Yes, I said, but always as a tree way up ahead

in the distance where it doesn't matter

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A thirty nine year old man ambushed a thirteen year old boy from behind at a rodeo in Montana and slammed him head-first into the ground fracturing his skull and witnesses said that he said the boy had his hat on which was disrespectful to the national anthem so he had every right to do that to the boy and his defense attorney said “His commander in chief is telling people that if they kneel, they should be fired, or if they burn a flag, they should be punished” so who is to say what is right.

A sixteen year old girl in Ohio was sentenced to three years in prison for the death of her boyfriend not because she had killed him the police were the ones who did that but because they say she had helped him set up a robbery in which he allegedly pulled a gun on undercover police who then shot him to death and it was therefore all her fault if you really think about it and did you know that’s not even that uncommon a thing to happen under “felony murder” rules which forty states have around the country?

Police in Texas have released bodycam footage of an officer who was responding to a distress call and found a woman laying on the grass who was unresponsive so he called out to her are you ok and her dog started to jog toward him so he pulled out his police gun as one does and shot the dog and also shot the woman he was supposed to be there to help and on the video you can hear her scream out ah what the fuck because she’s just been shot out of nowhere and as she’s laying there dying the cop says m’am get a hold of your dog.

I just saw a tweet from a magazine called Billionaire Magazine which is apparently a magazine for billionaires and they post a lot of inspirational quotes for billionaires and aspiring billionaires and the one they used this time with a picture of a fancy helicopter which I guess we are supposed to be coveting is from Maya Angelou and it goes like this “You may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness, but still, like air, I'll rise!” Just like a fancy helicopter.

I saw another tweet this time with a quote from Toni Morrison who is no longer trapped down here with us and it said “If you can only be tall because somebody is on their knees, then you have a serious problem. And my feeling is white people have a very, very serious problem, and they should start thinking about what they can do about it” and then five seconds after I read that I saw a picture of two police officers on horseback in Texas leading a black man through the streets tied to a rope and what they had arrested him for was trespassing due to apparently he was loitering around a building that has offices for the investment firm Merrill Lynch.

The other day I talked to author Pat Blanchfield on here about gun violence and how any effort coming from the government to curtail such violence is most likely going to lead to a doubling down of guns more guns everywhere throwing gun after gun until the guns are stacked so high you could you could do a Scrooge McDusk dive into them like a pool of guns and sure enough that is exactly what is happening as people on the right are calling for more more more like Sean Hannity whose voice lives in the president’s brain who said we need to have retired police and military stationed on every floor of every school and mall in America.

Another thing we talked about was how any effort to address mass shootings through a War on Terror framework was inevitably going to lead to an increased focus on the left.

“The whole point of talking about ANTIFA as a terrorist organization is to be able to get away with criminalizing white leftists,” Blanchfield said. “To make thinkable the use of technologies and systems of oppressions that are regularly employed for Muslims and black people, to leverage those same resources against white folks, or dissenting liberals,” he said and perhaps unsurprisingly instead of merely disavowing white supremacy which is so very easy to do the president immediately came out and said he is “concerned about the rise of any group of hate,” he said. “I don’t like it,” he said. “Whether it’s white supremacy, whether it’s any other kind of supremacy. Whether it’s antifa. Whether it’s any group of hate. I am very concerned about it and I’ll do something about it.”

Any other kind of supremacy.

A State Department official was revealed to be a member of a white nationalist group in D.C. and he regularly posted and talked about white supremacy and said things like whites “need a country of our own with nukes, and we will retake this thing lickety split…That’s all that we need. We need a country founded for white people with a nuclear deterrent. And you watch how the world trembles.”

I went to New York on Monday to meet the people who run this newsletter company and I had a few hours to kill and it occurred to me that I don’t know what else to do in New York City besides drink so I tweeted that because I don’t know what else to do besides tweet and a lot of people replied with suggestions of other things I could do like go to museums and shit like that but it wasn’t helpful since I didn’t say I actually wanted to do anything else.

I guess I don’t really know what to do anywhere besides drink. The morning I left for New York I went to the hand surgeon because I’ve had this feeling in my right hand for a year now like all of the bones inside are too large and they want to explode out of the skin and all the doctors I saw for it waiting months or weeks at a time in between visits couldn’t figure out what it was so they sent me to do physical therapy for my neck for three months so I went and did that doing small slow and simple movements that were designed to fix a body part that probably wasn’t even involved in the pain but in medicine much like government sometimes throwing resources at anything even if it isn’t the actual root of the problem allows the people in charge to create the illusion that they are making progress and on top of things.

