Conservatives cannot support the drug war without betraying their most sacred values and becoming what we hate. It is time for a “come to Jesus” with my Republican friends.
From Ramsey For Florida House, District 19
There is a condition known as “Cognitive Dissonance“. To describe it in simple terms, it is “a psychological discomfort that is a consequence of a person performing an action that contradicts personal beliefs, ideals, and values; and also occurs when confronted with new information that contradicts said beliefs, ideals, and values”. It often occurs when people are confronted with undeniable truth that seems counterintuitive.
Have you ever met a liberal who looked at you like a deer in headlights when you tried to explain that lowering tax rates can increase government tax revenue? Have you ever shown a Democrat co-worker or family member the irrefutable proof that more guns = less crime, and triggered a tantrum or a bizarre nonsensical response? Have you tried explaining the enormous cost of illegal immigration, with GAO stats and FBI crime reports, only to be called a “Nazi” or “Racist”? Does it make your blood boil? How can these lefty idiots be so ignorant? How can they be so ignorant, even in the face of irrefutable facts?
It’s a bad look to put it kindly. You would never want to be so ignorant and closed minded to facts and truth as the Marxist “useful idiots” right? So please understand that I am trying to prevent you from being “that guy”. Keep an open mind, and consider the facts, our sacred principles, and the underlying motivations that drive people to make political decisions that run counter to them.
Jeff Sessions has decided to abandon the Cole Memorandum, which essentially means that he ordered the Justice Department to stop focusing on dangerous criminals and renew focusing on medical cannabis patients in the large number of states where it is legal. If you are defending Sessions, you are somewhere between “humans cause global warming” and “the earth is flat” on the level of ignorance. This is your moment NOT to act like a Democrat when I tell you that ending the drug war is the only proven way to lower drug use, the same way that lower tax rates can increase economic activity and overall tax revenue, or that more guns lowers crime.
There is only one policy that has ever produced a dramatic reduction in drug use in a western country. That is to decriminalize drug use, and treat it for what addiction is, a medical problem that requires treatment. Portugal decriminalized all drugs in 2001. A recent New York Times article noted the dramatic effects. Forbes wrote about it in 2011, ten years into the experiment. Portugal has the lowest drug mortality rate in Western Europe. 1/10 the rate of Britain or Denmark. 1/50th the latest rate for the US. Last year, about 64,000 Americans died from overdoses, up 22% from the year before. That is more than the combined death toll of US soldiers in the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars.
In Portugal, they have reduced the number of heroin addicts by 75%. Since this discussion is a reversal of a marijuana policy, consider this fact. Following decriminalization, Portugal had the lowest rate of lifetime marijuana use in people over 15 in the E.U.: 10%. The most comparable figure in America is in people over 12: 39.8%. Proportionally, more Americans have used cocaine than Portuguese have used marijuana. What Jeff Sessions is doing is going to increase marijuana use, the same way that gun bans in Chicago make it a murder capital. Here are some basic charts and graphs to see the incredible failures of the prohibition policy. You know that alcohol prohibition was equally ruinous, why can you not understand that the results are the same for other intoxicants?
Stop with the driving impaired nonsense as well please. The NHTSA studies show it poses no significant impairment while driving. When you are wrong, admit the facts and keep your credibility alive.
The Sacred Principles
We believe in the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights in particular correct? We do not accept the leftist idea that it is a “living document”, but rather that it expresses timeless ideals that must be respected through the ages. The 2nd Amendment still applies to our AR-15 as it applied to a settlers musket in 1787. We cry foul, and in the strongest terms possible, when the 10th Amendment is perverted to apply the interstate commerce clause to our personal firearms, used as justification for Bill Clinton’s infamous “Brady Bill” and the left’s gun control agenda. When Obamacare was passed, we condemned the idea of a federal bureaucrat deciding what treatments we would be allowed to receive.
Let me explain an indisputable fact to you. The DEA scheduling of cannabis as having no medical value, is the result of a federal bureaucrat deciding what medical treatment people can receive. They are doing so by means of the same perverse “living document” interpretation of the commerce clause they use to take our gun rights away. We are supposed to be for state’s rights, and decentralization of power. If you expect people to respect the Constitution regarding gun rights, then we better respect the rights of states to have their own laws, and individuals to consult with their doctor about treatments, not be told by some corrupt politician in Washington DC what treatments they are allowed. Is that not a major objection to Obamacare? Do we adopt the ideas of left wing Democrats now? I do not recall getting a vote on Sessions, and I bet none of you can even name the bureaucrat in the DEA who made the decision cannabis was more harmful than cocaine or meth.
Go look again at those graphs. We claim fiscal responsibility when we spent 50% more than the cost of Obamacare, 1.5 trillion, on this one idea to fight drug abuse, only to see dramatic increases in purity – as the price fell. After 1.5 trillion, what did we get? Opiate overdose is now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50. That does not sound “fiscally conservative” my brothers and sisters. It sounds like Democrats who say that welfare cures poverty, or that more government money will fix education, after decades of these policies failing. What is the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over, while expecting a different result. Reversing a policy that focused this failure of a policy away from criminal enterprises to go after lawful medical cannabis patients is so absurd that Sessions should have been removed for even exploring the idea, as it shows gross incompetence.
