Debate on Pot Legalization Heats up in California
The debate over a California initiative to legalize recreational marijuana sparked heated rejoinders from both sides this week.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R) suggested that legalization "will better deploy law enforcement resources. Energy that is now put into harassing inoffensive users of marijuana can be redirected toward suppressing more serious crimes like rape and murder."
Leading opponent of legalization, Ventura Police Chief Ken Corney, president of the California Police Chiefs Association, challenged the Congressman "to name one so-called rape or murder victim who might otherwise have been spared if police officers weren't occupied enforcing our drug laws."
"Potheads like to portray dope smoking as a harmless activity, but its impacts are insidious and long lasting," Corney maintained. "The harm to society is more pervasive than the more isolated rape or murder. Saving an entire generation from addiction and its ill-effects strikes me as more important than a futile effort to save the relatively few impacted by these other crimes, especially since the vast majority of police action on these comes after-the-fact. The true choice is between us basically 'cleaning up' after a rape or murder vs. proactively intervening to modify self-destructive behavior across a broader cohort of the population."
Rohrabacher characterized Corney's stance as "an example of the nanny-state at its worst. Misguided do-gooders once thought that using police to prevent people from ruining their lives by consuming alcohol was appropriate. Most now recognize what a mistake that was as it fueled the rise of notorious gangsters like Al Capone during Prohibition. Our modern-day repetition of that mistake with attempts to suppress marijuana provide the environment for violent drug-smuggling gangsters and the mayhem they inflict on communities across the nation."
Zuckerberg Denies Suppressing Conservative News
Reports that Facebook moderators routinely suppress trending news favorable to conservatives were vigorously denied by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who claimed "I don't even know who the leaders of the conservative movement are. So how can I or my employees be biased against them?"
This is the second display of ideological bias to issue from Zuckerberg this year. Earlier, the Facebook executive berated employees for abusing a company-granted "freedom-of-expression" policy to write "all lives matter" on a wall devoted to free expression in the company's Melo Park, California headquarters. "I could not allow the insensitivity toward the 'Black lives matter' meme to sneak in under the protection of so-called 'freedom of speech,'" Zuckerberg explained. "Freedom must be used responsibly and appropriately. No one has the right to utter opinions that are hurtful to others."
Zuckerberg offered to "meet with alleged leaders of the conservative moment, if there are any of reputable stature, to discuss whatever objections they may raise to the way I run my company. However, this should not be construed as a capitulation to demands that I modify my policies. Facebook will never become a haven for anti-social and anti-progressive elements to air their perverted views."
President Decrees New Nationwide School Restroom & Locker Room Law
In a bid aimed at "stopping a confusing patchwork of divergent rules," President Obama issued an executive order mandating that every public school in the United States make all previously sexually-segregated restrooms and locker rooms open to persons of both sexes. Instead of relying on biological differences to determine which toilets, which showers, or which athletic teams students should have access to, schools must now use psychological differences. Biological males who think of themselves as female must be allowed to use facilities previously restricted to biological females, and vice versa.
Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division hailed the President's action as "the final blow against the last barrier to a fully non-discriminatory society. This erases the false notion that biology is destiny. The presence or absence of physical attributes has for too long shunted individuals into roles they may not wish to accept. The President's order frees everyone to be whoever or whatever they want to be."
Gupta said she was "confident we will get universal compliance. Billions of dollars in federal aid to education can be withheld from school districts that refuse to obey the President's decree. The price of archaic attachment to out-dated ideas will be too steep for financially strapped schools to pay."
Judge Blocks Restitution to Innocent Man
Guillermo Espinoza's efforts to retrieve $19,894 seized by Arkansas State Police were brought to an abrupt halt by Judge Chris Williams. State prosecutors asked that the money be returned to Espinoza since no criminal charges were being pursued against him. Williams rejected this request on the grounds that Espinoza had missed the 10-day deadline for filing the papers to initiate restitution.
As Williams sees it, "the rules on civil forfeiture are clearly spelled out in statute. Whether or not Mr. Espinoza was or wasn't engaged in any illegal activity is irrelevant. Arkansas law gives the government the right to seize assets it deems may have a connection to a crime. Even if that connection turns out to be illusory, the procedure for reclaiming the seized assets is specified. Mr. Espinoza failed to adhere to that procedure. Thus, the State cannot return the money to him."
"The civil forfeiture statute is not inextricably tied to the fate of any criminal investigation or prosecution," Williams pointed out. "Over the history of this statute it has transferred over $80 million into the state treasury. Acquiring revenues is also a legitimate function of government. For me to deviate from the civil forfeiture statute in pursuit of some notion of judicial fairness would abrogate this important revenue-raising function of the law. That is beyond my powers as a judge."
As an aside, the Judge speculated that "it is by no means certain that the public good would be better served by according Mr. Espinoza a just resolution of his case. The private uses to which he might put the money might easily be eclipsed by the public good that can be done by having the State spend that money on purposes of broader social benefit to all Arkansans."