After they make you do physical therapy for a particular body part and it doesn’t work all the different types of specialized doctors will say ah fuck I dunno man and they send you to the Pain Doctors which I’ve mentioned on here a few times for other sundry ailments. The feeling I’ve had lately makes me want to crack my knuckles all the time to relieve the pressure but it doesn’t help it just buys me like two seconds of relief and then it resets and what I think I really want to do sometimes is smash all of the bones in my hand into shards like I would take my right hand in my left hand and snap it just so. It would be like one side of me is a powerful ogre and the other side is a pest I caught stealing my horde of gold or whatever and then everything inside would break apart and I bet that would hurt really bad but at least it would be a different type of pain than this one.

David Berman was a poet which sounds weird to say because we don’t really have poets anymore. He died yesterday and I’ll write more about that later on down below but one line of his that came to mind immediately was from a poem from his book Actual Air that went like this:

I would have read that book around 2000 or 2001 or so when I was just coming out of college which is the most devastating time you can read a devastating collection of poems. It’s like how they say drugs and alcohol are particularly bad for teens’ brains because they aren’t fully developed yet and it works sometimes like that with poetry too. Poetry just like drugs and alcohol is a delivery system for both despair and exultation and if you’re too young you don’t know what to do with either of those things.

That poem just now reminded me of this bit I wrote in one of the chapters from the Hell World book I’ve plugged a lot on here sorry but it went something like this:

Everything we do today comes at the expense of the future. That can be little things like how last night I basically ate an entire loaf of bread. You know the kind that sticks out of your shopping bag and you go like haha look at me I’m a French guy over here ayy forgetaboutit. Or it can be taking pleasure or comfort in all the things you know you shouldn’t do but nonetheless feel good right now in this moment and tomorrow is not your problem. Someone else is going to have to deal with it and even if that person is actually you it’s still you tomorrow and you don’t know that guy so let him figure it out.

Not that it has anything to do with the perfect economy of Berman’s language mind you but the sentiment behind it like.

I guess tomorrow isn’t David’s problem anymore and that is devastating to everyone who loved his work but I am personally glad I still have tomorrow to worry about today and I hope you are too because you never know it could actually end up being good?

When I was in New York drinking the president went to El Paso and to Dayton to visit the communities that had just been devastated by gun violence and at the hospital in Dayton they didn’t allow the White House pool to go in with him because they said it was supposed to be about the victims but don’t worry because when he was there they got lots and lots of pictures. “The President was treated like a Rock Star inside the hospital, which was all caught on video.” his social media guy tweeted. “They all loved seeing their great President!” he wrote.

I guess maybe they didn’t want the press to see him filming the campaign commercial built off the gun violence which he posted yesterday. It shows him grimacing and grabbing ass with a bunch of doctors and nurses and over it all they put a stirring orchestral track that makes it seem like a particularly sad and cheap trailer for an Avengers movie about a superhero who’s only power is fucking up.

Recovering from a bullet wound in the hospital is terrifying enough but imagine if Trump showed up to say Terrific! as he shook hands with ambulance drivers and posed for photos with the sheriff and nurses who weren’t sure if they were allowed to say no or not and you were laying there thinking about how lucky you were to be alive.

I was reminded of this account from one of the victims of the Parkland shooting who described a call she got from Trump like this:

Samantha Fuentes, who was shot in both legs and was left with a piece of shrapnel lodged behind her eye, told the Times that she did not feel reassured during her phone call with the president. When he called her hospital room, she said, “He said he heard that I was a big fan of his, and then he said, ‘I’m a big fan of yours too.’”

Fuentes said in an interview, “I’m pretty sure he made that up. Talking to the president, I’ve never been so unimpressed by a person in my life. He didn’t make me feel better in the slightest.” She also said he referred to the gunman, who killed 17 people at a high school, as a “sick puppy” and said, “‘oh boy, oh boy, oh boy,’ like, seven times.”

Susan Bro the mother of Heather Heyer the young woman who was assassinated by a white supremacist in Charlottesville in what year was that last year or the year before I can’t even remember anymore was on CNN when I got home yesterday and the host Brooke Baldwin asked her some shit about guns and what not but I particularly cherished this little bit at the end as it was wrapping in which she asks Bro to encapsulate her feelings for her dead daughter but essentially says hurry the fuck up doing it we’ve got get to a commercial for fibromyalgia medicine.

Fibromyalgia I guess is a thing that affects how your brain processes pain signals and I wonder sometimes if I have that but I only wonder that because they have so many commercials about it on TV.

In Boston the police are cleaning up the streets and we know that because the name of the operation they’re undertaking is called Project Clean Sweep and what they are sweeping up in this case are people living on the streets and addicts and of course the local TV news are reporting the cop propaganda straight off the tap because local TV news think they are a branch of the police.

