Monday, August 17, 2015

To Prevent a Marijuana Grower Monopoly Vote No On Ohio Marijuana Legalization Initiative

It is time that marijuana be legalized.   The drug is addictive and has dire health effects for some users.

As with alcohol, if used  while operating a motor vehicle or heavy equipment pot could prove to be deadly to the user and innocent bystanders.   No employer, with perhaps  the exception of some creative artists, really want an employee to come to work stoned.  

Probably what this nation does not need is another recreational drug on the market----but if the government allows cigarettes and alcohol, pot might as well legalized also and legally provide some much needed tax revenue.

Prohibition failed miserably with alcohol and pot is for many an alternative to alcohol. 

There are those who probably can successfully argue pot has some important medicinal uses and not all that smoke pot will become addicted---as not all who drink will become an alcoholic.    

The arguments between those who feel  that the drug is addictive or not will continue and probably no one will change their mind on that discussion until they, family members,  acquaintances, and co-workers demonstrate that the seemingly harmless day to day smoking of cannabis is ruining their lives.

However, it is time to decriminalize the drug and remove its control from the cartels and gangs which have created a blood bath in our own country and overseas to provide a drug that could be easily grown in our own gardens or on our window sells for  personal use.

Keeping pot illegal is one costly aspect on the war on drugs that will never be won and the war on pot should really never have been fought. 

So now Ohioans have an opportunity to weigh into the argument on the decriminalization of pot by voting on specifically the Ohio Marijuana Legislation which 

would legalize the medical and personal use of marijuana for persons who are 21 years of age or older. The use of medical marijuana would require a doctor's note. A recreational user of marijuana would be permitted to possess one ounce of the drug or less. Someone choosing to grow marijuana at home for personal use would be permitted to grow four flowering plants at a given time with a cultivation license.
And for many those this amendment sounds reasonable, however,  the devil in the details is that  the amendment 

would provide for 10 Marijuana Growth, Cultivation and Extraction (MGCE) facilities. Cultivation of medical and retail marijuana and production of marijuana-infused products would only be permitted to take place at the 10 MGCE facilities. The Ohio Legislature was especially critical of this section of the initiative, referring an anti-monopoly amendment to the ballot in response. The legislature's amendment, if approved by voters, would block the marijuana initiative from going into effect.
Based on the fact the amendment is being pushed and financed by wealthy individuals who will own the MGCE facilities and essentially have a monopoly on growing pot, I would highly recommend that the voters of Ohio---particularly the pot smokers---vote "no" on this amendment.   

As an Ohioan in favor of pot legalization, I am adamantly opposed to potentially wealthy growers protecting their interests with a constitutional amendment.  

These already potential growers are already wealthy and will become increasingly wealthy by being a protected monopoly.   Regulate how the cash crop is grown and collect the taxes but allow other growers the ability to also grow the weed and make some money.

So vote no.  

This amendment is one clever way to allow an already wealthy 1 percenter become wealthier.

Vote against the amendment until a new amendment is  proposed which will allow other Ohioans an opportunity to also become growers.   

Sunday, July 26, 2015

More Mass Media Attacks Trump ----- The Greater Is His Appeal

The Republican Party is having another melt down as the Republican establishment can't seem to get rid of Donald Trump.    For some reason many middle class folks have just decided oh hell with it all and let's just get away from the career politicians and let's put someone else in charge. 

Both parties are in the pockets of special interest groups and both parties have made it their mission to make the term of a President not in their party a very miserable affair. (Obama is the most obvious victim example of Congressional tomfoolery.) 

Many in the news media seem to discredit Trump's candidacy but is he really the worst thing to happen in American politics?  Or will there be an equally bad scenario  if Americans elect either a Bush or Clinton to the White House?

Pundits have apparently decided that the Bushes or Clintons are some sort of royalty entitled and qualified to hold the highest office in the land. (At one time the Kennedys were viewed to be the American royal family until everyone learned that they were probably one of the most dysfunctional group of misfits in the country.) 

Trump apparently has not earned the respect afforded to the Bushes or Clintons by both progressive and conservative pundits to be taken as a serious candidate.   He is viewed as just a  flash in the pants who will be a mere a political footnote in American history.

In reality, is Trump really  less fit to  be President than some of the the other politicians who hope to be POTUS? 

The mass media (MSNBC and NBC in particular) portray Trump as some sort of crack pot.  Trump might very well be a demagouge crackpot, however, Americans  will not know until we hear specifics on some particular issues and his ways to solve some problems. 

The more the media attacks him----the greater is Trump's appeal.   

