Don’t fence me out

Funny thing: telling voters that their hometowns, the places where their families have lived for generations beyond living memory in some cases, have arbitrarily been slated for depopulation and that it is their sacrosanct civic duty to shut the fuck up, cut the nostalgia, get with the program, retrain at their own expense for jobs of the future that may not still be available when they get out of school, and relocate, also at their own expense, to some costly part of the country where they have no friends or family is a losing political proposition. It raises hackles in the heartland. Angry voters who very sensibly believe that their communities and their very survival are under imminent threat vote against it.

Sheltered centrist idiots who have spent a generation or two shitting on these same voters and communities can’t for the life of them imagine what provoked these sore losers to vote for Donald Trump. The lack of empathy here is hard to believe. Intellectually I’m perfectly well aware of how arrogant the yuppie swarm gets when challenged, but I’m still blown away to hear it or hear about it. It’s apparently a total, absolute inability to understand how or why the same voters and communities that they’ve been shitting on for two generations, ever more violently by the year, would want to put a stop to the depredation and would rationally vote for the candidate who explicitly promised to restore their communities to health and prosperity. They can’t imagine that these voters didn’t fully trust the good faith of Hillary Clinton, the her of #WithHer, a woman who had been directly involved in yuppie depredations going back to the seventies, was hesitant to engage with blue-collar voters, and couldn’t hide her contempt when she did comment on their plight. Now that this constituency has cost them their prized election, they can’t refrain from trying to shame these same voters into belated compliance by accusing them of voting against Hillary due to their rank racial and sexual bigotry, since it’s obviously impossible that their woke slay queen alienated them with blatant, open personal insults in the course of bitterly complaining about their lack of enthusiasm for her campaign.

Wisconsin may have been off the schedule, but these good Democrats are always up for a vacation back to their favorite part of Ohio: Whinesburg. Ooh, call Engine 51; you just got burned! As cheap as that was, I can pretty well guarantee that anything the centrists would think up in response would be completely fucking lame. Trump’s “Little Rocket Man” is fun. “Nothingburger” bores the sweet everloving shit out of anyone normal.

Right there we have a critical weakness in Clintonworld. If voters assume that they’re about to get ripped a new one regardless, why shouldn’t they go for the class clown who will distract them with crude jokes instead of the tattletale valedictorian and class president who’s always salty that she isn’t more popular with the misfits? Of course, there’s always the smart kid in the back of the classroom who didn’t have a lot to say but stood up for the loner scapegoats when bullies picked on them and seemed to get along well enough with most of the class. Surely this is one of the reasons why voters admire and trust Bernie Sanders: even if politics are still a glorified high school popularity contest, they’ve got someone stepping up to the plate who seems to transcend the bullshit, a basically normal person who focuses on serious issues like an adult instead of taking a side and stoking the communal unrest while the jocks and the nerds scheme to murder one another.

The Democrats couldn’t tolerate anyone so principled. They couldn’t even countenance him as the running mate on a ticket that he would have singlehandedly won for its divisive principal. They just had to take on that weird dork Tim Kaine and keep trying to humiliate Bernie while he barnstormed for them and their obscenely wealthy, widely hated ex-first lady kept plotting her revenge-of-the-nerds fantasies. They had to ineptly fume at their clownish opponent and, worse, his voters about how consummately meritocratic they were when they couldn’t even come up with serviceable retorts to his playground insults, let alone ignore them and get the debate back on topic. You know, like normal adults.

It’s the damnedest thing, but certain key constituencies didn’t take kindly to their constant belittlement by a sheltered clique of bitter try-hards. They didn’t enjoy being lectured about their bigotry and backwardness by neurotic, hypocritical, goody-two-shoes grifters who would never be sated no matter how much wealth and power they seized. They find it ridiculous, at best, to watch affluent centrist dipshits get triggered when Trump makes fun of Mika Brzezinski for looking like shit after a bad facelift. How in hell would they be able to afford facelifts? They can’t afford dental checkups.

It shouldn’t be too hard to find the decency and the self-control not to make fun of constituencies whose votes one hopes to win. Feeling genuine empathy for them should do the trick. Bernie sympathizes with industrial workers, current ones for doing honest labor well, laid-off and disabled ones for having run into bad luck while trying to make an honest living, and it comes through. He instinctively knows how to talk to and listen to hard hats. He gets their kitchen table concerns and the tricky nuances involved. He doesn’t blurt out that “we” are gonna put a bunch of coal miners out of work, even though he knows that the industry is on the skids and that mass layoffs come with the territory. He recognizes that good leadership requires working around company town busts, and that that’s always complicated and difficult. Plenty of people who’ve lived their whole lives in Appalachian coal towns very much want to diversify their economies so that they stop being dependent on the whims and uncontrollable commodity cycles of the coal industry. They trust Sanders for meeting them well more than halfway.

The Donald comes at industrial policy from a cruder, simpler, and frankly more ridiculous stance. He’s the guy who’s gonna fuck up everyone who took your job and make someone put you back to work. Most people in and around the coal industry know that this isn’t too damn likely, since they’re a lot savvier than coastal reporters and editors tend to gather on their occasional prole-whispering tours, but they also know that the thing about a Hail Mary pass is that it might, against the odds, be completed. Besides, there’s probably something to be gained by having a rough guy go rattle the cages of globalist elites and see what he can shake out of them.

