July 23, 2018

Perpetual Human Error: Similarities of Mayan Social Structure to Current Global Civilization

The Mayan Culture was an example of a society where the majority of the population were enslaved by systems designed to leave power in the hands of the few and subjugate the many through systems of Religion, Philosophy and Economics. It is important to analyze this because it represents a time stamp of a failed civilization that looks in a lot of ways similar to the one existing in the World today. 

The Mayan People as an entire culture from Southern Mexico to Panama got up at around 2am every day. In the pitch black of night, they dressed themselves in full religious garb including feather hats, face paint and seashell chest plates to parade through the streets because they thought if they didn't, the sun wouldn't come up. Every single citizen did this every day. This religious ceremonial belief was so embed into the collective consciousness of the Mayan People, no one ever thought, "Why don't We all just sleep in? Maybe the Sun won't come up...Maybe it will. Who cares?" They never slept in. 

The Mayan religious system is based all around self sacrifice through ceremony. The common person believed their only way to the afterlife was through sacrifice of everything, children, blood and hard labor. Their Kings were considered the only way to communicate their loyalty to deity and secure existence in the after life. They performed bloodletting rituals and sacrificial death was considered an honor. They believed this was necessary for the agricultural, economic and general well being of the collective whole. The Kings had a large group of priests who enforced these beliefs to maintain citizen loyalty to the Kings as a path to salvation. 

The Military and Prison industrial complex require the same sacrifice from the collective whole for an embedded belief system all over the World. Every Nation State in the World has an army, secular violence or a radical groups allowed to take temporary power. Globally, We are sacrificing Our Children because of fear and a belief that war is a necessity to the corporations and nation states engaged in the death economy. 

Another part of daily life for Mayans was learning the Ball Game, a bit like basketball if the basketball were a 55 lb rubber ball, the court an inverted stone pyramid with walls players must scale to score by hitting the balls through the stone hoop with their hips and players often die. The smaller Mayan cities have small ball courts set up as practice courts where they train their children from a young age to later compete in large urban arenas. Their leaders would bet on the victor of these games to settle territorial State disputes (borders) and economic conflict (trade wars). The losers served as ritual sacrifice usually ending their lives in a nearby cenotes or in a blood letting ceremony. 

The Mayan People were completely subjugated to an economy rooted in the extraction, transportation and distribution of commodities. Obsidian, volcanic glass was extracted in mines worked by the population in Guatemala, transported through river systems to the ocean, then sent north to southern Mexico to be used to make the knives and daggers in sacrificial ceremonies. 

In Guatemala, the economy was structured around the extraction process. People either worked in the mines or the trade shops set up to process the raw material and prepare for transport. The transporters made the most money and represented the wealthy noble families who lived in large stone houses in Tulum, where everyone else lived in thatched huts in the jungle. All the extracted Obsidian came through the port City of Tulum. From there the material was moved to Coba where transporters paid import taxes and arranged for distribution to inland Mayan Communities. The inland community economics was centered around production of this raw material into finished ceremonial items complete with local symbols and design. 

Obsidian was only one commodity out of many the Mayans resourced. They mined copper, gold and many other available minerals used for alter decoration, jewelry and household items. Extracting these commodities and building giant temples for the benefit of the Kings where the struggle of daily life for the Mayan People all because they believed if they didn't they would individually be forsaken by God and not allowed into the afterlife. 

In today's society the same conflict is happening on a global scale. Regional wars and trade wars are all fought over the extraction, sale and transport of the Earth's commodities. The majority of the population all around the World is subjugated to maintaining economical systems designed to benefit the few and demand sacrifice with no equal reward to the masses. 

Most of the People in the World are getting physically sick from the environmental and economic conditions of the death economy and health care systems are set up to help the health care corporations profit from sick People. The food is poisoned with unnecessary chemicals and sugar or there is no food available at all for most individuals living all over the World. Corporations are profiting from the Human Condition in every country. How is this different than the practice of bloodletting? The Individual is sacrificing good health. 

