Sunday, April 22, 2018

Digital Addiction


                                                


                                                  From The Ramparts
                                               Junious Ricardo Stanton
                                                  Digital Addiction

“SAN FRANCISCO — It’s well-known that smartphone, or more broadly, digital addiction can result in many negative mental effects on people over time. Recent research even found it creates a brain imbalance in teens. Now a new study finds that over-attachment to your phone can cause serious social problems — boosting feelings of loneliness and isolation — while worsening anxiety and depression symptoms. Smartphones have become useful, everyday tools that essentially manage our daily lives. From calendars to calorie monitors to sleep aids, smartphone owners find themselves constantly glancing at their screens from the minute they wake up to the seconds before hitting the sack.  Whether it’s reading push notifications, responding to dings and vibrations, or constantly refreshing one’s Facebook newsfeed on the go, the need for phone time is becoming a more serious problem…Researchers behind the study, conducted at San Francisco State University, liken smartphone addiction to opioid dependency, arguing that overuse of a mobile device is no different from substance abuse.” Smartphone Addiction Increases Loneliness, Isolation; No Different From Substance Abuse, Experts Say https://www.studyfinds.org/smartphone-addiction-loneliness-isolation-substance-abuse/

            Western society is extremely addictive. Due to cunning marketing campaigns, social engineering and the mass manipulation of our tastes, desires, drives, values and lifestyle, we in the West are becoming more and more like zombies, mindlessly living day to day responding to the stimuli put out and controlled by the 1% and their minions.  Recent studies and testimonies by the developers and CEOs of some of the largest telecommunications and high tech companies have revealed that gadgets and gizmos as well as social media itself are having a deleterious affect on us personally and collectively. The overuse of digital devices is having a negative impact on us physically and psychologically.
            A recent study by Korean scientists discovered that young people addicted to their smartphones or the internet have brain chemical imbalances.
The research team led by Dr. Hyung Suk Seo, a professor of neuroradiology at Korea University in South Korea, used magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to examine the immediate effect on the brains of smartphone- and internet-addicted teenagers. MRS is a type of MRI that detects chemical changes in the brain. The study involved 38 teenagers about 15 or 16 years old. Half of them (10 females, nine males) had been diagnosed with smartphone or internet addiction, while the other half — the control group — was deemed otherwise healthy. Researchers used standardized tests to measure the severity of the teens’ addiction, questioning them on how smartphones or internet interfered with their daily routines, productivity, and mental health… The researchers found that the addicted teenagers showed more signs and indications of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and impulsivity, according to Dr. Seo. One chemical the researchers looked for changes in before and after the cognitive behavioral therapy was gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is a neurotransmitter that slows or speeds up brain signals and regulates anxiety. They also examined the glutamate-glutamine (Glx) activity in the participants, which causes neurons to become more electrically excited. They found that the ratio of GABA to Glx was notably higher in the screen-addicted teens compared to the healthy ones.” Doctor: teens Addicted To Smartphone Internet Have Brain Imbalance https://www.studyfinds.org/smartphone-internet-addiction-brain-imbalance/
            Many are becoming alarmed that smart technology and “social media” are dumbing us down and atrophying our social and group interaction skills. “According to a 2011 Pew Research Center poll, cell-phone owners between the ages of 18 and 24 send or receive an average of 109.5 messages on a normal day, whereas all adults (18 and older) exchange a daily average of 41.5 messages, with a median of only 10 texts daily. As for social media, a 2015 report compiled by the marketing agency We Are Social estimated that more than two billion people—over a quarter of the world's population—have active social media accounts. For a species hardwired for social connection, that should be a wonderful thing. And yet the rise of social media and technology has coincided with an apparent decline in mental health. In 2014 psychologist Jean M. Twenge of San Diego State University analyzed data from nearly seven million teenagers and adults across the U.S. and found that more people reported symptoms of depression in recent years than they did in the 1980s. Teens, in particular, are now 74 percent more likely to have trouble sleeping and twice as likely to see a professional for mental health issues. According to a 2016 fact sheet from the World Health Organization, depression is now the leading cause of disability globally, affecting 350 million people worldwide. There are certainly many intervening factors that may be driving this global trend, but we do have preliminary research linking depression with social media usage. In 2014 Mai-Ly Steers of the University of Houston and her colleagues surveyed 180 college students and found that the more time these subjects spent on Facebook, the more likely they were to experience mild depressive symptoms. The researchers attributed the link to the psychological phenomenon known as social comparison—and comparing our lives to others can seem particularly harsh online, where people tend to post only the highlights. In a 2014 study, social psychologists Christina Sagioglou and Tobias Greitemeyer, both at the University of Innsbruck in Austria, found another reason why people can feel down after Facebook sessions: they feel that the time spent is not meaningful.”  Generation Z Online and at Risk? https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/generation-z-online-and-at-risk/
            It is important to maintain real social connections not the illusion of friends, computer generated avatars and networks just as it is important to feel a genuine sense of gratification and meaning in our lives. Social media cannot provide this no matter how many “friends” you have or how much time you spend Online! Life is not a spectator sport we have to be engaged in meaningful relationships and activities. Online voyeurism and superficial media linkages are not what we need to live fulfilling, meaningful purpose driven lives.  Digital technology is a tool; do not allow it to become your master or a pusher for your addictions.

