The Cancer Culture
By: Duke Kell
The Cancer Culture, By Duke Kell
Published by Two Ton Productions, at Shakespir.
Copyright © 2016 by Two Ton Productions.
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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
The Freedom Files
University of California, Berkeley, 2191
I walked into my first class excited and a little nervous. It was the hardest class to get into at Berkley because the professor was Olga Verduzco, the architect of the revolution and first democratically elected president of the United States of America in 145 years. Included in the syllabus were five books that the resistance used to help people understand how the united corporations of the world gained power and why we needed a change. I could smell the old wood and dust in the auditorium. The school had been shut down for all of the corporate years and it was an absolute miracle that some of the buildings survived including the old Wheeler auditorium.
I sat in the first row just left of the center, in between two young men. I was forty five years old on that day and my gray hair made me feel out of place as the sea of young people filled the remaining seats.
A door opened behind the podium and the air was sucked out of the room as we all fell silent. Everyone stood, and as President Verduzco stepped into the room, it exploded with applause, and I saw more than a dozen people weeping with joy. Never in my life could I have imagined the sensation that washed over me. I wasn’t sure if any of the other students had lived during the corporate times, but they all understood how far we had come, our shared path back to freedom.
“Good morning,” She said, leaning down to the mic. “Please be seated.”
We sat and silence washed over us.
She gave us a few seconds, then began, “Over the next three months we will explore three units. The first unit includes the five books we used in the resistance and we will discuss the second Continental Congress and our justifications for the changes to the original constitution. The second unit will be on the Reconstruction period and the third will be on our path forward. I suspect you all have the syllabus and hope you have purchased the books as well. Please raise your hand if you didn’t pick a syllabus up at the door on the way in.”
A hand full of people shot their hands up.
She nodded to someone in the back who quickly made it to each row and passed out the syllabi.
“Ok, now that we all have one, let’s get started.” She went over the percentages of the midterm, final and papers she expected, followed by a brief synopsis of each book before she cut class short and told us to have the Cancer Culture read by the next class.
I went straight home after class and began reading book I: The Cancer Culture.
The Cancer Culture
The smell of maple syrup and bacon floated into her dreams and awakened her, the day was Oct 2, 2008, A young teenager sat up, swinging her legs to the side and placing her feet on the floor. She took a deep breath and reluctantly pushed herself out of bed. A knock on the door reminded her of the gravity of the situation. She stood up, hung her head, took a deep breath, and slipped her fluffy pink slippers onto her feet as she exited the room.
She ran into her older brother in the hall as he came out of the bathroom. “Here already?”
“Rene,” he shook his head, “It’s 11:30, Dad’s appointment is in 30 minutes.”
Her jaw dropped, “What, thirty minutes? Why didn’t you guys wake me?”
“Mom said your game ran late last night and you needed to sleep.”
She rolled her eyes. “Is there any breakfast left?”
“Yeah, but you better hurry.”
The Cancer Culture
Ten minutes later the fourteen year old came barreling into the kitchen. Her tall, thin body was draped with a sweat suit.
“Hi, mom.” Rene said.
Her mom looked at her clothes and reached out to push back some hair. “You gonna dry your hair at least?”
Michel cut in, “We only have forty minutes.”
Her mother looked down at her wrist watch. “Only twenty five minutes until we walk out the door.”
“What about food?” Rene asked.
“I made you a plate. It’s in the oven.” Her mother said, as she pointed to the oven.
The Cancer Culture
Rene, Michael, and their parents, Lori and David sat quietly in the waiting room of Dr. Capital, the oncologist Rene’s father was referred to when his general physician found a growth in his stomach area. Six years prior he was in a life-threatening motorcycle accident and nearly lost both his legs, so being in a doctor’s office was not a new thing for this family.
The receptionist called out, “Mr. de Garcia.” The whole family stood up and followed him into the cold bright hallway that smelled of chemicals and death. Rene held her brother’s hand tightly. At fourteen, she desperately wanted to be an adult, but today her rock, her role model, looked defeated, and she felt like a child, helpless and frightened.
Her father was a tower of a man and she had never seen him so shaken. As a professor of history at the University of Denver and a well-known talk show host on a local conservative radio station, he was accustomed to high pressure situations. Seeing him with fear in his eyes was a shock and Rene could hardly hold back her tears.
The receptionist stopped, waved them into a second waiting room, and said, “A nurse will be in here in a few minutes to escort you to the doctor.”
The Cancer Culture
David thought back to a radio show he did that led him here today. Three years ago a guest on his show argued that the American health care system was broken and needed to follow other developed nations into a single payer system. David’s listeners tore the man apart and accused him of being everything from a Muslim to a communist. The man was not deterred and challenged David and his listeners to ask for routine screening tests done in nearly every other industrialized countries in the world. David reluctantly agreed and was shocked to find that his insurance denied his request for a simple blood test that would measure the genetic likelihood for a number of cancers that affect men. At the time he wasn’t ready to admit defeat, so he swept it under the table and forgot about it. Six months later a sharp pain in his stomach landed him back at his doctor’s office to run a battery of tests. X-rays were ordered and showed nothing, so they decided to give the problem a few weeks to see if it would run its course. Two months later he was back at the emergency room, doubled over in pain and begging for reprieve.
The doctors eased the pain and diagnosed him with diverticulitis. His doctor joked as he wrote him a prescription for a stomach medicine. “You know, you’re probably going to be pretty upset if this turns out to be cancer.”
“Why is that?” David asked.
“The x-rays we’ve done don’t do a great job of showing soft tissue problems. An MRI is really the only way to see but…” he paused, “according to the protocol we need to try all other avenues first.”
“Great.” David rolled his eyes.
The Cancer Culture
David and Lori had met in the ninth grade at Lincoln High School and had been inseparable for nearly forty years. Two days after high school graduation, David proposed to his high school sweetheart. Lori and David married in her parents’ back yard in 1974. They both attended the University of Laverne in southern California for four years before moving back to Denver to start a family. Two years later their first child, Michael, was born at Saint Anthony’s hospital in Denver. Like most young couples, they struggled to make ends meet, but never let it affect their marriage. David held down a part time job as a board operator at the local radio station in the morning and attended Denver University as a grad student the first couple of years after Michael was born.
Four years of hard work and sacrifice paid off, and they moved to an upscale suburb just outside of Denver called Broomfield. David became the morning talk show host at KVLT and a full time professor in 1982. Rene was born six months later. The successful family spent the next fourteen years in the same quaint little town.
The Cancer Culture
The nurse came to the door in the waiting room and called, “David de Gracia.” I looked over at my dad and he didn’t move. No one moved. We all sat staring back at her wishing she had someone else’s name. She repeated, “David de Garcia.”
Mom leaned over and whispered something in his ear. He closed his eyes, sighed then looked over at Michael and me. The look in his eyes ripped through me. This man, my rock, my father, had never wavered, never showed weakness. Today was different; today in my father’s eyes was fear.
I was six when he first taught me to conquer my own fear. We spent a great deal of time water skiing when I was young and my dad was an amazing skier. At six I was not able to swim and was scared to death of the water. He sat me down and said, “Rene, honey, I know you’re scared. We’ve all been there, but, I want to tell you that fear can be a positive if you learn to use it.”
Confused I asked, “How can that be?”
“Fear is a natural response to a perceived danger. Learn how to channel the response and you’ll be able to tap into the fear juice.”
“The what?” I asked.
“The fear juice,” he smiled, “or adrenalin, is a powerful substance your brain makes and can give you super powers.”
“Like Wonder Woman?”
He chuckled, “Sort of like Wonder Woman.”
