Our Failed State’s Babushka Doll: What’s Waiting Deep Inside Will Not Look Like the Surface

Bill Wilson of the “Washington Exposé” podcast has very aptly hit upon the phrase “sock puppet” to refer to the unelected, fraudulently and criminally imposed chief executive scheduled to assume our nation’s reins of power in January.  I can’t do better than to latch onto the phrase myself.  Now, exactly which fist is working Sock Puppet’s toothless jaws is a matter for conjecture.  Xi Jinping’s fingers may actually be crackling in a vice-grip with Klaus Schwab’s, a duel for control of the universe transpiring with immobile intensity inside that bald, otherwise empty skull.  Brigadier General Dieter Farwick, a frequent contributor to Peter Helmes’ German site Conservo.Wordpress.com, offers the wrestling match as a ground of hope.  Will the twenty-first century’s Genghis Khan of nationalist Han imperialism subdue the planet… or will the banking/financier community do so whose “woke Green” ideology is just as straight a road to totalitarian dictatorship?  It could be that these two unsteady, temporary allies in the war against individualism and personal choice will eventually annihilate one another in their bid to design the perfect cosmos from God’s empty (as they suppose) throne.  Big fish have died in the maw of other big fish before.  I’m reminded of an aerial shot showing a python’s decayed carcass in the Florida Everglades, a gator’s half-swallowed corpse projecting from its throat.

Speaking of reptiles, the fundraising scavengers (the same ones trying to milk every last penny from the Georgia run-off, a crucial plebiscite which Georgia’s solid Republican state government has declined to make more secure than the general election) keep trying to terrify us about the Sock Puppet’s doing this and that by decree.  Upon taking office on January 20, he will issue executive orders confiscating your savings, turning your real estate into public property, taxing your burial plot, and forcing you to wear a mask in the casket.  Better contribute now, while a slight hope remains!  Well, let’s slow down.  I’m not going to counter the “panic donation” technique by soothing that the Constitution doesn’t allow the Sock Puppet or any other chief exec to rule by decree.  We no longer have a Constitution.  It isn’t rule of law which will restrain the Puppet from doing anything he pleases.  What law?  John Roberts will rubber-stamp Fist Brain’s bathroom tissue upon request… and the ever-fraternal Kavanaugh and Soccer Mom Barrett (that most recent signal Republican “victory”) will work to “preserve the center”, which is what the Constitution really intended for us to do, if it intended anything.  Right?  Hold the center.  Kiss the King’s ring, ye rustics, kneel before our robes, and play nice.  If Joe the Puppet claims all of your investment portfolio, we of the High Court will see that he gets only half.  This year.  Fair’s fair, as the Constitution says somewhere.

So… yes, maybe you should be alarmed that Sock Puppet is coming for your guns.  Yet you know that a hefty donation to Locked-and-Loaded Nation, LLC, is just going to empty your bank account a little faster while doing nothing to secure your right of self-defense.  Game, set, and match, then?  End of the line reached on the road to serfdom?  It seems not.  Information is hard to come by on Google and similar One World Order propaganda clearinghouses… but I’ve heard that as many as two thirds of American counties have already declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries.  What this means in practical terms is that the Sock Puppet regime will have to carpet-bomb Joplin and Gadsden and Las Cruces, which could prove very expensive… or else take out ringleaders one by one with drones—even more expensive.  Local cops just won’t do the job.  They’ll arrest a teenager for walking the dog without wearing a mask, because mainstream America still hasn’t decided whether or not this represents life lived by the best science… but they won’t go door to door trick-or-treating for firearm surrenders.  At certain points, all tyrants stumble into the zone where their people prove ungovernable.

I should have thought that mask-insanity would have reached that point months ago.  I’m wholly nonplussed, frankly, that so many ordinary Americans would collaborate in handing over so many basic rights on such a flimsy pretext.  The right to assemble: gone.  The right to express dissent in a public forum: vaporized.  The right to step outside of one’s residence and stroll down the block: now a criminal offense in places.  The right simply to show one’s face and breathe God’s good air: no more guaranteed than a child’s right to sing.  And the authority of the new gospel?  That masks avert evil: not that they block virions of 50-100 nanometers (they don’t), nor that they seal the face hermetically (not even close), nor that they promote general health (on the contrary, they collect bacteria and degrade the body’s oxygen supply), nor that they simply work in case after case (in case after case, states and nations with the most severe mask mandates subsequently have the highest CV-19 infection rates).  No, the mask’s great virtue is… is that it signifies submission to coercion.  If we can all be thus easily and thoroughly dominated by a stricture so nonsensical, then what will defeat us?  Like a vast shoal of fish, we move as one body.  Together we prevail.  When the order comes—whatever that order may be—we obey instantly and uniformly.  One might say that because of the mask’s patent stupidity, we show ourselves ready to perform “the necessary” without costly delay or subversive skepticism.

If such “virtue” repels you as an American, then you must join me in pondering how our fellow citizens could so eagerly have embraced an existence so servile and, indeed, insectified.  The Sock Puppet hasn’t been coy about his intent to extend an oppressive mask mandate from coast to coast.  Might it happen that his decree will have—quite contrary to its expectation—the “cold slap” effect that we’ve been awaiting?  Perhaps our neighbors will resistantly announce, “No, I think I’ll risk death for the sake of a good conversation,” once they are commanded one and all to stick their faces in a bag.  Sometimes a slave doesn’t mind being a slave until the master orders him to stand on his head and bray like a jackass.

Now, breakdown of such a sort as I’ve so far imagined is township by township and county by county.  Ordinary people look at each other in Wal-Mart’s aisle and decide, “No… not doing it.”  I suspect that these micro-rebellions will erupt by the dozen; and one or two, on the basis of nothing that you or I can predict, will catch fire and sweep across state lines.  Entire blocks of states may solidify into right-to-carry strongholds or right-to-breathe strongholds.  Then we’ll see what comes next.

Yet I do not suspect secession, in any formal sense, to come next.  What currency will we use in Kansas if Missouri must have a different currency?  Will there be border stations cutting through the center of Kansas City to ensure that entering or exiting motorists are suitably armed or disarmed or masked or unmasked?  As a cancer patient, I’d hate to have to clear complex bureaucratic legal hurdles in order to get the help I need next month in Denver.  I love my adoptive state of Georgia (except for its tendency to produce mercenary turncoat sellout Republicans in high volume)… yet the hard fact is that a caveman’s trepanning would put to shame the cancer treatment available here.  We don’t really want a complete divorce—or maybe we want it at a visceral level, but we won’t get it, practically speaking.

How far, then, is fragmentation likely to proceed?  Texas may be a major test-case.  Tens of thousands of invaders are already poised to sweep across her southern border as soon as the Sock Puppet waves the green flag.  Small communities will be inundated in traffic, petty crime, and budget-shattering expenses like public schooling and street maintenance.  Metropolitan areas will become magnets for criminal operations involving drugs, prostitution, and—guess what?—distribution of illegal firearms.  From Del Rio to Dalhart, from Uvalde to Longview, the state will be one insolvent, unhealthy, chaotic hellhole.

Naturally, Texans will insist upon securing their border when faced with a permanent, burdensome overlay of unstable refugeeism (such as we see in parts of Eastern Europe).  Yet they will be told to keep their hands off border security—that this is clearly a constitutional function of the federal government.  (Scraps of the Constitution are always deployed as a wrecking ball when our ruling thugs need a little help breaking into the bank vault.)  By way of analogy, picture yourself being ordered by the commander of a shiny red fire engine to stop spraying your burning house with a garden hose—that the flames are his job now.  So you ask him why, then, he’s just standing and watching the conflagration.  He tells you to stop meddling.  Not many of us would passively surrender to “authority” of this nature.  I suspect that Texans will not stand idly by as the Sock Puppet proceeds with the utter dismantling of their livelihood and communities.

But what, then, will happen?  I guarantee you that Texas citizens will volunteer by the thousand to assist border agents.  They already have.  But what will happen to alien trespassers once rounded up?  What will happen when “vigilantes” return fire on a cartel Humvee that seeks to break their line?  Will legal citizens be arrested?  By whom… by our Gestapo, the newly remodeled FBI?  Will state law enforcement remain neutral as this goes on?  Or might Texas actually cut a deal of some sort with Mexico to control the situation—a deal that leaves the former United States out of the equation, exchanging perks strictly between Texan and Mexican interests?  Will we see the beginning of individual states negotiating with foreign powers as independent parties?

Might Georgia and Florida, by the same token, strike some bargain with Israel when Sock Puppet’s regime attempts to settle masses of Ethiopians in its quiet communities?  Amarillo, Texas, is one example I’ve personally seen of such deliberately, imperiously disruptive resettlement on “humanitarian” grounds; I know similar acts of politically vindictive colonization have been carried out in the Atlanta area.  When the Sock Puppet fumes, “Yes, you will!” can we respond, “No, we won’t!” if tanks turned against us under the US insignia run up against Israeli anti-tank guns?  Or against Russian “advisers” equipped with system-scrambling sonar technology?

I’m not going to revisit the topic I probed in the “My Friend Vlad” posts.  I only mean to emphasize that the strands of social and political unraveling will take us to some places that few of us have ever imagined.  We should try to prepare ourselves.  The more obscurely embedded forms of this babushka doll will not necessarily look like the first one or two to be cracked open.

And forgive me for closing with a desultory comment—but it’s a theme which deeply preoccupies me, and to which I would like to return soon: the betrayal of organized Christianity.  Our betrayal by organized Christianity.  “Humanitarian grounds”, I wrote just above: how many of us have heard from pulpits that Christ compels us to relinquish our earthly boundaries and welcome every wanderer to our hearth?  “Brotherly love”: how many have heard that Christ preached a religion of peace and would deplore the presence of self-defensive weapons on our person or in our home?  “Love-affirming, life-affirming”: how often have churches responded to a dictatorial command that they shut down while COVID rages with the meek acquiescence of, “Oh, yes!  Whatever we can do to save lives!”  Some phrase worthy of gracing a marquee in Podunk Baptist’s weekly message is wrapped around stupidly ineffectual, morally tainted, and physically destructive behavior… and we’re sent home with our painless lobotomy to marvel and drool at the collapse around us.

As we attempt to firm up our battle line against the Sock Puppet’s assault on individualism and personal freedom, our “Christian heritage” (whatever that means these days) is not likely to serve as spiritual, or even cultural, glue.  It would be best that the sincere Christian consider the organized Christian church as a tool of the enemy—as cultural and intellectual solvent; for, sadly, so it is in too many cases.  Above all else, we need to start calling factual boundary lines exactly where the light of plain day shows them to be.  Your side, my side: I can bestow some of my stuff upon you if I choose, but you have no right to take it.  Fair vote, foul vote: I signed and dated mine as directed by law, but you show up with a bundle of half-dones—so yours don’t count.  Mortality, eternity: it’s too bad that you may possible catch an infection from me that could terminate your life—but such are the terms of our common existence, and you have no right to demand that I cease exhaling.

Right now, American religious orthodoxy is little more than a contemptible device for scuffing up the distinction between our individual destiny in God’s service and the collectivist advancement of a secular hive.  It is an empty sock into which we are to thrust our moral intelligence and within which we are to suffocate our spiritual inspiration.  A bony fist working behind the scenes will feed words through our mouths: we are simply to wear the sock.