                                                            -30-

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Facebook and the Deep State



    

                                                From The Ramparts
                                                Junious Ricardo Stanton
                                              Facebook and the Deep State

            “The company’s business depends on observing users’ online behaviour and selling their attention to advertisers, who pay money to reach specific groups of users based on minute details gleaned about their identities, their interests and where they are. This requires a delicate balancing act between catering to users, whose attention Facebook must keep, and advertisers, who pay the bills. To date the firm has mostly favoured growth over careful checks that its ‘community’, as it calls its 2.1bn users, is being properly protected.” If Facebook Will Not Fix Itself Will Congress? https://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21740387-if-facebook-will-not-fix-itself-will-congress-fit-it-mr-zuckerberg-goes-washington

            The scandal involving Cambridge Analytica’s acquisition of Facebook user profiles then using them to craft specific ads targeting users to benefit their clients ( in this case Donald Trump) has not exposed the deep state connections inherent in such an arrangement. The corporate mind control apparatus is downplaying and even suppressing the truth about Facebook’s nefarious ties to the 1%’s shadow government. It is not just a question of Mak Zuckeberg’s cavalier attitude about privacy breeches, most perceptive people realize Zuckerberg is merely the public face of Facebook, that the platform is really a tool of hidden forces including the fascist “deep state”. Mark Zuckerberg’s recent appearance before US Senate hearings was a choreographed sham. Most of the Senators who grilled Zuckerberg took campaign contributions (bribes) from him! See http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/49195.htm to discover who got how much.
Facebook is more than you think it is! “Facebook is on track to become more powerful than the National Security Agency — so says a senior advisor to the US military intelligence community who predicted the rise of artificial intelligence and robot warfare. In less than a decade, Facebook’s growth will mean it potentially has the ability to monitor almost everyone on the planet. This will make the firm more powerful than any other government contractor in the world. This prospect has dangerous ramifications for democracy. Increasing evidence reveals that Facebook’s most lucrative business model is to outsource itself as a conduit for psychological warfare to any third party that wants to influence the beliefs and behaviors of citizens.” Facebook Will Become More Powerful Than the NSA In Ten years Unless We Stop It - Nafeez Ahmed https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/how-facebook-will-infiltrate-national-elections-and-rule-the-world-in-less-than-10-years-unless-732da197b8fd
Facebook is a Trojan horse that we willingly invite into our lives because it is “free” but once we sign up some of us become addicted to it. That was by design. Facebook executives say they have kept the service free by selling ads to companies and other entities. Anyone can buy Facebook ads https://www.facebook.com/business/learn/how-much-facebook-ads-cost and advertising on the platform has its advantages because Facebook is an extremely popular and effective platform.
That is one positive aspect, but the platform is being used for extremely wicked purposes. Facebook was originally funded not just by investors looking to profit from the development of an innovative program, but by corporations and intelligence services to use the platform as a way to spy on us, sell us stuff, program us, manipulate our habits and sense of reality and prescribe popular culture. “The Big Four tech giants control most of the world’s information flow, drug and food supply. Google and Facebook tried to manipulate the recent presidential election by prioritising, and sometimes burying content altogether. Throughout the history of human civilisation, including periods of ecclesiastical rule, no entity has had as much power to influence and control the social and political ideals of billions of people with zero oversight or regulation as these tech giants. Democracy’s only hope is for Google, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter to be broken up and regulated… Google and Facebook’s internet supremacy has far reaching implications; arguably, they endeavoured to manipulate the recent presidential election by prioritising, and sometimes altogether burying, content. Google’s Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt was even on Hillary Clinton’s election committee. Facebook goes a step further than Google in individually curating content, segregating its users into political bubbles so the users only see their own ideals reinforced. The polarisation of political views means that users are likely to adhere to an entire set of campaign positions rather than consider that some positions on each side might be credible.” Google, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter Are Evil by Mitch Feierstein https://renegadeinc.com/google-amazon-facebook-twitter-evil/  Don’t hold your breath waiting for the US to regulate Facebook, it’s too well connected.
Facebook’s connections to Cambridge Analytica and its parent company Securities Communications Laboratory (SCL and SCL Elections) is just the tip of the iceberg. “But the relationship between Facebook and U.S. elites and their intelligence agencies may be closer than that. There are certainly things that suggest a closer look is required. You have to ask yourself about the money for example. Facebook is not a small application and even in its infancy it would have required massive computing power. Who paid for that power, and why? You also have to note that Facebook itself was created by an elite student, at an elite university, in a context where elite norms and values rule the day.  Surprising enough when you think about it, but the real kick in the head is the fact that Facebook executives are conducting massive (and massively unethical) experiments on users. In a paper published in the  Proceedings of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences entitled ‘Experimental Evidence of Massive-Scale Emotional Contagion Through Social Networks,’ Facebook scientists reported the results of a massive CIA linked experiment designed to see if they could control emotions… The CIA has been conducting experiments on consciousness and mass consciousness since their LSD work in the fifties and sixties (look up Project MKUltra), and while Facebook and other social media may try to distance themselves from military connections, quickly erasing intimations and implications of connection (Martens and Martens, 2014), the financial and social linkages are clearly there, if somebody would just bother to look (hint, hint). And if this doesn’t convince you to question that blue monstrosity you’ve plugged yourself into, consider Google, the other big intelligence technology. It has been recently noted that Google is capable of rigging elections (Epstein, 2015). That’s, incredible and incredibly powerful.” Facebook, CIA, Social Science Google and You –Mike Sosteric  https://www.sociology.org/facebook-spy-machine/
            The myth about Facebook’s founding propagated by the film Social Network is pure disinformation. There are insidious facts about the funding and rise of Facebook that are being purposely suppressed. As I wrote last week, Facebook is not your friend.

