Good Luck Explaining This To Your Grandchildren

Keep Calm and Fuck UKIP

And remember to vote Green next time,  it’s good for your health.

My reaction to UKIP‘s success and victories of the far-right across Europe was mirrored nicely yesterday by Occupy London, probably good I waited to share it as I might be able to unleash a torrent of expletives on facebook but God knows who might stumble across my blog. And before anybody pipes up, the Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza), the United Left (Izquierda Unida), et al are little consolation. Advances by the left were, mostly, seen in the smaller EU states or by parties near the political centre.

Germany will be electing their first Nazi representative since the Second World War and the Front National, who require no introduction, wiped the floor with the centrist/leftist parties in France. Similar groupings to the NF did as well, or nearly as well, in places such as Austria, Hungary, Denmark, and Greece.

How long will it take for people to realise that attacking immigrants, the unemployed, refugees, or religious and ethnic minorities, take your pick, will not give them back their hope for prosperity?

We’ve been robbed, are being robbed (to an extent never seen before with TTIP and TPP) not by the people who have nothing, but by the people who have everything. As long as we allow these inherently divisive xenophobes, neoliberals, and neo-fascists to rule over us, nothing will change.

BBC News won’t tell our side of the narrative because the very people theGreen Party of England and WalesThe People’s Assembly, and so on are criticising – corporatists and the wealthy elite – also happen to be the mainstream media’s paymasters. The predominantly right-wing media will blame European immigrants and the vulnerable of all shades because they have to blame somebody, clearly, for what’s happening. But can we really be surprised they won’t level blame at the real culprits?

My Dutch Jewish grandmother barely made it through the occupation, and not everybody else in her family was so lucky. In a sense I’m a survivor, nearly unborn, so I must ask myself … does Europe need to survive another wave of this hatred? Its object may change, Muslims and migrants, rather than Jews and gypsies, but the end is always the same: pain. Until all are free no one ever will be, and, like the oppressed, the oppressor must suffer.

“I don’t believe it’s possible to be neutral. The world is already moving in certain directions. And to be neutral, to be passive, in a situation like that, is to collaborate with what is going on. And I, as a teacher, don’t want to be a collaborator.” – Howard Zinn (You Can’t be Neutral on a Moving Train)

No More Austerity [People’s Assembly]

Austerity

My statement for the People’s Assembly Against Austerity (PAAA) and one of the many reasons I’m going to the national demonstration this summer.

 

 

 

A friend I haven’t seen in years decided to post this on the facebook event (linked under the photo) for the People’s Assembly demo on the 21st June:

Sorry, I actually find the austerity an outstandingly good idea. Also, from my country’s experience things with the phrase “People’s” in it tend to end up in disasters more often than not.

Understandably my response was a little … cold. But, patience is a virtue and out of a desire to remain calm and rational I engaged with the comment (at 1 in the morning too, dedication right there). Might notice a repetition of some of my previous statistics, but comments like Adam’s show why we have to drive the point home again and again until it hits home. Thought I should also share what I said here in the hope I did my fellow activists – but more importantly the victims of this government – justice.

I also promised people at the PA I’d help raise awareness by taking part in their photo campaign, and this is another excuse to get mine out there!

Swear we’ve had this conversation before Adam? Will teach me to utilise mass invites. Anyhow, I’m sure there are far more eloquent anti-austerity activists around here than me. But, in spite of the deja vu, I’ll attempt to summarise especially quickly.

First, austerity is unnecessary and ideologically driven. The vast majority of our deficit stems from things like an obscenely privileged political/business class, not spending on the poor or disadvantaged. If there was wasteful spending, it was by, on, and because of the powerful. Not because of the unemployed et al. This notion is utterly ridiculous and foisted on us by neoliberal parties such as the Conservatives and GOP, just so that they don’t have to admit, post-crash, that unregulated capitalism (and ultimately plutocracy) is fundamentally inhumane and unstable. And, so they can more easily blame individual parties, namely Labour, rather than an entire economic system.

Secondly, if anyone thinks the conservatives are fundamentally motivated by fiscal prudence and our monetary well-being they aren’t paying attention (to put it politely). All mainstream political parties are, generally, in thrall to the establishment – more concerned with the interests of their lobbyists, and the people who bankroll the system that benefits them, than the general citizen – the Tories are just even more transparent, audacious, and determined about it than their counterparts.

And your comment about “people’s” sums it up, the truly one-sided narrative you’ve been exposed to/have taken to heart is disheartening. I mean for pity’s sake. All we hear on corporate-owned, hint hint, news outlets is that ‘benefits are bankrupting us’. At most, according to the DWP’s own figures, mismanagement of this public service (taxpayers have already funded) loses us around a £1 bn a year. Tops. Meanwhile, tax dodging, evasion, etc loses us at least £120 bn a year (add this to the £10-20 tn, untaxed I should remind you, already hidden … who’s the real parasite again?). One issue pertains to the most vulnerable/needy in society, the other to their opposites. Who do you want to fight for? Which struggle, do you think, carries greater urgency and moral weight? And actually, at the end of the day, really serves you?

Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar”

In light of the recent revelations on escalating climate change (the West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapsing for starters, which could lead to the sea level rising by 4 metres in a couple of centuries), and a bunch of other apocalyptic scenarios that are looking increasingly likely, this film is pretty relevant.

Great scientists and visionaries who’ve said off-world travel should be seen as a necessity, rather than remote science fiction, are being vindicated by history … and the future it seems (just check out Planetary Resources, Mars One – Human Settlement of Mars, SpaceX, Deep Space Industries, et al).

Earth cannot, single-handedly, sustain humanity in the long run. Our maturity as a species is coming, and so is our familiarity with a far larger portion of the cosmos than the planet which bore us.

