Democrats in Disarray-When The Chickens Come Home To Roost

Democrats have been ‘outraged’ over the actions of President Donald Trump since his swearing in on Friday. Furious and concerned over abuses of executive orders, calling on federal troops to the streets of Chicago and his approval of the Dakota oil pipeline.

But this is the price Democrats pay for eight years of indifference.

In the words of Rev. Jeremiah Wright-“The chickens have come home to roost.”

But just what did Democrats expect out of eight years of completely ignoring the actions of their ‘hero’ Barack Obama? After all, didn’t they think of the future at all when accusations of Obama beginning to abuse the use of executive orders arose?

I mean, even the biggest of idiots could see that this sort of power would only be abused in the future by another president-the Democrats didn’t, though.

They also didn’t think of the future when CBS reported that Obama sent 2,000 federal troops into Baltimore to control the protests of a police killing in April of 2015. Today, though, they’re “frightened” of fascism as Donald Trump threatened the use of troops in Chicago in order to control crime.

But just what did they think would happen when the Democrats themselves set the precedent of allowing Obama to do this first?

Democrats also sat silently by as Obama approved literally dozens of oil pipelines, including, the controversial Trans-Pecos and Comanche Trail pipelines, along with the Enbridge Pipeline which threatens water quality in Wisconsin according to the Capital Times. So aggressive was president Obama on fuel production that Mother Jones Magazine dubbed him; “The Oil President.”

But suddenly they’re environmentalists when Trump approves the sole Dakota Pipeline.

On issue after issue the Democrats turned their backs to fact that their own president was taking actions that were wide open to be abused in the future.

For example, Democrats are worried that Donald Trump will detain Muslim Americans in the very FEMA camps MSNBC stated Obama built or expanded during 2009-2014, in response to hurricane Katrina,and implementing the NDAA or ‘indefinite detention” bill that Obama himself signed into law on New Years Day, 2011.

This move, I will note, actually even shocked Democratic Party hack, Rachel Maddow.

There is no action Trump could take, no loophole that he could find or law that he conceivably abuse that was not initiated by Barack Obama—none-zilch-nata.

Democrats are now up and arms over Trump’s ban on immigration from seven Islamic countries.  But again, where were they when Obama did essentially the same thing?

In 2015 Obama signed the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act as part of a spending bill. The completely bipartisan legislation restricted access to the Visa Waiver Program which permits people from 38 countries to enter. These very seven countries were included in that. In the end, once again Trump’s action is simply an extension of that.

The problem here isn’t the protest-it’s the fact that it is just too late. The genie is out of the bottle and it was Democrats who pulled the cork.trump

Because Democrats were more hell-bent on protecting Obama than they were on considering the future, they now find themselves in a position of having absolutely no credibility on many, many issues.

Democrats of 2017 are in no position to offer any honest opposition to practically anything Trump could do from the expansion of war or drone wars, restricting protest, persecuting whistleblowers and journalists to hydraulic fracturing, because Obama has done it all first and without a whisper of protest.

So what’s the answer here?

Democrats need to spend the next four years rebuilding credibility and embracing the progressive ideas of the millennials, rust belt workers and the anti-war, old-school and black left who deserted them or they will only be a coastal party of neo-liberal elitists, completely unable to regain the White House in 2020.

They need to distance themselves from the actions of Barack Obama and Bill Clinton and they need to develop firm liberal values that are not compromised and begin to rebuild the progressive agenda began by LBJ.

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Bain Capital’s grip on addiction-The profit behind 12-step treatment

 

Previously published elsewhere-

Last year nearly 2.5 million people 12 years of age or older sought treatment for substance abuse in the U.S., according to the National Survey on Drugs and Health. 2.3 million Americans obtained inpatient care, and it was reported by the AP that this number is expected to double under the Affordable Healthcare Act.

The National Institute of Health estimates that 15% of Americans suffer the disease of alcoholism, and other estimates run as high as 30%. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse And Alcoholism reports that, in America, 5-10% of males and 3-5% of women will at some point face alcohol abuse.  So serious is the disease, that the World Health Organization estimates that 1 in 25 deaths worldwide are the result of alcoholism.

There is little argument or question today that substance abuse is a serious problem and a deadly medical condition. But rarely do substance abuse treatment centers mention medical, psychological or pharmaceutical approaches to treatment; instead visitors to websites are almost always greeted with the words, “We are a 12-step based program.”

Alcoholics Anonymous and its 12-steps to righteous and disciplined living is the primary core of preferred treatment in over 90% of every outpatient and inpatient facility. Additionally, The National Institute of Health indicates that 36% of all 12-step-based inpatient treatment is court ordered or referred.

The success of this 12-step ‘treatment’ is so dubious, however, that the AA General Service’s own statistics, which obviously wish to portray AA in a positive light, admit that less than 5% of first-time attendees continue after the first year and most relapse multiple times. At best, your odds of staying sober through the 12-steps are perhaps 1 in 19, and the success rate of treatment facilities is even lower.

Currently there are no uniform standardized methods for treatment that are required of service providers.  Other for than licensed counselors with minimal medical training, there is very little regulation regarding actual treatment methods or requiring the offering of medical options such as Vivitol or Antabuse.

