Monday, March 29, 2010

Subway Blasts Kill Dozens in Moscow

MOSCOW — Huge explosions during morning rush hour in two subway stations in central Moscow killed more than 33 people on Monday, officials said, raising fears of a renewal of terrorism here.

The causes of the blasts were not immediately clear, but the government said it suspected suicide bombers, Russian news agencies reported.

The subway system, one of the world’s most extensive, had been subjected to attacks related to the separatist war in Chechnya in the early part of the last decade.

Officials said the first explosion Monday occurred at 7:50 a.m. in the Lubyanka subway station, killing 19 people both on the platform and aboard an incoming train. Numerous others were injured.

“The blast hit the second carriage of a metro train that stopped at Lubyanka,” Irina Andrianova, a spokeswoman for the emergency ministry, told Reuters.

About 40 minutes later, another explosion occurred in the second car of a train at the Park Kultury station, killing 14 people, officials said.

In September 2004, a suicide bomber killed at least 9 other people and wounded more than 50 outside the Rizhskaya subway. In February of that same year, a woman carrying a bomb destroyed another subway car, killing at least 41 people as the train moved between the Paveletskaya and the Avtozavodskaya stations at one of the busiest times of the day.

The Lubyanka station, where the first explosion occurred, takes its name from the infamous Lubyanka prison that also served as the former headquarters of the K.G.B., the Soviet-era secret police.

It's Official - America Now Enforces Capital Controls

It couldn't have happened to a nicer country. On March 18, with very little pomp and circumstance, president Obama passed the most recent stimulus act, the $17.5 billion Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (H.R. 2487), brilliantly goalseeked by the administration's millionaire cronies to abbreviate as HIRE. As it was merely the latest in an endless stream of acts destined to expand the government payroll to infinity, nobody cared about it, or actually read it. Because if anyone had read it, the act would have been known as the Capital Controls Act, as one of the lesser, but infinitely more important provisions on page 27, known as Offset Provisions - Subtitle A—Foreign Account Tax Compliance, institutes just that. In brief, the Provision requires that foreign banks not only withhold 30% of all outgoing capital flows (likely remitting the collection promptly back to the US Treasury) but also disclose the full details of non-exempt account-holders to the US and the IRS. And should this provision be deemed illegal by a given foreign nation's domestic laws (think Switzerland), well the foreign financial institution is required to close the account. It's the law. If you thought you could move your capital to the non-sequestration safety of non-US financial institutions, sorry you lose - the law now says so. Capital Controls are now here and are now fully enforced by the law.

Let's parse through the just passed law, which has been mentioned by exactly zero mainstream media outlets.

Here is the default new state of capital outflows:

(a) IN GENERAL.—The Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by inserting after chapter 3 the following new chapter:

‘‘Sec. 1471. Withholdable payments to foreign financial institutions.
‘‘Sec. 1472. Withholdable payments to other foreign entities.
‘‘Sec. 1473. Definitions.
‘‘Sec. 1474. Special rules.

‘‘(a) IN GENERAL.—In the case of any withholdable payment to a foreign financial institution which does not meet the requirements of subsection (b), the withholding agent with respect to such payment shall deduct and withhold from such payment a tax equal to 30 percent of the amount of such payment.

Clarifying who this law applies to:

‘‘(C) in the case of any United States account maintained by such institution, to report on an annual basis the information described in subsection (c) with respect to such account,
‘‘(D) to deduct and withhold a tax equal to 30 percent of—

‘‘(i) any passthru payment which is made by such institution to a recalcitrant account holder or another foreign financial institution which does not meet the requirements of this subsection, and

‘‘(ii) in the case of any passthru payment which is made by such institution to a foreign financial institution which has in effect an election under paragraph (3) with respect to such payment, so much of such payment as is allocable to accounts held by recalcitrant account holders or foreign financial institutions which do not meet the requirements of this subsection.

What happens if this brand new law impinges and/or is in blatant contradiction with existing foreign laws?

‘‘(F) in any case in which any foreign law would (but for a waiver described in clause (i)) prevent the reporting of any information referred to in this subsection or subsection (c) with respect to any United States account maintained by such institution—

‘‘(i) to attempt to obtain a valid and effective waiver of such law from each holder of such account, and
‘‘(ii) if a waiver described in clause (i) is not obtained from each such holder within a reasonable period of time, to close such account.

Not only are capital flows now to be overseen and controlled by the government and the IRS, but holders of foreign accounts can kiss any semblance of privacy goodbye:

‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—The agreement described in subsection (b) shall require the foreign financial institution to report the following with respect to each United States account maintained by such institution:
‘‘(A) The name, address, and TIN of each account holder which is a specified United States person and, in the case of any account holder which is a United States owned foreign entity, the name, address, and TIN of each substantial United States owner of such entity.
‘‘(B) The account number.
‘‘(C) The account balance or value (determined at such time and in such manner as the Secretary may provide).
‘‘(D) Except to the extent provided by the Secretary, the gross receipts and gross withdrawals or payments from the account (determined for such period and in such manner as the Secretary may provide)

The only exemption to the rule? If you hold the meager sum of $50,000 or less in foreign accounts.

‘‘(B) EXCEPTION FOR CERTAIN ACCOUNTS HELD BY INDIVIDUALS.—Unless the foreign financial institution elects to not have this subparagraph apply, such term shall not include any depository account maintained by such financial institution if—
‘‘(i) each holder of such account is a natural person,and
‘‘(ii) with respect to each holder of such account, the aggregate value of all depository accounts held (in whole or in part) by such holder and maintained by the same financial institution which maintains such account does not exceed $50,000.

And, while we are on the topic of definitions, here is how "financial account" is defined by the US:

‘‘(2) FINANCIAL ACCOUNT.—Except as otherwise provided by the Secretary, the term ‘financial account’ means, with respect to any financial institution—
‘‘(A) any depository account maintained by such financial institution,
‘‘(B) any custodial account maintained by such financial institution, and
‘‘(C) any equity or debt interest in such financial institution (other than interests which are regularly traded on an established securities market). Any equity or debt interest which constitutes a financial account under subparagraph (C) with respect to any financial institution shall be treated for purposes of this section as maintained by such financial institution.

In case you find you do not like to be subject to capital controls, you are now deemed a "Recalcitrant Account Holder."

‘‘(6) RECALCITRANT ACCOUNT HOLDER.—The term ‘recalcitrant account holder’ means any account holder which—
‘‘(A) fails to comply with reasonable requests for the information referred to in subsection (b)(1)(A) or (c)(1)(A),
or ‘‘(B) fails to provide a waiver described in subsection (b)(1)(F) upon request.

