Letters, We Get Mail, CCCXLVI



[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters346.html#Rahul_K ]

Date: Sun, February 24, 2013 7:17 pm     (Answered 27 February 2013)
From: "Rahul K."
Subject: The meetings really _are_ a joke

Hi Orange,

I got sober (without AA) about three years ago (I actually emailed you two years ago, when I was quitting smoking and reflecting on my quitting experience). I don't attend meetings and never really have, but about every six months, I get the urge to talk to someone and I start to think, "Oh, you know, there are whole huge circles of people who are dealing with my problems." And then I go to a meeting.

I always leave feeling worse than when I entered.

Today was the worst. I've been feeling somewhat depressed lately (some kind of brain chemical thing), and I've been having the urge to drink. So I went to the meeting and stood up and told people that I was really depressed and even though I knew that drinking would screw me up, I just felt myself teetering on that edge. Okay, no cross-talk, so everyone went on with their stories, telling their own sobriety narratives. After the meeting, I tried to talk to some people, said, "Hey" and "Thanks for speaking" and all that. No one asked me any questions. No one acknowledged what I'd said. No one even said, "Hang in there." All that I got was "keep coming back." I was the *only* newcomer at the meeting.

You know, I used to think that something was wrong with me, because I'd go to meetings and no one would ever talk to me. I thought that maybe I wasn't putting myself out there enough or something. Well, fuck that. I mean, I don't ask for that much. Sometimes I just want to talk to someone. Sometimes I just want someone to tell me that things will be okay. Isn't that what the meeting is for? But no one ever does that. At least not in the meetings I've gone to. Somehow, the culture of AA is just very cold and very unfeeling. Sometimes, I *wish* it was a cult. A cult would pay far more attention to the people who walk in the door than AA does. I never feel so lonely and so isolated as after a meeting.

I'm strong enough to push through this. I have an appointment with a *real* therapist tomorrow. But I feel so sorry for all the people who walk into those rooms with the faith that someone is actually going to listen to them and try to help them.

The one thing that came out of today's meeting is a promise to myself. I am never going to go to another meeting for as long as I live.

Keep up the good work! Without you, so many people would continue to think that AA is the only way to quit drinking. I am sure that your site saves lives.

Sincerely,
Rahul

P.S. At least this has given me one more reason to stay sober. If I started drinking again, all my AA-affiliated friends would tell themselves that it was because I'd been "white-knuckling" it.

Hello Rahul,

Thanks for the letter. I'm glad to hear that you are keeping your head screwed on straight, in spite of your difficulties.

What you say is just so true. I went through the same experience when I went to my second-ever A.A. meeting and "shared" that I had gone into DT's the previous night because I had just quit drinking. Nobody batted an eye or said a word. Utter silence. No reaction. I felt like I must have said something really wrong. I just got cold silence.

Now in fairness to them, a couple of people did come and talk to me after the meeting, and give me some advice about how to get through the withdrawal. But still, the meeting format is unnatural and spooky. "No cross-talk"? Give me a break. What is natural is back-and-forth conversing.

Your story reveals one of the fundamental problems with A.A.: expecting to get help from people who are not in good shape themselves. Apparently, you went to a meeting where the people were so worried about their own recoveries that they couldn't pay any attention to yours.

I am reminded of something that someone said to me years ago:

A flawed idea that AA is built upon: The idea that a deeply flawed person
will cure another deeply flawed person. A dynamic fraught with peril.
      == Anonymous

Yes indeed. Sometimes, you might as well just go to the local mental hospital and ask the inmates for advice and instructions on how to live.

I like your decision to go find a real therapist.

Oh, and about your little "resentment" where you won't relapse and give them the satisfaction of seeing you fail, I feel the same way too. That occurs to me every so often. I can't possibly relapse now, because if I did, there would be laughing and crowing and celebrations in A.A. clubhouses all over America. No way in Hell. Not gonna happen.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     We are social beings.  We are absolutely hard-wired to fit in.
**     We don't want to be outsiders.  It causes neurological stress.
**       ==  M. Heffernin, "Willful Blindness"





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters346.html#Daniel_N ]

Date: Sun, February 24, 2013 2:34 pm     (Answered 27 February 2013)
From: "Daniel N."
Subject: 12-steps

You are one angry man.

You know, Daniel, I'd really rather be angry than apathetic.

I'd rather have a resentment than be a mindless grinning yes-man, just foisting cult religion quackery on sick people.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "Now I know what it's like to be high on life.
** It isn't as good, but my driving has improved."
** == Nina, on "Just Shoot Me", 13 Jan 2006.





June 17, 2012, Sunday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Red-Tailed Hawk
A Red-Tailed Hawk (I think)

Canada Goose goslings
A Canada Goose Family, resting

Mallard Duck Family
A Mallard Duck Family

White-Fronted Geese
White-Fronted Geese
They are so named because of the fringe of white feathers around the base of their beaks.

