Be careful when you answer the phone! If you are told that a relative is injured or in some kind of other desperate situation, beware.

It’s commonly known as “The Grandparent Scam”, because elderly people are often the victims, but it could happen to anyone who isn’t sufficiently skeptical and gets caught off guard. Someone tried a variation of this scam on me a few months ago, but I am always suspicious of calls from unknown numbers so it didn’t work, but some rotten crooks almost got my favorite Auntie and my mom just the other day. If you’re not familiar with this particular con, here is how it works:

The target gets a phone call from someone either pretending to be their grandchild (or other relative) or a cop, or a lawyer, or a kidnapper, and says that the intended victim’s loved one has been hurt in an accident (or is in legal trouble, has been kidnapped, or is in some other kind of peril) and the only way to help them is to immediately wire a large sum of money somewhere – and don’t tell anyone or the person you love’s situation will greatly worsen!

If the victim complies, that money is gone forever, and their information may be sold to other scammers as an easy mark to get set up for more schemes. It’s a cruel crime, targeting vulnerable people and using their love for family as a weapon against them. Fraud.org provides some helpful information about this:

Stay safe. Be Informed.

The victim is urged not to tell anyone, such as the parent of the “grandchild” because they do not want them to find out about the trouble they’ve gotten themselves into. The grandparent never hears from their fake grandchild again and is tricked out of hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

To detect and avoid the Grandparent Scam, NCL’s Fraud Center recommends the following tips:

  • Beware of any urgent solicitation of funds, especially if it is needed to pay for unexpected bills, such as bail money, lawyer’s fees, or doctor bills
  • Before sending funds, independently contact the relative (or parent of the relative) the scam artist is claiming to be (or represent) at a known phone number to verify the details of the story.
  • Scam artist’s payment method of choice is the wire transfer. Any urgent request to wire money should be treated suspiciously.
  • Be aware that fraudsters attempting the Grandparent Scam may call late at night to confuse potential victims.
  • Consumers who have been victims of this scam should immediately report it to local law enforcement, their state attorney general and NCL’s Fraud Center at Fraud.org.

The FTC has additional advice:

Verify an Emergency

If someone calls or sends a message claiming to be a family member or a friend desperate for money:

  • Resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is.
  • Verify the person’s identity by asking questions that a stranger couldn’t possibly answer.
  • Call a phone number for your family member or friend that you know to be genuine.
  • Check the story out with someone else in your family or circle of friends, even if you’ve been told to keep it a secret.
  • Don’t wire money — or send a check or money order by overnight delivery or courier.
  • Report possible fraud at ftc.gov/complaint or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP.      MORE

The con artists will even make an effort  to “help” the victim. Via WBNS-10TV – Columbus, OH:

“Often times they’ll hand the phone off to a second party on the phone, alleging that’s the attorney and that serves the purpose of getting a different voice on there so they don’t continue to question whether this is my grandchild’s voice,” explains Sgt. Kline.

He goes on to say that sometimes, the scammers will even go as far as arranging taxi transportation for grandparents to get to the location where they can get the money orders.   Full Story HERE

The call that I received, from a strange cell phone number, said that my “husband, son, or brother” was in a horrible accident in a nearby town and had been taken away by ambulance, and the caller was someone who had been on the scene before emergency services arrived and that my male relative had given them my number to call as his own phone had been damaged in the accident. The guy who called me could not tell me the name of my injured loved one, saying that he was hurt so badly that he could barely talk and that he didn’t have any ID on him, they could not tell me what hospital my “husband, son, or brother” had been taken to, and they could not tell me my own name or how the injured male was connected to me, because my loved one was too messed up to say it before he was carted off  to an undisclosed location. I think the caller was expecting me to go to the location he had given me (the alleged scene of the accident) or meet him elsewhere and I do not know what would have happened then, but it didn’t get to that as I cut the guy off and insisted that he must have gotten the wrong number because I knew full well where all of my people were and I hung up.

The scam that targeted my aunt and almost robbed my mom was more like the ones described when you look up “injured relative phone scam” in a search engine, my mom got dragged into it because her sister is currently housebound recovering from a serious medical issue. Both women are in their eighties and love their families dearly. Here is how I found out about it:

My cousin called me two days ago looking for my mom. My mom lives 100 miles away so I figured she must have assumed she was up visiting or just called my number by mistake. My cousin was very upset. I told her that she’d reached my house, not my mom’s and that my mom was not here. My cousin told me that my aunt had gotten a call saying that another cousin, my aunt’s grandson, was hurt in an accident but that, “It was a trick” and that we needed to get hold of my mom, who was on her way to Western Union on behalf of my aunt. I guess my aunt had gotten the call and was so distressed that she called my mom for help, and my mom was going to withdraw almost two thousand dollars from her own bank account and wire the money on my aunt’s behalf.

