Time For Some Top-Down Executive Head-Smacking, Mr. President, Regarding Medical Marijuana Raids

President Obama is on record as saying he thinks medical marijuana raids are a bad use of Justice Department resources. And his administration has just seen its first one happen today, in South Lake Tahoe, California.

Americans for Safe Access note that it's still Bush appointees in charge as of today, but:

"Whether or not this unconscionable raid on a medical marijuana provider is the fault of federal officials from the previous administration, President Obama has an opportunity to change this harmful and outdated policy," said Caren Woodson, Director of Government Affairs for Americans for Safe Access (ASA). "We are hopeful that these are the last remnants of the Bush regime and that President Obama will quickly develop a more compassionate policy toward our most vulnerable citizens."

The federal agents in that Tahoe raid stole a bunch of things, but fortunately did not kidnap and lock in a cage anyone today.

This does bring up the thing that I think gripes me the most about the mad love that so many of my progressive left/quasi-Bohemian friends and acquaintances spill over our new leader: While he's said some nice things about the medical pot issue, he is fully supportive of the general set of laws in our country by which people making choices about what to eat or smoke that cause no direct harm to anyone else--choices that for the most part the very people I am speaking of have made, are making, and/or have loved ones or family who have made or are making--are locked up in a cage. That in and of itself should be enough to disqualify him for tearful adoration, and makes it quite questionable whether he even deserves minimal respect, from genuine lovers of good ol' fashioned truth, justice, and the American Way.

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  • Hopey McChange||

    That was quick!

  • ||

    I can understand how being a libertarian can numb one to considerations of political practicality, because let's face it; nothing libertarians do is going to have the slightest effect on their level of political viability. So, you can let your freak flag fly.

    On the other hand, people who actually seek to get to a position where they can influence public policy have to consider that coming out against drug prohibition guarantees that they will cede the field to, for example, people who are honest-to-god jacked up drug warriors.

    The fact that Barack Obama hasn't publicly stated that he is simpatico with Jacob Sullum on drug policy doesn't tell us much of anything about what he believes.

  • ||

    Anyone want to buy a painting of the president?

    http://bethblog.com/

    I wonder if magical unicorn mayonnaise comes out the horn?

  • MNG||

    Good post. But saying Obama is not correct on the WOD is not the same as saying he is not better, at least as he promised. He needs watching on his raid promise, and heaping condemnation if he welches on it.

  • MNG||

    "you can let your freak flag fly"

    Is that anything like "I'm gonna rock out with my cock out?"

  • Brian Doherty||

    But Joe, I do think it tells us a lot about what he'll do, which is all that really matters. I doubt very much B.O. thinks it makes a lot of sense to arrest pot possessors and users. And I fully expect the government he runs will continue to lock them up. If I turn out to be wrong, I will sing a song of praise to our president.

    And no, merely telling DOJ to ease up on these raids won't be enough to make him worthy of any decent person's respect--especially of the types I specifically mentioned above, who express tearful adoration of a man who is willing and able to lock them up for something they regularly do and think, correctly, that they have a perfect right to do.

  • ||

    Brian,

    Does it?

    What do you think somebody who had a cunning plan to make as much progress as is realistically possible on this issue would sound like?

  • Kolohe||

  • ||

    BTW, Brian,

    The fact that I'm not inclined to damn political figures for not committing electoral suicide doesn't mean I object to the type of hard line, outside-the-system agitation you and Jacob engage in.

    You're shifting the windows left. God bless you for it.

  • Brian Doherty||

    Joe---I think you are smart enough to get this. You enjoy arguing. That's cool. But you do get that peculiar libertarians like myself think that it is ABSOLUTELY MONSTROUS to run a machine that steals from everyone in order to lock them up for their personal choices in substances to eat and smoke. Just an act of disgusting criminality. I understand not everyone sees it this way, and I guess maybe you don't. But we have our little reasons for objecting to locking people up arbitrarily because you don't like the choices they make in entertainment and consumption. And that Obama has shown no signs, except within the narrow realm of medical use, of believing that this system needs to STOP. Now. I guess I didn't get across my larger point here---that ANYONE who is willing and able to run the U.S. government the way it is now is pretty much in my estimation a moral monster, and it pains me to see such a person receive adulation.
    If there is mass pardoning of non violent drug offenders and an end to any federal enforcement of drug possession, sales, and use laws, I will SO HAPPILY say I was dead wrong. So happily.

  • Brian Doherty||

    Joe--the preceeding was written before I saw your last comment

  • ||

    Joe-

    Libertarians and the MassLP played a major role in the passge of Question 2. They managed to help inlfuence policy in this biggest of big government states.

    Look, for guys like me, Question 2's passage is no reason to do cart wheels. However, it is a political victory-thanks, in large measure, to the efforts of liberatrians.

  • ||

    A libertarian couldn't win an election for dog-catcher if they painted themselves red-white-and blue. Considering this it is amusing to listen to them carp from the sidelines. Of course the drug war is bullshit and it needs to be addressed but considering the economic and foreign policy challenges we facing it's not the time to open that can of worms. The Rush Limbaughs and other assorted morons with loudspeakers are just waiting to make hay and a headline like "President Obama comes out in support of marijuana" would be manna from heaven for them.

  • ||

    Joe-

    Electoral suicide? He just got sworn in two days ago!

    Yeah, let me anticipate a counter point. You could argue that if Obama pushes the pot (pun suddenly intended) issue, he could lose some political capital. I don't see it. If he acted now and decisively, do you really think that he would lose his core constituency?

  • ||

    Neil-

    Then why do libertarians occupy more elected and appointed positions than all other parties combined, save the two parties of state?

  • ||

    I not only get it, Brian, I sympathize with it. The drug war ruins the lives of people who haven't done anything wrong, and it needs to stop.

