Dignity and Respect

“Dignity and respect,” said the outraged, unfairly attacked entitled man to the friendly interviewers on the president’s favorite fake news channel.  His good Christian wife sat dutifully next to him, one hundred percent on his side. “I have nothing but dignity and respect for women, never would even think about committing a sexual assault against one, never!  Even while stinking drunk, especially while stinking drunk.   How dare they?!!  I regard all women with dignity and respect, dignity and respect, always have, even for the drunken, horny, unattainable sluts I encountered as a hard-drinking prep school virgin and an equally soused freshman virgin at Yale.  All I want is a fair process, a fair chance to not be persecuted like our Lord and Savior was, a fair process to show that these bitches from hell are lying, partisan, fetus slaughtering whores.”

Thus the Supreme Court nominee made his case to American partisans, via Fox News.   The interview was set up by a disgraced former Fox executive, one Mr. Bill Shine [1], who made his bones defending a series of sexual predator Fox executives who all subsequently had to step down, as, in the end, did Shine.   Not that Shine didn’t do his best to protect his powerful white male friends, it’s just that these bitches are fucking determined and women now, suddenly, are the fucking victims of everything, don’t you know?   And their high priced lawyers were good, demonically so.   Now Shine works directly for Trump, in Scaramucci’s old job.   “Let’s put Brett on Fox, Bill, let him speak directly to the base,” the President must have said.   The president is a genius, he says so himself.  

All Kavanaugh is asking for is, as he stated over and over to the fawning interviewer at Fox, is  “a fair process”, a fair process, a fair process where no evidence against me is admissible if it is prejudicial in any way.   The same standard of evidence I require in my court, except nothing detrimental to the life-long dream of an entitled, powerful white man who loves his family and is poised to become among the nine most elite and powerful people in the nation, if not the world.  

Dignity and respect, he said again and again, suggesting that he too is entitled to those things.  You could see, behind his beady, lying eyes, the wheels turning in his brilliant, high-achieving, lawyerly brain, “…since birth, my mother, a late in life lawyer and then a judge, was an inspiration to me, and I also hated her, as you might expect, which is why I got so drunk so often and though I always, always behaved with absolute regard for their dignity and respect, even though no female ever reciprocated my sexual interest– what did I have to do, playfully brush my dick across their fucking faces?—  I was always respectful, even when my shows of affection did not result in my penis penetrating their vagina, which is the only true definition of sexual assault.  Never got so much as the goddamned tip in.   Case closed.  How many more questions?  Is it time to say it again?”

“All I am asking for is a fair process that allows an immediate up or down 51-49 vote to confirm me without undue delay for a gathering coven of lying, godless partisan women to prepare any sort of real case against me.  Fair process means no FBI, no witnesses called to assassinate my good name, no evidence produced to impeach my testimony, or me, or my high minded Jesus inspired family values purity.  Look, I produced a fucking 1982 calendar to prove I was never once at a party of any kind the year I am accused of the heinous things made up against me.  Proof that the whores are lying! All of them!

“Fair process means we fairly (51-49, bitches) violate the rules of the Senate and allow the optically unsympathetic white men on the Judiciary Committee who unconditionally support me to interrogate the witness against me using a powerful woman’s voice.  The voice of a single witness, the lying, or mistaken, or mixed up, or partisan academic bitch who claims that when she was fifteen I did the unthinkable to her against the voice of a strong woman.  I was a fucking virgin, OK– so, by definition I couldn’t have raped her.  And as any choir boy knows, if there is no penetration, no rape.  Case closed.  Shut your hole, lady.”  

So the old white Republican men on the Judiciary Committee, to avoid the sickening gang rape optics of the Anita Hill sessions (and the many lost confirmation votes that followed) lawyer up, find a suitable mouthpiece, a staunch Republican female pitbull from Maricopa County, Arizona, home of pardoned contemnor Joe Arpaio’s infamous desert concentration camp penal colonies,  to confront this lying professor Blasey Ford.  

A partisan woman prosecutor attacking a woman testifying about an attempted rape– you have to admit, the optics are much, much better than stern, horsefaced Chuck Grassley, or the equally fair-minded feminist member Orrin Hatch, hoarsely insisting: “isn’t it true, missy, that you are a lying fucking whore?”  The optics of Anita Hill’s ordeal were horrible, and these two conservative pricks were part of it (Democratic Judiciary Committee member Patrick Leahy was also there during the Hill testimony– though he called for a postponement to have a full hearing– SAD!) , so better for everybody if we have an impartial yet aggressive female lawyer take this lying professor apart.

A fair process is all I ask for, insists the shameless Kavanaugh.   One day of hurried testimony to brazen my way through and a straight up or down 51-49 vote for confirmation the next morning.   Keep the pressure on those two Republican swing votes, those two female senators, at least one of whom has indicated if they are convinced a younger Kavanaugh attacked an even younger woman and is now lying about it– before he can do a more complete job attacking all young women as the fifth vote against the murder of innocent fetuses– they would vote against him.  

Got to have the vote now.  NOW!   A fair process demands no less!  A fair process!!! Quick, before Mueller can complete his anti-Christ witch hunt.  I am the only one who can protect our president against his legions of ruthless enemies.  Vote now, confirm me NOW!  A fair process, dignity and respect, dignity and respect, a fair process!!!  For the love of God and His Only Son, in the name of all that is good and holy.  I am the only one who is committed to fully protecting our leader!  Beside Stephen Miller, a great man who reminds me very much of my younger self.

