The Last American Vagabond
Traveling the US, writing what the people need to know.


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Ten Myths About Marijuana 
That No One Should Believe
Part 7

Posted April 21, 2015

The currently waning perception of cannabis as an evil and utterly useless drug began, as most things do, because of money and a potential loss of profit. Since the moment hemp was seen as a threat to the wrong men’s pocket books, every American has had a fabricated perception of cannabis forced...

Prayer of the Refugee

Posted April 18, 2015

The first time I met Sam the Assyrian, I knew that his story had to be told. Without hesitation, an interview was conducted...

Why Americans Need to
Backpack the World

Posted April 14, 2015

Backpacking can mean many things, but the idea of embarking on an open-ended journey into new unexplored lands, living minimally through a backpack and one’s own instincts...

It’s Always Radioactive
100 Miles East of Philadelphia:

Posted April 9, 2015

Regarding the future, it can be measured and statistically quantified (although certainly never precisely) in a number of ways, some of which certain people might argue are nonexistent, and others being more tangible, irrefutable concepts...

"The candidate with more money
wins 91% of the time."
American Hubris

“The first step in solving any problem, is admitting you have one.” 
Counterfeit Reality

"Today, the debaters make semi-secret agreements between themselves to ensure that the issues don’t get discussed."
“I sincerely believe... that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.” - Thomas Jefferson

Incentivizing Change

Posted April 7, 2015

What is wrong with the world today? That can be a daunting question, and peeling through the various layers of it can be incredibly frustrating and time consuming. Not only does staying current with the constant influx of new information prove difficult, but with a plethora of disinformation out there, putting it into proper context can be even harder.  

A good place to start might be values and incentives. A value is the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something. An incentive is something that motivates someone to do something or to work harder.  If society is to thrive like it can, it is essential that its highest values be properly incentivized. That is, “People are motivated to work hard for the things that matter.”

So how does this apply to society?

Topping the list of a recent Gallup Poll, 33% of Americans believe the economy to be the most important issue facing the country today. First, let’s define the purpose of an economy. The economy is a tool used by society, just like police are a tool to keep the peace. Its purpose can’t be job creation, because jobs are just a means to consume, not an end in themselves...

Posted March 23, 2015

With just over a year and a half until the next United States Presidential election, another tough decision is upon the American People. Does one choose Republican or a Democrat? As those are the only choices based in reality, one must choose the lesser of two evils rather than the best candidate. With some luck it will be a toss up between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush. The potential is almost too much to bear. (insert sarcasm here)

However, the truth is that Americans don’t actually have to choose either one of them. One could simply not vote, but that would do little in changing the course of the country’s current path. It would only reinforce the current power structure, and judging by the currently high inequality, corrupted bureaucracies, and utter disrespect for the environment, that’s not a direction anyone wants to be heading.

It is extremely rare for a 3rd party candidate to be elected into any government office, let alone the presidency. Since 1990, only two Senators and six Governors have been elected to office who were 3rd party options. To put that in perspective, that’s only 1.2% of the time in the last 25 years. That doesn’t even take into account the zero presidential elections won by a 3rd party.  In fact...

Rebuilding Higher Education

Posted march 17, 2015

As the American empire shakes itself apart, this generation will find itself with fewer and fewer options. Economic contraction (two words everyone should become familiar with) will eat away at every layer of this economy. Climate change will act as a threat multiplier, high-power weather patterns will destroy infrastructure, and leave less money to invest in the future. What Americans will see is triage, the government will be forced to spend dwindling resources on helping people adapt to climate change, or fight endless wars overseas.

Is this alarmist? Well three weeks ago in the article titled “The End of Higher Education” two distinct predictions were made. The first was that this country is on the brink of yet another financial crisis and it would be triggered by the implosion of the shale oil bubble, also known as tight oil. As of last week three of the smaller shale oil companies have declared bankruptcy, with one having a debt of $6 billion dollars and assets of only $60 million.

The second prediction was that the US university system would also implode starting with small to mid-sized liberal arts colleges. One day after the article was published Sweet Briar College and Tennessee Temple University...

Ten Myths About Marijuana 
That No One Should Believe
Part 6

Posted March 16, 2015

From the original Jeff Spicoli to everyone’s favorite burger seeking duo Harold and Kumar, the idea of the lazy and forgetful marijuana smoker is a stereotype that has been embraced by cannabis culture and the prohibitionists alike. One would be hard pressed to find a recreational cannabis smoker that hadn’t experienced some level of forgetfulness associated with marijuana.  That being said, it is important to understand the reality behind this comical image of absentmindedness.

Myth #6 - Marijuana causes memory loss and a general reduction in logic

Of all the stigmas associated with cannabis consumption, the idea of memory loss has had the least amount of long-term studies. On that basis alone one must consider the possibility that the entire discussion could change as future studies come into light. Until that time all one has to go on is the research that has been done to date. To fully understand the effects of any substance on one’s memory, it is important to understand how one’s memory works....

