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Is Pope Francis The World’s Most Powerful Advocate For Environmental Stability?

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Maybe not now. But that’s what he could well become. Francis’ Encyclical “On Care for Our Common Home” recognizes the incredible damage being done to the climate and biodiversity. Few realize how strong his beliefs are and the unused power of persuasion he possesses. Here are 10 ways that power could be used.

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1. Francis could call for a renewed emphasis on abstaining from red meat on Fridays.

Francis unequivocally recognizes the need for environmental stability: “The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all. . . . A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system.” [23]

He gives no quarter to climate change deniers, writing, “Obstructionist attitudes, even on the part of believers, can range from denial of the problem to indifference, nonchalant resignation or blind confidence in technical solutions.” [14]

Missing from Francis’ Encyclical is the massive scientific evidence that meat is probably the single most important contributor to greenhouse gases (GHGs). Meat production (beef, chicken, pork) produces more GHGs that either the transportation sector or all industrial processes.

Some believe that meat production could account for much more than the 18-20% of GHGs if other factors were taken into account, such as livestock respiration, medical care of livestock, full loss of land used for meat production, and packaging, refrigerating, cooking, and disposing of meat.

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Francis affirms the “urgent need to develop policies” to address climate change [26]. There is probably no better way to develop a policy to reduce GHGs than resurrecting the emphasis on meatless Fridays.

2. Francis could ask religious leaders throughout the world to consider a day without red meat.

This raises two big questions: Would a pope try to influence non-Catholics? and, Would non-Catholics pay attention to a Catholic tradition? Francis clearly understands that the extent of environmental crises goes beyond his own church when he says “I wish to address every person living on this planet” regarding “our common home.” [3]

In wondering about the potential response from non-Catholics, I recall going to elementary school in Houston during the McCarthy era of the 1950s. It was not a particularly tolerant time or place. The proportion of Catholics at my school was tiny – not more than 3-4%. When I asked my teacher why we had fish cakes every Friday, she said, “It’s because the Catholic kids aren’t supposed to eat meat on Fridays.” That seemed reasonable. And it was okay with everyone else. Not one kid ever challenged a school that was over 90% non-Catholic adjusting its meals to accommodate a meatless Friday.

Might non-Catholics of today move from a passive acceptance of meatless Fridays to actively participate in a joint effort to halt environmental devastation? Francis is hopeful when he says, “Outside the Catholic Church, other Churches and Christian communities – and other religions as well – have expressed deep concern and offered valuable reflections on issues which all of us find disturbing.” [7]

Millions of people are searching for ways to have a meaningful effect on the climate. Most individual behaviours either have little impact on the big picture or are out of the reach of many people. For example, individuals who live 20 miles from work cannot really choose to ride a bike or take mass transit that does not exist.

Choice of food is different — it is something that most people can do by themselves. New eating habits, adopted by enough people, might dramatically influence the world’s climate.

3. Francis could ask governments to ensure that those who receive their livelihood from the livestock sector are protected from harm by decreased consumption of meat.

Over 1.3 billion people depend on livestock for income. This could make for a very long unemployment line and a lot of hostility toward vegetarianism. In addition to those who raise livestock, livelihoods that derive from it include manufacturing ranch equipment and supplies, growing animal feed, transportation, and sales of animal products such as leather.

Workers in all these industries are highly sensitive to the economics of livestock reduction. They must be a core part of planning for economic transition. A transformation would need to include projects that demonstrate how changing from a cattle ranch into growing crops (or other economic activity) can successfully occur. This would also include educational programs on how to make such changes, as well as proposals for new jobs for those currently working in livestock-dependent industries.

The U.S. is a rich country that can afford to be a model for the rest of the world. We could guarantee an income equal to what families relying on animals currently make if they agree to transition to plant-based agriculture for human food.