As fifth generation American George Lopez might say;  “fuck those putos”.

 

[1] top Google blurb, from the Grey Skank:   

Bill Shine, the former Fox News executive who was pushed out over his handling of sexual harassment scandals at the network, was named …

Note:   Shine was named four or five days before well-bred shit-don’t-stink dignity respecter Brett Kavanaugh was nominated, as the Pussygrabber-in-chief’s guy to handle the spin for the confirmation, the Mueller probe/witch hunt and everything else.  

And God bless these United Shayssssh.

False Acquisitions.png

The United States of Brazenness

The trait that has surged out of control in recent years, the one, above the rest, that makes people angry enough to punch each other now in the land of the free and the home of the brave, is brazenness.   You say I’m disrespectful?  How about I stare you down and punch you in the fucking face, is that disrespectful enough for you, ass wipe?

You see it on TV all the time in our violent, brazen culture.  Years ago a football player who did an in-your-fucking-face victory dance in the end zone would be carried out on a stretcher the next time he came on to the field.   The players would all be stone-faced about the accident that dislocated his leg, but the message would be delivered.  Don’t be a fucking hotdog.

Now we are Hotdog Nation.  If you don’t boast, brag, celebrate every small triumph, it is taken as a sign of weakness.   Humility is now widely regarded as a vice of the timid and a badge of inferiority here in Hotdog Nation.   If there are two widely hated political rivals vying for an important post, the one who rubs the other one’s nose in their excrement, not the one who takes what used to be called the moral high road, will most often be elected.  Brazenness pays.  Ask President Brazen.

And so it is with all of the unfairly maligned men in the president’s orbit.  If some bitch accuses you of doing, whatever, say it’s only something as innocent as good-naturedly lying on top of somebody, while both of you are drunk, and trying to cop a few innocent feels, you do what needs to be done.  You attack.  Go for the fucking face, punch, kick– if you can get your foot up in their face, that’s the best.  Why dirty your hands on a lying bitch if you can Bruce Lee her in the face a few times?   She won’t be talking shit so easily after a few good socks in the face, will she?   Death threats are good, if you’re really out there, there are risks, you know, but the threat of a lawsuit is often just as good as a death threat.   Most people will fold like a flimsy origami bird when the process server hands them the legal papers.

Of course, a long time rabid Republican operative, active during the Newt Gingrich revolution against that liar about a blow-job Bill Clinton, who ran into battle screaming, writing furious, secret memos to his boss Kenneth Starr, and later for Bush and Cheney, after being at the legal front of the mob of right wing lawyers who ensured that Mr. Bush’s chance to be president would not be harmed by a full recount of contested votes, well, a man with those credentials needs no lessons in brazenness.  Still, Mr. Kavanaugh is an impressive specimen of brazenness, as he must be to do what he does.

What he does is stand there and stink.

We don’t know if the now two women who have reluctantly come forward with allegations of long ago sexual assault, amid death threats for the first and blanket denials from most people contacted in the case of the second,  are 100% credible.   That is why the accusers themselves are calling for an FBI investigation, since otherwise partisan witnesses tend not to lie to the FBI the way they might when asked to sign a letter, or are questioned by a journalist who irrationally hates the president.   We do know that, while impressively brazen, the barrage of denials from the White House and the nominee are mostly a fine spray of aerosolized pig feces, mixed with urine and blood.   There is a reason for this.  

When we create bacon, ham, pork chops and all those delicious things made from pigs, it takes a certain amount of time to get the little suckers good and fat.   Nothing hard to understand about that, right?  While we are growing them big and delicious, they have to make.  They make every day, a few times a day.   There might be a hundred thousand pigs, or more, at any given time, in a decent sized pork facility.   What do you do with all that disgusting stuff they make when they’re alive– and with the inedible bi-products they leave behind when they are turned into delicious cuts of meat?   You make a lake, and dig it deep, if you have any plans to be in business for a while.  No matter how deep you dig it, if you are successful, you will need to start getting rid of some of that mixture of urine, excrement, blood and pus from infections.   Otherwise, it will overflow, obviously, and cause disgusting problems.   A problem: an opportunity to be creative.

So here’s what you do: you stick a pump into the bottom of this stinking muck, connected to a hose with a spray nozzle.   I don’t know the science, exactly, but you get the pump going, raise the hose high into the air and turn the nozzle of that hose on.  A very fine spray, the finest spray, of whatever you want to call that stuff, can be sprayed high into the air, lowering the level in the lake.  That’s what we do anywhere there is a lake of pig waste.  

The mist falls on the poor, the only people who would be stupid enough to live near an industrial pig farm.   The stink of those farms is unforgettable, if you’ve ever driven past them with the windows up, trying to hold your breath, you will never forget the stench.   Poor people have to get used to it.  As soon as they see that plume of spray going up into the air over their homes, the smart ones stay inside and make sure all the windows are shut tight.  There are always some, of course, who walk outside and get soaked with the stuff.  That’s because there are winners and losers.

