Third Parties

"For us, the Holocaust survivors, our moral obligation is to legalize it."

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New frontiers in coalition politics:

No, that isn't a joke. The Associated Press has more:

On Tuesday, a party representing Israeli Holocaust survivors joined forces with the pro-marijuana Green Leaf party for a run at Israel's parliament. The new party launched its campaign in a near-empty, underground, graffiti-filled nightclub in south Tel Aviv, pledging to pursue two primary goals: to financially assist elderly Holocaust survivors and to legalize the consumption of cannabis….

[Yaakov] Kfir, the party's No. 2 candidate, said he has never experimented with drugs, but after learning much from his new colleagues was eager to try. "But only when it is legal," he said.

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  1. ” graffiti-filled nightclub in south Tel Aviv”

    I immediately got the image of Brian from “The Life of Brian” painting graffiti in Latin on a wall and a Roman soldier correcting his Latin grammar.

  2. David Irving came out against this legalization today. He objected to the “Holocaust survivors” part.

    I immediately got the image of Brian from “The Life of Brian” painting graffiti in Latin on a wall and a Roman soldier correcting his Latin grammar.

    That scene gives me flashbacks to my Latin teacher every time I see it. I think they’re all like that.

    “Vocative plural of annus is…?”

  3. CENTURION:
    Vocative plural of ‘annus’ is…?
    BRIAN:
    Eh. ‘Anni’?
    CENTURION:
    ‘Romani’. ‘Eunt’? What is ‘eunt’?
    BRIAN:
    ‘Go’. Let–
    CENTURION:
    Conjugate the verb ‘to go’.
    BRIAN:
    Uh. ‘Ire’. Uh, ‘eo’. ‘Is’. ‘It’. ‘Imus’. ‘Itis’. ‘Eunt’.
    CENTURION:
    So ‘eunt’ is…?
    BRIAN:
    Ah, huh, third person plural, uh, present indicative. Uh, ‘they go’.
    CENTURION:
    But ‘Romans, go home’ is an order, so you must use the…?
    BRIAN:
    The… imperative!
    CENTURION:
    Which is…?
    BRIAN:
    Umm! Oh. Oh. Um, ‘i’. ‘I’!
    CENTURION:
    How many Romans?
    BRIAN:
    Ah! ‘I’– Plural. Plural. ‘Ite’. ‘Ite’.
    CENTURION:
    ‘Ite’.
    BRIAN:
    Ah. Eh.
    CENTURION:
    ‘Domus’?
    BRIAN:
    Eh.
    CENTURION:
    Nominative?
    BRIAN:
    Oh.
    CENTURION:
    ‘Go home’? This is motion towards. Isn’t it, boy?
    BRIAN:
    Ah. Ah, dative, sir! Ahh! No, not dative! Not the dative, sir! No! Ah! Oh, the… accusative! Accusative! Ah! ‘Domum’, sir! ‘Ad domum’! Ah! Oooh! Ah!
    CENTURION:
    Except that ‘domus’ takes the…?
    BRIAN:
    The locative, sir!
    CENTURION:
    Which is…?!
    BRIAN:
    ‘Domum’.
    CENTURION:
    ‘Domum’.
    BRIAN:
    Aaah! Ah.
    CENTURION:
    ‘Um’. Understand?
    BRIAN:
    Yes, sir.
    CENTURION:
    Now, write it out a hundred times.

  4. after learning much from his new colleagues was eager to try. “But only when it is legal”

    For those who believe drugs are bad mmkay, this testimony supports prohibition.

  5. “People called Romanes they go the house”?

  6. no, “i believe drugs are bad…”, this testimony only supports prohibition if you also believe that you have the right to legislate your morality over your neighbors and total strangers. i don’t acknowledge this right. “libertarianism” comes from “liberty” which is essentially personal freedom of choice, mmkay?

  7. bruce, that’s what I meant and said incompletely.

  8. To amplify:

    There are those who say prohibiting alcohol doesn’t reduce alcohol-created or -exacerbated problems, because drinkers will drink whether or not it’s illegal.

    Then a would-be drinker comes along and testifies that he’ll stay abstinent until alcohol is legalized. Or someone says the same of gambling, unhealthy food, or other vices.

    Wouldn’t that give ammunition to the results-oriented legislator (of which I am not one)?

  9. mmkay, the people you describe exist only in fairytales. when the original prohibition came along, the drinking class went right on drinking, scarcely missing a drop. jurisdictions that have tried to eliminate gambling merely drive it underground. marijuana smokers aren’t deterred in the slightest by laws, if anything, forbidden fruit has a certain cachet. the closest the government has come to triumphing over vice is in the tobacco arena, and it did so not through prohibition, but through education, changes in social attitudes and most of all, higher taxes. that’s the way to attack vice.