4. Francis could recommend that Catholics not eat any meat (including fowl and fish) on Mondays.

This would be a bold step, going beyond reemphasizing what is already Catholic doctrine. Yet, it would be consistent with Francis’ belief that the world has a “sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life.” [2]

Overproduction of meat has horrible effects beyond climate change. The livestock sector accounts for over a third of global land area, which makes it a major contributor to deforestation, habitat destruction, and species extinction. According to the Food & Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, livestock production is responsible for 55% of erosion, 37% of pesticide usage, and 50% of antibiotic usage.

There is already an embryo of the needed change in the “Meatless Monday” movement. A serious effort toward stewardship of the Earth requires a halt in the expansion of land which is used for livestock and then a progressive increase in acres of land returned to wild Nature.

5. Francis could ask religious leaders to consider a day without any meat (including fowl and fish).

Papal Encyclicals are recommendations — they are not commandments. Thus, an Encyclical by Francis recommending meatless Mondays would mean that Catholics would need to decide to what extent they should follow it.

Inspiring controversy would actually be better than ordering people to eat less meat. Once folks argue and haggle, the issue sticks to their minds. Those who do something because of their own choice are much more committed once they have made a decision.

A debate between the world’s 1.2 million Catholics would not be ignored by other religions. In fact, it could be a powerful impetus for a Great Discussion regarding how people can effectively impact climate change.

If Francis were to take such an audacious stand within the Catholic Church, he would elevate his ability to ask other religious leaders to step outside of their roles established hundreds or thousands of years ago to similarly recognize the profound threat to Life on Earth. What could be more helpful than several billion people questioning how actions during the next few decades will affect the existence of generations to come?

6. Francis could precaution the world against using vegetarianism as a weapon of cultural domination.

Of particular concern are non-Brahmin Indians and American Cowboys. Most of the world’s 1.1 billion Hindus live in India, which is often assumed to be overwhelmingly vegetarian. In fact, over two-thirds of Indians eat meat.

While Hindus do not have a strict ban on eating meat, most avoid doing so because they wish to minimize harming other life forms. Indians who do eat meat eat far less than do Americans. They include young people exposed to Western lifestyles and religious minorities of Muslims and Christians. According to Priti Gulati Cox, they also include “Dalits (formerly known as untouchables) and Adivasis (Indigenous communities),” who are victims of “Hindu-centric cultural imposition.”

In his article “Beef ban is an attempt to impose upper-caste culture on other Hindus” Dalit Professor Kancha Ilaiah explains that eating meat has always been a part of Dalit food culture. Since water buffalo meat is cheap, it is their major source of protein. He sees the current attempt by Brahmins to impose a beef ban as “casteist and racist.” Non- Brahmin Indians particularly resent attempts to ban eating beef when India is a major exporter of water buffalo meat, which is not considered sacred by upper castes.

Glance a few thousand miles away to the U.S. Many people in western states are very hostile to having a lifestyle imposed upon them by what they perceive as urban elitism. Some do things that harm their own health and welfare to preserve their customs. (Witness 2016 Presidential voting patterns.) In this way, they are not so different from India’s Dalits and Adivasis who strongly resist having Brahmin vegetarianism imposed on them.

The issue is how to present a change away from overconsumption of meat without devaluing their culture or creating massive unemployment. There is no magic bullet. But the answer must include a dialogue and understanding that eating less meat at each meal has as much effect as having some meals without meat.

In fact, the small portion of meat eaten means that Indians already have much less environmental impact than do Americans. Instead of being grain-fed, cattle and water buffalo in India typically eat vegetation from land unsuitable for farming, further reducing their harmful effects.

Yet, we must keep our eye on the prize. Giving up smoking and having unprotected sex with multiple partners have both been sub-cultural values that came into conflict with objective facts. Campaigns became effective when former smokers spoke out and when gay men themselves advised new behaviours. Attempts to reduce meat consumption will be counter-effective unless they include those American Cowboys who already question the quantity of meat eaten.

7. Francis could recommend that Catholics eat no animal flesh or animal products (including eggs, milk, and cheese) on Wednesdays.