                                                -30-



Sunday, April 08, 2018

Facebook Is Not Your Friend


  


                                                 From The Ramparts
                                                Junious Ricardo Stanton
                                               Facebook Is Not Your Friend

Facebook scans the contents of messages that people send each other on its Messenger app blocking any that contravene its guidelines, it has emerged. The scandal-hit firm, still reeling from revelations surrounding Cambridge Analytica, checks images and texts to ensure they are in line with its community standards. While the intentions behind the practice may be well-meaning, the news is likely to add to users' concerns over what the social network knows about them.” http://lizzadisu.blogspot.in/2018/04/mark-zuckerberg-admits-facebook-scans.html

Several years ago I wrote an article warning that Facebook, Twitter, Google and the giant telecommunications companies like Time Warner, Comcast and Disney were all colluding with the government to spy on us. In an article entitled Big Brother Is Real I wrote, “Privacy for most of us is non-existent. Facebook, Twitter and other programs like Instagram are not only part of the government's programming arsenal they are also potential surveillance tools. http://www.alternet.org/story/155764/6_government_surveillance_programs_designed_to_watch_what_you_do_online. Government agencies like the Department of Homeland Security and the IRS are using social media to track you and create a profile on you.”
            Now we’ve leaned through a British news station’s report Facebook has been collecting, mining user information, creating profiles on members, using and selling the data and personal profiling to influence and manipulate elections around the world.  Facebook also sells our information to companies and other third parties.
As we all know by now, Cambridge Analytica has apparently utilized highly sophisticated psychometric algorithms to target mental vulnerabilities within the United States and other nations, perhaps swaying votes toward one candidate or another. While these methods, in and of themselves, are not illegal per se, the data used and the methods implemented to further propagate such election swaying may themselves be illegal.
For those of you unaware of the history behind Cambridge Analytica, it’s an interesting one. A company called SCL Group launched back in the early 1990s. This company, which Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn worked for, then spun off a subsidiary called SCL Elections. SCL Elections was then funded by the Mercer family for $15 million, before being renamed Cambridge Analytica. This transformation basically took SCL Group, with their military ties, and transformed it into a private for-profit company targeting American citizens… While the whistleblower has shared their story with the UK media, they are fearful that the UK Ministry of Defense will quickly move in and squash any potential publication. The whistleblower, whom our source says worked for SCL Group between the years of 2005 and 2013, didn’t understand the complexity and disturbing nature of what he had been a part of. That is until a recent exposé aired on Channel 4 in the UK, regarding Cambridge Analytica and their shady practices. This individual had worked mainly in Iraq for SCL Group and is revealing that SCL Group was used by the US and UK militaries to devise coercive propaganda in Iraq during his time there. SCL Group, via their subsidiary Cambridge Analytica, then took this same exact approach and used it against the public in the United States via our elections, this time for monetary gain. Literally SCL Group created a military propaganda machine and then targeted the United States’ elections and our democracy with it.” SCL Whistleblower Claims Cambridge Analytica Used a US Military Weapon Against the US Elections http://ir.net/news/politics/128310/exclusive-scl-group-whistleblower-claims-cambridge-analytica-used-us-military-weapon-us-elections/
            So it wasn’t Russia that influenced the 2016 US election at all, it was SCL through Facebook! The full extent of the Facebook-Strategic Communications Laboratories (SCL is the parent company of Cambridge Analytica) collusion is being censored and suppressed by the US corporate media because they don’t want us to know just how thoroughly we are being spied on, manipulated and brainwashed by the media, corporations and government.
 SCL calls itself a strategic communications and behavioral research company. That is corporate doublespeak/gobbledygook for brainwashing, behavioral manipulation and social engineering. It is an agency working hand in hand with governments and intelligence agencies to do their dirty work around the world! Mark Zuckerberg founder of Facebook (it is suspected US and Western intelligence services had a major hand in funding and monopolizing Facebook globally) has admitted Facebook scanned personal Facebook messages and data and gave them to third parties. http://lizzadisu.blogspot.in/2018/04/mark-zuckerberg-admits-facebook-scans.html.
This is in addition to the data mining Facebook gave to SCL and other third parties! For additional evidence/proof see: https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/10/facebook-personal-data-online-privacy-social-norm/, https://venturebeat.com/2014/05/15/how-the-nsa-fbi-made-facebook-the-perfect-mass-surveillance-tool/, http://www.therealnewsonline.com/our-blogs/facebook-and-its-connections-to-the-cia-and-darpa , https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/941701/facebook-data-breach-cambridge-analytica-us-election-mark-zuckerberg-scandal . Facebook was in discussions with hospitals to secure patients’ information for potential use in research projects! https://www.technocracy.news/index.php/2018/04/07/facebooks-secret-mission-to-get-hospitals-to-share-patient-data/
Currently there is a global movement to delete or unsubscribe from Facebook. If you choose to remain on Facebook please use it wisely knowing full well it is spying on you and remember Facebook is not your friend!

