Saturday, August 31, 2019

Teen Vaping Panic!

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It's Summer.  Ratings are dragging & the media needs something to boost its viewership, so here comes another perfectly-timed "crisis" threatening America's youth.  This time it's vaping that's causing teens to keel over.  While this is a very serious & real phenomenon, the stories reporting it contain nothing approaching responsible journalism.  Headlines scream "Vaping Kills 1; Maims Hundreds" while the finer print says that vaping hasn't even been 100% identified as the actual cause of these kids' lung problems (though it's pretty likely in my opinion).  

More troubling, nobody has bothered to identify what actual ingredient or ingredients are causing these reactions.  Vaping is not a new phenomenon--people, including teens--have been doing it for at least a decade now with no acute problems of this scale or severity.  There have always been questions about the possible long-term effects of inhaling certain carrier ingredients like vegetable glycerine or medium-chain triglycerides, but whatever's sickening these people is something far worse.  This is an acute, life-threatening reaction...not a chronic/long-term issue.  Yet we can't seem to get an answer as to what's causing it.  Just "vaping".  Vaping what, exactly?  Some of the victims were vaping black-market THC products that are counterfeit & made to look like those sold in dispensaries.  Some were vaping nicotine products.  Others CBD-only preparations.  

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Blowing smoke...

Those 3 industries--black market THC, nicotine products like Juul pods & CBD supplements--are not even in the same legal category or subject to the same regulations, so how the hell can you link these illnesses to such a wide variety of different products?  Something's not adding up.  It's almost as if they want to scare ALL vape users away from the practice.  It conjures memories of the Great Kratom Salmonella Scare of 2018, except this time people are actually very sick & dying.  The question is, why?  And who is responsible?  Is this a deliberate attempt to poison the vaping industry by adding known toxins to a variety of products like CBD & nicotine, perhaps by some 3-letter agency?  Probably not, because that's crazy talk.  But something stinks.  

The more likely scenario is that the media is jumping the gun by linking "vaping"--an overly broad term describing a number of different activities--to an outbreak of unknown origin before having all the facts.  The outbreak itself is all too real but the explanation behind it is lacking to say the least.  Until someone can tell us what adulterant or ingredient is at fault, how are we to alter our behavior & protect ourselves?  That's just it:  they want us to give up vaping in all forms by deliberately leaving out the important details.  Ain't happenin' guys.  

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Fake, fake, fake.

To help protect yourself against this very real & scary health problem, here are a few tips:

-  Never, ever buy black market THC vape products.  Counterfeiters make them look just like the real thing but they can contain literally anything from pesticides to dangerous carrier oils to lead heating elements in the vape itself, none of which will be obvious to the naked eye.  

-  When buying CBD vape products, only buy from vendors who publish 3rd party lab reports that test for contaminants other than THC (the industry minimum).  That includes pesticides, fungi/bacteria/other pathogens, heavy metals & residual solvents.  All of these have been found in various hemp-derived CBD brands.  

-  If you're a teen or young adult & don't vape nicotine products already, don't start.  There are countless reasons why you shouldn't pick up the habit.  Here are a few.

-  If your vape cartridge contains colored oil--blue, purple, green, black--it is fake.  Real oil will have an incredibly thick viscosity & will be colored a light almond to dark amber tone.  Food coloring will not mix with actual vape oil so this is a huge red flag that it's fake.  Also: the vape oil shouldn't be thin like water.  The bubble should rise almost imperceptibly slowly when the pen is turned upside down.  

-  If you're an e-cig user who vapes nicotine, be on the lookout for counterfeit cartridges as well.  China produces knockoffs that look just like the real thing & can be dangerous.  The FDA ruled that companies like Juul can only sell their sweet-flavored products on websites, so stores that are still selling them are more likely to have counterfeits.  To reduce your risk of getting one of these fakes, avoid buying flavored (Mango, Fruit & Creme, etc) Juul pods in brick-and-mortar stores.  If your pod tastes bad, throw it out immediately.  

-  Learn to identify real CCell batteries & make sure your THC vape pen uses them if it's a certain brand (list in the next link).  Popular brands like Cereal Carts & Dank Vapes use this type of battery & it's often (poorly) counterfeited in fake pens like those seen here.  

...none of these tips are foolproof but they can be helpful.  

Thursday, August 29, 2019

[Review] - Benni Botanicals: 4 Strain Kratom Sampler

Vendor:  Benni Botanicals
Location:  Chicago, IL.
Items:  Kratom, Akuamma Seed, Lotus Flower Extracts.
Rating: 4.8 of 5 stars

Benni Botanicals

Despite being extremely impressed with my current sources of kratom, I wanted to branch out a bit & give some new vendors a chance.  Kratom, no matter how high quality, tends to create tolerance after repeated use of the same strains which makes it necessary to add variety to your stash.  This time I went with Benni Botanicals, a vendor located in Chicago, Illinois.  I'm starting with a small sample order of 4 red strains, as always:

- Super Red (100g)
- Red Cambo (100g)
- Red Jongkong (25g)
- Red Bali (25g)
Free sample!  Benni Benty Bali (25g)

Right off the bat I'm impressed with the service & friendliness of these folks.  I also appreciate the variety of payment options & nice website.  Shipping is free which is another awesome touch.  I paid $32 including tax & shipping for 250g split 4 ways.  I kinda dislike how the products are laid out on the website, with the same strains listed twice in different quantities (hard to explain in words).  Would prefer they just list each strain one time & let you choose the amount from a drop-down menu or write-in list, but it's not a huge obstacle.  I'm seeing lots of positive reviews on various forums which is reassuring.  Shipping was lightning fast, with the package arriving in my state the day after paying & at my mailbox the following day.  WOW.  Free Priority shipping is something ya don't see often in this biz either.

Beauteous Benni Botanicals bags of bounty!

Upon opening the package, I notice an extra bag:  25g of "Benty Bali" sample.  SWEET!  First I make a batch of tea from the Benni Red Cambo, as I've never tried a Cambodian strain before & am curious what to expect.  It has a typical kratom smell upon opening the bag & is a brownish red color.   The Cambo tastes kinda rank but immediately provides a super mellow wave of bliss after only a few sips.  Music is sounding gorgeous after partaking.  My migraine is melting away despite the storm brewing outside.