[More gosling photos below, here.]





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters346.html#Emily_P ]

Date: Wed, February 27, 2013 10:12 pm     (Answered 1 March 2013)
From: "Emily P."
Subject: Disease of Perception

Hi Orange

I was wondering if you had any thoughts or knowledge of the whole "disease of perception" term. I went to AA in a Clancy group and while doing a google search it appears he's the one that created the whole thing. Looking back, I don't remember it even being in the big book. It's a really great tool to control people's minds though. I had to go into a cult recovery center after leaving the group... they really did a number on me. They had me believing my personality traits were part of my illness (like being introverted) and that anything I said or did that wasn't in line with how they acted, however small, was seen as rebellion, unwillingness, or my illness again. I was always a bad or sick person. That is how thought reform works. I was completely shunned when I left as well. Just like a cult!

Hello Emily,

Thanks for the letter and the question. I had not heard of that "disease of perception" before, but I can guess what it means. "You don't see correctly. Your mind doesn't work right."

That brings up several of the standard cult characteristics that mess with people's minds:

And yes, it is a really great tool to control people's minds. Make them doubt themselves and believe that they are too insane and flawed to save themselves, and they will obey the leader — the leader who supposedly has the magical ability to fix them.

And yes, it really is a cult. And Clancy Imusland's "Pacific Group" is one of the worst branches of Alcoholics Anonymous — it's an extremist subcult within a cult. There are many more stories about Clancy and his subcult here:
Stories about Clancy Imusland's Pacific Group
By the way, I'm adding your letter to the list.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Since mind control depends on creating a new identity within the individual,
**     cult doctrine always requires that a person distrust his own self.
**    ==  Combatting Cult Mind Control, Steven Hassan, 1988, page 79.





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters346.html#Dmitry_V ]

Date: Tue, February 26, 2013 9:06 am     (Answered 4 March 2013)
From: "Dmitry V."
Subject: "Free love will cost you $1million: Now that the revolution's dead this former 'cult' hippie commune is selling out"

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2284043/Hippie-commune-sale--complete-seven-bedrooms-greenhouse-livestock.html

Hello again, Dmitry,

Yes, it's the end of an era, isn't it? I always feel a little sad to see the old communes getting sold off. A few in New Mexico met the same fate too.

What is funny from looking at those pictures is that I feel like I knew those people. Of course I didn't — they are in Great Britain, and I was on a commune in New Mexico — but they sure do look familiar.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     We were but a moment in time.
**     Ah, but what a moment.
**     What a time.





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters346.html#Dmitry_V2 ]

Date: Sat, March 2, 2013 7:39 pm     (Answered 9 March 2013)
From: "Dmitry V."
Subject: Hello Agent O. Since you like to read up on the Holocaust

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2287071/Full-shocking-scale-Holocaust-
revealed-researchers-Nazis-created-42-500-camps-ghettos-persecute-Jews-Europe.html

Hello Dmitry,

Thanks for the link. That is some good history. Yes, I can believe it. The big concentration camps got all of the fame — Auschwitz, Dachau, Buchenwald, Mathau, Treblinka... — but there were a zillion smaller camps. In fact, every place that there was an armaments factory, there was a prison camp next door for the slave labor to live in.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      "I thank Heaven for a man like Adolf Hitler, who built a
**      front line of defense against the anti-Christ of Communism."
**         ==  Dr. Frank N. D. Buchman, founder and leader of the
**         Oxford Group and Moral Re-Armament, August 26, 1936.





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters346.html#Mike_R ]

Date: Sat, March 2, 2013 12:46 pm     (Answered 9 March 2013)
From: "Michael R."
Subject: Registar

Hello-

I don't know if someone is actually going to read this. My user name is "racinemike".

If you can read this. I'm very troubled by what I see in AA. I've been sober for nearly 4 years.

I'm not an atheist. I do live with major depression. I had a horrible childhood. I was beaten and killed almost twice by my dad who was a police officer. My mother was a heavy drinker. I'm also gay so I have always felt different.

I was a 6 figure businessman. Sucessfull despite everything. I got hit all at once with some life events that made me drink even more. Family members dying, the economy tanking. My partner at the time not paying the mortgage. Since I joined AA nearly 4 years ago I'm involved in a group that only lives by the precepts of the big book. There is a chain of sponsorship. grandsponsor, Great gransponsor etc, running up to Clancy.

I see very little compassion in AA. I'm not looking for sympathy. But have been told to look at my part in childhood abuse. What the hell? I understand the precepts of forgiveness. But I get scared for some people that are new 1-2 years that are addressing abuse issues. I would never tell anyone to look at their part if they were an abused child.

