Open Letter to Sen. Hatch: Do a Dubai Here, Dude

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In the Washington Times, former flack for the Democratic National Committee and self-proclaimed "libertarian Democrat" Terry Michael asks Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to show some consistency on the drug war.

Our story thus far: in May, Grammy Award-winning producer Dallas Austin was picked up in the United Arab Emirates with a bit more than a gram of cocaine and faced up to a decade in jail in that relative oasis of liberalism in the Middle East. Hatch, who uses the same law firm as Austin when it comes to his music career, intervened to get the producer sprung, saying he's against mandatory minimums here and abroad.

Writing in the Wash Times, Michael argues

Mr. Hatch, I am hopeful your efforts to save an American being abused in Dubai will cause you to re examine the drug-war abuse millions of Americans face here everyday….

I understand how difficult it will be to return to drug policy sanity. I had jury duty this summer and was sent out on a panel for a case of marijuana possession with intent to distribute. I wasn't chosen for the jury, but it made me realize how much the Drug War Industrial Complex has to lose if we change our laws. Probably a third of the jobs in that courthouse would disappear. Thousands of lawyers, prosecutors, DEA agents, and prison guards would have to find productive employment. Local law enforcement offices would lose much of their federal funding for high-tech toys.

But America would be a less violent and healthier nation. Billions fewer tax dollars would be disbursed as welfare to the legal industries formed around the drug war. And official corruption, stimulated by the lucrative black market we have created with our policies, would diminish, not just in Colombia, Mexico and Afghanistan, but right here in America.

Whole thing here.

Michael's "notes from a libertarian Democrat" blog here.

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  1. Sen. Hatch shills for “nutriceuticals” and supplements industry, and as evidence by this story, doesn’t have a huge moral problem with cocaine use by his buddies, so when will we expect Hatch to “do a Dubai” here? I wouldn’t hold your breath. He said that people who download illegal files should have their computers automatically destroyed, yet his own computers had illegal software on them. He turned the Department of Justice into the copyright enforcement squad, and introduced legislation to make just about everything illegal (and tied it all to protecting the children, of course). Orrin Hatch is one of these Republicans who say “smaller government” then expand the powers of the government in the very next breath. Given his desire to implement a copyright police state, why wouldn’t he advocate the same for dope?

  2. So WoD is so fervent simply to keep people employed? IMHO, that should never, ever be the motivation for any law in a capitalist economy.

    Do what’s right and logical. Stop the madness and let those employed by the WoD Industrial Complex find some meaningful, respectable way to make a living.

  3. Thousands of lawyers, prosecutors, DEA agents, and prison guards would have to find productive employment…..

    It’ll be easier to move Denali than to stop law enforcement’s insatiable appetite for more toys and power.
    Since most of these people will fiercely resist change and non-government employment, who wants to guess where their alternative fields of employment could be?
    Would have to be something that brings in some funds from confiscations.
    Immigration, not much to gain from poor Central Americans.
    Internet gambling, recently outlawed, now there should be some big bucks here. Whatever it will be, it is not likely to enhance civil liberties or keep government in check.
    As long as it’s for the children.

    I hate to be so cynical on a Monday morning, it is the result of observing the war on drugs. That and all those uplifting posts by Jacob Sullum.

  4. And what exactly have the Democrats (Repubs are guiltier, so don’t jump all over me) done to roll back Prohibition? Oh, that’s right, nothing. I’ll leave “libertarian Democrat” to those with no principles, thanks.

  5. I take it “libertarian Democrat” is like gay “marriage”?

    Scare quotes, Oh My!

    I know you prefer those hunky big gov conservatives. Only they can promise you to get rid of SS while actually doubling the size of the gov.

    Remeber kids: Every time you vote for, or support, a republican, another SWAT Team gets some big guns.

  6. Terry Michael has also been critical of Democrats for not doing enough to stand up against the War on Drugs. I wouldn’t use quotes for libertarian Democrat, libertarian is describing the type of Democrat and isn’t implying anything about Democrats in general.

  7. I’d like to know more about this guy and what’s he actually been doing about the WoD problem before I pass judgement on him.

    As far as I’m concerned, the drug war is one of the biggest factors contributing to the erosion of our fine country. And it ain’t because of the drugs, duh!

    So anyone who opposes it, and is actually working to do something about it, is ok in my book.

  8. LOL Thanks for that last comment — for wanting to know more about me before passing judgment. I’m not sure how I could be anymore libertarian or anymore against the drug war. Is it necessary to hate our two-party system in order to qualify as libertarian? Some people who post on this blog apparently would rather be purist than relevant. And some posters should read a little and perhaps think a little and maybe even click on the “Preview” button before they hit “Post.”

  9. Our thanks to Terry. We’ll be using his column as a target for a MAP Focus Alert to be released later this evening. See our website mapinc.org for more info….Steve

  10. Billions fewer tax dollars would be disbursed as welfare to the legal industries formed around the drug war.

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