It is not, then, irrational or self-destructive to vote for a man one considers a vulgar clown with no attention span because he seems to have his heart more or less in the right place and against a famously detail-oriented social climber because she seems to have her heart firmly in the wrong place. Frankly, Hillary Clinton did better with young people and minorities than I expected. That is, she established more popular credibility than I expected, far more credibility than I was willing to grant her at my most sympathetic. I expected more of Hillary’s supposed base to defect to Trump in an effort to protect their own economic self-interest. Hillary’s lack of gratitude to this base for turning out really rubs me the wrong way, and I can’t imagine that it hasn’t been damaged the Democratic Party’s overall reputation.

The Democratic strategists, the numbers nerds, knew where the disaffected voters were: specifically, in hella swing states. They knew that a bunch of Midwestern states that are always up for grabs were once again up for grabs. Knowing this, Hillary could have stumped in Wisconsin. Instead, she went to three performances of Hamilton. She didn’t have the time to tell Midwesterners living and voting today what she was planning to do for them, but she had plenty of time for encores of a trendy Broadway rap opera about what certain politically correct elements like to call dead white males. Engaged, independent-minded voters in the Midwest must be looking on like, what the fuck, man.

It’s perfectly reasonable, prudent, in fact, to wonder what the talented tenth wants to do with, or to, the teeming masses of provincial losers. I have a bachelor’s degree and no debt, and I just barely feel safe from their direct depredations. I have marketable craft and trade skills, too, and these seem pretty close to worthless in socioeconomic terms. It’s inevitable that the neoliberals will move the goalposts again, probably after they’ve successfully marketed their way into a STEM trainee glut.

Those of us left behind have been described as the “Unnecessariat.” The idea is that we’re surplus and irrelevant and therefore should be left to our own devices, to flounder. A darker, but no less credible, assessment is that our betters want us to go to hell and die. The link above includes some alarming maps of suicide and drug overdose epidemics. These are obviously true crises devastating large regions of the country. It should come as no surprise that voters in many of the affected counties supported Donald Trump. That’s the least they could do to rebuke the neoliberal order and the Wellesley-Yale yuppie trying to brightside them into continuing to support it.

The things that national and transnational elites have done to many of these communities are the stuff of civil wars. We’re all lucky that the devastation of these places hasn’t provoked systemic insurrection or guerrilla violence, but it would be hard to blame people for taking up arms when their hometowns are in the grip of deliberately engineered social collapses verging on genocide. The language and intellectual framework of international human rights policy really are apt and useful here. The neoliberal masters of the universe would rather not have to send in tanks stateside, but they most certainly are scheming to force the removal and internal displacement of vulnerable minorities from their hometowns. It’s no defense that these minorities happen to be majority-white and distinguished mainly by class, not indelible ethnic or racial markers. It’s still absolutely inexcusable.

Liberalism, as it has come to be construed over the past thirty or so years, doesn’t offer a fucking thing to the victims of this patchwork Trail of Tears. (Sick sidenote: more than a few of the white victims of the current dispossession campaign have significant Cherokee blood. #RaceTogether.) It offers sexual liberation on condition of chronic exposure to homelessness and starvation; fuck whom you like as you like, but go to hell if you expect to somehow get three hots and a cot out of this deal without enlisting in the armed forces. Don’t expect the universe to hand you enough money to afford car repairs, medical care, or food just because you work yourself to the bone every week, you whining ingrate.

This is a flagrantly illiberal regime. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness: great, looks like we’re three for three in the foreclosure of human development in a country that was founded on that very proposition and continues to overflow with grievously misallocated wealth. This is a grotesque scandal.

And sexual liberation? Lol jk, you have to ask for explicit consent every fucking step of the way, all the way up to the actual fucking, or risk being accused of rape for making clumsy, artless moves on some club skank. Unless you’re a sexy scumbag, that is; in that case, you’ve got your license to grope a bitch. A decent person is hopeless to navigate this minefield of disorder, dysfunction, and burgeoning dysgenic horror, but an indecent person is in great shape.

Alcohol inevitably fits into this equation most uncomfortably. Americans have had a plainly insane relationship with alcohol for over a century and a half, in addition to our recurrently weird sexual hangups. If we were just privately dysfunctional that would be our unfortunate private problem, but we make public policy on the basis of this dysfunction. Alcohol has been used to catalyze sexual trysts for as long as there has been alcohol, but we’re really fucking touchy about both, so hoo boy, we’ve got trouble. We have an exceptionally louche celebrity culture and more than our share of alcoholics, many of them trying to ape that culture, but we also have a huge cottage industry of rape panic, very little of it focused on actual threats of actual rape. Brock Turner committed a true rape, but he can’t hold a candle to the sexual predation of Daniel Holtzclaw, and rather few of those who got swept up in the Turner thing seem to know the first thing about the Holtzclaw scandal, or to care.

