Sunday, February 26, 2017

Paul Ryan's Idea Of Freedom Will Give All Americans The Liberty To Die Without Healthcare


When it came to health insurance I was very lucky. I was the president of a large company, a division of Time Warner that gave it's top executives platinum-plated best-that-money-could-buy insurance. I was bullet-proof. Then I got even luckier; I turned 65 and got Medicare. Medicare is better. And I was just in time. I was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of cancer requiring a couple of years of experimental treatment, very costly experimental treatment. Medicare paid it and without so much as a hum or a haw. I'm alive today because of... well, Jesus Christ's compassion and mercy, my amazing doctor and the professionals at City of Hope, and Medicare. Had the Republicans reshaped America's health care system the way they're planning to I'd have surely died-- unless Jesus was going to take care of the whole thing on His own.

Instead of offering the American people health care, the Republican Party wants to offer us Paul Ryan's twisted and perverted definition of "freedom," a vision of "freedom" that is tantamount to-- no exaggeration-- death for ourselves and for our loved ones (unless we're very wealthy or have the kind of tax-payer subsidized healthcare that Members of Congress have).

As Scott Lemieux explained last week in the New Republic, Ryan "has always been a complete fraud. He has consistently offered extreme versions of well-worn Republican proposals to take from the poor and give to the very wealthy. He has not even defended these proposals honestly. And nowhere is the gap between myth and reality more evident than when Ryan tries to defend the GOP’s position on health care. Despite Ryan’s supposed interest in policy detail, his party’s plans to replace the Affordable Care Act have been farcical. The website set up for the House plan literally consists of one sentence promising outcomes with no detail, and a video promising to come up with an undefined plan at some later date.
Having the freedom to “buy what you want” sounds good! Only in the context of health care, it’s a disaster for the non-affluent. Many people cannot afford basic health care services, and the vast majority of people cannot afford care for an unexpected major illness. Giving rich and poor people alike the “freedom” to purchase as much health care as they think they need is a cruel joke, not a serious health care policy. And it’s worse than that; people cannot, in fact, reliably predict how much health care they might “need” in the future, which is why insurance is necessary for practical access to health care in the first place.

Ryan is also attacking the regulations that require insurance-- both employer-provided and purchased on exchanges-- to meet minimum coverage requirements. But this is not “freedom” of any value. Regulations that protect customers from junk insurance reduce their “freedom” in the sense that FDA regulations take away people’s “freedom” to buy beef laced with strychnine. It’s true that under the ACA young and healthy people pay more for insurance than they would under a “free market” in health care, but this is how insurance works: You pay more now so you can afford insurance later. Objecting to the ACA because the young and healthy pay more than they otherwise would is like saying its unjust to pay taxes to support the fire department when your house hasn’t burned down.

...Ryan’s arguments are terrible largely because Republican health care policy proposals are terrible. Waiting for the House replacement for Obamacare has been like waiting for Godot, and when unveiled it’s sure to be massively unpopular. Ryan has avoided this backlash by being a member of the opposition, but with Republicans in charge of the legislature and the executive he can no longer hide behind his fictitious reputation for wonkery. This reputation stems in part from his alleged willingness to be a brave truth-teller who tells people what they don’t want to hear—and yet he uses feeble buzzwords to completely evade the concrete tradeoffs contained in any conservative alternative to the ACA.
What Ryan, Trump, Pence, Price and the GOP anti-healthcare zombies have accomplished is engendering a new-found love for the Affordable Care Act in Americans. The new tracking poll from Kaiser shows the approval rating for Obamacare up to 48%, it's highest ever. Here's what PPP found in their own poll released Friday:

Is it any wonder that last week Boehner predicted that a full repeal and replacement of Obamacare is "not going to happen... Republicans never ever agree on health care." As many Republicans are now talking about "repair" as are talking about "repeal and replace." And that's what progressives have wanted since the corrupt corporatists in both parties killed the public option-- as well as single payer.

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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Tonight Democrats Won Control Of the Delaware State Senate-- Thanks Señor Trumpanzee


Stephanie Hansen beats Pepe in Delaware

Most election-junkies were glued to the DNC race today. But there was another election going on as well, a special election for a state Senate seat in Delaware. This one pit New Castle County ex-Council President Stephanie Hansen (D) against John Marino (R). Libertarian Joseph Lansendorfer was also running for the seat previously held by newly inaugurated Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long (D). The 10th district covers Middletown, Glasgow and southern Newark in New Castle County in the suburban northwest corner of the state, flush up against the Maryland border. What made this election so crucial is that the Democrats have controlled the state legislature for over 4 decades but the Hall-Long vacancy left a 10-10 tie in the Senate. Republicans haven't controlled the state Senate since the early 1970s. Joe Biden was in the district campaigning for Hansen and she was backed by Gov. John Carney, both U.S. Senators and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley.

Democrats have around 16,100 registered voters in the district, compared to about 10,100 for Republicans-- with 9,300 unaffiliated voters. To boost turnout the Democrats have tried to make the election a referendum on the Trump Regime. Marino had run against Hall-Long and came within one point of beating her. The district went for Obama in 2012, 59-40% and voted for Clinton in November by a closer 54-41%.

Marino's campaign theme was "Make Delaware First Again." The voters did-- they made Delaware the first state with a special election to show the Republicans what they can expect from an electorate that detests Trump, his enablers and his ugly, toxic agenda. Turnout for the special was more than double what is normal. And no one thought Hansen would win by this wide a margin. This is just the beginning.

Hansen's campaign raised than $400,00 and an allied PAC, First State Strong, spent another $497,482 independently. Marino raised $140,000 and a PAC supporting him, FirstStateFirst, spent $40,785. Trump and his failing regime was very much the focus of the campaign. The final score tonight:
Stephanie Hansen (D)- 7,314(58.13%)
John Marino (R)- 5,127 (40.75%)
Joseph Lazendorfer (L)- 139 (1.12%)
Hansen won way bigger than either Hillary or Hall-Long did in the district. And there really is just one reason: T-R-U-M-P! Republicans better get ready for a lot more of this-- or start cracking down on him and his fascist coterie... fast!

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How Badly Will Señor Trumpanzee Tank The American Travel Industry?


Roland and I go away twice a year-- once in the summer and once around Christmas. Last June we went to Moscow and St Petersburg in Russia and Baku in Azerbaijan. We're thinking about a Paris trip and a Tierra del Fuego trip for our next two. But Roland's worried that Trump is going to make it tougher for Americans to travel safely and comfortable abroad. How friendly are Mexicans going to be, for example, towards Americans if things keep getting worse. And Parisians may be able to laugh at Trump's ignorant fear mongering about their city now but sooner or later someone, somehwhere is going to think he's not funny.

