Simple question really: Where did all those trillions of dollars to bail out the rich go ?
Simple question really: Where did all those trillions of dollars to bail out the rich go ?
As the Conservative government in Ottawa pushes ahead with plans to expand the country’s prisons to make room for more convicts serving longer sentences, the head of the federal prison system has made an admission that should shock and alarm us all:
That’s hyperbole, but it does contain an obvious and painful truth. The most recent figures available reveal that of all those admitted to federal custody, a startling 11 per cent have mental-health problems. That’s up from seven per cent a decade ago. How many of them don’t really belong in prison?
This reflects both federal and provincial failures. In an interview last year former senator Michael Kirby, who heads the Mental Health Commission of Canada, summed up the way we got into this mess: As provinces closed mental-health beds in hospitals, he said, “the intent had been to open beds in the community. We opened some beds but clearly not enough. A lot of people being kicked out of institutions ended up on the street and many, frankly, ended up in prison. We converted the streets and prisons into the asylums of the 21st century and that is just outrageous. The policy decision was correct in that community-based services were better than institutional, but that implies you will actually have the community-based services.”
If you don’t, we see now, you end up with a lot of people in prison who shouldn’t be there.
The “we” in Kirby’s indictment is the provinces, which administer the health system. There can be no doubt that many of the homeless are mentally ill; it can be a short step from sleeping on a grate to ending up in prison.
Kirby, a respected civil servant before Pierre Trudeau named him to the Senate, was named by Stephen Harper to lead the Mental Health Commission in developing a strategy to improve a system which is failing Canadians. Kirby, who first grew interested in mental-health policy while helping a depressed sister, will soon present a report from his commission.
Tossing the mentally ill into jail does less than nothing to relieve the overall stigma which is, unfortunately, associated with mental illness. It might well do more harm than good to the people jailed. It is a disgrace to the country. If the government must spend money to lock up more Canadians, it should surely also find the money to treat those who need help more than punishment.
The contribution reported Tuesday by The Sacramento Bee is the single biggest donation from an individual other than Proposition 19′s main sponsor, Oakland medical marijuana entrepreneur Richard Lee.
Soros, a high-profile liberal and philanthropist, has long backed drug law reform. He was one of the top financial backers of California’s first-in-the-nation measure that legalized medical marijuana in the state in 1996.
But Soros held off on openly endorsing the current measure until writing an op-ed published Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal. In the piece, Soros said legalizing and taxing marijuana would save taxpayers the costs of incarceration and law enforcement while raising revenue for the state.
“Just as the process of repealing national alcohol prohibition began with individual states repealing their own prohibition laws, so individual states must now take the initiative with respect to repealing marijuana prohibition laws,” Soros wrote.
The $1 million donation comes a day after the Yes on 19 campaign launched its first television ad. The opposition’s campaign also recently took to the airwaves for the first time with a radio ad sponsored by the California Chamber of Commerce, claiming the law would threaten workplace safety and harm the state’s economy.
Soros’ money went to a campaign committee overseen by the Drug Policy Alliance, a drug legalization advocacy group. Soros sits on the group’s board and is a major donor.
The money will be spent on get-out-the-vote efforts, on-the-ground campaigning and television advertising, said Ethan Nadelmann, the alliance’s executive director and a longtime adviser to Soros on drug policy issues.
Soros has long supported medical marijuana and decriminalizing the drug for personal use but has in fact been ambivalent about broader legalization, Nadelmann said. The 80-year-old investor finally decided to support Proposition 19 after seeing how the ballot measure had “elevated the discourse” around drug law reform, he said.
“For him, it’s not been about legalization per se, but about rolling back the drug war,” said Nadelmann.
Until now, neither side in the ballot measure contest has seen a huge outpouring of cash, though supporters have significantly out-raised opponents. Supporters of the measure have raised about $3.8 million, including the Soros donation. The No campaign has raised about $300,000.
Other high-profile donations to Proposition 19 in recent days include $50,000 from Men’s Wearhouse chief executive George Zimmer and $70,000 from hedge fund president and Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel, according to campaign finance records.
Roger Salazar, spokesman for the No on Prop 19 campaign, called the big-ticket donations to the other side a sign of panic as polls show support for the measure dropping.
“We’ve always known that they would outspend us. In fact, they’ve outspent us from Day One,” Salazar said. “It seems to us the more they’ve spent, the more they’ve gone down in the polls.”
Despite the large sums, fundraising for Proposition 19 has been modest compared to other campaigns. For example, campaign finance records show supporters of Proposition 23 to suspend California’s greenhouse gas emissions law have raised more than $10 million, while opponents have raised more than $30 million.
The rising rate of obesity is a complex phenomenon, touching on issues of culture, economics and biology. Quickie solutions such as imposing big taxes on sugary food are not likely to do much.
Yet public health advocates feel compelled to do something. Right now, their No. 1 villain seems to be soft drinks. A panel of University of Toronto researchers, in a report sponsored by the Heart and Stroke Foundation, has argued that “adult weight is modestly responsive to soft-drink taxes.” In the U.S., meanwhile, President Barack Obama has said he, too, thinks a soda tax is worth exploring. Indeed, many American states have imposed such a tax. Proponents say that the consequences of obesity, as measured in individual health outcomes and also the larger burden imposed on the health-care system, justifies the tax.
Not everyone agrees. A recent Rand Corporation study of 7,300 school children found that small taxes on soda pop “do not substantially affect overall levels of soda consumption or obesity rates,” according to Health Affairs. A 2007 study, “Can Soft Drink Taxes Reduce Population Weight?,” suggests soda taxes would need to be as large as those on cigarettes to have any significant impact, but even then they “will not halt the obesity epidemic.”
The Toronto researchers point to the success of tobacco taxes in discouraging smoking to argue that soft-drink taxes might do the same thing. This is a questionable analogy. The decline in smoking is due in large measure to the “denormalizing” of smoking — in other words, education campaigns and other measures that have affixed a large social stigma to cigarettes.
Obesity is not just about what we eat and drink but about what do — or, rather, don’t do, namely, exercise our bodies. We lead sedentary lifestyles, thanks to a leisure-filled society. Television, the web, video games; all our electronic diversions have rendered us virtually immobile.
You don’t cure a culture of sloth with the heavy hand of government. Not only does lifestyle taxation smack of state intrusiveness, but it can also be regressive.
A 2009 report from the Washington-based National Center for Policy Analysis points out that sin taxes impose a greater burden on poor people who tend to consume cheaper, less healthy food than do those in higher income brackets. Such taxes also “fail to produce the full extent of desired behavioural changes” — less obesity — because the demand for these products is inelastic. “A 27.5 per cent tax on a 50-cent can of soda would only lower the number of the obese and overweight from 66 per cent to 65.3 per cent,” says the report, entitled “Not-So-Sweet Excise Taxes.”
Clearly, we have a clash of evidence. That alone warrants hesitation in imposing a soda tax. Besides, if any government seriously considered lifestyle taxation, why stop at soft drinks? How about an obesity tax on hamburgers, Sony PlayStations and cable TV subscriptions?
Such measures would extend the government’s reach to absurd levels. The essential attribute of a healthy society will always be self-responsible citizens. Of course, genuine freedom is not a matter of doing what you want, but doing what it is right and best. Choosing well — including lifestyle choices — requires education, not taxation.
via Taxing obesity.
On Tuesday, California will vote on Proposition 19, an initiative to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana. If passed, it would allow people 21 years old or older to possess, cultivate or transport marijuana for personal recreational use.Legalized marijuana in California would have a profound impact across North America, with prices plummeting and jobs lost. In British Columbia alone, experts say the move would wipe out about $2-billion in exports and 20,000 jobs.
But will Proposition 19 pass? Early polling found significant support for the initiative but, as election day draws nearer, the “no” side has been gaining traction. A USC/Los Angeles Times poll in the third week of October found 51 per cent of likely voters opposed to legalization and 39 per cent in support of the measure. Others polls have reported similar results.
