Cortes Island Residents Continue the Blockade of Island Timberlands First Growth Logging Operation

Some youngsters joined the protest against Island Timberlands logging operations on Cortes Island this week.

The Cortes Island blockade of Island Timberlands went into its 4th day today [Friday] as swelling ranks of environmentalists, residents and their children maintained a human shield against the logging company’s crews and equipment.

After a lengthy struggle with Brookfield Asset Management and Island Timberlands, Cortes Island community members have now taken direct action to protect the threatened lands that contain some of the last 1% of old-growth Coastal Douglas-fir forests, and, according to Ken Wu of the Ancient Forest Alliance (AFA), are some of the most extensive stands remaining in the endangered “Dry Maritime” forests along BC’s southern coast.

Brookfield Asset Management, owners of Island Timberlands, is nominally Canadian but actually a multi-national robber baron. They operate on their own private properties because successive governments have sold chunks to them and used the one time income to balance their books instead of taxing the rich, deja-vu all over again eh. The corporations and their lackeys have always had the 'law' on their side as they extracted our living inheritance and built themselves mansions.

Now, so little is left that every tiny bit is worth fighting for. Every tiny bit we save contains some vestige of the of ancient forest from which to regenerate some of the organisms that mother nature has time tested for millions of years. It's uplifting to see so many young faces at the Cortes blockade, faces of all ages really. There are private boats taking folks over to Cortes from Powell River, but, looking out the window, seeing huge swells and whitecaps on the Malaspina means that in reality only the most skookum boat would even attempt the run.

Meanwhile, until the wind dies own a bit, the coastal rainforest once blanketed this area before we white devils arrived, one day it will again. Below are the email addresses of the brain trust at both Island Timberlands and Brookfeild. Why not drop 'em a line with your thoughts about the logging on Cortes Island, surely they'll be glad to hear from you.
Island timberlands contacts:
CEO Dashan Sihota: dsihota@islandtimberlands.com
Operations Planner Wayne French: wfrench@islandtimberlands.com
Director of Forest Operations Bill Waugh:  BillWaugh@islandtimberlands.com
Public Relations Morgan Kennah: MKennah@islandtimberlands.com

bcIMC contact:
CEO/CIO, bcIMC: doug.pearce@bcimc.com

Brookfield Asset Management contact:
CEO Bruce Flatt: bflatt@brookfield.com
and kvyse@brookfield.com


Why the Hurry? BC's Natural Gas Is An Asset That Will Gain Value Sitting in the Ground

As of June 2012 there were 29 LNG plants operating globally, another 11 under construction and 15 more planned. 5 other recently proposed LNG plants were either suspended or cancelled because prices of LNG are the lowest since the 1970's. Governments worldwide eager for revenue have permitted an enormous amount of drilling rights and because of this there is a glut of stored natural gas around the world and much more LNG has been found accessible by using fucking fracking.

Both parties, not just the corporate profit loving Liberals, seem oblivious to the coming natural gas glut and its economic impact as Rafe Mair's article yesterday says. BC, with all its resources, lost $1.5 billion last year because of plummeting natural gas royalties. What is the matter with these people? Apparently Siberia has far more natural gas than BC and a pipeline from Siberia to the 'lucrative Chinese market' is the easiest/cheapest and consequently the most likely option.

And all this stupidity will come with a big price tag, forests and streams destroyed forever building a pipeline. A huge portion of BC's last remaining agricultural land flooded to build a dam to power the stupidity - Site C. Huge amounts of embedded energy consumed in the making of these mega structures and a correspondingly huge amount of environmental and atmospheric damage.

All this for what? So BC can exhaust its own future supplies and, after 20 years, become an importer forever? BC's natural gas isn't infinite. In the future our kids and theirs will still need energy to hold back the Canadian winter. BC's Natural gas is an asset that will gain value sitting in the ground. So what's the hurry? Have visions of the natural gas free money sugar plums danced in the heads of the politicians so long they now believe? Or is it just that with an election coming one side wants its capitalist cronies happy and the other wants to do the same for it's union supporters? Either way it's dumb idea that has been obscured by all the oil pipeline focus and deserves to get more publicity.


Will the NAFTA Fracking Lawsuit be the Big Issue Pauline Marois and the Parti Québécois Needs?

Quebec has abundant shale gas formations but the provincial government moratorium passed in 2011 on fracking while it studies the environmental impact of the technology the moratorium will stay in place until 2014, when the province is expected to complete its review of the drilling technique. Quebec also passed legislation in June banning drilling below the St. Lawrence River. Now a US company is taking advantage of a corporate-friendly NAFTA provision in suing the Canadian government for over $250 million due to lost profits from Quebec's moratorium on fracking.

