Transitioning to Substack
I hope all of you will follow me over to Substack, and check out my regular articles there. I may still post occasionally here, but am going to concentrate on Substack. You can access my Substack, this blog, my books, my social media, my podcasts, a PayPal donation button, and more at my new web site, donaldjeffries.media. Thanks to my good friend Tony Arterburn for setting that up, and even paying for it.
I can’t thank those who have been loyal readers here enough for their support. Your comments were just the inspiration I needed to keep writing. I think most of you probably follow me at Substack, but if you don’t, I hope you’ll do so soon. I grew to recognize the names of some regular commentators here, and was shocked and gratified when former Rep. Cynthia McKinney introduced herself to me in a comment about the post I wrote some years back on the Boston Bombing charade of a trial. All feedback means a lot to me, but that was truly special.
This blog goes back many years. I first posted in June 2011, when I asked “Who is Don Jeffries?” For reasons I don’t remember, it wasn’t until January 2014 that I began posting regularly here. So that’s over eight years worth of archived material. I hope it proves to be valuable to those who want to read more of my work. Included here are bonus chapters from my books Hidden History and Survival of the Richest, which weren’t in the published editions. I’ve written about political conspiracies, of course, current events, hidden history, and even personal information.
I’m putting the finishing touches on my seventh book, Hidden History 3: More From the American Memory Hole. There will be lots of shocking information about the JFK assassination, inside Kennedy stuff, 9/11, the Oklahoma City Bombing, the Founding of the Republic, Lincoln’s tyranny, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Joe McCarthy, the assassination of JFK, Jr., and much more. A big shoutout to the “Threesearchers,” Chris Graves, Peter Secosh, and Bob Wilson, who unearthed a lot of the material for me. It’s amazing to me that I now have people enthused enough about my work to volunteer their time like that.
Blogs and independent platforms are more important now than ever. So are programs like The Donald Jeffries Show, which airs every Wednesday from 6-8 pm eastern on ochelli.com, but also plays on a tape delayed basis on several terrestrial radio stations, and is rerun four times every week on Jeff Rense’s large network. I also appear every Monday evening from 9-10 pm eastern on Rense’s show. “I Protest” now live streams every Friday, from 5-7 pm eastern, on Rokfin.com, and my You Tube, Facebook, and Twitter social media pages. “America Unplugged,” a weekly recap of current events, airs on the same platforms every Saturday at 12 noon eastern, with myself and fellow truth seekers Tony Arterburn and Billy Ray Valentine. And the archives of all my shows are at the America Unplugged page on Rokfin.com.
Don’t think the censorship will stop at the big social media platforms. They hate the idea that common riff-raff like me can express my thoughts, without the filter of a state media controlled talking head. And they obviously don’t like radio shows and podcasts circumventing FCC regulations and providing an outlet for unvarnished free speech. They are coming. So we all need to act quickly to rally around alternative blogs and podcasts. Support the opposition to this tyranny. It will be harder for them to clamp down on us if the audiences become large, loud, and enthusiastic.
My daughter wasn’t even a teenager when I started this blog. Now she’s twenty eight. I was still devoting six days out of every week back then, to coaching my kids’ sports teams. Hard to believe that much time has passed. When children become adults, it leaves a hole in your life, if you were as involved a parent as I was. Thankfully, this belated new career of mine, writing and communicating on broadcasts, has helped to fill that void. My best friends now are all people I “met” online. I’ve physically met only a few of them, and talked to a few more on the phone. It’s a different world. I cherish these friendships. Every day, I hear from people all over the world, who tell me how much they love my work. It’s very heady stuff.
Please move with me to Substack. It’s a big, growing free speech platform where well-known names like Glenn Greenwald do all their writing. If you’re fed up with the Orwellian authoritarianism, and value human life and liberty, show your support. Like the Proles in Orwell’s 1984, we have the numbers. But we have to show we have the will, and the spirit.
For Blog Eyes Only
I apologize again for not writing as regularly here. I am concentrating more on Substack, especially now that I have the pay option there, and some people are paying to support my work. I urge all of you to subscribe to me there, at donaldjeffries.media. I offer everything for free on Substack, but if you want to support me, you now have that option.
When we last left our hero, he was still dealing with the aftermath of his brother’s inexplicable and inexcusable death. Ricky’s death has been a hard thing to shake. I still can’t believe he’s gone. No other loss has ever effected me like this. The frustrations I recounted, with Social Security and other places in attempting to tie up the last vestiges of his life, continue unabated. I just received another modest pension payment for Ricky, in the account that no longer bears his name. I notified them, and they took his name off the account. That was what they told me to do. I also spoke to them on the phone too many times. I’m not making another call. They must want me to have this lucrative sum.
I never got Ricky’s last Social Security payment. You know, the one they first demanded I send back, then two days later declared that he actually didn’t owe them anything. Life is often a bureaucratic nightmare, so why should death be any different? I am also dealing with family issues. I won’t call them out in public, but let’s just say no one else appears to be taking his death as hard as I am. You hear about families fighting over money and possessions at times like this, but Ricky had little money and fewer possessions. So I don’t even know why there would be any dispute. I sent out the information for his May 7 memorial to many extended family members, and requested an RSVP so we have a head count for lunch. That was over a month ago. Three people have responded.
A record number of Americans are dealing with the loss of a loved one. The insurance companies are up in arms over the fact that the death rate for those aged 18-64 rose an alarming forty percent last year. And millennials- our children- are dying at 84 percent in excess of their expected mortality rate. Those figures ought to be commanding the attention of our “free press” and “elected” representatives. But instead they are concentrating on the penis-piano playing comedian in Ukraine and imaginary “White Privilege.” How many of these excess deaths were like my brother’s? People entering the killing fields our hospitals have become, for unrelated reasons, and dying from the deadly COVID protocols?
Celebrities alone are dropping like files. Bob Saget? How do you lie down and go to sleep after your head has been shattered to such at extent it was compared to landing on it from a twenty foot fall? Meat Loaf seemed pretty healthy when he appeared on my friend John Barbour’s “Talking Movies” podcast. He died shortly thereafter, of “COVID,” after apparently publicly blasting vaccines. Ah, the Hollywood irony. Bobby Rydell became another of the far too many entertainers I communicated with while writing On Borrowed Fame to pass away. The list is getting depressingly long. Kind of like all my old friends who’ve died, most of whom I really haven’t kept in touch with, so the number is probably even greater.
I am relying more and more on my faith these days. It’s obvious the massive corruption, at every level of our society, cannot be overcome by human means. This earthly life seems so transient, so meaningless in many ways, that I cannot bear the thought that there isn’t something beyond it. If there is no afterlife, what does our existence mean? Since I won’t consider the propagandized lunacy that we are all mere random specks in an endless universe, I must turn to God. Creation proves a creator. Someone or something beyond our comprehension caused all this, good and bad, to come into being.
We need to have faith in the good force, since those who conspire against our interests obviously have faith in the dark force. All those hand signals- the circle around one eye, flashing the devil’s horns- are not accidental. There are so many occult symbols in popular culture, especially the music world, that it’s easy to believe that some of these decadent celebrities literally did sell their souls to the Devil. There’s a good reason why the Faustian theme continues to be so prevalent. It’s kind of a reversal of the positive message of spiritual restitution found in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and my favorite film, It’s a Wonderful Life. Yin and Yang. I’ve gone all in on Yang.
It is no exaggeration to say that we’re involved in a spiritual battle. It is truly good vs. evil. There is no question that evil has dominated the proceedings for a very long time, and is currently engaged in blatantly running up the score in a frighteningly tyrannical fashion. Keep reminding yourself that we have the ultimate weapon on our side- the incomprehensible deity that will judge us all. I know most today hate to hear that; they desperately don’t want to be judged. I’m not looking forward to being judged, either, but if there is no assessment of our behavior as human beings, what was the purpose?
And that ends the sermon for today. I can’t figure out how to put a Pay Pal button on this blog, but those of you who are inclined to do so, can contribute to my Pay Pal, which is under the email address email@example.com. For reasons unknown, my wife Jean’s name is on the account, but it is my account. As I mentioned before, please subscribe to me on Substack, at donaldjeffries.media, for more fun rants and ravings. I need more followers on Twitter, while they let me stay there; follow me at https://twitter.com/DonJeffries. If you’re a reader, you should join Goodreads. And when you do, look up my books and give them some love. They need some love.
So many of you have told me how much you loved Bullyocracy and On Borrowed Fame. The sales figures don’t reflect the interest that seems to be out there for those books. If you haven’t done so, please suggest them (and my other books) for your local library system to add to their collection. Please rate my books on Amazon. You don’t even have to write anything now; you can just click and rate it- probably takes 30 seconds or so. Of course, glowing reviews are even better, if you’re willing. I receive so many nice messages of support from all over the world. It would just be even nicer to see these supporters rating and reviewing my books, following me on social media, and popping up in the chat room on my shows.
Enough begging. It’s not easy asking for these things. I cherish the friendships I’ve made on the internet. I consider people like Bob Wilson, Chris Graves, and Peter Secosh some of my best friends, even though I’ve only met one of them- Chris came to town and shared a meal. Many others, like my good friend Tony Arterburn (who again I haven’t met) have been so supportive that I can’t adequately express my gratitude. My celebrity friends like John Barbour, Susan Olsen, Nick Mancuso, and others have a special place in my life. I never in a million years thought I’d ever be friends with people who were and are truly famous.
All my relationships forged via this medium more than make up for all the real life friends who have disappeared. I thought I had a lot of friends, but once I was fired from my long time job, I found out they were really only work acquaintances, like those we attend high school with. Thanks for reading. If you’re doing that, you have my appreciation. If you can support me further in the ways described above, then I’ll be even more grateful. I only write about what I’m interested in, but it means little if no one is reading. I used to pontificate at parties and family gatherings. Now I do it here, and on radio shows. I wouldn’t bother if no one was listening. It’s very comforting to know that you are listening, and reading.
Navigating the Mad Waters of America 2.0
My brother Ricky’s unexpected and inexcusable death on January 20 has impacted me like no other loss ever has. However, dealing with his relatively simple affairs post mortem is proving to be almost as stressful. Getting anything done or resolved in this crumbling country is very difficult. Nothing is working correctly. And all those who are being paid to help you, seem incompetent and/or uncaring.