“Ok, let’s do it then,” I said staring into his big blue eyes. We were sitting in an eighteen foot day cruiser with my uncle Gary at the helm. Sloan Lake is a small man-made lake on the western side of Denver and was a favorite spot for our large family parties. There were more than 25 people on the shore when my dad stood up and said, “boat wreck.” He grabbed me by my life jacket and tossed me into the dark cold water as the boat sped off. Fear gripped my lungs I bobbed in and out of the wake left by the boat. My muscles began to tense and water filled my mouth as I flailed wildly. Suddenly I felt something touch my leg and I froze.
My dad popped up out of the water and didn’t say a word. He looked in my eyes, held up his pointer finger to his lips, and breathed out, “Shhh.” He flipped around, lying on his back to float. My fear disappeared with his smile and I hugged him.
Now, ten years later I saw the fear in his eyes, so I leaned across and touched him on his shoulder. He looked over at me and I held up my finger to my lips. He smiled, stood up, and turned to the nurse. “Is it ok if my family comes with?”
The Cancer Culture
We took a seat in front of the doctor’s desk. He looked up through his reading glasses, and asked, “David, are you sure you wouldn’t like to discuss this alone?”
I felt a shiver through my spine. Something in the way his eyes sagged sent a dagger into my heart and I knew.
“You have Layomayosarcoma, a rare form of inoperable cancer.”
The world came to a halt, in ten seconds. It seemed as if the rug I called my life had just been pulled out from underneath me. My father’s head dropped and my mom began to weep.
My brother Michael dove in, doing what journalists do; he asked a question, “What are his options?”
“He can try chemotherapy and radiation, but this kind of cancer has never responded to that,” the doctor responded.
“Is there anything else he can do?”
“No. Let me show you something.” He swirled around and flipped a switch on a film viewer. Behind him a skeleton with bright orange spots all over it lit up like a Christmas tree. He looked back at my brother and said, “Each spot here in orange is where the cancer is.”
My jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe it. The cancer was everywhere.
“How long does he have?” Michael asked.
“Six months tops,” He shrugged his shoulder. “I have someone I would like you to meet.” He pressed a button on his phone and instructed someone to come in. A psychologist spoke to us, but to be honest, after the doctor said six months I stopped hearing. I could see their mouths move and later my brother explained how they were setting us up with hospice. He also said the doctor encouraged us to do some research of our own into cancer and see us back in a few days.
The Cancer Culture
The next two days my brother and I spent hours combing through the mountains of information we could find on the Internet about cancer. Western medicine had never cured a case of leomyosarcoma, and in most cases chemo and radiation accelerated the cancer, killing the patient. This was obviously not the route dad wanted to take. So we typed in “alternatives to traditional cancer treatment.” We were overwhelmed by the amount of information. One thing became clear, our whole family was not only misinformed, we were completely ignorant about cancer, the causes, the treatments, and the toll it can take on a family and their financial situation.
First we looked for causes as we figured we needed to change whatever it was that may have caused his cancer. Dad wasn’t a smoker, ate fairly healthy and was in great shape for a fifty year old.
“Ok, Dad doesn’t smoke so we can cut that out.”
“And he eats healthy,” Michael added.
“Hold up, not so fast. Look at this.” I held up a list I printed out with the top 10 cancer causing elements hiding in your food. Here they are:
BPA leaching in plastic water bottles
Teflon nonstick pan residue
Canned meats and foods
Hormones added to meat poultry and dairy
Processed food especially meets like hot dogs, sausages
“Let me see that.” My brother said, as he ripped it out of my hands. He stared at it and just started to shake his head. “I thought he ate right, I thought we all ate right.” He shook his head, “So what the hell can we eat?”
We attacked mom and dad’s kitchen throwing away 90% of the food mom had in the pantry, all their pans and more than half their food in the refrigerator. Mom was incensed and couldn’t understand why we would throw away good food. Even after we explained how bad it all was, she couldn’t wrap her mind around it. Then we confiscated all the plastic water bottles lying around the house. Dad was known to reuse old milk jugs for weeks trying to stay hydrated at the remote broadcasts he did for work.
After food we started looking at other possible causes. The top of the list for dad was prolonged exposure to low voltage radio signals. His profession in radio broadcasting often had him working on remote where he would be in close proximity to a satellite relay. We didn’t find anything pointing to this, but since cell phone radio signal has been shown to cause cancer is based on a much smaller version of a remote broadcast satellite, we figured it was a high priority to avoid.
Another possible cause of Dad’s cancer was stress. Stress places the body in a state of imbalance which can lead to cancer and a host of other diseases. Having worked two jobs for the past fifteen years trying to make ends meet, Dad was a stress bomb waiting to explode. Luckily, both of our first two problems on the list could be avoided by quitting his job at the radio station.
The last cause we examined was genetics something none of us can change. As we found out quickly genetics only plays a small role in the actual growth of the cancer. In fact, all of us are born with cancer cells that lay dormant until environmental factors spur on their growth. Most cancers can be avoided with preventive measures taken to minimize an acidic environment in the body.
We had no Idea what this acid/basic measure was. None of us despite years of education in multiple subjects had ever heard of a PH test being used on the body. Just like in a hot tub or swimming pool, if the ph is off it will likely cause it to produce undesired growth of bacteria, or in the case of the body, cancer. Studies across the globe have found a body with even a slight acidic PH is more than twenty times more likely to spur on cancer growth. There are also promising studies that show a reduction and in some cases complete remission of cancer when the body is in a slightly basic state.
What does this mean? Certain foods help reduce our acidic levels while others increase it. By eating the right foods and limiting negative environmental exposes the cancer causing chemicals the human body can prevent and even cure cancer. Why hadn’t we heard this before? And how could all this be true? Cancer is the number two killer in the US, killing five hundred thousand people per year. The numbers are increasing despite many of the alternatives being used to prevent and cure cancer for the last hundred years. Why then is cancer so prevalent and still killing people? What we found rocked the foundations of our world and changed the way we viewed our country and its medical system.
The Cancer Culture
We walked into the follow-up appointment armed with information about alternative and hundreds of questions.
“Hello.” The doctor said in a very cold way. “Please be seated.” He smiled, “We should probably try to set up some appointments for chemo and radiation starting next week. Do you have any questions?”
My dad shook his head, indicating he didn’t have anything to ask, but my brother Michael would do no such thing. “Yes, we have questions.”
The doctor didn’t hide his disappointment but played along, “I can see you brought some research. What are your questions?”
Michael sat up, moved to the front of his seat, and looked down at his notes. “Why would we sign dad up for chemo and radiation if his form of cancer has never responded to it?”
The doctor shook his head. “Unless you can get on a clinical trial the only approved method of fighting cancer is through chemo and radiation, so we try, even if there is a very small chance it will work.”
Michael raised his voice. “Why can’t we try Alternatives like, Chelation, sound therapy, magnetic resonance therapy, light therapy, the Gerson diet, and Smith’s oil?”
The doctor rolled his eyes. “None of those are approved to fight cancer here in the United States; in fact at least one of them is made from illegal materials. So your insurance company will not cover any of them and as you probably found out none of them are affordable.”
“So what option do we have?” Michael nearly fell off of the front of his seat.
The doctor shook his head and gave us a condescending stare. “You can take your chances with the chemo and radiation, or you can forego treatment.”
Michael’s face turned red and his hands squeezed the arm rest. “So if we don’t accept treatments that will most likely kill dad, then he won’t get any treatment?”
“We won’t abandon him, we’ll set him up on a pain management regiment and hospice can help with his passing.” His cold eyes didn’t flicker.
Was he serious? I could see the rage starting to overflow in my brother. “We’re not ready to give up.” Michael slammed his hand down on the table. “And we’re not going to line your pockets.”
I looked at Michael with surprise in my eyes; I thought he said he wasn’t going to go there.
The doctor shot back, “I’m offering the only treatment we have.”
“How much money do you make if we accept your treatment?” Michael said through his clenched teeth.
“I don’t understand your question.” the doctor said, looking down at his watch.