The company, Lone Pine Resources Inc., incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in Alberta, held mining permits in the Saint Lawrence Valley and has already spent 'millions of dollars' but the moratorium passed in 2011 revoked those permits. Lone Pine's suit is one of hundreds that corporations have launched on a range of public interest and environmental regulations, including bans or phase-outs of toxic chemicals, timber regulations, permitting rules for mines, green jobs and renewable energy programs, and more.

The 'Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement' would be like NAFTA on steroids. Lawsuits like the one Canada and Quebec now face will become the norm. Under the TPP Canada's air and water could be threatened by more cases like this one. Under the TPP B.C.'s veto [if that were possible] of a future pipeline to Asia could see B.C. taxpayers sued by China. All of them would have one thing in common, the hearings would all be held in private, no public access, a verdict, would be announced. First free trade agreements took your job, then they found you a few new ones at WalMart and Mickey D's, now i looks like they're gonna take your air and water too. Unless, unless...

...unless somehow some group of folks stands up.

It's a long shot, but, who knows, maybe it'll be Pauline Marois and the Parti Québécois. They're are in need of a issue big enough to generate a nationalistic wave in Quebec, here's a beauty. Quebec has the highest treehugger to tree ratio in the world. The Parti Québécois could well argue that NAFTA represents global fascism by securing the rights of capital over human rights and protection of the environment. That the only way Quebec can protect its environment is outside of Canada That the way 'out' of NAFTA is to become an independent country.


The 100th Grey Cup Game Complete With Free Pancake Breakfast and Marty the Horse

Just finished enjoying some pancakes for lunch in honor of about 85 volunteers members of the Calgary Grey Cup Committee , which has been putting on FREE pancake and sausage breakfast at Grey Cups since 1948. The gang, who paid their own way from Calgary, served over 4,000 breakfasts yesterday and expect to serve nearly as many again today. Their only comment was to caution folks that if the pancakes tasted a bit weird it was because they were made with water from the Canadian Mordor-Toronto.

Even though i was rootin for BC a week ago, now that it's happening it's sure obvious that Calgarians know how to put on a show, glad now that they won, the pre-game week before the historic 100th Grey Cup wouldn't have been as much fun without them and Marty the horse. Marty stole the show the last couple days, especially after the Royal York Hotel was forced to reconsider its anti-horse policy and let Marty in after a Twitter backlash. Marty had a posse, Marty had a Guinness at a bar, and finally was checked into his room at the Royal York.

Tomorrow is the 100th Grey Cup game, this year the hometown Toronto 'Argos' host the Calgary 'Stampeders' but the crowds of visitors come from all across Canada, it's a uniquely Canadian celebration that often transcends the game itself. Canadians love the CFL, they love the faster game, lottsa stuff. Canadian football fans can relate to the players, 90+% of whom make a lot less than a plumber and have off-season jobs.

Guess i'll transform into a temporary Calgarian for the next day or two, the pancakes were a kickoff. It's time to go for a walk with my best friend so maybe i'll dig out my straw cowboy hate and red coat.



Walkouts at Wal*Mart and the Radical Spirit of 'Buy Nothing Day' Turn a Black Day Brighter

Today is the best day ever for not watching the news. For one thing it looks the same as last year's footage. For another, Black Friday is the nadir of western culture. For those of us prone to bridge jumping, WAIT, there is hope, a couple of 'em.

'Buy Nothing Day' is one. To quote their website- "Until we challenge the entrenched values of capitalism – that the economy must always keep growing, that consumer wants must always be satisfied, that immediate gratification is imperative – we’re not going able to fix the gigantic psycho-financial-eco crisis of our times." They get it.

This year, driven in part by the Thanksgiving eve opening, Walmart workers are planning to strike or conduct some other form of protest outside at least 1,000 locations across the United States today. These friends and neighbors of ours are demanding 'respect'. They are demanding a living wage and a decent future. Good on 'em. They're fighting for everybody really, including the retailers.

A new study by the think tank Demos says raising the salary of all full-time workers at large retailers to $25,000 per year would lift more than 700,000 people out of poverty, at a cost of only a 1 percent price increase for customers. And, in the end, retailers would benefit. According to the study, the cost of the wage increases to major retailers would be $20.8 billion — about one percent of the sector’s $2.17 trillion in total annual sales. But the study also estimates the increased purchasing power of lower-wage workers as a result of the pay raises would generate $4 billion to $5 billion in additional retail sales.

Seems like a no brainer. Even the government, who now foots the bill for the medical and social services, would instead be collecting more income tax. And the Food Banks, who now often feeds the underpaid retail workers, would instead be receiving donations from their recent x-customers. Even the bigshots and bankers [yuck] would make more dough. And the real winner long-term could be the US labor movement, maybe that's the rub, or maybe not enough politicians have received their envelope yet, or? who knows? But for today it's plenty just knowing it's a brighter 'Black Friday' in this little corner of the empire.


