Ohio Family Of 8 Are Dead Because Of Ignorant/Evil Marijuana Laws?

Ohio Family Of 8 Are Dead Because Of Ignorant/Evil Marijuana Laws?

(I WROTE THIS ARTICLE IN APRIL OF 2016 AND VERY LITTLE HAS CHANGES, EXCEPT FOR THE WORSE)

Most everyone in the whole world that has ever heard of the United States has heard of and or felt the pure evil of the American governments ‘WAR ON DRUGS”. Here in the States when the federal government decided to “crack down” on the American people’s use of “pot” they created criminal organizations that has cost the lives of thousands of people not just here in the States but throughout the ‘Americas’, North and South. Before this evil that the Federal Government has forced upon the populace’s here in America far more people smoked pot, but drank a lot less alcohol. Many people who I know who used to smoke pot did not drink at all or at most just an occasional beer. Once companies started being ordered to do pre-hire drug test and random drug tests of their employees people quit smoking God’s given gift to the human race. You see pot stays in a person’s body for about 30 days so people not wanting to lose their jobs, homes, vehicles, and children turned to drinking a lot of alcohol which just turns people violent. Plus, there is the fact that pain pills, cocaine, crack and acid only stay in a person’s system about three days. So this war on pot has directly caused a major increase in the use of these much harder drugs. This has given criminal gangs a bigger market for their narcotics that would not exist if not for ignorant American politicians. When people smoke pot, they don’t want to fight or kill, the same is the opposite when people drink too much  booze. Think of the Indian tribes of old, do you remember them smoking ‘peace pipes’ with the Generals of the Pony Soldiers? You smoke pot, you don’t then go do violence. Pot mellows people, it does not jack people up and make them want to be violent. Even in the Old Testament a flower called Mandrake was condoned by the founding fathers of Israel for personal use and Mandrake is a stronger version of pot. Those whom want to out law pot are either doing so out of ignorance, stupidity, hypocrisy, or, because they are making a lot of money condoning other things and don’t want the competition.

 

There is also the absolute fact that thousands would be alive now in Mexico if the American politicians had never made pot illegal. In Mexico the American government created a venue for the creation of these murderous gangs. Mexico used to have a horrible economy, it is getting some better now, but in a sense our government created jobs for some of the people in Mexico and South America, just not the kind of jobs our politicians envisioned, because of their lack of vision. I have spoken with many people who have moved to the United States because of the violence and lack of jobs in their home land. We want to talk about our porous southern border yet it is our policies that cause many thousands to need to come here for work and for safety as they are trying to get away from the violence and poverty of their homelands. Most all of these transplanted people who I have spoken with have told me they would much rather be in their own country but their families are starving and they are trying to escape the violence, this is why they have brought their families here. The American police agencies also know very well that there are now many thousands of gang members from Mexico and other Southern Nations that are now here in America pushing drugs and violence. We helped create these monsters with our nations ignorant drug policies. If pot were made legal as if it were alcohol we would be bankrupting many of these violent gangs both here in the States and in Mexico and other southern Nations.

 

I am a service connected disabled veteran who has a lot of nerve pain from a lightning strike. I have been taking the highest levels of Gabapentin that the law allows for the nerve pain for many years now. If I miss a couple of doses I soon know that I missed them by the increase in the pain. It is not a narcotic, I used to be given Morphine 2 times a day and Hydrocodone 4x a day for pain. Problem is narcotics do not help with nerve pain but if you have pot in your system at all the VA doctors will cold turkey a person off of all their pain meds which can easily kill people but the VA obviously does not care about that issue. I, just like millions of other vets know that pot short circuits the pain signals from the injured areas to the brain, this gives relief that narcotics can’t do. I stopped the narcotics years ago telling the VA I was going to use pot instead because of the simple fact that although the narcotics does help with all the other injuries the fact still remains that the nerve pain hurts more than the other physical pains. I am a heart patient with a very bad heart and when you are living in a lot of pain everyday the pain causes a lot of unnecessary strain on the heart but the Federal Government does not give a damn. This is the kind of issues that makes the Federal Government the enemy of millions of injured vets. The Feds know that pot is an excellent God-given herb for pain and relaxation but what does facts have to do with Government policies and of course there is the issue of the many millions of dollars that huge pharmaceutical companies give to politicians to keep their pain pills flowing and to keep marijuana illegal. Now days, in this past year the VA has made gabapentin a class one drug so if you have pot in your system they will cold turkey you off of your nerve pain medication too.  Literally this would most likely kill me so I have to make sure not to even be around people who are smoking marijuana.

 

Now I will quit my rambling and get back to the point of the title of this post, the senseless murders of those eight family members in the state of Ohio. These people had a pot growing operation going on at three of those four locations and it is believed that is why they were all murdered. Whichever reason the shooters had for what they did whether they were rivals who didn’t want the competition or they just wanted to steal their product, if pot were legal and treated like beer or wine for tax purposes, these eight people would still be alive today. So, I guess it is fair to say that the Federal Government is co-murderers of these and thousands of other people every year. If pot were legal in Ohio (Governor John Kasich) where people could grow their own for their own use, none of this would have happened. So, is Governor Kasich guilty of murder? Is President Obama guilty of these murders also? There is a strong case to say yes on both of these issues. Pot does not cure nerve pain or any other type of pain but neither does any of the narcotics, they only block pain receptors from getting to the brain. Pot, just like other God-given medications do not kill people, but the pain pills kill people everyday. Yet it is the government that pushes narcotics that are man-made upon people causing addictions and thousands of over doses every year. Also, when bad folks find out that you as a disabled veteran that is getting pain meds through the mail every month that makes these same veterans a target for being robbed and or murdered. These eight people in Ohio are just like thousands of other people nation wide and world-wide, they would be alive today if it were not for the hypocrisy of the American politicians.