I Live in a Lab

It’s hard to write when you’re wondering why your body is breaking down and to what extent it intends to break down further.  My blood work reads like a horror story in places, most of it spelling out a resurgence of cancer.  (The official term is “regression”; but the cancer, if returning, is actually progressing.  Doesn’t it say a lot about us that our veneration of the word “progress” will not allow it to be used of any unpleasant event, even when it’s the obvious logical choice?)  Yet this is not entirely true: what my tests show, rather, is that I have an abundance of cellular particles floating around loosely, abnormally, in my blood, and that proteins are not being integrated effectively in the restoration of strained muscle cells.

At least… well, that’s interpretation competing with the “resurgent cancer” hypothesis.  I seems to me to account for more of the alarming values on the blood tests, and it also has a likely culprit within easy reach: the testosterone-suppressor Firmagon, which I have been taking in excessive doses (50 percent excessive) for half a year due to a clerical error.  Testosterone is needed for cell repair and is also an anti-inflammatory—but it feeds prostate cancer, as well, and hence is regularly targeted in prostate patients by drugs like Firmagon and Lupron.  As a result, unrepaired muscle tissue, overdosed with this poison, could well be expected to spill its disiecta membra into the blood system while also giving the patient chronic, anguishing pain (far worse, believe me, than, anything I encountered with cancer during our first tussle back in May).  An elevated Prostate-Specific Antigen test number (PSA) might well follow: the PSA’s mechanism apparently reads inflamed tissue indiscriminately as cancer cells on the move.  But my “regressing” cancer (please God that it indeed be regressing!) isn’t striking me along bones as it did earlier.  It manifests precisely as muscle pain—all over the place, dependent upon what I’ve been doing lately.  A long walk yesterday?  Pain in the glutes.  More stair-climbing than usual?  Pain in the calves and knees.  And a torn triceps I incurred in making a baseball video has constantly nagged me for three months now.  Clever son of a bitch, that cancer: it finds your most vulnerable muscle tissue and sets it on fire!

Or… well, it really doesn’t, you know.  In my personal experience, cancer doesn’t work that way at all.  Even when it was raging through me like a forest fire in late May (thanks to the American medical establishment’s refusal to diagnose and treat it: more important concerns like COVID had preoccupied it), I could always take a two-mile walk or do a medium-level workout without great discomfort.  I wasn’t paralyzed with pain.  No, I contend that Firmagon has done this to me.  My PSA had flatlined throughout the months of late summer and early fall: then, just before Thanksgiving, it surged to 42, and lately has almost doubled up on that plateau.  Yet there’s no specific generator to account for such an explosive resurgence.  I’ve been taking all my supplements; my vegan diet is exemplary; I keep very regular hours and nap during the day if my night’s sleep goes poorly; I religiously adhere to the regimen of therapies (hyperthermic pads and lamps both targeted and full-body, ultrasound cleansing of the prostate area—the prostate itself having been almost fully removed, by the way—and even hours of experimental Rife technology five days a week).  There’s simply no “driver” for a riproaring comeback of the disease in my case.

What there is, instead, is a steady build-up of Firmagon in my system for months.  I don’t know what the critical mass would be to trigger muscular meltdown: that is, I don’t know how much Firmagon you have to overdose on for how long before your muscles go to pieces.  By listening to my body, though, I’m utterly convinced that escape velocity for massive malfunction was reached some time shortly before Thanksgiving.  My body, after all, is a lab wherein I live every minute of my days.  I get to observe constantly running experiments there which men in white coats may never hear about.  Some of them don’t want to hear: they have their test numbers, their “objective evidence”.  This is the feigned wisdom of a pompous fool, however.  Numbers require interpretation.  If Smith’s manager refuses to start him in a World Series game that Jones is pitching, the decision may or may not be justified by Smith’s never having landed a hit against Jones.  Perhaps the sample size is small.  Perhaps Smith hit the ball hard most of the time but was unlucky.  Perhaps he had only faced Jones before in Jones’s home park, where the hitting background is poor.  Perhaps, through trial and error, he has completely overhauled his approach to Jones.

The further possibility exists, I acknowledge, that if Firmagon overdose stresses the system as much as I’m conjecturing, cancer cells may opportunistically profit from the chaos and proliferate while the body’s immune reaction remains focused on ailing muscle.  That just might be the driver for a genuinely resurgent cancer.  I’ve been poking about this morning into the subject of cachexia: the degeneration of skeletal muscle implicated in as many as a third of all cancer deaths, it seems.  One government site observes with a relevance to my case that’s pretty alarming, “Researchers still need to dig deeper into how cachexia develops in patients with cancer… and how its course is influenced by everything from nutrition and physical activity to disease-specific factors, such as reduced testosterone levels caused by cancer therapy or opioids to treat pain” (my italics).  That sentence froze me in my tracks.  Yet the onset of my muscle pains has been so precipitous, and my previous health was so unusual in a man of my age, that I’ll cling to the optimistic view of my still having time to flush Firmagon from my system and right the ship.  As I write these words, I’m engaged in a day-long fast with heavy water-drinking.  We’ll see.  At some point, you know, optimism is the only card one has left to play.

My present doctor has heard out my theories and very helpfully offered to keep me closely monitored for further verification, all the while encouraging me, as well, to lay the ground for some aggressive kind of cancer-fighting strategy.  I would return to the Immunity Therapy Center in a heartbeat if I could afford another long stay in Tijuana.  Even though entrusting me with booster shots of dangerously excessive potency was the gaffe of a low-level ITC employee, it’s the sort of thing that could happen anywhere.  (And believe me, it does.)  In the meantime, I’m working in my little lab and watching.  I need the honest truth, not a narrative that eases my mind; but I also need a sensible truth, not a line of crunched numbers that permits an arrogant “expert” to play God with my life.

I have this to say in closing: are you comfortable surrendering your life and lives of your children to guys in white coats who’ve never met you—who stick you in masks, confine you to four walls, declare public spaces off limits to you, and soon may decree regally that you be forced to accept an inoculation—all because… well, because they’ve actually never met you?  Because their Olympian vision isn’t obscured by farmhouses and shop fronts?  Because they have numbers at their fingertips, and you have only experiences?  Are you among their vast throng of idolaters?  I suppose I was, too, in the early days of my cancer… and then, after they had very nearly killed me with their indifference—their exclusive attention to the “big picture”—I learned the importance of working away in my lab. 

Death and I Get Re-Acquainted

At this very instant, as I peck out my initial words one-handed (because I have a Vitamin C IV dripping into the other arm), I await my doctor’s appearance to discuss some “concerns” about my latest blood work.  It’s never an easy wait for a patient who has had cancer.  Every time more blood is drawn, a clock starts ticking.  A couple of weeks for results, more or less: that’s what you expect in the US.  (At Dr. Carlos Bautista’s Immunity Therapy Center in Tijuana, I never waited more than 48 hours.)  So how will it go this round?  Will you roll another seven… or has Destiny decided to send you Snake Eyes?  Will the hammer click harmlessly on an empty chamber again… or has your spin of the pistol’s cylinder found the bullet today?

Meanwhile, Burl Ives is crooning, “Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas” somewhere down the hall.  And out in the parking lot, sitting alone in a cold car, my wife awaits the return of her awaiting husband, the quiet caboose in a train of tension and misery.

Can you understand why it pisses me off so much that my fellow citizens readily surrendered our republic and our personal freedom over their fear of a damn flu virus?  They’re so very afraid that they might die—that if they were among the millions to be infected, they might also fall among the .3 percent of the known infected to perish.  (About 40 percent of the infected never know bout it, since they have no symptoms.)  Meanwhile, as these panic-moths hurl themselves into the flame to escape a disease indetectible almost half the time, I play Russian Roulette every few weeks with a blood test.  They can’t crawl out from under their beds in their terror of a bad cold, but every day of my life is lived in the shadow of a tombstone.

One thing I know to be amiss with my blood (though I dare not take anything for granted: must keep myself prepared for the worst) is the effects of overdosing on Firmagon for six months.  Almost unique among the drugs I was administered in Mexico to be accepted by mainstream American medicine, Firmagon dries up testosterone—and testosterone is the favorite food of prostate cancer.  This is, indeed, a major ground of optimism about the “mystery concern”: I’ve been shooting myself so full of the drug that cancer would have to overhaul its menu to make a comeback.  Interesting, isn’t it, that ITC so grudgingly supplied me with additional boxes of the stuff while, as it appears, having reached some international compromise to permit the shipping of substances disliked by the FDA.  Could it be that American distributors want exclusive dibs on Firmagon—that the FDA is far less alarmed at the prospect of a witch’s brew entering my system than it is at that of US doctors and drug companies not carving maximal profits out of big-ticket items?

All I can say is, Firmagon is one hell of a torment even to some who consume it in recommended doses.  Chills, dizziness, soreness at the site of injection, joint and muscle pain… I came to know all of these thanks to overdosing; and the last, it occurs to me, is probably routine in anyone who leads an active life.  You need testosterone to stimulate muscle repair and recovery after a vigorous workout.  I wrote of this weeks ago.  I’ve been aware for some time that I couldn’t tax my body as I used to on a regime of hormone-suppressants and plant-based proteins.  I learned my lesson as a result of a couple of hard take-downs and their aftermath.  As I would try to ease my incidental tears and pulls back into shape using a tried-and-true pattern of stretching and “nudge” exercises (the kind that refuse to let the sore spot flee all pain and go slack), I would find myself merely re-aggravating old problems—maybe making them worse.  I couldn’t demand anything of my muscles at all, it seemed.

It’s not like the last six months have given American constitutionalists no other cause for distress… but I began to grow downright depressed.  Finally, last week, as I prepared my monthly Firmagon injection, a chain of thoughts began to close its links which was to pull down my vast wall of error.  I was dissolving the powder in distilled water from the ampule.  (I won’t give you a step-by-step account: every Firmagon kit has over half a dozen components, and the procedure for using each in proper position and sequence is tortuous.)  I knew that the box containing two kits was marked dosis inicial, and I knew that each hypodermic of the two contributed 120 milligrams to the 240 total.  (A single shot of that magnitude in one spot would make the first-time user’s tummy swell up like a watermelon.)  I knew that each booster, of which this was my fifth, should be 80 mg.  Therefore… therefore, I would need to squeeze out approximately 33 percent of my preparation before injecting the remnant.  I say “approximately” because the ampule had no calibration.  The only way that I could reduce 120 mg. of Firmagon to 80 mg. was to “eyeball” it.

This I did, though deliberately underestimating the ejectum.  (The stuff is expensive!)  For some reason, I still needed a few more mental links to close.  I think it literally occurred to me between sleeping spurts that night (the muscle pain doesn’t allow steady sleep) that I’d never squeezed out any “extra” from the previous shots.  Not only that… but the first supposed booster, administered on my last day at ITC by a couple of novice nurses—it was a Saturday, and the duty roster was pretty thin—didn’t feature any expulsion of excess in its preparation, either.  None.  I would have noticed, for I knew I’d have to imitate the procedure.  Every booster of Firmagon I’d ever received was a 50-percent overdose, except the one I’d just completed.  That one was probably just a 10-percent overdose.

