Travels with G. K. Chestrubber

Geez, Ole, it sounds like the Keillor boy, the one who went down to the Twin Cities to seek his fame and fortune, let the power go to his head and got himself involved in a little ja, don’tcha know. Now, I’ll always remember what Lina said when you came downstairs from your deathbed and snuck yourself a taste of the lutefisk, how she slapped you and said, “Ole! It’s fur de funeral!”, but geez, he looks like he could use one himself.

Be well, bitch.

Watching Matt Lecher and Lord Ewbegone get the ax on the same day was of some interest to me as a new Safeway knockoff Rogaine user. Lauer has always been an exceptionally handsome man. He was able to come to the studio with late-onset male-pattern baldness, a crappy buzz cut, and the shabbiest beard this side of Al Roker and still leave no doubt that he was handsomer than he looked. Keillor has the opposite problem, an enviably full head of hair that doesn’t keep him from looking like a bulldog with an untreated neurological condition affecting the face. CBS, for its part, managed to play a less glaringly bad hand even worse by seating its morning hosts on dumbass bar stools that made Harry Smith look like he was about to wipe his ass with a handkerchief. I don’t want to beclown myself by saying that there are lessons we can learn from these sorry spectacles, but we can always look on and snicker. After all, NBC wasn’t paying Matthew Todd Wankin’ $25 mil a year for us not to watch.

That said, I didn’t come by just to indulge in gross imagery about overpaid and overrated broadcast celebrities. Most of my traffic is still (of course) for Dubai Porta Potty, so it’s the rest of you who should apologize for your taste, not me for mine, but still, what interests me about the latest gents to get sprayed by this artesian well of sexual grievance isn’t just who’s the better-looking bald guy or who can’t stop wasting his shabbily coiffed hair on his own face. These pages are effortposts, and that alone, good dirty fun though it is, doesn’t justify the time or energy to hammer out a screed. What actually brings me over tonight, rather, is the sick ways in which Matt Lauer and Garrison Keillor interact with and inform the atrocious American class system.

Lauer is a middlebrow reporter who won a crapshoot in the big leagues and became filthy rich doing the yeoman’s work of broadcast news presentation on the main stage. He’s exceptionally gifted, to be sure, but there are countless dozens or hundreds of equally well put-together on-air reporters and anchors biding their time at two-bit affiliates out in the bumfuck middle of nowhere for a hundredth of his pay, or less, and the vast majority of them aren’t going anywhere better or more prestigious because there just aren’t enough openings. If Mark Finan or Joe Calhoun, say, were kicked up to the Rock, it’s unlikely that they’d choke under the pressure. The business still has its tendentious dipshits, like Ed Weinstock, the white Art Fennell, and Art Fennell, the black Ed Weinstock, and they’re hardly the worst to be found, but there’s still a huge oversupply of impressive on-air talent languishing in the provinces compared to the tiny number of front-of-the-house openings at headquarters.

Explain for yourself why in the everloving hell Hoda Kotb isn’t working in Mobile or Omaha. I don’t have an answer for everything; sometimes #TheMoreYouKnow, the less you understand, and some of these decisions are beyond forgiveness. Forgiveness. Even if, even if. Of course that was awful, but keep in mind that I’m trying to avoid spending an entire screed writing about downers like NBC.

If I were writing this stuff for financial gain, I suppose Don Henley could sue me for copyright infringement. I have to say that I’m disappointed to see that that ditty wasn’t by Bryan Adams, because that would have made for a smoother segue into our latest recapitulation of Kwesi Millington’s reputation management lawfare against the CBC. I hope you weren’t too shocked to hear about him again. Matt’s able to sue NBC for firing him just for being a handsy fucker with a secret button under his desk to remotely lock his office door because he’s Matt Motherfucking Lauer, bitch.

That, and because our fine continent’s news trusts have deep pockets. What the hell did Northside Juice have to offer a plaintiff’s attorney? Horsemanship lessons for his daughter and the neighbor kids? Actually, Lauer must be in a pretty strong position just for knowing where all the bodies are buried around the Rock. All Meatless Muscle and his legal muscle were doing was shaking the old council oak to see if anything good would fall out. However Matt Lauer and his lawyers are shading their case, what they’re doing by demanding a payout is blackmailing NBC, which, conveniently enough, is the most scandalous, blackmail-prone of the big three networks. One cannot imagine how the network that rehabilitated Donald Trump would have anything to hide.

Matt Lauer was an interchangeable part on a middlebrow morning news program whose host network surely has talent scouts who could call any number of reliable reporters up to the major league from the farm teams to replace him. He’s a talented but not all that exceptional guy who lucked into a rare spot as a headliner and spent the next two decades milking it for all it was worth. This is where the incentives and the behavior turn perverse. It’s precisely because he squeezed so much money out of NBC for so long that he’s now able to squeeze it for even more money because it fired him for cause. Any normal person working in any normal job wouldn’t be able to do anything of the sort. With luck, a nobody who just got fired for sexual harassment on company time might be able to threaten to blow the whistle on illegal or unethical practices involving others and get paid to shut up. More likely, the outcome would be walking away in disgrace, scarlet letter duly affixed, and on the precipice of financial ruin.

Of all the people who need the money after an adverse employment termination, Matt Lauer has to be the damn near the last. Unless he’s been a Michael Jackson-grade spendthrift for twenty years straight, he’s loaded. I’ve seen estimates of his contract being worth up to $25 million a year. At that rate, he could maintain a very solidly upper-middle-class income just on the investment proceeds of one year’s worth of net income from his NBC gig.

In a sane and equitable society, that would mean something, as would the sheer gratitude for having gotten away with sexually predatory behavior under company auspices for years and made good money the whole time. Matt doesn’t live in any such society. He is shaking NBC down for the same reason that a dog licks its own balls: because he can.

Garrison Keillor operated at a lower level of show business for a smaller, more marginal audience, and for quite a bit less direct payment, but he has had a much more notable and, I dare say, pernicious effect on a key demographic of American society. He made a living by poisoning the minds of liberal yuppies in a way that no one else could quite figure out how to do.

Matt Lauer neither reified nor attenuated the fresh hell that is NBC. That mercenary piece of shit could be paid to read goddamn anything on air with a subtly pained but straight face. He could be paid to ask any brain-dead question of any equally brain-dead celebrity that the producers and marketers thought would sell. He never gave a rat’s ass about whether or why some vainglorious asshole was banging some other bumptious fuckjob or about some fashion model moron’s thoughts on geopolitics and how her new clothing line could help.

