Friday, January 24, 2020

Some Observations on Fires and Silence

Hi, friends and fellow-fen.  I'm sorry for going so long without checking in, but my clunky old desktop computer blew up for good, and it's taken me this long to figure out how to work Rasty's slightly-clumsy spare laptop.  I'll get the hang of it eventually.  Patience!

Anyway, I've noticed over the past week that, in the few minutes when they aren't bashing Trump and obsessing on the impeachment, the major news programs shed a few tears and tug a few heartstrings about the massive wildfires in Australia.  This, of course, is followed by the usual boilerplate about Global Warming/Climate Change/Climate Crisis-and-it's-all-the-Republicans'-fault.  What they don't mention is that those wildfires are indeed the result of human activity, but not the humans they're blaming.

You have to go up on the Internet and search to learn that the Aussie police have arrested more than 183 local individuals for arson, specifically starting those fires.  You have to search really intensely to find out what the Aussie police and government are trying very hard to conceal, which is the religion of those arsonists.  Yes, Muslims.  The few whose statements have made it to the public brag of setting the fires "for Allah".

This should not surprise anyone who's been studying the news inside Israel for the past two years, during which the pity-the-poor-poor "Palestinians" in Gaza have been launching firebombs and fire-balloons into Israel to burn down the Jews' hard-established orchards and crops and hopefully a few buildings with people inside, until the Israel Defense Force shot combat-lasers at them to make them stop.  Neither should it surprise any historians who noted that this has been a common tactic used by local Arabs in Africa, to burn out Black-owned farms, for the past few thousand years.

As to why politicians and their media-flacks around the world have remained silent on these facts, I leave that to your imaginations.

I have to leave now because the new/used replacement computer has just arrived, and the pizza is coming shortly.  Wish me luck!

--Leslie <;)))><

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The Chamberlain Syndrome

So the US military finally sent a raid into Iran and killed its top terrorist general, Suleimani.  Israel is ecstatic, Iran is huffing and puffing and staging enormous demonstrations (in which its own people were trampled and killed) and promising retaliation. 

In fact, the Iranian military -- just to prove that it wasn't paralyzed by the loss of its mastermind -- shot a dozen missiles into Iraq today, aimed roughly at two US military bases there.  The US military is playing its cards close to its vest, but so far there are no reports of any US casualties, or any real damage done.  There was one brief report that the Iranian missiles killed one Iraqi civilian, but that hasn't been confirmed.  We do know that the US military was expecting something like this, and had its personnel well bunkered down before the missiles arrived.  There's no mention as to just where the missiles did land, or if they did any harm there, or if they were shot down in the air by the American version of Israel's Iron Dome defensive system.  We'll have to wait for more news. 

What we do know is that Democrat/Progressive politicians, media and academics have been howling about how Trump is "starting a war" -- either to distract people from the (somewhat stalled) impeachment proceedings or to somehow make himself look good in the next election.  I find that complaint intriguing because it hints that the Dems know that Trump is very likely to win the next election, unless they can use the impeachment to throw him out of office before then.  ...But of course, in that case, they'll get Pence for POTUS.  I don't think the Dems have really thought about that.

In any case, their wailings about war are more than a little hypocritical after all the complaints they've made about Trump being weak on foreign affairs, Putin's lapdog, cozying up to tyrants, etc.  They've conveniently forgotten that there's already a war between Iran and the US -- and has been for more than 40 years.  In case anyone has forgotten, back in the 1970s the Islamic priesthood in Iran raised up a revolution to throw out the Shah -- supposedly for being America's puppet, but in fact for being too secular at a time when Islamic fanatics were plotting to conquer the world.  As part of their muscle-flexing, the theocratic revolutionaries stormed the American embassy, took all its staff hostage, publicly declared war on the US, and kept the staffers locked up for over a year -- until Ronald Reagan was elected and promised that he'd use the military to quash Iran and get our people back.  The day after his election, the theocrats returned the prisoners in a hurry.  As a result, Reagan did not invade and conquer Iran.  Nonetheless, the war that Iran had declared was never officially ended, nor unofficially either.  Suleimani, in particular, has been quietly waging war on the US and its allies for decades, and quietly getting away with it.  Obama actually paid Iran a "Dane-Geld" of over a billion bucks to slow down its attempt to develop nukes.  Does anyone think that Iran actually respected that deal?  In fact, it was the Israelis -- with a clever cyber-attack called Stuxnet -- that really slowed Iran's nuclear program.

