Letters, We Get Mail, CCCXXX

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters329.html#Peter_T ]

Date: Sat, October 20, 2012     (answered 21 October 2012)
From: "Peter T."
Subject: a question

Hi Orange:

I have sent you an email once before. I love your site and confess to a growing "resentment" (semi-lol) with AA. Although I do have a question concerning meetings and the supposed sense of elevated euphoria that meetings are claimed to induce. My experience in AA is 15 years of unbroken sobriety. I still attend meetings randomly, with a definite once a week appearance at my home group. A group, incidentally, where several other members also attend once a week, that being their only AA meeting, be it weekly, monthly or annually: something I, with my former tri-weekly schedule of meetings (at minimum), once felt very superior about, but which I now consider to be a good idea (maybe one fine day i'll make the ultimate break and avoid meetings entirely).

Anyway . . . My ex-wife used to say that at times the difference between my emotional state before attending a meeting and when I returned was massive. Her description inferred my pre-meeting mood was often sullen, argumentative and, generally speaking, a real pain to be around. Particularly if I hadn't been to a meeting for a while. I had no reason to doubt her then. And now, as I'm able to recall with even greater clarity, she was usually quite correct. Also, I've heard other members at meetings speak of their experiences in this particular area as being quite similar. Can you tell me why this would be so? I am in no way trained, nor have I undertaken the considerable research that you have to feel remotely confident to make even a rudimentary analysis of this peculiar state of affairs. Aside from it being something of a Festivus Miracle (joke), I really don't know what to think of it other than I've been part of a collective brainwashing to ensure my meeting attendance, with my continual unbelting of that 7th bloody Tradition . . .

Okay, well more power to you, orange (a power of your own understanding, obviously).

— Peter T.

Hello Peter,

Thanks for an interesting question. It sounds like you are "addicted to", or habituated to, A.A. meetings.

You aren't the only one to report that. Even Marc Galanter, who is an enthusiastic booster of Alcoholics Anonymous, wrote in his book:

AA generates an intense personal involvement in the group, one comparable to the members' previous dependency on alcohol, and thus provides them with "an alternative dependency." Over 80% of members invite fellow members to their homes, outside the meeting format. In his studies of the life histories of alcoholics, George Vaillant has found that recovery from alcoholism most commonly happens when an alternative dependency is substituted.
      The emotional impact of this dependency on AA is apparent in the experience of many members whose equanimity is closely tied to their stable relationship to the group. One of my patients, a successful lawyer who regularly attended AA meetings, spoke of his irritability in dealing with his wife and partners after returning from a long business trip.
Missing meetings while I was away was a big problem. I didn't get to one for five days last week and I just couldn't take to that old "button-pushing." I kept barking at Jennie and was unpleasant at work. I knew something was unsteady inside of me that was making me more irritable at every turn. But getting back to a meeting made me feel like my old self again. I'll have to make a meeting every day on the next trip.
Cults; Faith, Healing, and Coercion, Marc Galanter, page 220.

Yes, that guy is hooked.

Such habituation happens in many cults, and even in many non-cult situations. It can be as simple as people who chant for hours, or say the Rosary for hours a day, feeling all out of sorts if they are denied their routine. I even saw a case of a rather obsessive-compulsive guy who was habituated to SMART meetings that way. When we deviated from the standard formula for the meeting, he got very upset and said that we weren't doing the meeting right and he was angry and frustrated. He felt like we had cheated him out of the proper ceremony.

(But of course SMART meetings are not supposed to be magical ceremonies where we recite standardized holy incantations.)

If it bothers you that you are habituated to A.A. meetings, I'd taper off slowly. No need to go cold turkey and put yourself through a shock.

Have a good day now, and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      Powerful indeed is the empire of habit.
**        ==  Publius Syrus  (42 B.C.)

[The previous letter from Meatbag is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters329.html#Meatbag ]

Admittedly, I didn't learn that part in high school American History (not surprising, considering history classes tend to be mostly about white men, though it is getting trendy to include sections on women and non-white people. Why they can't just integrate that stuff, I don't know), but I'm guessing the Dakotas were considered worthless before the discovery of gold. Give the red people the worst land (and the worst everything else, really). Throw all the black and brown people in prison. Welcome to America.

Hi again, Meatbag,

Yes, American History really glossed over the treatment of the Indians when I was in school too. Oh sure, we heard about a few "Indian Wars", but the real brutality, dishonesty, betrayal, and exploitation of the Indians was never taught.

Fortunately, times have changed, and there is much more teaching about that now.