My brother’s meager January Social Security payment was sent as usual to the bank account we held jointly (as his Representative Payee, my name had to be on the account). However, after he died, when I notified them, they said that payments are not prorated daily, so since he didn’t live the entire month of January, he wasn’t entitled to anything. I received a letter from them in short order, asking me to immediately send the money back. So I did. Two days later, they sent me another letter, indicating that he actually owed nothing. So if I just hadn’t been so prompt, the money would still be in the bank. It doesn’t pay to be timely and competent in America 2.0.
By the way, my brother also didn’t qualify for the ridiculously underwhelming death benefit of…$255. That embarrassing pittance, which wouldn’t even pay for a top tier flower arrangement, only goes to surviving spouses or children. My brother had neither. Think about that; this vaunted system, which the Left holds as the most cherished entitlement imaginable, provides $255 on the event of a recipient’s death. That would have been a laughable amount even when Social Security was established in 1935. But at any rate, people like my brother don’t even get that.
Calling the Social Security phone line is an eye-opening experience. If you want to know exactly what a Banana Republic this nation has become, just try it. After a wait of always at least an hour, a representative comes on, and will attempt to address your issue in typical bumbling, bureaucratic style. In this case, when I expressed confusion about the two letters contradicting each other, arriving two days apart, they explained it was just a glitch, and that the money would be returned to the account. Then, a few weeks later, I received another letter from Social Security which was a real curve ball.
This letter indicated that “the next of kin,” and they mentioned spouse and children (which as noted, he didn’t have), should fill out a form and send it back, along with a copy of the death certificate (which they had said, on the four previous occasions I’d called Social Security, was not necessary), and my original birth certificate. I called them back again, and eventually talked to the most ignorant of all the incredibly ignorant and unqualified government employees I have spoken to over the course of decades. Just dealing with my brother’s issues, this added up to many, many of them.
This woman was barely coherent, and seemed not to comprehend how the latest letter contradicted the first two (which actually contradicted each other), as well as what previous Social Security representatives had told me. I asked for her supervisor, and her response was, “This is a call center, sir.” At length, I gave up and tried again the next day, hoping for a marginally bright public representative. I did get someone slightly more intelligent and coherent, but she contradicted what the other one had said. At this point, I was thinking this just wasn’t worth the aggravation for possibly getting back the regular payment they’d originally sent him.
My wife then went to the Social Security office nearest to us. If you think the customer phone line is bad, visit one of their offices in person. It makes the DMV look like a free buffet. Hordes of fantastically diverse and often coughing people. Incredibly long waits, and incredibly inadequate assistance when you are finally waited on. A security guard told her it was impossible to make an appointment, which is what the phone representatives had suggested we do. So I decided to basically forego the last payment, because it just isn’t worth it, and not a sure thing anyhow. I also feared losing my birth certificate, as Social Security used to lose every other one of the yearly Representative Payee reports I mailed in. As was explained to me at the time by a helpful phone representative, “Yeah, about half of them get lost.” And we’re paying for this level of “service.” I was finally able to get their woeful web site to accept the report online.
But it’s not only Social Security. My brother was getting an even more modest monthly pension from a bank he’d worked for long enough to qualify for it. That small token represented one of the last gasps of America 1.0- low paid employees like him being paid any kind of pension in America 2.0. It basically would have covered his cable bill. I went to the bank, explained that he was deceased, and they contacted the pension people, removed his name from the account, and told me it would be taken care of. That was in early February. In early March, the modest pension payment was deposited automatically again in the account. I have called them multiple times as well. They are almost as useless as the Social Security employees. So I’m not trying anymore. If they keep sending his monthly payment, I’ll take it. I notified them. I can’t do anything else.
Cancelling both his cell phone and land line have been exasperating as well. I had just set him up with a cell phone last year, something he had resisted. He was scared of falling, so after we got him one of those alarm alerts to wear around his neck, and he never took it out of the base where it was constantly charging, I insisted he have a cell phone to carry with him. Of course, he just left this in the base as well. So the monthly payment was wasted money. I went to the closest AT&T store, where we purchased the phone, and naturally they couldn’t take care of it there. They told me to do it online. It was predictably complicated, but after several attempts I think I fixed it. I think. I’m definitely not sure.
His land line provider was Verizon. Their customer service told me something different each time, in the spirt of Social Security. Eventually, they said they’d reimburse the account for the money they took out after I notified them that he had passed away. When that didn’t arrive in weeks, they sent me an email saying that a Visa gift card had been sent in that amount to his old address. So I have to go check his mail and hope it’s still there. They never did send me the phone records, so I could check and see if Ricky had actually called 9/11. I had my doubts when a neighbor who heard the EMTs arrive volunteered the information that it had sounded to him like my brother didn’t want to go with them.
I found out, however, that in my state you can file a Freedom of Information Act request for the actual 9/11 call. So I did that, and shockingly received a link to the audio the next day. So Ricky did call them. It was hard listening to that call, but he replied “no” to several questions about COVID symptoms. Remember, he was calling them because he’d fallen. My guess is Ricky had second thoughts, and realized that it was ridiculous to call an ambulance when he was in no pain and seemed to have no injuries. He probably balked at going, but he was not a fighter and was easy to bully or push into doing something. I have heard that EMTs get some kind of bonus for actually taking people to hospitals nowadays. Like so much else I hear, I don’t know if this is true. But if so, it adds to the financially incentivized corruption.
All this brings back past battles I’ve engaged in, with both government and corporate entities. My brother was once fired by an employer for nodding out during his data entry duties. They had pressured him to go on a medication that caused drowsiness, and then fired him when it had that predictable effect. He was guaranteed “reasonable accommodation” under the Americans With Disabilities Act, but when I tried to get them involved, I discovered there is no agency associated with it. Trying to figure out who administers the ADA Act, and where you go to report violations, was like chasing your tail in circles. Essentially, I discovered that the ADA Act is absolutely worthless.
So I couldn’t save my brother from being fired, even though he was “covered” by the ADA Act. He’d also been bullied and sexually harassed on that job- a young girl kept teasing him with inferences while her co- workers laughed. Nothing was done when I complained. That kind of thing happened to Ricky a lot at his various jobs over the years. He was a perfect target for the kind of insensitive, ignorant employees that populate every workplace. I had very good reasons to dedicate my book Bullyocracy to him. Just like “Zero Tolerance” policies at schools and job sites don’t address real bullying, the benefit Ricky and others supposedly get from the ADA Act is meaningless as well.
I also advocated for my niece, whose problems are similar to Ricky’s, but certainly not identical. She was going to be thrown out of a nursing home a few years back, where she’d been nonsensically sent, even though she had no where to go, and virtually no financial resources. I intervened, but it took countless phone calls to people and agencies that continually routed me to someone or something else, and a few in person meetings, but finally she was placed in an ideal group home. Fortunately, her personality doesn’t lend itself to bullying as easily as Ricky’s did, but she’s still one of too many powerless individuals trapped in an impersonal and maddeningly inconsistent system.
I know that there will be more headaches to come, in closing out the final chapter of my brother’s life. I may be hounded for medical bills he allegedly owed, although there should theoretically be none, since he had qualified for Medicaid several months back. I will pay this rotten system nothing- they can hound me all they want. Somehow, I don’t think I’m going to be able to enjoy that lucrative monthly pension windfall. The system, while missing out on huge financial corruption, is very adept at catching small change like this, unintentionally being received by average people.
None of this really surprises me, but it still frustrates me. I keep expecting to encounter a polite and knowledgeable individual on one of these endless phone calls. But that isn’t much more likely than an honest public official actually representing the people’s interests. And ironically, while the vast majority of average workers retiring today will receive no private pension, every one of those often ludicrously incompetent public employees will get a very nice pension, courtesy of those pension-less taxpayers. I have to stop thinking about how the most imbecilic of government employees, like that woman I mentioned earlier at Social Security, will be handsomely compensated for their “service.”
I guess I feel a little better knowing that the incompetent representatives at Verizon and other private corporations, many of them foreign visa workers with thick accents, will not be getting any pension courtesy of the taxpayers. But it doesn’t change the fact they aren’t able to resolve most problems, which is the purpose behind their employment. I’m convinced companies outsource these calls to India and elsewhere, not only because it’s far cheaper for them, but also because the communication problems ensure that your issue won’t be resolved. In the same manner, the disproportionate percentage of surly Black women answering the phone at every government agency ensures that you won’t get anywhere there, either. This is apparently what those in charge want. Create problems, and force you to deal with it.
Another exasperation has been attempting to find grief counseling. I am entitled to that free benefit through my wife’s employer. I have called and emailed several therapists in my area, from a list they provided me. None have gotten back to me. Apparently, they are set for business. By the time I can find someone, I might not need them. Having dealt with countless therapists and psychiatrists for both my brother and my niece, I have concluded that virtually all of them have obvious mental and emotional issues themselves. I don’t pretend that they can help me, other than being a sounding board. It does make you feel better just to talk and vent.
Once everything is settled with Ricky’s estate, I will undoubtedly have to cope with a huge gap in my life. Calling it an estate, of course, is a misnomer. To qualify for Medicaid, he had to always have less than $2000 in the bank. After rent, food, phone, and cable, that didn’t leave much wiggle room. But these will be the final issues I have to contend with regarding Ricky. Decades of effort in trying to get justice for him, with various employers or uncaring government agencies, didn’t amount to much in terms of tangible returns. But after the dust clears with Social Security and Verizon, Ricky will officially be just a memory. I won’t be have any more forms to fill out, or interventions to attend.
I complained a lot about having to handle Ricky’s perpetual problems. And my impatience with him stings me now to the core. I am dealing with extreme issues of guilt. I never got to apologize to him, or tell him all that he meant to me. I really didn’t know how important he was to me myself, until I lost him. Not getting his daily phone calls, which I almost always found irritating. Not having him ask me at the last minute, with his usual incongruent sense of urgency, to take him to the podiatrist to cut his toe nails, or a quick trip to the store for more Lysol or hand soap. I sincerely miss all that now. And I wish I’d listened to my wife’s advice to treat him kinder. She was always more understanding with him than anyone else.
For those of you who don’t want to hear details from my personal life, I apologize for not writing something about conspiracies and corruption, my usual fare. Although what is detailed here, and throughout the case of my brother’s unforgivable death by medicide, is most certainly corruption of the highest sort. One must interact with the system when one loses a loved one. And it is on tragic occasions like that when those at their most vulnerable are slapped in the face with a reality hard for even people like me to accept. This world is run by truly monstrous forces.