“Simple, will you make more money if we accept the treatment then if we were to decline?”
“This meeting is over.” The doctor picked up the phone and called security, “I have an unruly patient.”
I looked at my dad who hadn’t said a word. He just sat there staring at the wall. Was he was an unruly patient? We were ushered out and informed that the doctor had dropped us from his care.
The Cancer Culture
Western medicine had failed my dad and we were desperately looking for answers. Nearly everyone we called had the same answer. Stage IV lamayosarcoma had no successful treatment and there weren’t any clinical trials for this rare disease. Then we found the Gerson Clinic in Mexico. The doctors there were open to any and all alternatives in his treatment. The clinic was one of two in the world licensed by the Gerson Institute. The institute is a non-profit founded by Chrolette Gerson, the granddaughter of Max Gerson, the man who created the Gerson Therapy. Developed in the 1920’s, the treatment is a 100% natural approach to fighting cancer and a number of other diseases. Despite thousands of testimonials and breakthroughs the clinics are not allowed to operate in the USA. Why is this? The answer is corporate capitalism, and it’s money.
The current medical system is designed to profit from the treatment of disease. Gerson’s therapy has shown to prevent and cure cancer at a fraction of the cost of chemo and radiation, because it is made up of a specific organic diet and 100% natural home remedies.
The term organic was something my conservative father used to poke fun at, as in, “What you going to turn into a hippie and go organic?” he once said when I brought home an organic head of kale. His attitude shifted under the fear of death, when even organic food sounded ok to him. So we splashed head first into the Gerson treatment and it was an eye opener.
The Cancer Culture
Pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides were all words I had heard hundreds of times growing up, but it was always with a positive connotation. However, at the Gerson clinic, they explained to us how our food supply is tainted with remnants of all three even if the food has been handled correctly. They also showed us studies from all over the world that explained how each of these was the main causes for the aliments that are killing most of the population: cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
How is this possible? We thought that the FDA is supposed to be on our side, but were found out how wrong were.
Michael, my brother, was a small-time reporter for the Rocky Mountain News and used his connections to start an investigating into the treatment of cancer and the cover-up of our food that is killing us. His editor was surprised by Michael’s initiative and gave him the green light. On Oct 27, 2008, I rode with him to the meeting he had set up at the convention hall in downtown Denver. As luck would have it, two officials from the leading pesticide company in the world, “Wamsanyes,” was in town at the Colorado corn convention. Apparently they have branched out beyond the poison making business and have dived head first into GMO seed production.
“Is GMO what they are trying to sell them?” I asked him.
“Look, Rene it’s simple. They are creating seeds that are immune to their pesticides so they can spray more of them.”
“That doesn’t sound good at all especially after what the guys at the clinic said.”
“And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s no regulation on GMO foods yet so they’re crossing our food supply with all kinds of weird things, like viruses, bugs and who knows your corn could be part cat,” Michael chuckled.
I thought about how strange it was that these big companies could do these things with no repercussions. If I were to kill someone even accidentally I would still have to face some sort of jail time, yet somehow companies like these can kill millions without any questions, all in the name of profit.
As we walked into the room, my brother reminded me I was to be seen and not heard, something my dad would often say.
I nodded and said under my breath, “Yes, sir.”
He gave me a crooked grin and shook his head. We were introduced to the two representatives from Wamsanyes, and I instantly recognized both of them as former politicians. Michael introduced me as his intern and we were led into a different room for the interview.
“Mr. de Garcia, we were told you had some questions for us.”
“Yes, sir, I do. Thank you so much for meeting with me, I would love to start with some qualifiers to make sure I have my background information correct.”
“No problem,” one said, and the other nodded in agreement.”
Michael continued. “Wamsanyes is the #1 seller of pesticides, herbicides and a fungicide treatment in the world, is that correct?”
“Yes,” he admitted.
“You are also the leading GMO company in the world, mainly because of adaption, meaning your company has been forced to enter the GMO world due to the adaptation of the things you are trying to avoid.”
“Yes, that’s correct.”
“Could you give me an example?”
“Our most popular pesticide stopped working on three different species of aphids three years ago. Our scientists were baffled by what they found. Not only were the bugs not dying, they somehow adapted and were thriving. Instead of just throwing more pesticides at them, we decided to try some of the exciting new developments in genetic modifications. Our scientist found that a strain of viruses that is naturally occurring in fire ants was a natural killer of the same aphids so they crossed the virus from the fire ant with corn and, bam, our leading pesticide was still effective.”
“What happens if the aphids adapted again?”
They looked at each other. “Our scientists are usually one step ahead. I’m sure they can just modify it again.”
“Ok, this all sounds great, but how safe is this GMO corn?” he asked.
“Everything our company does is within the guidelines of the USA regulatory system.”
It was the first sign of agitation and the first canned answer Michael received.
“Are you aware of the judgment of Philip Morris vs. Williams in which the Supreme Court set a precedent that holds corporations liable for their actions, even if they were acting out of ignorance?” This isn’t exactly true, but Michael figured it would push them in the right direction.
“I don’t see why this question is relevant.” one of them stated.
“The pesticide that is your #1 seller has been shown to cause cancer in mice and by your own admission, the GMO crops you are selling allow you to spray more of it. The question is relevant because you are knowingly distributing a product that is killing people.”
“There is no evidence that our product is killing anyone, and as a former US Congresswoman, I can assure you that we are acting within the boundaries of the regulatory system.”
Michael smiled at me and leaned in toward the Wamsanyes empoylees. “That brings me to my next question,” he said. “Have you or any of your board members ever held a position in the governmental oversight committee?”
The former congresswoman fidgeted and blinked her eyes. “Many of us have gone back and forth between the two, as it makes sense to hire people who have firsthand knowledge of the regulations we face.”
Like a striking cobra, Michael kept attacking. “Don’t you see that as a conflict of interest?”
“No, I don’t.” He was interrupted by a man wearing all black and dark sunglasses. “I’m sorry something had come up and we need to go.”
My brother was not deterred. “Is there any way we can reschedule this meeting and talk further?”
“Call my office.” He stuck out his hand and shook Michael’s, then nodded at me as he walked out the door.
As we left that day something strange happened. The man in the suit and glasses followed us. We exited the convention center and headed directly across the street to the Denver Metro State College. “Come on we’ll lose him in here,” Michael said.
We ducked into the cafeteria and blended into the hundreds of students darting through the giant eatery. The man stopped at the door just long enough for us to squeeze out the back and down an alleyway.
We reached the street and Michael haled a cab. As we pulled off, we saw our stalker come running out looking for us but it was too late. At the time I had no idea we were in trouble, and my brother wasn’t letting on that he had any idea either. Now, looking back, I can see why Michael was apprehensive about putting the article out in the paper the next day, but that is exactly what he did. The hard hitting expo was titled, “Womsanyes, destroyer of worlds.” playing off of Oppenheimer’s famous quote.
The article was the first ever AP story my brother wrote that actually got picked up and ran all over the country. Phone calls started to pour into the house and letters began to arrive two days later. Some came with money, a dollar here, 25 cents there, and some came with stories similar to ours.
On the fourth day our family received a visit from the FBI and two undisclosed men in suits,
“Hello,” I said as I opened the door “May I help you?”
The man in front pulled out his credentials and said, “Hello, young lady. We’re her to see a David and Michael de Garcia.”
“Dad, Michael, the fuzz is here to see you.” I yelled, and wondered what my dad would have thought of the condescending look the agent gave me. My brother introduced himself and pointed to the living room where my dad was sitting on the couch.
“Can I help you?” Michael asked.
“I’m agent Thompson and we are here to discuss your article you wrote, ‘Womsonyes the destroyer of worlds.’ ”
“We’re going to need the names of the two sources you quoted in the story.”
