Rand Paul: 'I Am Here to Ask That We Begin the End of Mandatory Minimum Sentencing'

Senate Judiciary CommitteeSenate Judiciary CommitteeTestifying about mandatory minimum sentences before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) emphasized the racially disproportionate impact of the war on drugs:

If I told you that one out of three African-American males is [prohibited] by law from voting, you might think I was talking about Jim Crow, 50 years ago. Yet today a third of African-American males are still prevented from voting because of the war on drugs. The war on drugs has disproportionately affected young black males. The ACLU reports that blacks are four to five times more likely to be convicted for drug possession, although surveys indicate that blacks and whites use drugs at about the same rate. The majority of illegal drug users and dealers nationwide are white, but three-fourths of the people in prison for drug offenses are African American or Latino.

Barack Obama expressed similar concerns before he was elected president. Since then, not so much, although his attorney general recently took up the theme, almost five years into Obama's presidency. More important, Obama has done little to address the injustices caused by the war on drugs, aside from signing the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010. That law, which reduced the irrational sentencing disparity between the smoked and snorted forms of cocaine, had almost unanimous support in Congress, so it's not as if Obama took much of a risk by supporting it. And having declared that thousands of crack offenders are serving excessively long sentences under the old rules, he has used him clemency power to free exactly one of them. Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) mentioned her at today's hearing: Eugenia Jennings, an Illinois woman who got a 22-year prison sentence for selling "a handful of crack cocaine" to an undercover cop. When Durbin told Obama about her case, the senator said, the president checked with the U.S. attorney's office that prosecuted her and the judge who sentenced her; after both said she did not belong in prison, Obama decided to shorten her sentence by 12 years.

"I'm glad the president has such great compassion," Paul commented, "because he's admitted, like a lot of other individuals who are now elected to office, that at one time he made mistakes as a youth. And I think, 'What a tragedy if he had gone to prison….American would not have gotten to see Barack Obama as a leader.'" It was hard to tell whether Paul was being sarcastic.

Paul mentioned other examples of draconian mandatory minimums, including the 55-year sentence that Weldon Angelos, a 24-year-old Utah music entrepreneur, received for a few small pot sales. Another witness, Brett Tolman, a former U.S. attorney for Utah, noted that the DEA could have busted Angelos after the first undercover buy but waited for two more, knowing that Angelos' possession of a gun would trigger stacked sentences adding up to more than half a century. Paul also cited Edward Clay, an 18-year-old first-time offender who got 10 years after he was caught with less than two ounces of cocaine, and John Horner, a 46-year-old father of three who got a 25-year mandatory minimum for selling some of his painkillers to a friend who turned out to be a police informant. "The injustice of mandatory minimums is impossible to ignore when you hear the stories of the victims," he said. "There is no justice here. It is wrong and needs to change."

Paul said the Justice Safety Valve Act, which he and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced last March, would restore some of the discretion that mandatory minimums took from judges. "We're not repealing mandatory minimums, although I probably would," he said. "What we're doing is merely allowing a judge to sentence below a mandatory minimum if certain requirements are met." Those requirements, as I explained yesterday, are the sentencing factors listed in  Title 18, Section 3553, which include, along with deterrence and public safety, "the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant" as well as "the need for the sentence imposed to reflect the seriousness of the offense, to promote respect for the law, and to provide just punishment." So while it is true that Paul's bill would not repeal mandatory minimums, it would effectively make them nonmandatory. The conclusion of Paul's testimony left no doubt as to his ultimate goal:

Each case, I think, should be judged on its own merits. Mandatory minimums prevent this from happening. Mandatory minimum sentencing, I think, has done little to address the real problem of drug abuse while also doing a great deal of damage by destroying so many lives. I am here to ask today for you to let judges to start doing their job. I am here to ask that we begin today the end of mandatory minimum sentencing.

In addition to the injustice of mandatory minimums, Paul mentioned their impact on the size of our prison system:

Since mandatory sentencing began, America's prison population has exploded, quadrupled. America now jails a higher percentage of citizens than any other country in the world, at the staggering cost of $80 billion a year.

Paul also noted the lingering costs of a felony conviction, citing a man about his age from Kentucky who grew marijuana in his apartment during college:

Thirty years later, he still can't vote, can't own a gun, and when he looks for work, he must check the box. The box basically says, "I'm a convicted felon, and I guess I'll always be one." He hasn't been arrested or convicted for 30 years, but he can't vote, he doesn't have his Second Amendment rights, and getting a job is nearly impossible for him....

For a nonviolent felony, we need to get away from a lifelong punishment.

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  • John C. Randolph||

    It was hard to tell whether Paul was being sarcastic.

    It wasn't hard to tell at all. That's probably the best zinger to come from Rand Paul in the last six months.

    -jcr

  • ||

    I wish he could go further and just say plainly that we need to decriminalize all drugs but that would be political suicide. Anyway, I am pretty happy that he is taking a stand on this and hope that things will improve to the point of someday ending the drug war. Of course though many of my progressive friends refuse to give him any credit for this gesture.

  • SweatingGin||

    Prediction on progressive response: "OMG he's being so CONDESCENDING towards PEOPLE OF COLOR!!!"

  • Dweebston||

    Courtesy of HuffPo,

    centaur927
    106 Fans
    4 hours ago ( 9:41 AM)
    He's pandering to the gun lobby and the black vote all in one clever statement.
  • Loki||

    When a republican talks about the disproportionally negative impact of the WoD on blacks it's "pandering to the black vote", but when a dem does it it's "speaking truth to power" or some such shit.

    Nevermind that Rand has very little gain as far as the black vote is concerned. They'll never vote him anyway, because OMGZ CRA!!!1111!!111!!!!

  • Robert||

    I always wonder what examples of speaking power to truth would be.

  • Enough About Palin||

    "I wish he could go further and just say plainly that we need to decriminalize all drugs but that would be political suicide."

    You know, the left says the exact same stupid shit about Obama.

  • Hyperion||

    Paul knows that we have to undo this mess the same way that the progressives got us into it. Just a little step at a time.

    many of my progressive friends refuse to give him any credit for this gesture

    Progs are statists, why would they give Paul credit for anything that helps the cause of liberty?

