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Hurray for President Obama!

The White House affirms that he will end the Bush/Clinton policy of raiding medical marijuana providers who are operating within the parameters of state law. A victory for patients, for the Tenth Amendment, and for responsible use of federal law enforcement resources, as Mike Krause and I argued in 2001.

Ben P:
Now that's a phrase I never thought I'd see appear on this blog.
2.5.2009 2:07pm
BA:
What? No unwarranted Jefferson's Moose plugs in this post? I'm surprised.
2.5.2009 2:09pm
BA:
Sorry, it seems I've mixed up my Davids. There was no need for alarm on my part after all.
2.5.2009 2:12pm
Oren:
Obama the Federalist?
2.5.2009 2:14pm
Houston Lawyer:
Now if we can only get them to stop enforcing federal firearms statutes we will be in great shape.
2.5.2009 2:16pm
Festooned with Christmas tree ornaments:
Fantastic! This is one of the reasons I voted Obama.
2.5.2009 2:20pm
wfjag:
Interesting precedent - a President can unilaterally decide to not enforce a federal law he (or, eventually, she) disagrees with.
2.5.2009 2:27pm
xx:
wfjag - I expect that President Obama will continue to enforce the Controlled Substances Act.
2.5.2009 2:31pm
Fidelity (mail) (www):
Oh thank God. I hope the War on Drugs is next.
2.5.2009 2:31pm
Curt Fischer:
wfjag: I'm not really knowledgeable in this area, but hasn't that always been the case?
2.5.2009 2:34pm
TRE:
the wikipedi article on the controlled substances act is pretty informative wfjag.
2.5.2009 2:34pm
Martin Grant (mail):
>Interesting precedent - a President can unilaterally decide to not enforce a federal law he (or, eventually, she) disagrees with.
Or worse, implement one that doesn't exist (e.g. the abortion gag rule).
2.5.2009 2:38pm
Lib (mail):
I'd be a lot more enthusiastic about this if I thought Obama's decision was colored, in the least, by the Tenth Amendment.
2.5.2009 2:45pm
1Ler:
Martin has an interesting perspective of the executive branch...
2.5.2009 2:46pm
Martin Grant (mail):
>Martin has an interesting perspective of the executive branch...

Ok, so it's not exactly analogous as you have to accept government money for the rule to apply. It's more like policy.

I'd try to make a better comparison with Jackson and Worcester v. Georgia decision for the Cherokees but that comparison falls short for other reasons.

Oh well. I defeat myself.

As a libertarian I applaud Obama's decision. But presidents have too much power. Then again, so does congress. It's too bad about the Gonzalez v. Raich decision.
2.5.2009 2:53pm
xx:
Lib: He did repeatedly state that his position was based on a desire to not act contrary to state laws. And if he was being entirely insincere, he would probably also state an intent not to enforce against medical users in states that don't have those laws, wouldn't he? It seems like the decision is at least colored by the Tenth Amendment (which is not to say he may not trample on it in another case, but it seems that politicians from both parties like states rights' only when they think the state's got it right)
2.5.2009 2:55pm
Ryan Waxx (mail):
Obama the Federalist?


Only when convenient.

Interesting precedent - a President can unilaterally decide to not enforce a federal law he (or, eventually, she) disagrees with.


As long as he doesn't fire a prosecutor that doesn't agree with his agenda, apparently so.
2.5.2009 3:00pm
1Ler:
Ryan Waxx:

Obama the Federalist? Only when convenient.

Well, let's be honest--that applies to 90% of each political party.
2.5.2009 3:06pm
Sarcastro (www):
Except for the Federalists, whatever they did was basically by definition Federalist.
2.5.2009 3:15pm
Mike& (mail):
I love how the conservative rats are scurrying away!

Yes, Obama has done what NO Republican President has done. He has respected federalism - at least in this narrow context.

Show me an example where Republican President George W. Bush showed as much respect for federalist principles? Or have we already forgotten about Schiavo?

You haters can't even give the man propers.

That's how deep your hate runs.

Pathetic.
2.5.2009 3:17pm
jukeboxgrad's favorite YouTube video:
You haters can't even give the man propers.

That's how deep your hate runs.

Pathetic.


Someone got up on the wrong side of the unicorn this morning!

Anyway, one cheer for Obama on this. If you actually, you know, read the article, you'll see that raids have continued during the Odministration. Obama could have issued an executive order to stop the raids immediately, but apparently he was too busy signing executive orders ensuring that my tax dollars are used to kill foreign fetuses. And the raids will continue until O gets his own man to head up the DEA, which could be... whenever. So he loses a cheer on that.

Of course, this is all fair-weather federalism. So he loses another cheer there.

Okay, I'm out of cheers, but he loses another one for stopping raids without signaling that he'll make any effort to change federal law. Great - pot clubs are going to be safe from federal raids in a little while. But they're still operating in violation of federal law, which means they're still going to be operating in a dark-gray market, if not a real black market.
2.5.2009 3:41pm
Timothy Sandefur (mail) (www):
Don't you think it's a little early to be giving Obama credit, since he's so far not actually DONE anything? And what's this: "The White House said it expects those kinds of raids to end once Mr. Obama nominates someone to take charge of DEA, which is still run by Bush administration holdovers." What, these "holdovers" are outside his authority? He can't call the acting DEA officials and say "Hey, I'm the President. Stop this."? He can't fire the sons of bitches? He's able to put his foot down and say "I won" when it comes to giving away my earnings to his labor union friends, but when it comes to violent government assaults on cancer patients, why, we have to wait, because, you know, the guys over at DEA, those are still Bush's guys, and I've only been president for two weeks, and I only had two months to prepare for the transition, and excuse excuse excuse excuse excuse excuse excuse excuse excuse excuse excuse excuse excuse excuse excuse excuse excuse excuse excuse excuse..."?

