5 Quick Political Facts for Today (3/4/15)

Money, money, money, dru-ugs…and guns.  I forget how that song goes.

This drink intermission sponsored by corporate tax-dodging America!
  • GOP presidential hopeful Marco Rubio lays out his economic plan for the country and it’s all kinds of terrible.  Nothing overly surprising in the plan as it’s a giveaway to the wealthy and will hurt the poor and middle-class, like most GOP proposals.  Tax cuts for corporations, elimination of dividends and capital gains tax, and cuts to Medicare and Social Security to pay for it.  Please keep trumping that idea around so everyone is clear about what you want to do to us.  I’m sure that presidential run will go great, Senator Nochanceinhell!
  • In economic inequality news, David Geffen donates $100 million to Lincoln Center.  It’s great he wants to make such a donation to the arts but it’s hard to ignore the economic disparity when these donations are made at the same time the wages of the majority have stagnated for so many decades.  It must be nice to donate the equivalent of 6631 minimum wage earners’ combined yearly salaries in one shot.  The donation is great but it does help exemplify the huge difference between the have-everythings and the have-littles.
  • An appeals court has upheld a California city’s ban on gun magazines that hold more than 10 bullets.  A small victory for commonsense gun policy but the case will go through more appeals as gun nuts desperately beg for an increase in the size of their magazines.  Blah blah blah penis joke.  Bob Loblaw penis joke.  Blah blah blah penis joke.  Moving on.
  • Heroin death rates in the United States have quadrupled since 2000So odd it is happening.  It’s almost as if the market has been flooded with more heroin from the people who grow the most heroin in the world since the year 2000 for some reason.  I wonder how that happened?

The article is filled with good information until the end when this quote appears:

David G. Evans, of the Drug-Free America Foundation, blames the use of less-harmful drugs for the uptick in heroin use.

“I think heroin deaths are going up in part because the attitude has changed towards marijuana,” he said. “Kids now think marijuana is a medicine so it’s okay to use it. You get involved in a drug culture, you get high, you get addicted, one drug just seems like the other, and I think that’s a big part of it.”

Ah, the good ole Gateway Theory.  Hasn’t that myth been killed enough by academics to never bother quoting in a serious article on drug use?  It’s like finding a fossil fuel funded climate denying scientist to quote in a climate change article.  We’re better than that now, aren’t we?

  • Palestinian president Abbas calls Israel gangsters over the tax dollars they are holding from the Palestinian people.  If you read the article closely, it clearly maps out how this situation could easily (and will likely) devolve into more violence due to Israel’s horrendous action.  Israel will then “mow the lawn” again and kill more innocent Palestinians in the name of their security, despite the fact they will have caused the situation to begin in the first place.

Already many of the PA’s 140,000 civil servants have had their pay cut by around 40 percent

Gosh, why would 140k people be angry about their pay being cut nearly in half by an occupying government that just killed more than 2,000 of their people?  But remember everyone, it’s Israel that is being treated terribly by the Palestinians and not the other way around.  Just listen to their leader.  If Netanyahu wasn’t busy lying about the non-existent nuclear threat of Iran, he would be able to lie to you about the threat of Palestinians.

NSA Actions Illegal, Gay Marriage in Virginia, and Other Tidbits of Info for Today

  • An independent review has found the NSA’s phone data collection to be illegal.  Whether the actions are legal or illegal, we must simply ask whether they are useful.  Still little to no evidence supporting that, as mentioned in the article:
    “Moreover, even in the dozen cases examined by the board where the metadata linked contacts to a terrorism suspect, most benefits were modest and “limited to corroborating information that was obtained independently by the FBI,” the board report found.”
  • Virginia’s new attorney general has decided not to defend the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage.  Just like what has or will happen to every other ban such as this one, it will go down likely in the courts for the exact reason given by the AG:
    “Having exercised his independent constitutional judgment, consistent with his oath of office, the Attorney General has concluded that Virginia’s laws denying the right to marry to same-sex couples violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”
  • An excellent op-ed by economics professor Daniel Altman appeared in Foreign Policy regarding the reasons why high levels of income inequality are actually very bad for the economy.  One of the biggest reasons:
    “…the allocation of opportunity is not determined solely by effort or ability. To a great degree, access to opportunity in the United States depends on wealth. Discrimination based on race, religion, gender, and sexual discrimination may be on the wane in many countries, but discrimination based on wealth is still a powerful force. It opens doors, especially for people who may not boast the strongest talents or work ethic.”(Emphasis added)
    In short, defenders of the economic status quo haven’t figured out being the child of a wealthy or powerful person does not equal being as smart or talented as the parent.  I’m looking at you, former president youknowwhoyouare.
  • AG Eric Holder is calling for Congress to pass legislation reducing prison sentences for non-violent drug offenders.  One of the clear realities of the failed drug war at this point is the huge economic cost on tax payers (along with the societal ones on the many victims):
    “The federal prison population has mushroomed by 500 percent, to 219,000, over the last 30 years, mainly because of the number and length of mandatory sentences, especially drug sentences…the Urban Institute said in a study that that reducing the number of people incarcerated for drug offenses by even 20 percent would save nearly $1.3 billion over 10 years and cutting the number of mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses by half would save about $2.5 billion over the time span.”

    Just try controlling those libidos seeing, potentially, our next president, ladies! Try and fail, that is!
  • And finally, potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee, took a break from apparently performing brain surgery on himself to try to court the votes of women…by insulting them.  Well done, sir.  I can almost hear the heavy flow of campaign money dumping into the Republican coffers of anyone-but-this-guy.  His quote:
    “If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are hopeless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing them with their prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it.”

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/01/23/215518/holder-urges-congress-to-ease.html#storylink=cpy

 

Report: Global war on drugs is failing – CNN.com

Report: Global war on drugs is failing – CNN.com.

And the award for political broken record of the week goes to…this article!

One tidbit of info that might be somewhat surprising from the piece:

Prices fell despite a general increase in seizures and a fall in production of some illegal substances, the study added.

Basic economics would say it is not normal for supply to fall along with the price but this is probably an indication of illegal drugs getting increased competition from prescription drugs.  Other factors probably play a role as well but one would have to assume prescription drugs are a major part of the reason for the abnormality.

But certainly the most important aspect to listen to comes from one of the researchers that produced the report:

“We should look to implement policies that place community health and safety at the forefront of our efforts, and consider drug use a public health rather than a criminal justice issue,” added Wood. (Emphasis added)

Hopefully, it is only a matter of time until this mentality takes over and a rational addressing of drugs (both legal and illegal) occurs in the United States.