Friday, September 30, 2016

CDC: Adults more likely to smoke pot than teens

    The growing rooms at Giving Tree Wellness Center are filled with marijuana plants. These ones still have a few weeks until they reach maturity. (Photo by Danielle Kernkamp/Cronkite News)This marijuana is produced in the “drying” room, where the cannabis loses 7 percent of its size, at Giving Tree Wellness Center in Phoenix. (Photo by Danielle Kernkamp/Cronkite News)
    LEFT: The growing rooms at Giving Tree Wellness Center are filled with marijuana plants. These ones still have a few weeks until they reach maturity. (Photo by Danielle Kernkamp/Cronkite News)
    RIGHT: This marijuana is produced in the “drying” room, where the cannabis loses 7 percent of its size, at Giving Tree Wellness Center in Phoenix. (Photo by Danielle Kernkamp/Cronkite News)

    Cronkite News 

    PHOENIX – When people used to ask Lilach Power about her profession, she would tell them she owns a wellness center in Phoenix. Now, she’s far more open about what she does.

    “Now I say, ‘I operate a medical cannabis facility,’” said Power, the managing director of Giving Tree Wellness Center.

    Power’s candidness about her job mirrors changes in the nation’s attitude toward marijuana. According to the Pew Research Center, support for the legalization of marijuana is “rapidly outpacing opposition” – a major change from the 1970s.

    In fact, another recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that middle-aged parents are more likely to smoke marijuana than their teenage children.

    The data shows that marijuana use in teens has declined while usage in adults has surged.

    The CDC study shows that 8 percent of adults age 35 to 44 reported smoking marijuana regularly. In addition, marijuana use has doubled in U.S. adults age 45 to 55, quadrupled for those 55 to 64 and tripled for those 65 and older from 2002 to 2014.
    One potential reason for the uptick: More states have legalized both recreational and medical marijuana use.

    In Arizona, voters approved of medical marijuana in 2010. Now, the Department of Health Services reports there are nearly 100,000 qualifying patients in the state.
    Victor Contreras is one of those patients.

    “Being in the Marine Corps, and being a combat veteran, I lost 20 friends in Afghanistan,” Contreras said.

    Contreras said he relies on medical marijuana to treat his post-traumatic stress disorder. The disorder affects 11 to 30 percent of veterans, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

    Gina Berman, the medical director of Giving Tree Wellness Center in Phoenix, said medical marijuana can help.

    “It’s been very helpful for patients, especially going through chemotherapy or (those who) have had a traumatic event in their life, that it’s now an option for them,” Berman said.

    Eighty-one percent of Arizona’s medical marijuana cardholders list chronic pain as their qualifying medical condition. The second largest group is post-traumatic stress disorder with 1 percent.

    Contreras, 29, has a 4-year-old son.

    “I really don’t hide it from my son at all,” he said. “If he asks questions, I tell him exactly what it is. Once he gets older, if he’s of age, he can do it.”

    Power said she talks to moms – both clients and those in her social circle – to help eliminate the stigma surrounding cannabis.

    “They have pain, and they haven’t been functioning, or they want to relax at night and breathe, or they want that energy kick,” Power said. “People use it for so many different things, and it’s been amazing.”

    Both Power and Berman are moms themselves and said it’s time to get rid of the bad reputation that follows marijuana.

    Thursday, September 29, 2016

    How Hillary Clinton's Pitch-Perfect Put-Downs May Have Changed the Race

    Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. (photo: Getty Images)
    Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. (photo: Getty Images)
    By Frank Rich, New York Magazine
    28 September 16
    Most weeks, New York Magazine writer-at-large Frank Rich speaks with contributor Alex Carp about the biggest stories in politics and culture. Today: the first 2016 presidential debate.
    oing into last night’s debate, polls showed Hillary Clinton’s lead over Donald Trump continuing to shrink. But a CNN/ORC instant poll right after the debate found that she’d won it by more than a two-to-one margin. Should her performance last night be enough to move the needle back?

    We’ll have to wait for polls a few days from now for the answer to that question. But let’s pause for one moment to savor how Clinton performed last night. My heart sank with her first answer, to a question about job creation: her usual diligent wonky A-student’s recitation of a list of prefab economic proposals that the brain instantly tunes out, that no one thinks will ever happen, and that have been promised by Democratic politicians in every presidential election since Carter and then Mondale were slaughtered by Ronald Reagan.

    But what followed was something of a miracle: Hillary from then on mustered a pitch-perfect response to the boor on the other side of the split screen. She stuck to substance (of which he had none) and waited out his diatribes (many long waits) either by looking slightly bemused or by outright laughing at his absurdities. She refused to get lost in the weeds of his many lies and factual errors — urging viewers to consult fact-checkers online instead — and allowed herself some actual wit. “If we’re actually going to look at the facts … ” she said early on, throwing the line away lightly but devastatingly (though her target seemed oblivious to the dig). When Trump went on and on to try to pin his own birtherism campaign on her, a foolhardy errand in which he assumed the audience understood his oblique references to Sidney Blumenthal and Patti Solis Doyle, she retorted, smilingly, with “Just listen to what you heard.” It was a perfect response, directing the audience simply to watch her opponent as he choked on his own incoherent gusher of words. And when Trump went on his bizarre tear about how he had really, truly been opposed to the Iraq War early on, and how Sean Hannity could vouch for him despite all the evidence to the contrary, she replied with an even bigger smile and the mot juste for the moment: “O-kay!”