Again, this is one of the things we can say in Jerry Springer’s defense: though a Londoner by birth and a New Yorker by upbringing, by vocation and avocation both he is a true Cincinnatian. It would be gross to call his feelings about his calling to national broadcasting love, but he makes a solid living doing what he quite enjoys. Whenever Lauer was interviewing some moronic asshole or doing Phineas Gage-grade call-and-response water cooler talk with his fellow overpaid mercenaries in a fake living room, he had a silent internal script running, which kept telling him, what the fuck, man, you’re a tragedy for dignifying this fucking garbage.

I can say the same thing in my own defense that I can say in Jerry’s, only more so. Sleeping in my car two or three nights a week doesn’t force me to debase myself like that, and neither do farm work or the deposit bottle hustle. Chaka Can. Chaka Can. Chaka Fattah’s making less money than that these days, Chaka Can. Make of it what you will that the Dunkin’ Doorman is a civic improvement over Matt Lauer for not having to pretend to be interested in anything other than coffee money.

Keillor’s problem is that his shtick comes from the heart, and his heart is deeply troubled. He tapped into a guiltily, unmentionably avaricious yuppie liberal zeitgeist and focused and reinforced it in perniciously unhealthy ways. We’ll all be dealing with the fallout for a decade or two to come.

Being the alumnus of a fancy-ass school crawling with Main Liner shitheads and wannabes drives this point home. No, I’m not referring to Lancaster Country Day School; that’s a bit of an eccentric outfit, and a plenty wealthy and privileged one, but it’s all right. I refer, of course, to the Big Dick. GO DIPLOMATS!

When I was back for Homecoming over the fall, this alumni council hotshot whom I supposedly shocked by saying that I’d go to a state school in California if I had to do it over again got all defensive on our asses about how he had done pretty well for a hick from Missouri. First of all, I know damn fucking well what Humboldt State is like for a non-matriculant, and I’m not pig-ignorant about Chico, either, town or gown, so I didn’t pull any of that out of my ass. Second, I took our Show Me dude to be just another puffed-up dipshit from the Main Line. It never would have occurred to me that he was from Missouri; the other Missourians I’ve known are mostly chill as fuck, not defensive, disingenuously self-deprecating dorks. If I want to make fun of a Missourian, I have plenty of material on the Highway Patrol; maybe this fool was jealous of Flexineck and the Bone Crusher for hogging my attention. I’m not the one who had a problem with him for being from hick-ass Missouri; that was his problem, and his alone. My dad was raised by a mother who had gone to business school and a K-State grad who had been the first in his family to go to college, both of them from rural Kansas, and none of their kids turned out stupid. The University of Nebraska has fallen victim to some pretty disgusting political interference, but I never figured that it became a powerhouse in climate science by collecting a bunch of retards.

If we’re in the business of making regional judgments, Pot-o-Shit Friend doesn’t say anything good about people from Providence by way of Baltimore who move to Oregon, or whatever the fuck he did, other than be a hipster who, in spite of his trash can, didn’t look like he got enough to eat. I heard bits and pieces, but I never cared enough to investigate. Joe Dirtbag was all like, oh, you’ll hit it off with him, he’s from Baltimore; obviously an erstwhile Philadelphian wants nothing more than to yuk it up with an Old Bay-ass weenie in Coke bottle glasses who has all the force of personality and muscle tone of a wet noodle. So, no, I don’t go touring the Midwest in search of my shit-in-a-bucket constituencies; Midwesterners are sensible enough to appreciate indoor plumbing, and the ones who aren’t I expect to find me in Oregon.

What’s relevant about this particular Missourian is that he’s yet another dipshit who’s got a chip on his shoulder about his backwards hometown. Garrison Keillor’s shiznit appeals to every social climber who thinks everyone else from back home was a hopeless smallminded dolt. He got every fucking valedictorian in the country listening to the same twee, condescending horseshit spoken-word stories about local-yokel simpletons in the Great White North. He got many of them to buy his series of companion novels and read his sermons in the Washington Post. 

Look, I’ve dealt with some fucked up country bumpkins in Pennsylvania, so I don’t assume that life in rural Minnesota is all sunshine and lollipops. I can imagine that it sucks, that it can be awfully stifling and if nothing else bloody fucking cold. Moving to the Twin Cities or, hell, to Santa Barbara might make some sense. The thing about the Lake Wobegon stuff, though, is that it’s so sappy and sentimental. Like, are there really entire towns in Minnesota populated by these stuffy, simpering, tendentious dorks? Listening to these crappy vignettes, I couldn’t help but think that they didn’t square with what I’d been able to pick up about the rural Midwest, specifically, that they were markedly worse. Garrison Keillor routinely ran stuff whose production value was only marginally better than the “Up the Snitz Creek” columns in the Lebanon Daily News. I shit ye not: that was a real column, and it’s a real creek that I’ve never since been comfortable crossing. It’s understandable that such items would be run by the shittiest possible newspaper of record, but Keillor got his crap syndicated on NPR.

There’s no charitable explanation. Here we’ve got this wheezing, sighing, bulldog-looking cunt up on stage telling longwinded, gratingly sanctimonious stories about the retarded minutiae of small-town gossip interspersed with bluegrass jingles about an imaginary brand of fucking biscuits, the kind of childish, nonsensical horseshit you might have to sit through at your second-grader’s school play, and he’s putting it on for an audience of neurotic overachievers who are force-feeding their own teenage children AP coursework and extracurricular activities until they drop.

Again, this toolbox was producing this elaborately twee shit for an audience of highly educated, affluent adults. Mr. Rogers must not have been too emotionally even-keeled and modest for their tastes. That’s what happens when there’s an actual adult in the room who has the decency to act like one: hey, let’s put on our zip-up sweaters and go tour this pencil factory, then we’re gonna talk about some heavy psychological shit, like, death and bullying and stuff, but I’ll try not to upset you, and then, for the fun part, I’m sending you on a special Honey I Shrunk the Kids trolley through a wormhole into a funhouse land ruled by a freaky-ass genderfluid king whose neighborhood mailman is legit bipolar, but don’t worry, you should never feel embarrassed to talk to a grown-up if any of this starts feeling weird.

I’ll actually be on the real Pittsburgh subway-surface trolley system next week, which I assume is also run by and for adults. Yeah, Wow Much travels None homeland Omg mr mcfeely Very disorient. Our old boy Keillor, though. Holy shit. That twit was always ever-so-gently ribbing the yuppies, as if a pleasantly warm slow roast was praxis because, my gosh, dear hearts and gentle people, we all have our foibles. Actual independent thought about the yuppies would be more like the old-school Comiskey Park shit, but nobody ever had the stones to bring a “Go Home Yuppie Scum” sign to the Fitzgerald Theater. Nobody was about to get uppity in there and encourage anyone else to pack that fancy-pants shit up and take it back up to Addison. That would require taking a firm stance, you see. That would require principles.

