State Change – A Plan and Fantasy was finished on March 4, 2016 – the same day the national media reported the implosion of the Republican Party. Tom Borodin died one month earlier. harmless would like to take some credit for the implosion, but likely had nothing to do with it. The implosion had been underway for several years, perhaps ever since the famous meeting on Obama’s Inauguration Day, 2009, which laid the plans for the obstructionist GOP.


The harmless team has not been charged or prosecuted. They are not in jail. They continue to interact, meet, and talk, although not quite as intensely as during the harmless project. They continue to devour the New York Times, The Economist, New Scientist, the New Yorker, and many additional publications and news outlets.


State Change – A Plan and Fantasy is available for on line reading and for free download at www.statechange.us . The harmless team’s ongoing discussions and conversations are posted at  www.statechange.us ; they will respond to serious questions posted there about references, sources, and information. A short index is also posted.


Ananda’s Chocolates are not yet available as MDMA is still illegal. Lucien and Peter plan to begin production and sales when the legality issue is resolved: www.anandaschocolates.com .


I am working on State Change: Act II. Stay tuned. Do good. Be active.



Aldous Huxley:

I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the

only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself.




Chapter 12: Outcomes and Tomorrow

Jay, Bill, and I traveled and worked during the holiday season and in January to make our many assigned deliveries. Peter completed his trips by early January and filled me in via phone. About six weeks later, the delivery phase of harmless finished with a meeting and discussion – at a new coffee shop near Bill’s home – in the Avenues. It was an unusually warm early spring day, so we sat outside, away from the other patrons. The Salt Lake Valley had had another terrible winter inversion season. We were pleased that today the air was clean and relatively warm.



“I’m very happy to be here,” Jay said. “There were times I thought they’d get me.”


“Me, too,” Bill agreed. “Some of those local Congressional office staffers are scary. It was hard to fake it without really taking them on.”


“You can thank the Kochs and their libertarian study fellowships and professorships for providing such well trained staffers,” I smiled.


“Brain-washed staffers,” Bill corrected.


“Reminds me of a quote in Dark Money,” I said. “Back in 2009, Mayer writes, Charles Koch gave nearly $150,000 to Brown University’s Political Theory Project – a freshman seminar taught by a John Tomasi. She quotes Tomasi:

After a whole semester of Hayek, it’s hard to shake them off that perspective over the next four years.”


“Very effective brain-washing,” Bill added.


“I’m ready to take some notes – I need to hear your stories – for the book, of course. But for now, just a brief overview – brief summary.”


“Before they catch us, you mean, right?” Jay asked.


“I think we’re ok now. The riskiest time was during the delivery of Ananda’s potion. If they didn’t get us then, it’s unlikely they’ll get us now.”


“That’s not how I understand the statutes of limitations,” Jay said.


“By the way, Lucien tells me the traffic to anandaschocolates.com rose quickly as we hit the road and has continued to climb slowly.”


“I’ll bet they’re disappointed they can’t order some,” Bill said.


“So am I,” I said. “I wish we could continue to produce and give away our unique moksha.”


“Let’s do the numbers,” Jay said.


“Let’s hear about all of it …. this may take some time.”



We each reported on our state assignments, starting with Bill and California:



California          – Bill:                Issa, McCarthy + Valadeo, Rohrabacher, Walters, Justice                                                                         Kennedy (Bill) + Justice Scalia (Joe)


“I managed to get to their local offices,” Bill reported. “The staffers were all interested. It was good I had plenty of samples for them to smell and taste. The scenario was similar to our rehearsal scenario on Rodgers in Walla Walla.”


“Was there much security at Kennedy’s California State Bar award gig at the Anaheim Marriott?”


“Yes and no. I managed to befriend one of his clerks. I was outside the ballroom but could see Kennedy’s table up by the main podium. When this guy exited for the bathroom, I followed him in.”


“That was lucky – then what?”


“Easy. We were standing at adjacent urinals, I looked over and asked aren’t you part of Justice Kennedy’s group? He answered in the affirmative. So, after washing hands, I asked, does the Justice like chocolate? He responded, ‘how did you know? He’s always raiding Justice Roberts’ chocolate dish back at the Supreme Court Building’. From then on it was an easy sell.”


“It may have worked,” Jay said. “The Court’s last two decisions, related to promotional energy pricing and juveniles in prison, were reasonable, thanks in part to Kennedy’s vote. The prison decision suggests some enhanced empathy.”


“My experience with Scalia in Santa Clara wasn’t as smooth,” I reported. “I hung around towards the end of the Constitution Law class he was addressing, so I could see him and study his mannerisms, body language.”


“I hope his body language wasn’t as obnoxious as his oral language has been,” Jay smiled.


I continued: “I then followed the group over to the Recital Hall and got in, using my U ID and saying I was a visiting faculty member. Fortunately, the talk was not standing room only. I actually got to ask a brief question, which he summarily dismissed, as expected.”


“What did you ask him?” Bill asked.


“Is there anything about today’s world that might cause the Founding Fathers to reconsider anything they wrote into the Constitution?”


“Cool,” Jay said. “And?”


“He sort of shrugged, saying something like ‘I don’t have time to deal with fictions and speculation’. That was it. But I did get his attention. I did get close to him after the session, thanked him for responding to my question, and handed him two chocolates, saying he and his wife might enjoy this California treat.”


“No handlers or clerks took them away?”


“No, the security was modest. He actually slipped them into his coat pocket, and looked away.”


“No thanks?”


“No thanks.”


“Well, he’s had no new revelations in the last several months,” Bill said. “Maybe he gave them to his kids.”


“He did have a major ‘revelation’ a few days ago, as we all know. He died at a ranch retreat in Texas. He was laid to rest recently – and now there’s a big battle brewing because the Republicans in the Senate are refusing to even allow Obama to make a nomination – let alone even consider such a nomination.”


“As if the GOP didn’t have enough trouble with Trump, now they’re defining themselves as irresponsible and derelict by not doing the jobs assigned to them in the Constitution,” Jay said.


“The GOP is basically imploding – and we can’t take credit for that,” I said.


“I doubt Ananda had anything to do with Scalia’s demise,” Bill said.


“If it had, they would have discovered our wrapping and package insert near him.”



Colorado           – Joe:              Gardner + Bennett, Coffman


“Colorado was easy. I got to the three offices, telling the staffers what we rehearsed, and making specific reference to each of the Congress people – nothing unusual. They all got chocolates.”



Florida              – Joe:              Rubio, Bush, Koch + Curbello, Ros-Lehtinen


“Curbello and Ros-Lehtinen were also easy – no issues or problems. I decided not to get up to West Palm Beach, as we had already accessed Bill and David Koch in Centennial Valley.”


“How’d you get to the Rubio and Bush people?” Jay asked.


“Interesting. I got to Bush just weeks before he dropped out. The office was quite big. I noticed the cars outside and in the lot and realized there would be lots of staff inside. Upon entering the outer office area, I selected a Latina at an information table. Her nametag said Adriana. I said, ‘Hello. I’m very interested in Mr. Bush’, pausing and looking at her: ‘is it true his wife is a Latina?’


“Cool,” Jay said.


“She lit right up. ‘Yes, she said, ‘Her name is Columba – she’s from Guadalajara. She’s a great lady.’ Then I asked, ‘did they meet in Mexico, because I understand Mr. Bush speaks Spanish’. ‘Yes, yes!’ she said. ‘They were just teen-agers – it’s a great story’.”


“You are good,” Bill smiled. “Go on…”


“By then two other staff had gathered round. I asked if they knew Columba. They all responded, saying she comes to the office now and then, and that Columba’s been at several staff meetings and food gatherings. Then I pulled out enough chocolates for the three of them and two more for Jeb and Columba. ‘I make chocolates’, I said, adding I want to get some bumper stickers and lawn signs, gesturing towards another table, ‘Take these for yourselves, and give these to Columba and Mr. Bush. And tell them they’re for adults only!’ I winked.

‘Gracias,’ the first one said. Another said ‘Columba’s coming tomorrow night to meet with Latinas in West Miami. I’ll be there.’ ‘Gracias,’ I said – and went over to the other table to get the lawn signs.”


“I used a similar approach,” Bill said. “You focus on one staffer, get her eye, give her some real attention.”


“You know, since he dropped out, I bet she’s become the happiest Latina in Florida!”


“I’m sure of that,” Bill said. “Those YouTube videos of her leading Governor’s Mansion tours were very sad – she was so bored.”


“And Rubio’s office?” Jay asked.


“Similar, but very different. I got there just before the Iowa caucus, so most staff were in Iowa. Rubio’s office and staff seemed smaller than Bush’s.”


“Maybe because they were working Iowa, which may be why Rubio did so much better in Iowa – it was basically a three way tie with Cruz and Trump.”


“But otherwise, the strategy and approach was similar. I spotted a young Latina, Paolita, wearing a Crucifix at a table with pictures of Rubio and Pope Francis.”


“Clearly she wasn’t needed in lily-white Iowa!” Jay chuckled.


“I walked up and picked up a flyer related to Rubio’s Cuban and Catholic connections and said ‘Hello,’ while looking at a picture of Rubio and Pope Francis. ‘Did Mr. Rubio meet the Pope when he was in Washington, D.C.?’ I asked. She beamed. ‘Yes, he met Papa Francis. Here’s another picture,’ she said, reaching below the table. That one showed Pope Francis drinking something with a group of Congressmen, not including Rubio.”


“I don’t think Rubio was even there when the Pope was in town,” Jay said.


“No, he stayed away,” I recalled. Rubio explained that

… on moral issues, he speaks with incredible authority. He’s done so consistently on the value of life, on the sanctity of life, on the importance of marriage and on the family. [But] On economic issues, the Pope is a person.


“Rubio refuses to accept that climate problems are indeed a moral issue,” Bill added. “We, America, are most responsible for global climate change, but it’s the world’s poorest who are suffering – going to suffer – the most. If the Pope is indeed ‘infallible’ on moral issues, then we must do something about climate change. It’s the moral thing to do.”


“There were several events,” Jay added. “I know some of the other GOP Catholics also stayed away from his talk to Congress, for political reasons.”


“Well, she was convinced they’d met and interacted. So I continued, ‘Do you think the Pope likes chocolate?’ Now she really beamed. ‘I’m from Ecuador,’ she said. ‘We make the best chocolate in the world.’ ‘I make chocolates,’ I said, ‘and sometimes use dark chocolate from Ecuador’. I pulled out several chocolates. She noticed the name right away. ‘My name is Paolita,’ she said, adding ‘Ananda is not a common name.’ ‘And Ananda’s is not a common chocolate,’ I said. ‘It’s very special. Try one,’ I said, handing one to her. She didn’t open it, but did take it and smelled it. She didn’t look very Latina to me, but now knowing she’s from Ecuador, I tried the Latina line of conversation: ‘Isn’t Mr. Rubio’s wife from Colombia?’ I asked. She smiled. ‘No, not really. She was born in Miami. But her parents are both from Colombia, so we say she’s a Colombiana – a Latina.’ ‘Have you met her?’ I asked. ‘Sure – she often interacts with us, and helps out. She’s very friendly. She really is a Latina.’ ‘Maybe you could give her my chocolates,’ I said. ‘Her daughter – the oldest one – her name is Amanda,’ she said’. ‘Here, take three, one for Amanda, one for Mrs. Rubio, and one for Mr. Rubio.’ She took them, saying ‘OK, I should see Mrs. Rubio in a few weeks. We are having a holiday party for the office then.’ Then I added, ‘maybe you should have a summary of Pope Francis’ Laudato si encyclical on the table’. She smiled. ‘That’s a good idea’, she said.”


“I wonder what the response was to her encyclical summary suggestion,” Jay said.


“Maybe not entirely negative,” Bill added. “Rubio’s been getting input – and even some heat – from South Florida mayors on the region’s rising water issues – on climate change. Maybe he’s actually looking for a revelation excuse.”


“I just learned, via a Times article, of course, that ‘…climate change is included in Florida’s education standards’ and that some teachers include it in their teaching even though they often get some pushback,” I reported.


“Maybe Marco needs to go back to high school,” Jay suggested.


“Now who’s the optimist?” I smiled.


“I understand Rubio’s not running for his Senate seat?” Jay asked.


“Yes. I actually asked for a Rubio for Senate button from one staffer,” I said. “In case he doesn’t become President. I was promptly told he’s focusing all his energy on becoming President.”


“He’s made it clear earlier that he doesn’t like being in the Senate – that he wants to be in charge,” Jay said.



Idaho                – Peter:            Labrador + Simpson, Risch, Crapo


Peter had reported earlier on the experience he and Saul had in Idaho. They had similar experiences as Bill and I, except for Labrador’s office. Peter noted that the office was somewhat strange. It wasn’t as open, as inviting, as the other offices. There were several obvious security cameras, which Peter said they had noticed when casing the office just before they actually went in. So they actually disguised themselves a bit before approaching and entering. They each wore a ‘No New Taxes’ button they had obtained earlier when visiting Crapo’s office.


“That was clever – and resourceful,” Jay said. “If we ever do this again, we should have a supply of such buttons and pins to enhance our credibility.”


“I doubt we’ll be doing it again,” I said. “We don’t want to push our luck.”


Peter said the staffer he talked with didn’t know if Labrador liked chocolate. Saul said he was pretty sure that all Mormons liked chocolate. Saul mentioned his Mormon relatives in Salt Lake City as examples. ‘Chocolates and Jello,’ he said. Peter told me that was more effective than chocolates and wine – he’d save that line for Washington state. They finally got the young staffer to admit that he liked chocolate – and accepted one to taste. Then he took two Ananda’s for Mr. and Mrs. Labrador. Peter and Saul said they didn’t like the ‘feel’ of the office and were happy to leave.


“Labrador looks like a sweet, round-faced, young politician – like a younger version of Scalia,” Jay said.


“But he acts, like Scalia did, more like an unreasonable bull dog,” Bill added.



Iowa                 – Bill:               Ernst + Grassley, Young, King


“I waited to go to Iowa till after their caucus,” Bill said. “I learned that it was a ‘Grassley state’, meaning he’s very popular throughout the state.”


“I read that he visits all 99 counties every year,” I added. “And during the runup to the caucus, he helped host and introduce nearly every GOP candidate running in Iowa.”


“It was easy to get to the four offices,” Bill reported. “At each one I expressed my admiration for Grassley, and wore one of his 2016 reelection buttons. That was popular, especially at Grassley’s office. I was there before the Grassley-McConnell problem with the upcoming Supreme Court nomination.”


“At Ernst’s office I talked with the staffer about Joni and her positions. The staffer was a near chocoholic and immediately accepted the chocolate I handed her. She promised to give two each to Mrs. and Mr. Ernst. I felt a double dose can’t possibly hurt.”


“Did you know there’s a National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Iowa?” I asked. “Grassley introduced one of the GOP presidential candidates there just before the caucus. I sent the story on to my Czech friends.”


Bill continued: “King’s lone office staffer refused the chocolates, so I sent a followup mailing directly to King, with a return address within his district.”


“Did you see Egan’s column on Iowa?” Jay asked. “No wonder they need so much help. Iowa is almost all white, old and over half evangelical – and women are usually way in the background. Joni’s an exception.”


“But if she wasn’t white and evangelical, she wouldn’t have gotten anywhere in Iowa,” Jay said.


“Probably not. Egan went on to write:

... these demographics … produce candidates who deny that climate change even exists, who favor total bans on legal abortion, who are opposed to the most commonsensical reforms in gun laws, and who would require a religious test for entry into the country.”


“Thanks, god, for harmless,” Jay smiled.


“We try.”



Kansas             – Bill:               Koch, Charles + Pompeo, Roberts, Moran


“What is the matter with Kansas?” Bill asked. “I know that’s the title of a book, but now I understand why.”


“Did you get to Charles Koch,” I asked.


“Sort of. I didn’t try to get to his home. I had read about a little protest in 2010 – several California students tried to get a letter to Charles by going to the Koch Industries building. Apparently the strip of lawn adjacent to the road is public property – the first 18 feet of lawn adjacent to the curb – so the security folks couldn’t demand the kids get off the property.”


“Good homework. And?”


“In 2010 Koch knew the kids were coming, so security personnel blocked the building’s entrances and cars tailed the kids as they came to and then left the area – no big surprise given everything we know about Kochs and security. They didn’t know I was coming, so I got in to the main reception area. I played the same game we did with the Rodgers scenario and that we’d been using with most of the Congressmen – we want to thank him for all he’s done for freedom, liberty, democracy.”




“And to look a bit more credible, and to boost my own confidence, I wore a large Rand Paul for President button.”


“Given how bad he’s been doing, that didn’t appear very controversial,” Jay said. “Did it?”


“No – and this was before Paul dropped out of the race. The receptionist who looked at it just smiled. I did manage to get to the Executive offices, but not any further, of course. I gave the lady in the Executive Offices reception area my spiel and asked her to get the gifts to Charles and Elizabeth. I assured her this was non-political, that I’d read his two books, and that Diana and I had driven through one of the firm’s ranches in Montana. I even showed her a photo of Centennial Valley and the Centennial Mountains. She was surprised to learn Koch Industries had a ranch in Montana. I did give her one of our staff chocolates, which she seemed pleased to accept.”


“Anything else?”


“No, that was it. No obvious cameras, no alarms or sirens. I did pick up a copy of the Koch Industries’ Newsletter on my way out, and then headed for the Congressional offices in town.”


“What was Pompeo’s place like? I’m curious because he was such a jerk during Gowdy’s Benghazi witch hunt on Hillary.”


“Lots of pictures of Pompeo, some with Gowdy, and one of Pompeo with Hillary in the background. I told the staffer I wanted to thank Pompeo for his work on the Benghazi Committee – and also that I had been over to Koch Industries. That impressed her. I told her I was from Portland, and I make chocolates, handing her one. She accepted. Try it, I said – and she did, smiling – and continued to smile. I have two for the Congressman and Mrs. Pompeo, I said. Could you see that he gets them? She accepted, assured me she’d put them and the card in his mailbox. The Two senatorial district offices – Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran – also went smoothly. The key, I’ve found, is connecting directly with one of the staff.”



Kentucky          – Jay:              McConnell, Paul + Guthrie


“Kentucky’s an interesting place,” Jay said. “It’s hard to believe Al Gore is from there.”


“McConnell has made a mess of the place,” Bill added. “He hasn’t done anything to move them forward – to get beyond constantly looking backwards and blaming Obama and environmentalists for Kentucky’s largely self-imposed problems.”


“Well, I did get to him – or rather to his Bowling Green office – as well as to Paul and Guthrie.”


“Go on,” I said.


“I got to Bowling Green just days after Paul dropped our of the presidential competition – pleasant city. The three offices were quite small. McConnell’s was the most well established, not surprising given his very long tenure in the Senate. There were only two people in McConnell’s office. I talked with an older lady, whose desk had a large picture of McConnell and his wife nearby. I asked her if she knew Mrs. McConnell. That was almost a mistake!”


“Interesting, how so?” Bill asked.


“She actually made a face, then corrected it. Noticing, I innocently asked ‘Does she ever come by and help out – or visit?”


“She said that Elaine Chao McConnell rarely comes to Bowling Green, but that she helped a lot with his reelection campaign. I didn’t sense any great interest or connection, so immediately moved on to chocolates.”


“Did she respond to chocolate?”


“A little. She offered me some chocolate chip cookies from a nearby table – for staff and visitors, she explained. She was curious about Ananda’s and did volunteer that Mitch likes chocolate chip cookies – and she’d put the chocolates in his mailbox with a note – and tell his chief aide.”


“OK, and the others?” I asked.


“Paul’s office was more interesting. The sole staffer there was much younger and seemed more committed and connected. There was also a cute photo of Paul with his family, with the youngest holding a soccer ball. Mrs. Paul is quite an asset.”


“And?” Bill asked.


“The staffer responded to the chocolates, said she’d pass them on with a note, and thanked me for coming by. I was wearing a Paul for President button, which may have helped. She said, with a sad look, ‘You know, he’s dropped out of the race for President.’ I said I knew, but I liked him and the button. She pointed to a clipping on her desk, the recent USA Today piece by Carroll on The rise and fall of Rand Paul’s Candidacy, noting Time calls him ‘the most interesting man in politics’. I think so, too, I told her.”


“I continued on to Guthrie’s office, which was a simple affair. I engaged the staffer in a brief discussion about coal and Kentucky’s future. He had an older brother who was a miner and was actually pleased to be laid off. I told him about Obama’s new initiative to help fund local actions to develop cleaner energy. He then said his brother was taking a course to become a solar system installer. He gladly took a chocolate for himself and his brother as well as the two larger ones for Mr. and Mrs. Guthrie.”



Montana           – Joe, Bill         Kochs + Tester, Daines, Zinke


“I focused on the Congress folks. Joe handled Bill and David Koch and the Oxbridge school,” Bill reported.


“After sending written invitations to Tester, Daines, and Zinke, I visited their local offices in Helena; Daines and Tester also have a Bozeman office, so I stopped there on my way to Helena. I had previously set up appointments with the key staffers, emphasizing the significance of the T-N Center, Beaverhead Ranch, and the Kochs. They were all very interested. They all got chocolates, of course, including some for their respective Congress bosses. Their bosses all made an appearance at the T-N Center, though not all at the same time. I served as their host and introduced each one to the key people present.”


“And they’re fairly reasonable folks, aren’t they?” Jay asked.


“Yes. They are all quite conservative, even Tester – who’s a Democrat,” Bill replied. “And perhaps they’re now more environmentally aware after the T-N experience.”


“And they all had more chocolates at T-N?” Jay asked.


“Of course.”


We went on to discuss Bill and David Koch and their families.


“The first contact was via the Oxbridge Academy Director and science teacher. They facilitated the introduction and connection to Brittany, and then to Bill. It took a lot of followup and gentle arm-twisting, but it worked. They agreed to bring their family – Bill, Jr., daughter Robin, and their youngest Kaitlin, or KK. I asked Bill to contact David regarding the event. He did; David agreed to come with Julia and two of their three kids. Horseback riding in the area was a key draw. The people managing Beaverhead Ranch were also in the loop, as well as the great folks at the T-N Center.”


“That was quite a communication and organizational exercise,” Jay said.


“Oh, that’s just the tip of the communication and logistics iceberg,” I smiled. “Bill and family arrived via private jet to West Yellowstone and then on to Lakeview via an SUV limo. David and family for some reason came the other way, via jet into Idaho Falls and then North by car to Lakeview. I think David’s pilot was a bit wary of West Yellowstone. David did have a near death aircraft experience in Los Angeles many years ago.”


“And the Montana Congressmen made their own way to Lakeview, with their staff’s help,” Bill added.


“And then it was largely up to the T-N staff, and the Beaverhead Ranch folks. They had put together a program, including activities for all on horseback, in the refuge and on the ranch, John Taft jeep rides and tours, discussions by the fire, and a brief ceremony by Bill and David honoring their tough father, Fred. The kids were shown pictures of their grandparents and missing uncles. And, of course, we had a good discussion of Ishmael.”


“And lots of chocolates?” Jay asked.


“Chocolates of one kind for the adults, and very similar looking but very different chocolates for the kids,” Bill smiled.


“And no Charles?” Jay asked.


“No Charles. David did talk with him about the event. I think he said something like, ‘maybe next year’. I was so pleased – and surprised – that David and his family came.”



New York City  – Joe:              Koch, David and Justice John Roberts


“I didn’t try to get to David Koch; we had considered trying to get our local U ballet friends to help via the American Ballet Company connection with him and Julia. But it would have meant another expensive trip and probably couldn’t be carried out. Since we got to him via the T-N Center gig, I felt that was sufficient.”


“I found only one John Roberts gig, although I’m sure there must have been others. He spoke at the NY Historical Society about Justice Charles Evan Hughes, a New Yorker who made it to the Supreme Court – twice – and ran for President. Interesting guy.”


“But you did get in?” Jay asked.


“Yes – it was at the NYU Law School, on Washington Square South. I used my U faculty credentials and mentioned several U Law School friends. They had called earlier to get my name on a visiting guest list. It worked.”


“Security was actually minimal,” I continued. “Again, no cell phones; this time no computers – I was able to leave my backpack with a lady at the sign in desk. My artificial hip again set off the screening machine, but the card from my doc took care of that. No frisking and no chocolate bulges.”


“Were you able to talk to Roberts?”


“Yes, surprisingly. He is really a charming guy. I gently pushed my way up to him just before he was introduced, mentioned I was from Utah, and had read several books on the Roberts Court. He interjected, ‘I hope you read the better ones’. I quickly noted that I understand he likes chocolate, while offering him one of my favorites. He actually took it but passed it immediately to a clerk or aide at his side.”


“And you chased down the aide later?”


“Of course. He was helpful. I began with sharing a quote by Charles Evan Hughes:

War should be made a crime, and those who instigate it should be punished as criminals.

He was unaware of it, which helped with some very brief conversation. I then explained a bit more about Ananda’s, saying I thought the Chief Justice would appreciate it, and gave him several more. He said he’d put them in the chocolate bowl in his office.”


“Perfect!” Bill said. “Let’s hope he doesn’t take two at nearly the same time.”


“I made it clear to the aide that one is sufficient – and pointed out the insert with more information.”


“Well, it apparently didn’t help in the Court’s recent ruling on the Obama coal requirements – a recent 5-4 decision.”


“Maybe he hadn’t eaten it yet!” Jay smiled.


“That was Scalia’s last Supreme Court vote – without him it might have been 4 – 4.”



Oklahoma         – Jay:              Inhofe + Lankford, Russell, Lucas


“This was an efficient assignment – travelwise,” Jay said. “One trip to Oklahoma City got me Inhofe and Lankford, the very junior Senator, as well as three of the five Congresspeople – Lucas, Cole, and Russell.”


“What were their offices like?”


“Interesting. Inhofe actually had some model airplanes hanging in the waiting area. He really is a very avid pilot. He wasn’t there, of course, but I struck up a conversation with an elderly receptionist. On the wall behind her was a framed photo of Inhofe aside one of his planes.”


“Not the one he landed on the wrong runway in Texas?”


“I don’t know. This one looked legally parked and secured. I asked her if she’d ever flown with him … ‘No, no,’ she said. ‘The staff are afraid to fly with him. In fact, he’s flying less and less now. Age is getting to him’.”


“I told her to thank him for his work, that I’d always wanted to learn to fly and was envious of his flying experience and skills, and suggested she give him these chocolates as a constituent thank you gift.”


“Anything else?”


“We talked a bit about the falling price of oil, its impact on the Oklahoma state budget, and even the recent severe weather events. I tried to educate her a bit on CO2 and climate change. She understood. There was no push back.”


“And Lankford?”


“What a piece of work!” Jay continued. “There were pictures of him with his bible camp subjects, reading from a bible and a pulpit, and brandishing a shotgun while bird hunting. Although this was his Senate office, I did see Lankford in 2016 materials, including a pin shaped like an open bible.”


“And the staffer?”


“Looked like a Mormon missionary – white shirt, name tag, dark pants, bible literally in hand, with that vacuous look that Homer Simpson often has. But he did take the chocolates and assured me he’d pass them on to The Senator.”


“By the way,” I said, “Lankford did say recently he’s ‘unlikely’ to support Trump, according to the Times – hinting that good evangelicals can’t endorse Trump.  And the Representatives?”


“The three different offices were in and near Oklahoma City – in their respective well-gerrymandered districts. They were all small, just one staffer, in mall-like environments. The staffers were responsive, after a bit of conversation. They seemed pleased to have someone to talk with. I gave them each personal samples. Oklahoma needs lots of chocolate!”



South Carolina  – Joe:              Gowdy + Peter, Graham


“My turn to report on Greenville, a nice Southern town,” I said. “I’d talked earlier with Bob Inglis to get some tips and insight – and he gave me his old campaign button for fun, which I didn’t wear.”


“Were Bailiff, Judge, or Jury helping out in Gowdy’s office?” Jay smiled.


“Nope, his dogs were nowhere in sight. There were two staffers – an older lady and a younger man – wearing a Cruz button. He came in after I was talking with the lady. I asked her about Bob Inglis. She perked up, said he was a wonderful man, that she’d worked with him during that last term and during his campaign. Her body language suggested that Trey Gowdy was not nearly as interesting or warm. Then the younger guy appeared and she went quiet.”
“You think he wears the Cruz button if Gowdy is in town?”


“Maybe. Gowdy did introduce Cruz at a Greenville event earlier in the campaign, but he does seem to be leaning towards Rubio now.”


“The young guy was very receptive to the chocolates. I gave a taster piece to each of them. He said he’d put the others in the mailbox for Gowdy. I did advise him that chocolates are very bad for dogs. He knew that, he said.”


“Anything else?”


“I was surprised to see a Tea Party poster with a Confederate Flag on the wall.”


“I thought South Carolina was now over the Confederacy, apparently not….And the others?”


“Ditto for Peter and Graham – conversation and taste chocolates for the staffers, Ananda’s for the Congressmen. No problem.”



Texas               – Jay:              Cruz, Smith + Cornyn, McCaul, Flores, Bills, Carter, Hurd


John Cornyn is reported to be the number 2 Senate Republican; he’s a main author of the criminal justice legislation. He is reported to have said, in an interview, that his job was to educate Republicans…that it could help Republicans by broadening their appeal to independents, Democrats and minorities who believe that the criminal justice system is unfairly tilted. Cornyn said:

It doesn’t hurt to show that you actually care … This is a statement that is not just symbolic, but actually shows that you care about people. It doesn’t hurt to show some empathy.


“Conservative Cornyn talks empathy, that’s interesting,” Bill said. Looking at Jay, he added, “You must have gotten to him.”


“I recall his Austin office, and a dedicated young staffer smelling our chocolate offering. That’s all I really know.”


“We’ll give you – and Cornyn – the benefit of the doubt,” I smiled.


“I flew in to Austin. I had planned to also get to San Antonio, but realized I’d only lose Hurd by not taking a day to do San Antonio, so I focused my time and efforts on Austin.”


“The San Antonio guy I missed is Will Hurd, District 23. He’s almost a conservative Democrat, on the far left of GOP plot with very low leadership score.  Since Cornyn is the well respected senior senator, I started most of the staff conversations with him, and with his quote ‘…it doesn’t hurt to show some empathy’. The Smith staffer I talked with was also a fan of Cornyn.”


“Smith’s district covers the wealthier sections of Austin and San Antonio,” I said. “Did you see anything interesting?”


“Not really, just pictures of him with his first wife, who died, and their two kids, who are now about 37 and 40. I think one’s a lawyer, the other may be an architect – not much info on line.”


“Grandkids?” I asked.


“Don’t know. They don’t seem to be society types. The staffer was quite interested in the chocolates …”


“…they all are,” Bill added.


“…so I gave her several extras. She did say she’d get them to the Congressman. Oh, I did see some award from an NRA-like group, the CCRKBA – he’s definitely an ardent gun supporter.”



Utah                 – Joe:              Lee, Chaffetz + Bishop, Stewart, Love, Hatch, Justice Thomas


“I did get to the BLM Committee meeting in St. George, which Stewart organized with Bishop. Chaffetz was also there. Mia Love didn’t make it.”


“Nor the Senators?” Jay asked.


“Nope. Mike Lee’s too busy extolling Cruz, and Hatch is now endorsing Rubio – perhaps angling for his long coveted Supreme Court appointment.”


“You mean things really can get worse?” Bill said.


“Did you see Stewart’s recent newsletter to constituents? He’s the new Trump – or Cruz. It’s full of battle words – he ‘grilled’ the Forest Service, he ‘blasted’ Obama.”


“Maybe he’s now on testosterone supplements?” Jay smiled.


“The Utah three mouseketeer Congressguys were easy to get to,” I reported. “First, there was little security; it was a southern Utah-style town meeting. Second, the three were to be on a panel, entertaining questions from largely anti-BLM, anti-Fed folks. And thirdly, as no one knows me down there, I just pretended to be on the building staff and set out bottled water and several chocolates on each panelist’s table space.”


“Cool,” Jay said. “But you could have been recognized and challenged.”


“Sure, but only by Democrats, who probably would not have interfered. You know, I only got two dozen or so votes in all of Washington County in 2012. Only Stewart would have recognized me, and I timed it so he wasn’t nearby.”


“And?” Bill asked.


“I saw Chaffetz and Stewart eat a chocolate about half-way through the session. There was one left at Bishop’s place after the event was over, which I picked up. Can’t say any more than that.”


“I guess our serving chocolates approach might be called Chocolate Roulette,” Jay smiled.


“A fair description. It reminds me of a Scalia story in USA Today, where Scalia, when asked about his nine kids, said something like ‘we are good Catholics – and play Vatican Roulette’.”


“And the others?” Bill asked.


“I did get to Mike Lee earlier, as well as Chaffetz and Mia Love, at Mike’s Christmas Party at the State Capitol.”


“Maybe that’s why Mia is starting to sound a bit reasonable. Her recent talk to the Utah Legislature sounded mature, civil,” Bill said.


“I let Hatch go,” I said. “He’d probably recognize me, he’s 80, and he’s tired.”


“But he still wants a chair on the Supreme Court?”


“Probably. He might not be too bad there – no worse certainly than Scalia was.”


“But he’s now saying he can work with Trump – he actually said, according to the Times:

We will have to work on changing some of his ideas. He’s a good businessman.”


“Jesus. That confirms that Hatch has indeed lost it.”


“Did you see the Trib report on what Stewart said at the Capitol the other day:

We don’t want any more wilderness. Not a single acre of wilderness.”


“No great surprise,” I said. “Reminds me of a quote I saw on an office wall this morning – by Aristotle: ‘We are what we repeatedly do’.”


“At least he’s consistent – Stewart, I mean,” Jay said.

Washington      – Peter:            Rodgers + Beutler, Newhouse


“Peter told me earlier that he used our early practice scenario.”


“Sure,” Jay said. “Those early discussions helped us all with our actions in the various district offices.”


“Well, the Walla Walla fiction was eerily right on,” he said “although there was no pouch or courier service to connect the office with the Congresswoman. He made his own Rodgers in 2016 label for the Rodgers office visit – and did similarly for the Beutler and Newhouse office visits.”


“Cool. That really showed how committed he was,” Jay said.


“How ‘committed’ he was, then – for those few minutes. He also picked up the official campaign materials, with fake enthusiasm, at each of the offices.”


“Did he ever do drama?” Jay smiled.


“Nope, but it’s never too late. I think all three Congressfolks will get their ‘delivered by Peter’ chocolates and Ananda’s Chocolates cards.”



Washington DC – Joe:              LaPierre, Norquist, Donohue, Justice Alito


“DC was tough and fascinating,” I reported. “I started with the Chamber’s annual Christmas Party, a lavish well attended affair presided over by Donohue. He’s an impressive figure – tall, loud, somewhat dominating.”


“Security?” Jay asked.


“Not bad. I went largely empty handed, except for chocolates in my pockets. I had the flatter versions that Lucien had made to use at events where we would likely be screened and frisked. No bulges and well sealed – no scent of chocolate.”


“Did they frisk you?”


“Fortunately not. My hip always sets off the metal detectors, but before entering I hand the screener a card with the U Health Sciences logo and my docs’ signature, saying I have an artificial hip. That usually takes care of the problem – and did so in this instance.”


“Interesting,” Bill said. “And having the hip issue to focus on probably distracted him from looking carefully at anything else.”


“Yes, I think so. In any event I got in without having to have a chocolate tasting at the screening barricade. I went immediately to the credentials table to find my name on an invite list, kindly arranged by my friends at the Salt Lake Chamber. Salt Lake didn’t have its own table, so I didn’t run in to any Utahns, but I did get a seat, and I was legal and legitimate.”


“Great, then what?” Jay asked, enthusiastically.


“Off to the podium and main tables to find Donohue. I did ask at the credentials table if LaPierre and Norquist would be attending. She said she couldn’t share that information, but her body language suggested that one of them might be there.”


“You’re going to have to teach us about these body language assessments,” Bill said.


“I found Donohue, introduced myself as an aging chocolatier from Utah, and saying I’d like to talk with him about the international chocolate trade. He sort of dismissed me, but he did seem somewhat interested. I did say I’d stop by his office to drop off some background information. He nodded.”


“That seems like a good approach and plan. So?”


“On Monday morning, about 9 am, I was at the Chamber’s 1615 H Street, NW office – across the street from the White House. It was open and the lady at the welcome desk was most helpful. I said I enjoyed the Christmas Party, was with the Salt Lake City Chamber chapter, and had met Mr. Donohue, but we hadn’t time to talk. I further said he suggested I come by this morning to drop off my materials and schedule an appointment.”




“She chuckled, saying something like ‘He often does that – he doesn’t keep his own calendar, you know. He won’t be in today, but I can see that he gets your materials’. Thus began our international chocolate business brief discussion – and the Ananda’s samples. She was delighted.”


“Did you make an appointment?”


“Not exactly, I said I’d contact him later, via the Salt Lake Chamber, to present some information on the international trade in chocolate. I winked at her, saying ‘chocolate’s so much more satisfying than cigarettes, you know’. She understood and agreed, smiling. I then gave her my Ananda cards and samples. She assured me she would put them on his desk to see the minute he returned. She ate her sample on the spot and asked several questions. I gave her another card, referring her to the site. That was it.”


“Was LaPierre or Norquist at the party – or John Roberts?”


“I don’t think so. I should have asked Donohue’s receptionist that same question, but didn’t. I was looking for Susan LaPierre and Norquist’s Samah among all the men present, but didn’t see either of them.”


“And then?”


“From 1615 H St. to Norquist’s headquarters at 722 12th ST NW, Suite 400 – just a few blocks away. Again a receptionist to talk with, and me wearing my No New Taxes button. She smiled. I asked her if Norquist had been to the Chamber Party the other night. She didn’t think so, saying he and Samah don’t often go to DC parties – they’d rather spend the time with their kids.”


“That’s promising,” Jay said.


“I mentioned my visit to the Chamber and my interest in meeting Mr. Norquist, to thank him for his actions in behalf of small business and in minimizing corporate taxes. She couldn’t schedule a meeting, saying to call his appointments secretary later in the day. We talked chocolates briefly – she thought he was quite fond of chocolates. She was happy to accept and taste the sample – and said she’d deliver the chocolates and cards to his personal secretary. I added a sample for the personal secretary.”


“What did the office look like?” Bill asked.


“Interesting. There was a table for recent Norquist-ATR publications and news stories, including his recent Salt Lake Tribune op-ed telling the Utah Legislature to not tax internet sales.”


“I thought Hatch and Mike Lee opposed that,” Jay said.


“Yes, he noted that. But Chaffetz apparently supports it, together with several state legislators. In any event Norquist how has his eyes and hands on Utah.”


“After Norquist, I got on the Metro in the direction of Fairfax – to the NRA Headquarters. Norquist’s location and space seemed relatively modest. Donohue’s was more palatial – even ostentatious. But LaPierre’s! Wow.”


“I was near the NRA Building in Fairfax several years ago – I wanted to see what the National Firearms Museum looked like, ” Bill said. “Quite an edifice.”


“I did manage to find a Protect the Second Amendment button for the NRA visit,” I said. “Interesting that they screened everyone entering the building. You can’t carry guns into the NRA facility – but their employees can carry them in – it’s the law in Virginia!”


“Isn’t that hypocritical?” Jay smiled. “And the chocolates?”


“No sweat – their concern was with guns, cameras, cell phones – I did have to check my phone, but they let me in with my computer.”


“Didn’t LaPierre say ‘those with the guns make the rules’?” Bill asked.


“I think you’re confusing that with the plutocrat’s Golden Rule – those with the gold make the rules,” Jay corrected.


“The NRA site had some LaPierre video rants on Obama, which I watched. I tried to get to know him before any visit.”


“And?” Bill asked.


‘It was the same sort of interchange as with Donohue and Norquist: I’m here to thank him for his support of the whatever – in this case the Second Amendment and the right to bear armaments. And I wanted to ask him about the NRA going international – advocating the right to bear arms anywhere on the planet – at anytime. The receptionist didn’t even flinch.”


“I guess she’s heard it all,” Jay added. “Did you really say ‘bear armaments’?”


“Yes – and she didn’t flinch at that, either.”


“She said she’d pass on the chocolates, my card, and my thanks to his personal secretary. I said I’d follow up a bit later.”


“Did you get to Alito?” Bill asked.


“Yes, but it required a special trip – some weeks after the holiday season visit. He was helping judge a Constitutional Law Competition at the George Washington Law School – at 800 21st St. – in the Lisner Auditorium. It was a cool event.”


“Security?” Jay asked.


“Sure, but nothing onerous. It was similar to the other Justice gigs – look for his aides or clerks, follow and interact with one. Strike up a conversation – this time at the coffee and water table. Mention John Roberts and chocolates at the Supreme Court. The kid looked like a younger version of Mike Lee – but he was warm and personable.”


I continued: “He took a sample for himself and several for Justice Alito – said he’d get them to him and would emphasize John Roberts’ interest in chocolates. Alito actually told a ‘joke’ in his discussions with one of the competitors: ‘There’s a lot of injustice in the decision-making process, so get used to it.’


“That’s no joke,” Jay said. “That’s today’s unjust Supreme Court.”


“That’s like what Scalia used to say about his Gore vs Bush vote – ‘just get over it’.”


“Alito’s ten year Court stint was recently reviewed in USA Today,” Bill said. “Richard Wolf, the reporter, wrote:

his vote may be the most reliably conservative — more pragmatic than Scalia and Thomas, more predictable than Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy….he sees eye to eye with Roberts…A fan of caffeine…”


“He’ll likely need another dose or two,” Bill smiled.



West Virginia    – Jay:              Capito + Mooney, Jenkins


“On to West Virginia,” Jay said. “Charleston is the state Capitol, but not very large. I got to Capito and Mooney, but not to Jenkins. I had to get in and out quickly.”


“I’ve been to the other Charleston,” I said. “What’s the West Virginia one like? Isn’t it the one with the Chuck Yeager Airport?”


“Yes – how’d you know that?”


“As a kid I was nuts about airplanes – and Chuck Yeager was one of my heroes.”


“Wasn’t he part of The Right Stuff film?” Bill asked.


“Yes, the first guy to fly faster than sound – perhaps with a broken rib.”


“That takes cojones,” Jay said, continuing, “Charleston’s a pleasant southern-style town. Capito’s office was small – with one lonely receptionist – with a box of chocolates on her desk.”


“You’re kidding. A Christmas gift?”


“That’s what she said – from her boss, who apparently likes chocolates.”


“Bulls-eye!” Bill said.


“It was easy. We traded chocolates – one from her for me, and my Ananda sample for her. She was pleased to have someone to talk with – and said she’d pass our chocolates on to ‘the Senator’.”


“Terrific. And Mooney?”


“Also easy, because I started with a reference to Capito’s interest in chocolate. That opened up the discussion. Same deal – this middle aged lady will pass on the chocolates and card to Alex Mooney, who, she said, occasionally takes a chocolate when it’s available.”





Wisconsin        – Bill:               Ryan + Johnson, Sensenbrenner


“I did a two day trip, into and out of Milwaukee, with a side leg to Janesville again.  I got to Ron Johnson’s office in Milwaukee. The Sensenbrenner office in Brookfield, just east of Milwaukie, was the most interesting, because I ran into a young staffer who was a Biology major at Marquette University. We talked about plant biotechnology. He’d actually had a class from a former colleague working in plant hybridization. Small world.”


“You recall that Sensenbrenner wanted to be Chair of the House Science Committee?” I asked.


“Sure, which is I guess why he liked to have a few staffers with science interests and backgrounds. As I started to pull out and bring up the subject of chocolate, he even asked some good questions about cacao and its cultivation. Smart kid.”


“With that kind of rapport, you should follow up and continue to work with him,” I suggested.


“And work on him,” Bill said.


“But we have to be careful,” Jay cautioned. “We don’t want him or others to know too much about you, us, or Ananda’s.”


“Jay’s right, of course,” I said. “Best only a very minimal follow up, if any.”


“That kid was so personal that I’m sure he got the chocolates to Sensenbrenner. Johnson’s office was far less interesting. Just a bored receptionist with little interest in chocolates. I called her later using the hotel phone to be sure she’d passed the goods on. She said she had.”


“And Ryan?”


“A nice 90 minute ride to Janesville and back.  Ryan’s district office there had a great picture of him with his new beard – and there were materials out on his role and actions as Speaker – press releases, etc., and a cool family photo – complete with wife Janna and their three kids – and dogs. A young lady came up to me as I was looking at the photo. What’s their dog’s name, I asked. And that did it. She was a real dog fan. ‘The dogs are Boomer and Sooner’, she said. We got into chocolates via they are bad for dogs. I couldn’t get her to stop talking about dogs. I’m not much of a dog fan, but I didn’t let it show.”


“You got to him earlier at a cafe, right?” I asked.


“Yes, at the Citrus Cafe, with several of his staff. They all took chocolates then. But I didn’t go back there this time. Last time I didn’t visit his district office; I’d arrived after it closed. So this time I did the office – a new staffer – a new approach.”


“And hopefully another dose – this time as Speaker,” I smiled.


“I’m sure he appreciates the attention,” Jay smiled.


“I did something else – I left a new copy of Ishmael on the table next to the Ryan House reelection materials, just before leaving. The dog lady didn’t see me.”


“A little clandestine reading for the office staff,” Jay chuckled. “I hope it gets around.”


“I didn’t see anything about Ayn Rand,” Bill said.


“That’s good news,” I added.


“Then it was back to Milwaukee and the flight home.”


“I just heard something about a very interesting Wisconsin Congressman, formerly with the Freedom Caucus, who’s not running again. Reporter David Hawkings said that Reid Riddle, a three term Wisconsin Congressman representing District 8, and a close friend of Paul Ryan, will not run again. He’s tired of the partisanship and gridlock. Hawkings writes:

Soon after taking office, his hawkishness for reducing budget deficits led him to renounce his Americans for Tax Reform ‘pledge’ to oppose all revenue increases, which almost everyone else in the House GOP Conference has signed. He’s also been open to raising taxes on the rich to shore up Social Security’s solvency, by increasing the limit on income subject to the payroll tax.”


“So there are some reasonable Republicans,” Jay said. “Unfortunately, though, not very many.”


“Hawkings suggests that there’s a potential change brewing, that Ribble may not be completely unique. He quoted Ribble as saying, about Trump:

We can’t just be kicking sand in the sandbox and saying, ‘You’re dumb’ and ‘You’re a loser’. We actually need a grownup, not a 3-year-old in the White House.


“Wow, there is hope.”


“And maybe we did get to Ryan,” I said. “The Times piece on his budget strategy suggests he’s pushing back against the Freedom Caucus’ hard-nosed budget demands. Reality does sometimes influence ideology.”


“There you go again,” Jay said. “You know Ryan just said he would support Trump if he became the Republican nominee – in spite of Ryan’s recent holier than thou statements about bigotry and prejudice.”


“It’s the Party – uber alles,” I said.



Wyoming          – Peter:            Barasso + Enzi, Lummis


“Peter told me the Wyoming gig was more interesting than he’d expected.”


“Didn’t Liz Cheney just say she’s going to run?” Jay asked.


“You’ve got it. Lummis, Wyoming’s at large House rep, said she’s not running again, so Cheney’s angling for her seat.”


“From Lummis to perhaps Cheney…how could they be so screwed up there?”


“They’re not screwed up,” Jay said. “They’re exceptional – at least that’s the title of Liz’s book. Maybe her five kids will work on her campaign.”


“It never ends,” Bill said.


“Peter easily got to Barasso, Enzi, and Lummis,” I reported. “He figured that even with Lummis gone her office and staff would likely be inherited by whoever replaces her – even Liz Cheney.”


“Good thinking,” Jay said. “And Barasso?”


“Another office – another staffer. Peter said he started the conversation with questions about Wyoming’s coal stats – now that coal is dropping so fast, was Wyoming getting any Fed money to help with the transition?”


“Good approach,” Bill said “although it doesn’t seem to work on McConnell.”


“Peter said he did bring up Kentucky and McConnell – and that Wyoming has been a bigger coal supplier than Kentucky. He said it was a good, even substantive, conversation. The staffer was informed and personable – and accepted the chocolates. Ditto for Enzi’s office.”




We’d been talking for two hours, had very full bladders and were getting tired. We took a break, stretched, got more coffee.



“I’d like us to get up to the U Cancer Institute and see Tom again,” I said. “He’d like to see us and get a very brief summary of the project.”


“I understand he’s on a downhill slide,” Jay said.


“Yes, but still in good spirits – and mentally just fine.”




We met in the Cancer Institute fifth floor library the next day. Bonnie wheeled Tom in. He had an iv line, but looked fine. Amazingly he still had most of his hair and beard.



“It must be the Neanderthal in me,” Tom smiled, when I mentioned the beard. “At least the nurses help me keep it clean and trimmed.”


“It’s been a while,” Bill began, “a long while.”


“I thought I might have to visit you three in jail. But you’re free to come to me…to my jail,” Tom said. “Just kidding – they’re taking good care of me here.”


Bonnie said Tom could talk with us for up to an hour, more or less. She didn’t want him to get too tired. She said she’d be back. We gathered around a circular table.


“So, let’s hear it. It must have gone well cause you’re not in jail.”


“We’re assuming the national and homeland security drones don’t get into this building,” I said.


“But the NSA knows how to read the sound-induced window vibrations,” Jay added.



Bill proudly started the summary: “Sixteen states, New York City, Washington, DC, and up to 75 people treated – and perhaps another 150 or so ‘calmed’.”


Bill and Jay briefly recounted several of their more interesting encounters and experiences. So did I.


“We distributed some 300 full dose Ananda Chocolates – and ten or so Parmesan cheese-sprinkled dishes at sit down lunches and dinners,” I said, “and about 500 half-dose Ananda ‘samples’.”


“The half-dose were for staffers and the curious?” Tom asked.


“Yes. They allowed the staff and handlers to do their ‘diligence’ – assuring them that the ‘gift’ was not toxic or otherwise dangerous.”


“So if my head is still working straight, that’s about 50 grams of MDMA, right? That was about the yield of Batch 2.”


“The math and memory parts of your head are just fine,” Jay said. “Yes, we still have another 20 grams – essentially all of our final Batch 3.”


“Good, cause I’d like to have 20 or so full doses – in Ananda form – to use here – and for myself.”


“Consider it done,” I said. “We have about 100 full Anandas set aside for unique new opportunities. I’ll deliver a camouflaged box to you tomorrow. But why so many?”


“I’ve had some interesting discussions here with docs and nurses – and with patients. They know nothing about empathogens – or marijuana – or psilocybin. Nothing about MAPS, the PTSD trials, the autism studies – nothing.”


“So you’re informing and teaching them?” Bill asked.


“Yes – many of them. And they’re all interested.”


“And for yourself?”


“Well, I’m no Huxley, and MDMA’s not LSD, but when push comes to shove, I don’t want to be afraid to go. A little fear-removing MDMA should be very helpful.”


“It would probably help in ‘letting go’,” I agreed. “I was at my mother’s funeral a month or so ago – and talked with the priest who helped and encouraged her to become a community activist. He said Erma was the persistent ‘little old lady’ no one could say No to.”


“And she let it go?” Tom asked.


“Probably. I told the priest she had said she was waiting for God to take her, but I thought she’d be ok for many more months – even years. The priest said God sometimes requires ‘encouragement’ – ‘I’m sure it was Erma’s decision, not His’.”


“And I assume she let go without MDMA,” Tom smiled.


“Right. She never did like chocolate.”


“By the way,” Tom said seriously, “did you write her obit?”


“Yes, with my son’s help.”


“Could you help Bonnie write mine – in advance? I want to be sure my chemical skills and Shulgin-like looks are mentioned.”


“Of course,” I agreed. “But is there a rush?”


“To be on the safe side, come and read me a draft in two weeks, more or less.” He looked carefully at the three of us. “If you can, say something about me, MDMA, and State Change – harmless –  in it. I’d like the world to know that I am so proud to have played a role in the project.”


“It was more than a ‘role’,” I said. “Without you, it could not have happened.”


“I know you,” he smiled. “You would have found a way.”



We were all tearing up. I told Tom I’d like to talk with him about other means to synthesize important organic chemicals – to help enhance the availability of good, safe, useful, illegal drugs.

He was keen to meet soon – perhaps a week later.


I told Peter and Lucien about our meeting and discussions with Tom. They each said they wanted to see him, to express their thanks, and say their goodbyes. They said they’d be at next week’s meeting and discussion.





Although making MDMA requires a skilled and talented organic chemist, there’s been a lot of work on chemical synthesis via automated multi-step processes – so-called robo-synthesis. No surprise, as we now have robo-based, automated approaches to complex manufacturing and even in certain areas of health care. The U main library has its own Maker-Space, where students and faculty can design and construct various machines. It has several 3D-printers with which to fabricate complex shapes.


There are now machines for auto-synthesis of DNA fragments, of peptides, and even of small proteins. You specify the final product and the software codes a set of instructions to the robo-synthesizer. Hit start and it begins to pump, deliver, and react – dozens or more chemicals – resulting in a sequence of reactions, purification steps, etc – to deliver the final chemical desired.  Chemical synthesis machines are now being used to make new organic molecules, which are being evaluated for drug activity.


There was a recent New York Times story on do-it-yourself diabetes care, and mentioned a bio-hacking group – the Open Insulin Project. Their goal is to produce modified cells to produce insulin, and even culture and grow them in the home environment.


It’s not so far-fetched. I attended a remarkable seminar at the U the other day, titled Mammalian Synthetic Biology, by an MIT bioengineer who is developing a toolbox with which to modify – to engineer – cells to do new and specific tasks.


There was a recent set of stories called ‘brewing bad’ – about scientists engineering yeast cells to make narcotic drug precursors – sometimes called ‘pharmabrewing’. There are on line reports on using modified bacteria and yeast to host parts of the LSD and psilocybin synthetic pathways. A young Stanford biologist, Christina Smolke, and her team – according to NATURE, in late 2015 – put together

…a pathway of 23 different genes from plants, mammals, bacteria and yeast to produce the world’s first narcotic through synthetic biology.

There is an annual conference titled Synthetic Biology: Engineering, Evolution & Design (SEED). One conference track is: Enabling Technologies and Platforms.




The MIT prof is actually developing the software – the instruction – toolkit for such activities. Those genetically and/or chemically modified cells will then be cultured, grown, and their secretions or internal products isolated, purified, and used – personally and individually. The era of full cognitive liberty – and libertarian chemical freedom – will then arrive.


Legality? Regulation? Control? The FDA?



“Brewing Bad will not be that different from growing your own marijuana,” Lucien said, “- now legal in several states.”


“Or growing your own ‘magic mushrooms’ – not legal, but widely done,” Bill said. “You know, there seems to be less of a stigma in dealing with illegal mushrooms than in dealing with illegal synthetic drugs.”


“Automated chemistry is basically a robotic Shulgin on a cart,” Tom said. “We organic chemists can simply become molecule designers, rather than hands on synthesizers.”


“Remember George Whitesides from Harvard? We interacted back when we were looking at PEO for protein resistant-surfaces. He was quoted in a recent NATURE piece titled Why Synthesize? saying making molecules is just another kind of manufacturing technology.”


“And remember Mathematica, and what it did for Mathematics?” Bill asked.


“Yes – and now we have Chematica which, together with the synthesis machines, will likely revolutionize organic chemistry.”


“No smelly chemicals; no disposal issues; no long, late night stays at the lab; and less jobs,” Lucien added.


“There are upsides and downsides – winners and losers,” Peter said.


“But I think the good news for us is how can you outlaw, say, MDMA, if anyone can make it in their science museum or even local library? In addition to Maker-Space services, we’ll soon have Chemistry-Space resources,” I suggested.


“There was a cool piece in the Times the other day,” Bill added, “discussing the wide range of stuff some libraries now make available – musical instruments, sports equipment, tools, on and on. So it’s reasonable to expect even chemically-related equipment could be checked out.”


“Or used on site,” Lucien added. “And don’t forget ‘Tool Libraries’.” Lucien is an avid volunteer with the Portland Tool Library system.


“So harmless gets it all going, ‘demonstrates’, semi-secretly, the potential, and then society takes it from there – towards an empathogenic society.”



The robo- or auto-chem technology keeps evolving. New Scientist just had a piece, Dial M for Molecule, presenting another system for doing automated chemistry. There’s now a group and project called Dial-A-Molecule, encouraging collaboration on chemical synthesis machines. Maker-Chem activities and workshops will likely become common in libraries, science museums, and even high schools throughout the country. The New Scientist piece concludes with:

            …perhaps the real promise of automatic chemistry lies in democratising the power to make and break chemical bonds. …anyone, scientist or layperson, can make a new molecule.



“We may end up with a chemically literate segment of society,” I concluded, “…where anyone could synthesize almost anything very easily.”


“Meaning organic chemists join up with software folks and fluidic engineers to make programmable synthesizers,” Tom added.


“Yes, after you organic chemists work out the reactions needed – steps, sequences, reagents, etc.” I said. “A paper in NATURE recently presented a technique to encapsulate air or moisture sensitive reagents so they can be stored indefinitely, and then added to a reaction when needed.

Such methods will make the development and use of automated chemistry far easier.”


“You can buy 3-D printers on Amazon,” Bill said. “Why not buy an MDMA Machine?”


“Not yet, but perhaps soon,” I said.


“There was a recent Dilbert cartoon,” Jay said. “The online robot pharmacist told Dilbert his mood-altering drugs were being delivered via his home 3D printer.”


“Not so far off.”


“This is all positive for drug costs,” Bill noted. “The Times just had a story on the exorbitant increases in specialty drug costs. A bunch of oncologists are asking for legislation to help counter the trend. It seems that the costs reflect mainly what the market – and patients – will bear rather than the costs of R and D and reasonable return on investment.”


“It might be cheaper for the patient’s family to invest in a synthesizer and an organic chemistry consultant and simply make the drugs directly,” Tom said.


“It’s not just cancer drugs,” Jay added. “Another Times piece talked about the high costs of drugs for treating Hepatitis C and, of course, AIDS. A typical 3 month treatment with Hepatitis C drugs is now costing $100,000!”


“And a local court in Brazil recently ruled that an experimental cancer drug being studied at the University of Sao Paulo – a simple phosphoethanolamine – has to be made available to terminally ill patients who want it – even though it’s not approved nor even been tested on humans yet,” I said.


“Some drugs are molecules readily made by the new equipment and instructions now becoming available,” Tom added.


“And if patients do it clandestinely, then patents be damned,” Jay added. “And the FDA and DEA can do nothing – other than try to prosecute.”


“I’ve been following the stories on these financial crooks who buy small drug firms making important drugs, and then greatly jack up the prices,” Bill said.


“Yes – and one of them has now been arrested for financial misdealings, right?” Jay asked.


“Yes,” Bill said. “But these actions have led a to a real anxiety among patients and doctors. The Times just ran a story about patients fearing spikes in the prices of old, established drugs.”


“It’s so easy to synthesize many of those drugs. A good robo-chem facility could solve the problem.”


“You can copy stuff for personal use, in spite of Copyright. It’s called the Fair Use Exclusion. Why not for chemicals.”


“That would make for an interesting legal case…from information to matter, via RoboChem and 3D printing,” Jay smiled.


“Patents are highly overrated,” Tom said. “There’s almost always a way around them. What makes them really useful is an army of lawyers and handshake agreements among the drug companies.”


“So you plan to make your own?” Bill asked.


“It’s probably too late for me,” Tom said. “Most of these very high cost drugs actually do very little for cancer patients – just extend the inevitable by a few months. Better to spend the time and effort with family, friends, and finishing your bucket list – while you can.”


“And enjoying chocolate,” Lucien smiled.



Bonnie came back in. “Times up, boys,” she said. “My chemist needs some rest.”


Lucien and Peter crowded around Tom, gently shook his hand, and thanked him for making harmless – State Change – possible.


“Don’t forget your writing assignment,” Tom said, looking at me. “See you next week.”



We continued talking after Bonnie wheeled Tom back to his room.


“What do I do with all those frequent flyer miles?” Jay asked, jokingly.


“Plan to go off somewhere when Salt Lake’s air turns crappy again.”


“I’m heading for Baja,” Bill said. “La Paz should be ideal for a few more months.”


“Diana and I will get back to Pacific Grove, and that wonderful bluff walking trail. With no chocolates and no recollection of harmless or of State Change.”


“And I’ll probably get down to Kanab for Earthfest – and some Grand Staircase adventures,” Jay said.


“I’ll continue to keep track of our 29 – and most of the others – for the next three months or so to determine if harmless had any obvious effect – or impact. There are already some hints of change.”


“We each have our Google Alerts on our specific patients. As clues come in, we’ll continue to let you know,” Jay said. Bill agreed.


“Best to send those in semi-code,” I cautioned. “Use the list of our patients – the 29 and the collaterals – and the semantics we agreed to earlier. First names and numbers where possible. First name and Congressional District number generally works.”


“Hey – and on the book?” Bill asked. “Why not approach Catapult?”


“It’s crossed my mind,” I said. “Although Charles didn’t make it to the Centennial Valley gig, David and Bill did – and were fairly open about politics, environment, and legacy.”


“They both understood, and responded – more or less openly – to your brief talk – Soddy, Smith, and Economics. David’s comments suggested that Charles is indeed mellowing his hard core Libertarian stance a bit, just as we surmised from that Forbes interview.”


“We should have invited Elizabeth and Chase, as well as Charles,” Jay said.


“I doubt they would have participated without their parents, ” I said, “even Elizabeth.”


“David’s and Bill’s kids were great – they got along, were very interested in the refuge, and generally understood the discussions,” Jay added.


“And processed them,” I said. “There’s hope that they may use their inheritances and legacy in a more socially responsible manner than their parents have.”


“It may still be reasonable to approach Elizabeth and Catapult on the book, especially if there’s any inkling that Charles is beginning to mellow – if he seems to be adjusting or changing his ideological stance,” Jay said, encouragingly.


“His recent Washington Post op-ed about Sanders was encouraging,” Bill noted, “saying

The senator is upset with a political and economic system that is often rigged to help the privileged few at the expense of everyone else, particularly the least advantaged. He believes that we have a two tiered society that increasingly dooms millions of our fellow citizens to lives of poverty and hopelessness. He thinks many corporations seek and benefit from corporate welfare while ordinary citizens are denied opportunities and a level playing field.

I agree with him.”


“It’s a good start toward his revelation – maybe there is hope for him.”


“The Catapult label, and Elizabeth’s obvious interest and endorsement, would be very significant for State Change,” Bill said.


“And perhaps guarantee she’d be fully cut out of his will,” I smiled.




The Salt Lake team had another brief meeting prior to seeing and talking with Tom – probably for the last time. This time in the U’s new Law Building, outside the cafe.


“Let’s get into …if we were to do this all over again, what might we do differently?” I asked.


“Well, we likely wouldn’t have Tom – and I doubt you have another chemist friend with comparable skills and convictions,” Bill said.


“Correct, which means we wouldn’t have access to high quality MDMA.”


“We might not need MDMA – maybe we could go with psilocybin,” Jay said. “We don’t need a chemist to grow mushrooms.”


“We just need a good mycologist to teach us to identify – and cultivate – the right ones,” Bill said.


“And – thanks to Lucien – we know about Paul Stamets, his book, his kits, and his workshops.”


“And Lucien’s early experiments in blending Psilocybe cubensis powder in chocolate.”


“Peter reported he could still taste the mushroom component, which wasn’t pleasant – but those experiments used a fairly high dose.”


“If we were to use them for non-hallucinatory excursions, we’d use lower doses and the bad taste would be easier to mask,” Bill said.


“psilocybin is not considered an empathogen – rather it’s an entheogen,” I said. “But that may be sufficient.”


“One of our critical confidantes for harmless said he didn’t think MDMA was ‘strong’ enough to facilitate the rewiring – the revelations – we want. He suggested psilocybin or even LSD – in milder doses than used for psychedelic tripping.”


“I recall the PTSD and autism studies using psilocybin,” Bill said. “It might just do the job.”


“Entheogens may work, and we know that empathogens – MDMA – works, but there’s over half of the population that may not need them,” I said. “They’re just not in charge.”


“You mean the half with lower testosterone…”


“And higher estrogen,” Jay added.


“For example, our 29 included only three women: Capito, Ernst, and Rodgers. We didn’t have Sotomayor, Kagan, Ginsburg, or Hillary Clinton in our 29 because they didn’t qualify – they don’t need empathogenic therapy.”


“There was an old TED talk I saw,” Bill said, ‘a discussion between Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.”


“I’ll bet Jane did most of the talking,” Jay added.


“Yes, but she did say ‘it’s women who need to change the world’.”


“Did you see Michael Moore’s newest – on invading other countries to get ideas to help save the USA?”


“He sometimes rubs me the wrong way,” Jay said.


“I saw it. Yes, he’s almost embarrassing, but the film is really good,” Bill said. “Especially the part on Iceland and women in government.”


“Go on….”


I reported: “In the film, Moore sits down for an extended conversation with Vigdís Finnbogadóttir the Icelandic politician who served as their fourth President from 1980 to 1996. A single mother with a seven-year-old daughter at the time she was elected, she began a strong women’s equality movement in Iceland. Moore also has a discussion with other prominent Icelandic women – they say they feel equal with men and have no motivation to live in America. ‘You couldn’t pay me to live there’, one says.”


“Iceland had an early bank collapse – and prosecuted and jailed the males responsible for it – one of the only countries to do so,” Bill noted.


In the film Iceland’s former Director of the Chamber of Commerce, Halla Tomasdottir asks:

I had to question whether this growth journey we had been on was really a successful business strategy. I had somehow missed this approach to business when I got my MBA education. Is it a relentless pursuit in order to get big? Or is this just a great big penis competition?


“The testosterone, again,” Jay smiled. “I understand that the one Icelandic bank that didn’t fail was the one run by women.”



Steven Holdren reviewed the film for the Times, when it was released late last year:

The key to [Iceland’s] resilience and stability, Mr. Moore concludes, is its strong female leadership, and he goes on to suggest that testosterone drives a patriarchal society to violence and irrational risk-taking. In his view, the world would be peaceful and just if women were in charge.


“Nicholas Kristof has been writing for years that women and girls need to be educated, empowered, and encouraged to take part in their societies – and especially in their governance,” I concluded.


“Angela Merkel, Hillary Clinton, and Vigdís Finnbogadóttir all agree – as well as Michael Moore,” Bill said.


“And Diane Eisler, I’m sure. But it will take time. We still have to deal with the testosterone-fueled bigots, the fear and paranoia crowd, the conspiracy theorists, and the dejected, poorly educated white males who cannot see or think beyond their myopic present. And at least some of those may be helped by MDMA, psilocybin, or marijuana.”


“I read a Times story recently, about a neuroscientist who had, temporarily, lost her mind,” Jay said.  “She had brain cancer which provoked a type of mental illness –

…the fear and confusion of living in a world that doesn’t make sense. … when my guesses were wrong, conspiracy theories crawled in, she said.”


“I like the phrase ‘…conspiracy theories crawled in’,” Bill said. “It’s like the paranoids have spaces or holes in their brains – stuff they simply do not, perhaps cannot, understand. Their brain makes up conspiracy stories to fill the vacuums in their brains.”



Moore’s film included a segment on Portugal – on its now fifteen year old policy of drug decriminalization. Even the Utah Legislature voted recently to move marijuana from a Federal Class 1 drug to Class 2, so it could be used for research studies – but it eventually failed. MAPS is making progress to make MDMA a prescription drug, and there is great interest in the therapeutic potential of psilocybin.



