Hemp Farming Quadrupled in the US This Year

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Since the 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act late last year, 511,000 acres have been licensed for its cultivation, according to a new report released by the advocacy group Vote Hemp.

That’s up from 78,000 acres licensed in 2018 for limited research purposes.

Marijuana’s non-intoxicating cousin hemp is now legal to grow in every state except Idaho, Mississippi, New Hampshire and South Dakota.

Forbes expects the crop to be an economic boon for American farmers, noting it is currently used in over 25,000 products.

Vote Hemp expects being able to source the plant locally will make waves in the industries of nutrition, medicine, bioplastics, homebuiling, clothing and textiles and even batteries for electric cars […]

 

Hemp Farming Quadrupled in the US This Year — Return to Now

Yemen: Another Shameful US Defeat Looms

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By Finian Cunningham | Strategic Culture Foundation | September 9, 2019

An official confirmation by the Trump administration of it holding discreet talks with Yemen’s Houthi rebels indicates a realization in Washington that its military intervention in the Arab country is an unsalvageable disaster requiring exit.

There are also reports of the Trump administration urging the Saudi rulers to engage with the Houthis, also known as Ansarullah, in order to patch up some kind of peace settlement to the more than four-year war. In short, the Americans want out of this quagmire.

Quite a turnaround. The US-backed Saudi coalition has up to now justified its aggression against the poorest country in the Arab region with claims that the rebels are Iranian proxies. Now, it seems, Washington deems the Houthi “terrorists” worthy of negotiations.

This follows a similar pattern in many other US foreign wars. First, the aggression is “justified” by moralistic claims of fighting “communists” or “terrorists” as in Vietnam and Afghanistan. Only for Washington, after much needless slaughter and destruction, to reach out to former villains for “talks” in order to extricate the Americans from their own self-made disaster.

Talks with the Houthis were confirmed last week by US Assistant Secretary of Near East Affairs David Schenker during a visit to Saudi Arabia.

“We are narrowly focused on trying to end the war in Yemen,” said Schenker. “We are also having talks to the extent possible with the Houthis to try and find a mutually accepted negotiated solution to the conflict.”

In response, a senior Houthi official Hamid Assem was quoted as saying: “That the United States says they are talking to us is a great victory for us and proves that we are right.” However, he declined to confirm or deny if negotiations were being held.

You have to almost admire the effrontery of the American government. Notice how the US diplomat says “we are focused on ending the war” and “a mutually acceptable solution”.

As if Washington is some kind of honest broker trying to bring peace to a country stricken by mysterious violence.

The war was launched by the US-backed Saudi coalition, including the United Arab Emirates, in March 2015, without any provocation from Yemen. The precipitating factor was that the Houthis, a mainly Shia rebel group aligned with Iran, had kicked out a corrupt Saudi-backed dictator at the end of 2014. When he tucked tail and fled to exile in Saudi capital Riyadh, that’s when the Saudis launched their aerial bombing campaign on Yemen.

The slaughter in Yemen over the past four years has been nothing short of a calamity for the population of nearly 28 million people. The UN estimates that nearly 80 per cent of the nation is teetering on hunger and disease […]

 

via Yemen: Another Shameful US Defeat Looms

Hong Kong Protesters Blindly Ask Trump To “Liberate” Their City, Forgetting How He “Liberated” Raqqa, Syria

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Rhetoric versus Reality: How the ‘most precise air campaign in history’ left Raqqa the most destroyed city in modern times

U.S. flag-waving Hong Kongers urge Trump to “liberate” city

Protesters wave US national flags as they march from Chater Garden to the US consulate in Hong Kong on September 8
Protesters wave American flags as they march to the U.S. consulate in Hong Kong on Thursday. Photo: Vivek PrakashAFP/Getty Images

 

Thousands of Hong Kong protesters marching to the United States consulate Sunday sang the U.S. national anthem and called on President Trump to “liberate” the Chinese-controlled territory as police looked on, Reuters reports […]

via Hong Kong Protesters Blindly Ask Trump To “Liberate” Their City, Forgetting How He “Liberated” Raqqa, Syria

“Heartless Capitalists” Learning To Give Out of Fear of the Angry Mob

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Capitalism is in crisis – and business leaders know it


John Harwood@JOHNJHARWOOD

  • Breaking decades of fidelity to “shareholder capitalism,” the Business Roundtable declared corporations should serve their communities as well as their owners.
  • Skeptics dismissed that as “virtue-signaling” to mollify the anti-business left. But what if the Roundtable signaled a broader turning point, toward reordering America’s relationship with the free market itself?
  • Early 21st century discord points toward that possibility. “The Economists’ Hour,” a new book by New York Times journalist Binyamin Appelbaum, helps explain how we got here.

