Right under our noses

On December 8, 1999, a unanimous decision was reached between 12 jurors (6 black and 6 white) that the United States government was complicit in the assassination of Martin Luther King.

It was the only trial performed on Dr.King’s death and to this day no one and no organizations/corporations have been held accountable for these actions. According to author and journalist, James Douglass: “I can hardly believe the fact that, apart from the courtroom participants, only Memphis TV reporter Wendell Stacy and I attended from beginning to end this historic three-and-one-half week trial. Because of journalistic neglect scarcely anyone else in this land of ours even knows what went on in it. After critical testimony was given in the trial’s second week before an almost empty gallery, Barbara Reis, U.S. correspondent for the Lisbon daily Publico who was there several days, turned to me and said, ‘Everything in the U.S. is the trial of the century. O.J. Simpson’s trial was the trial of the century. Clinton’s trial was the trial of the century. But this is the trial of the century, and who’s here?’ ”

The case was between King’s family and longtime friend and lawyer, William F. Pepper, vs Jowers and other unknown co-conspirators. After a mere ONE hour of deliberation (when some cases require days as opposed to hours to reach a verdict), the jurors of the Memphis, Tennessee court concluded that Dr. King was assassinated by a conspiracy that involved agencies of the US government.

Coretta Scott King: “We have done what we can to reveal the truth, and we now urge you as members of the media, and we call upon elected officials, and other persons of influence to do what they can to share the revelation of this case to the widest possible audience.” – King Family Press Conference, Dec. 9, 1999.

Now this is not a post on conspiracy theories inv0lving the martyrdom of Dr.King. This is  an objective look on the death of Martin Luther King and what conspired after his murder.

It is clear that Dr.King fought for equality and justice and at the time of his death (April 4, 1968) he had already made enemies in high places who didn’t agree with his philosophies and as a result, wanted him gone.

The King family believes the government’s motivation to murder Dr. King was to prevent his imminent camp-in/Occupy at Washington, D.C. until the Vietnam War was ended and those resources directed to end poverty and invest in US hard and soft infrastructure.” [1]

Moreover, it is factual that Dr.King was usually guarded by police and security guards who were not present an hour before his death. [1] It is also factual that Dr.King’s room was moved from a more secure first floor room to a balcony room. [1] And even more importantly, the bullet that killed Dr.King did not match that of the rifle that was shown in court.[1]

Now, all these facts can be argued away by a staunch opposer who can simply say it is a ‘mere coincidence.’ But the fact of the matter is that the King family did NOT sue the suspected killer, rather they filed a lawsuit against Loyd Jowers and other unknown entities.

Jowers was the former owner of a Memphis bar and grill. This bar and grill opened out onto the bushes facing the Lorraine motel where Dr.King was shot. Since then, the shrubs and bushes have been removed to erase the possibility of potentially hiding a sniper. [1]

Furthermore, James Early Ray, the suspected killer of Dr.King was never tried in court. He plead guilty in order to avoid a death penalty but his only act was bringing the rifle to the Memphis bar and grill owned by Jowers. When he later found out that he was the sole suspect charged with the murder of Dr.King, he recanted his guilty plea and asked for a trial, but to no avail. [4]

Jowers and the US government were eventually found guilty of conspiring to kill Dr.King but due to the ‘sovereign immunity’ that the US government obtains it makes it impossible to hold US intelligence agencies accountable in a criminal court. To hold such agencies accountable would require the help of the federal courts who wanted no part in indicting themselves.

Therefore, in the civil court, Jowers as well as the City of Memphis, the State of Tennessee and the United States of America were complicit in the conspiracy to murder Dr.King.

[1] http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/01/martin-luther-king-assassinated-us-govt-king-family-civil-trial-verdict.html

[2] https://www.ratical.org/ratville/JFK/Unspeakable/MLKconExp.html

[3] http://www.thekingcenter.org/civil-case-king-family-versus-jowers

[4] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2EE64XHcnI



As a recent graduate with a healthy (or actually, unhealthy) amount of student loans piling up, finding a full-time job, in media, with some semblance of financial security is damn near impossible.

Going to job interview after job interview, I’ve come to realize that it’s either; change who you are to fit the city (and subsequently the world), or stick with your integrity and principles and be broke.

Aside from the fact that no one wants to hire a journalist who cares about objectivity and holding people and corporations accountable; entering a giant, bustling city such as downtown Toronto really changes one’s perspective on life and the outlook on their futures.

As I head downtown to my newest job interview located at no more than a 5 minute walk from Union station, I am inundated with the city, it’s people, the scenery, and the stature that comes with it all. Aesthetic figures are walking everywhere in their business suits or blouses and the architecture along with the skyline is simply outstanding. Combine that with the hustle bustle of the city and it really captures an urban kid’s attention.

