Tag Archives: Generation Y

(50 million to) 80 million Americans vanish without a trace!

Generational Leapfrog

An August 2000 editorial cartoon by progressive Gen Xer Ted Rall. (Another, even earlier toon by Rall on this topic is here.)

When I saw a little while ago that the new book The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational Showdown, which I (probably stupidly) since bought via amazon.com (I just opened the package today), very apparently pretends that those of us of Generation X don’t even fucking exist, I thought of my fellow progressive Gen Xer Ted Rall and his quite correct labeling of us Xers as victims of “generational leapfrog.”

Prompted by what I had read of The Next America on amazon.com, I was going to blog on my thoughts on my generation’s exclusion from the national discussion as though Winston Smith, working at the Ministry of Truth, had simply erased all mention of us, but now, I see, Rall (thankfully) has written a column on the topic, so, at the risk of violating copyright law, I am posting Rall’s column in full at the end of this post (I don’t think that he would mind), because he echoes my thoughts and feelings.

Not only does the title of this latest book about generations of Americans, which sits at No. 239 on amazon.com as I compose this sentence, exclude my generation entirely, but in the preface of the book — in which the author (shockingly!) identifies himself as a baby boomer — my generation is ignored. In the preface, the baby-boomer author, one Paul Taylor, proclaims:

… This book … pays particular attention to our two outsize generations — the Baby Boomers, fifty- and sixty-somethings having trouble coming to terms with getting old, and the Millennials, twenty-somethings having trouble finding the road map to adulthood. It looks at their competing interests in the big showdown over entitlement reform that our politicians, much as they might try, won’t be able to put off for much longer. …

So why has baby boomer (yeah, I don’t capitalize the term, since that might imply respect, which in this case is undeserved) Taylor disappeared (as Ted Rall accurately put it in his latest column) my entire generation?

And let me first interrupt myself to tell you that my generation actually isn’t all that tiny, with an estimated more than 80 million Americans being Xers, for fuck’s sake, while the figure for the number of baby boomers who were born apparently is around 76 million, and it is estimated that about 80 million Americans are members of Generation Y (a.k.a. Millennials).

Yes, there was a baby boom when the boomers were belched from the bowels of hell and into the world from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s (yes, Barack Obama is a [late] baby boomer; we’ve yet to have a Gen-X president [and we very well might not ever have one]), but American population (despite advances in birth control) has climbed steadily since the boomers made their unfortunate entrance, which, I surmise, would explain why all three generations actually have been roughly the same in size, despite Taylor’s assertion that only his generation and the Millennials are worth discussing because they are “outsize.”

(The cover of the book says that it is authored by “Paul Taylor and the Pew Research Center.” Wow. You’d think the folks at the Pew Research Center would have caught the mistake or even the lie that we Gen Xers are so tiny a cohort that we’re not worth discussing. Seriously — this “oversight” has harmed Pew Research Center’s reputation, in my mind.)

Back to what I was saying: So why would baby boomer Paul Taylor exclude my generation almost entirely from his book that is supposed to be a part of the national discussion?

Well, of course it’s easier to discuss only two generations instead of three. So yes, some laziness definitely might have been involved.

But the larger part of it, I believe, is that the baby boomers in general — and we very apparently cannot exclude Taylor from that cohort, based not only upon his age but also based upon his brand of inter-generational politics — long have treated us Xers as though we didn’t exist.

Indeed, one of Ted Rall’s most successful books is his 1998 Revenge of the Latchkey Kids, one of the first, if not the first, Gen-X manifesto.

I was born to boomers and I certainly was a latchkey kid. I won’t go into detail that only will make others (especially boomers) accuse me of being a whiner who blames everything on his parents (for the record, I blame much on them, but not everything on them), but yeah, while the boomers were the cherished children of the American men who had survived World War II and come home to inseminate their wives and while the Millennials were the cherished children (largely if not mostly of boomers) replete with “Baby on Board” signs, we X’ers were, to put it mildly, not cherished. There were no “Baby on Board” signs, no car seats for us. Our parents were not, for the very most part, “helicopter parents.” No, they were more like invisible parents. As Rall stated correctly many years ago, we Xers, overall, were latchkey kids. We were largely left to raise ourselves.

I suspect that this is why we are ignored by the dominant generation, the boomers (almost all seats of power in the U.S. still are filled by boomers, who hold on to their seats of power with death grips, like U.S. Supreme Court justices): they always have ignored us, so why begin to acknowledge our inconvenient existence now?

Also, if any of the boomers are actually even capable of feeling anything remotely like guilt, maybe they have at least a dim awareness that they failed us Xers, their children, miserably, that they are the first generation in the history of the United States to have had it better themselves than their children have had it, and therefore, in order to avoid feeling guilty — because boomers were raised by the so-called “greatest generation” to believe that they are entitled to feel only great about themselves all of the fucking time (a “value” that the boomers seemed to have imparted to many if not most of the Millennials) — they do their best not to think about us Xers at all.

All of my legitimate generational grievances aside, there is no way that you can write a responsibly comprehensive book about the problems that loom over the United States of America without discussing an entire generation of Americans. (OK, to be fair, there are some entries for “Generation X” in the index of The Next America, which I have not read because I just opened the package today, but very apparently the book glosses over Gen X for a much more detailed discussion about the boomers and the Millennials.)

We Xers care about, we are affected by and we affect Social Security, Medicare, retirement security, income inequality, climate change, human rights, social justice, politics, overpopulation, etc., etc., and while millions want to simply ignore us (and so do simply ignore us) because to do so fits their own selfish political agendas, we Gen Xers are right fucking here, tens of millions of us — whether the generation that precedes us and the generation that follows us (and, tragically, they have so many characteristics in common) wish to see us or not.

Now: Here is Rall’s column, with my comments inserted in [brackets]:

I’ve been disappeared.

Erased from history.

Dropped down the memory hole.

(bye)

If you were born between 1961 and 1976, you no longer exist. [Exact definitions of Gen X vary. In my book, Gen X begins around 1962 to 1964. 1961 is a bit early, in my book. And I would extend Gen X at least to those born in 1980.]

Generation X has been disappeared.

The Soviets altered photos to excise the images of leaders who had fallen out of favor, but communist censors went after individuals.