Every human religious system in the World promotes ceremonial ritual and economic contribution when the common denominator of every religion is the message that each individual should create a relationship with their Celestial Parents. Religion is a conversation an Individual has with whatever interpretation of God most speaks to them. Religion is a completely personal experience meant to foster a meaningful relationship between the ascending mortal and deity. Every single individual is having a varied version of this conversation in their head throughout their lives. Religion is not a strategy to control the collective conscious of mass amounts of Individuals. 

Throughout history and in every Nation or Civilization economics, politics and religion have been used in ways benefiting few at the expense of the majority of the population. Robbing Individuals of access to the 3 core values of sustainability, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness has proven to have detrimental effects with no reduction of harm. No one in the World is safe while extreme poverty, loss of environmental resources and rampant war are allowed to exist as a part of the Human Condition. 

As a collective Human Race, We will all eventually have to come together and create systems of Government structured to put the well being of each Individual before the needs of any institutions. Institutions will need to be designed to improve the quality of Life for every individual without discrimination. Changes will need to made on all levels, Individual, Community, Country and Global. It starts with Individuals deciding what they do and do not want in their World and making adjustments. We have to be able to visualize a better World before We can build the bridges to get there. What is Your Vision of a better World?

July 05, 2018

Letters to Russians: Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, Putin's Cook

Letter to Yevgeny V. Prigozhin: Putin's Cook. 

Dear Mr. Prigozhin, 

So, You were born in 1961 and graduated from an athletic based boarding school with aspirations of becoming a Champion Cross Country Skier and made Your way to being indicted in Mueller's Investigation. How did this happen? I'd like to explore. Walk with Me for a moment... So You graduate and give up. Only to end up in a Russian Prison for robbery as part of an organized crime group, fraud and the prostitution of minors...

Holy, Drop out of Sports to join a gang, Batman! What happened there? Child Prostitution? Dude. You were 20 at the time. Geez. OK.. Whatever. You served 9 years in a Russian Prison thinking about it. I would hope You came out of the experience a better person.. Moving on... 

You get out of prison and open a chain of hot dog stands with Your Step Father. OK. This sounds promising. It looks as though Prison gave You a new outlook on life and You want a successful business. You move on to managing a chain of grocery markets. That's admirable. You open two fancy restaurants The Old Custom House and New Island attracting State and National Politicians and Businessmen to plan and execute nefarious activities in private eventually hosting Putin in 2001. Uh Oh. This business success story is beginning to feel sinister. 

You make in roads through Putin's personal staff eventually scoring government catering contracts through Concord Catering including Dmitsky Medvedev's Presidential inauguration ceremony. Moving on up the corporate ladder are We? Great! Feed the Rich and Famous. Cool. But then You scored the contract to feed Russian school children with Concord Culinary Line but immediately had Mothers fighting You for serving their Children processed food full of preservatives. I'm starting to see a pattern here. Do You not like Children? 

Moving On. You fed soldiers and built military bases near Ukraine, but that didn't work out very well. You sent private soldiers into Syria to guard gas fields and a lot of them died. Man. Maybe You should stick to just food. I'm just saying. 

In 2013, You became the head of the Troll Factory AKA The Internet Research Agency to spread false narratives through social media platforms in the USA before the 2016 election to rig the election in favor of Trump. Dude. Why? Wait.... You were responsible for #ColubianChemicals #EbolaInAtlanta and #ShockingMurderInAtlanta all associated with completely false stories about an ISIS attack, a deadly communicable disease and murder? I'm starting the think You are an asshole. Seriously. You get Asshole points for this stuff. 

Those three campaigns alone freaked out a whole lot of People and hijacked the news cycle for a very long time. You suck. No wonder You personally got sanctions placed on You and Your businesses. Man. What a break. I don't really feel bad for You. 

See, here's the thing. You are just a Guy making very bad decisions. There is a never a bad time to make better choices. I know money is fun and You have lots of pretty toys, but You are an asshole. No one really likes assholes, especially assholes with money. That's why You personally got sanctioned by the US Government. 
Now You have been indicted by Robert Mueller and the US Special Council. Maybe now is the time to make the changes necessary to make You a well rounded, emotionally intelligent loving Human Being who doesn't suck. 

