As I toss in the abbreviated term “detox” in here for a title, I think for a minute about how that abbreviation of a word has become such a commonly found bit of lingo, even as you rarely encounter people using the full word “detoxification”. Another abbreviation finds its way into being a bit of common lingo often used interchangeably with the above, “rehab”. It becomes a weird kind of pop culture theme, as vacuous chatter about going into “rehab” for “detox” revolves around “entertainment news” gossip noise, involving some sort of famous celebrity type creature, and some sort of public performance atoning for some sin or perception of sin, a PR image problem, where going off to rehab will fix things right up.
I have been thinking now and then that there is probably a great deal of serious need for a lot of detoxification, in an overwhelming variety of different contexts, and that getting a handle on this sort of thing might be extraordinarily difficult. When I think about this, the thought occurs to me that in so many things, there is such a level of poison and toxins of various kinds that people cannot sort out what actually is toxic and poisonous.
One of the running items we have now, just absolutely pervasive, is this ubiquitous obsession with “drug screens” and drug testing. It’s everywhere, with businesses devoted entirely to it in office buildings and even retail storefront spaces covering the American landscape, even as all sorts of business operations doing something useful shut their doors or struggle to continue.
All that includes all sorts of statements about “a drug-free workplace policy” and so on, which always makes me think “what, so if you didn’t have this, you would have a ‘drug-filled workplace’ or something?”. Every time all this comes up, and it’s everywhere, I just keep thinking the very same thing- if you have somebody with some sort of problems because they are at work in some sort of intoxicated state, deal with that, deal with them!
As it is, anyway, if you look into this you find that all that is not really testing to see if somebody is under the influence of drugs, they actually test for some sort of chemical byproduct of metabolic processes to indicate that according to the presence of such chemicals, somebody had some drug in their system at some point.
One item about all that is that, essentially, and simplistically, it’s all treated as if everything is all the same thing, those evil druggie person drug addicts/abusers, somebody having a little bit of cannabis now and then (in their own personal private time) is the same as seriously destructive drugs like methamphetamines, cocaine, and heroin. That’s even the case in places where cannabis in now actually legal, as more and more people have recognized the long running absurdity of laws banning the herb as basically Prohibition version 2.
There is more that could be a whole side road of its own as so much of that kind of needless drama is a kind of close relative to noise about “the War on Drugs”. For years we have had the constant barrage of manipulative noise about “The War on Drugs” and “The War on Terror”. More often, lately, you can encounter lots of news about a heroin epidemic in the United States, along with anecdotal comments from people about some area they are familiar with having become overrun with junkies and all the trouble that goes with them. It is often reported that Afghanistan is one of the largest sources of heroin poppies and heroin in the world, and after 16 years of “The War on Terror” there, and much longer period of “The War on Drugs”, the flow of heroin from Afghanistan has apparently gone way up since the US has had military forces there. How about that.
Those phrases, along with the rationalizations about “the drug-free workplace”, are all a sort of kin under the umbrella of what has been given the descriptive name of “virtue signalling“. That opens an ugly can of worms that really should get a thorough airing out, and that also has a close partner and ally in the form of people who like to espouse the idea “reality doesn’t matter, perception is reality“, which is, to be plain about it, just fucking insane.
If “virtue signalling” is a new one to you, go do a minute of reading. You will surely recognize it immediately. It’s everywhere now, and, unsurprisingly, it very definitely tends to be tied in with the neurotic tribalism of bipolar political disorder. Look around. You can find it in people making sure to always be seen and heard talking in terms like “marriage equality” and “diversity” and “sustainability” and you can find it in people talking like “supporting our troops” and “our freedoms” and “respecting our flag” and making sure they declare how they stand and obey expected protocol for the national anthem at some sportsball event and how anybody who doesn’t should be punished severely, some way or another, because, you know, we’re all free and stuff. You can find it in people proudly making sure that everybody hears about how they are good Christians with Jesus and their Lord and Savior even as in their actual acts, and even what they just say, they often seem severely at odds with most anything Jesus said about how to live and treat people and the world around them.
Look at the posing about drug testing in work settings and “workplace safety” and you can easily, especially since for a lot of people, they are in such situations, find loads of examples of employers spouting that kind of platitude while the people actually working for them are spending every workday in dangerous and toxic environments. The latter brings extra irony as you consider places that also righteously tout themselves as having a “tobacco-free environment”.
People have a lot they are forced to deal with that is plenty toxic that really needs to be sorted out.
