The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

The Solution to Opiate Fentanyl Deaths

Why have opiate deaths spiked?

In the last half of 2016, fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, was detected in 56.3 percent of the opioid overdose deaths in the ten states that make up the CDC’s Enhanced State Opioid Overdose Surveillance program…

How do you solve this? You make available for purchase legal, reasonably priced, pure drugs. You make help getting off drugs available to anyone who wants it, free. (Tapering works in almost all cases.)

This is not a hard problem to solve. It is an easy problem to solve. It is also true that demonizing opiates, in particular, means that a lot of people don’t get the pain relief they need, especially chronic pain sufferers, whose nervous systems change over time so that they are more susceptible to pain.

We do not solve this problem because we are a bunch of moral hysterics who want to force our morals on other people, when their actions are less harmful than our prohibition is.

We also refuse to look at the actual cause of the opiate epidemic, which is fairly clearly economic despair and hopeless lives. Indeed, most drugs aren’t particularly addictive to people who have happy lives and things they want to do.

If you want to end at least half the deaths caused by opiate addiction, make it legally available (it will be more than half, because its illegality drives much of the behaviour that leads to death, beyond just adulteration.)

If you want people to get off opiates, create a society and economy which values them and treats them well. The policies to do this are fairly simple: Updated to deal with racism, sexism and environmental concerns, they are approximately the policies which ran the developed world in the post-war period until the ’70s. Tax the rich brutally, support high wages, have near-free tertiary education, make sure that jobs (or money) are so available that employers have to treat employees well, because employees who walk can always find another job.

This stuff can be complicated in the details, but it’s easy conceptually and hard only in the sense that you have to have the political will and to stay on top of it.

As for opiates and other drugs, just make them legal, regulate them, and make addiction treatment available.

The dead frustrating issue about most of our social problems is that the solutions are more or less known, we just don’t, actually, want to solve them. We prefer the problems to the solutions, or enough of us, combined with enough oligarchs, do.

We can fix our economy, our society, and our drug problem any time we want. Sadly, that is no longer true for the environment, but we can mitigate that damage.

Perhaps one day we’ll decide to do so. Much of this suffering is by choice, and as a society, we’re choosing it.

The results of the work I do, like this article, are free, but food isn’t, so if you value my work, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.



The Torture Culture


The Genocidal Species


  1. Faux outrage in three, two … Followed immediately by reich-wing propaganda.

  2. nihil obstet

    As soon as we identify a situation as a social problem, we criminalize it.

  3. NR

    Well said, Ian. It’s sad, but there are too many powerful people who make money off this kind of suffering (like the prison-industrial complex) and too many right-wing politicians who get votes by demagoguing the people who are suffering for this to be easy to fix. These people will fight brutally to hang on to their money and power, and they have a lot of people behind them.

    That’s not to say that we shouldn’t try, of course.

  4. bob mcmanus

    Halfway through one of 2016 best books with 1100 positive amazon reviews, Dreamland by Sam Quinones. Basically goes through the parallel stories of Oxycontin (S Ohio) and medical pain management from Perdue Pharm and black tar heroin from Xalisco. Part of the story was that through advances and innovations in distribution, both became convenient, safe and dirt cheap. In the places they got a foothold, price and quality were not problems.

    HS Cheerleaders got addicted. Any category you care to imagine got addicted. They could stay alive and hooked but were not exactly contributors or successes and as we are seeing a huge chunk eventually overdosed.

    And a whole lot of us are in some degree of physical pain, and successful drug free chronic pain management is hard and expensive and time consuming, and impossible for the unluckiest.

    No I don’t think a decent society and full availability of opiates would markedly lessen demand. Shit feels too good, hooks like the devil, and wastes lives. Have no answers.

  5. You appear to completely overlook the ‘drug pusher’ aspect of this, at least in this post. Just today, my cousin’s friend told me about some doctor who actually got sent to jail for prescribing a cocktail of opiates – about 50 prescriptions a day. The doctor made a killing (no pun intended) because patients would have to return for fresh prescriptions.

    While this is a worst case scenario, the one described by political commentator Ben Shapiro, whose wife is a doctor, is not terribly inspiring. Doctors only allot a small amount of time to getting to understand their patients, and are tempted to prescribe opiods quickly, so as to move onto the next victim – err, I mean patient – in the assembly line.

    The horrible reality of the socialization of doctors into status quo automatons who regularly violate their Hypocratic Oaths is detailed in the book “Don’t Let Your Doctor Kill You: How to Beat Physician Arrogance, Corporate Greed and a Broken System”. I’ve read a few chapters into it, and, as depressing as it may be, should be required reading for every American citizen.

    The ‘capture’ by the disgusting medical system, of my own brother, who appears to be the sort of ‘good patient’ that Dr. Schwartz (the author of Don’t Let Your Doctor Kill You) warns us NOT to be, has gotten the creative juices flowing, and I am tentatively planning on creating an open source project that will allow for “pay it forward” alternative healthcare/wellness. Not 100% sure I’ll follow through, and I’m surely not going to create the sort of parallel healthcare system that the software should help enable. But SOMETHING has to be done about the entire, diseased healthcare industry. This has also been brought to a recent head by my newfound awareness of the death, almost CERTAINLY induced by vaccine, of a 2 year old who lives very near my brother. The child’s father is an MMA fighter, and his mother is a nurse. Their description of the deceptive autopsy shows how far-reaching the corruption is, which unfortunately parallels the corruption of seemingly every institution in America.


    FWIW, I recently spent about a week looking for info on agents that might REVERSE stage 5 kidney disease. (There is a much better prognosis for reversing earlier stage kidney disease. See, e.g., protocols at Life Extension Foundation). I vaguely recalled a report that said that 15% of dialysis patients were able to get off it after (I think it was) some kind of chelation. However, I never could find the reference.

    My brother is a dialysis patient, and after doing about a week’s worth of research, I could only find 2 POSSIBLE candidates for something curative for his situation.

    One is modified citrus pectin (MCP; especially as formulated by Dr. Eliaz), which is similar to an experimental galectin-3 suppressor ‘drug’ candidate studied by La Jolla pharmaceuticals (and subsequently abandoned. Hmmmm). They demonstrated improved eGFR in stage 3b kidney patients. (Yes, I know that 3b 5). See .

    The other possible candidate is a chelating agent called plaquex. has a reference to a paper showing administration of it to bona fide dialysis patients allowed them to cut their dialysis sessions by 60%.

    Neither plaquex nor MCP are part of the “standard of care” in mainstream medicine, so your orthodox physician most likely will never prescribe it, even if you bring it to his/her attention. (Dr. Eliaz has said that MCP is getting closer to “standard of care” status, though I’m not sure for what diseases. It’s very effective for heavy metal detoxification AND suppressing cancer metastases. I don’t think it’s on the radar screen for kidney disease “standard of care”, though Dr. Eliaz mentioned something about insurance companies becoming aware that electro phoresis (I think it was) might be more cost effective than dialysis.)

  6. highrpm

    The policies to do this are fairly simply: updated to deal with racism, sexism and environmental concerns, … these wouldn’t be issues if a society propagandized 2 fundamental policies:
    1. everyone pays their own way. no victim/ entitlement mindsets.
    2. outlaw unearned income. no j.d. rockfellers, working their skimming schemes, “I would rather earn 1% off a 100 people’s efforts than 100% of my own efforts.”
    would there be lots of folks dying of starvation because they couldn’t pay their own way? yes. it’s long past due that a society embraces natural death in place of imposing death by endless violence and warfare. suicide? yes. mentally incompetent folks are likely better off getting in line sooner than later for their next turn on this prison planet ride than struggling in their present disabled state. brutal? yes. welcome to fuking life.

  7. Joseph

    When I was a kid (so 40-50 years ago) my father always would say we could solve any societal problem but too many vested interests aren’t interested in solving them.

  8. different clue


    Part of solving the problem is stating it clearly, over and over and over again. And the problem you have identified is part of the problem. Many rich people make a killing working the current situation as their bottomless gold mine. And many middle class and working class people make a living helping the rich people make a killing working the war-on-drugs goldmine racket.

    A perfect specimen of that behavior ( in a very slightly different instance) has been displayed by the California Prison Guards Union. They support, defend and maintain Three-Strikes-And-You’re-Out in California in order to keep growing the California StateWide Prisondustrial Complex so as to eternalize their jobs and create more Prison Guard jobs in order to increase the membership and hence the revenue streams of their Union. That is one Union which will have to be crushed and broken and abolished if California hopes to role back its StateWide Prisondustrial Complex. And that basic fact will have to be stated over and over and over again.
    Perhaps the “left” will have to coin the slogan: ” No solidarity with fascist creep Unions”.

  9. EverythingsJake

    We have a government that offers no comfort. It is principally organized around the principle of punishment, and so it seems to know how to offer no response but deprivation.

  10. cripes

    A doctor prescribed me Tramadol and Clonapepam for pain and insomnia. I didn’t take it.

