Monthly Archives: March 2020

The So Yer Living Outta Yer Car Cookbook Pt. 2: Seafood Friday

I long for the more innocent days when it was safe to go outside and live in your car. Nevertheless, a rice cooker also works indoors.

Writers Without Money

What I made for dinner tonight. What I made for dinner tonight.

After the astonishing popularity and success of my previous article about my rice cooker and how to cook cheap on the go, it seemed like a waste not to do a second recipe. Tonight’s recipe is inspired by the fact that giant bags of frozen bay scallops were on sale at the grocery store.

So the key to tonight’s recipe is to create a sort of low fat gravy to flavor all the vegetables and especially the scallops. While scallops usually are cooked with butter in a pan, I’ve developed ways to get the most out of them in a rice cooker or similar steaming device.

Most of the ingredients are common and should be in anyone’s house or car.

Recipe #2:

This recipe is mostly done in the stage where the first wave of raw ingredients is initially put in with the rice…

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The So Yer Living Outta Yer Car Cookbook

I bought a 15 dollar rice cooker on Amazon a few weeks ago. I literally cannot imagine ever having lived without it. Brown rice is now my staple of choice.

Writers Without Money

So you don’t feel so hot about this civilization thing and want to live on the cheap for a while. Happens to a lot of us. Sometimes in a 20 year old car that’s falling apart. But that doesn’t mean you have to eat shitty road food.

Do better and live better. Two words: rice cooker. I have gotten rid of all other cooking implements, judging them inferior.

Easy to run in the car so long as you have a power inverter to run out of the cigarette lighter.

It’s a device of deceptive simplicity. There’s only one knob: cook or warm. If you have a steamer basket for it you can cook pretty much any vegetables you want in around 5 minutes. If you’re living out of your car, that means going to the grocery store and buying whatever loose vegetables in the grocery store you want to…

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You Call Yourself a Moderate Because You’re Too Much of A Pussy To Call Yourself An Asshole

It was unbelievably obvious months away from the primaries what the Russian/GOP plan to take down Biden was. They’re gonna hammer him with ads about his son, Burisma, and the probably legitimate #metoo accusations he carries around like some token validating he’s actually a boomer. These things provide enough cover for center-right cowards to vote for Trump out of moral equivocation and cowardice.

And that’s Joe Biden’s fault. And the fault of all those people who insisted he was the safe choice despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary that was directly in front of their faces.

If Joe Biden actually gave a shit about anything besides himself, he would’ve dropped out long ago. He has no leadership to provide in this crisis, and the simulacra of leadership he’s attempted to provide has just been a pale shadow composed of ambition, poorly mimicking what Bernie Sanders has done out of conviction.

When Weimar Germany collapsed, the accepted leaders of Jewish community made the decision to pursue a program that could theoretically preserve the possibility their children might lead the same mediocre middle class existences they’d been privileged to experience.

This despite the overt overtures of the ascendant Nazi regime to have them and their children exterminated in gas chambers so they could profit on their tooth fillings.

Joe Biden, not being Jewish, does not recognize the existential threat in the offing. He thinks by virtue of his having been there when things were boring, he can make things boring again. Bernie Sanders understands that the rich will not stop at genocide if there’s money to be made. History has shown us this too many times for your “centrism” or “moderate” stance to play as anything besides ignorance or cowardice, an attempt to feel vindicated at the expense of your childrens’ future.

If the actual lesson you took away from the Holocaust was that we could bargain with these people, you’re a fucking idiot.

Did that make you feel bad?

Good. This isn’t about your feelings. This is life and death.

Think about the consequences of your decisions and the people around you next time, if you’re awarded such privilege.

