PostHeaderIcon Finally, A “Crisis” I Know Something About

Since the Trump announcement, it is official – we are in an opioid crisis.

Thank you very much Mr Trump but I have my own personal opioid crisis – like what if I run out, or, what if I can no longer get it.

The lame-stream-media assures us that there are many unnecessary deaths each year because of easy access to opioids. I sure wish I knew where these easy access points are because I have to jump through hoops to get mine. Oh yes, I am an abuser. On average, I take 2 oxycodone pills each day. Why? Without them (or something stronger), I would kill myself to stop the chronic pain. Do they make me “high”? No. They make me itch if I take too many. In fact, I have yet to meet anyone who takes these things who feels euphoric as a result. Instead, they only feel a bit less pain for a few hours.

I hear that some 9 million oxycdone pills have been shipped to a town of 400 in West Virginia. I agree that this seems odd at the least. So, why don’t the authorities descend on small town WV and leave me the hell alone? And, if some stupid know-nothing kids want to use them as a means of suicide, my only reaction is that I hope they do it before they reproduce. Why is any large scale method of suicide a “crisis” in a world that has several billion more humans than it needs. Sounds more like a solution to me.

But then, maybe my “addiction” has made me mean. Isn’t that what these chemicals do – make us into something worse than we are without them? I don’t really think so. I think there are inherent losers in every society who will find a path to self destruction and government’s only legitimate role is to try to prevent them harming others on their way to the oblivion they seek. If opioids furnish a relatively painless path to oblivion for the losers and some temporary relief for us old arthritis sufferers, I say, “bring ’em on”.

Think about it.

Troy L Robinson


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17 Responses to “Finally, A “Crisis” I Know Something About”

  • Chris says:

    Oooooooo! You are mean. You are not an abuser. Possibly a proficient user. When used for pain relief properly they are quite effective. My Toni was afflicted with chronic pain that never went away. She had her regiment of pain relievers that she used regularly then what she called her emergency stash which was a higher dosage of a different variant of opioid. Emergency constituted one of two scenarios. When the regular just didn’t cut it or by a fluke she couldn’t get to pick up her prescription and ran out of the regular. I could easily tell when she missed a dose. Nothing to do with mental differences but by her noticeable discomfort. I would ask her if she had her meds and she would say yes but late because she forgot and was reminded by the pain but by then as you know it’s too late. She had to ride it out until they kicked in. She was a trooper. She always tried to bear it quietly. Didn’t want me to think her a chronic whiner.

    That said what abusers do is quite different. I have experience with someone who in the past had a real problem. Luckily with a lot of help she kicked it. There’s a difference between taking two pills a day that are most likely time released and slow acting and taking four or five crushing them up and snorting them up your nose. Then as you know you build a tolerance for the stuff. At some point the cost of the amount of “good stuff” you can get is too high and it becomes cheaper and easier to get the street stuff with a delivery system that gives you more bang for the buck. Once your there it’s easier to die than quit. It took three years and seven tries for her to get herself together. Glad she did. She now helps others and that helps her because like alcohol she says it never goes away.

    There is an acute problem with it here in the north east and oddly enough it’s big in rural areas. Vermont of all places has a big problem with it. I can see your feelings of “if they want to kill themselves”. Knowing who she was before her issue, and knowing who she is now losing her would have been a shame. She now brightens many lives. She has a husband and two children. A career and beautiful home. I don’t see her anywhere near as often as I would like but a letter or Christmas card with an update letter is always either being written or on it’s way. When I get it I always look for the signature first. It’s simply signed “We never give up” Love baby sis.

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    • ◄Dave► says:

      Good for your sister, Chris; but:

      There is an acute problem with it here in the north east…

      …is this something you wish the state to use their guns to do something about? Or, is perhaps her continuing effort to help individuals directly the better approach? ◄Dave►

      • Chris says:

        is this something you wish the state to use their guns to do something about?

