Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Daily Summary - Bernie at the DNC and the Political Version of Accountability

Bernie Calls for Unity at the DNC
The first public day of the Democratic National Convention got off to a rough start as outgoing Democratic chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was greeted with a round of boos at the morning breakfast. Wasserman-Schultz was at the heart of the DNC email leak scandal discussed yesterday, and, given her position, was also the person most directly responsible for tilting the playing field against Bernie in the Democratic Primary. Thus, the numerous and vocal Sanders delegates gave her a piece of their minds. She actually left without giving remarks, because she couldn't overcome the heckling for long enough to complete a sentence.

This scene contrasts markedly with the message of Bernie himself. In his primetime address, Bernie called for unity and received enthusiastic applause.

His speech was pretty standard. He made the usual error of discussing inequality in terms of arbitrary statistical aggregates and talked about a lot of his other core issues as well--climate change, the minimum wage, student debt, Citizens United, and so on. It was a good speech, and it was delivered well. Still one couldn't help a sense of cognitive dissonance throughout the proceedings. For example, here was Bernie:
But the struggle of the people to create a government which represents all of us and not just the 1 percent.
And yet, the candidate he's endorsing is part and parcel of that 1 percent, and she has even raised more money than Donald Trump. You may be surprised to learn that many of Hillary's donations were substantially higher than $27. Granted, one's particular station in life should not really have any bearing on the merits of their ideas. But the Democratic Party, even more so than the Republicans, is all about identity. Thus, criticizing the 1 percent while nominating the 1 percent is a bit awkward.

Another interesting facet of Bernie's speech is what wasn't in there. There was no mention of legalizing marijuana (since Hillary's not likely to support that), and there was also no mention of peace in the speech (since Hillary steadfastly opposes it). Rather, Bernie stuck to the domestic areas where Hillary had largely adopted his platform. It remains to be seen whether it will be enough to persuade his voters to stay in the Democratic Party.

Make a Mistake, Get a Promotion
Yesterday we also noted that the same DNC chair mentioned above, Wasserman-Schultz, was forced to resign for her fantastically unprofessional behavior towards the Sanders supporters. Now we know where she landed. The Hillary Clinton campaign created an executive chair position for Wasserman-Schultz, which she appears to have accepted.

This is the latest initiative undertaken by the Hillary campaign to give a large metaphorical middle finger to former Bernie supporters.

It also portrays an interesting message to Americans in general. Wasserman-Schultz displayed terrible judgment in her use of email, and when revealed, she immediately found a powerful alternative job. It may even be a promotion if Hillary wins. It's kind of like what Hillary's trying to do with her whole campaign--she made terrible decisions with email (and many other things), and now she's trying to get the biggest promotion of all.

Legal Pot Replaces Pain Medication
We're recommending a remarkable new article from The Washington Post, which offers empirical evidence to support one of the long-assumed benefits of legalizing marijuana. Namely, medical marijuana gets prescribed as a substitute for more powerful (and thus more dangerous) conventional medicines that could treat similar things.

Specifically, the underlying study compared the number and types of prescriptions given by doctors in states without legal medical marijuana to prescription patterns in states with medical marijuana. The results are overwhelming, as indicated by the chart below:

But while this is impressive, the article points out the challenge these trends create. Since medical marijuana displaces traditional prescriptions, that means major pharmaceutical companies will fight as hard as they can to keep marijuana illegal in the remaining states. Medical marijuana is a cheaper, safer, and better alternative in many cases, and Big Pharma can't compete legitimately. Instead, they have to try to get the government to outlaw the competition.

Hopefully, these efforts will prove unsuccessful. Here's the link:

One striking chart shows why pharma companies are fighting legal marijuana

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