Winners gloat, and losers suck it.  Call it brazen if you like, the attitude of entitlement on the faces of those of us who will never be stupid enough to walk in a misty rain of pig waste, but would you rather be blinking away a mist of pig waste, or doing a victory dance, in a beautiful, tastefully furnished bathroom, every time you succeed in moving your bowels?  Doesn’t sound like much of a choice, does it?

 

 

One two punch for 9/11

JOHN BOLTON: Today on the eve of September the 11th, I want to deliver a clear and unambiguous message on behalf of the president of the United States. The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecutions by this illegitimate court. We will not cooperate with the ICC [International Criminal Court], we will provide no assistance to the ICC and we certainly will not join the ICC.

AUDIENCE: [Applause]

JOHN BOLTON: We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us.

AMY GOODMAN: John Bolton also threatened to directly target judges at the ICC.

JOHN BOLTON: We will respond against the ICC and its personnel to the extent permitted by U.S. law. We will ban its judges and prosecutors from entering the United States, we will sanction their funds in the U.S. financial system and we will prosecute them in the U.S. criminal system. We will do the same for any company or state that assists an ICC investigation of Americans.

AMY GOODMAN: During his speech, John Bolton also announced that the Trump administration would close the Palestine Liberation Organization’s office in Washington in response to a Palestinian effort to push the ICC to investigate Israel for war crimes.

JOHN BOLTON: The Trump administration will not keep the office open when the Palestinians refuse to take steps to start direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel. The United States supports a direct and robust peace process, and we will not allow the ICC or any other organization to constrain Israel’s right to self-defense.

AMY GOODMAN: Palestinian diplomat Saeb Erekat criticized the move.

SAEB EREKAT: We were notified unfortunately that they will close the office and lower the Palestinian flag. This is an affirmation of the U.S. administration’s determination to continue its process of blackmail and extortion and undermining the peace process and the two-state solution. They have cut all humanitarian aid.

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When you have angry people who believe their imagined view of life is more compelling than what is actually happening in the world — you get this kind of madness.   The U.S. wants peace and prosperity for everyone, and we will kill you if you stand in our way.    The infuriated John Bolton, a rash man who loves war, ladies and gentlemen.  Working with fellow savage warrior (not that the younger version of himself or anyone he knows would ever die in the wars he supports) our current president.  

Peace be upon you, and may whatever you worship protect you from the merciless designs of such men.

Majority Rules

Like a two year-old with a shit filled diaper triumphantly proclaiming ownership of the sandbox, the party with the commanding 51-49 majority in the Senate plunges forward in its quest to quickly confirm another extreme right wing corporatist partisan as our next Supreme Court Justice.   The stakes are high, a second appointment for Trump and the Kochs, as criminal investigations close in on the ethically exempt president:  a permanent extreme right corporatist majority on the Court for the first time since the Great Depression.   The nominee sits, face as bland as a potato, waiting for the hurried sham hearing to proceed, as the minority party, the losers, appeals to the chairman for basic fairness and integrity.   Loyalists for the majority party keep making points of order, insisting the hearing not be interrupted or delayed for any reason.

The chairman, Chuck Grassley, tasked with getting this done before the midterms two months away [1], bristles at the challenges to his fairness and integrity, in the face of a strong argument he and his party lack both.   42,000 pages of documents regarding this nominee were delivered to senators the night before the confirmation hearings.  Documents requested by Chairman Grassley himself have not been produced, the minority senators claim.  Presumably these are among the 100,000 pages deemed too incendiary to release, Kavanaugh memos written while he advised George W. Bush on judicial appointments and vetted candidates, being withheld under some convoluted version of Executive Privilege.  A privilege, incidentally, that the Executive in question, George W. Bush, explicitly waived recently, in the interests of transparency and the appearance of fairness.

The Democrats don’t point it out, trying simply to get time to read the 42,000 pages before the confirmation hearing, but the nominee was a well-known right wing partisan activist and did some potentially compromising things in his zeal during the Clinton impeachment and in the Bush/Cheney White House.   There is also his record, as a judge under Merrick Garland, in cases involving employers and employees, consumers, the environment, of voting, in split decisions, against the public interest 87% of the time .   Nothing to see there!  Today, in spite of his salacious interest in Bill Clinton’s sex life and the impeachable offense of Clinton lying about the blow jobs, and his aggressiveness prosecuting this terrible crime, that Mr. Kavanaugh believes, and has written, that, as a general principle, the president is largely above the law and should not be distracted by investigations during the performance of his duties. Convenient, no?   Moved the corporate ass-kisser to the head of the Koch brother’s list of conservative jurists ready for the top job.

The chairman pretends to consider Corey Booker’s appeal (the two women who sought to intervene moments earlier were both ignored by the chairman) for an adjournment to read the redacted, 42,000 page record.   Then Grassely responds, gravely and respectfully, to Mr. Booker.  How dare the minority party interrupt my hearing to try to take advantage of my sense of integrity!   My integrity is absolute, as is that of my party, my president, my president’s revolving cast of advisors and cabinet members, no matter how many might have been forced from their positions, indicted or convicted in recent weeks. 

