Freedom. Equally. For everyone.

Personal Freedom, Individual Liberty, and Human Rights.

VNR is a community support association for veterans, families, and friends who believe freedom is the birthright of every American. We want to see it returned to the people of this nation.

We are devoted to preserving America’s tradition of personal freedom, individual liberties, and human rights by representing this position on the Constitution before the legislature and administrative agencies.

Natural rights are derived from natural law, are fundamental to the human condition, and are inalienable. Constitutional and civil rights in American law are derived from natural rights. The Declaration of Independence lists life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as natural rights. Property, Trade, and equality under the law are commonly listed also. We support all of the above.

Our liberties must be equally protected not just from government power, but from corporate power, too. Both seek to strip the power of the individual. The smallest minority is a minority of one. Someone has to stick up for the little guy.

America was founded on the principle of freedom. It is our central principle, our guiding light, our prime directive. Nature is not a crime, and no one is free so long as nature is illegal.

#HumanRights are #NaturalRights

#PersonalFreedom and #IndividualLiberty

America Needs Access

ALL AMERICANS who need cannabis should have access to it, NOT JUST VETERANS.

While 22+ a day die from suicide in the veteran population, over 121 commit suicide every day in the civilian population. As veterans, we know we are the public face of PTSD, but we are fighting for ALL Americans’ access to this and EVERY sacred plant of healing. These plants are crucial tools to recover not just from the scars of war, but from abuse, assault, neglect, and horrific accidents. Countless more need it for neurological or other physical and mental issues. We fight for freedom, and nobody is free until everyone is free.

We have sworn an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic. No one relieved us of this oath. We may have put down our weapons, but where we were warriors of violence before, now we are warriors for peace. We have forged our swords into plowshares.

We have invested more in this society than most. The blood, the sweat, the tears, our brother’s bodies, the trauma, the memories, the broken past. But we are FULLY committed now to a brighter future for ALL Americans. We have a vested interest in seeing this society work. We have no choice but to move forward, the past is too horrific.

We are accustomed to picking up a fallen flag and carrying it home, we are trained and proficient in the skills necessary, and we have the intestinal fortitude required to accomplish the mission. Freedom for ALL is our flag, and we WILL carry it home.

So don’t be surprised when a veteran gets home from war and finds a flag lost in the mud, picks it up, brushes it off, and carries it home. We are proud to fight for those who are still too hurt, too angry, too scared, or too heartbroken to do so themselves. It’s what we were born to do.

#22VeteransADay

#121CiviliansADay

#StopSuicide

#EndProhibition #Legalize #Decriminalize #NoMoreDrugWar

SHINE

Sometimes when you feel like dying, you still put on the face and pretend everything is fine. You hate the world, and hate yourself for hating the world. The whole process of medical intervention and self-medication is done to eliminate the horrible thoughts within.

It doesn’t work, though.

The only thing I have found reliably to work is finding purpose again. To find it, you have to do a lot of stuff that looks more like fun. Hanging out with dogs, hiking, plant medicines, skiing, horses, climbing, fishing, growing, sports, whatever works for you, but most importantly starting to be with people again, and relaxing, finding moments of flow when you’re happy to be alive again. Most people with trauma have lost the ability to have fun, it’s important to find it again. Learn to feel. Learn to live. Learn to give. Learn to hope. Learn to love again.

Find your truth, and chase it with all you are, and all you have. Find your heart, and learn to follow it again.

To banish darkness, bring the darkness to light. Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Provide your own light to it.

You can’t fight the darkness.
You can wait for the light
You can look for the light
You can share the light

or you can SHINE.

Stop waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel and go down there into the dark to light it up yourself.

I spent years wrestling demons. Imprisoned them within, and they dominated my every waking moment. The harder I fought them, the more they beat me down. To give them up, to free not just them but me, too…

I had to forgive not just the demons, I had to forgive myself.

I have thanked the universe for my life every day since.

#PTSD #PTSI

#22VeteransADay #121CiviliansADay

#StopSuicide

Natural Rights

“Locke argued that individuals should be free to make choices about how to conduct their own lives as long as they do not interfere with the liberty of others. Locke therefore believed liberty should be far-reaching.

By “property,” Locke meant more than land and goods that could be sold, given away, or even confiscated by the government under certain circumstances. Property also referred to ownership of one’s self, which included a right to personal well being. Jefferson, however, substituted the phrase, “pursuit of happiness,” which Locke and others had used to describe freedom of opportunity as well as the duty to help those in want.