Instead it’s a mish-mash of state regulations which are largely administrative, with tougher standards regarding room and board or criteria for patient disclosure than actual treatment. Although most states offer ‘recommendations,” they aren’t followed and the treatment industry is seemingly trusted to develop their own concepts of ‘treatment,’ often meeting only the minimum government recommended standard.

Take the Wisconsin Bureau of Mental Health and Substance Abuse recommendations for AODA counselors and therapists. The bureau’s website states that adequate and complete treatment for addiction should include; “Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Motivational Enhancement Therapy, Community Reinforcement Approach, Contingency Management, AA 12-Step Facilitation Therapy, Pharmacotherapy, Biofeedback, Relapse Prevention, and Multidimensional Therapy.”

While the 12-step method is included, it’s only part of the larger treatment plan, but these are only recommendations and not requirements.  At most treatment centers it’s strictly one size fits all, and that is the AA 12-step-based model.

Few rehab centers list Ph.D. psychologists or psychiatrists on staff and many counselors are tech college graduates with Associates Degrees or a B.A. On occasion, you may find one therapist with a Master’s degree, and it’s easy to understand why.

According to Indeed.com, the median salary of a counselor with an Associate’s degree is $34,340, compared with $96,500 for a Ph.D.-level practitioner. A psychiatrist would cost right around $200,000.

But, the reality is, you don’t need a PhD or a psychiatrist in order to “take a fearless and thorough moral inventory of yourself,” as  almost all treatment center curricula consists mainly of learning to regularly attend AA meetings and completing the first four steps before graduating the 28-day treatment program.

“Ninety meetings in ninety days,” is the catch phrase most oft recited in rehab.

“What we have in this country is a washing-machine model of addiction treatment,” A. Thomas McClellan, chief executive of the nonprofit Treatment Research Institute, based in Philadelphia told The New York Times. “You go to Shady Acres for 30 days or to some clinic for 60 visits or 60 doses, whatever it is. And then you’re discharged and everyone’s crying and hugging and feeling proud — and you’re supposed to be cured.”

It’s pretty clear then why opportunistic corporations and shrewd investors are preying upon an ignorant public, medical community and criminal justice system. Treatment facilities are unregulated, expensive snake oil salesmen pitching a self-help ‘cure’ for a medical condition.

Substance abuse treatment is a $7.7 billion-dollar industry according to New York research firm IBISWorld Inc.  Small wonder why in 2006, Bain Capital eagerly obtained CRC, the nation’s largest single provider of substance abuse treatment and services, according to Bloomberg’s Magazine.

SEC Form 10-K reveals as of 2012, CRC operated 29 inpatient, 57 comprehensive treatment facilities and 16 outpatient clinics in 21 states. It doesn’t end there. CRC’s youth division includes 15 adolescent and young adult programs in 6 states. Bain’s CRC also operates 17 weight management facilities in eight states and one in the UK.

The cost of inpatient 12-step based treatment averages $25, 166 and because it isn’t very effective relapse is almost guaranteed. Although centers rarely state any hard data regarding anything, best estimates indicate that the average addict repeats treatment eight times or more.

Furthermore, The Partnership at Drugfree.org quotes the AP as reporting that this substance abuse treatment is largely publically funded.

The government’s own Alcohol and Drug Services Studies (ADSS) revealed that 86% of substance abuse facilities receive public funding, with a median of 62% regularly receiving public funding.

Corporate money grabbers are eager to jump on the addiction treatment bandwagon because few question the methods and programs are cheap to operate and very profitable. Simply have patients repeat, “I am powerless over alcohol and my life has become unmanageable” enough times, then hand them a meeting list and they’re cured.

That is until the court to treatment pipeline sends them through again and with county funding.

Well-intentioned judges don’t really understand addiction or its effective treatment so they continue to order defendants to what they’re vaguely familiar with-Alcoholics Anonymous and 12-step-based treatment.

Due in large part to increased court ordered treatment; CRC alone boasts an annual growth of 2-2% with patient revenue of $452.3 million, with 20.9% it government funded.

Even if the patient doesn’t qualify for public funding, there really isn’t a problem. 12-step treatment centers are slick operators who know just which philanthropic agencies and good hearted churches to turn to, and keep a list of contacts.

Unlike medical facilities, treatment centers demand payment up front, so they’re a no-lose investment for vultures like Bain. They’ve already got the cash even if a patient drops out of the program. Overflowing with a steady stream of state and privately funded clients, the opportunities for profit just keep growing.

The courts are more than happy to accommodate this.

Recently, the national trend has been a more sympathetic tone toward heroin addicts. Even conservative governors such as Wisconsin’s Scott Walker are advocating court-ordered and publically funded treatment.

Not one to miss out on easy financial growth, Bain is eager to jump on board.

The Boston Globe reports the Massachusetts investment giant also recently acquired Habit OPET, the state’s largest chain of substance abuse treatment facilities. Through CRC, Bain pumped $58 million into the purchase of the for-profit centers.

Bain really has a diverse portfolio; Dunkin’ Donuts to methadone clinics.

As with inpatient substance abuse treatment facilities, state are sketchy and federal requirements for methadone clinics are incredibly low.

Dr. Ken Hill, director of the Substance Abuse Consultation Services in Belmont, Mass., lamented, “The problem I find with some of the for-profit clinics is the absolute minimum required by law becomes the absolute maximum they’re willing to do for their patients.”

