Letters, We Get Mail, CCCXXXV

[The previous letter from Moritz_G is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters335.html#Moritz_G ]

Date: Sun, December 9, 2012 4:53 am     (Answered 17 December 2012)
From: "Moritz Gedig"
Subject: economy is out of balance (saving and lending vs. consume)

Dear Orange,

The oil companies would really be bankrupt if they had to pay for all of the costs of using petroleum — everything from smog damage and pollution to the effects of global warming.

..., acid rain, respiratory health and heart attacks due to smog, clean-up / decontamination, renaturation, higher levees, ...
Cutting subsidies and entitlement programs should be a top priority of the Republican party, if they were about what they talk about.

Fat chance. Hi again, Moritz.

Still, in the long run, I think your suggestions will come to pass.

Well, one can always hope, but I am an unamerican person for I am a pessimist. Unless people are hungry or are seriously suppressed, but have hope for more freedom, they tend to be conservative (literally). In the case of the DDR [East Germany] it was free travel or the right to leave. Which they found was a nice right, if you can afford to. What they bought instead was satellite TV :-( and then cars.

The term 'freedom' is a subject on it's own.

You are right, those two changes could change the world massively. But even with energy at it's actual long term cost, people would still drive cars and fly with planes. Costs would increase, everything would get more expensive (in the short term and visibly), but the majority would have more money as well, because there would be less unemployment (now it is masked by youth unemployment, incarceration, underemployment and statistical tricks), better wages, because of more demand and lower taxes. There would be high inflation for a while. But just because all goods would have a higher price, does not mean that life would get more expensive to the same extent. The taxes could be lower, something that I would expect Republicans to love. The lack of natural resources would become the dominant economic constraint. Human ability and education (engineering) the second. That is the way it should be, those limits I would consider natural.

Interesting. The one thing there that I am sure of is lack of natural resources. Heck, we are already there. We have already run out of free land, trees, buffalo, and slaves, and are also out of copper, good iron ore (we still have low-grade iron ore), oil, and even uranium. That will certainly raise the price of everything.

Corporate welfare will end. The only question is whether the United States of America will die first, getting bled dry from propping up the corporations.

Of course a nation can not die, but apparently it takes a worse financial meltdown than 2008 to force change. Unlike the USSR and DDR the USA can maintain global power and internal hope. As the last super-power there is little to no outside pressure. The democratic system and the media can maintain the hope of the american dream. Most citizens have either lost all hope, feel ashamed to organize and protest openly or think that all it takes is a better president and less government (spending). I even read that the problems are because people are not religious and moral enough anymore.

I think capitalism is much more resilient than Marx and Engels believed. Just because it is inherently unstable and destructive, apparently does not mean that it will be replaced. It is not a transitional phenomena. I would not be surprised to learn that it is the final stage of any society (Think of the roman empire and it's total capitalism).

You are more optimistic than I am. I know that the land and the people will go on, but what form of government they will have is another matter. I expect that the economic system will continue to be some kind of capitalism and private enterprise, but the survival of the current government is an open question. It will be especially difficult to keep the system together after the dollar crashes, which it will do when it is no longer the world's reserve currency.

Some people expect that the USA will fracture into two or more smaller countries. Maybe three or four: East, Midamerica, South, and West. It may be impossible to keep the country together when transportation breaks down and some guys in Washington DC are trying to dictate what the people in the distant western states will do.

One sensible idea that I've heard is that western USA and western Canada will join to form a new country. They have more in common with each other than either do with eastern USA or Canada. Some people joke that when they drew the line on the map dividing the USA and Canada, they got it wrong. It should have been a vertical line through the middle of the continent.

Some western provinces of Canada have already inquired about what it would take to join the USA. They would like to secede from the Canadian government in the East. But the truth is, all of the western states of the USA and Canada would like to secede from the East.

It will be hard to keep them in the fold when all that Washington or Ottowa can offer the American West is Weimar-style paper money.

Somebody to read for more ideas about that is James H. Kunstler. His web site is: http://kunstler.com/

The oil companies would freak out if they had to hire, and pay and equip, their own armies and fight their own wars to steal the oil from foreign countries, rather than having George W. and the U.S. Army go steal it for them (think Iraq).

Don't say that too loud, if veterans are present, they are insulted, they are proud that they stole / defended "our way of living". I know some and they are always like: I'm no well-fare moocher I have a job and I served my country, I went to Iraq three times, you better thank me for my willingness to sacrifice for your freedom.

In the US there is a disparity between the standing of politicians, the pentagon elite and soldiers. The ones ordering war are liars. The ones organizing war are either genius or responsible for failure. The ones volunteering to do the killing are heroes.