Next day I try the Benni Red Bali, which I've seen many rave reviews about online.  It's nice but not quite as potent as the Cambo for me.  Super Red is on par with the Cambo in terms of potency but unfortunately is triggering a massive itchy hive rash all over my body, which is not something that's ever happened to me with kratom or even opioids.  Gonna have to throw that one out.  I'd rank them in the following order from most mild/stimulating to most potent/relaxing:  Jongkong, Red Bali, Super Red, Cambo.  From a personal taste standpoint, I'd say the Cambo is my favorite all-around strain but I'll probably revise this later after I've had a chance to experiment more with them.  (I've yet to try the Benty Bali but am sure it's quality).

From what I can gather, Benni's business model is to source most of his own bulk kratom & also offer some good batches from other domestic vendors he's tried.  The strains with the word "Benni" in front of the name denote a strain he's sourced from his own Indo source, I believe.  I appreciate his openness regarding where he picked up these batches.  It would do no good to buy a bunch of domestic kratom sourced from the same Indo source I buy directly from so this is helpful.  They also include actual batch numbers on each package which is pretty official.  👌

I give this order a 4.8 of 5 stars for the generous sample, lightning-fast shipping & friendliness in communications.  Quality is on point too but I gotta dock a point for the allergic reaction to the Super Red.  You can tell these folks take pride in their business & care about the kratom community.  I look forward to ordering more from them in the future.

Regarding this rash:  It's still present a week later & I'm not 100% sure it was the kratom that caused it, but the timing was extremely suspicious.  After my first few sips of the Super Red strain I began itching intensely all over my body & it hasn't stopped.  My entire torso & face are feverish & legs & arms covered in hive-like bumps ("maculopapular" rash if we're being technical).  I might try a skin contact test with the strain again later just to see if it provokes a response, but I won't be ingesting it again to be on the safe side.  Whatever it is, it's most definitely a ME problem; not a Benni issue.  I don't hold it against him & neither should you.  For all we know I have West Nile Virus or some other thing entirely.  

Update #2:  Benni was kind enough to email me personally to check on the rash issue.  He's pulled the Super Red from his sale rack just to be safe, which is exactly what a responsible vendor should do.  I highly recommend Benni Botanicals & will definitely be using them again myself.  

The Rastas Were Right

Jacob Miller (left) w/ Bob Marley

While modern medicine is still struggling with acknowledging the full medical benefits of cannabis, the Rastafarians have known since the dawn of their religion, which centers cannabis as a holy sacrament somewhat similar to how Catholics view wine.  The 2019 documentary Weed the People highlights the anti-cancer effects of cannabis in actual living children, while the older Rick Simpson "Run From the Cure" film has a similar theme of treating serious disease with cannabis. 

But Rastas have been touting the holy weed's anti-cancer effects since at least the 1970's in songs like Jacob Miller's "Healing of the Nation".  He opens by asking the minister why: 

"You no fight 'gainst the rum head/
You no fight 'gainst the wine head/
You no fight 'gainst the cigarette smoking/
When you know, when you know these things give cancer."

While scientific studies are just now starting to prove definitively that certain compounds in the cannabis plant have anti-tumor effects, Rastas have somehow known this gem of wisdom decades already.  Pretty impressive for a people who largely live in utter poverty, many in shacks with dirt floors & surrounded by government-sanctioned violence.  Miller's song closes with the lines:

"Natty dreadlocks know, natty dreadlocks know
Knowing the truth, the truth that collie bud cure cancer, yeah"

That's the thing--they didn't just view cannabis as a fun, feel-good drug or even a mere religious sacrament.  They relied on it as part of their first aid kit in many impoverished homes where more costly medicines were out of reach.  So in that way they were honestly promoting it as a health tonic as well as all the other good things we use weed for.  Rastas view cannabis as the "burning bush" of the Bible & believe several passages instruct man to use it for our needs.  They also believe it was growing at King Solomon's grave.  It's smoked to aid in meditation & in large group "Reasoning" sessions where spiritual & Biblical topics are discussed.  But even prior to that it was used for health reasons on the Jamaican island; brewed into tea or mixed with tobacco. 

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Trenchtown neighborhood of Jamaica

Not only that, Rastas were among the first to persistently & pointedly call out the hypocrisy of legalizing certain drugs like cancerous cigarettes & deadly alcohol while demonizing cannabis.  Peter Tosh opens his song "Bush Doctor" with the words "Warning: the Surgeon General's warning.  Cigarette smoking is dangerous...dangerous.  Hazard to your health.  Does that mean anything to you?" before encouraging listeners to legalize marijuana.  While rock bands were pushing cocaine & chain smoking cigs, these chill Black dudes were peacefully promoting--with science!--the use of an herb with vast healing properties.  (That's not to say there weren't some groundbreaking white bands doing a lot for legalization or some bad Jamaican dudes making the herb look bad...there were.  It's just rare to see the reggae artists get credit for being among the first to speak on this issue in such a thoughtful manner).

There were also lines in reggae songs about it curing "glaucoma" which turned out to be dead-on.  Glaucoma was one of the first conditions medical marijuana was approved for in the 1980's by the federal government--which was still after the Rastas sang about it.  Bob Marley surprisingly sang few words about the herb for how much he smoked, but his wise man-of-few-words interviews show he was more of a lead by example type anyway.  Bob's wife & reggae legend Rita Marley recorded the inescapably catchy "One Draw" in 1981, a time when women in reggae talking about smoking herb weren't exactly common.

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Discusses the medical benefits of weed, including treating open-angle glaucoma

None of this seems groundbreaking in the year 2019, but back when a single marijuana seed or stem could land you in jail or get you beaten bloody by police, speaking the truth could put your safety in danger.  The 1980's were plagued by Ronald Reagan's black helicopter raids on marijuana crops in California & paraquat-spraying on Mexican-grown weed.  (Yes, they were literally trying to POISON smokers with a pesticide so deadly it's one of the leading substances used to commit suicide around the developing world).  Paraquat is in a group of pesticides long thought to cause Parkinson's disease, so who knows how many Baby Boomer smokers from those days might be only suffering the effects now as Parkinson's is an age-related disease.  The paraquat-spraying programs took place in the late '70s & again in 1988

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Actual warning about paraquat from the Village Voice

And ganja certainly wasn't legal in Jamaica despite their sunny disposition toward it in music.  Users were forced to hide out in the bush to smoke & dump their stash if pulled over by police just like the rest of the world.  Peter Tosh's popular anthem "Legalize It" was outright banned from airplay in Jamaica in 1975 when it was released.  During the One Love Peace Concert of 1978, Mr. Tosh dared to light a spliff onstage & go on a tangent about legalizing the good weed, which earned him a brutal beating in Kingston by police a few months later.  He sustained major head injuries & was never the same afterward, suffering hallucinations & nightmares until his untimely murder in 1987.

