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Ruby the Liberal

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Gender: Female
Home country: East Coast US
Member since: Sun Sep 6, 2009, 08:36 PM
Number of posts: 25,953

Journal Archives

11 Senators joined

Not bad for a day's work!

Here are the signatories to the Hatch letter from the WaPost:

Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah)
Mike Lee (R-Utah)
Mark Kirk (R-Ill.)
Angus King (I-Maine)
Michael F. Bennet (D-Colo.)
Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
Thom Tillis (R-N.C.)
Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)
Mark R. Warner (D-Va.)


According to Forbes (whose coverage of this legal battle has been stellar) Ron Wyden also joined Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) to send their own letter yesterday:

"While we understand there are times when public safety demands that your agency act quickly on scheduling decisions, we believe that in this instance additional time for the scientific community, public health officials, and other members of the public to comment is warranted and may prove to be in the interest of public health and safety," the senators added. "Since 1980, our federal prison population has exploded by nearly 800 percent. This increase is a result of draconian drug policies that continue to place nonviolent drug offenders behind bars. We should not, in haste and without adequate opportunity for comment and analysis, place substances in categories that may be inconsistent with their medical value and potential for abuse."


And a letter to AG Lynch was added yesterday by House Reps Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Hank Johnson (D-GA) asking her to intervene with a stay on the process:


The DEA hasn't responded, but they also didn't file yesterday as they originally intended, so we shall see what happens. For now, kratom remains legal and researchers can continue their work.

Posted by Ruby the Liberal | Sat Oct 1, 2016, 08:23 AM (0 replies)

Unlikely Kratom ban hero: Orrin Hatch (What!?)

Hi Drug Policy group

The DEA is scheduling another plant as schedule I. They announced this at the end of the summer, and it was to go into effect tomorrow. They have postponed it (for now) due to pressure from Drug Policy, the BEA and AKA who jointly hired some high powered lobbyists in DC and have accomplished some amazing things in the last month.

First was the Pocan/Salmon Letter (D-WI and R-AZ, respectfully) to the DEA and OMB that was signed by 51 House Reps. The SideBoob Gazette has the list of signatories. 51 Signatures in 6 days. Not bad -- these things commonly take weeks, if not months.

And now today, this missive from Orrin Hatch thats circulating in the Senate. No word on co-sponsors or signers yet, it just went out this morning:

September 29, 2016
The Honorable Charles P. Rosenberg
Administrator (Acting)
Drug Enforcement Administration
Lincoln Place-West
700 Army Navy Drive
Arlington, VA 22202

Dear Acting Administrator Rosenberg:

We write today in regards to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Notice of Intent Docket No. DEA 442, the Temporary Placement of Mitragynine and 7-Hydroxymitragynine (commonly known as “Kratom”) into Schedule I. This Notice provides the Senate an opportunity to review current DEA practices and gather additional information on how evidence is selected for scheduling decisions.

The standard required for triggering the emergency scheduling authority under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA)1 requires an immediate threat to the public safety based on a public record of injuries or deaths caused by the substance being recommended for scheduling. The Congress granted emergency scheduling authority to the DEA based on the need for law enforcement interdiction of new and previously unknown illegal synthetic street drugs that result in injuries and death. The use of this emergency authority for a natural substance is unprecedented, so it is important to determine whether the circumstances here necessitate a jump to Schedule I.

The Congress has established a specific set of review protocols for scheduling decisions that will create significant disruption in the marketplace that allows for the full engagement of consumers, researchers, health professionals, law enforcement officials, and other stakeholders. Given the long reported history of Kratom use, coupled with the public’s sentiment that it is a safe alternative to prescription opioids, we believe using the regular review process would provide for a much-needed discussion among all stakeholders. We understand the DEA’s desire to uphold public health and safety, and we share the goal of seeing unsafe products removed from the market. However, hearing multiple perspectives allows for more fulsome decision-making.

Given the extremely short timeframe for the implementation of the proposed DEA scheduling order, we urge you to take appropriate steps to delay the order to allow both for a public comment period and sufficient time for the DEA to outline its evidentiary standards to the Congress regarding the justification for this proposed action.


(Bolding mine)

Where was this numb nuts when it came to cannabis?

Apparently, he has a long history of being pro-harm-reduction where it doesn't conflict with his LDS beliefs. I can't see him backing the Seattle heroin treatment plan, but heard today that he has been a real thorn in the DEA's side for years over supplements. He's working on getting a D cosponsor so that it is bipartisan like the House letter.