America’s corporate media is more ambitious. They’re turning 50 million people into unpersons. [Again, I see figures that put Gen X at least at 80 million, but even only 50 million people, if Rall’s figure indeed is closer to the actual figure, still is a large chunk of the national population of more than 317 million.]

The disappearing of Gen X began about a year ago, when major news outlets began reducing living Americans to two generations: the Baby Boomers (born 1946-1960) and their children, the Millennials (born approximately 1977-2004).

[I would include 1945, and perhaps also 1944, for the boomers, and I probably wouldn’t start the Millennials earlier than 1980. Again, these generational demarcations vary from person to person. To me, personal characteristics and worldview are important, too, not strictly the year in which one was born, perhaps especially in those generationally cuspy situations. (My husband, for instance, born in 1962, while on the cusp of the boomers and the Xers, has more Xer characteristics than boomer characteristics; otherwise, he wouldn’t be my husband…)]

(Generational birth years are controversial. Many classify the Boom years between 1946 and 1964, but I agree with the demographers William Strauss and Neil Howe’s assessment — and the novelist Douglas Coupland, who defined the term “Generation X” — that people like me, born from ’61 to ’64, called “the most dysfunctional cohort of the century,” identify with the culture and economic fortunes of Xers, not the Boom.)

The unpersoning of X takes full bloom in “Wooing a New Generation of Museum Patrons,” a March 19, 2014, piece in The New York Times about how museums like the Guggenheim are soliciting money from “a select group of young donors already contributing at a high level.”

Take your gum/joint/food out of your mouth before reading further, lest you gag: “Several hundred Millennials mingled under the soaring atrium of the Guggenheim Museum on Fifth Avenue one recent frigid February night. Weaving around them were black-clad servers bearing silver trays piled high with doughnuts, while a pixieish D.J. spun Daft Punk remixes.”

According to the Times’ David Gelles (playing the role of Winston Smith): “Across the country, museums large and small are preparing for the eventual passing of the baton from the Baby Boom generation, which for decades has been the lifeblood not only of individual giving but of boardroom leadership. Yet it is far from clear whether the children of Baby Boomers are prepared to replicate the efforts of their parents.”

Gelles’ piece doesn’t contain any reference to Generation X.

Really? Museums don’t give a crap about would-be philanthropists among the millionaires born between 1961 and 1976?

By the way, Xers were into Daft Punk before Millennials were even done being born.

Boomer/Millennial articles that ignore the existence of Xers have become commonplace. Again in The New York TimesEmily Esfahani Smith and Jennifer L. Aaker perform the neat trick of disappearing one-sixth of the country. Their November 30, 2013, op/ed about “Millennial Searchers” for the meaning of life asks about Millennials: “Do we have a lost generation on our hands?”

Substitute “1991” for “2008” and everything Smith and Aaker write could be, and was written about Gen X: “Yet since the Great Recession of 2008, they have been having a hard time. They are facing one of the worst job markets in decades. They are in debt. Many of them are unemployed. The income gap between old and young Americans is widening.”

Even in an essay about humanity’s search for meaning — and about the downward mobility that defines Gen X — there is only room for Boomers and Millennials.

It’s like our crappy economy and low wages and student loan debt never even happened. [Infuckingdeed. As I’ve noted here before, it’s incredibly interesting that our Gen Xers’ crippling student-loan debt and lack of decent jobs never were considered to be newsworthy at all, but that those problems sure the fuck are today, now that they are affecting the precious “Baby-on-Board” crowd.]

“No one’s talkin’ ’bout my generation,” notes columnist M.J. Fine, a Generation Xer. “It’s hard to think of an era in which people ages 34-49 had less social currency.”

Remember the great coming clash over Social Security between Boomers and Xers? We’ve vanished from that narrative too, not just in a thousand words but over the course of a full-length book: The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational Showdown.

It’s not just the Times. In Sonya Stinson’s frivolous “What Gen Y Can Teach Boomers About Financial Planning” in Forbes, Gen X neither learns nor teaches. Gen X doesn’t exist.

Poof!

I saved the worst for last. Courtesy of a sharp-eyed reader, check out PBS’ Judy Woodruff, defining the generations for a NewsHour interview with the author of The Next America:

I just want to remind everybody what those age groups are, the Millennials, 18 to 33 years old today, Gen X, 34 to 39 [years old] today, the Boomers, 50 — the big group — 50 to 68 [years old], and the Silent [Generation], 69 to 86 [years old].

In PBS World, Gen X has shrunk. If you’re in your forties, you no longer have a generational home.

Life begins at 40?

[To be fair, I listened to the PBS clip, and in it Woodruff clearly says “Gen X, 34 to 49″ years old. The transcript, however, reads “34 to 39” years old, an apparent typo.]

More like the empty void of generational purgatory, as far as the Boomer-controlled media is concerned.

Indeed, the No. 1 reason that we Gen Xers have been so successfully disappeared is that the boomers have controlled the media, and thus the national discussion, for most of our lives. The powers that be want us to be non-existent, and the powers that be mostly still are boomers and they still mostly control the media, and thus they still mostly monopolize the national discussion.

But actually, as much as I have complained about the unfairness and the insanity of it, I think that I would take my “generational purgatory” (an apt description of Gen X) over the unearned and undeserved attention and rewards that the boomers and the Millennials have received.

Having been left to raise ourselves to such a degree and having been systematically and even institutionally ignored and passed over — and, indeed, having been shit and pissed upon — our entire fucking lives, we Gen Xers have, out of necessity, developed strength, resilience and self-reliance that most members of the pretty fucking awful, overprivileged generations that immediately precede us and immediately follow us never will possess.*

And who wants to be a member of a generation whose collective personality is like that of Nellie Olesen? (OK, the boomers and the Millennials do, but that was a rhetorical question.)

Gen X still rules — not literally, not sociopolitically, but where it really counts — which is why we’re so widely ignored by the two generations that don’t hold a candle to us.

*That said, while the boomers have been a lost fucking cause for a long, long time, and will take their generational assholery with them to their graves and urns, I suppose that the Millennials still have enough time to not become just like their baby-boomer examples.

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Yet another massacre from which the sheeple won’t learn a thing

Well, the internet noticed too.

