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Neil O’Brien: Fifty shades of conservatism

Neil O’Brien is MP for Market Harborough.

You might say socialism and liberalism are ideologies, while Conservatism is more like a character trait. But that’s not quite right. Socialism and liberalism are ideologies about maximising one thing, be it equality or freedom. In contrast, Conservatives believe in a wider variety of ideals.

So what kind of conservative are you?

Since the classic Liberal party gave way to Labour, we’ve been the party of the free market and sound money, even more so since the Thatcher/Reagan era. The free market is a such huge part of what we are about, it tends to dominate, but there’s much more to conservatism.

Perhaps you are a law and order Conservative: patron saint Thomas Hobbes, who, inspired by his experience of the civil war, observed that without strong authority and law and order, life tends to be “nasty, brutish and short.”

But in a nice example of how conservative ideas fit together, a strong law and order policy is also a One Nation policy: because who suffers when there is crime and disorder? Those who live in the most deprived fifth of neighbourhoods are 50 per cent more likely to be victims of crime than those in the richest fifth.

Or perhaps you are a constitutional conservative. Do you believe in keeping the Monarchy? A House of Lords that isn’t elected? Do you believe in keeping first past post elections, and an unwritten constitution? Do you believe in the common law and rule of law? Those ideas are more important now Labour believes in expropriation of your pension, your shares, your house, and anything else that isn’t screwed down.

Perhaps you’re a conservative because you believe in Liberty. Habeas Corpus. Limits on Government. Legal protection of personal and family life. Liberty always raises contentious issues like hunting or drugs. Or think of recent cases like the gay marriage cake. I thought the courts got it right: a business can’t refuse to serve gay people, but people can’t be made to promote political views they don’t hold, even if I disagree with those views.

What do we think about the growing deployment of live facial recognition technology in public places? Liberty lovers might want to ban it. Law and order fans might want to allow it.

Liberty-loving conservatism can also clash with another ideal – social conservatism. Are you worried about family breakdown? What do you think about transgender issues? What do you think about full facial veils? That question pits liberty against traditional pattern of our society. France banned them, we allow them.

Do you think what you get out of the welfare system should be linked to what you put in? And how should we make choices about immigration: do we just think about migrants’ skills and earnings, or how easily they will integrate into our culture? I incline to the latter view.

One big idea that I think fits under social conservatism is the idea of the nation state. National self-determination and the lack of a shared European demos powers the idea of Brexit, but it also explains why we are prepared to make compromises to try and keep the United Kingdom together.

Zooming down from the nation to the individual, conservatism is about individual self-reliance. That’s why we strongly support individual home ownership. Mrs Thatcher expressed this well. She said that people: “are casting their problems at society. And, you know, there’s no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then, also, to look after our neighbours.”

Things like the doubling of the Income Tax Personal Allowance and the National Living Wage – and also welfare reforms – are about self reliance. George Osborne was onto something when he talked about a “higher wage, lower tax, lower welfare spending” society. Personally, I believe tax should be based on the ability to pay, and so we should bring back the higher tax allowances for children Labour abolished in the 1970s.

But conservatives don’t just believe in individualism. We are the society party. Civic conservatives know that many problems can’t be solved by either the free market or the state. David Cameron said: “There is such a thing as society, it’s just not the same as the state.” When we think about problems like loneliness in an ageing society, we can only solve them by catalysing and helping voluntary groups and family life. The Big Society may have been a good idea, badly timed. But the ideal of voluntary action remains very attractive, I find particularly to younger conservatives.

Conservatism is also about gradualism. Burke attacked the French revolution as a huge, risky, leap-in-the-dark.
Gradualism is behind all our biggest policy successes. Welfare reforms started under Peter Lilley, continued under New Labour, and then under another Conservative government – and now have the record employment. The academy schools programme also spanned governments: from Kenneth Baker to Gavin Williamson.

In contrast, Socialists believe in utopian leaps. In the USSR and under China’s Great Leap Forward millions died, yet John McDonell still says, “I am a Marxist”. In contrast we should be proud gradualists. What do we want? More use of evidence. When do we want it? After randomised control trials.

As well as gradualism, Conservatism is about pluralism and decentralisation. Environmentalists have shown us why it is dangerous to have a monoculture of anything, because if things then go wrong, they do so on a huge scale. Think about the Irish potato famine.

Take a more recent policy example: during the heyday of disastrous progressive teaching methods, they swept all before them. But independent schools and grammar schools were a bastion for traditional methods (like phonics), which could then make a comeback after trendy methods failed.

Devolution allows experimentation. In the US they say the states are “laboratories of democracy”. Ideas like welfare reform or zero tolerance policing were tried locally and taken up nationally when they worked. Conservatives also believe in pluralism in a deeper way. People have different ideas of the good life.

