Archive for the ‘The Economy’ Category

Riots in the streets and pigs on the wing   Leave a comment

17 March 2016 — Bellingham, WA.

So, Donald Trump is threatening riots if he doesn’t get the Republican nomination.

It will happen. I’m sure. I’ve been saying it all along. People in Jerusalem last month asked me what I think is going to happen as a result of the primaries, and invariably I would say, “Riots.” Well, that’s not entirely true. Sometimes I’d say, “Chaos.” But that was the general theme of it.

I firmly believe the powers that be — the conservative hard-core insiders, the ones who refuse to hold hearings for Supreme Court Justice — will also refuse to award Donald Trump the nomination of the Grand Old Party. Just picture a Trump-Kardashian ticket next to the (R) on your ballot. Even Reince Priebus is tweeting  #NeverTrump in fake Twitter profiles. This year (R) might stand for Reality TV, and there’s going to be plenty of it on CNN.

This morning another major development happened, and it seems that indeed pigs can fly, as Lindsey Graham announced he’s throwing an AIPAC fundraiser for Ted Cruz, someone he’s admitted on CNN and elsewhere he doesn’t really like. Calling Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a liar on the Senate floor doesn’t get you many points. Graham was careful to say that he’s not endorsing Cruz, but that Cruz was the only mainline Republican who has the chance to keep Trump off the ballot.

Ohio Governor John Kasich, the hometown boy, the convention and riots being in Cleveland, is a very dark horse to sneak in under the wire, and only if he wins Pennsylvania or Wisconsin and gets a healthy injection of charisma. If you ask me, Kasich, who’s known to fly off the handle, couldn’t attract the media with free sandwiches and an open bar. He began going negative against Trump today. Watch out – the mud’s flying.

It’s funny. The last time there were real riots at a convention, it was 1968, in Chicago, at the Democratic convention. Now, all the action’s going to be in Cleveland, with the Trump supporters. They have the capacity to go full zoohouse. I don’t want to be within a hundred miles of Cleveland during the Republican Convention. The best seat’s going to be in front of a TV anyway.

But what about Philadelphia?

On the Philadelphia side, the prune-faced screaming banshee has an insurmountable lead over Bernie Sanders, who authored most of her ideas, especially in her last month’s speeches. Saying this is sure to get me branded a blatant sexist, and so be it.

I’ve met Hillary Clinton, in 1991, 1992, and 1996, when I worked for her husband’s campaign in Colorado. She was cordial in the way upper class types condescend to normal everyday people, except when I had to use the bathroom after she just hopped out of the shower (visual: Hillary in a bathrobe and towel) at a Clinton friend’s house during motorcade downtime.

Excuse me if I’m biased, but I’m a child of the sixties: Bernie Sanders holds the emotional torch for the Democrats. His followers haven’t been as loud as the Trump people who want to revolt against the Republican elite. And it remains to be seen if Sanders’ supporters are driven enough to get tough. I can’t imagine a Texas death match between Trump’s people and Sanders’.

But the Sanders people are adamant in their support. My social media feed is full of Bernie stuff from Bernie people, non-stop Bernie stuff, always upbeat. You would think the superdelegates, the Party faithful — I know a lot of them — will turn and feel the Bern like their contemporaries. Will the hard-line Bernie people be as hard-line during and after the Convention?

I’ve come across a lot of older and younger “hippies” who would never think of holding a physical revolution. But I’m sure they’re out there. You wonder if there would actually be an Independent or Third Party Revolution. I’m sure that would cause riots in the leadership offices of both parties.

But that’s what it may come down to for both parties come this summer, so it may be time to start thinking about what might happen in a four-way race between Clinton, Sanders, Trump, and whomever the Republican establishment anoints. Or at least tumbling the idea around in our minds.

For too long, the American public have been complaining about too little choice in Presidential candidates. Maybe this year, we’ll have four to pick from.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TO: ALL DEMOCRATIC ELECTED OFFICIALS FROM WASHINGTON STATE   1 comment

April 20, 2015
Bellingham, WA.

Esteemed Senators, Congressmen, and in-state officials:

I am writing you on behalf of Medical Marijuana Patients in Washington state, including myself.

In my 60 years, I’ve given many of those years to my Party, and I’ve worked with and for many outstanding legislators, their policy people, and their political advisors.

I’m writing you about the backlash that will occur amongst Washington state medical marijuana patients, many of whom are Veterans or Disabled Veterans, if Governor Jay Inslee fails to VETO 5052, a bill on his desk right now that would greatly injure — some say destroy — the rights of medical marijuana patients in this state.

This would occur right in the middle of 2016, just when everyone in the country is focused in on the Presidential campaign and of course the Congressional elections.