I understand. I'm a Veteran too. It really leaves a bitter taste in your mouth to know that an entire damn war — the Vietnam War — was a big lie and it was all for nothing. There are still many Vietnam Vets who imagine that they accomplished great things in Vietnam. They are massively in denial. But lots more do know. More Vietnam Vets have died from suicide after the war than were killed during the war. And that doesn't include deaths from drugs and alcohol.

It will take a bunch more years for the Iraqi veterans to come to the same conclusion, although many are already aware.

"trickle-down" economics idea

Have you noticed, that the idea is old? It is the same logic that they used to legitimate household slaves. The household slave can be happy to live in a house, be around the worthy people and get the leftovers. When recently people were appalled to hear a republican say Afro-Americans should be happy to live in such a nice nation, they should not have been surprised, the man was fully in party line. Reaganomics are basically slavery in a modern improved form.

Today the slaves don't even know that they are slaves anymore and blame themselves. One has to appreciate how ingenious the dogma is.


As a matter of fact, one of the most insane and brain-damaged 12-Step clones to pop up lately is Underearners Anonymous. No joke. Those nutcases actually practice the 12 Steps and confess that they are inferior worthless sinful people because they don't earn enough money. Nuts.

Have a good day and a happy Thanksgiving. Ooops. Actually, do you do that in Germany?

We have neither Halloween nor Thanksgiving in the sense you do. There is a religious fest called "Harvest thanks giving", but it is of little significance. Most of these fest predate Christianity and are based on seasonal fixed events, thus you can expect all north European cultures to have fest around the same dates, but with different significance. For some reason the finish of the harvest and slaughtering season as well as the Equinox have lost significance in Germany. The winter Solstice, better known as Christmas, is the only super important Holiday, when the family must gather.

Moritz G.

Okay, well now I can wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Or, as an atheist friend of mine likes to say, "Happy Pagan Winter Solstice Celebration."

And have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Reagan professed to believe in the fundamentalist Christian
**     doctrine that the end of the world was at hand.  At the very
**     least, this should have called into question his concern for
**     the nation's long-term welfare.  Unburdened by such mundane
**     cares, he cast aside all restraint in the pursuit of economic
**     "growth," and financed the next phase of suburban
**     expansion by encouraging the greatest accumulation of debt
**     in world history.  Why worry about borrowing from the future
**     when you don't believe in the future?
**       ==  James H. Kunstler, The Geography of Nowhere, p 110.

[The previous letter from Royski_W is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters335.html#Royski_W ]

Date: Tue, December 11, 2012 2:18 am     (Answered 17 December 2012)
From: "royski w."
Subject: Re: politics

thanks for the reply orange.

my youngest brother is in the army. he has been duped into believing that he is defending britain when statistically theres far more chance of being murdered by the police in this country than a so called terrorist.

i've just read a book by a chap called john pilger called the new rulers of the world. it was written just before we invaded iraq and its very insightful and true i wept when it explained how using depleted uranium shells has caused a massive increase in cancer in iraq and that the then secretary of state madeleine albright was quoted as saying that half a million child deaths is acceptable. the rebellion here is growing. keep doing what you are doing friend.


Hello again, Royski,

Ah yes, the depleted uranium shells. I had forgotten about that. What I remembered was the use of cluster bombs in civilian neighborhoods of Baghdad. Cluster bombs are anti-personel weapons that are clusters of lots of little bombs, each one of which is just the right size to blow up one person. The problem with such bombs is that lots of the little bomblets don't explode when the big bomb goes off. Children find bomblets laying in the streets and play with them, and bang!

Using cluster bombs on civilian populations is a war crime, but nobody has been sent to the Hague for trial.

When asked about it, the commanding American general said that he felt that the use of such weapons was "appropriate".

Oh well, have a Merry Christmas anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     During the Armistice Celebration, a young woman celebrant — Cimmy —
**     declared: "The war being over. Isn't it just wonderful?"
**     Oswald Mosley replied: "Most of my friends are dead, my right leg is an
**     inch and a half shorter than the left, and it looks very much [that] the
**     idiots who led us into the war are still ruling the roost. I don't call
**     that wonderful."

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters335.html#Ben_K ]

Date: Tue, December 11, 2012 6:22 pm     (Answered 17 December 2012)
From: "Ben K"
Subject: Treatment bait and switch


Interesting, well-documented site. I too encountered many of the bait-and-switch tactics described, which is one of the reasons I am no longer in AA/NA. However, there is one egregious bait-and-switch tactic in regard to treatment centers not covered on the list.

