[Essay] On the long drive home from a neighboring city’s international airport, the contemplative and melancholy muddied notes of Pink’s What About Us from her new album Beautiful Trauma began to play on the radio.
I turned it up full volume because I was in a brooding mood.
Back from a restful stay with European ex-pat friends in Tucson, Arizona, I couldn’t get Michael’s sarcastic words out of my head on the plane or now, “Yes, we’re the richest third-world country in the world. We have no universal healthcare, the only civilized country not to; no gun regulation to speak of, and this country feeds off its own.”
I sighed, weary again. Nothing I didn’t already know—I’ve been screaming ‘Rome is burning’ for several years now.
But to hear it out of a European’s mouth (using my words now) that our nation is bleeding profusely from its gaping, unhealed wounds—bringing about our demise if we keep this up. It hurt.
It has been a long road. Maybe you feel the same way. You may be beyond tired of living in a world that spews out one injustice after another. You may even feel numb.
Navigating this life, trying to do the right thing— It was supposed to get better, right? Easier.
Doesn’t technology and access to more information than ever before thanks to the Internet bring about a wiser population that no longer tolerates the abuse and exploitation of one another and the planet?
Yet, the mistreatment continues, even sometimes, at the hands of our own disillusioned brothers and sisters making a statement about the society we’ve built.
Wait for it . . . Please enjoy the song.
I knew I wouldn’t have to wait long. Quickly electrified by Pink—the voice of reason exploding out of the darkness—maybe I’d be made to see something new.
Alecia Beth Moore (Pink’s real name) didn’t disappoint. Immediately a clear, resonant voice bounced off the heavy clouds suspended low in the dusky sky like the searchlight mentioned in her opening lyrics.
Where is our happily ever after? What about our plans, trust, answers, love—
What about us?
What is she talking about and who is she talking to? Congress? The global elite? God?
Although the video makes its case, Billboard Magazine’s, Colin Stutz wrote in his article: “That unclear question in the song is essential to its brilliance, says Johnny McDaid, who co-wrote the song with Pink and his frequent collaborator producer Steve Mac.”
McDaid, went on to say, “…these ideas come out and what the ideas are for Alecia are probably different to even the person hearing it.”
The song is really moving now and getting my blood pumping.
Pink is asking questions and demanding answers. Enough is enough, before the chorus repeats.
Asking questions is the beginning of change—the beginning of expanding your mind and opening to a higher consciousness.
Are you asking questions? Is what we are doing sustainable? Are we going to continue to support limited, self-serving ideals?
But then the song’s bridge, and a rush of anticipated relief . . .
No matter what, you can’t break me! The awakening begins.
It’s not about control; it’s about letting go. Opening your heart as wide as possible to create a world that is inclusive rather than the pain-filled world of exclusivity.
A world filled with unconditional love. Yes!
A collaborative world—no more self-created suffering and abuse through competing for what we were given as a gift.
It’s time to ask ourselves if it’s better to fight to preserve a world that’s no longer working or if we are ready to travel down a new road to a better way.
The song’s driving beat has me singing along, my own lyrics forming in my mind. No more blood (war), sweat (servitude), and tears (sacrifice). We just didn’t know any better. Those who did exploited the hell out of it for profit.
With permission from
October 19, 2017
Big Pharma is the culprit for the opioid crisis we have today. This is about crime in the suites. Big Pharma is the biggest legal drug pusher. The 2017 ranking of just the top 10 U.S. biotech and pharmaceutical companies equals $321 billion, based on revenue, according to a current Financial Times equity screener database. Drug overdoses, primarily from opioids are now the leading cause of death for Americans under age 50. In 2016, drug overdoses killed more people than guns or car accidents.
Government grants (mostly from the National Science Foundation) to university laboratories do the basic science to explore the causes of disease, which is essential before a cure can be investigated. Big Pharma then cherry picks the most promising prospects into their corporate labs to find a formula that will work to treat the disease. After they make progress through clinical trials, they apply to the FDA for approval. Then the highly sophisticated advertising begins. Mostly beautiful, young and fashionably dressed pharma reps are the drug pushers. They seduce doctors and their staff in their offices with free lunches and free samples (like street pushers do to hook addicts) and whisk doctors to exotic, tropical locations for “seminars.”