But guess what - if you are a foreign Central Bank, or if the Secretary determined that you are "a low risk for tax evasion" (unlike the Secretary himself) you still can do whatever the hell you want:

‘‘(f) EXCEPTION FOR CERTAIN PAYMENTS.—Subsection (a) shall not apply to any payment to the extent that the beneficial owner
of such payment is—
‘‘(1) any foreign government, any political subdivision of a foreign government, or any wholly owned agency or instrumentality of any one or more of the foregoing,
‘‘(2) any international organization or any wholly owned agency or instrumentality thereof,
‘‘(3) any foreign central bank of issue, or
‘‘(4) any other class of persons identified by the Secretary for purposes of this subsection as posing a low risk of tax evasion.

One thing we are confused about is whether this law is a preamble, or already incorporates, the flow of non-cash assets, such as commodities, and, thus, gold. If an account transfers, via physical or paper delivery, gold from a domestic account to a foreign one, we are not sure if the language deems this a 30% taxable transaction, although preliminary discussions with lawyers indicates this is likely the case.

And so the noose on capital mobility tightens, as very soon the only option US citizens have when it comes to investing their money, will be in government mandated retirement annuities, which will likely be the next step in the capital control escalation, which will culminate with every single free dollar required to be reinvested into the US, likely in the form of purchasing US Treasury emissions such as Treasuries, TIPS and other worthless pieces of paper.

Congratulations bankrupt America - you are now one step closer to a thoroughly non-free market.

Full HIRE Act text:

h/t Jørgen and Panama Investor Blog

Start of British Summer Time? Forget it and prepare for ANOTHER wintry blast as snow and freezing temperatures return

It may be British Summer Time but a wintry blast is on the way, forecasters warned today.

There will be a cold snap on Tuesday and Wednesday, with snow expected on high ground in northern parts of Britain.

Julian Mayes, senior forecaster with MeteoGroup, said: 'It's turning very unsettled and we expect a two-day cold snap on Tuesday and Wednesday, which is going to give quite a surprise to many people after the recent mild weather.

Enlarge Winter returns

Chilly: A father and son walk through Great Chart near Ashford, Kent, following a night of heavy snow fall last month. More snow is predicted this week

'The current charts suggest it's going to be fairly short-lived in the south, with the worst of the cold winds and risk of snow being on the northern hills.

'On Tuesday, we expect to see rain or showers over most of Britain, with strong northerly winds over Scotland turning the rain to snow there in some places.

'Tuesday night looks like being a very cold night, particularly over Scotland and Ireland, with snow on high ground and rain at lower levels.

'But even if people miss the snow, it's going to be cold and windy and wet.

'On Wednesday, there is the likelihood of snow on high ground in Scotland - approaching blizzard conditions on the highest ground.

Hollie De-Ste-Croi licks an ice-cream

Springtime: Hollie De-Ste-Croix, 21, enjoys an icecream on the seafront near Southsea Castle, Hampshire, today. Temperatures are set to plunge on Tuesday

'That night it will be still very windy and cold with showers or longer spells of rain, then on Thursday there should be some sunshine for some areas, with winds from the north west rather than the north - we'll be beginning to come out of it by then.

'It should be milder by Friday, with rain coming in from the south west, but unfortunately it does look an unsettled picture over the Easter weekend.'

The country has seen mild temperatures for the best part of 10 days.

Mr Mayes said: 'The month started cold, but the warmer temperatures recently have taken the whole month up to about average for March. The highest reading of the year so far was one of 18C (64F) in Norfolk on March 18.

'But it's not unusual to get a northerly blast in springtime.'

Enlarge Dozens of women plunge into Scotland's Firth of Forth as part of the Nairn's Natural Woman 'Big Dunk'

Here comes the sun: To mark the first day of spring, dozens of women last week plunged into the Firth of Forth as part of the Nairn's Natural Woman 'Big Dunk'

However, it still seems the country really is on course for a barbecue summer this year.

Forecaster Positive Weather Solutions (PWS) correctly predicted that last summer would be a wash-out.

It has 'out-forecast' the Met Office over the last two years with a string of accurate long-term predictions. And PWS is confident that Britain will indeed see a barbecue summer in 2010.

It says average temperatures in June, July and August are on course to beat those of 1976, the hottest summer yet when temperatures exceeded 89.6f (32c) for 15 days from late June to early July.

This year a two-week spell at the start of August is expected to be hotter than the UK's highest ever temperature, the 38.5c (101.3f) recorded at Brogdale, near Faversham, Kent, on August 10, 2003.

PWS said summer 2010 will break records as El Nino, which warms the Pacific Ocean, combines with the effects of the Atlantic jet stream weather pattern and the Azores high pressure region.

Senior forecaster Jonathan Powell said: 'There will be stifling temperatures, making it possibly the warmest UK summer on record and placing it at least in the top three warmest summers recorded.'

He predicted 'dry spells with pleasant sunshine' and said the best time to book a holiday would probably be mid-July.

Mr Powell added: 'A very warm summer has been on the cards for some years, and the Met Office believed it was likely to happen last year. But now it is time to get the barbecue out - and people should be able to find a good deal on one after last year's Met Office forecast.'

Campaign for lighter evenings after clocks go forward at the start of British Summer Time

Britain's clocks could be changed to give an extra hour of evening daylight all year.

Labour and the Conservatives are believed to be in favour of moving clocks permanently forward by an hour, bringing the country in line with much of the rest of Europe.

Campaigners say longer, brighter evenings would make roads safer, cut energy bills and benefit tourism.

Health and morale would also receive a boost, with the injection of daylight cutting cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder or 'winter blues', and giving more time for outdoor exercise after work.

But calls for 'Double Summer Time' have proved deeply unpopular in Scotland, where the even darker winter mornings would make it more dangerous for youngsters travelling to school.

The UK's clocks are currently set to GMT during the winter and GMT+1, or British Summer Time, in the summer.

The change could be achieved by not turning the clocks back this autumn, after which the usual cycle of putting the clocks forward an hour in spring - like on Saturday night - and back an hour in autumn would resume.

This would mean the country's clocks would be set to GMT+1 in the winter and GMT+2, or Double Summer Time.

It’s over: MPs say the special relationship with US is dead

BRITAIN’S special relationship with the US — forged by Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt in the second world war — no longer exists, says a committee of influential MPs.