I can’t shake the feeling that much of the outrage over Turner came from women who secretly wanted him to not exactly rape them but at least give them a good hard dominant fucking. Don’t get me wrong; I never thought the guy looked particularly handsome or charming, but I can see how he might, so I can definitely see some room for sexually repressed dipshits to project onto him and use him as their scapegoat for sins of the flesh. He may have had that almost sickly pale white look and been straying dangerously close to that classically sexy Lynn Majors hairstyle, but he was on an elite university swim team, and that’s almost as fuckable as the lax boys who captivated the Hall and Oates Effect bitch what’s-her-name who roomed with Charlotte Simmons. Nah, on second thought, Brock didn’t do that shabby, half-assed high-and-tight thing on top while letting it all hang out in the back, so I guess he had that going for him, but still.

Sexy male nurse Lynn Majors memes are still an improvement to the American sexual discourse. It’s that deadly. All these irresistible liberties are dangled in front of us, just beyond our reach. We’re allowed to indulge in theory, but in practice we lack either the time, the money, or the social skills to take advantage of them, and we’re liable to be punished arbitrarily for some trifling misstep or bit of forwardness while some total asshole gets off Scot free for everything shy of indecent exposure and public lewdness in the same trashy nightclub. Meanwhile women, especially, but maybe also men are supposedly unable to give any consent whatsoever to sex acts when they’re so much as mildly drunk, as if the average clubber goes out to stay sober or gets drunk to stay chaste.

There’s no coherence or principle to this regime. The cultural mainstream of sexual liberation in the United States is still decisively on the side of public loucheness under conditions of moderately diminished capacity; sober, thoughtful consent is for prostitutes, and so is not getting the damn clap every few weeks. No car salesman or military recruiter worth a damn would execute a contract with someone who showed up drunk, but the nightlife scene is deliberately set up to blur the lines between sobriety and intoxication, between reality and fantasy. Hey hey hey!

If we all assumed normal adult competency and ethics, adjusted for intoxication levels, this might be a manageable arrangement, but we’re beset with busybodies who insist that, especially where the fairer sex is concerned, there is no middle ground of competency between stone cold sobriety and Rob Ford muttering himself to sleep in an increasingly slurred and incoherent screed about the Jamaicans while the cocaine inevitably wears off and by the way Mark Saunders is second-in-command of the police force.

There’s always a middle class somewhere not that far off in the background, trying to make the center somehow hold. Or, in the US case, maybe there isn’t one. Let’s maybe not count on things that aren’t fully present and accounted for, how about that.

Cultural liberalism isn’t a slam-dunk in a country as traditionally religiously preoccupied as the United States, but paired with an economic platform that doesn’t beggar workaday people so that the already obscenely successful and wealthy may continue to gorge themselves, it’s somewhat within reach. For one thing, the working class in flyover country bristles at religiously tinged meddling in its sex and domestic lives by intrusive landlords, bosses, social workers, and the like.

So what does NPR do? Why, it flies a crew out to Muncie to brownnose factory owners while they complain about how the applicant pool is nothing but lowdown druggies. Everywhere it fucking goes, House Voice sniffs out the local yuppies and sucks up to them. This is what we get for allowing people who’ve known nothing but success and acclaim to run everything for us.

These assholes can’t imagine that struggling communities in forgotten, out-of-the-way places and the people trying to get by in them deserve some space to find their way and also some help when they ask for it: that is, the opposite of letting the company close the factory down and fire everyone without consequence and then telling the locals to pack up and abandon the lives they’ve struggled to build. They’re fine with “redevelopment” scams for the center-right and “revitalization” scams for the half-assed center-left, but they can’t brook any arrangement that doesn’t have some Boss Hogg or Elmer Gantry or yuppie asswipe wielding the whip hand over the most vulnerable and helpless.

How can I, a Palo Alto native and proud Californian, insist that these forgotten, godforsaken places in the hard interior deserve to exist and endure? Because it’s wrong to arbitrarily tell another person where to live. Because it’s wrong to destroy communities. Affluent people from the coasts and the big cities are free to buy getaways in the interior fairly; they have no right to have the natives run out like so many besieged Indians so that they can later snap up their abandoned property at fire-sale prices. That’s completely fucking wrong. Quiet resentment of losers in flyover country for actually having intact communities instead of loose, unreliable networks scattered across a multinational yuppie archipelago is no excuse. Cowboy the hell up and admit that the losers are clinging for dear life to something worth cherishing.

This is all easier said than done. Look at what the neoliberal ratfuckers did to New Orleans after Katrina, scattering the poor to Baton Rouge and Atlanta and Houston to more smoothly turn the husk of their city, the only place many of them had ever known, into a Cajun-Creole-ass tourist theme park. Look at what’s being done to Detroit, with all the whiteys rolling in from the suburbs while still registering their cars at Mom and Dad’s place back in Grosse Pointe to save on the insurance while amazingly not noticing the existence of black people in a city that’s ninety percent black and Kwesi Millington for Sheriff. Well, I’ll be shocked! Ray Nagin’s Chocolate City grandstanding was obnoxious, but conceiving of Detroit, of all places, as a Whitey Rez is batshit fucking insane and rather pernicious, even at a myopic neighborhood level. Like, do you motherfuckers have any idea of who has been living there? Any idea at all? For fuck’s sake, one of the black Detroit homicide detectives on The First 48 was raised in Hamtramck, which actually was Honkytown for a long time and still has more of a community than a Community.