I did the typical 28-day detox and rehab at a treatment center that had a specialized unit for young adults. About two-thirds of the way through the stay, my counselor recommended a 90-day "aftercare program." (Everyone receives the same recommendation, and it's the facility's extended care unit. $Ka-ching!) The "recommendation," like the "suggestions" of the Twelve Steps, was not a recommendation at all — the counselor had convinced my parents and psychiatrist beforehand that I absolutely needed the 90-day program (they are the "experts in addiction," after all) and then conference-called them in when I was to make my "decision." It was more or less a second intervention, with the same terms: Go to treatment or get out of the house. So into the 90-day program I went, and, deja vu all over again, about two-thirds of the way through I learned that it wasn't really a 90-day program, but "Stage I" of a year-long program and another intervention-style meeting with my parents ensued. So much for that informed consent stuff.

However, I had already discovered firsthand that AA, as you describe, is not a "quit drinking" program but a "get religion" program. Fortunately, I managed to convince my parents to let me go back to college and to secular recovery programs instead and I haven't looked back. Bait-and-switch: 30 days becomes 90, then a year, and then a lifetime, as they are training you to become a lifetime AA member. Just another way the AA/treatment industry is coercive in nature, and this type is particularly abhorrent as it targets vulnerable and financially dependent young adults and adolescents.

Ben K.

Hello Ben,

Thank you for the letter and the story. I'm glad to hear that you are doing well, and escaped from the trap. Yes, that is despicable. It also sounds criminal. I would send that story to your state Attorney General for fraud investigation.

Not only are they doing a bait-and-switch trick — first 28 days will do it, then, no, you need 90 days, then no, 1 year, then more, your life — but they are also passing off a cult religion as "therapy" or "treatment", which is pure quackery, and fraud. They are guilty of false advertising too. They did not advertise a hocus-pocus religious program before they took your parents' money, did they?

Which leads to the question of just what did they promise? I notice that treatment centers and "treatment programs" are great with the vague generalities about "helping clients", but if you ask for a contract up front that declares specifically what the treatment will be, and what the results will be, there is no such contract, and the promises are all just fluffy-sounding euphemisms.

The only really iron-clad solid promise that I ever heard of in one of those contracts is that you (or your parents) must pay the full price for the "treatment", even if you drop out of the program immediately. You must pay in full. That's the big promise.

I'm adding your story to the list of A.A. horror stories.

What I'm curious about is how they sized up your parents' bank account. Or maybe they just try that "additional treatment" scam on everybody, and see which parents can afford it.

You see, that is actually a very old scam, and it isn't restricted to just drug and alcohol rehab. It's common in all kinds of children's psychiatric facilities, or "rehab facilities", or "behavioral problem programs". "Youth treatment facilities" of all kinds find that the richer the parents, the more the child is in need of many months or years of expensive treatment. The poor people's children, on the other hand, are quickly declared cured, as soon as the health insurance runs out, and they are discharged even if they are very sick and suicidal.

We talked about that before, here and here.

Have a good day and a Merry Christmas now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Falsehood and fraud grow up in every soil, the product of all climes.
**        ==  Joseph Addison (1672—1719), English essayist, critic, poet

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters335.html#Peter_F ]

Date: Tue, December 11, 2012 5:59 pm     (Answered 17 December 2012)
From: "Peter F."
Subject: It Is Unfortunate That Oxycodone Can No Longer Be Injected


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

Hi again, Peter,

Yes, the lengths to which the killjoys go to keep people from getting painkillers that work are insane.

And I use that "killjoy" word very deliberately. I can't help but notice that there are some fanatical Puritans who just get enormously bent out of shape when they hear that somebody is getting high on pain pills, and they just have to go mess with their lives and make them miserable. Sickos.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "'All for ourselves, and nothing for other people', seems,
**     in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim
**     of the masters of mankind."
**       ==  Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, Book III, Chapter IV

Date: Sat, December 22, 2012 4:09 pm
From: "Peter F."
Subject: RE: It Is Unfortunate That Oxycodone Can No Longer Be Injected

Killjoys and sickos — I like the way you think.
Have a great Christmas

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

June 10, 2012, Sunday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Canada Goose goslings
Gus and family

Canada Goose goslings
A new Family of 3 eating oats, with another new Family of 3 behind them, waiting to get some.

Wild Grass
Wild Grass

Deadwood and Duck
Deadwood and Duck

Canada Goose goslings
A Family of 4

[More gosling photos below, here.]

