Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Human System

There was a debate awhile back on World Have Your Say in which the topic of helping out the poor was the major element of discussion. As usual what you had was a bunch of opinions that strictly concerned the issue at hand and not the full scale of the problem.

This is about as complicated of a concept as can be mauled over. The post is long, I am sorry, but it has to be.

I have said before on this blog that I have an education and background in system design. The first thing you do when developing, correcting, or improving a system is ask, what is its purpose? So what is the purpose of the human race? There are some variations depending upon religion and philosophical perspectives. The quintessential “what’s the meaning of life?” Any other sub objectives are arguable. Only one thing is certain. All living things seek to propagate and expand their species for as many generations as they can.

Every system has “constraints”. These are a set of rules that are dictated by physical limitations of the process. Violating these rules will eventually “crashes the system”. Since humanity is a perpetual system, meaning that the parts it produces is used by the system to continue functioning, violating constraints has an added danger. Breaking the rules leads to inferior parts that will also be the undoing of the system. To further complicate matters, the human race keeps improving, and parts that were once considered “inside tolerance” in previous cycles, are no longer acceptable for use.

So what are these constraints? No matter how you believe that this system got kick started, generally the rules were those called out by Darwin that we know as “survival of the fittest”. How the human race differs from all other species is that we have evolved to a point where physical strength is not the predominate factor in determining “the fittest”. Intellect and social skills has surpassed brute strength as how to determine who the most fit humans are. (Let us face it, if Stephen Hawking was a deer, no matter how smart he was, he would be a goner already.) The majority successful humans have a combination of intellect and social skills or “social capital”. Social capital is advancements made by previous generations that have improved the position of the person. (Paris Hilton is an example of somebody who has no exceptional intellect and owes her success completely to social capital. She has extended her success by developing her own social skills.)

These attributes are apparent in other species, but in most cases strength is still the superior quality. Even with our evolved brain, we look for characteristics of strength when choosing mates. There is one other technique for sustaining generations when either natural enemies are too great or a period of natural disaster or disease plagues a species. The species can choose to breed. For a time, in certain situation this can temporarily improve the chances of the herd, but it can not be sustained.

Every complex system has subsystems. These subsystems have their own purpose and functions relevant to the overall system. These interdependent processes have various and changing relativity to the purpose. In an evolving system, these minor processes and/ or some of their parts become obsolete. (For example wood has been replaced by gasoline in an automobile.) Accepting these adaptations is pertinent to continuing evolution of the system, and by extension in this case improving the lifecycle. In our most undeveloped form of the Human race this mechanism is most often the first response.

The most important thing about system maintenance is that one must recognize that any changes made to any one part of a system will have some kind of an affect on the rest of system. Anytime a change is made, the designers must consider what affect it might have on every other piece. Not doing so can bring the whole system down.

So what does this have to do with “poor people” in the human race? They are an inefficiency in the system. Weaknesses are not always caused by the part themselves. As I mentioned positive changes to one part can adversely affect other parts of the system. Then a benefit to disadvantage analysis must be conducted. (Here is where it gets really complicated and most people start to just focus on the symptom instead of the cause.) Impoverished people may be the result of other factors. For some reason they have not developed the intellect and social skills to become “successful”. Sometimes it is the result of not enough energy being dedicated to them. Other times, which I think may be more often be the problem of poverty, there is an inappropriate amount of products for the system to function properly. Let’s use the example of an auto assembly line system. If the line can produce 1 million cars per year, but the purchasing agent buys 2 million carburetors per year, then there is an overstock of carburetors. The warehouse will fill and eventually the so factory will be cluttered with carburetors that nothing will be able to move in it.

So let me make my point a little easier. Impoverished countries with wide scale hunger, disease, and disasters have broken systems. They consume more resources then they add back to the system for some reason. In a system that is meant to be perpetual, this is a “leak”. Generally that means that either the population must be allowed to dwindle or, they must find a way to become a self-sustaining at their desired population level. Just as pouring fluid into a leaky system only leads to a bigger leak, so is feeding the hungry of a impoverished society only going to make more hungry.

So I guess on a micro scale I think of it like this. I see a poor starving child on TV and my heart does break. But I am left with the question, “If I send him/ or her money for food and it is enough to sustain? them for the rest of their lives, what then? Will he/ she just have more offspring that then will also need sent resources? Let us say in Africa, they live in a desert where food and water are not and never will be plentiful. Will these children that are saved promise not to have children unless they can provide these necessities? I not only doubt it, but history has proven it not to be true.

Remember the basic prime directive of the individual part, the person, in the system is to propagate another generation. The more technologically ignorant they are, the more apt they are to carry out that task without regard to consequences. With their last breath, they will breed. They will attempt to fill the leak by adding more. Correcting the system will require finding a way to educate these populations that only when they know how they are going to feed themselves can they then think about having children. Those who think it is cruel or selfish to not feed the poor and hungry of the world are well intentioned, but misguided. Allowing these people to survive only to make more children who will suffer is far more cruel. How many more children have been brought into this world only to suffer their parents hunger and disease?

Likewise, in the US, the problem isn’t that we can not sustain people with food shelter, and clothing. All over people will tell you that our poor people are the richest in the world. In our little “subsystem” we require more highly refined parts. These people often lack education, self-discipline, and/ or motivation. Our purpose is defined by our culture. We require more refined parts then in other parts of the world. It isn’t about just carrying on bodies, but ideals into the next generation. On our part as a community we need to educate and even encourage self discipline. On the part of the poor, just as in any other part of the world, they must learn not to have offspring they have no self staining plan to support. As the lowest denominator of our system grows or doesn’t evolve, it weakens our system and threatens to crash the whole thing.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Who is raising your kids?

Alright I have a question. And I really want you to think about this. Why did you have (or do you want) children? Was it because you just wanted them? Was it because you wanted to pass on the family name? Was it because everybody was pressuring you by saying “when you going to have a child?” Did these same people offer the advice that, “you will never be ready” in an address to your concerns? Or was it because you consciously thought, “I am a good human and member of the community and I want to pass my intellect and value system on to another generation?” I would hope that the later was the most predominate drive for you decision. Let us face it, if you are raising children with little more then your physical traits, whose moral and ideological traits are they carrying on.

So are your children being taught your beliefs and morals or are they just more sources of energy that feeds the “Matrix”? For those unfamiliar with the actual premise of this movie, it was about machines that take over the world. 99% of the world is kept asleep by machines and used strictly for their body heat to generate the energy they need to power the machines. A select few wake up, or are awaken to find their whole world as they knew it was just a computer generated dream. They battle to try and wake the rest of the world up. It isn’t quite so easy as just finding where the bodies are kept and shaking them. Most don’t want to be awakened. They wouldn’t know how to function outside the Matrix. Could your children survive if they had to grow up in the world of your parents or grand parents? Before fast food, credit cards, health insurance, 30 year mortgages, and nonstop video entertainment. Outside the distraction of the marketing blitz. Outside the matrix?

I have mentioned in previous posts that children of the agricultural age of economics had a way different purpose then the children of the industrial and service based economics of today. If you farmed as a livelihood children are assets. The more you have, the more help you have to tend to the needs of the far, and them more you can generate from it. Farm based families often are large. No need for babysitting, everybody was a stay at home parent, and families spent most of their lives together. In the industrial based model, children are liabilities. They do not contribute to the income of the family, and in fact they cost resources. The child of a factory worker and a nurse has to have a babysitter and eventually an education system to care for them. Children of the modern world have totally different roles in life that lead to all kinds of dysfunctions depending on their stations.

Let us do some logic here. According to the be Bureau of labor statistics, the average person puts in 36.7 hours per week. We’ll call it 37 hours for easy math, and say that the average is 7.4 hours a day. The national average commute time to work is 25 min each way. I think it would be acceptable to say that the average person take 20 min to get ready for work. So, just on work related obligations we spend about 8.5 hours of the daytime getting ready for work. So let us assume your day starts when you wake at 6:30 AM. No way to tell, but if you consider the suggested average for children up until their teen years is 12 hours a day for sleep, but the reality is closer to 10 hours. So up until 11 years old at least we are shipping out children off at 9 PM to wake them up at 7 am for school. Once we get home the average American has to get dinner ready, keep up with home chores, and take some time to address individual obligations. But as you are pulling in the driveway at 3:30 as the kids are getting off the bus, you have 5.5 hours to cook dinner, eat dinner, clean up after dinner, get the kids ready for bed, and do all the other nightly duties. I don’t think it is much of a stretch to say that at best, the average American has about 2 hours to influence their children. The question is then, do they? Or are they pre-occupied with extracurricular self interests? This is worth restating. Out of a 24 hour day, 14 of them waking hours, the average American parent has 2 hours of influence.

If we consider this, is it any mystery that our children conduct activities that make us say, “I didn’t teach them to walk, talk, dress, or act that way.” “They didn’t learn to do drugs, be violent, or make unhealthy personal choices from me.” Of the time people do spend with their children how much of it is spent punishing them for behaviors they don’t approve of? When you are not influencing them, who is?