….

The doctor came, and we had our talk.  He’s a sweet guy.  I haven’t seen that degree of caring among very many Americans in this profession.

My PSA is up from nearly dead zero three months ago to 42.  A huge leap over an incredibly short period.  We’ll retest it next week, we’ll schedule a bone scan, we’ll plan for contingencies… maybe I’ll go back to Tijuana.  I would, in a flash.  I’d stay there, if I could.

So… Death and I are chained at the ankle once again.  We always were, of course… but now I get to see his leer whenever I take a careless peek.  Everyone is saying, “Oh, this is just a setback!  We’ll figure it out!  Everything will be fine!”  Actually, I—the lowly patient—am the only one who seems to have a coherent theory of events.  Firmagon caused my muscles to bleed without mending; inflammation (as an independent professional confirmed for me just now) can severely elevate PSA scores; thus my tests are going to show high numbers as long as the poison in my system continues to keep my triceps and gluts and thighs from sealing up.

And, just to add a personal speculation… why wouldn’t genuine cancer cells rally and multiply when the body is over-strained in the simple matter of repairing leg muscles after a walk?

Firmagon was the most “American” of my treatments, and I never really liked its m.o.  Annihilate your adversary by annihilating one of your own battalions… how very like the American medical establishment!  I guess this present challenge, as my son calls it, is an opportunity to form a better battle plan.  Everything seemed day-to-day before.  Now we can go long-range.

All the same, the ultimate in long-range thinking is recognition that one’s body cannot function beyond a certain point.  It’s understanding that life in this world doesn’t have a ticket for infinite trips up and down the track. My own destination cannot be so very far up the line.

As my wife drove me home through the maze of backroads where the GPS led us, I studied the mowed green farm lawns, the fields now stripped of their cotton, the horses blanketed for one of our first sub-freezing days… and the small new subdivisions of young professionals fleeing Atlanta taxes, above-ground swimming pools for toddlers dryly weathering the winter, Christmas lights making candy-canes of columns here and there, mansards and bay windows and railed porches or broad decks proposing scenes for private domestic celebrations….  It was beautiful.  It was all beautiful, including the “bourgeois domesticity” (words inevitably sneered by the mortal enemies of families).

And yet, if I was supposed to mourn silently, “Please, God!  I’m not ready to leave all this!  Please let me live a while longer!”… well, I thought no such thing.  I thought of my own special places where I was a child, and how much more beautiful they were to me than these, and how I could walk right into them and see all my lost people, never to be parted from them again, on the day when I broke through the barrier.  I’ll stay for now, all right… or I’ll try.  I’ll tolerate Death’s cold breath down my neck as I gaze at the sun’s afternoon scythe harvesting a tawny field.  But when I finally pass through, the chain that bonds my clammy companion to me will break forever, and he will be left behind.

I began writing this page last Tuesday.  On the calendar day when I post these words, December 4, I have reached my sixty-eight birthday.  Will I see another?  If I do, it is well… and if I don’t, that is well, also.  I don’t like to mar my plateau of peace by adding that the cowardly traitors sure to make this world so much more challenging for my son will be a pleasure to leave behind, but… well, so it is.  I tell you, I pity grown human beings who so fear my dark, mute companion that they will sell their souls for a pair of blinders.

My Friend Vlad (Part the Third… and the Final)

I’m really not anxious about “reader volume” this time.  I almost hope that today’s post passes completely unnoticed.  I didn’t want to write it: I wrote it because I had to.  And I wrote parts of it in excessive haste or with excessively tropological sarcasm.  I did that because I wanted to finish.  I feel a spiritual nausea coming on this morning as I review the weeks that brought us here.  And with the luminous “holidays” at hand… oh, yes, the holidays!  Like anyone else, I want to weave an insulating cocoon around my wife and son and me for a few days.  I’m indeed grateful for the opportunity offered by the calendar.  For the rest of it, for the “Happy Holidays” emails from people I haven’t seen in decades… damn them all for pitiful fools.  And damn me for seeing more than was intended for fragile human eyes.

To those who have posted or may post comments, thank you for your time and attention.  Thank you for having the stamina to look long and deep into some of the darkest pits imaginable.  I haven’t answered any of you, and I don’t imagine I’ll be doing so—not on this subject.  I just want to get it out and leave it behind.  Maybe you’re better fortified against the pit than I am.

In the rubble of the former United States—in “Unmerica”—national elections will be as meaningless as plebiscites in the proverbial banana republic.  On the ballot is Your Beloved El Supremo and… and Salinas, Chacón, Gasparo, Dominguez… “We’re a democracy, you know, amigo!”  That’s your new standard, your “new normal”.  Enjoy.

This isn’t to say, however, that there will be no resistance.  Far from it.  On the local level, resistance will now flourish as never before.  As I suggested in this essay’s previous parts, the rift between Western European elite-progressive totalitarianism and the belief systems of the formerly weaponized minority masses—traditional Muslims, Hispanic Catholics, rural and blue-collar black populations—will widen rapidly now that the Nationalist Strawman has been incinerated in the town square.  The swarthy rank and file don’t like masks.  College-educated white people cling to them in adoration, but the folks I’ve seen mask-free in Wal-Mart have mostly been black males and Hispanic females.  The dark rank and file don’t want drag queens reading to their children at the library.  College-educated white people have attempted to float such quasi-moralistic claptrap as a solvent of conventional Christian values—and they’ve done so, indeed, with spectacular success, much of it engineered from within the white Christian church; but our brethren who live closer to Mother Earth (and who may actually have some of her gritty skin beneath their fingernails) aren’t having it.

We can join them to say “Hell, no!” at Town Hall meetings, and our selections of mayors and state representatives may reflect our fury.  Securing the representation of Podunk County for Montague “Poke” Mahone the Third, white socialist wonderboy (married to a Native American sociologist), isn’t really worth the cost of a Dominion-caliber voting system.  Regional elections don’t particularly interest the revolutionaries (except for district judgeships).  The central government, you know, can always crush counter-revolutionaries if it so chooses.  With fleets of drones to locate targets and Humvees of stormtroopers (now brought home from Waziristan to wage war on their cousins) ready to roll, unruly rioters in Joplin, Missouri, wouldn’t offer so much as a training exercise for “our brave military”.  Yet the optics of such beyond-the-beltway massacres and Bloody Sundays wouldn’t be good.  President Vandal ordering the execution of 8,000 black folks or of 12,000 Muslim immigrants… hmm.  Some of the state governors, at least, would begin to shy away.  Some of the stormtroopers wouldn’t trigger their cousins on cue.  The dictatorship would risk becoming a transparent tyranny.  Too early for that play, perhaps.

So what’s the next move on the board the Vandal?  If we remain in control of our towns and hamlets, how does our new master, his old master—the Puppeteer—bring us to heel?  What if, for instance, Xi Jinping, unmoved by President Vandal’s public-relations problem, orders him to pursue the sophisticated, pincer-like vaporization of ringleaders on a hit-list?  What if, for that matter, Chairman Xi insists on offering the assistance of thousands of PLA stormtroopers, who have no cousins on these shores and are well rehearsed, besides, in clubbing and bayoneting women and children in Xinxiang Province and Hong-Kong?

I have been somewhat glib in trying to paint the scene in broad strokes… but I promise you, it isn’t excessively reductive to represent life under Unmerica’s new (first?) president as life in one of Xi’s satrapies.  An article posted by Peter Helmes drops the names of a few European billionaires most intricately involved in Western civilization’s overthrow.  They don’t sound terribly Chinese.  H.J. Schellnhuber, Stefan Rahmstorf, Ottmar Edenhofer, Claudia Kemfert, Uwe Schneidewind; Gerd Müller, a chief architect of Angela Merkel’s paternalistic oligarchy; Frithjof Finkbeiner and his son Felix, creators of “Fridays for Future”, “Scientists for Future”, and the ongoing Greta Thunberg fiction in general; Dr. von Hirschhausen and Maja Göpel; George Soros, of course, “who with his thousands of non-mandated NGO’s” influences global politics significantly… such are the figures that a savvy European analyst would associate with the Club of Rome, and that are more often denominated as the Davos set on this side of the pond.  “But who is the strategic godfather of all these ideologues?” questions Helmes.  “Standing at the hierarchy’s peak—far above even Bill Gates and David and Richard Rockefeller—is the Canadian multi-billionaire Maurice Strong”… and Strong’s ties to Communist China are indelible, if not purely Marxist.  Beyond the Strong family’s commitment to a dictatorship of the proletariat (as interpreted by a dictator) nestles a pathological hatred of evolved human beings, as if we were far kinder to the planet when we were apes whose life-expectancy scarcely broke twenty years.  And if Bill Gates doesn’t reduce our minds fast enough (for time is of the essence) to that lemur-like state with digital exo-intelligence and injections of uncertain content, then… well, there’s always the termite model on Xi’s drawing board.

It’s beyond my ability—and, frankly, little to my taste—to autopsy global conspiracies.  My brush does broad strokes only.  To me, the ultimate godfather of megalomaniac takeover in our time isn’t Soros, or Gates, or Strong, or even Xi Jinping, but rather the same culprit as gets up to such things at all times: Satan.  That’s why no blessed meteorite just happening to drive Xi’s skull ten miles below the earth’s crust would really solve very many problems for very long.  It’s also why a President Vandal, if miraculously rid of the worldly creditor who owns his carcass, would have that sorry hide auctioned off to another master within a week.  In a way, none of this matters.  If Judas were not to exist, we would have to un-invent his brother in our mirror. 

Yet until we reach eternity, the day we occupy is always this single shriveled day—this minute of this hour.  We are here and now.  On this day and at this hour, it’s Xi Jinping who would rule the universe.  He’s the present Mao, the present Genghis Khan.  Likewise, our senile President Vandal, a grifter and a bravo by nature and by trade, is Xi’s hired tough at this moment; so our children, on this day of our Lord, need protection from this domestic despot who serves that global tyrant.  The succor we seek would be Heaven’s from the Evil Domain if the hour had come for every man, woman, and child of us to join hands and enter the Light at one step.  But since this particular hour is only engraved with the names of a few (as the next hour will have a few more, and the next a few more), let us see if another man like ourselves—in the image of Jesus casting the shadow of Judas—might be persuaded to save a child here and there.  Let us try to act rather than merely curl up and die

Someone like Vladimir Putin could be our man.  Oh, he’s no saint, no, and he may well be another of the Devil’s chief lackeys… but so may any one of the relatively nameless vultures who circle our civilization in high bureaucratic office.  Vlad is a dismal figure, I know, upon whom to hang any hope; but I see no other locus of earthly power anywhere who hasn’t signed away his soul ten times in blood.  Putin, perhaps, has only done so eight or nine times.