Incarceration skyrocketed when Reagan took office

For people who lived & preached so much peace, many of Rastafari's messengers died tragically young.  Bob Marley survived an assassination attempt in 1976 but succumbed to melanoma in 1981*; Peter Tosh was murdered by a thuggish hanger-on in 1987; Jacob Miller was killed in a car accident in 1980.

* One flaw in the Rasta ideology was that cancer should not be treated by amputation or "Western medicine" as Marley put it.  Instead of amputating his cancerous toe, he opted to have a skin graft & treat his cancer with "de meditations of me chalice pipe" which proved to be fatal.  By the time he decided to go ahead with chemo it was far too late; the cancer had metastasized throughout his body.  The decision to keep making music & touring instead of taking a break to focus on his health can be blamed largely on his record label & Rasta mentors, both of whom discouraged him from doing anything that'd slow down the money train.  But he really had a core belief that he could meditate away the cancer with the help of ganja, which was sadly a fool's game.  He's in good company though:  Steve Jobs also pursued alternative medicine options until his cancer was too far gone to treat with proven methods. 

While weed is extremely helpful for boosting appetite & morale when facing a terminal illness like cancer, it's no substitute for evidence-based therapies like radiation, chemotherapy & immunotherapy.  Perhaps in the future we'll have some cannabis-derived treatments for certain kinds of cancer like the types it's proven helpful for in the lab, but for now you'd be endangering your life to skip the doctor-prescribed treatments that have been proven to actually work.  They're crude but they're the best we've got.  Still, there's some evidence that concentrated cannabis extracts applied directly to tumors of certain types might help destroy them, which the bush doctors of Jamaica sang about in the '70s...sort of.  Gotta give credit where credit is due. 

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Children of the Ethiopian Coptic Church partaking

Monday, August 26, 2019

[Review] - Rokacet Plus Caplets, 24 Count

Vendor:  a.shrikimarketing 
Location:  Israel
Items:  OTC medications
Rating:  4.7 of 5 stars

As I like to do, I was scouring eBay for low-dose codeine pills & came upon one called Rokacet Plus that looked slightly decent, albeit not as good as the Empacod.  Rokacet Plus contains 15mg codeine phosphate, 500mg acetaminophen & 50mg caffeine.  Not super stoked about the caffeine content but I take small doses of it daily as a migraine prevention med anyway so whatever.  Rokacet Plus is marketed as an over-the-counter remedy for cough, pain & fever in the Middle East.  They also have plain Rokacet, which contains 10mg codeine & only 30mg caffeine & comes in boxes of 20 caplets.  Thinking I might've gotten a better deal by getting those but the caffeine content may shake out the same in the end when taking more to make up for the lower codeine dose.  There doesn't appear to be a simple way to extract the caffeine from the good stuff so I'll only be taking 1-2 at a time.

Back of a blister pack

I paid $28.90 plus tax (international shipping included) for a box of 24 caplets.  The seller got it in the mail quickly & sent a tracking number that works.  It was shipped the 14th & received on the 26th of the same month, which is extremely fast for anything international.  I start with half a pill because I've already taken caffeine today & it irritates my bladder something fierce.  I definitely feel a bit of the codeine despite drinking kratom tea all morning, but it's mild for sure.  I can see these being great for migraines & other minor pain.  Certainly preferable to taking a benzo or barbiturate to deal with migraines, as that leaves me depressed af the next day.  Packaging was super discreet though the inner bag says "Pharmacy" on it.  Apparently had no problem getting through customs so no complaints.

Overall I give this order a 4.7 of 5 stars for shipping time, price & quality.  Although I'd love if it had less (or preferably NO) caffeine, that's not the seller's fault.  It still beats the big bag of nothing we get in the U.S.


Sunday, August 25, 2019

Lysergic Acid Diethylamide: A History in Technicolor

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Disclaimer:  I don't care much for LSD's effects personally.  The one time I tried it was so unpleasant it actually marked the last time I took any psychedelic.  I fixated on the banality of social interaction, death & other unpleasant thoughts.  Just when I thought the misery was ending I was struck with a bolt of painful diarrhea as the 'cid apparently reached my large intestine, causing all kinds of havoc.  I made about 8 trips across the festival grounds in the scorching August sun to the Port-O-Potties until a friend gave me some Imodium to end my suffering.  

Still, I find reading about psychedelics like LSD fascinating.  The typical response to acid is waves of electrified bliss & an expanded consciousness streaked with visual hallucinations like fractals & colorful distortions.  It leaves users in awe of their surroundings much like a child experiencing the world for the first time.  A bad trip, on the other hand, can cause immense feelings of fear coupled with dark & frightening hallucinations & negative thoughts.  My "bad" trips don't ever include fear or panic...just a depressed mood & physical fatigue.  I always turn inward on psychedelics & find myself not wanting to be social whatsoever which is just a magnification of my normal personality.  

LSD's history is as colorful as the hallucinations it causes.  After the government experimented with it on unsuspecting volunteers under the MK-ULTRA program, it leaked out into the general population via Ken Kesey & other brave psychonauts where it began to be synthesized in clandestine labs on a gigantic scale.  Acid was actually legal in California for the first half of the 1960s, during which time Owsley Stanley & his apprentice Tim Scully made the bulk of the street acid taken by hippies.  Their White Lightning batch contained 270 micrograms & was produced at their rented house in Point Richmond, California.  Owsley claimed it to be 99.9% pure.  They pumped out more than 300,000 tabs of this batch before LSD was banned in '66 in California & they moved their lab to Denver, CO, across the street from the Denver Zoo.  

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  Owsley "Bear" Stanley (left) & Tim Scully

The next famous batch turned out by Scully & Owsley was Monterey Purple, named for the seminal Monterey Pop Festival where it was to be distributed.  This batch also contained 270 micrograms of lysergic acid diethylemide & 100,000 tabs were produced.  The Monterey Pop Festival kicked off the Summer of Love & featured artists like Jimi Hendrix (seen below taking a tab of Monterey Purple), The Mamas & The Papas, Janis Joplin & Otis Redding.  Things were still innocent & idealistic at this point--the hippie movement was just being born & the counterculture was in full bloom.  Lighting Director Chip Monck, whose film of Woodstock drew thousands of lost kids to San Francisco, accidentally ingested some Monterey Purple when he swallowed what he thought to be a Dexedrine tablet in the shape of a purple heart.  It was his first acid trip & totally impaired his ability to film.  As a result, the second half of the movie was filmed in red.   

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Hendrix taking Monterey Purple at Monterey Pop Festival

Of course things wouldn't remain hunky dory forever.  