Instead, America’s relationship with Britain is no more special than with its other main allies, according to a report by the Commons foreign affairs committee published today.

The report also warns that the perception of the UK after the Iraq war as America’s “subservient poodle” has been highly damaging to Britain’s reputation and interests around the world. The MPs conclude that British prime ministers have to learn to be less deferential to US presidents and be “willing to say no” to America.

The report, entitled Global Security: UK-US Relations, says Britain’s relationship with America is “extremely close and valuable” in a number of areas, particularly intelligence co-operation. However, it adds that the use of the phrase special relationship, in its historical sense, “is potentially misleading and we recommend that its use should be avoided”.

It does not reflect the “ever-evolving” relationship between the two countries and raises unrealistic expectations, the MPs say.

“Over the longer term, the UK is unlikely to be able to influence the US to the extent it has in the past,” the committee adds.

In an apparent rebuke to Tony Blair and his relationship with President George W Bush, the report says there are “many lessons” to be learnt from Britain’s political approach towards the US over Iraq.

“The perception that the British government was a subservient poodle to the US administration is widespread both among the British public and overseas,” the MPs say. “This perception, whatever its relation to reality, is deeply damaging to the reputation and interests of the UK.”

While the relationship between the American president and the British prime minister was an important part of dealings between the two countries, the cabinet and parliament also had a role to play. “The UK needs to be less deferential and more willing to say no to the US on those issues where the two countries’ interests and values diverge,” the MPs say.

They are also critical of the US use of extraordinary rendition and torture. The report calls for a comprehensive review of the use by the CIA of British bases, such as that on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, to carry out extraordinary rendition.

“The issues relating to rendition through Diego Garcia to which we have previously drawn attention raise disturbing questions about the uses to which US bases on British territory are put”, the MPs say.

They express regret at “considerable restraints” on the ability of both the government and parliament to scrutinise US activities carried out on British territory.

“We recommend that the government should establish a comprehensive review of the current arrangements governing US military use of facilities within the UK and in British overseas territories.” The review should “identify shortcomings in the current system of scrutiny and oversight ... and report to parliament on proposals to remedy these”.

The report also demands a statement from the government on the implications of the Court of Appeal judgment regarding the alleged collusion of MI5 in the torture of Binyam Mohamed, a British resident.

Last month the court ordered the government to release evidence from American intelligence reports which showed that MI5 was aware of the torture.

Senior US officials subsequently suggested that releasing such evidence might prevent the US from sharing some intelligence with Britain.

Spring postponed as snow forecast in parts of UK

A blast of wintry weather is expected to hit parts of the UK later this week, dashing hopes for some sunshine as British Summer Time gets under way.

The Met Office has issued an early weather warning for Tuesday as heavy rain and snow is expected to fall over northern England and southern Scotland.

BBC Weather's Liam Dutton said hilly areas could see up to 50mm (2ins) of rain or 20cm (8ins) of snow.

Meanwhile, temperatures may drop to close to freezing in some parts.

Areas expected to be worst hit include Darlington, Durham, Tyne and Wear, Northumberland, Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish borders.

Easter weekend

Forecasters are warning snow may fall on some low-lying areas, as well as on higher ground, but is unlikely to settle.

There is also a small risk that the Midlands and Northern Ireland may experience similar weather.

Liam Dutton said the wintry weather was expected to return on Monday night into Tuesday, and continue throughout the day.

He said it would slowly ease northwards through Tuesday night into Wednesday.

Snow in late March was not particularly unusual, he added.

In the first week of April in 2008, people up and down the country woke up to wintry scenes after snow fell overnight.

Flights had to be cancelled out of Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham and Bristol airports and temperatures in large towns and cities fell as low as -2C.

This Easter weekend, there is an unsettled picture.

The Met Office warns Easter weather is rarely fine, no matter when the holiday falls.

Statistically, snow is more likely at Easter than Christmas, according to the Met Office website.

Over the past half a century, snow has fallen across low-lying areas of the UK during 12 Easter breaks - the last time was the Easter of 1998.

Chertoff Joins Defense Firm that Defrauded U.S.

Michael Chertoff, the former homeland security chief who’s not been shy about exploiting terrorist threats for the benefit of his clients, has decided to join a top defense contractor that defrauded the U.S. government.

The one-time head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under President George W. Bush is now a board member of BAE Systems, the United Kingdom-based defense corporation that agreed to pay $447 million in fines to the American and British governments to settle allegations of corruption, including bribing a top Saudi Arabian official.
BAE is the eighth-largest contractor doing business with Washington, having received $7.1 billion in government contracts in 2009 alone. It also has received more than $200 million from DHS since 2005.
Following the attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day, Chertoff was seen on television calling for the government to buy full-body scanners for airport checkpoints. Chertoff failed to mention in numerous interviews that his consulting business represented the company, Rapiscan Systems, that makes the scanners.
-Noel Brinkerhoff

9/11 Truth's HUGE Demostration At Los Angeles Anti-War March

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FBI raids some Michigan militia groups

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ALERT! Treasury Yields Begin to Rise, U.S. Default by Inflation Inevitable.

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Trey Grayson: "Remember, it's the government's money. It's NOT your money."

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Cash-strapped states using income audits to get funds

State audits on income and sales taxes for the smallest businesses as well as out-of-state inquiries on operations in other states are on the rise, accountants say.

Speculation among local tax experts is that New Jersey’s and other states’ budget woes are driving not only the recent uptick in audits — one firm reports five times the number of audits in 2009 versus earlier years. They also say that the deeper probing by auditors makes the process longer and more costly.

Other factors also are making finding offenders quicker and easier, the tax specialists say. Electronic tax filing and agreements between states to share information help tax officials track whether businesses are paying staff, storing goods or making profits beyond the borders of the states they’re registered in.

"In the last 12 to 18 months, we’re seeing state audits of a lot of small businesses," said Ted Carnevale, chief executive officer for accounting firm Gramkow Carnevale Seifert & Co. in Oradell. "You’re just seeing a higher number of audits in an attempt to raise additional revenues."

Carnevale and other accountants say audits from the New Jersey Division of Taxation have picked up among sole proprietorships and unincorporated businesses that are typically cash enterprises with no employees.

Always under the state’s radar, the owners often file income tax returns along with their individual tax returns, commingling business and personal expenses.

Last April, New Jersey’s tax division announced on its Web site that it put a special emphasis on auditing "smaller ‘cash’ type businesses" and that it had hired more auditors and investigators to find the offenders.