Yes, I’m aware of “the list”.  The poisoning of Aleksandr Litvinienko, the bludgeoning of Mikhail Lesin, the Mob-style hit of Anna Politkovskaya… it’s hard to imagine Dante’s locating Putin anywhere better than intermediate Hell.  But… well, maybe intermediate Hell will have to do for now, since the jackals slavering over our children are all pouring from Satan’s mouth in Hell’s Pit.  We santini who can’t sully our hands in anything morally equivocal—such as incarcerating traitors or executing murderers—may have to contract out our enforcement to the nachalnik of contract killers… or else watch our children be devoured.  The truth is… well, the truth is this: men such as we should never have sired children.  We weren’t men enough to stand up and kill our children’s killers.  We just sing hymns.  So here we cringe… and here lie our children with their throats bared to the knife.  And there’s Putin (and in yesterday’s shadow, the Mossad, and—once upon a time—a CIA not yet neutered by careerist bureaucrats).

If Putin himself is soon taken from the scene by his mortality (and, please God, may Xi and Soros and Gates not be far behind!), then another Russian nationalist of his stamp would do.  Imagine a Putinesque premier, offered harbor privileges in Texas or mineral rights in Oklahoma or an automobile plant in Alabama.  Such a high-profile collaborator in American enterprise would be hard for the Vandal and his Beijing masters to reject on “moral” grounds; for Putin is ostensibly of their plundering swarm, and is already doing a ripping oil business with another hell-bait butchering despot in Venezuela.  As Xi’s most visible buddy in war games fantasizing over the annihilation of earth’s human inhabitants in large numbers, Putin has earned his own Vandal letter-jacket.  He’s a cutthroat, like the rest of the team.  I’ve admitted that.

Yet Putin, or the next Russian nationalist to replace him, could also conceivably pose a major deterrent to President Vandal’s firebombing of his own citizens.  If some of us are paying tribute to the Russian Vandal, then we’ll have every right to summon his defense against Xi’s kowtowing-satraps (and Xi himself).  For I say it in a whisper to those few who continue to follow this dark conversation: I cannot believe that Vladimir Putin loses any love on Xi Jinping.  War games?  Of course Russia joined China in war games!  Russia is something of an extra-large Taiwan in Xi’s glazed stare: how better to handle the situation than to pal with the Beijing juggernaut for the time being?  Terrify the Yanks, win a few concessions here and there (knowing that Chinese promises are written on the wind with water), peer into your rival’s arsenal, get to know your rival’s tactics, let your rival believe he’s stealing similar looks into your sanctuary… it’s really quite brilliant.  Quite un-American, in any “post-Cold War liberal America“ sense.

Putin is a nationalist, a Russia-first bully.  He is that at the core of all his machinations and assassinations.  He’s not a communist—not of the Xi stamp.  That is to say, he doesn’t lust over visions of an insectified world swarming in indistinguishable millions before a hundred-foot gold likeness of himself.  (And yes, children, that’s communism: that’s its final, “real life” form on this sick planet.)  Putin wants Russia self-sufficient and feared enough to keep intruders at bay.  He’s a Mob boss whose passion is for the famiglia.  I know that the American conservative intelligentsia scoffs at such analyses.  Frank Gaffney and Diana West, for instance—and there are no two minds whose insight I more respect—recently underscored Putin’s communist bona fides on Secure Freedom Radio by referencing his remark about Joe Biden: that Biden would be easier for him [Putin] to work with than would Trump because Biden’s beliefs are more “Soviet” (not Russian: Soviet).  Alas, I think that interpreting such utterances at their most transparent level typifies our collective error.  I understand the remark as follows.  “Westerners with totalitarian notions readily go along with power plays that shortcut democratic participation.  Joe Biden is one of those Westerners, and I’m interested in getting the upper hand where I can.  Therefore, I’d like to work with a useful idiot who can be suckered into giving me what I want as he gleefully tramples down his nation’s conventional restraints.”  Only an ex-Soviet could fully appreciate the extreme convenience of dealing with an “American Soviet”.  Putin is an opportunist, not an ideologue.

So… say that President Vandal and his vulturine, life-sucking Health Minister Fauci (whose name means “jaws” or “maw” in Italian) were to decree that all citizens must be vaccinated with… whatever’s on the day’s menu.  (Something under your sink, perhaps.)  Say that your state refuses to enforce universal compliance.  Say that the Vandal (with Xi pulling one set of strings, and the ghoulish Life-Sucker another) makes a Little Rock moment of the situation, sending in the National Guard (SS Division) to strap people down house by house as Mengeles in training load and empty syringes.  Say that bullets begin to fly (and they would, you know).  And then?  And then?  Wouldn’t it be nice to have an Uncle Vlad looking over everyone’s shoulder?  If Xi can send in his PLA advisors, fresh from massacring Hong Kong, to volunteer assistance… why, then, Uncle Vlad can send in his advisors, too.  “Not so fast, tovarishch!”  They bring a tank, we bring an anti-tank gun; they bring a chopper-gunboat, we bring a surface-to-air missile.

I’m wondering if the state of Texas or the state of Georgia couldn’t borrow such toys from my friend Vlad.  The Vandal has all of the toys produced and stockpiled with our tax money… but now our Uncle has called the raise—and raised again.  Another dirty little secret: most of these made-in-the-USA toys are now outdated and inferior.  Vlad has better stuff, frankly.  Fifty years of subversion by the Vandal and his fellow partners and pillagers have actually left very little good stuff in our arsenal, much of that little rusted out by nameless wars in sandy deserts.  Meanwhile, Vlad may just have amassed more and better stuff even than the Chinese.  He has oil but otherwise no economy, he has an aging and thinning population (as will China, believe it or not, in just a few years)… but he also has state-of-the-art Armageddon hardware galore.  People said it was a foolish investment.  Now it’s the single game-changer on a board where Communist China occupies most of the strategic squares.

I’ll take Vlad, please.  I don’t have a nation any longer.  It dried up and blew away.  I have no president.  A disgusting, senile thug and career lackey is fumbling with the presidential seal bestowed upon him by the most inhuman regime to pollute the planet since Genghis Khan’s reign.  I have no flag.  I have no anthem.  I salute nothing of this world any more, because this world no more acknowledges the rights given to me by God.  What I have is an either/or choice of cutthroats to invite into my home.  In that case… I’ll take Vlad.

I’ll take the Russian hit-man over the Chinese mass-murderer.  I’d rather be a dog who eats at the bony carcass after the Russian wolves have their fill than the two-billion-and-forty-sixth ant in Precocious Boy’s ant farm, his weary eye following all our movements through a glass panel as he decides which tunnel to collapse before supper.  I’m learning Russian, not Chinese.  And if I have to absorb a pecking-order smack to the rear of the line in order to ensure that my children aren’t tied down and infused with Gates/Fauci eugenic sterilant, I’ll take it in silence, conceding that it wasn’t fully undeserved.  I should have done more, when I still had the chance, to purge my society of the white “Christian” all-tolerant progressivist virus.  I should have been more of a man—should have unleashed a little more “hate speech” when it was due.  I hate liars; I hate cheats; I hate abusers of children and innocents; I hate self-coddling cowards disguised as spiritual illuminati; I hate egotists and hypocrites who promote “science” only insofar as institutionalism shuts down open inquiry.  I am full of hatred… and some of it is left over for myself.

So… this loathsome Vlad, this buccaneer with raped riches gleaming at his ears and his fingertips—I’ll take him, if I must have a worldly captain.  And when I can take him no longer, he may throw me to the sharks, and I’ll gratefully meet my maker.  But the conundrum, my dears—if you have followed any of this wild rant—isn’t about the Kingdom of Heaven.  It’s about how you can save some of the children you brought into a here-and-now where you allowed a trap to be laid for them… and you are not Jesus, and you do not walk on water.  You did some bad things, and you are left with two bad options.  Yours is not to pretend now that you’re Heaven-pure—not after you betrayed the children.

I’ll take Vlad.  I will certainly not take the vile, fumbling, all-fingering Vandal.  Not now, not ever.

Nothing Will Change

author’s original oil painting (from 40 years ago)

Trying to write a commentary this weekend while ignoring next week’s events is like staying mum about the proverbial pachyderm on the divan.  Nevertheless, I don’t think the dawn of November 4 will satisfy our human craving for change.  No, not for any of us.  I don’t intend those words entirely in the sublime sense of Ecclesiastes (viz., “What has been is what will be; there’s nothing new under the sun”).  I mean, as well, that our specific ordeal as hapless citizens of the US in 2020 will drag on.  The forces that have plotted political ambushes and assassinations behind the scenes from within the CIA, the Department of Justice (smirk), and Wall Street will not let anything so banal as a national election decide who assumes the reins of power.  We’ll have enough misery in local, state, and federal courts to last us well into the new year.

So don’t look for shelter, at last, from the directionless, spontaneous, insane whirlwinds of 2020 to appear by Thanksgiving, or even by Christmas.  Don’t suppose that the finish line is just around the next turn.  It isn’t.  La paz empieza nunca, as Emilio Romero wrote shortly after World War II of the fight against creeping totalitarianism: “Peace begins… never.”

When I was concluding Why I’m Not Dead, an account of my recovery from Stage 4 cancer by turning away from mainstream American medicine, I confessed that my experience had shaken me loose from a lot of illusion and fond fantasy.  None of my daydreams has been harder to surrender than the belief that we might actually leave the world a better place for our children.  I chafe every night, as I bare my soul to God, against this sobering admission.  But so it is.  We completed the latter half of the twentieth century without inaugurating another world war or igniting another nuclear weapon over a human target… and what have we got to show for so much “progress”, really?  A general populace so subservient in mind and spirit that the Chinese Communist Party may rule our nation soon without having fired a shot.  We’re already scurrying around in search of “virtue points” even without the presence of eavesdropping cameras in every corner and closet.

My sister continues to believe that Putin pulls our president’s strings (as opposed to Ivanka and Jared), that COVID 19 leaves pericardial muscles permanently damaged, and anything else that her one rag of record tells her.  My former minister was practically executing rhetorical high-fives in this week’s circular because one of her parishioners (an octogenarian with previous conditions, as I recall) was admitted to the ICU with COVID—as if to say, “You see?  I told you all that this was deadly!”  The personnel at the “integrative medicine” clinic where I receive weekly transfusions of Vitamin C continue to mask up religiously, despite mounting evidence that obstructing respiratory passages for hours can be severely harmful.  (Ironically, a superstar in the integrative medicine world, Phoenix’s Colleen Huber, has been permanently banned from Twitter and roundly denounced on the Internet simply for highlighting some of these risks.)

Meanwhile, my son and his peers continue to battle with acute depression in their city’s lockdown, where many of them go the entire day without seeing another human being face to face.  The suicide rate in their demographic has skyrocketed; yet the generation that ought to include their parents (and I write “ought” because we are all parents of the forthcoming generation) utters paranoid whines and whimpers because masks and lockdowns do not straitjacket the whole planet roundabout, 24/7.  Think of it: people whose natural lifespan can scarcely now contain more than a mere decade or two of earthly time fume because the despair-inducing isolation of their children isn’t airtight.

Several governors have announced that large family gatherings over Thanksgiving will be banned in their state.  The presidential candidate who has spent the past half-year cringing in his basement from the “pandemic” incoherently promises to open the nation back up while also promulgating a universal mask mandate.  And the incumbent president, though at last lending an ear to Dr. Scott Atlas, also refuses to distance himself from Dr. Anthony Fauci (who now foresees extending mask- and lockdown-protocols until 2022).