The Founder (2016)

macfounder

I do not come from a religious family. My father was brought up Catholic, and even attended a Marist Brothers high school, but after a nun locked him in a closet and left him there overnight in order to punish him for asking an inappropriate question, he lost his faith in God, and never again voluntarily entered a place of Christian worship. My mother was no more religious than my father, but she did have an ironclad rule that “you shouldn’t talk about politics or religion,” a belief that in all questions ideological one should maintain perfect neutrality. Not sending me to church, therefore, would have been to make a statement about her belief in God. It would have in effect been “talking about politics and religion.” I was, therefore, baptized into the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, and spent many Sunday mornings listening to sermons I don’t remember delivered by a kindly old Swedish American pastor with a puffy red face, and a flat Midwestern accent. After I was confirmed, I “took communion,” went up to the altar to eat a sacramental wafer that always reminded me of a guitar pick, and take a sip of wine far too inconsequential to get me drunk.

I can tell you all about the differences between the Catholic concept of transubstantiation and the Protestant concept of consubstantiation. For Catholics, the bread and wine turn into the body and blood of Christ whether you want them to or not. For Lutherans, the flour guitar pick and sip of Manischewitz or Boone’s Farm or whatever kind of cheap wine my church chose to turn into the type o negative that once ran through the veins of our Lord and Savior wouldn’t make the transformation unless, to quote Saint Paul, you had “faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” But for me neither Catholic nor Lutheran services offered access to the body and blood of Christ. While I did enjoy listening to I Know that my Redeemer Lives on the church organ early on Sunday morning as we all took our places before the alter, it wasn’t until the sermon ended and we all filed out of the building to Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring by Johann Sebastian Bach that I really started to think about how much Jesus loves me. Every Sunday my parents would take me and my brother out to eat at the McDonald’s on Route 22 down the street from the drive in movie theater in Union, New Jersey. It was there where I would partake in the real Holy Communion. If I had enough faith, I knew that according to the doctrine of transubstantiation that a Big Mac, a larger order of fries covered in 5 packages of catsup and a large coke would turn into the body and blood of than man who had been crucified for my sins 2000 years ago in Palestine.

Ray Kroc is one of history’s greatest villains, right up there with Hitler, Stalin, King Leopold, the board of directors at Phillip Morris, and whoever decided to play “Closer” by the Chain Smokers at Starbucks and my local gym. A first generation Czech American from Oak Park, Illinois, Kroc led an uneventful life as a traveling salesman until 1954 when he walked into a booming hamburger stand in San Bernardino, California run by Richard and Maurice McDonald, two New Englanders who had moved to Hollywood during the Great Depression to look for work. Kroc was immediately smitten, not only by the name, “McDonald,” which represented the true blue WASP American identity that he aspired to, but by the way the McDonald brothers had successfully applied the Taylorist principles of Henry Ford to the food service industry. Where in the typical drive in hamburger stand of the time, your food could take upwards of 30 minutes to arrive, if in fact the car hop got your order right, the McDonald brothers had streamlined the menu, serving only three items, hamburgers, fries, and soft drinks, and had broken the process of cooking a meal down to a series of discrete steps that could be quickly and efficiently carried out by a well-trained crew. More importantly, it made it easy for the McDonald brothers to monitor quality control. For the McDonald brothers, their hamburger stand was a labor of love, not the multinational corporation that robs working class Africans who live in food deserts of their hard earned wages, and contributes to global warming and the destruction of the Brazilian rain forests. The food you got at the original McDonald’s in San Bernardino was not the overpriced trash, the pink slime filled meat byproducts, cardboard lettuce, and under cooked french fries covered in so much salt just looking at them can raise your blood pressure, McDonald’s serves today. It was a cheap, quality meal made according to a simple, elegant, minimalist process.