 

 

The Shooting Of Unarmed People Is Murder Period: This Includes Police Shootings

The Shooting Of Unarmed People Is Murder Period: This Includes Police Shootings

(THIS ARTICLE WAS FIRST PUBLISHED ON JANUARY 26th, OF 2016)

This morning in the Cleveland Ohio news we are being told that six Police Officers have been fired, one other retired early, and another six Officers have been suspended for anywhere from 21 to 30 days for murdering two people. Back in November of 2012 in the city of Cleveland an old Chevy Malibu backfired near a police station. One of the Officers that was outside thought it sounded like a gun shot so he and many of his buddies took off after a car that they thought the shot had come from. To make a long story short they were wrong, there was no gun shot and the two people in the car (one man, one woman) had no firearms at all. This mornings we are told that approximately 100 Police cars chased this couple for about 20 miles into another jurisdiction where they were able to get the car stopped (bullets stopped it). Once the Officers got the car stopped Officers shot through the windshield 137 rounds, 24 struck and killed the man, 23 struck and killed the woman. Unless you see a person banishing a firearm and that firearm is being pointed at you then you (any Cop anywhere) have no right to ever shoot to kill anyone, if you do, it is murder! Cops must be treated with the same laws they use to make their decisions. You know very well that all those bullets were taken out of these two people’s corpses and that they were matched up against the different Officers weapons. The Officers who started this chase and the Officers whom fired and hit these two innocent unarmed people must be tried for first degree murder. Here in America we have to many macho mental midget’s with a badge and a gun and that isn’t even counting all the cowards with a badge and a gun and there are many, many, many of these felons wearing blue and the American people know it, this is why you are not at all trusted. Murder is murder, no matter what your job description is. You know how we are told that if we are having trouble while we are out and about that we are supposed to find a Cop or to drive to the nearest Police Station? What was this couple suppose to do when it is the Cops whom are chasing and shooting at you, do you stop and make it an easy target for them?

 

If Police Departments in  America want the vast majority of the public to be on their side then the profession MUST clean up its own act. There are two things that would be very helpful in this regard. 1) Officers must be held totally accountable for their actions, they are supposed to be public servants, not executioners. 2) Officers need to always be friendly whenever possible and they must act like grownups, not mouthy arrogant punks with a gun. So I ask you Officers, please perform your duties with honor, then you will see many more of us civilians whom want very badly to support you. For these things to happen all Policing Agencies personnel must perform their duties honorably and they MUST arrest their fellow Officers when they break the same laws you arrest the people for. Integrity of the Law, learn what it is, and then follow it. That is if you ever want the public to be on your side, right now anytime you ever meet an Officer for any reason the public knows that their life hangs in the balance. It is up to all Policing Agencies to correct their own flaws, no one else can do it for you.

Kasich, Hickenlooper Consider Unity Presidential Ticket In 2020

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Source: Kasich, Hickenlooper consider unity presidential ticket in 2020

(CNN)Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper have entertained the idea of forming a unity presidential ticket to run for the White House in 2020, a source involved the discussions tells CNN.

Under this scenario, Kasich, a Republican, and Hickenlooper, a Democrat, would run as independents with Kasich at the top of the ticket, said the source, who cautioned it has only been casually talked about.
“The idea of a joint ticket has been discussed, but not at an organizational or planning level,” said the source, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity. “What they are trying to show the country is that honorable people can disagree, but you can still problem solve together. It happens in businesses and it happens in families. Why can’t it happen in Washington?”
News of the discussions was first reported by Axios.
In early August, Hickenlooper didn’t lend much credence to rumblings of a unity ticket, telling Politico: “I don’t think Kasich would ever do that. … I don’t think it’s in the cards. But I do like the idea of working with him in some context at some point.”
Kasich and Hickenlooper are working together on major policy issues such as healthcare and immigration — a rare, bipartisan alliance at a time of deep seeded acrimony between the two political parties.
The next steps for the two governors will be more policy than politically focused.
“Watch on the policy front as they expand beyond healthcare and also include other governors into the coalition,” said the source.
CNN has reached out to both Kasich and Hickenlooper for comment.

West Virginia Becomes the 29th Medical Marijuana State

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE MPP WEBSITE)

West Virginia Becomes the 29th Medical Marijuana State

Apr 19, 2017 , , , , , , , ,, ,


Today, West Virginia officially became the 29th state to pass medical marijuana legislation!

Gov. Jim Justice signed the law today after the bipartisan bill passed both the Senate and House earlier this month.

While the law isn’t perfect, it’s a great start toward providing safe and legal access to medical marijuana for qualifying patients. A summary is available here.

