Berne’s Journal

From my journal – Berne Thau.


November, 2032 –Uncaring, bruised and battered, I fled the Presidential Election Party at the John Galt Hotel in Louisville and drove west, destination unknown. My life is over. I have nothing left to live for.  Maybe that makes me dangerous—or even easier to pick off. I left Mark behind. He’s in imminent danger and I can’t do anything. He’s working for the corrupt and murderous President-elect and how can he extricate himself from that?

I stopped outside Zanesville to rest. Paid cash, they are watching everything. I’m sore, head to toe from the beating but I had to move on too soon because I was still wearing my stupid clown outfit when I checked in! They couldn’t possibly buy the circus excuse so after a few hours, I was up and heading south and then back west toward Paducah before I realized that I really had to go east! Hopefully this lack of direction would keep me alive a little longer. I’m going east. East is where Crelli will be and I will not run from him, not ever again. I’ve had it with Crelli and all of his Libertarian Republican greed heads. America is doomed but revenge is reason enough to live—at least a little longer.

The President-elect won the first rounds but somehow, Somehow, SOMEHOW, I will get back, get even—no, we will never be even but it isn’t too late to change from that too soft man. I must prevent this monster from serving. Who am I kidding?

Near Owensboro, KY, vengeance  drove me to head toward Washington D.C. If I can’t save my son or my country, I will save my soul.


March, 2033 – Six long and lonely months. Living is hard, living alone is harder. But dying is too easy. He’s untouchable but I’ll find a way. I have to find a way. Joad keeps my profile low, below HomeSec’s vision, anyway, and Gecko’s gaze. She has renamed me Berne Thau, a name their database doesn’t know. I am now a well-to-do retired old coot from Lincoln, Nebraska. She want’s me to go there or somewhere else, anywhere but D.C. where he is. But I’m helpless so all I have to keep me going is the feeling that he’s near so I’m living in the shadow of the beast, in a series of exclusive Washington D.C. hotels. It’s all I have until I figure it out. Maybe it’s a death wish but the beds are terrific and the food is great. And I can see the White House from the corner window.

October, 2033 —Congress has been passing its Circle of Life legislation. For a time the hint of it was in all the media but they got it wrong. Or maybe I’m naïve. Maybe they know but they’ve been told to or bought off to tell the public something else. That’s been happening this entire century. The media isn’t on our side. It never was after profits drove them.

The media reported a rumor that Crelli was launching a war on poverty. People are stupid. Why would this guy try to resolve poverty? It’s really a war on the impoverished, a war whose only casualties will be the poor and those most closely associated with them.


January, 2034 —The more I watch TV, the more depressed I get. Omega Station seems so long ago and so stupid. Americans are stupid. It must be the drinking water or how we’re educated. Maybe our parents were stupid. Making money has blinded everyone and marketing and the media has turned them into drooling puppets. And yet they still claim that America is the freest country in the history of history. With what’s coming, Americans will believe anything. Give them an allowance and they’re fat, dumb and blissfully miserable, that’s what Americans are, like cattle. And too soon, they will be slaughtered for their sloth, their disposition, and their naïve stupidity. It’s already starting. There are fewer bums and panhandlers on the streets. Some missions have been cleared downtown and food kitchens no longer have lines. Joad keeps me up to date. She says I’m a dreamer but I wait for some opposition but no one sees the obvious. Joad says that Americans are weak and soft. There is little they are willing to fight for and no cause they are willing to die for — except to get to a garage sale early. She still has a sense of humor. Mine died.

March, 2034 —Joad says there is one leader of the rebellion, Omar Smith, a German-born Islamic terrorist who is organizing the poor to fight back. She says he has his own agenda but If I can contact him, maybe we can find a way…

There were some protests in some of the cities, people occupying stuff, all peaceful and innocent but when the Homeland Security troops came and the death toll hit a thousand, the news stopped reporting it. Joad says it’s over. No one dare contest Crelli. In one year as President, he has humbled a nation that was once the recognized hero of the world. The government is a tiger ruling paper tiger people. They are many things, whiners and complainers, soft, and spoiled people unable to fight for beliefs, but they are most certainly not tigers. God Almighty, I believed that I was fighting to save a nation.  I lost everything, everything. Now, I’m living only to fight for Jane…and Franki. While hiding and travelling by night in a wheelbarrow.