Yeah, I bet health insurance is a factor. Admittedly, I was in a short-term unit at the hospital. The only kid who stayed longer than a week had no place to go after release (as for how I knew this, this was the sort of place where the staff didn't let you keep many secrets). I left before he did, so I have no idea how long he stayed or how that got resolved. I wouldn't be shocked if insurance factored more into longer-term stays, since that's where the money is.


Incidentally, those abusive attachment therapy clinics are also insurance scams. The doctors (for a certain definition of doctor) claim they're treating the kid for PTSD or something, because even insurance companies know attachment disorder is pseudoscience (Reactive Attachment Disorder is real, but it's rare, can only be diagnosed in young children, and it doesn't make kids budding sociopaths like these "doctors" claim). And they have kids with good insurance go through these expensive 30-day programs. The kids with bad or no insurance can take a hike.

You got it.

And I do have a theory as to why so many caretakers are patronizing. The most common narratives about people with any sort of disability either portray them as a horrible burden or as childlike angels. Sometimes both. And caretakers are treated as saints for working with people with disabilities, so they're beyond reproach. Hell, there's people who even defend the murder of a disabled child at the hands of their parents. (I could dig up a specific example, but I really don't want to. That shit's depressing.) Now that I think about, the patronizing caretakers are probably your best bet, since they won't abuse you. Hopefully.

Hopefully, but I wouldn't bet my life.

But I'm not thinking too hard about that stuff, because I just got back from a long, lovely vacation. One of my cousins in Maryland, near Washington DC, had a baby shower, and another in Buffalo, New York got married. And Buffalo's not too far from Niagara Falls, so I got to go to Canada, too. Among other things, it was pretty refreshing to see conservatives like my mom in the minority, considering she's usually in the majority. She couldn't even find any talk radio shows once we got close to the Mason-Dixon. And she didn't get a chance to watch Fox News until we stayed in a hotel on the way back home. At least most of that show was the debate.

Ooops! No right-wing talk radio? Watch out for withdrawal symptoms.

What did you make of the debate, by the way? Obama was definitely much better than he was at that first debate. Romney was an ass. Interrupting and yelling at the moderator. Would he have been that rude if the moderator was a man? Putting in a snipe on single-parent families during a fucking gun question, knowing full well that his opponent is from a single-parent family. Christ, I've seen high school debate teams with better manners.

Yes. I thought that Obama was much better in the second debate, but it still felt like a draw, with Obama maybe getting one or two more points. But nothing spectacular. I just saw Saturday Night Live doing their take on it last night, and they reduced it to a macho squabble between two boys. Pretty right on.

The most disturbing part of the whole thing is that nobody was fact-checking and challenging the lies and falsehoods.

Politics aside, I had a great time, other than my laptop's charger dying. Seriously, why does this thing kill every charger I put in it? Once it stops being worth it to get new chargers (which will probably be once a charger fails while I happen to have money for a new laptop), I'm getting a Thinkpad. I've heard newer Thinkpads are built just as well as the old IBM ones, and Lenovo had pretty good documentation on my old desktop, even though it was old when I got it.

Now that sounds like the chargers are not powerful enough to handle the workload. The commonest cause of death of those chargers is just drawing too much current out of them so that they overheat and melt down. But a proper charger should be able to supply enough current without overheating. Either you have the wrong charger (maybe not your fault — the manufacturer may have goofed and mislabeled something), or your laptop has somehow developed the ability to draw a whole lot of extra current. I'd look around for one that can handle much more current. The first place I'd look is Goodwill. Try to find something with the same plug (into the laptop), and the same voltage (very important), but two or three times as much current output, or more. Going even higher in current output won't hurt anything. It will just mean that the charger will run cooler.

My cats didn't have as much fun at home, though. Alley's obviously been stir-crazy. Not surprising for a cat used to going outside every day. Titania seems to have abandonment issues. She's been really clingy today, to the point of crying when there isn't a human in the same room she's in. This confirms my theory that she got abandoned by her last family, and she thought we abandoned her, too. She was pretty young when we got her, so she was probably barely out of the adorable little kitten stage when she was abandoned. If she was actually abandoned. Maybe she's naturally a needy cat. Although I can't blame her for being miserable when her only companion was a cat who has nothing but disdain for her. Not even hatred, disdain.

That sounds like you understand the situation.

Oh, and if you're ever in Buffalo for some reason, go to Ted's for the hot dogs, Duff's for the buffalo wings (if you like them hot, start out on medium, since their medium is every other place's hot), and Anderson's for the beef on weck and ice cream. If you like chocolate, go to Watson's. And if you go to the Niagara Falls, the Canadian side is better. The weather tends to be miserable in the colder months. So, not too different from Oregon, really.