What Suleimani has been doing in all these years is planting Iranian terrorist cells -- if not covert military units -- everywhere he could reach.  There are a serious number of them in Iraq, which is why the Iraqi government, which wouldn't exist but for American troops, passed that resolution two days ago ordering the US to withdraw its troops from Iraq, hoping to avoid being hit by Iran's response to the US's killing of Suleimani.  That did no good, since the troops are still there and Iran threw the missiles into Iraq anyway.  We'll have to wait and see how the US military responds to that, but I expect it will do some serious bombing of its own. 

What I hope is that the US troops will use more drone strikes, with pin-point precision, to take out more of the Iranian army while hitting as few civilians as possible.  Iran's populace, despite that showy funeral the state gave Suleimani, does not like its government.  It's been decades since the US showed what it could do with "smart missiles", and the technology has not been standing still since then.  The best thing that could happen to Iran would be to have smart missiles and drones shoot down the ayatollahs and officials, and leave the protesters alive, unharmed, and marveling. 

In any case, the US retaliation is inevitable.  War with Iran is not just inevitable, it's already here -- and has been for years.  Now the US, and Israel, have to fight it out to the finish.

The Dems' insistence that we don't have to fight this war is not just incredibly naive, but wonderfully ignorant of history.  As I've said elsewhere, for centuries there have been three major powers in the Arab/Muslim world: Turkey, Arabia, and Persia -- now called Iran.  They all cordially hate each other, and compete to conquer the world for Allah.  For a few centuries Turkey -- via the Ottoman Empire -- looked to be in the lead, but then it chose the wrong side in World War One and got smacked down to its modern size.  Arabia had the advantage of owning Mecca, therefore the Kaaba, and having a reliable source of revenue from pilgrims, not to mention the clout of being the world headquarters of Islam.  Iran managed to parlay its oil into a modern economy, largely due to the Shah whom the ayatollahs later kicked out, and a fairly modern military.  Until recently, the only thing they agree on was hatred of the Jews, Israel, and the western countries, especially the US.  Also until recently, the rest of the world has kept the three of them balanced so that no one of them could get the upper hand and go establish the Caliphate by itself.  Lately though, Iran has been building up its military, sponsoring -- through Suleimani -- "refugee" invasions and terrorist cells throughout the world.  The signs are clear;  Iran is definitely making a run for the Caliphate sweepstakes.  It has got to be smacked down before it brings on the real World War Three.  Again, as I've said elsewhere, it's obvious by now that WW3 will be fought not between any combination of Russia, China, and the USA;  it will be fought between the Jihadists, seeking to establish their adored Caliphate, and everybody else in the world. 

Now note that World War Two could have been prevented if the western allies had smacked down Germany the first time it broke the Treaty of Versailles, when Hitler started re-arming Germany, or even the second time, when Hitler's troops took over Czechoslovakia.  Instead, the fear of another war -- any war -- prompted the allies to dicker for peace at the price of Czechoslavakia, another "Dane-Geld".  An otherwise forgettable diplomat named Chamberlain made his mark on history by coming home with Hitler's promise of "Peace in our time."  Never mind that Hitler then used the time he'd gained to build up his military further, and finally attacked Poland, which was too big a breach to ignore.  World War Two followed. 

One would think that the Democrats, no matter how badly they want to Get Trump, would remember that.

--Leslie <;)))><                         

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Two Kindly Strangers

This happened yesterday. 

