Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Many Faces of Joe Lieberman.

By Sam Stein.

Senator Joseph Lieberman's (I-Conn) threat to filibuster health care legislation that includes a public option for insurance coverage has sent minor shock-waves throughout Washington. Among progressives the question being asked is: How could one senator, (TPJ: And a former Democratic V.P. candidate) through threat of filibuster, hold a historic reform process hostage? Fifteen years ago, as a freshman Democrat, Lieberman actually worked to have the filibuster killed. He deemed the parliamentary maneuver "a dinosaur" that had become "a symbol of a lot that ails Washington today." And, in tandem with Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), he introduced legislation that -- if it had been enacted -- would have made his current opposition to health care absolutely toothless.

TPJ: I know Republicans love Joe Lieberman right now but they need to be careful because Joe will drop them just as quickly as he dropped the Democrats. Joe is his own party and shamelessly will do whatever it takes to get attention, power and influence. Lieberman clearly isn't in touch with anyone outside his own ego. He certainly doesn't give a rat's ass about the voters of Connecticut who over-whelmingly support a public option. Shifty Joe supported a strong universal health-care system in 2006 before he was against it.

I'm beginning to think he's told so many lies, burned so many bridges and switched positions so many times that I think he be a sociopath. How else do you explain him seemingly being motivated by pure, arrogant self-interest. In his mind he has ever right to hold things up because he's clearly taking twisted pleasure in being the "man of the hour." He's shown us before that he's willing to go down as the man who killed health care reform just to stick it to the Democratic Party. That's the sign of a sick individual.

So Joe, it's time for you to go, go, go. I will lose a large chunk of what little trust, support and confidence I have left for Harry Reid and the rest of the Democratic leadership If they don't kick Lieberman from his chairmanship. As well as strip him of his seniority should he vote with the Republicans to not even allow the public option bill to be voted upon. That said, I'm not ecstatic about the public option that came out of the House. I wish it was more robust but I guess it's better than nothing. I guess at least we get our foot in the door for long-term health care reform. It's a platform to improve upon. Medicare started off as a pretty bare bones program too but eventually was expanded into what we have today.

However, if the public option that is passed only has a small percentage of people in it then it will be harder to negotiate lower prices. It will have less bargaining power. And if it's only made up of sick people then it won't be as effective in lowering the risk pool and thus overall costs. That's because the people who can qualify for it would likely have a lot of pre-existing conditions that prevented them from getting private insurance. That is why we should have avoided this whole mess and gone with "Medicare for all." That would have been an easy slogan to understand and most people are relatively happy with Medicare. I was on it for a time and liked it just fine. I'll go back on it again if need be. It's a bit costly to tax-payers but only because it's mostly made up of sick and old people. If we extended it to include everyone then the costs would seem to dramatically reduce.

For the life of me I'll never understand why the Democrats didn't start the negotiating with "Medicare for all" as the initial bargaining chip. It's a stronger place to bargain from. Anyone who has haggled for prices knows you don't start the bargaining at the highest price you're will to pay. Then again Democrats have a way of fucking up a good thing and taking a perfectly strong majority and squandering it. Third party anyone?

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Email Senators Blanche Lincoln and Evan Bayh about Public Option.

The talking heads have said for awhile that conservative Democrats would face defeat by Independents and Republicans if they supported a public option but a new poll out in both states shows otherwise. This from the Research 2000 poll taken days ago:

LINCOLN JOB PERFORMANCE: Sen. Lincoln has 41% favorable, 49% unfavorable rating. (Independents: 38% favorable, 52% unfavorable.) 38% think Lincoln is in-touch, 47% out-of-touch (Independents: 39% in, 47% out). 35% say Lincoln is effective, 51% ineffective. (Independents: 35% ineffective, 50% ineffective.)

2010 GENERAL ELECTION: If Bayh joined Republicans in filibustering a public option, 35% of Independents would be less likely to vote for him, 13% more likely. (Nearly 3 to 1). Among Democrats, 51% to 7% (Over 7 to 1).

2010 PRIMARY: If Evan Bayh voted to filibuster a public option, 54% of Democratic voters would be less likely to vote for him in a primary. Only 6% would be more likely. (9 to 1)

TPJ: Please take a few minutes out of your day and email these two senators. I have taken the liberty to dig up the direct link to their contact pages to make it easier for you: Click here for Senator Evan Bayh. And then click here for Senator Blanche Lincoln.

I wrote out the following to them after quoting some of these stats. Feel free to copy and paste any of it:

That should be plenty of reason to support a public option bill. If you're worried about re-election for supporting it you might be reading this wrong. You could more likely it appears now be defeated if you DON'T support it.

Please listen to your citizens and vote yes on a public option.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Curious Case of Senator Joseph Lieberman.

Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, (TPJ: Seen left in picture) who got to keep his gavel and seniority in the Democratically-controlled Senate despite his support for Senator John McCain's Presidential bid and congenital inability to vote for Democratic legislative initiatives, is going rogue again.

he announced his plan to help the GOP filibuster the health care reform legislation because of Majority Leader Harry Reid's inclusion of an opt-out public option. Lieberman reportedly told Reid that he's siding with Republicans on this one, as though siding with Republicans is something unusual for Connecticut's "independent" Senator. Lieberman, whose willingness to send Americans off to war with little preparation other than a few good speeches remains legendary.

