The Human Race Must Choose To Evolve Mentally and Spiritually, Or Perish By Our Own Hands

[SEE: “THE ONE TRUE RELIGION” Human Nature Is the Enemy of the State ; Changing Images of Man]

It’s always said with a sigh of resignation — “You can’t change the world” — and every time I hear it, I feel crucified. No, I’m not under the illusion that I’m Jesus Christ. But, to be honest, I think I understand him.

I am living in two worlds. I have part of my brain firmly planted in reality, and the rest of it resides in its opposite: our immediate situation, where some of us are intent upon “making this a better world to live in.”

Politicians talk about reducing the number of weapons and reducing the use of fossil fuel. Worshippers pander to a selectively empathic, rewarding and punitive image of ultimate power. We feed the hungry, clothe the poor, stave off disaster through myriad worthy causes, and all while we collectively continue to head toward disaster. We’re not likely to survive unless we engage in an all-out, worldwide effort to accelerate our spiritual development and change the world.

We’re afraid. We sense we’re being misled, and feel powerless. Some of us seek comfort in the doctrine of our childhood, some of us have thrown the spirit out with religion, and some of us try to believe whatever we choose to believe — usually feel-good nonsense. We refuse to see, hear or understand yet, ironically, we want our opinions to be respected. We work hard, play hard, mind our own business, pray that God will save us, while we are judging, condemning and punishing each other out of existence.

We cling to the notion that our judgment is rational, our condemnation righteous. We call vengeance “justifiable retaliation.” We are criminals punishing the innocent for our abusive past, and victims punishing criminals for our abusive present. Games of slaughter and revenge are moneymaking entertainment poisoning our children’s developing brains. We march toward extinction in chains of abuse.

We have not yet learned to “hate the crime, not the criminal.” We have not learned that we are “one body,” and that forgiveness of ourselves and forgiveness of all come with the realization that we are all made of the same material. We punish those we condemn, lock wrongdoers in cages, even torture and kill them, while all over the world tricksters attain wealth and high places in our world’s rich/poor, slave/master system.

We plead before merciless leaders, while we are intimidated into aiding them with our labor and blood to enrich their personal lives with endless war that is destroying our planet and our children’s future.

The image of God that is stunting our growth is going to have to go. The misconception, the cruel image of power that has browbeaten us into accepting a fearful/fearsome system as a way of life has to be replaced. Fear of an archaic image has led us to compete for favors from our “superiors,” to obey authority without question, and to be careful not to offend our peers with unpleasant facts or ideas they are too fragile to contemplate. Fear has prevented us from speaking the truth. We have worshipped a mentor that has enslaved us.

Gandhi said, “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.”

When an overwhelming number of us has the self-respect to put the past in its place, and to embrace an image of ultimate goodness that is appropriate for our stage of development, the power of our collective effort to embody that image will lead us toward reality.

God is a feeling. A feeling more powerful than an image of fear. A feeling that is beyond our reasoning, a feeling that informs our behavior when we give up our pride and ask for help to do everything we can to help our collective self. Jesus said, “God is love.” So do I.

All over the world, our closets are crowded with saviors who, having been ridiculed by the arrogant, are afraid and ashamed of their own higher level of awareness. It’s time for saviors’ liberation.

Gretchen Nielsen is a published poet and a preacher without a church. Contact her at gretchenn@netzero.com

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it is only right that more soldiers kill themselves rather than kill other people

 

[It is about time that the Brits have caught-up with us.  Suicides for US soldiers have exceeded combat deaths since at least 2010.  In a war of aggression it is only right that more soldiers kill themselves rather than kill other people.  Someone who considers him or herself a “decent human being,” cannot long rationalize obvious acts of murder in the name of “patriotism.”   Decent human beings cannot live with themselves if they have submerged their humanity in the name of any cause.]

Lance-Sergeant Dan Collins, 29, who killed himself after serving in Afghanistan.

Lance-Sergeant Dan Collins, 29, who killed himself after serving in Afghanistan

More soldiers and army veterans committed suicide last year than were killed fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

In 2012,  21 serving soldiers killed themselves, up from 15 in 2011 and seven in 2010, according to figures obtained under a BBC Freedom of Information request from the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

In the same year, at least 29 former soldiers committed suicide. The BBC acquired this information by contacting coroners directly as the MoD, unlike the US army, does not keep a record of veteran suicides.

In Afghanistan 44 soldiers were killed in 2012, of whom 40 lost their lives in action.

A Guide to Legal Marijuana Use In Seattle, by Seattle P.D.