        I’m sure you already know the answer to that. The “war on drugs” has for the most part been a huge disaster. Still there were good things that were effective where we dropped the ball. Probably the most effective was the DARE program. Not only did it educate and discourage drug use at an elementary school level but it fostered good community relations with community police forces. My kids went to school in the days when their school had a flashy painted DARE patrol car parked out front, and a young DARE officer in the school. The kids all loved the guy. For the cost of a paint job on a ready to retire patrol car and a rookie officer properly trained it’s impossible to tell how many were kept from a bad path but none of the kids I know ever got heavily involved in drugs. Then for some reason the DARE officers just faded away. I can’t remember the last time I saw one.

        I’m all for people making their own choices but those choices should be informed choices. Some will choose their own demise even when informed just for a thrill. Some will choose it to hide from their reality which is a worse fate. People aren’t born addicts. Before they were addicts they were somebody’s son daughter sister brother mother, or father. The picture conjured today of a drug addict laying in an alley was maybe a little girl in a pink party dress with a pony tail and a smile that could light the world. That addict is still that person and can’t be just dismissed. Chances are being dismissed in some way is why they are an addict in the first place.

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        • ◄Dave► says:

          Please have all the compassion for the weak-minded addicts you like. I share your empathy; but their plight is not my fault, and their consequences are not my responsibility. Once again, as Dr. Ted so cogently addresses in CT’s YouTube clip below, it is the very existence of government and their drug laws, which creates all of the negative consequences to the public of drug addiction.

          Take away the profit from the illicit drug trade, and there would be no incentive to ever become a pusher. Without pushers/suppliers, children would never become drug involved to begin with. It certainly never occurred to me as a kid to get high on drugs, 50+ years ago; probably because nobody ever suggested it back then.

          As usual, the evidence suggests that the state is more of the problem for society’s ills, than a potential solution. How could anarchy be worse? 😉 ◄Dave►

  • ◄Dave► says:

    Well said, Troy. Interestingly, I had managed to completely ignore this so-called crisis until you chimed in on it. Since I quit smoking a few years ago, addictive substances are no longer of any interest to me. I don’t do pain either. I average taking about one Tylenol tablet per year. So, I have not bothered to read a single article about the matter.

    That said, the appropriate liberal (libertarian in the U.S.A.) position is that government has no business whatever trying to protect the public from their own actions, however ill-advised or dangerous. I have the same disdain for drug laws that I do for smoking, seat-belt, or helmet laws. Government should bow out and leave adults the hell alone.

    But conservatives lament, what about the children? Parents need to be proper parents to their offspring, without involving government. As you suggest, empowering the state to employ heavily-armed goons to try to eliminate all temptation from their kids environment, often has unintended consequences to innocent adults, who have no desire for supervision. I can think of nothing more ridiculous, than inane laws against suicide. 🙄 ◄Dave►

    • Chris says:

      I can think of nothing more ridiculous, than inane laws against suicide.

      Without a doubt the least enforceable law ever conceived. The defendant can’t participate in his own defense and the sentence is sure to raise hell in the prison system. Up side they will always get out early for good behavior.

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    • ◄Dave► says:

      Thanks, CT. That was a superb clip, which everyone should watch. ◄Dave►

    • Chris says:

      I have little to disagree with him over. The most societal damage by addicts is fundamentally caused by the high cost of feeding the habit and the lengths the addiction compels an addict to go. The largest risk to an addict is without a doubt inconsistency of substances. That said I only take issue with his assertion that many addicts function perfectly fine in society. That may be true while setting the bar pretty low for the term “function”. What he means is you may not notice them as much. Under his proposal an addict may not become a criminal but the vast majority will however on top of having their habit supported be the beneficiary of the governments social welfare largess. Hell they’re gonna get me stoned and feed me? I’m in! I can’t think of anyone looking to hire a drug addict these days. Hey. It’s your tax dollars at work. Where do you want to spend it? No matter what you will spend it. There is only one way to curtail substance abuse and that is education. The same sort of education that over the course of twenty or thirty years got the vast majority of the population to stop throwing their candy wrappers on the sidewalk. Will the corner tavern be replaced by the corner opium den? Why not? A major component to keeping the sidewalks clean was the regular placement of trash cans along city streets. When trying to change behavior there has to be an alternative and a crying indian to point it out.

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      • ◄Dave► says:

        …the governments social welfare largess. Hell they’re gonna get me stoned and feed me? I’m in!