The tradition of not eating meat on Fridays comes with the idea of doing without something for Lent. Not eating red meat for three days a week, no meat of any kind for two days a week, and no animal products one day a week would transform the concept of “doing without” to mean “doing without to preserve our common home.”

This is the sort of sacrifice that Francis hints at when he says calls on humanity “to recognize the need for changes in lifestyle.” [23] He quotes approvingly of the leader of Eastern Orthodox Church stating that “to commit a crime against the natural world is a sin.” [8]

This reflects the belief in man’s stewardship over nature shared by Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The responsibility to preserve Life in all forms is an impossibility if ranchland and farms for animal feed continue to expand their destruction of wildlife habitat throughout the world.

How can the desire to protect wild Nature best be expressed? Recognizing that food travels over 1,000 miles from “farm to plate” has led many to become “locavores” who seek to eat food grown close to where they live. However, research demonstrates that not eating red meat and dairy for less than one day per week “achieves more GHG reduction than buying all locally sourced food.”

8. Francis could suggest to those of other faiths that they join him in setting aside an additional day for eating no animal flesh or animal products.

Clearly, millions of Catholics combining a locavore diet with a meatless diet for multiple days per week would have a profound impact on GHG emissions. Imagine the effect if billions of people did so.

Participants would make two important discoveries. First, food can taste good if it does not include red meat, if it does not include any animal flesh, and even if it does not include any animal products. As this realization spreads, an increasing number of restaurants would offer non-animal dishes on a regular basis. There would be more cooks realizing that vegetarian food is not the same as the current diet without meat but represents a different approach to preparing food entirely. Many people would voluntarily change to eating less meat during each meal and eating more meals without meat.

Second, reduction in eating meat would have profound health effects. High meat consumption is associated heart disease, obesity, and colorectal cancer. Health improvement would occur not only in Western countries, but also China, where meat consumption has zoomed upwards. Combined discoveries of taste and health could well reinforce each other as people realized that they would not be giving up good food to have a better quality of life.

9. Francis could urge the world to recognize the need for humane treatment as well as humane killing of animals.

Both Muslims and Jews are prohibited from eating meat from animals killed in a cruel way. Jews include humane killing as part of kosher meat and, for Muslims, it is halal meat. At the time those rules were written, there was no such thing as factory farms (Confined Animal Feeding Operations, CAFOs).

A twenty-first century extension of ancient laws would recognize that CAFOs practice a merciless process of killing by slow torture. Confinement of animals in tiny cages is so unhealthy that CAFOs routinely pump antibiotics into them so they will live long enough to be slaughtered.

Treating (and killing) animals in a humane fashion is close to a universally accepted value. CAFO owners are so worried that people would be horrified if they saw how they operate that they go to great lengths lobbying for laws that criminalize filming how animals are treated.

It is highly unlikely that the meat industry can continue to grow without an expansion of CAFOs. National laws and international treaties banning CAFOs should parallel an increase in plant-based diets. A call by Francis for humane treatment of animals, with a specific request that CAFOs be banned, would be an enormous contribution to reducing animal cruelty, meat consumption, and GHGs.

10. Francis could request a global inquiry into the need to begin shorter work weeks in a world which consumes less meat.

Since producing 1 pound of beef protein requires 10 pounds of vegetable protein, obtaining sufficient protein from vegetables will require vastly less cultivation. Just as fair trade means less trade, a world which relies on less meat will be one which needs less labour.

The livestock industry is merely one piece of an economy that must be massively reduced for human survival. Vegetarian agriculture is a bit analogous to a peace economy. Vegetarian production requires different use of land, but more importantly, use of less land. Peace economics emphasizes having fewer weapons to kill people rather than killing people with different weapons.