An Excellent Vegetarian Option for Thanksgiving Dinner

Tonight's bachelor dinner at the hideout is gonna include the liquid/vegetarian Wild Turkey substitute again this year. It's becoming a tradition. Good old Thanksgiving used to be about a day off school/work, football, and turkey, now...A turkey was a turkey back then, it had a life, it scratched it's share in the farmyard, had a few fights, got chased by the dog once or twice, a life...not a life like its wild and free cousins, but a life.

Now-a-days farmers treat their turkeys, other than the liquid variety, like machines. Domestic turkeys don't get a life anymore unless...unless they're lucky. Some few lucky, non-liquid, turkeys get rescued and sent to the 'Turkey Sanctuary' in California. During her years at the Sanctuary Marianne Skoczek wrote 'A Tale of Two Turkey's' about the domestic and wild turkeys who share the sanctuary. Among other telling things, the domestic birds voluntarily go into their coop each night, the Wild ones refuse and roost high in the trees surrounding the sanctuary.

Marianne's tale includes the recovery of the wild turkey from the early 20th century when wild turkeys no longer roamed over much of their traditional range having had been wiped out by hunting and the disappearance of their favored woodland habitat, through to the present. The wild turkey population is presently exploding especially in suburban areas. Many residents are fleeing indoors as flocks of wild turkeys [native to N America and the same species as the domestic non-liquid type] are taking over some Bay-Area suburbs.

Time for another swig..YUM.

The Wild Turkeys could become dangerous to the domestic turkey enslavers soon. The wild cousins might already be gobbling revolutionary instructions to their retarded domestic cousins.

Non-Liquid Turkeys of the World Unite, You Have Nothing to Lose But Your Cranberry Sauce.


Buy Nothing Day, Goes Global

Buy Nothing Day, another winner from Adbusters some years ago, arose in response to the sinking feeling so many folks get watching their fellow humans on Black Friday.  It raises a person's spirit some to know that millions of others share the sinking feeling and are doing something about it.

As the Adbusters website says, "Until we challenge the entrenched values of capitalism – that the economy must always keep growing, that consumer wants must always be satisfied, that immediate gratification is imperative – we’re not going able to fix the gigantic psycho-financial-eco crisis of our times. The journey towards a sane sustainable future begins with a single step. It could all start with a personal challenge, such as this: make a vow to yourself to participate in Buy Nothing Day this year. This November 23rd, go cold turkey on consumption for 24 hours … see what happens "

Almost every day is a buy nothing day here at the hideout. This Friday will be too. Pancho and i will go to the beach for a walk before a late breakfast, followed by a bitta computer time, lunch and an afternoon walk up through the neighborhood, another perfect buy nothing day.

“Today, humanity faces a stark choice: save the planet and ditch capitalism, or save capitalism and ditch the planet.” – Fawzi Ibrahim


NDP are Forgetting that Free Trade is the 1%'s Weapon, Fair Trade the 99%'s Tool

After reading yesterday's post by my neighbor Murray Dobbin, 'Is The NDP Becoming 'Liberals-lite'?', and asking my self "Will Tom Mulcair do anything for a vote?", the NDP site seemed like a wise next move. Apparently the NDP has dropped all talk of rescinding or reopening the North American Free Trade Agreement, a deal the NDP has stridently opposed in the past and it's urging the World Trade Organization to re-start global trade talks, which the NDP used to protest against.

Neighbor Murray 'played' it as a move by leader Mulcair to gain mushy middle, usually Liberal, votes, and it is. Mulcair, for the same tactical reasons, also walked away recently from the decades long NDP support of marijuana legalization and moved middle by endorsing de-criminalization instead.  Mulcair is a snake oil selling liberal at heart. His campaign to gain mushy middle votes may backfire as long-time NDP supporters look for 'greener' pastures.

Mulcair is being upstaged on an even more important aspect of the Free Trade debate, this time by default. Now the Liberals, and well-groomed Justin, are the sole owners of the FAIR Trade position. Up until recently that, fair trade not free trade, was the NDP's argument. Even back before the Monster Mulroney ruled and the FTA was forced on Canada. Even then, from beneath the Monster's boot, as the mushy Liberals and liberals acquiesced, the NDP voices said "Fair Trade not Free Trade".

Free trade isn't just words to be parsed, it's a whole globe girdling, planet pulverising, paradigm. As Maude Barlow puts it, " I'm referring to those awkward facts about free trade, like that Canada lost 334,000 manufacturing jobs in the first five years after the Canada-U.S. deal was signed -- a decline that continued under NAFTA and continues to this day. Good paying full-time jobs are more often than not replaced by precarious part-time work, which contributes to Canada's stagnating middle-income wages over the past 20 years. It's a harsh reality of the free trade era that most of the new wealth created -- and free trade does create wealth -- went straight to the top, to the richest one per cent in Canada and globally."