Unfortunately, my mom had already left her house, she doesn’t answer her cell phone, and I did not know the location of the Western Union nearest to my mom, so I spent a good chunk of time fretting about it before my mom finally got back home and I could speak to her. Luckily, my mom started to get suspicious as to why she couldn’t just write a normal check and why there was no name for who to make the money order or transfer or whatever out to, so instead of completing the task, she went back home and called my aunt, who had by then been advised by my cousins of the con so nobody was hurt this time. Thank God.

Some versions of this nasty trickery also target people through email, text messages, and social media.

Please be careful if someone contacts you with an “emergency”, and tell the people that you care about who may be vulnerable to such tactics as the one described above to be cautious as well.

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MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals. 

“Made with love” doesn’t go over well with bureaucrats. Well, you can make the things you cook “with love” in every bite, just don’t list it as an ingredient. Via FoxNews:

“Love” is definitely not an ingredient in granola, regardless of the amount of effort you put into making it, the Food and Drug Administration ruled on Monday.

The FDA issued a warning to Nashoba Brook Bakery for violating food labeling regulations by including “love” in its ingredients list. The agency added the bakery misbranded the product by including the obscure addition.

“Your Nashoba Granola label lists ingredient ‘Love.’ Ingredients required to be declared on the label or labeling of food must be listed by their common or usual name,” the FDA wrote in a letter dated Sept. 22.

“’Love’ is not a common or usual name of an ingredient, and is considered to be intervening material because it is not part of the common or usual name of the ingredient,” it added.

The bakery’s chief executive said the FDA’s ruling on their listing “love” as an ingredient “just felt so George Orwell” and was “silly.” The FDA says the ingredient thing wasn’t what concerned them the most, the government agency says the bakery has “sanitary issues” that are of greater importance. Here are some highlights from the warning letter the FDA issued to Nashoba Brook Bakery:

1.    Your firm failed to conduct all food manufacturing, including packaging and storage, under such conditions and controls as are necessary to minimize the potential for the growth of microorganisms, or for the contamination of food, as required by 21 CFR 110.80(b)(2). Specifically, on May 25 and 26, 2017, our investigator observed the following:
a.  On May 26, 2017, remnants of Pepper Jack dough (dairy allergen) were observed on the inside, the lip, and the outside edges of the “(b)(4)” stainless steel mixing bowl that an operator stated was cleaned, sanitized and ready for use prior to the production of non-dairy Sourdough dough.
b.  On May 25 and 26, 2017, empty color-coded barrels designated for use with different allergens including tree nuts (b)(4) and cheese (b)(4), with apparent dough residue inside and out, and stacked inside one another. These barrels were confirmed as clean and ready for use by the mixing operator, and were observed in use during operations.
c.  On May 25 and 26, 2017, (b)(4) bread loaf molds, wooden peels, canvas conveyor mats, rolling metal wire cooling racks, and ovens are not cleaned or sanitized prior to production or during change-over in between different allergen products. Your firm does not have a procedure or production schedule to ensure cleaning and sanitation is done before production or in between changes to prevent cross-contamination of different allergen products.
     
2.    Your firm failed to maintain equipment and utensils and finished product containers in an acceptable condition through appropriate cleaning and sanitizing, as necessary, as required by 21 CFR 110.80(b)(1). Specifically, on May 25 and 26, 2017, our investigator observed the following:
a.  What appeared to be an encrusted buildup of brown colored debris on the metal screen of the “(b)(4)” dough mixer that is positioned over all raw dough mixed during its operation.
b.  Plastic barrels, barrel lids, totes and tote lids used to hold and transport raw dough with apparent dough residue buildup. One barrel had an approximate 1″ dough clump from a different day’s production still stuck in a crack. These barrels had previously been pressure washed and were considered ready for use.
 Two ceiling air intake vents adjacent to the bread ovens and above racks of ready-to-eat foods were caked with apparent debris.
Two large wooden bread peels used to pull ready-to-eat breads from ovens were placed on top of the ovens, which were covered with apparent debris.
Sprinkler heads above the bread ovens where ready-to-eat foods come out, were caked with apparent debris.