The best thing about The Founder, the thinly fictionalized docudrama directed by John Lee Hancock and starring Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc, is how it evokes the lost America of the 1940s and 1950s, that one brief shining moment between the end of the Great Depression and the Vietnam War. Hancock not only has a feel for the sleek, well-oiled, neon lit car culture that Henry Ford had made inevitable, he somehow manages to recreate the world of cheap gas, tail fin Cadillacs and wide open highways. At the age of 52, Ray Kroc is a loser, a traveling salesman hawking milk shake mixers to uninterested restaurant owners, but he still lives in a neat little suburban house with his bored but patient wife Ethel, played by Laura Dern, and he can still afford a membership at the local country club. It’s a world where anybody has a chance of getting into the middle class, a world before my time, but which I vaguely remember disapperaing into the rear view mirror of my early childhood, a world millennials can’t even imagine. It’s easy to see how Kroc mistook American capitalism at its height for the kingdom of heaven, an endless series of neat little towns along the highway, each with a church and a cross, and a courthouse and a flag. Kroc, who listens to self-help records on the road, does not want to recreate the the America of the 1950s. He simply wants to belong, to become a successful business, to worship in the church of American capitalism while delivering hamburgers and french fries to the masses.

The tragedy of Ray Kroc is that he did change America, massively. In 1902, when Kroc was born, the United States was a nation of farmers and mechanics, immigrants and native WASPs, already the breadbasket of the world. Food took time and effort, but it was rich, nutritious, free of chemicals and non-GMO. It was the kind of food rich people in Brooklyn and  San Francisco pay big money for today. It was the kind of food people become media stars writing books about, and for a brief moment in the 1940s and 1950s you could get it dirt cheap along the highway. As The Founder moves forward, as Ray Kroc becomes wealthy, successful, and popular beyond his wildest dreams, the aesthetic of the film subtle shifts from Route 66 to the inside of a corporate boardroom. Keaton is much older than Kroc was in 1954, but the film makes no attempts to age him. It doesn’t have to. It dramatizes the movement of history, and the transformation of New Deal America into neoliberal America by documenting his career from the inside. Ray Kroc doesn’t realize he’s cheapening American life even as he’s cheapening the American diet. He’s simply worshiping at the high church of the profit motive, doing what he has to do to make money. First comes his suggestion that the McDonald brothers franchise their hamburger stand. When they protest that they’ve already tried, that it made “quality control” impossible, Kroc has no answer, and indeed he never does. Instead he seduces the brothers with the idea that the have a patriotic duty to put a McDonald’s in every town, right next to the church and the cross, the courthouse and the flag. His faith is so pure. His belief in their “speedy system” so strong that against their better judgement he wins them over. From San Bernardino to Des Plaines, Illinois, then onto Minneapolis and Chicago, and finally New York and the rest of the world, Kroc gets what he wants. Fast food becomes a symbol of the United States, french fries as American as apple pie. Eventually, and I remember this well, the opening of a McDonalds in the Soviet Union becomes synonymous with the birth of democracy. Thomas Friedman of the New York Times points out that no two countries with a McDonalds have ever fought a war.

It can’t last. The reason Ray Kroc and McDonald’s become so successful has nothing to do with the “speedy system” or the quality of their food. It’s all about cutting corners and reducing expectations. The first blow comes when Kroc realizes that as many McDonald’s as he’s opened, he’s still not making any money, that refrigeration costs are erasing his share of the profits. Jean Smith, a younger woman for whom he eventually leaves Ethel, comes up with a brilliant suggestion. Instead of serving real milk shakes, they can serve powdered milk shakes. When Jean, played by Linda Cardanelli from Freaks and Geeks in a blond dye job, serves him his first synthetic milk shake it’s like sex, the grizzled 54-year-old Kroc going weak in the knees at the thought of a better profit motive like a smitten teenager. It’s not enough. When the McDonald brothers refuse, Kroc, who had to take out a second mortgage on his house to fund the first franchise in Des Plaines, is in danger of losing it all. A chance meeting with Harry J. Sonneborn, a former Vice President at Tastee-Freez, provides the solution. Kroc will never be able to turn a profit selling hamburgers, but if he shifts gears and transforms McDonalds from a restaurant company into a real estate holding company, he will be able to generate the capital he needs to buy the McDonald brothers out. The danger, we realize, is not McDonalds losing the original, minimalist concept and adding more items to the menu — a process that for example ruined Starbucks — but of losing the idea that you should care about selling food at all. When the biggest restaurant chain in the world is not in the business of making food but of buying real estate, then one company has effectively removed food from food, has occupied the commercial space where you could once make money actually manufacturing a product and replaced it with paper. It’s really only a matter of time before the United States outsources its manufacturing base to China and replaces Ford and GM with the financial services industry, before Barnes and Nobles becomes more about selling memberships than about selling books, before Best Buy becomes more interested in selling expensive warranties than in selling computers, before Sears stops making tools and starts signing people up for high interest credit cards.

