Republican voters are being put through the pincers. We are back to 2008. Heaps of strong candidates, but no consensus. Great speeches, but no substance. PAC money spent by the millions, but no conclusive results. GOP candidates are even welcoming Democratic voters, to smear each other, to add to their victories, or to just plainly embitter each other. The Republican race is not going to get any more civil. Once, we see these subterfuges, we can ask the real questions: what will it take to unseat Obama in November, and who can best do this?
In America the conservative movement has been changing. Neo-conservatives, who had for roughly two decades (1980-2000) held the strongarm of the party, are gone with the Bush Administration’s doctrine of “pre-emptive strike” and the PATRIOT ACT. We are in the midst of the dregs. Still trying to find out which direction this country will spill it’s spirit of changelessness.
For all his grandeur, Mitt Romney just has not taken his campaign to the next level. Rick Santorum has peaked, but more likely will not hold his miniscule leads. Newt Gingrinch’s populism and Ron Paul’s constitutionalism, so similar to each other, are self-negating. None is in charge. Marginal candidates can’t win delegates, nor the RNC party’s nomination. Mitt Romney, the ever-chameleon like business mogul, can’t strike a human touch to save his life and political prospects.
If Mitt Romney is the front runner of the wolves, ready to flay Obama; what is his version of the American Dream? How does he see this country, through which prism? Is it a legalistic, rigidly technocratic, institutional approach? It seems, his advantage is not his base, his character, anything as much as his warchest. He won’t run out of steam. Even if the delegate count gets close in Tampa, FL this spring; he’ll be able to resurrect himself, make the necessary promises and sail away with the nomination.
Let us make fresh.
The reason why Rick Santorum would not oust Barack Obama in November, is not his faith. It is simply that he is running a ‘social message’ of uniform decency against a ‘social message’ of uniform healthcare. Plainly, Obama’s health plan, is vital: but not more pressing than the economic calamity of bailouts, frauds, money-laundering, spending and public debt. These are focal issues of the 2012 election.
Santorum is the politician everyone can super-impose themselves on. He’s no CEO like Mitt Romney, no renowned speaker like Newt Gingrich, not intellectual like Ron Paul. No, he is a regular Pennsylvania lawyer, who argued some weird World Wrestling Federation cases. Somehow he is unspectacular enough, that he could almost be your town butcher, postal deliverer or stockyard piler. You would think this is a strength. But it is not.
Eventually, while trying to keep your political pronunciations to a minimum, to correspond to the widest social base possible, you hit a tollboth going 160 mph. Santorum is earnest, he surely is: means well to families and the elderly, but he has yet to prove his salt. His record is plain: he has taken massive amounts of Washington D.C. beltway funding, voted to raise the debt ceiling, is in cahoots with the (so-called) ‘military industrial complex’ and dislikes many anomalies of our population: young pregnants, migrant-labor, jobless, gays, blacks. He has been able to entrench his campaign in an atmosphere of rustic humbleness and simpletonness.
The more connected you are, within the Washington D.C. circuit; and on the long-stretch between Los Angeles and New York, the more clout you have as a politician. Especially, if you’ve squandered taxpayer money on “bridges to nowhere” (Rick Santorum), Olympic “Games” (Mitt Romney) or have been kick-backed by Fannie & Freddie (Newt Gingrich).
All these, of course, are fine examples of Capitalist enterprise, of leadership and smart capital-management. But what do all these undertakings reveal, about abilities in leadership, necessary to plug the dam of the 2008-unward recession? Not, much.
Ron Paul is the antithesis. He negates almost in it’s entirety, every other issues brought by his opponents in the GOP presidential race. He is not reported on, because those who indeed try to, fail miserably: the way Gerald Seib did, moderating the Republican Debate in South Carolina. Ron Paul is too honest: clear, succinct, philosophically astute. This makes him a slippery fish, to place in the Republican Party, although he is by far the most consequently, stalwartly arch-conservative since that other Gipper, that slipped his way into the White House: Ronald Reagan!
Being less ‘politicized’, in other words by having put his neck out on an execution-block, or guillotine, to amass money, has meant he has to do with less campaign finance. But what Paul has lacked in initial spending, his patriots have donated in turn. No other US politician has ever raised a sum, close to over 1 million, which Paul’s campaign has been able to do in 2011. What this means, is; people base decision on mass-media, pandered bits-and-pieces of evening chatter, boxed soundbites (often misinterpreted) while heading out the door in the morning. Ron Paul is lucky to get 3 minutes airtime, after a debate platform.
The PJ Tatler reports that Marin, Calif., is considering a sweeping smoking ban that would prohibit cigarette smoking not only in public places but also in rented private residences. The Tatler takes exception to the ordinance itself, which it calls “Progressive totalitarianism,” but also to the fact that the ordinance was sent back for revision because it didn’t make clear that marijuana smoking was excluded from the ban. The Tatler insists that this is all indicative of a liberal (or, if you prefer, progressive) mindset that makes liberals prone to banning politically incorrect tobacco smoke but unwilling to ban “hip, politically approved second-hand marijuana smoke,” which the Tatler calls “equally dangerous.”