I don't see reason for applauding him here.
2.5.2009 3:45pm
donaldk2 (mail):
Bravo! Good for him. You don't have to have voted for him to applaud this demonstration of good sense and humanity.

Now I am hoping he will get around to ordering his Homeland Security to reform their imbecilic airport practices.
2.5.2009 3:45pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):

propers


Sorry, not current on slang.

Is that a new kind of drug?

O was a pot and coke head. So, not a surprising decision.

Deep enough now?
2.5.2009 3:51pm
dr:
Bob,

Then why didn't W do it?

Sorry. Withdrawn.
2.5.2009 3:55pm
jukeboxgrad's favorite YouTube video:
Timothy Sandefur wins the thread. The more I think about this, the less I like it.

It's become fashionable for O-pponents to ironically say some variation "Change We Can Believe In" whenever Obama walks back a campaign promise or continues a Bush policy. Usually it's because there's no change.

Here, granted, there is some change, or the beginnings of what might turn into change if Obama follows through. Ending raids would be a change. But it's not "Change We Can Believe In." It's cynical and feckless.

Obama isn't going to send the federales to raid pot clubs. But he still has the authority and resources to do it. Pot clubs not safe from raids but for the grace of The One. The minute he decides he wants to raid a club, for whatever reason - suspected income tax problem, donated to Republicans, asked him a tough question - he can send the DEA in on the pretext of, hey, you're violating federal law.

It's change. It's even change for the better. But just barely, and it doesn't come with any guarantees. And since so many of Obama's promises come with expiration dates, I'm not doing cartwheels over this just yet.
2.5.2009 3:57pm
Happyshooter:
I didn't expect medical pot to pass by so much in Michigan. I was wrong.

Sick people smoking the weed appears to be what the voters want.
2.5.2009 3:59pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
wfjag:

Interesting precedent - a President can unilaterally decide to not enforce a federal law he (or, eventually, she) disagrees with.


Posner seems to think that such a thing is not a precedent at all:

Prosecutors have enormous discretion; this is a fixture of American law


But maybe he was only talking about laws against torture. And/or laws broken by Republicans.

===================
bob:

O was a pot and coke head


If 'pot head' means someone who used pot a lot, then you should show your evidence. But if it means someone who used pot moderately or occasionally, you're correct. And likewise for coke.

By the way, by that standard (the one you seem to be applying) Palin is also an admitted pot head. I just thought you might like to know.
2.5.2009 4:06pm
Mike& (mail):
"Hey, I'm the President. Stop this."? He can't fire the sons of bitches?

He has a long to-do list. Anyhow, here's what I propose... a friendly game of skill that will benefit charity. Nothing crazy; just something to keep us each honest.

It's not an illegal bet, since it is a game of skill. We are not going by random chance. Each of us must use or skill and judgment and insight to reach a conclusion. That's the essence of skill. I use my skills to determine that Obama is sincere. You will use you skills to determine that he is insecure.

Anyhow, I declare that Obama will order the DEA to stop these raids within one year from today.

If I am wrong (and I'm not going to be wormy here about what must happen), then I will donate $100 to the Pacific Legal Foundation. If you lose, you'll donate $100 to my charity of choice. It won't be any anti-freedom leftist organization. It will probably Operation Smile or the Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles..... just a general charity.

Interested?

Timothy Sandefur wins the thread. The more I think about this, the less I like it.

I'll make that same wager with you. I don't know your real name (I do know Tim), but we can exchange personal information to keep us each honest. I'll keep your identity confidential unless you welch on the bet. You may contact me at the e-mail address noted above if you're interested.
2.5.2009 4:15pm
Bruce Hayden (mail):
Despite the naysaying of the previous several posters, I am happy to see that much progress. My view on this is that the War on Drugs has gotten to the point where the biggest proponents of it are those who benefit the most from it, such as the police, etc., while most of America has gotten rather blase about the whole thing.

Part of the absurdity is that the last three Presidents have apparently all had at least some minimal amount of drug use in their (hopefully) younger years. McCain likely didn't, but Palin did, so even if the last election had gone the other way, the result wouldn't have changed much.

It is time to end the War on Drugs, and instead regulate and tax the drugs instead. If for no other reasons, we are facing the international consequences of this war more and more, in Columbia, Mexico, Afghanistan, etc. and along our borders. Let's tax the drugs like we do alcohol, and maybe the government won't have to borrow as much.
2.5.2009 4:25pm
Thoughtful (mail):
Mike&, in keeping with the Texas Hold-'Em post, makes an effort to argue that his proposed "bet" is not illegal, since skill rather than luck is involved.

As a non-lawyer, I have a more basic question: is it a bet at all? Each party is simply agreeing to conditionally gift a third-party, a charity. No money exchanges hands between those making the agreement. Seems to me more like a contract than a bet. Could some knowledgeable soul clarify?
2.5.2009 4:27pm
jukeboxgrad's favorite YouTube video:
He has a long to-do list.

An excerpt from that list:
958. Eat $100 steak
959. Crank thermostat in Oval Office up to "tropical"
960. Order that US taxpayer money be spent to abort brown-skinned foreigners.
961. Read book to schoolchildren
962. Make statement in support of tax cheat nominated for HHS

Nowhere in there could he tell an aide to write up an executive order stopping raids on pot clubs? He couldn't tell his secretary to get the acting head of the DEA on the line, then say "no more raids on pot clubs" and hang up?

