Saturday, January 20, 2018

Support Federal Protection for Medical Marijuana

I am sending this to my contacts this morning to send to their Members of Congress...

Please vote yes to reauthorize Rohrabacher-Blumenauer and please let me know what I can do to motivate Congress to pass federal legislation to support the growth of the medical marijuana industry - an industry that is attracting  record numbers of women entrepreneurs in particular - and creating sustainable American jobs. Thank you for your service. 

Find your Congressional Representative:

You will need your Zip Code + 4. Find that here:!input.action

About Nathaniel Clevenger:

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Trump Creed

My father who art in biggly heaven hallowed be my name. 

My kingdom come. My will be done at Mar-a-Lago which is heaven. 

Give me this day my daily double cheeseburger. And forgive me my tweets but never forgive those who tweet against me. 

And lead me into as much vile temptation as possible but deliver me guiltless from all of the very evil people who can’t understand my genius.

For mine is the Kingdom, the power, and the large nuclear button, for at least the next few years, if not forever!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

What good are government ethics if they won't be enforced? Or, Why Jared Kushner's Meetings with Russian Bankers Matter

Now I may be just a knucklehead. But...
Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of the President of the United States, wants to secure a loan to develop a building in Manhattan. OK. That is fine. There are lots of places to get a loan for the development of a building in New York. I know. I am a developer. I have to get loans all of the time. And, I think Russians are excellent business people - at least the ones here on the West Coast. Fine folks, the Russians. Oh, and good for Jared Kushner for wanting to create jobs in his home state. "A" for effort, Mr. Kushner. 
I am puzzled, though.
New York is the finance capital of the world. Jared Kushner is from New York and has done business in New York as has his family - for decades. Thus, securing capital in your home town should be easy especially with your family's track record and connections in real estate development. Why Kushner needs a loan from a Russian state-owned bank is a little odd considering the volume of capital available literally at his front door.
Meanwhile, a Russian bank - actually THE Russian Bank owned by the Russian government - wants access to the American market for lending. This Russian Bank, Venesheconombank (VEB), under sanctions from the U.S. Government for three years, wants to see those sanctions end so it can make more money for its shareholders, the Russian people (maybe). Again, not such a bad thing for the Russians to want to put capital to work to benefit their economy and their nation. Side note: the sanctions on VEB were put in place by the U.S. Department of the Treasury for Russia's interference in Ukraine. Interference is a polite way of saying seizing the Crimea by force of arms and killing a bunch of Ukrainians in the process.
But, here's the catch. Jared Kushner has many more capital-raising options than to seek financing from a U.S. sanctioned Russian Bank. The Russians, on the other hand, have few options. What they could use is a friend in The White House to break their sanction stranglehold. On the surface it's a perfect match for a perfect ethics violation (at least). Jared Kushner's father-in-law - Donald Trump - is one of the only people in the world who can see the bank's sanctions lifted. Moreover, Donald Trump has his own business interests in Russia he'd like to see thrive. We don't really know what those business interests yield because Mr. Trump refuses to release his taxes. So, to be fair, I am guessing that Mr. Trump has a vested financial interest in Russia's financial success.
Mr. Trump, as President of the United States AND as an owner of companies he created, has an inherent responsibility to declare his conflicts of interest here, as does Jared Kushner. This should include directing his son-in-law to cease and desist ALL business negotiations with Russian state-owned banks until the nature of those business dealings can be revealed. But, the cat is already out of the bag here. Kushner met with the Russians in December, before his father-in-law was sworn in as President. 
Hmmmm. In the absence of full disclosures from Kushner and Trump and others, what conclusion can be draw?
Kushner should have known when he met with the Russian bankers in December that he was walking an ethical razor's edge. So, at the very least, all of the timing issues should be fully vetted by an independent counsel. The Congress is not the place to consider the implications of all of Mr. Trump's Russian connections. It must be done by an independent counsel. Now.
And it gets even worse for Kushner because in the sanctions, the U.S. Department of the Treasury said that it is prohibited for "U.S. persons and persons within the United States from transacting in, providing financing for, or otherwise dealing in new debt of longer than 90 days maturity or new equity for...VEB, their property, or their interests in property." 
Look, folks, doing the right thing is really quite simple. Transparency stops the games. And while it likely won't stop the nattering nabobs of negativism in all of their spirited guises, it will at least demonstrate to the world that American's value truth, justice, know the rest.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Trump Twitter-Additiction Tilts Toward Tiresome Tirades