If it does get support, get ready for massive changes in the drug industry.
PRICES: A REAL DOWNER
Some things, of course, remain uncertain if California does legalize marijuana. Marijuana will remain illegal under federal U.S. law and how the U.S. government will respond is unclear. There is also no indication of how the drug will be taxed and by how much.
But one thing on which all the experts agree is that prices will tumble. Right now, marijuana sells for about $300 to $450 per ounce in California. In larger quantities, it can sell for $4,000 a pound or more. Prices are set by demand, supply, the risk in providing an illegal product and the drug’s strength – the amount of intoxicating THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol).
If the drug is legalized, risk will disappear, and both demand and supply will almost certainly increase. Production costs could drop to about one-tenth of current levels. Those working with marijuana would no longer collect a risk premium. Growers could open larger production facilities yielding economies of scale. The pre-tax retail price could drop as low as $38 per ounce, about one-tenth its current price.
AN AMERICA-WIDE BUZZ
Prices won’t just tumble in California. With reduced production and processing costs, California growers would be more competitive with growers across the country. Marijuana produced legally would undercut prices throughout most of the U.S. The price of San Francisco marijuana after legalization could wholesale in Washington, D.C., at $2,575 per pound, compared to the current wholesale price in the Maryland/Virginia area of roughly $4,000 per pound.
Source: Altered State? Assessing How Marijuana Legalization in California Could Influence Marijuana Consumption and Public Budgets published by the RAND Corporation Drug Policy Research Center
MEXICO GETS TASTE OF COMPETITION
Mexican marijuana has carved out a niche in the drug trade as the supplier of a cheaper, commercial grade product. Its price advantage would disappear if California supports legalization. With reduced costs of production, California-grown marijuana could be priced about the same as the Mexican grass but would be considerably more potent – about 3.6 times more.
Mexicans would be left with exports to other U.S. states that could not obtain the California product. Mexico’s drug-trafficking organizations earn up to $2-billion annually from exporting marijuana to the U.S., but could lose as much as $1.5-billion of that should California legalize marijuana.
IN B.C, AN INDUSTRY WILL GO UP IN SMOKE
The marijuana trade is one of the largest – if not the largest – industry in B.C., generating around $4-billion in revenue annually for at least the past seven years. Domestically, marijuana sells for about $2,000 a pound.
About 70 per cent of marijuana produced – about $3-billion worth – is exported to the U.S. The price of B.C. Bud increases as the distance from B.C. grows – it sells for $2,500 a pound just south of the Canada-U.S. border but can go for as much as $5,000 a pound in San Diego. And at least half of the exports to the U.S. go to California, sales that would be lost if legalization occurs there.
Closing one grow-op with 700 plants would eliminate an operation with annual revenue of about $344,000 and jobs for electricians, gardeners, those who tend and harvest the crops, security people and brokers who arrange the sale of the product. The province has around 60,000 marijuana growing operations varying in size, from a few dozen plants to several hundred. Legalization in California could take away work for 20,000 people in B.C. The impact on organized crime – which distributes and sells the drug – would be significant.
Source: Criminologist Darryl Plecas, of the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, B.C. and Mayor Brian Taylor of Grand Forks, B.C., the first leader of the B.C. Marijuana Party
Submitted by Mike Krieger of KAM LP
The Tipping Point has Arrived
Our age is retrospective. It builds the sepulchres of the fathers. It writes biographies, histories, and criticism. The foregoing generations beheld God and nature face to face; we, through their eyes. Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should not we have the a poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition, and a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs? Embosomed for a season in nature, whose floods of life stream around and through us, and invite us, by the powers they supply, to action proportioned to nature, why should we grope among the dry bones of the past, or put the living generation into masquerade out of its faded wardrobe? The sun shines today also. There is more wool and flax in the fields. There are new lands, new men, new thoughts. Let us demand out own works and laws and worship.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature
I believe we have finally breached the tipping point in the socio-political landscape of the United States of America. There will be no going back from here. Everyone on all levels of society including the elites must make a choice. Will you stand for real reform and an end of the feudalistic rule of the oligarchs and their paid-off puppets that line the streets of Washington D.C., or will you keep your mouth shut and play the old and dying game in the context of a completely different cultural environment?
While many will disagree with what I am about to say, I believe the oligarchs and the Federal Reserve have already lost.
This will not be clear to the vast majority at this time because the powerful institutions that dominate and rob us will continue to fight for survival but the wind is already blowing in a different direction and cannot be reversed. The smart elites are starting to see this and are hedging their bets. The dumb or stubborn ones may want to start looking at countries with non-extradition treaties or start blowing the whistle on someone above them and fast. The window of opportunity to make the choice is closely quickly. “I was just following orders” will not cut it when the dollar collapses and Disneyland shuts down. There have not been any major arrests and people have seemingly gotten away with all their frauds and crimes. This too will change and 2011 will represent a change in trend in this regard. We have entered the terminal phase of this ponzi scheme economy and those responsible for its creation and its continued support at the expense of the vast majority of the populace will see their foul deeds rise to the surface.
Earlier this year I wrote two piece that I think are worth re-reading and I have attached links to them. The first was “A Time to Speak Out” http://www.zerohedge.com/article/time-speak-out and the second was the “The Elites Have Lost the Right to Rule” http://www.zerohedge.com/article/elites-have-lost-right-rule. When I wrote these articles many of the themes addressed were completely out of the mainstream, yet in an amazingly brief period of time many of the frustrations I voiced are now popping up everywhere I look. It’s strange and rewarding to see the topics I and countless others have been discussing on the “fringe” break into the light of day. Now that these concepts are out there is no stopping the avalanche that is about to hit the oligarchs smack in the face. As Gandhi said “An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.”
This brings me to discuss what I think is one of the most important letters from an elite I have seen in 2010. I am referring to Bill Gross’ most recent piece. Now when I say he is an “elite” I am not saying he is part of some vast conspiracy to turn us further into serfs. What I mean is he is one of the most fabulously wealthy people in America. He also happens to have made his fortune in the financial services industry and runs the country’s largest bond fund. This is a person that has every reason and incentive to play nice with the other elites and their corrupt institutions at the top of which lies the Federal Reserve banking cartel. What he did in his latest letter was far from “playing ball.” Here are some of the notable quotes and the entire letter can be found here http://www.pimco.com/Pages/RunTurkeyRun.aspx.
“Was it relevant in 2004 that John Kerry was or was not an admirable “swift boat” commander? Will the absence of a mosque within several hundred yards of Ground Zero solve our deficit crisis? Is Christine O’Donnell really a witch? Did Meg Whitman employ an illegal maid? Who cares! We are being conned, folks; Democrats and Republicans alike.”
“Perhaps, as a vocal contingent suggests, our paper-based foundation of wealth deserves to be buried, making a fresh start from admittedly lower levels. The Fed, on Wednesday, however, will decide that it is better to keep the patient on life support with an adrenaline injection and a following morphine drip than to risk its demise and ultimate rebirth in another form.”
“Check writing in the trillions is not a bondholder’s friend; it is in fact inflationary, and, if truth be told, somewhat of a Ponzi scheme. Public debt, actually, has always had a Ponzi-like characteristic.”
“The Fed, in effect, is telling the markets not to worry about our fiscal deficits, it will be the buyer of first and perhaps last resort. There is no need – as with Charles Ponzi – to find an increasing amount of future gullibles, they will just write the check themselves. I ask you: Has there ever been a Ponzi scheme so brazen? There has not.”
Ok, so what is Bill Gross up to you ask? I will give you my two cents. This guy is not as fabulously wealthy as he is for being a dope (although this cannot be said for a lot of people in this industry that are merely financial engineers that would become extinct overnight without 0% interest rates but that’s another story). Bill Gross sees the writing on the wall. He see the winds of change and is hedging his bets. He is throwing out a carrot to those that criticize the completely corrupt and ponzi scheme economy and financial system we have today which benefits only those that speculate on the taxpayers dime. We could end this fake and destructive economy by ending the Fed in its current form (at the very least everything they do must be transparent) and restoring the rule of law. He attacks the false left/right paradigm and rightly points out that both the Democrat and Republican establishment have sold out the people to line their own pockets. In the second quote he actually explores the notion that “our paper-based foundation of wealth deserves to be buried.” Then finally he points out what many others have but almost no one is the mainstream ever admits. The U.S. government is running a giant ponzi scheme with regard to its debt. Hmmm do you want to own gold or treasuries?