I sit and ponder how I can manage to not have this turn into a long article. It’s a big pile.
To look at the simplest and most literal: People seem to have become completely oblivious to things like having waterways and bodies of water that have been, for as long as many people have been alive, so polluted and toxic that they have long been lined by signs warning people to stay out of the water and not even thinking about pulling fish out of the water and eating them.
Also, although I want to move on front the drug-testing silliness, consider all that, and then note this. While people can find themselves with all kinds of grief because of something like, as I noted, a bit of cannabis in their life now and then, the United States of America today is, without a doubt, the most heavily drugged society in human history. You can listen quietly and almost hear the people in the distance shouting that, oh, that’s different, if it’s officially issued pharmaceutical chemical compounds from large corporations. I can think immediately of one case of somebody in the past who was perpetually drugged for years with assorted mind altering chemicals righteously preaching about “drugs” and then, when the just mentioned situation was gently pointed out, retorting with “that’s not drugs, that’s medicine!”.
You could make an entire subject of just narrowing the focus to the subject of mind and behavior control drugs, and dosing children and adolescents, with the appearance of formal definitions of conditions and acronyms like ADD and ADHD as illnesses to treat with chemical aids. Of course, like many subjects, even raising this can send people bouncing off the walls on hysterical tangents, as people are “triggered” and go banging on about who knows what, including people who are now often referred to as “anti-vaxxers” because they became convinced that vaccines are the work of deh debbil and a kind of sinister government control program. At the same time, on the other hand, if people with children have objections to their own children being dosed with some kind of mind altering drugs there is probably a high probability of trouble with “the authorities”, here in The Land of the Free, possibly discovering all kinds of “authorities” they never knew existed coming at them from all directions with accusations of child abuse.
Looking at all this about ADD and ADHD and whatever else there might be floating around, it seems like the simplest things might be ignored, in favor of having legions of “counselors” and treatment and dosing youngsters with all sorts of mind altering drugs. What about considering, for a start, such radical notions as not constantly pumping vast amounts of sugar into them, along with all sorts of toxic garbage regarded as food? While we’re at it, consider how many of those wonderful safe happy healthy “drug-free” and “tobacco-free” workplaces have something as an official lunchroom where people sit in a windowless box under banks of fluorescent lights with a wall lined with a row of vending machines dispensing repulsive toxic crap as food and drink?
But let’s try to move on from all this, before people start thinking that this is all about biochemistry.
There is quite a bit to consider in what I already said, with relationship to a broader picture. There is the whole saga of a kind of Puritanical weirdness regarding drugs, including, and especially, any natural substances, but not all kinds of mind altering chemicals officially dictated and coming from large corporations. With those around, everywhere, we have masses of children and adults alike on all kinds of mind altering chemicals, some of them with seriously problematic effects and even highly addictive (great business for Drug Corp and shareholders!), with a larger batch of questions hanging over that, such as, how many of those people, young and old, need, or are deemed to need, those substances because they are in some chronic state ranging from a fairly neurotic to just full-blown nuts.
A larger question is how did that happen?
This is wading into territory that could become many long books by various people making a serious study of the problems. Yes, I did choose the plural form there, using the word “problems”.
Turn the page back to earlier notes about “normal”, and recall the comment written in response to one of them by the blogger known as Brutus (of The Spiral Staircase) suggesting we have an “epistemological crisis”. That is a pretty reasonable statement. I think we have all sorts of problems in this, with masses of people with some serious issues with what they know, or, what they think they “know”, and how they think they “know” it.
There was a big dose of irony, following Brutus’ comment, in coming across an online article saying “America is facing an epistemic crisis” (alright, I had not encountered the word “epistemic” before, and I still wonder if this is a legitimate word, or a mutation of the word Brutus used, which could take us down a side road of the mutation and distortion of language). Reading that article, on the surface of it the piece makes a good valid point, while the obvious, staring the reader right in the face, might go unnoticed by more than a few readers. In short form, the disease of bipolar political disorder is sitting right there manifesting itself. This is not even very subtle.
When you read the article you will notice that the essence of the thing is talking about an “epistemic crisis” that just happens to work from a basic foundation of dividing everything and everybody into a dualistic pair of opposite groups, bipolar political disorder perfectly displayed and demonstrated, talking about the “epistemic crisis” revolving around the lies and confusion of The Other Side and causing such terrible trouble for Our Side, the side of truth and goodness.
