“Deregulation”. Coded Language for What?

Says Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA):

Deregulation is code for ‘let the rich guys do whatever they want’ … The Trump administration and an army of lobbyists are determined to rig the game in their favor, to boost their own profit, the cost of the consumer be damned.

But deregulation opens markets to competition because existing regulations protect existing businesses from competition. And competition brings more choices with many price points.

Hemp was deregulated in December, 2018 as part of the Farm Bill. It was removed from the list of controlled substances. Existing businesses operated in regulated markets, illegally — so strict were the regulations that the product was banned.

Now,

Hemp’s return to farm fields this spring coincides with a surge in demand for cannabidiol, a derivative of hemp or marijuana that has become a popular additive in drinks, foods and dietary supplements. Proponents say it relieves anxiety, inflammation and other maladies without the psychotropic ingredient that delivers a high to marijuana users.

Farmers and processors believe growing demand for cannabidiol will turn hemp into a lucrative cash crop.

… Hemp flourishes in rocky soils inhospitable to other crops. It also represents a new potential revenue stream for tobacco farmers abandoning that crop. Other growers are eager to diversify away from mainstream crops after several years of low prices spurred by a production glut and trade tensions.

… Growers can earn $200 to $400 an acre growing hemp for use in textiles, plastics, insulation and construction materials, according to Rodale Institute, a farming research agency. Hemp grown for cannabidiol could earn farmers thousands of dollars an acre, according to the institute. Farmers earned net profits of around $11 per acre for soybeans and lost $62 for corn in 2017, federal figures show.

… Processors in the U.S. also are expanding. Folium Biosciences is building a $30 million, 110,000-square-foot hemp extraction facility in Colorado to increase its capacity 10-fold, said Chief Executive Kashif Shan.

 

Chris Edwards:

Hemp regulations were bad for the economy, they did restrict freedom, and they made life harder for farm businesses. So Warren’s logic would only make sense to someone smoking a big, greasy cigarette of hemp’s sister species.

 

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Florida Judge Rules Government Cannot Limit the Growth of Marijuana Facilities

“Tallahassee Circuit Judge Karen Gievers, she struck down the 2017 state law regulating medical marijuana, saying it conflicted with the state constitution.”

The Constitutional Amendment that was passed in November, 2016 details: 1) the actions the Department of Health is to take in setting up the registry for qualifying patients and certifying physicians, and 2) for registering the entities involved in growing and providing those patients with the medical marijuana needed for their treatment.

Last year, in a separate case, Circuit Judge Charles Dodson, in 2018 ruled “that the amendment did not contemplate a licensing scheme for providers that would be decided and controlled by state regulators, but rather “registrations” that would be freely granted.”

The legislature cannot limit access. Sounds like a freer market to me. Here.

Marijuana Legalization Update

Bloomberg:

By the end of 2018, 20 percent of Americans will live in a state where adults can legally buy and sell cannabis. Yet big problems remain unresolved, including a persistent black market that legalization was supposed to help undermine. There are also fights between states in favor of legalizing weed and localities that oppose it. And of course marijuana remains illegal under federal law, casting a shadow over the industry.

Come on, government people. There are businesses to create, people to hire, less crime.

Here.

Congress Proposes to Increase Military Spending to $700 billion

 

Approved by the Armed Services Committee by a 27-0 vote in late June, the overall Senate bill provides $640 billion for core Pentagon operations, such as buying weapons and paying troops, and another $60 billion for wartime missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere. Trump’s budget request sought $603 billion for basic functions and $65 billion for overseas missions.

As their House counterparts did, the Senate bill rejects Mattis’ plan to launch a new round of base closings starting in 2021. He told lawmakers in June that closing excess installations would save $10 billion over a five-year period. Mattis said the savings could be used to acquire four nuclear submarines or dozens of jet fighters. But military installations are prized possessions in states and lawmakers refused to go along.

Any base closings? Any discussion about cutting back on the ambitions of its advocates, the global footprint, the number of missions, the empire maintenance? Nope. Just like every other function of government, it continues to grow.

Are you kidding me? We have wars to fight, people to kill, money to spend, and jobs to protect.

Here.

 

That $65 billion in “overseas missions” is called the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund.

It is a separate pot of funding operated by the Department of Defense and the State Department, in addition to their “base” budgets (i.e., their regular peacetime budgets). Originally used to finance the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the OCO continues to be a source of funding for the Pentagon, with a fraction of the funds going to the State Department.

Since the OCO fund has very little oversight and is not subject to the sequestration cuts that slashed every other part of the budget in 2013, many experts consider it a “slush fund” for the Pentagon.

Details here.

 

BLACK LIBERTY MATTERS

This is an interesting article on how liberty is interpreted through the lens of American history. And its not good.

Starting with history and American history, here is Samuel Johnson’s bitter rhetorical question about the American revolution: “How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?”

Because:

. . . But often it is masters. Understanding all too well how they rule over other human beings, they identify being ruled like that as the great social evil, and they fiercely refuse to be subjected to it. Slaveowners and their neighbors can see what unfreedom is like, and they resist it for themselves. This is only partly because they come to identify their freedom as their freedom to own and rule slaves, and are desperate to protect their status as masters. In a more general way, they become very sensitive to anyone proposing to treat them as they treat slaves.

And:

The language of freedom in American political discourse has very often been appropriated for the defense of white supremacy. We have often heard the loudest yelps for liberty among those trying to protect the terror and apartheid states of the Jim Crow south, the quasi-serfdom of sharecropping, segregated schools, miscegenation laws, and the suppression of black votes. Particular types of freedom or particular strategies for limiting governmental power—freedom of association, religious liberty, federalism, bicameralism, and so on—all came to be identified at one point or another primarily as ways to prevent the federal government from breaking the power of white rule, just as before the war the protection of private property rights had so often been identified primarily with the protection of slaveowners’ supposed property in other human beings.

Conclusion:

Reimagining libertarian politics in light of the truth that black liberty matters will take a lot of intellectual and moral work. And this task, reorienting a set of ideas and ideals in light of a morally compromised history, of understanding what lessons need to be learned from it, of separating the arguments for liberty from the yelps, is insiders’ work. No one else is going to do it for us.

That’s for sure.  Read the whole thing.

President Trump To Declare Opioid Crisis a National Emergency

NPR:

President Trump says he is ready to declare the nation’s opioid crisis “a national emergency,” saying it is a “serious problem the likes of which we have never had.”

President Trump is showing he is a progressive and getting sucked into the swamp. Progressives left and right declare “War on something” where that something is whatever fits. Trump’s declaration is a variation on the War on Drugs. His adminsitration was clever enough to avoid the same “War on” label but its the same thing.

The War on Drugs initially by President Richard Nixon and US Congress and continued: Fail. The legalization to varying degrees by states of marijuana and the ease of availability suggests this failed also.

The U.S. also had the War on Poverty by President Lyndon B bing-bing-bing, Johnson and US Congress: Fail.

In the decade following the 1964 introduction of the war on poverty, poverty rates in the U.S. dropped to their lowest level since comprehensive records began in 1958: from 17.3% in the year the Economic Opportunity Act was implemented to 11.1% in 1973. They have remained between 11 and 15.2% ever since. It is important to note, however, that the steep decline in poverty rates began in 1959, 5 years before the introduction of the war on poverty (see figure 4 below).

Expect more aggressive policing, arrests, headlines, wasted tax money, civil liberties violations, larger bureaucracies in government and elsewhere, and failure.