Marijwhatnow? A Guide to Legal Marijuana Use In Seattle

Written by  

The people have spoken. Voters have passed Initiative 502 and beginning December 6th, it is not a violation of state law for adults over 21 years old to possess up to an ounce of marijuana (or 16 ounces of solid marijuana-infused product, like cookies, or 72 ounces of infused liquid, like oil) for personal use.  The initiative establishes a one-year period for the state to develop rules and a licensing system for the marijuana production and sale.

Marijuana has existed in a grey area in Seattle for some time now. Despite a longstanding national prohibition on marijuana, minor marijuana possession has been the lowest enforcement priority for the Seattle Police Department since Seattle voters passed Initiative 75 in 2003. Officers don’t like grey areas in the law. I-502 now gives them more clarity.

Marijuana legalization creates some challenges for the Seattle Police Department, but SPD is already working to respond to these issues head on, by doing things like reviewing SPD’s hiring practices for police officers to address now-legal marijuana usage by prospective officers, as well as current employees.

While I-502 has decriminalized marijuana possession in Washington, the new state law does not change federal law, which classifies marijuana as a Schedule I narcotic. All Seattle Police officers have taken an oath to uphold not only state law, but federal law as well. However, SPD officers will follow state law, and will no longer make arrests for marijuana possession as defined under I-502.

The Seattle Police Department and Mayor Mike McGinn have already begun working with state officials to navigate this conflict, and follow the direction of Washington voters to legalize marijuana.

In the meantime, the Seattle Police Department will continue to enforce laws against unlicensed sale or production of marijuana, and regulations against driving under the influence of marijuana, which remain illegal.

TL;DR?

Here’s a practical guide for what the Seattle Police Department believes I-502 means for you, beginning December 6th, based on the department’s current understanding of the initiative  Please keep in mind that this is all subject to ongoing state and local review, and that it describes the view of the Seattle Police Department only. All marijuana possession and sale remains illegal under federal law, and Seattle Police cannot predict or control the enforcement activities of federal authorities.

Can I legally carry around an ounce of marijuana?

According to the recently passed initiative, beginning December 6th, adults over the age of 21 will be able to carry up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use. Please note that the initiative says it “is unlawful to open a package containing marijuana…in view of the general public,” so there’s that. Also, you probably shouldn’t bring pot with you to the federal courthouse (or any other federal property).

Well, where can I legally buy pot, then?

The Washington State Liquor Control Board is working to establish guidelines for the sale and distribution of marijuana. The WSLCB has until December 1, 2013 to finalize those rules. In the meantime, production and distribution of non-medical marijuana remains illegal.

Does I-502 affect current medical marijuana laws?

No, medical marijuana laws in Washington remain the same as they were before I-502 passed.

Can I grow marijuana in my home and sell it to my friends, family, and co-workers?

Not right now. In the future, under state law, you may be able to get a license to grow or sell marijuana.

Can I smoke pot outside my home? Like at a park, magic show, or the Bite of Seattle?

Much like having an open container of alcohol in public, doing so could result in a civil infraction—like a ticket—but not arrest. You can certainly use marijuana in the privacy of your own home. Additionally, if smoking a cigarette isn’t allowed where you are (say, inside an apartment building or flammable chemical factory), smoking marijuana isn’t allowed there either.

Will police officers be able to smoke marijuana?

As of right now, no. This is still a very complicated issue.

If I apply for a job at the Seattle Police Department, will past (or current) marijuana use be held against me? The current standard for applicants is that they have not used marijuana in the previous three years. In light of I-502, the department will consult with the City Attorney and the State Attorney General to see if and how that standard may be revised.

What happens if I get pulled over and an officer thinks I’ve been smoking pot?

If an officer believes you’re driving under the influence of anything, they will conduct a field sobriety test and may consult with a drug recognition expert. If officers establish probable cause, they will bring you to a precinct and ask your permission to draw your blood for testing. If officers have reason to believe you’re under the influence of something, they can get a warrant for a blood draw from a judge. If you’re in a serious accident, then a blood draw will be mandatory.

What happens if I get pulled over and I’m sober, but an officer or his K9 buddy smells the ounce of Super Skunk I’ve got in my trunk?

Under state law, officers have to develop probable cause to search a closed or locked container. Each case stands on its own, but the smell of pot alone will not be reason to search a vehicle. If officers have information that you’re trafficking, producing or delivering marijuana in violation of state law, they can get a warrant to search your vehicle.

SPD seized a bunch of my marijuana before I-502 passed. Can I have it back?

No.