That’s one reason I think we should keep the honours system – to recognise those who are motivated by something other than money, whether they want to serve their country on the battlefield, or help their community by running a youth club. That should inform our thoughts on things like childcare. Do we just focus on maximising employment or education? Or let people choose if they want to be stay at home parents?

I’m sure readers will point out things I’ve missed. But those are some of the main elements of Conservatism.
Law and order. The Constitution. Liberty. Social Conservatism. Civic Conservatism. Individual-self reliance.
Gradualism. Pluralism. Ideas that are sometimes in tension, but which fit together.

Conservatism is a bit like the roof of parliament’s Westminster Hall: which is held up by a lot of huge, ancient beams all resting on each other. Likewise, the elements of conservatism fit together, and have also made something really strong and enduring.

This article is based on a contribution by the author to a Centre for Policy Studies event, “Free Exchange: The case for conservatism”, at last week’s Conservative Party Conference.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Puberty blocking drugs used on “trans kids” have killed more than 6,000 people

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Here’s a horror show of a story that you’re probably not going to see on CNN anytime soon. A report emerged on Thursday indicating that the puberty-blocking drug Leuprolide Acetate (Lupron) has resulted in tens of thousands of serious “adverse reactions” in patients, including more than six thousand deaths. That’s bad enough, but it’s even more significant when you consider that this is one of the drugs being administered by doctors to so-called “transgender children” to unnaturally prevent their normal sexual development. And the testing done on the drug by the FDA for such applications appears to be thin at best. (Daily Wire)

More than 6,300 adults have died from reactions to a drug that is used as a puberty blocker in gender-confused children, Food & Drug Administration data reportedly shows.

“Between 2012 and June 30 of this year, the FDA documented over 40,764 adverse reactions suffered by patients who took Leuprolide Acetate (Lupron), which is used as a hormone blocker. More than 25,500 reactions logged from 2014-2019 were considered ‘serious,’ including 6,370 deaths,” The Christian Post reported on Thursday.

“Lupron is being prescribed off-label for use in children who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria despite the lack of formal FDA approval for that purpose,” the outlet explained.

You can do a search of the FDA’s incident reports here and enter the name of the drug (Lupron) to see their data.

Despite the possible adverse side effects, there are approved uses for Lupron, but it tends to be administered only for serious conditions. It’s useful in treating prostate cancer in men and endometriosis in women. For children, it is sometimes used to treat precocious puberty, a condition where children begin puberty at an unusually early age, but only for a short time.

The list of potential side effects for the drug is alarming. It includes breast disorders, malignant neoplasms, and psychiatric and nervous disorders. Stop and think about that for a moment. If you have a child that is already so confused that they are questioning their “gender identity” before they’ve even reached the age where their body is dealing with such issues, do you want to give them a drug that can produce psychiatric or nervous disorders?

To top it all off, the FDA has never formally approved the use of Lupron for treating gender dysphoria in children. Two years ago the agency announced that it was beginning a study of “nervous system and psychiatric events in association with the use of … a class of drugs including Lupron, in pediatric patients.” We don’t know the results of that study yet.

What adults, including transgender individuals, choose to do with their own bodies is their business as long as they’re willing to take responsibility for the results. But the experiments being performed on confused young children who have been convinced that they were somehow born the “wrong gender” are simply monstrous. Blocking the natural arrival of puberty in otherwise healthy children should be considered child abuse and medical malpractice to begin with. All of the questions raised in this report about one of the drugs being administered to do such things makes it all the worse.

The post Puberty blocking drugs used on “trans kids” have killed more than 6,000 people appeared first on Hot Air.

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Marshall Tisdale: Scotland’s drug statistics are a call to arms for radical reform

Marshall Tisdale is studying history and politics at Cardiff University.

Scotland was recently shown to have the highest drug death per capita of any other European country, with the rest of the UK having the fifth-highest.

This figure should be a wake-up call, to both the SNP in Scotland and to the Conservatives in Westminster. This needs to be met with a new, radical approach to tackling drug-related issues. That approach should start with two things. Decriminalisation and legalisation.

It is clear by now that the UK’s war on drugs have failed. Consumption is up, overdoses are up, and our prisons are filled with non-violent drug offenders. We cannot carry on with the same old policies and attitudes towards drug use. These were summed up by Boris Johnson in the first leadership hustings in Birmingham a few weeks ago. In answer to a question on the issue of drugs, Johnson’s response was “drugs are bad”.

It bothers me that such a simplistic statement has essentially been the driving force behind policies to deal with one of the most complex issues of the last few decades. ‘Crackdowns’ on drug use is not the solution the country needs to tackle the epidemic we face. Instead we need to look for solutions that work, and the best place to look isn’t too far away.

