How I Became Neoliberal One-Percenters’ Most Inconvenient Stepson


Please refer to legal disclaimer at the end, which explains how the entire post is meant for entertainment purposes only. Please see the end of the post for my request for support. 

One year ago, I made an unexpected trip to Colorado. The trip was compelled by ongoing harassment by multiple east coast-based corporate and municipal forces including the NYPD, who unlawfully arrested me four times in 2020. Knowing how my ancestors fared in similar situations, I barely blinked deciding to leave New York state, despite living there nineteen years and leaving my two sons essentially kidnapped by the state; they being the only reason I stayed as long as I did. The boys, Finn and Ryder, needed their dad alive and not incarcerated and that meant retreating temporarily. 

The trip back to Colorado was done reluctantly. The boys, a home I owned, and a few possessions remained in New York State. While minimalist, I do have some attachments. 

And while Colorado represented a relative safe-haven, it was where my stepmom, Diane Rosenthal, still lived. 

Living the Boomer Dream 

After my dad’s death in 2012, Diane, who I’ve known my whole life, began her widowhood in her “Dream Home” high atop the city of Boulder, Colorado. 

After thirty years of not working, Ms. Rosenthal takes one of her many daily pauses to do nothing in her 5,500 square foot luxury home. 

When my dad was alive, the home was a hub of Colorado’s burgeoning progressive scene. Influential Democrats, climate tech professionals and investors, and climate activists would regularly come through the house for private visits and large events.

Following my dad’s death, Diane, lacking her own coherent political ideology of her own, leveraged the fortune and reputation my father built through his deep understanding of supply-chain dynamics, labor, and macroeconomics — she took those things to supercharge a one-percent and Democratic Party-dominated power structure. Diane upped the check amounts and Democratic fundraising became a proxy for environmental activism. This advocacy reached its apex when Jared Polis first announced his governorship in the Friedlander living room in 2017. 

With Jared in office, his Princeton Alumni Network thoroughly in control of the State’s economics, Jared was less reliant on the aging Rosenthal. Jared now has plenty of millionaire-owned mountaintop mansions to host events at. None are hosted with anyone with the gravitas of Dan Friedlander, but that’s okay because Jared is now top dog. 

The events and procession of friends the Friedlander-bought home hosted in early times were replaced by a procession of mooches (looking at you Joel Surface!) and a battalion of personal assistants, cooks, personal trainers, and various workers that tend to her needs…and man, does she have needs.

Diane, now seventy-five, hasn’t worked since 1992 — the year she went on full-time disability due to symptoms related to her “Epstein Barr” condition, aka Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. (An upper-middle-class-born woman who’s had everything handed to her and who’s barely worked in her life, who’s self-obsessed and frets over frivolous matters from morning to night is tired all the time — go figure!)

Diane’s retirement coincided with our family move to Colorado. It was there she began her groundbreaking work as a pioneer in the emerging consumer market for elective medications treating the imagined conditions of rich and bored white women with great insurance plans. 

Epstein Barr was followed by epilepsy and later memory problems. Symptoms for these maladies were always subtle and hard to measure, but treatments were always costly, involved, and often necessitated live-in help. I would guess Diane has averaged about $2,000 a day in various services, treatments, and medications over the last thirty years. 

One might be thinking all these meds are expensive — and that one would be right! Fortunately, Diane got a sizable portion of her income covered by disability checks. She also locked in a health insurance plan for the remaining sixty years of her retirement through that nonprofit from the now-impoverished South Chicago suburb. She combined this legacy plan with Medicare, so a good portion of the medical and medication costs are taken care of. 

In case this sounds like too little money for such an expensive habit, Diane also has plenty of cash, since her retirement coincided with my dad’s growing professional and financial fortunes. He made a name for himself as a tech pioneer, especially in LAN computing, big data storage, and startup development. Upon retirement, he used his influence and activist background to become the critical player in Colorado’s ostensible liberal shift — almost all of which was put in the service of climate activism. 

Diane spent her ample free-time and dad’s reputation to get involved with The Democratic Women of Boulder County — a cabal of multimillionaire housewives who, I suspect, were the driving force behind Jared Polis’ credibility as a candidate — because it certainly had nothing to do with his capabilities or stainlessness as candidate. 


My dad did not built his reputation by being a Democrat. In fact, J Edgar Hoover called him the “America’s second most dangerous man” and he was raised in a card-carrying communist household that stood up to McCarthy and marched on Washington. 

Democrats were a late-day marriage of convenience to help him advance his various climate-focused agendas. More specifically, he was an advocate for Colorado’s immediate transition to renewable energy and disinvestment in the coal, gas, and fracking projects. 