        Need I repeat my mantra? What if there were no such thing?

        A maintenance dose of methadone, etc, does not get one ‘stoned.’ It eliminates the craving. Think of a nicotine patch, if you have ever tried them. 😉 ◄Dave►

        • Chris says:

          What if a lot of things, but what if isn’t reality. We are our brothers keeper even if only because our brother says so.

          A maintenance dose of methadone wasn’t what the guy in the video was talking about. Methadone although may be helpful like the nicotine patch is far from a cure for everyone. As you well know the only true cure is the desire to stop outweighing the desire to continue.

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          • only true cure is the desire to stop outweighing the desire to continue.

            That is true and unfortunately education does not fix a psychological addict (one who gets high for the fun of it).
            Lump “addicted too” into whatever alcohol, pot, hard drugs, sex or ???.

            I have seen only one kind of recovery that stuck and that was when the addicts life sucked worse as an addict than not being an addict. For that to happen they need to “bottom out” on their own.

            For the (chronic pain) physiological addict the controlled dose of very cheap Methadone would do the trick for 20 – 48 hours.
            For less than a dollar a day.

            That being said … like Noel said there is big money in addiction so don’t expect there to be a fix in the near future if ever.

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          • ◄Dave► says:

            Keep all the brothers you want, Chris; but count me out.

            Methadone was on his list of opiates, and was the longest lasting of them. He wasn’t proposing a cure for addiction; but a way to take the profit out of the whole elicit drug trade, which would definitely help prevent people getting hooked to begin with.

            I think it is fair to say that if there were not a governmental “war on drugs,” there would be immeasurably fewer addicts in America, committing crimes to finance their expensive habits. So far, the war on drugs has been an abysmal failure. Perhaps it is time to try something else.

            To use a Leftist cliche, if even one life could be saved, by not having SWAT teams kicking in the wrong door and shooting an innocent home owner, wouldn’t it be worth it? ◄Dave►

  • Troy Robinson says:

    Thanks for all the comments. Despite my tongue-in-cheek attempt a humor, I really don’t want masses of people to die. However, if people (for whatever reason) choose this as their method of exiting life, who m I to dispute them.

    My primary complaint with this “crisis” is that, as usual, our government is taking a meat axe approach which tends to fell all in its path, regardless of their personal circumstances. For instance, thanks to the government, my out-of-pocket for oxycodone has gone up about 2000% (so far).

    BTW, if you seek a botanical high, try morning glory seeds. Quite natural and quite cheap.

    Troy

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  • jim says:

    I would like to get a discussion going on the following idea, which I think an anarchistic libertarian would find fascinating:

    =====================================

    I have found a truly excellent statement of a large part of the problem in the following webpage:

    https://www.hrw.org/report/2013/12/05/offer-you-cant-refuse/how-us-federal-prosecutors-force-drug-defendants-plead

    This one itself cites: https://www.hrw.org/news/2013/12/05/us-forced-guilty-pleas-drug-cases

    It is long, but it is also very thorough and quite convincing. It focuses on drug crimes, and does not address my concern, “political” biases in charging and sentencing, but it is so descriptive of the problem that I will definitely be citing it in the Business Plan.

    I have also decided to contact Human Rights Watch, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Rights_Watch
    Theirs is a marvelous statement of the problem, but sadly it does not offer any kind of solution. Therefore, I am convinced that HRW will view positively my idea. The Wikipedia article describes HRW, expenditures as follows:

    “The organization’s annual expenses totaled $50.6 million in 2011[3] and $69.2 million in 2014.[4]”

    Interestingly, it describe a funder as being George Soros, saying:

    “Financier and philanthropist George Soros of the Open Society Foundation announced in 2010 his intention to grant US $100 million to HRW over a period of ten years to help it expand its efforts internationally. He said, “Human Rights Watch is one of the most effective organizations I support. Human rights underpin our greatest aspirations: they’re at the heart of open societies.”[30][31][32] The donation increases Human Rights Watch’s operating staff of 300 by 120 people. The donation was the largest in the organization’s history.[33]”

    The importance of the involvement of HRW will not be as a sole source of funding; rather, I think it will open the door to its own funders, such as George Soros. I have little doubt that HRW will ratify my idea.

