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Yesterday was a fascinating day for me. I wrote a little blog post earlier in the week in which I said President Obama should be fired for putting resources behind medical marijuana prosecutions in California. And then the Internet puked on my shoes. (See my post below for all of the fun.)

It seems some clarifications are in order.

Sorry I Confused Some of You

You can see from the many comments on this blog, and on the other Internet sites that linked to it, that people had very different interpretations of what I wrote. The people with good reading comprehension correctly understood my point: Jailing an American citizen for no reason other than political gain is a firing offense.

The people with bad reading comprehension, and the people who saw nothing but the confused summaries and tweets from those people, interpreted my argument as saying Romney is likely to be softer on drugs than Obama. And based on that misunderstanding, people concluded that my endorsement of Romney was the stupidest opinion in the galaxy. They'd be right if that had been my reasoning.

The fascinating thing here is that I believe the source of confusion is that people literally don't recognize objectivity when they see it. I got a lot of comments along the lines of "You say X is true and then in the same paragraph you say Y." What I actually said is "X is likely to be true, but here's an argument for Y." That's how objective people talk. They make a prediction and then explain why it might be wrong. That's the only way you know all sides have been considered. Partisans and non-thinkers say, "My prediction is 100% certain."

If I were to say the weather in California is good, but today it is cold and foggy, about 20% of readers would say, "Make up your mind! First you say the weather is good and then you say it is cold and foggy! You make no sense!"

Bad Analogy People


The people who aren't good with analogies waded in next, pointing out that President Obama killed U.S. citizens abroad because those citizens were part of a terrorist organization bent on the destruction of the United States. While that situation is worthy of discussion, it misses the central point of my post. There's a big difference between protecting the country and expecting some political gain from doing so versus jailing a small businessman in California for political gain while not even pretending it benefits the country. I expect my president to do some nasty stuff in my best interest. I don't expect him to do nasty stuff to citizens for no reason other than his own reelection interests. The latter is a firing offense.

The Law is the Law

The next thing that fascinated me is the number of people who said President Obama is obligated to pursue legal action against medical marijuana dispensaries in California because the law is the law and we can't have our leaders picking and choosing which ones they support.

To the people who hold that view, I wonder what country you have been living in. In the real world, legal resources are always limited, and leaders at every level of the legal system make choices every day about what is important enough to pursue and what is not.

As I write this, every police chief in every district is looking at his resources, looking at all the work his office is charged with doing, and deciding that something on the order of 50% of what the legal code asks him to do is simply impractical. So he focuses his resources on the 50% that are his highest priorities.

While the law is the law, the more important fact is that the budget is the budget. We elect our leaders to set priorities and act accordingly. The point of my post is that President Obama is using the country's limited resources to shut California dispensaries - possibly the country's lowest priority - for no reason other than political gain. In the process, he's putting a small businessman in jail for 10 years to life. That's a firing offense.

On my side of this debate is a Harvard-trained lawyer by the name of President Obama. During his first campaign for president he promised he wouldn't waste limited government resources pursuing medical marijuana cases. I'm not a Harvard-trained lawyer so I will take his word for it that a president can choose to ignore low-priority prosecutions without violating his oath.

The President Doesn't Personally Put People in Jail

Some commenters mocked me by arguing that the President doesn't control federal law enforcement at the granular level. You can't blame him for every decision made in the field. He's not personally slapping handcuffs on perps. True enough. But in the case of California dispensaries, he authorized the flip-flop in policy from ignoring the situation to going after them. Holding him innocent from the logical repercussions of his policy is like saying history should cut some slack for Pol Pot because he didn't personally kill anyone.

The Lesser Evil Argument

Supporters of President Obama argue that firing the President FOR ANY REASON means accepting a devastating alternative in a Romney presidency. While I applaud the complete dismissal of morality in the interest of practicality, let's take a minute to see if the practicality argument is so cut and dried.

My observation is that voters often - perhaps usually - don't get what they think they voted for. Nixon surprised everyone by getting cuddly with China. Bush Junior turned from isolationist to military adventurer. Obama went from weed-friendly to badass destroyer of state-approved dispensaries. Some fiscal conservatives have blown up the budget while some free-spending Democrats balanced it. If you think you can predict how a candidate will act in office, you might need a history lesson, or perhaps a booster shot of humility.