My dad certainty did not make his name by cutting big checks. He fought large corporate and private interests, especially Xcel Energy, who for years has supported dirty energy in Colorado State. Conveniently, these interests have face a lot less opposition since my dad died.

When dad died from a multi-year battle with lung cancer, he left me $25,000 (infuriating my ex), a bunch of dough to climate nonprofits, and the bulk of his fortune to Diane. 

With this fortune, Diane doubled down on her maladies, upping her number of full-time assistants from one to two — one being the administrator for her complicated array of insurance forms and the other being a medical caretaker and errand runner.

These helpers helped Diane watch as much CNN as possible so she could stay on top of news (her other activities consisting of multiple daily naps, taking medication, and long baths in her private hot-tub). Seeing all the horrors on CNN — especially the bogeyman Republicans — compelled her to devote her boundless free time, 24-hour news-cycle fretting, ample funds, and whatever residual political relevance my dad left into supporting the good guy…the Democrats. 

The Prodigal Stepson Returns

Last August, an NYPD officer informed me there was yet another illegally-issued warrant out for me — one, he told me, would result in an indefinitely-long stay at a King County jail since the Criminal Courts were being shut down due to COVID.

Home is where the cops don’t fuck with you.

After the brief exchange, I took a breath, did some research about extradition over nonsense charges, and hopped in my Honda Odyssey — the one I hadn’t couldn’t afford payments for in a year; the one with the busted AC in the dead of summer; the one I was living in various Hudson Valley Walmart parking lots. I learned Pennsylvania was forty-five minutes away and extradition beyond a state for the offense in question was not going to happen. 

My less than triumphant return to Colorado last fall.

I was shacking with a friend on the Western Slope of Colorado a couple days later.

The call with the cop was the pathetic exclamation point on a yearlong, New York-based campaign in a war against a lot of institutions and people that diametrically opposed the things me, my dad, and our ancestors stood for — namely giving our lives to preserving planetary health and sticking up for people less powerful than us. 

Diane was well aware of my warring ways. Many of my attacks were directed at CNN-approved institutions — even the Democratic Party! Many attacks were directed at politicians Diane slobbered about. Some attacks were directed at Diane’s family.

One of those family members was Dave Brown, who will get more attention soon. Dave’s claim to fame is that he was born exceedingly rich and tall and he’s the brother Beyond Food CEO Ethan Brown. 

Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown’s brother, Dave Brown, is Diane’s nephew by marriage. Beyond Foods, without a doubt the Tesla of foods, is run by a dude raised on grass-fed beef from the farm his dad owned, is the subject of another post. 

In late 2019/early-2020, I accused Dave and Ethan Brown — probably correctly — of market manipulation and insider baseball with Chinese distribution through Dave’s father-in-law, Louis Goodman of American University.

I also made — and later pulled in advance of my return to Colorado — a bunch of desultory videos about Jared Polis, who embodies the worst-of-the-worst of faux-woke, pay-for-play, financially-and-environmentally-destructive Democratic Party politics and policies. 

Jared didn’t win based on his fitness and good looks, that’s for sure! 

I’ve met Jared many times. He is not a Coloradan. He’s a rich guy who brags about buying the governor’s office. 

Who the fuck are these people? Why do they undergo so little scrutiny? 

Jared grew up going in private schools, including Princeton, before settling in Chelsea, Manhattan as one does. I’m pretty sure that’s where he met first-hustler, Marlon, who all of my gay friends are certain has a ton of baggage.

From Colorado Public Radio:

Before many people even knew what the internet was, he made a move online. “With like 10 modems and a server,” a then 19-year-old Jared Polis and his college buddies gave people dial up access to the internet.That company, American Information Systems, sold for more than $20 million…Polis and his family sold the company at the height of the dot-com bubble for $780 million. That gave Polis the freedom and money to pursue politics. 

Jared changed his name to his rich mom’s to avoid scandal. The Polis family fortune is largely an investment heist made right before the first dot-com bubble burst — just like former bud, Graham Hill (it’s a thing)

Apparently, Jared had some dealings as a youth in Russia, which would explain a lot about his love of gas and oil. 

Boy, that’s not what I was doing at all as a 19 year-old. 
I worked in the bike industry as a teen and thought it’d be my career. I also used to move trash bags of hydroponically-grown marijuana from — the exclusive distributor from a Denver grower. I was a seminal figure in Colorado’s early legalization of marijuana. Ask around. Not a joke. 

What I pointed out in my content was how Jared’s tacky, stolen money would not have done anything had it not been for my late-father’s name. Money without power is what country clubs — not US Congress — are for.