Our housemate, Jerry, finally got a call back from his PCP doctor about the MRI he got last Monday, which showed that he had a torn rotator-cuff and a torn tendon, telling him to get an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon.  As our household's Speaker To Bureaucrats, I did the phonecalling to the doctor and the insurance company and the specialist, and got him an appointment with the surgeon in early January, as well as a promise of effective pain-killers to last him that long.  Institutionalized healthcare in this state moves with the speed of glaciers, but its possible to apply some heat to it.  So anyway, Jerry asked that we have Chinese food for dinner as compensation for his having to wait more long days in considerable pain.  Seeing that was a fair enough request, I set off for the only Chinese restaurant in town, a Panda franchise, which is a good five miles away.  I took my car, since there's no way I can drive Rasty's truck. 

On the way to the restaurant I noticed that the car was riding a little rough on the left side.  On the way back I noticed that it was riding a lot rougher, and noisier, and guessed that one of the tires was going flat.  As I was pulling away from the commercial zone and out into the farms, the tire got a lot rougher, and noisier, so I pulled off onto the wide shoulder beside a cornfield.  As I did, another car pulled up and parked behind me, and the driver got out and asked if I needed some help.  Yes, I surely did.  When I climbed out (favoring my bad right ankle and walking with my steel cane) I saw that the left rear tire wasn't just flat but shredded.  It must have been an impressive sight to someone driving behind me. 

So I pulled the trunk-release lever and went to open the trunk, but the trunk-door was so stiff that I couldn't get it open by myself.  The kindly stranger helped me heave it open, then reached down and pulled out the spare tire himself.  He also looked over the somewhat inadequate jack I had in the spare-tire-well, went back to his car, and pulled out a sturdy blue jack of his own.  He took one look at the spare tire and woefully announced that there was no air in it.  I mentioned that I had an AAA membership, and maybe they could send a truck that had its own air-pump.  Kindly mister blue-jack offered to take the tire up to one of the gas-stations farther back up the road and get it filled.  I thanked him heartily, and he took off -- leaving his blue jack by my car as a tacit surety that he really would return.  In about a quarter-hour he was back, with the tire filled and driveable.  He then pulled a professional-looking toolkit out of his car, positioned the jack, and started changing the wheel.  He was obliged to put on my hand-brake to keep the car from moving, even though I had it in park.  We also learned, the hard way, that the nuts on the wheel were painfully tight.  I honestly couldn't help him much, so I stood by the edge of the tarmac and steered oncoming traffic to swerve wide away from us -- rather necessary, since the sun was on the horizon and the lighting wasn't any too good.  Altogether, it took maybe half an hour after he returned to get that tire changed.  He didn't feel too confident in that tire, so he made sure to ask that I was going straight home and my house wasn't too far away.  I thanked him, promised that I owed him one, and wished I had something to give him for his trouble -- and right then I remembered that, along with the tires, the car had come with a CD in the player.  It was the soundtrack from "My Best Friend's Wedding", which I surely had no use for, so I hauled it out and gave it to him, along with a somewhat premature Merry Christmas.  He went back to his car and watched while I started up my engine before he drove off.

Unfortunately, I discovered another problem with that car;  I couldn't get the hand-brake to release.  I pushed the release-button down as hard as I could, even hammered it with my cane-handle, and simply couldn't get it to move.  Damn.

Well, I couldn't think of anything to do but get out of the car and wave for help.  It was getting into twilight now and traffic was thinning out, but eventually another car slowed and pulled over and parked on the shoulder.  Out of it got a plumply pretty young woman, with long turquoise-enameled fingernails, who asked if I needed help.  I explained that I surely did, and could she help me get that damned brake-handle to release.  I wasn't sure if she could do any better than I had, with those long nails, but she offered to take a crack at it.  She tried from the passenger's side, had no luck, and then got into the driver's seat and wrestled it with both hands -- and damned if she didn't manage to get it loose.  I thanked her much and promised I owed her one, which she waved off with a smile as she started back to her car, and wished her Merry Christmas since I didn't have anything else. 