In fact, Frommer's took a look at Trump's impact on tourism and travel from the opposite perspective-- how his idiocy is killing the multibillion dollar U.S. tourist industry. Arthur Former himself wrote about a Trump Slump that is already causing a "devastating drop in tourism to the U.S. and that "the loss of tourism jobs could be devastating."
Though they may differ as to the wisdom of the move, the travel press and most travel experts are of one mind: They are currently drawing attention to an unintended consequence of the Trump-led efforts to stop many Muslims from coming to the U.S., pointing to a sharp drop in foreign tourism to our nation that imperils jobs and touristic income.

It’s known as the “Trump Slump.” And I know of no reputable travel publication to deny it.

Thus, the prestigious Travel Weekly magazine (as close to an “official” travel publication as they come) has set the decline in foreign tourism at 6.8%. And the fall-off is not limited to Muslim travelers, but also extends to all incoming foreign tourists. Apparently, an attack on one group of tourists is regarded as an assault on all.

As far as travel by distinct religious groups, flight passengers from the seven Muslim-majority nations named by Trump were down by 80% in the last week of January and first week of February, according to Forward Keys, a well-known firm of travel statisticians. On the web, flight searches for trips heading to the U.S. out of all international locations was recently down by 17%.

A drop of that magnitude, if continued, would reduce the value of foreign travel within the U.S. by billions of dollars. And the number of jobs supported by foreign tourists and their expenditures in the United States-- and thus lost-- would easily exceed hundreds of thousands of workers in hotels, restaurants, transportation, stores, tour operations, travel agencies, and the like.

While, earlier in the year, the Administration had boasted of saving 800 jobs in the Carrier Corporation, the drop-off in employment resulting from the travel ban would eclipse that figure.

According to the Global Business Travel Association, in only a single week following announcement of the ban against certain foreign tourists, the activity of business travel declined by nearly $185 million.

Other observers, including local tourist offices, have reached similar conclusions. In referring to New York City’s $60 billion tourist industry alone, the head of the city’s tourist effort complained that his agency’s effort to portray the United States as a welcoming destination to foreign citizens “was all in jeopardy.” Several other tourist officials have made like statements.

As you can see, there is plenty of evidence for a negative conclusion.
The World Travel & Tourism Council has been highly critical of Trumpy-the-Clown's attempt to ban travel to the U.S. by nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries. The council's CEO, David Scowsil,l challenged the fascist regime directly, warning that Trump's idiotic approach could bring about a long-term slump in tourism to the U.S. He told Travel Weekly that "The more people travel, the more people spread understanding, the better off we'll be around the world." He spoke of "the reverberation that America is closing down, is not open for any business and that people are looking at whether they want to travel here or not, for both business or leisure. So there is a risk if this is not turned around that we will see a drop-off of international passengers coming to the U.S."

When confronted with Trump's rationale for the ban-- safeguarding Americans-- he simply pointed out that Trump's scaremongering is bullshit. "There is no incident in the last 30 years of a national from one of those seven countries coming to the United States to commit any type of terrorist killing. If you compare that with the domestic shootings that happen in the United States, for the last 10 years there has been an average of 11,700 Americans killed in domestic shootings. The message is: focus on what is going on domestically and don't assume that any of these gun incidents are going to be committed by people flying in to do that type of activity."

And this is the kind of crap Trump is enabling among the racist garbage crawling around in places like Kansas. A violent Trumpist moron started screaming "Get out of my country" and shot two men from India. This is just terrible; and this is integral to the ugliness that is Trumpism.

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What Was Worse About Trump's CPAC Speech, The Lies Or The Overtly Fascist Overtones?


The lies weren't the worst part of Señor Trumpanzee's CPAC speech yesterday. It was the fascist tone, eagerly devoured by his collaborators, that got to me. Anyone who has familiarized themselves with the World War II era and the rise of Naziism would have heard the signals loud and clear, likely inserted, very consciously, into Trump's speech by one of the neo-Nazis around him-- either Bannon, Gorka or Miller.

The media is avoiding the topic. It's bizarre to talk about it. It's easier to discuss how many lies he told. Not that it's so easy since he lied in nearly every paragraph of the speech the little fascist shits rotifer him. The Washington Post's fact checkers, Glenn Kessler and Michelle Ye Hee Lee, noted that the speech "was littered with some of the president’s favorite and frequently cited falsehoods" and picked out 13 whoppers. Here are some of them:
“I saw one story recently where they said, ‘Nine people have confirmed.’ There are no nine people. I don’t believe there was one or two people. Nine people …. They make up sources.”
Trump is referring to a Washington Post article that disclosed that then-national security adviser Michael Flynn privately discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country’s ambassador to the United States during the month before Trump took office, contrary to public assertions by Trump officials. The Post report prompted a firestorm that led to Flynn’s firing by Trump, because it turned out that Flynn had misled Vice President Pence and other administration officials about whether he had discussed sanctions.

The article cited information provided by “nine current and former officials, who were in senior positions at multiple agencies at the time of the calls.” (Calls by the Russian ambassador are monitored by intelligence agencies.) No White House official has disputed the accuracy of the article-- and indeed, it resulted in Flynn’s departure from the administration.
“The dishonest media did not explain that I called the fake news the enemy of the people. The fake news. They dropped off the word ‘fake.’ And all of a sudden the story became the media is the enemy.”
Trump is making a distinction without a difference. This is the tweet in question:

Trump listed five mainstream media organizations-- the New York Times, NBC, ABC, CBS and CNN-- as the “fake news media” and declared that they are the enemy of the American people. By listing major media organizations as the enemy, Trump was clearly making a statement about the broader news media.

“These are bad dudes. We’re getting the bad ones out, okay? We’re getting the bad-- if you watch these people, it’s like gee, that’s so sad. We’re getting bad people out of this country, people that shouldn’t be whether it’s drugs or murder or other things. We’re getting bad ones out, those are the ones that go first and I said it from day one. Basically all I’ve done is keep my promise.”
Trump is referring to the recent arrests of undocumented immigrants convicted of crimes, or the “bad dudes.” Trump takes credit for fulfilling his campaign promise of cracking down on illegal immigration, but these arrests are routine. ICE has always targeted dangerous criminals in enforcement priorities. The recent arrests, however, did include people who would not have fallen under narrowed enforcement priorities under Obama.

