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Something to Think About- Washington DC.


Jarod Kintz

“I once saw a snake having sex with a vulture, and I thought, It’s just business as usual in Washington DC.
”
― Jarod KintzThe Days of Yay are Here! Wake Me Up When They’re Over.
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Western U.S. turned into “radiant wasteland” by nuclear-related facilities


Moab, Utah: Beauty and the Nuclear Feast

The [uranium] tailings made Moab [Utah] glow — and not in a good way. For nearly 30 years, the various companies that operated the facility dumped ton after ton of the radioactive sandy byproduct into an unlined impoundment area located 750 feet from the river. Over the decades, this Geiger-hot waste, which ultimately totaled 12 million cubic yards, was spread over 130 acres at a depth of more than 80 feet. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), which took over remediation of the site, the tailings “have an average radioactivity of 665 picocuries per gram of radium-226,” and because the center of the monstrous pile has a “high water content…excess water in the pile drains into underlying soils, contaminating the ground water.”

Some the deleterious consequences are revealed in “The American West at Risk,” an illuminating book whose authors pay special attention to the Moab mill. It’s hard to dispute their claim that it ranks “high in the annals of indiscriminate disposal,” for the tailings each day continue to release “an estimated 28,000 gallons of radioactive pollutants and toxic chemicals into the only major river draining the southwestern United States.” […]

The Moab mine, like Washington’s Hanford Nuclear Reservation, Rocky Flats weapons facility in Colorado, and Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico, helped turn the west into a radiant wasteland. […]

via TV: Western U.S. turned into “radiant wasteland” by nuclear-related facilities.

Fracking America’s Food Supply


Fracking–the process the oil and gas industry uses to extract fossil fuel as much as two miles below the ground–may directly impact the nation’s water supply, reduce water-based recreational and sports activity, and lead to an increase in the cost of food.

The cocktail soup required for each well requires about two million pounds of silica sand, as much as 100,000 gallons of toxic chemicals, and three to nine million gallons of fresh water. There are more than 500,000 active wells in the country.

In 2011, the last year for which data is available, Texas energy companies used about 26.5 billion gallons of water.  Energy companies drilling Pennsylvania used the second greatest amount of water, followed by Colorado and Arkansas. Nuclear plants, which use more water, can recycle most of it. Because frack wastewater is toxic, oil and gas companies can’t recycle the contaminated water.

The water is provided by companies that draw up to three million gallons a day from rivers and lakes, by individuals who sell water from their ponds, and by municipalities. Steubenville, Ohio, is tapping one of its reservoirs to sell up to 700,000 gallons of water every day for five years to Chesapeake Energy, one of the largest players in the fracking industry.

Big EnergyHowever, fresh water is not unlimited.

Beginning about five years ago, the water in the nation’s aquifers has been decreasing significantly. The depletion since 2008, according to Leonard Konikow, a research hydrologist at the U.S. Geological Survey. is about three times the rate as between 1900 through 2008.

Significant reductions in water availability are now common for the 1,450 mile long Colorado River, which provides water to about 40 million people in California and the southwest, including the agriculture-rich Imperial Desert of southeastern California. Lake Mead, a part of the Colorado system, provides water to Las Vegas and the Nevada desert communities; its water level is close to the point where the Department of the Interior will declare a water shortage and impose strict water-use regulation.

The depletion of the rivers, lakes, and aquifers is because of population growth, higher usage, climate change, and a severe drought that has spread throughout the Midwest and southwest for the past three years.

The C oalition for   Environmentally Responsible   Economies (CERES), basing its analysis upon more than 25,000 wells, reports almost 47 percent of wells that use fracking were developed in areas with high or extremely high water stress levels; 92 percent of all gas wells in Colorado are in extremely high-stressed regions; In Texas, 51 percent are in high or extremely high stress water regions.

Water is so critical to fracking that oil and gas companies have been paying premium prices, as much as $1,000–$2,000 for about 326,000 gallons (an acre foot) and outbidding farmers in the drought-ravaged parts of the country for the water; the normal price is about $30–$100 for the same amount. Oil and gas drillers have also been trucking in water to the Midwest and southwest from as far away as Ohio and Pennsylvania. The companies are “going to pay what they need to pay,” said Dr. Reagan Waskom, director of the Colorado Water Institute at Colorado State University.

If farmers have to pay more for water, they will raise the prices of their product. If they can’t get enough water, because the energy companies are taking as much as they can get, they grow fewer crops and reduce the size of their livestock herds; this, also, will force food prices up. It’s a simple case of supply and demand.

But, there are other problems. Some farmers and owners of corporate farms who have large water resources often sell that water to the energy companies; they can get more money for the water and leave their fields barren than they can get for growing crops and selling them to wholesalers and distributors.

Another reality may be driving food prices higher.

Fossil fuel mining and agriculture have always co-existed. But, that is changing.

Beneath about 200,000 square miles of North Dakota, Montana, and Saskatchewan, lying between 4,500 and 7,500 feet below the surface of the earth, is the Bakken Shale. Oil in the shale was discovered in 1953; however, because the shale is only 13 to 140 feet thick, using conventional drilling methods were marginally profitable until five years ago with the development of horizontal fracking.

The Bakken Shale lies directly below one of the most fertile wheat fields in the United States. North Dakota farmers produce almost three-fourths of all amber durum harvested in the United States. High in protein and one of the strongest of all wheat, amber durum is a base for most of the world’s food production. It is used for all pastas, pizza crusts, couscous, and numerous kinds of breads. Red durum, a variety, is used to feed cattle. North Dakota farmers in late Summer harvest about 50 million bushels (about 1.4 million tons) of amber durum, almost three-fourths of all amber durum produced in the United States. About one-third of the production is exported, primarily to Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Destruction of the wheat fields, from a combination of global warming and fracking, will cause production to decline, prices to rise, and famine to increase.

Energy company landmen, buying land and negotiating min eral rights leases, became as pesky as aphids in the wheat fields. However, the landmen didn’t have to do much sweet talking with the farmers, many of whom were hugging bankruptcy during the Great Recession. The farmers yielded parts of their land to the energy companies in exchange for immediate income and the promise of future royalties. By November 2012 there were 7,791 wells in North Dakota .

In 2006, oil production in the North Dakota fields was about 92 million gallons. Energy companies are expected to mine more than 15.2 billion gallons this year. Drilling for oil also yields natural gas; there are about two trillion barrels of natural gas in the shale.

In Pennsylvania, 17,000 acres have already been lost to the development of natural gas fracking. That land is not likely to be productive for several years because of “compaction and landscape reshaping,” according to a study by the Penn State Extension Office. U.S. Geological Survey scientists conclude there is a “low probability that the disturbed land will revert back to a natural state in the near future.”

The presence of natural gas drilling companies has also led to decreased milk and cheese production. Penn State researchers Riley Adams and Dr. Timothy Kelsey concluded: ” Changes in dairy cow numbers also seem to be associated with the level of Marcellus shale drilling activity.” Counties with 150 or more Marcellus shale wells on average experi enced an 18.7 percent decrease in dairy cows, compared to only a 1.2 percent average decrease in counties with no Marcellus wells.”

Beneath some of the nation’s richest agricultural land in drought-ravaged central California lies the Monterrey Shale, a 1,750 square mile formation that holds about two-thirds of the country’s estimated shale oil reserves, about 15.4 billion barrels (647 trillion gallons). The landmen have already arrived to buy leases and set up what is likely to be the biggest oil and gas boom in the country.

More than 200 different crops are grown in the central valley, including about 70 percent of the world’s supply of almonds, most of the grape production and 90 percent of all domestic wine sold in the United States. The Sun-Maid farm cooperative, headquartered in the Central Valley, is one of the world’s largest producers of raisins and dried fruits.

When the politicians unleashed Big Energy to frack the nation and extract gas, they parroted industry claims that extensive drilling would improve the economy, lower natural gas prices, and help make the United States energy independent from having to import foreign oil. What is happening is that the companies have purchased far too much land, are in heavy debt with the banks, and have a glut of natural gas that has forced the prices to the lowest level in almost 10 years.

The solution is that these patriotic corporations, to reduce the glut and force domestic residential prices back up as the mined gas becomes less available, are developing extensive plans to export natural gas to countries that will pay significantly higher prices than what is currently charged in the American market.

