The US Economy in Two Headlines

Here’s a quote from the first story,

Wealthy households and individuals are pouring money into asset managers, betting on companies that lose $1 billion a year, bonds from little-known Middle Eastern republics, and giving hot Silicon Valley start-ups more venture capital than they can handle.

And private equity has seen so much cashflow that firms have $2 trillion of unused capital.

Axios, Dion Rabouin, Jun 6, 2019 – Too much money (and too few places to invest it)

Here’s a quote from the second one,

“Relatively small, unexpected expenses, such as a car repair or replacing a broken appliance, can be a hardship for many families without adequate savings,” the report said. “When faced with a hypothetical expense of $400, 61% of adults in 2018 say they would cover it, using cash, savings, or a credit card paid off at the next statement,” it added.

Bloomberg, Matthew Boesler, May 23, 2019 – Almost 40% of Americans Would Struggle to Cover a $400 Emergency

43% of Texans (and about that many Americans) are poor. Explain to me again how we cannot afford to deliver a dividend to those people, the half of America that is poor, that is struggling (if you must insist on soft language instead of harsh reality) we could make them have to struggle less, at the very least. Or is suffering what you really want your fellow humans to do?

From a Twitter reply.

Dark Money and the Rise of Conservative Orthodoxy

…or “why the Federalist Society is not your great, great, great, great grandfathers federalist society.”

Facebook took the time to inform me today that the Federalist Society had added an event to their schedule. I was befuddled by this. Why should I care? Why is this in my notifications? Did I mistakenly like this right wing ideological factory? Why would I do that?

Well, the why in all those questions is quite easy to figure out. The Federalist papers and the Federalist party were a group of the founders of the United States who set about to promote the adoption of the constitution, most of whose writings came from Alexander Hamilton. When I ran across the page on Facebook I assumed that the group was organized to promote some form of return to the US’ constitutional roots, or at least to promote a move to update the language in the constitution to reflect the current structures that the government empowers so as to give them constitutional legitimacy (things like Social Security, Medicare, and money not based on a commodity like gold and silver) but what I have discovered since liking the page on Facebook is that the Federalist Society is just another Koch funded venture. Just another attempt to promote their desire to keep their ill-gotten gains cloaked in conservative ideology.

VOX: The incredible influence of the Federalist Society, explained

Within just a few years, the group was embraced and funded by a number of powerful, wealthy conservative organizations, which eventually included foundations associated with John Olin, Lynde and Harry Bradley, Richard Scaife, and the Koch brothers. “The funders all got the idea right away—that you can win elections, you can have mass mobilizations, but unless you can change élites and the institutions that are by and large controlled by the élites, like the courts, there are limits to what you can do,” Amanda Hollis-Brusky, a professor of politics at Pomona College and the author of “Ideas with Consequences,” a study of the Federalist Society, said. “The idea was to train, credential, and socialize a generation of alternative élites.”

The New Yorker

The Federalist Society is one of the more the well-respected public faces of this dark conservative web of money within American society. This mechanism created specifically to throw off the yoke of income tax and to secure the wealth of the wealthy for the wealthy and their children exclusively. When I was a member of the Libertarian Party, no one talked about the Koch brothers influence on the party, on the nature of libertarian thought itself, and yet David Koch was one of the early (vice) presidential candidates and spent large sums of his own money to promote the ticket and the party. They co-created the CATO institute, frequently referenced in the early years of this blog, the leading libertarian think tank in Washington DC. Their views on money and finance permeate all of libertarian thought, which is why American libertarians deny the existence of libertarian socialism.

This desire to codify their wealth as theirs beyond question predates the Koch brothers even though they are the current target of choice for most liberals. Jane Mayer has been doing the generic book tour promoting her book Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right. She’s been in high demand since the 2016 election upset that yielded the Orange Hate-Monkey. Here she is talking about what she learned while writing the book on last week’s episode of On the Media,