I can see You would rather go mine gold in Sudan rather than be a better Human Being. I feel as though You aren't really going to try to be less of an asshole anytime soon. I feel as though You do not want to try to find sustainability, only more money.Well, that sucks, Mr. Prigozhin. It would be better for Humanity as a whole if You would stop all activities hurting or destroying Life. Doing good things is more important than money. Please. Just go back to cooking. 


The Other Kids in the Sandbox.

June 05, 2018

Government Munificence: Negotiating Drug Prices in Medicare Plan D

"We've seen how monopolies - whether government granted or government 'sanctioned', through inadequate enforcement of competition laws - have built the fortunes of many of the World's wealthiest people. But there is another way to get rich. You can simply arrange for the government to hand you cash. This can happen in a myriad of ways. A little-noticed change in legislation, for example, can reap billions of dollars. This was the case when the government extended a much-needed Medicare drug benefit in 2003. A provision in the law that prohibited government from bargaining for prices on drugs was, in effect, a gift of some $50 Billion or more per year to the pharmaceutical companies."

The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future by Joseph E. Stiglitz

Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program was passed as the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act (MMA) of 2003 and went into effect in 2006. The legislation establishes a voluntary program for people on Medicare for prescription drugs. The program does not allow the government to negotiate prescription drug prices yet subsidizes the variety of plans offered by private insurance companies. Instead, prices are worked out by drug companies and private insurance companies. 

This isn't about the divide between Republicans and Democrats. This is about the amount of control pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies have on the US government and how it affects the quality of the life of the individual. A Republican administration enacted legislation with this provision and Obama backed off negotiations to include it in legislation in order to get the Affordable Health Car Act passed. Trump did not include the language in his new health care reform bill. 

A Kaiser Family Foundation Poll published in August of 2015 showed 93% of Democrats and 74% of Republicans favor letting the government negotiate Part D prescription drug prices. So, a very popular idea meant to save money for seniors, people with disabilities and taxpayers is not being allowed to progress in congress because politicians are not standing up to pharmaceutical and insurance companies. 

Many bills to allow the government to negotiate drug prices have been proposed and killed in appropriations hearings since 2003. In October 2017, legislators introduced The Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2017 to direct the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs under Medicare Part D but the bill has stalled once again and Trump, who promised to include this in his health plan reform bill removed it just before unveiling the proposed legislation. 

By the way, the US Department of Veterans Affairs, a government agency, does negotiate the cost of pharmaceuticals for those who have served in the military. So the government demands they control negotiations on the prices of prescription medication for the military, but not US Citizens who have not served. 

So. Do You think the US Government should be negotiating prices for prescription drugs? Why or Why Not? 

The Price of Inequality

Article Reference: 

Medicare Part D Content and Appeals
Article Fact Checking on Medicare Part B
Mother Jones Article on Lobbying Efforts
Obama Back of Negotiations
Kaiser Family Foundation Poll
US Department of Veterans Affairs Drug Prices
Trump Removes Language for Government Negotiations

June 01, 2018

Medical Marijuana in Oregon: Regulation in a Direct Democracy State

Direct Democracy, or pure democracy exists where citizens write policy initiatives themselves. If activist groups collect enough signatures in the allotted time, the initiative makes it to the ballot. If voters approve the initiative, it becomes law. In representative democracy States, citizens vote for representatives who then write and implement policy based on the best interests of the citizens of that State. Currently, in the United States, California, Oregon, Colorado, Michigan, Arizona, North Dakota and Montana are direct democracy States and have been able to establish Cannabis regulation through direct voter initiatives. Oregon allows for all six forms of direct democracy. Let's examine what activist and special interest groups had to do to enact Cannabis Regulation in this State.

Oregon started its path to Cannabis regulation in 1973 becoming the first State to decriminalize Cannabis with The Oregon Decriminalization Bill abolishing criminal penalties for possessing small amounts of Cannabis. Possession of less than an ounce of Cannabis became punishable as a misdemeanor with a $500 to $1000 fine. Private use of Cannabis and public intoxication were no longer punishable offenses, however, public use and driving under the influence were punishable and continue to be to this day.