It is not possible to have less meat, less war, fewer toxic chemicals, less extractions of fossil fuels, fewer products (including homes) designed to fall apart, and more wild Nature in an economy that is growing exponentially. More astute than many progressives, Francis recognizes the dangers of unlimited economic expansion when he nods approval to “correcting models of growth which have proved incapable of ensuring respect for the environment.” [5]

We need a smaller economy which focuses on providing basic needs for every person on the planet. This means a shorter — a much shorter — work week.

Producing less is only the first step in solving or reducing environmental problems. Of course, changes in production will be very different in various industries; so, environmentally sound economics requires considerable planning, education, adjustment, and readjustment.

This train of thought runs counter to capitalism, whose First Commandment is growth.

Francis has not been particularly receptive to capitalists, along with their politicians. They are left out of the equation when he calls for heeding “the reflections of numerous scientists, philosophers, theologians and civic groups.” [7] He warns that “Many of those who possess more resources and economic or political power seem mostly to be concerned with masking the problems or concealing their symptoms.” [26]

Neither is Francis receptive to “Technology, which, linked to business interests, is presented as the only way of solving these problems, in fact proves incapable of seeing the mysterious network of relations between things and so sometimes solves one problem only to create others.” [20] He spells out concerns with the latest step in capital accumulation: “Even as the quality of available water is constantly diminishing, in some places there is a growing tendency, despite its scarcity, to privatize this resource, turning it into a commodity subject to the laws of the market. Yet access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right.” [30]

Bringing It Home

We can’t explore every religion; but, now that we’ve looked at Catholicism, Hinduism, Judaism, and Islam, let’s consider my religion of devout atheism. Devout atheism is quite different from dogmatic atheism, whose dedication to putting down religion has much in common with narrow-minded adherents within the religions it belittles.

Devout atheism feels a connection with the natural world that would be quite receptive to an encyclical from Francis that specified actions to protect Earth. Dogmatic atheists would, of course, reject anything from a Pope because they often worship money and power as do their dogmatic counterparts in the powerful religions.

The division of world is not between Catholic vs. Protestant, Muslim vs. Jew, Hindu vs. Adivasi, or pious vs. atheist. Rather, the great division is those of every belief who exalt the preservation of Nature vs. those who fantasize that happiness flows from possession of an ever greater quantity of objects.

Attaining a 100% vegan world overnight is not going to happen. Instead, we should work toward a huge reduction in meat production by (a) encouraging heavy meat eaters to decrease their portions, (b) encouraging moderate meat eaters to increase their vegetarian days, and (c) expanding the number of vegetarians and vegans, while (d) avoiding domination of meat-eating cultures, and (e) preparing for the economic disruptions which will inevitably accompany changes of the magnitude that must happen. Securing alliances and modifying approaches are possible without compromising the goal of vastly reducing the amount of meat produced.

Note: Numbers in brackets indicate the section of “On Care for Our Common Home” from which the quotation is take.

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A Jury’s $289 Million Verdict Against Monsanto Might Be Overturned By The Judge

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Dewayne Johnson was the first lawsuit alleging glyphosate causes cancer to go to trial. He ended up winning and was awarded nearly $300 million. Now, the judge is threatening to overall the decision made by the Jury.

  • Reflect On:

    How can corporations like Monsanto and government regulatory agencies constantly approve products that an uncountable amount of research and science has shown is harmful to human health as well as the environment.

Not long ago, school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson became involved in the very first lawsuit to go to trial alleging glyphosate causes cancer. The case made global headlines when the jury at San Francisco’s Superior Court of California deliberated for three days before finding that Monsanto had failed to warn Johnson and other consumers of the cancer risks posed by its weed killers. We’ve seen the same issue with similar substances like DDT, which was sprayed for years before it was finally banned decades ago. The unfortunate thing is that DDT is still highly present in the environment and in our soil, and is a catalyst for many diseases. Are we seeing the same thing with Glyphosate?

The court ended up awarding $39 million in compensation and $250 million in punitive damages. It’s also vital to mention that Monsanto, now a unit of Bayer AG following a $62.5 billion acquisition by the German conglomerate, faces more than 5,000 similar lawsuits across the United States.

