pleasant Valley Sunday, another day for you and me in paradise. Oh, look twice at this sloppy outburst of literary feminist navelgazing commissioned across the street from the Port Authority. Or, better yet, don’t look even once; it’s pretty dreadful. TL;DR: A chronic international student asks why it’s okay for men to wander vagrantly around the great (read: not totally dangerous) cities of the world when women are sometimes treated like common whores for doing likewise, and why the feminine version of the French masculine word for parasitical walkabout traditionally connotes sitting on ass like a proper lady, discovering in the course of her research that certain literary women before her did, in fact, partake of the Hemingway-on-the-loose shit, and incidentally some stuff about the existence of local working classes hidden in plain sight in the Beautiful Cookbook tableau of city life.

Alternate working title: Everybody’s Gone Swerfin’, Swerfin’ USA. Working girls, construed to also include laundresses and produce hawkers, were supposedly accorded the liberty to go out on the streets with whatever they were selling, while women who were evidently useless, but not their male counterparts, were not given the same street passes. The NYT being the NYT, there’s no ready way to tease the sexy sexual politics apart from the unsexy class politics, but this is no social science, it’s just another sticky day of literary horseshit for you. Yes, that was bad, but have you read the link yet? I still haven’t read it through, mainly because it sucks. Think about better uses of $27.00 plus applicable tax for ownership of a copy of this:

Following Elkin as she explores the city, we inch into memoir territory. Although she is a native of New York, she makes her first acquaintance with aimless urban walking in France. To her, the streets of Paris “seemed saturated with presence, even if there was no one there but me. These were places where something could happen, or had happened, or both, a feeling I could never have had at home in New York, where life is inflected with the future tense.”

Jesus Christ, Caulfield. At least she isn’t spending so much on cabfare. It’s fascinating to learn that New York City, whose history I’ve studied, doesn’t have one. 27 divided by 140/200/350/600/20/whatever=do your own damn math and you, too, can figure out how close the money you didn’t spend on that stupid book could get you to being able to hire your next honey. I decided not to exclude blow-and-go from thick, and I do mean thick, bitches in Over-the-Rhine, as portrayed on Police Women of Cincinnati. Maybe I should have, and by “maybe,” I mean “absolutely.” You’re welcome. Cincinnati is a famous city, too. Jerry Springer was once its mayor. Some redneck dipshits hollered vaguely aggressive abuse at me from their truck while I was walking around Newport (maybe Covington?), every bit as much on my own as these lit chicks. When school was dismissed, I got to hear a dirty white boy telling his eight-year-oldish daughter, “Daddy thought he was gonna have to go to jail today, but I told the judge, fuck that shit!” This was his response to hearing from the crossing guard, a kindly redneck lady growing old before her time, that his daughter had done really well on her most recent test and that he’d be proud of her for that. Should I write a book about any of this? No, that’s the wrong question. I could bang out something presentable and more or less coherent in a matter of days, but if I did, would I have a snowball’s chance on Diamond Head of getting it plugged in the NYT Book Review?

The most insightful take I’ve ever heard on The Catcher in the Rye was from some high school students in the South Bronx, who were floored that Holden Caulfield was so discontented when he had the privilege of being able to fuck around the nice parts of Manhattan in a taxi all day. Like, doesn’t that fool have to work? If he’s so privileged, why is he so unhappy? Aside from the litany of ways that the privileged sabotage their own psychic wellbeing and that of their dependents (let’s turn Big Ears Teddy around; he shouldn’t have to see that, either), these kids were right. If an overrated novel was going to inspire Mark David Chapman to off John Lennon, that was at least a fitting enough one. Mr. Lennon, most recently of New York, is certainly no longer inflected with the future tense.

I’ve bought day passes and gone joyriding on RTC to see if anything interesting was happening at the Reno Airport, largely because I couldn’t figure out what the hell else I was in a position to do with my week. Where’s my New York Times book review? More to the point, what’s the buy-in price on that scene? I have a bachelor’s degree in the liberal arts from a regionally prestigious private college in the Northeast, and my network is fucking useless. What’s the source of the money that keeps these bitches wandering around Paris with no visible means of support? Don’t tell me I’m the only one who’s on an allowance. If I’m not mistaken, Reno is cheaper than Paris. I submit that these broads have access to capital. I personally know a woman who, for reasons not fully explained to me, has the means to frequently travel between the West Coast, expensive expat parts of Mexico, and Morocco, and, as far as I can tell, to do so without sleeping in doorways. She’s on the lit scene, too. I’m pretty sure JetBlue isn’t offering $84 specials to Casablanca.

According to the Emily Bailout story, the buy-in for a graduate sinecure at Alma Mater, Tried and True was Noble $50,000, payable upfront. My understanding is that Emily Bailout doesn’t even have a talent for writing overwrought Paris, Je T’aime bullshit. Whom am I failing to pay off for a damn job?

The most disgusting thing about this is the expectation that everyone agree with the proposition that the Times is a left-wing paper. It’s actually a mishmash of cultural limousine liberalism and reaction in crypsis that makes John Lindsay at his worst look like Richard Nixon at his best. There are reasons why Jacobin doesn’t have its own office tower on Eighth Avenue. Or, for that matter, its own postmodernist recreation of a Soviet secret police headquarters within walking distance of the White House. Democracy Dies in Darkness, after all, and the NYT and the WaPo, full as they are with spooks, know a thing or two about the dark side.

