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PatrickforO

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Hometown: Not disclosed
Home country: USA
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Member since: Mon Apr 28, 2014, 06:28 PM
Number of posts: 9,649

About Me

Counselor, economist and public servant.

Journal Archives

Wednesday's marijuana legalization vote was truly historic -- here's why

BY JUSTIN STREKAL, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR, THE HILL — 11/21/19 03:00 PM EST

https://thehill.com/opinion/civil-rights/471521-wednesdays-marijuana-legalization-vote-was-truly-historic-heres-why

Here's an excerpt!

On Wednesday, members of Congress did something that they had never done before. For the first time ever, a body of the U.S. Congress voted to end cannabis’s nearly century-long status as a federally prohibited substance.

By a vote of more than two to one, members of the United States House Judiciary Committee passed legislation, House Bill 3884: The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act.

The MORE Act removes the marijuana plant from the federal Controlled Substances Act, thereby enabling states to enact their own cannabis regulations free from undue federal interference. The vote marks the first time that members of Congress have ever voted to federally deschedule cannabis.

According to a 2018 Quinnipiac University poll, 70 percent of U.S. voters support this policy change. To date, 33 states have enacted laws regulating patients’ access to medical cannabis and nearly one in four Americans reside in a state where the adult use of marijuana is permitted.


Let's hope Moscow Mitch doesn't kill this one in the Senate, too. FINALLY!!! If this passes and is signed into law it will be a great day.

Putin has relished US political chaos. He may now fear Trump's impeachment

Analysis by Matthew Chance, Senior International Correspondent, CNN

Updated 8:13 AM ET, Tue November 12, 2019

https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/12/europe/russia-putin-trump-impeachment-intl/index.html

Here's an excerpt:

Moscow (CNN)On Russian state television, tightly controlled by the Kremlin, support for Donald Trump in his current impeachment battle is absolute. After all it is Russia, they sometimes joke, that got the US president elected in the first place!

Of course, allegations of meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, which swept Trump into office, are officially denied in Russia. But they are often referenced, even on serious television news shows, with a sarcastic wink.

"Have you lost your minds that you want to remove OUR Donald Ivanovich," bawls Vladimir Soloviev, host of "Evening," a pro-Kremlin current affairs program which has been focusing on the US impeachment proceedings.

"The chaos brought by Trump into the American system of government is weakening the United States," Karen Shakhnazarov, CEO of Mosfilm Studio and a regular guest on Russian state television, tells the studio audience. "America is getting weaker and now Russia is taking its place in the Middle East. Suddenly, Russia is starting to seriously penetrate Africa. So, when they say that Trump is weakening the United States -- yes he is and that's why we love him. The more problems they have, the better for us," Shakhnazarov says.


Think about this for a minute. Russia must own the entire GOP.

The Trump administration is dialing up efforts to 'build that wall,' records show

Source: CNN

(CNN)Three years after chants of "build that wall" became a rallying cry for the candidacy of Donald Trump, his administration is engaged in an increasingly aggressive land grab along the Southwest border to make a new wall a reality, a CNN review of federal court filings shows.

Through November 15, the Trump administration had filed 29 eminent domain suits tied to border-wall construction this year, up from 11 each of the past two years, according to federal court records. All but four of this year's suits were filed in Texas. Eminent domain is the right of a government to seize private land for public use, while providing compensation.

The eminent domain suits are the tip of a much broader effort to take private land, say attorneys representing landowners. "The lawsuits are only a fraction of the condemnations that have been settled outside of litigation," said Ricky Garza, a staff attorney at the Texas Civil Rights Project, which is representing some landowners.

Since 2017, the US government has also filed at least 35 notices -- called "declarations of taking" -- in Starr and Cameron counties, confirming that federal authorities have acquired land or easements to property through the process of eminent domain.

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/22/us/trump-administration-seizing-border-wall-land/index.html



I'm sure this is making Trump very popular with those Texas landowners.

You know, the guy is getting impeached - the whole house of cards is about to fall on him, and he's STILL working to get that wall built. Kind of reminds me of the German trains back in '44 and '45.

Well, sure. Let's have a bit of history. In concept, a national health care plan dates clear back

to Teddy Roosevelt. It was in the Democratic Party platform in 68 when we nominated the Hube to run against Nixon after Bobby had been killed.