    An important aspect responsible for the increase of fatal overdoses is the combination of prescription anti-anxiety drugs with prescription and non-prescription opiates. Opiates alone are not responsible for this epidemic, although this is the impression directed at the general public. Think “junkies” did it to themselves and probably deserve to die.

    Leaving out this vital statistic helps the pharmaceutical/insurance/legal/justice cabals catapult the propaganda.

    “The majority of drug-related deaths involve misuse of heroin or other opioids in combination with benzodiazepines or other CNS depressant drugs. In most cases of fatal overdose it is likely that lack of opioid tolerance combined with the depressant effects of benzodiazepines is the cause of death.”

    Zanax, Diazepam, Klonopin, Valium, Ativan, Lorazepam…with a little oxycodone, heroin, whatever. Meet your sales targets and eliminate a lot of deplorables. Win-win!

  11. Webstir

    “Indeed, most drugs aren’t particularly addictive to people who have happy lives and things they want to do.”

    Ding ding ding ding ding! We have a winner.

    Alcoholic w/over 12 years recovery here. I submit that this is the core principle of AA. But it takes a while for the realization to sink in when you’ve been pickling (or poking) yourself for most of your life. Most people (normies) are really only aware of the 12 step process. But the steps are simply the intervention … something to keep your mind busy while the healing is occurring in the background. The people who succeed are the ones (like me) who manage to put the plug in the jug just long enough to have an epiphany, which is “I don’t need the shit, and since I’ve been off it … I’ve had relatively happy life filled with things I want to do.”

    AA has a saying: “The program is simple. It only requires that you do one thing. Change everything.” To your point Ian. The solution really is simple. All we have to do as a country is change everything.

  12. Webstir

    different clue says: “Part of solving the problem is stating it clearly, over and over and over again.”

    I’m finding that the refrain “STOP MAKING ARGUMENTS FOR THE 1%,” repeated over and over has a marked effect on those that do not belong to the 1%, but continue to serve as their useful idiots.

  13. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Apparently, highrpm thinks he will never, ever, be weak or unlucky.

    That is not a realistic view of life.

  14. Duder

    I agree with Metamars. Sure, all opioids should be legal, regulated, substances, the argument of this posts overlooks that the current opioid crisis is the product of legal and regulated drugs. Removing profit motive from the distribution of opioids would go a lot farther than simple legalization.

  15. Ché Pasa

    The policies in place are clearly eliminationist, and they appear to be working, so why would policy makers reverse them? The current regime declares a “health emergency” and then does nothing to reverse it while doing plenty to make it worse — ie: more effective.

    We’ve seen the pattern before.

    The British Empire certainly used opium as a tool to help weaken the Chinese people and exploit China’s wealth when time was; it worked, didn’t it? Drug “policy” has been used time and again to weaken and exploit and from time to time help eliminate various segments of the US domestic population as well. It’s used because it works.

    Changing our social and economic policies so as to reduce opioid addiction and death from overdose is not going to happen under the current regime; just the opposite is more likely. And in the meantime, those who suffer from chronic pain will have ever more restricted access to effective pain relief — leading to higher levels of suicide and perhaps euthanasia.

    From the perspective of Our Rulers, it’s all good, no?

  16. Skippy LaLand

    Who will take The Road from Omelos?

  17. @Duder I don’t know enough about opiods to have an informed opinion about how they should be handled. I also don’t what Dr. Schwartz believes about handling opiods.

    Dr. Schwartz’ position is that the entire medical profession has been been corrupted, in large part the insurance industry and by Big Pharma. Their motivation is overwhelmingly, if not solely, profit. The problem is far more extensive than just opiods. Schwartz makes a strong case for the problem extending to the process of becoming a doctor, which includes “brainwashing”, and physician “arrogance”.

    The doctor that went to jail for opiod cocktail prescribing, AFAIK, didn’t make money off of the drugs, but off of the office visits. Not only is Dr. Schwartz not against charging appropriately for her services, including office visits, but she tells the story of her early departure from getting enmeshed in health insurance:

    “One day, after a routine visit, Charlie and I walked to the checkout area of my office. As I watched him hand a five-dollar bill to our secretary, I asked him why he was only paying $5 for the visit. He told me that his wife had GHI insurance, which we were now accepting, and he was on her policy. I’m a very direct person, so I told him I felt being paid $5 for my services didn’t feel right, since it was devaluing my work as his doctor. He said, “But you accept the insurance.” He also told me he didn’t intend to offend me and would pay whatever it took to keep me as his doctor. I will forever be grateful to Charlie in the red Porsche. He opened my eyes to what was to come and I was lucky to have the self-confidence to refuse to take insurance ever again. You have no idea how easy it is for any doctor, under the threat of losing patients and the competitive whining of peers, to drown in the impersonal insurance shuffle and wind up serving the insurance master rather than the patient. I told my office manager to get out of GHI and never joined another insurance plan. I strongly and undoubtedly believe the relationship between the patient and doctor should not be influenced by insurance, drug and equipment companies, or fear of malpractice. Anyone that comes between the doctor and the patient is going to deter from optimal patient care.”

    In the excellent documentary “Sick Around the World”, we can see that both the more capitalistic as well as the purely socialistic systems can and do work. (No apologies to ideologues of either side who want to shoehorn reality into their belief systems.) However, regulation prevents over charging and greed from running amok. Also, according to Thom Hartmann, even that excellent documentary was censored to prevent educating the public that (as I recall) it’s illegal to make a profit for primary care, even in the capitalistic systems.

    In my own “pay it forward” scheme that I’ve recently brainstormed, the “in network” physicians are paid a salary by the system, and so have zero motivation to over-prescribe anything, prolong treatment, or minimize interaction (which maximizes patient throughput). However, as I want to make a parallel system that can help most, but not all patients with participants paying out of pocket – first for themselves (after, say, a 2 year free ride), but then also paying forward for the next person – bang for the buck estimates must be made, and health endpoints which respect the very real economic constraints of the participants determined. (This means that poorer patients will, in a first approximation, make slower progress than middle income patients. However, this “revolution will be televised” (and/or youtubed), and this publicity could be leveraged to crowdsource faster, costlier treatment regimes for the needier patients.)

  18. Peter

    This is a brilliant idea and I’m sure the Club of Rome will help propagate the idea that real social progress means free drugs.

    Canada is probably the best place to test this program where it would be easy to add Junkiecare to their Medicare and distribute the smack through their government run liquor stores.

  19. Peter VE

    P somniferum is easy to grow. Everyone with a yard should grow some, and scatter the seed in various places. Just ohh and ahh about the pretty flowers, and don’t mention what else can be done with the sap and the straw.

  20. S Brennan

    Whatever the approach, it has to be nationally funded/administered no geopolitical entity, state/county-parish/city wants to be the USA’s dumping ground.

    There are times where the phrase “act locally” is rubbish, that is why we can’t allow the kabuki dance “evils of two lessors” offered up by [D/R]’s every four years to continue. Refuse to participate in the national charade. Make it clear, you nominate anyone from this group[R/D] and either you won’t vote, or you will write in somebody of worth.

    I mention this, because while the DNC has D’s focused on Trump “like a laser beam” they are free to winnow the field to another Hillerite like Kamala Harris.

  21. nihil obstet

    In 2001 Portugal decriminalized all drugs. There are scads of articles on what happened after, most of them very highly positive. Here’s a pretty restrained evaluation.

    A nation state that incarcerates its citizens at the rate we do and that has a rising mortality rate among a significantly large group is in a crisis that must be addressed for the sake of legitimacy.

  22. Well done, Webstir, though I caution you: never say never.

  23. Peter


    The main effect of Portugal’s decriminalizing drugs has been some savings in court costs and bringing junkies out into the open. They congregate in public parks, freely shoot-up smack and drop their government supplied needles on the ground for children to play with.

    It is still illegal in Portugal to possess drugs over a small quantity, sell drugs or commit other crimes to pay for drugs. Most junkies reject any treatment offered or imposed and very few break the habit. This means that the drug business there still thrives showing young people they are free to join without fear of prison.

    Here in the US drug laws are mostly state administered and heroin possession is a felony but few first time offenders go to prison. The people in prison here for drug crimes are mostly dealers and distributors who may also be chronic users.

    The drug activists have this strange notion that releasing drug dealer criminals or not prosecuting them is somehow good for society. We already know most heroine addicts don’t quit their habit and that most criminals don’t reform so releasing them just means more crime on our streets.

  24. nihil obstet

    Peter, you just make up what you want to believe.

  25. Webstir

    @Ten Bears: Thank you, sir. I keep my 24-hour chip in my wallet to always remind that I’m only ever sitting on one day at time. It’s a good way to live.

  26. Peter

    Nihil, your weak response shows you are unable to prove anything I wrote was ‘make up’ or belief. My comment was based on research, reported facts and personal experience.