David A. Grogan | CNBC

The Business Roundtable made news last month. Breaking decades of fidelity to “shareholder capitalism,” it declared corporations should serve their communities as well as their owners […]

via “Heartless Capitalists” Learning To Give Out of Fear of the Angry Mob

 

Stop Blaming Cows and Start Targeting the Corporations that are Destroying the Amazon

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By:Anthony Pahnke

Amazon burning: Brazil reports record forest fires.TV

The point is this – if we do not know how to put pressure on the right actors who have been connected to destroying the Amazon, then our efforts will be for naught. 

Most of the reporting on the fires raging in the Amazon try to identify the guilty parties.  Some of those that have been identified include ranchers and loggers, as well as the rightwing government of Jair Bolsonaro for its lack of enforcing environmental regulations.  Yet, what we need to consider is that no single actor is responsible for destroying the rainforest, but instead corporate supply chains that crisscross our planet.

To truly effect change, we need to target companies within these networks, which can occur if we restore Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) in agriculture and boycott firms that have been linked to deforestation. 

As the Amazon burns, with the number of fires increasing more than 80 percent this year when compared to the last, many have proposed solutions to the crisis.  Leonardo DiCaprio has advised us to stop eating meat, while others encourage consumers to recycle, become educated, and contact their representatives.  There are also calls to privatize the rainforest to save it, with individuals such as Jeff Bezos – who is already the owner of one Amazon – implored to invest.

These supposed solutions have serious shortcomings.  For instance, what specifically will you demand from your representative?  Is the ask that they just ‘do something?’  The problem with eliminating meat from your diet is that you do not know if you are affecting the large-scale Brazilian rancher or the struggling family farmer who lives down the road.  Moreover, studies have shown that some forms of ranching – on well-maintained pastures with rotational grazing and the limited of fertilizers – can sequester carbon and help us face climate change.  And if the Amazon were privatized, then what if it is later partitioned and sold, again to ranchers and loggers, or perhaps to the tourist industry?

The point is this – if we do not know how to put pressure on the right actors who have been connected to destroying the Amazon, then our efforts will be for naught.

So, what can be done?  First, we need to know which farmers and ranchers are involved in deforestation.  While identifying individuals is difficult, we can make a push for the U.S. government to bring back the Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) in agriculture.  This policy became law with the 2002 Farm Bill, which required that retailors provide information on the sources of their food.  The Obama administration later repealed COOL for beef and pork products, but not for lamb, chicken, and goat meat, perishable agricultural commodities, macadamia nuts, pecans, peanuts, and ginseng.

If COOL were brought back and consumers saw that Brazilian beef was in their stores, then they could choose not to purchase it. Some farmer and rancher groups have been pushing for this policy’s return, as others see this as a way to assist struggling farmers in the United States.

While promoting the return of COOL would take time, now, we know of actual cases of corporations that have been connected to deforestation.  For instance, many ranchers burning the rainforest sell to the Brazilian firm JBS, which is the largest meat processor in the world.  If you are not familiar with JBS, then you may know its U.S. subsidiary – Swift & Company.  Meats with the Swift label are regularly available in most grocery stores.

For public sector workers, namely, teachers and professors with pensions, the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (or TIAA, formerly known as TIAA-CREFF) through its subsidiaries in Brazil has been involved in large-scale land deals that have been linked to deforestation and land grabbing.  Farmer and consumer rights groups have called out TIAA on this point for years.  Along with these organizations, TIAA beneficiaries could rethink how their retirement funds are invested.

Similarly, in a report from the Union of Concerned Scientists, Pizza Hut, Kroger, Subway, Wendy’s, Hormel, and Nestlé, were found to source beef in ways that contributed to rainforest destruction.  We also cannot ignore the mining industry, which is responsible for upwards of 10 percent of deforestation in the Amazon.  Vale SA is the world’s largest producer of iron ore, with operations in the Amazon.  Last year, the company entered into discussions with the Brazilian state to enlarge the world’s already largest open-pit mine, the Carajás mine, which is located in the Amazon […]

via Stop Blaming Cows and Start Targeting the Corporations that are Destroying the Amazon

Google Is Not a Search Engine, It Is a Social Engineering Program

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By Helen Buyniski – Helen of Destroy – August 28, 2019

If you had the opportunity to interview a whistleblower from one of the world’s most powerful companies after he’d leaked nearly 1,000 pages of internal company documents revealing the company is not only manipulating US politics, but working hard to alter the very fabric of society and mold humanity in its preferred image, surely you would take it.