    Finally, there was that great final-round climax when she refused to allow Trump, who tried to brush past the fact that he had attacked her for not having a “presidential look,” to change the subject from “looks to stamina,” as she put it. She cited a number of his misogynistic slurs, then brought it home with a fresh incident, his referring to a beauty-pageant contestant who didn’t meet his physical standards as “Miss Housekeeping” because she was Hispanic. It was a tough and stirring moment, for which Trump could muster no better response than another attack on Rosie O’Donnell. Sad!

    All that said, the margin in the instant debate-night poll was virtually the same as the margin that had Mitt Romney killing Barack Obama in the first debate of 2012. I will say for the hundredth time that the one thing Trump is right about is that his supporters would still vote for him if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue. And they will still vote for him after this debate. This was a big night for fact-checking by a plethora of major news organizations, but what’s lost in this frenzy of media empiricism, worthy as it is, is that Trump’s supporters don’t care about the facts any more than he does. This election is a culture war, not a debate over policy, and in that war Trump is the white-guys’ guy.

    So the practical question coming out of the debate is not whether Clinton turned some Trump supporters to her side (surely not), or vice versa (also not). It is simply: Did Clinton arouse more enthusiasm among millennials, white and black and Hispanic, who were never going to vote for Trump but might vote for Gary Johnson or skip Election Day altogether? I would hope so, but I certainly don’t know.

    This was Trump’s first one-on-one debate, with less room to hide than he had on the crowded stage of the primaries. Did the spotlight, and a few pointed follow-up questions, show you anything new about how Trump responds to pressure?

    It’s hard to know how he could have performed worse. He obviously was true to his own pre-debate spin in one respect — it was clear he really did no preparation. His “policies” were content-free. Even the zingers he was supposedly stocking up were nowhere to be found. His main subject, the only one he was passionate about, was himself. Otherwise, he recycled the same old rants ad infinitum. His sole points seemed to be (1) America is a Third World shithole; (2) every other politician is “a disaster”; (3) only he can make everything great again. And his style was, if anything, worse than his content (if not as vacuous). He constantly interrupted Clinton as if he owned the joint and she was an uppity underling. I’d call it mansplaining, except Trump didn’t even offer up the mansplanations to go with his obnoxious attitude. He was Ralph Kramden without the wit: I kept half-expecting him to bellow, “Hillary, you’re going to the moon!” And his over-the-top facial expressions as she gave her answers were, dare I say it, Al Gore–like in their impatience, petulance, and general asininity. All this from a man who went on at considerable lengths to brag about how he has “a much better temperament than Hillary.”

    To the vast delight of the internet, Howard Dean tried to explain this performance by tweeting: “Notice Trump sniffing all the time. Coke user?” I doubt it, given Trump’s germ phobia and aversion to alcohol. But if he were on cocaine, how would that explain his alternately churlish and meandering presentation? Not what I’d call coked up. Maybe he was OD-ing on his real drug of choice, McDonald’s.

    The moderator, Lester Holt, couldn’t resist some mid-debate fact-checking — like practically everyone else, it seems — but once the candidates got going he largely stepped out of the way. Was this the right strategy?

    To his credit, Holt tried to call out Trump on his Iraq War claims, but otherwise he was almost a phantom presence, with no authority or control over the proceedings. His role model could have been Mr. Cellophane in the musical Chicago. He’d tell Trump he had “just ten seconds” to give a rejoinder and then disappear as Trump went on ad infinitum. One way to look at this is that Holt was just the latest NBC anchor (after Joe Scarborough and Matt Lauer) to tilt toward the former star of the network’s Apprentice. But in the end, Holt’s refusal to police Trump’s filibusters, intentionally or not, was a boon to Clinton: As Trump just went on and on unchecked, and she could be seen on the other side of the screen watching with borderline delight as he talked himself into one free-associative cul-de-sac after another, it all accrued to her benefit.

    It was one smart woman against two less-than-brilliant bros, and, should we still care about such distinctions, she looked like a president while in the end they both seemed to just fade away.