Stanley & Scully had synthesized a new amphetamine-based psychedelic called "STP" ("Serenity, Tranquility, Peace") in their Denver lab around this time that was sold at the Golden Gate Park Summer Solstice Festival of 1967.  (The drug was actually a discovery of Alexander Shulgin called DOM).  In small doses of 2-3mg, this substance produces physical stimulation & visual hallucinations lasting many hours.  But the 5,000 tablets produced by Stanley & Scully contained a whopping 20mg & were responsible for a rash of disastrous bad trips.  Worse, the drug takes a long time to kick in so some people took even MORE than the 20mg & ended up freaking completely out or injuring themselves.  The media attributed some of these "bad trips" to LSD which brought more bad press to the drug.  Owsley Stanley was also arrested for drug manufacturing around this time.  

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Nick Sand

In 1968, another eager young apprentice named Nicholas Sand joined the duo, purchasing a farmhouse in Windsor California & setting up a huge acid lab with Tim Scully.  There, they churned out over 3.6 million tablets of high-dose 300 microgram LSD hits dubbed Orange Sunshine, which became their most famous 'brand' ever.  This batch was name-dropped on Saturday Night Live & was well-known in other pop culture circles for years to come.

Nick Sand's Orange Sunshine (268ug) tabs

If you're not well-versed in the chemistry of LSD, you may be wondering:  what's the difference between White Lightning, Blue Cheer & other "strains" of acid?  Aside from the dose & purity, nothing.  LSD is LSD regardless of the name or form it comes in.  Owsley, Scully & Sand believed you could influence the effects by listening to certain music or meditating as a finished dose rolled off the production line, though this is obviously magical thinking.  Some batches came in tablet form while others were on blotters & others were dropped on sugar cubes.  All have the same effect as long as the dose is the same.  Set & setting (i.e. mindset & physical surroundings) however do play a large role in the direction of an LSD trip, so if someone has especially fond memories about a specific batch of acid it's likely due to those factors.  

Even as the idealistic 1960s drew to a dark close with the disastrous Altamont Free Concert, Manson Murders & Kent State shootings, LSD remained a staple of the drug culture.  Unfortunately, more addictive substances like cocaine, heroin & meth began to eclipse the popularity of "hippie" drugs like pot & psychedelics.  Speed Freaks overtook the Haight Ashbury district & there was a backlash against the whole youth counterculture not only by older generations but by many young people themselves.  As early as 1967, the Diggers organized a march called "The Death of Hippie" in which they carried a coffin down the street & chanted:

Hippie met its ugly death
In Buena Vista Park;
Buried with the smack and meth
With candles in the dark;
Vietnam the only trip
That had the people in its grip.

Heavy shit, maan.  😟

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"Speed Kills" ad (late '60s/early '70s)

However, as one last testament to the Golden Age of peace, love & freedom, a cargo plane flew over a rock concert in 1970, dropping thousands of packets of Orange Sunshine to cheering crowds below.  The Brotherhood of Eternal Sunshine's mission to turn on the world was complete.  What the world chose to do with their gift was up to them.  

To this day LSD is among the top 10 most popular street drugs at any given time.  It can be found at concerts & festivals like Coachella & Burning Man as well as on various Dark Net markets.  There will likely always be a fond place for this substance in the hearts of the drug culture.  Neither a tryptamine nor a phenethylamine (but containing features of both in its molecular structure), LSD is a unique psychedelic with a long history of human use & a well-documented safety profile.  It's been enjoyed by the likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs & Susan Sarandon & will continue to be used by many others who want to expand their inner vistas.  It's been sold in every imaginable form over the years, from windowpane squares to microdots to pure crystal, each generation having their own fond memories of the form they liked best.  

With the rise of research chemicals like 25i-NBOMe & Bromo-DragonFLY, taking LSD has become a more risky proposition.  A lot of these chemicals can be put on a blotter and sold as "acid" but are far more potent & dangerous at the same dose, making it very important to know & trust your source.  

Would love to hear your most interesting LSD story in the comments.  

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LSD microdots

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"Windowpane" acid
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LSD blotter squares
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LSD microdot & blotter vs. other substances

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Nicotine: Still Not Cool or Safe

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Serious question.  Why would anyone born after, say, 1985 decide to start using nicotine products?  It's been beaten into our heads how addictive & deadly tobacco it stains your teeth & leaves you smelling like an ashtray while turning your skin into aged leather (never mind the whole cancer thing)... yet people my age & younger still choose to smoke!  Granted, the rates of teen & young adult smoking HAD increased in recent years, that is, before vaping came along.  Now kids are back on the nicotine bandwagon, insisting it's different this time or somehow less dangerous.  True, they've taken burning tobacco out of the equation but the highly addictive nicotine still remains.

It's been known since 1987 that nicotine is harder to quit than heroin, amphetamines & cocaine according to the Surgeon General.  All the various nicotine cessation products on the market attest to this.  People who have quit hard drugs can still be seen chain smoking & often aren't expected to quit in rehab because it's a "slow death" as opposed to an imminent threat to their lives, but the truth is it's just too hard to give up for many.  I've personally had a number of friends who have quit for 6 months or more & then fell back into smoking as hardcore as before.  Even after going through the miserable cravings & withdrawals they couldn't stay off the 'tine.  A substance that doesn't even get you high.

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Effects of vaping nicotine

That's how addictive nicotine is: it doesn't cause a true psychoactive high or altered state yet it's one of the hardest substances to quit permanently.  That's scary.  My own mother quit after giving birth to me over 30 years ago.  She'd been a heavy smoker for 20 years prior.  To this day if she smells a cigarette burning she gets cravings & wants to sit around smelling the secondhand smoke.  My dad has never been able to quit dipping snuff despite several valiant efforts.  And this (nicotine) is the substance teens are vaping like it's nothing.

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How nicotine causes addiction in the brain

For those who claim nicotine is completely harmless health-wise, you couldn't be more wrong.  Studies have shown that, while it doesn't cause cancer, nicotine promotes faster growth of tumors once they've begun to form.  Not great news since we all develop cancer cells randomly at some point in our lives that our immune systems generally knock out.  And then there's the unknown effects of vape additives, some of which are suspected to cause ailments like pneumonia & other mysterious pulmonary problems.  Diacetyl, a common flavoring agent used in many nicotine vaping juices, is a known to cause popcorn lung for instance.  Even in the absence of dangerous flavoring ingredients, plain old e-liquid (propylene glycol and glycerine) produces free radicals that increase the risk for cancer.  