What stood out most to me in the drug death per capita statistics was not just that Scotland saw the highest rates in Europe, but that Portugal saw the second lowest. This is the same Portugal that in 2001 decriminalised all drugs in its efforts to deal with their own drugs death crisis. Since 2001 in Portugal, deaths from overdoses have dropped by 80 per cent, while the percentage of drug users diagnosed with HIV fell to seven per cent – from 52 per cent between 2000-2015.

Decriminalisation, in Portugal’s case, helped begin the road to recovery. Only once we start treating drug users as victims rather than criminals, and drug consumption as a public health matter and not a criminal one, can we be serious about reducing death rates.

What follows from decriminalisation are public health policies geared towards safe drug consumption. Establishing safe consumption rooms and needle exchanges helps reduce the risk of drug-related deaths. Treating drug users like human beings with a problem encourages greater numbers of people voluntarily entering treatment – again, as seen in Portugal.

The Conservative Party need to get behind these initiatives. They aren’t even too alien to the UK; countless numbers of Police and Crime Commissioners have been arguing for these measures for a while. If the Conservatives, and our next Prime Minister, threw their weight behind these initiatives, then we could be seen as a credible voice in the mission to end this epidemic.

However, decriminalisation is just one piece of the puzzle of effectively grappling with the UK’s high drug death rates, not to mention reducing drug use and ending organised drug crime. Admittedly, decriminalisation in Portugal hasn’t seen a clear impact on drug use, it still ebbs and flows. But, if paired with legalisation of marijuana, there is case to be made that drug use could fall.

Marijuana has been treated as a ‘gateway drug’ by many for a long time. But addictiveness of marijuana is a low ten per cent in terms of users developing addictions, compared to 15 per cent and 32 per cent for alcohol and tobacco respectively.  Marijuana is only a ‘gateway’ in the fact it leads you to suppliers on the black market, who then get you hooked on harder drugs.

If the Government were to legalise and regulate the sale of marijuana, then you remove the need for a black-market supplier. You put a choke hold on the black market and organised criminals. There is no way they can compete with the regulatory powers of the state and the initiative of legitimate businesses. It’s akin to the end of prohibition in the US, and the subsequent decline of the American mafia.

The only thing I see stopping the Conservative Party and its base in changing its approach to drug issues is its fear that doing so will lead to a drug culture in this country. The issue there is, there already is a drug culture. Around ten per cent of British adults take some form of drug each year, and this figure doubles in the age group aged 16-24. More importantly, around 50 per cent of the British public support weed legalisation, with just 24 per cent opposing.

Our Party needs to catch up with the rest of the country on drug matters. We already have a political class that have partaken in this drug culture, its time they now start addressing it.

I feel it’s time to put to rest the idea that legalisation would turn the UK into a population of layabouts. One just has to look to countries like the Netherlands, and certain states in America, to see this is not the case. We need to fight the disinformation and false narratives around marijuana if we are going to be serious about tackling wider drug issues in this country.

My pitch to Johnson and Priti Patel, our new Home Secretary, is this: if my 76-year-old Mormon grandfather can get behind marijuana, then so can the rest of the party and country.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Texas Has a Growing Homeless Problem, and California May Shoulder a Good Deal of Blame

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The issue of homelessness in Texas has been on the rise, specifically in its capital of Austin.

According to the Washington Post, staunch Democrats in Austin have expressed a desire to switch parties purely out of the way the city has handled homelessness, which lately, includes allowing them to sleep anywhere they’d like:

But as Paul, 50, sprawled out shirtless on the sidewalk on a 100-degree day, shop owner Craig Staley stood a few feet away on Congress Avenue reconsidering his party affiliation.

“I got two emails last month from customers who said, ‘I can’t go to your store anymore because it smells like urine,’” said Staley, who operates Royal Blue Grocery. “I am a Democrat at heart; I have been in Austin, Texas, for over 30 years. But I am telling you, I am feeling a lot more red these days when it comes to my business.”

Over the past couple of months, Governor Greg Abbott has been giving the issue his personal attention and considering actions to take against the Democratic leadership of Austin for its allowance of homeless people to take over the streets. As he does this, Austin Mayor Steve Adler is going to California to talk to leaders who specialize in creating the problem for advice.

In fact, the policies surrounding the homeless in Austin look a lot like the kind seen in San Francisco and Los Angeles, both of which have a level of homeless so extreme that medieval diseases are making a comeback. This is on top of the mounting drug problem and excess of trash that litters the streets. In San Francisco, the homeless problem also comes with seeing an inordinate amount of used needles littering the sidewalk and a feces problem.

Austin seems to be heading in the same direction.

“They thought it would be compassionate and not a big deal, but it has been an absolute disaster for this city,” said Matt Mackowiak, chairman of the GOP party of Travis county according to WaPo. “This is our best example of [liberal] overreach, so we have been very strategic focusing on this issue.”