I'll keep that in mind. Of course the odds of me ending up there are pretty remote.

On a not-vacation-related note, that motley gosling is pretty funny. I guess the teenagers of other species are just as awkward-looking as human teenagers. Even the older goslings still have baby fluff on their heads and necks.

Canada Goose gosling
A motley gosling

Yes, they definitely have their awkward period. Sometimes you have entire families of goslings with faces that only a mother could love.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "The thinking man must oppose all cruel customs no matter how
**     deeply rooted in tradition or surrounded by a halo. We need a
**     boundless ethic which will include the animals also."
**        ==  Albert Schweitzer, physician/Nobel Laureate.

May 31, 2012, Thursday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Canada Goose goslings
Two Goose Families, with Gus' family in front

Canada Goose goslings
Gus the Greylag Goose and family

Canada Goose families
Many wild goose families
These geese are very wild and reclusive. As you can see from the size of the goslings, they have been around for a while, but I've never seen them before. They are very good at hiding from humans. I just accidentally stumbled across them today, and they immediately ran for cover. They wouldn't stay around to get fed. They don't even know that I feed geese.

I ran across a lot of new families of goslings this day. I counted ten families with goslings, the highest count ever. And these hidden families have a lot of goslings, too. They wouldn't stay still for me to count them, but I guessed one of these families as having seven babies, and the other, five. You can't see them because they already ran and hid so fast, before I could even get a picture of them.

Canada Goose goslings
Another new family
They were also very cautious, and wouldn't stay around to get fed. What I do with families like them is leave some food where they were, so that they can come back and find it later.

[More gosling photos below, here.]

[The previous letter from Moritz_G is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters330.html#Moritz_G ]

Date: Sat, October 20, 2012     (answered 21 October 2012)
From: "Moritz G."
Subject: liquidity

> Blaming it on "liquidity" doesn't mention the fact that Allan
> Greenspan repeatedly turned on the money faucet whenever the economy
> started to slow down a little, resulting in a lot of money with
> nowhere to go, except into another bubble. That was the cause of the
> excess "liquidity". Greenspan set interest rates so low that
> corporations and investment banks (read "speculation banks") could
> profit by borrowing money from the Fed almost for free and then
> gambling with it in the next bubble. We had the Internet/hi-tech
> bubble, and the real estate bubble, and then the
> finance/mortgage/credit-default-swap bubbles, all caused by that
> same oversupply of money looking for somewhere to go. I seem to
> recall that the American people were consuming their usual amounts of
> junk, but they couldn't sanely consume the amounts of cash that
> Greespan was dumping into the economy.

It is true that the liquidity had two sources, but blaming the FED alone is wrong. The FED was lowering the rates believing that it would cause people to stop hoarding money, because the income on it would be low. But the "people" were not hoarding money, but the few were. The FED tried to crowd out the excess money, but that did not work, because the 99% could care less about the interest-gain-rate. Instead the 99% did consume, and it did help the economy, just not in a lasting way, because they consumed paying not with their own money, but the cheaply borrowed.

It is common/popular to blame the FED, but the FED is not the underlying cause, their failed policy was only furthering the long-term damage by administering painkillers.

There is a general rule (propaganda) to blaming one entity instead of finding the systematic failure. Blame the Jew's or the FED (in this case there is an intersection) or any closed human group in general instead of finding the error in the system.

Humans have a strong affinity to blaming / finding cause in human like entities. It might be extraterrestrial aliens, gods, ghosts or simply the Jews.

Even if the individual would work less because of diminishing return due to taxation, that does not mean the GDP goes down.


Hello again, Moritz,

Interesting. Very interesting.

I have a couple of questions:

  • What was the other source of liquidity in the first paragraph?
  • And what was the other cause of the problem in the second paragraph?

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**       At last January's meeting of the World Economic Forum in
**     Davos, Switzerland, ... (George) Soros referred to the break
**     in the American housing market as "basically the end of a
**     sixty-year period of continuing credit expansion based on the
**     dollar as the reserve currency."
**       ==  Harper's magazine, May 2008

[The next letter from Moritz_G is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters330.html#Peter_F ]

A talk on December 4, 2012:


Peter Ferentzy, PhD
Author of Dealing With Addiction — why the 20th century was wrong

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters330.html#Dion ]

Date: Mon, October 15, 2012 6:43 pm     (answered 21 October 2012)
From: "Dion B."
Subject: a question

I've been corresponding with a surviving member of heavens gate. strange I'll tell ya.

