The butterfly effect

I don’t have the answer to the violence in the world, nor do I know what we could have done to prevent it. I, like many people, have ideas. And when tragedy strikes, your mind can’t help trying to make the pieces fit together.

And so, as I was driving cross country yesterday, my mind put this bizarre chain of events together…

  1. 1986. Reacting to the death of Len Bias from cocaine, Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill demands “some goddamn legislation” and the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 is passed with lots of tough on drug provisions including severe mandatory minimums.
  2. Due in part to the massive powder/crack sentencing disparities, the legislation ends up creating a situation where African-American males in particular are heavily targeted by enforcement and given vastly longer sentences. (See Len Bias – the death that ushered in two decades of destruction)
  3. Drug sentences in many states resulted in disenfranchisement. In Florida, for example, in 2000, one in four black men were not allowed to vote. If they had been allowed to vote, it’s likely, in that time, that they would have voted for Gore over Bush, and George W. Bush would not have won the Presidential election.
  4. It’s certainly arguable that a Gore presidency would not have included the war in Iraq (a war to which the French objected). The war was clearly a desire of George W. Bush.
  5. It’s fairly certain that ISIL/Daesh was made possible by the destabilization caused by the Iraq War.
  6. Therefore Tip O’Neill is responsible for the recent attacks in Paris.

Of course, that’s ridiculous. And you could probably construct many other linkages in much the same way.

But it does remind us that public policy is subject to a form of butterfly effect. Decisions made can have broad, unintended consequences.

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66 Responses to The butterfly effect

  1. Rot Tub says:

    We used to have a Vibrant Cafe Scene with Myriad chances for a all manner of Human Interactive Opportunities. One Day someone Farted in the Corner and someone else complained and the next thing Cigarettes were Banned.
    Fast Fwd Ten Years and there are no more 24 hour Places and the Streets are Deserted after 10pm. Only Gods Wife and the RCMP know where those Jobs and Tip Monies went.

  2. kaptinemo says:

    The problem with History is that too many players know they’ll be in the Gray Bar Hotel…or six-feet-under…if they tell their tales. YouTube is full of such instances where someone did and met just that sort of fate. Just run a search for any scandals in the past 20 years and you find a disturbingly huge number of whistleblowers have met actuarially improbable ends.

  3. divadab says:

    It’s not anything as flimsy as a butterfly – it’s deliberate, policy-based, anti-democratic, authoritarian evangelical policy, including a retarded foreign policy based on a retarded death-worshiping misreading of the Book of Revelations.

    We are reaping the results of having the stupidest and most authoritarian running our government. And advancing the most conformist and obedient in our schools. I just shake my head at the teevee and its hordes of brainwashed drones.

    • kaptinemo says:

      And John of Patmos almost certainly was an initiate of the Eleusinian Mysteries…which used magic mushrooms in their rituals.

      Who’s to say that The Book of Revelations isn’t a bad ‘shroom trip?

      And yet we actually have people in power saying that they are guided by that last chapter in the Bible. Even to the point we had James Watt in the Reagan Administration claiming we didn’t have to look after the environment due to this being the ‘Last Days’ foretold in the B of R.

      But that’s tame compared to global nuclear annihilation being planned for as if it would trigger Yeshua’s return. As some strange folks clearly hope will happen.

      As for me, I recall reading a translation from cuneiform texts on clay tablets 5K years old saying “The End is Near!” You can’t help but think that the guy who wrote that was probably hawking trinkets to ensure spiritual salvation, too. I wonder how much they charged for those tablets…

      • DdC says:

        And yet we actually have people in power saying
        that they are guided by that last chapter in the Bible.

        hummm ☺

        In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
        ~ Revelation 22:2 KJV

        I’d’ve figured James Watt to be
        a bigger fan of A Rebellious Son in Deuteronomy ☺

        If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.” Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.

        Say wha?
        Disobedient children must get stoned? ☺

        Just reading the words James Watt leaves a bitter taste. Now I have to go chug a bottle of Karo syrup.

      • allan says:

        ya triggered the gag reflex w/ that mention Kap! Like, ummm, very serious eeewww!

      • claygooding says:

        Perhaps a new version of the Bible is required,,it has been a couple of hunert years since the last one and I am sure the people in power want to “correct” some misinterpretation problems earlier kings,scholars,monks,Popes and goat herders made.

    • primus says:

      I have not nor have I watched a television in 15 years. Television is terrible. I find it very annoying to watch. I call it the propaganda machine.