Rather than go to college out of high school, I traveled the world, including a tour of both islands of New Zealand. Unlike Jared’s travels, I did not meet any future oligarchs who would punt me favors in later life…so far as I know. 

Suffice to say, none of this went over well with Diane or the many mouths who regularly whisper in her ear — voices I had no interest in hearing. 

While I pulled a ton of content for Family Court and professional optics, I was pretty proud of most of it. I didn’t return to Colorado defeated. I returned to get money, shelter, and freedom from extrajudicial punishment. I reached out to Diane because I was desperate and had tapped out all my favors. 

I asked Diane for help, and initially she gave it. I drove down from the Western Slope to Boulder — a town I left in 2001, searching for excitement. I returned in 2020, searching for a stable living situation and familiar place to regroup. She offered to share her large home, and despite some misgivings, I accepted. 

During my drive down from the mountains, one of Diane’s assistant decided it was a bad idea to have me stay with in the house due to COVID. While I understood the sentiment, I was not happy to be told this when I landed in Boulder — after a three-hour mountain drive, after two straight weeks of unplanned moving around, and a summer living in my hot minivan. In a move befitting a Wes Anderson movie, I walked her over to the nearest hotel and had her check me in for a couple weeks. 

My 2020 al fresco summer. A far cry from Dwell Magazine.

For a month or two, we had strained dinners together once or twice a week. She seemed to enjoy the company and showing me off and calling me her son. But without pleasant things to discuss, or political outrage to share, the dinners often devolved into her looking nervously across the table at my transparently-judgmental gaze. 

At some point in the dinners, we’d invariably have the “help” conversation.  

In Diane’s world, and for many wealthy neoliberals whose power depends on upholding the dominant party’s system’s rules, “help” means getting a shrink and medication in order to get calm and return to being a productive, wealthy citizen. Diane adored my Zoloft-popping, calm-as-chamomile, millionaire, Josslyn…going back to that would be helpful. 

“Help” was often prescribed by the mother-daughter psychoanalysts duo featuring Diane’s sister Nancy — the one married to Chinese-factory-loving Lou Goodman — and niece, Liz — the one married to fake-sausage-bro Dave Brown in a three-story Brooklyn townhouse paid for by the ground tenant. Liz and Nancy both love psychotropics and six-session/week psychoanalytic sessions (“I’m sorry, we don’t accept insurance.”). Everyone agreed, I needed “help.”

Once someone gets “help,” they won’t feel sad when they see millionaires walk past people dying on the streets on the way to a $150 Tuesday night dinner. Once someone gets “help,” Beyond Meat will tastes better than shitty factory-farmed beef — and way better than grassfed beef. Once someone gets “help,” they will believe the president is there to help people. Once I get help, I will commend her for showing our black restaurant server a picture of her with some random black kid as evidence of her friendship with people of color. Once I get “help,” I will be able to stomach the hypocrisy of a woman who my father trusted and loved, yet abandoned all of the beliefs — and the son — he cherished most. Once I get “help,” I’d think — like many overcome by the stink of cash and influence — that her shit don’t stink.

I told her I had no problem with getting help, even a therapist. It was deep into the lockdown and I was happy to have someone to talk to. I did tell her I didn’t have health insurance and that I’d need financial help to afford sessions. 

I also told her I was dealing with a lot of trauma and that searching for a proper therapist — knowing they are not created equally — wasn’t a challenge I was up to alone. I gently explained that not everyone has legacy health insurance, tons of cash, and two separate assistants to handle both the administrative and applied aspects of a psychotherapeutic regimen. I told —  contradicting what her expert, out-of-shape sister and niece said — I was actually doing quite well being away from my source of trauma, working, and running a ton. I gently explained my simple therapeutic modalities were not inconsistent with talking therapy, but the search and payment of a good therapist — stressors in their own right — can often undermine the calm I was building. 

I also said she could help by helping me deal with the actual problems — the very real ones, which existed outside of me, like a lack of health insurance or getting my kids back. I told her — and so many others — my once-imperturbable calm would return when my children were returned to me, when I was no longer the victim of state-supported harassment and violence, and when I had enough money to pay for my modest basic living expenses. 

She didn’t get it. The idea of not having everything one wanted when they wanted it was so far outside her range of lived experiences, I don’t believe she heard me. She never offered money or help finding a therapist. 

While her mouth said “get help,” her heart wanted an apology. She wanted me to say I was wrong. She wanted me to say I was unwell. She wanted to cosign her existence, and I couldn’t. She’s not well.  