    ============================
    How to accomplish the below project:

    INFORMATIONAL REQUIREMENT:

    There is an online system called “PACER.GOV”, which provides information on Federal Court records, both civil and criminal. This system can be searched to identify new Federal Criminal defendants, and likely their current addresses. (in jail, perhaps?)

    These records show full names, possibly addresses (home) as well, and the specific court in which the defendant was indicted. While I don’t yet know this information, a given defendant for a given court is probably:

    1. In unusual cases, is “bailed out”, and allowed to live at home. His prior address will probably be valid.
    2. In the usual cases, he is arrested, and held in some sort of jail.
    2a. This might be some sort of Federal criminal jail, such as Seatac FDC in Seatac, Washington state.
    2b. Or, it might be in some sort of county or city jail.

    What is needed is to identify his full name and current physical address, and possibly the name and address of his attorney. In 2016, there were about 77,000 new defendants, which amounts to 210 new defendants per calendar day. That attorney MIGHT be cooperative, and forward a letter to his client.
    At that point, all such newly-identified Federal criminal defendants should be mailed a letter, making the following offer: (announcement?)

    Dear Sir:
    Our records indicate that you are a newly-charged Federal Criminal defendant. We have what we hope will be some good news, a change from the bad news you have gotten. We have a project ongoing to encourage the use of the Jury Trial system in the Federal Criminal Court system. In 2016, of about 77,000 new defendants, 97.3% of those pleaded guilty. We think that’s wrong. The large majority of those people were effectively extorted to plead guilty by threat of an increased sentence. We believe that the only people the Federal Criminal system should be able to convict and sentence are those who went through a jury trial. If that were to happen, the total number of people sentenced might drop by a factor of 20x. Most people in your position would have to be released without further charge.

    Therefore, we are telling you, and every other Federal Criminal defendant that we can find, that IF you plead not-guilty, and IF you demand a jury trial, and IF you receive that jury trial, we will be paying you $3,000 (three thousand dollars). This happens, regardless of whether you are found guilty or not-guilty. We encourage you to spread this message to any other Federal criminal defendant you may happen to meet. We have included extra copies of this letter for you to give to them. Further, please have your friends and family check out our website at: http://www.//liber….project.org.

    We believe that the Federal Court system can probably only put on 3,000 criminal trials per year. If “everyone” who is charged pleads not-guilty, and then insists on a jury trial, then the vast majority of those defendants will have to have their charges dropped. That’s our intention. If you plead not guilty and insist on a jury trial, and receive it, you will get the $3,000. Our intention is that the vast majority of defendants will have their charges dropped and they will have to be released. If your charges are dropped, or reduced below the point that you can demand a jury trial, or you plead guilty, then you will not receive any money from us. But, hopefully you will get released, which is the goal.

    You do not need to do anything to “accept” this arrangement, But, we encourage you to respond to us by filling out the form, included, and returning it to us. It will speed the process.

    Sincerely,
    ———————

    Of course, there are ‘mailing list’ companies that make it a business to collect information and sell it. But this is a very odd and selective list. It is not “commercial”: Ordinarily, it may not be possible to make money on such a list. Nevertheless, it may be possible to obtain this information (names and addresses of new Federal criminal defendants) via some existing source.

    FUNDING:

    The amount of money required for this project is:

    1. Administration. Perhaps 10 people full time, paid with expenses perhaps $100,000 each. Or, perhaps $1 million per year. Each person can work from home. No central office should be needed. Mailing might be done automatically, using some automated commercial service, or perhaps manually.

    2. Actual reward money: This will be limited by the product of the number of Federal Criminal trials that the Feds can put on yearly. Maybe that is 3,000, but shouldn’t be much more. Multiplied by the amount of money that would be necessary to offer to each defendant, to get a large fraction of the Federal Criminal Defendants to plead not-guilty, and demand a jury trial. Currently I estimate that to be $3,000. It might be lower or higher, of course. While certainly there are defendants for whom a reward of $3,000 won’t be significant or relevant, I believe that the large majority of them will be swayed by such an offer. And it is important that these people learn and know that EVERY new Federal Criminal defendant is being given the same offer. This will encourage them to act, as if they are in a group, and all will demand jury trials.