Still, 25 percent of the arrests were of people who had lesser charges and noncriminal convictions. According to anecdotes of recent arrests, undocumented people with traffic violations were subject to arrest. They are not the “bad dudes,” like drug dealers or murderers, that he describes.

“In the Middle East, we’ve spent as of four weeks ago, $6 trillion. Think of it.”
Trump is lumping together the wars in Iraq (in the Middle East) and Afghanistan (in South Asia), which together cost about $1.6 trillion from 2001 to 2014. He is also adding in estimates of future spending, such as interest on the debt and veterans care for the next three decades.
“Obamacare covers very few people-- and remember, deduct from the number all of the people that had great health care that they loved that was taken away from them-- it was taken away from them.”
Trump essentially repeats a false GOP talking point that previously earned Four Pinocchios. The Obama administration calculated that about 20 million people have gained health coverage as a result of the ACA, a figure that seems reasonable. Meanwhile, the number of plans that were canceled is far lower, though there appears to be no research that has determined exactly how many people had their policies canceled because the health insurance did not comply with the Affordable Care Act.

An estimated 2.6 million people received notices of cancellations, but there was such an outcry over reports of cancellations that the Obama administration rushed to issue waivers that would allow people to keep their plans. Forty states accepted the waiver policy-- which in most cases remains in effect until December 2017. So a vast majority of the people who might have received notices actually were able to keep their plans, even up until today.

It’s important to remember that the individual insurance market has a lot of ebb and flow, with people moving in and out of it as they change jobs, so the odds are many people who might have been affected by plan terminations would have already switched plans. One study found that in the 2008-2011 period, only 42 percent of policyholders in the non-group market retained that coverage after 12 months, with many moving to an employer-provided plan when obtaining a new job.
“ICE came and endorsed me. They never endorsed a presidential candidate before, they might not even be allowed to.”
This is one of Trump’s favorite claims. Federal agencies can’t endorse political candidates. The unions representing Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and Border Patrol agents did endorse Trump. Both groups said Trump was their first-ever endorsement. But they did not do so unanimously. The National Border Patrol Council endorsement was based just on the vote of 11 union leaders, which sparked controversy among union members. Agents in El Paso, in a 14 to 13 vote, narrowly failed to have the local union disavow the endorsement.
“I’m also working with the Department of Justice to begin reducing violent crime. I mean, can you believe what’s happening in Chicago as an example? Two days ago, seven people were shot and I believe killed. Seven people, seven people, Chicago, a great American city, seven people shot and killed. We will support the incredible men and women of law enforcement.”
Seven people were shot and killed in Chicago on Feb. 22, the deadliest day in the city so far this year. Homicides in Chicago so far are on track with the same period in 2016, when Chicago recorded the most homicides in two decades, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Overall, violent crime is on a decades-long decline since the height of the crack cocaine epidemic in the early 1990s. In 2016, there was an uptick in the homicide rate in the 30 largest cities. It’s too early to say whether this uptick indicates the return of a crime wave. One outlier city, Chicago, was responsible for 43.7 percent of the total increase in homicide rates in 2016. Trump continues to focus on one outlier city, whose violence-- while a growing concern for local officials-- is not representative of overall national trends.
“Ford and Fiat Chrysler, General Motors, Sprint, Intel, and so many others are now, because of the election result, making major investments in the United States, expanding production and hiring more workers. And they’re going back to Michigan and they’re going back to Ohio and they’re going back to Pennsylvania and they’re going back to North Carolina and to Florida.”
Trump keeps giving himself credit for business decisions made before he became president. For instance, Ford’s decision has more to do with the company’s long-term goal-- particularly its plans to invest in electric vehicles-- than with the administration. Here’s what Ford chief executive Mark Fields said about the company’s decision to abandon plans to open a factory in Mexico: “The reason that we are not building the new plant, the primary reason, is just demand has gone down for small cars.”

Meanwhile, the January jobs report, showing 230,000 jobs were created, reflects the last month of the Obama administration. The data was collected in early January, when Obama was still president.
“It’s time for all Americans to get off of welfare and get back to work, you’re going to love it, you’re going to love it, you’re going to love it.”
“Welfare” is a broad term and can apply to people who are working but receiving some government assistance. If someone is receiving means-tested assistance, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are not working.

Not all people eligible for welfare collect benefits. When they do, many of the benefits are contingent on the recipients working or actively searching for jobs, as a result of an overhaul of welfare signed into law by Clinton in 1996. And even low-income families receive some level of public assistance.

Trump is apparently unaware that participation has declined in means-tested programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps).
“I took a lot of heat on Sweden. And then a day later, I said has anybody reported what’s going on? And it turned out that they didn’t-- not too many of them did. Take a look at what happened in Sweden. I love Sweden, great country, great people, I love Sweden. But they understand. The people over there understand I’m right.”
Trump had referred to rising crime rates in Sweden, but the country’s overall rate has fallen in recent years. Sweden has welcomed refugees and immigrants, but Swedish crime experts do not agree that the country’s immigration policies are linked to crime.

Just two days after Trump made his false claim, riots broke out in a predominantly immigrant neighborhood in Stockholm, the country’s capital. That neighborhood was the scene of riots in 2010 and 2013, stemming from anger directed at the influx of refugees and migrants into the country.

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Meet Sebastian Gorka, Another Sick, Dangerous Nazi Trump Has Brought Into The Government


Fox's pajama boy Nazi Sebastian Gorka never tells the truth about anything-- never

Elizabeth Warren is being pummeled by Republicans trying to demonize her. I imagine this will go on not just from now until her 2018 reelection, but from now 'til her 2020 presidential nomination. Yesterday she told her supporters why the attacks from the far right don't phase her-- her beliefs are strong and clear. Here's what she laid out as why the GOP attacks don't get to her:
I believe that the big banks need tougher rules and more accountability-- and so do the majority of Americans. You can call me a boogeyman for fighting for Wall Street reform, but our agenda is America’s agenda.

I believe that students should be able to get an education without getting crushed by debt-- and so do the majority of Americans. You can call me a boogeyman for fighting for debt-free college, but our agenda is America’s agenda.

I believe that nobody who works full time should live in poverty-- and so do the majority of Americans. You can call me a boogeyman for fighting to raise the minimum wage, but our agenda is America’s agenda.

I believe that after a lifetime of hard work, seniors should be able to retire with dignity-- and so do the majority of Americans. You can call me a boogeyman for fighting to protect and expand Social Security and Medicare, but our agenda is America’s agenda.

I believe in climate change-- and so do the majority of Americans. You can call me a boogeyman for fighting to protect our air and water, but our agenda is America’s agenda.

