A Planned Parenthood for Conservatives

It’s been manic around Angst for days. The Toms have been in conferences with members of the RNC and no one from work can get in to see them about the business. That has never happened before. Angst has been the Toms’ lives since they bought the company.

I got a glimpse of what was going on when a string of minority business owners from around the country left here about midday, arguing all the way to their limousines.

The Tom’s came out grumbling and allowed  me five minutes to explain the status of my two hundred million dollar project. They were pleased that everything was going well. I’d locked up some significant arbitrage opportunities and was able to throw off most of the risk to a number of firms who felt they could lay it off on a foreign power.

Gorman grabbed the back of my neck hard and squeezed until I winced. He dragged me over to the scotch bar where he filled the bottom third of his scotch glass with Tour du Munde  cognac. He inhaled deeply, visibly relaxed,  and smiled.

“Here’s a scoop for you, Bernie,” he sounded a little conspiratorial and a little defeated. “Your black guy did it. He won. The people he’s hired to run his organization are besting ours just about every time. The writing is on the wall. It’s time for the Republican Party to learn more from defeat  than from victory and by God, the stakes are too god damned high, we’re going to learn fast. The success of our party is most of all understanding the end game. We will not relinquish power again.”

His small blue eyes were so close I could see black and maybe yellow flecks in them. His face was creased with the smile that Tom never failed to keep on once he’d turned it on. He squeezed my neck until it hurt and he slapped my back when I winced.

“Bernie, like with Benghazi and a number of other issues that Republicans have pushed recently, we keep ending up on the wrong side. This fiscal cliff issue… we can’t win that, no way, yet there we are fighting as if noble defeat is as good as victory. And fighting for the wealthy, damn, when did we ever have to resort to that before?

“Shit, everyone knows that’s a loser at the ballot box, but there you go. This is the big leagues, the NFL, and if you’re not ready to play with the best personnel available, you had better have some top shelf smoke and mirrors ready, but apparently we don’t even have that.

“Every tactic our disorganized and ineffective leadership delivers is bizarrely under thought out. And we have no strategy. For far too long, the Reagan years have cast a shadow over our best and the George Bush administration, regardless how hard we defend him and attack your Muslim buddy, the voters seem to get it that it was his fault. The present is intolerable politically for us but it’s not time to panic.

“It’s time to figure out who the modern day moderate Republican leaders are. Who are principled conservative in new ways and are able to synthesize old Republican principles into a passionate belief that a majority of young modern men and women of all colors can get behind.

“The days of bigoted Conservatives, Second Amendment Rights nuts, wacko Fundamentalist Christians, even Tea Party Libertarian hobbyists, their days are over, we rode them long enough.” He tapped the breast pocket over his heart where he keeps his wallet and copies of the Bill of Rights and the Ten Commandments. “The money knows and change is happening as I speak. We will reload  before the entire voter  population unloads on us in a coming election. ”

He squeezed my neck again as if trying to do damage. He pulled away and nodded toward the board room where Tom Morgan was signaling him.

“Gotta go, Bernie, the reps from Planned Parenthood have just arrived.”


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What is the Joad Cycle

The Joad Cycle is a series of dystopian speculative fiction novels set in our America from 2032-2084 after a Constitutional Coup has brought to power an extreme Right Wing, Christian, Libertarian Entrepreneur who is the leader of the new Entrepreneur Party. In this America, business interests rule, government has been marginalized. and the poor and the middle class no longer exist, the result of a massive economic genocide. To survive, every citizen lives to create wealth and should living cost more than they can generate in value to the economy, they are executed. Mostly, this is an Anti-capitalist Love Story.

$$$ How to Read this Site $$$

This site is mostly fictional and it supports the novels, providing backstory and additional related short stories that take place within the world of the Joad Cycle.

The site offers a Blog and Journal from the perspective of one main character, the hero of the first book, The Golden Rule . This character, Bernie Rosenthal who is very liberal politically, works as Chief Financial Officer for U.S. Angs, a multinational multibillion dollar private corporation owned by Tom Gorman and Tom Morgan, the Toms, who represent ultra Conservative Koch brother types. Bernie is humbled by the tyrannical Toms during the day and finds a release journaling his job frustration. Meanwhile, Bernie's future self, Berne Thau, adds to the blog entries with his perspective, more than 30 years in the future, after money, greed, and the Right Wing revolution end the American Republic .