This achievement didn’t happen overnight. In fact, MPP, along with many other advocates, has been working tirelessly to get a medical marijuana bill passed for years.

MPP released the following in a press release:

“This legislation is going to benefit countless West Virginia patients and families for years to come,” said Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project, who is a West Virginia native and graduate of West Virginia University. “Medical marijuana can be effective in treating a variety of debilitating conditions and symptoms. It is a proven pain reliever, and it is far less toxic and less addictive than a lot of prescription drugs. Providing patients with a safer alternative to opioids could turn out to be a godsend for this state.”

Six states have adopted comprehensive medical marijuana laws in the past 12 months. Three of those laws, including West Virginia’s, passed through Republican-controlled legislatures. Lawmakers in Pennsylvania and Ohio approved them last April and June, respectively. The other three were approved by voters in November in states won by Donald Trump — Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota.

“Intensifying public support and a growing body of evidence are driving the rapid growth in the number of states adopting medical marijuana laws,” Simon said. “Lawmakers are also learning about marijuana’s medical benefits from friends, family members, and constituents who have experienced them firsthand in other states. More than nine out of 10 American voters think marijuana should be legal for medical purposes. In light of this near universal support, it is shocking that some legislatures still have not adopted effective medical marijuana laws.”

Apr 19, 2017 , , , , , , , ,, ,


Today, West Virginia officially became the 29th state to pass medical marijuana legislation!

Gov. Jim Justice signed the law today after the bipartisan bill passed both the Senate and House earlier this month.

While the law isn’t perfect, it’s a great start toward providing safe and legal access to medical marijuana for qualifying patients. A summary is available here.

This achievement didn’t happen overnight. In fact, MPP, along with many other advocates, has been working tirelessly to get a medical marijuana bill passed for years.

MPP released the following in a press release:

“This legislation is going to benefit countless West Virginia patients and families for years to come,” said Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project, who is a West Virginia native and graduate of West Virginia University. “Medical marijuana can be effective in treating a variety of debilitating conditions and symptoms. It is a proven pain reliever, and it is far less toxic and less addictive than a lot of prescription drugs. Providing patients with a safer alternative to opioids could turn out to be a godsend for this state.”

Six states have adopted comprehensive medical marijuana laws in the past 12 months. Three of those laws, including West Virginia’s, passed through Republican-controlled legislatures. Lawmakers in Pennsylvania and Ohio approved them last April and June, respectively. The other three were approved by voters in November in states won by Donald Trump — Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota.

“Intensifying public support and a growing body of evidence are driving the rapid growth in the number of states adopting medical marijuana laws,” Simon said. “Lawmakers are also learning about marijuana’s medical benefits from friends, family members, and constituents who have experienced them firsthand in other states. More than nine out of 10 American voters think marijuana should be legal for medical purposes. In light of this near universal support, it is shocking that some legislatures still have not adopted effective medical marijuana laws.”

Republican Health-Care Plan Eliminates Mental Health And Drug Addiction Provisions

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

By Katie Zezima and Chris Ingraham

The Republican proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act would strip away what advocates say is essential coverage for drug addiction treatment as the number of people dying from opiate overdoses is skyrocketing nationwide.

Beginning in 2020, the plan would eliminate an Affordable Care Act requirement that Medicaid cover basic mental-health and addiction services in states that expanded it, allowing them to decide whether to include those benefits in Medicaid plans.

The proposal would also roll back the Medicaid expansion under the act — commonly known as Obamacare — which would affect many states bearing the brunt of the opiate crisis, including Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia. Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia expanded Medicaid under the ACA.

“Taken as a whole, it is a major retreat from the effort to save lives in the opiate epidemic,” said Joshua Sharfstein, associate dean at Johns Hopkins Medical School.
Advocates and others stress that mental-health disorders sometimes fuel drug addiction, making both benefits essential to combating the opioid crisis.

Nearly 1.3 million people receive treatment for mental-health and substance abuse disorders under the Medicaid expansion, according to an estimate by health care economists Richard G. Frank of the Harvard Medical School and Sherry Glied of New York University.

House Republicans confirmed the benefit cuts during a meeting of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday. Republicans on the committee argue that the change would give states additional flexibility in coverage decisions, and believe they would continue to provide addiction and mental-health coverage to Medicaid recipients if needed.

During the committee meeting, Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) asked a GOP staffer whether those benefits are “no longer essentially covered, or required to be covered, by this version of this text. Is that not correct?”

“The text before us does remove the application of the essential health benefits for the alternative benefit plans in Medicaid,” a lawyer for Republicans on the committee responded.

“Including mental health?”

“Yes.”

Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) said he and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) introduced an amendment during the committee meeting to include mandates for substance abuse and mental-health coverage, but it was voted down along party lines.

Several Republican senators expressed concern about removing the benefits. Sens. Rob Portman (Ohio), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Cory Gardner (Colo.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) stating that the plan does not “provide stability and certainty” for individuals and families enrolled in Medicaid expansion programs, or flexibility for states.

President Trump has made combating the nation’s drug-overdose problem a focal point of his campaign and his presidency.
“We will stop the drugs from pouring into our country and poisoning our youth,” he said in a speech before Congress last week, “and we will expand treatment for those who have become so badly addicted.”

Trump has endorsed the Republican plan to replace the ACA.