    Wednesday, September 28, 2016

    Extreme ideology does not make for good decisions



    By George Templeton
    Gazette Columnist
    A Manchurian Candidate
    The last of the possible Republican presidents was sent to unwittingly assassinate the prudence and moderation of conservatism.  Those who were more Republican than religious forgave his glaring deficiencies and immorality.  They were the dominate minority who were sold on a make-believe world that was wildly anti-establishment.  It would have been, and should have been.  Their leader profiled others as “good” or the worst in the world.  He thought that America could be ordered to have “our values”.  We would be united under one God, but which one?  Gossip and trivia grew more important than substance.  Anecdotal stories were thought to be enough to change the fate of the world.  Paranoia replaced courage.  The birds of a feather that flocked together heard their news person say “probably” but they understood it to mean “is”.  Rumor made headlines because suspense had to be kept going.  Profit routed honesty.  “Could have been” made conspiracy into fact.  “Nobody knows” is not evidence, but their blame did not need it.  They searched for the smoking gun that was never fired hoping to make a mountain out of every molehill.
    An Electrifying Encounter
    Imagine that you are a rancher and you have an electric fence which has kept your livestock for twenty five years.  Your neighbor is hiking, slips, and breaks her fall by grabbing onto it.  She gets shocked and drives to the hospital emergency room.  Finding no problem, they send her home.  Subsequently, her husband sues you, the maker of the fence charger, and the vendors of the components used in it for millions of dollars.
    The lady would no longer have sex with him, wash dishes, clean house, make the bed, and cook.  She became mean and nasty.  Each of these had a price that her lawyers defined in writing.  The lawyer’s deposition was hundreds of pages long, containing confirmation by friends and independent authorities, opinions from college professors, and diagnosis by doctors.
    It’s Imaginary
    There were unverified “personal facts” resulting from the electric encounter.  Human shortcomings complement incompleteness causing errors of perception.  We become authorities on everything we cannot comprehend.  We construct our truth actively and constantly, using a tiny fraction of the information and knowledge needed for understanding.  What we are left with is internal, unseen, and constantly in a process of becoming.  An analyst explained that what is said in a presidential debate does not matter.  It is all about how it is said.  Polls show that policies account for only eight percent of how we vote.  Scandals are much more important.
    Real facts get in the way of beliefs.  They make shades of grey.  Appearances are not facts.  Simple assertions are not policies.  They are excuses that hide ignorance.  Ann Coulter explained that a presidential candidate needs no policies.  Intentions are enough!  But that is not true for many jobs.
    In business, we were required to negotiate realistic goals with our employees and to put them in writing.  The agreement had to define promises, overt behaviors, actions, and concrete measurable accomplishments evaluated at a place and time, not everything on the first or last day.  This happened quarterly.  Plans were adjusted then, recognizing that the ability to keep trying is a better predictor of success than never having failed.  Every manager understands that they will be held accountable for things that they do not directly and completely control.  Every politician fears visibility of what they actually do.  They know how to phrase goals so they cannot be measured.  Rants, raves, and lofty aspirations are not goals.  A rubber ruler will not do!
    We unfairly discriminate when we select without regard for merit.  Polls show that qualifications account for only three percent of how we vote.  Merit is not the lack of failure that comes from inexperience.  That is why it is important to have measurable objectives.
    The Amateur
    The internet has broadened free speech by making it easy for anyone with an opinion, regardless of how ill-informed, to alter public debate and influence opinion.  Short videos have replaced the journalism that once promoted deeper thought and understanding.  The wisdom of the web’s crowd chatter is a form of artificial intelligence, not professional, driven by algorithms that determine what comes up first in a search.  They are based on the number of site visits, proportional to popular sensationalism, instead of verified facts and depth of analysis.  Profit comes before accuracy.  The loss of the value of truth is serious.  It has led to the acceptance of inexperience, a disregard for evidence, and a preference for amateurism over professionalism.
    The Crowd’s Wisdom
    The chant of “USA, USA” resounded, but all that could be heard was “me, myself”.  They were forgetting that America could find itself only by losing itself in service to others.  Our economic problems cannot be solved until we discover how to add value, what we can do for our country instead of what our country can do for us.  
    Imagine optimizing society by picking ideal levels for each of the variables; economics, trade, defense, health, education, and immigration.  Only a fool thinks that these are not interdependent and full of reality demons (reasons why you can’t do what must be done) or that a single strong personality could control them.
    Blind Leading the Blind
    Trump rallies are like a mob riot.  The audience is not listening, they are participating.  They prefer shrill speech and irrelevancy.  The loudest dominate.  What we need is a different venue, more than a funny book, one that will help us understand alternatives, one that realizes that life has become more complex and interdependent, one that chooses to be “wonky”, one that confronts ambiguity and complexity instead of obfuscating, manipulating and blaming.
    Trump claims that if he loses in Pennsylvania, it will be because the system is rigged, unfair, and dishonest.  His followers do not doubt that.  They cannot believe that there could be any shortcoming in his character, style, or lack of understanding.  They are convinced that only he is on their side, and that he is, at heart, like them.  They should ask:  What does he contribute from his unique self to others?  Robert Fuller, in his 2003 book, Somebodies and Nobodies, reminded us that “we reach our full maturity and stature when we see ourselves in our heroes and find our heroes in ourselves.”  In Trump’s world you get tough and cheat your competitors if you can get away with it.  Play dirty, just don’t get caught.  If you win, denigrate the losers.   If you lose, disparage the winners.
    A Feast of Fools
    Lifestyles of the Poor and Obscure
    The tribe’s bumper sticker on the new truck reads, “Life is a Bitch”, and don’t elect one.  Perhaps life was not fair to him, but does that justify being unfair to others?  He hopes that Donald Trump will give him a voice in the decisions that impact his life.  We hope that they will support America’s mutual concerns and serve life without disregarding individual interests.
    Many feel trapped in their jobs, working like slaves without fair reward, but how we feel about wealth inequality depends more on our view of other people than economics.  When Donald claims; we don’t know who they are, where they are from, and whether their values are the same as ours, he is not uniting our country as he proposes to do.  Envy, fear, and intolerance vanquish empathy and understanding.
    Do we live to develop a philosophy of life, or to become financially well off?  It was in the 1920’s, that Supreme Court justice, Louis D. Brandeis proclaimed, “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”
    Karl Marx saw humanity as motivated by materialism.  To him, evil was the consequence of inequality and social control by the wealthy.  Collectivism treated the individual as a means to achieve social perfection.  In contrast, capitalism made the strong individual supreme.  It recognized that competition and striving to get ahead are nature’s rules, but that was at odds with conscience. 
    Conservatives don’t like unions, but slavery still exists when barons take advantage of undocumented immigrants.  It can be found wherever people are expendable nobodies, temporary, contingent, and lacking benefits.  It occurs in places that are not seen, and in degraded, exploitive labor environments that ignore the suffering of others.  To fix that, we have to focus on the conditions of employment, not the resulting wage inequality.
    American workers compete with foreigners.  Globalization theoretically causes our incomes to fall until all workers, world-wide, are paid the same for similar work.  The price of everything will go down in equal measure, and we will all be happy, supposedly! 
    Nobodies have given up.  They don’t vote because they see nothing changing, but that is a consequence of the rubber ruler.  The world can’t run without the ignored poor.  Survival is their motivation.  Neediness classifies them as inferior.  They are prey, the stuff of demagoguery, because they are weak and the safest target.
    Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
    Is the sole measure of a person’s worth their financial wealth?  If that was so, most of us would be slaves.  You can be the world’s worst negotiator, but if you can get results you will be successful.  It is an illusion that money is more powerful than principle.  There are many examples of fortunes squandered.
    Imagine that you have finally made it, climbed to the top of the heap.  How you will you keep your place?  Then maybe it is time to try something different, something greater, something more spectacular.  Why not run for president?
    Fame, wealth, and power bestow one with high social rank and the potential for leadership.  Social rank can be increased with the right friends, clothing, automobile, home, neighborhood, school, looks, and talent.  A person desiring high rank and a position of leadership will display these things conspicuously for all to see.
    We are impressed with celebrities and often attribute to them qualities that they do not deserve.  They are not woven from a special cloth, but we envy and admire them.  The adoration of the rich and famous, the wealthy and powerful, is no more justifiable than the denigration of minorities, Muslims, women, and the weak.
    High Rank
    “Rankism” occurs when a person uses their fame, wealth, and power, outside their area of expertise, to put down another and take advantage of them.  People may put up with it for a while, but eventually they will rebel and turn against it.
    The outcome of the pending elections will say more about us than the politicians.  Good decisions cannot be made when extreme ideology and emotion overwhelms an absence of concrete facts.

