Monday, November 28, 2005

Is Addiction Real?

Bill Quick at The Daily Pundit has posted my latest article on the subject of addiction. Bill also has a link to this related article at LGF. I will post the full article that Bill has put up later today or early tomorrow.

And thanks Bill for the exposure.


Is addiction real? A very interesting question.I think there is an answer to that question. Obviously I think the answer is not in the affirmative. Why? Well there in lies a tale.

For me it started with Dr. Lonnie Shavelson. In July of 2001 I read a review of his book "Hooked" and learned some things. One of the things I learned was that in his sample of female heroin users 70% were sexually molested before they started heroin use. He also found that male heroin users were 25 to 50 times more likely to have been sexually abused than the general population. I wrote an article on the subject. Heroin. What I suggested in that article was that a large number of heroin users were taking the drug for relief from severe PTSD.

The next piece of the puzzle came to me in November of 2002 when I read this report done on the CB1 receptor in mice. A cannabinoid receptor also found in human brains. The report showed that fear memories which seem to be mediated by the CB1 receptors decay at different rates depending on genetics. I wrote this review of that report: Addiction or Self Medication? What I figured out from the report is that the reason drugs are addictive (long term use) for some and not others was based on genetics. A very big key to the puzzle of addiction. In the past the fact that some get addicted and others do not was ascribed to the "addictive personality". Now no one could tell you what an addictive personality was. It couldn't be defined. So in fact it was mumbo jumbo. I now had another piece of the puzzle. However twin studies showed that genetics only accounted for 50% of the cause for addiction. What was the other 50%? Pretty obvious from Dr. Shavelson's report. Trauma.

Well that lead me to look deeper into the genetics aspect. I wrote an article Genetic Discrimination which goes into some of the genes involved in tobacco addiction and marijuana addiction. It turns out that the genes involved in tobacco addiction vary by race. It also turns out that some people do not produce enough cannabinoids to feel normal. Again the idea that genetics only accounts for 50% of addiction (in this case to pot) comes up.

Looking further into the opiate question I looked into endorphins, the body's natural heroin, and how the body produces them. Sex, food, and exercise. And of course we know about sex junkis, food junkies, and even exercise junkies.I wrote about that in an article called Big Mac Heroin Attack.

What about stimulants? Stimulants seem to work well for people with ADD/ADHD problems. Of course this has got the pharma folks in full hue and cry mode against street drugs.

The War On Unpatented Drugs

To sum up:
1. We now kow that severe PTSD may be the cause of 70% or more of heroin use.
2. We know that there is a genetic connection.
3. We know there is a trauma connection.
4. We know that stimulants treat a different class of problems than opiates

What I have done is come up with a hypothesis that fits the facts. Why some people and not others are susceptable to addiction (as opposed to habituation which we know how to treat: Detox). Surprisingly this is a Well Known Secret in some segments of the medical community.

What we do not know is the true extent of the problem. Exactly how much of what we call addiction is due trauma/genetics? We don't know the answer because the problem is not being studied in any systematic way. We have the most information on pot/PTSD and stimulants/ADD-ADHD. A very few studies on opiates. Most studies so far have been anecdotal rather than statistical. The reason in my opinion is that there is no research money out there to make a statistical study of the self medication hypothesis. Such studies would be very expensive if they included DNA work ups and extensive interviews.

Self medication appears to be a very lage part of our "addiction" problem. In fact we may not even have an addiction problem. What we may have is seriously undertreated population with various mental problems caused by imbalances in the brain.

What is needed is more research. The only way we will get that any time soon is to pressure the government.Obviously the drug companies have no interest in finding out what addiction is because it will impact their bottom line if people take drugs for Problem Solving. In fact there are a lot of actors in this farce who would stand to lose big if such a study showed what I expect it might. The only folks to be benefitted would be "addicts". And they don't have much of a lobby in Washington.

I have also written about soldiers/police and PTSD here:

The Soldiers Disease
A test for PTSD
Police and PTSD

And if you go to my sidebar I have lots of other links to articles on the subject.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Cut and Run

Nothing wrong with cut and run. Our enemies will see to that.

If cut and run emboldens them we may very well wind up with a nuke war with a Dem in office. A rather high price for electoral victory. The Dems will deserve it.

Who could see in 1936 that a small short war with Germany at the cost of 10,000 lives would save millions? Are we in the same position now? Unfortunately there is only one way to find out.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Pot for asthma

Medical reseach done in 1975 shows that pot can be valuable for asthma.

Instapundit suggests that in case of clogged lungs caused by the H5N1 flu virus, inhaled steroids such as those used for asthma might be helpful.

Pot seems to do the job and is much safer. Especially in the case of children, why would we even consider dangerous drugs like steroids?

Friday, November 11, 2005

It Is All About Enforcement

Over at Jane Galt's there is a discussion of abortion going on. [hat tip Instapundit.] I have left a few comments which I repeat here:

If abortion becomes against the law the law will need to be enforced.

If our drug laws are any indication we will need a Pregnancy Enforcement Administration. The PEA. The PEA brains will need to have enforcers and snitches and the whole repressive apparatus for control.

And instead of 20,000 or so murder investigations a year we will have to have 200,000 murder investigations. And prisons. And guards. etc.

All this for a practice that is at least 2,500 years old.

Now perhaps, despite 2,500 years of moral opprobrium, it is possible that a practice of such long standing has some value to humans. Like drugs for instance.

And of course every miscarriage will need a murder investigation.

And women will need to be watched for tell tale signs of pregnancy.

And how about those anonymous tip lines. Great for those who have a grudge. Accusations will need to be followed up. The woman in question will need to go to a government certified lab for inspectiion.

Well if that is the way it is going to be - I want to be Chief Inspector. For the right consideration, I'm sure the charges can be dropped as unfounded or at least inconclusive.

And don't forget the problem of fetal alcohol syndrome. Perhaps alcohol prohibition for women ages 10 to 60 is in order. FAS is a serious problem and requires a serious solution.

It is obvious that we do not have enough secret police (undercover operatives) in America.

I am going to love the "tender breast" road side check - preliminay signs of a possible pregnancy.

Or perhaps we can have trained dogs who will sniff (up close and personal) and alert if there is the right smell. My dog is going to alert not only for the correct smells but also when I give the secret hand sign.

In the PEA our best operatives will be certified as VIPs. Vagina Inspection Police.

The possibilities are endless.

If we are really serious women will need to be government pregnancy checked every week. Maybe daily.

Suppose we do it weekly. Suppose doing the test costs $25. And say there are about 100 million women who between 10 and 60.

For a cost of only about $130 billion a year we can eliminate abortion. Given the usual mark up and administration requirements say $250 billion. For only a quarter trillion a year we can eliminate at least 99% of all abortions.

Every woman in America will need to become enrolled in the PEA database. Periods will need to be charted. Sex partners tracked. Those PEA brains think of everything.

Of course the women will need to be watched giving samples and video taped to make sure the watchers aren't getting frisky. Or helping too much.

I think a big market might open up for "hair stylists". To make sure the videos look good. And the feminine hygyne product lobby will certainly be a supporter once they understand the possibilities.

And if some of the tapes make the 'net? No problem. There is no right to privacy. Especially from the government.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Is Europe Burning?

Paris is burning More Paris is burning.

Denmark is burning.

Yourish has links to burnings in the Netherlands, England, Denmark, and threats in Australia.

So far France has been at it for seven days with no end in sight. The cabinent ministers are not united on a course of action. The Minister of Peace and Harmony was especially adamant that understanding and tolerance was the only way forward.

As some one has pointed out, what is needed is "a wiff of grape". What will be offered instead is a glass of vin ordinaire.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The State of Reconstruction

Andrew Sullivan is moaning about the state of the reconstruction in Iraq. He refers to this New York Times piece on how the reconstruction is going. Here is my answer to Andrew and the NYT piece:

Wars are expensive, money is often ill spent, no plan survives contact with the enemy.

Before a rebuilding plan can be initiated surveys need to be done of requirements. Not having a plan is not the same as the inability to plan. TBD (To Be Determined) is not dishonorable or a sign of incompetence.

When you are in a rush mistakes will be made.

And only $30 bn on rebuilding? Cheap so far. And 2/3s of the projects completed? If projects are proportionate to dollars that says $15 bn will be needed to finish. About 5% of the yearly Congressional pork budget. Certainly there is a bridge or two we can cut to make up the difference.

