For as long as there has been an American “war on drugs” the nation of Columbia has been a target. Sitting at the top of South America, Columbia has been a major supplier of illegal marijuana and cocaine for decades. Arguably, no one knows more about growing pot and coke than Columbia.
Well, according to National Public Radio Columbia is putting all this experience into legal business opportunities, supplying the world’s needs for medical marijuana. NPR says:
“Colombia is on track to become a medical marijuana powerhouse. The South American country now has more than two dozen legal cannabis companies that have invested more than $600 million in building new facilities. The government legalized medical marijuana in 2016 and the country now exports products to Canada and the U.K.”
People love to talk about how great things used to be and in many ways, I’m no different. Several conversations recently have me thinking about those good old days. So, I decided to make a list of what we used to pay for things. Feel free to add to it.
Medicare for all is a hot topic with progressive Democrats pushing for it and conservative Republicans falsely referring to it as communism and claiming it will bankrupt the nation.
Well, back in the fight over Obamacare days I did some checking and read a book or two about comparative health care systems. While I don’t remember much of the details I do remember the general knowledge I acquired. Lesson learned number one is that lots of countries have far better systems than America. Number two is that withing America the most efficient systems are the VA and Medicare. Both of which, by the way, are socialists systems and extremely popular.
Do you ever wonder when wealth becomes, obscene wealth? Well, consider this.
“$70,000 per minute. According to Bloomberg, that’s how much money the Walmart-owning Walton family has made in the year since Bloomberg’s previous list of the world’s richest families. The Waltons top that list this year, with wealth of $190.5 billion. The Mars, Koch, Al Saud, and Wertheimer (of the Chanel fashion house) families round out a top five. The 25 richest families in the world
A friend of mine found a post on their Facebook feed this morning extolling the policies of Donald Trump and boldly stating that they didn’t care how horrible Trump was since he was ridding America of its rodent problem. One thing this idiot said that caught my attention was that Trump deserved our support because he was self-financed and didn’t depend on lobbyist and corporate financing.
I was coming home from Wilmington recently and came upon David’s Drive, a newer road that leads over to the north side of Wilmington Air Park. So, I turned right to see what I could see.
Once the road reaches the airpark it takes a hard right and parallels the facility for some distance. The first thing that caught my eye was a large plane sporting the words Prime Air sitting beside a large building bearing a number of Amazon phallic trademarks (Yeah, you’ve seen those boxes and thought the same thing, haven’t you?).
Even people who don’t know shit about history like to say that it repeats itself. Well, assuming that it does, consider this. George Bush ushered in a huge unfunded tax cut at the beginning of his first term, followed by a huge unfunded increase in the Medicare plan. Then he invaded Afghanistan and began America’s longest military conflict. If that wasn’t enough he ordered the unjustified invasion of Iraq which evolved into our second longest military engagement. Toss into the mix the almost totally unregulated housing industry and kaboom, the economy imploded in 2007-08.
Well, Donald Trump ignorantly backed a huge unfunded tax cut for the upper classes and America is looking at borrowing, for the second straight year, a trillion dollars to pay for the deficit caused by Trump and the GOP in Congress. Ole Donnie loves to rave about the economy but…will history repeat itself?
For more information about the ever-growing Trump deficit, read the article at Axios.com.
House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, is trying to call the opposition to Trump’s racist and misogynistic statements the work of communists who are against freedom. What a crock! All my adult life I’ve known that the average American couldn’t write a textbook definition of communism. They also struggle with defining socialism.
Communism, as the world has known it is an authoritarian, totalitarian form of government that has, in fact, stripped its inhabitants of their freedom. North Korea and China are communists countries, as is Cuba. Communism is supposed to be an economic system in which the nation’s wealth is distributed equally amongst its citizens. Well, it never was successful at that and instead became just another way to suppress the freedoms and rights of people while the rulers lived high on the hog.
When I left Ohio for California in 1964 the old slogan was California or Bust! Since the 1840s California had been considered the land of golden opportunity and that’s pretty close to what I found there. I found immediate employment and access to affordable education. I also found this and more at a price that was within my economic means.
I haven’t been in the Golden State since 1970 but I’ve kept tabs on what the years have brought. Mostly time has brought more people, more traffic, and the cost of living that is becoming increasingly less affordable for working class people. In 1968 a nice two-bedroom starter home could be had for around $40,000. Ten years later that same home was selling for over $100,000. A quick Google of current prices indicates it would take a half a million, or more. The same home in Greenfield, OH can be had for around $80,000.
I was recently in the mountains of Northern Georgia and around several bends in the road and tucked down in some holler there’d be a sort of enclave of broken down house trailers where people were eking out some kind of a life for themselves. There’s nothing unique about this, you can see the same thing in any state and any city, people barely getting along.
What caught my eye in Georgia however, were the occasional displays of rabbit support for Donald Trump. There would be weather-worn commercial MAGA flags and Trump signs along with crudely painted Trump signs made from whatever flat surface could be found.
As always I was stunned at the support given to a man who has no knowledge of or affinity towards these hidden Americans. Trump doesn’t know they exist and even if he does, he doesn’t care. He has made no effort to address the needs of poor Americans, in fact, just the contrary. His most recent budget proposal calls for drastic cuts into Medicaid and SNAP, both federal programs that often spell life or death for the poor.
I’m sure those who work at the Lima, OH tank factory were happy to see their jobs saved. But economically speaking, everyone needs to remember that jobs building military hardware are in no way as economically valuable in the long-haul as nongovernmental jobs.
Those lost private industry jobs making consumer products at Lordstown, Ohio were far more important than those jobs saved at Lima. Every car made at GM plants affects the economy in every corner of the nation. The same is simply not true about rebuilding a decades-old war machine. And for Trump to put any part of the blame on the closing of Lordstown on union workers is simply assinine.
I followed a Facebook thread today begun by a former student who was reacting to the unfolding college admittance scandal. She was relating how hard she worked to get into college and to pay her own way without help from others, including her mother. There is nothing unique about this woman, she did it the way most of us did it, on our own merits and our own labors. She wasn’t whining or bitching but instead, just expressing the disappointment she felt that American higher education is so difficult for the most while others can evade the hurdles with little more than monetary bribes from their parents.
While I’m not much for speculation when it comes to guessing who will win elections, I still enjoy listening to some people’s opinions and insight. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich is one such person. Here’s a brief video in which he diagrams what factors are most needed to right the turned over apple cart that is America under Trump.
We’ve had forty-five presidents in our nation’s history and there’s a prevailing myth that anyone, regardless of wealth, can grow up and join the club. While it is possible, and we do have examples, to be born poor and make it to the White House, is not the normal way things happen, especially in the modern era.
Everyone knows about Lincoln being born in a log cabin and splitting fence rails for a living. But besides Abe, there are a number of others who had similar humble beginnings. On the list of those who weren’t born with a wooden spoon in their mouths would be George Washington, the Roosevelts, John F. Kennedy, and the Bushes.
When I was teaching about the causes of World War Two I had to discuss the rampant inflation rate in Germany following World War One. In 1914 the exchange rate between the German mark and the American dollar was roughly 4.2 to 1. According to Wikipedia, nine years later it was 4.2 trillion to 1. I remember telling my students that the mark was weakening so fast that people would pay for a restaurant meal when ordering because if they waited until the meal was finished, the price would have gone up.