‘Twould harsh the mellow, and one can’t have that. We’re all just here for an evening of forced levity and shitty spoken-word bildungsroman stories about how we’re all just plain and simple country folks, that we might momentarily forget, and yet be subliminally reminded, that little Taylor here won’t amount to a damn thing in life if she doesn’t get into Haverford. We certainly wouldn’t want her to take a job at some gas station in Anoka County, surrounded by this evocatively narrated town full of hopeless losers.

Garrison Keillor lived his way into some kind of spiritual picture of Dorian Gray situation. I’ve been reading that he wasn’t such a bitter yuppie blowhard and smug, precious dork back in the eighties, when he first became a big deal. It seems that over the years his shtick became both softer and more vicious, that it mutated from jaded, occasionally abrasive truthtelling into its current format of cheap easy-listening hate radio. Like all too many other liberal yuppies, he’s gotten salty about Trump and Trump’s voters for all the wrong reasons, blowing whatever moral high ground and credibility he might have had on self-righteous pot shots. He’s pissed off at all the losers back home who made fun of him in high school and now have trouble getting by on their gutted pensions from the cement factory or whatever, his premise being that they have no reason to be sore about their lot but he has ample reason to be sore about them for being sore. He’s got teenage grudges against people who spent decades barely scraping by in honorable and productive but tenuous lines of work while he jawboned his way to fortune and fame, but reliving high school at his age is less embarrassing than putting on variety show items that would annoy a precocious fourth-grader.

So here he is now, laid low by accusations that are impressively PG-rated. He touched some woman on her bare back when she was upset. He lustfully tried to console a bitch. I’ve been hearing through back channels about stage shows where he got visibly horny with the women performing alongside him, to their discomfort, e.g., some half-assed Al Franken shit. Don’tcha fucking know, Ole. Sven, ya catchin’ any o’ this? Some great Minnesota ethnic diversity we got right here; too bad I’m not awake or culturally aware enough to make fun of the Finns, too. These guys sound pretty rude and obnoxious, but the Keillor stuff especially sounds like it could be handled by telling him, hey, maybe don’t do that again, and I’ve gotten my nipples pinched–not mime-groped, straight-up pinched while I was fully awake–by way the hell worse than Franken. The guy who did it would have been a hardcore douchebag even if he’d kept his hands off my tits. It was some kind of anthracite country problem drinking thing, or maybe this guy and his buddies were just fucking assholes. I dunno.

Geraldo, though? If Geraldo sexually harassed me, I’d have no choice but to consider it a high privilege and honor. I’d want John Tesh to perform a big band number about the incident. I can’t help it; it’s some kind of Long Island deep cultural immersion thing. If sexual aggression is about power, the power might as well come from a true son of the Guyland (Joey Buttafuoco works, too), not from some simpering Minnesota dipshit who’s all bashful that he was caught not being nice. I’m still straight, now, you hear? Okay, the John Tesh comments didn’t do much to confirm that.

But holy hell, are we actually having a conniption because Garrison Keillor put a hand on some crying lady’s back? Is this for real, dawg? I get that we want to discourage sexually forward behavior on the part of those who are too arrogant or socially stunted to respond normally to social cues, but fuckin’ A, we seem to be raising the bar pretty high here and then kvetching that a notorious dork didn’t clear it. And now Minnesota Public Radio is talking about renaming A Prairie Home Companion. They’ve got a different, more Southern-fried earnest mofo at the helm now, and they’re still worried that we’ll associate the show with this tainted dirty old man who once touched a woman’s back and maybe leered at some other chicks.

Here’s an idea: A Prairie Ho Companion. I doubt it’ll be the best work of art about Chicago hookers, but it’ll be better than Sister Carrie. 

This is what I get for not doing my assigned reading in school. I’m out of work again and banging this stuff out at one in the morning for an audience of maybe a dozen. What can I say? Dreiser sucks major ass. And it figures that Lake Wobegon doesn’t have a town whore; it doesn’t have anyone with remotely normal emotional patterns. Hey baby, your chatterbox isn’t working so great on my powdermilk biscuit, if you know what I mean. Hey, Noir, I know you’re watching us, so can you tell me what’s wrong with this chick’s mouth that she can’t get my dick up?

That’s some fucked up fan fiction from a guy (hey, now!) who isn’t even a fan, but it’s normal human dialog informed by normal human interaction. More or less. That’s a low bar to clear because I’m trying to beat a thrice-married dork who acts like the old maid running the village schoolhouse in one segment and an autistic seven-year-old in the next. I’m nowhere close to going fully native.

It’s really funny, as in hilarious and odd both, that this sickly, wheezing, bulldog-looking dork who’s suddenly in trouble for touching a woman on her back while she was wearing a low-cut dress or some shit had a recurring segment that he ended with a line about how all the women are strong and all the men are good-looking. Can you imagine anyone from this crowd raising children who aren’t neurotic fuckups? Garrison Keillor having a regularly scheduled segment in which he talks explicitly about a community full of handsome men is like Matt Lauer going out on the street to look for ugly guys: “Hey there, Savannah, we’re out here in Crown Heights to look for the ugliest motherfucking Jews, and we’ve already found some butt-ugly kikes. Take a look.”

Admit it: that would be an awesome thing to watch Matt Lauer sunnily deadpan. I don’t care how offensive some overly sensitive twit may find it. Normally I’d be hesitant to write anything quite that coarse, but in this case it’s relevant, pretty far out there by any normal standard but not gratuitous. The blunt truth of it is that we are not dealing with normal standards here. We’ve got these self-serious dipshits on our broadcast media studiously pretending that there’s no such thing as the Id while the Id rears its ugly head all around us, more flagrantly than usual. Garrison Keillor is in trouble for barely touching a woman in a manner that few people would find edgy, and Al Franken for posing for a photo in which he pretends to grope a fellow performer’s breasts while she’s asleep. Meanwhile the sitting President of the United States faces no consequences for habitually blurting out fantasies about how he’d like to assault his enemies, sexually and otherwise, for being the target of dozens of specific accusations of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and forcible rape, and for having bragged about his incestuous attraction to his own biological daughter.

When the rape culture critics insist that Trump has to face consequences as an example to other sexual assailants, they’re absolutely right. That fucker makes Bob Packwood look like St. Anthony. We can’t be serious about deterring sexual assault, especially from positions of power, when we’re knowingly tolerating a sitting president who won’t stop openly acting like a Borgia Pope. A consistent standard of intolerance for sexual exploitation from positions of power would require the removal of Donald Trump from office for being a ragingly scandalous lecher.