Truth be told, what Bill Gross did in this letter is to create the ultimate hedge for himself. He didn’t say these things earlier when they were just as true as they are today and certainly must have been clear to someone of his intelligence. He said it now. He said it now because he can see the writing on the wall. The important thing is not that he ultimately defends what the Fed is doing (which he unfortunately does) but that he felt the need to hedge himself and distance himself from the system. As he writes in the final paragraph, “We haven’t been around for 35+ years and not figured out a way to avoid the November axe. We are a survivor and our clients are not going to be Turkeys on a platter.” Indeed, the axe is going to fall on the oligarchs and if you don’t want to be a turkey on a platter you had better choose sides and fast. As the great Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in his 1836 essay Nature, “There are new lands, new men, new thoughts. Let us demand out own works and laws and worship.” Well said sir, well said.
All the best,
The rich and their paid false prophets are doing a bang up job deceiving the poor and middle class. They have convinced many that an evil socialism is alive in the land and it is taking their fair share. But the deception cannot last – facts say otherwise.
Yes, there is a class war – the war of the rich on the poor and the middle class – and the rich are winning. That war has been going on for years. Look at the facts – facts the rich and their false paid prophets do not want people to know.
Let Glen Beck go on about socialists descending on Washington. Allow Rush Limbaugh to rail about “class warfare for a leftist agenda that will destroy our society.” They are well compensated false prophets for the rich.
The truth is that for the several decades the rich in the US have been getting richer and the poor and middle class have been getting poorer. Look at the facts then make up your own mind.
Poor Getting Poorer: Facts
The official US poverty numbers show we now have the highest number of poor people in 51 years. The official US poverty rate is 14.3 percent or 43.6 million people in poverty. One in five children in the US is poor; one in ten senior citizens is poor. Source: US Census Bureau.
One of every six workers, 26.8 million people, is unemployed or underemployed. This “real” unemployment rate is over 17%. There are 14.8 million people designated as “officially” unemployed by the government, a rate of 9.6 percent. Unemployment is worse for African American workers of whom 16.1 percent are unemployed. Another 9.5 million people who are working only part-time while they are seeking full-time work but have had their hours cut back or are so far only able to find work part-time are not counted in the official unemployment numbers. Also, an additional 2.5 million are reported unemployed but not counted because they are classified as discouraged workers in part because they have been out of work for more than 12 months. Source: US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics October 2010 report.
The median household income for whites in the US is $51,861; for Asians it is $65,469; for African Americans it is $32,584; for Latinos it is $38,039. Source: US Census Bureau.
Fifty million people in the US lack health insurance. Source: US Census Bureau.
Women in the US have a greater lifetime risk of dying from pregnancy-related conditions than women in 40 other countries. African American US women are nearly 4 times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications than white women. Source: Amnesty International Maternal Health Care Crisis in the USA.
About 3.5 million people, about one-third of which are children, are homeless at some point in the year in the US. Source: National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty.
Outside Atlanta, 33,000 people showed up to seek applications for low cost subsidized housing in August 2010. When Detroit offered emergency utility and housing assistance to help people facing evictions, more than 50,000 people showed up for the 3,000 vouchers. Source: News reports.
There are 49 million people in the US who live in households which eat only because they receive food stamps, visit food pantries or soup kitchens for help. Sixteen million are so poor they have skipped meals or foregone food at some point in the last year. This is the highest level since statistics have been kept. Source: US Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
Middle Class Going Backward: Facts
One or two generations ago it was possible for a middle class family to live on one income. Now it takes two incomes to try to enjoy the same quality of life. Wages have not kept up with inflation; adjusted for inflation they have lost ground over the past ten years. The cost of housing, education and health care have all increased at a much higher rate than wages and salaries. In 1967, the middle 60 percent of households received over 52% of all income. In 1998, it was down to 47%. The share going to the poor has also fallen, with the top 20% seeing their share rise. Mark Trumball, “Obama’s challenge: reversing a decade of middle-class decline,” Christian Science Monitor, January 25, 2010. http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2010/0125/Obama-s-challenge-reversing-a-decade-of-middle-class-decline
A record 2.8 million homes received a foreclosure notice in 2009, higher than both 2008 and 2007. In 2010, the rate is expected to be rise to 3 million homes. Sources: Reuters and RealtyTrac.
Eleven million homeowners (about one in four homeowners) in the US are “under water” or owe more on their mortgages than their house is worth. Source: “Home truths,” The Economist, October 23, 2010.
For the first time since the 1940s, the real incomes of middle-class families are lower at the end of the business cycle of the 2000s than they were at the beginning. Despite the fact that the American workforce is working harder and smarter than ever, they are sharing less and less in the benefits they are creating. This is true for white families but even truer for African American families whose gains in the 1990s have mostly been eliminated since then. Source: Jared Bernstein and Heidi Shierholz, State of Working America. http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/swa08_00_execsum.pdf
Rich Getting Richer: Facts
The wealth of the richest 400 people in the US grew by 8% in the last year to $1.37 trillion. Source: Forbes 400: The super-rich get richer, September 22, 2010, Money.com
The top Hedge Fund Manager of 2009, David Tepper, “earned” $4 billion last year. The rest of the top ten earned: $3.3 billion, $2.5 billion, $2.3 billion, $1.4 billion, $1.3 billion (tie for 6th and 7th place), $900 million (tie for 8th and 9th place), and in last place out of the top ten, $825 million. Source: Business Insider. “Meet the top 10 earning hedge fund managers of 2009.” http://www.businessinsider.com/meet-the-top-10-earning-hedge-fund-managers-of-2009-2010-4
Income disparity in the US is now as bad as it was right before the Great Depression at the end of the 1920s. From 1979 to 2006, the richest 1% more than doubled their share of the total US income, from 10% to 23%. The richest 1% have an average annual income of more than $1.3 million. For the last 25 years, over 90% of the total growth in income in the US went to the top 10% earners – leaving 9% of all income to be shared by the bottom 90%. Source: Jared Bernstein and Heidi Shierholz, State of Working America. http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/tabfig/2008/01/19.pdf
In 1973, the average US CEO was paid $27 for every dollar paid to a typical worker; by 2007 that ratio had grown to $275 to $1. Source: Jared Bernstein and Heidi Shierholz, State of Working America. http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/tabfig/2008/03/SWA08_Wages_Figure.3AE.pdf
Since 1992, the average tax rate on the richest 400 taxpayers in the US dropped from 26.8% to 16.62%. Source: US Internal Revenue Service. http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/07intop400.pdf
The US has the greatest inequality between rich and poor among all Western industrialized nations and it has been getting worse for 40 years. The World Factbook, published by the CIA, includes an international ranking of the inequality among families inside of each country, called the Gini Index. The US ranking of 45 in 2007 is the same as Argentina, Cameroon, and Cote d’Ivorie. The highest inequality can be found in countries like Namibia, South Africa, Haiti and Guatemala. The US ranking of 45 compares poorly to Japan (38), India (36), New Zealand, UK (34), Greece (33), Spain (32), Canada (32), France (32), South Korea (31), Netherlands (30), Ireland (30), Australia (30), Germany (27), Norway (25), and Sweden (23). Source: CIA The World Factbook: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2172.html
Rich people live an average of about five years longer than poor people in the US. Naturally, gross inequality has consequences in terms of health, exposure to unhealthy working conditions, nutrition and lifestyle. In 1980, the most well off in the US had a life expectancy of 2.8 years over the least well-off. As the inequality gap widens, so does the life expectancy gap. In 1990, the gap was a little less than 4 years. In 2000, the least well-off could expect to live to age of 74.7 while the most well off had a life expectancy of 79.2 years. Source: Elise Gould, “Growing disparities in life expectancy,” Economic Policy Institute. http://www.epi.org/economic_snapshots/entry/webfeatures_snapshots_20080716/
These are extremely troubling facts for anyone concerned about economic fairness, equality of opportunity, and justice.