It’s about time that I did some capitalization. Hell, the cracker contingent in Camden doesn’t erase anyone who doesn’t mind being around some damn drugs. Wasn’t no white people up in that motherfucker before the dope started shipping, or so goes the word on the street, but drugs were what integrated the West End of Sacramento before Brown v. Board of Education, too. #TeshTips: Alcohol is a drug. Why do we have more racial comity and goodwill from nihilistic dipshits who are chasing bad dope sets into the ghetto than from sober, stably employed bougies? Probably because they, unlike the gentrifiers, so cherish their drugs that they don’t mind living in the ghetto (in the ghetto) to get them. Elvis was against drugs when he wasn’t holed up in Graceland taking drugs, but at least the old boy ate well, and if you’re gonna die young, that’s the way to do it.

Drugs, amazingly enough, are a positive reason to move somewhere new. Best chicken in Camden, as the cops say when they figure that it’s futile to keep chasing junkies around the hood and they might as well just drive around until end of watch. Hey, it works for the California Highway Patrol when the lieutenant hasn’t approved an hour and a half straight on the clock at the Truckee Starbucks. I must grudgingly admit that gentrification scams are also a positive reason to move somewhere new. The arts district may be a gaping existential void, and it’d be a horror show to see who all they drove out of the neighborhood and where they drove them, but I generally avoid considering it my problem unless the yuppies are seriously fucking up Sacramento. (Spoiler: they are.)

What’s not a positive reason to leave town is that hostile outside forces shut down the mill and it’s just about impossible to make a living. That’s coercive, and coercion is inimical to liberty. Good luck explaining this to right-libertarians, but it’s true.

How crazy or pie-in-the-sky am I to assert that any legitimate liberal project would strive to eliminate this sort of economic coercion from citizens’ lives? Am I nuts to claim that this is the only way for liberalism to be electorally viable? FDR might not have carried on so about bottle rats at nightclubs when he had secretaries to bang, but this much he would have seconded wholeheartedly.

Let’s flip the script. How many bricks would be shit if the hip urban elements of the yuppie swarm were arbitrarily dispossessed and told that the Economy had moved to South Bend and Lincoln, which by the way had just seen the cost of housing multiply by a factor of five? Those are both cities that I’ve ridden through on the train and mean to visit before long, and Lincoln apparently has a labor market that isn’t in the toilet. The yuppie swarm would still be up in arms, and rightly so. It would be wrong to tell a bunch of people, okay, we just wrecked Brooklyn for shits and giggles, so you have to move to Nebraska at your own expense if you want to stay above water, and tough shit if you’re broke.

It’s just as wrong to tell people who’ve spent their whole lives in Crete or Friend or Youngstown or Flint that they have to pack up and move to one of a handful of overpriced hot markets on the coasts if they want to have a chance of not being completely ruined by hostile forces that are deliberately wrecking their local economies and public infrastructure for the easy profit. If the Democratic Party were actually liberal, there’d be no need to spell any of this out, and likewise if the Republican Party were actually conservative, but thievery isn’t an ideology.

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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.

Lolita on the Courthouse Steps

Sweet mussiful Lawd, O’Hara, I do reckon that our old boy Roy done goofed with his fancy for the young thangs.

Proud Damn Yankee that I am, I’m not one to insist that Roy Moore, courthouse jailbait enthusiast, is too disgraceful a scandal even for the Alabama electorate. I’ve hardly spent any time in Alabama, I can’t think of any Alabamans whom I know at all well, and I’m familiar with the state’s long and enduring history of truly hideous politics. For that matter, I’ve never been particularly bothered by statutory rape per se, due to all the nuances involved (younger vs. older teens, individual maturation, the particular power dynamics, if any, between the teen and the adult, etc.), and as sanctimonious and pushy as Roy Moore can be, I’ve come to find him very much less odious and frightening than Jeff Sessions. All the same, I’ll be surprised if the courthouse kissyface stories don’t significantly weaken Moore’s Senate campaign and not at all surprised if they put Doug Jones over the top.

Roy Moore didn’t stumble into some Chris Hansen honeypot sting. He was a county prosecutor who made moves on a fourteen-year-old girl immediately in front of the courthouse while her mother was inside on official business. This was a blatant abuse of power by a sitting court officer, a glaring failure of self-control and professionalism. A prosecutor who abuses his power in that fashion is a threat to the safety, welfare, and civil rights of adults, not just children. What Moore did is a red flag for rape under color of authority. That’s exactly the sort of predator who can be expected to coerce sex out of civilians by threatening to prosecute them if they resist or promising to drop or reduce charges if they comply. It’s the wellspring of Holtzclaw. We may yet learn that he abused his offices to coerce sex out of adult victims. The aura of statutory rape and ephebophilia is much more salacious, especially to a society as sexually deranged as America, than the rape of streetwalkers or drug suspects. Recall how many of Daniel Holtzclaw’s victims were reluctant to press charges and ended up being tracked down by sex crimes detectives after Jannie Ligons came forward.