The “Mad Men” phenomenon of present-day drug advertising is also seductive. The actors in the ads are mostly white and middle to upper class. They live in beautiful, big homes. The long list of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are recited generally while we watch the actors play tennis, pet their dogs, play with their grandchildren, run through fields of daisies or swim in crystal clear water in slow motion. Middle-to-upper class Americans with generous company-sponsored health insurance pay very little for a wide variety of drugs. “Other” people, unable to pay for legal medicines, turn to the streets to alleviate the painful symptoms of diseases they suffer with. And where do their “prescribers” end up? Mass incarceration of mostly people of color is the answer to that question.
Some members of Congress are now pushing for government funding of opioid treatment centers. NO! Make Big Pharma pay! People who were damaged by legal drugs used to seek trial lawyers to bring product liability lawsuits for damages but the enormous political power of corporate lobbyists now diminishes the ability of citizens to do that. Furthermore, individual lawsuits take years to work their way through the courts before cases take on class action status. I experienced this during the 1970s in the now infamous case of the damages done to hundreds of thousands of women who, like me, fell for the pharma advertising that claimed the Dalkon Shield IUD contraceptive was 100% safe and effective. Users experienced a variety of pelvic diseases, perforated uteruses, hemorrhaging, hysterectomy, infertility, and even death. After more than ten years of suffering and mounting lawsuits, this case of egregious corporate crime was exposed. A large trust fund was eventually set up in 1999, almost 20 years after the damages took place.
Big Tobacco used deceptive advertising back in the day for getting people hooked on smoking. Some of the ads used actors dressed in a doctor’s white coat claiming that menthol cigarettes actually “soothed” the throat! After decades, Big Tobacco finally made multiple million dollar payouts to many state health departments to help with healthcare needs.
Big Pharma must pay for its sins and take responsibility for this epidemic. They must set up treatment centers and pay for rehabilitation of the unknowing patients who got hooked (or who had generous supplies of them in their medicine cabinets where teens could get easy access to them). The medical need for pain relief after major surgeries is essential. But were doctors ever instructed by Pharma to tell their patients that they must be weaned off the opioids slowly? Or did they keep writing endless prescriptions once their patients get hooked because the risks were trivialized by Big Pharma?
It’s one of the biggest mysterious in human history: What happens when we die? Does ‘consciousness’ cease to exist, because it’s a product of the brain? Or does consciousness remain, because it does not require the brain or any other physical organ to exist? It’s hard to tell, because we don’t really have any specific tool for measuring consciousness, but things are changing. Non-material science is really starting to take giant leaps forward, and more studies are emerging every year suggesting that a persons’s consciousness continues to work after the body has died.
The newest one comes from a team from New York University’s Lagone School of Medicine. They investigated twin studies from Europe and the United States that looked at people who suffered cardiac arrest, flatlined, and then came back to life. We’re talking about people whose hearts have stopped; once this happens, blood no longer circulates to the brain, which means brain function is also completely dead.
As reported by Live Science, “The brain’s cerebral cortex — the so-called “thinking part” of the brain — also slows down instantly, and flatlines, meaning that no brainwaves are visible on an electric monitor, within 2 to 20 seconds. This initiates a chain reaction of cellular processes that eventually result in the death of brain cells, but that can take hours after the heart has stopped.”
The study, conducted in 2008, was the largest of its kind. It involved 2,060 patients from 15 different hospitals in the United Kingdom, United States, and Austria, and it emphasized the need for more studies of its kind to focus on cardiac arrest when asking these questions, because it is biologically synonymous with death.
The study found, as have several others, that many of these patients were still aware and able to see following their biological death, but from “outside” their body, so to speak.
The portion of the study that focused on UK cases, which was conducted over a four year period by researchers at the University of Southhampton, found that nearly 40% of people who survived described some type of ‘awareness’ during the time they were pronounced clinically dead, before their hearts were restarted.