    The importance of the problem makes it more important that efforts be focused, disciplined, and calibrated for maximum effectiveness. Not less.

    It can't just be an exercise in moral purity. It has to be a two-front war.

    If you think it makes any difference whether Barack Obama or Orrin Hatch runs the country, in terms of drug policy, than you are implicitly acknowledging that it's good for Barack Obama to try to become President.

    Marginal benefits matter more because of how monstrous our drug policy is. Not less.

  • MNG||

    Are the "neils" and "leftitis" just regulars here who want to see some debate? I applaud that, because an echo chamber does no person any good, but just wait a second dude. I there are people like joe, and tony, and myself, real "liberals" who will eventually get there. We're not omnipresent you know? We'll get there eventually to provide a liberal perspective...

  • MNG||

    Brian is working to shift the goal posts in general.

    People like joe and I are working to shift the Democratic Party's goal posts.

    I just wonder, are the SIV's out there working to shift their crappy party's goal posts on this issue?

  • MNG||

    I mean, does a liberal ever pop up mad at the libertarians here and call everyone "dope smokers" like some of the conservatives do?

  • ||

    Time For Some Top-Down Executive Head-Smacking, Mr. President, Regarding Medical Marijuana Raids
    Brian Doherty | January 22, 2009, 7:17pm


    12 minutes later

    joe | January 22, 2009, 7:29pm | #
    The fact that Barack Obama hasn't publicly stated that he is simpatico with Jacob Sullum on drug policy doesn't tell us much of anything about what he believes.


    comes joe to defend his messiah, the secret War on Drugs Liberty opponent.

    He (joe) will now tell us all of the other War on Drugs Minorities/Youth/Sanity/Human Nature* tactics Obama has come out against. With links.

    * I have other descriptions.

  • and lock in a cage anyone||

    There is something up with which I will not put.

  • ||

    libertymike

    please understand I speak from a position of wanting libertarians in office. It is their politically tone-deaf approach that I find so frustrating. There certainly are a few lonely libertarians out there on the odd school board etc. but no governors, state reps, senators, and certainly no one in sight of the presidency. Even Ron Paul who could have made a real splash by running as the LP candidate this past year failed to make intelligent political decisions. when the libertarians start taking electoral politics more seriously, people will take their message more seriously.

  • juke||

    I think the line Brian has taken here will be quite reasonable in a couple of months time if Obama does not use his power to change current policy. A day after the inauguration is not enough time to condemn the man yet for continuing the status quo.

    I think joe has a point about remaining politically respectable, to some extent, in order to change *some* other things on the agenda, so some window on moving on this action is understandable. My hopeful expectations would be a first step of calling off the federal dogs on the medical marijuana raids within a matter of weeks, preferably days. Then, in his first 100 days, pardoning non-violent drug offenders and working towards decriminalizing all marijuana use. After that, the next step would be, after mainstream America realizes that the country is not going down the toilet (over this issue anyway) to take steps to end the war on drugs for good.

  • ||

    libertymike, you make good points.

    1. The people who got Question 2 passed didn't run a campaign based on how awful the drug war is. But you're right, there have definitely been bright spots appearing in different parts of the country.

    2. I think Obama does have to move the ball in the right direction over the course of his term. He really should lay down the law on these raids.

    You know, I just don't see a great anti-drug moral panic getting ginned up by the Republicans or anyone else in 2009, the way it was in the 1980s. People have other things on their minds. It was the conventional wisdom that Obama couldn't push drug reform because of the Southern Strategy, but opinion on how well that works on him seems to have shifted. He's probably got more room to maneuver on the issue than Clinton, who was from the Sixties.

  • ||

    Long experience has taught me that politicians tend to lag trends, not lead them. It is safer in the rear. So I don't expect much just yet, but if the anti-prohibition movement keeps getting stronger, we may yet get our wish.

    That said, the first couple of days of Obama's presidency have been very good! He has moved to end a lot of the secrecy and close Gitmo. It looks like he is going to genuinely end torture and has appointed people who public denounce it. He is voluntarily cutting back on some presidential powers. These are all good things, and it is a big relief to see them done.

  • ||

    blah blah blah messiah

  • thoreau||

    I'm not optimistic on drug policy reform from Obama or anybody else. I will offer this minor argument for why drug reformers should not write him off:

    The most dangerous precedents from terrorism policy will come home to roost in the drug war. If Obama makes good on reversing the crimes of the past 8 years, that will at least fend off a potentially monstrous expansion of drug policy. The initial signs on detention and torture are good (still waiting on wiretaps) but of course the proof will come when people are actually either released or tried for crimes in real courts, and when torturers are also put on trial.

  • SIV||

    lol

  • ||

    "I mean, does a liberal ever pop up mad at the libertarians here and call everyone "dope smokers" like some of the conservatives do?"

    No, but we have Lefiti and that is worse. :)

  • Kolohe||

    You know, I just don't see a great anti-drug moral panic getting ginned up by the Republicans or anyone else in 2009,

    I can, however, see it getting ginned up in 2010 for the midterms
    1) The Republicans ain't likely going to have too much else (but you never know)
    2) There's a distinct possibility that crime in general will increase by next year either due to the economy or that these things just happen.

    All Obama has to do is an EO similar to and in fact much shorter than the ones he already has - issue one that puts a 120 day moritorium on raids of state licensed clinics until the issue can be 'studied'

    I'm still betting he'll take no action. We'll see what changes actually occur after a new DEA head and 'drug czar' are appointed. At best, prosecutions will be stopped quietly, much like how obcenity prosecutions were quietly ceased in the Reno justice department. (To be fair, this will be good enough to fufill the promise)

  • ||

    I can, however, see it getting ginned up in 2010 for the midterms

    That would be a hoot. You know what that would do? Provoke such a backlash against the drug war that Obama would be forced to take positive action.