A nation of bedwetters

The Trump golden showers story got sprayed all over my transom as my reward for sporadically checking in on the news, so I might as well put in a quick word about it.

First, we have public business to do (uh, maybe yuck, given the circumstances), and the internet blew up with piss jokes. Is Bernie Sanders the only federal official trying to attend to this business while the rest of the Democratic Party titters about Russian escorts peeing on a hotel bed? “The Federal Government: I lost the presidential primary, but I’m not going to let you lose Social Security and Medicare” vs. “The Federal Government: Soon to be led by the oaf who went to Moscow to watch FSB assets do pee-pee voodoo on his predecessor’s mattress.” We have ongoing maturity and focus from the old socialist who got ratfucked out of the presidency by misandrist, racebaiting bourgeois supremacists and is now out barnstorming to save the safety net while the yuppie swarm that ratfucked him goes on the internet to traffic jokes about how Trump is a Goldwater Republican.

This is like watching FDR get kicked back to Albany while the US government falls into the hands of William Randolph Hearst, Warren Harding, the Duke of Windsor, and a bunch of thoroughly sauced flappers. It’s just fucking surreal. Do we have even two dozen members of Congress who are trying to hold the line against this Imperial Roman decadence? There’s no indication of that in all the chatter about the president-elect having had FSB call girls do a Pussy Riot-style piss job on a bed that the incumbent president and first lady had used on a state visit. Instead we’re hearing about Pissing Monkey Syndrome by Foreign Proxy.

There’s been a lot of chatter from limousine liberals (NB: not the Berned-over left) about how Trump’s behavior in Russia was blackmail material, treasonous subversion on behalf of a hostile power, etc. Having hookers pee on a hotel bed just to spite one’s political enemy is off-brand even for Trump, but not as much as it would be for most politicians. Trump is notoriously petty, rude, and grandiose, so it doesn’t sound all too far out of character, even if it’s crazier and seedier than his usual lechery. He had already been smeared endlessly as a horrible oaf with horrible sexual morals before this Bedtime with R. Kelly story came out, so it didn’t come as an exceptional scandal. Hearing about watersports in the political news is shocking; hearing about Trump being sexually dissolute is not.

Some accounts of this incident intone that Trump and his rent girls “defiled” the president’s marriage bed. No, they didn’t. They vandalized a piece of hotel furniture. The Obamas expected nothing more than a very comfortable, very clean bed. As VIP guests at a luxury hotel, they surely got exactly that. They didn’t demand a fucking bedigree. They didn’t need to know who had done what in the sheets because they were given fresh ones. I’ve slept in nastier beds than any the Trumps, the Obamas, or anyone else in their class has used in decades, if ever. Some of the motels where I stay would horrify the elites. A few of them disgusted me. Presidents and puffed-up real estate magnates with network television gigs don’t sleep in joints that chintzy.

There’s no fucking way to know that the bed that Trump and his piss bitches “defiled” was the same one that the Obamas had used on a prior visit to Russia. This assumes that Trump actually did anything of the sort, which is dubious, but let’s assume that the FSB videotaped the deed and showed it to a snickering Putin. Did they also videotape the same bed without interruption from the time the Obamas left the room until the time Trump and his hoes arrived? Who the fuck would watch that? A tweaker wouldn’t be able to keep up interest in that shit if it were put on fast-forward. The most they have on him cold is that he behaved dissolutely in a room where a sitting US president had previously stayed.

It’s doubtful that Russian intelligence would have leaked information on an incident of this sort when its obvious institutional interest is to keep it quiet and use it for ongoing blackmail against a sitting president. Russian intelligence is disciplined as all hell, so it would have to take either a powerfully disillusioned defector/mole/double agent or a very well-paid crook to let the cat out of the bag. To one-up themselves now, the Russki spooks would have to release video of Trump doing something truly extreme to shock anyone with his sexual behavior: blatant pedophilia, necrophilia, bestiality, extreme Jian Ghomeshi game, murdering a sex partner, that kind of thing. Or maybe catch him snuggling with a babushka. THAT would be off-brand. I can’t believe that this, of all times, might be the one time that the Russian security services got sloppy with their classification protocols.

Were the whores who wetted the bed, if they actually did it, state-patriotic intelligence assets of Mother Russia and Father Vladimir, the ruler of the world? Maybe. Or they may have been independent working girls who were taped by third parties from the spook shop. Actually, he’s more like Vladikrym Vladikavkazovich once we’ve accounted for his limited interest in regional revanchism in the historically Russian and quasi-Russian periphery. This doesn’t really matter, though. What the mainstream media keep missing is that even if Trump owes the Kremlin favors, the Clintons owe the Saudi regime and others, some of them also quite odious, favors for advance payments to the Clinton Foundation. If we’re worried about compromising relationships with hostile powers, we should be worried about Saudi Arabia, not Russia. The Saudi government sponsored and coordinated 9/11; the Russian government warned the FBI about Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s summit with the Caucasian beards, and the FBI dindu nuffin. Call me crazy, but don’t we want to seek better relations with the government that tried to prevent several deaths and hundreds of maimings on US soil before we try to kiss up to the one whose high-level agents orchestrated the deadliest peacetime attack in US history? God. How the hell was Tsarnaev the one guy they couldn’t get under an active wiretap in a perpetual surveillance state after one of the soberest security services on earth alerted them to his specific contacts with known jihadi radicals?