Now consider Mitt Romney, the most famous chameleon of all time. I submit that a hypothetical Romney presidency would be nearly impossible to predict with any accuracy. In each of his past leadership roles he has morphed into whatever the job required. During the primaries, his job required him to be far right. In the general election we see him drift toward the center, or as his advisor famously said, "Shake the Etch-a-Sketch." It would be naïve to assume Romney wouldn't shake it again once elected, given that even non-chameleon presidents do so.

Romney knows that the electorate is full of idiots and he needs to be a gigantic liar to win their votes. I totally get that. The funniest part is his budget plan that he promises to describe in detail after he gets elected. Dumb people see this as "He has an awesome fiscal plan!" Democrats see it as "He's a liar with no plan!" I see it as "You know I'm a brilliant and experienced turnaround guy. I know how to do this sort of thing. And if I give details now it just paints a target on my back. So chill."

In any event, Congress will be the ones who decide on the next budget. It will probably look similar no matter who gets elected. I don't believe, for example, that a Romney budget would overfund the military. Congress would moderate that, and Romney probably doesn't mean it anyway. Remember, his job today is to lie to get elected. His job once elected is quite different.

I also have no faith in my ability - or yours - to compare Obamacare (essentially a Romney plan) to how healthcare might change under a Romney administration. If you think you know the answer to that question, you're kidding yourself.

Some Democrats say the biggest risk in a Romney presidency involves Supreme Court nominees. But I think we saw after the unexpected opinion from Justice Roberts on the Obamacare ruling that the court has a built-in safety net against being too blatantly partisan and destroying its own credibility in the process.  I think the risk of a conservative-heavy Supreme Court ruining the country by adhering too slavishly (irony!) to the Constitution is low. You might not like some of their rulings, but they probably won't kill you. And if we are being objective, a court with too many lefties would have its own risks.

You're Endorsing Romney to Cut Your Rich Guy Taxes, Bastard!

Some folks suspect that I'm a weasel-bastard who is using the California dispensary issue as a smokescreen for bobbing to the right so I can save on taxes under a Romney administration. There's no defense against an accusation that I have secret motives, but let me describe the economics as I see them.

Over my career, my net worth has moved in lockstep with the overall economy. So whatever plan is good for the entire country is probably the one that helps me most, no matter what my tax rate is. And realistically, given a choice between taxing the rich, including myself, versus taxing people with no money, I don't see a choice. Even Romney knows we can't grow our way out of the problem. He's not an idiot; he's just a guy who needs idiots to vote for him.

So no, I don't see a scenario in which someday I am flying my diamond-encrusted helicopter over the rioting masses of starvation-crazed ex-middle-classers and thinking to myself that things worked out well for me. I don't see the option of living the good life at the expense of the 99%. That's not even a thing. I stopped working to satisfy my personal cravings years ago. Everything I produce and everything I earn these days is for the benefit of others. So I don't mind higher taxes on the rich if it makes sense for the country. With the exception of M.C. Hammer, the rich get richer no matter what the tax rates are. I'm afraid that won't change regardless of who gets elected.


Update:

Where's your evidence that President Obama is enforcing drug laws in California for political reasons alone?

What other reason is there? And remember that your answer has to account for the fact that President Obama has never bothered to explain his unexpected change of policy. Nor has anyone in his administration explained it.

I think it is fair to say President Obama didn't learn anything new about the dangers of medical marijuana in California that he didn't know before he got elected. If he did receive new information, he could simply point it out to defend his change of policy.

Californians voted to legalize medical marijuana dispensaries after considering all factors from freedom to health and safety to economics. Our prior governor, Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, signed a law decriminalizing possession of small quantities of marijuana with a classic summary: "No one cares if you smoke a joint." (It's funnier when you imagine it in Arnold's accent.)

The medical marijuana dispensaries have now operated long enough that we can see their impact.  So far, it seems that dispensaries raise tax revenues, reduce crime in their neighborhoods, and help a lot of patients find relief. Dispensaries also keep their customers away from shady dealers who might offer more harmful drugs. The dispensaries probably have no appreciable impact on supply. Illegal marijuana is easy to obtain just about anywhere.