      • Windy says:

        Just last night I was watching a movie with my grandson on ABC Family, there was a commercial that had me flabbergasted, never ever thought I’d see an ad promoting teaching children critical thinking skills instead of rote memorization. It starred a very tall black woman, as someone who has zero interest in sports, I’m pretty sure she was a well known athlete but I don’t know what sport or who she is. Anyway, that’s beside the point, that point being that in the commercial she was interviewing people on the street about education and asking them if we should be teaching the children to think critically. YES, damn it all, YES!

  4. Servetus says:

    Gore Vidal on the decline and fall of America—or how to create a new Dark Age:

    “What we are seeing,” he explained, “are the obvious characteristics of the West after the fall of Rome: the triumph of religion over reason; the atrophy of education and critical thinking; the integration of religion, the state, and the apparatus of torture—a troika that was for Voltaire the central horror of the pre-Enlightenment world; as well as, today, the political and economic marginalization of our culture.”—Gore Vidal

    Today’s apparatus of torture is the drug war, a systemic means of repression and domination perpetrated by one race or culture against another. Prohibition’s ally is ignorance, which always requires the atrophy of education and critical thinking. It’s difficult to know if the drug war came first, or the atrophy.

    For instance, here is Chauncey DeVega discussing the latest war rhetoric being flung over events occurring in Paris on Friday, and which equally illustrates the terrorist mindset of drug warmongers:

    Movement conservatism and the right-wing media are engaged in “zombie politics.” This has created a condition among rank and file conservatives where they are unable to practice critical thinking, self-reflection, or introspection. Because of this, the fully propagandized right-wing public can only think in terms of the talking points, disinformation, and lies given to them by their media and other opinion leaders. This is politics as a form of religion; it is hallucinatory ideology as reality.

    Drug warmongers as terrorists. The title fits.

  5. primus says:

    Religion’s ally is also ignorance which always requires the atrophy of education and critical thinking. Without ignorance and gullibility neither reigion nor prohibition can survive. If not for the preconditioning of the people by religion, prohibition would never have begun.

    • Chris says:

      Ignorance, greed, hate. Drop them like the hot coals they are. Unfortunately, that isn’t what most religions teach.

  6. Matt says:

    Pete, trying to think it through is good, but you haven’t touched on what surely must be the most relevant issue. “As I was driving across country”. Unless you were driving an electric car, I would say the following- Oil Pete, oil. The US and other countries such as mine (Australia) don’t kill people of the middle east in order to control their countries in the name of securing supplies of sand. We do it because of oil. I acknowledge that not all oil is used in recreational, non-essential use of cars, but surely the use of the automobile and subsequent demand for oil must be one of the primary underlying causes for so much of the violence perpetrated against so many people in the world. And so much of this violence is perpetrated on the people of the Middle East.

    • Windy says:

      And it is ridiculous because there is NO shortage of oil, oil is abundant around this world. When was the last time you heard anyone talk seriously about “peak oil”? The new reality is oil is abiotic, not rare not going to run out. Instead we are going to phase it out due to pollution, even if most people are unaware of that right now. I’ve been promoting the substitution of hemp for oil for a few years now, but I don’t think we are going to need to do that, now. I think our transportation will eventually all be powered by electricity, mostly solar generated electricity, but perhaps there will be a way to use the wheels turning to generate that power and only an initial charge needed to start the engine. Hemp is better for food, clothing (especially jeans and workwear), paper that lasts way longer than woodpulp paper, and all hemp’s other uses.

      • allan says:

        pretty much our greatest shortage is in cooperation… as much as you and I disagree we also agree on a lot. Solutions are at hand but the will to de-escalate violence and mitigate overwhelming pollution is severely/fatally lacking. Which is why the couch and the collective acceptance and self enforcement of Pete’s mandate for civil discussion has made us a far superior educational force than the twits of Prohibition. The story of Charlotte Figi or any of the other children beating cancer, epilepsy (Alexis from Texas, Makaela from OR, etc, etc etc) alone beats any number of Calvinas.

        It’s an old model for discourse because it works for all. Like Louis L’Amour constantly pointed out, when a community gets to bickering and lines of separation are drawn, someone is picking everybody’s pockets.
        I remain (regretfully, I’d like to like humanity more) a fan of volcanoes, big rocks falling from sky…

      • Windy says:

        So you downvoters, how about explaining to me just what it is that I wrote that you disliked so much. The abiotic oil fact? The fact I formerly promoted hemp to replace oil and no longer do? Or the fact I think solar powered cars are the future?

  7. DdC says:

    … Al Gore was in Paris during the attacks. hummmm

    If Al Gore’s father didn’t put little Al on the BoD of Occidental Oil. Then Bill Clinton would not be a reason for Hilary to brag about “his” Plan Colombia. To save Occidental from losing profits because of the ancient native burial grounds they put on top of the oil.