    Tuesday, September 27, 2016

    Scoring the Debate: How Clinton Beat Trump Round-by-Round

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton shakes hands with moderator Lester Holt from NBC after the conclusion of the debate. (photo: Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY)
    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton shakes hands with moderator Lester Holt from NBC after the conclusion of the debate. (photo: Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY)

    By Los Angeles Times
    27 September 16
    Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump went head-to-head for the first time. To help us through the first presidential debate, we enlisted the help of three of our political writers and columnists to act as judges. Each judge scored every round with a win, lose or draw and declared Hillary Clinton the winner.

    Winner: Clinton. Read our judges' round-by-round analysis below:
    Round 1
    Cathleen Decker: Clinton
    David Lauter: Clinton
    Doyle McManus: Clinton
    What the judges thought:
    • Decker: From the outset, Clinton wanted to get under Trump’s skin, and she seemed to with her remark about his business success starting with $14 million from his father, more than he has acknowledged. Trump recaptured some ground later with a sustained criticism of Clinton on trade. Clinton is mixing up her approaches and Trump is relying on the remarks he uses daily at events.

    • Lauter: “You have no plan.” Clinton: “I do … I have written a book about it.” That pretty much sums it up. Clinton has a book. It’s not terribly exciting, but she knows her policy. Trump started yelling early. Hard to see how he changed any minds.

    • McManus: Both candidates went on the offensive early. Clinton needled Trump — successfully. Trump was shouting by 15 minutes in. Trump landed some punches that will cheer his base, revisiting his charge that China is stealing American jobs and Clinton is proposing a huge tax increase. But Clinton won the first round — on temperament as well as substance.

    Round 2
    Cathleen Decker: Clinton
    David Lauter: Clinton
    Doyle McManus: Clinton
    What the judges thought:
    • Decker: This was a feistier segment. Trump hit hard on the Federal Reserve being political, which seemed off point. He later tried to turn a question about his refusal to release tax returns into an accusation about Clinton’s 33,000 destroyed emails. That might have won the round for him but for his basic admission that he paid no federal income tax (“That makes me smart,” he said, when Clinton raised that question). And later he said he had refused to pay a worker his contracted fee because he didn’t do a great job, in Trump’s estimation. (The man is in the audience.) As with the first segment, Lester Holt had to ask Trump repeatedly to answer the question.

