Category Archives: news

Welcome to the age of trickle down conspiracy theories

If you talk to a Republican these days, chances he’s going to talk about “Antifa.” In fact, he’s probably not going to talk about anything else. For the typical Trump supporter, the anti-police brutality uprisings of the Spring of 2020 are the result of gangs of “antifa” organized by George Soros (dogwhistle for “the Jews”) for the benefit of Joe Biden and the Democrats. Never mind the fact that there were anti-police-brutality protests in the Summer of 2014 when Barack Obama was President, or how social unrest is the very last thing the Democrats, who are counting on a fragile alliance of southern blacks and upper-middle-class professionals, want in 2020, or even that “antifa” is just the latest synonym for “anarchist” or “black bloc.” It doesn’t matter. No amount of evidence is going to convince a Trump supporter that there are structural problems in American society dating all the way back to the New Deal and even Reconstruction that have locked white people under 30, and all black people out of the economic mainstream. In fact, the typical Trump supporter won’t even try to make an argument. He’ll simply repeat the word “antifa.” Antifa. Antifa. Fake news. Fake news. Triggered much liberal?

If you talk to a liberal these days, chances are she’s going to talk about “Russians.” In fact, she’s probably not going to talk about anything else. For the typical Clinton supporter, the anti-police brutality uprisings of 2020 are the result of gangs of “Russian trolls” organized by Vladimir Putin himself for the benefit of Donald Trump and the Republicans. Never mind that there were anti-police-brutality protests in the Summer of 2014, when Barack Obama was President, and in the 1960s, when Lyndon Johnson was President, or how property destruction and social unrest is the very last thing that Republicans, who are counting on the idea that Trump is handling the Covid-19 crisis better than George W. Bush handled Katrina, want. Never mind that “Russians” is just the latest dogwhistle for “Asiatic Jewish Bolsheviks,” it doesn’t matter. No amount of evidence is going to convince a Clinton supporter that there are structural problems in American society dating all the way back to the New Deal and even Reconstruction that have locked white people under 30, and all black people out of the economic mainstream. In fact, the typical Clinton supporter won’t even try to make an argument. She’ll just tell you to “go back to Soviet Slovenia” (where Melania Trump was born).

There are of course differences.

The typical Trump supporter is dumb, and stupidly rebellious. Everything that happens is part of a conspiracy to take his guns. Climate scientists aren’t sincere professionals warning of us the dire results of global warming, they’re liberal know it alls who want to take your SUVs (and your guns). All news is “fake news,” except of course for the reports that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. That was true. Bill Gates is trying to “depopulate” the earth and is the reason your ugly son can’t get laid. The typical Trump supporter is easy to hoodwink by fake populism. He doesn’t have a class analysis or an understanding of history. All you have to do, in his mind, to be part of the working class, is drive an overpriced pickup truck, own a gun collection, be rude to liberals, and hate women and black people, something every right wing politician, however well off, does anyway.

The typical Clinton supporter is well-educated, but stupidly deferential to authority. She’s gone to the best Ivy League Schools and has a law degree (which she’s quick to tell you all about on social media). She’s actually read the Mueller Report and is convinced that somewhere on page 123 or 149 there’s proof that the pee tape actually exists. She closely follows a long list of “intelligence experts” (grifters who know they’ll never starve repeating “Russia Russia Russia” on MSNBC) in Washington DC, and is convinced that in the brutally cold Winter of 2019, Putin was planning to take down the power grid in the Midwest and kill homeless people in Chicago. She never questions anything that an expert with the right credentials says, and if you do, she’ll probably call you a racist and a sexist.

But there’s one thing they have in common.