April, 2034 —I have to move on soon. Washington is a ghost town. The poor who remain have been formed into some kind of guerilla force. They appear to disrupt and then are gone. It’s more an annoyance than a strategy but with all the drones flying, it’s a hell of a lot more than what I can do. Give em hell.

They passed more laws. Due to the riots, the poor have lost all of their entitlements. Crelli caused the damn riots and then he says he refuses to feed a domestic terrorist army of the socialist poor. Let them create their own economy if they want to fight America, all that’s holy and good in the world. What an ass.

May, 2034— Crelli protests and threatens to veto every draconian law that his Congress passes. It’s high theatre as they work to eliminate unproductive Americans. He seems angry but Crelli is getting everything that he wants. There were people picketing Congress for a few days but they’re gone now. This is just a vile dance. Without veto power, Crelli bitches and belly-aches his way through the media with interviews and speeches while his plan takes form.

Congress passed a law that allows hospitals to deny treatment, that’s right, treatment, if there isn’t proof of adequate insurance.

June, 2034 — The charade continues. The outspoken lawyers are gone. The rest are just blood suckers and they don’t care even though their workload is down. Who do you dare sue when the crimes are in the government?

Before they adjourned, Congress decided that insurance companies no longer have to payout until it’s proven that the loss didn’t occur due to the socialist revolution.  Oh yes, something called a PID, a personal identity microchip must now be imbedded in every citizen’s ass. It will replace a credit or debit card, your various licenses, access to your banking information, your car, and it will function as the operating guts to your wristphone and your entire communication universe. We are being tagged for slaughter!

November, 2034—A three hour TV special on the rise of a New America. Confined to my hotel room, all I could do was shower when it ended. Hitler and Goebbels would be pleased. The midterms came and went and Crelli and his Entrepreneur Party picked up strength. Who votes for this? Joad said the election was mostly fair. Even the Democratic opposition was honestly selected. But what could they debate? No one claimed genocide. No one decried the war on the impoverished. The drones, euthanasia…. How the stock market will recover, the deficits, the debt, world trade, those were the issues while poor Americans were taken out and shot. God Bless America. Why is there no protest? If you’re going to die anyway, why not die for a cause? Crelli has everyone believing that they are safe if they are earners. Shut up and work. Shut up and aid the economy and don’t look at your neighbor because he or she could be dead tomorrow. Housing prices have begun to fall due to availability.

Crelli is now certain that too few Americans care enough to die for a cause knowing they will die soon enough anyway. His only concern is that shysters and ambulance chasers might fight back because there is no profit to be made fighting this government so no lawyer will take on that dead end job. All that’s left are college professors bitching and writing articles, mayors requesting more troops, and HomeSec cleaning up, cleaning out. Joad argues with me but it’s clear that Omega Station never had a chance. America was without moral fiber and businessmen like Crelli live to plan and work their plan. We were amateurs.

December, 2034 – I still look for heroes. But would I recognize any? I should have been one; I should have been the one. I had him in my sights but I didn’t have what it took. I couldn’t do it, that one squeeze. One Squeeze, that was all, and…and America’s problems and all of mine would have been solved. One squeeze. The pain that I would have come from that one squeeze would have been nothing like the pain I endure every day for not squeezing off a round.

Endured, should have endured, but I couldn’t so why should I expect similarly naive fellow countryman to be heroes. Hell, I had good reason, the best reason, and more reason than anyone and yet I didn’t do more. How can I expect more from them?  We’re all trained seals in this ridiculous circus. Merry Christmas. It’s going to be a long spring.

It was rumored that Congress had just passed a bill requiring everyone to travel to the city of their birth to register at a hospital or Wal-Mart to have their PID injected. Before I could laugh, Joad tells me that it’s true. These controlling capitalists are unbelievable. They are as good as Ayn Rand warned they’d be. I wish I had taken her seriously like I did when I was in college and impressionable. Like with God, I just didn’t understand the code, but my Ayn Rand friends, they got it immediately and now they are in the process of ruling America and then the world. Jesus, their plans are even bigger than I can imagine and after what I’ve been through, I can imagine a whole hell of a lot!