According to Austin’s homeless, California may be partly to blame for the rising tide.

“They said there is a waiting list of at least six months,” Curtis Underwood, a homeless man said. “I guess I need to get a job, but the rent is so expensive because all the people from California are moving here.”

As businesses move to Texas, it brings with them their coastal employees. The rent skyrockets, driving people into the streets. However, it may not just the economy doing so either. The rate at which the homeless are growing is monumental, and it may be that the homeless in California are hearing about the opportunities in Texas and are heading there themselves.

They’re heading there with the help of the state of California, no less.

According to a 2017 article from The Guardian, California has been bussing out its homeless problem for some time, essentially paying for bus tickets out of the state and sending them elsewhere, using America’s national bussing companies as a valve to release pressure on itself. Texas is likely one of them, especially with its business boom giving out of state officials the idea that warmer climes and better business opportunities may give them a good chance of getting back on their feet.

There has yet to be a hard count on the number of homeless people California has bussed to Texas, but we do know that California’s impoverished do like to migrate to the Lone Star State. A 2017 article from the Sacramento Bee shows that when it comes to those in California who live below the poverty line, most choose Texas:

The leading destination for those leaving California is Texas, with about 293,000 economically disadvantaged residents leaving and about 137,000 coming for a net loss of 156,000 from 2005 through 2015. Next up are states surrounding California; in order, Arizona, Nevada and Oregon.

All told, California lost about 260,000 economically disadvantaged residents to the 10 states with the lowest cost of living during that time period, compared to a net gain of about 40,000 from the 10 states (other than California) with the highest cost of living.

It’s not unreasonable to assume many of the homeless would choose a bus ticket out of town for the greener, job-filled pastures of Texas.

So we have Californians moving here to drive up the rent, Texas Democrats getting advice on how to handle it, and California likely bussing its homeless to Texas.


The post Texas Has a Growing Homeless Problem, and California May Shoulder a Good Deal of Blame appeared first on RedState.

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Thomas Kerr: Scotland needs radical change to tackle the drugs crisis, and the Tories offer it

Cllr Thomas Kerr represents Shettleston Ward on Glasgow City Council.

1,187. That is the number of people who passed away last year alone in Scotland with a drug related illness. Scotland is in the middle of a drugs crisis and radical change is needed for us to tackle this growing scandal.

I speak not as a politician on this but as a son. You see in 2016, 867 people passed away with a drug related illness and within those numbers was my father.

For every number in this year’s total I know that there is a son, daughter, wife, husband, mother or father that will be going through the pain I went through in 2016. That is why I am determined, more than ever, to find a solution to this growing public health emergency. 

I speak on this subject as someone who has experienced the pain of loss, but also the hope of someone who has seen my mother overcome addiction. How did she do that? Rehab.

Scotland’s drug policy is tailored entirely towards parking those who have an addiction onto the methadone programme in the hope that this will solve the issue. This is not the way forward, and we need a radical approach that steers drug users away from methadone and onto abstinence-based rehabilitation models. These are the kind of programmes that have helped my mother get to where she is today, and which I believe is the way in which Scotland can tackle the drugs emergency.

For years drug and alcohol partnerships, rehabs, move-on services, and other vital third sector organisations have seen their funding cut in Scotland by the Scottish Government and yet ministers wonder why these deaths are spiralling out of control. It is time we as politicians listen to the experts, those who work in the service and have given us the advice we need: that a move away from methadone is the way to go for Scotland. 

The Scottish Government’s response to this scandal has been shameful, with the Minister responsible saying that this should be a wakeup call… for the UK Government. Well I am sorry, Joe Fitzpatrick, but the responsibility also lies with you and your administration, which has been in charge of Scotland’s drug strategy for over ten years now.

The blame game must stop, Scotland is seeing through it and it is not saving a single life. I have been open in the past in calling for the UK Government to have a serious conversation about reforming the Misuse of Drugs Act, but now it not the time for that debate. For Holyrood ministers to use this subject as another way of having a proxy war with Westminster is shameful – perhaps if they dealt with their own responsibilities first they would have more credibility.

I am very clear that Scotland is facing a drugs crisis, with drugs related deaths continuing to rise year on year, and our city of Glasgow is at the forefront of this epidemic. What we need to do, as a cit,y is stop calling for more powers and instead utilise the ones we currently hold to their fullest. I was the first politician on Glasgow City Council to call for the declaration of a public health emergency regarding the drug crisis our country is facing when I marched with friends at the Glasgow Recovery Walk last year.

My own personal experience dealing with the devastating effects of drug addiction inform my attitude towards the policy of safe consumption rooms. Seeing my mother going through rehab and witnessing first-hand the amazing work of our charitable and third sector organisations shows how the root causes of drug addiction can be identified and treated through effective rehabilitation. I know that rehabilitation and abstinence-based programmes helped her and do help others.

