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06/22/2004 Archived Entry: ""

The integrating theme of today's cartoon fix is "The Link" - meaning the incredible (in the literal sense of that word) link between Al Quaida and Saddam... Joel Pett's Links and Relationships ; Steve Sacks' "The Straight Shooter; Matt Davies' "In the Bunker"; and, Ann Telnaes' "The Link.Enjoy!

I can't believe this story is not receiving more attention. "President Bush plans to unveil next month a sweeping mental health initiative that recommends screening for every citizen and promotes the use of expensive antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs favored by supporters of the administration." An article from the British Medical Journal adds, "The plan promises to integrate mentally ill patients fully into the community by providing "services in the community, rather than institutions," according to a March 2004 progress report entitled New Freedom Initiative. While some praise the plan's goals, others say it protects the profits of drug companies at the expense of the public." This is the section that deals specifically with the wide-range screening of children. Almost all the coverage I find deals with the plan's stated intention to integrate the disabled into society rather than treat them institutionally. As laudable as that goal might be, a secondary plan of screening citizens for possible mental problems is piggyback riding along. If Ritalin and the anti-depressants widely prescribed to school children are an indication, then it is time to worry about the forcible medication of those who are "diagnosed" with a mental problem.

I can't speak for anyone else but I love my quirks and mood swings, my moments of euphoria and occasional burst of tears...you know, those intense reactions that make me aware of being alive and not just passing time. I want to get enraged at injustice even if it makes me feel helpless because it also stirs me to fight for what I believe in; I need compassion for people who suffer even when it causes me to ache in pain because compassion connects me to the larger world; I cherish the sad nostalgic feeling of remembering dead friends even if it makes me brood because I realize how lucky I was to know them; I relish the crazed, invulnerable feeling of being in love even if a crash might follow because I don't want to live without taking emotional risks. For the love of God, I want to feel emotions that go beyond A to Z and form a whole new alphabet. And if I descend too deeply into an emotion for my own good, then I want the chance to pull myself out and learn from the experience.

I remember a friend who advised me on how to get over my free-floating feelings of guilt - an emotion to which I used to be prone even when I'd committed no wrong. Childhood conditioning, I suppose. He recommended Thought Field Therapy, a technique developed by Roger Callaghan, which was much in vogue with Objectivists at the time. According the TFT therapists, "TFT eliminates disturbances created by negative emotions by using key meridian points in specific sequences. The gentle training program offers the latest technology in removing disruptions in the body's energy system." In my friend, this translated into his tapping a meridian point on his hand as he repeated to himself, "I profoundly respect myself." No clinical studies AFAIK have been conducted on TFT but my friend swore by it. "Just tapping meridian points on a regular basis could get rid of your guilt," he assured me. (A critical analysis of TFT is found in an article by Brandon A. Gaudiano and James D. Herbert entitled "Can We Really Tap Our Problems Away?")

I am extremely skeptical of TFT but I didn't quarrel with my friend's assessment. Instead, I explained to him that I wanted to keep my feelings of guilt. True, they were overblown and often inappropriate to the situation but the actual feeling of guilt was valuable. It told me in a visceral manner whenever I violated a principle or otherwise acted dishonorably. Guilt is the emotional equivalent of the pain reflex that comes with touching something too hot. Both reactions scream out, "don't do that again!" Why on earth would I cut off a source of information about who I am and how I relate to the world? Far better to work my way out of the negative part, learning as I went... If that takes time and effort - hey, that's life. And that's what I want to experience until that last breath.

So...off the soapbox.

Thanks to Gordon P. for sending a slew of wonderfully interesting items/comments my way:

An "executive summary" of the conclusions of Bjorn Lomberg's "Copenhagen Consensus" (a "summit meeting" of prominent economists) are now available.

A paradox...Sam Karnik observes: "It is interesting irony that the same people who derided Ronald Reagan's abilities as an actor, dismissing him as a B-movie bum, also frequently claimed that his success as a politician was entirely due to his acting ability..."

I'm suffering a bit of "cognitive dissonance" over a FOXnews item that I heard while waiting for SS1 to land: "...Four U.S. troops were brutally killed [...] No details are available as to how they were killed..." Now, if it's true that "no details are available as to how they were killed," then how can FOXnews possibly know that the killings were "brutal." Or is it simply that =ALL= troop killings are Officially Considered "Brutal" ??? [For the record, all news channels seemed to use the word "brutal."

Copy of the "Official Report" on Bush43's "Moon Program."

The IRS seized Tax Rebel Larken Rose's computers over a year ago, but have apparently been unable to find any actual tax violations to charge him with during all this time. Now, suddenly, after more than a year of scrying, the IRS suddenly claims to have found "kiddie porn" on these machines. This raises three obvious questions: 1.) What is the IRS doing looking for "kiddie porn"? Isn't that a bit outside their jurisdiction? 2.) Is the IRS so incompetent that it takes them a _year_ to do a computer audit, and still can't find anything that _is_ within their jurisdiction?? 3.) Will the instantly demonizing accusation of "pedophilia" based on "downloaded kiddie-porn" (which in these days could easily be present on nearly _ANY_ Windoze machine due to SPAM e-mail or viral infection) become the new replacement for "Tax Evasion" charges when the FedGov can't find anything _else_ to charge some alleged "racketeer" with???

Best to all,

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