Thomas Jefferson once observed that the systematic restructuring of society to benefit the rich over the poor and middle class is a natural appetite of the rich. “Experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to…the general prey of the rich on the poor.” But Jefferson also knew that justice can only be delayed so long when he said, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.”
The rich talk about the rise of socialism to divert attention from the fact that they are devouring the basics of the poor and everyone else. Many of those crying socialism the loudest are doing it to enrich or empower themselves. They are right about one thing – there is a class war going on in the US. The rich are winning their class war, and it is time for everyone else to fight back for economic justice.
In all, about 17 million people in this country have completed college only to end up working jobs that require a skill level below that of a bachelors degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Some 17 Million Americans have college degrees but don’t need them. Should we be encouraging even more people to pursue degrees when their economic futures are far from certain?
For politicians, boosting college graduation rates has always been a fairly uncontroversial goal to support. The Obama administration is doing so, rather relentlessly, through a number of initiatives designed to better prepare students for college and support them once they get there.
The assumptions are 1) that students who graduate from college have increased potential for economic mobility, and 2) the more students who earn college degrees, the more our economy will grow. But are either of those assumptions still true, in light of our new economic reality? Or are we wasting money investing in a sector that’s producing thousands of janitors with Ph.D.s?
One thing’s for sure: our higher education system has produced thousands of janitors with Ph.D.s or other professional degrees — about 5,057 of them, in fact, plus more than 8,000 waiters and waitresses. When you look at all college degrees, there are more than 317,000 over-educated Americans serving us our meals, more than 80,000 shaking our martinis and some 62,000 mowing our lawns.
In all, about 17 million people in this country have completed college only to end up working jobs that require a skill level below that of a bachelors degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
You can be sure that many college-educated McDonald’s workers have career goals that they’ve been unable to achieve because of the nation’s crippling 22.5% underemployment rate; some of them will, theoretically (and hopefully), move into their intended career one day. But what of the millions of people who don’t switch over to careers that require a degree, either by choice or because of circumstance?
Richard Vedder of the Chronicle of Higher Education argues that this is one sign the U.S. has over-invested in higher education. He points to a new National Bureau of Economic Research report written by three acclaimed economists, which concludes, “In general, marginal and average returns to college are not the same.” In layman’s terms, that means that even if our investment in higher education is yielding a decent return on average, efforts to build on that investment might yield a less-good return. Or, even more simply put, there is a point of diminishing returns in higher education. And, according to these indicators at least, we appear to have reached it.
Over at the blog for the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, Christopher Matgouranis makes a similar argument, noting that the 4.4% unemployment rate for college grads may be better than the abysmal national rate (9.6%), but still suggests that a bachelor’s degree is no longer “a guaranteed path to a cushy middle class life-style.”
When considering public policy aimed at increasing the percentage of college graduates in the labor force, it must be an imperative to consider what these people will be doing after graduation. Is it socially responsible for us to encourage individuals to enroll in college and accumulate massive debt when the benefits are becoming increasingly uncertain? I think not. An increase in the overall percentage of college graduates will just see that more will end up underemployed (or unemployed altogether).
Encouraging students to go to college regardless of their skill level or inclination and with dwindling potential for economic benefit can lead to “credential inflation” — the phenomenon whereby college degrees are “watered down” and employers start requiring a degree for jobs that do not warrant one. (Despite what some employment ads suggest, you probably do not need a college degree to answer a phone, or to build cabinets.)
An obvious solution is to the invest a greater percentage of our resources in vocational and other professional certification programs, which would cost less for both students and the government and could produce people who are more appropriately trained for the careers they want to and/or will pursue.
On the other hand, it could be that there’s nothing wrong with encouraging young Americans to pursue degrees as long as we can ensure that they’ll receive a high-quality education. After all, students go to college for more than just career training — they also go to expand their minds, find their place in the world, meet new people and, quite often, to grow up a bit before entering the workforce. And there’s nothing wrong with that, per se.
But either way, the blind assumption that dumping more money into the higher education sector will lead to certain economic gains is naïve, if not irresponsible, and requires a deeper look.
It will allow security services and the police to spy on the activities of every Briton who uses a phone or the internet.
Moves to make every communications provider store details for at least a year will be unveiled later this year sparking fresh fears over a return of the surveillance state.
The plans were shelved by the Labour Government last December but the Home Office is now ready to revive them.
It comes despite the Coalition Agreement promised to “end the storage of internet and email records without good reason”.
Any suggestion of a central “super database” has been ruled out but the plans are expected to involve service providers storing all users details for a set period of time.
That will allow the security and police authorities to track every phone call, email, text message and website visit made by the public if they argue it is needed to tackle crime or terrorism.
The information will include who is contacting whom, when and where and which websites are visited, but not the content of the conversations or messages.
The move was buried in the Government’s Strategic Defence and Security Review, which revealed: “We will introduce a programme to preserve the ability of the security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies to obtain communication data and to intercept communications within the appropriate legal framework.
“This programme is required to keep up with changing technology and to maintain capabilities that are vital to the work these agencies do to protect the public.
“Communications data provides evidence in court to secure convictions of those engaged in activities that cause serious harm. It has played a role in every major Security Service counterterrorism operation and in 95 per cent of all serious organised crime investigations.
“We will legislate to put in place the necessary regulations and safeguards to ensure that our response to this technology challenge is compatible with the Government’s approach to information storage and civil liberties.”
But Isabella Sankey, director of policy at Liberty, said: “One of the early and welcome promises of the new Government was to ‘end the blanket storage of internet and email records’.
“Any move to amass more of our sensitive data and increase powers for processing would amount to a significant U-turn. The terrifying ambitions of a group of senior Whitehall technocrats must not trump the personal privacy of law abiding Britons.”
Guy Herbert, general secretary of the No2ID campaign group, said: “We should not be surprised that the interests of bureaucratic empires outrank liberty.
“It is disappointing that the new ministers seem to be continuing their predecessors’ tradition of credulousness.”
Prof Peter Rothwell of Oxford University has found that taking the painkiller daily for five years can reduce the chance of developing colorectal cancer by a quarter and cut deaths from the disease by a third.He said these results are the ‘tip of the iceberg’ and are likely to be an underestimate of its benefit in colorectal cancer prevention.
Prof Rothwell who is 46 said he and his wife both started taking low-dose aspirin themselves in order to reduce the chance of cancer several years ago and others in their 40s and 50s should consider it.
“The whole approach to aspirin is likely to change over the next few years. Currently people take it to prevent vascular events (such as heart attacks and stroke) but it is likely that in five years people will be taking it to prevent non-vascular diseases like cancer as well.”
The drug, which is over 110 years old, was originally formulated as a painkiller but researchers are increasingly finding new benefits for it in diseases ranging from heart disease to dementia.
Prof Rothwell examined trials in which people took 75mg of aspirin a day for an average of five years and followed them up for 20 years.
The findings are published in The Lancet medical journal.
This is a lower dose than when used as a painkiller and costs the NHS just three pence per patient per day.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in Britain with around 39,000 people diagnosed each year and around 16,000 die annually.
Prof Rothwell, of the John Radcliffe Hospital and Oxford University, said the trials looked at the benefits of taking aspirin for five years but he suspects the effect of taking it for longer would ‘undoubtably be much larger’.
He said as colorectal cancers start to appear in the people aged 55 and older and take around ten years to develop, the ideal time to start taking aspirin would be in the 40s and continue with it until around the age of 75 when the side effects of aspirin start to outweigh the benefits. The effect of taking aspirin may continue for around ten years after stopping it, he said.