The SNP administration in Glasgow needs to call on their Scottish Government colleagues to utilise their existing powers and reverse their failure of the last ten years.

Miles Briggs and Annie Wells, two Tory MSPs, have been pillars of change in this area, and my Group on Glasgow City Council are calling on the council administration to get behind the position of the Scottish Conservatives. It is based on a simple premise: drug users don’t need a drugs plan to help them manage their addiction, they need a life plan to help them end their addiction.

This strategy calls for an independent review of methadone, a redesign of alcohol and drug services, the redirection of funds into recovery and abstinence, and a third sector-led recovery task force. This is how we sort this issue out, not by creating a proxy fight with Westminster about a facility that might not solve the underlying causes of drug abuse.

I would urge the Scottish Government, and Glasgow’s administration, to look seriously at these proposals and not seek to implement a policy that would prolong the suffering of drug users and their families.

Scotland is in a crisis. It’s time we act and I believe the Scottish Conservative Strategy is the right one for us to be getting behind. 

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Pre-empting Dems on health care? HHS announces “pathways” for Canada drug purchases

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Democrats ate the GOP’s lunch on health-care messaging in 2018’s midterms. The Trump administration might be preparing better for the 2020 election. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar rolled out a new initiative today that would allow for prescription purchases from Canada, addressing a key Democratic talking point on the cost of health care:

“President Trump has been clear: for too long American patients have been paying exorbitantly high prices for prescription drugs that are made available to other countries at lower prices. When we released the President’s drug pricing blueprint – PDF for putting American patients first, we said we are open to all potential solutions to combat high drug prices that protect patient safety, are effective at delivering lower prices, and respect choice, innovation and access,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. “Today’s announcement outlines the pathways the Administration intends to explore to allow safe importation of certain prescription drugs to lower prices and reduce out of pocket costs for American patients. This is the next important step in the Administration’s work to end foreign freeloading and put American patients first.”

The Action Plan outlines the government’s intention to pursue two pathways to allow safe drug importation from foreign markets:

  1. Through a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), HHS and FDA would propose to rely on the authority under current federal law (Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (“FD&C Act”) Section 804) that would, when the rule is finalized, authorize pilot (or demonstration) projects developed by states, wholesalers or pharmacists and submitted for HHS review, outlining how they would import certain drugs from Canada that are versions of FDA-approved drugs that are manufactured consistent with the FDA approval. The NPRM would include conditions to ensure the importation poses no additional risk to the public’s health and safety and that the demonstration projects would achieve significant cost savings to the American consumer.
  2. Through guidance, FDA would provide recommendations to manufacturers of FDA-approved drugs who seek to import into the U.S. versions of those drugs they sell in foreign countries. Under this pathway, manufacturers would use a new National Drug Code (NDC) for those products, potentially allowing them to offer a lower price than what their current distribution contracts require. To use this pathway, the manufacturer or entity authorized by the manufacturer would establish with the FDA that the foreign version is the same as the U.S. version and appropriately label the drug for sale in the U.S. This pathway could be particularly helpful to patients with significantly high cost prescription drugs. This would potentially include medications like insulin used to treat diabetes, as well as those used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disorders, and cancer.

The crescendo for action on this issue has built for some time. It came up in the ObamaCare debate, but Democrats successfully capitalized on growing anger over escalating prices in the US in recent months. Trump had also campaigned on the issue in 2016 but hadn’t taken any action, leaving him politically vulnerable, the Associated Press noted:

The administration’s move comes as the industry is facing a litany of consumer complaints over drug prices, as well as legislation from both parties in Congress to rein in costs. President Donald Trump is supporting a Senate bill to cap medication costs for Medicare recipients. …

As a candidate, Trump called for allowing Americans to import prescription drugs from abroad, and recently he’s backed a Florida law allowing state residents to gain access to medications from Canada.

Trump spiked the football shortly afterward:

The question of pharmaceutical importation has its complexities, and it might not be a great idea in terms of long-term policy outcomes. For one thing, drug prices in Canada are artificially low thanks to intervention by the Canadian government, which will be tougher to maintain if demand increases exponentially via re-importation into the US. (Canadians in particular might not be very happy about what happens to their drug prices.) It doesn’t solve the major problems in pharmaceutical production costs, which are consolidation in the industry, copyright issues, and bureaucratic delays in FDA approvals, among others. It’s a Band-Aid over a gaping wound.

However, it’s going to be a very popular Band-Aid in the short run. The new HHS effort also lends itself to a slow rollout, which will play right into Trump’s need to pre-empt Democrats on health care in this cycle, as the Washington Post notes, and that’s very much the purpose of this and other initiatives coming down the pike:

White House advisers, scrambling to create a health-care agenda for President Trump to promote on the campaign trail, are meeting at least daily with the aim of rolling out a measure every two to three weeks until the 2020 election.