Grounds For Reversal?

Now, just two months after jurors made the decision in favor of Johnson, who is dying of cancer, the judge suddenly has an issue with the amount and might overrule the decision. Again, Johnson is one of the thousands of cancer patients that are taking Monsanto to trial. The judge is apparently calling for a new trial, and she has now granted Monsanto a request for a JNOW on a tentative basis. A JNOW is a judgement notwithstanding the verdict. This is basically when a judge in a civil case overrules the jury’s decision.

This is extremely confusing, isn’t it? What prompted the judge to do this, and did Monsanto have anything to do with it? And even if the judge denies Monsanto’s request to drop the $250 million fine, the Court would grant a new trial on the grounds of ‘insufficiency of evidence’ to justify the award for punitive damages–this after the evidence was found to be quite sufficient at the time.

Even the jurors are speaking out, according to CTV news:

Jurors who found that agribusiness giant Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer contributed to a school groundskeeper’s cancer are urging a San Francisco judge not to throw out the bulk of their $289 million award in his favour, a newspaper reported Monday.

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Stock Drop

Shares in Bayer, which bought Monsanto as mentioned earlier, dropped immediately after the original decision and hasn’t risen since. It’s still trading at approximately 30 percent below its pre-verdict value. The statement given by Bayer after the initial decision does its best to restore confidence in their product:

The jury’s decision is wholly at odds with over 40 years of real-world use, an extensive body of scientific data and analysis…which support the conclusion that glyphosate-based herbicides are safe for use and do not cause cancer in humans. (source)

This statement strongly goes against the statements made by thousands of scientists across the world.

“It is commonly believed that Roundup is among the safest pesticides… Despite its reputation, Roundup was by far the most toxic among the herbicides and insecticides tested. This inconsistency between scientific fact and industrial claim may be attributed to huge economic interests, which have been found to falsify health risk assessments and delay health policy decisions.” – R. Mesnage et al., Biomed Research International, Volume 2014 (2014) article ID 179691

Keep in mind that the use of glyphosate rose 1500% from 1995 to 2005, and that 100 million pounds of glyphosate is used every year on more than a billion acres. (Cherry, B., “GM crops increase herbicide use in the United States,” Science in Society 45, 44-46, 2010) (source)

Years Of Activism

The alarming thing is that for decades, scientists, activist groups and environmental/health awareness groups have been creating awareness and presenting the science explaining how and why Monsanto’s glyphosate (the main ingredient in their Roundup herbicide) causes cancer, among other diseases. Despite the fact that this has been happening for years, the political stranglehold these corporations have on governmental regulatory agencies has prevented this information from being taken seriously.

If the truth was widely known it would result in an unfathomable drop in profit for Monsanto’s products which contain glyphosate, but mostly in North America. Many countries have completely banned the ingredient and other Monsanto products, due to clear links to diseases like cancer and kidney disease, for example. In fact, most of the products manufactured by Monsanto and other giant North American biotech companies are completely banned and illegal in many other countries.

It makes you wonder how such a substance can go through the review process, whatever it is, and still be approved for use. Monsanto has been sued many times; in fact one lawsuit unearthed documents showing how Monsanto misled regulators and scientists to speed up approval for the development of genetically modified foods. You can read more about that here. So, the science itself becomes subject to fraud when power and money are applied. Roundup herbicide is over one hundred times more toxic than regulators claim. And a new study published in the journal Biomedical Research International showed how Roundup herbicide is 125 times more toxic than its active ingredient glyphosate studied in isolation. You can read more about that here.

We are talking about clear hormone disrupters and clear catalysts for cancer. Decades of science and scientific fraud that’s been exposed has forced the World Health Organisation, a major hub of the establishment that seems to regulate the shady industry of health, to finally admit that glyphosate, like cigarettes, processed foods and meats, is carcinogenic.