Tom and I met again at the U Cancer Institute; this time Bonnie stayed with us.


“I only wrote two paragraphs -,” I said, “ specifically on your chemistry work and on harmless.”


“That’s fine. Bonnie will deal with all the family, personal and other stuff,” Tom said, weakly.


Bonnie confided that he was doing poorly. Treatments have stopped. He’s now on ‘comfort care’. Although he’s still eating, he is losing weight. She said he’s accepted his fate – he is ‘ready’.


I showed him the paragraph I’d written. “Read it to me,” he said.


I read slowly:

Thomas L. Borodin received his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Utah in 1971. His thesis supervisor was the well known natural products chemist Henry Goldstein. After a one year post doctoral fellowship at the University of British Columbia, Dr. Borodin accepted a position at the University of Utah in its new Department of Bioengineering, working in the new field of biomaterials with Joseph Decoto, a young assistant professor. He worked with Decoto for seven years, working on novel hydrogels for artificial heart and kidney applications. Thomas then left the University to join a startup company, Novel Biomaterials, which later became Process Analytics, a firm using Raman Spectroscopy for analysis of organic compounds. He retired in 2005 at the age of 64. He continued to work in organic chemistry as a consultant and advisor to industry and with University researchers.


In 2010 his former collaborator, Decoto, introduced him to the work of Dr. Sasha Shulgin, a Lafayette, California independent chemist working on psychedelic and empathogenic drugs, including psilocybin and MDMA. Borodin and Decoto never met Shulgin, who died in 2014, but who lives on via his several authoritative chemistry reference books. Borodin and Decoto then joined with four other friends to develop a project they called ‘harmless’ to produce and deliver MDMA to a wide range of political and social leaders suffering from Empathy Deficit Disorder (EDD), with the goal of aiding their transformation to become more effective public servants. Borodin’s chemical synthesis talents and skills were essential to the project. Borodin was quoted as saying ‘It was the most important work I have ever done. I’m very proud of being a key part of the harmless effort.’ The harmless project concluded in early 2016, at about the same time as Borodin’s liver cancer reached the terminal stage. He was comforted in his final days by means of the very MDMA he had synthesized earlier.


“It’s a little long,” Tom said, “but I like it. Couldn’t have said it better myself.” He smiled. He looked at Bonnie: “Be sure to use that in the final obit.” She was crying, as was I.


I said my goodbyes to Tom and Bonnie. His death occurred a few days later. I told the harmless team about his final days and the obituary paragraphs.


Bill, Jay, and I agreed to meet one last time at Coffee Noir. I had put together some readings and perspectives to help put an optimistic perspective on our very disconcerting politics and world condition.


We talked about Nicholas Berggruen, a relatively young German-American billionaire who

set up the Berggruen Institute in 2010, recently launching its Philosophy and Culture Center, with an initial focus on China and the United States. The Themes of the Center resonate with the goals and concerns of harmless, including empathy, morality, and ethics.


Another initiative is Stanford’s new Knight-Hennessy Scholars and affiliated programs – a nearly billion dollar effort to recruit and trained advanced undergraduates from around the world.


“That all sounds great,” Bill said. “I hope Knight, the other donors, Hennessy, and Stanford’s new President Tessier-Lavigne really mean it – and manage the program effectively.”


“I’ve seen too many programs spouting innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship, technology, etc. that just train people to develop more relatively useless widgets, apps, and gadgets,” I said. “I hope they get those ‘scholars’ to understand and appreciate Soddy, Sustainability, and Planetary Wellbeing.”


“That means they need a good dose of the humanities – and the social sciences,” Bill said.


“And that reminds me,” Jay offered, “of a little hierarchy we discussed in the early days of harmless. Remember our State Change hierarchy:








“I do remember. harmless has dealt mainly with Mental and Individual. If tipping really does occur, that will help with Cultural and Political. Truly National and even Global will require much more work,” I said.


“Maybe we could talk with Knight, Hennessy, and Tessier-Lavigne about it,” Bill suggested.


“I’ll send them each a copy if and when State Change is published.”


“Just finish it and get it published,” Jay said. “Just say it’s a work of fiction. It can’t do harmless – or anyone else – any harm now.”


“It could do some harm. It could stock the fear and paranoia crowd – they’d charge that some group is ‘poisoning’ our political patriots,” I said. “It could set back the efforts at legalizing MDMA, the MAPS programs.”


“Honestly, I don’t think it’ll have that much impact,” Bill said. “If it’s published, it becomes semilegitimate. You can send copies to the 29 – to the entire 74 – to Hennessy, to Elizabeth Koch. If it’s not out there, they’ll never get the message.”


“And even if they did get the message via Ananda, seeing the book will reinforce it – will remind them. Having the story out there is essential to the impact, the effectiveness, of all we’ve done. And a legacy for Tom.”


“A friend of mine just published via Amazon’s CreateSpace,” Bill said. “Another resource is Lulu. We could have it out within two months of hitting Submit  – about the time of the 2016 conventions. And if Amazon or Lulu balks, because you don’t have ‘permissions’ from our 29 ‘celebrity’ patients, you can self-publish directly using the U library’s ‘Espresso Book Machine’ – and just give the books away.”


“And make it available for free – on line at www.statechange.us ,” Jay added.


“You’re right. I know Lucien and Peter will agree – and Tom would if he could. I’ll get it ready for ‘publication’ and distribution.”



After a long pause, Bill continued: “Do you think we’ve done any good – so far?”


“We’ll never know,” I said. “We can’t take credit for the current implosion of the Republican Party – for its fragmentation and disarray. Fear, paranoia, demagoguery did that.”


“I’m sure we did no harm -,” Jay offered, “not even to Scalia.”


“We planted some seeds, “ I said. ‘Francis Fox Piven is one of my favorite activists. Regarding Occupy, she said:

The great protest movements of history … did not expand in the shape of a

simple rising arc of popular defiance. Rather, they began in a particular place,

sputtered and subsided, only to re-emerge elsewhere in perhaps a different

form, influenced by local particularities of circumstance and culture.”


“And Martin Luther King said the same thing – in different ways at different times.”


“The awareness, the potential, the recognition of action, of potential change – it all stays in the culture. It gets picked up, reused, recommunicated. I’ve always loved the spirit and the words of Steinbeck’s Tom Joad, from The Grapes of Wrath:


I’ll be all around in the dark – I’ll be everywhere. Wherever you can look – wherever there’s a fight, so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad. I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry and they know supper’s ready, and when the people are eatin’ the stuff they raise and livin’ in the houses they build – I’ll be there, too.



We had a final, Skype-assisted talk at my home – with Lucien and Peter.


“We began with ideology, denial, gridlock, malaise, fear, and desperation – and opted for illegal, clandestine, undemocratic, chemically facilitated empathic and moral enhancement,” I surmised.


“And it may be working,” Bill said. “Some of our patients are saying things far more reasonable and helpful than they did earlier. Revelation engineering may be working.”


“That’s real progress – and hope,” Jay said. “The USA Titanic may be slowly turning.”


“And I’ve become a chemist of sorts, thanks to Tom’s expert teaching,” Lucien said.


“And,” I smiled. “We’re not in jail, not even arrested; not even being investigated.”


“As far as we know,” said Jay.


“We’ve been lucky. As harmless evolved – and as we implemented our plans – State Change took on a mind of its own. We’re seeing parallel sentiments and even actions. The strategy is spreading and expanding,” I said.


“And we each have a good stock of Ananda’s Chocolates – we can continue to deliver treatments as the opportunities arise,” Jay suggested.


“I’ll continue to treat patients using MDMA and Ananda’s Chocolates,” Lucien said, “but I’ll also expand my work with psilocybin via mushrooms. We’ve learned so much about packaging and delivery that can be easily applied to magic mushrooms.”


“We lit a fuse – and we hope and expect the actions to continue,” Bill added. “It’s easier to do via mushrooms – no synthesis, not much ‘street’ competition and uncertainty.”


“Yes. Hopefully that will encourage and empower others to build upon our efforts and experience.”


“Thanks to MAPS and the many researchers and practitioners we’ve learned about, MDMA should soon be legal – at least for therapy in medically licensed settings.”


“But, unfortunately, I doubt we’ll see any Eleusinian-like ceremonies soon,” I said, “Although, if it does become legal, it’s reasonable to expect Eleusinian-like labs and ceremonies in college seminars, workshops in places like Esalen, and maybe even training sessions for newly elected politicians.”


“I wish I had your optimism,” Jay said.


“Enough…. No celebrations, no Tweets, no congratulations,” I said. “Keep it secret, just like the Media burglars did.”


“And maybe I can star in a documentary in 2040 – titled 2015,” Lucien said. “I may still be here.”


“And the rest of harmless likely won’t be there,” Bill said.


“I’ll now start working on State Change: Act II,” I said. “But this time I need to work solo.”


“How about another hint – beyond just saying it’s about evil?” Jay asked.


“It’ll begin with explosives – bullets and armaments – and the evil folks who profit from them,” I answered.


“Let us know if you want help,” said the harmless, ‘or just need to talk.”


“And the 29?” Bill asked. “Where did the magic number come from?”


“My little idea to give recognition to Shulgin and MDMA – 14 big atoms – carbon, nitrogen, oxygen – plus 15 little ones – the hydrogens.”


“And that happens to be a prime number – and a prime empathogen,” Bill smiled.


We said goodbye. Lucien and Peter signed out. Bill, Jay, and I hugged and shook hands. They walked away, each with a small bag of chocolates.




The End


Chapter 11: Delivery and Treatment

“Let’s talk about Centennial Valley,” I said. “It needs to happen by mid-September or it’ll be too late for harmless. September 23 is father Fred’s birthday, I think.”


“I read it’s the 26th,” Bill said. “I’ve talked with the Manager of the U’s facilities in Lakeview. They have space available in September, which is nearly ideal for early school year events.”


“Terrific. I’ve been doing the homework on Bill Koch’s Oxbridge Academy of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, especially on the science and environmental studies teachers and courses. I’ve made contact with several who are very interested. I’m now working on getting the idea to Bill Koch, perhaps via his wife or son. School starts in early September. Once we book the school – and hopefully Bill – then we can work on his brothers.”



Koch Industries’ Matador Cattle Company operates three ranches: Beaverhead near Yellowstone National Park in Montana, Spring Creek in the Flint Hills of Kansas, and Matador Ranch in Texas.  Beaverhead Ranch is located on more than a quarter million acres in Southwest Montana. It stretches along a 90-mile road from Dillon to the Idaho border then east to Yellowstone Park.

It was acquired between 1941 and 1952 by Fred C. Koch and today totals nearly a half million acres of owned or leased land.


The U’s Taft-Nicholson Environmental Humanities Education Center (T-N Center) is located in Montana’s Centennial Valley, a 6,000 foot high and 60 mile wide wetlands east of the Continental Divide on the North slope of the Centennial Mountains, an East-West range. The Center is named for John and Melody Taft and their friends the Nicholsons.


The Valley includes the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, created in 1935 by Franklin D. Roosevelt, to provide habitat for the trumpeter swan, then facing extinction. The swans now thrive in the refuge.



“The Centennial Valley refuge is really beautiful,” Bill noted. “The majestic Centennial Mountains are on the South, forming part of the Idaho-Montana border.”


“Refuges have been in the news,” Jay said, “especially the Malheur one in SE Oregon, where God apparently sent Emmon Bundy to occupy it and throw out the Feds.”


“Did you see the cool Bagley cartoon on ‘I am doing God’s will’? Bill asked.


“Yes,” I said. “God not only sends Bundy, but also ISIS, Kony, Boka Haram, and Warren Jeffs, among others.”


“I wonder who He’ll send next?” Jay smiled, seriously.


“The New York Times op-ed on Myth vs Anger, regarding the Feds and Western lands, tries to put the ‘protest’ in historical – and economic -perspective.”


“And it recently turned bloody. A 55 year old rancher named Lavoy Finicum, with eleven kids, was shot resisting arrest.”


A recent Times op-ed by Quammen provides some perspective. She had earlier interviewed the Bundys, writing:

…a sense of entitlement that they believe is anchored in their deep history in the region. They also embrace a strange amalgamation of Mormonism, libertarianism and a rightwing reading of the Constitution.


The Times also noted that the Bundy Facebook page was providing updates on the Malheur protest, including a brief eulogy for Finicum addressed to Federal officials: ‘You cannot defeat us. Our blood is seed’.


“The ‘our blood is seed’ phrase is often used by those promoting martyrdom,” Bill said. “Pope Francis has even used it.”


“I see another interpretation,” I said. “Finicum has eleven kids. Clyde Bundy has fourteen. I recall a quote in Weisman’s book, Countdown – on overpopulation. He quoted Yassar Arafat as saying ‘The Palestine Liberation Organization’s best weapon is the Palestinian womb’.”


“Suggesting that Mormons and other far right folks may also be using overbreeding for political ends,” Jay added.


“You said it,” Bill smiled.


“Brain washing is something all parents do – often inadvertently,” I said. “The kids tend to grow up with the values and politics of their parents. Only in mid-adolescence, assuming they are not already rigid believers, do they begin to question and rebel.”


“Why is why young Mormons go on missions and the far right folks are so adamant about home ‘schooling’,” Jay added.


“Yes, which reminds me of a great teacher quote by Amanda Waterhouse,” I said, “ – a letter from a teacher to parents:


Dear Parent or Guardian:


         I have your child.


         Be assured, he is physically fine,

         But he is in great danger: his mind is exposed,

         his thoughts vulnerable. 


         I threaten the ideas you taught him.


         You will see your child at night, early mornings, and weekends,

         but the rest of his time belongs to me.


         I am not asking for money or making demands. 

         Like it or not, I will change him;

         and when I am done,

         He will be a little less yours.


“That’s so cool,” Bill said.



Adjacent to the Red Rocks Refuge Visitor Center is the T-N Center. Frank Carter is the Bozeman-based regional director for communications and development for the Taft-Nicholson Center. Speaking with great enthusiasm about the Center and about John and Melody Taft, he calls it the ‘perfect collision’ of sciences and humanities. The Center is surrounded by the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge and close to the Koch’s Matador Ranch. One of the Center’s goals is to educate and empower a generation of environmental leaders. Carter says:

            What we’re trying to do here is create those big ideas as a community of

people by bridging the sciences and humanities. I think it’s critical work. It’s the work of

the future.


Author and poet Terry Tempest Williams, on the U’s Environmental Humanities faculty, participates regularly in the Center’s summer courses, workshops, and meetings. Referring to the recent Reimagine Western Landscapes Symposium, in which the Times Timothy Egan also participated, she said:


I think that our greatest task is to listen to the land, to the people who have been here a long time and to the wildlife. This is a place of refuge and I think we have to remind ourselves of that and be respectful of that. I see it as a privilege. I see it as a story emerging.


One of her books is called Refuge.


The Center is open June through October and hosts an average of 300 participants per season. It is located between West Yellowstone and Montana’s Interstate 15, 28 miles east of Monida.  Driving in from the Interstate, from the West on South Valley Road, you pass the Koch Brother’s Beaverhead Ranch. David Nick and his wife Jessica manage the cattle operation and have attended lectures at the Center.


John Taft first experienced the Valley in 1964, on a National Audubon Society project. A Big Sky Journal article recently covered part of the history. Realizing the Valley was half in private hands, Taft returned to the Valley in 1972 and purchased property on which he and Melody built a home. He also bought Lakeview, a ghost town which was on the Stagecoach run from West Yellowstone to the west. The Tafts worked hard to protect much of the Valley from development by encouraging the purchase of private lands by Federal agencies, The Nature Conservancy, and private individuals who implemented conservation easements. They repaired and renovated the structures at Lakeview and built log cabins to accommodate guests. After an enormous amount of work, they realized that the facility could be best used via a University connection. The Montana schools they approached were not interested – then.



“The U’s then new President and its Dean of Humanities did have some interest. The U had its Environmental Humanities program, but no field or ‘laboratory’ facility,” Bill noted. “The meetings and discussions started. Our friend Merry, who by then had left The Leonardo, helped encourage the relationship, and the T-N Center came into being. It’s now a satellite campus of the U – in another state!”


“And it’s been a great success. You were the connector. Congratulations!” I said. “And maybe now the Center and Centennial Valley can help save the planet – via harmless.”


“William, the Connector – that’s me,” Bill laughed.



“Back to Bill Koch and Oxbridge Academy,” I said. “Bill is the founder and the money behind Oxbridge; its President and CEO is Bob Parsons. They now have a formal Montana connection! Oxbridge students are doing fieldwork in Yellowstone National Park via the Missoula-based Ecology Project International (EPI). The Oxbridge effort is led by a Dr. Teresa Thornton, a science-environment teacher at the Academy.”


“So doing something with the T-N Center and the Red Rock Lakes Refuge should be an easy sell,” Bill said.


“I hope so.”


“The challenge is to make the trip and event happen this year while harmless is still operational,” Jay cautioned.


“Well, if the kids are going to Yellowstone anyway, via the EPI gig, perhaps we can talk EPI into routing through the T-N Center, where they might interact with both the Wildlife Refuge staff and the T-N folks, as well as perhaps participate in a reception hosted by the Kochs and their Ranch. EPI’s main office is in Missoula – that could be where the Oxbridge activity trip might originate.”


Montana is also the home of VoteSmart, www.votesmart.org , founded by Richard Kimball in 1992. VoteSmart works with interns to provide information on candidates for responsible and interested voters.


In 1986 Kimball ran unsuccessfully for one of Arizona’s two U.S. Senate seats. In a candidate’s debate, he described the campaign process to prospective voters:

Understand what we do to you. We spend all of our time raising money, often from strangers we do not even know. Then we spend it in three specific ways: First we measure you, what it is you want to purchase in the political marketplace — just like Campbell’s soup or Kellogg’s cereal. Next, we hire some consultants who know how to tailor our image to fit what we sell. Lastly, we bombard you with the meaningless, issueless, emotional nonsense that is always the result. And whichever one of us does that best will win.

He lost the 1986 election to John McCain.


VoteSmart established its headquarters and research center in 1999 at the Great Divide Ranch near Philipsburg, Montana. About halfway between Missoula and Butte and NW of Dillon, it is in near wilderness, accessed via the town of Phillipsburg. The staff and interns mostly live at the ranch in rugged conditions, working largely for room and board. They have produced a web-based resource with a range of current and effective tools for voters.



“You told me you visited them some years ago,” Bill recalled.


“Yes. Diana and I were driving from Portland to Victor, Idaho to attend a friend’s wedding. We routed through Phillipsburg to visit VoteSmart and on to Lakeview to experience the Refuge and the U’s T-N Center.”


“The T-N Center was just getting up and running. John Taft took us on an incredible jeep tour of the entire area.”


“He sure likes driving that jeep!” Bill smiled.


“I tried to connect Kimball and the T-N Center, since they are not that far apart, but I don’t think they ever connected. At that time I didn’t know about EPI or we would have visited them, too.”


“Montana is an interesting place, with some very creative and independent-minded folks. We’ll need to invite their delegation to our T-N /Beaverhead Ranch event,” Bill suggested.




Montana’s senators are Democrat Jon Tester and Republican Steve Daines. Daines was elected in 2014 . He is very conservative. The state’s single at-large Representative, first elected 2014, is Ryan Zinke. His ideology and leadership scores are in the middle of the GOP distribution – an average Republican. His office locations include Missoula and Helena. Tester is a fairly conservative Democrat. He said recently, regarding GOP stonewalling of any Obama Court nominee:

this is why people hate the Senate. Elections are about accountability. We have a job to do and we need to do our job. People are going to ask … Why aren’t you doing your job?

He has offices in Bozeman and Butte. He is a farmer and a former music teacher.


Daines has a BSc in Chemical Engineering from Montana State. He and wife Cindy live in Bozeman; they have four children: David, Annie, Michael and Caroline. Daines’ Washington DC office hosts a one hour coffee breakfast for the delegation and visitors when the Senate is in session.


Zinke, Tester, and Daines all represent Beaverhead County in SW Montana; they should know about Beaverhead Ranch, the T-N Center, the Red Rock National Wildlife Refuge, EPI, and VoteSmart.



I proceeded to contact and talk with the EPI people in Missoula and – at nearly the same time – with Teresa Thompson at Oxbridge, suggesting the Centennial Valley and T-N resources. I also sent a note to Bill Koch, via the school’s CEO, his good friend Bob Parsons, noting the Ranch, T-N Center, and Wildlife Refuge connections with Oxbridge and the Missoula group. I referred to Bill Koch’s father, Fred, his Sept. 26 birthday, and to Bill’s own writings about his father and the ranch. I also suggested that Bill’s kids and grandkids might enjoy seeing the place that helped form Bill – and that helped save the trumpeter swan. I also suggested that his twin brother David and his family might like to participate. Then I waited.


While waiting I contacted Vanessa Rogers, a reporter-writer for Florida Weekly, and suggested a story on Bill Koch’s and Oxbridge’s Montana connections – and on the Beaverhead Ranch where Bill spent five summers working very hard – also that his boat (one of them) is named Matador – for the Texas ranch. I also contacted Lisa Rab at New Times Broward – Palm Beach; she did an extensive 2011 story on Bill’s legacy. I suggested she do a follow up and mentioned the Montana – Oxbridge connection; I said the same to Alex Leary, Tampa Bay Times, who did a 2014 story on Bill.



“And, surprise!” I said. “In doing the Oxbridge homework, I learned they just hosted a Sea Level Rise Symposium.”


“A Koch brother is now hosting talks on sea level rise?” Jay asked. “Maybe he is concerned about his own Palm Beach mansion and property.”


“Doesn’t that have something to do with climate change?” Bill smiled.


“And CO2?” Jay continued. “And doesn’t twin brother David also have a mansion nearby, which will also start going underwater?”


“He does – about two miles away.”



The Oxbridge Academy and Youth Environmental Alliance hosted the 3rd annual Sea Level Rise Symposium some months ago. During the daylong symposium, participants worked to build resiliency and reduce carbon emissions. Topics included new energy policies, social and environmental justice, and adapting to change. Workshops included coastal restoration, disaster preparedness, and local artists reflecting on climate change.



“And this was in Marco Rubio’s Florida – just up the road from Miami?” Jay asked, smiling again.


“Yes, and some months later – in December, it was 75 degrees in New Hampshire and New York City. Rubio’s poor kids didn’t see snow during a New Hampshire campaign gig,” I said.


“And, about the same time, the New Yorker ran Elizabeth Kolbert’s article on The Siege of Miami,” Bill said. “- a seige via sea, of course.”


“If Rubio’s nominated, he’ll pull his head out of the denier sand in time to try to compete with Hillary,” Jay added.


“Sure, he can cite his climate change – related work in the Florida legislature – and Florida’s ‘new’ reality,” Bill said.


“Revelations happen.”




“We’ve got competition,” Jay said, “from movies and TV – and from Stephen Colbert.”


“How so?” Bill asked.


We were meeting again at Coffee Noir, sitting outside – it was unseasonably warm.


“There’s a film, called Limitless, and now a TV show with the same name, which uses brain enhancement.”


“And our competition?” I asked.


“The key character takes ‘NZT’, which allows him to greatly enhance the use of his brain. It allows him to access music, language, observation, and analysis skills way, way beyond the normal.”


“And the NZT – sounds like a new neurodrug?” I asked.


“No details, only that it’s hard to get unless he cuts some sort of devil’s bargain – details to come as the series progresses.”


“And NZT is fiction, right – doesn’t exist?” Bill asked.


“Apparently so. It would be a great adjunct to MDMA,” I said. “MDMA for the empathy, openness, and compassion – NZT for great mental and intellectual skills.”


“If it did exist, it would be illegal.”


“But while on NZT the character is so smart, he helps the FBI solve difficult crimes. It reminds me of Cumberbatch’s Sherlock – his savant-like mind processing data and connections at incredible rates. So now the FBI will be interested for its agents and for law enforcement, of course.”


“Sounds to me like MK-Ultra has come full circle,” I smiled.


“That was the sixties era Army – CIA truth serum work, right?” Jay asked.


“Yes, based mainly on LSD. We talked about it briefly many months ago – and now a modern version is on TV. Cool!”


“Maybe NZT is a new CIA/NSA – funded agent?” Jay smiled.


“Both Cheney and Kissinger are still alive, so anything is possible,” I said.


“And that’s what Colbert suggested the other day,” Jay smiled. “He said many of the ISIS terrorists are likely on meth, making them feel powerful and invincible.”


“I’ve heard that before – it’s a reasonable supposition,” I said. “There’s an old drug, Captagon – actually a pro-drug, which is both meth and caffeine. Fighters and terrorists like to take it. It’s apparently quite popular among the Syria ISIS guys.”


“There’s more. At the end of his short Tonight Show segment, Colbert suggested ‘bombing’ ISIS-active areas with Ecstasy pills – to make them feel compassionate and empathetic – much less aggressive.”


“A Cruz ‘carpet bombing’ plan that might actually work!”


“Did Colbert do any follow up – like asking the Secretary of Defense to comment?” Bill asked.


“Not yet. Perhaps he got some negative backlash about promoting illegal drugs.”


“Illegal drugs that should be legal – to fight ISIS.”


“And to fight the Tea Party!”


“Does Colbert’s skit now make us followers rather than leaders?”


“We’re not followers or leaders – we’re implementers,” I said. “And it’s now time for us to implement rapidly. We’ve got our patients selected; we know quite a bit about each of them; the party season is nearly here; and the NSA world is distracted by ISIS and domestic terrorism.”


“And by Trump, Cruz, and Rubio – and now David Duke.”


“We’ll send Colbert a heads up as soon as we’re finished delivering Ananda’s treatments,” Bill said, “- and thanki him for his thoughtful and practical suggestion.”



We understood that there will be situations where Ananda’s Chocolates may not work as a delivery method. Lucien and Peter had worked on another approach which could be easily made, transported, and used somewhat unobtrusively: MDMA powder in Parmesan cheese – ideal for Italian dinners or even salads. They chose a somewhat spicy and salty Parmesan flavor – from Trader Joe’s – to more effectively mask the bitterness of the MDMA. Roughly a tablespoon – or two – of the Parmesan provides a good dose of MDMA, assuming most of it is ingested.


When we learned that Paul Ryan likes Clif Bars, we tried, unsuccessfully, to learn his favorite types and flavors. We have now acquired several of their many different products, including mini-bars, and developed ways to get MDMA into and onto them – as well as how to open the package, remove the contents, reinsert our modified bar, and reseal. We were getting good at this.



“I love the Parmesan brand – map of Italy, flag, and a pasta dish.”


“You know, once harmless is over and when MDMA becomes as legal as marijuana, we’ll have a cool business.”


“Let’s hope so,” I said. “Colbert could be an investor.”



The initial background work on the selected 29 was now complete. We needed to assign responsibilities and to continue the research on each subject. We need to know and understand them in order to most effectively deliver Ananda’s materials and insure an effective treatment.



“We needed to get to three of them right away,” Bill said.


“It’s a good thing we, rather, you, got to Boehner early; our effort may have impacted his interactions with the Pope – and his resignation from Congress,” I said.


“And your treatment probably aided in his efforts at getting the budget and debt issues partially resolved before then handing the gavel to Paul Ryan,” Jay said.


“Boehner said that the Pope’s Washington, D.C. visit was the highlight of his career in Congress,” Bill continued.


“And it’s good we got to McCarthy early as well, because he was – and is – Majority Leader in the House. His therapy likely had some effect on his actions, too,” Jay said.


“YOU got to McCarthy,” I smiled.


“And Bill also got to Ryan. He did two needy birds – Boehner and Ryan – in one trip.”


“Which is the efficient way for us to proceed,” I said. “Plan and focus on a major target – but also deal with other needy targets in the same area on the same trip.”


“One air fare, one car rental, perhaps one night in a motel,” Bill smiled.


“Good plan,” Jay said. “Now we need to get to the rest of them.”


“And quickly,” I said. “Once our chocolate gifts start to become known, they’ll get more curious – and start asking questions. The sooner we do the treatments, the better.”



When harmless realized that the Freedom Caucus was threatening Boehner, just before the Pope’s visit, and as the speculation began as to a replacement if Boehner was forced out, we immediately fast-tracked the treatment for Boehner, McCarthy, and Ryan.  Bill went off to Dayton and Janesville, and Jay off to Bakersfield, with our then very limited supply of Ananda’s Chocolates. We hadn’t even finished the labeling.



“How did you ‘access’ Boehner?” I asked.


“In Andy’s bar-cafe in his district. Boehner worked there as a kid. My experience in rowdy Australian pubs came in handy,” Bill said. “Talk about a blue collar world! Boehner wouldn’t take a chocolate just for him – he insisted on some for his bar mates.”


“So how many did you treat?”


“Three plus Boehner. Most beer drinkers aren’t too keen on chocolates. But the wine drinkers are responsive. Boehner’s a fan of Merlot, remember?”


“Any effects?” I asked.


“Not immediately, of course, but I left about fifteen minutes later. I had a beer with them. Plus, I was out of chocolates,” Bill responded.


“Well, a week or so later he looked even more teary than his usual self – and even compassionate – when with the Pope,” I observed. “And then – almost as soon as the Pope boarded his plane back to Rome – Boehner resigned!”


“I do think Ananda had something to do with it.”


“It was good you could get to McCarthy before he was to be elected Speaker,” I said – looking at Jay.


“Bakersfield’s not my favorite place, but I think it worked. Good chocolates are somewhat rare there.”


“How’d you get to him – via the local office?”


“Yes, his Bakersfield office. It was actually through a staffer. The poor guy was bored and happy to have someone to talk with.”


“Cool, but how did you get his confidence and trust?”


“I said I was from Utah – and curious about Valley Fever. McCarthy’s constituents are all scared of it, for good reason.”


“I read that he’s even attended some workshops and meetings on the problem.”


“Well, that’s all it took. The kid was immediately responsive – said he’d be sure to give the chocolates to McCarthy and his wife.”


“Great. And how did you get to Ryan?” I asked Bill.


“Same trip as for Boehner. I flew from Dayton to Milwaukee – then by car to Janesville. I had previously checked out his schedule via the Janesville office – and learned he likes the Citrus Cafe, lunching there regularly with staff. He, too, wouldn’t accept without some for his staff at the table. Fortunately, I had – to use Sara Palin’s phrase – reloaded – with Ananda’s Chocolates.”


“And maybe Ryan’s treatment helped him decide to take the call to be Speaker – to do something very significant for Congress and Country.”


“It apparently helped him loosen up – and grow that new beard,” Jay smiled.



When Boehner was in the process of resigning as Speaker, in response to the strong arm pressures of the hard right Freedom Caucus, he was very concerned as to who might replace him. He knew McCarthy was the likely leading candidate, but apparently wanted better. So he worked on Paul Ryan, telling him

You have no choice, this isn’t about what you want to do, this is about what God wants you to do, and God told me he wants you to do this. Ryan is also a Catholic. Boehner said, later, in an interview ‘I laid every ounce of Catholic guilt I could on him’.



“Perhaps there’s some hope for Ryan,” Bill said, smiling. “In his ‘Agenda’ speech to Congress, he said ‘… we have to make sure populism doesn’t trump individual rights…. It’s a distraction to prey on fears’.”


“Was that before or after he said           ‘ … you turn on the TV and you see ISIS, you see San Bernardino and you see all these security threats, and it’s like the world is on fire’?” I asked.


“Just after – right at the end of the speech – a good, positive note.”


“He also said in the same speech, ‘I come from the pro-growth wing of the Republican movement’. His Libertarian-based fantasies will be difficult to correct,” I said.


“Maybe he needs a second dose,” Bill recommended.



We agreed we needed to get to the five chosen Supreme Court Justices before the beginning of the Court’s fall term – and that the Red Mass venue would likely not be productive. So we focused on their public schedule. Thanks to SCOTUSmap.org we had reviewed their entire lecture schedule and already had selected those events and locations most efficient and effective for harmless.


We reviewed the full 29 patients we had selected and studied and began the process of planning how to access and treat every one of them.



“If we access them in their home states, that means visiting 17 different states – probably over a two to three week period,” I said.


“But that’s not all. Each trip can be used to treat perhaps several additional patients – others with offices nearby who also need treatment,” I said. “And that takes more research, study, and planning.”


“And there’s New York City for David Koch. Washington, D.C. may be the best location for our five Supreme Court Justices,” Bill mentioned.


“As well as for LaPierre, Norquist, and cancer-salesman Donohue,” I added.


“Jay, could you get to Kentucky right away?” I asked. “McConnell is critical to the 2016 budget process and needs to be more cooperative with Ryan than he ever was with Boehner.”


“Consider it done,” Jay said. “I’ll finish the homework and make reservations right away. And I’ll try to treat several other relevant Kentucky folks on the same trip.”


“Do include Rand Paul.”


“Of course.”


“I’ll try to get to Scalia’s gig at the U of Santa Clara. He’s to visit a constitutional law class and to speak to students, staff, and faculty in the university’s Recital Hall. I’ll be in Fremont checking in on my Mom – she should be celebrating her 95th birthday at nearly the same time,” I said.


“Wow. Those are good genes,” Bill said.


“I hope so. Hopefully I’ve inherited some of her longevity. This project has taken much longer than I’d envisioned. And the next one is even harder.”


“We won’t ask,” Jay smiled.


“If Santa Clara doesn’t work, then I’ll arrange my DC visit to synch with one of Scalia’s DC gigs – perhaps the Georgetown Law lecture.”


“I’ll be up around Minneapolis for harmless soon, so if needed I could arrange to get to his Minnesota Law School Stein lecture.”


“Maybe do several,” Jay smiled. “He’ll need at least several treatments.”


“What about security?” Bill asked.


“Fortunately for us, the Times had a short piece on Justice travels and security,” I noted. “When the justices leave Washington, the US Marshals Service takes over, and local police departments help, too. When Thomas lectured at the U of Florida attendees were screened and their cell phones had to be checked before entering the room.”


“On Kennedy, I have to get back to Issa in Southern California,” Bill said, “so I can get to Kennedy’s Anaheim Marriott event.”


“He’s receiving a medal from the California State Bar, so it may be highly restricted,” I cautioned. “But do try.”


“I’ll try to make friends with some of the Marriott serving staff – it’s probably a lunch or dinner event.”


“I can arrange to get to his Human Rights Beacon Prize gig in Washington, DC,” I said. “That’ll probably be less restricted.”


“Please do, just in case I can’t access him. And two separate doses can’t hurt,” Jay said, again smiling.


“Regarding Thomas, the SCOTUS listed gig I saw is perfect – a BYU dinner in Salt Lake at the Gross America Hotel,” I said.


“You do mean the Grand America?” Bill asked.


“Of course. I call it gross because it’s so ostentatious and overdone. The event is a Founders Day dinner sponsored by the BYU Law School. I’ll see if I can get one of my U law school friends to get me in.”


“A substantive donation to BYU Law should suffice,” Jay said.


“Right. I’m not above that – it’s for a good cause.”


“Look for Mike Lee there – he’s an alumnus.”


“If you do get to Thomas – and his Mrs. – give them each two,” Bill advised.


“Will do.”


“Roberts doesn’t seem to have much on his speaking and appearance schedule,” I said. “SCOTUS only noted one upcoming event – at the NYU Law School on Washington Square South in New York City. I’ll try to get to him there – before or after working on David and Julia Koch.”


“There have to be other gigs. He’s a popular and charismatic speaker. There should be other gigs coming up,” Bill said.


“I think so, too.”


“Alito likes to talk even more than Scalia,” I said. “He has lots of events on SCOTUS.”


“Well, he’s much younger and probably more energetic,” Jay suggested.


“If he’s easy to access, two separate doses could really do him some good,” Bill added.

“He has several upcoming events in DC and one in New York City,” I said. “I can arrange to get to one or more of those. One of the DC gigs is a Moot Court Competition, where I assume he’ll be judging briefs and presentations.”

“I noticed he’s doing a two day meeting at Notre Dame in Indiana – a book review and discussion with law students,” Bill said. “I’ll be back in that vicinity soon and could get to those if needed.”

“And those are likely to be more open and accessible,” I said. “I’ll let you know if we need to go there.”


“That’s it for our five Supreme Court Justices – for now. We should be able to easily get to all five via the public gigs. The challenge is to get them treated before the fall court sessions get fully underway,” I said.


“It looks like it’s you and me for the Supreme Court,” Bill said. “I’m on it.”


“While we’re on the travel needs and plans,” I said, handing a thick envelope to Bill and one to Jay, “these each have $5,000 in hundred dollar bills. Deposit it in your personal accounts. Be careful in how you use your credit cards to book the trips. Maybe routing via PayPal or a related service might help slow down the snoops. I’m sure you’ll go through that amount and them some for the therapy trips. I suggest trying to use cash for the rental car and hotel fees, unless it’s just too cumbersome.”


“We each need to visit three or four states,” Jay said, “because Tom can’t travel, and Lucien would rather not travel – he’s beat up his body playing soccer and can’t stand long plane trips. I’m game, of course. What do you suggest?”


“How about I do Utah, Colorado, Washington D.C., Florida, New York City, and South Carolina? Bill – you continue to cover Ohio, California, and Wisconsin, and add Iowa and Kansas? Jay – you’re dealing with Kentucky and West Virginia – and can you also do Texas and Oklahoma? Peter has some travel constraints, too – but he’s working with Saul and Lucien to do Idaho, Washington, and Wyoming.”


“And how do those relate to our 29?” Jay asked.


I summarized the States, the assignments, and the 29 priority patients.




Diana and I rented a small home for a week, to spend New Year’s with Lucien and our Portland family. A beautiful clear, sunny cold day. We just had to hike the Neahkahnee Mountain trail – so we did. Peter shared the MDMA trip experience his friend had some months ago, using the capsule provided to me six months earlier. She said it was not an ecstatic experience, that it was uncomfortable, introspective, and not pleasant. She added that it was empowering in the sense that it allowed her to consider some fairy tale – like aspects of life and deal with it more realistically – as it really is. We discussed the issues associated with off-the-street sources and with individual responses to the experience.


Peter and his brother-in-law, Saul, whose mother lives in Boise, agreed to visit Raul Labrador’s office. They’re working on the best date – to hopefully matchup with a weather window and with holiday parties by Labrador. They want to drive. The weather in Eastern Oregon, and even SE Idaho, can be very problematic during the holidays. Saul is familiar with the Idaho all Republican delegation, including Representative Mike Simpson and Senators Risch and Crapo.


Peter’s interested in the Washington delegation, so, he’ll do Washington’s evangelical Congresswoman Cathy Rodgers in Walla Walla. They’ll also get to Dan Newhouse in Richland, and Jaime Beutler in Vancouver.


This one road trip can access two Idaho Senators and five Idaho/Washington Representatives.



“Raul Labrador has a small stable of kids, some fairly young. We want to minimize the possibility – the risk – of excess dosing – or ingestion by small children,” I said.


“I’ve been considering that,” Lucien said. “The template will include a field for restriction or caution. We can use phrases like Only One! For Adults Only! Recommended Dose – One per adult per day.”


“I like ‘For Adults Only – but Only One!”


“OK – we’ll use that as the default entry for that field – we can easily change it.’ Lucien continued: “Given the patients selected and our homework, I’ve been thinking about how to use the brand to facilitate their acceptance of the treatment (the chocolate) and their transition to a more empathic perspective.”


“Great. Go on,” I said.


“The brand needs to reflect and recognize their conservative bent and suggest a more empathic, compassionate, direction – without being overly obvious or threatening.”


Lucien does know something about marketing – and design. He went on: “Assuming even the most hard-nosed deniers are ‘softening’ their denial, but are too politically fearful to admit it, I don’t think we should overplay their existing hard right stands – so I suggest revising our brand ideas.” He showed us:


Freedom and Liberty

Heavenly  (for evangelicals?)

For Adults Only!

Mormon Mysteries

Ayn Rand Collection.


We reviewed the information on Idaho’s Labrador, as well as on Simpson, Risch, and Crapo, and Washington’s Newhouse, and Beutler.


We agreed that we need to be very familiar with the ideology, positions, opinions, legislation, etc of every Congressperson’s office we visit. . The staffers we talk with will likely be of very similar political persuasions. We have to seduce them with our knowledge of and commitment to such persuasions, so they feel comfortable with us and with our reason for visiting the office.



“You – we – need to review the Congressperson’s .gov website just before each office visit, to carefully check recent press releases, statements, interviews, etc. We need to be absolutely up to date on what they are believing and saying.”


“Let’s walk through several delivery scenarios,” I continued. “I’ll be a staffer in the local office. You come in the door without an appointment. You walk in the door – pleasant and modestly well dressed, and ask – since most of our therapy visits will be after Congress recesses – is Congresswoman Rodgers in or likely to be in this afternoon?”


“No, sorry. She normally works out of her Spokane office,” I – the fake staffer – said, continuing “This office mainly deals with constituent requests and needs. But I could get a message or note to her.”


“And perhaps a small holiday treat? We – and our wives – just want to say how much we appreciate her work. We also hope and expect her to run again in 2016. This is for her and her husband – just a small recognition and thanks for her hard work,” Peter said, handing him (me) a small package containing two doses and Ananda’s card.


“Well, she normally doesn’t accept gifts, but as it is near Christmas,” fake staffer said, “perhaps she’ll make an exception. I’ll put it in the envelope for the courier. It smells like chocolate?”


“It is chocolate – a special new brand, Ananda’s Chocolates.  Supplies are still limited, so there’s just one for her – and one for her husband.”


“It does have a delightful smell. I should do some due diligence on source and contents,” fake staffer smiled.


“Just go to www.anandaschocolates.com . The taste is incredible. The best due diligence is to open and taste; this smaller sample is for you.”


“Thank you.” He carefully opened the half-dose sample, unwrapping the tissue, seeing and picking up the folded mini-insert, and then opened the foil, smelled the chocolate, and slowly consumed it, smiling. “Wow, it really is delicious. It even seems to relax me.”


“Good chocolate does that – makes you feel relaxed, even blissful. There’s some information on the insert,” Peter said, pointing it out. “Chocolate, in small quantities, can be very good for you,” Peter finished, preparing to leave.


“I believe that,” fake staffer said. “Merry Christmas to you both. Before you go, do sign our Visitor Book – and note that you left the chocolate samples.”


“Sure. Say, I may have to get up to Spokane next week. Might she be in that office then?”


“Call them directly when you know your schedule,” Mr. Fake Staffer said, handing out cards. “They’ll know her schedule. And by then she’ll certainly have received the courier delivery.”


“Many thanks.”


“Your fake staffer act reminds me of an old Rachel Maddow report or skit,” Jay said. “Some days after the 2010 BP oil blowout in the Gulf, she did a Fake President Oval Office speech to the nation. Terrific. It’s exactly what Obama should have done – but didn’t.”


“I remember that,” Bill said. “That link went viral – we all got it several times.”


We discussed several other possible scenarios, including:


“Sorry – she can’t accept any gifts, even simple snacks or candies.”


We might respond with:


“Many Congressmen have candies, chocolates, other snacks available for their visitors – why not something from a visitor? Chief Justice John Roberts has chocolates, Ronald Reagan had M and M’s, I think. Speaker Paul Ryan has mini-Clif Bars.”


“And if the staffer still refuses,” I said,  “give him or her a sample and Ananda’s card. We can then attempt to follow up with a mailing and direct note, saying something like:


“We tried to thank you for your wonderful work – in words and in chocolate – at the Walla Walla office, but the staff said they couldn’t accept it for you. So here you are. Please enjoy a unique Ananda’s Chocolate. Thanks for all you do so well.”



When we had to sign a Visitors List, we used the addresses of a VRBO property we found in the districts represented by our various patients, and the names of people who had rented the property and provided ratings and evaluations. Lucien made up and printed a dozen or so fake business cards for Ananda’s Chocolates and for the VRBO-based names and addresses we used – for every one of our patients. We destroyed the extra cards after the contact was made.


We left no email trail. We paid for gas via cash – no VISA card transaction trail. We had the GPS off on our cars and phones. And we parked a block or so away from each office so the staff could not see the vehicle nor could most surveillance cameras record it. We tried to dress and look differently from our normal selves, using a variety of wigs, moustaches, facial hair growth, hats, and clothes. We sometimes wore glasses with different frames than we normally use.



“The problem with samples for the staffer is that they may want more,” Jay suggested.


“We can afford to give half-dose samples to others in the office,” I said. “And I don’t think they’d raid the Congressman’s sample. The half-dose should relax them but is unlikely to generate any revelations – it will just assure them that it’s not toxic or otherwise disagreeable.”


“After each visit and delivery, let’s each keep track via Google Alerts of the patient’s statements and actions, looking for any evidence of change or modification in positions or beliefs,” Bill said.


“Let’s start the Google Alerts now, before we make the treks and provide the treatments, so we have a baseline to compare with,” I said. “Set them up over a several week period to perhaps minimize Google itself taking much notice.”


“Or the NSA,” Jay smiled.



We looked at each other, understanding where we were – and where we were going.


Lucien had become a successful chocolatier – he had befriended several chocolate pros in the Portland area and come up with a range of taste types. He and Peter had developed several ways to distribute the MDMA within and throughout the chocolates, masked a bit via other additives and flavors. Lucien and Peter had made the chocolates, packaged the full and half-doses, and distributed them to each of the team – one bag of chocolates for each of the 29 patients visits, as well as several spare bags for other ‘opportunities’.



“Remember our earlier cognitive liberty discussion?” I asked. “And the work of Leicester University’s Charlotte Walsh?”


“Yes. And recently Mexico’s Supreme Court agreed with her with respect to personal use of marijuana,” Bill said.


“The Court opinion said such activities are a basic human right,” Jay added.


“Richard Friedman, a Times columnist, has argued for National Cognitive Therapy. He says:

… the whole point of terrorism [is] to subvert our sense of the normal, to make us afraid of improbable dangers and invite us, in our fear, to overreact in ways that are destructive to our lifestyle and that will not make us any safer.

He thinks our fear easily gets out of hand – and that we need to control it.”


“And what does he suggest?” Bill asked. “A fear-reducing treatment using MDMA?”


“No, he said:

we need President Obama to be our therapist in chief and give us all a dose of cognitive therapy… Cognitive therapy identifies mistaken and distorted thoughts that

generate distress, and then challenges and corrects them. What the president needs to say to all Americans — over and over — is that although terrible, unpredictable things have happened, the country is not in peril. Such attacks are incapable of destroying us or coming close to bringing down Western civilization.”


“So he said nothing about real cognitive therapy,” Bill said.


“He did say something about the treatment of fear and phobia – in another Times’ piece,” I noted. “But not via an empathogen. He reported on the use of propranolol, a beta blocker sometimes used to ‘treat’ performance anxiety.”


“And a legal drug?” Jay asked.


“Yes. It apparently works via a memory blocking mechanism, involving norepinephrine.”


“Meaning it’s a neuro-drug,” Bill said.


“Yes, again. There are lots of neuro-drugs – some legal and one of the best – MDMA – very illegal. But some of the legal others could be helpful.”


“Psilcybin isn’t legal but it can be more accessible than MDMA – you just grow and harvest the right mushrooms,” Jay said.


“Back to the therapist-in-chief concept,” I said.  “Obama’s Oval Office talk after the San Bernardino massacre wasn’t very effective. I don’t think the president is up to serving as the Nation’s Therapist in Chief.”


“Perhaps the head of the FDA or the NIH could be Therapist – and Pharmacist-in-Chief, dispensing MDMA?”


“That would certainly be more effective,” I said. “Actually, Colbert would be the most effective, if we could just get Ananda’s Chocolates to him.”


“Maybe. Let’s at least let Friedman and Obama know harmless is doing real cognitive therapy – via fear awareness and management,” Jay smiled. “And the heads of FDA and the NIH as well.”


“They’ll know, eventually,” Bill said. “Let’s get to work.”



We were now studying each of the 29, state by state, to select the additional collateral patients for those trips. In alphabetical order, by state:


California          – Bill:               Issa, McCarthy, Justice Kennedy (Scalia via Joe)

Colorado           – Joe:             Gardner

Florida              – Joe:              Rubio, Bush, and Koch, Bill

Idaho                – Peter:            Labrador

Iowa                 – Bill:               Ernst

Kansas             – Bill:               Koch, Charles

Kentucky          – Jay:              McConnell, Paul

Montana           – Joe, Bill         Kochs, Montana Congressmen

New York City  – Joe:              Koch, David; Justice Roberts

Oklahoma         – Jay:              Inhofe

South Carolina  – Joe:              Gowdy

Texas               – Jay:              Cruz, Smith

Utah                 – Joe:              Lee, Chaffetz

Washington      – Peter:            Rodgers

Washington DC – Joe:              LaPierre, Norquist, Donahue; Justice Alito

West Virginia    – Jay:              Capito

Wisconsin        – Bill:               Ryan

Wyoming          – Peter:            Barasso



California’s primary therapist is Bill, though I’ll get to Scalia in Santa Clara. Bill will get to Issa and perhaps again to McCarthy. Depending on timing and other variables, he might also access:


David Valadao,  District 21, elected 2012. Although the district is mainly North of Bakersfield, it includes SE Bakersfield, via a careful gerrymandering. District 21 nearly encircles the city, coming in from the south and east. He has an office in Bakersfield. He is slightly left of the GOP center with a below average leadership score.


Devin Nunes, District 22 includes Tulare, Clovis, and Visalia, and gets close to Fresno. He is slightly left of the GOP center ideologically and above average in leadership. His closest district office is in Visalia, about 80 miles north of Bakersfield. Nunes seems to be fairly reasonable, so he’s not a very high priority for harmless. He was first elected in 2002.


One trip to Fresno or Bakersfield will get us to McCarthy again, and to Valadeo and Nunes.


Dana Rohrabacher is near Issa in District 48, which includes Newport Beach, just north of Issa’s district. He’s so Libertarian that it actually pushes his ideology score slightly to the left of the Republican center. He is an Inhofe-style climate denier. He claims climate change is a hoax – and that a Russian official told him so! He once arm-wrestled Vladimir Putin and is supportive of Russian forays in the Middle East. He ran for Chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology in 2012-2013, together with Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, but Lamar Smith got the job.


Mimi Walters, District 45, Irvine; elected in 2014. She’s almost a far right Democrat – she’s to the far left of the GOP Govtrack ideology plot. She has an office in Irvine, about 23 miles north of Issa’s office in Dana Point.


One flight in to John Wayne Airport will get us to Issa, Rohrabacher, and Walters.



Colorado’s therapist will be me. Cory Gardner is the primary patient. The others are:


Mike Bennet, Colorado’s other Senator – a Democrat, but on the conservative end of the Democrat distribution, with a low leadership score. He has an office in Denver. Bennet claims to be targeted by Koch money, even though he is already fairly conservative.


Mike Coffman, Republican, is the District 6 Representative; the district includes Aurora (East Denver suburbs). He has an office in Aurora in the SE Denver metro area. Coffman’s ideology score is the average for Republicans.


“Gardner may be salvageable, in spite of his attention from the Koch apparatus,” I said. “His renewable energy interests merit cultivating. I’ll get to him, Coffman, and even Bennett. Although ostensibly a Democrat, Bennett could benefit from some chocolate. One flight to Denver will get me to each of them.”



Florida’s therapist will also be me; the primary patients are Jeb! Bush, Marco Rubio, and perhaps  Bill Koch.


Rubio and Bush are in the Miami area; Bill Koch is up in West Palm Beach.  Miami and Palm Beach are about 70 miles apart. Florida has one Republican Senator – Rubio, of course. Govtrack places Rubio roughly in the GOP middle with a slightly above average leadership score.


There are 27 Congressional Districts – 17 of which are filled by Republicans, and only two of those are in our Miami – Palm Beach target area:


Carlos Curbello represents District 26. His ideology score is to the left of the GOP center, with a low leadership score. He was elected in 2014. He also has an office in Miami.


Ileana Ros-Lehtinen represents District 27. Elected 1988, her ideology score is the left of the GOP distribution – she’s almost a conservative Democrat. She has a very high leadership score. Her main office is also in Miami.


One trip to Miami gets me to Rubio and Jeanette, Corbello, and Ros-Lehtinen, and possibly to Jeb Bush – and Columba. One short road trip gets me to Bill Koch’s home and Academy in West Palm Beach and to David Koch’s estate, just a mile or so away.



Idaho’s therapy will be via Peter and Saul via a road trip to Boise. Although their primary patient is Labrador, they’ll also try to treat the others in the Idaho all Republican delegation.


Mike Simpson represents District 2, with offices in Lewiston and in Meridian, just west of Boise.

His Govtrack ideology position is roughly in the middle of the GOP distribution. He is

…one of the House’s leading advocates for a new energy policy and a renewed commitment to research and development of improved nuclear energy technologies.

He and his wife of 40 years live in Idaho Falls, home of the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory – with a focus on nuclear and geothermal energy.


James Risch is a Senator, mild denier, pro-nuclear, anti-EPA, anti-CO2 regulation. He’s been recognized as the ‘Most Conservative’ Senator for two years in a row. He is to the very far right of the GOP Govtrack ideology plot – way out there with Inhofe. His leadership score is essentially zero. Risch was elected to the Senate in 2008, after serving as Idaho’s 31st governor. He serves on five Senate Committees. Risch and his wife Vicki have been married for more than 40 years. They have three married sons and six grandchildren. They live on a ranch outside of Boise. Risch has a Senate office in Boise.


Mike Crapo is Idaho’s senior Senator, in office since 1999. He is to the GOP right and average in leadership via the Govtrack plots. He is a climate change denier and very critical of the EPA. He served as Idaho’s 2nd district Congressman from 1993 to 1999. Crapo is a graduate of Brigham Young University and Harvard Law School. He became the first Mormon to represent Idaho in the Senate. He was unopposed in the 2004 election, a rarity in the Senate, and was re-elected in 2010 with 71% of the vote. In  2013 he voted against the bipartisan Toomey-Manchin Gun Control Amendment, which would expand federal background checks to include gun shows and online sales. Crapo married Susan Diana Hasleton in June 1974 and the couple has five children. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1999 and treated.  The cancer recurred in 2005. He advocates early detection tests for cancer and other treatable diseases. His main Idaho office is also in Boise.



Iowa’s therapist is Bill, with Joni Ernst as the primary patient.


Ernst’s offices are in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Sioux City, Davenport, and Council Bluffs.


Other needy Iowans include:


Charles Grassley, Senator, elected in 1981, and up for reelection for a 7th term in 2016! He’s in the rough center of the GOP ideology plot with an above average leadership score. He has a major office in Des Moines. He’s a key figure in the McConnell – Obama standoff regarding the nomination and consideration of Scalia’s replacement.


Three of Iowa’s four congressional districts are held by the GOP:


Rod Blum, District 1, NE, Cedar Rapids – not very close to Des Moines; we’ll let him go for now.


David Young, District 3, SW, Des Moines; he’s to the left of average with a low leadership score.


Steve King, District 4, NW, Sioux City, close to Des Moines. He’s far to the right, with a high leadership score. He has an office in Ames, 37 miles north of Des Moines.


One Des Moines trip will cover Ernst, Grassley, Young, and King.



Kansas’ therapy will also be via Bill. The primary target is of course Charles Koch who lives and works in Wichita – in District 4.


Mike Pompeo is the District 4 Republican representative, who’s become somewhat well known for his pompous actions on Gowdy’s Benghazi Committee. Pompeo is quite far to the right on the ideology plot with a slightly above average leadership score. He was first elected in 2010.


Pat Roberts, Senator, elected in 1996. Roberts Ideology is very far right. He has a Wichita office.


Jerry Moran, Senator, elected in 2010, is more in the center of the GOP distribution; he also has a Wichita office.


A visit to Wichita gets harmless to two senators, one very needy representative, and hopefully to Charles Koch.



Kentucky’s able therapist is Jay. McConnell and Paul are his two primary patients.


Rand Paul was Presidential timber, but he’s also a Kentucky Senator. Govtrack rankings place him right of GOP center ideologically, with an average leadership score. He was discussed  earlier under Presidential Candidates. His major state office is in Bowling Green.


Brett Guthrie is the District 2 Congressman, covering roughly the central part of the state. His district office is also in Bowling Green. His ideology score is to right of GOP center and sports a high leadership score.


As Mitch McConnell has a major state office in Bowling Green, that seems to be the best access location for harmless.



Montana’s eager therapists are Bill and I, mainly via the Centennial Valley event, which

includes Montana’s Congressional delegation and several other Koch-friendly invitees. The primary targets are Bill and David Koch, perhaps Charles, and their children.


Jon Tester is Montana’s senior Senator – a fairly conservative Democrat. He is a farmer and a former music teacher.


Steve Daines was elected junior Senator in 2014, after serving a term as the state’s Representative. He is very conservative. Daines has a BSc in Chemical Engineering from Montana State. He and wife Cindy live in Bozeman; they have four children: David, Annie, Michael and Caroline. Daines’ Washington DC office hosts a one hour coffee breakfast for the delegation and visitors when the Senate is in session.


Ryan Zinke is the state’s single at-large Representative, first elected 2014. His ideology and leadership scores are in the middle of the GOP distribution – an average Republican.


Zinke, Tester, and Daines all represent Beaverhead County in SW Montana; they should know about the Beaverhead Ranch, the T-N Center, the Red Rock National Wildlife Refuge, EPI, and VoteSmart.


We’ll access them in Lakeview at the T-N facility, assuming they attend.



New York City therapy will be provided by me. My major objective is the treatment of David Koch and his wife Julia, and Chief Justice John Roberts. We do no not plan any additional activity in NYC at this time.


Oklahoma’s therapist is            Jay – and the challenging Jim Inhofe is his primary patient.


James Lankford, Oklahoma’s other Senator, was elected in 2014. He has a BSc in Secondary Education from the University of Texas-Austin in 1990, and a master’s in Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1994.


“Lankford has great needs,” I said. “He served in the House for 4 terms. His credentials for that job were running a student ministry for the Oklahoma Baptist Convention for some 14 years. He lists his occupation as ‘youth worker’. Personal faith is one of his core values – and he ‘enjoys shooting’.”


“Jesus,” Jay said. “He’ll need more than one dose.”


“Only one,” I said. “He’ll be up for reelection again in 2016; he’s serving only a partial term.”


Lankford lives in Edmond, an Oklahoma City suburb, with his wife Cindy and their two daughters: Hannah and Jordan; his Federal office is in Oklahoma City.


All five House Districts are held by Republicans:


District 1: Jim Bridenstine; part of NE.

District 2: Mark Wayne Mullin; Eastern Oklahoma.

District 3: Frank Lucas; North and West but near Oklahoma City

District 4: Tom Cole; South part but near Oklahoma City.

District 5: Steve Russell. The District includes Oklahoma City


Russell has a Govtrack ideology score to the left of the GOP center and a very low leadership score. He has an office in Del City, very near Oklahoma City.


Cole’s ideology rating is just right of the GOP center, with an average leadership score. His Norman office is the closest to Oklahoma City, but not particularly convenient


Lucas has an average GOP ideology score and a very low leadership score. His office is in Yukon, which is just west of Oklahoma City.


“Good luck,” I said. “Lankford’s ultra-conservative on almost all issues. And the Congress-guys are also very conservative.”


“Oklahoma’s going to need lots of chocolate! A single gig to Oklahoma City will do the job,” Jay said.



South Carolina therapy will be provided by me. My major patient is Trey Gowdy. Other needy SC politicians are:


Tim Peter, Senator, Gowdy’s good friend. Govtrack ideology score: middle to right of GOP population; average to low leadership score; upstate office is in Greenville. Peter and Gowdy seem to support Ted Cruz for the GOP nomination, further documenting their ultra-right conservatism.


Lindsay Graham, Senator; office in Greenville; ideology score is slightly to left of GOP center, with a modest leadership score.


One trip to Greenville should access Gowdy, Peter, and Graham.



Texas – Jay will provide therapy to very needy Texas, focusing on Smith and Cruz.


Ted Cruz, junior Senator, was covered earlier as a presidential candidate.


John Cornyn is the senior Senator.


They are very conservative Republicans. In spite of how hard right Cruz has been on his GOP campaign, Govtrack ranks him just to the right of middle on the GOP ideology spectrum, with a sub-average leadership score. That is interesting. Govtrack puts Cornyn right of Cruz and with a stronger leadership score.


25 of Texas’ highly gerrymandered 36 districts are filled by Republicans.


“Wouldn’t it be cool to treat all Texas districts,” Jay enthused. “Maybe we could flip the state.”


“Now who’s doing wishful thinking,” I smiled. “But let’s at least do a limited workup of those Texas ‘candidates’.”


The Austin area’s five Republican districts include:


Michael McCaul, District 10: slightly right of center with a good leadership score. His district office is in Austin.


Bill Flores, District 17: very far right with low leadership; Austin office.


Lamar Smith, District 21; his details are in Chapter 9.


Roger Bills, District 25: center of the GOP distribution; office in Austin.


John Carter, District 31: right of center with modest leadership; office in Round Rock, near Austin.


San Antonio area’s six districts include two Republicans:


Lamar Smith, District 21; offices in Austin and San Antonio.


Will Hurd, District 23: almost a conservative Democrat, on far left of GOP plot with very low leadership ; office in San Antonio.


It’s about 80 miles from Austin to San Antonio – so one trip gets harmless’ attention to six needy representatives and two senators, one of which is a major presidential candidate.

Utah is a very needy state, which I know well. Although my focus will be on Lee and Chaffetz, the entire delegation is deserving of revelation enhancement:


Rob Bishop, District 1, elected 2002; denier.  He now chairs the House Committee on Natural Resources, including public lands. Govtrack ideology position is similar to Chaffetz: to the right of the GOP average; leadership score is average.


Chris Stewart, District 2, elected 2012; denier. Gov track positions very similar to Bishop and Chaffetz.


Mia Love, District 4, elected 2014. Her Govtrack scores are somewhat preliminary as she was recently elected; she is to the left of the GOP average and very low on the leadership scale. Her district houses the NSA’s major Utah facility in Bluffdale.


Orrin Hatch – a very senior Senator, elected 1976; reelected for a 7th term in 2012. His ideology score is in the middle of the GOP distribution – with a high leadership score.


I’ll get to all of them via my Salt Lake City location.



Washington’s therapy will be provided by Peter and Saul. Rodgers is their primary patient.


Jaime Herrera Beutler – Washington District 3. She’s a little left of the GOP ideology average, and low leadership score. She has an office in Vancouver. At 36 Jaime is one of the youngest women currently serving in the U.S. Congress and the first Hispanic to represent Washington state in the House. She was named to MSNBC’s ‘Top 10 Latino Politicians to Watch’. Jaime attended the University of Washington, earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications.


Dan Newhouse represents Washington District 4, with offices in Richland. His Govtrack scores are similar to Jaime Beutler’s. He’s a farmer – attended Washington State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics. Dan and his wife Carol have two adult children. The Newhouse family continues to operate a 600-acre farm where they grow hops, tree fruit and grapes.


Access will be via Portland to Vancouver, Richmond, and Walla Walla.



Washington DC’s therapist will be me, focusing on LaPierre, Norquist, Donahue and Justice Alito.



West Virginia therapist is Jay, focusing on Capito, with an office in Charleston.


All three West Virginia representatives are Republicans:


David McKinley, District 1, northern region, with Morgantown. He is to the right of center with a high leadership score. He’s too far from Charleston to be treated.


Alex Mooney, District 2, central part, including Charleston. He’s slightly to the left of center with low leadership; office in Charleston.


Evan Jenkins, District 3, southern part, with Lewisburg. He’s almost a Democrat, on the far left of the GOP distribution, and very low leadership efforts. Closest office to Charleston (about 50 miles away) is in Huntington, in western part of the state.


Jay is getting to Capito and the District 2 and 3 representatives via a single trip to Charleston, WV.



Wisconsin’s therapy is continuing to be handled via Bill. His key patient was and is Paul Ryan. The others are:


Ron Johnson, Senator, has an ideology score similar to Wyoming’s Barrasso, but lower in leadership. Johnson has offices in Milwaukee and Oshkosh.


  1. James Sensenbrenner Jr., District 5, North of Janesville, and close to Milwaukee). He has an office in Brookfield, just east of Milwaukee. He’s in the GOP center ideologically, with a high leadership score. He ran for Chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology in 2012-2013 but lost to Lamar Smith


The other Wisconsin districts are not convenient to get to. Milwaukee to Janesville is about 76 miles; normal Janesville access is via Madison, about 40 miles. Bill’s access has been via Milwaukee. This next time he’ll treat Johnson and Sensenbrenner in Milwaukee, then Ryan again in Janesville.



Wyoming’s therapist is Peter, focusing on Barrasso.


Mike Enzi is other Wyoming Senator – and even further to the right than Barrasso! They both have offices in the Federal Buildings in Casper and Cheyenne. They are both on the far right of the Govtrack ideology plot. Enzi is married to Diana Buckley, has three children, went to University of Denver, and is also Presbyterian. He’s signed the Norquist no taxes pledge, is a strong supporter of the coal industry, against alternative energy, very anti-abortion, and against gay marriage. He’s also ranked very highly by the NRA.


“They’re both about as conservative as they can be,” Jay said, referring to Enzi and Barrasso.


“Casper and Cheyenne are easy to get to,” Bill said, ‘and holiday parties are coming up.”


“Just watch out for winds and ice on I-80,” I said.


Cynthia Lummis is Wyoming’s single at large representative, elected in 2009. She is very far to the right, with an average leadership core. Her district offices are in Casper, Cheyenne, and Sheridan.


“Looks like a visit to Cheyenne gets us all three,” Peter said. “I’m on it.”



We understood that the collateral people are secondary priorities. The goal is to get to the primary 29, with the hope that their treatment will be sufficient to help facilitate a political tipping point. The more of the collaterals we can treat, the greater the probability of achieving a more significant transformation – a substantive tipping point. We discussed the lists, the office locations, the travel cities, and the logistics. – and summarized the effort – state by state.



We wanted the packaging to appeal to various ideologue populations. Lucien suggested The Patriot Line of Ananda’s Chocolates – targeted for NRA/Libertarian types, like Norquist or LaPierre or their clones. Peter suggested the Ayn Rand line – picturing a beautiful, teutonic Atlas with chocolates in his large hand! There were many other suggestions, including invisible hands, red wine, cigarettes,…



“How about a special package alluding to the Pope – for other Catholics? Papa Francis did discuss empathy in his talk to Congress,” Peter said.


“Cool. Bliss, compassion, empathy – Pope Francis is all of these.”


“Maybe Hatch could partake. He used the Pope’s visit to give a set of speeches on religious freedom.”


“The arrogant bastard!” Jay said.


“The humanist columnist Luis Granados says Hatch was talking about ‘religious privilege’ – ‘the privilege of religious people to ignore laws that apply to the rest of us.’ Granados also tears apart Hatch’s massive misquoting of American history – including Mormon history.”


“Perhaps Ananda’s new Mormon Mysteries line of chocolates could help him.”


“Mysteries? or Mistakes?”


“I’ll put together an Ananda’s Chocolates template for our various ‘lines’ or sub-brands,” Lucien said. “We can easily customize the branding/labeling as needed.”


“There’s a whole new tourist industry in the Yakima area – red wine and chocolate pairing and tasting,” Peter added.


“Hey, The Leonardo is now doing similar events,” Bill said.