There is much more, including flies and an inch long insect on or near food, and employees failing to take basic food preparation precautions like taking off dangling jewelry that can come into contact with food and cause cross contamination, so apparently the whole kerfuffle is not just all about the love and isn’t as “silly” as the bakery’s executive would have you believe.

Nothin’ says lovin’ like unsanitary cross contaminated debris encrusted stuff from the oven?

H/T: iOWTReport

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MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals. 

You may not have heard of them yet, but they want your stuff and they mean to take it from you, because raaaaacism.

via FrontPage Mag Discover the Networks:

Formed in May 2017 and based in New York City, the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement (RAM) is a contingent of the Marxist/anarchist Antifa movement which has made many headlines this year with its violent, bloody attacks against conservatives from coast to coast. RAM’s self-described “revolutionary anarchists” are committed to waging “armed” warfare against American “fascism” ― the term that RAM employs as a synonym for conservatism. Rooted in what it calls “the context of the abolitionist struggle against slavery” ― and “dedicated to freeing people from bondage and building resistance in the United States” ― RAM contends not only that America was “built on slavery and genocide,” but also that “modern slavery and mass brutality” against black people “persist unchecked” to this day.

Because “the Civil War was never resolved,” RAM elaborates, “the system of slavery transitioned into the prison industrial complex” where blacks are inarcerated in disproportionately high numbers. On the premise that the United States government has conspired “with white supremacist organizations” to “ensure that the relations of slavery [remain] entrenched in U.S. political, social, and economic life,” RAM claims that “the [slave] ships” of yesteryear have been replaced by the “correctional buses” that transport African Americans en masse to prison cells across the country; that “the [slave] auction blocks [of the 1800s] are now the courtrooms” in American cities; and that black people today “are indelibly marked with prison numbers that remain etched on their records till they die.”

“The abolitionist struggle,” says RAM, must be extended and directed against “the state and capitalism,” which are supposedly the leading modern-day “perpetrators of oppression.” Openly advocating violence against “fascists” and police officers ― the latter of whom RAM views as government-sanctioned enablers of fascism ― the Movement indoctrinates its members and allies by means of workshops bearing titles like “Introduction to Anarchism” and “Our Enemies in Blue.”    MORE

From the RAM website, we learn that they intend to remedy what they see as the injustice of sending criminals to prison and deporting illegal foreign invaders is to create their version of the “Underground Railroad” to facilitate evasion of justice for fugitives:

We will create networks for those facing detention, incarceration, deportation, or white supremacist violence to escape and live with dignity. We invite revolutionaries to help build a contemporary underground railroad, outside the reach of the state. Revolutionaries, social centers, and antifa groups that are already active can help build greater infrastructure of resistance to support those fleeing the state.

They will need resources to accomplish their illegal goals, which they will obtain by taking from those who are unwilling to provide (AKA stealing):

To carve out an autonomous territory, or to begin the revolutionary process, goods, land, and tools must be expropriated, or taken away from those who withhold them.

Who are heroes to these people? Cop killers, of course!

Among RAM’s most visible individual heroes are a pair of Marxist cop-killers and former Black Panther Party members: (a) Mumia Abu Jamal, whom RAM characterizes as a shining symbol of “Philadelphia’s rich revolutionary tradition,” and (b) Russell Shoats, who characterized himself as “a runaway slave” when he escaped in 1977 from the prison where he was serving a life sentence for the murder of a Philadelphia police officer.

RAM also greatly admires the Marxist revolutionaries Angela Davis, who in 1970 provided the gun that was used by one of her Black Panther comrades to blow off the head of a California judge, and Assata Shakur, who in 1973 fired two fatal gunshots into the head of a New Jersey state trooper.

Columbus Day is coming up soon, and these goons have plans for it:

Today, RAM is calling for its supporters to stage “Deface Columbus Day” demonstrations across the United States in early October. Most notably, those supporters are urged to “‘decorate’ their neighborhoods” with the hashtags “#Fu**ColumbusDay” and “#DestroyColonialism.”

The left just keeps on pushing, never expecting the laws they break to ever be enforced or for their intended victims to ever fight back. I guess we will just have to see how that all works out for them.

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MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals. 