The same thing goes for all his other abuses of power. This guy’s deal isn’t that he likes to get laid. That may actually be what’s up (heh) with Franken and Keillor, and even to some extent with Lauer. (That remote-control lock button, though.) Trump is a grand sadist, rather like Hillary Clinton, but with different focuses. The cultural rot goes deep enough that people are now saying in all seriousness that Matt asked Hillary tough questions at the debate just because he’s a misogynistic sexual harasser. I’ll say it again: I don’t hate Hillary Clinton because I’m a misogynist; I hate her because she’s a grandiose, gratuitously misandrist cunt. Among other reasons, of course. I’m not conceding the moral high ground to anyone who cackled about the assassination of Muammar Qaddafi, not one inch. What’s next: smearing Matt for calling Aileen Wuornos a creep? There must be a special place in hell for women who oppose her, too.

Me? I’m just going hypergraphic and Extremely Online again. My insolence doesn’t translate into power. Besides, come summer, I notice that the above-average aren’t picking a hell of a lot of fruit. That would get in the way of investment banking and shit.

Be Well, Do Good Work, and, ooh giggity giggity, Keep in “Touch.”

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Old McPickton had a farm

E-I-E-I-Ew. What interests me about the Sick Willie case isn’t just that he’s a Canadian serial murderer, although there’s that, or that he was a test that the RCMP failed for years until that newjack swore out the search warrant over the gun complaint, driving home the impressively terrible track record that the Mounties have with guys named Robert on the Lower Mainland. These are the memes that sustain us, but what caught my attention about Robert Pickton as a local nuisance was that at a time when the Vancouver Police and the RCMP had their thumbs up their asses in the face of citizen suspicions that he was committing serial murders, the local authorities in Port Coquitlam successfully took him to court over code violations on his property. They got all up in his face about the squalor and disorder and noise and told him, look, champ, this ain’t a farm. They got a court to agree that keeping a few pigs in the middle of a junkyard and unlicensed rave venue was not a legitimate farming or animal husbandry practice and to broadly enjoin not just Pickton but anyone who was found on his property from being a dirty, licentious pain in the neighborhood’s ass.

This sort of code enforcement action chaps many an easily bruised rear. Hey, now, you can’t tell me what I can do with my own property! Oh yeah? We just did. Government overreach is certainly a possibility, but every derelict slumlord nuisance in the land thinks that his own catastrophe of a property is the victim of government overreach when the authorities tell him to clean it the hell up, so we get a whole lot of boys crying wolf. I don’t suppose Joe Dirtbag thought anyone had any business calling code enforcement over Pot-o-Shit Friend’s housewarming gift and the proliferating rat mess, never mind that the trash can Pot-o-Shit Friend filled to permanent ruination was a piece of winery equipment stolen from a winery that I had helped fund and operate for years.

On second thought, I shouldn’t assume the permanent ritual uncleanliness of a trash can full of some pitiful little weenie’s shit in a community that tolerates Pot-o-Shit Friend in the first place. There’s always the chance that some filthy derelict will try to clean out the housewarming gift and puts its fine vessel back into normal service; this is the same farm where I once listened to a dipshit talk about how it was okay to cut corners on the composting of human waste in Hawaii because, you know, the weather is hot there and that moves things along. Joe Dirtbag isn’t necessarily any cleaner or more upstanding.

That whole joint is an infinitely intensifying haidt-fuck. That’s why society needs code enforcement: to forcibly clean up after the antisocially filthy. If no one forces them to clean up, they’ll endanger those living on their property and their neighbors. Fuck anyone who acts like government in Oregon has the meddlesome overreach of Santa Monica, the public corruption of Nigeria, or the incompetence of Somalia. I’m not here to run interference for dirty, derelict motherfuckers who allow their tenants to shit in trash cans or wrap their turds up in newspaper and toss them out the trailer door next to a heavily trafficked footpath.

Again, these things have actually happened on property that continues to be funded with money under my control. I’m a minority owner in the LLC, with a stake of only $15,000. There’s a total of something like a quarter million dollars in investor money tied up in this shit, in addition to probably over a hundred grand in outright gifts directed towards farm operations (including fifty from my dad alone to stave off foreclosure after JD orally amended the mortgage contract and came within months of losing the whole farm as a result.) Then there are all the other gifts that Joe Dirtbag and the Family Shrew solicit from their moneyed pushovers in one breath before proclaiming their proud self-reliance in the next: $15,000 from my dad for a Subaru, $5,000 or some shit for a new stove and refrigerator at home. Not that there’s any reason to stop at that when they can also get an electrician to rewire their house on an out-of-state license and no bond in exchange for the privilege to move into a garden shed in their front yard, after he’d spent several months paying them rent on behalf of his erstwhile roommate, their lifelong squatter, who had run the electrician out of his shack by going psycho again; or for JD to stop illegally collecting rent under the table on a collection of junkyard tenants when he shows no signs whatsoever of using any of their rent money to make renovations that have been past due for three decades.

If I ever take this shitshow over, I’m kicking the losers off the property as soon as I can line up adequate (i.e., much better) accommodations for them. This is all seriously fucking shady and unacceptable. When I go down to the farm, I do bona fide, productive work towards the maintenance and improvement of a property where money under my legal control is already tied up. I don’t go down there to live in an illegal trailer park. I imagine I’ll get pretty cross if any of these losers raises objections to my activities on the property, which include doing much of my work by flashlight or moonlight late at night. I work as quietly as I can to avoid disturbing anyone, and again, my money is tied up in that shit, so, yes, I damn well should be allowed to come and go as I fucking please. Nobody else seems to be clearing out the abandoned vineyard blocks. I’m getting shit done in a pretty unfavorable situation, not as much as I’d like but a decent little chunk of decades-deferred work.

If Joe Dirtbag were a normal person I’d talk to him about clearing out the abandoned blocks instead of sneaking onto the property like a guerrilla when he isn’t there, but he’s abnormal, and I’m not about to get sucked into one of his sandbagging campaigns. He can hem and haw and get in the way of productive work with someone else. For all I care, he can be shunned, leaving him with no one to sandbag but himself. I’m not about to reach out to liaise with any of his tenants, either, including the Ragin’ Canajun. I happened to talk to RC about what I was doing to clear out the abandoned shit a year or two ago, and he appreciated what I was doing, so I don’t really expect trouble from him. At the same time, I resent the very idea of people who are living in squalor on that property, against my wishes, claiming or being given a stake in my activities on separate parts of the property that, until I went in with my pruning shears, were entirely abandoned. This is first-in-time, first-in-line shit. I’m not letting anyone else actively obstruct my homesteading efforts there. I’m not hacking my way through that shit foot by foot in order to be groovy or sociable; I’m trying to get this property closer to turnkey condition for whenever JD dies or becomes too decrepit to keep fucking it up.