My sponsor rarely if ever gets back to me. Wants me to write another 4th step. I feel like I get the shit kicked out of me. I do suffer for low self esteem. Although on the outside most people judge me and think how can he have low self esteem.

I see some people treated like outsiders and others that relapse and come back in as near celebrties. It seems like a popularity contest. Add an AA club to the mix and the lines get very blurred.

Anyway, I'm looking for a way out. I don't know which way to go. I'm terrified to speak out. There are a few that see through it all but.

Anyway, thank you for your website. I'm looking for hope.

Take Care,,

Mike

Hello Mike,

Thank you for the letter. I says a lot. And I can certainly sympathize. I was the abused son of an alcoholic military sergeant father, and my childhood was hell. I'm 66 years old now, and I'm still working on getting rid of the bad memories, and worse, the deep-seated feelings of failure and inadequacy and inferiority because I wasn't everything that my father wanted. (I was a straight-A student in school, but that wasn't enough because I wasn't any good at athletics. He wanted a son who was also a super-star athlete. Oh, and he also wanted a perfect little soldier to boot.) I would like to say that "Time heals all wounds", but it hasn't happened yet.

Which brings up those 4th and 5th Steps. Please stop that self-damaging routine right now. You already have enough problems without putting yourself down and criticizing yourself some more. The Twelve Steps are just Bill Wilson's rewrite of Dr. Frank Buchman's cult recruiting and indoctrination routines. The reason that the 12 Steps never tell you to quit drinking is because they are not about quitting drinking, they are about getting brainwashed into being a cult member.

Check out this cheat sheet on cults and brainwashing: Dr. Robert J. Lifton's description of brainwashing techniques.

Dr. Lifton was one of the original researchers into brainwashing. The USA was shocked when the Korean War ended and American POWs came back denouncing America and praising the Communists. They had been brainwashed. So Dr. Lifton and Dr. Edgar H. Schein studied the victims of brainwashing to learn how it works. Well, Dr. Lifton summarized brainwashing as using eight specific conditions, which are listed at that link. You will find that the A.A. program does all eight of them. The 12-Step program is brainwashing, period.

(I can't help but wonder whether the Chinese Communists learned something from Dr. Frank Buchman, who developed and popularized his techniques back in the nineteen-twenties and -thirties, long before the Chinese Communists ever thought about brainwashing. And Dr. Frank Buchman went to China as a missionary, so there is a real chance that the Chinese did learn some of that stuff from him. There is a Ph.D. project for a historian.)

So please stop doing that and hurting yourself.

Then, I notice that you are in one of Clancy's cults. Oh God. That is the worst part of A.A. Clancy's groups like the Pacific Group, Atlantic Group, Midtown Group, Foxhall Group, and "The Nursery" and "the Badger Group" are the most extreme and radical branch of A.A. Please get out of there.

There are many more horror stories about Clancy and his subcult here: Stories about Clancy Imusland's Pacific Group, Atlantic Group, and Foxhall Group.

And the Midtown Group, run by Clancy's grand-sponsee Mike Quinones, is described here: Stories of the Midtown Group of Alcoholics Anonymous.

You fear that something bad will happen to you if you leave A.A. I can happily tell you that it isn't so. I have 12 years off of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs now, and I haven't been to an A.A. or N.A. meeting in nearly 11 years.

What they are doing to you is called Phobia Induction, and it's a standard feature of cults. They always claim that something horrible will happen if you quit the cult. The Devil will get you, or you will be trapped in Samsara, or you will go insane, or you won't get taken up to Heaven in the Rapture, or you won't get the promised Miracle, or you will relapse and die from drugs and alcohol. It's always something. Here are the Cult Test question and answer for Phobia Induction:

Also, forget about that talk about "finding your part in it." You were a child, and had no choice about getting abused. As if us abused children CHOSE to get abused? That is barking-mad insanity. That is just the cult inducing feelings of inadequacy and guilt. That is also a standard cult characteristic, or rather, several of them:

Now for the good news. Yes, there is a way out. First off, you can just walk out and never go back. You will not instantly die or relapse. You are keeping yourself clean and sober now, aren't you? I know that the cult will deceive you and tell you that they are keeping you sober, but they aren't. You are doing it yourself. You can continue to do it yourself without them.

Now that doesn't mean that you have to be alone. There are several good sensible, sane, non-cult groups that can help. Here is the list of addresses:
http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-alt_list.html.

Personally, I have experience with SMART, and found it be some sane, realistic technology of the mind. I've also communicated with Jim Christopher, the founder of SOS, and he has good stuff to offer too. And both are free. And they let you keep your mind and your soul, so you can't beat the price.