“States have already been strong leaders on the opioid crisis and know the crisis within their states better than the federal government,” said a White House spokesman who was not authorized to comment and spoke on the condition of anonymity. “We expect them to prioritize the needs in their states better than the federal government ever could.”

A record number of people — 33,000 — died of opiate overdoses in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Opioids now kill more people than car accidents, and in 2015 the number of heroin deaths nationwide surpassed the number of deaths from gun-related homicides. Authorities are also grappling with an influx of powerful synthetic narcotics responsible for a sharp increase in overdoses and deaths over the past year.

The 15 counties with the highest death rates from opiate overdoses were in Kentucky and West Virginia, according to a group of public health researchers, writing in the New England Journal of Medicine. Both of those states expanded Medicaid. Taking away those benefits, they wrote, would affect tens of thousands of rural Americans “in the midst of an escalating epidemic.”

Medicaid pays for 49.5 percent of medication-assisted treatment in Ohio, 44.7 percent in West Virginia and 44 percent in Kentucky when the drug Buprenorphine, which is used to manage chronic opiate use disorder, is administered, according to Rebecca Farley, vice president of policy at the National Center on Behavioral Health.

Public health officials and advocates say there is a nationwide shortage of treatment programs to serve the growing problem of addiction and its effects, including diseases associated with long-term IV drug use such as hepatitis C and HIV.

Shawn Ryan, a doctor with Brightview Health in Cincinnati, which provides addiction treatment mainly to patients on Medicaid, said states are starting to increase drug addiction services to respond to rising needs, but the process could take years.

“The outpatient addiction treatment services that are starting to ramp up . . . they could be crushed by this if not done in a way that specifically protects the most vulnerable populations,” he said.

Stripping away addiction treatment services from low-income people is especially harmful, Frank, of Harvard, said in an interview, because the prevalence of drug abuse is much higher for people living well below the poverty line. He said Medicaid recipients who are covered for addiction treatment and maintain their coverage through 2020 would not lose the benefit under the GOP proposal. But, he added, because addiction is a chronic-relapse disease, people may get clean, relapse, stop working and need to go back on Medicaid.

“It’s a disease that hits suddenly at various points in the life cycle,” Frank said.

Some GOP lawmakers advocate a full repeal of the ACA, a move that would result in loss of coverage for 2.8 million people, 222,000 of whom have an opioid disorder, Frank and Glied, of NYU, estimate.

Gary Mendell, founder of the anti-addiction organization Shatterproof, said the group plans to run campaigns against the rollback in eight states were Medicaid was expanded, urging people to contact their elected officials. Mendell, whose son battled addiction and died in 2011, said the drug-abuse battle has transcended party lines. Last year, Congress passed a landmark bill to fight opiate addiction.

“It’s been a bipartisan effort to attack the opiate epidemic,” he said, “and now Republicans are putting fighting the opiate epidemic in the back seat to politics.”

John Glenn: A True American Hero: Astronaut, Senator, Dies At 95

 

How John Glenn Became an Astronaut, as Told in 1962

March 2, 1962
Cover Credit: BORIS ARTZYBASHEFFThe March 2, 1962, cover of TIME 
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME MAGAZINE)

The history-making pilot, astronaut and Senator has died at 95

Astronaut John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth and the third in space, died Thursday. A former U.S. Senator from Ohio, he was 95.

Glenn landed on the cover of the March 2, 1962, issue of TIME after circling the globe three times in 4 hours and 56 minutes—at speeds of more than 17,000 mph—on Feb. 20, 1962.

The achievement came 10 months after Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space and made one full orbit around Earth (April 12, 1961) and nine months after Alan Shepard became the first American in space (May 5, 1961), followed by Gus Grissom (July 21, 1961). Thus, his mission was a critical step in the American mission to win the Cold War in space by fulfilling President John F. Kennedy, Jr.’s commitment to “achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.”

Get your history fix in one place: sign up for the weekly TIME History newsletter

TIME launched its profile of Glenn by pointing out that the grandeur of the undertaking was quite matched by the affect of the man: “In his flight across the heavens, John Glenn was a latter-day Apollo, flashing through the unknown, sending his cool observations and random comments to the earth in radio thunderbolts, acting as though orbiting the earth were his everyday occupation. Back on earth, Glenn seemed to be quite a different fellow—an enormously appealing man, to be sure, but as normal as blueberry pie.”

The Ohio native’s life had indeed started out in complete normalcy: he spent his time playing football and basketball, and reading Buck Rogers. He later joined the Marine Corps, becoming a decorated test pilot and a combat flyer, earning the rank of colonel. (Ted Williams, the legendary Red Sox left fielder who was also a Marine pilot, told TIME, “The man is crazy,” referring to the way he apparently liked to show off his flying skill in dangerous stunts.) But, though his achievements as a pilot were notable, as a career it was still within the range of ordinary.

So how did he get to be an astronaut? TIME explained:

Early in his career, Glenn developed the art of “sniveling.” Explains Marine Lieut. Colonel Richard Rainforth, who flew beside Glenn in both World War II and Korea: “Sniveling, among pilots, means to work yourself into a program, whether it happens to be your job or not. Sniveling is perfectly legitimate, and Johnny is a great hand at it.” In 1957 Glenn sniveled the Marines into letting him try to beat the speed of sound from coast to coast. Flying an F8U, Glenn failed by nine minutes, but he did knock 23 1/2 min. off the coast-to-coast speed record by covering the distance in 3 hr. 23 min. at an average speed of 726 m.p.h.