I will also let you in on another secret. It wan’t Conservatives who created the rape of the Interstate Commerce Clause behind federal prohibition of cannabis. It was liberal activist judges, seeking to avoid losing the ability to take away our gun rights.
“Respondents Diane Monson and Angel Raich use marijuana that has never been bought or sold, that has never crossed state lines, and that has had no demonstrable effect on the national market for marijuana. If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything–and the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers.”
-Justice Clarence Thomas
Read this article on how the same principle used by Sessions to regulate cannabis is used to infringe on the 2nd Amendment, and how the policy is actually rooted in preserving unlawful gun control.
The Underlying Motivations
When you see a decision made by a government official that contradicts sacred principles or in defiance of logic and facts you can usually find something corrupt or sinister behind the curtain. Especially when such decisions run contrary to the administration. Trump has stated he supports the current policy, which is now being changed. In the case of Jeff Sessions, it is cronyism for his friends in the tobacco and private prison industry, as well as personal profit, through investment funds he holds that include 2 of the largest private prison companies in the United States.
The tobacco industry helped get Jeff Sessions elected to the Senate in 1996. In fact, Session got a bit too much money from R. J. Reynolds, the makers of Camel cigarettes, during his 1996 campaign. In October of 1997 his staff had to send money back to the company because they had donated more than was legally allowed.
“If we let them get by with this extortion of the tobacco industry, then they’ll start shaking down other industries, one after the other,” Sessions said at a private dinner in July of 1997 with Bill Orzechowski, Chief Economist for the Tobacco Institute, a tobacco industry front group that tried to advocate against tobacco control policies. Sessions would go on to rail against the lawsuits that the tobacco industry was facing in the late 1990s. During a private dinner, Sessions called the lawsuits “extortion” and said that it would lead to “shake downs” of other industries. I guess good people sell tobacco, which kills 480,000 Americans annually, but they don’t smoke marijuana.
Last year the Department of Justice audit found that private prison facilities have more safety and security issues then federally run prisons, and a government watchdog report that said private prisons were generally more expensive and offered worse results. In response, the Justice Department began phasing out their private prison contracts. They had begun in 1997 during severe overcrowding and were now unnecessary anyways. In a February 2017 letter to Thomas Kane, acting director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Sessions reversed the policy. Shares of the two leading U.S. private prison companies gained in after hours trading, with GEO Group Inc up 2.15 percent and CoreCivic Inc up 3.44 percent. This is where the trouble begins and Jeff Session’s true motives become clear.
Federal financial disclosure records show that the Attorney General owns between $31,003 and $115,000 worth of shares in the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund, yielding a total of between $1,403 and $4,500 in income per year for Sessions. This fund includes CoreCivic and GEO Group. He avoids a legal definition of a conflict of interest, based on the diversified nature of the funds, but that is only part of the puzzle.
GEO group, one of the nation’s largest for-profit prison operators donated $100,000 dollars to the pro-Trump super PAC Rebuilding America Now. GEO group and another prison operator, Core Civic, each gave $250,000 to support Trump inaugural festivities. Now, they are looking to profit from the decision by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions is creating the appearance of Trump rewarding these donors, which threatens his credibility in a major way.
It gets worse though. In October, 2016, two of Sessions’ former Senate aides, David Stewart and Ryan Robichaux, became lobbyists for GEO Group, and that the two were specifically engaged to lobby on government contracting.
David Dayen, writing for The Nation, said:
It’s not just that the Sessions memo is good news for the private-prison industry in general. It’s good for GEO Group in particular. That’s precisely the type of crony capitalism and picking of winners and losers that conservatives have paid lip service to wanting to prevent for years. In Trump’s America, success is just one well-chosen lobbyist away.
It is pretty hard to argue against that synopsis, and Trump needs to flush Sessions back into the sewer this swamp creature came from before he tarnishes the whole regime. My money is he lands a job with a major private prison firm if Trump recognizes this corruption so close to the top, and makes the right decision to remove him as Attorney General.
Sessions is not “just enforcing the law”. He is making a fiscally irresponsible decision that benefits himself and his cronies financially at the expense of the citizens of the United States. By diverting federal law enforcement away from terrorists and violent criminals in order to fight plant medicine in states where it is legal, he goes against every value held dear by Conservatives and Libertarians, and has proven himself unfit for office.
I am calling on President Trump to immediately remove Jeff Sessions from his position as Attorney General.
I am also calling on Rick Scott, Governor of Florida, to order all Florida law enforcement agencies to refuse aid to federal enforcement efforts in this matter, and to deploy the Florida National Guard against any federal agency or their personnel that attempt to deny the right of Floridians to cannabis medicine that is dispensed in accordance with Florida law.