Saturday, November 30, 2013

getting it all together

(BRIGHAM CITY, UT) At the northern end of the Salt Lake
metropolis, in Box Elder county, you'll find the modest little town of Brigham City, named (of course) for Utah's founder.

Sitting in the Peach City Diner (delicious hand cut french fries!) with a crowd of adolescent missionaries and barely postpreadolescent priests, it's hard to imagine that the first, great physical link between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts was sealed by a solid gold railspike, driven with a silver hammer just a few miles east of here.

Construction began in the midwest, at Davenport, IA, and at San Francisco Bay on the Pacific coast. 1900 Miles of contiguous track from Omaha to Oakland opened for business on 5/10/1869. The South was beaten, and slavery gone. The Indians, still capable of mounting serious resistance in 1863 when construction began, were mostly finished by the time the road was done.

The native American peoples were nearly wiped out by smallpox, measles, and other imported diseases and conditions against which they lacked immunity. The historian Francis Jennings estimates death rates from the Euro plagues at around 90 percent, or the same rate of mortality that was documented in Mexico at the time of contact. Violence was the destiny of survivors of the plagues, and their fate was sealed when Custer's command was snuffed out near Deadwood City, SD, in 1876. Even more, though, mechanized transport, linking the coasts, opened the west to exploitation and Euro American penetration on a revolutionary scale.

Already the sustenance and habitat of the natives was being altered by aggressive, ambitious, and prophetic capitalists. They engineered systematic destruction of the vast herds of  bison, so as to "open" the west to "settlement" by a new set of humans and their bovines. And they would demand rairoads, to haul their cattle, and the bankers and finance guys, the consultants  and stock waterers would enjoy a golden cascade of riches. And they did. 

But think of it: before the Civil War the only way to get to Oregon from the east was to take a train to St Louie or Iowa, then get off and walk. Through wind and weather over a barren plain, two mountain ranges, and a large desert. By 1869, you could take a four day Pullman's Palace sleeping car, if you had the dough, and ride in comfort and security from most anywhere northeast of the Mississippi.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


The current US population is 317 million.

I was wondering what percentage of us live in one or another of the 11 "megalopolises" - clusters of large and medium-sized  cities which have grown together, filling up the rural spaces that once separated them.

The last watershed year in US demographics was 1920. Up until then the majority of us lived in rural areas, but that began to change after the civil war, and by 1920 we were 50/50, half rural, and half city folks.

The Great Lakes megalopolis is about 54 million (if we exclude the 6 million of Toronto/Windsor metro area in Canada). This is "rust bucket" America, where I grew up.

The Northeast Megaregion includes New York Metro's 20 million (which includes 8 biggest cities in NJ, 6/7 biggest in Connccticut, and 5 counties in NE Pennsylvania), Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Boston, has 52 millions.

Another enormous region, which stretches from Birmingham, AL northeastward to Raleigh/Durham, NC and includes Atlanta's 6 millions, has upwards of 17 million total.

The Texas Triangle (Houston, Dallas/Ft Worth, Austin) = 17 million

LA metro is 13 million plus San Diego County's 3 millin totals 16 million.

The Gulf Coast region runs in a narrow strip from Brownsville, TX to Tallahassee, FL (excluding Houston's 2 million already counted) and takes in New Orleans and Mobile, ending at St Petersburg, and is about 9 million.

The Everett/Seattle/Tacoma/Vancouver/Portland, OR corridor has about 8 1/2 million.

7 mlllion live in the Bay Area of northern california including San Jose.

Arizona (Phoenix and Tucson areas) have approximately 6 million.

The Front Range corridor, which runs from southern Colorado to Cheyenne, Wyoming (anchored at Denver/Boulder) contains about 4 million people. Frequently, the geographically separated 2 millions of the Wasatch corridor (Salt Lake City) of Utah is included, giving this fragmented "region" a total of 6 million.

The South Florida megalopolis is 5 million strong.

Total urban population in megacities is 165 and a half million.

.52 x 317 = 164.84. 52% Of us live in megalopli. This doesn't include people living in cities like Omaha, NE, which isn't part of a megalopolis. We're now overwhelmingly urban, just as 200 years ago we were overwhelmingly rural.