Clear Injustice

This judge’s reversal will end up having enormous financial and reputational repercussions for the corporation, and it seems obvious that she has been influenced by power and money. The truth is, if you take the scientific evidence, as well as clear evidence of scientific fraud and corruption by these corporate and government agencies (who are constantly in collusion with one another), there is no jury on the planet that would not reach a guilty verdict. That’s because the evidence is quite clear, which is why if this decision was going to be reversed, it would have to be the Judge over-ruling the jury’s decision.

This verdict proves that when ordinary citizens, in this case a jury of 12, hear the facts about Monsanto’s products, and the lengths to which this company has gone to buy off scientists, deceive the public and influence government regulatory agencies, there is no confusion.”  Ronnie Cummins, International Director of the organic consumers association

At the end of the day, we are the ones using these products and we are the ones voting with our dollar. That being said, it completely goes against our free will and interests for products to be approved that are obviously completely unsafe. It’s unfortunate that those who choose not to use these products or be near them, still end up with it in our system. The fact that Monsanto can still somehow fight this and provide evidence means our work is not yet done.

The Takeaway

The work of many brave activists has brought awareness to the severe health risks of glyphosate and Roundup, but to honor all their efforts we must continue to spread awareness about these corporate crimes until the time comes when these chemicals have been removed from all corners of the Earth.

A Quick Important Notice:

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In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

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The Man The CIA Wants You To Forget

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Former LAPD Narcotics Detective and whistleblower Michael Ruppert spent years speaking out against the CIA for allegedly running drugs throughout the USA. He was found dead in 2014 by an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head.

  • Reflect On:

    Why do we continue to give credibility to agencies like the CIA who have been caught abusing their power time and time again? Who's watching the watchers? What can we do to better protect whistleblowers when they come forward?

Michael C. Ruppert was an ex-LAPD Narcotics Detective and whistleblower who came out against the CIA in the late 70’s. He claimed they tried to enlist him in protecting and helping to facilitate their drug running practices. When Ruppert declined involvement and came forward he said he was threatened, wrongly discredited, and even shot at, but that didn’t stop him from speaking up.

“I will tell you, director Deutch, that as a former LosAngeles police narcotics detective that the agency has dealt drugs throughout this country for a long time.” – Michael C. Ruppert

At a now infamous town hall hearing in LA, he faced off against the chief of the CIA with a packed room of people from the South-Central area cheering him on from the crowd. It was not only the unlawful behavior Ruppert wanted to expose, but also the incredible hypocrisy of the CIA and the LAPD for bringing cocaine and other drugs into the community, and then locking up small-time drug dealers and users.

These imported drugs were ripping apart communities with widespread effects like addiction, increased crime and gang activity, overdose deaths, and many incarcerations that broke up families leading to cycles of crime that spanned generations. You can see the video of the emotional town hall meeting below.

He Didn’t Stop There

Michael Ruppert spent most of his life trying to expose criminality at the highest levels. Tackling everything from the peak oil crisis to the military industrial complex. He also believed that 9/11 was allowed to happen by the Bush administration.

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” 9-11 was a predictable event and it was motivated precisely and solely by Peak Oil and nothing else.” – Michael C. Ruppert (source)

Ruppert became a published author and gained more notoriety for his controversial book “Confronting Collapse: The Crisis of Energy and Money in a Post Peak Oil World.”  That ended up inspiring the eye-opening documentary “Collapse”, which is a worthwhile watch to start understanding the deep levels of corruption and cover-up that has been taking place around the globe.

No matter your thoughts on the legitimacy of Ruppert’s claims, it’s clear he wasn’t afraid of taking on the Goliaths of the world but for doing so was branded by many throughout the mainstream media as a wild conspiracy theorist.

“All corporate-owned and publicly-traded media is our first and foremost immediate enemy.” Michael C. Ruppert

Redemption?