[The previous letter from Michael_W is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters335.html#Michael_W ]

Date: Tue, December 11, 2012 7:58 pm     (Answered 18 December 2012)
From: "Michael W."
Subject: Re: AA

Wow. I am so glad I have what I have and believe what I believe. You are welcome to yours. There is something missing in your explanations. You hate AA, God, and just plain do not believe in anything else but mans own greatness. You are well schooled and highly intellectual. However you were not there when I needed someone. AA was there and as long as I live I will stand up for AA because it saved my life. I will be there for someone who is broken and needs love and hope. and yes I am in the medical field. I am a Registered Nurse and a Certified Case Manager with over 25 years in the medical field. Nothin I can say to you will change your opinions. But I will no longer sit back and be quiet while people like yourself deride the very thing that saved my life and my friends life. I won't stand for it. I will shout the blessings of recovery, AA, God until the day I die....

Sent from my iPhone
Michael L. W.
[email protected]

Hello again, Michael,

When you say that you are happy with your beliefs, that is no different from someone who says, "Well, I'm happy with my faith in Santa Claus. I know that he brings me goodies. I don't care what anybody else says. I will oppose those who dare to criticize Santa." That is no basis for "treating a disease".

No, I do not "hate God". It's funny how the A.A. true believers just can't stand the idea that other people have different theological ideas than them — maybe even really intelligent and valid ideas. Maybe mature ideas, rather than Santa Claus spirituality. For some odd reason, the A.A. true believers just have to declare that the critics are all atheists who hate God. Not so. Read the file on The Heresy of the Twelve Steps if you want to know what I believe.

It's nice that somebody held your hand when you felt bad. That does not make A.A. a valid method of treating alcohol abuse or alcohol addiction. It's still quackery.

The fact that you are a registered nurse who sells quackery makes matters worse. With your education and training, you should know something about how to test medications and treatment methods to see how well they work. And you know that you should reject the ones that don't work, or do harm. You don't treat fevers with bleeding, or mental illnesses with the snake pit, do you? So why are you using the practices of an old pro-Nazi cult religion from the nineteen-thirties to treat "alcoholism"?

By the way, being a registered nurse does not make you a psychiatrist who is qualified to treat the people whom you described in your last letter as "people who have severe psychological illnesses". But that's what you are trying to do: cure mental illness with cult religion. You said in your last letter that you foisted the 12-Step cure on them, and when it didn't work, you blamed their mental illness. That is quackery.

A.A. did not save your life. You saved your own life. You chose to quit drinking, and then you did it. Nobody did it for you. Nobody else holds your hand every Saturday night and keeps you from drinking. You keep yourself sober. It's really all your will power and your self-reliance. You do the work, and then you mistakenly give the credit to somebody else.

The fact remains that most people who come to A.A. do not make that choice in A.A., or because of A.A. They walk out, appalled by the cult religion insanity. They may later recover someplace else, some other way, but they don't recover in A.A. Since you are a nurse, you can certainly read a few doctors' reports on how A.A. doesn't work: The Effectiveness of the Twelve-Step Treatment.

Speaking of which, I asked you in the last letter about the A.A. success rate. I notice that you did not answer that question. Instead, you just accused me of hating God. So I'll ask again: What is the actual A.A. success rate in sobering up alcoholics? Without any excuses or any lying with qualifiers, what is the A.A. success rate in sobering up alcoholics?

HINT: the answers are here and here and here.

What would you think of a doctor who insisted on only prescribing a medicine that had worse than a 95% failure rate?

Have a good day and a Merry Christmas now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     He who attempts to make others believe in means which he himself
**     despises, is a puffer; he who makes use of more means that he
**     knows to be necessary, is a quack; and he who ascribes to those
**     means a greater efficacy than his own experience warrants, is an imposter.
**         ==  John Caspar Lavater (1741—1801), Swiss theologian

[The next letter from Michael_W is here.]

[The previous letter from Meatbag is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters335.html#Meatbag ]

Date: Sat, December 15, 2012 5:02 am     (Answered 19 December 2012)
From: "Meatbag"
Subject: Re: Another Bullshit Comment from the Peanut Gallery

(I think you might have gotten part of this email from me, already, but Claws is misbehaving today. Hopefully, this is the whole thing.)

Hi again, Meatbag,

Nope, got nothing before. Claws sabotaged it, so it's good that you resent it.

I went to my sister's graduation yesterday. We're all glad she finally graduated, but the speeches left a lot to be desired. Yes, we all know the economy sucks, but you really don't need to remind us of that. Oh, and we got AA propaganda, too.

First, let me point out this was the graduation ceremony for UGA's college of agriculture. Nothing to do with alcohol or counseling at all. They awarded some medallion of honor to this husband-and-wife team, who donated land and money to the college, especially when the college faced budget cuts. They let this husband-and-wife team speak at the ceremony. And that's when it started.

