This Is Your President on Drugs

If only.

As a persistent (progressive) critic of Barack Obama, it is often demanded I offer any area in which I approve of the president. In response to the inquiry, I have usually given a two-fold answer: First, in terms of his personal appeal, I consider President Obama to be both the coolest fellow ever elected president and the coolest fellow that ever will be president. Although he’s notoriously overhyped, like Sean Penn, I’m drawn to the word “elegant” in describing our first black president. I am also aligned with Ann Coulter and The Hitch in the belief that Barack Obama is probably a non-believer—although I have usually expressed such gleeful suspicion sotto voce for fear of having my hipster chat overheard by teabaggers.

Furthermore, my very real desire to find some common ground with this president has led to me to lavish fulsome praise on his administration for what I thought was its enlightened stance on raids by the Drug Enforcement Agency on medicinal marijuana dispensaries even when they are in complete accordance with state laws.

Well, I’ll be damned.

Perusing the news only to find headlines like “How ObamaCare Guts Medicare,” or “Obama shifts tone on health care,” is as maddening as it is banal and totally predictable after a while. “Speak no evil: DEA, DOJ stay mum on medical marijuana raids,” however, is akin to a violent nutcheck.

Tucker’s Daily Caller:

Despite campaign promises to the contrary, the Department of Justice under President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder hasn’t stopped raiding marijuana dispensaries operating in states where sale of the drug is legal for medical purposes. But the DOJ has demonstrated one marked change now that it’s under Democratic control: The department has stopped publicizing medical marijuana raids, both by requesting that more cases be sealed under court order and by refusing to distribute press releases.

Late last week, DEA and FBI agents raided five medical marijuana dispensaries in Nevada. In July, DEA agents raided the home of 65-year-old Mendocino County, California, grower Joy Greenfield and confiscated plants, money, and her computer. Also in July, DEA agents raided the home of a couple in Michigan who were licensed by the state to use marijuana, as well as three medical marijuana dispensaries in San Diego. In January and February of this year, the DEA raided two medical marijuana research labs in Colorado.

In all of the above cases, the DEA and the U.S. Attorneys’ offices issued no press releases and held no press conferences. The websites for DEA and the U.S. Attorneys’ offices in Detroit, Denver, Northern California, and Los Angeles (which also handles cases in Nevada) make no mention of the above dispensary raids, but do feature news releases for raids, arrests, and investigations involving harder drugs, as well marijuana trafficking, which is illegal in all states.

In its rather confounding quest to dispirit the Democratic base in a crucial midterm election cycle, the Obama administration appears determined to leave no stone unturned. Peering through my binoculars from the present vantage point, the 2010 midterms is increasingly looking like a reactionary tidal wave. Joined with the administration’s previously righteous walk back on DEA raids—not to entirely end them, of course, but to reprioritize them as nonessential; the implications were clear—the Democratic establishment’s support for California’s imperfect but worthy Proposition 19 could have bolstered the prospects of a Moonbeam restoration and Barbara Boxer’s tenuous re-election bid.  

In addition to high-profile individuals and organizations like Democratic representatives Pete Stark, Barbara Lee, and George Miller, the American Federation of Teachers, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the ridiculously awesome former Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders, Prop 19 recently attracted the support of the Service Employees International Union.

For its part, the California Democratic Party has decisively failed where the American Libertarian Party is superlative. The party’s abdication of the zeitgeist, for me, is reminiscent of the NAACP’s refusal to assist Martin Luther King’s audacious break with Lyndon Johnson over the tragic Vietnam adventure. (Our beautiful brothers and sisters of the California branch have gotten it right on Prop 19, however.)

Considering the depths of the current badass economic depression, the fecklessness of the White House, the desperation of Democrats on Capitol Hill, and the untrammeled fury of the Tea Party set, I am very much hesitant to write off unserious and normally unelectable characters like Sharron Angle of Nevada or the avaricious mental deficient that was just nominated by Delaware Republicans. This terrible reality makes the cowardice of Golden State Democrats and the capitulation of right-minded reformists in Barack Obama’s Justice Department all the more shameful.

As if he doesn’t have enough to contend with, if Prop 19—and tragic hero Russ Feingold—goes down on November 2, this president is going to find himself in a very lonely place. Assuming he chooses to soldier on, next year’s Recovery Winter in Iowa will be sweet payback.

A few unsolicited recommendations for the morning thereafter: OG Kush, a couple of White Owl cigarillos, and a pilgrimage to Sweet Binney’s, Mr. President.

Tags: Barack Obama, Democratic Party, 2010 midterms, ganja, Proposition 19, Drug Enforcement Agency, Medicinal Marijuana (all tags)

Comments

8 Comments

The images are broken in this post

I am on IE v. 8 and the images atop the page are broken. That aside - and having very many good friends who are self professed and self identified as true libertarian - I can say unequivocally that the American  Libertarian Party is not as strong or focussed as the California Dems.

 

The party to watch is the TEA party, imho. As I predicted earlier this season - these guys are for real. This party is new blood for a system that desperately needs it.

Take the healthcare reform debate, for example. The real issue with the reforms as they stand, are that there are too many middle of the road democrats, and not enough polarization along the lines of the actual American electorate. 72% of the American people favor the creation of a National Health Service and the gaping hole in the Senate Bill that occurred - where the senate vs. congressional process failed - was that element of the bill dropped due to the fact that both democrats and republicans were bought off and told to sit in the middle. This created a deeply flawed piece of legislation that is to this day biting the dems . The independents really don't like to see this kind of thing going on.