The purpose of government, Locke wrote, is to secure and protect the God-given inalienable natural rights of the people. For their part, the people must obey the laws of their rulers. Thus, a sort of contract exists between the rulers and the ruled. But, Locke concluded, if a government persecutes its people with “a long train of abuses” over an extended period, the people have the right to resist that government, alter or abolish it, and create a new political system.”

We do not hold that natural rights are limited to protection of life, liberty, happiness, and property, but extend to trade, too. The personal right to our labors’ purchase of goods and services, or barter between each other and amongst ourselves. And perhaps the one most oft overlooked, yet most important of all, equality under the law.

Natural rights don’t stop there.

“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

– 9th Amendment

“Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution, the time will come when medicine will organize into an undercover dictatorship to restrict the art of healing to one class of Men and deny equal privileges to others; the Constitution of the Republic should make a Special privilege for medical freedoms as well as religious freedom.”

― Benjamin Rush

http://www.crf-usa.org/foundations-of-our-constitution/natural-rights.html

Prohibition

In December of 1840, Abraham Lincoln said this:

“Prohibition… goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control man’s appetite through legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not even crimes… A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our Government was founded.”

Our government found that out very quickly when alcohol was prohibited from 1920 to 1933. Prohibition created the most pervasive, wealthy, and deeply embedded criminal group in our society’s history. Our politicians and representatives became corrupt and flush with booze money. Now we’re finding that lesson out again, except this time there are dozens of criminal groups proliferating (Triads, Russian Mafia, Yakuza, the various Mexican cartels and their affiliated stateside gangs) reaping the benefits of our prohibition, and the amount of money we give them all collectively dwarfs (by several orders of magnitude) what the Mafia made during the scant 13 years of alcohol prohibition. It took our society until the ’90s – only about 70 years – to take out much of the mob structure, but it still exists despite all our efforts. Prohibition is like Pandora’s Box – once it’s open all kinds of bad stuff comes out and you can’t shut the damn thing back up again. Now our very own government officials are corrupt and making money off the drug trade. Every single day, police officers and DEA agents steal cash (and sometimes drugs), as do customs officials, TSA officials, and Border Patrol. Who knows? Maybe even some elected officials.

How long will it take us this time around to undo the damage brought about by cannabis and other drug prohibition? The total, complete failure; this totally and absolutely absurd disaster of a “war against drugs”; the atrocities that are committed every day against our basic human rights and our very freedoms – the same freedoms GUARANTEED by the document that founded this country: the Constitution. The deep social harm caused by setting neighbor against neighbor, each one looking to report someone suspicious. Right here in America, of all places! I understand they did that kind of thing in only a few other places I can think of – Communist Russia, Communist China, Communist North Korea, and Nazi Germany. We have already become the world’s next modern socialist/fascist “utopia” (dystopia).

For what? Supposedly for the sake of our friends, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, sons, daughters, wives. Unfortunately, those are all the same people getting locked up for no reason. There don’t appear to be too many free people left here in America. There are people who think they are free, and say they are free, but have given up all their freedoms already and willingly for the cowardly cause of safety. All these “free” people here in the United States of America came from the loins of men and women willing to die to protect freedoms we’ve already lost and don’t even remember, who dedicated their lives to protecting those freedoms, and might very well be ready to rebel again (if they were around) had they seen the poor state of our current nation’s freedoms and the sheer size and scope of its government. They would have screamed at us with tears in their eyes:

“We hold these Truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights – that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The beginning of the Declaration of Independence is not just about Americans’ freedom from British Rule – it delineates specific rights all men have, no matter where they were born or what government they live under – natural rights. All men are free, and naturally so. We promised it with that document. Here, in America, we will honor your God-given freedoms. Except we’ve been doing the exact opposite now for almost 100 years, while bullying the rest of the world to do what we have failed at.

Certainly practicing one’s right to one’s own conscience and consciousness, and the ability to change it when necessary, these are among the most central of the rights they speak of in the Declaration of Independence. Freedom of thought, belief, information, and association is protected first by the Bill of Rights for a reason.

Life. It means life without interference. It means freedom. Ask anyone in prison if they are living or are they just alive. For if we are free to think what we want then we are free to think how we want and if we are free in both how and what we think of we are free to use our cognitive faculties how we see fit, to reach any conclusion our minds can imagine. That’s when the next principle comes in.