So I got back to the house only an hour or so late, with the somewhat-cooled Chinese food (easily reheated in the microwave) and an interesting tale to tell. 

I've noticed this kind of common civility to strangers, here in Arizona, not just out in the countryside and not just during the Christmas-etc. season.  Still, this sort of kindness -- involving so much effort at a moment's notice -- is remarkable, and worth honoring.  So again, Mr. Blue-Jack and Ms. Turquoise-Nails, I owe you one and I wish you all the blessings of the season.  If I never run across you again, I'll just pay it forward to any of my other neighbors whom I might find in trouble -- and become a kindly stranger myself.   Bless you both.

--Leslie <;)))>< 


Sunday, December 15, 2019

Season's Considerations

First off, here's my usual boilerplate generic holiday greeting:


Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Jolly Solstice, Joyful Sir Isaac Newton’s Birthday, Jolly Mawlid un-Nabi, Good Yule, Enlightened Bodhi Day, Merry Boxing Day, Joyful Ganesha's Birthday, Bright Ada Lovelace Day, Lusty Saturnalia, Happy New Year, Jolly Hogmanay, Merry Twelfth Night – and a partridge in a pear tree!

--Leslie <;)))>< Fish   )O(

My address:  1300 S. Watson Road, #114-288, Buckeye, AZ 85326
New phone:  602-373-0320
Cell phone:  310-339-4345 

Second, a holiday appeal: my computer burped and lost my entire address book!  So please, anyone who  has ever exchanged holiday cards, email or snail-mail, with me -- or would like to -- please write to me at either of the above addresses (e- or snail) and let me know where you are.  I'll get back to you sometime before Twelfth Night, I promise!

As to what I and my weird household will be doing for the holidays (besides contacting friends and family to make sure they're all still there), well...  Being Pagans, but having no close Pagan neighbors to party with, we'll most likely head out to Fry's or Wal-Mart, pick up some real evergreen greenery to perfume the house and hide presents under, get some cookies and hand them around to the neighbors, and swap presents with each other: tasty boozes and sweets for us humans, tasty treats and maybe a potted catnip plant for the cats, and a vinegar-watering -- the soil hereabouts being alkaline -- for our trees.  

Yes, we give presents to our plants, thank you;  they've given us a good amount of food this year -- the pomegranates not so much, but the tangerine tree is practically busting with fruit.  They're complex living things, after all, and they deserve our gratitude as much as anyone else.  As I said, we're Pagans.

If anybody has a problem with that, either because we're not "sensitive" to Sharia compliance or insufficiently Christian, just let us know when you'll be showing up in person.  Bear in mind that Arizona is a "constitutional carry" and "castle doctrine" state.  Grinches beware.

To everybody else, as the song says: "Love and joy come to you, And to you your wassail too."  My favorite wassail is brandy-spiked egg-nog with lots of cinnamon.  What's yours?

Seriously, I don't think there's a human culture on Earth that doesn't notice the shortening of days, and feel a need to go check on the neighbors and give presents, on or around the winter solstice.  Of course the custom is more pronounced as you get closer to the poles, which is why Santa Claus was given his generous nature (and winter clothing, and transport) in the far northern countries.  

There isn't much population close to the south pole, but I'd be interested in learning what the Australians, the South Africans, and the folk of Tierra Del Fuego have come up with, regardless of cross-cultural "contamination".  Maybe in Sydney Santa/Father Christmas shows up in red and green swim shorts, but I'll bet that the real winter solstice gets some special consideration.  

After all, it's a bit dismaying to see the days growing shorter, the weather getting colder, and the sun appearing to get weaker.  We don't need to be told what would happen to us if the sun really did die out, not that such is likely to happen soon.  It's enough to make us consider what blessings we already have, and want to celebrate them, no matter where on Earth we live -- and no matter what the local Wokes, imams, or other grinches may say. 