The trend toward full legalization of medical marijuana is accelerating all over the country for the same reasons that swayed Californians. I see no reason the trend will reverse. Does it make sense to send someone to jail for a crime that will likely become a non-crime during the jail term? What kind of leader devotes resources to that?

Have you ever met someone who smoked a lot of marijuana, as President Obama did when living in Hawaii, while simultaneously holding the view that the people who sold it to him should go to jail? I don't know the exact answer to my own question, but I'm guessing the number is near zero.

Now let me confuse the readers coming over from Daily Kos, Huffington Post, Gawker, Mediaite.com, and some of the other Low Information Voter sites. I'm going to display something called "objectivity." It involves discussing the odds that I might be wrong. It does not mean I just changed my mind. It means I'm attempting to consider all sides. Here goes. . .

There is some chance - I think a very small one - that President Obama has a non-political reason for cracking down on California's medical marijuana dispensaries, although I can't even imagine what reason a liberal  ex-stoner  with a budget problem might offer. If he chooses to tell the public his reasons, I will happily reassess my opinion. But keep in mind that one of my neighbors down south is about to go to jail for ten years to life because of President Obama's decision to devote limited Federal resources to prosecuting dispensaries. When a president doesn't offer reasons for jailing Americans, you have to call that a firing offense. (Saying he is following the law isn't a reason. Federal resources are limited and citizens expect their leaders to ignore low priorities.)

In summary, if President Obama is devoting limited federal resources to go after marijuana dispensaries for no reasons other than political gain, including, for example, attracting campaign funding, he should be fired. If he has a reason for jailing a small businessman, and he chooses not to share it, that too is a firing offense.

Why do you keep ignoring third-party candidates?

The best way to fire an incumbent president who is running for reelection is to vote for the only candidate with a realistic chance of beating him. If a voter switches from Obama to Romney it causes a two vote difference: one less vote to Obama and one more for Romney. Moving one vote from President Obama to a third party candidate is a one vote difference in the competition between President Obama and Romney.

And frankly it makes a stronger statement to endorse Romney since I disagree with most of his stated policies. It underlines the difference in importance between a true firing offense and policies you believe would be less desirable than the alternatives.

If my endorsement carried any weight whatsoever, I'd consider backing a third-party candidate. But no one will change opinions based on what I blog about. So I have the freedom to write whatever has the most entertainment value for me, with the hope you'll enjoy the show too.

You're crazy when you say a good reason to believe Romney won't be a disaster as president is that he's lying about what he would do in office.

I'm betting that a chameleon will stay a chameleon. That's his history. He adapts to whatever situation he's in. The alternative is to believe a candidate for President will do all the things he promises during the campaign. How has that worked out for you?

Update 2:


Single issue voting is stupid

I agree. One must always look at the big picture. That's why I'm glad O.J. Simpson got acquitted of criminal charges for allegedly murdering his ex-wife. He only had one bad day. You also have to consider his football records.

When Bill Clinton said, "It's the economy, stupid," I took that to mean the economy is just one issue among many. I don't know how else to interpret that.

I also think Nixon got a bum deal with that Watergate thing. That was just one mistake.

If President Obama decides to give our nuclear codes to Iran, let's agree to count that as one mistake that should be weighed against all of his good work. For example, there's the time he recycled, and the time he could have lied but didn't. So that's two good things versus one bad thing.

[sarcasm off]

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU???!!! OF COURSE ONE ISSUE VOTING MAKES SENSE IF THE ISSUE IS BIG ENOUGH!

I think we're all on the same page now. So let's focus on whether the one issue I raised in my offending blog post - that President Obama is effectively sending a guy to prison for no reason other than political gain - and see if that crosses the line for you. Do you want to live in a world where your President can incarcerate citizens for no reason beyond political gain?

Now you might say President Obama is just doing what the law requires when he puts resources behind closing marijuana dispensaries. I dismissed that argument above. (Summary: We expect our leaders to focus their limited resources on high priorities. To willfully do otherwise for political gain, and put people in jail in the process, has to be a firing offense in a free country.)

If you think the one issue I'm talking about is drug policies, and you believe both candidates will have similar policies, then of course that one issue should not sway your decision. But that isn't the one issue I'm focusing on.