Free Trade is a weapon of the 1%, Fair Trade is a tool of the 99% That is, IMO, Mulcair's mistake [and the neighbor's too for not mentioning it].


The Dark Cloud of Mordor Hangs Over 'The Hobbit' After 27 Animals Die at Training Ranch

The Hobbit is a fantasy novel and children's book by J. R. R. Tolkien. that was published in 1937 to wide critical acclaim. It's never been out of print since. Read and loved 'The Hobbit' in college, read it again, then read 'the trilogy'. Re-read them all again a couple times later in life too. The news today that 27 animals used in the production have died unnecessarily at an unsafe training ranch during filming of The Hobbit brought sadness to millions.

The Hobbit is about a time and place when and where the faeries still lived openly among the people, the trees and all living things, conversed and the people listened to their wisdom. Legends of the fairies remind us of our old ancestral heritage, when people were wild, free, and happy. Long ago our ancestors broke away from the wild believing themselves to hold the power of their own destiny, forgetting that they to were part of 'the mud'.

Bilbo Baggins goes on a mythic quest, meeting incredible characters who teach us and Bilbo valuable lessons not the least of which is how easily we, like Gollum, are addicted our 'precious' material objects. This set of films will cost over $500million to make, that's alotta Gollum slobber, surely trilogy director Peter Jackson is under big pressures from the current banksters of Mordor. So they leased a farm near Wellington, New Zealand, that the wranglers caring for the animals claim, was full of bluffs, sinkholes and other 'death traps'.

These guys, these Hollywood types wherever they're from, are speculators dealing in leveraged dough, who create their shallow special effects without considering all the costs. 27 animals, horses, goats, sheep, chickens dead, now PETA campaigners are blasting producers of The Hobbit and organizing a worldwide boycott of the movie plus demonstrations at it's various premieres. Good on 'em, though mr. mud, already having such wonderful self generated images from the books, refuses to see the dumb simplified movie versions anyway.

We met and learned from Gandalf [Tolkien was inspired by the image above], and Strider and  Elrond and Galadriel about the magic we lived within before we broke away from the wild. J. R. R. Tolkien was an inspiring writer, The Hobbit and 'the trilogy' and others before them foresaw the growing menace of materialism and the power it holds over people. Tolkien's epic was, and still is, a journey there and back again.


90% of Canadians Support Bill C-257 Requiring Mandatory Labeling of GMO Foods in Canada

Want to know what you're eating? Most folks do. That's why 90% of Canadians support mandatory labeling of GMO food in Canada and they have since first polled about it in 2003. Yet sucessive Liberal and Conservative governments would only endorse 'voluntary' GMO labelling [exactly zero companies have volunteered]. The NDP has consistently supported mandatory labelling but the various Liberal and Conservative members have, each time they couldn't squirm out of voting, always sided with their benefactors - the big corporations

There is currently a private member's bill C-257 introduced by NDP to require mandatory GMO labelling that's had its first reading in Parliament. Perhaps what your local MP needs is a good kick in the pants, but as they're usually outta boot range, a good alternative is to join thousands of others and sign the petition at Avaaz to label GMO food in Canada.

Canada and the United States are the only industrialized countries that do not have mandatory labelling regulations of some sort. On top of that, 70% of the food sold in Canada's grocery stores contain Genetically Modified ingredients? Maybe Canada's well paid for politicians, like Gerry Ritz, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food, email: gerry.ritz@parl.gc.ca, will listen to our heartfelt complaints. Maybe

Meanwhile other folks have developed some excellent resources to help us escape genetic engineering at the grocery store beyond the two surefire ways: Don't buy processed foods, Buy certified organic. The best place IMO, especially for Canadians, is the Greenpeace Canada Guide, it features good/widely available choices in every category, it's a [pdf] so it's down-loadable to your 'device'

The next best is for devices, its an app or browsing through the grocery store and looking up information on brands and recommendations for foods while shopping. If you have an Android or iPhone, check out these free options:
True Food Shoppers Guide (available for Android or iPhone)
Non-GMO Project Shopping Guide (available for iPhone)
ShopNoGMO (available for iPhone)

Last but not least is the code used on all fresh fruits and veggies at the supermarket.