Will SPD assist federal law enforcement in investigations of marijuana users or marijuana-related businesses, that are allowed under I-502?

No. Officers and detectives will not participate in an investigation of anything that’s not prohibited by state law.

December 6th seems like a really long ways away. What happens if I get caught with marijuana before then?   Hold your breath. Your case will be processed under current state law. However, there is already a city ordinance making marijuana enforcement the lowest law enforcement priority.

I’m under 21. What happens if I get caught smoking pot?

It’s a violation of state law. It may referred to prosecutors, just like if you were a minor in possession of alcohol.

Survivalist Wisdom–Voices from the Hurricane Sandy Aftermath

[Prepare for the worst, pray that you never need it.  Pray even harder if you do need it, for protection from those whose only survival plan has been to take what they needed.]

Six Letters Re: Hurricane Sandy After Action Reports

SurvivalBlog.com

James,
I’m located in central New Jersey not far from the Delaware River. In the days prior to the hurricane hitting, everyone packed the supermarkets, warehouse clubs and home improvement stores to stock up.

At the home improvement stores, the people who had best luck getting generators were those who purchased them online and selected in-store pickup. There were lines of people 100+ deep from the front of the store to the back waiting for new shipments of generators to arrive. The only people who were guaranteed anything were those who had already purchased and paid online.

For those lucky enough to get a generator, they’d have a hard time fueling it if they didn’t already have gas cans and gas stored at home. The shelves were cleared of gas cans days before the storm hit.

The warehouse club that we are members of sold out of water the day before the storm hit. They normally have pallets of water on shelves up to the ceiling along the length of an entire aisle. That aisle was completely bare. They also sold out of most fruits/and vegetables that could store for a little without power. The displays that normally hold bananas and apples were bare.

Flashlights and D batteries were gone days before the storm too. The only ones that were left were plug-in rechargeable flashlights that would be of little use after the first discharge in a power outage.

My sister had luck finding a huge display of batteries at a big chain baby store. Most people went straight to the supermarkets and home improvement stores, not thinking that many other types of stores also kept basic supplies.

The winds really started to pick up Monday afternoon. There wasn’t much rain, even at the height of the storm, but the winds were very strong. Our house, which is only 4 years old, shuddered a couple of times in the highest gusts. We didn’t sustain any physical damage to the house, but a couple of small trees tilted over but didn’t uproot or break. Some sections of vinyl fencing in our neighborhood blew out and shattered from the force of the wind.

Sections of our neighborhood started to lose power around 6 PM not long after the hurricane made landfall. Street lights were out and the power to houses across the street were out. From our upstairs windows, we watched the sky glow blue and pink in all directions as transformers blew. Every minute or so another one would blow.

Finally, around 8:30 PM, we watched a transformer light the sky up for about 30 seconds. When it finally darkened, we and the rest of our neighborhood were out of power.

I had filled our spare refrigerator in our garage with cases of water and the spare freezer with bags of ice. I also took every empty plastic jug and bottle out of our recycling bins and filled them 3/4 of the way with water and froze them in our main/spare freezers. Every inch of freezer space that wasn’t packed with food was packed with an ice bottle.

I knew our refrigerator wouldn’t keep food cold long, so we immediately transferred our most critical food (milk for the kids, etc.) into ice filled coolers. The main freezer with most of our frozen food and frozen water bottles was never opened. It stayed perfectly cold until the power came back on, and most of the ice bottles had barely started to thaw. The food in our ice-filled coolers also was fine. We did sacrifice non-critical food that we didn’t have space for in the coolers to the garbage bin.

We lit the house with long-lasting led lanterns that definitely did the trick. We hunkered around an old battery power radio to keep up with storm news, and gave our two-year old son a spare lantern to play with, which kept him happy. With no power and little news expected until morning, we turned in early (for us) at around 10 PM.

Our furnace was out and we don’t have a fireplace, so the temperature dropped to the low 60s in our house overnight. It was a little chilly, but we were comfortable enough. We were definitely lucky it wasn’t colder outside.

By the morning the storm had passed and a family that we are very close friends with down the street had their generator running. We and several of our friends congregated there for the day. They had enough power for their refrigerator, several lights, a tv and cable box, and a power strip for charging phones.

Although the power was out, the cable stayed on until around noon so we were able to see the first images of storm damage. After the cable went out, most of us switched to our web-enabled smartphones and social media to stay informed and reach out to friends.

We grilled outside for lunch and dinner, with everyone pitching in food that would go bad if unused. Everyone with spare gas stored was prepared to pitch in whatever they had until the power came back on to keep the generator running. We brought over 10 gallons that wasn’t needed.

