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Medical Marijuana Draft Regulations Released – Regulations Do Not Include Provision for Emergency Access

December 18, 2014 in PERSONAL LIBERTY

By drosenfeld

Friday: One Week After Death of Eight Year Old Donella Nocero, Patients and Caregivers Rally Outside Governor Cuomo’s NYC Office to Demand Emergency Access to Medical Marijuana

Critically Ill Patients and Their Families Ask Cuomo to Grant Their Holiday Wish — Access to Lifesaving Medication Before More Children Die

New York – Today, the NY Department of Health released the draft regulations for the medical marijuana program. While full analysis of the regulations is still underway, an initial review suggests New York will be one of the more restrictive programs in the country, which could inhibit patients from obtaining the relief they need. For instance, the draft regulations restrict the number of brands of medical marijuana to five initially without any clear rationale.

December 18, 2014

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The Link between the Ruble and Keynes

December 18, 2014 in Economics

By Steve H. Hanke


Steve H. Hanke

On March 3, 2014, the United States went to war with Russia. That’s when the U.S. first imposed sanctions. And, yes, sanctions are nothing more than war by non-military means. Then, on November 11 Russia committed a major misstep. It floated the ruble. Since then, the ruble hasn’t floated on a sea of tranquility. It has plunged in lockstep with oil — by about 25% and its volatility has soared to around 65%.

The ruble’s plunge means that Russian imports will be more expensive and exports more competitive. This combination will help keep Russia’s current account positive, which will offset some of Russia’s massive capital flight.

A currency board, rather than a floating ruble, would protect Russia from the specter of inflation.”

In addition, Russia’s fiscal accounts are denominated in depreciating rubles and its oil exports are invoiced in appreciating U.S. dollars. So, the fiscal blow from lower oil prices will be cushioned by a weak ruble.

But, there are limits to any temporary benefits from a ruble rout. When a currency takes a dive, the specter of inflation is always right around the corner. How can Russia avoid further damage and correct for its error of November 11?

Russia should abandon the floating exchange-rate regime, which it adopted on November 10. Oil and other commodities that Russia exports are priced and invoiced in U.S. dollars. By embracing a floating exchange-rate regime, Russia is inviting instability. The ruble’s nominal exchange rate will fluctuate with oil and other commodity prices. When the price of oil rises (falls) the ruble will appreciate (depreciate), and Russia will experience a roller-coaster ride distinguished by deflationary lows and inflationary highs. To avoid these wild rides, most of the big oil producers — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates — link their currencies to the U.S. dollar. Russia should do the same.

To get things right, Russia should lift a page from John Maynard Keynes’ Russian playbook and establish a currency board.

Under a currency board system a central bank issues notes and coins. These are convertible into a foreign reserve currency at a fixed rate and on demand. As reserves, the monetary authority holds high-quality, interest bearing securities denominated in the reserve currency. Its reserves are equal to 100 per cent, or slightly more, of its notes and coins in circulation, as set by law. A central bank operating under a …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The Cuba Opening: American Foreign Policy Meets Reality

December 18, 2014 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

There is a flurry of news media accounts that the United States and Cuba are in talks to restore diplomatic relations. One hopes that such negotiations prove fruitful, thus ending a quarrel that has lasted some fifty-five years and benefited neither country. Restoring diplomatic ties would pave the way for ending the long-standing U.S. economic embargo against the island nation, and that move could be the catalyst for a commercial bonanza. Cuba would become a vacation destination for tens of thousands of American tourists, as it was in the decades before Fidel Castro’s communist revolution. The route between Miami and Havana could become a busy air corridor for commercial flights. Thousands of Cuban exiles and their families in the United States have a powerful incentive to travel back to the island for both business and personal reasons. Without the arbitrary interference resulting from the diplomatic feud and the accompanying U.S. embargo, the two countries are natural economic partners.