I can’t help but want to be a part of this atmosphere; to join this game where everyone has to dress up and rush to work at the same time, and leave for home at the same time. Go to lunch with a bunch of suits and ride in Tesla’s or Mustangs. To climb the ‘corporate ladder’ and be able to one day sit at the ‘big kids” table. To be able to join the suits on the streets and be invited to those exclusive, esoteric meetings/parties. I long for the city but hate it’s philosophy.

It’s like the popular girls in the movie Mean Girls, you absolutely hate what those girls stand for (materialistic, shallow and appearance-oriented) but when they invite you to a party or into their posse, you can’t help but jump at the opportunity.

And that’s exactly how I feel when I go downtown. I hate everything that the city stands for: conformity, materialism, capitalism, and the idea that appearances rule everything. But when I enter into the city for a job interview, I can’t help but wish and hope that the firm wants me just as bad as I want to be a part of them.

It’s a vicious duality between maintaining character and making a living. Should I sacrifice my beliefs and values to enter a firm that will pay me a decent wage? Or should I stick by my philosophies and hope that I encounter a firm or CEO that embraces what I believe in?

All my life I have railed against those who are fake, or lack integrity. But is this what the next stage of life has to offer? The balance between survival and integrity? From Thomas More to fictional characters like Ned Stark, should I die for my cause or conform to live another day?

I am truly torn as to what I have to do, and maybe someone out there is dealing with the same issues that I am. How do YOU deal with this contradictory dilemma? And what are your thoughts on how I should respond? Should I even aspire to be like Thomas More and Ned Stark, martyrs of their beliefs?


Critical mass

The definition of critical mass is: ‘the minimum size or amount of something required to start or maintain a venture.’ Basically, that means that critical mass is the minimal amount of material needed to ‘get the ball rolling’ or to get things started.It is the point in which you cross the boundary into something else. For instance, the Nth drop of water that causes the pail to overflow would be the critical mass. Thus, in that scenario, N would be the critical mass.

Another example; the critical mass of the formation of a new planet might be 800 protons. This means that once the ball of gas accumulates 800 protons, then the formation of a brand new planet will begin.Therefore, 800 protons is the critical mass needed to create a new planet.

But what is the critical mass of awareness? Or the critical mass of awakening? How many people need to be ‘informed’ or become ‘enlightened’ until things are done and action is  taken?

This seems to be the premise that Anonymous (prominent hacker group) is taking. Their goal is to reach a critical mass of information where people no longer sit idle at home and actively try to fight for equality and REAL justice. Anonymous’ goal is to spread their message to enough people so that critical mass can be attained.

It is pretty evident that as taxpayers, we do not know everything that we are funding. Time and time again, governments have claimed to own ‘classified information’ which cannot be disclosed to the public, or information ‘sensitive to national security’ that necessarily needs to be kept hidden from the public.

But how is it possible that we pay and fund for everything that ‘they’ are doing but we don’t get to know what it IS that they are doing? Furthermore, history has shown us that our leaders and governors have blatantly lied to the masses in order to achieve their own ends. For instance, the 43rd US president, George W. Bush, claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when in fact they did not. The United States merely invaded Iraq for the purpose of oil and to fulfill the bankers’ wants.

But that is only the tip of the iceberg, what about all of the other things that aren’t deemed ‘classified information’ or instead has been deleted by dirty politicians and their minions? (Ahem* Hillary Clinton…)

The fact is, we know nothing about the government that runs us, and we know even less about who runs the government. So at what point do we, as a population, hit a critical mass of awareness? Being aware that we are held back from certain information, and that there is a specific sect of people who look down upon us and think they can do as they please.

And when this critical mass does occur: what will happen? Will massive protests erupt, or will we continue to stand idly by? Will we gather arms and start a violent revolution or will we simply accept our fate as lesser beings? And does it necessarily dictate that a critical mass has to be violent?

If critical mass includes army veterans and police officers, then most certainly a critical mass of awakening need not be brutal. These individuals will simply stop doing their superiors’ biddings and realize the morality and ethics in their actions.

Is it really worth it to bomb a country and kill innocent people for a pay cheque? Can we truly be paid to turn a blind eye to immoral and unethical acts? Only time will tell, but history never lies.


What is Agenda 21?

Kafkaesque: characteristic or reminiscent of the oppressive or nightmarish qualities of Franz Kafka’s fictional world.

The Trial by Franz Kafka is a classic that showcases a man, Joseph K., who is bombarded by legal issues and is summoned to court without any cause or reason. When he appears in court, there is no charge given or reason as to why the warders have summoned him. He is allowed to walk ‘freely’ but he bears the risk of being apprehended at any time. Throughout the book, Joseph battles and struggles with the invisible and oppressive law.