2035 & 2036

Christmas Day, 2035 – It’s time to leave. There was a “banquet” last night, a huge and elaborate “banquet”, Crelli hosted it at the Hockey arena. Joad told me all about it. With nothing to do, I’ve slowed down and I am sleeping more. My old bones ache all the time and my hearing is going bad so in what I suppose is silence, all I hear is the real or imagined high pitched thrumming like some great black hole is sucking noise from me.

People keep disappearing…I sit in my hotel room and watch. At first there were some on the streets. You could tell them because they were furtive and feral.  If it was that obvious to me because who worries that much about their safety except those who fear they will lose it, these people stood out to Homeland Security, too, and so they were picked off, scraped up, and disappeared. But there are a great many more that Crelli and Gecko want that will not be such easy pickings. That’s why last night happened. Today, the streets are empty and I will have to go before the stragglers disappear.

Joad said there were few cars at the U.S. Angs Hockey Arena last night and so the smell of the feast inside attracted the simplest of Americans to the arena, those who had no money, no plan, and no way out. Unfortunately, that was most of the remaining citizenry in Washington, D.C. And when the earliest adapter arrived, they found cooked food in all the dumpsters. The first five or ten into each were crushed to death before someone organized this newly constructed survivalist community. Order was restored American style, with a gun, and by someone obviously superior at achieving power quickly. Logistics were developed and everyone was fed but the food was not nearly enough.

Oddly, given the risks in the area and the environment, there was a door to the arena left ajar, and on the rush of air that exited, there were reported to be the most incredibly edible smells.

Without Homeland Security guards anywhere in sight, the hordes of D.C. poor first walked and then ran to the door, soon clogging it. As more and more doors opened, the great mass of people poured around and in. They ran through the walkway, past the petting zoo and the empty bar. I can only picture their leaders vaulting down the steps as the great mass of D.C. followed them, making the aisles seem like arteries with blood flowing through.

But anyway, soon they were all facing their purpose, food. There was no banquet! The U.S. Angs, Flavors and Fragrances Division was supplying some of their best dinner chemical smells and they were blown outside to attract—flies.

According to Joad, above the poor masses, sitting in air conditioned comfort in the most expensive Executive Boxes, were various representatives of Industry and Government who were eating good food and drinking fine wine while watching their poor being gassed to death.

I have to get out of this town.

February, 2036 – Welcome to election year. Crelli is running, of course. He and that bimbo Tanya Brandt are running against, who the fuck cares. Joad is getting me ready to leave. The last stragglers will be out of D.C. within the month so I’m going. Years cooped up here; all I do is go through my old journals to cull out the massive amount that is too boring. All they do is remind me of how happy my life once was.

It’s hard to believe how much older you can feel. Each day is a new disappointment. I thought that I had felt the worst I could, the day before. Once again, I am wrong. If seeing God is this must trouble, he must surely be a just man, although if we are truly made in his image, the last thing this God is, is just—or kind.

I’m old, so old and tired, so god damn tired. Crelli’s marketers are working with the slogan, “If You’re Alive; You’re a Winner!” I guess I’m a winner and a wanted man. I’m too tired to leave and HomeSec is searching for me. Joad showed me my picture on TV. That won’t work. No one in this town has seen me leave my room and Joad has arranged it so that the help won’t turn me in. I don’t go out so I can’t be found. But when the town empties, and it will, there are too many undepreciated assets so others will be moved in, except what properties the higher tides have taken. Washington is a vacuum; it exists on power, politics, and productivity.

Except for Joad, I have few allies, certainly not enough to protect me. I want to die. I’ve wanted to die ever since Jane… but I must stay alive. I have important things, critical things to do. The question is, in Crelli’s America, is there a profile small enough, insignificant enough to protect me from Gecko and those sleek black Waster Wagons that have just started appearing on the streets of D.C. to collect the getting worthless, the worthless, and their dependents.

I am living a nightmare. Maybe if we had only balanced our budgets and paid down the debt. Nope, the wealthy had us coming and going and we were too asleep, too stupid, or too self-centered to stop them when we could.

This is a surreal dream. They are killing the poor and it’s all my fault. One bullet, one brain, I had him in my sights. I pull and millions live. I leave in the morning and I don’t know when or if I will write again.

If you are paying to read this, then all is lost. If you read this free, whatever I did was worth it.


