Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Black helicopters

Some of you no doubt remember when ZOG, the Zionist Occupation Government, was conspiring to merge the United States into the UN One World Order. Thank God we now have a true Christian patriot in the White House, so we don't have to worry about that any more.

Nevertheless, the black helicopters are still out there. While I was at Festus's place last week, one flew over right above the tree tops. This morning, as my truck was rattling up the dirt road onto my own land, another one went right over -- could even have been the same one -- and spent the next hour circling around the area.

But they aren't looking for patriot militias so they can move in and disarm them as soon as the satanic plot to repeal the Second Amendment succeeds. As Festus said, and as you have no doubt already guessed, that's the Pot Chopper. As a matter of fact, it turns out they found some, on the state land across the street from me, and we not only had the black helicopter, but a bunch of black hummers and guys in black storm trooper outfits with their pants tucked into their black jackboots, black body armor and black automatic rifles, out rounding up the terroristic baby plants. You never know, one of them might just be faking being a vegetable and plotting to explode as soon as the marines get too close.

Way back in October 1980, the British magazine The Ecologist published a special issue called Hempathy. John Hanson contributed an overview, called An Outline Hemp Strategy for Great Britain. Hanson recalls that Carl Sagan in The Dragons of Eden speculated that hemp cultivation may have led to the invention of agriculture, and so to civilization. (Hemp is the same plant as marijuana, cultivated for fiber rather than its psychoactive properties.)

Through most of human history, up till the early 1900s, hemp was one of the most important crop plants. Hemp was a source of fiber, as most people know, but also of food, medicine, shelter. Hemp fiber was used for rope, hunting and fishing nets, clothing, helmets, baskets, oil seed, and paper. Hanson quotes S.S. Boyd, writing in 1900:

The hemp plant is the most widely diversified . . . and the most important plant in Europe. Hemp fiber is acknowledged to be the standard fiber in the world. . . . The hemp plant is the most simple and the most widely adapted to cultivation in all climates . . . and the most universally adapted to the production of fine, strong fibers for teh widest character of products from coarse, strong cordage to threads and yarns for the finest linens. . . "

Hemp cultivation was nearly eradicated world wide by the decision of the United States to proscribe it, along with the mechanization of the pulp and textile industries. "The USA's Marijuana Tax Act of 1937," writes Hanson, "was engineered by a powerful clique of vested interests [including] the alcohol, tobacco, pharmaceutical and wood-pulp lobbies."

Hemp is particularly well-suited to intensive, small scale cultivation and processing. It could substitute for much of the forest land now devoted to wood pulp production, for synthetic fibers made from fossil fuels, and for the less ecologically friendly cotton plant. Writes Hanson (with extensive footnotes):

Hemp rewards diligence, and to achieve the almost exponential increase in value that care and husbandry bring, by the increase in quality and subsequent market price, it follows that small-scale farming and production, under wide-spread cooperatives, is a more individually satisfying, and universally rewarding, method of cultivation and manufacture.

In both the growing and processing of the crop ... substantially less land, machinery, energy inputs and capital are required than either timber and wood-pulp processes, or the majority of other fibres and their manufactures.

Other articles in the issue review the medicinal potential of marijuana -- still largely unexplored due to draconian restrictions on research. As an update, we all know that people have discovered, FDA-approval or not, that it is useful for relieving pain, nausea and anorexia caused by cancer chemotherapy, HIV disease and drug side effects, and multiple sclerosis. The present administration is doing its best to make sure people do not have access to marijuana for these purposes, even as Glaxo Wellcome is preparing to apply for a patent and FDA approval for a system that will deliver actual marijuana extract as a spray. (Gary Greenberg will have an article on this out soon in Mother Jones.) Yup, it's going to be perfectly legal -- as long as you buy it from a multinational corporation and pay their monopoly price. Earlier research, stopped by legal obstacles in the 1950s, showed that marijuana has promise for many other medical uses.

In the Hempathy collection, Don Aitken and Tod Mikuriya write,
The first and most impressive lesson [from the history of marijuana as a medicine] is how sheer prejudice and superstition can lead to the total abandonment of medicinal use and even of medical research into what was once a therapeutic substance of major importance. The second is how rapidly experience of its use even in the very recent past can be denied or forgetten.. . .

This article, by the way, comes with 103 footnotes.

Other articles concern the war on drugs -- a war on the poor indigenous people of Latin America, and an inseparable alliance between the gangs of vicious criminals who import and distribute it, and the gangs of vicious law enforcement authorities who depend on the criminal gangs for their own jobs and prestige. Make it legal, and the whole thing goes away.

Oh yeah, there's one off-topic article in the issue -- The End of the Oil Age, by Vince Taylor. He writes -- in 1980 --
The current conflict int he Gulf has shown, once again, the vulnerability of our oil supplies. How much longer can we continue to rely on Middle East oil? . . . By becoming massively dependent on the Middle East for oil, the industrial economies have created a mortal threat to their survival . . . No resolution to this situation is in sight that is compatible with continuing to make economic growth the primary goal of the industrial world . . . The United States is preparing for military confrontation in the Middle East. War, if it comes, will not avert but hasten economic collapse and carries with it the risk of far greater catastrophe.

Taylor goes on to prophesy with terrifying power. His worst fears have yet to be realized but seem more imminent and vivid than ever. Perhaps we'll have more space to discuss this fascinating essay, and its relevance to the hemp question, in coming days.

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