“Maybe Chocolates and Jello for Utah?” Jay suggested.


“Hey, have you heard about Mike Lee’s Jello with the Senator weekly parties?” Bill asked. “Wednesday afternoons, 3:30 pm, in the Senator’s DC office. All are invited.”


“You’re serious?” I asked.


“It’s official – on his web site. If he’s in town he’s there. Otherwise, his staff hosts it.”


“Since the DC Jello parties are largely over for the season, get to his local Christmas gig,” Bill recommended..


“Where and what is that?” Jay asked.


“At the State Capitol. Senate Building, from about 5 to 6 pm. Mike says in the announcement that it’s for ‘good conversation’.”


“And good chocolate!” Jay added.


“Ask him about his Heritage Foundation tirade against Obama’s climate efforts,” Bill said, looking at me.


“Changing the subject a bit – although Lee’s three kids are older, the oldest perhaps 20 or so and the other two in their late teens, here’s a serious consideration,” I said. “We want to minimize the possibility – the risk – of excess dosing – or ingestion by small children.”


“The template now includes a field for restriction or caution. For Adults Only! Recommended Dose – One per adult per day.”


“I like For Adults Only – but Only One!”


“OK – that’s what I’ll use.”


Lucien had earlier set up the Ananda’s Chocolates website, so we used the url www.anandaschocolates.com on the packaging. Tom, Lucien, and Peter – the Portland team – will finish the preparations, preliminary testing, packaging, and labeling.




We had largely finished the patient selection process, assignments, and delivery strategy and plans. harmless understands that the more patients we treat, the greater the probability we’ll be ‘discovered’ – and likely go to jail. The first such discovery will generate media attention and a huge backlash against such treatment, against moral enhancement, against MDMA. So we must be very careful – and very selective. We have selected our patients very strategically. We want each treatment to lead to a revelation – to lead to a change in behavior which itself generates media attention. We want to do this quickly but not hastily – and very carefully.



“Centennial Valley is next weekend,” Bill said. “It’s a four day event, Friday through Monday.”


“Terrific – who’s been invited and what’s the tentative plan?” I asked.


“No Oxbridge kids – too expensive to travel and too soon in their school year, but we have science teacher Thornton and Anne Reilly, her Department science chair, as well as Bill and Brittany Koch and the two youngest kids. Two folks from EPI are coming as well as Richard and Alison Kimball from VoteSmart.”


“Phenomenal. And David and Julia?”


“Yes – both, and their two younger kids.”


“And John’s planning an open-air jeep safari for all of them?”


“Of course – he’s as excited as they are. We expect the ladies – Melody, Brittany, and Julia, as well as Merry and Terry Tempest Williams – will have their own discussion and ‘light’ chocolate tasting in the Taft’s spacious family room.”


“And the politicians?” I asked. “The local Montana ones, yes – they all said they’d try, especially knowing that David Koch was planning to be there.”


“But, when Charles said he and Elizabeth couldn’t come – meaning that their kids Chas and Elizabeth R. wouldn’t either – I felt that it would be cumbersome to try to have the Koch-backed candidates without their major backer.”


“That may be fortuitous,” I said. “I’d hate to have Joni and Gail Ernst riding their motorcycles all over the refuge and the ranch!”


“Right. Or Jim Inhofe trying to land his plane on an unregulated and unmaintained nearby dirt strip,” Bill smiled.


“Or doing even more damage at the West Yellowstone airport,” Jay added.


“Say, don’t forget an Ishmael gift for the kids,” I said.


“They’re already wrapped, with their names on the packages,” Bill smiled. “I’m inviting them to a special Ishmael discussion on Sunday – after they’ve had several days to read the book.”




“We need to each have a strong alibi for what we’ve done, so if one of us gets caught, we don’t incriminate the others. We have to work independently.”


“We are loners. There is no group, no conspiracy, no organization – and thus no way to trace to others – to incriminate others.”


“We are each on our own – ideal Libertarians!”


“Once we start the extensive delivery phase of harmless, we need to communicate less and less. What little communication we do have has to be with secrecy and security.”



Harmless hit the road, just in time for the busy pre-Christmas parties – extensive travels to the major cities selected for access to the 29 and to their collateral patients. Over an extensive two week period – during a very unusual winter – we bought tickets, rented cars, and stayed in hotels, using cash, where possible. We repackaged Ananda’s Chocolates in conventional Walgreen and Walmart chocolate boxes, saying they were gifts for family, unsealed so the TSA could inspect them. Fortunately chocolate is not restricted by TSA. We minimized cell phone use, kept the GPS on our phones off, used ‘dummy’ email accounts, and generally minimized use of wi-fi and bluetooth connections.



Chapter 10: Plutocrats – and Others

The United States is the most plutocratic ‘democracy’ on the planet. We’re not even close to being second ranked. Some say that’s not so bad – that we were founded and organized as a plutocracy, of sorts. In order to vote, you had to own land and had to be a white male, and you were allowed to own African slaves. It was only much later that black men were allowed to vote, and even later women. We were founded as a republic – a representative ‘democracy’. Voters voted for representatives who would in turn write, pass, and implement laws and policy.


The founding fathers, by and large, were semi-wealthy, white men who owned significant land and other property, and were naturally inclined to favor a system of government that protected the financial interests of their own class. But they were also, generally, well educated, well read, and fairly intelligent. The historical musical Hamilton is helping to inform Americans of that intellectual heritage.


The word “democracy” does not appear in the US Constitution. The founding fathers were afraid of true democracy; they warned of the dangers of the tyranny of the majority if America adopted a truly democratic government. Hamilton claimed that The people should have as little to do as may be about the Government.’


As the nation developed and evolved, our ‘democracy’ slowly became more inclusive. Blacks were finally allowed to vote, then women, then the 18 – 20 year olds, although the black vote was – and still is – thwarted and controlled by voter registration restrictions and barriers.


Although we are much more of an inclusive democracy today than at previous times in our history, we are also more financially unequal and distorted today than at any other time in our history – including the so-called ‘Gilded Age’. Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States provides a good background up to about ten years ago.  And since then, the situation keeps getting worse.


Jane Mayer’s Dark Money is one of the more recent treatments of plutocracy in America. The book is subtitled: The Hidden History of the Billionaires behind the rise of the Radical Right. The book was apparently stimulated by her 2010 New Yorker piece titled Covert Operations. The Kochs took issue with much of what she wrote. So she’s spent much of the last five years fleshing out the situation, releasing Dark Money in early 2016.


With the election of Obama in 2008 and the Democrats having majorities in the House and Senate, the far right Republicans began right away to orchestrate a Republican takeover, using plutocratic dollars. Well described in Dark Money, they developed the Redistricting Majority Project, the REDMAP – a strategy to take over key state legislatures in order to use the 2010 census to gerrymander their state’s congressional districts. It was an audacious and actually brilliant, if immoral, strategy. By targeting their plutocratic resources on key swing state legislatures, they succeeded in getting right wing Congressmen elected from many districts that would otherwise have likely elected far more moderate people. Gerrymandering cost, but paid back handsomely in taking the House. And then came Citizen’s United and the opening of the plutocratic dollars floodgates,


A recent op-ed in The Guardian, by Mike Lofgren defined ‘Deep State’ as:

            … a hybrid association of elements of government and top-level finance and industry that is able, through campaign financing of elected officials, influence networks and co-option via the promise of lucrative post-government careers, to govern the United States in spite of elections and without reference to the consent of the governed…. when there are economic incentives for war, fear becomes the Deep State’s weapon of choice….


Steve Israel, a Democratic member of Congress who announced his resignation after eight terms:

‘It’s horrific. I don’t think I can spend another day in another call room making another call begging for money,’  he said. His op-ed prompted a New York Times Editorial:

…he estimated he has spent 4,200 hours in call rooms, plus 1,600 more at fund-raising dinners, raising $20 million in donations. Plus untold multimillions more in his time running the campaign machine of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Money grubbing is so relentless for both parties that a Democratic directive for arriving freshmen members that surfaced … two years ago candidly advised them to devote four hours of each working day to ‘call time’ if they entertained hopes for re-election — as opposed to three to four hours for the actual job of lawmaking. Members are regularly seen leaving the Capitol after a vote to put in more call time, as if feeding gluttonous parking meters.


The growth in plutocracy was significantly emboldened by the Supreme Court decisions which equate political monetary donations with free speech. Political campaigns now utilize hundreds of million of dollars from ‘donors’ and ‘organizations’. Presidential campaigns ‘require’ upwards of a billion dollars today. The Supreme Court’s recent rulings have basically endorsed political corruption, plutocracy, and almost outright bribery.


In addition to the outright ‘purchase’ of Congressmen/women, state legislators, Governors, and others, campaign strategies are so advanced and sophisticated that very small interest groups and even individual voters can be directly targeted – almost as if individual votes can now be directly purchased – and the Supreme Court, given its present makeup and track record, may well find nothing wrong in selling – or buying – individual votes.


Zephyr Truthout writes in her own book, Corruption in America: ‘

…the Constitution was designed in significant part as protection against corruption … since 1976 the Supreme Court has seriously constrained public power to pass anticorruption statutes, and since 2006 it has definitely rejected the traditional concept of corruption.

She concludes her book with:

... democracy, without constant vigilance against corruption, is an unstable, unmoored thing, … and likely to collapse.


And if all that is not enough, the process can go in the other direction – Congressmen actually approaching lobbyists and plutocrats for money in exchange for votes on a bill – i.e. outright extortion. Former Speaker Boehner has been accused of such extortion related to key bills. A New York Times piece, The Extortion Racket, described the ‘tollbooth’ strategy to raise ‘donations’. There’s even a book out titled Extortion: How Politicians Extract Your Money. House Speaker John A. Boehner was apparently a master of such tollbooths.


On January 20, 2009, when the Obamas were dancing at inaugural balls, a group of Republicans, including Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy, were planning the end of the Obama presidency before it even got going. They promised each other that they would filibuster and obstruct any and all legislation supported by the new president. They would do everything possible, for as long as it took, to make his a ‘failed presidency’.



“Plutocracy is why you ran in 2012 on a no dollars platform,” Jay recalled. “That’s what attracted me to your campaign, as did your slogan: For a Sustainable Future…”


“I did spend $5,600 on my campaign for Utah District 2 – $600 over budget.”


“The Don Quixote campaign,” Bill noted. “But we all loved it.”


“And others ran on similar platforms – especially Bill Barron for Utah Senate and then in 2014 for Congress, District 2,” I said. “I was stimulated by Ralph Lessig’s then new book, Republic, Lost – all about plutocracy. And it just keeps getting worse. There’s so much money, influence, and expectation about money in politics that even the generally optimistic Bill Moyers now comes across almost despondent – watch his discussion with Truthout and Lessig. Amy Goodman has also interviewed them.”


The dynamic Zephyr Teachout (she’s a woman) tried to become Governor of New York on an anti-plutocracy campaign. It is clear that our democracy/republic is in danger of being destroyed. A frightening Lessig quote is: ‘We will, I fear, simply tolerate the corruption, as a host tolerates a parasite that is not life-threatening. Until it is.’

The good news is Teachout is now running for New York’s District 19 House seat.


In 2012 Obama met with major Democratic donors some 8 months before the election. Vogel, in Big Money, quotes him as saying:

            I may be the last presidential candidate who could win the way I won [in 2008]…who had the time and the space to mobilize a grassroots effort…started off small and able to build…

He meant he didn’t have a lot of big donor, special interest support at the beginning of the campaign, although such support did develop later.


Facing wealthy donors and supporters in early 2012, he said:

            …you genuinely have a situation where 10 people could each write a check…five or six in this room tonight could make a decision on the next president…. That’s not the way things are supposed to work.


In early 2007, when Obama declared his candidacy, he said it was time to

            …take government back from the cynics, and the lobbyists, and the special interests who’ve turned our government into a game only they can afford to play.

But at the 2012 meeting, Kenneth Vogel reports, in Big Money:

            Obama was admitting that was no longer achievable in the current system – that American politics had fundamentally changed in a way that made it, at the highest levels, a game for the ultra-rich….a new political reality was here to stay.

He admitted the plutocracy was even more entrenched, even more difficult to overcome.



“Isn’t that why Trump got so much traction?” Jay asked. “He is his own rich guy, so he can’t be bought. He doesn’t need the plutocrats dollars.”


“Maybe. The public understands the problem. They don’t see a solution,” I said. “Some think the ‘solution’ is to support a very rich candidate – like Trump or Bloomberg. Although Bloomberg might be ok, his wealth should not be the reason to vote for him.”



The present Supreme Court is a key part of the problem. Injustices, published in 2015, reviews the present Court’s many problems – and the unlikelihood of any change in the very near future. The film Citizen Koch has a good section on the Supreme Court and its Citizen United decision. One justice change is all it took.


The major plutocrats have been energized by their successes to date – and by the Court’s endorsement of their actions and activities. It’s the plutocrats who buy the presidential candidates, the Congressmen, and even the Governors. They are the base of our pyramid of problems. Which is why harmless must address – and treat – the major plutocrats privately, personally, directly.






The Koch Brothers


“There must be something like 25 or so very rich, political, biased, hard-ass plutocrats,” Jay said. “People like Adelson, Mercer, Schwarzmann, Neugebauer, Braman, Rasteller, Singer, Griffin, Rauner, Ricketts, Simmons, and many others.”


“That’s a good list! There are many politically active plutocrats,” I said, ‘including a few Democrats. But we can’t treat all who need treatment. We have to select and get to a few whose change of ‘heart’ – whose actions – will generate great media and public interest – and hopefully initiate a change in perspective and behavior.”


“We need to become experts on all those we choose to try to treat, correct?” asked Jay.

“And we need to help direct the actions of their heirs – go on…”


“Yes, we really need to know our patients – and their close family, friends, their care-givers, their advisors, their heroes – and their heirs.”


“The Koch Brothers should be first on the list, for their own actions and for their efforts in organizing billionaire politics at their regular gatherings,” Bill said.


“Did you see the Kochs set up a Utah chapter of Americans for Prosperity?” Jay asked.


“And the Salt Lake Democrats are saying that the chapter is already influencing County budget hearings,” I noted.


“That means Koch-Utah has gotten up and running very quickly,” Bill said. “They are effective.”


“I could use a little part time additional income,” Jay smiled. “Think I should apply?”


“They’re after conservative Utah money that will no longer go to another Romney campaign,” I suggested. “The Romney defeat in 2012 really impacted Charles and David Koch. They really didn’t expect it.”


“Mike Lee might ask for more of it – he’s up for reelection,” Jay said. “Better I earn some of it.”


“If you need a reference, you can use me,” Bill smiled. “I’ve been on their Montana ranch.”


“You mean Centennial Valley?” I asked.


“Yes. You have to drive right through the Koch spread to get to the U’s Humanities Center – the Taft Center. It’s 26 miles from Interstate 15 on an unpaved road.”


“The Koch Brothers’ father, Fred, started the Koch empire with a number of cattle ranches, right?”


“Yes, ranches were part of it. The spread in Southern Montana is Beaverhead Ranch, part of their Matador Cattle Company,” Bill noted. “It borders a major National Wildlife Refuge.”


“The Taft Center is a great facility,” I recalled. “Diana and I visited there some five years ago. On the way out, heading East towards West Yellowstone, we were stopped by a shredded tire.”


“The way in and out from the West is shorter and easier on tires,” Bill said.


“Maybe the Kochs could have an event there, perhaps tied to honoring their Dad, Fred. His birthday is Sept. 23 – and Charles and the Company celebrate it each year as Founder’s Day.”


Bill added: “Maybe John Taft could take them around the refuge in his open jeep, feeding them Ananda’s chocolates along the way.”


“Several of Fred Koch’s boys spent summers at the Montana ranch – Bill, Charles, and – perhaps – David. It could be a homecoming gig.”


“I assume there are easier ways to get to them,” Bill said. “David is quite a philanthropist – and even supports some so called liberal causes.”


“And they may prefer Dana Point to Lakeview, Montana,” I said.



Dana Point is a spectacular luxury site on the California coast where the Kochs had another in their ‘Koch Primary’ conferences. Jon Stewart – in one of his last Daily Show programs – reviewed the event – showing the five participating candidates suckling on a large Charles Koch mother pig! Fiorina, Walker, Cruz, Rubio, and Jeb Bush were all there saying nice things about the Koch brothers and their supporters. The Koch candidate and donor ‘conferences’ or seminars have been going on for over ten years.



“Earlier, I thought the Kochs would be hopeless, but I recently learned some things to change my mind. They’ve had a very rough family life – and they are pushing 80, some with young kids and grandkids – likely heirs.”


“There’s been some press that they’re trying to improve their image,” Jay added. “Their recent activities in prison reform, the Koch Scholars scholarships, and some action related to an Hispanic initiative suggest some diversification.”



“My Latino friends looked into their Libre Initiative,” I said.  “It’s basically the Koch 101 philosophy.”


From the web site:

            LIBRE is dedicated to informing the U.S. Hispanic community about the benefits of a constitutionally limited government, property rights, rule of law, sound money supply and free enterprise through a variety of community events, research and policy initiatives that protect our economic freedom.’



“Not much there on climate change or energy, is there?” Jay smiled.


“No, I’m afraid they just want to clone a few more Rubios or Cruz-es,” I said.


“They want the Hispanic vote,” Jay said. “The Libre folks were giving away free turkeys in exchange for signing on to a mailing list and doing a questionnaire. Libre has some 70 employees in nine states.”


“The Kochs fund the operation via their Freedom Partners group – nearly $16 million, the Times said recently.”


“I did do some homework,” Bill offered. “Charle’s wife, Liz, seems reasonable and involved…and annoyed with being portrayed as part of an evil empire. She’s reported to have said:

            I’m so hopeful that there will be something, SOMETHING in the world out there besides ‘Evil Koch Brothers’. Jesus H., I’m sick of it.


“I read that Liz sometimes talks like a longshoreman,” I smiled. “She’s nine years younger that Charles and very loyal and committed.”


“She stands by her man,” Jay said.



There are four Koch Brothers, although Charles and David get most of the attention. Charles basically runs the company and is largely responsible for its growth and profitability. He’s talented, driven, motivated, aggressive. David is an Executive VP with his own responsibilities; he seems to be the greater philanthropist and is more public than Charles. Charles’ philanthropy tends to focus on his Libertarian, Hayekian, and Ayn Rand-based values and goals. Charles and Liz live in Wichita. David and much younger wife, Julia, live in Manhattan.


From a recent news story:


Charles is the steady, driven one. He’s grounded in the Kansas soil of their birth.


David is his outgoing younger brother. He’s a New Yorker now, and pronounces himself forever changed by a near-death experience.


Bill is David’s free-spirited twin, a self-described contrarian whose pursuits beyond business include sailing, collecting things and suing people (his brothers included).


And then there’s the oldest, Frederick, who’s as likely to turn up in Monte Carlo as at his apartment on New York’s Fifth Avenue and doesn’t have much to do with the rest of the lot.


They’re all fabulously wealthy, all donate lavishly to charity, all tall — Frederick is the shortest at 6-foot-2 — and all are prostate cancer survivors.


The family now lives night and day with bodyguards. Charles Koch has said:

            We get a lot of death threats. We get threats to fire-bomb our facilities. We get attacks by ‘Anonymous,’ trying to break in, destroy our communications, computer systems – cyberattacks.


David Koch, now 75, lives in New York and, reportedly, tells his three children, ages 7 to 15, that their bodyguards are like nannies, hired to help the family.


The four brothers were exposed to philanthropy and art via their mother, Mary, who died in late 1990. Mary Koch graduated in 1929 from Wellesley College, majoring in English and French; she married Fred Koch in 1932. Fred was a hard working, driven, perhaps obsessed, John Wayne-like character. He was a fearless boxer in college. Mary was apparently somewhat afraid of husband Fred, according to a perhaps controversial Rolling Stones piece by Tom Dickinson.


Their first born, Fred or Freddie (1933), shared his mother’s interests in art and history. He was not, perhaps what father Fred expected for his son. The John Wayne-like drive and toughness was just not there. He was sent away to boarding school, perhaps to minimize friction within the family. Charles, born 1935, responded to his father’s expectations. He worked hard, excelled in sports, and became a good little anti-Communist and student of libertarian economics. Charles has been an avid skier and kayaker.


David and Bill (Bill) came in 1940, as twins, rounding out the four Koch Brothers. All but Freddie went to MIT and studied engineering – as had their father. Charles was going to be a nuclear engineer, but changed his mind when he realized that most jobs in the profession were via the Federal government. He certainly did not want to work for the government.




Charles Koch is 6 feet 3, lean, eats healthy, and does a daily 90-minute workout. He’s had both knees and his right shoulder replaced; his joints took a beating from years of strenuous athletics.


Liz Koch says that Charles has a conviction that free markets are the only way to create prosperity. Even those who live in poverty, he believes, have more money and more opportunities for jobs if they live in a free-market economy rather than one controlled by dictators or socialists intent on redistributing wealth. A friend, a Wichita realtor, said that, in the early 1960s, Charles was a skinny young guy who read about economics night and day, and spoke about helping the world.


Liz recalled that Charles knows there are certain laws that govern the natural world. So he asked if that isn’t also true for the societal world. Are there laws that determine to what extent people can achieve their ends – the extent to which people are more prosperous, more civil, peaceful? ‘I became very passionate along with him,she said. He’d read Adam Smith, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman – economists deeply committed to keeping government out of private enterprise.


Charles feels that organizations, economies, entire societies operated according to the same fundamental principles. He wants people to understand there are principles in life, like in engineering.



“He certainly appears interesting, passionate, committed,” I said. “The problem is he’s extrapolated his engineering rules and laws directly into the public sector. He assumes that the simplistic ‘rules’ and assumptions applied by his father, by Ayn Rand, by Hayek are as reliable in the social arena as Newton’s Laws and the rules of chemistry are in the physical science arena.”


“He obviously never studied Quantum Mechanics, did he?” Bill asked, “or the Uncertainty Principle.”


“I doubt it. Charles and David are basically mechanical engineers, with some chemical engineering thrown in.”


“Why do so many engineers seem simplistic, arrogant, and ignorant of social issues and problems?” Bill asked.


“That question came across loud and clear when I served as Dean of Engineering at the U. I got to know some 120 academic engineering faculty – representing all major disciplines. The simple rules of the physical sciences have a seductive simplicity. If that’s how you’re trained, it’s hard to understand that social, human scale issues and problems should be so hard.”


“But that’s why they chose engineering or science in the first place,” Jay said. “They didn’t want to deal with people issues and problems. They wanted to work in the more predictable and understandable physical world.”


“Yes – that’s the big boundary between the humanities and the sciences – the world of people and the ‘natural’ world. Although biology bridges both, most engineers and physical scientists are still largely uncomfortable with people issues.”


“I love the semantic ‘seductive simplicity,’ Bill said. “It makes so much sense.”


“The other major problem with the Kochs, as with all Libertarians and even Reaganites, is that their economic philosophy is rooted in 18th and 19th century assumptions about the world – about the planet,” Jay added. “We now know the planet and its resources are limited and not infinite.”


“Right. Charles – and David – need to be introduced to another Fred,” I said. “Frederick Soddy.”


“OK, I’ll bite,” Jay said. “Who’s Fred Soddy?”


“He was a Nobel laureate in Chemistry, 1921, for work on radioactive decay. He really understood thermodynamics – including entropy and uncertainty.”


“So? There must be more,” Bill smiled.


“He became focused on societal issues and problems – stemming from the aftermath of World War I – and turned his attention to economics. He recognized, way before the great depression, that the economy was a vast pyramid scheme – a perpetual motion machine – operating with no knowledge of basic thermodynamics.”


“So was he the first to consider limits and advocate sustainability?” Bill asked.


“Yes – and written off as a crank by the economics – business – political worlds.”


Frederick Soddy’s views on economics were based on physics – on the laws of thermodynamics – the most basic scientific principles we know. Nearly everything in science derives from the Laws of Thermodynamics. They forbid perpetual motion – schemes in which machines create energy out of nothing. Soddy criticized the prevailing – and still largely current – belief that the economy could generate continuous and growing wealth – expanding forever. His ideas eventually lead to the field of eco-economics, pioneered by Herman Daly, and to the general concept of sustainability. Soddy wrote a book in 1926 (subtitled The Solution of the Economic Paradox) presenting his concepts and analyses, but they were largely ignored. The last chapter of the 1961 edition of the book, ‘Summary of Practical Conclusions’, should be covered on every economics, political science, and law student’s final exams. Soddy died in 1956. His work on radioactivity inspired H G Wells to write the novel The World Set Free.


“Thermodynamics is one case where scientific principles can indeed be directly applied to society – to the economy. Charles and David – in their MIT engineering training – apparently never learned that. We need to teach them,” I said.


“There you go trying to play professor again.”


“Once a teacher, always a teacher,” I said. “We never give up on a student… I just learned that Charles received ALEC’s Adam Smith Free Enterprise award in 1994, together with brother David,” I said.


“You mean from the American Legislative Exchange Council – that ALEC?” Jay asked.


“Yes, the group that bribes state legislators to pass legislation written by ALEC or its sponsors – and dismisses global warming and pollution.”


“I doubt that ALEC even knows Smith wrote an earlier book called The Theory of Moral Sentiments,” Bill said.


“And I wonder if they know Moral Sentiments’ subtitle: An Essay towards an Analysis of the Principles by which Men naturally judge concerning the Conduct and Character, first of their Neighbours, and afterwards of themselves.”


“That’s news to me,” Bill noted. “I guess the more recent reprintings don’t bother with the long subtitle.”


“And since they likely haven’t read it, they probably don’t know that Smith actually covered empathy – something to do with ‘conduct and character’. A 2014 book, The Empathy Exams, cited Smith’s Moral Sentiments discussion.”


“Well, I assume Charles Koch did not read it. But he has read Hayek.”


“Do you think he read the parts that deal with safety nets and social insurance?” I asked.


“Oops, perhaps not. And I’ll bet neither did two other well known Hayek fans: Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.”


“Is he an Ayn Rand fan?” asked Jay.


Before I could respond, Bill jumped in:


“Wait!  Let me add this cool fact. I was at the post office mailing a package and used a 93 cent stamp – the Flannery O’Conner stamp.”


“So? Who’s she,” Jay asked.


“She’s a fiction author – I didn’t know her so I looked her up.  The web profile said she wrote a letter to a friend saying: ‘Friends don’t let friends read Ayn Rand.’ Her critique was that it’s crappy fiction.”


“I just saw a Times review of Rand’s newest, perhaps her very first book/play, unpublished until now. It’s titled Ideal,” I added. “The reviewer, Michiko Kakutani, wrote:

            Rand’s embrace of selfishness and elitism and her contempt for ordinary people … underscores the reasons that her work — with its celebration of defiance and narcissism, its promotion of selfishness as a philosophical stance — so often appeals to adolescents and radical free marketers.


“Remember what Peter said before?” Jay recalled. “It’s a philosophy for adolescents – on their way through puberty. But some never get beyond their intellectual puberty, like Paul Ryan – or perhaps Charles Koch.”


“And that’s exactly what you said earlier – seductive simplicity,” Bill said, looking at me.  “It’s exactly what adolescents want and need: simple, firm, apparently reasonable rules, because they haven’t yet learned to think for themselves.”


“I was looking at a recent book on libertarianism, called Uncivil Liberties. The Foreword is by Hazel Henderson, who wrote, regarding her own initial fondness for Ayn Rand: ‘For me, reality overtook my adolescent escapism.’


“Hasn’t the Cato Institute been funding professorships to specifically teach Ayn Rand and libertarian economics?” Jay asked.


“And, if I recall correctly, there was lots of flak about the Kochs directly micromanaging who was to be hired and how they were to be evaluated,” Bill recalled.


“And there are other Ayn Rand – addicted rich plutocrats,” I added. “Do you remember that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was dumped in the primary by a guy named Brat, who went on to win the seat?”


“Yes, it was quite a surprise as Cantor was so conservative and well funded,” Bill recalled.


“Brat is interesting. He’s an academic. His professorial position at Randolph-Macon College, where he taught Ayn Rand and Libertarianism, was funded by a John Allison – an Ayn Rand – loving CEO of a failed bank – bailed out by Bush bailout funds.”


“So he’s a bank CEO plutocrat?” Jay asked.


“Not anymore. Shortly after getting the bailout, he bailed to become President of the Cato Institute.”


“Surprise!” Bill smiled. “And Cato is at least partly funded by Koch. The Ayn Rand folks are everywhere.”


“Right. And although Charles may be somewhat well read, I think his early influences – especially his John Birch dad – set him up to read uncritically – simply reinforcing those Birch-Libertarian beliefs he inherited.”


“We know his degrees are from MIT,” Jay added, “back when it was not exactly an institution providing a well-rounded education.”


“He’s getting older, wants to do good, and is genuinely concerned about the nation, even if he avoids the issue of what Koch Industries is doing to the planet,” I surmised. “Somewhere on the Koch Foundation website it says support of various causes which ‘further social progress and sustainable prosperity’.”


“That sounds like sustainable economics to me,” Bill said.


“Maybe. His second book, called Good Profit, just came out. Earlier, the book’s web site accepted questions to Charles.”


“You didn’t?” Jay teased.


“I did – I asked him about Frederick Soddy, thermodynamics, and free market economics.”


“Are you trying to blow our cover? Did he respond?” Bill asked.


“Nope, at least not yet.”


“There’s now a Koch Industries’ ‘We are Koch’ ad campaign,” Bill said. “Jon Stewart’s parody of their ads is worth watching!”


“The ads – and Charles’ recently increased emphasis on the prison-incarceration-justice issues – suggest hope. We all mellow with age – and hopefully develop some wisdom. We’ll try to treat him – assuming we can get to him.”


“Don’t be overly optimistic,” Jay cautioned. “The Kochs were cooperating nicely with Obama’s decreased incarceration initiative – for a while. But they are holding out for a weakening or repeal of the ‘ignorance of the law is no excuse’ standard – especially for corporate ‘ignorance’.”


“They want to institute the ‘mea culpa’ cop-out – especially for pollution and degradation statutes, I bet,” Bill said.



Charles has indeed pondered and considered his upcoming mortality, legacy, and continuity issues.


Charles and Liz (Elizabeth B.) have a daughter, Elizabeth R. She now runs Catapult, a very new publishing and writing firm. She was born in 1975. Elizabeth R may still be unmarried. Although she has attended at least one of Charles’ regular political/donor ‘seminars’, Schulman, in Sons of Wichita, writes:

Elizabeth … has taken little interest in the affairs of the family company. … ‘My father is very big on creating value. I told him I may not make the world a better place – right away.’ Charles’ literary daughter is deeply conflicted – haunted even – by her family’s colossal wealth, and she has written unsparingly about her ‘disturbed and convoluted relationship with money.’


‘Even though I was born into an obscenely wealthy family, I do not toss money around…’ she wrote …she has ‘invested great amounts of creative energy into pretending’ she does not come from money. ‘Gratitude is in me somewhere, but so buried in shame I have trouble finding it’.


Charles’ son Chase, born 1978, is senior vice president at Koch Agronomics Services. His father’s lectures on economics apparently influenced him. Chase married Annie Breitenbach, in 2010. She’s a nurse. Chase serves on the Charles Koch Foundation Board, together with his mother, Liz, and Charles’ friend Richard Fink. Chase and Annie have two children.



“So Charles and Liz now have grandparent duties,” Jay suggested.


“Yes – and in a few years Charles can start their Hayek/Rand – based economics lessons,” I smiled. “And a range of tough physical and work challenges.”


“The Koch Brothers were ridden quite hard by their dad – and thoroughly indoctrinated as libertarians and even John Birchers along the way, I understand,” Bill added.


“You watched Koch Brothers Exposed?” I asked.


“Yes, both the original and the new version which includes the Citizens United decision,” Bill answered.


“Yep – I saw the first version,” Jay said. “The most sickening part, for me, was their trying to take over a local school board.”


“All the ten or more segments – examples – made me sick,” Bill said.


“And I’m especially sickened by their attempted purchase of higher education – the various Koch professorships,” I said.


“Like the one at Utah State?” Jay asked. “Some guy named Randy Simmons, who can’t even analyze wind energy data without distorting it!”


“The Deseret News just reported that the Koch Foundation has awarded 1.54 million to USU – for two tenured professor positions in their Institute for Political Economy,” Bill noted.


“No big surprise,” I said. “Maybe John Huntsman, Sr. will ask to get his name taken off their Business School.”



Charles started thinking about – and studying – society, philosophy, economics after he returned to Kansas, about 1961. He frequented a John Bircher bookstore in Wichita. A philosopher named Gus diZerega credits Charles with giving him books by von Mises and Hayek. David and Charles had absorbed their father’s conservative politics, but they did not share all his views, according to diZerega. Charles eventually invited Gus to the Kochs’ mansion, to participate in an informal political-discussion group. ‘It was pretty clear that Charles thought some of the Birch Society was bullshit,’ diZerega recalled.


In 1984 Charles and David established Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE). Richard Fink was its first president. CSE was an exercise in community organizing. It rallied grassroots voters in support of reduced spending and lower taxes.


Charles is not an Obama fan: ‘He’s a dedicated egalitarian,’ Charles has said about Obama.

            I’m not saying he’s a Marxist, but he’s internalized some Marxist models—that is, that business tends to be successful by exploiting its customers and workers.


David agrees, saying

            He’s the most radical president we’ve ever had as a nation, and has done more damage to the free enterprise system and long-term prosperity than any president we’ve ever had.

David suggested the president’s radicalism was tied to his upbringing – to his father being a socialist in Kenya. ‘It just shows you what a person with a silver tongue can achieve,’ David said.


Interesting. But apparently their Dad’s ‘silver tongue’ didn’t influence the Koch Brothers Libertarian/Birch ideologies?


The brothers believe the cost of a carbon-free economy is too high.



            There’s a direct correlation between the energy use of a country and its standard of living. If your energy use is massively reduced, it’s going to damage your standard of living.



            With the uncertainty and the politicization of the science so far, to go spend trillions of dollars a year changing the whole world economy to satisfy something this uncertain, because you have some religious zealots like Al Gore going around preaching this – it doesn’t make sense.


Those quotes are from some years ago, but they apparently have not been corrected. It is unlikely that today David and Charles, given their ‘rational’ engineering background, would continue to believe the science and situation is ‘uncertain.’


Charles and David don’t understand why their visions don’t get more support and acceptance. Isn’t it obvious that small government and free markets result in a better world? The Kochs thought their aim was to increase the standard of living for everyone. The way to do this, they believed, was by applying to society the same methods that had grown their company.


According to Continetti, a writer for The Weekly Standard,

            For the engineer Kochs, devotees of the ‘science of human liberty,’ the answer to the social problem was as clear cut as a blueprint for an oil fractionation device.

They assumed that if you educated people in the laws of economics, they would see the light.


Richard Fink agrees:

I just don’t understand why the overwhelming benefits of the free market aren’t understood.


Clearly – to harmless – Fink, Continetti, Charles, and David are victims of the seductive simplicity of Libertarian, Hayek-ian, Rand-ian thinking. They cannot understand that their simplistic economic, free market rules and laws are insufficient for the real world of people, goods, and markets. They are so hard-wired – so rigid – that planetary constraints and human complexities cannot penetrate. Hence the need for therapy.


DiZerega, who has lost touch with Charles, eventually abandoned right-wing views, and became a political-science professor. He credits Charles with opening his mind to political philosophy, which set him on the path to academia. Charles is one of three people to whom diZerega dedicated his first book. But diZerega believes that the Koch brothers have followed a wayward intellectual trajectory, transferring their father’s paranoia about Soviet Communism to a distrust of the U.S. government, and seeing its expansion, beginning with the New Deal, as a tyrannical threat to freedom.


diZerega moved beyond his earlier interests in seductive simplicity. He’s quoted in Dark Money as saying: ‘Perhaps [Charles Koch] has confused making money with freedom’. He’s also said

            … the chief moral weakness of many libertarians… They appear unable to imaginatively place themselves in the shoes of people unlike themselves. They have a failure in empathy.



“Maybe we should ‘treat’ many other Libertarians – they likely all have a ‘failure in empathy’,” Bill suggested.


“Sure,” Jay added. “Let’s get to a Libertarian convention or other big meeting. We could donate Ananda’s Chocolates – one in each member’s convention bag.”


“Cool. We could call it Ananda’s Freedom Collection,” Bill smiled.


“A good idea,” I said. “Let’s get back to it later.” I continued: “Charles had an ‘intellectual epiphany’ when he was about 40 – perhaps earlier. He discovered Robert LeFevre, an early Libertarian pacificist who ran a Freedom School to preach freedom and free market ideologies – and pacifism.”


“So he actually did change his mind, at least once?” Bill asked.


“Actually twice. The first time was choosing LeFevre’s over the John Birch philosophy. That was apparently after father Fred died in 1967. It was a significant revelation, though not as major as the one we hope to engineer. Father Fred talked Charles, who was enjoying an engineering job in Boston, into returning to Wichita to run the company. Fred then died about six years later.”



“I heard father Fred died in Utah. True?” Jay asked.


“Apparently so. He was duck hunting with a friend along the Bear River. He had just shot one, went to reload, and had a massive heart attack. Charles, at 32, became president and CEO of the family company. He’s done very well – if you ignore all the environmental and dirty energy issues.”


“Daniel Schulman’s Sons of Wichita is complete, thorough, and fairly current,” Bill mentioned. “Terry Gross of Fresh Air did an interview the author. Much of the book has appeared as stories in Rolling Stone magazine.”


“Mayer’s New Yorker piece, Covert Operations, is also very good. She credits a Cato Institute official with saying: ‘Charles thinks he’s a genius’.”


“Given what he’s done with the company and its pseudo-Libertarian initiatives,” Jay said, “he does seem to be a genius in an obsessive-compulsive-like way – focused on one idea or ideology  and resistant to, impervious to, anything else.”


“He’s certainly focused on growth and on making money,” Bill added.


“He’s what I call a highly focused and effective believer-type. And he’s had help – or at least reinforcement. Richard Fink, his long-time politico-economic advisor/assistant, has been referred to as Koch’s Brain. Fink has said: ‘Charles is the most consistent person I have ever met’.”


“That’s what hard core believers are:” Bill said, “consistent, unchanging, firm, uncritical.”


“Remember a New Yorker cartoon? Mom and Dad are on the couch doing their own thing. Their kid, young adult, standing – is saying to them: ‘The thing is, I’ve grown – and you haven’t.’ DiZerega grew, Charles didn’t.”


“And David hasn’t much, either,” Bill added.


“The Kochs have ideology in their DNA – according to an Economist piece in 2014,” I concluded.



By late 1979, Charles had become the libertarian movement’s primary funder. He had cofounded the Cato Institute as an incubator for libertarian ideas, bankrolled the magazine Libertarian Review, and backed the movement’s youth outreach arm, Students for a Libertarian Society. Charles sought to transform the Libertarian Party into a viable third party. Over the years, he would spend millions propping up a league of affiliated think tanks and front groups – a network of Libertarian-based groups that became known – initially critically – as the Kochtopus.


Now 80 – owning a large chunk of the Alberta tar sands and using his billions to transform the modern Republican Party into a Libertarian-like organization – Charles Koch is unlikely to have another revelation – at least not without assistance. He apparently has no interest in slowing down. He has made it clear that he has no retirement plans, saying ‘I’m going to ride my bicycle till I fall off.


The criticism against him, brother David, and Koch Industries continues to expand and become more intense. Even President Obama is calling them out by name. Robert Kennedy, Jr. recently said the Koch Brothers

            …are the apocalyptical forces of ignorance and greed. These are the four horsemen from the book of Revelations herding humanity toward a dystopian nightmare of their creation. Koch Industries is not a benign corporation. It’s a suicide pact for creation. It’s the archetype of ‘disaster capitalism.’ It’s the command center of an organized scheme to undermine democracy and impose a corporate kleptocracy that will allow these greedy men to cash in on mass extinction and the end of civilization.


Although Charles and David see it differently, if they had even a little empathy, they might understand how most of the rest of us tend to see it more as Kennedy does.


Asked about Mr. Trump’s plan to bar foreign Muslims from entering the United States, Charles said that such a policy was antithetical to what America represents:

Well, then you destroy our free society. Who is it that said, If you want to defend your liberty, the first thing you’ve got to do is defend the liberty of people you like the least?

Charles also said that Cruz’s plan to “carpet bomb” the Islamic State militants would be fruitless, wondering if the next step would be to go country to country bombing Muslims. He continued:

I’ve studied revolutionaries a lot. Mao said that the people are the sea in which the revolutionary swims. Not that we don’t need to defend ourselves and have better intelligence and all that, but how do we create an unfriendly sea for the terrorists in the Muslim communities? We haven’t done a good job of that.


Harmless keeps discussing Charles – trying to understand him and how best to approach him. We understand he’s been a very young and gifted intellectual, learning his philosophical foundations during puberty in the Libertarian echo chamber ruled by his confident and dominating father. He then built upon and strengthened that foundation with little or no input from any different views. Although he says otherwise, it’s clear that he does not appreciate contrary views or inputs. He’s apparently not had the experience of talking seriously with people of a different persuasion – of people outside the Libertarian echo chambers. And now, entering his ninth decade, he seems to be starting to see the conflicts between Hayekian Libertarian economics and a finite, limited planet. It will be difficult for him to let go – even a little – of the previous seven decades of Libertarian influences and beliefs.



David Koch shares Charles’ political, philosophic, and economic interests and beliefs. They work as a team of close ideologues.

David Koch considers himself a social liberal. He supports women’s right to choose, gay rights, same-sex marriage and stem-cell research. He opposes the war on drugs, supports policies that promote individual liberty and free market principles, and supports reduced government spending. David was born in 1940, together with his twin brother, Bill.



“I wonder if he’s aware of the Cognitive Liberty movement?” I asked.


“Cool semantic,” Bill said. “I’ll bite. Go on.”


“It’s the idea that liberty includes within its definition the personal right to expand our individual cognition,” I said.


“You mean like education?” Jay smiled.


“Cognitive liberty also means like drugs, and unpopular ideas, and strange practices. There’s a law professor at the University of Leicester, a Charlotte Walsh, who seems to be the best spokesperson. She has several online videos on the topic.”


“Like a basic human right?” asked Bill.


“Yes. She says cognitive liberty is basically just freedom of thought – and refers to the European Convention on Human Rights. She considers psychedelic drug users as a minority group, says drug prohibition is a type of censorship – like putting filters on the internet. She says that the inner world of each person is her or his own religious sphere, and its exploration via drugs or whatever is essentially religious use – even if no dogma or church is involved.”


“Amen,” Jay said.


“And a brief fyi,” I added, ‘this from a short piece in a recent New Scientist, titled Need for Weed’:

The Mexican Supreme Court ruled by 4 to 1 that banning the consumption and cultivation of cannabis for personal use violates the human right to free development of one’s personality.


“Cool. Libertarians should be in agreement with the Mexican Court – and rich ones should support Walsh’s work,” Bill suggested.



David Koch survived a serious plane crash in 1991 and a prostate cancer diagnosis shortly thereafter. All four brothers have prostate cancer, and all have been treated successfully. As a cancer and plane crash survivor, David is well aware of his mortality. He said, via a Barbara Walters question, his tombstone might read: ‘He did his best to make the world a better place.’ In the same interview, he shared a personal revelation, that the Lord saved him from the Los Angeles crash so he could do good. And this revelation apparently inspired and empowered his extensive philanthropic efforts.


“So he has received at least one revelation,” Jay smiled. “Time for another, I’d say.”



David and wife Julia have three young children: David, Jr., John Mark, and Mary Julia, ranging in ages from about 9 to 17 (David, Jr.). They married in 1996 when he was 56 and she 34, after knowing each other for five years. They apparently met via philanthropic activities and began dating after the 1991 plane crash. David is even taller than Charles, apparently 6 feet, 5 inches. He has artificial knees.


He is skeptical about anthropogenic global warming, saying a warmer planet would be good because

            Earth will be able to support enormously more people because a far greater land area will be available to produce food.

He contributes to both Republicans and Democrats, with the majority of his contributions going to Republicans.


According to a 2010 New York Magazine story, David is ‘gaga about dinosaurs…his childlike quality is genuine … ‘. He cries easily. He’s deeply antagonistic to the Obama administration. He opposes Obama’s climate change proposals and actions… He’s dealt in ‘astroturfing’: funding movements designed to look grassroots, but which in fact represent corporate interests.


He was profiled in the documentary 740 Park Avenue. There’s a good segment in the 740 Park film about Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand, and Paul Ryan’s simplistic infatuation with her beliefs. It also covered other ultra-rich plutocrats, including Stephen Schwarzman of Wall Street bailout and gargantuan bonuses fame. Michael Gross, author of 740 Park, says ‘Stephen Schwarzman is the poster child of capitalistic greed.’ There are some 30 units at 740 Park Avenue occupied by the ultra-rich. 15 Central Ave is another really rich folks’ address. Gross has written books on each address.



“It sounds like harmless should just treat the entire building,” Jay said. “I’ll look into it. With all the Legionnaire’s disease issues in New York City, one more building wouldn’t raise too much suspicion.”


“I’ll bet this one has incredible security and maintenance,” I said.


“Did you see the piece on Schwarzman in Sunday’s NY Times? Last year he made nearly $700 Million! That’s pushing a cool billion,” Bill enthused. “His firm, Blackstone, apparently only pays 4.3 percent in Federal taxes, due to the ‘carried-interest gains’ loophole.”


“Interesting,” I said. “And in the film 740 Park it shows him lobbying Congress to keep that loophole intact.”


“The more you get, the more you want, I guess,” Jay added.


“He’ll be – or perhaps is – 70,’ Bill added. “The Times said he has no plans to retire.”


“Isn’t he the guy who threw his own incredible 60th birthday party?” I asked. “I think it was mentioned in 740 Park.”


“The Times piece said he suggested ‘…the company might even have a higher calling than minting money for its partners’,” Bill continued.


“I wonder what that means?” Jay asked.


“Well, he is a philanthropist of sorts,” I said. “He’s funded the NY Public Library Building and a major new complex at Yale University.”


“Let’s talk with the caterer for his big 70th bash,” Bill suggested.


“And the doorman at 740 Park Avenue,” I smiled.


“Sure. We can just give the doorman a $100 bill and ask him to give chocolates to the tenants as they enter and leave,” Bill said. “David Koch opposes the war on drugs – so why not an empathogen for he and his friends – and for Schwarzman?”


“Ask the doorman to also give a chocolate to Julia and to Christine Hearst Schwarzman,” Jay reminded.



The David H Koch Charitable Foundation is accessed via the Koch Family Foundations site. There is very little information on the sparse site. The Foundation’s IRS 990 report for 2013 is there, and lists David as President, Ruth E Bills of Wichita is Secretary, and Heather Love, also of Wichita, is Treasurer. There are no advisory boards, grants board, or other officers listed.


The Charles Koch Foundation is similarly brief and sparse. Its 2013 IRS 990 includes pages and pages of grants to colleges, universities, and related groups. The higher education funding has prompted a set of pushbacks.



Charles is Chairman of the Charles Koch Foundation – Richard Fink is President. Son Chase and Charles’ wife Elizabeth B. (Liz) are listed as Directors. Brian Menkes of Arlington is Secretary; Heather Love of Wichita is Treasurer. Elizabeth R., the daughter, is not listed as an officer or Director.





There is a Fred and Mary Koch Foundation, focused on Kansas giving, and a Koch Cultural Trust, also locally focused. Both seem to be managed and directed by Elizabeth (Liz) B Koch (Mrs. Charles). Her site bio says

            I am interested in the creative process, the creative process of launching people who hope to become artists. I am very interested in young people. So we look at students of the arts and try to create a way of either launching a career or getting a student to a summer camp or something that would further their interest in their chosen art form, whether dance or painting or drawing or sculpting or music.’


The brothers’ first major public step came in 1979, when David, then thirty-nine, agreed to run as the Libertarian Party Vice Presidential candidate. Charles and David were backing its Presidential candidate, Ed Clark, who was running against Ronald Reagan. Frustrated by the legal limits on campaign donations, they realized that David, upon becoming a candidate, could spend as much of his personal fortune as he wished on the campaign without concern for Federal campaign funding constraints. The ticket’s slogan was ‘The Libertarian Party has only one source of funds: You’. In reality You was David Koch, who spent more than two million dollars on the campaign.


Ed Clark told The Nation that libertarians were getting ready to stage ‘a very big tea party’. That was a beginning – the so-called ‘grass roots’ Tea Party came some 25 years later.


In November, 1980 the Libertarian ticket received 1.1 per cent of the vote – the Kochs expected more. That result was in part responsible for Charle’s turn from conventional politics:

            It tends to be a nasty, corrupting business. I’m interested in advancing libertarian ideas, he reportedly said. According to Doherty’s book on the Libertarian movement (Radicals for Capitalism), the Kochs came to regard elected politicians as like actors playing out a script. Doherty was told that the brothers wanted to write those scripts. In order to change the direction of America, they had to ‘…influence the areas where policy ideas percolate from: academia and think tanks.’


Recalling Keynes’ words

            Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence are usually the slaves of some defunct economist … Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.

The Kochs apparently would like to be those ‘madmen in authority’ – empowering ‘academic scribblers.’



“They want to alter the direction of America – that sounds like State Change to me,” Jay said.


“We want to alter it, too,” Bill said, “but in a very different direction.”


“They want to alter it by plutocratic influences – by buying people’s minds,” Jay continued. “We want to alter it by simply chemically enhancing the Kochs’ minds – and those of their heirs.”


“And likely delivered through chocolate,” I said.



After the 1980 elections the Kochs decided to spend millions in efforts to ultimately take over the Republican Party; the Libertarian one was just too small and ineffective for their State Change goals. The work began close to home: the Kochs had become dedicated patrons of Senator Bob Dole of Kansas, who ran interference for Koch Industries in Washington.


They actively funded and supported organizations that contributed significantly to Republican candidates, and that lobby against efforts to expand government’s role in health care and in combatting global warming. According to Mayer, in 2008 the three main Koch family foundations contributed to 34 political and policy organizations, three of which they founded, and several of which they direct.


In trying to stand up for full personal freedom, David and Charles each made $10 million grants to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to fight the Bush administration over the Patriot Act,  ‘…substantially more than the Kochs have contributed to all political candidates combined for at least the last 15 years,’ according to Reason magazine.


OpenSecrets.org has presented a graphic of their giving titled A Maze of Money, showing the various recipients and their relationships.


As the first anniversary of Obama’s 2008 election approached, David Koch was in Washington to attend a triumphant Americans for Prosperity gathering. Obama’s poll numbers were falling fast. Not a single Republican senator was working with the Administration on health care, or much else. Pundits were writing about Obama’s political ineptitude, and Tea Party groups were accusing the President of initiating a government takeover. David said


            We envisioned a mass movement, a state-based one, but national in scope, of hundreds of thousands of American citizens from all walks of life standing up and fighting for the economic freedoms that made our nation the most prosperous society in history. . . .

Nearly the entire anti-Obama ’mass movement’ was largely funded by the Kochs, according to Mayer’s Dark Money.


David continued:

            Thankfully, the stirrings from California to Virginia, and from Texas to Michigan, show that more and more of our fellow-citizens are beginning to see the same truths as we do.



“See the same truths we do?” questioned Bill.


“Sure – we all accept the Law of Gravity and Newton’s Laws of Motion,” Jay nodded, continuing: “And if physical truths work for the natural world, then certainly Koch Libertarian truths have to work for the world of societies, governments, and economies.”


“But Libertarian ‘truths’ seem to ignore the laws of thermodynamics,” Bill added.


“Amen.” We all smiled.



Matt Kibbe, the president of FreedomWorks, one of the Koch-funded groups, has said ‘…ideas need patrons.’ The Koch brothers, after helping to create Cato, Mercatus, and Americans for Prosperity concluded that think tanks alone were not enough. They needed a mechanism to deliver those ideas to the street – to attract the public’s support. In 1984, David Koch and Richard Fink created, with Kibbe, Citizens for a Sound Economy, sponsored principally by the Kochs via $7.9 million between 1986 and 1993 – according to the Center for Public Integrity. Its mission, Kibbe said,

…was to take these heavy ideas and translate them for mass America. . .We studied the idea of the Boston Tea Party as an example of nonviolent social change. We learned we needed boots on the ground to sell ideas, not candidates.

Within a few years, the group had mobilized fifty paid field workers, in twenty-six states, to rally voters behind the Kochs’ agenda.


And, some years later, we got the Tea Party.


After mounting an unprecedented political effort in 2012, resulting in the Romney- Ryan dramatic loss, the brothers regrouped for another battle. Their advocacy group, Americans for Prosperity, injected some $125 million into the 2014 midterm elections, with minimal success. Their 2016 effort is likely to be bigger and more expensive – together with their allies and fellow plutocrats, spending in the neighborhood of $800 million – nearly a billion dollars!


The Kochs have, through Americans for Prosperity, succeeded in persuading many members of Congress to sign a little-known pledge, www.noclimatetax.com, promising to vote against legislation relating to climate change unless it is accompanied by an equivalent amount of tax cuts. Since most solutions to the problem of greenhouse gas emissions require costs to the polluters and the public, the pledge essentially committed those who signed to vote against nearly any meaningful bill regarding global warning, and acts as yet another roadblock to action. By mid-2013 four hundred and eleven current office holders nationwide had signed the pledge, including the entire Republican leadership in the House, a third of the members of the House as a whole, and a quarter of U.S. senators.


NPR has provided discussions of Mayer’s Dark Money as well as Charles Koch’s recent political perspectives: Mayer said:

Charles Koch … is an ideological true believer in some of the most hard

line libertarian philosophy that you can come across in American politics.

Charles told NPR:

            [We try] to find candidates who will move us toward policies that will enable people

to innovate and contribute…



“Parts of Charles’ recent NPR interview seemed somewhat incoherent to me,” I said.


“You think he could also be losing it?” Jay asked. “He is 80 or so years old.”


“Losing it may be a bit strong,” I said, “but he certainly seemed to be mixed up on free speech, political donations, and government spending. He seemed to say that all government spending is a form of political spending – of political influence.”


“That’s a stretch,” Bill said.


“Almost everything hardcore Libertarians espouse is a hard stretch,” Jay explained.


“I still think that – in his senior phase of life – he may be struggling with the coherence, relevance, and reasonableness of his hardline positions. It’s more than legacy – he thinks he’s rational, objective, scientific. But he’s based his last half-century of actions and politics on a set of fundamental, now irrational – and even suicidal – assumptions. Maybe he’s now, finally, starting, perhaps only subconsciously, to process that inconsistency.”


“It may be an ideal time for MDMA for him – to release him from the fear of changing his mind – of changing his hardcore positions,” Bill suggested.


“Perhaps – it’s worth a try.”


“David may also be salvageable,” I suggested. “His giving is heavily focused on cancer and on the arts.”


“So, what makes him ‘salvageable’?”


“He has a masters in Chemical Engineering – he understands chemistry. He now knows something about air and water chemistry and pollution. And he has a strong personal and philanthropic interest in cancer: My guess is that he’s certainly put all that together, even if he can’t talk about it openly.”


“Right,” Jay added. “Libertarian philosophies have to be incredibly simple. As soon as you weight them down with real world issues and constraints, they disintegrate.”


“Yes, so he has to keep his slowly evolving wisdom to himself,” I suggested, “otherwise his – and Charles’ – Libertarian world would crumble.”


I continued: “David Koch got caught up in the formaldehyde issue popularized by Sixty Minutes recently – about China-made flooring with very high formaldehyde emissions. The Kochs own Georgia-Pacific, which makes extensive use of the chemical in its laminates.”


“I remember now. The Kochs have lobbied for years against classifying formaldehyde as a human carcinogen,” Jay recalled.


“Correct. And David’s online resume shows that he received a presidential appointment to the National Cancer Advisory Board in 2005, serving a five year term.”


“Isn’t that a conflict of interest?” Bill asked. “It is a human carcinogen, isn’t it?”


“Formally, I think, since about 2011.”


“After Koch left that advisory board? Interesting, as you would say,” Bill concluded.


“So David will eventually have to own up. His strong personal interests in cancer and the Corporation’s strong involvement with formaldehyde will have to be addressed, probably via formaldehyde substitutes or replacements. He may be looking, perhaps subconsciously, for a way to address the conflict.”


“Perhaps harmless can help,” Jay smiled.



Bill Koch, David’s litigious twin, is also 75 years old. He’s 6-4 in height, and has a PhD (actually a DSc.) from MIT in 1971 – on gas flow through porous materials.


Their father had loathed publicity, scrupulously guarding the family’s privacy. Brother Bill became concerned that Charles and David’s political activism was beginning to draw attention to the company and the family. Bill also wanted more money. Bill felt Charles was donating too much corporate money to his personal political interests, so he tried to organize a corporate leadership takeover bid to replace Charles as Board Chair, allying with Fred and another major shareholder. That failed, as Charles, David, and other shareholders held firm. But it did lead to a familial split which is in part still ongoing.


Fred and Bill sold their stock in the firm in 1985 for about a billion or so dollars. Charles and David then had nearly full control of Koch Industries.


After the sale, Bill felt he had been shortchanged, claiming Charles misrepresented the company’s assets and worth. Fred joined Bill – and they filed suit to receive greater compensation. The lawsuits dragged on for a dozen or so years, with Charles and David being the victors. There were many long years of controversy, charges, testimony, and acrimony, resulting in wounds and scars which continue to endure. A Wichita judge said

            …it is no secret that the courts have become a stage for the unraveling of a family.


In a 1978 essay, the then 41-year-old Charles had claimed that business leaders had been hoodwinked by the notion that regulation is in the public interest. He advocated the barest possible obedience to regulation and implored

            Do not cooperate voluntarily, instead, resist whenever and to whatever extent you legally can in the name of justice.

As time went on, Koch Industries’ risk-taking  and regulatory disobedience crossed over into recklessness and even liability.


In his 2007 book, The Science of Success, Charles acknowledged his company’s recklessness:   While business was becoming increasingly regulated, we kept thinking and acting as if we lived in a pure market economy. The reality was far different.

That was Charles’ Revelation #2: the government is Koch’s customer – and Koch must play by its rules – like it or not.


Bill now runs the Oxbow Group, his energy development holding company based in West Palm Beach, Florida. It started out fairly green (thanks to government subsidies, he claims) and has more recently transformed to a more typical dirty energy firm. He said, via a Florida Weekly piece in late 2013, that alternative energy only exists with mandates and subsidies: So let’s not count on alternative energy to save us.’ Although not a hardcore climate denier, he believes if we want to live lavish lifestyles we need to accept dirty energy.



“A lavish lifestyle – that’s what we all want? That makes him a denier and an anti-environmentalist, in my book,” Bill said.


“Definitely,” I agreed. “Plus he’s given a lot of money to the Cape Cod Alliance to stop the large off shore wind farms, because he thinks he’ll see them from the properties he has there. So he’s probably not a wind energy fan.”


“But he’s not really a practicing plutocrat, is he?” Jay asked.


“No, certainly not like his brothers. But he is a Forbes-listed billionaire – worth in the range of perhaps $2 to $4B or so – who’s getting old with a wife and six kids – apparently via five different women!”


“And those heirs are getting old enough to have their own views and interests, I assume,” Bill said.


“He’s very proud of the private school he founded in Palm Beach, the Oxbridge Academy, that his kids attend,” I continued.


“And certainly the teachers there ought to be sympathetic to environment- and climate-connected education,” Jay said. “- and chocolates.”



Bill married Bridget Rooney, his third wife, in 2005. Twin brother David served as best man – so there has been some reconciliation of sorts.


He started Oxbridge Academy of the Palm Beaches in 2011 – in West Palm Beach – an independent college preparatory school founded on project-based learning: I wanted the school to teach the reality of accomplishment.’


Mrs. Koch jokes that when Bill Koch starts a school, it’s an instant school.

I believe the school will be Bill’s legacy. I really do. One of his finest accomplishments … He’s really a kind-hearted man … He’s so generous … Most people don’t see that side. They see him as a businessman, the America’s Cup winner, a tough litigator … He’s really a sweet, kind-hearted soul.


Two-thirds of the student body at Oxbridge receives financial aid and most of that aid comes via Bill. Four of his children go to Oxbridge.


He describes his son Wyatt, now about 30, as a gentleman. His daughter, Charlotte, is 17. His stepson Liam is also 17 – a star athlete. His son Bill, Jr. is 16 and also into sports; daughter Robin is 14. His youngest Kaitlin, 7, goes by the nickname K.K.


Bill has set up trusts and property for each of his kids:

            I’m always preaching to them to get along with one another. When I die … there will be nothing for them to fight about like my brothers and I did … I’m making sure there’s no financial incentive for them to fight. 


At a reconciliation event with David’s family, now some years ago, David, Jr. and Bill, Jr. were pre-school buddies.


Bill spent five summers on his Dad’s Montana ranch, working 10-hour days, seven days a week at 50 cents an hour:

            I fell in love with the West as a result, and I like the old code of the West: Stand your ground and help your neighbor, very simple things … If you didn’t have help from your neighbor, you wouldn’t survive.



“Say, perhaps Bill could call for a reunion of sorts in Lakeview, Montana,” Bill said. “I’ll bet he doesn’t even know the U’s Taft Center is there.”


“We could try to contact him – tell him we learned about him and the ranch via Sons of Wichita – and we’re fans of Centennial Valley,” I said.


“It’s worth a try – his kids should get to know the place – and perhaps Chase and Annie’s two, as well as David and Julia’s three.”


“What a great way to get them all in one place at one time – perhaps the U could initiate the invitation?” Bill considered.


“There’s another Montana connection,” I noted. “Dark Money says that sometime in the 90s, a Koch group, the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment (FREE), held special seminars for judges. Later, one or more of those judges were involved in decisions opposing the regulation of ground level ozone, subscribing to the argument that ozone is good for you!”


FREE still exists, based in Bozeman, and continues to offer expense-paid seminars about its philosophy, held primarily at resorts and private ranches in Montana, including its Gallatin Gateway ranch (www.free-eco.org ). FREE says (via Wikipedia) it is an American think-tank that promotes free-market environmentalism, emphasizing reliance on market mechanisms and private property rights, rather than on environmental regulation. One of its major funders is the Claude R. Lambe Foundation, largely controlled by Charles Koch, who dissolved the foundation in 2013, again according to Wikipedia.



Although Bill Koch is anti-Obama and was pro-Romney, he’s given money to Democrats in the distant past, including Hillary Clinton and Al Gore.


Regarding his brothers’ activities, he said to a Tampa Bay paper:

I think some of the things they are doing are great. I like that they’re fighting regulations. I like the fact that they are pointing out a lot of the weaknesses in the Democratic standard positions. I like the fact that they are … putting their money where their mouth is. And I like the fact that they are trying to be very clever, a bit Machiavellian.

He’s also said:

            I’ve become much more libertarian in my old age …  I’m obsessed – obsessed with winning.



Bill Koch and family live on that Palm Beach stretch of water and status that some call Billionaires’ Row – South Ocean Boulevard. He’s ranked in the top quarter or so on Forbes’ list of the world’s 400 richest people.


“His Palm Beach mansion may need to build a sea wall,” I said. “Remember that letter that Florida mayors sent to Rubio on the need for action on climate change? One of the many signors of those letters was Jeri Muoio, the mayor of West Palm Beach.”


“Maybe Bill and twin brother David can build their individual sea walls together?”


“Just how ‘salvageable’ might Bill Koch be?” Bill asked.


“Well, he has kids and perhaps soon grandkids to think about,” I responded. “He has a legacy in the Oxbridge Academy. The school even has students winning science project prizes for environmental work.”


“Isn’t that the Florida high school with a polo program and team?” Jay asked.


“What would you do without the New York Times?”


“I’d be bored.”


“And his current environmental perspective?” Bill asked.


“The motto or slogan on the oxbow.com site says: ‘Producing natural resources for the world – responsibly.’”


“I wonder what ‘responsibly’ means?” Jay pondered.


“There is a Sustainability page under the About Us tab,” I reported. “And a Safety-Community-Environment Venn diagram. There is really nothing else on the site about environment or climate concerns.”


“We’ll just have to work on his wife, all the kids, and the Oxbridge school – and maybe a gentle competition with Charles or David.”


“And perhaps that West Palm Beach mayor,” Jay added.



Frederick Koch is now 82 and is very private. He has many properties in Europe and the USA. He has a New York City Fifth Avenue ‘apartment’, near David although they seem to have little contact.


Frederick was always the outlier among his rough, competitive brothers. While the three younger brothers took after their John Wayne-like father, Frederick gravitated toward his mother’s artistic interests.


‘Fred sort of segregated himself from the family very early on,’ a family friend has said. ‘I think everyone was more comfortable with that.’ According to Bill, ‘Freddie wanted no part of the family and did his own thing.’ Frederick studied humanities at Harvard (BA 1955) and received an MFA from Yale School of Drama in 1961.


He was closest with his mother, Mary. They shared a love of fine art, music, and theater. He has collected musical scores, manuscripts, historical documents, and artistic materials, much of it purchased anonymously. His Frederick R. Koch Collection is now housed in Yale’s Beinecke Library. He is a scholar of the fine arts and a natural storyteller.


There seems to be no information on potential heirs or on his relationship with his nieces and nephews.



“We’ve learned a lot, but we don’t really have any strategy or access,” Bill surmised.


“And they’re quite old – I worry about feeding them 100 mg of MDMA, although I really don’t think it would hurt them. They seem fairly robust and healthy,” I said.


“Let’s not worry about Frederick,” Jay said. “It’s likely his assets will go to art-based groups.”


“There’s some opportunity via Bill, I think, connected in some way to the Oxbridge School.”


“What if we let the school know about Bill’s Centennial Valley history – and the U’s Taft Humanities Institute? Maybe Bill would spring for getting a group of students to the ranch and the U facility,” Bill suggested.


“And perhaps invite David and Julia,” Jay said.  “Their sons – the juniors – David and Bill – seem to like each other.”


“I did find wife Bridgett sis on the Board of the Palm Beach Zoo. That’s at least a start.”


“The impact of climate change on animals?” Bill suggested.


“Regarding Charles, he did say once:

            The biggest problems in society have occurred in those areas thought to be best controlled in common: the atmosphere, bodies of water, air …


“So he may be familiar with The Tragedy of the Commons problem,” Bill said.


“Yes, he even mentioned it in his Science of Success book. He quotes Garrett Hardin, ‘… in a world that is limited. Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all’. His ‘solution’ is that the individuals using the commons need to bear ‘… the full costs of their actions…’”


“So what’s with his aversion to regulation – to government?” Bill asked.


“Charles told NPR recently:

… on environmental regulations, it is definitely a role of the government to set standards on emissions based on sound science…

And in the Preface to his new book he advocates

…allowing people the freedom to pursue their own interests, within beneficial rules of just conduct.

But he can’t seem to get his head around those ‘beneficial rules’ – or their enforcement.”


“He really sounds conflicted,” Jay added. “As an engineer, he understands resources are limited – that we live in a commons – and yet can’t overcome the seductive simplicity of totally private property and largely unregulated actions.”


“That’s his problem,” I agreed. “And given his now politically active billions, it’s a serious problem for the country and its politics. And yet there may be some hope. Maybe he’ll age his way into wisdom – out of his obvious philosophical conflicts.”


“How so?”