Senator Grassley listened respectfully to the female senator from Hawaii, Mazie Hirono, who expressed concerns about the unprecedented step of requiring judicial committee members to pre-submit their questions for the candidate for screening, by telling her politely to shut the fuck up.  Grassley, although pompous, appears not to be the sharpest knife in the drawer (not that he needs to be, 51-49 as it is), as when he admits, in response to Senator Leahy’s concern that the claim of Executive Privilege (a claim not asserted by the Executive himself in this case) must be resolved before any hearing is held, that he could answer all these minority questions “but I think if I answer those questions it’s going to fit into the effort of the minority to continue to obstruct and I don’t think that’s fair to our judge, it’s not fair to our constitutional process… blah blah blah.” [2]

 

All Chairman Grassley had to say was “I know you are, but what am I?”  As every two year-old knows, 51-49 is a majority, a commanding majority.   Might makes right.  49% has no right to interrupt while the 51% is telling it to eat shit.   Get your spoon and fucking dig in!   Simon says!  And say “God bless our sacred constitutional democracy and our infallible leader” as you shovel it down, assholes.

 

[1] Forget here, if you can, that the illegitimate Kenyan Muslim’s pick for Supreme Court, a well-respected moderate named Merrick Garland, Chief United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit,, was short circuited by partisan Republicans who insisted the People should decide, since a presidential election was about a year away when Antonin Scalia suddenly died.  You can’t have an appointment so close to an election, the majority party insisted, before they insisted the opposite, with a fraction of the time left on the clock and as investigations against the president continue:  we have to have this hearing before the looming midterms!   So the People can speak!

The haste here, of course, is that the 51-49 majority enjoyed by the party of Trump could possibly disappear in a matter of weeks as we await the will of the People on this matter.   Their leader, a prodigiously untruthful autocratic oligarch, might even face impeachment, or worse!   Time is suddenly, very much, of the essence if we are to have a solidly right wing Supreme Court for the next few decades.   This emergency began with the suddenly negotiated retirement of the so-called Swing Vote, the conservative Anthony Kennedy, a man who voted with the zealots most of the time, but unaccountably, was not homophobic or openly misogynistic.   Forget all this, it is irrelevant.  Fake controversy ginned up by lying partisan twats like me. NOTHING TO SEE HERE!  God bless America.  USA!   USA!!!

[2] Grassley goes on to answer Senator Leahy’s concern about what the administration has to hide among Kavanaugh’s writings while he advised President George W. Bush, when he served as advisor on judicial appointments.    White House counsel speak under an expectation of confidentiality, said Grassley, as do all lawyers to their clients.   If this was not so, a memo using language that could be taken out of context and used to destroy a candidacy, such as “I recommend we press the nigger/bitch/kyke hard on whether they support the murder of the unborn,”  or a suggestion to, say, demand photos of President Clinton’s penis, flaccid and erect, to be used as exhibits during his impeachment, would never have been written, depriving the Executive (or in the case of Clinton’s impeachment, Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, who Kavanaugh zealously advised) of the full, frank range of partisan opinions to which he or she is entitled.  Confidentiality demands no less.

As for the 42,000 pages of documents delivered to the committee the night before the hearing, the only requirement, according to Grassley, was that they be delivered before the hearing, and they were.  End of story, whiners.  The Republican members of the judicial committee managed to read all 42,000 redacted pages, suck it up, obstructionist minority party.   If you can’t manage to do your homework, don’t blame the diligent students who did.

Melancholia, Anyone?

Live with sorrows long enough and they will sometimes gather and swoop down in a wave of melancholia.   Allowing these sorrows to gather and swoop is something I have done since childhood.   It is familiar, somewhat understandable and without any terror to me at this point in my life.    I know the drill and accept it now, there is no sense fighting melancholia.   It has its seasons.  It is best just to slowly go with it, it arrives to make you consider your life a bit.

The semi-hollow body electric guitar you love to play, with that genius little looper that allows you to stomp, play, stomp, play along with your first track, stomp, add a second track, has no appeal when melancholia descends.   “Fuck it, maybe later,” you think to yourself, passing the guitar and looper on your way upstairs to tap these words.

There are cures for melancholia, of course.   You needn’t passively suffer from the blues, blues you don’t even have the energy to play or sing.   You can call a friend, if you have one.   The world is less lonely when you are talking to a friend.   You can go for a walk, or a bike ride, though your mood will accompany you, at least for the first part.   You can go shopping.  It’s what we’ve been taught since childhood, buying something new will cheer you up.  It works for millions of happy consumers everywhere, even if what you buy soon turns out to be crap.   You can read a book, watch TV (and we are in a renaissance of television at the moment), devour content in dozens of electronic forms. You can distract yourself until the cows come home, and when the cows get home, you can distract yourself some more.  It’s called entertainment, be entertained.   Yo, there are also anodynes, many of them handy, like eating something tasty, though the relief of that is momentary at best.

It doesn’t take melancholia to make you notice the brutality of the set up. We are told that statistically the odds of being killed by somebody else have never been lower in human history, unless you live in one of the many dangerous killing spots currently smoldering on the earth.  Of course, the odds of dying by your own hand, intentionally or inadvertently, have never been higher, are actually, for the first time in human history, more likely than your odds of being killed by somebody else, but that too is just a statistic, you dig.   We may, arguably, have a suicide epidemic in the greatest country, the most exceptional nation, the world has ever known.  Add the more than 72,000 overdose deaths from opioids last year to the tens of thousands accomplished by Second Amendment enthusiasts with their instrument of choice, add in drunk driving deaths, and murders by car, your goddamned vehicular homicides, and you start to get an impressive number of dead Americans.   We don’t need to talk about these motherfuckers really, they are not only losers, but dead losers.