    Al was toking with Stephen Gaskin into his 30’s and then ask his own sister to suffer without medicinal cannabis for the political message it might send.

    Or the monster they created and now export with over 200 DEA offices around the globe. Opening doors for Military training and CIA underhandedness.

    Least we not forget Bush’s CIA and the Shaw of Iran, or Donnie Rumsfeld standing side by side with Cheney since Nixon. Haliburton buying Dressler and the asbestos lawsuits. Then Haliburton no bid contracts in Iraq to pay fines and restitution for the asbestos. Or Rumsfeld and Searle Pharm’s Aspartame. Or that it was Jeb keeping those 1 in 4 blacks from voting. Or disenfranchising thousands with similar sounding names of released prisoners. Or Turner and Sembler in Florida and Bennett and Walters and his dad with Iran Contra. It was also McCain funding the start of ISIS, Rumsfeld with Sadamn or Reagan Bush and bin Laden. Black Gold that Rockefeller and Hearst created the booze prohibition over. It’s a very old butterfly.

    Tip was a drunk who prided himself on cutting deals. Blue Dawg Dems were always Neocon war mongers and Tip was no exception. All he needed was an excuse and Lynn Bias gave it to him. Along with Bennett and Walters and Turner reinforcing the fabricated threat of drugs, especially crack. Not that Bias was doing crack, he snorted coke. But crack was getting so much free press as the new demon I guess it was irresistible.

    The Other Lawbreaker – Al Gore


    Busht Cheneynagans & Oil!

  8. Mr_Alex says:

    New Zealand’s very own Al Capone’s walking around with a baseball bat ready to extort on Synthetic Cannabis sales, pay up or get beaten:

    Prohibition has failed in New Zealand

    • DdC says:

      Prohibition has failed… Period

      • Windy says:

        Yep, failed in every instance, every time it has been enacted, all throughout the history of humanity, and it will ALWAYS fail, regardless what it is that is prohibited, in the future, too. Hopefully humanity will grow up enough to realize that fact, but don’t hold your breath.

  9. tb727 says:

    Wouldn’t it then be Len Bias’ fault for partying too hard??

  10. Mouth says:

    Hunter S. Thompson left the sinking ship: Generation of Swine, Gonzo Papers Vol.2: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the ’80s Copyrighted 1988, pg. 66

    “Our recent record in not good in that part of the world. The Arabs are no more afraid of our threats and bombs and technology than the North Vietnamese were. They seem to have other plans, for good or ill, and on some days you can get a strange feeling–despite the current chaos in the price pattern of OPEC oil–that we are not really included. They are looking beyond ‘The American Century,’ and even the Islamic calendar puts the year 2001 less than a dog’s life away from today.”

    I like what he wrote about the long Iraq War and it’s recession (p. 166) back in 2003 in his ‘Kingdom of Fear’ book.

  11. Thudworthy says:


    Another one from the “res ipsa loquitur” category. History alive and in progress:
    Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Mandate Letter

    • DdC says:

      Working with the Ministers of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and Health, create a federal-provincial-territorial process that will lead to the legalization and regulation of marijuana.

      Wow, what do politicians propose for really harmful plants? Like poison ivy, oak and sumac. Ministers of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and Health? Seems pot is as risky to prohibiticians as nuclear reactors or anthrax.

      • Duncan20903 says:


        It’s called reality. Deal with it.

        • DdC says:

          “Appeasement was never a very clever policy,
          and it should not be our option today.”
          Jose Maria Aznar

          “People don’t care about being duped as long as they’re happy, which is the shortest form of happiness; hence ‘self-duprication’ becomes a habit.”
          ― Criss Jami, Killosophy

          “What decent philosopher was ever an appeaser? The former is a rare catch among the multitudes of modern opinionists. His role is to be one who loves truth. That is a place where his love for humanity is more powerful than his love for hot air about empowering humanity.”
          ― Criss Jami, Killosophy

          “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”
          ― Winston S. Churchill

        • B. Snow says:

          I would like to make a motion that henceforth = all references to “Appeasement” (in particular via references pertaining and/or relating to Neville Chamberlain/”Lessons of Munich”/1938), Shall be officially equivalent to *Going Godwin* and as such the argument made by the ‘Referencer’ is forfeited.

          Do I have a second?

        • DdC says:

          It is understandable that men might seek to hide their vices from the eyes of people whose judgment they respect. But there are men who hide their virtues from the eyes of monsters. There are men who apologize for their own achievements, deride their own values, debase their own character—for the sake of pleasing those they know to be stupid, corrupt, malicious, evil.