Eventually Ray Kroc, the crafty son of Eastern European immigrants, the cynical outsider who wants to be a part of an America he can never really understand, cheats the innocent McDonald brothers, not only out of their business, but out of their name, that red, white and blue all American WASP heritage that they don’t even know they have, and never realized someone else wanted. They just wanted to run a hamburger stand. Ray Kroc only wanted to run that same hamburger stand in every town in America. He never really wanted to rule the world, but that in the end is what he wound up doing, and that in the end is the tragedy of The Founder. Indeed, after I saw the Founder — it’s available online free — I thought about riding my bike back to Route 22 to the McDonald’s my parents used to take me and my brother to every Sunday after church. The drive in is gone. Route 22 no longer has much neon. The cars are all plastic and made in Japan, not Detroit, and McDonald’s has long since replaced their art deco franchises and their golden arches with a boxy, generic, red and puke colored cement design, but still I wanted to sit and consume the body and blood of Christ one more time, even if it was only in the form of a meat like substance full of pink slime and under cooked french fries smothered in too much salt and dirty grease but I couldn’t. It was closed. The United States, now a failed state, is in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic, and most public spaces are off limits. So I road back home and ate some nutritious rice, beans and vegetables instead.

Abraham Clark: 1726-1794

clark

Today the United States government used the cover of the Coronavirus pandemic to pass a “stimulus package” so regressive it’s going to make the Wall Street Bailout of 2008 look like the New Deal. Corporate America is going to get trillions of dollars in our tax money. You and I are going to get a measly $1000 bucks, which is also going to be taxed. Even worse, ruling class ghouls like Donald Trump, Lloyd Blankfein and Jerry Falwell Jr. are calling for people to go back to work by Easter, even if it means millions of deaths. Falwell even reopened Liberty University in Virginia, a glorified fundamentalist Bible school nobody would ever mistake for Harvard or Columbia, but an institution with a campus and a student body the size of Ohio State or the University of Texas.

We do not need to go into the streets to rebel. All we have to do is continue what is in effect a “general strike” imposed by the Coronavirus. Nobody should risk their lives and go back to work to help the millionaires and billionaires who own stock. Rather, we should refuse to pay our bills, refuse to pay rent, refuse to pay taxes, and above all refuse to pay medical bills. Most of us are terrified. Very few of us have the savings to live through the Coronavirus without a paycheck. In order for the ongoing general strike to work, it’s going to require solidarity. If everybody refuses to pay for a Coronavirus test, the health care industry and the government won’t have the power to ruin anybody’s credit. If everybody refuses to pay their mortgages and property taxes, the local sheriff will be powerless to evict us all. On the other hand, the more people who decide to act on the bourgeois ideology we’ve all been force fed since childhood, to act as individuals instead of a united people, the more power we give the ruling class currently trying to rip us off.

I grew up in Roselle, a rather obscure little suburb in northern New Jersey that came very close to being destroyed by the financial crisis of 2008. It has produced only two people you might have heard of. The first is Rosey (Rosey is for Roosevelt) Grier, an NFL defensive tackle who become something of a curiosity in the 1960s when he took up knitting. At 6’5″ and 250 pounds nobody was going to question his masculinity. Grier was also a liberal activist, a supporter of Robert Kennedy who witnessed his assassination at the Ambassador Hotel in 1968. When Grier, who’s now an evangelical Christian and a Republican returned Abraham Clark High School in Roselle to speak to his old football, I made a crude, adolescent joke about how “bodyguard for Robert Kennedy was probably not something you wanted to put on your resume.” Grier remarked that he had been guarding Ethel, not Robert Kennedy, but that he considered it an accomplishment that he managed to dive on top of Sirhan Sirhan and prevent him from being lynched. Had Sirhan Sirhan been murdered by outraged bystanders the truth about the assassination would have been buried with him forever. As far as I know, Sirhan Sirhan has never given any indication that he shot Robert Kennedy for anything other than his support for Israel, but unlike Lee Harvey Oswald, he’s still very much alive.