I believe in common sense gun reform-- and so do the majority of Americans. You can call me a boogeyman for fighting to keep our kids safe from military-style assault weapons, but our agenda is America’s agenda.

I believe that a woman has a right to make health care decisions over her own body and I support Planned Parenthood-- and so do the majority of Americans. You can call me a boogeyman for fighting for women’s health, but our agenda is America’s agenda.

I believe that millionaires and billionaires should pay at least the same tax rates as their secretaries-- and so do the majority of Americans. You can call me a boogeyman for fighting to stop the special breaks and loopholes, but our agenda is America’s agenda.

And I believe that powerful corporations and billionaires have too much influence over our politics-- and so do the majority of Americans. You can call me a boogeyman for fighting for campaign finance and ethics reform, but our agenda is America’s agenda.
Sounds good for America, right? At the same time CNN was outlining why right-wing money bags and Vegas/Macao gambling mobster Sheldon Adelson was braying about why Trump would be the best American president ever-- for Israel. Adelson ponied up over $80 million to Republicans and right-wing causes in the 2016 cycle. He's the agent for Israel's political right in America. Funny, because while Adelson was talking with GOP donors about how good Trump would be for his version of Israel, Lili Bayer was writing at the [Jewish Daily] Forward about how one of the fascist shits surrounding Trump, Sebastian Gorka, is an actual Nazi, not someone playing pretend.

When photographs recently emerged showing Sebastian Gorka, President Donald Trump’s high-profile deputy assistant, wearing a medal associated with the Nazi collaborationist regime that ruled Hungary during World War II, the controversial security strategist was unapologetic.

“I’m a proud American now and I wear that medal now and again,” Gorka told Breitbart News. Gorka, 46, who was born in Britain to Hungarian parents and is now an American citizen, asked rhetorically, “Why? To remind myself of where I came from, what my parents suffered under both the Nazis and the Communists, and to help me in my work today.”

But an investigation by the Forward into Gorka’s activities from 2002 to 2007, while he was active in Hungarian politics and journalism, found that he had close ties then to Hungarian far-right circles, and has in the past chosen to work with openly racist and anti-Semitic groups and public figures.

Gorka’s involvement with the far right includes co-founding a political party with former prominent members of Jobbik, a political party with a well-known history of anti-Semitism; repeatedly publishing articles in a newspaper known for its anti-Semitic and racist content; and attending events with some of Hungary’s most notorious extreme-right figures.

...In the United States, Gorka, who was appointed deputy assistant to the president on January 20, is known as a television commentator, a professor and an “alt-right” writer who describes himself as a counterterrorism expert. A close associate of Stephen Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, Gorka is now part of Bannon’s key in-house White House think tank, the Strategic Initiatives Group. The newly formed group consists of figures close to Trump and is seen by some as a rival to the National Security Council in formulating policies for the president.

Gorka, who views Islam as a religion with an inherent predilection for militancy, has strong supporters among some right-leaning think tanks in Washington. “Dr. Gorka is one of the most knowledgeable, well-read and studied experts on national security that I’ve ever met,” Joseph Humire, executive director of the Center for a Secure Free Society, told the Forward. Humire has known Gorka for nearly a decade, and considers him “top-notch.”

Born in London to parents who fled Hungary’s post-World War II Communist regime, Gorka has had a career that’s marked by frequent job changes and shifting national allegiances. The U.S. government is the third sovereign state to hire him in a national security role. As a young man, he was a member of the United Kingdom’s Territorial Army reserves, where he served in the Intelligence Corps. Then, following the fall of Communism in Hungary, he was employed in 1992 by the country’s Ministry of Defense. He worked there for five years, apparently on issues related to Hungary’s accession to NATO.

Gorka’s marriage in 1996 to an American, Katharine Cornell, an heir to Pennsylvania-based Cornell Iron Works, helped him become a U.S. citizen in 2012.

It was during his time in Hungary that Gorka developed ties to the country’s anti-Semitic and ultranationalist far right.

During large-scale anti-government demonstrations in Hungary in 2006, Gorka took on an active role, becoming closely involved with a protest group called the Hungarian National Committee (Magyar Nemzeti Bizottság). Gorka took on the roles of translator, press coordinator and adviser for the group.

Among the four Committee members named as the group’s political representatives was László Toroczkai, then head of the 64 Counties Youth Movement. Toroczkai founded that group in 2001 to advocate for the return of parts of modern-day Serbia, Slovakia, Romania and Ukraine to form a Greater Hungary, restoring the country’s pre-World War I borders.

In 2004, two years before the Movement’s involvement in the 2006 protests, Hungarian authorities opened an investigation into the Movement’s newspaper, Magyar Jelen, when an article referred to Jews as “Galician upstarts” and went on to argue: “We should get them out. In fact, we need to take back our country from them, take back our stolen fortunes. After all, these upstarts are sucking on our blood, getting rich off our blood.” At the time of the article’s publication, Toroczkai was both an editor at the paper and the Movement’s official leader.

Toroczkai currently serves as vice president of Jobbik and is the mayor of a village near the border Hungary shares with Serbia. Last year, he gained notoriety in the West for declaring a goal of banning Muslims and gays from his town.

In January 2007, inspired by the 2006 protests and his experience with the Hungarian National Committee, Gorka announced plans to form a new political party, to be known as the New Democratic Coalition. Gorka had previously served as an adviser to Viktor Orbán, now Hungary’s right-wing nationalist prime minister. But following Orbán’s failed attempts to bring down Hungary’s then-Socialist government, Gorka grew disenchanted with Orbán’s Fidesz party.

In his email exchange with the Forward for this article, Gorka explained: “The Coalition was established in direct response to the unhealthy patterns visible at the time in Hungarian conservative politics. It became apparent to me that the effect of decades of Communist dictatorship had taken a deeper toll on civil society than was expected.”

Gorka co-founded his political party with three other politicians. Two of his co-founders, Tamás Molnár and Attila Bégány, were former members of Jobbik. Molnár, a senior Jobbik politician, served as the party’s vice president until shortly before joining Gorka’s new initiative, and was also a member of the Hungarian National Committee during the 2006 protests, issuing statements together with extremist militant figures such as Toroczkai.

Jobbik has a long history of anti-Semitism. In 2006, when Gorka’s political allies were still members of Jobbik, the party’s official online blog included articles such as The Roots of Jewish Terrorism and Where Were the Jews in 1956?, reference to the country’s revolution against Soviet rule. In one speech in 2010, Jobbik leader Gabor Vona said that “under communism we licked Moscow’s boots, now we lick Brussels’ and Washington’s and Tel Aviv’s.”