TPJ: He said that he's not even going to allow the public option come to a vote!! Be against it all you want but at least let a vote happen!! This is a man who was the vice-presidential candidate in 2000 with Al Gore. He also supported McCain over Obama in the last election. If Lieberman is going to threaten those of us for the public option this way then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid should threaten him back to yank away his seniority and chairmanship. Reid told us that Lieberman was a reliable vote on everything but national security. Well, he not only burned us Harry -- He burned you too. Are you just going to sit there and take that abuse? If so you need to go too because this is unacceptable.

The other interesting thing is that apparently the state of Connecticut is run by insurance companies who use Joke Liberman as their puppet in the Senate. He might as well have Aetna (a mega health insurance corporation based in Connecticut) tattooed all over his nuts with a matching dog collar and leash around his neck. So help me Darwin, if the public option goes down because of his dickheadedness, corruption and shifty behavior I will do everything I can to see him unseated. The same goes for the other "Blue Cross and Shield Democrats" er, I mean Blue Dog Democrats.

I don't have a lot of money but I will donate a little each month to campaigns against them. I'm not a party "purist" that wants to purge all moderates but on this critical issue I will. Health care is one of the main reasons I'm a liberal. So on this issue, I will not let their betraying votes be the last word on the matter. They may kill the public option but we must stand up then and put our money where our beliefs are and take them down in primary elections. We allow Lieberman to keep his seniority despite being stabbed in the back during this last presidential election when he supported fellow crypt keeper John McCain. However, being bleeding heart liberals we gave him a second chance and not only did he stab us in the back AGAIN but he twisted it around inside us for good measure. If Ho (in case you don't know, "ho" is slang in America for "whore." It also conveniently rhymes with, "Joe.") Lieberman is part of the gang who blows the public option up then I hope Reid strips him of as much power as possible. How many times do we need to get stabbed in the back by Brutus Lieberman before we say, "ENOUGH!!"

My small donations against these "Blue balls" Democrats might not result in their defeat but if we all donate small amounts it will turn into an avalanche. Plus, it will just feel good to be able to do something about my anger, frustration and contempt for these people. Even if they don't go down to defeat in the next election, I will keep up the fight both in pushing for universal health care and in trying to defeat them each election season.


PLEASE send an email pressuring Joe Lieberman. This is what I said:

Joe!! Say it ain't so!! Why are you stabbing your former party in the back in not even allowing the public option come to a vote? That's what democracy is about anyway. Voting. We let you come back to your seniority and chairmanship despite campaigning against Obama. And this is how you pay us back? Please, PLEASE reconsider. People are sick and dying over this stalling and inaction. Do you really want that on your conscience? Think hard about this one. You might lose your seat in CT if you betray the Democrats yet again. Please reconsider Joe. I supported and voted for your ticket in 2000. Now I'm pleading with you to vote for me.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Majority is Worthless if You Don't Do Something with It.

I'm not one of these people who is party over principle as my regulars will attest to and that's why I'm getting frustrated with the Democrats. However, Harry Reid seems to be finally getting it about the public option now that he's pushing the opt-out version, which I like. It's better than no public option at all. Having at least some states using it will hopefully urge others to adopt it once they see the efficacy. What I want to address though are the Democrats who are willing to kick health care reform down the road another decade for the sake of keeping "the majority."

Ah, yes the ever intoxicating "majority." Don't get me wrong, I'm all for having a Democratic majority but if they don't do anything on the public option; do you really think they'll budge on climate change or any of the other issues important to us? Health care reform is one of the pieces of the bed-rock of liberalism in America and for me it's the public option or nothing. We have already compromised from the single-payer system or "medicare for all." So why should we settle for half-measures? Especially if there's a mandate to have insurance without a public option, which is going backwards. That would be a give away to the insurance industry and a clear sign that much of the Democratic party is hopelessly corrupt.

What is the point of having a majority if you don't use it? Of course they can round up 60 votes if they wanted to!! Democrats need to learn to play a little hardball like the Republicans do with their members. They whip then in-line when big legislation is on their priority list. Look how Bush got things done. I'm not saying "be like Bush" except when twisting some ears of party members. Tell some of the Democrats who are beholden to the insurance companies to make a choice: Choose the people and vote for the public option or choose the insurance companies and lose your chairmanships. Oh and face opposition in a primary election. I'm not for doing this on every issue that comes up but monumental change in health care has been overdue for decades -- since Teddy Roosevelt!!! So I don't believe this bullshit about "We need more time!!" It's been 70 years already damn it!!!! No more stalling, no more "triggers" and no more excuses.

And if Harry Reid loses his backbone again by backing away from this opt-out version of the public option then he should lose his position as majority leader to Chuck Schumer. Schumer's got a spine made of cast iron. I'd rather pass legislation that will provide wider access to health care and thus save lives than hang onto a majority that doesn't do shit!! If it took us 7 decades to get back to the point of a universal health care option then I think its worth losing an election or two over it. The "majority" means NOTHING to people who are dying right now because they couldn't afford health care for preventative treatments. The "majority" means NOTHING to someone who can't afford to protect their family from sickness and death because they lost their job.