Liberty. This naturally occurs when any one person (or collective group of persons) are prohibited from placing any law, stricture, penalty, or impose crimes or fines for engaging in any simple activity that does not infringe upon another’s inalienable rights.

The Pursuit of Happiness. This is specifically whatever you want it to be, so long as it trespasses not against the rights of another man. If a man loves going out and shooting .50 cal machine guns, then he should do that, so long as he is safe and does not injure another man. If he likes to blow stuff up, he should probably learn what he can and start blowing up old cars – so long as he is safe and can hurt no one else. If a person is disabled and smoking two joints a day because it helps him get around the house and live a little more of life, then God Bless. After all, hasn’t the ‘big guy’ of many religious texts been caught saying things like: “Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.” And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. (Gen. 1:29-31)

If there are men and women out there wanting to have plural relationships or homosexual ones, then good for them. If everyone involved is there by choice, then there is no crime. If a man’s joy is to make new chemical mixtures and species in his garage, then he is a future mogul in the field of chemistry, whether he goes legit or not. Every situation I described above has one feature in common. It is all mostly illegal right now. Shooting M2s? Extremely difficult to get a license. Blowing up stuff in your backyard? It’s only a matter of time before the law comes and shuts you down or even worse, shuts you away. Mr. Disabled Veteran? If a man smokes 2-3 joints worth of weed a day he’ll probably get caught at some point. If a man can stand having two wives to nag him and two women can both put up with the same man’s crap for long enough to raise some kids then I’m all for a plural marriage, but it’s still illegal and CPS will break up that family by force. If two homosexuals can live seeing the same two men their whole life, or at least long enough to raise some kids, then let ’em get married. Turns out most gay parents end up raising straight kids, just like straight people do. Doing chemistry in one’s garage? You must be a drug dealer. But what if that kid is actually trying to make cancer drugs and then deal to people the cure for cancer, and your call to the cops just destroyed his only materials and all his notes for a cure? Almost all of the crimes I mentioned above, they are all mostly accepted by our society. But for some reason, nothing ever changes. Knowledge is banned, or even the gathering of knowledge in certain fields is banned. Look at what happened to stem cell research. And research about the health and/or psychological benefits of common drugs of abuse is stopped routinely by NIDA, too. Any purchases of certain precursor chemicals will give you a big red flag in a federal database – even if you ARE searching for the cure to cancer.

You will then be harassed by law enforcement and other invasive government agencies until they get what they want. Plural marriage is still illegal in every state, but I’d wager there’s at least one plural family unit in every state, and in some states there are thousands. Gays have been far more pervasive than polygamous families, and are also much more socially accepted than plural marriage or polygamous families. Marijuana is medically legal in 24 states and in DC, and even more are up for grabs. How are any new artificial materials or drugs going to be invented without curious people working on it in their garage? And how, do you surmise, are the people with an exclusive patent to produce these substances NOT going to be the multinational conglomerate pharmaceutical companies with $100b or more in assets that we see dominating the drug industry today? When will the people receive the benefits of progress, and not the corporations? Instead of Pfizer making billions, there’d be poor garage geeks (I mean scientists) hitting the big-time, shaking up the marketplace, exercising some COMPETITION in this sad, pitiful era of “too big to fail”.

And as for the retired military guys that like shooting and blowing stuff up, let ’em do it out on their country acres. That way they won’t do it anywhere populated and have an accidental “thinking redneck incident”. Or if they do happen to have an accident way out in the middle of nowhere, at least the only casualties would be them, and Darwin wins for us all. If we ever do get invaded by a foreign power, then thank God for those guys and screw what Darwin said before, these guys are probably gonna kick some ass!

Sept 19, 2016

My mission since I left the military and traditional pharmaceutical medicine behind has been to investigate other therapies for healing trauma. Despite the stigma, I have long been an advocate of cannabis, it helped me give up the grueling pharmaceutical regimen that almost broke my body, and even more than that, my spirit. I’ve been fortunate enough in my life to investigate many other things long ignored, even prohibited, by the medical monopoly government and doctors have imposed on our bodies. Ayahuasca, iboga, peyote, mushrooms, Sonoran toad venom, frog poison, and even others more bizarre and wide-ranging.