    Of course, it is my intention to virtually shut down the Federal Criminal “Justice” system, or at least drop its capacity for convicting people by a factor of about 20x.

    Who should be willing to give?

    It is not my intention that the burden of this project should be shouldered on libertarians, alone. Fortunately, I think there are many potential sources of funding, each with their own peculiar motivation:

    A: “Liberals”, and especially “Hollywood Liberals”. Newly rather beaten up by the Harvey Weinstein fiasco, liberals are famously in favor of illegal aliens (err…undocumented immigrants). While there are other ways to simply eject such people, one way requires a criminal trial: “Illegal re-entry”, which is a felony, and conviction of that offense requires a trial, and they could insist on a jury trial.
    Liberals also should generally be against laws against currently-illegal drugs.

    B: “Conservatives”, including “Libertarians”, may actually believe in the 2nd Amendment, and believe that there should not be “gun offenses” except for people who actively employ a gun in the commission of a crime. (“Felons” were not prohibited from owning guns until the early 1930’s, and even then the prohibition was against “violent felons”. It was not until 1968 that “felons”, in general, were prohibited from owning guns.)

    C: “Libertarians” will be against laws prohibiting victimless crimes, such as drugs, prostitution, gambling, etc.

    The figure of $10 million per year can either be seen as “very large”, or “very small”, depending on how you look at it. As I explain below, this will save the Federal government perhaps $6.8 billion per year in prison costs.

    And, this should produce an ENORMOUS amount of publicity for libertarians. It will “force the issue” for freedom, in a way that is not normally considered possible.

    And, of course, this system could be expanded to cover the state criminal systems also: Together, they are about 10x times larger than the Federal system. Naturally, the cost will be higher, but if it is worth it for the Feds, it would be worth it for the State systems.

    ==============================

    [something I wrote about a week ago]

    A few years back, probably 2011 I thought of a marvelous way to virtually destroy the Federal criminal “justice” system. At least, the people who make up that system will certainly think it is being destroyed. I mentioned it a few years ago. It might cost little more than $10 million per year.

    There are many high-profile cases which would militate in favor of initiating such a system. One, Ross Ulbricht, who was sentenced to two life terms for, ostensibly, running the Silk Road website. Another Kim Dotcom, who is threatened with extradition in New Zealand. Julian Assange, whose story is too well known here to need to describe it. Edward Snowden, who is presumably still in Moscow for leaking a huge quantity of NSA information. There are also major drug cases, such as El Chapo, Joaquin Guzman.

    In some of these cases, the defendant should have had a lot of money, such as Ulbricht, although it was lost to the Feds. Kim Dotcom may still be rich. Julian Assange could probably raise a lot of money, Snowden might do so as well. Guzman, and probably many other Mexican drug cartels, could easily raise millions per year, if they actually wanted to do this. Maybe even Martha Stewart would hold some residual grudges. Anyone who thinks he is at risk of Federal criminal prosecution would want to see the system essentially shut down.

    How? Well, let’s go to the statistics. Last year, there were 77,152 new criminal defendants in the Federal criminal system, see http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/03/28/federal-criminal-prosecutions-fall-to-low est-level-in-nearly-two-decades/ . According to https://www.ussc.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/research-and-publications/research-publications/2017/FY16_Overview_Federal_Criminal_Cases.pdf , “In fiscal year 2016 the vast majority of offenders (97.3%) pleaded guilty.” If that figure can be believed, then there were presumably no more than 2.8% x 77,152 criminal trials, or only 2160 trials. Perhaps this statistic would surprise most people. I think the average sentence is about 3 years.

    The ability of the Federal criminal system to actually put on criminal trials is very limited. There are only a limited number of courts, and judges, and prosecutors, and this system must share space and time with civil trials. It is quite possible that it would be very difficult to put on much more than those 2160 trials. That court space has to be shared with civil cases, as well. All, or at least most of those people had a right to a jury trial. If all, or most of those defendants were somehow motivated to demand such a trial, rather than plead guilty, havoc would ensue. Even if the number of trials could increase, say to about 3000, then the remainder, 77,152-3000, or 74,152, would have to walk free, because the system could not possibly try them all. The limitation is not merely court space: Trials are “expensive” in preparation, research, and evidence.

