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Monday, January 14, 2013

Cannabis


I have made no secret of the fact that I am strongly in favor of the re-legalization of cannabis. I think that this beneficial little plant should have NEVER been made illegal in the first place, and that illegality was put in place for no real reason other than the insatiable, rapacious greed of already rich men, with bigotry, deception and money used as the catalyst, tools and weapons.

If you don't know the story of how and why the DuPont Corporation and William Randolph Hearst used their money and influence to eradicate the competition that hemp was to DuPont's new fiber, "nylon" and Hearst's timberland and wood pulp/paper business, you can read more at this link:  Why is Marijuana Illegal?

This substance should have never been made illegal, and certainly should have never been classified as a "schedule one" narcotic (Schedule 1 Narcotic definition), when CLEARLY there are numerous valid medical uses for it. The federal government should reclassify it immediately and then let each individual state decide how they would like to regulate it.  I hope that the example set by Washington state and Colorado in November 2012 will make other states see that they are doing a booming business, providing a lot of jobs, bringing in a LOT of revenue AND saving the state a LOT of law enforcement and incarceration costs, with very little down-side.  I further hope that when they do see that, each state will then immediately pass legalization laws of their own. 

I can't wait until the day that we can FULLY utilize this immensely beneficial plant in all of the ways that it can serve us.


Personally, I am of the opinion that not only is it acceptable to use cannabis in every way that it can be used, I actually am of the opinion that we are even SUPPOSED to be ingesting it.  The human brain actually has special receptors whose sole function is to process cannabinoids (Link - Science Direct).  WHY would we have special receptors for this substance, if it is something that should be avoided?  I believe, and I've recently learned that I'm not alone in the belief, that many modern illnesses are actually a result of Cannabinoid Deficiency Syndrome  (LINK).  In fact, I will go even farther and say that I am of the opinion that the reason that all the research is starting to appear to show that cannabis oil actually CURES cancer, is because I think that it is possible that cancer is the ultimate result of cannabinoid deficiency.  Of course, I'm not a doctor, so this is just a layperson's theory, but it is what I believe to be true based purely on observation and my own research.

In my opinion, there are many truly excellent reasons for the legalization of cannabis and the top ten are covered very well in this article: Alternet Article - Reasons to Legalize.  Conversely, I truly do not see any valid reason for its illegality, especially since it is certainly far safer and much more beneficial than a number of things that are legal, like tobacco and alcohol.  The few arguments that I have heard against legalization, I believe are all specious and very easily refuted. 

On Wednesday, January 16th, Wisconsin NORML is going to be holding what they are calling a "Lobby Day" (View Press Release), when they are asking their supporters to go to the state Capitol in Madison and talk to their legislators about the importance of putting through sensible cannabis legislation.  I'm looking forward to the trip...I don't know how much my legislators will like it though.





Thursday, September 27, 2012

Conan, Obama and The View

To be honest, I've never really thought much of Conan O'Brien and never really understood all the people who seem to be such devoted followers of his, but I never actively DISliked him until today when I saw this clip:





SUCH complete distortion!!!  Here I naively thought it was really only the Rmoney campaign that was busy editing tape to make things seem to be different than they actually ARE to suit their own purposes, but apparently not!   The FACT is that the President DID fully answer that question, frankly he answered with a rather long-winded response.  The "Happy Birthday, Barbara" was a comment he made RIGHT at the beginning of the show before giving her a basket of birthday gifts.  When Elizabeth asked her question, the President ACTUALLY said the following in response:

"Well, look, we've gone though the toughest economy, the worst financial crisis and the worst recession since the Great Depression, and that's not a surprise to anybody...we've been living it for the last four years.  And everything that we've done has been designed to deal with, not only the immediate crisis, but make sure that the middle class, which had been struggling for a decade before THAT, is feeling more secure.   

"So, because of the actions that we took, we've got an auto industry that is back on top, we've created, now 30 consecutive months of private sector job growth, the unemployment rate has dropped, although it is way still too high.  And the question now for the American people is how are we going to move forward in a way that assures that if you work hard in this country and if you take responsibility for yourself and your family, you can get ahead.  And what this campaign is really going to end up being about is a choice between two fundamentally different visions about how you do that.  