If this guy is elected (or allowed to steal office a la 2000) in November, there will be more massacres. (More Photoshop jobs on this theme here…)

The United States of America is one big dysfuckingfunctional family.

Every once in a while, one of us snaps and kills a lot of people. The rest of us then all act shocked and horrified and say how “senseless” it was (when really we’re primarily just celebrating the fact that we weren’t among the body count), and then we go back to our lives of self-centeredness and greed that will help create the next massacre.

Every time one of these massacres occurs, I write essentially the same blog piece, but fuck it, as long as it keeps happening, I’ll keep writing the same blog piece. So here goes:

James Eagen Holmes, the 24-year-old accused of having blown away 12 people and injuring 58 others at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, early this morning, did not — I repeat, DID NOT — develop within a fucking vacuum.

No, I promise you, he developed entirely within a social context.

My guess is that Holmes has some screws loose, but the fact of the matter is that Holmes is just one of millions of young Americans whose nation has failed them beyond miserably.

The Associated Press reports that according to a neighbor of Holmes, “Holmes struggled to find work after graduating with highest honors in the spring of 2010 with a neuroscience degree from the University of California, Riverside.”

Holmes isn’t a drop-out pothead. The AP also reports of Holmes that he “enrolled last year in a neuroscience Ph.D. program at the University of Colorado-Denver but was in the process of withdrawing, said school officials, who didn’t provide a reason.”

Yes, Holmes was a Ph.D. candidate, one of our brightest young people. Neuroscience, for fuck’s sake. Sounds pretty close to a brain surgeon to me.

My guess is that like millions of his cohorts, and like millions of members of my generation (Gen X), Holmes graduated from college with a mountain of debt but with no good job prospects whatsofuckingever.

I, too, graduated (in 1990 — during the first George-Bush-induced recession) with a worthless bachelor’s degree but with student-loan debt, and I, too, initially returned to school (to get my master’s degree, which I ultimately didn’t get) because there were no jobs out there and I didn’t know what else to do. (At age 44, I still am a member of what my fellow Gen-X foaming-at-the-mouth leftist Ted Rall calls the “overeducated underclass.”)

Since the 1980s, under Ronald Reagan, who couldn’t blow the Wall Street weasels enough, our higher-education system stopped being about preparing students for good jobs. Those jobs, under the vulture capitalism that Mittens Romney and his ilk perpetrate, perpetuate and defend, have been evaporating from the United States these past few decades.*

The American higher-education system now is about, and for some decades now has been about, handing our young over to the student-loan sharks for their feeding frenzies. Our colleges don’t produce young people who are ready for the good jobs that await them — our colleges instead produce young people who start off in life neck-deep in debt to the student-loan sharks, struggling to survive by taking jobs that are way beneath their abilities.

Starting out like this, many if not most of them never even will catch up, but will lag behind for the rest of their days.

We lie to our youth about the importance of going to college and doing well so that they can get fulfilling, well-paying jobs — jobs that don’t fucking exist and haven’t for some decades now.

Our youth are punk’d royally, so of course they become angry and bitter.

True, not all of them shoot up a movie theater. They just become alcoholics and/or druggies and/or go on Big Pharma’s antidepressants and/or abuse those in their lives and/or immerse themselves in materialism and commercialism and/or become sex addicts or some other type of addicts and/or commit suicide.

Everything is connected, whether we want to acknowledge that fact or not. (And for the most part, we don’t. We prefer what we believe is the safety of our own little bubbles, even though are bubbles are not our own safe houses, but are our own fucking caskets.)

Blowhard Rush Limbaugh recently accused filmmaker Christopher Nolan (“Inception,” the latest “Batman” trilogy, etc.) of, in Nolan’s current “Batman” movie, modeling (or at least naming) Batman’s enemy Bane after Mittens Romney’s vulture capitalism outfit Bain Capital — in order to make a political, anti-Mittens statement.

(Bain, Bane — apparently one-syllable homophones mesmerize great minds like Limbaugh’s.

Of course, the “Batman” comic-book character of Bane was created in 1993, well before Mittens ever decided to run for the White House, but mere facts never stop the likes of Grand Dragon Daddy Limbaugh and his fans.)

It was at a midnight showing of the latest “Batman” installment, “The Dark Knight Rises,” that James Eagen Holmes committed his massacre, and yes, it seems to me, there is a Bain connection here: It is vulture capitalism run amock that created the socioeconomic context within which this latest massacre occurred.

As insane income inequality grows, the pain and suffering of the poor and the middle class and the working class increases, and yes, some of the victims of vulture capitalism do snap and act out.

The only thing that’s shocking is that we don’t see a whole fucking lot more of it.

James Eagen Holmes very apparently snapped under the pressures of the oppressive socioeconomic system that not enough of us fight against. If enough of us did fight against it, our oppression at the hands of the filthy rich, treasonous few would stop.

Instead, way too fucking many of us, such as cops (the taxpayer-funded security guards of the plutocrats, who, of course, pay no taxes themselves) and members of the U.S. military (a.k.a. cannon fodder for Big Oil), and, of course, the Repugnican Tea Party traitors, insanely side with our oppressors instead of with their fellow oppressed.

Better to curry favor with the oppressors, the rich and the powerful, than to be one of their victims, right? Of course, cops and soldiers and “tea party” dipshits are just as much victims as are the rest of us. These fools are the plutocratic oppressors’ tools, whether they realize it or acknowledge it or not.

Of course I don’t advocate massacres in movie theaters — I see a lot of movies myself, including at the Century Theatres in my area** — but it nauseates me to hear the same old predictable bullshit that the American sheeple bleat when massacres (Columbine, 9/11, this morning’s, etc.) are in the news.

We don’t understaaaaaaand, the sheeple bleat.

Yes, the sheeple do understand, at least dimly, at least on some level.

It’s that they don’t fucking care.

If they did, they’d have to change.

And that might even mean — gasp!having to fight.

The sheeple secretly would prefer more massacres of other sheeple.

P.S. Of course the Mittens and President Hopey-Changey campaigns had to weigh in on today’s massacre. They have to pretend to care about us, you see.

Mittens’ statement was:

“Ann and I are deeply saddened by the news of the senseless violence that took the lives of 15 [sic] people in Colorado and injured dozens more. We are praying for the families and loved ones of the victims during this time of deep shock and immense grief.  We expect that the person responsible for this terrible crime will be quickly brought to justice.”