There is one problem. The United States can’t import water.

via OpEdNews – Article: Fracking America’s Food Supply.

China Releases Report on Human Rights Record of the United States in 2012


The State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China published a report titled “Human Rights Record of the United States in 2012″ on Sunday.

Following is the full text:

Human Rights Record of the United States in 2012

State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China

Foreword

The State Department of the United States recently released its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012, posing as “the worldjudge of human rights” again. As in previous years, the reports are full of carping and irresponsible remarks on the human rights situation inmore than 190 countries and regions including China. However, the US turned a blind eye to its own woeful human rights situation and neversaid a word about it. Facts show that there are serious human rights problems in the US which incur extensive criticism in the world. TheHuman Rights Record of the US in 2012 is hereby prepared to reveal the true human rights situation of the US to people across the world bysimply laying down some facts.

The human rights situation in the US in 2012 has deeply impressed people in the following aspects:

– Firearms-related crimes posed serious threat to the lives and personal security of citizens in the US Some shootings left astonishingcasualties, such as the school shooting in Oakland, the Century 16 theater shooting in Colorado and the school shooting in Connecticut.

– In the US, elections could not fully embody the real will of its citizens. Political contributions had, to a great extent, influenced the electoralprocedures and policy direction. During the 2012 presidential election, the voter turnout was only 57.5 percent.

– In the US, citizens’ civil and political rights were further restricted by the government. The government expanded the scope ofeavesdropping and censoring on personal telecommunications. The police often abused their power, resulting in increasing complaints andcharges for infringement upon civil rights. The proportion of women in the US who fell victims of domestic violence and sexual assault keptincreasing.

– The US has become one of the developed countries with the greatest income gap. In 2011, the Gini index was 0.477 in the US and about 9million people were registered as unemployed; About 16.4 million children lived in poverty and, for the first time in history, public schoolsreported more than one million homeless children and youth.

– There was serious sex, racial and religious discrimination in the US Indigenous people suffered serious racial discrimination and theirpoverty rate doubled the national average. A movie produced by a US director and aired online was deemed insulting to the ProphetMohammed, sparking protests by the Muslims worldwide.

– The US seriously infringed upon human rights of other nations. In 2012, US military operations in Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan causedmassive civilian casualties. US soldiers had also severely blasphemed against local residents’ religion by burning copies of the Muslim holybook, the Koran, and insulting bodies of the dead. There was a huge rise in birth defects in Iraq since the war against Iraq with military actionsin which American forces used metal contaminant-releasing white phosphorus shells and depleted uranium bombs.

– The US was not able to effectively participate in international cooperation on human rights. To date, the US remains a country which hasnot participated in or ratified a series of core UN conventions on human rights, such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social andCultural Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women,and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

I. On Life and Personal Security

The US was haunted by serious violent crimes in 2012 with frequent occurrence of firearms-related criminal cases. Its people’s lives andpersonal security were not duly protected.

According to statistics released by the FBI in September 2012, an estimated 1,203,564 violent crimes occurred in the US in 2011, about 386.3violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants. Aggravated assaults accounted for 62.4 percent of violent crimes reported to law enforcement.Robbery reached 29.4 percent of violent crimes, forcible rape accounted for 6.9 percent, and murder amounted to 1.2 percent of estimatedviolent crimes in 2011. And firearms were used in 67.7 percent of the nation’ s murders, 41.3 percent of robberies, and 21.2 percent in allcrimes in the US

Americans are the most heavily armed people in the world per capita. According to a CNN report on July 23, 2012, there were an estimated270 million guns in the hands of civilians in the US and more than 100,000 people were shot by guns each year. In 2010, there were morethan 30,000 deaths caused by firearms. However, the US government has done little in gun control. In 2008 and 2010 landmark SupremeCourt rulings on two firearms-related cases dramatically diminished the authority of state and local governments to limit gun ownership.Roughly half of the 50 US states have adopted laws allowing gun owners to carry their guns openly in most public places. And many stateshave ‘stand your ground’ laws that allow people to kill if they come under threat, even, in some cases, if they can escape the threat withoutviolence. According to an article on the website of the Hindu on August 7, 2012, in population-adjusted terms, civilians in some parts of the USare more likely to become the victim of a firearms-related murder than their counterparts in war-torn regions like Iraq or Afghanistan. OnJanuary 16, 2013, the US president announced 23 steps on gun control to take immediately without congressional approval. And thepresident signed three of the measures. But the public opinion generally believes that the gun-control measures will encounter greatresistance.

According to a report on the USA Today’s website on October 17, 2012, the violent crime rate went up 17 percent in 2011. Firearms-relatedviolent crimes posed as one of the most serious threats to the lives and personal security of the US citizens. Statistics showed that anestimated 14,612 people fell victims of murder in 2011 and 9,903 of them were firearms-related murder victims (Website of the CongressionalResearch service, http://www.fas.org, November 14, 2012). The US witnessed more firearms-related violent crimes in 2012. According to NYPDstatistics published on September 2, 2012, there had been 1,001 shootings so far that year in New York, about 3.4 percent more than the968 reported at the same time the previous year (NY Daily News, September 9, 2012). According to statistics from the website of ChicagoPolice Department, there were 2,460 shooting incidents in Chicago in 2012, up 10 percent year on year. Some of the shootings were quitebloody and terrifying, such as the movie theater shooting in Colorado and the school shooting in Connecticut.

On July 20, 2012, James E. Holmes, 24, entered a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, carrying an AR-15 rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun and atleast one handgun. He sprayed people at the theater who were watching a movie, leaving at least 12 dead and 59 wounded. A witness said: “He was just literally shooting everyone, like hunting season.” According to a CNN report on July 21, law enforcement documents showed thatthe weapons were purchased legally by Holmes at sporting goods stores in the Denver area over a six-month period before the shootinghappened. According to a CNN report on July 23, in wake of the shooting rampage in Colorado, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said: “I don’t think there’s any other developed country in the world that has remotely the problem we have.”

On December 14, 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School inNewtown, Connecticut. He committed suicide after that. But before he came to the school, he had shot and killed his mother. The incident wasthe second deadliest school shooting in the US history, after the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre which left 32 killed.

II. On Civil and Political Rights

The recent years have seen closer surveillance of American citizens by the US government. In the country, abuse of suspects and jail inmatesis common occurrence, and equal suffrage enjoyable by citizens continues to be undermined.

The US government continues to step up surveillance of ordinary Americans, restricting and reducing the free sphere of the American societyto a considerable extent, and seriously violating the freedom of citizens. The US congress approved a bill in 2012 that authorizes thegovernment to conduct warrantless wiretapping and electronic communications monitoring, a move that violates people’s rights to privacy.According to a report carried on May 4, 2012 by the CNET website, the FBI general counsel’ s office has drafted a proposed law requiringthat social-networking websites and providers of VoIP, instant messaging, and Web e-mail to alter their code to ensure their products arewiretap-friendly (news.cnet.com, May 4, 2012). Documents released by the American Civil Liberties Union on September 27, 2012, reveal thatfederal law enforcement agencies are increasingly monitoring American’s electronic communications. Between 2009 and 2011, the JusticeDepartment’ s combined number of original orders for “pen registers” and “trap and trace devices” used to spy on phones increased by 60percent, from 23,535 in 2009 to 37,616 in 2011. The number of authorizations the Justice Department received to use these devices onindividuals’ email and network data increased 361 percent between 2009 and 2011. The National Security Agency collects purely domesticcommunications of Americans in a “significant and systematic” way, intercepting and storing 1.7 billion emails, phone calls and other types ofcommunications every day. A Wired investigation published in March 2012 revealed the NSA is currently constructing a huge data center inUtah, meant to store and analyze “vast swaths of the world’ s communications” from foreign and domestic networks (The Guardian, July 10, 2012). As the American Civil Liberties Union explained in its December 2011 report, the US could potentially use military drones to spy on itscitizens (Fars News Agency, June 26, 2012).

On September 17, 2012, or the first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street’s initial demonstration, confrontations between protesters and policearound the Wall Street resulted in the arrests of more than 100 people (The New York Times, September 17, 2012). The US journalistcommunity is worried about the continued toughening up of legislation on mass media. It is frequent that journalists in the US lose their jobsbecause of “politically incorrect” opinions (www.mid.ru, October 22, 2012).

