January 22, 2012

Ethiopia and the International Monetary System

Modern history shows Mussolini invading Ethiopia in 1935 backed by the Vatican. US & Russia refused to honer Mussolini's claim of power. The Italians occupied the land, building roads to migrate their Citizens to the Ethiopian Plataeu until 1941 when Britain backed an army of civilians and returned Emperor Selassie to his throne. The atrocities of this war are unimaginable. Let's take a closer look st Selassie.

"When the facts of history are written Haile Selassie of Abyssinia will go down as a great coward who ran away from his country to save his skin and left the millions of his countrymen to struggle through a terrible war that he brought upon them because of his political ignorance and his racial disloyalty." (Garvey, 1937)

"Rather than being interested in reform, Selassie was interested in 'development'. This allowed him to appeal for funds to help this process. To this end hospitals, bridges, factories etc. were built, all bearing the name of the emperor. But as the money poured into Ethiopia much of it was misappropriated by Selassie and hundreds of millions of dollars found their way into his personal bank accounts. The West, however, continued to back Selassie, who they regarded as a bulwark against 'communism' in Africa."http://libcom.org/user/stefan

So far, this guy doesn't sound so great.  But how was his relationship with The International Monetary Fund? I decided to follow the money trail as an exercise in filtering my own personal truth while understanding history. I compiled my findings and opinions in the embedded slideshow below. This Rabbit Hole turned out to be more interesting than I had expected. I hope this inspires people to look at everything happening in the World from a personal and realistic perspective.

 "Rabbit where'd you put the keys girl?
And the man with the golden gun
Thinks he knows so much...."
Cornflake Girl Tori Amos

January 14, 2012

Hempsters Plant the Seed: Industrial Hemp bridges American History with Vision for a Sustainable Future

When most people think of hemp, visions of parental lectures and classroom moments with dire warnings about the evils of the drug marijuana flash through their minds. This common misconception is one of the main reasons industrial hemp is not growing throughout America today. Hemp is often confused with marijuana even though hemp contains less than 1% THC (Tetra Hydro Cannabinol), the active ingredient in marijuana. Hempsters Plant the Seed explains the differences in the two plants and sheds light on the deep connection industrial hemp has with our past while showing how hemp can help us in the future.

Hempsters Plant the Seed takes the viewer all over the country following hemp activists commiting bold acts of civil disobedience in an attempt to end the prohibition of this extremely useful plant. Hempsters introduces politicians, farmers and industry professionals all spending their time and energy educating the general public and law enforcement of the true nature of the cannabis plant. Law enforcement is represented showing officers who claim there is great confusion when trying to decide between industrial hemp plants and marijuana plants from the air when industrial hemp is grown in American farm fields. A clear case is made to debunk this theory.

Industrial Hemp Activists have made incredible sacrifices to relay their message to the masses and make change. Hempsters has a teacher fired for showing examples of industrial hemp clothing products in a class about agriculture, an activist living in an old growth tree for an extended period to keep timber companies from cutting it down and the Lakota Indian Tribe exercising their sovereign rights by planting industrial hemp crops multiple times only to have the Drug Enforcement Administration cut them down just before harvest. Woody Harrelson and representatives of Hemp Industry Association are arrested and jailed for planting industrial hemp seeds in Kentucky and Washington DC. Hempsters shows the determination and resolve of these individuals, inspiring the audience to get involved with a strong call to action.

Andy and Jake Graves, Kentucky Farmers
Hempsters goes beyond activism, showing the plight of the small American farmer competing with corporations to sustain their livelihood. The film follows Kentucky State House Bill 855 authorizing the growing of industrial hemp for research purposes sponsored by The Kentucky Hemp Collective, a highlighted organization comprised of politicians and farming families through due process in Kentucky legislature. "Since 1985 more than 250,000 farmers have lost their farms, every week 500 more farms go out of business." states Woody Harrelson. Industrial hemp would be a solution for Kentucky farmers, serving as a sustainable cash crop easily grown without the need for pesticides. Kentucky farmers point out industrial hemp is grown in 29 countries including Canada and their desire to restore the crop to American farmlands.

Most people are unaware of Kentucky's role in industrial hemp's history. At one point, the State of Kentucky was the leading producer of industrial hemp and housed the largest seed bank in the United States. In 1942, the US Military destroyed all of the seeds being stored in the State as a part of marijuana prohibition and American Farmers were unwillingly forced into corporately producing cash crops like soy, corn and tobacco. After World War II when American Farmers were ordered to grow hemp for military rope and canvas, the government destroyed all of the hemp seeds in Kentucky. If American Farmers were to return to growing industrial hemp, they would have to purchase seed stock from foreign countries.