“Senseless” violence. Right. A brilliant young man can’t find decent work in a nation that doesn’t give a flying fuck about him and sees no future for himself and so he snaps. “Senseless.” Makes no sense at all. None whatsofuckingever. Happened just out of the blue. Randomly. Just one of those things that no one possibly could even begin to explain.

Look how quickly Mittens was to pounce upon the idea of “justice” for the perpetrator.

It’s funny, because if those truly responsible for today’s terrible crime actually ever were brought to justice, Mittens and his treasonous, plutocratic ilk would be behind bars, where they belong.

But they can rest easy.

So-called “justice” is meted out only to the 99 percent of us, and almost never to the 1 percent.

If you kill a dozen people, like James Eagen Holmes apparently did today, and are a member of the 99 percent, you at least will go to prison.

But if you are a mass murderer and are among the 1 percent, like George W. Bush or Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld or Condoleezza Rice — or yes, like Barack Obama, who loves assassinations (with and without the use of drones) and who loves keeping the traitors who comprise the military-industrial complex happy with billions and billions of our tax dollars that aren’t going to the things that we need, such as job creation, education, health care, environmental protection and infrastructure improvements — you are allowed to run loose.

It’s not just within the arena of the military-industrial complex that mass murderers go free. Corporations’ profits-over-people practices routinely kill scores and scores of innocent people, yet the corporatocrats get off scot-free — even though corporations, according to the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court, are “people.”

“Justice.”

Indeed.

Why would, how could, anyone snap in this oh-so-fair-and-just United States of America?

*The No. 1 goal of capitalism is not job creation, as the Repugnican Tea Party traitors among us proclaim. The No. 1 goal of capitalism is profiteering. Fucking duh.

Labor is expensive. Under American capitalism, if you can replace your American workers with machines or with other automated systems and/or outsource their jobs to sweatshops overseas, you do so in order to increase your profits.

The vulture capitalists are not job creators. They are wealth aggregators, as fucking evidenced by the fact that over the past several years the wealthiest have gotten even wealthier while the jobs have dried up and rest of us have gotten poorer.

If these treasonous plutocrats were job creators, there would be jobs.

There aren’t jobs because it isn’t about us. It’s all about them, the 1 percent.

**I will see “The Dark Knight Rises,” by the way. I love Anne Hathaway and the character of Catwoman, Nolan is a good director, and Tom Hardy is a hunk (OK, even though as Bane his face is obscured), so I’m there. I just generally avoid trying to see blockbusters on opening weekend.

You are much more likely to be killed in a car accident, or killed by a car while crossing the street, that you are to be shot dead in a movie theater.

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Global warming, nukes — and the baby boomers

It’s pretty fucking bleak.

Even as the fucktarded global-warming deniers claim that a cooler-than-usual day somewhere means that global warming is bullshit, the largest chunk of Arctic ice since 1962 — it’s four times the size of Manhattan — just broke away from northern Greenland, and the “ice island” is floating away, expected to reach the Atlantic Ocean within two years (it’s expected to have broken up and melted some by then).

Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking proclaims that humankind’s only chance for survival is to colonize other planets as overpopulation on Earth worsens and as humankind’s technological ability to wipe itself out increases.

We incredibly eco-friendly (because most of us are non-breeding) non-heterosexuals sure have a sound natural plan to reverse overpopulation, but we have to fight for equal human and civil rights not only here in the United States, but elsewhere throughout the world. Our opponents are fucktards who believe that the centuries-old dictate of God (who, by the way, lives on Fantasy Lane, right down the street from the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy) to “be fruitful and multiply” is still valid, even though the world’s population has exploded exponentially since the Old Testament was fabricated by utterly ignorant people all of those centuries ago.

But I digress a little.

While Hawking’s assertions that overpopulation and our own technological stupidity (such as the threats of global nuclear war and climate change) threaten to put Homo sapiens on the endangered species list are self-evident, I can’t say that I agree with him that the Homo sapiens virus should move on to infect other worlds.

Seriously — if humankind can’t get its shit together on this planet, what right does it have to attempt to inhabit any others? If a potential new landlord knew that you trashed your last apartment, would he or she allow you to move into his or hers?

But I digress yet again.

Solutions to overpopulation aren’t rocket science: Couples are limited to the number of children they may have, with penalties that are stiff enough to make violations of the law rare. Sterilizations (voluntary ones [for now…]) are offered for free. (Fuck you. We spay our cats and dogs!) Churches that advocate irresponsible reproduction, like the Mormon cult and the Catholick church, are sanctioned, because their irresponsibility and their recklessness harm the rest of us. (We’re all fucking connected, whether we like it or not and whether we wish to acknowledge that obvious fact or not.) Euthanasia for the hopelessly terminally ill is allowed and is not at all taboo. Homosexuality, of course, is wholly de-stigmatized so that those who gravitate toward it don’t hesitate to embrace it.

Then, here at home, there is the “Logan’s Run”-like problem of the baby boomers.

The boomers are going to be a huge fucking drain on us — if we let them be.

Already the boomers are talking about fucking us Gen X’ers and Gen Y’ers over even more than they already have.

Repugnican boomer House Minority Leader John Boehner again is talking about fucking us X’ers andY’ers (and those who follow them) out of our fair share of Social Security.

Boehner proclaimed on “Meet the Press” that it’s time “for the American people to have an adult conversation about the problems that we face” with the solvency of Social Security, adding that “these programs are unsustainable in their current form.”

Agreed — the boomers aren’t sustainable. Social Security, however, is.

Because of the boomers’ expected wiping out of Social Security, Boehner wants the Social Security retirement age to be raised for us Gen X’ers and Gen Y’ers — while the baby boomers get theirs and get out.

Boehner’s sidekick Repugnican U.S. Rep. Mike Pence echoed Boehner on “Meet the Press”: “I am for reforming our public entitlements for Americans who are far away from retirement. We need to keep promises to seniors that have been made, make sure that people who are counting on Medicare, Social Security have the benefits that they have. But for younger Americans, absolutely yes, we ought to bring real reform for the sake of future generations of Americans to get spending under control.”

