Fat In The Budget To Cut



Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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40 Responses

  1. Avatar Glyph says:

    I really hope stuff like this is just the death throes of the whole wrongheaded idea. Like DOMA, it’s a last-ditch attempt to stave off the (I hope) inevitable. Public opinion has already turned; and stuff like this looks, to the average Joe, more and more like what it’s always been – a desperate need for control, and a congenital inability to say “not my business”.

    Of course, I have been wrong before.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Glyph says:

      You know, I could understand running a bust in, say, Tennessee. They don’t have legal weed in Tennessee, they don’t even have Medicinal (as far as I know, anyway) in Tennessee.

      Busting a grow operation in Tennessee would get me to just growl a bit and say “don’t they have anything better to do?” but… hey. The law is the law, right?

      Doing this in Warshington MAKES NO SENSE. It makes me say “we need another sequester.”Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jaybird says:

        Or, they could let Tennessee decide if it’s really a problem for themselves, and handle it themselves, if it is…”The (Federal) Law is the Law” is their justification for doing what they are doing in Washington.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Jaybird says:

        Yes, but it’s a dispensary. It’s low hanging fruit. You KNOW the pot is there. In TN they have to go find the stuff, instead of having it’s location advertised.

        I’m waiting for the day one of our local Sheriffs (I’m a WA resident) decides he’s done playing nice with the DEA and gives them the boot while releasing the people they arrested.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jaybird says:

        I don’t know if this same dynamic pertains to the dispensaries, but I have read articles where they do their level, careful best to bust wherever the MONEY is, not necessarily the drugs; since they just have to dispose of the drugs, they don’t really care to find much of those.

        But forfeiture laws allow them to keep the $, with plunder- revenue-sharing taking place between the bandits law-enforcement agencies that were in on the robbery bust.

        So if I were a dispensary, job #1 would be the rapid and regular moving of the cash offsite.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Jaybird says:


        I’m not a fan of these raids but “let the States decide” is not persuasive to me (this could be ideological). The Federal Government has their laws and rules that they passed. Of course they are going to enforce them in states that agree or disagree.

        The thing about letting the States decide that I don’t agree with is that sometimes (maybe often) federal power is needed to drag places into modernity especially in regards to civil rights and still enforcing civil rights.

        Maybe this is just a Hamiltonian v. Jeffersonian divide.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        It is better for 100 Angel Raiches to be found guilty than for one “States’ Rights” argument to go free.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Jaybird says:


        By that logic, then states should not have been permitted to make gay marriage legal, because DOMA was on the books?

        Sometimes, the federal government is very wrong, is very invested in continuing that wrong, and it is up to the states to force the change.Report

      • Avatar Cascadian in reply to Jaybird says:

        New Dealer, It gets harder and harder to support statist positions when they only apply to conservative issues. Washington is to bow to the war on drugs so that we can institute voter repression laws in the South. The payoff for negotiating across regions is deteriorating rapidly.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jaybird says:

        @newdealer – I’d argue that the ability to control your own body and brain chemistry in the privacy of your own home IS a civil right, and one that never should have been trampled on in the first place.

        I don’t like it if the states trample it either, but I feel the Fed should never have involved themselves in the question to begin with, as banning drugs is not under its enumerated Constitutional powers, IMO (for all alcohol Prohibition’s flaws, at least we remembered then that this sort of nonsense should require an Amendment).

        But I suspect that you already knew that I’d say that. πŸ™‚Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Jaybird says:


        I did not say Washington is necessarily to bow out. Or Colorado.

        But I still think History has proven that the Federal Government has been necessary for enforcing a more universal equality sooner.


        I’m not opposed to a strong federal government and generally think it has been a strong federal government that has done more to promote equality, liberty, and general welfare than states’ rights and decentralization. This could very well just be an issue of ideology. I despise the War on Some Drugs but this is not going to get me to question the need for a strong federal government.

        This goes beyond voting rights but more broadly to civil rights, anti-discrimination laws, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, etc.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Jaybird says:


        I don’t disagree. I think marijuana and MDMA should be legal and there should be a privacy right to do it in your own home. However, the Feds are raiding dispensaries not private homes. We are not talking about private places right now.

        In my ideal world, Marijuana and MDMA would be legalized through the national government. Or admins would be smart enough to order the DOJ and DEA and ATF not to go after stuff in Med Mal states or Legalized states. Ham-over-fist actions usually have a way of working in a Democracy (albeit slowly sometimes).

        However if you were to give me a choice between allowing legal weed in Washington or having a federal government that can stop voter suppression and other forms state-right practiced bigotry, I will opt for having a federal government that can go after bigots and oppressors acting at the state political level.

