All Maine newborns invest in largest driver of global warming

daddy with  newborn

I wrote a letter to the editor of the Portland Press Herald in print December 31, 2019 and available online here regarding my concern for Maine children earning money for college from the destruction of our planet.

After researching funds I am invested in related to criminal acts by pharmaceutical companies, I checked on my daughter’s Alfond Scholarship 529 account. It is invested with BlackRock / iShares and I was told there is no way to find out specific investments in drug companies. I didn’t want her invested in companies that mislead the public regarding how deadly some psychiatric medication is.

A little while later while mentioning this at a lunch in Silicone Valley in October, one person mentioned the name BlackRock in the context of climate change. I remembered that is what the Alfond scholarships use and looked it up later.

BlackRock has become known as the company most responsible for investments that drive climate change in the world. I called the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) and though there are socially responsible funds through FAME that other 529 account investments FAME manages can be changed to, for the Alfond Scholarship investments those options are not available. The Alfond Scholarship Foundation myalfondgrant.org decides on what those accounts are invested in.

The Alfond Scholarship Foundation reports on their site that as of 2019, $50 million in grant money, $500 per child for 100,000 Maine children have been invested. Though my daughter’s account was from 2011 and can be cancelled, newborns and their parents starting in 2013 lost the choice to opt in or out as money is invested for them automatically – in the company currently doing the most damage to the earth through investments that accelerate global warming. That is $50,000,000 plus earnings in the name of Maine children accelerating the destruction of our fragile earth.

I expressed my disappointment around this to FAME in the fall. With even children joining protests to demand immediate action on climate change, it weighed heavily on me that all Maine newborns through first graders are invested and earning money from the destruction of our planet – and without the permission of them or their parents.

I would like to see all Alfond Scholarship investments shifted immediately to the socially responsible funds available through FAME to start, possibly with the option for parents to change to other options if say they didn’t believe in climate change, or they really appreciate guns, as BlackRock’s iShares that these children are invested in is also the largest investor in the world of weapons manufacture.

I think it would be an awesome move by Alfond to remove the funds from BlackRock / iShares to show children and parents in Maine how much they care about the future of Maine children. If you do too, please contact them at myalfondgrant.org to let them know.

Science, nonduality, and protection from spiritual teacher abuse

I returned to the Science and Nonduality Conference last weekend to continue to learn different language and concepts being applied to the nondual experience. It was a good mix of scientists, spiritual teachers, and students exploring the new paradigm understanding of what it means to be human. A welcome relief from the conservative mental health system I am studying in graduate school that still operates on 19th century science and neglects to include quantum physics, cognitive psychology insights regarding perception, and much other data that indicate the idea consciousness is a product of neurons is not a sustainable concept. The integrated understanding is that consciousness comes first before neurons.

Nondual teacher Francis Lucille at the conference indicated it was just semantics and that God, Consciousness, and Reality are equivalent terms. It is very clear from my personal experience and many at the conference concur that there is no physical objective reality independent of conscious observers and their beliefs.

On another note, I attended a meeting of the Association for Spiritual Integrity at the conference. There is growing consensus that spiritual awakening and psychological health are two independent areas of human development. Spiritual awakening does not heal psychological concerns, though it often offers a temporary escape sometimes called spiritual bypassing. It is a mistake to believe that an awakened nondual or yoga teacher will not be abusive and use the teacher position for sex, power, or inappropriate sums of money.

Later in the conference Mariana Caplan who worked as a psychotherapist and consultant with individuals, teachers, and communities after scandals had some good suggestions for students. First was that doing at least a year of psychological and trauma work with a body centered approach can offer some protection from getting taken advantage of by a teacher. Another suggestion because most sexual abuses are by male teachers is that female students on the spiritual path with a male teacher should be prepared for how they will respond to a come on.