My one issue involves President Obama jailing a citizen for naked political gain. You can argue whether my facts and assumptions are correct, but I don't think you can dismiss it as just one issue among many. Jailing a citizen for no reason other than political gain has to be a firing offense. I'd like to believe every citizen agrees on that point.




 
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+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 22, 2012
@tkwelge

"How does this make it okay for the administration to prosecute somebody that they didn't have to prosecute."

It doesn't; its still an offense. My point was that I don't consider it a _firing_ offense.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 22, 2012
(hit the post comment by accident -_-).

If you don't apply a law you are destroying this concept. If the law is unjust, useless or an hindrance, change the law. That part of why politician are there.

B) If you lack resource, prioritizing there is not a good idea. You give some more resource to the justice and go find it elsewhere, maybe start taxing some more, a lot of country do damn well on higher taxes and if peoples don't want, cut spending, prioritizing would be done there. Change law, increase resource or by cutting or finding more. Don't make me laugh with politician should ignore low priority as their job, their job is putting the aim and finding someway to hit it.

Overly, Obama probably did this for political reason, but if you judge him by this, you have to judge Romney in such a way. Otherwise you are an hypocrite. Lying is for gaining political leverage too, sure he doesn't screw 10 years of the life of one particular people in an open way. But if in the end the law unjustly screw someone life, the problem is the law and the one who made it. The one who pull the trigger have minimal responsibility and in the end of the day I prefer someone who will apply the rule as I can know the rule exactly that someone that could suddenly change the rule or not apply them at is convenience.


Also, to add oil in the fire, in your first example, I would keep the CEO. He could have kill the other one in cold blood, utilitarianism clearly stipulate he is more useful as a CEO that a prisoner. He need psychological analyses and some watching if he prove to be still dangerous but otherwise, part of our "punishment" system is a joke.

Why do we put people in jail? Most people will answer: because they deserve it. That the talion's law. The rational reason (and only valid reason is): because they are dangerous (or nuisance in lesser case) in society, we need to isolated them, let them think, analyses them (psychological) and see if we can correct the behaviour that made them criminal and if it's impossible, to let them out of society permanently. Revenge is useless. If that CEO is just a mad men, you'll need to quickly get rid of him, but if it was just a low probability event, you better off with him as a CEO. Sure that the ideal way to see it, meanwhile he will have to do some time in prison, because "dura lex, sed lex".
 
 
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 22, 2012
Well, it seem the thing have scale up a little so I'll go for the objective way to do this:

1. I'm not an American, so my bias are different
2. My everyday language is not English
3. If I was an American's voter I would vote for Obama

That doesn't mean I can't be objective, but I'm honest and you can adjust your way to analyses what I'm saying with that information.

Sorry Scott Adam, but here you are or fully biased somewhere, or giving us some good !$%*!$%*! Your thing is: Obama goes again a legal in state eye marijuana dispensary. I personally think such thing bring more advantage that disadvantage to society, so I'm a bit baffle to see that Obama lost his time to shut it down.

But that not a firing offence. You create the analogy that killing someone will be a firing offence, and I have to say that would probably be so, still context matter. To make your analogy work, you say that jailing someone for ten year is nearly as bad. Thing is, you are using a logical fallacy right there. I'll just use a simple example, what should we do about jury who kill an innocent on a wrong verdict (death penalty get so much opposition mainly because some think the risk of executing an innocent is too high)? Your logic is absurd if you think about it.

It doesn't stop there, people who said that Obama simply apply the law are right too and your refutal is missing a few important point:

A) Everyone is equal in the eye of the law (otherwise it become unjust and tyrannical). Not applying a law for some reason, even some as: we don't have the resource, is a very bad idea.
 
 
Oct 22, 2012
I strongly agree with a lot of what Phantom wrote, but I still think singling out citizens and messing with their life for politics is a high crime.

Just like starting an illegal war in libya without congressional declaration of war, for a non-emergency war that did nothing to further the interests of the American people.

It was a violation of the constitution by a constitutional scholar. This nobel peace prize winning politician waged an illegal war and noone seems to give a damn. his actions are high crime, but only if you think the constitution is in effect or relevant in an Obama America.