The Ragin’ Canajun is a serious, competent, upstanding farmer, and to be clear, I’ve never had any trouble with him; I’m just worried that he may get drawn into some drama opposite me at some point in his capacity as the lead tenant farmer. If he’s still at the farm, that is; since I haven’t socialized with anyone there this year and often work at night, I’m not sure, but I’ve noticed that his old truck hasn’t been there. I have no such generous feelings towards the other tenants. I basically figure, look, I don’t know who the hell you are, but I do notice that you’re living like Oscar the Grouch. What, you need to park your trailer right here, on a lot without a toilet? It’s already up on wheels and could be pulled out by any high-horsepower pickup truck, so no you fucking don’t. And stop calling it a “tiny house.” If it feels like a reduction in the standard of living to move into an seven-by-fifteen trailer, that’s because it’s a reduction in the standard of living, you daft cunt. Stop polishing that turd.

The bottom line is that these people are fucking pathetic. Any tenants’ rights movement would come down on Joe Dirtbag like a ton of bricks. They are never going to get minimally adequate housing out of that derelict bastard without taking him to court. He’s the one with the electrician living in a shed in exchange for off-the-books work that’s liable to get his home insurance policy canceled, if he has one. The electrician is on the lazy side, but he’s done extensive work both as a licensed electrician and as a short-order, which is how he met JD and FS; he was one of their employees. A day or two per year in either of his lines of work should more than pay for his fucking shed. The dipshits with the tiny house at the farm aren’t getting jack shit out of JD, either; all he did was allow them to haul a turnkey trailer that they’d build offsite at their own expense onto his property and set up a semi-legit electrical hookup. They owe him nothing beyond their electrical bill.

Then there’s Busboy, or whoever else may be living in the new and improved rundown thirty-foot school bus now that the funky old short bus is gone. It was reprehensible of Joe Dirtbag to harass him over his otherwise routine run-in with the cop, and Busboy and I both would have been well within our rights to sue JD over that shit (not so much for financial damages as to force him to account for his actions in a court of law and show that there are consequences for harassing workers and tenants). Busboy’s victimization does not, however, mean that he has any business living on the farm. I don’t mind him, but I certainly don’t need him around, either, and a sensible landowner would not have allowed a couple of losers to park a fucking stove-equipped school bus next to the path up from his fields to the main farm gate.

This is where the Ragin’ Canajun’s attitudes start to bother me. He was all annoyed that Busboy was such a slacker when his girlfriend was such a go-getter, with her plans to volunteer at the women’s collective in Nicaragua or whatever the fuck. Gee, a woman who doesn’t mind living in a fucking school bus is shacked up with a ne’er-do-well? You bloody don’t say. I always assumed she’d be the governor’s mistress.

The real problem here is expecting ANY work ethic or initiative from people who live like that. No one can legitimately demand reciprocity from people living in such half-assed conditions in the developed world. They have been given nothing of any worth to inhabit, so they owe nothing in return. They shack up in piece-of-shit disused school buses that would otherwise be broken up for scrap. For all I know, they’re setting up the next Pot-o-Shit Friendly treasure hunt for whoever cleans out their junkyard when they leave by making their own arrangements to avoid the pit outhouse. I got a really bad feeling when I saw a bucket sitting behind a tarp a bit past their junkyard a couple of years ago.

When I moved into my apartment in Eureka, which was managed by a building manager and an office staff who all belonged in federal prison, I had to clean some hair off the walls and some detritus off the stovetop. When the Ragin’ Canajun moved onto Joe Dirtbag’s farm a couple of years ago, he had to put on coveralls, get splashed with literal shit that sloshed out of a brimful trash can while he was disposing of it, and scoop piles of rat waste eighteen inches deep out of the walls. I would not be out of line to tell a man, no, you are not allowed to charge rent on a goddamn bat cave. I was not out of line to complain to code enforcement. I will not be out of line to call 911 if JD gets hostile with me for standing up to him about any of this horseshit.

I don’t envy Busboy for sitting on ass and having no ambition, but that’s his problem. JD using him as a source of drama and illegal rent on a property that we all funded to operate as a farm is my problem. JD allows the worst possible people down to the farm as de facto stakeholders whose interests must be considered, at the expense of ours, because they’re now wandering around the property for no good reason and likely as not getting in the way. It’s expensive enough for me to drive to Oregon and absorb overpriced lodging costs in order to tend the farm. Joe Dirtbag dumped another few thousand dollars’ worth of indirect expenses on me by tolerating Mixups in my Mind, whose presence seemed incompatible with my car’s. The ten dollars a day that I’ve spent on parking at no fewer than three airports functioned as a sort of loss damage waver on a planned nonoperational filing. That’s every bit as fucked up as it sounds, but the alternative was the risk of my car spatially coexisting with Mixups’ apparition of Satan during one of his smashing rages.

That’s JD’s problem more than his, since JD was sane enough to recognize that Mixups was violently psychotic and had a serious drinking problem. He’s the one I’d have to give most of the blame if Mixups somehow mixed up my car’s windshield with the Devil and took a length of pipe to it. That was the last straw for my parking my car at the farm while I was out of town. I wasn’t about to risk one of the craziest guys in the county waging spiritual warfare on my car at a time when I wasn’t carrying damage coverage. Besides, what would I tell the adjuster? Oh, yeah, that was just the paranoid schizophrenic squatter who sometimes bashes the nearest window to shards in fits of rage?

I love the virtue of doing farm work, so I feel no resentment of lazy dipshits who don’t as long as they stay out of my way. Busboy does. Mixups in my Mind and Psychotarp don’t, but they’re too crazy to be held accountable. Joe Dirtbag doesn’t, and that’s why I make sure that he’s away before I set foot on the farm.

Surely this well of piss shall not soon run dry.

That time Little Charlie rose to the occasion wasn’t the worst of it

Lordy, here I go again up to Old New England, where they also don’t so much pronounce their ahze, on a mission to get Charlie off. CHAHLEE!

Sure, Charlie Rose sounds pretty gross in private, but television is overflowing with talent (sic, often unto death) that’s shockingly gross by any decent standard in public and on purpose. Just the certainty that Rose’s hotel room and mansion appearances, toweled and otherwise, were not Bernaysian mass mind control works strongly in the droning geezer’s favor. A full hour of Charlie Rose making noticeably erect pelvic thrusts through his sweatpants on the LA Metro Gold Line would be less painful than the average minute of DeGeneres, E.