I would also get an appointment with a real doctor or psychiatrist to see if something can be done about the depression. At least some meds to help you through the rough spots. Childhood abuse leads to lots of depression. (Which just naturally leads into using too much alcohol and other drugs as the victim tries to self-medicate and fix what's broken.) I don't know of any easy magic cure there, but at least a good doctor can help, sometimes a lot.

Oh, and please beware of the fake tranquilizers that are on the market. We — another abused child and I — were just discussing them in a previous letter here.

Good luck now, and please don't hesitate to write back. Let me know how you are doing. Oh, and you are already approved and enabled in the forum.

And have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    People unfit for freedom — who cannot do much with it
**    — are hungry for power. The desire for freedom is an attribute
**    of a "have" type of self. It says: leave me alone and
**    I shall grow, learn, and realize my capacities. The desire for
**    power is basically an attribute of a "have not" type of self.
**       ==  Eric Hoffer





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters346.html#Jennifer_S ]

Date: Sat, March 2, 2013 3:08 pm     (Answered 9 March 2013)
From: "Jennifer S."
Subject: Hi

Hi,

My name is Jen, and I have been following your site since 2007. I just saw that you have a forum now.

I was once your Facebook friend, I remember your wonderful photographs of geese/ swans?

Thanks!

Jen S.

Hi Jen,

It's nice to hear from you. I assume that you must still be my Facebook friend, because I don't remember having deleted you.

Yes, the photographs are mostly Canada Geese, and I'm still at it. Here, the story of the baby Carmen, is a good place to start.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     There is more power in rock and roll and blue jeans than 
**       in the entire Red Army.
**         == French socialist philosopher





June 17, 2012, Sunday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Pintail Drake
Pintail Drake

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

Mallard Ducklings
Mallard Ducklings

[The story of the goslings continues here.]





[The previous letter from Paul_K is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters346.html#Paul_K ]

Date: Tue, March 5, 2013 1:32 am     (Answered 9 March 2013)
From: "Paul K."
Subject: how it works?

Hello again, Orange,

I have in the past expressed some ambivalent (sp?) thoughts and feelings about AA.

I am 50 now and I first went to AA 22 years ago when I was 28 and when I was forced into a 12 step based rehab for 3 months. At different times since then I have attended AA. As I've written before my longest periods of sobriety have been 18 months and 22 months.

I think I have now reached a stage with AA meetings where I feel I have heard it all before. Also, I now just don't get much out of sitting down for 90 minutes and listening to 7 or 8 AA members talk about their drinking years and their lives now etc. Yet, there are still some people in AA and NA that I both like and respect.

I agree with you that a lot of alcoholics stop drinking simply because they get sick and tired of being sick and tired. And then after that I do now think that will power is a factor in a alcoholic staying sober for that first 3, 6 or 12 months. Then I think what often happens is simply that a sober alcoholic forms the habit of living each day without alcohol and that is combined with an alcoholic looking back and associating drinking with pain, problems and humiliations etc and then after a period of time, like say a year or so, an alcoholic can see that life sober is just much more better, easier and trouble-free etc; and then becomes determined to never return to all the misery that goes with alcoholic drinking.

I now simply don't believe 90 meetings in 90 days etc and then still going to meetings after 10 plus years of sobriety is necessary.

I am now seeing a D and A counsellor at Community Health. This counsellor, like many others in Australia, takes a more CBT approach than the 12 Steps approach; eg rational thinking with relapse prevention; challenging self-defeating thoughts; not "catastrophizing" or "awfulizing" over what are 95% of the time quite trivial matters, when you think about it; and so on. I now get more out of this counselling than AA.

As for spirituality, for the last 5 Sundays I have attended a small local Christian church where I have found some peace in prayer and worship. And the people there have been very friendly and welcoming. There is coffee, tea and food and conversation etc for about an hour after each Sunday service.

I really hope and pray that this time I can make it to 2 plus years sobriety; and then maybe/hopefully stay sober till I die.

There have been some good people in AA who have offered me time, advice and support but unlike them there is often, when I am sober, so many more things I'd rather do than attend AA; simple things like spending time with my girlfriend and her kids, going to the cinema, and even going for long walks with our dogs or reading a good novel etc.

There is a part of me that still wants to go to AA once or twice a week to stay in touch with some people there that I like and respect. But the problem is that there is now such a big gap in our thinking about what it takes to achieve long term sobriety.

On top of all this, I have, as I've written before, a bipolar disorder as well. And the D and A counsellor I am now seeing agrees with the psychiatrist I have seen on and off for the past 7 years that if my bipolar condition is properly medicated and managed then it just sort of follows that to a large extent the problem of my episodes of alcoholic drinking is solved too.

Paul

Hello Paul,

Thanks for the letter and I'm glad to hear that you are doing well. You have your head screwed on straight. And of course I agree that you don't need any 90 in 90, or to go to meetings for 10 years and hear the same stuff again and again.

You sound like you have a very good realistic take on the situation.

