My Blog Week: September 22 to September 28
A Word on the Week
The Perfect Phone Call
There are two ways to reason out plausibilities. Can a thing be done…? When asked, let’s say, about Medicare for all, the question is best sorted by looking at countries that already have national health care. When we moot adopting this system, we have Canada or Sweden to ask, how do you solve this or that? We have no reason to talk about the idea as though it were an abyss shrouded in fog. And so it is with anything easily compared to a real life example.
The other way, the one novelists use all the time in plotting, is the intuitive scenario—walking through a series of steps to the sought-after conclusion, discarding anything along the way that defies logic.
If an American businessman makes deals in another country, he is subject to the laws of that country, and the justice of that country if he breaks them. What might he do that would become a matter of specific inquiry by the American government? Well, for the sake of argument, we’ll suppose he tries to enlist a member of the U.S. embassy staff to open a channel of influence, in exchange for himself being relieved of compliance with some local regulation, or boosted in acquiring a permit. The staffer speaks to his boss; the boss initiates an investigation. The complaint, found meritorious, is passed to the State Department; the State Department broadens the investigation, and makes its report to a congressional oversight committee.
The businessman, when he returns to the United States, is summoned to testify at a hearing. The members have before them a full report, and from this report derive their questions. They may, based on their determination of wrongdoing, recommend charges.
The little story is fiction, of course…the point being, neither Ukraine nor the U.S. can appropriately investigate Hunter Biden on mere speculation. A speculative investigation in search of dirt is virtually the definition of corruption.
As a sidelight to the circus, however, it may not be so easy to throw Rudy Guiliani under the bus, for apparently spearheading this trouble. He is Donald Trump’s personal lawyer. He is bound to have access to otherwise private documents; in their legal dealings, he may have had Trump sign permissions to acquire copies of almost anything. That may be why he claims to be the true whistleblower.
All the Rage
Why are so many middle-aged people so bonkers? In a year when millions have engaged in peaceful protest marches, why, week after week, do we see solo frothers spouting racism and making physical assaults on harmless strangers? Why do people report so many once-sane relatives mired in political manias, and fetish-fears that flirt with psychosis?
In short, are we victims of the times we live in, or are the times we live in victims of us? Let me quote from a Consumer Reports article, dated August 3, 2017, “Too Many Meds? America’s Love Affair with Prescription Medication”.
“The percentage of Americans taking more than five prescriptions has nearly tripled in the past twenty years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And in our survey [1947 adults] over a third of people 55 and over were taking that many drugs; 9% were taking more than ten.”
The article gives these statistics as well: “The number of prescriptions filled by all Americans, including adults and children, has increased by 85% over two decades, while the total U.S. population has increased by only 21 percent.”
Some anticholinergic drugs, notably Diphenhydramine, are sold over the counter. Anticholinergic drugs affect cognitive function and are linked to dementia. But psychologically, we are trained to see OTC drugs as mild and safe, medicines we’re allowed to take as we like. All that, all the potential interactions of all that, plus any vitamins and herbal supplements sold late at night on Fox News, plus whatever amount of alcohol consumption…
Everyone’s metabolism clears the system, also, at an individual rate.
Is it possible this huge difference in consumption of medications: prescription, OTC, such-but-not-counted-as-such (alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana), is not making a measurable difference in human behavior? When people lose their ability to detect the fairly light subtleties between voting for change and voting for crazy; when they develop reactive, exaggerated fears and rages, isn’t that evidence of cognitive impairment?
Monday, a Jumping Off poem, “Any Random. In Tuesday’s Impresario, part eight, the impresario falters, suddenly aware of Regalus as a human being. Wednesday, a new episode of Yoharie, with Val taking a discontented walk and meeting Savannah HIbbler. Thursday’s Catastrophe was the end of the book; therefore the end of the first full draft of its translation. On the page in future weeks will appear improvements and additional support material. Friday, another poem, “Neither Do You”. Saturday, a new Assorted Opinions piece, “Parity”, on equal opportunities for fictional characters.
Images on my posts often have a link to related information (click first image), sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, sometimes in answer to a direct reference. Since people can be leery about links, I include them here: what they are, what sites they point to.
My Blog Week: September 22 to September 28
La Catastrophe de la Martinique: seventy-five