Right. He's way too busy for that.

Anyway, I'm not taking your bet because I think Obama probably will order the raids to stop within a year. My point is that even if he does, it's the bare minimum. The pot clubs will still be illegal, and will not be able to operate fully openly, like any other business.
2.5.2009 4:27pm
kiniyakki (mail):
Does anybody know of any links to a chart showing where marijuana is legal, and to what extent?
2.5.2009 4:29pm
kiniyakki (mail):
Wikipedia has good information about marijuana depending on the country and the state.
2.5.2009 4:36pm
jukeboxgrad's favorite YouTube video:
It is time to end the War on Drugs, and instead regulate and tax the drugs instead.

I'm always mystified by libertarians who are gleeful at the prospect of taxing legal marijuana. (Not saying that Bruce Hayden is gleeful, but in any legalization discussion, you're virtually guaranteed to hear someone say "legalize it, regulate it, and tax the hell out of it.")

Why is it so important that marijuana be taxed at a level higher than any other consumer product? To support regulation and inspection? Well, we have a completely unregulated marijuana market now, and there's no persuasive case that it's "unsafe" in the traditional consumer products understanding. Is government regulation going to make marijuana safer? If so, how?

Do we need the tax revenue to offset the public health harms of marijuana? What harms? To hear legalizers tell it, marijuana is the second healthiest activity in the world, next to regular aerobic exercise.

Is marijuana use something we want to discourage? Odd that a libertarian would want the government picking favored and disfavored recreational activities. Commenters here were up in arms a few weeks back at the prospect of increasing taxes on liquor. What happened to those people?

Is the idea that it's a great potential source of revenue? Why the hell do libertarians want to enrich the government? Since when do libertarians consider it an improvement when a dollar is removed from the private sector - even the black market - and given to Uncle Sam?

Reefer madness, indeed.
2.5.2009 4:37pm
wfjag:

Curt Fischer:
wfjag: I'm not really knowledgeable in this area, but hasn't that always been the case?

Dear Curt:
If, by that, you mean that Presidents have always set enforcement priorities, so that enforcement of some laws got top priority and others didn't get any resources or investigation, then I agree with your point.

Pres. Obama, however, seems to be doing something else. He's decided not to enforce a law which is unpopular with certain people, although the SCOTUS has upheld its constitutionality. I see that as something qualitatively different.

Imagine if Eisenhower had decided "Well, I know what the Supremes said in Brown, but ole' Orv Faubus is a good guy and I'd like to ensure I carry Arkansas in the next election, so, tell the Soldiers that they're no longer needed at that High School. We'll let the State Police enforce the law down there. I'll cite the 10th Amendment as my reason." Would you be quite so supportative of that type of decision?

There's a lot of laws I'm not thrilled with (e.g., speed limits). However, Congress enacts laws and the Executive (allegedly) executes them. If I don't like a law, I bug my congressional representatives to get it changed (or, more typically, I grumble about it on blogs). And, as much as I think that the DEA should be assigned to more important duties than ensuring that folks buying "medical" MJ are really seeking bona fide medical care (like investigating the US Olympic Swim Team), it's up to Congress to decide what the law is, and change it, rather than for the President to decide whether he will or will not enforce laws that Congress has enacted. That's the pesky part of being a nation governed by laws and not by men. Those laws apply to everyone, and not just Tricky Dicky Nixon types.

On the up side, when unpopular or unwise laws are enforce, they get repealed.

On the down side, every dictator in history started out as someone's hero, and assumed greater powers to decide which laws should be enforced, and which shouldn't, and usually there was a progression of leaders assuming greater powers (i.e., Sulla preceded Ceasar, who preceded Augustus, etc.).

As I said "interesting precedent."
2.5.2009 4:45pm
Sarcastro (www):
Glad to hear Kennedy wasn't brave at all calling out the national guard to enforce school integration. He was compelled to do that by the Constitution! And also possibly Destiny!
2.5.2009 4:50pm
Mike& (mail):
Anyway, I'm not taking your bet because I think Obama probably will order the raids to stop within a year.

Yet you're still full of piss and vinegar because it might take him a year to do something no "federalist" or "conservative" President would do - ever?

The hater is stronger than I can imagine!
2.5.2009 4:53pm
Mike& (mail):
As a non-lawyer, I have a more basic question: is it a bet at all? Each party is simply agreeing to conditionally gift a third-party, a charity. No money exchanges hands between those making the agreement. Seems to me more like a contract than a bet. Could some knowledgeable soul clarify?

No clue.

My comment was partially in fun - keeping with the game of skill theme. Also, to prove a point: Isn't it amazing.... People value their opinions so little that they won't stake $100 on them!
2.5.2009 4:55pm
xx:
wfjag: "There's a lot of laws I'm not thrilled with (e.g., speed limits). However, Congress enacts laws and the Executive (allegedly) executes them."

Congress did not ban marijuana use. It passed an act that permits the president to do so as part of his drug enforcement authority. (I agree with the poster who suggested you read the wikipedia page on the Controlled Substances Act).
2.5.2009 4:58pm
jukeboxgrad's favorite YouTube video:
Yet you're still full of piss and vinegar because it might take him a year to do something no "federalist" or "conservative" President would do - ever?

Piss, yes; vinegar, no.

