Updating in progress – 4/15/2022
- Bachelor’s in Sociology with a minor in Anthropology
- Bachelor’s in Psychology
- Master’s in Psychology
“Ramblings with Nate”
“The question: “What would you do differently?”
is not only foolish but a costly indulgence.
The useful question is… what will you do now?”
-The Secret Knowledge: David Mamet-
HBO Series “TRUE DETECTIVE” – Season 1 Episode 4
“Well, you got to get the hubris it must take to yank a soul out of non-existence into this meat and to force a life into this thresher.”
“Human evolution was a tragic misstep in evolution. We became too self-aware. Nature created an aspect of nature separate from itself. We are creatures that should not exist by natural law”.
“Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think”
“If you don’t get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don’t want, you suffer;
even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can’t hold on to it forever.
Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of change,
free of pain, and free of the obligations of life and death.
But change is law and no amount of pretending will alter that reality.”
-Way of The Peaceful Warrior: Dan Millman-
“A warrior is not about perfection, or victory, or invulnerability.
He’s about absolute vulnerability.
That’s the only true courage.
Life is choice.
You can choose to be a victim or anything else you’d like to be.
How do I start? There is no starting or stopping, only doing.
Life has three rules: Paradox, humor, and change.
Paradox: Life is a mystery. Don’t waste time trying to figure it out.
Humor: Keep a good sense of humor, especially about yourself.
It is a strength beyond all measure.
Change: Know that nothing stays the same.
The journey is what brings us happiness, not the destination.
Where are you? Here
What time is it? Now
What are you? This moment
– The Way of a Peaceful Warrior: Dan Millman-
“Happiness is a function of accepting what is.”
“Of course, there is no formula for success except perhaps an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings.”
“I had a terrible education. I attended a school for emotionally disturbed teachers.”
“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”
– Mark Twain-
“Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value.”
“There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys. How’s the water?”
The two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is water?”
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as
what you become by achieving your goals.”
-Henry David Thoreau-
“Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance.”
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and realize that prisoner was you.”
~Lewis B. Smedes-
“We do not quit playing because we grow old; we grow old because we quit playing.”
-Oliver Wendell Holmes-
“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”
– Mahatma Gandhi-
“It’s much easier to ride the horse in the direction he’s going.”
– Werner Erhard-
Everything in the Universe has a lifespan.
There are trees that are thousands of years old.
A Bowhead Whale has a lifespan of about 200 years.
A May Fly has a life expectancy of 1-24 hours.
Our sun will die in about 6 billion years.
Humans have a lifespan of about 78 years.
There is no spiritual or wondrous meaning to life and death.
The moment we are born we start to decay like everything else in the Universe.
“If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?”
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once,
I fear the man who has practiced 1 kick 10,000 times”
“There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.”
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed it ourselves.”
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”
– Henry David Thoreau-
At the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started,
and know the place for the first time.
– T.S. Elliot –
“Critical thinking” is the single most important lesson we can teach to our species, but the more I use it the more relevant it seems to be. When I first read about “Charlotte’s Web” cannabis, I immediately thought “I gotta get me some of that stuff”. Before I clicked the “buy it now” icon I decided to do some research because the ingredients of the many products that are now legally available marketed as Hemp CBD were different and didn’t make much sense. It seems if you keep digging through the hundreds of links on the internet you eventually find unbiased “truthful” information or better yet well done scientific research. Most of our species are incredibly biased for a number of reasons. Most rely on perceptions that are almost always extraordinarily inaccurate, and yes I have the research to support this. This accompanied by our fear of being wrong is a powerful deterrent to critical thinking. We learn very early on in life that being wrong makes us very uncomfortable and lowers our self-esteem. This is the gift of our education system when we raise our hands in school we feel stupid by getting an answer wrong. It is then reinforced with the tests we are given and punished for with low grades or worse yet the word “FAILED”. We resist believing undeniable scientific evidence because we either don’t want to believe it, for fear of being wrong, not wanting to change our behavior or because of the power of indoctrination.
Being okay with being wrong and being okay with failure is the trademark of all those who created the most valuable accomplishments.
Indoctrination and propaganda (WMDs in Afghanistan, “people are too stupid to know what’s good for them so we need to make more and more laws and regulate everything”), teach us to simply accept the current thinking of our culture, social norms, politicians, media and much more without questioning them.
For 70 years our government has outlawed marijuana use, having us believe it is a dangerous drug. It seems our politicians never seem capable of learning from their past mistakes. Prohibition was one of our biggest blunders. The war on drugs, another federal catastrophe has been in force for more than five decades with absolutely nothing to show for it. Politicians are guilty of continually making laws and regulations based on their perceptions rather than facts and science.