The husband spoke first. He talked about making money as an investment banker, and about his passion for agriculture and hiking. Standard inspirational speech stuff. He talked a bit about AA and how it helped him (what? you don't think picking up new hobbies helped, dude?). A bit annoying, but not too bad.

Then, the wife spoke. Suddenly, we were in an AA meeting. And we couldn't leave, because we were all here to either graduate or watch our family members graduate. She mentioned that NPR said something about college students liking to drink and used that to segue into some propaganda. It was the standard AA propaganda about how alcoholics have a disease, and how AA helps. But that was all she talked about. Nothing about agriculture or anything. Just AA, AA, AA to a captive audience.

First of all, I would think most graduates would have grown out of getting smashed every weekend. It's quite possible to like drinking and not have a problem. And I personally find this "alcoholism is a disease!" nonsense irritating for one reason. You can not have that first drink. I can't do anything to prevent myself from having delusions, other than taking my meds and hoping they don't stop working. Yes, there often is an underlying mental illness, but drinking is a behavior. Just like cutting is a behavior (I knew quite a few cutters in the mental hospital). And AA isn't gonna do shit for mental illness. All AA does is distort your thinking further.

Even my sister, who generally buys into AA propaganda, was annoyed. (To be fair, this was the first time she had any exposure to AA's nuttiness.) She found the speech inappropriate for a college graduation.

Yes, really inappropriate. But that is a standard cult characteristic. The true believers just can't stop proselytizing and recruiting for their favorite cult religion. It's like an obsession. "Attraction, not promotion" like hell.

As for your letter, I did do a bit of searching about turning the touchpad off in Linux. I found something for Ubuntu users through a search engine (not really relevant for somebody using a slackware derivative), and some KDE utility in the repositories. I'm not sure if I hate the touchpad enough to install a bunch of KDE dependencies. Right now, my laptop is at 933 MHz and 310 MB with Icecat and Claws Mail open. And I think Icecat is having a memory leak (no surprise, since Icecat is a rebranded Firefox with a couple of extra security features). Memory leak aside, I rather like things that way.

Yes, I've been having problems with that memory leak too. Big problems. My system would seize up and become glacially slow, and I would find that the 1.5 GB of swap space was exhausted. So I created a second 1.5 GB swap space in a file. And over the course of several days it will fill up both. And unfortunately, just killing and restarting Firefox won't get the memory back. I have to reboot the machine to clear the swap spaces. That is inconvenient when I'm in the middle of doing things, and I have to suddenly stop and close all files, and save all work to avoid losing anything, while the machine takes forever to do even that simple task because it's out of swap space and thrashing... Pain.

Although turning the touchpad off would make things slightly easier when Titania takes an interest in my laptop. She's quite good at operating it for a cat. She can type, use the touchpad, and turn the laptop off. I think cats are the only form of malware that runs just as well on Linux as it does on Windows. Except for stuff that runs under WINE. Compatibility with Windows programs means compatibility with malware, too.

Now that I think about it, that function was on one of the function keys. On an Acer laptop, it was "Function—F7". That is, hold down the "Fn" key and hit F7. That would toggle the touchpad on and off. (That is with Ubuntu, which knew about those special function keys and programmed things correctly.) But that machine deteriorated to unusability, just slowly stopped working, part by part, so I got a Compal laptop (used, Goodwill, broken screen that I replaced), and it doesn't have the same functions on the function keys. Fn—F7 is "speaker volume down" on this machine. There is no toggle for the touchpad. So I seem to be stuck with a touchpad because I don't know how to turn it off.

As for the ermine, I'm sorry to hear that. I can certainly understand the temptation to get rid of it, but predators need to eat, too. And unfortunately, they can't be picky enough to eat only the mean and ugly prey. The more ruthless a predator is, the better it survives.

All true, but it's still very tempting to ask the ermine if it wouldn't like to be immortalized as a fur coat for a queen.

At least my own pet predator seems to have slowed down in her old age. She still gets kills, but not as often as she used to. That, and she has a colony of younger feral cats to compete with, who do not have the option of eating from a food bowl when they get no kills. (There were feral cats at the farm, but they were more spread out. Here, the feral cats came from an abandoned hoarder house.) Quite a few feral cats have been popping in the back yard, since my mom has been feeding the birds that are still here for the winter.

Bummer. Now there is a very good argument for eliminating feral cats. Here in Oregon they call such things "invasive species", and try to get rid of them because they do a lot of harm to the balance of nature.