I'll be marginally pleased if and when it pans out. It's a move in the right direction, but just barely. I think Obama will probably call off the dogs in one form or another, eventually. But if it would take no more effort for Obama to stop these raids than it would for him to read a book to schoolchildren. He could even do it on his Blackberry in the limo. The fact that he's in no hurry dampens my applause quite a bit.

I wouldn't consider either Bush a real conservative, and certainly not a Federalist. GWB was, as Mark Steyn put it, Tony Blair with a ranch. So I'm not really sure what your point is. Non-Federalists act non-Federalisty? Okay. On the other hand, Bush did appoint justices who are far more respectful of Federalism than anyone Clinton appointed or Obama will appoint.

Isn't it amazing.... People value their opinions so little that they won't stake $100 on them!

If you're so confident in your opinion, there's no need for you to wager. Just unilaterally announce that you'll donate $100 to a right-leaning charity if Obama doesn't follow through. If you actually value your opinion, you'll do it, because you'll be sure that you'll never have to pay.

I will gladly bet you $100 that Obama won't ask Congress to pass a bill legalizing recreational use of marijuana within the next year, though.
2.5.2009 5:09pm
Matt_T:
You haters can't even give the man propers.

Anybody who writes "haters" and "props" without irony is unworthy of a serious response.
2.5.2009 5:11pm
Michael B (mail):
Three two one tepid cheer for The One in this instance. I do not remotely favor ending "the war" against drugs - whether conceived within large "L" Libertarian interests, economic or other purportedly pragmatic interests or yet other interests - but it undeniably needs to be better conceived at times, both strategically and tactically.
2.5.2009 5:14pm
FFBN:
Obama is committed to systematically dismantle all “criminalization” of cannabis and its derivatives. This is part political payback and part personal crusade. He has flown under the radar using small initiatives such as the one that is the subject of your posting as well as using the willing shills of the media (note the recent CNBC special on the financial ramifications of the great cash crop of marijuana). Obama is an admitted former(?) illicit drug user. The media will not dare to question him on his use. Why do you think he continues to smoke cigarettes, when anyone in his generation in America with a brain will not use that product due to its proven negative impact on one’s health. (Yes, Virginia, there is a strong correlation between cigarette use by those of the Obama generation and younger, and the use of marijuana.)

As part of that crusade, Obama counts on the support of libertarians such as inhabit this blog. However, to support such action one should think of the externalities associated with the effective legalization of the product and the history of its use in various societies. It the difference between libertarianism at all costs and libertarianism tempered by the effects of certain policy costs. When the time comes that one can purchase government controlled cannabis as easily as a pack of cigarettes, our society will begin to realize the costs, which include dire impact on personal physical and mental health, impact on others not using the drug (think increased highway deaths, for one) and new generations adding marijuana use to their rite of passage.

Cannabis and alcohol have coexisted for millennia. There is a reason that cannabis, at least in successful societies, has been relegated to the shadows. It is time proven to be a much larger detriment than alcohol. Space does not permit a thorough examination of the above. However, as a veteran of the drug wars, I speak from considerable experience and study. I see this initiative as one more move to turn the United States into Europe. We bailed their asses out twice last century and are now their main protectorate against Islamic terrorism. When we are them, who will bail us out?
2.5.2009 5:25pm
Barrister's Handshake (mail) (www):
I'm headed to California to open my weed cooperative. Weedtracker-dot-com lookout!
2.5.2009 5:26pm
Mike& (mail):
If you're so confident in your opinion, there's no need for you to wager.

I wasn't testing my confidence. I was testing yours. And your failure was epic.
2.5.2009 5:33pm
jukeboxgrad's favorite YouTube video:
I wasn't testing my confidence. I was testing yours.

My confidence in what, exactly? If you read my posts on this topic, you would see that at no point did I express the opinion that Obama wouldn't order DEA raids on pot clubs to stop. I said that he's taking his sweet time, that it's a half-assed measure, and that it's clearly not as important to him as eating expensive steak, reading books to children, or aborting poor brown people.

So what we have here is epic reading comprehension fail.

I will now test your confidence. If you are so sure that Obama will order all DEA raids on pot clubs to stop within a year, then you will pledge $100 to Sarah Palin's PAC if he does not. If you don't do it, it means you're not confident in your opinion.
2.5.2009 5:43pm
Sarcastro (www):
I'll bet anyone on the internets that I am sworn in as President by next year.

If I win you send $100 to Castro!

If you win...

Step 3 is profit! (For Castro)
2.5.2009 5:49pm
xx:
FFBN: "Space does not permit a thorough examination of the above."

Thank God.
2.5.2009 5:54pm
Floridan:
"I wouldn't consider either Bush a real conservative. . . "

This seems to be an increasingly popular sentiment among conservatives of late . . . the same conservatives who have spent a great amount of energy and effort defending Bush over the past eight years.
2.5.2009 6:06pm
wfjag:
Dear xx:

21 USC §841
(a) Unlawful acts. Except as authorized by this title, it shall be unlawful for any person knowingly or intentionally--
(1) to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, a controlled substance; or
(2) to create, distribute, or dispense, or possess with intent to distribute or dispense, a counterfeit substance.