Today, broadcast television was interrupted with breathless “Breaking News” that Steve Bannon had been fired from the Trump administration. You would think that nothing else was happening in the world today or that nobody at home wanted to actually watch the end of their shows which had been preempted for this news and the endless public pontificating and bloviating over what it all means. Talking heads had been predicting this event and/or wishing for it for a long time, having long smeared Bannon as a raaaaacist (FYI, they have done and will continue to do this to pretty much anyone and everyone who works for President Trump, or defends him, or fails to denounce him sufficiently to their leftist liking).

The left and their #NeverTrump enablers are delighted and spewing their gloat at any public platform they can find. They think they have a major victory that will further their insidious goal of bringing down President Donald J. Trump. They are as wrong as they are obnoxious, and they are plenty obnoxious!

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Not to mention smug.

You know what?

It doesn’t matter.

In the final analysis, Steve Bannon was staff, always staff; simply staff.

Political Strategist Bannon did not create any of President Trump’s policies or platform issues.  The political policy from President Trump is directly from President Trump.

Here is a little experiment you can try: Go to the local grocery store or gas station and ask someone on line with you what they think of Steve Bannon getting fired, ask again at the waiting room in your doctor’s office or at the mechanic or hairdresser or wherever you go in your every day life where Americans are going about their lives away from the hair-on-fire histrionics of cable news and new media. Odds are the answer you get will be along the lines of, “Steve who?” – even among people who voted for Donald Trump.

And that is the point, people: we did not vote for Steve Bannon, or Sean Spicer or that Scaramucci fella – or anybody else who President Trump has fired or will fire in the future for that matter –  we voted for Donald J. Trump and as long as he is still our President and as long as he is still doing everything he can to MAGA despite the opposition he gets from all sides, it is all gravy. We don’t care. Covfefe on that for a while.

UPDATE: Mt.Bannon has landed on his feet, back at Breitbart, and he remains loyal to President Trump.

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MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals. 

My mom made fruitcakes every year during Christmas season; the rum they were soaked in was all I could smell in our house for weeks and I would only eat the special cake my mom made for me that had no alcohol (I prefer my booze in a glass, thanks). My mother said her fruitcakes would never go bad because of all the alcohol (except for mine, of course) but the theory never got tested because they always got eaten by the people she gave them to. My mom is not old enough to have made the cake they just found in Antarctica, though:

A fruitcake thought to be 106 years old was recently uncovered in an extremely remote Antarctic hut.

The cake was almost “perfectly preserved” and apparently untouched when conservators from the Antarctic Heritage Trust spotted it on a shelf inside a Cape Adare hut, according to Stuff.co.nz.

The shelter was built in 1899 during a Norwegian expedition, but it’s thought that the fruitcake was brought to Cape Adare in 1911 by Robert Falcon Scott’s expedition party.

Lizzie Meek, the trust’s artifacts manager, told Newshub the delicacy still had remnants of Huntley and Palmers brand paper stuck to its side.

“It looks like new, which is quite fantastic,” Meeks said. “It smells a little bit of rancid butter, but it looks beautiful.”

Despite looking “edible,” the researchers were not permitted to taste the cake for ethical reasons.

Meeks added that while the fruitcake’s tin had nearly disintegrated, the cake itself was well preserved due to freezing conditions.

The fruity treat was among nearly 1,500 artifacts found in the Cape Adare huts. The conservators also discovered tools, clothing, sardines, “rather nice looking” jams and “badly deteriorated” meat and fish during their 14-month effort.

Meeks described the fruitcake finding a “quite a surprise.”

“Most people don’t carry a whole fruitcake to Antarctica and not eat it,” she said.

No word on the alcohol content of the cake, but I don’t want to eat it – and it isn’t for “ethical” reasons. Maybe if I had a bunch of alcohol in myself first, but that’s a whole other thing. The cake and other items found with it will be returned to their places of origin so someone else can “discover” them again in the future.

I kind of want to go clear the leftovers out of my fridge now, for posterity or something.

Very old fruitcake

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MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals. 

This guy, H.R. McMaster, the National Security Adviser, is an islamocoddling anti-Trump leftist sympathizer, at the very least, who is a deep state enabler, backstabber, and a leaker. He is disloyal as well as possibly treasonous. He has got to go! McNasty apparently opposes everything President Donald Trump stands for in areas of national security and foreign policy, favors Obama holdovers getting preferential treatment within the federal government, is openly hostile to anyone he has authority over who supports our duly elected President, and is in favor of suicidal politically correct idiocy over honest assessment and discussion of the very real problems we face with islamic supremacism and islamic terrorism. Why does he still have a job?