Nah, babe, this beam’s still hard as steel.

I always feel better about myself when I hear about politicians doing things like this, or that our government and its favored press outlets are run by the kinds of people who think pre-presidential watersports germane to the public discourse and/or have minds capable of thinking up such a ridiculous story and writing it. I don’t have whores piss on my enemies’ beds in front of me. That ain’t my scene. It probably should be more disturbing than it is to consider that the entire establishment may be projecting its own fetishes onto Trump (kind of like I’m less bothered than Larry Craig traditionally was by other men’s manful buttsex), but mainly it makes me feel healthy and well-adjusted by comparison.

What’s that? There’s probably something to this story but definitely nothing to Pizzagate? Sure. James Alefantis isn’t quite an anagram for j’aime les enfants, but Podesta is definitely an anagram for tsaPedo. Also, that’s some creepy, creepy shit. It already involves an ammosexual citizen-investigator patsy figure and a Zapruder scion who just happens to live in the neighborhood.

Go figure that Backpage’s escort sections were taken offline this very week. We wouldn’t want anyone thinking about something wholesome, like Sound and Pound with a thicky trick. Remember, if you go fuck a fat whore in Tacoma, Donald Trump and the liberal establishment will agree that you’re gross, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

I have no idea where the labor theory of value fits into any of this

As I begin this screed, I’m freshly failed out of a three-day training and evaluation course on PCI-compliant corporate data entry. In layman’s terms, this means playing office until someone in management decides that you’re too much of a walking SNAFU to play office on the company dime anymore. Since I was put through this purgatorial mind-wringer by a reputable company, I’ll be getting paid for my trouble, and as always, I welcome the money and the cash. How much I’ve earned per hour I should be able to calculate from my pay stub in a week and a half. No one’s told me yet, and one of my buddies from the class, who failed out several hours before I did, told me that payroll threw shade on him when he walked over on one of his breaks to ask when the next payday was.

The wage I was offered for production work was $10.60 per hour, including a $.50 swing shift differential. This differential is less than *CHAKA CAN CHAKA CAN*, and the total hourly wage is a bit less than a dollar an hour over the minimum wage. My recruiters didn’t tell me whether these bonuses apply to training as well as production, and I didn’t think to ask. My trainers probably didn’t know what the hell their bosses were paying me, so I didn’t feel like bothering them with more questions that they couldn’t answer.

From what I could tell, management was desperate to fill these data entry positions. My buddy above was shooed over to data entry when he asked for a call center position, and he has recent call center experience from an AT&T contractor boiler room in Eugene. The training material we completed centered around intricate data entry assignments using a complicated, unintuitive database system with a tendency to disappear completed orders beyond our reach. On the floor, we were told, the company could be fined ten grand every time one of us failed to black out a bank card number with special eight-dollar Japanese blackout markers that have to be checked out from keyholders at the start of shift and checked back in at the end.

The positions we were training for are seasonal and benefit-ineligible, and the company is trying to staff up for a rush of holiday orders, which regularly more than quadruples the size of its workforce. How the work I’ve mercifully been denied the opportunity to do is worth more or less a dollar over minimum wage is, as they say, above my pay grade. I heard that they’re trying to put recruits with no Excel experience at all into the follow-up Excel training class that I would have taken had I passed the initial training. That class involves assembling order sheets with several hundred items apiece. This is work that a diligent person can fuck up. Depending on how parsimonious Freddy is, it may or may not pay better than being a pump jockey at Fred Meyer. There are definitely better paid cashier positions around here. I’ll have to keep an eye on the recycling bins, too; I don’t want to write them off as always paying less than the brain-scrambling shit that I’ve been doing for the last three days.

I had faint regrets about signing up for that shit within an hour or two on day one, but I didn’t want to bitch about it to anyone outside the class. This was partly in the interest of avoiding situations in which *VERY ROBERT WAPLE HATE-FUCKING THE HELP VOICE* yeah, about that FA job, enjoy your no-job no-money life. That was a minor consideration, though; I wasn’t working for fuck-asses. I was really just trying to keep up the motivation not to flame out right away. On the second and third days, I had more and more fears that I’d end up swamped to hell by my workload on the floor and then fired for producing too little and tying up the floor managers too much. It was seriously fucking difficult work that we were assigned in training. We got half an hour or an hour of company origin myth videography on the first day, featuring bullshit about some dude flying a lapful of fresh fruit to New York on a Ford Trimotor and hitting the pavement to pitch his shiznit to the foo-foo restaurants of the Great Depression. After that, we, too, hit the pavement. I did so mainly with my head.