I phoned each of your Washington, D.C., offices on Friday afternoon and informed your people of Jay Inslee’s intention to sign 5052 and how it would backlash against the Democrats in this state.

I know of no other instance in my life where a chief executive with a (D) after his name would hurt patients to this degree. The voters are no doubt going to remember. This is a serious threat to the Party. And Inslee’s got really bad timing.

The Republicans in Olympia, to their credit, had compassion and empathy, and tried to kill this bill, but the supposedly forward-thinking Democrats in the legislature pushed it through.

They were incentivized by growers and lobbyists for 502 store owners. There’s a lot of green circulating in The Evergreen State. Weed, grass, you name it.

Washington MMJ patients have been safely covered by the Compassionate Care Act of 1998, which morphed into the current RCW 69.51a et al. It is as advertised; compassionate.

We oppose this 5052 bill because the State Liquor Board are not to be trusted with patients’ HIPAA-protected medical records and treatments.

These include psychiatric records in some cases. These are PRIVATE; not for appointed uncredentialed desk jockeys who know nothing about health care or medicine. The State LIQUOR Board are untrained and unqualified. Patients’ medical records are our classified information.

Have they not seen the Colorado model? Three million dollars extra each month to the schools, tax REBATE checks TO the people. Booming economy. Why not try it? Deaf ears.

Medical marijuana is NOT recreational marijuana. I use it when I NEED IT. This morning I didn’t. Yesterday I did. Tonight I will, because I feel the pain increasing.

I use a high CBD strain for pain. If I used oxycodone or hydrocodone, both opioids, I wouldn’t be able to express myself clearly. And I would only need the toilet once a week. Unhealthy.

Medical marijuana should be taxed, we all agree. We’re cool with that. But be FAIR.

It should NOT be taxed like recreational marijuana, which is what the State seems to want. The taxes on that are outrageous! Has anyone seen the Colorado model? They treat people like people! This state’s Democratic leadership has been asleep at the wheel!

IF 5052 is not vetoed, it will, among other things:

Force patients to get prescriptions from their primacy care physician. No doctor will write a prescription as long as the DEA has marijuana unfairly classified as having no known medical use. The DEA would immediately cancel their licenses! So that’s a deal-killer right there. But wait! There’s more.

Force medical marijuana patients to go to 502 retail stores and mingle with recreational users, and be forced to pay up to TRIPLE what we’re paying now.

Force patients to register with the State. Not acceptable. This is not Russia, China, or Myanmar! I don’t believe I would agree to that. I don’t have to register my concealed carry weapon, so I don’t think I have to register my pain medication. Would I have to register my insulin too?

Allow any state law enforcement agent to knock on a patient’s door and must be permitted to come in and inspect their growing space. Doesn’t this sound unconstitutional to you?

So, I’m afraid it’s come to this: If Inslee fails to VETO 5052, he is endangering all seven Democratic seats in the House. Medical marijuana as we know it will disappear in the middle of 2016. Right squack in the middle of Convention Season!

Voters will remember when their ballots arrive what the Democrats in Olympia did, and they’re not going to connect those little arrows next to your names or anyone’s name with a [D] next to it.

I don’t want to live in a RepubliCon dominated country. I don’t want to live in a theocracy.

It is within your power to help. Please call Jay Inslee and tell him to turn on his shredder most riki-tik and throw that garbage 5052 bill into it before he causes a disaster bigger than the one in 2014, which was the worst since Truman was president.

Our medical marijuana patients will be forced back to the black market or to some other state where the governor doesn’t drink Fukushima spring water. The Party does not need this kind of name recognition in a presidential election year.

On behalf of my fellow medical marijuana patients and voters in The Evergreen State, many of whom are Veterans seeking relief from severe PTSD, and other physically Disabled Veterans seeking relief from severe pain and don’t want to get hooked on opioids, I thank you very much for your kind attention.

I look forward to your comments and hopefully your swift action.

Respectfully,
Warren S. Levine
Humble patient

Oscar Pistorius in Wonderland   2 comments

8 May Morning Session:

Roux calls an anesthetist (not an anesthesiologist, who has an MD) to testify (speculate) as to the contents of Reeva Steenkamp’s stomach, which she was not qualified to testify about because, as she kept repeating, she was not a forensic pathologist. So where was the forensic pathologist? Ah, Wednesday. Must have been on the links, my lady.

She takes up a good bit of the morning, and then Roux pulls a bit of a shocker, but the effect is soon lessened, because AGAIN, he chose the least qualified clinician he could possibly find, save an intern, to testify — a social worker and probation officer who normally does assessments of children and adolescents after they’ve been arrested for commission of minor crimes. She specifies that she doesn’t treat the patients (clients) she sees, but just presumably listens and comforts. Also not expert witness material.