Our news media are going full-throttle into bald-faced, gob-smacking propagandist mode.  “Oh, look: he used income-averaging one year to pay virtually no tax!  Hark ye, one and all!  List, ye people!”  And then, the next day… “No, debunked.  Debunked, do you hear?  ‘The Big Guy’ could be any guy… and why wouldn’t Xi’s minions, Putin’s henchmen, and the ruling-class dregs of Afghanistan and Iran want to pay this nice young man a few measly million for his advice?  What’s the matter with you all?  What has so polluted your souls?  Why are you so cynical and wicked?”

Why?  Because of an infectious disease called thinking, which somehow—incredibly—manages to spread even through the Internet and in other public forums.  “This cannot stand!  Stop the circulation of disruptive ideas!  Fact-checkers, to your posts!  Certified experts, hone ye your excising blades!  Black-splashing redactors, let the ink run like the Nile in spate!  We’ll do the rest.  Wolf is at full-cock.  Jim has girt his loins.  Christiane’s cup of words runneth over.  Brooke’s blinders are cinched tight in battle-mode.  Dana has memorized the interview questions passed along via secure email.  Let’s roll!  Dorsey, Zuckerman, Bezos… just keep further breaches from opening.  We’ll do the rest: we’ll make castles of clouds, tropical resorts of death camps, cordon-bleu cuisine of cow’s dung, sweet camomile of sulfur.  We’ve got this.  We’ve trained for this.  It’s what we do.”

Satire is all that’s left to the seeker of truth who’s determined to honor the principle of free speech.  It would be so easy to cry for the guillotine, to volunteer for journalist firing squads… but this, of course, is the very hell-on-earth vision that cultic ideologues hug to their hearts.  We must somehow not become them.  The energy consumed in mere resistance to such ugly impulses—in clinging to the negative virtue of not acting—leaves one exhausted.  We must find that energy, as our better angels pant and faint.

Yet where does it end, if the lithe-tongued lackeys of totalitarian utopia are not to be jailed or gagged?  “Foul deeds will rise, though all the earth o’erwhelm them, to men’s eyes”…. But will they?  Why?  How?  When all men are forced to go masked, and when all speech is passed through filters that catch far more truth than face-diapers catch virons, why should we be confident that the vipers among us will writhe helplessly and wither away once the sun rises? The sun that never sets, yes—the immeasurable truth of eternity, yes… but between now and then? What justice will there be between now and then?

Karl Popper’s Note 27 to the seventeenth chapter of The Open Society and Its Enemies expresses confidence—from the perspective of over half a century ago—that the Press might be made to fulfill its civic duty if elections affected by misinformation were repeated, with the newsrooms and studios responsible for the fraud being made to foot the bill.  How naive that great mind seems now… now that we know just how creative human mendacity can be.  The truth exists.  But does the unnamed “mother of three” interviewed in a high-crime neighborhood represent prevailing opinion?  If it should turn out that she’s the mother of none and has been coached in her views, are those views necessarily wrong?  Or if she’s all that she seems and also accurately projects the neighborhood’s mood, is a mood evidence that the real problem has been grasped?

I don’t see when or how this kind of thing gets better.  The tribes among us will have to wear their masks and feathers until they kill each other off—and perhaps the rest of us with them.  Those entrusted with words so that disputes may be reasonably resolved will continue to overdraw on Reason’s account until its last penny is assumed to be counterfeit.  The wildfire must run its course.  If a few of us find a low, barren place where the flames pass over lightly, then we will indeed have occasion to give thanks.

What a reckoning for the incendiarists, when the stars bend to earth and show them real fire!

Scientific Reasoning: Remedy to Pain or Recipe for Panic?

I haven’t use the Dictaphone on my iPad for two years.  I wouldn’t be using it now except that I can’t type with two hands.  My right arm is about to fall off, and I don’t want to overdose on Tylenol, which has seen me through much of this week. I decided that the ordeal that I’m going through might be instructive in a more general way.  I hope so… at any rate, it’s all I can think about for the moment.

I could adopt the attitude of a certain neurologist that I visited one time (and only one): that is, assume that any pain in my body is my prostate cancer metastasizing again.  The arm seems to have somewhat migratory pain from the top of the shoulder down into the wrist.  Migratory pain: that’s sort of heads up.  And then… well, 2+2 = 4, doesn’t it?  Patient had prostate cancer earlier this summer; now patient has migratory arm pain; ergo, must be the cancer coming back again in a new spot.

That’s the kind of analysis that a cancer patient would embrace naturally enough.  I suppose all of us (or those of us with certain unwholesome personality traits, anyway) immediately lunge to the worst possible scenario.  Something well worth remembering about science, however, is that it yields no absolute truth.  If one is trying to diagnose a pain in the body or any other empirical problem, one looks for evidence to support this or that particular theory over its rivals.  In my case, the “cancer” theory doesn’t have a whole lot of evidence behind it.  It’s about as nuanced as the 2+2 = 4 formula: you had cancer before, you have a pain now, the pain must be cancer.

But I can also, with reflection, link the pain to specific “trigger” events having to do with excessive exercise.  As a kind of would-be hitting instructor in baseball—an excavator of techniques long forgotten by the game—who operates a site at SmallBallSuccess.com, I construct hypothetical versions of century-old swings all the time.  One in particular had me jamming my right elbow quite a bit in the follow-through.  Not that I’ve ever played golf… but I believe golfers rather famously have the same problem.  The severe compression of elbow and shoulder joints seems to have pinched a nerve, or perhaps strained ligament.  When I was too foolish to leave the arm alone completely for several days, the pain quite predictably kept returning.  It would get better for a while… but then I would assume that “a little bit better” meant “recovered”.  Incredibly (I myself am amazed at my stupidity), I repeated the same miscalculation several times.  At last a nagging discomfort became persistent aching of a magnitude greater than anything I’ve experienced for years.

So what should I conclude about over-exercise?  I used to work out quite vigorously and, as one might say, religiously.  Am I just getting old?  Am I looking at incipient arthritis?  Is there any relationship to my cancer adventure at all?  I think the answer to the last of these posers is probably “yes”… but not the facile kind of “yes” that my neurologist wanted to promote.  Rather, I suspect that, because I’m taking so many hormone-suppressants to deny prostate cancer its natural fuel, I am also denying my muscles and joints the fuel they need to recover from routine stress.  If this is so, then perhaps I can find supplements that provide muscle support without hormones and move a long way toward solving my problem.

This is in fact the step that I am currently taking.  (Sincerest thanks to Mr. Sanchez for suggesting Garden of Life FYI Restore Muscle—a 100 percent vegan option).  But, of course, I’m proceeding without having proved my hypothesis: I’ve only rendered it the more likely of two proposals (which is, I would add, precisely the nature of scientific “proof” in practical application).  Could I have overlooked other possibilities in my desire to embrace a less malign one?

I know from my first round with cancer that metastatic cells do tend to move in upon bones when incidental tears and stresses occur to muscle.  What about my present condition would cancel that scenario?

Actually, I have a second pain of note—and it’s in my hip, because my right arm had grown so sore that I decided to throw left-handed in another baseball video.  In doing so (another very predictable result, in hindsight), I strained the inside of my right thigh.  Again, that source of pain is fully explicable as the product of repeated (and bloody foolish) aggravation.  One special point of interest here, though, is that the hip has at last almost entirely recovered.  I’ve gone back-and-forth with both injuries, but the hip is the one I’ve treated better.  Recovery is almost complete.

That’s a positive sign.  The arm has likewise shown improvement over periods when I nurse it along.  That doesn’t sound like cancer.

I might further note that my heel spurs have been acting up even though I have done no jogging or extreme walking lately.  The only explanation for that pain, inasmuch as there are no distressed muscle or bone complexes nearby, would once again be that even minimal exercise is not being handled very well—by any part of my body.  Tissue is simply not rebuilding itself overnight the way it used to do.

Finally I should point out that my shoulder has been hurting me more right after I have a typing session, usually in the morning.  (Hence my dictating to this annoying little iPad.)  That seems pretty conclusive to me.  Lots and lots of tiny muscle groups are used in typing: we all know about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.  The recurring pain after an episode of typing very probably points to muscle damage.  What I need to do is a) take my new pills to allow my muscles and joints to recover in the absence of hormones, b) stop exercising with the ferocity that I used to bring to the endeavor, and c) find new exercises that keep me fit but do not put severe strain on my muscles.

This, I submit, is how scientific reasoning works.  You form an hypothesis, you create tests for it, you look for evidence that supports or refutes it, and—in the happy case of discovering supportive evidence—you continue looking for more support… or contradiction.  You consider evidence that is conspicuous by its absence.  What does the theory fail to explain that you want to account for?  Any theory can have a certain amount of support and yet be incorrect if the examiner proceeds no farther.

Too often today, unfortunately, our self-styled scientists exchange professional high-fives after they account for a rather restricted body of evidence, and they go no farther.  Heaven forbid that anybody should turn over another stone!  In fact, people who try to do so in certain celebrated cases lately have been publicly denounced, reviled, blackballed, and refused a place in the public exchange of ideas.  I don’t recognize this as science, yet it’s the body of thought that my ex-minister refers to as the “best science” in a recent circular emailed to the congregation.  The “best science”, according to her, insists that mask-wearing is our surest means of protection against CV-19.  The implication, I guess, is that inferior science reaches a different conclusion; for how else can you rate this science if not by its conclusions?  Do our “best scientists”, then, have any concern about the overwhelming evidence correlating mask mandates and lockdowns with the spread of the virus?  

Apparently not. It is the “best scientists”, rather, who have refused to allow such information into the public forum.  They offer no refutation of the graphs at RationalGround.com rational or similar websites; theirs is the tyranny, indeed, that has prevented the formal publication of a major Danish study on mask efficacy for over two months.  Expected to reach the public eye in August, this research has so far been rejected by The Lancet and JAMA due to the political incorrectness of its outcomes. One contributor answered a query about the paper’s status in these words, more or less: “It will appear as soon as we find a journal brave enough to publish it” (source: Daniel Horowitz, Conservative Review, Episode 743).

One earns an instant ban from Twitter if one seeks to publicize any such inconvenient truth. The “best science” appears to be associated with the position of shutting people off when they question conclusions on the basis of an abundance of contradictory evidence.  I’m glad the evidence in my own case doesn’t indicate that my cancer is spreading.  I have recent lab results, as well, that wave no red flags, and I have the responsiveness of my body to gentle treatment when I decide to use a little common sense in my exercise routine.  I’m not coddling myself.  I’m not allowing myself to believe something that has little support.  I’m choosing the conclusion for now that appears to have more evidence behind it.  I am not panicking, though I easily could; I am looking at what facts are available to me.  I’m also looking for further facts that seem unavailable but may be hiding from me in the shadows.  Meanwhile, I’m taking action on the basis of the most probable explanation.

This is what science is supposed to do.  It’s not good, bad, worse, or better.  It is certainly not “the best”.  It’s simply a struggle for us to make sense of physical reality, the roots of which extend well beyond our possible understanding.

As a person of (I hope) moderate education and intelligence, I deeply resent the attempt of the “best scientists”—as they clearly suppose themselves to be—to shut me up, to keep me from asking questions, to keep me from sharing theories with others, to make me fall in the line and march in one direction.  This trend in our troubled society is the very antithesis of science.  It will prove to be the death of science is if we allow it to thrive.  It is an intellectual—yes, and a moral—cancer that has likely already metastasized and may yet precipitate our us.