In founding the New Democratic Coalition, Gorka and the former Jobbik politicians aimed to represent “conservative values, decidedly standing up to corruption and bringing Christianity into the Constitution,” according to the party’s original policy program. At the time, Hungary’s constitution was secular.

The party’s founders did not see themselves as far right or anti-Semitic.

“I knew Gorka as a strongly Atlanticist, conservative person,” Molnár, the former Jobbik vice president and co-founder of Gorka’s party, told the Forward in a phone conversation. He added that he could not imagine Gorka having anti-Semitic views.

...In December 2004, the U.S. State Department reported bluntly to Congress that, “the weekly newspaper Magyar Demokrata published anti-Semitic articles and featured articles by authors who have denied the Holocaust.”

Who wrote Trump's CPAC speech yesterday?

In the summer of 2007, Bencsik became one of the founders of the Hungarian Guard, a now-banned paramilitary organization known for assaulting and intimidating members of Hungary’s Roma community. The perpetrators in a spate of racially motivated murders of Roma in 2008 and 2009 were found to have connections to the Guard.

Gorka’s articles for Magyar Demokrata focused not only on decrying Hungary’s then-Socialist government, but also on highlighting the perceived injustices of the Treaty of Versailles, the post-World War I agreement that led to the loss of two-thirds of prewar Hungary’s territory.

“We fought on the wrong side of a war for which we were not responsible, and were punished to an extent that was likely even more unjust-- with the exception of the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire-- than any other punishment in the modern age,” Gorka wrote in a 2006 article in Magyar Demokrata.

Asked about his choice of journalistic outlets, Gorka wrote, “I am […] unfamiliar with Bencsik. I believe it was one of his colleagues who asked me if I wanted to write some OpEds.” Gorka told the Forward that his writing at the time shows “how everything I did was in the interests of a more transparent and healthy democracy in Hungary. This included a rejection of all revanchist tendencies and xenophobic cliques.”

Gorka’s claim to be unfamiliar with Bencsik must be weighed against his deep immersion in Hungarian politics and Benscik’s status as a major figure in Hungary’s right-wing political scene. At the time, Gorka gave public interviews as an “expert” on the Hungarian Guard, which Bencsik helped to found. In one 2007 interview, Gorka clarified his own view of the Guard, saying, “It’s not worth talking about banning” the group. Despite its extreme rhetoric against minorities, Gorka said, “The government and media are inflating this question.”

It was in mid-February that Gorka’s affinity for Hungarian nationalist and far-right ideas first came to the American public’s attention. Eli Clifton of the news website Lobelog noticed from a photograph that the new deputy assistant to the president had appeared at an inauguration ball in January wearing a Hungarian medal known as Vitézi Rend [up top]. The medal signifies a knightly order of merit founded in 1920 by Admiral Miklos Horthy, Hungary’s longtime anti-Semitic ruler and Hitler’s ally during World War II. Notwithstanding this alliance, and the group’s designation as Nazi-collaborators by the U.S. State Department, many within Hungary’s right revere Horthy for his staunch nationalism during the overall course of his rule from 1920 to 1944.

Breitbart, the “alt-right” publication, where Gorka himself served as national security editor prior to joining the White House staff, defended his wardrobe choice, writing on February 14 that, “as any of his Breitbart News colleagues could testify, Gorka is not only pro-Israel but ‘pro-Jewish,’ and defends both against the threat of radical Islamic terrorism.”

“In 1979 my father was awarded a declaration for his resistance to a dictatorship, and although he passed away 14 years ago, I wear that medal in remembrance of what my family went through and what it represents today, to me, as an American,” Gorka told Breibart on February 15, as the controversy regarding his choice to wear a Horthy-era medal intensified.

But the medal was not the first time Gorka expressed appreciation for symbols that many associate with Hungary’s World War II-era Nazi sympathizers. In 2006, Gorka defended the use of the Arpad flag, which Hungary’s murderous Arrow Cross Party used as their symbol. The Hungarian Arrow Cross Party killed thousands of Jews during World War II, shooting many of them alongside the Danube River and throwing them into the water. Gorka told the news agency JTA at the time that “if you say eight centuries of history can be eradicated by 18 months of fascist distortion of symbols, you’re losing historic perspective.”

After the failure of his new party in 2007, Gorka moved to the United States and over the past 10 years has worked for the Department of Justice, Marine Corps University, National Defense University, and Joint Special Operations University. Former colleagues in the States questioned the quality of Gorka’s work on Islam, and said that he shied away from publishing in peer-reviewed journals, according to the Washington Post.

Retired Lt. Col. Mike Lewis told the Post that when Gorka was lecturing to members of the armed forces, he “made a difficult and complex situation simple and confirmed the officers’ prejudices and assumptions.”

...Over the past few weeks, Gorka has become an informal spokesman for the White House, appearing on radio and television shows to defend Trump’s rhetoric and policy choices-- including those that are relevant to the Jewish community.

Asked during a February 6 talk show to acknowledge that it was “questionable” for the White House to leave out any specific mention of Jews as the Nazis’ target in its Holocaust Remembrance Day statement, which referred only to “innocent people” being victimized, Gorka called the criticism “asinine."

“No, I’m not going to admit it,” he said. “It’s absurd. You’re making a statement about the Holocaust. Of course it’s about the Holocaust because that’s what the statement’s about. It’s only reasonable to twist it if your objective is to attack the president.”

It remains unclear whether the White House ever took a deep look into Gorka’s activities in Hungary. Six White House staffers have reportedly been dismissed for failing FBI background checks; Gorka was not among them.

In 2002, Hungary’s intelligence service denied Gorka a security clearance. Gorka was nominated by the right-wing Fidesz party as its candidate to be an expert in an investigation into allegations that then-Prime Minister Péter Medgyessy had served as a counterintelligence officer during the Communist era. At the time, Gorka’s earlier ties to British intelligence were considered a concern, and he was ultimately not allowed to take part in the investigation.

Gorka’s friends and close associates in the United States do not believe that he is ideologically part of Hungary’s far right.

...Gorka’s former political partners in Hungary are pleased with his successes in Washington.

“I am happy, because this could be good for Hungarian-American relations,” said Molnár, the former Jobbik vice president and co-founder of Gorka’s short-lived party, in his conversation with the Forward. “But I was surprised…No Hungarian public figure has ever been so close to the White House.”

Does Nazi iconography indicate someone might be a Nazi?