Repeated changes of priority costing time and money? Didn't any one tell Glanz [the NYT reporter - ed.] that there is a war going on?

Prices for building materials going up because of increased demand? Isn't that a sign that a lot of building is going on? Isn't that good?

A substation with no connection to the grid? Consider it a storage area for heavy equipment. All is not lost.

25% of project money spent on security? A sign that we still have an enemy.

Innovate, adapt, overcome. If it doesn't work out: learn, adjust, try again.

Did I mention the Iraqi Army and Police? No shortage of recruits. Despite the continuous attacks on those waiting in line to join. Would that we all had such guts in the face of the enemy.

In wars against guerillas the metric of success is the advance of self government. The number of purple fingers increased since the last election.

I'll have another history lesson soon.


BTW more even that people in Iraq, you are the target of the attacks. It is important to keep that in mind. Home front morale is as important as troop morale. Do your bit to raise it.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Pot Treats Diabetes

Amy T of Diabetes Mine has a post up about treating diabetes with pot.

She lists the benefits and then concludes with:

Now I have no idea how this has been received in the medical community, but that is one heck of a long list of potential health benefits! Where do I sign up for the clinical studies? (wink ;)
As I noted in an e-mail to Amy:
If the stuff wasn't illegal it would be considered a medical super-miracle given all the problems it treats.
We have given up a whole raft of medical miracles to go after pot smokers. Fortunately as more research is done those days are coming to an end.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Politics of Computers

Early Hackers (cira 1975-79) knew the computer was political.

My first mate and I did Ts with “Support the Revolution - Buy A Computer” with a cute R2 unit in the center in ‘77. Star Wars had just come out and we sold a few at the Chicago Computer Club. CACHE.

At the time I expected great things from computers. It has gotten out of hand.

Around ‘77 I envisioned a network of Apple Like Computers with top scientists and thinkers talking to each other through modems and an 800 number. I called it the Draco System.

What we have now is much better than anything I dreamed of.

Communications is always political. Information is power.

It really is remarkable. Citizens control the media and the feedback is at the speed of thought. The time to transmit the message to the world is negligible.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Soldiers Disease

There was a time in our nation's history when alcoholism was considered an honorable disease. And why would that be? Interesting question. Reader dthardy from Of Arms and the Law sent me this interesting e-mail in reference to one of my illegal drugs as self medication articles:

I once knew a psychiatrist lady friend, and her theory was that a lot of illicit drug use involved self-medication of one type or another. It was the only possible explanation for an illicit market in anti-psychotics, for instance.

It's also interesting that in 19th century wars alcoholism was taken as pretty much normal -- the only way to counter the stress and PTSD. U.S. Grant wrote a letter of rec. for a retired soldier which said that he has only the vice expected of an old soldier, and expected his reader to understand that the fellow had a drinking problem and nothing else. When he in his memoirs damned a cowardly officer who was a drunk, he said words to the effect of he drank too much and had another vice not so often found in military officers. (One of his best friends, a brigadier who was killed at Wilderness, *always* went into battle drunk. His troops wrote with amusement of his having charged his horse thru their line, literally thru it, then shouted that we will cut them down as I cut down this tree, whereupon he swung an axe at a sapling, missed, and nearly fell from the saddle. Grant merely said that he was the bravest officer he'd even known, and apparently his going into battle under the influence was regarded merely as an eccentricity.

And then there was the confederate account to the effect of the general gave the order to charge, but he was already well charged himself.
There was a time when we understood PTSD implicitly. Oh, we didn't have the science down. We didn't have a name for it. However, on a fundamental human level we knew what to do about it. By 1900 it was also understood that cannabis was a substitute for those who were debilitated by alcohol. It served the same purpose and was easier on the body. Nowadays in the military self medication with alcohol (or cannabis for that matter) is grounds for dismissal.

We have gone backwards in our understanding and forwards in our "morality". I don't think it is an improvement.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Where Did Christianity Go Wrong?

I'm a conservative and a big fan of Jesus despite being Jewish. (I like Bush's handling of the war too.)

Most of what passes for Christianity these days looks to me like exactly what Jesus was fighting. Men without understanding acting like they know something and using power to enforce what they think they know.

If we had more humility about our ignorance we would not be so quick to punish. Wasn't that the message of Jesus? Or did I miss it?

Why did Jesus hang out with the outcasts? Was there a message there?

I always thought Jesus was very libertarian in his political outlook. Punish crime, regulate vice.

When this country was founded its leaders were, each in his own way, very religious. The country had a much more libertarian flavor. Over time we have lost our true Christianity. Thus the growth of government. It has to. Crime is limited, vice is not.

Well vice will be stomped. The food police are coming to keep an eye on the eaters. Just deserts so to speak.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Drugs Are the Treatment

We hear over and over again that drug users need treatment. That the only cure for the drug problem is treatment, not jail. And the jail 'em until they rot folks say: "what about the cost?"

Well, what about it? What if they don't need treatment. What if they just need an occasional doctor's visit to monitor their condition, check to see if their doses need to be adjusted? What if that was all that was needed?

I have been saying for some time that much (most? all?) drug use is a form of self medication. I even have supporting research. Self medicators do not need to be weaned from their drugs. What they need are regular supplies. A lot cheaper to provide than treatment. In fact if drugs were more readily available under more controlled conditions - liquor stores for pot, doctors prescriptions for drugs that require more monitoring - we could save a lot of money in car steros alone. Fewer car break ins mean fewer police. Fewer jails. It cascades.

To get all that wonderfulness we have to acknowledge the association of mental problems with drug use and the reason for it. Drugs are not causing the problem, they are the solution. Just ask one doctor. Or another.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Right Metric

I'm told we are coming up on 2,000 soldiers dead in the war. However, that is not the correct metric for telling how well we are doing. Neither is the kill/capture ratio. It is not the size of the Iraqi Army (although that is an indicator).

The best metric we have to determine how we are doing is purple fingers. Insurgencies are defeated by self government.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Politics and Pain

Front Page Magazine is doing a symposium with a number of leftist who have broken with the faith. Tammy Bruce has some very interesting things to say about the kind of people the left tends to draw from.

Narcissism, while frequently thought of as “self-love,” is in fact the opposite. It is self-obsession based on victimhood and paranoia. Narcissism is actually the belief that everything that happens, happens because of you, or revolves around you. As an example, feminist narcissists see the pro-life movement as being against women, or as a jihad against women, as opposed to an expression of those peoples’ concern for life. The issues for narcissists, whether they be feminist, gay or black, is always about them, surrounding them, or about how the opposition is out to get them. Paranoia is a key factor in narcissism and easy to exploit.
Victimhood. What makes a person in his/her late teens think they are a victim? What could happen in child hood to give a person that mind set? Tammy goes on:
Leftist politics, like a vicious circle, rely on the damaged as footsoldiers, while the most damaged, the “Malignant Narcissist,” as I explain in The Death of Right and Wrong, move into positions of power and leadership, furthering the cultural and political destruction of our culture and of the left in general.
From my personal experience on the left I would have to agree. I think my main attraction to the left came from two points. One is the natural sympathy for the victims of injustice, human nature. The second was that I was a victim of severe child abuse and felt at home with other abused kids standing against injustice. The narcissim Tammy talks about is real. However, it is for most not something chosen but inflicted on them. This is the biggest mistake of the right. The idea that the origins of the left are in malevolence and not in human nature. More specifically brain chemistry.

Phyllis Chesler expands on that theme:
As a Jew, I was always concerned with the suffering of others--and while I agree with the earlier analysis that this victim-identification can be both megalomaniac, narcissistic, and ultimately irrational, rigid, totalitarian, I also still believe that trying to help others, to repair the injustice in the world, is an ethical choice.
Too true.

John R. Bradley has noticed Tammy's money quote and comments:
Tammy Bruce's observation, that "Leftist politics, like a vicious circle, rely on the damaged as foot soldiers," is nowhere more relevant than the love affair of the Left with the Palestinians. The great French writer Jean Genet, who had a sympathy for the Palestinian cause, nevertheless got it just right when he wrote in Prisoner of Love that they only really come into their own when a camera is trained on them and they are playing the role of victim, basking in the media spotlight.
Victims. Nothing but victims. I noted in my article The Origins of Islamic Rage in which Phyllis Chesler reports on why Islam is the way it is, that Islam as a whole has this victim mentality. The article explains why. Child abuse.