The other person from Roselle, New Jersey you might have heard of is Abraham Clark the namesake of my old high-school and a signatory of the Declaration of Independence. Abraham Clark, who was the William Kunstler of colonial New Jersey, a radical lawyer who specialized in defending the poor, would have probably felt very much at home in today’s New Jersey, but I can’t help but think he’d be disappointed. While the United States abolished slavery in 1865, the class system is far more rigid than it was in 1776, when there was plenty of land and opportunity, when something resembling a “meritocracy” did in fact exist. In 2020, the United is an oligarchy, a government of the wealthy (and their stooges), by the wealthy, and above all for the wealthy. Above all, we’ve become doormats. Whatever the rich tell us to believe, we believe. Whenever they ask for a bailout, we give it to them. If they want to us kill a few hundred thousand people in Iraq, we willingly send our sons and our daughters, and our blessings, halfway around the world to prove that “freedom isn’t free.” If anybody objects, we say “America love it or leave it. Support our mass murderers or get out.” Americans have stockpiled more weapons than any people in history. Yet the odds of a violent revolution against the American government, those “Second Amendment Solutions” I’m always hearing about, are pretty remote.

Yet I grew in a house built on the property, which was divided and subdivided in the 19th Century, of a man who signed the Declaration of Independence. I often wonder what we lack that Americans in 1776 didn’t. What allowed them to overthrow the tyranny we so passively accept. I’ve decided that it’s two things.

The first is a “sense of limits.” If you read the letters of the British or Hessian officers who unsuccessfully tried to put down the American Revolution, one thing keeps recurring. None of them could quite figure out why exactly the colonials were rebelling against King George. To the typical British or German army officer, let alone a poor Irish or Hessian conscript, the farmland of New Jersey and Long Island seemed lavishly rich. The colonials who rebelled against the British in 1776 were not the starving French peasants of 1789. They were prosperous farmers and merchants, well off men who could have easily paid their taxes to the British Crown. Americans in 1776 did not rebel because they were starving. They rebelled because their “rights as Englishmen” were being violated. King George III, who hardly ranks as one of history’s greatest tyrants, overstepped those “inalienable rights to which the laws of nature and of nature’s god entitle them.” Unlike the Jacobins who organized the French Revolutionary Terror of 1793, the men who organized the American Revolution weren’t revolutionaries dreaming of a new world order. They were conservatives defending boundaries their sovereign back in London had overstepped, a natural order that no self-respecting Englishman would allow any government to violate.

The second thing Americans in 1776 had that we have lost is a sense of civic duty, of something larger than ourselves and our families. Some of the signatories of the Declaration were traditional Christians. Some were agnostics. Some were deists. But what they all had in common, and what they had in common with their more radical French brethren 15 years later, was the idea of a larger community, a nation. Yes, Americans today are often loudly patriotic, but their patriotism usually stops where their property begins. Every one of those Senators how voted “yes” on the Wall Street bailout today wears a flag pin. Most of them don’t care if their fellow Americans die. Abraham Clark, by contrast, put his country, not only above his wealth, but of his bloodline. Putting your signature on the Declaration of Independence back in 1776 in northern New Jersey was a dangerous proposition. The British occupied New York City all through the late 1770s and early 1780s. John Witherspoon was safely off in Princeton, but had the British wanted to arrest Abraham Clark, try him for treason, and string him in lower Manhattan there wouldn’t have been much the Continental Army could have done about it. The British did in fact capture two of Clark’s sons, both of whom were officers in the Continental Army, and sent them to the prison ships, the Abu Ghraib of the day, in New York Harbor. All Clark had to do to secure their release was to recant his signature on the Declaration. Clark was a bourgeois lawyer, but like an old Roman, he also put his country above his family.