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Crowds Are Packing Democrats' Town Hall Meetings Too-- Take Ro Khanna... Very Different From Mo Brooks


Buried in the new PPP poll about Trump's fights with the media was a question about town halls. PPP's conclusion is that "Members of Congress who dodge open town hall meetings may be opening themselves up to trouble with their constituents. 81% of voters think they ought to hold town halls, to only 5% who think their members of Congress should avoid them. That includes overwhelming majorities of Democrats (88/2), independents (81/2), and Republicans (73/11) who think members of Congress should make themselves available to the public in that way. Mitch McConnell (25/45 approval) and Paul Ryan (37/43 approval) are both unpopular, and Democrats hold a 46/43 lead on the generic Congressional ballot."

Crackpot and right wing extremist Mo Brooks (R-AL) is worried that some congressional Republicans are cowards and now getting cold feet after their encounters with angry constituents. He's freaking out that some of them won't help him kicking millions of Americans off healthcare. He was on the WBHP morning show Thursday and told the hosts that "there are a significant number of congressmen who are being impacted by these kinds of protests and their spine is a little bit weak. And I don’t know if we’re going to be able to repeal Obamacare now because these folks who support Obamacare are very active, they’re putting pressure on congressman and there’s not a counter-effort to steel the spine of some of these congressmen in tossup districts around the country." He called his colleagues' constituents all kinds of names. But speaking of cowards with weak spines, Crazy Mo, is too scared to meet with Alabama voters and adamantly refuses to have any town halls. He says he's worried someone may shoot him or his supporters or that Muslim terrorists will get them. Brooks, who represents a horribly backward Alabama district-- a hell-on-earth of poor white trash-- primarily in Huntsville, Florence, Scottsboro and Decatur across the northern 6th of the state, is in one of the safest seats in the country. Trump won it in November with 64.7% and ole Mo did even better.

Thursday the Blue America crew sat down with Ro Khanna and Ted Lieu for a few hours to talk policy. At one point, though, Ro told us about the town hall he had just had at Ohlone College in Fremont. He was only expecting around 250 people based on RSVPs. But when 900 showed up, they had to start opening overflow rooms. Although his constituents had very serious questions, the town hall didn't have much in common with the contentious town halls you've been seeing on TV with Republicans. What Ro had to say to voters primarily from Fremont, Newark and down the Nimitz from Milpitas and Santa Clara who packed the auditorium must have been music to their ears. The Democratic Party, he told them, needs it move in a more progressive direction.

In the 2016 Democrat vs Democrat general election, his long-time liberal opponent, Mike Honda, was a pledged Hillary delegate; Ro was a Bernie supporter. CA-17 isn't Trump country. Obama had beaten Romney there 71.9% to 25.5%. Hillary improved on that, eviscerating Trump 73.9-20.5%. Ro said where Hillary went wrong-- at least in the Midwest if not in California-- was when she started talking too much about Trump and stopped talking about how she was going to make people's lives better. "She was up when she was talking about making people’s lives better and unrigging the economy," he reminded the audience. The East Bay Times reported the next day that he "acknowledged the need to hold President Donald Trump accountable, and in response to a question from a member of the audience, he said he would support impeachment of Trump if an open and thorough investigation found evidence of violations. However, he said that right now, there are bigger fish to fry for Democrats, alluding to the 2018 mid-term elections."
“We are not going to win the next election, nor do we deserve to win the next election, by just focusing on Donald Trump’s missteps,” he said, adding that Trump voters were upset at leaders across the country, and felt the economy is rigged to favor a select few. He said Democrats cannot ignore those voters in their messaging.

“Shame on us if we don’t hear them,” he said, adding that his party must offer Trump voters a positive vision, with recognition of the “profound demographic changes” the country has seen.

“A vision that says, your life can still be good. Your kids’ life will still be good. We will help get your kids the skills to compete in a new economy. We’ll make sure that you don’t have to worry about retirement and health care,” he said.

Many in the auditorium seats flashed bright green signs that read “Agree,” and offered rounds of applause as Khanna said he believes the Democratic Party needs to be “far more bold, far more populist.”

The congressman said “it’s better in my judgement to have a slightly smaller party even, but a morally consistent party, than a party that doesn’t stand for anything,” a point he said the Republicans understand.

After Khanna said he supports a $15 minimum wage in response to a question, he doubled down on his idea that Democrats must be more bold in their actions.

He said he will be proposing a bill that would massively expand the earned-income tax credit to the tune of $1 trillion to help low- and moderate-income families, something he described as in contrast with “conventional” Democratic ideas, which would only offer a $60 billion expansion.

He chastised Republicans for claiming to want to help working-class families and the working poor, while pushing to give tax breaks to the wealthy.

When asked how his constituents can help create change, he said it’s important that they don’t underestimate the influence the average person can have, especially in the age of the Internet, when a viral blog post could get many more views than anything he says on the floor of Congress.

After spending about an hour in the main auditorium, Khanna traversed the campus to speak to another packed room, and reiterated many of the same points to that crowd.

Khanna told the crowds that he plans to hold monthly town hall meetings going forward to allow more people to engage, especially those who were locked out of Wednesday night’s gathering.
Ted Lieu and Ro Khanna are both avid supporters of Keith Ellison in today's DNC election, though neither has a vote. They both like Tom Perez but are certain that Ellison represents the progressive, grassroots vision of a more populist vision for the Democratic Party. I'm not certain when this document was released by Ellison of his first 100 days plan but it certainly in in synch with the messages we heard from both Lieu and Khanna Thursday, neither of whom shied away from the term "The Resistance."
Over the last several years Democrats have lost more than 940 state legislative seats, hundreds of congressional, senate and statewide seats and countless local races.

The job of the next DNC Chair is going to be incredibly challenging. It will require: juggling raising tens of millions of dollars; unifying Democrats; holding Trump, his cabinet and Republican-controlled states accountable; protecting the right to vote and creating opportunities to expand voting access; laying the foundation for redistricting; and recruiting, training and supporting candidates up and down the ballot.

This document lays out a framework for the first 100 days for the next DNC Chair.


All across America Democrats are mobilizing, energized and ready to take back our country. We need to harness this energy by holding organizing sessions in every single state so Democrats know what we are going to do to fight back the Trump administration and Republicans on a state and local level.

These organizing sessions will be collaborative and involve state and local party leaders, elected officials, labor, constituency groups and rank and file Democrats who want an active and meaningful role and voice in the party. We will work with state parties to hold organizing sessions in all 57 states and territories with the Chair and other senior DNC officials personally attending as many as possible.

We will pick locations across the country of strategic importance focusing on counties or locations where candidates did particularly well or poorly last election, and locations that are municipal or legislative priorities going into 2017.