  27. Webstir

    @Peter Peter fact elider-
    You said “My comment was based on research, reported facts and personal experience.”
    Which the overwhelming majority of educated people back up through citation. Put your money where your mouth is. Nihil did.

  28. Peter


    Nihil made the accusation that my comment was made-up beliefs, it’s up to him to try and prove that. His one link was to ‘Vice’ a questionable source of facts.

    I’ve read the glowing accounts about Portugal’s decriminalization program from European sources and they are mostly hyped SJW propaganda. The reality based accounts of the drug business in Europe’s main heroin smuggling hub Portugal are more sobering.

  29. Webstir

    Ok. But what if I’m interested in learning more myself? Why not cite? It’s easy enough to do. When people make statements like “they are mostly hyped SJW propaganda,” well, inquiring minds want to know. That’s fair, right?

  30. Hugh

    “We also refuse to look at the actual cause of the opiate epidemic, which is fairly clearly economic despair and hopeless lives.”

    Ding. This is also true of gun violence. People blow other people away casually today because they have no sense of the value of people’s lives, including and especially, their own.

    I am always surprised at the opposition to even common sense programs like needle exchanges where virtue is seen as more important than the spread of hepatitis and HIV. And limited exchanges are only granted when the threat of that spread to the “virtuous” population is sufficiently high.

    I look at a company like Purdue Pharma and I see no difference between it and a Mexican drug cartel, except that a Mexican drug cartel can’t buy the legal protection Purdue Pharma enjoys. I would like to see, and won’t, the managers and owners of Purdue Pharma put in the federal slammer for life.

    Rather than subsidizing a large and expensive prison industrial complex, I would favor expanding rehab, including supervised/forced rehab. But ultimately this won’t work until people have a realistic expectation of a meaningful life beyond drugs.

    I can see making marijuana legal for recreational use. For opiates, not. They should be made available to users but only under supervision. Opiate users are often high functioning. So getting their fix, they can lead pretty much normal lives.

    Re ODs, while drug interactions may occur in some cases, most come from miscalculation: using a standard dose without realizing that the fentanyl lacing has put this dosing into OD territory.

  31. Peter


    Sorry but I researched this story many months ago and if you’re really interested you can too.

    I think my opinion on the SJW propaganda was bases on seeing confirmation bias in those reports.

    Decriminalization of less dangerous drugs is wise. I doubt the officials and do-gooders in Portugal saw the unintended consequences of freeing junkies from their shooting-galleries so they could occuupy public parks and openly display their disease.

  32. Mr. Unpopular

    Peter said “Nihil made the accusation that my comment was made-up beliefs, it’s up to him to try and prove that. ”

    Actually all nihil has to do is recognize your comments are make up beliefs, maybe you should change your handle to Covergirl. He needn’t indulge you by wasting his time with rebuttal.

  33. Mr. Unpopular

    Actually, strike that, I’m taking Covergirl as my new online moniker. dibs!

  34. Webstir

    Peter, like reality checker, you’re all hat and no cattle. It’s pretty embarrassing, really.

  35. I find it really rather humorous. Give’em enough rope.

  36. Willy

    Peter has hung himself with his own shoelaces. I love that guy.

  37. VietnamVet

    Corporate multi-nationals have superseded nation states and the rule of law. CEOs are free do anything that increases shareholder wealth and their bonuses. The forever wars, porn, casinos, drugs, debt and austerity are the means to transfer wealth from everyone earning something to a few connected families that have everything. The opioid crisis is the death rattle of the Middle Class.

  38. realitychecker

    Vietnam Vet has it exactly right.

    The rest of you morons, dry drunks, low self-esteem sufferers, etc. keep focusing on your petty, ridiculous tribalist positions, and continue to completely miss the big picture. Then you pack up like little schoolboys and girls to agree that the people criticizing your relentless, interminable idiocies are the ones who don’t get it.

    I love watching you drive yourselves crazy. Survival of the fittest, evolution, and all that.

    Kamala Harris 2020. Amirite?


  39. Peter


    I think you wrote you were an old commie which helps explain your mushy-minded response. The Covergirl slur was bad form and now you look like an old sexist commie with your last comment hinting at dementia.

  40. Ché Pasa

    “We also refuse to look at the actual cause of the opiate epidemic, which is fairly clearly economic despair and hopeless lives.”

    I’m not convinced that’s true, though it is the premise of the popularized Case-Deaton study.

    Humans, Americans in particular, are very adaptable to changing circumstances. For a growing number of people, those circumstances have been deteriorating in some respects though not in others for quite a long time. People adapt to both the good and bad in their lives, but most find at least some happiness in even the worst of circumstances.

    Drug use/abuse, whether opioids or some other, tends to operate independently of those circumstances. Whether or not you use opioids or other drugs to the point of overdose does not necessarily depend on your objective state of despair or hopelessness, contrary to the deeply flawed Case-Deaton study.

    It depends first on availability, then on many social and cultural cues about the use/abuse of drugs — including alcohol — and then perhaps on physical/emotional vulnerability to them and their effects.

    Somewhere in that constellation of factors, hopelessness and despair may occur — often as a consequence of drug use/abuse — but they are not necessarily primary at all.

    And it should be recognized that many of those in high positions in our society also use and abuse drugs of all kinds at a rate that may actually exceed that of the iconically despairing white working class. Yet somehow they (mostly) manage. Some excel even though they under the influence most or all the time.

    In many cases, their use of drugs is managed by professionals. Users are maintained at a functioning level no matter what else is happening in their lives. If it can happen among the High and the Mighty — as it does — then it can happen among just about any social/cultural group, including the despairing white working class.

    But maintenance is on no ones agenda for the Lower Orders. Drugs for pain and drugs for pleasure are to be withheld or even forbidden altogether, punishment is to ensue in increasingly horrific ways, punishment not to curb or end drug use among the Lesser People, but to ensure that both use and punishment are profit centers for people who matter.

    That’s what needs to change. But doing so is barely a matter of interest.

  41. Webstir

    Che’ Pasa, says:
    “It depends first on availability, then on many social and cultural cues about the use/abuse of drugs — including alcohol — and then perhaps on physical/emotional vulnerability to them and their effects.”

    Wrong. Addiction follows the diathesis/stress model. Genetic predisposition explains about 50% of the vulnerability. That’s the diathesis. Given a stress free, life the diathesis will likely never manifest into full blown addiction. However, add economic despair & hopelessness to the mix (the stress) and the probabilities of manifesting the addiction skyrocket.

    I just had my first baby boy about three weeks ago. He’s going to be a study in breaking the cycle. My Dad was an alcoholic too. The diathesis was there. PTSD from the Viet Nam war was the stress that manifested his full-blown slide into addiction. I lived through all of the drama, abuse, and economic insecurity that followed from it. My son ‘might’ be able to escape. The diathesis is there. But chances are he’ll get through his formative years without the stress to manifest the diathesis. We shall see. Check back in 20 years.

  42. realitychecker

    @ Webstir

    Good luck to you. I mean that.

    Of course, in the meantime, there is no reason not to suspect that your overall thought process might not be flawless. (Being as gentle as I can.)

    Because, psychology. Got insight?

  43. nihil obstet

    Let us now all remember the warnings first conveyed to us in classic cinema: Reefer Madness.

  44. Webstir

    RC: Definitely not flawless. But always looking to improve. And thank you for the well wishes. I mean that too.

    As to the “Because, psychology” part of the comment, you’re going to have to elaborate because I’m not following.

  45. Willy

    rc, the psychology and law “expert” is in an especially foul mood this morning. My apologies.

  46. Willy

    OTOH, if the “transference of wealth crisis” is indeed the root of all evil, should we be discussing this from that perspective?

  47. realitychecker

    @ Webstir

    I don’t think you want me to analyze you. 🙂

    I will just say, there are some recognized behavioral symptoms that often go along with alcoholism recovery, as well as growing up in alcoholic family environments. We used to talk openly about them when it was Bush 43 under discussion. Now, it is politically incorrect.

    (I don’t know why, really; it’s clear to me that we all have our own personal struggles to sort out. I think understanding our own internal workings is the key to living well. In any event, it’s also clear that absent therapy, and often even with it, most folks refuse to look at themselves in an honest way.)

    I absolutely do wish you the best in all your life efforts. I never doubt that you are trying to be a good person.

    You should not doubt that my efforts here are meant to benefit regular folks like you and me.

  48. Willy

    We used to talk openly about them when it was Bush 43 under discussion. Now, it is politically incorrect

    We used to talk openly about Islamic origins when it was Obama under discussion. Now, it is very politically correct?

    Just because some groups feel empowered to voice opinions more loudly when they believe conditions are right, doesn’t mean that that volume determines reality.

    Because of the nature of my work, I know many alcoholics. I would love to be able to offer beneficial support. Is there anything the average person can do to help?