This isn’t to say that there isn’t quality substance abuse treatment available and based on solid medical science and some states, notably Oregon, are implementing evidence based treatment.

There’s also non-profit methadone clinics such Dr. Hills at McClean Hospital, and facilities such as St. Jude Retreats of Upstate New York, which isn’t 12-step based and touts a 62% success rate. Compared to the estimated (at best) 5% of 12-step based treatment, which is really hard to accurately gauge because most are unwilling to even share that data.

Substance abuse treatment has been hijacked by corporations and shrewd investors because it remains a minimally regulated or monitored industry. Strict treatment standards developed by modern addiction and psychological experts need to be implemented and enforced, just as there is for any other medical care provider.

When Bain Capital is so eager to invest in 12-step treatment, it’s a fairly good indicator that it’s probably a scam. Bain is interested only in one thing and it certainly isn’t treating substance abuse.

While it may play a role and may very well be beneficial to some addicts, the 12-step, religious principles of AA are not sound or proven medical, evidence based science.

It simply cannot be at the core of publically funded addiction treatment in the twenty-first century.

 

 

 

A right to assemble chaos-Why American police incite riots

Jamie Wendland is a contributing columnist to Pravda where this piece was titled; “Why American police incite riots.”Arizona Loss Unrest_Cham640

“Management Service: DR11” is an episode of popular nineteen-fifty and sixties American docudrama Dragnet, chronicling the aftermath of the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. Airing October 10, 1968, the episode centers on officers Joe Friday and Bill Gannon, as they are assigned with devising a police response to possible Los Angles protests.

Sergeant Friday decides it’s wiser to limit police presence, but keep a riot force on standby, and concludes if the situation is treated like a riot from the start, that’s exactly what they’re going to get

“Chief wants no excessive show of force, and don’t act on rumors,” he barks.

Dragnet, of course, is fictional, but as with most television programs, it reflects the values and thinking of a given era.

The nineteen sixties was a turbulent enough of a decade and most certainly there was police brutality, but it was recognized that citizens had the right of public assembly and protest.  Law enforcement reserved excessive show of force for situations which required it and they didn’t incite riots over traditional, college student customs.

Prior to the University of Wisconsin’s Men’s basketball Final Four game, a Wisconsin State Journal headline announced; “Police preparing for another big post-game crowd on State Street.” The article goes on to predict an even larger crowd than the “10,000-person party that erupted there last weekend.”

How do Madison, Wisconsin police handle a pumped-up crowd of 10,000 college-aged, and probably alcohol fueled, revelers?  Apparently, the chief has seen season 3-episode 4, as he “prepared” with only 50 officers in standard “soft gear” and kept the riot force on standby.

Thousands of drunken, loud and rambunctious students crammed State Street. Several threw bottles or firecrackers, some climbed light posts while others stood atop bus stop shelters, shouting at the top of their lungs.

The State Journal mused the following morning, “A Madison police officer told one man, ‘I’m not gonna put a Band-Aid on your head’ when he saw him hanging from a tree.”

There were no arrests and just a few citations issued to the overly rowdy, as police spokesperson Joel DeSpain happily reported. “We didn’t have any serious issues and we’re really proud of how our fans reacted.”

Tucson, Arizona police, however, don’t view the antics of college students the same as the fictional Joe Friday or Madison police. Following the very same game, the several hundred students taking to the streets were outnumbered by police in gas masks and full riot gear.

The Tucson police’s own overreaction and show of excessive force when it really wasn’t necessary created the very conditions in which a riot was the most likely outcome. In fact, they pre-planned and instigated a riot themselves, as verified by CBSSports.com:

“Police were prepared in riot gear, then forced to use pepper grenades when certain segments of the aggravated horde began verbally opposing the presence of law enforcement.”

The students were completely justified in opposing such a heavy handed police presence, because it wasn’t necessary to begin with. This wasn’t a riot; there were no rumors or any indication that a riot was even going to take place. These were neither protesters nor radicals; rather this was a group of forlorn students lamenting their team’s loss.

The police had instigated the very riot they were there to avert, by their own unwarranted excessive force.

Anyone with any contact with Minnesota has probably experienced that when it comes to constitutional rights and liberties, it’s hardly the land of the free. Police State Minnesota abounds with unconstitutional DUI checkpoints, unwarranted searches and police brutality. Minnesota also seemingly has a zero tolerance for any form of public assembly.

Following the first Minnesota Gophers Frozen Four hockey playoff game, fans poured into the streets in traditional college fashion. Of course they’re going to be noisy, to be rowdy and boisterous.  To the law of Minnesota, this is unacceptable.

No sooner did the game end, than students were greeted by over a hundred riot police with blaring bullhorns, warning the crowd of an “unlawful assembly” even before it had the opportunity to assemble. A local ABC affiliate described the scene as “chaos,” reporting;

“Hundreds of people flooded the streets of Dinkytown near the University campus Thursday night, forcing officers from across the Twin Cities to break up the crowd.”

Riot gear and AR-15s rarely set a festive mood, but Minneapolis police had pre-determined a riot.

“People were seen throwing bottles, climbing light poles,” it was reported, “—and even lighting fireworks in the streets!”

In other words, they were doing almost exactly the same things that Madison students, and other college students, have done for decades. However, in this case, it was immediately escalated by police with bean bag bullets and pepper spray.