The major side effect of aspirin is internal bleeding because it can disturb the lining of the stomach but this is reduced at lower doses.
The Department of Health has announced that pilots of a new colorectal screening programme will start next year in people using a scope to look for changes in the bowel that could signal cancer.
Prof Rothwell said use of aspirin would dovetail perfectly with the new programme as the drug prevents more cancers at the top of the bowel which will not be detected by the screening test.
There was a 70 per cent reduction in cancers and deaths from cancers in the upper colon among those taking aspirin for five years, the analysis found.
Aspirin blocks the effects of substance called cyclo-oxygenase and is produced by some forms of cancer which is why Prof Rothwell believes other cancers will respond to aspirin.
Other experts have now called for guidelines to be drawn up on how aspirin should be used to prevent cancer.
Dr Robert Benamouzig and Dr Bernard Uzzan, of the Avicenne Hospital, in Bobigny, France, wrote in an accompanying editorial: “This interesting study could incite clinicians to turn to primary prevention of colorectal cancer by aspirin at least in high risk-populations. Specific guidelines for aspirin chemoprevention would be the next logical step.”
Mark Flannagan, Chief Executive of Beating Bowel Cancer said: “These are very positive results. This was a big study over a long period of time and reinforces the message that aspirin may be important in significantly reducing the number of cases and deaths from bowel cancer.
“The results suggest that taking aspirin in conjunction with a healthy diet and lifestyle might reduce your risk of developing bowel cancer. However, anyone considering starting a course of medication should first consult their GP.
“As Professor Rothwell suggests, a low dose of aspirin may fit well with the flexible sigmoidoscopy screening programme that will be launched by the Government next year. We will have to see how these results might be considered during the roll out of flexible sigmoidoscopy.”
Sativex is cannabis soaked in alcohol. Nothing more, nothing less.
GW Pharmaceuticals would have you believe that it’s a “pharmaceutical” product because according to its research that’s what patients prefer. As the GW spokesman puts it, “It’s a pharmaceutical solution, formulated with the ability to deliver a precise dose and with stringent standards of quality, safety and efficacy”.
In fact, what GW does is grow high quality cannabis under pretty much the same conditions as most illegal growers. It uses clonal propagation to ensure consistent levels of cannabinoids. Lighting and hydroponic nutrition is computer controlled with automatic ventilation. It really is no different from the most sophisticated and efficent illegal cannabis farms. It’s a recognised and proven technology now also used by Bedrocan in Holland, the Dutch government’s exclusive medicinal cannabis grower and Gropech in California. It is building a new 60,000 sq ft facility in Oakland for a crop worth $50 million per year.
The difference between these crops from legal and illegal growers is insignificant. It’s similar to buying your tomatoes from the supermarket or the farm shop.
GW takes its high quality cannabis, chops it up and soaks it in alcohol with the application of gentle heat. Then, with the addition of a little peppermint oil to mask the taste, the filtered liquid is packaged into tiny little aerosol bottles. Each spray delivers 2.7mg of THC and 2.5mg of CBD. What GW doesn’t tell you that it also contains all the other 60 cannabinoids found in the plant, each of which has its own mechanism of action and effect.
I applaud GW Pharmaceuticals for bringing the enormous benefits of cannabnoid therapy into the 21st century. It’s nothing new though. The medicinal value of the plant has been known and widely used for thousands of years. Only in the last century has it been demonised by lies and propaganda. It would be a mistake though to think that Sativex is anything different from the plant itself. It’s just been wrapped up in a marketing and physical package which has enabled stupid and cowardly politicians to accept it.
In fact, Sativex remains just as illegal in Britain as herbal cannabis. Even though it has received MHRA approval for use in the treatment of MS spasticity and may be prescribed by a doctor, it remains a schedule 1 drug under the Misuse Of Drugs Act. The Home Office has indicated that it intends to amend the law but has not yet done so. This means that any pharmacist who dispenses Sativex at present is guilty of exactly the same criminal offence as any street dealer in weed or hash.
The Home Office will, of course, turn a blind eye to this but not to medicinal herbal cannabis even though, in every sense, it is identical to Sativex (except that Sativex also contains alcohol and peppermint oil). The stark idiocy of British law is revealed.
Never before has there been a better example of the how the law is an ass and so are the spineless politicians who support it.
The Truth About Sativex « Peter Reynolds.Related Articles
The following is an excerpt from The Pot Book edited by Julie Holland, M.D. (Park Street Press, 2010)
Julie Holland: Can we start with the catnip story?
Michael Pollan: I always kept a little patch of catnip in my garden for my old tomcat, Frank, who really liked it. It’s not a very difficult plant to grow. The patch was hard to miss, because it was so shrubby. But every evening around five or six o’clock, just around the time that I was going to the garden to harvest something for dinner, Frank would come down there and look at me. What he wanted to know was where that catnip was, because he managed to forget every single night. And I would point it out to him or sometimes bring him over to it, and then he would pull some leaves off, sniff them, eat them, and start rolling in the grass. He was clearly having a powerful drug experience. Then he would sneak away and sleep it off somewhere.
But the interesting thing was, as much as this became part of his daily routine, he could not remember where the catnip was. And it occurred to me that this might be a kind of evolutionary strategy on the part of the plant: instead of killing the pest, it would just really confuse it. Killing pests can be counterproductive, because they breed or select for resistance very quickly. This happens with a lot of poisonous types of plants, as it does with pesticides. But if the plant merely confuses the pests or disables their memory, it can defend itself against them overindulging. Pure speculation, as I say in the book. It occurred to me that it might help explain what’s happening with cannabis, which of course also disables memory.
Holland: So THC could potentially protect the plant from pests by discombobulating them so they forget where they found it?
Pollan: It potentially is doing that. The big question is why plants would evolve very specific chemical compounds that have this strange effect on the mental processes of mammals, and that’s one theory that I came up with to explain it. There is also, of course, the pure-chance theory. Maybe the THC is doing something else entirely, like protecting the plant from UV rays or performing some other function for the plant, or maybe it does indeed kill insects. But it just so happens that THC also unlocks this particular receptor network in humans.
Holland: I am very interested in the idea that we co-evolved with cannabis on the Earth for ten thousand years and that we’ve got receptors for this plant substance inside our brains, that we’ve got cannabinoids and anandamide inside us. You’ve written about cannabis helping you forget as sort of a helpful strategy or adaptation, and there’s a line in Botany of Desire about forgetting as a prerequisite to human happiness and mental health. I guess anandamide is our brain’s own drug for coping and enduring. It’s not just the benefits of forgetting — what’s that line, “Do you really want to remember every face you saw on the subway this morning?”
Pollan: Yes, Raphael Mechoulam keyed me in to that idea. We understand the evolutionary utility of memory, but we don’t often think about the utility of forgetting. And it was that comment by him that made me realize that it’s almost as important to be able to forget as it is to remember. Forgetting, in this case, isn’t just a fading of the memory, but an active process for editing, because we take in far more information than it would be useful to retain. There’s just so much detail in our visual field (not to mention the other senses) at any given moment that a lot of what our brains are doing is figuring out what is worth remembering, what can be shucked, and what should just be remembered for a little while and then let go. So we need some sort of mechanism for doing it, and Mechoulam’s speculation was that one of the functions of anandamide would be to help us prune the sensory data of everyday life, short-term memory in particular. I found that a very persuasive theory, and it certainly gels with the experience of a brain on marijuana, because things that happened just minutes ago are gone, and I think that has a lot to do with the texture of the experience.
Holland: There’s no doubt that short-term working memory is temporarily diminished when somebody gets high. But what I think is enjoyable to people is this idea of dehabituation, that they’re seeing things with fresh eyes. Memory is the enemy of wonder. When people get high, everything is new and intense because of this forgetting, because it’s dehabituated.
Pollan: It’s a childlike way of looking at the world — Wordsworth’s child. The child sees everything for the first time; and, of course, to see things for the first time, you have to have forgotten that you’ve seen them before. So forgetting is very important to the experience of awe or wonder.