Enough bullshit!! I don't care what pushing public option means to your election chances. You should be more worried about your constituents than your re-election campaigns anyway!! Oh how quickly they forget who they serve. Hang on, strike that -- They know exactly who they serve, which is in reality not us at all but the special interests. I won't be strung along anymore with calls of, "Just trust us and give us a majority and we'll pass this and that." Nope. Time to lay your cards on the table and "nut up or shut up." As they say in the great flick, "Zombieland." Hmm, zombieland??? Sounds like Washington D.C.!!!!

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Hardly a Glitch with Decriminalized Pot in Mass.

When are we going to hear about the chronic malaise that has settled over Massachusetts since the state decriminalized pot in January? What about the wave of school dropouts? A spike in demand for "Half Baked" from Massachusetts Netflix hubs? At least a boon for pizza delivery? Nothing? I've been watching the news, and there's been hardly a peep. In fact the few peeps we've heard have confirmed what I expected to happen: nothing. One story ran recently in the suburban MetroWest Daily News under the headline "Marijuana Law Has Had Little Effect on Schools." Overall, however, there hasn't been a serious problem with pot in schools. "I thought I'd see more issues. But we haven't," said Milford High School Principal John Brucato.

James: The same is true for Portugal, which has legalized pot since 2001. They had 8 years now of this experiment and so far it's been successful.

At the time, critics in the poor, socially conservative and largely Catholic nation said decriminalizing drug possession would open the country to "drug tourists" and exacerbate Portugal's drug problem; the country had some of the highest levels of hard-drug use in Europe. But the recently released results of a report commissioned by the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, suggest otherwise. The paper, published by Cato in April, found that in the five years after personal possession was decriminalized, illegal drug use among teens in Portugal declined and rates of new HIV infections caused by sharing of dirty needles dropped.

"Judging by every metric, decriminalization in Portugal has been a resounding success," says Glenn Greenwald, an attorney, author and fluent Portuguese speaker, who conducted the research. "It has enabled the Portuguese government to manage and control the drug problem far better than virtually every other Western country does." Following decriminalization, Portugal had the lowest rate of lifetime marijuana use in people over 15 in the E.U.: 10%. The most comparable figure in America is in people over 12: 39.8%. Proportionally, more Americans have used cocaine than Portuguese have used marijuana.

Although its capital is notorious among stoners and college kids for marijuana haze–filled "coffee shops," Holland has never actually legalized cannabis — the Dutch simply don't enforce their laws against the shops. The correct answer is Portugal, which in 2001 became the first European country to officially abolish all criminal penalties for personal possession of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.

At the recommendation of a national commission charged with addressing Portugal's drug problem, jail time was replaced with the offer of therapy. The argument was that the fear of prison drives addicts underground and that incarceration is more expensive than treatment — so why not give drug addicts health services instead? Under Portugal's new regime, people found guilty of possessing small amounts of drugs are sent to a panel consisting of a psychologist, social worker and legal adviser for appropriate treatment (which may be refused without criminal punishment), instead of jail.

The question is, does the new policy work? At the time, critics in the poor, socially conservative and largely Catholic nation said decriminalizing drug possession would open the country to "drug tourists" and exacerbate Portugal's drug problem; the country had some of the highest levels of hard-drug use in Europe. But the recently released results of a report commissioned by the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, suggest otherwise. The paper, published by Cato in April, found that in the five years after personal possession was decriminalized, illegal drug use among teens in Portugal declined and rates of new HIV infections caused by sharing of dirty needles dropped, while the number of people seeking treatment for drug addiction more than doubled.

"Judging by every metric, decriminalization in Portugal has been a resounding success," says Glenn Greenwald, an attorney, author and fluent Portuguese speaker, who conducted the research. "It has enabled the Portuguese government to manage and control the drug problem far better than virtually every other Western country does." Compared to the European Union and the U.S., Portugal's drug use numbers are impressive. Following decriminalization, Portugal had the lowest rate of lifetime marijuana use in people over 15 in the E.U.: 10%. The most comparable figure in America is in people over 12: 39.8%. Proportionally, more Americans have used cocaine than Portuguese have used marijuana. The Cato paper reports that between 2001 and 2006 in Portugal, rates of lifetime use of any illegal drug among seventh through ninth graders fell from 14.1% to 10.6%; drug use in older teens also declined. Lifetime heroin use among 16-to-18-year-olds fell from 2.5% to 1.8%

James: The evidence is in and the time to legalize pot is NOW.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Small Businesses Face 15% Health Insurance Rate Hike.

As Congress nears votes on legislation that would overhaul the health care system, many small businesses say they are facing the steepest rise in insurance premiums they have seen in recent years. Insurance brokers and benefits consultants say their small business clients are seeing premiums go up an average of about 15 percent for the coming year — double the rate of last year’s increases. That would mean an annual premium that was $4,500 per employee in 2008 and $4,800 this year would rise to $5,500 in 2010.

TPJ: These are hikes that giant corporations aren't seeing. So Republicans? If you believe that small businesses are the backbone of the economy, (which they are) then how can you be against a public option health care plan? It would unburden them with sky-rocketing health care costs that often mean success or failure for a new entrepreneur. Republicans are good at talking big and saying they support small businesses but when it comes to helping them do just that via health care reform they're the first ones against them!! The majority of jobs are created by small businesses so it's only logical that helping them get health insurance off their books can only boost job creation even more. Then again logic is something that I haven't seen this current crop of Republican leaders have much of.