Let’s dispense with the easy argument first. There is absolutely no evidence that inhaling secondhand marijuana smoke is “equally dangerous” as inhaling secondhand tobacco smoke. The Tatler offers a link to a Harvard Law website that details the medical dangers of marijuana use, but the studies included all dealt with firsthand use rather than secondhand exposure. Moreover, recently released results from a UC San Francisco study found that smoking a marijuana joint per day over the course of seven years doesn’t hurt lung function — in fact, some showed improvements in their lung function. And that’s firsthand users. It’s hard to imagine that secondhand exposure could be more dangerous.
While his spokepeople are trying to walk back his comments, Pat Robertson, a well-known televangelist, recently called for decriminalization of marijuana (emphasis mine):
Calling it getting “smart” on crime, Robertson aired a clip on a recent episode of his 700 Club television show that advocated the viewpoint of drug law reformers who run prison outreach ministries.
A narrator even claimed that religious prison outreach has “saved” millions in public funds by helping to reduce the number of prisoners who return shortly after being released.
“It got to be a big deal in campaigns: ‘He’s tough on crime,’ and ‘lock ‘em up!’” the Christian Coalition founder said. “That’s the way these guys ran and, uh, they got elected. But, that wasn’t the answer.”
His co-host added that the success of religious-run dormitories for drug and alcohol cessation therapy present an “opportunity” for faith-based communities to lead the way on drug law reforms.
“We’re locking up people that have taken a couple puffs of marijuana and next thing you know they’ve got 10 years with mandatory sentences,” Robertson continued. “These judges just say, they throw up their hands and say nothing we can do with these mandatory sentences. We’ve got to take a look at what we’re considering crimes and that’s one of ‘em.
“I’m … I’m not exactly for the use of drugs, don’t get me wrong, but I just believe that criminalizing marijuana, criminalizing the possession of a few ounces of pot, that kinda thing it’s just, it’s costing us a fortune and it’s ruining young people. Young people go into prisons, they go in as youths and come out as hardened criminals. That’s not a good thing.”
In this excerpt from at talk at the Cato Institute last week, Gary Johnson talks about how he worked to change drug policy while he served as Governor of New Mexico:
Despite California exercising its Tenth Amendment right, the Department of Justice will prosecute marijuana users even if Proposition 19, which has been endorsed by 65 law professors from across the political spectrum, passes on November 2nd:
Attorney General Eric Holder vowed to continue enforcing federal laws against marijuana in California even if the state’s voters legalize the drug.
Holder, in a letter to former administrators of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), officially stated opposition to Proposition 19, the state ballot initiative on which Californians will vote that would legalize, tax and regulate marijuana.
“We will vigorously enforce the [Controlled Substances Act] against those individuals and organizations that possess, manufacture or distribute marijuana for recreational use, even if such activities are permitted under state law,” Holder wrote in the letter, which was reported on by The Associated Press.
A year ago, it looked like an administration was finally beginning to scale back the War on Drugs, which has been a costly failure, as the Department of Justice decided not to prosecute individuals using marijuana for medicinal purposes.
As has been with administrations past, the Tenth Amendment be damned and the laws of the federal government, no matter how fruitless they are, will be enforced.
It’s been a long time since I last interviewed Dan Carlin, host of the Hardcore History and Common Sense podcasts. That doesn’t mean that he’s stopped being interesting, however. In this installment, I asked his unique, historically based perspective on China, Iraq, the United States military and marijuana.
In your Hardcore History podcast Death Throes of the Republic, you say that there were “perverse incentives” in place that kept Rome in a state of warfare. Having worked in Washington D.C., I have to wonder if the same is true of here. What do you say?
I think that’s going to be a pretty accurate statement in any society where warmaking becomes a regular feature of the system. Once you develop a major societal infrastructure to support such a military establishment, you begin to build up a vast array of interests (both in supplying and providing for such an entity, but also for ways to employ it that would benefit someone). These interests have a way of bending and warping the nation-state’s priorities and interests. I think that is something that is one of the lessons the writers of Classical Antiquity try to pass on to us. The people who founded the United States read those authors and understood those lessons, and tried to heed the warnings of the Greek and Roman writers and keep those “perverse incentives” under control by limiting the growth of a large standing army and by counseling an avoidance of things like “ entangling alliances” that could drag you into someone else’s wars.
While most of the posts on marijuana here tend to be United States focussed, this article from the British Daily Mail provides a glimpse into how the problem of prohibition is universal:
Criminal gangs are now producing so much cannabis in Britain’s suburban streets that there is a ‘market for export’.
Police say the gangs have taken over cinemas, houses, pubs, banks and shops left empty because of the recession.
Almost 7,000 cannabis factories were discovered last year - more than double the
number found two years ago.
Incredibly, a report by chief constables says the gangs are growing so much cannabis
that – for the first time – there is enough to start selling the drug overseas.
During a global economic crisis, what on earth is the logic of spending exorbitant amounts to squash an industry with such massive demand? Despite freeing up our prisons and cutting spend, legalization could even be the key to prosperity.