“Minneapolis Police are investigating the massive celebration of students that turned criminal.”

Already having successfully escalated a simple celebration into a riot with over nineteen arrests, by treating it like a riot from the start, Minneapolis police were now able to justify an even greater show of force for the second playoff game.

Days before the game was to take place any possible public assembly or celebration was discouraged with stern threats;

“Remember, if things escalate, police don’t distinguish between bystanders and participants,” Pamela Wheellock, Vice President of University Services warned during a KSTP report.

Never mind that random targeting of everyone within sight, regardless of involvement, is not considered good police work by any stretch of the imagination. Rather, ask yourself: how do the police know “things” may escalate unless they’re already planning on escalating them? After all, this isn’t a protest, a Tea Party or KKK gathering, this is a bunch of college students who may or may not celebrate a team victory.

The several hundred students ultimately preparing for Dinkytown streets in lament of their loss of the game were in for a rude awakening. Greeted in war-zone fashion with over 300 riot police, armored vehicles and armed helicopters circling overhead, one would think this was an attempted government coup by armed militants, not a traditional custom of college students.

Madison police easily managed a mob of thousands with a mere fifty officers in standard soft gear.  Are Minnesota students so very different that they require what practically surmounts to a military battalion in full body armor to keep a few hundred in line, before they’ve even had an opportunity to fully assemble?

Wisconsin is the exception and not the rule, as the national trend is that public assembly in any form is met with overwhelming police force, whether they require it or not.

Traditional college student public gatherings in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Tucson, Arizona and even the sleepy southern city of Lexington, Kentucky, following the NCAA Tournament have all been the recent targets of police incited riots.

We’re living in an era where government thinks nothing of trampling on constitutional rights or personal liberties. Furthermore, even as the economy grows, the wealth goes to mighty, while mom and pop America gets food share. The gender wage gap, the racial wage gap and the age wage gap are amplified now as we all must fight even harder for just a little larger piece of the meager pie we share.

Soon, every sliver of that pie will be gone or distributed, and we’ll stop bickering amongst ourselves and attack the real enemy. If Americans were to take to the streets, it will be a revolution of epic proportions.  Therefore the will to resist must be so broken, and Americans so terrorized by authority, that college kids are conditioned to accept that public assembly in any form will be met with overwhelming and violent force.

But, there are exceptions.

Rancher Cliven Bundy may not be a good guy, and may be completely illegally grazing his cattle on Nevada public land. That aside, instead of just arresting the elderly man for possible illegal activities, the government floods the region with thousands of heavily armed federal agents.

For days, they terrorize locals and protestors through tazing, beatings and arrests for the eerily Orwellian charge of “failing to disperse.” CBS and other networks reported that officials had stooped so low as to sic attack dogs on a pregnant woman. The Feds, it seems, were hell-bent on escalating a relatively minor grazing issue, more suited to civil court, into a riot situation.

That is, until well-armed members of the Texas State Militia arrived, brandishing armor piercing ammunition.  No sooner are federal agents faced with heavily armed resistance, than they immediately cite “public safety concerns” and stand down.

Contrast this with the well documented and reported brutality against the unarmed Occupy protesters, which resulted in over 2,500 arrests.

The Bundy case is indicative of the reality that the disparity in arrests and abuse between Occupy and Tea Party protests has nothing to do with political bias. Although this is not an endorsement of militias or gun violence, the facts are painfully clear—police don’t mess with assemblies of citizens who are armed to the teeth.

On March 2, 2014 in Washington, D.C., the peaceful protest of only 1,200 participants against the Keystone oil pipeline project resulted in pepper spraying, police assaults and nearly four hundred arrests. A whopping 40% arrest rate, for what should be a basic constitutionally protected right of public protest. How many arrests would have occurred with a hundred or so armed citizen militiamen lurking in the shadows?

Is this what America has become?  Do even college students or environmental activists need to call upon the armed protection of the Texas State Militia in order to exercise their constitutional right of assembly, or prevent police abuse?

Police around the nation are cracking down on even the most peaceful of public assemblies and escalating situations. Peaceful protests, traditional college student public antics and even wedding reception parties have been sequestered or dispersed by overwhelming police show of force.

“Excessive show of force and acting on rumors” is standard police procedure in America today, as the public will to resist must be shattered.

It’s a vicious cycle played out every day in the US: police escalate a minor situation into a riot, then as a result demand more riot gear and more military style equipment for the next situation.  The next assembly is met with even more immediate force, and it escalates even further. Eventually the public is so filled with fear that even the thought of any public assembly, let alone public protest, is far removed from their minds.

 

Medicating Childhood-An American Zombie Apocalypse

“When I was a child, I thought as a child,” is an old proverb which at one time was also the philosophy society lived by when rearing children.  This was the golden rule practiced by parents, schools and child development experts in understanding that the childlike behavior of children was an intrinsic fact of life; they are not adults. They were not expected to think like adults, behave like adults nor exhibit rational, acceptable adult social skills, maturity or conduct-they were children and so they were allowed to think and behave like them.Childhood dangers

That has all changed over the past thirty years, change accelerated at an alarming rate as we entered the twenty first century. It has become almost universally accepted by parents, schools, child psychologists and even law enforcement that children are, in fact, simply miniature adults and we demand of them to act accordingly. A child who is unable to conform to this new societal standard of acceptable adult behavior is immediately labeled “mentally ill,” and is either punished, medicated or forced into psychological treatment.