 

So the independents are moving towards one side of the spectrum, and that's fine. If the debate in the Senate were Progressive vs. Tea, we would have won.

 

Instead it was lobbyist money moving over to the democrats as fast as they could, while the GOP blocked everything in sight. And failed.

 

This isn't about an internal war, imho - the TEA party is about the genesis of a new party - and to my mind, speaking as an independent - real conservative alternative to certain political philosophy is a very healthy thing.

 

I have said this before and I will say it again. Watch this election carefully - the people who say the dems are all in trouble, are only half right. The real thing that will happen is the American electorate will go its own way on internet power. No predictability.

We just saw the TEA party, not some media personality - propel a candidate to victory and that hasn't happend for the Libertarian party in over forty years.

 

by Trey Rentz 2010-09-15 11:17AM | 0 recs
RE: The images are broken in this post

To be sure, my high praise for the Libertarian Party only had to do with the specific issue of Prop 19.

The ascendancy of the Tea Party is too powerful to arrest before November, but it doesn't have to accelerate beyond that. I think it remains to be seen if the Tea Party tenet of the Republican coalition can affect real policy change. At the moment, I suspect Queen Sarah is to that movement what Barack Obama was to progressives. She's a charismatic demagogue with a messianic complex.

I remain hopeful about the prospects of the Democratic Party--even after 2010. We have to dump Obama and throw off the yoke of the Wall Street establishment (or the corporatists, the neoliberals, whatever you'd like to call). Parsimonious penny-pinching and budget-balancing isn't going to get us out of the depression. That's the fatal flaw of the Tea Party devotees. Their shit is just as destined to fail as the Obama program.

by Jack Landsman 2010-09-15 12:13PM | 0 recs
RE: The images are broken in this post

And I don't know what's the deal with the pics. I've had to upload them, like, three times this morning. They now work on FP entry's URL but not on the main site itself. Weird.

by Jack Landsman 2010-09-15 12:19PM | 0 recs
Holdovers? Career people?

Just curious ... and I admit I don't know how the DOJ works ... but is it possible that just 1 1/2 years in that Holder doesn't have all his people / policies set in place yet, and that some holdovers or career people are still carrying out old policies?

 

Maybe they are talking priorities 1 through 7 and this is number 8 or 9.

I dunno.

 

Just asking.

by RichardFlatts 2010-09-15 02:31PM | 0 recs
RE: Holdovers? Career people?

That's precisely the issue here. No one can believe that Barack Obama and Eric Holder are hot to trot for busting lawful medicinal marijuana dispensaries. The problem is that unlike the Kennedys, they lack the will to take on the entrenched careerist network. At the end of the day, I would much rather the Obama administration officially continued the Bush policy--after all Bush and Obama have exactly the same position on cannabis legalization and gay marriage, to give another glaring example--rather than making a big show about a shift in priorities, only to continue (or to allow DEA zealots to continue) the raids. And the subterfuge with which they are conducting the policy is insulting and unforgivable.

by Jack Landsman 2010-09-15 02:58PM | 0 recs
RE: Holdovers? Career people?

But look at the size of our agencies now.    They are so huge that 1 1/2 years in there are probably programs and little projects and departments, etc. that Holder / Obama haven't even come close to getting a handle on, heck they may not even know all of them.

The Dept. of Homeland Security is so HUUUGE how much change do you think can be made there in 4 years?

Add in the slow process of confirming people.

Our government just limps a long doing the same thing as yesterday, I bet, in many cases.

As for the smoke ... I miss it ... boy would I love some seedless hydro right about now.   But those days are over for me.   I've always joke I'll start smoking again when I turn 65.

by RichardFlatts 2010-09-15 07:50PM | 0 recs
RE: Holdovers? Career people?

But look at the size of our agencies now.    They are so huge that 1 1/2 years in there are probably programs and little projects and departments, etc. that Holder / Obama haven't even come close to getting a handle on, heck they may not even know all of them.

The Dept. of Homeland Security is so HUUUGE how much change do you think can be made there in 4 years?

Add in the slow process of confirming people.

Our government just limps a long doing the same thing as yesterday, I bet, in many cases.

As for the smoke ... I miss it ... boy would I love some seedless hydro right about now.   But those days are over for me.   I've always joke I'll start smoking again when I turn 65.

by RichardFlatts 2010-09-15 07:50PM | 0 recs
RE: Holdovers? Career people?

Quite frankly, this is weak tea. I'm not attacking you because I know you're with the rest of us in trying to figure out this truly perplexing turn of events. But I won't ever make excuses for any administration along those lines. It's one thing to permit a new administration time to move legislation through Congress, get new regulators confirmed, and all of this. But we're talking about a clear shift in policy that was paraded by the administration to pacify mostly progressive, pothead, and libertarian-minded Democratic base voters. I suspect the problem, again, is the lack of fortitude and follow-through on the part of the president and his attorney general. And I repeat: The attempt to con us with the secrecy is beyond the pale. It's unalloyed, Bush-like mendacity. 

by Jack Landsman 2010-09-15 09:08PM | 0 recs

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