  • Loki||

    Progs are statists, why would they give Paul credit for anything that helps the cause of liberty?

    It's been my experience that progs love them some prohibition. Any excuse to throw people into a cage for doing things they don't like

  • ||

    If they had no desire to use force, they'd just persuade you that you were wrong, and failing that, let it go. But changing your mind is the last thing they care about. First, obey. If you happen to come around to their point of view, well good for you. Progressives are sociopaths.

  • Ted S.||

    Oh god, Cass Sunnstein is trying to nudge me again!

  • AlexInCT||

    Progs love freedom as long as you understand freedom means you are free to do what they like and want you to do.

  • thom||

    Progressives value control over everything else.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Do you mean progressives like Reagan and Bush 1?

  • some guy||

    Small moves, Ed. Small moves.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    I actually love that movie. And back then She was kinda hot. And the rational argumentation on all sides was well handled.

  • Zeb||

    I wish he could go further and just say plainly that we need to decriminalize all drugs but that would be political suicide.

    I'd still like to see someone give it a try. When has a nationally prominent politician, besides Ron Paul, done that? Especially if you are just talking about federal laws and make it a constitutional issue, it should be a solid conservative position.

  • John||

    The deeper problem is not the minimum mandatory sentences. It is the complete depravity and evil of DOJ and federal law enforcement. Federal prosecutors should pick their charge based on proof and what they think is justice in the case. Instead, they choose how to charge based on what gets them the maximum sentence. Minimum mandatory failed it prevented judges from doing something about the insane prosecutors in this country. Even if we get rid of minimum mandatory sentencing, we are still stuck with the evil that is federal law enforcement. They guy who prosecuted the Horner case ought to be in prison. Instead he is no doubt out doing the same thing to other people.

  • ||

    Progressives like Obama do not give a shit about poor black people. The poor are nothing more then pawns in their game of statism and power. As a black man, i witnessed this firsthand in the college classrooms and on the Southside. Progressives don't have much use for us until they need us for their agenda. I hope that Paul keeps on reminding people that the drug war has destroyed the inner city poor and their Progressive leader, President Obama has amped up that war.

  • John||

    Progressives are the most racist people on earth. They don't view black people as equal human beings. They view them as subhuman props to be used against conservative whites. If the issue doesn't allow progs to feel superior to other whites, they don't care about it. The entire "racism" issue in this country is nothing but a fight amongst whites and specifically the method by which Prog whites beat non prog whites into not objecting to prog policies.

  • Hyperion||

    Progressives don't have much use for us until they need us for their agenda

    To be fair to the progs, that's pretty much their opinion of everyone else, also.

  • Dweebston||

    Speak for yourself. I provide poor folks of all ethnicities with clean, Godly work in my tophat felting factory. The rumors of mercury poisoning are, I assure you, just that.

  • thom||

    I'm actually interested in ordering some tophats. Tell me, how young are the children who operate your machines?

  • John||

    The Obama's one use of clemency was to give a 12 year sentence for a single sale. Make no mistake, Obama is an evil piece of shit. He has the worst clemency and pardon record of any President in living memory. That says all you need to know about the narcissist in chief's personal morality. He is not just incompetent, he is a really bad person.

  • Hyperion||

    one out of three African-American males is [prohibited] by law from voting

    "I am President Messiah, the post racial president, and I approve of this message"

  • John||

    If we had actually elected a black President instead of a dope smoking mulatto raised by his rich white communist grandparents in Hawaii, something might have been done by that. It is an insult to people like Clearance Thomas to call Obama an African American. There is nothing African American about him.

  • ||

    Exactly. It's hilarious how poor blacks think that this guy gives a shit about them and understand their plight. He doesn't at all. Even when he did his community organization work on the Southside, he did nothing of relevance. Or when he served as State Rep for Kenwood and Hyde Park. Again he did jack squat except vote on issues of little liability. His greatest achievement was convincing people that he is incredibly smart and competent.

  • John||

    You have to remember white liberals don't actually associate with black people or know much about black culture. If you are white in this country, unless you are really poor and live in the ghetto or have served in the military, you really have very little contact with average black people and black culture. And white liberals rarely are poor and rarely serve in the military. They all live in their nice all white enclaves and smell each ohter's farts feeling tolerant. That made it very easy for Obama to convince them he was an actual black person. He is what they dream that black people are.

  • ||

    In college, the people who were always offended and protested at every little thing were the middle and upper class blacks along with the white liberals. The lower class blacks could have given two shits about anything involving social justice. They used college as the time to actually learn shit and get out of their situation.

  • John||

    I grew up white and middle class and went to a middle class school that was 20% black but had very few if any racial issues. When I went in the military and got to know blacks from different backgrounds, I had more in common with them culturally than I ever thought I would. The reason for that was that many of them were like me only a couple of generations out of the country and generally pretty socially conservative. As a middle class white kid, I had more in common with them in many ways than I did with upper class whites. But the race hustlers do everything they can to make sure as few people black and white realize that.

  • John||

    EdWuncler,

    I have this crazy dream that one day the black middle class and the white middle class will look at each other and wonder why they have been fighting all these years and then point at Washington and white progs and go "these assholes are the problem".

  • Hyperion||

    Hopefully, that is when we start loading up the trucks with the tar and feathers.

  • Hyperion||

    You have to remember white liberals don't actually associate with black people

    Yes, John, but they refer to them as 'African Americans', and that makes them feel special and superior to dumb redneck teabaggers who still refer to black people as black.

    I demand that everyone start calling me a 'European American', immediately? Being called white offends me. Wow, that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Now politicians can do whatever they want to, no matter how corrupt, because I feel special!

  • John||

    I love how white progs decide what other ethnic groups can and cannot be called. I am not sure I have ever met a black person who referred to himself as anything but black. I damn sure have never met an Indian, and I have met a few of them, who referred to himself as a "Native American".

    Everything progs say about race or ethnicity is about them being able to feel superior to other whites.