Translation: The boomers get theirs, and Gen X and Gen Y get fucked — “for the sake of future generations.” It’s vitally important “to keep promises to seniors [translation: today’s boomers and those who are older] that have been made,” but it’s not at all important to keep those promises that have been made to us X’ers and Y’ers. Fuck us. We’re on our own.

Don’t expect the boomers to be another “greatest generation” — they fully expect those generations that follow them to suffer the consequences of their own selfishness, greed and refusal to plan for the future.

It’s true that we Americans face grave problems, and it’s true that it’s long past time that we face them.

But the boomers’ approach appears to be that the only solution is that Gen X and Gen Y and the generations that follow them should take it up the ass because of the boomers’ selfishness and woeful lack of foresight.

But what if we who follow the boomer generation don’t want to take it up the ass with ground glass as lube, as Boehner, Pence and their ilk so generously suggest that we do?

Fact is, whether we want to talk about Soylent Green or “death panels” and/or some other nifty solutions* to the baby-boomer problem or not, we’re not fucking going to have the resources to take care of all of these bloated, helpless, obnoxious, gluttonous boomers who look like the humans in the Pixar movie “WALL-E” (already we’re seeing these blubbery boomers in their motorized scooters at Wal-Marts throughout the land; surely these scooters are the precursors of the hovering lounge chairs in “WALL-E”) and who feel fucking entitled to be treated like royalty even though they never contributed shit, but were selfish their entire fucking lives, not even taking care of their own parents or their own children.

My boomer parents put me and my brother into daycare and with baby sitters — not because they had to do so because of economic necessity but because they didn’t want to be parents to their children. Parenting requires a degree of selflessness that the boomers, as a generation, don’t possess; they never did, they don’t, and they never will. (My fellow Gen X’er leftist Ted Rall explores this subject well in his book Revenge of the Latchkey Kids.)

And neither of my boomer parents took care of any of my grandparents, one of whom was put into a nursing home. So I really, really hope that neither of my parents expects me to just drop everything and cater to him or to her when my parents never stopped being selfish long enough to be there, really be there, for their own children or their own parents.

I remember, more than a dozen years ago, when baby-boomer author Marianne Williamson gave a talk in Phoenix, and when it came to question-and-answer time, I was the only one who stumped her. We were to bring up any community concerns of ours, if memory serves. I stated that as a nurse at that time, I couldn’t see how the system was going to be able to take care of the legions of dependent senior citizens (the baby boomers) we would see in the coming decades. She had no response to that problem, other than acknowledging that yes, indeed, it was (is) a looming problem.

Instead of searching for any solutions, apparently, Williamson would go on to write a syrupy, comforting book that calls baby boomers “middle-aged”** when, in fact, at age 42 I’m middle-aged, so how can the boomers, who are in their 50s and 60s, be middle-aged? (Uh, we don’t have many people living to be 100 and beyond, and age 50 is the midpoint to age 100…)

Williamson probably couldn’t answer my question all of those years ago because she apparently is a typical boomer herself — she doesn’t want to grow up, but indeed, tells her fellow Peter-Pan-like boomers that they are “middle-aged” when, in fact, they are senior citizens.

It’s true that the longer we put the conversation off, the harsher any actual solutions to the grave problems that confront us are going to become.

I don’t see that there is any serious national conversation about the looming baby-boomer problem today any more than there was when I brought the topic up to Marianne Williamson more than a dozen years ago.

And suggesting that the boomers fuck over my generation and those that follow mine even more than we already have been fucked over for our entire lives by the boomers*** is not a valid solution.

It’s true that the boomers have been abusing their power their entire adult lives, but as they get older and feebler, they’ll be less able to continue to fuck over those of us whom they were supposed to help and care about, not treat as competitors.

What are the boomers going to do when all we have to do is knock them out of their hovering lounge chairs and, like in “WALL-E,” they can’t even get up?

What if the latchkey children indeed get their revenge?

Well, at least the boomers have a little bit of time to prevent such unpleasant-for-them eventualities if, at long last, they fucking care to do so.

And while we’re dealing with the baby-boomer problem, we X’ers and Y’ers are going to have to deal with the problems that the boomers helped caused and have refused to deal with, such as climate change and nuclear proliferation.

And the boomers are going to have to be a part of the solution, whether they fucking want to be or not. While they have contributed to our problems their entire fucking lives, there can be no grandfathering of them now, the way that assbites Boehner and Pence and their baby-boomer boomer ilk want it to be.

We simply can’t fucking afford it, and we can’t afford the baby boomers, not the way that they are now.

*I am reminded of the Christopher Buckley novel Boomsday, in which baby boomers are invited by a wildly popular Gen-Y blogger to kill themselves for the greater good. I have that book and I really should read it…

**I bought her book The Age of Miracles: Embracing the New Midlife thinking that she was talking about those of us who actually are in midlife; instead, it’s a saccharine pep rally for baby boomers to tell them that they’re actually in midlife when, in fact, they’re senior citizens.

**We Gen X’ers and Gen Y’ers and those who follow us have a record federal budget deficit as well as global warming to contend with once the last baby-boomer asshole (redundant) finally has keeled over, and our military adventurism for the profits of the corporatocrats has made us hated throughout the world (especially in the Middle East), creating resentments from abroad that will continue to simmer and sometimes boil over for generations. And by necessity we X’ers and Y’ers are going to have to dismantle the bloated-beyond-belief war machine, something that the baby boomers, with all of their posing about being all about peace in the Sixties, never did, but only enlargened.

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Raise THIS, baby-boomer bitches!

John Boehner

House Republican Leader Boehner watches U.S. ...

Associated Press and Reuters photos

Repugnican U.S. Rep. John Boehner of Ohio (photographed above in Washington, D.C., earlier this month), a member of the get-mine-and-get-out generation, wants to raise the age of eligibility for Social Security retirement benefits to age 70 for Americans who have at least 20 years to go before retirement (that would be Generation X’ers and Generation Y’ers and those who follow the Y’ers). Boehner also wants these future Social Security recipients (including yours truly) to have to prove their (our) need for Social Security checks. Don’t worry about the baby boomers, though — they’ll be well taken care of.

Like I needed yet another reason to despise John Boehner, the Repugnican minority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Not only is Boehner (pronounced like bay-ner, not like boner, by the way…) a fucking baby boomer and a fucking Repugnican, but his steely-cold reptilian eyes always have given me the fucking creeps.