What does this mean? I don't know, nor do I know how good and true these numbers are, compiled in a few hours' research earlier today. Will they stand up? Anyone who can correct any of the mistakes which have almost certainly crept in here, please leave a comment, which is not always easy and seems to require a gmail account.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


We recently learned that the closest thing my partner has to a totem animal is the tursiops truncatus, or bottlenose dolphin.

Mine is the octopus, which I think is a sinister totem to be saddled with. Octopi have horrible reputations among humans, but in reality they're rather shy creatures, intelligent for a fish, and not a menace except to whatever they eat.

I find it a bit strange that both our totem animals are marine creatures.

Friday, November 22, 2013

war machines then and now

Historians usually count the Roman general and aristocrat Trajan (98 to 117 CE)  as one of the "good" emperors. Following in the footsteps of his father, a successful military commander and provincial governor, Trajan was happiest leading armies, conquering new territories, and killing people he designated "enemies."

Under his rule, the empire grew to a ridiculous size, reaching its widest extent with Trajan's short lived conquest of Mesopotamia (modern Iraq). Before his Mesopotamian misadventure, he acquired Dacia for the empire, a huge territory north of the Danube in eastern Europe. A 100- foot-high column at Rome, the surface of which unrolls like a long, spiral comic-strip-like narration of Trajan's excellent Dacian adventure, and its gorgeously executed bas reliefs make his monument to himself both an artistic masterpiece and an irreplacable historical document.

Trajan saw himself as a warrior monarch and lived to conquer. Like the criminals of the Bush/Cheney regime, he made war on Baghdad just to be beating on somebody, and under his rule war became the purpose, first love, and main preoccupation of the Roman city state.

Trajan created the greatest war machine of ancient times. War and violence became the reason for Rome's existence, and the source of its downfall. All the human and monetary resources of the state were bent to this purpose, and once established the war machine devoured the state, which as time went on was impoverished by military necessity.

Modern critics of my thesis are sure to point out that the Roman war machine was puny and insignificant compared to ours, After all, we could destroy the world and all life on it if we wanted to, (do we want to?).

However, industrial technique, or "technology" amplifies the dark side of human nature, just as it does the bright, creative side. The evil work of the Roman emperors and its stranglehold on the resources of a once great nation, mirror our own.

In this regard, the history of the downfall of Rome exactly, and creepily, parallels our own. You can't conquer the world without making tons of enemies, nor exhaust the resources of a nation for destructive purposes without growing weaker. And all those enemies are sure to take note of their conqueror's growing weakness as the war machine hollows out the nation.

The reign ofTrajan, one of the "good" emperors, is sometimes counted as the high point of Rome's 1200 year history. Likewise, the US was at the height of its powers in 1945, at the end of WWII. In both cases, the decision to devote the resources of the state to war and the capacity for waging it continuously, led to precipitous declines in power and  prestige. 

The great 18th century historian Edward Gibbon said "the principal architect of the decline of the Roman Empire" was Septimius Severus,  who ruled  100 years after Trajan. But Severus, when he paid huge bribes to the army, by then the only source of genuine power in Rome, was simply bowing to the reality of his situation. Meanwhile, historians wax poetic about :"the glory" of the string of military dictators who followed Augustus, and Trajan generally gets the star treatment.

Some glory. The retired US Marine general and two time Medal of Honor winner Smedley Butler wrote in 1930 that "War is a Racket."  It's a basic observation, just as true in 100 AD when Trajan was putting together the greatest war machine ever seen until that time, as it is today.

I often hear people, including conservaties, saying that "Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it." But it's not enough to know history, and if we want to avoid dropping into the same hell our Roman ancestors and role models endured, we really need to understand history, on top of knowing it.

A war machine is a great evil, and no good can come of having or using one. Inevitably, such an evil device will end up backfiring and destroy those who  wield it. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

production values

A recent news item from CNN says:

Rock star Joan Jett was removed from a parade float representing South Dakota in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade after ranchers protested her appearance, saying she's a vegetarian and a critic of their livestock production.

Oh, noes! A critic of usn's on Our float!

One thing for sure, this is not about the cattles, but about the one thing that all US politics is about, namely, money.

It's money, fooze. Money, money, money, money, money.

The cattlemens don't want JJett on their South Decoder float because when they look at her, they see a person who "wants to take away our money$."