While some accountants say the audits of their clients aren’t targeting particular issues, others see an increase in notices relating to sales and use taxes. Tax attorney Steven Weisberger, with Williams Caliri Miller & Otley in Wayne, said requests for legal representation by mostly sole proprietors and cash business owners have increased to about three in most months during the last year, from one or so prior to that.

At 7 percent in most districts, New Jersey’s sales and use tax is likely why, because it’s considered high and it’s guaranteed revenue, versus income tax, which varies, said Debra Simon, owner of DMSimon CPA LLC in Hackensack. She says she’s also seen increases in audits relating to sales-tax issues.

Accountants also agree the process is taking longer. Carnevale said at his firm, where audits have increased to 24 in the past year from about five a year, several responses providing the requested documents are now required to settle issues, where one used to suffice.

The cost to a business owner varies from $1,500 to $10,000, he said, depending on how many years the audit is questioning and the condition of requested documents. Audits are starting with 2007 and going back a few years, Carnevale said.

At Tobin & Collins CPA in Hackensack, where both state and federal individual audits are on the rise for clients with revenue of less than $10 million, Richard Tobin said another factor in the $7,000 to $8,000 cost for "serious" cases can be the auditors themselves.

Ralph Albert Thomas, executive director of the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants in Roseland, is hearing from members about both issues.

"Tax auditors are spending more time and are not as amenable to come to a resolution," said Thomas, and are probing deeper into cases. Plus, agents at local field offices are referring cases to higher authorities.

New Jersey and the Internal Revenue Service are not the only entities pursuing possible tax offenders. Public accountants say business clients registered in New Jersey are getting more notices from states — Ohio and California to name two — questioning if they’re generating income, paying staff or renting or owning property there, factors subject to taxes.

"Those states are coming in to tax that portion [of income] earned in those states," said Rosemary Ervin, a certified public accountant and director at Hunter Group CPA in Fair Lawn. Her firm has recently seen increases in those inquiries to its clients, she said. "With the advent of technology, it’s easier for them to see it."

With so much on electronic records, it’s easier for states to share information by belonging to associations, such as the 14-member North Eastern States Tax Officials Association, said Ervin.

Those inquiries are up recently for many other NJSCPA members, according to Thomas, and at Simon’s firm. She attributes the recent rises in multi-state inquiries and tax audits to taxpayer information getting into tax systems faster, and she advises clients to disclose the out-of-state activity as soon as possible.

"I would talk to people before [the recent uptick] … but if they had to write a check to come clean, that wasn’t happening," she said. "Now they’re understanding they’ve got to do it."

‘Patriot’ hate groups grew by 244% in 2009

Hatred is getting a lot of press this week as reports of violent harassment against Congressional Democrats continue to surface. It began last weekend with Tea Party activists shouting racist and bigoted comments at House Democrats during the final push for health care reform.

But new research shows the Tea Party may be the nice guys amid soaring numbers of hate groups.

An "astonishing" 363 anti-government or "Patriot" groups appeared in 2009, with the totals going from 149 groups to 512, according to a report released by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

That's a 244 percent increase in one year. Many of the "Patriot" groups are militias. Before 2009, there were 42. Now, there are 127. Hate groups overall stayed at a record high of nearly 1,000 despite the disintegration of one of the largest neo-Nazi groups in the country.

According to the SPLC, a non-profit dedicated to fighting intolerance, the numbers are cause for "grave concern."

An excerpt:

Individuals associated with the Patriot movement during its 1990s heyday produced an enormous amount of violence, most dramatically the Oklahoma City bombing that left 168 people dead.

Already there are signs of similar violence emanating from the radical right. Since the installation of Barack Obama, right-wing extremists have murdered six law enforcement officers. Racist skinheads and others have been arrested in alleged plots to assassinate the nation’s first black president. One man from Brockton, Mass. — who told police he had learned on white supremacist websites that a genocide was under way against whites — is charged with murdering two black people and planning to kill as many Jews as possible on the day after Obama’s inauguration. Most recently, a rash of individuals with antigovernment, survivalist or racist views have been arrested in a series of bomb cases.

Democratic leaders and many political commentators have said the GOP is not only refusing to condemn recent hate crimes as they should, but encouraging it to gain political leverage.

A Boston Globe columnist wrote that instead of discussing the bill, the GOP stoked the hatred.

"Republicans chose to gin up the masses with unbridled fear, with House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio declaring the vote “Armageddon.’’

The San Francisco Chronicle wrote that "demagoguery hit a fever pitch" as lawmakers called one another "baby killer" for supporting health care reform and mobs outside called Congressman "ni**er" and "fa**ot."

It seems to have worked. A recent CBS poll trumpeted by GOP leaders shows that 62 percent of Americans believe the Republican Party should keep fighting the health care bill.

As a result, Republicans have become the "Party of No."

Glenn Beck's take on the outrageous abuse against Democrats should come as no surprise. According to him, it's President Obama and the Democrats who are using the "politics of fear" in an attempt to "silence the Tea Partiers."

Chip Berlet, a veteran analyst of the American radical right, wrote earlier this year that the US is "in the midst of one of the most significant right-wing populist rebellions in history."

"We see around us a series of overlapping social and political movements populated by people [who are] angry, resentful, and full of anxiety. They are raging against the machinery of the federal bureaucracy and liberal government programs and policies including health care, reform of immigration and labor laws, abortion, and gay marriage."

Bank of America, Wells Fargo to Pay Zero 2009 Federal Income Tax

Charlotte Observer, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Probably Won't Pay Income Tax for 2009:

This tax season will be kind to Bank of America and Wells Fargo: It appears that neither bank will have to pay federal income taxes for 2009.

Bank of America probably won't pay federal taxes because it lost money in the U.S. for the year. Wells Fargo was profitable, but can write down its tax bill because of losses at Wachovia, which it rescued from a near collapse.

The idea of the country's No. 1 and No. 4 banks not paying federal income taxes may be anathema to millions of Americans who are grumbling as they fill out their own tax forms this month. But tax experts say the banks' situation is hardly unique.

"Oh, yeah, this happens all the time," said Robert Willens, an expert on tax accounting who runs a New York firm with the same name. "Especially now, with companies suffering such severe losses."

(Hat Tip: Francine Lipman.)

'Poor' Albuquerque levees could be decertified

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Questions about aging river levees in metro Albuquerque could mean insurance premium hikes as high as $2,000 annually for thousands of property owners.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has rated the condition of the 1950s-era levees as poor, but concluded they nevertheless are "likely capable" of withstanding a serious flood of the Rio Grande.