United States v. Spann, 515 F.2d 579, 583-84 (10th Cir. 1975):

In contrast, the federal statutory scheme involved here speaks in terms of "controlled substances" rather than "narcotic drugs." 21 USC §844(a), under which defendant was convicted, provides that: "It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly or intentionally to possess a controlled substance . . ." (emphasis added). "Marihuana" is classed as a "controlled substance" by 21 USC §812(c) Schedule I (c)(10). By placing "marihuana," as such, in the list of controlled substances under Schedule I, Congress has in effect determined that possession of some quantity of "marihuana," regardless of its particular hallucinogenic qualities, is proscribed. The propriety of the classification of "marihuana" as a "controlled substance" under Schedule I has been upheld against various constitutional challenges. See United States v. Kiffer, 477 F.2d 349 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 414 U.S. 831, 94 S. Ct. 62, 38 L. Ed. 2d 65; United States v. Rodriquez-Camacho, 468 F.2d 1220 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 410 U.S. 985, 93 S. Ct. 1512, 36 L. Ed. 2d 182; United States v. LaFroscia, 354 F. Supp.1338 (S.D.N.Y.), aff'd., 485 F.2d 457 (2d Cir.). There was no showing made to challenge the propriety of the classification in this case. Hence this conviction is adequately supported by the proof which permitted the inference that defendant knowingly or intentionally possessed a "controlled substance" -- here marihuana -- without proof of its usability as a "narcotic drug."

(ftn. omitted).
Monson v. DEA, 522 F. Supp. 2d 1188, 1200 (D. N.D. 2007):

Under the current state of the law in the Eighth Circuit, all varieties of the Cannabis sativa L. plant, regardless of the THC concentration and regardless of the use, are Schedule I controlled substances under the federal Controlled Substances Act. Counsel for the plaintiffs acknowledged at the hearing on November 14, 2007, that there are currently no federal district or appellate courts that have exempted industrial hemp from the Controlled Substances Act. The fact that the North Dakota Legislative Assembly has chosen to regulate the growth of Cannabis in a manner contrary to federal law does not change its status as a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law.

Obviously I should rely on wikipedia and not statutes or jurisprudence.
2.5.2009 6:07pm
Opher Banarie (mail) (www):
What an exciting precedent! We cannot have public funds going to private schools, but we can send it to Mexican drug dealers. Yes, this is change, but not what I can believe in...

And is this a step toward national health care, or a step toward needing more national health care? Doesn't matter - the cost just went up regardless.
2.5.2009 6:09pm
dr:

What an exciting precedent! We cannot have public funds going to private schools, but we can send it to Mexican drug dealers. Yes, this is change, but not what I can believe in...

And is this a step toward national health care, or a step toward needing more national health care? Doesn't matter - the cost just went up regardless.


opher, perhaps you can elaborate? if obama orders the dea to stop expending resources raiding medical marijuana clubs that ushers in socialism...how?
2.5.2009 6:14pm
Dr. T (mail) (www):
I have heard this type of statement before, but the agency simply ignored the directive and acted as it pleased. The ATF (now ATFE) is notorious for going its own way. The FBI did so under Hoover. And, so could the DEA.

Therefore, I don't feel much better after today's announcement. If Obama disbands the DEA entirely, then I'll feel better.
2.5.2009 6:25pm
jukeboxgrad's favorite YouTube video:
This seems to be an increasingly popular sentiment among conservatives of late . . . the same conservatives who have spent a great amount of energy and effort defending Bush over the past eight years.

I'm a conservative. I defend my wife all the time. Doesn't make her a conservative.
2.5.2009 6:34pm
Michael B (mail):
"This seems to be an increasingly popular sentiment among conservatives of late ..." Floridan

Try, absolute bare minimum, since the 1992 election and G.H.W.B.'s broken "no new taxes" promise. Elections are essentially binary choices, not ideal choices made along some continuum wherein only an ideal candidate is chosen.

Reality ≠ Ideality
2.5.2009 6:57pm
Syd Henderson:

xx:
wfjag: "There's a lot of laws I'm not thrilled with (e.g., speed limits). However, Congress enacts laws and the Executive (allegedly) executes them."

Congress did not ban marijuana use. It passed an act that permits the president to do so as part of his drug enforcement authority.


If that's true, then Obama does indeed have the discretion to stop raids on medical marijuana where it's legal under state law. I'd go further, and say if the DEA violates that policy, Obama should pardon the victims of the raids.
2.5.2009 7:19pm
Kirk:
Obama the Federalist?
Only when convenient.
Still better than "never", isn't it? You'd think we'd all be in take-what-we-can-get mode these days...

Floridian, I don't consider GWB much of a conservative, either, but that doesn't stop me from defending him when he's being criticized for actions I approve of, or at least like better than the alternatives proposed by the critics.
2.5.2009 7:43pm
ArthurKirkland:
One of the best ways to rearrange the "War On Drugs" would be to institute the type of structure that forbids police officers, district justices (magistrates), district attorneys, and others from averting their eyes to drunken driving charges. When a statute assigns a harsher penalty to ignoring a drunken driver or to participating in a plea bargain (reckless driving or the like) than it does to drunken driving, preferential treatment for well-connected offenders nearly disappears.

In the drug context, were selective enforcement outlawed, and were it become a crime to allow a well-connected child or a prominent citizen to skate for a controlled substance offenss -- wealthy citizens prosecuted, the children of elected officials imprisoned, police officers and judges fired over possession of marijuana cigarettes -- the drug laws likely would capsize quickly.

A substantial blow for freedom and just administration of law that would be.
2.5.2009 8:00pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
wfjag:

it's up to Congress to decide what the law is, and change it, rather than for the President to decide whether he will or will not enforce laws that Congress has enacted


I wish you had been around to bring that up when Posner said this:

Obama has no legal obligation to prosecute [Bush administration officials who may have violated anti-torture statutes]


=============
ffbn:

The media will not dare to question him on his use.