Agenda 21 implemented by the United Nations is precisely what Franz Kafka predicted and feared. The UN’s website defines Agenda 21 as a “comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations system, governments and major groups, in every area in which human impacts on the environment.” [1]

Essentially, this plan hopes to control ‘every area’ in which humans are involved with the environment…..that’s every country, every city, every place that technology has touched! This sounds eerily similar to a One World Government and population control…

Although portrayed as an effort to be ‘environmentally friendly’, this plan gives governments the power to take control of all private land and then make all decisions in regards to the acquired land. It centralizes the power, authority  and ownership of the land and it also takes away all property rights of an individual private owner and instead redistributes it in an effort to ‘spread the wealth.’

This action is justified in the eyes of the UN since it is based on the assumption that most land owners are not good stewards of the Earth and do not tend to their land. They are saying that the needs of the plenty outweigh the needs of the few, but they (the decision-makers, the puppeteers, the ‘One-Percenters’) decide what these needs are and who gets the redistributed wealth.

This is a complete contrast to Libertarianism; a branch of political philosophy that states that all individuals should be given the right to make their own decisions. The government or state does not know what is best for you and as such should not be tasked with making decisions for you. [2]

But back to Agenda 21, (and its eerie similarities to George Orwell’s 1984) and how it can potentially affect Canadians. Beyond the fact that Canada is on the list of nations that have attended and agreed to the 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (Agenda 21), Canada is also one of the ‘richer’ countries expected to share their wealth with the poorer countries.

At first glance being ‘greener’ and helping bridge income inequality is a great thing, but should we really trust more of our hard earned money and something even more valuable: land, to the government? It’s not as if the governments on that list have never dealt with issues of corruption before… (Brazil [3], Egypt [4], Mexico [5], Germany [6] and Turkey [7] just to name a few.)

But aside from the potential fear of outright theft and money being shipped to offshore accounts (Panama Papers [8]), we are giving the state ultimate authority in  decision-making and what we can or cannot do. The PDF file on Agenda 21 on the United Nations’ website clearly reads, “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” What this means is that the implementation of Agenda 21 will have authorities making decisions for us in order to preserve the needs and rights of the future generations. They are going to tell us what we can do with our land, where we go, where we live, and what we drive. Agenda 21 is an attempt to make our decisions for us and to take away our freedoms.

This plan is already underway and most of us have probably never even paid it any mind. More and more condos are being developed because Agenda 21 wants to reorganize cities. It’s plan is to place everyone into ‘high-density’ areas and leave other areas inaccessible to humans. They want people in the city, closer to their workplaces, as opposed to out of the city requiring a 2-shour commute to get to work. Their plan is essentially one of population control: to move people into one concentrated area and leave other parts off-limit.

Previously, cities and communities have been built so that parks, plazas and strip malls are built inside a community. These gathering areas are built in the center of communities so that people come together as a community; as a group. They meet in the middle to debate, communicate and enjoy a sense of companionship. Nowadays, big shopping centres and malls are built outside of communities, forcing residents to leave and abandon this idea of a community.

Agenda 21 is another method for Globalists to achieve a One World Government and to have everyone in line and conforming. It is our duty as citizens to be aware and informed but even more importantly, it is our duty as human beings to help one another and come closer to equality.

[1] https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/Agenda21.pdf

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGAO100hYcQ

[3] https://theintercept.com/2016/11/25/in-brazil-major-new-corruption-scandals-engulf-the-faction-that-impeached-dilma/

[4] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-egypt-food-minister-idUSKCN1101IT

[5] https://www.opencanada.org/features/corruption-mexico-elephant-north-american-table/

[6] https://www.hertie-school.org/blog/corruption-in-germany-what-does-the-volkswagen-story-tell-us/

[7] http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/06/turkey-akp-abandons-fighting-corruption.html

[8] https://panamapapers.icij.org/



No privacy at borders

As privacy evolves into an everlasting issue in this technologically efficient age, it is important for journalists and citizens alike to recognize these issues and to safeguard themselves from these potential threats.

After whistle blower, Edward Snowden, blew the lid off the NSA spying tactics [1], many digital users have become aware of their electronic footprint as well as cyber security. But what precautions can we take when we decide to visit another country and have our bags and luggage filtered through?