In 1998, The Oregon Medical Marijuana Act, established by Ballot Measure 67 was enacted allowing citizens with one or more of the listed qualifying conditions with a doctor's recommendation to obtain a State issued Medical Marijuana Card. This allowed the Patient possession of 1.5 pounds of Cannabis at any given time and the ability to grow 18 immature plants and 6 mature plants without the fear of citation, arrest or penalty. Patients could choose a caregiver to grow for them if they were unable and those caregivers would enjoy the same protections as the Patient. Before dispensaries were established, Patients had to grow their own or rely on a network of caregivers to produce medicine for them. Oregon became the second State in the US to enact a system of safe access for Medical Cannabis Patients following California Prop 215.

It wasn't easy to push this initiative through the legislative process through to implementation. First, activists had to write the initiative and gather signatures in the statutory time frame. After the vote, they had to ensure the Legislators followed through to implement the program and ensure law enforcement wasn't targeting Medical Patients in the program illegally.

Oregon is a direct democracy State allowing for a law to be citizen enacted by initiating a State Statute where special interest groups collect a certain amount of signatures for placement on the voter ballot. The first step in this process is providing the technical language for the law. In Oregon, the Ballot Measure 67 was authored by a small town member of the American College of Physicians, Dr. Rick Bayer, MD, Geoff Sugerman, a lobbyist for medical Cannabis Growers, activist John Sajo, attorney Leland Burger, ACLU Oregon executive director Dave Fidanque, and David Smigelski of advocacy group Oregonians for Medical Rights. The language in the law provided qualifying Medical Patients arrest and other protections from prosecution, created a patient registry, defined the Patient / Caregiver relationship and possession limits.

The second step in the process is collecting signatures. The Campaign for Ballot Measure 67 was run and managed by the Sugerman Group, co-petitioner Geoff Sugerman. By February of 1998, the group was established and solicits George Soros, Chairman of Soros Fund Management for money to hire signature gatherers to begin collecting the 73,000 signatures needed. George, partnering with Ethan Nadelmann of Drug Policy Alliance with contributions from individual donors paid for political ads and payroll for signature gatherers.

The Ballot Measure Campaign already had an audience through several well established media outlets. Paul Stanford of THCF Clinics, Madeline Martinez of the World Famous Cannabis Cafe and Director of OR NORML with local patient advocacy groups were producing Hempstalk bringing thousands of registered voters together in the same space as signature gatherers. The main stage speakers and panels filled with experts in drug law reform, hemp production and cannabis science educated the voters, compelling them to add their signature to the measure.

Paul Stanford also produced a TV Show running weekly on cable access Portland called Cannabis Common Sense. Every Friday night Local Doctors, Campaign advocates and special guests would speak about the economic, scientific, environmental and medical benefits of both Cannabis and Agricultural Hemp. The general tone of the conversation with average voters had already shifted towards regulation.

All of these factors together contributed to a solid defense against opposition groups including Oregon Against Dangerous Drugs and The Christian Coalition. The loudest speaker in the group of opposing parties was Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Noelle. His talking points were centered around Marijuana as an illegal drug degrading the youth who would have access to it leading to lawlessness. Since this campaign, the Sheriff has switched his views on medical cannabis.

After the bill was passed, it took some time for the Oregon State Judicial Branch to conform to the conditions of the new law. At first, legitimate Patients continued to be targeted for prosecution. It took a concentrated effort from attorney Lee Berger accompanied by key witness, Dr. Rick Bayer and a small army of court supporters to stop the effort. Mr. Berger had to convince the defendants in these cases not to take the plea deal, but to exercise their right to a fair trial. One by one, these cases were acquitted when taken to trial.

Kyllo v United States was a Federal win for Oregon growers decided 4 years prior to the passing of the medical bill. The decision using thermal imaging, or FLIR devices outside the home does not show just cause for a search within the home under the Fourth Amendment set the stage for legal language in Oregon law.

Today's Oregon Cannabis market is the culmination of 20 years of implementations, where businesses have been allowed to establish themselves and enjoy the benefits of sustainable economic growth. This would not have been a possibility without a savvy new generation of key players. These attorneys, business associations and individuals remained in the State Government buildings the whole time, driving the conversation as their initiatives were being amended each legislative session. These individuals provide sustainable business support to those looking to invest in Oregon's burgeoning markets now through trade business conferences, with legal representation and other services available to ensure success.