And then there's the sticky situation of being utterly dependent on any substance.  Vaping may be affordable & hip now but what happens when the government cracks down & decides to start taxing vape products like they do tobacco?  Or some other unforeseen regulatory crackdown makes your drug of choice unavailable or unaffordable?  I've been around long enough to see this happen with too many substances.  It's also quite possible--likely even--that vaping will go out of fashion the way smoking has, meaning public places will institute their own bans & make it extremely difficult & uncool for vapers to do their thang.  

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Vaping may one day become as stigmatized as smoking

Don't get me wrong:  I'm well aware of the FDA & Scott Gottlieb's scare tactics & the media's lust for drug scare stories.  I'm not here to judge anyone or advocate for any bans.  Any consenting adult who wants to ingest nicotine should be free to do so.  Kids?  Not so much.  But you can't truly give informed consent without having all the facts, hence this article.  There's still a lot we don't know about the long-term health effects of vaping as well as the problem of a totally unregulated market, which is why it's disingenuous to claim that vaping is a "safe" alternative to smoking or smokeless tobacco products.  It may not even be "safe-er" when it's all said & done.  We simply don't know yet.  One thing is certain:  vaping has resurrected the use of nicotine by teens in a big way, a fad that was declining in America for decades.  That can't be a good thing no matter how you spin it.  

When used to help cease smoking actual tobacco, vaping might be a safe way to taper down & quit altogether.  But that's not how nicotine in vape form is being least not in the overwhelming majority of cases.  It's used to replace one long-term addiction with another or, worse, to start an addiction to nicotine in young people who otherwise wouldn't have touched it due to the disgust toward tobacco that's been drilled into our heads for decades now.  

Friday, August 16, 2019

Epstein's Circle Pt. II: Exposing the Enablers

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Young Epstein victim surrounded by indifferent revelers

This article is a continuation of my previous piece on Jeffrey Epstein & his hideous abuse of underage girls.  After reading victim/survivor Virginia (Giuffre) Roberts' memoir, I've come to the conclusion that Epstein's brand of trafficking & exploitation is not unique to him by any means.  He may have been an extreme case due to the scope of his crimes & the high-profile nature of his clients, but he's far from the only wealthy man engaging in human trafficking.  It's a common occurrence among elite million & billionaires.  Not that pedophilia doesn't occur in all segments of the population--it absolutely does.  But our leaders in government, the arts, finance & media should be held to higher standards of conduct.  Or at least the same standards as any poor pedophile on the street doing the same things would be.

"The Life"

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Street pimps & "hoes"

Prostitution is widely known as the world's oldest occupation.  But for all the progressive pro-sex worker advocacy these days, there's a dark side that can't be ignored.  Prostitutes are overwhelmingly recruited while still underage & are often trafficked by pimps.  They tend to come from broken, abusive homes or even foreign countries as illegal immigrants brought in for the purpose of prostitution.  This occurs at all levels of society, from the impoverished to the top 1%.  Those at the bottom rung of the wealth ladder refer to themselves as 'pimps & hoes' and call what they do "the life".  People in this group tend to include street walking prostitutes, escorts & the like.

The pimp finds young, vulnerable girls--usually runaways--he can mold into submissive slaves willing to go out & work 6 or 7 days a week, turning all their money over to him in exchange for a sense of security.  He buys their clothes, keeps their hair & nails done & gives them a place to sleep while keeping them safe from dangerous johns, although in reality a woman is more likely to be harmed by her own pimp than a client.  She generally keeps NONE of her earnings.  R. Kelly's relationship with underage girls is a perfect example of how pimps relate to their victims:  in an authoritative manner & often with violence.  This type of pimp is largely African-American while 'hoes' can be any race.  For more on this lifestyle, check out the documentary American Pimp (1999).  

Then we have the middle/working-class traffickers & pedophiles:  the coaches, priests & others in "respected" positions of local authority who are above the street pimps on the income scale but far below Epstein & his ilk.  They gain access to children through their jobs or on the internet & often feign an interest in hobbies that will place them in close proximity to unsupervised kids.  Jerry Sandusky & Father Oliver O'Grady are in this category.  Epstein himself started as a teacher so he was at one time in this group as well.  They are opportunists; sometimes violent & other times more gentle depending on what their particular preferences are.  Middle-class sex offenders tend to do less classic pimping & more trading of illicit pornography involving children or violence ("snuff films").  To indulge in their sick perversions without fear of prosecution, they sometimes travel to countries with more lax laws such as Thailand, the Philippines or South America. 

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Father Oliver O'Grady molested countless children as a priest

And then we have elite class traffickers like Epstein & Jimmy Savile.  These depraved souls don't need to travel to different countries or waste their time with child porn--they simply recruit & import their own real victims from the streets of America or other countries.  They often travel with the victims on their arm, showing them off to their rich friends & even renting them out to other men or couples for sex.  Victims of these upper-class pedos may be expected to have sex with multiple men (& women) several times a day or recruit other girls into the operation.  Sometimes there are orgies or painful/degrading fetishes involved.  If the procurer is a true pedophile, the child will be discarded after a certain age or kept around only to scout other kids or perform other work duties.  Sex is often unprotected & miscarriages or abortions may occur.

After the report into Jimmy Savile and the conviction of Rolf Harris, Britain has gone into a convulsion of anxiety about child abuse in the Eighties
Jimmy Savile & Rolf Harris, wealthy pedophiles

In Epstein's case, he expected Virginia Giuffre to be on call 24/7 not only for sex but to rub his hands, feet & scalp or just listen to him ramble about topics of interest to him.  Ditto for his partner in crime Ghislaine Maxwell who also wasn't shy about engaging in sex acts with underage girls along with Epstein.  There was no reciprocated interest in Giuffre's feelings or life; she was treated like a sex doll & nothing more.  They frequently "joked" about "trading her in" once she hit 18, even making this comment to Prince Andrew who had a daughter around her age at the time & later used Giuffre for sex himself.  The utter lack of humanity in these people is the most shocking part of it all.  Raping underage girls is all in a day's work for them, no different than going to the spa or hobnobbing at a red carpet event.

The Bystander Effect

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The darkest part of the Epstein saga is there were countless bystanders who knew exactly what these two were up to & not only tolerated but welcomed it.  Other wealthy pedos bought "dates" with the girls & Epstein showed them off at high-profile celebrity gatherings like Naomi Campbell's birthday party in 2001.  It was all out in the open...not a hush-hush affair.  Some perpetrators are named in the memoir while others aren't, but that's really not the point.  The issue is how commonplace buying & selling children is among the 1%.  And yes, the 1% includes celebrities like Kevin Spacey & Courtney Love; royalty like Prince Andrew & politicians including Presidents Bill Clinton & Donald Trump.