The Confiscation Scheme

Posted March 9, 2015

“It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.” - Henry Ford

It seems that the confiscation of deposited funds in Cyprus banks was not an isolated event but rather a glimpse of what’s to come on a mass scale. A joint paper by the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Bank of England dated December 10, 2012, shows that these plans have been long in the making; they originated with the G20 Financial Stability Board in Basel, Switzerland; and that the result will be to deliver clear title to the banks of depositor funds. Now, a person’s savings are no longer considered a “deposit” but instead a “debt” that the bank owes the client. 

Many are unaware that once one decides to deposit funds into a bank, legally, those funds are thereafter the property of the bank. The bank then owns the funds and the depositor becomes an unsecured creditor holding an IOU. However, until recently the bank was required to pay back the money as cash on demand. Under the new FDIC/BOE plan...

One Step Forward for Mankind, 
One Giant Step Backward for Humanity

Posted March 5, 2015

Dutch company, Mars One, has recently whittled down to its initial 202,586 applicants to 100 contestants competing for quite an unbelievable prize: a one way ticket to Mars. 

These 100 “lucky” finalists are vying for the chance to ultimately be one of 4 selected applicants slated to become the world’s first Martians, never to walk this Earth again.

Dubbed “modern day explorers,” the four winners would depart in 2024 and become the pioneers in Mars One’s goal of establishing a permanent settlement on the red planet. Since no return trip can be made, the plan is to continue sending four more people every two years to build a Martian society from the ground up.

To top it all off, Mars One has partnered with DSP (Darlow Smithson Productions) to broadcast the competition for the Mars settlement as a reality show for all the world to see.

This unprecedented mission begs the question: is this the beginning of the end, or the fresh start humanity has been desperate...

The End of Higher Education

Posted March 3, 2015

The American dream follows a well worn road. K-12, then to college, then you get the job, and a house in the suburbs, or city if you're a millennial. We all know that dream ended decades ago, most of us are just realizing it since we're surrounded by people with huge amounts of debt, no jobs, and no hope. 

Place the blame where blame is due, first start in the mirror then look at the government, corporations, and finally the paper mills we call universities. The U.S. university system is like a parasite that has sucked it's host dry. Students enter, learn nothing useful, then leave to join a job market that doesn't exist. In the process they shoulder insanely high amounts of debt. U.S. students, current and former, now shoulder $1 trillion in debt according to the Department of Education's latest figures.
 Most of the money that sustains this bubble comes from the government. Loans backed by the Federal government which have to be repaid under penalty of law, but even if they're not, the lenders will get a bail-out from the feds. That is not sustainable, but most don't have a choice.

Top Ten In-Demand Jobs
for the Cannabis Industry

Posted March 2, 2015

From the Great Depression to the Great Recession, this country has battled with the job market and unemployment rates. The United States is currently at a 6% unemployment rate as of January 2015, which as a 1% jump in the year since January 2014. According to Forbes, this country has experienced the worst five years in its history since the Great Depression. The solution to the problem many face with the continued issue of unemployment might  arise with the growing Marijuana Movement. 

There has been a obvious jump in available jobs in the many states that currently support medical and recreational marijuana. Literally hundreds of thousands of jobs have been created in each state. The economic gain in these states is apparent. I has become clear that this could be a potential end to the unemployment issue facing many Americans today. 

The legal cannabis industry is one that requires plenty of supporting staff as well as regulators, security, online assistance and many more. This clearly presents many...

Total Strength & Performance

House Bills Could Completely 
Legalize Marijuana Across the U.S.

Posted February 23, 2015

Ninety-five years ago, alcohol was deemed such a dangerous substance that it was made illegal in the United States. The prohibition of alcohol lasted thirteen years, and in that time alcohol was more prevalent that ever. It caused otherwise law-abiding citizens to become criminals and associate with crime syndicates that were allowed to flourish within the nation’s desire, and right, to consume alcohol. Many of the famous gangsters of the time gained power and status solely due to the back market created by prohibition. Many believe that it was prohibition itself that created what Americans know of organized crime. It has been over 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana. In that time the ban has inflicted enormous harm on society and again forced average Americans to interact with criminals for access to a medically substantial substance that is far less dangerous than alcohol. 

Despite the countless personal testimonials claiming cannabis saved the life of a loved one, and numerous studies that demonstrate medical value, or...

Counterfeit Reality

Posted February 16, 2015

Almost everyone knows that professional Wrestling is not a legitimate sport.  There is little about it that is real. The quirks and characteristics that will personify each wrestler are created in corporate meetings. Each character is furnished with a distinctive “selling point” and slogans to accentuate his character. Each character has a “signature hold” that he uses to demolish opponents. It is rare that a character will win a match with any hold other than his signature hold.

Characters regularly change personalities and even identities. The same person enters the ring, but now, he’s got a different name and different “characteristics.” Alliances shift with surreal regularity. The matches are scripted, and the winners of every match are determined before the bouts ever begin. Even the trash talk before and after the “fight” is meticulously scripted. In the 90s, Mick Foley was a professional wrestler with a particularly ludicrous persona. His “character” was a simpleton who lived in a boiler room and wore a leather muzzle to ensure he didn’t bite anyone. The character was called “Mankind.” He had to be kept separate from...