                                    -30-


Monday, April 02, 2018

Who Really Manipulated the 2016 Presidential Election


                                     




                                                        From The Ramparts
                                                     Junious Ricardo Stanton
                                    Who Really Manipulated The 2016 Election?         

            “SCL Elections, which formed scandal-hit Cambridge Analytica in 2013, said it had interfered in Nigeria in 2007, Trinidad and Tobago in 2010, and also stirred up ethnic tensions in Latvia in 2006. BBC News said it had seen a brochure published by London-based SCL in which potential new customers could contact the company through ‘any British high commission or embassy’” Data Firm’s Parent Boasted of Manipulating Elections https://www.metro.news/data-firms-parent-boasted-of-manipulating-elections/991612/

            For over a year we have been bombarded day and night with claims first by the Clinton campaign, the corporate media and the US Congress that Russia hacked and/or manipulated the 2016 presidential election supposedly because Putin wanted Trump to win. The media employs the “Big Lie” technique, where the media talking heads, partisan experts, political hacks or a demagogue repeat a lie over and over again until the public believes it. In the case of the Russian election hacking meme, we must remember it has never been evidentially established the DNC was hacked by the Russians even after over a year’s worth of investigations and congressional hearings!
            Several recent pieces have surfaced that shed entirely new light on this issue some more credible than others. Now anonymous sources in the Netherlands have come forth with “information”  the DNC was hacked by Russians. Again no hard evidence has been presented only anonymous sources claiming a group of Russian hackers infiltrated not only the DNC but the US State Department! “For the first time in a year, significant new information has emerged linking the 2016 U.S. Democratic National Committee security breach to Russia. A newspaper in the Netherlands reports that U.S. authorities received evidence of the hack from the Dutch intelligence service, which had penetrated the Russian hackers. The report partly explains the U.S. intelligence community's certainty about what happened to the DNC and its reluctance to tell the public more. But it also raises new questions. The story in the daily De Volkskrant is based on anonymous sources, as are almost all other substantial reports about Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election. But it provides enough exciting detail to be a major addition to what's publicly available. According to the paper, hackers from AIVD, the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service, penetrated the network of the Russian hacker group known as Cozy Bear in the summer of 2014.” https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-01-26/release-the-dutch-evidence-of-the-dnc-hack  Keep in mind these are ports are based upon anonymous sources.
The other revelation has more credibility and is far more scandalous. It seems Facebook was used by Cambridge Analytica a subsidiary of SCL to data mine and profile voters in the 2016 presidential election, that Steve Bannon hired Cambridge Analytica  to help the Trump campaign. The important thing to know here is, SCL (SCL Elections an offshoot of SCL) has a known history of manipulating and subverting elections around the world.
 There is an insidious nexus among SCL, British intelligence agencies like MI6, GCHQ, the Israeli Mossad and the CIA. Researchers like Dean Henderson and Lyndon LaRouche have sifted the evidence and news reports censored in the US by the ruling class and their mind control apparatus and concluded SCL/Cambridge Analytica were active in influencing the 2016 US presidential elections!
