Sunday, October 20, 2019

Letter to the NY Times re: Tusli

I sent this on October 16.  I haven't heard back from them, so I suppose they're not publishing it.

Tulsi accused them, in the debate, of stating that she was a Russian Asset.  They denied it.  They also said other things about her presentation. This is what I wrote

I find your response today to Tulsi's criticism of you unsatisfactory.

You say you haven't called her a "Russian Asset." I haven't read all your articles about her, but I wonder whether you haven't quoted someone as saying that, without contradicting the quote.  I think I've read something of that sort in your paper.  Repeating that kind of inflammatory language, without disagreeing, is like a tacit endorsement.

You say she's an isolationist, but opposing regime change wars is not isolationist.  She is all in favor of international negotiation.  Your calling her isolationist is pure propaganda in favor of a militarist agenda.

Also, you say the war in Syria is not a regime change war.  What is your response to Professor Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia who has said that our CIA started this war with a desire to overthrow the Syrian government?  He said this on MSNBC.

Letter to the Atlantic Magazine re: Tulsi

I haven't heard back from them about this letter, so I think they're not publishing it, so I'm putting it here instead.  This was a response to a recent article

Mystery of Tulsi Gabbard?  Mystery?  Nothing at all mysterious here.

Why is she running?

Did you actually watch Tulsi’s video about what made her decide to run? She was alarmed by the false alarm of nuclear attack in Hawaii. Everyone received messages on their cell phones to take shelter, except that there are no nuclear shelters in Hawaii.  Are you surprised that she persists indefatigably? She’s a soldier.  She’s fighting for our survival.  She will not rest.  It’s not a guru telling her what to do.  It’s her own soldier’s mind.

And why is she so interesting? It’s because she has the x-factor.  She has charisma.  We Democrats have ignored that for too long. We’ve put out brilliant nerds: Mondale, Gore, Hillary — people who are impressive to the educated, but who can’t win swing states.  

Trump has the x-factor.  That’s why he had a successful TV show for several seasons.  Brainy nerds aren’t going to beat him.  She can. 

The fact that she appeals to Trump supporters is regarded by the orthodox left as suspicious.  Hello?  We need to appeal to some of those people in order to win.  


She’s unflappable.  You make that sound like a bad thing.  You know who else was unflappable? Barak Obama, the best president in my lifetime, as far as I’m concerned.  

You know who isn’t unflappable? Donald Trump?  He flies off the handle at the slightest provocation.  The press seems to like that.  It sells more news.  The best thing for the press is not necessarily the best thing for the country.

The smears

Your article promulgates vicious, ill-founded smears against Tulsi Gabbard.

The fact that she isn’t into pillorying a foreign leader, i.e. Assad, is a sign of a good diplomat.  When did verbally abusing foreign leaders become the preferred method of international conversation?  Why would the press insist that she parrot hostile language that the press favors?  Why does the press think it should be putting words in someone else’s mouth?

The fact that the Russians would like a more peace oriented candidate is hardly surprising.  Maybe we should look at why they were so vigorously opposed to Hillary.  Hillary was much more hawkish than Trump.  They must have believed she would actually go to war over Crimea.  Did we really want to go to war over Crimea?  I certainly don’t.  Is it really in our interest to elect hawkish candidates?

The fact that Tulsi doesn’t entirely believe that standard narrative about Assad is also not surprising, given that she was deployed to Iraq and saw thousands die, based on lies.  If you were deployed to Iraq based on lies about weapons of mass destruction, would you believe new allegations about weapons of mass destruction that were being used to justify war?  There’s a saying “fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.”  

There are a number of alternative versions of what’s going on in Syria out there that do not meet the standard government narrative.  Have you listened to Jeffrey Sachs, professor at Columbia University, about Syria?  

And why are we such self-righteous hypocrites about weapons of mass destruction?  We are the only country to have used nuclear weapons in combat.  We dropped napalm and agent orange in Viet Nam — chemical weapons.  Where is our moral high ground?

I am totally in sympathy with her position that we do more harm by provoking war in Syria than we resolve.  Have you looked at Libya recently?  We overthrew Gaddafi and the result was violent anarchy.  Similarly, we overthrew Hussein in Iraq and the result was violent anarchy that still hasn’t been completely resolved.  

Afghanistan has been in a state of constant war for decades due to our meddling.  If we had left things to the Russians there, there would be no Taliban now.  We trained the Taliban.  We trained people who we knew were opposed to equal rights for women, people who were fighting Russia because they wanted to oppress women.  

These “insurgents” who we keep helping in Muslim countries, often at the behest of Saudi Arabia, are typically right wing religious bigots.  We’re overthrowing leaders with more feminist policies in the name of “freedom.” Granted they weren’t democratically elected, but the suffering we inflict on those countries is far worse than their leaders inflict.

We have to stop being paid mercenaries of Saudi Arabia, paid by oil drilling licenses to our oil companies.  We need to be politically independent.