The Trump supporter and the Clinton supporter, both of whom are probably over 30 and well off financially, have one important thing in common. They see the world through the lens of a conspiracy theories, not conspiracy theories invented by crackpots and misfits that have bubble up from the bottom, but conspiracy theories carefully disseminated through the corporate media by the ruling class for the express purpose of keeping us all stupid. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans want to confront an uncomfortable reality. Neoliberal capitalism is broken. For the past 20 years, the American ruling class has lost so much of its legitimacy in the rest of the world that it has tried to destroy any country out of its control (Venezuela, Iran, and now Russia and China) through sanctions and dirty tricks. Now it’s all come home. While there are of course agents provocateurs and destructive opportunists among the largely young protesters of the Spring of 2020, it’s a movement that’s been organized from the bottom up, through social media, affinity groups, grassroots political organization, rank and file Democrats who were pushed out of the Presidential primary in 2020, and above all by ordinary black people sick of being killed by undemocratic, unaccountable, racist militarized police departments in all of our big cities. Our ruling class can’t accept the fact that their time is over. So they’re going to take as many of the rest of us down with them as they can shoot, gas, gaslight, or throw in prison.

Welcome to the age of trickle down conspiracy theories.

On the Way to Buy Groceries


Garwood, NJ May 2020

I am reminded of realities of some uncomfortable realities. I didn’t go to any protests today, not only because I’m afraid of Covid-19, but because they erupted so quickly I hadn’t mentally prepared myself to find one. When I read the news today, “oh boy,” and looked at photos of dozens of American cities in flames, the only thought I had was “well here it is, 1968 all over again. The only thing missing is the assassinations.”

But that’s not quite right. In 1968, the cities erupted because Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King were murdered, the former by a Palestinian who resented his support for Israel, the latter almost certainly by US military intelligence who resented his opposition to the war in Vietnam. In 2020, the cities erupted because George Floyd, an ordinary man, not a Nobel Prize winner or a former Attorney General, was murdered by the Minneapolis police.

So it’s not really a matter of “first time as tragedy, second time as farce” so much as “first time as tragedy, second time as a consequence of the first.” Martin Luther King was murdered by the United States government because he was a threat to the military industrial complex and the American ruling class. George Floyd was murdered by the Minneapolis Police because 40 years of neoliberal capitalism has created a society where many lives simply don’t matter, where racist cops have a license to kill.

I have no idea where the current crisis is going to lead us. Will it be the fall of neoliberalism? Or will we get out of the closet fascism? My bet is on the latter, but only time will tell. In any event, I recall the words of John F. Kennedy. “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.” Colin Kaepernick lost his career because he protested against police brutality peacefully. He took a knee. We should have listened more closely to what he was trying to tell us.

The pandemic in the USA is totally on De Blasio and Cuomo

mapThe vast majority of cases in the USA come from Europe via New York.

“We now have enough data to feel pretty confident that New York was the primary gateway for the rest of the country,” said Nathan Grubaugh, an epidemiologist at the Yale School of Public Health.

The central role of New York’s outbreak shows that decisions made by state and federal officials — including waiting to impose distancing measures and to limit international flights — helped shape the trajectory of the outbreak and allowed it to grow in the rest of the country.

It’s not the Chinese. It’s those fuckers who live in palaces on Central Park West and jet set back and forth to their villas in Milan and the South of France. It obviously came here to Union County, NJ via New Jersey Transit. Fuck the rich. Fuck New York, and fuck Cuomo and De Blasio. Of course Trump misdirected everybody’s attention to China and refused to shut down travel from Europe to Newark and JFK, but it’s not only Trump.

At this point, if Trump’s redneck base invaded the liberal Northeast with their AR-15s, put us all on lock down, and forced us to salute the flag and say the pledge of allegiance, I wouldn’t blame them at all. Then again, they’re not going to blame Europeans and rich white New Yorkers when Trump (along with the Biden campaign) is stirring up the yellow peril.

Jeffrey Epstein and Bing Liu walk into a bar

Bing Liu: I didn’t kill myself.

Epstein: Neither did I.

Bartender: OK gentlemen. You’re both cut off. I run a respectable establishment. No conspiracy theories. Please don’t make me have the bouncer show you the door.