  “If ever there was smoking gun evidence as to who is behind the constant manipulation of global geopolitics, it is the emerging scandal involving Facebook & Cambridge Analytica.  The case unravels the Gordian knot which binds British and Israeli intelligence in the service of the City of London bankers… But a recent British Channel 4 undercover investigation has revealed far more nefarious activities which make Cambridge Analytica & Facebook look an awful lot like a well-orchestrated British/Israeli intelligence operation.  In fact it is a textbook example of how the now-very silent British Empire still runs the world using its Israeli and US surrogates. About 12 minutes into the interview Cambridge CEO Alexander Nix is caught on camera bragging about how British companies often ‘subcontract’ work to Israeli firms since they are, ‘very effective in intelligence gathering’. The undercover reporter for Channel 4 News posed as an operative for a wealthy client hoping to get certain candidates elected in Sri Lanka.  Nix told the reporter: ‘…we’re used to operating through different vehicles, in the shadows, and I look forward to building a very long-term and secretive relationship with you.’ Nix then brags about how Cambridge and its parent SCL Group have secretly manipulated elections in over 200 countries around the world, including Nigeria, Kenya, Czech Republic, Argentina and India.” Cambridge Analytica’s Facebook MI6 Psyop https://hendersonlefthook.wordpress.com/2018/03/20/cambridge-analyticas-facebook-mi6-psyop/ ‘
            LaRouche documents this nexus this way, “March 20, 2018 (EIRNS)—A bombshell piece published March 20th by investigative journalist Liam O’Hare, entitled ‘SCL, a Very British Coup’ in Bella Caledonia raises profound new issues regarding British meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections. Those following the news may be aware of stories over the past 48 hours claiming that Cambridge Analytica, a data mining firm employed by the Trump campaign, stole data from Facebook compromising the privacy of many Americans. Across the pond, Britain’s news Channel 4 caught Cambridge executive Andrew Nix bragging about using dirty tricks, including bribery and sex honey pots, to entrap politicians and subvert elections. Nix was suspended as a result of the Channel 4 sting videos by the company. Who is supposed to be at fault here? Donald Trump for hiring this gang of miscreants after Steve Bannon, the Mercers, and others, dragged Cambridge Analytica into Trump’s campaign from Ted Cruz’s campaign, where Bannon, the Mercers, and Cambridge had previously operated? Or Facebook, already correctly called a primary intelligence and personality profiling mechanism, by Edward Snowden? O’Hare’s piece indicates that pointing the finger at Trump or at Facebook are very, very serious diversions here. He profiles the investors, Board, and activities of the parent company, SCL (Strategic Communications Laboratories). O’Hare says the Board is ‘an array of Lords, Tory donors, ex-British army officers and defense contractors,’ offering military-grade psy-ops as a private company. This is a scandal that cuts to the heart of the British Establishment. According to The Observer, Cambridge Analytica and SCL are not separate entities. For all practical purposes they are one and the same.
            The organization boasts that it has conducted behavioral change programs in over 60 countries with clients including the British Ministry of Defense, the U.S. State Department, and NATO. SCL has a contract with the U.S. State Department to counter terrorist propaganda and disinformation. The company participated in “countering Russia propaganda operations” in support of Ukraine for NATO. This puts them right in the center of the Christopher Steele, Victoria Nuland, Project Democracy anti-Russia, pro-Kiev operations in the State Department.” https://www.larouchepub.com/pr/2018/180320_cambridge_analytica.html
The US corporate media has censored the Facebook connection in all this because they don’t want the masses to discover Facebook is a global surveillance, data mining, profiling and social engineering tool for US spy agencies. How else you do suppose Facebook became such a pervasive monopoly platform?! Facebook played a major role in recent US presidential elections it is not the benign social platform you have been told. The fact of the matter is we are being spied on, data mined and harvested by a variety of agencies and methods; Facebook is merely one of them! View this video http://futurefastforward.com/2018/03/23/obama-campaign-director-reveals-facebook-allowed-mine-data/ to see how Facebook plays us.
The corporate media’s  “Putin and the Russians did it” meme is part of the plan to obfuscate what is really going on, to create a new enemy to drive up Military Industrial Complex revenues/profits, create fear in the minds of the US public and prepare us for additional wars to keep America #1. We are being manipulated on so many fronts. Read Mathias Chang’s book Brainwashed For War, Programmed To Kill. There is ample information out there if you are willing to look for it, don’t believe the corporate media/government hype or fall for their okey-doke.