He violated the spirit of the law when he conducted military action in another nation for non-emergent reasons. He violated the direct letter of the law when he overstayed the grace period.

There is simply no way to say he didnt violate the US constitution he swore an oath to uphold. Even the hyperpartisan US congress censured him for it.

Not hearing the any leftist groups caring. Why?
 
 
Oct 22, 2012
I'm sure you'd like to have every citizen agree with you. But we don't, because you're wailing about a scratch while ignoring multiple broken bones. President Obama has ignored and overridden the Constitution. He's overridden Congress. He's had an imperial presidency. And he's murdered US citizens without due process.

But the only thing that really upsets you is someone getting put in jail for a marijuana offense? That's ALL you're worried about? And you wonder why you're getting so much pushback?

You have lost perspective. You're so worried about the only issue that, for some reason, appeals to you, that you ignore all the rest of what's been going on for the last four years. And then, as you're endorsing a candidate and moaning about how horrible Obama is for this one little thing that he didn't do personally, you act like all the rest of us are idiots because we don't understand the purity of your argument. Not to mention that YOU DON'T VOTE.

Get over yourself. If you don't vote, you have placed yourself outside the debate. Your whining is no more than whistling past the graveyard. When and if you finally decide to get involved in the political process, people may care more what your opinion is. But if you're on the sidelines, just babbling about how many secular angels can dance on the head of your non-religious pin, then all you're doing is giving us a reason to ignore you.

It's great to be above it all, and deign to talk down to us little people who don't have the mental ability to understand how perfect your opinion-presented-as-fact is. But then, we have to remember how uninvolved you are. To you, regardless of all your angst, you're still giving us no more than, as Shakespeare said, ". . .a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

If you are really sincere about your opinions, then I suggest you do two things. First, register to vote, and vote for Romney. Second, contribute to his campaign. If you refuse to do either of those things, then your protestations are hollow, and you are no more than the doppelganger of an old man railing about all the injustices he sees in the world, while refusing to actively participate in the solution.

If you don't want to get involved, then back off, and leave the hard work to those of us who do.
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 22, 2012
It seems there's one more common misinterpretation that Scott hasn't addressed in an update yet:

"Romney would likely have the same drug policies, so he's no better."

But this misses the point - the "firing offense" isn't the war on drugs (that's a [questionable] policy choice); the offense is taking the steps to jail someone for a dubious violation (will the federal law stand up against the state one in the end?) that the president doesn't believe in, and campaigned against, for purely political gain. If a president truly believed that it was good for the country, then - while he may be wrong - it's not a firing offense.

So please, stop saying that Romney's likely drug policy makes Scott's point moot; it's the self-serving motivation that matters. (Scott, correct me if I'm wrong here).
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 22, 2012
It probably worth stating what I think is obvious: It would be a terrible injustice to send someone to jail for running a business he had every reason to believe was legal.

There are a lot of competing issues to resolve - but it is up to the various government !$%*!$%* (and, eventually - the voting public) to figure this out without collateral damage.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 22, 2012
Hi, Scott. You may not have considered that Obama, as he often does, may be playing the long game. Unfortunately, when an unpopular law is not enforced, it is very, very hard to repeal it. Therefore, enforcing the law is a good way to ensure the law is changed more quickly. As you pointed out, public opinion is trending towards the legalization of marijuana, particularly for medicinal purposes. Perhaps this is due, in part, to the strict enforcement?

Also note, publicizing such a strategy would only undermine its effectiveness. [I realize this point means that voting for Romney - who is obviously very much against even medicinal marijuana - is still a reasonable strategy, i.e., no different (if true) than voting for Obama, regarding the long-term effect of strict enforcement. However, you also have to consider that for Obama, it may be such a strategy, while for Romney, it would be what he truly wants.]
 
 
Oct 22, 2012
@Dingbat

Thank you. Not only have you provided a good answer to Scotts question 'What other reason could there possibly be?' and a good answer to why the administration is silent on this issue (they dont think they need to explain why they're shutting down places the county governments think are causing problems) but also given us what would very likely be the adminstrations answer should Scott make enough of a pest of himself to get a response from them. Scott once said that if Obama explained his actions, even if he didnt beleive it, then that would be enough for him. Is this enough Scott? Or does the administration need to actually say the words?
 