She said she first saw Oscar on Feb 15, 2013, the day after the murder — he told her he missed Reeva so much, and that he was heartbroken. Later on, he told her, she volunteered,  that he “accidentally shot her,” which is not the Oscar Pistorius we’ve heard come clean in court. After the assessment, her participation should have been over, but she wouldn’t let it go.

The social worker continued that it upset her that she’d read in the newspaper and heard in the media that he wasn’t sincere about his feelings, that he took acting lessons, was crying when needed, and that he was taking lightly what happened, so on Tuesday of this week she decided to come forward because she thought he was heartbroken and traumatized.

[Takes big step backwards] So, she’s got a reason to come forward — to improve Oscar’s public relations profile and counter the bad PR he’s been getting from everyone in the media for shedding crocodile tears, crying on cue, and taking acting lessons. In other words, she’s motivated. Nothing like having an expert witness who comes in off the street and wants to do something for you, is there?

She goes on to testify to Nel, “He (the defendant) kept saying he was sorry about the loss, about her parents, the loss, he loved her, etc. And so Nel correctly calls her testimony hearsay — it’s all the defendant’s emotions. Roux got up to object to the line of questioning, and the lawyers exchanged gentle feel-out jabs with the judge, and evidently Nel seemed to win, but ended up apologizing to the judge and slightly changed his tack.

He cried, talked about the future he says they’d planned together, the loss, that he was never going to see her again, her parents and what they’re going through, and she saw a heartbroken man who suffered emotionally. She was assigned to be his probation officer as a term of his bail, and they turned over a bunch of papers as evidence of those logs. He never said he was sorry for what he had done. never showed remorse and said he’s sorry for what he did, specifically. “I’m sorry for my loss. I’m heartbroken.” But she couldn’t speculate what a person’s emotions might be after he’d shot someone. He was traumatized, he was emotional, he cried. He talked and said how he misses Reeva. Didn’t talk that day about shooting her. Sorry about what happened, sorry for the loss — sorry for the parents, misses Reeva, spent a lot of time discussing his version of what had happened, and he talked a lot about his own feelings. She checked that he was seeing his psychologist, which he was, and had regular contact with him as his probation officer in person or by phone.

The last witness of the day was a ballistics expert whom some had called verbose before he took the stand. Verbose? Anyone remember President Clinton’s remarks to the Democratic Convention in 1996? He took a record 70 minutes. His 3300-word prepared speech went close to 6000 words. But he kept his audience mostly riveted. Mostly.

This ballistics expert, who was also not a forensic pathologist, talked endlessly about ammunition and how a gun works, he referred to a semi-automatic pistol as an “auto-loader” and never did talk about a safety mechanism of any kind. Not only that, but the moron didn’t even bring a demonstration gun that looked similar but was painted with a flame-orange barrel, maybe a plug in or a bar across the barrel, and a half-functioning firing pin. So there stood Captain Boring, trying to explain how a gun worked using a piece of paper. Nice.

In my mind, and in my notes, all we got from the firearms expert or ballistics expert was that a bullet could be deflected by up to 1-3 degrees by going through a door before ripping pieces of a human body to shreds. Great. For that I stay up til 6am, and the bastard didn’t even figure in drag coefficients OR the type of wood. Fraud.

The one-hour afternoon session with this guy should have gone until 4:15, according to agreements made with other court employees before they went on a two-week break, but it went exactly one hour, before Roux begged my lady to call it a day, after taking the 1-2 hour for lunch and returning at 2 , and then at 3 they’re done, jolly old fun.

That’s how they work the day away in the merry old trial of Oz.

Mercifully, the week in court ends tonight, Thursday night (early Friday morning) in the U.S., and so a very interested — some may say obsessed — crowd on Websleuth, DigitalSpy, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media that God knows I have no time for, will have a chance to celebrate Mothers’ Day in relative peace, as long as they don’t sneak in a nap after dinner so they can stay up all night to watch the barely competent witnesses line up for the defense on Monday.

REMEMBER YOUR MOTHER AND HONOR HER ON MOTHERS’ DAY.

YOU’RE LUCKY IF YOURS IS STILL AROUND.

 

Get ‘Em Champ: A Time to Celebrate, Appreciate, and Trust Joe Biden   Leave a comment

Get ‘Em Champ: A Time to Celebrate, Appreciate, and Trust Joe Biden.

Joe Biden is often the forgotten man in the White House. He’s out of the news for two or three weeks before popping back up to make some salient point or at least provide an interesting sound byte. In many ways, Joe Biden has been reduced to that news capsule existence.

With the vice presidential debate on tap for Thursday night, it’s time to celebrate Joe Biden, appreciate Joe Biden, and most of all, trust Joe Biden.