If we don't do something about providing competition to the health insurance industry then why should we expect them NOT to increase our rates up and up and up every year? At some point everyone is going to have to spend more and more of their salary just to stay healthy and alive. That kills productivity and strains the economy even more as business after business will increasingly fall thus putting more and more strain on the few small businesses left. Until eventually the only businesses left will be the mega-corporations and it will be the equivilent of returning to the days of the company store. The "company store" relates to an era where people were so poor and beholden to the robber barons and big businesses that they had no choice but to work for these behemoths. And as a condition of their employment they were forced to live in company housing, on company owned land and bought their goods from the company store because it was often the only store in town. To make matters worse the goods they bought were extremely over-priced.

That's America's future if we don't do something about this health care crisis RIGHT NOW.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Reid Close to Opt-Out Version of Public Option.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is just one or two Senate votes shy of having a filibuster-proof majority in favor of a public option for health insurance coverage with a provision allowing states to opt-out, multiple sources tell the Huffington Post. The Nevada Democrat, according to Hill sources, is furiously working the phones today to ensure that 60 Senators (including him) will back the provision. The work will continue through the weekend and comes despite the president's indication in a meeting Thursday evening at the White House that he prefers a public option that would be triggered in by certain conditions over the "opt-out" alternative.

TPJ: I must say that while I want the public option without strings attached I do think this "opt-out" version might just be a good compromise. It would put the decision to say, "No" in the hands of the governors (or state Congress) of each state. It might just be a really smart way to put the public option into motion because what governor or state Congress would say, "No, I'm not interested in promoting the health of the citizens in my state."

These guvs (or state Congressional leaders) could still be a heartless bastard(s) and go ahead with "opting out" but if they do they'll most likely not be re-elected because sickness and death cross party lines. When you get down to life and death decisions, things suddenly get really clear for even the most hardened political ideologue. How many people who live in a state where the public option is in place, who lose their job and need health insurance won't jump onto a public option plan to protect their family?

Even if some Guvs (or state Congressional leaders) decline(s) it and still get re-elected the population in his/her state would likely plummet with people fleeing the state to search for health care. At some point they'll be forced to accept the public option or face a crippled state.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wall Street Doesn't Get it.

Oct. 21 (Bloomberg) -- A Goldman Sachs International adviser defended compensation in the finance industry as his company plans a near-record year for pay, saying the spending will help boost the economy. “We have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieve greater prosperity and opportunity for all,” Brian Griffiths, who was a special adviser to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, said yesterday at a panel discussion at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. The panel’s discussion topic was, “What is the place of morality in the marketplace?” (TPJ: This tool also happens to be a "Lord" in Britain).

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., based in New York, set aside $16.7 billion for compensation and benefits in the first nine months of 2009, up 46 percent from a year earlier and enough to pay each worker $527,192 for the period. The amount set aside this year is just shy of the all-time high $16.9 billion allocated in the first three quarters of 2007. Goldman Sachs spokesman Michael DuVally in New York declined to comment.

TPJ: The spokesman declined to comment??? Isn't that his FUCKING JOB, which he's getting a BONUS to "do?!!!" THE NERVE OF THESE PEOPLE!!! But they're sociopaths and sociopaths don't have any concern for others. His answer to how the poor benefit from people like him getting uber-rich? Reaganomics, trickle-down bullshit reheated for 2009. He says, "To whom much is given much is expected." There's a nice slap in the face--he knows the adage but he still doesn't get it!! Don't patronize me.

“There is a sense that if you make money you are expected to give."

: The problem Lord Asshole is that charity isn't evenly distributed. People usually give to their church for example. Well what if someone doesn't happen to be apart of your church or even religion? So how do you help the poor Atheist, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim or Jew? Some charities take up all the "oxygen" in the room when it comes to donations. For example, breast cancer awareness. I'm all for finding a cure for breast cancer but it seems like everywhere you turn there's another breast cancer event taking donations. We buy pink soup cans, pink batteries and the NFL players even wore pink gloves one game this season.

Donations aren't evenly distributed like tax cuts or rebates are and they don't reach enough people. We are also relying upon the good will of others and frankly I don't trust the uber-rich on Wall Street to all of a sudden find Christ and open up their wallets. This tendency is in all of us, however. We think, "Oh, someone else is going to give to charity" but if we leave it up to someone else it won't happen. Unfortunately experience and history have shown us that people don't give willingly--not very much and certainly not in the amounts desperately needed. That is why we need a government to be the third party who intervenes, collects taxes and distribute it to those who need it the most via tax returns. We can't rely upon charity alone; especially if these rich Wall-Street types and Uber-Investors like Mitt Romney keep buying up companies who employ lower-class people and selling them off to foreign entities. So I still don't understand how tolerating inequality will achieve greater prosperity for all. I'm clear on how it'll make money for YOU Lord Dickhead but not for the middle-class, which is fastly becoming the "murdered class" thanks to douche bags like you.