Bank tellers earn similarly shitty pay for work that’s roughly as sensitive, and somehow they’re always dolled up. I’ve been told that they obviously ruin their own finances with this vanity. I’ve also been told that they do it to impress financially eligible customers whom they hope to marry, since they have access to all that customer financial data. Who the hell was I gonna marry from that class? There’s no way some dead-sexy heiress was about to show up looking for cute, downwardly mobile fat guys. I’ve had better prospects in the berry fields.

By the way, picking blueberries piece-rate is, dollar for dollar, much easier than this training class that I just failed. Yes, I’m fully accounting for both pay scales. The popular mythology about office jobs is that they’re safe harbors for jerkoffs. We have unctuous TV shows and movies about that. I guess I was being trained for one of the productive positions financially enabling putz retention at higher levels of the economy.

It’s fixing to really suck for those who made the cut in training. These sound like nothing better than shitty, underpaid jobs. Shit’s flying every which way on the floor, and it will be for the rest of the season. No level of professionalism and decency in management can compensate for the workloads that are apparently being dumped on my quasi-colleagues. I’m not even sure that I want to go back to the employment office and ask for an internal transfer for the season. All I know is that I want my bosses to immediately recruit Robert Waple for data entry and, when he fails out of training with a violent gracelessness that I came nowhere close to achieving, congratulate him for no longer having that fuck-ass job. My bosses don’t need a thing like that, but Waple could fucking use it.

Banish the Democratic Party to the wilderness. Let it weep and wail and gnash its teeth. Let it subsist on tree bark and insects for forty fortnights.

Yes, that’s some crude language. I do declare it is, as one does in Savannah, usually in the course of declaring one’s endorsement of Kwesi Millington for Sheriff.

Oh. That again. I hope it won’t come as too much of a shock, though, that Northside Juice and the Shady Blues memes are less depressing than the current state of Democratic Party politics. Also, Trudeau isn’t quite what some of yinz thought he was. Canada has finally been exposed for harboring a serially murderous nurse, too, a day I was awaiting in sick expectation for some time on the assumptions that 1) the home and native* land of Sick Willie, Sweet Melissa of the Maritimes, Vince “No, I’ll eat YOUR heart out” Li, and Colonel Underpants probably contained at least one, and 2) the exposure of this nurse would finally enable the intersection of killer Canuck and sexy male nurse Lynn Majors memes. I don’t always abandon all decorum and peddle these memes, but when I do, I prefer Molson. Speaking of deadly Hoosiers who hooked their fellows up with all the wrong needles: Mike Pence. It can’t be that purdy down there in Scottsburg if you got HIV because the governor just had to make a point about moral hazard. I encourage recourse to low-functioning psychopaths instead for a reason.

*Okay, in some cases not native. Russell Williams, Jian Ghomeshi, and Mark Saunders share their native land with Harold Shipman. Yes, the Chief deserves his place in this list, because #Topoli.

If I may be so hipster, I was looking into the process of immigrating to Canada years ago, in between America’s adverse elections, back when it wasn’t even popular. You, too, will return to the refuge of these tasteless memes if you sincerely and earnestly try to grok the HRSDC website and what it means for your long-term admissibility to Canada. Muh Labour Market Opinion. One of the Canuck immigration sites (I honestly don’t care enough to look up which one) was crashed the other night by Americans who were hysterical with acute butthurt over the election of a dipshit to the presidency. Counterpoint: the guy isn’t Hitler; he’s Harper with an attitude. Second counterpoint: my comment above on the Mentionable Canadian Justin. Baby baby baby no, you probably will not be expatriating to Chad Kroeger’s homeland. If today was your last day, you’d spend it right here, bitching about that billionaire loudmouth and his white trash voters. #CanadianContent. BTW, why doesn’t anyone bitch about BTO? God do they suck ass.

The alt-right has gotten really snarky about how these armchair emigrants never propose fleeing to Mexico. Roissy is insinuating that their threats are probative of shitlibs’ forbidden desire to commune in all fullness with Whitey. I can’t speak on behalf of virtue-signaling SWPL who never manage to walk their own talk about race. I can say that I’ve made a cursory look into the possibility of living part-time in Tijuana, mainly as a way of reducing my cost of living. Everything I’ve heard about legal long-term immigration to Mexico indicates that it’s more trouble than it’s worth for anyone who doesn’t have an offer of employment in a profession or a highly skilled trade or else an admission offer to a university. Also, the cops’-heads-in-a-bag problem tends to deter immigration to Mexico from countries that aren’t even more violent at the moment. Canada has never had cartel violence verging on a civil war. Nor has it had cops as crooked and brutal as Mexico’s worst. There is no Canadian Chapo. A Mexican Colonel Underpants, on the other hand, would not have difficulty getting job offers from the cartels, as long as he does his modeling work strictly after hours.

A wall: that which traditionally confines Joaquin Guzman. #TheMoreYouKnow.

*****

This liberal panic over the state of the Union came about because the Democratic Party fucked up. It’s that simple. The Democratic Party fucked up colossally. It has run weak candidates who performed much worse than Hillary Clinton, but these candidates were honorable. McGovern was thrashed by Nixon, and Mondale by Reagan. What happened in these cases was that the Democratic Party ran uninspiring challengers against very popular and strong Republican incumbents. The Democrats ran failed strategies in challenging zeitgeists for two or three cycles. They came away from these drubbings looking like self-destructive idealists, out-of-touch fools, or quixotic losers, but they came away with their honor and legitimacy intact.