“Well, he’s also quoted as saying:


Universities are supposed to be a marketplace of ideas and encourage different thinking, not, ‘Oh, we don’t want any student to be uncomfortable’. … you want all the students to be uncomfortable because they are exposed to new and different ideas that challenge the way they are thinking to help them develop thinking skills….Let’s have a free and open debate. That’s what a free society is all about.


“Amen,” Bill said.


Daniel Fisher of Forbes recently interviewed Charles Koch in his Wichita office, to discuss Good Profit and his 2016 election perspectives:

A Picasso-esque painting of a figure in red hangs on one wall, the precocious work of his daughter Elizabeth, now a publisher in L.A., when she was 16. A portrait of Koch’s father, Fred, hangs on a wall to the right of his desk.


Fisher notes that Charles is now 80 and still very much in charge at Koch Industries. His son Chase, a graduate of Texas A&M, runs Koch’s agronomics division. His daughter Elizabeth, who graduated from Princeton, runs a new publishing company called Catapult.


In response to a question on the Warren Buffett pledge, Charles told Fisher that he has already done his estate planning, and his final assets will go to his foundations.


A full chapter in Sons of Wichita was titled Legacy, covering Charles’ two children, Chas and Elizabeth.



“That’s the most recent input we have on Charles’ views and perspectives. He’s far less specific and dogmatic than his earlier interviews and writings,” I said.


“Perhaps he’s beginning to understand his own limitations and that his earlier positions and perspectives may not be as clear and appropriate as they once were,” Bill said, seriously.


“I think so. Other parts of the interview suggest that Charles may indeed be starting to question them. That is the beginning of wisdom and of education,” I said, “knowing how little you know and understanding that the world is indeed very complex – not amenable to simple solutions and positions.”


“But given all he’s invested in those earlier, dogmatic and simplistic views and positions, how does he get out of it – how can he transform?” Jay asked.


“We have to help him escape the fear of changing his mind – the fear of contradicting his earlier self,” I suggested. “Maybe daughter Elizabeth can help him.”


“He did say in that Forbes interview, responding to a question about his kids, that Elizabeth

…is a much better writer than I am. She’s terrific. I’m really proud of both my kids. They have great values, they treat other people with dignity and respect and great work ethic.


“The homework I’ve done on Elizabeth turned up the quote ‘We’re very close but we’re all different…’. Another one from her 2007 writings is ‘My mother … just e-mailed me. She thinks we’re growing apart’. So it’s clear, I think, that the family is close and does interact.”


“So Elizabeth, who, apparently, has never bought in to Charles’ dogmatic Libertarian ideals and philosophy – may be our best intellectual access to Charles.”


“Perhaps,” Jay said, not very convinced.



Elizabeth R. Koch is the literary member of the Koch family. She’s 40, studied English at Princeton, and received an MFA in creative writing from Syracuse University, where she studied with author George Saunders. She recently launched Catapult, www.catapult.co , a new firm publishing paperback and e-books and providing services and outlets for writers.


She told a Wall Street Journal reporter in late 2015 that she hopes to create the same kind of safe, collaborative atmosphere that she found at Syracuse, where she finally became comfortable with the idea of being a writer. At Syracuse, she said, she and her classmates were encouraged ‘to show our most vulnerable selves. We were really encouraged to take risks.’


The Catapult team is Elizabeth Koch as CEO, Andy Hunter is publisher, and editor-in-chief is Pat Strachan. Catapult will offer fiction, narrative nonfiction and graphic novels.



Elizabeth grew up in Kansas, and wrote stories from the time she was young. After her Princeton studies she held a series of jobs, editing books, working at magazines and doing a brief stint in journalism. Growing up as Charles Koch’s daughter, she had instilled in her the need to be productive, to be busy, to be doing.

I was doing so many other things because I didn’t have the courage to write. It wasn’t until I got into Syracuse that I felt, okay, now I think I have permission. That’s part of what we want to do at Catapult—give people permission. Don’t quit… We’re here, we’re with you, we support you.


Elizabeth has noted that her earlier publishing experience involved a deep-seated belief that a well-told story can be a training ground for empathy, for expanding our minds and developing personally. Ms. Strachan said Catapult wants to have  ‘…empathy for writers. That’s one of the most important things for an editor to have.’  And Elizabeth has said ‘I just want my writing to be judged on its own merit … That’s what every writer wants.’


George Saunders, Elizabeth’s Syracuse mentor, said.

She’s one of the most verbally gifted writers I’ve worked with, just wildly imaginative. Her work is kind of dark but personally, she is very optimistic and bright. The darkness is the willingness to acknowledge that things don’t go perfectly… Some people come in and light up the room and raise the bar and she was one of those.


She was also an executive producer on the Netflix original film Beasts of No Nation.


She wrote an 11-part travelogue in 2006-07, which is online, saying

Having money upsets and confuses me into feeling crappy and spoiled and quivering with self-loathing. … I expend a lot of energy pretending I don’t have it.


A Wall Street Journal article on Catapult compared its goals briefly to that of Graywolf Press and noted its recent best seller The Empathy Exams, 2014. Given that title, harmless did some homework on the book and read its first essay, also titled The Empathy Exams. It refers to a medical actor, presumably the author, Leslie Jamison, acting out disease or ailment symptoms for medical students to diagnose. The essay asks questions about our basic understanding of others: How can we feel another’s pain? Is empathy a tool by which to test or even grade each other? She discusses Yeats and the Joni Mitchell song Slouching toward Bethlehem as well as Joan Didion.



“There’s more and more material coming out on empathy,” Jay said.


“And remember MDMA – the Movie?” Bill asked. “It may be released in late 2016.”


“harmless’ actions are just in time then,” I smiled.


“And we’ll soon be doing the Centennial Valley gig – for the Kochs, and perhaps Ernst, Gardner, Lee, and Inhofe. I’ve been planning for early September so the weather in southern Montana is still pleasant.” Bill said.


“There are so many patients who need treatment,” Jay said, without enthusiasm.


“It’s good to know we’re needed, even if we’re not wanted,” Bill offered.


“Yes, we – harmless – are definitely needed. But we can’t treat them all.” I said. “We need to successfully treat very key and important patients, demonstrating that they are indeed treatable. And then, hopefully, others will follow in our footsteps.”


“You mean we need to empower fellow activists to do their own revelation engineering work, correct?” Bill said.


“Exactly,” I said. “There are many approaches to revelation engineering. MDMA just happens to be the most efficient and effective approach for harmless.”


“And we’re showing, in this book and via our actions, that MDMA can be easily made and delivered – even though it’s now illegal,” Jay continued.


“Others will assume the responsibility and take the risk – just as we’re doing – just as Tim DeChristopher did,” Bill added.


“The clinical trials with MDMA are continuing and expanding. The efforts to re-legalize MDMA are increasing. MAPS, EmmaSofia, and likely others will eventually succeed, at least to some extent,” I said.



We then briefly discussed a recent Colorado Public Radio segment we had all listened to on a current FDA approved and MAPS – facilitated study of MDMA for PTSD victims. One of the physicians involved, said in response to a question,

            …MDMA should be approved [for physician prescription] within five years.



“We need to carefully focus. We need to demonstrate that moral enhancement, empathy enhancement – revelation enhancement – is possible and really works. And we need to do demonstrate that with some very high profile patients,” I surmised.


“Like the Koch Brothers,” Bill said.


“Like the Koch brothers,” I agreed.


“But there are three more I’d like us to get to and treat – not normally considered plutocrats or ultra-greedy CEOs,” I said. “But they’re just as significant and influential – and perhaps even more evil than the Kochs.”


“Yes?” Jay asked.


“Wayne LaPierre, Grover Norquist, and Thomas Donohue. First – LaPierre and his National Rifle Association – the NRA.”



Wayne LaPierre is now about 65, has served as Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association since about 1991; he has been with the NRA since 1965 – his first 20 years as a lobbyist. He is the NRA’s major public face and voice. Sheryl Stolberg of the New York Times says, ‘He is the NRA – he’s built the NRA. She told Frontline

            The membership wanted a tough guy … somebody that drew a red line, who didn’t compromise, who didn’t cave.


LaPierre grew up in a home without guns only to embrace the right to own many with near-religious fervor. He apparently has no kids and never served in the military. He is now married to Susan, who helps raise money for the association and is a co-chairwoman of its women’s leadership forum, which sponsors an annual luncheon that has featured prominent political spouses including Callista Gingrich and Ann Romney.


‘He’s a student of it – lives, eats and breathes politics, says friend and former chief NRA lobbyist James Jay Baker. Grover Norquist has said, ‘He’s a guy who will never fold.’ He devotes himself to the NRA, serving as spokesman but also top administrator. He spends his weekends traveling to NRA gatherings across the country, sometimes making multiple stops in a single weekend.


He works very hard, saying

You don’t have any time in this town. I mean you work from 7 in the morning until 11 at night, night after night, you end up working weekends . . . and your life goes by.



“Maybe he’s thinking of retiring,” Jay said. “He’s been very quiet after the recent shootings.”


“You mean in Oregon and San Bernardino?” Bill asked.


“Yes – and even after the Paris terrorist actions, he seemed to be relatively quiet,” Jay added.


“Since he basically works for the gun manufacturers, he doesn’t have to say anything. Their stock and sales keep going up – after every shooting,” I fumed.



LaPierre won’t say when or if he might leave the job. But when asked what a former NRA chief might do with his life, he smiled:

            Probably [go] up to northern Maine, I’m serious, and open an ice cream shop.


The group Everytown for Gun Safety recently reported that the NRA is

…losing the American people. The NRA is getting desperate, so they’re tightening their stranglehold on Congress. Their membership revenue is plummeting — by some estimates, they lost an annual $47 million over just one year. They’ve had to raise their membership dues for the first time in more than twenty years. And they’re embarking on a fundraising campaign so aggressive that many members are ripping up their membership cards.


The National Rifle Association does not exist to offer sensible public policy or participate in conversations or pretend to be sensitive about tragedies. The NRA exists for gun manufacturers – and to help them sell guns and accessories. That is their job, summed up, in its entirety according to Jason Linkins in the December, 2012 Huffington Post. Gun manufacturers’ stock doubled in 2015.


The message of security, fear, paranoia – and ‘they’ll come for your guns’ – continues to resonate.

The NRA works closely with the far right, with libertarians, with the Tea Party, with ALEC, and with the industry. The various gun industry firms make major gifts to the NRA, have strong Board representation, and generally think of the NRA as their trade organization. In recent years it has built and maintained its flagging individual memberships by stoking fear and paranoia. The NRA and its industry is followed closely by Josh Sugarmann, the executive director of the Violence Policy Center.



‘LaPierre is not a gifted orator, skilled rhetorician or naturally talented performer’, writes Blannelberry at www.gunsamerica.com:

… far from it. His voice is shrill. His delivery is anything but smooth. He frequently makes mistakes … His body language is incredibly stilted, and even downright awkward. He is strangely intense.


Some LaPierre quotes:


What people all over the country fear today is being abandoned by their government. If a tornado hits, if a hurricane hits, if a riot occurs, that they’re going to be out there alone, and the only way they will protect themselves, in the cold, in the dark, when they are vulnerable, is with a firearm.


Our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters.


I ask you, do you trust this government to protect you?


We live in the most dangerous of times. America has been infiltrated by terrorists and Mexican drug criminals … lurking and plotting to murder us.


Americans are facing the reality that they’re on their own.


He did begin a recent speech with


We as Americans are wary, we’re despairing, we’re sad.


No new federal gun control legislation has been passed since 1994. The very minimalist executive orders Obama issued after the San Bernardino massacre are being opposed and challenged by the right and the Second Amendment crowd.


The NRA – and La Pierre – seem to thrive on criticism. Brian Anse Patrick in NRA and the Media, 2002,??  wrote

the more negative coverage … [it] has received, the larger its membership has grown.


The NRA and its membership express a fervor as strong as religious zealots. The leaders manipulate those passions to consolidate political power and keep the money flowing, according to Richard Feldman in Ricochet.


The NRA Board consists of 76 very gun-oriented, gun-supportive individuals who think of themselves as patriots protecting fundamental freedoms – especially the Second Amendment.

Board members are 86% men, 93% white, 33% current or former lawmakers and government officials.


To LaPierre, and the gun owners he represents, the real, overriding reason to own a gun isn’t protection from tyranny or some warped sense of civil duty, it is fear: terror at what’s perceived as an increasingly dangerous, fractured society; paranoia about coming natural disasters or apocalyptic events; and an obsession with criminals and drug gangs – you know: ‘bad guys.’

LaPierre, in his Year 2000 NRA meeting ‘Moms’ Speech’, ‘Well, it’s all a big, stinking, dangerous Al Gore lie. ABC, NBC, CBS,  … are you reporting my words? Because I defy you to argue with the truth.’


Writer Lupica ?? is especially direct, saying LaPierre is

…a cheap, dangerous demagogue … fronting for the big gun companies…[he] isn’t a patriot, he’s a pimp.


LaPierre once told a cheering NRA crowd that ‘…the guys with the guns make the rules.’ Although – as far as the NRA is concerned – it is now the guys who make the guns who make the rules, via the NRA.


The NRA’s ‘number-one legislative priority’ in 2005 was a law blocking liability lawsuits that once threatened to expose the industry’s darkest business practices. The law was enacted.


The notorious ‘stand your ground’ law was the brainchild of former NRA president Marion

Hammer. It makes it legal for a person who is attacked in public to use lethal force as

a first resort. As we learned earlier, the first such measure was passed in 2005 in Florida – championed by an ambitious state legislator named Marco Rubio and signed by Governor Jeb Bush.


The National Rifle Association partners with ALEC to steer similar laws through other state legislatures. Since 2005, the NRA, through ALEC, has taken stand-your-ground nationwide, helping to pass laws in 24 other states. At least 10 of those laws are all but identical to the language of the Florida legislation.


In Florida, Trayvon Martin’s home state, ‘justifiable homicides’ tripled between 2005 and 2011. A new study from Texas A&M found that by ‘lowering the expected costs associated with using lethal force,’ these stand-your-ground laws have driven an eight percent increase in murders and manslaughters.



“Did you hear about the new studies using plagiarism-detection software to analyze legislative bills?” I asked.


“Not really – but we’ve heard of situations where candidates and even elected officials have been induced to resign due to charges of plagiarism,” Bill said.


New Scientist just reported studies looking specifically at legislation, to determine the origin of the bills – often coming from activist and special interest groups.”


“Like ALEC,” Jay smiled.


“Especially ALEC. And now there’s also a real time fact checking program, called ClaimBuster.”


“Cool. These sound like good tools to help identify and communicate just how common and pervasive ALEC is in state legislatures and local government.”


“They just had their annual meeting – the States and Nation Policy Summit,” Bill said. “Scott Walker and Ted Cruz were among the keynote speakers.”


“ALEC now includes something called the American City and County Exchange – the ACCE.”


“So they now are peddling their libertarian wares to the very local political level,” I said.


“It just keeps getting worse,” Bill said.



NRA’s corporate patrons include about two dozen firearms manufacturers, half of which are makers of assault weapons, according to a 2011 analysis by the Violence Policy Center.  Gifts also flow from dozens of firms that profit from high-capacity magazines, including Browning and Remington. Donors from the industry and other corporations – including Xe, the new name of the mercenary group Blackwater – have funneled up to $52 million to the NRA in recent years.


NRA’s active lobbying division is the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA). The NRA backed Bush to the hilt in the 2000 race. ‘The gun issue cost Al Gore the White House,’ says Feldman. ‘Absent the gun issue, he would have won Tennessee, Arkansas and West Virginia.’ The Bush administration rewarded the NRA by appointing John Ashcroft as Attorney General.


In 2012 the NRA was the eighth-largest dark-money group in the country. In the 2012 election cycle, it spent more than $24 million in both regulated and dark money.


Richard Feldman worked as a lobbyist for the NRA, and now says:

            They have really gone after the gun industry. …[They are a] …cynical, mercenary political cult.


The NRA’s unbending opposition to any gun-control measures does not match the views of most gun owners or most of its members. ‘Their members are much more rational than the management of the NRA,’ Rolling Stone has reported: ‘They’re out of touch.’  Perhaps intentionally so.


And now LaPierre is railing against the United Nations and the international community. His most recent book is America Disarmed: Inside the U.N. and Obama’s Scheme to Destroy the Second Amendment. The one just before was called: Guns, Freedom & Terrorism. These are more recent versions of earlier books by him on the same subjects. The books, the speeches, the positions of LaPierre and the NRA are consistent with fear, paranoia, and libertarian-like attitudes – very similar to that of the Tea Party and those generally older, largely uneducated, and white men who feel their traditional world and values are disintegrating before their eyes. Rollert in an article on empathy, in The Atlantic, caught their mental state:

To be haunted —and how else to describe a life hemmed in by fear—is to be viscerally present, at every moment, to the darkest possibilities.

They exist in a sad, unpleasant, and – to them – dangerous world.



“And it’s all reinforced by their simple-minded right wing politicians and the right fear-baiting media,” Jay said.


“Diana and I like to watch an Italian mystery show, Don Matteo, about a Catholic priest who helps the local police solve killing mysteries. The other night the show dealt with gun trafficking.  Father Matteo quoted a small child as saying

Father, Aren’t those that make and sell the guns guilty of murder – because they know the guns will be used for killing?”


“The wisdom of kids,” Bill said. “But Republican adults have no such wisdom. It was Jeb Bush  who in 2003 told the NRA: ‘The sound of our guns is the sound of freedom!”


“It’s all about fear and paranoia,” Bill concurred.



“Let’s try to turn this around,” Jay said. “Where does the ‘stand your ground’ idea come from?”


“From defending your home, property, family,” Bill responded.


“Right. A man’s home is his castle. It’s been called the Castle Doctrine – and part of the background to the Supreme Court’s stand your ground decision.”


“Some call it the ‘Go on – make my day!’ law, uttered by trigger happy vigilantes,” Jay said. “But let’s say my home – my castle – is defined to be Planet Earth. If I catch you trashing and destroying it, can’t I stand my ground to protect it?”


“Wow, interesting. And since Stand Your Ground, thanks to the NRA and ALEC, is now legal in some 25 states, we should use the law to prevent Earth destruction in those states,” Bill said.


“It’s even more reasonable to use the castle doctrine laws – valid in some 45 states,” Jay added. “In any event we should be on firm legal ground to really get tough on planetary protection.”


“These laws don’t say we can drug the bad guys – we can only shoot or kill them. Drugging them is still illegal.”


“Unless the drug is lethal?” Jay asked, smiling.


“I don’t think any environmental activists have ever used a castle doctrine or stand your ground defense,” I said. “I’ll talk with Matt about it.”



The younger LaPierre said, on May 1, 1999:

            We believe in absolutely gun-free, zero-tolerance, totally safe schools. That means no guns in America’s schools, period.

That was in response to the Columbine High School massacre.


The older, more experienced, hard-nosed LaPierre said in response to the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre in December, 2012, some 13 years later:

            The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

He then proposed having armed, NRA-trained vigilantes patrolling each of the nation’s nearly 100,000 public schools.


But good guys can go bad. PeterR, an online blogger, wrote:

            Good guys blinded with anger do bad things. Good guys blinded with anger who have guns at hand kill people.



As a young man, LaPierre was not particularly fond of guns. As a newly minted political science graduate, he found an outlet for his interests in politics and political strategies. He found a calling, an opportunity. And now he seems to have morphed or evolved from an opportunist, to an ideologue, to an individual thriving on the fuel of brute power.



“LaPierre is now older, perhaps a bit tired, and may be moving towards more adult, mature, and reasonable perspectives. Perhaps it’s time for that ice cream shop in Maine he mentioned,” I said.


“So you’re thinking he might be responsive to a harmless treatment?” Jay asked.


“Yes. As some people get older, they get more conservative, fearful, even paranoid. But others – even ideologues – go in the other direction. They can mellow and even get wiser. They can think about the future, the younger generations, their grandkids.”


“Boy, you still are naive!” Bill said. “And so optimistic.”


“But LaPierre doesn’t even have kids, or grandkids,” Jay added.


“He’s married now; perhaps he has nephews, nieces; perhaps he’s mellowing. Maybe he’s fond of chocolate. It’s worth a try.”



His wife, Susan, may not be much help. She’s been called a ‘trophy’ wife, likes expensive dresses, and doesn’t seem to have her own calling or direction. According to Feldman in Ricochet:

            … Wayne LaPierre and his wife, Susan, holding court at one end of the white-draped refreshment table. Although the room was small, the lighting was subdued and I couldn’t tell from the doorway whether Susan was wearing one of her designer dresses that had increasingly become her trademark. Her haute couture had caused a stifled groundswell of discontent among the traditional conservative higher-ups in the official family. It was one thing to make a killing in a nonprofit, membership-funded organization. But it was another thing altogether to flaunt it.


“There are some on line photos showing the LaPierres with Larry King at some cardiac foundation event,” Jay said. “Perhaps we could get Susan to deliver chocolates to the NRA’s Women’s Forum – or get some into their registration packets.”


“Why doesn’t Ananda offer them as a promo to gun manufacturers displaying at the meeting?” Bill added. “If not to all registrants, perhaps just the Board members.”


“Perhaps if we approached Susan,” I said. “Don’t trophy wives like chocolate?”


“They all do,” Jay said.




Grover Norquist is founder, president, and the face of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR).


According to its site, ATR works to limit the size and cost of government and opposes higher taxes at the federal, state, and local levels and supports tax reform that moves towards taxing consumed income one time at one rate. ATR organizes the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which asks all candidates for federal and state office to commit themselves in writing to the American people to oppose all tax increases.


Arianna Huffington calls Norquist ‘The dark wizard of the Right’s anti-tax cult.’


            Americans for Tax Reform is a wonderful-sounding name.… As far as I’m concerned, it’s a front organization for Grover Norquist’s lobbying activities,’

said former New Hampshire Senator Warren Rudman.


Lee Fang in The Nation wrote that Norquist has a long history of helping his corporate donors lobby for tax subsidies and other gifts.


Charlie Cook of Sixty Minutes has called him

…the single most influential conservative in Washington or, for that matter, the United States.


One aspect of Norquist’s pledge is the promise not to raise rates. The second – and less well known part – is a commitment to sustain all existing corporate tax subsidies or credits.


Although rigorous Libertarians like Charles Koch often argue against any and all government subsidies, Norquist argues to maintain all such tax subsidies now in place. And firms receiving major subsidies often donate to ATR to empower Norquist to keep lobbying on their behalf. As an example, Fang reported that from 2008 to 2011 the American Petroleum Institute gave $525,000 to Americans for Tax Reform.


Norquist is not above equating tax collection with a street mugging, or suggesting that arguments for higher taxes on rich people echo the ones Nazis used to justify their targeting of Jews. Bipartisanship is another name for date rape,he once told a reporter. He likes to say he wants to shrink the size of government in half over the next 25 years ‘…to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.’


ATR has received major funding from the Center to Protect Patient Rights, which is itself primarily Koch Brothers funded, with some help from Stephen Schwarzman. Another major funder of ATR is Crossroads GPS, the Karl Rove group, which is in turn heavily funded by Paul Singer, a vulture hedge fund player. Singer is worth about $2B and is worried that civilization may end via an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) event.


“Civilization won’t end,” Jay said. “But much of our wireless and computer electronic infrastructure might fry and crash.”


“Books will survive,” Bill said. “And music, and plays.”


“And most of us – and the living world – would likely survive.”



Norquist’s lobbying career has now spanned many decades. He, via ATF, helped provide money laundering services for Jack Abramoff’s clients, yet Norquist emerged from the Abramoff scandal largely untainted. There’s a lot on Norquist in the first third of Abramoff’s book Capitol Punishment (2011). Norquist and Abramoff apparently influenced and helped each other in their early careers.


Norquist’s written several books. His newest is End the IRS before it Ends Us, out in early 2015. Earlier ones are: Leave us Alone: Getting the Government’s Hands Off …in 2009; and, with John Lott, Debacle: Obama’s War on Jobs …, 2012; a recent mini-book is called A U-Turn on the Road to Serfdom. In it is his 2013 Hayek lecture on reducing the size of the state. The lecture is on-line at: http://www.iea.org.uk/multimedia/video/annual-iea-hayek-memorial-lecture-grover-norquist-speaks-on-tax-policy

Norquist is an entertaining speaker and make a good case for ‘leave us alone’ – for freedom and liberty, but then constantly stumbles over himself when discussing public needs and services.


It’s interesting that the Hayek lecture the year before, in 2012, was given by Elinor Ostrom on the Future of the Commons. Ostrom is a Nobel prize economist who worked on sustainable economics. Norquist – as well as the Koch Brothers – would have benefited from hearing her lecture.


There are several books about Norquist. And, of course, he’s had his moments with Jon Stewart.


Donald Trump and Jeb! Bush have not signed (as of 9-1-2015) Norquist’s No New Taxes pledge. Trump is now discussing raising taxes. Grover, where are you?!


So who is Grover Norquist, beyond being a pre-puberty political prodigy?


‘Politics is what I do,’ he said in an interview.

            I read murder mysteries. I exercise 40 minutes a day. I watch videotapes while I exercise. I listen to audiotapes when I am in my car.


Politics hit him like puberty, and he has never looked back. He had the no tax pledge idea when he was 12 years old and working for the Nixon campaign.


“But he did get through puberty without reading Atlas Shrugged, I understand,” Bill said.


“After folks suggested his ideas were Ayn Rand – like, he asked ‘Who’s Ayn Rand?’ –  he’s now read Atlas Shrugged, and seen the film, stating he thought it was ‘excellent’”.


“So did Sean Hannity,” Jay smiled.


Michael Scherer wrote, back in 2004:

            By the age of 12, he already knew that government was bad, that the Soviet Union must be eliminated, that public monopolies were worse than the private sector, that social freedom was more important than social fairness. He isn’t about to change his mind now.


“That all sounds like Ayn Rand to me,” Jay said.


“Did you know Ayn Rand thought of herself as a right-wing John Steinbeck?”


“I doubt that Steinbeck would tolerate any comparison to Rand,” Jay said.


“Norquist called Paul Ryan a ‘brilliant choice’ for Romney’s Vice-President in 2012,” I added.


“I expect that Norquist would have endorsed any Ayn Rand – loving politician,” Jay said.


One classic Norquist quote is

            My ideal citizen is the self-employed, homeschooling, IRA-owning guy with a concealed-carry permit. Because that person doesn’t need the goddamn government for anything.


“Sure, until he’s stricken by cancer, shot by a stand-your-ground vigilante nut, hit by a big earthquake, or caught in an unpredicted flash flood,” Bill said.


“I just quickly read his recent, current book on End the IRS … – the subtitle says it all: How to Restore a Low-Tax, High-Growth, Wealthy America (in red, white, and blue colors, of course!).”


“Anything about environment or pollution?” Bill asked, cynically.


“How’d you guess? No such words in the Index. But climate change appears on pp. 291-2: a rant against Al Gore and environmental-climate concerns that reads like it was written at least a decade ago. He’s learned nothing in the ensuing ten or so years.”


“What did you expect? He’s a Libertarian ideologue,” Jay said.


“But I’ve learned he apparently has a sense of humor. He volunteers as a stand up comedian – and is reportedly quite good.”



Norquist has competed three times in the comedy fundraiser Washington’s Funniest Celebrity and placed second in 2009. Baratunde Thurston, a comedy writer and performer, who has observed Norquist on stage, has said:

            The culture we’re in wants to vilify people who disagree with you. I wanted Grover to be a pure devil, a heartless, rapacious capitalist. But there’s a heart that beats in there. And it’s disappointingly humorous.



“So he may really have a heart – and a personality?” Jay asked.


“Perhaps – and he’s still young. And he’s willing to consider a carbon tax, if…” I said.


“If, what?”


“If it means lower taxes elsewhere – or perhaps the Citizens’ Climate Lobby revenue neutral carbon fee and dividend plan.”


“So he may not be as ultra-rigid and dogmatic as we normally believe?” Bill asked.


“Perhaps not.”



Norquist describes himself as a …boring white bread Methodist.’  He has long been active in building bridges between various ethnic and religious minorities and the free-market community. He has close professional and personal ties to Islamic political activism. He co-founded the Islamic Free Market Institute. He has said

George W. Bush was elected president of the United States of America because of the Muslim vote, because more than 46,000 Muslims in Florida voted Republican in 2000.



He married Samah Alrayyes in 2004 in a Methodist ceremony. They adopted a Palestinian child in 2008, and a second one more recently. Their two girls are named Grace and Giselle. And he and Samah attended Burning Man in August 2014 in Black Rock, Nevada. When asked why, he explained that he attended because,

            There’s no government that organizes this. That’s what happens when nobody tells you what to do. You just figure it out. So Burning Man is a refutation of the argument that the state has a place in nature.


Samah was formerly a director of the Islamic Free Market Institute and specialist at the Bureau of Legislative and Public Affairs at the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Samah was born in Kuwait to Palestinian Arab parents.


From an online bio:

She is the Public Affairs Specialist for Arab and Muslim outreach at the Bureau of Legislative and Public affairs at USAID


Norquist’s sister Lorraine is married to Majed Tomeh, founder of the Islamic Institute.  In 2010, Norquist emerged as an outspoken Republican foe of politicizing the mosque-in-Manhattan issue, calling it a ‘distraction’.


Norquist is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. For a while he was apparently on leave from his Board position in the NRA, but seems to be back on now. According to friend and former roommate John Fund, Norquist’s devotion to his political causes is ‘monk-like’. His profession, as noted on his marriage certificate, is ‘economist’. His politics appear to fit under the banner of Libertarian rather that right wing, evangelical, or tea party.


Norquist does not fit the caricature of the right-wing nut the media and Democrats have made him out to be. He serves on the advisory board of GoProud, a political organization representing gay conservatives. He stands up to those who portray all Muslims as terrorists.


Every year during the Islamic month of Ramadan, Norquist co-hosts Iftar, when Muslims break their fast; it is an inter-denominational event held in the DC area.



“He is definitely an interesting fellow,” I surmised. “And he’s getting older, if not wiser. The Dedication to his new IRS book reads:

And to my wife, Samah, who in addition to everything gave me two powerful reasons to fight to restore and expand our freedoms: our daughters, Grace and Giselle.



“Isn’t that sweet,” Jay grimaced. “He wants to expand their freedoms to breathe crappy air, drink polluted water, and endure climate chaos.”


“But probably in a gated, controlled country community or building – maybe at a Koch ranch or a Manhattan luxury pad,” Bill suggested.


“Well, guys,” I shrugged, “Perhaps now having a wife and two girls, he may be in the mood to think more about the future of the country and the planet. Let’s let Ananda get to him – and see what happens.”


“Don’t be too disappointed if our magic potion doesn’t have much of an effect,” Jay cautioned, “although LaPierre may be an even worse bet.”




Thomas J Donohue is the President and CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce. He has a bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University and a master’s degree in business administration from Adelphi University. The Chamber supports pro-business causes. Donohue has been its president since 1997. He rapidly grew its Board to more than 100 seats. His 2013 paycheck was reported as $5.5 million. He has been criticized for big, lavish parties to do the Chamber’s business. He was born in 1938 and is now 78 years old. Donohue’s wife is Liz Donohue. They have three sons and five grandchildren.



“Just right for a near end of life revelation,” Jay said.


“His actions in encouraging cigarette sales world-wide decrease the longevity for his many victims,” Bill added.


“It really is criminal what he and the US Chamber does,” I said. “They shouldn’t be called the ‘US Chamber’ because it makes it seem like the USA is endorsing world-wide cigarette sales.”


“The US government has always been about supporting and expanding US industry,” Jay said “Howard Zinn made that crystal clear in his People’s History of the US book.”


Mother Jones’ recent Marlboro Country piece shows an Indonesian five-year-old smoking. Indonesia is apparently a playground for large tobacco countries. More than seventy percent of men there smoke, and more than 40 percent of the 13- to 15-year age boys – Indonesia’s ‘Marlboro boys’.


Donohue has been called ‘…a bodacious, hard-charging, in-your-face kind of guy…’ He threatens, cajoles, badgers — whatever it takes to get what he wants… The Wall Street Journal says Donohue’s

… most striking innovation has been to offer individual companies and industries the chance to use the chamber as a means of anonymously pursuing their own political ends. …Major corporations donate funds to the Chamber, earmarked for particular political topics, and the Chamber spends them under its own name.


Like LaPierre, Donohue took a fairly weak and small organization and built it into a major political powerhouse. His Chamber web site bio:

            Under Donohue’s leadership, the Chamber has emerged as a major political force in races for the Senate and the House of Representatives. As part of this bipartisan effort, millions of grassroots business advocates, as well as the Chamber’s federation of state and local chambers and industry associations, mobilize in support of pro-business candidates.


A key person with the Chamber is Karen Harbert, president and CEO of its Institute for 21st Century Energy. She, her Institute, and the Chamber are strongly anti-Obama’s and anti-EPA’s efforts in behalf of clean air improvement and fossil fuel regulation. In addition to tobacco ‘freedom’, the Chamber is filing a lawsuit challenging the latest EPA ozone standard.



“Hey, if nicotine is ok for you, what could be the problem with ozone?” Bill laughed. “Maybe they cancel each other out!”


“No, they are synergistic,” I said. “One causes lung cancer, the other aggravates allergy and COPD.”


“Their 2015 Agenda was Jobs, Growth, and Opportunity,” Bill said.


“Doesn’t that sound like the Ryan, Rubio, and Cruz political books?” Jay asked.


“It’s the standard GOP mantra – based on 18th and 19th century assumptions and mentalities.”


“Coal emissions, ozone, and nicotine – a very healthy mix – for very dirty industries,” Bill added.



A Washington Monthly story in 2010 noted that Donohue

…has a well developed talent for self promotion. He makes a point of being the last person on any stage… He travels in a chauffeured Lincoln and a leased jet, and his salary …  makes him the sixth highest paid lobbyist in the country….

The Chamber’s revenues in 2010 were over $200 million, making it one of the best funded lobbying and political interest groups in the country. He says ‘…you can never have enough money.’

….a large part of what the Chamber sells is political cover. For multibillion dollar insurers, drug makers, and medical device manufacturers who are too smart and image conscious to make public attacks of their own, the Chamber of Commerce is a friend who will do the dirty work


The Chamber was profiled recently via Peter Hanby of CNN. As a nonprofit trade association, it can raise unlimited funds but is not required to disclose its donors, opening the door for corporate

spending on behalf of candidates in political races. It is known mainly for its heavyweight policy and lobbying practices, spending $74 million on lobbying in 2013, according to the Center For Responsive Politics. The Chamber works with the GOP establishment to ‘extinguish’ tea party ideologues wherever they threaten business backed candidates.


Michael Podhorzer, the political director of the AFL-CIO, said

Their efforts, like the Koch brothers, are distorting the political process gravely. They are out to undermine all of their political opponents and unions are at the top of that list.

The Kochs organized Freedom Partners as a 501(c)6 organization, following the Chamber’s model for political lobbying.


Some of the Chamber’s chapters have distanced themselves from Donohue’s office, out of fear of offending their elected officials or and over disagreements on policy matters like climate change.



“I noticed on the Chamber’s site that Salt Lake City’s Chamber President, Lane Beattie, is on the US Chamber’s Board,” I reported.


“So maybe Lane can get one of us an invite to the Chamber’s big annual Christmas Party,” Bill said.


“Well, I did contact their Byron Russell and, I think, Wesley Smith when I was trying to make the local Chamber aware of The Leonardo. I’ll call them.”


“Good luck. What they do, working to export lung cancer around the world – and targeting youth – is not only criminal – it is evil,” Jay added.



A New York Times 2015 report covered the partnership between big tobacco and the US Chamber – and its affiliates (called AmCham). There seems to be a revolving door between Chamber staff and big tobacco staff.


Diplomats at more than 40 American embassies serve as honorary board members or in other capacities at the chamber’s foreign affiliates, blurring the lines between the organization’s policy and American policy.


The Chamber has worked systematically in countries around the world to fight measures to reduce tobacco use and even works to influence international trade agreements to benefit tobacco companies. The US Chamber’s involvement leads to the perception that the full force of the U.S. business community is behind these efforts.



According to online DC party information, DC staffers like to attend parties by Google, Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The US Chamber’s main office and headquarters is in DC at 1615 H Street, NW.



“There’s a good chance that both Norquist and LaPierre will be at Donohue’s party,” Jay said.


“Time for a revelation or two,” Jay suggested.


“Time for a DC holiday party gig,” I replied.



Chapter 9: Congress

We had decided to allocate 15 of our patient ‘openings’ to current members of Congress. Who are our ‘winners’?





“There are 435 members of Congress,” I said. “So many potential patients.”


“Time to decide on our full list of high priority patients,” Jay reminded us.


“I’ve been working with Kay on the various Congressional committees and subcommittees,” I responded, “trying to identify which might provide access without serious security or related issues.”


“Yes,” Bill said. “If we can get access to a subcommittee hearing or meeting, we may be able to access several members during one session.”


“And if that doesn’t work, we can still work to treat them on their own turf, during local events, town meetings, Congressional recesses, etc.”


“And parties, “ Jay suggested.



Committee and subcommittee meetings are generally open to the general public. They are scheduled at least a week in advance, although the specific agenda may not be fully available. The schedule is readily available. Audio and/or video records of meetings are available within three weeks after the meeting. Many are covered via C-Span. The site includes information on the Chair and Members and often on the specific agenda, legislation, or issues being addressed, as well as direct links to the Committee’s own site where there is far more information, including video records of hearings and meetings. The videos are a good way to ‘get to know’ the specific patient serving on the committee. harmless will review previous meetings and hearings using the available audio or video recordings.


There are major problems with the Committees and indeed with Congress itself, going back to Gingrich and the Bush-Cheney era.


“You mean Congress is broken?” Bill asked.


“Very much so. In fact The Broken Branch was published already in 2006 – and it’s gotten worse from then on,” I said.


“I read it, too,” Jay said. “And Mann and Ornstein’s more recent It’s Even Worse than it Looks.”


“And even more recently, mid-2014, we have The Big Lobotomy, a summary of everything Congress has done to make itself – and its members – even more stupid and uninformed,” Bill said. “It even covers the shutdown of the Office of Technology Assessment in 1995.”


“You worked for the OTA, didn’t you?”


“I did. They did the greatest fact-finding reports for Congress.”



“I interacted briefly with OTA’s Director, John Gibbons, during my artificial organ – bioengineering years,” I said.


“Great guy. He died just a year or so ago,” Bill noted.


“I just saw that Ashton Carter, Obama’s Secretary of Defense, also did an OTA stint back in 1979,” I said.


“There was just a piece on him in WIRED,” Jay added, “titled the Military.Industrial.Complex. It’s periods or dots today – not dashes.”


“He has a strong science background,” I continued. “PhD in Theoretical Physics from Oxford – and his undergraduate degrees are from Yale – in Physics and Medieval History.”


“The WIRED story said he’s empathetic, flexible with people, and likes to read textbooks for recreation.”


“Are Republicans allowed to read textbooks?” Bill asked, smiling.



The Lobotomy piece has some interesting facts and perspectives. Since 1995 Congress keeps cutting its own staff and expertise. Making Congress dumb and dumber started with Gingrich’s ‘Contract with America’, resulting in what Lorelei Kelly called a ‘self-lobotomy’ of Congress – which is still ongoing. The result is an outsourcing of legislation-related ‘research’ and drafting and a great dependence on lobbyists. Committees have lost their responsibilities and influence. There are fewer committee meetings, lower attendance, and thus a mal-functioning – or non-functioning – Congress. Conservatives don’t see the lack of expertise as a problem. The downsizing and the brain drain is their way to advance the conservative agenda. The lack of staffers means there is far less non-partisan influence or oversight. Committee chairs and members can ‘…regularly shake down lobbyists for money’, as we well know and as The Broken Branch notes. Political extortion has been partially institutionalized; one key extorter was the House’s former Speaker, John Boehner.



Committee meeting rooms are roughly similar to what Utah legislative committees use. The audience is in the ‘back’ of the room, then – proceeding towards the front – a table for witnesses and others asked to address the committee, then space for the press, then a semi-circular table for committee members, and finally the staffers.



“So the press has space between the witnesses and the Committee?” Jay asked.


“Apparently so,” I responded, “according to Kay’s discussions with several committee staffers and via several C-Span videos.”


“So the press can video both the witnesses and the Committee from the same location, I assume,” Bill added.


“I wonder what it takes to get access via the press route?” Jay pondered. “What credentials are appropriate?”


“I imagine the Chair’s office can provide authorization. Kay learned that the Chair and his staff control nearly everything: meetings, agenda, who’s invited, who speaks – everything. Minority members have no input.”


“Here’s an idea,” Jay smiled. “A local paper doing a story on the Committee and, especially, on one of its key GOP members. Paper wants access to do a story on Mr. GOP in action.”


“That might work,” I said. “And the press person can also provide chocolates before, after, and during breaks.”


“That may be the easiest way to get direct access,” Bill concluded.



We focused on the Senate, identifying those committees and many of the subcommittees wherein deniers might be particularly present, troublesome and accessible.


After working extensively with Kay on all the appropriate Senate Committees, and then on the House Committees, and considering their hearing and meeting schedules, and many other factors, we decided to access each patient directly – on their own turf. Accessing Congressmen and staff in their local offices would likely be easier and just as – or even more – effective than trying to do so in D.C. – and with less security hassles.


Given the high priority patients we’d already selected – Justices, Presidential candidates, and allowing for several bad guys – we only had space for 15 Senate and House patients. We began to learn something about each candidate, her accessibility, and his likelihood of being successfully treated.


Patient choice is so difficult. There are rankings and listings of Congress member attributes and performance. ‘Least effective’ members are at www.insidegov.com . Steve King, Iowa, is rated the least effective; Jim Jordan, Ohio, the second least effective (we saw why by watching his ‘performance’ on the House Benghazi Committee).


A Bipartisanship Index is at  www.thelugarcenter.org  .  Paul Ryan’s ideological buddy, Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, is dead last. We were disappointed to note that his Ph.D. in Political Science from American University is not especially conducive to fostering bipartisanship.


How far ‘right’ or ‘left’ they are shows up nicely via the ideology-leadership plots at www.govtrack.us . The individual’s position on the ‘political spectrum’ refers to the rough ideology of the bills they’ve sponsored and co-sponsored. The site uses a statistical method based on Principal Components Analysis to determine the Ideology (X axis) coordinate and a Page Rank approach to determine the Leadership coordinate (Y axis). The left side of the plot tends to be liberal; the right side conservative. It’s fascinating that there is almost no inter-mixing of Democrats (blue points) and Republicans (red points) in the final plot. The ‘spectrum’ results in two ‘peaks’ – one including nearly all Democrats; the other including nearly all Republicans. It’s a clear representation of the strong polarization existent in today’s Congress.


For example Senator Jim Inhofe, climate denier par excellence, is on the far right – a very high ideology score – with a roughly average Leadership Score.


Geoffrey Kabaservice, author of Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party, has said: ‘Ideological extremism correlates closely with legislative impotence.’ Ineffectiveness and ideological extremism do correlate for many Congress people, as the Govtrack plots often show.


Very strong ideologues may be much more difficult to successfully treat. But if they do ‘respond’ to treatment, it will generate publicity and awareness among their equally ideologic followers. We began to feel that a mix of ideologues and somewhat more moderate patients might be best for harmless.


We agreed to prioritize and fast track the current leadership: Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and Kevin McCarthy – the majority leaders and Speaker.


More Homework.


McConnell, Mitch – Senate Majority Leader.

Mitch McConnell is Kentucky’s senior Senator and says he is in his last term. He was first elected in 1985. Govtrack puts him in the middle of the GOP ideology curve, with a high leadership score.


McConnell is looking tired. He failed at his earlier goal of ‘…making Obama a one term President’. He now has his ‘dream job’ – Senate Majority Leader.



“Yes, but he’s failing at it,” Jay said. “He lost to Rand Paul on the Patriot Act provisions.”


“He screwed up the timing,” Bill added. “He was confident that by letting it go to the wire, Paul would play ball. He didn’t; McConnell took a beating.”


“McConnell’s convinced that the now two term Obama will be replaced by a Republican, saying, in response to the recent Paris climate agreement: ‘Obama should remember that the agreement is subject to being shredded in 13 months’.”


“And McConnell should recall that Romney lost – and so will Rubio, or Cruz, or whoever.”


“The McConnell – Paul fight is an interesting power struggle – the old and young senators from Kentucky duking it out,” I said. “Both are strong climate deniers, but Paul at least tries to be semi-rational, consistent, and principled.”


“Paul’s covered as one of our Presidential aspirants – even though he just dropped out of that race.”


“To focus on his Senate reelection,” Jay said.


“And another presidential aspirant, Senator Cruz, is now on McConnell’s case – calling him a liar on the Senate floor,” Bill added.


“Which means Cruz is just shooting off his own toes,” Jay said. “He’ll come tumbling down soon – with Trump.”


“We hope!”


“McConnell won one for Kentucky – The Bluegrass Benefit,” I said.


“A lawn seed subsidy?” asked Jay.


“No, a sweet race horse subsidy – part of the new omnibus spending bill – a special benefit for the race horse crowd.”


“I’ll bet they’re all in the upper 1%,” Bill said, cynically.


‘I’m sure. This sweet little tax giveaway makes racehorses eligible for depreciation over a three year period, rather than seven years.”


“So they can wear them out quicker? Where’s the SPCA when you need them?” asked Jay.


“There was some budget good news – solar and wind tax breaks,” Bill said.


“And one for hard cider,” I added.




“Back to McConnell,” I said. “Perhaps he may be receptive to a change – even a revelation – which might endear him to his kids and grandkids.”


McConnell’s wife is Elaine Chao, a former Labor Secretary, and is reported to have said ‘…there’s nothing better than girl power.’ She immigrated from Taiwan with her family when she was eight. Her father developed a successful shipping business. She’s eleven years younger than Mitch, been a key part of his fund-raising and campaign efforts, and was very instrumental in his last re-election. She has a Harvard MBA, worked in the banking sector, served as Director of the Peace Corps under Bush #1, and was Secretary of Labor for both terms of Bush #2. She married Mitch in 1993. McConnell has said ‘In my first marriage, I married a Liberal.’ Chao is not a liberal. She is conservative and has worked for the Heritage Foundation. She’s been characterized as a ‘tiger woman’, meaning focused, hard-nosed, hardworking, etc.


There’s often a strong conservative component to immigrants who have struggled, worked hard, and succeeded in America. They adopt an Ayn Rand philosophy – if I could do it, you can, too – and loose much of their compassion and empathy along the way.


She’s received over 30 honorary degrees. In her commencement speech at DePauw, 2002, she noted that it is a ‘… top liberal arts university’, and that the students now have ‘… a responsibility to lead.’ She referred to volunteerism, her experience with the Peace Corps and United Way, her immigrant roots. She is a very smooth and personable speaker. She concluded by telling them all ‘… to do good.’


“I wonder if she’s ever whispered in Mitch’s ear, ‘Do good, Dear’.”


“Do you think she fully understands what the liberal arts are? What a real education is?” asked Bill.


“She is a very effective politician,” I said. “The speech is on YouTube. Given her political skills, she’s the part of the couple that should be a Senator.”


“Any kids?” Jay asked.


“Apparently not. She was 40 when they married in 1993,” I said. “But he does have three daughters via his first marriage. His recent campaign referred to his three daughters, but no details.”


“It’s sounding to me,” Bill surmised, “that we may not want to target McConnell, given his wife’s apparent conservatism, the anonymity of his daughters, and his own hard wiring.”


“I thought the same,” I said, “until I learned about his commitment to civil rights. The Times just did a large story on his ‘…longstanding commitment to civil rights legislation’.”


“I did hear about that, too,” Jay added. “So maybe he’s not hopeless?”


“Maybe not. The Times article ended with a McConnell quote: ‘America is a work in progress…We are always looking for opportunities to improve our country.’ Perhaps we can induce him to expand his civil rights interests to human rights.”


“It’s worth a try,” Bill said. “He’s entitled to the benefit of our doubt.”


“Let’s see what we learn about his daughters – and if there are any grandkids,” I said.



Ryan, Paul – Speaker of the House


Paul Ryan represents Wisconsin District 1 – the far SE corner of the state, including Racine and Kenosha. Surprisingly, because he is basically a Libertarian, Govtrack puts him to the left of the GOP center, with a low leadership score.


His hometown and residence is Janesville WI (a Democrat town!) on the far west end of the district, near both Milwaukee and Chicago.  He drives a Chevy Suburban, attends Catholic mass at St. John Vianney Catholic Church, and is a Green Bay Packers fan.  He is a bow-hunter. Prime rib is apparently his favorite meal, and he likes to go to the Main Street Citrus Cafe and the Buckhorn Supper Club. Ryan’s father died from a heart attack when he was only 16.


Ryan owns a six bedroom 5,800 sq ft house in the Courthouse Hill district of Janesville. Built by George Parker of Parker Pens, it is locally referred to as the Parker Mansion. The Ryans have lived there for many years: Paul, wife Janna, and their three young children: Liza, Charlie, and Sam.



“The House Speaker, and former GOP VP candidate for 2012, is a very traditional Hayekian economics fan,” I surmised.


“In 2012 the press dubbed him ‘the intellectual brains of the GOP’,” Bill recalled.


“Because, starting in 2007, he began developing his Roadmap for America – a largely Libertarian economics – based budget plan,” Jay added. “The GOP was completely against it, as they thought the Democrats would use it to the GOP’s disadvantage in the 2008 elections.”


“He waged a very uphill battle within the Republican Party to get it to eventually endorse his Roadmap and adopt much of it for the 2012 Romney-Ryan campaign,” I added. “I’ve been reading his little 2014 book, The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea. It’s worth reading.”


“He was quite an Ayn Rand fan, but then recanted a bit as he started to experience some of the realities of governing,” Jay said.


“Jon Stewart took him on in 2013 for the takers vs. makers comments he made in response to Obama’s 2013 Inauguration speech,” I said.


“Yea – and if I recall correctly, the same Stewart piece showed many earlier Ryan clips on the takers vs. makers theme,” Bill said.


“Did you ever read Ishmael – a little book about an intelligent gorilla teaching a guy about the takers – makers history and economy?” I asked.


“I haven’t – sounds clever,” Jay said. “Go on.”


“The story’s narrator, a somewhat clueless but curious fellow, comes across an intriguing ad in the Personals section of the Classifieds.”


“I remember Classifieds,” Bill laughed. “A 20th century phenomenon.”


“Well Daniel Quinn, the author, published it back then – in 1992. Actually it was the result of a competition – the Ted Turner Fellowship Award,” I said.




The Wikipedia entry states:


The Turner Tomorrow Fellowship Award was created in 1989 by Ted Turner, to be awarded to an unpublished work of fiction offering creative and positive solutions to global problems. Ishmael by Daniel Quinn won the award in 1991, which will not be awarded again, and was selected out of 2500 entries by a celebrity panel including famous sci-fi writer Ray Bradbury. The award was worth $500,000, the largest single sum ever awarded to a single work of literature. Turner created the prize in hopes of combining literary merit with potential solutions to near-term environmental concerns… the fellowship included a hardcover publishing contract with Turner Broadcasting’s publishing unit.


Amazon.com says that there are more than one million copies in print.


The book begins with a classified ad:

TEACHER seeks pupil. Must have an earnest desire to save the world. Apply in person.


“Fascinating. I might respond to such an ad,” Jay said. “But why a Ted Turner Prize? I’ve only associated him with Buffalo and Jane Fonda.”


“That alone makes him pretty interesting,” Bill said.


“Turner’s a very interesting guy. He’s donated big time to the United Nations – a billion dollar pledge in 1997, which he has fully paid,” I said. “And shortly after he made the pledge his assets plunged. But he struggled, partially recovered, and honored the pledge.”


“Was he at the U some years ago?” Bill asked.
“No, I don’t think so. But his semi-official biographer did give a lecture at the Law School titled something like Plutocrats and Ted Turner. I was so impressed by what I learned that I bought and read the book.”




The book is Last Stand: Ted Turner’s Quest to Save a Troubled Planet, by Todd Wilkinson, 2014. Wilkinson’s U lecture was videoed and is online at www.law.utah.edu . It’s worth watching.


“Perhaps Turner should be the businessman running for President, rather than the casino clown.”


“Turner couldn’t run as a Republican,” Bill said.


“Nor would he want to,” I concluded.





Janna Ryan participates in the Janesville Woman’s Club. She was interviewed by the Janesville Gazette in August, 2015. She’s 46, he’s 45. He lives in his office during the week and returns home to his family in Janesville on the weekends. He sleeps in his Longworth Building office so he can work out in the House gym. He’s begun sporting a beard, saying ‘I’m the first Speaker to sport a beard in about 100 years.’



“He’s Speaker of the House, but without the beard looks like a kid,” Jay said. “He’s probably trying to distance himself from the other clueless kids on TV – like Cruz and Rubio. Others have said it makes him look cool and contemporary.”


“It sure is better than Trump’s hair,” Bill noted.



Paul Ryan replaced John Boehner as Speaker of the House when the tea party – in the House now known as the Freedom Caucus – acted to precipitate Boehner’s resignation. A House Divided, a New Yorker story by Ryan Lizza, says


Ryan represents a bridge between Boehner’s generation and the members elected

since 2010 …  some in the older guard … don’t know if Ryan can control [the Freedom Caucus] any better than Boehner could.


Tom Cole, a Republican congressman from Oklahoma and a close ally of Boehner’s said,

            John Boehner was … I think … an excellent teacher. I just don’t think he had the brightest students in the world.


Lizza notes that Charlie Dent, the head of the Tuesday Group, a caucus of fifty-six center-right Republicans, says that the rejectionist wing, dominated by the Freedom Caucus, votes against everything and considers government shutdowns a routine part of negotiating with Obama.


Ryan is extremely conservative, basically a Libertarian. In response to Obama’s executive actions on guns after the San Bernardino massacre, Ryan said:

From Day 1 the President has never respected the right to safe and legal gun ownership that our nation has valued since its founding… rather than focus on criminals and terrorists, [Obama] goes after the most law abiding of citizens. His words and actions amount to a form of intimidation that undermines liberty.


Regarding Congressional agendas, Jennifer Steinhauer wrote in the Times:


[Ryan and McConnell] … are operating on starkly different political planets in this election year, with little harmony in their legislative agenda. … Mr. Ryan wants to finally offer a Republican alternative to Mr. Obama’s signature health care law. Mr. McConnell does not. Mr. Ryan would like to see his chamber explore authorizing military force against the Islamic State. Mr. McConnell would not… nearly every item on Mr. Ryan’s ambitious policy agenda for the year has been welcomed by Mr. McConnell with all the appreciation of a cup of black coffee after 8 p.m. Thanks, but no.


McConnell said of Mr. Ryan’s agenda: ‘…what we take up with in Senate will be different, with

special eye toward our incumbents.’


“It’s not about governing,” Jay fumed. “It’s about re-electing.”


“I’m not sure any amount of our precious chocolate will impact Ryan or McConnell,” Bill added.


“Maybe Janna – or the kids?”


“If the kids could read Ishmael, they’d begin to question their father’s takers-makers perceptions and prejudices.”



Ishmael, the gorilla philosopher in Quinn’s book, defines ‘Takers’ as members of the dominant globalized civilization and its culture, while ‘Leavers’ refers to members of the countless other ‘non-civilized’ cultures existing both in the past and currently. Leavers tend to live sustainably – they leave the environment in a generally healthy condition. Takers live by taking from the environment – resources like minerals, wood, land, etc., and degrade it by their massive economic enterprises.


In Ryan’s neurons the Makers are those who make stuff, cities, jobs – fuel the economy. But of course they do so generally at the expense of the environment – at the expense of the Planet. Ryan’s Takers are those who might require social services, participate in the dwindling ‘safety net, who have low and minimal incomes. Ryan’s Takers are close to Ishmael’s Leavers – they tend to leave the environment as is, without significantly depleting it.



“Remember Obama’s 2012 Inaugural address – when he beat Romney-Ryan and their Taker-Maker mantra?” Jay asked.


“Remind me,” Bill said.


Obama’s 2012 Inaugural Address included

…  every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity…  We do not believe that in this country freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few.  We recognize that … one of us at any time may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm.  The commitments we make to each other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our initiative, they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.


“I think Ryan’s kids would really enjoy conversing with an intelligent gorilla,” Bill said.


“Let’s make it happen.”



McCarthy, Kevin – House Majority Leader


Kevin McCarthy represents California District 23 – between Fresno and Los Angeles – a very Republican district. His parents are Democrats.


His Govtrack Ideology score is, surprisingly, on the left side of the GOP distribution, with a very low Leadership score (although he is House Majority Leader and almost became Speaker!).


McCarthy is 50, a graduate of California State University – Bakersfield (BS in Marketing and an MBA), and essentially a career politician. He began his Congressional seat in 2006 and is considered a GOP ‘Young Gun’; now in his fifth term; he gave John Boehner, former Speaker, a B- grade for his performance as House Speaker.


When he’s in Washington, McCarthy sleeps on a sofa in his office. He flies home weekly to see his wife, Judy. Their kids are Connor (20) and Meghan (18). Immigration has been a tough issue for McCarthy, who represents a 35% Latino district that relies on immigrants for picking crops. He recently did a fundraiser for a fellow party member and attended a symposium on valley fever, a very serious health problem in the drier, desert-like regions of southern California.


‘Judy is the ultimate ‘there you are’ person, always looking for a way to support the people around her, and treats everyone with respect’, said one of her Congressional wife friends. Friends closer to home agree – ‘Judy is unaffected by the notoriety, always keeping her focus on her convictions of faith, family and friends’. She is said to be the yang to Kevin’s yin. She is happy to leave the glad-handing to her gregarious husband.


She is one of four children. She says of her dad: ’He is the perfect example of hard work. … we have a very close family, and my foundation of faith came from my mother’.


Judy and Kevin met in a biology class at Bakersfield High School. ‘Kevin’s personality wins you over, and he doesn’t give up,’ she said.


In Washington, Judy is a volunteer trustee at Ford’s Theatre, which celebrates the legacy of President Abraham Lincoln. She is fond of James Patterson novels, but said her favorite book is the Bible. She is apparently quite religious. Wikipedia lists Kevin as a Southern Baptist.


McCarthy was a young member of the so-called ‘Caucus Room Conspiracy’ in 2009. On January 20, 2009, when the Obamas were dancing at inaugural balls, a group of Republicans, including Paul Ryan, were planning the end of the Obama presidency before it even got going.

They promised each other that they would filibuster and obstruct any and all legislation

supported by the new president. They would do everything possible, for as long as it took, to make his a ‘failed presidency’.


Rachel Maddow said ‘His ascent seems to be based on tactical expediency instead of competence’. He torpedoed that ascent to the Speakership by going on Fox News to brag about his party’s responsibility in bringing down Clinton’s poll numbers via the Benghazi hearings, essentially admitting that the hearings were always about sabotaging Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.


A recent critique noted that a recent McCarthy speech on foreign policy contained many

incoherent sentences.  As Speaker of the House of Representatives he would have been third in line for the presidency. According to Mark Levin, a conservative talk show host: McCarthy’s credentials are ‘… [former Majority Leader] Eric Cantor with ten less I.Q. points’. McCarthy likes to give ‘red meat’ comments on the Hannity tirade show.


He’s not fond of Obama and tried to derail the Paris climate discussions. He’s very pro-fracking.


There was some speculation as to why McCarthy abruptly withdrew from the race to replace Boehner as Speaker, leading Chaffetz and Issa to magnanimously offer themselves for the job. The common perspective was that McCarthy’s remarks related to the Benghazi Committee questioning of Clinton ‘torpedoed’ his candidacy.


Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (Republican, California District 48) publicly dressed down McCarthy for his Benghazi comments and described how they had harmed his ability to lead and be a forceful Speaker in the 2016 campaign. This and other criticisms are generally credited for his decision to withdraw from the race for Speaker.


In 2010 McCarthy signed the Koch Brothers – sponsored Americans for Prosperity pledge – promising to vote against any climate change legislation that would raise taxes on affected companies.


McCarthy is pro-life and has received a 100% rating from the National Right to Life Committee. He has voted to ban abortions, to stop perceived taxpayer funding of abortion and has also voted repeatedly to repeal and/or defund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.


As Trump began to acquire states during the state caucuses and primaries, McCarthy said, responding to a question on MSNBC, ‘I think I’ll work with Donald Trump … I think I can work with anyone that comes out to be the nominee’.


“They keep getting dumber and dumber,” Jay said.


“But Lindsay Graham just had a minor revelation,” I countered. “He said it would be better for a Democrat to win the White House than Donald Trump.”


“Cool,” Bill said. “Graham used to be – way back – a moderate. Maybe there is some hope.”



Congress’ ‘soldiers’ – Twelve priority patients:


“That’s good background on the three major leaders of Congress – now time for the ‘soldiers’ – or those who vote on bills,” Bill said.


“Or don’t vote, like the mighty Marco Rubio,” Jay noted. “But he’s covered under Presidential candidate.”


“We’ll also include other needy members of their delegation, in case they are convenient to treat.”


“And if the book about harmless and its actions is published, we can Tweet to each of them: ‘You made the cut. Congratulations’,” I smiled.


harmless selected the additional 12 Congressional ‘soldiers’ on the basis of their far right, anti-environment, and anti-bipartisanship records and statements. We also considered their membership on Congressional committees.


Barrasso, John – Wyoming Senator, denier, anti EPA. He’s a graduate of Georgetown University. He’s an MD and did a residency at Yale University. He practiced orthopedics and was named Wyoming Physician of the Year. Barrasso is married (his second) to Bobbi Brown. They married in 2008. She is a breast cancer survivor. He has three children: Peter, Emma, and Hadley. Although Barrasso went to Catholic schools, he is now a Presbyterian.


He’s quoted as saying, ‘I believe in limited government, lower taxes, less spending, traditional family values, local control and a strong national defense’; he has ‘voted for prayer in schools, against gay marriage and [has] sponsored legislation to protect life’.


Barrasso was one of 46 senators to vote against the passing of a bill in April 2013 which would have expanded background checks for all gun buyers. He received an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association in 2002.


He wants to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from limiting carbon dioxide emissions.


He is a ranking member of the Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests, within the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.


“Barrasso’s now speaking out, unfortunately,” I said. “He tried to undermine Obama at the Paris Climate talks by saying ‘…the American people have [climate] as a very, very low priority’; he also said ‘…foreign leaders in Paris could not trust Mr. Obama’s commitments’.”


“How can someone with degrees from Georgetown – and an MD degree – be so conservative – so dogmatic,” Bill asked.


“Ben Carson has an MD degree,” Jay smiled. “It hasn’t helped his perspective on the planet.”




Capito, Shelley Moore – West Virginia, Senator, denier.


Shelley Capito was elected to the Senate in 2014 after having served in the House for seven terms. She is married to Charles L. Capito. They have three children: sons Charles and Moore and daughter Shelley. The Capitos are now grandparents.


Shelley Capito is another Presbyterian, and a strong advocate for the mining industry, especially coal. She opposes ‘job-killing’ energy regulations, opposes capping CO2, and has voted with her party 93% of the time. Her position on the Govtrack ideological spectrum is not very conservative; her ‘leadership score’ is quite low. However, she serves on many important committees; if her conservatism could be adjusted a bit more to the left, she could make a real difference. She has a B.Sc. in Zoology from Duke University, so she should know something about science and critical thinking.



“Perhaps she had a class from Steven Vogel at Duke – that would have taught her real critical thinking,” I said.


“Is that the guy who did so much, for so little cost, on animal biomechanics?” Bill asked.


“Yes. The U’s Bioengineering Department had him give a seminar decades ago, when we were beginning the Bio-Based Engineering program.”


“He wrote some great ‘popular’ science books,” Bill recalled. “The one I read was called, I think, Life and Fluids – something like that.”


Life’s Devices, one of his earlier books, was a major inspiration for our Bio-Based Engineering program,” I said.


“I did some homework on him when I saw she has a Bachelor’s in Zoology from Duke. He died recently, in November, 2015; 75 years old. The Times obituary said he ‘… had a biologist’s romance with the natural world, but an engineer’s appreciation of human design’.”


“Well, if Capito didn’t actually take one of his courses, she certainly must have heard of and about him,” Bill said.


“We’ll give her the benefit of our doubt,” I concluded.



Chaffetz, Jason – Utah District 3, strong denier.


Jason Chaffetz is reported to have said – to a member of the Citizen Climate Lobby at a Utah town hall meeting – ‘Climate Change is an Al Gore hoax’. Chaffetz was, like his father, a Democrat – prior to 1990.  He was even co-chair of a college Dukakis for President campaign in 1988. He met Ronald Reagan in 1990, during a Reagan motivational speaker gig at Nu Skin, and immediately became a Republican.


He is a Brigham Young University (BYU) graduate in Communications (1989) and football player – an outstanding place kicker. He converted from Judaism to Mormonism during has last year of college. After graduation he did public relations for Nu Skin, a Utah multi-level marketing firm, for ten years.


Chaffetz was the campaign manager for Utah gubernatorial candidate Jon Huntsman in 2004.  Huntsman won. In January 2005 Chaffetz became Huntsman’s chief of staff, but left some eleven months later. Chaffetz was considered abrasive and perhaps arrogant with legislators and office staff. Chaffetz was elected to the House in 2008 from Utah’s highly Republican District 3.


In spite of his work with Huntsman, Chaffetz endorsed and supported Romney’s presidential bid in 2012, rather than supporting Huntsman in the early days of the campaign. His ‘disloyalty’ apparently annoyed Jon Huntsman so much that Huntsman sent out the now classic Tweet, when Chaffetz offered himself up as a possible Speaker of the House:

McCarthy just got “Chaffetized”. Something I know a little something about.

            #selfpromotor #powerhungry

The hashtags say it all.


Jason and Julie were married in February, 1991; they have three children: Max, Ellen, and the youngest, Katie. They are all included in a 2008 campaign video on line. Max and Ellen are apparently now in college.


Jason has written that he and Julie ‘… met at a wedding in Arizona and started dating shortly after when I was a senior and Julie was a junior at Brigham Young University in 1989’.


Julie has written:

I’m the youngest of six and I have an amazing family. My parents and siblings are settled everywhere from Minnesota to Arizona…. I also belong to a book club of six women. … One of my recent favorites is The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.


In 2008 Chaffetz said he would run a different kind of campaign: no paid staff, no campaign office, no free meals for delegates, no campaign debt, and no polling. It worked. He won.


He did garner well-known backing from conservative circles: Utah’s ‘red meat’ conservative state senator Howard Stephenson and Gayle Ruzicka, the leader of Utah’s ultra-conservative Eagle Forum.


Very early in his Congressional career he became annoyed and concerned with the new Transportation Security Administration (TSA) full-body scanning implemented at Salt Lake City International Airport. So he introduced an amendment to ban ‘whole body imaging’ at airport security checkpoints, saying ‘You don’t have to look at my wife and 8-year-old daughter naked to secure an airplane’. The issue generated much press, including aspersions that he was arrogant and expected special treatment. Chaffetz and TSA have had a rocky relationship since then.


Chaffetz is roughly in the center of the Republican half of the Govtrack ideology distribution.