Berne Thau 2036

2036 & 2037

Fall, 2036 – To catch up, we joined the last large group of stragglers out of D.C. Joad found some Moles to help me and so I spent far too many days in a wheelbarrow being pushed along like some  fortunate cadaver who’d been found by a friend or family member among those strewn along the exit ways from D.C. The wheelbarrow was my only choice. I would have slowed them down and straying stragglers were often shot, if not by Home Land Security, then by some winner with a gun and guns seem to be the favorite inventoriable item among the winners, it seems.

Fortunately, it was another mild winter, just cold enough so that the corpses of the fleeing poor along Route 1 didn’t smell so they could be picked up during regular intervals. The Potomac was in flood as it has been since before I arrived. And Joad had no word from Mark but from what she told me, he’s one of them, again. Joad says that cities and towns have been emptied of worthless Americans and Mark is in charge of building his Wharton Towns, his dream, his contribution to a new Golden Age for American. I hope he is doing this to protect little Howard and Terry. I would have… I should have done the same. I don’t think he’ll see me again.

There’s been a great consolidation! Anthem Blue Cross is now Anthem Medicare Blue Cross Medicaid or ABC, Corp. They were the low bidder, the country should have bid but they didn’t have the money to put a proposal together. America is finally a single payer system! Doesn’t the world move in mysterious ways, just like it’s God?

December, 2036 – The group I escaped with is going to what the Right Wing Press now calls the Unincorporated Lands. We’re heading to one that was once the Delmarva Peninsula. Unincorporated Lands are small but ever expanding areas that have been stripped of all commercial value. Apparently, those who study such things in Crelli’s government decrees that once returns drop to only a few dollars per acre in a community, it makes no economic sense to waste corporate money supporting it with police, fire, and utilities. This aids in government downsizing that has always been on their agenda and it does to communities what Disappearance does to the worthless poor and what remains are the Unincorporated Land. According to Joad, no one owns them anymore; it’s valueless as it is. But Capitalism is a relentlessly perverse and optimistic theology and someone will have dibs on them just before these properties begin to appreciate.

I write when something comes up that needs writing about. I sleep a lot, daydream a lot more, and sometimes I cry. I do. I saved this gem for last. Joad tells me that my former boss, Tom Morgan, is starting a brand spanking new Christian Religion. I guess to add something that Mormons hadn’t thought of. Tom Morgan, the meanest son of a bitch I ever worked for. Gorman was the absolute smartest, shrewdest, and most heartless but meanest, I can’t imagine what his church has to say to humans.

February, 2037 – I’m moved several times into various non-communities of wasters—that’s what they’re called. The displaced poor empty out as people flee or are taken by Homeland Security’s outside contractors who are paid by the scalp. Not literally, but it’s a sad choice. The group is getting smaller and because of my age and importance to Crelli, we have to anticipate visits from outside contractors, they are called Tollers from some reason. Tollers come in when they need funds and take what they want. They must be Republicans.

I remember when Republicans began arguing that Democrats were guilty of class warfare. Well, there are two classes in our economy now, the rich, trickling down minute portions of their vast wealth like Jacob Marley, and Conducers. Joad says it means Consumer-Producers who survive on their meager income by purchasing only what gets them through the day. Apparently, the middle class is no longer suffering—they are gone, and gone that quick.

I hate to think it but Crelli’s administration, and I guess that means Mark, too, they know what they’re doing. With the poor gone from Salisbury, local stores closed, shopping areas emptied, and there are no cars on the streets. Everywhere, there are empty homes, apartments, and even farms. Sadly, it’s the perfect environment for a fugitive to hide.

The police are gone; as is the fire department and the few people who remain are retired mostly with enough income to survive. They talk about moving to places with drinking water and electricity but they’ve lost touch with their families and I suspect, they will stay here until they die or the money runs out and they are killed.

March, 2037 – I found this interesting article in the March, 2037 Congressional Quarterly.

Fairport Convention, Rhode  Island, March 5, 2037 (Reuters)

Massachusetts Secedes from the Union; Vermont to Follow?

A special convention of citizens from both Massachusetts and Vermont convened today at the famous ocean side resort town of Fairport to vote to instruct their state governments to secede from the union.