And then Instapundit this morning links to an article about Lebanon by Michael Totten which has this to say about Lebanon:
I also wonder if this entire culture is still wracked with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and is accordingly paranoid about worst case scenarios.
So Michael diagnoses the problem from afar the same way Chesler does up close and personal. What is to be done? Well, Lebanon is famous for its quality marijuana and Blond Lebanese Hashish. So what does hashish have to do with it?

Dr. Tod Mikuriya says that cannabis is the best medicine for PTSD.

So now we know why a lot of lefties keep their bongs always at hand. They need them. The leftist cadre were always exhorting the dopers to give up the evil weed. Why? Not from any moral point surely. Of course not, it was because it dulled the will to fight. Now from a social and medical stand point might it not be best to let the left (and libertarians on the right) have their pot, mellow out and thus be less interested in fighting the rest of us and possibly even be more open to reason. Pot after all causes brain cell growth.

And why pot? Well for one thing it is unpatented. That will save a fortune in fees to the drug companies and since pot is a plant you just deliver seeds and growing instructions.

In the end Nixon's idea to use the War On Drugs to go after the left may have been one of the most counter productive things he ever did.

Cross Posted at Classical Values on 31 March 008, 0103z.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Problem Solving

People take illegal drugs to solve problems. The same kinds of problems doctors prescribe drugs for.

The only error "addicts" make is not getting their drugs from a government approved source.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Brain Growth

There is an interesting article in Nature news about the wonders of marijuana. The article focuses on how marijuana causes the growth of neurons. However, as interesting and useful as that may be I do not think that that is the real key. The real key in my opinion is:

They found that HU210 [ a marijuana analog, ed.] seemed to induce new brain cell growth, just as some antidepressant drugs do, they report in the Journal of Clinical Investigation1. This suggests that they could potentially be used to reduce anxiety and depression, Zhang says. He adds that the research might help to create new cannabinoid-based treatments.
I think this is further confirmation of what I have said all along.
Addiction or Self Medication?
PTSD Pot Alcohol & Substance Abuse
Police and PTSD
More Vindication
Cannabis is the Best Medicine
A well known secret
People who use pot chronically are self medicating for various mental conditions.

Or as I recently said: we must stop punishing the afflicted. Well it is true more brain growth is needed. Especially in the area of understanding people who are being punished for using Unpatented Drugs

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Punishing the afflicted

Dr. Sanity is going on about the "true" victims of the crack epidemic. It is evident from her rant that she is ignorant of the self medication aspect of drug use.

It is very unfortunate that those who should know the most about this subject revert to superstition when it comes up in discussion.

Ironically one of the commenters refered to true believers when it came to things like who asked for the crack vs powder disparity in sentencing when it came to the question of the racial disparity in sentencing (a good point BTW). I responded to the Dr's article and the comment:

A researcher, a drug counselor, and a doctor discuss why people use illegal drugs:

A well known secret

Addiction or Self Medication?

And why are the drug compainies in the lead of the drug free America campaign?

The War On Unpatented Drugs


The real true believers are those who ignore the obvious self medication aspects of drug use.

Dr. Lonnie Shavelson found that 70% of female heroin addicts had been sexually abused.


In other words we are making war on the afflicted. Further abusing the abused.

I don't see the morality in that but perhaps I'm not Judeo-Christian enough. Well some Judeo-Christians didn't like slavery and forced its abandonment. We can only hope for more of the same.

In time sanity will reign. But, not quite yet.

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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Learning the Vietnam Lesson

The vote on the new constitution is completed in Iraq. It has been a great success. Attacks were way down compared to the vote in January. 13 vs 347. Roger Simon has a roundup as does Instapundit and Gateway Pundit.

I think our military and political leaders have taken the lessons of Vietnam to heart. We had won that war, but it took too long. From '65 to '73. Public sentiment against became too deeply entrenched.

With better tools and plans we have cut the time considerably.

Attacks are down by 96%.

That is astounding. When an army (even an insurgent army) loses that kind of effectiveness (especially considering that the attacks did not meet their goals even in the instance of greater combat capability) the end is nigh.

Guerilla wars don't end. They just peter out. Looks like we have reached the petering stage.

As some one pointed out in the comments at Roger Simon's, victory will have a thousand fathers. Fortunately we have the e-mails and Google cache to show who was steadfast and those who magnified the doubts. Well that is OK. Often converts to a religion are its most steadfast supporters.

Update: 16 Oct '05 0730z

Number of attacks last January corrected.

Vietnam * Iraq * Iraqi Constitution

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Drug War Links

I'm trying a Technorati bit I just saw. Scroll to the bottom.

So here are links to a lot of my drug war articles.

The War on Unpatented Drugs

Addiction or Self Medication?


Genetic Discrimination

A test for PTSD

PTSD Pot Alcohol & Substance Abuse

Police and PTSD

Bust Pork, Not Drugs

DEA Pain FAQ [pdf]

What Did You Do In the War Daddy?

More Vindication

Cannabis is the Best Medicine

A well known secret

Bust Pork Not Drugs

Technorati tag: Drug War

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The War on Unpatented Drugs

A lot of folks have called the War On Drugs, the War On Some Drugs. Which some drugs might they be? There in lies a tale.

Let us start with one drug Welbutrin. Clayton Cramer in a private e-mail message told me it was a wonder drug for some mental conditions. So I did my research and found this on the drug:

Welbutrin is used as a stimulant for a person who suffers from depression.
Clever wording "used as a stimulant". Actually if you look at the side effects listed it is a stimulant. So is cocaine. So is methamphetamine.

I get a drug industry newsletter by e-mail called Reed Business Information & Datamonitor Geonomocs and Proteonomics, Bioscience Technology, Drug Discovery and Development. In the October 7th edition they are reporting (more like flacking) a new drug for ADD/ADHD here is what they say about it:
The global ADHD market is set to grow from $2.7 billion in 2005 to $3.3 billion by 2015 (CAGR, 2.0% 2005–15), driven primarily by the launch of numerous novel pipeline products and the continued uptake of Strattera.

However, with the forthcoming genericization of Adderall XR and Concerta, manufacturers need to consider novel approaches to differentiate their marketed products in this increasingly competitive market.

The report Commercial Insight: ADHD - Strattera Will Reign Supreme When Branded Stimulants Slump....
Notice what is going on. New patented stimulants must come on the market to replace drugs whose patents expire. You know how it is. Doctors and patients always want the latest miracle drugs. Even if they are not much different from drugs going off patent. So how long has cocaine been off patent? How about methamphetamine?

It seems even old line stimulants have competition for the ADD/ADHD market. Here is a report on research by a doctor who has found pot effective against ADD/ADHD, anxiety, and alcohol and tobacco addictions.

Now why do you suppose a relatively benign drug like marijuana gets the lions share of drug war money? What exactly are we being protected from? My best guess is a decline in drug company profits.

The Drug Companies have become a cartel. And like any cartel they endeavor to wipe out their competition. They are very clever to see that there is no blood on their hands. They get the government to do the job for them.

Update: 13 Oct '05 1206z

While looking around for other Reed business reports I found this gem:ADHD - Prescriber Attention Still Held by Short Acting Stimulant Drugs
Despite the plethora of once-daily drugs available for the treatment of ADHD, physicians consistently prescribe immediate release formulations. To bolster revenues, manufacturers must continue to promote awareness of ADHD at all levels, but most also seek to further differentiate their once-daily products from generics and other branded products in the eyes of both the patient and the physician.
Followed by this blockbuster:
Only 12.3% of patients are diagnosed, indicating that a huge proportion of patients remain undiagnosed and untreated. Although the awareness of ADHD is ever growing, there are still significant gaps between, knowledge, recognition and referral of the disease. Datamonitor has highlighted these and provides counteractive strategic recommendations.

Only 20% of patients receive longer-acting, once-daily drugs at first-line, falling to 3% at second-line, with physicians preferring immediate-release formulations. Consequently, Datamonitor has identified numerous lifecycle strategies to bolster long-acting drug sales.
The drug companies have their eye on you and don't want you messin with none of those dirty, adulterated, unpatentable street drugs. They want to sell you a patented drug. Clean pure and legal like. Of course there will be a slight surcharge to pay for all the expensive research and development required to come up with new stimulants. On a regular basis as the patents run out.

Featured on this week's Grand Rounds hosted by Diabetes Mine
Also featured at: The BioTech Weblog

Go here for a comment by a Dr. on and a link to a previous Grand Rounds submission on a related topic.

