“Washington has an ampleness of evil people, the Bidens, Blinkens, Victoria Nuland, Trump at one remove, but so many are just out of touch”
BY FRED REED
We—I, and my spousal unit, Violeta—pulled into DC after a conventionally miserable flight from Guadalajara in seats apparently designed for dwarves with our feet almost in our pockets and Delta trying to sell us beer at seven dollars a can. I didn’t get it. If you can sell watery brew at seven balloonishly inflating greenbacks a can, why do you need an airline?
The occasion was a visit to a woman with whom I immediately became involved, though with Violeta’s permission. She weighs seven and a half pounds and has a smile that would make a dead man weep. This may have little geopolitical importance, though.
Anyway, the proud father celebrated having produced, or coproduced, a baby who probably deserves a world run by psychiatrically less fascinating adults, by taking about a dozen of us to Fogo da Something, a Brazilian restaurant on Pennsylvania across from the Trump Hotel. This costs $64 a head for all the meat and salad bar you could eat, desserts and drinks extra, so with tip you can crawl out, stuffed and economically depleted, for about $90. Salad bar good, desserts swell, meat tasteless. You can do better for a sixth the price at La Carreta, down the lake from us in Mexico.
The meal was a pre-guillotine experience, especially the restaurant. Or I hope so. The waiter says, “Hi! I’m Bruce and I am going to be your waitperson and do everything I can to make sure you have a wonderful, wonderful dining experience. We are orgasmically delighted to see you and….” When a waiter oozes like that, sure, he’s looking for tips, but I wonder, tips of what?
In Mexico waiters are courteous but you can tell they don’t want to sit in your lap or have a long-term relationship. In New York a waiter says, “What’ll it be?” and you say, “Eggs over medium, bacon on the side, cuppa mud,” and he says, “You got it.” Human. It gets the job done. You couldn’t write a Proust novel about it.
Anyway, the place was big, I’d guess between seventy-five and a hundred people doing the squat-and-gobble, likely disgorging on average a C-note per. This is DC, with the five richest counties in America, Montgomery, Loudoun, Fairfax, that kind of place, a city where the graft never stops, recession proof, where bribes run in freshets. Out there in Flyover Land, in Appalachia and the Rust Belt and the rural Deep South, families think going to Mickey D’s is a treat. And the swarming derelicts in the warm states increase in their medieval Ly diseased hordes.
Guillotine stocks. It’s the way to invest.
Washington is a rerun. In Paris in 1788 , creeping toward the Terror, the aristocracy was, like Washington’s upper crust, wealthy and schooled and cultured and cared not a withered farthing about the peasantry, as neither does Washington. Marie Antoinette didn’t really say, “Let them eat cake,” but they all thought it, and Hillary Antoinette, with her contempt for the Basket of Deplorables, expresses the same sentiment. There will be a price. Maybe anyway.
I spent two weeks in this diseased city wondering, “What are they thinking? The country is disintegrating internally, inflation growing like kudzu on a Georgia roadcut, living standards falling, the schools going to hell, and Washington is worried about…the Ukraine? Things crumble, resources are desperately needed domestically, and Washington buys the B-21, which Aviation Week prices at $640 million a copy of which, by design, you have probably never heard.”
It’s nuts. The racial situation is an intensifying disaster with continent-wide rioting, burning cities, ghetto kids graduating illiterate, desperate white people offing themselves with opioids, the rabble storming the Bastille—wait, this time I think it was the Capitol–but we need to raise prices by tariffs on China and Russia.
One night we went to eat with old friends from an earlier life. Like so many in DC, they were ninety-ninth percentile in intelligence, well educated, and decent people. We pondered, “Thai? Chinese? There’s a new Turkish place that’s supposed to be good.” Again, good people, though living in million-dollar houses, but…but…for much of the country Turkish, in some spiffy joint on Cap Hill or upper Connecticut Ave, would be the adventure of a lifetime. Washington has an ampleness of evil people, the Bidens, Blinkens, Victoria Nuland, Trump at one remove, but so many are just out of touch. There’s a new Turkish place in the city, and when was the last time they dined in Flint?
The media, a salt mine in which I once labored, are an embarrassment, utterly partisan, ranting and howling about Russia. OK, in war it is usual to cut the public off from information and to keep them stirred up with accounts of rape, human shield, “genocide,” chemical war, massacres, torture, a rule of television being to get a woman to cry and fill the frame. In Vietnam the media ran all over the country and actually reported what was happening, which eventually ended the war. This error is not being repeated.
(What bothers me is the apparent lack of curiosity, of doubt of official sources. Contrary to belief in some quarters, reporters are not given orders to adopt a particular point of view, though they know better than to contradict the publication’s line. No scribbler at the Washington Post will discuss racial differences in intelligence. But they are herd animals.)
Violeta, whose cynicism toward government—anybody’s government—would peel paint from a wall, watched a video clip purportedly of a Russian tank crushing a car occupied by Ukrainians. She noticed after research that the Russian tank was black without markings, like Ukrainian tanks, instead of green with markings, like all other Russian tanks. OK, maybe it was an undercover Russian tank. She also noticed in some of the Russian-destruction video, street signs are blurred out. Uh…, why dat? Anyone want to guess?
Why do reporters not pay attention? First, again, they are creatures of the pack. They live in the Beltway Terrarium, talk to each other, read each other, and so know they are right. Don’t their colleagues all say so? Second, they are painfully ignorant of matters military, knowing chiefly the bureaucracies involved in policy, contracting, and so on. This includes those for the WaPo, whom I knew—George Wilson, Molly Moore, etc. As a comparison with the coverage of the Washington media, here is a piece by Scott Ritter, a former American intelligence officer stationed in, among other places, Moscow. It is long but contains the kind of knowledge that not one of the Beltways reporters, squalling, screeching, preening and yodeling has an earthworm’s grasp.
Why did Russia attack? Anyone who can read a map can see that since 1991 the US has been trying, with considerable success, to encircle Russia militarily. Russia has said over and over that it was not going to have American missiles on its border in the Ukraine any more than America would allow Chinese missiles in Tijuana. I encountered no one in DC who had even heard of this, though it has been going on for years. This is journalism?
All things end, except those that don’t. On a cold rainy predawn morning we caught an Uber to Reagan National, returning to a country that has just left the Third World to one energetically returning to it. A stewardess aboard read the boilerplate about have a wonderful flight. She didn’t explain just how that laudable goal might be achieved. Remember, cometh the guillotine. Kachunk. Kachunk. Kachun.
FRED REED describes himself as [previously] a “Washington police reporter, former Washington editor for Harper’s and staff writer for Soldier of Fortune magazine, Marine combat vet from Viet Nam, and former long-haul hitchhiker, part-time sociopath, who once lived in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from the Yankee Capital.”
His essays “on the collapse of America” Mr. Reed calls “wildly funny, sometimes wacky, always provocative.”
“Fred is the Hunter Thompson of the right,” seconds Thomas E. Ricks in Foreign Policy magazine. His commentary is “well-written, pungent political incorrectness mixed with smart military commentary and libertarian impulses, topped off with a splash of Third World sunshine and tequila.”
Hardboiled is back! (The exclamation point is to arouse wild enthusiasm int the reader, a boiling literary lust.) Gritty crime fiction by longtime police reporter for the Washington Times, who knows the police from nine years of riding with them. Guaranteed free of white wine and cheese, sensitivity, or social justice.