It’s 1996 and in comes Gary Webb. A very well respected Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who begins investigating the ties between leaders of the Nicaraguan Contra Rebel organizations and the CIA. Webb wrote a 3 part investigative series that got published in the San Jose Mercury News. This caused a public uproar, especially from people in poorer communities where the crack-cocaine epidemic was destroying families.

The publicity from Webb’s scathing piece of journalism against the CIA is what allowed Ruppert the chance to finally be heard on a larger scale, and Webb’s conclusions even launched a federal investigation into the issue. While many people believed him, Gary Webb ended up losing his publisher, getting smeared all over the mainstream news for exaggerating and was even called an outright liar. Alongside Ruppert, Webb was outspoken in saying there was massive media manipulation around the issue.

“The government side of the story is coming through the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post. They use the giant corporate press rather than saying anything directly. If you work through friendly reporters on major newspapers, it comes off as The New York Times saying it and not a mouthpiece of the CIA.” – Gary Webb (source)

Tragic Ending

Gary Webb was found dead in his home in 2004 with two gunshot wounds to the head. His death was ruled a suicide but there is still some speculation considering the fact that it’s uncommon for a person to pull the trigger twice in a suicide but to be fair it has happened in the past. There was a suicide note and his wife has stated he was depressed for a while about no longer being able to get a job at any major newspaper.

An eerily similar fate was met by Michael Ruppert. He was found dead in his home in 2014 with one gunshot wound to the head. He also left a note and his death was ruled a suicide. Just like Webb there was mystery around Ruppert’s official story, some believe it was a hit for saying too much or that maybe he was onto another big story, some believe the suicide was staged and he went off the map to get a fresh start, and others take the story at face value and think that maybe he’d just had enough of fighting, of always looking over his shoulder. As a man that spent his life questioning the mainstream narrative, it seems fitting that many conspiracy theories have formed around his death.

The Takeaway

If you check out the video above you can hear from Michael Ruppert himself about some of his story and see him in action at the town hall meeting where he challenged the CIA. His question to the chief is a powerful one, asking if he comes across information of illegal activity but it’s classified, will he report it?

Are these organizations we give the power to enforce the law and/or to protect us above the law? Are there circumstances where illegal activity by some organizations is justified, say if the information is a threat to public safety? Why could none of the CIA’s internal investigations find any hard evidence of the claims against them? Who’s watching the watchers? One of the final sentences of Ruppert’s suicide note reads:

“I do this for the children, may it bring love and light into the world.” – Michael C. Ruppert (source)

That seems like a cause that we can all get behind. Working together to build a world worth leaving to future generations. Let’s leave it better than we found it, I know we’re capable of it. Whether you agree with Michael Ruppert’s beliefs or not we can learn from him because I feel that he was trying to do just that, leave the world a better place. Love and light!

A Quick Important Notice:

The demand for Collective Evolution's content is bigger than ever, except ad agencies and social media keep cutting our revenues. This is making it hard for us to continue.

In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

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Consider This Before Indulging In Legal Cannabis In Canada

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Cannabis is now legal in Canada for recreational and medicinal use.

  • Reflect On:

    Will the legalization of cannabis change our relationship and habits with cannabis? Should it?

For some Canadians, October 17th is a day they have been anticipating for a long time. For others, it may pass by without much notice. Yet, one thing is for sure. Eventually, virtually all Canadians will be impacted in one way or another by Canada’s decision to legalize cannabis. Parents. Children. Regular Users. Non-users. Teenagers. The Elderly. Those of all ages suffering from illnesses of all kinds.

And not only will this impact the everyday lives of people in Canada, most Canadian institutions will be going through a learning curve and devoting attention to this new phenomenon. The government. Law Enforcement Agencies. Growers and farms. Wholesalers and retailers. Advertisers and marketers. Who in Canada will be able to say they have not been touched by this one way or another, once the intoxicating and healing powers of cannabis become more accessible even than alcohol?

What Will Change

Some changes will happen immediately, some changes will evolve over time. Some people argue that Canada is not yet ready for all the implications of legalizing cannabis at this point, but the prevailing attitude is that things will sort themselves out in an orderly fashion over the next 1-3 years.