In my area we have “pre-school” that starts as soon as your kid is potty trained. There are also business that seemingly offer something positive such as “gym”. To my observation this is where busy parents dump their children off so they can get some errands done. Parents leaving to strangers to teach their children to run, jump, dance, tie their shoes, and other physical activities. Missing completely the point that there is great value in a child seeing their parents do these things. This goes on as early as 3. In these environments there are so many sources of input developing your child’s personality that you can’t possibly be aware of. From the teachers to the other students, they all have an influence that might be in counterproductive to how you want your child raised. Many of these stimuli come in forms most often other then just verbal exchanges. Here your young children will meet others who lie, are violent, bully, or worse. What will your children learn in order to be accepted?

Let us say the weekend comes, and the typical person has free time. How often is that free time spent doing self indulging activities such as watching sports, drinking with friends, fishing, hunting, shopping, working out, working in the yard, fixing up an old car, golfing, or whatever your hobby is? How much of that time are you spending with your 2 to 8 yr. old? For most people they do not include their young children in these activities. Your children are awake, they are with somebody. Maybe they are with the other parent who is showing spite and frustration with you because you are out “doing your thing” while they are “trapped” at home with the kids. You, of course, are thinking that you put a “hard week at work and are getting some personal time in to relax”.

Throw into this mix the ever growing demographic of children being raised in a “split family” environment to the confusion and another whole new set of issues arise. Children being passed back and forth between two parents who now both have to work to make ends meet. The result is a child who has lost the sense of identity, a confused understanding about relationships, and forced to find somebody to give them the guidance on life’s most basic issues. At that age the amount of attention is directly related to the depth of love they feel. And then these children grow up to be parents, “just like mom and dad”.

Is it asking too much to teach your child how to tie their shoes, run, jump, hike, play, or work? Can you not teach them that “A is for apple”? Do you have the capacity to teach them basic math, language, and reading skills? If the reason you can’t is simply because of time, then you didn’t understand your requirements for parenting all that well. Somebody should have been expected to be home. They are requirements all the same. They will be met by somebody. That somebody may not have your best interest at heart. So if you are wondering why your teenaged daughter is pregnant or your teenaged son is facing a prison sentence and you think, “I never taught them to be that way”, you are right. You never taught them to be any way. Somebody else did.

So again I ask, are you raising children into people with your set of moral grounding, or did you just produce another warm body to feed the matrix? Another person to make all the same mistakes you did and eventually gets their life in order just in time to repeat the process? Your child doesn’t need sports, education, hobbies, or discipline to become a healthy well grounded person. All of these are in lieu of the one thing they do need. Your time.

I’ll end on this note. Include your children in activities. Yes, it is dangerous to have a child in a garage while you work on that old car, but nowhere near as dangerous as ignoring them. Take your 2 yr old outside to work on the yard with you. It will take you twice as long to do it, but it will be time well spent. Explain to them while you are doing it why it is important to you to keep your space looking pleasant. Let me let you in on a little known secret. Most of your friends really don’t like you. Your young child looks up and respects you. They want to know everything about you. Give them your time to teach them. Do it before they give up on you and seek enlightenment from somewhere else. The really important lessons, get down to their level, look them in the eye, and make sure they understand that you are serious. Follow up by demonstrating these lessons yourself. If you don’t want them to lie, don’t lie to them. If you don’t want them to give up when things get a little rough, don’t let them see you give up. Despite what the media might tell you, there are things way more dangerous in this world then the “swine flu”. Ignorance is on top of that list.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

“I’m Sorry” A Social Contract

This week has brought forth much media hoopla over a few incidents in which celebrities had to apologize for. It seems a week doesn’t go by where some public figure isn’t at a podium or a talk show seat expressing regret for their actions.

The thing that most people seem not to realize is “I’m sorry” is not just the end of an issue in the past, but if truly meant, it is a beginning to a change in character. In effect it is saying, “I recognize my actions were socially unacceptable and I will not do it again.” The “I recognize” part addresses the event that happened and the “will not do it again” is the constraints of the contract.

Now, it might be adaptable and acceptable to say, “try not to do it again.” In cases where addiction, compulsion, or ignorance is the reason for the social foul, there might need to be a correction curve. But in these cases a “ramping up” of effort should be demonstrated with each new infraction. So say that somebody with an alcohol problem says, “I am sorry I came home wasted and acted like an ass last night. I will try not to do it again.” Well, that person just admitted they have a problem controlling themselves under the influence. Maybe they “try” to quite or at least restrain on their own. If they fail and once again repeat the behavior, then the next step is to demand they seek alternatives to address their lack of commitment to the contract.

That leads me to the point. If they repeat and do not seek alternatives to their offensive actions, then they are really not “sorry”. They really don’t feel what they have done is an offense. In this case you can expect that the action will happen again. In this case, “I’m sorry” is merely lip service in an attempt to calm the contempt towards them.

Applying that logic to this week’s events we can all agree that we hope Mr. West and Ms. Williams apologized to the public because they feel the image they displayed was not conducive to a positive role model. Their actions are not how we would want our society to handle problems, nor do we want our impressionable aged citizens to see that as an option. So, from this day forward these two have to raise their bar for social appearance to a higher level. If events happen where other entertainers may have skirted that grey area between acceptable and offensive and gotten away without an apology or a half hearted apology, these two could justifiably be chastised for such actions.

In politics there is something that occurs along the same lines that I find much more difficult to accept an apology. Often, people who have more liberal perspectives are accused of not getting scrutinized by the media as harshly. Well there is a reason for that. If by “liberal” perspective means that they advocated for such issues as “gay marriage”, “abortion”, “stem cell research”, “legalized drugs”, “legalized prostitution”, and generally have a 1969 “free love” approach to their political perspective; then their judgment standards are different. If they get caught with a prostitute smoking weed then it is kind of a “so what”. Of course they did, they believe it should be legal and have advocated for it. In this case an “I’m sorry” might be more offensive then the activity itself. However, if a more conservative minded male politician who opposes the ideal previously listed gets caught poking some dude in the bathroom stall while smoking crack, then an apology is required. Beyond that, the constituency should require an explanation and a character change. As a policy maker who opposed these activities has either introduced laws to bar such activities, or at the very least hindered attempt to normalize them socially. Such a person is also known as being a hypocrite. In this case, open public verbal flogging to discourage such narcissism is not only expected, but required. Simply saying, “I’m sorry” isn’t going to undue the damage that was done for the sole purpose of protecting the offender’s ego.

It is harder to be a conservative, certainly. Those that choose that path have to recognize it. Often times it means rejecting self centered animalistic instincts. It often requires self assessment as to whether the cause is still relevant. This is different then just embracing those instincts as an insurmountable trait with little to no negative affect on the overall culture.

An apology should always be accepted. (Unless it is late in the night and it is in the form of half 151 and half Rumplemints. That should never be accepted, trust me.) However the level of reservation and the amount of influence the person asking for forgiveness should be allowed is completely based upon the existence and history of a social contract being offered before. If the apologizer has one, what are the extenuating circumstances? What makes their renewed commitment different? If the answer is “none” and “nothing” then remove yourself from their influence as best as you can and continue with the lessons learned.

So from Kanye and Serena we should accept their apology but expect that their level of rudeness and disrespect will not happen again, at least in the public eye. However, two truths remain about celebrities. One, the negative publicity is apt to get them financial and social benefit. That means they will get face time with the cameras. Two, our impressionable ones will most likely notice the social gain over the shame these stars are currently displaying and many kids will take from it a lesson that “aggression and rudeness only stings for a bit, but then there is lasting benefit.” And we wonder how we got here…

The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity”- Andre Gide quotes

Monday, July 20, 2009

How About This For A Healthcare Plan

The political talking heads and attention seems to be fixated on a “new national healthcare plan.” I have written about my disdain for all things insurance in the past. (I realized after writing this that there wasn’t a post that specifically addressed this topic. I will do that one next.) So instead I will offer my “new national healthcare plan”. One to be hated but undeniable to those of either the religious or evolutionary persuasion and by extension either party.

How about this for a health care plan. It starts out with the fact that we all understand that we are not immortal. For the slower ones in the group, we die. Now the speed at which that happens can be attributed to a combination of lifestyle, intellect, and dumb luck. The last one you can do nothing about. The first one and second one are closely related. Through the first few hundred thousand years of the existence of life, species developed and evolved using an understanding of the fact that we need to choose a healthy lifestyle in order to preserve ourselves and promote the chance of preserving our genetic line. This national health plan should be called “survival of the fittest.”

Here is the plan. If you smoke, drink, do other drugs you hasten your way towards death. Sex with prostitutes is not doctor recommended either. Especially the ones that look like girls but are really Asian men when you have been drinking jack Daniels all night. If you eat 5000 calories per day but burn 500 sitting around reading stupid blog post all day, you are going to get fat. This will hasten that trek to the grave yard as well. The second you pull out onto the road, you must realize that you are at risk. Even if you are the most courteous, aware, and responsive driver, realize that 90% of the road is inhabited by people who couldn’t pass their GED. If you are an a-hole this too could increase your risk factors for an untimely demise.

You are aloud to have as many children as you would like. This is a free country. They will be covered fully by this plan. This is how it will work. If you can’t afford to feed them, they will starve to death. If they get sick, and you can’t afford to take them to the doctor, they will get sicker and probably die. If they watch you smoke, drink, do drugs, eat too much, or walk around being an asshole, they will grow to learn to do the same thing. This could lead to their problems arriving before they reach adult hood. Educate them. Teach them how to eat healthy, exercise, and consume their time with life preserving activities.