In order for Diane to live with herself, her huge house, her fortune, her unearned entitlements, to do this in the face of everything that’s happening in the world — I had to be crazy

I was crazy for saying she could make a difference with her money and influence. I was crazy for questioning the benevolence of the politicians, governmental agencies, banking interests, corporations, and experts (so many experts!) who bankrolled her life and destroyed mine. 

When I told her I smoked pot — in combination with otherwise total sobriety and a militaristic fitness, diet, and physiological wellness regimen — that’s all she and her voices needed to prove I was unwell. This makes sense for a woman who is hopelessly in love with a president who opposes the legalization of marijuana

Here I am smacked out on goofballs, desecrating the sanctity of the Nation’s most hallowed areas. Legal note: smoking weed, for some reason, is legal in DC, but not the rest of country. 

Even though Diane is more narc’d out than a nodding junky in Tomkins’ Square Park; even though she considers a ten-minute walk vigorous exercise and drives her massive Tesla everywhere; even though she watches twelve hours of CNN a day and sleeps much of the rest; even though she supports my fat; blackout-drinking brother; even though the pill-popping, money-obsessed family she listens to is constantly at war with itself; even though her political alliances profit off of over-and-under-the-counter addiction epidemics; even though her whole hyper-consuming existence is denuding the Earth of its last bits of cleanliness and purity— she tells me she couldn’t help me anymore until I got clean.

It NEVER works that way. 

Before this declaration, she’d doll small sums to pay for a few weeks in advance. This kept me going back to dinners with her and me on financial edge. At the behest — or direction — of one of her assistants, she decided to cut ties and stop enabling my horrible marijuana addiction. She gave me a $15,000 — despite me asking for $2,000 — and bid me farewell. 

As a maraschino cherry on my shit Sunday, the assistant called Family Services on me, claiming I was taking advantage of an old woman with memory issues — memory issues that were not applicable when she paid an extremely shady assistant or gave hundreds of thousands of dollars in political contributions, but memory issues that prevented her from deciding to give survival money to someone she called a son. Now I had cops on my case in Colorado (I will reiterate this essay is not an attempt to communicate with anyone, is to be treated for entertainment value only, and is a personal essay protected under my First Amendment rights, for the last G_d damned time fuck off with your censorship…it’s just a story!). 

I’ve been living extremely thriftily off that $15,000 and another $10,000 commission I made when co-living company Ollie was absorbed by Starcity. I made the initial introductions between those two companies’ founders and was also responsible for hobbling Ollie. Ollie founder Chris Bledsoe’s police escort from their office after I revealed, among other things, that his brother Andrew had run an illegal Airbnb side-hustle that exposed Ollie to major liability. 

Who’s the Baddest Bull in Colorado? 

Life immediately got better with the money and not having to suffer through hearing of how Diane was wasting of my father’s fortune and polluting my family name with her advocacy of Joe Biden, Polis, and other kleptocrats. It was bad enough to know she did it, but worse hearing about it directly. 

I never planned to stay in Colorado, regardless. I thought I’d straighten out my New York debacles and be vindicated once light was shed on my situation(s). 

One year on, it’s become clear there are many powerful, mostly-east coasters determined to shade my light and limit my influence for as long as they can — which I don’t think is much longer. I’m really, really, really, really, really, hard to shut up. 

These people have no shown no hesitation using my children and my ability to earn money as means to exert power over me. 

While I had no plans to get politically involved in Colorado, that’s not how I’m built. My opinion piece in Boulder’s Daily Camera summed up the disgust I felt and feel when I see what a shit-show Colorado has become in my and my father’s absence. Not coincidentally, the state has become the playground for entitled boomers like Diane and their dependents (refer to Brooklyn’s Dave Brown and Liz Goodman as archetypes of such dependents). 

It was in this chiller last year I discovered a very interesting fact: 

My birthday is May 11th. Jared Polis’ is May 12th. And Joe Neguse’s birthday is May 13th. Diane manifested these guys to be the woke, CNN-friendly sons I could never be. 

Indulge My Woo Woo Side

As someone who’s had guys named “Ditto” copy his every move, I don’t dismiss names, dates, or coincidences. Astrology has played a strong role in my life, and I often find myself surrounded by people with the same star sign and even birthdays. For example, both Diane and my brother were born in January 22nd. 

Here’s my metaphysical, power-of-manifestation, theory: Diane essentially manifested CNN versions of me. Jared was the rich, straight-acting, Ivy League gay son. Joe Neguse, who I know less about, but who Diane sees as presidential material, is the happy black immigrant who is willing to stand near Nancy Pelosi —someone who’s tirelessly supported refugee-making policies. 

Me? 