The press favors war, because war sells news.  The press is a business that sells negative drama.  War is great fodder — the best negative drama.  The press is constantly promoting continuous war.  The press was thrilled to be embedded in Iraq, making sellable news, by killing innocent people.  Did any mainstream media refuse to be embedded?  Refuse to promote this evil act of war? I don’t think so.

We need Tuisi.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Creeping Hour

Oh, I'm going to be on a podcast on sponsored by #WGBH -- the largest contributor to public radio!!!!  I'm playing Dr. Chanticleer, a scary villain.  The episode drops 10/17/19.  It's called "Big Shoes."  It was really thrilling working with WGBH.

Here's my instagram post, including a preview featuring *ME*!

Here's a link to my blog about my fascination with Villain Roles

So this was a dream role for me.

Elie Lichtstein, the writer, took a set photo that sort of shows me.  I'm copying this from his Instagram.  I hope he won't mind.  This was taken at John Kilgore Studios

Please see this website for more about these podcasts

The Joker

Caveat: I have not seen this movie, nor do I think can allow the film industry to draw me into such an emotional maelstrom.  I need to remain more serene than that.  Nevertheless, I commented as follows on a friend's post on FB and wanted to memorialize it here.

I haven't wanted to see this movie, because I fear it would be too upsetting. I prefer fluffy stuff; however, I am curious, in view of the comments below, whether this is a depiction of mental illness based on medical science, or whether it's really just a sensualized and sensationalized piece of glorified click bait.

I wondered similarly about Mel Gibson’s movie “The Passion of Christ.” Yes, it might have been true to the Bible story, but the Bible doesn’t present the story in technicolor with high drama, lingering closeups.

This type of glorification of emotional drama is not real life. I’m not sure exactly why it draws people in — but it does — much like junk food.

Of course, we have the ability, through the casting process, to find performers who have the talent to enthrall people with their performances; again, not because their depictions are truly realistic, but because they are artfully heightened. Real people aren’t so enthralling. Why are we sucked into a high drama portrayal? Why does drama seem more interesting than watching ordinary people walk by on the street? Or than watching a tree?

Having kids with autism spectrum disorders, I am familiar with the history of blaming these disorders on “refrigerator mothers,” when really the disorders were neurological and congenital.

I question whether these homicidal maniacs were really all abused so badly as to make them go bad, or whether they were predisposed from birth to over-react to ordinary stress. Maybe there isn’t a story about them going mad. Maybe they just were like that.

I’m also disturbed by the whole “mental illness” rubric; partly because psychiatry doesn’t seem to be oriented around any disorder of this type, i.e. the fictional “homicidal maniac.” They don’t know how to diagnose any such disorder or treat it.

It may be simply because these people are too maladjusted to seek treatment. They don’t walk into a doctor’s office and say “Hi! I’m a homicidal maniac. Please give me a pill to cure this.” They live in a different world from the rest of us, in terms of how they perceive things — so doctors aren’t in a position to develop protocols. But really we don't know much about such people. They usually die before they can be interviewed.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

NH trip September 2019

Yeah, ok, I go the same place every summer, but, still, the pix are nice -- or so I think.

These are the unedited google photo albums

Here are some of my favorite individual photos, embedded

This was kind of a bucket list thing: hike to Roger's Ledge

Maybe I'm a bit like my dad in generally preferring landscapes as photo subjects to people

Fungi photos

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stream photos

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

open letter to @US_FDA @CDCgov @NIH @MVPHealthCare about Synthroid and false equivalents

This blog is an open letter to the Food and Drug Administration about your having declared certain formulations of levothyroxine to be "equivalent" to Synthroid.  They are NOT equivalent -- and your having declared them so is putting me and other thyroid patients in mortal peril.

I first started Synthroid many years ago, due to hypothyroidism -- later diagnosed as Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.  I also have a history of heart palpitations.

At that time, I tried a generic "equivalent" of Synthroid.  I quickly discovered that the so-called "equivalent" gave me heart palpitations, when Synthroid did not.

My primary care physician referred me to an endocrinologist.  The endocrinologist explained to me that the body is highly sensitive to small changes in dosage of thyroid medication.  The generic levothyroxine uses a different substrate from what the Synthroid uses. This causes changed efficacy in the body. My endocrinologist said that I must always use brand name Synthroid.

Recently, my health insurance company, MVP, demanded that I try other brands, before getting rid of the brand name penalty price for Synthroid.  I tried Levoxyl.  I experienced heart palpitations, anxiety, poor sleep, inability to focus, and tingling in my chest, face, and mouth. These are all clear symptoms of overdose.

I'm over 60. I have a strong family history of heart disease.  I personally have suffered from heart palpitations before.  I have been treated with Doxil, which can cause heart damage.  It's dangerous for me to be playing with these medications.

Now MVP wants me to try another generic "equivalent" before getting rid of the brand name penalty for Synthroid.  This is too dangerous for me personally. My physician says that she has not previously been able to convince insurance companies to stop this practice.

The Food and Drug Administration having falsely declared other formulations of levothyroxine as equivalents of Synthroid is putting my life in danger.

#Synthroid #levoxyl #genericdrugs #levothyroxine