                                    -30-

Monday, March 26, 2018

Impact of the Opioid Crisis


     
                             


                                                From The Ramparts
                                             Junious Ricardo Stanton
                                          Impact of The Opioid Crisis

“Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the US, with 52,404 lethal drug overdoses in 2015. Opioid addiction is driving this epidemic, with 20,101 overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers, and 12,990 overdose deaths related to heroin in 2015.” https://www.asam.org
           
As the US grapples with an escalating opioid epidemic that is ravaging this nation, it is important we examine how this happened and why it is such a huge problem. The opioid crisis is totally out of control partly due to overzealous physicians prescribing addictive pain killers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, fentanyl coupled with illicit street drugs like heroin and cocaine. It has been documented that US physicians received kickbacks in the form of payments, speaking fees, food and drink from pharmaceutical reps and companies to write prescriptions for their products.
 A study published in the American Journal of Public Health revealed
US doctors were on the take, big time.  “Objective: To identify payments that involved opioid products from the pharmaceutical industry to physicians. Methods. We used the Open Payments program database from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to identify payments involving an opioid to physicians between August 2013 and December 2015. We used medians, interquartile ranges, and ranges as a result of heavily skewed distributions to examine payments according to opioid product, abuse-deterrent formulation, nature of payment, state, and physician specialty. Results. During the study, 375 266 nonresearch opioid-related payments were made to 68 177 physicians, totaling $46 158 388. The top 1% of physicians received 82.5% of total payments in dollars. Abuse-deterrent formulations constituted 20.3% of total payments, and buprenorphine marketed for addiction treatment constituted 9.9%. Most payments were for speaking fees or honoraria (63.2% of all dollars), whereas food and beverage payments were the most frequent (93.9% of all payments). Physicians specializing in anesthesiology received the most in total annual payments (median = $50; interquartile range = $16–$151).” http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/10.2105/AJPH.2017.303982  
People are hooked because their doctors got paid to prescribe addictive medications and painkillers. Once the patients became addicted they sought other means to maintain their high or pain free status.  The opioid menace has reached crisis proportions in the white communities and this has spurred a totally new approach to addiction and treatment.
When the US CIA with their organized crime business associates were dumping heroin, cocaine and other illicit drugs in the ghettos and barrios of America, the official response was to craft public policy that used this situation to create a bogus War on Drugs that targeted, arrested and convicted users and small time pushers while ignoring the major traffickers. The major players were pumping tons of drugs on the streets and billions into the major banks to launder the money and fuel off book secret operations (think the Iran Contra scandal) so they received a pass because they were part of the plan.
Drug trafficking is big business!   “The most frequently found figures in the literature range from $300 billion to $500 billion a year and seem to be the most reasonable estimates. One UNDCP estimate for 1995 reflecting global illicit drug sales to consumers, gives a figure close to $400 billion. A similar turnover was also estimated by the International Criminal Police Organization/ Interpol. Such a turnover of the illicit drug industry would be equivalent to approximately 8 per cent of total international trade. It would be larger than the international trade in iron and steel and motor vehicles (2.8 per cent and 5.3 per cent respectively) and approximately the same size as the international trade in textiles (7.5 per cent), oil and gas (8.6 per cent) and world tourism.”
 Drug trafficking became a big business as did the prison industrial complex by incarcerating Black and Brown people, but that’s another topic for another day. Now that opioid deaths and addiction is a white thing and skyrocketing nationwide addiction is threatening major economic and public health disruption, the politicians are singing a new tune. Now it’s not viewed as an indication of moral depravity like when Black folks were caught in the addiction cycle. Now it’s a public health issue/crisis because white folks are dying from overdoses.
“Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the US, with 52,404 lethal drug overdoses in 2015. Opioid addiction is driving this epidemic, with 20,101 overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers, and 12,990 overdose deaths related to heroin in 2015. From 1999 to 2008, overdose death rates, sales and substance use disorder treatment admissions related to prescription pain relievers increased in parallel. The overdose death rate in 2008 was nearly four times the 1999 rate; sales of prescription pain relievers in 2010 were four times those in 1999; and the substance use disorder treatment admission rate in 2009 was six times the 1999 rate.  In 2012, 259 million prescriptions were written for opioids, which is more than enough to give every American adult their own bottle of pills. Four in five new heroin users started out misusing prescription painkillers. 94% of respondents in a 2014 survey of people in treatment for opioid addiction said they chose to use heroin because prescription opioids were ‘far more expensive and harder to obtain.’” Opioid Addiction 2016 Facts & Figures https://www.asam.org/docs/default-source/advocacy/opioid-addiction-disease-facts-figures.pdf
Drug addiction is taking a massive toll on American life and there seems to be no end in sight as the addicts are younger and younger. “In 2015, an estimated 21,000 adolescents had used heroin in the past year, and an estimated 5,000 were current heroin users. Additionally, an estimated 6,000 adolescents had heroin a heroin use disorder in 2014. People often share their unused pain relievers, unaware of the dangers of nonmedical opioid use. Most adolescents who misuse prescription pain relievers are given them for free by a friend or relative. The prescribing rates for prescription opioids among adolescents and young adults nearly doubled from 1994 to 2007.” Ibid
What must of us overlook is the fact Western culture fosters addiction to a myriad of substances: caffeine, sugar, alcohol, sex and drugs. To resolve this crisis will require a major transformation of values and lifestyle. It will be difficult to take the profit motive out of drug trafficking and prescription pushing, so better education about our divine nature/potential, resilience and resourcefulness is needed. It will not be enough to just say no or take a pill to make things better.