On the Media – Dark Money and the Rise of Conservative Orthodoxy – May 31, 2019

By about 1971, some of the leaders of the biggest businesses in America became alarmed. They watched the anti-Vietnam War movement taking on the companies that were involved in the defense industry, the consumer movement of Ralph Nader and the environmental movement that was beginning to call for all kinds of regulations on pollution. And you get this kind of call to arms by Lewis Powell, who was then a lawyer from Richmond; he wasn’t yet on the Supreme Court. He wrote a paper for the Chamber of Commerce and he said, ‘big business, if you don’t get organized, we’re going to lose our way of life. The enemy is not the kids who are on the streets protesting, it’s not hippies or yippies. The enemy is elite public opinion. And if we want to fight back, we have to change the way the elite public opinion is formed in this country, all of the instruments that form public opinion, meaning the media, the pulpits, academia, science, the courts and public policy. So the creation of right-wing think tanks, starting in the late 1970s, was an answer to Lewis Powell’s call to arms. The people who set up the Heritage Foundation were literally talking about this Lewis Powell memo and saying, ‘we’ve got to do something, we’ve got to spend money, we’ve got to fight back.’ Joseph Coors, who was heir to a brewing company in Colorado, sent a letter to his senator, Gordon Allott and said, ‘I’ve got money, how do I spend it?’ And an aide who was working for Allott saw this letter, and his name was Paul Weyrich, and he was one of the two founders of the Heritage Foundation and he said, ‘I’ve got an idea. We’re going to set up this think tank.’

Jane Mayor interviewed by Bob Garfield

The Heritage Society and the Federalist Society are no different from each other once you scratch the surface. Denying science when it suits their purposes, catering to the wealthy with their laughable ideas about supply side or trickle-down economics, undermining the ideals of civic duty and public good with their willingness to take large amounts of cash directly from the wealthy. They are worse than the John Birch society was. At least the Birchers believed the bullshit they peddled. These guys peddle whatever the wealthy pay them to say. They no more believe what they say than the Orange Hate Monkey might believe what he said yesterday or even an hour ago. They’ll believe it so long as they are being paid to believe it. They are preaching conservative ideology every bit as reprehensible as anything the John Birchers ever stood for, and they do it openly as just another thing they want to do to America now that they have control of it since that is what their funders want of them.

CBC News: The NationalThe Koch Brothers’ “Dark Money” | Jane Mayer – Feb 26, 2016

One hundred and fifty-six members of the current congress signed a pledge that was created by one of the Koch’s groups saying they will do absolutely nothing about global warming that costs a single cent.

Every time a conservative/libertarian calls calls you a collectivist, they are merely repeating a talking point of David Koch. They are all David Koch clones that are incapable of independent thought. If they could have independent thoughts they might actually question what is so bad about doing things as a group, since nothing much gets done these days without working as a team. They certainly aren’t opposed to owing fealty to a king or dictator, what they really mean by saying “collectivist”. If they were opposed to the centralization and assertion of power they wouldn’t be Stormtrumpers now, would they?

So the long and the short of this is that I unliked the Federalist Society page on Facebook. I really don’t have room in my headspace to sort out all of the various sources of bullshit I’m exposed to these days, especially with the conservative/libertarian love child currently sitting in the White House. The pruning of my libertarian delusions continues at its same, slow pace.

Daily Beef: Trash is Trash No Matter Who Throws it Away

Don’t be Stupid.

That’s what she said, when I tried to throw the food away. It was part of a wrong order we’d driven home with. We’d separated the parts out that we were going to take back to get remade. The bag was all set up, ready to go back, and then she puts the fries back into the bag. I said “keep those fries, they’re just going to throw them away.” She says “that’s too many fries. I can’t eat that many fries.” So I turned to the trashcan to throw them away myself. That’s when she said it. Don’t be stupid.

Any restaurant you return food to throws that food away. They aren’t allowed to do anything else with that food other than throw it away. So throwing it away yourself if you don’t need it as proof of an order filled incorrectly is perfectly acceptable, especially if you don’t want to be tempted to eat two giant boxes of french fries. You should just throw them away. What else are you going to do?

What if they want the whole order back?

Really? The whole order? Well then, I guess I’ll have to go back for those fries I threw away. Here, I can get you that handful I ate right now, just give me a second. The whole order, sheesh. Don’t be stupid.

When I got angry at being told I was being stupid, she accuses me of wanting her to eat all the fries. I don’t recall saying anything beyond “just keep the fries”. I said just keep ’em because they will throw them away anyway. Then she told me to shut up. Don’t ever tell me to shut up. Don’t tell any writer to be silent or you will probably regret it. That simply isn’t in the cards for you, having that order followed. Writers do not shut up. We will get even, eventually.

This is a common refrain in the household. “You love to throw things away.” I do not love to throw things away. I simply will throw things away, even perfectly good items that someone might have a use for somewhere on the planet. There is so much cheap plastic shit around me on any given day, I’m sure someone could have a use for some of this plastic somewhere. But I don’t know who they are, and in the meantime I need the counter space for something else. I need the counter, and there isn’t any place else to store cheap plastic stuff that we can’t use anywhere else in the house. There was, but all those places are full now.