Then, in 1959, Glenn resolutely set out to snivel his way into the toughest program of all: Project Mercury. He started with two handicaps: he lacked a college degree, and, at 37, he was considered to be an old man. But Glenn managed to get permission to go along as an “observer” with one prime candidate of the Navy’s Bureau of Aeronautics. When the candidate failed an early test, recalls Rainforth, “Johnny stepped up, chest high, and offered himself as a candidate. They took him.”

…Candidate Glenn and 510 others were run through a wringer of mental and physical tests. Doctors charted their brain waves, skewered their hands with electrodes to pick up the electrical impulses that would tell how quickly their muscles responded to nerve stimulation. Glenn held up tenaciously under tests of heat and vibration, did especially well with problems of logical reasoning. Says Dr. Stanley White, a Project Mercury physician: “Glenn is a guy who lives by facts.”

To the surprise of no one who ever knew him, Glenn was one of the seven former test pilots who were picked to become the nation’s first astronauts.

In terms of what it felt like to be in space, he reported “no ill effects at all” from zero gravity and described weightlessness as “something you could get addicted to.” It was also “hot” inside the Friendship 7 capsule at times; at one point, the temperature hit 108º in the cabin. He saw four “beautiful” sunsets and said nightfall in space is akin to nightfall in the desert “on a very clear, brilliant night when there’s no moon and the stars just seem to jump out at you.”

While TIME declared, “Not since Lindy had the U.S. had such a hero”—referring to Charles Lindbergh, who accomplished the first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean—Glenn tried to emphasize at a press conference following his splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean that spaceflight still had a long way to go: “If you think of the enormity of space, it makes our efforts seem puny. But these are all step-by-step functions we go through. The manned flights we’ve had to date have added information. This flight, I hope, added a bit more. And there are more to come.”

Read the full cover story, here in the TIME Vault: Spaceman Glenn

Trump vows to ‘stop dead’ Mideast immigration: ‘We have no idea who they are’

President-elect tells Ohio supporters he will ‘keep America safe,’ prefer ‘stability, not chaos’ in foreign policy, ‘because we want to rebuild our country’

Source: Trump vows to ‘stop dead’ Mideast immigration: ‘We have no idea who they are’

Study: States with medical marijuana have lower prescription drug use—Plus Fewer Drug Overdoses And Deaths

 

Study: States with medical marijuana have lower prescription drug use—This Causes Fewer Drug Overdoses And Fewer Drug Related Deaths As It Is Impossible To Overdose (Die) From Marijuana Usage!

Prescription drug prices are up, making policy experts increasingly anxious. But relief could come from a surprising source. Just ask Cheech and Chong.

New research found that states that legalized medical marijuana — which is sometimes recommended for symptoms like chronic pain, anxiety or depression — saw declines in the number of Medicare prescriptions for drugs used to treat those conditions and a dip in spending by Medicare Part D, which covers the cost on prescription medications.

The study, which appears in Health Affairs, examined data from Medicare Part D from 2010 to 2013. It is the first study to examine whether legalization changes doctors’ clinical practice and whether it could curb public health costs.

The findings add context to the debate as more lawmakers express interest in medical marijuana. Ohio and Pennsylvania have this year passed laws allowing the drug for therapeutic purposes, making the practice legal in 25 states, plus Washington D.C. The question could also come to a vote in Florida and Missouri this November. A federal agency is considering reclassifying it under national drug policy to make medical marijuana more readily available.

Medical marijuana saved Medicare about $165 million in 2013, the researchers concluded. They estimated that, if the policy were nationalized, Medicare Part D spending would have declined in the same year by about $470 million. That’s about half a percent of the program’s total expenditures.

That is an admittedly small proportion of the multi-billion dollar program. But the figure is nothing to sneeze at, said W. David Bradford, a professor of public policy at the University of Georgia and one of the study’s authors.

“We wouldn’t say that saving money is the reason to adopt this. But it should be part of the discussion,” he added. “We think it’s pretty good indirect evidence that people are using this as medication.”

The researchers found that in states with medical marijuana laws on the books, the number of drug prescriptions dropped for treating anxiety, depression, nausea, pain, psychosis, seizures, sleep disorders and spasticity. Those are all conditions for which marijuana is sometimes recommended. Prescriptions for other drugs treating other conditions, meanwhile, did not decline.

The study’s authors are separately investigating the impact medical marijuana could have on prescriptions covered by Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for low-income people. Though this research is still being finalized, they found a greater drop in prescription drug payments there, Bradford said.

If the trend bears out, it could have meaningful public health ramifications. As doctors and public health experts grapple with the consequences of excessive prescription painkiller use, medical marijuana could provide an alternate path. Experts say abuse of prescription painkillers — known as opioids — is in part driven by high prescribing. In states that legalized medical uses of marijuana, painkiller prescriptions dropped — on average, the study found, by about 1,800 daily doses filled each year per doctor. That tracks with other research on the subject.

Questions exist, though, about the possible health harms or issues that could result from regular use.