One of the initiatives would allow states to import lower-priced drugs from Canada and other countries and bar Medicare from paying more than any other country for prescription drugs — controversial ideas in line with Democratic proposals. Yet it remains unclear the administration has the legal authority to execute some of these policies without Congress. …

One lobbyist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, described being stunned at a recent White House meeting when Domestic Policy Council Director Joe Grogan said the administration would not let Democrats run to the president’s left on lowering the prices of prescription medicines.

In another tense meeting, top pharmaceutical executives were told bluntly “it wasn’t in the industry’s best interests” to block the bipartisan Senate bill backed by Trump. If it failed, they were told, they’d see “the president of the United States negotiating with Nancy Pelosi [on allowing the government to negotiate drug prices in Medicare],” said a person familiar with the meeting.

It might be better for Trump if Congress balks at the initiatives, or if courts block it. That way he gets the benefit of fighting for the people without the risk of incurring the long-term negative impacts of the policies themselves. It also dilutes Democrats’ ability to use health care as a sledgehammer in suburban districts as they successfully did in 2018. In terms of electoral strategy, posturing usually beats legislating, and it certainly beats dealing with unintended consequences. Barack Obama knew that well enough to delay ObamaCare’s rollout until a year after his re-election.

The post Pre-empting Dems on health care? HHS announces “pathways” for Canada drug purchases appeared first on Hot Air.

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Adam Honeysett-Watts: After three years of gloom under May, it’s time for fun with Johnson

Adam Honeysett-Watts is Director of Conservatives in Communications and works in the financial technology sector. 

Before this leadership election got underway, I wrote that the next leader must be able to tell the Tory story – of aspiration and opportunity – and identified Boris Johnson as the person best-positioned to do that.

Having previously supported David Cameron and then Theresa May, I like to think I back winners – at least, in terms of those who reach the top. That said, while the former will be remembered for rescuing the economy – while giving people the power to marry who they love and an overdue say on Europe – the latter, much to my disappointment, has no real legacy. Johnson should avoid repeating that mistake.

His final column for the Daily Telegraph, ‘Britain must fire-up its sense of mission’, was jam-packed with the kind of Merry England* (or Merry UK) optimism that we experienced during the Cricket World Cup and that the whole country needs right now: “They went to the Moon 50 years ago. Surely today we can solve the logistical issues of the Irish border”. Quite right.

You’ve guessed it, I’m chuffed that Conservative MPs, media and members supported Johnson’s bid to become our Prime Minister. I’m looking forward to May handing him the keys to Number Ten and him batting for us after three, long years of doom and gloom. Sure, optimism isn’t everything – but it can set the tone. A detailed vision must be articulated and executed by a sound team.

Whichever side you were on before the referendum (or are on now), in the short term, we need to redefine our purpose, move forward with our global partners, unite the UK – and defeat Corbynism.

Mid-term, we should invest further in our national security and technology, improving education and life chances and encouraging greater participation in culture and sport, as well as boosting home ownership. Plus the odd tax cut here and there would be well-advised.

However, we must not put off having debates – for fear of offending – about controlling immigration and legalising drugs, and about funding for health and social care, as well as protecting the environment, for these issues matter and will matter even more in the future.

We should also avoid the temptation to ban political expression, alternative media and sugary foods, and celebrate instead free speech, press freedom and the right to choose.

Again, I look forward to Johnson peddling optimism and hope that people get behind him, because, ultimately, he will write our next chapter – and if we jump onboard and provide support, much more can be achieved by us all working together.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Police Department warning: Beware the coming of “meth-gators”

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Loretto Police Department in Tennessee posted an ominous warning on Facebook. “Don’t flush your drugs” is their message. If you thought that “Deeznutz” the attack squirrel was a wild story, how about meth-gators?

You may remember Deeznutz. Alabama police say they were warned about a man feeding his pet squirrel methamphetamines to make it an attack squirrel. The story goes that the squirrel was not tested for drugs when the man was arrested and it was released. If you think a meth-fueled rodent sounds bad, there is a more troubling development. Maybe.

Tennessee police arrested a suspected drug dealer Saturday. He was in the process of flushing methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia down his toilet to get rid of the evidence.

Once police entered Perry’s home, officers found him trying to flush the meth and several items of paraphernalia down his toilet. Andy Perry was arrested after police found 12 grams of meth, 24 fluid ounces of liquid meth, and several paraphernalia items inside the house.

He was charged drug possession with intent for resale, possession of drug paraphernalia, and tampering with evidence

The Loretto Police Department used its Facebook page to deliver a public service announcement after the drug bust on the dangers of contaminating the local water supply with drugs. No one wants methed-up animals.

