Saturday Links

Saturday, April 26th, 2008
  • Man arrested for complaining to his local government.
  • Wesley Snipes gets 36 months for committing three misdemeanors. Judge admits he’s making an example of Snipes.
  • Wisconsin police raid house of young people after neighbor police officer does some freelance investigating. The raid turns up “trace amounts” of marijuana.
  • Police in Michigan show off a sweet new customized Dodge Charger, which they bought with money seized from drug raids.
  • Some useful advice for would-be politicians.
  • In a five-part debate on drug prohibition for the L.A. Times, reason’s Jacob Sullum absolutely annihilates the Heritage Foundation’s Carles Stimson. It’s clear now why drug warriors are so shy to actually engage in public debate. They have no arguments left. When they try, they get pretty thoroughly destroyed.
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  • 21 Responses to “Saturday Links”

    1. #1 |  Sam | 

      Jeez Louise. That was almost tough to read. Stimson got just obliterated. Day 3 was the most shocking: Stimson actually needed to say that legalization would mean that the President would be on drugs.

    2. #2 |  ftp | 

      Stimson did get obliterated. The comments also seem to be in overwhelming support of Sullum. The third day’s article was particularly laughable. Drugs on legal, now the president is high!?!?! You’ve got to be fucking kidding me, this guy is fucking scum.

    3. #3 |  Chris in AL | 

      I was totally on the side of personal freedom on this issue until I was made to understand that if we legalize drugs then the president will be high on heroine when the nuclear war comes!

      Using this same line of thinking, we should probably not only ban homosexuality but shoot gays on site. I mean, imagine this….

      Agent (placing his hand over the mouthpiece of the phone): “Mr. Vice President, the president of Xyzistan has threatened to launch a nuclear strike in 15 minutes. You must respond.”

      Vice president: “Where is the heck is the president? Why isn’t he taking the lead on this issue?”

      Agent: “Well, it is S&M night down at the Blue Oyster. He is currently wearing nothing but leather chaps and a ball gag while he gets passed around getting his mangina abused. You know how he is.”

      That is scary stuff people!

    4. #4 |  La Rana | 

      Cully Stimson, you’ll recall, is that wonderful fellow who deliberately tried to undermine the defense of Guantanamo detainees by suggesting that the law firms representing them were lying about doing it pro bono and that corporations who do business with these law firms might rethink where their business is going.

      Delightful individual. California’s ethics rules don’t explicit prohibit that conduct, but the rules of most states and those promulgated by the ABA explicit prohibit it (Model Rule 3.6(d)). If he had been a member of the bar of a different state, he may very well have lost his license.

      Heritage sounds perfect. They’ve managed to take only the bad conservative ideas from the 1980s and reified them beyond logical discourse.

    5. #5 |  Dan | 

      Is anyone else bothered by the first link about the man arrested for complaining on behalf of him and his neighbors?

      I guess it only pisses me off so much because I can see myself in a place like that. Im even still too busy feeling the burn from that one to make a concise logical statement.

    6. #6 |  Nick T | 

      Yeah Stimson day 3 argument was atrocious. Aside form the spine-crushingly embarrassing President thing, he was given an argument that marijuana is generally ahrmelss as evidence by all the successful people who have tried it, and he tells a story about an alcoholic who almost lost his career and family, and then concludes that had he been using heroine instead of booze he’d probably be dead.

      WHat the f&*!? How did they even print that crap!

      His day 4 argument is almost worst if only for its total dishonesty. He seriously contends that drug use is the main cause of violence, as though crazed crack addicts are usually the people pulling drive-bys. And even people who commit crimes of rage or DV are indeed drug users, but they are likely self-meidcating as a way of dealing with mental illnesses, they are not always perfectly sane people who start doing heroine and then beat up their girlfriend.

    7. #7 |  JCoke | 

      Dan- I am noticing a pattern in these stories- local government official is annoyed, police department opens an investigation/kicks down front door/arrests the annoyance. “Well, sounds like an anti-government radical to me, we should probably get involved.” The local governments are the worst in this regard- unqualified officials, bored policemen, and the ability to avoid publicity means they can do just about anything.

    8. #8 |  KBCraig | 

      In Wesley Snipes’ case, I’m flabbergasted. I can understand the AUSA being upset by the verdict, but it’s astounding that the judge was so miffed that he decided to give the maximum sentence –1 year per count– and then order them served consecutively.

      It amounts to a felony sentence for a misdemeanor conviction.

    9. #9 |  Gregory | 

      Where did the judge say he was making an example. It doesn’t show that anywhere in the story.

    10. #10 |  David | 

      Yes it does.

      “However, the judge indicated that deterrent was an important factor in tax cases.”

      “Prosecutors, too, sought the maximum sentence to deter others from attempting to avoid tax payments.”

      Handing down an especially harsh sentence to scare potential criminals, and not because the defendant deserves it, is the definition of making an example of someone.