Complaints and allegations of American police violating rights of suspects and jail inmates are going up. A litany of lawsuits was broughtagainst the New York City Police Department, with police officers charged with violating civil rights in law enforcement. According to a reportcarried by the Chicago Tribune on March 6, 2012, jail inmate Eugene Gruber, 51, was paralyzed a day after he walked into a jail where hewas believed to have been maltreated. He died of injury four months after the jail incident. Another report by the Chicago Tribune on March21, 2012 showed that suspect Darrin Hanna suffered trauma from physical restraint and Taser shocks during a struggle with North Chicagopolice and died a week later. The CNN reported on May 17, 2012 that some 9.6 percent of the prisoners in state prisons are sexuallyvictimized during confinement, more than double the rate cited in a report on the subject in 2008. In Texas state prisons, many inmates arehoused in triple-digit temperatures in Fahrenheit. Four inmates — Larry Gene McCollum, 58; Alexander Togonidze, 44; Michael DavidMartone, 57; and Kenneth Wayne James, 52 — died in summer of 2011 from heat stroke, and at least five others were believed to have diedfrom heat-related causes (www.texascivilrightsproject.org, July 7, 2012).

American citizens have never really enjoyed common and equal suffrage. Despite an increase of over eight million citizens in the eligiblepopulation in the US presidential election of 2012, voter turnout registered a drop of five million from four years before, with only 57.5 percentof eligible citizens voting (bipartisanpolicy.org, November 8, 2012). A February 2012 report by the Pew Center said America’s voterregistration system is plagued with errors and inefficiencies that undermine voter confidence and fuel partisan disputes over the integrity ofthe country’s elections (www.pewstates.org).

The US election is like money wars, with trends of the country’s policies deeply influenced by political donations. The 2012 election had anestimated cost totalling six billion US dollars. The Obama campaign and the Democratic camp raised 1.06 billion dollars, and the Romneycampaign and the Republican camp raised a total of 954 million dollars (www.standard.co.uk, November 6, 2012). Both groups have fundingsupport from business giants. An opinion poll showed that nearly 90 percent of Americans believe the 2012 election is marked by too manypolitical donations from business circles, which will mean the increased influence of the rich over the country’s policy-making (TheInternational Herald Leader [Chinese newspaper], November 16, 2012). A Harvard professor said America’ s political system is sinking intoserious crisis as it is under manipulation of interest groups and their sponsors. Election donations give a loose rein to all other defects.American politics are corroding the people, making them increasingly dependent on interest groups (Internationale Politik, November &December issue, 2012).

Citing a world-known analyst, the Christian Science Monitor website in a report on November 5, 2012 said America’s trouble-prone votingmachines, the risk of tampering in those machines, the lack of transparency in vote tabulation, and then the Electoral College system,combine to give the country an election system that leaves much to be desired.

III. On Economic and Social Rights

To date, the US government has not approved the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which was already ratifiedby 160 countries. Many American citizens could not enjoy the internationally-recognized economic and social rights.

Unemployment in the US has long been high. A huge number of Americans newly joined the unemployed population in recent years. Figuresreleased by the US Department of Labor on May 4, 2012 showed that in April 2012 the unemployment rate was 8.1 percent, with 12.5 millionpeople unemployed. Citing a report, the Huffington Post website in a story dated December 3, 2012 said nearly 6.5 million US teens andyoung adults are neither in school nor working, and the employment rate for teens between the ages of 16 and 19 has fallen 42 percent overthe last decade. The Los Angeles Times in a report published on April 27, 2012 said the unemployment rate for veterans of Afghanistan andIraq is 10.3 percent, and for veterans aged 24 and under, the rate is 29.1 percent. It is also hard for college graduates to find jobs. TheAssociated Press reported on April 22, 2012 that 53.6 percent of bachelor’ s degree-holders under the age of 25 in America were jobless orunderemployed in 2011. Of the nearly 20 million people employed by the American food industry, just 40 percent are earning enough to putthem over the local poverty line (www.huffingtonpost.com, June 6, 2012).

Poverty in the US has increasingly worsened since the economic crisis in 2008. America’ s poverty rate in 2011 was 15 percent, with 46.2million people in poverty, according to the US Census Bureau data released on September 12, 2012. Almost 18 million American homesstruggled to find enough to eat in 2011, including 6.8 million households that worried about having enough money to buy food several monthsout of the year (www.ers.usda.gov, September 5, 2012). A report carried by the Huffington Post on October 30, 2012 indicated that the UShas a staggering 22 percent of its children living in poverty. The US is one of those that have the highest child poverty rates of all developednations.

The gap between the rich and poor is growing in the US over the years. The US has the fourth worst income inequality compared to otherdeveloped countries, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. America’s Gini index was 0.477 in 2011and income inequality increased by 1.6 percent between 2010 and 2011, indicating a widened rich-poor gap. Between 2010 and 2011, theshare of aggregate income increased 1.6 percent for the quintile with the highest household income, and increased 4.9 percent for the topfive percent households. The aggregate share of income declined for the middle quintile. The changes in the shares of aggregate income forthe lowest two quintiles were not statistically significant (www.census.gov, September 12, 2012).

A huge number of people are homeless in the US According to a report released by National Alliance to End Homelessness on January 17, 2012, the nation had 636,017 homeless people in 2011, including 107,148 chronically homeless people. There were 21 homeless people per10,000 people in the general population. Nearly four in 10 homeless people were unsheltered. The unsheltered population was 243,701 in2011, up 2 percent from 2009. In April 2012, the New York City homeless shelter population was 10 percent higher than the previous year(www.coalitionforthehomeless.org, June 8, 2012). Homeless people suffer discrimination and assaults. Citing a survey of 234 cities, a USAToday report dated February 15, 2012 said 24 percent of the US cities prohibit begging, 22 percent prohibit loitering, 16 percent labelssleeping in public places as illegal. From 1999 through 2010, the homeless faced 1,184 acts of reported violence resulting in 312 deaths.

The US is among the few developed countries without health insurance covering its whole population. A considerable number of Americanshave no access to necessary healthcare services when in illness because of having no health insurance. The number of people withouthealth insurance coverage was 48.6 million in 2011, accounting for 15.7 percent of the population (www.census.gov, September 12, 2012). AHuffington Post report on November 13, 2012 said about 115,000 women in the US lose their private health insurance each year in the wakeof divorce, largely because they have trouble paying premiums for private insurance. A study, released on June 20, 2012, by the consumeradvocacy group Families USA, estimates that a total of 26,100 people aged 25 to 64 died for lack of health coverage in 2010, up 31 percentfrom 18,000 in 2000 (www.reuters.com, June 20, 2012).

IV. On Racial Discrimination

The long-existing racial discrimination prevalent in the US society sees no improvements, and ethnic minorities do not enjoy equal political,economic and social rights.

Ethnic Americans’ rights to vote are limited. During the presidential election in November 2012, some Asian-American voters were obstructedat voting stations and received with discriminations (The China Press, November 8, 2012). The United Nations Human Rights Council SpecialRapporteur used to lodge a joint accusation against the US of failing to fully guarantee the rights to vote of African-Americans and Hispanics.The January/February 2013 edition of the Boston Review reported that as of 2010, more than 5.85 million American citizens weredisenfranchised because of criminal convictions, and more than two million African-Americans currently are stripped of their right to vote. TheUS attorney general also acknowledged, as the rights to vote of some ethnic Americans were restricted by laws requiring proof of identity,some people are as a matter of fact stripped of such rights (The Guardian, May. 30, 2012).

Ethnic Americans are discriminated against in the job market, and their economic well-being worsens as a result. According to statistics fromthe U.S. Department of Labor, the unemployment rate of whites was registered 7.0 percent in Oct. 2012, 14.3 percent for African-Americansand 10.0 percent for Hispanics. The average period of unemployment for ethnic minorities is notably longer than that for whites. Asians areunemployed on average for 27.7 weeks, African-Americans for 27 weeks (Desert News, December 4, 2012). According to data from the federalLabor Department, over half of all African-Americans and non-Hispanic blacks in New York city, who were old enough to work, had no jobs in2012, and it takes them almost a full year on average to find another job (Madame Noire, June 21, 2012). Employment discrimination is themain reason behind income disparity and poverty. According to statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau on September 12, 2012, themedian household income for African-Americans was 32,229 U.S. dollars in 2011, less than 60 percent of that of non-Hispanic whites; and thepoverty rate for African-Americans stood at 27.6 percent, almost three times of that of non-Hispanic whites.