Former Tupamaros Guerrilla and Current President of Uruguay - Jose Mujica - a Great Role Model

The inbox today invited me to meet Jose Mujica - The world's 'poorest' president. Great article, in it a person learns that Jose Mujica refuses to live in the state mansion instead living in his wife's ramshackle farmhouse off a dirt road outside the capital, Montevideo and that he  gives away most of his pay to charity. In 2005, Mujica married Lucía Topolansky, a fellow Tupamaro member and current senator, after many years of co-habitation. They cultivate flowers as an economic activity, drive an aging Volkswagen Beetle, and share their lives with their dogs. WOW

The Tupamaros were legendary among the 60s and 70s counter-culture revolutionaries and wannabes like me. In the late 60's they took to robbing banks and driving through the barrios throwing cash out the windows of their car. They made a lotta friends. Mujica was shot six times,  arrested, spent 14 years in jail and was tortured, as were most of the Tupamaros guerrillas.

When asked about his austere lifestyle Mujica answered, "I may appear to be an eccentric old man... But this is a free choice. I've lived like this most of my life," he says, sitting on an old chair in his garden, using a cushion favoured by Manuela the dog. "I can live well with what I have."

Mujica has learned that having enough can't happen through acquiring more, only by wanting less. Lucky Uruguay.


Canada's Tar Sands Stakeholders Sweat Due to Growing Supplies, Shrinking Demands

Thanks to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the U.S. has seen an explosion in oil and natural gas production in the past several years, with production growing to its highest level in 14 years earlier this year, at around 6 million barrels produced per day. The United States will overtake Saudi Arabia to become the world's biggest oil producer before 2020, and will be energy independent 10 years later, according to a new forecast by the International Energy Agency.

In the short term for Canada, the return of U.S. oil production has meant that Canadian exporters are selling at a “discount rate” to the U.S., as demand for Canadian product falls. Reports indicate Canada is selling oil at $30 below the going rate for West Texas intermediate crude. The forecast represents a major challenge to Canada’s oil and gas exporters, who will have to find new markets — presumably in Asia — should the U.S. no longer need to import fossil fuels.

Canada's bitumen is a long way from Asia right now. The only really open option is to send the crap east via pipeline and setup a domestic supply network because the pipeline option is in serious trouble in every direction. Besides the huge anti-pipeline resistance up here in Canuckistan the debate over Keystone has become a flash point between environmentalists and energy development proponents in the US. It's hard to imagine the US approving Keystone as it’s likely that the pipeline will be used not to send Canadian oil to U.S. markets, but to ship to U.S. ports for export overseas.

Stand by for the Government of Alberta to start crying poverty tears any time soon too. Alberta has undercharged and under collected royalties since the day Peter Lougheed drove away. Alberta runs a $3billion deficit despite sitting on all those resources because the government is owned and operated by and for the oil industry. But the industry's greed to grow, financed by the banksters, is now set to see it's visions of sugar plums tank into what could well end up seeing Canada being a far better place. A self-sufficient place who's long term energy supplies fuel the jobs and industry of the future.


Anthropology Researchers Unearth Why the Californians Voted Against Mandatory GMO Labeling

Sometimes a picture shows more than a thousand words

Been flummoxed for the past week by the Californian vote against mandatory GMO labeling. This morning a plausible explanation turned up. Turns out studies show that human intelligence peaked thousands of years ago and that the stupidity trend will continue.

A new study out in the journal Trends in Genetics, authored by  Stanford University professor Gerald Crabtree, shows that in the past, when our ancestors (and those who failed to become our ancestors) faced the harsh realities of a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, the punishment for stupidity was more often than not death. And so, Crabtree argues, enormous evolutionary pressure bore down on early humans, selecting out the dimwits, and raising the intellect of the survivors' descendants. But not so today.

It is worth remembering that the humans with the largest brain sizes were actually found among the Neanderthals. Still, over the past 20,000 years, the average volume of the human male brain has decreased from 1,500 cubic centimeters to 1,350 cc, losing a chunk the size of a tennis ball. "This happened in China, Europe, Africa—everywhere we look.” said the University of Wisconsin anthropologist John Hawks. Presumably that means in California too, eh.

Crabtree's research showed that for more than 99 per cent of human evolutionary history, we have lived as hunter-gatherer communities surviving on our wits, leading to big-brained humans. Since the invention of agriculture and cities, however, natural selection on our intellect has effectively stopped and mutations have accumulated in the critical “intelligence” genes. As genetic mutations increase over future generations, will humans be doomed to buying new iPhones every year to watch soap-opera repeats on [while eating non-labeled GMO munchies]?

California has always been the leader in cultural trends, guess they still are.


GMO Foods Graduate From Bio-Hazard to Bio-Weapon Armed with Sterility and Spermicides

Started reading about how rats being fed genetically modified corn (GM corn) and consuming trace levels of Monsanto's Roundup chemical fertilizer developed horrifying tumors, widespread organ damage, and premature death. Monsanto immediately went into high gear discrediting and denying the study with every breath. Other mammals, hamsters and pigs have been studied too. Same kinda results just worse. Pigs and hamsters fed GMOs also have offspring that are sterile.