Vicious power dynamics such as these are traditional in the Deep South, going straight back to white settlement. The ruling elite in the old cotton belt will gladly prey upon the local white trash if it can’t find a black victim pool, and sometimes it will go after both at once, but of course the most systematic repression has targeted blacks. Roy Moore is not reputed to be a racist, unlike the Third Mr. Jefferson Beauregard Secessions, and the vibe I’ve gotten from him has always been straight-up Bible thumper, not slavedriving bigot. This alone, however, won’t put him in the good graces of black voters. What he did would have gotten a black man lynched. Even today, a black man ineptly trying to seduce white teenage girls would be lucky to get away with his life and his limbs. White voters may not care to think about this, but black voters will certainly notice the white privilege, which for Roy Moore was about as blatant as it gets, and few of them will admire him for taking advantage of his race in that gross fashion. A handful may find him somehow charming or badass, but there’s no way he won’t suffer a net loss of black votes for being exposed as a teen fancier. This is the stuff of burning black resentment, and for compelling and worthy reasons.

The horserace angle here does not look good at all for our horsey-horse boy Roy. He had a natural support base among a wide swath of conservative black evangelical Christians for his ostentatious public commemorations of the Ten Commandments. This is the same constituency that Bernie Sanders openly expected to lose to Hillary Clinton on account of its conservatism. A good old boy who has a reputation for being decent to African-Americans and fame for forcing religions back into the public sphere would normally go over pretty well with the black religious right, which is large and politically engaged enough to determine close elections in much of the South. Even many black evangelical voters who vote against Moore for other reasons are surely supportive of his official displays of piety.

There has already been a groundswell of black political activism and voting in other parts of the South this year, most famously in Virginia but also in Jackson, Mississippi. Moore is running against a former prosecutor who sent Klansmen to jail for racial violence, and now he’s been accused of getting off Scot-free for decades for sexual liberties a sliver of which got Emmett Till murdered. His level of black support is going to plummet next month. Those who don’t merely resent or revile him for his white privilege in tighty whities will think about what he has been allowed to do to white girls and wonder with alarm what in the hell he has gotten away with doing to black girls and women. He may have been in a position to win twenty or thirty percent of the black vote prior to these accusations, although probably somewhat less; now, he’ll be lucky to clear five percent and likelier to win one or two.

Roll Tide Whitey must not be unanimously thrilled with his sexual background, either. White Alabama isn’t just temporarily embarrassed millionaires looking to keep the black man down. It also includes the members of integrated industrial unions and scions of generationally poor families who see Roy Moore as fighting against them in a class war that they always lose. It could have been their daughter that he molested, and they could have been the powerless, humiliated parents cowed by the district attorney’s office. This is a low-turnout constituency, but Doug Jones, an energetic, engaged, savvy campaigner, is likelier than most Democrats to give them a reason to vote.

Then there are the state’s educated transplants, concentrated in the aerospace and auto industries in places such as Huntsville, Birmingham, and Mobile. They’re a small constituency, but they lean Republican and turn out more reliably than the poor. Many of them will be fucking gobsmacked by Roy Moore’s combination of public Christian values grandstanding and private louche come-ons to teenage girls. They’ll look at him as exactly what is wrong with Alabama. They’re trying to build rockets and shit, and meanwhile their party’s candidate for the United States Senate is a ridiculous Gone With The Wind dandy and loudmouth religious scold who likes to pick up high school freshmen in front of the courthouse where he works and take them home to consort with them in their undies.

There’s no making this shit up. Big fucking deal if Lindsey Graham is a genteel closet case, since a bachelor like him doesn’t know the half of what a pain in the ass marriage can be, but this planter sex pest who’s trying to relitigate the Scopes monkey trial and martyr himself before the US Supreme Court in Jesus’ name when he isn’t out ineptly scheming to fuck high school girls who want nothing to do with him is a special kind of Southern freak show. Disgust with his ridiculous hypocrisy won’t completely obliterate Moore’s support among the educated upper middle class, but it’s sure to cause a drop in enthusiasm, and as Hillary Clinton showed, a candidate is just as much of a loser for losing an election through undervoting as for being swamped by the opposition.

It’s hard to say whether the Alabama Republican Party has ever coughed up someone so goddamned ridiculous. Sessions is a classic Dixie disgrace, but he keeps his mouth shut when it counts. Before the courthouse Lolita thing, Moore seemed competent, if vicious. Now he looks like a fucking buffoon, and the party faithful look like dupes for falling for him instead of sending one of the candidates who didn’t try to fool around with teenagers while yelling about cultural conservatism to the general election.

This is way crazier than Trump; Trump never pretended to keep it in his pants. Once again, we have Roy Orbison singing for the horny. Mercy.

Federal Weiner Trap

By the time we rolled into Reno the other morning, Anthony Weiner had rolled into FMC Deviants–I mean, Devens. How do I ever come by such notions? It couldn’t have anything to do with that mandatory Masshole now living in a facility whose population is 40% registered sex offenders.

They act like they’re gonna fix the sorry bastard by stashing him there. Good fucking luck. It would be possible, and indeed historically was exactly the case, to deal with the town perverts by integrating them into a society that naturally put some limits on their perversions. There would still be the occasional hardcore predator who needed to be segregated or killed for society’s protection, but a minor pest could be convinced easily enough to take his shambling act down to the red light district and refrain from darkening the schoolhouse door. The local children, meanwhile, to the extent that anyone even conceived of them as children, could be taught that anyone old enough to form a complete sentence who deliberately associates with such a ridiculous man is a blame fool, let alone someone who is old enough to bear children herself. There’s no guarantee that vigilantes wouldn’t have assassinated a man of Weiner’s character in ye olden days, or that there wouldn’t have been a bloody code straight out of hell at the ready to burn him at the stake for adultery, but there would not have been the bizarre half-punitive, half-quasi-therapeutic prison hospital apparatus that Weiner must endure today, at such great expense to the federal treasury and everyone who funds it. The guy wouldn’t have ended up chargeable to the state for a term of years just for being notoriously dissolute in a bad part of town.