Racial discrimination is rampant in the field of law enforcement and justice. The Reuters website reported on July 3, 2012, police tend to bemore lenient to whites. Out of more than 685,000 police stops in New York City in 2011, more than 85 percent of the stopped were black orHispanic. Ethnic Americans are often offended by law enforcement authorities. A 21-year-old black man in Arkansas was searched and put intoa police car, and later was found shot in the head while handcuffed (www. telegraph.co.uk, August 8, 2012). The incidence where a 28-year-oldblack man, Mohamed Bah, was shot dead by New York police outraged the black community (NYDailyNews.com, September 26, 2012). Anarticle on the website of Texas Civil Rights Project on July 24, 2012 said the Austin police’ excessive use of force had led to two fatal policeshootings of minority suspects since 2011. The president of the Texas Civil Rights Project said that the shooting death of a dog even receivedmore thorough and careful investigation than the death of a black victim. The New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow wrote an article onJanuary 14, 2013, saying “the idea that progress toward racial harmony would or should be steady and continuous is fraying. And the pillars ofthe institution — the fundamental devaluation of dark skin and strained justifications for the unconscionable — have proved surprisinglyresilient.”

Religious discrimination is rapidly on the rise, with an increase in insults and attacks against Muslims. Muslims account for less than onepercent of the U.S. population, but are involved in 14 percent of religious discrimination cases under investigation of the federal government,and 25 percent of employment-related discrimination cases (www. sinovision.net, March 29, 2011). In September, 2012, a U.S. film directormade a film that is insulting to the Prophet Muhammad and posted it online, which triggered waves of protests in the Muslim world. In Houston,a dead pig was left in front of a mosque (abclocal.go.com, December 5, 2012). The U.S. Navy special operations force was reported to useimages of gun-holding Muslim women as training targets (www.nydailynews.com, July 3, 2012). The 57-year-old Muslim, Bashir Ahmad, wasstabbed and bitten outside a Mosque by a suspect who shouted anti-Muslim expletive during the attack (Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2012). Since the September 11 attacks, the U.S. Justice Department has investigated more than 800 incidents of violence, vandalism andarson against people believed to be Muslim, Arab or South Asian (www. reuters.com, March 29, 2011).

Apartheid in fact still exists in the American society. New York Times reported on August 6, 2012 that, the proportion of non-Hispanic blackresidents on the Upper East Side is only 2.7 percent, and whites 81 percent. Local co-op boards can reject black buyers without giving areason, and some Upper East Side co-ops have a reputation for rejecting black buyers. A study found that the New York area was the secondmost segregated for black people and the third most segregated for Hispanic and Asian residents. A superintendent of NASA Real EstateCorporation was sued for refusing to show three African-Americans any openings, claiming no apartments were available for rent, but showingvacancies to white individuals who inquired about the same apartments less than an hour after turning down black renters, saying, “You looklike nice people. That’s why I show you.” (queenscourier.com, December 12, 2012) Furthermore, studies found a rising tide of apartheid in theU.S. workplace. Nineteen out of the 58 surveyed industries showed a trend toward racial re-segregation between white men and black men(www.washingtonpost.com, October 25, 2012).

Racial relationship is in tension, and hate crimes take place frequently. The Associated Press reported on October 28, 2012, citing a latest poll,that 51 percent of Americans now express explicit anti-African-American attitudes, three percentage points higher than in 2008. Theabc.go.com reported on November 19, 2012, three shop owners of Middle Eastern descent were shot dead in four months in Brooklyn, NewYork, and the police cannot rule out the possibility of the homicides being racially motivated. Two young white men from Mississippi killed ablack man by running a truck over him. The two, since 2011, have frequently assaulted and attacked African-Americans in and aroundJackson, Mississippi, using beer bottles, sling shots and motor vehicles, and they often bragged about their exploits (Reuters, December 5, 2012). A white gunman named Wade Michael Page killed six Sikh worshippers at their temple, and his motivation was linked to neo-Nazipropaganda, and he was suspected to be a white supremacist (edition. cnn.com, August 10, 2012).

Native Americans’ rights are not properly guaranteed. In 2012, the United Nations Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on racism,Mutuma Ruteere, pointed out Navajos, a branch of Native Americans, faced racial discrimination, including the lack of access to justice andlegal remedies (United Nations document number A/67/328). United Nations Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on the rights ofindigenous people, James Anaya, said the ability of Native Americans to use and access their sacred places is often curtailed by mining,logging, hydroelectric and other development projects. He cited research figures of relevant institutions, saying Native Americans’ poverty ratesnearly double the national average, and their life expectancy is 5.2 years less than the national average. Thirteen percent of Native Americanshold a basic university degree, much lower than the national average, 28 percent. Indigenous women are more than twice as likely as all otherwomen to be victims of violence and one in three of them will be raped during her lifetime (United Naitons document numberA/HRC/21/47/Add.1).

The rights of illegal immigrants are violated. Deaths often occur in immigration detention centers. United Nations Human Rights Council SpecialRapporteur Christof Heyns said in his report that deaths occurred in prison-like conditions where detention was neither necessary norappropriate, and where no proper medical care was provided (United Nations document number A/HRC/20/22/Add.3). U.N human rights expertsand South Florida Haitian rights advocates call for the U.S. to suspend all deportations to Haiti, saying the deportations may constitute a humanrights violation, and may place the Haitians in a life-threatening position (The Miami Herald, June 6, 2012).

V. On the rights of women and children

The U.S. remains one of a few countries in the world that have not ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discriminationagainst Women or the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It faces prominent problems in protecting the rights of women and children.

Women face discrimination in employment and payment. Women made up about two-thirds of all workers in the U.S. who were paid minimumwage or less in 2011 and 61 percent of full-time minimum wage workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.womensenews.org,December 11, 2012). On average, women have to work as far as April 17 into 2012 to catch up with that men earned in 2011, meaning womenearned 77 cents to the male dollar. African American women earn 62 cents to the male dollar, Latinas 54 cents. In some states, women of colorearn less than half as their male counterparts. Women in Wyoming, the lowest ranking state, earn just 64 cents on the male dollar(www.womensenews.org, April 30, 2012). Voters in Oklahoma approved an amendment to the state’s constitution to end affirmative actionprograms in state government that had been designed to increase the hiring of minorities and women in the state’s 115 agencies(www.articles.chicagotribune.com, November 7, 2012). The problems that pregnant women and new mothers face on the job are very real.Employers routinely ignore mandate in the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and are forcing pregnant women out of the workplace(www.edition.cnn.com, November 26, 2012). A Houston mother says she was fired from her job at a collection agency after asking to bring abreast pump into the office so she’d have plenty of fresh breast milk for her newborn. A new Connecticut mom says her new employer askedher to resign after she told them she was pregnant (www.latimes.com, February 8, 2012).

The poverty rate among women is higher than males. The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) announced that the poverty rate for womenin 2011 was 14.6 percent, compared to men’s 10.9 percent. Women are more likely to live in poverty and about 40 percent of women who headfamilies live in poverty, according to the NWLC. Another report on the plight of female retirees also notes that the poverty rate among retiredwomen is 50 percent higher than their male counterparts (womensenews.org, September 17, 2012).

Women are the victims of violence and sexual assaults. An average of three women in the U.S. lose their lives every day as a result of domesticviolence (www.dccadv.org, October 1, 2012). A national census of domestic violence agencies in September 2011 found that more than 67,000victims were served in a single day (www.womensenews.org, July 17, 2012). In 2010, the arrest rate for rape was 24 percent in the U.S. (www.thedailybeast.com, April 9, 2012). According to the Report on Violence against Women, its Causes and Consequences, submitted by theSpecial Rapporteur to the General Assembly in 2012, most prison staff in the U.S. is not adequately trained to prevent or respond to inmatesexual assaults, and prison rape often goes unreported and untreated (United Nations document number A/67/227).