    I want Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney to run in 2012 on a platform of expanding that drug war. They'd win Utah.

  • Kolohe||

    That would be a hoot. You know what that would do? Provoke such a backlash against the drug war that Obama would be forced to take positive action.

    Depends on the actual state of crime. More precisely, it depends on the *perception* on what the state of crime is. If there's fear, they're won't be a backlash; there'll be enabling. (see also, Iraq, Congressional midterms, 2002.)

  • ||

    How many Macaca moments do you think we'd get out of three hundred or so Republicans running negative campaigns for Congress against the Democrats and Barack Obama?

    I don't think Barack Obama can go out there and repeal the CSA, but I don't see a big drug war push being good politics for the foreseeable future.

    Remember all those people who spent the presidential campaign talking about Mike Dukakis?

  • Hopey McChange||

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss!

  • ||

    Nothing much is going to change if political expediency is the answer to every continued government abuse.

  • Hopey McChange||

    Joe will defend me no matter what! :)

  • Mitt Romney||

    "joe | January 22, 2009, 8:33pm | #
    I want Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney to run in 2012 on a platform of expanding that drug war. They'd win Utah."

    I think we should DOUBLE mandatory minimums!

  • BDB||

    I was "Mitt Romney", btw. I still can't figure out what he meant by "doubling gitmo". That guy is a douchebag.

  • Kolohe||

    I don't think Barack Obama can go out there and repeal the CSA,

    He won Virginia and North Carolina.

    Oh, you mean *that* CSA.

  • BDB||

    "He won Virginia and North Carolina."

    And Florida. And in something that blows my mind, did better in SC than McCain did in the "swing state" of PA.

  • lukas||

    It is safer in the rear.



    So true...

  • ||

    I don't really see why libertarians expect "progressives" to deliver any kind of relief in terms of the drug war at all. I know a few progressives who think pot should be decriminalized, but they usually qualify that with "then we can tax and regulate it" and without exception the progressives I know are unwilling to offer such allowances for cocaine and heroine. The philosophical divide is fundamental. Libertarians just believe that locking someone up for their personal consumption habits (whatever they may be) is evil and progressives don't. Until we can convince a critical mass of progressives (or conservatives) to become libertarians, I don't see much reason for hope.

  • cunnivore||

    I totally understand that you have to practice politics in the real world, joe. The problem is that Obama has an image -- an image he's fed into at every opportunity -- as a political iconoclast who will change the way the government operates. This is the biggest problem I have with Obama: his two-faced behavior. We saw it with the "bitter/cling" controversy, the conversations with Canadian officials about NAFTA, and we're seeing it again here.

    He can claim the mantle of a great leader or he can sacrifice his principles in the name of political expediency. He can't do both.

  • Oh Yeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaah!!!||

    Other than a very qualified suggestion of easing of federal interference with medical mj in States where it is "legal"(pending FDA approval?) Obama has said nothing about relaxing the drug war.You dopertarians are projecting like any other Kool-Aid drinking Messiah culties.

  • ||

    He needs watching on his raid promise, and heaping condemnation if he welches on it.

    Check. He welched on it today, so fuck him.

    -jcr

  • Travis||

    Ownership of your own body is the most fundamental right there is. Anyone that infringes on your personal sovereignty is a slave master & should be treated as such. Fuck Obama, Bush & everyone that supportes them.

  • Seward||

    As long as the mass of population feels that recreational drug use is a "great evil" Obama (or any other politician) will not back the repeal of the laws which make that use illegal.

  • Alan Vanneman||

    "That in and of itself should be enough to disqualify him for tearful adoration, and makes it quite questionable whether he even deserves minimal respect, from genuine lovers of good ol' fashioned truth, justice, and the American Way."

    I believe in decriminalizing Mary Jane and other drugs, but this is silly. It's been the "American Way" to lock up marijuana users for the past 75 years. Isn't that the "American Way"? How many parents of teen-age kids are comfortable with decriminalization? A sensible drug policy is a very tough sell. For a Democrat, impossible. Now that Obama's in the White House, Libertarians are proving to be poor losers.

  • ||

    I don't care how Osama treats American citizens, as long as he gives the terrorists at gitmo fair trials.

    That was awesome. I really out-trolled myself that time.

  • ||

    A point for everyone who says Obama will do nothing here. He didn't raise a quarter billion dollars stirring the pot (sorry), and if he wants to be re-elected he's not going to start now.
    Extra credit for everyone who realizes that all politicians lie, especially the ones from Illinois.

  • Seward||

    bigbigslacker,

    Your "troll" does bring up a legitimate point. While it is nice to see Gitmo being closed as a detention center, in the grand scheme of things, it is a pretty small, peripheral thing in comparison to all the lives effected by the WoD.

  • ||

    We could get an idea on what he will do about it, if someone, say a journalist with any access to the President whatsoever, asks him the fucking question.

    "Do you support today's raid on the medical marijuana provider in Tahoe, or will you take swift action to right this wrong as you suggested while you campaigned? Will you end such raids going forward, or did you lie to the American people?"

    If only we knew some journalists...

  • jk||

    I'm not ready to blame B.O. for this.

    If the CA attorney general, Jerry Brown, were worth his salt, he would issue warrants for the arrest of federal officers who conducted the raid. Burglary, kidnapping, using a firearm during a felony. It's not like this the first time. Brown should have been prepared to arrest them at the airport even if the CA police didn't catch them in the act.

  • HomoCosmo||

    While it is nice to see Gitmo being closed as a detention center, in the grand scheme of things, it is a pretty small, peripheral thing in comparison to all the lives effected by the WoD ban on gay marriage.

    Fixedth !