So I throw that shit in the recycler, if I can. If it can’t be recycled, even if I think it should be recyclable, I throw that stuff away. I throw it away because someone has to throw it away and I don’t see why that someone can’t be me. If being willing to be that someone makes me into some kinda discard-a-philic ne’er do well, I can live with that.

What I can’t live with is being told to shut up when my reasoning is totally sound. Discard that food you don’t want to eat because it will make you fat unless there is a starving person sitting right next to you or somewhere you can easily get to right now. You do not (repeat, DO NOT) have to leave that food in the refrigerator until it grows green mold on it . You can just throw that shit away right now. It will get moldy somewhere else eventually.

Ketchup packets. Tartar sauce packets. Soy sauce packets. Sweet sauce packets. Throw them all away unless you are planning a weekend barbecue and want condiments for that shindig. In any case, you can throw those hot mustard packets out right the fuck now. No human will consume those. That is how you can tell if the person across from you is secretly a lizard wearing human skin. If they eat any mustard other than French’s yellow mustard, they are an alien. Set phasers to liquify and fire when ready.

Barrels of old fortune cookies. Crates of wrapped plastic tableware. Containers of flour that were milled in 1850, from the looks of ’em. Unopened boxes of cereal that you’ve saved since you were a child. Dressers full of clothes that you will never wear. Rooms full of furniture that you can’t bear to part with. This is why the roadsides across America are a never ending series of self-storage units interspersed with supermarkets and strip malls. You have to have a place to store all the shit you won’t throw away, and you have to have places to buy the stuff you need to replace the shit you put in storage. Then you’ll need more self-storage, and the cycle repeats until you are crushed under the piles of magazines that you might need to look something up in one day and so don’t haul off to one of the dozens of storage units that you rent.

Now you are dead, and something has to be done with all your shit. So your relatives, if they aren’t stupid, will call an estate sales agent. Your relatives don’t want to go through your shit any more than you did, and they’ll just find more stuff that they can’t bear to let go. Their storage rooms are already full of their stuff. So the estate sales agent will go through your shit and throw away what can’t be sold and sell the rest. I suggest you shortcut the process. Call an estate sales agent yourself before you are crushed. When they ask who died say,

“No one died. I just want you to take all this shit in my house and get rid of it. Also? Don’t tell me where it goes or whether you had to throw any of it away.”

Then you can just go out and buy new stuff. Problem solved.

I’ve ranted on this before. I’m surprised it was only once before.

Adobe Will Not Sue You, But They Still Suck as a Corporation.

In a controversial move, Adobe pivoted away from the standard software model to the cloud-based subscription model in 2013, resulting in notably higher revenues (and higher prices for customers). Dolby’s lawsuit accused Adobe of copyright violations related to how the licensing costs Adobe paid to Dolby would be calculated under this new model.

VICE

The Wife is a guest author for this post. It seems she has a problem with this article I shared recently.


I have friends and family who read VICE frequently and believe it to be authentic and authoritative. I haven’t been so sure on that point. After reading the referenced article I think I know where to place VICE and its reporting. It is just another online tabloid. Sensationalist titles like this one with no basis in the facts of the story make VICE look more like an online scandal sheet than a reliable news source.

Mr. Bode didn’t even get his story right. Adobe’s letter was specifically directed to versions of the old Flash CC (the Creative Cloud version of Adobe Animate) specifically, versions that were using an add-in software product written by a third party. For whatever reason, Adobe is no longer utilizing software from that company so they are warning users that the software can no longer be licensed and that they should update to the newer CC versions of the Flash/Animate software as the license agreement they signed requires.

I looked deeper into this story and subject because I have pre-Creative Cloud versions of Photoshop and the full Adobe suite from the mid 2000’s. I was concerned that maybe my versions of the software were going to be the subject of the suit in question. But no, Adobe will not sue me for using pre-Creative Cloud software and is only sending out a warning to the users of the specific Adobe Flash/Animate software which is already under litigation by a third party. Those people could be subject to suit by someone if they continue using the now unlicensed software that they installed and have not updated.

I am providing feedback to VICE in this fashion because Vice doesn’t appear to have a means of providing feedback directly to the writers or to the managers of the website, a nearly unforgivable oversight on the part of your web programmers in this day and age.

No I’m not an Adobe fan. I think their Creative Cloud model of charging end users a monthly fee for software, software that is constantly updated and essentially never out of beta testing is a seriously stupid way of writing business software.