My suggestion is to plan your kids out. Don’t listen to people when they say, “you will never be financially ready to have a kid”. (Chalk this up to the wisdom of people who told you that “a house is an investment”.) Get there, then have a kid. I also suggest a plan “B” as well. (You never know when you are going to wake up one day with only half the resources you had expected to have at your disposal.) Do not expect the government to supply food, housing, or the latest $150 a pair tennis shoes for your kid. If you can’t do that, don’t have a kid. I hate to break this too you, but kids need something else that will can not be expected by the government. Time. Yeah, a healthy kid is going to need some one on one with at least one parent. Preferably both. This plan allows that anybody who wants a healthy child has to budget time into their healthcare needs. Great, you make great money working 50 hours a week that you use to buy your kids the finest toys to play with in the nicest basement in town. When are they going to learn these valuable lessons from you? They never see you. Instead they are raised by the 7th grade coke headed pervert of a government teacher. You are at work. So every kid that gets both financial and emotional support for a parent who is physically present, gets to live healthy and long. Or they die sooner then expected. Of course that is barring the dumb luck factor.

There is an added dental plan. Brush your teeth, get regular checkups, or your teeth fall out. Pretty cool. If your teeth fall out, then there is no need for a dental plan.

To you “health care providers”, this plan offers a relief of dealing endless insurance forms and red tape just to get paid. Healthcare insurance will be outlawed. That is right, you have to accept only cold hard cash from your patients. You may have to adjust your prices that you charge for spending 4.27 minutes with your patience. The majority of Americans will not be able to pay $350 for your time. That is of course not counting the hour they waited in the waiting room. See you are going to have to charge what people are going to be able to pay. I recommend you get payment up front. But look, no paper work.

Pharmaceutical companies are going to be happy to know that they can put any drug they want to on the market. However, each drug will have to have one name signed to it. That name belongs to the responsible person who will go to jail for homicide if anybody meets an untimely death due to the recommended use of their drug.

Those who have the resources and intellect to propagate continue their genetic line. Those who don’t, well their line ends and the community as a whole is strengthened. The next generational turn will in affect become even stronger and more resourceful. Eventually all of the health concerns of today will be a blip.

So what do you think? Is this the same one Hillary was offering during the Clinton years? I don’t want to be accused of plagiarism.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Consequences

I love this word. It is just fun to say. By definition it means something produced by a cause or necessarily following from a set of conditions. Using logic and past history one can derive the often negative result (consequences) of almost any rational action. I am teaching my daughter the word. She says it much cuter then I do. As she grows I will explain and expand the meaning of the word. Many times I have written about this subject indirectly. Most topics have offered solutions and the most probable consequences weighed against them.


Every single problem and every issue facing this country is a result of a lack of understanding of the consequences. Whether it be something as international as Iran and North Korea arming themselves because they saw themselves included in a group where one of them was invaded. Or more personal issues such as education and health care, we have no sense of the negative impact of our choices. Often the consequences seem so indirect that we don’t realize it. This is the case with cheap imported goods and global warming. We in the west have made an art out of postponing or removing completely the negative effects of all of our crucial life changes. We often do this by spreading the results over everybody in the community. United we stand, and united we also may fall. Get pregnant and don’t want to? Have an abortion. Buy a house or too many things that you can’t afford? Go bankrupt. Eat unhealthy, drink like a fish, and smoke until your lungs are tarred black. You have health insurance to pay for the procedures. Drive like an idiot, the safety features on your car will save your life, and the forced auto insurance will pay for the damage. Don’t bother teaching your children anything. Let the school system be their mentors, disciplinarians, as well as educators. The only thing as parents you have to do is donate the egg and the sperm. Sure, get married. If one day you wake up and don’t want to be, you can just get a divorce. Never mind any of the consequences.


Many of our problems that we have today are addressing issues that were caused by “solutions” not very well weighed out. Slavery? Not very well thought out. Freeing the slaves? Great idea, but they stopped half way through the thought. What do you do with a 20% unemployed poor people. As the country grew economically we entered the industrial age. More people were required to work in factories and the business that support them. As farms were shut down and more fathers went from being “stay at home dads (farmers) to “9 to 5ers” the male role model’s impact on the home was reduced. What was the impact on the children? Then we got into this habit of sending our men off to wars. The women then had to take their place in the work force. The men that did come back were often messed up in the head and the women either had to or wanted to continue to work to support the financial “needs” of the family. At that point who was responsible for passing on the lessons and the moral fibers of the past generations to the new one? How about nobody. Now we drop the kids in our public schools and hope they learn these things from strangers who are under paid and over worked just like the rest of us. This is just one string of events that the consequences were not fully realized.


Many of the things that we in the west find repressive, inhumane, and violations of human rights in other cultures are feeble attempts at reducing some of the negative consequences. One child policies, forced marriages, rigorous religious structure, extreme gender and class distinctions, and strict criminal punishments are a few examples. These are all activities to reduce the impact of many issues that plague even our society.


In western culture we have members know as “defense attorney’s” whose first priority is to prove innocent clients, guiltless. Here the choices of somebody else has a negative result on their clients life. But in the case of guilty ones, their job is to reduce the impact of the consequence that their client must endure. It is very factual that the amount of money spent on these negotiators of the law is directly proportional to the depth of the consequences. Inherently having an advocate to reduce your negative impact is neither good nor bad, it is when that courtesy is distributed unequally throughout the society that the lessons meant by punishment are skewed.


Even the biblical teachings and something as basic as the 10 commandments were designed to counsel people’s choices towards ones with less sever consequences. Many of the negative results of these teachings were of more internal sacrifices.


Whether it is nature or our legislators attempting to hold the citizens accountable for their actions and choices it doesn’t matter. Somewhere some how, as each generation passes, less of us are understanding the meaning of consequences. On this tract we will not only deal with problems of today, but forever compounding problems.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Iran and North Korea: Much To Do About Nothing

There are a few proverbs in life that are a staple to my belief system. One is a Chinese proverb I learned in my studies of military strategies. It says, “never waste your resources blocking a strike that won’t hit you.” On the flip side of that understanding is knowing that getting your opponents to waste their resources by making them flinch is a productive use of your resources. If you have ever played the hand slapping game, (we called it “red hands” or “bloody knuckles” when using a striking instrument”) you know that there is as much effort in getting your opponent to react pre-maturely as there is in actually striking them.

Iran and North Korea are conducting activities in the open for a reason. They could easily hide any of this stuff. As a matter of guess, I would believe that they are doing some of the most damming activities in secret. In the grand scheme of things, all they have to do is deny it and those who want to believe one way or the other will follow their beliefs. But for some reason they are conducting their activities in a way that is sure to draw a response from their opponents. In Iran’s case they are claiming it is for peaceful energy purposes and even our own intelligence can’t prove otherwise. That reason is to pull us into the drama, keep making the western world flinch until we are too slow to react.

In reality why bother. Let them make whatever they want. If Israel is worried about them, let them take care of it, or at least produce some credible, usable intelligence. Instead of worrying about what Iran or NK are doing, make them worry about what we are doing. We have rights and would be accepted to put counter missile batteries all along the borders of both countries. Heck, put some war heads right there as well. Let them know that they are wasting money on resources they will never be able to use. Sanction anybody who tries to help either Iran or North Korea along.

To their face, the west need only to present a kind and understanding demeanor. “Oh you are working on a nuclear war head? That is nice.” That should be flowed with an expression that you are curious as to why they feel they need them. Not that it is some mystery that the three countries named in the (Best cartoon villain voice) “Axis of evil” are the ones we are now having trouble with. Whatever reason they give, just nod your head and say, “good point” and go on about your business of building a defense system that will react to any strike that will hit its target. Never let them know you are doing it. Keep all of your cards close. Should they launch an attack, your defense systems should be a surprise they didn’t calculate for. When their attack fails they will then be open for retaliation, with all the support and gratitude of the world. You hit them hard, fast, and show no mercy. (Remember, the world’s nations are like a woman. Each event is only scored as one point. There is no magnitude.)

This is how you deal militarily with nations such as Iran and North Korea. All this concern is for nothing. Nothing can be done about to stop them if they feel the need to arm themselves. However to be honest, intelligent diplomatic maneuvers would have allowed us to never be here in the first place.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Too Close To Home

For you 4 regulars, you might realize that I pulled the "Personal Story" post. There is a chance that too many people that might be close to or work with my wife are reading it. The point of this blog is to share my story in hopes of helping others who others who might have questions or end up in the same situation. It is not a platform to hurt or embarrass anybody, especially my estranged wife. I honestly never thought anybody would take time to read this silly blog. (Well except for John. He is easily entertained though.) I hope people go back and read the post preceding this situation. Those are much more informative.