Cell phone service was spotty. People who were subscribers of one the two major cell providers in our area had no problem making/receiving calls and surfing the web. Subscribers of the other major service had a signal, but couldn’t make calls and their data service only worked intermittently.

The day after the storm, most traffic lights remained out. All gas stations and most stores were closed. One home improvement store opened under emergency power. They only let a limited number of people into the front part of the store where they had set up displays with their remaining emergency supplies (flashlights, batteries, power cords, and a new supply of gas cans). They surprisingly even accepted credit cards. Some other stores we checked out only accepted cash if they were open at all.

24 hours after the power went out, it came back on for most of our neighborhood. We’re definitely lucky since of the 2/3 of our state that was without power, only about 15-20% of homes had been restored when we were reconnected.

It was an interesting experience for a day, but something that none of us would have been happy to have continue. We all realized, individually and as a group, what things we were missing that could have made us more comfortable.

Although we were lucky that our part of the state suffered little more than downed trees and power lines, New Jersey is very small so we all have friends in the hardest hit parts of the Jersey Shore and we are very familiar with the popular vacation spots that have been destroyed.

I’ve been in contact with friends who live just blocks from the beach who have raised homes and still have standing water lapping at their front doors. A few other friends live in beach neighborhoods that have essentially become islands with bridges, highways and other access roads out of service and surrounded by water. Others left some of the very hardest hit communities before the storm hit and don’t know if their homes are still standing.

Some neighborhoods devastated by storm surge and flooding are now burning. Along some of the barrier islands, emergency services from the mainland are cut off and fires will likely be left to burn themselves out. Some entire towns are expected to burn.

There are a lot of people who have lost everything and many who are still in harm’s way. Keep them in your prayers. Thanks, – Brad S.

 

James,
I have family from Pennsylvania to Maine.  I tried to encourage my family and cousins who I knew would be affected by Sandy to visit me in the mountains of New England, but they were all so sure that they could survive the storm.

Only one family had a generator.  It wasn’t wired into the house, so plenty of extension cords are in use there.  The others had nothing at all setup.  So I briefed them on filling the tub, freezing extra containers for ice, etc.  And all were briefed on staying put during and after the storm.

Of course, some don’t listen so well.  While all survived in some fashion, here is the latest and worse from my cousin on Long Island:

“Pumping out water all day.
We had absolutely not a drop of [drinking] water. Storm surge at 830 p.m. and we were seeing it force its way in at the rate of a foot a minute!! I have never witnessed anything like that in my life!
Scary stuff!!!

We tried to hold it back just no way hydraulic pressure was just too much.
Total 10 feet of water. We jumped ship when it got to 6 feet. Then couldn’t get to [deleted for OPSEC]’s house… Every path home and on every road trees were down, we didn’t plan for that. We slept at a friend’s aunt’s house. She welcomed us (dog and all) with open arms and we are total strangers. The walls all cracked assuming will be a total loss.

We are going to call it quits soon will be back at it again tomorrow. No [phone] service so can’t call our insurance company. Friends are coming from all over to help. No big deal–It is just a material asset. Insurance hopefully covers hurricanes. We are fortunate, as it could’ve been much worse.”

He was right.  They were fortunate.  They could have drowned leaving during the night.  They could have been injured trying to leave that location to their ‘safe’ house.

I suspect that the next time they will evacuate in a timely fashion.  I doubt that they will ever disparage a prepared mindset again.

We can’t save folks from themselves.

I will head into New York and New Jersey when possible to reach them with support.  I expect to have to wait until after this coming Tuesday.

Thank you for your SurvivalBlog site! Regards, – Mike A.

 

Good Morning to You!
Our area of the East coast was spared the worst brunt of the storm.  Massive snowfalls to our west, and massive flooding to the east.  We were very fortunate.

We live on top of a hill, and by Monday morning, we had water filling our basement.  I went outside with middle son, and we found a deep hole filled with water next to the foundation of our house.  We dug a ditch from the edge of the hole far, far away from the edge of the hole and down the hill well past the fall line.  I would estimate we dug at least 30 feet of mud.  While I dug, my son took the shovels of dirt that I pulled out of the ground and put it back into the hole by the foundation.  Once we were finished, we moved the drainage pipe from the gutters so that it, too, fed into the ditch we had dug away from the house.  10 more inches of rain fell over the next 24 hours, but no more of it ran into our basement.