Many of the girls were lured in with promises of stardom or lucrative careers in the arts or massage therapy (or whatever career they were pursuing at the time).  This is the same tactic R. Kelly & Michael Jackson used to pick up victims, allegedly.  They'd use their star power to dazzle parents & victims and gain their trust, promising them a life of fame before quickly turning the tables.  These wealthy perverts operate with no fear and little chance of being prosecuted or exposed.  And if they are caught they can just call on their high-powered lawyers & hire a PR firm to get them out of it.  Epstein's behavior was so widespread one has to wonder how many currently famous celebrities got their start in the industry by "working" for him.

The real question is:  Why do law enforcement, Interpol & various other agencies not do more to investigate & stop this behavior?  Infinitely more time & money is dumped into fighting drug trafficking than human trafficking despite the former not involving actual slavery of human beings.  Is a little girl or boy's life worth less than a bag of cocaine?  Is a woman's body a mere product to be bought, sold & consumed like a balloon of heroin?  Taking small amounts of drugs out of circulation does nothing to stem the overall tide of drugs into the country, but taking even ONE sex trafficker off the street can literally save dozens of innocent lives.  Not all drug dealers are heartless psychopaths but all pimps & traffickers absolutely are.  These are the people prisons are built for, not those whose lifestyles we simply disagree with.

Society must come to terms with how it views women & children's bodies as throw-away commodities that exist for the sexual pleasure of men.  We must teach our sons empathy & respect for ALL people & reiterate that these qualities are vital to healthy masculinity...not a threat to it.  Being able to empathize with the victim whether they're male or female is a sign that a person is developing these desirable traits.  Too often, men immediately side with other males in a situation regardless of whether said males have done right or wrong.  (To be fair, women often project their own experiences with sexual abuse onto situations where there's a question of guilt or innocence too.  That's not okay, but we must ask ourselves why so many girls & women have been victimized in this way in the first place).

Furthermore, something must be done to combat this bystander effect that allows otherwise decent people to look evil in the face & say 'meh'.  Even if someone is a friend or does you a big favor, that shouldn't prevent you from anonymously reporting their illegal behavior to the FBI or an equivalent agency where you live.  You don't need to provide a million details; just raising the red flag could be enough to effect change.  If enough people speak out or enough rumors start to spread, eventually something will come of it.

Epstein's young victims were brave enough to speak out & file cases against him but his wealthy adult friends were not.  That speaks volumes about their character.  They likely justified looking the other way by telling themselves it wasn't any of their business; that he was a "good guy" who would never hurt the girls ("hurt" being defined as severe physical abuse or murder) or that his philanthropy outweighed whatever bizarre sexual predilections he had.  They didn't want to rock the boat or risk becoming pariahs in their little social scene.  They told themselves the girls wanted this & probably felt honored to be "chosen" by someone with so much prestige.  Blah blah blah...

Those justifications are lies.  All of them.  He DID hurt his victims in ways that can never be undone.  From the ages of 13-17, the brain is undergoing a phase called pruning during which unnecessary neural connections are destroyed.  The brain is flooded with hormones & undergoes a number of vital changes, bridging the gap between childhood & adulthood.  This causes massive amounts of turmoil & often rebellion as the child tries to find themselves.  If exposed to excessive stress or trauma during this time, it can cause issues that last a lifetime.

No matter how mature the body appears at this age, brain development isn't anywhere near finished until age 25.  Wealthy Epstein was in his 50s raping impoverished girls as young as 13.  The imbalance of power here was staggering.  Many of the victims used drugs & alcohol daily to cope with the abuse, undoubtedly damaging their developing brains further.  No amount of money or gifts can turn back the clock & undo that damage, nor can it drown out the nightmares, flashbacks & damaged personal truths these girls will have to live with forever.

The "Sex Work" Dilemma

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I generally lean left/liberal on social issues, but not in this case.  The fact that there's a push to legalize prostitution & de-stigmatize the sex trade by many liberals & so-called feminists would be fine & dandy if prostitutes actually were consenting adult women from healthy backgrounds who weren't being coerced into it by some pimp on the side.  But that's rarely if ever the case.  Even some of the girls at Dennis Hof's ranch claim to have been sent there to earn money for a greedy pimp back home or "raped & battered" by Hof himself.  And that's legal prostitution!

We're told it's empowering for women to have control of their bodies--that "sex work" is as legitimate as any other type of employment.  But what's empowering about being used as a semen receptacle for horny men who only want you for your physique...a physique you will one day lose to age?  Can someone who's been raped, molested & abused since early childhood really give informed consent as an adult to working as a prostitute...or is she just doing the only thing she's ever known because it's the best she thinks she deserves?  Even if we legalize prostitution, there's no way to cut pimps out of the equation & ensure the women get to keep their money, and it certainly won't stop the trafficking of underage children to pedophiles like Jeffrey Epstein & friends.  Many of the same people who were trafficked as kids will grow up to become "legal" prostitutes, thus continuing the cycle of enslavement & suffering.

(When I say 'prostitute' or 'sex worker,' I'm not referring to cam girls, strippers or amateur porn actresses who control their own hours/income or work from home.  I'm strictly referring to actual hookers who trade sex for money & children trafficked for this purpose.  These things are entirely different & it's disingenuous to put them under the same "sex worker" umbrella).

Bottom line:  We need to double down on eradicating these sick fucks from the free world--both traffickers & johns.  Instead of normalizing pedophilia or sex trafficking, we should be preparing prison cells for the psychopaths & sadists who prop up this industry.  We're going in the wrong direction as a civilized society.

Where From Here

I hope the investigation into Epstein's contacts continues & they follow the evidence wherever it leads.  But it can't stop there.  If this bombshell case has taught me anything, it's that the trafficking & abuse of children among the rich & famous is deeply entrenched in many circles.  Epstein was only a tentacle on a much larger octopus.  This story should be viewed as a starting point, not some aberrant freak occurrence from the past that died with Epstein.

In the coming years, I'd like to see a sea change in how we treat crime in this country.  Non-violent drug offenses should be treated as a misdemeanor at most even if it involves selling or transporting drugs.  Empty the prisons of drug offenders & fill them with child molesters, human traffickers, domestic abusers, large-scale polluters of the environment, killers, war criminals, rapists & white collar criminals whose crimes affect the economy or bankrupt numerous people.

Like it or not, prison reform is vital if we're to prevent deaths like Epstein's.  Whether you believe he was murdered, killed himself or was ushered out the back door & put in Witness Protection, the point is none of those things should've been allowed to transpire in a federal prison.  There should be numerous alert guards & C.O's as well as cameras watching all cells at all times.  Nobody should be working "extreme overtime" as they called it, both because it's unsafe for workers & inmates AND it gives them plausible deniability when something suspicious like the Epstein thing goes down.