So more record bonuses. Great. At the same time social security recipients won't get their annual raise, workers aren't getting raises--no one but these Wall-Street sociopaths are getting them. And not just any raise--they're getting an orgy of money. So where do I buy my pitchfork? Prosperity for all? Yeah kind of hard when you're getting record profits. How is that money trickling down when these bonuses and record profits just get bigger and bigger. I don't know about you but I don't see any trickle of money flowing into my wallet. And what's this about a "trickle" anyway? How come we get a trickle while they get a flood? How about they TOLERATE taking less this year because WE the "in-equal" PAID to keep your asses afloat!! Everyone else has to take a hit but somehow you're different because you make the money? Ha!! You guys don't "make" shit!!! You buy and sell money and push money around into different accounts. Meanwhile thanks to your predatory practices you've sold off all the good plants and companies that use to MAKE REAL THINGS IN AMERICA!!! Thanks a lot asshole. You can keep your charity--we're coming after your bonus instead.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Less Obambi and more Obama Please.

"There is a growing sense on Capitol Hill that the White House's refusal to weigh in more forcefully in the health care debate could come at the cost of a public option for insurance coverage. Democratic aides said that a "handful" of senators who are skeptical of a public plan likely could be persuaded if not to support it then at least to oppose a Republican filibuster, if the administration were to apply a bit more pressure -- or even guidance. "There is a clear sense that it would be helpful," said one senior Democratic aide."

"Throughout this entire debate the White House line has been 'We will weigh in when it is necessary'.... Well now we need 60 votes. So if it's not necessary now, then when will it be?" "I think folks in general in Congress were looking to the president to clearly define his feeling on the issue," another aide said. "And I don't think he has done that on the public option from the get-go... With a lot of senators nervous because of elections or other political dynamics, it would be helpful for the president to send a strong signal that this is what he wants in the final bill."

TPJ: I don't know what pissed me off more: Obama's lack of hands-on approach to the process, Senators who won't help the process unless Obama begs. Or that Senators are more worried about re-election than passing health care reform that includes a public option. Especially when now 57% of America WANTS a public option!!! President Obama has a frustrating habit of leaving decisions up to Congress, which is like letting guests on the Jerry Springer Show craft the legislation.

Yes, Congress is where the bill gets shaped but Obama should have been more forceful in letting people know where he stood from the beginning. Even at this late hour in the process he seems to be sitting back and acting somewhat ambivalent about the it all. I'm really getting annoyed with his aloofness and while delegating is very important it isn't what he should be doing all the time. It gives the impression that he's delegating because he is in over his head and/or doesn't really want to get involved in the details. He needs to learn how to use his position as president to push his legislation but it some ways it's hard to tell what he wants at all!!

On a personal level he's a really likable guy and I still support him for the most part but I'm losing patience faster each day. He seems out-of-place right now in his surroundings and it even seems to show on his face. He often has this look of bewilderment on his face where his eyes kind of glaze over for a moment as he looks for the right words to say. I hope I'm proven wrong and that he's going to come on stronger in this next three years but this first year so far as been a rough rookie season.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Obama Administration Won't Encourage Medicinal Marijuana Arrests.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration will not seek to arrest medical marijuana users and suppliers as long as they conform to state laws, under new policy guidelines to be sent to federal prosecutors Monday. Two Justice Department officials described the new policy to The Associated Press, saying prosecutors will be told it is not a good use of their time to arrest people who use or provide medical marijuana in strict compliance with state laws.

TPJ: It's about time that the federal government obey the 10th amendment by ending the intrusion in the affairs of states who have legally and democratically voted for legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. It's also time to end the stigma that medicinal marijuana users are just recreational smokers who are looking for a way around the law. Marijuana does things for people that other medications do not do. For example, a lot of people can't take heavy pain medications like Vicodin due to the effects on the stomach. Personally I can take a traditional, doctor recommended prescription of Vicodin or Percocet and have to endure constant nausea, vomiting and lack of appetite. Yet I can smoke some marijuana and feel pain relief without ANY and I mean ANY of those stomach problems associated with the traditional painkillers. In fact, pot stimulates my appetite, which is vital when you're sick or recovering from a surgery.

As many of you know I take 8--yes, EIGHT different medications to somewhat manage a psychological brain disorder called schizoaffective Disorder. Basically it is Bipolar plus some symptoms of schizophrenia though they aren't as pronounced or debilitating as in full-blown schizophrenia. Anyway, on the bipolar side of the equation I often unexpectedly swing down into a deep depression, which quickly drops deeper into suicidal depression. Yet despite all of the traditional drugs I take not a one can pull me quickly out of a suicidal state like marijuana does. I can go from sobbing tears, quivering, balled up on the couch and wanting to die to stabilized, calm and happy within a matter of two-three draws of pot. The same goes for regular depression when I can't seem to get myself out of a hole to stop thinking horrible, discouraging thoughts. Upon smoking my outlook on life improves and these positive effects last well after the effects of marijuana decrease. And now there is a device called a "vaperizor" that turns the pot into a mist instead of smoke so it's much, much easier on your lungs. Though even traditional smoking doesn't seem to cause the same problems as tobacco. Probably in part because pot smokers don't usually smoke as much as tobacco smokers do.

It's like the pot acts as the coast guard picking me up from sinking into the dangerous waters of mental breakdown and places me back on shore. The smoking pulls me up out of the water of depression while dropping me off after the effects wears off in a place of safety so I can take it from there. The same goes for when i get really angry from being manic--It calms me faster than my prescribed tranquilizers do!! It gives me breathing room and emergency power to build upon for returning to a more stabilized place. You can't tell me that marijuana doesn't have positive, medicinal, literally life-saving properties because I've lived it. I know what it does for me and it's easier on my body than most of the prescription drugs I take for my mental illness!! I can't tell you how many times pot has literally save my life and kept me out of the mental hospital.