Citing precedent set in South Carolina in the anti-bellum South and by New England earlier in the nineteenth century and further citing the right to nullification that goes as far back as the Glorious Revolution in England, claiming that the American Revolution was a citizen’s protest against its government, representatives  from both states protested the Supreme Court finding constitutional the recent Circle of Life legislation that suspends Habeas Corpus until the American economy turns around. This milestone social legislation was passed by the new, controlling Entrepreneur Party that has a super majority in Congress.

Representative Bernard Sanders V of Vermont is unequivocal in his claims that the now business oriented Federal Government has gone far beyond its constitutional powers to allow the negation of individual viability based on wealth standards. Sanders and a great many others were fighting this apparent abrogation of liberty through proper channels until President Crelli announced his selection of Thomas Gorman, former Chairman of the Board of U.S. Angs Corporation as the new Supreme Court Chief Justice. Gorman, the CEO of U.S. A. Natural Grain Stuffs (USANGS) is a great supporter of the Circle of Life legislation and he provided the essential vote in a 5-4 decision that accepted the constitutionality of the law. Sanders and others throughout the country vowed to do everything in their power to defeat the bill but after today, all normal means have been tried and have proved ineffective.

Sanders says, “I am a patriot and my family has been fighting against greed and injustice for centuries. Today I am certain that Mr. Crelli and his progeny of political sycophants are not patriots and given the current situation, nullification and disunion are our only recourse to save what once made America great.”

A spokesperson for President Crelli has warned foreign powers to boycott the two recalcitrant states, vowing to strangle all commerce and suppress all infrastructure support to any state, domestic and foreign, that supports Massachusetts or Vermont.

In today’s Presidential Proclamation, Massachusetts and Vermont lose their internet access. In addition, both northeastern states have been shut off the energy grid. Travel is restricted in and out of Massachusetts and Vermont and the airwaves have been constrained leaving the two rebelling states without communication, food, water, and most important, recreation. The Navy is blockading their ports and three HomeSec divisions have been deployed on the Canadian border.

President Crelli has declared that military intervention will be a last resort, but it is his fiduciary responsibility to his stockholders to maintain the Union and this he will do at all cost. The President has assured every citizen in the rebelling states who support him and Union that their assets will be protected so long as they remain loyal. That promise he will not make to others.

It seems only a matter of time before the two recalcitrant States swallow their pride and crawl back into the Union. (more to follow)

April, 2037 – The Government added a new twist. On sunny Sunday morning, I was hiding in a small two bedroom guest house when I felt the rumble of trucks. Joad had warned me that they were coming but she told me they wouldn’t be coming for me. She had erased the alley where the cottage was from global maps.

Volumes must be increasing because now they are using huge vans marked Mayflower, U-Haul, and Penske. I guess, with business down, a business will do anything to survive. Using a large contingent of workers, the fleet moved through town taking possession of personal items no longer needed by Wasters who were long gone and probably dead.

Joad says the stuff is being crated up and shipped to countries throughout the world whose middle class misfortune isn’t as bad as ours. It seems that barter is now an acceptable way to pay off Government debt. Billions in furniture, clothes, electronics, gaming systems, unused medication, anything that a growing middle class might pay for that a declining middle class has no need of, it is strictly business. America is paying down its international debt, one Barbie doll, one Apple Computer, and one prom dress at a time.

Detroit is gone! Some guy submitted a bid that Michigan and the Federal Government accepted and agreed to share the profits from. It’s called Hamilton now and it offers luxury estates along a scenic river, a southern vacation spot for Canadians, I guess.

June 2037 – With so few people in town, I can’t risk staying outside so though I hate it, I have more time to reflect. I think about when I was a boy in public school in the 50’s and about the Golden Rule. Back then, we were all taught that we should treat others as we would like them to treat us. It seemed reasonable. My classmates and I even acted out scenarios to reinforce what my teachers called a vital lesson for all Americans.

The Golden Rule was taught much the same in Hebrew Schools and Christian Schools because America, then, was a great country and sharing and caring were critical to that. We were told that the Golden Rule was a way for a complex society to get along, that’s how they sold it, anyway. They were insistent that living by the Golden Rule would make our world better. It wasn’t long after the Big One, WWII, and with the Commies out to get us, we sorely needed a way to conjure up a better world.

