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August 2013
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The silence is deafening

I was pleased to hear Attorney General Holder make his announcement about reducing sentencing for low-level drug crimes, not because I thought what he planned to do would have much practical effect (still depending on prosecutors to use judgement), but rather because it appeared that the announcement might end up being non-controversial.

So many politicians still labor under the old notion that anything but “tough on drugs” is a third-rail position. What was important here was not Holder’s comment, but the lack of political “gotcha” reaction to it.

As Steve Chapman notes in Drug Warriors in Retreat

So when Holder gave a speech announcing that the Justice Department would minimize the use of stiff mandatory sentences in some drug cases, it was reasonable to expect a storm of protests from Republicans accusing him of flooding our streets with crack dealers and meth heads.

Instead, the response bordered on the soporific. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, reported Politico, gently suggested that the administration “work with Congress on policies it wants to implement instead of consistently going around it.” Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, who has previously called for criminal prosecution of Holder, echoed Cruz’s view, while admitting that “reducing mandatory minimums may be good policy.”

Instead of tepid criticism, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky offered outright praise, calling the change “a welcome development.” Hardly anyone in the GOP cared to defend the merciless approach. At least when it comes to low-level, nonviolent drug offenders, both parties have lost their appetite for locking the cell and tossing the key.

I think there may have been some border sheriff who raised a stink about Holder’s announcement, but otherwise, silence.

Nobody in the media or politics (to the extent that they differ) was going to criticize this move. (Even prohibitionists supported it, since they’ve been forced by us to tack toward the kinder, gentler prohibition.) And believe me, that fact will be noticed by the lily-livered politicians who have good intentions, but are afraid to be seen as soft on crime.

Holder’s statement is not an indication that the Obama administration wants to actually do something important about our serious incarceration problem (after all, Obama could easily commute sentences of prisoners who had received ridiculously long sentences, yet he has chosen to be very stingy in that area). It is, however, additional proof of a change in political climate that could very well embolden Congress or future Presidents.

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30 comments to The silence is deafening

  • ben

    The only people who opposed this move are federal prosecutors, who don’t like having their power limited. Obama can’t even control his own bureaucracy.

  • primus

    Let a few more rabid prohibitionists fail in their re-election attempts and the whole thing will be over.

  • Jean Valjean

    “Holder’s statement is not an indication that the Obama administration wants to actually do something important about our serious incarceration problem (after all, Obama could easily commute sentences of prisoners who had received ridiculously long sentences, yet he has chosen to be very stingy in that area).”

    Obama’s worst nightmare is the Willie Horton syndrome; that he might pardon someone who then goes on to commit the type of crime his opponents can use against him, especially if they happen, like Horton, to be black. As a result he is willing to kick the can down the road and prolong the very worst injustices of the penal system. Mr President, where’s this “change we can believe in?” If you want your legacy to be seen as anything other than acting as a gofer for Big Capitalism and the prison-industrial system you need to make those changes now.

  • Duncan20903

    An actual arrest of a bootlegger in Alaska: linky Wow, a whole gallon of homebrew!

  • claygooding

    ben,,I have no idea why a prosecuting attorney would be angry over this,,the AG just gave them another hammer to use as a plea bargaining tool,especially when he has several defendants on the same criminal charges,,he offers any that testify against their comrades the lowered sentence and nails the rest with mandatory minimums.
    And empowering prosecutors does nothing to reduce the numbers of people being arrested,,nothing is removing the incentives the government has put in place to keep law enforcement targeting drug crimes,,namely the grants for drug arrests and seizure laws.
    The government has created a lottery for law enforcement that begs for corruption because the right bust could bring millions in funding to the agency that makes the bust,,and a nice nest egg for any law enforcement that turns the criminals loose with their drugs and keeps the cash they find…
    The drug war has become a self feeding cancer and it must be cut out of our society or it will consume the host.