It sure as hell isn't about the cattles, cuz the cattlemens don't give a hoot in hell about the lives and deaths of those mute beasts. They pump em full of growth whoremoans and gmo corn, and think about how much money$ they're worth as steaks, chops, and burger meat. the cattles, for their part, live horrible lives, consuming half the bicarbonate of soda manufactured in this country as they have chronic indigestian from the corn, which a cow should not eat (grass is the right diet for these harmless bovine creatures). They live in feedlots, standing around in shit, then die horrible deaths.

Life is a stomach ache in deep shit and then they kill you. Sounds like a lot of human lives I've known.

Capitalism and livestock are truly a combination from hell. I wouldn't put such stuff in my mouth if you paid me.

Monday, November 18, 2013


I've been re-viewing the excellent HBO series "Deadwood." David Milch, the creator and imaginative force behind this prodigious work, decided somewhere along the line, that in order for the viewing public to understand the history of that unique and violent place, that he had to misrepresent it.

He never says so directly in the various interviews he's done about his work on the series, but he knows as well as anyone that the people living and dying in Deadwood in 1876 didn't habitually refer to each other as "cocksuckers."

The problems he faced in presenting the reality of Deadwood in its infancy, as he understands it, were twofold. First, most US citizens in 1876 would have been shocked and appalled by the language of Deadwood's placer miners, card sharps, and whores, and secondly, that Americans today would find the blasphemy, heretical utterances, and "sumbitches" employed by the prospectors and freebooters drawn to the place mild, and singularly unshocking.

What was shocking in 1876 has lost the capacity to even raise an eyebrow in this degenerated age of ours. Those who have studied history in detail understand this, but for a mass, 21st century audience, such subtleties are incomprehensible.

In the 19th century, the word "devil" was a curse word, often spelled "d --l" in print, and to tell someone to "Go to the Devil" was surely fighting words. Milch's problem lay in conveying the impact of the lawless and violent frontier, and in doing so he was forced by circumstances of the times, both those distant times and the present, to put words in the characters' mouths they surely never uttered.

The result is an unanticipated and impressive work of improvisatory imagination combined with historical accuracy, and if Wild Bill Hickock never told Jack McCall that "Your mouth looks like a cunt," we can be sure that whatever he said as the cards were dealt was hostile and insulting enough by the standards of the time to cause that useless dirtbag to gather himself together sufficiently to launch a .38 into Hickock's brain pan. He did so from behind, of  course, since Hickock, though losing his sight, was still a formidable gun hand at close range.

Such are the difficulties of presenting popular history in an ahistorical age, and in teaching the subject I've dealt continuously with the need to simplify the material without distorting it. Of course, there's no substitute for spelunking the winding and intricate passages of the past, and even when we pursue history's most intimate details, we can never be sure of adequate comprehension. In the end, basic understanding is the best we can  hope for, and as Al Swearingen might have actually said, "Any son of a bitch who doesn't agree with me can go to hell."

"Deadwood," is a great, brave work, much fun, and educational despite its flaws, but its conflating  of present and past speech conventions compromises its integrity, making its success less than total. That's not the fault of David Milch, and the faults in "Deadwood" are actually ours, not his, as they stem from historical illiteracy.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

back in the cccp

A couple days ago we bought a house in Mesa, Arizona, a double wide mobile in a gated 55 and older park with pools, an exercise room, and lots of other amenities.

Mesa is a satellite of the enormous urban sprawl of Phoenix, in Maricopa County. In the neo feudal society the US has become, the county is the most important organizational unit, and this one is presided over by the American mini Stalin Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and his Beria, a Rehooligan opportunist named Bill Montgomery.

Kremlin Joe ran an archipelago of lethal slave labor prisons, called "gulags." The vast, frozen wastes of Siberia absorbed the millions sentenced to "tenners" (ten year sentences), for everything from espionage and sabotage to "dishonoring our Beloved Leader" by wiping their butts on pictures of Stalin, which were on every page of every newspaper published in the USSR at that time. (Newspaper was also toilet paper, the only practical use for the national propaganda organs, Pravda and Izvestia). The "zeks" of the gulag archipelago slaved, froze, starved and died as human sacrifices to Beloved Leader's wrath, brutality, and galloping paranoia. 