Two of Clark’s sons were officers in the Continental Army. He refused to speak of them in Congress, even when they both were captured, tortured, and beaten. However, there was one instance when Clark did bring them up and that was when one of his sons was put on the prison ship, Jersey, notorious for its brutality. Captain Clark was thrown in a dungeon and given no food except that which was shoved through a keyhole. Congress was appalled and made a case to the British and his conditions were improved. The British offered Abraham Clark the lives of his sons if he would only recant his signing and support of the Declaration of Independence; he refused.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Clark

The Revolution is Now

People know the government is lying to them now.
 
That’s progress.
 
People know the system is rigged against them for the benefit of the 1%.
 
That’s progress.

People know the rich don’t care whether they live or die.

That’s progress.

 
People don’t yet think they have recourse or the wherewithal to fight back.

That’s our job for the next 18 months.

Andrew Cuomo: The Donald Rumsfeld of his Generation

rumsfeld

One of the biggest mistakes the left made during the George W. Bush era was to cede the debate on 9/11 to the far right. Not only did respectable far left intellectuals like Noam Chomsky and Alexander Cockburn dismiss the 9/11 Truth movement out of hand, we failed to understand that 9/11 was the central historical event of the early 2000s. One traumatic event put the American people to sleep, at least until Hurricane Katrina rang out like a loud alarm clock alerting us to the incompetence of the Bush Administration. One traumatic event allowed George W. Bush and the American the ruling class to lock political and economic institutions (like the Patriot Act and ICE) into place that we still haven’t abolished, and probably won’t within my lifetime. Not only should the left have embraced the 9/11 Truth movement. We should have talked about 9/11 until everybody got sick of hearing us, until the American public finally said “OK. Let’s repeal George W. Bush’s torture surveillance state. Just shut up already.”

One of the more grotesque cultural events of the early 2000s was the elevation of two men, Rudy Giuliani and Donald Rumsfeld, to the status of American heroes. Even though Giuliani’s incompetence — he put NYC’s emergency response center in World Trade Center 7 — got hundreds of New York City police and firemen killed on 9/11, the media hailed him as “America’s Mayor.” Time Magazine put him on the cover of their magazine as “man of the year.” While he was unable to carry out his plan to postpone the Mayoral elections and serve past his second term, the fawning attention allowed him to found “Giuliani Associates” and make millions of dollars off the memory of 3000 murdered Americans. Even worse, if that’s even possible, was Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush’s Secretary of Defense, the neoconservative ideologue who had been a presence in Washington ever since the 1970s when he and Dick Cheney had formed the far right “Team B” inside the Ford Administration. I remember it well. Every day on cable news, Rumsfeld would get on one of the cable news networks and serve up barely coherent one liners to a fawning press corp. When he got around to being coherent, or at least semi-coherent, it was even worse. I believe that even I, as cynical as I am, believed Rumsfeld’s story about Osama Bin Laden’s vast network of highly fortified caves in Afghanistan. I’m pretty sure that if Rumsfeld had argued that Bin Laden was planning to kill us all with “sharks with lasers” I would have believed that too.

It is human nature for a traumatized people to look for strong, male leadership during a crisis. Even here in New Jersey, where most of us are educated, smart, and cynical, a disgusting, fat tub of lard, a dirigible passing himself off as Governor named Chris Christie, managed to elevate himself to folk hero status off of hurricane Irene and Sandy. Thankfully nobody as far as I know ever referred to Christie as a “sex symbol” — and please dear lord if anybody did I don’t need to know about it — but all he had to do was hold a press conference and say “get the hell off the beach” and the New Jersey media immediately started talking about him as presidential material. So here we are in 2020, and the Coronavirus is the new 9/11. Jesus has it been 19 years already? As in 2001, we have a far-right-wing Republican in the White House, but unlike George W. Bush, who had Karl Rove’s well-oiled political machine behind him, Donald Trump is unable to project the air of competence needed for the media to proclaim him a national hero. Joe Biden, the senile old man the Democratic Party establishment pushed into the position of the inevitable Democratic Party candidate for President, has largely been missing in action. Bernie Sanders, a more competent politician than Biden, has at least tried, but he still comes off as a one note ideologue, the same old Bernie giving the same old stump speech. Besides, black people, feminists, and the media all hate him anyway.