“This Folks…please don’t flush your drugs m’kay (sic). When you send something down the sewer pipe it ends up in our retention ponds for processing before it is sent down stream. Now our sewer guys take great pride in releasing water that is cleaner than what is in the creek, but they are not really prepared for meth.”

“Ducks, Geese, and other fowl frequent our treatment ponds and we shudder to think what one all hyped up on meth would do. Furthermore, if it made it far enough we could create meth-gators in Shoal Creek and the Tennessee River down in North Alabama. They’ve had enough methed up animals the past few weeks without our help. So, if you need to dispose of your drugs just give us a call and we will make sure they are disposed of in the proper way.”

It is a light-hearted kind of warning but it appeals to common sense. Water in the sewer system ends up in retention ponds as a part of the purification process. Wildlife visits the retention ponds. You see the point. I don’t know the alligator population numbers for Shoal Creek and the Tennessee River but apparently, the police do. Hence, the tongue in cheek warning. The town is five miles from the state line with Alabama.

This was a good opportunity to remind residents of proper disposal of drugs. Loretto police asked residents to just bring in drugs, including prescription medications, to the police department and they can take care of it. Many communities, like my own, have yearly or semi-yearly collection days to help with the proper disposal of drugs. Flushed pharmaceuticals can end up in the drinking water supply.

You’ve been warned. No one wants meth-gators. Drugged up rodents are bad enough – looking at you, Deeznutz. Kudos to the Loretto police for taking a serious subject and bringing some levity to it. We can all use more humor in our lives.

You can listen to Police Chief Bobby Joe Killan in an interview talking about having fun with the story.

The post Police Department warning: Beware the coming of “meth-gators” appeared first on Hot Air.

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Trump’s Tweet About Congresswomen Is Full of Issues but It Isn’t Racist

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Dominating my feeds over the weekend was the fact that President Donald Trump tweeted out that people like Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Talib should go back to their respective countries of origin and fix the problems there if they think America is horrible.

The tweet was heralded as racist from the top of every soapbox the leftist collective could find. It even prompted Omar to retweet an article that essentially labeled all of Trump’s supporters as racist if they support him, marking the first time Omar actually labeled Trump’s following as racist.

After looking at the tweet, I can easily arrive at two conclusions. The tweet is stupid and not very well thought out, but it’s definitely not racist nor is it without its point.

Before I start getting angry tweets thrown at me from both sides, let me explain.

Let’s take a look at the tweet in question.

Trump calls out the anti-American nature of these “Democrat Congresswomen,” and notes that their countries of origin are horribly run, not at all well-maintained, and are usually corrupt.

He then tells them to go back and fix the problems those countries have, then come back and show the U.S. how to solve these problems.

Let me just skip analyzing the countries that these women either hail or descend from. I don’t think I need to point out that Somalia is a horrible place or that the area around Israel is infested with terrorism and brutal governments.

Here are the two things that should be focused on and why I think it’s important to be able to differentiate between a stupid tweet and a racist tweet. For one, Trump isn’t saying that one race is better than another, he’s calling out the governments of foreign countries which definitely aren’t as good as ours. Trying to say that the United States is just as good as Somalia is just like trying to say a lion is the same as a house cat. It just doesn’t work.

Trump didn’t say “Omar and Tlaib’s races are inferior to the white race that dominated America’s history.” That would have been a racist tweet. What he said was that these women should retreat to these countries where these governments get it horribly wrong, then upon fixing these governments where problems that these hard-leftist claim to loath really are present, come back and show us how to fix the problems at home.

It’s key that he also said that they should come back. He doesn’t denounce their citizenship within the U.S., nor does he remove the idea that they’re elected officials. In fact, his tweet very clearly recognizes both.

Trump doesn’t demonstrate racism throughout these tweets, and it appears that claims of racism are inferred rather than proven from mainstream outlets that report on it. It’s the idea that Trump would tweet something like this because he’s racist. Thing is, the tweet doesn’t touch race, just crappy governments, and last I checked, government bodies don’t qualify as races.

On top of that, Trump has a point. These women consistently act like the United States is a cruel country with horrific problems generated from its embracing of a culture that was propagated by their favorite boogieman, the white male. I feel like I shouldn’t need to point out how racist and sexist this is, but funny enough, I constantly have to.

Their anger usually comes off as ignorant, like the spoiled ranting of first-world kids who haven’t truly known what it’s like to be oppressed, or live with little hope. Trump is advocating that they truly see what it’s like to have to live in a place where you don’t get a vote based on your genitalia, and prejudice and bigotry are a standard, not an exception like it is in the country they’re in now.

That said, this tweet was horribly worded and a reeked of ignorance. While not named, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the most famous of the “progressive Democrat Congresswomen” and while being born in in the U.S., she is a descendant of Puerto Ricans, a U.S. territory. It’s a place with a increasingly bad drug problem and a good deal of its citizens live below the poverty line, but it’s not exactly the hell-hole that is Somalia, where Omar actually hails from. Tlaib’s family is from Palestinian places outside of Israel, which are infested with terrorists and brutal governments, but Tlaib was born in the United States.