In 72 it was 'a system of universal National Health Insurance which covers all Americans with a comprehensive set of benefits including preventive medicine, mental and emotional disorders, and complete protection against catastrophic costs, and in which the rule of free choice for both provider and consumer is protected.'

In 76, Carter said, 'We need a comprehensive national health insurance system with universal and mandatory coverage' that would paid for by a combination of mandatory employer outlays and public tax dollars.

In 1980, it was 'a comprehensive, universal national health insurance plan.'

In 1984, we backed off even further with Mondale opposing the snake Reagan. We said, "The states must be the cornerstone of our health care policies,” and that the federal government would simply “assure that health care is available to all who need help at a cost we can afford."

In 88, the party platform promoted “a national health program providing federal coordination and leadership” but focused on restraining costs.

In 1992, Clinton defeated HW on a platform that maintained that all Americans should have universal access to quality, affordable health care—not as a privilege, but as a right.

However, after the policy defeat the Clintons experienced after Hillary failed in trying to create a national healthcare system in 93, we backed off again in 1996 to being 'committed to ensuring that Americans have access to affordable, high-quality health care.'

In 2000, the platform evolved to call for us to "take concrete, specific, realistic steps to move toward the day when every American has affordable health coverage” in a “step-by-step” approach. OK, 'all deliberate speed' is how I read that.

Then, in 2004, as we fell prey to the constant Republican screech about how taxes are always bad, the platform changed to say that we want to "help businesses cope with the skyrocketing cost of health care by reforming our health care system and cutting taxes to help small businesses pay for health insurance."

In 2008, the platform stated, "We believe that quality and affordable health care is a basic right” and promised “every American man, woman, and child be guaranteed affordable, comprehensive health care.” On the question of who would run the health care system, however, the Democrats steered clear of a government-run structure, stating: “Health care should be a shared responsibility between employers, workers, insurers, providers and government.”

Now, in 2008 I did observe Hillary Clinton during a debate refusing to answer the direct question about whether she saw healthcare as a right or a privilege. She was also famously quoted as saying, "Give me something I can believe in," when a group of doctors visited her to advocate single payer.

In 2012, Obama won again, and this time the platform was, "We believe accessible, affordable, high quality health care is part of the American promise, that Americans should have the security that comes with good health care, and that no one should go broke because they get sick."

Finally, in 2016, the platform said that Democrats believe that health care is a right, not a privilege, and our health care system should put people before profits. Then, it positioned the party to "fight to make sure every American has access to quality, affordable health care.” And, as I maintain, that change can be credited to Bernie's people on the platform committee to try and smooth over the massive rift in the party that happened during that primary. You and I were on opposite sides back then, if you'll recall.

OK, so now that we've looked at the history of the Democratic platform, we see that Americans are groaning under the tyranny of a for-profit system whose interest directly conflicts with providing the healthcare they need. Along with climate change, this issue must be addressed. Public sentiment has turned in favor of both.


First, here's the source of the history above: https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20190815.209963/full/

As to the Dingells and Wasserman-Schultz, that may be, but they aren't national figures in the same way that a presidential candidate is, and certainly did not represent the party platform, as you have seen above.

Now we are once again fighting the good fight. Shall we have people over profit, or profit over people? Medicare for all is good policy because it would in fact cut costs, particularly of middle class people like me and my wife, who pay in a normal year around $19-20K for crummy, rationed healthcare with financially crippling copays. If we both have to be hospitalized in a single year, for God's sake, we have to cough up $6K. That's supposedly our 'maximum' out-of-pocket, but there is a loophole clause our HMO is inserting this year that states that some types of 'services' may not be included in the maximum. This HMO counts things like hip replacement as 'elective surgery' so they can cut costs by denying post-operative physical therapy.

I cannot say that I love Bernie, but I can say that I love the policies he introduced in 2016, and that he has fleshed out now. What I do love is his advocacy that this nation do the right thing for once and put people over profit.

We both know, George, that there are millions of dollars lined up against even a public option. Big pharma and for-profit health insurance will be fighting tooth and nail with all the dark money they can put forward. We already see this with the media focusing on asking Warren the gotcha question about raising middle class taxes.