"Governor Romney, I think, is a good man and means well, but the policies he is putting forward are precisely those policies that got us into this mess.  Tax cuts skewed towards the very top, rolling back regulations, for example, that we've placed on Wall street to assure that we don't have another taxpayer funded bail out.  And what I've been trying to do is put forward an agenda that says, let's bring manufacturing back to our shores, let's make sure that everybody is getting a good education, and kids can afford to go to collage.  Let's develop all of our sources of energy, not only oil and gas but also wind and solar. Let's reduce our deficit in a balanced way, so that we make sure that we're not sticking it to the middle class as we reduce the deficit, but we ask all of us to do a little bit more, including folks like us who can afford to pay the same tax rates that we paid under Bill Clinton when we created 23 million new jobs. So you've got two different visions and I think that the American people are weighing what's going on.   

"But the one thing I do want to say, Elizabeth, is that we all understand that folks are going through tough times out there and what's been amazing over the last four years is to see the resilience of the American people and their ability to bounce back and fight back and, you know, the problems that were created are not going to be solved overnight."
~ transcript typed by me from the actual recording of the show


I am getting SO sick of people putting together badly edited snippets of tape and trying to pretend they are somehow "reality".  I'm sick to death that people nowadays apparently have to research EVERY SINGLE THING they see, because apparently NOTHING can be trusted unless every single person goes through the trouble to searching out at least two different sources before we can allow ourselves to believe our own eyes. 

When people are doing "satire" and have edited tape they should have to make it clear that it has been altered...not just let stupid, uninformed fools believe it to be true.  I wonder how many of the viewers of Conan's show actually ridiculously believe that the President got away with not answering that question?

Everyone really needs to STOP THE DISTORTIONS!!!



But unfortunately, they keep putting out absolute swill like this:


My response to which is this...President Obama is a Christian, as their side knew VERY clearly when they were busy thoroughly excoriating him back in 2008 for attending the CHRISTIAN Church of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright... SERIOUSLY...these people really need to MAKE UP THEIR MINDS!!  The man is NOT a damn Muslim, NOT that it would matter that much to me if he was.  But the fact is that this country tends to elect Christians and consistently tries to pretend that we were founded as a "Christian nation" (contrary to what the founders had to say on the issue). Personally, I'm not really all that comfortable with all these Christians either as I tend to see SO much hypocrisy among them (although President Obama really does seem to "walk the walk"), but as the chances of getting a non-Christian elected to public office in this country is pretty much non-existent...I'll just have to settle for the (rare) actually decent Christians until we become enlightened enough to elect the first atheist. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Taxes


Lately with all the talk from the Right about how the Left is engaging in “Class Warfare” because we are saying that millionaires should pay AT LEAST the same PERCENTAGE in taxes as the average worker pays, it has gotten me thinking a great deal about the way that *I* believe the tax table should be structured in this country...

I hear a lot of people, mostly Right-wingers, talk about wanting to “take their country back” to a happier and more pleasant time, like the 1950’s…well, I would like to remind them that during that “idyllic” time, when we were able to start the space program and build the interstate highway system and make a LOT of the other advances we have made in this great country...the tax rate for the wealthiest Americans was over 90%.  Now, even *I* can admit that paying 90% of one’s income to the government is outrageous and obscene.   

As much as I may despise the likes of the Koch Brothers (http://arismusings.blogspot.com/2012/02/im-baaaaaccck.html), Ira Rennert (http://arismusings.blogspot.com/2011/02/socialism.html), Peter G. Peterson (http://arismusings.blogspot.com/2010/11/who-in-fuck-is-peter-g-peterson.html), and their ilk (incidentally, I just learned recently about Joe Ricketts…this guy is a real piece of work -- http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/05/19/487214/meet-joe-ricketts-cubs/ )…I don’t believe they should have to pay NINETY PERCENT of their income to the government!  However, there is a HUGE chasm between that admittedly obscene 90% and the pathetically low 13% that the Republican candidate for the Presidency (whom I NOT-so-affectionately call “Mint (R)money”) paid last year. 