  • Ted S.||

    I seem to recall it was Jessie "Hymietown" Jackson who first insisted on using the term "African American".

  • Hyperion||

    I think you are right, but then the white liberals jumped all over it and insisted that everyone do it, whether or not most blacks even care, or not.

  • robc||

    Its obvious but something I realized yesterday.

    [noun] activists never actually represent the [noun] community.

    Sometimes by accident their issues overlap. Sometimes.

  • Robert||

    Awright, H&R Mad Libs! Giraffe and keyhole.

  • sarcasmic||

    He married the angry wookie to learn how to be black.

  • sarcasmic||

  • Hyperion||

    How is it that I knew before clicking, that it would be a white woman with no tits?

  • sarcasmic||

    You'd kick her out of bed? Are you gay? NTTAWWT

  • General Butt Naked||

    If you spent half the time you spend trying to convince us that you really, really wanna fuck skinny white women actually attempting to fuck skinny white women, you'd be knee deep in pussy.

  • sarcasmic||

    I'm happily married to a skinny white woman. Fact is that some people consider what I do to be a public service. You don't like it, don't click the links.

  • Hyperion||

    Well, I don't have to worry about it, I'm married.

    But I never dated wiminz with no tits. So, when I asked her to submit the nekked pics with her application to sleep in my bed, she wouldn't have even gotten a phone interview.

    Definitely not gay. Just that all guys don't like anorexic women.

  • sarcasmic||

    And talk about missing the point. That skinny white women with no tits was actually born in Africa, unlike so many who call themselves African-American.

  • Calidissident||

    I think any time you have a "(Nationality)-(Nationality)" it's understood that the first nationality is referring to that person's ancestry. I've always found it odd how people (on both sides) get so wound up over "African-American" yet no one cares that people of Asian or Indian descent are called "Asian" or "Indian" even if they've never been there.

    As for Charlize Theron, she's pretty, but there's definitely better looking "African-American" women out there IMO

  • sarcasmic||

    yet no one cares that people of Asian or Indian descent are called "Asian" or "Indian" even if they've never been there.

    I don't know about that. Myself and others I know who think this whole hyphenated-American thing is stupid don't care if it's African or Asian. If race isn't supposed to matter, why do people insist on being identified by their race?

  • Calidissident||

    There's nothing inherently wrong with identifying someone by race, nationality, ancestry, etc. Or people celebrating a shared heritage. It's wrong when you begin to treat people differently because of those things. Do you seriously never use the term "Asian" or "Indian?" Or do you have a different word you use to refer to them?

  • sarcasmic||

    I use the term "Indian" to describe my boss' accent, but that's about it.

  • CE||

    If you go back far enough, we're all Americans of African descent.

  • Hyperion||

    And talk about missing the point. That skinny white women with no tits was actually born in Africa, unlike so many who call themselves African-American

    I didn't miss that at all, sarc, I just wanted to continue the wiminz preference pizzing contest to no end...

  • sarcasmic||

    I just wanted to continue the wiminz preference pizzing contest to no end...

    I see. So now I'll start posting Hyperion pron. I'll start with this while we're on the subject of "African-Americans."

  • Hyperion||

    Umm, no.

  • Loki||

    You're calling Cherize Theron anorexic??? Hmmm

    *re-examines pictures*

    While she's definitely not fat, I wouldn't call her anorexic or even skinny. You can't see her ribs, and if she were "anorexic" you'd definitely be able to see them in the second pic he posted. As for her tits, while they're certainly not huge, I wouldn't call her flat chested either. The thing you have to remember about large breasted women is that 99.9 percent of the time they end up getting fat at some point in life. Unless they work on their bodies constantly it's almost impossible for them not to.

    Now if you'll excuse me *looks at pics again* I'll be in my bunk...

  • Hyperion||

    Maybe someone like Ben Carson. He would have been a world better than Obama, that's for sure.

  • Benjamin||

    At this rate, Paul's views will keep him from ever receiving the GOP nomination for president. Still, its so gratifying to watch him press on the ideological wedges found in both parties. I look forward to more comments from liberals like "Rand Paul is a psychopath, but he is right about this issue, plus like 50 other issues. But he has that evul R by his name so scary! And gunz!"

  • John||

    Killing minimum mandatories will not hurt his chances at the nomination.

  • ||

    He's "bad" for proggies on shit like Keystone and climate change, therefore he's "bad" on everything. Even when they agree with him.

  • John||

    He is just a racist camouflaging his racist small government views by pretending to care about civil liberties and black people rotting in prison.

    This is what progs tell themselves.

  • Hyperion||

    This is what progs tell themselves

    As easily as they are convinced by corrupt politicians with no morals or values, I am sure it's pretty easy for them to convince themselves of whatever they want to be convinced of.

  • John||

    When your entire sense of self worth is derived from your politics, it is pretty easy to convince you of anything that re-enforces that politics.

  • CE||

    And Obama is a progressive camouflaging his fascist philosophy by refusing to pardon anyone for anything, and by continuing to crack down on legal herbal medicine dispensaries, and by bombing other countries. Oh wait, I think I mixed that up somehow.

  • Hyperion||

    But, he's a racist, you know, that's the real problem.

  • ChrisO||

    Benjamin, I would have agreed with you in previous years, but I'm not so sure anymore. I'm not saying the GOP is genuinely turning libertarian, but I have observed a growing (and healthy) distrust by Republicans of law enforcement and the justice system in the last few years.

    A few years ago, comments on any conservative political board would be overwhelmingly in favor of the police and the drug war, but it's almost the exact opposite now.

    It would be easy to pin that on the corruption and abuses of the Obama administration, but it looks deeper to me, like something of a return to pre-Eisenhower conservatism on some issues.

  • Hyperion||

    A few years ago, comments on any conservative political board would be overwhelmingly in favor of the police and the drug war, but it's almost the exact opposite now.

    I see this too, all over the web, no matter what the political identification of the site in question.

    I don't think there is any mystery about what's going on in the GOP. Yes, they are trending libertarian, slowly, but surely. Will the trend continue? Who knows, but it has a long ways to go in any possible scenario.

