This Is Your Brain On Drugs

Back in the 1980’s I recall a commercial about Reagan’s War on Drugs….it was a frying pan with an over easy egg cooking with sound…..”This is you brain on drugs”……all this ad did was increase the profits of the Waffle House….it was a worthless waste of air time for it did NOTHING to curb the abuse of drugs…..

Well I bring up this bit of nostalgia because our well informed president has weighed in on the newest war on drugs…..this time it will be zeroing in on the opioid crisis this country is facing……..

The White House has rolled out the “more nuanced” response to the opioid crisis it promised after President Trump talked about executing drug dealers earlier this month. The revised plan White House officials discussed Sunday still involves the death penalty, but officials say they don’t plan to make trafficking in fentanyl a capital crime, let alone launch a Rodrigo Duterte-style bloodbath. Instead, the administration says it will seek capital punishment for drug traffickers where appropriate under existing federal law, the Washington Post reports. Federal law allows the death penalty in four kinds of drug-related crime, all of which also involve murder, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Andrew Bremberg, Trump’s domestic policy director, says the president also wants Congress to pass legislation lowering the minimum amount of fentanyl and other strong opioids needed to trigger mandatory sentences for dealers, the AP reports. The administration says it also has a plan to reduce opioid prescriptions by one-third by 2021. “The opioid crisis is viewed by us at the White House as a nonpartisan problem searching for bipartisan solutions,” adviser Kellyanne Conway told reporters, per Politico. Trump is expected to discuss the plan on a Monday visit to New Hampshire, one of the states hardest-hit by the crisis that he has declared a national public health emergency.

Trump’s speech on the crisis was something to behold……he even mentioned the making of bad ads like the frying pan of days gone by………

In a speech officially unveiling his administration’s plan to combat the nation’s ongoing opioid epidemic, President Donald Trump on Monday saod he would fight the crisis with “toughness”, the creation of “very…very…bad commercials” aimed at children; and—as expected—proposed that the death penalty be applied to drug dealers.

However, as drug policy reform advocates feared, he showed little understanding of the origins of the crisis and neglected to mention numerous measures public health experts have advocated for to stop the deadly epidemic.

A key tenet of Trump’s plan to combat the crisis, which killed nearly 64,000 Americans in 2016, is to launch an advertising campaign showing the effects of opioid use.

Trump’s plan is more about some sort of vengeance than solutions to the crisis…..

Vengeance is not a public health policy. But it’s implicit in a policy measure coming out of the White House, which would attempt to solve the opioid crisis with a plan that includes sentencing some high-intensity traffickers to death. It may feel good, and for some segment of the population, vengeance may even look good.

The death of those deemed to be problematic is how some strongmen leaders that President Donald Trump has embraced keep their hold on power — such as Philippine strongman Rodrigo Duterte, who is following through on his pledge to kill every drug dealer he can find. But adding to the number of lives lost at the hands of the opioid crisis is not what the United States needs.
This whole policy thing smells like an utter failure…..kinda like the failure from the 1980’s.

On The Road To Central Asia

I was curious over the weekend and looked up the visits of all time in my WP stats….well it seems that I have 4 countries that have not visited IST…….Central African Republic, Chad, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan.

A few years ago I did a report for a local businessman on Central Asia for he was thinking of doing business in the region.  Since that report I keep an eye on Central Asia in case my businessman needs an update to the report I prepared for him.

In a recent report in the International Crisis Group Tajikistan was the subject of said report……

The Tajik government’s control of its eastern territory, Gorno-Badakhshan, is tenuous at best. Irregulars loyal to local powerbrokers known as the Authorities have clashed with government forces in the past and may do so again if challenged. China has a growing security presence in the region.

Gorno-Badakhshan sits at the nexus of security problems including Uighur unrest in China’s Xinjiang region; Afghanistan’s war and opium trafficking; and jihadists’ potential return from Iraq and Syria to China, Central Asia or Russia. A rocky transition when President Emomali Rahmon steps down could provoke further instability in the region.

On another report by ICG the idea of weaponization of water was covered…….this could boil over into a war and keep in mind that Afghanistan is close by and will be effected by any water programs and if Afghanistan is effected then the US troops will be pulled into the conflict.

On 15-16 March there is a landmark opportunity to promote peace and prosperity in Central Asia when the presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan meet in the Kazakh capital of Astana. It will be the four leaders’ first summit in nearly a decade. A top agenda item will likely be the precious water resources the countries must share in this vast region.