 
Oct 21, 2012
Ok this has been bugging me so much I actually had to sign in to post it. Where has Obama gained politically from this?
 
 
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 21, 2012
@ tkwelge - And the whole, "it's unregulated" argument is just a nonsense point by prohibitionists. Idiots fall for it hook, line, and sinker.

Feel free to go with that if you wish. I did not bother to summarize accounts of problems counties reported because I was more interested in the idea that counties were the ones challenging state law and requesting help from the justice department. It would not take much effort on your part to find specific complaints that lead the counties to attempt to ban dispensaries.

Whether you agree the issues they raise have merit is another issue. However, you seem to be jumping to the conclusion that the counties woke up one morning and decided to challenge state law simply because they were troubled by the lack of bureaucracy. Maybe my view of human nature is a rosier than yours - but that doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

The unregulated nature of the illegal drug market is a pro-legalization argument. I don't hear prohibitionists saying - "if you legalize this stuff, it will be a mess because access will be badly regulated." That's not their schtick.
 
 
Oct 21, 2012
HI Scott

thanks for telling me i have good reading comprehension. Its a nice way to start the day.

When you write these blogs, does a part of you think "surely no one will misunderstand me this time?"

I don't understand how hard it is to read and understand your point, I mean I get it. Maybe its because I'm not an American ;-)

enjoy your day

Antony
 
 
Oct 21, 2012
"Jailing a citizen for no reason other than political gain has to be a firing offense. I'd like to believe every citizen agrees on that point."

Firstly Scott, I doubt *every* citizen agrees on *any* one point, even if you remove the genuine crazies from the sample. People are weird.

Next, I share your outrage, should it be founded, for which you make a strong case and I don't dispute.

However, I start to have outrage fatigue when I consider all the other things that could also be a firing offense, e.g. putting defense personnel in harms way for no reason other than political gain; increasing ethnic division and reducing economic wellbeing of nation for no reason other than political gain.

I can understand why some people would consider deprivation of a single person's liberty (versus national issues) to not be a sufficiently important single issue, although clearly it is for you.

I presume to guess that the reason for this clarity on your behalf is that you consider this issue to be easily prosecuted, whereas other the larger issues are not.

So the question of "should this be *the* significant single issue?" may come down to how much proof a citizen requires to form their opinion of how significant an issue is.
 
 
Oct 21, 2012
>Yes, we expect leaders to focus their limited resources on high priorities. But there is no way that choosing priorities is as easy as you're making it out to be, even in a free country. We have to allow the president to cut corners on some issues.

How does this make it okay for the administration to prosecute somebody that they didn't have to prosecute. After all, the Obama administration used an executive order to say they didn't have to enforce anti immigration law against certain individuals, why can't the same thing be done with pot? Why did he appoint a drug czar that is a prohibitionist who has made no substantial changes to enforcement policy? You make it sound as if not incarcerating this guy is an insurmountable task! Besides, he has the veto power anyway, and could free this guy at any time from federal incarceration! None of this would take any serious effort on Obama's part. Excuses excuses excuses. That's all there is anymore...
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 21, 2012
And the whole, "it's unregulated" argument is just a nonsense point by prohibitionists. Idiots fall for it hook, line, and sinker.
 
 
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 21, 2012
>I voted for Obama over McCain chiefly over foreign policy reasons. I simply did not see McCain as someone who could bring about peace between our nation and the rest of the world in a way that Obama appeared able to do. And largely, I've been pleased with Obama in that regard.


Are you serious? Obama has done little that bush wouldn't have done. The obama administration actually asked the Iraqi government to let US troops stay after the planned pull out date under the bush administration. He's done very little to change course in any way.
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 21, 2012
>Several California counties, most notably, Los Angeles, have voted to ban medical marijuana dispensaries - not because they disagree with state law that medical marijuana should be legal and accessible, but because they felt pushed into a corner over the lack of regulations for dispensaries and the resulting problems they were causing.

What a wussy generation we live in. Can you name those problems? New logic: unregulated means bad!
 
 
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 21, 2012
"Jailing an American citizen for no reason other than political gain is a firing offense."

I'm going to disagree. Not because the statement can't be true, but because I don't see it as being so absolute as you seem to be framing it.
The only way can imagine a person arriving at such a conclusion is if some aspect of the topic is being idealized.