A six year old who kissed a classmate was suspended from school and classified by the district a predator for “sex harassment.”  In Georgia, a female kindergarten student was handcuffed and suspended for a childish temper tantrum. A similar 2012 incident involving a five year old Stockton, California boy resulted in the child’s arrest and a charge of battery to an officer. The boy was then “transported to a hospital for further psychiatric evaluation,” according to local NBC affiliate KCRA.

Virtually every aspect of childhood behavior and mischief has been criminalized using an adult standard, to such an extent that a Chicago thirteen year old now faces multiple adult felonies for a stray snowball.

Most often, however, common childlike behavior doesn’t result in such dramatic overreaction. Instead, they’re medicated. Childhood behavior and diverse personality traits result in diagnoses ranging from everything from Asperger’s Syndrome to Personality Trait Disorder, and the actual figures of children being treated for these vary greatly depending upon the source. While undoubtedly some children do suffer the onset of mental illness at an early age, many if not most, it could be argued, are being treated solely for the disease of normal childhood behavior.

Modern society has made parenting and childhood nearly impossible. Overworked and overstressed parents pressure the schools for assistance, but the schools are overcrowded and overworked with the additional pressure of society’s mad desire for every child to be a super achiever. Schools pawn childhood off to the police who, because they are not child psychologists, can only place childhood misbehavior and mischief into a context they understand-the adult concepts of enforcing law and order.

In the end, coping with childhood lands on the lap of medical professionals who deal with it as they are best educated to do-diagnose, treat and medicate something. Thus, childhood and all behaviors related to childhood are now treated as a disease.

Childhood isn’t a disease, though, so medical science is placed in a position of developing a highly subjective and vague default diagnosis for the mental illness of immaturity. The symptoms required for a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD as it is commonly known, are as broadly defined as the name itself implies.

Marie Hartnell-Walker, ED.D. has over thirty five years experience as a psychologist, family therapist and with parenting education. She’s authored numerous pieces on psychology for Huffington Post, along with an ebook, and is a regular contributor to the highly regarded site Psych Central. In a 2006 article entitled; “How to Drive with Kids without Driving Yourself Crazy,” she describes how common childhood traits can make traveling nearly unbearable;

“Kids have energy. Kids have short attention spans. Kids get wired. Kids—even the nicest sweetest kids—usually tussle with siblings. Kids don’t like to be confined.”

One could assume, as Dr. Hartnell-Walker is a psychologist and not a veterinarian, that the word ‘kids’ is referring to the normal behavior of children and not baby goats.  Also put aside for a moment that all of the traits she lists as intrinsic to a child are exactly the same traits deemed inappropriate and abnormal in a twenty first century classroom.  Instead, consider how her equally respected and qualified collogue Margarita Tarkatovsky, M.S., describes ADHD facts on the very same site;

“Its hallmark symptoms include hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity. Children have difficulty concentrating, following instructions, sitting still and interacting with others.”

In other words, virtually, all of the same behaviors Marie Hartnell-Walker, ED.D., classifies as normal, Ms. Tarkatovsky maintains with equal credibility are the symptoms of ADHD, but expressed with far more professional and diagnostic language.

Granted, some children legitimately do suffer from ADHD, and according to the CDC the figure is actually only around 5%.  They go on to point out, however, that over 11% of all American children, and 20% of boys alone, are being treated for the condition. Depending upon the state, the figure is even higher. Over ten years, the number of American children being treated for ADHD is growing at a staggering pace of 48%.

The gap between legitimate, serious ADHD versus children being treated for it demonstrates just how much of birdshot diagnosis this is for any normal childhood behavior deemed inappropriate by adult standards. At some moment of any given day, any child will display the symptoms of ADHD.

Vague and broad spectrum medical diagnoses for normal, everyday human behavior aren’t just confined to children, however. Over the past twenty years, professional organizations such as the Royal College of Psychiatry and American Psychology Association have attached a serious psychological disorder for every known personality trait or eccentricity known to man that may possibly be of annoyance to someone else.

You’re that cranky old man down at Wal-Mart, or the political, overzealous young hipster just waiting for an argument with conservative Uncle Fred at the next family gathering–“Antisocial Personality Disorder.”

Maybe you’re the guy who danced naked on the pool table at the office party, singing ‘We Will Rock You.” Well buster, you are not really the life of the party, after all– “Histrionic Personality Disorder.”

Perhaps you’re the bragging windbag down at Norkies Tavern who hits on girls half your age like you really have any chance at all, and who I thought was just completely full of bullshit. I am so very sorry for laughing you off the barstool, knowing that you suffer- “Narcissistic Personality Disorder.”

There are now so many diagnosable disorders for the natural, ordinary human condition and behavior, they fill volumes. While doctors, psychiatrists, parents, schools and law enforcement all play a definite destructive role in this, in the end, they are only a symptom, in and of themselves, of a much greater disease.

Americans are the most overmedicated society on earth because by and large, they’re medicating just to survive Capitalism.  Given this culture and modern conditions, one is more likely to be living out the Medicated Capitalist Zombie Apocalypse than the American dream.