  • Raven Nation||

    Yep. There have been posts at reliably conservative sites such as AmSpec, NRO, which have supported the NSA, or war in Syria, or other such issues. And the comments have overwhelmingly attacked the articles.

    There was also the mounting discontent with the end of the Bush administration, the behavior of congressional Republicans, and discontent with McCain & Romney who were seen as establishment candidates. There is ongoing vociferous criticisms of Boehner, McConnell, and others.

    As Hyperion notes, too soon to tell how deep this will run or how long but it is trending that way right now.

  • John||

    At least with regards to the cops and drug war, it runs very deep. Cops have managed to make a lot of people who used to and should support them hate their guts.

  • sarcasmic||

    But by then the people can't vote to change anything.

  • General Butt Naked||

    A few years ago, comments on any conservative political board would be overwhelmingly in favor of the police and the drug war, but it's almost the exact opposite now.

    I think it's the realization that a good percentage of law enforcement aren't 2nd amendment friendly. I frequent a few firearm forums and the stories of authoritarian cops messing with law abiding open/concealed carriers abound. When a person who's never broken a law in his life and has supported the police that whole time gets harassed he'll realize that maybe an uncritical eye toward authority is a dangerous thing.

  • Raven Nation||

    "At this rate, Paul's views will keep him from ever receiving the GOP nomination for president."

    May depend on circumstances in 2015/6. I don't think his opposition to mandatory minimums or even pot legalization will hurt him. He's been pro-life which is a big thing for a lot of Repubs. Gay marriage could be an issue. BUT, if the Dems run HRC, that may be enough for anti-gay marriage conservatives to hold their nose & vote for RP.

    Also depends on who else has their hat in the ring. It's always possible that Santorum will redeem himself or even Palin.

  • CE||

    I can clearly see an eye doctor winning the nomination in 2020 though.

  • CE||

    It's always possible that Santorum will redeem himself or even Palin.

    No, it's not.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Also, not convinced. You've got pretty reliably conservative people backing Right on Crime, Sarah Palin declaring that she doesn't think people should go to jail for smoking pot in their own home, and increasing skepticism of government power. If Paul's filibuster didn't knock him out for being "soft on terrorism", I don't think skepticism of drug laws is going to hurt him.

  • #||

    I think people don't realize to the extent that "law and order" conservatism was a backlash to the "dirty hippies" of the late 60s-70s crossed with the high crime rates of the 70s- 80s.

    Once crime started falling in the 90s and once the vietnam era became a more distant history, younger conservatives no longer cam into being in the law and order mindset.

    If you are a repyublican who is under 45, then you really don't give a shit about fighting the 70s culture war and crime stuff.

    And I think this passing of time is why polls are showing much more support for pot legalization as time moves on, even amongst conservatives.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    I think there's a lot to this. I also think a lot of conservatives are growing skeptical of the notion of having pay for keeping a lot of otherwise harmless people locked up.

  • Benjamin||

    Careful y'all. Confirmation bias is a hell of a drug.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Since then, not so much, although his attorney general recently took up the theme, almost five years into Obama's presidency.

    Took up the theme. BULL. SHIT.

  • pangloss90@gmail.com||

    I would legalize everything, but 2 oz. of cocaine is not a small amount.

  • ||

    It's just great to see all of my progressive friends trying to avoid talking about all the nonsense Obama has done as of late. Some do have integrity and condemn him but for the most part they are either quiet or will defend him to the death. My girlfriend is what you may call a Progressive but even she admits that the President is an asshole. The crazy part is that she openly admitted that she allowed herself to get duped by Obama because he gave off a sense of hope and change. She's not there yet but with the help of Obama, she is starting to see things from a libertarian side.

  • John||

    He was sold as a brand, as a way of showing the world how tolerant you were. Voting for Obama was a way for white people to show everyone they were not racist. The problem with that approach (or actually evil genius of it from Obama's perspective) is that it means turning on Obama makes you racist. Without the Obama brand how is a white person supposed to show the world they are not racist and better than all the white people who don't wear the brand?

  • ChrisO||

    John, I think that effect of Obama's on leftards is starting to wear off, at least on some of them.

    It's the case of the emperor lacking clothes. It only takes one or a few influential proggies pointing out reality to cause a snowball effect among the true believers.

    Also, presidents with low approval numbers are like wounded game in the world of Washington. Not many of the healthy members of the herd are going to risk their own necks to save his.

  • Hyperion||

    John, I think that effect of Obama's on leftards is starting to wear off, at least on some of them

    Yes, but they will vote lock step for Hillary in 2016, despite the fact that they know that she will be even worse than Obama on civil rights, privacy, and war mongering.

    Why? The answer is too obvious. Rethuglicans.

    It's still all about team in Murika. You have to vote for someone really bad to keep the other team, who are obviously much worse, from winning.

    Also, as far as Obamas real progressive base is concerned. Where are they going to turn when the Republicans are trending libertarian? That's even 1000x worse than the old social conservatives.

    When you are a prog, your entire philosophy is based on the foundation of a big, powerful, centralized government, that can by force mold the world into what you think it should be.

    Any mention of shrinking the federal government in any regard, is an abomination to progressives. There is no way they can vote for anyone libertarian or anyone who is even leaning in that direction. To do so would be calling for the destruction of their very meaning for existence.

  • John||

    They won't vote Republican. You are right. But if Hillary loses, and I think she will, they will go full militant retard. They will tell themselves that the problem was Obama was a mushy moderate sell out who lost because America wanted a real progressive.

    The Democratic party will either split apart or really drop the mask and just be openly fascist. I think it is hard to under estimate how much Obama being black and the media doing so much to cover for him because of that hid really deep problems in the Democratic party and coalition.

  • ChrisO||

    Let's not get carried away, John. LOL.

    There aren't really that many contradictions in the Democratic coalition, at least not major ones. The overriding philosophy is "Free Shit and Preferences for the Proper Groups." That philosophy can go on for a long time, even if the coalition is fractious.

    Sure, the wide-eyed college leftist idiots are going to be disillusioned, but they've never been important to the Democrats, other than as noise makers.