Sent from my iPad

Hello Dion,

I'd really like to hear more about that. I'm sure it's quite a strange story.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Half the spiritual difficulties that men and women suffer
**    arise from a morbid state of health.
**       ==  Harriet W. Beecher

Date: Mon, October 29, 2012
From: "Dion B."
Subject: Re: Yes indeed he is saying things like Applewhite was a far better human than anyone on this earth

That sounds about right for a cult.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "Now I know what it's like to be high on life.
** It isn't as good, but my driving has improved."
** == Nina, on "Just Shoot Me", 13 Jan 2006.

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters330.html#Lisa_D ]

Date: Fri, October 19, 2012 10:43 am     (answered 26 October 2012)
From: "Lisa D."
Subject: your article

good morning

i was just reading your article, very interesting view.

how long did you drink?

and what was your rock bottom?

Hello Lisa,

I drank for over 20 years, and drank excessively for maybe 15 of those years. And I smoked cigarettes for 30 years.

I don't really go along with the A.A. idea of "hitting rock bottom". It seems like they just pick out one worst moment and call that "the bottom". The reality is that people continue to drink as long as it is fun, and stop when it is more pain than pleasure. Of course people don't quit drinking when things are good; they quit when things are bad. So however things were just before they quit gets called "the bottom".

Nevertheless, in the year 2000, things got so bad for me that I was homeless because I was too sick to work, and I was eating out of dempsey dumpsters. And the doctor at the free clinic examined me and said, "Quit drinking or die. Choose one." I thought it over for a while and decided to live.

I also discovered at the same time that I was having serious memory loss problems. I could talk to a guy for half an hour in the morning, sharing coffee and cigarettes and trading life stories, and then 12 hours later, in the evening, I couldn't remember having ever seen him before in my life. Things like that happened repeatedly. Whole days would just disappear. I'd get through the day just fine, doing this and that, whatever needed doing, but the next day I couldn't remember much of it.

I still got even sicker. At the homeless shelter where they put me up, I was exposed to every kind of cold and flu and strange virus in the city, and I caught them all. Then I came down with bronchitis, which forced me to quit smoking, and then that turned into pneumonia, which really convinced me that my smoking days were over. I never dreamed that your lungs could hurt so much. (Previously, I thought that Charles Dickens' stories of children dying of pneumonia were overly melodramatic. Not so. Pneumonia will crush the life out of you.)

I became convinced that my drinking days were over gradually. I first thought that I would just quit drinking for 3 months, and get myself together, and get a job and an apartment, and then I could go back to drinking. But at the three month point, I was sicker than when I quit (due to all of those diseases from the homeless shelter). So I decided to make it a year. My recovery was so slow that it took 9 months to get some of my memory back, so at the one-year point, I decided to make it for 3 years. Before 3 years was up, I decided to make it for life.

And you know, it was over 4 1/2 years before I got most of my short-term memory back.

And here we are. And incidentally, I just celebrated my 12th anniversary off of alcohol and drugs, and in 3 more weeks, it will be 12 years off of cigarettes.

Does that answer your question?

Have a good day now.

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Life is not living, but living in health.
**        ==  Martial, (Full name, Marcus Valarius Martialis, A.D. 42?—?102),
**            Latin epigramist born in Spain, Epigrams tr. Walter C. A. Ker

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters330.html#Brian_B ]

Date: Sat, October 20, 2012 2:21 pm     (answered 26 October 2012)
From: "Brian B."
Subject: papers

Just curious what your motivation is at exposing the fallacy of AA.

Hello Brian,

I want to get the truth out there. I want people to know the facts — both the sick alcoholics who are thinking about quitting drinking, and their friends and family who might think that shoving people into A.A. is doing them a favor.

Here is the list of causes:

  1. the introduction, my introduction to A.A.
  2. the "treatment" bait-and-switch trick
  3. another friend goes missing
  4. creation of the web site
  5. How did you get to where you are?
  6. A biography written for SOS

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Out, you imposters; quack-salving, cheating mountebanks;
**     your skill is to make sound men sick, and sick men to kill.
**       ==  Philip Massinger (1583—1640), English dramatist, playwright, poet

[The next letter from Brian_B is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters330.html#Lyman_D ]

Date: Wed, October 17, 2012 3:37 pm     (answered 26 October 2012)
From: "Lyman D."
Subject: hello

How are the things.


*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The secret of my success was that I always managed to live to
**     fly another day.
**       ==  Test pilot General Chuck Yeager

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters330.html#Anne_I ]

Date: Tue, October 16, 2012 7:58 pm     (answered 26 October 2011)
From: "Anne I."
Subject: FW: Deer Crossing.......You Tube

This is great, and remember these people vote.


Hi Anne,

Thanks for that one. Yes, that's great, and funny as can be.