Children come home, exasperated, from one overly structured environment to another, and simply want to let down their hair and be children. But parents are equally exasperated from often working two jobs, just trying to survive in an industrialized, modern society which makes it impossible to exist on a single income.  Few parents are afforded the luxury of remaining home and the mobility of modern society necessitates limited, or no, local extended family support system, so parents wish Billy could just sit quietly and watch Spiderman.

Family doctors, child psychologists and psychiatrists are not going around knocking down the doors of schools, colleges and employers, shoving medication down everyone in sight; Americans are demanding it. The vast majority of working class America is overworked and underpaid, bogged down by student loan debt from an education that was supposed to lead straight to financial freedom but instead landed them at the temp service, groveling for whatever income they can.

Further manipulated by corporate interests, who have convinced them that consumerism is the path to true happiness, over fifty percent of Americans are now buried with credit card debt. So convinced by the delusion that good credit equals success, many parents probably spend more time worrying about their credit score than their child’s report card. Survival in an economic Darwinist society takes energy-all of your energy.

Parents are so tired they can’t cope with even the most fundamental of child misbehavior, so they beg the family doctor to medicate them into submission. To add further complication, the job market is now so cannibalistically competitive that even the slightest negative or eccentric personality trait leaves one at a disadvantage, so they seek to medicate their own personalities away, as well.

Legitimate mental illness is serious and obviously needs to be treated, preferably early.  We need to work even harder to diagnose those who are potentially at risk to themselves and to the larger society, without resorting to a mass diagnosis of treatable childhood. Moreover, we need to fearlessly address head-on the conditions of our modern industrial and technological society that has made life so unbearable that the natural human condition must now be medicated.

Above all, we need to protect and comfort our children from today’s adult world and make a conscious decision to end this medical war on childhood. Celebrate and cherish that these are children and not mini-adults. Parents and schools need to recognize that you just can’t schedule or predict a child’s daydreaming or mischief. We must recognize that law enforcement should only be a last resort, under very extreme circumstances. By all means, we must end the criminalization of childhood behavior and mischief.

By removing these expectations from them, children can be free to learn, to play and to squabble like kids again. Our entire adult society needs reflect on the beauty and innocence of childhood and collectively whisper a reminder; “When I was a child, I thought as a child.”

Biblical Misconception-How Genesis Disproves Scientific Creationists

 

In recent months, much has been made of the divide between Atheists and Christians and between science and creation. Like gladiators locked in a battle to the death, the two sides equally treat this grand mystery of life as if it were some sort of competition.

When the bias of antiquated human doctrine is shed there actually is very little difference. The formation of the earth as described in the opening passages of Genesis is remarkably similar and in complete harmony with what science has proven.

Creationists just can’t seem to see the tree through the forest as science only confirms what the Bible already told you.  If the Bible is indeed, the divine word of God, then the information and science it contains transcends time as measured by humans.

When these doctrinal beliefs were formulated, people didn’t understand the science of the Bible as there weren’t telescopes, geology, physics or any advanced human sciences to confirm or explain it. So they defined it in simple terms that they understood. When human science finally caught up with the scientific knowledge revealed in the Bible, doctrinal myth had become so internalized and part of culture that anything which questioned it was heretical.

Today’s scientific creationist is still preoccupied with defending human defined, mythological doctrine rather than viewing science as further evidence of Biblical truth. Evolution completely aside, science has proven, beyond any doubt or theory, that this is the case. Every effort to present ancient doctrinal myth as fact proves futile.

Likewise, atheists expend a great deal of intellectual energy attempting to disprove the existence of a divine creator when even the most advanced scientific knowledge has not been able to discredit the possibility of a divine God. For this reason, the great philosopher Pascal recommended we play it safe and leave the door of possibility ajar, as any attempt to completely disprove the existence of a creator has always proven equally futile.

Far from diminishing the holiness or authenticity of the Bible, modern science only proves the Bible’s actual version of creation events. Consider Genesis 1-28 through the lens of known, proven science and not human religious doctrine, the author’s order of the sequence of events that constitute the formation of the earth and appearance of life is remarkably accurate.

1)      Dead planet

2)      Earth begins rotating

3)      Earth completely immersed under water

4)      Continents rise and form and the present day oceans defined

5)       Plants appear-creating an atmosphere

6)      Earth orbits sun creating seasonal changes, atmosphere clears, creating climate and conditions suitable for animal life

7)      Aquatic animals appear first

8)      Land animals appear-birds/reptiles/mammals

9)      Humans appear

10)  Primitive civilizations form and humans domesticate certain animals and begin cultivating crops.

While I do not purport to be an academic, scientific scholar, I did pay enough attention in science class to know that science has confirmed beyond a doubt that this accurately describes the order life appeared on our planet.  If creationists were to embrace the proven scientific accuracy of Genesis instead of insisting on the ridiculous argument of what constitutes a day, Christians would have the satisfaction and bragging rights of knowing that their God told Moses in a simple vision, knowledge that took secular science the span of nearly two thousand years to learn completely own their own.

Creationists, however, concentrate on that nagging question of just what constitutes a Biblical ‘day.’ Because a neutral reading of scripture interprets a more sophisticated level of scientific harmony and accuracy in other issues, including the formation of the planet, I ask scientific creationists to open themselves up to just the possibility that their interpretation of a ‘day’ is again doctrinal, not Biblical and may be incorrect.