The crisis we face may have been caused, to a large extent, by people much more powerful than we are – after all 90 corporations are responsible for two-thirds of man-made greenhouse emissions – but it is the poor and their children who will suffer most. We need to expand our species’ horizons in the boldest way imaginable, as, by doing this, we may be able to avoid a minority jeopardising the rest of our lives ever again.

“Man is the most insane species. He worships an invisible God and destroys a visible nature. Unaware that this nature he’s destroying is this God he’s worshipping.” – Hubert Reeves

rambling rooby

The trailer has arrived for Christopher Nolan’s latest film: Interstellar.

There’s not much detail given on the plot – we gather that the Earth is dying, and a select few individuals are being sent into space to achieve “interstellar travel” in hopes of saving humanity.  The group of explorers make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.

The trailer also introduces the concept of Murphy’s Law – “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”, which McConaughey’s character rewrites as, “whatever can happen, will happen.” (How very Rust Cohle of him) Is this foreshadowing for events in the film?

Fans have been waiting for another Nolan film since the Dark Knight Rises. I expect Nolan mainstays of non-linear narratives, and exquisite cinematography.

The trailer is moving and thoroughly engrossing (thanks in large part…

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The Green Rush [Press Association]

An article I did with the Press Association a few months back, its purview being an introduction to both the non-psychoactive and psychoactive varieties of the cannabis plant and its business potential. With 420’s recent passing – which may I say was unfortunately rather suppressed in London by the rain – and the Daily Mail’s inevitable smearing/belittling of these peaceful activists, this could never be more relevant. The overall relevance of this subject should have also been hinted at, rather forcefully, by my earlier post on cannabis. As an added bonus, a few days ago Uruguay rolled out its legalisation of cannabis and anti-Drug War activists the world over are watching, closely.

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The Cannabis Industry

Market Size: Medicinal cannabis alone is worth US$1.5 bn

Sub-markets: Fibre (rope, clothing, insulation, etc.), seeds, construction, fuel, plastic, paper, foodstuff, medicine, scientific research

Other Industries it Affects: Housing, textiles, renewable and non-renewable energy, recreational and medical marijuana

Global Opportunity: Cannabis is known for its versatility and can grow comfortably on every populated continent. Worldwide, cannabis is the base of more than 25,000 individual products

Key Countries (by descending order of annual cannabis production): China, the EU, Canada, Russia, and India

Main Players (multinationals with market cap above $0.5 billion): GW Pharmaceuticals, Canna Vest, Med Box

Recent Growth: In the first weeks of 2014 cannabis stocks increased in value anywhere between 20 to 1700 per cent, depending on the submarket or locality

Forecasts: Estimated total potential value of cannabis industry after blanket legalisation is projected to be up to $50 billion

Risk Level: High

Regulatory Status: Strongly regulated, and under a de facto illegality in many legislatures

Public Perception: Very varied, highly regarded by environmentalists but in other cases is taboo

Entry Level Costs: Low

People to Watch: The non-psychoactive cannabis industry (NPCI) activists and lobbyists such as the Hemp Industries Association, and central political figures like US President Barack Obama or US Attorney General Eric Holder

Marketing Costs: Low

After the fall of the Soviet Union, China took its place as the leader of licit cannabis production. Now, China holds half of the world’s cannabis patents. In 2003-2004 China, with 24,000 tonnes grown annually according to the FOA, created 79 per cent of the world’s hemp (nearly all of the remaining fifth was produced by France and Chile).

In 2012, for the first time in history, polling in both the US and UK showed that a majority of the population wanted a relaxation of cannabis laws. On the back of favourable public sentiment towards marijuana, hemp deregulation has accelerated. Recreational marijuana’s legalisation in Uruguay, and the states of Washington and Colorado, was followed in Feb 2014 by the US president signing the Farm Act 2013 that was passed by congress. With the amended Farm Act’s enactment, hemp farming became legal for the first time in 70 years. The US was the only major economy in which hemp production was totally illicit, and its shift in policy could be the final domino that needed to fall before the NPCI could take off.

Investors in cannabis cultivation (particularly in the US), at this stage, will be riding the tide of history and monumental legislative changes. The world’s largest economy has, until this year, been largely excluded from one of the most lucrative agricultural industries ever. And, in light of American businesses’ vigorous competition with their Chinese counterparts, the US will no doubt seize the opportunity they’d previously missed.

Cannabis Timeline (post-Cold War):

1990s: Hemp regulation begins to relax throughout EU member states, after a European Economic Community (EEC) directive in 1993 makes it possible for a few farms to grow cannabis with a low THC content.

1994: Canada issues its first licenses for hemp research.

1996: Californian voters pass Proposition 215, allowing medical cannabis in spite of federal prohibition.

1998: The US begins to import food-grade hemp seed and Canada allows hemp farming for uses beyond research.

2000: Tony Blair states his agreement with the legalisation of medical cannabis, the first PM to do so since the UK illegalised the drug in 1928.

2003: Canada’s public health service is the first to offer medical cannabis to patients.

2005: GW Pharma’s Sativex, the first cannabis derived medicine, is licensed for use in Canada.

2007: The first American hemp licenses in half a century are granted to North Dakotan farmers.

2011-2012: In 2011 GOP representative Ron Paul introduces the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, and Democratic senator introduces a companion bill the year after.

2012: Recreational cannabis is legalised for the first time by a US state with the referenda in Colorado and Washington.

2013: The Farm Act 2013 is introduced to congress.

2014: The Farm Act 2013 moves through both houses of congress before being signed by the president.

2014: Uruguay rolls out its full legalisation of cannabis.