    11. #11 |  Michael Chaney | 

      Radley, did you see the cop shoots cop story in Baltimore?

    12. #12 |  Alex | 

      After reading day 1 of the debate I thought Radley’s charecterization might be a bit hyperbolic. It turned out to be quite the understatement. I’ve judged 10th grade debate with better rebuttals. There’s good arguements to be made for prohibition of meth, heroin, etc. (not that I agree with them), but this idiot managed to butcher them all.

      Michael, thanks for posting that very interesting story. Hopefull Officer Stamps tragic death brings some positive change.

    13. #13 |  Alex | 

      Also, there’s this from the Michigan story:

      ““The taxpayers haven’t paid one penny toward this (vehicle),” Wibbeler said. Every oil change, tire replacement and fuel fill is paid for out of the drug fund, he said.”

      Are all government agencies allowed to do this? I always see the tax men driving state motor pool cars. Maybe I should inform them that they can use all the money they recover to build a hot rod to pimp around town.

    14. #14 |  Burrow Owl | 

      ““The taxpayers haven’t paid one penny toward this (vehicle),” Wibbeler said. Every oil change, tire replacement and fuel fill is paid for out of the drug fund, he said.”

      What an obscene statement.

      Chief Wibbeler’s pimpmobile was purchased with money that was stolen directly from taxpayers (via the use of unconstitutional asset forfeiture laws) . Unfortunately, ’tis but a microscopic blip on the radar when considering the overall cost of the Drug War.

    15. #15 |  Dave Krueger | 

      If you don’t pay your protection money, the mob gets pissed and sends out its thugs to set you straight. If you’re well known and flaunting your disobedience, the penalty will be more dramatic and public to make a strong impression on others who might be contemplating a similar move.

      That’s what happened with Snipes.

      You can dress it up in democracy and inculcate the minds of future generations with its virtues, but it’s still the same racket.

    16. #16 |  PolicyBlog | 

      Pittsburgh-area man arrested for complaining about government…

      A Bridgeville man was arrested for harassment for doing too much complaining to, and about, his government officials.

      I never knew it was against the law to “annoy” someone else, but now that I do, a whole lot of people are going to jail. (HT: Rad…

    17. #17 |  Danno49 | 

      re: the politician who spoke at a white supremacist group birthday celebration of Hitler about the Jewish genocide plot of porn and STDs …

      “”I’ll speak before any group that invites me,” Zirkle said Monday. “I’ve spoken on an African-American radio station in Atlanta.”

      Gosh, I’ll bet you even shook hands with some of ‘them’, too. And that was the least stupid quote there.

      Some of the shit this guy said is unbelievable. There is really nothing you can say to damn him that he doesn’t say himself. If it wasn’t so sad, it would be hilarious.

    18. #18 |  parse | 

      When Ott asked when and how it should be done, Brennan said, “Your honor, it’s too late to do anything. We’re way beyond the time period.

      “It’s not my — it’s not our job to inform these people the law. If they want to know what the law is, they hire an attorney and learn the law.”

      I like the quiet confidence of prosecutor Eric Brennan, who explains that if people want a fair shake in court, they need to hire an attorney and learn the law.

      Except, according to the rest of the story, it’s Brennan that needs to learn the law. It wasn’t too late for the defendants to raise an objection to the search warrant, as the judge in the case subsequently discovered.

      Apparently, neither the judge or the prosecutor was familiar with the procedural rules for the case they were hearing.

    19. #19 |  James D | 

      As someone who constantly rides the Conservative – Libertarian fence (and tilt back and forth depending on the issue), I’d like to see 2 separate honest debates about drug legalization: One that focuses on only marijuana and one that focuses on the more ‘hard core’ stuff like Cocain, Meth, Heroin, etc.

      The reason I say that is, I have seen/read enough to convince me about marijuana being basically harmless, but I’m not so sure about the rest of the stuff. So when it comes to Marjuana, I agree Stimson got his butt kicked. But for the more hard-core stuff, I don’t think his arguments (at least not on the earlier days) was COMPLETELY wrong.

      Any of you libertarians have a good link explaining why I should be for ALL drug legalization rather than just marijuana?

    20. #20 |  KBCraig | 

      James D,

      Here’s the argument, in its entirety: Why is it any of your concern if I drink alcohol, smoke tobacco, smoke marijuana, snort cocaine, take meth, inject heroin, or drink drain cleaner?

      Are you harmed in any way if I do any of those things? No, you are not; therefore, you have no moral basis to enjoin me from doing those things.

      (Disclosure: my only vice is alcohol. But if I wanted to do all of the above, I wouldn’t want you sending armed men to stop me.)

    21. #21 |  A Messsage of Freedom and Liberty | Free The Animal | 

      […] Balko, who has a few other links to spectacles of American freedom and […]