The Joe Biden life story has been told many times by people who have had the pleasure of spending a few hours with the man. It’s one worth repeating, though, and it is a life story worth celebrating by those who believe in the profound strength that builds when one overcomes life’s trials.

Joe Biden’s childhood was typical in many ways and atypical in many others. He grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he lived with both his parents and grandparents. His father was not wealthy. In fact, a run of bad business luck brought financial ruin to the Biden doorstep, forcing Joe’s father to lean on other family for support.

It was there, they say, that Biden developed some of the qualities that shaped him into a six-term senator and vice president of the United States. In a 2008 article about Biden’s childhood, the AP’s Michael Rubinkam wrote:

In his 2007 memoir, “Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics,” Biden said he learned politics at his grandfather’s kitchen table, where the Finnegan clan — Irish, Catholic and staunchly Democratic — would “argue local politics, state politics, world events, Truman against MacArthur.”

Joe Biden was an adventurous, athletic kid. He loved football, baseball, sledding down Fiske Street, and carving his name into the walls of his childhood home. Joe Biden’s childhood wasn’t all rosy, though. He was often bullied in his youth because of his debilitating stutter. John Broder of the New York Times captured Biden’s response to the incessant neighborhood bullying:

He relished the one he shared with delegates at the Democratic National Convention about his mother instructing him to retaliate against some neighborhood boys who had roughed him up. He even acted out the punch he said he delivered to one of the boy’s noses. “I went ‘Bam,’ ” he said, aiming a punch at your correspondent’s face, “and they all ran away.

Biden learned to beat his stuttering problem with a now-famous poetry routine, where he would repeat lines from Ralph Waldo Emerson. Biden went on to college, where he earned historically low marks at the University of Delaware. He spent much of his time on academic probation, but eventually made his way to law school at Syracuse. Later, he worked as a public defender – an experience that undoubtedly shaped much of Biden’s legislative future.

When Joe Biden’s father nicknamed his “champ,” he slapped on Biden a moniker that he continues to wear proudly today. Biden has been a champion of the working class and a champion of the poor. He has been a champion of many people who otherwise might not have a voice. Some of his legislative accomplishments include:

*Voted no to limiting class action lawsuits to empower consumers
*Voted no to making it harder for death row inmates to appeal
*Co-sponsored the hate crimes prevention act
*Established a domestic violence volunteer attorney network to assist victims
*Introduced a law to support second chances for offenders in hopes of lowering recidivism among first-time criminals

Biden also understood one of the many problems in the justice system when he was in the Senate. He once said:

The vast majority of gun crimes are almost all related to drugs. And what we do is we, instead of incarcerating our young blacks and other folks in the inner city who are arrested for a violent crime, instead of separating these juveniles, we put them in with adults. They go ahead and they learn the trade. They learn the trade and they come back out.

Joe Biden has been a champion for his family. After losing his wife and child in a car accident, Biden made the decision to take the Amtrak home to Delaware each night to care for his sons, who were also injured in the wreck. He continued doing that during the entirety of his Senate career, often sacrificing fundraising to be at his sons’ baseball games.

It is high time that we appreciate Joe Biden the man and Joe Biden the politician. That’s because Biden is one of the rare men who allow those things to overlap. His kind heart has guided him over a long legislative career. His down-home roots and friendly demeanor have helped the administration connect with working class and middle class voters in places like Ohio, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Joe Biden connects with people because he is a person. He’s a real, genuine person.

When Biden engaged in a famous hug with a young man during a Florida campaign event, it got to the core of what the man is all about. The young man was Kobe Groce and he communicated his appreciation for what Biden and the President had done to help his family. Groce told Biden of his single mother’s struggles and of his brother’s ambitions. He told Biden of his own goals and his own determination to overcome challenges. Biden’s response was real and powerful. After a tear-soaked hug, he told Kobe to “keep the faith.” Those words relayed an understanding of what it’s like to struggle. More aptly, those words communicated a sense of unrelenting hope from a man who has overcome tragedy, personal struggles, and socioeconomic barriers to reach the near-summit of American politics.

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Biden handled tremendous loss with dignity. He overcame childhood stuttering with tenacity. He worked through a brain aneurism with courage. He is a man chiseled into something greater than himself by the tools of determination and the sheer erosion that accompanies life.

This is the time to trust Joe Biden. For four years, he has had the President’s back. He’s been the faithful adviser, waiting in the wings with a laugh, a smile, and a few thoughtful words. Few people get to hear what’s said between Barack Obama and Joe Biden. But the President chose Biden for a reason. He chose Biden because he trusts that when he needs a man the most, this Vice President will come through.