We are living in trying times. According to Berne Thau, they will get much more difficult.

Why this curmudgeon wrote this story

Every generation, parents tell their children that life was better back when they were young… and the children always scoff.

But now that I have qualified to pass judgment on that age-old warning, now that I’ve been both young and old, I have come to realize that the old have it right and children scoff at their peril though in the ways that American society has been taught to measures success, every generation since maybe the turn of the twentieth century anyway, has had it better.

But with age, and career experience, I have learned that those ways are deceptive and worse, they are wrong. Success is measured based on wealth, conveniences, and life expectancy issues when it should be evaluated on what we hope to be as individuals and what we become as people—the expectancy of life.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been successful enough. For most of my baby boomer life I was comfortable middle class interspersed with a few years of unfortunate decline towards impoverishment, never quite getting there before bootstrapping back to comfort.

For a time, I was a certified member of the 1%—in income though not in wealth. The 1% is a class of people who rule their part of the world and have a lot of confidence that somebody they know rules the rest of it. I wasn’t a one-percenter for many years, but it was a good life until my associations made me believe that I just didn’t want it anymore. I apologize to my family for what I had become and these novels are my penance.

People congratulated me for the success I’d earned as if those less and least successful earned that lack as well. And with the memory of a manufacturing facility in a small, rural, one-employer town in out-of-the-way Northern Maine near the Canadian border closed to improve a bottom line somewhere else, with an American town murdered for earnings per share, I signed off and began to write the The Joad Cycle.

In my research, I came to fear for my family that grew from the narrowest and shallowest possible family tree to three generations deep and two wide. My family is important and so I wrote these novels for them, for their future, for what I dread we have taken from them and will continue to take, long after we are dead.

I live in the Midwest and my friends are good people and I value them. They are conservative and most are Christians and somehow, we argue over unions as if union members aren’t patriotic Americans, too, and besides, what is to be gained by condemning workers in a country of workers. And we disagree on the poor? Social Safety Nets may not be working as well as they could (But how would we know if these Safety Nets are working? It is not as if some brave politician will stand up and precisely define what a win looks like in the freest, richest country in the history of history—and seriously, doesn’t free-form Capitalism deserve the bulk of the blame with its all-encompassing goal of creating winning humans and losing humans).

And discussions on life and death with my conservative friends, life at the very beginning and the very end, and guns and gods…forget about it. But unlike politicians and the media, we are friends so we work around the discomfort and the dislike for the greater good.

My friends are the current version of the salt of the earth and all of us abide by family values above all, even if we can’t agree on them. Good people like us accept a society where too many of our children are handled by strangers during the critical formative years. And in the twilight years too many parents and grandparents are handled by strangers until their money runs out, like sand in an hourglass, their lives extended only so far as Government security or private insurance will grant.

And when Americans finally expire after insufferable pain and embarrassment and to the sighs of sad but relieved loved ones, it reveals the immaturity of the vast majority of the American people who won’t resolve; once and for all, when God’s reason ends life and so they leave that to for-profit resolution. Can’t it just be in the fading twinkle of an ancient woman’s eyes?

But all of this pales to the legacy of GREED! Greed, that race for wealth that is ingrained in us all from television at a too early age that drives us to become economically viable so that with something extra in our paychecks at the end of the week, we can indulge ourselves with gifts, with palliatives, to relieve the pain and discomfort that we feel for doing what we must do to earn what wealth we cab. Greed is the satisfying of artificial and constant cravings.

And those who are considered the best of us, majority stockholders, officers of corporations, politicians, and celebrities all at the top of their respective food chains, they earn their way into the 1% and possessing this true wealth, they gift themselves truly extraordinary palliatives in order to compensate for something deeply unsatisfying within that was once more human, what they lost in the dog-eat-dog world that we all live in.

This is the world that we pass on to our children and our grandchildren. This world is what will own them someday like it owns us today. They are truly greed’s legacy. That too is the basis for my cautionary tale of America’s future, The Joad Cycle.

But I still idealize my youth. I remember what it felt like when I was a boy and so I wrote a grand love story, too.


Gary Levey