Cancer and I: The Couple That Makes the Neighbors Cringe

If you were told less than half a year ago to buy a plot in the cemetery and get measured for a coffin—this by honored and decorated practitioners of mainstream American medicine—your perspective on a lot of things would change.  Having groped your way back among the living (thanks to a Mexican clinic unsanctioned by Their Holinesses at the FDA), you’d find that you didn’t care much about matters once deeply important to you.  “COVID-19: oh my God, there’s a .3 percent chance that I might die if infected!”  Nope… sorry.  Those odds don’t accelerate my heartbeat at all, except to make me angry with cowards who are terrified by them.  “Well, how about this: the nation is poised to elect a bunch of socialists who will so mangle the system that the republic can never recover!”  Okay, that’s disturbing… but it’s also a doom we have been collectively courting throughout my lifetime.  We don’t want to make our own mistakes any more: we want the avuncular hand of Government shielding us and guiding us through every corridor of our mortal existence.  We want to be treated as children… or as slaves whose only task is to vote for our Masters (for the brief time that we’re still allowed to vote).

I could get angry about that, yes… but why?  Why should I believe that human folly, so graphically illustrated on every page of history, has been banished from our own epoch?  Our species only learns, apparently, when water-boarded over and over in disaster.  We Americans will get the government we richly deserve next January.  The mainstream media made it all happen?  The universities made it all happen?  But who forced us to listen to the “news” or to submit our children to “higher education”?

Sometimes I think the only genuine Christians on earth live in China, where Xi Jinping’s ruthless tyranny suppresses, arrests, and tortures the faithful at accelerating rates.  Meanwhile, our priests and ministers urge us from the pulpit to support CCP-like social engineering projects and to scorn individualism as selfishness.  And we return every Sunday to hear more.

Maybe I was granted more time—how much more, nobody on earth knows—to peck out my contrarian telegrams as our society’s ship settles to the bottom.  Maybe that’s my part of the exchange that renewed my life in the flesh.  When massive food shortages make my eccentric diet impossible to sustain, or when rolling blackouts make my therapies impossible to continue, I suppose I’ll lapse into a steep decline.  Or maybe not.  Who knows?  Nobody here on earth.

My wife and I think a lot about where the “cancer road” may take us.  Most people, upon discovering that you’ve had cancer, assume that the scenario of your remaining life is something like the protagonist’s in that old Ben Gazzara series, Run for Your Life.  You have a year left, maybe two.  Oh, they’re all so sorry.  Poor baby… maybe you’ll get three.  I understand the reaction.  I was actually fortunate that the American “health care” system declined to give me any treatment at all.  My fellow patients at the Immunity Therapy Center in Tijuana had almost all suffered through a combination of surgery, radiation, and chemo.  The struggle of their weakened bodies to profit from more salutary, holistic therapies as mine did was uphill, and often heart-breaking.  In our medical system, cancer is “cured” in the same way as a death-row inmate is “freed” because a lawyer agrees to take on his appeal.  What a hope!

But for the rest of us cancer-revenants, with our hale-and-hearty physiques and our arsenal of vitamin supplements, how is the future any different?  Do we live until a car wreck claims us, or a heart attack?  Or do we still consider ourselves as having cancer, which will likely come roaring back within days if our bottles of pills stop coming?  Exactly what is cancer—what’s its modus operandi?  Is the mass of humanity free of it, while the unhappy minority must feel its shadow descending over their shoulders during every birthday and Christmas they enjoy from now on?  Is the burden of that shadow never to be removed in this life?

I could say (and I have said: I have a section of this tenor in Why I’m Not Dead) that we cancer survivors at least know which gate of the city is under attack.  The “healthy” around us could be harvested tomorrow by a stroke, by an overdose, by an undetected cancer.  (By COVID?  Very, very unlikely.  Could it be that we want to make a bubonic plague of SARS-2 because insulating ourselves from it gives us a sense of being shielded from all other assaults on our mortality?)  That ubiquity of exposure is true, insofar as it goes: the Reaper is stalking everyone.  But there remains something distinctly different about living in his shadow, day in and day out.  The blissful ignorance that renders the shadow undetectable to others does, after all, generate a kind of bliss.  We don’t enjoy that luxury.

And as far as I can tell, we’re not going to, we recovering cancer-holics.  The sobered-up wino dare not ever take a sip again; and most of our group, I think, are just as leery of ever eating sugar or red meat.  Half the contents of the grocery store now wear an invisible skull-and-crossbones as we run our eyes over the shelves.  We don’t even have intact memories in which to seek comfort… or, at least, I don’t.  When I recall the summers of pitching a baseball to my son in the back yard and try to sell myself on how happy times were then, my effort is immediately sabotaged by the thought, “But you had that hideous dark snake sliding around your entrails and didn’t even know it.”  I cannot make ignorance blissful even in retrospect: my ignorant yesteryears are now horrid to me.

Which, I might argue, makes me stronger than ever: mortality will never again be able to creep up on me.  That’s a great boon… but it can also be a great burden.  The childishly pious around me tell me to trust that God will keep me sound and whole, as if I might make a virtue of delirium—might shut my eyes, stop my ears, and sing hymns of praise at full volume.  “The night’s not there, there is no night: all is sweetness, joy, and light!”  Fa-la-la, fa-la-la!  And when I decline to chime in, they consign me to outer darkness.  Maybe cancer is God’s judgment on me for refusing to accept His gift of long life.  That God Incarnate promised us immense suffering as the likely recompense of virtue in this world is… is no longer the concluding instruction of the Beatitudes, I guess.

So you don’t seem to garner much comfort from the very quarter where you would have expected to receive it.  Comfort.  There are days, you know—many days—when I’ve thought that just seeing children playing in a park would chase the Shadow away.  They say that misery loves company… but it’s not true.  Or it’s only true of man in his most fallen moments.  The Shadow lifts one out of self-preoccupation, lifts one to prospects only accessible from the mountain’s peak… but our sick society has seen fit to drape those happy little valleys in mist.  If only I could have watched our local Single A baseball team play a few games this summer… but no.  But no.  But we had to exile every joyful social pastime from our midst because of THE PANDEMIC!  Because of the abject hysteria with which we greeted even mortality’s most wavering, transient vulture-shadow on the far horizon, we pounded all the joy out of life.  We pounded it sadistically, with the seventy-two knife wounds or cudgel blows that one reads of homicidal maniacs delivering to their victims.  Some of us did it.  I didn’t.  Maybe you didn’t… but a lot of us did.

Appallingly many cancer patients did.  I always want to say to them, “Don’t you think you already have death before you in a sufficiently palpable form without running panicked from doors that bang in the night?”  I don’t understand them.  I would have thought a round or two with cancer would give you the courage to measure your limitations as a secular being.

No children at play, and no ballgames: that’s been the hardest thing to bear.  Not knowledge of my own mortality, but knowledge of how little my fellow beings recognize the precious gifts within theirs.  I should have liked to see you all—you who don’t have cancer, or who don’t yet have it, or who don’t know that you have it—finding a spot in the sun, enjoying its golden touch, and blessing God for the day.  That would have done my heart great good.  Instead, I see you complaining—constantly complaining: the sun isn’t golden enough, its beam is too hot or too cold, the spot where it falls requires you to move too far.  You understand nothing, and you learn nothing.  The valleys I see are minute pockets of fools seeking refuge in caves. I’ll look for my little patch of sunlight today, as I do every day now.  It’s a lonely spot, but it’s directly from God, and I’ll take it.  I’m sorry that most of the rest of you won’t be there.

People of the Twilight: The Masked World Between Being and Non-Being

They fear life.  In many ways, they hate it.  It hasn’t been kind to them.  Mother Nature may have burdened them with unattractive faces, or the luck of the draw may have given them a single parent who bothered about their childhood needs a quarter of the time—and never on weekends.  Perhaps their temperament (who knows if such things are bestowed more by nature or nurture?) has prevented a comfortable degree of socialization.  They are oddball, alone, and without a cast of supporting characters or even a stock of pleasant memories to offer them refuge.

They’re likely to thrust a tremendous investment of affection upon a dog or a cat—the childhood- or bosom-friend they never had whose big eyes can always be interpreted as limitlessly loving and whose muteness as perfect agreement.  They tend to eat too much.  Whatever care they give to personal appearance often borders on self-mutilation, either to channel the loathing they feel for an unprepossessing body or, perhaps, to ground the argument that they could make a swan of the ugly duckling if they gave a damn.

Males, more often than females, seek escape in the virtual reality of video games.  The feminine taste leans more toward romantic fantasies available ad infinitum in ebook form.  Both sexes exploit social media in search of escape or relief—the male more likely to slash and burn with a lexicon learned from public toilets, pretending to be the buccaneer iconoclast he hasn’t the intellectual depth or moral courage to play in real life; the female more often curling up warmly behind an avatar and a trove of cliches that render her easily “friendable”.

The female is much more likely to have an above-average exposure to formal education.  One may even say that she is magnetically drawn to certain of the “social studies” in college because of the patented rationalizations they offer for her misery—the absolution of any personal guilt and the accusations lavished upon others.  Graduate-degree mills in several fields are indeed nothing short of a “crutch industry”, thanks to an abundance of her kind in the post-grad population.

The male of this species that dwells in twilight, while not so successful academically (and, for that matter, distinguished by his unsuccess in all endeavors), isn’t stupid.  He has a measure of intellect that might have been tapped for more-ambitious-than-average projects if only a means of motivating him existed.  He has dedicated whatever talent he possesses, sadly, to sneering and snarling at the system that walls him in with evidence of his failure and inadequacy.  He might possibly construct a bomb some day, and it might possibly be of the small nuclear variety: he has the acumen necessary for something of the sort.  The question is… does he have the courage, the hellish courage (think of Milton’s Satan), needed actually to make other humans who’ve never done him wrong suffer far more than he ever has?  Probably not.  Mercifully, in most cases, no.

As a footnote, I should add that another kind of male exists: more sociable, much more “female”.  Oddball yet eloquent, alienated yet readily found in company, he plays at the edge of twilight and represents an unstable ally.  His companionable qualities make him risky: he may withdraw in a given crisis from endorsing outright anarchy.  While he may follow whatever crowd forms to overthrow everything, he’s also apt to follow that hard day’s work with an evening at the theater or the cabaret.  He’s not a bomb-thrower; and if you yourself are one, you shouldn’t assume that he has your back.

Whether courtesy of the Ivory Tower or simply through natural attraction, both “pure” sexes of Twilight People are idolaters of the future.  The future is not now.  In Baudelaire’s grand phrase, it’s anywhere out of this world.  The details of that better—that oh-so-very-best—future are yet to be hatched out.  Why bother?  At the moment, the present needs annihilating, for Future Perfection cannot come to dwell among us until a place for it to dwell is swept clean.  A mind even of average intelligence, to be sure, would grasp early in “the struggle” that the Golden Age isn’t going to show up during the lifetime of its footsoldiers.  The Twilight People “get” this.  They embrace it, indeed.  The indefinite delay—the perpetual postponement—is more attraction than obstacle to the true believer.  After all, the future’s real gift is its looming, its approach.  One may devote one’s life to preparing the glorious way with far more zeal than one might bring to actual day-to-day life in any well-defined utopia.