There are two types of people who go into journalism and law enforcement the type that want to help people and the type that want to hurt people and a lot of the time the former eventually devolve into the latter because it’s easier to go with the flow.

One thing the cops did in Boston in order to make us safer was to confiscate the wheelchairs of vulnerable people living on the street and destroy them in a trash compactor.

“We spent a significant amount of time with someone who lost his wheelchair. He is not able to be mobile without it, and not having a home, nowhere to sit, nowhere to go, and was having pain. He couldn’t really balance or walk,” Cassie Hurd a Boston homeless advocate told Boston Magazine. “He had left his wheelchair for a minute and his partner tried everything to keep the wheelchair. She pleaded with police and was sobbing and crying. They took it and threw it in the back of the truck and it was devastating to watch. There was nothing anyone could do to prevent them from throwing it out.”

The police are being particularly hard-assed about this particular area in Boston which the city’s vulnerable population does in fact frequent because an off duty police officer was “assaulted” there this month or at least that’s what they say happened I saw the video and it looked like he got out of his car and started a fight and then got what he was looking for but who am I to dispute what the police say happened I’m just a reporter.

People are starting to get really mad at the media for being unable or unwilling to just fucking describe the world as it is like this whole thing where the New York Times looked at what the president said after the two shootings and decided to go with the headline Trump Urges Unity Vs. Racism which is a lie as he did no such thing. After everyone got mad they then changed it to Assailing Hate But Not Guns which doesn’t even mean anything it means less than nothing.

I just saw a tweet where the person was like “Why do journalists write like they are fumbling around with bags over their heads?” and that is such a perfectly evocative description of the type of clumsy grasping journalistic objectivity we see every day. Every prevaricating prestige journalist is a guy trying to stuff his carry-on into the overhead compartment and the thing won’t fucking fit but he keeps pushing and pushing.

Yesterday while the president was visiting the scene of a terror campaign carried out by a white supremacist on behalf of the president and his followers ICE arrested almost seven hundred people in Mississippi at the poultry plants where they worked and it’s weird because the thing you always hear about immigrants is how they’re coming here to steal our benefit money and live the good life while the rest of us pay our taxes like chumps but you have to imagine working at a poultry plant in Mississippi is not exactly easy going shit. You would think those shifts take a toll.

It was the first day of school in the state so a lot of children there came home from school to find their parents gone.

Last year workers for Koch Foods (no relation to the other rich pricks) won a class action suit against the company. From the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:

Koch Foods, one of the largest poultry suppliers in the world, will pay $3,750,000 and furnish other relief to settle a class employment discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today. The EEOC charged the company with sexual harassment, national origin and race discrimination as well as retaliation against a class of Hispanic workers at Koch's Morton, Miss., chicken processing plant.

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Koch subjected individual plaintiff/intervenors and classes of Hispanic employees and female employees to a hostile work environment and disparate treatment based on their race/national origin (Hispanic), sex (female), and further retaliated against those who engaged in protected activity.1 EEOC alleges that supervisors touched and/or made sexually suggestive comments to female Hispanic employees, hit Hispanic employees and charged many of them money for normal everyday work activities. Further, a class of Hispanic employees was subject to retaliation in the form of discharge and other adverse actions after complaining.

Did Koch call ICE to let them know about all the undocumented women they had working for them as retaliation for being too uppity and not wanting to get groped and discriminated against? Hard to say but I think we can both agree it’s not that hard to say when it comes down to it.

Another guy ICE destroyed was a forty one year old man named Jimmy Aldaoud who they snatched and exiled to Iraq. He was an Iraqi national but he was actually born in Greece and came to the U.S. as a young child but for some reason probably for the fuck of it they sent him back to a country he’d never lived in with a language he did not speak and where he could not get the medication he needed to live so he died. Edward Bajoka an immigration attorney who knew Aldaoud’s family posted this on Facebook:

Jimmy was found dead today in Iraq. The likely cause of death was not being able to get his insulin. He is a diabetic. He was forcefully deported to Iraq a couple of months ago. He was born in Greece and had never been to Iraq. He knew no one there. He did not speak Arabic. He was a member of the Chaldean minority group. He was a paranoid schizophrenic. His mental health was the primary reason for his legal issues that led to his deportation.

I want you to look at this comic strip that was drawn by David Berman as this fella says back in 1994 because it goes quite a way toward explaining what all of the people memorializing him as we speak are trying to get at the way he could encapsulate so much in a seemingly tossed off and humorous couplet that somehow encompassed the entire world.