So in that sense, Santa Claus is real;  he's the spirit of, if not specifically Christmas, certainly the winter solstice season.  Ask me sometime about the time I was Santa Claus, and I don't mean just putting on the costume.  

So, until January takes over, happy holidays to all of you -- and stay in touch.

--Leslie <;)))><  )O(   



Saturday, December 7, 2019

Enough, Already!

So CNN and MSNBC reported, first: "Mass Shooting In Pensacola!" with the usual boilerplate about how horrible civilian gun ownership is, and how terribly we need Common-Sense Gun Control.  Then the later data came in from the police -- that the shooter was a Navy man -- and the tune changed to how terribly we need Mental Health Screening and Care.  Finally, today, CNN dared to admit that the shooter was an Arab -- one of those exchange students our military trains on the weapons our government sells to their governments.  How it works: soldiers/sailors from allied countries -- such as Saudi Arabia -- come to our military training bases and learn how to use the weapons that our govt. sells to theirs.  These military exchange students are supposed to be thoroughly "vetted".  Right.

I recall hearing, twenty years ago, about how one of those training bases made the mistake of putting an Israeli student-soldier up in a fighter-jet on the same base, at the same time, as a Saudi Arab -- with live ammunition.  Once they got in the air, the Saudi pilot just couldn't resist attacking the Israeli.  Despite all his "vetting" and persistent orders from the ground, given a chance, the Arab just couldn't resist the chance to kill a Jew.  The Israeli pilot tried to avoid the fight, but the Saudi refused to obey orders to break off and kept attacking.  The Israeli shot down the Arab and then bailed out of his shot-up plane.  Needless to add, the US military afterward adopted strict security measures against putting Israeli and Arab exchange students anywhere near each other.

The military has had no problems with Israeli exchange-students since.  There have, however, been quite a few problems with Arabs -- and other Muslims.  It seems that however well they're "vetted", give them legal access to weapons and sooner or later they'll howl "Allahu akbar!" and start shooting up the nearest non-Muslims.  This little problem has reliably been whitewashed by the media, which do their damnedest to conceal the shooter's religion and ethnicity while pushing the usual boilerplate about the evils of guns and civilian ownership thereof.  What's unusual about this case is that CNN admitted the shooter's ethnicity and religion only two days after the original incident.  This implies that the word has seeped out, through the lesser media, about the problem with giving military weapons and training to "allies" from Muslim-majority countries.

Nonetheless, when criticism of our present relationship with Muslim-majority countries comes up, the media -- and the usual assorted politicians and "humanitarian" organizations -- reliably denounce it as "Islamophobia".  Right.

The term "Islamophobia" was first invented by the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the ancestor of all modern Jihadist groups, and was pushed by all of them at any tolerant/gullible ear they could catch.  The term "phobia" is commonly used in psychology to describe "an irrational and persistent fear".  This is useful in denouncing any criticism of Islam or its practitioners as irrational, therefore bigoted and probably some degree of insane.

But is that fear really irrational?  Consider reports from no less than the United Nations.

Given that a study by the UN found that 65-80% of all Muslims in the world are fundamentalists, which means they believe that every word in the Koran is totally, eternally, and literally true--

Given that the Koran does not just describe war-atrocities of the distant past but commands its readers, several times over, to go and do likewise today--

Given that fundamentalist Muslims have committed some 36,000 deadly attacks on non-Muslims, worldwide, since 9/11/2001--

Given that Muslim immigrants to non-Muslim countries have caused those countries' violent-crime rates to skyrocket--

Given that the majority of "hate crimes"worldwide are committed against Jews, and by Muslims or their sympathizers--

Given that Arab/Muslim-majority countries have broken almost every peace agreement made with Israel--

Given that the three major Arab powers -- Iran, Turkey and Arabia -- contend bitterly with each other over which of them will conquer the world for Allah--

--there is nothing "irrational" about a fear of Islam and Muslims in general.  There is nothing wrong with "Islamophobia".  It's not a "prejudice", because that word -- which comes from Latin and means to "pre-judge" -- means to make a conclusion, usually negative, before getting sufficient facts.  We have seen the facts, many times over, and the only rational conclusion is that Islam is not a safe religion to have around, and its practitioners are not safe people to have near you.