This year, the Democratic Party came away from a narrower loss in the Electoral College and a preliminary lead in the nationwide popular vote (likely to increase in coming weeks when California tabulates and certifies its late returns) under a taint of extreme dishonor and illegitimacy. As an institution, it’s disgraced. It spent the entire 2016 election season doing its level best to rival the Republican Party’s disgraces in Watergate and the Florida 2000 monkey business, and it succeeded. In a single candidate it combined the burgeoning back-of-the-house executive criminality of Richard Nixon with the vile electioneering sleaze of Lee Atwater and the vote-rigging crookedness of the George W. Bush machine. Late in the game, it managed to incorporate the unimaginably skin-crawling creepiness of the leaked Podesta e-mails, which contain bizarre language that appears to be a crude code facilitating the pimping of prepubescent children. During Bill Clinton’s administration, the ultimate moral fury involved Bill’s briefly keeping a sort of royal mistress in the White House. Election Day 2016, when his First Lady was supposed to finally trade places with him, opened a week or so into a fresh scandal, beyond the capacity of the mainstream media to suppress, suggesting that these already notorious crooks were at the very least closely advised by active child rapists. Elements dwelling more deeply in the fever swamp confidently accused both Bill and Hillary of personally committing child sex abuse at elite occult parties. By this time, Bill had spent months under scrutiny in alternative outlets for joining billionaire registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein on his “Lolita Express” for flights to Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean, without his Secret Service detail.

The wife of a man who had been accused on the record of forcible rape throughout his own presidency tried to smear her opponent for bragging to a shock jock (correction: Bush family television producer; he was even worse with Howard Stern) about how he was rich and famous enough to play stinky finger on first acquaintance with strange women. Donald Trump is still facing an unresolved civil suit for raping a Jane Doe when she was thirteen–not an auspicious look for a president-elect–but the credibility of that accusation has nothing on the consistent public accusation that Juanita Broaddrick has made against Bill Clinton for forcible rape. Otherwise, the Clinton machine had nothing on Trump’s sex life except claims that he, a known serial adulterer and admitted lech, is sexually promiscuous with grown women. It was easy to see through this hysteria: the complicit wife of a man who had spent most of his public life accused of rape was accusing a public braggart famous for staging beauty pageants of being a manwhore. She tried with all her might to keep up a moral panic over this playboy bragging about how he’d get frisky with his tacitly whorish groupies. It didn’t work. For all anyone knows, Trump could have been making shit up to impress Billy Bush. In any event, what he described didn’t even rise to the level of sexual harassment. “They let you grab them by the pussy” indicates that these dalliances were with willing starfuckers. Not Christian marriage, certainly, and maybe not a well-examined life, but it ain’t rape. It doesn’t even sound like the soap opera that the VA commissioned to train its employees in sexual harassment. I mean, uh. I watched that when I was ten years old, and I still remember how sleazy and poorly produced it was. And again, we don’t know how much of Trump’s purported sex life is his actual sex life. He may well get more of a rise (heh) out of bragging about his conquests than from actually having sex.

We’re getting lectured by the sex scolds again. When Congressional Republicans did that to Bill Clinton in the nineties, they made colossal asses of themselves. They got Kenneth Starr, an incel-looking dork, to prosecute the lovably dreamy class playboy for getting laid too much and making him jealous. As the months of the Blue Dress turned to years, we learned that the Big Dog’s grandstanding, moralistic accusers included not only hypocritical adulterers but also an airport downlow cruiser and a molester high school wrestling coach. As Larry Craig so beautifully put it, with a barrenly pregnant pause exactly where it belonged, “I’d like to thank you all for coming out today.” More recently, we got to watch J. Denny Dundiddly bump his wheelchair into a curb on his way into federal prison for crimes other than child molestation but really for child molestation.

It’s going even worse for our new Democratic sex scolds. It appears, in real time, that the Democratic elite is being blackmailed by God knows who for crimes much worse than any Dennis Hastert ever committed. Americans got sick of being lectured by frigid schoolmarms with skeletons in their closets. With Donald Trump, there’s a sense of relief that finally we don’t have to live in Winesburg, Ohio anymore. It may be subconscious for many people, but it’s there. It may still be too much of a mindfuck for the average American to consciously recognize that the Republican Party under Trump is becoming the liberal party on sex, but there’s an increasingly widespread gut feeling that the sermons from repressed freaks who keep sordid company ought to stop and that Trump is clean of all that shit.

The 2016 general election didn’t have to be a referendum on Brock Turner. If Bernie Sanders had won the primary, it wouldn’t have been. Sanders, like Trump, spent his campaign focusing on public business, especially socioeconomic reform. He didn’t frantically try to lure voters into the psychosexual pit. Clinton and her surrogates did. They smeared me and my kind (including a great many women) as sexist BernieBros. We were not #WithHer because we were sexists who didn’t want to elect the first woman president. We were also racists, somehow. The Clinton machine infuriated black and Latino Sanders voters by alternately pretending that they didn’t exist and insinuating that they were Uncle Toms. We were the Whitopia constituency, while she was the kindly chef tending the melting pot. Alt-right elements including Mike Cernovich piled on, effectively in her defense, by accusing Bernie of being uncomfortable around black people after he got flummoxed by a couple of black activists who stormed his stage, grabbed his microphone, and hollered their word right in front of him very early in his campaign during a visit to Seattle. This looked bad for Sanders at the time, but in retrospect it was a momentary annoyance, a politician who had spent decades doing his groundwork at New England town meetings stumbling into a graceless provocation by asshole professional activists in Greater Portlandia and choosing not to publicly reciprocate their ill will.