    • Lauter: When the debate focuses on why you haven’t released your tax returns, that’s not a plus. And Trump’s response to Clinton’s charge that he hadn’t paid taxes — “That makes me smart” — probably will show up in a Democratic ad soon.

    • McManus: Clinton stayed on the offensive, needling Trump about his businesses and their bankruptcies. “I take advantage of the laws of the nation” was Trump’s weak response. His nonpayment of taxes, too: “That makes me smart,” he said — a line he’ll regret. But Trump lands some punches, too, when he remembers to stay on message. When Clinton talks about taxes, Trump’s response is crisp: “Typical politician. All talk, no action. Sounds good, not gonna work.” If he can keep that up, he’ll gain ground.

    Round 3
    Cathleen Decker: Clinton
    David Lauter: Clinton
    Doyle McManus: Clinton
    What the judges thought:
    • Decker: So far most of the debate time has been spent on turf negative to Trump: his refusal to release tax returns, and in this segment his accusation that President Obama was foreign-born and past Justice Department actions accusing his firm of discrimination in housing. That has put Trump on the defensive, and it doesn’t help that he has not yet come up with a sellable rationale for why he pushed the birther argument for so long.

    • Lauter: Round two focused on Trump’s taxes. This one focused on his advocacy of so-called birther conspiracy theories, allowing Clinton to hit him repeatedly for “racist behavior.” Trump started strong, talking about “law and order,” but the segment ended with him weakly on the defensive.

    • McManus: On race, Clinton again stayed on offense — and Trump’s defenses were weak, at best. On the birther issue, Clinton said: “He has a long record of engaging in racist behavior.” Has any debate included a line that tough? Trump acknowledged that he knew President Obama was born in Hawaii when the birth certificate was produced in 2011, but said he continued pressing the issue because “no one was asking.”

    Round 4
    Cathleen Decker: Clinton
    David Lauter: Clinton
    Doyle McManus: Clinton
    What the judges thought:
    • Decker: Trump did get off a line here, about how the U.S. wasn’t sure that Russia cyber-invaded the Democratic National Committee’s emails, and that it could have been someone sitting on their bed weighing 400 pounds. But the majority of the segment was filled with Trump trying to blame Clinton and President Obama for the formation of ISIS and claiming he did not support the Iraq war. Except he did, as Lester Holt pointed out repeatedly. Again, bad turf for Trump to play on.

    • Lauter: For two weeks, Democrats have tried to draw the debate moderators into fact-checking Trump. So what does Trump do? Gets into an argument with the moderator about whether he had supported the Iraq war. His extended appeal to Sean Hannity as a character witness must have puzzled millions of listeners. From Trump’s standpoint, this is not going well.

    • McManus: Trump doubles down on his claim that he opposed the war in Iraq before it started. (Alas for Trump, he still forgot to say it in public, so he can’t prove it.) “I also have a much better temperament than she has,” he says, heatedly. Not a good sign when a candidate has to assert his temperament is steady. Foreign policy was always going to be Clinton’s strong point in a debate, and it was tonight.

    Round 5
    Cathleen Decker: Clinton
    David Lauter: Clinton
    Doyle McManus: Clinton
    What the judges thought:
    • Decker: The question sequencing in this debate has not served Trump well. This segment began with more discussion about Iran, but segued into Trump’s assertion that Clinton didn’t have a “presidential look” and his previous insults towards women. He tried to change the subject to stamina, but both moderator Lester Holt and Clinton reminded him of past quotes. Trump has not been helped by living among his fervent backers; his comments don’t play as well in a bigger world.

    • Lauter: Trump’s insistence on criticizing Clinton’s “stamina” is a good example of a campaign living too much inside its own bubble. That line works at a rally of partisans. It’s a loser in a debate. It gave Clinton a chance to remind supporters of her record as secretary of State and then some of Trump’s least-flattering comments about women. At the end, Trump was left complaining that Clinton’s advertisements were “not nice.”

    • McManus: For all the skepticism directed at NBC’s Lester Holt, he asked tough, straightforward questions — and Trump’s past statements made it easy for him. In this segment, it was Trump’s charge that Clinton doesn’t have a “presidential look.” Trump tried to turn that into a question about Clinton’s stamina, but Clinton didn’t let him off the hook. “He’s called women pigs, slobs and dogs,” she said, echoing both Megyn Kelly and Carly Fiorina. Trump struggled back to his core theme by the end: “Hillary has experience, but it’s bad experience. She has had so many bad deals.” But it was too late; the most memorable moments were those that put Trump on the defensive.

    Final thoughts
    Cathleen Decker: Clinton
    David Lauter: Clinton
    Doyle McManus: Clinton
    What the judges thought:
    • Decker: At one point, Donald Trump gently mocked Hillary Clinton for staying home during the run-up to the debate. The results showed why she did. Trump, while his authentic self, didn’t expand his explanations beyond his short riffs on the campaign trail. Clinton, better prepared, sought to both explain what she would do as president — giving people a positive agenda to consider — and dinged Trump incessantly. Trump, had he been better able, could have turned the tables back on her at several points (he didn’t go at her trustworthiness apart from one email gibe). But instead he interrupted her with words that admitted her claims were true. Politics is harder than it seems, and Trump found that out tonight.