Aside from those with diplomatic immunity, there is practically no rights to privacy when we decide to enter into the United States. [2]

According to the US Department of Homeland Security’s Privacy Impact Assessment for the Border Searches of Electronic Devices, any citizen or visitor of the United States will be subject to any level of scrutiny even without probable cause. [3]

The PDF file clearly reads, ‘both the exam and search may be conducted without a warrant and without suspicion.’ This means that the execution of a secondary examination (after the preliminary check where they glance at your passport) is completely up to US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officers and whatever software or algorithm they may be using at the time (more on this later.) Basically, it is up to CBP officers if they want to search you or not.

The manifesto is so broad that Border Officials can interpret it in such a way that any electronic device can be searched and read. And accompanied with the authorization of a senior official or an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent; it  can also be copied without the knowledge of the owner and seized.

When CBP officers decide to check your electronic device, they can arbitrarily choose what they want to see and they can read and copy whatever they choose. More ‘Big Brother-esque’ is the ability for them to hide what they have copied. According to the same Department of Homeland Security (DHS) document: ‘there is no specific receipt given to the traveler if the contents of the device are detained for further review, but the device is returned to the individual.’

This means that border officials can not only randomly search you but they can also seize and copy your electronic files without you knowing!

A safety net that digital users can enforce is to lock their phones and laptops with a password or pin and to encrypt the contents of the device. But even with these precautions, a persistent CBP officer can still override these safety measure to read your emails.

Now it is intuitive for homeland security that visitors be checked and ensured that they are entering the country for positive measures and not nefarious means. But where does one draw the line? With databases and algorithms that spew out random names, anyone can be seen as a ‘flight risk’ even when they are not. [4] Some of these algorithms simply place you under a flight risk just because you have the same name as a suspected terrorist.

Although it is of utmost importance to ensure the safety of a country and its citizens, it is also important to ensure that our individual rights are maintained and that the State does not expand and broaden its rules to take away these rights.

For more information on cyber security visit https://theintercept.com/2015/11/12/edward-snowden-explains-how-to-reclaim-your-privacy/

[1] https://snowdenarchive.cjfe.org/greenstone/cgi-bin/library.cgi?e=q-00100-00—off-0snowden1–00-2—-0-10-0—0—0direct-10-and%2cand%2cand-TE%2cTT%2cDE%2cSU–4–NSA%2c%2c%2c—–0-1l–00-en-50—50-about-TE%3a%28NSA%29–01-3-1-00-00–4–0–0-0-01-10-0utfZz-8-00&a=p&p=about

[2] https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2015/apr/09/you-have-no-right-electronic-privacy-when-you-cros/

[3] https://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/privacy/privacy_pia_cbp_laptop.pdf

[4] https://news.vice.com/article/this-six-year-old-canadian-has-been-flagged-a-flight-security-risk-since-he-was-a-baby

‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’

As millennials, we have regularly heard the saying, ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ and there is certainly truth to that saying. It is not feasible for one person to know absolutely everything, so he or she has to have allies and comrades that can fill in those weaknesses. For example, you may be the greatest theoretical physicist in the world but when your roof collapses, you are still going to need to know a roofer (assuming this physicist is lacking in the ‘construction’ attributes.) And there are certainly situations where word of mouth and reputation trumps something on a piece of paper; e.g. an advertisement or resume.

But this ultimately leads us down a vicious, cyclical rabbit hole; we have people who enter into positions of power not based on merit but based on who they know. And as a result, those successors who have come into power will continue to employ that method in order to keep themselves and their allies in power.

So as a recent graduate who is looking for full-time work, I am bombarded with signs and notions that tell me to compromise my values and beliefs and to conform to society’s standards of myself. If everyone is putting on a mask to appease their bosses, should I conform and do the same? If everyone is shape-shifting (not akin to David Icke’s reptilian overlords) should I do the same for survival?

Ultimately, it is a conflict of morals; should I succumb and become one of the masses or stand up and risk persecution? Should I focus on click-bait to get a job in mainstream media and make a living or stick with objective journalism and risk poverty? Throughout history, there have been very few REAL people. Individuals who have integrity, who don’t stray from their cause  (don’t ‘sellout’) and do their jobs truthfully. Those who would rather die than to compromise their morals and values as a person. Martyrs to their principles if you will.

The list is short but some of these individuals include John F. Kennedy, Tupac, Thomas More, and maybe even Ned Stark if we’re counting fictional characters. A unique group but all bound by one element; integrity. John F. Kennedy performed his duty as a president by notifying the American public of the fraud performed by the Federal Reserve. Tupac elicited his values by utilizing the  medium of rap to awaken and enlighten the masses. Thomas More stood his ground and opposed the King’s separation from the Catholic church. These individuals are REAL because even faced with death, they did not compromise their integrity and philosophies. They were willing to die for their cause and they never ‘sold out.’

So in a capitalist society where money makes the world go ’round; do you conform and play the game or do you stand up to reveal the wrongdoings?