Speaking of back yards, my back yard is loaded with little birds. I got a bunch of used bird feeders from Goodwill — you know, those vertical plastic tubes with holes in the side — and filled them with birdseed and hung them from the front porch and trees in the back yard, and it didn't take the birds very long to discover them. It's winter now, and all of the other seeds have been found and eaten, and the bugs are gone, and the weeds are dead, so there just isn't much for a little bird to eat. Tough times. When they discover my feeders full of seeds, they not only stuff themselves every day, they also tell all of their friends, who tell their other friends, who tell..., and now I have flocks of little birds in my back yard pretty much all of the time.

After I typed those words, I went to the window and looked out, and sure enough, there are a bunch of little birds braving the wind and getting seeds out of the feeders. The weather is semi-stormy, rainy, cold, windy, at 10:30 AM, and the wind is blowing the feeders around, and they are swinging in the wind. Nevertheless, the birds manage to land on the little perch bars of the feeders and grab a mouthful of seeds.

It's a good thing that I bought two big bags of birdseed at the farm supply store, because those birds are eating a lot. Hungry little turkeys.

Cat chat aside, my 21st birthday is coming up. I plan to ask my psychiatrist if it's okay for me to drink. If the answer is no, that's the end of that. If it's okay, I'll have my bartender sister help me pick drinks I might like. If there's a problem, I believe I'm capable of not having another drink. If I need somebody to fix my head so that I can quit, I know people who can do that. And they have more qualifications to check people's brains than drug/alcohol "counselors".

That sounds reasonable. Happy birthday.

Incidentally, I've heard marriage counselors are just as bad as drug/alcohol counselors. So I guess the lesson is to stay away from the therapists who claim to specialize in certain situations. The therapists that know shit talk about approaches like CBT/REBT/Gestalt/Psychodynamic/etc.

Yes. Like how does someone become an "expert" on marital difficulties and resolving them? It's so easy for someone to take a few community college courses and then hang out a shingle and claim that he is a qualified "counselor", but how do you get the wisdom, really? Six marriages and divorces? That gives experience in not working it right, but little knowledge about how to make it work. One marriage that lasted forever? That gives no experience in breakups. So how do you become an "expert"?

And of course we encounter the same lack of expertise in drug and alcohol counselors. Being an addict does not automatically make someone an expert on recovery. Of course my so-called "counselor" was a world-class loser, what with parroting cult slogans all day long, and then snorting cocaine and looking at child porn on his computer and then raping his step-children. Some counselor. What a great life coach. And to think that they actually paid him to be a counselor. Your tax dollars at work.

I feel like what I would want in a counselor is an ancient wise man or woman who knows it all (and who hasn't grown senile). But those things are as rare as can be.

Oh well, have a good day now, and a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Decartes' famous line is, of course, "I think, therefore I am."
**  Only a rather foolish young man who was putting on airs of being an
**  intellectual could have written such high-falutin' drivel. A wiser,
**  older, man would have written, "I ache, therefore I exist."

[The next letter from Meatbag is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters335.html#Carol_M ]

Date: Tue, December 18, 2012 12:49 pm     (Answered 19 December 2012)
From: "Carol M."
Subject: Cults

I came across your page about cults. I am wondering if you are bias to any one cult? Had you had any experience with any? Legit question.



Hello Carol,

Thanks for the question. Yes, legit.

I can happily re-use Archie Bunker's famous line about "Heck, I ain't prejudiced. I hate everybody equally, regardless of race, creed, sex, color, religion, or country of national origin."

All kidding aside, I'm opposed to all cults pretty much equally. They are all harmful, and dishonest and deceitful, and waste people's time and money, and worse, lead people away from spirituality and enlightenment. Cults hold out the promise of a better life, with wisdom and spirituality, and maybe even a ticket to Heaven, and they deliver just the opposite. Some are worse than others, but they are all bad.

(And that isn't even counting the mass suicides, which are actually a very rare phenomenon.)

I don't think it makes a lot of difference whether people waste years of their lives in the Moonies or Scientology or Alcoholics Anonymous. It's still a waste, and leaves people feeling inadequate and stupid and used, and misinformed and misled and abused. And often bitter and angry. That sure ain't Heaven.

Yes, I have had a bunch of experience with cults, but fortunately never joined one. I just hung out on the periphery of several, without committing my soul, so to speak. I was a child of the 'sixties, which was a time when new cults were popping up like mushrooms. There were a whole bunch of phony gurus who came over here from the East to help themselves to the American kids' money, and also a bunch of American cockroaches who came out of the woodwork and set up cults. Because I was very interested in spiritual things and higher consciousness, I checked out, and hung out with, a bunch of them, including Scientology, Jesus Freaks, Sufis, Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism, and Yogi Bhajan's 3HO. And I studied even more of them, all that I could. I'd buy their books and learn what I could. That included Carlos Castaneda and The Teachings of Don Juan, and "Werner Erhard's" est and the Rajneeshis, and more than I can remember. And then I'd learn more from members of the various groups, religions, and cults, who were more than happy to tell me about their great new thing.