  • N.T. Greene

    http://www.hoover.org/publications/defining-ideas/article/154061

    The problem is, the l-word is a solution that is anathema to the current political structure. Decriminalize, not legalize… yet the route to removing the profit incentives in the underground cuts directly through legal regulation.

    We are rapidly approaching the point where more and more politicians are going to have to wake up and accept this fact. We have proven time and time again over the course of decades that you can’t arrest or kill your way out of the world drug problem. It is a many-headed hydra that will exist until contained — as a legal trade with regulations and proper treatment.

    Do they not remember the Al Capone days or something? Funny how letting people have what they want yields tax revenues and reductions in violence. All I have to say is this, really: do people honestly believe that if drugs were legalized tomorrow, then people would run wild in the streets killing each other?

    I feel like there is a large amount of evidence to the contrary, actually.

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  • claygooding

    Shelby County deputies mourn loss of K-9 partner

    http://tinyurl.com/kvfe7qn

    SIDNEY — A former Shelby County K-9 deputy passed away last week after being diagnosed with a brain tumor.
    Emir, an 11-year-old dog, died peacefully at his handler’s home on Thursday afternoon in Sidney, according to sheriff’s office

    My comment:
    I understand that hash oil has had some amazing results on shrinking tumors,,the next special by Guptka will probably include his findings on that.
    He already has a leukemia patient that the doctors had written off into remission filmed but it didn’t make the cut for the first show.
    It would be ironic that a drug warrior died for lack of a medicine he spent us life searching for and helping to make sure it was destroyed.

  • primus

    criminal attorney–another case of redundant terminology

  • primus

    It appears to me that Eric Holder is being used as a stalking horse by Obama. Note that Holder is also afro-am, so any additional heat which would be felt by O’Bama on that account would be signalled by heat on Holder. Now that everyone has heard the crickets chirping in response, look for Holder to up the ante a little to further test the waters. Look also for O’Bama to start to speak words much like the AG has, for now he will be emboldened to take the plunge. As Holder reveals more chirping crickets, look for O’Bama to follow along at a distance, so that he can hold up at the first sign of any opposition. Hearing none, he will move ahead, albeit cautiously.

    • Duncan20903

      Well he’d better not dilly dally. Once the event begins these walls collapse into rubble in not very much time at all. If you blink you just might miss it happening.

  • claygooding

    Cannabis Can Prevent Cancer Caused by Cigarrette Use, According to New Study

    http://thejointblog.com/cannabis-can-prevent-cancer-caused-by-cigarrette-use-according-to-new-study/

    “”A new study published by the journal J-Stage, and funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan, has found that cannabinoidsjoint – whether THC, CBD or CBDV – were effective at blocking a certain enzyme which is known to cause cancer, and is produced in large amount when cigarettes are consumed.
    “These results suggest that the pentylresorcinol structure in CBD may have structurally important roles in direct CYP1A1 inhibition, although the whole structure of CBD is required for overall inhibition”, according to researchers.
    CYP1A1 is an enzyme which isn’t dangerous at low-levels, but is produced in large quantities when someone smokes cigarettes; at large doses, the enzyme has been linked to cancer.
    Researchers state that; “Accordingly, CBD and its related compounds, which are potent inhibitors of CYP1A1 activity, would be useful as a lead compound in anticancer chemotherapy.””

    Well,they didn’t cure baldness but they can save cigarette smokers from themselves.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      It’s a rather weird thinking that cannabis was the reason why I didn’t end up dead from all those cigarettes I smoked back in the daze of my youth.

      • Windy

        Good to know, since I’ve been smoking cigarettes for 54 years and cannabis for 43 years. I also think cannabis is responsible for my body age being only 50 in spite of my chronological age being 69, and that I am on absolutely ZERO prescription meds (excepting bioidentical biestrogen and progesterone — the SAFE HRT).