If I stop taking my pills I get the shakes and often vomit--nice, huh? Especially for so-called "approved drugs!!" Pot on the other hand can be used once a day or once a week and you won't get shaky or withdrawals if you don't smoke it daily. So isn't it weird that the so-called "approved" drugs are harder on your body than an herbal medicine that has been naturally growing on Earth for ages? Wouldn't it be ironic if there was a "God" and he purposely put pot here to help us medicinally, psychologically and spiritually? And here we are arresting people for seeking relief from this miracle medicine!! Sounds like something we stupid humans would do. That said, medicinal marijuana is NOT advised for everyone just like taking certain other legal drugs aren't advised for some.

It's time to STOP arresting sick people who are wasting away simply because they find some relief in marijuana. We also need to be looking at how we classify and approach recreational use. I think the evidence is clear at this point that marijuana is the least harmful drug out of: Alcohol, tobacco, cocaine/crack, heroin and meth. Keeping pot illegal makes no sense and even many in law enforcement and judges agree. Investigating and arresting otherwise lawful citizens for smoking pot is a waste of police time and resources that should be used to fight meth, which is a REAL drug and a REAL problem. And/or use those resources to investigate and arrest child abusers. We live in a backwards country when someone can be thrown in prison for growing a plant longer than sex offender!!

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Obama, Pelosi and Reid Push Back--Finally.

WASHINGTON — President Obama mounted a frontal assault on the insurance industry on Saturday, accusing it of using “deceptive and dishonest ads” to derail his health care legislation and threatening to strip the industry of its longstanding exemption from federal antitrust laws. In unusually harsh terms, Mr. Obama cast insurance companies as obstacles to change interested only in preserving their own “profits and bonuses” and willing to “bend the truth or break it” to stop his drive to remake the nation’s health care system. The president used his weekly radio and Internet address to challenge industry assertions that legislation will drive up premiums. “It’s smoke and mirrors,” Mr. Obama said. “It’s bogus. And it’s all too familiar. Every time we get close to passing reform, the insurance companies produce these phony studies as a prescription and say, ‘Take one of these, and call us in a decade.’ Well, not this time.”

TPJ: Finally, Obama swings the big stick!! He needs to take that big stick though, walk softly behind Harry Reid and then smack him with that big stick too!! He's about as helpful to the health care cause as the head of Vichy France was to the liberation of France. He's unfortunately making himself a liability at this point with his continued obfuscation and stalling. He's been a limp dish rag from the beginning. I guess that he's finally threatening yanking the anti-trust exemption the health insurance industries gets but we should be doing that regardless. However, he's a bit late to the party and while I welcome him finally getting tough I think it's time to put someone else in as leader.

I hear that Sen. Chuck Schumer might be in the wings waiting to soon take the position of Majority Leader in the Senate and I'm all for that happening--ASAP. Schumer is able and willing to swing the big stick with these special interests, the Republicans who oppose sense and those in his own party who seem to have forgotten where their bread is buttered. He also remembers how to get shit done in the Senate instead of the half-assed efforts of Reid. Schumer wouldn't be afraid of threatening to yank chairmanships from Democrats who "can't find the door" on this one and end up voting, "no."

Pelosi said those companies won't like the final House bill.

"Now, there are some things that we want to see happen to the insurance companies that they may not like. I mean, there are some things that we are considering. The Senate has a flat fee on the insurance companies, $40 billion. That may be something we want to look at for our bill in terms of our pay-fors. There is in our bill 85 percent a medical loss ratio. That means they must spend 85 percent of every dollar that they collect in premiums on benefits. Many of them don't come anywhere near that now. They are using the money for their own purposes, not as a return, as insurance should be, to the beneficiaries," she said.

TPJ: The time for hardball was a couple months ago but I guess it's better late than never. I just hope it too late.

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Friday, October 09, 2009

What? Obama Gets the Nobel Peace Prize?

I felt like someone waking up from a decades long coma this morning as I sleepily starred at the t.v. anchor telling me that President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. My first thought was, "For what?" Don't get me wrong, I like Obama and while I'm a bit pissed at him lately over this health care fight I still personally really dig the guy. I'm not sure if I'll vote for him yet again in 2012 but I'm leaning toward re-electing him barring a disaster on health care, which I'm really concerned over.

Anyway, despite my admiration for the man I don't think he's done enough for peace in the less than a year that he's been in office to warrant such a prestigious prize. He struck the right tone, however, this morning when talking about the award in saying he felt he didn't deserve it. As well as stating how he wants to share it with the world who have collectively done so much for peace. What else could he say? He would have appeared rude to decline it and had he accepted it without feeling humbled; he'd be accused of having a messianic complex.

The candidate that I would have chosen would be the 82 year old Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh who was nominated in 1967. He was nominated by his friend the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for his work to peacefully end the Vietnam war. At the time King, Jr. made the comment, "I do not personally know of anyone more worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize than this gentle Buddhist monk from Vietnam...I know Thich Nhat Hanh." Nhat Hanh is using the peaceful message of Buddhism to effect harmony in the world.