Friday, July 10, 2015

Give Donald Trump Credit: He Says What Many People Think

Donald Trump is a narcissistic pompous ass but he has the money to be that way.  

Source of Photograph:  TV Newser

When the billionaire belches or has a bad hair day, the news media stops to ponder what he means.   

The past two weeks, Trump voiced his opinion about Mexican immigrants and the repercussions for his comments have hit him in the pocket book.

In case you were hiding under a sombrero, Trump said this about Mexico and illegal immigrants crossing into the United States:

They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems to us. They're bringing drugs.  They're bringing crime.   They're rapists.  

Of course Trump could be easily referring to the less than exemplary conduct of many American citizens.   But he was not and very specific about where he perceived the problems were coming from. 

The question is why do we care what he says about illegal immigrants?  

Politicians in particular need to remember that illegal immigrants are not citizens of the United States and  need to quit defending how they have entered the country. 

And though Trump’s comments may appear to go over the top, his sentiment is appealing to many Americans who in this age paranoia of  terrorists hiding in our own back yard just want the borders properly monitored and sealed.

The news media and politicians have become apologists for bad behavior because it is politically popular at the time.  Both parties are courting Hispanics and therefore for very obvious reasons have decided to defend illegal immigrants (or African Americans who run from the police).  

There are many reasons people should not vote for Trump (or Clinton or Bush) but his comments have struck a positive chord with many Americans tired of corporations, the press and politicians ignoring bad behavior to win the votes and  consumer monies.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The South Carolina Confederate Flag Needs To Go

Source of Photograph:  Gephardt Daily 

NPR political reporter, Jessica Taylor wrote a great piece, The complicated political history of the Confederate Flag 

The Confederate flag flying over the South Carolina capital was not flying until the 1960s. 

The flag not only a symbol of the valor of the citizens of South Carolina  who died during the Civil War but was actually raised to protest the federal government intervention in securing civil rights for African Americans during the 1960's.

As Taylor noted, the "Stars and Bars." was not flag of the confederacy but was a the battle flag of Robert E. Lee's North Virginian Army.  

The  history of the actual Confederate Flag pictured below is described in the  article, "Why the Confederate Flag Isn't the Confederate Flag.  (The controversial flag commonly associated with the Confederacy was never the national banner.)"    

Americans need to understand our history and many symbols of our history should not be thrown away in an effort to sanitize the past.

The American Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s impacted our national history.   And the Stars and Bars flag was an important flag  during the Civil War.  However, after having a better understanding of the history for the reason  for the Confederate Stars and Bars  being raised over the South Carolina Capital, it is clearly understandable why the flag has to go.

 If I was a black South Carolinean I would be offended seeing that flag flying over the state house.  As a white American who believes civil rights should not be abridged for any citizens,  the flag is a symbol of repression and therefore  needs to go and  to be relegated to a museum because of its particular history of the 1960s and its current history. 

The retail stores are going a bit over board in banning the sell of the Stars and Bars flag.   

For many Americans, the flag is not a racist symbol, but just a flag acknowledging the rebel in many of us.  But admittedly, I will never view the flag quite the same as just being  a relic of the American Civil War. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

SeaWorld Educates Us About Some Incredible Animals Worth Saving

 After the movie Blackfish premiered, conservation and animal rights activists established a mission to harpoon and kill Sea World.   But in their relentless attacks on Sea World are they actually throwing out the baby with the bathwater in their attempts to close down the park's animal entertainment division?


 After seeing Blackfish, it is very easy to be a critic of Sea World.  Seeing a performing  killer whale or elephant is viewed as abuse in some circles. Political correctness in some circles does not condone the ownership of animal coat or drooling over a piece veal.

Political correctness or not, after visiting Sea World in Aurora Ohio in my teenage years, I knew I never wanted to go back. 

For me, seeing a  "petting" dolphin sitting essentially in a SeaWorld wading poll just was depressing.  (It was equally as bleak  seeing a captive gorilla banging at its  glass window in a zoo).

 I never cared  for animals doing tricks whether at SeaWorld, at a circus or my dog standing on her rear legs around begging for food.  Just give me a well-managed sea aquarium or zoo any day to catch a glimpse into the world of wild animals just acting themselves. 

But let's face it for every performing whale, dolphin, or sea lion at SeaWorld, many of these animals are dying in our increasing polluted and over fished oceans.

If SeaWorld did not exist, many people would not really appreciate the magnificence of the very intelligent orcas and other seal  mammals.   After witnessing a killer whale at Sea World, one cannot help  appreciate the conservation of those mammals. 