So I decided to sit down and write up what *I* believe would be the perfect tax table/structure for this country and I’ve now completed it.  It’s a table that *I* believe to be reasonable and fair…it’s the amount that I would be MORE than willing to pay were I to be in that income bracket. 

Now I am asking for input from others, to see what they think of my ideas on this subject.  I am the first to admit that I am FAR from an economist (in fact, I consider myself to be “mathematically challenged”) so I acknowledge that there could be problems with this tax proposal  that I am not seeing, so please…point them out if you see them. 

So, now…the Arielle NaMara Tax Plan... 

FIRST, it should be noted that in my perfect world, ALL income is just “income”.  I don't CARE by what METHOD you made your money, either by simple investment or actual WORK.  All income received, either via labor, investment returns or other “capital gains” would be combined and the result is the figure upon which one’s tax rate is based.  The amount you made would be the ONLY factor to determine the rate on the following table...

If you earned:                         Your tax rate is:
Under $20,000                                              0
$20,000 - $25,000                                        5%
$25,000 - $50,000                                        10%
$50,000 - $75,000                                        15%
$75,000 - $100,000                                      20%
$100,000 - $125,000                                   25%
$125,000 - $150,000                                   30%
$150,000 - $250,000                                   35%
$250,000 - $500,000                                   36%
$500,000 - $750,000                                   37%
$750,000 - $1,000,000                                38%
$1,000,000 - $2,000,000                             39%
$2,000,000 - $10,000,000                           40%
$10,000,000 - $100,000,000                      45%
$100,000,000 - $1,000,000,000                 50%
$1,000,000,000 - $10,000,000,000           55%
$10,000,000,000+                                        60%


I'm sure that something like this would never be allowed by the oligarchic, theocratic, bigoted, environment-hating, Koch-whore party that the modern GOP has become, but I honestly do believe that those who benefit the most from our great society should be the ones to bear the bulk of the cost for the proper maintenance OF that society.  I also have to admit that I honestly don't understand billionaires that balk at paying the VERY reasonable Clinton-era tax rates that were in place when the ENTIRE COUNTRY (not JUST the super-rich) was doing well.  In my not so humble opinion, the One-Percenters should be more like the famous Oliver Wendell Holmes, who once said..."I like to pay taxes. With them I buy civilization."


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Blind Trusts and Tax Returns

I have been letting this blog go quiet for quite some time as I've been very involved in numerous other projects, but there is a current issue that I feel compelled to write about, so here goes...

The Republican nominee for the presidency...whom I call Mint (R)money...has recently made much of the fact that his MASSIVE wealth is currently being held in a "blind trust", as if that means he has absolutely no control over it.
"With regard to any foreign investments, I understand, and you understand of course, that my investments have been held by a blind trust, have been managed by a trustee.  I don't manage them.  I don't even know where they are."

Well...that's all well and good, but the FACT is that back in 1994, when he was running in Massachusetts against Senator Kennedy, he said THIS about blind trusts:
"The blind trust is an age old ruse, if you will, which is to say you can always tell the blind trust what it can and cannot do.  You give a blind trust rules."  
So...obviously back then, he was able to tell the TRUTH about the supposed "blind trusts"...but clearly we cannot expect that same truth from him now.  

On the other hand, President Obama is also a very wealthy man, although his wealth came primarily from book sales, not from raiding and destroying companies like Mint (R)money did with his vulture capitalist buddies at Bain. 

President Obama also initially put his wealth into a "blind trust" as well, but quickly realized that there was still potential conflicts of interest, so he removed the funds from that "blind trust" and put the bulk of his money into U.S. Treasury bonds and diversified funds.  That way what is good for the COUNTRY is good for him, and vice-versa.  I have to say that, personally I think that is what should always be done with the investments of ALL elected officials.  But, of course, (R)money and the other GOPers wouldn't like THAT one bit...because right now they really do WANT the country to do badly because it suits their political interests, so they wouldn't want THEIR precious lucre invested in it...because THAT really would be a TRUE "conflict of interests" for them...'I really, really  WANT the country to fail so that we can trick the people into blaming the hated Obama so that he loses the election, but then I'd lose my own MONEY...I can't have that...oh dear...what to do?  What do do??"  