        *I’ve explained before that while I do think mere possessors and addicts should go to jail, I think serious drugs like Meth and Heroin are serious public health problems and should not be legalized in a free-for-all kind of way. I might entertain a “You must inject Heroin at space X” kind of legality.Report

      • Avatar Cascadian in reply to Jaybird says:

        NewDealer, I’ll give you (for sake of argument) that the Feds have done greater good than bad historically. However, when we look at the powers that be and the dysfunction of our current time I don’t think that holds going forward. All of those lovely programs that you mention are under attack. Why does it make sense to a Cascadian to continue wealth transfers and continue to negotiate freedoms with a population that doesn’t appreciate them at the cost of our own programs? I think of what health care could be like in the PNW versus what value is actually obtained by insisting on national institutions.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jaybird says:

        @newdealer – I think you are accepting a tradeoff that need not be accepted; that the authority of the Fed must always supersede, to achieve the most net good.

        The Fed should be strong in doing those things that it is empowered to do – such as protect individual rights under the Constitution. A state is denying someone theIr Constitutional right to vote? Fed should step in.

        The Fed should not, almost by definition, be strong in areas in which it has no authority to begin with, and I would argue the WoD as currently instituted is one of those areas.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Glyph says:

      The Drug War is an easy proposition on this site.

      How about the Federal Government deciding to go after Southern States for their restrictions on voting rights? Is that acceptable or should the Federal Government just let it be?


      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to NewDealer says:

        What does the Supreme Court say?Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to NewDealer says:

        Holder is such a putz. If he had a clue (and he manifestly does not) he’d find some cases of actual discrimination, they shouldn’t be hard to find, and go after those cases where they exist. Going on some Woozle Hunt will only alienate everyone.

        I’m so sick of Holder. He’s absolutely incompetent, the worst of Obama’s appointments.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to NewDealer says:

        I’d argue that voting rights are basic civil rights in a way that preventing drug usage is not.Report

      • Avatar Cascadian in reply to NewDealer says:

        Blaise, so because it’s a basic right I should be willing to forgo my less important rights so that I can have standing on basic rights far away from me? Is this how we should act at the UN. Would you agree to the loss of secondary rights so that someone else could enjoy a higher level of right? Let’s say you give up beer so that a Pakistani girl can go to school or her mom to vote? Not much of a sacrifice?Report

      • Avatar Cascadian in reply to NewDealer says:

        OOps that was @ Will not Blaise.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to NewDealer says:

        Well sure. It sorta helped to have an Oliver Brown so we could get Brown v Board of Education on the map. If Holder and the rest of his car full of clowns wanted to attack actual discrimination, they’d find a worthy case to bring before a court. This he has not done. Instead, we have this officious little moustachioed maniac peeking into into every window, annoying the locals and generally being a Turgid Statist Dick. Go deal with those NSA types and tell that FISC court to give us back some semblance of a Fourth Amendment, you weasel. And oh by the way, will you please do something about those banks, you coward?

        Is everyone sick of calling the Southern Folks a bunch of racists yet? Haven’t we come to realise racism is everywhere, that it’s not just a Southern Thang? Martin Luther King said as much back then and it doesn’t seem to have changed much since he did. If Texas is discriminating, there are laws and enough to prosecute them. The last thing anyone needs is Attorney General Chief Inspector Eric Clouseau peeking in the window.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to NewDealer says:

        In what sense is preventing the usage of drugs even a secondary right?Report

      • Avatar Cascadian in reply to NewDealer says:

        I was thinking of taking drugs not stopping it. My post was in relation to New Dealers concerns. If the justification for Federal power is that we have a stabilizing influence on other parts of the Union, I’d say its experiencing diminishing returns.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to NewDealer says:

        I think if we can draw a consensus that the ability ingest whatever chemicals one wishes is indeed a right, then that should be enforced on a national level. Absent that, I prefer a more state-based approach as a compromise. Let Washington have their pot, but let Tennessee keep it illegal until such a national consensus of right can be reached.Report

      • Avatar NoPublic in reply to NewDealer says:

        Is everyone sick of calling the Southern Folks a bunch of racists yet? Haven’t we come to realise racism is everywhere, that it’s not just a Southern Thang?

        You’re right, of course, Scott Walker isn’t a Southerner and he’s working nearly as hard on voter suppression as the NC lege is. It’s not a Southern Thang, it’s a Republican Thang. At least in the context of the VRA. When was the last time a bill passed by a majority Dem lege and governor ran up against the VRA?Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Glyph says:

      I really hope stuff like this is just the death throes of the whole wrongheaded idea.

      Lessee here. Do you mean the wrongheadedness of federal prohibitions on pot? Or the lunacy of The Feds interfering with state and local rights to legalize it? Or the idiocy of institutional logic and decisionmaking imposing itself on common sense and pragmatics because That’s The Law?

      There’re lots of choices here.Report

  2. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    Toward the end of Prohibition, things got similarly ugly. By the time Prohibition was repealed, even its most earnest advocates recognised the 18th Amendment had backfired. Prohibition had only created a deep-rooted cynicism: nobody took Prohibition seriously. Everyone despised the government’s role in enforcement: the crooks had the cops on the payroll. The gangsters supplied all the booze people wanted and a good deal of that was awful stuff which killed people. Crime only increased.

