Summer gardens: Growing our own economy & healthcare

Great Rainy Daze! Wind & rain made me put plexi covers over our attempts to get an early start
on our green beans and tomatoes. We, and much of Tombstone, Bisbee, and Benson folk are defying
the new federal law on organic backyard gardens! As an expression of this old man’s nostalgic & traditional
"growing up" in New Hampshire, our gardens in the 50’s & 60’s were the difference between being dirt poor and starving.
At least dirt poor we could hunt, fish, & garden to put food on the table. We did so much subsistence hunting,
the game wardens knew us by name, and left us alone, knowing we were good resource stewards.
Three of five of my family members have been professional outdoor guides.
For many reasons the popular & increasing focus and intense efforts on "back to the land" solutions can only
magnify and accelerate, not only from the defaulting of other urban means, but the clear rural successes and gains
being demonstrated daily while conventional methods stall.
Our favorite magazines include Mother Earth News.
Its also the 40th anniversary of WOODSTOCK!

Cherish those Heirloom Seeds, lets overgrow our economic and health problems with good old fashioned garden work,
patience, exercise & healthy eating, and the healing of freedom and liberty by taking our own independent and
self-sufficiency steps, encouraging our neighbors, and reminding all that the answers are available, the experiments
underway, and the trends clear: We WILL get ourselves back to the garden of peace together.

Today’s items of interest are from "The Gunbelt Report" :

ITEM # 1: (Holder, Eric) (Marijuana)


Pubdate: Sun, 12 Apr 2009

Source: Washington Post (DC)

Page: B04

Copyright: 2009 The Washington Post Company



By Mike Gray

In 1932, Alphonse Capone, an influential businessman then living in Chicago, used to drive through the city in a caravan of armor-plated limos built to his specifications by General Motors.
Submachine-gun-toting associates led the motorcade and brought up the
rear. It is a measure of how thoroughly the mob mentality had permeated
everyday life that this was considered normal.

Capone and his
boys were agents of misguided policy. Ninety years ago, the United
States tried to cure the national thirst for alcohol, and it led to an
explosion of violence unlike anything we’d ever seen. Today, it’s hard
to ignore the echoes of Prohibition in the drug-related mayhem along
our southern border. Over the past 15 months, there have been 7,200
drug-war deaths in Mexico alone, as the government there battles an army of killers that would scare the pants off Al Capone.

U.S. officials are warning that the vandals may be headed in this
direction. Too late: They’re already here. And they’re in a good
position to take over organized crime in this country as well.

decades of trying to stem the influx of illegal narcotics into the
United States, it’s clear that the drug war, like Prohibition, has led
us into a gruesome blind alley. Drugs are cheaper than ever before and
you can buy them anywhere. As Mexico’s cash-starved government
struggles to keep up the good fight, the drug barons rake in more than
enough to buy political protection and military power while still
maintaining profit margins beyond imagining. And what’s driving this
desperate struggle may be the ubiquitous weed: Southwestern lawmen say
that marijuana accounts for two-thirds of the cartels’ income.

last, the spectacular violence in Mexico has captured everybody’s
attention, and in an eerie replay of the end of alcohol prohibition, we
may at last be witnessing the final act in the war on drugs.

One hint of a shifting wind came in February, when a state legislator from San Francisco
introduced a bill to tax, regulate and legalize adult use of cannabis.
This sort of grandstanding is always met with derision, and this was no
exception. But then something strange happened: California’s chief tax
collector said that the measure would bring in $1.3 billion a year and
save another $1 billion on enforcement and incarceration. In a state
facing an $18 billion deficit, suddenly nobody was laughing.

days later Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, who’s no legalizer,
said that he, too, thinks we should take another look at marijuana
prohibition. "The most effective way to establish a virtual barrier
against the criminal activities is to take the profit out of it," he told a U.S. Senate subcommittee.

The next day, U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder
Jr. announced a minor policy shift with enormous implications: The
federal government would no longer go after groups that supply medical
marijuana in the 13 states where it is legal. The Drug Enforcement Administration
had been raiding dispensaries routinely, and dozens of patients and
growers are behind bars today despite their legal status in
California’s eyes. Now that threat has vanished for those who comply
with state law. For California, this amounts to de facto legalization.

At his recent cyberspace town hall meeting, President Obama fielded a question about whether legalizing marijuana
would improve the economy. "No," he replied as the audience giggled.
But that answer sheds no light on his actual thinking. Obama has
already called the drug war an "utter failure." And since he himself is
an admitted ex-toker, it’s hard to believe that he’d cancel some kid’s
college education over a crime he got away with.

Of course, resistance to marijuana legalization
remains rock solid in Washington among those who can’t face the failure
of prohibition. But that has more to do with politics than science. The Department of Health and Human Services says that there are 32 million drug abusers
in the country, but that includes 25 million marijuana smokers. If you
strike them from the list, how do you justify spending $60 billion a
year in this economy trying to stop 2 percent of the population from
being self-destructive? It would be dramatically cheaper to follow the
Swiss example: Provide treatment for all who want it, and supply the
rest with pure drugs under medical supervision.

When we erected
an artificial barrier between alcohol producers and consumers in 1920,
we created a bonanza more lucrative than the Gold Rush. The staggering
profits from illegal booze gave mobsters the financial power to take
over legitimate businesses and expand into casinos, loan sharking,
labor racketeering and extortion. Thus we created the major crime
syndicates — and the U.S. murder rate jumped tenfold.

the Roaring ’20s were interrupted by the Crash of ’29, and when the
money ran out, the battle against booze was a luxury we could no longer
afford. Prohibition was repealed in 1933, and over the next decade the
U.S. murder rate was cut in half.