Holland: It aesthetisizes commonplace things. When something is sort of distanced or estranged, it somehow becomes more beautiful.
Pollan: It italicizes it, in a way. You set it apart, and you actually see it. It gives a freshness to things that we take for granted all the time. I think it’s definitely a part of all drug experiences in one way or another, but marijuana seems to have the ability to do this with ordinary things, putting them up on a pedestal.
Holland: That sort of perception provides breaks in your mental habits, provides the power to alter mental constructs, and offers new ways of looking at things, so drugs can then function as “cultural mutagens,” a phrase you use.
Pollan: Looking at the whole history of drugs and culture — whether you’re talking about music, or art, or writing — there’s this very rich tradition of artists who have availed themselves of various drugs and have attributed great insight or creativity to their experience with those drugs. And one of the mechanisms that might explain this is that the drugs shift ordinary perception, allowing you to see things from a new perspective, and that is kind of mutagenic; it triggers change.
I used that metaphor with some care because, obviously, 99.9 percent of the time, drug experiences are not making any contribution to culture whatsoever, and they’re usually a complete waste of time and can also lead to all sorts of problems. So I liken them to mutations: you put out enough novelty in the world in the form of insider experience, and some of it is bound to be really productive, in the same way that if you put enough mutations into a gene or an organism, some of them are going to produce incredible advances, but most of them will be maladaptive. That’s the other reason why I thought mutagenicity was the right term. It’s not as if there’s a one-to-one relationship — you try this, and you’re going to have an amazing artistic experience. I think the odds are probably the other way.
Holland: So speaking of metaphors, you describe cannabis buds as perpetually sexually frustrated, ever-lengthening flowers. I feel like our culture is so separated from nature now that it’s a big part of our problem. This striving flower is a great metaphor for our reaching out, wanting more — more meaning, searching for spirituality, though half the time we settle for materialism or consumerism. What do you think we can do to reconnect more with nature? Do you see plant-based medicines being helpful?
Pollan: I think they are. We have this inbred idea of nature and culture as opposed to each other, with mind and body on opposite sides of the big divide. One of the things that’s really striking to me about all plant mood-changing substances is that idea. If things out in the natural world can change the content of your thoughts, can you really say that matter is on one side and this thing called spirit on the other? It really suggests that the categories are messier and more intertwined than we’d like to think.
There’s a whole tradition in the West of suppressing plant-based drugs and plant-based knowledge. That’s what the story of the Garden of Eden is all about. It wasn’t the content of the knowledge that Eve got in the garden that was the problem; it was that she got it from a plant. A big part of earlier religions, which often had a drug component to them, was that there was wisdom in nature, and consuming natural substances was how you acquired wisdom. That was a very threatening idea to monotheism, which wanted to have this one God up in the sky; it wanted to take our eyes off of nature as a place where we might find wisdom, comfort, and so forth.
The whole Judeo-Christian tradition has a history of a strong antinature component. Nature is to be subdued, nature is what we are different from: we distinguish ourselves from animals. It’s always about inserting that distance between us and the other animals, or us and the trees, because people used to worship trees. So, to the extent that you wanted to establish this new kind of God, you had to reject nature and natural experiences of all different kinds. So I do think there is potential in returning to this appreciation of the fact that our consciousnesses can be affected by the plant world, not to mention the fungal world.
Holland: I love the idea of a garden being a place of sacraments. In Botany of Desire, you wrote, “Letting nature have her way with us now and again brings our upward gaze back down to earth.” This idea of nature as teacher and as healer, of a plant as medicine, is so basic to our culture, but we’ve gotten away from that to a large extent.
Pollan: Yes, and there are many reasons for that. One is the religious tradition and another is the patent laws.
Holland: You can’t help but blame Big Pharma to some extent.
Pollan: Well, the fact is that the drugs that are nearest at hand and most common, the plant drugs, can’t get past Big Pharma. There is an investment that goes into studying their value, and it is always the same — the synthetic drug is better, newer, and fresher. People forget that LSD is synthesized from a mold that grows on rye, and a great many drugs have been created in that way. Opium is another great example. So we denigrate those drugs by saying they’re not as pure; we don’t know exactly what’s in them. There’s a profit motive in belittling what the plant world gives us.
Holland: It reminds me of In Defense of Food, where you talk about food being reduced to its building blocks.
Pollan: It’s a reductive approach.
Holland: And Big Pharma chooses to be reductive over something more complex and whole, like a plant.
Pollan: That’s the real issue with THC and cannabinol, and there are others too.
Holland: Well, anybody who has taken a pharmaceutical THC pill will tell you, it doesn’t really feel like that experience is similar to smoking pot.
Pollan: Yes, that’s right, and it’s different in important ways. It probably has to do with various energies between the different compounds or just simply various combinations, but our science has trouble embracing that kind of complexity. It really needs to break things down into molecules for the purpose of a study, but plants really are more than the sum of their chemical parts. And our efforts to tease out the single active ingredient, whether it’s a vitamin in carrots, or a drug in leaves, usually don’t work out, because these things are really complicated. Reductiveness also has a negative effect when you look at the white-powder drugs. Cultures in South America have a very healthy relationship to the cocoa leaves.
Holland: They will just chew a whole leaf.
Pollan: Or they will make tea. From the reductive perspective, that is the same thing as smoking crack, but, of course, it isn’t. There are other things going on in the leaves: the psychoactive compounds are diluted in various ways with other compounds. It’s a very different thing, and to say we’re talking about the same molecule in all instances is probably false.
Holland: I can think of one example where just giving a single molecule did seem to create a good experience: in the Johns Hopkins study, where they administered psilocybin, as opposed to whole mushrooms, to healthy subjects who had rich spiritual lives. They were able to show that they could engender a mystical state with psilocybin.
When you mentioned fungus before, there are certainly plenty of plants that are able to change our consciousness, like mushrooms or cannabis.
Many people think of plants as spiritual teachers, and as healers, which naturally leads us into the whole medical marijuana issue.
Pollan: I think in a metaphorical way, they do teach us, but I don’t think they set out to teach us. There’s a lot we can learn from them, and whether it’s spiritual, again that goes to the separation of spirit and matter, which I don’t buy. People mean many different things when they talk about spirit. I get really uncomfortable around terms like spiritual, because I’m not sure what it means.
Holland: Well, one aspect of spirituality is to be present, to focus on the here and now, which I think cannabis can help people do. So this idea of “here and now” taking us away from the “then and there” of Christian salvation, the transcendence and the Power of Now — I don’t know if you are interested in any of that.
Pollan: I’ve written about that idea of “here and now” a lot, and, in fact, in my architecture book I did that too. I wrote a book called A Place of My Own, and there was a chapter about foundations in which I talked a lot about that idea of here and now, and how there’s a tension between those two sets of values. Both of them are present, usually.
Holland: Do you think it’s safe to say that cannabis can sometimes help place you in the “now”?
Pollan: Yes, I think it has the effect of absorbing you in the here and now — partly by increasing this forgetting function we were talking about, and also by creating a really single-minded focus on whatever is in front of you. I think that is a very powerful thing. Also, it’s not a desiring drug, it’s a satisfying drug, and I really believe in that distinction. Have you ever read David Lenson’s books?
Holland: Sure, On Drugs.
Pollan: I think it’s just full of brilliant ideas. It’s a terrific book and really has never gotten the recognition it deserved. He compares marijuana to cocaine. Cocaine is a desiring drug, always about the next high; it really is the consumer-culture drug, where satisfaction is just over the next horizon. One more purchase, one more snort. And marijuana is like, “Hey, whatever’s here is fine.”
Holland: And also, “No, thanks, I’m good. I’ve had enough.”
Pollan: Exactly. And it’s part of the reason why the go-getter culture frowns on potheads: they don’t want enough, they don’t buy enough.
Holland: Pot ends up being subversive because it doesn’t move that agenda forward.
So, what do you think of the California medical marijuana situation?