Sanders settled and built his career in Vermont, which is Wow Much Whitey. The Clintons retired to Chappaqua, which is approximately a quarter the Community stronghold that Burlington is. Either of these characters might have lost to Woke Ron Johnson if the election were a reward for residency in an integrated municipality. (I keep fantasizing about Ron Johnson running for the Missouri governorship as a Republican against Democrat Sam Dotson because I keep forgetting how hideously reactionary a Missouri politician has to be to be shunned by the local Democratic Party. Johnson is noticeably to the left of Todd Akin, so he’s golden. This is a state where hippie-punching Claire McCaskill isn’t enough to get shooed off to the GOP by the kingmakers.) Unluckily for Clinton, this election was not a referendum on woke racial theory. That’s what she wanted it to be, but the pack didn’t eat that helping of dog food. From the center and the right, the objection was that she was cynically dredging up a stupid wedge issue again. From the real left (as opposed to the Officially Woke Ferguson Unified Command pseudo-left), the objection was that it was time for her to answer and atone for her prior dogwhistling about “superpredators.”

As with their feminist posturing, the Clintonistas were staking a claim to some of their most indefensible territory. They hoped against hope that their identity politics would work. They deserved to fail in this scam, and in the end they failed. Trump appealed to Americans as Americans, more or less. His beardbaiting over an exaggerated threat of Islamic radicalism was an unfortunate exception from this unifying rhetoric. Clinton appealed to what she hoped would be a small majority of the fractious tribes she had set against one another. She wanted women, racial and religious minorities, LGBT, SWPL, and woke oligarchs to beat back the intransigent white trash on her behalf. That this didn’t work is a testament to the good moral sense of the American electorate. A community should be wary of efforts to goad it into rewarding a leader who stirs up internal bigotries. In Clinton’s case, this campaign was related to a parallel campaign to exploit the Latin American peasantry as a scab labor reserve. Voters were wise to distrust the white girl when she expressed solidarity with Latino foreigners she would not want living in her neighborhood as her equals. Clinton deserved to be punished for this divisive sleaze.

Trump’s victory has revived calls to abolish the Electoral College. The argument here is that a handful of unrepresentative wingnuts voting in arbitrarily influential states with small populations shouldn’t be able to obstruct the consensus of a more representative majority living in more populous states that are arbitrarily weak and noncompetitive in national elections. Notwithstanding that the Electoral College is a weird institution offered to extremist states as a condition of their admission to the Union generations ago, these calls from the left to abolish it are being made this year only because the nominal leftist party got hijacked by a dogshit candidate with a pathological will to power who alienated an exceptionally broad swathe of the electorate, especially in the minor states that are served best by the Electoral College. As a check against the majoritarian oppression of dissenting regions, then, the Electoral College worked exactly as it was designed this year. Maybe it’s a shitty check, but to paraphrase Winston Churchill, the alternatives are even shittier.

In a race as close as this year’s, neither major party candidate will emerge with a strong mandate. Muammar Qaddafi made roughly the same critique of 50%+1 rule in the Little Green Book, along with the observations that black Africans are lazy due to the heat and that the female camel, not the male, gets pregnant. While we’re on the subject, I might as well issue an occasional reminder that Hillary Clinton found it amusing that Qaddafi was sodomized in extremis by his summary executioners. It shouldn’t be too surprising, then, that she and her partisans have little compunction about using the federal government as a vehicle to shit on whole regions under its jurisdiction for its amusement and aggrandizement, just as the Electoral College is meant to discourage. If the Electoral College protects rural and inland interests at the expense of urban and coastal ones, it’s worth remembering that federalism is a hot mess harboring much worse than that.

None of this would have been at issue if Bernie Sanders had won the Democratic nomination. Clinton needed to cobble together a ramshackle collection of swing states with barely enough of her mutually distrustful minority constituencies to win the electoral vote. Campaigning in Appalachian states after preening about how coal has to go was a fool’s errand. Don’tcha fuckin’ know, she lost Pennsylvania and Ohio after doing that. Trump showed up and announced that he’d bring back the coal. How? That didn’t matter. Voters were thrilled that he seemed to give a damn. Maybe he was a Don Quixote leading a cargo cult, but at least his heart was in the right place. They had no such feeling about Clinton.