  49. Webstir

    RC: Again, I say my problem with your and Peter’s contributions is that you just bloviate with reference because you seem to think your old man status qualifies you to be the oracle at delphi. Bullshit. And I’ll call you guys out everytime I see it. All hat. No cattle.
    At least I know what I know and stick to my areas of expertise.

    Finally, all evidence points to the fact that you simply throw out the “dry drunk” as an epithet w/o any reference to the reasoning. In my 12 yrs sober I’ve: repaired my relationship with family and old friends, achieved three higher education degrees, have been happily married for going on eight years, never been fired from a job, and seem to get on with members of all stripes of my small community. Wow! What a dry drunk, eh?

    The more likely explanation is that I call you on your B.S. and the only response you have is ad hominem attack. In other words … you’re a douche.

    You should be ashamed of yourself …

  50. realitychecker

    @ Webstir

    Well, I guess you’ve proved my point. In spades.

    (All that you claimed above, was also true about Bush, btw.)

  51. Willy

    No rc, he did not. Magical mystery dogwhistle points that ‘everybody should see as obvious and they’re a fucking idiot if they do not’, is not even remotely “spades”.

  52. realitychecker

    Willy, you make Webstir look fully functional lol. 🙂

    The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, does it, Willy-boy?

    Feces, you say?


  53. realitychecker

    Willy, you make Webstir look fully functional lol. 🙂

    The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, does it, Willy-boy? That family you say you come from, they are you. You are them.

    Feces, you say?


  54. realitychecker

    Certainly bears repeating lol.

  55. I didn’t appreciate the dry drunk remark either, and I tend to give RC the benefit of the douby. The only thing I’m white-knuckling these days is not busting some ignorant dog-fuckers’ head. Not doin’ to good at it though, got a court date early next year from slapping a retard around last month and another is suing me after the judge laughed it out of court.

    Here’s how it works for me, a dishonorably discharged for drug dependency Vietnam Veteran: just because I didn’t take a drink yesterday nor have I taken a drink today doesn’t mean I won’t take a drink tomorrow. If you don’t like me when I’m sober, wait’ll you get a load of me when I’m drinking. I hurt people, and enjoy it.

    Peter, anytime you’d care to step outside …

  56. realitychecker

    Well, in 2008 a drunk that I was helping out burned my house to the ground.

    So pardon me if I am running a little low on sympathy for heavy drinkers. In fact, GFY if you don’t like it. I paid my dues for your little victim group.

    I detest heavy drinkers, and for very good reason.

    And a lot of recovering alcoholics exhibit the dry drunk syndrome.

    Sorry if the facts upset you.

    Ten Beers, I always give Viet vets a pass. Please don’t hurt me. 🙂

  57. Webstir

    You’re a sad example of human rc. Yves and Lambert woulda kicked your ass to the curb a long time ago. Ian’s too kind.

  58. realitychecker

    Sad? I never had to make amends for my history with anyone close to me, a-hole.

    Get over yourself.

    Classic dry drunk behavior.

  59. Webstir

    ^^Classic troll behavior^^

  60. Willy

    realitychecker has never told me, in any detail, what he actually believes in. You know, itemized a top ten list. Yeah, everybody here knows that he believes this guy is a dumbass, that girl is dead to him, another guy’s an asshole… But what about his own values?

    realitychecker once claimed to be a libertarian with humanist values who prefers progressive places because we’re nicer. Yet the libertarians I know hang out with the Lew Rockwells, the Justin Raimondos… and like Ron Paul, abhor things like violence and war. They occasionally call people rude names, but I don’t think they would ever try to shame anybody (hell, everybody…) for not revolting against the rich.

    Is rc a special new kind of libertarian?

  61. Webstir

    It’s a special kind of Troll. I’m disappointed in myself for feeding it.

  62. Covergirl

    Now boys, pissing on each other in chat rooms is frowned upon. Fact is, we’re all embedded in our perception and it’s a rare human indeed who can honestly view themselves for what they are: a tiny piece of the universe that thinks it’s the center.

    You’ll all have less heart attacks if you stop admiring your cruelty so much. Yves and Lambert would have shut their comment section years ago with this crowd.

  63. Webstir

    You said upthread “OTOH, if the ‘transference of wealth crisis’ is indeed the root of all evil, should we be discussing this from that perspective?”

    I tried to bring this topic to the fore the other day in the “US Electoral Predictions for 2018 and Beyond” thread. I cited a link to Naked Capitalism posted by Lambert, here:

    He writes about the findings of the Case-Deaton study as flowing from a “neoliberal epidemic” that is literally killing everyone in this country living from paycheck to paycheck. He uses Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to demonstrate the 10% voter’s (the establishment dems) obsession with “self-actualizing” identity politics at the top of the pyramid; whereas, the 90% voter’s concern is with the concrete material benefits that are the hallmark of the three lower orders of the hierarchy. And, if the left ever wants to see lasting electoral success, that is where they will focus.

    It’s genius. And yes, the opioid epidemic is written between the lines of the entire piece.

    Here is how Peter responded:
    “Lambert’s overwrought desideria for his lost identity shows that the postmodern commies have nowhere to go but back to old fantasies. The other possibility is that he is snorting too much meth and heading for a Communication Breakdown.”

    Honestly, that’s why I continue to jump Peter and rc’s shit on here and why, as you also said upthread, that this “psychology and law “expert” [was] in an especially foul mood this morning.” They immediately seek to kill anything resembling civil discussion between the adults in the room so that the focus turns to themselves.

    Anyway, give it a read if you haven’t already. It’s worth it.

  64. Peter


    I read the Fox News Portugal link and it verified much of what I wrote earlier. The state is saving money not prosecuting users and the drug ghetto was dismantled. Now the junkies are free range in the open parks and they mention bus stops where they gather for supplies. The government supplied needles do keep disease down just as it has done here for decades. The diversion programs into treatment are what has already been done here for decades.

    They even interviewed a couple of recovering addicts but they don’t address the actual percentage of addicts who are successful or even try to quit. This may be why they are moving to forced treatment regimes. The stats I read stated about 10% of junkies voluntarily seek treatment and about half of those are able to quit. This means there is a 95% failure rate and I doubt forced treatment will change that number much.

    The big spin in most of these accounts is that the War on Drugs is focused on users and this is what is filling the prisons,this is bogus. Portugal is still fighting the War on Drugs and sending dealers to prison along with others convicted of crimes related to drugs. When I read about this months ago the police there reported a huge drug smuggling bust with dozens of arrests.

  65. Webstir

    It’s a passionate crowd. A reflection on Ian’s passion I would venture.

  66. Webstir

    I note some widely held misperceptions about addiction treatment in your last comment.

    Particularly this passage, “The stats I read stated about 10% of junkies voluntarily seek treatment and about half of those are able to quit. This means there is a 95% failure rate and I doubt forced treatment will change that number much.”

    I published a study for the National Conference on Undergraduate Research during my psych undergrad, titled “A Measure of Giving and Taking Behaviors on Long-Term Sobriety Outcomes.” One of the things I learned during my Lit. Review was that the numbers you cite don’t really tell the whole story. Initially, in my recovery, I was one of those 95%. I relapsed at about 4 months on my first try. It’s now been 12 years on my second try. And there it is — your statistic — which is based upon a meta-analysis done years ago using data from multiple physician based treatment studies. But the study, and virtually no study since, has tracked long-term sobriety outcomes because it is nigh-on impossible to do as a researcher. However, anecdotal evidence indicates that it generally takes people a few tries before recovery sticks. So, if you were to track these addicts over, say, a 5-year span while they are trying, failing and trying again, I think you’d find the numbers are much much higher.

    If you can find a longitudinal study that tracks this my hat is off to you. But, the reality they just don’t exist because insurance companies don’t like relapses, and AA doesn’t give out data.

  67. V. Arnold

    A joyous Winter Solstice to all who post here; and a new season of contentment…

  68. nihil obstet

    Those who are convinced that they’re the smartest guys (usually) in the room and can spout truth beyond the capabilities of anyone who doesn’t agree with them are annoying. They’re like people who drive the biggest SUV they can afford into a picnic area and blast the sound system at a 10, because it’s so, you know, funny to watch other people being annoyed. I don’t understand the attraction of the behavior, but I see it often enough to know that it’s how the guys make themselves feel good.

    For the most part, I just ignore the turkeys. It helps not to read most of their comments. Where I get into trouble is when they misrepresent reality in ways that defend and advance policies and behaviors that are just morally wrong. I’m inordinately distressed over America’s genuinely evil incarceration policies and practice. It doesn’t do anything but thrill the turkeys when you point out that they’re lying, so the question is, does it do any good for others to know or to be reminded of the actual situation?

  69. realitychecker

    Some pretend to want to understand my motivations, my ideology, probably my sexual practices as well (especially Willy, who I swear must be sexually obsessed with me, given his history and admissions here lol).

    Meanwhile, they are happy to fill their knowledge vacuum with any slanderous shit they can think up and blindly attribute to me. It’s farcical, and I admit I enjoy making sport of their stupidity when they dare to start up with me personally rather than honestly addressing our very real problems.