Epstein Case Resources:

The Black Vault - Jeffrey Epstein / Ghislaine Maxwell / Virginia Giuffre Unsealed Documents:

Suspicious Interview With Epstein's Bodyguard Igor Zinoviev (nervously backpedals on past statements--freaks out & hangs up phone on interviewer):

Epstein Delusionally Optimistic About Trial; In Great Spirits Before Death

Vanity Fair Editor:  I Tried to Expose Epstein in '03 but Was Censored

Monday, August 12, 2019

[Review] - online-halal-store: Black Seed Oil

Vendor: online-halal-store
Location:  Waterbury, CT
Items:  Black Seed Oil, raw soaps, mango/cocoa butter.  
Rating:  4.7 of 5 stars

I'm a frequent user of Black Seed Oil (Nigella sativa).  It's got a variety of health-boosting effects ranging from killing pathogens & lowering blood pressure to reducing inflammation & aiding in digestion.  But the biggest noticeable benefit for me is the subtle relaxing effect that combines so well with my daily kratom tea.  Not only does Black Seed have a nice depressant effect, it also eases the rebound symptoms of benzos & barbiturates for me.  (I get godawful depression & irritability after even a single dose of these & other GABA drugs).  It's one of only a handful of supplements I've tried that actually has a measurable effect and a positive one at that. 

I've been buying my Black Seed Oil from online-halal-store for about a year with no issue.  He carries a variety of bottle sizes, some with a Euro dropper top & some with an eyedropper option.  I prefer the eyedropper for ease of use.  This time I got the 3.39 oz. bottle for $13.95 plus tax (shipping included).  Delivery took 4 days total, which is about average for this seller.  Packaging was sufficient, with the glass bottle firmly wrapped in bubble wrap to ensure it didn't break.  I've never had a bottle break, fyi. 

My 3.39 oz. bottle of Black Seed Oil

While whole seeds are cheaper--like dirt cheap--the oil is much easier on the GI tract.  If you fail to chew the seeds sufficiently, be prepared for severe pain once they hit the intestines haha.  I give this order a 4.7 of 5 stars for quality, packaging & shipping time.  I'd prefer if all bottles came with an eyedropper option & tax wasn't tacked onto the already somewhat steep price, but that's more of an eBay issue than a seller issue.  This vendor's prices are in line with what others charge for this product so I'm just nitpicking.  I'd totally recommend online-halal-store to anyone wanting to add Black Seed Oil to their supplement regimen. 

Epstein Is Everyone's Problem

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That's right. Every political party, every celebrity who used his services. Every Silicon Valley snob. Every "Lord & Lady" or "Duke & Duchess". Every wealthy 1%'er who knew what he was doing & looked the other way.

With all the 'hot takes' on this story out there, I don't expect my little blog post to be read by many. But if you happen to see it, the one message I want you to take away is that the Epstein saga is symptomatic of a world in crisis...a world that views the rights of girls & women as dispensable & the desires of sick old men as paramount. If you have the money, you call the shots. Even from behind bars. Trying to blame one political party or the other is futile. There's speculation that Epstein could've been a Mossad agent or spy for some other country. He was worth $500 million but nobody knows where it came from. These are serious claims that all deserve deep, individual investigation & follow-up. I'll do my best.

First of all, this scandal spanned many decades & involved some of the wealthiest, most powerful people on the globe...some of whom we don't have names for yet. But among the ones we DO know are: Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Alan Dershowitz, Ghislaine Maxwell & Governor Bill Richardson. This is not strictly a Trump/Clinton situation. It's bigger than that, unfortunately. Girls & vulnerable women were lured in & forced to give "massages" to clients, with "massages" being code for sex acts (rape if they were underage). One victim describes Jeffrey Epstein & Ghislaine Maxwell forcing her to strip & lie naked on the massage table while both assaulted her with sex toys. Other women including Nadia Marcinkova participated in the sexual abuse of the victims according to the legal documents in the case. Girls were even asked to carry babies for clients in exchange for money & gifts.

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From left:  Prince Andrew, (victim) Virginia Giuffre & Ghislaine Maxwell

That's the other thing: Epstein didn't work alone. He had accomplices.

Ghislaine Maxwell was his right-hand woman, helping to recruit girls into his "flock." She was a wealthy socialite who once dated Epstein in the early '90s but eventually became his Madam/procurer, booking sex (rape) gigs for the girls all around the world. It's no coincidence she shows up in a number of photos of Epstein & his clients, even making a guest appearance at Chelsea Clinton's wedding & in a photo with Trump & a young Melania. So this was a highly-organized operation that covered many continents & involved many enablers. Everyone in NYC knew who these people were & what they were about...they just didn't care because they were rich. Therein lies the real difference between us & them--wealth. That's the only divider that matters. Not political parties. The world doesn't revolve around the U.S. 2-party system.

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Epstein's temple on his private island

If your first instinct is to go into "protect my favored political party" mode like so many people are doing, you're exhibiting Stockholm Syndrome. This is about powerful perverts raping children & getting special treatment because of their WEALTH. That's the thing they all have in common--Trump & the Clintons & the Royal Family & Hollywood & all the rest who knew & did nothing. Members of both parties were photographed with Epstein/Maxwell & have flown on his prostitution plane dubbed the "Lolita Express". No doubt they've indulged in some drugs & booze with him on special occasions too. There are likely some homemade videos & photos of a few of clients in compromising positions somewhere. After all, this was a highly organized operation run by & for some of the wealthiest people on Earth. They could get & do anything their hearts desired...assuming they HAVE hearts. Epstein's entire island was bugged with cameras, presumably to catch people in the act. Whether that was for blackmail, personal pleasure or some other purpose, we don't know.

The question remains: Why would you defend or deny this behavior from ANYONE...especially if you voted for them? We've seen proof of these men rubbing elbows with Epstein at parties & social events. Everyone knew exactly what kind of person he was. He didn't even try to keep it secret. His private island was openly called "Pedophile Island" by locals in the Virgin Islands. Maybe it's too uncomfortable to believe both political parties are controlled by pedophiles & evil men who support sex trafficking? Cognitive dissonance is a bitch. Guess that's where all the "blame Russia" & "fuck illegal immigrants" sentiment comes from--it's easier to blame some shadowy foreign power than to acknowledge our nation is rotting from the inside. 😓

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Birds of a feather...
One thing is certain. Money buys freedom in this country. Epstein got a slap on the wrist for all this in 2007 when it first came to light. It's only now after #MeToo & the slowly changing attitudes toward this behavior that people are starting to semi-care. The fact that so many want to spin this into a conservative vs. liberal issue just shows how far our country has fallen & how we've lost the ability to think outside the Left/Right paradigm. The most likely scenario is he was taken off suicide watch & given just enough rope to hang himself...literally. Someone loaned him a piece of cloth, belt or other apparatus, turned the cameras away & gave him until morning to get the job done. Easy peasy.