A University of Pittsburgh researcher “on the verge” of a breakthrough in understanding the coronavirus was found shot dead in his home, according to a report.

Bing Liu, 37, was allegedly killed inside his Pittsburgh-area townhouse Saturday by a man who then went outside to his car and shot himself, WTAE, a local ABC affiliate, reported.

Not Even Coronavirus can stop Mass Shootings

The deadliest mass shooting in Canadian history just happened.

The gunman, identified as Gabriel Wortman, 51, is dead, he said. There was at least one exchange of gunfire between the suspect and police.

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki told the CBC late Sunday that 16 people, not including the suspect, died.

The death toll makes it the deadliest mass shooting in Canadian history, surpassing the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre in Montreal, where a gunman killed 14 women before killing himself.

Americans Don’t Care if Biden is Senile

After all, we voted for this guy twice. We voted for a brain addled coke head then put him back in office after the largest terrorist attack in American history. We also put Reagan in office twice but most of you are too young to remember just how senile he was.

The real question is who’s going to be Joe Biden’s Cheney.

Bloomberg (though Stacy Abrams)?

The CIA (thought Pete Buttigieg)?

Obama? After all he’s the main reason black voters went for Biden in such overwhelming numbers. Or will Biden put him on the Supreme Court?

Cheney himself? Hey. Stranger things have happened. Or maybe David Frum. Democrats do love neocons these days.

Why Were Most of Joe Biden’s Victories in States With Widespread Voter Suppression Problems

Biden won 10 states on Tuesday:

  1. Alabama  *
  2. Arkansas  *
  3. Maine
  4. Massachussetts
  5. Minnesota
  6. North Carolina *
  7. Oklahoma *
  8. Tennesse *
  9. Texas *
  10. Virginia *

A simple google search for “voter suppression” in many of these states turns up a lot of results. Given that Biden attracts a more conservative voter base than Sanders and voter suppression is universally aimed at the left and disenfranchised, it’s not irrational to think that Biden received a bump in the primary from the results of GOP voter suppression efforts. Of the 10 states, 7 have experienced severe voter suppression issues in the recent past or present and of those 7, the only one where these seemingly have been fixed was North Carolina, where the racist ID requirement was struck down in court. I’ve marked these 7 with *.

Examples by state, link to source then relevant passages:

“In 2016, Arkansas purged thousands of voters for so-called felony convictions, even though some of the voters had never been convicted of a felony at all. And in 2013, Virginia purged 39,000 voters based on data that was later found to have an error rate of up to 17 percent.”

Texas Closed Hundreds of Polling Sites in Black and Latino Communities

“The 50 (Texas) counties that saw the highest growth in black and Latino population had 542 polling sites close between 2012 and 2018, while the 50 counties with the lowest black and Latino population growth saw just 34 closures. The closures came despite the population in the top 50 counties rising by 2.5 million while the 50 counties that had just 34 closures saw their population fall by 13,000.”

“There are numerous problems with Alabama’s voter roll maintenance protocols. Mailings, for example, are not the most effective way to communicate with a 21st century citizenry. According to the U.S. Election Administration Commission, Alabama sent 416,632 confirmation notices to voters between 2016 and 2018. Fifty-five percent of those notices (229,407) were returned as undeliverable.100 Another 138,830 notices were reported as “status unknown.”…Many of these confirmation cards were returned as undeliverable or were “status unknown” because a non-forwardable card is unlikely to reach voters who move often. Low-income people, apartment dwellers, renters and college students are less likely to have a current address on their voter registration record.”

“Last month Tennessee’s governor, Bill Lee, signed a law imposing restrictions on those groups holding voter registration drives, citing the high number of registrations collected by voting rights groups which are incorrect and become ineligible once filed to the state.