Bring journalism back

As a journalist, our credibility is largely due to our sources and how accurate they can be. But in a technological age where anyone and everyone can be a journalist AND a news source, it is hard to decipher which sources are true and which are not.

A source that is true, and as a result accurate, would necessarily be one that is intent on showing the truth and ALL objective facts. This source should display little to no biases, give or take human error, (it is nearly impossible for a subjective human being to have zero biases) and should not be the voice of another entity.

So, as a journalist, when I look at all these possible news sources out there, whether it be the Toronto Star, or Al Jazeera or even Worldstarhiphop, I have to recognize the reason behind the video or article that is being shown. What is the purpose of showcasing this piece of news; to incite fear, sensationalism, create pandemic, cause a riot, what is it? Every news outlet, be it a newspaper, a blog, a magazine, a book, a website, a radio station, a television show, an app, or any of the other outlets that have yet to be born have an inherent hierarchy within them. This is as simple as saying that there are people on the top who ultimately control what journalists and writers can or cannot say.

This is by no means a knock on technology in saying that it has ‘diluted’ journalism. In fact, I strongly believe that the new era of digital journalists can bring about a whole level of accuracy that has never before been seen. In fact, you can see it now, fact checking has grown exponentially. Nowadays the comments section of YouTube videos are patrolled by fact checkers let alone the actual content itself. Creators will quickly be disregarded if the content they produce is mildly inaccurate. And God forbid someone make a stupid comment in the comments section or else a shit storm will ensue.

But technology and the internet are important. As journalists, we can use it to ensure that mainstream media is no longer a propaganda machine. We can lambast and heckle those major newspapers that spew out whatever their masters’ please. We can use technology to see if what mainstream media prints is accurate. We can decipher which corporations fund which news outlet and more importantly we have a free forum to tell the masses what is perpetually being hidden.

With reddit forums that showcase ALL the articles on one particular topic, it truly gives an informed reader ALL sides of the story and enables an informed reader to generate his or her own informed opinion. Too common are people’s viewpoints and world philosophies constituted of the images that are portrayed by mainstream media. It is time to show the world that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword.


Basic Income Guarantee in Ontario

Basic Income Guarantee…and how it is beneficial to Millennials and Generation Y


Toronto is regularly ranked as one of the most livable cities in the world but every year, without fail, Canadians are forced to pay an increase in Hydro or TTC fares and along with ballooning gas prices and inflation, disposable income is no longer so disposable.

Basic Income Guarantee is set to combat this financial dilemma as it is set to begin its pilot project in Ontario of April 2017. Basic Income Guarantee or BIG is a supplementation to anyone’s income that is below the poverty line of $19,930 for adults working full-time.  It simply ‘tops up’ the individual’s income so that they are above the poverty line. For example, if someone is working full-time and is not making $19,000, BIG will cover the difference so that the individual will have more than that baseline amount. During the pilot project, other social services or welfare programs will NOT be cancelled, and as a result, BIG will work with these existing programs to help individuals reach above the poverty line.

Jenna Van Draanen of Basic Income Canada Network revealed to me the benefits of Basic Income Guarantee and who it can potentially benefit the most. ‘We saw women taking longer maternity leaves; spending time at home with their kids and we also saw young men in high school staying in high school and finishing their diplomas.’

‘So those are the things I think represent positive changes in the labour market participation and it does combat what we typically think of you know; that people will quit their jobs or stop working.’

Basic Income Guarantee is a program aimed to benefit those in the low to middle income families. It simply produces an equal platform for all citizens of a developed country to play on. It endorses education for all those despite their economic backgrounds and it allows for healthcare and social services to all people. For those making above the poverty line, they will not be distributed any additional money and those in the high income bracket will not be allowed to participate in the program. Along with the revamping of OSAP and the redistribution of student loans, it may actually seem like the Canadian government is making an effort to shrink the gap that is income inequality.

At first glance it seems too good to be true that the government would hand out money to those who decide they don’t want to work. But upon further review of previous projects (in India, Libya and Finland), things tend to be a little more optimistic.

‘And I think the other thing that is interesting about the labour market participation in some of the international experiments in Libya and India, [is that] we’ve seen people be more likely to be entrepreneurial and start small businesses because it’s a little bit of protection,’ Van Draanen adds. ‘If the business fails and [has] to go bankrupt for some reason, you’re guaranteed at least to have the basic necessities and you don’t need to worry about losing your life.’