The International Cannabis Business EXPO began as a forum for Oregon businesses as the Oregon Marijuana Business EXPO before expanding into an international conference series, produced by Alex Rogers and Dean Arbit. These conferences combine business planning, politics and culture to educate the average business investor giving a clear and tangible path to establishing and sustaining every level of Cannabis businesses.

Portland was blessed with husband and wife team, Anthony Johnson and Sarah Duff who have lead the way for cannabis law reform activists since moving there in 2004. They have co-authored initiatives, petitioned for dispensaries and remained active throughout implementation of both medical and recreational businesses. Working with attorneys like Rachal Kurt, Business Development Manager at the National Cannabis Industry Association to establish a legal framework for business structure and representation, Oregon has maintained strong industry standards.

As recreational markets are opening, Oregon is experiencing normal, but extreme market fluctuations with a 40% surplus of last harvest. Businesses face traditional and non traditional market risks including regulation deterrents, lack of Government Compliance Systems (seed to sale), the need to utilize hard money lending solutions due to Federal Banking Restrictions, the presence of a necessary black market and vertical integration restrictions. The World is watching to see how Oregon businesses continue to thrive, grow and fail for the purpose of structuring legislature and developing implementation strategies in their local communities.

April 12, 2018

The Deep State: Conflicting Meanings in Powerful Language

As a writer I understand the power of language, the power of words. So when I see words and phrases thrown around in general conversation as a means to discount another's perspective, I tend to to do the research to see where a term originated and what is its intended purpose. 

Today's phrase is 'Deep State'. Every time I see this phrase used, I get a sense of confusion. Does anyone really know what this means? Turns out there are several interpretations of this phrase. Many books have been written, but they represent varying and opposing perspectives, so let's take a look. 

My first experience with this phrase goes way back to anti war activists using the term to describe a military industrial complex gone rogue, working outside the confinements of Government. Several authors have written books about this particular use of the phrase. 

The first noted use of the term was describing a secretive Turkish Network known as Derin Devlet. Founded in 1923 by former President of Turkey Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the group's purpose was to use nefarious acts such as coups and private assassinations of individuals seen as a threat to the establishment to preserve the Government structure, particularly the press, communists and other dissenters. At the time, the term was applied to what was happening in Turkey and Russia. 

Later, the term was used to describe the secretive activities of the military industrial complex as expressed iPresident Dwight D. Eisenhower's 1961 farewell address: "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist." At the time, there was great potential for misuse and they did misuse the military often without the consent of Congress, however, in today's information society, nothing the military does is secret. When something happens with the US military, someone records it and the information is made available to global societies. The People involved in 1961 were able to hide their activities without the technology available to make the information available to everyone with internet access. 

In The Concealment of the State, Professor Jason Royce Lindsey takes this idea further to include what he describes as a fourth branch of the US Government established after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center to use the national security and intelligence communities to work autonomously from the Executive Branch of Government for private interests. Again, this definition is still entrenched in the military industrial complex. 

Moving forward to 2014, a new definition appears from Mike Lofgren, a former Republican US congressional aide as  "a hybrid association of elements of government and parts of top-level finance and industry that is effectively able to govern the United States without reference to the consent of the governed as expressed through the formal political process." This refers to Corporate and private interests using blackmail and payoffs as a way to influence policy through elected representatives serving these entities only and not the working for the will of the people, though they maintain the facade of being dedicated public servants. Moving out of the military industrial complex this definition focuses on the establishment or career politicians who sit in powerful positions influencing policy as Presidents come and go. This includes career military officers, but is not limited to military operations. Intellectuals remain at odds with this definition arguing there is not one entity involved in these nefarious activities, but several groups who often find themselves at odds with each other. 

The Trump Administration uses the term to describe leaks and entrenched bureaucracy being used to interfere with the President's agenda. Steve Bannon through Breitbart News pushes this theory in many ways, one such example is the belief Barack Obama is creating a deep state resistance to Trump. This has been proven to have no basis in reality as have other such conspiracy theories coming from the alt-right media. Alex Jones uses this term to describe anything from alien invasions to weather modification to resistance to Trump's political agenda. 