  • jk||

    HomoCosmo,

    I don't think anyone in the US is locked in a small cage for being the bride, groom, or bride-groom in a marriage ceremony.

  • ||

    Seward, I only said "troll" because I way overstated my case by calling the detainees "terrorists" when in fact we don't know their status. That was the only intentional trolling for response.

    But I do agree with your agreeing with me (funny how that is...)that we should be as or more concerned with the MILLIONS of Americans that are deprived of their rights. Nobody in this country has their 6th amendment right to a trial by an impartial jury. The judge tells the jury what they are allowed to consider as evidence. The 8th amendment is violated by nearly every drug war sentence. You can die from AIDS in prison because you got caught with marijuana plants. And to top it off, everyone thinks its a funny joke. PMITA prison - oh that's just hillarious.

    But the rights of foreign "terrorists" get first consideration. Not that I don't think they should get fair trials, but, well, I beat this horse enough already.

    I'm with HomoCosmo as well.

    There are a lot of rights being stepped on. While the rights violations in US-controlled Cuba are bothersome, I'm less sympathetic than I am for the plight of Americans that we know were not harming others.

  • ||

    jk, shear numbers. There are millions of homosexuals deprived of their rights. And they didn't even shoot anybody. (again, not that the gitmo detainees have had real trials)

  • Czar||

    If asshole politicians and those who support them are going to continue whining that they can't do what should be done because it'll hurt their chances for re-election, maybe we should just impose a one-term limit on national office. Then voting your conscience wouldn't be a problem anymore, right?

  • Paul||

    The fact that Barack Obama hasn't publicly stated that he is simpatico with Jacob Sullum on drug policy doesn't tell us much of anything about what he believes.

    And what he believes tells us even less about what he'll actually do.

  • ||

    It's only day 2! He can't have control of the entire bureaucracy immediately, and can't spend political capital on marijuana on his first and second days in office.

    He already said he's gonna be pragmatic and adhere to science. Those things require him to end medical marijuana raids. All he has to do to get away with it politically is frame the raids as another extreme Bush policy. Nobody likes Bush or anything he did except the ultraright, who are, let's face it, the only people still against medical marijuana.

  • Paul||

    Good post. But saying Obama is not correct on the WOD is not the same as saying he is not better, at least as he promised

    MNG,

    True, but we need perspective. Better isn't that hard to do, considering that the drug war has expanded from the old standby's (heroin, crack, cocaine, marijuana etc.) to implicitly include all substances which are seen as a danger to 'the public health' (cigarettes, fatty foods, trans-fats, obesity etc.).

    While yes, it's a little early to tell for Obama, there's not a great track record with our fine friends on the near left, let alone the far left when it comes to live-and-let-live.

    So forgive us for waxing skeptical.

  • ||

    His staff hasn't even gotten all of their phone lines working yet. I'm pretty sure the DEA is running on standard operating procedure for now, I highly doubt Obama has had the time to, the opportunity to, or the desire to spend a single second thinking about this subject when he's currently trying to get the balls rolling on economic recovery, ending a war (or two), deal with the Gaza situation, deal with Gitmo and torture, and is still moving into the building.

    Sorry, but this isn't going to be his top priority. Nor should it be.

  • Paul||

    His staff hasn't even gotten all of their phone lines working yet. I'm pretty sure the DEA is running on standard operating procedure for now, I highly doubt Obama has had the time to, the opportunity to, or the desire to spend a single second thinking about this subject when he's currently trying to get the balls rolling on economic recovery,

    mmmmm, kind of.

    Welcome to modern politics, and a whole lot of people for which politics is more than a hobby. This campaign started in, what, 1954? Something like that. Anyway, from the first moments Barack Obama became a serious candidate, let alone the Democratic frontrunner, he's had teams (teams I say!) of lawyers and experts in his inner circle planning exactly what is going to happen on the first day(s) in office. Take the interesting and mind-bogglingly complex issue of closing Guantanamo.

    I agree that we shouldn't be dropping nukes on his head for this raid, but he has an opportunity to respond to it. Even if he gives a hat tip somewhere on the lines of "These raids are going to cease when the phone lines get working" would be nice.

  • ||

    To the commenter who dubbed himself "and lock in a cage anyone," presumably to mock what he deems overly precise grammar on Doherty's part:

    You're confused. The clause was worded that way not to pedantically avoid ending a sentence with a preposition, as you seem to think. It was worded that way because where else is the object ("anyone") going to go?

    It would not make sense to write, "they did not kidnap and lock anyone in a cage today," because then either: (A) the verb "kidnap" is left without an object; or (B) we must read it as "kidnap anyone in a cage," which is not the intended meaning.

  • ||

    "Nobody likes Bush or anything he did except the ultraright, who are, let's face it, the only people still against medical marijuana."

    rubbish. i know more than a few people against medical marijuana (i obviously disagree with them). the idea that opposition to medical mj is solely the ultraright is absurd. there are a fair # of people in the medical field, who could easily be described as left of center who are against it.

    for pete's sake, sanjay gupta has publically stated in time magazine no less that he is against it. he's obama's new surgeon general. here's a hint. he aint ultraright (here come the "but he's a pharma shill" which is great, but he aint even close to right wing. that's a given).

    also note that obama has come out (he hasn't done anything, but he says he will. ) saying that he is against the raids on medical mj clinics. i applaud him for that. let's see if his statement makes its way into action. i'm willing to give him a little time.

    i ultimately see this as a federalism issue.

    assume for the sake of argument that medical mj is a complete sham. that's tangential to the fact that several states have passed medical mj, and despite the (incorrect) reading of the "commerce clause" by the scotus (shame on scalia), somebody who is prescribed medical MJ by a doctor in california, and then grows a few plants in his house is not engaged in any way shape or form, any sort of commerce as mentioned in the commerce clause, and thus the feds SHOULD have no jurisdiction.

    it is simply not a role of the federal govt. to get engaged in a state's decision about alternative medical treatments.

    again, as a matter of policy, i don't think ANY sort of mj (medical or recreational) should be criminal, but the constitutional law issue is most compelling in this case imo

  • ||

    OK, sure, give him a break for this one.