  10. Strange bedfellows indeed.

  11. if anything, forbidden fruit has a certain cachet. the closest the government has come to triumphing over vice is in the tobacco arena, and it did so not through prohibition, but through education, changes in social attitudes and most of all, higher taxes. that’s the way to attack vice.

    It works until taxes become so onerous that organized crime finds it irresistible to step in. We have reached that point with tobacco in certain jurisdictions.

  12. I’m surprised people aren’t growing their own tobacco yet.

  13. As for the pot party + holocaust survivors, that’s great, but I doubt that they will have much of an impact. IIRC, Likud & Labor are pretty much the Republicans & Democrats of Israel.

  14. the people you describe exist only in fairytales

    And, at least for prospective first-time users, in the article above: >[Yaakov] Kfir, the party’s No. 2 candidate, said he has never experimented with drugs, but after learning much from his new colleagues was eager to try. “But only when it is legal,” he said.

  15. BakedPenguin,

    I’ll show you why. Which sounds better?

    1. KEEP DOPE ALIVE!!!

    2. KEEP CIGARETTES ALIVE!!!

    There will be a test so please think hard before you answer.

  16. Is this why the IDF can’t remember that their last incursion against Gaza didn’t work out, so they keep trying it.

    “Dude, I know. We could just go in there with tanks and knock everything down…why haven’t we tried that before.”

  17. This seems a good thread to throw this tidbit into.

    Was out to dinner last night with a friend who is an ADA in Manhattan, and I mentioned to her the info that’s been posted here about the increase in NY marijuana arrests and the phenomenon of cops tricking minority kids into showing pot “in plain view” to get a misdemeanor bust rather than a violation.

    She said she was unsurprised that cops would do that. However, she also said that it is NY DA policy not to prosecute any simple marijuana possession charges. According to her, those kids would have their charges reduced to simple possession, a violation, and would get off with a fine.

    Not that that takes away the stupidity of arresting them in the first place, but hey, at least they’re not getting tossed in prison.

    Another interesting tidbit, related to the debates here over jury nullification and the drug laws: she said from doing voir dire, she would guess that a majority of New Yorkers would refuse to find anybody guilty of a marijuana possession charge if it involved them going to jail anyway. She also said she sees sizable minorities who declare during jury selection that they will categorically refuse to convict on a drug charge because they disagree with the drug laws.

  18. Special weekend thread jack for SugarFree – the NY Times profiles America’s dying lesbian separatist communities, aka womyn’s lands:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/01/fashion/01womyn.html?_r=1&hp

  19. 1. KEEP DOPE ALIVE!!!

    This seems counterproductive. You have to kill the dope to smoke it, no?

  20. from doing voir dire, she would guess that a majority of New Yorkers would refuse to find anybody guilty of a marijuana possession charge if [insert: they knew] it involved them going to jail anyway.

    When I served on criminal juries in NYC, we were not told penalties.

  21. When I served on criminal juries in NYC, we were not told penalties.

    True enough. In the opinion of this one prosecutor, many juries would balk at issuing guilty verdicts in marijuana possession cases. Better?

  22. Better so long as it’s true. 😉

  23. Elemenope,

    Circle of life, bro.

  24. when the original prohibition came along, the drinking class went right on drinking, scarcely missing a drop.

    Actually, there was a bit more to it than that. For one thing, a lot of people started drinking on principle. Another effect is that people switched from beer at wine to hard liquor.

    -jcr

  25. When I served on criminal juries in NYC, we were not told penalties

    That severely undermines the purpose of trial by jury.

    -jcr

  26. DBCooper,

    That story was depressing. What a pack of sexist pigs.

    -jcr

  27. DBCooper,

    That story was depressing. What a pack of sexist pigs.

    -jcr

    True, it is pretty depressing to think that people would voluntarily adopt such misandrist/isolationist attitudes and behaviours, but it was good to read that they are dying out. And mildly amusing to boot.

  28. When I served on criminal juries in NYC, we were not told penalties

    That severely undermines the purpose of trial by jury.

    Not disputing, just asking: Why?

    Juries are instructed to judge only of the facts of the case; the judge then is to apply the law. Whether he dunnit or no-dunnit is the peer-laymen’s province; sentencing is the legislators’, applied by the judge – at least that’s what we were told. And knowledge of the penalties are withheld lest they bias a tender-hearted jury, or I spoze a too tough-hearted jury that might say, “Ah, it’s only a short sentence/a small fine – so even if we’re not sure beyond a reasonable doubt, guys like him should learn a lesson.”