For example, one patient, who was a 57 year old man at the time, despite being pronounced dead and completely unconscious, with no detectable biological activity going on, recalled watching the entire process of his resuscitation.
The study’s authors argue this “merits a genuine investigation without prejudice.”
When science examines non-material concepts such as this, it is often hindered by skeptics who are unable to set aside their beliefs in the quest for truth, which is perhaps why we have labels like “pseudoscience” draped upon concepts that have gone through rigorous investigation, and shown to be repeatable.
Dr. Sam Parnia, the study’s lead author, states:
We know the brain can’t function when the heart has stopped beating. . . . But in this case conscious awareness appears to have continued for up to three minutes into the period when the heart wasn’t beating, even though the brain typically shuts down within 20-30 seconds after the heart has stopped.
The man described everything that had happened in the room, but importantly, he heard two bleeps from a machine that makes a noise at three-minute intervals. So we could time how long the experienced lasted for.
He seemed very credible and everything that he said had happened to him had actually happened.
He went on to emphasize the significance of these results, since this phenomenon has often been associated with hallucinations or illusions. Yet we now have proof this might not be the case.
Out of the approximate 2,000 cardiac arrest patients, a staggering 330 survived, and 140 of those 330 experienced some type of awareness during the time they were clinically, biologically dead.
According to Live Science, Parnia and his colleagues are continuing on with their investigations into consciousness after death, including observing the brain in detail during the period of cardiac arrest, death, and revival so they can better understand how much oxygen is actually reaching the brain.
Parnia says, “In the same way that a group of researchers might be studying the qualitative nature of the human experience of ‘love,’ for instance, we’re trying to understand the exact features that people experience when they go through death, because we understand that this is going to reflect the universal experience we’re all going to have when we die.”
The Problem of Consciousness
Fascinating, isn’t it? How could almost half of these patients experience awareness during death if something extraordinary weren’t going on here? There are two possible explanations — either they are experiencing something phenomenal, and consciousness does continue on after death, or the slight brain activity that is going on is creating the experience. The latter is harder to believe, given the fact that if there is any brain activity happening beyond our ability to detect it, it’s minuscule. How could so little brain activity provide such an experience? How do we even know that there is any brain activity at all given the fact that it cannot be measured? Remember, these people were biologically dead.
A wanted man promised Redford Township police that he would turn himself in and bring them donuts if they got 1,000 shares on a Facebook post. Turns out he meant it.
21-year-old Michael Zydel broke the rules of his probation for DUI and assault charges, which prompted the police department in Redford Township to post an appeal to their Facebook followers to assist them in locating him and bringing him to justice. Zydel, who goes by “Champagne Torino” on Facebook, was actually one of the people who replied to the post, saying that he wasn’t to worried about it and challenging police to get at least 1,000 shares on their next post if they wanted him to turn himself in.
“I’m not worried about it,” Zydel wrote. “If your next post gets 1,000 shares I’ll turn myself in with a dozen doughnuts and that’s a promise. “And I’ll pick up every piece of litter around your public schools.”
That was apparently too good an offer to pass up, so the Redford PD again asked people to help them complete the challenge. Judging by their post, the promised donuts were just the incentive they needed. “Donuts!!!! He promised us donuts! You know how much we love Donuts!” they wrote on their Facebook page.
The police made it clear that they didn’t know if the wanted man would actually stay true to his word, but they thought completing the challenge was worth a shot. After news of it went viral online, the police managed to get over 4,000 shares on their post, so it was up to Michael Zydel to fulfill his promise.
On Monday, October 6, the wanted man showed up at the Redford PD headquarters with a bag of donuts in hand, prompting the department to write “Zaydel made good on his promise to turn himself in to RTPD for his outstanding warrants. He walked in on his own, and not only did he bring the doughnuts, he brought one bagel! We would again like to express our gratitude for the support of all who followed this, shared it, and left us positive feedback.”
Despite staying true to his word, Michael Zydel still had to pay the price for breaking probation. A judge recently sentenced him to 39 days in jail, a sentenced that could be extended by 30 days if he fails to pay all court costs and fines.