The DNC-- working hand in hand with state and local Democratic parties-- will seek to organize and channel the immense groundswell of opposition to President Trump and his policies.

The Democratic Party and its partners will support these activities and will create new opportunities to stand up against not only the dangerous policies of the Trump Administration but any Republican on a state or local level that makes it harder for Americans to achieve prosperity and inclusion.

These organizing rallies must involve unifying not only all Democrats, but Americans who are committed to building a world that promotes an economy that works for all Americans, not just the wealthy and corporations, and an agenda where we have liberty and justice for all.


Our party is at its best when it reflects the regional, racial, ethnic and overall diversity of the Americans we represent. We build an inclusive and accountable party by making sure that people have a seat at the table.

A 3,143-county strategy means that we bring everyone to the table. We will work to ensure that constituency caucuses are fully staffed and we have regular briefings and programmatic updates from the Chair and Department Directors to the DNC Executive Committee and state party chairs.

We will call a meeting of all of the caucus and council chairs to set metrics for evaluating the work that we are doing to ensure we are moving our party in a consistently inclusive and accountable direction.


We have already been holding Trump accountable on social media, via email and substantial research into his nominees. Our goal over the coming years is to hold every single Republican in the country accountable to the people they represent. Having two way communication from the DNC to partners across the country helps nationalize local fights and localize national fights.

We also need to aggressively remind voters for the Democratic Party and our candidates stand for. That means establishing an accessible and easily digestible version of our platform and disseminating it to county and state parties.

The DNC can help candidates get their message out by looking at bulk purchasing options, reducing any remaining barriers between the voter file and digital platforms and template pieces for down ballot candidates.

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Friday, February 24, 2017

Personal Hitler-- Punch A Nazi


I can't stop watching this video... What a pity it ends so quickly!

I was involved with Depeche Mode's career right from the very beginning, when I was a dj at KUSF in San Francisco playing the "Dreaming of Me," "New Life" and "Just Can't Get Enough" singles in 1980 even before Mute (and Sire) released Speak & Spell, their debut album the following year. Soon after, I became general manager of Sire Records and the first task label head Seymour Stein assigned me was to "break Depeche Mode in America." Years later, when I became president of Reprise Records, the very first band I asked to leave Warner Bros and join Reprise was Depeche Mode. I got to know them pretty well, as a band and as individuals. If Nazis liked their music, it was because they didn't quote understand what the band was saying-- which wasn't all that obscure. "People Are People" was one of their massive worldwide hits:

People are people
So why should it be
You and I should get along so awfully
So we're different colours
And we're different creeds
And different people have different needs
It's obvious you hate me
Though I've done nothing wrong
I've never even met you so what could I have done
I can't understand
What makes a man
Hate another man
Help me understand
American neo-Nazi Richard Spencer-- who said the other day that "Depeche Mode is the official band of the alt-right"-- may have been attracted to Fletch's shiny leatherette cap in the "New Life" video, but there's nothing Nazi or fascist about Depeche Mode. Quite the opposite. Have you watched their new Anton Corbijn-directed video, "Where's the Revolution" from the new album, Stark?

Looks to me like Dave is heaping scorn on a certain fascist pig Spencer adores. The band has always seemed to me to be coming from a distinctly progressive anti-fascist perspective. Spencer made his dumb statement as he was being kicked out of CPAC, too extreme even for the closet fascists in the Trump camp who now control the conservative movement. And in case that wasn't clear enough, after Spencer's statement of affinity, the band disowned them through a spokesman: ""That's pretty ridiculous. Depeche Mode has no ties to Richard Spencer or the alt right and does not support the alt right movement."

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Who Will You Blame When Jeff Sessions Starts Locking People Up For Smoking A Joint?


I bet there are a lot of House Democrats relieved that they don't have to go on the record voting for or against Trump's nominees for the Cabinet From Hell. Only the Senate votes on nominations-- and all the Democratic senators had the good sense to vote against Betsy DeVos and Tom Price. These two are going to make millions of Americans very unhappy, one by screwing up public education and the other by screwing up healthcare. Even the worst of the worst reactionary fake Democrats-- a Heidi Heitkamp, a Joe Manchin, a Joe Donnelly or a Claire McCaskill knew better than to hitch a rid of those two runaway trains to eternal infamy. I thought the same would go for Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, the KKK Senator from Alabama who was confirmed February 8 to be Attorney General, 52-47. But one of the bad Dems-- Joe Manchin-- did vote to confirm sessions Sessions.

When Sessions swung into action this week-- targeting transgender children, re-upping with the private prison industry, backing up Trump's draconian round-ups of immigrants and preparing to start up the dismally failed war on drugs by targeting states that have legalized marijuana, did you wonder who was at fault? When Sessions starts turning the private prisons into concentration camps, Americans should blame everyone who voted to confirm him-- i.e., all the esteemed Republican senators plus West Virginia's Joe Manchin.

Recently a friend asked me if I wanted to invest in a marijuana ice cream business here in California. It appears to be a good opportunity-- except for one factor: Jeff Sessions. I passed on the opportunity. Except for on the days Neil young delivered a new album to me personally, I had given up on marijuana in 1969. Recently, my body wracked with the gruesome impacts of chemo treatment side effects, my doctor urged me to try ameliorating the horror show with some marijuana oil. I was reluctant but finally did it. I had been unable to sleep and unable to eat, which means unable to heal. The first time I took a tiny bit on marijuana oil I slept like a log and woke up starving. I had lost between 60 and 70 pounds and looked like I had escaped from one of Jeff Sessions' future concentration camps. But the marijuana oil soon had me packing on the pounds again... and I was soon traveling around the world to places like Thailand, Russia and Azerbaijan. I'm looking forward to a trip to Tierra del Fuego again.

Sessions isn't going to Tierra del Fuego or anywhere else. He's looking for a brawl with the pro-marijuana folks-- and that includes a lot of Trump supporters. Joseph Mulkerin wrote yesterday in The Observer that that battle is tantamount to political suicide for anyone who tries to turn back the hands of time on this issue. On the same day Trump was (kind of) elected, the marijuana legalization movement "had enjoyed perhaps its greatest electoral success to date, as voters in eight states approved either recreational or medical cannabis. Just 10 days later, however, activists were forced to grapple with the potential of Sessions, a man who repeatedly chastised the Obama justice department for its failure to enforce federal drug laws being elevated to the highest office in the land."

Brian Vincente, one of the nation’s leading marijuana attorneys and the former campaign director of Colorado’s 2012 ballot initiative argued that, with the crucial role the burgeoning cannabis industry had come to play in the state’s economy, it would be difficult for Sessions to role back progress on the issue if he tried.