"We expect our leaders to focus their limited resources on high priorities. To willfully do otherwise for political gain, and put people in jail in the process, has to be a firing offense in a free country."

Yes, we expect leaders to focus their limited resources on high priorities. But there is no way that choosing priorities is as easy as you're making it out to be, even in a free country. We have to allow the president to cut corners on some issues. Of course, not everybody will agree on which issues this should be allowed.
If I were to make an adjustment to your statement, I would add one word at the beginning:

"_Consistently_ jailing American citizen for no reason other than political gain is a firing offense."

If the president consistently spent limited resources on low-priorities, then there would be a point where you'd have to say stop.
Naturally, there are offences big enough to warrant immediate firing.
And naturally, it would unfair for victims in cases where it didn't. But I'm sure Obama is painfully aware of that.
 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 21, 2012
Clearly Scott, you believe that this issue is worth firing someone over. But do you believe it's worth replacing them with someone worse? I grant, you don't actually think Romney would be worse than Obama, and simply wish to express your anger. But personally, I see a candidate who is getting all his foreign policy advisors from the Bush administration, and whose public comments over Iran make him sound, well, almost eager to start a war there. Obama has maybe committed a terrible act, but the DoJ had to follow through once the dispensary operator refused to plead to lesser charges and take a deal. The guy wanted the trial, and I hope he wins on appeal. But it was his choice to take that risk.

Now, on the other hand, think for a moment of the firing offenses Bush committed. He led our country to war with Iraq largely on the strength of manufactured evidence, and fantastical promises of Iraqi oil revenues paying for it all. There were no WMD's or WMD manufacturing programs in Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died, along with thousands of our soldiers, and we spent over a trillion dollars and counting that no Iraqi oil money will ever pay back. We not only failed to find Al Qaeda terrorists working with Saddam, but we provided a potent recruiting tool to bring Al Qaeda into Iraq and set up one of their deadliest affiliates. And this is to say nothing of the true intangibles like how deeply our reputation and prestige suffered throughout the world and among our allies.

I voted for Obama over McCain chiefly over foreign policy reasons. I simply did not see McCain as someone who could bring about peace between our nation and the rest of the world in a way that Obama appeared able to do. And largely, I've been pleased with Obama in that regard.

So you tell me - if jailing a man for political reasons was a firing offense, what was lying to the nation to get us to war for (presumedly) personal daddy issues / Cheney pocketbook issues? I'm not saying that Romney necessarily wants war on a personal level the way Bush seemed to (though based on his close personal connection to Netanyahu, he might), but what does it say about him that he would recruit Bush's own foreign policy advisors who helped sell the former president on how easy war with Iraq was supposed to be?

I reject the neo-conservative foreign policy utterly. And I know that a Romney administration would let many of its chief proponents from the disastrous Bush administration back into the halls of power. No firing offense by Obama that you have named is serious enough for me to replace him with Romney.

And yes, that's the problem with the two-party system. You can be completely right about why we should fire a guy, but still end up defending him if the only other candidate for the job is worse.
 
 
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Oct 21, 2012
Ok - I was intrigued - and so did some research. Not exhaustive, mind you - and my starting place was nearly zero in terms of understanding this issue - so with those caveats - this is what I discovered.

Several California counties, most notably, Los Angeles, have voted to ban medical marijuana dispensaries - not because they disagree with state law that medical marijuana should be legal and accessible, but because they felt pushed into a corner over the lack of regulations for dispensaries and the resulting problems they were causing. One LA councilman who voted for the ban said LA had 50 regulated pharmacies - which is where people should go to access medical marijuana - instead they have 700 unregulated dispensaries and some of them have become serious nuisances.

There is a legal battle under way about whether cities have the right to ban dispensaries. However this part is clear. The justice department is not randomly shutting down dispensaries. They are coming in response to requests from city government officials - who want help battling something they see as harmful to their communities.

It sounds to me as though the justice department is backing up the cities/counties in their battle to ensure dispensaries are regulated in a way that helps rather than harms their communities. It is important to note that the local officials aren't anti-medical marijuana. They are reacting to problems occurring in their communities as a result of an inadequate regulatory framework.
 
 
 
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