Likewise, Maricopa Joe's domains include broad stretches of the burning sands of the Sonoma Desert, where he erects tent cities in which the thousands sentenced in Maricopa County, mostly for marijuana possession or illegal immigration, are sent to swelter, work, and sometimes die. The county jails here are for profit operations, and Sheriff Joe is reputed to gain handsomely from his American gulags.

Unsurprisingly, the Sheriff's  Department casts  a very wide net in the Phoenix area, and the County Prosecutor has proved himself an able deputy in  promoting the interests of the Duke of Maricopa. In 2010, Arizonans voted to allow possession and cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes, but Bill Montgomery's interpretation of the law continues to produce new "units" for Maricopa Joe's slave labor camps

In an article in the most recent issue of  the Phoenix New Times, reporter Ray Stern details the arrest last year of a resident cited for impaired driving, after he tested .056 blood alcohol (he'd consuming a 22 ounce wine cocktail), Police also seized a small piece of cannabis infused soft candy from the car's console, and it is for this the young man is now facing the threat of three years in the Maricopa archipelago, plus a large fine.

Overthrowing the US government is a tall order, but undermining the feudal dictatorship of the Duke of Maricopa would be a simple matter of convincing the tens of thousands of Chicanos and Mexican American US citizens who are most endangered by this boodler and his Rehooligan Sancho Panza to vote. Once they realize the USA is not the same as Mexico, where popular elections are regularly and routinely neutered by a feudal ruling class, I'm certain these Rehooligan swindlers will be run out of town,

For Bill Montgomery, a self described "social conservative," that won't be a big deal, as he's a simple opportunist who can go to Texas or South Carolina, or anywhere local voters are more in line with his interpretations of state law and the Word of God. Maricopa Joe is another matter, though. For his various crimes, he needs to do a tenner in one of his own tent camps in the desert. Now in his seventies, he will be the last of the Maricopa zeks. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

the pertinence of pertinax

Toward the end of today's string of posts over at Professor Pierce's wingnut reeducation camp, Charlie put up an item concerning a certain Noam Scheiber, a  pundit I've never read, who is apparently is trying to light a fire under the notion of a Hillary C. v. Liz Warren catfight for the Democratic nomination in 2016.

Besides the fundamentally distasteful nature of  attempting to foment war among feminists (fighting women!! Ho, ho), Scheiber's scenario, if it ever came to fruition, would spell disaster for the Democrats, tearing the party in two and splitting the progressives away from the rest. 

Now personally, I can't stand Mrs. Clinton, a hypocritical establishment politician if ever there was one. But she's as good as we're going to get right now. She'll have to win without my help (note to self: remind yourself that you have vowed never to vote for anyone who in 2002 helped Congress authorize the Iraq disaster).

And she may move in the direction of mild reform, scaling back the wars without defunding the weapons procurement boondoggle, demanding better gas mileage immediately from Detroit but not tackling more critical electrical generation issues, &c. &c.

Meanwhile, it would be best for now if Ms. Warren stays in the Senate, which clearly needs more radical reformers as well as radical reform. As the professor points out, she "plainly is developing a powerful sphere of influence among her colleagues without harshing too many delicate mellows there. If she can be a power in the Senate, then she should stay in the Senate, where she can do the most good on the issues she most cares about."

I can hardly believe what I'm about to type here, but I've come to believe that much reform undertaken too quickly is perilous, and can be destructive. I know that's the mantra of every closet fascist who ever dressed up in a sheepskin. So what? That doesn't make it untrue.

Consider the example of Pertinax, Emperor of the Romans for about six months in 193. He was a poor choice, for he was known to be a "my way or the highway" type of disciplinarian in a licentious age. Humbly born, working his way up through the ranks of the army through conspicuous merit, he faced a mutiny among the British legions, and was beaten and left for dead. By this time he had gained a wide reputation as an incorruptible but inflexible asshole.

After the emperor Commodus was murdered by a group of plotters led by the commander of the home guards (the Praetorian Prefect) and including his mistress and a wrestler named Narcissus, Pertinax was acclaimed Emperor by the Senate and by the power that really mattered, the Praetorian Guard.