It’s unlike other drugs, such as opioids, in which overdoses are fatal, said Deepak D’Souza, a professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, who has researched the drug.

“That doesn’t happen with marijuana,” he added. “But there are whole other side effects and safety issues we need to be aware of.”

“A lot of people also worry that marijuana is a drug that can be abused,” agreed Bradford. “Just because it’s not as dangerous as some other dangerous things, it doesn’t mean you want to necessarily promote it. There’s a lot of unanswered questions.”

Meanwhile, it is difficult to predict how many people will opt for this choice instead of meds like antidepressants or opioids.

Because the federal government labels marijuana as a Schedule I drug, doctors can’t technically prescribe it. In states that have legalized medical marijuana, they can only write patients a note sending them to a dispensary. Insurance plans don’t cover it, so patients using marijuana pay out-of-pocket. Prices vary based on geography, but a patient’s recommended regimen can be as much as $400 per month. The federal Drug Enforcement Agency is considering changing that classification — a decision is expected sometime this summer. If the DEA made marijuana a Schedule II drug, that would put it in the company of drugs such as morphine and oxycodone, making it easier for doctors to prescribe and more likely that insurance would cover it.

To some, the idea that medical marijuana triggers costs savings is hollow. Instead, they say it is cost shifting. “Even if Medicare may be saving money, medical marijuana doesn’t come for free,” D’Souza said. “I have some trouble with the idea that this is a source of savings.”

Still, Bradford maintains that if the industry expanded and medical marijuana became a regular part of patient care nationally, the cost curve would bend because marijuana is cheaper than other drugs.

Lester Grinspoon, an associate professor emeritus of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, who has written two books on the subject, echoed that possibility. Unlike with many drugs, he argued, “There’s a limit to how high a price cannabis can be sold at as a medicine.” He is not associated with the study.

And, in the midst of the debate about its economics, medical marijuana still sometimes triggers questions within the practice of medicine.

“As physicians, we are used to prescribing a dose. We don’t have good information about what is a good dose for the treatment for, say pain,” D’Souza said. “Do you say, ‘Take two hits and call me in the morning?’ I have no idea.”

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Democratic Leaders Seem To Think That Working Class White People Are Just Ignorant Racists: The Truth Is, It Is They Who Are!

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW)

What So Many People Don’t Get About the U.S. Working Class

NOVEMBER 10, 2016
  • Harvard Business Review, July/August 2016
    My father-in-law grew up eating blood soup. He hated it, whether because of the taste or the humiliation, I never knew. His alcoholic father regularly drank up the family wage, and the family was often short on food money. They were evicted from apartment after apartment.

He dropped out of school in eighth grade to help support the family. Eventually he got a good, steady job he truly hated, as an inspector in a factory that made those machines that measure humidity levels in museums. He tried to open several businesses on the side but none worked, so he kept that job for 38 years. He rose from poverty to a middle-class life: the car, the house, two kids in Catholic school, the wife who worked only part-time. He worked incessantly. He had two jobs in addition to his full-time position, one doing yard work for a local magnate and another hauling trash to the dump.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, he read The Wall Street Journal and voted Republican. He was a man before his time: a blue-collar white man who thought the union was a bunch of jokers who took your money and never gave you anything in return. Starting in 1970, many blue-collar whites followed his example. This week, their candidate won the presidency.

For months, the only thing that’s surprised me about Donald Trump is my friends’ astonishment at his success. What’s driving it is the class culture gap.

One little-known element of that gap is that the white working class (WWC) resents professionals but admires the rich. Class migrants (white-collar professionals born to blue-collar families) report that “professional people were generally suspect” and that managers are college kids “who don’t know shit about how to do anything but are full of ideas about how I have to do my job,” said Alfred Lubrano in Limbo. Barbara Ehrenreich recalled in 1990 that her blue-collar dad “could not say the word doctorwithout the virtual prefix quack. Lawyers were shysters…and professors were without exception phonies.” Annette Lareau found tremendous resentment against teachers, who were perceived as condescending and unhelpful.

Michèle Lamont, in The Dignity of Working Men, also found resentment of professionals — but not of the rich. “[I] can’t knock anyone for succeeding,” a laborer told her. “There’s a lot of people out there who are wealthy and I’m sure they worked darned hard for every cent they have,” chimed in a receiving clerk. Why the difference? For one thing, most blue-collar workers have little direct contact with the rich outside of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. But professionals order them around every day. The dream is not to become upper-middle-class, with its different food, family, and friendship patterns; the dream is to live in your own class milieu, where you feel comfortable — just with more money. “The main thing is to be independent and give your own orders and not have to take them from anybody else,” a machine operator told Lamont. Owning one’s own business — that’s the goal. That’s another part of Trump’s appeal.

Hillary Clinton, by contrast, epitomizes the dorky arrogance and smugness of the professional elite. The dorkiness: the pantsuits. The arrogance: the email server. The smugness: the basket of deplorables. Worse, her mere presence rubs it in that even women from her class can treat working-class men with disrespect. Look at how she condescends to Trump as unfit to hold the office of the presidency and dismisses his supporters as racist, sexist, homophobic, or xenophobic.