This notion of winner and loser is a sick one I should pick at a bit here, just because this idiotic worldview is at the source of so much human misery.   You are a winner at the moment you win the lottery, a matter of pure luck, just as you are a winner when your Nazi-loving father dies and leaves you $300,000,000, another kind of lottery, albeit one you have paid dearly for by having a Nazi as a father.   Still, these are momentary victories, like every win is.  

That is the key thing: winning and losing are happening constantly in every life.  They go by other names, good luck and bad luck, providence and accursedness, good randomness vs. bad randomness.  Work is involved, of course, in preparing for victory.  I don’t discount the amount of hard work necessary to win a competition, nor do I necessarily shrink from it.   The thing I want to get across here is that winning and losing are relative and transitory, think about it even for two seconds and you will grasp that piece too.

The greatest baseball players in history, in their greatest all-time record-setting seasons, lost 60% of the time they went to bat. [1]   They were out more times than they succeeded.  An impressive majority of the time they were losers.  A 40% success rate, for Shoeless Joe Jackson, Rogers Hornsby, Ty Cobb, Ted Williams, was a season for the ages, a .400 season.  A small handful of historically elite players have ever achieved that.   Babe Ruth, the greatest hitter of them all, by many estimations,  made it to a personal best of .393 one year.   Anyone hitting .350 today is having a season for the ages, but still– losing more than they are winning.     Winning is a relative term, unless you understand this you are a loser.   Even if you understand it, you are still a loser, as often as you are a “winner”.

We’re told there is an attitude that winners have, an ineffable quality that makes them winners.  I think of the greatest American exemplar of winning, a man who has won every contest he has been involved in (by his account, anyway), including the greatest prize for an American winner, the presidency of the United States.   Being the world’s greatest winner means that you have conquered the game, are at the top of your game, on top of the world.   No reason to be angry, or peevish, oversensitive or insanely needy — you’re a great winner and therefore happy in a way a loser will never be.  

Still, check the man out.   Five a.m. rage tweets lashing out at the unfairness of his envious, unfair persecutors,  an inability to be truthful except in rare, unscripted moments (“I could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and these gullible morons would still support me”) a life of manifest unhappiness and gnawing insecurity, behind a gaudy front of blustering compensatory over-confidence, for the world’s greatest winner.  What’s up with that?  You want to be a winner like him?  Go for it.  Start with choosing the right dad.

The winner/loser game has one measuring stick: wealth.  If you are rich you have won.  Except, of course, that there are always other motherfuckers richer than you (some have vast, interest generating hereditary wealth, going back generations), which is a goad and a motivation.   Being filthy rich is no longer enough, to be a real winner you have to be richer than Jesus Christ and his father combined.   The Greeks used to have myths about foolish humans sucked into this thing called hubris.  The insatiably greedy Midas got the gold touch, and that was the end of him.   His food turned to gold, when he wiped his ass that turned to gold.  He was done.  [2]  The Midas touch, which we think of as the gold standard of good luck, turns out to be one of the more clever curses of the gods.  I always loved the Yiddish curse:  may you be very successful in business, may you become very rich and build a mansion of a hundred rooms — and may the devil chase you from room to room.

Of course, I am a bitter man, melancholic today or not.  I tend to think of winners like the fucking Sackler family, several generations of doctors who have evolved into a clan of fabulously wealthy drug pushers under the corporate name Perdue Pharmaceuticals.   It turns out they researched which areas of this great country were most plagued by drug abuse, specifically opioid abuse.   They targeted these ravaged, hopeless areas where despair was rampant and options few, coal mining country, rust belt, foreclosed farm communities, etc., with trained doctors, nurses and pharmaceutical reps claiming that their patented product, Oxycontin, had an “exquisitely rare” chance of addiction “less than 1%” (a number they pulled out of their collective, corporate asses).   The Sacklers made billions upon billions marketing this highly addictive patent protected anodyne poison to America’s most desperate while addiction and overdose deaths predictably sky-rocketed.   Winners vs. losers, yo.

Civil suit after civil suit against Perdue Pharma resulted in nothing but wasted legal fees and shrugs all around, and anger and despair for the loved ones of those now dead from the exquisitely well-marketed opioid.   You can’t prove the lying corporation killed your boy, ma’am, nor can you make them pay you shit for his death.   It was the drug addict’s own damned fault, after all.   Nobody held a gun to his dumb head and forced him to overdose.  De minimis non curat lex, sir.

The U.S. Attorney in Virginia finally brought a criminal case against Perdue Pharma.  In 2007, after a series of negotiations (pre-dementia Rudy Giuliani was brought in to do his magic for Perdue) the parties agreed to a plea deal where the corporation, charged with a series of felonies, pleaded guilty to the single felony of “criminal misbranding” a crime that had been committed continuously for six or seven years by then.   Three executives took misdemeanor charges.  Justice was done, as well as it ever is done to extremely wealthy malefactors.