Marijuana has never been linked to an overdose death
Interestingly enough, these same receptors are also found in every animal species, all the way down to the sponge. According to Martin Lee, author of Smoke Signals:
“Cannabinoid receptors are more abundant in the brain than any other type of neurotransmitter receptor and function as subtle sensing devices, tiny vibrating scanners perpetually primed to pick up biochemical cues that flow through fluids surrounding each cell… When tickled by THC or its endogenous cousins, these receptors trigger a cascade of biochemical changes on a cellular level that puts the brakes on excessive physiological activity. Endocannabinoids are the only neurotransmitters that engage in such ‘retrograde signaling,’ a form of intracellular communication that inhibits immune response, reduces inflammation, relaxes musculature, lowers blood pressure, dilates bronchial passages, and normalizes overstimulated nerves. Retrograde signaling serves as an inhibitory feedback mechanism that tells other neurotransmitters to ‘cool it’ when they are firing too fast.”
Dr. Dustin Sulak, a leading practitioner in naturopathic medicine said this during a lecture at the 2010 National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) conference:
“The endogenous cannabinoid system, named after the plant that led to its discovery, is perhaps the most important physiologic system involved in establishing and maintaining human health. In each tissue, the cannabinoid system performs different tasks… But the goal is always the same: homeostasis, the maintenance of a stable internal environment despite fluctuations in the external environment.”
In essence, the endocannabinoid functions like a central processing center that keeps many important systems in balance.
Molecules in the brain limits impacts of too much cannabis
In addition, scientists have now found that the brain produces a hormone called pregnenolone that appears to protect the body from marijuana’s intoxicating effects. Study author Dr. Pier Vincenzo Piazza explained:
“When the brain is stimulated by high doses of THC, it produces pregnenolone – a 3,000 percent increase – that inhibits the effects of THC.”
When the THC binds with receptors, as explained above, there is a release of pregnenolone, which weakens the THC’s action on the receptors — this creates a negative feedback loop that could prevent users from getting too high.
Although the study was originally conducted to look at ways to manage cannabis “addiction,” this new information adds valuable insight into the fact that an overdose is not possible.
What is the difference between a thought and an experience?
What is the difference between a thought and a feeling or an emotion?
The simple answer is that experience or emotions do not require language or thoughts.
Before humans invented language they must have certainly experienced emotions.
Scientists have demonstrated that animals experience emotions.
How can we observe this in our daily lives?
Infants experience a wide range of emotions without language.
Love and happiness are not emotions, they are concepts we invented with language.
They have no meaning without context.
Just think about the thousands of ways we use the word love every day.
I love my mom and dad, I love my friend, and I love chocolate ice cream with sprinkles on top.
I love to watch the sunset, I love my puppy, I love my girlfriend.
I love that dress, I love those shoes, I love yoga, I love the smell of napalm in the morning.
Happiness is an incredibly nebulous concept.
We say we want happiness as if once we “get it” it’s ours to keep forever.
It waxes and wanes from moment to moment, day to day, that is a reality we need to accept.
Things change, nothing stays the same.
Joy is an experience. We can observe it in infants and children.
Fear, anger, pain, joy, sadness, loneliness, anxiety, and depression, are experiences that cannot
be understood with words unless you have experienced them yourself.
There are an endless amount of experiences that people have had that cannot be experienced by another person simply with the use of language.
There are still primitive cultures in the world today that wouldn’t understand what the hell we are “talking” about because it is not in the realm of human experiences; they are simply concepts we have created.
So my advice… stop “trying” to be happy and experience the joy in life whenever possible.
“The United States is not the greatest country in the world anymore”. The opening scene in the HBO series “The Newsroom” sets the stage for one of the best television series I’ve seen.
The criminal justice system in our country is a corrupt nightmare. “Time: The Kalief Browder Story” is just the tip of the iceberg. I spent one day in jail and witnessed firsthand the petty crimes of every individual in that cell with me. Then I witnessed the public defenders telling their clients to “cop a plea” even if they were not guilty. The US has the highest per-capita incarceration rate in the world to feed a system based on conviction rates. Reminds me of the Ken Burns Documentary “Vietnam” where our success was measured on enemy body counts. It didn’t matter how many Americans were killed or whether we won the battle. The public was told we were where winning because we killed a lot more of them. It seems to be the same scenario with DA. It doesn’t seem to matter if the citizen is innocent or guilty as long as you keep adding percentage points to your conviction rate. I am surprised that life in America is not far worst than it is considering the state of our political system, the justice system, and the massive decline in our education system. The U.S. tax code is approximately 3.7 million words in length. The list of Federal agencies and departments is difficult to process and we could probably shut down half of them and nobody would notice. It seems to be a system that keeps growing like cancer.