I understand now what you mean when you say you need to be physically fit!  I’m a 40 something mother of three, and my 17 year old son and I put in a good two hours worth of physical work in the driving rain, diverting water away from the house.  Maybe insurance would have covered the damage if we hadn’t done the work, but I prefer the effort of digging a ditch in the rain to the effort of clearing a basement of water and carpets and furniture.  Best two hours worth of work I’ve ever done, and our house is still in one piece!

Besides the obvious water and wind damage around here, there is one thing that stuck out more and more:  The number of people killed by falling trees.  Tall trees close to the house really do need to be trimmed back so that damage is lessened if a tree or limb falls on a house.  One gentleman told the story of how he and his father had a conversation on Saturday about how they needed to trim or cut down the tree next to the house.  Then on Monday, his father was killed instantly when the tree fell on the house during high winds.

Peace to you all. – B.L.W.

 

James,
The report from Delaware. With the exception of flood prone and some beach front areas we dodged the bullet.

It was an excellent exercise for our small family. The preparation for with this sort of an event turns on do you stay or leave. Different priorities for equipment supplies and staging following from each of those two choices. However what this storm brought home to us (since we have a shelter in place default ) is that within the shelter in place paradigm is,”suppose that tree falls on your house and you must leave in a hurry anyway’ sub-plan. Since for us in our location Sandy was forecast to be a wind event, this latter sub-plan rose up from the back burner rather forcefully.

Now, we had to pull out and check the go bags (not seen since last year’s windy scare) marshal water, food rations, range bags (did I restock those mags after the last week) , document case, comms and other take-with items by the door while preparing to deal with prolonged electrical outage (potentially weeks) therefore check generator, water reserves, fuel, etc etc..

I found that while our shelter in place preps and SOP were fairly well in hand, the “Yikes, we got-a-go now” end was pretty confused. Part of the reason for this is that we really need to have more duplicate gear stashed in the “Go now” configuration, and it was clear from this go round that we ain’t there yet. I also know as I write this that I have all sorts of essential items stowed carefully labeled clearly that I will want to toss in the vehicle, but it will take me days to think through the inventory. Not something to be doing as water is cascading through a rent in the building.

So I tell you to tell me, “build the list now while it is still fresh.”

One side note: We were “powerless” for only 8 hours, but as a result I am looking to replace my noisy old Generac (such a headache! The thing just roars. I must be getting old) with newer quieter Yamaha or Honda digital. While researching I found this very useful worksheet for calculating loads on the Yamaha web site.

Blessings… Pray for the folks in New York City, Connecticut and New Jersey…. They have a long way to come back. – Dollardog

 

JWR:
As per your request for info out of the New York City area: Having grown up in Florida, I kind of knew what to expect. Needless to say, I was well provisioned and my powder, so to speak, was high and dry and at the ready well in advance of Sandy’s final approach…

My wife and I rode out the storm in our “Brooklyn Bunker,” a fourth-floor apartment in a solid pre-war building. We spent a long night watching for the flashes of transformers exploding in the wind, and darkness encroaching as lights went out in the homes all around us. Luckily, the lights managed to stay on in our neighborhood, and we didn’t lose power once. After the storm passed, we emerged to discover no major damage, some trees down on cars and roofs, limited cell phone service, but that’s about it…

The same can’t be said for lower Manhattan and parts of Staten Island, though. The six-foot security fence around some rental property I own there came down, right into my truck. A violent storm surge turned most of the coastal communities on the island into what looks like a war zone, with the National Guard deployed to keep order. No working street lights, no stores open, no gas. People are attempting to drive into northern New Jersey to find gas stations that have power, with little luck. Con Edison now says power will be out to 60% of the island for more than a week. My tenants are in the dark with no heat…

Looking across the East River into Lower Manhattan at night, I am reminded of my time as a journalist in New Orleans during Katrina, where I witnessed another entire American city abandoned, darkened, and brought to its knees by Mother Nature (combined with a healthy dose of human stupidity). The entire subway system here is paralyzed, and along with it commerce, and most of the city’s inhabitants. There are already some rumblings on blogs and other social media platforms about the “lack of government response,” like this one here, but for the most part, people have remained unusually calm and accommodating to each other, at least for New Yorkers.

As with Katrina, Sandy reminded me of just how fragile the veneer of civilization that most most city-dwellers often take for granted truly is. During the final 24 hours leading up to Sandy’s arrival, lines at every major grocery store in Brooklyn and Manhattan were several blocks long, with hours-long wait times just to enter the stores and clerks taking small groups of people in to shop, just a few at a time.