    But I am here for one simple reason–to expose faulty reasoning. Period. Because that is necessary in order to create a space for better thinking. And who can doubt that we need better thinking at this point?

    I’m not trying to tell anyone what to think, only not to cling to things that are demonstrably false. Because that is a good start, and because I am not grandiose enough to think I can fix it all, all by myself. Duh. I have great faith in the human mind when it has accurate data to work with. But not when it bases its belief systems on bad data or faulty premises

    All my studies and knowledge, both considerable, as well as my extraordinarily high IQ, tell me that you can’t build ANYTHING worthwhile upon a foundation of falsity. That is my most fundamental belief.

    So simple. Yet the morons who delight in provoking and slandering me simply cannot get the value of not basing their positions and belief systems on demonstrably false premises.

    That’s it folks. And that explains everything anyone has ever seen me do, here or in my years at Firedoglake.

    And yes, I get fed up with the constant flow of bullshit attacks that get directed at anyone who questions anything the Dem-slave crowd wants to push on us, and I will not suffer fools gladly; no, I’d rather humiliate them. and show how foolish one would be to buy into any of their delusional, authoritarian nonsense.

    And that is so easy to do, their mental defects are so obvious. I feel no obligation to tell mental defectives that they are actually genius thought leaders. And that upsets the pc, victims-only crowd. Too fucking bad for them. Grow up, the world is not child-proofed for you, nor are there any safe spaces in it.

    The meek will not inherit the earth. The clear thinkers will.

    Interestingly, we are all here at a blog that distinguishes itself by being willing to challenge Dem orthodoxy. So, who is it who is really out of place here, who are the real trolls?

    Strange days indeed.

  70. Covergirl

    I’m upset that you didn’t cite my extraordinarily high IQ! LMMFAO

    What an asinine thing to say for such an intelligent being, but I do agree with your putative epistemology. I wonder what behaviors would ensue were you to practice it with the fervor you declare it?

    fwiw I really miss FDL

  71. Peter


    The numbers I recalled were for heroin addiction which I think is mostly treated by substitution with Methadone often used for years. I don’t know about the people who continue to try rehab but even if they all quit heroin it would still leave 90% addicted.

    It’s good that some people can escape the monkey even if it is such a small percentage. I had two friends who managed to break both heroin and methadone addiction after years of trying.

  72. highrpm

    thx for the nakedcap link. the main show is dancing around the campfire. always will be. despite “our” being told otherwise by “authorities” — money/ celebrity confer authority — it’s jungle fuking law.

  73. realitychecker

    @ Covergirl

    Well, that is the predictably disappointing reaction when most learn someone else might be smarter than they are.

    It reminds me that Jews often got persecuted because they were perceived to be smarter, and blacks in our South got killed for learning to read when so many whites couldn’t. Which side would you have been on?

    Ask yourself, what if you ever really encountered somebody with a genius-level IQ (some do exist, you know, and they are statistical rarities) who was willing to give you all his/her wisdom for free? (Not me, some other guy lol.) Seems like you would miss out on a lot with your attitude, it really does. Hmmm.

    Anyway, I never mentioned my IQ anywhere before, in part because your reaction is to be expected, with accompanying hostility, but also because IT SHOULDN’T MATTER for purposes of our debates and discussions here–all that should matter is the quality of the thoughts offered, but I know you can see that most online cannot adhere to that standard. Ad hominem is so much more fun! And easier for the lazy minded.

    Thought experiment–Imagine for a moment (attention span, attention span!) that YOU had the rare IQ, and that by way of giving back to the community you were willing to share all you knew from a lifetime of learning and experience with the, by comparison, ‘ignorant masses,’ or even the well-intentioned reasonable folks whose belief systems just were not finely tuned to some basic realities.

    OK, got it? Are you ‘in character’ now?

    Good. Now imagine that every time you opened your mouth, you found yourself surrounded by the likes of Willy, NR, Webstir (some others, some you’ve seen at FDL), people whose mental and emotional deficiencies were on full display, and who were deliberately obnoxious to you, sought you out, presenting a chorus of stupidity, false paraphrasings, projection, and animus at every opportunity.

    How would you react?

    I react by being disappointed, and then I try to derive SOME personal benefit out of the situation by making sport of them. For my own amusement. It’s as good a response as any other that is reasonably available when beset by folks who are not operating in good faith. (I mean, I’m not Ten Bears, I don’t think I can actually punish them physically lol.)

    Some day, maybe society will be secure enough to think about what it must be like for the truly intellectually gifted to try and engage in intellectually stimulating conversations with the rest of the People.

    I miss FDL, too, there was a large audience of smart people there (many who actually would teach me–wonderful!). One could easily believe it might make a difference to enough people to satisfy one’s desire to be helpful. Here, not so much-despite Ian’s excellent writing, the readership and participant group is small. I recognize that I am enduring a lot of shit relative to the good I can do here. So, I’ll probably be giving up on this place soon (not yet!), and the orthodoxies will be safe.

    Safety. It’s the new black. 🙂

  74. Webstir

    Lol. My wife just said “If you have to tell people how smart you are … you’re not very smart.” She’s pretty sharp.

  75. realitychecker

    Must be. She married you, right?/s

  76. realitychecker

    You know, Web, you are really a piece of work. How many times have you bragged here about earning three degrees in a decade?

    Were you trying to show us how smart you aren’t?

    Try rehearsing your shit in front of a mirror before you type it.

  77. realitychecker

    Try Googling “dry drunk syndrome.”

    If the shoe fits . . .

  78. Ché Pasa


    I’m not sure we disagree about causes of addiction including genetic propensity and stress. I merely point to other important factors including availability and social/cultural cues. If neither exist, then even propensity and stress are not going to induce substance abuse or addiction. That doesn’t mean there won’t be other responses.

    I’d be careful about the Case-Deaton study. Lambert’s reliance on it is unfortunate.

  79. Webstir

    rc: still Trolling, eh?

  80. Hugh

    Did everyone else catch all the creepy Dear Leader moments from yesterday as the Republicans celebrated their trillion dollar heist of the middle class to pay off their Big Money campaign contributors? Whoever owns the kneepad concession in DC must have made a killing. All the cynically transparent sucking up to their demented idiot child President was so bad it left you feeling unclean. Then there was the spectacle of all these super deficit hawks adding a couple trillion to the deficit without a blink like it was just so much carrying around money. There were also all the regular order Senators who passed this hurriedly concocted tax bill so that they could find out what was in it. Beyond the oceans of hypocrisy, the in your face criminality of it all, was the sheer, unadulterated arrogance toward, and contempt of, ordinary Americans. We’re just rubes to them. Screwing us ten ways to Sunday and then selling this shit to us is the easy part for them. Trillions for the rich, a couple of dollars for you. Sure, it will get eaten up by higher healthcare insurance rates and possible cuts to food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. We don’t expect much, just that you crawl on your bellies to thank us and then go quietly to die in a ditch somewhere, preferably far we live.

    If there ever is a revolution, I hope to see some of the videos from yesterday at these smirking malevolent shits’ treason trials. Yes, the Democrats are dreadful too. But yesterday belonged to the Republicans.

  81. Webstir

    Che Pasa:
    Fair enough. I just felt the quote you excerpted didn’t necessarily get a fair hearing. There is much truth to Ian’s statement.

    And could you please elaborate on why the Case-Deaton study should not be relied upon? Again, I think we do ourselves a disservice by not laying a foundation for the arguments that get thrown around on here. In this time of Fake this and Fake that and Fake the other thing, one would think people would be hyper-aware of the necessity to ground arguments in verifiable fact.

    Or, maybe it’s just the fact that if I make an argument in my profession that isn’t backed by precedent I get thrown out on my ear and sanctioned with attorney’s fees, if not worse.

  82. Hugh

    “far we live” meant “far from where we live.”

  83. realitychecker

    @ Hugh

    You got that exactly right.

    What are we going to do about it?

    Are we angry enough to do anything yet?

  84. Covergirl


    Yup. The difficulties are tremendous and largely beyond the scope of individuals. All one need do is familiarize themselves with Cicero and Voltaire to come away feeling rather depressed by the (w)hole thing, although insightful knowledge about wtf is going on around is extant from all cultures. Some more than others, which would go without saying elsewhere but we do need to slow down so rc can keep up, poor dear.

    Wait for the follow up kick to the gut when they start dismantling what little is left of the public weal. Well, they’ve already started a good way down that path. I’m looking at you Obama. Shit heel.

    Personally, I’m moving out of the big city and heading somewhere near large bodies of fresh water and few roads for the last phase of this incarnation. I’m too damn old to be rioting in the streets and I learned very well how little good that does anyone in the long run.

    Us prols have always had it rough and like millions upon millions before me, at this point I’m just making my death bet and I don’t have much sympathy for the shit storm we not merely inherited, but make a lot worse, although I really don’t envy the young ones inheriting this once beautiful garbage dump.