For those who aren't familiar with Kratom, its a plant native to east Asia thats in the coffee family. The tree doesn't grow outside of the region, and people native to its climate have been chewing the leaves for centuries. Here, its sold in crushed leaf or powder form and typically drunk as a tea. It also comes in pill form and head-shop adulterated mixes. It doesn't get you high (just a little euphoric - similar to coffee but without the jitters of caffeine) but is amazing for nerve pain. It also is used with tremendous success to alleviate opiate withdrawal. The medical possibilities for this plant are amazing because it doesn't cause respiratory distress like heroin, oxy and others in that class do, causing ODs.

Be interesting to watch this play out -- and with 6 states voting on legalizing cannabis in November -- to see if these can dovetail on one another to bring a SANE response to the addiction/OD epidemic this country is facing.

Stop criminalizing people for plants and treat addiction as a health issue, not a felony. /rant

Posted by Ruby the Liberal | Thu Sep 29, 2016, 07:21 PM (6 replies)

Interesting to watch where the blame falls

Everyone knows the system is jacked, but do you fix it from the top or the bottom?

Those on the left supporting Sanders place the blame on the failed policies of trickle down - giving all available resources to the rich in the hopes that something dribbles down to the less fortunate, all the while watching as the rich horde more and more and offshore our jobs.

Those on the right supporting Trump place the blame on anyone they perceive as being beneath them - the fear being that "those people" are dragging society down by having needs but not means.

IMO, you fix an economy from the bottom up, not the top down. People are not going to become mythical 'job creators' no matter how much cash you throw at them - if there isn't demand for whatever they are peddling.

I get the fear of becoming the next "those people" as companies shutter US operations, relocating to China and Mexico, but there is a total cognitive dissonance for me in blaming those less fortunate for that stack of dominoes falling. It isn't immigrants or the working poor making those decisions with their raison d'etre being the enrichment of their shareholders above all else.

All one has to do is look at the payoff of public monies - where (last I checked), every $1 in tax cuts brings $0.60 back into the fold vs every $1 in food stamps (the greatest multiplier of expenditures) bringing back $1.32. If your goal is to stimulate the economy, focus resources on where money is going to be spent not where it is going to be saved.

But, that involves math. Ginning up fear is so much easier. Because it works.
Posted by Ruby the Liberal | Sun Jan 31, 2016, 11:32 AM (0 replies)

Another thought on taxes for you.

As far as cutting taxes on the wealthy - that does not help the economy one iota. People don't hire because they have cash laying around, they hire because they have work that needs to be done.

Demand drives the economy, not supply. That is the whole problem in a nutshell - back in the 1980's there was a school of thought called "supply side economics" that sold everyone on the idea that if you concentrate the transfer of wealth to the top, those at the top will create jobs with it and it will "trickle down" to everyone else. Guess what - that was a MISERABLE failure. Those at the top didn't create jobs, they looked for even higher profits and started outsourcing the jobs overseas where they can pay $.50 an hour to someone in a call center or manning a sewing machine. The only "trickle down" we here in the US felt was them pissing on our legs as the boats left port with dismantled factories and call center phone systems, headed for asia.

Henry Ford made a huge splash back in the 1940s by paying WAY more than his competitors. Ford Motor workers were earning incredible wages. When asked about it, his response to that decision was that "he wanted his workers to be able to afford his products". Today, we are in the opposite situation - hundreds of thousands of people shop at Walmart because they work at Walmart, and with shortened hours, no benefits, and 47% their employee base is on food stamps and other welfare programs - they can't afford to shop anywhere else.

Here's a quiz. Give Walmart a tax break, are they going to:

A. Raise wages and move people to full time so they qualify for benefits

B. Send large dividend checks to their shareholders in the hopes that more people become shareholders

When you build an economy from the bottom up as opposed to the top down, something called a "multiplier effect" kicks in and the entire economy begins to grow. Here is an example of how that works:

Man goes on vacation and rents a hotel room. He gives the proprietor $100 for the night and leaves to go sight seeing. Proprietor pays the housekeeping employee $100 for her wages. Housekeeping takes the $100 to the grocery store and buys food. Grocery store takes the $100 and orders produce from the farmer. The farmer takes the $100 and buys more seed. Etc Etc Etc...

This is called velocity of money - how many times something happens when $1 is introduced into the economy. All of these people got paid and all of these economic activities took place - all from the original seed money.