Substack and Other Support
As you may have noticed, I haven’t been writing here quite as much, since I started writing on Substack. I’ve put some of what I’ve written on Substack here as well, and I apologize for the lack of new material. It’s been a rough year so far, and I have been focusing much of my attention on speaking out about what happened to my brother.
I am living out my dream right now; from the time I was a child, I wanted to be a writer. It’s wonderful to be doing this for a living. However, that living isn’t paying much. I basically make what your average fast food worker earns. I’ve held my digital hat out and asked for help before. A few of you responded, and I am very grateful for that.
Substack has a pay option. I’m pretty sure Glenn Greenwald and other high profile writers at Substack are getting paid for what they write. I have been trying to figure out how to go paid on Substack, or more specifically add a pay option (I’d still offer some free stuff, but premium content as well), but it seems beyond my powers to figure it out. I just want to send out a message to all my subscribers there, and see how many would pay $7 a month (I think that is the Substack minimum) to read my work. I know there is a lot of crossover between subscribers there, and those who follow this blog.
So….how many of you would pay $7 a month to read what I write? I would definitely go to two articles per week if the response was enthusiastic. Then I’d still have to figure out how to do it there. Maybe it’s just me, but the process doesn’t seem easy. I think I have to create a separate new Substack account for the pay material, while still putting out maybe an article a week for free. Of course, then it becomes a question of how to choose what is paid and what is free. Maybe the paid would be more hard-hitting analysis, and the free material would be more personal. I don’t know. Any input is appreciated.
I hear from people every day, all over the world, who have enjoyed my work. It’s amazing how many listen to me on Jeff Rense, or The Donald Jeffries Show, and now the weekly live streaming “I Protest,” which you can view on Rokfin, Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube. The feedback and supportive comments really spur me on. I hate to ask anyone to contribute financially, but I do put a lot of time into researching, writing, and talk show appearances. I need to have more income if I’m going to do this full-time.
Those who don’t subscribe to me on Substack can contribute directly to my Pay Pal at firstname.lastname@example.org. Some of you have already done that, including those I have no contact info for and thus can’t thank individually. Rest assured that everything sent, no matter the amount, is very much appreciated. I will continue writing on this blog, regardless. Especially if I get any appreciable number of paid subscribers on Substack, I may focus mostly on personal things here. Most of you seem to have enjoyed that kind of thing in the past. With everything that has transpired in just the past few months, I could do plenty of ranting without even going into politics.
I am not comfortable doing this. I’ve never asked to borrow money from anyone in my life. I’m just not good at it. Some of my peers seem much better at it than me, and are getting what seem to be decent contributions via Pay Pal, Patreon, etc. Unless hundreds of thousands of readers suddenly flock to my books (and there don’t seem to be hundred of thousands of readers flocking to any books nowadays), I have to figure out some way to monetize at least some of what I’m doing. I apologize if this seems like an infomercial. Or begging. There’s no dignified way to do it.
If you can’t help, or aren’t interested, or suspect I’m a rich guy trying to get richer, I understand. I value everyone who takes the time to read anything I write, or listen to anything I say. But if you can do it, obviously that would be great. In the meantime, remember that there is no such thing as a good war, or a bad peace. Don’t “stand with Ukraine.” Not that you should stand with Putin, either. Demand that our horrific leaders fix our own endless problems first, before meddling overseas. Start with our own wide open border, instead of Ukraine’s border.
COVID has been knocked off the front page by the promise of a new world war. Nothing sells like war. And no war sells like a world war. Unfortunately, this comes a month too late for my brother, who died because of the murderous medical “protocol” for this overblown virus. Which he didn’t even have, much like many victims of “COVID.”
Again, sorry to write what is essentially a commercial. Without all the kind words of encouragement I get from so many people, it’s doubtful that I’d still be writing regularly, or talking about the sorry state of the world on whatever platforms are available to me. You people mean more to me than you’ll ever know.
Crisis Actors in a Counterfeit Society
I love the movie The Truman Show. Sometimes I feel like Truman, and look all around me, waiting for someone, perhaps a dog named Toto, to emerge from behind some undetected curtains. Virtually everyone with a public platform acts and reacts so predictably, that it truly seems they are reading from a script.
There is such a dearth of independent thinking, such an absence of out of the box perspectives, that no other explanation seems possible. Surely, with all the countless people who’ve risen to prominence in my lifetime, there would have been a few that broached forbidden topics, and showed indications that they actually wanted to help people. To be a do-gooder. Instead, they are all boring puppets, touting rhetoric every intelligent person should blanch at. You can almost see the strings behind them, pulled by their unseen puppet masters.
I just heard about a Walmart employee who stole $387, and replaced it with counterfeit money. You can bet he will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. If I was his attorney (of course, like all poor and working class people, he’ll be assigned a public defender who will spend an average of five minutes with him), I’d introduce into the record the specifics of just how our fractional banking system works. Every bank in this country is guilty of counterfeiting every time they open a new loan.
Don’t believe me? Read the words of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, which I quoted in my book Hidden History: “When you or I write a check there must be sufficient funds in our account to cover the check, but when the Federal Reserve writes a check there is no bank deposit on which that check is drawn. When the Federal Reserve writes a check, it is creating money.” They know almost no one pays attention to this kind of earth shattering admission. So, free the Walmart guy. Remember his name! In fact, free every counterfeiter in prison.
And that brings me to the main point of this article. It’s not just our horrible, Rothschild-style banking system that is counterfeit. Much of our society is fake, contrived, unreal (if you’ve read my novel, you know that’s one of my favorite words). Politicians swear allegiance to a Constitution they not only don’t remotely believe in, but openly mock. Carmakers offer “bumper to bumper” warranties, but when you try to cash in, somehow your problem isn’t covered. Everything on a car is between the bumpers. Other “lifetime” warranties, “for any reason,” from tires to electronic products, are just as bogus. Counterfeit.
Today’s music is counterfeit. Packaged, probably impossible to truly play live. That’s why it’s especially sad to see artists I once loved; Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, and especially Joni Mitchell, try to regain relevance by cheering on censorship. Were they ever sincere? Or always counterfeit? And Joe Rogan, seemingly the hero in this little drama, backs down and apologizes, as everyone caught in these contrived scenarios invariably does. Wouldn’t you think, after years worth of similar situations, that Rogan, Whoopi Goldberg, Jon Gruden and so many others, would understand that obsequious public apologies never work? That you still get cancelled?
So when will someone attempting to escape the torches and pitchforks finally stand up and say; “Why would I apologize for exercising my constitutional right to free speech? Do you want to be held accountable for anything you’ve ever said? Fuck off!” They won’t be fired any differently, or cancelled any less thoroughly, than if they’d issued a sickeningly ineffective apology. But at least they’d keep their self-respect, and much of the world would say “Right on!” The fact that this apparently never occurs to any of them leads me to one explanation; they are all counterfeit, too.
Hollywood has been effectively dead for years, even before they cheered on the unconstitutional lockdowns that killed it for good. Even with such advanced technology, they continue to employ recycled and hackneyed ideas, absurd whispering dialogue and often purposefully dark filming, so the audience can’t hear or see what’s going on. They can still string you along with a decent premise, but then always end it without any resolution, causing viewers to go online and read spoiler alerts to figure out what happened. Television is even worse, with preposterous “Woke” casting and screenplays, and comedy effectively outlawed. All counterfeit.
Our modern athletes are no more legitimate. In football, wide receivers routinely drop balls. And laughable announcers defend them by saying, “He does everything else right.” That’s like saying the chef can do everything but cook. Defensive backs have hands of stone, too. Lineman (and even some other position players) are fat or often obese, with their jiggling rolls of fat surreally accompanying the ridiculous pronouncement from “journalists” about how “athletic” they are. Baseball players can’t bunt. I learned to bunt in Little League. Pitchers can’t throw complete games. Basketball players can’t make free throws, and the rules about traveling and palming are never enforced. All counterfeit.
Our professional journalists have ironclad biases against investigating anything, except those who are exposing corruption. Whistleblowers. “Conspiracy Theorists.” Yet they still bray on about “freedom of the press.” Recently, they and their fellow “Woke” authoritarians have been apoplectic about a book called Maus being censored. Yet they routinely call for books, articles, and people, who advocate non-Woke positions, to be cancelled. Like the politicians swearing on a Bible they don’t believe in, to uphold a document they despise, they are 100% USDA-grade A counterfeit.
Holden Caufield, the protagonist in J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, ranted against the “phonies” of that era. It is hard to imagine what he would think of the phonies that rule our present civilization. No principles. No honor. Just lies, corruption, and incompetence everywhere. The big charities? Read what I wrote about them in Hidden History. Almost all of your well-intentioned donations go to their sinfully overpaid top executives. And the worst of the bunch is the Red Cross, which the media promotes front and center in every crisis. Only the Salvation Army is decent. All the rest are textbook examples of hypocrites- counterfeit.
The Medical Industrial Complex kills far more than they heal. They engage in body mutilation of confused youngsters, and accept the mad, unscientific precepts of identity politics. Yet they still try to ban alternative treatments, and natural remedies. Every doctor is an enemy of vitamins. And they are so dishonest that they will not mention the obesity of their female patients, because that would be “body shaming.” It doesn’t matter that obesity is at the heart of most modern medical issues. That wouldn’t be politically correct, or good business. Totally counterfeit.
Our legal system is perhaps the biggest joke of all. From the out of control police officers often caught on film threatening innocent people and even planting evidence, to lordly judges that have an overt political bias, to ambitious prosecutors that aren’t above withholding and even doctoring evidence to win a case, to the monumentally ignorant juries that are more often than not chosen by both sides, no one in the process is the least concerned with justice. All of the many innocent persons who have served years or even decades behind bars, freed from a very reluctant system by DNA evidence, are testament to that. Counterfeit.
So we live in a society where you will find little entertainment from those paid incredible amounts of money to entertain us. No healing from “healthcare providers.” No chance at justice from our police, judges, prosecutors and juries. No truth from our state-controlled media. No representation from our political “representatives.” Even the weathermen- christened “meteorologists” for effect, are wrong almost all the time. That’s “science” for you. Speaking of scientists, they’re the ones selling the COVID narrative- the Greatest Psyop in the History of the World. The “Warp Speed” vaccine. Pushing “social distancing.” Think they’re not counterfeit?
