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Executing Drug Dealers and Other Trump Punchlines: Podcast

From emulating China to opening up with North Korea, what to do when the president says the damndest things?

Hey ladies! ||| Scott LincicomeScott Lincicome"The only way to solve the drug problem is through toughness," President Donald Trump asserted at a rally Friday, before launching into a laughter-generating anecdote about Chinese President Xi Jinping telling him that China doesn't have a drug problem because it uses the death penalty. The comment came on the heels of Trump expressing a similar sentiment at a White House meeting on opioids and overdoses. As Jacob Sullum pointed out last week, "Treating such deaths as homicides is not only unjust; it may have the perverse effect of making opioid-related fatalities more likely."

Another week, another exploration of the meaning and import of the president's words on Reason Podcast, featuring Katherine Mangu-Ward, Nick Gillespie, Peter Suderman, and yours truly. Besides the drug stuff, the quartet gets into Trump's North Korea diplomatic initiative, his really existing trade war, his taste in economic advisers, and the difference on any/all of the above from his predecessors.

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

Relevant links from the show:

"Report: Imprisoning Drug Users Doesn't Stop Drug Use or Prevent Overdoses," by Scott Shackford

"Trump, Slayer of Pushers," by Jacob Sullum

"America's War on Pain Pills Is Killing Addicts and Leaving Patients in Agony," by Jacob Sullum

"Kick the Keg: Trump's Tariffs Might Kill Last American Keg Manufacturer," by Eric Boehm

"Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Should Shut Up About Soup Cans, Already," by Eric Boehm

"Trump Is More Like Recent Presidents Than Anyone Wants To Admit," by Nick Gillespie

"Donald Trump to Become First U.S. President to Meet with North Korean Dictator, and Maybe That's Good," by Matt Welch

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Photo Credit: Alex Edelman/CNP / Polaris/Newscom

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "What did he have that she needed?"

    -Matt Welch on Ivanka Trump dating Quincy Jones, Fifth Column Podcast

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Allowing incremental change of legality of weed can be a huge mistake. It allows the drug warriors to focus their efforts on other victimless drug violations rather than completely ending drug enforcement as a criminal enterprise.

    The optimum route would have been full legalization of all drugs which would have ended drug warriors power in one day.

    Enacting laws tends to be easier than repealing them which is why nanny-staters push for laws that barely affect you. They know that they always supplement those laws with more strict rules and it becomes harder and harder to get the law taken off the books.

  • Hugh Akston||

    The optimum route would have been full legalization of all drugs which would have ended drug warriors power in one day.

    I can't begin to imagine why it didn't happen that way.

  • Rich||

    "There's too much money in it."

  • Hugh Akston||

    Good answer. I also would have accepted "that's literally not how anything works."

  • Hank Phillips||

    Groveling gradualism has been the Democrat approach since Tricky Dick Nixon defeated McGovern. The Dem platform just now puts all emphasis on banning electricity, and avoids divisive words like "legalize". As long as the LP continues to offer the solution made Portugal's banking industry the most sought-after in the Eeww, my vote and efforts are with the LP. Portugal, in case the looter media kept it from you, decriminalized all plant leaves and other potions the superstitious satrapies refer to as "drugs." This happened a decade ago, and the country has blossomed from a fascist dictatorship into an attractive place to settle.

  • vek||

    The CIA has to fund their black ops somehow! Lord knows the trillion odd dollar per year funding for military/security isn't enough to cover all their needs!

  • Ken Shultz||

    "From emulating China to opening up with North Korea, what to do when the president says the damndest things?"

    I think the most effective strategy is to run around in circles screaming wolf while simultaneously shitting our pants. Isn't that what Reason has been doing for past two weeks?

    I suppose another strategy might be to engage Trump's actions with reasonable criticism . . . if the staff here is even capable of that anymore.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Reason doesn't wear pants.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Reason doesn't wear pants.

  • Jerryskids||

    I think the most effective strategy is to run around in circles screaming wolf while simultaneously shitting our pants.

    I think you are correct. Trump is an attention whore, as was said of Teddy Roosevelt, he insists on being the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral. As long as everybody's paying attention to Trump, he's happy as a pig in shit. Stop paying attention to him for 5 seconds and he'll start doing some kind of crazy 2-year-old-setting-the-dog-on-fire nonsense demanding that you pay attention to him. Like with any dumb animal, Trump can be easily trained to respond to simple conditioning. Pay attention to him when he says crazy shit and he'll quickly learn that saying the crazy shit pays off, maybe then he'll be so busy saying crazy shit that he won't have time to actually do any crazy stuff.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Besides the drug stuff, the quartet gets into Trump's North Korea diplomatic initiative, his really existing trade war . . . "

    Nice try, but Reason staff didn't wait for Trump's trade war to go "really existing" before going hyper in their diaper.