He now chairs the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee, replacing Darrell Issa as Chair in 2015. His Democratic counterpart on the committee is Ranking Member Elijah Cummings of Maryland. The two visited one another’s districts the summer before Chaffetz became chairman. When Cummings visited Utah, Chaffetz took him to Moab, briefing him on public lands issues before meeting with Utah Governor Herbert. Chaffetz said he was committed to bringing a new level of bipartisan cooperation to the committee; Cummings has been supportive of – and even complimentary – to Chaffetz’s efforts on some issues.



“Maybe there’s some hope for Chaffetz,” Jay offered. “He’s been a Democrat, his kids are old enough to start asking questions, and he is a bit of a rebel.”


“Did you notice how adoringly Julie looks at him in their online campaign and PR photos?” Bill asked critically. “She must be the perfect Mormon wife.”


“Look at it this way,” I suggested. “Two of the kids are in college and Jason is generally not home. She likes books. Maybe she’s beginning to think and expand her perspectives.”


“You’re always the optimist,” Jay smiled. “Are the kids at BYU?”


“I don’t know – yet,” I answered. “But The Glass Castle is not a typical Mormon happy family novel or memoir – it’s a hard book by someone with fairly open and critical perspectives. In fact, a key character, Mom, right at the beginning of the book, says

You’re the one who needs help. Your values are all confused…tell the truth. That’s simple enough.”


“Maybe Julie could whisper that line in Jason’s ear,” Jay said.


“Be hopeful.”


“Does Jason read? He’s one of the few national politicians who hasn’t ‘written’ a book, I think,” Jay said.


“Maybe we can get to them at Mike Lee’s Christmas party – in the Utah State Capitol,” Bill suggested.  “After all, Mike’s son John took Chaffetz daughter Ellen to a prom. Maybe they’ll all be there.”


“I plan to be there, chocolates in hand – and also at the St. George meeting of the House Natural Resources Committee on BLM Planning – Chaffetz, Bishop, and Stewart should all be there,” I said. “There’s even a ‘listening session’ that afternoon hosted by Stewart with ‘special guests’ Chaffetz and Bishop.”


“Report back if any of them actually listened to anything,” Bill requested.


“And as they’re not likely to have drinkable coffee, you should have great interest in Ananda’s Chocolates,” Jay said.


“I’m sure I will.”



Ernst, Joni – Senator, Iowa; elected 2014 after serving in the Iowa State Senate.


Ernst is the first woman to represent Iowa in the US Congress and the first female veteran to serve – from any state – in the Senate. She recently retired from the Army National Guard as a Lt. Colonel. She saw 14 months of active duty in Kuwait in 2003-04. Her undergraduate degree is in Psychology from Iowa State University.


She used her experience in castrating pigs in a campaign ad which got her national attention and greatly aided her 2014 campaign. The Des Moines Register stated:

Ernst is a smart, well-prepared candidate who can wrestle with the details of public policy from a conservative perspective without seeming inflexible.

Indeed, her Govtrack Ideology Score is a bit liberal for a modern Republican; she has a low Leadership Score. Her Govtrack position is almost identical to Capito’s.


She received enthusiastic support from the Kochs, who saw in her an advocate for their brand of free-market, libertarian conservatism. She participated in the August 2013 Koch gathering at an Albuquerque resort.


Her Koch support included hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of television ads funded by undisclosed donors and tens of thousands of dollars in direct campaign contributions. Interestingly Charles Koch, wife Elizabeth, son Chase and his wife Anna – each donated $2,600 to her campaign, according to http://realkochfacts.com/ . What is perhaps even more interesting is that Charles daughter, Elizabeth R., apparently didn’t contribute.


About seven months after Ernst won over Koch allies during her appearance in Albuquerque – still barely registering in Iowa polls – the Koch network created a nonprofit group called Trees of Liberty. Trees then launched a TV and web advertising campaign attacking Mark Jacobs, Ernst’s much less conservative GOP rival.


The Koch’s Freedom Partners group began a $1 million-plus ad campaign attacking Braley, the Democratic candidate. Although Ernst ran a good campaign, the boost from the Koch network was crucial. She won the June 2014 GOP primary and went into the general election in strong position against Braley. Shortly after her primary win, she participated in the Koch summer 2014 summit in Dana Point, saying at a candidates’ panel:

The first time I was introduced to this group was a year ago, August, in New Mexico, and I was not known at that time. The exposure to this group and to this network and the opportunity to meet so many of you – that really started my trajectory.


Cory Gardner of Colorado also sat on the panel, and also collected about $60,000 from the Victory Trust 2014, a group that hosted a fund-raising reception at the event.


Ernst delivered the official Republican response to the State of the Union a week later on January 20, 2015. She is very smooth.


Ernst is very conservative, claiming the United Nations’ Agenda 21 is a plot to move people off farms into urban areas and take away property rights. She’s proposed eliminating the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Education, and the Environmental Protection Agency as a means of cutting federal spending. She has advocated eliminating the Department of Education ‘not just because it would save taxpayer dollars, but because I do believe our children are better educated when it’s coming from the state’.


She’s a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association and has received its “A” rating. She opposes same-sex marriage and is more than pro-life, believing that life begins at conception. She voted for a fetal personhood amendment in the Iowa Senate in 2013 and has said that she would support a federal personhood bill.


She said in 2014 that Obama had ‘become a dictator’ and that if he acted unconstitutionally, he should face the proper repercussions as determined by Congress, ‘whether that’s removal from office, whether that’s impeachment’.


She supports a ‘fairer, flatter, and simpler Federal tax code. She is a mild denier.


In mid 2015, Ernst sponsored ‘Joni’s 1st Annual Roast in Iowa and Ride’ – a motorcycle parade in which she rode a motorcycle. The Des Moines Register: ‘Ernst indicated that it is critical for presidential candidates to engage in the type of retail politicking this and other Iowa events provide’. The event was attended by Republican presidential candidates Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, and Peter Walker. She and Scott Walker are close friends.


Her husband, Gail, a retired command sergeant major in the United States Army Rangers, has tweeted hate stuff when she was in the Iowa legislature.


She did say:

I’m appalled by my husband’s remarks. They are uncalled for and clearly inappropriate. I’ve addressed this issue with my husband, and that’s between us.


Joni and Gail have a daughter, Libby. Husband Gail also has two daughters from a previous marriage.


She is a member of the Mamrelund Lutheran Church (ELCA) of Stanton, Iowa and  teaches bible confirmation to 8th and 9th grade-level students. Her Wikipedia entry says she’s an ‘Evangelical Lutheran’.


“I imagine evangelical Lutheran puts her far, far right of Garrison Keilor,” Bill smiled. “But a degree in psychology, and her military experience, suggests she may know a little about neuro-drugs, PTSD, and even empathy.”


“Iowa really needs our assistance,” Jay said. “I just saw some poll questionnaire numbers from Iowa – part of a Cruz campaign assessment.”


Jay was referring to a mid-December Times’ Iowa poll:

The poll provided a snapshot of how conservative Iowa’s likely Republican voters are. Nearly six in 10 say climate change is a hoax. More than half want mass deportations of illegal immigrants. Six in 10 would abolish the Internal Revenue Service.


“Six in ten say climate change is a hoax?” Bill asked.


“Yes, but that’s perhaps because half or more Iowans are evangelicals, like Joni – just waiting for the Rapture,” Jay smiled.


“Joni and Cruz are on the program for the CPAC Annual Conference, together with John Bolton and Sean Hannity,” I noted.


“That’s one I really do want to miss,” Bill smiled.


Ernst’s offices are is Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Sioux City, Davenport, and Council Bluffs.



Gardner, Cory – Colorado Senator, elected 2014, after serving in House for two terms.


Gardner received a B.A. in political science in 1997 from Colorado State University. While in college, he switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party and interned at the Colorado State Capitol. He earned a law degree at the University of Colorado in 2001


He helped create the Colorado Clean Energy Development Authority, which issued bonds to finance projects that involve the production, transportation and storage of clean energy – until it was repealed in 2012


Gardner believes climate change is occurring, but he is unsure whether humans are causing it –

and supported the Keystone Pipeline. He is pro-fracking. Gardner is a signer of Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge and is a recipient of much Koch interest and support.


Gardner participated in a Candidates’ Panel at the Koch 2014 Dana Point Summit, receiving Koch support there and along the way.


Govtrack gives him a moderately right ideology score. He has had interests in energy efficiency and renewable energies, as well as in contraceptives.


He lives in Yuma, in NE Colorado, with his wife Jaime and their three children: Alyson, Thatcher, and Caitlyn.



“Gardner may be salvageable, in spite of his attention from the Koch apparatus,” Jay said. “His renewable energy interests merit cultivating.”


“I think so, too,” I said. “And he’s so close by.”



Gowdy, Trey – South Carolina District 4 (Spartenburg, Greenville); Benghazi Committee chair; former prosecutor.


Gowdy earned a B.A. in history from Baylor University in 1986 and a J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1989.  His wife is Terri Dillard; they have two children, Watson and Abigail. The Gowdy family also includes three dogs: Judge, Jury, and Bailiff. Wikipedia says Trey is a Southern Baptist.


“You gotta be kidding!” Jay chuckled. “Judge, Jury, Bailiff?”


“He’s a gung-ho prosecutor,” I said. “Remember the Benghazi hearings.”


“But he said then, indignantly, ‘this isn’t a prosecution – it’s an investigation’.”


“That was just before McCarthy misspoke.”


“His dogs’ names remind me of the guy who installed a folding ‘Murphy’ bed in our basement some 15 years ago,” I recalled. “He’d left his wife and three boys in his truck while he was working on the bed. So we invited them in – to our backyard, so the boys could at least run around. He came up, probably to keep an eye on them. I tried to interact with the boys, getting them to tell their names. Dad interrupted, and introduced them as Colt, Wesson, and Ruger!”


“You’re kidding!” Bill said.


“Nope – those were their names.”


“That must have been before Glock started to dominate the market,” Jay smiled. “At least Gowdy didn’t name his kids Judge and Jury.”


“Did you see the Times piece on Cruz’s ‘sharp elbows’ campaign manager, Jeff Roe?”


“The one that said he was pithy, profane, and that no lie is too big and no trick too dirty for him?”


“That’s the guy. He and wife, Missy, named their new baby Remington!”


“There’s a type of arrogance and cluelessness in naming kids or dogs like that. It’s a personality aberration, to me,” I surmised.


“Perhaps our treatment will help him,” Jay concluded. “Or his clueless client.”


“More than clueless,” Jay added. “Bruni now calls Cruz ‘diabolically hypocritical’.”



In 2009 Gowdy challenged incumbent Republican Bob Inglis in the primary for South Carolina’s 4th district. Inglis, who had a 93% lifetime conservative rating, angered the conservative wing of the Republican Party by ‘coming out’ on climate change. Gowdy ran well to the right of Inglis, defeating him in the run-off, thus allowing Gowdy to win in the heavily Republican district. He was reelected in 2012 and 2014.



“Our local Citizen Climate Lobby chapter had Inglis out in Fall, 2013 to give several talks and meet with Utah GOP legislators,” I recalled.


“Wasn’t his climate change ‘revelation’ due to his own eighteen year old son?” Jay asked.


“Yes, the kid apparently said he couldn’t vote for his Dad because he hadn’t looked at the evidence for climate change.”


“Inglis did look at it – and he was man enough to change his position.”


“And presumably get his son’s vote.”


“After loosing to Gowdy, Inglis set up the Energy and Enterprise Initiative and began speaking to conservatives across the country – including in Salt Lake City.”


“Revelations can happen,”



Gowdy is very conservative, saying he is ‘pro-life plus’ and believing in ‘the sanctity of life’. He signed the Contract From America, to defund, repeal, and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and limit EPA regulations. His Govtrack ideology score is not too far right of middle, a bit surprising; he has a low leadership score.


Gowdy will be 52 in 2017 – with a strong judge-relevant resume. He wants to be a Federal judge.

South Carolina Senator Tim Peter, a Gowdy friend, has said:

…a federal judge. That would be the best job he’s ever had. … I assume he’ll be a Supreme Court justice before he’s 65 or so.


“Gowdy has helped Cruz a bit in his campaign, hosting a Furman University event for him in Greenville, but he now seems to be betting on Rubio,” I said.


“He’s covering his bases. If Rubio is elected, perhaps he’ll appoint Gowdy to the Supreme Court,” Bill suggested.


“Without having served on the Federal District Court?” Jay asked.


“It’s happened before,” I said.


“We certainly don’t want him to become a judge – appointing him to the Supreme Court would be a disaster,” Bill said.


“I agree.”


“All the more reason to treat him right away,” Jay said. “I understand Greenville is a nice city.”


“You’re on,” Bill smiled. “Maybe I can get Bob Inglis to introduce us.”



Inhofe, Jim – Senator, Oklahoma; best known Congressional climate denier and anti-science ‘hoax’ man.


“I just love Gail Collins!” Jay said.


“You must’ve read something this morning – out with it.”


“She finds the coolest, most ridiculous, crazy facts about Congress – and tells us about it in colorful and humorous language.”


“I missed her this morning,” Bill said. “Go on.”


“Guess who this is: an 81 year old private pilot, with quadruple bypass surgery just two years ago – who wants to get rid of medical exams for pilots.”


“He’s not the same guy who landed his Cessna on an X-marked (under construction) runway at a Texas airport five or so years ago, is he?” I asked.


“Sending the construction workers jumping out of the way? Bill asked.


“You got it – Jim Inhofe, the very senior senator from Oklahoma,” Jay smiled.


“He’s the same age as Charles Koch. We should get to each of them quickly.”


“More credit for Gail – her pithy, succinct summary of the Adelson GOP debate in Vegas recently:

Kill the families. Screw the orphans. Carpet bomb Syria, but in a targeted way. Send Jeb Bush a dollar. On to 2016.


“Apparently Rand Paul was the only one who said anything reasonable or even factual. As someone else said recently – be afraid; be very afraid! – of front-running Republican candidates.”



Inhofe grew up in Tulsa, married Kay Kirkpatrick in 1959; they have four children. He received a BA, at 40 years of age, from the University of Tulsa. He served as mayor of Tulsa and was then elected to Congress in District 1 in 1986. After several terms he was elected to the Senate in 1994 at the age of 60. He’s served for over 20 years.


His biggest donors are the oil, gas, and electric firms; he’s also a favorite of the NRA and the Kochs.


He is Chair of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee, where he performs his climate dental and scientific hoax tirades. He is endorsed by the American Chemistry Council in its efforts to keep formaldehyde from being regulated as a toxic and carcinogenic chemical. In 2012, he published The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future. He is one of the most conservative senators, with an ideology score pegged to the far right axis on the plot! He says:

God’s still up there … the arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.


He’s compared the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to a ‘Soviet style trial’.


In The Republican War on Science, Chris Mooney stated in 2006 that Inhofe ‘politicizes and misuses the science of climate change’. During a heat wave in July 2006, Inhofe said to the Tulsa World newspaper that the environmentalist movement reminded him of ‘the Third Reich, the Big Lie’, as in ‘You say something over and over and over and over again, and people will believe it, and that’s their strategy.’ In 2011 Inhofe testified

I have to admit—and, you know, confession is good for the soul… I, too, once thought that catastrophic global warming was caused by anthropogenic gases—because everyone said it was.


With the Republicans regaining control of the Senate in early 2015, Inhofe returned to chairing the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. He brought a snowball on to the Senate floor and tossed it, claiming environmentalists keep talking about global warming even though it keeps getting cold!


Now he’s bad-mouthing the Paris Climate Agreement, saying it will fail. The GOP continues to look for ways to undermine or stop the Paris agreement, while Rubio and Bush are getting letters from mayors telling them to actually do something about climate change.


Inhofe is very pro-Israel, stating

I believe very strongly that we ought to support Israel, and that it has a right to the land, because God said so.  In early 2002, he suggested to the Senate that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were a form of divine retribution against the U.S. for failing to defend Israel.


Inhofe first ran for Senate in 1994, using his plane as a daily campaign vehicle and visiting nearly every town in Oklahoma. He participates in Senate and Congressional debates involving aircraft regulation.


He landed his Cessna in the fall of 2010 on a closed runway at a south Texas airport, scattering construction workers who ran for their lives. The airport manager, speaking to the FAA in a recorded telephone call, said:

I’ve got over 50 years flying, three tours of Vietnam, and I can assure you I have never seen such a reckless disregard for human life …. Something needs to be done. This guy is famous for these violations.


Inhofe stated that he ‘did nothing wrong’, and accused the FAA of ‘agency overreach’ and causing a ‘feeling of desperation’ in him. As he agreed to take a remedial training program, the FAA agreed not to pursue legal action against him. But six months later Inhofe introduced a bill to create a ‘Pilot’s Bill of Rights’ – to increase ‘fairness’ in FAA enforcement actions. The bill passed.



“Perhaps Inhofe is also ‘losing it’, like Scalia,” Bill suggested.


“And like McConnell,” Jay added.


“And I’ve had my doubts about our own Orrin Hatch,” I said.


“It seems reasonable to me to have mental and proficiency tests for pilots, drivers, physicians and surgeons every so often – why not elected officials?” Bill asked.


“Yes, Inhofe is ‘piloting’ and working on legislation and policies of national and even international significance and impact. We shouldn’t trust him with that responsibility if he’s not ‘all there’ upstairs,” Jay said.


“And that argument is even stronger for someone on the Supreme Court,” I added. “You know – we tenured faculty have performance and competency reviews every five years – al least at the good colleges and universities.”


“”And we shouldn’t depend on the every two year or every six year reelection process to medically and mentally evaluate candidates,” Bill said. “There should be a rigorous medical examination, just as there has been for pilots and other semi-dangerous professions that deal with the public.”


“Perhaps it can be part of the swearing in process – part of the oath of office formality. Any candidate over 70 years of age should be assessed every three years; anyone over 80 or so every two years.”


“We’ll ask Hatch and Inhofe to voluntarily submit – to set an example.”


“Scalia’s not a worry anymore,” Jay said.



Issa, Darrell: California House #49, denier; richest member of Congress, net worth about $355 M. His second wife is Kathy Stanton; one child, Bill. Wikipedia list his religion as Eastern Orthodox. He’s also very familiar with Jewish culture; his mother was Mormon. He is in his eighth House term.


Some five years ago he said that the science community is not in agreement about climate change or its severity. He has attacked both the IRS and the EPA – basically to get at Obama, and has voted against CO2 regulation. His climate denialism seems to be intact and perhaps has hardened in more recent years. He’s a Norquist pledge signer.


Issa began dogging Obama from the moment Issa became chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in 2010. He spent four years holding hearings on everything from an IRS training fiesta at Disneyland to an attack at the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. According to House rules, the Committee may at any time conduct investigations on any matter, which gave him, via the Committee, the power to subpoena, investigate, and harass the Obama Administration. During his time as chairman, Issa held 128 hearings; Congressional leadership was happy to see him go when term limits forced him out. He developed a reputation for brash behavior and dramatic remarks that overshadowed his own hearings.


Then another Issa emerges, a forceful advocate for government transparency, capable of working with Democrats and negotiating with the administration to pass open government legislation and whistleblower protections. Issa says he has a solid relationship with House leadership, calling Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, ‘a dear friend’.



“A ‘dear friend’, until Issa undercut him a bit by offering to be Speaker of the House,’ I smiled.


“We talked about Issa many months ago,” Bill noted. “I even visited his district offices in Southern California.”


Issa’s Ideology Score is a bit to the left of the GOP Center, has an above average Leadership Score, and is an avid denier.



Labrador, Raul: Idaho District 1, elected 2010.


Raul Labrador lives in Eagle, Idaho. He is a Mormon, the first to represent Idaho’s 1st district. He and Rebecca Johnson Labrador were married in 1991and have five children: Michael, Katerina, Joshua, Diego, and Rafael. When he and Rebecca were married, Raul relocated to his wife’s home state of Idaho and practiced law and immigration law in private practice from 1995 until his election to the Idaho House of Representatives in 2006.


Born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, Labrador grew up Las Vegas, Nevada, as a child and graduated from Las Vegas High School in 1985. He attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and spent two years as a Mormon missionary in Chile, from 1987 to 1989. He then returned to BYU, receiving a B.A. in 1992, in Spanish with an emphasis in Latin American literature. He was admitted to the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle, receiving the J.D. in 1995.


In 2010, Labrador won the Republican primary in what was considered a major upset and then beat the incumbent Democrat. He was reelected in 2012 and 2014.


In Las Vegas in 2011 he sharply criticized Mitt Romney’s comments about Hispanics.

In 2010 he signed a pledge sponsored by Americans for Prosperity – a Koch-funded group –  promising to vote against any Global Warming legislation that would raise taxes.


Labrador announced in mid-2014 that he would run for the House Majority Whip leadership position, but lost to Kevin McCarthy. He obviously has leadership aspirations, although his Govtrack leadership ranking is modest. Several House conservatives have suggested him as a candidate for Speaker or Majority Leader. He is a bit right of the GOP average on the Govtrack ideology plot.


On Meet the Press in mid-2014 he stated that Obama needs to ‘immediately deport’ young undocumented immigrants.



“Do Puerto Ricans consider themselves Latinos?” Jay asked.


“Yes, I think so,” I responded. “Certainly Sonya Sotomayor considers herself a Latina. Why.”


“Well, Labrador, wants to deport undocumented immigrant kids. Why doesn’t he have some empathy for Latino kids? And what about Cubans? Cruz and Rubio hale from Cuba – and they want to deport them, too.”


“It’s not about ethnic heritage,” I suggested. “It’s more about libertarian teachings – and brainwashing. So-called self-made people, including immigrants, tend to be very conservative – almost libertarian.”


“Yea,” Bill agreed. “They’re the ones who love Atlas Shrugged – and say ‘I did it, you can, too’.”


“Remember Dickinson’s Rolling Stone piece on the Freedom Caucus and the resignation of John Boehner?” I reported. “Here’s what he said about Raul:

            Labrador was raised by a single mother in Puerto Rico, who instilled in him a bootstrapping sense of self-reliance. ‘My mom never used welfare because she believed welfare was destructive to the soul,’ he says. ‘I became a Republican because of that’.



Labrador’s House web site has him taking major credit for using very tough strategies, including government shutdowns, to force action. The details are in Lizza’s New Yorker piece A House Divided. Lizza describes Labrador as ‘the public face and strategist for the Freedom Caucus’.


Lizza quotes Labrador as saying to Boehner:

You have two choices, Mr. Speaker. Either you change the way you’re running this place, which you have been unwilling to do, or you step down.

The next morning, Boehner announced his retirement.


Dickinson also noted that Labrador said he thought Nancy Pelosi was a smarter leader than John Boehner or Kevin McCarthy. Labrador advocated Ryan for Speaker, saying:

In Ryan, we have somebody who understands what Obama’s trying to do. He understands that we have to have a bright contrast between the two sides and that only through that contrast are you going to be able to win the battle of ideas. Boehner was never about ideas.


Labrador does ‘believe in’ alternative energy sources but opposes government subsidies for their development. He does say Idaho’s development of geothermal energy is being impeded by government regulations.


Labrador is well supported by the NRA.



Lee, Mike:  Senate Utah, elected 2010.


Mike Lee married Sharon Burr in 1993. They have three children: John David, James Rex, Eliza Rose They are advocates of ‘free-range kids’, a group advocating treating kids as smart and self-reliant. Lee speaks Spanish and served a Mormon mission in the southern Rio Grande Valley in Texas. In 2014, he had the opportunity to speak Spanish with Pope Francis.


Mike Lee was the tea party youngster who surprisingly beat out Robert Bennett for the Utah GOP Senate nomination in 2010 and then won election to the Senate. He received a BSc, 1994, in Political Science from Brigham Young University and a law degree from BYU in 1997.


He worked for Energy Solutions, a Utah company, arguing they should be able to accept low level radioactive waste from Italy.


He is basically a libertarian – and a far right conservative, almost as far right as Inhofe and Risch on the Govtrack ideology plot. He claims to be a  ‘tireless advocate for our founding constitutional principles’. His father argued cases before the Supreme Court.



“Do you think he and Scalia have ever interacted – or Alito?” Jay asked.


“Interesting you should ask,” I smiled.



Lee served as law clerk to Judge Dee Benson of the Utah U.S. District Court and with then Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr. on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He served as general counsel in Jon Huntsman’s governor’s office 2005 to mid-2006, when he returned to Washington to serve a one-year clerkship at the U.S. Supreme Court with Justice Alito.


In early and mid-2011 Lee, along with Rand Paul of Kentucky, voted against extending three provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act. The NSA’s new massive billion-dollar data facility recently opened in Bluffdale, Utah, South of Salt Lake City, close to Lee’s home.


Lee and Jason Chaffetz, Utah District 3, know each other well. It’s been reported that Lee’s son John, took Chaffetz’s daughter Eliza to a school prom.



“The kids should be old enough to be asking questions by now,” Jay said.


“And getting Libertarian-like answers,” Bill smiled “Lee and Chaffetz are on similar wavelengths – and their kids likely similarly brain-washed.”


“What about Sharon – anything about her?”


“Good Mormon wife, I suppose,” Jay said.



Rodgers, Cathy – Washington District 5 – Spokane and Eastern Washington.


Cathy Rodgers was elected in 2004 and serves as Chair of the House Republican Conference. She has a BA in pre-Law from an un-accreditied ‘Christian’ school and a 2002 MBA from the University of Washington. Wikipedia lists her religion as Evangelicalism. She ranks in the center of the GOP ideology distribution, with a fairly high leadership score.


She married Brian Rodgers, a retired Navy commander, in 2006. A year later she became the first member of Congress in more than a decade to give birth while in office, with the birth of Cole Rodgers, who was later diagnosed with Down syndrome. Grace, was born December 2010, and Brynn Catherine, in November 2013.


She gave the Republican response to Obama’s 2014 State of the Union Address.

After voting dozens of times to repeal Obamacare, in 2014 Rodgers responded to reports that the ACA had provided coverage to over 600,000 Washington residents; she then acknowledged that the law’s framework would probably remain and that she favored reforms within its structure.


In early 2015, on the fifth anniversary of Obamacare, her Facebook page said

            …whether it’s turned your tax filing into a nightmare, you’re facing skyrocketing premiums, or your employer has reduced your work hours, I want to hear about it.

Her page was then filled with testimonials on the benefits of the ACA. At a later press conference, she said nothing about the overwhelmingly positive comments she’d received, rehashing her old arguments against the ACA.


She’s quite positive on Trey Gowdy and his Benghazi hearings.


There are online reports that she’s signed the Koch-sponsored pledge against climate taxes. She’s received multiple contributions from the NRA


She has offices in Spokane and Walla Walla, just North of Pendleton, Oregon.



Smith, Lamar, Texas, House #21, avid denier, lawyer.


Smith represents Texas District 21. He is Chair of the House Science Committee and an avid climate change denier; he has tried to subpoena NOAA records because he’s against NOAA’s analysis of data in clarifying climate change ‘pause’.


He is to the right of average on the GOP ideology plot with a modest above average leadership score.


Smith was born in 1947. He graduated from T.M.I., a college preparatory school known as the Texas Military Institute, and now called The Episcopal School of Texas. He received is undergraduate degree from Yale University in 1969, and a Southern Methodist Law degree in 1975. In 1969, he was hired as a management intern by the Small Business Administration in Washington, D.C. He was a business and financial writer for the Christian Science Monitor. His religious affiliation is Christian Science.



“I heard something about Christian Scientists at the U the other day,” I said. “It’s relevant.”


“Go on…”


“Peggy Fletcher Stack, the Salt Lake Trib’s religion reporter for some 40 years, was giving a talk – I stepped in just as she was talking about great newspapers, including the Christian Science Monitor.”


“So…it’s a ‘great’ paper?” Jay asked.


“She wondered why, too – and said it’s because they believe their goal is to help address problems and challenges around the world – and that they need to know what those problems and challenges are – hence, a good newspaper.”


“That’s fascinating,” Bill said. “It is a very good paper.”


“Think we could use that Christian Science argument on Lamar Smith?”



He was elected to the House in in 1986 and has been regularly reelected since. He’s always been re-elected with at least 72% of the vote. He was reelected to a 15th term! in 2014 in the still heavily gerrymandered 21st District.


Smith was selected Chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology in 2012-2013, beating out Representatives Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-WI).


Just prior to his selection, he said

I will promote legislation that encourages scientific discoveries, space exploration, and the application of new technologies to expand our economy and create jobs for American workers.


He is a fan of NASA but doesn’t want it to use its resources to study global warming or climate change.


He had an early interest in science and began as a Physics major at Yale. But as a Yale freshman he says he took

a physics class taught by the chairman of the department. … Looking to either side of me, I soon realized that I was sitting next to the future Einsteins of the world, and I wasn’t one of them.


“That’s my story, too,” I said. “- Physics at UC-Berkeley. My professor, just before our first midterm exam, said he designed the exam to be challenging for those students who would go on to become highly accomplished researchers in the international physics community.”


“And you didn’t,” Bill smiled.


“I had accidently seen a document with my IQ on it – and knew that the average Berkeley entering student had an IQ about 10 points higher.”


“That’s disheartening,” Jay said.


“Disheartening is the wrong word. I knew from the very beginning that I was in over my head – literally.”


So, what happened?” Bill asked, encouragingly.


“Well, I actually did ok on the first exam. But I rapidly moved from Physics to Math, and then two years later became a Berkeley drop-out.”


“You’re a Berkeley drop-out! Cool,” Jay said.


“I dropped out in good standing. If I’d stayed another quarter, they probably would have thrown me out. As it was, the counselor who allowed me to leave said ‘You shouldn’t be burning your bridges behind you!’


“And then what?”


“A semester of working and dating – met my future wife during that time – and then on to San Jose State, initially in Electrical Engineering.”


“And that’s where you ran into the Eleusinian ceremony people, right?”


“Yes – Eleusinian – like. That turned out well. But back to Texas.”



Smith is very anti-abortion, anti-marijuana, but apparently pro-alcohol, because in 2011 he received nearly $40,000 from the Beer, Wine and Liquor Lobby – over  $60,000 between 2009 and 2011. He received some $200,000 from the Content Industry (now called the Media Business) through 2012.


He is a signer of the Norquist Pledge. His climate skepticism, and his Chairmanship of the House Science Committee, resulted in his receiving more dollars in 2014 from fossil fuels than from any other industry. Under his chairmanship, the House Science Committee has held hearings that feature the views primarily of skeptics, subpoenaed the records and communications of scientists who published papers that Smith disapproved of, and attempted to cut NASA’s earth sciences budget. He has been criticized for conducting witch hunts against climate scientists. He’s issued more subpoenas in his first three years as Chair than the committee had for its entire 54 year history.



“So he’s more infatuated with hearings and subpoenas than Darrell Issa – or Jason Chaffetz,” Jay smiled.


“Or even Benghazi warrior Trey Gowdy,” I added.



Smith is now de facto leader of the House GOP climate change skeptics’ caucus. They are anti – EPA and, Smith in particular, is very critical of the National Science Foundation’s peer-review process.


But now Smith has some denier competition: Ted Cruz wants in on the denier action, via his Senate post – using his position as Senate chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness. He held a Data or Dogma hearing, subtitled Promoting Open Inquiry in the Debate over the Magnitude of Human Impact on Earth’s Climate.


Smith is a Christian Scientist. In 1992, he married Elizabeth Lynn Schaefer, a Christian Science practitioner and teacher, as was his first wife, Jane Shoultz; she died in 1991. He has two children, Nell Seeligson (born 1976) and Tobin Wells (born 1979), from his first marriage.

He and his second wife, Beth, have an adult daughter and son.


Smith’s convoluted 21st Congressional District has district offices in San Antonio, Austin and Kerrville.



“What makes you think he’s salvageable,” Jay asked.


“Besides optimism, you mean? He’s 70, lives in a heavily climate impacted state, is probably getting a lot less money from the fossil fuel, avid denier folks than he used to, and keeps hearing that climate change is really real.”


“And you think some of all that has sunk in?”


“Maybe – with Ananda’s help.”


Jay smiled.

Chapter 8: Presidential Candidates

Leading Presidential Candidates get an enormous amount of press. Major U.S. elections are a media spectacle, where hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on advertising. harmless feels that all the Republican candidates would benefit from a more empathetic and socially considerate perspective in their campaigns. Harmless wants to advise and ‘treat’ those needy candidates.






“Let’s start with Bush, Rubio, and Cruz,” Bill offered. “They are likely to be in the news at least until the 2016 GOP Convention.”


“And one of them is likely to be the Republican nominee,” Jay said. “And each has an interesting wife and lives in a climate-impacted state.”


“And two of the three are not total nuts,” Bill noted.


“Two? You left Cruz out – the total nut?”


“Yep – together with Donald Trump and a dozen or so others.”


“Scott Walker is now out – so I don’t have to read his Unintimidated,” I said.


“The lack of money must have intimidated him,” Bill smiled. “The Kochs must have read the writing on the wall.”


“And let’s look at Rand Paul, too,” Jay said. “At least he’s consistent and interesting.”


“Business darlings Trump and Carly were in the lead – or was it Carson?”


“Business failings, you mean.”


“At least Carly is a woman. She’s struggled with breast cancer, and she lost a stepdaughter to drug addiction. Some of this is in her memoir Best Choices. There may be a hint of empathy there.”


“Hillary’s memoir is called Hard Choices,” Bill said.


“Carly may have trouble with the truth,” I said. “The Times’ Charles Blow quoted Josh Marshall as saying: ‘Fiorina has a habit of simply making things up’.”


“Which makes her a typical, main-stream GOP candidate,” Jay added.


“Sometimes you have to do that – make things up – to make sense of philosophy and medieval history,” I smiled.


“What?” Jay asked, annoyingly.


“Those are Carly’s undergraduate degrees from Stanford,” I said. “I was sort of joking.”


“Sort of,” Bill noted.


“Here’s a Carly quote,” Jay said:

I feel empathy with every woman who is working really hard and giving it all they’ve got – and Hillary is.


“Fiorina claims to have empathy for Hillary – and perhaps vice versa. Some Fiorina empathy enhancement could prove helpful.”


“David Brooks suggested earlier, perhaps tongue in cheek, a Rubio – Fiorina ticket, saying they are the ‘best positioned’,” I added.


“That’s scary,” Bill said.


“OK, for now let’s just consider these four: Bush, Rubio, Cruz – and Paul,” I said. “First Jeb!”


“And Trump?”


“Not yet,” I said. “I imagine he’ll burn out soon.”



That was in late 2015 – I was wrong, of course, about Trump. The harmless team had been doing their homework on and planning for the treatment of leading GOP presidential candidates long before Rand Paul and Jeb! Bush dropped out of the race – and before the strong rise of Donald Trump. As Bush and Paul are young and likely to continue to pursue their presidential ambitions, they are of continued relevance to harmless and are worthy of treatment – as now is Donald Trump.



Homework: Jeb! Bush for President



Jeb likes exclamation marks – or his campaign managers liked them. JEB is composed of his initials John Ellis Bush. He was Governor of Florida for two terms – 1999-2007. He is the second son of former President George H. W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush. He grew up with two younger brothers, Neil and Marvin, one younger sister, Dorothy, and an older brother, ex-President George W, seven years older.


He attended the elite Phillips Academy high school in Andover. He taught English as a second language and assisted in the building of a school in Ibarrilla, a village near Guanajuato, Mexico, when he was 17, via Andover’s summer program. He met Columba Garnica Gallo, his future wife, while working in Ibarilla. Their children are George Noelle and John Jr.  Jeb and Columba reside in Coral Gables. He converted from Anglicanism and became a Catholic in 1995. He speaks fluent Spanish.


Jeb attended the University of Texas, earning a B.A. in Latin American studies. Unlike older brother George W, he did well in school. He became a Florida real estate developer and then, in 1986, Florida’s Secretary of Commerce. In 1988 he worked on his father’s Presidential campaign.


He ran for Governor of Florida in 1994, barely loosing, partly due to ignoring environmental issues deemed important to Florida’s electorate. He learned that lesson, ran again in 1998 with specific plans to protect the environment, and won. He was reelected in 2002, becoming Florida’s first two-term Republican governor. He was a very conservative governor, cutting and slashing taxes in many areas. He received mainly A and B grades from the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, during his Governorship.


He became a candidate for the GOP Presidential nomination in mid-2015. Earlier, in 2013, his mother, former first lady Barbara Bush, said:

There are other people out there that are very qualified …  we’ve had enough Bushes.



Jeb Bush characterizes himself as a moderate Republican with conservative principles. He has promised immigration reform – saying illegals should have a path to legal status, but not a path to citizenship. Although his 1998 platform suggested concern for Florida’s environment, he supports offshore drilling outside of Florida, supported the Keystone XL oil pipeline, and supports fracking. He questions the scientific opinion on climate change, stating

I think global warming may be real [but] …It is not unanimous among scientists that it is disproportionately manmade.


In 2000 he and the Florida legislature entered into an agreement with the Federal government to protect and save the Everglades. Dexter Filkin’s New Yorker article, Swamped, documents Jeb’s reneging on that agreement when it became clear that the only way to meet its requirements was to take sugar producing lands out of production. He was called in by the Fanjul family, a very large sugar producer and political donor in Florida. The Fanjuls and other sugar manufacturers drafted a bill to essentially pull out of much of the year 2000 agreement, thus unsaving the Everglades. Plutocracy won again. According to Filkins, even the

G.O.P.’s libertarian wing, which sees propping up sugar prices as corporate welfare, was angered by his work on behalf of Big Sugar. Bush has been trying to square the circle. His Super PAC, Right to Rise, received half a million dollars from U.S. Sugar in the first half of this year. But in October his campaign announced that the candidate now favored a ‘phase-out’ of the price-support system.


The sugar-Everglades issue played out recently via a full page New York Times ad by The Everglades Trust – a full page letter to the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, which is apparently partially funded by sugar-derived money.


Jeb Bush is a gun guy. He is for expanding gun owners’ rights and, as Governor, supported more than a dozen new protections for gun owners. The NRA has called the six pro-gun and pro-hunting laws he signed into law in 2006 ‘the six pack of freedom’. He has spoken at NRA National Conferences and is considered a good friend of the organization. In 2005, he signed Florida’s stand-your-ground law, the first such state law in the United States. He advocates capital punishment; 21 prisoners were executed during his terms.


Although he says he supports cutting taxes for all Americans, he supports decreasing capital gains taxes and property taxes and supports welfare restrictions, actions that would preferentially benefit the wealthy and increase financial inequality. He favors gradually raising the retirement age from 65 to 68 or 70. Bush is a frequent critic of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform. Although there doesn’t seem to be a strong Koch interest in Jeb, he has spoken at Koch-sponsored LIBRE events. He’s clearly very conservative.


Bush was involved in the Terri Schiavo case, involving a woman with massive brain damage, who was on a feeding tube for over 15 years, and whose husband and legal guardian, Michael Schiavo, wished to remove the tube. This move was opposed by Terri Schiavo’s parents in the courts. Bush signed ‘Terri’s Law’, legislation passed by the Florida legislature that authorized him, as Governor, to keep Schiavo on life support. The law was ruled unconstitutional by the Florida Supreme Court; the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case, thus allowing the Florida court’s ruling to stand.


In 2014, Bush said illegal immigration

is an act of love. It’s an act of commitment to your family. I honestly think that that is a different kind of crime. There should be a price paid, but it shouldn’t rile people up that people are actually coming to this country to provide for their families.



“I’ve done some homework on Columba,” Bill said. “She is sometimes called Colu. She gave a Bush #1 seconding nomination speech – in Spanish – at the 1988 Republican Convention. She’s also done Florida Governor’s mansion tours – it’s all on YouTube.”



Columba and Jeb met while he was working and teaching English in Mexico. They were married in 1974, in Austin. Their three children are George, Noelle, and John. George has a law degree from the University of Texas. He is the Texas Land Commissioner, an elected position. Noelle was born 1977 in Texas. John Ellis Bush, Jr., born 1983 in Miami, is in Florida commercial real estate. Jeb and Columba have four grandchildren, two via George, and two via John Ellis.


Columba’s interests appear to be family, domestic violence, addiction and substance abuse.

Their daughter Noelle has struggled with drug abuse. Jeb said recently:

I can look in people’s eyes and I know that they’ve gone through the same thing that Columba and I have – referring to his daughter Noelle’s drug issues.


“Colu is also interested in Latin art and Mariachi bands, according to an Atlantic piece,” Bill continued. “As a teen-age bride from Mexico, she gave Jeb a peace-symbol ring and is reported to have great instinctive insights into life.”


“We’ll need to know more before we can conclude if she might be helpful in facilitating a Jeb Bush revelation,” I said. “I understand she’s quite Catholic and is why Jeb converted. Maybe the Pope’s visit and climate encyclical is helping steer her in the right direction.”


“She’s been very quiet about Jeb and the campaign so far,” Bill said.


“And now with Jeb out of the race, she’s probably one of the happiest Latinas in the state,” Jay suggested.


“My wife’s worked in Colombia and has a number of Latina friends. They don’t muzzle easily,” I said. “And neither do Chicanas. We may hear more from her.”


“There seems to be a hint of empathy,” Jay said. “He’s worked in Mexico, speaks Spanish, has a kid with drug issues – maybe he’s not a total hard-nosed Libertarian.”


“Columba may also help him with empathy,” I suggested. “Remember Sotomayor’s little statement:

I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”


“Yes, but Columba was still a teenager when she married Jeb and relocated with him to the United States. Her Latina/Chicana perspectives may be somewhat dimmed by the decades.”


“Diana has lots of Latina friends who’ve been in the States for long times. Their emotions and perspectives haven’t ‘dimmed’ much,” I said.


“Maybe we could also involve Jeanette Rubio in the discussion?” Bill smiled.


“NPR just noted that there is even some Latino political activity in New Hampshire – someone is on the street talking to Latinos, distributing a sheet saying, in Spanish, ‘Don’t be invisible. Be active’.”


“The Latinos could have significant political clout, if only they’d get more active,” Jay added. “I just saw that the TV group Univision may start playing a stronger political awareness role.”




Homework: Marco Rubio for President


Marco Rubio, born 1971 in Miami, is the third of four children of Cuban immigrants; his parents, Mario and Oriales, migrated in 1956, three years before Castro assumed power. Batista was dictator at the time. Rubio’s dad was a bartender, his mom a maid. He has two sisters, Barbara and Veronica, who live in Miami. His older brother was a city official in Jacksonville. Marco attended South Miami Senior High, graduating in 1989. He earned a B.A. in political science from the University of Florida in 1993, and his law degree from the University of Miami in 1996. Rubio has said that his education required $100,000 in student loans, which he paid off in 2012. Rubio’s parents were Mormon converts for three years while residing in Las Vegas; Rubio at age 12 asked them to convert to Catholicism; they did.

Marco and Jeanette were married in 1998; they have four children: Amanda, Anthony, Daniella and Dominic. They live in West Miami. The Rubios attend Christ Fellowship, a Southern Baptist Church, as well as Catholic services.

Rubio served in Florida’s House of Representatives for nearly nine years. Speaker-Designate Rubio, in September 2005, challenged his House colleagues to help write 100 Innovative Ideas For Florida’s Future. He had distributed a hardback book of that title to his fellow legislators – the pages were blank. He later published the book after fact-finding and discussion events throughout Florida. About 24 of the ideas became law, while another 10 were partially enacted.

“That was a cool approach – and strategy,” Bill said.


“Yes – and his fellow legislators apparently really participated, as did citizens throughout the state.”


“It shows Rubio has some creativity and leadership skills,” Jay said. “Maybe there’s hope for him.”



At the time Rubio took office as speaker, Jeb Bush was completing his term as governor. Rubio hired 18 Bush aides. Rubio’s style was very different from Bush’s – Rubio delegated certain powers, relinquished others, and invited former political rivals into his inner circle. The Governor at the time, Charlie Crist, had a strategy to fight climate change through executive orders – creating new automobile and utility emissions standards. The legislature under Rubio’s leadership weakened Crist’s climate change initiative, saying his approach would harm consumers by driving up utility bills without having much effect upon the environment. Rubio said a better approach would be to promote biofuel (e.g. ethanol), solar panels, and energy efficiency.


Rubio was elected Senator in 2010 after serving as Speaker of the Florida State House. One of his major financial backers was and is Norman Braman, a billionaire auto dealer and former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles. They met during Rubio’s nearly nine year service in the Florida legislature; Braman later backed his Senate race. They traveled together to Israel in late 2010. Braman is expected to donate over $10 million to Rubio’s Presidential campaign and super PAC.


Rubio, a major advocate of Florida’s ‘pioneering’ stand-your-ground law during Governor Bush’s administration, was given an A rating in 2015 by the National Rifle Association (NRA) for his stance on gun control issues and a nearly 99% rating by the American Conservative Union, based on his lifetime voting record in the Senate. Two other senators were tied with Rubio, and only two were rated as having more conservative ratings.




“I just read American Dreams – his second book,” I said. “He’s a good writer.”


“And his first book?” Jay asked.


“It was just three years earlier, a memoir called An American Son. I haven’t read it.”


“Hey, we now have our ‘favorite’ Utah Congressman, Chris Stewart, endorsing Rubio, and pontificating: ‘I believe our nation is at a tipping point in our history’,” Jay said.


“A fracking, fossil fuel tipping point,” Bill added. “Rubio just gave a major speech promoting drilling and fracking.”


“Perhaps because two of Cruz’s major donors, the Wilks, recently sold their fracking company to Koch Industries.”


“Rubio wants to be next in line for major Koch dollars, I’ll bet,” Bill said.


“Did you see the Times write ‘Mr. Rubio is radiating machismo on the campaign trail lately’?” Jay asked.


“He was showing off his new boots and rifle at campaign stops, trying to compete in manliness with Cruz and Trump,” Bill said. “And because Christie said Marco’s so weak that Hillary would beat him up.”


“Whatever happened to substance?” I asked.


“Oh, you’ve been tuning in to the wrong debates,” Jay smiled.


“Rubio was criticized by his own kids for being mean and demeaning at a recent debate,” Bill said. “Ouch!”


“He was also criticized in the Florida press for shirking his Senate duties because of his intensive campaigning,” I reported.


The press quoted

You are paid $174,000 per year to represent us, to fight for us, to solve our problems. Plus you take a $10,000 federal subsidy— declined by some in the Senate — to participate in one of the Obamacare health plans, though you are a big critic of Obamacare…

…  you took to the Senate floor to excoriate federal workers at the Department of Veterans Affairs for failing to do their jobs. You said, ‘there is really no other job in the country where if you don’t do your job, you don’t get fired.’ With the exception of your Senate job, right?


“Rubio’s clearly special. Attendance rules and mores don’t apply to him,” Jay smiled. “And maybe Trump’s getting ready to fire him!”


“Evan Osnos, in the New Yorker, said ‘Rubio has succeeded in politics by straddling as many positions as possible’. The title of the Osnos story is The Opportunist.”


“Interesting,” Bill said.


“Osnos further noted that Rubio read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged twice in his first term  [in the Florida House].”


“More intellectual adolescence,” Bill said.



In 2008 Rubio began teaching under a fellowship appointment at Florida International University (FIU) as an adjunct professor. In 2011, he rejoined the FIU faculty after entering the U.S. Senate. He teaches, when the Senate is not in session, in the Department of Politics and International Relations – up to four undergraduate courses per year on Florida politics, political parties, and legislative politics. His Wikipedia profile reports that his student reviews have been positive, even from students who disagree with him politically. He generally gives the impression of being unbiased and nonpartisan, and when offering his own opinion identifies it as such. Rubio says that he wants students, when they watch the news, to have an appreciation for what is really going on behind the scenes, and says that teaching ‘forces me to stop sometimes and analyze things.’ Most of the funding for his FIU position is apparently from private sources. A major contributor has been billionaire Norman Braman,



“Perhaps reading Ayn Rand augmented his qualifications for the Florida International U faculty position?” I suggested.


The Osnos story said that Reagan’s election and Rubio’s grandfather’s allegiance to Reagan were defining influences on him. Rubio mentions this in An American Son. Rubio also mentioned to Osnos that he was rereading Bill Manchester’s The Last Lion, saying:

It’s this book about Churchill. It’s really long. Only because I’m just so fascinated by the leadership he provided. Churchill was a guy who was largely ignored through much of the thirties as a warmonger, and a guy that was crying wolf, and Chamberlain was this heroic figure that was going to achieve peace in our time by diplomacy. And I think, in many cases, we’re kind of at a similar moment…


“Churchill was no intellectual adolescent,” Jay said. “And he didn’t mind reading – or writing – ‘really long’ books, unlike Rubio.”


“Interesting. When will one of Rubio’s competitors paraphrase Lloyd Bentzen’s 1988 rejoinder to Dan Quayle, by saying ‘Senator, you’re no Winston Churchill’?”


“It is interesting that Rubio’s Iowa campaign pretty much copied the Obama 2008 strategy in Iowa.”


“The Opportunist,” Jay recalled.



Miami-Dade County is, on average, just six feet above sea level. While in the State legislature, Rubio’s own district included Miami’s flood-vulnerable airport.


The county’s highest natural point is only about twenty-five feet, according to Kolbert’s The Siege of Miami in The New Yorker. She wrote that South Florida has been called

ground zero when it comes to sea-level rise … the poster child for the impacts of climate change …  the epicenter for studying the effects of sea-level rise, a disaster scenario, and the New Atlantis.

She quoted local residents as saying Dios mío! El cambio climático!


On Face the Nation Rubio said, in response to a question:

What I said is, humans are not responsible for climate change in the way some of these people out there are trying to make us believe, for the following reason: I believe that climate is changing because there’s never been a moment where the climate is not changing.


“Is that a Q.E.D. statement?” Bill asked.


“No, it’s an opportunist politician’s semantics to satisfy everyone, by speaking nonsense generalities,” I said.



Al Gore once suggested that Florida ought to join

with the Maldives and some of the small island states that are urging the world to adopt

stronger restrictions on global-warming pollution,

recommending that Florida-based politicians use the Sea Level Rise Toolbox, created by their own students and professors at Florida International University.


Annika Barth, a New Hampshire resident and freshman at American University, asked Rubio, during one of his New Hampshire campaign stops, if he would support a Department of Justice investigation on all that Exxon knew about climate change.  Rubio referred to the investigation as ‘nothing but a leftwing effort to demonize industries in America’.


In response to Pope Francis’ Laudato si encyclical in 2015, in which the Pope warns of the dangers of climate change, Rubio said:

I have no problem with what the Pope did … He is a moral authority and as a moral authority is reminding us of our obligation to be good caretakers to the planet. I’m a political leader. And my job as a policymaker is to act in the common good. And I do believe it’s in the common good to protect our environment, but I also believe it’s in the common good to protect our economy.


“He is an opportunist – and that may be connected to his current pro-fossil fuel energy positioning. If he was running for the Demo nomination, he’d be arguing for energy plans like he did in the Florida House back in 2008,” I said.


“Interesting. Fill us in,” Jay said.


I did. A recent piece by Bruce Ritchie contrasted the 2007-8 Florida House discussions with Rubio’s current positions:

As speaker of the Florida House of Representatives in 2008, Marco Rubio helped pass a sweeping energy bill — backed by a number of environmentalists — that seemed to reflect a bipartisan interest in renewable energy, climate change and the environment.


In 2007 Rubio said:

This nation and ultimately the world is headed for an emissions tax and energy diversification … Those changes will require technological advances that make those measures cost effective. The demand for such advances will create an industry to meet it. Florida should become the Silicon Valley of that industry.


An environmental advocate for the 2008 Florida legislation, Susan Glickman, said:

From my perspective Marco Rubio completely switched gears and went from someone who looked for positive solutions that created jobs and developed smart technology to someone whose head is in the sand about the reality of rising sea levels that are already impacting his home state.


Miami mayor, Republican Tomás Regalado, a Rubio supporter, told the Miami Herald

We are in ground zero, and we need to have our candidates from Florida address the issue. He was one of a group of South Florida mayors who sent letters to Rubio and Bush on the need for action to address climate change. Their letter to Rubio:


            We are already experiencing the effects of a changing climate. Sea levels off the coast of South Florida rose about eight inches in the twentieth century. … we have seen more tidal flooding, more severe storm surges, and more saltwater intrusion into aquifers. By 2050, mean sea level around Florida is expected to rise about a foot, a shift which could wipe out as much as $4 billion in taxable real estate in the four-county region of Southeast Florida. At three feet of sea level rise, the loss could total $31 billion, with large sections of the Everglades, the Florida Keys and the Miami metropolitan region under water.


A later paragraph continues:

We need a realistic national plan to slow global warming emissions and avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The science is well established: protecting the long-term future of our cities must include preventing global temperatures from rising above the internationally recognized target of two degrees Celsius above preindustrial policies that reduce global warming emissions at home and global leadership to ensure other countries are doing their part. The U.S. should be at the forefront of the transition to clean energy, creating jobs for Americans while conserving our environment for future generations.


In December, in New Hampshire, with Jeanette and their four kids in tow, Rubio lamented the unseasonably warm New Hampshire weather: ‘[The kids] were hoping to see snow. What happened?’ [he and family got snow in spades later in NH campaign, he saying, via a Trumpism  line: ‘I’ll make America snow again!’]



“Well, Rubio is an ex-Mormon, you know,” Jay said. “He can reset, recalibrate at any time!”


“If he senses a political advantage in getting his head out of the energy sands,” I suggested, ‘he may be very responsive to some chocolate therapy.”


“He is definitely an opportunist,” Bill said. “Right after the Paris massacre he issues a video on a ‘clash of civilizations’.”


“Yes, one minute long,” I said. “And actually very perceptive, I think. He even acts and looks ‘presidential’ in it.”


“A day or two earlier, at Florida’s Sunshine Summit, he spoke very effectively, arguing for the American Dream and that the 2016 election is a generational change,” Jay added. “But everything he says is based on Libertarian economic assumptions.”


“We really have to get to him before his youthful positions become overly hard-wired,” I said.


“Romney’s Utah fund-raising clout just helped in Rubio’s visit to Salt Lake City, touting vocational education and ‘generational choice’.


“Interesting speeches,” Jay said. “Chris Stewart blathered completely uncritical support.”


“Just as he did for Romney in 2012,” I recalled. “Remember his support of the Romney energy plan: drill here, drill everywhere?”


“Sure – it was a part of your campaign against Stewart. Did you hear Rubio say ‘…a welder makes a lot more than a philosopher’, touting his support for increasing vocational education?”


“Yes, I heard it,” Bill said. “Why can’t we have welders who have read a little philosophy – and have enough education to be responsible citizens and voters?”


“What are you smoking?” Jay asked. “This is America – land of entertainment, banned books, and the banning of common core educational standards.”


“But it’s also the land of John W. Gardner and his beautiful little classic Excellence. Every elected official should have their own well read copy.”


“Perhaps make it part of the Ananda’s Chocolates package for some,” Bill suggested.


“Rubio’s ‘philosophy is irrelevant’ comment generated a response from some philosophers,” I noted.


“Cool. Go on.”


“An Arizona State University professor said philosophy is about critical thinking  – about thinking and writing skills – and that new philosophy graduates are paid roughly the same as the average for all welders.”


“I wouldn’t have expected that,” Jay said.


“There’s more. The same Times story quoted a Ph.D. philosopher who became a mechanic – and welder. He said the trades are not mindless – they require critical thinking as well as good hands.”


“Rubio – and the rest of the GOP lineup, don’t seem to be fond of critical thinking,” Bill added.


“Nor are any of them likely skilled enough to function as a decent welder,” Jay smiled.


“And now Rubio is talking about dismantling the ‘overpriced higher education system’.”


“He may be on to something – much of it is indeed overpriced, perhaps attracting overly coddled and overly comfort-seeking students,” I added.


“Rubio’s trying to appeal to the young – and to youth. But Jeremy Peters noted recently in the Times:

Being young is one thing. Being the candidate whose ideas seem fresh and appeal to younger voters is another.

Most of the young know Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything – Capitalism versus the Climate, so even if Marco changes his 2008 mind to pander to the conservative GOP wishful thinkers, youth will likely know better.”


“He keeps getting questions as to how he’s like Obama – young and naive and inexperienced,” Bill said. ”His response in New Hampshire was:

The reason why Barack Obama failed is because his ideas don’t work. It’s not that he didn’t have the experience. It’s that his ideas were the wrong ones.”


“No,” I said. “Obama partially failed because he was indeed young, naive, and inexperienced. And so is Rubio. In fact he has much less perspective, vision, education, and brains than Obama.”


“Enough,” Jay said. “I can get to Rubio via the $500 per person ‘reception’ at the home of the Kellers in nearby Bountiful – former Romney supporters. We can’t afford the $2,700 per person discussion session.”


“Great. I’ll kick in a major chunk,” I said.


“Peter Keller is President/CEO of Keller Investment Properties. They operate apartment complexes in four western states, including Utah,” Jay noted.


“Compliment Rubio – and the Kellers – on Marco’s redesigned campaign website – and on his ‘clash of civilizations’ video. And on the prominent MEET JEANETTE label at the top of his site’s Home Page. She’s an asset.”


“I hope she’s into chocolates,” Jay smiled. “I’ll see if I can engage him in a brief higher education discussion.”


“And ask him if Romney may actually be thinking of running – or perhaps serving as his VP,” I suggested, “or Secretary of Defense.”


“The Times photo of Rubio’s banner in lights on a theatre marque in Iowa –  ‘Marco Rubio … A New American Century’ – encapsulates his basic problem: he operates from the assumptions of the early 19th century, ignorant of – or at least ignoring – the realities of our current twenty first,” I noted.


“Like all the other pseudo-libertarians, he has no concept of sustainability, atmospheric and oceanic constraints, or resource limitations: he thinks, like the others, that we can grow our way out of any problems,” Bill added.


“Yes, and now given Romney’s Washington Post op-ed, they want us to wage all out war against ISIS,” Jay said. “And so does Jeb Bush.”


“As long as it’s a ‘volunteer’ military, it’s not their kids and grandkids that Republicans want to commit to killing and dying,” Bill said, bitterly.


When asked by a Fox News anchor about Black Lives Matter Rubio told the story of an African American friend of his whom police had stopped eight or nine times over the previous 18 months even though he had never broken the law. ‘This is a problem our nation has to confront, he declared. He also recounted young African Americans who get arrested for nonviolent

offenses and pushed into plea deals by overworked public defenders. He said we must

… look for ways to divert people from going to jail…so that you don’t get people stigmatized early in life.


Rubio was one of the bipartisan Gang of Eight early in his Senate term, co-authoring the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 to give illegal immigrants a pathway to legal status. His proposal contrasted with the Republican party’s long-held view that offering citizenship to undocumented immigrants is virtually the same as amnesty But four months after the Senate passed the bill he co-authored, Rubio publicly opposed its passage in the House.



“When you’re running for President, you have to be an opportunist – you take the positions which – at that time – generate the greatest support – votes and dollars,” Jay said, bitterly. “You convince yourself that it’s just temporary – that after you’re elected, you can then do the right thing.”


“That’s exactly what Nixon thought,” I said. “Whatever keeps me in office is what’s best, because I’m so good for the Country.”


“And Nixon did do a lot of good – before he resigned in disgrace,” Bill added.


“But the ends do not justify the means,” I said.


“Remember Jeb Bush, the poor Everglades, and the sugar dollars that bought Jeb’s reneging on an Everglades agreement?” Jay asked. “Well, according to Filkins, the same sugar magnates, the Fanjuls,

hosted a fund-raiser for Senator Marco Rubio, of Florida, another candidate for President and, despite his ties to the Tea Party, a staunch backer of price supports for sugar. The cost of entry was twenty-seven hundred dollars a person.”


“Plutocracy is alive and well in Florida,” Bill said. “I understand Cubans have a sweet tooth.”


“Especially when the sweets come dripping with money,” Jay smiled.


“And he’s now getting some support from a popular Iowa senator, Joni Ernst,” I reported. ”She recently joined him for a rally in Des Moines, shortly after the Des Moines Register endorsed him.”


“Joni is a Koch favorite.”


“Gail Collin is after Marco now, based on his Iowa talks,” Jay said, “writing

Rubio, who used to be sort of the Boy Scout of the pack, has been getting more and more irritating with every passing day.”


“And more and more religious, especially in Iowa,” Jay continued. “In response to a question, Rubio said:

I pray for wisdom. The presidency of the United States is an extraordinary burden and you look at some of the greatest presidents in American history. They were very clear. They were on their knees all the time asking for God, asking God for the wisdom to solve, for the strength to persevere incredible tests.”


“I’d rather he used his kneeling time to read the New York Times,” Bill said.


“Bruni said basically the same thing,

I’m less interested in whether a president kneels down than in whether he or she stands up for the important values that many religions teach — altruism, mercy, sacrifice…”


“His recent hyper-criticism of Obama really bothers me,” Jay said. “He said in West Des Moines

… this president has been a disaster … Obama believes … America is an arrogant global power that needs to be cut down to size. …I’m going to say it again…These things [Barack Obama’s] done to America are not accidents.


“Enough,” Bill said. “Let’s talk about Jeanette – maybe she’s more reasonable. Her parents are originally from Colombia, she leads a bible study group, and she is interested in human trafficking.”

“And, thanks to Kay’s work, I’ve learned that her parents divorced when she was only six. I don’t know yet what her Latin interests and connections might be. I did see an earlier ABCNews family clip. They seem like a solid, grounded family. She works part-time for the Braman Foundation, funded by a billionaire largely bankrolling Rubio’s campaign. Their oldest, Amanda, goes to a Catholic high school – so perhaps there’s another potential Pope-climate connection.”

“Perhaps Amanda might be interested in Ananda’s Chocolates? And they live in Miami,” Bill said. “That ought to be a strong climate change connection.”

“And a very strong Pope connection. Bush and Rubio both attend Miami’s Catholic archbishop Thomas G. Wenski’s mass and sermons,” I noted. “Wenski’s already said, via the Times, that he hopes the encyclical has resonated with Jeb and Marco. Another point: Wenski chairs the committee on domestic justice and human development at the U.S. Conference of Bishops, a historically very conservative group. Interesting.”

“Jeanette and Marco are apparently lousy drivers – especially Jeanette,” Bill said. “Lots of traffic citations and mandatory driving school attendance. And they have trouble with budgets and arithmetic.”

“And credit cards,” I added. “A short Times story discussed Rubio finances. Either he can’t count or he can’t live within a budget. The Times reported on his ‘financial struggles’, including one of those mid-life crises purchases – a luxury speedboat!”

“It wasn’t a speedboat – apparently a recreation boat that’s fairly popular with middle class Floridians,” Bill said. “He got a substantive advance on his book and felt like spending part of it, I guess.”

“He is in his forties,” Jay said. “That’s when men start to succumb to testosterone urges – mid-life crisis.”

“Voice of experience?” Bill asked.

“No – just a well known weakness of men approaching middle age.”


“All four of their kids are in private, parochial school – that costs,” I said. “What could be the problem with free public schools in Florida?”


“Hey, it’s not about education, it’s about indoctrination,” Jay concluded.


“And now Jeanette’s apparently become a Baptist – or at least going to a Baptist church, with Marco in tow.”


“Interesting. Did that have anything to do with the Iowa primary: Iowa – the Evangelical State?” Jay smiled.


“Jeanette is a social conservative and has deepened her husband’s conservatism,” I said.

“Her influence has likely reinforced his outspoken opposition to abortion in almost all cases.”


“Let’s keep searching and thinking. Maybe we can find a Florida GOP or philanthropic event where we can connect with the Bushes and the Rubios.”


“Maybe a Miami Christmas party,” Bill said. “Or a performance art exhibit reception!”


“You saw that piece on Miami performance art,” I said. “It’s tailor-made for Floridians who need to be aware of rising ocean levels!”


“Rubio’s comments to the Fox News guy and his Gang of Eight early actions – and the 2007-08 Florida legislature energy-climate actions – that all suggests that there is hope for him,” I said.


“Yes, Mr. Optimist,” Jay smiled, “With a little help from Ananda.”


“And maybe Jeanette – and their kids. The kids are old enough now to start thinking for themselves.”



Homework: Ted Cruz for President



Ted Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada to an American mother and Cuban father.

His mother earned an undergraduate degree in mathematics from Rice University in the 1950s. Eleanor and Rafael Cruz divorced in 1997. Cruz has said, ‘I’m the son of two mathematicians/computer programmers.’


He attended Second Baptist High School in Houston, graduating in 1988; he was valedictorian.

While in high school he learned of free market economics, including Hayek and von Mises, via a group called the Free Market Education Foundation. He received a B.A. in Public Policy from Princeton University. He participated in various debating championships and was U.S. National Speaker of the Year in 1992. He went to Harvard Law School and served as a law clerk to Chief Justice William Rehnquist. He was the first Hispanic to clerk for the Chief Justice. While serving as Solicitor General of Texas he authored more than 80 U.S. Supreme Court briefs and argued 43 oral arguments, including nine before the Supreme Court.  From 2004-09, he taught Supreme Court Litigation as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Texas School of Law.


He married Heidi in 2001; they have two daughters – Catherine 5, Caroline 7.  The Cruz’s live in his hometown of Houston, Texas. Cruz has said, ‘I’m Cuban, Irish, and Italian, and yet somehow I ended up Southern Baptist’.


Cruz was elected as Senator from Texas in 2012. He is a climate change denier, strongly pro-life, and opposes both same-sex marriage and civil unions. He is an adamant opponent of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the 2015 international nuclear agreement with Iran, and a critic of the rapprochement between Cuba and the United States.


“If his mother was a mathematician, how come he can’t count – or add or subtract?” Jay asked.


“Guess he wasn’t a good student,” Bill said.


“He gave the commencement speech – and collected an honorary degree – a year or so ago at the Southwestern Adventist University, saying:

            If you ever hope to persuade anotheryou’ve got to understand how another person of good morals and good intentions can look at the exact same issue you are passionate about, and come to precisely the opposite conclusion.

“Isn’t that related to empathy,” Jay smiled. “I hope that means he, too, can be ‘persuaded’.

“Well, he also quoted Churchill: Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never, never give in’.”

“A recent interview of Cruz notes he thinks of himself as more of a ‘Spider-Man Guy’. And he’s a Star-Trek fan,” Bill said. “He identifies more with Captain Kirk rather than Captain Picard.”


“Given that, according to Heidi Cruz, The Princess Bride is his favorite movie – and that he and Heidi have two young daughters – as a family they’re likely to be watching Dread Pirate Roberts in action on a semi-regular basis,” I suggested.


“You think they’ll tell the little girls that Cruz’s Libertarian soul-mate Ross Ulbricht, alias the dark web’s Dread Pirate Roberts, was given a life sentence for, according to the judge, doing things ‘…terribly destructive to our social fabric’?” Jay asked.


“Not likely,” Bill said. “Ted himself did and is doing terrible things to our national social fabric by working to shut down the government.”


“Ulbricht wanted to empower people to be able to make their own choices – to have privacy and anonymity as they desired – a standard Libertarian ideology,” Jay said.


“And isn’t that part of Cruz’s ideology and stand?” Bill asked.


“Yes,” Jay said. “But I don’t think Cruz extended that to illegal drugs – at least not yet.”


Wired Magazine did a comprehensive two part story on how Ulbricht and his Silk Road started unraveling,” I said, “and how the FBI-DEA finally caught him. A good read.”


“The Times recently ran a story on the DEA agent who fairly early on suspected Ulbricht, a Gary Alford. He was following a

            … young man from Texas who, just like Dread Pirate Roberts, admired the free-market economist Ludwig von Mises and the libertarian politician Ron Paul.

That was the key clue,” Bill noted. “But that wasn’t Ted Cruz.”