Even though Michael was young, he was knowledgeable about his rights and knew how important keeping a source confidential was.
“Do you have a warrant?”
“No, but under the Patriot Act a matter of national security no longer requires a warrant,” one of them sputtered out.
“That is most certainly not true unless I or someone in my family has been accused of being an enemy combatant.”
One of the men who had never introduced himself interjected, “Your article attacks a key component of our food supply and undermines confidence in consumer spending. You could say it was a form of economic terrorism.”
“Writing an article that reports the facts is one of the highest forms of patriotism not terrorism.”
“Not anymore,” the agent retorted.
My dad had heard enough. He pushed his old tired bones up out of his Lazy Boy.
“Can either of you show me the ratification of the First Amendment or any documentation that allows you to disregard the freedom of the press?”
He paused and coughed like his whole lung was about to fly out onto the men, before he gathered himself.
“Unless you have a warrant we’re done here.”
He marched behind them and slammed the door shut as they descended down the front stoop.
The Cancer Culture
The next two weeks the whole family flew down to Mexico for a complete re-education on the human body. The Gerson diet is comprised of two main components, juicing and coffee enemas. The juices are made from specific fruits and vegetables that promote an alkaline state. Unlike blender juicings the Gerson therapy calls for pressed juices, using a Norwalk juicer. They use this method to eliminate most of the fiber while squeezing out the basic vitamins and minerals the body needs.
In most cases fiber is an important part of a healthy diet, but in a cancer patient, the goal is to minimize the workload on the body to maximize its ability to fight off the disease. What does that mean? It means that anything that is hard on the body to digest should not be eaten.
As a family we decided it would help dad if we all made the same sacrifices, so we began to eat and drink the same diet. For a meat and potato family this was nearly impossible. My mom only lasted one week before she was caught sneaking in donuts. And my brother would sneak off at least once a day to indulge in some kind of gluttonous snack.
Not me. I couldn’t sneak off or cheat because I felt like it was my turn to lift him up after he’d fallen. Regardless of the cheating, the two weeks in Mexico transformed all of us, I lost the least amount of weight, 15 pounds, while my dad and brother lost 20 and my mother lost 25 lbs. For dad there was a real concern that he doesn’t lose too much weight, but the doctors assured us as long as he followed the program he could not melt away.
For weeks after we returned it seemed as if dad’s color was returning and the loss of weight gave him more energy. Our hope began to grow that it might just be possible for him to beat the disease.
The Cancer Culture
A month later, my dad and my mother called us into the living room saying, “We have something we would like to discuss with you.”
I looked down and saw a Bible sitting on the coffee table. It took my breath away and I had to sit down. My parents were not regulars at church and I had never seen them looking at a Bible.
“Over the past two weeks,” my dad stopped, and tears started to flow down his cheeks.
My mom continued for him because he just couldn’t. “Your dad has been in a lot of pain and,” She paused and looked at dad, “We’ve talked to our doctors here in the states and they think the radiation will help with the pain.”
My brother, a little aggravated, asked. “Do you realize what that means?”
Tears now began to flow down my mom’s cheeks. “Yes, son.”
“You’re giving up, praying to some god?” He picked up the bible and slammed it back down on the table. “It’s a death sentence. That’s what radiation is.”
“Stop!” my dad yelled through his weeping, “I can’t do it, Michael.” He held his hand out and Michael gripped it. “We called the Gerson doctors first. They got my test results back. The cancer is growing too fast. It’s moved into my bones and it hurts.”
Michael looked away. “You can’t.”
“Look at me.” He reached up and pulled Michael’s chin toward him. “I need you to accept this.” He looked at me, “I need both of you to accept this.”
Accept what? I thought. I just couldn’t wrap my head around my dad coming to the realization that this was it, but here he was planning his death. It felt surreal as he explained how he didn’t want to waste money. I didn’t understand. We could replace the money and the stuff, but we couldn’t replace him. Why couldn’t he see that? He seemed to be hiding behind some sense of responsibility, worried more about us and our future than his.
“I love you guys so much and I know you’ll be all right, but you need to be strong for each other.” He held out his hand for me to join him and Michael. I’m not sure why, but I knelt down and buried my head in his lap, something I hadn’t done in years.
He began to pray, “God grant me the wisdom to change the things I can and accept that which I can’t.”
Tears flowed down like a late summer storm and pain pounded my heart like thunder. Change was coming and for the first time in our lives the anchor that held our ship at bay had just broken free.
The Cancer Culture
Michael’s next article was a hard hitting piece on the financial choice a person with cancer must face. This time the FBI and friends were there only hours after the paper first his stands.
Knock, Knock, knock… again on the door, this time even louder.
“FBI, open up.”
“Come on, get your shoes on,” Michael commanded.
I followed him into the back of the house, where he slid open a window and said, “All right. We’re going over the back fence, through the Hudson’s yard. Got it?”
He held up his finger to my lips and whispered, “Don’t worry about why!”
He slid out the window and helped me down. We sprinted across the lawn and someone yelled. “Stop.”
Michael squeezed my hand just before he let go and we both scaled the fence,
“I said stop,” The voice yelled.
We didn’t listen; we landed on the other side and began to sprint. We rounded the corner just as a black unmarked police car came screaming to a stop in front of us. The other man emerged behind him with a gun. “Put your hands on the hood.”
Michael smiled at me, “Just do what they said.”
“Why are you running?” One of them asked.
“We’re just out getting some exercise.”
“Really, you often exercise by cutting through your neighbor’s lawn?”
“Yes.” Michael said defiantly.
A small crowd of people began to form and I could see them pointing and whispering.
“We have some questions we’d like to ask you down at the station.”
“Are you asking?” Michael snickered.
“Put your hands behind your back.”
The cuffs hurt as they shoved us in the back seat. “You have the right to remain silent..:”
The Cancer Culture
“I want a lawyer and I’m not answering any of your questions.” Michael said, sitting with his arms crossed. He thought to himself, “Where is Rene?”
They separated us when we got to the station. At first they were really nice to me. A tall, thin agent came in and offered me something to drink and eat, which I graciously accepted. But the tone started to change when they found Michael was not going to give up his sources.
I hadn’t read the stories and really had no Idea what the big deal was.
“Your brother’s article is treason and we need his sources.”
“I don’t know his sources and haven’t even read the article.”
“Well, your brilliant brother has accused the federal government and a number of its agencies of fraud and conspiracy to manipulate the health of our citizens for profit. He actually compared the US government to Nazi Germany and laid out how we became a fascist state.”
“Like I said, I have no Idea what you’re talking about.”
I wasn’t lying, yet they just kept at it, with question after question trying to get me to change my story.
“You do realize we can hold you indefinitely unless you cooperate.”
“I am cooperating.”
“No, you’re not.” He shook his head and huffed. “We need you to think. Have you seen your brother talking to anyone different or unusual?”
I scratched my head. “I…”
I didn’t get the chance to finish as the door opened and a familiar face came waltzing in.
“Say no more.”
My dad’s lawyer handed a piece of paper to the men.
The Cancer Culture
Two weeks passed and life was pretty uneventful. Michael was put on leave at the newspaper and my parents withdrew me from school and placed me in home school. We spent most of our hours together, talking, playing board games, and watching old movies, except for the times Dad went in for radiation. The cancer had spread to his bones and had become very painful. He had made the decision, despite Michael’s plea, to do radiation in an effort to stop the agony.
In a way it worked, but he exchanged one set of problems for the next. Gone was the pain in the bones, while nausea crept its way into his belly. Nothing could stay down, even the organic juices and Hypocraties potato soup. Within a week all the color in his face was gone and his weight had plummeted another 28 lbs.
Had I not been there every day I don’t think I would have believed that this was the same person. Six months ago, my dad was the epitome of health and a towering example for me and my brother, strong, resilient, respected, and unwavering.