Women in the U.S. forces are the victims of widespread sexual abuse, leading to media allegation that the US military has a culture of rape(www.aljazeera.com, August 4, 2012). Around 79 percent of women serving in the military reported experiences of sexual harassment. Militarysexual trauma often leads to debilitating conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and major depression(www.servicewomen.org). That Air Force drill instructor Luis Walker was accused of raping and sexually assaulting 10 female trainees is thebiggest sex scandal to hit the U.S. military since the 1990s (www.reuters.com, July 21, 2012). In 2011, nearly 3,200 rapes and sexual assaultswere officially reported, but the Pentagon admits that represents just 15 percent of all incidents. A military survey revealed that one in fivewomen in the US forces has been sexually assaulted, but most do not report it. Nearly half said that they “did not want to cause trouble in theirunit” (www.aljazeera.com, August 4, 2012).

The health of female minority groups is worrying. A media report in June 2012 said rate of HIV infection in heterosexual African Americanwomen in the poorest neighborhoods of Washington, D.C. nearly doubled the 6.3 percent infection rate two years before. Officials said 90percent of all women with HIV in the city are black (www.washingtonpost.com, June 21, 2012). Sixty-six percent of the women newly infected withHIV each year are black, even though African-American women represent only 14 percent of the U.S. female population. The national age-adjusted death rate for black women in the U.S. is nearly 15 times higher than that observed for HIV-infected white women (www.newswise.com,March 7, 2012). Minority women in the U.S. are more likely to die during or soon after childbirth than white women, according to a report postedon the website of the Chicago Tribune on August 3, 2012. For every 100,000 babies born to white women, between seven and nine moms diefrom complications related to pregnancy. In comparison, 32 to 35 black women die for every 100,000 live babies. Deaths among Hispanic andAsian women – born in the U.S. and abroad – are closer to rates for white women at around 10 per 100,000.

Children in the U.S. are not blessed with enough protection for their personal safety and freedom. According to a report posted on the websiteof the Daily Telegraph on December 16, 2012, the slaughter of children by gunfire in the U.S. is 25 times the rate of the 20 next largestindustrial countries in the world combined. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says at least 100,000 children across thecountry are trafficked each year (www.usatoday.com, September 27, 2012).

Child sexual abuse is a widespread public health problem. Research indicates that 20 percent of adult females and 5 to 15 percent adult malesexperienced sexual abuse in childhood or adolescence, according to a report posted on the website of http://www.preventchildabuse.org onNovember 5, 2012. In 2010, 63,527 children in the U.S. were victims of child sexual abuse. According to a report by the CNN on October 18, 2012, 1,247 “ineligible volunteer files” of the Boy Scout released that year identified more than 1,000 leaders and volunteers banned from BoyScout after being accused of sexual or inappropriate conduct with boys from 1965 to 1985. Priests and leaders of the Boy Scouts had shieldedabusers, according to the report. Former Pennsylvania State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted of abusing 10 childrenover 15 years (www.usatoday.com, October 10, 2012). In 2012, several religious figures were found to have sexually assaulted children. In July2012, Roman Catholic monsignor William Lynn was sentenced to six years in prison for allowing a priest suspected of sexual misconduct with aminor to have continued contact with children (the Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2012). In September, a Roman Catholic bishop in Kansas Citywas found guilty of failing to tell authorities about child pornography that was produced by a priest under his supervision (the Wall StreetJournal, September 6, 2012).

The number of homeless children increases sharply in the U.S. and many children are stricken by poverty. For the first time in history, publicschools reported more than one million homeless children and youth, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Education on June27, 2012. This total does not include homeless children and youth who were not enrolled in public preschool programs and those identified byschool officials. Forty-four states reported school year-to-year increases in the number of homeless students, with 15 states reportingincreases of 20 percent or more. The number of homeless children enrolled in public schools has increased 57 percent since the 2006-2007school year. In Michigan, the number of homeless children enrolled in public schools had increased 315 percent between 2008 and 2011 (www.nlchp.org, June 27, 2012). The number of children in New York city’s shelters hit 19,000 by September 2012. Francheska Luciano, 14,said living in shelter was “like living in hell.” (www.nydailynews.com, September 9, 2012) The U.S. Department of Education said in a report thatonly 52 percent of identified homeless students who took standardized tests were proficient in reading, and only 51 percent passed the mathportion. Homeless students were also found to be more likely to drop out of school and less likely to graduate from high school than theirclassmates (www.neatoday.org, Nov. 28, 2012). According to “America’s Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2012,” 22percent of the children aged 0 to 17, or 16.4 million kids, live in poverty in 2010 (www.csmonitor.com, July 17, 2012). Fourteen states sawincreases in child poverty between 2010 and 2011 (usatoday.com, September 23, 2012). Nevada saw a 38 percent increase in child povertyover the past decade (www.csmonitor.com, August 17, 2011).

VI. On U.S. Violations of Human Rights against Other Nations

Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. has waged wars on other countries most frequently. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, both started bythe U.S., have caused massive civilian casualties. From 2001 to 2011, the U.S.-led “war on terror” killed between 14,000 and 110,000 per year,said an article posted on the website of Stop the War Coalition on June 14, 2012 (stopwar.org.uk, June 14, 2012). The UN Assistance Missionin Afghanistan (UNAMA) tallied at least 10,292 non-combatants killed from 2007 to July 2011. The Iraq Body Count project recordsapproximately 115,000 civilians killed in the cross-fire from 2003 to August 2011. According to the article, beyond the two states underoccupation, the “War on Terror” has spilled into a number of neighboring countries including Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, killing a greatmany civilians there. From 2004 to the time the article was written, a minimum of 484 civilians, including 168 children, were killed in strikes thatoccurred in Pakistan. It was also reported by the media that strikes resulted in 56 civilian deaths in Yemen, the article added. A news report,posted on BBC’s website on September 25, 2012, pointed at recurrent U.S. drone attacks in the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan(www.bbc.co.uk, September 25, 2012). “Just one in 50 victims of America’s deadly drone strikes in Pakistan are terrorists – while the rest areinnocent civilians,” said an article posted on September 25, 2012, on the website of the Daily Mail (www.dailymail.co.uk, September 25, 2012).

U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan also kill civilians for no reason. U.S. soldier Robert Bales was reported to walk out of a military base in the southernprovince of Kandahar at 3 o’clock on the night of March 11, 2012 and killed 17 civilians, including nine children. Bales split the slaughter intotwo episodes, returning to his base after the first attack and later slipping away to kill again. He first came to one family in a nearby village andshot a man dead, which scared others in the family to hide in neighborhood. Then he went to a second family and shot dead three people andinjured six. Afterwards, he returned to his base and left for another village after chatting with one soldier at the base. In the village, he brokeinto a family and shot dead more than 10 people who were sound asleep. After the massacre, he collected some of the bodies and burnedthem.( The Agence France-Presse, March 23, 2012; The Associated Press, March 24, 2012; The Huffington Post, November, 11, 2012)

U.S.-led military operations have also brought forth ecological disasters. An article posted on the website of The Independent on October 14, 2012 cited a study that reported a “staggering rise” in birth defects among Iraqi children conceived in the aftermath of the war(www.independent.co.uk, October 14, 2012). Steve Kretzmann, director of Oil Change International, said that the Iraq war was responsible forat least 141 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) from March 2003 through December 2007, according to a pieceposted on December 21, 2009 on coto2.wordpress.com (coto2.wordpress.com, December 21, 2009). “The war emits more than 60 percent ofall countries,” said Kretzmann. A study, cited by an article posted on the website of The Independent on October 14, 2012, linked a huge risethat Iraq had recorded since the war in birth defects with military actions in which American forces used metal contaminant-releasing whitephosphorus shells. It found that in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, which saw two of the heaviest battles during the Iraq war, more than half of allbabies surveyed were born with a birth defect between 2007 and 2010. Before the war, the figure was more like one in 10. More than 45percent of all pregnancies surveyed ended in miscarriage in the two years after 2004, up from the previous 10 percent(www.independent.co.uk, October 14, 2012).

U.S. soldiers have also severely insulted Afghan people’s dignity and blasphemed against their religion. The AFP reported on September 24, 2012 that during a counter-insurgency operation in July 2011, four U.S. Marines urinated on three bloodied bodies of dead Taliban fighters,and one said, “Have a great day, buddy,” to one of the dead. A videotape depicting their actions was recorded and later circulated on theInternet (The Agence France-Presse, September 24, 2012). In February 2012, U.S. troops at Bagram air base provoked public indignation bytaking a batch of religious materials, including 500 copies of the Koran, to the incinerator, said a news story posted on the website of theWashington Post on August 27, 2012 (www.washingtonpost.com, August 27, 2012).