Trump’s blunt talk taps into another blue-collar value: straight talk. “Directness is a working-class norm,” notes Lubrano. As one blue-collar guy told him, “If you have a problem with me, come talk to me. If you have a way you want something done, come talk to me. I don’t like people who play these two-faced games.” Straight talk is seen as requiring manly courage, not being “a total wuss and a wimp,” an electronics technician told Lamont. Of course Trump appeals. Clinton’s clunky admission that she talks one way in public and another in private? Further proof she’s a two-faced phony.

Manly dignity is a big deal for working-class men, and they’re not feeling that they have it. Trump promises a world free of political correctness and a return to an earlier era, when men were men and women knew their place. It’s comfort food for high-school-educated guys who could have been my father-in-law if they’d been born 30 years earlier. Today they feel like losers — or did until they met Trump.

Manly dignity is a big deal for most men. So is breadwinner status: Many still measure masculinity by the size of a paycheck. White working-class men’s wages hit the skids in the 1970s and took another body blow during the Great Recession. Look, I wish manliness worked differently. But most men, like most women, seek to fulfill the ideals they’ve grown up with. For many blue-collar men, all they’re asking for is basic human dignity (male varietal). Trump promises to deliver it.

The Democrats’ solution? Last week the New York Times published an article advising men with high-school educations to take pink-collar jobs. Talk about insensitivity. Elite men, you will notice, are not flooding into traditionally feminine work. To recommend that for WWC men just fuels class anger.

Isn’t what happened to Clinton unfair? Of course it is. It is unfair that she wasn’t a plausible candidate until she was so overqualified she was suddenly unqualified due to past mistakes. It is unfair that Clinton is called a “nasty woman” while Trump is seen as a real man. It’s unfair that Clinton only did so well in the first debate because she wrapped her candidacy in a shimmy of femininity. When she returned to attack mode, it was the right thing for a presidential candidate to do but the wrong thing for a woman to do. The election shows that sexism retains a deeper hold that most imagined. But women don’t stand together: WWC women voted for Trump over Clinton by a whopping 28-point margin — 62% to 34%. If they’d split 50-50, she would have won.

Class trumps gender, and it’s driving American politics. Policy makers of both parties — but particularly Democrats if they are to regain their majorities — need to remember five major points.

Understand That Working Class Means Middle Class, Not Poor

The terminology here can be confusing. When progressives talk about the working class, typically they mean the poor. But the poor, in the bottom 30% of American families, are very different from Americans who are literally in the middle: the middle 50% of families whose median income was $64,000 in 2008. That is the true “middle class,” and they call themselves either “middle class” or “working class.”

“The thing that really gets me is that Democrats try to offer policies (paid sick leave! minimum wage!) that would help the working class,” a friend just wrote me. A few days’ paid leave ain’t gonna support a family. Neither is minimum wage. WWC men aren’t interested in working at McDonald’s for $15 per hour instead of $9.50. What they want is what my father-in-law had: steady, stable, full-time jobs that deliver a solid middle-class life to the 75% of Americans who don’t have a college degree. Trump promises that. I doubt he’ll deliver, but at least he understands what they need.

Understand Working-Class Resentment of the Poor

Remember when President Obama sold Obamacare by pointing out that it delivered health care to 20 million people? Just another program that taxed the middle class to help the poor, said the WWC, and in some cases that’s proved true: The poor got health insurance while some Americans just a notch richer saw their premiums rise.

Progressives have lavished attention on the poor for over a century. That (combined with other factors) led to social programs targeting them. Means-tested programs that help the poor but exclude the middle may keep costs and tax rates lower, but they are a recipe for class conflict. Example: 28.3% of poor families receive child-care subsidies, which are largely nonexistent for the middle class. So my sister-in-law worked full-time for Head Start, providing free child care for poor women while earning so little that she almost couldn’t pay for her own. She resented this, especially the fact that some of the kids’ moms did not work. One arrived late one day to pick up her child, carrying shopping bags from Macy’s. My sister-in-law was livid.

J.D. Vance’s much-heralded Hillbilly Elegy captures this resentment. Hard-living families like that of Vance’s mother live alongside settled families like that of his biological father. While the hard-living succumb to despair, drugs, or alcohol, settled families keep to the straight and narrow, like my parents-in-law, who owned their home and sent both sons to college. To accomplish that, they lived a life of rigorous thrift and self-discipline. Vance’s book passes harsh judgment on his hard-living relatives, which is not uncommon among settled families who kept their nose clean through sheer force of will. This is a second source of resentment against the poor.

Other books that get at this are Hard Living on Clay Street (1972) and Working-Class Heroes (2003).

Understand How Class Divisions Have Translated into Geography

The best advice I’ve seen so far for Democrats is the recommendation that hipsters move to Iowa. Class conflict now closely tracks the urban-rural divide. In the huge red plains between the thin blue coasts, shockingly high numbers of working-class men are unemployed or on disability, fueling a wave of despair deaths in the form of the opioid epidemic.

Vast rural areas are withering away, leaving trails of pain. When did you hear any American politician talk about that? Never.

Jennifer Sherman’s Those Who Work, Those Who Don’t (2009) covers this well.