“Ulbricht held out for three years,” Jay said. “But he got arrogant and sloppy.”


“And started having online conversations because he was lonely,” I said. “He had trouble really keeping it all to himself. And, according to the Wired story, he was careless at the very beginning: ‘… in the era of informational perpetuity, you only have to be careless once’.”


“Shhh – and Amen,” Bill smiled.


“Ted Cruz used his Princess Bride acting skills during the Iowa campaign,” I said. “And then prayed with a pastor who said he was a ‘biblically qualified’ candidate.”


“What an endorsement!” Jay said.


The Economist recently noted that Cruz

 …has built his campaign around a simple pitch: assuring the most conservative third of the Republican electorate, from born again Christian voters to hardline members of the Tea Party, that they form a natural majority of the conservative movement, and indeed would decide general elections if they would only turn out and vote….The 2016 presidential primary calendar is front-loaded with conservative, pious states, many in the South, allowing Cruz strategists to dream of swiftly dominating the ‘very conservative ‘ lane of the race…

But the story goes on to say that the argument didn’t play out in the 2012 election results.


Cruz worked as a policy adviser for George Bush’s 2000 campaign, but George recently said ‘I just don’t like the guy.’ The Times’ Bruni noted that George thinks Cruz is ‘cynically opportunistic and self-serving’; Bruni concludes the column with ‘…he’s frightening’.


Cindy Casares, in The Guardian:

Cruz’s father, Rafael, has been brainwashing his son since he was about four years old to believe he’s ‘gifted above any man he knows’ and ‘destined by God for greatness’.


“Such a supportive evangelical father,” Jay smiled.


“ … 2016 is going to be a religious liberty election, according to Ted at a Plano, Texas meeting,” I said.


“Maybe he’s channeling his crazy father,” Bill observed. “Raphael is a pastor who directs Grace for America, whose goal is to restore the traditional family throughout America.”


”I didn’t realize we’d outlawed the traditional family,’ Jay said. “What’s the big deal – you are free to be traditional – and free to be non-traditional.”


“We know that – and perhaps Ted knows that, but Papa Cruz doesn’t want to accept it.”


“His speech to the World Council on Families meeting in Salt Lake was so powerful that he got a standing ovation.”


“Maybe Cruz’s father should run for president – he’d be in the Huckabee – Carson mold, “ I suggested.


“He can’t – he’s an immigrant from Cuba – not born here,” Bill said. “He claims he fought for Castro and against Battista during the revolution.”


“Claims?” Jay asked.


“Yes – and Ted parrots the story, but … the New York Times recently ran a full page investigative story on Rafael – the ‘elder Cruz’ they call him.”


“And?” Jay, again.


“They quoted a compatriot as saying elder Cruz was – or is – a ojaletero – a wishful thinker – that he was making up the exploits he recounted.”


“I also saw the story. The writer says something that could have come right from Mark Twain: ‘The fog of almost 60 years can cloud even the clearest of memories …’.”


“Especially if you’re an ojaletero,” Bill smiled.


“Ted, in his recent book, propagates Rafael’s mis-memories.”


“Well, Ted isn’t known for asking critical questions.”


“I had assumed that Ted was trying to distance himself from Rafael’s ultra-right, evangelical ravings,” I said, “but apparently not. He seems to be using his father to whip up the crowds, at least in certain venues.”


“One of our local papers interviewed a Jill Love at the World Council conference. She said she felt just like Rafael Cruz did – until she learned one of her six kids was gay.”


“Revelations happen,” I said.


“Bruni has torn into Cruz – ‘Anyone but Ted Cruz’ is one of his NY Times headlines. He’s talked with people who’ve worked with him:

They loathe him…. His thirst for the spotlight is unquenchable. His arrogance is unalloyed. He actually takes pride in being abrasive…”


“I read that, too,” Bill added. “Bruni also said that when asked about Cruz at a fund-raiser, former Speaker John Boehner gave him the middle finger!”


“So would I,” Jay said.



One commentator said Cruz ‘is a master at channeling indignation’.


David Brooks has noted that ‘Ted Cruz has always stood out for being nakedly ambitious for himself.’


“Sure sounds like Cruz should be the subject of a Pat Bagley cartoon book,” Bill suggested. “Clueless Cruz could compete with Pat’s Clueless George.”


“I think we’d each buy several.”



Casares also tracked down his freshman roommate, Craig Mazin, at Princeton, who told her:

I begged them for a different room or roommate. Begged. They didn’t understand then. They do now…I would rather have anybody else be the president of the United States. Anyone.

But a recent Economist story said that David Panton, a Princeton and Harvard roommate, called him ‘a loyal friend … polite, kind and respectful’. The piece also said that ‘Mr. Cruz’s Christianity is profound and sincere’. So, somewhat mixed reviews.


“And Cruz is very strategic. I just saw that he and his plutocrat supporter, Robert Mercer, are spending loads of money engaging Cambridge Analytica – a ‘psychographic profiling’ firm which uses Facebook-derived data – to target potential new supporters.”


“Cruz’s politics and perspectives may be rooted in the early 19th century, but his campaign tactics are definitely 21st century,” I said. “That’s a very dangerous combination.”


“There is a small positive side to his ‘win’ over Trump and Rubio in Iowa,” Jay said.


“What’s that?”


“Ethanol subsidies. Andrew Revkin wrote in the Times that

Cruz … withstood the perennial temptation — among Republicans

and Democrats alike — to bow down to Big Corn and the federal mandate for

ethanol that has been such a boon to Iowa corn farmers.

Nearly half of all the corn grown in Iowa is made into ethanol.”


“That is huge. Libertarians are supposed to be against all business subsidies, but then they all cave in when campaigning in Iowa,” I said.


“Except Cruz,” Jay said.


“Hey, it’s not that simple,” Bill corrected. “Mooney’s piece in the Washington Post was more informative. Cruz wasn’t so much anti-ethanol subsidy as he was anti-EPA. He reframed the issue to appeal to his evangelical audience. I don’t hold out any hope that he’d be consistent and be against all energy subsidies.”


“Interesting,” I said. “And here’s some real bad news. Cruz is accepting campaign help from some really horrible people. Remember the saying ‘…you are the company you keep’, and if Ted Cruz is the company he keeps, that’s downright terrifying – according to an online piece. It went through and described a slate of people working very closely with his campaign who are outright fascist. You could even say that some of them are as horrible as ISIS.”


There’s been considerable discussion and comment on Cruz’s ‘brutalism’, ‘obnoxiousness’, and ‘meanness’ by Brooks, Bruni, and several others. David Brooks wrote that when Cruz was Solicitor General of Texas he took a case to the Supreme Court to keep a man in prison who should have been freed. Even the Justices were skeptical and critical. ‘Is there some rule that you can’t confess error in your state?’ Justice Kennedy asked. Brooks wrote that Cruz

…  is a stranger to most of what would generally be considered the Christian virtues: humility, mercy, compassion and grace… [his] overzealous application of the letter of the law … violates the spirit of the law, as well as fairness and mercy.


And Brooks goes on:

[His] speeches are marked by what you might call pagan brutalism. There is not a hint of compassion, gentleness and mercy. Instead, his speeches are marked by a long list of enemies, and vows to crush, shred, destroy, bomb them. When he is speaking in a church the contrast between the setting and the emotional tone he sets is jarring.


“You might think he’s being ‘brutal’ to appeal to God-fearing evangelicals in Iowa,” I said. “But some of the actions Brooks cites are from nearly two decades ago – he wasn’t campaigning and pandering to evangelicals then.”


“I guess he just likes being a super-powerful hard-ass asshole,” Jay said. “suffering from Empathy Deficit Disorder – big time.”


“Amen,” added Bill


Brooks continues,

Cruz lays down an atmosphere of apocalyptic fear. America is heading off ‘the cliff to oblivion’ … [He’s] always been good at tearing things down but incompetent

when it comes to putting things together.


But Cruz may be the best thing going for the other GOP candidates, says Gail Collins:

Cruz is the No. 2 every politician dreams of being stacked up against in a

contest where the road is long and, sooner or later, everybody needs a friend.

It’s fascinating how much his fellow Republicans hate this guy.


Shenkman, a psychologist, recently referred to Cruz’s ‘stone-age brain’ in discussing his statements on ‘carpet bombing’ and his obvious lack of empathy. Shenkman refers to Cruz’s ‘cognitive dissonance’. His new book Political Animals is subtitled: How our Stone-Age Brain gets in the way of Smart Politics, although he takes particular aim at Ted Cruz, for obvious reasons.


At a campaign event in Iowa, one of the audience interviewed, Jon Lubecky, 39, an Army

veteran, said

You’ve got Cruz saying he’s going to carpet bomb the Middle East. Rubio

saying he’d torture people. And Trump who wants to nuke everybody.


Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor, says Cruz is the most dangerous candidate, because

He’s more fanatical;

            He’s a true believer;

            He’s smarter;

            He’s more disciplined and strategic;

            He’s a loner who’s willing to destroy institutions.


“Actually – he and Trump are, to me, tied in being dangerous and ignorant,” I said.

“It’s all about apocalyptic fear and paranoia,” Jay said. “That’s what resonates among the 50 percent of the country that are hardcore believers – especially in Iowa and, I guess, Texas.”


“Let’s consider Heidi – she may be more promising,” Bill suggested.


“I’ve done some homework on Cruz’s Heidi – I like the name.”


“She’s been on the campaign trail for Ted in Iowa,” Bill said.


“Yes,” Jay added, reading from his smart phone: “The Financial Times recently did a story on her, noting that

…it was originally Mrs Cruz who was seen as the real star of the couple, according to people who knew them when they met on the 2000 George W Bush campaign 15 years ago … She is intense and as ambitious as they come…If her husband hadn’t become a senator, she would be the famous one.”


“Heidi has quite a resume. She worked for Bush-Cheney in 2000. She’s been at Goldman Sachs since 2005, now on leave for the campaign.”


“I wonder what Elizabeth Warren thinks of her,” Jay mused.

“Heidi lists her occupation as ‘wealth manager’, according to Wikipedia – and her religion as Southern Baptist.”

“Interesting, because she grew up as a Seventh Day Adventist,” Jay said.

“I wonder what Heidi thinks of her own father-in-law preacher Rafael, who’s said gay marriage is a government conspiracy and called President Barack Obama a Marxist who should ‘go back to Kenya’ – that’s according to the Daily Mail. How’s that for a father-in-law?”

“She should have known better,” Bill smiled – “especially knowing that Ted attended white Christian schools in Houston. No surprise that Ted’s more evangelical than Catholic. He’s so anti-Latino that he changed his name from Rafael to Ted, at the time infuriating his father.”


I continued: “She was at Harvard Business School for two years and received a Master of Business degree from Solvay Brussels (Belgium) in 1995.”

“When Diana and I were in Morro Bay some years ago, we came across a Fresno Bee report about her,” I recalled. “She was born and grew up in San Luis Obispo, had a bread stand, and became interested in politics. She went on to become a Capitol Hill intern, a policy aide on the George W. Bush campaign and economic director for the Western Hemisphere with the National Security Council.”


“She is very interesting,” Jay said. “Her Wikipedia entry says her folks were medical-dental Seventh Day Adventist missionaries in Africa. She studied at an Adventist church school in Monterey, got an economics degree from Claremont, two MBAs, and then met Ted in 2000 – they were both working on the Bush campaign.”

“I did some Adventist homework. The Adventists have 28 fundamental beliefs,” I said, “including:

We are God’s stewards entrusted by Him with time and opportunities, abilities and possessions, and the blessing of the earth and its resources. We are responsible to Him for their proper use.”

“That may be just as helpful as Francis’ encyclical,” added Bill.

“Ben Carson, the neurosurgeon Islamophobe former candidate, is also a Seventh Day Adventist, I understand. Perhaps they could meet and talk, but as she’s now a Baptist, maybe that wouldn’t be so helpful.”

“The Cruzs have two young daughters,” Bill noted. “So they should be interested in the future of the planet – for their sake.”

“Cruz is such a manipulator interested in his own success that he used his two young daughters in ‘a twisted Christmas ad’,” I reported. “ –  a political ad ‘to go after Mrs. Clinton’s private email account’, according to Elizabeth Williamson in the Times. Williamson’s online editorial has a picture of Ted and Heidi with Catherine and Caroline holding US flags – the whole family so sweet and having fun.”


“I can’t believe Heidi let him get away with that,” Bill complained. “Two very young, sweet kids being roped into an egomaniac’s quest for power.”


“Maybe Heidi’s starting to have second thoughts,” Jay said.


“Don’t bet on it. She may be just as bad – just as much a fanatical evangelist,” Bill added.


“How so?” I asked.


“I saw a Daily Kos piece quoting her and Ted’s views on church and state – frightening:

Heidi Cruz says her husband’s campaign, and, if elected, presidency,

exist ‘… to show this country the face of the God that we serve’ … She went on to say that, ‘I think that’s something that this country really needs to be reminded of, is that Christians are loving people, are nonjudgmental people, but there is right and wrong, we have a country of law and order, there are consequences to actions and we must all live peaceably in our own faiths under the Constitution. And Ted is uniquely able to deliver on that combination of the law and religion’.”


“I heard something like that from the Taliban – or was it ISIS?” Jay said.


“That was the Daily Kos comment as well,” Bill smiled.


“I hope she takes to chocolate,” I added.



Steve Eder’s New York Times article on Heidi’s ‘sacrifices’ may be relevant to harmless’ strategy.

She had a good career in Washington, but decided to move to Texas to be with Ted, then the state’s new Solicitor General. The transition affected her greatly – perhaps culture shock was part of the stress. Eder wrote that in August 2005 an Austin police officer found her, with her head in her hands, sitting beside an expressway onramp.  Although she has avoided using the word ‘depression’, in his own book, A Time for Truth, Ted Cruz wrote that her move to Texas ‘led to her facing a period of depression.’ Mrs. Cruz obviously rebounded, recovered with the aid of ‘spiritual counseling’ via a Christian song she heard on her car radio. A decade later, she was a successful executive for Goldman Sachs and a force in Cruz’s presidential campaign. She did say in an interview: ‘God leads you to where he can use you the most. And it may not look exactly like you’d expect.’


“That’s a bit too much Christian optimism for me,” Bill said.


“Gail Collins has written about the candidates putting their immediate family and relatives on the campaign stage, including Cruz’s young kids, saying:

Leave the kids alone. When they’re teenagers, they’ll figure out their own ways to get



“I hope Heidi finally wakes up, well before her kids become teenagers, and do take revenge,” Bill said. “Maybe we can help them help their father to have a revelation.”


“Her brother is an orthopedic surgeon,” Jay said. “Perhaps there’s some critical thinking on her side of the family.”


“Perhaps, but remember engineers and physicians – especially surgeons – often tend to be conservative – they like things simple.”


“I’m not optimistic. She seems to be acting as a ‘stand by your man’ type.” Jay attempted to sing the Tammy Wynette lyric, not very successfully.


“Stand by Bill sort of backfired on Hillary – or was it her comment on baking cookies?” Bill asked.


“Heidi did agree, according to Ted, to mortgage their house and spend their savings on his first campaign.”


“Let’s hope she starts questioning him a bit. She does seem to be a competent, grown up woman who should be able to think and question for herself,” I said.


“And there you go again, Mr. Optimist,” Bill chided.


Katie Zezima of the Washington Post wrote

…few political spouses have redirected their own ambitions to the degree that Heidi Cruz has… Welcome Wilson Sr., a wealthy Cruz donor…‘She is the most dynamic female I have ever met, and I mean that’, he said. ‘She is on point and relentless’.


“Heidi is now chairing – or at least headlining – $1,000 a plate fundraising lunches in Los Angeles,

Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Birmingham, and Seattle. She knows how to ask for money – or investments,” I smiled. “She is a wealth manager.”


“And perhaps a wealth protector – via plutocratic ‘investments’.” Bill said.




Homework: Rand Paul for President



Although Paul dropped out of the presidential race recently, he is likely to be reelected to the Senate. harmless has kept him on its patient list.


Rand Paul was born January 7, 1963 in Pittsburgh. He is the middle child of five; his four siblings are Ronald “Ronnie” Paul Jr., Lori Paul Pyeatt, Robert Paul, and Joy Paul-LeBlanc. He identified as a practicing Christian as a teenager. Ron Paul, his father, is a former U.S. Representative and Presidential candidate from Texas. Paul attended Baylor University and Duke University, receiving the M.D. in 1988; he finished a residency in 1993. He then began practicing ophthalmology in Bowling Green, Kentucky, establishing his own clinic in 2007. He specializes in corneal, cataract and glaucoma treatments.


He regularly volunteered for his father’s campaigns. He ran for Kentucky’s Senate seat in 2010, won, and has served in the Senate since 2011. He describes himself as a Constitutional conservative and a supporter of the Tea Party, advocating for a balanced budget amendment, term limits, and privacy reform. Paul is Presbyterian.


He and Kelley Ashby were married in 1990. They have three children – boys: Duncan, Robert, William. Rand has been their soccer coach. The two oldest currently attend the University of Kentucky, the youngest attends a private school in the Washington, D.C. area.


Paul is co-author of a book entitled The Tea Party Goes to Washington (2011) and Government Bullies: How Everyday Americans Are Being Harassed, Abused, and Imprisoned by the Feds (2012).


Despite his father’s libertarian views and strong support for individual rights, Ayn Rand was not the inspiration for his first name. But, in his teenage years, Rand did study the Austrian economists that his father respected, as well as Ayn Rand’s writings.


In February 2014, Paul joined the Tea Party-affiliated conservative advocacy group FreedomWorks in filing a class-action lawsuit charging that the federal government’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records metadata is a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. Commenting on the lawsuit, Paul said


I’m not against the NSA, I’m not against spying. I’m not against looking at phone records…. I just want you to go to a judge, have an individual’s name and [get] a warrant. That’s what the Fourth Amendment says.


In May, 2015, Paul spoke for ten and a half hours in opposition to the reauthorization of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, resulting in sections of the Act not being reauthorized.


Although he describes himself as a ‘constitutional conservative’, he is generally described as a libertarian. He supports term limits, a balanced budget amendment, and reduction of federal spending and taxation. He favors a flat tax for individuals and business, while eliminating taxes on inheritance, gifts, capital gains, dividends, and interest. His tax plan benefits the wealthy and contributes to growing financial inequality.


He is ‘100% pro life’, believing that legal personhood begins at fertilization, and personally feels same-sex marriage is offensive. He does believe the issue should be left to the states to decide.


Unlike many libertarians, he does not believe in legalizing the recreational use of marijuana but does not support jailing marijuana users. He opposes all forms of gun control or restriction.


He advocates restricting the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency and other Federal agencies to ‘impinge upon states’ power over land and water use.’ In an interview some years ago with Bill Maher, Paul said

I’m not against regulation. I think the environment has been cleaned up dramatically through regulations on emissions…


He’s said that conservative donors Charles and David Koch have ‘always stood for freedom, equality and opportunity’ in a tribute published by Time.


“But he seems to be dropping fast in support – there’s also the issue he’s up for reelection to the Senate.” I said.


“I think he’ll hang in there for a while,” Jay said. “And he’s an important Senator. Paul Ryan listens to him.”


“And vice versa.”



Paul’s wife, Kelley, is a free lance writer and has worked as a political consultant for The Strategy Group for Media, one of whose clients was then Senate candidate Ted Cruz. She is a Rhodes College graduate, focusing on communication and English. In 2015 she published the book True and Constant Friends: Love and Inspiration from Our Grandmothers, Mothers, and Friends. She was born in 1963 in Kentucky. Her parents are Hilton and Lillian Ashby; her father was with the Air Force – the family traveled regularly. One of her greatest influences is her Irish grandmother.


Kelley played a key role in Rand Paul’s decision to run for President, noting that it was an easier decision than his deciding to run for the Senate in mid-2009. She reviews many of his speeches and, according to Rand, ‘always makes them better’. She speaks to Republican women’s groups, and participates in commercial advertisements on behalf of his campaign.


Many political consultants have referred to Kelley Paul as Rand Paul’s ‘secret weapon’.  She has been described as’… a very confident person, very comfortable, and she complements [Rand] well’.



Homework: Trump for President


“And then there’s Trump,” Bill said.


“Trump’s sons are now working on his campaign,” Jay said.


The candidate said last spring that he was now ready to hand his company over to Donald Jr., Eric, and his daughter, Ivanka.


Donald J. Trump Jr. and his younger brother Eric have been traveling on behalf of their father, and making news media appearances on his behalf. The two men have drawn criticism in the past for big-game hunting in Africa. Donny, Jr. was a recent deer hunting guest of Iowa Governor Terry Branstad.


The Junior said:

For a guy like me from New York, where we don’t have quite the quality that you guys have, I wanted to come out early and make sure we got a few good days in there. If you don’t put in the time, you’re not going to do well…[he said] hunting is relaxing….Being from my family and New York, in a city like that, I think the fact that I was in a tree stand or a duck blind on many mornings probably kept me out of a lot of other trouble I would have gotten into growing up, and I love the lifestyle … [ hunting is] an important tradition, a very American position.



“Sounds like The Donald, Jr. is quite a panderer,” Jay smiled.


“And an opportunist – just like Daddy Donald,” Bill added.


“Maybe they could ask Cheney to hunt with them?” I suggested.



Collins:  Besides his talent for not being Ted Cruz, Trump’s other strong suit for

Republican leaders is the suspicion that he doesn’t particularly believe anything he says. It’s not that he disbelieves it. His positions are more like thoughts of the moment, or opening bids.


David Rennie, with The Economist, on the Diane Rehm Show said that Republicans supporters know that both Trump and Cruz are liars, but Trump is a more pragmatic and flexible liar; Cruz is an ideological liar.


“Some one on NPR referred to the Trump – Cruz choice as like choosing between Hitler and Stalin,” Bill said. “But I’m not sure that’s any choice at all.”


“Did you see the Times’ 95,000 Words story – analyzing most of Trump’s talks? It quoted a Texas A&M expert as saying: ‘Part of his argument is that if you believe in American exceptionalism,

you should vote for me, [meaning him]’. The story continued:

It is the sort of trust me and only me rhetoric that, according to historians, demagogues have used to insist that they have unique qualities that can lead the country through turmoil.


“He keeps getting worse and worse,” Jay said. “The Times Editorial – The Trump Effect – mentioned his ‘faith-based wall around the country’ and the Republican governors’ ‘axis of ignorance’.”


“The editorial’s last paragraph says it all,” Bill added, “reading:

The racism behind the agenda of the right wing on immigrants and foreigners has long been plain as day. Mr. Trump makes it even plainer. After his remarks on Muslims, how many of Mr. Trump’s rivals have said they would reject his candidacy if he won the nomination? … none.


A recent Syrian refugee from Aleppo discussed her conversations with her five year old about moving to the US – the land of refugees. ‘My daughter wants to be the Statue of Liberty next Halloween,’ she reported.


“They must be two of only some 2,700 who made it to the US,” Bill said, “out of over four and a half million who left Syria.”


“So much for being the land referred to in the Statue of Liberty,” Jay added.


“And Kristof recently said, via his column on religion,” I said:

ISIS empowers Trump, who inadvertently empowers ISIS. He’s not confronting a national security threat; he’s creating one.


“Cruz earlier avoided criticizing or taking on Trump,” I continued, “because he wants to inherit Trump’s supporters when he finally drops out.”


“He’s doing much better than anyone ever expected, but…he’s so dimwitted, ignorant, and egocentric that it’s unlikely our treatment would have any significant effect,” Jay said.


“I agree. Let’s treat if it’s convenient – and let’s stay up to date on his antics and progress – but let’s not spend any of our precious time trying to get to him.”


“Maybe he’ll be a candidate for Act II?” Jay asked.





Bill and Jake had continued working on their web projects – completely unrelated to harmless. They met regularly at Cucina’s, in the Avenues near the U. This time I joined them, because Jake said he had something he wanted to share with us. He’d been involved with another U professor, setting up a site for a class related to morality, ethics, and evil.


We sat down with our various sandwiches. I asked Jake about his new, little 200 square foot home on a trailer. We talked sustainability, carbon footprints, and The Leonardo’s new exhibit on the UN Charter on Human Rights.



“So what’s with this class?” Bill asked.


“I’ve set up a little demonstration,” Jake said. “I’ve edited some stuff I saw and read in the class materials. The prof is having the students do some play-acting – and getting phenomenal results. She has the students involved, motivated, and asking for more.”


“Go on,” I said.


“I want to do a little performance. I want to recite this piece I edited for you, because it relates to our earlier conversations on evil and morality.”


Bill and I looked at each other. In the many years we each had worked with Jake, this was the first time we saw him so excited about a project, except perhaps when he was protesting the Tim DeChristopher decision and sentencing some five years ago.


Jake stood up, with his notes in hand:


There is a fever over our land.

            A fever of disgrace, of indignity, of hunger.

            We have a democracy, yes,

            But it is torn by elements within.


            Above all, there is fear:

            Fear of today, fear of tomorrow…

            fear of our neighbors…

            and fear of ourselves.


            We want to be told:


            Lift your heads, be proud –

            yes, there are devils among us –

            but once these devils are destroyed,

            your misery will be destroyed.


            We love our country.


            What difference does it make…

            if a few political extremists lose their rights?

            What difference does it make

            if a few racial minorities lose their rights?


            It is only a passing phase.

            It is only a stage we must go through.

            It will be discarded later.


            The country is in danger.

            We will march out of the shadows.

            We will go forward.

            Our land will be great again!


            Follow me!


Jake sat down, saying “Have you heard that before?”


“No, but it sounds like I should have,” I said.


“It sure sounds familiar,” Bill said. “I’m sure I heard something like it before.”


“It’s based on a three hour black and white film from the early sixties,” Jake hinted. “Required viewing in the class I’m helping with.”


“It almost sounds like Hitler,” Bill said, “or perhaps Mussolini.”


“Or Trump,” I said.


“You’re close. It’s based on the confessional testimony of one of the four Hitler-era German judges tried in the film Judgment at Nuremberg. One of them, Ernst Janning, played by Burt Lancaster, gave this incredible speech.”


“I did see that,” Bill said. “A terrific film. The chief trial judge was Spencer Tracy, right?”


“Yep,” Jake said. “It really gets to the question of evil – and Man’s great weaknesses. Here’s a bit more, a little less edited by me:


Forward was the great password….


            The … message … swept over the land like a raging, roaring disease.

            What was going to be a passing phase… had become the way of life.


            It was being done…for love of country.


            Were we deaf? Dumb? Blind?

            Maybe we didn’t know the details.

            But if we didn’t know, it was because we didn’t want to know.


“Wow. I will see it,” I said.


“It’s in the U film library,” Jake said. “The class is now largely over – you shouldn’t have any trouble getting access to it.”


We thanked Jake for the input – it was indeed very relevant to nearly all aspects of harmless and State Change. He said goodbye and left.


I looked at Bill. “Trump, the new Hitler?”


“And Cruz, his loyal assistant?” Bill added.


“Mankind is so stupid.”


“And so fragile.”


I checked out Judgment at Nuremberg from the U library. Diana and I watched it. In one of the special features on the DVD, Abby Mann, who wrote the screenplay, said ‘…the villain of Judgment at Nuremberg is patriotism.”

Chapter 7: Supreme Court Justices

The Supreme Court is the final juror and arbiter of national policies and of the nations’ culture and behavior. harmless feels that a number of current Justices would benefit from a more empathetic and socially considerate perspective to their deliberations and decisions. Harmless wants to advise and ‘treat’ those needy Supreme Court Justices.




The Supreme Court consists of nine justices, appointed for life:


Ginsburg, Ruth Bader:   appointed 1993 by Clinton;        now 83 years old; Jewish

Scalia, Antonin:             appointed 1986 by Reagan;       recently deceased at age 79; Catholic

Kennedy, Anthony:        appointed 1987 by Reagan;       now 79 years old; Catholic

Breyer, Stephen:           appointed 1994 by Clinton;        now 77 years old; Jewish

Thomas, Clarence:       appointed 1991 by Bush #1;       now 67 years old; Catholic

Alito, Samuel:               appointed 2005 by Bush #2;       now 66 years old; Catholic

Roberts, John Jr.:         appointed 2005 by Bush #2;       now 61 years old; Episcopalian

Sotomayor, Sonia:        appointed 2009 by Obama;        now 61 years old; Catholic

Kagan, Elena:               appointed 2010 by Obama;        now 56 years old; Jewish


harmless’ homework on and discussion of the Supreme Court occurred prior to Justice Scalia’s death in early 2016. As the harmless team and project progressed, the five conservative justices were actually ‘treated’ in late 2015, to perhaps affect the Court’s fall term.


The account that follows relates those deliberations and actions.


John Roberts has been Chief Justice for over ten years. He and Alito were appointed in 2005 by Bush #2. They, together with Scalia and Thomas – and to a slightly lesser extent – Kennedy, make up the Court’s conservative block. The others – Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan – and to a slightly lesser extent Ginsburg – make up the liberal wing of the Court. Kennedy and even Roberts are occasionally swing votes. This makes for a significant number of 5-4 decisions. Four of the five Catholics tend to vote very conservatively. Five of the justices were appointed by Republican presidents, four by Democrats. Their ideologies and decisions generally reflect those of the Presidents who appointed them.


Conservatives tend to like a literal interpretation of rules, regulations, laws – especially the Constitution and the Bible. They try to determine what the signers of the Constitution meant – what the words meant back in the late 1700s. They are called originalists or literalists or textualists.


The liberals tend to focus on the Constitution as a living document – one designed to be interpreted and applied in the context of today’s world. They recognize that some of its sections and sentences are intentionally vague and interpretable, due to the wisdom of the drafters and signers in foreseeing that tomorrow will be very different from today – or even yesterday.


The so-called Roberts Court is responsible for the Bush v. Gore decision, which lead to ‘…an enduring cynicism about the Court among many Americans,’ according to Marcia Coyle. Citizens United is an even more hated decision: ‘It’s the most hated of any recent Supreme Court decision, even more than Bush v. Gore,’ according to Theodore Olson, lawyer for both cases.


In some respects, the Court hasn’t been as right wing as it was expected to be, thanks to Kennedy and Roberts. An analysis of the 2015 Court cases suggests that it was gently left-‘leaning’. The New York Times published a graph in mid-2015 where Kennedy was identified as the ‘median’ or center Justice separating the 4-4 factions.


When Utah’s Deseret News carried the masthead ‘We believe the Constitution is divinely inspired’ back in the late sixties and early seventies, they meant it. They believed (and largely still do) that the drafters and signers were Christian, religious patriots – and themselves divinely inspired. The same is true today for the conservative justices. Four of the five are Catholic; Roberts is Episcopalian. Most Catholics like their religion – and their Constitution – literal.


Although we declared our independence in 1776 (the same year Gibbons published the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire), the Constitution was drafted in 1787 and ratified in 1789. The Bill of Rights was ratified in 1792, thereby amending the Constitution.


The mindsets, philosophies, and perspectives of the political and military leaders in the late 1700s were in large part based on the nature and status of the planet, the continent, and the nation at that time.


Adam Smith had just published The Wealth of Nations (1776), providing the foundation for a capitalistic ‘guiding hand’ economy. Smith’s first book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, was published earlier, in 1750, and was intended to provide a foundation, a context, for the Wealth of Nations book, although most people who use and quote The Wealth of Nations are ignorant of the earlier book.


In the late 1700s our new nation wanted to grow, to populate, to prosper. It was vast – land was largely infinite, water was abundant, the skies were clear and the air clean, except in certain areas of certain cities due to coal smoke. There was no such thing as climate change – and certainly no concern or even awareness of planetary issues or constraints. Although farmers and settlers were frugal and resourceful, the national attitude was growth and prosperity – there were no real constraints.


The conservatives of the Roberts Court live and work today largely in the mindset of the late 1700s. The liberals are closer to the realities of the 21st Century. Harmless wants to help address this fundamental issue and problem:


How can we get intelligent, accomplished, even distinguished people to realize – to understand – that the principles and the assumptions upon which their entire life and careers have been based are no longer appropriate?


How can they understand that what was appropriate for the late 17th and 18th centuries is inappropriate – even suicidal – for the 21st?


How can they accept that many of the legal decisions and precedents of the last 200 years are inconsistent with today’s realities, needs, and principles?


It is not that they necessarily want to deny today’s realities, it’s that their entire mindset is an extrapolation of yesterday’s assumptions.




“Well, Obama got there before we did,” Jay said.


“What do you mean?” I asked.


“Obama gave a speech in 2007 about judicial empathy,” Jay recalled. “He said he wanted judges and justices who had:

the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it’s like to be a teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old.”


“Yes, I remember that,” Bill said. “The conservatives jumped all over him for it. They called it the ‘empathy standard’ – in a derisive or mocking way.”


“It actually goes back earlier, to Obama’s The Audacity of Hope. According to John Paul Rollert in The Atlantic:

… Obama … describes empathy as both the ‘heart of my moral code’ and a ‘guidepost for my politics.’ Defining it succinctly as a successful attempt to ‘stand in somebody’s else’s shoes and see through their eyes,’ Obama regards empathy not as an exceptional gesture but an organizing principle for ethical behavior and even a preferred way of being. By cultivating our capacity for empathy, he says, we are forced beyond ‘our limited vision.’ We unburden ourselves of the trivial rigidities that divide us, allowing us to ‘find common ground’ even in the face of our sharpest disagreements.”


“Rollert also said, quite perceptively,” I continued,

A capacity for empathy relies not only on a willingness to step into the shoes of another person, but the ability to step away from yourself. If you can’t leave your own world behind, at best, you may have the resolution but not the wherewithall.”


“Obama went on to say,” Jay continued, “when Justice Souter resigned in 2009: ‘… justice isn’t about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a casebook’ – and that he would appoint empathic judges.”


“Which is why he appointed Sonia Sotomayor to replace Souter,” I said. “So, yes. He certainly got there before us. Our job is to assist by doing what we can to ‘tip’ the Court.”


“The two swing votes are often Kennedy and/or Roberts,” I continued. “The really hard core 18th century mentalities belong to Scalia, Thomas, and Alito.”


“So, for most pressing issues, it may only take one reliable ‘swinger’?” Jay asked.


“Yes,” I said. “There’s also the age and legacy effect: Scalia and Kennedy are getting on in age. Kennedy has his international and global interests. Scalia has a whole stable of grandkids. And Alito has demonstrated some very selective empathy.”


“Well, let’s review them all and develop a strategy for empathogenic assistance and expansion,” suggested Bill.


“We should be able to get to one or two,” I said.


“Let’s try for three or four – or five,” Bill added.




Obama’s empathy comment and the ensuing empathy ‘standard’ discussion has influenced the morality literature. A little book called Empathy and Morality appeared in 2014, with a paper on empathy and justice. It also touched on altruism as well as psychopathology.


Obama’s statement also prompted a Yale Law Review paper, by the same John Paul Rollert:


            To the Right, empathy was nothing less than a code word for judicial activism …  By the time the Sotomayor hearings began, Republicans were united in their aim to put empathy on trial. In their opening statements, every Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee singled out the term for abuse.


Much earlier, when the John Roberts appointment had come up for Senate confirmation, Obama, then the junior senator from Illinois, said he could not vote to confirm, referring to


… one’s deepest values, one’s core concerns, one’s broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one’s empathy.


Rollert goes on


…there is a significant difference between saying that judges should be obliged to follow the plain meaning of the law and asserting that the law’s meaning is always plain.


That’s the main difference between the so-called conservative and liberal justices. Retiring Justice Souter, in a Harvard Commencement address, said the Constitution is


a pantheon of values …  hard cases are hard because the Constitution gives no simple rule of decision for the cases in which one of the values is truly at odds with another.


In his The Audacity of Hope Obama credited former Illinois Senator Paul Simon:


            Paul’s … sense of empathy .. is at the heart of my moral code, and it is how I understand the Golden Rule—not simply as a call to sympathy or charity, but as something more demanding, a call to stand in somebody else’s shoes and see through their eyes.


Obama continues:


Empathy … calls us all to task, the conservative and the liberal, the powerful and the powerless, the oppressed and the oppressor. We are all shaken out of our complacency. We are all forced beyond our limited vision. No one is exempt from the call to find common ground. …  we seem to be suffering from an empathy deficit. We wouldn’t tolerate schools that don’t teach, that are chronically underfunded and understaffed and underinspired, if we thought that the children in them were like our children. It’s hard to imagine the CEO of a company giving himself a multimillion-dollar bonus while cutting health-care coverage for his workers if he thought they were in some sense his equals. And it’s safe to assume that those in power would think longer and harder about launching a war if they envisioned their own sons and daughters in harm’s way.


Rollert noted that

Obama was … suggesting that empathy might supply a judge moral certainty when legal certainty was simply not available.


Obama captivated the country in 2004 when he said:

It is that fundamental belief – that I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper – that makes this country work. It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams and yet still come together as one American family. E pluribus unum. Out of many, one.




Rollert concludes:

An abiding faith in the power of empathy underpins it. Nobody understands that power better than President Obama.




“He really did get there before us,” Jay said, again. “But he’s kept those sympathies in the background for the last 4 or 5 years.”


“He kept wanting to cooperate with the ideologues. He kept naively hoping they would listen to reason, that they would govern,” Bill added.


“He finally, perhaps far too late, came to the understanding that they wouldn’t cooperate, meaning they cannot govern,” I offered. “Which is why he’s been doing what he can via Executive Order – via those statutes and powers which do not require Congressional blessings.”


“Unless blocked by conservative Supreme Court decisions,” said Bill.


“And harmless will soon address that,” Jay smiled.



There’s been some recent discussion of empathy versus psychopathy. A recent Medical Daily post by Ali Venosa: noted that the symptoms of


…a psychopath include a lack of empathy and feeling for others, selfishness, lack of guilt, and a superficial charm that manifests exclusively to manipulate others. … A psychopath simply doesn’t have [a conscience] … They will steal from you without feeling a twinge of guilt … A sociopath …[understands] that taking your money is wrong and may feel remorse, but it won’t be enough to stop [his] deviant behavior. A psychopath has less regard for others than a sociopath.

[Psychopaths] can come off as charming, intelligent, and may even mimic emotions they really don’t feel. … The most important characteristics of a psychopath revolve not around violence,

but around lack of empathy, selfishness, and manipulation. … Many psychopaths actually find great success in the business world thanks to their ruthless nature – a disproportionate number of CEOs are actually psychopaths.


A book and documentary titled The Corporation, by Joel Baken, examined the psychopathic basis of modern corporations, a theme also addressed in Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story. Given the Court’s affinity for corporations and their ‘rights’ in recent years, harmless feels that the balance between corporation and individual rights and duties need to be openly and openly reexamined by Congress and by the Supreme Court.




The now recently deceased Antonin Scalia was the most senior of the ultra-conservative justices, appointed by Reagan some 30 years ago. His Wikipedia photo shows him as a round faced, gentle grandfatherly type, rather than the archconservative who writes scathing, albeit sometimes witty, opinions. One of his former (Catholic) high school classmates said he

…was a conservative when he was 17 years old … an archconservative Catholic. He could have been a member of the Curia.

He was the first Italian-American justice.


His Wikipedia article says he

            …asks more questions and makes more comments than any other justice, …[provoking] laughter more often than any of his colleagues.


Jeffrey Toobin, a New Yorker writer, says Scalia often expressed a ‘juvenile petulance’. He’s been described as forceful, like a medieval knight prepared to bludgeon his opponents, perhaps due to his Sicilian heritage (his father emigrated from Sicily at age 15). Scalia didn’t read the New York Times or the Washington Post, because they are ‘shrilly liberal’. He preferred the Wall St. Journal – and, he said, ‘I even believe in the devil.’

He was generally considered the most conservative member of the very conservative Roberts Court.


harmless did considerable homework and study of Justice Scalia before deciding to treat him – several weeks before his death. We have not included that material in the State Change book, except for a discussion on ‘losing it’:



Professor Neil Richards, Washington University Law School, assessing Scalia’s legacy:

I think his greatest flaw … was a lack of empathy, and I mean this in two respects. One, I think he just had a difficult time understanding people who were different from him.


“Did you see the Times op-ed on Scalia’s argument for a theocracy of the majority?” Jay asked.


“Go on,” Bill said.


“Richard Posner, a well known US Court of Appeals judge, wrote that Scalia’s opinions have apparently migrated or devolved to a majority-based theocracy; that his ‘…political ideal verges on majoritarian theocracy’.”


“Decisions which go counter to his personal religious beliefs garner his vigorous and bitter dissents,” I added.


Scalia ‘…did the most to limit religious freedom of any justice in history,’ said Charles Haynes, with the Newseum Religious Freedom Center.


“Perhaps he was starting to lose it,” Bill suggested.


“It’s possible. How do you remove a Supreme Court Justice who’s demonstrably losing it?”


“I did some homework earlier,” I said. “There’s no mechanism. According to Jonathan Turley, an interesting legal scholar who argues unusual and often unpopular cases:

The Constitution provides for involuntarily removal of justices only by a process of impeachment. It requires a showing of serious wrongdoing but has nothing to do with mental competence. And yet since its founding, the court has struggled with incompetent, addicted and even insane justices.


“So they have to be counseled – talked into – resigning?” Jay asked.


“Apparently so.” I concluded. “FYI – Turley has a Mormon connection – he’s defended plural marriage in several cases!”


“There’s always a Utah connection,” Bill smiled.


“The Times’ Greenhouse recently wrote, days after Scalia’s death, that his recent actions and statements ‘…in recent years may have reflected the contraction of his intellectual universe’.”


“I love that phrase – ” Bill said. “‘ … contraction of his intellectual universe’.”


“Here’s another example suggesting Scalia was perhaps fully ‘losing it’,” I said. “According to a recent Daily Kos report, Scalia told an audience at Archbishop Rummel High School that


there is ‘no place in the country’s constitutional traditions for the idea that the state must be neutral between religion and its absence…. there is no place for that in our constitutional tradition.”


“Jesus!” Jay said. “What Constitution and history books was he reading?”


“The Daily Kos story went on to tell him where and why there is separation of Church and State.”


“He needed to get his aging brain out of the Wall Street Journal and into a library – to read some early American and Constitutional history,” Bill suggested.


“Well, neither he nor we need to worry about his aging brain anymore.”


“No – but we have to worry about many others – and those who were greatly influenced by his beliefs and actions,” I said. “There are so many very old legislators who refuse to do their jobs, like 81 year old Richard Shelby of Alabama, the current chair of the Senate Banking Committee, who refuses to consider any Obama nominees.”


“If they refuse to do their work, why can’t Obama simply refuse to sign their pay checks – or the Secretary of the Treasury?” Jay asked.


“Cajones,” Bill said. “It takes real cajones.”





Justice Anthony Kennedy is 79, appointed by Reagan in 1988. He’s one of the swing votes in the current highly polarized Court. He was born in Sacramento, went to Stanford (his mother’s alma mater), and Harvard Law. His wife is Mary Davis; they have two sons and a daughter:

Justin Anthony Kennedy;

Kristin Marie Kennedy, married, in her late forties;

Gregory Davis Kennedy, married to a comedienne, in his late forties.


One profile said he

…has been, if anything, a surprising and unpredictable justice on the Supreme Court, displaying thoughtful independence that at times, fails to reflect any particular ideology.


He’s also been a leading proponent of using foreign and international law as an aid to interpreting the U.S. Constitution.


He’s been a frequent visitor to China, serving as a lecturer and educator. He has spent time nearly every summer teaching at Salzburg University. He worked with the American Bar Association to develop curricula for high school seniors.


Before finishing his undergraduate studies at Stanford he went to the London School of Economics. Toobin quotes him as saying:


At the political union, you had to sit in the room according to your place on the ideological spectrum, and, to give you an idea of what it was like, the Communists—the Communists!—were in the middle. It was a different world, and I loved it.


Kennedy has a passion for foreign cultures and ideas, and, as a Justice, has turned it into a principle of jurisprudence. Kennedy regards the use of foreign law by the Supreme Court as an inevitable effect of an increasingly interconnected world. He’s also referred to the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child.


Justice Scalia, being an American exceptionalist, refused to consider any foreign court decisions or arguments, or any other national or even international laws. Ditto for Justice Thomas.


Toobin said that Kennedy’s perception of a judge, and of himself, is

…as a figure of drama and wisdom, more than any specific ideology. … that the rule of law was protected by enlightened individuals….


A Kennedy quote:

            It does not lessen our fidelity to the Constitution or our pride in its origins to acknowledge that the express affirmation of certain fundamental rights by other nations and peoples simply underscores the centrality of those same rights within our own heritage of freedom.


Kennedy is a natural teacher; in front of his students, as in his opinions from the bench, he expresses himself in plain English, rather than legalese.


He seems to believe that the Court is obligated to consider the evolving standards of society – the constitution with a small “c” – in addition to the words of the Constitution, which are what mattered to Scalia.


Kennedy said:

Rights come not from ancient sources alone. They rise, too, from a better informed understanding of how constitutional imperatives define a liberty that remains urgent in our own era.



“He’s seems reasonable, independent, and not so parochial,” Jay added. “But he is the Justice most responsible for giving us Bush rather than Gore in 2000.”


“Correct. But he seems to have tracked a bit more liberally since then. At least he has some international interests and experience,” I noted. “He’s not as parochial as Thomas is or Scalia was.”


“But he can be very naive – perhaps even simple-minded,” I said. “Fred Wertheimer recently reviewed his Citizen United decision:

Justice Kennedy’s opinion, … asserted that there is nothing wrong with using political money to obtain access and influence and that ‘the appearance of access and influence will not cause the electorate to lose faith in this democracy’.


“He obviously doesn’t understand how citizens ‘think’,” Jay said.


“That’s not all – Wertheimer continued:

Justice Kennedy’s strange prediction about the faith of the electorate, without citing any basis for his prophecy, and his view that there is nothing wrong with donors buying access and influence have been overwhelmingly rejected by the American people.”


“Wonder why Wertheimer didn’t just say the guy is clueless and naive.”


“Kennedy spoke at the Utah Bar Association’s recent meeting in Sun Valley,” I noted.


Jay interrupted: “Utah lawyers had to go to Idaho for the Utah Bar meeting?”


“Perhaps given Kennedy’s recent vote and authorship of the Court’s pro-gay marriage decision, maybe they thought it would be better for him in Sun Valley.”


“In Idaho?! Give me a break,” Jay countered.


“And he also voted to uphold ObamaCare,” Bill added. “Maybe he doesn’t need our therapy.”


“I think he does. He has to be on our list.”


“Kennedy’s a Catholic, as are his wife and kids, I suspect,” Bill said, “so perhaps the Encyclical was relevant to him. The Pope did say, ‘It’s not a green encyclical; it’s a social encyclical.’ Social isn’t about carbon or climate. Deniers welcome!”


“Other major issues likely to be on the next agenda include voting rights – one person, one vote?; reproductive freedom; and crime and punishment,” Jay added.


“One vote could make an enormous difference,” Bill said.


A Supreme Court web site, SCOTUS, has Kennedy giving talks and accepting an award in:

Anaheim (California State Bar), as well as at

Cambridge (Harvard Law School), and

Washington DC (National Museum of Women in the Arts).



Clarence and Virginia Thomas


“Why include Virginia?” Jay asked.


They are very interesting,” Bill said, “They reinforce each other, providing their own private hard conservative echo chamber. They may be hopeless.”


“Maybe – and maybe not,” I said. “It is fascinating to track and compare Thomas and Sotomayor – and how they turned out. Each coming from very difficult family situations, each being an ethnic, ‘racial’ minority, each achieving – by working very hard – incredible success in spite of enormous difficulties. And yet Thomas became an arch-conservative with little or no empathy and Sotomayor became a liberal with strong empathic tendencies.”


Overcoming poverty and his difficult childhood via hard work has contributed to Clarence Thomas’ very conservative positions on a wide range of social issues. His memoir, My Grandfather’s Son, was published in 2008. At 16 he began studying for the priesthood. The death of Martin Luther King, Jr challenged his religious directions; he then went to College of the Holy Cross as an undergraduate and dabbled in student activism, and then on to Yale Law School, graduating in 1974. He’s reported to be another Ayn Rand fan.


He was appointed by George Bush in 1991, even though he had little relevant judicial experience.  The appointment of Clarence Thomas may be, in retrospect, one of George H. W. Bush’s greatest mistakes. Bush was actually an empathic person, according to Jon Meacham in his recent biography Destiny and Power. He said Bush had an empathy for others, and confided that his own appointee Rumsfeld lacked the ‘humility to see what the other guy thinks’.


Thomas was just barely confirmed, due to the Anita Hill accusations and controversy during his confirmation hearings. Utah’s Orrin Hatch was one of Thomas’ staunchest supporters.


Thomas is now 67. He married Virginia (Ginni) Lamp, his second wife, in 1987. She is a conservative activist and fund-raiser who reportedly has called Barack Obama a ‘tyrant’. His first wife was Kathy Ambush (1971 – 1984) – they were granted a Catholic annulment. They have a son Jamal Adeen Thomas, who is about 34 today. Thomas speaks lovingly about him in the Preface to his memoir. Although a Catholic, Thomas apparently now attends an Episcopal Church. He showed empathy and responsibility for his grand nephew Mark who grew up under similar difficulties to Thomas’s own.


Clarence Thomas is Mr. Silent during Court proceedings, but quite loquacious when not in Court. He is a prolific written dissenter. He is extremely conservative.



“You know why Thomas always keeps his own mouth shut in the Court?” Jay asked.




“Because Scalia was always talking – essentially making the same comments Thomas might have made. Scalia loved the sound of his own voice.”


“Thomas has actually started to talk in Court, now that Scalia’s empty chair is silent,” Bill added.


“Jeffrey Toobin is one of Thomas’ major critics. He wrote a book on the Supreme Court in 2008, The Nine,” I said.


“And I just read Toobin’s 2014 New Yorker story on his ‘Disgraceful Silence’,” Bill added.


“No homework yet for me,” admitted Jay, “but I do remember his confirmation hearings and Anita Hill’s incredible testimony.”


“Thomas’ wife defended him in an essay in People Magazine shortly after he was finally confirmed,” Bill added. “He revisited the issue in his 2007 memoir. Say, either of you seen Hill’s version?”


“Her version, Speaking Truth to Power, came out in 1997. I came across two videos on the case at the U Library: Anita, a 2013 major documentary, and Sex and Justice, an earlier 1993 documentary,” I said.


“So much material, so little time,” said Jay. “All of it fascinating.”


“I read the last chapter of his 2007 memoir, where he wraps up the confirmation fight and his swearing in as a member of the Court. Thomas’s book ends with his prayer: ‘Lord, grant me the wisdom to know what is right and the courage to do it’.”


“Amen,” said Bill. “But he seems to have ignored that prayer during his Court tenure.”


“And he’s been voiceless ever since?” asked Jay.


“Until recently – since Scalia’s death.”


“I have major concerns about Thomas as our patient,” I said. “It seems he’s been very conflicted since his undergraduate days: priest, activist, or well heeled lawyer? Activist or conservative? Ultra-conservative white wife? He’s had strong conflicts with the black community related to his conservatism. His behavior suggests apparent apathy and disinterest in the Supreme Court, according to a 2014 piece by Toobin:


            These days, Thomas only reclines; his leather chair is pitched so that he can stare at the ceiling, which he does at length. He strokes his chin. His eyelids look heavy. Every schoolteacher knows this look. It’s called not paying attention.

He seems to be angry, bitter, conflicted – not a good prospect for empathogen therapy.”


“Although we really only need to ‘treat’ several of the arch-conservatives to help ‘tip’ the Court,” Bill said, “we may want to include Thomas as well if it’s convenient. There are some hints of emotion and empathy.”


“I read somewhere,” Jay added, “that when he was first appointed, after the bitter hearings with Anita Hill, he told his clerks or staff at the Court ‘I ain’t evolving!’ And he apparently hasn’t.”


“In a recent The Atlantic piece, Epps noted that during a recent visit to Yale Thomas took responsibility for the bad time he’d had there, saying:


               I wish that I came here at a time when I could have been more positive because there was so much here that I walked right by, that I closed my eyes and my heart to.”


“So perhaps he’s mellowing with age,” Bill said. “And now with Scalia gone, maybe Thomas will open up a little.”


“He doesn’t list very many gigs on SCOTUS. There was one at the University of Florida – SCOTUS didn’t list it until after it happened. And the Florida Alligator newspaper mentioned some of the security precautions – a bomb sniffing dog and no cell phones in the room. The event was kept a bit quiet – no prior announcement to students. ‘He kind of reminds you of someone’s grandfather,’ one student said.”


I continued: “But one SCOTUS listed gig I saw is perfect – a BYU dinner in Salt Lake at the Gross America Hotel,” I said.


“You do mean the Grand America?” Bill asked.


“Of course. I call it gross because it’s so ostentatious and overdone. The event is a Founders’ Day dinner sponsored by the BYU Law School. I’ll see if I can get one of my U law school friends to get me in.”


“A substantive donation to BYU Law should suffice,” Jay said.


“Right. I’m not above that – it’s for a good cause.”


“Look for Mike Lee there – he’s an alumnus.”


“If you do get to Thomas – and his Mrs. – give them each two,” Bill advised.


“Will do.”



John Roberts is Chief Justice, appointed by Bush #1 in 2005. He’s a conservative Republican and has served on the Federalist Society steering committee.


Roberts is a Harvard alum (History and Law) and a Roman Catholic, according to his Wikipedia profile. He’s relatively young, born in 1955. He has three sisters: Kathy, Peggy, and Barbara.


In every major case since he became Chief Justice, he’s has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual plaintiff.


Laurence Tribe has said: ‘The Chief Justice talks the talk of moderation while walking the walk of extreme conservatism.’


Roberts is a gifted public speaker—relaxed, often funny, sometimes self-deprecating.


According to a Toobin 2009 story in The New Yorker, Obama is the first President in history to have voted against the confirmation of the Chief Justice who later administered his oath of office. In his Senate speech on that vote, Obama praised Roberts’s intellect and integrity and said that he would trust his judgment in about ninety-five per cent of the cases before the Supreme Court. But Obama also said:


In those five per cent of hard cases, the constitutional text will not be directly on point. The language of the statute will not be perfectly clear. Legal process alone will not lead you to a rule of decision. In those circumstances, your decisions about whether affirmative action is an appropriate response to the history of discrimination in this country or whether a general right of privacy encompasses a more specific right of women to control their reproductive decisions . . . the critical ingredient is supplied by what is in the judge’s heart.


Obama did not trust Roberts’s heart, saying:


It is my personal estimation that he has far more often used his formidable skills on behalf of the strong in opposition to the weak.


The first bill Obama signed as President was known as the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act; it specifically overturned the interpretation of employment law that Roberts had endorsed in a 2007 Supreme Court case.


Obama offers a mirror image of the view of the Supreme Court that Roberts often presents. In considering Supreme Court appointees, Obama said:


            I will seek someone who understands that justice isn’t about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a casebook. It is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people’s lives—whether they can make a living and care for their families; whether they feel safe in their homes and welcome in their own nation. I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people’s hopes and struggles, as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes.


John Roberts married Jane Sullivan in 1996. They have two adopted children:  John (Jack, ‘spiderman’) and Josephine (Josie); they are now 23 years old. The political press said that Jane ‘… breaks the mold of Supreme Court wives.’


Jane Sullivan attended College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. After graduating with a degree in mathematics, she spent three years teaching math in Australia, earned a Masters in Education in Melbourne, and later a master’s degree in applied mathematics from Brown University. She worked as a systems engineer before entering law school. Jane Roberts went from mathematics to engineering to law – and is now a professional legal recruiter.


She works with a half-dozen Washington and Boston area non-profits, ranging from Catholic schools and parishioners’ groups, to an anti-abortion advocacy group, a hospice, an environmental organization and a professional women’s group. Humanitarianism and concern for society’s vulnerable seems to characterize her nonprofit work. She’s worked on hospice care through membership on the advisory board of The Washington Home and Community Hospices in 2007 and 2008.


She served on the board of Feminists for Life, an advocacy group based in Virginia, from 1995 to 1999, and volunteered as its legal counsel until 2007. Feminists for Life’s goal is to address ‘the unmet needs of women in the workplace, schools, home and society’ — needs that the group believes are ‘the root causes that drive women to abortion’, according to founder Serrin Foster.


At a commencement address in 2011, she said


            I’ve been a restaurant waitress, a hotel hostess, a car parker, a nurse’s aide, a maid in a motel, a bookkeeper and a researcher. I was an Irish Catholic waitress in a Greek restaurant in a Jewish neighborhood … a cocktail waitress in a port town near the iron ore mines in Australia.


She’s also said ‘I love to swim and I love the ocean’.

She advised the graduates on the importance of connecting with people and said the key to connecting is having some empathy for them – to try to feel what they might be going through – and then do something about it. She said there are plenty of ways to help others via legal training.

She may have had an effect on her husband’s 2011 vote for the Affordable Care Act – and perhaps again in the 2015 ACA-related decision.


“They are both very compassionate,” said attorney and writer Lisa McElroy, author of John Roberts: Chief Justice. McElroy’s little book also noted that Roberts loves chocolate, and has a dish stocked with chocolate in his Supreme Court chambers. His favorite films are North by Northwest and Dr. Zhivago – and he likes to kayak.


Interesting, especially the chocolate (John) and empathy (Jane) characteristics.





Samuel Alito was appointed to the Court by Bush #2, serving since January, 2006. His confirmation vote was very unenthusiastic (58 to 42). He was born in 1950, making him 66 years old. His personable younger sister, Rose, is reported to be an excellent lawyer. He’s a Princeton alum and graduated from Yale Law School in 1975. His Princeton senior year was in Italy; he did a thesis on the Italian legal system. Alito is Italian-American and a Catholic. Although a conservative with a libertarian streak, he does not always agree with the Court’s conservative coalition.


He married Martha-Ann Bomgardner, a law librarian, in 1985. She is originally from Oklahoma. They have two children: Philip (29) and Laura (27). Philip went to the University of Virginia; Laura has been at Georgetown University and is a competitive swimmer.


The Times in 2006 said Mrs. Alito is a classic suburban mother. Friends say she has devoted the last 20 years to raising her children and supporting her husband and his career. She is, they say, an extremely intelligent and well-read woman who orders restaurant meals in fluent French and recently took a philosophy class for intellectual stimulation.

If Judge Alito is quiet, Mrs. Alito is reported to be the couple’s public face, effervescent and outgoing. She talks to strangers; he does not. She is apparently caring and empathetic – and stands on her own. Friends have said ‘They complement each other. He’s calming for her, and she’s socializing for him.’

Mrs. Alito, 52, was born in Fort Knox, Kentucky and is an only child. Her father was an air traffic controller in the Air Force. Her mother was a librarian at the bases where the Bomgardner family lived. Mrs. Alito does not, friends say, talk politics.


Alito wrote the majority opinion in the Hobby Lobby case, with the court ruling 5-4 that family-owned corporations can be exempt from a federal mandate requiring the inclusion of contraception coverage in employee health plans. His vote likely was influenced by his strong Catholic influences.


At the 2010 State of the Union address, President Obama criticized the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC, a campaign finance decision, stating that:


            …the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign corporations – to spend without limit in our elections.


While the other justices present showed no reaction, Justice Alito was seen to mouth the words ‘not true’ as the President spoke. This minor reaction from a Supreme Court justice received considerable press.


Alito is a gourmet cook, and interested in tennis, music, and Bruce Springsteen. His lawyer son, Philip, together with Scalia’s lawyer son, Eugene, worked at the DC law firm Gibson Dunn – a firm often litigating before the Supreme Court.


A 2011 New York Times story by Emily Bazelon noted that Alito has proved himself to be the closest thing conservatives have to a ‘feelings’ justice. The nature of right-wing empathy on the court is reflected by Alito, who expresses feelings mostly for people who are a lot like him – a type of selective empathy. It’s been said that his sense of empathy never seems to involve an act of imagination, that it rarely extends to people who are not like him.


The 2014 book by Garrett Epps has some very helpful perspectives. Alito has become a kind of un-Scalia. Scalia was an ‘originalist’. In deciding constitutional cases, he read the Big History Book and told the rest of us the ‘original public meaning’ of the Constitution’. Although both justices are very conservative, Scalia’s conservatism looks back, invoking the spirits of the Framers. Alito’s is forward-looking. He frequently discusses the dystopian implications of modern technology — whether it be GPS trackers, the Internet, video games, or violent pornography and ‘crush’ videos. Scalia asked how things were done in the past, because the past was good; Alito asks how they should be done in the future, lest the future be bad. Scalia talks about principles; Alito talked about consequences.


Alito is often the rudest justice, broadcasting his hostility and impatience to advocates and colleagues. He can treat lawyers like children caught in a lie, grilling them on every minor point of their argument while dismissing their logic. He handles fellow justices like hecklers who have thoughtlessly interrupted his train of thought. He has a gruff demeanor, often sounding like he would rather be somewhere else. He’s shaken his head at Ginsburg and rolled his eyes at Kagan.

Alito’s ‘historical amnesia’ is dissected in an essay by Stephen Fortunato, cleverly couched as a review of the book: The Lost World of Italian American Radicalism. Fortunato notes why Alito was appointed and some of his qualifications, and also says:

           Since the beginning of written history the virtues of compassion and mercy have been described as absolutely central to the process of judging, especially in equitable matters; and this has been recorded from the time of Aristotle… One searches in vain in Alito’s personal and professional life, as well as his written decisions, for compassion — or passion for that matter — and for legal commentary favoring the marginalized, the economically fragile, the voiceless. … Although ‘Alito is drawn … to history and biographies… whatever he reads, it surely is not chronicles of the people and times that are the subjects of [this book]. The ability to hear across the decades the cries of the oppressed and their champions for justice, fairness and equality before the law is a direct measure of one’s present responsiveness to the pleas of today’s ostracized and exploited. Sadly, Justice Alito—and also Justice Scalia — are prominent members of the legion of the forgetful.

Robert Kennedy, Jr. said recently that it is wrong to think of Alito and Roberts as traditional conservatives.


            They are not. They are corporatists. If you analyze their decisions, there is no coherent conservative political philosophy. They have taken the ‘conserve’ out of conservatism. The only predictable outcome of their rulings is that the corporation always wins.


“Perhaps we could send Alito a copy of the book Fortunato reviewed,” Bill suggested, “before we have our therapy sessions with him.”

“Or hand deliver a copy, together with the chocolates?” Jay smiled.

“There’s some hope that MDMA may also provide historical or selective amnesia therapy,” I said. “That certainly ties to empathy and compassion.”

“Ask your son,” Bill suggested. “He’s a historian.”

“And he’s been there – many years ago. Good idea.”

“Alito has a Utah connection,” I said. “Our own Junior Senator Mike Lee – after serving as Governor Jon Huntsman’s legal counsel – did a one year clerkship for Alito when he served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.”

“So maybe Mike Lee’s own arrogance is the result of his emulating his mentor?” Jay asked, smiling, of course.

“Perhaps they deserved – and empowered – each other,” Bill added. “Of course, Lee could just be emulating Utah’s GOP legislators.”

According to SCOTUS, Alito is giving talks and discussions in

West Orange, NJ;

National Archives in DC;

NY Historical Society;

University of Notre Dame;

Memphis; and

Georgetown University Law School in DC.


Sonia Sotomayor was appointed by Obama in 2009. She may be helpful in generating a little empathy and compassion in her five co-justices. Her religious tradition is Catholic. She is divorced and has no children. Her parents are from Puerto Rico. Her undergraduate studies were at Princeton, in history; her undergraduate thesis was on Puerto Rican history. Her younger brother, Juan, is a physician and professor. She is diabetic and has daily insulin injections, which she learned to give by herself when she was just six years old. Her pre-Supreme Court life is well written in her memoir My Beloved World.


Republican’s had issues during her confirmation hearings with her earlier public statement:


            I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.


That certainly bothered Limbaugh and Gingrich. She also said, to a group of Latina professionals: ‘I also have a Latina soul and heart, with the magic that carries.’


She is now regarded as the empathy justice and has been called the people’s justice and the Justice of Hearts.




Elena Kagan was appointed by Obama in 2010 – she is the newest Justice. She is considered liberal. She’s a Harvard Law graduate, professor, and former Dean; she also has a Masters in Philosophy from Oxford. She is not married and has no children. Her religious tradition is Jewish.




Stephen Breyer was appointed in 1994. His 2005 little book Active Liberty covers his perspectives and approach. According to Epps, he advocates ‘modern liberty’ in distinction to ‘ancient liberty’. His concern is, via Epps:


            …not the past but the future; not the antecedents of a rule but the consequences of a decision… He is polite…and has a very strong familiarity with literature, art, and philosophy…


Breyer has said that a judge must


            … be able to imagine what other people’s lives might be like, lives that your decisions will affect. People who are not only different from you, but also very different from each other … empathy … seems to me a crucial quality in a judge.’


He is considered liberal. His new book, The Court and the World, discusses foreign and international law, an issue Scalia and Kennedy have both discussed. In spite of the differences among the justices, he said there are two informal rules for the Court:


            First unwritten rule is that nobody speaks twice until everybody speaks once at the conference, referring to the private meetings where the justices cast their votes. Great rule. Everybody feels they’re treated fairly. Second: Tomorrow is another day.



Ruth Bader Ginsburg was appointed by Clinton in 1993. She is the oldest Justice at 83, although Scalia was the longest serving Justice. Her interests have been in women’s rights, civil liberties, and human rights. Her husband Martin died in 2010. Their two children are Jane Ginsburg (born 1955) and James Stephen Ginsburg (born 1965). He is a lawyer and involved with classical music. Jane is also a lawyer, on the faculty of Columbia Law School. Justice Ginsburg worked at Lund University and speaks Swedish.


She issued a strong dissent on Hobby Lobby decision and discussed her views with Katie Couric.


She once attended, with Justice Scalia, the Red Mass, held every fall in Washington, DC at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. She no longer attends because:


            I went one year, and I will never go again, because this sermon was outrageously anti-abortion. Even the Scalias – although they’re much of that persuasion – were embarrassed for me.


A recent non-biography, Notorious RBG – The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has led to a great deal of attention. The recent Times’ review by Jennifer Senior noted:


Justice Ginsburg is a bit like the Mona Lisa, whose likeness has also launched a thousand fanciful appropriations. To be a scrim for the world’s projections, it helps to be a little hard to read.




“We’ll prioritize Kennedy, Roberts, and Alito,” I said.  “Although generally conservative, they can and do swing, their wives seem to be reasonable and involved, and they are somewhat accessible.”


“We should start with Roberts,” Bill suggested. “He likes chocolate.”


“It only takes one,” Jay recalled.


“And clearly,” Bill surmised, “Kagan, Sotomayor, and Breyer don’t need us; neither does Ginsburg.”


“Nor Obama,” Jay said. “The question is how to proceed. The Court is generally in recess from June to October, so we can’t really treat them in their chambers.”


“They each largely do their own thing until the fall term, so we likely have to get to them individually,” Bill said.


“There is one event where many of them come together,” I said, “the annual Red Mass, just before the October term begins.”


“What is that all about?” asked Jay.


“It’s an old tradition – goes back to late 13th Century,” Bill said. “It’s to bless and encourage lawyers, government officials, and public servants to do good work. It’s ‘red’ because they wear red vestments to and during the service.”


“And it’s not just in Washington, D.C. There are red masses in New York City, Detroit, and even in Salt Lake,” I added.