He immediately launched a thoroughgoing reform program, zeroing in on the alimenta (wheat dole), revaluing silver coins from 74 to 87 percent, and most dangerously, refusing to give the army the (by then) customary "donative," or bribe. When the home guard became so agitated they became obviously  dangerous, Pertinax finally coughed up about half of what they demanded by selling off Commodus's possessions, including his hundreds of sex slaves of both genders.

The Praetorian Guard was not placated, however, for the incorruptible and severe emperor's rush to reform had destabilized Roman society's customary relationships of bribes and patronage. When a mob of 300 Praetorians headed for the palace, Pertinax, fearless to a fault went out to meet them.

After they murdered Pertinax, the Praetorians openly and blatantly sold the emperorship to the highest bidder, an overweight plutocrat with the wonderful name Didius Julianus. The year of five emporors, 193, was on, and would end with a corrupt but competent ruler in charge, who ushered in a stable but short interlude before the deluge.
Hillary will make a much better president than the current occupant, who stands "dangling his bonnet and plume" as the nation falls to pieces around him. She'll skewer her political enemies with a sharp tongue, easily beat whatever loogie the other guys cough up and call a candidate, and possibly lead in a mildly reformist mode, which she'll trumpet as radical change as her political opposition accuses her of everything they can think of it.

Real reform will originate in other spheres of government, outside the White House. And let's face it, Hillary "ain't today's special, she's what we got."

Saturday, November 09, 2013

In Zion

In Hebrew Scripture, Zion is simply another name for Jerusalem. The Kabbalah addditionally identifies it as the source of all spirituality, and the psychic location of temples 1,2, and 3.

It's also arguably the name of this country's most photogenic national park, which is saying a lot, since I've seen a number of others, including Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Mt. Rainier. However, "photogenic" means little when applied to Zion, because no photograph could convey the immensity of this place, whose sandstone walls are so high they're dreadful.

A person feels small and insignificant passing through this southern Utah canyon, which is set among other wonders nearly as impressive.

In the past couple weeks, my partner and I have seen some of the most beautiful places on earth, right here in the good old U.S. of A. The Oregon coast, a marvel both of nature and public foresight (the entire coast is publicly owned and accessible to all), and the Redwoods of northern California belong to everybody.

As we travel through this fantastic land, I can't help contrasting its natural beauty to the artificial, grotesque, corrupted, and intrinsically evil political and economic systems, which have saddled us and ride us like fat men on burros.

If we hope to preserve our birthright, we must purge ourselves of those who have stolen the dream. Only when they're off our backs can we truly arrive in Zion, to finally lay our burdens down.

Photo: Kit Wood

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

singular state

I saw my first genuine Utah polygamists the other day when we went to the pharmacy in Hurricane to get my prescriptions transferred down here, a mother and daughter, both wearing floor-length, long-sleeved gowns, homemade out of plain, monochrome fabric.

The girl, about 10 or 11 years old, stared at me uncontrollably, as if I was a unicorn who had wandered into a drugstore. There was no hostility in her gaze, but her mouth fell open and her blue eyes were enormous with fright and fascination. 

"This is very curious," I thought to myself. I was feeling good that day, and most likely it showed. I guess this little offspring of plural marriage had never seen an old man looking happy and healthy out in public.

She and her mother were both nice looking -- impressively so. The little one was blonde and pale; and her brown-haired mother young, slender, and tall. I have no idea why the girl reacted to your humble narrator so strongly, but I suspect the polygamy cult's kids are told all sorts of scary stories about men on "the outside."

"Watch out for older men with long hair and Fu Manchu mustaches, for they will spirit you away from here, and you'll never see us again."

Or something to that effect.

Actually, it wouldn't be a bad idea. I've heard (and should probably research the issue so as to confirm or impeach the assertion), that polygamists run most of their  boy children out of their closed and ingrown society once they're old enough to fend for themselves, and assign the girls to the patriarchs of the community. If this is true, my fearful little child is probably already staked out by some middle aged fart with a gray beard and two or three "sister wives" under his roof, and she'll be introduced to the joys of marriage by the time she's 14 or 15. 

I don't want to judge people whose lives I'm ignorant of. On the other hand, I'm somewhat sickened by this sort of unapologetic patriarchy. Girls of 14, 15, and 16 ought to be with boys their own age. If nature runs her course, they'll pair up and grope their way toward adult sexuality without any help whatsoever.