Other posts give my counter argument in more detail, but in a nutshell, yes, taxes will rise, but people will no longer have premiums, deductibles, copays and coinsurance, so costs would actually go down. If she answered it like this, though, you know as well as I that ALL the media would trumpet out is 'Warren will raise taxes on the middle class!' The media is, after all, corporate-owned.

Of course, Medicare for All has the additional MORAL advantage of covering the 39 million Americans who don't have healthcare coverage at all as we speak here, now. And the additional 38 million who are considered 'under-insured.'

I mean, the ONLY reason we're even having this debate is fear of the dark money from pharma and health insurance corporations that will poison the debate. We're going to have to raise taxes anyway, and you know this too. The 2017 tax cut for billionaire parasites and corporations was the very height of fiscal irresponsibility, and the next recession will be a doozy, so our party will be forced into raising taxes at a time when the economy is in recession. But we will have to.

And, we will have to go against the very powerful MIC also, because we simply do not need to spend $733 billion on war, and we do not need 200,000 people on the ground in 167 countries. We don't. Silly me, I'd rather have healthcare than a space force.

I am supporting Warren now, by the way, because I did not like that many Bernie supporters refused to back Clinton when she was the nominee. That's not how we should roll. Plus, I think Warren is a bit more well rounded. Certainly from the standpoint of an economist, her policies are great, but she also has that sensibility to individuals Bernie seems to lack.

So there you have it, because I thought you deserved a thoughtful response.

Indeed. This is part of the deeper reason behind the systematic union-busting.

Wages have gone down, stagnated, and real purchasing power has gone down along with union membership.

Now, it is a given that you will have to either live with roommates, or you will have to have two incomes just to keep your nostrils above water. In the meantime, you get nickel and dimed. Student loans, planned obsolescence, unaffordable housing and all the rest.

At the same time, companies like Comcast earn huge profits ($11.3 billion in 2018) and their CEOs stratospheric 'salaries,' (For Comcast, the CEO 'earned' $35 million in 2018).

I was watching a movie that had a profound dialog in it. I will paraphrase: "It costs around $95,000 to get someone elected to the US House of Representatives, and the average tenure is 18 years. A Congressman is the BEST investment a company can make."

So, in this system based on lust to amass wealth and lust to amass power, we end up having a massive transfer of wealth to fewer and fewer individuals - billionaire parasites - while the rest of us fight over a smaller and smaller piece of pie. When the top 1% of 'earners' hold 42% of the nation's wealth, when 25,000 people in the world STARVE to death each day, when lies are propagated by big oil and plastics to cast doubt on their environmental impact just so they can keep making massive profits, when big pharma and for-profit healthcare line up billions of dollars in opposition to healthcare for all Americans, then we truly have a problem.

To facilitate this, those who wanted to create this criminal imbalance in the first place realized they needed to dumb down schools, take over the media and make it profit-driven and systematically control information. This is why Arjit Pai took away net neutrality, and why AM radio so proliferated in the 90s. It is why the bought-and-paid-for judges 'decided' in favor of Citizens United, and why the Chicago School of economics invented 'trickle down.'

Sure.

But we all have to do what we can, and those of us who can more easily 'do' should do more. Nothing excuses us each from fighting the good fight every day. We cannot give up, because this cancer of 'free market' shareholder-driven capitalism is in its last gasp and is unsustainable for us as a species. We will either have to rethink the way we organize ourselves, and the way we 'do' economics, or else we will end up extinct and this planet a smoking cinder circling the earth.

Right now, we are such a cancer on this earth that if we went extinct today, EVERY other form of life would be better off.

And that, my friends, is a truly terrifying reality to confront.

I have it. You have it. Others here have it.

As to growing it in others, it is for us to impart a sense of common decency to our families and friends through the power of example. That is where the Christians tend to get it wrong - they think success is measured by number of converts, when the truth is that success is measured by the extent to which they instill that essential moral and ethical behavior in those around them by virtue of their own example, and the extent to which they work actively to build better, more tolerant, more cohesive and resilient communities, and by the extent to which they are conscious of our collective stewardship over the earth and all life it contains.

How many of us, I wonder, know influential people in their local area? How many of us keep abreast of local issues and regularly contact our mayor, councilperson or county commissioner about these issues? How many of us keep track of what our state legislature is doing and contact our legislators regularly? Our governor? And how many of us regularly contact our US Senators and Representative by telephone, letter or email? This is how to walk the walk.

