Archive for the ‘Marijuana’ Category

“Mr. Sullivan is Being Treated Differently From Others…”

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

PowerLine brings us (along with many, many other sources) the sordid tale of Andrew Sullivan’s non-troubles with the long arm of the law…

Sullivan was caught smoking marijuana in a National Park and was prosecuted, consistent with the usual policy of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts. But Sullivan’s pull with the Obama administration got him a sweetheart deal: the U.S. Attorney decided to drop the charges, even though there evidently is no doubt about Sullivan’s guilt. The issue here isn’t whether marijuana possession should be illegal, or should be prosecuted. It is illegal, and the U.S. Attorney in Massachusetts does routinely prosecute such cases. But not Sullivan: Barack Obama and Eric Holder paid him off for his slavish devotion.

The U.S. Attorney’s action in dismissing the case against Sullivan was so extraordinary that it prompted this stinging rebuke by United States Magistrate Judge Robert Collings, who presided over the case:

When the case was called, the Court expressed its concern that a dismissal would result in persons in similar situations being treated unequally before the law…
In the Court’s view, in seeking leave to dismiss the charge against Mr. Sullivan, the United States Attorney is not being faithful to a cardinal principle of our legal system, i.e., that all persons stand equal before the law and are to be treated equally in a court of justice once judicial processes are invoked. It is quite apparent that Mr. Sullivan is being treated differently from others who have been charged with the same crime in similar circumstances. …

In short, the Court sees no legitimate reason why Mr. Sullivan should be treated differently, or why the Violation Notice issued to him should be dismissed. The only reasons given for the dismissal flout the bedrock principle of our legal system that all persons stand equal before the law.

I’ll just re-state my marijuana position one more time right now, because I know there are better-than-even odds that I’ll have to say it before we move on. The longest threads at The Blog That Nobody Reads, after all, by far-and-away are the ones that extend beneath the pot posts. And I just don’t get that. It’s a law about controlled substances, one that arguably doesn’t make much sense…but which controlled-substance laws are immune from such an argument? There’s a law. Some folks like the law, some folks don’t, but if you break it then everything’s cool. Until you get caught. Then not.

Some folks think the fact that marijuana is illegal, is some kind of special issue, some notable encroachment upon our freedoms…outside of the blatant violation against the Tenth Amendment. They seem to think there’s some iron-clad human right to smoke whatever you want. I think they’re evolving into liberals and don’t realize they’re evolving into liberals — they’ve tumbled down to the fifth terrace of liberalism. True conservative principles say, if you think you should have a right to do something and your locality prohibits you from doing it — you move. You don’t riot, you don’t claim some “human right” you just pulled out of your ass, you don’t go claiming the Founding Fathers had this vision that you should be entitled to do what you want but they were so distracted by the lack of air conditioning in August of 1787 that they forgot to scribble it down.

Having said all that, my position is this: The federal government has absolutely no authority whatsoever to be prosecuting these cases. None. In fact, the Constitution clearly says they are prohibited from having anything whatsoever to do with drug laws, except for cases in which a drug-related crime was committed across state lines.

Within the states, the local populace can do whatever it wants. I don’t care. Force people to smoke pot every day. Cut off hands if people are caught smoking it. Discriminate. Let Catholics smoke pot but prohibit Protestants and Muslims from partaking in the evil weed…or vice-versa. Let men smoke pot, but not women, unless the women are topless while they’re smoking it, but not if they’re wearing tassles, unless it’s a Tuesday. Pass out free joints with the welfare checks twice a month. I. Don’t. Care.

Of course if the punishment was stocks in the town square, I’d be thrilled. Not because I want to see pot smoking punished. I just want to see the stocks brought back; I think they would represent a huge step forward in implementing my vision of what a civilized society really is. But pot? In my little village, I’d vote to keep it illegal. The next town down the road can do whatever it wants. It’s a local issue, and there’s absolutely no reason in the world to make it anything other than a local issue.