“The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program”
One of the biggest political blunders was Prohibition, yet politicians seem to not learn from past mistakes. The “war on drugs” dwarfs that blunder. It was created by the man who lied to the American public for years. Almost five decades and trillions of dollars and the war is a total failure and has had no effect other than creating the highest per-capita incarceration rate on the planet. The data confirms that nonviolent drug convictions are a defining characteristic of the federal prison system. While most people in state and local facilities are not locked up for drug offenses, most states’ continued practice of arresting people for drug possession destabilizes individual lives and communities. Drug arrests give residents of an over-policed community criminal records, which then reduce employment prospects and increase the likelihood of longer sentences for any future offenses.
Why do we put people in jail for “using” drugs? The biggest drug problem in the US today is pharmaceutical drugs. Why do the police arrest and charge someone for giving homeless people a free haircut? Why do we have Swat Raids on milk companies that produce non-pasteurized milk? The list of ridiculous laws, and regulations is endless, in part due to the power of special interest groups.
“Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives”
“Give ME Liberty Or Give Me Death ”
On March 23, 1775, Patrick Henry sounded one of the most famous calls to arms in American history. During a meeting of the Second Virginia Convention at St. John’s Church in Richmond, the 38-year-old lawyer, and politician gave an impassioned plea urging the Old Dominion to form militias to defend itself against the British. Henry’s brief address—which closed with the incendiary line “Give me liberty or give me death!”— swayed the Convention in his favor, and his words became a rallying cry during the march to war that was soon to begin.
A top Nixon aide, John Ehrlichman, later admitted: “You want to know what this was really all about. The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying. We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course, we did.”Nixon temporarily placed marijuana in Schedule One, the most restrictive category of drugs, pending review by a commission he appointed led by Republican Pennsylvania Governor Raymond Shafer.
In 1972, the commission unanimously recommended decriminalizing the possession and distribution of marijuana for personal use. Nixon ignored the report and rejected its recommendations.
Most of us know the war on drugs has been completely ineffective and has terrible intended and unintended consequences, just as prohibition did. There has not been one documented case of a human being dying from an overdose on marijuana.
In the United States, the idea of “self-rule” originally had a different meaning.
For more than ten years I have been telling everyone that the global warming crisis was created to make rich men richer… “special interest groups” ….. that is was the biggest scam perpetrated on the world public in history. Not many believed me. I said get back to me in 10-15 years after none of the prophecies come true.
It’s not a matter of being right or wrong… it’s about the lack of critical thinking, indoctrination, and propaganda !!!
But what about climate change you may ask? No doubt…. the planet has gone through a kazillion climate change in the last 4.5 billion years. There will always be climate change some devastating like a global ice age. Right now the biggest threat is destroying the “lungs” of the planet, the deforestation of our rain forests!
What do they do with all this money? The government is inherently incompetent, and no matter what task it is assigned, it will do it in the most expensive and inefficient way possible. Billions every year are lost in Medicare and Medicaid fraud. Government programs and institutions have become outdated and completely obsolete, like the department of agriculture, the department of education, and no child left behind. If we closed 50% of the departments in government it wouldn’t be noticed by a single American with no perceived lack of services. We give away billions in obscure grants all over the world for absurd studies. We have a military presence all over the world that are unnecessary. We subsidize technologies, especially green technologies, that would not survive on their own because they don’t work. If they were good ideas the private sector would be doing it. But the subsidies keep ongoing.
Special interest groups, for the most part, get the bills passed they want, but we the people actually have no influence on congress. We will never see limited terms for congress in our lifetime, but we can vote incumbents out at every election. This should effectively reduce the power of special interest groups. It is a well-known fact that Senators and House Representatives are offered very lucrative jobs with special interest groups because of their influence. It’s no wonder that most of the men and women who supposedly represent we the people start out as middle-income earners and retire with a fair amount of wealth.
Stock Market fraud has been going on for quite a long time. When you add commercial and investment banking to the mix you have the ingredients for a global financial meltdown.
Bucket Shop is a term used in the early 1900’s. It is a fraudulent brokerage firm that uses aggressive telephone sales tactics to sell securities that the brokerage owns and wants to get rid of. The securities they sell are typically poor investment opportunities. The modern term is “Boiler Room”. In 1907 there was a financial panic that began with a stock manipulation scheme to corner the market in F. Augustus Heinze’s United Copper Company. The financial crisis took place over a three-week period starting in mid-October when the New York Stock Exchange fell almost 50%. Banks that had lent money to the cornering scheme suffered runs that later spread to affiliated banks and trusts, leading a week later to the downfall of the Knickerbocker Trust Company—New York City’s third-largest trust. The collapse of the Knickerbocker spread fear throughout the city’s trusts as regional banks withdrew reserves from New York City banks. Panic extended across the nation as vast numbers of people withdrew deposits from their regional banks. The infusion of private capital from wealthy Americans stopped a complete collapse of the stock exchange. As a result of the near-collapse of our financial institutions, Congress passed the Federal Reserve Act. President Woodrow Wilson signed the legislation immediately and the legislation was enacted on the same day, December 23, 1913, creating the Federal Reserve System.
