Barry & Bill

TODAY’S TOPIC is two guys who are totally different.

Barry Hussein Obama of the Oval Office and Bill O’Reilly of Fox News. In most areas, I oppose the former and support the latter. But there are exceptions, which is why I am not a textbook conservative.

barryLet’s look first at Cuba. Barry is tearing down the wall between America and Cuba. Yes, Barry blinked first, and that’s a good thing because the shunning of Cuba has gone on far too long.

It can be argued that the Castro regime would have collapsed by now were it not for the U.S. embargo, which endured so long due to the Cuban expats in Florida, a state with lots of heft in the Electoral College.

True, Barry got little from the Castros in return for blinking, but no matter. Someone had to blink. I salute Barry for that. As have almost all the former dictatorships in Latin America, Cuba will liberalize, but in a positive way.

First, the Castro boys have to die, and that won’t be a long time coming.

Barry just did another good thing. He is freeing 46 imprisoned felons, most incarcerated for drug crimes, some for life, because they were nonviolent offenders. Most, I’m assuming, are black, which is why, of course, Barry is taking the action. It’s a race thing for him. Be assured.

The War on Drugs, started in the Nixon Administration, is a total failure, creating far more problems than it solves, and that’s assuming it solves any problems whatsoever, which I doubt. Any 12-year-old who wants drugs can get them easily today on the streets of America.

Outlawing anything that people really want  will invariably create a crime wave and violence. It happened during the Prohibition of the 1920s — the War on Booze, a perfect analogy to the War on Drugs.

You cannot outlaw sex, chocolate, cigarettes, booze or drugs, and only a nation with a Puritanical streak would even attempt it. It is dumb.

Try to restrict it to adults, tax it brutally, whatever, but if you attempt to eliminate it, you will come to utter grief.

billSo hurrah to Barry for liberating some drug dealers, especially those with life sentences. O’Reilly thinks this is a bad idea.

He supports the War on Drugs. He cites reasons that could equally apply to another War on Booze. There is not a single thing you can say against drug addicts that you can not equally state against alcoholics.

Wrecked families, careers, violence, crime, rest equally in the grip of alcoholism as they do in the embrace of drug addiction. Both are grave problems, but most people drink responsibly and — and you may not believe this — many, probably most, people use drugs responsibly.

So Barry has freed some non-violent drug dealers who should not have been imprisoned in the first place, certainly not for life, and he’s cracked the wall between the United States and Communist Cuba, proving he’s not a complete, brain-dead doofus.

And I don’t know how O’Reilly feels about the opening to Cuba.

He is almost certainly against it. An error.

Drinking, smoking, drugs

I QUIT DRINKING on March 30, 1996.

martiniI was never an angry or violent boozer, but I drank every day from age 26 till that March day in 1996, which is a quarter century. The only exceptions were sick days. On those days that I drank, I drank until I was “happy.” Sometimes I went over the happy point a bit, but usually not.

The result of this was that it was difficult to interact with me in any meaningful way in the evenings or in the afternoons on weekends. I started early on weekends. My second wife felt this the most.

I was walking in my father’s footsteps. He did the same thing for almost exactly the same length of time, during the same ages, stopping in his early 50s. The only difference was that he often went far past happy, especially in my childhood. Sometimes he could hardly stand up but, like me, he was not violent at all.

Neither of us let it interfere with our jobs, which were the same jobs, newspapering. We drank — with some exceptions — on our own time, not during work hours.

When I quit drinking on that day in March 1996, it was an incredible revelation. My life and mental clarity did a 180-degree turn. It was like night and day. I was clear-headed 24-7, as they say. Who knew?

* * * *

smokingI quit smoking in 1991, and it was pretty easy because I eased into it. And I was never a heavy smoker in the first place. Years earlier, in the Air Force, I smoked pipes and cigars. I had some really nice pipes. Young fellows look kind of silly smoking pipes and cigars, but I did not know that then.

Later I was strictly a cigarette smoker, but by the early ’90s, I had wearied of it. I read one day of this technique: If you smoke, say, one pack a day, which is 20 cigarettes, do the following: One week, smoke your 20 a day. The next week, 19 a day. The next week, 18 a day. You see where this is going. It’s a very gradual way to stop.

Takes a long spell, but it works.

It was easy till I got down to five or four a day, and then that final week of one a day, but I did it.

Back to my father again. He never smoked. He never drank coffee or tea. Strange guy.

Smoking is an incredibly nasty and stupid habit. Can’t believe I ever did it.

* * * *

mushroomsI am a big fan of non-addictive drugs,* specifically LSD, psilocybin and Ecstasy. I have also tried synthetic ayahuasca and 5-MeO-DMT. That latter provides an incredibly powerful experience that only lasts about five minutes.

I have not ingested those materials since the late 1990s.

With the exception of Ecstasy, they are great ways to meet God in person — if you’re lucky.

Good books to read about this are The Cosmic Serpent, The Secret Chief and Food of the Gods.

Smoking and drinking are vices. Non-addictive drugs are gifts from the Goddess.

* * * *

* Non-addictive drugs should not be illegal, except for minors.

(TOMORROW: Mohammedans and machine guns.)