                                                -30-

Monday, March 19, 2018

Universal Basic Income


                                              

                                               From The Ramparts
                                              Junious Ricardo Stanton
                                               Universal Basic Income

“Universal basic income (UBI) is a model for providing all citizens of a country or other geographic area with a given sum of money, regardless of their income, resources or employment status. The purpose of the UBI is to prevent or reduce poverty and increase equality among citizens. UBI is also known simply as basic income. According to the advocacy group Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN), the essential principle behind basic income is the idea that all citizens are entitled to a livable income, whether or not they contribute to production and despite the particular circumstances into which they are born.” http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/universal-basic-income-UBI

Due to the rapid advances and application of technology, labor as we know it is changing. With the increased uses of robotics, animation and Artificial Intelligence, physical labor and intellectual skills labor will take totally new forms not in the distant future but immediately. Many futurists and thinkers realize we are on the cusp of a quantum shift in work, industry, technology, lifestyle and economics.  People like inventor, entrepreneur, CEO and futurist Elon Musk and Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes are saying society needs to prepare for the approaching phase out and outright elimination of work as we presently know it and provide for people who have been displaced by technology.
At the 2017 World Government Summit in Dubai Elon Musk said, “I think we'll end up doing universal basic income, it’s going to be necessary. There will be fewer and fewer jobs that a robot cannot do better. I want to be clear, these are not things I wish will happen; these are things I think probably will happen. With automation, there will come abundance. Almost everything will get very cheap.”
He also said some form of merger between humans and computers is in the offing. “Over time I think we will probably see a closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence. It's mostly about the bandwidth, the speed of the connection between your brain and the digital version of yourself, particularly output… Some high bandwidth interface to the brain will be something that helps achieve a symbiosis between human and machine intelligence and maybe solves the control problem and the usefulness problem” This is what is being contemplated by some of the driving minds of our time. When (not if) it materializes, most people will not be prepared.
The more immediate loss of job opportunities due to technology will cause major social disruption especially in the so called developed world although some futurists believe it will impact the so called developing world just as severely. An article on the Futurism.com Website https://futurism.com/images/universal-basic-income-answer-automation/ includes a chart detailing the impact of robotics and automation around the world. I highly recommend you read this article to get an idea just how pervasive and disruptive the new technologies of Artificial Intelligence, robotics and automation are becoming and will be even more so in the near future.
The article mentions the countries such as Finland, Kenya, Switzerland and Netherlands that are considering, planning for or actually implementing some form of Universal Basic Income. Go to www.basicincome.com and see what they are saying. The devastating impact of disruptive technology is not just the concern of futurists. A March 9, 2018 Gallup Poll reveals more Americans fear being displaced by Artificial Intelligence (AI), robots and automation than they do immigrants or off shoring. http://news.gallup.com/poll/228923/seen-greater-job-threat-immigration-offshoring.aspx. This is a huge revelation, it means contrary to what many may think there are Americans who know what is happening in the world and they are fearful about their future. Rightly so, because the mindset and historical pattern of capitalists is to find and implement the cheapest labor and lowest production costs (e.g. slavery, automation) possible. This is not going to change. So the anxiety revealed in the Gallop Poll is understandable. But what would UBI look like in the US?
On the flip side, the 1% is worrying how the masses will respond to these seismic socio-economic shifts. They are wondering which options Joe and Jane Sixpack will choose; will they take the torches and pitchfork route or will they continue to passively submit to their fate? The 1%’s solution in addition to pacification via the mass media and police state coercion is Universal Basic Income.
Their immediate problem is how to sell and implement it because both US political parties have dogged welfare since the 1960’s and they are adamantly opposed to reparations for Africans; so now they have to come up with a new marketing tool to generate consensus to sell UBI. Notice in none of the discussions is cost averse nor is how it will be paid for a major issue. I suspect it is because the 1% fear the torch and pitchfork option.
Here are a few Websites that address this issue, please peruse them to get a better idea of the scope of this issue because it will be one of the major topics of discussion in the coming years: http://evonomics.com/how-to-pay-for-universal-basic-income/, https://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2016/06/04/of-course-we-can-afford-a-universal-basic-income-do-we-want-one-though/#448a829f323c, http://basicincome.org/basic-income/faq/