The man in front of me, who struggles to breath and doesn’t have the strength to make it to the rest room, is broken. Everything he ever thought has all been swept away, and death is at his door.
I wiped his forehead and his eyes rolled in the back of his head.
“Dad?” I asked franticly.
“I’m ok, hon, just a little weak.” He said, and then he passed out.
I ran over to Michael’s room, “Dad passed out.”
We called 911 and the ambulance came.
That night at the hospital the doctor explained how Dad had become so was weak because he wasn’t able to keep enough fluids and food in him. They suggested we try a number of medications. We went to the pharmacy to pick them up and Michael got to talking to a man in line behind us.
He got real quiet and said, “Have you heard of the stuff that is going on with pot and cancer?”
Perplexed, we both said, “No.”
The guy gave us a funny smirk and said, “Well if you dad’s sick enough to need chemo or radiation I think you need to check it out.
As soon as we got home we all sat down on our tech devices and began surfing the net. “Marijuana and cancer,” was what we typed into the search engine and what came up floored us all.
We found out that not only had marijuana been successfully helping cancer patients overcome nausea, but also that there were hundreds of foreign studies being done that suggested marijuana could prevent and cure cancer.
How could this be? As conservatives we had heard how bad this drug was, and how it was a gateway drug. My mom’s generation was so conditioned to fear the plant that even discussing it made her hands sweat.
Michael made some calls and a local man named Ean Seeb arrived at the house. Ean, the head of Cannabis Political Action Committee, was one of the leading advocates for the sensible movement toward legalization and regulation. Michael pulled some strings and asked if Ean would talk to his mother. Ean agreed as long as Michael would go ahead with the article he was putting together on the rise of medical marijuana and how it could help hundreds of thousands across the country who are suffering.
“Hello.” Ean said.
“Hello.” My mom nodded at him, “Have a seat.”
He sat at the end of the table. “Michael here interviewed me yesterday and he tells me you are in need of some information about cannabis.” He stopped and chuckled saying, “If you’re like most people, just the word cannabis is scary.”
He sat forward in his seat. “There is no reason to be afraid, The fear you have was taught to you, systematically drilled into your head by the media, the government and the education system, but there is no reason to be scared. In fact, I’m going to give you a list of the top ten reasons people are scared and how they are wrong.”
He smiled, and told us, “I don’t expect you to take my word for it so I brought you a list of resources that will corroborate what I say and you can ask me any question you like. Ok?” He stared right at mom.
“Ok.” She said with a sigh of relief, as if to say “I trust you.”
“The first myth is that marijuana is addictive. In fact, coffee, soda, and chocolate have more addictive properties than cannabis, and cannabis has no physical withdrawal symptoms.
Two, marijuana prohibition protects kids. The facts show prohibition has only made the numbers worse.
Three, marijuana causes cancer or lung damage. There are no studies that prove this. On the contrary, the properties of this unique plant seem to block cancer growth.
Four, using marijuana will lead you into crime and delinquency. That has happened only because it’s illegal. Plus some of our most prominent citizens have partaken.
Five, marijuana is the gateway drug. This is not true. A report by the Institute of Medicine found no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs.
Six, marijuana is a dangerous drug. Study after study has found it less harmful than alcohol and tobacco and much less harmful than drugs like cocaine and heroin.
Seven, marijuana will cause memory loss and intelligence loss in the long term. While intoxicated, you may have short term memory loss, but there is no scientific evidence of permanent damage.
Eight, marijuana is more potent now than in the past. There is no statistical evidence to support what law enforcement agencies keep claiming that today’s marijuana is more potent and therefore more dangerous.
Nine, marijuana causes a lack of motivation or apathy. In fact, studies found there was no loss of motivation or the ability to perform. Marijuana users tend to have higher paid jobs than non-users.
This one I saved for last because it’s why we’re here
Ten, marijuana has no medical benefits. There is an amazing array of medical benefits. While the drug companies run scared, the natural use of this plant has shown to relieve pain, quell nausea and vomiting, stimulate the appetite, and may even fight cancer.”
He stopped and asked, “Are there any questions?”
To my surprise my mom jumped right in. “What about insurance? I read somewhere online that if they test him and marijuana is found in his system that some policies will automatically drop him and he would be responsible for any medical bills.”
“Your son took the liberty to let me who your insurer is. I called them and discussed the situation. They are one of three companies that has not written this into their policies.” Ean explained.
“What about his job? If they test him and he comes up positive, can’t they fire him and cancel his insurance?”
“Yes, they could, if he did not have a prescription, but I have lined up a doctor who will give him a medical marijuana card.”
“Are they legal here in Colorado?” Mom asked.
“They’re not, but companies with good lawyers will recognize, the huge chance they would be taking in regards to discrimination. Could you imagine the lawsuit one could bring against a company who denies medicine to its dying employees?”
Michael interjected, “His Medical marijuana card would actually be in California, and we would be working with a local doctor here to help monitor his progress.”
“What about possession? Even if we go through all this, aren’t we still breaking the law?” Mom asked.
“Have you heard the term conscientious objectors?” Ean responded.
“You would be acting on the same principle,” Ean said.
“Didn’t Mohammad Ali go to jail for five years because he was a conscientious objector?” she asked.
Ean smiled, “Yes he did and that is something all of you my face, but what is the alternative? Have any of the drugs the doctors prescribed helped with his nausea or stopped the extreme wasting associated with cancer?”
“No,” she looked at me and Michael then back at Ean. “Ok, how do we go about getting it?”
That was it. Seven words in a question and we were officially headed toward our first drug deal.
The Cancer Culture
As we pulled up to a nice suburban house Michael looked down at the paper. “This is the address,” he confirmed.
Mom ripped the paper out of his hand. “Are you sure? It looks so nice,” She said.
Michael shrugged his shoulders. “Can’t judge a book by its cover, I guess.” He looked back at me. “
“What about Rene? Are you sure she should come with us?”
“No,” she looked back at me, “I’m not, but if we’re going to do this we can’t treat it like that, understood?”
We both agreed in unison, “Yes.”
Walking up to the door, I couldn’t help but notice how clean and tidy everything in the yard seemed to be. A tall, handsome man answered the door with two toddlers hanging from his legs. “Good afternoon, the de Gracias, I suppose, I’m Mr. Brown.”
“Yes.” My mom stuck her hand out to greet him. “I’m Lori, here are Rene and Michael.
Shaking her hand, he invited us in.
“Excuse the mess,” he said, kicking a small ball down the hall.
I looked around and saw no mess at all. I was taken aback by how different it seemed then how I imagined it would be.
We entered the kitchen. The fridge door was covered in kids’ drawings and ABC magnets.
He stopped to look down at his kids, and said, “Could you two go down to the play room and start cleaning up?”
His kids hurried out of the room.
“Our mutual friend, Ean, told me you needed some medicine.”
My mom answered. “Yes, and I think I can speak for all three of us. We have no idea what it is we need.”
“That’s ok. I spoke with Ean and have a few different strains I think will help.”
He opened up a pantry door, pulled out a sliding door and retrieved a clear rectangular box with dividers in it. He set it down and opened it. Each divider was filled with different kinds of marijuana, and at least three were filled with some kind of concentrate, wax, and hash.
“Now the Charlotte’s Web strain is a strain of high cannabidiol better know as CBD’s and should be taken as often as needed for pain.”
“What about a possible overdose?” Michael asked.
“”There is no toxic level of cannabis, so there is no possible way to overdose,” Mr. Brown explained.
“He has never smoked marijuana. Can he eat it instead?” Mom asked.
“Yes, but you’ll need to cook it first to activate the oils in it. I’ll give you an instruction sheet before you leave.”
“Thank you. Can I ask you a question without sounding dumb?” Mom smiled.
“I used to be a teacher and we always like to say there are no bad questions, so fire away.”
