Words we live by

When we are young, our values and beliefs are often indelibly shaped by the words we choose to live by. The Lord’s Prayer, The Pledge of Allegiance, The Apostle’s Creed are ones that I remember, have recited tens or thousands of times and are helped create the person that I have become.

But as we age we start repeating things willingly and they none the less become part of who we are. Often these have no basis in reality but are simply things that are repeated by those in our lives that we start to believe them. “Republicans are fiscally conservative” and “Democrats want to take away our guns” are two such statements that quickly come to mind.

As we grow, we start to choose what it is we want to repeat, and therefore, who we want to become. I chose to repeat the Scout Oath and the Scout Laws so often, they are embedded in my character. At military school, it was the Hargrave Honor Code that was repeated so often, that I cannot sign my name without repeating it in my head. But perhaps the most important is the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi:

“Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.”

Words are powerful. They can change and shape us into whoever and whatever we choose to become. They should be chosen with intention, they should be chosen with purpose because eventually we will become whatever it is we say often enough.


Here are a few more that have helped shape my life.

“You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however.” Richard Bach

“Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new.” Og Mandino

“Treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward.” Paulo Cuelo

God bless us every one!

Real Welfare Reform

Paul Ryan says “People want able bodied people who are on welfare to go to work, they want us to get people out of poverty, into the workforce,” Ryan said in a Fox News interview late Wednesday. “That’s good for them, that’s good for the economy, that’s good for the federal budget.”

I think we all agree that no one likes a free-loader, but Ryan doesn’t want to accept responsibility for helping create a situation where 1/3 of the SNAP households are working, yet are not making enough to survive. For a party that used to talk about personal responsibility and accountability,  there is a total lack of accountability by Paul Ryan, Dennis Ross, and the extreme right for creating the conditions that cause our “safety net” programs to cover the gap for when corporations refuse to pay a living wage.

The all-out war on unions, collective-bargaining, and workers’ rights that started in the Reagan administration has been ramped up in recent years by Paul Ryan, Dennis Ross, and other millionaire politicians who love to blame the working poor for their plight. We have seen Ryan, Ross, et al., push through bills to limit the ability of unions to organize and expand, limit the ability for workers to force change through class action law suits, and to force workers to accept mediation when grievances are filed.

Since the early 1980’s wage growth for the bottom 25% of workers has been negative, losing ground every year, it has been flat for the next 50% of workers, and over 10% annually for the top 25% of workers. For 75% of working Americans, we work harder each year, but see no improvement in our standard of living. Still, Ryan, Ross, and other Tea Party extremists refuse to

  • act on increasing the minimum wage,
  • chose to roll back regulations that would prevent companies from making employees “salaried” to prevent paying overtime,
  • gave employers the ability to forgo overtime earnings with supposed promised time off in the future,
  •  created a tax system that makes it more  profitable for companies to buy back stocks and give huge executive salaries instead of encouraging  companies to share their record profits with employees or funding employee benefits.
– https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-21/trump-pushed-by-ryan-to-follow-tax-win-with-u-s-welfare-revamp

Even before the great TAX GIVEAWAY this fall, Ryan, Ross, and company attacked and blamed the poor, yet remain silent about the Corporate Welfare they dole out at a rate 10 times higher than what goes to “safety net” and social programs. Their tax scam increases the wealth of large corporations and the top few per cent of Americans but does nothing to encourage job growth, job creation, wage reform, expansion of employee benefits,  or anything else that will significantly help 75% of the American workers.

For those who wonder why the general public flocked to non-traditional candidates like Trump and Sanders, or why there is increased racism and attacks on immigrants, it is because for almost 40 years working Americans have seen the fruits of their labor get redistributed to the few, the privileged, and the greedy. Good, hard-working people are humbled and humiliated as they have to turn toward government programs to put food on their tables. We are frustrated with the status-quo but are manipulated into blaming each other instead of voting for people who will actually fight for change.

If we want able-bodied people to go to work, then we need to create an environment where the government invests in infrastructure and renewable technologies that pay high wages and increase employment opportunities. We need to pass laws that protect workers’ rights and  make sure that those who work hard can eat and provide for the necessities of life.  We need to put earnings into the hands of the people who work, spend, invest, and create demand for goods and services (which by the way will increase corporate earnings and increase tax revenues needed to pay down the US debt).

Ryan, Ross, and their anti-worker allies love headline statements that sound good on the surface but exasperate the problems in this country instead of addressing them.  If there are too many people receiving government assistance, Ryan, Ross, and the Republican Party need to own up to creating the problems and either address the issues that cause these problems or retire and let serious Americans make the American Dream attainable for those get up and go to work every day. 

 

 

Protecting the Environment

We all need clean air, wood, soil, and safe food to survive. So why is Congress opposed t them?

During Season 7 of Game of Thrones, Sir Davos says “If we don’t put aside our enmities and band together we will die. Then it doesn’t matter whose skeleton sits on the Iron Throne.

I paused when I heard that line. Isn’t that exactly where we are a species. We are killing ourselves, killing our children, and are in the process of creating an uninhabitable world for our children… and our Congress is leading the charge.

Over the past decade, Republicans have led a charge to eliminate the safeguards that protect our water, air, land, food, and climate. Republicans have repeatedly attacked and defunded the EPA to make protecting our safety more difficult, given priority to the testimony of industry lobbyists over peer-reviewed scientists, and passed rules that allow politicians to overrule the recommendations of those hired to keep us safe. We have seen an attack on National Parks, bills to allow drilling and fracking in our most sensitive ecosystems, and the removal of any information relating to climate change from official government websites. Our Congress has relaxed labeling standards on our food, refused to force food suppliers to reveal GMO ingredients, and removed regulations that require residents and field workers to be notified when pesticides are sprayed over their houses or dumped in their drinking water. Where once we were a leader for a sustainable and healthy planet, today we are one of only a handful of countries that denies science and refuses to participate in worldwide efforts to protect our planet.

If the security of Americans is the number 1 job of Congress, why are the members of Congress aggressively trying to make it easier for corporations to poison us and our children? Of course a quick look at campaign contributions answers that question. (Dennis Ross has been paid $35,000 by Koch Industries alone) Our current Congressional members don’t care about the health of you and your family. Through their votes and legislation, Republican lawmakers show that they believe short-term profits, government handouts to the world’s largest polluters, and a total lack of accountability for their actions are their key to re-election.

You, your children, and the world deserve better. We, as a country, are capable of making the world a cleaner and safer place for ourselves, our children, an for generations to come. It is our job to protect our citizens and “secure the blessings of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for ourselves and our posterity.” The intentional killing and poisoning of our citizens is not the way to do it.

10 Issues for 2018

When I first announced my candidacy for the US House of Representatives, I declared that I was not running against Dennis Ross but was running to represent the people of District 15. Real representation for my neighbors, all of my neighbors, both in District 15 and across this country must  be a priority as we move our government back to being an institution of, for, and by the people. But “real representation” is a fairly broad concept. So in a somewhat hierarchical order here is what I believe we must stand for and be willing to fight for in 2018 and beyond.

  1. We must eliminate dark money, huge corporate contributions, and gerrymandering from our political process. Until we do,  we will have a government that simply swings from favoring one group of contributors to another with no real, lasting representation for the people of our country.
  2. “If we do not quit bickering among ourselves and confront the real enemy, then it really won’t matter whose bones sit upon the iron throne.” The real enemy is the  unrelenting attack on our environment, our health, and our future. The cost of doing business must include making those responsible for poisoning our air, water, food, land, and climate also responsible for cleaning up their mess and restoring our most precious resources. If we continue to allow Koch Industries, Monsanto, and the ALEC aligned oil companies to buy our representatives while destroying our very means of survival, then soon no amount of corporate or personal profits will protect us for from a self-inflicted destruction of our very existence.
  3. Equality of opportunity, equality in our law, equality in our justice system, equality in our housing markets, equality in our job markets, equality in our health options, etc., must be guaranteed for every American. We cannot support, promote, or legislate hate and discrimination based upon race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, heritage, income bracket, or any other arbitrary factor. “All people are created equal” and must be treated equal under a system of laws that apply equally to every individual whether that person is a dishwasher, a homeless vet, or the President of the United States.
  4. Health care is not a privilege it is a human right. We give trillions away to the wealthiest individuals and most profitable companies in the world, but are told we cannot afford to make sure every American has access to basic health care. This is not a fiscal or political issue, this is a moral issue. Whether the answer is Medicare for All or a public health insurance option, we cannot continue to bankrupt millions and let hundreds of thousands die simply because our government insists that we redistribute hundreds of billions each year from working families to the inefficient and highly profitable insurance industry.
  5. Real reform for wages, worker’s rights, and middle class households. A living minimum wage that is tied to inflation (and a truly representative CPI). Incentives for corporations should be earned through increased worker benefits, employee ownership, higher contributions to retirement plans,  funded pensions, research and development, and expansion of future domestic hiring (as opposed to giving unprecedented corporate welfare for strictly political purposes).
  6. Affordable, quality education which includes increasing teacher pay so that we can hire and retain the best to teach our children, options in higher education to maximize learning and provide a higher return for investments of time and money, more options to allow students and parents to lower the costs of education, and a reform of student loan legislation that makes borrowing more affordable and that does not fiscally handicap students for decades after graduation.
  7.  Protect Social Security and Medicare. There are plenty of ways to keep both fully-funded without making draconian cuts to benefits that have been paid for through a lifetime of hard work.
  8. Strengthen consumer protection laws, including financial protections and the right to collectively seek legal justice.
  9. Protect the Freedom of Information, the freedom of the press to report verifiable and truthful news, and Net Neutrality, the open and free Internet.
  10. Tax capital and unearned income at the same rates that we tax labor.

If you agree and would like to contribute to getting real representation for the people of District 15, you can donate to Williams Works – Greg Williams for Congress here.

Our members of Congress must be public servants first

Call me an idealist if you want. Call me a Constitutional purist. Or just call me an ordinary, working American. But the single biggest problem in our state and national governments is that our elected officials have forgotten a founding principle. Our elected official are first and foremost, public servants. They are elected to serve the people of their districts, all of the people,  and serve at the will of the people who live in their district.

When our ancestors founded this country and penned the Constitution, they viewed  membership in our Congress as a civic duty. They envisioned a system where neighbors would serve for the good of the community for a few years and then return to their daily lives. Unfortunately, more and more of our elected officials see politics as a career choice as opposed to a privilege. Half of our members of Congress have served 8 or more years and “since the 109th Congress, the average years of service has been greater than 10 years“.

The average length of service for members of Congress has risen from an average f around 3 years in the early 1800's to over 10 years today.
The average length of service for members of Congress has risen from an average of around 3 years in the early 1800’s to over 10 years today.

Part of the reason, the pay is pretty good. $174,000 a year + pension + health care + expenses. Since 1980, the pay has tripled. Currently representatives’ pay sits about 3 times the median income of American workers and means they are paid more than 95%  of all American workers.

The work, though demanding, is often treated as  part-time at best. “The House of Representatives has averaged 138 “legislative days” a year since 2001, according to records kept by the Library of Congress. That’s about one day of work every three days, or fewer than three days a week.”  Or to put it in the per diem terms which is how representatives were paid until 1855, we pay our House members roughly $1250/day.

Congressional pay for members of the US House.
Congressional pay for members of the US House.

Of course when you are already a millionaire only making $150/hour is acceptable. More than half of our representatives in the US House have a net worth in excess of over $1 million and Dennis Ross claims his home in Lakeland alone is worth in excess of $3 million.

And then we look at what our representatives do to get elected. Many representatives spend as much as half of each day raising money for their party or own re-election. (Yes, we are paying them $150/hour to fundraise on their own behalf.)  Dennis Ross’ campaign alone has raised over $5 million in his races for the US House of Representatives with $20,000 coming from self-financing and 85% coming from PACs and large industry groups (insurance >$600,000, banking-finance>$500,000, Koch Industries $35,000, ATT $34,000 opensecrets.org).

 

Congressional Approval remains below 15% with 73% of Americans disapproving of Congress.
Congressional Approval remains below 15% with 73% of Americans disapproving of Congress .https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/congressional_job_approval-903.html 

Even to run for office, most candidates must either be retired or are in a position to quit or limit work for 18 months or more. How many “middle-class” Americans are in such a position? I don’t begrudge these candidates, heck I wish I could campaign full-time, but how can we expect any candidate to represent the middle-class if they don’t live in the same reality as the middle-class.

The point is the people we elect, are not average Americans or even “middle class” by any definition of the term. We get frustrated because they fail to understand our lives or do anything to help it. Then we complain and re-elect the same elite who have consistently proven not to work in our best interest .

97% of US House of Representative were re-elected in 2016 despite an approval rating of only 15% at the time.
97% of US House of Representative were re-elected in 2016 despite an approval rating of only 15% at the time.

Einstein is credited as having said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If we want real representation, we must change who we elect:

  • We need to elect working people to represent the working people of our country.
  • We need to elect people who go to work every day, struggle to make ends meet and  to  provide a better future for our children. People just like you.
  • We need to elect people who have spent decades  living, working, praying, and serving beside you in the community.
  • We need to elect people who  understand what it means to serve the people of our community and who have a decades long track record of unselfishly giving of their time, talent, energy, and money to serve our neighbors.
  • We need to elect people who understand that serving as a representative is a privilege and that the role of a representative is to be a public servant.  As a friend told me, we “want a representative who wakes up every morning asking himself, ‘How can I make life better for the members of my community?'”

I am running to be your representative because I am passionate about serving our community and making sure our middle-class is represented in Washington. If you agree, I’d appreciate your vote and your support.

 


You can donate to our campaign by clicking here and can volunteer to help by clicking the Join the Team tab in the menu.

The GOP Tax Scam is a Tax on Working People and a Redistribution of Wealth to Corporations

While the top 25% of wage earners have enjoyed between a 10%-17% average wage growth each year, the middle 50% have struggles to see 4% growth and the lowest 25% have seen annual wage decreases between 0 -4%.

Our economy has been in a strong growth cycle ever since the Great Recession of 2007-2009. The Stock market has shown extremely good returns increasing 400% since March 2009. Corporate earnings are at an all-time high. Unemployment has steadily declined and our economy has been at “full-employment” since September 2015. Interest rates which had been at historical rates for several years, are starting to creep back up and the Fed is anticipating raising the Fed Funds rates three more times in 2018. Even consumer confidence has risen to its highest level since Bush took office in 2001. If not for the Bush tax cuts that were made permanent by a GOP Congress, we’d have ended the Obama years like we did  the Clinton years with a budget surplus and a real opportunity to start reducing our nation’s deficit. By every economic definition, our economy has been very strong since midway through the Obama presidency and continues its strong trajectory under Trump.

The DJIA has increased 400% since MArch of 2009 and the extraordinary bull market started in Obama's second month.
The DJIA has increased 400% since March of 2009 and the extraordinary bull market started in Obama’s second month.
Consumer Confidence has been rising since Obama's send year in office and is now the highest it's been since before George Bush entered office.
Consumer Confidence has been rising since Obama took office and is now the highest it’s been since before George Bush entered office.

That is what is extremely strange about the urgency and rationalization of the new tax bill. At best, this bill will expand our economic growth slightly while increasing our deficit significantly. At worst, it will likely cause inflation (as measured by the Consumer Price Index*) to increase and interest rates to rise. This will benefit those who have investments as higher prices and profits are usually factored by markets well in advance of those returns actually being realized in corporate reports. Unfortunately for workers, higher prices and more expensive credit will wipe out any modest tax savings since wages significantly lag behind inflation.

“To economists, full employment means that unemployment has fallen to the lowest possible level that won’t cause inflation. In the U.S., that was thought to be a jobless rate of about 5 percent ”
https://www.bloomberg.com/quicktake/full-employment

The Unemployment rate has been falling since the end of 2010 and reached "full employment" in September 2015.
The Unemployment rate has been falling since the end of 2010 and reached “full employment” in September 2015.

For most of us who work for a living, we keep hearing all the cheery, economic news and wonder, “If the economy is doing so great, why do I keep struggling to make ends meet?”

The economic growth we hear about has failed to “trickle down” to those of us who work for a living. Instead of raising wages, investing in research and manufacturing, or investing in employees, most corporations have taken their record profits and bought back shares (raising the per share value of their stock), raised dividends, and given 7 and 8 figure raises to their top executives. If you read the annual reports of profitable companies like Aetna or Bank of America, you’ll see that despite record profits these companies have investing billions less each year in employee costs and benefits for the past several years. They are not letting the economic benefits of an economic recovery trickle down, they are forcing it to pool and concentrate in fewer and fewer hands.

For the past 20 years, between 10%-17% of workers have had 0 wage growth each year.
For the past 20 years, between 10%-17% of workers have had 0 wage growth each year.

According to recent interviews and surveys, this is what an overwhelming majority of corporations plan to do with the windfall profits they will receive from the GOP tax scam. The $2 billion annual gift to Bank of America will not give us better service, lower fees, cheaper credit card rates, or more options. BOA will not hire more employees, give out larger raises, or make it easier for you to afford a home. The extra $2 billion a year BOA will now bet to keep will simply make those who happen to own BOA stock and their top executives wealthier. This is the fundamental flaw of the trickle down economic theory. Reagan, Bush, Trump and others who have promised us greater prosperity by making the wealthier even wealthier. This theory fails to factor in the never-ending greed that grows with excess.

The reason we do not have a balanced budget amendment is that the government needs flexibility to run deficits during times of war, economic downturns, and natural disasters. This is a good and necessary thing. However, for the past 40 years, our Congress has forgotten that the flip side of that is that during times of economic growth, we need to be using the excess revenue to pay back those debts, not using each previous year’s shortfall as an excuse to increase that shortfall the next year. The result of this fiscal irresponsibility from both sides of the aisle is that there is less money for education, health care, social security, and infrastructure. We each get less benefit for each dollar we pay in income taxes because our Congress has been busy giving it away to the wealthy and most profitable companies in the world and today just did it again.

In economic terms, anything that deteriorates the purchasing power of what you get in exchange for your goods and services is a tax. We think about income tax because we see it each week taken from our paychecks. Less funding for the US Government means less funding for the states and localities which means we will see increases in the taxes that we do not notice as often since they are not always itemized: fees on hotels and communications lines, gasoline taxes, sales taxes, property taxes… Since these taxes represent a larger portion of a person’s income the less a person makes, these taxes shift the tax burden from the wealthy (income taxes) to working families, the elderly, and the poor (upward wealth redistribution). By stimulating a robust economy at full employment, the inflation that will occur will decrease the purchasing power of working families, the elderly, and the poor which is a hidden tax and again a redistribution of wealth from those who do not have investment income to offset the loss in purchasing power. (more upward wealth redistribution) Finally, the cost of servicing another few trillion dollars in debt means more of our income taxes go to paying principle and interest and less coming back in the goods and services we want our government to provide (education, infrastructure, security, social security, and medical/health care) which by definition makes the deficit also a tax that effects people in inverse proportion to their wealth.

Just prior to the the election, the FED started to raise interest rates from their historic lows in order to slow growth and start combatting anticipated inflation. They have raised the rate three times this year and intend to raise it three times in 2018.
Just prior to the the election, the Fed started to raise interest rates from their historic lows in order to slow growth and start combatting anticipated inflation. They have raised the rate three times this year and intend to raise it three times in 2018.

Although I look forward to the $12.50/week that I will enjoy in tax savings for the next 3 years (and can partially fund my Lotto retirement plan since I cannot count on Social Security), the cost to me and most Americans will be far greater than what Dennis Ross and the GOP corporate puppets want to admit. Stimulating the economy at this time makes no economic sense and what little economic relief it brings to those of us who work for a living will lead to tougher times for the majority of Americans. Make no mistake, this tax scam is not good for America, it is not good for most Americans, and is nothing less than giving away our future for more corporate funding in the coming election.


Why did Dennis Ross vote to give your money to corporations? Follow the money. 
https://www.opensecrets.org/members-of-congress/summary?cid=N00030645&cycle=CAREER

Dennis Ross has been paid over $600,00 by the insurance industry and over $500,000 by the banking and finance industry.
Who owns Dennis Ross’ vote? Insurance companies, banks, and financial institutions.

Net Nuetrality

Support a Free and Open Internet

I have been online since 1986. That was the year the Freedom of Information Act and a company called Compuserve made online communication affordable and accessible to Americans and created the foundation for what the world know now knows as The Internet. As I worked to expand the family business into international markets, I experienced first hand how the Internet improved communications, made trade more affordable, and allowed innovative companies to leverage this power to build relationships and to bring products to market faster and more cheaply than ever before.

When I managed a web firm at the turn of the century, I helped over a hundred small businesses and non-profit organizations expand past their brick and mortar confines to grow and expand in ways that used to be impossible to imagine.  For 31 years, I have watched the free and open Internet grow from a small, niche curiosity to a major catalyst for growth and competition across the globe.  The free and open Internet has created thousands of new companies, millions of well-paying jobs, and today accounts for over 7% of our country’s total GNP.

Unfortunately, corporations that have profited from the technology subsidized by US taxpayers want more money and more control. Whether it is ISP’s attempting to block access to web sites that post negative comments about their services, or companies that blackmail content providers like Netflix by threatening to throttle  bandwidth speeds unless a high premium was paid, the internet as we know it is at risk of turning into a stagnant, . If Net Neutrality is a new topic to you, you might be surprised that many of us have been fighting for more than decade to protect your 1st Amendment rights to freedom of speech and freedom of information.

For me, the impact of Congress on my daily life came when Dennis Ross co-sponsored SOPA, a hollywood-sponsored bill that would have given corporations unchecked censorship of the Internet. Not only was this an attempt to impede individuals’ First Amendment Rights, it was a direct assault on my job, economic growth in my community, and employment opportunities for my students. I looked into Ross’ campaign to discover a huge part of his first Congressional campaign funds came directly from the entertainment industry. It was then that I realized my representative in Congress would sell out me, my children, my students, and my entire community for a campaign contribution. (*Although Ross originally co-sponsored SOPA on 10/26/2011, after the bill stalled amid grassroots protests and public outcry, he eventually removed his name as a co-sponsor on 01/23/2012.)
https://www.congress.gov/bill/112th-congress/house-bill/3261/cosponsors

Since that time, Ross has been influential in derailing efforts to protect Net Neutrality in the US House (2014, 2015) which led to Obama’s reclassification of the Internet as a public utility. Ross and fellow Tea Party Republicans have also passed a number of corporate friendly, anti-consumer bills which have weakened security requirements for ISP’s and authorized the collecting and selling of individuals’ personal browsing history and app usage.

In order to reclaim the Internet, its potential for increased innovation, and its economic potential, we need to:

  1. Support legislation prohibiting ISP’s from collecting or selling our online and app usage history;
  2. Support legislation that prohibits any ISP who charges for Internet connectivity or online data transfer, either independently or as part of a communications bundle (Cel, cable, or satellite), to discriminate between legal content providers or to charge surcharges to legal content providers for access to their networks and customers;
  3. Not support any further government subsidies of telecommunications providers until the $400 billion in unfinished telecommunications contracts have either been completed or the investment has been returned to the US taxpayers;
  4. Support legislation to allow local communities to purchase and maintain their own public networks;
  5. Vote for candidates  who are supportive of the expansion of First Amendment Rights, want to protect and promote economic growth, are staunch advocates for consumer rights, and will never sell out your interest in exchange for political favors and campaign contributions.

Medical Marijuana – 2

DEA Fact Sheet : Marijuana https://www.dea.gov/druginfo/drug_data_sheets/Marijuana.pdf

Have you ever watched a loved one suffer the unbearable pain of chemotherapy and felt hopeless to help? How about an aging loved one suffer with Parkinson’s, or seizures, or PTSD? How about the side-effects from pharmaceuticals that are supposed to help?

It’s heart-wrenching. You watch the pain and suffering and feel helpless. You try to be supportive, you try to follow the doctor’s orders, you pray for an affordable legal way for your loved one to find relief. You’ve heard the anecdotes of how marijuana can help. You even voted to make sure those suffering debilitating illness can have access to medical marijuana.   But Donald Trump, Dennis Ross, the Republican Congress,  your state legislature (read Kelli Stargel and Colleen Burton), and your local authorities have all gone out of their way to make it difficult to even try this form of relief for your loved one. The Dennis Rosses of this country have forced you into a choice: watch your loved on suffer or risk you and your loved one becoming a criminal if you are caught possessing even small quantities of marijuana. The Dennis Rosses of this country have ignored your pleas and your vote.

And the reason? Dennis Ross and the Republicans care more about the profits of their campaign contributors – the pharmaceutical and insurance industries – than they do about how you vote and the suffering you and your loved ones endure. They’d rather see your parent, spouse, child, or sibling addicted to opioids and other deadly “legal” medicines suffer than risk cutting into the their donors’ corporate profits. Too many of the people we love suffer needlessly. Why? Greed.

I believe it is important to offer every kind of help available to those suffering from debilitating illnesses. I think it is cruel to withhold what could be a beneficial, non-addictive, low-side-effect, form of relief. Because of this, I pledge that when I am elected to replace Dennis Ross as your representative in congress, I will:

  1. Work to decriminalize marijuana;
  2. Work to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substance Act;
  3. Work to pass laws making the availability of marijuana for medical purposes legal in the United States; and
  4. Work on legislation to fund research into the propriety and effectiveness of marijuana for medical purposes.

It is time that our government stopped being a tool for protecting ever greater corporate profits at the expense of the people. It is time to make government work for the best interests of the people.

 

 

Medical Marijuana

Denis Ross boasts about "Preventing Veterans Administration Doctors from Recommending Marijuana as Medicine"

Many of my college students are veterans and high percentage of them suffer from PTSD in varying degrees. I have spent hundreds of hours sitting with these men and women, listening to them, and encouraging them in their daily battle for some semblance of normalcy.

Many of these heroes have told me stories of being turned into “living zombies” by the addicting drugs that are prescribed to them through the VA because Congress has forbidden the VA from offering our Vets an alternative. They tell me that they are desperate for better options. Many of them risk being labeled criminals because marijuana is the only thing they have found that allows them to function “normally”.

Although the majority of states have legalized the medical use of marijuana, and an overwhelming majority of voters support legalization of marijuana as an  affordable and non-addictive choice, our current Representatives in Congress still classify marijuana as a Schedule 1 narcotic.

Schedule I

Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are:

heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote (https://www.dea.gov/druginfo/ds.shtml)

Our own Congressman , Dennis Ross, bragged about his cruel and mean-spirited actions in his press release of March 2017 when he listed with pride his vote for “Preventing Veterans Administration Doctors from Recommending Marijuana as Medicine” https://dennisross.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=398567.

Dennis Ross, along with his Republican colleagues, again chose to ignore the needs of Veterans in the summer of 2017:

Republican lawmakers have blocked an amendment to a bill that would have allowed veterans to access medical marijuana through federal doctors in states where the medicinal use of the drug is legal.

The House Rules Committee removed the so-called “Veterans Equal Access” amendment from the Veterans Affairs (VA) department’s funding bill for the next year, McClatchy DC reported.

The amendment proposed that VA doctors should consider medical marijuana as a form of pain relief for interested patients in states that have legalized the drug’s use in medicine. VA physicians are currently proscribed from recommending medical marijuana, since the drug is illegal under federal law. Veterans can seek out medical cannabis but have to pay for it out of their own pocket. – http://www.newsweek.com/pot-pain-medical-marijuana-veterans-affairs-642684

While there is compelling evidence that marijuana helps with PTSD, convulsions, and in dealing with the side-effects of cancer treatment, Dennis Ross still leads the charge to keep Veterans and his constituents from having legal, effective, medical options. The only plausible explanation  for this is that Ross thinks excessive corporate profits outweigh the health and well-being of those that sacrificed for this country.

I believe it is important to offer every kind of help available to our Veterans and sick loved ones. I think it is cruel to withhold what could be a beneficial, non-addictive, low-side-effect, form of relief for those that need it most. Because of this, I pledge that when I am elected to replace Dennis Ross as your representative in congress, I will:

  1. Work to decriminalize marijuana;
  2. Work to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substance Act;
  3. Work to pass laws making the availability of marijuana for medical purposes legal in the United States; and
  4. Work on legislation to fund research into the propriety and effectiveness of marijuana for medical purposes.

The People’s House is in need of repair.

Congressional Approval remains below 15% with 73% of Americans disapproving of Congress.

Congress is Broken. Congress currently has a disapproval rating of 73% and has not had an approval rating higher than 30% since early August of 2009. “Only 19 percent said their member of Congress considers their constituents’ best interests most of the time or all of the time. ” https://morningconsult.com/2015/06/15/voters-dont-believe-their-member-of-congress-represents-them/  We know Congress has abandoned the people of this country and it is not going to change unless we do something about it.

So how do we take back our government and once again hold it accountable to the people?

  1. Overturn Citizen’s United and make all contributions from any source transparent to the public;
  2. Eliminate Gerrymandering;
  3. Push for Constitutional Amendment to impose term limits;
  4. Eliminate Congressional entitlements that are not available to all constituents;

Until we make Congress answerable to the people of this country again, none of the other problems facing us will get solved.