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Tribal Politics, Islam, and Harriet Miers

There is an interesting discussion going on at Winds of Change about whether democracy will stop terrorism. I say that democracy's purpose is not to stop terrorism but to empower the individual so that he no longer supports terrorism.

Dave Schuler says in part:

You might like to take a look at a long quote from a book by Ernest Gellner I included in this post. A largely urban high theology has basically been overwhelmed by a rurally-based fundamentalist theology.
He says this to explain the descent in Islam from a city culture to a tribal culture.

Now mariana says in response:
haha Not according to Spengler's analysis.

"Revolt against usurpation, the revenge of the pure life of traditional society against the corrupt mores of the metropole, is the heart of Islam."
To which I respond:


It looks to me like two congruent ways of stating the same principle with a differing emphasis.

In Islam strict adherence falls away - Omar Kayham drinking wine - in the cities. Periodically the desert people take notice and "purify" Islam only to repeat the cycle.

If you are referring to the origins of Islam I'd have to say Spengler was correct.

If on the other hand you are looking at the cyclic history since its founding then Dave is correct.

Now it may in fact be correct that Mohammed came out of the desert to purify the cities and cleanse them of the cosmopolitan Jews. i.e. get rid of world culture. And make tribal culture the new world culture.

The difficulty is that the world is too big and complicated to be run as a tribe where every one is in contact with other tribe members. It is a problem of the span of control. Once intimacy is lost different rules become useful. Trust across family boundaries for instance. If you play by the rules of the game you need not be a member of the tribe.

This is much more powerful than having to trust your incompetent and thieving brother in law Ahamed with grain distribution because the better qualified person belongs to the wrong tribe.

Which brings me to the Miers nomination. Bush is promoting her as a member of his most loyal tribe. This is America. It ain't going to work.

The Religion Test

Well it looks like we know one reason Bush selected Miers. She passed the religion test.

I really, really wonder if Bush is trying to sink this nomination. She passed the religion test. In America in 2005, just how lame is this?

I consider myself to be part of spiritual America. Religious even. In my own way. In my opinion religion ought to have nothing to do with it.

I hear Miers is getting tutored in Constitutional law. Evidently, having passed the religion test, she is not quite prepared for the test on the Constitution. Just what kind of whack job is Bush fobbing off on us?

Update: 14 Oct '05 0406z

Baldilocks has a nice discussion going on and was kind enough to give me a link. So I am returning the favor. She has links to more comment in a similar vein to the above.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Turning Disappointment Into Disgust

Captain Ed has a nice WaPo article about the divide over Miers.

He divides the Republicans into the Loyalists, the Rebel Alliance and the Dog Faces. The Loyalists play follow the leader, the Rebel Alliance knows what it wants, the Dog Faces are trying to figure out which way the wind is blowing and mediate between the other two factions for the good of the party.

If I read the right correctly libertarian JR Brown is the Consensus Candidate of the Rebel Aliance, The Loyalists, and is acceptable to the Dog Faces especially because, for a change, the other two factions are in enthusiastic agreement. As Ed points out this is in stark contrast to Miers who has divided the party.

In addition Brown has already been confirmed once by this Senate and actually has a piece of paper endorsed by the Senate saying she is not an extremeist.

If Miers gets more Dem votes than Republican votes (a definite possibility)the Republican Party splits. I could see the libertarians and theocons joining forces against the "my party right or wrong" folks.

I voted Bush in '04 with the expressed idea that I could only count on him to fight the war more vigorously than Kerry. I knew that on my other issues I was out of luck. I would be lucky if he would do the Republican thing, let alone libertarian. You know, limiting government to its actual Constitutional functions. Lower taxes. A Federal Republic. An end to judicial stupidity like Raich and Kelo. And why is Assad still President for Life in Syria?

By '08 we will have a benchmark for the war. The next President will be measured against Bush's war record. And we can count on the Jihadis to keep the pressure on. So I will worry less about the war in '08. Which leaves open a couple of possibilities.

Vote Democrat in '08 or stay home and let those who care decide.

I mean really. It is unprecidented to have the theocons and libertarians not just in gritted teeth acceptance of each other, but in actual enthusiastic agreement.

Dump Miers.

Select JR Brown.

The Rs have no lock on my vote (No shit, I voted for Communist Obama over theocon Keyes). They have become careless with their power. Even a change for the worse might be good. The voters will realize they didn't know how good they had it. (I remember the Eisenhower Years - the most inept do nothing President ever. And the scandals, how about a vicuna coat? Who can forget that one? ) And the polititians will to some extent realize that they had better live up to their promises. At least for a while.

The Captain points up to a number of places where Republican voters think this administration has done poorly. I'm one of them. Miers has turned disappointment into disgust.

Sunday, October 09, 2005


We are being scammed big time by the "drug abuse" industry.

People take drugs for otherwise untreated medical problems.

Rich folks go to their doctors for their anti-anxiety medicine. Poor people buy a dime bag. In fact some rich folks are now saying - for me the dime bag works better. Fewer side effects. Easier to calibrate the dose.

Or take tobacco. It is an anti-depressant. Do we deal with it that, and look at the underlying depression? No. We treat them like the addicts they are and punish them accordingly.

Deep inside every man is a screaming monkey trying to get out. Civilization quiets the monkey. Wine and good cigars. And what ever else you need. Including hope. Even if it comes out of a bottle. Or a baggie.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Obsessed with Control

Each party has a list of control issues.

With the Democrats it’s dollars, with the Republicans it is dicks, and drugs.

Grab your wallet, tighten your pants, put down whatever it is you are smoking. Congress is in session. For that matter so is the Supreme Court.

Is hiding under the bed an option?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

We Will Win by Love and Science

There is a war on. It has been going on for a long time. The casualties are many. The wounded too numerous to mention. (..... pause for effect) the drug war of course. I'm pretty much on the anti-prohibition side so what do I mean by winning? With love. And the science bit. What's wid dat?

Winning the war against drug prohibition means putting and end to jailing people for their choice of drug and putting distribution in the hands of reputable people and corporations.

So we have to start the love bit some where. How about starting with loving drug users. The way we used to love Jews after WW2. Now it is my contention that we must also love those on the other side who are merely mis-guided because of so much mis-information.

The first bit I think we need to establish is that with all the draconian penalties for use and/or possession most of the casual users have been driven from the market. What does that leave? Self medicators. I first made that point in Addiction or Self Medication?. There are also reports from the field by a doctor and a drug counselor confirming my observation. So we need to love the drug users because in my opinion most of them have a medical problem that they are using drugs to treat. PTSD according to one doctor but also as this research report done by an another doctor says anxiety, ADD/ADHD and its accomanying use of alcohol and tobacco. BTW anxiety drugs are a $42 bn a year industry. So we have love. By way of science. Science done, for the most part, independent of government.

Which brings me to the latest report:

Marijuana effective against morning sickness which was suggested by this MAP posting.

The controversial use of medicinal marijuana as a weapon against pregnancy-induced morning sickness has been given a boost in a B.C. study to be published by a British journal.

While women are traditionally told to avoid drugs and alcohol during pregnancy, one researcher from each of the Vancouver Island and B.C. Compassion Societies and the University of B.C. and the University of Victoria looked to see if pregnant therapeutic users of medical marijuana reported relief from their nausea and vomiting.

The researchers found that 92 per cent of the women surveyed rated pot's effect on morning-sickness symptoms as either "very effective" or "effective."

The study will be published by the Journal of Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, likely in 2006, said Philippe Lucas, co-author of the report.

"This is the first time that compassion-club-based research will be published in a peer-reviewed, Elsevier-listed medical journal," said Lucas, who founded the Vancouver Island Compassion Society.
I think the key point here is that further research on the efficasy of cannabis must be a priority and ought to be a strong part of our movement. Every cannabis club needs a research budget. Either for its own research or to support the research of others. So far prescribing doctors and distributors are in the lead. What is needed is more projects and a broader base of support.

The way to win is through love and science. Love for the suffering. Love for the misguided. Science to the rescue.

Perseverance furthers.

In the beginning of any great enterprise the difficulties are great, the obstacles many, the way ahead not clear.

Perseverance furthers.


"If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!".....