The whole doctrinal notion of a twenty four day for each phase of creation was again, formulated at a time when there was no science to verify the Bible’s actual claim. There also weren’t the modern units of measurements for centuries and millenniums. How else would the author be able to mark the beginning and end of each creation period, other than; ‘The sun rises-the sun sets.’

Athanasius and other early religious leaders also had absolutely no knowledge of what it takes to form a fossil or how long a planet needs to form, so they based it upon what little they did know-a literal day. It was an acceptable idea for a more primitive and scientifically ignorant society and times. We now know otherwise.

If I were to make the statement: “Back in George Washington’s day,” using scientific creationist logic, then George Washington lived and died within the span of a literal single day.  We all know that is complete and utter nonsense and that rather, this includes a particular stretch of time, measured in the decades in which George Washington lived and died-hence, an era.

I ask scientific creationists to open themselves up to just the possibility, nothing more, that this is what the authors of the bible were actually attempting to indicate. An era-a span of time that they didn’t have the terminology to describe, the actual length of tens of thousands or millions of years, either unspecified or perhaps unknown by the authors, in which each step of the formation and appearance of life occurred.

The Genesis version of life even leaves open the possibility of earthly evolution for Christians, but always through the guiding hand of a divine power. The Bible specifically says Genesis 24 that God, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds.”  In other words, it is perfectly acceptable for a creationist to interpret this to mean that while God created the earth and the seeds of life, he also made the earth itself a living entity with the power to evolve or create, with his oversight, if you will, life forms suitable for habitation upon it. This easily makes perfect sense from a creation perspective.

Many people plant a garden and how often has one planted yellow squash and zucchini squash in too close of proximity? The two cross-pollinate and you wind up with this weird, distorted, yellow squash-zucchini monster like hybrid. The gardener still played a major role and made it possible by planting the seeds and tending the plants, but at the same time, it still would never have occurred without the natural process and intervention of the earth. So it could be with the God/earth relationship in evolution.

Consider God as a general contractor on a major project; The earth, as initially created, wasn’t move in ready anymore than a new home is after the exterior walls are constructed. Construction, like inhabiting a planet, happens in stages and at the right time. Subcontractors install fixtures, toilets and sinks only when the home has progressed to a certain stage. You wouldn’t install a wall switch before the wiring is done, just as earth couldn’t support woodland mammals before the forest and under growth had matured.

God does remind us further into the 24th verse that his guiding hand was with the living earth in the evolution and balance of all animal species, including humans.  Genesis 25 also tells us that God had a partner in the creation of humanity as he doesn’t take singular credit: “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.”  Given that he already gave earth some say and power in the development of its own suitable life forms and seeing he also makes no reference to ever having had any other sidekick, earth and its divine gift of evolutionary powers seem the likely choice.

Just as the other scientific facts which were revealed by Genesis first, human science is again catching up and  confirming the Biblical possibility of evolution.  But instead of embracing this, foolish creationists cling to a defense of antiquated doctrine and deny God’s own inspired Bible science, as they did a thousand years ago. But science completely supports the sequence of creation events outlined in Genesis, to demand creationism be treated equally in schools sounds absurd and redundant-it already is.

Creationists will now probably raise the question: “If it wasn’t a literal day, why didn’t God spell this out to us, in every minute detail?” The answer is remarkably simple-it just doesn’t matter. Isn’t the miracle of a life from nothing enough for you?  Doesn’t the fact that God gave Moses complex and accurate scientific knowledge of the formation of a living planet, at a time when most people didn’t even read, absolutely leave you in awe?

Are you so unimpressed by the miracle of this beautiful planet that now you must split hairs over whether or not it was a twenty four hour day?  Even the miracle of human birth given to us by God takes nine months. Are you so arrogant, and your faith so weak, that if God didn’t wrap up this entire earth project in six literal days, it isn’t good enough? Does it diminish God, or does it even matter in the least, whether the earth is six thousand years old or six hundred million-do you think you could do better?

Scientific creationists read and interpret the Bible with the sole purpose of proving and confirming human, ancient doctrine, but not for what it really contains.  They will twist scripture this way and that way, defending a doctrinal idea that is as futile and outdated as arguing the world is flat. Moreover, scientific creationists need to come to realize that the Bible doesn’t contradict science-they do.

 

 

 

Shut Up About Gay Marriage, Already-Promote Single Life

The late Gay Scholar Gore Vidal summed up gay marriage the best – it is the absolute dumbest non-issue of our era.  He stated that one day we would look back at this and wonder how we could possibly feel so passionately, when the debate over the issuing of marriage licenses to gays is about as relevant as debating driver licenses for blondes.

628x471Ironically, on the issue of gay marriage however, liberal atheists and conservative Christians share the common goal of fighting to preserve the archaic, religious tradition of marriage.

It’s not that I’m against gay marriage,  I think the promotion of marriage in any form, by any enlightened person, is idiotic. It’s a religious custom that has no place in the twenty-first century. Wouldn’t it make sense, therefore, that instead of promoting the marriage of gays, an enlightened, liberal atheist would be fighting against the entire institution of marriage, altogether?

More than 60% of heterosexual marriages end with divorce, so why would liberal atheists insist on imposing this upon perfectly happy, single gay couples?  I experienced marriage once, but I also experienced a near fatal accident and I wouldn’t repeat either one.  Heterosexual marriage, however,  is an insane addiction and most divorced individuals are not content failing just once. They feel compelled to fight over property and divide bank accounts multiple times.

