Archive for legislation

GOP Won't Vote To Protect Our Borders But They Do Vote To Protect Wall Street

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Wall Street

While the GOP is playing games of distraction with the lives of innocent children at our border, with phony IRS scandals perpetrated by Darrell Issa, and bogus Benghazi fantasies trashing human lives, the Republicans quietly used that to very quietly pass a bill which will impact all of us. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then the GOP has done its job of 'follow the shiny object' while they attack us and our financial and consumer protections.

While the GOP won't vote for money to protect our borders, it quietly found time to vote on a bill to protect Wall Street.

Raw Story:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill to slash funding for Wall Street oversight and revamp new agencies dedicated to cracking down on fraud against consumers and policing risks after the financial crisis.

The $21.3 billion funding bill, which covers appropriations for the 2015 fiscal year beginning Oct 1 for financial services and other areas of government, passed the House in a 228 to 195 vote along largely partisan lines.

Ask yourself this: why are Republicans protecting Wall Street over the US citizenry? They claim border security is a major concern. What about our financial security and our customer fraud protections?

It [the bill] would temporarily bar a group of regulators responsible for policing market risks from designating large non-bank companies as “systemically important” – so big that their failure would destabilize markets.

In lay terms, it would make them "Too big to fail, too big to jail." Is that really the GOP looking out for us? Can any Republican say, "Lehman Brothers?"

The legislation would also cut mail delivery on Saturdays. Along with that is another seemingly unrelated issue to the Wall Street funding bill. This piece of legislation would prevent the District of Columbia from using federal funds to pay for abortions [including incest and rape victims] and implement rules that decriminalize marijuana use. What's the connection to Wall Street oversight with these tag-ons? Is this a funding bill or some criminal bill? Maybe the only thing criminal about it is that it passed the GOP house.

So as not to make this sound too one-sided. The House Republicans in this spending bill did take a much needed stab at cutting the deficit with a partial spending off-set.

It includes a ban on using taxpayer funds to pay for oil paintings of government officials, including the president and members of Congress.

If that makes it through the Democratic senate (fat chance there), we'll finally have a cost saver we can all live with.

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Old Gov. Moonbeam Returns To California -- A Bit More Crazy Now

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Moonbeam

I live in California so things my Governor says impact my life a bit more than say, Nikki Haley, Scott Walker or Rick Scott. Add to that I recreationally used marijuana during and after college so the subject is near and dear to me. Though I haven't smoked in years, I still remember how it affected me and those who joined me at the bong or vaporizer.

So when Jerry -- that's what we call him out here -- recently went on Meet The Press and tossed caution to the wind about full marijuana legalization here in California, my ears pricked up. What was Governor Moonbeam -- his nickname from his early terms before he found philosophically whatever it is that he found -- thinking?

First, here's what he said, from WaPo:

He also expressed worry about the "tendency to go to extremes."  After legalization, he said, "if there's advertising and legitimacy, how many people can get stoned and still have a great state or a great nation? The world's pretty dangerous, very competitive. I think we need to stay alert, if not 24 hours a day, more than some of the potheads might be able to put together."

Really Jerry? You fear potheads are going to take over. Look at history. Look at alcohol. Go ahead, take a good look. Has our society crumbled with the repeal of the Volstead Act (Prohibition)?

And what are we really talking about with recreational legalization? California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana use in 1996, when 56 percent of voters approved Proposition 215. Do you know what it takes to get a medical marijuana certificate today? Nothing.

Venice Beach 2

On a recent outing with my wife, we strolled along the boardwalk in Venice Beach, Ca. There were five, count 'em five storefront walk-in clinics within one mile. You see a "doctor" after filling out a form and he stamps it approved, takes your picture and a certificate is issued. You can immediately walk to the back room and buy some very aromatic OG, Lemon or Purple Kush. Licensing is a joke. And not just here in California. It's a process that is abused everywhere that state certificates are issued.

I got my license years ago because I claimed I had insomnia and back pain issues. That was it. Boom. Stamped. Certified. I bought some grass minutes later.

So to your implied point, Gov Moonbeam, that pot is perhaps different from alcohol, you're right. It's not nearly as debilitating. But to hold off full legalization like Colorado and Washington state with the excuse that everyone will become potheads is insane. I think Jerry is having a flashback and it's more dangerous than reality.

Come back to us Jerry. And bring practical sense and a well rolled joint with you. It's your turn to blaze more than a new pathway to reality. Set California free. Or if you're really that concerned about each person being responsible for themselves and their behavior, try banning alcohol. See how well that does for you when you run for a fourth term.

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Letting Ex-Felons Vote -- A Racial Thing

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voting booth

What is the purpose of sending those convicted of crimes to jail? Is it punishment? Yes. Is it rehabilitation? Yes. So it's two mints in one as the Certs commercial goes.

And are most felons guilty of violent crimes? Actually, no. Most are incarcerated for non-violent (yet still serious) felonious crimes like embezzlement, tax fraud, mail fraud, auto theft, racketeering, drug possession charges, burglary, counterfeiting, possession of restricted pornographic material, spying, and various drug-related offenses.

Wikipedia:

7.9% of sentenced prisoners in federal prisons on September 30, 2009 were in for violent crimes.

Nearly three quarters of new admissions to state prison were convicted of nonviolent crimes. Perhaps the single greatest force behind the growth of the prison population has been the national "war on drugs." The number of incarcerated drug offenders has increased twelvefold since 1980. In 2000, 22 percent of those in federal and state prisons were convicted on drug charges.

Then why, if so many of these felonies are non-violent, is it that when you become an ex-felon, all of your rights aren't returned to you? According the the ALCU, ten states severely restrict voting from ex-felons (seven require long waiting periods, applying for reinstatement and review; three others - Iowa, Florida and Kentucky - ban it lifetime for these ex-felon offenders -- most of whom are non-violent). I can understand restrictions on getting a gun, but on your vote?

So far in the 40 states that allow for ex-felons to vote there haven't been any issues at the polls. So why not make voter reinstatement upon completion of incarceration national?

We non-felons take voting for granted. But it's majorly important. Look at the crazy people that are getting elected these days. Their choices and legislation affect all of us. Yet if you're an ex-felon, chances are you are obstructed from casting a vote.

With the racial make-up of our prisons today, that appears to be a punishment that affects minorities disproportionately. And the Justice Department, led by AG Eric Holder, wants to fix that. And surprisingly he's meeting resistance on both sides of the political spectrum. Many Republicans are against it because they see the reality that minorities are the overwhelming majority of  the prison population. Minorities, for good reason, tend to vote Democratic. If you unleash hundreds of thousands of potential voters after they do their time, GOP'ers will have a tougher go of it holding their political offices. So the Republican reasoning is understandable: keep minorities away from the vote. It's wrong, but you can see their reasoning: self-preservation.

But for those Democrats on the fence, this is purely a heinous act of villainy. Why should non-violent convicted felons be subjected to lifetime sentences after they're released? It flies in the face of just punishment -- that fitting the crime. C'mon Democrats, you know better. You stand for social justice. Now promote it. Make "inclusion" more than just a catch word.

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Video- President's Weekly Address: Time to Pass Bipartisan Legislation to Extend Emergency Unemployment Insurance

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