    Oh, rc…I’m willing to bet a) my IQ is higher than yours, and b) we’re both dumber than we were when the boffins tested us. I still have PSTD from the extra spin around the cyclotron us smarties got treated to. How about you? You do seem a bit butt hurt.

  85. nihil obstet


    I can’t help feeling that resentment is building to something critical happening. Republican voters feel that what’s rightfully theirs has been given away to lazy undeserving people. It will be very hard for Republican elected officials to cut Social Security and Medicare after the major tax cut. However, I suspect that Democrats will come to their rescue, as Obama rescued the Republican Party after Bush had wrecked it. We’ll probably get another round of insisting that bipartisanship is more important than policy income, along with explanations that someone has to make the hard choices. Hard choices means choices that are easy for me to make because they’re only hard on you.

    We’ll get another round or two of people trying to get relief through the ballot box, but then I think we’re looking either at violence or at an Eastern European style collapse.

  86. realitychecker

    @ Covergirl

    Well, since you don’t even seem to realize I’ve been the radical screaming about the oppression of the corporatocracy and how they have all but sewn up our future already FOR 15 FUCKING YEARS. I would advise you to keep your money. I used to get attacked for wanting to have a discussion about revolution. Maybe check yourself? (Frankly, I have no interest in meauring penises with you lol.)

    But, I will agree that I was sharper when I was tested as a child. So was everybody else. Duh.

    Do you even get it when I say nothing personal about me should matter? That the quality of the thought is what should be evaluated in a venue like this?

    Honestly, I’m only ever offering up things, usually glaring unresolved contradictions, that should be blindingly obvious even to the low-normals. In hopes of prompting folks to think further about them on their own. But many don’t want to think about anything that might disturb their status quo, do they? In that regard, the lefties are just as stubbornly stupid as the righties we love to make fun of.

    Contradictions are my targets. Why aren’t they everybody’s?

  87. realitychecker

    @ Covergirl

    BTW, why isn’t it “asinine” when you talk about your IQ?

    Why is it EVER “asinine” if it’s true?

    Has intelligence actually become the one taboo we must not confess to the world lol?

    It might make someone need a safe space, I guess. (sigh)

  88. realitychecker

    @ Covergirl

    Giving the benefit of the doubt to your sincerity at the end of your comment above, I think if you are what you say you are, you know very well that there are many downsides to being too ‘gifted’ in modern America. Or too ‘anything’ from the norm. I was not immune. Lots of dollars contributed to the therapy industry lol. You have my sympathy.

  89. Ché Pasa


    The Case-Deaton study struck me as problematical from the outset thanks to the authors’ refusal to consider the effect of pharmaceutical companies flooding certain areas of the country with opioids. Surprisingly, or not, those are the areas where opioid overdoses tend to cluster.

    The availability of opioids — both licit and illicit — in other regions has increased as well.

    Meanwhile the availability of OD reversal drugs has been severely restricted. Tends to ensure that people will die, “despairing” or not.

    Additionally, the statistical analysis used by Case and Deaton is dodgy which should be obvious to anyone with a statistical background. To my eye, they went about proving their conclusion regarding white working class “deaths from despair” by twisting the statistics to say what they wanted.

    But the statistics don’t say that.

    Rather they show the opposite. There is no spike in death rates among the cohort studied. If anything, there’s been a slight decline.

    Admittedly, that’s my superficial view. Andrew Gelman has dived deep and found much to criticize.

    The upshot is that Case-Deaton is more a political work than scientific, an effort to prove a conclusion about an opioid epidemic due to despair among white working class males, a conclusion that became part of a trope to help explain the “surprising” results of last year’s election.

    I’d like to see more thorough and less biased studies, but in the meantime, skepticism is a virtue.

  90. Webstir

    Ok. I read Gelman along with some follow up articles to boot. Having done so, I don’t agree with your conclusions for two reasons.

    You said “ … Case-Deaton is more a political work than scientific, an effort to prove a conclusion … .”
    First, there is nothing wrong with the study. They made one statistical decision, among many options, to not use age adjustment because there are many different ways to age adjust. This isn’t “dodgy.” I know stats from my own research projects. You have to make decisions like this. Anne Case admits that they intentionally didn’t age adjust because “‘there are a very large number of ways someone can age-adjust this cohort.’ In a followup email she said it’s important to realize out that each method comes “‘with its own implicit assumptions, and that each answers a different question.’” This is good science. They were transparent about their decision. That Gelman doesn’t agree is fine. He can do his own study and dsprove their work. That’s how science gets done. It’s wasn’t political. It may have been made so later, but that was not their intent.
    Which leads me to number two. How did they try to prove a conclusion when they didn’t even know a problem existed yet prior to 2015 when they were conducting the study?

    Finally, even with Gelman’s correction, mortality has flatlined. This in itself is significant and still provides fuel for Lambert’s argument. Do you disagree with his assessment of moving away from the “self-actualizing” (identity) issues that seem so all important to the 10% that comprise the establishment neoliberal democrat base? Rather than the issues that concern the 90% who have no political champion and are constantly casting about willy nilly for a party that will represent thier interests?

    Personally, I agree with what I see as a synthesis of both Lambert and Ian’s core philosophy. People expect governmentt to enact policies that contribute to an increase in the concrete material benefits in their lives (the lower order heirarchy needs) or else they kick the bums out and go with a different party the next round. It’s an obvious, and endless, cycle that only benefits the 1%. Time for a new approach.

  91. Peter

    Trump’s new tax bill is producing entertaining responses from the long suffering Marxists now with advanced TDS. Hugh is approaching the point of full head rotation with projectile vomiting. I hope he can stay off dope and avoid having a stroke.

    The commies were so hopeful not that long ago with a new crop of young useful idiots and the NWO mandating progressive Stalinist rule worldwide. All that hope is fading like a morning fog under the radiance of a Trump faced sun along with the popular MAGA theme.

  92. Webstir

    Similarly, I came across this the other day:

    Here is the money quote:

    “This will be one of the biggest challenges of this century as the added pressure from anthropogenic activities will be responsible for damaging effects on human health and the environment.” Prof. Toussaint predicts. “The current declines in human capacities we can see today are a sign that environmental changes, including climate, are already contributing to the increasing constraints we now have to consider.”

    Different context, but one can arrive at the same neoliberal influence upon the outcome. Why do we continue to trash the planet (and hence our own longevity) in the face of overwhelming evidence that it’s killing us? Because of the two golden rules of neoliberalism: (1) Because markets, and (2) Go die.

    See reality checker and Peter! Isn’t it so much more fun to have a discussion grounded in evidence rather than “believe me … my brain is big.”

  93. Webstir

    Oh wait, never mind. It’s not more fun for you two.That’s because you’re both intellectually lazy, despite claims to the contrary.

  94. Hugh

    The CDC reported Thursday that life expectancy from birth has declined in the US for the second straight year. When this happened in Russia after the breakup of the Soviet Union, it was taken as evidence of Russian weakness and failure, a society that had lost its way. True of us as well.

  95. Willy

    First: Develop an easy to remember revolution terminology, being sure to include all the various revolution options.

    Second: Itemize the pros and cons of each.

    Third: Have a successful revolution!

    What does this have to do with opioids? If we’re as smart as we think we are, we’d weave opioids into the revolution somehow. In fact, if we were determined enough, as well as smart, we’d weave/derail every topic henceforth into exploring revolution.

  96. IMNSHO, too much kneejerk-internalized-paradigm-projection in evidence. While I do think systemic eoconomic policy is largely to blame, favoring the capitalist-run-amok profiteers of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, I can’t see ignoring the people who most directly enable opiod abuse, viz., doctors.

    Let us consider a different aspect of physician greed, as detailed by Dr. Schwartz.

    “Sadly too many doctors tempted by easy money, choose the wrong path to follow. All you have to do is read the newspaper. Rarely does a week go by that a doctor doesn’t get caught fraudulently extracting monies from insurance companies by taking advantage of the coding and documentation loopholes. Most do it in underprivileged areas, where assembly-line medicine prevails. But there are others, even in top academic institutions, who abuse the system in plain sight.
    I practice medicine in New York City, a Mecca for advanced medical care. Somewhere in my city, there is a group of ob-gyns that brings in a lot of money to the University Hospital they refer their patients to. The practice is made up of young female doctors, and the group is primarily motivated by financial incentives not care or compassion for its patients. The doctors routinely frighten pregnant women into unnecessary procedures often times because the insurance companies pay higher reimbursement rates when the doctor classifies a patient as high risk. This is just one of the many horrific side effects of the documentation game and the lack of ethics in the profession. But the story doesn’t end with pregnant women. In this elite group, all women are potential prey to these dishonorable doctors.”

    Schwartz MD, Dr. Erika. Don’t Let Your Doctor Kill You: How to Beat Physician Arrogance, Corporate Greed and a Broken System (p. 87). Post Hill Press. Kindle Edition.