Turns out one long-standing project of the US Government has been to perfect a genetically-modified variety of corn, the diet staple in Mexico and many other Latin American countries. The corn has been field tested in tests financed by the US Department of Agriculture along with a small California bio-tech company named Epicyte. Announcing his success at a 2001 press conference, the president of Epicyte, Mitch Hein, pointing to his GMO corn plants, announced, “We have a hothouse filled with corn plants that make anti-sperm antibodies.”

Hein explained that they had taken antibodies from women with a rare condition known as immune infertility, isolated the genes that regulated the manufacture of those infertility antibodies, and, using genetic engineering techniques, had inserted the genes into ordinary corn seeds used to produce corn plants. In this manner, they have produced a concealed contraceptive embedded in corn meant for human consumption.

The questions raised by spermicides hidden in GMO corn provided to starving Third World populations through the generosity of the Gates’ foundation, Rockefeller Foundation and Kofi Annan’s AGRA are many and profound. Turns out GMOs are more than a capitalist plot to monopolize the food chain, they are also a weapon, a bio-weapon really, perfectly designed to di-populate an over crowded planet either by region/ethnicity or by access to information where by those who pay attention, who stay away from GMO foods, and teach their kids to do likewise, will have a much improved chance of having their future family generations survive compared to the GMO consumer's.

One place to start paying attention is to the High Fructose Corn Syrup, 90% of north American corn is GMO. Others are canola oil, especially here in Canada, and all soy products. The truth is i'm an oldtimer, had my kids, passed on my genetic influence long ago. But as a by-product of the GMOs themselves or as purposefully built weapon, the methods exists already, for 'alleviation' the planet's overpopulation problem - for genocide - this stuff matters for our kids and their kids and...


Waking Up Over the Line in Washington State and Wondering - Will Weed-Mart Win?

Washington state's initiative, while legalizing the production and sale of marijuana to adults split the cannabis community mostly because of its controversial DUI provision. A limit of five nanograms per milliliter (5 ng/ml) of active THC in the bloodstream will be considered per se evidence of guilt of DUI under the new law.

With that limit, practically any daily cannabis user, including almost every medical marijuana patient, would be considered "DUI marijuana" when they wake up, unimpaired, in the morning, since their active THC level would almost never dip below 5 ng/ml. So, waking up over the line in Washington state is an 'issue' for folks, hell, i'd of been over that line 40 years of my life.

The next year or two will be interesting in Washington and Colorado. It'll take that long at least before the courts have their say. During that time the corporations and the banks will have to stay out of the weed business. Meanwhile, the existing growers will see a huge jump in demand and long before the courts unleash the bankster corporations into the 'market' the locals will have scaled up production to meet demand. It's true, the local markets in Colo.-Wash. will suffer in the long term - and Weedmart will win...someday. The best move for a grower down there now might be to go BIG for the next couple years. Then, before  Weedmart starts growing - retire.

Washington state's initiative wasn't about morality, it was about money. On every level the governments are bankrupt, the 'War on Drugs' costs beaucoup bucks. For instance, it took King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg 3 days to dismiss all misdemeanor marijuana possession cases currently pending in Washington’s largest county. Marijuana means money, to governments, to the tourist industry, inevitably to the corporations- to Weedmart.

Demand will be high in Washington and Colorado, so will the taxes be, so will profits be, so will prices be too. But weed isn't booze, ya can't grow booze in chicken shit and pot does just fine. So a person, especially a person who's already learned from experience, will always be able to fly under the radar, to have a few girls out by the shed, to keep the magic alive. Ya gotta wonder, part of weed's magic is the individual charm added by grower, part is it's outlaw status but inevitably the most magic weed any of us ever smoked was grown in our own garden and smoked while sitting on our own deck.


Pot Legalization in Washington and Colorado Will Cost the Canadian Tourism Industry Millions

The DEA will fight 'em, the DoJ will too and the final word in could take years, but in reality Washington's law goes into effect Dec. 6th, 4 weeks from now. A couple days later there will be hundreds of little pot stores open for the 'holiday season' shoppers from BC let alone the rest of north America's west coast. Washington's tourism and munchie industries are about to explode, BC's, not so much.

BC, especially Vancouver, has been north America's #1 marijuana tourism destination for decades. During their visits the potheads stay at motels, buy gas, they buy bright shiny beads and they eat...lots. All that will change once folks figure out how cool it is to actually 'smoke it' legally along with doing it in less expensive motels, burning cheaper gas and eating even more junk food even cheaper.