The internet, as chronically enjoyed by Dick Pic Tony, is an exceptionally bad part of town. Parents in decades and centuries past worried about their teenagers going downtown to gawk at the rent boys and the tranny hookers. Parents in the new millennium worry about their teenagers texting out their nude self-portraits and being prosecuted for child pornography. A feeling of outrage and scandal at the discovery that the sexually mature have normal sexual anatomy and function is for busybody idiots, but that never stopped a grandstanding district attorney, or the federal prosecutorial apparatus, for that matter.

Hence the Weiner Trap. Carolina Jailbait was hanging out on virtual skid row, and don’tcha fucking know, she saw some gross shit. Or so we’re told. We’re admonished that she was a mere child, and yet she was old enough to be a successful honeypot for a former US Congressman, apparently without direct, explicit handlers. I don’t suppose that I’d enjoy the unexpected delivery of a picture of Anthony Weiner’s junk, but I’m a straight guy, and I have no basis to know that Carolina Jailbait was or was not so much as grossed out by the sight of Weiner’s wiener. We do know, as a matter of public record, that his precious victim shopped her story around to every seedy two-bit tabloid that showed a flicker of interest. A credible victim with a credible claim of harm would have been likelier to immediately go to the police, or at least to a teacher or guidance counselor, than to repeatedly masturbate by video hookup for a dirty old man and then, upon the sorry fellow’s exposure as an even edgier sex pest than before, go full Daily Mail Story Whore.

And so now they want to fix the bastard by locking him up on a yard full of Jerry Sandusky replicants. For all we know, and God help us, he may be in the midst of baby rapists. A normal, healthy society would never end up with a neighborhood of 40% confirmed sexual deviants. FMC Devens is basically rural Antioch with bars. Antioch, we should keep in mind, was where that creep and his sad sack wife were able to keep Jaycee Dugard for a couple of decades. All the bad shit floats inland in California; feel free to consider Reno a part of my fair state. On the outside, integrated into the general population, Weiner at least had some alternative sexual and social stimuli acting as negative feedbacks, albeit weak ones, on his weirder impulses.

What he has now are certifiable pervs by the full yard and “mental health” and “sex addiction” counselors who are willing to work around hundreds of men like him and worse. The psych staff at that facility are super questionable. They’ve chosen to take up their line of work instead of any of the other options, including the night shift at 7-Eleven and shaking a cup full of loose change in front of the T station. Go ahead and tell me that this staff in no way resembles the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Boston circa 1970-2005, either in composition or in function. Underground sexual minorities naturally form underground communication networks, and pedophilia is pretty deep underground.

My mission here, of course, is to get Charlie off. CHAHLEE! Decent people have suffered grievously from the suppression of homosexuality and prostitution. Those who suffer from the suppression of pedophilia, pedophiles, are a noticeably more indecent lot. There are compelling arguments in favor of forcing the likes of Our Lord’s Servant Gerald to scurry around like sewer rats. With luck, they’ll do less harm that way and be easier to catch.

Putting hundred of them in the same institution under the guidance of staff who choose to work full-time with remanded perverts does not drive the perverts or their perversion underground. If the honor-among-thugs boys wanted to beat the pervs into submission as a public service, as they sometimes do at other institutions, FMC Deviants would have too many of them for a medically healthy population to cow, let alone a grab bag of amputees, diabetics, diabetic amputees, congestive heart failure cases, and other medical unfortunates. What are they gonna do? Have Raj Rajaratnam sit on a creep? Not a hell of a lot of clean paper floating around that joint, big guy.

Anthony Weiner has a weird-ass fetish that would have been utterly impossible a century ago. It might have been barely feasible by fax, a Depression-era technology; any earlier and Weiner would have been a loser sitting around in his bachelor pad surrounded by piles of dirty magazines. Prostitution sounds healthier every sentence. Seriously, the guy’s e-flashing might abate itself if he were just boning hos every night. I’m not into neuroscience (STEM!) or philosophy enough to say for sure that it’s possible to rewire the mind of such a freak, but it would be worth a try. Instead, he’s been sentenced to a sausage fest that will be leavened only by some of the guards, psychologists, social workers, and whatever the fuck else the BOP has the budget to hire in a futile effort to reprogram dirty old men as obedient eunuchs. From that perspective, the saving grace would be the lady guards and shrinks sexing the inmates. Everything else that they’d think to do to the guys would be worse, for everyone, both inside the prison and out. Momma’s got a squeezebox, etc.

Look at it this way: every minute that Anthony Weiner is boning a guard is a minute that he isn’t thinking wistfully with all his mind and all his soul about distracting a tenth-grader from her pre-calc homework and/or Instagram account. Sure, it’s against the rules, but a gigantic shitload of practices that might make our hellscape of a country more livable are against the rules. Paying a squad of slutty guards to take cock all watch would be a waste of taxpayer money, but so is paying shrinks to talk Dick Pic Tony into no longer enjoying electronic junk shots. If we weren’t looking to waste taxpayer money, maybe we’d shut down most of the federal prison system. Maybe we’d empty and close the Gulag Archipelago. Kolyma or Coleman, that’s exactly what it is.