Given the confusion surrounding the meaning of this term, polls were conducted in 2017 where as 48% of people polled believed there is a deep state entity in the US Government with the purpose of secretly manipulation and policy influence. In 2018 a similar poll was conducted with 63% of the individuals polled showing unfamiliarity with the term, but believing it was possible for something to like it to exist in modern geopolitical situations. 

As one can see, this is a term which has many interpretations and issues surrounding the term are quite convoluted, but at the same time offer a space for constructive ideas to form a potential consensus on the use of the words. What does Deep State mean to You? 

March 26, 2018

Why I Believe Sex Workers

Since the beginning of Human Politics, Men have been sending sex workers over to their opponents chambers to get secrets out of them for the purpose of winning wars and gaining power. Servant girls were used to get secrets from Kings, the local brothel was a hot bed of espionage. Cambridge Analyica's CEO Alexander Nix was caught on tape selling this as a service to undercover investigators just recently. Honey Traps (AKA Honey Pots) have been the preferred method for spies to gain secrets forever, it seems. So much so, You would think people in power were keep their DNA to themselves just so they wouldn't be caught in the trap, but sadly, they don't. 

Trump has been officially been spreading his seed since He hit puberty. EWWWW.... 

Stormy Daniels is a very successful sex worker. She is not shy about it. She isn't just in front of the camera. She produces, writes and stars in porn videos. Her continuously expanding network is quite large. I consider her an extremely savvy business woman in her trade. In her 60 minutes interview she reiterates, she is not a victim, the sex was consensual. Hey, much respect. The bigger issue with Stormy Daniels is intimidation, illegal use of campaign funds and thuggish behavior by people in power. This is why we will see more of Stormy Daniels and why Trump hasn't tweeted her name with a cute little insult about looks or intelligence. It's also why Trump spent Saturday night with his attorney Michael Cohen at Mar-A- Largo discussing strategy. 

I have way more respect for Stormy than Karen McDougal who was stupid enough to think Trump loved her just because he said so. He offered her money, she turned it down and feels SO guilty for having the affair because Trump was married at the time. She called Trump a 'sweet man'. Whatever. 

The more important story to Me is Russian Sex Worker Anastasia Vashukevich who claims to have 16 hours of video and audio proving collusion with Russia. In 2016, Anastasia or Nastya Rybka, spent time on a yacht with Russian Oligarch Oleg Deripaska and Deputy Prime Minister Sergy Prikhodko. Deripaska is known for creating a back channel to the Trump campaign through Paul Manafort. 

So, Anastasia leaves Russia and ends up in Thailand working with a group of sex workers running sex training sessions without a work visa. She ends up in a Bankok prison awaiting trial and extradition back to Russia where she will most likely be tortured, poisoned or whatever they do in Russia to people who know too much. 

She reaches out to CNN to try to exchange the 16 hours of evidence for asylum. Now, let's be clear. I do not think she will get assistance from the US Government. I'm not sure Mueller can or will save her. It appears Mueller's case is pretty rock solid with 5 American Guilty Pleas, 1 Russian and counting. 

My point in all of this is sex workers have been used since the beginning of time as weapons of espionage, so Yes... I believe the sex workers. I believe Stormy Daniels. I believe Anastasia Vashukevich. I could care less about doey eyed Karen McDougal or her stupid guilt... Stop wasting our time. 

Live Tweeting the Stormy interview last night was spectacular! So many funny tweets. My favorite? This gem from @wmbienes: 
'Who among us hasn't had unprotected intercourse with a porn star & playmate while wife #3 (the one you had intercourse with while still married to wife #2, the woman you slept with while still married to wife #1) was home nursing child number five? #StormyDanielsDay"

This is our President. This is the man all of the evangelicals follow as if he were the next messiah coming to lead them all to redemption in the promised land. It seems to me all of these powerful men need to keep their DNA to themselves as a matter of national security.. before someone gets impeached or poisoned. 

Does anyone else miss the days when The President of the United States didn't have any sex scandals? OBAMA....

So. What did We learn here today? Sex Workers are spies, Politicians need to keep their DNA to themselves and if a sociopath tells you he loves you, he doesn't. None of this has ANY place in American Politics. That's how I really feel.