  • John||

    There aren't really that many contradictions in the Democratic coalition

    Oh yes there are. They are running out of free shit. The whole thing is built on giving away free shit. But there isn't the money to do that anymore. You are seeing this at the state level where state employees and traditional liberals who want their welfare and green energy ponies are turning on each other. The same thing is going to happen at the federal level. The Dems are going to play hell getting black turnout for 2016 if they pass amnesty. But if they don't pass amnesty, they are facing a revolt from Hispanics.

    The Unions are in open revolt over Obamacare. But it is very difficult to keep handing out exceptions to it at the expense of every other liberal group. The splits are endless.

    The whole thing depends on all the groups not just supporting the Dems but also not being demoralized and showing up to vote. That is getting harder and harder to do.

  • AlexInCT||

    You never go full retard.....

  • Nephilium||

    John... I actually had a black girl I used to work with say, "But you're not racist!" when I said I wasn't voting for Obama.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Yeah, Obama was pretty much the ultimate SWPL token black guy.

  • ChrisO||

    I've seen more of my proggie friends being quite willing to criticize Obama lately. It's usually the ones who aren't so tied to the mythology of the Democratic Party. The ones who are will defend him on anything, of course. Just like how too many GOP friends of mine were willing to defend Bush when he was acting more like LBJ than Reagan. Team blinders are strong.

  • ||

    You need help turning her out, is what you're saying?

  • ||

    Also Warty, you may like this but my girlfriend is from Cleveland.

  • ||

    Go on...

  • ||

    In 2008, I worked for Barnes and Noble in the People's Republic of Evanston. It was actually after night of the Presidential election and everyone was so happy and proud of themselves of electing the first black President. Me being one of the two black people that worked there, thought that I would be impressed that they voted for Obama. So during my lunch break they were all chatting with each other and looked at me and said," You must be so proud that a black person will finally be President." I responded that I was (at the time) a Republican who voted for McCain and that Obama while probably smart didn't have the wits to be President of the United States. The whole room got quiet and then on, I had the invisible scarlet letter.

  • Spoonman.||

    Reminds me of the "Everday Racism" clip that got posted here of the guy who voted for Johnson getting congratulated on BO's re-election.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Big Boi. "Bitch, I voted for Gary Johnson." Hilarious.

  • Irish||

    DAMMIT!

  • Calidissident||

    Didn't that happen to Big Boi?

  • Calidissident||

    Damn you Baked Penguin

  • BakedPenguin||

    That's what you get for living in CA, and what Irish gets for being Irish.

  • Irish||

    Me being one of the two black people that worked there, thought that I would be impressed that they voted for Obama.

    This is one of the most disgusting aspects of the American left. Black people aren't supposed to be rational individuals, they're supposed to be part of the African-American herd that can be led about by the white ranch hands.

    You should have looked them in their eyes and said Bitch, I voted for Gary Johnson John McCain.

  • ||

    What completely turned me off from being a Democrat was this girl who looked me in the face and said that as a black person, I am obligated to vote for the Democratic Party. That was my road to libertarianism.

  • Hyperion||

    I've always said, that I'm not sure how hard we need to work to create more libertarians converts (though we should), when progressives and our government are doing the work for us.

  • AlexInCT||

    I hope you bitchslaped that offensive progressive idiot.

  • Ted S.||

    You voted for McCain? What sort of monster are you? ;-)

    Although, to be fair, the Libertarians were running Bob Barr. Better to cast a write-in vote.

  • NoVAHockey||

    I don't have the figures in front of me, but I don't think needs to switch that many African America votes from D to either Paul or stay home for it to be a serious problem for the democratic nominee.

  • ChrisO||

    If the black vote stays home next year or in 2016, then the Democrats are in big trouble. That's why Cory Booker's pending implosion is important. He was clearly being pushed as the "next Obama." Three years out, though, and he's already falling apart.

    Hillary does better with Big Labor and Hispanics, but I don't believe there's anyway she's going to inspire the kind of black turnout that Obama got.

  • Killazontherun||

    Of my black associates and friends over the years, I have never heard one positive comment made about her, though plenty about her husband.

  • Hyperion||

    Well, I am sure lots of Hildebeast voters will hold their nose and vote for her, just so they can see Willy as the first male, first lady.

  • AlexInCT||

    They will be flying in truck loads of cigars and interns for him, I bet.

  • John||

    This is why the gloom and doom about the Republicans never winning another election is so misplaced. Take away the epic black turnout and Obama doesn't win in 08 much less in 12. It is pretty hard to see how they can get that kind of turnout again.

  • Calidissident||

    It probably swayed 2012, but I think Obama won by enough in 08 to win even with normal black turnout

  • John||

    True. But that was also because 08 had a huge turnout of youth and first time voters, which was because so many people wanted to vote for a black guy for President. I can't see them feeling the same need to vote for the first woman.

  • Irish||

    Especially if that woman is Hillary. She is not going to inspire the same loyalty and excitement as Mr. HopeyChangey Pantscrease did in 2008.

  • Hyperion||

    Especially if that woman is Hillary. She is not going to inspire the same loyalty and excitement as Mr. HopeyChangey Pantscrease did in 2008

    Don't count on that. In their minds, and through the media, they can make Hillary into whatever they desire her to be, no matter how boring and downright repugnant she really is.

  • Calidissident||

    Well there was that and a lot of people were fed up with Republicans because of Bush. But I think his victory in 2012 definitely had a lot to do with high black turnout

  • Hyperion||

    They won't need it. The stupid party will run another loser. Not sure who, but make no mistake, they will find the perfect RINO loser.

    Also, a majority of women will vote for the first female president. No, I'm not collectivizing women, GDit, I'm stating a fact.

    Take those facts, and throw in the free shit crowd and you got yourself a Hitlary landslide.

  • John||

    A majority of women always vote Dem. They voted Dem in 2004. It didn't matter. The Dems keep getting crushed in the off years. The only thing that saved them in 08 and 12 was the huge turnout. And even in 2012, they held the white house but didn't get shit in Congress. And the little they did get was due to Republican missteps. They should have lost ground in the Senate.