Joe Biden has an opportunity to look the bully in the face on Thursday night. He has a chance to hit the bully in the nose and make them “run away.” Here’s to hoping he delivers a knockout performance, full of the things that make Joe Biden special. From unscripted normalcy to unforgiving honesty to a sharp understanding of the real problems faced by real people, it is time for Joe Biden to answer the bell. As for us, let’s keep the faith.

Get ’em, Champ.

ORIGINALLY POSTED TO GRIZZARD ON WED OCT 10, 2012 AT 07:41 PM PDT.

ALSO REPUBLISHED BY I VOTE FOR DEMOCRATS AND COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT.

Support Patients Against New Approach Washington   Leave a comment

I received the following email from NORML on February 17th and have been in an ongoing conversation with some intern at foundation@norml.org in Washington, D.C. The kid I’m communicating with sounds like a future congressman. In other words, an apprentice liar.

Following are highlights of the conversation. People should know that WA I-502 is going to HURT legal medical marijuana users, and that NORML is pushing for its passage, which goes against all the principles they supposedly stand for.

Personally, I have no idea what’s driving NORML, but whatever is, I don’t like it. Nor do I have any idea whom he’s referring to at the very bottom of this post, when he refers to “elite billionaires,” and I don’t think he does either. But that doesn’t stop him from praising their efforts.

Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2012 10:57:04 -0500
Subject: Endorsed: NORML Supports Marijuana Legalization Initiative in Washington State
From: letters@norml.org

Dear NORML supporters in Washington,

The importance of Washington potentially becoming the first state where the voters send a loud and clear message to both state and federal government “Please end the failed policy of Cannabis Prohibition and  replace it with logical alternative public policies like tax-n-regulate” can’t be overstated.

The in-state organizers of Initiative 502 have done a remarkable job lining up the most formidable, respected and famous citizens in Washington (such as NORML Advisory Board member and best selling author/TV host Rick Steves) as the lead public proponents for this ground-breaking initiative that can most certainly have positive national implications for ending the country’s now 74-year-old Cannabis Prohibition.

Check out the NORML endorsement:

http://blog.norml.org/2012/02/17/endorsed-norml-supports-marijuana-legalization-initiative-in-washington-state/

Please become an active supporter of Initiative 502 by visiting the webpage below:

[NAW link removed]

With 50% of the US now supporting cannabis legalization, please help lead the rest of the country out of eight decades of Reefer Madness by passing Initiative 502 this fall in Washington!!

Cannabem liberemus,
-Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director
NORML Washington, D.C. www.norml.org

This was my reply to the bulk email above:

Dear Mr. St. Pierre:

As a licensed medical marijuana patient in Washington State, I have to take major issue with your support of this incredibly unfair initiative. I-502 would also make it illegal to drive with blood THC levels equal to or greater than 5 nanograms per milliliter. Medical marijuana experts are concerned that this will lead to medicinal marijuana users being convicted of DUI despite current legislation giving them the right to drive. I’ve been a supporter of NORML since Frank Fioramonti founded it.

But many legalization advocates are concerned about the impact on authorized medical-marijuana patients of the DUI provision, which defines impairment as 5 nanograms of active THC per ml. in the bloodstream based on 2005 research.

Since THC is stored in body fat, and I’ve unfortunately got plenty of that, I’d still be legally DUI over a week AFTER my last dose! The only way around this would be to go back to opiates like oxycodone or hydrocodone – Percocet or Vicodin – which make me physically ill (unlike mmj) but which are presumably out of my system a lot quicker. That would be stupid and self-destructive. I’m not going back to prescription opioids!

<Blogger’s note: I clipped and pasted the following from a couple of recent articles.>

Although I-502 specifically does not preempt the state medical-marijuana law, activists believe the DUI provision would apply to existing patients.

Dr. Gil Mobley, who runs a Federal Way clinic catering to medical-marijuana patients, said he recently tested several patients and found they passed cognitive tests even with THC concentrations of up to 47 nanograms. Nearly four hours after one patient medicated, they still tested at 6 nanograms.

“I told them they’d be legally unable to drive if this law passes,” said Mobley. “It’s philosophically, morally and legally wrong.” Nora Callahan, who has campaigned for drug-law reform since 1997, said she supports regulating legalized marijuana, but says I-502 would be “continuing prohibition.”

So, given all of the above, I don’t understand why you support this initiative. Can you explain?

I received the following reply from an intern at The NORML Foundation:

Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2012 11:45:49 -0500
Re: Endorsed: NORML Supports Marijuana Legalization Initiative in Washington State

Hello,

Thanks for contacting NORML and having a keen interest in NORML’s longstanding pro-reform advocacy efforts. [bullshit and doubletalk removed] Your email was forwarded to me for a reply.