I found this Vanity Fair article on the subject of "blind trusts" to be very informative on this matter.

And then there is Mr. (R)money's refusal to submit more than one year of his tax returns (link), which also completely infuriates me...especially since his own FATHER (who I understand was actually a man of true integrity, unlike his son, apparently) released 12 years of tax returns when he unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination back in 1968 admitting that "one year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show," 

Yes, Mr. Romney...it can be "for show", like what your monstrous son is likely doing.  I don't know how a man who supposedly was truly decent, like George supposedly was, could raise a son that would wind up like Willard "Mitt" Romney is...someone with absolutely no honor who just hides the filthy lucre (that he received by destroying the lives of regular people in order to help the already rich become even richer) and invests it in foreign countries while his party of dangerous, dishonest, misogynistic, oligarchic, theocratic, bigoted, environment-hating, selfish, greedy, hateful Koch-whore BA$TURDS work as hard as possible to keep the economy of OUR country in shambles because it is politically expedient for them.  

Well, I do want those tax returns released...and the more determined he seems to NOT want them released (link), the more I want them...and I don't find it at ALL likely that I'm going to "get over it" (link). I am FAR more interested in seeing the tax returns for this multimillionaire vulture capitalist with substantial holdings in foreign tax havens than I EVER was in mistrusting the word of the state of Hawaii and demanding to see a "long form birth certificate" for our President, and it seems to me that the folks who demanded THAT should be demanding these returns just as loudly...but they're not.  In fact, SENATOR Lindsey Graham even had the nerve to say that "it's really American to avoid paying taxes, legally" (link).  See...and here I thought it was really American to PAY YOUR TAXES, not try to find any way possible (including foreign tax havens) to get out of your obligations to your country.  And these BA$TURDS have the nerve to call themselves "patriotic".  Hypocrisy...it's what the modern GOP is best at. 



Thursday, February 23, 2012

I'm baaaaaccck...

I know that it has been quite some time since I posted anything here.  I really have no excuse other than that I've been involved in other projects and basically slacked off on this.  But today I came across a couple of stories that made me yearn to make a post about it...so here goes.
 

The Koch brothers (and others of their ilk) are, in my humble opinion, one of the biggest sources of the problems in this country.  These twisted men, who have more money than God and Oprah combined, act as if they somehow just deserve to have every possible advantage that the world has to offer while they do all they can to deny those same opportunities to others and work hard to ensure that they will not ever have to pay back the country from which they have taken SO damn much!  These two men, and so many others like them (like Romney, for example) were just born on third base, then were able to exploit that position to simply steal home, yet they still strut around as if they actually knocked a homer out of the park themselves. 

They consistently fight to prevent themselves (or others of their monied class) from being appropriately taxed, yet they are now spending massive amounts (likely more than the actual tax increase would have been) of  their VAST resources to try to buy their little pet governor, Scott Walker, out of the trouble he is (rightfully) in for doing their evil anti-worker bidding here in Wisconsin.


In addition to massively financing Republican campaigns (as the warped "Citizens United" ruling allows them to), today I learned that they are also working to artificially drive up gas prices in order to attempt to hurt the re-election campaign of President Obama.  

Although the right-wingers try to pretend that President Obama is "anti-energy", the fact of the matter is that U.S. domestic oil production in this country has increased by 11% since President Obama took office.  Additionally, U.S. demand for oil and refined products, including gasoline, is down sharply from last year...down SO much, in fact, that the United States has become a net exporter of gasoline, as we are unable to consume all that we produce. 

Yet even with that simple reality, the price of gas is spiraling up out of control.  Why?  Because really rich people are using using "oil speculation" to make themselves even richer, to the detriment of everyone else in the country.  



Monday, May 9, 2011

What's Wrong With This Picture?