We’ve got a few truly hard cases in Florence Admax who actually need to be in prison: Shoes Go Boom, Mr. Explodeypants, the ex-guard from FCI Danbury who got jealous over his jailbird lover and went around paying for hits on romantic rivals. This doesn’t explain what the hell anyone is gaining from Rod Blagojevich’s twelve-year membership in the Rocky Mountain Club. The correctional unions don’t count; their members are free to seek other lines of work, and it’s political intransigence and malice, not fiscal incapacity, that keeps us from expanding public assistance to a scope that would easily absorb every laid-off prison employee. Our state and federal governments have had overwhelming success in their efforts to order civilians not to be Ariel Castro for a living. There are no technical obstacles to their holding prison staff to the same standards of basic human decency. The problems we face here are political.

My Id found it disappointing not to watch Dick Pic Tony enter his assigned sausage shop. The Rod Unspared looked about as comfortable as anyone in his circumstances could have hoped to feel going through the narrow gate into his new home on the range. J. Denny Dundiddly’s grand entrance wasn’t as much fun, but it was fun enough to feature his bumping his wheelchair into a fucking curb. It would have been fun to watch the Weiner slip into his new hole (giggity), but they’re keeping him at the back end of a private access road or some shit.

This is mainly a prurient interest, but it isn’t exclusively. We deserve to be faced with what we, as a society, do to our convicts, and a small part of me hopes that we might actually learn that what we’re doing to them is evil. For every hardened criminal like Larry Silverstein that we’re trying to segregate for our own safety, we have hundreds, if not thousands, of prisoners who are frankly harmless. The fact that so many of them are allowed to surrender peacefully is a sign that we have no business locking them up.

Certainly not for years at a time. There are predatory criminals who would be reformed by a few weeks or months in prison, but the way we operate our judicial systems is deep into the diminishing returns. Who exactly will think twice about running a Ponzi scheme just because Bernie Madoff won his lifetime membership in the Butner Jewish Gentlemen’s Kaffeeklatsch? Hell, the only reliable way to go to prison for monkey business at Wells Fargo is to rob a branch. Bernie Madoff with the money of a bunch of other Jews. He ran a classic affinity fraud. There’s no jailing a society’s way out of affinity.

At some point, we really have to just suck it up and tell damned fools to stop being so fucking gullible. At some point we have to just tell teenagers that they’re likely to come across some gross shit online, and encourage them not to live their entire lives online. Nobody’s clawing the Madoff money back; excluding what little has already been clawed back, it’s all been spent. We might make the crook do some honest labor now and then as a very partial restitution to society; instead, we’re paying him to sit around drinking coffee and chatting with Jonathan Pollard in a rec room that is at once quite shabby and obscenely expensive.

We gain nothing by punishing con men for ripping off the affluent (and the downright wealthy) of some less than catastrophic portion of their personal wealth. There is a fairly spacious middle ground between actual impunity and a hundred-year bid at Coleman, but we’re too vicious and pigheaded to imagine it. We’re too dense to imagine a regime that deters financial crime without sending an occasional scapegoat to prison for life, or to imagine one that keeps vulnerable people from losing their life’s savings while also encouraging affluent fools on the warpath for that wicked alpha to check out some FDIC-insured products, dawg.

By the way, Club Fed does not actually exist. It’s a fabrication propagated by a sophomorically clever writer and some lazy editors. The United States has luxury prisons in the same way that the Shits-Carlton is a chain of hotels. Andrew Chan had tennis court privileges at Kerobokan, too. I hear he’s doing great now that he’s back home in Australia.

Threading the needle with the camel

Questions of whether the New York Times has a moral thrust, a set of values that it cherishes and encourages its readers to cultivate, are left bafflingly unanswered by Sunday essays like this one. The Grey Lady devotes incalculable volumes of newsprint to brutally detailed exposés of evil and concurrent exhortations to respond to the discovery of evil by turning away from evil and affirmatively doing good, and then it runs an insipid hot take gone lukewarm about how it’s totally impossible to avoid doing business with Amazon. I can personally disprove the indispensibility of Amazon, as I have never bought a thing from it in my life. My parents responded to an exposé of Amazon’s toxic head office culture by placing a standing special order with a natural foods grocer fifty miles from their house for the coffee that they had been buying direct from the roaster in British Columbia, solely because the roaster uses Amazon for its retail shipments.

These are inconveniences, but they aren’t hardships. The coffee was a bit pricey by direct shipment; now it’s maybe half again more expensive, but still a reasonable deal for the quality, which is exceptional. Someone has to drive close to a hundred miles round trip to pick it up, but we’ve got occasion to be around Saratoga Springs on a regular basis anyway, and I jump at any excuse to get out of the family compound for a few hours.