In a nation that was not insanely racing against death by trying to acquire everything in sight, and blindly worshipping those who can,  this would not appear to be a reasonable, fair or just outcome.   At the very least this gigantic corporate drug dealer, after “criminally misbranding” its deadly anodyne and profiting obscenely from its crime, with deadly consequences for hundreds of thousands (and counting), would have to lay out the cash to set up rehab and treatment centers in every area they had targeted to sell their lucrative, criminally mislabeled product.   That’s not how it works in the land of winners and losers.   We don’t punish the powerful here.   What kind of message does that send?   We punish the weak, send them to private, for-profit prisons.  They are losers anyway.  Yo, be serious!  Punishing losers equals corporate profits: win win!  

Not to say this hideous picture is all bad.  In the impoverished West Virginia town of 400 that received 9,000,000 tablets of Oxycontin one year, many were able to keep their noses just above poverty by selling the pills, which go for up to ten bucks a piece.  The free market, being free.

I am content with the things I own.  The guitar I love cost a few hundred dollars, a fraction of the price of the one the Chinese factory skillfully recreated.   I am a good enough guitarist that I “deserve” a guitar costing many times more.  I don’t need it.   Do you understand what I am saying?  Owning a $5,000 or $10,000 guitar would be lovely, sure, but I don’t need it.  Can you grasp that?   It is worthwhile to grasp a thing like that.  Otherwise, in the words of an ex’s Hindu guru, you are like a deer, dying of thirst as you chase a mirage of water.

Our failure here is a failure of imagination.   We fail to imagine the many real possibilities that would make the world a more decent and merciful place for all but the richest and most psychopathic among us.   We simply cannot imagine the great philanthropists of our age, the finest people, folks like the Sacklers, ever being held accountable for any crime they may or may not have committed.   “Criminal misbranding”, I mean, how bad a crime is that really, in the hierarchy of felonies?    It’s a fraud perpetrated deliberately year after year to the harm and death of tens of thousands, but it has to been seen in context.    The Sacklers donate wings to museums, they endow professorships, they are culturally generous with their billions.   The men who paid themselves a record $135 billion in compensation in 2009 after almost causing the second worldwide Great Depression by their systemic, highly lucrative, fraud, same deal.   Does it really help anyone to put these kind of folks in prison?  Aren’t they really too big to jail?   Seriously, am I suggesting that such fine people deserve to be held accountable for the petty crimes they may, arguably, commit?  Unimaginable, the luxury prisons we’d have to construct to house such fine people.

Our failure of imagination, in this nation where we are trained from birth to be passive consumers,  makes us replace the universe of possibilities with the world we have in front of us.   You see, there is no way, in a free country, to make sure no children are raised in dire, hopeless, life crushing poverty because…. the Free Market.   Communism obviously failed, was put out of business and taken off the map by the only form of social organization that makes sense, that truly reflects human nature, Capitalism.    

We reduce many undreamed of possibilities to our famous imagination crushing false dichotomy.   If you hate Capitalism as it is practiced today, as it has always been practiced, then you are a Communist, by definition a discredited loser.  History proves how much you suck.   Winners win, losers whine, suckers walk.  Freedom is on the march.  Democracy equals capitalism, winning equals fabulous wealth, end of the story, boys and girls.  Koch Industries, sponsors of the NY Yankees, makes products you use and are dedicated to a level playing field where everyone has an equal opportunity.   They say so in their own ad.   Nothing else to see here.  Bird Wins [3].

This is a world of losers, friends, every one of whom will die without any hope of eternal, corporate style, life.   Losers with costive imaginations, hemmed in by mass-marketed external reality.   That’s a peevish and dumb way to put it, ‘costive’ being an old-fangled word for constipated.   Imaginings are not shit, of course, though they are constantly shit on.   Neither are they all good, some in fact, would benefit from not have been shitted out at all.  

We are led to imagine that all the problems in the world caused by runaway, unregulated capitalism are the fault of illegal aliens and refugees, poor people sneaking through our porous borders to rape and murder, while bringing illegal drugs in.   Many are, quite possibly, terrorists who hate our freedom.   Imagine that!   All of our problems, caused by those ruthless, relentless fucks, millions of them, lawlessly overrunning our once great nation like cockroaches.   At one time, even now in many parts of the world, in some of the best parts, the best parts, my people get the blame.  The fucking Jews.   If Hitler had finished his important work every ignorant racist fuck in the world would now be a king, once the goddamned colored people were dealt with the same way. It’s only a matter of will, of winning.  

Happy Labor Day, my hard laboring friends.   Get out there and take advantage of your day off and your freedom to save big at malls all over this great land.   They’re practically giving the wonderful stuff away.   Go, go, go!  If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to slouch over to my guitar and see what comes out.  [4]

 

 

[1] for the quibblers, sure, their On Base Percentage for those seasons, the times they walked added to the times they had base hits, means that these baseball immortals, in their greatest seasons for the ages, only lost maybe 50% of the time.   Call me pisher.  

[2]  OK, fine, the Greek myth makers gave greedy King Midas a reprieve and his story a laudable moral.   Ecstatic about his new gold touch he hugged his beloved daughter, she turned to gold and he broke down.   He begged the gods to take the curse away, and they did.  Midas lived a life of generosity when his touch stopped turning everything he loved into gold and died beloved of his people.

[3] Bird Wins was the title of a book I once tried to write.  The title referred to the flashing sign in the Chinatown Arcade on Mott Street, mercilessly announcing that the tic tac toe playing chicken had beaten its human opponent again.   The bird went first, and always played to thwart a victory.   I doubt anybody, ever, beat the goddamned chicken, though many probably tied.   Bird Wins stands in for all fixed games, rigged contests, manifest abuses of the gullible and earnest alike.  