    The 18th Amendment was the stupidest thing the USA ever did — right up until the War on Drugs. Where we might have composed some sensible compromise, regulating these drugs, we only repeated the mistakes of Prohibition — only worse. Make no mistake, drug addiction is a serious problem, so is alcoholism. We do need regulation, some mechanism to cope with the deleterious effects of these substances. But watching these two-bit Barney Fyfes cracking down on pot shops is just annoying me no end. It’s stupid and counterproductive. The one lesson we learn from history, it seems — is that we don’t learn from history.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to BlaiseP says:

      One of the things that strikes me as different from Prohibition is the focus of law enforcement.

      When the cops kicked down the door to a speakeasy and arrested everybody inside, they kicked down the door and arrested everybody inside even if that meant arresting politically connected middle-class people.

      The War on Drugs focused mainly on the poor part of town, mostly arresting poor people. Relatively few folks got busted for weed on any given college campus compared to the sheer number of busts of folks just a few blocks away.

      It was once the police discovered forfeiture that they started noticing how much nicer the stuff was in the part of town frequented by politically connected middle-class people… and, wouldn’t you know it, now we see calls for the end to the drug war just as we saw calls for the end of prohibition.

      Within years of busting everybody without care for what part of town they were in, we see the end of the policy in sight. Just like last time.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Jaybird says:

        That’s exactly right, though I’m told the speakeasy raids resulted in the most cursory of punishments for those caught boozing. And the only people who got busted were drinking in speakeasies which weren’t paying off the cops. We see this same phenomenon in Mexico and elsewhere: the corrupting power of large sums of cash is almost incomprehensible.Report

      • Avatar Nathanael in reply to Jaybird says:

        Oh no. If you’ve read enough stories from the 20s, you’ll realize that the “private parties” which the rich people attended had carefully labelled all of their alcohol as “medicinal”, as well as paying off the cops. They rarely if ever got raided.Report

  3. Avatar NewDealer says:

    Of course stuff like this is just fuel for prohibitionist fire:


    We all know that anecdotes are not data but every story like this just helps color perceptions sadly. I think the medical marijuana and legal marijuana industries are going to need to be super-strict and squeaky clean before the Feds change their mind.

    I think the problem with a lot of medical marijuana legislation is that it has a hint-hint, wink-wink, nudge-nudge flavor. You can walk all over some places in LA and look for doctors in green medical coats that will give you a card in a half hour. This is okay on a moral and ethical level in my mind because I think it should be legal but skeptics are just going to say yeah right…..And right now the skeptics control the Federal Government.Report

    • Avatar Cascadian in reply to NewDealer says:

      @NewDealer The fact that there are criminal elements in the domestic production of pot is not contested. The question is how to fill the power vacuum? Some think that just letting RJ Reynolds control distribution would be the best of the worst others argue that only allowing small producers or personal production in the old Alaska model are best. One chooses the criminal the other leaves it on a personal level. Colorado will be much more successful because of their inclusion of the personal farmer. It’s less able to become a criminal business and more likely to promote community.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Cascadian says:


        I don’t disagree with anything you are saying. I am merely trying to point out the psychological impact of events like this. You can repeat anecdotes are not data until the cows come home but the truth is that most people on some level or another do and will continue to treat anecdotes like data.

        Better to understand this and try to work with it towards legalization than to underplay or ignore how stories like this work in the minds of the general public or the powers that be in the opposition.

        I fully support the legalization of marijuana but with any vice business you also need to work the PR angle and make the reformers/legalizers to not ignore stuff like this or hand-waive it away or think it irrelevant.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Cascadian says:

        If we could get the folks at R.J. Reynolds interested in the business, we’d probably see it legalized with no trouble at all. Or, more likely, legalized with heavy-handed regulations and a special license that only R.J. Reynolds could get. But that’s another issue.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Cascadian says:

        Of course, if RJR were to declare that it wanted to get in the game, a lot of supporters of legalized pot might reconsider because it would become the pro-corporate stand. It’d be lumped with junk food and cigarettes. Perhaps still legalized, but vilified in circles that now consider legalizing pot a no-brainer.Report

    • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to NewDealer says:

      I think the medical marijuana and legal marijuana industries are going to need to be super-strict and squeaky clean before the Feds change their mind.

      There’s a bit of a chicken-or-egg problem in that, though. I’m a sqeaky-clean type of guy, and if there was money to be made in selling marijuana, I would be interested (at least as an investor), except for the part about going to federal prison over it. Some states may be easing up, but the fact that the Feds will still destroy you over it still pretty much limits the industry to ballsy rebels making a political statement and organized criminals. Neither set of people tends to me media friendly.Report

  4. Avatar NotMe says:

    Clearly the IRS has too much money if they can fund extravagant conferences, silly videos and have the extra staff to perform improper investigationsReport

  5. Avatar Will H. says:

    Not covered under Obamacare.
    ‘Nuff said.Report