In his native Vietnam a fledgling order of monks was established by him a few years ago, which is now being broke up by the religious police of the Communist dictatorship there. They have used violence to remove the peaceful monastics from the temple monastery yet because of Nhat Hanh's peaceful example these monastics were able to remain calm, peaceful and loving despite being treated so poorly.

That all said I feel sympathy for President Obama because I know he feels awkward about this prize as seen in his body language and words at the press conference. However, it must be said that the Nobel committee should have waited to see what all Obama was going to do with his presidency before awarding him this prestigious recognition. Hopefully now he will use this as more motivation to use his time in office to bring about peace and reconciliation with all peoples of the world. Unfortunately this award with give his critics more ammunition to call him the king with no clothes. The Nobel committee didn't do him any favors by saddling him with his recognition, which undoubtedly will take the message off health care.

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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Pot Legalization Gains Momentum in California.

SAN FRANCISCO — Marijuana advocates are gathering signatures to get as many as three pot-legalization measures on the ballot in 2010 in California, setting up what could be a groundbreaking clash with the federal government over U.S. drug policy. At least one poll shows voters would support lifting the pot prohibition, which would make the state of more than 38 million the first in the nation to legalize marijuana.

Under federal law, marijuana is illegal, period. But some legal scholars and policy analysts say the government will not be able to require California to help in enforcing the federal marijuana ban if the state legalizes the drug Without assistance from the state's legions of narcotics officers, they say, federal agents could do little to curb marijuana in California. "Even though that federal ban is still in place and the federal government can enforce it, it doesn't mean the states have to follow suit," said Robert Mikos, a Vanderbilt University law professor who recently published a paper about the issue.

James: You'd think Republicans would be for this measure passing if for no other reason than they are always saying how states' rights are sacred. It's based on the 10th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In other words, if the Constitution doesn't prohibit something or delegate responsibility to the federal government then the decision should be left up to the people of each state. Well, the Constitution doesn't ban marijuana, in fact it's written on hemp paper, which is a cousin to the cannabis plant!! How ironic!! Nor does the Constitution say that the federal government can enforce the illegality of marijuana within the states.

In 2005 the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could still enforce the federal ban on marijuana because of the "Commerce Clause." The feds weakly argued that pot grown legally in California for medicinal us could enter the interstate market, which is regulated by the feds. This allowed the federal government to still regulate marijuana in California though how California is responsible for someone selling their own pot across states lines is beyond me. Why doesn't the federal government just deal with things on a case by case basis and if they find someone selling pot across state lines then arrest them? To say instead that the whole state of California has to pay for this one person selling it across state lines is a clear breach of power in my eyes.

So if you're in California and support the legalization of marijuana I plead with you to get out and vote for these measures. And to those who might oppose it or be sitting on the fence just look at how well prohibition worked for alcohol in the 1930s. It was a disaster and the prohibition of marijuana has been even more of a failure. You may not smoke it and you may not like it but what right do you have to tell me that I can't smoke it in the privacy of my own home? I shouldn't have to not smoke pot in my home because you have a religious or moral objection to pot in general.

Don't you think that is giving the federal government too much power over our lives? If freedom, and in particular personal liberties mean anything to us then we should have a right to smoke a plant that has been shown to be less of a problem for society, law enforcement, relationships and communities than alcohol AND tobacco. It's not even physically addictive!! Yes, it can be psychologically addictive but so can your Aunt Stella's Double Chocolate bunt cake. If you want to stop smoking pot you might be moody for a day or two (at the most) but no withdrawals, no shakes, no vomiting--nada. Plus, it's an all-purpose medicine for upset stomach, nausea (Pepto Bismol has nothing on pot when it comes to stomach pain) depression, rage (you don't hear about people smoking pot and then beating their wife like you do with alcohol) and migraines.

So please listen to reason and know that the taxation of marijuana could bring in billions of dollars to fund health programs for kids and adults. As well as pay for roads, transportation cost or anything that a state might need extra money for. Establish a ban on smoking it outside the confines of your property, establish a ban from smoking and driving but allow people the right to smoke a plant that (if you believe in a Creator) "God" put here in the first place!! Maybe he WANTS us to smoke it to help us relax knowing the stress that Earthly life would put on us!! You don't know for sure that "God" would be against smoking a natural plant, do you? Have you had a visitation from "Him?" If so, would you please notify the news because I'd like to hear what "He" said. But seriously, leave it up to the states if nothing else and if a majority of citizens vote to legalize it then wouldn't preventing that vote from being implemented be undemocratic and outright dictatorial? I think we all know the answer to that question.

Jon Stewart on the Obama Snub of The Dalai Lama.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Hell No, Dalai
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TPJ: Why don't we just get it with; tattoo Obama's nuts with "Property of China" and rename our country, "The United States of Chinese America." Good thing the Dalai Lama has more patience, calm, forgiveness and subzero anger because I'm rather annoyed. I guess I need to get on my meditation cushion and chill out a bit. I guess at least Obama is going to meet with him after the Chinese but damn it makes us look like a bunch of sniveling bitches and enablers of human rights violations.

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Jon Stewart Rips Obama for Not Repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Policy Yet.