I’m the son who didn’t finish his undergrad until he was thirty-one; the son who celebrated living in a dilapidated townhouse; who asked to bring his stripper girlfriend — and was refused — to the family’s upscale Florida tennis colony for our annual winter get-togethers; the son who later brought girlfriends who made all the other women look fat and/or unaccomplished; the son who unconsciously made all the other sons look soft, provincial, inarticulate, and lazy; the son who kept making headlines despite his lack of conventional success; the son who led with his heart, not his insecurities or greed. 

Diane and countless others withheld their love and held me back because my use everything I did and do makes them look like the tacky, greedy pieces of shit they are. She made Jared and Joe the sons I never could be. They’d love her in spite of her ugliness. They could be counted to love her as long as the checks kept coming in — a small price to pay for a son’s love. 

Closing Thoughts

  • As the lone, politically active member of the Friedlander tribe, I want to go on record, again, to condemn Jared Polis, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Joe Neguse, and many others who’ve used my family’s good will and money to advance their corrupt, genocidal, ecocidal policies. 
  • A general note to the Goodman/Rosenthal/Brown clan: you are wretched, awful people and karma is a bitch. I feel disgusting for having known you and having spent so much time and energy on you all. It’s so not cool. 
  • This is the story of one man, woman, and family, but it speaks to the multitudes of us who experience evil within our social and familial cirlces — who see and say and do nothing. This piece was not written in haste, but over decades of observations, and primary source accounts from conversations with the murderers themselves. I’m lucky to be alive, considering how often I was around them. My father was not so lucky: Diane’s Dream home was his funeral home; all of his influence and money, he knew, mostly bought him a premature death and meaningless accolades from status seekers
  • If you have story, if you see evil, give it a name, call it out, make it feel bad, rob those who steal their power. It’s not enough to hide anonymously in the din of party politics or online polemics — these conversations must be had in person and with the burden of expressing convictions publicly (not behind the protection of anonymous online avatars). 

A Special Note About Money for Me

In mid 2019, I probably had around $30,000 cash and an 811 credit score. When my aunt Spring left me an additional $12,000 — the sum total of her inheritance, most of which was distributed to poor families — it was the, um, springboard I needed to let it rip. 

Spring’s death woke me up the enormous responsibility my name and privilege carry—responsibilities that were being confirmed by third parties at the same time. Between my family’s stainless reputation, my own growing reputation, and my capacity to communicate complex, uncomfortable, but actionable concepts to lay audiences, I knew no one in the world could strike harder at corrupt pieces of shit like Jared Polis like me. 

But I need help. 

I’m out of cash and deep in arrears. I don’t claim uniqueness in this position. I do claim uniqueness in the work that I’m doing. No one else can do it, and it’s a full-time job. I write about thirty-to-forty hours a week writing and communicating what I’m up to. I will keep working without a home and scrounging for food — I did it all last summer — but it’s not ideal and takes me away from my specific work, which is speaking truth to power, or, as I choose to see it, me defeating Goliath

Ways to help: 

  • Donations, alms, whatever. I don’t have money for next months rent yet, much less my innumerable bills. I live extremely modestly and thriftily, but I do have expenses. Any amount is greatly appreciated — the more the better. The easiest way to get money to me is Venmo (@davidcfriedlander); email me at the email below if you’d like to contribute some other way. 
  • Press!!! I’m being stonewalled by major press outlets. I’m a voice that needs a bigger platform than self-published articles — I don’t think this is arrogant to say in a media landscape dominated by billionaire men-children leaving a burning earth for joy rides slightly beyond the stratosphere. 
  • If you have a services to offer, hit me up. I made special email for people to connect with me at: thecomplexmessiah@gmail.com. I’m starting a movement and have a lot of crap to do that requires way more than I can do. 

Love,

David 

Legal Disclaimer: While this post mentions actual people and events, the entirety of the post is meant for entertainment purposes only. None of the following statements are to be considered factual or true. I, David Friedlander, the author, place complete intellectual and legal burden of conclusions derived from reading what I have written upon the reader. Further, none of my statements are meant or should be considered legally binding or intended as a means to communicate with any person(s); further, the fantastic, deliberately ambiguous nature of my writing precludes any of my statements, including those statements in any and all linked posts, and those statements as they relate to my children, to be used as evidence for arrest or proof of my mental fitness, lack thereof, or any other legal proceeding intended to limit my ability to freely exercise my First Amendment Rights as an American, writer, historian, researcher, seeker, and — above all else — a storyteller. I have a decade of notes showing how I use the written word to make sense of the world, hoping that inquiry has relevance for those who choose to read what I write. TLDR: I’m just telling my too-fantastic-to-be-real stories. Truth is in your Court.

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