The zeal’s the thing.  Life is hateful, miserable, loathsome… but zeal for tomorrow makes today tolerable—and may tomorrow, always almost here, never complete its disillusioning arrival!

Two further characteristics will likely have struck you about the People of Twilight as I wrote the previous couple of paragraphs: 1) they have no faith in any metaphysical reality, and 2) their zeal for “unreal reality” has been nudged into the gap of that missing faith.  It couldn’t be otherwise; for, as much as they shun daylight, they also fear the night.  They hate life, but they hate death, too.  They flee life, but can’t flee it too far—not beyond its edge; for in that chasm lurks the unthinkable, infinite and permanent oblivion.  Precisely because they’ve made nothing of life, they must cling to it.  It’s all they’ve got.  Maybe it will yet yield something pleasant, something worthwhile.  Probably not.  But at least there’s that chance in a million.  Beyond the pale, in the outer darkness… no chance of anything.  Ever.

Perhaps the greatest advantage of faith is its taking the terror out of death… and perhaps an advantage very nearly as great is its bestowing purpose on life.  Imagine the misery of having neither purpose nor a means of escape from purposelessness.  A difficult spot to find oneself in.  Twilight is the only alternative: a world that isn’t here-and-now but also isn’t the hereafter: a kind of ongoing suspension, a transport in cryogenic immobility from the hated world to the same world no longer hateful.  And you get there by dreaming of a world no longer hateful… on whose behalf you ignore, or actively incinerate, all in the world around you.

I’ve come now to masks.  I might have come to firebombing and Antifa, or to broadcasting made-up dramas in full awareness of their fantasy, or to translating every single human event into the plots and assaults of racists as ingeniously as John Donne transformed a flea into sexual intercourse.  But masks will do.  In fact, they are surely the supreme trope, the most expressive creation, of the People of Twilight.  The masked face breathes, but does not partake of your filthy public air.  That face may speak to you, but “socially distanced” and muffled by a sheet.  Its features are not those of a “death mask”, for the eyes remain open; but without contributing gestures from mouth or nostrils, the intent behind the eyes remains always equivocal.  Are they warm and simpatico… or are they hot and fuming?

The new face is half in the dying daylight and half in the clammy fingers of night.  It’s neither fish nor fowl.  Hands off!  You don’t know it—you have no hermeneutic key to its thoughts.  Wherever you may suppose it to be… it’s elsewhere.  Welcome to the brotherhood of the stay-away-from-me’s.

The rationale undergirding (or hiding behind) the mask is similarly evasive.  We are told that the mask keeps deadly microbes from exiting the wearer, and also that it protects the wearer from deadly microbes.  (Yet mask-cultists never appear to register anxiety about infecting others: their concern is always for their own vulnerability.)  The mask’s weave blocks minute viral particles… but it does not compromise the wearer’s lungs by trapping larger contaminants and bacteria before the mouth for hundreds of inhalation cycles.  The mask is security against a virus traveling everywhere—everywhere—in aerosol form… yet it’s unnecessary outdoors, and its challenge is largely met by social distancing.  Your mask will protect you from me… yet I must wear one, too, because yours may not protect you.  COVID virons are so tiny that two mask-walls scarcely suffice to impede their attack… yet the visible gaps around the chin and the nose bridge are too small to open a passage.  Bare hands are constantly in contact with noxious “naked air”… yet those same hands are forever readjusting the mask, with a thumb or fingertip slipping past the gate every time.  Or if the wearer always “purels” and/or removes gloves before every adjustment… well, didn’t a bare hand grasp the second glove to come off, or didn’t a bare hand hit the pump of the Purel bottle?  And there’s always that potentially lethal three or four feet between the bottle and the face, filled by ever-untrustworthy free air.

Neither dead nor alive.  The People of Twilight are among us, and they are legion: just how many, we’ll soon find out.  But a house divided against itself cannot stand, and a people half of whom flee the daylight cannot grow and prosper.  What the deranged cultists of the fleeing half refuse to understand is that twilight, by definition, is unstable, ephemeral: a flight into night.  To reject life is to run into death’s arms.  To deny God is to affirm fearful oblivion.  There’s no third option.

FREE EBOOK: From Sunday (October 11) to Thursday (October 15), this text that I created for a college class is will be available as a Kindle download at no cost whatever. Mainstream academic publishers, of course, didn’t want to take a chance on my thesis: that medieval scribes had faintly Christianized the ancient Irish legend of Cu Chulainn’s journey to the Other World and the Welsh Owein’s transits through the same interface. They bristled even more when I added Marie de France’s Eliduc to the list, these days treated only as an indictment of toxic masculinity. Yet the redemptive allegory, at least in the last two, is unmistakable… except to the unredeemed.

To Doctors: The Soul Isn’t Gagged and Bound in Its Bodily Prison

On Wednesday, September 9, my personal account of battling with prostate cancer through spring and summer of 2020 was released on Amazon.  As of Thursday, September 10, a promotion went active that offers the Kindle download free for five days (i.e., through Monday, September 14).  The book’s title is Why I’m Not Dead.  That’s how I feel about the contrast between mainstream medicine in the US and the alternative treatments I received in Mexico—death sentence vs. new chance at life—and the rest of the book strives to be similarly straightforward.

Inasmuch as the ebook is free for the moment, I see no reason to paste in excerpts here.  I’d rather discuss, very generally, what the book is and is not.  (My plan, by the way—if Amazon’s software throws up no roadblock—is to offer the ebook for free in a promotion at the beginning of every month for some while in the future.)

My text is NOT a “hit piece” on mainstream American medicine, if by that colorful phrase is meant an emotionally surcharged and manipulative indictment of the entire system.  It’s the testimony of one man.  It bears upon a single series of incidents relating to how that man was lost in the bureaucratic shuffle—then asked to content himself with a death sentence because some inflexible paradigm directed him to the Dying square after he landed on the Metastasis square.

Now, my “board game” analogy certainly implies that the system is flawed.  A thoughtful person cannot be handed a stone instead of a loaf of bread and fail to ask, “What’s up with this bakery?”  It could be that my falling through the cracks (as in not receiving the basic diagnostic test for two months, then being forced to await the results for another month) was just bad luck.  On the other hand, there’s no doubting that “the system” offers cancer patients a very limited menu of options: usually surgery, chemo, and radiation (which you can order a la carte or as a Blue Plate Special).  At the same time, it vindictively suppresses any attempt on the part of patients or doctors to draw innovative treatments—using diet, vitamin supplements, heat therapy, Rife technology, etc.—into the mainstream’s flow.

So the book, naturally, contains some reflections upon the medical establishment’s motives.  That establishment placed me under sentence of death.  Then, two months (and about $40,000) later, I returned from Mexico virtually cancer-free.  That’s not supposed to happen… yet it happens over and over again, for those who can afford to eat deep into their life savings (for Medicare supports no such alternatives, and the flight to Tijuana isn’t even tax-deductible).  I attempted to keep my rampages to a minimum, and also to confine them to sections marked “Commentary”—as distinct from those marked “Chronology” that continued the linear narrative of my journey.  But I couldn’t very well pass over the polar separation between how I was treated in Tijuana and how in my own country, how I was given a new lease on life in Tijuana and how consigned to death in Georgia.

The hipshot conclusion reached by several (usually much younger) fellow patients at Carlos Bautista’s Immunity Therapy Clinic) was that we Yanks need more socialism.  No, that’s not a thesis whose merits impress me.  In fact, I contend that my experience in the US was very much that of a pawn caught in a vast, impersonal socialist system.  We already have the worst aspects of public health care: long delays, one-size-fits-all diagnoses, pigeon-holing treatments, a highly manipulative payment structure, haughtily indifferent doctors or “experts”, and an unstated assumption that your individual inconvenience is not a concern to the well-functioning state.  Also typical of socialism is that particularly abusive aspect of late capitalism which draws misdirected denunciation from our young citizens: corporatism.  The state, that is, farms out certain development or production needs to private operations.  I suppose in a socialist state, the emphasis is on what the central authority deems necessary (as in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, or in Communist China today); whereas in the late-capitalist model, private industry dictates (very subtly, through lobbying and bribery) where the emphasis goes so as to maximize profit.  In neither case is competition allowed to flourish and energize innovation.

So I’m not ranging far and wide to attack Big Pharma, and I’m not launching into half-baked political diatribes against capitalism.  Everything I say is said from the perspective of somebody “on the ground”.  I do not, for instance, float any proposal about how to straighten out the health insurance racket.  It’s a nightmare for most of us to negotiate… but I realize that the “inside baseball” awareness needed to advance workable improvement isn’t in my possession.  I’m not going to fire a broadside when I don’t even know if my cannon are loaded with grapeshot or chick peas.

My “commentary” sections are very occasionally dedicated to religious issues.  The book neither cries foul on religious concerns as being out of bounds in the “cancer game” (how could it?) nor insists on transporting divine will into the middle of every moment.  Cancer remains a mysterious subject, even to those who have studied it for a lifetime.  Sometimes lifestyle choices—smoking, drinking, consumption of sugar or red meat—seem a likely motive force… but then there are people like me who’ve made the right choices but find themselves under attack, anyway.  Genetics, maybe.  After much research (and, of course, prostate cancer is only traceable through the male line, which is evasive in my family’s history), I did find a genetic marker.  My uncle’s fatal cancer began in the prostate.  But my older brother has been unaffected, as has my first cousin.  Could it be stress?  Again, this is a plausible factor in my case—very plausible.  Yet many people have been more stressed than I throughout their careers and family lives, and… and I see them cruising along into their seventies with drinking problems, but no cancer.

So… is it “God’s will”?  Certainly you can discover something of God’s will for your life during any tragedy or calamity.  A devastating flood, a car accident, six months on the front line of a bloody war… these are experiences that can make your earlier priorities disappear into a vapor of silly illusions.  It was so for me as I skirted death this past summer.  But I’m always appalled to hear the theory advanced that God is punishing Jack or Jill by visiting that person with a dread disease.  What odious arrogance—what spiritual nullity!  St. Paul writes that the ill do not sin, meaning (I suppose) that their energies are entirely consumed in fighting off the threat to their body rather than divided between routine living and ambitious, toxic daydreaming.  The suffering are dear to God.  It is the most prosperous of us who should worry about where we stand in His eyes.

The one thing I want more than all else is for readers of the book afflicted by cancer not to feel bound and gagged by a supercilious medical community’s verdict that they just need to settle down and die comfortably.  I hate that Siren song—that whisper of the Serpent—with all my heart, mind, and soul.  May nobody succumb to it through professional bullying!  In our struggle with death, may we wrestlers in the mortal match shout in the face of Establishment “experts” that we are spirits trapped in bodies, and that the spirit will have its say!

As I explore the option of free promotions, I’ve decided to give several other publications the same trial run.  Here’s the list.  Again, all ebook download are free until Tuesday morning, September 15.