But if gays want this grand privilege, grant it and nobody should have any further vested interest beyond divorce lawyers and family court commissioners.

Additionally, because marriage is a religious ritual and one I personally don’t believe in, all federal and state laws mandating marriage in order to gain special property, spousal or tax rights are a violation of separation of church and state. So as an unmarried, cohabitating person, I haven’t got any true allies – I’m being blackmailed by liberal atheists, Christians, and the state into a religious tradition that I do not wish to practice.

Many liberal atheists justify their fervent support for marriage by claiming that it has now become a secular custom. One could argue that, largely, so have the Christian holidays of Christmas and Easter. But these same liberal atheists certainly would never tolerate the state mandated observation of them.

With just a little additional training, divorce lawyers will always find something else to practice, and liberal atheists need to wise up and stop cursing gays with the belief that an opportunity for a failed marriage is somehow better for them. Leave religions to promote their own ridiculous customs and traditions. The enlightened fight is really the one against state mandated marriage–for anyone–and the violation of the Constitutional Rights of all single, cohabitating couples, whether the relationship is sexual or not.

Gay or straight, cohabitating singles have enough pressure from the pain in the ass Christians, so we certainly don’t need liberal atheists pushing marriage on us, too. Shut up about gay marriage, already, and just give singles the same rights and privileges as the matrimonial insane.

I F#cking Love Shakespeare, Thou F#ckwad-When Martin Scorsese Remakes The Great Bard

Several months ago, Martin Scorsese wowed the world with his latest film, The Wolf of Wall Street. It isn’t the directing, the acting or a brilliantly written, profound script which has the viewing public excited. Critics and filmgoers alike are overwhelmingly dazzled by Scorsese’s greatest cinematic achievement of his career; a record breaking use of the word “fuck.”

William_Shakespeare_1609“All The F-Words In Wolf Of Wall Street,” The Huffington Post headline impressively screams.  “There are 569 variations on the f-word alone, including obscene gems like “f—kity,” “f–kheads” and “f—kface.”  Quickly note that these are just not any use of the word ‘fuck.’ According to this critic–these are also “gems!”

It wasn’t just the Huffington Post which was overwhelmed with joy that this vulgar linguistic barrier has finally been breached.

“Wolf of Wall Street Breaks F-Bomb Record“– Variety

“The Wolf Of Wall Street, which features the F-word (and all of its derivatives) 506 times”—The Guardian

This is not the satirical stuff of The Onion either, this is dead serious.

So serious, in fact, that thankfully the online magazine Slate, known for its cutting edge journalism, conducted a thorough, full investigative report on the actual number of times the word “fuck” is used in the Wolf Of Wall Street.

The groundbreaking investigative piece poses the pressing question of our classy era: “Is Wolf Of Wall Street Really The Sweariest Movie Of All Time? A Slate Investigation.”

“Slate’s own tally confirms that Wolf is every bit as profane as it’s made out to be. In fact, it might be more profane: I counted a whopping 544 F-bombs, 38 more than even Wikipedia had listed.”

 Such is our fascination and adoration of the word ‘fuck’ that there is an entire Wikipedia page devoted to its sophisticated use within a single film.

It is undeniable, therefore, that Scorsese’s remarkable usage of the F-bomb is the single greatest contribution to literature, theatre or film. In comparison, William Shakespeare now seems laughably primitive and quaint.  Although perhaps poetically poignant for its era, Shakespeare no longer reflects the sophistication of an educated and informed Twenty First Century.

Given the historic value and reputation of Shakespeare, however, his work could perhaps salvage some intellectual relevance and contemporary influence through the addition of properly placed f-bombs and other sophisticated language within some modern context.

Here’s an excerpt from Martin Scorsese’s ‘Hamlet.’

Hamlet’s Fucking Speech

To be, or fucking not to be: that is the fucking question.
Whether this fucking shit ’tis nobler in the mind (of a fucktit) to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fucking fortune,
Or to take fucking arms against a sea of fucking troubles, And by opposing end them? To fucking die: to fucking sleep;
No more; and by a fucked sleep to say we end
Fuck-The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
Fuck-That flesh is heir to, ’tis a Goddamn fucking consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To fucking die, to fucking sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: fucking- ay, there’s the fucking rub;
For in that sleep of fucking death what fucking dreams may fucking come
When we have shuffled off this fucking Goddamn mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there’s the fucking respect (Fuckass)
That makes calamity of so long (of) fucking, fucking life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of fucking time,
The fucking asshat oppressor’s fucked up wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised fucking love, the law’s delay,
Fuck-The insolence of office and the spurns
Fuck-That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he fucks himself might his quietus make
With a bare fucking bodkin? Who would fardels fucking bear,
To fucking grunt and fucking sweat under a weary fucking life,
But that the dread of something after fucking death, (fuckwad)
The undiscover’d fucking country from whose bourn
No fucking traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we fucking know not of?
Thus conscience does make fucking cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale fucking cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this fucked regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.–Fuck! Soft you now!
Fuck! The fair Ophelia! Nymph, (fuckfaced bitch) in thy fucking orisons
Be all my fucking sins remember’d.

(Fuck off!)