Sanders did well in Appalachia. He crushed the hell out of Clinton there. Sanders received more support than either Clinton or Trump in the Kansas caucuses. The only candidate who won more Kansas caucus votes than Sanders was Ted Cruz. Seriously, Sanders might have won Kansas in the general election. It would have been a huge upset, but for a Democrat, a Borscht Belt populist with a strong track record on industrial policy would have a damn good change of winning over the grange crowd if his opponent were a showboating billionaire who puts his name in all caps on his private 757 and is famous for insulting his subordinates on television. Sanders might have finally reinvigorated grange politics in the Lower Midwest. Just as he appealed to voters in failing coal and steel towns in Appalachia, he might well have gotten a groundswell of support in Kansas farm country. Hillary Clinton doesn’t have a clue about how to relate to farmers or grain elevator operators or the children of slaughterhouse workers. All she knows how to do is say, “Thomas Frank told me to ask you all a question: What the hell is the matter with you?”

Sanders was the first Democratic presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter, or maybe Bill Clinton, to have a good chance of convincing voters in traditionally Republican parts of Appalachia and the rural Midwest that he isn’t just an insufferable limousine liberal snob. With Clinton, there was a widespread sense that even if he was a bastard, he was a charming bastard. Trump has a similar persona that inspires similar feelings. With Sanders, who doesn’t try to be everyone’s buddy (and certainly isn’t a painful try-hard like Hillary), there’s more a sense that he’s honest, if brusque, sincere, and sober. Voters were ready for that this year. They weren’t amused by the mudslinging on both sides in the general election and the crude abject pandering with which Clinton desperately tried to rock the youth vote. Turnout is down.

Going on my gut sense of the states (and I really don’t give a shit if the quants and wannabes think I’m pulling it out of my ass; they fucked up this year), I’d say that Sanders would have won West Virginia and Montana hands down, had a strong chance in Florida, Kentucky, and North Carolina,  and had a tenuous but strong chance for a Democrat of winning Tennessee and one or both Dakotas. Some of these states, of course, were written off as inevitable Republican wins this year. This is the case because the Democrats have gotten into the self-destructive habit of fielding candidates who don’t have a clue about how to relate to workaday people in flyover country. They’re accustomed to failing among normal people who keep their country running.

Bernie Sanders isn’t a unicorn. He would have lost the most polarized parts of the Deep South, the Ozarks, and the Mountain West. But it wouldn’t have mattered. In addition to the tossup and traditionally Republican states that I just listed, he would have swept the Upper Midwest. It’s conceivable enough that Mike Pence might have used his home-state advantage to keep Indiana Republican, but not that Trump would have beaten Sanders in every Midwestern state but Minnesota (which Clinton narrowly won) and Illinois. More likely, Sanders would have achieved a sweep extending from Pennsylvania into parts of the High Plains and the Rockies.

There’s less need to nitpick and agonize over the horse race math when the head of the ticket isn’t a polarizing crook who openly looks down on the poor and struggling. Clinton had absolutely no regional strengths over Sanders in the general election. Acelaland is too emotionally invested in the Democratic Party to flip for a Republican out of self-interest to protect itself against a socialist, and even if the BoBos had bolted towards, say, a socially moderate Republican like John Kasich (who carried Manhattan in the primary!), their defection would have been tempered by a surge in turnout for Bernie from the lesser orders of mankind. The Republican field this year didn’t include anyone with a chance of winning back the West Coast. Hillary maintained the Democratic stronghold in the urban non-Napoleonic Mountain West; Bernie would have done the same or better. He would have had no difficulty winning New Hampshire and the Second Congressional District in Maine, but these would have been moot points anyway on account of his lock on the rest of the Northeast and the Midwest. The only state where I can imagine him being a double-edged sword for the Democratic Party is Florida, whose politics are just fucking bizarre. The Brooklyn Jewish thing probably would have helped him modestly with the New York Jews around Miami and Palm Beach, while it might have hurt him among conservatives and reactionaries in the rest of the state. That said, Hillary Clinton was repulsive to the same center-right and right-wing constituencies. Another way to look at it is that if Bernie had lost Florida, as Hillary did, he would have done so without abjectly pandering to either the God-blesses-those-who-bless-Israel crowd or the God-damn-the-Castros crowd.

The country would finally have had a unifying candidate capable of winning the presidency without trying to navigate the treacherously idiosyncratic local politics of our most culturally pathological states. It’s only marginal candidates who feel forced to pander to aging Cubans in Miami and offer them assistance in their weirdly touchy beef with the Castro regime in a degrading effort to dredge up their votes. It’s the same marginal candidates who feel compelled to run interference on behalf of Israel in a gabmit for the Jewish vote on the Atlantic Coast, or for noisy godbothering 144,000 Club evangelicals in the rural South and Midwest. A party that stops running shitty candidates can stop deploying such shitty, degrading strategies.

Hillary could have limited the damage by offering Bernie a formal position of real influence in her campaign. She might have done better than she did had she promised him a position as, say, Labor or HUD Secretary in her administration. She definitely would have done better had she taken him on as her running mate. Instead she took on that oily, swish neoliberal dipshit Tim Kaine, whose fluency in Spanish did not compensate for Bernie’s not being a crooked unctuousness with some of the weirdest facial mannerisms in politics today. The alt-right pronounced Kaine a sexual deviant, usually a pedophile. Clinton did not need that persona on her campaign. She did not need his crappy, untrustworthy track record on her campaign, either. She balanced her own Northeastern neoliberalism with more Northeastern neoliberalism. She took on a weird-acting dude who represents the geographically and culturally Northeastern parts of Virginia at a time when she did not need help winning NoVa.