Boehner’s latest kick is his suggestion that the minimum age for receiving Social Security retirement benefits be raised to age 70 for those Americans who have at least 20 years left until they reach retirement age — and that these future Social Security recipients must prove that they need the Social Security checks before they can get them.

So the baby boomers, the get-mine-and-get-out generation, get it all — they get to collect Social Security retirement benefits as early as at age 62 and they get to collect these benefits even if they’re millionaires.

Under the Boehner plan, we of Generation X, however (and those who follow us), get fucked up the ass by the baby boomers. Like we always do. With ground glass for lube.

But we’re supposed to love the baby boomers. Love them.

I recently visited with my baby-boomer uncle. I always generally have liked him and considered him one of my favorite relatives, but during our recent conversation he referred to himself as a “socialist.” And he meant it; his political philosophy is progressive. He always supported and still supports Barack Obama. (Which is not to say that the labeling of Obama as a “socialist” is anything like accurate, because it is not. Obama is a Clintonista, not a socialist.) 

Yet my uncle the “socialist” is a contractor for the U.S. military, even though he acknowledges that the bloated military-industrial complex is not sustainable, and even though, he also acknowledged, the last necessary war that the U.S. military fought was World War II. He also lives in a gated community among golf courses in Tucson, Arizona — and he acknowledged that this lush community is not sustainable, being in the middle of the fucking desert but using so much water.

My uncle, to my knowledge, has no intention of changing his lifestyle before he dies, acknowledges that his lifestyle is not sustainable, yet calls himself, without any discernible hint of cognitive dissonance, a “socialist.”

And he’s one of the better baby boomers.

I’m so often called — almost exclusively by baby boomers — “angry!” As though that were a bad thing. (My baby-boomer uncle and my baby-boomer aunt both told me during our recent visit that they can’t read my blog because I’m so “angry.” [I wonder if they’ll read this…])

It’s easy for the members of a generation who had just about everything handed to them on a silver fucking platter and who are leaving not a crumb behind on that silver platter for those of us who follow them to criticize us Gen X’ers (and Y’ers) for being so “angry!”

In France, the young people are protesting right-wing President Nicolas Sarkozy’s plan to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62. Yes, from 60 to 62.

Reports The Associated Press:

Paris – The front lines of the latest French protest against raising the retirement age revealed a remarkable sight: Not the slightest wrinkle, not a single gray hair.

Brandishing “Save Our Pensions!” banners, students who haven’t even entered the job market yet are already worried about what happens when they leave it.

Welcome to France, where workers’ rights are so deeply entwined into the culture that even teenagers are unsettled about plans to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62, which is still among the lowest in Europe. The reform protest brought nearly a million people out into the streets across the country Thursday.

Young people fear they will lose the most from President Nicolas Sarkozy’s pension reforms, which aim to cut France’s ballooning deficit and make the money-losing pension system break even starting in 2018….

Shit. American young people are too busy texting to stand up against the baby boomers who are destroying their future. It’s pathetic.

Boehner (whose name I wish were pronounced like boner), even while proposing to fuck over royally my generation and the generations that follow mine, accuses the current Democratic “leadership” in Washington of “snuffing out the America that I grew up in.”

Oh, please.

It’s not the Democrats who are snuffing out the nation in which I was born in 1968 and in which I grew up.

It’s the fucking baby boomers who are destroying the nation. (Indeed, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, who could be poster children for the baby-boom generation, started the nation’s destruction long before the black guy ever made it to the White House.)

It doesn’t matter whether they’re Repugnicans or Democrats, because even when they call themselves, in all seriousness, socialists, the way that the baby boomers live their lives demonstrates that they don’t give a flying fuck about the fate of those who follow them.

I think the reason that the boomers love to call me “angry” — as though this actually is going to shut me up — is because they’re terrified that anger sometimes leads to action.

What kind of action?

Well, why should we younger Americans just allow the baby boomers to continue to bleed our nation dry?

What if we decided, instead of just passively accepting our unfair and unjust treatment, to nip the baby-boomer problem in the bud?

Yeah, it just might come to that.

I hope that it does.

P.S. The French have so much more than Americans do because they fight the powers that be. The guillotines of the French Revolution, I understand, are always in the backs of the mind of France’s power elite.

Guillotines just might solve the nation’s problem of the baby boomers sucking up all of its resources, leaving future generations fucked.

I am reminded of that great line of Brad Pitt’s in Quentin Tarantino’s film “Inglourious Basterds.”

To paraphrase: “We’re in the boomer-killin’ bidness! And bidness is a-boomin’!”

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Methinks I struck a nerve

Nothing that I’ve written in months got the reaction that my anti-baby-boomer piece titled “Why We (Non-Boomers) Hate Our Jobs”* did.

I think it’s going to be a trend in the future: While the aging boomers continue to be a burden on the nation, sucking, sucking, sucking already-depleted resources, they are going to try to rewrite history. They’re going to claim what hard workers they’ve been, how they got to where they got all on their own.

It’s all bullshit, and those of us whom the boomers have left holding the bag of dog shit need to keep the boomers’ feet to the fire.

Fact is, the boomers’ parents (the so-called “greatest generation”**) coddled them during the post-World-War-II prosperity. When the boomers had children of their own, however, the boomers (such as my boomer parents) put their kids into daycare centers and/or left them with babysitters. (Fellow outraged Generation X’er Ted Rall even wrote a book on the subject titled Revenge of the Latchkey Kids.)

When their parents — the same parents who coddled them — got/get old and decrepit, the boomers put them into nursing homes. (Neither of my boomer parents lifted a finger to help any of my grandparents in their old age and death; my maternal grandmother was put into a nursing home because none of her three boomer children could be bothered to take care of her.)

Will the boomers expect to be taken care of in their platinum years, even though they didn’t take care of their own parents — or their own children?

Thus far, my recommendation that the boomers be made into something useful, such as Soylent Green, I make with tongue in cheek. Thus far.

I, for one, have no intention of helping the boomers in their old age. Had the boomers helped me, instead of viewed me as competition my entire fucking life, I would be glad to return the favor in their time of need.