          Do not confuse appeasement with tactfulness or generosity. Appeasement is not consideration for the feelings of others, it is consideration for and compliance with the unjust, irrational and evil feelings of others. It is a policy of exempting the emotions of others from moral judgment, and of willingness to sacrifice innocent, virtuous victims to the evil malice of such emotions.

          The truly and deliberately evil men are a very small minority; it is the appeaser who unleashes them on mankind; it is the appeaser’s intellectual abdication that invites them to take over. When a culture’s dominant trend is geared to irrationality, the thugs win over the appeasers.

  12. Peoria Dude says:

    Al Gore most certainly would have gone to war in Iraq to keep Saddam from using weapons of mass destruction, exactly like almost all the other Democrats did at that time.

    I blame all the Supreme Court justices who have ignored our Constitution for partisan reasons, including the drug war that should have required an amendment before being enacted, just like alcohol prohibition.

    • darkcycle says:

      Al Gore most certainly wouldn’t have twisted the facts and the intelligence to support a war of choice. He MIGHT have been more receptive to intelligence reports of a plot to attack the US by Al Quida, having been in on Presidential daily briefings in the previous administration. Jus’ sayin’.

    • Servetus says:

      Al Gore, like Clinton, would not have dropped America’s guard to allow Al Qaeda to deliver a sucker punch on U.S. territory, just so an unnecessary but useful and profitable war, for some, could ensue.

      Clinton was focused on bin Laden and terrorism, and Gore was there to witness it. The fight was all black-ops. Clinton even personally warned Bush about the whole mess when Bush took office.

      The Bushists, meanwhile, underestimated the enemy, while sucking on mint julips and sitting on their front porch — pure bigotry and stupidity on their part, as usual.

  13. Servetus says:

    New Research surprise. The loathsome, obnoxious drunk, is the consequence of a genetic mutation.

    From the AAAS Press Release:

    University of Helsinki researchers have identified a genetic mutation which renders carriers susceptible to particularly impulsive and reckless behaviour when drunk. More than one hundred thousand Finns carry this mutation.[…]

    Led by researcher and psychiatrist Roope Tikkanen, PhD, a new study has now demonstrated that a point mutation in a gene of serotonin 2B receptor can render the carrier prone to impulsive behaviour, particularly when drunk. Published in the journal Translational Psychiatry (Tikkanen et al., 2015), the discovery follows an original observation from 2010 on the mutation of serotonin 2B receptor among Finns (Bevilacqua et al., 2010).[…]

    “The results also indicate that persons with this mutation are more impulsive by nature even when sober, and they are more likely to struggle with self-control or mood disorders,” Tikkanen explains.

    Knowing one has the serotonin 2B mutation is an important bit of information for that person. The study also confirms the fact that for some people at least, alcohol really is more dangerous than marijuana.

    I don’t think researchers will ever find a gene mutation that causes reefer madness in marijuana consumers, as the stuff doesn’t make people mad. If there’s any madness coming from marijuana, it’s the xenophobia and hostility being directed at its consumers.

    • claygooding says:

      Prohibition and/or controlling other people’s lives even if you have to kill them is more addictive than marijuana.

      Rehab centers must be trained to treat all the addicts. EVERY government teat sucking one of them.

  14. Duncan20903 says:


    Francis’ Law: kicking ass and taking names. Again.

    Smoking Marijuana Associated With 50% Lower Chance Of Developing Metabolic Syndrome

    According to research published in The American Journal of Medicine, people who currently smoke marijuana are about 50 percent less likely to have metabolic syndrome compared to those who have never smoked marijuana. Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors like high blood pressure, high blood sugar, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and abdominal fat, which are linked to increased risk of heart disease and/or type 2 diabetes, as well as other health problems.

  15. kaptinemo says:

    OT. Another example of The Couch being light years ahead of the MSM; from

    Police Civil Asset Forfeitures Exceed The Value Of All Burglaries In 2014

    We said they’d do this. Right here. We said that as the economy worsened, and the tax base shrunk, the LE forfeiture addicts would expand their operations to make up the slack in stolen revenue (‘fix’). And here it is.

    30 years ago reformers warned about this abuse of forfeiture happening. 10 years ago, a reminder, right here on this Website. And, lo! It hath come to pass!

    Gluttony is a very hard habit to break. Time to Congressionally muzzle Porkie before he eats everything in the trough and starts chewing on our legs.

    • ‘War on drugs means millions are needlessly dying in pain’

      I agree with you Kapt: The Couch IS light years ahead.

      The current crackdown on opiates by the DEA has no altruistic motives. The crackdown is punishment for the movement to legalize marijuana and the DEA’s fear of becoming irrelevant when legalization succeeds – as it now is. Lost revenue will have to be made up with a new and improved drug war courtesy of the DEA.

