Sunday, March 28, 2010

Too coarse for "the movement"

The other day I was told by some fellow that people must be polite and use nice language when arguing social reforms. He said he'd seen damage to "the movement" as a result of coarse language.

I can only wonder, what "movement" was he talking about? For sure he's not talking about trying cooperatively to reform society for everyone. In the parts of America where I've lived in my lifetime, there have been plenty of smart, well-informed, objectively wise people who didn't talk like Oxford dons discussing theological constructs. And a huge chunk of Americans who aren't actively involved in "movements" but could benefit from social reforms, they talk coarsely too.

Apparently this fellow hasn't been around much, because coarse language is an integral part of many aspects of American society. I've lived among coarse-talking people most of my life, and encountered my first "FUCK THAT SHIT!"-spewing adults when I was about 7 or so. They didn't scare me. They didn't make me want to run away. They didn't make me think, "we need to eliminate those coarse heathen and make good grammarians of them!"

Seems to me that the chiding fellow I mentioned at the outset, he's imagining that social reforms can happen through polite afternoon tea on lace doilies with stiff upright seated posture and an extended pinky on the hand that grasps the bone china teacup.

"Yes, Mildred. Quite right. I agree completely."

"Charles, do you imagine we can see social reforms in our lifetime? I'm rather optimistic since I'm 26 and women have an average lifespan into their mid 70s."

"I do wonder, Mildred."

"Wonder about what, Charles."

"About your grasp on reality, Mildred."

The chiding fellow I mentioned first above, he strikes me as seeking a certain puritanical form of social revolution -- one where the Polite Progressives have Primacy, and everyone else is sent to a New Treblinka or the like. Like Hitler with Jews, the chiding fellow will corral people based simply on their manner of speech, and their coarse social un-graces. REFORM OR DIE, dirt-eater! REFORM OR DIE!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Reforming laws regarding cannabis

Montana NORML has on several occasions argued with me about the approach it is taking toward "reform" of cannabis laws in Montana. Basically NORML's argument is that incremental changes are best, and therefore medical marijuana is a great first step toward having cannabis laws reflect meaningful "reform." I disagree. Here are my reasons.

1. Medical marijuana is needlessly divisive. Medical marijuana divides cannabis users into two categories, the criminal and the excused. If I can qualify for medical MJ use, I am not committing a criminal act when I obtain and use cannabis, provided I have my medical MJ card. However, if I cannot qualify, I am subject to criminal penalties.

What is the reasoning behind this creation of two classes of cannabis user? Both groups are using cannabis for the same purpose. The only difference is that one of the groups contains people who cannot qualify for "medical" excuse. The fabrication of a "medical" usage is ludicrous. There is no evidence to support this distinction among users.FN

In Missoula most of the Med MJ shops are advertising as being places to effect "pain management." Anyone who has the mildest scientific awareness should know that "pain" is not a quantifiable objective thing, and isn't measurable by the outside observer. It's entirely subjective.

I have broken many bones in my lifetime, and none of them caused me what I consider excessive pain. The most severe pain I've felt in my lifetime has been caused by two different things.

The first was major reconstruction of my right knee's anterior cruciate ligament in 1985, it was an open procedure done through a 10" incision on the right side of my right leg. That procedure was highly disruptive, and therefore caused incredible pain during the first week of recovery. Even morphine injections struggled to manage the pain.

The second is existential pain, the pain of being aware of what is just in a human society, and the comparison of that justice to the so-called "justice" that our governmental entities provide us. This type of pain doesn't qualify for "medical MJ" status, but it is alleviated just the same by using cannabis.FN2

2. Commercialization and regulation are not good for anyone but medical MJ businessmen. My second primary critique of medical MJ relates to its use as a vehicle for venture capitalists. Montana NORML has argued to me that cannabis should be treated as "an intoxicant" and therefore regulated like alcoholic beverages. Ironically, the national NORML has long argued that cannabis should be treated differently from alcohol because its effects on the human mind are different.FN3

Several problems arise with commercializing cannabis growth, harvesting, packaging and sale. The first one probably evades many people's perspective because it is more subtle and depends on a long-term view. Here I am talking about the ways that commerce in America consistently degrades the individuality/uniqueness of a thing, and renders it vulnerable to lowest-common-denominator effects. The wider and larger the target audience intended, the lesser such things as individuality are tolerated. Does anyone really think a McDonald's cheeseburger is superior to the one you can make at home? Do people really want square tasteless GMO tomatoes when home-grown hothouse 'maters are much tastier? Who cares if the GMO tomatoes can be grown, packaged and transported more profitably if they taste like shit?