Washington and Colorado will, once the courts get done with 'em, see a boom in tax revenue so great it'll remind old timers like me of what happened in sleepy, rural Nevada when they legalized gambling. Just like gambling, but a lot quicker in the digital age, the surrounding states will see the light and so on...

Not just the tourism industry but BC's small time mom and pop pot growers are poised to take a big hit to both their market share of Washington St. smokers and the price. As the economists would say, 'price probably going down as long as demand does or until production slows [which is the opposite of what happens when mom and pop are squeezed for dough].

All was well in the land, but then came the Proposition Demon whispering his evil bargain in Washingtonian and Coloradoan ears. Now where are we here in BC? We're facing year-round off season motel rates, no more lineups at the restaurants, cheaper pot, munchies and shiny beads...Oh, doesn't look so bad after all


Prop. 37 Defeated by the Strange Values of a Strange Culture

Woke up this morning to find out that Californians had voted 53% to 47% yesterday not to label the contents of GMO foods. At first it was a shock, despite the recent polls showing just such an outcome was highly possible. The shock turned to mild depression as Pancho and i were driving to the beach for our morning sojourn. How? How could so many 'beautiful people' vote to know less? Why would they do it? Of course the obvious answer is - money honey - the 'No' side outspent the 'Yes' side 10-1.

Being a beautiful, warm sunny morning made staying depressed an effort. Countless little birds were singing and flitting about as we walked down the trail to the beach, the sun warmed us, a quick stop to chat with friends about the eagles circling overhead and swans hiding down past the breakwater did too. Meeting up, as we often do, with other morning dog walkers, petting their excited dogs, them petting mine, talking for a moment about real things always helps clear out the grey and open up the day.

As we walked along the beach, i noticed that the seagulls weren't overly depressed about the idiocy of the Californian voting choices, but they were interested in a dead salmon that had washed up on the beach from the nearby creek that's filled with them returning home right now. My mood continued to brighten as my body warmed up. Off came my jacket, then my ball cap. Up in a tree nearby an eagle screeched at us.

A 'culture' is group who share many values. Values are difficult to define but taken together they form a cultural immune system that agrees with/ accepts those 'truths' that fit in its template and rejects or doesn't even see the others. Looking at the county by county map above [larger version] i see that there are areas of California that share my values and a large area that doesn't. i've almost always felt like 'a stranger in a strange land'. Today, at first i did too, but, as the day unfolds, i'm realizing there are many others who share my values, my culture, they just live at the beach.

Grow your own, eat as little processed food as possible and go for a long walk with your dog every morning...the 3 essentials for brightening a grey day.


Will Californians Vote to Know Less Tomorrow?

It's a bight warm, sunny day here in Powell River BC. The eagles, seagulls and Pancho the wonder dog joined me an hour or so ago at the beach to watch a beachcomber pulling logs off the beach at high-tide. The salmon are running in Lang Creek, long chains of geese honk overhead on their way south, yet a grey sadness sits at the corner of my attention this morning. No matter how sunny it is it can't hide the question - Will the Californians vote to know less tomorrow?

Tomorrow is election day down south of the border and there's only a few places, a few issues where a person's vote even matters anymore because the corporations and banks own the process and the parties everywhere. There is though in  24 states a system where citizens, if they get enough signatures, can bring questions - propositions - onto the ballots in those states, There's a number of interesting propositions on the ballots. Colorado and Washington St. are voting on outright legalization of marijuana [hooray], Massachusetts is voting on assisted suicide, Californians will vote on capital punishment and mandatory labeling of GMO foods.

California's Prop 37, 'The Right to Know', isn't a referendum on genetically modified foods. It's not a ban, or a warning, it's a label. Prop 37 simply adds a line of ink to a label -- as is currently required for 3,000 other ingredients -- so consumers know which products have been altered in a laboratory the same as the citizens of 61 other countries do. "Four weeks ago," reports Reuters, "the labeling initiative was supported by more than two-thirds of Californians who said they intended to vote on November 6, according to a poll from the California Business Roundtable and Pepperdine University's School of Public Policy. On Tuesday, their latest poll showed support had plummeted to 39 percent, while opposition had surged to almost 51 percent."

The drive to label GMO Foods has been undermined by Industry's 'Big Bucks'. The campaign against the right to know, financed by the chemical industry's biggest players, has relied on three essential components: unlimited resources, a willingness to repeatedly lie, and a willingness to double and triple down on those lies-even when they are debunked by independent fact checkers.

The grayness intruding on this sunny day comes from the realization that money can talk so loudly, that mass media can be so hypnotizing, that even the best of people, and Californians are among them, can be convinced that 'up' is 'down', can be convinced to vote against common sense and their own best interests, can choose to want to know less. There's still hope the proposition will pass and, if it then passes the legal challenges, GMO foods will be labeled in California and beyond. But win or lose Prop 37 has shown the power of money to reshape the convictions of millions of Californians, a grey day for sure.