For each $1 in tax cuts, it adds $0.63 to the economy (negative multiplier). The top accelerators are Unemployment Insurance (at about $1.20 for every $1 spent) and Food Stamps (at about $1.65 for every $1 spent) because they circulate. Tax refunds do not.

Republicans are still stuck in "supply side" mode, even though economists have been screaming for a decade that it was a FAILURE and that trickle down formula is lower taxes. Its. All. They. Know.

Until we as a society realize that you have to build from the bottom up (and prime the pump - through that dreaded word, "stimulus" we are not going to get the money into the economy to start flowing (multiplying). You try to "stimulate" the top and it just gets parked. As a % of income, poor people spend close to 100% of their income (living paycheck to paycheck) where the rich spend only a fraction.

Make sense?
Posted by Ruby the Liberal | Sun Dec 9, 2012, 06:03 PM (0 replies)

Not conservative; uneducated, apolitical and dare I say, hijacked.

For 30 years, the voters on the right have been hijacked by social issues - to their OWN detriment. Why this election is so exciting. For the first time in memory, we get to have the conversation about what the RW ECONOMIC policies are for this nation. Once those teabagging "keep the government out of my Medicare" people take a drink from the Gekko/Galt clue hose, I don't think many will be on board with that path.

We just need to talk with them (one on one, door by door) about the VAST and diametrically opposed policies are, and what they mean to all of us who aren't in the 1%.

"RR wants to cut SS and Medicare so that they can offset giving billionaires more tax cuts".

"Customers are job creators. More customers, more jobs, more hiring."

"Companies are sitting on record amounts of cash. Giving them more won't make them hire - demand makes them hire"

"We need to prime the pump from the bottom up. People with jobs consume, people with money save - which does not get money flowing through the economy"

"Small businessman: You want me to hire, bring me more customers. If you give me a tax break, I'll just take the wife to Aruba".

"Without regulation, it is a free-for-all with greed at the center as the driving point"

Talking points - short and simple. Once people are forced to pay attention to this stuff (which I think this election is going to do), hopefully they will realize that voting against their own interests isn't in their best interest.
Posted by Ruby the Liberal | Wed Aug 15, 2012, 12:44 PM (2 replies)

Econ 101, which I will post for the record

as your account rots in the DU dump pile.

For every $1 that is sent out in food stamps, $1.61 (est) goes back into the economy. That is the top multiplier. The bottom of the heap is tax cuts, where every $1 results in a fraction of a dollar ($0.30-$0.60) going back into the economy.

Ever heard the phrase, "living paycheck to paycheck"? Maybe that will help.

You see, those with nothing spend every dime on goods and services (food, rent, utilities). Those on the other end of the spectrum save and invest their money - which is not spending, therefore not going back into the economy. (Those in the middle do both).

So - the more you put into the 'spend' end, the more is spent, and the more you put into the 'save' end, the more is saved.

And this, dear departed friend - is why no one is hiring, but businesses are sitting on record amount of cash. It has nothing to do with giving them tax breaks (and even more cash) and everything to do with priming the pump to get them more customers to buy their goods and services so that they have a greater demand and therefore need more employees. It isn't rocket science.

Truly, this is so simple a 5 year old could explain it.
Posted by Ruby the Liberal | Thu Aug 9, 2012, 07:40 PM (0 replies)

Is the answer in Willard's 2009 return?

What is he hiding?

Well, the US Government announced an amnesty program in 2009 for US Citizens holding unreported assets in offshore accounts. From March 2009, these folks were given the option of a penalty-free (and reduced tax burden) fess-up period to tell the IRS about these accounts. The program closed on October 15, 2009 (but was offered again in 2011).

I think this is the white whale, folks: Willard took advantage of the amnesty and in releasing the 2008 and 2009 returns, we would know exactly how much he was previously shielding from the government by his disclosures. It also makes him "legal" again - as these accounts are now being reported.

Besides, the McCain vetting team would have only seen through 2007 - so 2008 and 2009 are two years NO ONE has seen until 2010 was released.

Information on the 2009 Amnesty:

Overview: http://www.mlhorwitzlaw.com/Articles/IRS-Amnesty-Program-for-Unreported-Offshore-Bank-Accounts.shtml

And extension to October 15, 2009: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2009/09/21/amnesty-deadline-extended-for-offshore-account-holders/
Posted by Ruby the Liberal | Tue Jul 17, 2012, 01:59 PM (28 replies)
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