That is it. I am done. I can’t take these lunatics anymore. Look at what Jim Sensenbrenner is up to now:
Republican Congressman James Sensenbrenner has launched his next assault on freedom. The full House Judiciary Committee is set to vote as early as next week on H.R. 1528, which creates a new group of mandatory miniumum penalties for non-violent drug offenses, including a five year penalty for passing a joint to someone who’s been in drug treatment.
That’s right: Passing a joint to someone who used to be in drug treatment will land you in federal prison for a minimum of five years.
For those of you keeping score, in several weeks Sensenbrenner has championed the Schiavo legislation (while failing to learn how to pronounce her name), suggested that we criminalize ‘indecency’ and jail offenders who broadcast offensive material, and now is suggesting that if someone relapses, and you hand them a joint, you should go to jail for 5 years.
Some infor on drug treatment efficacy:
A great deal of variation exists in the degree of dependence among drug users. The teenager who smokes marijuana three times a week is not as dependent as the thirty year old who has smoked six joints a day for 15 years and has already relapsed after being in two rehabilitation centers. It’s obvious that these persons need different approaches to treatment. Similarly, among cocaine users are some who use it in binge fashion one or two days a month and others who use it several times each day. Again, different treatment approaches are required. Regardless of treatment, some drug and alcohol dependent persons repeatedly relapse after treatment. Relapse rates vary among drugs of abuse. While the relapse rate for heroin addiction approaches 90 to 95 percent during the first ninety days following treatment, the rate for alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, and cocaine is less, although precise figures are not available. Relapse should not necessarily be viewed as a failure of either the treatment program or the individual.
Relapsing is not a failure, but handing the person who relapsed a joint- even if it is your wife, best friend, whatevr- that can land you in jail for 5 years. MANDATORY.
And how are they going to classify drug treatment centers? I got a DUI in 1992 when I was in college. I was required to attend Alcohol Awareness classes at a local DRUG TREATMENT CENTER. Does that me anyone who hands me a joint should go to the big house?
I may have voted for my last Republican in a long time. These wingnut, know-nothing, fundamentalist creeps are scaring the shit out of me, and linberty is at stake when it comes to these law and order goons.
I may have voted for my last Republican in a long time.
Yes, but who to vote for instead? Back in 2000, I would have gladly seen Senator McCain run as an independent and blindside the fundies and the big-government neocons with more authentic “national greatness” conservatism. I even made the empty gesture of voting for him in the New York primary. Now? Rather than be a true critic of the current trends in the Republican party, he throws all his principles over the side to kiss up to the administration, because he thinks me might be permitted to have the nomination in 2008. And who would the Democrats be able to offer that you would support?
And what about elections for other offices? We are basically a two-party system, you know.
The Greens? Hee hee hee.
The Libertarians? Yeah, drug legalization always plays great in the US. (I’m in favor, but obviously not very representative of the electorate.)
The Constitution Party? If only they would become enough of a presence to sop up the American Taliban and let grown-up Republicans run the Republican party again.
So what’s to be done?
I hope Sensenbrenner’s next idea is to preemptively jail everyone, then gradually let people out after some sort of tribunal review.
John, at this rate, I think you just need to change the name of your site to “Republican Stupidity”
TalkLeft?! What John should really do is stop being such an alarmist about the radical fringe of our party. There’s nothing wrong with pointing out this idiocy, but to dismiss and downgrade the entire party because of a small segment therein smacks of disingenuousness. Trust me John, everything’s gonna be okay.
BLG, the ‘radical fringe’ of your party includes the party leadership, for cryin’ out loud. How do you get from Frist/Delay to “okay”?
There’s nothing wrong with pointing out this idiocy, but to dismiss and downgrade the entire party because of a small segment therein smacks of disingenuousness.
Wow, someone who’s apparently been paying no attention to the Republican leadership for the past few weeks accuses Mr. Cole of disingenuousness. And with the added bonus of expressing shock and dismay (“TalkLeft?!”) that Mr. Cole pays attention to political positions not his own, which is clearly heresy. We have a new contender for the irony crown.
If this segment of the party is so small and unimportant, why are its interests being catered to by Republican congressional leaders? We’re not talking about a few Libertarians voting for Ron Paul, here (unfortunately). The actions have been those of the Senate majority leader, the House majority leader, and the chair of the House Judiciary Committee. (The same chair who promoted the national ID-card bill, and voted against an amendment that would have kept it from being linked to gun registries. Though that’s another topic. One, oddly enough, that bothered the people at TalkLeft more than it bothers BLG.)
Trust me John, everything’s gonna be okay.
Well, that’s certainly compelling. Who could refute that kind of reassurance?
Now *this* is the sort of legislative proposal for which God made the filibuster! Oops, I said “God.” Am I in trouble with the lower-case-h host now?
Back on track: this harebrained scheme probably wouldn’t even emerge from committe to get a floor vote.
I’m too lazy to read the link. Does this mean you’re supposed to ask a person if they’ve been in drug treatment before you pass them the joint?
I’m not a pot guy myself, it makes me cranky and paranoid, but when my fiance passed a toke to the guy in the next seat at the Metallica concert, if he had been in drug treatment, and she didn’t know, could she have gotten five years in the federal pokey?
“Back on track: this harebrained scheme probably wouldn’t even emerge from committe to get a floor vote.”