“If eating it is ok, why don’t we just get the prescription pills called Marinol from a pharmacy?”
“Marino is synthetic THC which is the major psychoactive part of the cannabis plant. The problem is that cannabis is made up of at least fifty different compounds and THC is only one of them. Research is limited due to its classification as a Scheduled I drug so what little we do have points to the symbiotic relationship of the compounds and how they work better or more efficiently when combined. The problem is they haven’t been able to recreate that relationship in manufacturing Marinol, so all you’re left with is the one compound. If you smoke this, you’ll get all the medicine you need at its highest medicinal level, whereas taking a Marinol pill will not be as effective.”
“Makes sense,” she said.
“So this is the pain one.” He turned over the bottle and labeled it. “Pain high CBD.” He pulled out a few buds with purple accents on it and amber crystals that looked like it was dipped in brown sugar. “This strain of marijuana is called indica. It was harvested late to produce these dark crystals which helps raise the CBD levels.”
He closed the lid and slid it toward us, saying, “Now, this stuff here.”
He pulled out a hand full of much smaller buds that were lighter in color and looked like it was dipped in white sugar.
“This is a Sativa, which is lower in CBD. It Is better for Nausea and the wasting. He should take this thirty minutes prior to his scheduled eating time.”
He held them up toward my mom.”
“They stink.” She turned her head away and made a sour face.
“This strain is called ‘sour diesel’ because it can smell as strong as diesel fuel.”
“So one for pain, one for eating, and you said one more.”
He went back to the pantry and brought a bottle with an eye dropper made of dark blue glass.
“This is a cannabis tincture that you take orally or sublingually for sleep.” He smiled, and said, “These three things should help your husband deal with the side effects of this treatment for this horrible disease.”
Michael piped up. “How do we know this is pure, and not cut with other drugs?”
He laughed. “That’s an urban legend and unequivocally not true of any drug dealer I’ve ever met. Let me explain, other drugs comparatively are way more expensive and have to be consumed in a very specific manner or they would be wasted. A gram of cocaine can cost a hundred dollars. Since drug dealers are in it for the money, why would they lace their marijuana buds that are worth ten dollars with something that is worth ten times as much and sell it for the same ten dollars.”
“Add to that, unless you’re smoking that weed with a blow torch or mainlining it which I’ve never heard of anyone doing with weed, most of the laced drug would just melt down into the pipe because its flash point is higher than weed.”
“Wow, I had no idea,” mom said. Then she asked. “Why do I continually see respected journalists and talk show hosts bringing up the purity and laced question.”
“That is just another backlash from years of corporate propaganda against it.”
He held up one of the buds and smelled it, “This should do it.”
As we drove home my heart was pounding with anticipation and fear. I couldn’t believe we were driving down the street, with my mom, my brother, and a bag of drugs. I had heard of pot before, but never imagined my first drug deal would be with my 40 year old mother, much less delivering it to my ultra conservative father.
I didn’t know it then, but that day was the last day I would know hope as it pertains to the word cancer.
The Cancer Culture
Desperate acts by desperate a person, that is what cancer has become in the US. My family was no different. We were desperate and willing to do and try anything just to find hope. Dad even agreed to smoke marijuana, something he was normally vehemently against just to give the three remaining members in his family some hope. In small doses we would find our hope hidden behind the sorrow and lingering in the memories of our childhood stories.
We spent long hours reminiscing and planning. How surreal it must have been for him as he explained to us how his pension would be paid out and went over his expectations for our future.
I was fourteen, I really had no idea what I wanted to do, but I did want my dad. I wanted him to be there if I got married, had a child, or invented something really cool. As the weeks went on, I was starting to realize that he wouldn’t be there for any of that. He wouldn’t see me graduate from high school or accept my first job. The outside world seemed so trivial to me and I found myself retreating from it. Michael dealt with his grief in a different way. He turned his anger toward anyone and everything he felt perpetuated what he called the cancer culture.
I thought Dad would have a talk with him about it, saying something like, “Be a calm voice in the raging storm,” but he did not, he was unusually supportive instead. Michael and he would stay up long hours discussing his articles and answering letters about cancer. Michael’s star was rising and the world was taking notice. He was even asked to do an interview with one of dad’s old colleagues who hosted his own show on Fox News.
Mom took it the worst. She had known dad nearly all her life. They had been high school sweethearts. Dad was her rock, her anchor in troubled seas. Watching him melt away was tearing her apart inside. At 52 she had grown up under American Exceptionalism or the belief that everything America did was the best and for the right reasons. Cancer blew a hole in the hull of the vessel she called life and was now sinking. Everything she had ever been taught was a lie. Her son was being harassed for questioning the US policy on cancer, the government knowingly allows companies to poison us for profit and the health care system is more beholden to politics and beliefs than it is to science. She couldn’t wrap her head around all this. She felt as if the rug had been pulled out from under her. If all these were lies, she asked herself how she could trust anything our government and our corporations are selling?
The Cancer Culture
Two weeks later, my world stopped. The clock on the wall read 3:28 P.M. when I heard the wails and sobs coming from dad’s room. I ran down the hall desperately trying to remember whether I said goodbye in the morning.
“Stop.” My brother closed the door behind him and put his hands up. “He’s gone.”
“Let me in.” I tried to squeeze by.
“No,” he screamed, “It’s not good.”
“Let me in,” I screamed and clawed. “Mom!”
“She’s cleaning him up.”
Suddenly mom opened the door and collapsed to her knees. I dove into her arms and she hugged me. Michael joined in and we all wailed and cried.
The Cancer Culture
The pounding surf breaks upon my heart and washes over my fragile soul. I tumble in the wash, struggling for the surface until finally I gasp for air. Smash… another wave dampens my hope and pulls me under, helpless and alone. Again and again unrelenting emotions crash down, drowning my reason and crushing my spirit. This is cancer, a tsunami barreling down on an unprepared and unsuspecting victim.
I’m seventeen now and can look back at that time with a different perspective than I had three years ago. An experience like that changes a person, leaves an undeniable scar in your subconscious. I see cancer everywhere I go because I am aware. It’s hidden in ice-cream, hot dogs, and sugar. The mindless consumer continues to shovel poison into their mouths. I’ve seen toddlers sucking down soda and elementary kids so hyped up on sugar their eyes look like they may bulge out of their heads. What’s worse is the sham of an industry called health food that feeds on our fears and does little to change what we’re eating. In some cases exasperating the problem, like removing natural fat and replacing it with sugar, salt and chemicals.
When did profit become more important than people? I feel like this may be the question that brings down what my parents thought was a great country. For me, this country has betrayed my trust, taken from me my innocence, and left me cynical. The Cancer culture isn’t just killing our people; it’s destroying the fabric of society itself.
The Freedom Files
University of California, Berkely, 2191
I showed up to class early to make sure I got a good seat, but apparently I wasn’t the only one excited, because the auditorium was nearly filled, With a half an hour before class was supposed to start. Some of the younger people were already in a heated discussion about the story.
“It’s sad that they have to use drugs to get their point across,” One of them said.
Another fired back, “What you’re calling drugs is nothing more than a weed and the main ingredient in that green mush they serve us to prevent cancer.”
A sliver-haired beauty popped her head out of the crowd and said, “That green mush is called Canniboid, named for the Cannabis plant that in the past was viewed as a drug and called marijuana. We obviously know better now, right?” She looked at the original commenter with a motherly stare.
He put his head down and said under his breath, “Yeah, I guess so.”
I made my way over to the silver-headed siren. “Hello, I’m Dax.” I stuck out my hand.”
“Hello, I’m Abby.” She smiled warmly.
“Is this seat taken?” I asked.
“Oh, no…” She shook her head and grabbed her stuff that was piling over into the seat.
“So did you get the chance to read the whole thing?” I asked, and then felt dumb as soon as it left my lips, of course she had.