December 4, 2016

Dear President-Elect Trump: 
Please cut the mind-numbing, stupid tweeting and focus on your promises. 
You are not the star of a television program any longer. You are the very embodiment of a nation. 
In other words, and with respect, stop acting like an idiot and start behaving like a person worthy of the responsibility you have been given. Unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud numbering in the millions is exactly the kind of illogical drivel we can do without. You want to make a claim like that? Then back it up with data or go through the legal process. Otherwise, shut it. 
Note to the Media: where the hell are you? WAKE UP!!! 
Are there no sober-minded advisors on your staff with the grit to help you eliminate your immature and self-defeating passion for reacting versus helping you respond intelligently? 
You won. Now grow up. Learn to temper your actions with wisdom. If you won't do it for yourself and your own children then do it for mine and their children to come. 
Yours truly, 

An imperfect but conscious American.

Trump pulls China's Tail Again. To What End?

December 18, 2016

Dear President-Elect Trump: 
Your diplomatic sophistication has once again risen to the emotional height of a crack addict resisting arrest. I wake up again this morning to learn that you are shouting - yes shouting - that China should just keep an underwater drone they blatantly stole from an American military vessel. "Keep it!," you Tweet. I have a question for you? 
With great respect, are you stupid? 
Maybe let the adults handle this one, Pee Wee? 
This is not The Apprentice, Sir. Managing the paranoia of 1.4 Billion people requires a little more laconic finesse. I'd expect your kind of response from my crazy, chain smoking, bathrobe wearing, off the wagon neighbor whose newspaper I accidentally ran over with my car in our shared driveway. But from a person who would lead our nation? 
It occurs to this untrained observer that you may have an untreated mental health condition. Impulsive behavior at 72 years old is at least something to be a wee bit concerned about. We need tempered actIon and wisdom from you, not rabid distemper and judgement-clouded reaction. The world needs inspired leadership not the ravings of an insomniac narcissist with the impulse control of a teen drag racer at a street race full of Hooters Girls. 
Again, I ask, is there no sober adult supervision around to put some reasoned limits on your - at least questionable - lack of self control? 
I will give you one positive point. Your behavior is at the very least entertaining. Who doesn't love a fool?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Do we really need to freely allow people to purchase assault weapons?

In memory of the 28 who died needlessly at the hands of a crazed assault-weapon toting "citizen" in New England this past week.  

I am a southerner. I get the whole gun thing (as it were). 

My grandparents going back centuries owned guns. I own several of those very guns handed down to me by some of those fine folks to whom I owe my very existence. Those who lived long before me surely needed guns to hunt and for personal pleasure (to shoot clay pigeons, skeet, cans and what not). Sure, an argument can even be rationally made that -- depending on where they lived -- they needed those weapons for their own defense especially those living in the wilds of colonial Virginia. 

As technology progressed (so to speak. Is this really "progress?") the weapons have become capable of killing many in the blink of a child's eye lash - alas. Our founding fathers -- the very ones who created the second amendment allowing us to keep and bear arms for our DEFENSE -- would not even allow the average non-land owning person to vote! Do you think -- had they lived in our time -- they would allow the average citizen to own an assault weapon? Would they have allowed average citizens the right to bear these insane weapons for OFFENSE versus defense? 

When you think about it, our country has tacitly approved the ridiculous interpretation that anyone who can fog a mirror (apparently) may be allowed access to weapons whose primary purpose is offensive. It's called an "assault" weapon for a reason. I do not own assault weapons. Why would I need a Sig? Or an AK-47? Or anything that is designed to obliterate a target - human or otherwise? There is only one reason someone might own such a weapon. For their own personal narcissistic pleasure or paranoia. 

Oh, and the nutty idea that the same crazed and twisted murderer who snuffed out 28 lives this past week -- if they were hell bent enough -- could pack a van full of explosives and cause the same kind of murderous mayhem -- is specious at best. Sure, murder is a human constant; mass murder is as well. But we have reached a point where we must be as willing to die for a right to live in a society free of these kinds of narcissistic weapons as we are to live in one with this self-fulfulling gun culture tyranny. 

We allow paranoiacs in the NRA and their lap dogs in Congress to convince us that the path to true freedom is accompanied an assault weapon Bull shit. Why not a rocket launcher? Or, my own personal tank? Flamethrower? I don't know that I want to live in a society that so easily allows every one to own a tool that is designed to annihilate everything in its sights. Sure, someone could come along and bludgeon me with a stick or an ax. But, he or she would have a helluva time using that same stick to kill and murder dozens in seconds. 

