Hate, Pittsburgh Style

Something that caught my eye in Nan Levinson’s absolutely outstanding article on white supremacy in the military was this: “As an Army captain emailed me, ‘The military recruits heavily from the same population that extremist organizations do — socially isolated, downwardly mobile, and economically vulnerable young men.’” She also notes “a larger ‘cultural project’ that, however unexamined, is aimed at creating an ever-more-militarized (which also means an ever-more-extreme) society,” in which “war is sold, not just as acceptable, but as necessary to maintain the vaunted American way of life.”[1] Read more

  1. [1]Nan Levinson, “The Far Right in Uniform,” TomDispatch, April 6, 2021, https://tomdispatch.com/the-far-right-in-uniform/

The media and the Left

See update for February 1, 2021, at end of post.


One of the people I follow on Twitter was talking about “unity,” a reference I initially thought was to that sought by mainstream Democrats who subvert progressive ideals to neoliberal ends,[1] but turns out to be to that sought by a member of the Boogaloo Bois, a right wing militia group. A member and possible leader of the group, who identifies himself as Magnus Panvidya, espouses capitalist libertarian views, emphasizing socially liberal ideas, including legalized sex work and drugs, and diminishing to near-nonexistence the economic ideas that principally mark capitalist libertarianism in an interview by the self-admittedly controversial YouTube star, Jimmy Dore.[2] The Boogaloo Bois have been described as Read more

  1. [1]David Benfell, “Voting for complicity,” Not Housebroken, October 1, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/20/voting-for-complicity/; David Benfell, “On ‘Unity Over Division,’” Not Housebroken, October 8, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/10/08/on-unity-over-division/
  2. [2]Jimmy Dore, “Radicalized Michigan Anarchist Seeks Unity With The Left,” video, 39:38, January 24, 2021, https://youtu.be/5ZMB9052rEs

About any repeat of the January 6, 2021, insurrection on or before Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Please do not share or comment on social networks prior to January 21, 2021.


See updates through January 22, 2021, at bottom of post.


I was contemplating holding back on publication of this blog post until following Joe Biden’s inauguration. I’ve never done anything like that before. This would have been a first. But I am also realizing that I have a vanishingly small readership and that among that readership, there may be some who could benefit from having their fears allayed.

The first thing I have to say about Trumpsters is that these are vile, horrible, despicable, hateful people. What I have seen, driving around southwestern Pennsylvania, and read, both in the course of doing my dissertation and since, convinces me that there is no redemption for them; they delight in cruelty. They (and most other conservatives, including mainstream Democrats) fully deserve an awful, miserable, humiliating end. I hope that such an end comes with minimal casualties among those police and military who defend the inauguration. Read more

Pure poison

See updates through September 15, 2021, at end of post.


Over the years, indeed since my public speaking class, back when I first returned to school in 2003, I have repeatedly argued that the United States is beset by irreconcilable differences, that as difficult as it is to conceive, a national divorce is the only sane way out.[1] In that time, polarization has only intensified.[2] This now culminates in a sometimes violent[3] disagreement over who won an election that occurred a month and a half ago. It’s not even seriously that the fact of the outcome is in dispute,[4] but rather what the outgoing president and his followers desperately want to believe.[5] Read more