I'm lucky in never having quite joined and sold my soul. It's just that I'm not much of a joiner. When I would hear something that rubbed me the wrong way, I'd just sort of wander on down the road and go check out somebody else. That saved me a lot of grief, although I didn't know it at the time. At that time I thought they were just a bunch of nice people with strange "other" religions. It took more than 20 years before all of the stories about the nightmares in those cults started coming out, and drop-outs told me about their experiences inside of those cults.

Now I'm happy to say that it isn't all negative. There are still a few genuine teachers around who didn't ever betray the trust, and who have remained good people through it all. I particularly like Baba Ram Dass (the former Prof. Richard Alpert of Harvard University), and his teacher Neem Karoli Baba. And I like Pir Villayat Khan of the Sufis. And the other Sufis like Pir's father, Hazrat Inayat Khan, and Sufi Sam. And of course the Dalai Lama. And although I don't know a lot about him, I never heard a bad word about Lama Govinda.

Thank God for a few jewels.

Have a good day now, and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Wanting to believe is perhaps the most powerful dynamic
**     initiating and sustaining cult-like behavior."
**     The Wrong Way Home: Uncovering the Patterns of Cult Behavior in
**     American Society, Arthur J. Deikman, M.D., page 137.
**     Note that any- and everything that keeps you from appreciating
**     your spiritual source is an impediment. This particularly
**     includes relying on someone else or some organization without
**     examining the truths that they insist you believe.
**       ==  Dr. Wayne Dyer, Inspiration Perpetual Flip Calendar, 19 December

BLOG NOTE: 2012.12.20:

According to some people, the Mayan calendar ends tomorrow, and so does the world. It's the end of time.

I don't think so. The true story is very simple: A thousand years ago, a Mayan was busy chiseling and carving a big calendar in stone, working on days and months and years that will happen a thousand years in the future, when he suddenly yelled, "Dammit, my fingers hurt! I'm tired of this. Why am I wasting my time carving a calendar a thousand years in the future? I quit!" And he threw down his hammer and chisel and walked away, and never worked on the calendar again. The day he had been chiseling into the stone when he quit? You guessed it, Dec. 21, 2012.

A comment to the Washington Post gave a different answer:

For the record, it was a couple of seriously baked, ancient Mayan civil servants who f'd up that calendar stone. They spaced, and ran out of space at 12/21/2012. Instead of trashing the thing, they thought it would be hilarious to screw with the heads of people in the future. They picked up some jammin' chimichangas, headed off to an out of the way abandoned temple and buried it, giggling their @sses off the whole time.

== DELewes, Washington Post, 2012.12.13 2:30PM PST

BLOG NOTE: 2012.12.22:

Well darn, the world didn't end after all.

So, MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY. And have a happy New Year.

BLOG NOTE: 2012.12.25:

I was just thinking back on that Mayan End of Time thing, and I recalled the TV news programs that showed crowds of people gathering at Mayan shrines to pray. There were quite a bunch of them, all very concerned about the end of the Mayan calendar.

Now that the world didn't end, they can all claim that their prayers really worked, and saved the world, and kept Time from coming to an end.

It's a perfect example of our inability to prove a negative: Can you prove that their praying didn't work, and didn't really save the world? Nope.

It's the same problem as proving that people going to A.A. meetings and praying doesn't make people quit drinking. You know it's ridiculous and a bunch of hogwash, but you can't logically prove that Joe Blow wasn't saved by praying and doing the 12 Steps.

It's also the same logic as this old joke:

      A man was sitting on a park bench, reading a book. When he finished a page, he would tear the page out of the book, rip it into little pieces, and throw the pieces to the wind.
      A bystander noticed this odd behavior, and, overcome by curiosity, walked over to the reader and asked him why he was doing that.
      "It keeps away the elephants," was the answer.
      The bystander asked, "What? Are you crazy? There isn't an elephant within 10,000 miles of here!"
      The reader smiled and answered, "It really works good, doesn't it?"

A.A. and The Twelve Steps keep people from drinking just like how the torn pages keep away the elephants. The thing that really keeps the elephants away from the USA is the Atlantic Ocean, of course. And the thing that really keeps A.A. members from drinking is their desire to live a better life.

June 10, 2012, Sunday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron fishing

Canada Goose goslings
Canada Goose gosling eating bread

Robin watching me

Canada Goose goslings
Gus leading his family

Canada Goose gosling
A gosling of the Family of 5, resting behind Mother

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters335.html#Hugh_G ]

Date: Tue, December 18, 2012 11:48 pm     (Answered 26 December 2012)
From: "HUGH G."
Subject: A man of 30.