Today it’s back up where it
was at the peak of Prohibition — 10 per 100,000 — a jump clearly
connected to the war on drugs. And anyone who’s watching what’s going
on south of the border can see that we’re headed for an era of mayhem
that would make Meyer Lansky and Frank Costello weak in the knees.

from the Mexican drug trade are estimated at about $35 billion a year.
And since the cartels spend half to two-thirds of their income on
bribery, that would be around $20 billion going into the pockets of
police officers, army generals, judges, prosecutors and politicians.
Last fall, Mexico’s attorney general announced that his former top drug
enforcer, chief prosecutor Noe Ramirez Mandujano, was getting $450,000
a month under the table from the Sinaloa cartel. The cartel can of course afford to be generous — Sinaloa chief Joaquin Guzman recently made the Forbes List of Billionaires.

depth of Guzman’s penetration into the United States was revealed a few
weeks ago, when the DEA proudly announced hundreds of arrests all over
the country in a major operation against the "dangerously powerful"
Sinaloa cartel. One jarring detail was the admission that Mexican cartels are now operating in 230 cities inside the United States.

disaster has been slowly unfolding since the early 1980s, when Vice
President George H.W. Bush shut down the Caribbean cocaine pipeline
between Colombia
and Miami. The Colombians switched to the land route and began hiring
Mexicans to deliver the goods across the U.S. border. But when the
Mexicans got a glimpse of the truckloads of cash headed south, they
decided that they didn’t need the Colombians at all. Today the Mexican
cartels are full-service commercial organizations with their own
suppliers, refineries and a distribution network that covers all of North America.

we awaken to the threat spilling over our southern border, the
reactions are predictable. In addition to walling off the border,
Congress wants to send helicopters, military hardware and unmanned
reconnaissance drones into the fray — and it wants the Pentagon to train Mexican troops in counterinsurgency tactics.

anti-drug warriors have apparently learned nothing from the past two
decades. A few years ago we trained several units of the Mexican army
in counterinsurgency warfare. They studied their lessons, then promptly
deserted to form the Zetas, a thoroughly professional narco hit squad
for the Gulf cartel, which offered considerably better pay. Over the past eight years, the Mexican army has had more than 100,000 deserters.

The president of Mexico
rightly points out that U.S. policy is at the root of this nightmare.
Not only did we invent the war on drugs, but we are the primary

The obvious solution is cutting the demand for drugs
in the United States. Clearly, it would be the death of the cartels if
we could simply dry up the market. Unfortunately, every effort to do
this has met with resounding failure. But now that the Roaring ’00s
have hit the Crash of ’09, the money has vanished once again, and we
can no longer ignore the collateral damage of Prohibition II.

Writing last month in the Wall Street Journal, three former Latin American presidents — Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil, Cesar Gaviria of Colombia and Ernesto Zedillo
of Mexico — declared the war on drugs a failure. Responding to a
situation they say is "urgent in light of the rising levels of violence
and corruption," they are demanding a reexamination of U.S.-inspired
drug policies.

Two weeks ago, a conservative former superior court judge in Orange County
told the Los Angeles Times that legalization was the only answer, and
of 4,400 readers who responded immediately, the Times reported that "a
staggering 94 percent" agreed with him.

This is another pivotal
moment in U.S. history, strangely resonant with 1933. The war on drugs
has been a riveting drama: It has given us great television, filled our
prisons and employed hundreds of thousands as guards, police,
prosecutors and probation officers. But the party’s over.

is a glimpse of what lies ahead if we fail to end our second attempt to
control the personal habits of private citizens. Listen to Enrique
Gomez Hurtado, a former high court judge from Colombia who still has
shrapnel in his leg from a bomb sent to kill him by the infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar.
In 1993, his country was a free-fire zone not unlike Mexico today, and
Gomez issued this chilling — and prescient — warning to an
international drug policy conference in Baltimore:

"The income
of the drug barons is greater than the American defense budget. With
this financial power they can suborn the institutions of the State, and
if the State resists . . . they can purchase the firepower to outgun
it. We are threatened with a return to the Dark Ages."

prohibition won’t solve our drug problem. But it will save us from
something far worse. And it will put drug addiction back in the hands
of the medical profession, where it was being dealt with successfully
— until we called in the cops.

Mike Gray, the chairman of Common Sense for Drug Policy, is the author of "Drug Crazy: How We Got Into This Mess and How We Can Get Out."

ITEM # 2:   (use link for full article)

In Calif., Medical Marijuana Laws Are Moving Pot Into Mainstream

Washington Post Staff Writer

Sunday, April 12, 2009;
Page A01

LOS ANGELES — With little notice and even less controversy, marijuana
is now available as a medical treatment in California to almost anyone
who tells a willing physician he would feel better if he smoked.

Pot is now retailed over the counter in hundreds of storefronts
across Los Angeles and is credited with reviving a section of downtown
Oakland, where an entrepreneur sells out classes offering "quality
training for the cannabis industry." The tabloid LA Journal of
Education for Medical Marijuana is fat with ads for Magic Purple,
Strawberry Cough and other offerings in more than 400 "dispensaries"
operating in the city.

Ok, enough of that, I’m going outside into the sunshine between the season’s first
quick-passing thunder-showers to re-think how much
room I may have for a few more varieties,
or if I should think about putting in a second, or third or twenty gardens, like Johnny Appleseed.

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