Given the mentality of the average city-dweller, the run on grocery stores was to be expected. Perhaps more importantly for the SurvivalBlog readership at large, what’s transpired here over the past 48 hours is nothing short of an amazing exercise in the efficacy of state control circa 2012 (much better execution than what I witnessed during Katrina). I am at once somewhat pleasantly surprised yet shockingly dismayed by just how quickly the authorities were able to shut down and subdue the country’s biggest metropolis. Within a few hours, they were able to – successfully – deploy several thousand National Guard troops, shut down the country’s biggest subway system, 15 major bridges and tunnels, three major airports, and cut power to eight square miles of a world-class city…all with nary a whimper nor major objection from the populace.

New Yorkers in three major boroughs were – and in the case of Lower Manhattan, still are – effectively cut off from the outside world. Moving forward, most SurvivalBlog readers like myself who either choose or are forced to reside in cities should perhaps (re)consider their long term plans and preparations given the recent tactics on display here in NYC.

Thanks and best, – KTC in NYC

 

Dear Jim:
Sheeple no more here. Sandy came and went. Our area is Bucks County about an hour north of Philadelphia. We border the Delaware River. Power here went out early and and only came on today.

I think we weathered it well. I was one of the last minute “run to the store” folks. Bought a gallon of milk. Everything else was in place. As soon as the power went out, I fired up our generator and hunkered down for the 70 MPH winds.

We did lose a couple of shingles and some aluminum trim on the house. Those unprepared suffered flooded basements, many areas will not have power for a week or more. Lots of trees down, snapped telephone poles, sink holes in the road. The emergency services were running 24 hours for two days. Constant sirens all over the place.

Where did I come up short? I never got around to getting my ham radio license or programming my Baofeng UV-5R. It would have come in handy to keep in touch with the others in my group. I have some Uniden walkies and they proved worthless.

At the end of the storm my wife she thanked me for being prepared. Up until this happened she kind of went alone with my “hobby”. Always a little smile on her face. It’s different now.

What I need to do:

  • Get my ham license.
  • Run a dedicated electrical line to the crucial items in the house. Pumps, freezer, frig, security lights.
  • Replace my burned out chainsaw.
  • Read “How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It” for the 12th time and update my (your) lists of lists.

Take care and God Bless, – M.

Colorado, Washington and Oregon to vote on legalizing marijuana

Colorado, Washington and Oregon to vote on legalizing marijuana

According to the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMC), the outcome of marijuana legalization propositions in Colorado, Washington and Oregon could have a negative impact on Mexican $11 billion drug-trafficking trade. (Times file photo)

While the United States is focused on the Nov. 6 presidential election, the Mexican drug cartels may be more worried about marijuana ballot measures in three states that could cut deeply into their profits if passed.

According to the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMC), the outcome of marijuana legalization propositions in Colorado, Washington and Oregon could affect the $11 billion Mexican drug trade.

“It would pose the most important structural shock to drug-trafficking in a generation, since the massive arrival of cocaine in the late eighties,” said the 47-page report released Wednesday. “The Sinaloa drug cartel would be the most affected, it could lose up to 50 percent of its income. The Caballeros Templarios (Knights

Reporter: Diana
Washington Valdez

Templar cartel), would also be affected, and the rest would also see moderate losses.”

The Mexican states that would be most affected if all or any of the three U.S. states vote to legalize marijuana are Chihuahua, Durango and Sinaloa, and possibly Michoacan, Guerrero and Oaxaca.

Drug kingpin Joaquín “Chapo” Guzmán is the current leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel, which waged a brutal four-year war against rivals of the Carrillo Fuentes (Juárez) drug cartel that left more than 11,000 people dead.

The two groups, known smugglers of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine, battled each other for control of the Chihuahua-Texas-New Mexico border-smuggling routes.

The Mexican drug cartel wars that began

in 2007 during President Felipe Calderón’s term, killed thousands more throughout Mexico.

On Nov. 6, residents in the three U.S. states will vote on statewide ballot measures related to the possession, production, distribution and sale of marijuana:

  • Colorado: Supporters are calling for Amendment 64 to pass so that the state can “regulate marijuana like alcohol.”

New Mexico and 16 other states and the District of Colombia already allow the limited use of marijuana for medical purposes only.

NORML, a national organization that advocates for the legalization of marijuana, is in favor of the ballot measures. The organization’s tracking data indicate that the measure in Washington state has the best chances of passing, said Allen St. Pierre, NORML executive director in Washington, D.C.

“If it passes, it could kick up the discussion over legalizing marijuana into an entirely new gear,” St. Pierre said. “As we’ve seen in the past, if it passes, we can probably also expect the federal government to seek an

injunction, probably against retail sales.