It's Uplifting to Know That Wild Horses and Burros Still Live Free in the Owyhee Wilderness

The Jarbidge Mountains

The Jarbidge Mountains are the high country above the Owyhee Wilderness and the headwaters of all three of the major rivers that form the Owyhee Canyonlands of southwest Idaho, southeast Oregon, and northeast Nevada. The area is one of the most remote and inaccessible areas of the continental US. and filled with sagebrush and juniper covered deserts, beautiful mountains, hoodoos and natural arches, and incredible river canyons carved into the ancient rhyolitic lava flows.

The Duck Valley Indian Reservation is situated in a beautiful,green valley on the Nevada/Idaho border surrounded by the Owyhee Wilderness. My daughter and i visited the area by taking Nevada Rte. 225 north outta Elko one early spring morning on one of our yearly road trips. Incredible vistas, one small general store/?, open roads, raging river, running, as they all do thereabouts, toward the Snake River.

The faeries still rule in the Owyhee, but the cattle ranchers and their BLM mercinaries work everyday to overthrow them. Corporate culture is at war with the wild, everywhere, including the Owyhee. The ranchers think the wild horses and burros, who together might number 2000, are overgrazing areas that their cattle should get. BLM was forced to stop simply rounding them up and auctioning them to be slaughtered, now their idea is a 'spay, neuter and release' program.

Of course they refuse to consider allowing the wolves, the coyotes, the cougars, the odd grizzly perform the magic of the trophic cascade. Wolves and other predators have a powerful effect on the well-being of the ecosystems around them including that their presence discourages the presence of mesopredators who often become nuisance species - think raccoons.

It's uplifting to know that wild mustangs and burros still move up and down from the Jarbidge Mountain high country to the protected river canyons with the seasons, still raise their young, still live freely. BLM may be able to capture some of Owyhee's wild horses, but it can never contain their spirits.

Several bands of wild mustangs, about 25 horses total, near Coyote Springs on the Coyote Grade Road in Owyhee County, Idaho. Music: "Cowboy's Dream" by Marty Stuart.


The Equine Welfare Alliance is Dedicated to Ending the Slaughter of Horses

It's another dark day for animal rights here in Canada. Today Mark Biederman, an equine veterinarian near Windsor, Ont. said, "thousands of horses have been slaughtered for meat in the wake of Ontario’s decision to end the Slots at Racetracks Program." Biederman estimates 50 per cent of the province’s nearly 4,000 broodmares have been or will be slaughtered. Ontario announced the end of the slots program March 31. Money earned from slots at tracks was split between the horse industry, track owners and the province. It generated $345 million for the horse industry each year. Biederman said the cancellation of the program “makes no sense.Everyone was benefiting. The horse industry was getting $300 million and the province was getting $1.2 billion [each year],” he said.

But it wasn't enough, Ontario's debt ridden budget office figured the track was getting to much and the province could generate more income by putting the slot machines in huge city-centered casinos. Meanwhile thousands of horses and people who've both given their lives to the sport/industry are being axed. It's easy to feel bad for the trainers and handlers who've given their energy and their hearts to their charges. Horses run at their best when they feel loved and well treated by those who live with them. That's the workers not the owners. The owners sit in big houses and trade in the lives of living creatures who are now running for their lives.

It's even easier to feel despair about the horses themselves who've given their best, who've fulfilled their end of the bargain upfront, and now are considered to be expendable, the same as a machine, young, healthy and led off to slaughter because they are no longer producing 'profits' for the owners. It's all part of history's worst lie. The lie told so often by those seeking earthly power by telling the fearful humans they have a 'dominion' deal and that "god" has created everything, including horses, for the benefit of the 'special' animals called humans. It makes me wanna puke. It's the same lie that allows humans to force cattle into feces filled feedlots, to cram thousands of salmon in pens feeding both on antibiotics and unnatural diets, the same lie that allows profiteers to lace the earth with chemicals and feed the world Frankenfoods.

Anyway, it's not totally dark out yet, there are many individuals and groups that don't believe the Big Lie, one group, started by John Holland, call themselves 'The Equine Welfare Alliance, the conscience of the horse industry'. They are dedicated to ending the slaughter of American Horses and the preservation and protection of our Wild Horses and Burros on public lands. Though EWA is US based it has partners in 18 countries, including Canada. They work everyday to insure humane equine treatment at all stages of their lives with the goal of ending the slaughter of our magnificent cousins for food everywhere. Please help them in any way you can.

Meet Sugar and Spice, two of John Hollands’s 
  rescues that were the inspiration for their logo.