    People focus too much on the Presidential elections. There are other elections. And outside of a few really blue states, Dems keep losing those.

  • Irish||

    What's really bad for the Dems from a congressional standpoint is that they're becoming ever more reliant on groups of low information voters that don't show up in off years. If you have to rely on 20 year olds, inner city African Americans, and Hispanics, you're royally fucked in years where you don't have a presidential candidate to inspire people who normally don't vote to show up.

  • Hyperion||

    I'm not questioning that the GOP could make big gains in congress in 14.

    The thing I am looking mostly forward to in politics is the 2014 elections and how many new libertarians can we elect, and how many assholes like McCain and Graham, can we retire. I think this should be the focus of libertarians right now.

    I'm speaking strictly about the potus race here.

  • ChrisO||

    Hyperion, I agree. If the GOP runs Chris Christie or Jeb Bush in 2016, they're toast. Maybe permanently.

    The "Hillary landslide" theory has merit, but I have my doubts. Her age is going to be a factor, whatever that says about people in general. She'll get a voter bonus for having girl parts, but I doubt it'll be anywhere near the advantage that Obama enjoyed in '08.

    In any event, the political landscape in 2016 is impossible to predict at this point. What's more interesting to me is what happens next year.

  • John||

    The Dems are going to be like wounded animals in 2016. Things are going to have gone to real shit and they are going to be desparate to change the subject and figure out a way to give stupid people a stupid reason to vote Dem. You thought the media was craven in dishonest in 2012, you haven't seen anything yet. The Republicans need to get their heads out of their asses and understand that. Whoever is the R nominee can expect a media and pro temper tantrum that will make what they did to Palin seem like fair minded coverage.

    I think that the power of the media to do that is waning. So, I am not confident it will work. But that is what they are going to do. It is all they can do.

  • ||

    If the GOP runs Chris Christie or Jeb Bush in 2016, they're toast. Maybe permanently.

    Then I hope they do it. And as a result I hope the party completely splinters. Let the neocons start their own war party, the socons can start a 10 Commandments party, and the remaining fiscal conservatives/social liberals can join the libertarians.

  • John||

    Christie has no chance. I give Jeb Bush a little chance but not much of one. The Republicans will run Cruz or Paul in 15 if I had to bet.

  • Hyperion||

    What's more interesting to me is what happens next year

    Agree, see my post above.

  • Robert||

    At this point, what difference does it make?

  • Irish||

    Take away the epic black turnout and Obama doesn't win in 08 much less in 12.

    Hell, if white turnout had been at normal levels in 2012, Obama would have lost regardless of what happened in the rest of the race.

    That's also why the idea that the Hispanic vote is super important is a lie. It could become true in the future as demographics continue to shift, but at the moment the Hispanic vote had no impact on the 08 or 12 elections. If Romney won 60% of the Hispanic vote he still would have lost, but if the white vote came out at normal levels he would have won.

  • Spartacus||

    In 2012, the Republicans put up the most banal, uninspiring Marvin Milquetoast they could find, and still got 48% of the vote. If they ever find somebody who is actually charismatic, they will win in a landslide.

  • Hyperion||

    If they ever find somebody who is actually charismatic, they will win in a landslide

    Rand Paul is their best bet. But that won't happen. The GOP does not want to win. They want to keep the establishment in control.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Not to mention the youth vote. I think the turnout will be lower and the democrat advantage will be lower in the next national.

  • Hyperion||

    Rand Paul could get the youth vote. Send out his dad on the campaign trail.

    Sadly, stupid is as stupid party does.

  • crazyfingers||

    I agree with Paul but this idea perpetrated by drug law reform advocates that the discrepancy between coke and crack is only due to racism, is absurd. They are not the same thing. Plenty of people socially use coke and have a handle on it; crack not so much.

  • John||

    Also it was black leaders who demanded the discrepancy in the first place. That fact never gets mentioned.

  • Zeb||

    No, but you can turn your coke into crack fairly easily. Maybe it's not all racism. But it is largely because of the big crack scare in the 80s, which did have a lot to do with race.

  • Zeb||

    It's pretty sad when only sentencing someone to 10 years instead of 22 is considered compassion. You've still stolen a significant chunk of someone's life who did nothing that deserves any punishment at all.

    I like Rand Paul well enough for a politician. But as long as you act like it is appropriate to send anyone to prison for any amount of time for possession of any amount of drugs, you can get fucked.

  • ChrisO||

    My guess is that Rand thinks a gradual approach is the only way to sell a repeal of the War on Drugs.

    Does that make him a classic politician and subject to be wary of? Absolutely. He's not his father.

  • Zeb||

    If Rand does well, I will be pleased.

    But I'm not playing the practical politics game. I suspect that if everyone just came out and said what they really think about this sort of stuff that things would change a lot faster.

  • Zeb||

    And what I think is that locking someone up for possessing or selling drugs is exactly the same morally as if I abducted someone off the streets and locked them in my basement.

  • Hyperion||

    I suspect that if everyone just came out and said what they really think about this sort of stuff that things would change a lot faster

    That's for us peeps to be saying. Rand can't say it, or he can't get elected to help us do or undo the things that we are saying needs done.

  • Zeb||

    Sure, but there is some point when going along with incremental improvements is collaboration with evil.

    And do we really know that Rand has a deep down secret belief that drug prohibition must be repealed? Or does he think it is OK to lock people up for no reason at all, just not so much?

    I'll say he's good for a nationally prominent politician, but that's as far as I'll go. Call me a cynic if you want, but you are either right or wrong on this issue.

  • Eitan||

    He probably does secretly believe in ending drug prohibition. Here's a quote where he states he's against laws prohibiting non-violent behavior, and more generally he opposes legislating morality. He sounds like a stereotypical libertarian in the whole segment, conducted before he was a Senatorial candidate, when he could talk more freely about his beliefs.

  • ChrisO||

    Zeb, I agree with you, but then neither of us is seeking elective office. Rand has to deal with the practical reality of staying in office and possibly advancing.