Organized religion? Televangelists overtly act- crying on cue- to get the money of vulnerable and trusting old people. The wealth they’ve accumulated is shameful. No wonder they all hate my favorite Biblical quote, where Jesus said it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter heaven. And the religion I was raised in- Catholicism? Too many former alter boys out there with awful stories of predatory priests, bound by the unnatural vow of celibacy. Jews? The dirty secret is that polls show most Jews are atheists. That’s some religion. Muslims? Who knows? So much propaganda against them, but you have to wonder about people that want women to hide their faces and such. I don’t know much about Buddhists and Hindus, but what I’ve heard isn’t good. All counterfeit.
Is there anything in this world that isn’t counterfeit? Look at the American family. The dysfunction is incredibly widespread. What family doesn’t feature feuds resulting in parents being ostracized from children, or siblings never talking to each other again? I believe in the idealized image of the nuclear family, even if Black Lives Matter doesn’t. But unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to play out like Leave it to Beaver very often. How many illicit affairs are going on right now, as we speak? How many husbands don’t covet the attractive wives of their neighbors, or any other good-looking women? It is hard to tell how many women cheat, as opposed to men, because identity politics skewers both perceptions and statistics. Regardless, there’s a lot of counterfeit here.
The world I frequent on a regular basis, the conspiracy sphere, isn’t perfect, either. Real undercover assets comingled with all the alleged disinfo agents, limited hangouts and loyal opposition. Most everyone in the conspiracy world has accused someone else in that world of being a CIA agent, or whatever. I’ve met my share of questionable characters. The subjects I gravitate to seem to attract huge egos and difficult personalities. One must navigate carefully through all the conspiracy celebrities. What does it say about me that I’m drawn to this world? Maybe I’m counterfeit, too.
Bob Dylan chronicled our counterfeit ways in his song Everything is Broken. His lyrics basically say what I’m saying;
Broken treaties, broken vows
Broken pipes, broken tools
People bending broken rules
Hound dog howling, bullfrog croaking
Everything is broken.
The Indians relegated to poverty-stricken, segregated reservations know all about broken treaties. Blacks, lost amid their endless litany of complaints, were promised forty acres and a mule. And “rules are meant to be broken,” to quote one of the early rule-makers. Rules, laws, standards of conduct; all are inconsistently enforced, depending of a variety of factors, from race to bank account balance to relationship to those in positions of prominence. Cheating is very similar; “If you aren’t cheating, you aren’t trying,” as a successful, respectable cheater once said. Honesty is rarely the best policy. Crime can pay. Just win, baby!
I’ve never met a therapist or psychiatrist- and believe me, I met many of them over the years while assisting my brother- who didn’t have obvious issues themselves. Like doctors, they all seem to adopt an emotionless monotone style of communication. Their advice is usually puerile and pointless. Psychiatrists have long had the highest rate of suicide in any occupation. And yet, these are the people tasked to try and stop troubled people from killing themselves. They aren’t helpful, and they are counterfeit.
The worst part of all this is that few of us can even be honest with ourselves. We delude ourselves in a myriad of ways. But I suppose that’s a natural response to a world that thrives on dishonesty and conniving. From the charming con artist to the silver tongued politician, deception is admired by almost everyone. Who do we resent more; the local car repair shop that blatantly ripped us off, or the former friend who told us an uncomfortable truth about ourselves? The majority of the people, usually not even given an option for truth, nevertheless have grown to embrace the counterfeit model.
The bottom line is; we cannot count on business, government, entertainment, medicine, the law, to ever do the right thing. And that can only happen because there are sinister conspirators at the top, orchestrating chaos and profiting from division. But they have to rely on all the incompetence that runs the madness. The bosses who promote and fire the wrong people. The politicians who vote against the interests of the people. Always. The Illuminati- or whatever they call themselves- can rest easy because the entire show they’re producing is fraudulent. Counterfeit.
Americans wouldn’t know how to respond to blunt honesty. To a president saying, “Oswald didn’t kill JFK. Of course, 9/11 was an inside job.” They’d wait for their counterfeit journalists, and other counterfeit politicians to tell them how wrong this wayward president was. The mindset seems to be; “Please, assure me the naysayers aren’t right. I want to believe in our institutions. I support this counterfeit world.” And they never have to worry, because every whistleblower is quickly demolished by their counterfeit counterparts.
Stockholm Syndrome is a very real thing. Even on a personal level, people incomprehensibly don’t respect those that treat them too well. I’m not sure how anyone can be “too nice,” or how anyone can not like being treated with extreme kindness, but the counterfeit “experts” assure us that it really isn’t a good thing. Like Orwell’s Winston Smith learned to love Big Brother, most of us have learned to love the charade.
My Brother Richard Jeffries
Forgive me for the delay in writing here. If you follow me on social media, or listen to my radio shows, you know that the New Year hasn’t been kind to me or my family. I caught something- really the first time I’d been sick in a decade- on January 2, and am finally just now close to feeling normal again. My older brother Ricky hasn’t been so fortunate.
My family background is…different. I was born to parents who were ancient for the time- at 46, my mother was the oldest woman ever to give birth at Washington, D.C.’s Sibley Hospital. They were already grandparents- my nephew is over a year older than me. My oldest sister is 19 years my senior, my other sister 16 years older. My brother is closest, but is over eight years older than me.
My brother didn’t seem “weird” to me until November 22, 1963. That’s right- you read that date correctly. It took me years to find out that the two most significant events of my early childhood happened on the same day. At the same time JFK was being assassinated, my brother was being escorted out of his high school by police, for his own safety. A nerdy freshman, he had been dared by some popular kids to “goose,” pinch the ass, of a senior cheerleader. That girl happened to have a General for a father. The school turned a minor offense into a literal crime- my father was forced to hire an attorney.
I have only come to terms in recent years with how much this incident impacted me. I saw what it did to my brother- he would bang his head against the wall in frustration and terrify my seven year old self by coming up and threaten to strangle me. My lifelong antipathy against the rich and powerful, and firm belief that the system is rigged, were born from all the bitter ranting I heard from my father, who had no hope of fighting the power of a General with whatever inadequate lawyer he could afford. My brother was expelled from the school, and forced to attended group therapy sessions with kids who had real mental issues. It was natural that he came to feel that way about himself.
I think I’ve described the details of how the fallout impacted my family, and especially myself as a seven year old. My brother was forced to live with my sister, and my mother put a huge blanket on the subject. She wouldn’t talk about it. I felt like he’d committed some great crime. What exactly was a “goose?” It must be something really horrible. All the kids questioned me about it; why isn’t your brother living with you? There was nothing I could say, which probably made them all suspicious that he had committed a really heinous act. At any rate, I effectively became an only child, parented by a mother and father old enough to be my grandparents. Both became bitter and sick.
Eventually, my brother moved back home after high school graduation, but he was now the “weird” brother everyone instantly made fun of. He had no fight in him, and was pushed around by everyone. Because of his difficult personality, probably 99 percent of those he interacted with disliked him instantly. He became a pitiful figure that just couldn’t elicit pity from people. I became the big brother for good by the time I was twelve or so, and he was twenty. I accepted this role naturally, but also with a great deal of resentment. Why couldn’t I have a normal big brother? Couldn’t he be just a little bit like Wally Cleaver? I watched Leave it to Beaver and fantasized over what it must have been like, to have a cool, protective older brother, not to mention a great role model as a father.
After my father died in 1977, my brother became my mother’s caretaker. This was not a natural role for a young man, especially when there were two older sisters who were more appropriate for the job. But it all fell on him. As a young guy trying to escape my depressing family dynamics, I spent most of the time partying. I did whatever my brother couldn’t do for my mother, so I don’t have any guilt about that. As she developed Alzheimer’s, taking care of her became a full-time job. Since my brother struggled all his life to keep any job for any length of time, he just stopped looking for work. I don’t know about the rest of my family, but I was very grateful to him for taking care of my mother; it became very depressing and difficult work. He may have been unemployed, but he was working harder than most of us.
When my mother died in 1987, my brother continued to have difficulty getting and keeping a job. He needed money often. I felt an obligation to help him as best I could. The ever present spirit of my mother hung over me, to remind me, as she said so often, “always look out for your brother.” Years of rotating therapists, work interventions, and loud advice that was never taken became the essence of our relationship. I would yell at him in frustration, and he’d always take it without fighting back. More than a few people have compared us to Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman in Rainman. Despite the fact whatever is “wrong” with him has never really been quantified, the system eventually just threw its hands up, and he landed in a nice program with good housing and Social Security disability payments.
Two years ago, for the first time in his life he had a minor physical ailment, and his hypochondria kicked in severely. I couldn’t get him to stop calling 9/11 over the most ridiculous things imaginable. He called an ambulance because he was constipated. At one point, he went to various emergency rooms seven times in one week. The police called me at two in the morning, saying he was going to jail if I didn’t come and get him at the emergency room- there was nothing wrong with him, but he refused to leave. I called an Uber for him, and he rejected it. I was so angry when I got there in the middle I night, that I unleashed on him like never before. I had reached the breaking point.
He kept begging me to stay with him, but I whisked him into his apartment and left. The next day, for the first time in his life, he didn’t call me. I began to panic, and the guilt really kicked in. Was that going to be my last interaction with him; screaming and berating him? How could I live with myself? Fortunately, when the police broke his door down, he was barely responsive, and we still don’t know what happened that day. He was very low on sodium, and wound up in hospitals and rehab centers for the next few months. Finally, he was persuaded to take a very mild psychotropic which really helped with his hypochondria. For the next year, things were much, much better.
We had developed a pleasant ritual for the past few months, of going to Red Lobster for lunch every Sunday. I’m sure it reminded him of all the meals he’d eaten with my elderly mother. On Sunday, January 2, he was fine, and I had no symptoms. That night, I started feeling sick. I don’t know if maybe I passed something along to him. On Thursday, January 6, he called me in the afternoon from the hospital. He told me he’d fallen out of bed, and couldn’t get up for an hour and a half. Then he called 9/11, and of course as soon as he walked in the hospital door, they had him tested positive for COVID.