FWIW, the "media" did in fact "dare" to do some investigation into this matter:

In more than three dozen interviews, friends, classmates and mentors from his high school and Occidental recalled Mr. Obama as being grounded, motivated and poised, someone who did not appear to be grappling with any drug problems and seemed to dabble only with marijuana.
2.5.2009 8:13pm
Randy R. (mail):
" There is a reason that cannabis, at least in successful societies, has been relegated to the shadows. It is time proven to be a much larger detriment than alcohol."

Michael Phelps: First he's an Olympic Champion. Then he's a dangerous pothead. Call the police!
2.5.2009 9:04pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):

If 'pot head' means someone who used pot a lot, then you should show your evidence. But if it means someone who used pot moderately or occasionally, you're correct. And likewise for coke.


1. "Dreams from My Father." He admits to quite a bit, tempered only by lack of money, not desire.

2. Picture montage of O in panama hat smoking and obviously very high.

Now, he apparently does not do it anymore which is why I said "was" rather than "is".

All this means that not enforcing drug laws is not exactly a surprise, considering his background.


friends, classmates and mentors from his high school and Occidental recalled Mr. Obama as being grounded, motivated and poised


Hard hitting investigatory reporting. His grandmother wasn't available to praise him?
2.5.2009 9:27pm
ArthurKirkland:
In my experience, use of marijuana did not separate the successful from the unsuccessful. If anything, it separated the cool from the uptight, the free thinkers from the reflexive conformists.

One downside to the likely lack of a hell is that it would be interesting to observe the eventual treatment of elected officials and judges who smoked marijuana themselves, and/or extricate their children from legal problems associated with drugs, yet shamelessly pander with anti-drug positions that hurt those without the connections or luck to dodge the rap.
2.5.2009 9:32pm
Michael B (mail):
"One downside to the likely lack of a hell ..."

The longing for a hell, by the high-minded. Fortunately, at least presumably so, your "secularist" bona fides are intact. Otherwise, suspicions, and more, would be fully warranted.
2.5.2009 10:18pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
bob:

He admits to quite a bit [drug use]


Really? I hope you'll define "quite a bit," and cite the language to justify your claim.

Here. Let me give you a hand. The book is searchable at Amazon. Search for "pothead" and you'll find the page where he discusses drug use. Show us the part where "he admits to quite a bit."

Perhaps the passage you're thinking of is this:

Junkie. Pothead. That’s where I’d been headed: the final, fatal role of the young would-be black man. Except the highs hadn’t been about that, me trying to prove what a down brother I was.


That passage is also quoted in the article I already cited.

Let's review what you said:

O was a pot and coke head


When I challenged you for proof, you cite his book. But in his book he didn't say he was a pothead. He said he had "been headed" in that direction. Why are you pretending that Obama said something he didn't say?

Picture montage of O in panama hat smoking and obviously very high.


You should notify the DEA that you've developed a methodology for measuring how high someone is by looking at them in a photograph. We haven't seen a breakthrough like this since Frist diagnosed Schiavo via video.

Hard hitting investigatory reporting.


The reporter interviewed more than three dozen people and questioned them about Obama's history of drug use. What did you expect the reporter to do? Get Obama to pee in a cup? Check to see if there were any lost seeds hidden in the shag rug of his rec room?

And how much "hard hitting investigatory reporting" did you see in connection with Palin's admission that she used pot? Did you see any at all? That darn liberal media.

================
kirkland:

shamelessly pander with anti-drug positions


Another nice example of the kind of hypocrisy you're talking about: when the spiritual leader of the GOP moralizes about drugs and then admits he's a drug addict.
2.5.2009 10:23pm
Michael B (mail):
"That darn liberal media." jukebox_sneer

We saw the media provide brief, token reports only when an arsonist burned down a church in Wasilla, AK, a church that had people in it and an arsonist who additionally spread accelerants around the exits of the church prior to initiating the fire.

If the same thing had occurred to a church Barack Obama had attended we'd still be hearing about those pernicious, malevolent, evil "right-wingers" who attempted to murder innocent church goers simply because they had some presumed association with Obama. Such would be the case because - as we all know - those pernicious, malevolent, evil interests would serve to typify "right-wingers" in general, and the Andrea Mitchells, the Katie Courics, the Olbermans, the Rick Sanchezes of the world would not be capable of resisting such intimations, intoning with "worried" brows, further suggestive of their "civic concern".
2.6.2009 12:08am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
michael:

the Andrea Mitchells, the Katie Courics, the Olbermans, the Rick Sanchezes of the world would not be capable of resisting such intimations


Gosh, that's classic. You expect us to be concerned about a hypothetical situation where (according to you), that group "would not be capable of resisting such intimations." Meanwhile, back here on Earth, we discover that the ones who are not "capable of resisting such intimations" are the folks at your favorite blog:

Given the insane hatred that Democrats directed toward Palin during the recent campaign, it would be easy to jump to the conclusion that the arson is the work of a liberal Democrat. But we don't know that for sure.


What a nice example of paralipsis. And how gallant of them to point out that they don't know for sure. And in much the same way, I don't know for sure that you torture puppies and rape nuns. But it sure "would be easy to jump to the conclusion" that you do.

Anyway, feel free to continue to demonstrate that the hypothetical behavior of Mitchell et al is of greater interest to you than the actual behavior of Power Line.

an arsonist burned down a church


The church was damaged but it wasn't "burned down." As usual, you're having trouble getting your facts straight.
2.6.2009 12:56am
Michael B (mail):
jukebox_sneer,

That's "damaged," as in $1,000,000 damage. And that's "damaged," as in entire rooms gutted, demolished, burned out. So no, I don't expect you to be concerned in the least about a hypothetical - no matter how realistic - given the fact you and others merely sneer when it comes to the real thing, when it comes to a real arsonist, involving real people, in a real building.
2.6.2009 3:58am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
That's "damaged," as in $1,000,000 damage.