She didn’t seem to mind as she gave me the breakdown of her feelings about the book and how much it resonated with her. I was lost in her words and drawn in by her beauty. The time must have flown past us because before I could even respond we were standing up applauding the former President as she started the class.
“Who can tell me which constitutional amendment we wrote after this book was used in the Continental Congress?”
“The 28thamendment. Section one states that health care is a basic right for a developed nation and should be shielded from open market factors,” Abby said before anyone in the room could answer.
“Excellent, Ms. Lennon.” She smiled at her and then asked, “Can you tell us why the cancer culture helped us come to that conclusion?”
Abby sat up looked at me out of the corner of her eye and cracked a slight smile before answering, “Madam President. I think the story highlights what can happen when we allow profit to drive our decisions about healthcare.”
“Yes. Now can anyone expand upon our decision as it pertains to the story?”
A young man on the other side of the room was called on and explained how healthcare for profit led to inflated prices and limited access to those on the lower side of the economic scale. He insisted that the man who died of cancer did so because of his own ignorance and suggested that what had been known as the Conservative Brain disease made the whole country go mad.
The President stopped him and explained how he was just perpetuating the propaganda the corporations used to separate us and conquer us. She explained how they first used the conservative machine against America, not by some brain disease but by simple conditioning. They found what the conservatives deeply cared about and they just attached their agenda to it. Every time some would mention Abortion, they would attach the government is killing babies mantra to it, implying that the government is evil. Outsourcing became a rallying call for fewer regulations and the abolition of taxation, by implying that corporations moved off shore because our government was trying to control them or take away their freedom. She went on to explain that the reality was far from the truth and to blame any single group was wrong. What the people failed to realize was that the government is the people.
“Look in the mirror. That is the government.”
She paused and the room fell silent as we thought about her words.Then she changed the subject. “Has anyone here known anyone who has died of cancer?”
No one said anything, but I raised my hand.
“Yes, Mr. Dukain, please share your experience.”
“My grandfather was one of the last known cases. I was seven at the time. He and a group of people refused to take the daily canniboid slush because they thought it was used to control their minds.” I chuckled a little at the absurdity of that statement. It was widely publicized that Canniboid was made of wormwood, turmeric, whole cannabis, pectin, and spirulena. The corporations of the world had started requiring the daily sludge because it completely prevents cancer from forming.
“I assume you chuckled because you realize that Canniboid is a perfect example of the baby and the bathwater analogy,” she stated.
“OK, then, it’s safe to say that cancer as they knew it did not have to exist, yet it did, why? I’ll tell you why because sometimes the biggest questions are solved with simple solutions and simple solutions are often hard to control and profit from. Many of the solutions to the energy crises were found in the work of Nicola Tesla 150 years after he first wrote about them. I could go on and on. What we found was that in certain parts of the economy we just couldn’t allow open and free markets such as Health, Education, Defense, Prisons, Postal Services, Infrastructure. These are things that can’t be outsourced or privatized. This story helped introduce our newly elected officials to ideas that were different and flew in the face of their upbringing and education they had been exposed to during the corporate years. It also gave them a small glimpse of how easy it is to push people into radicalism and gave us a baseline for where we want our people to be.
Can anyone tell me the three things we believe people need to feel content within society?”
Someone two seats down was called on. “Autonomy, purpose and mastery,” the student responded.
She smiled, and said, “I see you all know, so what do the words mean and why? Let’s start with Autonomy.”
A girl in the back yelled out, “freedom,” but the young man in the front had a more precise response, saying, “It’s our desire to use the ability to reason and to make decisions on our own without being coerced.”
“Yes,” the President said. “Immanuel Kant wrote, ‘Have courage to use your own reason! That is the motto of enlightenment.’ Make no mistake about it, we are attempting to build upon the age of Enlightenment and the work our founders did in perpetuating the best of what western philosophy has produced.”She paused and looked down at her notes then said. “Now ‘purpose,’ can someone tell me what we meant when we added ‘purpose’ to the second declaration?”
I raised my hand, but someone behind me was called on.
“The reason something exists,” he blurted out.
“Yes. We found that Aristotle, Aquinas and Kant all wrestled with the question about the meaning of life. In the end, we used the word ‘purpose’ instead of ‘meaning’ to explain what we intrinsically want. Purpose was missing in the corporate cog model and it was replaced with duty and survival. People want to feel like they are a part of something important that will go beyond their day to day grind. The jobs in the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century lost creativity and purpose. Duty and survival became the only reason for a job. In this destructive circular model, the employee or wage slave needs to make money because they need to pay for the right to live. Unfortunately duty and survival do not mean purpose and the populous therefore always felt oppressed. Sadly the ruling class also started an all-out attack on the professions that inherently had purpose in them, like police officers and teachers, subsequently destroying those professions. This was one of the determining factors in our living wage argument and our favoring tax incentives for small businesses, but we’ll get into that after we read Corporate Control and discuss the expansion of the antitrust laws. The idea is that we wanted to help foster and develop a climate of purpose where small business and small farms could take over the void the corporations left. Now, can anyone tell me what ‘mastery’ means and why it’s important? The president asked.
I responded, “Mastery is the knowledge and skill that allows you to make, use, or understand a subject very well or have complete control of something. Why is it important? Because we are creatures of habit, and for most of human existence we survived by becoming masters of a skill that we either used directly in acts like hunting or we used them indirectly by trading or selling our skill in order to gain sustenance,” I said after she called on me.
“Exactly, and just like ‘purpose,’ ‘mastery’ was lost in this age. They couldn’t keep up with the rapidly changing environment and corporations forgot about their workers’ well-being for short-sighted gains. People were unhappy, angry, and frustrated, and that is when the corporatists struck, driving a deep wedge into the country which ultimately led to the corporate takeover. We used this story and the principles of autonomy, purpose, and mastery when we wrote all of the protective amendments as they have come to be called, including Health, Education, Defense, Police, Corrections, the Postal Service and Infrastructure. It was with this understanding that these professions and departments also be rewarded be paid well, so that they need not worry about money. We showered them with praise, for it is they who nurture and defend our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We also made it clear that the pursuit of happiness as we interpreted it, is the drive for autonomy, purpose and mastery.”
The class hung on her words as if she controlled our involuntary bodily functions like breathing and our heart rhythms.
She looked at her watch, and said, “With that I’ll have to cut class short today, because I have an interview in fifteen minutes. Please read The Weed War and be prepared to talk about money in politics and the separation of church and state as it pertains to the second constitution and declaration of independence.”
She ended class, but I stayed afterwards to talk to Abby. She gave me her number and we set a date to meet up this weekend to discuss our takes on The Weed War before next Tuesday’s class. I was so excited I sped home and began reading The Weed War.
Read more of The Freedom Files in the next book The Weed War
Sneak peek of (The Weed War[*)*]
The year is 2161, and the world is under one government: The United Corporations of the World. the year is 2161, and the world is under one government: The United Corporations of the World. Land is divided into provinces and each province is represented by the number of corporations that preside within its borders. After the fall of the great twentieth century experiments like the U.S.S.R and the USA, a new more streamlined approach of governing developed. People still needed basic necessities regardless of the system, so corporations stepped in and began an entirely new kind of government, one that has no separation between private and public sectors. They seized the properties they needed to increase their profits and made laws that banned anything that didn’t further the bottom line. Every legal institution in the world answers to one bank, and the bank is run by a special committee appointed by the top ten corporate CEO’s in the world.
On July 4th, of 2025, it became illegal to not work for a corporation, the penalty: death. As harsh as this may seem, after martial law for four years, and massive social upheaval, most people wanted security and safety. They gave up on many of the common practices that they saw as the downfall of democracy. Entrepreneurship was abandoned and now everyone is required to work 32 hours a week starting at the age of 33.