Some recent news items that are probably not being covered the “news” media:

Why did Trump’s National Security Advisor, HR McMaster, allow Susan Rice to keep her top-secret security clearance long after Obama was out of office?

Almost one month after it was disclosed that former President Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice was unmasking members of President Trump’s team and other Americans, Trump’s own national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, sent an official letter giving her unfettered and continuing access to classified information and waiving her “need-to-know” requirement on anything she viewed or received during her tenure, Circa has confirmed.  MORE

You may remember Susan Rice from all those Sunday talk shows she did after the islamic terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, you know, how she got on teevee and lied her butt off, blaming a video for the attack that killed four Americans when the video had nothing to do with it (but the guy who made the video that mocked the pedophile “prophet” mohammed by portraying him in a historically correct but kind of hilarious manner ended up in jail – just as Hillary promised he would), which then prompted Obama to go out and lecture us about how there is no future for people who do not respect islam and its mass murdering pedophile “prophet”. Yeah, I know, good times, right? Why in the world would anyone in the Trump administration want this vile creature to have unfettered access to security information? What purpose does that serve?

BUSTED! National Security sources confirm that HR McMaster and his Deputy are the one who have been leaking negative information about Trump to the media

Two separate National Security Council sources have confirmed that National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and Deputy National Security Advisor Dina HABIB Powell have been leaking negative material about President Trump to their allies in the anti-Trump media.   MORE

Wasn’t Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, just going on today about doing something about those danged leaks? Firing McNasty would be a fine start! Of course Sessions hasn’t exactly been a stellar Trump employee either, and in my humble opinion, Rudy Giuliani would be a much better man for the job.

MCMASTER OUSTS TRUMP ADVISER WHO TRIED TO FIRE OBAMA HOLDOVERS

Derek Harvey was the key figure when it came to the Middle East. He was against the Iran Deal and the funding of Palestinian Authority terror. He called out Islamic Jihad. He tried to force out the Obama holdovers running our foreign policy.

And now he’s gone.

McMaster’s purge at the NSC continues. Flynn’s people get forced out and replaced with establishment zombies. The Obama holdovers continue to run foreign policy. The swamp is now in full control of the NSC.

This one is a really big win for McMaster. And a great loss for America. It will set back our ability to fight Islamic terrorism. Iran, Al Qaeda and the Palestinian Authority are celebrating today.

President Trump can reverse his decision. Just as he overruled McMaster’s bid to replace Ezra Watnick-Cohen, the guy who outed the Obama spying on Trump’s people, with the woman who drafted the Benghazi talking points. Not to mention Mattis’ plan to bring in Hillary’s Secretary of Defense and the Muslim Broptherhood’s favorite woman.

But Mattis and McMaster have forced out Derek Harvey. And it’s up to President Trump to act.    RTWT

But wait, there’s MORE!

#FireMcMaster: Rich Higgins Sacked For Exposing The ‘Red Green Axis’

Rich Higgins served as a Director for Strategic Planning for the White House National Security Council before he was fired on July 21st by Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster. Higgins’ crime was exposing the marriage between the radical left and their Muslim Brotherhood allies (sometimes described as the “Red-Green Axis”) and their deep, ongoing influence in the federal government.    MORE & Video HERE

MCMASTER’S NSC COUP AGAINST TRUMP PURGES CRITICS OF ISLAM AND OBAMA

Derek Harvey was a man who saw things coming. He had warned of Al Qaeda when most chose to ignore it. He had seen the Sunni insurgency rising when most chose to deny it.

The former Army colonel had made his reputation by learning the lay of the land. In Iraq that meant sleeping on mud floors and digging into documents to figure out where the threat was coming from.

It was hard to imagine anyone better qualified to serve as President Trump’s top Middle East adviser at the National Security Council than a man who had been on the ground in Iraq and who had seen it all.

Just like in Iraq, Harvey began digging at the NSC. He came up with a list of Obama holdovers who were leaking to the press. McMaster, the new head of the NSC, refused to fire any of them.

McMaster had a different list of people he wanted to fire. It was easy to make the list. Harvey was on it.

All you had to do was name Islamic terrorism as the problem and oppose the Iran Deal. If you came in with Flynn, you would be out. If you were loyal to Trump, your days were numbered.

And if you warned about Obama holdovers undermining the new administration, you were a target.

One of McMaster’s first acts at the NSC was to ban any mention of “Obama holdovers.” Not only did the McMaster coup purge Harvey, who had assembled the holdover list, but his biggest target was Ezra Watnick-Cohen, who had exposed the eavesdropping on Trump officials by Obama personnel.