Just today I happened across something that turned out to be timely and appropriate. It was posted online in a form that is common now, albeit very silly, where, for some odd reason, people take simple words and turn it into a “photo” graphic image, as if making a little digital poster of it makes the words more significant, or, I don’t know, something. It was posted without attribution to a particular person, and in all capitals:
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
SOMEONE GUIDED BY PRINCIPLE AND
SOMEONE DRIVEN BY BIAS:
A PERSON WHO IS GUIDED BY
PRINCIPLE WILL STAND UP TO HIS ALLIES
AND SIDE WITH HIS “OPPONENTS”
IF TRUTH AND MORALITY DICTATES IT.
A PERSON WHO IS DRIVEN BY BIAS
WILL GO TO WAR AGAINST REALITY
IN ORDER TO DEFEND THE IDENTITY
OF THE HERD
There we go. Hot damn, that’s just perfect.
One bit of recent news came along, and then, amazingly, just went, it seemed, washed away as so many items are in fresh tsunamis of noise and drama. This was, initially, a story of statements by President Donald Trump saying that all information in the possession of the US government regarding the 1963 murder of President John Kennedy were going to be released from bounds of covert secrecy, conforming to the mandate of an act of Congress passed 25 years ago, ordering this to happen in 2017, 54 years after Kennedy’s murder. Then, practically immediately, more news came long saying, basically, oh, no, that can’t happen, exactly, sort of, but not really, because secrets must be protected, because national security, don’t you know.
Never mind the idea that, as I understand it, at least, the act of Congress involved specified that everything was to be made public. From what I can gather, some things were allowed to be released, and even much of what was allowed out was heavily “redacted”, a word that has become very familiar to Americans, especially in the time since the Freedom of Information Act. That famous act of Congress declared that the people of the United States of America were to be allowed to know information held by their government, which, it turned out, has then been treated by various government agencies to mean “we are required by law now to give you the information we have that you seek, unless we just don’t want to let you have it“.
One passing item was noteworthy, as I came upon an article from, somewhat ironically, the British newspaper The Guardian, that reported that, according to the US Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA had done a thorough search of their records, and reported back that, gosh darn it, we’ve looked and looked and we just can’t find anything that indicates that Lee Harvey Oswald had any kind of connection to the CIA at all.
An appropriate and natural reaction to this story would be to break up laughing, although this is not really funny.
I’m not going to go on and on about the saga of the murder of Kennedy, especially as this is a subject that has been dug through at length by a great many people, but there are things to note here. Part of the “investigation” of Kennedy’s murder (I have to put the word in quotation marks as a kind of euphemism” was the public theater of the famous Warren Commission, conducted by a panel including former CIA Director Allen Dulles. He was the former CIA director because President Kennedy had fired his ass, apparently because Kennedy regarded him as being completely out of control and regarding himself as an authority unto himself. That, apparently, is quite a long and messy story of its own, with people suggesting that despite being officially fired, Allen Dulles still exerted a large amount of power and control over the agency, while maintaining quite a malevolent grudge against the President, not just for the obvious assumption, that he was fired by Kennedy, but for the larger matter of Kennedy interfering with Dulles’ plans to do whatever the hell he wanted. There, we start to get into the term “Deep State” and all that it means.
Mention a term like “Deep State”, and right away you can count on many people, to use a bit of lingo that has appeared recently, to be “triggered”, and as fast as their furious little neurons can fire, the words “conspiracy theory” are likely to pop out. It should be of interest to people to pay attention to the various reports that have appeared saying that the actual phrase “conspiracy theory” never existed until sometime in the sixties, following the murder of President Kennedy, when it was contrived and disseminated by the CIA as a pejorative term to be applied to anyone who questioned the official narrative about the murder of the President and describe such doubts and questions as the paranoid delusions of crackpots and nutcases.
One interesting item stood out, when I read through assorted articles that appeared following the magical quick change non-release of files about the Kennedy assassination. I can’t remember now where it was, among all that, but somewhere in that was a quote from someone, addressing the possibility that John Kennedy was murdered by arrangements of people in our own government, which, from memory, was something like “Kennedy was hated by everybody except the people“. (My emphasis added by italics.)
Think about that one for a minute.