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!
----Rudyard Kipling

Inspired by Major K. (congrats on the promotion) and by An Iraqi's Thoughts.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

A well known secret

I have been a monomaniac for the last three years promoting the idea that most drug users are self medicating for undiagnosed conditions. A lot of PTSD, some bipolar, some ADD/ADHD etc. Below I have reprinted two reports from the field. One a drug counselor and another from a doctor.

Both point to the fact that a lot of problem drug users are self medicating. Clayton Cramer, with whom I have been having a most interesting private discussion, has brought up a number of interesting questions. The most important is this: he does not doubt that some chronic users may be self medicating (although which users and which conditions is still in contention), what he does believe, though, is that there might actually be a large number of recreational users to whom harm is being done (we will leave out the libertarian question of whether self inflicted harm is any of the governments business, except for the up coming war on food eaters). And with that question although I have my beliefs I have no proof.

Which brings up a most important question. Why don't we have better studies on this question? We are studying drugs deeply. Why aren't we studying drug users?


First what a drug counselor says:

From Winds of Change:

#3 from Guy Hall on April 26, 2003 03:08 AM

As a drug and alcohol counselor, I agree wholeheartedly with pain being the main cause of alcoholism and chemical dependency. PTSD is but an extreme example of the pain that alcoholics and drug addicts suffer. For many of my clients, abuse both phyisical and emotional was the means used to teach them destructive beliefs. The more "energy" used in the abuse, the more pain carried into adulthood.

Consequently, that results in more "energy" needed to overcome those beliefs.

Oh, and the one emotional pain that I see? Shame.....whether it be men or women, it is shame that routinely surfaces as the undelying pain being covered up with drugs/alcohol. Women who suffered incest speak more about the pain they felt when, after the deed was done, they got the look of scorn and disgust from their father.
And then this bit from a doctor commenting on a study I reviewed on Adolecent Drug Use.

Originally posted at Grand Rounds 29 Sept '05

The Grand Rounds for this week is up and they have been kind enough to comment on a recent post of mine More Vindication.
Power and Control shares a compelling review of research supporting the hypothesis that drug abuse is self medication for pain/anxiety. This is one of the self-evident "truths" that most of us accept without good science to back us up. Last week I suggested an antidepressant medication for a man who drinks heavily - smokes marijuana often, and uses cocaine to "keep stable." But he doesn't want to take a medication for fear it will alter his physiology. "Man - you ARE taking medications" I meekly suggest. He doesn't see it that way.
Cross Posted at Classical Values

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Are we winning yet?

Guerilla wars have no obvious signs of victory.

Over a period of years attacks slowly, usually imperceptably, decline.

Then all of a sudden they are just a nuisance.

What ruins guerilla warfare is self governance. It is slow. And painful. If you hold the ground well enough to hold credible elections you are winning. So far we have passed one milestone and will, insullah allah, have two more this year.

Three more years with Bush as head of government ought to do the trick.

(Inspired by: You Big Mouth, You! which was suggested by Instapundit.

Targeting Resources

Here is an interesting bit from a candidate for Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett:

Corbett elaborated on why he focused on drug use, saying, "[Illegal drugs] lead to about 60-70 percent of other crime."
I think he really meant prohibition causes the crime but if you are running on a law and order platform you can't say that.

And then he goes on to show a wise allocation of resources for prosecuting crime.
The criminal section requires the most work and, as a result, is where the majority of agents are employed. According to Corbett, in addition to the 140 drug enforcement agents, approximately 100 agents deal with criminal investigations.
Pretty amazing. There are 40% more investigators going after prohibition crimes than going after robbers, murderers, and rapists.

Why am I not surprised?

Tom goes on to say:
"The number one reason for government is to instill order, to prevent chaos. My role as Attorney General is to enforce that government and to ensure public safety," he said. "As the Attorney General you don't have to look for work, it finds you."
Since when did a prohibition regime instill order and prevent chaos? Any one remember alcohol prohibition? Or did they stop teaching it in history class?

Well he has one thing right. As long as we keep enacting prohibition laws he will never need to look for work.

Wild Conspiracy Theory - Misunderestimating

I was reading Instapundit on the Miers nomination to the Supreme Court.

Insty mentioned that Tom Goldstein didn't think the Senate would confirm her. So if I was President what would I do? I'd nominate Janice Rogers Brown who was already confirmed as an Appelate Judge this year by the Senate and actually has a piece of paper from the Senate that says she is not controversial. Well, I look at Tom's blog to delve deeper and what do I find?

The nomination obviously will be vigorously supported by groups created for the purpose of pressing the President's nominees, and vigorously opposed by groups on the other side. But within the conservative wing of the Republican party, there is thus far (very early in the process) only great disappointment, not enthusiasm. They would prefer Miers to be rejected in the hope - misguided, I think - that the President would then nominate, for example, Janice Rogers Brown.
Darn, he beat me to it. However, it is my opinion that the hope is not misguided. Bush gives the Democrats a moderate who can't pass muster and then puts up a libertarian Black Republican female who has already got a Senate endorsement on paper.

Makes sense to me.

We shall see.

First step. Defeat Miers.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Grand Rounds 29 Sept '05

The Grand Rounds for this week is up and they have been kind enough to comment on a recent post of mine More Vindication.

Power and Control shares a compelling review of research supporting the hypothesis that drug abuse is self medication for pain/anxiety. This is one of the self-evident "truths" that most of us accept without good science to back us up. Last week I suggested an antidepressant medication for a man who drinks heavily - smokes marijuana often, and uses cocaine to "keep stable." But he doesn't want to take a medication for fear it will alter his physiology. "Man - you ARE taking medications" I meekly suggest. He doesn't see it that way.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Boobiethon is Back

Boobiethon is raising money for breast cancer research.

The link is work safe. As for the rest of the site: you are on your own.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Origins of the Fourth Amendment

This article was originally published in a number of places in May of 2001. It is still relevant so I'm republishing it here.


I'd like to talk today a little about the origins and meaning of the Fourth Amendment. First off what is the Fourth Amendment?

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The meaning seems clear but I think it will become clearer if we look a little deeper into American history. The first point is that John Hancock before he became a signer of the Declaration of Independence was a smuggler. He had a famous run in with Crown officers in 1768 when his sloop the Liberty refused to pay the tax on some Madeira wine.

Now we know that there was strong sentiment in some corners of 18th century America in favor of smugglers. And we know that the people were continually harassed with open warrants and general searches. Revenue officers could target people on the merest suspicion or target their enemies with no cause whatever. Often there would be dragnets where the usual suspects would be rounded up for interrogations and searches. All in the name of collecting taxes and controlling contraband.

Now let us look at modern day America and the rights the Supreme court has declared we have left as opposed to those the founders gave us.

Where are we? The Drug War exception to the Fourth Amendment couldn't be larger. And let us be clear about this. The drugs for the most part are smuggled goods. So lets start with the biggest hole the drug profile or indicators as the police like to say these days. What do the police need to start a drug case against you? Do they have to see you with the drugs? Do they need to see you exchange money for drugs? No. You just need to 'look' like someone who in the opinion of the officer might do those things. You need only fit a profile or match a few indicators.

Lets look at a few of these specific indicators when it comes to the vehicle you are driving and get an idea of how specific they are:

Exterior Indicators to look for:

1. Large or late model cars with large trunks - GM most popular. a. Intermediate size also used. b. Occasionally a smaller car will be involved. 2. Older car in top running condition. 3. Vans and pickup trucks with camper tops also commonly used.

So now that the drug courier vehicle type is so clearly defined ( just about any car on the road ). Lets see what kind of driver they are looking for.

12. Driving habits often result in the courier being stopped for a routine violation a. Speeding up and slowing down b. Scrupulous obedience to traffic laws - overly cautious c. Erratic driving due to drug or alcohol use d. Many drive straight through and take drugs to stay awake e. Take a long time to pull over

So following the law or not following the law are grounds for a drug search. That sure gives you a lot of choices.

If you want to know more about how to avoid attracting unnecessary suspicion may I suggest you visit Drug Courier Profile Indicators

And the site that alerted me to the above site.

So from the above examples we see what is happening is that the limits on government are being eliminated to solve a smuggling problem. The very problem the writers of the Fourth Amendment experienced in their own lives and therefore anticipated.

If you should meet any of the so-called Supreme Court strict constructionists who have weakened the Fourth Amendment in their zeal to collect contraband tell them they are in error.

Tell them to read about John Hancock and the sloop Liberty.

