Thursday, August 11, 2016

DEA Smokes Cannabis -- in the Perjorative Sense

After nearly a century of “reefer-madness”-inspired paternalistic federal obstructionism, the Drug Enforcement Agency’s announcement that it won’t reschedule cannabis should come as no surprise. Predictably, the agency announced plans on Thursday to make research easier by ending the federal government’s monopoly on research-grade marijuana production.

The DEA, Federal Drug Administration, and Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) — “The Triad” — acknowledge cannabis contains constituents that, when used independently, or synergistically, can provide significant therapeutic benefits. However, they contend that a plant-based medicine of variable chemical composition that can be smoked (but, doesn’t have to be), can’t be medicine. (Millions of patients and their physicians, of course, disagree.)

Read the full article by Jeremy Kossen here.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Climate Change -- Democratic vs Republican Perspective

Two massive fires in California forced thousands of evacuations over the weekend and continue to rage into Monday. (Photo: AP)
Democrats describe climate change as a “real and urgent threat,” and they call for setting a price on greenhouse gas emissions. “Climate change is too important to wait for climate deniers and defeatists in Congress to start listening to science,” and government officials must take any steps they can to reduce pollution, the platform says. It calls for the country to generate half of its electricity from clean sources in the next decade and for cleaner transportation fuels, more public transit and a tax code that creates incentives for renewable energy. The platform also beats back suggestions that protecting the environment would be bad for business. “Democrats reject the notion that we have to choose between protecting our planet and creating good-paying jobs,” it says.

Republicans say “climate change is far from this nation’s most pressing national security issue,” as Democrats have labeled it. They oppose international accords like the agreement crafted in Paris last year that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to slow the climb in global temperatures.
The platform also blasts President Obama’s “clean power plan,” which would cut emissions by shifting away from coal-powered power plants. The initiative has been put on hold by the Supreme Court; Republicans vow to do away with it entirely. They also pointedly describe coal as a “clean” energy resource, a description environmentalists have roundly rejected.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Election for Washington’s Fourth Congressional District

 By Wendy Culverwell: 509-582-1514, @WendyCulverwell
Tri-City Herald, Sunday July 24, 2016

Voters won’t have to dig deep to find the differences between the three leading candidates running to represent Washington’s Fourth Congressional District. The freshman incumbent, Dan Newhouse, 61, is a Sunnyside farmer and Republican who favors limited government, a balanced budget and strong national security. He is challenged by a fellow Republican, Clint Didier, 57, an Ephrata farmer who leans further to the right, and by Doug McKinley, 53, a Richland lawyer running as a Democrat on a mission to restore the middle class.The race also includes Republican Glenn Jakeman of Yakima and Democrat Jake Malan of Pasco. Jakeman is a retired electrician. Malan has not been available for interviews since filing for election.

In 2014, Newhouse very narrowly defeated Didier, a former NFL player, in the race to succeed Richard “Doc” Hastings in the House of Representatives. With one term behind him, Newhouse has a voting record. Didier is attacking it.

Didier said he filed for a rematch to ensure Newhouse didn’t run unopposed. That was before the three other candidates entered the race.

Newhouse is not the conservative voters supported in 2014, Didier said during a recent candidate forum organized by the League of Women Voters and the Latino Coalition. He singled out Newhouse’s December “yes” vote on the federal budget bill, aka the “omnibus bill,” which funds a wide range of federal activities

“He says he’s a conservative, but he voted for the omnibus bill,” Didier said, saying it funded Planned Parenthood, the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), supported sanctuary cities and shifted money from Social Security to Social Security Disability.

The Omnibus Bill is actually 12 separate appropriation bills passed in a single move. The arrangement forces representatives to support some programs in order to fund others.

Newhouse counters that Didier’s criticism is unfounded.

“None of that was in the Omnibus Bill,” he said

Newhouse and Didier agree on one point — both want to eliminate “omnibus” bills in favor of streamlined legislation that doesn’t force lawmakers to take the good and the bad. Newhouse said the bill did fund issues important to Washington, including Hanford cleanup.
“I worked really hard to get those funding levels. I couldn’t very well convince people we needed that money in Hanford and then turn around and vote against it,” he said

Didier insists the bill funds a liberal agenda that includes welcoming Syrian refugees

Newhouse and Didier agree on one point — both want to eliminate “omnibus” bills in favor of streamlined legislation that doesn’t force lawmakers to take the good and the bad.

“We’ve got to get away from these omnibus bills,” Didier said.

The top issues

Income inequality is the leading threat to America's Middle Class -- Doug McKinley

McKinley wants Congress to take on income inequality, which he called the leading threat to the American middle class. He and his opponents agree on issues such as economic stability, but they differ on the causes and solutions, he said.

“People are witnessing the same events and they’re giving two or three separate explanations for it,” McKinley said.

“We’re seeing a lot of what used to be family wage jobs ending, and the replacement jobs are much lower pay.”

McKinley wants to compel U.S. corporations to devote a greater share of their earnings to employee salaries, which he said will lift many of America’s working poor out of poverty and off public benefit systems. “The economic data show these companies are earning plenty of money and could pay a higher wage,” he said.

McKinley opposes Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s call to deport 11 million illegal immigrants as unreasonable, and a humanitarian catastrophe that would hurt agriculture. He prefers a higher federal minimum wage, and for the House to pass the 2013 comprehensive immigration bill, which has already cleared the U.S. Senate.