  29. Special weekend thread jack for SugarFree – the NY Times profiles America’s dying lesbian separatist communities, aka womyn’s lands:

    NutraSweet will just change that article in his mind to them all being 25-year-old lipstick lesbians having pillowfights and building a fake jail to do prison S&M on the property.

    You know what he’s like.

  30. Mazel tov!

  31. Juries are instructed to judge only of the facts of the case; the judge then is to apply the law.

    And this is a fairly recent mutation in the law. Juries were originally conceived as the authority on both facts *and* law. Jury nullification is a surviving vestige of this conception.

    Wiki, as usual, is a good place to start.

  32. oh mmkay, you exhibit such a charming naivete, i hate to disabuse you of your illusions, but since this is the internet and i don’t have to look at you while doing it…

    yaakov kfir, the man in the article, wasn’t being completely honest. anybody who says “yes, i’d love to smoke dope if it were legal…” lolol. a guy like this, if you look deep in the back of his closet, you will find something like a giant purple fluorescent bong, and when you ask him what it is, he’ll say something like “i have no idea, i just found it one day on the sidewalk, i’m hoping maybe you can tell me what it is.”

  33. bruce,

    This may come as a shock to you, but some people actually say things like that and mean it. Your cynicism is, I suppose, understandable, but the default assumption that anyone who does not immediately leap into categories defined by your conception of human nature must be lying is not very helpful.

  34. t is pretty depressing to think that people would voluntarily adopt such misandrist/isolationist attitudes and behaviours,

    There is nothing wrong with *isolationist* attitudes. And for that matter, heck, hate me all you want; as long as you leave me alone, I’ll leave you alone. That their communities have the same sustainability issues as the Shakers is not surprising. But if they want to live on the beach or in a commune on their own land, more power to them.

    I did find this snippet from the stroy amusing though:

    The communities, most in rural areas from Oregon to Florida, have as few as two members; Alapine is one of the largest.

    Um, *two* people is not a community. It’s barely a household. They’re just roommates, like Uncle Steve and Aunt Fred.

  35. As for the pot party + holocaust survivors, that’s great, but I doubt that they will have much of an impact. IIRC, Likud & Labor are pretty much the Republicans & Democrats of Israel.

    BakedPenguin, neither of those parties are currently in power! Rather, the Kadima party is in power. Labor runs a distant third, and barely qualifies as a major party these days. In addition, other parties with parlimentary representation include a far-left party, a variety of ultra-orthodox parties, and Arab parties.

    If only we could get a bit of that political diversity here – minus the clannishness on ethnic and religious lines, of course.

  36. i’m not gonna argue with lmnop over unprovable matters, just thank him for the lulz. kolohe, on the other hand…have you never heard the term “community property” in a divorce case? just what community do you suppose it refers to?

  37. NutraSweet will just change that article in his mind to them all being 25-year-old lipstick lesbians having pillowfights and building a fake jail to do prison S&M on the property.

    You say this like there’s something wrong with doing that.

  38. …the Kadima party is in power.

    Oh. Obviously, I haven’t been paying attention.

    If only we could get a bit of that political diversity here…

    Agreed.

  39. If only we could get a bit of that political diversity here – minus the clannishness on ethnic and religious lines, of course.

    Hypothesis: Mutliparty democracies with such ‘political diversity’ will always have clannishness of ethnic and religious identities as a core element of the minor parties.

    For instance, in no particular order

    Bloc Qu?b?cois
    Scottish National Party*
    States’ Rights Democratic Party (aka Dixiecrats) (extinct)

    And then there’s places like spain where ethnically distinct regions like Catalonia and Basque have their own avatars of the national party.

    *actually looking a wikipedia, it’s smaller than I thought, only about 5 of the close to 60 scottish seats in the UK parliment)

  40. have you never heard the term “community property” in a divorce case? just what community do you suppose it refers to?

    Fair enough, but the legal definition of ‘community’ has little bearing on the anthropological meaning of ‘community’ which is how it was used in that article.

  41. Kolohe – I don’t think there’s anything that necessitates multiparty politics leading to ethnic tribalism. I think the existing ethnic / tribal bullshit leads to its expression in multiparty politics. (I also think your current location may be coloring your thinking on this a tad).