I was so angry at him. I wasn’t there to see what kind of a fall had taken place- it made no sense, and he couldn’t explain it. There were no injuries from this fall. I told him, “you’re in the worst place for this.” I was pretty sick, and they weren’t allowing him any visitors anyhow. Since then, his condition has been spiraling inexorably in the wrong direction. I am scared that he won’t survive this. Because of his personality, he is not doing anything to help himself. For instance, he won’t roll onto his side or stomach, because it “hurts.” He really needs to do this, to help the fluid in his lungs. But that’s Ricky; he’d rather complain about a perceived discomfort than make an effort to get better.
I felt the need to write this. I’m sure my family would be mortified to know I’m sharing some of our deepest and darkest secrets. But none of them read anything I write anyhow, so they’ll never know. I worry that my mother would think it was “awful” that I’m being so open. I wish I could have realized before she died just how significant that high school incident was, in shaping Ricky’s future in such a tragic way. I want so much to ask them both; “Why didn’t you defend him?” How could they let him be bullied by what sounds like a psychotic assistant principal, who followed my brother to his new school, and would walk up to any girl he was talking to, and ask them, “Is he bothering you?”
What happened to my brother seemed to be beyond comprehension. But I know it’s the truth. My father, severely flawed as he was, never sugarcoated anything for his seven year old son. He said whatever he wanted, regardless of the scars it produced. If there had been more to it, if my brother had actually tried to rape the girl or something, my father would have ranted about it in detail. Instead, he just kept harping on how he’d “goosed” a girl and how unfair the system was. I’ve tried looking at the court records, but they’re so old, and would be sealed regardless because he was a juvenile.
Just as Ricky is little help in attempting to beat COVID pneumonia or whatever it is, he can’t provide any real information about the incident. For decades, he would get tremendously upset whenever I tried to broach the subject. My brother, who still remembers the names of kindergarten classmates almost seventy years later, cannot recall the name of the girl whose precious ass he “goosed.” He has suppressed that memory, and probably other things related to the incident which turned his life upside down. I bring it up in his therapy sessions, and they recognize its significance, but it ultimately goes nowhere because he can’t or doesn’t want to remember.
I hope I haven’t lost many of you by this point. Right now, Ricky is first and foremost in my mind. And the fact he is facing a nightmare I have written and spoken about many times makes it more surrealistic. The hard-liners are full of advice; “Get him out of that hospital!” “Get a lawyer!” This is typical keyboard warriorism. My brother has deteriorated to such an extent that he needs oxygen constantly. I can’t take him anywhere; he needs constant medical monitoring. As for an attorney, I found out how difficult that is when I was fired by Inova Health- ironically the same healthcare system that holds my brother’s fate in their hands- and no lawyer would even talk to me about my unfair job termination after 44 years.
I guess it’s fitting that Ricky’s lifelong hypochondria has put him in this dire situation. He couldn’t stop himself from calling 9/11 over a decided nonemergency, and I wasn’t there to stop him. By the time I found out, he was strapped into the system fully, and it isn’t easy to stop that, especially when the individual is seemingly incapable of breathing independently. I can’t see him, and the last few times I tried to talk to him on the phone, he was barely cognizant and doesn’t say anything to even let me know he’s aware that it’s his brother checking on him. It’s sad, and maddening. But then, to a large extent, that has been the story of our relationship for nearly sixty years.
Because my brother will do nothing to help himself, the best case scenario here is that he manages to hang in there, and recuperates at an agonizingly slow rate that could take weeks or even months. He has lots of people praying for him, but as has always been the case, if anything is done, I will have to be the one to do it. And right now, there doesn’t seem to be anything I can do. I can’t even talk to him, because he can’t hear anything I’m saying. Maybe it would be worse to see him in this condition, I don’t know. But the fact that he can’t have visitors compounds the feeling of helplessness.
This was cathartic for me. I am grateful for the platforms I have, and for those of you all over the world who have an interest in what I have to say. I will be devoting tonight’s episode of The Donald Jeffries Show (6-8 pm eastern time on ochelli.com) to my brother. I’m sure I’ll go into even greater detail. There is a lot more to tell. Ricky has been one of the most influential figures in my life. However, in a far different way than that would usually happen. He never guided me, or showed me the way. I’m not sure I ever learned anything from him, but he is certainly responsible for my large reservoir of empathy, even when I have trouble being empathetic towards him
I hope I can get back to writing about conspiracies and corruption. I want to expose the Plandemic for what it is, without it coming back to bite me in the ass, which it seems to have done. 2021 went out badly for me, with the death of one of the best friends I ever had, Joe Burton. And now 2022 is coming in on an even more sour note, with someone even closer to me in a critical situation.
Ricky has never had a break in his life. Luckless. Never met that exceptionally patient soul who could see him for the good guy he is, someone who would never intentionally hurt anyone. Someone who would find all his idiosyncrasies charming, not “weird.” Very few have ever tried to understand him. I know it’s not easy to embrace him, but still the world could have tried a little harder.
My father basically gave up on life when he retired on disability before he was even sixty. My father refused to drive any more, and my mother never learned to drive. I had to depend on my brother to drive me anywhere. He was pretty good about it, always accommodating to the wishes of those around him. But then again, he was turning over his paychecks to my parents, as well, without anyone giving him much credit. That has been the story of Ricky’s life; he has never been praised or lauded for anything. Only berated and criticized. A few good words might have worked wonders for his self-esteem.
So this fragile, seventy three year old, with no weapons at his disposal, lies in an intensive care unit at Fair Oaks Hospital. No one see him, and he can’t hear when you call him on the phone. I remain anxious, more full of stress than usual, my heart jumping when the telephone rings, So many people are praying for Ricky; maybe that will have an impact. No one is more overdue for a break than Ricky. For fortune to finally shine on him. For him to regain the only thing he’s ever really had in life; his health. At long last, to have some good luck.
POSTSCRIPT: A day after writing this, my brother Ricky passed away. My wife and I finally got to see him, and spent three hours with him that morning, until I couldn’t take it any longer. He wasn’t responsive, but I hope he heard me tell him I loved him. My heart is broken. I am not handling this very well.
To Joe Burton and all my Other Late Friends
I just received word that Joe Burton, one of the best friends I ever had, passed away this morning. Joe had been suffering for years from Parkinson’s, so this was not entirely unexpected news. He was seventy two, still young in these times when they tell us seventy is the new fifty. I know he’s out of his misery, and finally at peace. But that doesn’t make it any easier for those of us left behind.
Joe and I were really close in the late ’70s and early ’80s. I never had anyone else, before or since, who I could commiserate about sports, women, and life in general, in the same way I did with him. We had Washington Capitals’ season’s tickets together for three years- he was responsible for turning me on to hockey, and for a while it was my favorite sport. He was the first to support my fledgling theory that all sporting events were fixed, and both of us came to use that word- “fixed,” to describe basically anything that happened that we disagreed with.
In the mid to late ’70s, Joe Burton lived in a townhouse and the group of them gave the greatest parties of all time. It was America 1.0 at its finest- you will never see parties like that again. He and I ate more meals together at Rustler and Hardee’s than I can remember. We went to NBA and Major League Baseball games, and always drank too much. Pretty much everybody did then. America 1.0. We would complain to each other about various women rejecting us, and why so many of them were in what I called “Honey and Derelict” relationships. We built up each other’s self-confidence. Alone among all the friends I’ve had, Joe never criticized me. He was great for my self-esteem. How many can say that about their friends?
We talked so much, so often, that I learned a lot of minutiae about Joe which I’ve strangely retained in my memories. How he hated When a Man Loves a Woman by Percy Sledge and everything by Springsteen except Badlands. How he’d been in two fistfights in his life, and how he’d won the one he thought he would lose, and lost the won he thought he’d win. I knew his entire family. His mom was as uniquely humorous and memorable as mine was. I treasured the annual Christmas tree trimming parties at his sister Mary Frances’ condo. When my mom died, he wrote me a nice note, and recalled how great she made him feel by telling him he was too good-looking not to have a steady girlfriend.
Although we kind of drifted apart over the years, as friends do, we always stayed in contact. He joined the fantasy football league I started in the late’90s, and the yearly draft at my house became the only time we saw each other. He would always tell me how happy he was for me, and rave about my wife and kids. I know he would have liked children himself, but he wasn’t blessed with any. And again, while feeling a bit sad for him, it opened my eyes to how lucky I was, and at least for a while I would not take my own fortune for granted. I think of those drafts a lot now, when my children were young, and friends like Joe were alive and well. It’s funny how quickly we construct new “good old days.”
Joe was diagnosed with Parkinson’s probably twenty years ago. I could see the gradual decline in him over the years, at those fantasy football drafts. His wife died unexpectedly, and Joe eventually entered a senior facility. When I visited him in early 2018, he was still his old self; alert mentally, memory pretty good. He was able to walk unassisted to my car, and his legendary appetite was still strong at Red Lobster. I think of that lunch as basically the last time I saw the real Joe, the friend I remembered. When I visited him again about a year later, the change was shocking. He was confined to a wheelchair and clearly fading mentally, and I had to feed him most of the burger and fries I brought him from Red Robin.
While Joe deserved a much better fate, in one respect he was very fortunate. He had some incredibly loyal friends. His brother Mike did yeoman’s work in taking care of him in his last few years, and that group of former roommates who had once given truly Hall of Fame parties at that old townhouse, visited him regularly. We had two really memorable get togethers with Joe at the senior home in 2019. It was great seeing them again, and Joe’s eyes lit up with that old sparkle when he saw them. I truly think those little reunions slowed down his decline, and probably kept him going a bit longer. As Frank Capra’s Clarence the Angel reminded us, “Remember, no man is a failure who has friends.” In that regard, Joe Burton was a smashing success.
I met Joe through his brother Mike, when all of us were working for what was then called Fairfax Hospital, but which would morph into the Inova Health System from which I was unceremoniously fired, for helping out a handicapped co-worker, after forty four years. Joe left after five years or so, to join the Post Office, where he stayed until retirement. While working together, he spurred me on to create the concept first of “classics,” which later evolved into “unreals,” or really eccentric characters. When my novel The Unreals was published in 2007, it was an inside joke to Joe and countless others I worked with. Joe used the word “unreal” almost as much as I did. We called each other “Bro,” as a tip of the hat to our incredibly hilarious Black co-worker Harold Washington, who also said “right on” all the time, when both expressions had already been largely discarded by the hip Black community. Now using “Bro” is cool again.