Hello again.

On page 32 of the Big Book (3rd edition) Bill Wilson describes the man of 30 who showed definite signs of alcoholism. This man we are told gave up drinking for 25 years before doing what he had always intended to do ... that is to start drinking again.

Do we have any more information about this man? Do we know his name? Where did he live? How did Bill know about him? How did this alcoholic stop drinking without the help of AA and the 12 steps? Bill may have realised there was a problem with this story as he did not describe him as sober but as bone dry and no doubt the steppers will say he was a dry drunk but how do they explain someone remaining sober for 25 years without the 12 steps? and Bill described him as "happy". This guy did not relapse in the AA sense, he did what he was always going to do. He did't stop working a programme — he never had a programme. The steppers will say he was not a "real"alcoholic but Bill Wilson had no doubt.

I am in my 19th year of sobriety and I know many people who have been sober in AA for over 25 years BUT I also know that the vast majority of AA members have within 0 — 2 or 3 years sobriety and that most new people leave after a few meetings. I expect that some of those who leave and are never seen again do what the man of 30 did — get sober without AA.

I am now in my 2nd year without meetings after spending far too much time in dingy church halls.

I think the moral of the story is that if you want to stop drinking you can and if you want to drink you probably will.

Take care

Hugh G.

Hello Hugh,

Thanks for the letter. You bring up some interesting points, and I couldn't agree more. And congratulations on your sobriety and your freedom from the cult.

I find it funny that you mention that the guy didn't "relapse" because he did what he always intended to do: drink some more. Coincidentally, or maybe not coincidentally, I ran into this goofy definition of relapse in some pro-A.A. propaganda years ago:

Nevertheless, relapse (the unintended abuse of alcohol during recovery) even while involved with AA is a distressingly common phenomenon.

I had to ask then, "Is it not a relapse if you really did intend to party your brains out?"

Incidentally, I also have 12 years sober now, without any A.A., and disgruntled A.A. members also routinely tell me that I wasn't a "real alcoholic", and that's why I was able to quit without A.A. Well, life sure would have been easier if I had not been "a real alcoholic".

Those extreme stories, like sober for 25 years before "relapsing", really stretch the A.A. dogma to absurd lengths. Obvious questions occur to me like, "Okay, why don't you stay sober for 25 years now, and then you can have a big Christmas and New Years blow-out and party for a week, and then you will remain sober for another 25 years, and then you can have another big Christmas blow-out, and then you will remain sober for another 25 years..." Actually, that sounds like a pretty healthy and successful lifestyle. Only drunk once every 25 years? I'd hardly call that a problem with "alcoholism".

But of course Bill Wilson wanted to make the story into a scary horror story: "The Big Bad Booze Bogeyman will get you, even after 25 years, unless you join my cult and do my Steps."

Oh well, have a good day now, and a happy holiday season.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     There's nothing worse than a brilliant image of a fuzzy concept.
**         ==  Ansel Adams

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters335.html#Terry_R ]

Date: Fri, December 21, 2012 12:46 pm     (Answered 26 December 2012)
From: "Terry R."
Subject: chist

My higher power is jesus Christ

The higher power was an awakening

That was in 1990

I haven't bothered with the lifestyle

Surrounded with drinking since then

I tried formal religions which talked of love

Of Christ

I didn't stay as it was talk no action

You should spend your time on more

Productive matters

Go and look how young people are owned by satan when they drink or

Use drugs

Terry R.

Perth WAustralia

Hello Terry,

Thanks for the letter. I think that telling the truth to people is something productive. I also notice how people who join a cult are often selling their soul to the Devil. (Look here).

Have a good day now, and a happy holiday season.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     What is the difference between surrendering your Will
**     and your life to "Higher Power" in Step Three, and
**     selling your soul to the Devil in trade for sobriety?

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters335.html#Carlos_G ]

Date: Sat, December 22, 2012 1:11 pm     (Answered 26 December 2012)
From: "Carlos G."
Subject: R u still sober?

Just curious.

If u r and care to visit............


Carlos G.
Brownsville, TX

Hello Carlos,

Thanks for the invite. Yes, still sober, after all these years. Now it's up to 12 years, no alcohol, no drugs, not even a cigarette.

How sweet it is.

Have a good day now, and a happy holiday season.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business,
**     and eventually degenerates into a racket."
**       ==  Eric Hoffer

More Letters

Previous Letters

Search the Orange Papers

Click Fruit for Menu

Last updated 26 January 2013.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters335.html