  42. From the “womyn’s land” article:

    Ms. Greene trims branches of oak, hickory and sassafras trees and stops by the grave of a deer she buried in the woods after it was hit by a car. She named it Miracle. “I talk to Miracle every day,” Ms. Greene said. “That is one of my joys of living here.”

    So, they’re communities of retarded lesbians. That makes much more sense.

  43. (I also think your current location may be coloring your thinking on this a tad).

    Actually, the Hawaiian sovereignty movement is a minority within a minority. Multi party politics here would actually likely break down along class or ideological lines rather than ethnic ones. (as it is they’re approaching a single party Democratic state more lopsided than anywhere else other than the municipal govt of DC). At least quarter of the people here are of ‘mixed race’, more than any other state, and the number would go up if one would consider Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, and Pacific Islander as distinct races, which the census does not. So imo this is indeed closer than anywhere else in the US to a post-racial society. Not that it doesn’t exist. But the insider-outsider dynamic is much stronger.

  44. As for jury nullification, let’s distinguish between a jury nullifying a law and a jury simply adopting an interpretation of the law different from the interpretation of the trial judge.

    The latter is *not* nullification, and judges used to tell juries they could do it. The U.S. Supreme Court said so in 1793. While the trial judge’s interpretation was the best evidence of what the law was, the jury could choose to interpret the law differently. Then in the 19th century, the judges changed their minds, and told juries that they must assume conclusively that the trial judge’s legal interpretation is the correct one. If the judge got it wrong, the correction of the error was for the appellate court, not the jury. That means that a person can be convicted based on an incorrect legal interpretation and only set free later (if at all) if an appeals court catches the misinterpretation, which would require the defendant to spend extra legal fees (to the legal profession, that’s a feature, not a bug).

    Nullification is a different concept. It’s when the jury believes the law requires result A, but they go for result B.

    By the way, juries are not the sole, or even primary offenders when it comes to nullification. Cops, judges, bureaucrats, and legislators are the main offenders in this respect. Juries are, I think, more likely to be in awe of the rule of the law and to make a sincere effort to apply the law as they believe it to be. Singling out juries as if they were uniquely predisposed to nullify represents prejudice, not an evidence-based attitude.

    ‘marijuana smokers aren’t deterred in the slightest by laws’

    Look, I think the govt has better things to do than harass people for smoking, and selling, cannabis plants and related material.

    But I *don’t* agree with the assumption that legalizing the stuff can be done without regard to the laws of supply and demand. If the cost of something goes down, more people will do it. This applies to cost in dollars and to cost in terms of risk of arrest, use of black-market sources, etc.

  45. I think the existing ethnic / tribal bullshit leads to its expression in multiparty politics.

    Yes, which then reinforces and perpetuates it.

    Despite it’s many flaws, one of the big advantages of the two party system in the US is that it smooths over many ‘tribal’, and most ‘regional’ differences. There is the proverbial ‘blue/red’ divide, but these are always in flux, and intraregional differences (e.g. between California and Washington state, between Maryland and Vermont) are actually fairly dramatic. Without a two party system, regional factionalism would have a much stronger hold, and potentially, the US would be continuously on the brink of where it was in 1860.

    This is what makes the EU experiment so ‘interesting’. In a lot of ways they are following a parallel development with the United States, but in many other ways, have either the complete opposite circumstances or following an opposite path.

  46. Despite it’s many flaws, one of the big advantages of the two party system in the US is that it smooths over many ‘tribal’, and most ‘regional’ differences. There is the proverbial ‘blue/red’ divide, but these are always in flux, and intraregional differences (e.g. between California and Washington state, between Maryland and Vermont) are actually fairly dramatic. Without a two party system, regional factionalism would have a much stronger hold, and potentially, the US would be continuously on the brink of where it was in 1860.

    A fascinating thesis.

    I think, though, that most of the effect you assign to there being two parties is really just achieved by consequence of institutional subsidiarity. That is, we have (fairly) powerful state governments that do most of the dirty work when it comes to salient regional issues.

  47. I always wondered why the Master of Arts in Diplomacy banner ad shows up on this page. Now I know.

    As to people who refrain from trying marijuana only because it’s illegal, at least one such is personally known to me.

  48. “There is the proverbial ‘blue/red’ divide, but these are always in flux, and intraregional differences”

    What a great point, as usual, from Kolohe.

    Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Max Baucus (D-MT). Think about it.

    When I lived in Virginia Democrats would even refer to themselves as “Virginia Democrats” to make sure everyone knew “not like the national party.” Now, in Maryland the GOPers do something similar (Ehrlich would have made a good Democrat in VA for example).