I’m feeling pretty broken-hearted now. So I felt the urge to write this, in the hope it would be cathartic. Nothing makes us feel older, or more mortal, than the deaths of those we were once close to. The expression, “you look like you just lost your best friend” has a special resonance to me at this moment. As I wander about in the year of our lord 2021, it all seems even more surreal when I look back at a period that really doesn’t seem that long ago. The 1970s and 1980s might have happened in a different dimension, or a different universe, when I compare it to present reality. Sometimes I think all our memories are artificially constructed, and that the past can’t even be proven to have existed. Those days don’t seem real at all to me in these mad times, and Joe Burton was at the center of them.
As I deal with this devastating news, I consider how many of my close friends have departed this vale of tears. Mark Costello, my longest and closest childhood chum, passed away from AIDS at only forty seven. I only found out years later from our mutual friend Richard Reyes. They say he caught it from his wife. I probably don’t want to know any more details. Mark and I were so obsessed with Bram Stoker’s Dracula that we started writing our own vampire novel, about Count Loren Deadman. He was a unique, very funny character, and had a huge impact on me.
John Harmon dropped dead five years ago while eating breakfast at a local Centreville place. We talked daily on the phone, and he insisted on treating me to a spicy burger at The Greene Turtle regularly over the years. A former college football player, John was one of the funniest people I’ve ever known. Conversation with him was like an interactive stand up act. He had a lot of Bill Murray’s style, blended into a Norm MacDonald routine. I was crushed by his sudden death, made all the more poignant because his regular “busting my chops” line to me was “Oh, I’m Don Jeffries! You don’t care whether I live or die!” I’ve dreamed about him several times since his death. I’m sure I’ll be dreaming about Joe Burton.
One of my closest teenage friends, Dave Campbell, died from cancer in May, 2020. So, I’ve lost my best childhood friend, one of my best teenage friends, and two of my best adult friends. I’m sure others have died as well, that I simply don’t know about. One of the few things I recall from my public school education is an English teacher’s comment about the transient nature of friendships, as she told us that we wouldn’t know any of our current friends five years later. So many friends have drifted in and out of my life, and I just don’t know how the fates might have treated them. I’m cynical, but I believe that more people live unhappy lives than happy ones. “Lives of quiet desperation,” as Thoreau said.
Jim Carroll recorded the achingly stark song People Who Died in 1980, in which he sang about all the dead people he’d known. He died himself in 2009, at just sixty. I’m thinking of that song today, as I mourn my dear friend. I often mull over all the co-workers who are gone, and again the number must surely be greater, since I lost contact with most of them over the years. The sad fact is we don’t see our old friends from school, or the workplace, once we stop attending school together, or being employed at the same place. Like my old teacher said, you can divide lifetime friendships into those five year cycles.
Everyone has a story. Maybe it’s the writer in me that makes me keenly interested in hearing those stories. I discovered that I’m sadly adept at delivering eulogies when I was asked to deliver one for the “Classic” legend Danny Liu, back in the early 1990s. Warren Zevon once warned Jackson Browne not to write a song eulogizing him, as he was wont to do. Maybe someone ought to warn me, because I feel compelled to do that at times like this. Joe was a kind and gentle man, the type this world has too few of. He probably lived with the regrets most of us live with. He seldom got the breaks, but that can be said about most people.
Joe Burton, like almost every other human being, won’t be remembered beyond the empty spot he leaves in the hearts of those who knew and loved him. But those of us who did know and love him will never forget him. I can still hear him saying, “How can anyone believe that’s real, Bro?” Well, I can’t believe this is real- that you are really gone. That I’ll never see you or talk to you again. I’ve always hated goodbyes, and I will never become accustomed to those I know dying. As Edna St. Vince Millay wrote:
“Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.”
Life in the World’s Wealthiest Banana Republic
I don’t often interact with the masses these days. As a full-time writer who is plugged into the virtual world of the internet most of the time, the real world is a temporary nuisance I seldom have to contend with. Considering the state of the madness that has engulfed us, that’s a good thing. For me and the world.
Yesterday, my wife and I had to take our golden retriever to the veterinarian’s office. This is never a pleasant experience for me. But it’s over-the-top annoying now. I haven’t worn a mask for a very long time. Establishments here don’t require them. That doesn’t keep the sheeple from wearing them, but I don’t. The vet’s office is staffed exclusively with Karens. They make you (and your pet) wait outside. And they make you wait a long time. Guess they learned from human doctors. I remarked to my wife that the same people who’d call ASPCA on you if your dog was playing in your backyard on a cold day, don’t seem to mind making the animals wait outside their doors in freezing weather.
Eventually, an employee came to the door. Perfectly representing America 2.0, I have no idea whether he/she was male or female. At any rate, I refused to put a mask on to go inside, so my wife accompanied our dog. Think about that; the vet’s office is literally the only place now in northern Virginia that requires a mask. I guess animals are susceptible to the dreaded COVID, too. I was a little surprised they didn’t try to give my dog a vaccine along with her other shots. Then they can ostracize the unvaccinated animals.
After waiting an excruciatingly long time to pay our outrageously overpriced bill, I moved on to the post office. The post office is always a wonderful experience; it exemplifies all that’s gone wrong with this once great land. The line was almost out the door. This is typical, because as usual there were only two of the six cashier stations open. Two other stations featured employees sitting there not waiting on customers. Every employee I’ve ever seen there (with the exception of an old White guy who retired a while back) has been nonwhite, with most of them struggling to communicate in English. In other words, perfect representatives of the new ‘Murrica.
I waited over half an hour to buy some Christmas stamps. They only had religiously themed ones left. Gee, I wonder why that would be? The place was packed, and I was the only one without a mask. There was one old couple who came in without masks, and I smiled at them, trying to express a bit of solidarity. In quick order, they whipped out their masks and joined the irrational mob. Being in such a minority, I’m starting to understand how the lone Black kid in my elementary school class felt. It does make you self-conscious, but I’ve learned to display my naked face proudly.
I’ve commented before on just how ugly America 2.0 is. From the crumbling Third World infrastructure to the overweight, slovenly people. As a young man, it was always a joy to go to malls, or anywhere else where large numbers of people gathered, and do some girl watching. Now I know that’s terribly offensive. First, to call any female a girl is demeaning. Even the youngest females now are called “young women.” And “girl” is an antiquated term, like “boy.” In reality, you can’t refer to them as being either gender, because we all know that our fifty seven genders are fluid.
Whatever you call them, there aren’t many attractive females wandering around in public now. Not that the men look any better, but healthy males of any age naturally have an eye for beauty. Now beauty has largely been coopted by obesity, tattoos, multi-colored, unmanageable hair and sex-repellent clothing. It’s tragic in many ways. But I guess it has opened up employment opportunities for “plus sized” models. And, of course, the masks just add to the attractiveness. When you throw in the “excuse me” perpetually offended attitudes, you’re confronted with the total package.
It’s almost like a surreal world, watching the fluid genders waddling about in their pajamas and loose sweat suits, or scurrying around on their motorized scooters. Many of these weight-handicapped individuals are shockingly young. Certainly they’re almost all younger than me at sixty five. I know this sounds incredibly shallow. I don’t think we should be judged by our looks. But the personalities are at least as ugly. Maybe if they were kind and friendly, their appearance wouldn’t be so noticeable.
And the traffic. It doesn’t matter what day or time it is, it’s rush hour on the roads all around my area. You can drive somewhere at 1 pm on a Wednesday, and cars will be backed up everywhere. I often wonder where all these people are coming from, and where they’re going to. Don’t any of them work? Are they all full-time writers like me, involuntarily retired from the rat race for helping out a handicapped co-worker? As they used to say, inquiring minds want to know.
When you go in any establishment now, the odds are against you seeing any White employees. I went to IHOP- long time bastion of oldsters- last week, and the entire staff was nonwhite. As were 90% or more of the customers. Even fifteen years ago, IHOP attracted elderly Whites like the Kardashians attract Black men. So where exactly are all the White people? Where do they work? Where do they eat? My area is still largely White. Certainly my neighborhood is. Are all these Whites “consultants” and “beltway bandits?” They seem to have plenty of money. Where do they get it?
Well, actually, there is one place where you can find plenty of Whites. That would be Panera Bread, the new favorite eating spot for every White woman in America. There are plenty of young “Karens” there, clinging to their masks and scouring the other tables for something to be offended by. But the White oldsters love Panera. Which is pretty odd, given the way senior citizens watch their money. Panera is irrationally expensive. I guess they like the free coffee refills. And once some place gets the reputation of being popular, White women of all ages will flock to it.
So Whites go to Panera. And Whole Foods. They love that place. I went there often when they used to give out lots of free samples. Made shopping, especially at their prices, a lot more pleasurable. But they seem to have stopped that. Masks and “Woke” attitudes are openly welcomed there. I’m pretty much always the only one in Whole Foods, or Panera, without a mask. Some people look at me funny, but no one has ever said anything. If they did, I’m not sure if I’d ignore them or go into a long rant.
However you look at it, this country is far removed from what it was even twenty years ago. Last night, Tucker Carlson featured an expose about Massachusetts Black prosecutor Rachael Rollins, who berated and threatened a White woman who was peacefully walking in a parking lot, while impersonating a police officer. I always thought that impersonating an officer was a really big offense. In this case, the openly anti-White racist was promoted. The Senate just approved Rollins, another of Joe Biden’s sterling choices, to be the top federal prosecutor in Massachusetts.
All of us are living through a nightmare, but White men have it especially difficult now. Think of all those absurd “Woke” references in the state-controlled press about every known malady “disproportionately impacting” Blacks and other minorities. Flip that around, because the Greatest Psyop in the History of the World is impacting White males disproportionately. Rachael Rollins, like Joy Reid and innumerable other Black public figures, publicly castigated “White men” who were allegedly trying to tell her what to do. None of these White men have ever responded in any meaningful way to this ridiculous fantasy. That would be “mansplaining.”
I see it in their faces, at least the parts that aren’t covered by a useless mask. A fear to speak out, to recognize the absurdity of the situation. Workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your masks. I’m speaking mostly about White people here, because that same fear is evident when any loud Black person issues a blanket condemnation of an entire race, with absolutely no backlash. The Civil Rights movement was about shattering generalizations about entire groups of people. I guess this is different. Some generalizations are more equal than others.
Enjoy the Christmas season while you can. Apparently, burning Christmas trees is becoming a thing now. It’s a wonder they haven’t renamed them “Holiday trees.” Those wonderful seasonal songs, especially the beautiful Christmas carols, don’t exactly fit in well with our modern secular authoritarianism. It’s a good thing so many Black churches still exist. No one is going to tell them they can’t sing about Jesus. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Even in a Plandemic.