Despite the best desperate propagandizing by politicians and their cronies in the media, the real story is beginning to get around.   This is why CNN was willing to mention the Pensacola shooter's real nature and motivation.

--Leslie <;)))><

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Medical Fashions and Bigotries

Growing up in a medical family, I got to see the medical community -- and yes, it is a community -- from the ground up, and I can tell you that like any other community it has its biases and bigotries.

By now, everybody knows about the racist bigotries of doctors and scientists a century ago, but not so well known is the community's belief in eugenics and its own role therein.  I've seen and heard of too many cases where obstetricians made a point of pressuring non-White female patients into getting unnecessary tubal ligations and Caesarian deliveries, precisely because C-section operations always put inelastic scars on the uterus, which limits the woman's future fertility.  This is not just a case of simple greed, urging more surgeries to get more money, because I've also seen cases where doctors pressured White patients not to get recommended surgeries which also would have sterilized them.  Related to this is the willingness of a large number of doctors to perform "gender re-assignment" surgery;  it's Politically Correct, it rakes in money, and it also guarantees that the patient will never thereafter have children.  The unspoken idea behind this particular cultural drift is that people unhappy with their sex, who don't have visible physical signs of genetic anomalies tending toward "hermaphroditism", are mental weaklings who shouldn't pass on their failings to the next generation.  And of course people with resistant mental failings are encouraged not to breed also.

Sonewhat different, and more financially motivated, are the fashions in drugs.  It's no secret that the medical community is in bed with the pharmaceutical companies, which push their newest and priciest products to everyone with a legal license to prescribe drugs.  This can lead to the downright creation of "epidemics" -- either of diseases which really aren't, or of the overuse of no-longer-profitable (often because the patents have run out) drugs. 

As a modern example of the first, consider "depression".  Back when depression was called "the blues", most people accepted the idea that it was caused by real-life environmental conditions -- usually economic hard times or loss of a lover.  The medical community was aware that there are some people, then called "melancholiacs", who had natural-born gloomy personalities and who would be depressed no matter what happened in their environments.  As the science of psychology advanced, the medical community discovered that "extreme melancholia" was indeed a neurological condition that could be treated with various chemicals -- ranging from cocaine to lithium salts.  The pharmaceutical companies were quick to pick up on this, and to push the idea that virtually all cases of The Blues were caused by an ailment now called "depression" which should be treated by a whole range of shiny new drugs -- now a trillion-dollar industry.  In fact, as any honest researcher will tell you, a very low percentage of "depression"  cases are caused by physical ailments: neurological or serious (as in stage two diabetes serious) glandular problems, or by constant and inescapable pain.  The vast majority of cases are caused by real-life situational problems or by hopeless rage: anger that cannot strike its target, and so turns back on its source.  That last cause is easily treated without prescriptions for expensive drugs;  identify the source of the rage, admit to and accept the feeling of rage, then find an acceptable way to physically express it -- which is simple enough, but not as easy as it sounds. 

The trouble with drug fashions is not just that they push shiny-new overpriced drugs, which often are found later to have nasty side-effects, but that they also ruin the reputations, or even the usefulness, of tried and reliable existing drugs.  We've all heard the story of how over-use of the earlier (out of patent) antibiotics were "overused", and therefore bred up resistant strains of bacteria;  what's not so commonly known is that those antibiotics were not just over-applied (like, fed to livestock) but under-dosed.  To  thoroughly kill a bacterial infection requires giving enough of the antibiotic for a long enough time -- usually ten days to two weeks -- to overcome all the defensive strategies the bacteria can come up with.  Taking too low a dose, or for not enough time, allows the bacteria that survive that long (and therefore have at least one defense that works) to keep on surviving and possibly spread to other hosts, taking that defense with them. 