“And there are now Blues Masses for first responders, police, military – and White Masses for health care professionals in some communities.” Bill said.


“I guess everyone could use a blessing and words of encouragement,” I smiled, continuing: “The Washington, D.C. Red Mass is held the Sunday just before the beginning of the Court’s new term, usually very early October. There are usually four to six justices who attend.”


“So we give them chocolate Communion wafers?” Jay suggested. He has close Catholic friends – and knows how it works.


“I doubt they all take Communion,” I said. “And it would be tricky to get the priest to give them ‘special’ Communion wafers.”






Most Communion wafers in the U.S. are supplied by a Rhode Island firm named Cavanaugh. Wafers can be readily purchased on Amazon. They are generally made from wheat flour and are available in various sizes. Since roughly one percent of Catholics are, like the rest of Americans, sensitive to gluten, there’s been a movement to have gluten-free Communion wafers available. A group of Benedictine nuns now make and sell such wafers, in response to the actions of the Catholic Celiac Society. Apparently the USA is behind Europe in meeting such needs and concerns.



“Wouldn’t an MDMA-fortified wafer be really useful?” Jay asked. “What could be better that enhanced empathy and compassion for practicing Catholics? Perhaps they could receive a truly ‘special’ Communion when they turned 18 – legal voting age.”


“Sounds like the moksha ceremony in Huxley’s Island,” I said. “Perhaps Pope Francis could raise the possibility.”


“That’s not so far-fetched,” Bill said. “Do you know the history of the Communion wafer – of the Catholic Eucharist?”


Jay smiled. “Perhaps you could enlighten us?”


And Bill did. The Mystery of Manna is a little book written a dozen or so years ago by Dan Merkur. Apparently Paul, the architect of the Catholic Church, first proposed and used the Eucharist, probably based on his earlier experiences with pre-Christian religions. The idea of holy bread, manna, goes way back – to Moses and earlier. Merkur argues that the ancient pre-Church visions and related experiences likely trace to the use of ergot-contaminated flour and even much earlier to psychedelic mushrooms. There are many references in the scriptures to spiritual, meaning vision-inducing, food and drink.



“So instead of using thin, dry mushroom slices – which are chewy, bad tasting, and difficult to digest – a simple gluten-free MDMA-containing wafer could be the next step in a strong and rewarding Holy Communion,” Jay said.


“And a more empathetic and compassionate Supreme Court,” Bill added.


“Why not a chocolate communion wafer?” I asked. “It was the Jesuits who took cacao from the deep Amazon to the Bahia area of Brazil for cultivation – and basically launched the world’s chocolate industry.”


“Where did you get that?” Jay asked.


“Just heard about a book called On the Chocolate Trail: A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and Recipes to the Magic of Cacao. It apparently covers the history and transmission of chocolate in and from South America.”


“Pope Francis is a Jesuit,” Bill said. “He likely knows some of that history.”


“There were chocolate truffles on his special Alitalia flight to Cuba.”


“I saw somewhere that his Argentine visitors bring him alfajores, cookies filled with dulce de leche and covered in chocolate.”


“He certainly enjoyed a Vatican event using a full size replica of himself – made out of chocolate,” Jay added.


“A chocolate Pope Francis? Cool.”


“Made by a Rome chocolatier out of over a ton of Guatemalan chocolate.”


“I sometimes think we all read too much useless stuff,” I smiled. “I love the idea of using the Red Mass for true enlightenment, but it’s very unlikely we could smuggle in and get the priest to use clandestine Communion wafers. I think it’s easier to get to each patient individually via Ananda’s Chocolates, unless …”


“Unless what?”


“I was at the funeral mass for my mother last week – in California – and thought of something during the formal high mass.”


“Sorry to hear about her passing,” Bill said. “You told me earlier she was 95, right?”


“Nearly 95 – she was ready – said she was ‘in God’s hands’.”


“Go on,” Jay said.


“The priest wafted incense smoke over her casket, walking around the entire casket. We saw the smoke, smelled the incense – it permeated the front half of the chapel.”


“Kind of like Delphi?” Bill asked.


“Perhaps. But then two family members brought a carafe of wine and a basket of Communion wafers from the back of the church to the front – to the priest. His aides accepted the ‘offering’ and proceeded to prepare it and offer Communion to those now in line for his blessing. And some chose to also partake of the chalices of wine.”


“The Body and Blood of Christ,” Bill explained.


“Yes, but imagine at a funeral mass that the wafers are substituted by different, more ‘effective’ wafers, and the wine contains a more effective component …”


“…and the incense also delivers a more effective Eleusis-like agent,” Bill added.


“Yes!” Jay said. “A funeral mass in which a number of people – acquaintances and colleagues of the deceased – could all be treated. It might work.”


“But,” I said “we’re too far along now. If any of us ever do a harmless gig again, it might be a good approach. For now, let’s stay focused on Ananda’s Chocolates.”


“And we already know Roberts likes chocolate.”


“But we need to get on it,” I said. “Let’s plan on treating them right away.”


“We really need only one sure success,” Jay said. “When do we get the chocolates?”


“Soon,” I answered. “We’re just finishing up the logo, design, and packaging.”


Chapter 6: Patient Priorities

harmless is now meeting in parks, on the U campus, or at Westminster College. We’re too far along in the project to risk too much general public awareness or curiosity. We don’t want coffee shop – ‘regulars’ listening in. Today we’re on the U campus at one of the picnic tables outside the cafeteria.




“I’ve been thinking about the challenge ahead – the logistics,” I confided. “It would be most effective if we could treat all of our highest priority patients at once, thereby helping initiate an empathy tipping point.”


“You mean like over a very short period of time, so their individual experiences are roughly coherent?” Jay asked.


“And in a supportive, non-threatening environment – during a comfortable time,” Bill added. “We know that set and setting are critical to a good experience – to effective therapy.”


“It should be during a time of good press access,” Jay continued. “Perhaps when they’re giving speeches, being questioned, being interviewed.”


“What about college and high school graduations?” asked Bill. “They’d be accessible on campuses and in their local districts. Many would be giving graduation speeches – talking about futures, opportunities, careers – perhaps in a more open, compassionate mental state than normally.”


“It seems more doable – and less threatening – than at Congressional committee meetings in DC,” Jay said.


“And those speeches, receptions, interviews are covered by the press – especially in local papers and via social media,” I added. “That should work.”


“Do they get press!” Jay said. “Michelle Obama was blasted by the ideologue media for her Tuskegee University commencement speech, for saying to the largely black audience

… people might make assumptions about who they think you are based on their limited notion of the world. The racist-leaning press didn’t like that.”


“A limited notion of the world is exactly the pathology we want to treat,” I said.


“Think we could get her to be an advisor – even an active participant?” Bill asked.


“We will need ongoing action after the initial application of harmless’ therapy,” I agreed.
“And she’ll be unemployed in a less than a year,” continued Bill.


“Barack spoke at the Coast Guard Academy graduation and really focused on climate change, oceans, and coasts – and took on the deniers.” Jay said. “And while we’re on the news – why not Chelsea Clinton? She recently published her first book – for the youth market: It’s Your World – Get Informed, Get Inspired and Get Going!


“Another idea for treatment venues – book signings and receptions,” Bill suggested. “We stand in line, buy the book, get it autographed, and give the ideologue, denier, author, patient our therapy gift.”


“A small box containing our special chocolate,” I said.


“Graduations and other local events mean more traveling for us, but then we’d be in groups and environments where we’d be unknown – unrecognized. I like that,” Jay added.


“We need to define our highest priorities and search our patients activities and whereabouts, especially during the May-June graduation season,” I said. “Let’s do the numbers.”


I pulled out a large pad and began: “There are six of us to be deployed over, say, two to six weeks. We should be able to perform one or two therapies per day – say roughly 25 therapies each, depending on scheduling, travel, etc. – times six harmless people gives us an upper bound of 150 individual, unique therapies. So we’ll come up with a general patient list of about 150, allocate 25 to each of us, and then prioritize each of the 25 based on their need for therapy, location, access, schedule, etc.”


Although the team generally agreed, Jay suggested: “Some of our very highest priorities are likely to be unresponsive to our therapy. Empathy enhancement seems to work best for those already somewhat open and responsive. We probably should not waste our time, or therapy, on those likely to be hopeless.”


I agreed. “We’ll define a very high priority but hopeless group to put on hold – to perhaps address later via stronger, more effective, um, therapy.”


“If we are very successful in engendering much more empathy and open mindedness among those we do treat, that may be sufficient. It doesn’t take many individual revelations to trigger a tipping point.” Bill counseled. “It’s even possible we can just ignore the hopeless.”


“I hope so,” I said. “But just in case we do need it, I’m working on an additional approach to the truly hopeless.”


“A second act?” Jay asked.


“Yes, Act II,”I said, “assuming I’m not in jail by then.”




I’ve read Sam Harris’ The End of Faith and The Moral Landscape. He recently interviewed Graeme Wood, who had written a piece in the Atlantic Monthly on ISIS – and what they ‘want’. It was a fascinating interchange, and got me thinking again about John Morton and On Evil.


Rabid Islamists, like ISIS, wrap themselves in a distorted flag of Islam to help justify their egos, needs, and beliefs – and the evil they do to get attention, followers, and notoriety.


They’re not that different, philosophically, from rabid so-called ‘patriots’ who wrap themselves in the flag and the Constitution to justify their egos, their needs, and their simplistic, outdated moral certainties. Both the ISIS terrorists and the dogmatic, insecure, scared ‘patriots’ are acting for certainty, for simplicity, for personal worth and value. The evils they commit are, they believe, in the service of the greater good they desire.


ISIS’ evils are beheadings, genocide, rape, destruction, etc. The moral patriots’ evils are in repression of the disadvantaged, of women and children, of everything which doesn’t agree with their 18th century-based moral certainties. They are looking for certainty from fear and anxiety – and creating more in the process.  ISIS looks 1,500 or so years back for its ‘principles’; the ‘patriots’ look back some 250 years for theirs. The world has changed for the better – though both groups do not understand, recognize, or accept such change, due to their ‘moral certainties.’ Hence their actions are, to them, fully justified.


In Harris’ words:

The truth is far more depressing: These are mostly normal people—fully capable of love, empathy, altruism, and so forth – who simply believe what they say they believe … Normal people, under the sway of bad ideas, are capable of anything.


But, of course, to most of us, they are indeed crazy and evil.


Tom Friedman discusses Ted Cruz in almost similar terms:

Ted Cruz does not have a good soul. He brims with hate … Cruz wraps himself in an American flag and spits on all the institutions that it represents. And so does Trump.


“Although we discussed ‘believers’ earlier, I forgot to mention Eric Hoffer,” I said. “He had believers, violence, and terrorism fairly well figured out in 1951. David Brooks, in a column following the San Bernardino massacre, recalled and quoted The True Believer, Hoffer’s seminal work on mass movements.”


“Guess I missed both the book and the column – fill me in,” Jay said.


“Brooks’ words and perspectives are based on Hoffer, but merit direct quoting – let me get the column,” I said, opening my laptop:


The central preoccupation of a mass movement … is self sacrifice … to get people to negate themselves for a larger cause. Mass movements [tend to] arise … when a once sturdy social structure is in a state of decay or disintegration. This is a pretty good description of parts of the Arab world. To a lesser degree it is a good description of isolated pockets of our own segmenting, individualized society where some people … are driven primarily by frustration. Their personal ambitions are unfulfilled. They have lost faith in their own abilities to realize their

dreams. They sometimes live with an unrelieved boredom. Freedom aggravates their sense of frustration because they have no one to blame but themselves for their perceived mediocrity. Fanatics …fear liberty more than they fear persecution. … they are driven by a wild hope … an imminent perfect future can be realized if they proceed recklessly to destroy the present. The glorious end times are just around the corner.


The correct response is … try to heal the social disintegration that is the seedbed of these movements, …  offer positive inspiring causes to replace the suicidal ones. … mass movements are conquered when their charisma is destroyed, when they are defeated militarily

and humiliated. Then they can no longer offer hope, inspiration or a plausible way out for the disaffected.


“That seems to fully cover it,” Bill said.


“That’s exactly what most of the studies of ISIS recruitment and radicalization suggest – coupled with a dose of Quoranic mission and excuse,” Jay added.



Syndrome E (for EVIL) is the basis of a New Scientist story which updates a 1997 paper by Itzhak Fried of UCLA. The piece says that Fried then

…argued that the transformation of non-violent individuals into repetitive killers is characterized by a set of symptoms that suggest a common condition, which he called Syndrome E.


The article tabulates the  ‘Seven Symptoms of Evil’ as:


Compulsive repetitive violence

            Obsessive beliefs

            Rapid desensitisation to violence

            Flat emotional state

            Separation of violence from everyday activities

            Obedience to an authority

            Perceiving group members as virtuous.


The bold typeface was indeed used in the article.


Fried used the term ‘cognitive fracture’ to help describe the brain actions which lead people to commit brutal, evil acts.




I looked at the original paper in The Lancet and was impressed by the middle part of Fried’s abstract, as it so fully describes our patients:


… This transformation is characterised by a set of symptoms and signs suggesting a common syndrome—Syndrome E. Affected individuals show obsessive ideation, compulsive repetition, rapid desensitisation to violence, diminished affective reactivity, hyperarousal, environmental dependency, group contagion, and failure to adapt to changing stimulus-reinforcement associations. Yet memory, language, planning, and problem-solving skills remain intact. The main risk factors are male sex and age between 15 and 50. A pathophysiological model – ‘cognitive fracture’ – is hypothesised …



“Except for ‘…problem-solving skills remain intact,  …’, that certainly describes our subjects,” Bill noted.


“Three of the tabulated Syndrome E attributes match our criteria for harmless’ patient selection:” Jay added. “Obsessive beliefs, Obedience to an authority, and Perceiving group members as virtuous.”


“And the violence our patients do are to the planet and society, rather than individual victims,” Bill added.


“They’re almost all NRA members and supporters.” I said. “That, to me, implicates them all in the violence, the terrorism – domestic and internationally.”


“But are they indeed treatable? Is MDMA likely to be strong enough, effective?”


“We’ll see,” I said.



There are many who are so far to the right on the morality, values, compassion spectrum that it may be counterproductive to waste our precious MDMA – and our time and attention – on them. For them we may need a different ‘solution’ – after we’ve done what we can via harmless.




I reached out to Kay, a politically aware and active sociologist, who had recently retired. We worked together some five or so years ago on projects for The Leonardo. I told her I was developing a priority list of people who needed ‘attention’, much as I did two years ago with U interns on ‘Project 104’. I did not, of course, mention harmless or any of our plans. Kay was to be on the ‘outside’ – not in any way part of or responsible for harmless’ actions.


For Project 104 I worked with two U interns to prepare a list of all 104 members of the Utah State Legislature. We developed an environmental issues questionnaire and then called and interviewed nearly all of the 104. As two thirds or so of that 104 are very conservative, we certainly did not expect to make environmentalists out of them. We did, optimistically, hope that just hearing our questions and concerns would enhance their awareness of issues which many of them didn’t even recognize as issues – and thus make them a bit more receptive to data, discussions, and presentations on the subjects. I told Kay I now wanted to do something similar on a national scale.


Kay responded very enthusiastically. We began meeting on a weekly basis.




“Great that we have some help,” Bill said. “It takes time to chase down all the information we need on every patient we choose to serve.”


“And it’s not just each specific patient. We have to know and understand their spouses, close friends, kids, family, etc. One single treatment may not lead to a tipping point. It may take several close others to help,” Jay added.


“Yes – but keep doing your own work on your favorite evildoers,” I said. “Feed that information to me, and I’ll route it to Kay. That way I can help her prioritize – and minimize the possibility that she’ll learn about harmless.”


“But 150 patients is, I think, far too large a number. It’s unrealistic,” Bill said.


“I guess you’re right,” I said. “We’ll work to make the final list much smaller.”




Working with the team, and then with Kay, we put together a patient list, including a large number culled from a climate denier website. Kay inherited the preliminary spreadsheets that Jay and Lucien had been developing and consolidated the information. She also put together a spreadsheet of Congressional committees, so we’d know which committees each of our patient priorities serve on, and thus what committee meetings and field hearings might be useful venues at which to access our patients.


With this data in hand, harmless began to discuss prioritization of patients, setting up an initial triage strategy:


high priority – the ‘mild’ deniers, who might be influenced by enhanced empathy, compassion, family input, colleague ‘revelations’, etc. and whom we could access and ‘treat’;


moderate priority – normal deniers, who – if they respond well to treatment – might be more influential in moving towards a national and Congressional tipping point; and lastly


low priority – strong deniers, strongly vested in positions and ‘investments’ that make it very difficult for them to change their minds in the public arena. These might include McConnell, the Koch Brothers, and Grover Norquist as examples.




“That makes sense from the raw numbers perspective,” Bill said, “but not necessarily from the tipping point perspective.”


“Right,” Jay said. “If we could engineer a strong revelation – a complete about face – for a very influential strong denier, then that would have great impact.”


“Yes,” I agreed. “One revelation can lead to tens, hundreds, or more questioning their stands – asking why Mr. Strong Denier has changed his mind.”


“Which is what happened with Bob Inglis,” Jay continued. “He was a strong arch-conservative, denier – and then flipped. And now he’s talking to conservative groups all over the country.”


“He is, including groups in Utah,” I said, ‘but it didn’t really result in others changing – at least not publically, not yet.”


“And that’s the key,” Bill said. “They have to make their revelation – their mind change – public – and solid.”


“Which is why we may have more success with Priority One and Two rather than Three,” I said.


“Unless we have some unique or special way to access the denier – to facilitate the transformation – like Inglis’ 18 year old son,” Jay said.


“Or McConnell’s smart wife,” I said.


“Or Cruz’s,” said Bill. “Or Bush’s. The Atlantic just published a profile on Columba Bush – she’s quite interesting.”


“Kay will be getting information on wives, kids, mentors, and others whom our patients may hold in high regard,” I said. “We also need to consider a way for them not to lose too much ‘face’. Rubio, for example, could cite a newly discovered concern for Florida’s coastline.”


“Maybe we could get him into that new performance art piece in Miami – an aquarium with water rising in it – and Rubio inside?” Bill suggested.


“Cuba’s coastline is also of concern – for the U.S. business community, of course,” Jay joked.


“Each patient will require a unique strategy so as to maximize our – and her – effectiveness,” Bill said.


“More on Cruz,” said Bill. “Mother Jones had a great short summary of his strong values – and values flip-flops – from a few years ago to now.”


“I thought his ideology and so-called values had been consistent,” Jay said.


“No. Not at all. He’s a flip-flopping opportunist – just more persuasive than Romney. I’ll send you the link to the Deja Cruz story.”


“And Rubio’s now starting to flip-flop and pander. Suddenly he’s an evangelist as well as a Catholic.”


“They do whatever it takes!”


Bill added: “A friend of mine the other night says Cruz looks and acts like Joe McCarthy, the anti-communist tyrant from the sixties.”


“Yes – there was actually a short New Yorker piece about Cruz claiming Communists among the Harvard faculty – accusations and baiting just like McCarthy did,” I said. “And David Brooks even commented on his MyCarthyite tactics.”


“Remember the George Clooney film Good Night and Good Luck – about Edward R Murrow and Joe McCarthy?” Bill asked.


“Yes!” Jay said. “I need to see it again – this time in the context of Ted Cruz.”




We agreed that our earlier consideration of 150 treatable patients was unrealistic – we needed to get the total list and goal down to 50 or so. We began to go through our list of 125 initial Congress-people and another 25 or so ‘others’ – Supreme Court justices, key Governors, GOP 2016 Presidential candidates (they get press!), and obvious plutocrats – who also get a lot of press.


Special constituencies and interests were also considered. For example, combat veterans in Congress know about PTSD, empathy, and psychoactive drugs.


We also considered the cautions noted by psychedelic – and empathogen – using psychologists and therapists over the years. Our patients must be on firm mental, psychological foundations with the ego and self-confidence to be able to change their minds…to grow mentally, intellectually, and politically. They should have family, colleagues, friends of different persuasions whom they respect. Treating those who are too fully ideologically insulated – who exist in ideological bubbles – may be counter-productive.




“You know, nearly everyone who’s used and been a spokesperson for psychedelics and empathogens say it’s very unethical to ‘treat’ patients without their full permission and cooperation,” Bill cautioned.


“The CIA did such work in the sixties, with LSD – and generated some very bad trips. Their Project MKUltra was searching for interrogation and ‘truth’ results, rather than political persuasions,” Jay said. “It’s covered in the Acid Dreams book, based on Church Committee hearings in 1975 and declassified files released finally in 2001!”


“And that ties to The Burglary and 1971,” I said. “Because it was the Media, Pennsylvania FBI office burglars who stole and distributed the documents that were largely responsible for activating the Church Committee. It’s all connected.”


“That’s very interesting, but most ethicists would say it’s unethical – even evil – to spike a drink without the patient’s knowledge,” Bill continued.


“I agree, I said. “Shulgin said the same thing:

…something I consider truly unforgivable – giving somebody a psychoactive drug of any kind without telling them and getting their consent.

But generally such actions are to get the patient to feel or do something for the benefit of the person doing the clandestine spiking – to activate an action which goes against the patient’s interests.”


“Right. We’re trying to get the patient to have a perspective which is in their best interests – they just don’t know that yet,” Jay explained.


“What we are really doing is what philosophers and ethicists are now calling ‘moral enhancement’,” I said.




Unfit for the Future is the title of a 2012 Oxford University Press book by Ingmar Persson and Julian Savulescu. Persson is a Professor of Philosophy at Gothenburg University in Sweden.

Savulescu holds a Chair in Practical Ethics and Philosophy at Oxford.


The Oxford Philosophy Department has a Future of Humanity Institute, which looks ‘at big-picture questions for human civilization’. They deal with            

            …technological change, weigh ethical dilemmas, and evaluate global priorities … to clarify the choices that will shape humanity’s long-term future.

And that, of course, includes human enhancement – moral and otherwise.


Unfit for the Future is subtitled The Need for Moral Enhancement. The basic idea is that moral enhancement is essential if humanity is to avoid catastrophe.


A similar statement was made by Roger Walsh in the Roberts book on entheogens:

            We are in a race between catastrophe and consciousness … A key question … is whether we can create a critical mass of aware people in sufficient time. …whether we create a sustaining and sustainable society or leave behind a planet that is polluted and plundered and poisoned. The state of the world now reflects the state of our minds. …look at the world and its insanity, we can see that it reflects our own insanity.


Sidney Cohen made a similar suggestion in his 1967 book on LSD The Beyond Within, when he said: ‘Social change is so rapid that the precepts of one generation become the absurdities of the next’.


“Cohen’s statement relates directly to an economic and political system whose foundations are based on early 19th century assumptions,” I said. “We should understand that cognitive and moral enhancement is not a new idea – that our deficiencies in cognition are unrecognized. New World, New Mind: Moving towards Conscious Evolution is a 1989 book by Ornstein and Ehrlich that considers the deficiencies of our minds – the old mind, they call it – and the need for us ‘…to take our own evolution into our hands’.”


“Is that The Ehrlich, Paul Ehrlich?” Bill asked.


“Yes, he wrote the book together with Robert Ornstein, a neurobiologist. They advocate an education effort to facilitate ‘cultural evolution’ – to enable us to address longer term problems and thinking rather than the very short term, reactive approach that has characterized brain evolution during mankind’s survival phase.”


“1989 was at the end of the cold war,” Jay noted, “so I imagine they were very concerned about war and nuclear weapons.”


“Yes, but also about population and planetary environmental issues.”


“Jake said several times,” Bill recalled,  “in our earlier discussions – before harmless –

that it’s not the Planet we ‘environmentalists’ are trying to save – it’s humanity itself; it’s civilization. The planet will do just fine – perhaps better – without Man.”


“Understood,” I agreed. “Diversity and ecosystems return and become healthy in those political no man’s lands where people are excluded.”


“Like the 38th Parallel in Korea,” Bill added. “And various international border parks in other areas.”


“There’s been a set of books imagining – or prophesizing – what will happen when man is gone – or largely gone.” I said.  “A current one is Station Eleven, a novel where a virus wipes out nearly all of mankind – and a greatly decreased and restricted civilization somehow slowly rebuilds.”


“Have you ever read Earth Abides, by George Stewart?” Jay asked. “It’s similar in that a virus or plague wipes nearly everyone out, and small isolated groups carry on and eventually find each other.”
“There was a talk here in Salt Lake some five or so years ago – in Kingsbury Hall – by the author of The World without Us,” Bill recalled.


“That was Alan Weisman. It was a positive account of the resurgence of plants and animals – of planetary biodiversity – with Man largely gone. His newest book is Countdown – about the need to greatly control human population.”


“So maybe we’re better off letting Congress and humanity go on unperturbed,” Bill suggested, “- much of humanity will eventually crash – and the planet will then slowly ‘recover’.”


“Very, very slowly. That’s what some call the very hard core environmentalists’ position,” Jay said. “But there are some nice aspects of life and of civilization I’d like to maintain.”


“Interestingly, in the Station Eleven novel,” I said,  “there is an entertainment caravan, the Traveling Symphony, pulled by horses, which goes to the various largely isolated communities and offers Shakespeare plays and a small live orchestra. The wagons are labeled Survival is not Sufficient.”


“I saw a short local documentary the other night on KUED,” Bill added, “on the history of Salt Lake City. There was a piece on the Salt Lake Theatre, built shortly after the Mormons established the City – well before they built their Temple and Tabernacle. It quoted Brigham Young as saying something like ‘religion is not enough’ – the people need amusement.”


“I hope that means real culture – ,” Jay said, “music, theatre, philosophy, science,…”


“As long as it didn’t interfere with Mormon theology.”




The Persson-Savulescu position is that humans have very rapidly advanced science and developed technologies whose influence extends over the entire planet and far into the future. Our moral psychology, however, evolved in the absence of such science and technological powers. Our mental makeup may be appropriate to small hunter-gatherer tribes – their problems, concerns, and issues – but is simply incapable of dealing with planetary wide and long time frame issues and concerns, hence our need for moral, psychological, ethical enhancement. Their main purpose is to argue for global moral enhancement – to counter the prevailing ethical ‘wisdom’ that morals and ethics are individual, small group, small nation concerns.


They say that moral enhancement means appreciating altruism and justice, and this requires enhanced feelings of empathy and expanded imagination. They also note that, in general, women have greater capacities for altruism and empathy than men. These positions and suppositions are in line with harmless.


But they say very little about how to go about moral enhancement. There is no mention of empathogens or of any specific drugs or agents, except for oxytocin. They do mention the SSRI drugs (serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and suggest that pharmaceuticals may have a role in moral enhancement – and then write that ‘…no straightforward moral enhancers have hitherto been discovered…’.



“That’s astounding,” Jay said. “Are they completely unaware of MDMA?”


“It appears so,” I answered. “I’ve looked at some of their papers and chapters. The closest they seem to get is oxytocin. And it gets better – right at the end of the book they continue:

Even if such means were discovered, the daunting task of applying them to a sufficient number of people – probably in the range of hundreds of millions – would remain.


“Well, our task is certainly daunting,” Bill said. “But if we could start by morally enhancing the US Congress, it would be a good start.”


“There’s also a New Scientist story, titled Morality 2, referring to the moral enhancement work – as well as to Crockett’s. She’s the one we noted earlier who suggested in an online video

            What if negotiators popped a few moral enhancers before heading to the [negotiating] table?


“I considered trying to contact Persson or Savulescu,” I continued, “but we better not. We are on such a tight time frame and now have the need for total secrecy. By now they should know that MDMA and empathogens exist, because an Australian named Sparrow published a critique of their positions at about the time their book was published – already several years ago. The last sentence of his critique is:

...if we are concerned about the problems of war, global warming, and terrorism, et cetera, it is to politics rather than neuroethics that we should turn.”


“And that’s exactly what harmless is doing,” Bill said.


“I was just skimming through your underlines in the book,” Jay said, holding my copy of Unfit for the Future. “They do largely conclude the book with this sentence:

            Significant moral enhancement of the human species appears to be necessary in order to ensure the survival of human civilization in the longer run.”


“Amen,” said Bill.


“You want an even more pessimistic perspective?” I asked. “Here’s the opening paragraph from a little 1983 book by Konrad Lorenz, The Waning of Humaneness:


Now, as never before, the prospects for a human future are exceptionally dismal. Most probably the human race will soon and swiftly, but certainly not painlessly, be committed to suicide through use of extant nuclear weaponry. Even if this does not happen, every human being remains in peril of a slow death through poisoning and desiccating the environment in which he lives and by which he is sustained.  


“Wow,” Jay said. “And I think I get depressed.”


“Well, he wrote that in 1983, before the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain came down – in the midst of all the concerns about nuclear driven Mutually Assured Destruction.”


“And that was before global warming and climate change was on our radar,” Bill said.


“We think the nuclear threat is over,” I said, “but it really isn’t – nukes plus terrorists equals terribly frightening scenarios.”


“And now you have Putin trying to restore the old USSR – as well as the Middle East forever imploding,” Jay added.


“And don’t forget Iran and Israel,” Bill cautioned. “Say, let me mention an interview in The Sun I just read – it’s relevant.”


“I’m glad you still subscribe. They really do great work.”


“They interviewed Mathew Fox, an excommunicated Catholic former priest, who just wrote a little book Letters to Pope Francis.  The last part of the interview focuses on evil – here are the key quotes:

the economy… is an evil we are all involved in… I would consider the denial that human activity is causing climate change to be a collectivist evil…”


“I like that – a ‘collectivist evil’.”



What harmless is trying to do is indeed ethical and moral – at least according to a small subset of the philosophy – ethics communities.





We agreed, in late 2015, before Scalia’s death, that our highest priority is Supreme Court justices – and that we would each begin our homework on the most conservative five: Scalia, Thomas, Alito, Roberts, and Kennedy.


We were meeting at a new place, Coffee Noir, the corner coffee shop at about 10th East and 2nd South, close to the U. This was part of harmless’ strategy to move around a bit and not get too comfortable at any one location.



“The Supreme Court can’t legislate – they simply come to decisions on the cases before them,” Bill said.


“Sure, there is no such thing as an activist Court,” Jay taunted. “Give me a break – that’s an idealistic fallacy.”


“And fantasy,” I said. “We do have a very activist Court, although that’s not necessarily bad. There was a recent Times story on how Justices and the Court ‘request’ cases they want to hear. It talks about ‘legal entrepreneurs’ – people who engineer cases designed for eventual Supreme Court consideration – to pass new judgments on social issues.”


“Isn’t that what the recent Affordable Care Act (ACA) case was about?” Bill asked. “Four little words, taken out of context. If the Court had agreed, it would have destroyed the ACA.”


“Which was the intent of the case,” I added. “The Court should never have agreed to hear the ‘case’.”


“But they did, and got three positive votes,” Jay said. “Fortunately there were six no votes.”


“There’ll be more entrepreneurial activist cases coming up before the Court,” Bill said. “It’s a way to legislate without going through Congress – and they are likely to have a highly conservative outcome.”


“All the more reason to provide some positive psychology for at least several key justices,” I concluded.



We also agreed to consider those in Congress with major positions of power and control.



“McConnell is in his last term,” Bill said. “He’s accomplished his goal of becoming Senate Majority Leader, and he’s looking tired. He failed at his earlier goal of ‘making Obama a one term President’. He now has his ‘dream job’ – Senate Majority Leader.”


“Yes, but he seems to be failing at it,” Jay said. “He lost to Rand Paul on the Patriot Act provisions.”


“He screwed up the timing,” Bill added. “He was confident that by letting it go to the wire, Paul would play ball. He didn’t; McConnell took a beating.”


“He seems to have a ready supply of, and taste for, Manhattans,” Jay said. “It’s his favorite drink.”


“Take two after every defeat?” Bill asked. “Perhaps with a little something added?”


“Why not?” Jay said. “It would certainly do him some good.”


“It’s an interesting power struggle – the old and young senators from Kentucky duking it out,” I said. “Both are strong climate deniers, but Paul tries to be somewhat rational, consistent, and principled.”


“Yes, Libertarians think they are principled. But many of those principles are based on out of date assumptions. The Kochs, Paul Ryan, Rand Paul – they all need treatment,” Jay added. “Let’s put them on the list and do the needed homework.”


“That’s already ten,” Bill said.


“Today’s NY Times is loaded with stories relevant to harmless,” Jay offered.


“Go on.”


“The Times editorial said that simply saying dangerous, mean, even bloody things cannot be prosecuted – Supreme Court ruled it’s free speech.”


“So if someone reads all our musings and plans about harmless, it’s not grounds for arrest and prosecution?” Bill asked.


“That’s what I thought at first,” I interjected, ‘but Roberts said ‘Wrongdoing must be conscious to be criminal.’”


“Oh, ohh, ”Bill said. “I think we are all conscious and know exactly what we’re advocating.”


“Yep. But the good news is the NSA has a bit less power than it did before Paul’s Patriot Act actions.”


“Thank you, Edward Snowden,” Jay said. “and Rand Paul.”


“The European Union just passed a resolution urging its 28 members to recognize Snowden as an ‘…international human rights defender,’ and attempt to shield him from prosecution. It was a close vote, but it did pass,” Bill said.


“And did you hear that our own Doug Fabrizio interviewed Snowden – via a video link between Moscow and Park City,” I said.


“Slightly off the subject, but very relevant, did you see Friedman’s Times column on evil?” Bill asked. “Very powerful. He covered the role of hate speech helping sow the seeds for Rabin’s assassination some 20 years ago.”


“I read it – very thought provoking. He referred to a documentary now out – called Rabin: The Last Day – on the background and conditions leading to Rabin’s death.”


“Remember Sarah Palin’s campaign and then the Gifford shooting in Arizona? Palin’s sites were showing maps of states and districts with gun sight graphics superimposed on them, including Gifford’s district. Palin actually said, regarding the districts she targeted, ‘Don’t retreat – instead RELOAD!”


Gifford said, well before she was shot:

We’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list. … the way that she has it depicted has the cross hairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they’ve got to realize there’s consequences to that.”


Hate speech has been even more in the news recently, prompted by Trump’s anti-Muslimism statements, Carly Fiorina’s ‘harvested body parts’ tirade against Planned Parenthood – perhaps indirectly related to the Colorado Springs shootings, and the dramatic upsurge in Google searches on ‘kill Muslims’ after the San Bernardino shootings.


Sara Lipton in a recent Times’ Opinion piece said:

…history does show that a heightening of rhetoric against a certain group can incite violence against that group, even when no violence is called for. When a group is labeled hostile and brutal, its members are more likely to be treated with hostility and brutality.

She also noted the role of images and caricatures used to portray certain peoples as evil.


“We arrest people for inciting to riot, but we don’t charge them for hate speech or hate graphics,” Jay said.


Michael Daly, writing in the New York Daily News, said:

…violent language can incite actual violence … metaphor can incite murder. …Palin added to a climate of violence.”


”There was just an op-ed in the Times on Anti-Abortion Violence. It noted Troy Newman, who has endorsed Cruz, calling for the ‘execution of abortion providers’. And Cruz said he was ‘grateful’ for his endorsement!”


“There’s now some potential good news for harmless – at least for the book version.”


“Go on.”


“In a recent court decision on a strange case, the Times reported that two of the three judges were loath ‘…to give the government the power to punish us for our thoughts and not our actions’. The judges wrote that

            …fantasizing about committing a crime, even a crime of violence against a real person whom you know, is not a crime.

The case was the subject of a 2015 documentary film Thought Crimes.”


“So harmless in book form, as State Change, is not illegal, according to that decision,” Jay concluded.


“But of course our goal isn’t to write a book, it’s to actually treat a group of political ideologues,” Bill said. “We treat, we’re guilty; if we only talk about and even plan treating, we’re innocent, right?”


“I think that is correct – and Matt would likely agree,” I said. “There’s another legal approach I just heard about – The Empathy Games.”


“Is that another novel and movie series, like The Hunger Games?” Jay asked. “The Economist just ran a piece on youth and politics, saying

In the world of The Hunger Games youngsters are forced to fight to the death for the amusement of their white-haired rulers. Today’s teen fiction is relentlessly dystopian, but the gap between fantasy and reality is often narrower than you might think.”


“Bernie Sanders seems to be mobilizing the young – so far the only candidate to really do so,” Bill added.


I continued: “The Empathy Games is a computer games competition, partly run and sponsored by our own U.”


“The Entertainment Arts and Engineering Program?” Bill asked. “It’s a program between Engineering’s Computer Science Department and the College of Fine Arts, isn’t it?”


“Yes,” I said. “It’s part of a games4health challenge; there seem to be five challenges, one of which is on empathy, and cosponsored by a group called iThrive!, which seem to promote ‘positive psychology’.”


“This could be really significant,” Bill said. “Consider the impact of Game of Thrones, SimCity, Civilization – and many others.”


“And even Dungeons and Dragons,” I said. “My kids were hooked on it.”


“Jane McGonigal is a videogame publicist who has talked about using games to develop our mind’s  ‘empathy muscle’. She has a new book out, Superbetter, to help people ‘de-stress’ and self-improve,” Jay reported.


“Perhaps we could suggest a State Change game,” Bill said.


“Let’s not forget the other really evil plutocrats and business people, like Tillerson and Watson on the oil side,” Jay reminded us.


“Two others that need revelation – and are probably ready for it now – are Wayne LaPierre and Grover Norquist,” I added.


“You bet,” Jay smiled: “The NRA and Americans for Tax Reform.”


“Yes – flush the government down the toilet, Norquist preaches.”


“Let’s not forget the guy advocating lung cancer around the world,” I said.


“Who’s that,” Bill asked.


“The tobacco wars are not over,” I said. “A U.S. group is advocating uncontrolled cigarette sales and consumption around the world – the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, headed by Thomas J. Donohue.”


“I did read about him. What they’re doing is criminal,” Jay said.


“Evil,” Bill added.


“We need to include some of the presidential candidates – they get large audiences, much press,” I suggested.


“Yes, especially those with staying power who are likely to be in the running at the party conventions – although all the GOP wannabes need treatment,” Jay said.


“For now, I’m betting on Rubio, although Trump, Bush, and Cruz may get more press,” I said.


“They all need attention,” Bill said. “Say, I know this is a digression, but did you see that cool piece in USA Today about Facebook grammar?”


“Yes! My son clued me in – also a writer we know well noted it.”


“There’s a software package called Grammarly, which analyzes text for grammar correctness. Looking at only spelling and punctuation mistakes, they analyzed the Facebook comments on each of the candidate’s Facebook pages.”


“Betcha I can predict the outcome – and USA Today’s not a particularly liberal paper,” Jay said.


“Me, too. The Republican average was nearly 9 mistakes per 100 words! – from 6 for Fiorina to over 12 for Trump.”


“Figures,” Jay said. “And the Democrats?”


“Average was 4, ranging from nearly 4 for Sanders to 6 for Hillary.”


“Does that reflect Carly’s Stanford education in the humanities – and Hillary’s pre-law degree from Wellesley?” Bill asked. “Did you hear about the Associated Press’ climate science literacy event?”


“Not yet,” I smiled. “Go on.”


“The AP asked eight climate and biological scientists to grade (on a 0 – 100 scale) the comments of top presidential candidates for their scientific accuracy. To eliminate bias, the names of the candidates were removed from their comments, so the scientists were scrutinizing them merely on scientific grounds.”




“The three Democratic candidates scored highly: Hillary Clinton (94 percent), Martin O’Malley (91 percent) and Bernie Sanders (87 percent).”


“Let me guess!”


“Jeb Bush was the only GOP candidate to receive a passing score of 64 percent. In dead last,

at 6 percent, was Ted Cruz.


Bill’s notes also quoted Penn State University’s Michael Mann, a well known and respected climate scientist, regarding the six percent score: ‘This individual understands less about science than the average kindergartner.’ He then learned the score belonged to Ted Cruz. Mann then continued: ‘That sort of ignorance would be dangerous in a doorman, let alone a president.’  The other candidates’ scores, according to the AP: Chris Christie, 54; John Kasich, 47; Rand Paul, 38; Carly Fiorina, 28; Marco Rubio, 21; Donald Trump, 15; and Ben Carson, 13.

Cruz was last – even worse than Trump and Carson. Bush, the highest scoring GOP candidate, has now exited the race.

“That’s enough for now,” I said “Sixteen or so to study. Congress-people will take some time and homework. My goal is to keep the final list down to 29.”


“Why 29?” Jay asked.


“You’ll see,” I smiled.


“Cause it’s a prime number?” Bill asked.


“Nope. You’ll see.”




We agreed that the selection of the dozen or so additional Congressional patients needs to be very strategic. Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and Kevin McCarthy – the Congressional Leadership – of course deserve our attention and treatment.


We looked at the House Freedom Caucus and at the ideological ‘spectrum’ data available at www.govtrack.us . We discussed the possibility of treating the far right end of the spectrum, where most of the Freedom Caucus and ‘Tea Party’ members are located. We looked at a Rolling Stones magazine recent analysis of the Freedom Caucus, by Dickinson. Apparently the members are elected from largely white, lower middle class districts. Their constituents say they want ‘their country back’.

The commander of the Freedom Caucus is Rep. Jim Jordan, whose rural Ohio district is gerrymandered into the shape of a pelican: The bill reaches into the outskirts of

Cleveland, while the tail feathers ruffle up against ex-Speaker Boehner’s district in Cincinnati.

Jordan’s district is 89 percent white.


Jordan’s a high school champion wrestler, first elected to Congress in 2008. When many Tea Party types were elected in 2010, he selected and organized those critical of Boehner to form the Freedom Caucus. He can be seen ‘in action’ during the recent Benghazi hearings which attempted to implicate Hillary.


Dickinson writes that Jordan is ‘… like a less-polished version of Paul Ryan’ and ‘a master of

political leverage’ who ‘embraces obstruction’ and engineered the earlier government shutdown.


Idaho’s Raul Labrador is Jordan’s ‘top lieutenant’ – a ‘gregarious, rumpled and far less

guarded person’. Dickinson continues that Labrador ‘reveals open contempt for GOP leadership … Boehner … and McCarthy.

Labrador echoes Cruz … who led the 2013 government shutdown fight from the upper chamber’.

The Rolling Stones piece also profiles Cruz and McConnell, noting both Cruz’s and the Freedom Caucus’ contempt for McConnell.




“They are the major reason there’s no bipartisanship, no cooperation, in Congress,” Bill said.


“They are the ones largely responsible for voting for government shutdowns and against ObamaCare,” Jay added.


“Some sixty times against ObamaCare,” I said.


“I think it’s now up to about 80 times – even under Speaker Ryan.”


“They are the real partisan clowns on the Benghazi panel,” Jay continued.


“The ones on the far right also tend to be the most avid climate deniers,” Bill said, “like Jim Inhofe.”


“If our treatment could just ‘titrate’ them a bit towards the center of the Govtrack Republican ‘peak’, it could make a real difference,” I said.


“Maybe even a tipping point,” Jay smiled.




‘Adjustment’ and even tipping of those on the far right became a key consideration in harmless’ patient selection strategy. Other considerations included convenience and ease of access – such as patients representing Utah, Idaho, Colorado, and Washington. Another was connection to the Koch political plutocracy machine and interests, such as Iowa’s Joni Ernst. We also agreed we could deal with more than 29 if it was easy to do so.


We decided to treat Raul Labrador of Idaho. His district includes part of greater Boise, so we decided we might as well get to Mike Simpson, whose gerrymandered district also covers part of Boise – and of course Idaho Senator Risch, the ‘Most Conservative Senator’ according to the National Journal – and one of the least effective based on his Leadership Score. Senator Mike Crapo is also very conservative and merits treatment. Our plan became to focus on the key 29 – AND to treat nearby colleagues, if convenient.


And that led to the harmless patient priority list – as of late 2015:



Supreme Court Justices – five:


Scalia, Antonin


Thomas, Clarence


Alito, Samuel


Roberts, John


Kennedy, Anthony


Presidential Candidates – four


Rubio, Marco


Cruz, Ted


Bush, Jeb!


Paul, Rand


Plutocrats and others – five


Koch, Charles


Koch, David


Norquist, Grover – President, Americans for Tax Reform (ATF)


LaPierre, Wayne – Executive Director, National Rifle Association (NRA)


Donohue, Thomas – President, US Chamber of Commerce


Congress – fifteen


McConnell, Mitch – Senate Majority Leader.

Ryan, Paul – Speaker of the House.

McCarthy, Kevin – House Majority Leader.


Barrasso, John – Wyoming Senator.

Capito, Shelley – West Virginia Senator.

Chaffetz, Jason – Utah District 3.

Ernst, Joni – Iowa Senator; Koch support.

Gardner, Cory – Colorado Senator, Koch support

Goudy, Trey – South Carolina District 4, Benghazi Committee.

Inhofe, Jim – Oklahoma Senator.

Issa, Darrell – California District 49.

Labrador, Raul – Idaho District 1; Freedom Caucus co-founder.

Lee, Mike – Utah Senator.

Rodgers, Cathy – Washington District 5.

Smith, Lamar – Texas District 21; Chair, House Committee on Science.


These 29 and the additional ‘convenience’ patients, effectively treated, may facilitate a tipping point and a major change in governance via the Federal Government.



“We could use Centennial Valley as a key delivery strategy,” Bill said. “We could arrange a gig at the U’s Taft Center with the Kochs and with others they endorse and support.”


“Are you smoking something?” Jay asked.


“No, seriously. The Kochs own Beaverhead Ranch, which practically surrounds the wildlife refuge which borders the U Center. I read somewhere that their Dad, Fred, sent his kids there in the summers to work and help make men out of them.”


“Interesting,” I said. “So the Kochs, Joni Ernst, Jim Inhofe, and perhaps even Lamar Smith, as well as Ryan, Rubio, Labrador and their families, could all be there?”


“Sure, why not? Charles and David Koch seem to have an affinity for the Koch ranches. The Taft Center is about environmentalism and sustainability. The place is readily available and underutilized.”


“Sounds good. Will you look into it?”


“I already have,” Bill replied. “I’ll deal with the planning and logistics. Stay tuned.”


“Maybe Inhofe could fly his own plane there,” Jay said. “And perhaps pickup Lamar Smith on the way.”


“If we invite their families to Centennial Valley – the kids could read Ishmael there,” I suggested.


“Ishmael?” Jay asked.


“A beautiful little book on history, philosophy, and politics. We’ll get to it.”

Chapter 5: Testing

We now had small amounts of pure, high quality, material. The Portland team began, cautiously, human testing. We began by dissolving 20 mg in a little less than 1/4 cup (about 50 ml) of reconstituted orange juice (OJ) – this is comparable to 100 mg in a glass of orange juice, a typical dose and method of delivery; the concentration is about 0.4 mg/ml.


With swabs, we each applied some on our skin and then on the tip of our tongue.



“The bitter taste does come through,” Tom said.


“Yes, but that’s right on your tongue,” Peter said. “You’ll hardly notice it when you drink the OJ.”


We kept an eye on our skin, looked at each other, and waited for any topical effects. After about a hour, I said: “Down the hatch …”  We each took a small paper cup with 10 ml of our precious MDMA-OJ potion and drank it. And continued to watch each other.


“That’s a total dose of a bit less than 5 mg,” I said. “Wait, watch, feel.”
I distributed our testing sheets. We each put our name on one, dated it, and filled it out at 60 minute intervals for the next several hours, then signed it. There was no skin or tongue irritation, no obvious changes in physiologic parameters, and no obvious Shulgin effects.


“That’s a disappointment,” Lucien said.


“It’s obviously not LSD,” offered Peter; he’s the only one of the four who experienced LSD.


“What do you expect from less than 5 mg?” I said. “We’re all alive, largely unchanged, healthy. Tomorrow we’ll do 10 mg and work up from there.”


To maximize drug absorption and thus the speed and strength of any effects, we skipped breakfast for the next several days of testing. We did the tests, starting with 10 mg, at about 10 am, continued close observation and analysis until about 3 pm, and then had a light meal, continuing to observe and record until about 7 pm – and dinner. One could say we began the tests by microdosing.


We verified that it was barely effective in low doses (25 and 50 mg) and strongly effective at 100 mg. The Shulgins reported using 100 mg doses, with 125 mg perhaps being optimum for therapy. 75 mg was effective for me, our resident pharmacologic virgin.


We did notice enhanced alertness and perhaps increased creativity with the 50 mg doses, also small increases in blood pressure and pulse at the 100 mg level – as expected. We made sure to drink water and orange juice during the experience, so we didn’t experience any dryness or particular thirstiness; also no teeth clenching, which is sometimes reported at the higher doses.



Leo Zeff, whose work is discussed in a book called The Secret Chief Revealed, came out of retirement in the early seventies when he experienced MDMA’s remarkable properties. He helped thousands of patients with it. He called it ‘Adam’ because he believed it returned one to a state of innocence. He would give doses ranging from 150 to 300 mg with very few issues or problems. The current clinical studies use doses in the 100 to 150 mg range.


Eisner, in Ecstasy – the MDMA Story, 1994, says 50 – 75 mg is good for enhancing creativity, 125 to 160 for ‘communicating with others’, and up to 200 mg for ‘exploration of inner spaces.’ He says do not exceed 250 mg. He also advises to not eat much during the six or so hours prior to taking the drug. It does cause patients to be thirstier than normal, so water, carbonated beverages, and juices should be available and consumed during the experience. He says the effect comes on 30 to 45 minutes after oral ingestion on a semi-empty stomach; the maximal effect then lasts for 15 to 30 minutes, followed by a long (30 minutes to three hours) plateau, and then ‘a gradual descent back to normal …’ As the effect comes on, the patient experiences a clarity and intensification of awareness, everything ‘seems brighter and crisper’, there is a feeling of alertness, happiness and enjoyment and a tendency for enhanced talking and verbalization. The world is viewed in a fresh new light. During the plateau phase patients commonly ‘manifest peaceful calm awareness and affinity with others’. This is when discussions, suggestions, perspectives can be calmly shared. Generally there is a complete absence of fear or defensiveness – rather the patients generally are more open, objective, and access new or different perceptions. It often takes another several hours for the full effect to dissipate and for the patient to return to ‘normal’. Rarely, however, does the patient return to their previous normal – they are now in a new frame of mind. The experience is usually transformative, though not dramatically or obviously so.


The entire experience thus takes nearly a full day, albeit the first several hours are the most significant and important. Eisner and others describe an ‘afterglow’ effect that often continues into the second day – the mental clarity persists, the patient is generally calm, open, and significantly more empathetic. For many, perhaps most, the empathy ‘message’ has been semi-permanently ‘received’. The new normal persists.



“I think Eisner’s summary is roughly right,” Lucien said. “It’s about what I felt.”


“Me, too,” Peter said.



“Let’s track how we feel for the next 10 days or so,” I said. “If it all continues to seem fine, then we’ll be back to scale up and continue production. For now, we’ll package up most of what we’ve made and begin some delivery-related testing back in Salt Lake.”


Although the Shulgins and the therapists often used 100 or 125 mg, we needed to consider a more standard dose – on a mg/kg metric. Mia Love, for example, is small, light, and probably a pharmacologic near-virgin. Orrin Hatch is tall, like Shulgin, and probably weighs in, like me, at 175 pounds or so. Given 2.2 pounds/kg, Tom, Lucien, and I had decided on 3 packet sizes – color-coded: 67 (blue), 100 (green), and 125 (red) mg. Big people get the larger, red packet, little people the smaller blue one, and the more medium-sized folks get the green packet (that comes out to about 1.5 mg/kg). Such doses should be enough to have a substantive effect without any discomfort. We know there is a gender effect. Doses for women should be in the 70 mg range – the blue packet. We’ll, of course, continue to test ourselves with the various doses and may refine the dosages for our more serious patients. Our self-testing will include how best to deliver the material clandestinely.



“Blue for women. Really big ones deserve to get more,” Peter smiled.


“This all reminds me of The Matrix,” said Lucien.


“Yes!” said Peter. “The Matrix was an alternate reality produced by machines to subdue humans so the machines could run on our metabolic energy.”


“And citizens in The Matrix were pleased to be subdued, unthinking, existing in their alternate, real-appearing reality,” Lucien continued.


“Didn’t see it. Where do the pills come in?” asked Tom.


“The Matrix was basically a huge computer simulation, creating a virtual reality,” Peter said.


“But there was a way to disconnect from that virtual world – and reenter the real world,” I added.


“Via a pill?” asked Tom.


“A red pill disconnected you, leaving you in the uncertain, messy real reality world,” I added.


“And a blue pill to keep you connected,” Peter added.


“I didn’t like it the first time I saw it,” I said. “Too confusing to have too many ‘realities’.”


“Like multiple, parallel states of consciousness?” Lucien smiled.


I agreed. “Morpheus, a key character in The Matrix, says to the hero:


            …you are a slave…Like everyone else you were born into bondage, born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch. A prison for your mind.


“So we have a population – reinforced by simplistic beliefs, assumptions, gerrymandering, and plutocracy – in their make believe ‘virtual’ world – believing growth, pollution, and resource consumption can go on forever,” Tom explained.


“Yes,” I agreed. “And a much smaller population existing in a reality that understands there are limits – that we are headed towards the collapse of civilization as we’ve come to know it – if those with the virtual world mentality continue to be in charge.”


“But we can disconnect the ‘prisoners’ with our little red pill,” Tom said.


“And save humanity from itself,” Lucien added.


“I didn’t really notice this when seeing the film – but apparently the directors used a green tint for scenes within The Matrix (the virtual reality) and a blue tint to depict real reality,” I said.


“Except in our world, it’s reversed,” Lucien observed. “The blues represent real humanity – real reality; the reds are in their virtual ideological world.”






Tom returned to Salt Lake, via Southwest Air.  Diana and I drove back, in our now largely empty Prius. Peter and Lucien remained in Oregon. They will set up some chocolate activities in our cottage for cover purposes.




I met with the other harmless a few days later in Salt Lake – again at the Roasting Company. I filled them in on the Portland actions and accomplishments.



“We’re ready to start,” I reported. “We now have enough initial material for 10 tests. We already used some for the Portland tests and a small bit for the analytical work. It’s pure, active, and non-toxic.”


“Bravo,” Jay said.



I then retrieved from my shirt pocket a small device which looked like an older-type iPhone, opened the cover and turned it on. It was a small analytical balance, sensitive to tens of milligrams. I took a sugar packet and placed it on the balance; it weighed 2.9 grams. I then poured out small amounts of sugar into my empty coffee cup, reweighing the packet each time. Eventually we got down to about 0.2 grams – 200 mg.



“Half of that weight is the paper bag holding the sugar,” I said. “The other half – about 100 mg – is the sugar.” Pouring it onto the table, I continued, “That 100 mg is a small puddle of powder about a half centimeter in diameter. That’s what a full dose of MDMA looks like. A sugar packet is, by weight, the equivalent of roughly 25 or so doses of MDMA.”


“Well, a single dose should be easy enough to get into a small drink glass or coffee cup,” Bill said. “According to Eisner and Shulgin, it goes easily into a small glass – a half cup or so – of orange juice.”


“Exactly. That’s how we did the initial testing in the Portland lab.”


I continued:  “I just saw a TED talk – thanks to Lucien. It was by an Elizabeth Lessing on taking the ‘other’ to lunch. Very perceptive, very good. Other is someone with very different opinions, perspectives, values, and politics – that includes our right wing, ideologue patients.”


Jay got it, saying: “So let’s each select someone we know who qualifies, strike up a conversation – just the two; one on one. We listen, we empathize.  At the appropriate moment, the ‘medicine’ goes clandestinely into their beverage – juice, coffee, tea. Stir, serve, and continue the conversation.”


“Yes, but you’ll have to engage your companion in conversation for at least 45 minutes or so to begin to discern an effect.”


“Fascinating,” said Bill. “It could be in a tea bag, sweetener, coffee creamer, beer, or wine glass.”


“Or even a Metamucil packet,” said Jay. “I just discovered that stuff a month ago. Wish I’d started using it long ago.”


“Understood. I’ve been using it for decades,” I agreed, “thanks to a kindly, old, semi-retired physician helping with my constipation.”


“You had problems?” Jay asked.


“I was in my mid-forties, and serving as Dean of Engineering. It was tough, stressful, and … constipating.”


“You were the original hard-ass?” Jay chuckled.


“Until Metamucil. Works like magic.” I paused, then continued: “Our MDMA is crystallized in the hydrochloride salt form, so it’s fairly soluble although, by itself, it tastes bitter – not pleasant. The flavor must be masked – water is not enough. The information online about coffee, tea, and other maskers is not very helpful, but does suggest we should steer away from coffee – and deliver the materials before rather than during or after a meal for best effect.”


Jay added: “Given the caffeine added to street Ecstasy pills – and all the Red Bull that’s often used – I doubt that one cup of coffee will have any adverse effect.”


“I agree,” Bill said. “And given how much the Shulgins seemed to enjoy red wine, I doubt that reasonable amounts of wine would pose any concern.”


“Try to schedule and organize the encounter to optimize the effects,” I suggested. “It should be at the second meeting with them, because it takes up to 45 or so minutes for the empathogenic effect to really begin. Keep talking and looking for changes in outlook or other effects. The mental processing of the experience goes on for several – even six or more – hours. So it’s best for the patient not to have to go to a stressful or challenging situation after the experience. We want them to have time to think, to process, to ponder their new perspectives.”


“We better rehearse,” Jay continued. “Let’s take each other to lunch and take turns spiking the other’s beverage. That way we three can each observe each test and quickly evolve a process that works.”


“It would be easier if we were entertaining the ‘other’ at our own home and kitchen, but that’s not practical for our higher profile patients. So now is the time to figure out, test, and rehearse delivery processes which work in public spaces and situations.”


“OK. Let’s watch the TED talk, come up with test cases, and meet for coffee, or orange juice, Wednesday – same time, same place,” Bill concluded. “We’ll come up with suggestions for testing candidates.”


“I’ll entertain one of you then, I said, “ – and have packets available for our next several rehearsals.”






Next meeting: I was nursing a Roasting Company mocha, and Jay was gently stirring his herbal tea.


“Let’s say I want to spike your coffee,” Jay said, “without you or anyone around us noticing what I’m doing.”


“Are you going to distract me?” I asked. “Play a magician-like sleight of hand?”


“How do you get a tenth of a Splenda packet into someone’s drink – invisibly?” Bill added. “As Huxley might say, 100 mg of near-instant revelation!”


“That’s the challenge,” Jay said. “I don’t have it worked out yet. Let’s play.” Jay opened a Splenda packet and started packing powder under his center fingernail.


“You’d be giving someone the finger, literally,” Bill chided.


“Or the powder would just fall out while you wave it in mid-air,” I said.


“If it was LSD, you could coat the fingertip with 100 micrograms easily – and then do a fast dip,” Bill noted.


“And likely go on your own bicycle trip,” Jay said, alluding to Albert Hofmann’s accidental bicycle super-trip when he first began to experience LSD.


“Yes, but MDMA isn’t absorbed via the skin,” said Bill.


“The finger nail delivery system might work,” I said, “as long as no one – and especially your patient – does not see you dipping your finger in her drink.”


“This is a very serious challenge,” I said, “because just one early discovery – or even suspicion – will blow up the entire project.”


“Other ideas?” quizzed Jay.




An empathy epidemic might indeed be very helpful. Bill had previously told us about a Doug Fabrizio interview of Roman Krznaric on RadioWest. Krznaric started the Empathy Library website, driven in part by his book Empathy: A Handbook for Revolution. Although the book and the Library say nothing about MDMA, it is a reflection of the need in society for compassion and empathy.


“Do you remember The Republican Brain?” Jay asked. “We discussed it during your campaign.”


“Yes,” I answered – “by Chris Mooney, who also wrote The Republican War on Science back in the Bush era.”


“Well, his latest posting relates compassion to environmentalism,” Jay continued. “There’s a recent German study subtitled: Compassion Fosters Proenvironmental Tendencies. He ties it to empathy and compassion, and if folks are told it’s good to be compassionate, they indeed feel and act with more compassion. ‘It’s infectious,’ Mooney says.”


“There’s actually a now old video game, Peacemaker, which Netanyahu might consider. It involves a strong empathy and understanding component,” Bill noted. “Krznaric mentioned it during the Radiowest interview.”



“I think it’s too bad that neither Fabrizio nor Krznaric mentioned MDMA during the discussion. You’d think they’d both be aware of empathogens,” I said. “I sent them each an email about it, but no response.”


“Since we started harmless, I’ve been using a GoogleAlert on MDMA,” Jay added,  “and came across a Norwegian group working to make MDMA readily available. They call themselves EmmaSofia. They’re trying to raise a million dollars on line to get started.”


“I wonder if they’re connected to MAPS?” I asked. “I’ll ask.”


“More and more stuff is appearing,” Bill said, “such as the Pollan article in the New Yorker on recent psilocybin work. Pollan said that psilocybin has some MDMA-like characteristics – a positive and lasting effect on the personality of most participants.  And more than a year after the sessions many of the volunteers showed significant increases in their openness. The research psychologists were very impressed.”


“The new brain imaging is especially cool,” I said. “One recent study of psilocybin and placebo, by Petri and others in 2015, concluded that

…the psychedelic state is associated with a less constrained and more intercommunicative mode of brain function, which is consistent with descriptions of the nature of consciousness in the psychedelic state.

I continued: “The longer term effect of a single MDMA experience is now being called the ‘afterglow effect’. After the peak effect, which for MDMA is roughly an hour or so after taking it, the effect starts to wind down over the next several hours. That we know, but the effect or change that stays with the patient for days to months afterwards is being called the ‘afterglow.’ And much of the glow for a majority of patients continues for months to years.”

“When you get the message, hang up the phone,” Jay smiled.

“That’s an Eisner quote,” I said. “I did some homework on him. He died early, at age 63, of a gastro-intestinal hemorrhage. He was working on a book at the time.”

“We better get busy,” Bill said. “You never know when you – or I – might croak.”

“Amen,” I said.


The Pollan paper also discussed the work of Carhart-Harris on the ‘entropic brain’. There’s something in the brain called the ‘default node network’ (DNN) which requires a lot of metabolic energy. The DNN’s job is to keep us focused so we can get work done. It tends to inhibit new thoughts, distractions, and daydreaming. If the DNN relaxes, we have a type of attention-deficit, which in our society and economic system is diagnosed a disorder. Meditation seems to relax the DNN – as does psychedelic agents. Creativity is helped by distraction – by entertaining multiple thoughts and ideas at the same time. Thus creativity seems to be enhanced by some psychedelics – especially LSD and MDMA. This helps explain why MDMA and other agents facilitate empathy, compassion, openness – as opposed to narrowness, focus, rigidity.

The DNN works hard to keep the ‘doors’ somewhat closed most of the time, enabling us to deal with the current job or task. Certain drugs, meditation, and perhaps breathwork relax the DNN, opening the doors of perception, compassion, and empathy. There are some, not many, people who can open and close their own doors – who can focus when they choose to, and can be open, creative, expansive when they choose to. But some people could benefit from more – and others from less – focus. Doors are for opening – and for closing.

“You know,” Jay said, “maybe we should rephrase Eisner’s ‘get the message, hang up the phone’ with something like ‘let’s oil the hinges on the doors’.”

“Make them easier to open…I like that,” Bill said.

“Or close,” I agreed. “It’s very interesting that Sidney Cohen said – in the 1967 second edition of The Beyond Within – that in our normal, waking sane state, called sanity, we are mentally inhibited, allowing us to focus and minimize distractions. Cohen defines unsanity as a more dream-like, less inhibited, state, facilitated by dreams, meditation, and LSD. Insanity results from strong feelings of insecurity and anxiety, and from other causes.”

“So Cohen was in synch with Huxley and others who felt that it might be helpful to disinhibit our thoughts periodically,” Jay said.

“Cohen said that ‘LSD does nothing specific. It springs the latch of disinhibition’,” I said.

“That’s the same, more or less, as saying it opens doors or windows,” Bill added. “I think he would have been fascinated by MDMA.”

Ben Sessa, a coworker of Carhart-Harris – and of David Nutt – published The Psychedelic Renaissance several years ago. Sessa was actually the first subject in one of Carhart-Harris’ early psilocybin studies. He writes that

…the psychedelic state can result in important changes to one’s self, one’s relationships and one’s entire outlook on life…these changes can be real, lasting and positive. With specific reference to MDMA, he says it: …is able to induce a mental state that is usually pleasurable to almost every user, almost every time.

A recent paper in the Canadian Medical Association, by K W Tupper and others, noted:

[the re-emergence] of a paradigm that acknowledges the importance of set (i.e., psychological expectations), setting (i.e., physical environment) and the therapeutic clinician–patient relationship as critical elements for facilitating healing experiences and realizing positive outcomes.

The paper summarizes the ‘psychedelic agents currently under investigation for their potential benefits as adjuncts to psychotherapy’, including MDMA. Although MDMA is not a psychedelic, it was included due to interest in and studies on its great potential for psychotherapy. It also said that during the sessions

interaction between patient and therapists is kept to a minimum, with the patient encouraged to spend much of the time engaging in self-reflection while listening to carefully selected music. … medical school curricula may need to be updated to include the latest knowledge about psychedelic drugs.

Sessa’s book also covers psilocybin, including taking it via magic mushrooms – fresh, dried, or as a tea – and referring to Paul Stamets’ beautiful book Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World. Given the recent reports of success in using psilocybin to treat PTSD, there is likely to be growing interest in magic mushrooms as a source for self-medication. In a recent New Scientist Opinion piece, Stamets said:

Recently scientists have discovered that psilocybin stimulates neurogenesis – it helps build neurons. I believe that’s what happened to me; that it helped to remap a neuronic pathway in my brain.

Sessa also addresses the likely role of magic mushrooms in the evolution and development of religion, creative thinking, and language – going back a million years or so, citing Terence McKenna. Sessa also briefly covers the early use of soma, the Eleusinian rites via kykeon, and possible fungi sources for soma and kykeon. He goes on to talk about ancient mushroom cults, Jesus, the rise of Christianity, and the mushroom motif in early Christian art. He also surveys a range of plants with psychedelic, toxic, and/or anesthetic properties.


“We are not clinicians, but we are reasonable, informed, intelligent empathetic and responsible individuals,” I said. “The Tupper paper helps put in perspective and context what we are proposing and indeed doing.”

“We have to physically deliver 100 mg into something which will be easily absorbed and rapidly ingested,” Jay said.


“Right. I think it has to be absolutely clandestine, secret,” I said. “And it becomes even more difficult when it’s not a friend or acquaintance – when it may be an ‘other’ who may not be fully comfortable.”


“Well, you can’t just give the patient something, like a lozenge or piece of chocolate,” Bill said. “They’d remember that for sure.”


“But it doesn’t always have to be liquid,” I said. “It could be a solid.”

“Wait a minute,” Bill said excitedly. He normally doesn’t get very excited. “Why can’t it be chocolate – or in a chocolate? It’s actually the perfect host – better than pills, powders, packets.”

We all sort of looked at each other.

Bill continued: “People are always eating something – chocolate, fruit, candy, lozenges – and even if they do remember you gave them a piece of chocolate – so what?”

“Of course,” I added. “We could actually inject the MDMA into the center of a soft filling commercial chocolate. There are strong chocolate flavors which should easily mask the intrinsic bitterness of the MDMA.”

“I’m sure our testers are up to the challenge!” Jay said.