NORML’s board, which voted unanimously (13-0; two not present), including two members from Washington… supports I-502 in the same manner that it supported the clearly flawed medical cannabis initiative in WA in 1998…. They, like WA, all have components of their initiatives that are objectionable (and) that has led to Washington having semi-sanctioned medical cannabis dispensaries in one city, but not another….

When initiatives–like the flawed cannabis initiative LeMar in 1972 in CA right straight through to today’s Initiative 502 in WA–substantively reform cannabis laws beyond what otherwise recalcitrant legislatures and the timid judiciary (which largely defers to legislative and executive intent) will deign, it behooves cannabis consumers and other taxpayers alike to support and vote for these reform initiatives.

To the extent there are serious flaws or defects with cannabis law reform initiatives that pass voter muster, activists historically have sought effective relief in amending legislation after the fact. (emphasis added)

Much is the same and expected with WA where state legislators have already crafted legislation addressing the concerns of some activists and consumers regarding DUID standards.

Like many other national cannabis law reform organizations and activists in Washington, NORML readily expressed the concerns it had with the proposed initiative language to the [sic] I-502’s backers. However, just like these other cannabis law reform groups–namely Drug Policy Alliance, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, SAFER, Marijuana Policy Project, ACLU; along with NORML’s chapters in WA–national NORML too is supporting WA’s Initiative 502 to substantively reform cannabis laws and therein challenge the federal prohibition.

In conclusion, while supporting the broad intent and substantive reforms created by the passage of Initiative 502, NORML however does not endorse the imposition of per se laws for drivers who test positive for THC or THC metabolites in blood without additional demonstrable evidence of psychomotor impairment. Further, NORML supports amending legislation post the passage of Initiative 502 (emphasis added) to 1) enact legal protections via legislation for those citizens—notably medical cannabis patients—who are most disproportionately at risk of being adversely impacted by such standards, and 2) to allow consumers and patients to privately cultivate cannabis for personal use.

Kind regards, thanks again for your interest and support,

Casey, NORML Foundation intern, Washington, D.C.

And so they revealed their game plan for us (since it doesn’t involve them); specifically to get the bill amended AFTER it passes. He fails to explain what guarantees are in place  until that presumably happens. My reply:

Hi, and thanks for your reply.

That’s what worries me; that I’ll lose the right to grow my own if this passes (until it’s presumably amended), and that I’ll end up in jail for DUI when I can drive circles around most everyone else (I’ve driven in half a dozen Presidential and Vice Presidential motorcades).

I don’t want to get screwed by some overzealous cop who thinks he’s Gil F–king Kerlikowske, the child-killer of the Seattle WTO protests. America’s answer to Deng Xiaoping and Li Peng, the child-killers of Tiananmen Square.

Anyway, whatever they end up doing, there are going to be serious repercussions against the medical marijuana community, whether it’s by taxing, or fining, or prohibition, or some other major life-inconvenience, but that’s our payoff for getting attacked on 9/11, right? I’m so tired of my personal rights being violated, I don’t even get on a goddamn airplane anymore.

This is why I live within walking distance of Canada.

Now, as you can see, I’m beginning to get frustrated with this misinformed little twit who’s probably not even old enough to get an MMJ permit. His answer:

Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2012 10:02:15 -0500
Hello again Mr. Levine,

Thanks for your reply email.

Your fear of medical cannabis, notably cultivation, becoming illegal under I-502 is not founded in the proposal or in the strategy of the organizers.

In fact, the very group of funders and WA activists that brought the medical cannabis initiative in 1998 to WA are the exact same ones trying to pass this initiative.

Do you think they’re trying to undo their previous work?

Hardly. They’re building upon it.

Re the DUID, the state already has a 90% conviction rate on DUID charges. If the initiative passes, what is the real consequence here…an effective 95% rate of conviction.

And for this you’d vote against a legalization initiative that effectively stops the arrests, prosecutions, incarcerations, civil forfeitures and overall harassment of the vast majority of cannabis consumers, be them [sic] for medical or recreational purposes. Also, if the initiative passes, other states will follow suit quickly, and the federal prohibition will continue to be turned on its head.

If I were a WA state resident, including if I was a patient, I’d vote for I-502 as readily as I’ll take my next breath. In my view, the opportunity for serious state reforms in WA and impact on the federal prohibition is too great not to fully embrace. (Blogger’s note: How many different tenses does this kid include in the first sentence? I’m counting three.)

Thanks again and regards, Casey
NF intern

This was my reply to him:

Not too long ago, Christine Gregoire was forced by the feds to back off issuing business licenses for dispensaries in WA. These people can’t even use a bank account anymore. There are millions of dollars in cash floating around, AND we undoubtedly lost some of our legitimate tax base. So the feds drove the dispensaries underground, at least as far as being a legal entity is concerned, by threatening State workers with federal crimes.