  1. [1]David Benfell, “A divorce for the United States,” Not Housebroken, December 14, 2009, https://disunitedstates.org/2009/12/14/a-divorce-for-the-united-states/; David Benfell, “What might a U.S. divorce look like?” Not Housebroken, December 14, 2009, https://disunitedstates.org/2009/12/14/what-might-a-u-s-divorce-look-like/; David Benfell, “A national divorce,” Not Housebroken, September 8, 2015, https://disunitedstates.org/2015/09/08/a-national-divorce/; David Benfell, “A single set of values,” Not Housebroken, October 8, 2018, https://disunitedstates.org/2018/10/08/a-single-set-of-values/
  2. [2]David Benfell, “Why divorce when you can instead disintegrate in the most painful way possible?” Not Housebroken, September 7, 2010, https://disunitedstates.org/2010/09/07/why-divorce-when-you-can-instead-disintegrate-in-the-most-painful-way-possible/; David Benfell, “‘Progress’ and the Union,” Not Housebroken, December 24, 2012, https://disunitedstates.org/2012/12/24/progress-and-the-union/; David Benfell, “The ‘arc of the moral universe’ and the undefeated South,” Not Housebroken February 24, 2015, https://disunitedstates.org/2015/02/24/the-arc-of-the-moral-universe-and-the-undefeated-south/; David Benfell, “The illegitimacy of the opposing party,” Not Housebroken, February 23, 2016, https://disunitedstates.org/2016/02/18/the-illegitimacy-of-the-opposing-party/; David Benfell, “The Left may be about to claim a Pyrrhic victory,” Not Housebroken, August 20, 2017, https://disunitedstates.org/2017/08/20/the-left-may-be-about-to-claim-a-pyrrhic-victory/; David Benfell, “The theory of the morality of polarization,” Not Housebroken, December 23, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/23/the-theory-of-the-morality-of-polarization/; David Benfell, “Epistemology in the present U.S. political crisis,” Not Housebroken, November 27, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/11/12/epistemology-in-the-present-u-s-political-crisis/.
  3. [3]Rod Dreher, “Eric Metaxas’s American Apocalypse,” American Conservative, December 10, 2020, https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/eric-metaxas-trump-bloodshed-american-apocalypse-live-not-by-lies/; Peter Hermann, Marissa J. Lang, and Clarence Williams, “Pro-Trump rally descends into chaos as Proud Boys roam D.C. looking to fight,” Washington Post, December 13, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/proud-boys-protest-stabbing-arrest/2020/12/13/98c0f740-3d3f-11eb-8db8-395dedaaa036_story.html; Hannah Knowles, Annie Gowen, and Tom Hamburger, “‘A dark, empty place:’ Public officials face personal threats as tensions flare,” Washington Post, December 13, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/public-officials-threatened-covid-election/2020/12/13/680bd380-3be7-11eb-bc68-96af0daae728_story.html; Sophie Lewis, “Arizona Republican Party asks followers if they’re willing to die to overturn election results,” CBS News, December 10, 2020, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/arizona-republican-party-twitter-election-results-death-overturn/; Ciara O’Rourke, “How Oath Keepers Are Quietly Infiltrating Local Government,” Politico, December 9, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/12/09/oath-keepers-far-right-group-infiltrate-local-government-texas-443773; Katie Shepherd, “Armed protesters alleging voter fraud surrounded the home of Michigan’s secretary of state,” Washington Post, December 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/12/07/michigan-sos-benson-armed-protest/
  4. [4]David Benfell, “When it’s over but it isn’t,” Not Housebroken, December 16, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/11/27/when-its-over-but-it-isnt/
  5. [5]David Benfell, “Doubting the ‘Fox News bubble,’” Not Housebroken, December 13, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/07/doubting-the-fox-news-bubble/

We’ve let a horrible year go to waste

It seems like more people have more Christmas decorations up this year, as if they are trying desperately to lighten the mood of an utterly foul year, in which we have been beset by a pandemic that Donald Trump tried to minimize[1] but is afflicting more people than ever and overwhelming more hospitals than ever,[2] in which Trump lost an election but is desperately attempting to overturn the results,[3] and the Black Lives Matter movement which seemed to hold such promise[4] has simply sputtered out. Read more