The law, once enforced, would fine those turning in incomplete or incorrect registration forms. In some cases, it could mean criminal charges. For example, a group that returns more than a hundred “deficient” forms could face a fine of up to $2,000 in each county “incorrect forms” were filled out. If more than 500 forms are found to be filled out incorrectly, that fine could be up to $10,000. It’s unclear what “deficient” and “incorrect” mean, both Johnson and Kristen Clarke, executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the organization which filed a lawsuit on behalf of six organizations in Tennessee, told the Guardian.”

Oklahoma Prepares to Purge Thousands of Inactive Voters

“A review of Oklahoma’s purge of inactive voters in 2017 shows that Democrats were disproportionally affected.

Of the 167,011 who were deleted due to inactivity, about 46 percent were Democrats. Voter registration statistics before the purge, on Jan. 1, 2017, show that Democrats made up about 39 percent of all registered voters.

Republicans, meanwhile, made up about 33 percent of the purged inactive voters while making up nearly 46 percent of the pre-purge voter registration totals.”

Biden’s Magical “Electability” is Magical Thinking

Why don’t the kids like Biden?

Here’s why:

Imagine you were on a boat that was rapidly capsizing.

Now imagine the captain of the boat said the only reasonable course of action was to find out what the rapidly rising sea water wanted and compromise between the needs of it and the drowning crew.

And furthermore, the captain has said that anyone who disagreed “needs to grow the f— up”.

You’d be ready to throw him overboard, no?


This primary season and the animosity directed toward Bernie Sanders has revealed, yet again, that the true struggle within our society is as Marx described it-not between the DNC and the RNC, but between the 1%, their enablers, and the rest of us. That the 1% has somewhat factionalized between the very rich with savior complexes and the very rich with victim complexes isn’t that relevant because both are acting as anti-democratic forces and can’t be trusted to do anything about the coming climate devastation outside of looting the remains.

Michael Bloomberg’s proposed path to the nomination was predicated on either a) a Super Tuesday triumph created by vastly outspending all other candidates in the relevant states, b) a brokered convention where it turns out the DNC and 50+% of the country would subvert the vote because they loved Michael Bloomberg as much as Michael Bloomberg loves Michael Bloomberg. Was it really surprising he crashed and burned as quick as he did? But more importantly, both paths just presume that somehow the popular vote, the basic idea on which democracy is founded, would be subverted. Elizabeth Warren is now floating the same idea. Messaging from the DNC suggests Biden would take similar action if Sanders doesn’t get a plurality. A large proportion of the candidates running basically presume that the voting process will be rendered irrelevant in the final rounds.

It’s been said that the primary rule of institutions is that people within them will by and large jockey for power within the institution over power in the larger sphere. Generally speaking this isn’t the worst thing since when the opposite happens you tend to see the rich come to an agreement to act as a coordinated criminal enterprise and loot the middle class and poor. That’s what’s happening now.  The bi-annual Republican “tax cuts” (re: massive handouts to the 1%) aren’t because the 1% need more money to live, but because they need to proportionately dominate a large percentage of liquid capital and infrastructure in order to permanently cement their authority.

What authority? The authority over democratic mechanisms, norms, and restrictions against poisoning (the Sacklers, Flynt), robbing (2008), and the use of the state’s monopoly on violence to beat down any attempts by the population at large to stop these exploitative and criminal practices (violent destruction of the OWS encampments).

But to go back again to the rule of institutions, this rule in action is causing the current crisis within the Democratic party. They are vociferously acting to protect their donors from their voters so they can maintain their positions on the sinking ship vs. righting the ship. As I illustrated with the sinking boat metaphor, the stakes of the current international crises (climate change, collapse of capitalism into surveillance feudalism, etc. etc.) make a moderate/centrist stance ironically but profoundly radical-if we value ourselves and our neighbors, the bare minimum we need from any candidate is a plan that will prevent us all from roasting to death in our own carbon emissions. You can call that “The Levine Test”.