Although I’m basically yelling at the world to get off my lawn, I really don’t feel like a senior citizen. I only accept the senior citizen discount at places that set the age lower, at fifty or fifty five. I also feel no fellowship with my oldster peers. I am repelled by the sense of entitlement that is far too prevalent amongst aging Baby Boomers. I can’t relate to them, and refuse to act like that. While I complain about more things than almost anyone else alive, I won’t resort to the oldster playbook, of being demanding in a personal way. I don’t cut in line, or be inconsiderate of others, by holding up a line with inane questions. When I’m in my car getting ready to leave a parking space, and someone is waiting for it in a crowded lot, I hurry for them. I don’t dawdle for so long they leave in frustration.
Some will call me racist. Or sexist. Or ageist. As Homer Simpson once said to avoid jury duty, I’m prejudiced against all races. It’s just difficult remaining sane in such a loony bin. And there is no denying that our loony bin is a colorful, very diverse one. You have to be insane to believe in this COVID nonsense. To keep wearing masks and “social distancing.” To get multiple vaccines for the same alleged virus. To stop hugging or even seeing your loved ones. To break off relationships with the unvaxxed.
But you have to be insane to believe in fifty seven genders, too. To believe a parent has no right to spank their child, but can freely encourage them to change their gender at the youngest of ages. To believe that the public has no right to certain natural health products, but it’s perfectly acceptable to mutilate your sexual organs in order to “transition” to the other gender. Well, one of fifty seven genders. To believe that an underage girl can have an abortion without her parents’ consent, or decide to change their sex. But not legally have sex. There’s a mind-boggling inconsistency there, even without all the minors who have been prosecuted for “child pornography” for sexting- sharing nude pictures of themselves with other minors.
There’s a good reason why I chose to title my first radio show “I Protest.” There is an endless amount of things to protest in our crumbling country. Beyond the incalculable corruption that festers at every level of the rotting system, we have this largely unthinking, largely uncivil, unkempt and unattractive populace who is being screwed by it all. They don’t really seem worth saving at times, but I can’t help myself. I’m a populist. Populists support the power of the people.
I will continue to support free speech for all, even though most apparently don’t want it. And would be fine with locking up rabble rousers like me for exercising our constitutional right to it. You either believe in the Bill of Rights or you don’t. I will fight for their right to express themselves, even when they are regurgitating impossible CNN talking points. But that doesn’t mean I’d want any of them sitting on a jury deciding my fate. There are very few I’d trust in that situation.
I don’t know what the rest of the world is like. Maybe Americans aren’t that much of an anomaly. Certainly the entire world appears to have swallowed the most ludicrous “science” imaginable. But I focus on America, because it’s what I know. I lived in America 1.0 for more than forty years. It wasn’t great, and I complained about a lot that was going on then. But it was utopia compared to the Orwellian mess we’re faced with now. An Idiocracy without a Big Brother. America 2.0.
My New Book “On Borrowed Fame”
My sixth book has just been released: On Borrowed Fame: Money, Mysteries, and Corruption in the Entertainment World. It shows the underbelly of show business, and delves into why the financial compensation doled out to entertainers is so inconsistent. In many ways, the industry mirrors our rigged economy at large.
The book was a long time coming. Most of it was written more than a decade ago, when I first began contacting old entertainers from my youth. It was heady stuff to go back and forth with people I’d watched on television, or listened to their records on my old transistor radio. Too many of those I communicated with passed on before the book was published. Skyhorse held it for quite some time before opting not to take it. I went with Bear Manor Media, a publisher that specializes in entertainment books.
I learned a lot while writing this book, as I do while researching all of my nonfiction. The disparity in compensation in the industry is sometimes mind-boggling. To cite just one example; why did Bette Davis, one of the biggest stars in the history of Hollywood, die with less than a million dollars, while Steppin Fetchit, the poster child for old fashioned racism, left a fortune of $10 million? There are lots of figures like that in the book. They fascinate me, and I’m hopeful readers will be intrigued as well.
The inspiration for the book was George “Spanky” McFarland, my favorite Little Rascal, and in my view the greatest child actor who ever lived. He was basically washed up by the age of six or so, but he was the most spellbinding toddler to ever appear onscreen. Spanky’s name and likeness was used by restaurants (and still is), and for other commercial endeavors. The fact he received nothing from this, or from the perpetually run Our Gang shorts, understandably frustrated him. I wrote to his widow, but she never replied.
A secondary inspiration was Bela Lugosi. Lugosi was one of the classic cases of the industry ripping off a vulnerable target. The English-challenged actor was paid all of $3500 for his iconic role in 1931’s Dracula. Meanwhile, David Manners, who was billed third or fourth in the cast, made more than four times that amount. I talked to Lugosi’s son, and more recently, his granddaughter. The granddaughter was a bit too difficult for me, so I didn’t include anything about her in the book. Almost all the others I spoke to were pretty accommodating and friendly.
An underlying theme to the book is; what exactly is fame? Once my nonfiction books were published, I began to relate a bit more to this. I’m not deluded enough to think I’m famous in any way at all, but the fact is some people (who knows how many) have heard of me. They’ve read my work and/or listened to me on the radio. I hear from strangers every day, from all over the world, who admire my work. I have stalkers as well. One guy I’ve never even exchanged posts with online writes about me regularly on a forum run by an Australian researcher who irrationally hates me. He knows way too much about me, and has constructed an inaccurate, villainous image of me. That kind of thing is pretty scary.
So, if the definition of fame is being known to others who you don’t know, I guess I have a very small measure of fame. The CEO of a corporation is famous to the thousands of employees there, but may be unknown outside that cocoon. As I noted often in my book Bullyocracy, the most popular kids in every school are essentially famous in their own little world. Big fish in a small pond. We see this same phenomenon in social settings; cliques form everywhere, from workplaces to country clubs. And there are “famous” people in all of them.
I talk about the totally forgotten famous entertainers from a few centuries ago. The stage was the Hollywood of its day, and there were plenty of marquee names who garnered public adulation. No one knows the name of even the most high profile actor of the eighteenth century now. And if not for the Lincoln assassination, no one would recognize the name of John Wilkes Booth, who was compared to Brad Pitt in terms of fame by a local historian. Like the old ballplayers dubbed The Glory of Their Times, in one of the great baseball books of all time by the same name, the greatest entertainers from a few hundred years ago have lost every measure of their fame.
On Borrowed Fame examines many of the most suspicious deaths in the entertainment business. Elvis Presley. John Lennon. Marilyn Monroe. Natalie Wood. John Belushi. Brittany Murphy. To name just a few. This, of course, is more in my wheelhouse. It is undeniable that show business is the only industry, outside of politics, which features an inordinate number of unnatural deaths, with often absurd explanations for them. Hollywood and the music business both have impressive Body Counts.
I was gratified to get some formerly big names to write blurbs for the book. Billy Gray, who played Bud Anderson on one of the seminal television shows of the 1950s, Father Knows Best. Susan Olsen, who portrayed Cindy on The Brady Bunch. Others, like singer-songwriter Graham Parker, never became household names, but meant the world to me. His music was part of the soundtrack of my youth, and I have to pinch myself to consider that we are now friends.
This book is not really uncharacteristic for me. I have been a Golden Age of Hollywood movie buff since I was a preteen, watching the yearly television broadcasts of The Wizard of Oz and King Kong, which were a big deal in those days. I loved especially the black and white world, the snappy dialogue, and the much higher production values. Everything had class. And even as a child, I wanted to write, and instinctively understood that the words recited in those older films were more literate and interesting than the current stuff.
The foundation of my populist philosophy was deeply influenced by Frank Capra’s quartet of timeless films; It’s a Wonderful Life, Meet John Doe, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. Like Huey Long’s speeches, those homages to the Little Guy struck a powerful chord within me. Capra’s admittedly naive optimism was responsible for grounding me a bit; without my mother’s happy, carefree outlook on life, and the messages in these uplifting films, I would have been as dark a cynic as my father, or one of my literary heroes, Ambrose Bierce.
I was also a fan of rock and roll from a young age. My sister bought me my first stereo when I turned seven, along with the 45s It’s Up to You by Ricky Nelson and Two Faces Have I by Lou Christie. She also threw in Rick Nelson’s Million Sellers LP. From there, I built a budding collection; most of the 45s from the Beatles and the Beach Boys, and a lesser number of LPs, including the first three Beatles’ albums. If only I hadn’t written my name on most of the LPs and 45s, I might have something really valuable.
I knew, and continue to know, way too much about pop culture. More than anyone needs to know. We used to joke that my head was full of knowledge that could never earn me any money. That turned out to be all too true. No one has ever been willing to pay me for reciting ridiculously obscure trivia about the early talkies, or one hit musical artists. Until now, I guess. Writers earn the same kind of miniscule royalty rates that even the biggest musical artists did. I could relate to the likes of Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits joking about their lack of royalties.
I purposefully tracked down the most mysterious examples of actors suddenly disappearing from the limelight. One early talkies leading man became so obscure there is no record of his death. It is only presumed he died sometime during the 1980s. Think about that; do any construction workers become that obscure? And again, it’s similar to what I run into all the time, in trying to track down JFK assassination witnesses, or those connected to 9/11, Oklahoma City, etc. They can become, in effect, as obscure as some of those old actors.
I am always confident that the my books will sell well. I was right about Hidden History and Crimes and Cover-Ups in American Politics: 1776-1963. But not about Survival of the Richest or Bullyocracy. I just can’t trigger many sales for my non-political books. On Borrowed Fame should appeal to more “normies,” and attract a much larger crossover market, than all my other books. But I won’t be surprised if it doesn’t sell much. Most of my support seems to come from the conspiracy world.
The Foreword for On Borrowed Fame was written by the only person who could write it, John Barbour. My friendship with John is the most rewarding one of my life. This man stood at the pinnacle of success when he created and hosted Real People, the number one television show in America. But he’s humble enough to be impressed with the likes of me. Barbour’s career was undoubtedly impacted by his work with Jim Garrison. Actor Paul LeMat, star of American Graffiti, is someone else I’ve communicated with quite a bit. He admitted that his career was negatively effected by his activism regarding both the JFK and RFK assassinations.