"The climate is what God wants it to be because this is God’s earth." -- Clint Didier

Didier said he’s focused on border security, sovereignty and reigning in a federal bureaucracy and tax burden that is strangling America. He cites the What’s Upstream campaign as an example of the government antagonizing agriculture. The federal Environmental Protection Agency, through a grant to a nonprofit, funded the Washington-based campaign to encourage the state’s residents to advocate for clean water regulations. The campaign used stock imagery to imply dairy farmers allow cows to wade into streams. “It’s an all-out assault,” Didier said.

Didier supports Second Amendment gun rights and said that climate change is real, but not caused by humans. “The climate is what God wants it to be because this is God’s earth,” he said during the candidate’s forum.

"I have a concrete record that you can look at" -- Dan Newhouse

 Newhouse was one of 145 members of the House who demanded the EPA account for the use of federal funds for advocacy work.
He also favors a pathway to citizenship for law-abiding immigrants. He agrees that the climate is changing, but disagrees that humans are causing it.
Newhouse continues to be alarmed by the growth in the size and scope of the federal government, he said. He supported increased spending on security. More recently, he’s seen an increase in interest in violence targeting police.
Newhouse said the tone and tenor of the 2016 primary campaign is similar to the 2014 campaign, except that he didn’t have a voting record then.
He stands behind his voting record and said he continues to advocate to reign in the growth of the federal government, to pass a balanced budget amendment, to enhance national security and keep fighting to fund Hanford

Newhouse supported two measures through the reconciliation process that sent bills to the president, he said. One would have prevented federal funding for abortion and the other would have gutted the Affordable Care Act. Both were vetoed.
He said the Social Security fund transfer was in a separate bill that he opposed.
“I have a concrete record that you can look it. It’s important that people are critical of it are accurate in the criticisms they make,” he said.
In the online voter’s guide, Jakeman indicated his top priorities are state’s rights, border control, balancing the budget and eliminating some outdated programs.
In the online voters’ guide, Malan indicated his top priorities including supporting the Bill of Rights, state sovereignty, fair trade rather than free trade and restoring military strength.

What’s next

The top two finishers in the Aug. 2 primary will advance to the Nov. 8 general election, regardless of party affiliation.
Newhouse’s re-election bid is endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business and the National Rifle Association, among others.
McKinley has been endorsed by the Benton County Democrats, Franklin County Democrats, Yakima County Democrats and the Eighth and 16th Legislative District Democrats.
Didier said he is not actively seeking endorsements, though he expects to announce several shortly

All ballots must be returned or postmarked by Aug. 2.

Read more here:

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The NRA is Rallying its Members

The NRA is rallying its members to vote against Clinton and Kaine, because both favor sensible gun control measures. Something the NRA has fought no matter what. As long as they can continue to hold the Republican-led congress hostage, they will get their way. And their members are single issue voters.

What's going to motivate your vote; narrowing the wealth/income gap, strengthening Dodd-Frank, getting big money and dark money out of politics, reducing student debt, filling vacancies in the Federal and Supreme Courts, women's rights, LGTB+ rights, climate change -- any number of things, probably. Some of you may decide your vote on the basis of your anger over what you see as an unfair Democratic nominee selection process.

In the meantime, NRA members are going to vote for the candidates that get their "A" Grade on the issue of the 2nd Amendment. The NRA and their members know what motivates them, and it isn't any of your progressive values, and it isn't dead or wounded Americans. They don't give two hoots in hell about your values or your hurt feelings. They care about their guns.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Did Donald Trump Really Say This?

Donald Trump has said some outrageous things in his campaigning for the Republican nomination for President. Most of what he says is false. Much of what he says is insulting, crass, obnoxious, and just plain silly. Here are some of the silly things Trump may or may not have said. Without looking them up, see if you can correctly identify the things he actually said (from the things he didn’t say, but sound like what he might have said).

Addressing the threat stemming from South China Sea dispute.

(1) “I will build a wall across the straits or whatever and I’ll get China to pay for it. I’ve done business with the Chinese. They love me.”

On the alarming growth of antibiotic resistant superbugs.

(2) “I will make the greatest antibiotics you’ve ever seen. And they will be cheap. So cheap.”

On the nuclear deal with Iran.

(3) "I’ve studied this issue in great detail — I would say actually greater by far than anybody else. Believe me. Oh, believe me. I would dismantle this disastrous deal.”

On religious intolerance.

(4) “I think Islam hates us. There’s a tremendous hatred. We have to get to the bottom of it. There is an unbelievable hatred of us.”

On being presidential.

(5) “At some point I’m going to be so presidential. Being presidential is easy. It’s so easy.”

On the Middle East.

(6) “I could negotiate peace in the Middle East — very few other people could.”

On divisiveness in America.

(7) “I know this observation doesn’t make any of us sound very good, but let’s face the fact that it’s possible that even your best friend wants to steal your spouse and your money.”

On foreign relations.

(8) “The Japanese bow because they don’t want to shake hands. You put out your hand, they stand back and bow. They’re afraid of germs.”

On diplomacy.

(9) “You hear lots of people say that a great deal is when both sides win. That is a bunch of crap. In a great deal you win— not the other side.”

On who his foreign policy advisor would be.

(10) “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain, and I've said a lot of things.”

Bonus -- On his Nevada primary victory.

“We won with the poorly educated! I love the poorly educated!”