I understand that need for companionship. That is very human. I know that you would enjoy SMART or SOS meetings more. You will get a saner grade of people to associate with there. Here is the list:
http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-alt_list.html

And going to the church sounds good. I hope you find a bunch of happiness and comfort and companionship there.

It also sounds like you have a sane and competent counselor, which is very encouraging.

I totally agree with the statement that if your "bipolar condition is properly medicated and managed then it just sort of follows that to a large extent the problem of [your] episodes of alcoholic drinking [will be] solved too." Yes. But of course. The bipolar condition is why you started drinking excessively in the first place. You were just trying to self-medicate and fix what is broken, and get to feeling right. Welcome to the club. Alas, alcohol is actually a very poisonous bad drug that really messes you up after a while. I think that just about anything that you can get from the doctor would be better.

Oh, and obviously, you were not drinking because you were unspiritual and suffering from "defects of character" and "moral shortcomings" and all of that guilt-inducing nonsense that A.A. teaches. Bipolar disorder is not a sin that you need to confess in a 5th Step.

About your questioning whether you can make it for two years, may I suggest that in order to not make it, you would need to buy into one of the untrue lines that old Lizard Brain Addiction Monster loves to jabber to get us to "just have one".

"Just one will be okay. I can handle it now. I deserve it. I need to relax. Just one won't be any big deal. A whole year of no cheating whatsoever — I've got it licked, and I can just kick back and relax now."

I get those thoughts every so often. But I recognize them for the bull that they are, and reject them. Please read this page, if you haven't already. It was a huge help to me in staying sober for the first couple of years: The Lizard-Brain Addiction Monster

Have a good day, and good luck, and please stay in touch.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Life is not living, but living in health.
**        ==  Martial, (Full name, Marcus Valarius Martialis, A.D. 42?—?102),
**            Latin epigramist born in Spain, Epigrams tr. Walter C. A. Ker





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters346.html#Jack_N ]

Date: Sat, March 2, 2013 9:09 am     (Answered 10 March 2013)
From: "Jack N."
Subject: [Orange Papers] Another thing that that I do not like about AA....

Jack N. posted in Orange Papers

Another thing that that I do not like about AA. "Story Creep". Have you heard people's stories change and get worse? I have felt the need to embellish myself in the rooms. "Jeez, I didn't drink enough!" Why? I know guys that swear they drank a half gallon a day. "Really dude? You may have drank FROM a half gallon each day. I know you, you were a semi-functional problem drinker just like me when we met. Now you are a half gallon a day bad ass a stone's throw away from liver disease. Come on." This is applauded as "getting honest". I think it is bullshit.

http://www.facebook.com/n/?groups%2Faorange%2Fpermalink%2F499464630116710%2F&
mid=79c2f6dG25f2680eGc28e028G96&bcode=1.1362244159.AbkKEnpEaympW0ch&
n_m=orange%40orange-papers.info

Hi Jack,

Oh yes. Right on. You hit the nail on the head. I am reminded of this quote from Andrew Meacham:

As an AA member from 1981 to 1988, I sometimes felt myself saying things I did not mean and did not believe. I would prepare to make a point in which I did believe and found myself saying something like, "Well, you know, before I got into the program all I did was drink."
      Somewhere within, I'd hear the sound of screeching brakes: "What?!" It was a ridiculous statement. I had worked full-time (never missed a day because of drinking), acted in dozens of theatrical productions, written articles and short stories, dated, took vacations, read books, played basketball — all during the time I was supposedly laid up drunk. Yet for a long time it was very difficult not to practice this reverse denial.
...
      As an individual blends into the ... [therapeutic community], he redefines his past in terms of the new present.
...
      So there is a difference between the "rigorous honesty" exalted in AA literature, and the "narrative bending" that is expected in the social reality of the AA program. The coercion can be gentle and loving, or it can be harsh and upbraiding. But it is there; shaping descriptions, "suggesting" vocabularies, "ever reminding us to place principles (theirs) before personalities (our own)."
      "Principles before personalities" is the final and crowning phrase of the Twelve Traditions.
Selling Serenity, Life Among the Recovery Stars, Andrew Meacham, pages 116-119.

His book is described in the bibliography, here.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     When you live in a world of illusion, you live in a world of
**     perpetual childishness.  You never grow up.
**        ==  Chris Hedges, "Death of the Liberal Class"





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters346.html#sign ]

BLOG NOTE: 2013.03.10:

Some new guy who thinks he is a wildlife expert posted this sign at the Fernhill Wetlands, and he declared that feeding the ducks and geese "is not doing them any favors":

Don't feed the wildlife sign

This sign deserves an Oscar for the concentration of dishonest propaganda tricks, logical fallacies, and lies: There are no fewer than seven logical fallacies, propaganda tricks, and lies, packed into just two sentences:

  1. Malnutrition? Feedling the ducks and geese does not cause malnutrition. They still eat plenty of greens. Any bread or grain that they get is just a treat, a bonus. Their main diet is still grass for the geese, and various algae, pond scum, and worms and insects for the ducks.