Still, Danny Hernandez of the Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority says it's "very likely" that all of the Albuquerque levees will be decertified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency by 2012. That's because the agency is more cautious now in the wake of disastrous New Orleans levee failures following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Officials say if the levees are decertified, mortgage holders would be required to buy additional flood insurance costing anywhere between $500 and $2,000.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

CFTC whistleblower injured in London hit-and-run

Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:

London metals trader Andrew Maguire, who warned an investigator for the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission in advance about a gold and silver market manipulation to be undertaken by traders for JPMorgan Chase in February and whose whistleblowing was publicized by GATA at Thursday's CFTC hearing on metals futures trading --

-- was injured along with his wife the next day when their car was struck by a hit-and-run driver in the London area.

According to GATA's contact with Maguire, board member Adrian Douglas, Maguire and his wife were admitted to a hospital overnight and released today and are expected to recover fully.

Maguire told Douglas by telephone today that his car was struck by a car careening out of a side road. When a pedestrian who witnessed the crash tried to block the other driver's escape, the other driver accelerated at the pedestrian, causing him to jump out of the way to avoid being hit. The other driver's car then struck two other cars in escaping. But the other driver was caught by police after a chase in which police helicopters were summoned.

We'll convey more information about the incident as it becomes available.

CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.

Create Your Own Pedo Priest Halloween Costume

by Mark


You too can become a pretend “Pedo Priest” for an adult Halloween party!


Swine Flu & Fake Epidemics: Medicalisation and the Push for Global Management

mad scientistBy JON RAPPOPORT

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), headquartered in New York, is one of the key power centres pushing Globalism for All. As I’ve been writing for some time, medical programs are a clever and deceptive strategy for advancing this goal – the coagulation of Earth under one system of political management.

Global control is not a “right-wing” fantasy. It’s an objective much like the European Union, only writ much larger. Gradually, through attrition, sovereign nations decay under a super-bureaucracy that makes all the rules, issues the currency, and, over time, runs a tighter and tighter ship.

The outer shell of the CFR, founded 90 years ago as a Rockefeller plantation of control, is made up mostly of pundits and funded fellows and business leaders and politicians who look and sound like pompous blowhards. Which they are.But behind this mask, the inner CFR core designs schemes that could draw us all under the umbrella of de facto international control.

On October 16, 2009, the CFR held a symposium titled: Pandemic Influenza: Science, Economics, and Foreign Policy.

Much of the information in this symposium report is window dressing. However, it’s worth noting a few comments made by presenters:

Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, said at the October 16, 2009 New York symposium that amid the array of unknowns surrounding the H1N1 virus, one certainty is that ‘this is a worldwide event and it is occurring in the dawn of our age of globalisation.’ Garrett added, ‘It’s a darn good thing we are dealing with a relatively mild flu this time, because clearly we are ill-prepared at this moment for a more virulent or more dangerous virus, either if this one takes on a more dangerous form… or if a second totally different virus does emerge.’ Helen Branswell of the Toronto-based Canadian Press agreed: ‘We thought we were preparing for a more serious (bird flu H5N1) issue, but we are in fact not prepared for a mild one.” (Pandemic Influenza: Science, Economics, and Foreign Policy, Symposium Rapporteur Report, October 16, 2009,

So two points were established early on: the Swine Flu is a mild disease, not a pandemic by any sensible definition; and leaders of “our age of globalisation” must be prepared for a more drastic disease event by taking worldwide measures now.

This latter issue is highlighted by another contributing CFR speaker:

“It was the overarching consensus of the symposium, first forwarded in the gathering by Financial Times correspondent Andrew Jack of London, that the current pandemic must serve as ‘a teachable moment’, focusing expert attention on the inherent contradictions in global governance of health issues, inequities in world access to vaccines and medical supplies, weaknesses in planning and management of epidemics with worldwide risks for economics and politics, and the public’s respect for science and public health.”

Andrew Jack thus punches up the notion that solutions to so-called global health problems can only be attained through international means.

Medical Crises and Global Governance

The report continues: “[Robert] Rubin [former US Secretary of the Treasury and Co-Chair of the CFR] noted that the increased global interdependency of the current economy has changed the game for pandemic responses in the United States, leaving only one option: ‘If the United States, and the world global economy, is going to be moderately well-prepared for this, there has to be an enormous amount of planning and agreed-upon processes and regimen decisions before the [pandemic] hits’.”

These speakers are talking about a vast system, a medical bureaucracy that can oversee planning and execution of “epidemic control” on a global scale.

Laurie Garrett then makes a pitch for equitable redistribution of wealth among nations:

“Moderator Garrett said: ‘We have globalised [epidemic] risk and threat today, but not globalised benefits. So the whole world shares the risk of pandemic influenza, but only a small percentage share vaccines, medicines and treatments’.”

Who would make those wealth-redistributing decisions from the top? Who would allocate money and drugs and vaccines and doctors from Greenland to Tierra Del Fuego? There is only one answer: an internationally organised body that could override the wishes of sovereign countries.

Then John Lange sounds a sour note of failure in this regard:

“In face of profound scientific and economic insecurities, important foreign policy decisions must be made by the United States to address the globalisation of pandemic protection and benefits, as well as threat. Ambassador John E. Lange, of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and former Special Representative on Avian and Pandemic Influenza for the State Department, said international coordination in response to the H5N1 pandemic [another mild flu season] of the 1990s paved the way for today’s response to H1N1. Nevertheless, Lange said, little has been done to move towards a more institutionalised global response, due as much to a lack of political will as to strained resources, in spite of high expectations.”

Lange thus draws the problem. The US has lagged behind. The US is not eager enough for “a more institutionalised global response.” The US doesn’t want to cede power to some agency like the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Another speaker takes off the mask and drives home Lange’s point harder:

Canadian Press Branswell doubted how feasible it will be for countries such as the United States and Canada to deliver on these expectations. At the heart of the debate is the issue of sovereignty, which may prevent states from carrying through with their agreements in the face of pandemic pressure, instead choosing to nationalise local supplies of vaccines, masks, protective gear and other medical supplies. Conversely, sovereignty has been invoked as the basis for refusing to share samples of dangerous flu viruses with WHO and international scientists, and for declining outside inspections of local outbreaks.”

Surrendering National Sovereignty

Well, there it is. It doesn’t take a genius to read between the lines. The surrender of national sovereignty is necessary if the world is going to deal with encroaching waves of pandemics. Nations will have to give up their independent status in these situations – and you can be sure that the international body formed to govern epidemic disease will be permanent. No one is stupid enough to think that the enormous effort and time and money needed to establish such a bureaucracy would fade away after the latest and greatest pandemic. Control would transfer now and in the future.