I myself saw a doctor, and his allies, deliberately under-prescribe tetracycline (one of those reliable old out-of-patent antibiotics);  he prescribed me the minimum dosage for only one week's time, when it's usually prescribed for at least ten days and at a stronger dosage.  When I called him out on that, he grew offended and self-righteous and superior and offered to show me "official papers" recommending that dosage of tetracycline.  He backed off quickly when I said that yes, I would indeed like to see those papers, and could I also xerox them, please.  Anyway, I kept that prescription and took it to a local pharmacist, and asked if this looked all right to her.  She pretended ignorance, but filled the prescription as written.  I went to another doctor with the same complaint, and got a similar prescription -- which I filled;  two minimal prescriptions for two weeks were enough to make a complete dosage.  I also phoned everyone I could think of, from the local board of health to the office of the CDC in Washington, asking if this was common practice, and if so, why.  None of them gave me an answer, but soon after that tetracycline was quietly taken off the market -- for a good three years, while new (under patent) brands of antibiotics became fashionable. 

And then there's the "current opioid crisis", which has become another talking-point for a horde of political candidates.  For thousands of years Asian people  have known that the sap of the seed-case of the Asian poppy -- known as opium -- can relieve even severe pain, and also cause colorful dreams.  If a person takes too much (eating or smoking), it can kill, and taking it too often can cause physical addiction.  That's all it does.  Opium addiction was a borderline medical problem throughout the world for ages.  In the 19th century medical researchers found a way to refine opium into Morphine, a very effective pain-killer that was used all through World War Two.  Like opium, if a patent took too much it could kill, and if taken too often it could physically addict.  The war ended with a lot of wounded soldiers addicted to Morphine, and the medical community decided that this was now a serious problem.  Their solution was to restrict Morphine to hospital use and develop a substitute: a shiny-new painkiller called Heroin.  Again, too much could kill, and taken too often it could addict, and a noticeable percent of the population got addicted.  Again, the solution the medical community came up with was to ban and replace.  The replacement was the "codone" family: Oxycodone and Hydrocodone.  These too were effective painkillers, but again, too much could kill and taken too often they could addict -- and more: taken at the normal dosage they can damage the kidneys and liver.  Some improvement.  Again, the legal/medical solution was to ban and try to replace, which only added yet another couple of dangerous drugs to the list of illegal and therefore illegally-supplied painkiller market.  All things considered, the medical community should have stuck with classic old Morphine.

What the medical community doesn't talk about in public is the fact that physical addiction -- habituation to a foreign substance -- isn't the problem, nor even the pains of withdrawal.  The real problem with addiction is actually mental;  it's obsession -- with the particular feel of the ingested drug, in this case painkillers.  Now bear in mind that there's a difference between pleasure and relief -- though they can seem very similar under some circumstances.  Simple opium is reputed to give both relief from pain and the pleasure of sweet elaborate dreams.  Morphine and Heroin, according to the reports of real junkies, give both relief from pain and -- if injected -- the pleasure of an initial "buzz", which fades quickly.  The codones give nothing bur relief from pain.  So, the main appeal of the opioids is relief from pain.  This would explain why "pain addicts" -- people who become addicted because of pain from injuries -- are those who can "kick the habit" most easily;  when the source of the pain stops, the obsession fades.  Now, what sort of personality would become obsessed with relief from pain?  The only logical answer is somebody whose life contains so much pain that what they want most is for the pain of living to stop.  Historically, there have been whole societies who fell prey to opium addiction, which tells you something about those societies.

The medical community has carefully avoided dealing with these facts.  Why?  Because, if they were taken seriously, then the solution to the "opiod crisis" would have to include squarely facing the psychological and social problems that are its root causes -- and who wants to deal with that? 