Update: 25 October 2009 1207z

Here is a list of books that touch on the Drug War and the Fourth Amendment:

The Drug War and The Fourth Amendment

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Testing the Limits of the Law

An interesting discussion of the limits of the Fourth Amendment is taking place at The Volokh Conspiracy. It concerns the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Ninth Circuit in reference to drug smuggling cases. Here is my take on the question:

It looks to me from what little I know about the law that the DOJ is looking for more Drug War opportunities to shred the Fourth Amendment.

If you go back into the history of the country and study the case of John Hanncock's sloop "Liberty" and its run in with British revenuers in support of British mercantilist policies you will see where the Fourth Amendment in part originated.

We have a similar mercatilist policy, in support of the pharmaceutical, alcohol, and tobacco companies, of keeping competing products which are easy to manufacture off the market.

For this very reason Benjamin Rush an MD of the time and signer of the Declaration of Independence thought medical liberty ought to be written into the Constitution to prevent doctors and pharmaceutical companies from becoming monopolists. Which in fact has happened. The goal of bringing herbal medicine and vitamins under the control of the FDA is also in furtherance of this mercatilists/monopolist policy.

The reason medical costs are so high is that government controls who can enter the market through a series of "health and safety" regulations. In other words government is not just interested in an informed consumer which the initial regulations provided for. The government now controls entry into the market through control of the medical guild and the pharmaceutical industry.

It was just such restraint of trade that the Fourth Amendment was aimed at.

The Fourth Amendment in fact a limited the taxing power of the state by giving smugglers an advantage. If taxes are low smuggling is not profitable. High taxes forces the state to become intrusive in its searches.

We are in the mess we are in re: Drug Prohibition because we have forgotten what animated the founders: the British mercatilist system of monopoly profits and taxes.

The situation we are in today is actually worse. The monopoly on drug importation has been given to criminal gangs. What I like to call Republican Socialism: price supports for criminals.

In cases where there is actual harm done to a citizen, i.e. an actual crime, probable cause is not too difficult a standard to meet. Where there are willing buyers and sellers that standard is much more difficult. The government must go on fishing expeditions. To limit the taxing power of the state unreasonable searches (fishing expeditions) were in effect outlawed. As in so much of the law made by the Supreme Court these days "unreasonable" is getting more and more narrowly defined. In fact many would argue that it has been defined almost out of existence.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Bust Pork, Not Drugs

The single largest item of pork in the Federal Government is drug prohibition.

It is a failure. Illegal drugs are easier for kids to get than alcohol or tobacco.

It costs at least $19 bn every year at the Federal level. About $78 billion at the local level.

It increases crime and police corruption.

It deprives the sick of medicine.

It is worh billions to the drug companies who do not have to compete with easily grown natural herbs. Anti-anxiety drugs are a $42 bn market. Cannabis could put a significant dent in that market. Can't let home grown herbs interfere with profits.

In addition cannabis is often used as a substitute for alcohol and tobacco among those who use those substances for self medication. So now you know why the alcohol and tobacco companies are in on the deal.

Drug prohibition creates crime. Mayor Daley the Second says that 85% of the crime in Chicago is prohibition related. What is the advantage to the government of Republican Socialism: price supports for criminals? Tough question.

The Calif. prison guard union favors stronger penalties for prohibition violations. So now you know why why they are in on the scam. Jobs.

Prohibition always creates a significant violence problem. Now you know why the police are participating. Jobs. And the guarenteed profits from property confiscations.

Why are lawyers and judges in on the deal? Let me think.

This is the biggest harm creating project of the Federal Government since alcohol prohibition. The sooner we cut it the better.

Cannabis is the Best Medicine

For PTSD that is.

Dr. Tod Mikuriya gives this advice to a returning Iraq War vet about PTSD:

Medically, cannabis is the treatment of choice for PTSD but definitely would spell the end of your military career. If you elect not to medicate with cannabis, the regular exercise regimen, avoidance of drugs and alcohol, and a specialized debriefing is the least worst response to this chronic psychiatric disorder.
Now I have been saying this about PTSD and pot for three years.
PTSD Pot Alcohol & Substance Abuse.
Police and PTSD
We now have some medical confirmation. There will be more coming as this information gets better known and more research is done. So far about 18% of returning vets have long term problems with PTSD. That would be about 20,000 of those currently serving in Iraq and another 20,000 among those who have already done tours.

We claim we want the best for our vets and yet in this case the best medicine is denied them because nothing can be allowed to derail in the smallest way the prohibition machine.

The first political party to take up this cause will reap huge benefits. I can't wait.

Friday, September 16, 2005

More Vindication

It has been my contention for the last three years that what we call drug abuse is self medication for pain/anxiety. It turns out that independent (of the government) research is beginning to confirm what I teased out of the limited information available to me three years ago on the subject.

The research Cannabis Use in Adolescence: Self-Medication for Anxiety was done by Dr. Tom O'Connell, a long time opponent of prohibition.

Dr. O'Connell is mostly interested in general social factors that predispose adolescents to drug use. The most important factor he found was a missing or ineffective father.

In attempting to determine the origin of the symptoms motivating this population’s aggressive adolescent drug sampling, the most obvious place to start was family background. A common element was the absence of their biological fathers from their early lives —either physically, through early death or divorce, or emotionally, through a variety of other mechanisms...
He goes on to look at school careers as another determining factor. He sees a lot of ADD and ADHD. One thing he mentions early on is that the boys outnumber the girls in his practce (where he interviewd the kids) by a
4 to 1 ratio.

His study looked at the substitution effect. The replacement of tobacco and alcohol with cannabis. (Do you suppose this is why the alcohol companies are so heavily invested in the drug war? And the tobacco companies before they became an embarassment?)
Repeat use of both alcohol and tobacco tended to be aggressive. More than half had binged in high school or as young adults; 35% had experienced alcohol black-outs; and 12.5% had received DUI citations. Yet essentially all who have continued to use cannabis on a regular basis subsequently moderated their alcohol consumption. Few are teetotalers, but nearly all who still drink do so moderately. Most have reduced alcohol consumption to 20% of their peak levels —or less.

Cannabis also has enabled patients to reduce tobacco use. Although 68.1% of cannabis applicants became daily cigarette smokers for a while, over half (53%) of the smokers have since been able to quit and almost all the rest are trying. Even inveterate tobacco smokers (those unable to remain abstinent) uniformly relate their cigarette consumption to both stress and access to cannabis: when the former is high and the latter is low, they tend to smoke a lot more tobacco.
There are three important points I think the doctor has left out of his study. Child abuse, PTSD, and genetics. I cover child abuse and PTSD in Police and PTSD. I cover genetics in Genetic Discrimination.

He has a few thing to say about the government's interest in this type of research. It explains a number of things including why big pharma is heavily invested in the drug war.
Evidence that cannabis is capable of benignly and effectively palliating the psychotropic symptom complexes so often encountered in juveniles and young adults was clearly beyond the scope of any research funded— or even permitted— by NIDA. That such symptoms tend to persist into mid-life for many who suffer from them is now endorsed in psychiatric literature and has spurred development of a host of pharmaceuticals intended to treat them. Yet most of applicants for whom these pharmaceuticals were prescribed report that cannabis provides more effective and durable relief.
This is very interesting because I said someting similar three years ago in Addiction or Self Medication?:
It turns out that anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problem in the United States. They are worth $46 billion a year to the pharmaceutical industry. You don't suppose this fact has any thing to do with the pharmaceutical industries being in the forefront of the Drug Free America campaign do you? Of course not. They are just trying to keep you from being addicted to natural products at the cost of 1/10th of a cent per dose when they are more than willing to sell you an FDA and doctor approved, pharmacy sold product that will do the job for a dollar a dose. They have only your best interests at heart. Just ask their accountants.
Dr. OConnell summarises his work this way:
Proposition 215 encouraged many individuals who had been considered “recreational” users of cannabis to apply for “medical” status. Interviews placing their cannabis use in broader context showed that it is frequently an alternative to the use of alcohol, tobacco, and “harder” drugs.

The federal government, by imposing a Prohibition based on biased, inadequate studies, is depriving the American people of a safe and effective medicine.

