My Head Hurts

March 17, 2017
By Mickey Friedman

I don’t know about you but my head hurts. My brain is bruised. Too much tapping.

I survived McCarthyia, that bizarre American world of Senator Joe McCarthy and the Dulles Brothers, with a Commie beneath every bush, the “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” pod-like Soviet sleeper cells. Most of you missed that paranoid world, where your ordinary Little League Coach, the local nurse, your quite lovely next-door-neighbor were diabolical Russian spies.

Republicans and Democrats alike frightening ordinary Americans into a constant state of fear: air-raid drills, dog-tags for kids, and justifying wasting our treasure on enough atom bombs to obliterate earth a thousand times.

It took the death of more than fifty thousand Americans and more than a million Vietnamese before Democrats broke ranks to realize the myth that the Russians were somehow responsible for the desire of the Vietnamese to be independent from the French. Or Us. They had, in fact, resisted every foreign nation that ever tried to control them. And slowly the notion of the Russian dominoes crumbled.

Here we are years later – and the Republicans who have made the Russian threat the cornerstone of their foreign policy – have chosen to live in Trumporia. A land where Putin and his thugs are our friends. Where it’s OK that the Russians take back their empire and hack our election – because this time they hurt the Dems.

This upside down universe is an on-going challenge. Where’s Joe McCarthy when you actually need him?

I admit I got lazy. I got used to the slick lies and subtle manipulations. The Clintons and even President Obama knew how to spin a tale. They told us time and again how much they cared. Of course, the rich got richer and many of us poorer and poorer. The Wall Street money manipulators got bailed out. The automakers who listened to themselves and not their customers got bailed out. Only working people and small business owners paid through the nose.

Medical insurance soared and the salaries of their CEOs went up and up. And prescription drug prices went up because making those heartfelt TV commercials that list the many ways their drugs can kill you just isn’t cheap. Or bribing Congress.

There’s those big words: “cognitive dissonance.” Living with the caring story while life and reality got worse. The problem was that the story wore thin. Especially when Hillary told the story. Hillary, who reeked of ambition and greed while grabbing $230,000 a pop from the corporations, lost the ability to convince those who live in the heartland that she knew them, let alone cared for their daily struggle.

So now it’s black and white all the time. The Mad King has thrown out the playbook. Everything we’ve learned about the political game counts for squat. He insists invisible followers came to his Coronation. He imagines that CNN, owned by Time Warner, the world’s third largest entertainment conglomerate, is really controlled by Boza The Clown. A nasty bitter sore-losing Hillary clone/crone who makes up embarrassing fake news about Him in her basement.

Where’s subtlety when you need it?

Up is now down. In Trumporia, our military is weak. Forgetting that our Navy has nineteen aircraft carriers while the Russians have one. The National Priorities Project notes: “World military spending totaled more than $1.6 trillion in 2015. The U.S. accounted for 37 percent of the total. U.S. military expenditures are roughly the size of the next seven largest military budgets around the world, combined.”

But the Mad King wants more. Because of Radical Islamic Terrorism. Because everyone knows how effective aircraft carriers and advanced fighter jets and nuclear warheads are against crazed terrorists with pressure cookers filled with nails. A massive wall for the Mexican mules with heroin in their stomachs. Which works because no Mexican kingpin ever built a tunnel.

And our Mad King is convinced that Radical Islamic Terrorists are flying into US airports from Iran, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Sudan, and Somalia. Because no one on his staff told him the large majority of attacks here in the United States were the work of U.S. citizens or legal residents. Or that the 9/11 madmen hailed from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates, nations mysteriously missing from their list.

As for the cutthroat Mexicans, we’ve been rounding up and shipping home cancer patients and mothers, grandmothers, farmhands and restaurant workers whose major crimes are traffic offenses or phony Social Security cards. Mexicans who will never collect benefits with those made-up numbers.

My head hurts because the Mad King has surrounded himself with wolves who can’t help but slobber as they contemplate leading us to slaughter.

My head hurts because the Putin-loving Mad King has never seen the Russian movie “Alexander Nevsky” and seems determined to force march his heavy-handed, over-armored Mad Army and all the rest of us onto the melting ice.


“My Head Hurts” was first published in the March 9, 2017 issue of The Berkshire Record.

Mickey Friedman’s Berkshire-based I Ching mysteries, “Danger” and “Folly”, as well as his non-fiction “A Red Family” are available on

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2 comments for “My Head Hurts

  1. Philip Johnson
    March 17, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    Karen Skelton forwarded me this article. It’s great. Go, Mickey!

    You’re on the same page with Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept and Robert Parry of on the Russian issue.

    I miss our talks at Fuel.

    —Phil Johnson

  2. L. B. Medina
    March 18, 2017 at 4:20 am

    I fully share your sentiment. My response: Keep taking slow & deep breaths each moment, tighten your “buns’ as often as you think about, stretch all your limbs, head to toe often, listen to your music, and have NO expectations about human culture… afterall, as Jared Diamond says, we are the third chimpanzee, and I think we will never get beyond our illogical brain, no matter how much we ‘invent’ technologically, WE ARE FLAWED FOREVER>>>> Lorraine

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