  1. [1]David Benfell, “On wishing the delusional raging narcissist-in-chief well,” Not Housebroken, October 16, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/10/03/on-wishing-the-delusional-raging-narcissist-in-chief-well/
  2. [2]Lenny Bernstein, “With hospitals slammed by covid-19, doctors and nurses plead for action by governors,” Washington Post, December 3, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/doctors-demand-covid-restrictions/2020/12/03/88c1afc6-34e1-11eb-8d38-6aea1adb3839_story.html; Antonia Noori Farzan et al. “U.S. surpasses 64,000 new coronavirus infections two days in a row for first time since late July,” Washington Post, October 16, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/10/16/coronavirus-covid-live-updates-us/; Elliot Hannon, “Trump Says “We’re Rounding the Turn” the Same Day the U.S. Approaches Record Number of New Coronavirus Cases,” Slate, October 23, 2020, https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/10/u-s-record-coronavirus-single-day-cases-trump-debate-declares-country-rounding-the-turn.html; Karen Kaplan, “U.S. deaths are about 300,000 higher than expected since the coronavirus arrived,” Los Angeles Times, October 20, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2020-10-20/excess-deaths-in-united-states-since-coronavirus-arrived; Hannah Knowles and Jacqueline Dupree, “Full hospitals, talk of rationing care: New wave of coronavirus cases strains resources,” Washington Post, October 25, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/10/25/coronavirus-cases-hospitalizations-surge/; Betsy McKay and Erin Ailworth, “Covid Is Resurging, and This Time It’s Everywhere,” Wall Street Journal, November 16, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-covid-surge-u-s-restrictions-11605466754; Derek Thompson, “The COVID-19 Fall Surge Is Here. We Can Stop It,” Atlantic, October 12, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/10/how-keep-fall-surge-becoming-winter-catastrophe/616674/; William Wan and Jacqueline Dupree, “America hits highest daily number of coronavirus cases since pandemic began,” Washington Post, October 23, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/10/23/covid-us-spike-cases/
  3. [3]David Benfell, “When it’s over but it isn’t,” Not Housebroken, December 10, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/11/27/when-its-over-but-it-isnt/
  4. [4]David Benfell, “Time for somebody and something new,” Not Housebroken, July 27, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/07/27/time-for-somebody-and-something-new/

Deconstructing the second amendment

Note, October 4, 2020: I received a text from a local campaign touting endorsements from the police and gun nuttery lobbies. Honestly, I have no idea how these folks even begin to imagine that I might support their candidate when I favor abolition of the police[1] and oppose gun nuttery.

It motivated me to dredge up my old research journal entry on my analysis of the second amendment which, to say the least, is not the one that presently prevails, especially in Pennsylvania. When I go into the raw text of my old Drupal database dump, I don’t know the date the entry was created, nor do I know the original title. But in this case, I see there’s an update. The entry, as resurrected, follows.

See update for October 5, 2020 at end of post.


Update, June 16, 2016: Since writing this post, I have learned that the late Chief Justice Warren Burger offered a similar view, saying “that the Second Amendment ‘has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud—I repeat the word “fraud”—on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.'” I have not located a transcript to confirm the full text in the meme; apparently he said it on the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour in 1991[2] and was allegedly “expressing the longtime consensus of historians and judges across the political spectrum.”[3]


Fig. 1. Meme found on Facebook, fair use.


In the wake of yet another mass shooting,[4] I will here run where angels fear to tread, into an analysis of the wording of the second amendment. First, the text itself:

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Read more

  1. [1]David Benfell, “On police,” Not Housebroken, August 12, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/08/10/on-police/; David Benfell, “Don’t just defund the police. Abolish them,” Not Housebroken, August 29, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/08/25/dont-just-defund-the-police-abolish-them/; David Benfell, “On the pretense of ‘law and order,’” Not Housebroken, September 11, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/11/on-the-pretense-of-law-and-order/; David Benfell, “Donald Trump’s ‘brown shirts,’” Not Housebroken, October 1, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/08/30/donald-trumps-brown-shirts/
  2. [2]Cass R. Sunstein, “The Most Mysterious Right,” review of Out of Range, by Mark V. Tushnet, New Republic, November 17, 2007, https://newrepublic.com/article/76368/second-amendment-gun-rights
  3. [3]Michael Waldman, “How the NRA Rewrote the Second Amendment,” Politico, May 19, 2014, http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/05/nra-guns-second-amendment-106856
  4. [4]Valerie Bauerlein, Cameron McWhirter, and Scott Calvert, “Terror Shooting at Gay Nightclub in Orlando Leaves at Least 49 Dead, 53 Wounded,” Wall Street Journal, June 12, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/orlando-nightclub-hit-by-shooting-causing-multiple-injuries-1465720691