You want to own an assault weapon for your own protection? Fine. Go live on an island then. Have all of the assault weapons you like. Just get out of my country. I don't want you here. 

Ban these assault weapons. It won't stop murder. But, it will limit the devastation and the ability of someone like the crazed nut in Newtown from making a life-ending spectacle with the blood of small children. Enough. Please.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Birthday for Packy the Elephant?

I am 10+ year member of the Oregon Zoo. Sure, I like animals. But, I just received the most ridiculous birthday party invitation. It was from an elephant -- "Packy."

I continue to be surprised at the lengths human beings will go to leverage events to the nth degree to make a buck. When I get invited to celebrate someone's birthday, I am not given 500 opportunities (depending on my donation or gift level) to pay homage. Why can't we just have some cake (albeit a gigantic one) and ice cream, some candles and call it a day?

"Hey Kids! Come celebrate Packy's birthday! For a tax-deductible donation of just $25 you can get a complementary bag of 'Packy's Patty's' for your Mom's garden. If you want your garden basil to grow as tall as Packy, you'll want to get here early to avoid the lines!"

For a donation of just $50, you can get some of Packy's toe nail clippings (Hint:these make great gifts).

And, for a donation of $100 or more, Packy will use his trunk to splash some paint on a piece of paper for you. Yes, Packy is an artist.

Of course he's an artist. He's been in prison for a half-century.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Packy in the prison, err I mean Zoo, visitor center. Zoo officials sat close by in order to monitor our conversation, though this reporter politely refused to allow Zoo officials to edit or review the answers.

Reporter: Packy, you were born in prison. And from the looks of you, it does not seem to have bothered you much.

Packy: Three squares and two hours in the yard a day. Someone to hose you off and scrub you down and all the free hay, healthcare and drugs I need. I live better than most people. Got a roof over my head and a concrete floor to nap on. Life's pretty good. Besides, I am used to it by now.

Reporter: But, don't you think it would've been better to grow up in the wild?

Packy: Elephant's live in the wild? (Pauses). I am kidding! Of course they do. Naw. I ain't that kind of elephant. (Laughs). Besides, I am lazy as hell. Don't like to work.

Reporter: I see that you paint.

Packy: Sure, I enjoy flinging a paint brush around. The people at the Zoo (glancing over his enormous shoulder) spend weeks trying to find meaning in my art. It's hilarious. I am just flinging paint around like a drunk kindergartner and everyone thinks it's a sign of some higher intelligence. I mean...look at me. I am g'damn elephant! The only thing I can draw is flies.

Reporter: What else keeps you busy?

Packy: Showers. Especially when Zookeeper Tammy scrubs my privates. (Giggles).

Reporter: So you are allowed conjugal visits.

Packy: Yeah. You could call it that, I guess. There are other elephant's here, though. These damn keepers are always trying to get us to, uh, you know, get it going on. It makes me laugh. Just the other night after visitors hours were over, Tammy put Marvin Gaye's "Let's get it on" on the loudspeaker. She set the lights down low in the cage, fed me and what's her name some fresh hay and then began to push us close together with sticks. My boys need a lot of room to breath; all that effort ain't gonna cut it in a cage. Besides, I need some g'damn privacy.

Reporter: Have you ever thought of escaping?

Packy: From what?

Reporter: The Zoo?

Packy: Why?

Reporter: Because you are in a cage?

Packy: You serious, man? This is a great gig. I sleep when I want. Eat when I want. Step in my own droppings when I want. Pee on the zoo keepers when I want. I especially enjoy that; drenches them to the skin. They walk out of the cage sloshing in their boots; makes me crack up every time. Priceless.

Reporter: People say you like practical jokes.

Packy: Yeah, I like a good laugh. What I really like to do is break wind in the direction of people who talk on cell phones near my pen. What the hell. Here they come to the zoo with their kids and all they can do is yack on the damn phone? What is wrong with these people? Believe me, they get out of their quick when I send a little "poison air" their way.

Reporter: Do you have a cell phone.

Packy: (Long pause). Are you stupid?

Reporter: Sorry.

Packy: I would like to make a suggestion.

Reporter: What's that.

Packy: Maybe you could report that my feet are killing me. I need some rubber mats or something in here. The concrete floors are really not very ergonomic. Maybe Nike can grind up some shoes and make a soft floor for me. Can you let 'em know about that?

Reporter: Sure, Packy. Any last thoughts?

Packy: Yeah, got a cigarette? This g'damn patch is the size of a mouse diaper.