Now, almost a century later and after all I’ve been through, contemplating the death of the Golden Rule is contemplating the death of my youth. There is a new Golden Rule for this new economic society, “He who has the gold makes the rules.” I was part of that but I didn’t see where it was going until too late. It’s not an excuse and I, like so many, and have paid dearly for it. Oh, how much we have paid for this change. I grew up, like so many others, and I forgot. I got so caught up in a successful capitalist career that I gave up on the Golden Rule of my youth. Schools stopped teaching it and the churches and the synagogues had membership drives to consider. Besides, this new one was so clever and true.

In the silence and the death all around me, I wonder how the original Golden Rule died so easily. I guess that’s what good marketing can do.

Maybe the old Golden Rule was only for the young and idealistic or it played better in simpler economies. Maybe the new Golden Rule is better suited for responsible adults who inhabit a greedy, dog-eat-dog world. I don’t know but it makes me sad.

If the new Golden Rule reigns then sociopaths rule. They convinced the generations who believed the other Golden Rule that when they became responsible adults in what was once the freest society in the history of the world, that rule no longer applied. Today, there is nary a whiff of freedom. We will never smell it again.

September 2037 – In this quiet, out-of-the-way-ghost town there are hundreds of terrifyingly sad stories about the end but there is no one to tell those stories to and no one to listen to them. If you had asked these people before they disappeared, half would have told you that they were libertarians who voted Republicans, the other half, progressive Democrats. They are all dead now. It’s very sad.

My grandson Howard will be five this year. I suspect that I will never meet the boy.

October, 2037 – Noodles – I left and slowly worked my way to the deserted Delmarva eastern shore. Tides have been rising, noticeably, for about a decade or so. Rehoboth, the two Ocean Cities, Atlantic City, and many more shore resort towns have noticed it as the wealthiest real estate slowly submerges. Areas of south-central New Jersey and the Delmarva Peninsula are becoming marshlands, on their way to what experts are saying will be a new bay. The good news is Exxon-Mobil, Chevron and the rest are setting up rigs. There is oil enough in America, for demand has diminished quite a bit. This oil is meant for larger economies overseas.

Hammonton, NJ is a shore town that is still inhabited but it seems more like a rural Venice. I have an attic apartment and Joad sends supplies regularly with Moles. Its safe enough here, which is the safest I’ll ever be.

My wife, Jane, has what she calls “a fail safe” recipe for cooking egg noodles.  She says, “You want the noodles to fight back a little, but you don’t want them to refuse to surrender.”

God, I miss her.

2038 & 2039

July, 2038 – Drilling has begun in the shallows of the Gulf of Delmarva. I’ve been hiding on the new Gulf shore for two years now but it’s time to find a safer final resting place (I have become maudlin but who can blame me). This is still America, a perverse, twisted and maimed Capitalist democratic republic but it is America still. The rigs come and they will bring commerce and dead things.

Before Crelli, there was this great unresolved debate, drill, baby, drill, or conserve and diversify. The Republicans always sided with supply whiles the Democrats with demand. What sank us was that neither side would compromise, though the Republicans least of all. It was win and prosper or lose and die. Look where that got us!

Economics is supply AND demand. When I was CFO for Angst, the price of oil rose and fell on speculation, supply, and demand. But when it rose and kept rising, the American economy diverted more and more discretionary spending to pay for gasoline, heating, and air conditioning and our economy compressed as dollars left the country to be replaced by IOU’s. American finance was in a sorry state. We borrowed what we didn’t have from China in order to purchase oil from the Saudi’s that we burnt to pollute our air and water which ruined the environment at the cost billions more. We, the children of America’s Greatest Generation, we, the great promise for the future, we did these things.

Then storms increased in frequency and ferocity. It wasn’t climate change because climates only seem to change in God’s good time. But something was different, particularly where warmth eroded what remained of artic ice shelves and sea levels began their inexorable climb that has begun to suck entire communities under oceans and gulfs, making new coastline of which Delmarva is one.

It is depressing to look at the logos for Halliburton, Transocean, and Shell among others on ships as they prepare to drop pipe into virgin waters to suck up new grades of fossil fuel. There are laws now protecting energy corporations from being held accountable for raping the earth over and over. It is said that those laws reduce the cost of energy…

Benjamin Franklin once observed that constant vigilance was required to protect the fledgling republic he had helped to build. That seems patriotic and right but it also makes me sad to think how much we truly deserve President Crelli, Vice-President Brandt, and yes, even my son, Mark.