Further to the tax base, I don’t want to see a 25% tax every time a plant changes hands. Grower to distributor, distributor to dispensary, dispensary to customer. Three 25% taxes (whether or not they’re cumulative) is insane unless the prices are controlled. Which we also don’t want to see. (Blogger’s note: Here I cut & pasted directly from I-502.)

NEW SECTION. Sec. 27. (1) There is levied and collected a
marijuana excise tax equal to twenty-five percent of the selling price
on each wholesale sale in this state of marijuana by a licensed
marijuana producer to a licensed marijuana processor or another
licensed marijuana producer. This tax is the obligation of the
licensed marijuana producer.
(2) There is levied and collected a marijuana excise tax equal to
twenty-five percent of the selling price on each wholesale sale in
this state of useable marijuana or marijuana-infused product by a
licensed marijuana processor to a licensed marijuana retailer. This
tax is the obligation of the licensed marijuana processor.
(3) There is levied and collected a marijuana excise tax equal to
twenty-five percent of the selling price on each retail sale in this
state of useable marijuana and marijuana-infused products. This tax
is the obligation of the licensed marijuana retailer, is separate and
in addition to general state and local sales and use taxes that apply
to retail sales of tangible personal property, and is part of the
total retail price to which general state and local sales and use
taxes apply.
(4) All revenues collected from the marijuana excise taxes imposed
under subsections (1) through (3) of this section shall be deposited
each day in a depository approved by the state treasurer and
transferred to the state treasurer to be credited to the dedicated
marijuana fund.
(5) The state liquor control board shall regularly review the tax
levels established under this section and make recommendations to the
legislature as appropriate regarding adjustments that would further
the goal of discouraging use while undercutting illegal market prices.

You’re probably right about medical users being able to cultivate. From my research, it seems only recreational users are prohibited from cultivating. But I’m not a lawyer. Do I understand correctly that for medical users, the personal possession and cultivation limits are to be unchanged from the present RCW 69.50 et al? (Blogger’s note: the little shit didn’t even address this question.)

As for the ridiculous, unscientifically-based, and completely arbitrary blood-content limit, it’s easy for you to be so flip about it because you’re not in my shoes. The new limit will mean that every time I drive my car, I’ll be committing an arrestable offense. This is the WORST part of this ill-advised and sloppily-written law.

What we REALLY need is shitheads like Gil Kerlikowske out of the business of busting harmless marijuana smokers; and we need to get the goddamn FDA, DEA, WTF-ever, to DECLASSIFY marijuana, because it has NOTHING in common with addictive, destructive opiates.

So, this time I WAS pissed off, but here was his reply, which I read this morning:

Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2012 17:40:01 -0500

The primary reason why most all Governors back off from the feds is because it is still a violation of the CSA and International Treaties to sell govt-sanctioned, regulated and controlled cannabis (unless it is highly controlled for medical use). No words have changed re cannabis in the CSA since the inception in 1970. Indeed, in some parts of the country people’s attitudes, along with economic conditions nationally, have created an amazing patchwork of grey are laws (ie, despite clearly being against both state/federal laws, King County is mostly allowing retail sales…at the same time cities on the eastern slope, like Spokane, retail access to medical cannabis is still aggressively prohibited).

Geography is the biggest contributing factor, right down to the neighborhood, that largely determines if retail medical cannabis is ‘legal [sic] or not.

Thankfully, policymakers in other states (CO, NM, ME and AZ), sometimes overriding their Governors’ concerns, have effectively challenged the feds to stop them from taxing and regulating medical cannabis.

NORML’s staff thinks the real legal Armageddon is if and when the feds go after one of these current medical cannabis retail states, or, subsequently a legalization initiative state like WA/CO/CA (the states most likely to pass a ‘legalization’ initiative first).

This has not happened yet, but seems inevitable, again, with no changes in federal law being made by the Congress that technically only allows 5 patients to be in a closed federal program (Compassionate IND) that provides them 300 joints per month, 15 CSA Schedule I researchers and law enforcement (who, when deputized and acting in accordance with the law, are made immune from CSA laws), meaning that other than these very small communities, no one else in America can even touch cannabis.

So every dispensary in WA, and in all other states—blessedly good for humanity as they are–are demonstrably illegal under the still controlling CSA.

So, at some point, absent major legal changes to the CSA by Congress (and none currently are politically viable or supported by either party), it looks like some state sooner than later is taking a legal rocket ride to SCOTUS. (Blogger’s note: How fucking insane!!! The radical right-wing activist Supreme Court is, as a group, more dangerous to our individual rights than the Republican-controlled Congress.)