Wow. That number sure looks big when you write out all the zeros that way. Maybe you should have done it this way: $1,000,000.00. And how careless I've been every time I failed to state the cost of the war in terms like these: $594,602,307,230.That's much more impressive than this: '$595 billion.'

And where did I say the church wasn't "damaged?" I didn't. But "damaged" is not the same thing as "burned down." Why did you say it was "burned down?" It wasn't. Is it because you're determined to remind us that only a fool would accept your statements at face value? There's no need to do that, because that's already been proven beyond any doubt.

I don't expect you to be concerned in the least about a hypothetical - no matter how realistic


Here's something that's more realistic than your hypothetical: reality. So "I don't expect you to be concerned in the least about" reality, because instead you're focusing your attention on your hypothetical. The reality is that your pals at Power Line did exactly what you claim Mitchell et al might hypothetically do. But even though you are concerned about the latter, so far you have shown this much concern for the former: none.

In other words, bad behavior that exists only in your imagination is of greater concern to you than bad behavior that's actually occurred out here on planet Earth.

given the fact you and others merely sneer when it comes to the real thing


If you can show where I or anyone else "sneer" about that arson, you should do so. I didn't "sneer." I merely pointed out your falsified description of the event.

And one more thing about your description. You said the church "had people in it." And then you mentioned the idea of someone who might want to "murder innocent church goers." I hope you did not intend to imply that the fire was set with a large number of "church goers" inside. It wasn't. There were five people in the building. It's possible or likely that the arsonist thought no one was in there.

And by the way, the idea that the arson is connected to Palin is "in the realm of pure speculation." You are implying that there's something political about this event, even though that's "pure speculation." But like you, Palin herself doesn't mind encouraging that speculation.

Meanwhile, I have noticed you say nothing whatsover about another church arson, where a newly constructed church building was indeed "burned to the ground," hours after Obama's election. "Firefighters suffered injuries as they worked to extinguish the blaze."

And the political connection here is not speculative. One of the arsonists gave a statement to the FBI that they "were angry about the election of Barack Obama, and wanted to burn the church."

Their arrests were announced here. And their facebook photos are priceless.

The damage to the building "was estimated at $2.5 million." Or perhaps I should say $2,500,000.

By the way, this act of racial violence has been mentioned at National Review, Weekly Standard, Power Line, and VC this number of times: zero. Meanwhile, you said this:

We saw the media provide brief, token reports only when an arsonist burned down a church in Wasilla


Let us know if you can show that "the media" provided more than "brief, token reports" about this black church that was burned to the ground by admitted racists. In particular, let us know if "the Andrea Mitchells, the Katie Courics, the Olbermans, the Rick Sanchezes of the world" have been doing what you claimed they would in this type of situation. That is, what Power Line actually did.

Anyway, church arson is not particularly rare. There was a wave of them a while back:

The NCATF has opened investigations into 670 arsons, bombings or attempted bombings that have occurred at houses of worship between January 1, 1995, and September 8, 1998.
2.6.2009 9:02am
Bob from Ohio (mail):
I love reactions when religious figures are criticized.

Look, Iraq! Look, Sarah Palin!
2.6.2009 10:02am
wfjag:
Dear Syd:
Since xx didn't respond, but you somewhat did, maybe you can show me where -- under the statute and its jurisprudence -- the President has "discretion" to conclude that MJ is not a "controlled substance" which it is "unlawful" to possess, distribute, etc. The holding in Monson v. DEA, 522 F. Supp. 2d 1188, 1200 (D. N.D. 2007), that I quoted, is the accepted intrepretation that the fact that state law does not criminalize MJ's possession, transfer, etc., is irrelevant for the purposes of applying the federal law. Accordingly, by what constitutional authority does Pres. Obama have the power to order the DEA to not enforce a criminal prohibition enacted by Congress?
2.6.2009 11:20am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
So let's review, michael. It's pure speculation to suggest that the Wasilla arson was politically motivated. Nevertheless, Power Line promptly (about 24 hours after the event) indulged in exactly the kind of political "intimations" that you supposedly condemn. They barely waited for the ashes to cool before taking it upon themselves to draw a connection between this event and the "insane hatred [of] Democrats." But of course you haven't condemned them, or even acknowledged that they said what they said.

Meanwhile, the Springfield arson is admittedly a racist, political act, but I can't find a single example of a righty blogger/commentator (you or anyone else) even mentioning it, let alone condemning it. I also can't find a single example of Mitchell et al reacting to it in the way that you claimed they would react to it, in your supposedly "realistic" hypothetical. Mitchell et al were apparently "capable of resisting such intimations," and Power Line was not.

In other words, your "realistic" hypothetical is approximately the opposite of reality, in virtually every important way. But of course this is exactly what we would expect from you, given your history. Keep up the good work! We're counting on you to continue providing your inadvertent public service.

===============
bob:

I love reactions when religious figures are criticized.


I love how you pretend that Obama said something he didn't say and then refuse to take responsibility when your deception is exposed.

Look, Iraq! Look, Sarah Palin!


Look! I know how to spot a drug addict by looking at him in a photo!

===============
wfjag:

by what constitutional authority does Pres. Obama have the power to order the DEA to not enforce a criminal prohibition enacted by Congress?