A story first broken by "FailedMessiah.com" (LINK) shows that the ultra Orthodox Hasidic newspaper "Der Tzitung" used Photoshop to edit history on Friday when they published THEIR version of the now-famous situation room photograph.


Translated from the Hebrew, the photograph was published with this caption beneath it (emphasis added)…
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011. Seated, from left, are: Brigadier General Marshall B. “Brad” Webb, Assistant Commanding General, Joint Special Operations Command; Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough; Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Standing, from left, are: Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; National Security Advisor Tom Donilon; Chief of Staff Bill Daley; Tony Binken, National Security Advisor to the Vice President; Audrey Tomason Director for Counterterrorism; John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism; and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Please note: a classified document seen in this photograph has been obscured. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.”
Do you notice the empty holes where they edited out the women in the room? Apparently since publishing photographs of women is apparently not permitted in their backward, misogynist “newspaper” they had to be removed from this moment in history.  So although the women in the photograph were actually NAMED in the caption, they had someone take the time to physically sit and Photoshop the U. S. Secretary of State and our Director of Counterterrorism out of this historically significant photograph just because they are female.

Also, although the caption makes note that the photograph was edited to have a DOCUMENT obscured, they chose not to mention editing out PEOPLE, even though they ARE publishing the admonition that the photo is NOT to be “manipulated in any way”.

Now just to be clear, I feel it is necessary to point out that this is not even a paper that is published in the barbaric and backward Middle East. This “newspaper” is based right here in America…in Brooklyn, New York.

Rabbi Jason Miller of Jewish Week in his article on the subject (click here) explains the publication’s “reasoning” by writing that they “will not intentionally include any images of women in the paper because it could be considered sexually suggestive,” but he also points out that from his viewpoint the altered image violates a central tenet of the Jewish faith, “Der Tzitung edited Hillary Clinton out of the photo, thereby changing history. To my mind, this act of censorship is actually a violation of the Jewish legal principle of g'neivat da'at (deceit).”

Pesonally, I fail to see how our Secretary of State sitting there looking deeply concerned and another woman peeking out from behind a man is in ANY way “sexually suggestive”. In case you need a reminder of what the ACTUAL photograph looks like…



I wonder…what did these misogynistic men at Der Tzitung do when Golda Meir (bio) was the Prime Minister of Israel??



Additional reading:
http://jezebel.com/5799724/hillary-clinton-photoshopped-out-of-situation-room-photo

______________________________________________________________________

EDIT - posted at 4:30 p.m. on 5/9/2011 -

Due to the attention this issue has been getting, Di Tzeitung has sent out a prepared statement. Here is their response:


On manipulating the photo against the White House's wishes -

Our photo editor realized the significance of this historic moment, and published the picture, but in his haste he did not read the "fine print" that accompanied the picture, forbidding any changes. We should not have published the altered picture, and we have conveyed our regrets and apologies to the White House and to the State Department.

On the accusations that Di Tzeitung disrespects women in power -

The allegations that religious Jews denigrate women or do not respect women in public office, is a malicious slander and libel. The current Secretary of State, the Honorable Hillary R. Clinton, was a Senator representing New York State with great distinction 8 years. She won overwhelming majorities in the Orthodox Jewish communities in her initial campaign in '00, and when she was re-elected in '06, because the religious community appreciated her unique capabilities and compassion to all communities. The Jewish religion does not allow for discrimination based on gender, race, etc. We respect all government officials. We even have special prayers for the welfare of our Government and the government leaders, and there is no mention of gender in such prayers.
On the editorial policy that forbids images of women -

In accord with our religious beliefs, we do not publish photos of women, which in no way relegates them to a lower status. Publishing a newspaper is a big responsibility, and our policies are guided by a Rabbinical Board. Because of laws of modesty, we are not allowed to publish pictures of women, and we regret if this gives an impression of disparaging to women, which is certainly never our intention. We apologize if this was seen as offensive.
Source:  http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2011/05/hasidic-newspaper-defends-its-decision-wipe-hillary-clinton-out-famous-photo/37501/