    The only way that feeding geese and ducks bread and grain will cause malnutrition is if somebody locks them in a cage and feeds them only bread and grain. That will make them get sick. They need their greens for a balanced diet. But the free birds do not have that problem.

    The author of that sign was using the propaganda trick of The Either/Or Technique — Bifurcation — the Excluded Middle, declaring that either the wildlife will get no food from people, or else they will be living 100% on food from humans. The author of that sign says that if the geese or ducks get even a little bread or grain that they will suddenly eat nothing else, and will get sick from malnutrition. That has no basis in fact. There is no truth to it.

    Wildfowl are not stupid. They have a good idea of what constitutes a balanced diet for them. They know what they need to eat. They hunger for the things that are good for them. When I was hand-feeding Carmen, when she was less than a week old, she insisted on filling her stomach three-quarters full of grass first, and then she would fill the remaining space with cooked rice. She never deviated from that ratio, and she always insisted on eating the grass first. She was actually born (hatched) with a built-in idea of what constituted good nutrition for her. No way was she suffering from malnutrition.

    Carmen the Canada Goose gosling
    Carmen standing on her plate of rice and graham cracker crumbs.

  2. Overcrowding? If feeding the ducks and geese a little bread and grain suddenly causes an increase in the population, then they were starving and dying, and feeding them even a little saves them and keeps them alive. Deliberately starving the wildlife to death is a crime — cruelty to animals. And it's just plain heartless too.

    Besides which, who defines "overcrowding"? That is the propaganda trick of Using Slanted Language. And it is also Use Of Undefined Terminology.

    What population of geese would exist if they still had their ancient feeding grounds? The normal habitat of Canada Geese is grassy meadows adjacent to rivers and lakes. They need that habitat so that they can graze the grass, and then run for the water when a dog or fox or wolf comes along. Since the babies cannot fly, they really need to be able to run to the water fast. Alas, grassy meadows next to rivers or lakes are prime pieces of bottomland. White men came along and took those goose feeding grounds and plowed them up and made them into farms a century ago, and now they complain that there are too many geese who want to feed on their farms. And the farmers kill them.

    That is the same treatment as the Indians got: First herd them onto reservations, and shoot the ones who won't go onto the reservation, and then deny them food and watch them die out.

    So much for the geese foraging for food in the wilderness.

    What is really horrifying is the fact that you can go to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's web site and download the form for a permit to exterminate Canada Geese. http://www.dfw.state.or.us/ will eventually redirect you to:
    https://epermits.fws.gov/eRCGR/geSI.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2feRCGR%2fgeSTC.aspx
    ...where you can register to exterminate.
    Also see: www.fws.gov/forms/3-200-13.pdf

    Just fill out the form, and pay the small filing fee, and you can kill all of the Canada Geese that land on your property. And you can raid their nests and break their eggs and kill their babies. And not just during hunting season — all year long. At the end of the year, you fill out another form, saying how many geese you killed and how many eggs you broke, and send it to Washington DC, and then you can do the same thing again next year.

    Here is the USDA page on how to kill Canada Geese:
    http://www.aphis.usda.gov/wildlife_damage/downloads/canada_goose.pdf
    (What is really ironic and bizarre about this page is that the very first picture on the page shows a family of Canada Geese eating bread. You can see the slices of bread on the ground. So somebody was feeding them while somebody else was talking about killing them.)

  3. Agression? Feeding geese does not cause agression. Canada Goose males are normally aggressive and dominant, and they have a strict pecking order. Imagining that feeding the geese makes them aggressive is the logical fallacy of Assuming A Cause and Effect Relationship where none exists.

    When feeding the geese, you should always put the food out in many small piles, widely separated, not in one big pile. If there is only one big pile of food, then the most dominant male will sit on it and he won't let anyone else have any. Spreading the food around solves the problem. If the geese are constantly fighting over the food, then it is because they are starving. The solution is to feed them more. They become very calm and passive when they get their bellies full.

    Canada Goose families resting
    Canada Goose families resting after having been fed rolled oats.
    The father of one of the families is standing guard while everybody else rests and digests their food.
    (The oats are that white spot in the middle foreground.)
    The geese don't look very aggressive, do they?

  4. Excess poop? That is completely untrue, a blatant Reversal Of Reality. Bread and grain are concentrated food sources, and the birds eat less of it than other foods, so it produces less poop. When the birds have to eat a low-calory low-nutrient diet of grass, algae, and pond scum, that is when they have to eat large quantities of it to get enough nutrition out of it, and then they produce more poop.