If You Want to Connect with White Working-Class Voters, Place Economics at the Center

“The white working class is just so stupid. Don’t they realize Republicans just use them every four years, and then screw them?” I have heard some version of this over and over again, and it’s actually a sentiment the WWC agrees with, which is why they rejected the Republican establishment this year. But to them, the Democrats are no better.

Both parties have supported free-trade deals because of the net positive GDP gains, overlooking the blue-collar workers who lost work as jobs left for Mexico or Vietnam. These are precisely the voters in the crucial swing states of Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania that Democrats have so long ignored. Excuse me. Who’s stupid?

One key message is that trade deals are far more expensive than we’ve treated them, because sustained job development and training programs need to be counted as part of their costs.

At a deeper level, both parties need an economic program that can deliver middle-class jobs. Republicans have one: Unleash American business. Democrats? They remain obsessed with cultural issues. I fully understand why transgender bathrooms are important, but I also understand why progressives’ obsession with prioritizing cultural issues infuriates many Americans whose chief concerns are economic.

Back when blue-collar voters used to be solidly Democratic (1930–1970), good jobs were at the core of the progressive agenda. A modern industrial policy would follow Germany’s path. (Want really good scissors? Buy German.) Massive funding is needed for community college programs linked with local businesses to train workers for well-paying new economy jobs. Clinton mentioned this approach, along with 600,000 other policy suggestions. She did not stress it.

Avoid the Temptation to Write Off Blue-Collar Resentment as Racism

Economic resentment has fueled racial anxiety that, in some Trump supporters (and Trump himself), bleeds into open racism. But to write off WWC anger as nothing more than racism is intellectual comfort food, and it is dangerous.

National debates about policing are fueling class tensions today in precisely the same way they did in the 1970s, when college kids derided policemen as “pigs.” This is a recipe for class conflict. Being in the police is one of the few good jobs open to Americans without a college education. Police get solid wages, great benefits, and a respected place in their communities. For elites to write them off as racists is a telling example of how, although race and sex-based insults are no longer acceptable in polite society, class-based insults still are.

I do not defend police who kill citizens for selling cigarettes. But the current demonization of the police underestimates the difficulty of ending police violence against communities of color. Police need to make split-second decisions in life-threatening situations. I don’t. If I had to, I might make some poor decisions too.

Saying this is so unpopular that I risk making myself a pariah among my friends on the left coast. But the biggest risk today for me and other Americans is continued class cluelessness. If we don’t take steps to bridge the class culture gap, when Trump proves unable to bring steel back to Youngstown, Ohio, the consequences could turn dangerous.

In 2010, while on a book tour for Reshaping the Work-Family Debate, I gave a talk about all of this at the Harvard Kennedy School. The woman who ran the speaker series, a major Democratic operative, liked my talk. “You are saying exactly what the Democrats need to hear,” she mused, “and they’ll never listen.” I hope now they will.


Joan C. Williams is Distinguished Professor of Law and Founding Director of the Center of WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.

Another New Mexico Police Officer Killed In The Line Of Duty

(This article is courtesy of NBC News in New Mexico)

SEP 2 2016, 8:34 PM ET

Police Officer, Suspect Fatally Shot in New Mexico

A police officer in New Mexico was shot and killed in an exchange of gunfire Friday as he chased a man with a lengthy criminal record, authorities said. The suspect was also killed.

Alamogordo Police Department Officer Clint Corvinus, 33, died Friday morning after being shot as he and another officer were in a foot pursuit of Joseph Moreno, 38, and Moreno turned and fired at them, Alamogordo Police Chief Daron Syling said during a news conference.

Image:
Alamogordo police Officer Clint Corvinus. Corvinus, 33, was shot and killed Friday, Sept. 2, in Alamogordo, New Mexico, after he encountered a 38-year-old man with three active warrants out for his arrest and the suspect opened fire. AP

Corvinus and another officer had approached Moreno because he was allegedly acting suspicious in a residential area of Alamogordo, a town of around 30,400 east of White Sands National Monument, Syling said.

Syling said at some point during the foot pursuit Moreno shot at the officers and at least one officer returned fire. Syling did not say who fired the shots that killed Moreno.

Three active warrants were out for Moreno’s arrest, and he had previously faced charges of felon in possession of a deadly weapon, residential burglary and escape for custody, Syling said. He also had several probation violations on his record, Syling said.

The New Mexico State Police is investigating the shooting, which marks the second time a police officer in the state has died in the line of duty in less than a month.

Hatch Police Officer Jose Chavez was shot and killed by a Ohio fugitive about 100 miles west of Friday’s deadly shooting in early August.

Image:
Undated booking photo provided by Alamogordo Police Department of Joseph Moreno. Police say Moreno was killed when gunfire erupted Friday, Sept. 2, in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Alamogordo police Officer Clint Corvinus was also killed. AP

“I am again so very saddened to see that yet another courageous law enforcement officer has been killed in the line of duty,” said New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez in a statement. “The violence against our police officers has to end, and we must do everything we can to stand up for those who put their lives on the line every single day to protect us.”

Corvinus was a four-year veteran of the Alamogordo police force, who graduated from high school in the town, Syling said. He is survived by his parents, his girlfriend and an 8-year-old daughter, Syling said.

When asked how officers were dealing with another fallen officer, Syling said: “Our officers will remain professional, they will remain diligent. Our officers were called to do this duty and they will hold the line.”

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