However the VICE article is inflammatory and highly misleading. The one ray of sunshine in the entire article is the screenshot of the notice that was sent to licensees by Adobe. Yes, Adobe has the obligation to let the licensees know that they could be subject to suit by someone if they continue using that software professionally. I was sent this same article by several clients and friends who were concerned that they or I might be sued for using Photoshop as the title of the article suggests.

This is why the click-through licensing so common in today’s corporate software world is like the iceberg lying in wait for the Titanic. It’s smooth sailing until the corporation decides they have to fix something, and the users are left out in the cold without a lifeboat. Read the CC licenses folks, you are obligated to update Adobe CC software when new patches come out. That is your responsibility, not Adobes. It says so right there in black and white. The software may contain tools written for them by third parties and that by not updating you could run into license issues. They are only obligated to let you know when something expires, which is what the example letter does.

Again. Adobe will not sue you for using an old version of Photoshop. That is just, I hate to say it, fake news. Mr. Bode or his editors used the name Photoshop because Photoshop is a program that everyone knows, and Adobe Animate is not. Sensationalist headlines garner more clicks, and that’s all that tabloid reporting wants. More attention.

Long Live CS4 and CS6! Yes, I use the CC but I hate it (loathe it) when they update and at the same time break parts that I need to use. Without warning my video files no longer work because this or that codec is missing in the latest update of CC, and I have to go scramble and find the codec that I need so I can finish a project. It is beyond frustrating. However, I can pop in my copy of CS4 or CS6, and it works exactly the same way every time. The same way it has worked since I bought those versions of Adobe software a decade and more ago.

If you don’t want to have to update, don’t buy into Creative Cloud licensing. If you do buy in, adhere to your licensing requirements so that you can avoid being sued. It really is one way or the other.

Technological Indigestion

“We think of capitalism as being locked in an ideological battle with socialism, but we never really saw that capitalism might be defeated by its own child — technology.”

Eric Weinstein via Andrew Yang & Vox
Stay Tuned with Preet – Mueller Speaks & The Underdog (with Andrew Yang)

There were several statements from Andrew Yang in the episode that were quoteworthy. The Vox article is quite quoteworthy as well.

“The greatest danger,” he told me, is that, “the truly rich are increasingly separated from the lives of the rest of us so that they become largely insensitive to the concerns of those who still earn by the hour.” If that happens, he warns, “they will probably not anticipate many of the changes, and we will see the beginning stirrings of revolution as the cost for this insensitivity.”

Why capitalism won’t survive without socialism

As I pointed out in the article Authoritarianism vs. Humanism and Delusion of Money, socialism and capitalism were never really in opposition anywhere aside from inside the minds of Marxists and robber barons.


The opposing force for Authoritarianism is deeper than socialism, which is why acceptance of socialism as the good is irrelevant in the long run. Authoritarianism is the godhead. The worship of absolute authority over all things living. What opposes it is just as strong, but largely unvoiced. It is an expression of the value of each human life. It is at its core humanism, the valuing of the human over the spiritual or supernatural. The movement that was spawned with the enlightenment and has been forgotten by most people today. Authoritarianism vs. Humanism


Capitalism and socialism are not in opposition. Capitalism and socialism can be present in the same mixed system because they deal with different parts of human interaction. Profit is not evil. Profit, when properly managed, is the reward for the entrepreneurial spirit. Profit, when held as an inviolable sacrement, leads to worship of the wealthy, what Objectivism has turned into over the last half-century. The Trump administration is laboring under this delusion of money. This holy profit-taking. Trump has started beating the drum of red baiting. He is promoting the same old schtick that Nixon and McCarthy did so well with two generations ago. I’ve said this from the moment that he announced his candidacy and he’s proven it daily since the broken system we live in delivered him into office. Trump believes in the zero-sum game and is right now rigging it to favor the wealthy who currently own our country. Delusion of Money

#ImpeachTrump

The order appointing me special counsel authorized us to investigate actions that could obstruct the investigation. We conducted that investigation, and we kept the office of the acting attorney general apprised of the progress of our work. And as set forth in the report, after that investigation, if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.

Robert Mueller via the New York Times
Robert S. Mueller III, his first public comments about the Russia investigation. – Doug Mills/The New York Times

This was a not too subtle hint to the US Congress that the next action that needs to be taken is by them. Like it or not, they have to impeach Donald Trump or they will be abandoning the framework that this country was founded upon. It is one way or the other, and there is no way in between.