But it will be karmic justice that the boomers, because their unbridled greed has destroyed the nation, will have to experience what they put others through. They’d thought that they’d trash the nation and then they’d die, leaving others to deal with the aftermath, but their rapaciousness has been such that they’re going to experience the effects of their God-awful stewardship while they’re still alive.

Good.

While I don’t plan to ever harm any of the boomers — give them enough rope and they’ll hang themselves, saving the rest of us the trouble — again, I won’t help them, either, and the one thing that I won’t allow the boomers to do is to try to rewrite history.

Maybe the boomers can fool the Generation Y’ers into believing that the boomers weren’t such a bad generation after all, since the Gen Y’ers weren’t there to see the worst of it.

But this Gen X’er was there. I have witnessed and experienced boomer swinery my entire fucking life. And I have a loooooong fucking memory.

*I have two mirror blogs, one on WordPress and one on Open Salon. Interestingly, on my Open Salon blog, boomers have chimed in to try to defend their indefensible generation, while on WordPress, it’s fellow Gen X’ers chiming in to agree with me. I guess that Open Salon is where boomers go to try to feel hip and relevant. Keep trying, boomers.

**I just can’t get on board with the “greatest generation” thing. Obviously these were lousy fucking parents, or they wouldn’t have given us the millions of Nellie Olesons who now are running — and ruining — the nation.

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‘Dilbert’ creator Scott Adams fires opening salvo at the baby boomers?

Dilbert” cartoonist Scott Adams for the first time, to my knowledge, has taken the baby-boom generation head on in his strip for today:

(The full-sized strip is at the end of this post.)

The “pointy-haired boss” of “Dilbert” for years has been the quintessential baby boomer, utterly clueless and incompetent yet in charge of the whole show nonetheless — and in possession of wildly exaggerated views of his own competence, talents and worth.

The title character of Dilbert, I do believe, is a member of my generation, Generation X (which is probably why I’ve always loved “Dilbert”). Dilbert incessantly struggles to do a good job despite the obstacles that his incompetent baby-boomer boss puts in his way.

Today’s “Dilbert” strip has Asok, a member of Generation Y, I believe, flat-out telling the “pointy-haired boss”: “Your [generation] has destroyed the hopes of my entire generation.”

Yup.

Not that the boomers give a flying fuck that they are the first generation in the history of the United States of America that didn’t give a shit about leaving the nation in better shape for the next generation than the nation was when they inherited it.

I would say that the boomers’ mentality always has been “Get mine and get out,” except that they always got not only what was theirs but also what wasn’t theirs, but what belonged to their children and to successive generations. Like cancerous tumors, the boomers just can’t get enough at the expense of the whole (that’s why I’ve also thought of the boomers as Generation Swine), and their greed has brought the entire nation — indeed, the entire world — to the brink of collapse. 

Ironically, the boomers apparently thought that things would collapse right after their deaths, but their unbridled, hordes-of-locust-like greed has been such that we are seeing the catastrophic results of their utter selfishness and irresponsibility sooner (as in now) rather than later.  

The boomers’ legacy will include such things as stolen presidential elections, bogus wars in the Middle East (only perpetuating the terrorist threat from there for years to come) and environmental devastation (including melting polar ice caps, for fuck’s sake) and economic devastation that will affect generations to come.

There are exceptions that are far and few between, but even the most progressive boomers tend to show central boomer traits, such as materialism (even their “spirituality,” such as “The Secret” bullshit, is about materialism) and a refusal to acknowledge the damage that their generation has done to the generations succeeding them.

I wonder if Adams is going to continue the discussion, and I wonder if a larger national discussion about the worthlessness of the baby boomers is going to follow.

I hope…

P.S. The Wikipedia entry on Scott Adams notes that he was born in 1957 — which makes him a baby boomer. He is one of the rare exceptions, one of the few boomers who will admit that the baby-boom generation dropped the ball on the American dream, which is that each generation would make things better for the generations that follow it.

When we finally round the boomers up for Carousel (or maybe for Soylent Green [or for both]), perhaps we can give Adams an exemption…

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End of baby-boomer rule at hand?

The mere thought of the baby boomers finally no longer being in control of my nation is enough to make me jizz in my pants, but until they actually are no longer in control, they’re still in control.

My fantasy, I guess, is that they would be selfless for just once and fling themselves off steep cliffs like lemmings (in an environmentally friendly way, of course; I guess that we would have to stagger their cliff-leaping so that the oceans could accommodate the decomposition). Or that we institute a “Logan’s Run”-like policy — now. (I’ll be generous and up the permanent retirement age to 65.) Carousel, anyone?

The boomers fought authority in the 1960s and the 1970s only so that they could party. Sex, drugs ‘n’ rock ‘n’ roll, you know. Once they became the age of their real or perceived oppressors, however, they became the oppressors, and it turns out that the only group whose rights they ever were fighting for was their own.

The boomers are the first generation in American history that didn’t give a flying fuck about making conditions better for the generations that follow them. Instead, the boomers have been, in the words of Paul Begala,  “a plague of locusts, devouring everything in their path and leaving but a wasteland.” (Begala correctly terms the boomer generation “the worst generation“; no other American generation has come as close as the boomers have to destroying the entire fucking nation.)

The funny thing is that the hordes of boomers had thought that they could devour everything and then die, but their voraciousness has been such that things in the United States of America have seriously gone to shit before they have kicked off, and thus they now have to experience themselves that which they had figured only my generation (“Generation X”) and succeeding generations would have to experience.

Oops!  

Anyway, what has inspired my anti-boomer rant is this Associated Press story from today:

NEW YORK – When George W. Bush lifts off in his helicopter on Inauguration Day, leaving Washington to make way for Barack Obama, he may not be the only thing disappearing into the horizon.

To a number of social analysts, historians, bloggers and ordinary Americans, Jan. 20 will symbolize the passing of an entire generation: the baby-boomer years.

Generational change. A passing of the torch. The terms have been thrown around with frequency as the moment nears for Obama to take the oath of office. And yet the reference is not to Obama’s relatively young age — at 47, he’s only tied for fifth place on the youngest presidents list with Grover Cleveland.

Rather, it’s a sense that a cultural era is ending, one dominated by the boomers, many of whom came of age in the ’60s and experienced the bitter divisions caused by the Vietnam War and the protests against it, the civil rights struggle, social change, sexual freedoms and more.