Re the DUID, NORML has already written and submitted the amending legislation at the behest of WA legislators Dickerson and Welles. If I-502 passes, amending legislation will very likely pass and be signed into law.

All of these cannabis law voter initiatives are flawed in one form or another, for one reason or another, but after the ‘big’ work to get through the Prohibition Rubicon is done by the people—as compared to timid policymakers—then what if any important details can be addressed by concerned parties in later legislation, that both amends and affirms the major changes achieved.

Indeed, medical cannabis users should not feel too much of a [sic] overtly negative impact save for potentially those charged with DUID pre-amending legislation, and youthful medical cannabis users, who could face harsher penalties if they can’t prove their medical approval.

If NORML had funded and written the initiative, virtually none of this contentious stuff would be in it, but, ironically, ALL of the pro-reform initiatives since 1996, including WA’s, have been funded by elite billionaires who choose NOT to work with (or fund) grassroots organizations like NORML.

Casey, NF intern

Sarah Palin calls for deeper vetting of GOP candidates. And she’s serious.   Leave a comment

Ho-ly shit! I thought I’d heard everything until this morning, when I turned on CNN and saw Sarah Palin, looking kind of gaunt, actually, on the Sean Hannity Show, calling for deeper vetting of candidates by the Republican Party. (Video link below)

Her reasoning? “…because we know the mistake in our country four years ago was having a candidate that was not vetted to the degree that he should have been so that we know… knew what his association and his pals represented…”  and yada yada yada. By the time she got to that point, everything she said after that gem was covered by the laugh track that was raging in my mind.

Sarah Palin calling for deeper candidate vetting is like Newt Gingrich calling for capital punishment for philanderers. It is the Big Bang of hypocrisy. Of course, Sarah is out of touch with reality, just as R-money is with the average American worker, employed or otherwise. Being reasonable is a foreign concept to people like this gang of four one-percenters and a racist the GOP is serving up at this year’s dinner in North Carolina.

But whomever they go with, it’s going to be a bad choice. Really bad. I suppose we can always go with the devil we know and give Barack Obama another four years before we get, hopefully, a much better choice than we have in 2012. A choice from both sides of the political spectrum, rather than a choice between rotten meat, rotten chicken, warm sushi, moldy cheese, and pork & chicken tartare.

I feel like I’m stranded in a political desert with a mouthful of camel shit, and only a bucket of piss to take away the taste. I don’t wanna be here.

If you can stomach it, here’s the video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFn46hz96CY

 

Children of the Corn State: Winner Loses by 3-1 Margin   Leave a comment

Dedicated to Edith and Carolyn from Clinton County, Iowa.

Willard Romney, the winner of Tuesday’s Iowa Republican caucus, while relishing a victory by an even slimmer margin than Gore had over Bush, should also be very cognizant of the fact that members of their own party voted against them by a 3-1 margin. I’d be looking over my shoulder if I won any kind of election by 8 votes.

So, how is this a victory? What kind of mandate did Iowa Republican caucus-goers issue Tuesday night? Apparently that even party regulars are not real pleased with the current crop of candidates. Of the seven ears of corn, all of them got stale and dehydrated on the stalk. (Conjures up images of an old Bible story, doesn’t it? Speaking of seven thin years….)

The only good thing to come as a result of Iowa was the raucous extended New Year’s after-afterparty that ran until well after midnight Pacific Time on CNN. The only thing missing was Kathy Griffin. It was great entertainment — enough for me to pass up watching a recording of the Giants beating the Cowboys to win the NFC East on Sunday night. By night’s end, even Ari Fleischer got a good line off. (Doesn’t Ari Fleischer look like Colonel Klink from Hogan’s Heroes?)

The kicker was that John King and Wolf Blitzer cornered a county chair and a precinct committeeperson who had been awakened by the State party from their sleep, and they gave CNN the scoop — Romney won by the slimmest margin — even before the Iowa State Republican Party officially acknowledged it. This is significant, especially given that the 3rd place finisher isn’t even eligible to be President because he’s from another galaxy.

Rounding out our trio of Texas losers, Rick Perry is Texas Toast. Miserable loves company, and Miserable Michele from Minnesota is going to drop out next.

Gingrich, who’s expected to dig his claws into the former moderate Massachusetts governor right in his own back yard in a desperate attempt to save face. But his candidacy is not viable either. Earlier Tuesday Gingrich literally called Romney a liar, crossing a significant political line in the sand.

I’m looking forward to this weekend’s Wild Card Debates, but I’m hoping Jon Huntsman comes in with at least a few guns blazing. I’d like to hear what he’s got. The guy’s rational. And that’s about the best I can say about anyone in that entire sorry crowd.

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