The U.S. army has for long detained foreigners illegally at the Guantanamo prison. By January 2012, 171 people were still held there, said anarticle posted on the website of Watching America on January 17, 2012. They were denied the rights accorded to prisoners of war under theGeneva Conventions, and savagely tortured (www.watchingamerica, January 17, 2012). American authorities have revealed that, in order toobtain confessions, some of the few being tried (only in military courts) have been tortured by waterboarding more than 100 times orintimidated with semiautomatic weapons, power drills or threats to sexually assault their mothers, said an article posted on the website of theNew York Times on June 24, 2012 (www.nytimes.com, June 24, 2012). Media reported that in September 2012, a 32-year-old Yemeni namedAdnan Farhan Abdul Latif died at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, the ninth to have died there while in custody. He had been held at thedetention camp since it was established in January 2002, without being charged with any crime (abcnews.go.com). On January 23, 2012, theUnited Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay spoke out against the failure by the U.S. to close the Guantanamo Baydetention facility and to ensure accountability for serious violations – including torture – that took place there (www.un.org, January 23, 2012). Anoted American wrote in an article that the American government’s counterterrorism policies “are now clearly violating at least 10 of thedeclaration’s 30 articles, including the prohibition against ‘cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’” (www.nytimes.com, June 24, 2012).

The U.S. refuses to acknowledge “the right to development,” which is a common concern among the majority of countries. In September 2012,the 21st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted a resolution on “the right to development.” Except an abstentionvote from the U.S., all the HRC members voted for the resolution. The 67th session of the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted the21st consecutive resolution, by a recorded vote of 188 in favor to three against with two abstentions, calling for an end to the U.S.’ 50-plusyears of economic blockade against Cuba. One of the three dissenting votes was from the U.S. (United Nations document number GA/11311)

via China Releases Report on Human Rights Record of the United States in 2012 | LeakSource.

via China Releases Report on Human Rights Record of the United States in 2012 | LeakSource.

Grape Seed Extract Exposes Modern Medicine’s Failings l


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The benefits of grape seed extract in cancer are well documented, but modern medicine won’t do anything with it until the mechanism of action has been found, so that it can be isolated, purified, made poisonous and owned by a single company for enormous profits.

The more advanced cancer is, the less effective chemotherapy is. However, a new study has shown that grape seed extract has exactly the opposite quality: The more advanced the cancer, the less extract that’s needed to kill it. On top of that, the study also shows that grape seed extract targets the cancer cells that become most resistant to chemotherapy.

In the face of this remarkable new development, it’s likely that grape seed extract is more effective in treating late-stage cancer than modern medicine’s chemotherapy. Not only does it take less and less of the substance to kill cancer cells, it’s able to target the cells that have become drug resistant, thus making chemo useless!

Yet again, the common misperception that modern medicine’s treatments are stronger or more potent or better in any way is shown to be mistaken. Sadly, it’s a mistake that can kill.

Grape Seed Extract Exposes Modern Medicine’s Failings

The study in question was produced in the University of Colorado Cancer Center and published in the journal Cancer Letters. It was an in vitro study, not in vivo. That is, no living creatures were involved. The study was performed on cell cultures. That might make it seem relatively insignificant. However, much prior research has already documented grape seed extract’s ability to control and kill cancer, so that’s not in much doubt. What this study discovered is a plausible means by which it happens. This is the kind of information that modern medicine craves.

Have you ever noticed how there’s so much focus on the idea that cholesterol causes heart disease? It doesn’t, but that doesn’t deter the ongoing research that assumes it to be true. That’s because modern medicine demands to know how something works—or at least to be given an explanation, whether true or not. There’s an assumption that, if you know that A is associated with B, then controlling A will prevent or cure B. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s true, only that it sounds plausible.

The “Plausible” Mode of Action

Rather than focusing on what really counts—survival and return to health—medicine focuses on markers that are based on plausible modes of action.

Once a “plausible” mode of action idea has caught on, research funds get directed towards it. A search goes on to find ways to control that presumed connection. That’s why we have statins. They’re associated with heart disease. They don’t cause it, but a seemingly plausible theory was produced saying that cholesterol causes heart disease. Therefore, since statins can reduce cholesterol, they’re the first thing a doctor prescribes when someone has any sort of heart disease sign—even just being past the age of 40 or 50.

Statins don’t produce health. In fact, they destroy it, causing memory loss, muscle damage, and death. But they’re a perfect example of a plausible idea getting research funding, drugs being developed to cause a change in a marker, doctors prescribing it, and enormous profits getting funneled to Big Pharma.

Ultimately, does it matter whether a treatment can meet some arbitrary marker, or is it more important that it heals you? The answer should be obvious—and it is to everyone but a medical system that’s gone awry. Modern medicine wants a product that’s owned by Big Pharma because that apparently means it’s science-based. That it invariably costs an exorbitant amount and doesn’t cure isn’t of concern. All that matters is that arbitrary markers be met.

Therefore, while it’s interesting to learn something about how a treatment works, let’s get on with it. Let’s focus on the fact that grape seed extract does work and inform people so they can take advantage of it.

via Grape Seed Extract Exposes Modern Medicine’s Failings | Family Survival Protocol.

via Grape Seed Extract Exposes Modern Medicine’s Failings | Family Survival Protocol.

The Dalai Lama Partnership with the CIA


Partnership with the CIA

The Dalai Lama with the Tibetan Guerrillas

The Dalai Lama with the Tibetan Guerrillas

Of all the lies that surround the Dalai Lama, surely the greatest is that he is a champion of non-violence. This aspect of the image that he likes to portray of himself and with which he has mesmerised the media and much of the world is actually just another part of the myth.

The truth of the matter is that from the mid-1950s through to the mid-1970s there was an active and violent Tibetan resistance movement that was funded by the CIA.

The CIA Tibetan Activity consists of political action, propaganda, and paramilitary activity […] The cost of the Tibetan Program for FY 1964 can be summarized in approximate figures as follows:

a. Support of 2100 Tibetan guerrillas based in Nepal–$ 500,000

b. Subsidy to the Dalai Lama–$ 180,000

c. [1 line of source text not declassified] (equipment, transportation, installation, and operator training costs)–$ 225,000

d. Expenses of covert training site in Colorado–$ 400,000

e. Tibet Houses in New York, Geneva, and [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] ( 1/2 year )–$ 75,000

f. Black air transportation of Tibetan trainees from Colorado to India–$ 185,000

g. Miscellaneous (operating expenses of [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] equipment and supplies to reconnaissance teams, caching program, air resupply–not overflights, preparation stages for agent network in Tibet, agent salaries, etc.)–$ 125,000

h. Educational program for 20 selected junior Tibetan officers– $ 45,000

Total–$ 1,735,00

Document 337, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964 – 1968, Volume xxx, China

Declassified State Department Document

via Dalai Lama CIA – The Dalai Lama and the CIA | Western Shugden Society (WSS).

via Dalai Lama CIA – The Dalai Lama and the CIA | Western Shugden Society (WSS).

Coming Soon: The 2nd Annual 420 Smoke Out at Belfast City Hall


It was around this time last year I first saw a poster circulating Facebook advertising a 420 Smoke Out at Belfast City Hall.

I knew instantly that I had to go.

Some people claimed a turnout of 200; others said it was more like 40 or 50 people, what I can tell you is that, being in the crowd looking out, it felt like thousands.

Whilst perhaps tiny in comparison to international 420 celebrations like Colorado, Toronto or Amsterdam, the people certainly made up for it with the atmosphere.  It was like a crowd of long lost friends reuniting. Everyone was buzzing, chatting, sharing stories, advice and everything else…

April 20th 2013 is just under two months away so I thought now was as good a time as any to ignite interest with this year’s flyer.

If you’re reading this, COME ALONG, and please take a few moments to share the poster with friends and family, via Facebook, Twitter or other social media.

Lets celebrate cannabis with like minded people.

via Coming Soon: The 2nd Annual 420 Smoke Out at Belfast City Hall.

via Coming Soon: The 2nd Annual 420 Smoke Out at Belfast City Hall.

Republicans wants rape victims who choose abortions jailed for ‘tampering with evidence’


Cathrynn-Brown-rape

BLOODY hell, New Mexico. In that corner of the land of the free, moves are being made to force rape victims to carry any resulting pregnancy full term. Abortion will be deemed “tampering with evidence”. If a mugger breaks your face, you should not keep it showing sings of brutality to please the judge when the trial comes up. In what demented mind is a pregnancy evidence of rape?