    And that led me to yet another “awfully wonderful, wonderfully awful” idea, to paraphrase Dr. Seuss and the Grinch. What would motivate all of these people to demand a jury trial? Well, currently they are threatened with much more punishment if they plead not guilty and demand a trial, and lose. Like a variant on the “Prisoner’s dilemma”, each one is forced to conclude that it is better to ‘take the deal’ rather than resist, and demand a trial.

    What would change this system around? Well, the lot of a prisoner in Federal prison is poor, if he has no money. No money, no commissary. No drinks, cookies, crackers, soups, candies, etc. I know: I spent 13 years in prison, time I shouldn’t have spent. Many enter prison broke. What if they were offered, say, $3000 if they agreed to demand a jury trial, and thus forced the government to actually put them on trial, form a jury, and put on a trial. If the government dropped the case, or reduced the charges to something that didn’t require a trial, the defendant would get nothing.

    If we assume that the Federal court system could put on 3,000 trials, one defendant per trial typically, the cost for such a project would be 3,000 x $3,000, or 9 million dollars. It would be limited by the number of actual trials the Feds could put on each year, multiplied by the dollar amount that would have to be paid to motivate a defendant to demand a trial.

    Tell each new Federal defendant that if he pleads not guilty, and insists on a jury trial, and if he actually gets that trial, he will be paid the $3,000. Guilty or not guilty, it won’t matter. Have a trial, get the money, simple as that. I am merely guessing what the ‘proper’ figure would be, in order to motivate such people adequately. But if most people were already demanding a jury trial, and tens of thousands of fellow defendants were being freed due to lack of ability to give them trials, it shouldn’t take a lot of money to induce these people to ‘stand in line’, and demand a trial. After all, they would know that if they didn’t get the money, that would mean that they would have been freed. And that’s the goal, isn’t it? At least for the defendant, that is.

    You can imagine what would happen. The Feds would have to ration trials. Only the most “worthy” defendants would get prosecuted. And yes, there are definitely some worthy defendants. I met a few!! But the total number of people who could enter the Federal prison system per year would drop from perhaps 75,000 per year to 3,000 per year. This year, there are about 185,300 Federal prisoners. Drop the input to 3,000 per year, and the total population could easily drop to 20,000, and perhaps to as low as 10,000, after a few years. Dozens of prisons across the nation would have to close, maybe well over 100.

    It costs approximately $40,000 to feed and house a Federal prisoner. Most of that money probably goes to prison staff salaries and supplies, and most of the rest goes to prison construction. Drop the total Federal prison population from 185,000 to 15,000, and they will save about 170,000 multiplied by $40,000, or about $6.8 billion dollars per year.

    Doesn’t this sound like a worthy goal?

    We may speculate about who would be motivated to fund such a project. Give them the ability to donate anonymously, and they might act. There might arguably be 200,000 people per year who fear some sort of Federal prosecution. A donation of $50 per year, average, would raise $10 million. It would not take many tax evaders, resistors, or avoiders to foot the bill. People who resented a prior prosecution would add up, as well.

    Why not?

    ============================== ===

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    • ◄Dave► says:

      Jim, this got hung up awaiting moderation, because it had too many links in it. The links themselves were all wonky and non-functional. I repaired all that I could, but not all survived.

      Your project reminds me of the Fully Informed Jury Association, which I was quite taken with back in the ’90s. I see where you are coming from; but I sincerely doubt that you could get enough losers to take a chance on demanding a jury trial, with the threat of excessive prison sentences hanging over their heads, by vindictive prosecutors. It is the same problem that the Income Tax evasion schemes have. The state will pull out all stops to make an example of public defiance of their authority. Those involved in drug trafficking are not the brightest subjects of the tyranny.

      That all said, I have pretty much lost any interest in repairing the U.S.A. I intend to spend what little is left of my life just bobbing, weaving, and generally ignoring the bastards. 😉 ◄Dave►

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