So essentially, Basic Income Guarantee is a safety net for those who do not have a steady income or who do not participate in the work force year-round. For instance, a real-estate agent who works solely off of commission, is judged based on their merits, and their income reflects that. If the real estate market is slow, or a family emergency prevents them from working, their ability to make a living and subsist will be severely hindered. But BIG will guarantee that this broker will not have to worry about being below the poverty line since BIG will ensure that this individual will never stray under $19,000 a year. Furthermore, BIG tends to incentivize entrepreneurs and small businesses since it provides business owners with the safety net they desire. Given that a business fails, they do not have to worry about sleeping on the street since BIG will ensure that they have food in their stomachs, water to drink and a roof over their heads. Van Draanen adds that since most labour jobs are beginning to be mechanized, the amount of jobs are slowly but surely diminishing and it is up to the government to stay up to date and to create infrastructure and programs that will combat these situations.

According to the Basic Income Canada Network website, it’s goal is to provide individuals with enough money to live above the poverty line, achieve basic necessities and to live with dignity. But what does ‘basic necessities’ cover and what does ‘living with dignity’ entail?

‘We believe that a basic income would simplify all of that and allow people the assurance of just the basic amount of money, nothing glamourous, but something that will allow for basic needs to be met and that will not have some of the restrictive things of the current welfare system.’

‘[It will allow] people to make choices best for them in their own lives. They can choose to invest in their education, they can spend a little bit more on housing, a little bit more on food, whatever meets their needs.’

These basic necessities would cover food and a place for shelter but it doesn’t cover some of the more modern necessities. It doesn’t include internet usage, a cell phone plan let alone a cellphone, and certainly not a computer or laptop; which for many Canadians, these things would be considered essentials.

Van Draanen explained to me that the current Canadian welfare system imposes a lot of restrictions on what individuals can and cannot do with their money. Moreover, welfare systems and social programs tend to incentivize individuals NOT to find work since a part-time or full-time job would decrease the amount of money they receive.

‘It’s an insurance policy, it’s a way to sort of stimulate the creative sectors, give people a chance to do something that they love without worrying about whether or not they’re going to end up on the streets.’ Van Draanen added.

I believe that the BIG program will be greatly beneficial to millennials and those employees who are filling in the gaps left behind by the Baby Boomers. Van Draanen is certainly correct in her assessment that the work force is being taken over by machines. Thus, it is important for the new, upcoming workers to carve out their own niche. This may be creating an app (Twitter, Uber, Snapchat, etc.) or building their own businesses, but it is certainly not the traditional path of working 9 to 5 until retirement. Basic Income Guarantee will allow the younger generations to take risks and pursue passions. It will give the newcomers the insurance that they crave to go out and take a leap of faith. Innovations and inventions weren’t made from a comfortable place; they were created from risks and alternate thinking. Without a safety net we will be forced to waste time and money creating our own, but given one by the State we can instead focus our time and energy on the betterment of society and the improvement of mankind.

For the full audio interview with Jenna Van Draanen please visit my YouTube channel, Basic Radio and for more information on Basic Income Guarantee, visit their website at http://www.basicincomecanada.org/.





Interview with Ted Trush of BodyAthletica

In this modern day and age where FitBits are gaining traction (on pavement or treadmills) and fitness advice can be sought on YouTube free of charge, trainers and coaches alike have experienced competition like never before. With free apps like Myfitnesspal and a healthy portion of the public tracking everything they eat, it was a shock for me to hear a professional bodybuilder and coach tell me that he ‘doesn’t track calories at all.’

Ted Trush is a Canadian bodybuilder with over 25 years of experience and 12 competitions compiled under his career. His last victory was a 1st place trophy in the Superheavyweight Open Division and 2nd place in the Heavyweight Masters division at the 2011 Ontario Bodybuilding Championships. He is also the co-founder of BodyAthletica which helps athletes and individuals get in shape for competitions, big events, photoshoots, or simply for personal fulfillment.

So on one windy August evening when I called Ted and he told me that he didn’t track any calories, I thought I was going to be in for a ride on the ‘Bro science’ train. In his calm, controlled demeanor, he quickly followed up by saying that different macronutrients affect individuals differently and that the human body is akin to that of a soundboard or a radio with different dials and knobs.

‘Let’s say a radio with a bunch of dials and an equalizer…when you adjust just one dial, you have to adjust all the other dials as well, in order to get the sound you want. And that’s the way the body works, if you have an increase in insulin, it affects other hormones and it cascades down.’ Trush told me over the phone.

‘The body runs and produces hormones and it has a lot of hormones acting on each other. It’s been proven that you have to keep insulin levels low because [that’s] a fat storage hormone,’ Trush reiterated. ‘Let’s say you have someone on 1500 calories of protein and someone else on 1500 calories of carbs and no protein. I can guarantee you that the person eating carbs is not going to lose the weight. Because you’re basically giving [your body] a ton of fuel and the body doesn’t have to burn body fat as fuel.’