Beyond that concern, the increasing enthusiasm for drug testing and punishing those who test positive for cannabis wth either criminal or social sanctions is destructive to the large —but at this writing unknown —number of Americans treating emotional symptoms with what may be, for them, the best agent available.
Dr. O'Connell also thinks that even anti-prohibitionists are not acknowledging the anxiety factors and that all use may in some sense be medicinal:
Data from the author's practice show that many Californians use cannabis to treat emotional conditions. Government studies obscure this reality and some reformers seem reluctant to acknowledge it.
There are a lot of interests working together to keep pot illegal. I think as the science gets better known they will not stand.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

I'm Having Trouble

Update: 04:50z 16 Sept '05

Whatever the problem was, it is now fixed. Blogger support was good. So was the help I got from my isp.


I'm having trouble reaching urls of the form where xxxxx.. is "powerandcontrol" "atoolofthemachine" "fallbackbelmontclub" "neo-neocon" or any other of that form.

I get a timed out, connection refused, or a not responding error.

Now obvioiusly if you are reading this you know that not all blogger urls are unavailable to me. Obviously I am getting the "edit" page. I can't get their "status" page but I can get the "contact us for help" page.

If any one has any ideas click on the Contact bit on the sidebar and send me an e-mail.
In fact if you see this send me an e-mail. It will be another piece in the puzzle to know that this went up.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Why New Orleans?

Why are there so many poor people in such a rich Democrat run city?

I'm just askin'.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

One Year Ago Today

This is the one year aniversary of the blog. So far it has been fun. Quite a few instalanches and other fun. I owe it all to the comments section of The Belmont Club. I needed a blogger account to comment there so I opened this blog.

My goal was for 100,000 hits the first year. How close am I? About 90,400. Not too bad.

I've also opened a second blog about one of my hobbies: CNC machine tools.

It is called A Tool of the Machine.

I look forward to another year - the Maker willing.


Nice mention of this post here. They are underwater folks and have no respect for skimmers. I suppose in their book I'm not so bad because I'm nuke qualified. And my brother-in-law was a nuke (electrician) on a boat. Did I mention he is a real nuke these days at a power plant in Michigan?

Saturday, September 10, 2005

The Wrong Name

FEMA is in a lot of hot water because people believe that since Emergency Management is its name it ought to be its job. If they had stuck with naming it by its real function - Post Disaster Recovery Management - Brown would still have a job.

Bush has Toasted Brown

Brown's #1 mistake in my opinion was cranking up his PR machine during the worst part of the chaos.

Being a good bureaucrat is not the same as effective leadership in a crisis.

Part of the problem is that as part of homeland security FEMA has morphed. The expectations are different. It is no longer expected to be just a check writing organization. It is expected to roll trucks and equipment in early days. Given the size of expected future disasters multi state responses will be required.

We want a 21st century response time, not a 1950s model.

I thought that Brown had a shakey understanding of the job because of the T-shirt incident early on. Replacing him with a Coast Guard Admiral was a brilliant move.

1. He will understand logistics.
2. He will understand relations with state and local governments.
3. He will be used to working with the military.
4. He will have knowledge of organizing commands in the midst of chaos.

A brilliant move by Bush to improve the staff.

In fact I suggested such a move just a few days ago. This is what I said:

I'd like to see a military logistics expert leading FEMA.
In any case when organizations get ossified you have to fire some people. Pour l'ecourager les autres. Bush should know all about this. He was part owner of a baseball team.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Victory Garden

Here is a nice government site with some very good tips on preparing for disaster. How to make up your own personal emergency survival kit. Kind of like a Victory Garden or Civil Defence for the war and natural disasters.

Of course this is a personal minimum.

Other things to consider:

A short wave radio run on rechargeable batteries or a wind up radio. If the batteries are rechargeable a solar or hand cranked recharger.

A wood stove if you live in a cold climate and are not in a major town or city.

Five gallons of gasoline - especially if you have an auto or generator. Even if you don't it will be a resource for those who do.

A campstove run by propane. The kind of propane used for blow torches. Have extra cylinders on hand. A hot meal or hot tea/coffe can help keep you warm or provide a boost to keep going when you have to. You can also steralize water or medical eqpt.

First Aid training.

Firearms. One thousand rounds per weapon. Even a .22 would be helpful. Learn to maintain your weapon. Learn to shoot straight.

Amateur radio gear. Get a license and practice on Field Day. Every year. When the power goes you want to be able to communicate.

If you are going to spend alot of time on the couch, don't eat so many potatoes. Better yet. Exercise. Want a home gym? Good Will sells them cheap.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Getting Ready for the Big One

Katrina has been excellent practice for a nuke in a major city. How do you evacuate a million or five million in 24 or even 48 hours. What happens when transport you depend on for the evacuation plan is destroyed? How do you keep the roads from getting clogged?

How do you maintain civil order? Do we need more armed citizens?

Do we have enough ham radio operators?

Joe Commer from Sgt. Stryker says: My call sign is W 1 F K Y, /mobile W5. Look for me on 75 meters; 3965, 3835, and wherever the GCHEN (GULF COAST HURRICANE EMERGENCY NET) happens to be meeting. On 40 meters, 7265, I’m told, is the primary frequency. I don’t know about 20 or above. I will probably be operating physically somewhere between Fairhope, AL, and Slidell, LA. Prime contact will be MEMA, AEMA, LEMA, and FEMA.


Is a political hack who got fired from an Arabian Horse Association the best we can do for the head of FEMA? It is like having a rule book general in time of war. I'd like to see a military logistics expert leading FEMA. Some one with recent experience. I'm open to suggestions.

This total break down in initial response is actually a good thing: once. It is going to teach us a lot of lessons and help us clear out the dead wood. Kind of a Kassirine Pass of disaster preparedness.

Update: 0142z 07 Sept 2005

Here is a link with some Amateur Radio Frequencies and advice for hams. Here is the advice:

Amateur nets move around. Just tune the band for anyone obviously
using procedures. 20 meters above 14100 is prime hunting territory
in day time, and 75 meter USB is common at night.

The ARRL has an Emergency Service letter dated 03 Sept '05.
"Here's how you can help now. Keep frequencies with any kind of relief traffic clear -- that means listen only, don't be a policeman. Have patience. If you want to go to the area to assist with communications or other activities, contact the Red Cross or other relief agencies. They have required training courses before you can be deployed, so do not be surprised if you are told "no." Donate money. Coordinate your travel offer for ARES mutual assistance with your SEC. Do not attempt to travel to the area on your own." -W4STB

Monday, September 05, 2005

Bring Back Alcohol Prohibition?

Instapundit links to an article about the DEA being nostalgic for alcohol prohibition.

They cite the fact that alcohol consumption was cut by 2/3s. They also mention dramatic reductions of liver cirrhosis. OK let us fact check their asses.

What exactly were the dramatic reductions? About 10% to 20%.. Now I'd say that the correlation was weak. Why would it be weak? The simple reason is most users use responsibly and prohibition deters them. Prohibition does not deter the most irrespponsible users.

I'd expect the deal with other drugs is about the same. Prohibition only deters responsible users. So what good is it? Well it is what I like to call Republican Socialism: price supports for criminals. Which are indirect supports for law enforcement. Well what we can say from an economic point of view is this: it takes a hell of a lot of crime to get a few more cops on the street. We all knew socialism was not too effective. More proof.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Disaster and Plug in Hybrids

Disaster has struck America. It is early days yet but estimates are that the Gulf Coast has suffereded between 40,000 and 400,000 dead.

The question is what can we do to better prepare ourselves for the next disaster?

A lot of things it turns out.

I'm going to talk about one.

Plug in hybrid autos. They make a lot of sense when gasoline is hard to get. You plug in the vehicle and you are good for a short trip about 3 to 30 miles depending on how much battery is included in the vehicle.

Not much good when there is no electricity you say? Correct. So how will plug in hybrids help? With a slight modification a battery charger can work in reverse and make AC house current. Here is an excellent example of what is available today if you want to make your own plug in hybrid generator vehicle. It is kind of pricey for a single unit, however they do give volume discounts. What you get is the ability to generate 20 KW of electricity. Think of what a few thousand such vehicles on the road would mean in an emergency.

I think the first car company to come out with such a package would be a big hit.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Gaza's Rewards

I live in small town America. Rockford, Illinois to be exact. Our home town paper The Rockford Register Star is not known for its pro Israeli views. We get the usual newswire stuff about how the Israelis are oppressing the Palestinians.

Imagine my surprise then, seeing almost two pages in the Sunday editorial section praising Israel for the Gaza pullout and putting the ball in the Palestinian court. And who were the authors of the pieces? Not the usual Palistinian apologists. Nope. We got Max Boot. Yossi Klein Halevi. Aharon Kleinman.