I’m not defending these women. The bigotry and ridiculousness they’ve shown eclipses anything stupid that Trump has done or said, but with that in mind, I think Trump’s tweet indicates that he doesn’t know much about these women other than the fact that they’re of foreign origin. Whether he mean to or not, this comes off as ignorance, and as such makes his already un-professional tweet come off as stupid. It’s likely that when he wrote of their countries of origin, he meant where they were descended from, but that doesn’t come off in the tweet.

Two things can be true at once. Trump’s tweet can be solid in its point, and it can be a ridiculous tweet that he shouldn’t have probably tweeted out in the first place. He’s definitely punching down at lawmakers who, while they have a very loud following, are generally recognized as silly people who don’t know what they’re doing half the time.

Let me be clear. I think addressing their comments in context and slapping them down when they tend to make news is a superb idea, but throwing out statements that contain generalities that come off like whispered comment on an episode of Real Housewives isn’t.

Omar and Ocasio-Cortez aren’t the brightest bulbs in the box, but we can easily sit back and let them prove that themselves without the President’s jabs. That said, what Trump tweeted wasn’t at all racist, and I think it’s a bit ridiculous that this isn’t obvious.

This is just one more incident that proves that the word “racism” has lost all meaning.

The post Trump’s Tweet About Congresswomen Is Full of Issues but It Isn’t Racist appeared first on RedState.

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Austin Mayor Seeks Help On Homeless Problem by Going to California Leaders Who Specialize In Creating It

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You don’t go to a practicing drug addict to seek advice on how to stay clean or ask a corrupt mechanic on what kind of work your car needs, but Austin Mayor Steve Adler is going to do just that, or at least something similar.

Austin’s homeless problem has taken a turn for the worst, especially after the Texas capitol passed ordinance that allowed homeless people to set up camp on city streets so long as they’re not blocking walkways. The problem proceeded to spiral out of control, even managing to anger Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who has expressed his intention to bring the power of Texas against Adler’s office in order to kill the ordinance.

In the meantime, Adler is giving interviews that attempt to put his new homeless laws in a positive light. To say these interviews are unconvincing is an understatement, especially with all the problems he has to admit it’s bringing with it.

According to Fox 7, the mayor is looking to get some insight on the problem and planning a trip to California in order to seek advice from city leaders in that state on how to handle the homeless problem currently plaguing his city.

If I went to a prostitute to seek guidance on abstinence, I’m not sure you’d be able to label it as “wise.”

It should be noted that Los Angeles is one of the examples of how to handle a homeless problem in the country. As the LA Times reported in February of last year, the homeless problem in that city has shot up 75 percent in the last six years, and even acknowledges that the problem became worse when Democrats took over leadership with a super-majority.

“The problem has only gotten worse since Mayor Eric Garcetti took office in 2013 and a liberal Democratic supermajority emerged in 2016 on the county Board of Supervisors,” reported the LA Times.

The Times noted just how bad the numbers are:

Tent cities stretch from the Antelope Valley desert to the Santa Monica coast, with stopovers in unlikely communities — even Bel-Air, where a homeless cooking fire was implicated in December’s Skirball fire.

During an October hygiene survey, county public health officials identified 222 encampments, including 50 with 30 or more people living in them. These ragtag outposts have altered the basic terms of urban life.

People in Koreatown step outside their fancy condos to find tents, rotting food and human feces at their doorsteps. Buses and trains have become de facto shelters, and thousands of people sleep in fear and degradation.

Officials and philanthropic groups have been housing more homeless people than ever before — 26,000 between 2014 and 2017. But L.A. has a severe housing shortage, and city and county homeless programs have been slow to start and too limited to absorb the waves of people forced into the streets.

The problem is so horrible in cities controlled by Democrats that it got President Donald Trump’s attention at the beginning of July. During an interview with Fox News’s Tucker Carlson, the problem came up.

“It’s a phenomenon that started two years ago,” Trump noted. “It’s disgraceful. I’m going to maybe – I am looking at it very seriously.”

Disease, drugs, and trash continue to mount, yet Democrat leaders continue to try to downplay the problem, and even blame it on something other than their policies that encourage homelessness much like the kind being passed in Austin and San Francisco.

Yet, this is where Mayor Adler wants to go to get advice on how to deal with the problem currently spiraling out of control in the heart of one of the most successful states in the nation. This is backward thinking, and hopefully Abbott will step in to stop Democrats from allowing this to rage out of control soon.

The post Austin Mayor Seeks Help On Homeless Problem by Going to California Leaders Who Specialize In Creating It appeared first on RedState.

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