    So, how much longer should business-as-usual raids be tolerated? I note joe seems willing to give him 4 - 8 years before doing anything (something about "over the course of his Presidency" above).

    This is one of those things that it strikes me either happens early in an administration or not at all.

  • ||

    Pray for me. I am fighting the DEA in Knoxville Tn. today. The lies they tell make me sick.

  • ||

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss!

    I can remember when people who wrote this were willing to put their names on it. "Hopey."

    Like, last weekend. "Hopey."

    Been a pretty momentous couple of days. "Hopey."

  • ||

    R C Dean | January 23, 2009, 7:36am | #

    OK, sure, give him a break for this one.

    So, how much longer should business-as-usual raids be tolerated?


    Why, two days, of course. Otherwise he's a sell out I was right meet the new boss now take backs!

  • Tom: thanks for the response, ||

    The federal agents in that Tahoe raid stole a bunch of things, but fortunately did not kidnap anyone and lock them in a cage today.

  • ||

    Shorter Joe: we need to do evil to maintain our power so we can do good. The WoD's disproportionate impact on minorities and the poor and its violations of civil liberties and the Bill of Rights are nothing compared to our need to raise marginal tax rates on the top 5% of earners.

  • ||

    I don't see stopping the DEA raids as being problematic for Obama. He said, flat out, during the campaign that he would, so this should surprise no one. He doesn't need to get a bill passed or get anyone else's approval, just issue a one-page executive order. Done.

    I don't buy the argument about losing political capital either. In both states where pot initiatives were on the ballot (MI and MA) the initiatives got a higher percentage of the vote than Obama did. There may be some democrats out there who are against stopping the raids, but I don't Obama would lose support on any important issues over this. Who would they support instead?

    I'm trying to imagine somebody saying "I was going to support the stimulus package but now that you stopped the DEA raids I just can't anymore." Is there really anybody out there who would say that?

  • Nigel Watt||

    joe, Barack Obama doing what's politically expedient means he is as bad as every other politician, making you a moron for supporting him. His personal thoughts are irrelevant.

  • ||

    ...I don't believe Obama would lose support on any important issues over this.

    FTFM. On the other hand, maybe posts would be more entertaining if we just left out every other word.

  • ||

    Is the name "jsh" supposed to represent the sound my points make as they whoosh over your head?

    Because what you wrote doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to any argument I've made.

  • ||

    The federal agents in that Tahoe raid stole a bunch of things, but fortunately did not kidnap anyone and lock them in a cage today.


    As long as we're being pedantic...I'm pretty sure that anyone is considered singular, so "them" should be replaced by a singular pronoun. I leave it everyone else to debate whether that should be him, her, him/her, her/him, or whatever.

  • ||

    Nigel,

    The Purity Pose your striking is a way for you to maintain your self image at the expense of meaningful progress.

    Chuck,

    I don't think it would be too problematic for Obama to keep his camapaign pledge, politically. My comments about political reality were addressed more to Mr. Doherty's hard-line statement about Obama not deserving even "minimal respect" if doesn't completely end the drug war. By that reasoning, Obama wouldn't deserve even minimal respect if he did end the DEA raids on legal marijuana dispensaries, which is another way of saying that ending those raids doesn't matter.

  • ||

    [bookmarks page]

  • ||

    Joe,

    Got it. From a practical perspective, all one has to do is look at the recent dustup in El Paso to see how politically difficult it is to even start a conversation on ending the WOD.

    On the other hand, I can't bring myself to disagree with Doherty's statement that it is "questionable" whether Obama deserves any respect unless he is willing to start such a conversation. The WOD is the source of a lot of what is wrong in this country (in my opinion). Recessions come and go, but liberties lost don't come back without a massive fight. If Obama wants respect, he still needs to prove himself to be something other than just another Chicago politician. He hasn't done it yet, as far as I'm concerned. Maybe he will, and I'm still trying to keep an open mind.

  • Seward||

    Chuck,

    Because politicians have to do what is "politically expedient" is a good illustration of why real or significant change doesn't come from politicians. Take for example the current U.S. tax system; now that Obama has all this political capital, all this support, he could do a lot to simplify it; make it more like a modern tax system like that found in more advanced countries. Instead we appear to be going along the same byzantine path we've been on since the current system of individual taxation was created.

  • Seward||

    joe,

    The Purity Pose your striking is a way for you to maintain your self image at the expense of meaningful progress.

    Doesn't Obama have to seek meaningful progress first? Sounds like having the cart before the horse to me.

    As several have note, an EO at the very least suspending these sorts of raids would be a very easy step for him to make.

  • ||

    Is the name "jsh" supposed to represent the sound my points make as they whoosh over your head?

    Come on, Joe. Arresting little old ladies with cancer who take something illegal for their symptoms is the price we all have to pay for politicians you support to maintain the power they need to raise marginal tax rates on the top 5%. That is why liberals have to support the WoD, no matter what they actually think of it. Grandma will just have to take the hit for The Common Good, as will the disproportionate % of minorities locked up on WoD related charges.

    Gotta raise those taxes, or else why even bother with a government?

  • ||

    Joe, if Bush's WoT violations of civil liberties were still popular, would it be right for the Dems to come out in favor of them, in order to avoid "electoral suicide" and maintain the power they need to Do Good?

  • SpongePaul||

    A sensible drug policy is a very tough sell...............
    And that is one of ther major problems in AMerica today. People just do not listen to common sense, and tolerate differences of opinion.