U.S. Needs to Focus on Adult Education

Posted February 12, 2015

The United States is suffering from multiple institutional crises, all the signs of imperial decline. Homeless rates are growing, health care services are failing, and the education system has turned into a factory. According to the U.S. Department of Education there are currently 32 million adult Americans who can't read, that's 12% of the adult population, and a further 21% who read below a 5th grade level. The illiteracy rate among the U.S. prison population is a wopping 63%. These numbers have held steady for the past decade, and may even be ticking up. 

As the U.S. education system gears itself toward competing with the international market, it is focusing on test taking and white-collar skills. The lip-service paid to the STEM fields caused the country to stop focusing on literacy, self-learning, and basic reasoning. All three are vital factors for a healthy economy and civic participation. 

In 2012 and 2013 two studies were conducted...


Ten Myths About Marijuana 
That No One Should Believe
Part 5

Posted February 10, 2015

”While the gateway theory has enjoyed popular acceptance, scientists have always had their doubts. Our study shows that these doubts are justified.” -RAND’s Public Safety and Justice unit, 2002

One of the longest standing marijuana myths is that of the “gateway theory.” This is the theory that marijuana is considered a “gateway drug” which means its use will lead users, unintentionally and irrevocably, into the clutches of harder drugs. The reality is that this theory has been, time and again, disproved by just about every legitimate study conducted on the topic. It would seem that this concept is only alive today, due to its relentless revitalization by those intent on continuing marijuana prohibition. Yet, many continue to be swayed by its proclaimers continued focus on the only valid point in the argument: the correlation between marijuana use and harder drug use later in life...

Tennessee Sheriff Pushes Cannabis
Legalization to Save Daughter

Posted February 9, 2015

There are many afflictions from which one can suffer at a young age, but none cause a parent to feel as helpless as West Syndrome. A child that suffers from, what is called Infantile Spasms (IS) or West Syndrome, is often developmentally delayed later in life and commonly develops autism if the ailment continues at a young age. Babies with infantile spasms commonly stop developing and lose skills that were already mastered, such as sitting, rolling over, or speaking. To make this syndrome all the more heartbreaking, when the seizers are finally stopped, and if the spasms were not controlled or stopped early enough, many children later develop other kinds of epilepsy. About one-fifth of children who have had infantile spasms will develop Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. 

Young Josie Mathes is already at the point where her ailment is affecting her ability to move. 

"She can't sit on her own, she's not...

Posted February 6, 2015

Americans are becoming increasingly concerned about the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) in their food, and with good reason. Environmental concerns over the corporate "mono culture farming" methods used to produce these foods, as well as a potential increase in allergic reactions, are causing some to second guess their shopping choices. As a result of these concerns, many Americans have been demanding that food containing GMOs be labeled appropriately. Fair labeling has always been a means in which Americans can not only keep manufacturers honest, but be allowed to choose what is ingested into their bodies.

Unfortunately, GMO labeling has not yet happened in the United States. In fact, major US corporations associated with GMOs have gone out of their way to keep food containing GMOs from being labeled. Millions of dollars have been spent purchasing air time and employing “experts" who claim that, "there is no need to label GMOs" as "they are perfectly safe,” when...

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Women’s Rights in Saudi Arabia

Posted February 2, 2015

At the beginning of this month, Souad Al-Shammari, one of the women who helped found the Saudi Liberal Network, an online discussion and blogging group, was released from women’s prison after serving three months’ time. Her charge was insulting Islam, and making comments about religious leaders on Twitter. According to a report on Yahoo! News, her daughter stated that she suffered some malnourishment during her sentence due to dietary restrictions, but is currently recovered. 

While this seems an exceedingly harsh sentence for some Twitter comments, her punishment is mild compared with that of Raef Badawi, the man who started Saudi Liberal Network. He was charged with seven years in prison and 600 public lashes for starting the network and insulting Islam. He was initially sentenced to 1,000 lashes, but the sentence was reduced after the United Nations deemed this cruel and unusual. Al-Shammari was lucky to escape such a sentence, but the group’s free speech is currently stunted, as the website has been shut down...

Ten Myths About Marijuana 
That No One Should Believe
Part 4

Posted January 31, 2015

“We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States… marijuana was a legitimate medication.” Dr. Sanjay Gupta

For more than 5000 years cannabis had been effectively used in Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Cannabis is one of the 50 “fundamental” herbs of TCM, and is still prescribed today to treat a variety of symptoms. Up until the early 1900’s, cannabis and hemp were used in just about every aspect of American life, from fuel to rope, and most importantly, medicine. It was not until certain industries became threatened by cannabis that it was selfishly and unjustly branded as a dangerous substance. Dr. Gupta noted that the infamous Reefer Madness documentary was entirely funded by DuPont Chemical. DuPont was heavily invested in nylon. In the 1930s, nylon was a new synthetic fiber that would’ve seen hemp fiber as direct competition. As in most...

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