Pollan: It’s a mixed bag. It’s wonderful to see it normalized and regularized for a lot of people. I know many people who have their couple of plants, and it’s not a big deal. It gives you a taste of what a sane drug policy might look like. On the other hand, there is incredible abuse. A great number of people are pretending to be medical marijuana growers or sellers when they’re not. And they’re abusing the system in a way that I think may lead to the collapse of this whole regime, and the blame will be on them. It won’t be on the DEA.
Holland: I totally agree. I hope that California understands that the rest of the country is watching them to see how they do. This is a big experiment, and they’re bushwhacking and leading the way, and I really don’t want them to screw up.
Pollan: There’s so much money in this, and the temptation is so great. I just worry that they’re going to ruin this experiment, and California’s failure will be used to keep it from happening anywhere else.*
Holland: I want to talk to you about the politics of gardening. You wrote about victory gardens in the October 9, 2008, issue of the New York Times magazine. There’s a real grow revolution happening now, with people growing their own pot, partly because these hybrids are so easy to grow indoors. I think it helps people feel self-sufficient and self-determined.
Pollan: And it’s safer in various ways. They aren’t having to transport things in public conveyances. In a way, this is how it should work. It also takes cannabis out of commerce in very healthy manner, given the drug laws we have. So I do think there’s something very satisfactory about growing it yourself, growing your own drugs and enlisting yourself in your care and not depending on other people.
Holland: When I’m weeding my garden, it makes me feel powerful: this plant can stay, this weed has to go. I’m in charge, like a bouncer. And when the government steps in and tells us what we can grow in our gardens and what we can put in our bodies, it just seems to me that it’s out of their jurisdiction. And having our own gardens helps us take some responsibility for the climate crisis.
Pollan: There is a literal value in terms of helping the climate. But part of this situation is the specialist mindset, depending on others to take care of your problems. To the extent that gardens teach that you can do things on your own, that the real prerequisite for solving this climate problem is figuring out a different way to live, taking up gardening is a valuable skill we’re going to need when things get bad.
Holland: Where do you see hemp fitting into this? Not only is hemp-seed oil good for your body, but hemp as fuel could be very good for the environment.
Pollan: I don’t know that much about it, but I think it’s a shame that we haven’t researched what this very unusual and useful fiber can do. I think for paper it’s got good potential. I have no idea if there is a potential for ethanol.
Holland: It seems that it does have the potential to be used as fuel. We are using corn now as an energy source for everything; hemp could be an upgrade from corn.
Pollan: Yes and no. You still need agricultural land to do it, and I think one of the issues with ethanol is that we are using some of our best agricultural land to feed our cars rather than our people. It may be that hemp could grow in places where corn can’t grow, in marshy lands. But in general, it has the same problems: it needs tilled land to grow in. It’s not like grass, which can grow anywhere.
Holland: Where do you see cannabis and hemp fitting into “going green”? Doesn’t it fit an organic model more than an industrial model?
Pollan: There’s nothing inherently green about it; look at all the technology and fertilizers used to grow it right now in a lot of places. So I don’t see it fitting one model more than the other. I’m sure there are contributions that hemp could make, and I think the universities should be paying attention, studying and analyzing it. I think the lack of research on both hemp and marijuana, given their potential, is criminal.
Holland: When you tried sativa in Amsterdam, you said that you felt “neither stupid nor paranoid.”
Pollan: Yes, but I don’t know how much of that was due to the chemistry versus the context. You’re smoking in a place where it’s legal, so if there were any paranoia, it would likely be diminished. Research has talked about setting, and I think people underestimate just how important it is. But it also seems likely to me that there are real differences in the nature of the experience between the two strains, indica and sativa, and depending on the kind of work people do, they tend to like one more than the other. They may have physical aches and pains that they are trying to relieve. And indica, I think, has more CBD in it, and maybe that would explain why it helps. But of course, expectation plays a part in this too, because when people come to expect something from a drug, they’re going to get it.
Holland: Can you talk a little bit about our government’s drug policy, especially in terms of intervening with our gardening?
Pollan: I think as an adult, you should be free to grow anything you want on your own property as long as you’re not taking it other places. The idea that the government can tell you what you can grow in your garden, strikes me in a visceral way as wrong. Our right to privacy should include that.
Holland: I wanted to thank you for mentioning asset forfeiture and the prisoners of the drug war in Botany of Desire. I know it was an aside, but it’s an important issue. If you grow cannabis, can you lose your house?
Pollan: Yes, you can, and people don’t realize that. The kind of seeds that you choose to plant in your garden could result in the complete loss of your house and your property. And you don’t even have to plant it; someone else could plant it on your property. They don’t even have to tie the plant to you to seek forfeiture of the asset. So a stranger could plant it, or your kid could plant it, and you could lose your house.
Holland: You talked about Frank waiting until five o’clock to find the catnip. There’s something ritualized in that. He could control himself and wait. He could keep it in check.
Pollan: Well, yes. He had other work to do during the day. He wasn’t getting high at breakfast.
Excerpt from The Pot Book edited by Julie Holland, M.D., © 2010 Park Street Press. Reprinted with permission of the publisher Inner Traditions / Bear & Co., Rochester, VT 05767; InnerTraditions.com
Author: Brian D. Hill
It is now confirmed by USWGO News that the DSM-IV-TR Manual labels free thinkers, non conformers, civil disobedient advocates, those that question authority, and people considered hostile toward the government (aka Oath keepers and local militias) as mentally ill with the illness titled “oppositional defiant disorder” or ODD.
It was reported on October 8 2010 from OffTheGrid News that anybody who is disobedient, defiant, a free thinker, or even considered hostile toward authority was to be labeled by psychiatrists as ‘Mentally Ill’.
Now I have got my hands on a ebook version of the year 2000 version of the ‘Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR Fourth Edition (Text Revision) By the American Psychiatric Association version DSM-TV-TR (The non TR Version was said to be older and so I got the newer one which had the information that Off The Grid News warned about).
Now as I search up the keywords “oppositional defiant disorder” on adobe reader I found exactly what Off The Grid News was talking about. So it is now Confirmed basically that anyone who disobeys authority or even questions authority is now considered mentally ill and can be thrown in a prison-like mental institution under tax payers dollars.
So lets just get to the basics of what this is talking about for those that don’t exactly understand what this is saying:
So now according to the ebook it states that:
The essential feature of Oppositional Defiant Disorder is a recurrent pattern of negativistic,
defiant, disobedient. and hostile behavior toward authority figures that persists
for at least 6 months
So in other words if a student gives out 9/11 truth fliers and a teacher says “You don’t have a Constitutional right to give out fliers good buddy” then non compliance is considered hostile or disobedient. Also if I am with the Oath Keepers that refuse to obey unlawful orders from authorities then that also fits them and me as disruptive and hostile towards authority. If the psychiatrists use the ODD illness on regular adults then I am sure many disgruntled tax paying Americans and those that no longer consent to be governed would be forcefully medicated, forced to accept being a slave to society, or stay in a mental prison institution complex for the rest of their days. That seems to be where this manual is getting at according to the fact I was able to obtain the full copy of the psychiatric manual.
Negativistic and defiant behaviors are expressed by persistent Stubbornness, resis·
tance to directions, and unwillingness to compromise, give in, or negotiate with
adults or peers. Defiance may also include deliberate or persistent testing of limits,
usually by ignoring orders, arguing, and failing to accept blame for misdeeds. Hostility
can be directed at adults or peers and is shown by deliberately annoying others
or by verbal aggression (usually without the more serious physical aggression seen
in Conduct Disorder).
So in other words it is okay to compromise with those that commit treason to this country and those that disobey their Oath to the Constitution. The day we start accepting and compromising with those that wish to take away our freedoms then that is the path to start losing all of our freedoms and rights for good. Also this manual speaks against any anti-social behavior so that means that if your not in a organized religion, not being social enough in society, and may have viewpoints that are unpopular then you will also be labeled as having ODD.