Corrupt cops & C.O's are known to take bribes to smuggle drugs, cell phones & other paraphernalia into penitentiaries, so it would've been no trouble to put in a call & have them do this if the price was right. Inmates are not kind to child molesters & it's likely Epstein would've been a major target due to his wealth & celebrity status. I have no problem believing he hung himself; the problem is, he shouldn't have been ALLOWED to after the previous attempt. He never should've had a cell mate either but he did in the beginning. I immediately suspected they put him in with the buff ex-cop cellie in the hopes he'd do the dirty work for them. When that failed, it was on to Plan B: suicide in an empty cell under the cover of night. No witnesses, no video footage & no answers. In a facility that housed El Chapo & is said to be more secure than Guantanamo. Sure.

Heroes & Villains

What kind of monster rapes trafficked children? It can get pretty depressing when you see the scale of the problem, admittedly. It almost looks like ALL super-wealthy people engage in pedophilia & other psychopathic pursuits. My guess is these people just get so bored with other (illegal) things they have to keep escalating their behavior to obtain the next rush. Knowing they won't be punished is part of the thrill. They get to feel special & above the law compared to us common peasants who would rot in prison for doing the same thing. Allegedly, Epstein had a plan to impregnate upwards of 20 girls & women and to have his head & dick cryogenically frozen after death. THAT'S how special he thought he was. He was also big into eugenics. We lost a real gem, folks.

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In his younger days as a TEACHER.  Yep :(

This isn't the first case of a high-profile sex trafficker getting suicided before trial. In 2008, Deborah Jean Palfrey--the DC Madam--was found hanging in her barn after warning listeners on a radio show that she was not suicidal & had no plans to kill herself. Like Epstein, she was in a position to potentially implicate a lot of powerful politicians & celebrities when she died. Another case of child sex abuse took place in the 1970s on North Fox Island off the coast of Michigan where child porn was filmed; all the rich perps were able to escape to other countries while Christopher Busch--son of a wealthy auto maker--was found dead of an apparent suicide with disturbing drawings of kids in his bedroom. While it's not known exactly how he was connected to the North Fox Island case, he is a possible suspect in the Oakland County Child Killings. Law enforcement were accused of looking the other way in his case & the evidence files were destroyed by an untimely flood at the FBI offices. How convenient.

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Creepy drawing of suspected child victim found at Chris Busch suicide scene

Now, does anybody know or care what political party these people belonged to? No. It's irrelevant. They were a Madam & a child sex abuser, respectively. It should be the same for Jeffrey Epstein & Co.

As bleak as this story has been, there are some heroes. The survivors of this pervert's abuse, certainly, and especially those who came forward to tell about it such as Virginia Giuffre, Courtney Wild, Michelle Licata & Annie Farmer top the list. The bravery of telling their stories implicating some of the most powerful people on Earth cannot be overstated. (I highly recommend reading Virginia Giuffre Roberts' memoir if you can stomach it). Also, journalist Julie Brown of the Miami Herald who relentlessly pursued this story for months when no other paper or media outlet would touch it. Her series "Perversion of Justice" broke the case wide open (again) and essentially led to his arrest. And police officers Michael Reiter & Joseph Recarey, who put their careers on the line to pursue the case against Epstein. These people prove that it only takes a few everyday, regular folks to take down a Goliath.

What You Can Do

We must unite across party lines & organize peaceful protests across the country to see that the victims get compensation & Epstein's accomplices see the inside of a prison cell. Poor & middle-class people get locked up for much less every day regardless of our political affiliation. We've become far too comfortable with the class gap in this country. There's nothing wrong with wealth but there's everything wrong with using it to influence policy & buy your way out of trouble. While it may not seem like it, suicide was a luxury compared to what Epstein was facing in that hellhole. What happened was far more malignant than mere negligence or incompetence. Many predicted he would off himself before trial even before the first attempt!

Indeed, this isn't a political or partisan problem--it's a rich vs. everyone else problem. Capitalism puts a price on everything including human bodies, turning women & children into sex dolls for wealthy men's pleasure. According to Virginia Giuffre, Epstein wanted to pay her to be a surrogate for him when she hit 18 & was no longer an "attractive" age. Renting out wombs for cash is just one way women are abused under capitalism. Egg "donation" is another (donation in quotations because it's a paid procedure & is actually quite dangerous, and white donors generally get paid more than minorities).

I call on anyone in or outside the Metropolitan Correctional Center who knows anything about Epstein's death to come forward, even if anonymously. Somebody saw something. Don't let his victims go through life not knowing what really happened. Not having closure is a terrible feeling. Write to your state representatives & demand action on this matter. If you have access to files in this case that will likely never see the light of day, release them via secure channels using a VPN. The internet is a powerful tool if used for more than political bickering.

Not Just Epstein

Most disturbingly, Virginia Giuffre Roberts speaks of OTHER wealthy pedophiles she was passed around to by Epstein in various cities throughout America & the world, so this isn't even just an Epstein problem. Law enforcement need to do more to ensure that children aren't being brought aboard these yachts, limos & other "party" vessels for nefarious reasons. Nobody pays an un-trainted 15-year-old "massage therapist" to travel the globe with them for legal massages. Many of the underage victims are trafficked in from foreign countries, making them doubly vulnerable due to language barriers & lack of family connections. The utter indifference of the adults in these situations is despicable but speaks to a darker fact: the problem is so common in wealthy circles they've grown utterly indifferent to it.

Some celebrities get their start in the industry being exploited by people like Jeffrey Epstein as children which is unacceptable. According to Giuffre's memoir, actress Nadia Bjorlin was handed over by her mother to Ghislaine Maxwell at age 13 before landing a job on a soap opera, and one of Epstein's other child sex workers was given an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art after presenting him with a painting he liked. Women & children should be valued in Hollywood & the Arts for their talents--not sex. (I say this not to disrespect these particular women's talents but to illuminate a bigger problem. They are victims).

That Time I Tried: 4-HO-MET

I first tried 4-HO-MET around 2012 during the absolute pinnacle of the research chemical Golden Era (2010-2015).  It was the 2nd psychedelic...