  5. The writer of that sign implies that feeding geese and ducks makes them poop in the water. Oh? Do the geese and ducks have an outhouse that they will use if they don't get any bread or grain? Again, the sign-maker uses the logical fallacy of Assuming A Cause and Effect Relationship where none exists. The truth is, ducks poop in the water anyway, no matter what they eat. It's just what they do. The Pope is Catholic, and bears do it in the woods, and ducks do it in the water. Geese, on the other hand, usually do it on the grass, which is why some people want to kill them. People complain that the geese eat the grass in the parks, and then leave the grass littered with goose droppings. Yes, they do. On the bright side, goose dropping are relatively disease-free. It's just shredded grass. Lots of it.

  6. But the crowning glory of this piece of dishonest propaganda is the talk about bacteria. The sign-maker declares that bacteria will harm "people, pets, fish, and water." That is Fear Mongering and Arguing From Adverse Consequences.

    And the author is also Lying By Omission. What they aren't saying here is that the water in the ponds is sewage water. These ponds are located right next door to the city sewage treatment plant, and gigantic pipes carry the waste water right into the ponds. The ponds are incredibly polluted, and contain every bacterium and disease known to Forest Grove. Sooner or later, all diseases in the city get flushed down the toilet. Tens of thousands of humans have already pooped in that water. The water is already loaded with bacteria, and also phosphates, and it suffers from bad algae blooms in the summer. It is amazing that the wild creatures are not made sick by the water. They must really have tough constitutions.

    Signs all over the place declare that the water is polluted, and you can't drink it, or swim in it, or fish, or even touch it. But this deceptive sign would have you believe that a few geese and ducks pooping in the water will suddenly cause bacterial growth, and that would be a bad thing.

    Reclaimed Water

    So the sign-maker is again Argueing from Adverse Consequences, and saying that the fish and pets (what pets?) and people and water will be harmed by some goose and duck droppings, as if those things are not harmed by the feces of 25,000 people.

    Failure to mention that the ponds are already overloaded with bacteria from sewage is Lying By Omission.

This would be some kind of a joke if the lives of some wildlife weren't on the line. These are the little guys who aren't supposed to get any bread:

Canada Geese goslings munching bread

So what kind of a demented mind makes up such lies and wants to deny hungry animals food? I call them "Nature Nazis". They believe that making life difficult for wildlife is good for them, and "makes them tough". Just like military boot camp. And the animals must be "pure" wildlife, uncontaminated by contact with other races, or bad (human) influences. Sound familiar?

Nature Nazis are people who long for a world where the Indians ride horses bareback across the Great Plains, chasing the herds of buffalo and shooting them with bows and arrows. And gigantic flocks of Passenger Pigeons darken the sky. And the impenetrable forest stretches from coast to coast. And the wild geese live out there in the wilderness and never have any contact with humans.

But that dream world disappeared more than a century ago. Now, the Indians live on reservations and drive pickup trucks. And if they have any buffalo, they herd them around the reservation. The Passenger Pigeons are extinct. There is no more wilderness. It's all farms and cities and paved streets and parking lots. And the wild geese live in city parks now, and beg the visitors for some munchies.

But Nature Nazis resent any friendship between people and "wildlife". They want the wildlife to be totally wild and have no contact with humans. But that is delusional. That is grossly unrealistic. That isn't the way that the world is now. So they are guilty of appealing to a Glittering Generality, declaring that some idealized Norman-Rockwell world will exist if we just don't feed the hungry animals.

The reality is that now even supposedly wild Cackling Geese from Alaska winter over in Waterfront Park in downtown Portland, Oregon, and somehow, they have become quite fearless and accustomed to people and cars.

Cackling Geese in Waterfront Park
Alaskan Cackling Geese, grazing in Waterfront Park.

So do they deserve to die for that? Do they deserve to starve?

[The story of the goslings continues here.]





[The previous letter from Meatbag is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters346.html#Meatbag ]

Date: Wed, March 6, 2013 8:53 pm     (Answered 12 March 2013)
From: "Meatbag"
Subject: Re: Another Bullshit Comment from the Peanut Gallery

As far as cats go, I just have Alley and Titania. Claws would make a great nickname for Titania, though. Her affection can be quite painful. And Alley already has the nickname Loudmouth. Why? Well, this isn't Alley, but it sounds exactly like Alley:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSPBrLMYWQA

Hi again, Meatbag,

It's good to hear from you again.

Anyhow, after a miserable week, I do feel much better. I think it was the flux that was responsible. Zinc oxide is the most common culprit for metal fume fever (don't weld galvanized steel). Most fluxes contain zinc chloride. Burning zinc chloride probably produces zinc oxide.

I'm glad to hear that you are recovering.