Defiance may also include deliberate or persistent testing of limits,
usually by ignoring orders, arguing, and failing to accept blame for misdeeds
So if I was a active duty soldier and was told to confiscate peoples guns, assassinate American citizens, and start silencing dissent and I refuse those orders plus argue with the commander in chief regarding the illegal orders then that makes me mentally ill and the Unconstitutional treasonous monsters the hero.
So it is now confirmed that psychiatrists will start targeting brave people like George Washington, anti Federal Reserve activists, activists, and even those against tyranny with mental illnesses such as “oppositional defiant disorder” as we head into more of a Military Dictatorship where freedom does not exist and all functions of society must function like a cold hard machine and any who feel the need to be away from this machine society will not be tolerated by the Police State minions and will either be killed or pumped up with so much drugs that the person will feel like a zombie.
Also what are free thinkers anyways, Free thinkers are those that feel they should have the right to live the way they choose freely as long as they don’t harm anybody, don’t harm the persons property, and don’t harm other peoples rights. A free thinker is a person that believes they should have the rights to think freely without any risk of persecution.
These are the full list of who all will be targeted by this new disorder created by the American Psychiatric Association:
So there we have it the American Psychiatric Association is putting in their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV series that free thinkers, civil disobedient advocates, and Oath keepers are all mentally ill that are anti-social and may cause behavior problems in our modern society.
The Constitution is at risk again as the fascists keep finding ways to indoctrinate the youth and finding new ways to make people conform to the new Unconstitutional ways of society. We are being incrementally prepared to accept the new treasonous Unconstitutional takeover.
The technology giant and Israel announced that they are teaming up to give researchers and the public the first comprehensive and searchable database of the scrolls – a 2,000-year-old collection of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek documents that shed light on Judaism during biblical times and the origins of Christianity. For years, experts have complained that access to the scrolls has been too limited.
Once the images are up, anyone will be able to peruse exact copies of the original scrolls as well as an English translation of the text on their computer – for free. Officials said the collection, expected to be available within months, will feature sections that have been made more legible thanks to hi-tech infrared technology.
“We are putting together the past and the future in order to enable all of us to share it,” said Pnina Shor, an official with Israel’s Antiquities Authority.
The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in the late 1940s in caves in the Judaean Desert and are considered one of the greatest finds of the last century.
After the initial discovery, tens of thousands of fragments were found in 11 caves nearby. Some 30,000 of these have been photographed by the antiquities authority, along with the earlier finds. Together, they make up more than 900 manuscripts.
For decades, access to 500 scrolls was limited to a small group of scholar-editors with exclusive authorization from Israel to assemble the jigsaw puzzle of fragments, and to translate and publish them. That changed in the early 1990s when much of the previously unpublished text was brought out in book form.
But even now, access for researchers is largely restricted at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, where the originals are preserved in a dark, temperature-controlled room.
Miss Shor said scholars must receive permission to view the scrolls from the authority, which receives about one request a month. Most are given access, but because no more than two people are allowed into the viewing room at once, scheduling conflicts arise. Researchers are permitted three hours with only the section they have requested to view placed behind glass.
Putting the scroll online will give scholars unlimited time with the pieces of parchment and may lead to new hypotheses, Shor said.
“This is the ultimate puzzle that people can now rearrange and come up with new interpretations,” she said.
Scholars already can access the text of the scrolls in 39 volumes along with photographs of the originals, but critics say the books are expensive and cumbersome. Miss Shor said the new pictures – photographed using cutting-edge technology – are clearer than the originals.
The refined images were shot with a hi-tech infrared camera NASA uses for space imaging. It helped uncover sections of the scrolls that have faded over the centuries and became indecipherable.
If the images uploaded prove to be of better quality than the original, scholars may rely on these instead of traveling to Jerusalem to see the scrolls themselves, said Rachel Elior, a professor of Jewish thought at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.
“The more accessible the fragments are the better. Any new line, any new letter, any better reading is a great happiness for scholars in this field,” she said.
The new partnership is part of a drive by Google to have historical artifacts cataloged online, along with any other information.
“There are artifacts in boxes, in museum basements. We ask ourselves how much this stuff is available on the internet. The answer is not a lot, and not enough,” said Yossi Matias, an official from Google-Israel.
In one hand we have the highest ever mortgage foreclosures in History and on the other hand banks are declaring the highest ever profit numbers. You do the math.
Wells Fargo & Co. surged to record profits that beat Wall Street estimates — and said it will continue foreclosures despite shoddy paperwork for home repossessions that has engulfed lenders in a nationwide fiasco.
During the third quarter, Wells earned $3.34 billion, or 60 cents a share, on revenue of $20.87 billion. Profit beat projections of 55 cents a share. However, revenue missed predictions of $20.95 billion.
The San Francisco-based bank said profits were 3.2 percent higher than a year ago. Revenue fell 7.1 percent amid economic weakness.
“Record earnings in the third quarter reflect the success of the Wachovia merger and the benefits of Wells Fargo’s steady commitment to our core business of helping customers succeed financially,” said John Stumpf, Wells Fargo’s chairman and chief executive.
For the first time, the company’s top boss addressed the furor over foreclosures in the U.S. mortgage industry.
“We did not, and have no plans to, initiate a moratorium on foreclosures,” Stumpf said Wednesday.
Some lenders undertook numerous foreclosures that were based on questionable procedures. These included “robo-signers,” who approved home seizures in mass quantities despite being unfamiliar with the facts of the case.
One Wells Fargo worker has testified that she conducted automatic approvals of hundreds of foreclosures a day.
“We are confident that our practices, procedures and documentation for both foreclosures and mortgage securitizations are sound and accurate,” Stumpf said.
The bank is working diligently with delinquent borrowers to fashion alternative solutions other than a foreclosure, he added.
“Foreclosure is always a last resort,” Stumpf said.
Investors embraced Wells Fargo’s shares after its earnings report and comments from management during a conference call.
Wells Fargo’s shares soared 4.3 percent, rising $1.05 to close at $25.60. Wells outperformed its rivals by a wide margin Wednesday. As a group, the banking sector’s stock fell 0.7 percent, according to Bloomberg News.
“Overall, the quarter looks better than expected,” said Alan Villalon, an analyst in the Minneapolis office of First American Funds. “Their mortgage banking is very strong. The loan portfolio is improving.”
Analysts also were heartened that Wells Fargo does not appear to have blundered to the extent of other banks in using shoddy procedures to conduct foreclosures.
“The foreclosure process was an important issue, because it had been an overhang on the stock,” said Marty Mosby, an analyst with the Memphis, Tenn., office of Guggenheim Securities. “Wells had been thrown out with everyone else. Now they can differentiate themselves from other banks.”
What’s more, Wells seems to be insulated from a fresh specter that has emerged because of the foreclosure woes: Some mortgage-bond investors may challenge the paperwork and demand that banks buy back $55 billion to $120 billion in loans that had been sold to the investors.
Wells said that at the end of September it had 16,527 in loans being challenged, with a starting value of $3.84 billion. That was down from 18,675 loans with a combined value of $4.31 billion at the end of June.
Bank executives said the foreclosure paperwork problems nationwide may have been exaggerated.
“We believe that these issues have been somewhat overstated and, to a certain extent, misrepresented in the marketplace,” said Howard Atkins, Wells Fargo’s chief financial officer.
Ultimately, Wells, in the view of analysts, must continue to post profits and demonstrate that it is making progress in cleansing its loan portfolio of toxic loans. The bank inherited numerous wobbly residential mortgages originated by World Savings when Wells bought Wachovia Corp.
That acquisition transformed Wells Fargo into a coast-to-coast banking behemoth — but it also saddled Wells with a loan portfolio hobbled by subprime mortgages, exotic pick-a-pay loans and potential delinquencies.
On Wednesday, Wells said it had $24.4 billion in reserve at the end of September as a buffer against loan losses. That was down from $25.1 billion at the end of June. Analysts said the progress is gradual but continuing.
“Wells seems to be grinding it out in its loan portfolio,” Villalon said.