    Another reason why those here, me included, who see things either through history or currently, through a narrow “Democrat/Republican” divide can be up to a lot of nonsense.

  49. And thank you, LMNOP and Mad Max.

  50. I hate the drug war. I have a sibling currently incacerated for the “crime” of giving some person what they voluntarily wanted. But I will say that the argument that if we legalized drugs no more people than today would use them is incorrect. It wholly craps on the idea of incentives that makes economics the interesting area it is. If drugs were legal then you would not have to face the ever-present chance of all the horrors of the drug war (losing your freedom, losing your student loans, losing your property [through asset forfeiture, etc]) happening.

    Many more people would indulge, and many of them would develop damaging addictions. The real issue is, what kind of world do you want to live in, one where people have autonomy over this kind of choice, or not?

  51. I’m against jury nullification, but then again I don’t think it’s right when police, prosecutors, etc., do the same kind of thing, as Mad Max correctly described. Make your legislator change stupid laws, make them think the stupid consequences of their laws through before they pass them.

  52. MNG, Mad Max… reasoning is on a roll!

    Which must constitute the inverse of the drinking game: Abstain!

  53. Many more people would indulge, and many of them would develop damaging addictions.

    I was with you up until this, and while I agree with the first part about more people indulging, I have serious doubts about “many” developing damaging addictions*. I suppose it depends on your definition of “many”, but in my personal experience the people that develop damaging addictions will make do with whatever they can get their hands on. I could be wrong, but I think most of those destined for damaging addictions to “newly legal drug #1” would simply be trading a prior addiction to something that was already legal (alcohol, for example), or they would already have a problem they developed while the drug was still illegal.

    *Also, I find the idea of marijuana addiction as silly as the idea of email addiction.

  54. here

  55. I find the idea of loco weed being addictive just as reactionary as kiddie porn; as alcohol; as cocaine; as being in unicorns; and not being moved by Helen Thomas.

    Mary Jane made me what I am today. In fact look at the Congress and you gwet an idea what regular use of this drug does to you.

  56. Drug addict,

    What. The. Fuck. Seriously, what the fuck? Is that riddle?

  57. Naga,

    I think that short post from ‘drug addict’ had more non-sequiturs than Naked Lunch.

  58. Oh please, Pot is good. A little pot never hurt anyone.

    RT
    http://www.internet-privacy.us.tc

  59. But I will say that the argument that if we legalized drugs no more people than today would use them is incorrect.

    Sure. I bet a lot of people would go out and smoke pot who’ve never done so. But do you really want to tell me you think a lot of people would go out and shoot heroin, or smoke crack or crank, just because it’s suddenly legal?

    Laws keep dilletantes away from drugs. Those who really want to party, or those who use drugs to mask emotional pain, already use drugs. (I suspect the vast majority of addicts come from the latter group.)

  60. BP —

    The missing third group is the people who want badly to use drugs but are too naive/timid/stupid/shy/poor/unpopular to actually secure any or know how to secure any.

    I imagine this too is a non-trivial category.

  61. Art – he’s a troll who shows up sometimes on WoD threads. Considering his email references a country with one of the most repressive regimes in the world, I’d say its safe to ignore him – he’s what INCIF was made for.

    LMNOP – I’d put them in the dillettante category. I also disagree with you on their number, if only for the fact that booze is readily available, and if someone wants to use drugs that badly, they’ll take substitutes.

  62. Kolohe | January 31, 2009, 5:27pm | #
    (I also think your current location may be coloring your thinking on this a tad).

    Actually, the Hawaiian sovereignty movement is a minority within a minority.

    Splitters!

  63. “Make your legislator change stupid laws, make them think the stupid consequences of their laws through before they pass them.”

    That only works if one can actually affect the legislators and there are enough people who care enough to actually organize to change the law on some point. This won’t work with drug policy, because while most people don’t really think marijuana should be illegal, most of these people don’t care enough about the issue to work particularly hard to get the law changed, while many of the supporters of the drug laws will move heaven and earth to keep the laws in place.

    I support jury nullification.

  64. I wasn’t too surprised when I read about this merger in the Jerusalem Post last week. Israeli politics are very fluid with mergers and splits happening every election cycle. Two factors cause this. First, it’s relatively easy to create a new party in Israel. Second, individual politicians hold more voter sway than the parties do. Sharon was able to make Kadima and bring it to an election win in a short time, because a huge block of voters followed him to his new party. This focus on individual politicians weakens the influence of party machines.

  65. see what is in the major newspapers; every hour world news, visit the link:

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