Water has been at the heart of recurrent disputes among the four states since the demise of the Soviet Union. At root, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are short on water, and Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan short on electricity. The tension has been sharpest in the densely populated Ferghana Valley, where Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan converge. The latter two states accused their larger Uzbek neighbour of guzzling river water to irrigate vast cotton fields; Uzbekistan, for its part, bitterly fought Kyrgyz and Tajik plans to build dams upstream. Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan also argued over the hydropower projects, which Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan needed to keep the lights on. At various times, shared resources have been used as a political tool – Uzbekistan by switching off power grids, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan by threatening to block the downstream flow of water.

I m always on the lookout for a situation that could become more than an irritant…..GOD knows the US does NOT need another armed conflict to fight or pay for……

Jackboots And Apple Pie

Most Americans are spectators in this democracy….I say that because most elections only about 49% of the voting population actually shows up.

But in the last year it seems that this fragile democracy is in danger of falling apart….yes, I am talking about the time from 2016 election to today……nothing happening is encouraging if anything it appears losing ground weekly…..

It can be analyzed back to Pres. Trump……

The problem with Donald Trump is not that he is imbecilic and inept—it is that he has surrendered total power to the oligarchic and military elites. They get what they want. They do what they want. Although the president is a one-man wrecking crew aimed at democratic norms and institutions, although he has turned the United States into a laughingstock around the globe, our national crisis is embodied not in Trump but the corporate state’s now unfettered pillage.

Trump, who has no inclination or ability to govern, has handed the machinery of government over to the bankers, corporate executives, right-wing think tanks, intelligence chiefs and generals. They are eradicating the few regulations and laws that inhibited a naked kleptocracy. They are dynamiting the institutions, including the State Department, that served interests other than corporate profit and are stacking the courts with right-wing, corporate-controlled ideologues. Trump provides the daily entertainment; the elites handle the business of looting, exploiting and destroying.

I am not alone…..most thinking people, that means people that can count beyond 10 sees problems mounting up….

Democracy is in under siege around the world, according to a new report by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The annual Democracy Index tracks the health of the world’s governments. And the results for 2017 are depressing. In 89 countries, democratic norms look worse than they did last year, the report’s authors write. Just 4.5 percent of the world’s residents live in fully functioning democracies, down from 8.9 percent in 2015.

So far events in government point to a leader that is more concerned about his personal affairs and not those of the country…..a leader that demands loyalty to him and not necessarily the rule of law….BTW this country was founded on the rule of law, in case there was confusion…..a leader who shows affection for authoritarian heads of state…..

It appears that Trump wants to be a dictator…..

It began the day he was sworn in, with his vow to end “American carnage”—a direct echo of his autocratic pronouncement when accepting the Republican nomination that “I alone can fix it.” Donald Trump has chipped away at the pillars of democracy ever since. According to a new report from Freedom House, an independent watchdog group that has monitored democracy globally for decades, “The past year brought further, faster erosion of America’s own democratic standards than at any other time in memory.” The nation’s core institutions, the report says, have been “attacked by an administration that rejects established norms of ethical conduct across many fields of activity.”

In his first year as president, Trump often appeared driven by his urges for self-aggrandizement, self-enrichment, and revenge against anyone and everyone he perceived to be his political enemies—targets to be punched 10 times harder or screwed 15 times harder than they’ve punched or screwed him. He has used the presidential platform to taunt and threaten, going after federal judges, members of Congress, law enforcement leaders, celebrities, professional athletes, private citizens, and, of course, his greatest bête noire: the “Fake News” media, which he has blasted hundreds of times since taking office.

TO political observers nothing about the Trump act seems to be democratic……he desires total control on all aspects of government and even some within the legislative branch are enabling his moves toward authoritarianism.

American democracy is in danger!

That is the tale back when I was a radical wanting to rid ourselves of this system….it is humorous that they saw a danger then but do not see it now…..selective knowledge.

I do not think that our republic will be replaced with some sort of Trumpian mind fuck…..I just see the games being played that can be dangerous to our way of governance.

Did you know that about 1 in 4 Americans would accept authoritarian rule…..

A new survey reveals that although most Americans like to believe they prefer democracy over authoritarian forms of government, the actual content of their convictions can veer precipitously toward authoritarianism.

“If given a direct choice, the overwhelming majority of Americans choose democracy,” writes Lee Drutman, Larry Diamond and Joe Goldman of the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group. “In fact, on each of the five questions we asked, three quarters or more of all respondents provide at least some support for democracy, and half or more express support for the strongest pro-democratic option. By contrast, depending on the question, between an eighth and a quarter of respondents provide an answer that does not support democracy.”

A scary thought and turn of our democracy…..we should be careful and watchful….

Could this be the beginning of a 3rd revolution?