    And this is an excellent example of what I'm talking about above. Go back through all the coverage of Trump's steel tariffs, his trade war tweets, etc. since March 1, and see if there's any mention of the context within which those announcements and tweets were made. Was there any mention of the NAFTA renegotiation talks that were going on between Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. in Mexico City? Why not?

    How is it possible that various staff could write about Trump's trade war for all those days without once ever mentioning what it was Trump was asking for in Mexico City--or that there was even an ongoing negotiation over NAFTA in Mexico City at the time? I don't think Reason staff were being deceptive or evasive. I think they just didn't know what was going on.

    I suppose the interesting question to ask yourselves is why you didn't know what was going on. The most obvious answer is because you don't care about the issue as much as you care about Trump. Trump is the issue for you, and that is no way for a libertarian publication to engage a protectionist president that is connecting with swing voters in swing states like they were made for each other.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    "The most obvious answer is because you don't care about the issue as much as you care about Trump. Trump is the issue for you,"

    I"d say that about covers it.

  • BigT||

    TDS is strong in these folks. Welch the worst. It's like he's never been involved in a negotiation.

  • Ken Shultz||

    In case this wasn't clear enough . . .

    Is your libertarian response to Trump pushing steel tariffs in western Pennsylvania for the benefit of steel workers, and doing it within the context of a NAFTA renegotiation--the primary demand from Trump being that Canada accept more cars with more work being done on them in the U.S.--all to benefit auto workers in Michigan, especially . . .

    If the only libertarian response swing voters in those swing states hear is that Trump is crazy because free trade is good, then not only are you handing Trump the presidency for another four years, you're making trade protectionism a winning issue for the foreseeable future. It's not as if the Democrats are about to start condemning Trump for his protectionism.

    How are you going to convince average Americans in swing states that brinkmanship protectionism for autoworkers isn't worth the drag on the economy--if you haven't even mentioned that Trump's moves are meant to benefit auto workers? What are you going to do if and when Canada caves at the next NAFTA renegotiation meeting in early April? Did you know there's another meeting scheduled for early April? What are you going to say if Trump pulls the rabbit out of the hat in April, that Trump is crazy and his tweets are crazy--and that's why everybody should . . . whatever?

  • BigT||

    Every August Bear Bryant would be asked: "How does your team look this year?" And every year the Bear would say: "They're awful young, inexperienced. We lost so many starters and are going to be relying on many boys who have never played in college."

    He was lowering expectations of Alabama fans and the press. This way, they were expecting a mediocre season and when Bama won 10 or 11 games they would be pleased.

    Trump is doing the same thing. It's a standard negotiating ploy. Lower your opposition's expectations - tariffs for everyone - and get them to be happy with something less onerous - carve-outs for Canada and Mexico. He has done this over and over again. It's what car salespeople do - show you the sticker price to set your expectations and then find a way to cut the price by a couple of grand so you feel GOOD about the deal while they make a tidy profit.

    And Welch and Moynihan shit their pants each time and never catch on. It's as if they never worked in the business world - or even the sports world. Their TDS gives them an emotional response and drives out all reason. Gillespie is almost as bad.

  • Rich||

    "The only way to solve the drug problem is through toughness,"

    "and we know drug-problem warriors are pussies."

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    How about getting tough on the fucking pansies that can't stand to leave people alone? Why is it always government getting tough on people, instead of people getting tough on government?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Welcome to the club. I've been talking about going after progressives for years here. I usually take shit for it too. Don't like bad oppressive shit? Go after the oppressors.

  • vek||

    I never listen to these things, because I prefer to read things, but as far as what they wrote here goes there is a sick logic to this angle on drugs. People do respond to incentives to some degree.

    Imagine if we passed a law saying that anyone found with any drug in their system, or ANY amount, including a few crumbs of weed, was going to get the death penalty. And not just ANY death, but perhaps an especially slow and painful type of execution. How many fewer people would decide to deal drugs casually? How many people would decide not to try them, because it isn't worth the risk? I know sure as shit I never would have tried to smoke weed if the death penalty were the punishment!

    Now OBVIOUSLY I would prefer we just legalize everything. But there is a funny thing where in between measures don't really work as well as either extreme. As I understand it Saudi Arabia has far lower crime rates than most other countries... Because they'll still chop you fucking hand off for stealing some shit worth a few dollars. So if we executed people for all drugs, would that in fact save more lives than people who die from overdoses? Probably not, but maybe it would. It would just be immoral to most libertarians.

    So I think the morality of executing people for smoking week is totally fucking wrong, but it's not to say it wouldn't achieve some of the end results some people are after. It'd just be hella cruel.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Remember the George Bush call for the death penalty for potheads? That's the Final Solution El Presidente screeched at the same flag-burner-burning rallies in places like Billings, Montana. "And final – I'm talking about fair and constitutionally sound death penalty provisions for these major traffickers. " These many demands for execution over victimless plant leaves are in the George Holy War Bush presidential papers online, 1990 and 1991, before Perot showed him the door.

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