Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Schwarzenegger Offered One Billion Dollars

Currently, the state of California has a budget crisis. To try and balance the budget out, legislators are bickering over which social services should be cut. This isn't fair. It isn't even right. People need those social services. There is a hero in this story, however. Well, heroes is more like it. Many, many heroes! They call themselves Let Us Pay Taxes.

The Let Us Pay Taxes group has offered Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger one billion dollars to be put toward the budget crisis. The thing is; this money will be coming from a coalition of California marijuana growers and dealers. Whats the Terminator to do? Terminate the crisis with taxes that taxpayers would actually be willing to pay!

David Guard of StopTheDrugWar.org writes that regulation and taxation of marijuana could produce up to six billion dollars in additional tax revenue, according to economic studies linked from their web site LetUsPayTaxes.com. In addition, it could save up to ten billion dollars in enforcement costs. “That is a conservative estimate,” said Schaffer, spokesman for Let Us Pay Taxes. “By other estimates, the revenues could be five times that. The economists are with us all the way on this one. Marijuana prohibition is an economic disaster.”

So, what's the problem? The problem began with Reefer Madness and marijuana tax stamps in the earlier part of last century. The Drug Czar John Walters continually states that money from marijuana transaction goes into the hands of terrorists and criminals. Is this guy for real? Of course it is! I mean, in terms of anyone who touches marijuana is a criminal! (ok, that may have been a small exaggeration). But, the prohibition Walters is supporting creates the monetary flow from good, hard working citizens who just want to relax, or escape disease-related pain to black market criminals who, in a lot of cases, will do anything to make a buck.

I believe this is where the belief that marijuana is a gateway drug comes from. I mean, where marijuana is outlawed, good people must look toward the streets for relief, because they know that marijuana is not bad. But, a lot of these street dealers are only capitalizing on these people, and introducing them to their other 'wares', so they make more money!

I truly think that if people were able to grow their own cannabis, or buy it from regulated dealers, they would be extremely happy! And, the possibility of the marijuana being 'laced' with other potentially hazardous substances, such as cocaine, would be slim to none. AND the country would have much more coming in from taxes to be applied to other things. Well, maybe we should wait until after Bush is out of office, then it would go toward causes for the people, of the people, and by the people.

Let Us Pay Taxes calls upon all US citizens to sign their petition at their web site LetUsPayTaxes.com and press the issue with their lawmakers. “Take the money, please,” said Schaffer. “These people want to contribute. Now it is up to our politicians to tell us why they want to send those billions to foreign criminal gangs rather than to their own voters." Press Release

Presidential Candidates and LGBT Issues

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has released a comprehensive analysis (pdf) of the top 19 candidates for the 2008 presidency and their positions on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues.

The good news is, all the prominent Democratic candidates are supportive of the majority of LGBT issues analyzed. All of them are in support of some kind of partnership recognition rights (such as civil unions) - though only two Democratic candidates support completely equal marriage rights (Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich). Kucinich is the only 2008 presidential candidate who has publicly supported all eight LGBT issues. All of the other candidates, including my favorites, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, are 7/8 - except Gravel, whose positions on three issues, including LGBT adoption, are unknown.

The Executive Director of the Task Force, Matt Foreman had this to say:

"The differences between the Democratic and Republican fields of candidates on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues are shockingly stark and profoundly depressing. Over time, the majority of Americans have moved to support basic fairness for LGBT Americans, including nondiscrimination and hate crimes laws, repeal of 'Don't Ask Don't' Tell,' and protections for our families. Sadly, the Republican field has gone in the opposite direction, still clearly pandering to the venom of the so-called 'religious right...' The public statements and voting records of the Democratic candidates show that they are clearly light years ahead of the Republicans on almost every issue important to the LGBT community. Nevertheless, the lack of courage on marriage equality is disturbing on both political and moral grounds..."

Ah, yes, I'd almost forgotten about the Republicans...

"Across the board, Republican candidates were in opposition to the majority of LGBT issues, with most publicly opposing lifting the military's ban on openly lesbian, gay and bisexual service members. Ten of 11 Republican candidates also oppose any partnership recognition for same-sex couples, whether it be marriage equality, civil unions or domestic partnerships..."

If you were curious, there was one candidate who has publicly opposed all eight LGBT issues: Mitt Romney, who receives my award for Right-Wing Ass-Hat of the Week. Congratulations, douchebag.