I am an advocate not just for natural medicines but for freedom. Mind, body, and spirit. Cognitive liberty isn’t just a catchphrase, it was the foundation of our nation. It is codified in the First Amendment, which protects freedom of belief, spiritual practice, speech, expression, information, association, congregation, and petition. The founders protected freedom of the mind in every way they could think of, and they protected it first for a reason. It seems right that veterans are the defenders of the Constitution when everyone else seems to have forgotten it.

I was privileged this weekend to bear witness to possibly the largest natural plant medicine gathering of its kind in possibly all of history. This was a gathering of veterans of the US Armed Forces, and this wasn’t limited to one plant, or even one modality. This was a celebration of them all, other natural healing therapies long overlooked by western medicine. We are spreading the message of peace, freedom, and love, hope for a better tomorrow, the unity of all peoples on Earth with each other, and with the planet itself. The Rainbow Tribe comes together.

I was humbled that so many veterans traveled from so far, risking much sometimes in terms of finances, time, energy, and dedication in return for very few promises of comfort or ease. I was honored to watch a bunch of vets take it to the field once again after so many years, to work hard and freeze their asses off for the sake of a truly lofty mission: to heal themselves, and when we heal ourselves, to heal the world.

War didn’t just break us. It broke all of you too, whether you know it or not. In many ways veterans represent the very real cracks in a society broken by incessant wars fought for industrial profit. In Japan, when an item breaks, they mend the cracks with gold to accentuate the damage. This practice is called kintsukuroi. This is the understanding that a when a thing suffers damage and has been broken, it has a history and is now more beautiful. The most beautiful trees are the most gnarled, weathered, and scarred. When a thing breaks, it isn’t best to always throw it away. We can heal and go on to serve for many more years.

We veterans went to war to master the art of violence, the science of death, and now we are bringing the military mindset to the practice of nonviolent social change. We are in a spiritual battle for the soul of the planet. We don’t use bombs, guns, or violence anymore. We follow the ancient Chinese masters who learned to fight so well they renounced the practice of it altogether.

A student said to his master: “You teach me fighting, but you talk of peace, how do you reconcile the two?”

The master replied: “It is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.”

We’ve beaten our own swords into plowshares, and now we sow seed in the hopes of cultivating a garden with our love that all humankind can enjoy. Seeds of truth to grow into great trees of life.

So many people are trapped in a prison of their own making, punishing themselves for the things that happen in life. It breaks my heart to see so many people carrying so much baggage around every day, weighing them down and preventing them from growing and changing. If they only knew what a beautiful flower they would be if they allowed that hard shell to crack open. Growth is scary because to someone who doesn’t understand it, what happens to a seed looks like complete destruction. It breaks open, it’s insides come out and everything changes. Birth is a beautiful and scary thing every time it happens.

It’s time to free the oppressed from their mental slavery. Come be reborn again, fill your cracks with gold, connect with the Earth, dig in the dirt, plant a garden, live another life of service to your fellow man, heal the veteran, heal the world.

Veterans have been in that deep, dark hole. We know what to do to get out. We weave this cord of veterans one thread at a time, that we can eventually throw a lifeline to all people out there who are hurt, who are suffering, who are afraid, who think they are alone. You are not alone. Not everyone has forgotten you. We remember you, and we’ll roam the darkness calling out for you. Just reach out a hand to let us know you’re there. We know that no one can banish the dark by always staying in the light. We become enlightened by making the darkness conscious.

We were called to serve, once. Let this be your wake-up call. Our job now is to stand up for those who cannot, to fight for the downtrodden, to heal the broken, to bring freedom to the people, all people. We veterans are the tip of the spear, aimed at the heart of darkness. We won’t stop until we’ve changed the world, and we’ll do it if we have to change it one person at a time. You only get to the top of the mountain by putting one foot in front of the other.

“Veterans are the light at the tip of the candle, illuminating the way for the whole nation.

If Veterans can achieve awareness, transformation, understanding and peace, they can share with the rest of society the realities of war.

And they can teach us how to make peace with ourselves and each other, so we never have to use violence to resolve conflicts again.”