Unleashing the hounds of capitalist profiteering on any thing tends to make that thing lose what made it interesting in the first place. The desire for more profit makes a person fear lost sales, and sales are lost through individual quirks that don't satisfy "everyone." Most people I know can point to a musician, or a movie-maker, whose work suffered when he, she or they tried to "appeal to a wider audience." In fact I can't recall a single instance where any artist sought wider appeal and in the process, became a more interesting artist.

In the process of commercializing a thing, the only people who stand to benefit are those who make money off the thing commercialized. This is a sad reality of consumerist capitalism in America. Whether it works differently in other cultures is of no moment. Other cultures have different values. Here in America, profiteering is such a strong driver of behavior that it tends to squeeze out any other impulse or value in the pursuit of profit.

3. Partial legalization and regulation create targets for "law enforcement." A disturbing feature of semi-legalization through medical MJ is that "law enforcement" now have easily identified people that "law enforcement" have spent millions of dollars and man-hours trying to locate and corral for "enforcement" purposes. For decades, "law enforcement" have used paid informants, "undercover" coppers, wiretaps, electronic eavesdropping, stake-outs and the like to try to identify growers, packagers, sellers and users of cannabis.

Medical MJ brings many of those people out into the open, and readily identifies them to "law enforcement" and our "justice system." Upon revocation of conditional medical MJ permission, thousands of newly identified "criminals" are now subject to punishment despite their deceived belief that they are "legit" thanks to medical MJ.

I would remind Montana NORML that when Montana voters passed the medical MJ initiative several years ago, the Missoula Chief of Police and the Missoula County Sheriff both promised people through public statements that they were going to arrest people for possession of cannabis no matter whether they had a card that allowed such possession. This sort of attitude tells you what really is going on with "law enforcement" and how "law enforcement" views whatever it may ultimately do regarding cannabis regulation and the information gained through that regulatory process.

4. Incrementalism is not a successful path to political reform. Despite Montana NORML's arguments on this point, using medical MJ as a "first step" to decriminalizing cannabis is not a practical approach. There are no instances I'm aware of where incremental progress has been achieved in any type of "reform." I'd be interested in hearing about any examples people might have, but as far as I've seen the approach of "incremental progress" generally has been used as an excuse to get people to accept less than they're entitled to receive, for purposes of advancing the interests of a narrow minority. The recent health care "reform" bill passed by the Congress is an excellent example -- it pretends to be a step forward, but the forward movement is found only on behalf of the insurance companies and pharmaceutical makers who will be rewarded through the new law's operation.

5. If you have political "momentum" for medical MJ passage, you have such "momentum" for decriminalization. This is the point on which Montana NORML seems most lost. If there is "political capital" or "momentum" to get medical MJ accepted, then there is equal "momentum" for decriminalization. Political momentum or capital depends on public attitudes being flexible enough to consider change. If you can muster persuasive arguments for medical MJ then you can muster persuasive arguments for decriminalization. The question is how do you approach the subject. If you devote your energy to a focus on medical MJ then it will look to you as though that's where you need to devote your political force. But the same persuasive force can be used to argue successfully for decriminalization. Nobody has shown me an argument that suggests public opinions will bend to accept medical MJ but not decriminalization. Both approaches require flexibility regarding people's view toward the "dangers" of cannabis.

If you can persuade people that cannabis is not dangerous if allowed for "medical" use, then you can persuade people that it isn't dangerous for personal use in the absence of a "medical" excuse. Refer back to point (1) above for the reasons why.

FN - An exception I'm aware of is cannabis's ability to reduce intra-ocular pressure thereby alleviating problems in glaucoma patients. However, marinol and similar substances are presently available as commercial pharmaceuticals with a prescription, so Medical MJ isn't really the "regulated substance" path of preference here.

FN2 - Here I'd simply relate what Dmitry Orlov recently posted at his blog -- a statement I agree with, and quite a few of my friends say they agree with too:
Life in the USA gives everyone a pain that is for many people simply not survivable without drugs: either alcohol, pharmaceuticals or illegal drugs.
FN3 - And of course, scientific studies have shown this to be true: alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, which makes its use dangerous to operation of machinery like a car/truck/SUV/motorcycle, or an industrial process machine/station. Cannabis, on the other hand, creates no such CNS depressant effect and its most "dangerous" feature is that it causes a distortion in how one perceives the passage of time. Things seem to take much longer than they actually take; time "slows down" under cannabis use. The other pharmacological effects include depersonalization/detachment (important to alleviation of perceived pain or discomfort), vasodilation, and occasionally, perceived sensory enhancement (taste, smell, touch).