[4]  I‘m So Tired, it turns out, by the fookin genius John Lennon.

Son of Why Do You Bother?

I was extremely reluctant to spend $152 for a pen, even a fountain pen with a beautifully flexible nib.  I’ve dreamed of a pen like that for years, but $152 seemed nuts.   I carry several favorite pens with me every day and their price in total doesn’t come near $100.   Which is not to say I don’t value each of my favorite pens greatly, I do.  A good pen is like a true musical instrument, one that stays in tune and is a pleasure to play.   You can’t make music without a true instrument, nor love the marks you make on a piece of paper without a pen that feels good leaving its mark.  

Still, $152 for a pen struck me as ridiculous, even in a store that sells $4,000 pens.   It was a beautiful pen, with a wonderfully flexible nib.  I tried it for a long time in the store and sighed when I handed the pen back to the salesman.   The salesman took the pen back when I told him I couldn’t spend that much for a fountain pen.   He smiled and said “you’ll come back for it.”

A few days later I did.  It quickly became my favorite pen.   The salesman had assured me that the soft, delicate, flexible nib was under warranty for three years.  That was reassuring, especially since, from the beginning the pen was temperamental, finicky.   It was a challenge to get it to write sometimes.  I learned a few tricks to gently help get the ink flowing.  I cleaned it with cool distilled water periodically.   I learned I had to use it every single day to keep it flowing.  My cheaper pens never hesitate, this little prima dona rarely wrote as soon as you picked her up.   I began carrying a little pill bottle filled with distilled water to clean the nib, on subways and wherever else I drew.  

Over the course of seven months I had worn the nib down, mostly from trying to get it to write when it didn’t feel like writing, and, eventually, found myself trying to write with the dreaded “sprung nib”.   This means the nib no longer flexes since it cannot return to its thin state, the tines being now permanently separated.   Picture two fingers splayed apart.  The pen is ruined.   I hesitated for a long time, dreading the likeliest outcome,  and finally brought it back to the “Fountain Pen Hospital” where I had purchased the fine writing instrument.  Sekhnet met me there for moral support. 

The kid at the counter was sympathetic when I told him how much I loved this pen and that the patient was in bad shape and needed a fountain pen hospital.   He recommended a place I could send it where they could fix the nib for about a hundred dollars.   I reminded him of the three year Namiki warranty.  The older man at the desk chimed in to tell me there was no warranty for the nib.  He told me he’d been doing this for sixty years and that nobody gives a warranty for a nib.   I told him what his salesman had told me.  He said it was impossible, Paul had worked for him for twenty-five years, he could not have told me the nib was under warranty.   Paul himself passed by a few times.   I was clearly a desperate man, lying, and Paul was cool as a cucumber, his boss had his back.

I somehow left the store without expressing any anger and walked away feeling a little bit kicked in the balls, but there was little I could do but call the number the kid had given me and plead my case to Namiki/Pilot.   I’m not optimistic there either, but it’s worth a shot.  Japanese companies still seem to take a pride in their products that American corporations have long ago realized is for losers.  

Our next stop was the Samsung store in the ultra-trendy Meat Packing District of New York City.   The guy who sets up the repair appointments admitted that the oversensitive moisture sensor of the Galaxy S-8 that prevents charging with a cable was a design defect.  They had fixed the defect in subsequent models, Jose said, examining my phone.    In high humidity the sensor goes off, and even though the phone is advertised as surviving immersion in water… but hold on.   My screen was cracked, my warranty was voided and I’d have to pay $249.99 for Samsung to correct the design defect that prevents me from charging the expensive phone with a cable.   Here is my cracked screen:

IMG-20180820-WA0003.jpg

I snarled and stalked away from the guy to cool off, as Sekhnet continued to talk to Jose.   A large security guard, hearing my curses before I walked away from Jose, came over to stand guard nearby.   I calmed myself, looking into the distance, breathing slowly.  After a minute I  went over to the guard, who had been watching me.   I explained why I’d gotten angry and showed him the phone.   He agreed that the tiny scratch voiding the warranty was bullshit.   He agreed that corporations regularly fuck customers, it’s just part of their business plan.  Profit making means breaking a few balls here and there, no big deal for a “person” who only has one job, maximizing profit.   The security guard was a lovely guy.  I told him about “The Corporation”  available to watch on youtube, and he told me he’d definitely check it out.  My friendly chat with him helped calm me the rest of the way down.

I went back over to Jose and Sekhnet to confirm my appointment for the following day and Jose said he hadn’t made the appointment since I’d walked away from him.  I told him he would have walked away too.   He admitted he probably would have. “I can’t lie,” he said, as likable a response as you could hope for in that circumstance.   I’ll be going over there in a couple of hours to have the phone ‘s design defect repaired, the battery replaced with an improved one, the screen replaced.   All for only $249.99 plus tax.   Minus the 15% goodwill discount Jose said he’ll give me, which brought the actual price down to a mere $230.43.  