Faith/religion/spirituality:

Social and political commentary:

Nightmare Made of Dreams (essays tending toward a paleo-conservative, somewhat pessimistic conclusion, in that progressive thinking has undermined even our culture’s self-styled Right)

Fiction (novels):

Visit my Amazon Author’s Page for both Kindle e-books and on-demand bound copies.

Health Care: System vs. the Individual

I’m finishing up the story of my victory over prostate cancer with the help of the Immunity Therapy Center in Tijuana, having been left to die by our American health-care system.  Below is a passage from the final chapter.

I’m one man—and a man, at that, who’s never liked doctors’ offices or hospitals and doesn’t particularly trust authority.  I’m getting old; and in the twilight of my day, I developed a life-threatening health problem.  I sought help… and none was given.  My Medicare was charged over and over for costly articles concealing a ridiculous amount of redundancy and for needless office visits.  At the same time, those articles (and I mean catheters, primarily) were never anything approaching a cure for my condition, and those office visits were spaced so far apart that my initial cancer had three months’ grace to metastasize.  Meanwhile, simply diagnosing the disease, which should have been Job One, was overlooked by the staffs of two clinics for two of those months; and after the diagnosis was finally addressed by one clinic, I didn’t learn of it personally for yet another month.

I was dropped and kicked around like a football where twelve-year-olds scramble across the muddy field of some Middle School playground on a rainy October afternoon.  There was truly an incompetence reminiscent of a childish game about it all. While most of the nurses I met face to face were caring people, the medical establishment in general showed me little respect.  My health and my life were obviously not of any consequence to “them”, the gears and pistons of a faceless bureaucratic machine.  When, at long last, I understood that my life might well be cut short by cancer, the responses I encountered were of two sorts: 1) palliatives were offered to render death as painless as possible, and 2) calls were never answered and my appeals for help were utterly ignored. I suppose Number Two, properly speaking, would be a persistent non-response.

This is one man’s experience, in the grip of one dreadful disease, when transiting through the labyrinth of the “greatest health care system in the world”.  I place that phrase in ironic quotation marks because, of course, I consider my experience a miserable one.  I would sooner consult an old curandera with her basket full of herbs than return to the *** Clinic or to ___ Urology.  Now, I am but one man, and I’ve had no significant experiences of our system other than the one described in this book.  Maybe I’m a statistical outlier.  I don’t know how to rebut that proposition conclusively.  Maybe I’m just Mr. Hard Luck.

That theory doesn’t really handle the embarrassing evidence, though, that anyone can find in our medical establishment’s rates of cancer recidivism. I saw an appalling number of people at the Immunity Therapy Center who had cycled through years of conventional, mainstream therapy in the US—and who were in terrible shape, not in spite of their surgery + chemo + radiation, but because of it. Liz once told me (probably with a smile behind her mask) that they called patients like me “cancer virgins”, in allusion to our having lived through none of the mainstream treatments at all. We were the ones who responded best to therapy. Although the American “toxic trifecta” will often kill cancer cells, the problem is that most living cells in the tumor’s vicinity also die. For a year, two years—maybe three or four—the patient’s blood comes back free of the disease; but if a loose-floating cancer cell proceeds to multiply anywhere in the body now, the natural resistance mounted against it is far less than a healthy body’s would be. Indeed, two of our system’s three favorite treatments are themselves carcinogenic—and recall that we all have had cancer cells somewhere in our body from birth. The temporary eradication of detectable cancer, therefore, usually comes at the cost of creating a cancer-tolerant environment whenever the disease decides to flare up again.

Am I just complaining to grandstand? Am I just “one of those”—an enemy of the establishment who strokes his ego by assuming avant-garde or “woke” postures? You can pigeon-hole me wherever you please, wherever the result gives you the best night’s sleep… but one thing I’m most definitely not is a far-left radical.  A classical liberal I may well be, in the strict sense of believing in the value of individuality—in the essential right of individuals to live free, to enjoy liberty: the right to try, to fail, and to learn. Yet that’s a sense of the word which nobody understands any more (though it animates our Declaration of Independence and Constitution as “liberal” documents).

No, I’m not “out to get” the American way.  It’s not my fault that our way has been lost, not by me, but by both of our political parties. Republicans are supposed to say that this health-care system, for all its flaws, remains the best the world has ever seen.  Democrats are supposed to counter that the system refuses to offer equal health care for all and seems preoccupied, instead, with enriching pharmaceutical companies.  Republicans answer that companies have a right to a profit, and that, indeed, without profits to reinvest in research, American enterprises would not lead the world in the development of miraculous new drugs.  Democrats volley with the sneer that a lot of the profit never finds its way to the lab, and that what comes out of the lab is designed more for mass-marketing than for effective, lasting treatment.

I could strike a pose and grandly cry, “Calm down, ladies and gentlemen.  There’s some truth on both your sides.  We must work together…” and so on, and so on.  In the meantime, both sides will have written me off as belonging to the other if I show myself weak-kneed on a single article of their manifesto.  The truth, however, is that I don’t know where the truth lies: I’m just pretty sure there’s not much of it on either of these sides.  Our American labs do indeed develop miraculous treatments and technologies… and then those marvels are left for physicians in other nations to offer their patients, because a) existing treatments here can yet be milked for so much money (as per the Democrats’ accusation); and b) any treatment must have a 100 percent guarantee of success, or else the “victimized” patient can sue the doctor for millions (a state of affairs ushered in by Democrat mega-bureaucracy and “lawyer-ocracy”).

But Republicans, for their part, don’t seem very interested in sustaining a sensible, anti-statist, “Tea Party” side of the argument.  They know that no state-run system can supply uniform health care to every member of a vast nation—that a cutting-edge treatment will always be costly, and that providing it to all who need it could bankrupt the system in many specific instances.  They know that lawsuits further drive up the cost of care for consumers, and that watchdog agencies like the FDA too often simply screen the gold-mining of pharmaceutical mega-corporations that have slipped donations into the right hands.  These are hymns from their base’s hymnal, but the Honorable Representative So-and-So echoes the lyrics of a different creed when Congress takes a vote.

Look at the current brouhaha over drugs like hydroxichloroquine and, just lately, an extract from the oleander plant.  I myself certainly don’t know whether there is merit to pursuing these prospective treatments for CV-19 or not… but people who have no more knowledge than I have staked out a position passionately, based (it appears) on nothing but their “R” or “D” affiliation.  The R’s contend that we should encourage further research into any treatment until it can be conclusively proved ineffective or dangerous; and, further, that willing individuals should be allowed access to such treatment if they find the element of risk acceptable.  The D’s, in contrast, insist that not a dime should be spent on theoretical cures that don’t have the weight of big-league names behind them; and, further, that no individual should ever be allowed to select a treatment, no matter how resigned to risk he may be, that the paternalistic SuperNanny of centralized government hasn’t approved officially.

These positions are the precise opposite of those which the R’s and D’s occupy on cancer drugs and treatment.  There, the R’s defend what I call the Medi-Pharm Complex’s supreme authority to dictate where we can go for therapy and what therapies we may receive.  The D’s cry foul, claiming as individuals of free will the inalienable right to risk their lives in submitting to a new therapy that might save their lives.  Now, suddenly, the latter sound like the true liberal of the nineteenth century, while the former sound like totalitarian statists who are about one move away from making us all have chips implanted into our skulls.

Do I have a “political view” on all this?  In the terms used to define politics these days, I would say “no”.  I would argue that my view is mere common sense.  I’m not interested in promoting any broad agenda: I just want the freedom to live out my own little life like a responsible adult with a functional brain.  Let me try something that may work… and if it doesn’t work, deprive me of the right to sue my suppliers for not shouting in my ear with a bullhorn, “There’s a risk!”  Let me possibly mess up, as long as I have a chance of succeeding.  Don’t measure me for a coffin and then offer me a few months’ worth of joints until I stop moving and can be settled into my new, permanent home.  Treat me with some respect.

Why is that political?  I am one man.  Let me breathe.  Stop rationing my air.

Isn’t it ironic (in this unending chain of human ironies) that Mexico, our dysfunctional neighbor to the south whose government rests on the spectrum somewhere between socialism and brigandism, allows individuals the freedoms that they once enjoyed up here?  No, the Mexican state doesn’t secure those freedoms well, and few can reliably access them.  Most of the “allowance” is off the books, off the radar.  But when so much is regulated and policed, the system becomes overloaded.  It also loses its vibrancy, if carried to the extreme. People stop working, because there’s no point: you can’t keep what you earn, you can’t profit from your own ideas, and you can readily disappear for protesting.  So…

So certain little enterprises are permitted to prosper in the underbrush, like the mavericks—the cimarrones—that broke away from the original Spanish herds and became the longhorn breed.  They aren’t enough of a threat to round up, and the government doesn’t really want to waste energy and resources in rounding them up—especially when they also generate tax revenue and attract foreign visitors with full wallets.  My Mexican benefactors sent me home with instructions to inject myself four times a week.  Oh, the lawsuits, if I were to draw the wrong amount from the vial!  Oh, the lawsuits, if I were to harm myself!  I was sent away with the implicit assumption that I was a responsible adult.  When is the last time my own nation, the self-styled Land of the Free, made such flattering assumptions about me?

My politics?  If by that word you mean “broad agenda”, I have none.  Capitalism worked well for our medical establishment until a few entities prospered too handsomely: then we had, not a free-market economy, but rule by Mogul emperors.  That each emperor was nominally a private-sector actor when tax forms were filled out was an irrelevancy; for the emperors have come to own the public sector, and our watchdogs—our SuperNannies—are mere puppets on private, behind-the-scenes strings.

Socializing our system wouldn’t have made my journey any easier.  In fact, look at my path and tell me that it doesn’t resemble a nightmarish trek across the terrain of socialized medicine.  Long waits, one-size-fits-all prescriptions and treatments, shameless profiteering by peripheral private concerns that supply the public machine, cut-your-losses negligence of cases that have grown complex or fallen between the bureaucratic cracks… I already know what socialized medicine looks like.  We have it right here, right now, in the US of A.

And, yes, to the extent that we don’t, it’s because the unholy alliance between the stethoscope team and the lab-coat team makes higher profits when government doesn’t mandate fixed costs for drugs.  But it’s government that prevents the free market from forcing costs down by allowing patients the option of alternative treatments.  It’s the government that conspires with the Medi-Pharm Complex to punish those who dare to go off the grid for help. I can’t even claim my flights to and from San Diego as medical expenses on my income tax—but I will have to pay tax on the investments I had to liquidate in order to finance the saving of my life.

With freedom like that, who needs oppression?  With capitalist cronyism like that, who needs socialism?

“The same people keep getting themselves killed”: I’m constantly remembering that old French saying.  What hope is there for us?  The hope of life under the radar, between the cracks—the hope I place in individual human beings who persist in finding a way to be humane.  Maybe we don’t need a new system; maybe we need as little system, in fact, as we can possibly get away with.  Maybe the more we try to fix things so that we answer everyone’s problem, the more we force everyone to be that abstract Citizen whose problems are all answered on the “Frequently Asked Questions” page.  Maybe, to the extent that we have a system, it needs to be characterized by flexibility—by adaptation to local and individual circumstances: by a liberality of chances both for those seeking help and those offering it.  Maybe we just need to get out of our own way.