We all would. Unless that whistleblower is Zach Vorhies, whom the [CIA-linked] Daily Beast – which the media has apparently declared the arbiter of who can and cannot be taken seriously – smeared in a comprehensive hit-job, cobbling together out-of-context tweets to portray the eight-year Google vet as an unhinged conspiracy theorist talking to himself and smearing (rhetorical) feces on the walls.

Somehow, the media was convinced of the reality of this portrayal – even many of the outlets that had gleefully reported on Vorhies’ leaks when the first tranche was dumped anonymously via conservative muckraking outlet Project Veritas chose to pass on an interview. Perhaps there was a threat from Google behind their reluctance, and the Beast smear was only a cover.

Regardless, society can’t pick and choose its whistleblowers. A software engineer who worked at Google for eight years is going to have a lot of interesting things to say about what goes on at that company, and we would be fools not to listen. Besides – as Vorhies himself said – his supposedly “fringe” views are held by many more people than the media would like us to believe, and we’d be wise to consult trends.google.com before dismissing them as unhinged tinfoil hattery.

I interviewed Vorhies for Progressive Radio Network, because Google already blacklists my site, so I haven’t got far to fall. Google is not a search company, not an email company, not even an ad sales company. It is a surveillance and social engineering project. No one knows that better than the people who work there.

Reading the internal documents a massive behavioral-control matrix starts to take shape, complete with “nudges” in the proper direction and Orwellian linguistic gymnastics (“machine learning fairness,” “badness vector”) to frame this social control scheme as a bloodless, AI-directed utopia. We must never forget that there are people who program the algorithms we’ve entrusted with our data, and those people do not work for us. Google’s origins are intertwined with the CIA and DARPA. Google is Big Brother […]

 

via Google Is Not a Search Engine, It Is a Social Engineering Program

Saudis Panic Over Trump’s Talk of Discussions w/Iranian President Rouhani

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A younger brother of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is in Washington this week, with President Donald Trump’s evolving policy toward Iran and Yemen expected to be on the agenda for talks with the administration.

Deputy Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman’s visit comes days after Trump signaled new openness to potential talks with Saudi Arabia’s chief regional rival, Iran, and a report that the U.S. is looking to enter talks with Iran-backed Houthi rebels in the festering war in Yemen.

The Saudi Press Agency said Prince Khalid “will meet a number of officials to discuss bilateral relations and issues of common concern that support the security and stability of the region,” without providing specifics on meetings planned with administration officials.

Secretary of State Michael Pompeo will meet with the prince on Wednesday afternoon, according to the State Department.

While the trip may have been planned well in advance, analysts said there’s little doubt about what the agenda will be now.

“Behind closed doors, there will be concern over Trump’s strategy of potentially meeting with Rouhani and the way forward,” said Ayham Kamel, head of Middle East and North Africa research at the Eurasia Group, referring to Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani. “There is going to be a lot of questions about where U.S. policy is on that level.”

Speaking at the conclusion of the Group of Seven summit in France on Monday, Trump said he was willing to meet Rouhani under the right conditions, though he gave few details. While Rouhani pushed back, saying he wasn’t interesting in a photo-op with Trump, the American president’s offer was reminiscent of his early diplomacy with North Korea, which has resulted in three meetings with Kim Jong Un.

A Rouhani-Trump meeting would break with more than four decades of U.S. policy toward the Islamic Republic, following the country’s 1978 revolution and subsequent U.S. hostage crisis. It would also frustrate key American allies in the Middle East, including both Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Citing sources it didn’t identify, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that the U.S. administration is also preparing to initiate direct talks with Yemen’s Houthis, who have been targeted by a Saudi-led coalition that has shown signs of fraying. The Saudi intervention, an early move by Prince Mohammed, has pitted the Arab world’s wealthiest nation against its poorest and generated widespread charges of human rights abuses.

“I have no doubt that the Saudis are frustrated” about U.S. signals regarding Mideast policy, Ibrahim Fraihat, a conflict resolution professor with the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, said in response to questions […]

 

via Saudis Panic Over Trump’s Talk of Discussions w/Iranian President Rouhani