There’s another sham election coming and Brandt will run America soon as Crelli steps down or up. We deserve her even more. Vigilance? Americans became far too incurious and because of that, they are mostly dead, buried in mass graves. Those devout enough to survive, they live in tight, economically spiritual Morgan communities where they earn and remain incurious.

Ben Franklin was a cruel jokester and I am living out his sad, cruel joke!

September, 2038 – During that time of year when families once returned from beach resorts to start the school year, I’m fleeing the shore for safer quarters The old beach towns are desolate now and real estate values are as underwater financially as they are in reality as waves crash over, around, and through what were once the most rapidly appreciating properties in America. The wealthy can move on and take a loss whereas those living off the beach or near the bay, they are trapped and will die there if they’re lucky. Me, though I travel light, I am frightfully slow and so I must get out.

There’s a virtual National Football League now. Those who qualify, economically, to live, they can play any position on any team for a stiff fee and a per teribyte charge. You get the skills of the athlete you replace and see the game through the eyes of your position. “The first two weeks,” Joad said laughing, “almost gave Gecko a hernia.” There were system outages that pissed off the Pentagon!

November 2038 – The street signs are gone so I have no address for my new haven. I’m too frail now so I spend my life waiting for someone I don’t know to deliver the vengeance I seek. It is a sorry wait, God knows, so I kill time by writing. Most, I discard and even at that, I am too lenient with what I keep. I rarely go outside but when I do, I am careful. Blocks and blocks of homes are empty now and the very few others that I see from a distance, they are mostly scurrying like I would if I wasn’t so old and tired.

I miss the media. There’s no need for it now, the winners won and the losers, well they lost once again. And those millions in the middle, the ones who bought what the media was selling, they lost most of all.

I can’t remember when we lost that sense that we were all Americans? At my age, my thoughts fixate and will not change easily. I think I’m becoming Republican. I make that it started with professional sports, baseball, football, NASCAR, and all the others. All that rooting for colors and against colors, rooting for my team against your team did it. And I think about all that money heroes were paid to become local legends or hated bogeymen, money we should have spent to prevent infant mortality or improve our children’s education. We spent to create mortal gods that God himself would condemn though his churches wouldn’t. No other God before me. Well what about Payton Manning, Barry Bonds, Dale Earnhardt, and Michael Jordan. They only thing these American heroes have in common with God is that each of them and God, have done nothing for me, or anyone else that I know.

Christmas 2038 – I need to add to my last entry, my last rant. Capitalism is destructive creativity. In America, an entire new skill set bubbled to the top, athletic, good looking, well coiffed millionaires and billionaires. When I was a boy, my sports heroes played and then worked an offseason job to support their family. Then oil money begat sports industry money, begat entertainment industry money begat service industry money begat financial industry money begat and begat and begat until one boy asked his father, “Hey, dad, instead of giving me your oil business, I’d like to run the Texas Rangers.” And so a wealthy new President was born.

How did that become a capitalist child’s first choice? I remember my childhood as a simpler time. Baseball cards and street ball, everyone plays even if you get chosen last because it’s better to play with friends, even if you can’t keep up or keep them. It was mean, certainly, but the alternative, playing Boardwalk or Easy Money were boring board games to be played only when it was raining or to hot.

It wasn’t perfect back then, nothing ever is, but today, with athletes being groomed and tested from grade school, with sports development competition so great that our institutions to funnel the very best to the top of their game, even if they are the very worst humans. All that matters is the economics of another star, another shallow valued hero, another investment to drain funds from masses, some human other than your family to be devoted to, someone who loves himself more than you ever could who can be utilized to sell cereal, autos, or financial instruments to the easily influenced non-vigilant masses.

 All the ingredients were there. Pro and con, for and against, winner and loser, capitalist and socialist, Christian and not, this wasn’t natural, this was directed advertising in the media with the desire to create desire so the masses would readily part with their hard earned wages. But America is a self-declared nation of God and so they blame it all on the Devil.

America is a Capitalist playground and Capitalism means competition so American youth had to learn competition. They did, with sports and classical music competitions, chasing grades and spelling bees, and admission to high value infant care facilities, grade schools, private schools, and colleges, all designed to provide the proper nutrients for winners. The training was arduous and mostly money was required but in the end, we produced Capitalists and failed Capitalists, today’s Wasters. If they were not the best and brightest, certainly they were the most connected. And as the pressure to produce increased, a mascot was rolled out, God became or Great motivator of everything, he was there for the picking. He was there for a grade, a score, an important foul shot, the holy spirit guided our Spalding and Wilson products, he guided our lives, but missing was our ethics and our morality. There was no money in that.