Thursday, March 25, 2010

On the "Evil Rethuglicans" and "health care reform"

This is a comment I posted at Chris Floyd's.


On the role of the Republicans in this "momentous reform" --

Think about this one for a minute: if the GOP supported the bill, Democrat-identifying Americans would question its provisions, because most Americans are binary thinkers when it comes to federal politics. Democrats identify more as NOT BEING REPUBLICANS than they do as standing FOR something.

Thus, if the bill were endorsed by the GOP as well, Democrats would be wondering what is going on, whether the bill goes FAR ENOUGH, because what partisan piss-pot Donklebots love more than anything is "winning one" against the Evil Rethuglicans.

By pretending to be opposed to this bill as "socialism" (which they CLEARLY know it is NOT), the Republicans ensured its passage and therefore its guarantees of massive profits for the big corporate interests they serve.

What those in power fear now is the populace seeing through the charade of Obama's supposed nobility and pragmatism, into the festering sewage that is our soft fascism. The Republican "opposition" to this "reform" was calculated to make Donkeybot Americans NOT QUESTION the bill's actual provisions. By NOT QUESTIONING those provisions, the Donkeybot Americans will accept what Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Kucinich tell them about the bill -- i.e., "the best we can do now."

The supposed "opposition" by the GOP was designed to ensure the bill's passage without public outcry or question. The GOP don't actually believe this is Marxist legislation. They know it is pure Mussolini, not essential Marx.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Who will carry my water?

I arose from my slumbers to learn that the Congress has been meddling in my affairs once again. This time, they pretend to be protecting the "public interest." Last time, they were protecting "innocents abroad." Next time, they'll be protecting "the children."

It's always this way with the Congress.

Extortion is my business. My product sells itself, thanks to human insecurity. Most humans don't know how the human body works, don't understand etiology, don't understand to what extent their own behavior causes conditions of illness.

And at the same time, most humans are fairly ignorant of scientific application, a/k/a "technology." Sure, they'll sport the latest iPhone and lust after the iPad. They'll trade in that Hummer on a spanking new Prius... unless my friends in Detroit convince them that Toyota is evil and to be avoided. But when it comes to matters of human health, it's easy to convince most humans that technology is what makes them well. Not healthy living. Technology.

Thankfully, I am in a position to play pivot-man on the convergence of those two areas of human ignorance. I offer protection against the ravages worked by technological "health care." Anyone who's been to a hospital ER and received an MRI scan to diagnose the extent of their injuries suffered in a 3mph vehicle collision and then reviewed the billing for that visit knows -- if you're not even feeling injured, your "health care" can still cost you $3,000 at a visit.

What I offer these poor, uninformed humans is a chance to be able to pay for that $3,000 visit that occupied only 15 minutes of an ER technician's time.

In exchange for a monthly fee of $1,000 to $4,000, I offer financial "coverage" for the costs of "health care." Depending on the condition for which such "care" is rendered, I will reimburse the human in question for anything between 15% and 75% of the costs of that "care."

Sure, sometimes the human in question gets 0% reimbursement. But that's just fair play in operation. I will only return 0% when the human in question lied to me about his or her existing state of health. If the human didn't know, for example, that he has testicular cancer when he signs up for my program, that's not my fault. I ask the human to tell me what problems he has when he signs up for my program. When he fails to be forthcoming, he must be punished.

My ability to reimburse a human depends on his honesty. It's not my fault if he doesn't know the full extent of his corporal health. That's up to him to learn. On his own dime.

The system we have here in America is simple: figure out a way to take money from other humans, preferably without force of gunpoint or knifeblade. If I can do it with paperwork, I won't go to jail. But if I have to use a gun, I'll probably spend time up the river. Unless I do it with a gun, in the company of many other humans, under sanction from the Government. Then it's called "military action" and there is no legal penalty, no jail time, no punishment. In fact, often the opposite happens -- applause, congratulations, and admiration. Maybe even declaration as a "hero."

So naturally I conjured a way to do it with paper. I present humans with a simple problem, and I offer a simple solution.

Are you afraid of bankruptcy due to "health care"?

Then I have the product for you. I call it "insurance." I will "insure" that you won't go bankrupt.