    These sorts of observations should spark serious inquiry and societal correction at the level of how physicians practice their craft, and not just at some other levels (Big Pharma, misogyny, whatever) in the hierarchy of causation.

    I’m not suggesting ignoring any aspect of the problem. As Michael Moore asked in his documentary, Sicko, “Who are we?”

    That’s a legitimate question, but, at least in the case of an issue like the opiod crisis, no more legitimate than the question, “Why are the doctors so unethical, and what can we do about it, both in the near-term, as well as the long-term?”

  97. realitychecker

    @ Webstir

    Why are you trying to provoke me? Have you adopted Willy as your role model now?

    Hell, why not? Especially after seeing his very serious contribution above.

    You don’t need to seek fights with me, unless you really feel you haven’t proven your dry drunk tendencies sufficiently to this point. (Let me assure you, you have lol.)

    (FWIW, this post’ topic is of little interest to me for discussion; Ian and I are virtually identical about it.)

    I really prefer not to waste my energy fighting with you, or your other pack buddies. That’s NOT what I come here for. But you know I won’t passively accept your gratuitous abuse. So, please adjust yourselves, and stop seeking me out. Otherwise, don’t whine when I hurt your feelings.

  98. Webstir

    rc: all I have ever asked is that you find some cattle to go with your rhinestone hat.

  99. Webstir

    You can call me B.S. checker if you like.

  100. Webstir

    metamars: upon what do you base your not so humble opinion that “there is kneejerk-internalized-paradigm-projection in evidence”
    Or, was that just a kind of intellectual sounding belch?

  101. Webstir

    Otherwise, I think we’re on the same page. The capitalist-run-amok profiteers of the insurance and pharm industry sounds like another way of saying (1) Because markets, and (2) Go die. Those being the defining rules of neoliberalism.

  102. Willy

    rc does have a cow. It has a rhinestone cowbell. Don’t ask what it’s doing in his bedroom. But that’s his business, lol de frickin lol. Speaking of revolution…

    I’ve had a black ninja suit and ied-making supplies gathering dust on the kitchen table for over ten months now waiting for you geniuses to come up with a plan. Last time we had a “serious” revolution discussion rc got his feelings hurt and we had to sit through dozens of back and forth insults that had nothing to do with anything.

    We’ve gotta be tougher than this if we’re gonna be successful revolutionaries.

  103. Webstir

    ^^ 🙂 ^^

  104. Ché Pasa


    Basically, Case and Deaton reject any criticism of their work because they’ve reached the conclusion they wish.

    This doesn’t invalidate their study, but it does subject it to reasonable skepticism — which in some ways is too bad because there are genuine issues regarding opioids, overdoses, and declining life expectancies — among the rabble, not among the high and the mighty. Simply attributing it to the despair of the white working class (male aspect) misses the mark. As Gelman shows, deaths are rising among females, not so much among males in the study cohort.

    In other words, the issue is far more complex and the problems run much deeper than Case-Deaton (and Lambert) allow for.

    As to the question of the proper role of government, that’s been a subject of debate for some centuries now, hasn’t it? Clearly the US government and most state governments do not necessarily see themselves in the proposed role of providing concrete benefits that improve the lives of the underclasses. Instead they are organized to defend and protect the interests of the Overclass against the demands and needs of everyone else. It has ever been thus.

    If that means that from time to time government does provide or enable those concrete benefits that improve lives of the lesser people, so be it. But let’s not fool ourselves about why that sometimes happens. It isn’t for the benefit of the lower orders. It is to protect and defend the Overclass from the untermenschen.

    Our neoliberal rulers believe the rabble already receive too many concrete benefits as it is and they are working diligently on their program to remove as many of those benefits as they can without risking a rebellion that would result in their heads on pikes or other unpleasant inconvenience to themselves.

    Changing that state of affairs becomes more difficult day by day. Whatever the case, positive change is unlikely to come through elections.

  105. realitychecker

    I’ll just call you out for being the dry drunk you are. 🙂

  106. realitychecker

    Willy, I told you to take your hand off your penis when talking about me!!!!

    You just can’t quit me lol. 🙂

  107. Peter


    That 0.1% apparent drop in lifespan looks ominous but is meaningless for most of our 330million people. The groups who are causing the numerical anomoly are known and unless you belong to these groups of junkies and illegal pill poppers your lifespan is unchanged. No one’s lifespan is shortened by someone elses bad personal habiits.

  108. Webstir

    rc: I find it amusing that I substantively dismantle your B.S. on a regular basis, and your only response is to name call. Does that make me troll, too?
    I can’t say it any better than Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction …

  109. realitychecker

    @ Webbie

    The fact that you obsessively ‘dismantle’ me in your fantasies is just more data supporting the conclusion that you are stuck in your dry drunk syndrome.

    Keep it up. It’s instructive. 🙂

  110. Webstir

    Oh, it would seem the commentariat agrees with me. But, whatevs.

  111. realitychecker

    Your ‘commentariat’ is Webbie, Willy, and Willy’s willy. 🙂

    Dry drunk syndrome. Google it at the AA website, or many other places.

    How long since your last meeting?

    I don’t want to be the thing that makes you start drinking again.


    Ask your ‘pretty smart’ wife what you should do next.

  112. realitychecker

    Another part of your ‘commentariat,’ I assume?

    highrpm permalink
    December 22, 2017

    @webster & anon,
    what planet are you folks from?

    Really, go to a meeting.

  113. The plot thickens. A user name “Tristan” commented on the breitbart article “Jeff Sessions Creates ‘Opioid Tsar’ as Overdose Deaths Surpass Those from Breast Cancer” @

    “This is all a big farce! The FDA announced a Public Warning earlier this month on a Monday regarding a plant called Kratom. The alkaloid in this plant has the exact same effect on the opioid receptors as pills. However, it is not addictive and it is impossible to OD on it. People have been using it with a great deal of success to get off of heroin, pills, methadone, suboxin, plus vets have been using it for PTSD and having great success where other meds failed them.

    Using faulty data, data that has been proven wrong and shown to the FDA/DEA etc, the FDA issued this warning that those using it to come off of the addictive drugs are doing so at their peril. . . a clear lie.

    Three days later on the following Thursday, guess what the FDA announced? “FDA Approves Merck’s Opiod Withdrawal Apparatus” This is all a scam and the Federal government doesn’t even try to hide how dirty they are anymore. In fact, they flaunt it!”

  114. Jeff Sessions is, to use Ross Perot’s colorful favorite phrase, “squirrelly”. His drug policy is not consistent with candidate Trump, and his benign tolerance of shenanigans by the Clinton cabal, while his boss got continually smeared based on apparently non-existent crimes with “the Russians”. See “Jason Chaffetz: Jeff Sessions ‘worse’ than Loretta Lynch” @

  115. Peter


    You are a clever devil using mockery and manipulation to prod these Igors onto the revolutionary road. Witless Willy has already braged about his ied’s so it’s good they have a lawyer in the band, they are going to need one or more.

  116. realitychecker

    @ Peter

    Just trying to keep the chihuahuas off of my ankles. 🙂

    But I’ll tell you something, Peter: With an army of troops like these guys behind me, I could conquer an anthill.

  117. Willy

    rc’s revolution talk is his way of blowharding the “politically incorrect”. You’re the only one who takes it seriously. He couldn’t lead a hill of ants to honey.

  118. realitychecker

    I don’t think anyone has EVER seen me say or suggest that I wanted to ‘lead’ anything. Only a true mental defective could distill that from my suggestions that maybe we ought to DISCUSS the general topics around revolution.

    I learn a lot about folks by seeing what they are AFRAID to think or talk about.

    I don’t like group dynamics enough to ever want to lead one. Or really be trapped in one, either, for that matter lol.

    Those who will get to live the future, ought to be the ones who take the lead in fighting for that future.

    That’s not me.

    I just don’t want to watch all the history of the ages crumble before the social media/corporatocracy wave.

    Morons like Willy may own the future. I won’t have to suffer through that future.

    Winning (sigh)

  119. realitychecker

    Edit: Meant to type “the wisdom of the ages.”

    Meaning that we seem to be losing much of it already.

  120. Ché Pasa


    I don’t think I ever indicated there wasn’t a serious problem with opioid addiction and overdose deaths. There is and has been a serious, growing problem for years, one that has not been and won’t soon be addressed appropriately.

    I question the conclusions of the Case-Deaton study and the focus on “deaths of despair” (primarily of middle aged working class white men) that is shared so widely among media outlets as the core of the problem. I submit it is one aspect but not the core aspect of the opioid problem.

    When it leads to the belief that the only way to address the issue is with “expanded access to hope (and jobs, and affordable housing, and universal medical care, and and and)” (quoting Lambert) then quite literally you are condemning tens of thousands, perhaps millions of people to untimely death (and millions more to addiction) because there is no way that these solutions — if they are solutions — will be implemented under the current or any likely future regime.