‘It’s not as simple as saying, well its physics, energy in and energy out kind of thing. It doesn’t work like that.’

Although current, updated studies have shown that flexible dieting or IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) does indeed work, few to little studies have shown the implications on athletes that resistance train (over a long period, 3 to 5 years or more) and the efficiency of a diet composed of mostly whole and ‘clean’ foods versus a diet with an emphasis on staying under a caloric limit.

Studies have shown that both flexible dieting and the generic ‘Bro’ diet do work, but they have not yet deciphered which one is more efficient, allows for better adherence and is most optimal for the individual. Is the rate of fat loss in a generic ‘Bro’ diet, with mostly micronutrient- based food, faster than that of a flexible diet? Do ‘Bro’ dieters tend to maintain more of their muscle mass during their fat loss phase as opposed to a flexible dieter? Is it easier to adhere to a flexible diet in the long run than a bland bodybuilder diet? The philosophy of the flexible diet seems to be founded on the principle that one calorie is the same as another calorie.

But Trush seems to think differently, ‘different macronutrients will affect you differently…say you eat 100 grams of carbs, you are going to get a lot of insulin release. If you eat 100 grams of protein, you won’t. So that means the carbs will affect you a lot differently than the protein. So 100 calories [of carbohydrates] is not the same as 100 calories [of protein.]’

Trush continues, ‘I don’t generally count calories, I count macronutrients…..because there are two essential nutrients. You have essential amino acids and essential fatty acids, no such thing as essential carbohydrates. Carbs are basically used as fuel and that’s it. It’s like putting gas into your car. Some people can have a full tank and still burn a lot of fat, others need close to an empty tank in order to burn a lot of fat.’

‘So it really depends on the person, I start people high [on carbs] and then cut their carbs back slowly and see how they react. [With] some people you have to cut them way back, like for myself, I know I have to cut my carbs way back in order to lose fat. And I didn’t really know that until I started to compete and worked with a few guys who knew a lot and that I learned off of.’

Intuitively it seems right that certain foods, being that they are natural and from this earth, will be absorbed much easier by the human body and thus digested easier. Wouldn’t the body recognize 30 grams of carbs from a sweet potato or white rice differently than 30 grams of carbs from say Swedish Fish or Oreos? Moreover, from a biological standpoint, the consumption of food requires energy and as such, certain foods require more energy to be digested and other foods require less energy. Some foods have negative calories because it requires more energy for the body to digest the food than the caloric value of the food itself. For example, the body burns more calories digesting celery than the amount of calories the celery contains. So, adhering to that philosophy, eating certain types of foods would not only create a hormonal response but also a digestive response where the body burns calories to digest the food.

For Trush, who put in a lot of hours in studying nutrition and the human body, he was also gifted with the expert guidance of a Canadian Powerlifting Champion in Al Young. Young taught a beginner in Trush the fundamentals of the Big 3 (bench press, deadlift and squat) and soon his progression as a powerlifter reached a point where he needed multiple spotters to ensure his safety. Just like every other professional bodybuilder, Trush’s encounter with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Pumping Iron soon forced him to switch over from powerlifting to bodybuilding and he has been competing and coaching clients ever since.

‘I want to be more of an educator. I’ve learned a lot from the people I have worked under and studied and I believe in a science-based program so I try to give the best advice [I can] and answer the questions that a client has,’ Trush explained. ‘And by doing that, I really never had to market myself or do whole tons of social media. I get clients through word of mouth and that’s been hugely successful.’

Compared to a lot of fitness giants these days, Trush’s approach is a drastic contrast to how they build their business. Nowadays, fitness YouTubers are gaining momentum and macro coaching has reached a new level of popularity. Along with Instagram and Facebook, coaches and trainers have been popping up digitally like never before. So how does a traditional coach like Trush still manage to keep his business afloat?

‘A number of reasons, the guys that are online, the kind of Bostin Lloyd type guys, they reach a different demographic. They’re going after young males, uneducated, no knowledge of how to train or nutrition and these guys like Bostin have no knowledge either.’

‘[They reach] the microwave demographic, they don’t want to spend 10 years in the gym doing things correctly. They want to spend 6 months in the gym and look like those guys. How much drugs can I take, what shortcut can I take to get there? I don’t want to cook it for 20 minutes, I want to put it in for 1 minute and be done with it, [the microwave demographic.]’

Trush goes on, ‘I don’t attempt to go after that demographic, I don’t want those clients because they don’t listen anyways. They go on YouTube to find ten different things and then say this guy says this and that guy says that. I always tell my clients, if your trainer tells you something make sure if you ask him a question, he has an answer for you. Because 98 per cent don’t have an answer because they don’t know, they’re just spewing hearsay and advice that someone told them.’