That name. They aren’t even trying to be subtle anymore. I was able to specify the agency, route, and clothing above because I once had the misfortune of witnessing exactly that on the part of a fellow much crazier, less handsome, and more disheveled than Charlie Rose on the way into Pasadena. I suppose I could have called 911 or some shit, but what would have been the point? There were already too many deputies and rentacops on the trains, mostly for over-the-top fare enforcement; as a fellow inbound Blue Line passenger complained to me upon receipt of her citation and not five hours before she was booked into jail for the night, “Sheriffs think they the motherfucking po lease!” On the letter of the law, she was all kinds of wrong, but civically she wasn’t too far off the mark.

Will I see YOU tonight? Amtrak runs the only train through Reno, so no. Instead I have television to keep me company in our common time of thanks. I’ve already managed to catch bits of Live PD and Chrisley Knows Best, and I didn’t come across anything so brain-deadening at Donner Pass last night, so I’m not off to the best start. I also tuned halfway in to Jeopardy, more because why not than why, and didn’t actively enough tune out the utterly meretricious human interest story of the day on the local news, about a homeless veteran in Philadelphia who got $160,000 in contributions a viral GoFundMe page set up by the stranded couple he bought gas with his last $20. Methodically and reliably giving a larger number of the down and out more manageable sums of money must not be heartwarming enough for this Satanic nation. I keep feeling bad that I dogged on the Dunkin’ Doorman for pestering me for a mere 20% cut of my lost and immediately found money. I got curt with a guy who may have the most middle-class set of values in Atlantic City, just because he was a whiny pain in my ass.

The couple that set up the GoFundMe page are distributing extra money to other homeless, but it’s still striking that they didn’t gross $160k in a week or whatever by setting up an general-purpose page to fund relief for the homeless. We are ever so fucked up to get our heartstrings arbitrarily tugged by this cloyingly sappy shit. The corporate powers that greenlight cherry-picked feel-good stories about do-gooders in a time of pervasive, unmet need that they deliberately fail to cover are plainly evil. As a people, we absolutely should not feel good about ourselves because we are objectively bad to one another. That’s the painful truth, and I don’t give a shit how offensive anyone finds it. It SHOULD be scandalous.

In this context, I can deal with some fucking Charlie Rose. The guy can be rather tendentious and self-serious, but he has a nice underrepresented regional accent, not another case of the House Voice. I don’t have the damnedest clue of what he finds so compelling about plain black studio backgrounds, but I’ve seen worse. Actually, on second thought, he’s probably just subtly communicating that we’re all groping our way haphazardly through life, gazing as we go into the featureless void.

Hey, I just said “grope!”

Correction: Hey hey hey! Do we not all want it? Do we not all want to hug, or at least to rhyme?

Charlie Rose will never be as bad as Nightly Business Report. Other than World News Tonight and the local weather report, that’s what I really watched this evening. To return to our topic from the other day about reasons why PBS doesn’t actually need or deserve our viewer support, that shit is produced by CNBC. Maybe it can also be funded by CNBC, then. They’re up to their eyeballs in corporate money; why the fuck do they need our money to air that shit, too?

When I was thinking about not writing this screed, it occurred to me that NBR must have terrible ratings and therefore be an inconsequential curiosity. On second thought, I realized that however bad its ratings are, its audience turns out to vote and probably does more than its expected share of bitching to elected officials until it gets its way, so I guess it’s worth a look.

Aesthetically, NBR is a small group of boring af bougies who are totally on Xanax, but small, carefully calibrated, old money doses, not holy Mother of God I’ll flip my shit and get fired and end up out on the street if I don’t get my ass medicated new money doses. Charlie don’t care how much Xanax he’s popping, and he dun’t care if you care, either. NBR’s target audience tends towards Group 2, intersectional problem drinkers who will never quite feel socioeconomically secure. That, by the way, is the group I’m most smug about exposing for its substance abuse problems; it’s always lecturing someone conveniently other than itself for not being disciplined and sober enough to function properly in our ever-changing economy.

The social attitudes on display here are functions of socioeconomic upbringing, but not in any straightforward way. I know for a fact that anxious, backstabbing new money includes the children of financial millionaires with terminal degrees. That’s the Insurance Shmuck, for one thing. He’s the one who was all like, oh, no, I didn’t drink a drop of alcohol until my senior year, all I had was an entire bottle of Nyquil at bedtime every weeknight until my rowdy drunk-ass rebound girlfriend told me she was worried about my health and got me to binge-drink hard liquor at least four nights a week. (I paraphrase, of course; it’s useful sometimes to edit for clarity.)

When I was little, I used to pick up bits of Louis Rukeyser’s shows when my dad was watching them in the kitchen. I remember Rukeyser having a combination of unabashed but reputable personality and natural poise that’s missing from television today, much as Fred Rogers bequeathed his children’s television tradition to the assholes who came up with Barney the Dinosaur and Dora the Explorer. What I remember from the old Rukeyser shows and Nightly Business Report episodes in the eighties and nineties was a surprisingly charming host would yuk it up with some pleasant and functional enough dork who’d just researched a class of hella obscure stocks that might be worth buying. It was never a do-or-die horror show in which the entire audience had to put aside at least ten percent of its inexorably stagnating wages in the face of unpayable student debt or never be able to retire. The wicked returns meant being able to buy a nice car or fund the kids’ college accounts early, not possibly avoiding medical bankruptcy with some good planning and better luck.

Obviously, this sort of programming is directed at a well-to-do, educated audience, and when I first started seeing segments of it I was too young to fully appreciate it, but certain ugly aspects of other television were clearly absent. There was no forced, contrived abundance mentality; it was understood that the audience was in a position to build personal wealth from a foundation of genuine stability and prosperity. For the same reasons, there was no air of investor coercion; that is, the stock market wasn’t being pitched as the only way for a yuppie to stay afloat in an increasingly unstable, unpredictable, and dysfunctional economy. That ramped up under Clinton and Bush II and went entirely off the rails around the Bush-Obama transition, which was of course also when the international economy crashed violently into the shitter. Meanwhile, overtly commercial investment broadcasting, always a somewhat cruder art, went completely fucking bonkers, taking on raging nutcases like Jim Cramer, who was fit to be shot with a wildlife tranquilizing dart.

Barring a few grossly overhyped wildcard situations, the dice have been cast for the last time for the Baby Boomers. They’ve got what’s coming their way, or, more commonly, not got what’s not coming their way. Gen X is a boring segment for the marketeers, but that still leaves me and my (mostly younger) people, the eternally shit-upon Millennials, not to mention whatever metapostmodern gobbledygook we’ll be told to call the crop of rising young adults as they continue to mature into twentagers.