Sorry if this causes any inconvenience. The post will return when it is more then likely to help somebody. If you want to read my personal story, you can dig for SSRI marriage stories and you will find it has been repeated over and over again since the introduction of this devil drug.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Divorce Journey

Hello folks, I will now be posting on most of the more personal related issues here. http://thedivorcejourney.blogspot.com/. I only have the introduction up now. But there will be more to follow shortly.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Marijuana Is To Alcohol As Prozac (SSRI’s) Is To Cocaine

I have discussed on other blogs, if not this one, many times the logical disconnect in logic between the legalization of alcohol and the criminalization of marijuana. The main reason alcohol and tobacco are legal and pot isn’t, is due to a major marketing and lobbing effort by the two industries to push out a substitute good. The now cult classic flick known as “Refer madness” was originally produced as a public awareness message to warn of the dangers of marijuana usage. It was funded by the alcohol and tobacco industries. It contains wild and untrue assertions about the use of pot. It includes a scene of people taking it intravenously. It was meant to stir paranoia in the ignorant masses. It worked.

“Weed” had one major problem, it grows like a weed anywhere. Hard to make money off that. Unless you live in the lush climate of the south, you are not growing tobacco in your back yard. Certainly not in the quantities to support the average nicotine habit. So there is an industry. As a home brewer, I can tell you that brewing a drinkable beer is no easy chore even with today’s advances. So alcohol had an industry.

Cocaine can be grown and harvested then brought to the border pretty inexpensively. The biggest cost is the logistics in getting to the US consumer. And again, aside from the awful social affects that come with it, cocaine was pushed out by the alcohol and tobacco industries. Here they weren’t making up the socially unhealthy side affects. Prozac as it turns out is a very complimentary drug for the two industries. This is because its use increases the desire for their product. Go figure.

“So, LOL, besides the political and economical relationship, what else do they have in common? Right now this seems like a stretch.” Nice class, I am glad you asked. Cocaine acts on the brain by increasing the dopamine levels. Get this, it does this by “inhibiting” the cells to reabsorb dopamine. (If that doesn’t sound familiar, it will.) Dopamine is a response to pleasure signals. In your brain it makes you feel happy and pleasurable when warranted. So without the ability to absorb it, people become “euphoric”. Dopamine is a precursor (forerunner) of adrenaline and a closely related molecule, noradrenaline.

Now, for those who have been following along, Prozac and the class of drugs known as (Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) SSRI’s. Please note the word “inhibitors”. Serotonin does the exact same thing as dopamine from a slightly different perspective. SSRI’s stop the reabsorbing of this pleasure producing chemical back into the cells. The results of it’s presence in the brain is nearly mirrored to that of cocaine. So are the side affects.

So lets take this one step further and apply a little logic. Why don’t we want people openly using cocaine in our society. Most of us, especially reading this blog would agree that cocaine and any drug use that doesn’t negatively affect the community at large should be completely legal. If you want to sit in your living room and snort coke, destroy your house, and scream profanity at the top of your lungs, go to it. As long as you don’t have a spouse or children who will be effected by this activity, party on Skippy. What you do to yourself in your own home is your business. However, coke and crack alike has a personality altering affect that produces citizens that are not functional healthy members of the community. By that, I mean they loose the ability to be good parents, hold down a job, or do an important job that requires responsibility to the required level. It has been known to produce violent and other criminal behavior such as theft, fraud, and sexual crimes. So our freedom seeking American society has cast it out as too much of a threat to our goal of social harmony. However, these SSRI’s have been proven to produce the exact same result. Because they are not often identified as the cause, they are not demonized. So why are they handed out like jelly beans at Easter.

Look, when you are talking about messing with brain chemicals, there are no guarantees. That is basically what my own counselor told me. Handing people these drugs nothing more then treating them like lab rats. So if for no apparent reason your wife runs off with your child and then falsely files a police report that she has been kidnapped, it is thought that adjustments need made. We all know people who can drink like a fish and walk out generally sober. We also know people who after 1 drink act like they have been drinking all afternoon. I know people who if I told you they do coke with some regularity, you would curl up your face and say, “really”. God knows I did. These drugs have the exact same consistency. The results are often the same unhealthy personality emerges. The difference is that since they are FDA approved and doctor prescribed, people look right past them as the cause when somebody’s personality on these flip. The diagnosis is further complicated by the fact that some people’s brain chemistry naturally goes haywire and act similarly. This results on many supporters of these drugs to say, “see people do this all the time that haven’t taken this drug”. To that I say, “my foot gets wet whether I get caught in the rain or I piss on it. The difference is one is my fault, and you can’t do anything about the weather.”

There are countless cases of people on these drugs doing the most heinous crimes. Here are just a few high profile ones. http://www.health-essentials.info/science/health-issues/ssri01.html . Then there are the ones that don’t make the news because nobody makes the connection. Then there are the grey areas where the personality flip ruins small individual lives as their person turns dysfunctional, but doesn’t do anything illegal. Children end up growing up in split homes, financial strains cause bankruptcy, disease are spread, abortions are had, and unwanted children are brought into the world. But we will leave that for another post.

The problem is that people who are already in a troubled state are going to doctors they trust and getting prescriptions for these antidepressants. Whether it be a vet returning with PTSD, a child who lost his mother at an early age, a deadly disease patient that is suffering from depressions, a mother suffering from post partum, or my favorite a wife who suffers from mild anxiety, anyone of them could be predisposed to heightened receptiveness to an increase in serotonin. Many times their adverse feelings are completely unrelated to a lack of serotonin level. You might as well snort coke or become an alcoholic. At the end of the day, whatever problem caused you to seek out mental health therapy, its still there. Now you have a deficiency in whatever was causing your problem and a serotonin addiction. Now you are headlong in the wrong direction at mach 2 with your ass on fire. Great job docs.

The trouble is how many people are getting rich off this. The drug companies are getting rich, the divorce lawyers are busy, the courts are full, the prisons are fuller, and the therapists who prescribed the drug often get business from the patients spouse, children, and even extended family members. Oh and don’t forget the doctors prescribing it.

Look, there are a select group of a few people who have serotonin deficiencies. For these people, SSRI’s are the answer. But what is becoming evident to me is that many of these people are not having their issues addressed. They are being prescribed aspirin for a brain tumor. I personally know of three people who were prescribed SSRI’s for to cope with anexiety. Caught early enough and having knowledgeable people around them they were taken off the drug quickly. One had a thyroid problem. The other had an androgen deficiency. The third just had deep rooted issues that needed brought into the open. A forth, well, I miss my baby.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Separated Parents: The Bible, The Courts, And The Science.

Those who read regularly know one of my pet peeve arguments is “ U.S. laws are based on Christianity”. It is total chutzpah. The reality is first “Christian values” were based on values that had evolved to be socially functional. “Don’t lie”, “don’t cheat”, “don’t steal”, “don’t kill”, “respect your parents”, “expect to be treated the same way you treat other people” are not profound revelations. They are rules for a community to reduce aggressive behavior. If in fact he was a deity, he came down only to point out the ideas we should already have been aware of. The US laws were designed around these basic understandings. However, with about 90% regularity, if a value falls in the grey area, the US laws are crafted in complete disregard for what the bible would council.

I could go on citing examples, but that would make a long post. Instead the one that is fresh on my mind is the lesson highlighted by the story of King Solomon. For reference sake I will sum it up. Two women had babies of about the same age. One woman’s child had died. Both women claimed the living baby as their own. (I know it is hard to envision this in our separated living type culture, but remember back then they were more tribal living arrangements.) Unable to resolve the dispute they were brought before the king. The King Solomon proposed to just “split the baby in half”. One woman actually agreed to the decision. The other broke into tears saying she would rather see her baby live then to suffer such a fate. The king recognized that the real mother would never allow her baby to be hurt and awarded the custody to the second woman.

In this area US laws are 180 degrees out of the teaching of the bible. Here our courts don’t just suggest, but often demand that the baby be “split in half”, at least emotionally speaking. First and foremost the laws are set up as such that the mother gets primary custody unless proven to be a vengeful homicidal abusive maniac. Even then the courts only want her to go through a program, and show that she has gotten her emotions under control. Even if one of the parents are proven to be to the extreme, the courts still generally allow some sort of visitation and custody rights. These are the extreme cases. The grey areas in between where a parent is shown to act irresponsibly and/ or out of the best interest of the child, that parent is still awarded custody. If it is the mother, she is often awarded primary custody. This is a situation that allows a parent who is looking to emotionally torment the other parent a link to do so. We all know people who have crazy ex’s that use the kids to do irrational acts.

Generally US family courts try to establish what they call “joint custody”. (Picture a thick burly royal guard with giant sword.) This is where the two parents share equally in decision making and often living arrangements. This only tends to work if the separation was something that both parents wanted and they had been emotionally sepaerated for years. They often became some variety of “friends” over the course of their together but separate lives.

Joint custody certainly doesn’t work if only one parent wanted the separation and the other is hurt and frustrated with the other parent. The parent often uses the child as a pawn in some game of emotional chess. They will say and do things to the child that shouldn’t even be consider acceptable. It also doesn’t work when neither parent wanted the split, but just became involved in some kind of hurtful game escalated to the extreme of divorce. I have seen this a few times personally where not only my friends ex is acting not on the best interest of the child by doing irrational activates, but so was my friend. Every now and then I would check him by saying, “what are you doing. I though you guys were through with each other. Why would you continue the drama?” One friend made my jaw drop when in a burst of raw honesty she said, “I still love him, and I hate him for that.” I mean what do you say to that? I ordered a round of shots.

So in this instance as in many others the US laws are not “based on biblical teachings”. But wait, there’s more. It turns out they don’t even act in accordance to scientific understanding either. Here is a study that was conducted by Professor Yongmin Sun of OSU released in early 2008. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080507132910.htm

It turns out that children of separated families have greatly varying chances of success depending on their custodial situation. First of all, as has been said by every councilor and even during the “separated parents” seminar I was forced to attend they stress that just having separated parents greatly reduces their chances at reaching their full potential. As Sun put it in this interview, “A stable family situation after divorce does not erase the negative effects of a divorce.” The study goes on to show that children of stable custodial environment are far more likely to succeed and be functional then children of changing custodial situations. The main point in the article showed that while children of single parent custody had the same chance of going to college as an “always married” family structure. However, the level of degree was reduced in the cases where sole custody was the norm. Children of “joint custody” environments fared half as well in most aspects as their other peers. Bottom line, divorce is a damming experience for a child. Passing the child back and forth is further damaging. Yet that is what the courts try to do.

The reasoning behind the disadvantage of the separated parents are no mystery. The fact that split parents suffer from reduced financial backing and social continuity was cited by the study. The courts attempt to recreate the “standard of living” in two places. Most couple could barely afford to do it in one. The second is a core understanding of the meaning of relationship and commitment to a common goal that are demonstrated by a divorce. These children often are more willing to give up on goals and commitments that are needed to drive their way up the ladder of success.

So as unusual, when I trash a social norm, I have a solution. Well part of one. In this case marginalizing the damage seems about the best one can do. First, obviously the situation has to be taken into account. A pregnant teen is a vastly different situation then an established marriage that were not “till death”. I have talked at length about teen pregnancy in the past, and will not address that here. But improving the fate of a child from a marriage that ends should have a different set of criteria.

First of all, I draw on wisdom from a short story I read I think in 6th grade called the “test”. The basic jest of the story was that people attempting to get their drivers license were put under hypnosis and made to believe they were involved in a horrible crash that killed their love ones. When they woke, if they still wanted their license they were committed. If they didn’t they were approved to get it. The first test of a parent should be making sure they understand the ramifications of separating. If they are still willing to go through with it, then maybe they shouldn’t be allowed to have custody of their child. This concept should not wait till people are in divorce court to be explained, it should be part of the marriage license process. If one of you are willing to separate, break your vows, or dissolve the family, then that person risks loosing access to their child. There has to be consequences. Now if the person is looking to separate for reason of abuse, then obviously the courts would have to consider. But simply wanting out is not an acceptable excuse. It demonstrates a selfish disregard for the child and the sanctity of marriage. It is damage that is actually felt financially upon the entire system and community as demonstrated by the study. Too many times marriages that have just reached minor lows end without properly addressing the issues has progressed. Making the consequences more dire might make the couple reconsider.

As a personal experience, I know a dozen or so divorced couples with children. Two of them stand out. Both of these children have very little interaction with more then one parent. In those cases, the children have grown to be very functional and are off to renowned success. Luckily, one of my friends recently got the chance to do it again with the right person. He is so ready it seems.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Defamation Of Character: In Depth

With the return of a few politicians and sports figures to public light, the word “defamation” has come up in conversation a few times. As a legal term it is interesting to consider what this means, and why it would be included in our legal system.

First let us define the term “defamation”. M-W.com defines it as “the act of defaming another.” “Defaming is further defined as “to harm the reputation of by libel or slander.” So “libel” is “a written or oral defamatory statement or representation that conveys an unjustly unfavorable impression b (1): a statement or representation published without just cause and tending to expose another to public contempt (2): defamation of a person by written or representational means (3): the publication of blasphemous, treasonable, seditious, or obscene writings or pictures. “Slander” is just a restating of libel. Slander seems to be used for short indefensible verbal attacks. (Basically any political news conference ever aired.)

These definitions tend to miss the elements of truth and relativity. I think the Wikipedia article might get it a little closer. (I know Wikipedia is normally avoided as a source, but sometimes it is useful.) It says, “defamation In law, defamation (also called calumny, libel (for written words), slander (for spoken words), and vilification) is the communication of a statement that makes a claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, business, product, group, government or nation a negative image.” I have a joke at work when I am supporting somebody who is doing something dangerous. I say, “You know there are two ways to the top, either be better then the guy in front of you, or take him out.” From the perspective of defamatory statements, this would mean that a person would have something to gain by uttering a nonfactual statement. This issue is expressly addressed by the Bible as being one of the ten commandments. “Thou shall not bear false witness.” It turns out in England they don’t really care about the truth of the statement, just its intent. In their case even a truthful statement (juicy gossip) when uttered if the teller is trying to gain social or financial advantage is considered defamatory. This from the country most renowned for it’s gossip.

Another word often associated with this term is “derogatory”. Defined as the act of disparaging; belittling. The reasoning behind these forms of human communication are the same. A functional community needs both full and accurate information in order to continue functionally. Thus my outrage over the lies told by the previous administration in the rallying of the US public to war.

So why would our governing representatives adapt a negative attitude towards this activity? Simple, because the courts or their representatives are rarely present at the incident that ends up in front of them, and since often legal issues are decided by a jury of peers, falsely influencing public opinion can cause damage to justice of the outcome. Think of the Salem which trials here. In the days of small communities as well as in the days of mass communication, this truth in statement is very important. The sad part is that it is also important to our political system, but these types of statements are often used in politics. It is called “going negative”. Sometimes the truth and fiction are separated by a thin grey line that would take more resources to fight then they are worth.

They irony of the idea of defamation of charterer is that we have a 24hr news cycle that is dedicated to the process of walking that thin line. I gave a comparative of news stories mid last year that were posted by The Associated Press and the same story posted by FOX news. The story was about a protest at the WTO meeting. There were thousands of peaceful protestors that were also infiltrated by a few dozen self proclaimed anarchist. This was a fact included in the AP story. The FOX story was titled “Anarchist Disrupt meeting with violent behavior.” They went on to tell nearly the same story as the AP article which was titled “Few problems plague otherwise peaceful demonstration”. The group that organized the peaceful demonstration was defamed by FOX who had an agenda to advance to appeal to their demographic. However, the area was grey, so no court case could really stand the test.

Think about it this way. If you mailed a letter to the other side of the country but knowingly put a false address on it, whose fault is it that the information didn’t make it? So if there are not measures to stop defamation of character, libel, slander, perjury, and other deragative statements, then whose fault would it be if bad and damaging decisions were reached by the people who work for the governing system?

The dichotomy of the situation is that in order to have a healthy democracy speech needs to flow unhindered by opposing forces. But that speech must be truthful and relative in order to remain on a positive track.

On a personal note, I have never attempted to advance an agenda here. Almost all of my perspectives are backed up by links and/ or citations of my sources. Every post is about the quest for the truth or to answer the question “why” is this reality. I invite anybody to challenge me if they see it otherwise.

Disclosure post

So it seems that we have a couple of new readers to the “logic and politics” blog. Can everybody in the group say, “Hi wife, and wife’s lawyer.” Wow two years of me writing my deepest most inner thoughts and turning them into a format in which the world could relate, and now my wife takes time to read them.

So I am going to have to go over the last couple of post and make sure that there isn’t anything that isn’t clear. A feat that should take a couple of days. This very blog is about the search for truth. It is about cutting through all the bullshit, and asking, “Why was this law created?” “Why did society develop this moral value?” “How do you rationalize such as a school shooting or a mother killing her baby occur in today’s advanced community.” “Why did this political or social event not jibe with logic?” This is not a commercial endeavor for me, but a hobby. It is therapy for my endlessly wondering mind. Expressing these, usually researched, perspectives is what this place is about. I am an open and honest person who likes to share my observations with people who invite me to do so.

So as a disclosure, the opinions expressed here are my own and nobody else’s. As always I invite people to comment, debate, and try to convince me of my error of thought. Everything I say I believe to be true. In relationship to my personal situations everything I say and do is passed through a gambit of reasoning. Of which the first two “I love my child, so is what I am about to say danger or damaging to my child in any way shape or form?” the second is “I love my wife (estranged wife, ex-wife, or whatever the appropriate title is these days) is what I am about to say or do dangerous to the physical or emotional well being of my wife.” You can look over the post of the past 2 years and find that the answers to those questions are a “no”. If you know me, you can look over my actions and find the same answer.

So it seems that “The Divorce Chronicles” might actually be in violation of the divorce decree. It will have to wait till after this thing is settled. I have been writing here for 2 years. It is part of my normality. I am loosing a very important part of my life, but I do not have to, or intend to, loose everything. Writing my thoughts here has become a part of who I am. After all, according to my brother, back in October at the family weekend, my wife said, “(LOL) is the perfect husband, I couldn’t be happier. I just wish he didn’t spend so much time blogging.” Hey it was election season and Palin was way too close to being leader of the free world for my comfort. I have the ACLU on speed dial for anyone wanting to stop my right to freedom of speech.

In the end all of these recent post are just an extension of what they have always been, but on a more personal level. It is the quest of a man searching for the answer of how he could be told he was “the greatest husband in the world”, “the greatest father ever” and how a woman says, “she couldn’t be happier” and “our daughter deserves a sibling” to being hated and emotionally traumatized by the same person only a week later. At the very least, the person I came to know over those 12 years would have chose a more honorable way to end this. This series has been a search to resolve the question, “what if”. What if I am right about this situation being identical to those stories I found? What if it is cause by the same thing that the 50 other people have contacted me saying, they “did the same thing when under the influence of the Prozac.” “What if my wife did listen and take a couple of month break from the SSRI?” What if my daughter could stop screaming, “don’t leave me daddy” every time I walk out the door? What if I could get my family back? I can’t make this a reality for myself, but what f I touch some reader out there about to go through the same thing? Even if I am wrong, there are hundreds of stories out there that this would be a reality. Of course the drug companies call this 1/10 of 1%. A small figure unless you are one of them.

I would also like to say “Thank you” to the anonymous contributor who said many of the things that my wife would have said in the “comments” section of the “Personal story” post. Through her I got to have a pseudo conversation that i would have wanted to have with my wife. I would only add to my comments that there was nothing that was wrong that should have been a deal breaker. Her complaints were about physical attraction, a known problem with Prozac. I started this relationship asking her why she would be with me as I was the self proclaimed “ugliest man alive”. This situation only confirms what I had always assumed. I still managed to produce one beautiful child. And why now after 12 years does this all the sudden make a difference? Unfortunately, not something that I think anybody but my wife could answer though I guess.

Thanks for reading, now back to at least the “logic” part of logic and politics.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Conundrum of Marriage Destroyed by SSRI’s

If you have reached this page because you or loved ones have experienced major personality changes that have damaged your family and you want to know if the antidepressants have played a role, I highly recommend you check out this site.(Sadly the original forum got removed. It contained a lot of stories. Lots of users and spouses reporting the most insane reactions emotionally and behaviorally.  There is a contributor named BTDT or BTD who is mentally off and obsessed with posting on the TOPIX forum. But he/ she does seem to provide comfort.  But the stories get lost in the "discussion" on this sight.  There is also a few different Facebook Pages.) 
Marriages Destroyed by SSRI/ SNRI's There are dozens of stories here that will make you say, "I could have written this story". Your are not alone. There are now 300 different stories on this thread ranging from a college professor who gave up her career in her 40's to go become a stripper and a prostitute to a couples who were married for 20 plus years. Another place to read and get info (maybe even post) is at paxilprogress.org/forums. Here the threads are a little easier to read, but there are less of these family support stories. Now on to the post. (I am just updating some info. I will do a look back in the near future.)If you don't mind giving up a little privacy, There is a great FB group called "Lives Destroyed by SSRIs". 

The system is broken. Who is going to do the research to find out if an otherwise happy marriage was effected by Prozac or any of the other SSRI related drugs? The prescribing information on every one of them require physicians to do a screening for bipolar disorder. This evaluation cost thousands of dollars and is often not covered by insurance if the patient should happen to have it. Drs get a large amount of what can only be described as kickback for prescribing them. (I spent 20 min. explaining to my doc how SSRI's had destroyed my life. This doc knew my wife and how close our relationship was. He was taken back by the events i described and said, "It sounds like she may have been misdiagnosed and is bipolar." At the end he still offered to prescribe me an antidepressant.)

Who is going to do the research to find out if Drs are talking to family members to find out if the patient is an alcoholic or bi-polar before the issue a prescription? They will tell you that they are just doctors and only go off the information their patience give them. Most are well meaning and think they are doing great work. Their patient is extremely happy. They are bared by HIPAA and doctor patient confidentiality from talking to the patient's family about personality changes. Of course that is exactly what the prescribing information says should happen. "Families and caregivers of patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder or other indications, both psychiatric and non psychiatric, should be alerted about the need to monitor patients for the emergence of agitation, irritability, unusual changes in behavior..." So how is this information exchange going to take place?

As a friend of mine put it, "I went to the doctors and said i was feeling stressed because I was unemployed and about to loose my house. He gave me an antidepressant and I didn't feel 'stressed' any more. I was still about to loose my house and was still unemployed, but i just didn't care. Heck I even stopped looking for work."

Once the doctor realizes the error of their ways they are stuck. If they get their patient off the drugs, they very well may find themselves defending a lawsuit.

So who else could have an interest in uncovering the damaging affects? The drug companies? They are making billions off these drugs. They are well aware of what they are doing. Ever noticed how every antidepressant commercial spend 20 seconds telling you how good the drug will make you feel, and then a minute and a half telling you about the dangers? Yet nobody finds this absurd. Do you think they have any incentive expose the grey area, non-life threatening dangers of these drugs?

Our watchdog agency the FDA has its hands so tied with bureaucracy that it takes an act of congress to change a drugs status once accepted. So much of the process is being driven by money and not the well being of the citizens the agency is supposed to be protecting.

To sum it up in real terms. The drug companies can show minimal side affect of the physical, life threatening nature. The Drs. give their patient the pills and the patient returns and says, “you know, I finally came to the realization that instead of being married, I wanted to sleep with everybody in town, spend all my money, and neglect my parental duties. Now I am happy.” They Drs say, “wow look I did a good job, my patient is “happy”. The pharmacies just take your money and completely feel disconnected.

Here is the reality of SSRIs. My wife went to consoling because after the birth of the baby, her obsessive/ compulsiveness and anxiety had increased. So she was given a drug that would “take the edge off”. Take the edge off it did. It take away your guilt and remorse feelings. Think about what you would do if you had no guilt or remorse? Think about what you would do if you couldn’t feel love or sadness. I can tell you a heart wrenching story of what you could do.

I too suffered from a disconnect in reality. For quite a few months I thought this whole thing had happened a lot quicker then it had. Luckily i like to write and stumbled upon old records and emails that I had kept to journal the irrational times. My wife was first prescribed Zoloft. This is when the feelings of agitation and suicide increased. She also became abnormally irritated with the baby. Only after this did our first fights where she mentioned not being happy in the marriage emerged. Prior to that it was never a consideration. As a good husband and completely in my character, she would calm down and ask for forgiveness. I would, and that meant that I forgave and forgot. I didn't know I should be watching for these as signs of adverse reactions to SSRIs. Even if i did, who would I tell?

A major sign for me should have been when my wife’s godmother died. She complained about the inability to cry. She said she just didn’t feel anything to this lady who had been an important part of her life. We thought it was just a part of her newly prescribed drug and it would pass. Now she is way passed that. Honesty, commitment, faithfulness, family, and duty were pillars of her character. Now she has none of those qualities. The problem is that if you ask her she will tell you how happy she is. If you didn’t have the guilt or remorse, wouldn’t you be ecstatic too?

Now she is out of reach of me. Her family is unaware of the many things she is doing. They have to be aware of the personality change, but probably figure it is just because she is "going through a hard time" with the divorce. They haven’t researched the effects of Prozac. Not to mention when you mix alcohol with it. So who is going to question her “happiness”. How can I rest assured that these uncaring feelings are not extended to include my daughter. From where I am standing there is nothing she is doing nothing that is in the interest of our child.

This is not my wife. Her very soul has been suppressed. There is not a shred of the values she once held dear. She almost seems not to realize the devastation that it is having on me or our daughter. My daughter has twice said to me, "I don't want to go to mommy's. I scared". This of course drives my own paranoia. Is she scared because she just dosn't want to leave home, and me? IS she afraid of some real threat? What do you say to a 2 yr old that she will understand. "Sorry munchkin, The courts say I have to send you to a place that 'scares' you". What kind of trust boundries am I breaking by doing this? I grow tired of this fight. But I can't give up until the unanswered questions about the dangers of the affects of these drugs are answered. I want to. That is the true "conundrum".


http://www.topix.com/forum/drug/effexor/TQ4I2UR28DFD3N759

Friday, May 1, 2009

Breakout Post: Hiatus update

I wanted to separate this from the iraq post.


I am back party people. Grew a new skin and had to change directions. It will take a few weeks for me to get in the mix with where the country is and/ or should be standing on issues as I had lost the thread. Don’t know what the future holds for me, but it looks really sweet right now. I am writing post for “the divorce chronicles”, but it is a different writing style for me. I am not yet sure how I sit with sharing it with the world right this second. Also, I haven’t set up the tools to tell who is looking at it, and I have to be wary that anything I say can and will be used against me in a court of law. It is coming and will be an interesting read, but not right at this moment in time. Thanks to all of you who contacted me. Turns out there are more then 4 of you regulars. Who would have thunk it. Hasta for now.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Iraq Wants Us To Leave? OK.

I am just looking over this article where Iraq is now dictating where and when US troops are to intervene. You know what that sound like to me? It sounds like they think they are ready to stand on their own. So forget “pulling back” get out. Save the money.

"The general position of the Iraq Defense Ministry is to keep the timings in the withdrawal pact that American troops withdraw from Iraqi cities and not enter the cities unless they get Iraqi approval," al-Askari said.

Send them an apology for the ruthless ignorance of our former administration. Now it is time for them to take their own destiny into their own hands. Pack up our shit, and move out. It really is that easy.

There is a joke I heard once about the NY giants. The Giants were threatening to move at the end of a particularly bad season. It seemed that the move was eminent. The NYer’s were pissed off. They wanted them to move right then.