Law enforcement: The change in the criminal code means that limited possession of cannabis is no longer a crime, though people who are currently in jail for possession of cannabis are not being automatically let out of jail. Much of law enforcement rhetoric focuses on preventing youth from indulging in cannabis, in a fashion similar to the restrictions on alcohol. More likely, the majority of funds and manpower will be diverted to combating black market enterprises, given that the government now stands to gain $675 million per year in tax revenues from the sale of legal cannabis. Regulations for impaired driving as a result of cannabis consumption look to evolve over time as technologies for measuring impairment like alcohol ‘breathalizers’ improve.

Home Growing: Individuals will be permitted to grow up to four plants for their own use. While the sale of edibles (baked goods, drinks, etc) will not be allowed initially, individuals can make edibles at home for their own use.

Marketing and Retail: The way in which legal cannabis is promoted and sold to the public will likely go through a push-pull transition between advertising regulations and the way wholesalers and retailers will try to get around those regulations to sell their products. The same can probably be said for the business chain as a whole from growth to consumption.

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Usage in General: Usage in Canada is bound to increase, simply due to an increase in the availability for those who have not actively sought it out in the past, and the removal of the stigma of its illegality, as well as the social acceptance of the consumption of cannabis which is bound to grow over the next couple of years.

What Will Not Change

There are two things that will not change when cannabis is made legal in Canada on October 17th: cannabis and you.

Cannabis itself is not suddenly safer or better for you than it was before just because it has become legalized. The same decisions you were making on whether or not to indulge in the past still pretty much apply, so ubiquitous was its use despite being illegal. Will regulation make the quality of cannabis you receive better? Not necessarily. It may become more consistent, if less potent, if the quality controls in place are reliable. But remember, black market dealers and sellers had an intrinsic investment in the quality of their product if they were to hope to have regular customers.

By ‘you,’ I am referring to your deepest, truest sense of self, the person you are and who you want to be in the highest vision of yourself. This does not change with any change of regulation in the outer world, and certainly you have to be wary if this change of regulation arbitrarily changes the choices you make and impacts your habits, goals, and dreams.

What To Watch Out For

You may be one who will be inclined to be more open to the personal recreational use of cannabis once it becomes legal. With this comes the possibility of gradually developing a dependence, facilitated by a greater legal and social acceptability. It is important to take notice if recreational use begins to devolve into a catch-all means of escaping from the stress and discomfort of real-life problems, in ways that you get out of the habit of confronting problems and discomfort at their source.

The same can be said about the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. No doubt, cannabis and CBD oil will be marketed as the healthy sedative for physical ailments and will also be touted as a curative agent for certain types of diseases. While this may be true in some particular cases, you have to be cautious about the claims made by sellers and marketers of the product, whose job is to sell rather than research and diagnose exactly what conditions will benefit from cannabis treatment, and even more particularly what strains of cannabis will work for given conditions.

There is a body of research about the curative effects of cannabis made from an Eastern holistic perspective, which treats each individual case not based on outward symptoms, as Western medicine does, but in terms the particular physiological, emotional and spiritual conditions an individual is in which seen to be at the root of the individual’s ailment. Hence, being wary of marketing practices does not mean avoid cannabis or CBD oil as medicinal treatment for a particular condition, but try to do so in consultation with an unbiased and trusted practitioner/researcher whose motives are healing your particular condition rather than making profits selling cannabis.

The Takeaway

The consumption of cannabis has the potential to be both consciousness-expanding and consciousness-numbing. It does have healing properties but you really have to do your due diligence and use it in a very disciplined way in order to truly gain healing benefits from it rather than getting into the habit of simply escaping from pains and difficulties that are part of a normal life. It is an exciting time for Canadians in that we are now more free to choose something that never should have been illegal to begin with. Let’s make sure this newfound freedom serves us in the best ways as individuals and as a community.

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