Medical crises, in this way, translate into further steps along the way to global governance.

Before citing more statements from the CFR symposium, let me offer some numbers on these “waves of world illness” we have endured over the last 15 years or so. Keep in mind that epidemics are the primary justification for internationalisation of a medical monarchy.

Total cases and deaths:

SARS – 8,096 cases – 774 deaths.

WEST NILE – 27,836 cases – 1,088 deaths.

BIRD FLU – 262 deaths.

SWINE FLU – On April 26, 2009, with 20 cases of Swine Flu in the US and no deaths, the US Dept. of Health and Human Services declared a nationwide public health emergency.

The WHO changed its definition of pandemic so that “enormous numbers of deaths and illness” was removed from the definition. This happened in May 2009.

Thus far, WHO estimates about 8,200 deaths from Swine Flu, worldwide. That would average out to about 15,000 deaths for the year. But the CDC claims 36,000 people die every year from ordinary flu in the US alone.

So far, the global count of Swine Flu cases is 587,653.

Yet WHO states, “Every winter, tens of millions of people get the [ordinary] flu. Most are only ill and out of work for a week, yet the elderly are at a higher risk of death from the illness. We know the worldwide death toll exceeds a few hundred thousand people a year…”

Fear Mongering New Diseases

So why is Swine Flu a pandemic, and why is ordinary flu not a pandemic?

Fear mongering is about NEW diseases. That’s why.

It gets worse.

In early November, an explosive report by Sharyl Attkisson hit the CBS News website: Of all the probable or suspected swine flu cases in California actually tested by state labs since July 2009, based on 13,704 tests, only 2% of the patients had Swine Flu. 12% had some other kind of flu. And a whopping 86% didn’t have flu at all.

In Florida, based on 8,853 tests for suspected/probable Swine Flu, only 17% had Swine Flu. 83% were negative for other flu. So 83% didn’t have ANY kind of flu.

In Alaska, based on 722 tests for suspected/probable Swine Flu, only 11% had Swine Flu. In Georgia, based on 3,117 tests, only 2% had Swine Flu.

My point here is this: All these recent “epidemics” have been outright fakes. The numbers of cases and deaths are miniscule compared with older traditional illnesses – for which no pandemic emergencies have been declared.

Therefore, when the CFR is talking about globalising pandemic responses, and nations surrendering their sovereignty, it’s all based on an epidemic cover story that is patently false. It’s like saying, “The sky is falling. You have to lend all your support to the construction of a dome that will shield us from the lethal debris. A global ‘health czar’ will be in charge of building and maintaining the dome, and all governments must bow to his orders, which are given to protect everyone.”

Continuing now, with the CFR symposium report: We come to the toxic portion of the issue. In many nations, there has been vigorous debate over the use of so-called adjuvants in flu vaccines. One such substance, squalene, has been banned in several countries, because it can have dangerous effects. But the CFR would apparently like to override this question and promote universal use of squalene in vaccines, despite the glaring fact that Swine Flu itself is so mild the risks of the vaccine far outweigh its need.

“While recently the Obama administration brokered a deal among eleven wealthy nations to donate 10 percent of their vaccine supply of H1N1 to WHO for use in developing countries, Canada has not signed on, in an uncharacteristic decision… On the other hand, the Obama administration has refused the use of adjuvants, which are used in Europe, Canada and Japan to stretch out the antigen supply for wider global use, causing Lange to question the role of the United States as a true ‘global player’. Adjuvants help trigger the immune response, allowing dilution of precious flu antigens so that upwards of ten times as many people can be immunised with the same antigen supply. If the US were using adjuvant in its H1N1 vaccines, the country could be in a position to offer sufficient surplus product to WHO to bring the agency’s supply for poor countries up by hundreds of millions of doses.”

Not “a true global player.” That epithet carries considerable weight in CFR and allied circles. It means, “Let’s watch this person. If he wants our support, he’s going to have to change his tune. Let him understand that.”

Combating “anti-vaccine hype”

Finally, the CFR report takes a swipe at people who are educating themselves on the historical toxicity of vaccines. And here, it does:

“The public perception of swine flu has further complicated the issue, causing both public doubt and panic at the same time. Branswell fears that ‘the WHO has lost control of the message’, allowing misinformed threats, such as the current anti-vaccine hype, to resonate around the world as the scientific community races to catch up with the facts.

“The last great flu pandemic of 1968 occurred in a deeply divided world, where entire regions of the planet were no-travel zones for billions of people. It was an era of telephones and posted mail, evening newscasts, and morning newspapers. Both viruses and information spread comparatively slowly.

“Though today the vaccine methods of production and distribution mirror those practiced a half-century ago, the age of globalisation has ushered in rapid human and animal travel, leading to worldwide spread of viruses. The internet has similarly opened the door to viral spread of disease truths, half-truths and outright lies. Thankfully, the mild H1N1 has offered the world community an opportunity to see these 21st Century challenges without simultaneously experiencing worst-case outcomes. It is a teachable moment, but it remains to be seen whether – on both global and local scales – governments, companies and individuals are learning.”

Twenty years ago, when I was writing my first book, AIDS INC., I realised that medical propaganda could be used as a pre-eminent tool in controlling populations, because doctors and public health bureaucrats exude an air of political neutrality.

These esteemed figures appear to have no agenda of a political or economic nature. They speak as minor saints. They always “care and share.” When they say citizens must take certain actions to protect themselves and their loved ones, they speak with great authority.

Under that flag, much destruction can be wrought. For example, in certain areas of Africa, people have been dying from the same causes for hundreds of years: protein-calorie malnutrition; outright starvation; gross lack of sanitation; overcrowding; contaminated water supplies; abject poverty; no hope; and more recently, vaccines and medical drugs which, administered to people whose immune systems are already devastatingly compromised, can be lethal.

At the root of these causes is stolen land. Colonisation by governments and then mega-corporations, and brutal repression by local dictators – such controllers want to conceal their own naked actions, and they also want to keep hidden the actual immediate causes of death in Africa – the causes they, the controllers, invoke and maintain.

What better way to reframe this incriminating picture than to claim that a few politically neutral germs are the agents of death. Then, you can build a few showplace hospitals, bring in a bevy of doctors, set up a lab or two and demand that pharmaceutical companies donate medicines for the suffering. Meanwhile, no one cleans up the water, no one restores good land to the dispossessed, and no one alleviates the massively overcrowded living conditions.