Trump is a criminal, many times over. This was true even before he became the president, as documented over and over on this blog, referencing dozens of news outlets. Now he has committed other crimes that Bobby three sticks cannot charge him for. Congress must take up this task, or admit that they have no power to curb a modern president. If they admit this, they admit that they are no longer a co-equal branch of government.

The full Mueller report is here.

Felonious Traitors

“I think what is crucially important to remember here is that you had Strzok and Page, who were in charge of launching this investigation, and they were saying things like, ‘We must stop this president.’ ‘We need an insurance policy against this president.’

“That, in my view, when you have people that are in the highest echelons of the law enforcement of this nation saying things like that, that sounds an awful lot like a coup. And it could well be treason.”

Liz Cheney through MSNBC

What gets me is these hypocritical assholes want us to say nice things about their lying, cheating, insane president; but spent eight years telling us, through the media, just how bad Barack Obama was. They were committing treason every day, if we use their standard of measurement. Treasonous, especially in light of the fact that Obama could easily have been the best president of our lifetimes.

Peter Strzok, as I said previously, is a counter-intelligence hero. The Orange Hate-Monkey is something that smells foul spilled on the sidewalk in front of you that you carefully step around, by comparison. It is not even questionable, given Trump’s actual record in office, that we should have taken measures to insure that he could not be president. If we, as Americans, have any sense left, we will take measures to make sure he is punished for his crimes, and make sure that no one like him will ever attempt to hold office again.

Facebook comment backdated to the blog.

Daughter of a guy who helped sell weapons to Saddam, who ignored repeated warnings from the intelligence community until America was attacked, who then started an illegal war based on false and manufactured information that got 4000 Americans killed — some by those same weapons — wants to talk about treason.

Then again, I guess Liz Cheney knows a traitor when she sees one about the same way Julie Nixon Eisenhower knows a crook.

Stonekettle Station

Memorial Day Quotes

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.” 

Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address, Marcy 4, 1861

Robert Reich contrasts the quote from Lincoln’s first inaugural with one of the Orange Hate-Monkey’s recent tweets, in a cynical strategy illustrating just how little of the progressive Republican spirit, so present in the election of 1860 and in the body of Abraham Lincoln and his presidency, remains in the Republican party. I’ve beaten that dead horse enough. Appealing to conservatives (the bulk of modern Republicanism) requires looking to the distant past, preferably a past they hope to emulate. So they get Lincoln from his first inaugural sans any reminders of just how low their current leadership is on the scale of great leaders from American history.

Everyone else can read on and enjoy the paragraph from Stonekettle Station’s latest post on the subject of the military and how we honor them.

You don’t think the military is appreciated in this country? Seriously? There are two national holidays dedicated to the military and I don’t know how many state holidays. None for teachers or doctors or peacemakers. But two for the military and they’re trying to turn all the rest of them into some statement on military service too. Every town in this country suddenly has some sort of park or monument dedicated to veterans. There are parades and fireworks and TV shows. There are two Executive departments of our government dedicated to the military. TWO. We spend more than 50% of the national budget on the military. Every car has one of those idiotic magnets on the back of it, or some sort of bumper sticker. I can see three of them from here. Every goober in this store is wearing some sort of military shirt with eagles and guns and flags on it. We idolize the military. It’s a goddamned fetish! (I might have been shouting by this point). What the hell are you even talking about?”

Stonekettle Station – Thanks, But It Was Never About That

…his other post on the subject of Memorial Day was one written back in 2017.

Character Investment

Facebook Memories has served up the hack job I did on Star Trek: Beyond when that trailer came out. I’ve run across it more than once now, enough times that I feel I should at least mention how wrong I was about the film somewhere on the blog. The trailer I saw on Facebook, shared on Facebook, was not the first trailer, but trailer number two. This trailer.

Star Trek Beyond | Trailer #2 | Paramount Pictures International

When I shared the trailer I simply paraphrased from Abramantions Multiply: It is still an Abramanation. The possibility of suckage is high.

The damn trailer has the Bad Robot logo on it. I consider that to be fair warning of impending suckage after the disaster that was LOST seasons 4 through 6. I suffered through all of LOST, the Abramanator will not trick me into liking his work again. I tried. I really did. I tried to make sense of those last seasons of LOST. I tried watching the 2009 Star Trek reboot. Then I declared Trek dead. The Nutrek reboots are bad in many ways, as I and others have gone into great detail to describe in the past. Details that long-time readers of this blog will know about. They are bad in ways that a lot of popular movies are bad these days (Star Wars 7. Mad Max 4) but also bad because of the disconnect with the universe that Gene set out to create.