    • Lauter: Four years ago, President Obama did a terrible job in his first debate because he refused to prepare seriously — a trap other incumbents have fallen into. Trump did the same. He boasted that he didn’t really need to prepare, and, like Obama, he paid for it. But remember that Obama bounced back. Trump’s supporters will stick with him, and that gives him a chance to fight another day.

    • McManus: In the end there really is only one Donald Trump. He tried to be a little more even and statesmanlike than usual tonight, but only a little; Hillary Clinton was able to get under his skin and throw him off stride. And Trump committed unforced errors: The video clip of the night may have been Trump smirking at Clinton’s charge that he didn’t pay any federal taxes, and responding: “That makes me smart.” When he remembered to focus on his core theme — that he represents change, and Clinton represents the past — he was effective; but those moments were few and far between. Fact-checkers will have a field day with Trump’s versions of history, but that’s often less important than which candidate appeared more sure-footed and in charge. On that measure, Clinton won; it wasn’t even close. Clinton wasn’t always brilliant. She went on at length about her many proposals, but she was unflappable — and, in the end, for many voters, probably likable enough.

    Monday, September 26, 2016

    My Coffee With a Trump Supporter

    Former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich. (photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star)
    Former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich. (photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star)

    By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog
    24 September 16
    finally found a Trump supporter – this morning when I went to buy coffee. (I noticed a Trump bumper sticker on his car.)

    “Hi,” I said. “Noticed your Trump bumper sticker.”

    “Yup,” he said, a bit defensively.

    “I hope you don’t mind my asking, but I’m curious. Why are you supporting him?”

    “I know he’s a little bit much,” said the Trump supporter. “But he’s a successful businessman. And we need a successful businessman as president.”

    “How do you know he’s a successful businessman?” I asked.

    “Because he’s made a fortune.”

    “Has he really?” I asked.

    “Of course. Forbes magazine says he’s worth four and a half billion.”

    “That doesn’t mean he’s been a success,” I said.

    “In my book it does,” said the Trump supporter.

    “You know, in 1976, when Trump was just starting his career, he said he was worth about $200 million,” I said. “Most of that was from his father.”

    “That just proves my point,” said the Trump supporter. “He turned that $200 million into four and a half billion. Brilliant man.“

    “But if he had just put that $200 million into an index fund and reinvested the dividends, he’d be worth twelve billion today,” I said.

    The Trump supporter went silent.

    "And he got about $850 million in tax subsidies, just in New York alone,” I said.

    More silence.

    “He’s not a businessman,” I said. “He’s a con man. "Hope you enjoy your coffee.”

    Sunday, September 25, 2016

    Hillary Is Right, Supporting Trump Is Deplorable

    Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. (photo: Getty Images)
    Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. (photo: Getty Images)

    If Donald Trump wins, it will be the Archie Bunkers of our country who will have seats at the table.

    By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News
    25 September 16
    s the polls tighten and the con artist Donald Trump pulls ahead in Ohio and Florida, I am afraid for our planet. From the moment Trump came down his golden escalator with Neil Young’s “Rocking in the Free World” playing in the background, he has been reaching out to the deplorable. I believe that even Donald Trump considers them deplorable, but to him they are votes.

    The campaign really started five years ago, when Trump reached out to racist bigots for the first time. Donald Trump knew Barack Obama was a US citizen, but he knew if he became a leader in the birther movement he would be creating a base of support for this run for president.

    I find racist, sexist, homophobic bigots deplorable, and that is the base of Donald Trump’s support. Maybe half – as Hillary claimed – isn’t accurate, but it might be. It is at least a significant percentage of his base. I know Trump supporters on both ends of the spectrum.

    I had a landlord who supported Trump who was a gay man, who I don’t think was racist. He was a prison guard who used to be a police officer. We never really discussed immigration, but he was a very compassionate human being who I think was buying into the anti-establishment, “make America great again” rhetoric. He would excuse the missteps and say that he thought Trump was wrong on certain things but it was time for a non-politician to get a chance.

    I also had a regular Uber driver who seemed like a good guy. He would talk about Bernie getting screwed and how evil Hillary was. He would say that Trump was flawed but that we needed a business man who understood how taxes and regulations are strangling the economy. But as we dug deeper and he asked me why I thought Trump would be a disaster, the racism surfaced. When I said his involvement in the birther movement was calculated, and his initial refusal to condemn David Duke was a nod to racists voting the next day in the South, all I heard was how the blacks were dragging the country down. We didn’t get to immigration.

    So today as I sat in the doctor’s office watching MSNBC, the only news on the planet was that Donald Trump was going to make a major announcement on Obama’s immigration status. Once again, the carnival barker had the media eating out of his hands, waiting, with only a shot of the empty podium. Hillary did take advantage by calling on Trump to apologize to Obama and the country.

    Trump spent an hour huddled with his advisors in a holding room at his new Pennsylvania Avenue hotel. He was only a few blocks from the president, who was meeting with John Kasich and other elected officials on the benefits of the TPP.

    Oooops, maybe the distraction was a good thing for progressives. Finally Trump emerged in a room full of military heroes. The staging was pure Trump. He had Medal of Honor winners and generals, and a Gold Star mom, whom he acknowledged. The vets who spoke were honoring Trump; it was not an event honoring the Medal of Honor winners. It was all about Trump.