– Thich Nhat Hanh

Kaepernick

Football is designed to be an opiate of the masses, an escape, something to keep people’s minds off the world, off of politics, by providing a caricature of the political violence and identity politics it aims to avoid. Something easier to agree to disagree about. It’s the state religion of America, and people worship the athletes like demigods. Our government heavily subsidizes it, just like any state religion, and attempts to use it for its own purposes. Football has been historically protected from all our raw realities, but not since politics invaded the field. People are pissed their safe space has been violated, that they can’t escape anymore. Many Americans are specifically angry about this aspect, but it seems strangely fitting to me that it has been used to get people to pay attention and have an opinion again.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury changed my personality. It changed my life.

I lost things. I lost my wallet, I lost my balance, I lost my memories, I lost abilities, I lost confidence, I lost purpose, I lost my way, I lost my mind, I lost myself.

Nothing really made sense anymore. Especially… why did it cause so much cognitive damage? I was told it had something to do with fluid dynamics and concussive waves. My brain was like a bowl of jello somebody slapped.

It didn’t stop me from being confused, though, about everything. Like who told me to do what when the thing is supposed to happen one of these days? What am I supposed to wear? What is a sock? And what is the thing in my hand right now? Like, I swear I know what it is, I see one of these things every day.

I was one of the lucky ones. The deficits were temporary. I served with a few, but I’ve come across so many more since who have had a tougher time than me.

It is incredibly frustrating to be robbed of your mind.

I just thank God I got it back.

Eugenics and psychiatry

Psychiatrists are now the eugenicists of medicine, attempting to purge out the evils of lesser beings with the wonders of modern medicine. The result is a drugged, defenseless, uncaring, unresponsive, complacent, and weak citizenry.

We are destroying our shamans, wise men, and thinkers in the name of normalizing society into a straightjacket of forced equality. Winners have already been shamed, losers given trophies, mediocrity celebrated, and our society continues circling the drain of history.

Individuality is to be celebrated, and true diversity is a diversity of ideas as different as the people who have them.

True freedom lies within

The reason humankind has always migrated to fill up every available space is that we are fundamentally programmed to seek freedom. It’s part of what has made us so successful as a species. When conditions are unfit for people at home, they leave. They make a new life elsewhere – with their own rules, their own decisions.

In many cases, the farther the better. Who hasn’t said to someone else in a fit of desperation, desire, or love: “we could just run away”…? Away from any of the restrictions we place on each other…

It is a fundamental human spiritual need. Our souls crave it, our minds need it, our hearts yearn for it, our nation is built on it. We are a nation of immigrants, pioneers all, brave and intrepid. Most not knowing what to expect, but all full of hope for a brighter tomorrow. Many came from societies of frightening oppression at home. No person alive loves slavery to any other interests than their own. Everyone wants to make their own way in this world, to leave their own stamp on history, no matter how small.

We all just want to live freely, and in peace, without war or oppression. Each of these is inseparable from and related to each of the others. Without freedom, humankind will never know peace. Malcolm X said “You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.”

We were guaranteed freedom to believe what we wish, to live lives how we see fit, to be ourselves, so long as we harm no one. Liberty. It is the prime civil right. It is the natural state of people absent any coercive interference. It is what any civilized society should guarantee to its people, and from it flows our lives and all our other rights, privileges, and responsibilities of citizenship in a free society.

“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Our birth as a nation marked those words. We would do well to heed them. Our overlarge overreliance on government and society makes it hard to hear those words from so great a distance. I am determined they will not fade forever. It is difficult to free people from chains they revere, whether it is blood, ideology, or psychology that keeps them chained. Familiarity breeds comfort. For abused people it is sometimes easier to apologize and keep heads down than do all the hard work necessary to finally be free from the abuse.

Tribalism shapes us this way. Base emotional manipulations that make us like people who share our labels and hate those who don’t. The same ones that make us ‘us’ and them ‘them’. It’s always something, and it always leads authoritarians to stomp libertines, wars of all kinds are fought over nonsense. Especially when fighting a symbol, an idea, a word. It’s hard to find endpoints when you’ve lost sense of what an enemy truly is. Eventually everyone wants out, though, and freedom was the reason we were born.

People only earn liberty when they demand it, but people mistake what that means. It is not given to you by someone else. It requires demanding more of oneself. It is something you cultivate within. It is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war, but just as gardeners must become warriors to survive war, warriors need to become gardeners again to find peace after. Cultivate life, cultivate love, cultivate spirit, cultivate peace. People have to want to change to become the change they want. True freedom lies within.

I want change in America. Do you?

#WarriorOfPeace