Kratom Threatened by FDA

This affects more than just Kratom. A main tenant of self-sufficiency is the basic right to ingest plants responsibly. Kratom vs. the FDA and Scott Gottlieb:

The FDA’s Scott Gottlieb Says Kratom Isn’t Legal to Market in the US

This tree is a threat says the FDA Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Commissioner of the FDA


Are Democracy and Freedom Synonymous?

A misconception is that a democratic state must be a free state. In fact, democracy and freedom can be exclusive of one another. Several examples show that this is true.

Freedom Defined

While freedom can be relative and a tricky term to define, gives us a straightforward starting point for a discussion about freedom and democracy: Freedom: a: the quality or state of being free: as a: the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in


Liberty. Preserve this Heritage-Author
Unknown ffice for Emergency Management. War Production Board. (01/1942 – 11/03/1945)

choice or action; b: liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another independence; c: the quality or state of being exempt or released usually from something onerous <freedom from care>

The relativity of freedom is made clear from part a of the definition. All democracies have some level of constraint in choice or action, which are often determined by the mores and values of a society. When do these constraints become pervasive enough so that a society is no longer “free”?

Democracy defined defines democracy as:

a: government by the people; especially: rule of the majority; b: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections  

From this definition, it’s apparent that democracy is not always synonymous with freedom. It mentions nothing about an individual’s freedom, rights or the “absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action.”

Free elections do not guarantee a free society, only that the majority is free to choose who or what will represent them. Additionally, the “rule of the majority” implies that a minority, concerning any issue, may not have the same rights of those who are in a majority on that issue.

A free society will protect the minority from majority. It will not be ruled by the majority as stated in the definition of democracy.

Examples of un-free practices in Democracies

India holds free elections and is the world’s largest democracy. Despite this,some areas still follow a caste system, which is now supposed to be abolished. This is where members of the lower castes are free to pursue employment only suitable for members of these  castes. This creates a cycle where the wealthiest of Indians continue to get wealthier, while the poor stay that way. This reasonably seems to be a significant constraint on “choice of action” that disqualifies India as a free democracy.

It’s argued  that the United States has an unspoken “caste” system, which puts similar restraints on those who are born into poverty. There are practices, such as discrimination against gays and marriage, marijuana smokers versus alcohol drinkers and those with criminal histories within the United States. Do these types of policies disqualify America as a free democracy?

The struggle for justice and freedom are both controversial and ever-present, whether a government is democratically elected or taken over forcefully by military coup. Even some monarchs are associated with a good deal of personal freedom and were beloved by their citizens. 

Freedom and democracy are not synonymous. There is not one financial or government system to date that guarantees an acceptable amount of freedom. It is up to the citizens of the state to fight for their freedoms, no matter the form of government.

Urban Farming and Self Sufficiency Not Another Guide

Our city plot is not just a yard. It’s a piece of the self-sufficiency puzzle. The pounds of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, currants, cherries,  goumies, and gojis serve a purpose. The same can be said for the bushels of beans, peas, cucumbers, tomatoes, and potatoes. As I’ve stated before, self sufficiency is not just about having a job that pays the bills. It’s about living life on our own terms as much as possible.


An evening’s haul of cherry and currant tomatoes  © 2018 Don Shepard

I have great respect for the blogs that offer gardening tips, raise livestock, and build chicken coups from scrap wood. However, my thinking is there is a plethora–an ode to blazing saddles–of information about such things on the internet and in print. Ultimately, gardening on a scale anywhere near self-sufficiency is hard work. Which is one thing I’ve found that cannot be avoided.

While I reserve the right to blog about my own how to’s on such matters, this journal of sorts will not turn into a how to urban farm guide.  In the meantime,  for urban farming, I recommend pole beans over bush beans and dwarf cherry trees over bigger varieties. After all, space is most always a factor for urban plots making vertical growth, without the huge moisture sucking trees a top priority.


Avoid the Income-Driven Student Loan Tax Bill with Insolvency

Avoid the Income-Driven Student Loan Tax Bill with Insolvency

Income-driven student loan repayment options are the best way to go for some borrowers. The catch is that there may be a substantial tax bill due when that loan is “forgiven.” Fortunately, there is a way out of that hefty bill for some borrowers.  It’s called insolvency.

By JessicaRain [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

Student Loan Forgiveness may not be so Forgiving

It’s Hard to be Self-Sufficient when you’re Dead

I have kids in school and this shit is real for me…is it real for “responsible” gun owners?


I don’t have all the answers to the mass shootings—no one person does—but come the fuck on people. We have a culture of gun worship as opposed to gun responsibility. If your kid gets a hold of your gun and shoots up a school then fuck you. 

To legally drive a car, I have to take a test every several years to ensure I know the safety rules. I even have to get my eyes checked. Maybe all the “responsible” gun owners should have to take safety courses and undergo mental health checks now and then. Maybe they should have to prove they are keeping their guns away from children and others that can steal them and wreak havoc. Maybe the ones that choose to spend thousands of dollars on automatics and stockpiling weapons should have to put some of that cash into funds for gun education and safety courses. After all, they clearly have disposable income.

Almost everything seems to be a privilege in  America…healthcare, college education, driving, etc. However, gun ownership is a God-given right unless you’re a violent felon. Unfortunately, violent felons aren’t really synonymous with mass shooters.

Real criminals deal drugs and rob stores. The crazy clowns that shoot up the schools and the movie theaters often have no criminal backgrounds so barring felons from gun ownership is not the answer. Truthfully, I’d rather have a real criminal with some heat around so they can stop the sissy mf’s that are shooting places up.

We don’t have a responsible gun culture. We have a lot of people all saying they are responsible. If we really wanted a responsible culture then our leaders would find ways to enhance the chances of true responsible ownership, and the gun owners would support them. 

And remember, a 64-year-old carried out the deadliest mass shooting in US history so we can’t blame it all on “coddled” kids. Besides, if we wanna put all the blame on parenting, how did all you grandparents raise kids that turned out to be such lousy parents?

For the one or two people that made it this far…let’s hope our “responsible” gun owners can all get a little more responsible and support real change.

Zen and the Skill of Slowing Down Time


Unfortunately, turning over the hour glass won’t turn back time

Time flies. This is especially true as we get older. We all here this, and I’d bet the farm–if I had one–that most of us relate to this sentiment to some degree.

Well, I got to thinking, why must it be this way? Then I thought–I do that now and then– that it doesn’t have to be that way. We can change this perception.

As Mr. Dufresne said: “I guess it comes down to a simple choice: Get busy living or get busy dying.”

Living in the moment

Having read a touch about Buddhism, and even meditated a bit, I’m aware of the philosophy’s emphasis on living in the moment. Aha…says me. That’s the key to slowing down time.

Now, I get that this isn’t a groundbreaking thought. After all, Buddhism did originate over 2,500 years ago. Having said this, how many of us think of living in the moment when someone brings out the “My how time flies” sentiment? I see this as a problem because I like living. So, the solution is slowing down time.

Can slowing down time work?

Once again, I think…no way I’m the first to have thunk this. So, a quick search of the magical info superhighway produced this NPR piece that speaks of scientists theorizing that novel memories create more detailed memories. With more detailed memories comes the perception that an event lasted a long time.

The answer is clear. Live in the moment, and treat time as a keepsake more valuable than a porn star’s night out with Donald Trump. That is the answer to slowing down time. Apologies if that provided an unnecessarily grotesque visual, but it sure seems to be a lucrative endeavor.

At any rate, I’m going to work on my Zen skills and get busy living

Why Does Time Fly By As You Get Older? : Krulwich Wonders… : NPR