New Years Day, 2039 – It happened in a blur but it was a well-intended blur. We are fools and we deserve this horror. The millions who’ve died, may have been innocent, but they died stupid, incurious, and unaware of how democracy fails. Money is relentless and people give up, even light duty, they give up. They light up a doobie, they get drunk after an Eagles victory, or a Bruins win, or Alabama, or the Celtics, or Lance Armstrong, or they stare all goo-goo eyes at some tennis star model with game, or a swimmer with rippling stomach muscles in hi-def, or animalistic men.

A hundred million! They did not die in vain. They died when our selfish, capitalist, and religious were somehow satisfied. They died whether their party won or their party lost. They paid the price so the wealthy could live as they chose, a price they began to pay almost sixty years ago when we fell asleep at the wheel. It’s hopeless, really. Why won’t I die? God has fucked us. What more can he have in store for a decrepit old man approaching one hundred?


2040 and a new life!

April, 2040 –  I have nothing to do but reflect and write. I’m tired all the time, bored, and depressed. I’m not worth much but Joad tells me to keep laboring, that alive, I can find meaning in taking a breath. I’m not dead yet, but I struggle for things to write about. Joad says she has a surprise for me. I doubt it but at my age, a surprise will probably kill me. And so I look forward to it.

I first met Gohmpers at Omega Station seven or eight years ago, he spoke about the America he wanted, a fair world, with justice even for the poor. Before others, he saw clearly what America had turned into. It was a mercenary, greedy, and uncaring place and if you kept up, you didn’t have time to care about those who couldn’t keep up. By the time Crelli had Omega Station fire bombed, Gohmpers had convinced me that to reclaim Mark I would have to spend my useless life seeking an antidote to the greed that Crelli had taken advantage of to rule the world. Gohmpers didn’t know what the solution was and I still don’t know but somehow I have to find a way to save Mark and my country.

Gohmpers would argue, “It’s not all Crelli.” He was right. A great many impoverished young children in America were astute enough to know that they would only survive if they could find a niche where the money in America wouldn’t go, and take that over. Thus began entrepreneurial crime and a “survive and prosper” mentality.

He knew a teenager who only wanted to front some band. It never worked out and finally, he gave up his dream, put his guitar up for sale and settled for an unrelenting and unrewarding Joe-job to pay the rent and support a child he didn’t want but some religious group felt it was good penance for him to be saddled with as a lifetime burden for a youthful mistake.

And he spoke of a certain University student, a dual major with a degree in hard science with an MBA a Law Degree and some Doctorate whose efforts might benefit all mankind but instead he was wooed and won by the Financial Industry that offered him vast personal wealth if he would rework some advanced Boolean math to maximize corporate earnings through some great advancement in derivatives or for arbitrage.

Gohmpers talked incessantly of incongruities and the great ills of Corporate America, but his only solution was to somehow reduce the domination that money has over people’s lives. He was kind and considerate, but often angry. Angry with our religions because if they spoke about greed at all, it was barely whispered because corporate religion understands tax codes and cash flows and working capital and so many worldly things more than they anything else, in spite of their pleas to the contrary. Gohmpers was disappointed with our government also, but he knew it was made up of people, flawed people.

He would conjecture that babies in jeopardy were put into an incubator to save them and new business start-ups were often provided incubation by the Government and other businesses until they could survive on their own, why can’t there be incubators for the poor, for the unemployed?

Before they were eradicated, why couldn’t the poor and the chronically unemployed have been re-taught how to survive in this greedy world? Why did we just condemn them to a life without a future and then, in frustration and as part of an extensive cost-benefit analysis, exterminate them? People always need help and charity is good and welfare can tide people over, but why isn’t there a way, in this vast Capitalist conspiracy to redeem people? The Church is no help here. But you’d think it would be worth it.

A mole slipped into town with Joad’s surprise. It was a series of chips with my journals. When I was just getting started at U.S. Angst, I was frustrated and so Jane finally scolded me and told me to write my frustrations away. The result were these journals….

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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