Archive for June 13th, 2012

by lizard

You may think I’ve smoked too much Alaskan Thunderfuck when I say the President’s multi-state assault on Cannabis/Medicinal Marijuana could cost him big time in November.

The President Jim Messina has to make a decision about how to approach this topic as election season heats up.

Should he advice the President to A) just ignore it like he did back in January of this year, when Obama snubbed retired deputy chief of police, Stephen Downing, during a social media event on YouTube.

Or should he B) do some late-summer, targeted campaigning in states like Colorado, where NOT talking about it could actually hurt him (HuffPost):

…with Obama facing a stiff challenge from Republican Mitt Romney in the Nov. 6 election, it’s ironic that his chances of winning the key state of Colorado could hinge on marijuana legalization, supported by a growing number of Americans.

At issue is whether Obama will get a boost from young voters expected to be among the most enthusiastic backers of a Colorado ballot initiative that would legalize possession of up to an ounce of pot for recreational use – and give the state the most liberal marijuana law in the nation.

The initiative is a reflection of Colorado’s unique blend of laid-back liberalism and anti-regulation conservatism that helped make the state the birthplace of the Libertarian Party.
It’s a state where people of different political stripes see marijuana laws as an example of government needlessly sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong.

It’s also a proving ground for advocates who see legalization as a way to ease crowding in prisons, generate much-needed tax revenues, create jobs and weaken Mexican cartels that thrive on Americans’ appetite for illegal drugs.

In a tweet I was sort of dared to write a post about Gary Johnson. Well, this isn’t it, but Gary Johnson does need to be mentioned here, especially now that The Atlantic has declared Gary Johnson’s opposition to the drug war suddenly means the end of Marijuana as a fringe issue.

If Obama doesn’t address the perception of continuing the betrayal of his word to honor those who comply with state law, Gary Johnson could scoop up the disaffected, especially young people who could easily lean libertarian. Obama could get Perot’d.

Douglas Haddow, at The Guardian, lists the political support that may provide Obama the cover he needs to, at the very least, make some nice sounding rhetorical overtures to the people he’s so massively disappointed (whether they believe him is a different issue):

A string of events over the last seven weeks suggests the onset of a trend in which high-profile American political actors, including sitting officials, have begun to come out of the drug-war closet to publicly voice support for policy reform.

On 17 May Brooklyn supreme court justice Gustin Reichbach took to the New York Times to make the case for medical marijuana, citing his own illegal use to cope with chemotherapy and arguing that marijuana legalisation “is not a law and order issue; it is a medical and a human rights issue”.

On 30 May, in a congressional primary in El Paso, Texas, eight-term incumbent and hardline drug warrior Silvestre Reyes went head to head with first-time challenger Beto O’Rourke, former city councillor and a critic of the drug war who favours legalising marijuana. O’Rourke won handily.

In New York, Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed to decriminalise marijuana possession (25g or less,) citing how current laws disproportionately affect black and Hispanic youth. The Republican Bloomberg immediately voiced support for the motion.

So just get him four more years, people. This time he’ll work on that kind of stuff. Please don’t look back, where the quickly receding memory of his actual policies flicker and fade…


by jhwygirl

Former Indy – now Missoulian – political columnist George Ochenski was guest today on Aaron Flint’s Voices of America statewide talk show this morning. Work unfortunately got in the way for life for me, but Northern Broadcasting does podcast Flint’s show. It’s in two segments, here and here.

That shift to the Missoulian took all of 5 days.

Flint gets to the Ochenski’s sudden and still unaddressed departure from the Indy immediately, and George tells it from his own words. It’s quite clear that editorial interference in Ochenski’s political writings were the heart of the matter. Flint asks “What really happened with the Missoula Independent?” George Ochenski responds:

“From my perspective, what happened is they hired a new editor that came in from out of state and literally started wading in on my columns. Restricting what I could write about – I couldn’t write about national or international issues anymore – just about Montana politics……

“He started cranking down on the scope of my writing, and then he started doing some, what I thought, were some really irresponsible edits. Changing my words. Putting titles on columns that I would never have put on there.”

Ochenski then cites a change in the title of a column from “Collaborators collision to “Hang the Collaborators,” explaining that he’d never advocate violence against those with whom he disagrees and another where a medical marijuana column Damned if you do had “Med pot court case could sway election” attached as a a subtitle. Ochencski explained that using the term “pot” for medical marijuana belittled the necessity of its use for those that need it.

Once that was out, Flint had a great long conversation with Ochenski, talking about the conservative reaction to Ochenski’s departure, his adventures up in the capitol, his non partisan (but liberal leaning) approach to political commentary – and even…well….testicles. So go listen to it.

A big thanks to Aaron Flint for bringing us a good interview. Hopefully he has Ochenski on again.

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