White House Dismisses Court Ruling on Obamacare
Federal Judge Rosemary Collyer's ruling that the Obama Administration has been illegally subsidizing health insurance companies failed to faze the President or his minions.
Presidential Press Secretary Josh Earnest mocked "the impotence of the President's political opponents. These court cases are an act of desperation. The GOP has lost this battle in the public arena. Voters reelected President Obama. That gives him all the mandate he needs to govern this country. Complaining that Congress never appropriated the money for the subsidies seeks to elevate a constitutional technicality above the will of voters."
The "constitutional technicality" that Judge Collyer found persuasive in her ruling was from Article I, section 9: "No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law."
Earnest contended that "a president's executive action is, effectively, a lawmaking power. President Obama has used this power to bypass Congress's refusal to carry out its responsibility to fully fund the Affordable Care Act. The President has said on numerous occasions that he will take action if Congress fails to do so. This is one of those occasions. He feels confident that this Judge's ruling will be overturned by a higher court."
"The stodgy old 'separation of powers' dogma is an impediment to efficient government," Earnest added. "Each branch of government should be considered an alternate option for moving the country forward. Sometimes Congress may be the best option. Other times the Courts or the President may be. The crucial thing is to keep us on track for the advancement of progressive values and social justice. Since this is what President Obama has been doing for the last seven years there is no good reason for him to stop, no matter what anyone says."
NYC Mayor Orders Bars to Serve Pregnant Women
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio banned bars operating in the city from refusing to serve alcohol to pregnant women. This is despite virtually universal medical advice against the consumption of alcohol by expectant mothers.
The Mayor said he is "cognizant of the damage that might be done to an unborn child if its mother imbibes, but the possibility of harm is not a sufficient reason for a business establishment to discriminate against these women. Under New York's laws a woman has an unconstrained right to kill her unborn child if she so chooses. The less extreme option of merely damaging the child's health by consuming alcohol is also her prerogative."
De Blasio cautioned that his new edict "does not absolve bar owners from posting warnings about the dangers of birth defects from alcohol consumption by pregnant women, nor from being sued by any customers whose child may experience these defects. We are protecting the right of women to pursue happiness. We are not immunizing vendors from bearing the responsibility for the consequences to customers who consume their products."
Clinton Foundation Scandals Pooh-Poohed by Insider
Bill Allison, a senior fellow at the Sunlight Foundation, a government watchdog group, labeled the so-called charity "a slush fund for the Clintons. Only a small fraction of the money raised is distributed as aid. The vast bulk of the money is used on administration, travel, salaries and bonuses, with the fattest payouts going to family friends."
Clinton Foundation spokesman Craig Minassian asserted that "no laws have been broken. How any charitable trust spends the funds it receives is a matter of discretion. The donors all gave voluntarily. They wanted the Clinton family to have this money. We haven't heard any complaints from them."
One possible explanation for the absence of some complaints was that the governments of Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar from which donations were obtained all got Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's approval to purchase $165 billion worth of armaments despite being ruled by authoritarian regimes guilty of numerous human rights abuses.
Minassian contended that the arms deals "were good for American businesses" and that "extracting cash from Middle Eastern dictatorships in order to pay for the salaries and perks enjoyed by Foundation employees is a good thing. Donald Trump charges Hillary with being crooked, but even he has got to be envious of the alchemy she has achieved via the synergistic combination of her public and private power."
In related news, the hedge fund run by Chelsea Clinton's husband Marc Mezvinsky suffered a catastrophic 90% loss. Mezvinsky issued a statement aimed at reassuring the general public that "neither the beloved former First Daughter nor I will experience any financial setbacks from this debacle. My commissions have already been collected and our assets are insulated from attachment. Our $10 million home is safe and our lifestyle will not be negatively affected."
London Mayor Endorses Hillary, Warns against Electing Trump
Recently elected London Mayor Sadiq Khan formally endorsed Hillary Clinton for president and warned that "her Republican opponent's ignorant anti-Muslim views will bring retribution."
"The gift of Islam is free for the taking," Khan said. "All are welcome to join the umma. Those who wish to remain unbelievers are free to do so, but they must show proper respect toward the one true religion. Mr. Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from coming to America is disrespectful. Allah has given the world to Muslims. It is not for any unbeliever to say where Muslims may or may not go."
Khan predicted that "any attempt to impede Muslim travel to America will invite attack. The Quran only binds Muslims to peaceful relations with unbelievers who accept their submission to Islamic law and pay the jizya. By announcing a policy of resistance Mr. Trump puts all Americans at risk."
The Mayor advised citizens of the United States "to elect a person who understands the only peaceful way for Muslims and non-Muslims to interact. Secretary Clinton, in my opinion, is such a person. Voters should cast their ballots for her as if their lives depended upon it."
Trump campaign spokesperson Katrina Pierson welcomed the Mayor's comments saying "they help clarify the stakes of this election. The fact that a so-called 'moderate' Muslim is so quick to raise the threat of violence supports Donald's advice of caution about who we allow into this country. At a very fundamental level, keeping out people who may believe they have a religious right or obligation to kill you seems like common sense."