And also appalling, when you consider that her vote can cancel out my vote. That's what worries me about democracy: I study the issues, and learn all that I can about history and economics and energy and oil and Islam and the Middle East, and then this woman gets to vote against me and cancel out all of my work.

By the way, that "deer crossing" argument is a great example of the logical fallacy of reversing a cause-and-effect relationship. Instead of seeing that people put deer-crossing signs where the deer cross the roads, this woman thinks that the deer cross the roads where we put the signs. That is just like, "People want to quit drinking because they go to A.A. meetings", rather than, "People go to A.A. meetings because they want to quit drinking."

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  An A.A. true believer (Craig S.) babbled:
**  > "How many times to I have to explain it to you. Alcohol
**  > is but a symptom, our bottles are but a symbol."
**  No, alcohol is a poisonous clear hydrocarbon solvent
**  that produces intoxication if swallowed in quantity.
**  Drinking alcohol is the cause of alcoholism.
**  There is no other "primary cause" of alcoholism.

The Fix: Addiction and Recovery, Straight Up (http://www.thefix.com/)

Best of the Week: October 20 — 26

AA// Do the 12 Steps Belong in Addiction Treatment?
Spiritual programs like AA have long served as the mainstay of addiction treatment.
So have people who are recovery successes. That's the problem.
By Maia Szalavitz

[The previous letter from Meatbag is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters330.html#Meatbag2 ]

Date: Mon, October 22, 2012 9:50 pm     (answered 31 October 2012)
From: "Meatbag"
Subject: Re: Another Bullshit Comment from the Peanut Gallery

Yeah, things have certainly gotten better, but there's still work to be done.

Hi again, Meatbag,


The thing about caretakers is there's no way to tell right off the bat who is going to abuse you, and who is just going to patronize you.


I think Mom was kept a little too busy to have withdrawal. She was pretty much the wedding planner.

Are you kidding? Fox News already threw a major shitfit because the moderator called out Romney once. Imagine if there was a fact-checker correcting Romney. It wouldn't matter how often Obama got corrected (and I do believe he certainly would be). Not letting Romney lie his head off is liberal bias.

Yes, I was appalled at how many lies Obama let slip by unchallenged. Romney told so many lies so fast that it was hard to keep count.

Is it bad that I didn't even bother to watch the last debate? I'm getting sick of this campaigning shit. That, and I think that debate focused on foreign policy. I don't like either man's foreign policy.

I know what you mean.

I don't really do anything that intensive on the laptop, but I do tend to leave it on for long periods of time. It turns out my extended warranty is still good, so I'll keep taking advantage of that until it ends. I think part of the problem is this laptop, like most laptops, wasn't built to last. Even the paint where I rest my wrist is wearing off. I also have to replace the mouse I use with my desktop, because it's registering most of my clicks as double-clicks. I had to swap out my previous mouse for this because that one wasn't registering most of my clicks at all. The new mouse is probably going to be a ~$50 Logitech mouse, not because Logitech has great build quality, but because they have good customer support for when my mouse inevitably fails. The double-clicking mouse is Logitech, but it doesn't seem worth it to call them over a cheap mouse that's a few years old. I might get something, but why bother? I do also have a two-button IBM mouse that came with my other laptop and still works, but the lack of scroll-wheel will likely bother me at least as much as the double-clicking does.

I've been having good luck with wireless Logitech mice that I get from Goodwill. I have three of them that I got for $5 or $10, and I really like them. Make sure that you get the USB receiver dongle with the mouse (and they must be matched pairs. The mice and receivers are not interchangeable — they have code numbers where the mice and receivers "know each other". That is so that you can have several working in the same room and they don't conflict). I've been getting them new. Someone rips open the packaging, and now they aren't "new", so off to Goodwill they go. The first one I got, the customer had installed the battery backwards. So it didn't work, so he returned it to the store, so off to Goodwill it went. When I noticed that the battery seemed to be in backwards, and reversed it, the mouse started working, and it's still working.

Both my cats seem to be back to normal now. About as normal as cats ever are, at least.

Yeah, about the only reason you would ever end up in Buffalo is if you wanted to see the Falls, since it's 30 minutes away.

I saw that letter mentioning Dr. Phil. Those TV doctors are awful. I once saw a magazine in a checkout line that advertised "the only crash diet endorsed by Dr. Oz", which apparently made you lose 20 pounds for week. If that's true, that doesn't make the diet good. It just makes Dr. Oz irresponsible. I refuse to listen to any doctors who aren't actually seeing me. And even those doctors have to earn my trust. Well, I guess my GP didn't technically have to, considering he's been seeing me since before I understood the concept of trust (my mother was sick of pediatricians by the time she had me, so I never had one). I don't know what I'm going to do once he retires. I actually got to watch the man's hair go gray.

