It’s been going on since the day Chris Columbus landed in the West Indies in 1492, and not much has changed since. The Western hemisphere was colonized by European powers for what we would today recognize as profit driven motives, and the aboriginal people of two continents (not to mention Africa) paid the price in blood and lives. Unfortunately, the atrocities are still going on today.
(SOURCE) What began with villagers at Ojo de Agua in Chiriquí province using trees and rocks to block the Pan-American highway earlier this month – trapping hundreds of lorries and busloads of tourists coming over the border from Costa Rica for six days – has now placed Panama at the forefront of the enduring and often violent clash between indigenous peoples and global demand for land, minerals and energy. Carrera is emerging as a pivotal figure in the conflict.
“Look how they treat us. What do we have to defend ourselves? We don’t have anything; we have only words,” Carrera protests. “We are defenceless. We don’t have weapons. We were attacked and it wasn’t just by land but by air too. Everything they do to us, to our land, to our companions who will not come back to life, hurts us.”
At the height of the protests, thousands of Ngäbe-Buglé came down from the hills to block the highway; in El Volcán and San Félix they briefly routed police and set fire to a police station. (full story)
What do raw milk and cannabis have in common, besides both being ingredients in popular baked goods?
Actually, they have quite a bit in common. You see, both are prohibited in the most of the United States (let’s ignore the federal war on pot for the moment), because our government claims it wants to protect us from our own ignorance and stupidity.
In the case of cannabis, if it were legalized, most people – according to government propaganda – would immediately become chain smoking potheads; corn chip consuming couch potatoes, too lazy to get up to use the toilet, much less go to work. Then there’s the argument that all pot smokers are heroin junkies in training (gateway theory), or my personal favorite: smoking pot turns you gay.
Trust me, I smoked cannabis regularly for almost thirty years, and I can assure you that the desire to play with another man’s naughty bits has never entered my mind. If that’s your thing, fine – different strokes for different folks – but smoking grass never turned anyone gay. Either you is or you isn’t, but I digress, yet again.
The ugly truth of the matter is that these and many other blatant lies have been spread far and wide by politicians, law enforcement, educators, clergymen, and others in positions of authority for most of the last century. Many people still believe such nonsense, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The fact that hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens have collectively spent tens of millions of years imprisoned for the possession of a harmless plant is apparently beside the point to far too many among us.
Now for the part about raw milk: raw milk is unpasteurized, non-homogenized, unadulterated milk, straight from the cow, as nature intended.
For those still unaware, the milk you buy at the local big box store isn’t fresh from the cow’s udder to you. It’s generally been processed so much that our ancestors of only a century ago wouldn’t recognize it. For one thing, the milk at the local grocery store is pasteurized. Without getting into technical details, pasteurization is a method a heating process used to kill pathogens that may be lurking in the lactose soup. Unfortunately, pasteurization also destroys many beneficial bacteria that humans should consume.
Another operation most store bought milk now undergoes before it reaches your table is homogenization. In that process, the milk is forced through a filter that breaks up the fat globules in the milk. The finished product comes out so bland and lifeless that many processors often add vitamins and minerals to entice customers to choose their product over plain water.
A century ago, most communities got the bulk of their food from local or regional family-owned farms, even when those crops were purchased as canned or other processed foods, but over the last several decades, a handful of large corporations have taken over the agriculture industry and most farmers and food processors were forced to ‘get big or get out’. Today multinational corporations control the majority of our food supply. It’s quite a lucrative market since everyone, except corporate persons, has to eat.
So now we reach the cross roads, the place where cannabis and raw milk intersect: prohibition.
Prohibition of these and many other legitimate products is a very lucrative business model; it’s very profitable to a handful of very wealthy people to keep it that way.
If raw milk were readily available nationwide, that might encourage smaller, more ecologically aware farmers to get into the business. If very many people were to discover raw milk, harvested from grass fed cattle on clean, sustainable, organic farms; that might lead to demands for the big corporate producers to begin treating, not just the animals they exploit for their product, but the farms and farmers a little bit better as well. Ideas like that are dangerous, un-American, even socialistic; they could seriously damage stock prices and profit margins, and we cannot have that.