“The federal government, however, cannot force a state to change any of its laws that reduce or eliminate state penalties for possessing marijuana. In Alaska, for example, marijuana is illegal, but there is zero (state) penalties for possessing it.”

St. Pierre agrees with the IMC report that legalization in the United States would affect Mexican drug cartels.

“Call it the Corona beer effect, where you make it, tax it, regulate it and import it,” St. Pierre said. “Legalization would lead to stabilization of our border with Mexico, and put an end to laws that create criminal profits and syndications.”

This year, Uruguay became the first country in the Americas to start taking steps to legalize marijuana.

The IMC report is titled “If Our Neighbors Legalize.” Among other things, the report said that 40 to 70 percent of the marijuana now consumed in the United States is imported (smuggled) from Mexico. The IMC is a nonprofit think tank, based in Mexico City, that conducts research on a variety of topics.

According to the report, the United States has about 30 million marijuana users who spend from $500 to $1,000 on pot each year.

In addition to Mexican drug-traffickers, television specials have highlighted U.S. local growers that produce and sell marijuana clandestinely, including some in California.

Experts estimate that Mexican drug dealers generate $11 billion to $12 billion in marijuana sales each year, which makes up half their total take for trafficking all illegal drugs.

No one was available Wednesday for comment at the White House Office. The Drug Enforcement Administration, the primary drug enforcement agency of the federal government, maintains on its website its position against the legalization of marijuana.

The IMC report also said Mexican drug traffickers would lose business to U.S. producers who could grow and distribute pot to consumers throughout the United States at a lower cost than smugglers do now.

Mexico’s drug dealers have to pay laborers to grow the marijuana, bribe police and other officials to protect their product, transport the product, smuggle it across the border, and distribute it to users.

In Mexico, it is not against the law to possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use. However, the government does not tax or regulate marijuana production or sales, and trafficking is still a violation of federal laws.

The IMC report said it’s also possible that Mexican pot producers would lose their competitive edge to U.S.-grown superior, seedless marijuana containing higher levels of (Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC) than the Mexican marijuana now possesses. THC is the active ingredient in marijuana.

“When Prohibition ended in the United States, there were (labor) displacements into other illegal activities, as well as in the legal economy,” the IMC report said.

Prohibition against alcohol beverages in the United States produced a lucrative liquor-smuggling industry in Mexico from 1920 to the early 1930s.

In response to the possible legalization of marijuana in the United States, the IMC recommends that the Mexican government:

Diana Washington Valdez may be reached at dvaldez@elpasotimes.com; 546-6140.

  • Oregon: Measure 80 is intended to end the state’s prohibition against marijuana.
  • Washington: The I-502 measure asks voters to approve the regulation of marijuana instead of a ban.
  • Not take steps to legalize marijuana until the U.S. federal government defines its response to legalization by one or all three U.S. states.
  • Launch alternative development programs (agriculture) in the marijuana production zones.
  • Monitor against potential reverse smuggling from the United States.

A Few Good Scots Could Change the World Right Now, Starting with Britain’s Nukes

Nato policy must serve the nation, not US corporate interests

Robin McAlpine

 

If an independent Scotland managed to join Nato and get rid of Trident, what then?If an independent Scotland managed to join Nato and get rid of Trident, what then?

 

IN THE SNP’s debate over Nato, two cases are being made. One is that an independent Scotland could have its biggest impact by joining Nato and working with some of the more progressive countries in that alliance towards removing nuclear weapons from European soil.

 

The other argues that Scotland should remain outside Nato, remove nuclear weapons immediately and then work constructively with counties inside and outside Nato on a host of international issues to set a positive example to the world.

It is to be celebrated that Scotland can have this debate. Both of these visions of a Scottish international role are streets ahead of Britain’s stances of “the only way you’ll get our nukes from us is to prize them from our cold, dead hands” and “we agree with whatever the United States just said”.

However, we need to be realistic. Scotland is small and Nato’s interest in us is heavily tied up with our role as landlord to weapons of mass destruction.

All the experiences of bigger Nato ­countries in Europe are that you can ­certainly vote to remove nukes but voting doesn’t amount to much.

Not a single country has managed it and three – including mighty Germany – have passed votes in their parliament only to have them ignored.

But even if Scotland did join Nato and did manage to get rid of Trident from Scottish soil, what then? Is the best that we can hope for the fixed grin of the Nato group photo, us thinking we’re fighting the good fight, the rest of the world not noticing us in the shadows of US commercial interests?