On October 29, 1929, Black Tuesday hit Wall Street as investors traded some 16 million shares on the New York Stock Exchange in a single day. Billions of dollars were lost, wiping out thousands of investors. In the aftermath of Black Tuesday, America and the rest of the industrialized world spiraled downward into the Great Depression (1929-39), the deepest and longest-lasting economic downturn in the history of the Western industrialized world up to that time. Throughout the 1920’s a long boom took the stock price to peaks never seen before. From 1920 to 1929 stocks more than quadrupled in value. Many investors became convinced that stocks were a sure thing and borrowed heavily to invest more money in the market. In 1929 the bubble burst. By 1932 and 1933 they hit bottom, down about 80% from there highs in the late 1920’s. The most damaging effect was the chaos in the banking system as banks tried to collect on loans made to stock market investors whose holdings were now worth little or nothing at all. Worse, many banks had themselves invested depositor’s money in the market. When word spread that the banks’ assets contained huge un-collectible loans and almost worthless stock certificates, depositors rushed to withdraw their savings. Unable to raise funds from the Federal reserve system, banks began failing by the hundreds.
By the inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt as president in March 1933, the banking system of the United States had largely ceased to function. Depositors had seen $140 billion disappear when their banks failed. Businesses could not get credit for inventory. Checks could not be used for payments because no one knew which checks were worthless and which ones were sound.
To prevent similar disasters, the federal government set up the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which eliminated the rationale for bank “runs”. Backed by the FDIC, the bank could fail and go out of business, but then the government would reimburse depositors. In 1933, two members of Congress put their names on what is known today as the Glass-Steagall Act. This act separated investment and commercial banking activities. At the time, “improper banking activity,” or what was considered overzealous commercial bank involvement in stock market investment, was deemed the main culprit of the financial crash. According to that reasoning, commercial banks took on too much risk with depositors’ money. As a collective reaction to one of the worst financial crises at the time, the GSA set up a regulatory firewall between commercial and investment bank activities, both of which were curbed and controlled. in 1956, Congress made another decision to regulate the banking sector. In an effort to prevent financial conglomerates from amassing too much power, the new Act focused on banks involved in the insurance sector. Congress agreed that bearing the high risks undertaken in underwriting insurance is not good banking practice. Thus, as an extension of the Glass-Steagall Act, the Bank Holding Company Act further separated financial activities by creating a wall between insurance and banking. Even though banks could, and still can, sell insurance and insurance products, underwriting insurance was forbidden.
After we came out of the great depression the United States had the largest sustained period of economic growth in economic history; a 60-year expansion of the middle class, the largest increase of productivity, and the largest increase in median income. We put a man on the moon and put a computer on everyone’s lap. In 1980 starting with the Reagen administration the deregulation era began culminating in the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999 and the implementation of the Financial Services Modernization Act and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act in 2000.
The Commodity Futures Modernization of 2000 deregulated and clarified the law so that most over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives transactions between sophisticated parties” would not be regulated as “futures” under the Commodity Exchange Act of 1936. Unregulated gaming laws, and immunity from state gambling laws. This bill was voted on unanimously on the last day, of the last vote of the last session of the 106th Congress by the Senate. This bill was fully endorsed by President Bill Clinton and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. Greenspan was quoted in saying this may have been a “grave” error in judgment.
Screw-ups by congress since the early 1980’s concerning bills passed to allow banks and Wall Street to operate in an unregulated environment led to the inevitable outcome of 2008.
The 2008 financial meltdown was created in similar ways to the 1929 stock market crash. As a result of deregulation, greed, and fraud, the housing market collapsed. It cost us the loss of eleven trillion dollars and a loss of ten million jobs, and lead to a global financial crisis. So how did it happen? Well here’s the condensed story:
Markets rely on Standard & Poor’s to objectively rate debt. But the companies that want a favorable debt rating are the same companies that pay Standard & Poor’s. Banks wrote a ton of bad mortgages to people they knew were going to default. It’s called predatory lending and then hid bad mortgages inside of good mortgages to shine the books for S&P, which gave them triple-A ratings. Then they bundle the whole thing and sell the debt to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which is owned by you and me. Then the banks bet on those loans defaulting. It’s like fixing a ball game to win a bet. The people who have now all lost their savings can’t buy things anymore so businesses start going out of business and more people are broke When you start eliminating consumers, you start eliminating jobs, and that starts the cycle of a financial meltdown.
Why America Is Not The Greatest Country in the World Anymore
The Newsroom: The best HBO series ever speaks to the problems with public media, politics, and a uniformed public. A public that lacks independent critical thinking.