This really is some fucking Francis Fukuyama shit, a horizon beyond which there’s nothing. Millennials are infamously workshy, but it might be worth considering that we’ve become detached from the workforce because there aren’t any damn jobs. Five million-some jobs in the United States alone vanished into a fourth-turning secular economic catastrophe between 2008 and 2009. The workforce participation rate dropped by five points year over year and has stagnated ever since. A measurable percentage of the population doesn’t suddenly up and say take this job, bundle it with all other possible jobs, and shove it. If a job that doesn’t require advanced formal education isn’t illegally reserved for immigrants (often illegal), it’s reliably some shady 1099 bullshit like Uber. The social ties that might lead the unemployed out of this nightmare have disintegrated across huge swathes of the native stock.

Nightly Business Report’s coverage of this burgeoning dystopian precarity is understated on strictly artistic terms, but it’s a fucking shitshow. NBR takes several clashing premises that can’t possibly fit together and pretends that they somehow cohere into a navigable whole. First there’s the chronic assumption that the working affluent deserve magical returns on their financial investments because they already have lucrative jobs. This is ridiculously inequitable, but in times of more or less broad prosperity it might not be a disaster. Since we’re going through times of uncontrollably growing precarity with no real sign of relief, though, we get to add the premises that:

–individual workers need to goose the shit out of their retirement accounts if they want to have any hope of retiring, and they’d be fools not to make maximum employer-matched contributions if their employers offer them;

–lol jk, individual workers can’t afford to fund their 401(k) accounts because what would have been discretionary income twenty or forty years ago is now devoted to student debt that they can barely afford to service;

–but it really doesn’t matter in the end, because this fitness class in Palm Springs and this other geezer who we found in Burbank taking classes to be a background actor prove that the elderly have no plans to retire.

By the way, our aspiring background actor lost a logistics business to the Second Great Depression, and NBR mentioned in passing that the percentage of employees whose employers offer pensions has dropped from something like 90% to 30% in thirty years. Yeah, I’m sure that just happened. I’m not convinced that the pension figures weren’t somehow garbled by sloppy research, but it’s indeed true that defined-benefit pensions have mysteriously vanished from the private sector, and that labor unions have mysteriously vanished over the same timeframe. This must have just been some inscrutable act of God having nothing whatsoever to do with leverage buyout thugs breaking the meatpackers’ union in Albert Lea and then doing the same thing thousands of times over in dozens of industries in practically every state of the Union.

Medical expenses got a brief mention on NBR tonight, too. You may not have a union in your shop or anywhere on the horizon, but did you know that doctors are still unionized, even in avowedly open shops? It’s called the American Medical Association. The worst rentiers in medicine, however, either get MBA’s or sell out to the MBA’s and go into hospital administration. But again, none of this has anything to do with the uncontrollably rising costs of medical care and health insurance.

Like hell we’re going to strategically invest and reskill our way out of this dystopia. PBS, which is actually CNBC, has some nerve to imply that we will. It never ceases to amaze me how modest and civic the Dunkin’ Doorman is in his whiny calls for alms, but that’s the difference between funding a coffee habit on Sunday morning and funding five nights of neoliberal atigprop a week.

We’ll need more than a stiff cup to stay woke for this fight.

Death cult

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

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

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

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

What is “Wisconsin?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spanksgiving in the State of Jackoffson

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

Heh, I just said “prick.” Giggity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Russian to judgment

Uh, shit, that was uncalled for, but so is the endless Democratic Russia hysteria.

Look, I’ve been to Russia. I spent a full month staying with host families there, first in Moscow and then in St. Petersburg, in the summer of 2002. My personal feelings about Russia are complicated and ambivalent, but they’re personal. They have to do with stuff that has no bearing on Russia’s foreign policy and only accidentally anything to do with its domestic policy. I don’t feel like ruminating over the details, but my worst experience was a run-in with some bad cops, so I have no trouble believing that Russia has serious civil liberties shortcomings. I also walked by at a distance of ten or twenty yards while a guy was getting kicked repeatedly in the guts by two other men on a side street off the Nevsky Prospekt, in a part of St. Petersburg that I otherwise took to be exceptionally prosperous and orderly, and quite a few of the Russians I’ve met over the years, both in country and back in the US, back in the USSA, have had an unnerving nihilistic bearing. I also know full well that I came nowhere close to seeing the worst that Russia has to offer.

The point is that no one has to convince me that Russia can be fucked up. Mine own lying eyes have seen it. Truth be told, few things have made me prouder or more grateful to be an American than personally discovering and then reading further about what a social and political clusterfuck Russia is. In many crucial ways it is a deeply troubled and unhealthy society. I doubt any significant part of it has fully turned the corner in the past fifteen years, and by some measures it regressed greatly after I made it back home (notably, on racist and xenophobic violence). So I’m not averse to legitimate criticism of the old bear den.

Nothing about the moral panic over Russian interference in the 2016 US elections is legitimate or sane. It’s the batshit fucking insane raving of pig-ignorant political extremists. It’s rabies. These deranged shitbirds have poisoned the well so badly that I can hardly trust a bad word about the Kremlin from the BBC, an organization that would hopefully be in a position to hold the Kremlin to some account. NPR is a hopelessly lost cause. I thought things were getting sketchy after they fired Bob Edwards and ramped up the House Voice, but I couldn’t see anything this surreally crazy coming down the pike.

Every time Russia engages in some modest bit of statecraft or spycraft, it magically becomes the world’s premier force of fifth-column subversion and international mind control. It’s unbelievable that we’re hearing about this absolutely insane shit on NPR and not on Coast to Coast AM. The Kremlin hired a few hundred undercover PR flacks to propagandize and troll American voters on social media. It spent a couple hundred grand on Facebook ads. Big fucking deal. We just had an election season that cost multiple billions of dollars and produced a big drop in turnout from 2012, along with a huge undervote in the presidential race, which is usually the main attraction when it’s on the ballot. The Kremlin was an irrelevancy. It was spitting into the wind.

Besides, everything the Kremlin has been accused of doing is done on a much wider and more sustained basis by Western spooks, lobbyists, and fellow-traveling shady pieces of shit. We never hear the hysterical Russia horseshit broadened to criticize AIPAC, the Pentagon bot army, or the multinational corporate leviathans. These outfits are the ones responsible for the serious propaganda. It’s not an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s a start. The Kremlin hiring underemployed twentagers to engage Americans with their our hearts go out to the Ceausescu family, sad day for Nicolae English can’t hold a candle to this fog machine.