Get ready, America. According to a new study on inequality and revolutions throughout history, the United States soon may experience a profound paradigm shift, Inverse reports (with a hat tip to Lee Camp). A team of scientists at Washington State and 13 other institutions conducted the study, and their findings, published in the journal Nature, could have major implications for today’s world.

If accurate which way will it go?

Will the revolution be televised?

Let’s Go To The Papers

I have been watching the news for 30 minutes and I am f*cking exhausted!

Nowadays when  you hear that people think about the newspapers…..but I am talking about something different.

For over a year there has been opposition to Trump as president…..many think he colluded, some think that he has committed a Constitutional violation of the emoluments clause…..others think that he is practicing despotism and even a load of nepotism…..and a few think that he should be arrested and tried as a criminal for his actions before, during and after his candidacy…..then not to slight his supporters there are those who would give him oral sex to keep him in power (Nunes, Jordan come to mind) and about 35% of the population think his doing good things for the country (I am not one of them).

I think he has committed treason by colluding with the Russians (you remember them those bad guys from the movies just a decade  ago) This man, Trump, does nothing that does not benefit him or his business….the country matters not to this d/bag.

Let’s say that all this investigation stuff finds the president guilty of something (you pick whatever crime pops your griddle)…can Trump be arrested and jailed?

Let’s look at the crimes through the prism of the Federalist Papers.  Paper number 69 written by Alexander Hamilton……..

The President of the United States would be liable to be impeached, tried, and, upon conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanors, removed from office; and would afterwards be liable to prosecution and punishment in the ordinary course of law. The person of the king of Great Britain is sacred and inviolable; there is no constitutional tribunal to which he is amenable; no punishment to which he can be subjected without involving the crisis of a national revolution. In this delicate and important circumstance of personal responsibility,

So according to Federalist 69 sets forth the direction this would take…..the president cannot be jailed until he leaves office…..but read the whole paper…..

So if we live by the rule of law (which I am not positive that Trump would do) we have no choice but to wait until he is no longer in office before he can be put behind bars, if that is the consensus of the ruling.

Corporal Punishment

A Sunday of lots of rain so the garden is out of the question without a slicker…..but what crops I have planted can use the water….

I’m gonna step back in time……

When I was in high school I was a bit of a trouble maker….I was a member of a group called the Red Tidal Discussion Group…..we protested that our history book was printed in 1942 and not updated….we lead a sit-in in protest of no black history classes and I lived in Mississippi in the 1960’s….enough about my earlier years…needless to say that punishment in those days was a good paddling…or what they call ‘corporal punishment’ these days….I visited “coach” several times for he was our disciplinarian……5 whacks per offense we had to remove our wallets and anything else we had in our pockets so the full impact could be appreciated (sarcasm)… my junior year I had lost count of the trips to “Coach”……

I bring this up because of something I read about the students that recently walked out of class to protest the deaths of 17 students in the most recent school shooting…..

I seems that some things die hard in the South….Arkansas will deal out corporal punishment to those students that walked out of class….

Three students were punished for walking out of their Arkansas school Wednesday during the national protest against gun violence, and their punishment is now in the spotlight. Per, the Greenbrier Public Schools superintendent says the students never gave a heads-up so their school could prep for their demonstration, adding they were disciplined not for exercising their First Amendment rights, but for leaving class. Their choice of punishment, per the super: suspension or getting a parent-OK’d paddling. He wouldn’t say which punishment was selected, but the mom of one student did. On Wednesday, Jerusalem Greer tweeted that the kids “chose corporal punishment,” adding: “This generation is not playing around.” Her revelation soon went viral, with reactions ranging from calls to contact the ACLU to a horrified “Holy hell. Corporal punishment is still a thing in schools?!”

And that’s proven surprising to many, as, yes, many states do still allow it, though the exact number differs (it’s usually said to be 19). The Daily Beast reviewed Greenbrier’s school policy and found it stated physical punishment couldn’t be “excessive, or administered with malice”; an attempt to talk to the school’s assistant principal about the policy was met with a hang-up. Greer’s son, Wylie, told the Daily Beast his two “swats” didn’t hurt or cause any injury. He says he has “the utmost respect for all the adults involved,” as they were “merely doing their job,” though “the idea that violence should be used against someone who was protesting violence as a means to discipline them is appalling,” he noted. (Alabama paddled 19,000 kids in one school year.)

Too bad we cannot use corporal punishment on politicians…kinda like a public flogging….I know where I would bring…

The South hangs on to their institutions from the past…statues and corporal punishment and a simmering racism…..

Bury Me Not

I begin my Sunday watching it rain like cats and dogs….(yeah I know I just stepped in a poodle)……makes for a lazy day…….my granddaughter may stop by and give me the ‘skinny’ on what’s what….