    The Donald is even blaming Hillary Clinton for one of the darkest episodes of his political career. It is true that in the 2008 presidential campaign, frustrated Clinton supporters were the first to raise the issue of whether or not Barack Obama was born in the United States. But they had long since moved on before Donald Trump launched his political career by becoming a leader in the racist birther movement. The media had seen the birth certificate. We had already found the birth announcement in the Honolulu Star. It was already a settled question. It was never an issue for Hillary Clinton or anyone officially in her campaign.

    It was a Pennsylvania attorney and former deputy state attorney general Phillip Berg who filed a lawsuit claiming Obama was born in Kenya. The case was dismissed as Berg was unable to show standing. If he had indeed been part of Clinton’s campaign, he would have been able to show standing, because the campaign did have standing and would have been harmed if Obama was not an American citizen. So while it was a Clinton supporter, it was not Clinton or her campaign that raised the issue.

    In 2009 the House of Representatives passed a unanimous resolution recognizing Hawaii as Obama’s birthplace. Only Donald Trump and his racist, conspiracy theorist, birther movement haven’t moved on. Trump didn’t offer an explanation or an apology at his event. He wants the issue to go away but doesn’t want to lose his racist base of support. If he apologized, his supporters would feel betrayed.

    When Trump blames our nation’s problems on Mexicans, Muslims, and other scapegoats, he is speaking to the same base. His opposition to the TPP comes from a nationalist bent, not a desire to help American workers. It’s all a calculated attempt to reawaken Archie Bunker-like voters. The scary thing is it’s working. My former landlord is a good guy. He is being conned by a great con artist. We must expose Trump for the fraud that he is.

    Bernie is back on the campaign trail
    Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren headed to Ohio this weekend to help Hillary Clinton. Bernie also hit the cable news circuit and made his case for why we cannot let Donald Trump become president and why we should support Hillary Clinton. Once again, I agree with Bernie. We have already influenced Hillary Clinton’s campaign. We have to pressure her after the election to make good on the Democratic platform. If Donald Trump wins, it will be the Archie Bunkers of our country who will have seats at the table. We can’t let that happen.

    Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador's slain archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice. Over the years he has been influenced by the likes of Philip Berrigan, William Thomas, Mitch Snyder, Don White, Lisa Fithian, and Paul Wellstone. Scott met Marc Ash while organizing counterinaugural events after George W. Bush's first stolen election. Scott will be spending a year covering the presidential election from Iowa.

    Fulton Fire at 2,266 acres, 45% contained

    Southwest Area Incident Management Team #1
    John Truett, Incident Commander

    FULTON FIRE UPDATE 9/25/2016

    Location: 28 miles east of Payson, AZ - South of State Highway 260
    Size: 2,266 acres
    Total Personnel: 394 including 9 Hand Crews, 15 Engines, 2 Bulldozers, 3 Helicopters           
    Containment: 45%
    Burnout Operations Expected to Wrap-Up Today
    Update:  Significant progress was made along the control line yesterday. On the southern flank of the fire crews successfully burned off along the control line north of Ponderosa Springs and Colcord Estates and along the 2009 Bachelor Fire Scar. There is now a blackline along the entire control line. Blacklining is a process by which fuels adjacent to a control line are intentionally burned in order to widen and reinforce the control line and to reduce the chance for spotting across the line.
    Strong winds are expected to lessen this afternoon. If conditions are favorable, crews will continue deepening the blackline today to remove all unburned materials that exist between the fireline and the fire edge. In order to keep fire intensity low crews will continue using hand and aerial ignitions to introduce fire in unburned pockets within the interior of the fire’s perimeter thus reducing the chance that fire activity will increase in intensity as the weather changes.
    On the westernmost portions of the fire firefighters will begin mop-up and continue to patrol the fire affected areas north of Gordon Canyon and Colcord Cove.
    A temporary flight restriction (TFR) remains in effect. Unmanned aircraft systems (drones) threaten firefighter safety and wildfire suppression efforts. Visit for more information.
    Weather: Today should be mostly sunny in the morning with clouds moving in this afternoon. Breezy to windy northeast to east winds are expected through Monday. Increasing chances of showers and thunderstorms are expected to start Monday and continue through the week.
    Air Quality: Additional information on smoke and air quality is available on
    Transportation: Eastbound State Route 260 will remain reduced to one lane through the fire area as crews continue to monitor the fireline created by the highway. Expect minor delays eastbound from Christopher Creek to Forest Lakes. The Mogollon Rim Visitor’s Center is closed. Area closures are in effect for fire affected areas on both the Tonto National Forest and the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.
    No traffic delays are expected along Country Road 291 / Colcord Road, however expect increased fire traffic in the area.
    Overview: The lightning ignited Fulton Fire started September 12th along the Mogollon Rim near the Mogollon Rim Visitor’s Center. Fire officials are fully suppressing this fire to help protect local communities, powerlines, recreation sites, travel corridors, wildlife habitat, and other natural resources.

    Friday, September 23, 2016

    American Legion Asks Congress to Reschedule Cannabis as Vets Suffer Under War on Drugs

    Former U.S. Marine Mike Whiter, who uses marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, displays some of his photographs of military personnel published in a magazine, as he sits at a desk in his home in Philadelphia. (photo: AP)
    Former U.S. Marine Mike Whiter, who uses marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, displays some of his photographs of military personnel published in a magazine, as he sits at a desk in his home in Philadelphia. (photo: AP)

    By Kit O'Connell, MintPress News
    18 September 16
    The American Legion, which represents 2.4 million military veterans, wants the DEA to recognize therapeutic potential of cannabis to treat PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, and other conditions frequently encountered by veterans.

    he American Legion has called on the U.S. government to reconsider its stance on medical cannabis in order to benefit some of the millions of veterans the organization represents.

    With a membership of about 2.4 million veterans, the Legion’s become a powerful voice in the growing debate over the potential benefits of the plant to victims of post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries, and a host of other conditions that veterans frequently face. 

    The Legion passed a resolution at its annual convention, which ran from Aug. 30 to Sept. 1 in Cincinnati, Ohio, urging Congress to reschedule marijuana. The resolution reads, in part:
    “RESOLVED … that The American Legion urge the Drug Enforcement Agency to license privately-funded medical marijuana production operations in the United States to enable safe and efficient cannabis drug development research; and, be it finally,

    RESOLVED, That The American Legion urge Congress to amend legislation to remove Marijuana from schedule I and reclassify it in a category that, at a minimum will recognize cannabis as a drug with potential medical value.”
    The National Institutes of Health estimate that 7.7 million Americans suffer from PTSD. Figures from the Department of Veterans Affairs suggest that includes 31 percent of Vietnam veterans, 10 percent of Desert Storm veterans, 11 percent of Afghan War veterans, and 20 percent of Iraq War veterans.

    Currently, the Drug Enforcement Agency, which oversees the federal scheduling system established by the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, classifies cannabis as a Schedule I substance. Like heroin and cocaine, the federal government considers marijuana to have “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.”

    Despite the growing number of states legalizing medical or recreational cannabis, and an increasing number of medical experts who are willing to vouch for its healing potential, the DEA refused to reschedule cannabis in August. The agency did, however, make a small concession by slightly changing the rules surrounding cannabis research.

    One of the most vocal proponents for cannabis research in the medical field is Dr. Sue Sisley, a Phoenix-based family physician and researcher who is a key part of the first government-funded study to examine the effectiveness of cannabis in treating veterans with PTSD.

    Sisley, who has been instrumental in convincing individual American Legion posts to support cannabis, spoke at the annual convention ahead of the vote:

    “I was surprised to see how many of the local posts were eager to support our work but I wondered how we could ever get the national office to examine this,” Sisley said in an interview with’s policy reporter, Tom Angell, published on Sept. 6.

    She added:
    “I only heard very positive feedback from the thousands of veterans in the audience. I was stunned at how little controversy there was. It seems highly unanimous among American Legion members that we owe it to the veteran community to demand end to the barriers to this kind of cannabis research. In light of the epidemic of veteran suicide, the Legion knows they must strive to uncover new treatments for PTSD/opioid epidemic, etc.
    Vet with PTSD faces possible prison sentence over cannabis

    A growing number of veterans are turning to cannabis instead of, or as a supplement to, pharmaceutical drugs commonly prescribed for PTSD. Currently, 25 states offer some form of access to legal marijuana, and in 2011, the VA agreed not to punish veterans for using cannabis in those states. But veterans in other states are still at risk of losing access to their military benefits and suffering the devastating legal consequences of the war on drugs if they use cannabis in any form, for any reason.

    In June 2014, Oklahoma police responding to a domestic violence call at the home of Kristoffer Lewandowski, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, discovered six marijuana plants he was growing to use to treat his PTSD. Lewandowski, whose wife Whitney insisted he’d never been violent toward her or their family, initially faced drug trafficking charges that could have resulted in a life sentence.

    After he was released on bail, Lewandowski moved his family to California, where he easily received a prescription to legally use cannabis and enrolled in college, only to face a guns-drawn raid at his children’s preschool and extradition back to Oklahoma in July 2015.

    After an outcry in the independent press and on social media, Lewandowski’s felony charges were dropped. It seemed that he would be able to settle his case through a type of mediation called a veterans court, but now Lewandowski is back in court, facing up to five years in prison.

    Sean Kiernan, president of Weed For Warriors, an NGO that supports Lewandowski and other veterans like him, told MintPress News that the veterans court system would have required Lewandowski to move his family back to Oklahoma for up to two years.

    “And the other thing is, he can’t use cannabis while he’s in veterans court,” Kiernan explained.

    Unable to meet the requirements of the veterans court system, Lewandowski landed back in civilian court. While Lewandowski is an example of the potentially costly consequences of the war on drugs for veterans, Kiernan said the combination of a talented, well-connected lawyer and recent prison reforms in Oklahoma designed to reduce prison overcrowding offer hope for the retired Marine’s future.

    “There’s a very good likelihood that he’ll get probation,” Kiernan said, “and be able to move back to California and use cannabis and go on with his schooling.”