If we’re worried about their ads corrupting our citizens’ minds, uh, Citizens United, fuckwits. Pervasive, unrelenting advertisement campaigns orchestrated by Bernaysian master manipulators are fine as long as they’re being run out of the usual WASP nests (Madison Avenue, K Street, Langley, Silicon Valley) (and, yes, they’re cooler than they once were with the Irish and the Jews and so forth), but Katie bar the fucking door if someone shows up at a Moscow ad agency with a hundred grand to spend on English-language copy. When our old boys do it on a colossal scale, it’s mere advertising; when the damn Red Octobers do it on an almost bashfully modest scale, it’s high treason.

Now we’re hearing feverish calls for Russia Today to be registered and surveilled as a foreign lobbying organization. Gee, with a name like that, you don’t say that it has possible cultural or political ties to Russia. What’s so rich a Yank could barf about this is that RT is open about its presumable ties to the Kremlin (not much of a Union of Right Forces organ, to judge from its coverage), while CNN, the WaPo, and so forth fraudulently pretend not to be crawling with Anglo-American spies, junta-ready generals, ruling politicians, seedy party hacks, and similar trash.

This doesn’t even begin to touch the endless corporate interference, even in NPR and PBS, our federally chartered and funded public broadcasting syndicates. Julie Rovner reports for Kaiser Health News now; no way that’s run by a major for-profit health insurance company and hospital operator that might have a political or policy ax to grind. And no way are my insurance premiums somehow being pooled to fund this highbrow Intelligence for Your Life crap. The mainstream media in the US are little more than payola, product placement, and Pravda-grade regime bulletins these days. NPR and PBS manage to simultaneously suck up every bit of compromising corporate funding they can sniff out, tangle with bumptious, grandstanding Congressmen in annual government funding disputes, AND bother their viewers with grating, guilt-trippy calls for alms several times a year. The PBS NewsHour is brought to you by Tote Bag Nation, some passive-aggressive assholes in Congress, and BNSF: The Little Engine That Could Get Out of the Southwest Chief’s Way But Totally Won’t.

Then we’ve got the cool stories about blackmail, the famous Piss-Trump kompromat. Yeah, nothing reminiscent of the Hastert thing there, or possibly similar to Roy Moore’s political relationship to Alabama’s business elite. The same assholes who got blindsided, or so they say, by J. Denny Dundiddly and Gadsden Lovin’ are sure that the most unabashedly louche president anyone can remember is vulnerable to Kremlin blackmail because he was videotaped getting off while a couple of hookers peed on a hotel bed.

A couple of questions come to mind here. First, who the fuck is Christopher Steele? He sounds like the pen name of a third-rate potboiler spy novelist with a first-rate drinking problem. Does he exist? Did the guy playing him ever work for the clandestine services? Is he a mercenary crisis actor, or is he a glory-whoring fabulist? Nobody has produced the fucking pee tape. Nobody has even produced a forgery purporting to show King Bigly and the Honeypot Rent Harem defiling the sacred one-time marriage bed of his predecessor. Plenty of people have fabricated ridiculous stories to position themselves under the glow of much lesser glories. Maybe the bastard is who he says he is and did what he says he did, but we can’t exactly believe him or anyone associated with him. His supposed employers, Her Majesty’s Spying Limeys, are some of the most incorrigible liars and dissemblers on earth. They’re a bit on the ridiculous side, but the idea that they’d keep some washed-up Oxbridge decoder ring wannabe with an unsubstantiated story about a video showing some whores wetting a bed on their international A Team is strictly for public consumption. One way or another, they’re punking us with this fool.

The Democrats used to lose elections honorably. Nobody really had great hopes for Mondale or Dukakis. Gore was reluctant to challenge the results of a blatantly corrupt election in Florida, by some accounts because he’d been advised that being a sore loser who brought the Brooks Brothers Rioters into the disrepute that they deserved was not the way to secure a feeding spot at the retirement trough. My man Long Face acted like, well, I tried, but shucks. He failed me and a whole lot of other hopeful Democratic voters, but he didn’t dishonor us.

2016 was the first time that the Democrats dredged up a ridiculous foreign scapegoat for their failures. It figures that they did this after trying and failing to force the pack to eat a sickening helping of their dog food on behalf of their raging bitch of a candidate. It figures that they did this after their scandal-plagued disaster of a queen failed to follow up her party coronation with campaign stops in the Midwestern swing states everyone with a lick of sense knew she needed to win, managing to lose the Electoral College in spite of a national popular vote lead in the millions. The Clintons have always had a loose relationship with the truth, but under Bill this relationship was cordial enough. Under Hillary it’s frostier than a February dawn in Vladivostok. He was the irresistibly charming Arkie son of a bitch; she is the repulsively charmless ice queen who’s bitter towards her husband for being a chronic adulterer, bitter towards Mocha Haole for beating her the first time around (“that man,” as Bill is said to refer to him), bitter towards Bernie for nearly beating her even though her operatives tipped the scales, and bitter towards the Donald for having the unexpected amateur’s horse sense to actually pull off a victory as a first-time candidate for public office.

If anyone would blame Kremlin mind control for a political loss, it would be this grotesque hag and her sycophants. The disreputable response is a function of a disreputable candidate and campaign. These losers lose sorely because they’re sore losers. Their form is too disordered to permit normal functioning.

It can’t be that they fucked up an already weak and shitty campaign; it must have been long-distance Russian brainwashing. The voters who got Trump over the top can’t have had rational or coherent reasons for voting for him and against Clinton; they must have been feebleminded enough to fall for a mind control campaign run by junior political operatives engaged in nothing worse than rude internet chatter. America was already great; there’s no way a sensible American could have thought otherwise, no way that a savvy political outsider could have tapped into the formerly unexpressed grievances of an aggrieved public by hammering on a catchy four-word campaign slogan. Russians must have convinced them that the United States had some kind of unresolved class problem, just as the damn pink Soviets were the only reason why anyone thought the midcentury United States had a race or civil rights problem.

Surely it was the Russians who fabricated the sexual assault allegations against George Takei to interfere with his meme warfare, not anyone who was still personally upset with George Takei for having sexually assaulted him. If that horseshit can be proof positive that the victor didn’t legitimately win the presidential election, surely it can be reasonable doubt for a sexual assault case in the court of public opinion.

Joe McCarthy sincerely regarded the Soviet Union as a menace to his country, not to his party or his career. That’s the difference between honest paranoia and the sorest losers ever endlessly grinding a political ax. These shitheads don’t care who or what they destroy as long as they either come out on top or, barring that, find a way to take cheap revenge on their proliferating enemies.

Fuck the Democratic Party. It has to either be reclaimed by decent people or allowed to convulse its way to its belated death. I can’t stand popcorn, but if I can’t vote it back from its current eighth circle of hell land of make-believe, I’ll be glad to grab a cup of coffee and maybe some hash browns and pull up a chair.

A fella cain’t hardly take it no moore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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