Enter Andrew Cuomo, the son of renowned New York City Governor Mario Cuomo, and the leader of the most powerful Democratic Party machine in the country. Cuomo, a reactionary, deeply unattractive character who began his career managing his father’s homophobic attacks on the late Ed Koch — “Vote for Cuomo not the Homo” — is quickly becoming the Democratic Party establishment’s shadow front runner for the Presidential nomination. I won’t make any predictions — I’m always wrong — but it wouldn’t surprise me if Joe Biden taps him as his Vice Presidential candidate and either allows him to be Dick Cheney to his George W. Bush, or simply resigns to spend more time with his family and hands over the nomination. As a result, from the feminist far left to the neoconservative far right we are beginning to see a narrative. Andrew Cuomo, who to my mind looks a bit like a Dick Tracy villain, is now sex symbol. Women all over New York City, and soon all over America, are swooning over his “take charge manner” and rolled up shirt sleeves. It is of course an artificially created and deeply sexist narrative but that doesn’t mean that Americans who hear it enough won’t be won over. Americans are nothing if not easily propagandized. So get ready for Andrew Cuomo, the Donald Rumsfeld of his generation. God help us.

Women are crushing on Gov. Andrew Cuomo — calling his coronavirus press conferences their daily “fix” — during this state of emergency.

Denise Albert, a 45-year-old divorcee on the Upper West Side, is officially smitten.

“For me, it was when I heard him say, ‘My mother is light and joy,’” Albert, co-founder of multi-media company The Moms, told The Post. “What also got me was his speaking about family dynamics — disagreeing with his brother about where his mom should be. … It’s relatable, vulnerable, inspirational. There’s nothing hotter than vulnerability in a man.”

https://nypost.com/2020/03/21/new-york-women-are-coronavirus-crushing-on-andrew-cuomo-is-he-single/?fbclid=IwAR2N2LGQe4Idr0Iysv2zGR53gEu7h9CEu922ux2rq9vvxSwG3ZJwpMMEasI

What Really Terrifies Me

In his classic account of the Revolution of 1848 in France and the dictatorship of Napoleon III, Karl Marx pointed out that “history always happens twice, the first time as tragedy. The second time as farce.” He was right. The authoritarian regimes in Poland and Hungary, right wing populism in Italy, Boris Johnson in the UK. Narendra Modi in India, and of course Donald Trump in the United States, we are currently living through the farcical second act of fascism. What’s more, the crisis we’ve all been waiting for, that new 9/11 which would push our damaged neoliberal society over the edge, is finally here. The new reality is terrifying. We are going to be tested, and I’m afraid we’re going to fail badly.

I’m not afraid of Donald Trump. I’m not afraid of Boris Johnson or Marine Le Pen. Eastern European Nazis make me laugh. They remind me of John Cleese’s “Mr. Hilter” from Monty Python’s Flying Circus. I really couldn’t care less about the latest group of teenage skinheads in the Pacific Northwest, and while it’s certainly true that I’m not a member of any targeted group — I’m not a Muslim in Modi’s India or an undocumented immigrant in Donald Trump’s America — I doubt we’re going to see a rebirth of Hitler’s Germany or Mussolini’s Italy. Yet I am also terrified. I am what kids on social media refer to as “black pilled.” I have little or no hope for the future. In the age of the Coronavirus, a lot of people are going to die. Even more are going to be driven into poverty. Our political and financial systems are going to collapse. At the end of the current crisis, the American ruling class is simply going to dispense with the facade of democracy, and we will be ruled openly by an oligarchy made up of people like Jeff Bezos, Mike Bloomberg, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and a lot of shadowy billionaires none of us have heard of. We will not rebel.

