Modern Confederates

Michigan State Senator Rick Jones’ call for an Article 5 US Constitutional Convention is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Forcing the Federal Government to a balanced budget actually plays into the hands of those who would like to shrink the Federal Government until it can be, as Grover Norquist said and many Republicans have signed on to, “Down to a size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”  This idea of a balanced budget amendment will not only cripple our Government but will impact poor and middle class families with devastating results.

Imagine if we had one now. After giving 1.2 trillion dollars away to their benefactors and donors Republicans will cry, we must balance the budget and will use Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to do so, bleeding these programs dry and hurting our citizens like never before.  You can forget that stuff about balancing the budget like most American families do every month around the kitchen table.  That doesn’t happen as most of us carry debt over to the next month all the time just as the Federal Government does.  This call for a balanced budget amendment is a ploy to destroy the Federal Government and with it the Union!

A Constitutional Convention would not be limited to just the budget or term limits. The entire Constitution would be open to change. Voting rights, free speech, citizenship, gun rights, all of it could be changed during a convention.  Pack the Convention with your backers and all bets are off.

This call for a Constitutional Convention for term limits and a balanced budget is another Republican attack on our Government and is as despicable and dangerous as the Confederate attack on the Union was. Sadly the Republican Party has morphed into the modern version of the Confederate States, bent on destroying the Union.  They must be stopped just as the Confederate rebellion was.


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The Crystal Belly

President Trump has said on numerous occasions, when meeting with our adversaries, that he ‘believes’ he will be able to ‘feel’ if the leader he is meeting with is serious or not. The President said he doesn’t need to prepare, that he will know their intentions by the feeling in his stomach.

I don’t know about you but my gut tells me as many wrong things as right and is as reliable as flipping a coin. Trump lies pathologically to us and to himself.  Are we to leave our fate to the rumbling acid reflux of the Trump belly?

His belly has created a riff in our relations with our allies. It has moved us closer to autocrats and dictators and it has him praising those who poison and murder to stay in power

When will the serious damage his abdomen has done to our country and it’s institutions finally make Americans cry enough is enough and push back against the madness of the would be first dictator of the United States?

Trump may score a small win in Korea but at what cost? Our reputation as a reliable partner in the free world has been trashed. Mr. trump has gone out of his way to cozy up to Putin despite the attack on our country and our election.  What in Trumps gut allows for his ignoring of this attack? Is it fear? Exactly what does the Russian president have on Mr. Trump?

I wish America would stop ‘believing’ and ‘feeling’ get back to policies based on fact and not based on the gaseous bag of guts rumbling around in Trumps belly.

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Get About Fixing It!

Kentucky’s teachers are protesting at the Capitol not just for better wages but for the very lives of our children. The better prepared and educated they are the greater the benefit to our cities, our counties, our state and our country.

The money these teachers seek is available in a new revenue stream just waiting for us to hook up a hose and start sucking those dollars in!   I am speaking of the cannabis industry.

States that have established a robust and well- regulated cannabis industry are enjoying a remarkable amount of economic activity as a result. Colorado which has a population of 5.5 million, has, for 2016 seen revenue of 150 million on sales of 1.3 billion dollars. Most of the revenue is dedicated to the schools!  They, as well as California with 20 years of medical legalization, have yet to experience any of the harms prohibitionists have been shouting about for 80 years.

One wonders why the Assembly will not allow the cannabis industry to move forward. Twenty-nine states and DC, the capitol, have legal cannabis industries and they are doing just fine, thank you! There is no reason to think we would have any problems here in Kentucky.

All the Assembly members are doing is depriving the State of a new and safe revenue stream. There is also this.  Several studies have shown a significant drop in opioid overdose deaths in legal states.  Simply put, if cannabis is available to the citizens, less people die as people choose the safer drug.  It’s as simple as that!

SB80, the Senate cannabis bill, is in the Veterans committee. Despite Legislators claim that, “our Veterans deserve all we can do for them”, this bill is not being allowed to move forward.

Something is certainly off in the moral compass of the Assembly that they would prefer to allow the deaths and suffering of our citizens and a lower quality of education for our children rather than admit that prohibition was a mistake from the very beginning and should have never happened in the first place. The members of the Assembly should finally admit that and get about fixing it.  Senate Bill 80 is a good place to start!

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Baptist Convention at it Again

Kentucky’s Baptist Convention and its leader Mr. Paul Chitwood bragged at the end of the 2016 Kentucky General Assembly that they were responsible for stopping any cannabis legalization bills from being heard in committee and moving forward. Bills involving cannabis legalization did not progress beyond committee level during that session.

It was pointed out at the time that given the 25% drop in opioid overdose deaths that occurs after the first of cannabis legalization in a State, Mr. Chitwood and his Baptists are also responsible for the deaths that would not have happened had they not blocked cannabis legalization. The 25% drop in deaths means approximately 400 of our citizens would still be alive had they not blocked these bills.

This session Mr. Chitwood and his Baptist Convention are at it again. Cannabis bills for the 2018 session are currently in the Senate Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee. Sources familiar with the situation report that the Chair of the Committee, Kentucky State Senator Albert Robinson has been told by Republican Senate Leadership not to allow any cannabis bills to be heard by his committee.  Senate Republican leadership is receiving pressure from the Baptist Convention and Mr. Chitwood. Also the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Mr. Joe Fischer in whose committee HB 166 a companion medical cannabis bill currently resides, has also been told by leadership not to allow any cannabis bills to be heard and indeed the bill was pulled from the Committee meeting on 14 Feb, 2018.