However, I did finally break down and watch Star Trek: Beyond, just as I watched Star Trek: Into Darkness edited for television and wished I could have my two hours back. After watching Star Trek: Beyond I had to admit that not all Nutrek sucks ass to an equal degree. In fact, Star Trek: Beyond really does try to go beyond, to leave all the previous attempts to tell grand movie stories using Star Trek as a vehicle, and just try to do a Star Trek story as a movie.

Simon Pegg penned a decent little story when he wrote the script. The actors playing the parts delivered their usual best work; and since they weren’t working from the Abramantors crap scripts, the resulting blockbuster spectacle is pretty watchable from just about any perspective that you might come to it. It’s not even bad Trek, per se. There are some points that I might object to from a purist standpoint, but those points can be overruled by watching any number of classic episodes that diverged from Gene Roddenberry’s strict guidelines for how the Trek universe manifested itself. At least one of the episodes that breaks his rules is one he wrote himself. So there are flaws that a purist might take exception to, but anyone trying to watch it with disbelief suspended and a willingness to let the story progress unprotested (how to approach watching any film) will probably walk out of a showing counting it as time well spent.

So, apologies to the cast and crew of Star Trek Beyond. For the first time since First Contact they produced a show that was truly worth watching. They produced a payoff for all the fans who have hung on through decades of bad filmmaking. The characters we’ve loved since the sixties finally felt like they might actually be the same characters that we fell in love with, even though they were portrayed by different actors.

Paramount should try to make sure that Abrams’ company logo does not appear on any more Star Trek properties if they want to win fans back to the show. Abrams has burned too many bridges among the fan community to be welcome even producing films that have any kind of fan following. This should have been clear after the failure of Star Trek: Into Darkness. When he screwed up Star Wars after screwing up Star Trek, it has to be painfully obvious that he screws up everything he touches.

I mentioned it more than once on Facebook.

But when all is said and done, it’s just another summer dark ride. Lots of great stuff to look at, lots of things exploding, lots of spectacular FX, and when it’s over, you get out of the chair and go pee. There’s not a lot here to argue about. There’s no moral dilemma.

What attracted me to classic Trek is that the show was about something. Every episode had a chunk of idea in it, big enough to chew on for a while.

Too much of what passes for entertainment today is about justifying cruelty to someone else. Not enough is about sitting down and finding a way to avoid the violence.

And I wonder if that’s a reflection of what we’ve become … or one of the reasons we’ve become what we’ve become.

David Gerrold

The World Will Not be Better Without You

Kent Online

I ran across this article on one of the support groups I’m part of. I have a canned response that I give to medical professionals on this subject. When I go in for the frequent checkups that my chronic illness requires, there is always a mental health assessment form among the many other pages of questions to be answered. Mental health assessment forms that doctor’s offices hand out in a vain attempt to stem the numbers of suicides that occur among their patients. While I’m handing the paperwork in, I hold that page back and get their attention. Then I say,

“I can answer yes to all of these transparently worded suicide prevention questions that you ask, and yet I’m not inclined to take my own life right now.”

One of my doctors has heard the disclaimer so often that he heads me off with the comment “Yes, I know this doesn’t apply to you.” Regulations, you know. I can answer yes to all those prying questions about self-destructive behavior because experiencing chronic illness destroys the well-being of the person afflicted. It can and does destroy your feelings of self-worth to the point where suicide is something that you can contemplate dispassionately on virtually any clear-headed day.

“At least these fucking ears would stop ringing.”

But knowing this fact, that you are depressed due to health problems beyond your ability to control, and that you really don’t want to die right now, it’s just an option to contemplate in the unknown and unknowable future; this depth of self-knowledge removes the probability of taking your own life at the moment the questions are asked. The probability is removed because,

“Yeah this sucks but it ain’t the worst I’ve seen.”

It’s those moments when it is the worst that remain problematic. I know my worst moments. I’ve talked about them enough in the past. It’s those moments that I don’t think about how easy it would be to end it all. I try to think about something, anything else. In those moments I cling to those around me for dear life, because I know that they are the only things keeping me there in those moments.

May all of my fellow Menierians and all my brothers and sisters who suffer from chronic, invisible illnesses find comfort in those times of need. May all of us avoid his fate, if we can. Contact the lifeline if today is your worst day and you have nowhere else to turn. Don’t snuff the candle out and think the world is better without you. It isn’t.