Whatever is going to happen in Iraq is going to happen whether we are there or not now. Our economy is tanking, and every cent we need to fix our own problems. (and yes, don’t buy into the occasional hype I have seen briefly over the last few weeks that things are looking up.) We have other national security issues to deal with in Pakistan especially. It might be time for use to commandeer their nuclear arsenal until they can prove that their government is on stable ground.

But really, at the point Iraq are delivering us ultimatums, it is time to say, “Here you go”. As a prediction, I believe that it will most certainly succeed for up to 3 years, then fall into chaos, and by the middle of the next decade we will see a ruler there that will make Saddam look like a choir boy. Then again, I made that assertion the moment I heard the congress give the president the capabilities to go there in the first place.

As a final note, we really can’t afford to have these soldiers come back to this economy and be unemployed, but there is plenty of rational work to be done elsewhere. Even if it is just Mexico.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Update On the Hiatus

Well I have reached an acceptance stage with the whole process. I am going to be starting a blog called “divorce chronicles” where I walk people through this mans process. It will be an interesting read I think as I will address more micro social issues. Maybe I can help people from making the same mistakes that have lead to this situation. Right now though everything is a little too tender to re-account. I wish I could cause the feelings and emotions spin so rapidly.

Right now, I am feeling good about myself. I a strengthening some weaker characteristics of my past. I am surrounding myself with friends, including a few of the female variety. It is funny, they are kinda like sharks, these women folk. One of them rips a whole in your heart and the blood starts spilling, and 4 more swoop in. Probably going to be getting laid more as the “sensitive hurt divorced guy” then I was when I was married. Ain’t reality a bitch. Sometimes you just have to throw the plan on paper away and go for the ride whether you want to or not.

Will be back to solving the world’s problems soon.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

LOL On Personal Hiatus

Sorry to my 4 regular readers. I know the world of politics and economics is still spinning around us. But I have got some personal issues that require some immediate attention. Let us just say my ability to communicate my inner thoughts feelings and ideas to the world at large was not reflected in my more micro environment. I am dedicating my time to correcting that situation and other charterer flaws for awhile. I will be back in hopefully a few weeks and pick up the threads of the political world and weave and spin them in my hopefully logical way. Until then I hope the country can hold itself together.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Baseline

I was reading and commenting on a blog the other day. It is a good blog, make that a great blog, called baselinescenario.com. However, it is chocked full of people who are discussing things that are far from baseline. It does exemplify the problem that we have with our leaders today.

I have my background in system design and troubleshooting. When working on computers we have a “baseline” to determine the level at which the system is still working. It is called the “minimum system configuration.” This requires a motherboard, a power supply, and a graphics generator (graphics card and monitor). This is the bare minimal a computer needs to be functional. Problem resolution can come only after problem identification. It does no good to make up solutions without understanding what the source of the malfunction is. This would be like prescribing aspirin for a brain tumor.

This methodless madness, however, seems to be the approach of the leaders and learned alike. Nobody seems to have stopped to figure out what the cause (or causes in this case) of the problem is. No one has sat down and deconstructed the economy down to it “minimum system configuration”. While I have no real voice, I will for any who care to read.

It is easy to imagine the most basic society, because it exist today still. Bobbing little cultures on the open seas. Imagine if you will me, my wife, my dog, and a 30’ sailboat. We make up a perfect example of everything a society and an economy needs to remain stable. In order to survive, we need only to fish and sail. There is no cash, loans, or stock markets. It is purely democratic, with me and my wife each with an equal vote and the dog breaks all ties. Your work everyday is to catch or find food and water. It is a 7 day a week job. If you don’t do it, your economy falls quickly into recession and then depression. If we make bad decisions about how many offspring to have, it will sink us all. Adding another crew member means adding more to the work load. Later on it will mean one more to man the helm and fish. We are also responsible for financing and engineering the floating nation’s defenses. (let me tell you 30’ living aboard it is best to have a more diplomatic posture when possible.) This is it, the starting point of a functional economy. It is a little hard to apply this directly to our situation, so we might have to take this one step further.

So me the wife and the kid finds some land that we really like and we decide to become more permanently grounded. For examples sake imagine that it is us and one other family on the other side of the island. We build our hut out of local forage, identify local edible vegetation, weave some nets, and prep the land to try and tame some of the local grains. Us and the other family are technically a nation, we were not society, and definitely not a culture. We exchanged pleasantries but we give nor receive anything from them nor they from us.


Then one day the do something that interest of the other family. I had about 2 pounds of brewing yeast and the island had a great population of honey bees. 2 months later I had 3 cases of fine mead. Well it was fine to the lips that hadn’t had any in months. I couldn’t help but to share one with my male counterpart from the other family. He expressed interest in owning a few of these beauties. I expressed interest in a clear 5 gal. water bottle that bottle that he seemed to have a few extra of. A trade was made, and our first economic exchange was completed. This is economics at its basic form.

The settlers didn’t have home mortgages, health insurance, and auto loans. A family existed on its current assets. What the crops yielded is what they had to work with. A 40 hr work week would have been a blessing. There were no electric bills. Generally what the big wigs in Washington did was of less impact then what the weather was going to be like the next day. Bad weather in the short term as well as the long term was more damming to their income then the tax rate. Work was created by need. Farmers traded crops and livestock for that which they didn’t have. Houses were built by hand and often with help of surrounding community members. Doctors, blacksmiths and saloons were often paid in chickens or grain sacks.

For those of us who say “we were responsible” are not acknowledging the fact that outside of this basic model of economics, we are exposed to economic risk. What happened to the farmer? The factory moved into his city. They employed people that drove up the price and expectations of the local venders. Towns became cites. Farmers sons no longer know how to plant and harvest a field, slaughter live stock, or build a house. We no longer use the resources at hand to make our daily lives. We no longer trade with our neighbors for things that we both need. Children are no longer assets that grow to help us maintain our livelihood. They are liabilities that we leave at home or dump in schools while we go off and earn our living. They grow more distant from the basic understanding of economics. We have children without any assured way to keep them housed, fed, and clothed.
Our Leaders need to stop concerning themselves with “leverage”, “secured mortgages”, stocks, the ability to loan, or “retention bonuses”. They need to concentrate on how they can help us grow our own food, build our own houses, and trade with our own neighbors. They need to stop encouraging people who can’t afford it to have more offspring. Most importantly, they need to accept and explain that there are consequences to bad decisions including death. They need to tell the American people that just because your parents and grand parents did it, doesn’t mean that living a life that isn’t grounded in this self sufficient economic model is risky behavior. Then they must accept those lessons themselves.

This is one of those post that as I am finishing, I don’t know if I conveyed the idea that I was trying to. We all don’t have to live like the Amish. But we do have to live off resources that we already have earned. We need to be more aware of the impact of our actions. And we have to be prepared to sacrifice some seasons. Because no matter how complex the economic system is, we all live off the minimum system model. If you grow it and pick it from the ground you have added wealth to our economy. Whatever other activity you do to earn money is not stable and is just circulating existing wealth.

Here is a decent PDF file that goes through the history of money in the US . http://www.bos.frb.org/education/pubs/historyo.pdf as late as 1776 they were still having trouble establishing currency. People were not using their credit cards to survive. That is what made this country strong in more ways then one.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

AIG Bonuses To The Best Of My Understanding

Well one of my regular readers, of the 4, asked my take on AIG and this current debacle. I want to start by saying that this is not a “news” blog in the sense that I rarely cover “breaking” or current news. The point of this exercise is to diagnose what happened and try to avoid repeating history. You are more apt to hear predictions about the future then you are to hear about something that just began to be news worthy today or yesterday. I have a fear of commenting on something that I don’t have enough facts about that I can’t make an informed assessment. This AIG Company is wrapped in so many layers of bullshit that I am having a hard time figuring out how holds what part of the blame. But I will share my perspective thus far. Maybe somebody else can fill in blanks or misassumptions that I have.

Now I had written some gobblely goop about who AIG is an their role in this mess. I had planned to start this post with it. But it took too long to get to the question most people are interested in. So I will get right to the sweet stuff and I will put the other text at the end for anybody interested in my take on their role.

As for the question I suppose is on everybody’s mind. (No, not how long after Hanna Montana turns 18 will we see nudey pics of her. Sickos, the other question.) What does LOL think of compensation in the millions for people who had to take billions in taxpayer dollars. The answer is that I don’t have enough information. But I do have a running opinion. They are preposterous and exemplify the definition of irrational greed. However, outside the moral bankrupt issues, the question is “are they legal?” We are a “nation of laws”.

From what I have come to understand is that these “bonuses” were paid out in respects to contracts. The word “bonuses” is misleading in this context. We all think of getting bonuses when we do something good and profitable for our employer. Christmas bonuses are usually based on the company’s profitability that year. But bonuses in this case really should have been called “retention”. I have heard them referred to as “retention bonuses”. Most of us think of the word retention when we think of lawyers. A company keeps a law firm “on retention”. That means they pay them, or in this case promise to pay them, a certain amount to sort our any legal issues that come up over a period of time. It doesn’t matter how many legal issues, they are to work on whatever comes up for that one set price. Now imagine you are in some legal dispute that is very complex. Maybe it is some kind of real-estate deal. They can get messy and a lot of research, some documented other just general findings, goes into these cases. You wouldn’t want your lawyer to just quit in the middle of it, forcing you to find another lawyer that has to go into it cold. It is my understanding that that is what these “bonuses” were contractually bound for. There are people who knew the inner workings of this very complex system of insurance law that were human assets to AIG.