Hempsters presents the industrial hemp plant as a solution to many tough environmental problems people face today including replacing trees as a source for paper pulp, using hemp oil in a diesel engine vehicle and substituting traditional building material with hemp products. It shows a hemp house in the process of being built with Hempcrete, hemp roofing shingles and hemp particle board. The viewer walks away with a wider understanding of the potential of industrial hemp and highlights some of its many uses.

Hempsters Plant the Seed is an excellent educational tool for activists and individuals to show when presenting industrial hemp as a sustainable solution. Every person leaves from viewing the movie with an understanding of hemp's rich history in the United States and what hemp can do for the economy, the farmers and the environment.

Cinema Libre studios, full service production and distribution company serving independent film makers, released Hempsters Plant the Seed in 2011 as a part of their EarthNOW! series. Other films released include Fuel, Gashole, End of Poverty? and NORML Life. For more information on these and other titles visit their website.

January 08, 2012

Gatewood Galbraith: Fellow Weed Warrior RIP

Kentucky's House of Representatives and Senate fell silent last Wednesday for a moment to honor Gatewood Galbraith, remembering his life and service in his beloved home State. Gatewood, an accomplished criminal defense attorney was not one to back down from a fight. His career was focused on civil liberties. He embodied truth and remained dedicated to public service throughout his life and career. 

Whether he was debating industrial hemp issues in Kentucky's political realms or leading marches to end the prohibition of the cannabis plant, Gatewood was unwavering in his resolve to inspire people to stand up for truth and preserve civil liberties. Gatewood spent his life watching his State and Country move from an agricultural agrarian society to an industrial synthetic society. Knowing these changes were politically charged for commercial purposes, he spent his time bridging the divide between these two Worlds, proclaiming himself an 'explorer for the truth in a jungle of political overgrowth.' 

Gatewood believed cannabis prohibition was a stark example of the Government overstepping its bounds to police private behavior. As a consequence of these unethical and unnecessary laws, the people have been robbed of the opportunity to create a relationship with Mother Earth, to plant seeds in God's green Earth and enjoy the fruits of this labor. 

Gatewood was well respected on all sides of the political arena. His sense of humor was sharp and quick, allowing him to articulate his views in debate better than most. He never shied away from controversial issues, but always remained respectful and walked away from the table still friends with his adversaries. Gatewood's actions were always intended to inspire people. 

When Gatewood was told he was ahead of his time, he responded with a twinkle in his eye and a resonant voice.. "Now's the Time." It didn't matter to him whether he won or lost, but that he never stopped. He made every person feel like the most important person in the World. His message and inspiration will carry on, keeping the conversation going for generations to come. From those of us who shared his views, Gatewood will be greatly missed.

“Whether you agreed with Gatewood or didn’t agree with him, I think we always admired the courage with which he stated his views,” said Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo.

"Gatewood Galbraith is an honest politician." Willie Nelson Hempsters Plant the Seed 

"Gatewood Galbraith was a good friend, and a tireless advocate for the repeal of the ridiculous ban on hemp & marijuana. His book ‘The Last Free Man Standing’ says it all." Willie Nelson's response to requests for a statement on Gatewood's death. 

“That kind of voice is going to be missed. He was a valuable contributor in his own way.” Ferrell Wellman, a Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame

"Gatewood Galbraith shared so many valuable words of wisdom with me, I can't count them all. Phrases that one could live by. I feel very fortunate and blessed to have been his friend and to have known him for as long as I did." Michael Henning, Director of Hempsters Plant the Seed

"Gatewood was one of a kind, a fighter until the end..which is the beginning...he is a STAR of HEMPSTERS PLANT THE SEED DOC FILM as well as a STAR Human Being...words cannot express my sorrow and we will see you on the other side, Gatewood..THANK YOU for being my friend." Diana Oliver, Producer of Hempsters Plant the Seed

Senate President David Williams, who also ran against Galbraith, said in a statement, "I was saddened to hear about Gatewood's passing. He and I have been friends for almost four decades. His wit, humor, and intellect made him one of the most intriguing of Kentucky originals."

"I would get ... either phone calls or messages just telling me he was thinking about the people in his life who were most important to him and that he loved me more than anything," said Molly Galbraith. "He did the most amazing job of telling us how much he loved us and how proud he was of us and that he couldn't be more thrilled to be our father."

"One of the most admirable things that could ever be said about someone is that they had the courage to stand up for what they believe. Whether you agreed with Gatewood or you didn't agree with him, I think we can all say we admire the courage that he had advocating his convictions." House Speaker Greg Stumpo

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2012/01/04/2015454/longtime-political-figure-gatewood.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2012/01/04/2015454/longtime-political-figure-gatewood.html#storylink=cpy