It is more than just politics, because it is possible to take a conservative position on an issue and still be a decent human being, just as it is possible to take a liberal position likewise. The problem is that we have to keep our eye on the prize, and the prize is NOT amassing wealth or power. The prize is instead the power of community, cooperation and the drive to ensure everyone has enough.

At least that is how I believe. As to whether we will actually mature enough as a species to avoid going extinct through war or degradation of the environment, your guess is as good as mine. But we as individuals are not now, not ever excused from fighting the good fight.

Every day.

A bit of a rant about Comcast in particular and cable companies in general

On Oct. 10, Comcast moved the Turner Classic Movies channel to its sports package.

Think about that for a minute. I have to pay another $9.99 a month for basically one channel, as neither my wife or I are interested in sports at all. We are having a sports 'package' rammed down our throats so my wife can watch her favorite channel.

Sigh.

So I pitched a big bitch. I called Comcast, and also completed a chat with them. I found out when my contract is over and I will be cutting the cord (cable) at that time unless they reverse this gouge.

I'm sick of getting the shaft. Seems like we get nickel and dimed mercilessly - that is capitalism at its best - you pay DEAR for as little as they can get away with giving you.

I looked over Comcast's 10K report for 2018 - wait for it............

Net profits - $11.3 billion
CEO salary - $35 million

OK...rant over.

Lawrence Tribe on AMJOY

Tribe is saying that Trump has betrayed this nation, betraying his oath, abusing his power.

He has eschewed the term 'smoking gun,' and substituted 'smoking Howitzer.'

Great toon.

https://twitter.com/malone_as/status/1177858551211012096

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EFiYG3TX0AAFhQJ?format=jpg

Yes, I'm writing a series of essays about the corrosive effect the shareholder primacy

doctrine has had on workers, consumers, communities and our environment.

A couple of thoughts:

There is nothing in the law that requires shareholder primacy. That doctrine is nothing but a theory. It is such because most of the players agree it is so. That's it.

As evidence, I call your attention to the corporate lawyer and law professor Lynn Stout, who in 2012 wrote a book called "The Shareholder Value Myth: How Putting Shareholders First Harms Investors, Corporations, and the Public." This is a sound book, written to refute the shareholder primacy doctrine. In the forward, Stout mentions that this 'ironclad' doctrine is relatively new - prior to about 1980, corporate officers tended to a much wider view of the purpose of a corporation. Then, the Chicago School arises, with Milton Friedman and postulates that shareholder primacy is THE way to go. So we had Enron, the BP Gulf disaster, and so on.

More people are wising up to this issue. Consider Warren's August 2018 legislation called 'The Accountable Capitalism Act.' This legislation, which would not pass in this congress, nor be signed into law by Trump, forces that fiduciary responsibility to expand to other stakeholders, not merely shareholders. I just saw Rep. Katie Porter on Maher, and she spoke about overturning that doctrine.

And, of course, against that backdrop, we have the Federal Reserve Act, which has created a system of scarcity that doesn't have to be. More people are now thinking about, and embracing Modern Monetary Theory in this vein.

The problem is, wasupaloopa, that our current system is simply unsustainable. I mean, morality aside, if we don't do something substantial to reorganize ourselves around human need as opposed to human greed, we will go extinct. That might not be a bad thing, I guess, because if you look at the effect sapiens have had on this planet (check Yuval Noah Harari's book Sapiens), you see that if we went extinct right now, at this very moment, ALL other species - flora and fauna - would actually be better off. That's saying something.

So, yeah, I'm an economist who tends to democratic socialism - in the sense I genuinely believe that people need to have a say in policies that affect them, at the local, state and national level. To me, that is the definition of democracy. Now, in this republic, we do that, in theory, through those we elect. Unfortunately, as Senator Whitehouse says, we need to get all this dark money and corporate corruption out of DC and our state houses, because it is a cancer.

I think Bernie has been misunderstood when he calls for a 'political revolution.' What he is saying is that when we all get fed up enough and stand up, demanding some change, that change will happen. And, you know, it can either be through this system or a bloody worldwide revolution. But that change is now an existential necessity for our species.
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