    You and I both know that the poll numbers on absolute legalization are not in our favor right now. People have to be nudged in the right direction, unfortunately. And yes, that means that people will continue to be unjustly imprisoned for drug offenses in the meantime.

  • Zeb||

    But are little things like sentencing reform going to nudge people in the right direction, or will they think that that solves the problem and we don't have to worry about it any more? I don't think that people should have their hands cut off for stealing, but I don't think that countries that do that should legalize stealing. I bet a lot of people think about the sentencing issue in the same way.
    Who knows? I'm pretty resigned to the reality that we may see pot legalized to some extent in my lifetime, but probably nothing much beyond that. Too many people believe in Voodoo pharmacology.

  • ChrisO||

    Yes, that is a real risk with gradualism. Particularly if the initial measures get rid of some of the more over-the-top excesses of the drug war.

  • Robert||

    Know how/why we're getting progress on pot? It's because of 50 yrs. of pot's being popular. That's what it's going to take to do the same for heroin, unless we get a technologic sol'n sooner. I don't know what we have to do to make heroin that popular; the only thing I can think of is to make life in gen'l shitty.

    And technology may actually work against us in the short run. Some day they may develop analgesic drugs or devices that solve the chronic pain problem without opiates, and then opiates might well be practically outlawed entirely.

  • Metazoan||

    He's not his father.

    Definitely. But that's why I think he can effect real change in government.

  • Hyperion||

    My guess is that Rand thinks a gradual approach is the only way to sell a repeal of the War on Drugs.

    I wouldn't say he thinks it. He knows it, is a more appropriate statement.

  • Hyperion||

    Baby steps people, baby steps. Just calm down.

    Sometimes you can learn a lot from your enemies. It took the progs over 100 years to neutralize our constitution and fuck things up beyond all recognition of being a free republic.

    We can't do this overnight. And we can't scare off the ones that are finally coming around to see our side of things. This will take some time. I sure as hell hope not 100 years, but it won't be overnight either.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Exactly. Taking the hard-line maximalist libertarian approach feels awesome. It makes you feel logical, consistent and above all the bullshit. It also puts you firmly outside the range of what most people consider "legitimate" political views (the so-called Overton window). You get dismissed. On the other hand, pushing at the edges of that window brings a lot of people in the mainstream to start looking at what you're saying. And you wind up being able to move the window.

  • Ted S.||

    You need both. The hard-lines make the people who are pushing at the edges look more reasonable.

  • Robert||

    I used to think so, but changed my mind a few years ago. The hard liners make people suspicious of those pushing at the edges.

  • sarcasmic||

    OT:

    Ever wondered how cats and pigeons react in zero gravity? Nasa found out in bizarre set of animal space experiments in 1947

    Cats and pigeons were filmed while experiencing microgravity on a C-131 jet
    Cats lost their balance and hovered mid-air or moved in a straight line
    Pigeons also lost their coordination with some filmed flying upside down


    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sci.....-1947.html
    The videos are funny.

  • Hyperion||

    Cats are pretty entertaining in any gravity.

    Cats in space!

  • Robert||

    I hope they put the cats & pigeons together.

    One problem: NASA didn't exist in 1947. Must've been NACA.

  • some guy||

    Can anyone verify that 1/3 of black males cannot vote because of felony convictions? I mean, I knew the number was high, but I had no idea it was that high. No wonder the Democrats don't care about them. Even if they did start leaning Republican they'll never be able to actually vote Republican.

  • Spoonman.||

    All I know is, I knocked on one black person's door when I was campaigning for Ron Paul in Iowa in 2008, and he couldn't vote because he was a felon.

  • Paul.||

    So 100% then.

  • Killazontherun||

    Yeah, I'd need that verified as well. Just doing some internal math, with a butt load of remainders that will certainly have some skewing. Accept that the 13% of population as being accurate, round off population to 300 million, that's 39 million individuals, divide by sex, round down because there are more females than males. 19 million males. 1/3 being felons, 6.3 million. That sounds plausible when you account for the fact we have more than 2 million people in our prison system at any given time.

  • Killazontherun||

    Consider the moral compass of someone who willingly entraps someone in an exchange they themselves are an equal participant in, knowing that it will result in the other person losing decades of their freedom. Hard for me to fathom where that needle points as I could never do that even if my own life depended on it.

  • John||

    What is the moral compass of someone who charges a guy for selling a few pain pills knowing it will result in a 25 year sentence? Fuck, you couldn't have found another case to prosecute? Left this one to the state where it would result in a more humane sentence? Talk about deserving to rot in hell.

  • Metazoan||

    It really makes me wish I believed in a hell for these people.

  • John||

    Regardless of your view of hell, it certainly puts lie to the idea that there is no such thing as evil.

  • sarcasmic||

    Hell was invented because there is no justice in this world for evil people with power. They live happy lives while everyone else suffers. The idea of Hell, of justice in another life (because there is none on this one) makes the suffering more bearable I guess.

  • John||

    Sometimes justice is served. It is just served randomly.

  • Killazontherun||

    Cheer up, perhaps there will be one if the technology is there to create opne. I remember liking this when i was a kid, but have not reread since then:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inferno _(Niven_and_Pournelle_novel)

    At first Allen views the punishments for these sins as far surpassing the crime, repeatedly thinking, "We're in the hands of infinite power and infinite sadism", although he comes to more and more to accept the justice of the situation as he realizes that it is their continuing denial of their sins that keeps many of the condemned in hell. Eventually Allen takes over Benito's role in helping reformed souls proceed onto Paradise via Purgatory, allowing Benito to move on towards Purgatory himself. It is revealed that Benito is actually Benito Mussolini, prime minister of Italy during World War II.

    Along the way Allen meets a number of his Californian acquaintances and notable people from history (e.g. Epictetus, Billy the Kid, Jesse James, Bob Ford, L Ron Hubbard, Henry VIII of England, Vlad Tepes, Aimee Semple McPherson, William M. Tweed, Al Capone) and from classical mythology (e.g. Hector, Aeneas, Charon, Minos, Phlegyas, Geryon). Due to the long time he spent bottled up in the outer vestibule he also meets some people from the future of 1976, such as a space shuttle pilot.

