Something About Looking At The Abyss Or Something

All pass, no puff.

While I consider Trump’s response to the crisis unacceptable, he has no monopoly on this. For ALL of those in charge during this time, I 100% favor a “Truth And Reconciliation” approach to the post mortem on the pandemic. I do think the Communist Party of China deliberately (and maliciously ultimately) obscured what they knew in order to try to control optics, and I believe the WHO chose political fealty to China over the health of the world. I believe those were calamitously bad decisions humanity can’t afford to repeat. In the end, even that won’t matter all that much – or at least shouldn’t. Truth & Reconciliation is the answer. All mistakes need to be forgiven and all effort put into the constructive building of future protocols that will perform better (the media didn’t make mistakes – they deliberately became propaganda organs. Not sure it is worth going into any detail on – maybe later, but that is a separate issue in my mind.) Energy directed any other way is wasted.
We cannot change what happened, and almost no one got this right. Spending energy to assign blame isn’t productive. Fixing shit is. Period. Energy directed towards things we know not to be productive is as malicious as any act done by the so-called villains of COVID19 as far as I am concered.
There is a long list of stuff that needs to be fixed and addressed and there is no way for me to cover all of it, but there is one in particular that sticks out to me in the middle of the virus’ story arc – and that is the way in which we decide what to get worked up about!
For example – the Coronavirus hit the 100k deaths threshold this week. I am not sure I trust any of the numbers, but 100,000 deaths is pretty close to a consensus count at this point so we should go with that. It is a very big number, and if even one of these deaths was really preventable, it is a profound tragedy. One could reasonably expect things to get worse in 2020 if there are more waves of the virus; in fact we could see another 100-200k deaths if the models on later waves are accurate. The original high-end death estimate I think was somewhere around 250k from the Orange Man and CDC, so we can use that…
The spectre of 250k people dying from COVID this year was enough for us to literally lose our minds. We gave up our freedom and economy over it, and if we’d had national unity, we would have given that up too. For 250k deaths! I would be proud of any country who would drop everything/anything to save even one human life. I am not complaining about what we gave up – like I said, I want to live in a country who would be willing to sacrifice much for even one human life. I believe that is who we are and I am proud of that. I honestly think it is almost everyone on the planet when they listen to their better angels.
Saving the life of other human beings is fundamental to what I think being human is about; but we, as a race, don’t seem to have our thoughts particularly well thought out in this way. There are loads of things that kill many more people that 250k a year and we don’t lift a finger to mitigate, let alone focus on it. In the case of COVID, I think the easiest comparison is with smoking deaths. We have at least 500k smoking deaths a year, and we do almost nothing. We sell respiratory-failure-sticks in pharmacies in packs of 20! No limit on purchases! How can a society paralyzed by the spectre of death from loss of lung function for 250k people literally sell at retail just such a death for twice as many people?
I am biased of course, but the answer in this case is pretty obvious to me: the drug war makes it impossible for anyone to believe that tobacco prohibition will work. Without doubt, the failure of alcohol prohibition is also fundamental to our thinking on how prohibition works, but that event isn’t in living memory for most. For most, when they think of how prohibition works, they think of the drug war and its total failure to accomplish anything positive. If we wanted to have a meaningful discussion about how to mitigate these smoking deaths, we would have to consider managing access to tobacco and having its consumption regulated. In short, we would have to consider harm reduction measures! Prohibition would not work any better for butts than it has for bud. It is hard to look at the history of prohibition and see a path forward for making tobacco illegal without also creating incredible suffering via the black market and the use of even more dangerous street products. I totally believe that black market tobacco could kill significantly more people than regulated tobacco does. The prohibition is the killer – it wasn’t alcohol one-hundred years ago and it is not the drugs now. Most drugs consumed illegally would be DRAMATICALLY less deadly if their consumption was decriminalized, standardized, and regulated. The shadows kill more than than what is done in them, and everyone of good will knows it.
Getting the COVID post mortem right is a big deal for this planet. Too important to put into the hands of people with partisan or nationalistic motives. If we get our shit together and start being as humane with each other as we can, it seems inevitable to me that we will see harm reduction come into clear focus for many with respect to booze, drugs, and tobacco. A world in which saving and enriching human life is our collective goal will not fail to put these things into balance. We are so far out of balance right now in so many ways. How we treat the planet, how we treat life on the planet, and ultimately how we treat others have all taken on extreme dimensions within a very short time. It isn’t sustainable. Luckily, it is fixable if we want it. We have given up more for less many many times. Our tormentors operate in plain sight. Our institutions can be reclaimed. Our spiritual baggage can be shed. The evils of our other choices are also now out in the open for all to see. As painful as it is to have so much open ill-will right now, it does give clarity to how unthinkable it is to deliberately choose to push things further to the extreme. It marks the abyss pretty clearly, and the news of the day lights up the path to the abyss pretty well to boot. Nihilism-inducing it may be, but it all needs to be dragged into the light. Once there, I think everyone will soon know what to do:

  • Now they’re making this stuff up.
  • Um – I think boredom is behind weed use in general. Not sure what the pandemic has to do with it.
  • Sugar Daddy Science is, so far, my favorite term I learned in 2020. Brilliant.
  • The White Coats Don’t Care“. No they surely don’t.
  • Those who insist on drug prohibition do so knowing that prohibition kills people; but the kind of people being killed live lives that others consider beneath them, so it goes on and on and on.
  • There is no way to cover them all, so I will take joy in seeing them covered at all.
  • This is a totally judgmental and unneccessary statement but I have found most of the Pot Moguls I have read about to be creepy in one way or another. There is a certain joylessness to their hedonism that I simply can’t get beyond. I am not even sure what that means, but there is usually a palpable difference between libertine and libertarian.
  • Technically, corruption isn’t because everyone already knows about it.
  • The failure of the drug war is inevitable. We can expect the drug warriors to lose their minds all the way as the damage of their life’s work continues to be tallied in the open. You should expect that the drug warriors and police are going to become more insufferable – not less – as their work is undone. Guarantee they will do more and more of things like this to attempt to spread blame for their failures far and wide. They will attempt to take as many people down on the way out as they can and come up with ever more fantastical in their rationale for their irrational actions.
  • We could easily create a database for people who wish to refuse all opiates. We should do that for its own sake. We should also do it to expose the phonies who want restricted opiate access for everyone else – just not themselves!
  • The Coronavirus and the DEA both keeping the sick from getting the meds they need?!? (monocle drops…)
  • Per & in spite of the above, we akshually aren’t “all in it together” and kinda fuck you for saying so. We don’t have an agreed upon, universal value for a human life, and it is killing us. It is certainly preventing us from making the right decisions in terms of harm reduction and the saving of the most lives. It is time for us – as a planet – to come up with “The Number”: The actual value of a generic human life on this planet is a number we need to create, and then we need to favor it above the types of calculations we currently use. The debate alone would lay bare many of the problems we have in more stark light than we currently have. COVID is indeed doing much to surface these issues right now, but wars and crime are the places we have historically been most acquainted with the debate. We will need this number constantly I think. One’s ability to get paid in our corrupt economy is not the number to use to determine the value of a human life, but it is the one we use. It is time to do better! Wow. I have become an idealist this week. Who knew?
  • Perhaps we should clarify the math behind “lesser of 2 evils” if we are going to keep nominating evil.
  • I don’t think Boomer Drug Warriors should be allowed to run let alone be the only option progressive people have.
  • The handicapped have made such great strides in my lifetime. I feel like we really could achieve some big milestones for humanity within a generation, and yet, there is so much left to do.
  • No one believes for a second that any DEA agent’s mama goes without all the pain meds they want do you?
  • The potency arms race in weed is a tough call in the sense that there eventually has to come a point where it is too much of a good thing no?
  • Come on Iowa! Illinois is so bad at selling pot you finally have a chance to look good and you still look like their country cousins. TRY HARDER!
  • People medicate their pain. Why does this continue to baffle people so hard? We gonna stay like this?
  • It appears suicide is now going to be politicized around Coronavirus. I associate suicide with profound loneliness. I will not do will watching people politicize profound loneliness.
  • Not to beat a dead horse, but I dislike Uday Cuomo intensely, but if he had been given perfect information I believe he would have done the right thing. Amnesty, Truth, & Forgiveness. We probably should start today.
  • God Less Ohio.
  • This stuff is starting to look made up.
  • Trump voters. Texans. Whomever. No on deserves to have their medical issues untreated in a society that can easily provide such treatment.

From The Land Of Cackalacka To Sweet Home

Sweet Home Chicago

I made the trip from Western North Carolina to Chicago last weekend. Trying to get caught up on life stuff, so I have been a little slow on the draw with an update. The news hasn’t slowed a bit, so I will mostly do links this week with something more pithy to come soon. Til then, enjoy:

Never Touched Nothin’ That My Spirit Could Kill

My weed supply ran out this week. I was able to make a one-day-limit purchase at a local dispensary last 2 months in quarantine. I am no Willie Nelson, but I like what I like. Sobriety is fine – it is how I have spent 99% of my life. I can’t lie though – the devil’s lettuce does make the intolerable more tolerable, and most importantly, it makes the time pass less slowly – which counts! I consider it helpful in that regard, but there will be considerable effort to recast people practicing escapism as the world burns as some sort of mental or emotional or character deficit. My coping mechanisms make me a bad person. This is as certain as the sun rising in the east!
The first link below covers an estimate of the COVID-driven “deaths of despair”, and estimates them at 75,000. Demon weed even now! I have no way of knowing exactly how they do their calcs and whether they can guess how many of those people were incremental deaths vs. inevitable deaths that were sped up by circumstances. The distinction matters – keep in mind that they are starting to say pain patients have suspiciously high mental illness co-morbidities! Will the same standard get applied to everyone? Of course not! It would be very interesting though to see the white coats attempt to get away with that kind of smear on any other condition or handicap! Will they ever even do the research? Will they ever seek to impugn the motives of any other condition like they do people who use any drug that has recreational value? Will the sick ever be allowed to be “just sick” instead of “guilty of their sickness”? Some will. Some won’t. Do you really need me to tell which group is gonna “deserve” their afflictions vs. those who are victims? I think we all already know.
All in due time, for now, here are the latest dispatches from the land of the emotionally constipated:

  • The COVID party is killer too it seems.
  • The Feds caused it. Suck it Feds.
  • I don’t know if this is true, but my hope the last few years will finally get the average person to understand how media is manipulated to make us feel the way the authors want us to. No one is trying to “Make You Think”; they are trying to “Make You Think Like Them”
  • The truth is, all human beings do is go around trying to do what is needed in the moment to get their brain to release the pleasure chemicals. Pills are the easy metaphor, but sex and money and love and acceptance are really no different in that respect.
  • Street drug death is always represented with a picture of a prescription bottle. That is because articles like this are propaganda. They are going to use the pandemic to further harass people in pain, and the media is going to go along because it’s interesting when people die from vice…certainly far more interesting pondering why the world around us is collapsing!
  • I may be reading this incorrectly, but it feels like they are saying something about the gender split of essential workers. Weird flex. Not sure ok.
  • When police were invented, I am sure they had nabbing dopesick junkies in mind, so what Rhode Island is doing is totally normal and reflects very healthy thinking.
  • The War On Drugs is killing us. It is poison to our national soul.
  • Texas won’t say where the nursing homes are that are being ravaged by COVID. That is a totally rational approach and a sign of a healthy, well-run system right?
  • This is the kinda shit that drives me bonkers.
  • I am saddened at the thought of more suicide, but if more of them are tracked, I can have a glimmer of hope that more light will be shown on the suicides of those denied adequate pain medication. 75,000 people from suicide over COVID is nearly as bad as COVID so far!
  • Wow – this piece comes dangerously close to hitting on the real issues. The truth is, any institution we have that is designed to restrain the use of power has been under systemic assault by those who are supposed to be protecting us. Our institutions are thoroughly corrupted for the benefit of the donor class, and the politicians aren’t even hiding it anymore. What do they have to fear at this point? The CDC operates as if their communications are privileged and not subject to scrutiny. That is the perfect place for the donor class to run wild. They buy what they want and sell it as science. The crones and toads at the CDC get their funding and equity for playing ball. A perfect closed system for sociopaths! And this was the institution that was supposed to help keep us well!
  • OK, this is some incredible shit. I am not sure I understand it all quite yet, but if this passes, it will be interesting to see what the courts say the limits are.
  • God damn the pusher man.
  • These bitches are going to say “the economy is open – go get a job or we’ll cut off your unemployment”. That is evil in a way few things are.
  • The “financialization” of higher education, and the renting of our institutions to the highest bidder, has been an unmitigated disaster. The Republicans started it, but the Dems were a quick study. What was done to this nation by these people must be pulled out by the root and replanted with better. That feels less and less likely. Just remember, all these beautiful new campuses across the country were built on human suffering, usury, and debt no honest person can pay.
  • I am worried when people aren’t freedom obsessed.
  • Forgive me for saying so, but the current data quality I have seen doesn’t support much accurate description, let alone prescription, so I am not sure how many in-pandemic studies I believe, but this sort of thing needs to be looked into very thoroughly.
  • When people make claims to be able to predict who the criminals are – set phasers to annihilate and run the other way.
  • Telling people they are heroes and the best and essential before putting them in harms’ way has a certain incongruity to it no? Do we think they won’t figure it out? They already have.
  • Why is it not essential for everyone? This makes NO SENSE.
  • I am not going to have much tolerance for any anti-NYC shit that is likely coming. NYC is where most of the world gets their first impression of America. It isn’t just where they caught COVID. For many – the only impression. Without an international city like that America is nowhere near the country we think we are. America can’t
  • This isn’t the scandal the pearl-clutchers want to make it into.