You would have liked my mother. She was a nice, middle-class American, tolerant, fairly open-minded, but not particularly bright. As much as it pains me to say it — “my mother was not particularly bright” — I feel I have to confront what really terrifies me about Americans. Unlike the British, French, Danes, or even Poles and Italians, we Americans have no sense of “civil society,” no limits, no sense that certain things are allowed, and certain things are not allowed. Whatever the rich use their media to tell us to believe we believe. I grew up with my mother telling me that “people shouldn’t talk about politics or religion.” I never heard her say “blacks are no good” or “Jews control the media” or “we have to keep the Mexicans out.” Her entire worldview could be summed up as “don’t talk about politics or religion. Don’t argue with the experts. Don’t question authority. The people in charge are smart, or they wouldn’t be in charge.” If my mother had any strong opinions about anything, they usually expressed themselves through trivialities and unquestioned assumptions. “Put your coat on before you go outside or you’ll get sick. The fact that you left the light on when I told you to turn it off proves you’ll never amount to anything. Make sure you turn the dryer off before your clothes are dry or you’ll ruin them. Palmolive dish washing liquid is fundamentally better than Ajax.”

I think most Americans are like my mother. Unlike the French, for example, who immediately rebelled when Emmanuel Macron tried to cut pensions, we Americans get angry about trivialities. Yesterday, Richard Burr, a United States Senator from North Carolina, and Kelly Loeffler, a United States Senator from Georgia, were revealed to have sold millions of dollars worth of stock after a closed door briefing about Coronavirus back in February. Not only did they commit fraud, they committed fraud in a way that put millions of Americans at risk of dying from a deadly disease. In France in 1793 the Committee of Public Safety would have marched them off to the guillotine, if only to save them from the far more painful death of having an angry mob storm their houses, tear them limb from limb and put their heads on pikes. Yet my guess is that as long as both Burr and Loeffler are useful to the American ruling class they will not only avoid jail time. They will finish out their terms in the Senate. On the other hand, just yesterday, in a ShopRite in an affluent New Jersey suburb, I witnessed two nice, upper-middle-class white ladies almost get into a fist fight over the last case of toilet paper. My guess is that if Donald Trump announced tomorrow that the federal government was abolishing Social Security in order to use the money to bail out Wall Street, most Americans would say “well I guess the people in charge know what they’re doing.” But if a rumor surfaced that Trump was hording a secret stash of Charmin in the White House basement, a Jacobin mob would materialize on Pennsylvania Avenue just like it was August 10, 1792 in front of the Tuileries, and woe be it to any Swiss Guards or Secret Service that get in their way.

We Americans are the most powerful, privileged, and dangerous people in history. We currently maintain sanctions against countries like Iran and Venezuela that prevent them from fighting the same Coronavirus pandemic that threatens us. Our military is twice as large as the armed forces of Russia and China combined, and then some. Our nuclear arsenal can destroy the world many times over. Yet we are not the Romans, or the British of the 1800s. We have no sense of solidarity as a nation, no sense of duty, no sense of destiny. We are not the same Americans who rebelled against the British or fought the Battle of Gettysburg, or even built the New Deal in the middle of the Great Depression. We are a tired, passive, spiritually empty people, a sick old man with unsteady hands holding a gun at the rest of the world. I do not exempt myself from this charge. My great great great grandfather came to the United States from Germany after participating in the Revolution of 1848, and enlisted in the United States cavalry in his 30s to fight slavery. I will do no such thing. I will not rebel. I will go along to get along. I will obey the policeman at the checkpoint when he tells me to go indoors. I will fight valiantly for the last roll of toilet paper at ShopRite. I will sit by passively as the world goes straight to hell. And that is what really terrifies me.