  • ||

    So, how much longer should business-as-usual raids be tolerated?

    Why, two days, of course. Otherwise he's a sell out I was right meet the new boss now take backs!


    You'll note, joe, that I said to give him a break for this one.

    I was asking you a serious question, taking you at your word that he will need some time to get these stopped:

    How much time should we give him? How long/how many of these raids before it is fair to say that his campaign promise was empty rhetoric?

  • ||

    joe, don't lash out. We don't want you to hate, we want you to LOVE!

  • ||

    Chuck, Seward,

    I think that the act of clamping down on the DEA's raids in California would start a conversation about the drug war, and do so on much more favorable ground, than if he gave on prime time speech on how wrong it is for coke dealers to go to jail.

    jsh,

    Come on, Joe. Arresting little old ladies with cancer who take something illegal for their symptoms is the price we all have to pay for politicians you support to maintain the power they need to raise marginal tax rates on the top 5%. And this is where you demonstrate your inability to reed reel gud: I've written, what, a dozen times now that I think Obama can and should stop the DEA raids?

  • ||

    RC,

    You'll note, joe, that I said to give him a break for this one.

    I do note that. Since I wasn't clear, I was riffing off your statement, not criticizing you for it. Others have struck a much more hard line pose, and my comment was addressed to them.

    Sorry for the confusion.

    On the question of how much slack to give him, I think we need to look not only at speed, but also significance. If it takes him two years to come out with something on marijuana raids, but the end product is a set of reforms as significant in scope as, say, what he's stated he will do about Gitmo, I'm not going to complain.

  • ||

    I've written, what, a dozen times now that I think Obama can and should stop the DEA raids?

    You say he should, but are you willing to forgive him for not doing so and committing "electoral suicide" so he can continue to hold the power he needs to raise tax rates?

  • Seward||

    joe,

    Well, what, on his first day in office he signed a EO concerning family planning overseas and abortion. He could have done the same thing about these raids. Until he does so on an issue which I doubt he would get any real flak for there is really no reason to expect any change from his administration on the WoD.

    R.C. Dean,

    I'd say give him thirty days to mention the issue. If he doesn't then it likely won't arise any time soon if at all. Presidents like to strike while the iron is hot after all.

  • Seward||

    joe,

    If it takes him two years to come out with something on marijuana raids, but the end product is a set of reforms as significant in scope as, say, what he's stated he will do about Gitmo, I'm not going to complain.

    To the best of my knowledge the Obama administration still has specific set of plans about the Gitmo prisoners. So I'm not quite sure what he has stated he will do about Gitmo except, well, close it. He could make an equally general decision about these drug raids as well.

  • ||

    jsh,

    You say he should, but are you willing to forgive him for not doing so and committing "electoral suicide" so he can continue to hold the power he needs to raise tax rates?

    I've answered this already. Read the thread.

  • ||

    Seward,

    I think you left out a "no," but to your point, as I understand it: that's why I wrote "stated he will do."

    Well, what, on his first day in office he signed a EO concerning family planning overseas and abortion. He could have done the same thing about these raids. Oh, give me a break! He takes unprecented action with unprecedented speed on a number of very significant issues - issuing executive orders on the first and second day of his adminstration - so now solving problems on the first or second day of his adminstration becomes the baseline?

  • ||

    I'd be impresed if Obama had a big press conference with Russell Tice explaining that there would be a full investigation of the NSA and the people who broke the law would be punished. Ron Paul needs to be the head of the comittee doing the investigtion. Anything less and Obama is just another Stasi criminal.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icBTtjwml_8

  • ||

    Obama's order of Gitmo was nice...it means nothing if it isn't followed up on properly. At this point it could easily be a PR cover for shifing prisoners from one deathcamp to another.

    Seeing as how Obama supported the gutting of FISA, it is not hard to imagine that Obama has no every intention of maintaining and benefiing from a East German style spying agency. Obama doesn't care and thinks funding China's one child policy is more important.

  • ||

    At this point it could easily be a PR cover for shifing prisoners from one deathcamp to another.

    That's a legit concern, but notice that Obama ordered the closing of the secret CIA prisons around the world as well, which is getting very little press. If the Gitmo order was just PR, I don't think he would have done that, since the press would have reported the story "Obama orders Gitmo closed" the same way.

  • ||

    I did notice that and was happy to see it...Doesn't mean I believe it will happen. If he follows up on the Russel Tice thing hardcore then I'd believe he is somewhat sincrer...continue to intimidate and spy on Mr Tice(former NSA) with FBI agents and I'll believe Obama is a criminal.

  • ||

    Trust, but verify.

    On Tice's info - there is a third possibility: he's good on torture and detention, but bad on wiretapping. We'll see.

  • ||

    "peculiar libertarians like myself think that it is ABSOLUTELY MONSTROUS to run a machine that steals from everyone in order to lock them up for their personal choices in substances to eat and smoke. Just an act of disgusting criminality..." -Doherty

    And peculiar libertarians such as myself, too. The bottom line is simple: either you own yourself, your body, and the products of your life, or you don't. In many countries, the assumption (at least traditionally, historically, if not technically in law) is the latter. In the US, so history tells us, it was and should be the former. Anything else is anathema to the American spirit and is, indeed monstrous to those who share in that spirit.

  • ||

    "The bottom line is simple: either you own yourself, your body, and the products of your life, or you don't."

    As much as you like to repeat this libertopia dogma, we still live in a modern society and there is such a thing as a social contract. We all agree to give up some freedoms so that we can have things like schools, roads, national defense and protections from robber barrons.

    Sure the drug warriors get carried away frequently, but it is important to combat this type of thing strategically. Obama cannot just willy-nilly speak his mind about every little thing he wants to change. He needs to keep the cards close to his chest, you aren't much of a poker player are you?