Biden doesn’t pass that.

Sanders does.

The Biden campaign so far has entirely hinged on the big bluff of “electability”. There is no rational argument for this. It is a lie that has been repeated by scared rich people until enough scared people below them decided that was the truth.

If Joe Biden were a used DVD, the case would say “FROM THE PEOPLE WHO BROUGHT YOU 4 YEARS OF DONALD TRUMP: THE ONLY GUY WHO CAN BEAT DONALD TRUMP!! (TM) (we swear this time guys, super serial!!!)”

Outside of the sexism boost, Biden has a much weaker track record than Clinton and is a weaker candidate overall. If Clinton couldn’t beat Trump, why would we think this guy could?

If Trump decides not to relinquish power, what in Biden’s history suggests he wouldn’t just roll over and blame the Senate?

The argument that Biden will win conservative voters over from the Republican party ignores the radicalization of the GOP and their base-this is like expecting the Heaven’s Gate cult members to commandeer the spaceship and then mug Marshall Applewhite for his Nikes and applesauce.

We’ve already seen the Russian playbook against Biden in action: use the Hunter Biden Burisma stuff like Clinton’s e-mails in 2016. And we’ve seen no moves by the DNC or Biden suggesting they have any effective means of tackling it.

We haven’t seen anything similar for Sanders. This is probably because Putin, Trump et. al think a brokered convention is an inevitability if Sanders gets far enough and the damage done would be worth it whatever the outcome. Putin, Trump, et. al probably aren’t wrong to think this-they know the habits of the 1% firsthand.

Biden and the DNC’s greed and hubris are existential threats to the US and human society. The time for fucking around has long since passed. gets rid of comments (finally)


As a fifth-generation New Jerseyan, I have always been aware of the bad reputation of my state. Pollution, corrupt, mob-dominated politics, the Rutgers football team, New Jersey doesn’t exactly have a good reputation in the rest of the country. In the 1990s, when I lived off and on in Seattle and Southeast Alaska, the biggest compliment people thought they could pay me went something like this. “You’re from New Jersey? Well, at least you don’t have that accent.” Actually, I do have “that accent.” I sound a lot like Ray Liotta, who’s from my mother’s hometown of Union, did in Goodfellas. You cannot grow up as a Polish American in the great state of New Jersey without acquiring a sense of humor. Cynicism is part of the local culture, and that’s a good thing. At times it’s even poetic. Almost every song Bruce Springsteen writes is more or less about one thing: Getting the fuck out of New Jersey.

For the most part, while it’s often hilariously funny,  the stereotype of the typical New Jerseyan as a loud, ignorant, right-wing knuckle dragger, doesn’t stand up to the test of reality. New Jersey is by far one of the best-educated, most liberal states in America. There’s a reason we don’t have mass shootings. We’re smart enough to have gun-control. New Jersey hasn’t voted for a Republican President since it went for George H.W. Bush in 1988. In 2016, Hillary Clinton got 55 percent of the vote to Donald Trump’s 41 percent. Most of the state’s big cities are “sanctuary cities” that forbid local police from cooperating with ICE. The Rutgers football team might be the worst team in the history of the Big 10 Conference, but Rutgers also has top 20 programs in English, history, and math, and top 10 programs in philosophy, women’s studies and library science.

Unfortunately, New Jersey also has a savage divide between its wealthy suburbs and its working class cities. If Donald Trump has no chance of winning the state in 2020 that’s about Newark and Elizabeth, not Westfield or Mountain Lakes. It’s probably more accurate to say that while blacks and Hispanics in New Jersey are liberal, white suburbanites are as reactionary as they are anyplace else in the country. The typical white man in New Jersey over 40 is a racist Republican who could probably pass for a Mississippi Klansman if it weren’t for “that accent.” What’s more, in spite of the fact that Barack Obama won the state easily in 2008, New Jersey also became an early center of “tea party” reaction. In 2009, Chris Christie became governor. In 2010, Koch Brothers funded goons regularly disrupted Congressional town hall meetings on Obamacare. And then there’s the comments section at