    Even if the Revolution were to come, there’s no certainty that the opioid crisis would be more than a side issue.

    As for declining life expectancies, I’m sure you are aware that life expectancy is closely correlated with status and wealth. The life expectancy of the poor and working classes has been flat or in decline for too many years, while the life expectancy of the rich and the overclass has been increasing for even longer. Lower life expectancy is partly due to poor medical care provided to the lower classes as well as alarming levels of infant mortality, gun violence and other factors. Combine that with the effects of unmanaged drug addiction and alcoholism and you have a recipe for the declining average life expectancies we see. It’s not a mystery, it’s a policy.

  121. Willy

    @about rc’s “wisdom”

    Pooter doesn’t respond to punishment. I don’t either. Has rc ever responded to punishment? Why the hell do you expect Jihadists to respond to punishment?

  122. realitychecker

    It’s not MY wisdom, you jerkoff, it’s the collective wisdom of civilized mankind I’m concerned about. Disappearing fast, and morons like you don’t even seem to comprehend what you are losing.

    Ya know, the really basic things, like honesty. Like balance. Like critical thinking. Like excellence. Like freedom. Like reason. Like rule of law.

    Don’t bother yourself, feces-flinger. Being obnoxious to me is where your personal Peter Principle kicks in, apparently.

  123. Willy

    morons like you don’t even seem to comprehend what you are losing

    Prove it.

  124. Willy

    Gracians Art of Worldly Wisdom targets the kind of thinkers who frequent blogs like this one. You have never read it. You have also never read, quite obviously, Dale Carnegie either.

  125. realitychecker


    Prove that you’re not sexually obsessed with me. Go ahead, prove it!

    And take your hand off your penis!!!!

  126. Willy

    But you’ve obviously visited a lot of gay porn sites.

  127. Steeleweed

    Countries such as Portugal have done the right thing. It’s working there. If it doesn’t work here it will be because the Drug Business per se and War On Drugs are too profitable to abandon. I have commented here and elsewhere about the many issues regarding drugs, so let me just say Ian is correct that 90% of the problem is economic & social.

  128. realitychecker

    ” Willy permalink
    December 23, 2017

    But you’ve obviously visited a lot of gay porn sites.”

    I can’t believe you actually made such a homophobic remark. Your conservative family you always talk about must have taught you well about hating gays.

    Don’t address me again, please. I think you’ve shown yourself to be a disgusting, bigoted human being.

    Therapy may be able to help you with your conflicts. It’s worth a try.

  129. Peter


    You are conflating two different problems in the US and Portugal. Portugal doesn’t have a fentanyl caused spike in OD deaths. Their smugglers bring in higher quality heroin than the black tar our smugglers supply. They are saving money and have healthier junkies because of free needles. Their claims about reducing drug use or curing more addicts are vague but they do admit to no reduction in pot use.

    Our fentanyl OD deaths are caused by poor quality control by the dealers because they are lazy or just don’t care. A pinhead amount of fentanyl will kill you. The improper doses have been found in heroin and counterfit painkiller pills. Decriminalizing the use of these drugs won’t have any effect on the people who mix and sell them.

  130. Willy

    If you don’t troll anybody here again, I’ll quit being a “disgusting bigoted human being”.

  131. Webstir

    RC: I know you’re a little thick, but “whatevs” means you are again on the persona non grata list. Bye now.

  132. Webstir

    @Che: Did you actually read Lambert’s post? He isn’t trying to solve the “white working class despair” issue. He is using the Case-Deaton study to highlight the fact that progressives need to use markers of health generally as a wedge issue because it cuts hard across political divides. To focus on the markers of health, he suggests reorienting — from the 10% establishment Democrat base’s identity issues — to the issues at the bottom of Maslow’s heirarchy that truly concern the 90%.

    There should be no disagreement here between us and I’m pretty sure the only reason one exists is because either: (1) you didn’t read the post, or (2) you dislike Lambert personally for whatever reason and are just picking nits — which is understandable b/c he can be a twat but it doesn’t mean he isn’t pretty fucking bright.

  133. Webstir

    Oh, and rc, this doesn’t mean I’m not going to land on you occasionally. It just means I won’t be interacting with you once I’ve pointed out your lazy thinking.

  134. Webstir

    And finally rc —
    Were it true that I’m a “dry drunk” I’d be perfectly ok with that. Every day without a drink is a good day. If anyone in my life beside you ever calls me one … I’ll think about working on it. You, however, a just a nasty little asshole. Pretty sure there’s no cure for that.

  135. realitychecker

    You guys are a pair of open wounds. So nice to see you bleed.

    Willy who slurs with “gay porn sites.”

    Webstir who slurs with “twat.”

    Yeah you guys are the ones we should all be striving to emulate.

    Willy, get your hands off your damn penis!!!

    Webstir, go look up “dry drunk,” and tell me which symptoms you don’t exhibit.

    Two nothings, thinking they are somethings. The wave of the future.

  136. Webstir

    Hypocrisy: The practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense.

  137. realitychecker

    Daddy issues and alcoholism frequently combine to make a very nasty package. You show a stunning lack of self-awareness, and I am quite sure you have not understood anything I have every typed here.

    Your compulsive inability to stop seeking me out is psychologically telling.

    You are also a great example of the frog in a small pond syndrome. You could never survive in a larger pond than your little two-grocery town, where you can pretend to be the town genius. That is a major dry drunk symptom, btw. You should look it up. Everybody should, in fact, if you are going to continue to try and dominate these threads with your insipid nonsense, encouraged and abetted by/abetting your feces-flinging friend Willy, who also seems unable to stop seeking me out.

    Your joint efforts have destroyed this place as a venue for careful good faith analysis and dialogue. I hope you are happy with your ‘achievement.’

  138. Willy

    There’s no way this isn’t either a seriously messed up kid in his moms basement,

    or a legacy neocon.

  139. realitychecker

    A neocon lol???

    Too many little green worms running around inside that psychological wound you call a brain, sonny.

    And keep your hands off your damned penis as you think about me! Too creepy.

  140. Willy

    One needn’t be so insecure. My heart will only ever belong to the cranky old misanthropic troll who talks the most, about my penis.

  141. realitychecker

    Perhaps you’d be willing to ex[lain to us exactly what your problem is with “gay porn sites”?

    Reminder–This is YOU, Willy-boy:

    ” Willy permalink
    December 23, 2017

    But you’ve obviously visited a lot of gay porn sites.”


    I don’t think homophobes get a lot of cred around here. I note you say you come from a VERY conservative family.

    And I don’t think anyone has missed your obvious obsession with me.

    You just can’t quit me.

    Now get your hand off your penis!!!!!

  142. Mojave Wolf

    @RC — In the spirit of the holiday season, whatever it is you think you are doing, please stop. I say this in a genuine Spirit of Goodwill because I used to quite like and enjoy reading a lot of your comments a long time ago and you still sometimes say something good but when you do it’s surrounded by so much really cringe-inducing stuff that I wonder if you are deliberately trying to discredit any point you advocate. If that is not what you are doing please For the Love of All That is Holy rethink your approach. (And if that is what you are doing, again, please rethink your approach.)

    Apologies for the drive-by request. I have been overwhelmed by circumstances lately. I usually don’t have the right combination of time and energy to comment but I do try to keep up with reading the blog and the threads. Best wishes to all.

  143. realitychecker

    @ MW

    I respect and like you, and I hear you.

    There are difficulties in dealing with determined online stalkers, and Willy is mine. If you haven’t witnessed it, I know it looks messy. In person, I would have dealt with a coward like this long ago, in private. And the coward depends on that, of course.

    I don’t believe in censorship, so I would never ask to ban him. But ignoring him carries its own difficulties, because our cred is all we have online, and slanders and false attacks that go unchallenged get believed by many who just don’t want to debate the points I might raise.

    We are in a place where departures from dogma are deplored and attacked, but the dogma, unchallenged, is clearly delivering us into dystopia. That is the fight I am trying to fight, and it is a fucking lonely fight, Wolf, let me tell you.

    I wish you would come around more with your reasonable voice, and your good faith approach to things. I never have a problem with reasonable folks like you, do I? Your voice is always a good influence, IMO.

    Best to you.

  144. MojaveWolf

    Thanks RC, I appreciate you taking the comment in the spirit it was offered. I don’t have much else to say right now; for why see comment in Merry Christmas thread immediately forthcoming.

  145. MojaveWolf

    Scrap that. I had written something lengthy about my mother passing away this morning but decided it was inappropriate for a Merry Christmas thread. But that is why I have not much else to say right now. Peace to you.

  146. realitychecker

    @ MW

    I’m very sorry to hear that. There’s nothing like losing your mother. You have all my sympathy, empathy, and fond best wishes as you deal with all that comes along with it.

    Please take good care of yourself, amigo.

  147. Mojave Wolf

    Appreciate it, RC. You as well.

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