The bill is being brought by Rep. Cathrynn Brown (R).

According to HB 206, if a woman terminates her pregnancy after being raped, she and the medic who performed the abortion face 3 years in state prison:

Tampering with evidence shall include procuring or facilitating an abortion, or compelling or coercing another to obtain an abortion, of a fetus that is the result of criminal sexual penetration or incest with the intent to destroy evidence of the crime.

So, rape victim, what’s it to be: prison or carrying the rapist’s child?

Aviva Shen notes:

While anti-choice advocates maintain that a fetus should be afforded the full rights of personhood, charging abortion as “tampering with evidence” effectively turns the fetus into an object. This isn’t the first time so-called pro-life supporters have dropped the fetal personhood crusade when it was convenient — last year, a Catholic hospital in Colorado reversed its stance on fetal personhood in a malpractice suit, arguing in court that the term “person” should only apply to individuals who have already been born.

One question: who the hell voted for

Cathrynn Brown, the pressure group Rapists for Dads?

via Republicans wants rape victims who choose abortions jailed for ‘tampering with evidence’.

via Republicans wants rape victims who choose abortions jailed for ‘tampering with evidence’.

Cannabis goes legal in Washington state


Hundreds of marijuana enthusiasts huddled near Seattle’s famed Space Needle tower last night with pipes, bongs and hand-rolled joints to celebrate Washington’s new status as the first US state to legalise the drug for adult recreational use.

The public gathering at the downtown Seattle, like a smaller turnout at a nearby spot hours earlier, defied a key provision of the state’s landmark marijuana law, which allows possession of small amounts of cannabis but forbids users from lighting up outside the privacy of their homes.

Police kept their distance from both gatherings, underscoring mixed law enforcement messages about the new statute, known by its ballot designation as Initiative 502. The measure took effect yesterday.

Seattle’s city attorney issued a stern warning that public marijuana puffing would not be tolerated and that violators faced citations with $100 fines.

But the Seattle police department said its officers had been directed to limit any enforcement actions related to Initiative 502 to verbal warnings only, at least for now.

The new law, passed by voters last month in a move that could set the state up for a showdown with the federal government, removes criminal sanctions for anyone 21 or older possessing 1 ounce (28.5 grams) or less of pot for personal use.

Colorado voters likewise chose to legalise marijuana for personal recreational use, but that measure is not due to take effect until next month. Both states are among 18 that have already removed criminal sanctions for medical use of marijuana.

The Washington law also legalizes possession of up to 16 ounces of solid cannabis-infused goods – such as brownies – and up to 72 ounces of weed in liquid form.

But driving under the influence of cannabis or imbibing in public places where the consumption of alcohol is already banned remain illegal.

The new law ultimately will permit cannabis to be legally sold and taxed at state-licensed stores in a system to be modeled after those in many states for alcohol sales. The state Liquor Control Board, along with agriculture and public health officials, have until next December to set up such a system.

For now, it remains a crime to sell, cultivate or even share one’s own stash, even though the law allows individuals to purchase a limited amount for personal possession.

Ironically, the first known court challenge of the law came from a medical marijuana patient in Olympia, who filed suit last week seeking to block enforcement of a new standard for marijuana impairment while driving, similar to the blood-alcohol standard for drunken driving.

The plaintiff, Arthur West, says the new legal limit – five nanograms per milliliter of blood of THC, pot’s active ingredient – would unfairly subject him to prosecution for a THC level at which he routinely drives without impairment. A hearing on his request for an injunction was set for today.

Little if any of the law’s fine points seemed to matter to the mellow group of about 300 people – from college-age tokers to middle-aged Baby Boomers – who assembled at the Seattle centre fountain, a short distance from the Space Needle.

Convivial laughter, laid-back conversation and occasional coughing filled the air as the pungent smell of marijuana wafted through the crowd, many wearing sweatshirt hoodies to ward off the chill, on a cold, crisp evening.

Convivial laughter, laid-back conversation and occasional coughing

via Cannabis goes legal in Washington state – The Irish Times – Fri, Dec 07, 2012.

via Cannabis goes legal in Washington state – The Irish Times – Fri, Dec 07, 2012.

If we care about our society, we should legalise cannabis


VOTERS IN THE states of Washington and Colorado recently voted to legalise cannabis for recreational use for people who are over 21-years-old. Along with these two states, another fifteen as well as the District of Columbia approve and regulate its medical use.

In the aftermath of the Washington and Colorado ballot,The Journal.ie ran a poll. Eighty-two percent said they were in favour of cannabis legalisation in Ireland for either recreational or medicinal use. This of course is in no way scientific – but is it now time for our government to take a closer look at our cannabis prohibition laws, and ask whether they are benefiting our society or causing more harm than good?

We need to ask: does cannabis prohibition work? The simple answer is no. We only have to look back in history to the era of Prohibition in the 1920s to understand why. Al Capone and his violent mob made millions of dollars from the illegal sale of alcohol. Today we are witnessing a similar trend in Ireland, with ruthless criminal gangs making a fortune (tax-free of course) from the sale of cannabis. Sadly, the monies raised often go on to fuel much more serious crimes such as gun crime, hard drugs and prostitution.

Legalising cannabis would automatically cut off this valuable revenue stream. Instead we could generate an unthinkable amount of tax revenue, which could be spent on much needed public services such as health, education and drug rehabilitation.

Prohibition

Cannabis prohibition also leaves market regulation in the hands of criminals – and unfortunately the health and wellbeing of the end user is the least of their concerns. It’s a serious issue that in Ireland today a 14-year-old can obtain cannabis more easily than they can alcohol. If cannabis was legalised the market could be regulated properly with an age restriction of 18 or 21 applied to it, making it safer than it currently is today.

Prohibition causes a major drain on our criminal justice system: how much valuable time and money is spent on chasing down and convicting cannabis growers and distributors in this country? If cannabis was legalised it would free up time and money which could then be used to target more serious crimes.

We also need to factor in the medicinal benefits of cannabis. The first recorded medicinal use of cannabis by Chinese emperor Shen Nung dates back as far as 2737 BC. In more modern times, it’s been put forward as a treatment or symptom reliever for a huge range of medical conditions including multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease, cancer, arthritis, asthma, epilepsy, digestive diseases, depression and many more.  It’s hard to believe that we have a plant which has so many apparent benefits, yet we deny those who are suffering from these illnesses the opportunity of relief.

In my mind, prohibiting this substance whilst allowing people to suffer is the biggest crime of all. Now, let’s take a look at the reasons people give for why they oppose cannabis legalisation and the misconceptions people have about the prohibition laws they favour.

Regulation

People say it’s harmful to your health. This seems to be the number one reason given for opposing legalisation. Yet if cannabis is already freely available and commonly used within our society, shouldn’t we be striving to limit its harmful effects?

As already mentioned above, a regulated market place is much safer than one controlled by the criminal underworld. Curbing underage use should be seen as a top priority, as studies have shown a link between persistent adolescent cannabis use and mental health problems in later life – yet they’ve found that people who didn’t take up cannabis until they were adults did not show similar negative effects as those who began at an earlier age.

Secondly, people say that legalising it will cause a huge uptake in the number of people who choose to smoke it. This isn’t necessarily true. A friend of mine recently said to me “cannabis just wouldn’t be as much fun if it was legalised” and there’s some truth in that. Experts will tell you that more teenagers try cannabis because of the glamour of the ‘forbidden fruit’ than are deterred by any other factor. Cannabis use is actually more prevalent in Ireland than it is in either Portugal or the Netherlands, two European countries who have decriminalised its use. In fact, contrary to common belief the Dutch are among the lowest users of cannabis in Europe; despite the Netherlands’ well known tolerance of the drug.

Others state that it is a gateway drug that will lead users onto harder drugs. But there’s nothing in cannabis that makes the user want to try harder drugs. The fact that it’s illegal and often sourced from dealers who also sell other drugs could be seen as a problem, but again if it was legalised we wouldn’t have this problem.

With so many benefits to be gained by legalising cannabis and so many obvious disadvantages to prohibition, why are our government choosing to ignore this issue? It’s time to ask questions and demand answers.

via Column: If we care about our society, we should legalise cannabis.

via Column: If we care about our society, we should legalise cannabis.