There’s a joke going around that “the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified 51 racist hate groups in New Jersey, but it’s actually 52 if you count the comments section at” If anything it’s an understatement. Even before the Koch Brothers started pumping money into the local media — in 2010 you couldn’t read an article about the weather without running into 500 comments by global warming deniers — the comments section at was a place for middle-aged, white men from the suburbs and the rural areas to complain about the “liberal” cities. After awhile, even I had trouble keeping track of all the dog whistle, and I speak fluent, passive aggressive WASP. It went far beyond “those low income housing applicants are going to ruin our good schools” or “crime in the city of Newark is inevitable in such a diverse city.” It went far beyond changing the name of Bruce Springsteen, one of the most explicitly Catholic rock stars in American history, to Bruce Springstein, and attributing his support of Barack Obama to his Jewish ethnicity. At some point in the late 2010s, the racist comments at became almost indistinguishable from Stormfront. The comments from the global warming deniers were even worse, often degenerating into conspiracy theories about chem trails, and incomprehensible spam. Finally, the management at Advance Media, which owns, decided they couldn’t go on funneling traffic to what had essentially become a hate site.


I agree with Advance Media’s decision to pull the comments at, but I’m not naive enough to believe it was about any real objection to platforming racists. While the comments have gotten stupider and more incoherent, they’ve been viciously racist ever since the Bush years. I also vehemently disagree in the strongest possible terms with their decision to delete their archives. The white supremacist comments at are part of a historical document that should be studied by future generations of social media analysts. How exactly did the users’ forum at a mainstream media outlet in a “blue” state get taken over by white supremacists and neo-Nazis? Why couldn’t Advance Media simply hire moderators like the New York Times. The first amendment applies to government, not private business, but a private media company is certainly not obligated to choose from two bad extremes, unmoderated comments overrun by white supremacists, or no comments at all. How much exactly would it cost to hire a few interns to make sure the comments stayed on topic, avoided open expressions of racism, antisemitism, and homophobia, and at least made some kind of logical argument? The truth is Advance Media has nothing against racism. They’re just fucking cheap. They also want to destroy the evidence of just how complicit they’ve been in poisoning political discourse in the great state of New Jersey. My guess is the Koch Brothers money just ran out.


On the 40th anniversary of their shocking victory over the Soviet Union in one of the greatest upsets in sports history, the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team was back in the spotlight this weekend — but in the eyes of some observers, it was more for political than patriotic reasons.

Members of the gold medal-winning “Miracle on Ice” squad, including team captain Mike Eruzione, appeared on stage at a Las Vegas rally Friday night for President Donald Trump wearing red hats emblazoned with Trump’s “Keep America Great” slogan.

The first time I ever heard the moronic “USA USA USA” chant was in 1980.

All through the 1970s, the American media had presented the Soviet Olympic hockey team as an unbeatable team of supermen, a gang of Ivan Dragos on ice. What’s more, very few of the best NHL players back then were Americans. Most were Canadians. I used to be a big fan of New York Rangers center Phil Esposito. The fact that he had a name that sounded like any New Jersey Italian only added to the appeal. We didn’t have the Internet back then. You couldn’t just Google. So when my uncle remarked that Esposito wasn’t from New Jersey and that he wasn’t even an American I refused to believe it. “No way Uncle Charlie. I go to school with 5 or 6 guys named Esposito. He’s got to be from New Jersey.” Later, in the small bookstore they used to have at the Two Guys department store on Route 22 in Union, when I looked up Esposito’s name in The Encyclopedia of Hockey, I realized the horrible truth. He was Canadian, born in some place I couldn’t even pronounce, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