      Now there is a butterfly effect for you.

      • Windy says:

        I note cannabis is not one of the medications they say must be available to all who are in need. The best medicine of them all, the one that heals the body and the soul.

      • kaptinemo says:

        More truth to that than you think. I recall reading once on DEAWatch that one goon said roughly the same thing, along the lines of “We can always go after the doctors.” He made no delineations as to which doctors. Which reminded me of DdC’s Churchill quote. The AMA, in cooperating with DEA, were just feeding that ‘gator…which has their arms in its mouth, now.

        Going after Big Pharma for deliberately, knowingly making Oxycontin highly addictive is another story. DEA likes targets that can’t defend themselves.

        • claygooding says:

          The very reason the DOJ doesn’t try to imprison bankers for laundering drug money,,they don’t want that many skeletons on display for the public too see.

    • allan says:

      Excellent grab Kap, saw it on FB (Clay or darkcycle methinks) with your quote and shared asap. Incredible, head shaking, totally wtf!

    • Tony Aroma says:

      I’d be curious to know what percentage of those assets were “seized” without a conviction.

  16. Sarcasto the Clown says:

    Meanwhile in Russian media:

    (Disclaimer: Russians and their media are *evul* commies!)

  17. jean valjean says:

    DdC posted this staggering piece of hypocrisy in the previous thread from Ohio governor John Kasich. He admits he smoked cannabis but wants to continue arresting others for the same thing. Asked by Stephen Colbert if he would have still become governor if he had been arrested he replies incredibly, “I might have.” This interview needs a wider audience as this odious man enjoys a 65% approval rating in Ohio.

    • Servetus says:

      More about Kasich here. Ohio Governor Kasich wants to incite more violence from Islamic terrorists:

      “Kasich … proposed the creation of a new federal department – one that will work full time to spread “Judeo-Christian” values overseas.

      Speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Kasich said, “U.S. public diplomacy and international broadcasting have lost their focus on the case for Western values and ideals and effectively countering opponents’ propaganda and disinformation. I will consolidate them into a new agency that has a clear mandate to promote the core Judeo-Christian Western values that we and our friends and allies share.”

  18. Mr_Alex says:

    The New Zealand Herald did a Cliff Kincaid style piece on the Paris attacks, its not even funny at all:

    Objective- Blame Cannabis Users who are peaceful after a smoke and make them look evil, its out of the Reefer Madness playbook

  19. jean valjean says:

    Update on Shona Banda crucifixion in Kansas :

    “On Monday, as she and her attorney, Sarah Swain, prepared for a preliminary hearing, Banda’s ordeal went from the nightmarish to the surreal, as prosecutors made a surprise announcement that they planned to put her son on the stand to testify against her.”

    Prosecutors may shoot themselves in the foot with that one. Odds are there will be at least one human-being on the jury who will nullify in sympathy with the child.

    • jean valjean says:

      Here’s a google page for county attorney Susan Richmeier where you can leave comments:;si:9033204152386274286

      if that doesn’t work just google finney county. Looks like one comment was removed but here’s the other:
      “This is living proof that God loves stupid people.” Maybe the webmaster in Finney County thought it was about “that stoner bitch,” and let it stand?

    • Servetus says:

      When I see an incompetent prosecutor getting a person’s kid to testify against that person, I have to wonder what gets taught in law schools.

      Certainly, the prosecutor should know that forcing family members to testify and accuse one another of crimes comes from the Inquisition’s Oath ex Officio, a mandate that people be required to testify against their parents or spouses or children for crimes of heresy. The consequences of the Oath ex Officio were so severe and objectionable that the Inquisition itself abandoned the practice in the mid-18th century. Later, the horrible tragedies initiated by the Oath ex Officio became the basis for the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. (See Leonard W. Levy, “Origins of the Fifth Amendment”, winner of the 1969 Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction.)

      Perhaps this is another example of the drug exception to the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

      • jean valjean says:

        It’s an exception in the same way as being a slave was when the Constitution was written. In other words, protections do not apply to People We Don’t Like (or where their exploitation is profitable). The Land of the Free in a nutshell.

    • Windy says:

      I fervently hope so.

  20. Will says:

    Interesting news out of Florida;

    High Court Cancels Argument Over Medical Marijuana Initiative

    “Thankfully, the court’s inquisition will no longer be necessary now that Pam Bondi, Florida’s A.G., made clear she had no intention of objecting to the initiative earlier this month.”


    Apparently sometimes even the most rabid know when to stop straining at their leash…

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