“You have 28 states with medical marijuana. Eight states with legalization, there is a lot of government bureaucracy that is supportive of marijuana legalization. Our state generates about $200 million dollars a year in tax revenue. So there’s a lot of entrenched interests and I could see this being a tough battle for Sessions to take on.” Vincente further argued that resistance to federal enforcement could even take the form of jury nullification. “I’ve tried a number of cases in front of juries, and when they know that they and their neighbors voted to legalize marijuana we have prosecutors trying to put people in jail for something that should not be a crime.”

Jeremy Ettinger, a DC-based marijuana activist, also expressed confidence that direct public pressure could bring politicians to bear. In December he led a group into Sessions’ office, where he said he had a “very good,” 45-minute exchange with Sessions’ staff. Ettinger argued that his group had set out to “build some goodwill” with Sessions, and that Sessions’ confirmation hearing-- in which he took a markedly less extreme tone on the issue-- was a testament to their success. “He was a gentleman. A gentleman doesn’t say people who abuse marijuana are ‘not good people.’”

Although Ettinger acknowledged Sessions had an “implicit bias” which prejudiced him against Cannabis users, Ettinger ultimately predicted that because the White House was intrinsically seeking “less controversy” the issue would be a relatively low priority for the justice department.

The medical marijuana community has articulated its own set of concerns. Although the Rohrbacher-Farr Amendment currently prohibits the justice department from using federal funds against medical marijuana patients, it is slated to expire on April 28. In anticipation of a potential crackdown, Americans for Safer Access, which lobbies on behalf of medical cannabis, is bringing thousands of activists to DC to lobby representatives for its renewal. Beth Collins, ASA’s director of legislative, stressed that Rohrbacher-Farr was the only tool medical patients had to protect them in the event of a draconian crackdown.

“The problem is, under federal law, [Sessions] would be operating legally… In a federal Court he would not be using States’ rights; you can’t use the defense that ‘I’m a medical patient in my state.’”

Steve Sarich, a prominent Washington-based medical activist had a markedly more optimistic outlook. Sarich expressed confidence that, given Trump’s own longstanding support for medical, Sessions’ prohibitionist tendencies would be kept in check. “He’s gonna do exactly what the fuck he’s told or he’s gonna be fired-- and you know that Trump made that real clear to him.”

Trump’s stance on recreational, by contrast, has wavered considerably over the years. In 1990 he called for the legalization of all drugs. By 2015 however, he came out as an opponent, claiming legalization in Colorado had gone “very bad.” Although Trump affirmed that he still favored allowing the states to decide, the appointment of Sessions would suggest his commitment is tepid at best. Given Trump’s personal antipathy, it isn’t all that hard to imagine his giving the green light to Sessions to authorize federal crackdowns.

The one thing which might give him pause are the political ramifications. With Trump already facing significant backlash for his immigration policy and controversial executive orders, going after marijuana and against the will of the millions of Americans who voted for it this past November would almost be politically suicidal.

After Spicer's announcement yesterday there were, predictably, quite a few reactions from industry leaders. Here are a few:
Christie Strong, Marketing Communications Manager of Kiva Confections:

“Over 60% of Americans supports cannabis legalization. It is one of the few bi-partisan issues that actually has the potential to unite us right now. Our country and many of our citizens are still recovering from the devastation of a failed Drug War- it would be a crime to waste any more resources prohibiting adult access to this safe, effective medicine.”

Steve Gormley, CEO of Seventh Point LLC

"Sean Spicer's comments on recreational marijuana seem to be a disturbing departure from Trump's purported position on States' rights. We will have to see how this plays out. I suspect this issue will end up being litigated at the Supreme Court.  Let's not forget however, this is the same guy who falsely reported on the attendance on the inauguration."

Jeffrey Zucker, President of Green Lion Partners

“The comments from Secretary Spicer are ignorant and disappointing, although not unexpected. The cannabis industry will fight any pressure from the federal government to set back the significant progress that's been made thus far. The incredibly positive medical, social, and economic impact cannabis legalization has had on regulated states is undeniable. Singling out the Adult-Use market is short-sighted. Perhaps most importantly, it's ignoring the will of the people, which national polls now show are in favor of full legalization. Offering safe and regulated cannabis serves to eliminate the illegitimate market and racial disparity in enforcement. I hope that the administration takes the time to truly immerse and educate themselves on cannabis before making any destructive decisions.”

Derek Peterson, CEO of Terra Tech:

"Today's news coming out of the administration regarding the adult use of cannabis is, of course, disappointing. We have hoped and still hope that the federal government will respect states' rights in the same manner they have on several other issues. The economic impact, job creation, and tax collection associated with both medical and recreational legalization have been tremendous throughout the country. We hope the new administration really takes the time to understand that the money is either going into the states' coffers or making its way to drug cartels. We also hope that the states make a point of defending their independence in regards to this and protect their constituents."

Isaac Dietrich, CEO of MassRoots:

"Colorado is one of the only states in the nation that is seeing a decline in opioid deaths -- that's not a coincidence. Cannabis is a healthy alternative to pain pills and heroin, not a gateway to it. I have a feeling our stock is going to take a beating tomorrow, but that just creates an opportunity for investors who believe in the long-term trajectory of the cannabis market. As a medical-cannabis focused app, I believe MassRoots will actually benefit from this policy as it will cut off funding for our competitors."

Danny Davis, Convectium, Managing Partner:

"We are hopeful that Mr. Spicer’s comments are not representative of the entire administration.  Many of the states who helped elect President Trump just voted to also support recreational marijuana; it is hard to imagine that he would push an agenda with the support ratings where they are.  As an equipment company we represent both the recreational and medicinal markets, but we would hate to see an action that would stop the current multi-state momentum for recreational."
The release yesterday of the new Quinnipiac poll showed that although Americans elected (kind of elected) a Republican president and a Republican Congress, voters disagree with Republican policy across the board. And marijuana policy is no exception. Other than the Jeff Sessions demographic-- old white Republicans-- everyone wants marijuana legal. The findings on pot:
Marijuana should be made legal in the U.S., voters say 59 - 36 percent. Republicans are opposed 61 - 35 percent and voters over 65 years old are opposed 51 - 42 percent. Every other party, gender, education, age and racial group listed supports legalized marijuana.

Voters support 93 - 6 percent legalized marijuana for medical purposes if prescribed by a doctor.

The government should not enforce federal laws against marijuana in states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana use, voters say 71 - 23 percent. Voters in every listed group support this position.

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