Garden update….my radishes, mixed lettuces and grapes are doing great…..lots of rain and sunshine…..citrus trees in full bloom…..peach and plum trees in bloom also…..has the makings of a good year…..

Bury me not on the lone prairie… the song goes……

It appears that Americans are taking the song to heart…..

Visit someone’s home nowadays and you may notice their dead loved one—on a shelf, on the floor, or wherever. “They are in my house,” says Ellen Herman, an LA ad saleswoman, of her deceased parents. “Actually, in my bedroom! In boxes, under a bunch of other shit.” That’s because more Americans are being cremated, a shift that reflects changes in our economic and emotional lives and possibly the environment, Popular Mechanics reports. Back in 1980 only 5% of Americans were cremated; now it’s 50%, partly because the Great Recession drove people away from expensive burials. The crematorium at Rosehill Cemetery in Linden, NJ, for example, is burning 25 bodies daily to keep up with demand and pauses only on Sunday. “We just need a day off,” says the cemetery’s president.

In Rosehill’s crematorium, each body is burned in a brick-lined chamber that’s heated to 1,200 degrees; a second chamber then burns off the gas and particulates before it all goes into the atmosphere. Problems do arise in the cremation business, like loved ones slipping in personal items that explode, such as cell phones or even a coconut, the Bolton News reports. Cremation’s popularity has also aroused concerns about emissions and sparked interest in a water-based post-mortem process. Mourners are encountering new emotions, from relief at avoiding a funeral to pain or comfort in taking the ashes home. Many leave the urns on cemetery grounds, but others love having them. “There is no pressure or guilt of having to visit them in a cemetery,” says a woman who took her parents’ remains home. “And they will stay with me until the end of my time.”

I will be cremated… need for family members feeling obligated to visit a grave site and then eventually stop altogether and you become a memory only to the grounds keepers that have to mow around your head stone….not for me.

The family can get together and have a send-off for me……a wake if you like….memories presented and a good time for all and I ask no more after that….I already have my obit written on IST held in drafts…all someone has to do is hit “post” and it is over…painless and quick…..


You know you read some news story that makes you laugh and then consider how does someone explain the incident……well I read one of these recently……

Russian news reports say the hatch of a cargo plane carrying precious metals accidentally flew open upon takeoff—scattering at least 3 tons of gold on the runway. An investigation is underway after the incident Thursday at the airport in the far east city of Yakutsk, according to the Tass news agency. Sorry, treasure hunters: Authorities recovered 172 gold bars weighing 3.4 tons, Tass quoted Interior Ministry officials as saying, per the AP.

The An-12 plane operated by the airline Nimbus took off for Krasnoyarsk carrying 9.3 tons of gold and other precious metals, according to a statement from the state Investigative Committee quoted by Tass. Damage to a door handle caused it to fly open and spill some of the metal. No one was hurt in the incident.

The plane’s cargo ramp was somehow damaged during takeoff, causing gold to litter the runway and precious materials to rain down behind the vehicle for up to 16 miles before the plane made an emergency landing in Magan.

What the story does not touch is that diamonds were also on the load that flew out the ass end of the plane with the gold…..not all have been located…….

Okay who the Hell was flying around with that much gold?

Sounds like chump change for a Saudi prince….or maybe the pocket change for a Russian oligarch….

Speaking of a Saudi prince………

Fourteen current and former senior US officials tell NBC News that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince has been hiding his mother from his father, King Salman, for more than two years. The officials say intelligence shows that Prince Mohammed bin Salman, or MBS, initially placed his mother under house arrest at a palace over concerns that she opposed the idea of the king appointing MBS crown prince and might seek to prevent him from doing so. King Salman did indeed appoint his son crown prince in June, stripping his nephew of the title; MBS was quick to consolidate power. (This week, it was reported that MBS had seized executive control of businesses linked to people he recently had arrested.) The officials say that over the past two years, MBS has kept his father from seeing his mother, using various excuses—such as claiming his mother is getting medical treatment.

The 32-year-old MBS, who revealed in a recent interview that Saudi Arabia would develop a nuclear bomb if Iran did, will be meeting with the US president next week. As NBC reports, he’ll likely be touted as “a reformer who’s expanded women’s rights” in Saudi Arabia, but the officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said his treatment of his mother proves the lengths he’ll go to to ensure he is the country’s next king. US officials have also told NBC that, based on interactions with King Salman, he may not be “consistently lucid”; they say he has told those around him that he misses his third wife, but he does not appear to know where she is. The Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington denies that she is separated from her husband.

What a great son!  These are quality of people we are in bed with…..

My weekend is gonna be a quiet one….with wine and snacks….hope everyone joys their day…..chuq