I’m not sure what stuck out for you but that bit about how at the end of the world “the terminally ill perk up” is an ocean man it’s an entire novel in a stick figure throwaway gag. The world was already ending for them but now it’s ending for everyone and in that they’ve been made just like the rest of us. It might seem sinister in a way but it’s not it’s a sort of comfort in knowing that you don’t have to die alone anymore you get to die with everyone else at the same time. It’s finding out you belong again. You weren’t singled out to suffer.

A lot of people I know are saying a lot of sad and true things about Berman’s passing. One time I wrote in here that “when you hear about someone who struggles with depression and addiction and talks about it openly it’s surprising when they die young but not that surprising” and I guess that is true in this case also but it’s not a relief of any kind it doesn’t make it any better when the thing that seems very possible to happen happens especially when the person seems to be “doing better” which is what we say about people even though we have no idea how they are doing and we will never have any idea how anyone else is ever doing. People don’t have to tell you how they are actually doing no matter how many times you ask them they can just say whatever they want.

Here are some things people I know have been saying about Berman though which should be a good introduction if you aren’t familiar with his writing or music and will also all seem true to you if you are familiar.

“As a lyricist David Berman was simply unparalleled,” someone said. “He gave you everything. Wisdom, humor, sadness, anger, silliness, tenderness, mystery. He captured the human experience in ways most of us can't comprehend. Every single line was a treasure. He was a true inspiration.”

“I think what is so special about david berman is that he sings about sadness and pain that is specific to him but feels universal to all americans,” another said.

“‘If no one's fond of fucking me, maybe no one's fucking fond of me’ is such a perfect, devastating line” another said.

“david berman was my friend, heart-mate—the person who most revealed to me that a person is a world,” another said. “i was with him on sunday; he promised we'd be together friday. he cared very much that you all cared for him. i recommend his books + albums. i am grateful that they sound like him.”

“David Berman was so unafraid of publicly wrestling with his own sadness, and so unafraid of being honest about what it is to sometimes lose that wrestling match,” another said. “There are so many ways to feel small while tumbling through the world. Berman made a few seem comforting.”

Here’s a song I quite like.

I wish they didn't set mirrors behind the bar
cause I can't stand to look at my face
when I don't know where you are
Then the feeling fades away
but you sort of wish it would of stayed
inside... the golden days of missing you

What if life is just some hard equation
on a chalkboard in a science class for ghosts
You can live again
but you'll have to die twice in the end
in the end/ we'll meet again

I think shit like that a lot too. One time on here I wrote some shit like this:

I was thinking this morning when I woke up way too early from too vivid dreams that when someone dies which is to say when they begin their journey back to ash that we typically can still look at them for a while. Their body is still there and after some hard work by a mortician remember that show Six Feet Under that was really good wasn’t it you can see them and remember them how they were. Maybe they have their favorite dress on or a necklace they loved maybe it was one you gave them many years ago. But they can’t speak and they can’t smile anymore and so the process has begun of stripping away the parts of them that made the person real to you and isn’t that also what happens when someone who is still alive is removed from your life. You can remember how they looked but after a while you start to forget what their laugh sounded like or what it looked like when they walked across a room and so piece by piece it’s stripped from you and then someday it’s all gone and it’s dirt now.

We think there’s another part that’s coming later still though don’t we. We don’t believe it but we think it. Maybe it’s heaven or just later on down the road years from now and we get to pet the crocodiles together.

So the hand surgeon gets out the steroids he’s going to inject into my hand and wrist and he says heh heh that’s weird your tattoos here are pointing directly to the two spots you have the most pain and I said heh heh yeah I guess it’s like x marks the spot on a treasure map but for pain it’s like maybe I knew at some point earlier in my life I would want to be able to find these spots again and he shoots the shit in there and I breathe in deep because for some reason breathing real purposefully makes things hurt less as they’re happening and I leave and the hand is fine for a while but then it erupts later on into the worst pain I’ve ever experienced in my life at least not including what happens in my brain sometimes. They say this is normal and expected to last for a couple days but I sort of feel like I broke my entire wrist somehow and that thing I was saying earlier about a new type of pain being a relief from the one you were feeling before is a lie because this is much worse. Also it’s almost impossible to wipe my ass now since I’ve been having to do it with my left hand so I worry the state of my asshole vis a vis cleanliness might not be at its zenith at this particular moment in my life.

You can miss the old pain is what I’m saying.

I tried to call the surgeon to see if this was a normal reaction and ask what the fuck and the people who answer the doctor’s phone said he’s got a really busy day tomorrow but we’ll see what we can do about getting him to talk to you about your pain and I think you probably know what they did which was nothing.