Isolate any germ under the sun, give any medicine, as long as the fundamental horrendous facts of life remain the same, people will die in great numbers, and those in control will remain in control.

WHO & CFR: Globalise “humanitarian solutions”

The CFR is part of a sophisticated operation to globalise “humanitarian solutions” under the rubric of medical care. Its main ally is the World Health Organisation, an agency of the UN. Near the close of World War II, members of the CFR were, in fact, tapped to write the basic outline of the soon-to-be created UN.

The WHO is on the march. It is trying to insert itself and its rulings and demands into the governments of many nations. In 2003, it won its biggest one-shot victory. Through fraudulent travel advisories, based on non-science, it raised fears about SARS (at best, a tiny illness) and managed to effectively shut down air travel in and out of Toronto. Toronto lost several billion dollars in the process. I was a peripheral part of a budding effort to convince local business owners to file a lawsuit. At first, there was some enthusiasm, but then it faded out. The people of Toronto knuckled under, some of them lost their shirts, and they plowed on.

The WHO is, by far, the most successful agency of the UN. It has emerged as the rising star of that moribund organisation. It has delivered victories because it is flying under the banner of medical power. The modern priesthood.

CFR, its inner core, is well aware that medical control is a trump card it can play to great advantage. The October Symposium was an event with such an edge.

This is no one-time takeover by force. This is no crashing coup. In intelligence-agency parlance, it’s a step-operation. A little progress here, a little progress there. Speakers at the Symposium called Swine Flu “a teaching moment.” By this they meant two things. This mild flu gives CFR and its allies a chance to expand their global influence, through the expansion of public-health agencies, most notably WHO and the American CDC. And the population of the planet is “taught” to respect so-called epidemics and the resulting missives that come down from their leaders.

The pace of these fake epidemics and the accompanying media propaganda is quickening. There is an ultimate vision here that at least a few major power players entertain: subsume every citizen of planet Earth under a network of authoritarian medical control – as part of a global-management political system.

Cradle to grave, every person is diagnosed with at least several diseases or mental disorders and falls under the continuing treatment of doctors. These treatments are, for the most part, toxic. That is to say, they weaken the immune system and scramble neurotransmitter systems of the brain. People become less able to take effective action in any direction. People everywhere become fixated on their diseases. They become less able to maintain their freedom. They view themselves as lifelong patients.

In case you think this is pure fantasy, let me recite a few facts about the US medical-care system. These numbers are based in part, but not wholly, on a landmark paper published on July 26, 2000, in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The paper was titled, “Is US Health Really the Best in the World?” The author was Barbara Starfield, who was then associated with the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. In other words, this was a mainstream piece of work all the way.

Each year in the US there are:

12,000 deaths from unnecessary surgeries;

7,000 deaths from medication error in hospitals;

20,000 deaths from other errors in hospitals;

80,000 deaths from infections acquired in hospitals;

106,000 deaths from FDA-approved correctly prescribed medicines.

The total of medically-caused deaths in the US every year is 225,000.

This makes the medical system the third leading cause of death in the US, behind heart disease and cancer.

Then if you multiply these numbers by all the people who are emotionally involved in, and temporarily paralysed by, the deaths of these 225,000 Americans, you begin to see the fuller picture of the effects on every level. And all this is just in America.

In, say, Africa, the diversion of attention, by medical propaganda and cover stories, from the real causes of millions of annual deaths? How can one even begin to calculate those effects?

If, over the next 10 or 20 years, CFR and its allies, with direct intent or even blind do-good hope, make large strides toward globalising a medical bureaucracy that would oversee the “health of the planet,” consider what that will do, what consequences that will have.

JON RAPPOPORT has worked as an independent investigative reporter since 1982. The LA Weekly nominated him for a Pulitzer Prize, for an interview he did with the president of El Salvador University, where the military had taken over the campus and was disappearing students and burning books. He has written for In These Times, Village Voice, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, CBS Healthwatch, Stern. He is the author of AIDS INC., The Secret Behind Secret Societies, and Oklahoma Bombing: The Suppressed Truth. You can find his work at [3].

The above article appeared in New Dawn No. 118 (Jan-Feb 2010) [4].

Treason by Members of the United States Congress

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Marijuana Legalization ~ Grassroots Industry or Corporate Takeover

California state officials have determined that the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 has enough eligible signatures to appear on the November ballot. This ballot measure would allow the possession of 1 ounce of marijuana for personal use by individuals aged 21 and older and the ability to cultivate gardens up to 25 square feet. Currently, possession in California is a misdemeanor that carries a $100 fine. The Act would ban the use in public or around minors.

A no brainer ... right ... End the insanity of this aspect of the war on drugs, tax it and go on our merry way. Maybe it's not that simple.

Even though California will rake in some much needed tax money to use wisely or waste, who will ultimately benefit? Will local growers be allowed to enter into the market or as usual when there's big money to be made will corporations attempt to corrupt the system and control the supply? Factory pot farms? I don't think we want to see that.

The initiative doesn't go into a lot of details on who would or could supply the legal product to the pot outlets. An individual's restriction on growing based on square feet is also very limited and doesn't allow for much variety and breeding room. A positive is that it does introduce industrial hemp as a viable agriculture crop.

Humboldt County had a community meeting to discuss the issue.
The road to marijuana legalization: Community pot meeting spurs hope for legitimate industry
Humboldt County's foray into open communication about its pot-based economy put a statewide spotlight on the county, and community organizers a little bit closer to a legitimate -- and functioning -- marijuana industry.

”Every place I've gone people have wanted to talk about it, people have been aware of it,” 3rd District Supervisor Mark Lovelace said Friday.

Lovelace was one of more than 100 people gathered at the Mateel Community Center in Redway Tuesday night to have a frank discussion about what the county -- and its residents who depend on the marijuana industry for income -- will do if pot becomes legal.

Lovelace said he has been to meetings in Fresno and Sacramento since Tuesday's meeting, and from the interest voiced by people he's met he thinks there may be similar discussions happening all over the state.

Tuesday's unprecedented conversation, garnering the attention of local, state and national media, resulted in a discussion about how to make Humboldt County economically viable through third-party product regulation and the branding of an environmentally-friendly technique and product.

California's National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law (NORML) Deputy Director Ellen Komp said she thought the meeting was a successful one.

”This really is a community in a way that I've never seen before where people really pull together and I'm very hopeful that they're going to be able to find their way through this in a way that's going to improve everyone's rights and quality of life,” Komp said.