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TPJ: So we need more troops in Afghanistan but we won't allow gays to serve? That's an entirely new demographic that could be tapped to serve our country. Come on Obama, get your shit together. You could repeal this with a signature and yet "your people" keep saying you're doing too much already? Bullshit. You were the one who said you'd be able to do more than one thing at once. So pull up your big boy undies and end this discrimination. You could end it with a signature. As a person who would have been banned from serving in the U.S. armed forces in our countries past due to your skin color; you of all presidents should be sensitive to this kind of prejudice. Do the right thing and don't let this injustice fall upon the desk of yet another president.

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Monday, October 05, 2009

Lindsey Graham Might be the Last Respectable Republican Left.

I don't always agree with Senator Lindsey Graham--especially the way he went after Sotomayor but he doesn't seem to be rapidly partisan. For the most part he seems to want to have honest debates with the left. He could be the last semi-respectable Republican left because many independents are watching this whole Tea-Bag Party, death panels, Obama birth-certificate and glee over America losing the 2016 Olympics nonsense with disgust. The Republican party right now is less party than mob and you can't work together to move the nation forward with a mob that only wants to tear down, divide people and sow dis-accord. I'm not too happy with the Democrats right now either (as my regular readers know) but the Republicans went into the gutter after the Obama election and kept right on going down into the sewer of political discourse.

As much as I appreciate your standing up to the thugs in your party Lindsey; I think it's a spit in the ocean. Your party overall seems to be heading over the cliff of party viability and respect. They seem to prefer following radical hate mongers than actual, respectable leaders with whom liberals can have an honest debate with. That said, I give him great credit for making this particular stand. It takes some serious courage to stand up to today's Republican party, which has eroded down to just the iron-fisted, hardcore, fringe. And it seems they'd just as soon see their party go over the cliff than stop slinging around racist and xenophobic rhetoric. The Party of No, it seems, has left you behind Senator Graham.

Unfortunately, anytime someone as independent as you stands up to one of the mob bosses on your side of the ideological perspective; they crush you and end up making you crawl back to them on your hands and knees. Please don't backpedal and kiss the papal ring of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh now that you've made me proud of a Republican. Our country's house is on fire and the right seems to be cheering for the fire.

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Friday, October 02, 2009

Republicans Gleeful over America Losing Olympics.

That was the Conservative group, "Americans for Prosperity" clapping as an AMERICAN city, Chicago didn't get the Olympics. That would have meant a lot of jobs not just for Chicago but the whole Great Lakes region. Americans for prosperity? I guess just not for America when it's led by Obama. Should any of us be clapping when an American city loses potential money and jobs? I guess the Republicans do. This is not a failure by Obama it's a Republican failure. I like what one of the few conservatives that I like, Joe Scarborough said about this:

Count me as one conservative who is disappointed that President Obama's hometown will not be hosting the 2016 Olympic Games.

The President was right to fly to Copenhagen to try to land the games, not for the sake of his city, but for the good of his country. The fact President Obama failed makes me respect him more for taking the chance, and the fact many right-wing figures opposed the President's mission shows just how narrow-minded partisanship makes us all.

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Why Does John Boehner Hate America?

Rep. John Boehner has been harping on President Obama for heading to Copenhagen, Denmark to try and get the 2016 Olympics for Chicago. Boehner claims that traveling there will distract Obama from other issues like health care. Hey Boehner!! He'll only be gone for a 24 hours and believe it or not you wrinkled, old, leathery lizard man you can get a lot of work done these days on Airforce 1. There are things called: Satellite phones, the internets (as your buddy "W" use to say) Blackberries and the good old fashioned face to face conference meeting you dolt. This isn't some weary business man flying coach on United airlines folks.

The president is flying overnight Thursday, making a presentation to the IOC members on Friday, and returning to Washington the same day. He may not even stick around to see the winning city announced.

TPJ: Funny, I don't remember Boehner saying "W" shouldn't go to the Beijing Olympics when he not only made an appearance but STAYED for FOUR DAMN DAYS!!! He had two wars going just like Obama yet funny that you didn't slam Bush for being irresponsible. I wonder why? I doubt it could be that they are both Republicans, do you? Of course that's why!!! He's playing politics with the Olympics, which is supposed to be something Americans unite around but the "Party of No" are even saying "no" to the Olympics!!! This fungus from Missouri (By the way, Missouri? I feel bad for you having to deal with this genius) said in part this trip would keep Obama from working on improving the unemployment situation in America. Once again you gin-crazed drunkard (Boehner always looks like he's recovering from a bender when you see him on camera) work can be done on Airforce 1.

The other point though is that if Chicago gets these Olympics it will mean increased revenue for the town, the state and the surrounding Great Lakes region. However, the boon doesn't mean just revenue but jobs for workers looking to bridge this recession and the jobs would be created immediately even before construction started, which would employ countless people. If Chicago gets the Olympics jobs will be filled right away in public relations, etc. Besides, Obama is the President of the United States of America and representing our country abroad is part of his job description. I think that all the other countries are sending their top leader to Copenhagen too.

This is a phony argument and the GOP has to pick their battles because they are looking like the boy who cried wolf bitching about every little thing Obama does. When you are the "Party of No" and keep saying everything Obama does is a crisis and a sign of Armageddon you start losing people's trust and they no longer take you seriously. People don't take your seriously and start seeing you as just another cantankerous crazy lobbing bombs from the sidelines but not really trying to do anything to help the country. The Republicans are attacking on too many fronts and appearing as pesky mosquitoes rather than the loyal opposition.

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