  • oat willie||

    At this point it could easily be a PR cover for shifing prisoners from one deathcamp to another.

    That's a legit concern, but notice that Obama ordered the closing of the secret CIA prisons around the world as well, which is getting very little press. If the Gitmo order was just PR, I don't think he would have done that, since the press would have reported the story "Obama orders Gitmo closed" the same way.


    There's always that, you know, "extended flight" to the detention centers which could allow for some Jack Baur action on the prisoners detainees before they arrive.

  • oat willie||

    "We all agree to give up some freedoms so that we can have things like schools, roads, national defense and protections from robber barrons."

    I fail to see how my responsible consumption of a freakin' god given plant interferes with any of the above functions of government, so I declare this version of the "social contract" invalid.

    Protections from robber barons? How's that trillion dollar bailout thing going?

  • Seward||

    joe,

    He takes unprecented action with unprecedented speed on a number of very significant issues...

    I will note that Clinton did the very same thing with regard to family planning funding on his first day in office. So the action wasn't "unprecedented." Indeed, Clinton was reversing what Reagan had declared by EO, just like Obama reversing what Bush declared by EO.

    ...issuing executive orders on the first and second day of his adminstration...

    That's really not that unusual. There are typically always some sort of immediate action that newly elected Presidents like to take.

    ...so now solving problems on the first or second day of his adminstration becomes the baseline?

    Well, he promised to do it. It is in fact a no-brainer.

    So, no, I won't be giving Obama a break. I'm his boss after all.

  • Seward||

    oat willie,

    At this point it is closer to two trillion. That doesn't include the upcoming "stimulus" package they are talking about.

  • ||

    There are no "secret CIA prisons"....that is a conspiracy theory.

  • Seward||

    Anyway, in sum this seems like a pretty easy to make and implement. It would also be a just action of a pretty high order. So until Obama decides to make a decision on the matter I'm really not quite sure why we shouldn't hold his feet to the fire.

  • ||

    # neil | January 22, 2009, 7:49pm | #

    # A libertarian couldn't win an election for
    # dog-catcher if they painted themselves
    # red-white-and blue.

    Are you new? The LP had members in the NH and Alaska state legislatures in the last century, and every year seems to pick up new city council members and county supervisors. Here in my own home region, the city of Mountain View CA just elected a Libertarian to the council. Mountain View is a very significant city in this area, so this is no small victory. What's more encouraging is that the libertarians in such offices tend to be re-elected, showing that 1) the sky doesn't fall with libertarians in office; 2) people like libertarian voices speaking for them. In Mountain View, the new Libertarian council member actually had to run twice to win. Persistence helps.

    The problem, as you noted in a later posting, is to take local electoral success to the next level -- once again winning state legislative seats (and in more States), as well as other State and Federal office. Here, however, the LP comes up against not just the major party organizations and their usual dirty campaigning, but also the laws they have put in place to ensure their own hegemony: Onerous ballot-access requirements, for example, or gerrymandered electoral districts. Ron Paul recognized this long ago, and decided to pursue libertarian solutions as a "maverick" Republican. I think we need a strong third-party, if for no other reason than to wield the stick of electoral loss that would face candidates of the two major parties who the voters too much for granted. So I'm sorry that Paul doesn't run and win as a Libertarian, but I respect both his choice, and the repeatedly demonstrated wisdom of that choice.

    I hope, however, that more Libertarians will run for office, and that some already-elected Libertarians will mount serious campaigns for higher office. Here in California, we have term limits. A "progressive" state assemblyman with a particularly odious track record of legislation was termed out. The Libertarian who ran got almost 9% of the vote in a three-way race -- well over a third of what the GOP candidate got in this overwhelmingly Democratic-leaning district -- with little or no active campaigning. In my ultra-left county, that Libertarian got nearly HALF the vote that the GOP candidate did. In the US House race in my district, NO Libertarian ran, and the Democratic incumbent kept his seat by a landslide, without libertarian issues ever being formally voiced or considered during the campaign. You can't win if you don't play, and the lack of LP candidacy in this House race was particularly unfortunate because the incumbent has always had the grace to debate all comers on TV and radio, including any Libertarian, in previous contests. Had I known far enough in advance that there would be no Libertarian in the race, I would have run myself, just to have a Libertarian on the ballot. If that happens again in two years, I WILL run. If we keep pushing, we will see results. If we quit, we're done.

  • ||

    Talldave | January 23, 2009, 3:35pm | #

    There are no "secret CIA prisons"....that is a conspiracy theory.


    Uh, yeah, the President of the United States just doesn't know as much about what the CIA is up to as you, TallDave.

  • Seward||

    TallDave,

    Would you rather we call them "black sites" instead?

  • Seward||

    Anyway, technically as we have historically understood a "prison" they probably really weren't prisons; they were really detention and interrogation sites. Not quite sure how that improves their smell though as places of arbitrary confinement without recourse for redress.

  • ||

    # Joe | January 23, 2009, 3:09pm | #
    ## "The bottom line is simple: either you own
    ## yourself, your body, and the products of
    ## your life, or you don't."

    # As much as you like to repeat this
    # libertopia dogma

    Do you not believe it? I guess what you are saying is that you believe that people do not own their own bodies and the products of their lives, that other people, or the sovereign, automatically have claims on them. If so, you are certainly not alone, but you would probably feel more at home in Europe or Asia, where such concepts have reigned, effectively unchallenged, for millennia. This is America, and we have gone onto the battlefield numerous times to safeguard our ability to run our lives differently than the usual story in other areas of the world.

    # we still live in a modern society and there
    # is such a thing as a social contract.

    Ancient or modern, there has always been some kind of justification for a small elite to lord it over the rabble, the "social contract" being only one of the more recent and subtle.