                                                   -30-


Monday, March 12, 2018

An Afrocentric Discussion of Black Panther







An Afrocentric Discussion of Black Panther
                                                Junious Ricardo Stanton

            On Saturday afternoon on March 10 the Molefi Kete Asante Institute and Afrocentricity International held a discussion on the Black Panther movie at their headquarters 5535 Germantown Avenue. The multi-generation audience consisted of students, intellectuals, retirees and working folks.
The program included watching trailers of the film, listening to written critiques of the film, how propaganda is used and an open discussion regarding the positive and negative aspects of the superhero movie which has grossed over one billion dollars world wide in just four weeks.
Dr. Molefi Kete Asante the founder of the Afrocentricty movement, whose institute owns and operates the building where the program was held, began the program by reading critiques of the film by Maulana Karenga and himself. Nabeelah Bey also distributed her critique of the film. Dr Ama Mazamu began the open discussion about the film.
Dr. Mazamu began the dialogue by asking the audience to share what they liked about the film and what they thought were its most positive aspects. Comments ranged from how the film provided awesome visuals and optics about a fictional African nation in a manner never seen before in Hollywood productions. Several attendees mentioned the impact the film was having on pop culture, how it is generating interest in things African such as culture, history, fashions, natural hair styles and providing a catalyst for envisioning Africans beyond the stultifying Hollywood depictions of us by our oppressors. The portrayal of the women in the film, the talented actresses, richly hued strong females who did not acquiesce to Hollywood stereotypical behavior was also mentioned by several members of the audience. A few mentioned the film was spurring forums and discussions like this one that are fostering media literacy and analysis. Several expressed their pleasure the film is so successful.
When Dr. Mazamu asked about the negative aspects of the film, there were numerous opinions and observations shared and expressed by the attendees.  One criticism was the film was not a true depiction of African governance; some disagreed with the film’s portrayal of leadership succession. They said the film was not consistent with Africa’s history.  Several people felt the T’Challa character was weak. Several mentioned how despite her brilliance the Shuri character was disrespectful to her brother in one scene.
The most passionate conversation centered around the films messages, how it depicted: nationalism, self-determination, the role of Africans in the global liberation struggle particularly which point of view was more correct: Prince N’Jobu’s of King T’Chake.  Prince N’Jobu was one of many spies Wakanda sent out to monitor what is going on around the world who was living in Oakland California (the home of the real life Black Panther Party) who witnessed the suffering of Black people around the world and wants to intervene using Wakandan technology, or King T’Chaka who wants to keep Wakanda inaccessible and uninvolved. During a fight King T’Chaka kills his brother N’Jobu who has a son Erik living in Oakland. T’Chaka returns to Wakanda but doesn’t bring N’Jobu’s body to Wakanda denying him a funeral and leaving his son abandoned. The unresolved options are presented to a second generation.  Erik the son of N’Jobu has the same view as his father while T’Challa favors the policy of T’Chaka.   
All the men are complex but the attendees expressed concerns regarding how N’Jobu and Erik’s interventionist/liberation views were presented in the film. It was noted both men were killed by family members: N’Jobu by his brother T’Chaka and Erik by his cousin T’Challa. Some saw this as not just anti-liberation, anti-nationalist propaganda but also a metaphor for the high levels of fratricide we are experiencing in our communities in this country.
Another hot button issue was the CIA agent Everett Ross character, one of only two whites in the film. It was pointed out to be successful Marvel needed the two white characters to attract white movie goers and they especially needed one of them to be a “good guy”. Almost everyone took exception to the fact the “good guy” was a CIA agent given the havoc the US CIA has wrecked on the continent of Africa. Someone asked how was it possible the CIA agent could fly advanced Wakandan airships?
It was a lively, respectful and extremely informative discussion. We realized Marvel Studio and Disney are not in the business of glorifying Africans, or telling our story. Their goal is to make money and continue building their cinematic universe with the help of a block buster film like Black Panther. 
The final take away was African people must make and market our own films and tell our stories by tapping into the deep and rich reservoir of African history and culture for real models and lessons we can use to empower and elevate our people.

                                                -30-