This is the extent of the inconvenience that we endure in order to boycott Amazon for shipments to one of the most remote ZIP Codes in the United States. It’s no reason to whine, even if my parents are out of their minds to have retired where they did. Statistically, their domicile is not mainstream; the geography of the median American household is something like a second-ring suburb, not a lake house twenty-odd miles into a state park the size of the Massachusetts with a year-round population of well under two hundred thousand. The drive to the store is too long? Cry me the mouth of the Hudson, Henry.

Richard Conniff, though, is all like, omg the independent book store is so far away and so expensive. What a whiny bitch. Must I dial the wambulance on whine one one? He half-ass self-deprecatingly admits that it’s a lame excuse, but if he’s in the business of writing about ethics, he should do better than that. It’s pretty simple, dude: do you give a shit, or don’t you? If you do care, follow your conscience; if you don’t, shut the hell up and give the rest of us the headspace to discern our own.

Actually, STFU is sage counsel for the fellow either way. Those of us who don’t have our heads up our asses (considering the proliferating styles sections, not a given) can tell that the gentleman has a vocation to public silence by his discussion of his bitchin’ portfolio:

I can’t swear off heating oil just yet, but I can support the fossil fuel divestment campaign, which has persuaded institutions worth $5.5 trillion to shed at least some fossil fuel investments. I can also divest individually, in my retirement account, with the help of socially responsible mutual funds….

Cue jackoff motion in lieu of further excerpting of this horseshit. One gets the drift, and the drift gets the author’s floater of a mind. This motherfucker claims to live in Connecticut and Maine, and also wherever. I tend to doubt that this refers to a walk-up studio in New Haven and another walk-up in Portland with some fun train time in between. We’re talking country houses here: camps, shanties, whatever the hell the wealthy enjoy calling them downeast and shit. And M’Lord is already on the record as being too much of a lazy, whiny little bitch to look into alternative methods of heating. Driving to the indy bookseller is le hard, so no way will he be caught on some ISO website using the fuel mix graphics to trace his utility hookup back to half a dozen power plants in an effort to ballpark the environmental responsibility of using electric space heaters in his houses. Not this simpering, kvetching, apathetic little snot.

Inevitably, the twit finds it impossible to actually do anything about his own fossil fuel use, say, by not spending the winters heating a mansion in New England, but finds it perfectly believable that he can pay some FIRE sector hustler to rig a mirror array in the smoke to somehow cut off capital to the same industry that he can’t stop patronizing as a retail customer. This, we’re told, is social responsibility. No shit is this earnest dumbass talking up murky mutual funds that supposedly combine the return on investment of an antebellum plantation with the social consciousness and attendant groovy shit of the stoner basket weaving industry in Vermont. This fuckhead lives in a world in which this ridiculous conceit isn’t so much possible as it is a nice idea that we should all work to reify by imagining it, and if it’s that groovy, it’s obviously at a woke yuppie’s disposal; talk to your broker.

Conniff operates at the intellectual level of, man, like, dude, man, let’s manifest some shit, cool shit, dude. Volkswagen, a noted manufacturer of prolemobiles since Hitler’s time, is able to dry-lab a huge lot of emissions data in order to sell more crappy cars to the budget people, but it’s obvious that no one in the financial advising industry or anywhere upstream of the dividends on the Fortune 500 side of the operation has either the incentive or the ability to sweep corporate scandals under the rug in the course of fattening accounts for the portfolio people.

It’s axiomatic that the Boomers deserve and can therefore actually realize above-market returns by sitting on ass and letting their fund managers find corporations that turn consistent 12% profits by never committing a single labor or environmental abuse. Remember, this is the Times. This is a land in which unicorns shit rainbows all the live-long day. Providence surely has something to offer the good readers that is super lucrative and also not possibly problematic enough to consider renouncing, and no, I am not referring to anything that was ever governed by Buddy Cianci.

Looking behind the curtain to figure out the magic trick would be a real downer, man. Let’s think about groovy shit instead, like fat IRA’s. This is very much how Mixups in my Mind enjoys the mixup in his mind that he can somehow manifest a life without disruptive behavioral problems, in part by having others of us pay to replace stuff that he broke during his fits. It’s all good. I mean, it must all be good.

Arrested Development had an interesting comment about magic: “It’s not a trick, Michael, it’s an illusion! A trick is something a whore does for money!” I don’t know why I thought of that. Surely the editors and publishers of our highest-circulation newspapers have better insights than that. They wouldn’t just put their hands over their eyes and pretend that my IRA, currently worth $6,500 on contributions of less than two grand, got that way through painstakingly hidden Millington for Sheriff situations on one to three continents, let alone that there’s something about the portfolios of much wealthier retirees who buy the paper every Sunday, something that Honest Abe would have encouraged his broker to research but that John Fremont and Frederick Douglass might have denounced. They’re newspapermen; they do nothing of the sort.

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Say, that isn’t a camel, or thread or a needle, and I think that stuff is from all different parts of the Bible. Any of you white motherfuckers wanna get on a lot more than the train for free? No idea why I thought of that, either, but I hear they’ve got some woke as fuck funds that will have you flying the W for decades. That Madoff fellow over in North Carolina–I mean, New York–he had great returns, too. I wonder what happened to him. Or his customers.

I know, I know, I have a portfolio, too. Through my most grievous, etc. But I’d like to think that I have a modicum of humility and insight to go with it, so until we convene again: Be Well, Do Good Work, and Choke on Dick.