Because on this I do agree with the pro-Nato side: Nato is not a Cold War relic. As a defensive force it is obsolete, but as a means of protecting commercial interests it has a very specific agenda.

The only conflict in the rough vicinity of Scotland which has been raised as a potential problem to which Nato might be the solution is a confrontation between the US and Russia over drilling rights for Arctic oil. What this means is that Scotland would be trapped in a treaty which requires us to stand side-by-side with Exxon Mobile in a shooting war with Gazprom.

We need to be clear: tiny Scotland would spend a lot more time biting its tongue than speaking words of wisdom to the US. We would have picked one side in a geopolitical war for commercial access to global natural resources and strategic position, and once that side is picked there is no nuance.

Perhaps the day the first shot is fired over Arctic snow by soldiers who flew there from Scottish airbases, Russia and China will instigate a boycott of Scotch whisky.

It will do no good then to say “but we tried”, because Scotland will have become a partisan nation which is engaged in wars of aggression. Scottish soldiers would be bombing Iran or blockading the Arctic many moons before Scottish ­diplomats negotiate even one bomb out of existence.

And it will leave us discredited where it really matters. Wilbert van der Zeijden is a senior figure in the international ­conflict resolution community. He warns that ­because of Nato membership the rest of the global community is “less inclined to take countries like the Netherlands seriously in the Conference on Disarmament, the NPT and other non-proliferation and disarmament forums.

“It would be entirely unnecessary and quite a bad move if Scotland manoeuvred itself in a similar position.”

I once knew someone who would get to every meeting early to secure a chair as close as possible to whomever he believed to be the most important person in the room. He thought we were impressed; we thought he was a bit sad.

The thing about credibility and integrity is that you are judged by your actions and not your explanations.

A Scotland in Nato will gain lip service from the US generals – the very ones who refer to Nato as Snow White and the Twenty Seven Dwarves. Everyone else on the world stage would write Scotland off as an adjunct to the US. In effect, having just gained a credible voice in international negotiations on nuclear non-proliferation, Scotland would choose to give it up again. Which would be a crying shame ­because if Scotland removed Trident from its soil its international credibility would be sky high.

Too many political insiders believe “grubby compromise” to be a synonym for “serious politics”. If Scotland became independent it would have plenty of time to seek out its own grubby compromises. It doesn’t need to be born in one.

Scotland could become the nation leading the world in a fresh effort to get rid of nuclear weapons. The international repercussions of Scotland effectively disarming one of the globe’s eight nuclear powers would be enormous.

It is not overblown to suggest that many in the international community would look to us for leadership, as evidence that a nuclear-free world is possible. To lose that voice for the sake of American corporate profits would be to squander a truly valuable prize.

 

• Robin McAlpine is director of the Jimmy Reid Foundation

India Leads the Way Back To Sanity, With A Strategic Rail Corrider from Iran To Russia

[There is hope for India after all!  Survival mandates that India relax its bear hug on America just a bit, so that a little daylight might shine between them.  This is absolutely the most intelligent step that could be taken at this time, by those who are working for either hope or stability in Afghanistan.  Now, if Obama would suddenly come out for routing his Silk Road pipeline project through Iran as well, even I would campaign for the man.]

India initiates rail route plan through Central Asia

Shubhajit Roy : New Delhi
India has taken the lead in what it calls “kickstarting” an “international north-south corridor” from Iran to Russia via Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan to ensure a seamless connectivity to Central Asia. New Delhi wants this corridor to be operational by 2013.

Government sources said here on Wednesday that New Delhi met interlocutors from these partner countries in January to initiate the process. The plan, kept under the wraps so far, is in keeping with the the country’s “Look Central Asia policy”.

In this context, experts have identified the “missing links” in rail connectivity. “There is road connectivity, but what we want is a seamless rail connectivity. This will ensure a faster, a more hassle-free and less expensive way to transport goods through Iran to the Central Asian countries and further north to Russia,” a government source said.

What has not deterred India is additional sanctions on Iran by the US and EU, and Washington’s calls for snapping ties with Tehran.

Sources said that Iran and this corridor — which will be essentially rail-based — is India’s gateway to the Central Asian countries. “They are vital to our interests, since they border with either Afghanistan or China,” the source said. Three of the Central Asian countries share border with Afghanistan, while three others with China. India wants to build economic linkages with the markets in these countries. “We also need to engage them since there are no direct links with any of the Central Asian countries,” said official sources.

New Delhi is talking to all these countries to work on the feasibility of the corridor, and they are looking at operationalising the link at the earliest.