Everything you hear about the Mexican Drug War is crap!

An interview with Mexican investigative journalist Anabel Hernández

What are the biggest misconceptions that you see in the media about the drug war?

When I started to work on that book about Chapo Guzmán back in 2005, I had the same misconceptions that most of the media and journalists had in Mexico, the U.S. and the rest of the world. I had swallowed the story that Chapo Guzmán was just a brilliant criminal — a man so intelligent that he was capable of subjecting the governments of Mexico and the United States to his will. The Mexican government constantly said they couldn’t catch him because he lived in a cave in a mountain in the Sierra Sinaloa surrounded by people who protected him.

And those of us in the media had only concentrated on the legend of Chapo Guzmán, based on his violence, on the tons of drugs he trafficked, without asking ourselves, “How does he do it? How can this man be so powerful?” And the only way of explaining how the Sinaloa cartel and Chapo Guzmán became so powerful is with the complicity of the government…

I starting doing public information requests in Mexico to see if these things being said in [the U.S.] courts were true. What I found was that during Felipe Calderón’s so-called drug war, the cartel that was attacked the least, that had the fewest arrests, was the Sinaloa cartel. And in government statistics, throughout the Felipe Calderón administration’s six years, there were increases in marijuana production, increases in opium production, increases in amphetamine production, increases in drug consumption in Mexico. What kind of drug war is this where a cartel gets stronger, becomes the most powerful cartel in the world, and on the other hand, drug production reaches historic levels in Mexico?…

What’s the United States’ role in all of this?

For me, one of the truly pressing questions is: What does the government of the United States want? What is really its objective? To end drug production in Mexico? To destroy the drug cartels? Or to control them and administer the business? I’ve found, for example, that in the case of the Sinaloa cartel, there have been agreements between the DEA [U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency] and the Sinaloa cartel where they gave the cartel immunity — You guys traffic what you want, and in exchange, give me the names of the leaders of your enemy cartels. And that was how the DEA and the Mexican government went about capturing many of Chapo Guzmán’s enemies during the Felipe Calderón administration.

RTFA for more details – including Hernandez’ opinion about the abduction and murder of 43 students in Iguala.

What comes home to me is the failed War on Drugs continues a death spiral throughout every nation we infect with this stupidity, this incompetent, moralistic, absolutely backwards approach to the question of drug abuse.

Will the woman who recycled late hubbie’s junk please pick up her check for $100K

A $100,000 check is waiting for a mystery woman who donated a rare Apple 1 computer to a Silicon Valley recycling firm.

CleanBayArea in Milpitas, California, said on its website that a woman in her 60s dropped off some electronic goods in April, when she was cleaning out the garage after her husband died.

The boxes of computer parts contained a 1976 Apple 1, which the recycling firm sold for $200,000 in a private auction. The recycler’s policy is to split the proceeds 50-50 with the person who donated the equipment.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak built the computers in 1976 and sold them for $666.66 each. Only a few dozen of the groundbreaking home computers are known to still exist.

We thought it was fake. It was real,” CleanBayArea Vice president Victor Gichun told NBC news. He said he remembers what the donor looked like and all she had to do is show up.

“Tell this lady to please come over to our warehouse in Milpitas again,” Gichun said. “And we’ll give her a check for $100,000.”

Nothing leftover from my life will ever be worth $100K. And that’s OK.

Religious folks who bring guns and flags to demonstrate their hatred

Some of the hundreds of protesters arriving at a Phoenix mosque on Friday evening to demonstrate their first amendment protections carried firearms, American flags and shouted expletives.

As the protesters arrived, they were met by hundreds of members of various religious and community groups, who had already gathered along the sidewalk opposite the entrance to the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix.

“I think this is the real story, not the bigotry,” said community center president Usama Shami, of those who offered support. “They’re standing against bigotry.”

Phoenix police had blocked off most streets in the residential area near the center, where the protest, its two sides separated by a two-way street lined with officers in riot gear, lasted nearly four hours…

“I understand the fears and I understand the hostility,” said pastor Bob Hake of the nearby Orangewood Nazarene Church, on Friday. “I think there’s a better way to resolve those fears than intimidation and weapons and fear.”

The hatred organizer, Jon Ritzheimer wore a bulletproof vest underneath a black T-shirt bearing the phrase “fuck Islam”…Hake said, Ritzheimer had chosen the wrong weapons when he encouraged his protesters to bring firearms on the event’s Facebook page.

This is not a battlefield, this a neighborhood,” Hake said.

Yes, there also were the kind of Christians and non-Christians I wouldn’t mind as next-door neighbors. They came to stand up in opposition to bigotry.

Daniel Barenboim introduces radical new piano design

“I’ve fallen in love with it,” beamed Daniel Barenboim as he unveiled what he believes is a groundbreaking new piano, one which he conceived and commissioned, and has been dreaming about since 2011. “I want to spend as much time with it as possible.”

To a small audience of journalists, Barenboim played 30 seconds from the slow movement of Beethoven’s Appassionata Sonata on his traditional Steinway before playing the same notes on his new piano.

Some were thrilled by the difference. Others furrowed their brows at the similarity. What no one could disagree on was the maestro’s passion for his new instrument.

Barenboim declared it a “sound alternative”. One piano was not better than the other but: “There is a difference in the quality of the sound … it has more transparency, more clarity and by itself less blend but it gives you the opportunity to create a blend yourself as a player – and I like that.”

The exterior looks much the same as any other modern concert grand piano but inside there are some dramatic differences.

Designed by the Belgian instrument maker Chris Maene, the Barenboim has straight parallel strings instead of the diagonal-crossed ones of a contemporary piano. The wooden soundboard veins go in different directions. The bridges, ribs and bracings are specially-designed and the hammers and strings (yellow brass rather than red brass) have been repositioned.

All of this creates a piano which has a different sound and one which he has to play in a different way, he said. “It is a different relationship between the tip of the fingers and the key. And the pedalling … the transparency of the sound makes you rethink the use of the pedals.”

I spent much of the first half of my life as a performing artist. In my childhood – as a classical pianist. I understand what the maestro is talking about. Though I think it may be difficult to perceive from recordings.

I’d love to hear him and his new piano in a live performance.