Minor interaction in an art supply store we went to next left me feeling no better.   The manager was confused and defensive regarding a refund for a bunch of piss-poor nibs I’d bought in another store of their chain.   She told me she couldn’t refund anything without the original packaging (they came out of boxes behind the counter, there was no original packaging), and that to her knowledge they didn’t make the 3B mechanical pencil leads I was looking for (I held up my pencil with the 3B lead in it– another branch a few blocks away, I learned later,  had it in stock)… etc.   I started getting pissed off and left my credit card with Sekhnet to take care of the business while I sat outside, calming myself, reading off my “cracked screen”.  A few minutes later Sekhnet handed me the receipt and I saw that, for whatever reason, $2.18 had been not refunded.   Well worth the price of not walking back into the store.

Then I remembered Sekhnet pays for insurance for the two phones, about $25 a month.  Almost 40 minutes on the phone with T-Mobile (the first 25 or so on hold, with a syphilitic robot periodically coming on to tell me to please continue to hold, we don’t value you pieces of shit enough to hire enough representatives, all of whom are busy helping other customers) eventually connected me to the third party that Sekhnet pays to insure both of our fancy phones.  

I could send my phone in, they’d send me a temporary replacement phone, and they’d do the repairs for only a $175 deductible (about $60 less than Jose’s place which will do everything within 3 hours today).  I asked her what the deductible is if the phone is lost or stolen.  $175 she said.

“So your company’s policy incentivizes fraud,” I said, “I’d be better off just tossing the phone into the nearest sewer, or selling it to a crackhead for $20 and reporting it stolen.”

“Well, that’s why our rates and deductibles have to be high, because people take advantage of insurance companies, that’s why it’s so important for us to be watchful for fraud,” she said pleasantly.  

“No,” I told her, ” that’s insurance industry b.s..  Your rates and ‘deductibles’ are high because insurance companies are in business to pay out as little as possible.   It’s a fabulous scheme as far as your profits go, even if a bit sleazy, though nothing personal, you sound like a very nice person.”  

I managed again, for a third time in a few hours, not to get unreasonably angry.  One’s asshole eventually gets used to the uninvited probes, I suppose. 

If the corporation was actually a person it would be someone like Donald Trump.  They owe nothing to anybody.   They are incapable of real conversation, of any kind of mutuality, really.  They control the terms of every interaction.   They refuse to lose, or even compromise, no matter what the price.  They can never admit wrongdoing, nor can they apologize.  They do what they do because the law allows it, or at least does not explicitly proscribe it.   If it comes to it, they’ll  change the law to make their latest profit-increasing scam legal.   They have an army of lawyers, on salary, just waiting around to make their boss’s day.   Ever been sued by a billionaire?  Nothing like it, boys and girls.   

Capitalism, its defenders always say, is the most accurate reflection of human nature.   It is an expression of human freedom that incentivizes creativity and innovation, rewards the entrepreneurial spirit, maximizes liberty and the pursuit of happiness for everyone.  These defenders are always at least moderately wealthy. Those who do not fare as well under the Darwinian law of the jungle may be excused for seeing the out of control greed-driven psychopathic form of capitalism that is currently energetically destroying our habitat as a reflection of only a certain facet of human nature:  the insanely greed-driven psychopath.    

A powerful church that rapes children and protects the rapists is… we may as well just say it, even if the Pope can’t … evil in the eyes of Jesus, and of every dispassionate child you can ask.   An economic system that makes obscene wealth possible for a very few and a decent lifestyle possible for another 10% or so, while creating health-destroying insecurity or inescapable poverty for many times that number… and unspeakably brutal  poverty for billions more worldwide, the unseen collateral damage of the global “free market”, well, you do the math.

And have a blessed day…

Why Do You Bother?

A voice started nagging me the other day, a familiar voice with famously bad breath.  “What the hell are you doing?” the voice said, with annoying, random inflection, the words arriving unpleasantly warm and fetid in my ear after wafting past my nostrils.

“You continue, day after day, to sit and write.  You seem to write about whatever comes into your head.   You write clearly enough, we’ll stipulate to that, but the larger question is ‘what the fuck’?   Seriously– what is your plan?”

A fair enough question, ass breath.

“More than fair, really.  If you are writing literally every day, taking the trouble to clearly set out all these things that are on your mind, document your long wrestling matches with anger, futility, depression, vexation with the ongoing triumph of incoherent narratives… why are you not spending as much time every day branding, marketing and selling your content?   Why are you not monetizing the skill you’ve been honing for decades?”

Nicely summarized, my inscrutable dilemma, there, toe cheese breath.    

“You can sit there asyntactically smarting me all you like, as you worry about the warranty for the nib of a very expensive fountain pen you love, the fairly new acoustic/electric guitar that is no longer electric, trying to overcome the frustrations of a smart phone that is smarting you daily, having failed to write down the robotically delivered authorization code for PT that the health insurance company robot read to you– foolishly assuming that same code had been sent to PT (it hadn’t, of course) and now you can’t make an appointment for tomorrow’s session since they are no longer picking up the phone, after you called Healthfirst back and were eventually connected to the third party who had the authorization number you need to continue rehabbing your sore knees…”  

I get it, sweat gland breath.  

“A blessing that you can’t smell your own breath, my decomposing friend. I’m just giving you a little friendly advice: you’re not a writer just because you write, even if you write clearly and convincingly, even if you do it every single day of your life. You are a writer if your writing is in print, paid for by somebody else, and with a check written to you for writing whatever the hell it is. Period.”  

Sure thing.