Before we move on from that, much as news coverage has, also reflect on this. In early 1961, just before handing over the Oval Office to the newly elected Kennedy, President Dwight Eisenhower gave his farewell speech to the country, which notably included his warning to the American people about what he named “the military-industrial complex”. Some people would say that these days a more appropriate name might be something like “the military-corporate-banking complex”, and there could be some debates about whether the terms “Deep State” and “military-corporate-banking complex” are very close relatives or the very same thing. In any case, whatever label you attach to all that, it has become more apparent over the 54 years since Kennedy’s death that he was struggling with those forces taking power over the nation and government, and just slightly less than three years after Eisenhower’s warning, John Kennedy was dead.
So, when the release of all information on the Kennedy case was suddenly very much a non-release, was this news, even more obfuscation and delay after more than a half century, greeted by waves of mass outrage? Look! Over there!
Almost as if on cue, immediate new “Breaking News” came pouring forth about indictments and arrests in the Special Investigation that people have been sometimes calling “Russiagate”, a whole subtopic of idiocy about the way everything since the dastardly deeds occurring at the Watergate Hotel in 1972 has been labeled as “something-gate”. This is the state of most of what passes as “journalism” in the United States, now.
So, now, here we are, like some cheesy vaudevillian magic show setting off a dazzling flashpot to startle and distract the audience, diverting people away from the non-release release of information about Kennedy’s murder. Indictments and arrests! The Investigation! Russian collusion!
It is a little bit interesting to contemplate the long running phenomenon of the way the term “conspiracy theory”, as a mocking pejorative label, is applied to anybody who suspects the official story of the killing of President Kennedy is perhaps somewhat incomplete and suspicious. Meanwhile, at the same time, it is very apparent that a large number of people are totally willing to buy into a whole narrative of Trump, and associates and minions, and the Russian government, and Vladimir Putin, and Russian spies and agents, all in “collusion” to take over the United States of America and then the world by stealing the US presidential election… but that isn’t “conspiracy theory”.
What a hell of a mess that is, and I probably need to clarify that I do not mean that the way an awfully large number of people would probably think of it as a hell of a mess.
That circus has been going for a while now. One of the more recent pieces of the saga has been a chunk of histrionics about “Russians bought ads on Facebook to meddle in our election!“, or, a close relative, “Russian agents set up fake pages on Facebook to meddle in our election with Russian propaganda!“.
All that is one hell of a knot to untangle.
The obsession with Russia, Russians, and the Russian President Putin has been completely manic for some time now among some people in Washington and the assorted news media that dutifully follow their lead. This is a topic that I’ve been over before quite a lot, being quite a tangle of noise and confusion, and also because it all just keeps going, and going, and going. The whole thing has grown into such a mob scene episode of mass psychosis that, as I have said before, even suggesting that the whole thing is a terrible farce and that, just maybe, the Russians are not coming to take over, is enough to make people lost in all that to start screeching that you must be one of those Russian spies and agents they’ve been told about.
In recent days, Trump went on a trip, the current President of the United States actually dared to talk to the head of the Russian government, and a whole new shitstorm broke loose.
At this point, I pause to make a general note. I realize, tapping away banging words into a word processor program that keeps a running word count right in front of me, that this is considered very long in the broad context of “the blog post”, and this is just flitting around among various items pretty much just skimming a whole batch of items where some serious detoxification would be a good thing.
Anyway, there went Trump, travelling to the other side of the globe, and having, my god, the unmitigated gall to speak to the head of the Russian government, and have that appearing to be friendly! It would be an understatement of incomprehensible magnitude to say that sorting out any of this in any objective manner runs into all kinds of complications. It would also be getting very redundant to point out how the bipolar political disorder epidemic gunks up the works, but, well, there that is.
The idea that the heads of state of the United States and Russia could actually have a cordial meeting drives a great many people right up the wall, triggering severe histrionics. People go batshit crazy.
It gets messy just to sort out one little item in that, wherein news reports indicated that Trump and Putin had talked, Trump said that he had asked Putin about “Russian meddling in our election”, and Putin reportedly said that he and his government had not been doing any such thing and he found the whole thing annoying.
People lost their minds in hysterics, or laughed at it as a bad joke of staggering absurdity, regarding that as an obvious farce of dishonesty between Trump and Putin both as cartoonish villains in a scheme to take over America and the world, or Trump as foolish lackey and Putin’s puppet, or whatever variation might be popular.
Just this one single item cracks open all kinds of complicated confusion and madness.
Russian collusion! Russia hacked our election! Russian meddling in our election!
In the spectacular farce and absurdity and the extremely loose relationship to truth and reality that is the Trump presidency, it is truly bizarre that people freak out about one not so small actual real possibility of something good coming from it, that Trump could actually put the brakes on the apparent sheer psychotic determination of the general neocon cult of Washington find a way to start World War III, centered around the nuclear-armed nations of the United States of America and the Russian Federation.