Still, the community may have to bite that bullet, if only because the politicians are now putting pressure on doctors in general to make them stop prescribing all "opioids", but particularly the codones.  This is where pursuit of convenient medical fashions has led them. 

Meanwhile, the community must deal with another fact: that there really are a lot of people who suffer from real physical pain, and denying them the painkillers they really need will only drive them off the the black market, where they'll become unnecessarily part of the "opioid crisis".  It might actually be better to relax the old fashionable ban on straight Morphine and simple opium.  Now, who's going to bell that cat and be first to tackle the bias/fashion in public?  Good luck, whoever.

--Leslie <;)))><                      


Friday, November 15, 2019

Telling Us What We've Just Seen

After watching the second day of the impeachment hearings, and then the CNN/MSNBC reports on them, I'm convinced that the "mainstream media" thinks we're all idiots. 

The hearings themselves were plodding and picky, and full of congresscritters asking blatantly leading questions.  Today it was ex-ambassador Yovanovitch obediently being led into giving the right answers.  For instance, when asked about how she lost her job, she mentioned that she got a phonecall from her immediate boss saying that there was a question about her "security";  she asked if this was her physical security, and was told no -- she was just being ordered home, and thought this was "irregular".  Assorted Democrats then asked her if she thought this was "intimidation", to which she obediently replied yes.  About then Trump sent out a tweet that grumbled about Yovanovitch, the congresscritters picked up on it, and asked if she thought his complaints were "intimidation" -- to which she promptly agreed.  The newsies reported, on the news directly afterward, that Trump was "intimidating witnesses".  Uhuh.

I recall that when Trump fired Comey, a couple years back, MSNBC showed an interview with Trump in which the reporter asked: "Didn't you think about how it would look?" -- referring to the then active Mueller investigation.  Trump replied: "Sure I thought about it" -- meaning how it would look -- and then went on to say that the investigation was all BS anyway, so "I went ahead and fired him."  Immediately after that, the camera cut to Rachel Maddow saying: "There you have it, people.  Trump just admitted that he fired Comey to stop the investigation."  In other words, she told us that what we had just seen and heard for ourselves wasn't what really happened. 

I have to wonder just how stupid the media think we are, that they can tell us something different from what we've seen and heard and expect that we'll believe it.

This also makes me doubt everything they say about incidents we haven't directly seen and heard.  Back when I was working for a union newspaper in Chicago, I learned how to analyze photographs -- and eventually videos -- and since then I've seen case after case of the media showing pictures and telling stories about them, "interpretations", that don't match the visible facts.  The media have been getting away with this for decades without being caught, or at least without a major scandal about it, so I suppose they think they can expand the tactic and nobody will notice. 

Well, some people have noticed.  No less than Alan Dershowitz, the ultimate liberal lawyer, went up on the Internet and denounced the impeachment proceedings on legal and constitutional grounds: including the congresscritters' cherry-picking of witnesses, behind-closed-doors hearings, extensive use of hearsay ("he-said-that-she-said-that-Trump-siad"), and -- yes -- leading -- of witnesses.  He had to publish his complaint on the Internet because the mainstream media wouldn't hear him.  This is incredible, considering how they used to hang on his every word back when he was attacking racially-biased laws.  In short, when he took up this subject they quietly censored him. 

Less famous citizens have noticed too, which is probably why the more obviously left-biased media have been losing their audiences.  It takes a bit of searching to discover this, but both CNN and the venerable New York Times are worried about how much they've lost viewers.  To be fair, Fox News has lost viewers too, but not on the same scale.  It seems that the citizens are voting with their attention as well as their dollars, forsaking the mainstream media for the vast and varied sources of the Internet.  This can be both liberating and dangerous, since a plethora of information sources are hard to track down and verify.  Still, it can't be worse than a near-monopoly on news reporting that treats its viewers as idiots.

And in my opinion, Trump should fire the inept Giuliani and hire Alan Dershowitz as his lawyer.

--Leslie <;)))><