Those experiences, the theory goes, led boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, to become deeply motivated by ideology and mired in decades-old conflicts. And Obama? He’s an example of a new pragmatism: idealistic but realistic, post-partisan, unthreatened by dissent, eager and able to come up with new ways to solve problems.

“Obama is one of those people who was raised post-Vietnam and really came of age in the ’80s,” says Steven Cohen, professor of public administration at Columbia University. “It’s a huge generational change, and a new kind of politics. He’s trying to be a problem-solver by not getting wrapped up in the right-left ideology underlying them.”

Obama, it must be said, is technically a boomer; he was born in 1961. But he long has sought to draw a generational contrast between himself and the politicians who came before him.

“I sometimes felt as if I were watching the psychodrama of the baby boom generation — a tale rooted in old grudges and revenge plots hatched on a handful of college campuses long ago — played out on the national stage,” he wrote of the 2000 and 2004 elections in his book, The Audacity of Hope.

It’s been a while since historians spoke of generational change in Washington. Fully 16 years have passed since Bill Clinton, the first boomer president, took office. Before that, presidents from John F. Kennedy to George H.W. Bush — seven straight — were part of the World War II generation, or what Tom Brokaw has termed the “Greatest Generation.”

If Obama isn’t a boomer in spirit, then what is he? Not exactly a member of Generation X, though obviously that generation and the next, Generation Y (also known as Millenials) embraced him fully and fueled his historic rise to the presidency.

“Gen Xers are known to be more cynical, less optimistic,” says social commentator Jonathan Pontell. “Xers don’t write books with the word ‘hope’ in the title.”

Some call late boomers like Obama “cuspers” — as in, [on] the cusp of a new generation. One book has called it the 13th generation, as in the 13th generation since colonial times. And Pontell, also a political consultant in Los Angeles, has gained some fame coining a new category: Generation Jones, as in the slang word ‘jonesing,’ or craving, and as in a generation that’s lost in the shuffle.

Jonesers are idealistic, Pontell says, but not ideological like boomers. “Boomers were flower children out changing the world. We Jonesers were wide-eyed, not tie-dyed.” …

“It may be technically correct to call [Obama] a boomer,” says Douglas Warshaw, a New York media executive who, at age 49, is part of whatever cohort Obama is in. “And it’s in the Zeitgeist to call him a Gen Xer. But I think he’s more like a generational bridge.” He adds that Obama got where he was by “brilliantly leveraging the communication behaviors of post-Boomers,” with a campaign waged across the Web, on cell phones and on social networking sites….

Obama’s biracial heritage also plays into the generational shift, [says Montana Miller of Bowling Green State University]. “It’s so emblematic of how the world is changing,” she says. “So many people are now some sort of complicated ethnic mix. Today’s youth are completely comfortable with that.”

Will Obama speak of generational change when he stands on the podium to issue his inaugural address? Given some of his rhetoric on the campaign trail, it’s reasonable to think he will — just as, some six months before he was born, JFK pronounced on Inauguration Day that “the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans, born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace.”

Interestingly, Kennedy is often claimed by boomers to be one of their own, even though he was nothing of the kind; born in 1917, he’d be 91 now. In the same way, many Gen Xers and even Gen Yers like to claim Obama, too.

“As humans we all want to be part of something bigger than ourselves, part of a page in a history book,” Pontell says. And at least for now, he adds, “Obama’s a rock star, and people are dying to call him one of their own.”

I, for one, admittedly got a little tipsy, but never flat-out drunk, on the Obama Kool-Aid, and so while I’m glad that our next president is under age 50 — I supported Obama mainly to ensure that boomer Billary Clinton didn’t get the Democratic presidential nomination — I wouldn’t say that I am “dying to call [Obama] one of [my] own,” and I don’t expect The Rise of the Xers to come under President Obama. He seems too eager to please everyone for there to be any kind of a revolution.

And, as the news article above points out, Obama is generationally cuspy. Technically, given his birth year, he is a boomer, and when someone is cuspy like that I look at his or her characteristics to see which generational side he or she leans toward. My boyfriend, for instance, born in 1962, technically is a boomer, but he’s a cuspy boomer, and if he leaned more on the boomer side than on my side (Gen X), there’s no way in hell that I could have been with him for more than the past year now.

And when I examine Obama’s behavior, he seems to be truly cuspy, that is, right smack dab in the middle between the boomers and the Xers. He kisses Zionist ass*, for instance, just like boomer Billary Clinton does, and his selection of bloated baby boomer Prick Warren, who reminds me of a Jerry Falwell Jr., to give the invocation at his inaugration also smacks of a choice that Billary would make (remember when she cozied up to the rednecks during the Democratic presidential primary season, declaring herself to be one of them and declaring Obama to be an “elitist”?). Yet as the article above eludes to, Obama also was able to exploit the power of the Internet and to energize the youth vote far more effectively than the crusty Clinton could.

Obama has demonstrated that he can go either way: he can be progressive (such as with his opposition to the Vietraq War, for which Billary Clinton voted in October 2002), true to his Generation X side, or he can kiss the establishment’s ass (such as with his blind obedience to Israel and his refusal to disinvite homophobe Prick Warren to his inauguration), true to his boomer side.

My best guess is that Obama’s presidency always will be like this, straddling both sides of the generational divide, and thus I anticipate that the boomers will be a thorn in our national side for years to come.

Only rather than directing our national policy, their bloated corpses will overfill our nursing homes, reminiscent of the bloated denizens of the film “WALL-E,” manatees of human beings in their floating lounges with TV screens perpetually in front of their faces and straws perpetually in their mouths, and we will have to try to find the resources to take care of their demanding, dependent asses even though they have depleted all of our resources.

Or will we?…

Soylent Green,” anyone?  

*In the timely documentary “Jimmy Carter: Man from Plains,” former President Jimmy Carter explains how the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) grills candidates for office, and if those candidates aren’t 100 percent on the same page with Israel and the Zionist cause, AIPAC will fund those candidates’ opponents. Thus, we see Democratic as well as Repugnican candidates in the pocket of AIPAC. Really, we should just move our nation’s capitol from D.C. to Jerusalem, since it is Jerusalem that calls all of the shots for the United States of America.

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