Sympathetic and mature advice is what older kids need from the adults in their lives, and with help and guidance, they'll find their way.

I've seen a number of "sister wives" in town since then, for the cult is thickest in this corner of Utah, and spills over into Arizona and Nevada. Their numbers are unknown, but thought by knowledgeable people to be fewer than 10,000.

I know there are Americans who would like to root out and exorcise this last remnant of Mormon polygamy, but at this point, these unreconstructed followers of the "prophet" Joe Smith are mostly left alone. However, some see the lifestyle as unavoidably   abusive to women and girls, and the future of polygamy in Utah is always in play.

Sunday, November 03, 2013


The geniuses, hacks, and waffle asses who run the Pentagon appear in the grip of invisible and sinister forces when it comes to recognizing when we've had enough.

Congress is engaged at the moment in cutting money for food stamps and numerous other social programs. That's the background against which the Pentagon brass and War Department officials (sometimes known as the "Department of Defense") are planning to ask for up to $400 billion to "upgrade" US nuclear capability, which already is many times greater than the rest of the world's put together.

Madelyn R. Creedon, the assistant secretary of defense for global strategic affairs, insisted to lawmakers that the US is obligated to move forward with plans to invest a tremendous amount of time and money into the program, because the repercussions of not doing so would be not worth risking.
The non-partisan Stimson Center think-tank estimated last year estimated that the cost of upgrading the nation’s entire nuclear arsenal over the course of a decade, including weapons, infrastructure and delivery systems, could come at a price-tag as high as $400 billion. At the same time, the sequestration deal signed earlier this year calls for the Pentagon to slash spending by roughly $1 trillion during that same time-span.

Sequestration be damned; full speed ahead. This is about a lot more than dollars, however, as  it involves the complex psychological gymnastics thieves and con men have to perform to justify their criminal acts in their own minds.

The US war machine is the biggest boondoggle in the history of the world, and one that takes food out of the mouths of elderly and infants. Pentagon brass and "Defense" Departent bureaucratsmay be gimlet eyed baby starvers as well as (on occasion) baby killers, but they surely are unaware that five years from now we're going to exorcise their five sided symbol of evil, on the 50th anniversary of the first such ceremony in 1968.

This time, it'll work.

And then, after the devl is banished from Virginia (for the second time; the first was in 1865), we'll demolish the buildng, plow the site, and sow the furrows with salt.

And, as the Song of Solomon says, "The voice of the turtle will be heard in our land."

Saturday, November 02, 2013

primitive medicine

Wingnut apologists for our buccaneering health care establishment are now telling us that government health care won't work because people will have "no incentive" to take care of themselves.

Incentive? This is our fkng lives we're talkin about.

For most normal people, the "incentive" to take better care of one's self is that you feel a whole lot better. As opposed to feeling like shit all the time.

Then there's me. The "incentive" for me to take better care of my self was that I got to stay alive, as opposed to, you know, dying.

Even when life sucks, it's better than being dead. At least I assume so, and have never spoken with anyone who's been dead, and then came back to tell us about it.

I got to say I'm totally sick of all the discussions of health care we're hearing today, and that's without even reading any of em. I assume they're full of weary wingnutisms about "incentives" and "value added" and all that happy horseshit.

But here's how health care in the USA actually works right now:

You show up at the doctor's office with a pain of some sort and are diagnosed with a horrifying disease, which is treatable, but only at a price that nobody except David Koch or the WalMart heirs could ever afford. The rule is that because you got sick, you must now be bankrupted. The only alternative is death.

And if you think bankruptcy is worse than death, I must ask, have you ever been dead? So in this country today, we're at the mercy of thieving insurance comanies working with grifting physicans who are connected to and sometimes in the pay of swindling drug companies. The amounts they charge are as much of a mockery as the insurance "settlements," determined by policies written for the sole purpose of confusing people.

Will Romnobamacare be better than this? Anything would be!

But of course, the apologists for the plutocrats and robbers who own USA, Co Inc. are screeching and crying that it's the end of the world. I can't debate with them any more, because I've only one thing to say to them, re: health care:

We've been fkng screwed blue;
I'm sick of it, and sick of you.