I quite agree. There is a really immoral conflict of interest in some of those doctors' TV shows. What is good for the patient may be very different from what is good for the show's ratings. The first rule of the Hippocratic Oath is, "Do no harm," not "Practice 'tough love' and abuse the patients and foist quackery and simplistic slogans on them for great show ratings."

Anyhow, I have some Canadian tea that's begging to be made, plus some sims that need to be made. Have a good night!

Good night.

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**         Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall.
**           ==  William Shakespeare   (1564 — 1616)

May 31, 2012, Thursday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Canada Goose goslings
A new Family of 4

Canada Goose goslings
A new Family of 4

That noisy frog, again.

Canada Goose goslings

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

BLOG NOTE: 2012.11.05:

As this beast of an election slouches towards to polls to die a well-deserved death, I notice that many people are not actually voting for a President; they are choosing a flavor, an image, an attitude. And that is happening often on both sides.

People in sparsely-populated western states are choosing the mythical image of the Marlboro Man, a free-ranging independent self-reliant man on horseback who gets no help from any interfering government in Washington. Never mind the fact that the Marlboro Man was actually addicted to tobacco and died of lung cancer. And never mind the fact that Mitt Romney was an Eastern vulture capitalist who made hundreds of millions of dollars by moving men's jobs to China, not a cowboy on horseback riding the range.

White people in the South seem to consistently choose the Republican Party because they mistakenly believe that it has something to do with Jesus, which it does not. It doesn't matter what the issues are, or who the candidate is, just slap the "R" label on the guy and they will vote for him. In this election, they are voting for a non-Christian compulsive liar who wears magic underwear that he never washes.

These people are not choosing a President, or policies, or issues; they are choosing a flavor, a style, a packaged image. Obviously, the American people are ready for another actor as President, pretending to be something he is not. Actually, we already have a lot of politicians doing that, don't we?

[The previous letter from Moritz_G is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters330.html#Moritz_G2 ]

Date: Tue, October 23, 2012 9:39 am     (Answered 9 November 2012)
From: moritzg
Subject: The economy is out of balance and has been for some time

Dear Orange,

> What was the other source of liquidity in the first paragraph?

That is simple. If not the FED then there is just one source: Those who do have more credit than debt in their bank. I know no US-Americans who do have savings, most have a mortgage on their house or student debt. That leaves those few that do have money and foreigners.

Most rich people inherited their wealth, some made it in times of government privatization, some got lucky speculating with money that was not theirs, some used tax-loop-holes, few earned it by innovating and selling a product. Those are the "liquidity donors" seeking rent / capital gain.

If the wealth outgrows the economies demand for investment, the money will still be invested, at first even at a profit, but at some point the expected return will fail to appear and things start to fall apart.

Lowering interest rates does of course not help with the underlying problem, but it does lower the effects/cost.

> And what was the other cause of the problem in the second paragraph?

If you mean to ask what I ment by "the underlying cause": The mentioned mismatch between consumption and investment. After a while of investing in production capacity and products that do not sell enough, even after automation to lower the costs, there comes a point where without consumption the investment do not pay off. For over a decade now the (supply side economics = mainstream) mantra has been "growth by investment", "all it takes is investment". That did work for a while, because for building machines (investing) you need machines (more investing). Germany has done well that way, exporting machines. But there comes the point when you can not invest in investment any more. At some point you need to show actual sales (of non-investment products / consumables) to justify the investment, and a lower price due to automation does not cause higher absolute returns on the investment to justify further investing.

With capitalism maturing and the political system being what it is, the classes grow further apart, without a middle-class consuming its products the economy has no basis. (Since the rich get richer, they are obviously not consuming / spending to their ability.) Few seem to see it this way, although maybe the one most famous economist predicted this over a century ago.

More Propaganda:

Anecdotal evidence (vs. statistical) is often used together with the "Every body does it" excuse.

I often hear from Republicans: "Oh, the Democrats are the same, they too take the bribes and are in the pockets of the corporations." When this is not true to the same extent.


Hi again, Moritz,

Interesting, very interesting.

Last item first: Yes, I hear that rationalization a lot too. As despicable as bribe-taking Democrats are, they don't begin to compare to Republicans who have a downright fascistic agenda. "No abortions because it wasn't legitimate rape"? Give me a break. Slash welfare and food stamps and let the poor starve? Really now.

On the subject of consumption: I think you have hit the nail on the head there. When the rich have all of the money and own all of the factories and stores, to whom do they sell all of that manufactured junk? Nobody else has any money. So the economy comes to a screeching halt. Retail sales drive the economy, and we are seeing less and less of that, and what there is, is made in China.