Cuba would be the principal beneficiary of normalizing relations. The opening of trade and investment with the vast U.S. economy would make it possible for Cuba to enter the twenty-first century. No longer would images of the island be those of a country stuck in a time warp, with the streets of Havana and other major cities currently being notable for the presence of automobiles from the 1940s and 1950s. Although economic mismanagement by Castro and his associates is the principal reason for that unhappy development, U.S. hostility and the vindictive policies it generated also have played a major role. Normalization of relations would enable Cuba finally to become something more than a large used car museum.

A willingness to restore diplomatic ties with Havana suggests that perhaps the suffocating Wilsonian approach to U.S. diplomacy may finally be weakening.”

But while Cuba would benefit greatly from the end of the bilateral cold war with Washington, the United States would also benefit. The economic gains to America, while relatively modest in the context of a $17 trillion-a-year economy, would be significant. More important, though, normalizing relations with Havana could be an important step in ending a counterproductive approach in overall U.S. foreign policy that has lasted for more than a century.

Until the administration of Woodrow Wilson, the United States generally had a practical, straight-forward approach to relations with foreign countries. Washington maintained diplomatic ties with numerous governments, …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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An End to the Counterproductive Cuban Embargo

December 18, 2014 in Economics

President Obama’s announcement to overhaul U.S. policy toward Cuba is historic. And according to Cato scholar Juan Carlos Hidalgo, president’s move should be uncontroversial. “U.S. policy toward Cuba has been a blatant failure,” says Hidalgo. “It has not brought about democracy to the island and instead provided Havana with an excuse to portray itself as the victim of U.S. aggression. …The 114th Congress should pick up where the president left off and move to fully end the trade embargo and lift the travel ban on Cuba.”

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President Obama Right to Call for Trade with Cuba: Half Century of Failed Embargo Is Enough

December 18, 2014 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

President Barack Obama used negotiations over bringing home a couple of imprisoned Americans as an opportunity to refashion the entire U.S.-Cuba relationship. He’s aiming to reopen the embassy, relax trade and travel restrictions, and improve communication systems.

Of course, sustained caterwauling began immediately from the usual suspects, hardline Cuban-Americans, Republican neocons and uber-hawks, and obsessive Obama-haters. The president wasn’t just aiding the Castros. He was hurting America, they claimed.

For instance, potential 2016 presidential contender Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida declared: “Appeasing the Castro brothers will only cause other tyrants from Caracas to Tehran to Pyongyang to see that they can take advantage of President Obama’s naiveté during his final two years in office. As a result, America will be less safe as a result.”

It’s an astoundingly silly claim. If Sen. Rubio hasn’t noticed, America has engaged in years of on-and-off discussions with North Korea’s Kim dynasty stretching back to the Clinton administration. Under President Obama Washington has been negotiating with Iran’s government for months: most people recognize that a diplomatic settlement, no matter how difficult to achieve, would be better than war. And it’s hard to fathom exactly how the national wreck known as Venezuela could hurt the U.S.

Yet Rubio and others charge the administration with appeasement and even surrender.All because the president is proposing to treat Cuba like the U.S., under Republican as well as Democratic administrations, treats China, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and a host of other repressive states. President Obama suggests that government officials talk to one another. And that peoples visit and trade with one another. Nothing more.

Republicans once attempted to present themselves as the Daddy Party, the serious folks who got things done and accepted the world as it was, rather than treated it as they wished it to be. They set priorities and made tough choices. They adapted their approach as circumstances warranted. And they adopted policies which actually achieved what the stated objectives.

Well, no longer, if ever. And certainly not in Cuba today.

If conservative Republicans believe in recognizing reality and getting results, as they claim, they should back trade and engagement with Cuba.”

More than a half century ago Fidel Castro took power in Havana. In the midst of the Cold War the Kennedy administration understandably feared that Cuba would serve as an advanced base for the Soviet Union, as evidenced by the Cuban Missile Crisis. Moreover, Soviet aid …read more

Source: OP-EDS