This was ridiculously arrogant. Sanders stuck with her throughout it, though. She ratfucked him and his voters. He conceded, moved to nominate her by acclamation at the Convention, and went to work on the Team of Rivals shit while his supporters called him a sellout. He campaigned for her. Her machine kept ratfucking his constituency. More and more evidence of the ratfuck was released by Wikileaks. The Clinton machine demanded the general election support of constituencies that it had spent the entire campaign smearing as bigots and losers. Sanders pleaded with these shit-upon, disgruntled supporters of his movement to be gracious with the Clinton machine, as a personal courtesy, if nothing else. He was more gracious in defeat than they were. He was the sitting United States Senator, though; he had voters who were homeless, foreclosed upon, chronically unemployed, drowning in student debt. He was in a position where he could afford to be gracious. His personal livelihood didn’t depend on his fighting back as hard as he could. For some of us, this meekness feels awfully like slavery.

Now that Trump has won, Sanders has released a statement offering to make common cause with the president-elect on reform efforts. I’m pleasantly surprised, but not too surprised. It should come as no surprise that a politician who did everything he could to work with a rival who had just ratfucked him out of a very likely election to the presidency would offer to work with a president-elect who has not ratfucked him and whose platform has much in common with his own.

The Democratic Party will become nothing but an atrophying regional curiosity if it keeps fielding these shitheads and torpedoing its most electable candidates with dirty tricks. Threatening Literal Hitler as the alternative to Teapot Dome Marie Antoinette won’t fix a party that keeps being so recalcitrantly self-dealing. Too many of us are wise to that shit by now, and not enough of us have the stable white-collar employment that might facilitate our voting for dyscivic new money crooks. Some of us, we ain’t hardly touched dem shine ricebowl.

A literal exile to the literal wilderness, Jesus-and-Satan-style, isn’t realistically in the cards for the assholes who ratfucked the Democratic Party into a coma this year. These aren’t ones to honorably abase themselves when they’ve done wrong. These aren’t ones to personally take losses that they can socialize onto the lower orders, the ones whose loyalty they demand in exchange for absolutely nothing. It’s only a country of three hundred-some million that has just been exposed to the dangers of bad policy because these asswads failed to propel a notorious crook and hated yuppie shrew, already a first lady, into the presidency, so that she and her circles of sleaze might further engorge themselves at the expense of the public in every misgoverned country on earth. Not that there aren’t proposals in circulation to properly humiliate them:

I can’t say whether taking over the Democratic Party will be morally better, but it WILL satisfy my schadenfreude.

Nothing warms the cockles of my heart like watching those useless, simpering fucks like Krugman and Klein and Yglesias and Stewart and Colbert and Maddow and Brazille cry and stamp their feet as their audience dwindles to nothing. Nothing, perhaps, except for the thought of watching those politico subalterns who hitched themselves to Clinton’s bandwagon watch those donations and speaking fees and consulting jobs draw up and they’re forced to fetch coffee for 56-year old mustachioed bikers and 26-year old techdicks to survive.

I want them to weep uselessly at their failed and unpromising futures, knowing that the salary of a Senator is the best that they can hope for. I want them to fear getting spat in the eye and laughed at by cute millenials when they reveal their affiliations and beliefs. I want the meritocracy to chew them up and spit them out. I want to watch them as their ridiculous world of civility and rationality crumbles. I want to hear the wheeze of contempt and horror as the working class rises up as one and casts these dorks to mediocrity.

Yes, that’s why I endorse taking over the Democratic Party.

Personally, I’m not at all opposed to putting these fuckheads on public assistance. Welfare is supposedly funded by our hard-earned tax dollars and shit, but marginalizing grandiose technocrats who might otherwise try to run policy fucks on the rest of us seems like a worthy and prudent use of public funds. For one thing, that actually results in their sucking less out of Mama Sugar’s tit. As things stand now, they’re positioned to legislate special rations of that sugar sweet for themselves, and we know by now that they’re awfully hesitant to offer extra rations to the deplorables. It isn’t our basket that they fill to the brim, now. Give them that welfare and that Section Eight. Even a thicky trick, thicky trick, she ain’t nothin’ but a–you know. Besides, as a homeless person who’s too competent to be kicked out of Starbucks, I don’t like the idea of forcing shift supervisors to train America’s most useless eaters as baristas. These assholes can make a few extra bucks–and depending on the pay period, a few is generous–by hustling deposit bottles. No, I’m not too smart to sleep in my car or go to BottleDrop for one-figure gibs every day that I’m within range. What I’m too smart for is the sleazy goddamned assholes who act like their own shit doesn’t stink and won’t stop alienating the lower classes from the closest thing the United States has to a viable labor party. DNC DELENDA EST.

By the way, guys, Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka are currently clearing five percent of the vote in Humboldt County, and the elections office indicates that my ballot hasn’t yet been counted. Oh hell yes. Go ahead and tell me that the only reason I don’t feel like vomiting on account of the presidential election is why your atrocious candidate just lost. Go ahead and tell me that I shamefully helped sink a candidate I couldn’t countenance by voting for one I could. Frankly, my dears, I sleep in my car far too often to care.