If there’s a court decision somewhere that finds differently, that decision is wrong.

Regarding the special treatment of Mr. Sullivan? Let us presume, perhaps recklessly, that this stops somewhere short of the top. Some US/DOJ lackey wanted to please his superiors, Holder and Obama knew nothing about it. Presume that, then investigate. Vigorously.

If “mistakes were made,” then heads should roll. The day has come to go spend some more time with your family. This administration, quite frankly, should be looking for some ways to renew its commitment to us that it will be running a transparent, ethical, and equitable form of government. It has been providing lots of compelling evidence lately to indicate this is not the case, and if the administration cannot take the initiative to figure that out for itself then it has fallen woefully short of possessing the intellectual acumen we were promised last fall it would be bringing.

Proving My Point

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Don’t look now, but The Hawaiian Cannabis Ministry is pointing at us trying to get a conversation going about our comments.

There certainly is a culture built up around the wacky weed. It’s kind of like belaboring the obvious to even mention it, and as a consequence anyone who takes himself seriously has reservations about so mentioning. Part of the culture is that all other classes of person may be stereotyped, but pot smokers cannot be. Another part of the culture is to displace reasoned exchange of observations and inferences with theatrical indignation, until theatrical indignation is all that is left in the discourse.

This is one of many reasons why I’ve become so jaded about liberalism over the last several years. It isn’t quite so much what the liberals want to do (although lately, that has become much more reprehensible now that they don’t feel they need to compete with anyone). It’s how they want to go about arguing these things should be done. Every reasoned critique is met with “ZOMG! I can’t believe you just said that!!” — and then that’s it. So far, in my experience, that is exactly what pot smokers, and other members of the pot culture, do.

Well I shouldn’t say that; one of our good blogger friends feels pretty strongly about this and he’s managed to offer some personal anecdotes about people he’s known. But that is decidedly an exception — not the rule.

This is, I maintain, a big part of the reason why pot is still illegal. It isn’t quite so much that it makes sense to keep it illegal…and it damn sure doesn’t make sense to put the federal government in charge of keeping it illegal. The knuckle-rapping method of arguing, for all its benefits, has one serious drawback. It requires vibration and movement to succeed. You say “This thing we do is just so WRONG!!!” and, let’s say, one-third of all those listening will agree with you. Whoever isn’t swayed by all your horror and anger and angst, is going to remain unswayed…no matter what. To make some inroads into those other two-thirds, you have to have some kind of an event take place. Without a meaningful event taking place, you’re still back at one-third agreeing with you and two-thirds disagreeing with you, and you lose.

Liberals run everything today because they used all that theatrical phony shock-and-rage…plus some gimmicks. John Kerry tried the “It’s so awful about Abu Ghraib” plus the I’m-so-much-smarter-than-that-guy thing, and because he’s prune-faced, white, and arrogant as all holy hell, he fell j-u-s-t short of the mark. Then they brought in Barack Obama, who’s just so charismatic or whatever, plus you can’t ever disagree with Him or else you’re a racist. That put it over the top. So you can win with the phony “That’s just so terrible, so so terrible” thing, but you need to have some gimmicks with it.

My preference? As long as we’re all pretending to be oh-so-well informed and such wonderful-independent-thinkers, I wish we as a society would stick to our knitting and deliver on what we’re promising. As individuals, most of us don’t even have the gonads to notice things anymore, or to put ink or voice to what we’ve been noticing so others may see it. And that’s pretty fucking cowardly, when you think about it. It’s lately gotten to the point where you can’t even admit that men and women are different…and how silly is that, really?

Nope, in 2009 most of our arguing falls into the category of the Oh-help-me-deplore-that-that-guy-over-there-said-that-thing. All of it, with negligible exceptions, I would say. You don’t have to be a pot-smoker to rely exclusively on that, to such an extent that it becomes intellectually unhealthy. But based on my observations, it certainly does appear to help.