I have heard some economists argue that the fix is to tax the rich and give the money to the poor so that they will go shopping and buy things, but the Republicans won't stand for that. Another answer is to nationalize all of the factories and run them to give the manufactured goods to all of the people, but the Republicans really freak out when they hear about socialism.

The Republican answer, just reduce the taxes on the rich, so that they will "invest", is a non-answer. As Mitt Romney showed, the money just goes to Switzerland and the Cayman Islands. The rich are not investing in America any more. They are outsourcing.

The bottom line, the undeniable fact, is that you can't sell a lot of stuff to people who have no money.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Primarily this is because rulers of the exchange of mankind's goods have
**     failed through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have
**     admitted their failure, and have abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous
**     money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by
**     the hearts and minds of men.  True they have tried, but their efforts have
**     been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of
**     credit they have proposed only the lending of more money. Stripped of the
**     lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false
**     leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for
**     restored confidence..."
**       ==  President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Inaugural speech (1932)

[The next letter from Moritz_G is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters330.html#David_L ]

Date: Wed, October 24, 2012 4:14 pm     (Answered 9 November 2012)
From: "david l."
Subject: I need help

Dear A. Orange,

I read your page on the AA Cult and cant agree more. I have been going for a long time and hate it, but cant seem to get sober on my own. It feels like there are no other reasonable options out there. Do you have any suggestions?


Hello Dave,

Thanks for the question. Sorry to take so long to answer it — I've been down with a cold. It's just one of those bothersome little facts of life that you can quit all of your bad habits for 12 years — no alcohol, tobacco, or drugs whatsoever — and eat right and get lots of fresh air and sunshine and exercise, and that still won't protect you from the common cold. So it goes.

I wouldn't say that you "can't seem to get sober on your own." I'd just say that you just have not done it yet. The force of habit is very strong. It's hard to break well-established habits.

The phrase "can't get sober" brings up the A.A. idea of powerlessness, which I totally reject. A.A. teaches people that they are helpless victims of a "disease" over which they have no control. That simply is not true. Even the most addicted person can suddenly choose to quit drinking or drugging, and millions do. (Look here.)

When someone says that he wants to quit drinking, and then takes another drink, he is doing exactly what he wants to do. He isn't out of control, or powerless. He wants to drink, so he does. When he says that he wants to quit, what he is really thinking is that he wants the pain to stop. But he doesn't want the pleasure of drinking to stop.

At the moment when he takes the next drink, he imagines that the pleasure of that drink will be greater than the pain. He isn't thinking about a hangover or getting sick or feeding a habit or troubles tomorrow, he is just thinking about the pleasure of intoxication. He imagines that he can get the pleasure without the pain. That is, of course, grossly unrealistic. The pleasure and the pain of drinking are opposite sides of the same coin. You don't get one without the other. They come together in a package deal.

A big part of quitting drinking forever is becoming convinced that you can't beat the game; you will always get both the pleasure and the pain from alcohol.

Then, when you look at how much pleasure you are getting from drinking, and how much pain, and see that the pain is greater than the pleasure, and the pain is increasing while the pleasure is diminishing, then you are really ready to quit drinking.

Quitting drinking can actually be done in five minutes. The problem is that most quitters start drinking again eight hours later. Or a few days or a few weeks later. Staying quit is what is difficult. Mark Twain joked that quitting smoking was easy — he had done it hundreds of times. The same thing goes for quitting drinking.

At the moment when a drinker who has quit starts drinking again by taking that first drink, he is almost invariably telling himself something about how it's okay, minimizing and denying and making excuses:

  • One won't hurt.
  • I deserve to relax a little.
  • I need to kill the pain.
  • Just having one or two won't readdict me.
  • I can just have fun tonight and it won't matter.
  • We've been off of it long enough; we have it under control now. It will be okay to just have one now.
  • Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.

And on and on. I have a whole file about that: The Lizard-Brain Addiction Monster. Please read that. The list of "Lizard Brain thoughts" at the end is worth memorizing, because you will hear a lot of them going through your head after you quit drinking, and it helps to recognize them and not get fooled by those thoughts.

And also notice that they are not your thoughts. They can't be your thoughts, because I had them first. Actually, they are common to the human race. We all have the same stupid lizard brain wanting to feel good, and we all seem to get pretty much the same dumb thoughts going through our heads. When you realize that, you can dump the guilt and realize that it isn't you who is thinking those scheming whining thoughts. Those thoughts are just the mumbling and grumbling of a thirsty toad who wants to feel good.