As soon as that happened, all kinds of people went into a full blown blitzkrieg of public media howling, all reported as “news”, as usual. There was noisy barking about how, of course, the evil villain Putin is going to lie about his devious schemes, whether Trump was the naïve foolish lackey manipulated by Putin, or an evil mastermind in “collusion” with Putin, or even, somehow, both of these simultaneously. A parade of characters resumed their kind of pack barking that, as was obviously predictable, it is supposed established fact that whole set of narratives is true and universally known and accepted, about “Russian meddling” and “Russian collusion” and “Russia hacked our election”.
It has become almost impossible to try to get some news via the usual “legit” or “mainstream” news media without hearing people talking out of their asses about phrasing like “the unanimous conclusion of The Intelligence Community” of all the above. Never mind that what people like this are chattering about as such turns out to be, as far as I can find, nothing of the sort, and looks to be basically the loud pronouncements of a selective group of characters claiming some kind of authority within government agencies who proclaim all that as established fact with little to nothing in terms of evidence and proof, other than because somebody says so.
Just examining this goes off into all kinds of problems. How many times have people read or heard some statements about “the unanimous conclusions of <X number> US intelligence agencies”? According to what, exactly? It’s all constantly presented with assertions of being universally known, obvious, something that “everybody knows”, just like we “knew” that “Saddam Hussein has Weapons of Mass Destruction!” and “Russia invaded Ukraine and seized Crimea!” and “the US government does not spy on Americans“.
All that noise is complicated more, just overwhelming people, by the way it gets split up into a whole set of facets. There was the whole narrative telling everyone that “Russian hacking” was an act of Russian meddling that compromised the election by the “hacking of the emails of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party”, and then that this was all about Wikileaks acting as Russian agents dispensing leaked information obtained by Russian hackers.
This has all been covered before, so my apologies to anyone finding this redundant. The constant chatter about “unanimous conclusions of the intelligence community” sinks into people’s minds by sheer repetition, not even questioned, sweeping aside anything about people, including actual US intelligence people, examining all the problems with those claims and looking at the likelihood that all the information obtained and released by Wikileaks came, not from “Russian hackers”, or any kind of “hacking” at all, but copied and relayed by people who had access and were disgusted by what they saw happening around them.
What staggers belief is the constant assertion that the release of all those emails was the reason Hillary Clinton was not elected President, damaged by those Russian agents, while managing to avoid anything about everything contained in those emails being true, about the kinds of things Hillary Clinton got up to, and examining the idea that people decided that they would not vote for Clinton as a result, because, worth emphasis here, they found out the kinds of things Hillary Clinton actually does.
Oh, it’s the Russians’ fault Hillary lost and we got Trump, because people found out the truth about Hillary! Those damned pesky meddling Russians!
For a while the “oh my god! Russians attacked our democracy!” frenzy was circling around suggestions put out as some sort of trial test run memes that Russian hackers actually hacked digital electronic voting systems, but I think that slightly failed to “gain traction”, as professional purveyors of bullshit like to say.
Then, it started going into a whole new territory as people started hearing about Facebook, for god’s sake, and all this noise about how Russians bought ads on Facebook “to meddle in our election and attack our democracy”, or “Russian agents” created fake pages to spread the evil Russian propaganda, to do the same. Has anybody ever noticed all the “PAC” games of political noise that have now become a normal, and usually toxic, part of the American political circus? Towering over this whole circus of lunacy, somehow people manage to avoid matters like everything that sort of condenses around the singular corrupt insanity and stupidity of what became known as the “Citizens United” court case, which built on the insanity of there somehow being some kind of legal opinion precedent of the idea that corporations are the same as people, and then went from there into the further absurdity that these people-corporations had “free speech rights” just like people, and further, that being able to spend as much money as they want to buy advertising and as much attention as possible, and finance (read: bribe and coerce) politicians, is “free speech”.
In browsing the web, I came across just one of the usual load of graphic image sort of mini-poster “memes” featuring a photo of past President Barack Obama with the words:
Say what you want about President Obama but his class and eloquence really made the banks getting bigger, the oil pipelines, the police violence and the imperialism go down smooth.
Here is a bit of news for you. Apparently, the CIA has promised to be “much more vicious“!
Is it still a mystery, to wonder how so many people, and how many situations, seem to have gone completely batshit crazy?