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Male breastfeeding article published in Rebelle Society

Yes you read correctly. I have published a piece on male breastfeeding. I thank my wife for giving assent to publish such a peephole into our private home life conversation that inspired the writing. I wrote specifically for Rebelle Society a platform for “creatively maladjusted rebels with a cause.” My heart sobs regularly for so many treated by the mental health system by force or without information given regarding the consequences of treatment and alternatives to wellness. I sat on the edited article for many months. Then, while with my family at the nearby river on one of the hottest days of the summer I noticed a lone topless woman among the crowd enjoying the river. My 8-year-old daughter had been complaining for days about having to wear shirts when it was so hot, and yes she was quite right. It is just plain wrong that only males are privileged to go topless in public. It was time to do my miniscule part to confront sexism by airing the topic of male breastfeeding. If males bodies have the potential to grow breasts and produce milk, then why should one gender be expected to cover them and the other not?

Check out the article here.

Update:

2-months after I published this piece in Rebelle Society, 2 related pieces were published in the New York Times.

First was an opinion piece by a professor at Stockholm University regarding if society is ready for the breastfeeding father and explores historical evidence of male breastfeeding that I had touched on available here.

Second, and part of my motivation for my writing to get information out that has been minimized is an article about an $8 billion jury award against Johnson & Johnson for a boy who grew breasts when given risperdal at 9 years of age available here.

What Johnson & Johnson has done to children is criminal and the article points out that in 2013 they settled for $2.2 billion in criminal and civil fines related to illegal marketing that has harmed children. Of course the fines do nothing to change criminal business practices as the article points out about $82 billion in revenue came in to Johnson & Johnson in 2018 alone.

Yoga Sutra Chanting on Insight Timer

insight timer bell pic

This summer I recorded myself chanting the most studied second chapter of Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtras, a text that a mentor of mine calls an ancient Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) manual. The Sūtras are a summary of yoga philosophy and practices from the time it was composed between 1600 and 2400 years ago depending on which historical Patañjali gets credit as the author.

Insight Timer is a meditation app with many free meditation offerings available and an awesome meditation starting bell I first heard when Chris Grosso used it at a conference workshop I attended. Follow this Insight Timer link to hear a sample of me chanting. I was moved to create the recording when I realized how uncomfortable newer yoga students and teachers are with pronouncing Sanskrit and wanted to offer it out of gratitude for the accessibility of the Insight Timer meditation app.

If the meds can kill you maybe they really are poison.

Along my grad school mental health counseling studies the textbooks mention that patients with psychosis will often call the antipsychotic medications poison. The professional response is to give them the shaming label – lack of insight. The documentary Cause of Death: Unknown explores and explains how pharmaceutical companies (Pharma) have put billions of dollars of profit over people and misled the doctors and the public knowingly leading to the death of thousands of our children, our veterans, our elderly, and disabled. The antipsychotic medications can gum up people’s metabolism and can suddenly stop the heart dead.

This is a timely film during the opioid crisis where so many of the pharmaceutical companies knowingly deceived doctors and patients to hook the public on opioids and make more profit knowing more people would die from the drugs. The next opioid crisis is already here with psychiatric medications for which Pharma used the same tactics.

That is not to say the medications do not have value for a small percentage of the people or for the much shorter evidence based duration than they end up being used for. But with Pharma or Pharma paid researchers almost exclusively doing the research, critical research on how to get people off of medications is still lacking.

Recently a New Yorker article highlighted this and how psychiatrists themselves who find themselves unable to get off of medications have had to turn to the ex-patient community to learn how to get off. Pharma misled doctors telling them patients trying to come off medications had a return of symptoms of illness when getting to low doses of the medications, but often it is withdrawal symptoms (they call discontinuation syndrome) from the medications due to tolerance (they call neuroadaptation) that lasts much longer than doctors were told. To come off people often have to detox from the medications painfully slow sometimes taking years and miniscule doses, but people with all diagnoses have come off of medications successfully. Without proper information and preparation, withdrawing too quickly from some medications can have serious consequences up to and including death. The Withdrawal Project is a modern recent online platform for citizen research on psychiatric medication withdrawal mentioned in The New Yorker article to assist with more accurate information on how to prepare to come off.

If you are curious about these issues, Cause of Death: Unknown is a timely film that begins to explore some truth that you will not hear in mainstream media until public awareness reaches a tipping point. Another news site to explore these topics is the online magazine Mad In America that presents research, alternatives, and success stories of people who have found a way out of Pharma created American Hell.