There was to be a protest at the Veterans Committee hearing on Thursday Feb 15 2018. 22 Kentucky Veterans representing the 22 Veterans who die of suicide nationally every day were to gather at the Veterans Committee hearing and several were to speak.  Senator Robinson at first said he would not allow speakers at the hearing and then cancelled the hearing all together. Veterans gathered anyway and showed their frustration with the lack of progress of these bills.  They met with Governor Bevin who said he would support a republican medical cannabis bill.

Although buoyed by the Governors words, organizers of the Veteran protest were dismayed and are asking how a measure favored by 80% of Kentucky’s citizens could be quashed in such a fashion and say Senate leaders need to clearly explain why they are blocking cannabis measures that are clearly favored by the vast majority of Kentucky’s citizens.

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Meeting the Cannabis Needs of Our Veterans

The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial was dedicated in Washington on 5 October 2014. This tribute to the sacrifices of our Disabled Veterans makes note of the enormity of those sacrifices. While giving one’s life for the protection or betterment of others is certainly the greatest sacrifice, the sacrifice of our disabled Veterans goes on for their entire lives ending only at their sometimes untimely deaths.

Think of it the next time you shake the left hand of a Veteran because his right is missing. Think of it when you see Veteran disabled plates on a car in the parking lot at the grocery.   They suffer from post-traumatic stress. They suffer from phantom and chronic pain from loss of a limb or an eye or crushed bones and torn flesh, or as is sometimes true all too often from the loss of their spirit.

Many of these Veterans, thanks to the Federal Government allowing 29 States to experiment, have found healing and comfort from the use of medical cannabis. Veterans, who reside in Kentucky are now asking their legislators to make this medicine available to them by passing a comprehensive cannabis bill this session. Let us be the 30th State to provide them comfort and relief.

In your speeches you all are quick to pronounce that, “our Veterans deserve all we can do for them!” Well Ladies and Gentlemen, your Veterans need access to medical cannabis in a safe and effective way and you folks need to get it to them ASAP! To do any less is not only hypocritical, it dishonors the sacrifice these Veterans make every day they suffer, every day of their lives.

Honor their sacrifice, pass a workable cannabis bill this session.

(speech given at NKY Legislative Forum on 3 Feb 2018)

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The “Let ’em eat cake!” moment of the 21st Century

“I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing,” Grassley said, “as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.” Senator Grassley’s comment besides being an insult to hardworking Americans, shows a lack of knowledge about basic economics. It also shows the dark heart of the Republican Party.

This is the 3rd time they have pulled off a theft of more than a trillion dollars of the country’s wealth for their wealthy donors and set it up so the bill, (this debt was put on the Government credit card), will be paid by the children of the poor and middle class.

Unless the poor and middle class put their differences aside and vote their financial interests instead of other distractions, Republicans will do it again. They are already saying that the debt, piled up by them in this theft, will make it necessary to cut Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security, food stamps etc.

.Remember Mitt Romney’s comment about the 47%? He said that,” 47% of the people would not vote for him, the 47% that were takers.” That 47 % includes retired Government workers, people receiving Social Security, Military Veterans, Cops and anyone receiving money from the Government whether earned or not!

Forget any notion that the Republican Party cares about the country! They only care about the country’s wealth and how much of it that they can steer their way. The top earners on the economic ladder own more than 84% of the country’s wealth as it is now! Republicans want it all and care not whether it hurts the country or your family!

Republicans should remember what happened to Marie Antoinette, and she didn’t even say, “Let them eat cake”!

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What will Be The Next Excuse?

Kentucky State Senator Robert Stivers, when questioned about the legalization of cannabis in Kentucky stated emphatically that he would not support legalization because cannabis is a ‘gateway’ drug. That is a widely debunked theory that once one does a certain drug they inevitably progress to harder drugs.

Mr. Stivers’ position is hard to reconcile with what we now know about the effects of cannabis legalization. Ending cannabis prohibition engenders a significant drop in opioid overdose deaths, as much as 25% after the first year of legalization that grows to 33% by year 6. Cannabis legalization also results in significant revenue and job creation.  With the opioid overdose epidemic raging in Kentucky the Senator’s excuse for opposing legalization is certainly questionable.

The Senator along with Kentucky’s other prohibitionists now have to look for a new excuse for opposing legalization. Last April, as reported in ‘The Hill’ the Federal Government no longer claims that cannabis is a ‘gateway’ drug and no longer claims that cannabis causes brain damage or psychosis.

Recently, in a Louisville courtroom the judge ruled that prohibiting cannabis was in the States interest as it was a hallucinogen and narcotic. Cannabis is neither and as far back as 1988 was ruled by the Administrative Law Judge for the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Honorable Francis Young as, “the safest therapeutic substance known to man.”

Currently polling in Kentucky mirrors the national polls with favorability for medical above 80% and for full legalization around 60%. Kentucky’s Legislators need to explain exactly what science supports continuing the failed policy of cannabis prohibition in the face of such overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  One wonders exactly what excuse Senator Stivers and the prohibitionists in the Assembly will come up with next to keep prohibition going?

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