Yes, the thing about zinc chloride sounds about right. I also notice that when I use acid-core solder, that the fumes from the flux are really toxic. I avoid inhaling that stuff, and I don't use it much anyway. I almost always use rosin-core solder, unless I'm soldering something like steel that rosin just won't work on.

As for the milk, that seems to be a folk cure. Not sure how well it actually works, but I'll take any excuse to drink chocolate milk.

:-)

I'm guessing you avoided it because you probably worked in a better-ventilated area than I did (I do my soldering in my dad's one-bedroom apartment). And you might have used zinc-free flux.

I think mainly it's just that I almost always use rosin-core solder. I've inhaled a ton of the fumes of that, but it just isn't so toxic. Not like the fumes of acid-core solder.

Poor Gus, having to be without his wife for the winter. Cross-species (sub-species?) relationships can be tough that way. Interesting that two related species can breed just fine, but two dogs of the same species, specifically a chihuahua and a great dane, can't really breed at all. The definition of species is rather muddy.

Yes, the definition of species is very muddled. I'm not sure if domestic geese are really a separate species. The definition of "species" that my biology professor taught was "a reproductively isolated population." Thus, if two different-looking populations can cross-breed, then they are the same species. They are just two varieties of the same species. Now I know that blows away a lot of species definitions. In aquaria, Guppies and Mollies can cross-breed, and the young are fertile. So can Swordtails and Platys. And the neat movie "The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill" described how San Francisco was hosting a new hybrid parrot. There are two species of parrots in South America whose territories are separated by hundreds of miles, so the parrots never meet in South America, but they met in San Francisco and produced babies of a variety that never existed before. And the offspring are fertile and continue to reproduce, so it's like a permanent new variety.

Domestic geese don't seem to be very far removed from the wild populations. Not only can Greylag Geese cross with Canada Geese, but so can the pure white domestic geese. There used to be a big honking male white domestic goose living at Waterfront Park, and he had a habit of jumping on a female Canada Goose and producing hybrid offspring. (I guess she must have been a cute French Canadian goose.) I called him Jefferson, after our white President Thomas Jefferson who couldn't stay out of his black slave Sally Hemmings' bed, and who produced lots of crossbreed children himself.)

Well anyway, his sons also produced fertile offspring, and it went on for about four generations before they died out. Apparently, adding white genes to Canada Geese didn't help them any. The pure Canada Geese were better suited for survival in the wild. Mother Nature knows what she is doing, and worked things out long ago.

We shall have to see what happens with Gus' descendents.

Incidentally, the AA "no cross-talk" thing isn't how group therapy works at all, in my experience. When I had group in the mental hospital, we could respond to each other, and there was a therapist overseeing. Admittedly, I don't know how group therapy works outside of hospitals, since I've never done it outside of the hospital. Group really isn't my thing.

Ah yes. Now that I think about it, that is how my "group therapy" group was too. Only A.A. forbids "cross-talk".

My experience with "group" wasn't very positive either, because it wasn't really "group". More like the leader "counselor" talking to people, and questioning people, and leading the discussion where he wanted it to go. We rarely really talked to each other, and we could never talk freely. He had to always get in there with the "correct" viewpoint.

Of course, that was the so-called "counselor" who was really a coke-snorting child rapist.

Also, I've never seen or heard of Celebrity Rehab, but between looking at your site and reading Wikipedia, Dr. Drew sounds like a massive creep. I'll stick with my regular shrink, thanks. As far as I know, he hasn't killed anybody.

I've never seen Celebrity Rehab either, because I don't get cable. (I've thought about it, but paying $100 per month to get more channels of commercials is insane.) But I've gotten lots of letters complaining about Celebrity Rehab, and describing it. And yes, Dr. Drew sounds like a creep who exploits other people's suffering, and does not help them.

And can you say "conflict of interest"? Dr. Drew has a massive conflict of interest. Is he doing things for the good of the patients, or for the good of his show's ratings?

And despite (because?) Mike Starr's appearance on that show, the remaining members of the original Alice in Chains are not fans at all:
http://www.wmmr.com/music/news/story.aspx?ID=1198068

Yes, I have to agree with them. Exploiting people when they are at their lowest is heartless and despicable. Years ago, I made a joke about having a Survivor TV series that was based on people drinking themselves to death on an island (here). But that was just a sick joke. I didn't think somebody would be low enough to do it for real.

Oddly enough though, somebody wrote to me and said that my joke blew him away because he was thinking of doing it for real (here).

And these are the same guys who watched Layne Staley slowly kill himself with drugs.

Bummer.

Oh well, have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "It is the friends you can call up at 4 A.M.
**  that matter."
**    ==  Marlene Dietrich, b. 1901, German actress

[The next letter from Meatbag is here.]





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Last updated 15 October 2013.
The most recent version of this file can be found at http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters346.html