I guess the same "constitutional authority" that Posner was thinking of when he said this:

Obama has no legal obligation to prosecute [Bush administration officials who may have violated anti-torture statutes]
2.6.2009 12:03pm
Michael B (mail):
jukebox_nosepick,

So "one million dollars" is deemed a great deal different from "$1,000,000"? You even manage to spend some time on that supposedly worrisome mischief.

Regardless, no exaggerations were forwarded in the least. For example, I entirely omitted the worst reports I read on the topic, such as a report that indicated authorities are aware that, prior to the fire being ignited, electrical wires associated with the sprinkler system, with fire alarms and with telephones were cut - suggesting murder and not merely arson was a motive. And there were five adult women together with a teenager in the building when the fire was ignited. I omitted other information as well, in part because I couldn't confirm it, in other part because exaggeration was not my purpose, your arrogation and sneer notwithstanding.

If I had wanted to exaggerate anything to the maximum, I would have used that additional information.

Also, "damaged" is also not the same as gutted from within, and large portions of the building were in fact gutted, burned out.

Finally, the other act of arson is of course pathetic and repulsive. By contrast however, since that building was still under construction and only 75% complete, it was also apparent no one was in the building when the fire was set.

I also noticed the following at the end of the link:

"The case is being investigated by the FBI; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Massachusetts State Police; Hampden County District Attorney's Office and the Springfield Police Department."

By contrast, I could find no information indicating the Wasilla church arson was being investigated by the FBI or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - despite the report of the cut electrical wires, the five or six people in the building and the additional supposition that, therefore, murder itself may in fact have been a motive. Perhaps the FBI and BATFE are involved, but I could not find confirming information.
2.6.2009 4:55pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
authorities are aware that, prior to the fire being ignited, electrical wires associated with the sprinkler system, with fire alarms and with telephones were cut


Really? That's interesting. You offer no citation, but I believe the stories you are telling trace back to this, what is supposedly an "interview" with "WBC Elder Tom Ryan."

Do you notice anything odd about this "interview?" Have you ever seen an "interview" that contains no quotes whatsoever? And here's something odd about "WBC Elder Tom Ryan:" his name appears on the church web site this many times: zero.

And here's something odd about the claim that the arsonists cut
"electrical wires associated with the sprinkler system:" most sprinkler systems have no "electrical wires." Also note this:

The church is equipped with a fire sprinkler system, Kroon said, but the fire was burning in the walls and took hours to put out.


I think if there had been an attempt to disable the sprinkler system (either successfully or unsuccessfully), that would have been mentioned.

There's also something odd about the suggestion that the fire alarm was disabled. According to this report, "everyone got out safely after a fire alarm alerted them to trouble."

So do you have a reliable source for these claims? I mean a source that doesn't trace back to Kevin Collins and "WBC Elder Tom Ryan."

By the way, I don't think it matters much. Either way, it was a nasty crime. But I just find it interesting to notice the nature of the information you're willing to promote.

I omitted other information as well, in part because I couldn't confirm it


Gosh, that's funny. So you somehow did "confirm" these various claims about cut wires? Please tell us how.

I could find no information indicating the Wasilla church arson was being investigated by the FBI or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives


The official ATF press release is here. And a blogger here (and some others elsewhere) claim the FBI is involved, but I can't confirm that.

Anyway, you're completely ducking the broader issue, which is about the reaction of Power Line, and the non-reaction (to the Springfield fire) of Mitchell et al. Which directly contradicts your supposedly "realistic" hypothetical.
2.6.2009 8:35pm
Michael B (mail):
jukebox_sneer,

No additional discourse on the subject of $1,000,000 vs. one million dollars?

I didn't "duck" a thing. Which, for one, is why you continue with trumpeted inferences, attempts at traducements, evasions of your own, arrogations and your trademark sneering contempt.

To your spittle: Boo.
To your facile contempt: Boo.
To your sneers: Boo.
To your moronic arrogations: Boo.

And yes, I have seen condensations of interviws - which is what you've cited - absent quotes. In fact, such summaries or condensations are common.

Boo.
2.7.2009 3:57pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
I didn't "duck" a thing.


Then I missed the part where you condemned Power Line for making exactly the kind of "intimations" that you claimed Mitchell et al would make. And I also missed the part where you demonstrated that Mitchell et al made those kind of "intimations" in response to the Springfield fire. Because you claimed they would. So did they or didn't they?

And let us know when you're ready to explain how you 'confirmed' that highly dubious report about cut wires. Which supposedly came from a "church elder" whose name appears nowhere on the church's own web site.

such summaries or condensations are common


Naturally. And that's why you're not going to present a single example to support your claim.

By the way, Collins didn't say he was presenting a 'summary' or 'condensation.' He said he was presenting an "exclusive interview." And then he proceeded to give us this many quotes from the person he supposedly interviewed: zero. But I guess in your world, that's what passes for journalism. Since you also live in your world where "boo" passes for argument.
2.7.2009 4:12pm
Michael B (mail):
jukebox_picknose,

Boo.
2.7.2009 6:16pm
Bob Goodman (mail) (www):
The controls on substances don't outlaw all human activities regarding them, only those that are unlicensed; that's why they're called "controls". So Obama can get DEA registrations for the cannabis clubs on general principles of public policy. For that matter, they and their customers can be made officers charged with enforcement of the disposal of cannabis by state law by their local jurisdictions, and they don't need DEA registr'n.

Or he can just send word that anyone subject to political hiring will be fired if anyone under him misidentifies as cannabis what is obviously to Obama's knowledge not cannabis.
2.8.2009 8:16pm

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