The meeting was set up for group discussions as well as a question and answer segment. Each group answered surveys about their potential contributions to the industry and what they are afraid of if legalization happens. Eleven groups filled out the surveys, each with a place card at its table to label their role in the community -- these included nonprofits, businesses, education, arts, organic outdoor growers, the Proposition 215 community, government, health care and “just curious” groups.

Cameras were not allowed and names were not used, providing a semi-safe haven for pot growers. A single chair with the place card “Feds” sat near the door.

Although the meeting ended on an optimistic note, the beginning set the stage for an industry fearful of collapse.

Organizer Anna Hamilton said legalization of marijuana will destroy the local economy.
”The golden goose will be dead,” she said.

Hamilton estimated that legalization will cause the price of outdoor marijuana to drop to $500 a pound and displace 15,000 to 30,000 people.

”The legalization of marijuana will be the single most devastating event in the work force on the North Coast,” she said.


When Komp, who has been a hemp activist and medical marijuana advocate, in addition to working on the campaign for legalization, moved to Humboldt County seven years ago, she thought she would be moving to the legalization “promised land.” Little did she know that economic pressures were keeping people from wanting pot to be legal.

”I thought people would be all for legalization, and I come to find out that they have a different set of concerns that I wasn't aware of,” she said Wednesday.

At Tuesday's meeting, many audience members had questions about whether legalization would actually happen.

Coincidentally, one of the initiatives proposing the taxing and regulating of marijuana qualified for the ballot Thursday. The state validated the signatures for the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, enabling it to go on the ballot this November. The initiative would make it legal for adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and allow cities and counties to impose a tax on the sale of marijuana.

While residents were also concerned about Assemblyman Tom Ammiano's bill to legalize marijuana -- many said they think it takes control away from local government -- Lovelace said Ammiano's bill will not pass before the state initiative does.

”There's no way the legislative is going to get ahead of the people on this,” Lovelace said at the meeting. “If it is going to be legalized, it's going to go through the people.”

Lovelace said he was not there to address legalization, but rather to discuss “being prepared.”
Komp said the “big gorilla in the room” is the question of what the federal government will do if California makes marijuana legal.

Lovelace said, ultimately, the state is reacting to market forces, and if its failing economy pushes it in the direction of legalization, the federal government may not have too much to say.

”I think the feds are going to take a long hard look at 'can we really go to war with the State of California over this?'” he said.


The group's concerns ranged from water issues to corporate takeover, according to the surveys. Of the 11 groups, the property owners were the only ones who would even entertain that legalized weed might improve the county's economic situation.

The outdoor growers group spilled into the outside patio. Joints dangled from fingertips, and the smell of marijuana drifted through the air. As fog drifted through the dense trees in the distance, they talked about how they are doing something they love and believe in, in a place they love to be.

While some talked about the “sacred plant,” others talked about collaboration and the fear of corporations coming into the industry and taking over.

Many seemed to defy pot industry stereotypes, having been farmers for several decades.
Lovelace said the diversity of the industry illustrates how similar marijuana is to other industries.

”There is no one single kind of grower,” he said. “Some were like every other farmer out there, except they are growing an illegal crop. There were people who are more of a hobbyist, people who are focused on medical grows and people who are just abusers who are there to make a quick buck and go on their way.”

Lovelace said he had his own concerns about how legalization could affect the migration of industry out of the county.

”The reason why people grew here is that it was easy to hide. If it's legal, people don't need to hide anymore,” he said. “We might see dramatic out-migration from the community.”

One grower from Mendocino spoke to the crowd about embracing the change.

”What are we afraid of? I sense fear in this room. What are we afraid of? Isn't this what we wanted? For it to be legal?”

He talked about focusing on medicine and other marijuana plant products.

”If you're growing it for money, you're growing it for the wrong reason. This is the spirit of the plant talking now ... the plant will always have wealth,” he said.

Napa Valley and Amsterdam

Growers and members of the business community alike talked about branding, third-party regulating and certifying and following business models like the tobacco industry or the wine industry. Amsterdam, where marijuana is legal, was also mentioned a few times.

Former Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb said branding could mean exploring options for eco-tourism and organic certification.

”I want something that says this is grown in the sun, this is grown with love,” he said.
Lovelace said he'd be interested in seeing more of what the tobacco industry does in terms of protection for small farms.

Several people used Napa Valley's wine country as an example of how marijuana could be marketed.

Komp said Mendocino County has already begun taking these steps by setting up an advisory committee, looking at certification options and encouraging agricultural zoning.

Recently, the county quadrupled the number of medical marijuana plants that can be legally grown on a parcel, changing the limit from 25 to 99.

Mendocino farmers have also started an organic garden cooperative, which includes marijuana plants.

”Humboldt can ride these waves toward becoming a viable agricultural region for cannabis medical and, eventually, otherwise,” Komp said.

Moving forward

Redwood Coast Rural Action Director Kathleen Moxon said the next step will be trying to figure out what assets Humboldt has in terms of intellectual property and what needs to be developed.

”We don't know how far ahead or behind we are in that curve,” she said, adding that there will need to be an effort to study the size of the industry and what opportunities are out there.

Redwood Coast Rural Action is a regional network that has identified the economy as its No. 1 priority, and is focused on linking industry clusters and economic development professionals across Mendocino, Humboldt, Del Norte and Trinity counties.

Moxon said she was at the meeting not to talk about legalization, necessarily, but to gauge the pulse of the community on the topic.

In the same vein, Ann Fielding, the College of the Redwoods' executive director of community and economic development, said she attended the meeting to see what the community needed in terms of education. She said the college would be continuing this conversation with the community to help shape the curriculum at its Garberville campus.

”CR is not taking a position here in any way on this issue but what we have to do, we have to look at the community access, what the training opportunities are and what the educational opportunities are,” she said.

Lovelace said whether the community's attempt to brand or market its unique product is successful will depend on each individual's efforts. The county's current focus is on medical marijuana guidelines, but he knows other statewide policy will need to be developed to encourage a healthy legitimate business.

For now, he maintains the stance of keeping communication lines open.

”Why was this so hard to do? Is it really that difficult for us to talk about it? We haven't talked about it in forever,” he said. “When it comes right down to it, it's a very easy conversation to have.”

from Donna Tam/The Times-Standard

Former Drug Czar McCaffrey wants to save you from stoned eye surgeons ~~~~~ video

A little satire always helps to lighten an issue.