    • DdC

      Stopped smoking marijuana, hair got thinner
      [Effects of marijuana on hair loss]
      After only two days without weed, my hair feels different. Feels lighter at the temples, dryer in front, haircut doesn’t look as good. Hair doesn’t look as healthy. This has been experienced many times, I know it can’t be placebo. Smoking weed def. has an effect on my hair.

      Does Cannabis help prevent hair loss
      Well, see what this study says lol.

      Marihuana inhibits dihydrotestosterone binding to the androgen receptor.

      Purohit V, Ahluwahlia BS, Vigersky RA.
      Marihuana and its constitutents delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta 9-THC) and cannabinol (CBN) were tested for their ability to interact with the androgen receptor in rat prostate cytosol. Smoked marihuana condensate, delta 9-THC, and CBN inhibit specific binding of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) to the androgen receptor with a dissociatin constant of the inhibitors (Li) of 2.1-5.8 X 10(-7)M. in addition, other metabolites of delta 9-THC were also androgen antagonists. This data suggests that the anti-androgenic effects associated with marihuana use results, at least in part, from inhibition of androgen action at the receptor level.

      I read the following which explains why THC inhibiting the receptors makes Cannabis a hair loss tonic.:

      Medical Marijuana Treats Alopecia
      Alopecia can be indulgenced using medical cannabis due to the plant’s capability to aid a patient’s resistant organism befall concealed and correctly performance. By apparatus in marijuana establishing a victorious trail to potentially fast back misplaced follicles, adjuvant handling options such as cannabis can give scientific supervision of alopecia and effluvium.

      Dr Bronner Peppermint Soap Stops Hair Loss
      Dr Bronner Peppermint Soap Stops Hair Loss related alternative medicine supplements and vitamins. Also explore information on Dr Bronner Peppermint Soap Stops Hair Loss treatment, health benefits & side effects with Dr Bronner Peppermint Soap Stops Hair Loss products. Many of the sources come from our Encyclopedia of Natural Health and include relevant health topics. Uses vary, but may include Strengthening Hair, Strengthening Nails, and Increasing Energy and are non-FDA reviewed or approved, natural alternatives, to use for Hair Loss, Brittle Nails, and Split Ends. Dr Bronner Peppermint Soap Stops Hair Loss products are reviewed below. INGREDIENTS: Water, Organic Coconut Oil*, Potassium Hydroxide**, Organic Olive Oil*, Mentha Arvensis*, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Peppermint Oil*, Citric Acid, Tocopherol

  • Freeman

    (after all, Obama could easily commute sentences of prisoners who had received ridiculously long sentences, yet he has chosen to be very stingy in that area)

    Radley Balko elaborates

  • Duncan20903

    Humpty Dumpty would have been green with envy about NIDA and their extraordinary ability to redefine words that annoy the staff:

    Federal Drug Agency Denies Marijuana Is Less Toxic Than Alcohol

    /snip/
    Mason Tvert, director of communications at Marijuana Policy Project, said NIDA’s claim is a new low for the agency.

    “Our federal government has been exaggerating the harms of marijuana for decades, but at this point it has gone off the deep end,” Tvert told The Huffington Post. “NIDA’s statement that marijuana can be just as toxic as alcohol would be on par with the FDA announcing sushi is as fattening as fried chicken.

    “This is gross negligence on the agency’s part and should be addressed immediately by the White House,” Tvert continued. “It is one thing for our federal officials to convey their opposition to marijuana policy reform. It is an entirely different and more disturbing situation when they are conveying opposition to scientific evidence.”

  • Servetus

    According to the latest Rasmussen poll, 82-percent of Americans know the United States is losing the war on drugs. Yet, according to other polls, only 40-percent of Americans can name all three branches of their government. I think we can presume from these cognitive differences that the anti-drug-war message is well received.

    • curmudgeon

      Let’s see, the three branches of government; those would be liars, cheats and thieves.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      I’ve heard that there’s a not insignificant percentage of the US population who would be unable to identify Canada on an unlabeled map of North America. Like Mrs. Gump would say, “stupid is as stupid does.”