 Source of Photograph: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


And by the same token if animal rights organizations did not exist, people would not fully appreciate how utterly reckless and cruel people and corporations can be in keeping wild animals in captivity  or slaughtering domestic animals for food and dress accessories.

SeaWorld does have its well-deserved detractors----but I think eliminating Sea World would have some consequences in ocean and sea life preservation.  

Until Sea World, the general public did not  really appreciate a killer whale's intelligence or role in the oceans' ecosystems. SeaWorld rightfully deserves much credit for the good things they have done in preserving and understanding not only killer whales but other sea animals.  

A former SeaWorld employee, Erin McKinney,  wrote in his blog for Awesome Ocean, that condemning SeaWorld is really a bad idea. 

McKinney persuasively noted that SeaWorld 

  • Has the the largest rescue and rehabilitation program in the world

  • Contributes millions of dollars in conservation funding annually

  • Is regulated by the USDA, National Marine Fisheries Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

  • Has one of the best staff of experts providing  a collective knowledge of marine life care

 Granted shows like National Geographic Wild and Animal Planet  make us aware of the planet's natural plant and animal resources. But going to places to see the actual animals resonates with people who for the first time might be educated to learn that if not protected many of the animals they are seeing may not exist in the wild but only in zoos. 

 SeaWorld will likely be reinventing itself over the next years---unless it is driven into bankruptcy by zealous animal rights activists.  Perhaps SeaWorld will cut down on the tricks and concentrate on making some large animal exhibits which are equally as breathe taking as a killer whale jumping out of the water.

SeaWorld and all parks with wild animals needs to be monitored.  However, if you have the good fortune to go to any of the SeaWorld parks or zoos, go and have a good time and don't over think the experience of viewing captive performing animals. 

Should  SeaWorld disappear, so will a good place that educates us about some very dynamic animals.

Monday, March 9, 2015

To the non-voters of Ferguson Missouri, much thanks for the tragic civic lesson

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ)  issued its  Findings of Two Civil Rights Investigations in Ferguson, Missouri.

 The report found no reason to prosecute Deputy Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown.

The DOJ concluded Brown attacked Wilson and the witnesses after changing their accounts were not credible nor matched forensics. The DOJ concluded the case against Wilson lacked prosecutive merit and should be closed.

Of course two lives were ruined because of Michael Brown's bad behavior.   And we all know the rest, Wilson will be defending himself legally as well as his reputation for many years yet to come.


However, if there was to be anything good to have resulted because of the shooting, Attorney General Eric Holder commenced an investigation into Ferguson's police department.  The DOJ did find that:

The department found that the FPD has a pattern or practice of:
  • Conducting stops without reasonable suspicion and arrests without probable cause in violation of the Fourth Amendment;
  • Interfering with the right to free expression in violation of the First Amendment; and
  • Using unreasonable force in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
The department found that Ferguson Municipal Court has a pattern or practice of:
  • Focusing on revenue over public safety, leading to court practices that violate the 14th Amendment’s due process and equal protection requirements.
  • Court practices exacerbating the harm of Ferguson’s unconstitutional police practices and imposing particular hardship upon Ferguson’s most vulnerable residents, especially upon those living in or near poverty.Minor offenses can generate crippling debts, result in jail time because of an inability to pay and result in the loss of a driver’s license, employment, or housing.
The department found a pattern or practice of racial bias in both the FPD and municipal court:
  • The harms of Ferguson’s police and court practices are borne disproportionately by African Americans and that this disproportionate impact is avoidable.
  • Ferguson’s harmful court and police practices are due, at least in part, to intentional discrimination, as demonstrated by direct evidence of racial bias and stereotyping about African Americans by certain Ferguson police and municipal court officials.

 As the report was released more stories have come out detailing the the pattern of political corruption and racism in Ferguson.  Almost unbelievable was the story that the  Ferguson judge who aggressively fined and jailed poor residents owes $170,000 in unpaid taxes. 

Ferguson Judge Ronald J. Brockmeyer

The outrage and somewhat irony about Ferguson, was that politicians and police targeted their own black majority  constituency with impunity.  

One reason--- among many---the Ferguson, Missouri political climate occurred was the lack of black community participation in the election of their city's officials. 

There is an almost universal truth about politicians and their bureaucratic minions.   If politicians are not held accountable at the voting booth, they will service their own interests.

So to the non-voting residents of Ferguson, you got what you did not want because you chose not to vote. Again much thanks from this voter to the non-voters of Ferguson for the tragic civic lesson.