The headline? Israel's wishful Gaza thinking. What was the gist of the piece? That the Israelis shouldn't expect the Palestinians to respond in kind and work to live in peace.

Max Boot was especially harsh on the Palestinians. He expects that Gaza will turn into another failed terrorist state.

If, following the Israeli pullout, Gaza becomes another training ground for Islamo-fascist fanatics - a successor to Afghanistan under the Taliban - the resulting terrorists will find the U.S. and Europe much easier targets than Israel, which is the world's most heavily defended state. Irony of ironies, perhaps in a few years enlightened Westerners will rue the day when Israel gave up control of Gaza.
That one paragraph alone is a very big dividend for the Gaza pullout.

I thought the Gaza move was a good idea when it was first announced. I think my optimism was justified. It has changed the terms of the debate.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


It looks like our government in the rush to meet a self imposed deadline for the writing of the Iraqi Constitution is planning to sell out the Iraqi people. I have covered this before so I am not going to go into great detail. Basically sharia will be the law of the land and women's rights are out the door. The rights of minority religions are out the door.

If you want the latest read The Big Pharoh.

What you need to do is contact your Rep., your Senators, and the President and give them an earful. You might also like to help clear the fog at Foggy Bottom. Links below.

House of Representatives
The Senate
The President
State Department

Instapundit has a roundup.

LGF has a word or two.

CNN is covering the story

Friday, August 19, 2005

Energy hobby horses

Why does the press get so much wrong? Even in technical fields let alone politics? Let us look at it from the standpoint of reporting on the rise of new energy systems.

I was a Naval Reactor Operator so I know a bit about energy, generators, electrical systems etc.

At the current rate of decline in the cost off wind power - wind will cost less than any other power source in 5 to 10 years. (once turbine size reaches 8 to 12 MW peak). America is the Saudi Arabia of wind. There are enough wind resources to cover our whole range of energy requirements from electricity to transportation (for that wind may have to be converted into liquid fuel) with energy to spare.

In addition solar electricity is also coming down the cost curve - although at a slower pace.

Where is the accurate reporting on these facts? Why the obsession with nuclear power? (did I mention my Naval Nuke experience?) Why the disparagement of alternative energy in half the press and messianic fervor without regard to economics in the other half? Why is our population so ill informed on these subjects? From the messianic greenies to the wind/solar is bunk folks?

The reason utilities are buying wind is because they can read a learning curve. They have been doing it since 1900. You would think that after 100 years of commercial experience the press would know some of this. Wrong.


Lack of technical people who can write is one problem. It can't be the only one.

It goes back to what I said on a previous post where I was down on drug war reporting. Reporters do not know how to ask interesting question.

BTW if a paying media organization is interested in a person who understands energy, is not blinded by philosophy, and can write a tolerable column, I'm available. Drop me a line.

Rummy's questions and the News

There is a discussion of the decline and fall of the Dinosaur Media going on at Press think.

Here is my diagnosis:

It is not even political/war reporting that is the problem.

Even on relatively content neutral technical subjects the press is hopeless.

It is not left/right bias. The press lacks a certain fundamental curiosity. i.e. Rummys questions. What do we know we know? What do we know about our ignorance? Where are we ignorant about our ignorance?

The press wants to be authorative. It wants to project an air of certainty. That leads to projecting an air of blindness.

Reporters need to respect their ignorance.

And yet so many people in this country and its press made fun of that bit of wisdom so fundamental that it trancends politics.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Killing Reporters on the Borders

There is a war on. Reporters are being targeted for violence and murder. The targeting is so effective that the reporters are no longer reporting the events that are getting reporters killed. Sound a lot like Iraq? If you said yes you would be wrong. The country in question is much closer to home. Mexico.

And what war is going on in Mexico? Haven't you heard? We are having a drug war.

NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico - A drug war is ripping apart northern Mexico, but you won't find many details about who's behind it in the local newspapers. Journalists, after their colleagues have been killed, kidnapped and threatened with death, have stopped investigating organized crime.

"It's the new trend of drug gangs: Journalists are warned, paid off or killed," said Daniel Rosas, the managing editor of the daily El Manana, the oldest newspaper in this border city south of Laredo, Texas. "Drug battles have become bloodier, and gangs have no code of ethics. They don't respect human life; why should they respect reporters?"

El Manana, founded in 1932 after the Mexican revolution with a motto to promote freedom of expression, has been self-censoring itself since its editor, Roberto Javier Mora Garcia, was stabbed to death on March 19, 2004.
Killing reporters is pretty bad. However there is worse going on:
MEXICO CITY -- Nobody wanted the job of police chief in Nuevo Laredo, a city on the U.S.-Mexico border plagued by drug gangs and violence. Finally, Alejandro Dominguez, 52, a businessman and father of three, volunteered to take the post to help his besieged city. Last Wednesday, hours after being sworn in, Dominguez was assassinated by men firing assault rifles from a convoy of Chevrolet Suburbans.
Funny this never made the national news. At least not in the sense of being given day in day out coverage. And yet:
The human cost of Mexico's aggressive war on drug trafficking is skyrocketing as the country suffers through the worst barrage of drug-related violence in years. More than 600 people have been killed this year, often in remarkably bold and bloody executions, according to national press tallies and state-by-state crime reports.

Nuevo Laredo is just one hot spot in a grisly conflict that has spread across the country. In recent months, a farmer in the Pacific coast state of Sinaloa was gunned down as he visited his parents' grave, and a father in Monterrey, in northern Mexico, was shot dead in front of his son in a video arcade. Authorities have found corpses with limbs chopped off and drums of acid they believe traffickers used to dissolve the bodies of their victims.
And yet this carnage is not being covered in depth by our DOM (Dinosaurs Of the Media). Why?

Perhaps what we see is the real truth about reporters. For most of them it is just a job. They have the courage to handle occasional danger. Permanent danger is not in the job specs.

The other truth here is that what goes on South of the Border cannot be permanently confined to South of the Border. The killing will be moving north as soon as it becomes profitable.
In a recent interview, Fox likened Mexico's "explosion of organized crime killing" to the Al Capone era in Chicago. "Let's recall Chicago in the early '20s. I mean it took years to get rid of the mafias, it took years to get rid of organized crime," he said. Fox said U.S. and Mexican authorities were working jointly to confront criminals who control "millions and millions and millions of dollars."
In the discussion of Al Capone notice anything important left out? That is right. The only way the government was able to reduce organized crime was to end prohibition. Why? Because there are two iron rules of prohibition. The harder the enforcement the harder the drugs. The harder the enforcement the harder the criminals.
Federal officials said that frequently their enemies are not just the drug cartels, but local police who have been corrupted by drug money. That problem has unleashed a growing battle between federal police officers, many of them trained by U.S. law enforcement, and their local counterparts, underscored by the recent clash in Nuevo Laredo.
Local police corrupted by drug money? You do see it in America from time to time. What happens when it becomes systematic? Well it is not good.

And what are American drug enforcers up to these days given the violence of the drug trade in Mexico? They are doing what any rational person would do: focusing on drugs in Canada.The Canadians are such nice folks, especially the pot heads; but them Mexican cartel folks? A feller could get himself killed.
"Apparently, one of [the U.S. government's] objectives, and this is unbelievably offensive, is to alter and modify Canadian criminal justice policy in relation to drugs," said Alan Young, a law professor and marijuana advocate at York University. "Whether or not this is part and parcel of that exercise I have no clue ... but they've clearly stated this is the direction they want Canada to go in."

He suggested Canada's approval of a U.S. request to begin extradition hearings against Vancouver pot merchant Marc Emery, a close friend of Mr. Young's who was arrested last month in Halifax, is another example of attempts to appease the Americans.

Mr. Emery's shop was raided after an undercover operation in which authorities allege he sold marijuana seeds at an annual profit of $3-million to customers, 75% of whom were American. The allegations also constitute an offence in Canada, but such cases have rarely been prosecuted.
In all likelyhood you have heard nothing of this unless you are as interested in the Drug War as I am.

We know from history that more enforcement is not the answer to the problems caused by prohibition. However, until we get some reporters with courage and a historical sense in America civil disorder will increase, corruption will increase, and the bodies will continue to pile up.

Welcome Instapundit readers.

For my take on the drug problem from a medical/chemistry point of view:

Addiction or Self Medication?
Genetic Discrimination

There is more on the side bar. Scroll down.