“In fact, they’re already ahead of us,” I noted.  “We’re using chocolate as a ‘cover’ for the Portland lab. Lucien and Peter have been checking out chocolate suppliers and shops in the area.”


I quickly did some homework on chocolate as a delivery vehicle – and the various types of chocolate. It seems to be optimum for our needs. There have been chocolate-based drug delivery studies, although there is apparently no common, commercial product – except for ExLax. There seemed to be no reason to not use chocolate as our delivery vehicle. So chocolate is now not just a ‘cover’ for Oregon-based synthesis efforts – it may become our optimum delivery vehicle.



Tom had just finished his current chemo-treatment. We briefed him on what we had learned – and been discussing. We began with EmmaSofia in Norway:

“So if EmmaSofia is going to make MDMA available, at least in Norway, why don’t we partner with them?” Jay asked.

“Well, first, they have to raise a million dollars to really get going,” I responded. “And, secondly, they’re in Norway, and we are in the ideologically-bound, Homeland Security and NSA dominated USA. But we should be able to learn a lot from them.”

“Oh, and regarding MAPS,” I continued. “MAPS responded, saying there’s no connection or collaboration. In fact EmmaSofia had not contacted MAPS at all. The MAPS spokesperson says they’ve probably greatly underestimated the costs and complexities of the project.”

“But MAPS is focused mainly on the US of A, right?” asked Bill. “And our byzantine, ideological, fear-based drug laws.”

“Yes – and the laws in Britain – and now Canada – as well. EmmaSofia claims in a Newsweek interview that they will be working to change European laws to permit more reasonable access to MDMA – and Norway is likely to be far more reasonable than most,” I said.

“Let’s not forget Australia,” Bill said. “It’s apparently the highest per capita user of ecstasy – and the bad stuff results in lots of problems. A young Melbourne pharmacist, and a physician there, are arguing for legalization and regulation.”

“Part of the platform of Canada’s new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, was to legalize marijuana. So now that Canada has a semi-liberal government, maybe there’s hope for MDMA-based treatments there – soon,” Bill said.

“That’s what the Canadian paper suggested – and it was published just before Trudeau’s election.”

“Do you know that the awful arch-conservative Prime Minister Trudeau defeated, Steve Harper, says Breaking Bad is his favorite TV show?” I asked.

“Don’t hold your breath,” Jay said. “That MDMA ecstasy feed Google keeps sending me has about an entry a week on bad stuff. It keeps reinforcing public and regulatory perception that MDMA is very dangerous.”

“Making our own material means we have control – quality, confidence, and privacy – secrecy,” Tom said. “But it would certainly be helpful to have some reference material to analyze, study, and even test to calibrate and validate our own material.”

“Agreed,” I said. “I’ll try to contact Krebs and Johansen – the EmmaSofia couple.”


Lucien and Peter were brought up to date – by phone – on our chocolate delivery discussions. They then visited Papa Haydn’s and several so-called chocolatier shops in the Portland area, concluding that they are far too specialized, expensive, and even traceable than we need or want. So back to Trader Joe’s, Walgreens and related sources for more common, filled or soft-center traditional chocolates – the Forrest Gump variety. They bought an assortment of filled chocolates, picked up a handful of Splenda and Shape packets – one gram each – and proceeded to literally inject the solid powders, in roughly 100 mg amounts, using a syringe and needle. They were reporting back to the Salt Lake team, via Skype:

“Solid didn’t work well,” Lucien advised. “But dissolving in the smallest volume of orange juice, about 1/2 milliliter, works ok. It requires a large, cheap chocolate with a very soft center.”

“Yes, and the chocolate and liquid need to be warm, about 80-90 F, so the chocolate is on the soft side and can deform to accept the 1/2 cc volume,” Peter reported. “And when you pull out the needle, very slowly, the chocolate ‘heals’ and seals. Then it can be cooled back down and even refrigerated.”

“It is a bit explosive when you bite into it,” Lucien said. “And can be messy – the liquid can flow out. And that could be a real problem.”

“Tell him about the Jello version,” Peter said.

“We’ve worked on a solid Utah solution,” Lucien said. He was born in and went to school in Utah.

“We dissolve the powder in warm gelatin, inject it warm into the warm chocolate, then cool and refrigerate the chocolate. An hour or two later we bring it back to room temperature, where the gelatin stays solid, with the active in it – and in the chocolate.”

“That’s really clever,” I said.

“Does this make me a scientist?” Lucien asked.

“More a chemical engineer,” I said, adding: “We’ll do some experiments together during the annual family retreat in Manzanita.”

Given we were talking on line, as agreed to earlier, we avoided making any direct reference to illegal activities or agents.



Our family spends about a week each summer, sometime in mid-June to mid-July, on the Oregon coast – in Manzanita. Diana’s family, our two sons, and their families, including three wonderful granddaughters, participate. Sometimes we invite friends to join us for a day or more. We share a large house near the beach for a week. We’ve been doing this for seven years. Many of my ideas for the harmless project – and this book – were developed at our last several Manzanita family retreats.


A year ago – Neahkanee Mountain, near Manzanita. Peter, Lucien, and I – another beautiful Oregon coast hike. It wasn’t fully legal then (it is now), but it was easily available and tolerated. Peter’s delivery device, like an e-vap for nicotine, was easy to use. It was just one puff – on the way up the trail. 73 year old hikers have enough problems with balance on mountain trails, so I didn’t want to push it. I felt nothing, although Lucien said I was in ‘a very good mood.’ Peter and Lucien each took several puffs. They seemed fine. On the way down, Peter again offered, and I accepted – just one puff. Balance is even trickier on the way down. Nothing obvious. Maybe I’m pharmacologically sterile.

And now there’s JuJu Joints, an adjustable, tunable cannabis delivery device for vaping that even looks and feels like a cigarette. Perhaps next time.

We had talked earlier about the Austrian and Dutch voluntary testing services, available mainly at raves or other large public events. We now asked about such services in the Portland area.


“Interesting you should ask,” Lucien said. “I was jogging through the Reed College campus a few months ago – in a light drizzle – and took cover in their Food Commons, picked up the student newspaper, and learned something very interesting.”


“That’s a good place to get the New York Times, for free,” Peter said. “What did you learn?”


“There’s a Reed chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) – and they have a testing ‘service’.”


“Really. And?”


“They have two lockers on campus, with combination locks, which contain drug test kits. You get the combination by sending an email to: reed.ssdp.testing.kit@gmail.com .”


“Did you?”


“I had no drugs to test then, and the rain had let up, so I let it go and continued on.”



Homework. I sent an email to the ReedSSDP and received a nearly immediate automated response with the locker combinations.


On the way to Manzanita for the family retreat, Diana and I spent a few days in Portland. I went to Reed, found the SSDP locker in the Food Commons basement – across from the campus post office – and opened the lock. Inside were plastic bags with six or so test kits and various food supplements. The original email with the lock combinations contained the needed instructions:


When you take the kit, please note on the sheet when you took it and approximately when you’ll be bringing it back. If you have contact info that you would be comfortable leaving, please also leave that so we can find the kit if it goes missing. Return the kit as soon as you can so others can use it as well, and mark that you brought it back. If you find any contaminants, please report them at reedcollegessdp.tumblr.com (password: reedieshelpreedies). Tests do not indicate “purity” of a sample, but they can identify adulterated or misrepresented substances, which are frequently more dangerous to a person’s health.


There are five different kinds of reagents currently available in the library locker, and one type of single-use testing kit. Multi-use reagents are used by dropping a drop of the reagent on to the substance you intend to test. Please take care to allow drops to run out of the bottle and not touch the tip of the bottle to anything. Reagents should be administered on a white background under bright light for best identification. A disposable paper/plastic plate or a ceramic plate are ideal for this. Because a disposable surface is ideal, microfuge tubes are included in the locker for your convenience. Holding this above a stark white background (like printer paper) should make the color change reaction sufficiently visible.


Only a very, very small amount of substance is necessary to produce a reaction. An diameter of powder less than the size of a matchhead is sufficient for a reaction.


Marquis, Mecke, and Simon’s reagents can be used to identify MDMA and similar substances. One of either Marquis or Mecke is necessary to determine the presence of an MDxx compound, and Simon’s reagent to distinguish secondary amines (for example, between amphetamine and methamphetamine or MDA and MDMA.


The Mandelin reagent is useful for identifying presumed Cocaine and Ketamine, but can also be used to help identify MDMA.


The Ehrlich reagent is used to identify tryptamines (e.g. DMT) and LSD in liquid or on blotter. Blotter should be diced finely before it is tested to help speed up the reaction. Testing blotters is an exception to the above statement about sizes, and a full blotter may need to be tested to produce a visible reaction.


Also in the locker are single-use cocaine testing kits to screen for some common cuts in cocaine. Additional instructions are included on the sheet attached to the single use ampoule.


There should also be instructions for use in the kit itself. If not, see below for images of instructions and a link to further info. If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know via the locker e-mail and we will respond as soon as we can.


That text was written by someone apparently experienced and quite self-confidant of her knowledge. Reed is known for its outstanding undergraduate science program, with a particular strength in Chemistry. Some of the students involved with SSDP are likely to be very well informed and even well trained chemists.


It is apparently fairly common for those taking ecstasy and perhaps other drugs to also take commercial food supplements with them, believing that these agents may help to alleviate drug side effects or provide other desirable effects. So the ReedSSDP email also includes a link on Supplements


The colorimetric tests described and commonly used for drug ‘testing’ are qualitative at best. They can generally help determine if the pill or capsule has something, but not how much. Although the reactions used are semi-specific, they are not truly chemically specific. More rigorous testing requires gas and/or liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, and infrared and/or Raman spectroscopies.



“I’ve always though very highly of Reed and its faculty and students,” Tom said.


“I’ll take a look at the lockers and the tests the next time I pick up a paper there,” Peter added.


“And I’ll jog through the campus with more interest now – reading the student newspaper more thoroughly. It is a beautiful campus – the paths, the lake, the stream, the trees,” Lucien said.




A few weeks before our Manzanita trip, we had been discussing fiction writing with a friend who was a reporter and is now a successful playwright. Let’s call her Sally. She mentioned that her son, and his family, who live in Portland, had an interesting recent experience with empathy enhancement, thanks to MDMA. So we invited them to spend a day with us in Manzanita to discuss our common interests in MDMA.



Sally’s daughter-in-law started the discussion, her husband at her side. I’d known him since shortly after he was born, some 40 years ago. Their 18 year old son was to be the major subject of the discussion – and our information resource.


“Our son insisted that we take it together,” she said, looking at him. “He said that if we took it together, as a family, we’d understand how he felt – how he’s been changed. As he had the ecstasy pills, we took it once, all together, and waited for an effect.” She paused, looked around the table, then continued. “It took about 30 minutes. When the effect came on, I felt an openness – I felt I could interact with multiple people at once. It allowed me to let go. I felt an empathy for all – there was plenty of empathy to go around.” She looked at her son and husband.


“I’ve taken it about 10 times, so far,” the son said. “We hadn’t been talking. I was pissed at them,” he said, looking at his parents. “… pissed for taking me out of school in Tucson and dragging me to Portland. But I discovered Molly here – and that helped.”


“It was the first time I seriously wondered what others were thinking,” the father said. “It had been very difficult to talk. We were each sure we were right. It allowed me, us, to let go of the fear of admitting – or proving – myself wrong.”


“It was the first time we’d openly talked, as a family, in two years – since the Tucson move,” she added.  “We opened up – felt some empathy for each other – tried to understand.”


“It depowered the negative feelings,” the son continued. “I recognized the negative feelings, but could let them go. I didn’t need to dwell on them – to perpetuate them. Fear became nearly non-existent.”


He talked about the Molly scene in Portland, street prices, availability, the ‘Point’ system:


“A 1 point pill is supposed to mean 100 mg, though it’s only about 75. A 2 point, 200 mg, though it’s really less – about 150 mg. I’m told the mass difference is due to a coloring agent.”


He said that a 1 Point pill in Portland goes for about $15 – $20 – supposedly pure Molly.


Mom and son were each well aware of the problems with taking MDMA too often. He gave us a short lecture on serotonin re-equilibrium, re-balancing. He seemed well aware of the potential problems, yet admitted he’d taken it some 10 times – and had more pills at home.


We discussed the Eisner quote: ‘When you get the message, hang up the phone.’ They obviously had heard the message. I tried to reinforce the idea that you now have the message – no need for more evidence. I said that it’s like learning to swim or ride a bike – once you get it, you’ve got it.


“The effect is really about people, faces, emotions,” the father said, “but it came at the expense of having no interest in anything physical – clouds, stars, the physical world. During the experience I didn’t have as much interest or curiosity about the physical world as I usually do. It was very different.”


His son had been pacing during the discussion, lightly strumming his guitar, so I asked about music. He’s been considering studying music – composition and neuro-connections – at the U of Oregon. He also noted his experiences with mushrooms.


“Composing was easier – being extemporaneous was easier on MDMA,” he recalled. “I wasn’t so worried about the next note. It could just flow. There was less second guessing of myself.”


“Another longer term effect, at least for me, is decreased appetite,” he continued, “for several days. I also experienced, especially on the bus or among people I did not know, a calming feeling – especially about 30 minutes after taking the pill, when its effects first become pronounced. It felt like a wave of tranquility.”


“That’s not the real you,” his mother said, smiling.


“No, but maybe it is now – at least for a while.” He looked at me. “This has been really interesting,” he said. “But the only way to feel it, to understand it, is to take it.”


He stood up and handed me a single Molly pill in a small plastic bag with a Love-Heart symbol on it.


“It’s a gift,” he said. “Thanks for an interesting discussion.” I accepted, with thanks. He then began pacing again, strumming his guitar.


I asked about purity and safety – and testing. He said his only information was his own – and his parents’ experience, that it was good Portland stuff, and should be fine.


The discussion group included four members of my immediate family – several had experienced MDMA some decades earlier. One recalled that ‘…tactile sensations linger for a day or two. I had an enhanced ability to feel texture, touch’.


Peter and Lucien were late for the discussion as they had been working with Tom in our Portland cottage lab.


Peter contributed to the discussion, of course, and Lucien and his brother contributed as well. We were all a bit surprised by just how much ‘experience’ and perspective there was in this family! Some of it went back 40 years, some of it only 10. And some of it was fairly recent. Marijuana, LSD, mushrooms, ayahuasca, and MDMA were the major players.


That was the bulk of the discussions. We had lunch, chatted, and played. The four girls – my three granddaughters, and our friend’s younger daughter – played well together. They had some beach time, and some backyard time. The discussions continued – one on one and in small groups – for the rest of the afternoon.


The son seemed to have little interest in Reed, perhaps because he lived in North Portland, but also because he felt it was for rich kids. When I mentioned the SSDP chapter and the test kits, he seemed unaware, and sort of shrugged it off. Perhaps he was less informed than I had originally thought.


Lucien briefly discussed Eugene and the U of Oregon with him as he serenaded the kitchen team preparing dinner – playing a bit too loudly.




Most of what was shared was consistent with what we’d already read and discussed. The familial communication piece was especially interesting and relevant to harmless. So much of our problem with governing today is legislators talking without listening – taking ideological positions they simply cannot change. It’s like a force field – a wall – around individuals, preventing them from interacting through or beyond the wall. MDMA helps penetrate the wall – helps decrease the self-imposed force field. Most ideologues seems to have an insecurity and fear – rooted often in self-anxiety – which makes dialog, discussion, compromise, diplomacy, etc. almost impossible. Building on our guitarist’s words, we need to loosen the negative feelings – and let them go. It reminds my of that oft-quoted line from Disney’s Frozen: ‘Let it Go!’  The granddaughters would often run around the backyard singing ‘Let it Go!’. They actually performed the entire song for us the year before!


There was a lot more MDMA discussion during our week in Manzanita. So much so that at one point Diana threw her shoe at me. She did not like such discussions, although she was sympathetic to our political concerns and to planetary wellbeing.




The Portland lab team had made another batch of MDMA – this time about 50 grams – enough for about 500 treatments. Tom didn’t come to Manzanita as he had to get back to Salt Lake for the new radioactive sphere treatment for his liver cancer. He stayed in Portland only long enough to complete the final recrystallization of the MDMA and then carefully packaged and stored it. Then he caught a plane back to Utah. Lucien, Peter, and I would do the analytical work later in the week when we returned to Portland. The Molly pill I was given would, of course, also be analyzed. Neither Sally, her grandson, nor his parents, know what we are doing – that we are actually making MDMA. As far as they know I’m just trying to write an interesting novel.

Lucien and I spent a day in the cottage analyzing the new batch #2 and comparing it with the Molly given to me in Manzanita and our initial Batch #1. Batch 2 was a scaled up run, about five times more product than our first run. Tom and Peter reported that it all went smoothly, except that we were now very low on methylamine. The TLC and SERS results were almost identical to Batch 1. The street Molly was not quite as pure, based on the TLC results. The spots were slightly smeared. We did see the colorant spot which may have complicated the analysis.



Portland is known for chocolates and chocolatiers. I had done some online homework. So while in Portland, I had to look into the chocolate scene. The most interesting, for harmless’ needs, was Moonstruck Chocolates. I visited their little downtown shop and experienced their liquor-blended (not filled) chocolate. Heavenly! Diana agreed. Beautiful, tasty, delicious, hand made and hand decorated chocolates containing 4-5% special, unique liquor. Moonstruck calls it their Distillers Collection.


Portland liquor stores generally stock the more well known liquor-filled chocolates, especially during the Christmas holiday season. I managed to buy about 20 – half of them containing tequila – for my upcoming belated birthday party in Salt Lake.

Lucien and I melted a small batch of Trader Joe’s dark chocolate – roughly one ounce or about 30 grams. We had earlier done some homework at www.ecolechocolat.com  and learned about melting, tempering, and handling of solid and molten chocolate. MDMA melts in the range of 110 to 150 C, depending on its free base to HCl salt content. Dark chocolate melts just under 50 C. We didn’t worry about tempering or other fine points of working with chocolate. As we wanted to test four roughly 8 gr pieces of ‘loaded’ chocolate, we dispersed about 400 mg of MDMA onto the chocolate, now slowly cooling, and gently stirred it in. It dispersed fairly well to produce an MDMA-dark chocolate block. We let it cool, then cut it into four equal pieces, and prepared to test it.

This was our first test of ‘active’ chocolate – and our third test of MDMA. Our previous doses were dispersed in orange juice – this was our first test with a solidified form. We each gently chewed a piece. It was very palatable – basically Trader Joe’s dark chocolate. Since only about 1/100 of it was MDMA, the drug’s bitterness was not noticeable. Although MDMA is a very stable compound, we were a bit concerned about its activity in the chocolate matrix. We just relaxed, listened to some music, and scanned today’s Times.

We expected the effect to take a little longer to develop due to the chocolate matrix, but it didn’t. I started to feel it in about 40 minutes, Lucien in about 30 – he’s not as ‘virginal’ as I. It was what we hoped – a kind, gentle, open and aware feeling.


“Thank you Trader Joe and Sasha Shulgin,” Lucien said.

“It’s not as good as the Moonstruck variety,” I added, “but it’ll do.”

“Maybe we should call it StarStruck. There’s more to do to make it a real taste treat – a new chocolate ecstasy.”

“We do need to call it something relevant. Since it produces a wonderful open, aware, even blissful feeling, for now let’s call it Ananda’s – as in anandamide,” I said.


“That works for me. And now that we know chocolate and MDMA really works, I’ll get Brian, my chocolatier friend, to teach me some real techniques – and perhaps we’ll talk with some people at Moonstruck.”

“Terrific. And perhaps work on a logo and cool design for Ananda’s Chocolates.”

“Will do – and remember, Ananda means bliss in, I think, Sanskrit.”

We were feeling very creative, empathetic, and positive.


Lucien and I then talked, via phone, with his friend, Brian, who makes his own chocolates and is especially fond of Ecuadorian cacao. I suggested other ‘flavorings’, sort of a Utah version of Moonstruck’s Distillery approach – exotic herbal chocolates made using multi-level marketing (MLM) products! Brian was excited.

“You can just disperse the flavoring throughout the chocolate during the manufacturing process,” Brian said. “That’s not hard to do. I’ll be doing a batch in two days. Lucien, if you can come by around 2 pm Thursday, I’ll show you what I know.”

“Deal,” Lucien said.


Lucien, Peter and I had opened the Molly capsule I’d been given in Manzanita, removed just enough for the analytical work, and resealed it. We had removed less than about 10 mg. We did the TLC separation and the SERS Raman work. As our guitarist ‘supplier’ had said, it was good stuff – not quite as pure and clean as Tom’s, but essentially pure MDMA – and some colorant, as expected. I gave the capsule to Peter, as he had a close acquaintance who really wanted to try it, under his supervision and guidance, to attempt to deal with some old, difficult, and stressing issues.


Diana and I then said our good-byes to Lucien, and headed back to Utah, via Bend and Lakeview. Just north of Bend, in Madras, we found a coffee/sandwich shop well stocked with Portuguese wines. Really! So we bought three bottles for a wine-tasting during my upcoming belated birthday gig with friends in Salt Lake. From Oregon back to Utah – culture shock.

A day later I met with Jay, Bill, and Tom with the Moonstruck Distillers Collection in hand, but no ‘active’ preparation.


“That’s incredible!” Jay said.

“I thought you’d like it – have another,” I offered.

“Amen,” Bill agreed. “I’ve never tested, or seen, anything like that.”

“Wow. What a way to deliver anti-cancer drugs,” Tom said. “And if they don’t really work, you go out smiling!”

“I wonder what 100 mg MDMA might do for them?” I asked.

“Only one way to find out,” Tom said. “Suddenly being a taster, tester has become a lot more interesting!”

“Lucien and Peter said the same thing last week in Portland.” I continued: “Lucien and I did a pilot experiment a few days ago, using Trader Joe’s dark chocolate and 400 mg of Batch #2.”

“Batch 2 is very good, isn’t it?” Tom asked proudly. He had gotten back to Salt Lake in time for his radioactive spheres and was feeling fine so far.

“Yes, it is very good – and got along well with the Trader Joe’s dark chocolate. Everything works.”

“But you didn’t bring us any?” asked Jay.

“Not yet. Lucien’s now becoming a chocolatier – give him a couple of weeks to make some truly wonderful stuff.”

We agreed that the Moonstruck approach is the way to go to provide a truly delicious and optimally active therapy. We began by watching the Moonstruck video – a 5 minute ‘tour’ of their factory and process. We talked about a chocolate ‘brand ’ – a fictitious name, brand, and web site to minimize – and to satisfy – curiosity as to the source of the chocolates. Some ideas:








Delphi or OracleChocolate


AnandasChocolates (for anandamide)

We continued to be partial to Ananda’s Chocolates because it had a message, was sufficiently mysterious, and was not connectable or traceable. www.ananda.com  is a yoga meditation site. A quick search turned up .nl and .de sites for anandachocolate but nothing for anandaschocolates. We quickly reserved the .com version and proceeded to put up a limited in process site. We set up the websites www.anandaschocolates.com  and  www.StateChange.us  , both registered and paid up for 10 years. I didn’t ask Jake to do them because we want to be sure he’s in no way connected or identified with the real harmless project.

As far as delivery to patients, we could just have the chocolates with us, place them on the table or counter, and offer them to the current patient. We did have concerns. What if they take the box home – and give it to their kids? Easy answer – don’t put a box on the table, just very few individually wrapped and labeled chocolates.

We talked about ‘chocolates for adults’ – adults-only chocolates. Clearly, they shouldn’t be given to kids.

We also discussed set and setting – the need for those close to you to empathize with you – with what you are thinking and doing. We felt set and setting could be somewhat aided by appropriate packaging and branding – and by a small foldout insert with more information – like a prescription drug insert but more interesting and readable.

“In some ayahuasca ceremonies,” Lucien said, “dark and white paper is passed out – dark on one side, white on the other. The participants are told to write on the dark side those feelings, events, etc. they want to leave behind – to escape from; on the white side they write what they are striving for, where they’d like to go. It’s a From To exercise.”

“Interesting,” I said. “Let’s consider wrapping – sealing – the individual chocolate in foil, then surrounded with a dark-white tissue, pre-printed with the words From and To, each followed by a set of lines. The message, hopefully, is ‘fill in the blanks’.”

“And the insert or flyer would be perhaps a 2 x 3 inch very thin paper, folded tightly and very small, to fit within the tissue wrapping,” Lucien added.

“The insert would be titled Ananda’s Chocolates – aiding your path forward – and printed with brief paragraphs on History, Chemistry, Health, Medicine, Society,” Bill suggested.

“The content could, perhaps should, be the same as on the web site,” Jay said.

“A good plan,” I said. “Lucien?”

“I think it’s a good approach.”

“I’ll start designing. Perhaps a logo-icon related to light, brain, and forward movement? I assume you’ll get me text for the flyer-insert.”

“Roger,” I said. “I think your logo idea is right on. Let’s see it.”

“It should only take me a couple of days.”

I worked on the text, which Lucien and I then finalized:


Ananda’s Chocolates – opening your path forward

Ananda’s is a unique chocolate experience, providing feelings of relaxation, contentment, empathy, and understanding for responsible adults.

History:   Amanda’s not very secret ingredients include Anandamide – a natural hormone, commonly known as the bliss molecule. It’s connected with oxytocin, the hormone which helps with bonding and attachment between mother and her new born. Anandamide is an endocannabinoid, as is THC, the key active ingredient in cannabis. They bind to natural neuroreceptors responsible for heightening motivation and happiness. Chocolate is one of the very few natural foods with elevated levels of anandamide.

Chemistry:   Ananda’s Chocolates are made from high quality dark chocolate containing anandamide and related empathogens. Consumption of just one chocolate results in a feeling of relaxation, introspection, empathy, and even bliss. These effects begin to develop within an hour or so of consuming the chocolate. The feeling of comfort, understanding, bliss, and contentment may continue for several hours, often for much longer.

Health and Medicine:   High quality chocolate is well known for its beneficial health qualities, including positive and supportive mental states, as well as enhanced empathy and compassion. Regular consumption is not needed and not recommended; in fact just one chocolate is generally sufficient for a semi-permanent change in attitude and perspective.

Society and Culture:   Consumption of Ananda’s Chocolate in a family or group setting facilitates communication, understanding, introspection, empathy, and compassion. It is also an aid to creativity and problem-solving.

Availability:   Ananda’s Chocolates is a new venture in the early startup and testing phase. Regular production and distribution is expected in late 2016. We cannot take orders or send samples at this time. Check back here in several months for updates.

Ananda’s Chocolates are for adults only.


As we progressed in our discussions on presentation of the chocolate to a specific patient, we considered the treatment of his wife, friends, colleagues – if we felt that might be helpful in providing a helpful and supportive environment. The doses we’re using wouldn’t harm youth and adults. We also discussed half-doses for staff and others to taste and do ‘diligence’.

We would likely get questions: Are the chocolates our creation, a friends’, a family member? Are they available? Can you purchase them? Perhaps we’re just helping a friend (Ananda) field test her new chocolates. She could have a web site without content – saying that it is going live in three months: ‘Ananda’s working. Visit again in three months. Be patient’. And, by then, harmless should be finished.

I did some homework on chocolate and drug delivery, and came upon some new information. One company, focused on food supplements for kids, has filed a patent application on dark chocolate – based delivery of drugs. Another firm, Cambridge Chocolates, is now selling very high end soft skin, anti-aging so-called ‘beauty’ chocolate, arguing that the high antioxidant levels provide such benefits. Interesting.

We continued to discuss other means for effective delivery. Another treat might be Super Grapes – large seedless grapes injected with our potion. Ben Sessa, in The Psychedelic Renaissance, refers to a Michael Hollingshead serving grapes containing injected LSD to his friends, one of which was Paul McCartney. It would take a big grape to hold 100 mg but it may be worth some experimentation! But we focused nearly all of our attention on a delivery system based on chocolate. We just needed to work out the details, the production and packaging, the branding, and the delivery.

Tom had worked on a few additives which would make analytical and forensic detection of MDMA in the chocolates difficult. We didn’t want some of our first patients to suspect something and submit their chocolates to local labs for analysis. If that were to happen, and MDMA was detected, there would suddenly be much publicity and uproar about ‘laced’ chocolates being given to popular right wing ideologues – and we would soon be in jail. I was kept in the loop with the Portland Three on an almost daily basis:


“Chocolate contains a variety of biochemicals closely related to drugs,” I said. “Maybe we don’t need to worry about possible analysis.”


“If you do a high resolution mass spec or HPLC analysis of chocolate, could you find MDMA if it was there?” Lucien asked.


“Sure,” Tom answered, “but you’d also find many other things of perhaps greater interest.”


“Like?” Peter asked.


“Like anandamide, theobromine, phenylethylamine, various alkaloids and flavenoids, tryptophan, and other stuff.”


“When we talked about anandamide earlier, didn’t someone say it has cannabis – like effects?” Lucien asked.


“Yes, and with cannabis now legal in Oregon, Washington, and Colorado, cannabis-laced chocolates are becoming very common,” Peter said.


“So why not just stir in a little THC with the MDMA and anyone looking at it will likely find cannabis,” Lucien said.


“Which gets MDMA off the suspicion list?”


“I think so,” Tom answered. “Unless it’s a serious DEA-type drug analysis, most will assume that whatever the effects are, they’re due to chocolate itself, or – perhaps – to cannabis. That sounds good to me. I really didn’t want to get into the deuteration or other modifications of MDMA to mess up serious forensic analyses. I’m getting too tired to do very creative – or difficult – chemistry.”


“Let’s just acquire a small amount of cannabis oil and include very small amounts in our chocolate preparations,” I suggested.


“That will work. Good idea.”




The Salt Lake group continued talking and planning, focusing now on the branding and packaging. We were at Coffee Noir again, near the U.



“Most of our patients are very conservative, so we don’t want a druggie or flower child look – no liberal, empathic, or celestial icons,” Bill suggested.


“Right. We want them to feel secure and comfortable with the packaging – the look. It’s after they accept and consume the treat that their journey or revelation might begin. And it would indeed be helpful if their wife or partner is having a chocolate at the same time,” I added.


We came up with several ideas for branding which would help the patient accept and consume the chocolate:


Presidential Collection (Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln)

for Presidential candidates, some Justices;

Freedom and Liberty Collection (Flag, USA map)

for NRA-types, vigilante types, flag wavers;

Heavenly Collection

for Evangelicals, Mormons, Muslims;

For Adults Only!

for Humanists, Thinkers, Academics;

Ayn Rand Collection

for Libertarians, Adolescents.


“You did it without me?” Tom asked, jokingly.

We were all in Salt Lake to review our plans and to bid Tom goodbye from the group – as he moved on to more aggressive and partially debilitating treatments, starting with taking oral cytotoxic anticancer agents.

“Because you’re such a great teacher,” Lucien said.

“You made an organic chemist out of a communication major and graphic designer,” I smiled.

“Hey, organic chemistry is like two parts art and hands for one part chemical science,” Don said. “Lucien’s a good artist with great hands.”

“And don’t forget Peter,” Lucien said, beaming. “He remembered all the details and asked all the right questions.”

“And saw to it that we used every last drop of methyl amine,” Peter added.

“That last batch must have used nearly everything we had,” Don said.

The last batch yielded about 20 grams, nearly 200 additional doses. Lucien chose to carefully keep it safe and secure in case we might have a need for it later.

“Not much to dispose of, correct?”

“And how might we dispose of everything else?” I asked. “I’ll get the glassware, and the Raman and TLC stuff, back in to my U office – and the other chemical equipment.”

“I was going to ask to take it,” Tom said, “but I don’t think that’s wise. I probably won’t last long enough to use it – and Bonnie would not like it.”

“What about your Oregon residency plans – and the Death with Dignity concern?” I asked.

“I’ll either survive or I won’t,” Tom said. “I’ll take my chances in Utah. Bonnie didn’t like the idea of moving to Portland. She’s too hooked on Utah sunshine. I’ll have a good supply of Ananda’s Chocolates. And I’ve acquired enough marijuana while in Portland to hopefully deal with some of the terminal pain issues. Bonnie will know what to do.”

“I’m not any good at praying, “ I said, giving Tom a gentle hug.

“Me neither,” he said. “In times like these, I often think of the James Taylor song, Enjoy the Ride.”

“I love that song,” I said. “Another great one is Gracias a la vida, sort of a Mexican – Spanish anthem to life.”

“I don’t know that one,” Tom said.

“In English, the first line is: Thanks to the life that has given me so much.”

I opened my laptop. “Just happen to have it here. It’s really beautiful in Spanish. Listen up:”

We listened, saying nothing.

“Isn’t that the name of an old Joan Baez album?” Jay asked.

“It was the title song of a Baez album – over half a century ago,” I said. “I saw a similar sentiment the other day, in a Times obituary. At the very end of the long obit, they included the deceased’s preferred tombstone message:

I adored you, and you returned my love a hundred fold. Life, I thank you!

“There’s always something interesting in a Times obit,” Bill said.

“You don’t have James Taylor on that laptop, do you?” Tom asked.

“Sure do. It was used in the last program of my Science without Walls course and TV show. The song’s title is the Secret of Life. Give me a second.”

We waited, listened, again quietly, smiling.

“’Since we’re on the way down we might as well enjoy the ride’…I like that,” Bill said.

“Me, too,” Tom said. “I’ve really enjoyed this part of the ride – with harmless.”

We were all suppressing tears. I gently broke the reverence.

“I’ll get the hardware and put it in my office at the U.”

“I’ll package up the remaining chemicals, label them, put them in a closed box, and wrap some CAUTION tape around them,…” Peter then hesitated.

“And?” I asked, looking at him.

“Why don’t I place the box in the Chemistry Building at Reed College,” he answered, a bit quietly. “The second floor is a lab floor, with a few old tables in the main hall. I can just place the chemicals there.”

“That’s a great plan,” Lucien said. “The building’s open in the evening, almost no one is ever there at night, and there’s no security. I go right by the building during my evening runs across the Reed campus. I can be security and watchman for you.”

“And when the Reed professors or students discover it, they’ll either deal with it or call the cops to handle it,” I suggested. “But it might be better to carry the chemicals in via a backpack, unpack it onto the tables, and then wear the empty backpack back out. You also need to dispose of our chemical waste containers.”

“Easy. We’ll label and deposit them in the same place at the same time.”

“And since Reedies don’t really like cops on campus, I’m sure they’ll just deal with it,” Peter said. “We won’t deposit the chemicals until the cottage is vacated and released back to the landlord.”

“Agreed. We’ll move out of our little Portland cottage lab, clean it up, and formally vacate it,” I said. “I can be out there in about 10 days to pack up the stuff and return it to the U.” Looking at Lucien, I continued “Perhaps you and Peter could package the stuff up and clean up the place.”

“Sure. We’ll wash, dry, and package everything. It’ll be ready when you arrive.

Lucien and Peter returned to Portland. I followed in the Prius some 10 days later.

Chapter 4: The Therapy

Sassafras is fascinating. Bill and I compared notes.  We had each looked at the web sites of botanical gardens and arboretums, finding specimens, listings, and descriptions.


There’s a good YouTube video on harvesting sapling roots for root beer (sure!). Some herb and spice places sell the dried root; it’s even available via Amazon.com. A cool fact is that Atlanta volunteers planted 200 sassafras trees along a section of the Beltline trail system. It was Georgia’s Plant of the Year some years ago.


Sassafras trees produce safrole, a root beer – smelling oil with a fascinating, and complex,  chemical structure. From pure safrole it’s only a few chemical steps to MDMA. There are some trees and shrubs with very high safrole contents, especially in certain areas of the tropics.


The rain forests in the Cardamom Mountains of Cambodia were being destroyed by the harvesting of Cinnamomum parthenoxylon trees for sassafras oil, which is shipped to Europe and Asia for MDMA synthesis. The issue is covered in Drugs Unlimited, by Mike Power, and documented in a 20 minute film titled Forest of Ecstasy.


We learned there’s an herb and tea supplier in Watsonville, California that sells sassafras root bark for $35 per pound. I bought some online.



Tom and I discussed synthesis routes and final chemical needs. He was preparing to return to Oregon in a few days and spend two weeks setting up and testing the lab between his chemo treatments. Peter and Lucien were cleaning up and furnishing the place in preparation for his return.




“Are we staying focused on MDMA?” Tom asked.


“Yes,” I answered.


“I thought there was some other agents, more effective for revelation purposes than LSD or MDMA,” Tom said.


“Nothing as good as MDMA. Power discusses, in Drugs Unlimited, an interesting variant called 6-APB – it’s essentially MDMA with one of the dioxygen ring’s hydrogens missing. He quoted an English major Jeffrey Jenkins as saying

MDMA intrigued me .. with its strangely universal experience, its ability to make even the hardest soul empathic….


“An English major!” Tom said. “He didn’t make the stuff, did he?”


“Sorry to bust your expertise bubble,” I smiled, “but Jenkins apparently taught himself organic chemistry so he could make his own MDMA – and then legal variants – and he put it all online. Although 6-APB was formally legal in Britain, they busted him and jailed him anyway.”


“‘Make even the hardest soul empathic’… I love that. Weren’t there earlier attempts at something better – even by Shulgin?” Tom asked.


“Yes, but I think Sasha and Ann both agreed they never experienced anything better than MDMA. There was a lot of interest – and much effort by the CIA and the Army – way back,” I said. “Much of the history is in the Acid Dreams book of 1985, just before MDMA became widely known.”




We were now back in Oregon, setting up the lab.



Some homework revealed that there were several so-called super-hallucinogens studied by the Army and the CIA in the sixties and seventies. The most developed and tested was BZ – Army code EA2277. In addition to the Acid Dreams book, which relied on declassified Army and CIA files, there was a mea culpa book by an Army Chemical Warfare Colonel, James Ketchum, published in 2006: Chemical Warfare: Secrets Almost Forgotten. The New Yorker discussed Ketchum and his book in a December 2012 piece (just after the paperback version was published) called Operation Delirium. Much of the Army work was on aerosol delivery – sort of a psychic gas approach.



“Cool!” Lucien said. “That must be what stimulated a Sherlock TV episode that used a military psycho-chemical gas – The Hound of the Baskervilles. I saw it a few weeks ago via Netflix.”


“So the Army wanted to use gas or aerosol delivery?” Tom asked.


“Yes. But for military – not political revelation – purposes, although many of the LSD pioneers had ideas about political and cultural transformation via LSD – Hubbard, Osmond, Kesey, Leary – and others,” I said.


“And funded by the Army and the CIA,” Lucien said. “In the Sherlock episode – I think it was in Season 2, it was to cause delirium and total incapacitation.”


“How much TV do you watch,” I joked.


“When you’re 44, single, and without much social life, Sherlock helps.”


“Do see, if you haven’t, Cumberbatch’s The Imitation Game,” Tom suggested. “He’s not only a great Sherlock, but also a great Alan Turing.”


I continued: “BZ was intensively studied and tested over a two week period at Utah’s Dugway Proving Grounds – at least according to Ketchum’s book. The project was unofficially called Project Dork – a play on the ‘crazy’ General Dick who ordered the test. BZ was likely burned and eliminated there later at the Army’s Chemical Agent Disposal Facility nearby.”


“It seems there’s always some Utah connection,” Lucien noted.


“Well, BZ is not a psychedelic and was not studied by Shulgin – although, interestingly, he wrote a brief Preface for Ketchum’s book. BZ can be considered an incapacitating agent. Shulgin called it a ‘deleriant’ on p. 218 of The Shulgin Index.”




Project MK-Ultra was an even earlier government ‘research’ effort, from about 1953 to 1973, by the CIA and the Army, to apply methodologies to manipulate people’s mental states and alter their brain functions. The goal was to develop truth-telling capabilities, often involving the surreptitious administration of LSD or other drugs. Research was done at some 80 institutions, including colleges and universities, hospitals, prisons and pharmaceutical companies in the US and Canada. The CIA used various front organizations to fund and monitor the work. In many respects the CIA was thus responsible for the ready availability of LSD among the research and medical communities. The program was made public via the Church Committee investigations stemming from FBI surveillance activities, chronicled in the recent documentary 1971.


There’s been some interest in methylone, sometimes considered a substitute for MDMA. A Breaking Bad – like Chinese professor, a Dr. Zhang, set up a lab and, in 2014, before he was caught, sold methylone. It’s essentially a ketone derivative of MDMA. Perhaps he chose it because he thought it was outside of Chinese or Australian drug laws. It was available in The Netherlands in 2004 under the street name Explosion.


Shulgin also made and evaluated methylone, saying it

…has almost the same potency, but it doesn’t produce the same effects. It has an almost antidepressant action, pleasant and positive, but not the unique magic of MDMA.


In addition to all the positive experiences with MDMA over the years, Shulgin’s review in PIHKAL is among the best:

            I feel absolutely clean inside, and there is nothing but pure euphoria. I have never felt so great, or believed this to be possible. The cleanliness, clarity, and marvelous feeling of solid inner strength continued through the rest of the day, and evening, and into the next day. I am overcome by the profundity of the experience…




“MDMA has most of the effects we want – ” said Peter, “- decreased personal fear of others and of the unknown, decreased social anxiety, increased empathy, general openness and wellbeing, and for most a real personal transformation, revelation.”


“And since we will likely have only one major opportunity to use it on each of our patients, I think we’ll want to use at least 100 mg amounts – perhaps 125 mg for big people,” I said.


“Shulgin’s 1986 paper is the best synthesis summary I’ve seen – six routes to MDMA,” said Tom.


“Yes,” I agreed. “He also published one that same year on his testing protocol for new drugs, via self-experimentation – the Shulgin Protocol.”


“As one of the key testers, I’m pleased to learn there’s a protocol,” Lucien added.


I continued: “The more recent papers from the forensic communities have been very helpful – they tend to focus on impurities in the various synthetic processes, with the goal of helping to identify clandestine labs.”


“My thought is that the original safrole bromination process is the most direct, involves fewer chemicals, and results in a less traceable MDMA product,” Tom continued. “That route doesn’t involve MDA, a common contaminant of clandestine MDMA.”


“It’s just two steps, isn’t it?” I asked.


“Yes – by brominating safrole’s propylene group, followed by a methylamine replacement of the bromine,” Tom said. “The reaction’s been studied by the Polish forensics community; the more recent papers are readily available in English.”


“So we only need hydrobromic acid and methylamine? And the safrole?”


“A steam extraction and distillation gets us safrole from sassafras,” Tom continued. “You know, it’s curious that Shulgin doesn’t mention the direct safrole to MDMA route in PIHKAL, but includes it in The Shulgin Index, published in 2011, some 20 years later.”


“MDMA merits the longest discussion in the Index, but with no synthesis details – lots on analytical chemistry, however. It’s been noted that the bromo approach produces relatively low yields compared to other routes, which is probably why Shulgin didn’t use it much,” I said.


“Increasing the yield involves using a high pressure reaction step which isn’t difficult. If we were into making large amounts of MDMA, we’d consider it,” Tom added.


“We need to do much more homework focused on potential side reactions and impurities – and on various purification steps and procedures,” I said. “ – and on analytical methods.”


“Agreed,” Tom concluded.




We already know that MDMA is an incredible molecule. It’s chemical structure suggests amphetamine, met-amphetamine, MDA, and something else – all rolled into one very special molecule that is non-addictive, non-hallucinogenic, non-toxic; no visions, no crazy images – just a gentle, open, relaxed, empathogenic frame of mind. Huxley would have loved it. Of all the ‘psychedelics’, it’s the closest to his ideal moksha, described in his final novel, Island. And not at all like the soma of his Brave New World – and not at all like LSD.




“Huxley started with mescaline, got to LSD via Osmond, and experienced psilocybin via his work with Timothy Leary. MDMA didn’t become available until the early eighties, some 20 years after Huxley died,” Peter said.


“I’m now reading Moksha, a collection of his shorter writings – letters, speeches from 1931 through 1963.” I said.  “I started with the most recent, working back in time. What a wonderful, perceptive, open thinker and writer. He foresaw and cautioned us against almost everything we are now concerned about in our modern overpopulated, over consumptive, over technological, and over politicized society.”


“Amen,” Tom said.




I planned to acquire multiple small bottles of the solvents and reagents needed for all major MDMA synthesis pathways, in case the direct safrole to MDMA bromine-based reaction isn’t adequate for our needs. This would be done in stages from different sources: borrowing small amounts, getting some from the U Chemistry stockroom, and independent orders from the major chemical suppliers – spread over several months. As methylamine is a ‘watched’ substance, I will ‘borrow’ it from some chemistry researcher friends. We can also directly synthesize it.


The bromination – methylamine route is simple and direct, although there have been reports of low yields. That’s not a problem as long as we are careful to purify the MDMA and as long as any residual impurities are not particularly toxic. Clandestine street products are rarely carefully purified or characterized – and it’s those products to which the forensic labs and ‘watchers’ are tuned or focused. The bromination route of course has the major advantage that we can start from sassafras. Although it, too, is likely ‘watched’, especially safrole oil, we will obtain sassafras in small quantities from multiple sources, ostensibly for botanical studies and for root beer and tea preparation.


It’s interesting that Shulgin’s procedures required long times – much patience. He originally used the slower, safer processes. He was also very concerned with purification and characterization. Time and patience are not normal characteristics of clandestine drug synthesizers or dealers.


The drug forensics people have provided detailed information on synthesis via the various routes. They do that to understand the various impurities so as to try to identify labs of origin for street drugs. The forensics papers are the most helpful for harmless!






“Hydrobromic acid is nasty stuff,” I said to Tom.


“Most strong acids are,” he responded. “We chemists understand and respect acids. HBr is a stronger acid than hydrochloric but no more difficult to work with. We’ll just use a good chemical hood and ventilation. Not to worry.”


“And methylamine?”


“I’m more concerned about that,” Tom answered. “Maybe I’ve watched too many Breaking Bad! episodes. Since methylamine is a key ingredient in meth labs, it’s likely to be ‘watched’ much more that sassafras or safrole. I’ll need to use a respirator mask and good ventilation. But that’s standard for real organic chemists.”


“You’re the chemist,” I said.




The demand for MDMA is high. About 25,000 kg are used yearly in Britain, most of it coming from Holland via land, air and sea. Each kilo of MDMA costs about $1,000 to produce, but is sold wholesale for about $4,000. Middlemen pay about $15,000/kilo. A gram on the streets costs up to $50 – that would be up to 10 doses of pure MDMA.



I obtained some methylamine solution from a friend who was retiring and cleaning out her lab. No methylamine paper trails. Hydrobromic acid, 48%, I purchased from the U Chemistry stockroom, and bought sassafras root and bark from several different tea and herb sources online.


I checked out the vacuum pump and the various lab equipment obtained from the stockroom and from Surplus and Salvage. The small, portable fume hood worked fine. I bought a venting hose from Home Depot. This was all to go to Tom’s new home and lab in Portland.


But we did need more glassware and equipment: a rotary evaporator, better funnels, heating mantles, thermometers, a manometer for vacuum distillations, and several more ice/cooling baths. Back to Surplus and Salvage.


The TLC plates and developing equipment are also going to Portland. We will also experiment with some high performance TLC methods to hopefully improve the TLC analysis and detection.


I considered keeping the Raman spectrometer in my U office, to help provide credibility for my purchases and new research project, but in the end decided it, too, needed to be in Portland so we could perform all the analyses there. With my earlier Raman collaborator, we modified the software to make it easier to use for our harmless needs. I also purchased the silver colloid precursors to facilitate the SERS analysis.


We scheduled our trip. Tom will fly again to Portland next weekend. I’ll drive by way of Winnemucca and Denio Junction; I just love that long, lonely road through NW Nevada.


By then Lucien and Peter will have the Portland house in shape, with the new locks and appropriate lights and fans for our needs. Tom decided to set up the ‘lab’ in the basement half-bath (just basin and toilet); it does have a basement window suitable for hood venting; there are other basement windows to facilitate air movement via fans. Lucien’s already planted small bushes and grasses outside the basement windows to increase basement privacy. Much of the work will be done during daylight times to avoid need for nighttime basement lights. As we get started we’ll monitor any odors or other signals which might lead anyone on the street to ask what’s going on (lots of people have watched Breaking Bad!).




Diana and I drove to Portland via I-80, Denio Junction, and I-5. She agreed to come along to spend a few days with her sisters in Portland.


Our no longer pristine Prius had several small boxes of chemicals – for, if asked, chemistry and luminescence demonstrations I arranged to do at a small science center in Eugene. I also do Leonardo da Vinci ‘shows’ for classes and science centers. These have been serious education outreach activities for me, but now they provide cover for harmless. Diana and I also carried small equipment, the Raman system, the portable hood, and my Leonardo posters and gear, as well as our travel suitcases.


The chemicals and solvents were, of course, ‘mis’-labeled in accordance with what I’d be doing in the demonstrations and shows. Given the chemical sophistication of our population, I didn’t expect any problems.


We got to Portland and unloaded without any questions or issues. Diana spent the next several days mainly with her sisters. Tom and I, together with Peter and Lucien, moved into Tom’s new home – the harmless cottage – and began to set up shop.


We used an old, used refrigerator as the basement chemical storage safety cabinet. We set up a sturdy used table right outside the downstairs bathroom, placed the portable hood on it, ran the vent to the basement window behind some shelving and drapes, and placed a used 4-drawer metal filing cabinet nearby to house equipment, books, and incidentals.


Lucien used his great design skills to make new covers for our drug and organic chemistry library. The books were now all labeled as science teaching for schools and museums. Almost no one casually looking at such a book would realize that they were really anything else.


In addition to the cover I would have used on the drive, if needed, we thought up some cover for Tom. He is developing curricula and exhibits for schools. I was there to teach him bioluminescence activities – a curriculum we had developed many years earlier called ‘Science in the Dark’. He was also learning my da Vinci programs. Tom would say, if asked, that he relocated to Portland because of his medical problems and the Death with Dignity law. He was working as a consultant and advisor in the area of science education. Although some of this cover was used in conversations with neighbors, store clerks, and visitors, no one ever came by to make a serious inquiry.


The vacuum pump and a dry ice trap were placed and installed under the table and the fume hood. Dry ice is readily available from local supermarkets and can be acquired as needed. As everything had been previously tested in Salt Lake, most of the set up went quickly.


We had previously installed a small window air conditioner to be sure the downstairs lab temperature stayed around 70 F or below.


We used a small main floor bedroom for our chemical analysis work, especially the thin layer chromatography (TLC).



“I’m a great fan of TLC,” I said. “It’s so simple, so inexpensive, so effective.”


“I remember a great set of paper chromatography activities – at OMSI,” Lucien said, referring to Oregon’s Museum of Science and Industry. “The facilitator had us write our names with black felt pen on the paper, and then separated the colors making up the black color. Cool.”


“It’s the same process as getting a celery stalk to ‘pull’ a colored dye up the stalk,” I said. “Capillarity is almost magical. Just molecules in the liquid shaking hands with those on the walls with enough strength to counteract gravity.”


“And now we’re using it to analyze illegal drugs,” Tom said, “to see if I’m still a pretty good chemist.”


“Did you see the recent story on beards and bugs?” Peter asked, stroking his chin. “Beards are loaded with bacteria and other organisms.”


“I wonder if Shulgin kept his covered while working,” I said.


“Not me,” Tom volunteered. “It’ll be largely under a respirator mask most of the time anyway.”


“And you do wash it?” I asked.


“Bonnie insists I do,” he smiled. “Time to make some stuff. Where’s that sassafras? Root beer, anyone?”


“I’d prefer tea,” said Lucien, handing Tom a bag of dried, chopped root bark with about two pounds of material.


“Two pounds, dry weight. Here’s the rough estimate: dry bark is perhaps 7% sassafras oils, via steam extraction. It’s less for the root – like only 1%. About 80 % of the oil is safrole, which we get via vacuum distillation of the sassafras oil. So a pound of dry bark – about 500 grams – gets us about 35 gr sassafras oil, meaning close to 30 gr of safrole,” said Tom.


“And I have about five pounds in this old suitcase,” I said. “It’s already in a powder form. No difference in price between bark and powder- $35/pound – from Monterey Bay Spice and Herbs.”


“The seven pounds should get us some 200 grams of safrole. If the MDMA synthesis is 100% efficient, that would mean over 200 grams of MDMA. Let’s guestimate a yield of 10% or so, providing roughly 20 grams of MDMA.”


“That’s about 200 normal doses. More than enough for our initial testing and even initial treatments,” I said.


“Time to prepare our key reagent” Tom smiled, “via steam extraction and distillation. Stand clear.”


“Talk me through all this,” Lucien said. “I want to learn some real chemistry.”


“You want to be Tom’s ‘graduate student’?” I asked.


“Why not? They don’t teach you any chemistry when you’re a Communications major – and it’s starting to seem that good organic chemistry may be the key to enhanced communication.”


“OK, but you’ll have to do some practicing and homework. Start by reading this little Organic Chem Lab Survival Manual by James Zubrick,” Tom said, pointing to his expanding chemistry library, “and watch carefully.”


“I want to learn, too,” Peter added. “I can be Lucien’s assistant.”


“I’m already a chemistry lab supervisor?” said Lucien.


“You guys start with learning the structures – the unique safrole and the magic 29 for MDMA – notice the similarity?”






Safrole                                                          MDMA




Tom then set up a steam/extraction distillation unit, including condenser and needed flasks for delivery and collection. He provided a running commentary of his actions and activities. He had carefully washed and organized all the glassware and related materials needed for the various steps of the reactions. Tom’s teaching skills had obviously not deteriorated over the last 20 years!

We were on our way.



“Lots of steps for a small amount of root beer – smelling oil,” Lucien said.


“That’s why most kids don’t want to be organic chemists,” Tom smiled.






“Remember Papa Haydn?” Peter asked.


“You mean that great chocolate and pastry shop?” Lucien responded. “Yes, why?”


“I read a fascinating article in that New Scientist you left lying around – on the science of chocolate,” Peter said, looking my way.


“I remember that,” I said. “An incredibly complex process, involving many different types of fungi and bacteria.”


“If you go to Trader Joe’s, you find dozens of varieties of chocolate,” Peter continued. “Stuff with salt, with pepper, with strange flavors – and most of it really delicious.”


“And some of it very strongly flavored,” I said. “Are you thinking what you’ve now got me thinking?” I asked.


“It may be perfect to mask MDMA’s bitter taste – in a very pleasant way,” continued Peter. “After all, look what brownies have done for marijuana.”


“We can become chocoholics,” Lucien said. “I’m game.”


“You know, it can be even more useful,” I said. “It can also provide cover for us – for harmless. We’re concocting chocolate flavors – that’s why all the equipment – the lab.”


“We can be cooking chocolate while we’re doing the other reactions,” Lucien suggested. “The downside is that the chocolate aroma may well encourage walkers to stop and ask questions.”


“And we can just say we’re formulating new chocolate flavors,” Peter said. “Q.E.D.”




So I did some homework. Can we mix chocolate and MDMA? Proportions? Taste? It’s been done.



“MDMA in chocolate truffles got a UK master chef arrested back in 2011,” I reported.


“I assume he’s now in jail,” Bill said.


“Nope. He was convicted, fined, given 9 months jail time, but the sentence was apparently suspended,” I said. “I didn’t learn anything about amounts, although two kids ate some chocolate mousse laced with MDMA and got sick. The adult who ate two truffles said he had an out of body experience.”


“Has there been any follow up?” Jay asked.


“Nothing I could easily find on line.”


“Great chocolate is certainly ecstatic as well as blissful,” Bill said.


“What’s interesting is that they did detect the MDMA in the truffles and mousse, thus all the other stuff in chocolate doesn’t really mask the analysis.”




Further web searching hinted that mixing MDMA with chocolate should be fine, although absorption might be a little slower than with liquid ingestion. In searching chocolate and ecstasy all I could find is www.chocolateecstasytours.com  – and not with MDMA. These are basically expensive chocolate tasting excursions. They seem to be very popular. There’s even a line of Ecstasy Elite Truffles. So perhaps that provides even more cover – we’re involved in the feelings of ecstasy delivered via chocolate.




“Remember anandamide -” I asked, “the bliss molecule.”


“As in cannabis? I remember the feel-good gene research,” said Peter.


“Exactly. It was discovered in 1992 – and four years later was found in chocolate – in very low concentrations.”


“That is really cool!” Lucien said.


“Yes – and a third or so of the US population have higher levels of the bliss molecule than the less-blissful other two thirds – and thus don’t respond as strongly to THC in marijuana – that’s the feel-good gene story.”


“This all keeps getting more and more interesting,” said Peter.


“Yes, but…” I cautioned, “the concentrations in chocolate are so low as to have very little direct effect. But that doesn’t make good chocolate any less blissful.”


“Let’s visit Trader Joe’s – and Papa Haydn’s,” Lucien suggested. “We’re all willing to put on some weight for the cause.”




There’s more to anandamide and cannabis. There’s a component in cannabis that really boosts anandamide: cannabidiol. It apparently is helpful in treating the nine percent or so of regular marijuana users who actually become addicted. And it treats the dependency by somehow boosting internal anandamide concentrations.






“So our bliss molecule is somehow tied in to marijuana?” Lucien asked.


“Yes – and not only cannabis and its components – but also to oxytocin,” I said. “Oxytocin is called the ‘bonding’ hormone and linked to social bonding and feelings of empathy. There are some studies underway to see if it might be helpful in alleviating dementia. The jury’s still out as to whether MDMA and oxytocin are connected or inter-related.”


“I saw a clip on the mdmathemovie site, where Julie Holland seemed to think MDMA did act, at least in part, via oxytocin,” Lucien noted.


“We’ll see,” I said. “The MDMA film is close to being finished and released. Perhaps the perception will change. Video segments and clips are viewable on line at www.mdmathemovie.com/videos/ .


“I love the semantics,” Lucien said. “We’re dealing with empathy, ecstasy, bliss, bonding, and also love – oxy’s been called the love hormone, you know. And now I just learned that awe is another trait we need to cultivate.”


“Awe?” I asked.


“For once I read something before you did! A NY Times op-ed: ‘awe is the ultimate collective emotion’. It binds us, motivates us to act in collaborative ways, and be more generous to strangers.”


“Sounds a bit like empathy to me,” I said. “Look out for a bunch of new studies trying to relate awe to MDMA, oxytocin, or anandamide.”


“You read those,” Lucien said. “I’d rather experience awe – and bliss.”



“I’ve been more thoroughly studying the synthetic procedures,” Tom said. The forensic papers by Noggle and friends report a seven day reaction for the bromination, followed by a four day reaction for the amination step.”


“That must be why clandestine labs tend not to use the HBr – methylamine route,” I said. “Fortunately, we’re not in a very big hurry, and we don’t need very large amounts.”


“If it’s that slow, and the yields aren’t great, perhaps the watchers will be watching elsewhere,” Peter added, optimistically.




Tom and I studied the papers covering synthesis of MDMA – as well as some clandestine lab and self-published stuff online, including the online book MDMA Synthesis for the First Time Chemist – which certainly facilitates clandestine production.


I had purchased (via Amazon!) A Laboratory History of Narcotics: Amphetamines and Derivatives. Much of the book is available on line, but it is convenient to have the information in book form. The book is very informative and complete, including a chapter on chemistry principles and one on lab techniques and procedures, a good companion to the Zubrick book. It’s apparent that the author, a Jared Ledgard, must not have had much formal education – evidenced by the spelling and semantic errors – and may be largely self-educated in chemistry, but it’s all there. The book is probably self-published and did not have any serious editing services. An Amazon search shows his more popular books are a Preparatory Manual on Explosives, and an earlier one on Chemical Warfare Agents. Interesting fellow.


After reviewing the Ledgard materials, and the other material we had read, Tom and I agreed to begin with the process described in the Noggle, 1991 papers – basically 3 key steps:


getting safrole by steam distillation from sassafras, then via vacuum distillation – which we had already done;

brominating the safrole, to get the bromo precursor of MDMA; and

swapping the bromine out with methylamine, to produce MDMA.

And finally step 4 – purification.


Tom agreed to write-up the procedures in sufficient detail, with Lucien’s help, so we (meaning Lucien) could reproduce them without Tom’s assistance, in the event we need more moksha and Tom’s no longer able to produce it. And Lucien made a fake cover for the Ledgard book, whose original cover is an ominous black with Narcotic in large font – we didn’t want any visitors or even burglars noticing it.




“We didn’t do badly; we have about 100 grams of safrole from Step 1,” Tom said, proudly. “I only used about half of our sassafras bark stock. But do get some more.”


“It’s on order,” I said.


“Given the issues with hydrobromic acid, it’s best to do Step 2 – the bromination reaction – in small batches – about 5 gr of safrole, added dropwise to about 25 ml of the hydrobromic acid.”


“You’re the chemist,” I said, putting on my safety glasses.


Lucien and Peter hovered nearby, with the requisite lab coats, nitrile gloves, and full safety glasses. Tom then poured, in the hood, very slowly, 25 ml of the acid into a beaker. He then began adding, slowly, the safrole – drop by drop – while stirring the acid solution on a magnetic stirrer. It was all done at room temperature – and to be continued for seven days!


“It’s a slow reaction,” Tom said. “I’ll start another batch every day for the next three days. Organic chemists only seem slow – the good ones are cautious and patient.”



Seven days later, Tom said, “Not bad. Looks like we got about 4 ml from the 5 ml safrole we started with. That’s an 80 % yield – by volume.”


“You are good, “ I said. “Interesting color.”


“Yes, the heavy Bromine atom changes the optical properties to a deep red and increases the density, although there could also be some free Bromine,” Tom explained. “Step 2, bromo-safrole – check.”


“Check, and the literature suggests that no additional purification is needed at this stage.  Onward,” I said.


Peter and Lucien each studied the process and performed their own trial extractions and distillations. Tom would have them ‘solo’ with one of the next batches.


We cleaned up the Step 2 work and began Step 3 – which needs to react for 4 days.



The trick to chemical reaction speeds (kinetics) is to increase the rates at which the reacting molecules collide; they have to touch each other via collisions. But that’s not enough. They have to hit each other with certain orientations, so that the bonds doing the reacting can ‘hand-shake’ with each other. It may take millions or billions or more collisions before a just right one occurs. And that all takes time – entropy. Higher concentrations, higher temperatures, and higher pressures all increase the collision rates. But such super-charged conditions can also lead to unwanted side reactions, lowering yield and producing unwanted contaminants. That’s why organic chemistry is a balancing act – a delicate art – of getting conditions, and thus reactions, just right. Tom’s very good at it.



“It’s always about entropy, isn’t it?” Lucien asked, suggestively.


“You know it is,” I smiled.


“You know I still use your license plate holder – the one that says Entropy Wins!”


“Keep it,” I said. “It’s a classic.”



Four days later Tom took the Step 3 reaction container and went through the additional nine steps, resulting in pure MDMA – an oil.



“And now we have Step 3 – MDMA. Check. Now it’s time for Step 4: purification. The best description I’ve seen on purification is Shulgin’s in the PIHKAL book.”


Tom then did the eight steps needed for purification, resulting in fine, white crystals of MDMA hydrochoride salt, about two grams – more or less. Our overall yield, based on the original safrole amount, was about 40% – enough for up to 20 doses.



“Pure MDMA – real Molly,” Tom said. He carefully smelled the powder. “And no safrole smell – just a touch of ether, but that will disappear. Pure MDMA – check!”


“Time for some tester analytics – and for some analytical chemistry,” I said.


“Testers start at very low amounts and slowly work up,” Lucien volunteered, “nice and careful, like Shulgin did.”


“I‘m with you,” Peter agreed.


“We need to keep it sealed,” I said. “Exposure to Portland’s ultra-humid air is not a good way to store chemicals.”



I had brought a plastic heat-sealer for packaging the material in low density polyethylene (PE) bags. It was very fast and simple to seal 100 mg portions in small PE bags.



We discussed the private testing we would soon do. We reviewed Hofmann’s process for dealing with new chemicals as well as the more extensive Shulgin protocols. The protocol we devised for our very first batch of MDMA was;


skin tests (we expected some minor irritation due to the acidic nature of our MDMA-HCl salt),

tongue tests (ditto),

oral ingestion in orange juice (10 mg, then 50, then 100 – each a day apart).


Lucien, Peter, and Tom (for the time he’s still in Portland) would each test while being observed by the other two. We devised a testing protocol and data recording worksheet which was a bit more comprehensive and complete than what Shulgin originally used. Our data included – every hour for six hours:




blood oxygenation

blood pressure

mouth dryness

teeth clenching

sweating or flushed feelings.


The standard subjective mental feelings and observations recommended by Shulgin were used:


No effect (-) – baseline;

Very minimal (0) – perhaps placebo effect – alert;

Plus one (+), Shulgin: ‘…a real effect, and the duration but not the nature of the content can be discerned. The “alert” has progressed into something unmistakable’; clear-headed, creative, engaged;

Plus two (++) – ‘There is an unmistakable effect, and both the duration and the nature of the effect can be stated. It is at this level that the first attempts at classification can be made’; for MDMA this may manifest as openness, lack of fear, lack of anxiety;

Plus-Three (+++) – ‘…the level of maximum intensity of drug effect. The full potential of the drug has been realized. Its character can be spelled out … and the chronological patterns to be expected are defined’;

Plus-Four (++++) – ‘…the “peak experience” … a serene and magical state … the extraordinary place, that one-of-a-kind, mystical or religious experience which will never be forgotten…. in a class by itself.’ Unlikely for MDMA at the doses we are using.


We also reviewed some of the experience with low dose MDMA – the ‘creativity’ studies by Fadiman, Eisner, Beck, and others. About half of the ‘normal’ dose often resulted in enhanced alertness, creativity, problem-solving skills. Eisner claimed to write better with a little MDMA in him.




We had set up the TLC work area in a main floor bedroom, on a table just in front of a large window looking to the back yard. We had a dehumidifier in the room, to deal with Portland’s humid air. Opening the window, and using a large fan strategically placed, we were able to push the TLC solvent vapors out into the environment. Our real environmental concern is the liquid waste, which we placed in waste containers, as trained to do in university chemistry labs. We didn’t know yet how we’d dispose of that waste.


Lucien and Peter continued training under Tom, and Tom proceeded to complete the remaining batches of the synthesis over the next week. He’d observe Lucien’s and Peter’s initial, cautious personal testing.


We based the TLC work on an undergraduate honors thesis we found on line – the same one that used silver colloid – enhanced Raman for drug analysis. The student and her professor collaborated with local drug forensics labs and, through them, had access to reference amounts of MDMA. We followed their published protocol.



“Doesn’t seem to be any major contaminant,” Tom said, examining the plate.


“It looks very good,” I agreed. “Most anything else that might be there should also have separated, but with a different migration distance, resulting in multiple spots or a skewed or distorted spot.”


“So far, so good,” Tom said. “But is it MDMA?”


“And that’s where the Raman comes in. Analysis step 2 coming up,” I said.


In order to detect the chemicals present in the spot with our fiber-optic Raman unit, we needed to use surface enhancement – the so-called SERS method. Again we chose to go with the undergraduate student project process, using a silver colloid.

“Pretty good, for a first try,” I smiled.

“Damn good,” Tom said. “The spectra are essentially identical to what that undergraduate got. Our MDMA could be used as a reference!”

“Don’t get carried away,” I responded. “It looks very good – very pure.”

“This is starting to sound like that first episode of Breaking Bad,” Lucien joked. “I’m ready to test.”

“Me, too,” said Peter.

“Check,” Tom and I said at the same time.