Likewise, if people were to rediscover the vast array of beneficial uses for hemp (a.k.a. marijuana) they might demand an end to its prohibition as well, and if you think loosening the restrictions on raw milk would be a game changer, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Cannabis is such a versatile plant that it could provide fiber for textiles, feed stocks for paper or plastics manufacturing, medicines, and nutritious food products – all from a single crop if properly managed.
We could produce the same amount of paper from one acre of cannabis as we can from over four acres of trees. To sweeten the deal even further, the process of making paper from hemp requires none of the toxic chemicals needed to make it from trees, and the end product is of superior quality.
The paper that our Declaration of Independence was written on was made from cannabis. Our ancestors knew hemp as one of the most valuable agricultural crops in the world, and only the lies and manipulation of men with names like DuPont and Hearst allowed the travesty that is hemp prohibition to take place.
If hemp was a danger to a few corporate interests 75 years ago, it’s even more of a threat today. Legalizing cannabis for any use at all runs counter to the economic interests of quite a few very powerful folks heavily invested in timber, petroleum, and pharmaceuticals, not to mention private prison operators and drug testing companies.
Everyone involved in out legal system today, from the street cop to the defense attorney has something to lose from cannabis legalization, but is that really a justifiable excuse for locking people inside prisons with murderers and rapists, or depriving children of their otherwise productive parents – just to protect some asshole’s ill-gotten fortune, large or small.
If I want to buy raw milk from a local farmer, to pour on my cereal or turn into high quality gourmet cheese, then provided my farmer runs a clean operation that regularly passes stringent health and safety inspections, it should be my right to do so.
If you, as an adult member of this society, desire to grow a crop of cannabis for medicinal or recreational purposes, or a huge crop to sell as raw industrial material, nobody should ever stand in your way.
I think most people agree that we need tough regulations and well funded inspectors to keep our food system safe. Those are government’s legitimate duties, but we deserve the right to make our own choices regarding what businesses to support with our purchasing power and what substances to put into our bodies. It’s a rare day indeed when I find myself in agreement with my neighbors on the conservative end of the political divide, but getting the nanny state out of our lives is a place where we can find plenty of common ground.
Thinking about running for office this year? If you’re serious about winning and making a difference, real tax reforms better be a big part of your platform. Until we fix these issues, and the problems or corporate personhood and money in our elections, not much else anyone does in Congress or state assemblies is going to matter much at all.
The following is the executive summary of a poll conducted by the American Sustainable Business Council, Main Street Alliance, and Small Business Majority. As a small business owner myself, let me just add that I agree 100%.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and create the vast majority of new jobs, yet as these poll findings make clear, small business owners believe large corporations and wealthy Americans pay less than their fair share of taxes. Poll respondents support specific reforms to address the problem.
An overwhelming 90% of small business owners say big corporations use loopholes to avoid taxes that small businesses have to pay—and 92% say big corporations’ use of such loopholes is a problem. When asked specifically if they think U.S. multinational corporations’ use of accounting loopholes to shift profits to offshore subsidiaries to avoid taxes is a problem, 91% of respondents agreed, with 55% saying it is a very serious problem.
A majority of small business owners (58%) said households with incomes of more than $1 million a year pay less than their fair share in taxes. And 57% of respondents believe individuals earning more than $1 million annually should pay a higher tax rate on the income over $1 million. Moreover, a 51% majority of small business owners polled believe Congress should let tax cuts on taxable income over $250,000 a year expire as scheduled on December 31, 2012 (40% said they should be extended).
Small business owners strongly disapprove of the special “carried interest” loophole that gives hedge fund managers a big break on their taxes—81% of owners favor hedge fund managers being taxed at the ordinary income tax rate, with a top bracket currently set at 35%, rather than the 15% capital gains rate they now pay.
Fifty percent of the business owners in this nationwide poll identified as Republican or independents leaning Republican, 32% as Democrat or independents leaning Democratic and 15% as independents (not leaning toward either party).”