People needed someone to blame for the financial situation the world found itself in. The finger was pointed at people who didn’t contribute before, like children and moms, so the education system evolved. All people are to attend appropriate mandatory schooling until the age of 33. School starts at birth to allow mothers to meet their own work obligations.
Every year students test to determine what track each individual will be on. Most schools for people past the age of twelve are for studying trades at vocational schools. They put the students to work while giving them the tools it takes to function at a low wage job.There are still jobs for people that robots still can’t perform.
The system is a computerized aggregation program dubbed “Selection,” because it selects the best life path for individuals. In the old system they tried to make everyone equal. Selection understands that people are not equal; instead they are given exactly what their aptitude deems. Individuality has been slowly legislated away. Every person in each province wears the uniform of the corporation they were indebted to when their parents filed for a new birth permit. They all have the same unisex hairstyle as well.
In one province that was once the northwestern portion of the United States, just outside of Apple, the largest metropolis is AELA. AELA is Apple’s Educational Leadership Academy and the destination for the province’s brightest students.
[* AELA -ROOM 22, 20th Century History, 18 to 20 year old Gifted and Talented students. *]
A bright white classroom with neat rows of desks is empty with the exception of Mr. Borinski, who sits at the only out of place object in the room, a large worn-out wooden desk. He leans forward, takes a sip of his steaming hot caramel macchiato, turns the page on today’s holographic news paper and presses the highlighter function. He circles a headline.
“Another Teacher Arrested for Subversive Acts of Treason”
He scans down the page and stops dead center. “Ah ha, treason, teaching Jefferson…”
As the bell rings, he shakes his head, places his palm on the highlighted section, and pulls the article into the air, where it hovers freely. His eyes scan the screen until they fixate on a file in the bottom right of the floating screen. Pinching it between his fingers he drags the article into the file. The file automatically opens and the article shows up next to thumbnails of hundreds of other articles with titles about teachers being arrested. He presses a red button and the file minimizes back into the screen.
His eyes rise up to an already half full class. The nineteen-year-old students are all presented in the same exact dark blue, one-piece uniform and they all have the same haircuts, a standard military flat-top. When Mr. Borinski looks down at his uniform, his large belly makes it look like a balloon; he shakes his head and walks over to the board to write something down. The bell rings.
Two boys who are running late bump into each other as they both try to fit through the door. Students are feverishly writing.
“Just in time,” Mr. Borinski says, swirling around. “Make sure you get the date.” He walks over to the door and pulls the blinds on the window down, “OK move ‘em.” The students, in an orderly fashion stop writing and move the desks into a circle. Mr. Borinski grabs an extra desk to join in. Once settled, he points up at the two words he wrote on the board.
“USA” and “Weed War”
He looks around the circle. “Can anyone tell me based on the article last night, what these two represent?”
A light skinned 19 year old young woman with big thick glasses raises her hand. “Yes, sir,” she squeaks.
“OK, then give it a go.” Mr. Borinski flashes an encouraging smile.
“Um, well, the USA, is well, it was the last vestige of democracy, and a failed social experiment. And the Weed War was the war that exposed the vile truth that brought down the country.”
“Bingo, great job Harley. Any other opinions?”
No one says anything; they all look away, trying not to make eye contact.
“Did any of you make it to the web last night and check the archive?” He reaches up to the corner of his desk and presses down. A hidden button depresses and a hologram pops up in front of him. A voice asks him to log in, so he opens his right eye and waits. The hologram in front of him shoots out a laser, scanning his eye.
“Verifying,” a calm female voice from the bottom of the desk announces. “Welcome, Mr. Borinski.”
“Good morning, Siri, I need my class files please.”
“No problem, sir.”
He thumbs through a number files before stopping on the one labeled Class Check In. He opens it and his eyes get big, “It says here only three of you read the article. Anyone want to tell me why?”
One of the boys in the back yelled, “It’s boring.”
Mr. Borinski drops his head and shakes it before he pops up and smiles. “What if I gave you something you’ve never seen before?”
“Like what?” the same boy yelled, as he lifted his head up off the desk.
Mr. Borinski jumped up and scurried over to the closet door. He rifled through to the very back before emerging with an old brown box. He set it down and a cloud of dust exploded out in all directions.
“What, you got a mummy?” One of the boys asks as the rest of the class snickers.
“No, what I have here is…” he pulls out two books, “…is books.”
Gasps fill the room and whispers follow. One of the boys raises his hand and Mr. Borinski calls on him, “Yes, Zack?”
“I thought they burned all the books?”
Harley can’t control her excitement. She had heard about books from her grandmother, but she had never actually seen one. She raises her hand and shakes it like a flag in the wind. Call on me, she thinks to herself, so excited she is wiggling in her seat.
Mr. Borinski calls on her, “Yes, Harley?”
“Can we touch them, Mr. B?”
“You are all going to take them home tonight.”
Her jaw drops. “What? Really?” She looks around the class at the shocked faces in the room. “Is that legal?”
“Of course, but…” he looks around and then whispers, “…it’s against school policy, so maybe I shouldn’t.” He starts to close the box.
Harley jumps to her feet, “Oh no. You can’t do that.” She hurries over and holds out her hand, “Mine please.”
Mr. Borinski hands her a book. She can’t believe it. In her hands is a book, something that changed the world, but then was lost. She thinks to herself, between the pages is a world of the unknown. She brings it up to her nose and inhales the dark musky smell that lends to its mystery. She examines the title.
The Diary of Renee de Garcias, A Weed War Tale
“Huh.” She feels the embossed green leaf on the cover, its seven points protruding out like fingers on a hand. “What is this leaf?” she asks, looking up at Mr. Borinski.
“That is the leaf of the Cannabis plant, sometimes called weed.”
“That’s the plant that destroyed a country?” One boy asks as he takes his book.
Mr. Borinski smiles, but shakes his head. “It wasn’t the plant as much as the principles that it represented.”
“What do you mean?” another boy asks.
Mr. Borinski looks up, and sees everyone in the classroom is hooked. “I can’t tell you. We’ll have to read this, and find out what each of you thinks; only then will you understand.”
The boy steps forward and sticks out his hand. “All right then, give me a book.”
Harley’s best friend Olga rushes over to Harley to compare books. “Can you believe it?”
“No.” Harley shakes her head as she stares at the cover of the book and runs her fingers over the leaf. “I never could have imagined,” she said, her smile glowing with excitement.
After a brief discussion about how to treat the books, the bell rings, and Mr. Borinski hands out the last book. The students scramble to pack up and move the desks back. Mr. Borinski yells over the commotion, “Read the forward and the first entry tonight and be prepared to discuss it tomorrow.”
This novella is an original creation by a Native American artist. Duke Kell is a member of Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Tribal ID number 89RD101025.
Two Ton Productions
Kona, Hawai’i, USA
About the Author:
Duke Kell, Author, Poet, Philosopher, resides in Kona on the big island of Hawaii. He and his wife Nancy, own and operate Two Ton Productions. Disillusioned by the corporate dumbing down of popular entertainment, their company is dedicated to publishing works of substance.
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Freedom Files Books
The Cancer Culture
The Weed War
The Survailance State
Other full length novels:
The Point of Origin, by Duke and Nancy Kell.(2010)
Hawaiian Heart. The Soul Warrior’s Journey, by Duke and Nancy Kell(2013)
The Cancer Culture is the first book in the “Freedom Files" series, a collection of novelettes about ongoing civil liberty issues. They thought what they were eating was healthy, they thought the water they drank was safe, they thought the doctor was supposed to help; one word changed everything, Cancer. This firsthand account exposes a culture of lies at the highest levels of government and its ties to industries that drive social and economic manipulation. A philosophical story about the effects cancer has on the families of its victims. Included at the beginning and the end is the Freedom Files that correlate with this story.