    Man, the squirrels really hate ellipses. Treat them like a wormy walnut they throw back at you in the park.

  • Killazontherun||

    I would say SPOILER ALERT, but Benito's identity was obvious to me reading it at thirteen.

  • Metazoan||

    Regardless of your view of hell, it certainly puts lie to the idea that there is no such thing as evil.

    That is certainly true. I don't know how anyone can deny the existence of evil.

  • General Butt Naked||

    What is the moral compass of someone who charges a guy for selling a few pain pills knowing it will result in a 25 year sentence?

    I know a guy that played poker with some big drug dealer. He ended up owing him money after a rough streak. So a couple of weeks later he calls the guy and leaves a message saying he has what he owes him, but he said it all slick like, "I got that thing", or something.

    The dealer's phone was tapped and my buddy got charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and some other nasty charges. He was straight up told by the federal prosecutor that they knew he didn't have any involvement in the scheme, but that he could get a jury of old ladies to convict. He was facing like 10 years or some ridiculous shit. He pled out and got a shit ton of probation, fines, house arrest, and time served.

    These people (fed prosecutors) are fucking scum to the core.

  • John||

    They really are. I am friends with several civilian defense attorneys. They all hate taking federal cases because DOJ is so underhanded and anyone who does well in federal court is sure to see an IRS audit every year.

  • sarcasmic||

    High conviction rates can be a stepping stone to political office. So what if innocent people are harmed? We're talking about political office here!

  • Killazontherun||

    What keeps those motherfuckers alive? Someone dicked me like that . . .

    I know of only one public official, a judge locally, Judge Harrington, a local legend for being an asshole, who quit the bench because there were attempts made on his life. He would have deserved it too.

  • General Butt Naked||

    You ever read Assassination Politics?

    I will warn you that if you're not on a list now, you most certainly will be after clicking that link.

  • Killazontherun||

    Thanks for the warning. I wont go at it direct, or even with an anonymizer. Sounds like I need to have the page downloaded by bot to an archive, than shot to a second site to which I can access with an anonymizer.

  • General Butt Naked||

    I'll give you the gist of it.

    It's a thought experiment where a guy creates an online place where people can bet on when a politician will die. The bets and the transfers of cash would be totally anonymous. Particularly odious politicians would be bet on more often thereby incentivizing their assassination. In other words assassins could become wealthy by betting on politicians to die on a specific date and then killing them.

    The essay actually won some awards and has been covered in Wired and a few other places. It also got the author thrown in federal prison, so caveat emptor.

  • Killazontherun||

    Thanks, I heard about this in passing, but never looked into it.

  • sarcasmic||

    Power is not a means. It is an end. I don't think they really care about what they are doing. Just that they have the power to do it.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    The system doesn't care. It's the system. They are willing participants in it to further their own agendas.

    It's the gd politicians who willfully ignore what's going on in front of their own noses that really piss me off. They're supposed to be leaders, yet they fail on every measurement as they jockey for approval.

  • Paul.||

    Only the Kochs want to eliminate mandatory minimum sentencing because of corporate profits!

  • Killazontherun||

    They probably own all of those privatized prison facilities, and want to save money by emptying them of felons who cost them in food, plumbing, warm water, electricity to keep them humanely treated as proscribed by law. They don't care if they go out their and commit crimes, victimizing The People, because the Kochs are selfish, greedy bastards.
    /progderp.

    Did I leave anything out?

  • General Butt Naked||

    Did I leave anything out?

    Yes. You forgot to explain the racism driving this little scheme of the Koch Brothers.

  • Killazontherun||

    Shaking my head, how could I forget the racism?

  • Paul.||

    When you're racist yourself, you don't 'remember' racism. Just like a fish isn't 'aware' of the water. Sheesh.

  • Tony||

    Why do you guys make every fucking thing about liberals? Liberals are on your side on this issue... yet it's "progs rahh!" about everything.

    Libertarianism is a joke, but it's not going to become any less of a joke until it stops confusing itself with Limbaugh fanboyism.

  • Andrew S.||

    Liberals are on our side about this issue? Really? I mean, a few of them claim to be, but I see very little action.

  • Tony||

    Unlike all that libertarian action?

  • ||

    Tony, I know you see little difference between us and Rush Limbaugh, but I'm going to let you in on a little secret. We don't see much difference between you and Rush Limbaugh.

  • Tony||

    So why not focus on those totally equivalent statists who actually disagree with libertarians on this issue?

  • ChrisO||

    Drug prohibition started during the Progressive Era, and nothing's really changed. The progs would simply like to ban even more fun stuff today.

  • Tony||

    Glenn Beck was fleecing you, I'm sorry to say. That wasn't a real university.

  • Redmanfms||

    Uhh, what?

    Drug prohibition did start with the Progressive Era and (much like abortion and birth control) had its roots in Progressive racism. That has nothing to do with Beck, it is objective history.

  • FYTW||

    Fuck off, sockpuppet.

  • Mr Whipple||

    I think that when someone like Rand Paul can out class the majority of liberals on one of their "pet" issues, it is clearly liberals that are the fucking jokes.

  • JoelN||

    Rand is a funny character. Very optimistic about his presidential possibilities as such. Every time I begin to put him in a corner, he does something to make sure he cannot be typed as such - almost Dylanesque in his refusal to be typecasted. Two months ago, he met with evangelicals and did his best to sound like an uber-conservative, while still selling the libertarian credo. Now, after stating to that same crowd that he was not for legalizing drugs, comes out to say that the War on Drugs is a waste of time and resources and a destroyer of lives.

    I, for one, am deeply optimistic that Rand can be a bridge builder, finding common ground between pacifists, civil libertarians, evangelicals, etc. Guy seems to be a man of principle while also an astute politician, which is exactly what libertarianism has not had, pretty much ever (Goldwater was the closest, and still by political standards was a dismal failure). If the guy can figure out how to move the whole nation in a freedom-loving, liberty-minding direction, I am all for him.

    In the end, bravo for Rand to stake publicly this claim, a position that both left and right have often been averse to take.

    Here's to hoping for a more liberated 2016...

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