I hope you all will buy and read On Borrowed Fame. The hardback is pretty expensive, but writers have nothing to do with pricing. I’d be just as happy if you suggested it to your local library system, or perhaps your college alma mater, to add to their collection. A library sale is just the same as any other, and it can attract a lot more readers. As always, adding the book on Goodreads (and ideally giving it 5 stars) would be a big favor to me, and rating or reviewing it on Amazon would be wonderful.
The Short and Simple Annals of the Poor
I’m not often shocked by any statistic, but have just found one that truly flabbergasted me. A recent study found that one in six Americans have never been outside the confines of the state they reside in. It’s hard to believe this. But perhaps it’s not so surprising, when we consider the nature of our rigged, casino economy.
Vacations are expensive, when you’re making less than $27,000, as the bottom half of American workers do. You have to expend a far greater percentage of your income to essentials, like food and housing. Since over 70 percent of Americans have less than $1000 in savings, that doesn’t leave much room for vacations. Or even travel out of state- say to a concert or amusement park. It’s becoming more expensive every day to travel anywhere, given the rising cost of gas.
My hero Huey Long was advocating a month long paid vacation for all workers, in the early 1930s. It wasn’t until the passage of watered-down legislation in 1938, which created the forty hour work week, the concept of overtime, and vacation and sick leave, that the common people finally started traveling a bit. How many generations had lived and died without ever seeing the ocean? My grandparents certainly never did. A highlight of my grandmother’s life was a day trip to Baltimore. She lived in Washington, D.C., so this was probably her first and only time out of state.
I grew up in a lower middle-class neighborhood. We had a single real vacation during my childhood; a week long trip to Virginia Beach when I was eight years old. I remember the kids on my block thinking I was a big shot, getting to swim in the real ocean. None of them seemed to go on any vacations. As I’ve stated many times, the standard of living was much higher then for average people. But traveling really wasn’t a part of the equation for the majority of Americans, let alone the poorest half.
Until John F. Kennedy visited them during the West Virginia primary in his 1960 presidential campaign, the poorest people in America- those mired in Appalachia- were truly invisible. No exciting bling, or rap music, or drive-by shootings. Just desperate poverty. Holes in roofs. Holes in floors. No indoor plumbing. Too many living without electricity. During the 2012 census, it was discovered that some 41.5 percent of Appalachian County residents were living below the poverty line.
Obviously, no one in Appalachia enjoys a summer vacation. How many in our inner cities do? Our housing projects? Our trailer parks? Or the forgotten Native Americans, living an Apartheid existence on dilapidated Reservations? Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty” was a bigger joke, and a bigger failure, than the ensuing “War on Drugs” would be. The dogs and cats in any middle-class neighborhood- never mind any palatial estate- have more creature comforts than humans in Appalachia do.
The shameful disparity of wealth- which I exposed in detail in my book Survival of the Richest, is all the more inexcusable when we consider just how much wealth there is in present-day America. If you divided up all the known wealth- and keep in mind this doesn’t include all the ill begotten offshore profits and money sheltered in tax-free foundations- amongst the people, every man, woman, and child would get something like $341,000. As Huey Long said, Every Man (and Woman) a King. And every child.
I don’t advocate such a thing. We need to keep the path to upward mobility open. The problem is, as I showed in my book, there is presently virtually no upward mobility for the poor and working class. Aside from the worlds of sports and entertainment- and succeeding in them is tantamount to the odds of winning the lottery- almost everyone born poor dies poor. The only ones who rise above their circumstances are those born wealthy, who usually become even richer. As Gerald Celente likes to describe it, “Born on third base, and think you hit a home run.”
I refer to the disparity of wealth as The Greatest Conspiracy of All. It is also the oldest conspiracy; the rich have been waging war against everyone else for all of human history. In the middle ages, royalty would force peasants to stay up all night by the ponds outside their castles, where they would be tasked with hitting the lily pads to stop the frogs from croaking. Some historians believe that among the duties of groomsmen was the wiping of the royal behind. We all know that very wealthy people have help in getting dressed. In a more modern example, many celebrities hire “ghost tweeters” to express their words on Twitter. As they say, the rich are different.
I think that says it all; some Americans have assistants to do virtually everything for them, while others have to sleep on the sidewalks. You don’t have to be a socialist, like Eugene Debs, to understand the profundity in his statement that, “I am opposing a social order in which it is possible for one man who does absolutely nothing that is useful to amass a fortune of hundreds of millions of dollars, while millions of men and women who work all the days of their lives secure barely enough for a wretched existence.” I oppose that system, too, with everything I write and say.
A worker averaging a yearly income of $40,000, over the course of a fifty year employment career, would make a $2,000,000 cumulative income. The average salary for an NBA player is now $7.7 million. One person-Jeff Bezos is worth more than $204 billion. An average worker would have to toil for nearly four lifetimes to earn what the average pro basketball player makes in one season. And he’d have to spend 102,000 years working to earn the net worth of a Jeff Bezos. That kind of thing bothered Eugene Debs. And Huey Long. And it certainly bothers me.
Why don’t we hear some of these allegedly “communist” Democrats talk about this? Why doesn’t Bernie Sanders tout these numbers? No one can argue with them. No one can claim that any person’s life is worth more than 102,000 lifetimes are worth. As I’ve pointed out many times, if you want to judge the value of relative jobs, consider this: all the executives in the country disappear for a month. So do all the cleaning crews and trash pickup workers. Whose absence do you think would be more noticeable?
I criticize the putrid rhetoric of the authoritarian Left on a regular basis. But what about the conservative rhetoric, which scoffs at any raising of the minimum wage? The mantra is: “anybody can flip burgers!” Well, okay, but can’t anyone be a “yes man” vice-president in charge of looking out of the window? The average acolyte in upper management most notably nods in agreement at whatever his superiors say, and keeps a straight face during all those pointless mandatory meetings. I really think most of us could be trained to do that.
With cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles now taking on the ambiance of real Third World areas, this issue is more relevant than ever. Our entire rigged system could be summed up succinctly in that photo from a year or two ago, of upper class San Franciscans eating in an expensive restaurant, as one of the city’s homeless denizens defecates right outside the establishment’s large picture window. I think that illustrates it better than the desperate poverty existing only a few blocks from gated multi-million dollar mansions.
Henry David Thoreau noted that “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.” That is a timeless and insightful observation, but what about the lives of poor men (and women)? You’d need to come up with something more grim than “quiet desperation” to describe that. Generational poverty. A family and social environment that discourages any attempt at personal betterment. Like the lobsters trying to escape the tank, the others will invariably try to drag them back down.
Yesterday, the official Jobs report caused the stock market to go up. Of course, since 90% of all stock is owned by only 10% of the people, this is largely irrelevant to the masses. It’s certainly irrelevant to that bottom half of Americans, and to the one in six who have never traveled outside of their own state. And those totally fake numbers were contradicted, a few weeks earlier, by an intrepid young man in Florida who applied for sixty entry level jobs, and got called in for one interview. And yet the conservative talking point is, “I can’t hire anyone! No one wants to work!”
I am not a conservative. Or a modern day liberal. I’m a populist and a classical liberal. I always stand up for the little guy. Huey Long bragged that he had never taken a case against a poor man. I will never write or say anything against the poor. Their poverty doesn’t bestow virtue upon them, but it does saddle them with disadvantages that few of us could overcome. I wish the Left would spend one tenth the time it spends on bleating about “racism” and “White Supremacy,” to blasting the unfairness and injustice of our class-tiered system.
Only the affluent in this country have any influence, and our “representatives” don’t represent anyone except the wealthy and powerful. The rich are more entitled than the most stereotypical “welfare queen” could ever hope to be. Things we take for granted, like owning a car, are beyond the means of the working poor. I personally know people who are too poor to buy and maintain the expenses of an automobile. They must work within walking distance, or Uber to the job. Which, of course, puts them further behind the eight ball in trying to eke out an existence.
As a young blue-collar worker in the 1980s, very few of my fellow employees were without personal transportation. Physical laborers, not making an impressive salary. But able to own their own car. That is a huge change that has occurred over less than forty years, and almost no one talks about it. And I guess all those lowly paid workers, who can’t afford cars, have another reason why they can’t travel. Not only do they not make enough money, they don’t own a vehicle to travel with.
There are things that can be done to make things fairer. Tax all income for Social Security, not just the first $120,000, as it is under the present regressive system. Tie every company’s maximum compensation package (they usually don’t call them “wages” at the top of the ladder) to a minimum wage. So the highest compensation in the company couldn’t be more than, say, twenty times the lowest compensation. That would even things up as well between small and larger companies.
Few people know that Huey Long’s “Share Our Wealth” program would have exempted the first million dollars of income from any taxation. That would be around $12 million in today’s dollars. So no one would have been paying income taxes at all except for the the most wealthy. Not exactly a communist plan. The biggest Ayn Rand disciple wouldn’t dare suggest a proposal that guaranteed only a tiny percentage of the population would be paying all the taxes. But Huey knew then, as I know now, that this miniscule band of elitists have a monstrously disproportionate share of the collective wealth. To get revenue, you go to who has it. They have it.
It would be impossible to create a system as corrupt and rigged as ours is, without an organized conspiracy behind it. As Truman’s Secretary of Defense James Forrestal said, before they pushed him out of a window at Bethesda Naval Hospital, if there wasn’t a grand conspiracy, once in a while they’d make a mistake in our favor. The historical record shows that nothing they’ve ever done has truly been in our favor.
William Henry Harrison, who served only thirty two days as president, the shortest term of any in American history, once said, “I believe and I say it is true Democratic feeling, that all the measures of the Government are directed to the purpose of making he rich richer and the poor poorer.” This may be the most accurate assessment of our political system that I’ve ever read. There’s a reason why we all nod appreciatively at the working class lament, “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.” They do.
As I write this, there are mothers fretting over whether their child will make it home alive from the mean streets of their inner city. In Appalachia, they’re gathered around the antiquated wood stove that serves to heat their tiny dwelling. Where there’s no money for a burial. Or a wedding. Or a decent Christmas. We all recognize the brilliance in Dickens’s depiction of greed in Ebeneezer Scrooge. No one thinks poverty is a good thing. And yet, there are more people now than ever before.
In between my acerbic rantings about our hopelessly criminal leaders and their reprehensible system, I try and take a moment to reflect upon what the poet Thomas Gray called “the short and simple annals of the poor.”