    # We all agree to give up some freedoms so
    # that we can have things like schools, roads,
    # national defense and protections from robber
    # barrons.

    Bull. Nearly all of the things you mentioned can be provided by means other than government, and there is much credible debate as to whether 1) ALL of them might not be provided better by non-governmental sources; 2) governmental sources, when required to do so, actually do the job. Take national defense, for example. The FIRST job of a government charged with national defense should be to minimize our exposure to the need for national defense. But for decades, if not centuries now, our foreign policy has guaranteed to stir up hornets nests that eventually REQUIRE the use of military for national defense. A non-interventionist foreign policy would help us need to spend less for military, and to use those forces (and sacrifice American heroes) less often. I and many others do NOT agree that MOST of what my government does is necessary or even desirable for it to do. I and many others have articulated alternative approaches, and some of us have even demonstrated the effectiveness of those approaches (for instance, in terms of educational choice and/or privatization). For someone who accuses me of repeating "libertopian dogma," it is good that you put the phrase "social contract" in quotes, as it is only a fiction, as is the common, mistaken belief that keeping the State within its proper boundaries need not entail a hard struggle. It does, and I'm one of the strugglers. Sounds like you're not, Joe.

    Government performance is extremely questionable in the provision (and maintenance) of schools, roads, and "protection" from robber barons. It's nice to say that "the social contract" authorizes government to provide such things, but at some point, we need to ask, are we actually getting the services that justify our taxes and cessions of freedom? If there were a "social contract," our government would certainly be in breach.

    # Sure the drug warriors get carried away
    # frequently, but it is important to combat
    # this type of thing strategically. Obama
    # cannot just willy-nilly speak his mind about
    # every little thing he wants to change. He
    # needs to keep the cards close to his chest,
    # you aren't much of a poker player are you?

    From the whole of your response, I sense that you are just being sarcastic. But on the off chance that anyone out there seriously harbors thoughts similar to those you articulate, to those people I offer the points made in this posting.

  • ||

    In the response to Neil, above, a key word was mistakenly cut-n-pasted out of a sentence before I posted it. The passage should properly read as follows:

    ...to wield the stick of electoral loss that would face candidates of the two major parties who TOOK the voters too much for granted.

    ===

    Looking back, I can see that my hasty typing introduced other typos, too, but nothing that should cause any difficulty for anyone here... :-)

  • oat willie||

    "At this point it is closer to two trillion. That doesn't include the upcoming "stimulus" package they are talking about."

    One trillion, two trillion, pretty soon we'll be talking a lot of money.

  • Seward||

    Joe,

    Before defending contractarianism you may wish to read this: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/contractarianism/#4

  • ||

    I was a little worried about Obama taking a slow pace to enact some civil liberty reform as well.

    Then I read an article by a young political scientist named "pete wentz" over at huffpo (yes that fucking pete wentz), and I realize that obama, and I quote:

    "faces a challenge like Lauryn Hill after her album "Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" won five Grammys or the Coen Brothers after Blood Simple won the Sundance Grand Jury Prize. Will it take a while for his own Fargo or No Country for Old Men? Or will success come early and often? Either way I, for one, am glad the underdog got a shot."

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/pete-wentz/no-longer-the-underdog_b_160415.html

    Thanks Pete! Glad I got that cleared up. Obama = underdog; election = miseducation of lauryn hill; fargo = some shit obama (or is it lauryn hill?) will do later.

    P.S. When is hell going to open up and swallow Joe Simpson and his progengy (throw in his step-progeny) so they can return to the underworld and torment Allan Bloom for perpetuity?

    (puhllleeeeaaazzzzee make it soon)

  • Neu Mejican||

    A return to pedantry.

    It would not make sense to write, "they did not kidnap and lock anyone in a cage today," because then either: (A) the verb "kidnap" is left without an object; or (B) we must read it as "kidnap anyone in a cage," which is not the intended meaning.

    Some better options:

    1)"they did not kidnap and then lock anyone in a cage today"

    2) "they did not kidnap or lock anyone in a cage today"

    3) "they did not kidnap anyone and lock them in a cage today"


    An example that would likely be judged ungrammatical by most native speakers:

    but fortunately did not kidnap and lock in a cage anyone today.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Best option?

    "but fortunately did not kidnap anyone in order to lock them in a cage today."

  • Robert||

    What would Obama lose by pardoning all non-violent federal drug offenders in his 1st 2 days in office??? Are you out of your mind?!

    The vast majority of non-black voters and their non-voting friends would conclude, "The racists were right all along! The blacks were just waiting quietly to install someone with some negricity in the White House who would open up the jails for them to terrorize us!!"

    And all black people would conclude: "This guy is making us look like a criminal gang!!" And they'd be partly right. Black politicians would lose marginal voters in droves, enough to unseat some of them and keep others from being elected, as fear of a racial conspiracy would drive their contests.

    The effect would spread to other countries, that had significant black minorities or even other racial or ethnic minorities. The USA would be believed to have set a bad precedent.

    Obama would probably survive 4 years in office, but would have soured race relations worldwide for a generation or more to come.

    It'd be different had he campaigned on that issue. But to come out of nowhere and pull that, he'd be considered a villain to practically everybody but us.

    What he could use is some kind of excuses to quietly start pardoning people here & there. The mass media would probably go along with hushing that up. The alternative media who reported such a pattern of pardons would be viewed as nuts.

  • joe||

    Just an fyi, in case anyone was confused, big J joe isn't me.

  • ||

    The DEA needs to stop arresting pot smokers. They do no one harm.
    He should make this a priority and stop the DEA from adding to the jail population! Non violent individuals do not deserve jail time for taking their medicine as I do!
    ...Obama smoked and it had no ill effects!

    brbjdl

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