‘The more people that you satisfy and help reach their goals, [the more] they are going to tell other people and then your reputation will speak for itself.’ And with all the transformations and testimonials on the BodyAthletica website (www.bodyathletica.com) it is safe to say that their reputation is still going strong.




Elite Physique Article


From a school trip in high school to a professional career in bodybuilding, Dan Kennedy has transformed from a gym rat, to bodybuilder, to coach, and now to the position of co-owner of Elite Physique. Elite Physique is a company run by Dan and Michelle Kennedy, both of whom are IFBB (International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness) pros, which focuses on personal training and dieting services. With over 30 years compiled under Dan’s weightlifting belt, his expertise and experience in training, dieting and coaching will be uncovered within this article.

When a field trip in grade 9 involved going to the beach, Dan decided to get into shape. Although he didn’t ‘grow much’ within those two weeks, he quickly fell in love with weight training and built a lifestyle, family and career out of bodybuilding and fitness. With notable titles, such as the overall trophy at the 2001 Kingston Championships along with representing Ontario on a national stage on four different occasions, Dan has literally grown from that skinny kid in high school to a Super Heavyweight placing as high as 3rd on a national stage.

Nowadays Dan focuses his energy on training clients and athletes with his wife in hopes of getting people in shape for contests, shows, photoshoots, vacations, weddings and etc.

‘When I used to diet down for a [bodybuilding] show, you get a lot of people who hate it, but myself, I loved it. I absolutely loved getting up the next morning and seeing what’s changed in my body.” Dan told me over the course of our phone interview. “Nowadays, its more just tweaking little things in my training and diet to see what can carry over to my clients.’

Dan briefly tells me an aside about one of his clients who has a photoshoot in a week’s time and he prepped him for the photoshoot the same way he would prep a bodybuilder. “We get a lot of clients who want to get in shape but don’t necessarily want to get up on stage,” Dan stated. “We still treat them like they are going on stage. The foods may be a little more relaxed for someone who isn’t competing but it depends on the person’s goals. If they want to lose [fat] right away, they may have to go a little stricter. Say you have to lose 20 pounds in a year’s time, we can give you more lifestyle choices and common foods. Sometimes our clients get a restaurant list of where to go and what to get when they go out to eat.”

For most people wanting to get in shape, Dan tells me it’s the diet that is toughest for his clients. ‘It’s more of a mental game for most people, because for a lot of people it isn’t a lifestyle. It’s not a switch you can flip on 12 weeks before a show or 20 weeks before a show.’

‘Whatever you are eating during your contest prep, you’re eating the same thing but in larger quantities after the contest,’ Dan explained. ‘Most people go back to their old ways of McDonald’s and French fries… and another thing is that your friends and family don’t understand how strict you have to be. They can say ‘just have ONE candy’ or ‘just have ONE hot dog’ but in reality, you can’t.’

Dan attempts to combat the adherence issue of diets by allowing his clients to focus on a higher percentage of protein while keeping calories high. ‘So basically, the way our diets works is we are keeping protein higher than most diets. By keeping protein higher, you can kind of keep your calories higher than on a diet that is mostly focused on carbohydrates. Typically, I’d rather have a guy eating more calories and whittle down the food choices.’

Although one gram of carbohydrate is the same amount of calories as one gram of protein, medical studies have shown that protein is more satiating since it takes longer to digest, and sits in the stomach for longer allowing the dieter to feel like he/she is still full.

‘I think most of these fad diets do work, its all up to the client and whether they can stick to it.’ Dan adds, ‘Not everyone can stick to a low carb diet, especially if they want to carry it through to the offseason. We try to stay higher protein and higher carbs in the offseason and trim down as contest time comes so its not really so bad.’

With the advent of the internet and along with it bodybuilding.com, YouTube and Myfitnesspal, trainers and coaches have never before experienced so much competition from all sides.

‘Well, its experience. People need one-on-one, they need someone to report to, the biggest thing is to have someone keep you on track. When you check out something on a blog or [bodybuilding.com] forum, you don’t have anyone to report to.’ Dan explains, ‘Whereas with us, we are available 24/7 for our clients. We book our clients once a week if they want to see us and we are always available for phone calls or texts. If they are at a grocery store and want to inquire about a certain type of food, they can take a picture, send it to us, and we are always there to provide them with an answer.’

With Thanksgiving in the States just passed and Christmas and New Year’s just around the corner, many families are preparing for a sedentary, overeating holiday. For information on Elite Physique and the works of Dan and Michelle Kennedy’s success stories you can visit their website at http://www.elitephysique.ca/

For the full unedited transcript and/or audio interview, please visit my YouTube channel, Basic Radio.