One more quick analogy, cause that is what I do. Say you are in the middle of an operation. Your doctor has your heart out on the table. You are awake being kept alive by a machine. Would you turn to your doctor and say, “you know what, I can’t afford to pay you anymore. I am going to look for another doctor.” That is the situation AIG is claiming they were in. Now one of the representative in the grilling of the AIG CEO said, “couldn’t you go and find somebody else to do these jobs?” While it is true that there are many doctors that could have performed your open heart surgery, at that point, only one could do the trick. You had him on “retention” until that job was done.

Now that is what I understand that AIG is trying to claim. What I don’t understand is how our legislators didn’t have somebody look over their books and say, “hey who is this guy you have a couple of million dollar obligation to?” The fact that this is hitting them out of the blue scares the crap out of me.

One other point about the guy who receive $2 million form AIG for his services. Mabe he is “living beyond his means”. He has a 10 million house, another million dollar house in the Caymans, a wife with a giant coke habit, 20 cars all with loans, and health insurance to pay out of his own pocket. To him taking that $2 million hit was going to be devastating. He was promised it in the contract. I personally don’t believe AIG should have been allowed to promise one guy that amount of compensation at the same time they paid their janitor $10 an hour. But I have covered that in previous post.

As far as the Congress goes, they passed a law that was not only unconstitutional but dangerous I fear. I haven’t seen the details. But what if they tax 90% of the bonuses. What if a guy that works for AIG lived on a yearly bonus from them of $100,000. Is he now going to only bring home 10 grand? While I still believe we have made the best choice this past electoral season. I am not sure they have the intellect to see us out of our self made mess.


This is where the rest of the post begins. Read if you would like.

Now, who is AIG? As I understand it, AIG’s role in the housing debacle was “eyeballs deep in muddy water”. They made it much more appealing for Fannie Mea and Freddie Mac to take on the irrational home loan exposure. AIG is, as we all know, an insurance agency. Anybody who has read any of my post related to insurance knows that I think it all (health, auto, home, and the likewise) should be illegal in a free market system. Only life (which has a guarantee payoff) and maybe on the blackjack table should be allowed. It allows for the artificial rise in prices. Fannie and Freddie expected an “X” percent default rate on the mortgages they held. As long as that rate didn’t exceed that percentage, then they were still racking in cash. AIG insured them against bad single quarters where maybe that default rate was higher. The mortgage companies paid a pretty high premium and in return their business gained stability. Now those of you worried about the big banks spending money they on this silly stuff, don’t. You the borrower paid that premium for them. It was called “PMI” (Private Mortgage Insurance). So anybody who had no equity in their house when they bought it, were insured to pay off their loans by this AIG product. The problem is that quarter after quarter mortgages defaulted beyond the acceptable percentage. AIG was soon paying out more then it was taking in.

Now that is a very simplified version of what AIG did and still does. However the inner workings are beyond my grasp at the moment, and defiantly beyond my ability to put in laymen’s term.

That brings us to why the government thought they were so important. As the housing dominos started to crumble, our leaders felt that if AIG went belly up, lenders would stop lending money to people who couldn’t afford 20% down on the home they desired. That would bring the housing market to a screeching halt. Construction would stop, millions would become unemployed. More people would default on their loans, and the vicious cycle would spin into a depression. In the end it just seems to be slowing the inevitable. So the democratic government whose base are the “poor people” who can only afford expensive houses if they don’t have to save up for them were as afraid of the housing collapse as the paranoid aggressive chest pounding “faithful” base of the republican party were of Iraq’s nuclear weapons. The only difference is that the collapse of AIG really was going to lead to much worse economic times. Can’t really say the same about Saddam using nuclear weapons. So in a bold attempt to get re-elected, the democrats and many moderate republicans promised AIG the world if they would stay in business. It turns out “the world” meant a few irrational loopholes.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Persistence Of Time

The 4 people that regularly read my dribble (2 of which just to point our how “ignorant” I am.) know that I have an affixation with time. I have written about paying people in time, having your receipt show you how many labor hours you have spent on a purchase, and how important time is to a healthy community. Well, this post is about why this recession soon to be depression is different then any other economic dysfunction in the past. The difference as it turns out is our use of a very powerful resource. Yep, you guessed it, “time”.

First a real quick visit to the only thing one needs to know about economics (not finances or accounting which are often thought of as perfect synonyms but aren’t). One needs only to know that consumers will buy anything that they are “willing AND able”. It is not an “OR” proposition. You must have both pieces to the puzzle in order to attract a consumer to complete the transaction. The more people you have “willing and able” to buy your product the higher the price you can ask for the product. As the product prices rises you price people out of the market. Many become “unable” to pay he market price. They still want the product, but they don’t have the resources to buy it. There are a bazillion reasons why people become “unwilling” to buy a product. That “science” is known as “marketing”. There is only one reason why people are “unable” to buy your product. Because if you want it bad enough, “everything has a price”. That is all most people need to know about economics.


For most items in the US the “willing” part is easy. Everybody would like a new car, big screen TV, low hassle food, a brand new house, beer that makes women like you, and whatever the latest technology gadget is. It was the "able" part of the equation that kept a loaf of bread at a nickel and a new car at $2000. Most people were not able to spend money on anything and everything they wanted. They had to save for it.

Some brilliant strategists in some marketing department somewhere came up with a thought. “Hey if we sold our meals to more people, we would make more money.” The second guy say, “you are right! But how can we sell more. Everybody who can afford to, already comes here to eat.” A third guys says, “We could lower our prices.” The first guy says, “While that will surely get more people to buy meals, it will also reduce our profits.” The second guys say, “when people leave our place, what is it that has to happen before they come back?” The third guys say, “They need time to digest their food, and they need to spend time working to earn enough money to come back.” Simotaniously the first two said, “Time!!” The first guys says, “we could give them ‘time’ to pay off their meal.” Strategist number two say, “Right, we will let them buy the meal with money they will earn next week at work. That way, they will have already bought our product and won’t be tempted to buy their meal from somebody else!!” “Wait a second.”, the third one piped in. “What happens if they don’t pay?” The second guys say, “Oh that is easy. We will just charge like some outrageous interests rate like 3%. Nobody will ever want to have to pay that interest, so they will make sure they pay us.” And just like that the Diner’s Club Card was formed. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diners_Club)


My grandmother tells stories of taking my grandfather's paycheck and splitting it into envelopes. Each one labeled with a bill or an expense, and one labeled with something they were saving for. What the bills didn't gobble up went to the savings envelope

Those envelops represented time to her. Time my grandfather had to spend away from the family to pay the bills. What happened between there and here is that Americans started being able to spend "time" that had not come to pass. They were able to spend it even though there was now 100% guarantee that it ever would come to pass. They were even willing to spend more time paying for the object of their desire then they would had they just waited and earned it. Eventually they were even tilling to spend 5 full years just paying for the roof over their heads.

Now, let us revisit that economic formula again. "The market price is set by the amount of people willing and able to pay for a product." That means that if more people want a product, you can do one of two things. First you could produce more and sell them at the same price. This option of course comes with greater overhead and availability problems. The second option is to produce the same amount and sell them for more. Your overhead doesn’t rise with this option, but the trade off is that you will be pricing people out of the market. They will physically be unable to buy your product. Price it too high and you will actually make less profit then at the lower price. (This is the economic difference between Wal-Mart's picnic table and the hand crafted one from your local carpenter.) However, as our creative marketing team figured out, there is one risky option that will allow for both more customers and higher prices. Offer to spread the cost out over time. As long as they remain healthy and employed, they will eventually pay you back.

So as everybody starts getting credit cards, the price of everything you can buy with them goes up. Now with blenders and cheap tools, making more or charging more is a business decision. With housing, food, and other commodities that we use everyday the amount that can be produces is set by uncontrollable forces such as weather, wars, and disease. Prior to credit cards, if a person spent all their money on blenders, they would have to starve until they can afford to buy stuff to put in the blender. Now they can afford both luxuries.

This is what is different from the great depression and even the minor recessions in between. People had not financed so much of their future. Time is not something that the government can buy up. The people who spent it, just have to wait till it passes. If the government tries to buy theses consumers out of purgatory, they will only dam more of us to it. In the end they will not ease the people who are there trying to help. The fact that we are here today is not unrelated to the previous economic troubles. We are here as a result of remedies that did nothing to cure these prior economic woes. They just put the trouble of the 1920’s, 40’s, 70’s, and 80’s on “credit”. Turns out these “brilliant” marketing strategists earned cabinet positions in Washington in short order.


I would like to ad one footnote to this post. This giving up of our time wasn’t something that just happened all at once and the instant a credit card was introduced. Over a slow sunset of dusk to night, we have given up many things that encompass time. No we have been giving up the freedom of quality for the chains of chasing quantity of time. As first the fathers and then eventually the mothers moved from working at home to working full time away from the home, the perspectives became irrational. Now too many of us leave the schools and their peers to raise our children. We all work so hard to provide a good life for our children that we forgot the reason why we had them. It was to teach them our values, our history, and our lessons. We have turned into a society of energy generators for the big machine.

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