Unless you failed to tell me about that testicular cancer you're hiding.

Or unless you don't have enough spare income to pay my monthly fee for protection... err, aaahhhh, I mean insurance.

Please, let me help you.

Congratulations to Amber, Noam, Dennis, Barack, Nancy!

History! Precedent! Progress!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Secrets to dating success, for Men of a Certain Age

Alas, hearts are broken hourly, if not by the minute, by the strange and random collisions of people who really shouldn't be thrown together in a "dating" situation.

But what's a guy to do after he's been out of college for a few decades?

Most workplaces frown on intra-office romance so most co-worker prospects are chilled to the point of Ice Queen. Church sometimes helps but there you run the risk of meeting Tammy Faye Bakker in disguise. Bowling league, perhaps? Maybe.

No matter where you go looking for That Special Woman (TM; all rights reserved), it seems the following rules are helpful:
1. Don't date someone who weighs more than you.

2. Don't date someone who has cats that are treated better than their children.

3. Don't date someone who has bigger balls than you do.

4. Don't date someone who can drink you under the table.

5. Don't date someone who has children and has never been married.
As with most lists, the above represent only a baseline. Surely there are more axioms to add. Please add yours!

--The Management

Help Amber and the PRN crew save Health Care Reform!

Amber's got a letter to her audience posted at PRN, on the subject of health care reform. Act now to stop the Evil Rethuglians!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Michael Moore takes a cue from Andrew Sullivan

Hey, Joe & Ethyl Sixpack, I'm just like you!

(reference to Andrew Sullivan explained indirectly here)

Fat Slob is now pretending that he never really was a Democrat, and that the Evil Rethuglicans are pretty heroic:
"These Democrats are a bunch of wusses," Moore told Raw Story in a hard-edged interview Wednesday. "They don't have the courage of their convictions. They won't stand and fight."

* * *

His views on the Republicans? Well, at least they have cojones, Moore said.

"You really have to admire the Republicans on some level, because they stand up for what they believe in," he said. "They come into town, and when they win, oh they win. They come in with guns blazing."
Gosh! Fat Slob now admires the Evil Rethuglicans! Just about 1.5 years ago, he was imploring people to vote for Obama, and for as long as I can remember, his whole "public persona" life has been devoted to praising the Noble Democrats. Witness his recent shilling efforts:

Michael Moore Endorses Obama

My Vote's for Obama
(urging people to vote for Obama)

An Open Letter to Obama (in which great deference and respect are shown to The Clown Prince of Progressivism)

Obama is faking Right, heading Left

Stupid White Men (savaging the Evil Rethuglicans and blaming our problems on them)

...and there's plenty Moore out there if you just run a search with this phrase: "michael moore support obama."

Moore is a pandering slob. He really wants us to hate Evil Rethuglicans most of the time -- until praising the Evil Rethuglicans gains him some notoriety, in which instance he will turn about and play the reversal.

What evidence is available now, as compared to 2008, to suggest it was bad form to support Obama, and/or good form to admire the Evil Rethuglicans?

Well, let's see.

There was the cadre of campaign funders supporting the Obama campaign. No... wait, that was available as early as 2006 when Barry O shot ahead of the pack to take the Illinois senate seat.

Then there was the resume/CV of Barry O, suggesting that despite his rhetorical flourishes and his mimicry of Bill Clinton's "I feel your pain" fake empathy, he has been a corporate toady ever since he finished high school. Hmm. So that won't work to suggest new evidence has come to light for Fat Slob to make a position reversal.

What exactly has changed since 2008 when Fat Slob was cheering on Barry O?

Nothing about Barry O has changed. Barry O has delivered on what his campaign funding sources suggested, and what his resume/CV suggested.

Barry O's intentions were readable from the start, despite the suggestion that he was a "community organizer"FN who tried to help the "underprivileged."

So why should we believe Fat Slob now?

I know I don't. I don't think he does anything but whatever it takes to earn himself a Fat Profit off the misery of others, those very same others he's pretending to help.

Fat Slob!

FN - Progressives love "community organizers" and think that "organizing" is one of man's highest callings. I suppose it never dawned on progressives that country clubs are places where people "organize" as a "community," or that the Chamber of Commerce is a "community organizing" entity. Venture capitalists can be called "community organizers," and people who work for Arne Duncan to help privatize schools for the benefit of Duncan & Co, they are "community organizers" too. Dammit, I thought "community organizers" always improved things for everyone!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010