You can imagine my joy, therefore, When I turned 15, and the American hockey team made its run for the gold medal in the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. Neal Broten, Ken Morrow, Mike Ramsey, Dave Christian, Mark Pavelich, none of them were Russians or dirty Canadians. Each and every one of them was a one hundred percent, red, white and blue American from the Midwest, a place I had never been to but was convinced was more truly American than New Jersey. When they beat the Russians, it felt like we had won the Cold War. While the “USA USA USA” chant had been ubiquitous in the media, I had refrained from joining in myself, but when NHL great Ken Dryden — alas another Canadian — started his famous count down in the last few seconds of the final game, I couldn’t help myself. “USA USA USA,” I shouted, “USA USA USA.” My father, who was zonked out on the couch in the next room, was having none of it, former United States Marine though he was. “Shut the hell up,” he shouted. “I’m trying to sleep.”

I even brought my patriotic fervor to school. To understand what that meant, you have to understand that I went to an urban high school just outside of Newark, New Jersey where being a leftist was not only socially acceptable. Thirteen years after the Newark Riot and five years after the last American helicopter took off from that roof in Saigon, it was almost socially required. Millennials, you cannot imagine what the world was like before 9/11. In spite of the fact that Ronald Reagan had just been elected President, most people hated the United States military. In fact, Reagan was never quite as popular as the corporate media would have you believe. He won mostly because of the incompetence of the increasingly neoliberal Democrats. Remember when Walter Mondale promised to raise taxes during his run for the Presidency? You don’t but I do. In any event, I sometimes have trouble understanding all of the outrage over Colin Kaepernick. In my high school, nobody was required to say the Pledge of Allegiance. They simply read it over the loudspeaker during homeroom and you could stand if you wanted. Nobody did. In fact, standing for the Flag Salute was considered the mark of an asskissing stooge, and doing it put you at the risk of having your ass kicked in the parking lot. But that February I didn’t care. I not only stood for the flag salute, when it was all over I kept standing.

“USA USA USA,” I chanted. “USA USA USA.”

“Oh sit the fuck down you dumb Polack,” one of my classmates said. “You’re being a fucking retard.”

“Fuck you,” I shouted back. “USA USA USA. And nuke the fucking Iranians.”

At that moment, our homeroom teacher — I forget his name but I do remember he was friends with the guy who wrote the novel The Exorcist — told us both to take our seats.

“Mr. Holmes,” he said to my antagonist. “Ethnic slurs and profanity will not be tolerated in my homeroom. And Mr. Rogouski,” he added, “neither will calls for genocide.”

“Genocide” I said. “What’s that?”

I sometimes wonder what I would have been like if Carter had won in 1980 and the United States had not gone down such a right wing path. I wasn’t really a super patriot back then. In fact, the next year I became an atheist after I finally saw Life of Brian by Monty Python on cable TV. I had been too young to see it in the theater. The ticket clerks, mostly older high school kids, had insisted on seeing my driver’s license to prove I was 18 and old enough to go unaccompanied into an R rated movie. They wouldn’t give me a break. Monty Python, not Karl Marx, turned me into a leftist. In any event, I wasn’t a genuine super patriot when I was 15. I had simply gotten it into my head that everybody else in the world was a dirty Vietcong worshipping hippie who hated their country and didn’t care that the Iranians were humiliating us each and every day. Being a super patriot was a way to be a rebel. Being a pot smoking leftist who listened to too much heavy metal would have meant being a miserable conformist. The American Olympic Hockey team of 1980 wasn’t the “dream team” that dominated the basketball court 12 years later. They were underdogs who seemingly had no chance of winning.

Now it’s the opposite. In spite of the rise of Bernie Sanders, we still have a racist, right-wing President and every white man in New Jersey over the age of 40 seems like some sort of Republican or “libertarian.” At best, they’re “economically conservative and socially liberal.” And the American hockey team of 1980? To nobody’s surprise they’re attending Trump rallies. Too bad they’re not Canadians. At least they’d have better healthcare.