Ezra Watnick-Cohen had provided proof of the Obama surveillance to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes. McMaster, however, was desperately working to fire him and replace him with Linda Weissgold. McMaster’s choice to replace Watnick-Cohen was the woman who helped draft the Benghazi talking points which blamed the Islamic terrorist attack on a video protest.

After protests by Bannon and Kushner, President Trump overruled McMaster. Watnick-Cohen stayed. For a while. Now Ezra Watnick-Cohen has been fired anyway.

According to the media, Watnick-Cohen was guilty of “anti-Muslim fervor” and “hardline views.” And there’s no room for anyone telling the truth about Islamic terrorism at McMaster’s NSC.

McMaster had even demanded that President Trump refrain from telling the truth about Islamic terrorism.

[…]

And the purge of reformers and original thinkers is only beginning.

The latest reports say that McMaster has a list of enemies who will be ousted from the NSC. And when that is done, the NSC will be a purely Obama-Bush operation. The consensus will be that the Iran Deal must stay, that Islam has nothing to do with Islamic terrorism, that we need to find ways to work with the aspirations of the Muslim Brotherhood, and that Israel must make concessions to terrorists.

If you loved the foreign policy that brought us 9/11, ISIS, and billions in funding to terrorists from Syria to Libya to the West Bank, you won’t be able to get enough of McMaster’s brand new NSC.

And neither will America’s enemies.

The swamp is overflowing. The National Security Council is becoming a national security threat.

THERE IS MUCH MORE HERE

McMaster needs to be fired, investigated, and prosecuted. President Donald Trump has more than enough people working to undermine him and his mission to restore sanity to our country and security its citizenry, he should not be putting up with this evil #resistance in his own cabinet.

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MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals. 

I am in physical pain every single day of my life and I have been for the entirety of the twenty first century thus far. Pain keeps me from falling asleep when it is time for bed, wakes me up during the night, and it is what wakes me up completely every single morning. I am ruining my insides, probably, from all of the over the counter stuff I take which does little to help.

There was a time when I took prescription pain medication (opiods) and I was able to be much more productive because intense physical pain also saps a person’s mental and physical energy, and when I hurt less I can do more, but I stopped taking those medications when it became too much of a hassle to get them, what with the “pain contracts” and the drug testing, and the stigma and all. Getting off pain meds was very unpleasant, but so was the sneering contempt I was subjected to whenever I had to mention that I was taking prescription medication to treat chronic pain or try to find a new doctor who would prescribe them or even just the way I was looked down on at the pharmacy when it was time to get those scripts filled.

It seems these days that medical professionals will subject their patients to just about anything in order to avoid providing actual pain relieving medication to people who are suffering from physical pain – from anti-seizure medication to people who do not have seizures, to anti-depressants to people who are not suffering from depression, to botox (botulism!) injections, to steroid pills and injections and whatever else they can think of (other than pain medication – duh) regardless of the potentially devastating side effects (side effects that can be far worse than those of prescription narcotic pain killers or the slim possibility that a person may misuse said pain medication), all because of the so-called “opiod crisis” that primarily involves heroin addicts and others who are getting and abusing drugs obtained more often on the street than from medical providers; and the government’s hair on fire response to the “crisis” is to extend the “war on drugs” to become a war on nice normal people who happen to have medical need for effective pain medication.

What happens when people who are in far more pain than what I have to live with are denied the relief they used to be able to obtain? Well, they could look elsewhere and get themselves some street drugs, despite the risks of getting bad medicine or getting caught, or they could suffer and lose quality of life (as I have opted to), or they can take the ultimate (and very sad) action to end their never ending pain by taking their own lives.

Doctors are afraid to prescribe pain killers to people who are legitimately in horrible pain, people who obtain relief from prescription pain medication are living in fear of losing the only thing that helps them live anything close to a normal life, and people who cannot obtain relief are suffering needlessly because of a rabid prohibitionist hysteria of “we know what’s good for you so we will hurt you for your own good”ism.

The thing I miss most about pain killers is that they worked for me and allowed me to do more with my days and my life, but I do not miss all the aggravation involved with legally obtaining them or the stigma surrounding their use. I hurt more than I need to just so some nanny staters, hand wringers, control freaks and bureaucrats can feel good about themselves for “doing something”. So I guess my suffering isn’t completely for nothing, right?

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MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals.