Category: columnists

PROCEED WITH CAUTION, MORATORIUM NOW!

On January 4, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the Cole Memo. For those that are familiar, the Cole Memo was a rider attached to the annual Federal Budget Bill that restricted funding for enforcement of state legal cannabis. With this saber-rattling from the Attorney General, and the Cole Memo protections being rescinded, many Oregon OLCC licensees are understandably concerned. More recently, the U. S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, Billy Williams, stated his concerns regarding overproduction of cannabis in Oregon creating a “high risk for illegal diversion of product”. Oregon, unlike other states, has not put any limitations on the number of licenses being issued. As of January 16, the OLCC website reports 1677 active cannabis businesses, with 3436 total applications, and 67 licenses already surrendered. Both Washington and Colorado will have fewer licenses with greater populations. This unlimited issuing of licenses has created an over-saturated market. Although the OLCC is charged with reporting to the legislature regarding supply and demand, they are unable, as of yet, to obtain good statistics, due to many factors including the short time frame since the inception of OLCC licensing and issues with the new tracking software. Craig Pope, Polk County Commissioner and current President of the Association of Oregon Counties states “there is an obvious problem with oversupply. Why is the state still issuing licenses with an apparent overproduction problem...

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Loose Bar Talk No Way To Run A Great Country

Warning: this column contains vulgarity via frequent references to President Trump’s adopted expletive during a critical negotiating session on an immigration deal. According to media reports, subsequently confirmed by two Senators present, in the midst of discussing a potential bipartisan proposal Trump blurted out in reference to Haiti and African nations, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here.” We need more immigrants from Norway, he added. Trump denies it, though initially he didn’t, issuing a statement instead that he fights for the American people while others fight for foreign countries. Considering he previously claimed Obama wasn’t born in the U.S., that he lost the popular vote due to millions of illegal votes, that Mexico was going to pay for the wall he wants Congress to fund with $18 billion, and that Russia didn’t interfere in our elections, I’m going with the assumption he did. But Trump saying something derogatory and racist isn’t new. What’s troubling is that America is being asked to get behind a president who presents himself, and thus us, to the world as if he’s having a booze-addled, unfettered, unfiltered conversation with like-minded buddies at some bar. As Fox News host Jesse Watters put it defending Trump: “This is how the forgotten men and women of America talk at the bar. If you’re at a bar in Wisconsin, and you think...

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Trump, NRA Go Low to Make America Great Again

If you thought Trump and Republican support for Alabama’s Roy Moore was about as low as the GOP could go, think again. It hasn’t gotten as much attention as the gun-toting, older-male-seeking-young-females Moore has, but the GOP prostration to the National Rifle Association and House passage of the NRA’s pet concealed carry bill took things down another notch. While Democrats in the House and Senate were asking their colleagues accused of sexual harassment and misconduct to resign, Trump and the Republican National Committee went all in on getting their own sexual misfit elected to the Senate. Moore’s extreme views and removal from two judgeships for defying Supreme Court orders would normally be the focus of a campaign against his fitness for office. But those blemishes have become background noise to the credible allegations of multiple women that he pursued them when they were teenagers and corroboration that he was barred from a shopping mall for behavior toward young girls. But after some initial holding back, Trump has endorsed Moore, making robo calls for him and pleading that “America can’t afford” a Moore loss because the “Make America Great Again’ agenda needs him.  The RNC followed by announcing it was transferring funds to Moore’s race. It just didn’t seem like they could go any lower, but they continued the trend when the House passed the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, 231-198,...

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Congress’s Own Scorekeepers Contradict GOP Tax Cut Boasts

The Trump-GOP claims about the impact and economic benefits of corporate and individual tax cuts they’re rushing through Congress are betrayed by the fibs, fudges and gimmicks employed to justify and pass them. There’s some egregious and troublesome tax changes in the House and Senate tax plans, but set aside arguments over the wisdom of individual changes and what emerges is a picture of purposeful manipulation to stay within the $1.5 trillion ten year deficit allowed in previously adopted budget parameters so their plan can pass the Senate with a Republican party line vote instead of the 60 votes that would otherwise be required to avoid a filibuster. They say it will be revenue neutral because the cuts will stimulate so much growth, costs will be offset. Yet the Joint Committee on Taxation Analysis of the House bill passed on November 16, and the pending Senate bill, estimates the resulting ten-year deficit will be about $1.4 trillion. The House bill barely stays within the $1.5 trillion limit because some middle class reductions expire in 2022 and it lowers inflation measures so lower incomes move from the proposed 12 percent bracket to the higher 25 percent bracket faster. The Senate bill stays under the limit because it makes the corporate tax reduction from 35 percent to 20 percent permanent but makes the cuts for households and individuals temporary. It also...

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Men’s Silence is Complicity With Culture of Sexual Harassment

Hey guys, (and by that I mean men), we need to talk!  It’s time for man-to-man conversations about our role in combating sexual harassment, abuse and predation. Time to think about and confront the reality that it is so pervasive in our culture because men in positions to do something about it become complicit by staying silent, cavalierly dismissing victim’s claims, or purposely sweeping them under the rug. Yes, men are sometimes victims. And sometimes they may be falsely accused. But let’s face it, sexual harassment and abuse results from the perpetrator taking advantage of power, be it economic, physical or psychological. And it happens that most perpetrators are men because it is men who primarily hold the power in our economy and culture. Sexual harassment isn’t just a women’s issue. It is a human issue. If we want to change the culture we have to become allies with the women it affects, not bystanders. If you are in a position to do something, your silence becomes an enabler. Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein got away with his sexual abuses because for decades his colleagues looked the other way. As filmmaker Quintin Tarantino lamented. “I knew enough to do more than I did.” Before the Weinstein revelations there was Bill O’Reilly, the hypocritical platitudinous general of the right’s Culture War to defend “Great American” values. In at least six different...

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