If pot were truly legal, high-quality joints would cost the same price as a Splenda packet


 

In July, Salon’s Matthew Yglesias wrote an article about the price of legal marijuana, which is even more interesting now that Colorado and Washington have legalized cannabis for recreational use.

How cheaply could pot be grown with advanced farming techniques? One potential data point is Canada’s industrial hemp industry, where production costs are about $500 per acre. If the kind of mid-grade commercial weed that accounts for about 80 percent of the U.S. market could be grown that cheaply, it implies costs of about 20 cents per pound of smokable material: Enough pot to fill more than 800 modest-sized half-gram joints for less than a quarter!. Those numbers are probably optimistic, since in practice recreational marijuana is grown from more expensive transplanted clones rather than from seeds. Even so, the authors note that “production costs for crops that need to be transplanted, such as cherry tomatoes and asparagus, are generally in the range of $5,000-$20,000 per acre.” That implies costs of less than $20 per pound for high-grade sensimilla and less than $5 a pound for mid-grade stuff. Another way of looking at it, suggested by California NORML Director Dale Gieringer, is that we should expect legal pot to cost about the same amount as “other legal herbs such as tea or tobacco,” something perhaps “100 times lower than the current prevailing price of $300 per ounce—or a few cents per joint.”

This would make pot far and away the cheapest intoxicant on the market, absolutely blowing beer and liquor out of the water. Joints would be about as cheap as things that are often treated as free. Splenda packets, for example, cost 2 or 3 cents each when purchased in bulk.

I wonder how much money the liquor industry is going to contribute in their attempt to get these cannabis laws overturned?

 

Get High for Free!!!!

Marijuana

It continues to be totally off the radar of prominent politicians, but polls indicate that large and growing numbers of Americans are open to the idea of legalizing marijuana. Gallup broke ground last fall with the first-ever poll showing 50 percent of respondents nationwide wanting to legalize, and a more precisely worded poll from Rasmussen in May had 56 percent in favor of “legalizing marijuana and regulating it in a similar manner to the way alcohol and tobacco cigarettes are regulated today.” Thus far those polls are outliers, and most surveys show more voter skepticism than that. But as elderly voters are more pot-phobic than the young, legalization’s support is likely to increase over time and surely it will work its way onto the national agenda sooner or later.

There’s been relatively little analysis of what a legal marijuana industry might look like. One key but little-appreciated fact is that, according to persuasive research by Jonathan Caulkins, Angela Hawken, Beau Kilmer, and Mark Kleiman in their new book Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs To Know, is that legal pot would be amazingly cheap. In fact, midgrade stuff would be so cheap that it might make sense for businesses to give it away like ketchup packets or bar nuts.

Conventional thinking about pot pricing is often dominated by people’s experience buying weed in legal or quasi-legal settings such as a Dutch “coffee shop” or a California medical marijuana dispensary. But this is badly misleading. Neither California nor the Netherlands permit growing or wholesale distribution of marijuana as a legal matter. If pot were fully legal, its growth, distribution, and marketing would work entirely differently.

There are some goods that are sufficiently costly to store—either because they’re alive like lobsters or because they’re giant like RVs—such that either the retail markup is a big deal or else retail purchases can’t be made in convenient locations. But marijuana is a nonperishable bulk commodity like wheat or lentils. For such commodities, the final price to the end user is dominated by the cost of production.

Try to imagine a world in which you’re allowed to have some tomatoes in your house, you’re allowed to cook tomatoes, you’re not punished for having tomatoes in your possession if the cops stop you, and you’re even allowed to buy tomatoes at specialty tomato stores—but where it’s illegal to actually grow tomatoes. The price of tomatoes is going to escalate enormously. The problem isn’t that the tomatoes will suddenly disappear from supermarket shelves (though they will) but that all the farms will have to shut down. Which isn’t to say that nobody will grow tomatoes. People like tomatoes. So tomatoes will be smuggled in from Mexico. Tomatoes will be grown in backyards. People will use lights and hydroponic rigs to grow tomatoes indoors.

These expedients would work, but they’d be horrendously inefficient compared with the modern agricultural, packaging, and transportation methods.

America’s farmlands are some of the most productive in the world, thanks in no small part to technology and the existence of scale sufficient to leverage that technology. Even what Americans think of as a small family farm is quite large compared with an illicit marijuana operation. There are no amber waves of cannabis anywhere in the world today, but under a true legalization regime there would be. And this makes all the difference.

How cheaply could pot be grown with advanced farming techniques? One potential data point is Canada’s industrial hemp industry, where production costs are about $500 per acre. If the kind of mid-grade commercial weed that accounts for about 80 percent of the U.S. market could be grown that cheaply, it implies costs of about 20 cents per pound of smokable material: Enough pot to fill more than 800 modest-sized half-gram joints for less than a quarter!. Those numbers are probably optimistic, since in practice recreational marijuana is grown from more expensive transplanted clones rather than from seeds. Even so, the authors note that “production costs for crops that need to be transplanted, such as cherry tomatoes and asparagus, are generally in the range of $5,000-$20,000 per acre.” That implies costs of less than $20 per pound for high-grade sensimilla and less than $5 a pound for mid-grade stuff. Another way of looking at it, suggested by California NORML Director Dale Gieringer, is that we should expect legal pot to cost about the same amount as “other legal herbs such as tea or tobacco,” something perhaps “100 times lower than the current prevailing price of $300 per ounce—or a few cents per joint.”

This would make pot far and away the cheapest intoxicant on the market, absolutely blowing beer and liquor out of the water. Joints would be about as cheap as things that are often treated as free. Splenda packets, for example, cost 2 or 3 cents each when purchased in bulk.

These data either bolster or undermine the case for legalization, depending on your point of view. On the one hand, despite the apparent widespread availability of pot even under prohibition, it seems likely that radically lowering the price would lead to a much larger increase in consumption than people have in mind. On the other hand, it seems that you could tax the hell out of marijuana and still leave consumers better off than they are today. An extraordinarily high tax, of course, would spark tax evasion. Right now, people smuggle marijuana across the U.S.-Mexico border for profits of about $20 an ounce, so a tax substantially higher than that could be tricky to enforce. Still, a $20/ounce tax would be about triple the per-weight taxation of cigarettes, while still leaving mass-market weed extremely affordable. Unfortunately, marijuana taxation is not a game-changer for fiscal policy terms. Federal cigarette taxes bring in about $10 billion a year. Even heavy pot smokers don’t smoke nearly as much as cigarette addicts, so even at triple taxation we’re talking about low single-digit billions in revenue—not nothing, but hardly transformative to the overall budget.

Still the transformation of the basic economics of the marijuana industry—and knock-on effects for casinos, bars, and other possible complements or substitutes for pot—would be enormous. The superficial ineffectiveness of prohibition masks a huge impact on the supply side that, for better or for worse, is what stands between America and much cheaper highs.

via How much would legal marijuana cost? A new book says it would be nearly free. – Slate Magazine.

via How much would legal marijuana cost? A new book says it would be nearly free. – Slate Magazine.

Tom Angell: 10 Most Unexpected Marijuana Reform Supporters


With less than one week before we find out how voters in Colorado, Oregon and Washington will decide on ballot measures to regulate marijuana like alcohol, polls indicate there’s a very good chance at least one of these states will make history by enacting the world’s first-ever marijuana legalization law.

While the movement to reform marijuana laws has been steadily picking up steam in recent years, with rising national polling support and a growing number of states allowing for the medical use of marijuana, having the voters of a state opt to legalize and tax marijuana for adult use would propel the issue to the forefront of the mainstream political scene like never before.

The three legalization initiatives on state ballots are not only drawing support from a large number of voters, but are garnering endorsements from newspaper editorial boards, civic groups, civil rights leaders, celebrities and even some members of law enforcement.

But guess who else is speaking out in support of changing marijuana laws? Check out the slideshow below for a top 10 list of the most unexpected allies in the fight against marijuana prohibition.

These quotes are sourced from the new website http://www.MarijuanaMajority.com, which compiles quotes and videos from prominent people across the political spectrum who support reforming marijuana laws.

via Tom Angell: 10 Most Unexpected Marijuana Reform Supporters.

via Tom Angell: 10 Most Unexpected Marijuana Reform Supporters.

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