I already hinted at a technique that SMART teaches: Cost-benefit analysis. That is where you compare the pleasure and the pain of any actions, and decide which hurts less. I already described that a couple of times:

Then, I discussed various things that helped here: How did you get to where you are? There are a couple of lists of links to letters and discussions of what works, and how well they work.

Also see the Top 10 reading list for some good books that say a variety of things. There is some good stuff there: Top 10 Reading List.

Lastly, you don't have to do it alone. There are other recovery groups that are sane and realistic. Especially check out SMART and SOS. Here is my list of alternative recovery groups and techniques: https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-alt_list.html

Have a good day now, and please don't hesitate to write again.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world.
**     I know because I've done it thousands of times.
**       ==   Mark Twain (American Humorist, Writer and Lecturer. 1835—1910)

June 03, 2012, Sunday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Canada Goose goslings
Three goose families, including Gus and his wife and children.
Gus is the fat one in the middle with gray on his head and neck.

Canada Goose goslings
A Family of 7
This family has been around for a while — these large kids are not newly-hatched fluff-ball babies — but I haven't seen them before. They have been hiding somewhere.

Canada Goose goslings
Gus and friends

Canada Goose goslings
Gus and children eating rolled oats

Canada Goose goslings
Gus and children eating rolled oats

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters330.html#Iamnotastatistic ]

Date: Wed, October 24, 2012 4:19 pm     (Answered 10 November 2012)
From: "iamnotastatistic"
Subject: We don't keep membership records but...

Hi Terrance,

Congratulations on your recent sobriety milestone — and you did that without having to turn your will and your life over to someone/thing else — as they say in AA "How did you do that?"

Hi again, Iamnotastatistic,

Thanks. How did I do it? Ironically, it was by not turning my will over to anything. Especially not to the desire to get high. I kept my will, and my will power.

I find it odd that A.A. doesn't see the inherent problem in turning your will over to something else. If you have no will of your own now, where do you get the will power to not drink alcohol? The idea that you can turn your will over to something else, and then that "something else" will keep you from drinking, is so goofy that it's insane. Especially if your "Higher Power" is a doorknob or a bedpan or a mountain or a motorcycle, or some vague ghost or spirit that might or might not be there (perhaps depending on how many hallucinogenic drugs you've consumed recently...)

I find the A.A. opposition to self-reliance to be like shooting yourself in the foot. It's downright suicidal.

I also wrote up how I stayed sober in another letter a few anniversaries back, here: How did you get to where you are?

Some useful AA membership and financial data is attached. It is interesting that AA can calculate the per capita member donation rate for a specific area and year but they can't calculate the membership retention rate or AA effectiveness — weird! Apparently income is more important than the program effectiveness.

This file available at
and is also attached.


Thanks for the document. That's a good find.

That's a great point about how the A.A. headquarters can apparently accurately calculate donations per capita and per area, but they cannot figure out the A.A. retention rate or sobriety rate? Perhaps they just aren't trying.

I also suspect that some of those numbers are faked. They have the membership size increasing every year. But they only count heads in triennial surveys once every three years. So where did they get the numbers for membership size year by year?

Even the information from the triennial surveys is incomplete — only some selected groups fill out the surveys and the headquarters projects the rest. And, as the author of those other excellent analyses of the mathematics of A.A., based on A.A.'s own publications that you sent in complained, the A.A. headquarters won't release the raw data from the surveys so that we can see for ourselves what the surveys really show.

If they are getting membership counts along with the donated money, that won't work because 54% of the A.A. groups do not send money to the A.A. headquarters.

The A.A. headquarters is obviously faking the membership numbers in other places on their web site, like where they claim that the average sobriety time of A.A. members is 8 years.

  • That is mathematically impossible unless there is an A.A. oldtimer with 16 years of sobriety to pair with each newcomer so that the average of the two of them together is 8 years. But 16-year A.A. oldtimers are as rare as hen's teeth.
  • Or there would have to be two 12-year oldtimers to match with each newcomer so that the average of the three of them together is 8 years.
  • Or three oldtimers with 11 years each to match with each newcomer so that the four of them together average 8 years of sobriety.
  • Or four oldtimers with 10 years each to pair with each newcomer so that the five of them together average 8 years each.
  • And so on.

No way does A.A. have that many oldtimers with that many years of sobriety. A casual observation at a typical meeting shows that maybe 50% of the A.A. membership has less than one year. So it's obvious that they are fabricating numbers and just making stuff up when it suits them.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Do not put your faith in what statistics say until you have
**     carefully considered what they do not say.
**         ==  William W. Watt

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Last updated 25 November 2012.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters330.html