Ah. An impassioned defense. “Sensenbrenner’s insanity probably won’t even succeed, so vote for him enthusiastically!”
John, I sympathize. I’m an always-small-l sometime-large-L libertarian deeply uncomfortable with the statism in the Democratic party. But I’ve been voting Democrat in close races for years, because the Republican party is sick at the roots. I’ll never understand why philosophical libertarians jump to the GOP in this country. They have the same itch to turn their pet projects into legislation that the Democrats have, but they combine it with a galling mean-spiritedness. I’ll take the lesser of two evils.
This is the one that caught my eye:
– Create a new three-year mandatory minimum for parents who witness or learn about drug trafficking activities, targeting or even near their children, if they do not report it to law enforcement authorities within 24 hours and do not provide full assistance investigating, apprehending, and prosecuting the offender.
Forcing law-abiding citizens to become informants under penalty of federal prison? What’s wrong with this picture?
Naw, just wandering around the reality-based community. Because the House is the hot coffee which the Senate saucer is supposed to cool, the hundreds of Reps. are sure to toss off bone-headed ideas. Just a matter probability.
I’m content to tar ALL Democrats with Barbara Lee, Jim McDermott and Dennis Kucinich proposals. That sound like a plan?
This is a direct result of the type of gerrymandering that has plagued our electoral politics. Guys like this shouldn’t be so protected in their home districts.
One of the greatest non-partisan issues of our time should be restricting all forms of gerrymandering. It makes for just plain bad government.
And Sensenbrenner is one of the first numb skulls who would be dumped in a fairly drawn district.
+++I’m content to tar ALL Democrats with Barbara Lee, Jim McDermott and Dennis Kucinich proposals. That sound like a plan?+++
Is everyone going to look for a party where 100% of the membership espouse 100% of their views?
Of course, Sensenbrenner will forever have John’s ire for his opposition in the Schiavo case, so we should expect everything that comes out of Sensy’s cakehole to be pilloried here for a while, I suppose.
Did John really expect every GOPper to reverse the party’s longheld law-and-order and War-on-Drugs positions on a whim?
We all know this proposal is a laugher and will never see the light of day in Congress, and neither will radical liberal proposals. Thankfully.
“I’m content to tar ALL Democrats with Barbara Lee, Jim McDermott and Dennis Kucinich proposals. That sound like a plan?”
Sure. Let’s take McDermott, since he’s my local idiot.
Here are the HRs he’s Sponsored this Congress.
Sports homer. Whatever.
Sports homer. Whatever. But Lauren Jackson is hot.
They were all infield singles, Jim!
Social services sausagemaking. I know almost nothing of the details, but am semi-opposed on principle. But it’s hardly equivalent.
Sure, they’re a tribe.
Universal health care. Many people disagree on principle (I vacillate). But it’s not a priori offensive. Separating health care from employers who provide no options is a good first step.
Salmon are a permanent local issue. Directing research sounds cool.
Much there I disagree with, but I await the proposal morally equivalent to Sensenbrenner’s. Both parties have their crazies of course, but my impression is that in the Republican party, the crazies are calling the shots.
Gawd. I switched to Democrat (albeit a conservative one) over a year ago. It wasn’t an easy decision, but as time goes by, I’m feeling happier and happier about it.
My favorite comment on this particular bit of madness comes from the very liberal Avedon Carol: “Rep. Sensenbrenner (R-Mordor)”.
State of Mordor, yeah, that’s the ticket.
Shoeless Joe Stalin
I feel your pain. Come back little Sheba. All is forgiven.
Joe in SC
I am once again impressed by this blog.
I have an anecdote to relate (as a pro-legalization non-user), regarding this statement.
“Create a new three-year mandatory minimum for parents who witness or learn about drug trafficking activities, targeting or even near their children, if they do not report it to law enforcement authorities within 24 hours and do not provide full assistance investigating, apprehending, and prosecuting the offender.”
My Aunt (with children) lives in a bad neighborhood in Cincinati, and she has to put up with crack-dealing thugs on her street corner. She has regularly called the cops to report the activity. The bastards could easily be nabbed by simply putting a squad-car around the corner, and waiting for the slow freight train to come, blocking the escape routes. They could fill their local lock-up full of dealers. But Nooooooo! The cops can’t be bothered to even show up when they have a surefire tip.
So. Who “does the time” under this new law?; My aunt (who gave up trying eventually), or the cops, for ignoring the situation.
I am sure that these cops would have shown up in response to an affluent mother’s request to bust the kid supplying pot to her spoiled rotten rebellious teenager. She is probably representative of Sensenbrenner’s constituency.
Shoeless Joe Stalin
“Trust me John, everything’s gonna be okay.”
BLG, are you running from something, or for something?
Both the Republicans and the Democrats are more dedicated to making their preferred moral codes mandatory than they are to protecting the citizens’ rights.
An anti-trust suit against both parties would be appropriate. When they lose, all members who have held office must be banned from public service for life. Almost all of them have violated their oath to preserve and protect the Constitution. If they don’t like such a settlement, we could offer them a prison term…
Where do I send my check?
The logical extension here is to put legistlation above doctors’ professional judgement…
Let me give you two cases, one that would result in jail time for a doctor, the other one wouldn’t:
A friend of mine had open-heart surgery and subsequently got addicted to painkillers (addiction patterns run in her family). Since she has, you know, these incredible scars on her chest, doctors will prescribe painkillers to her almost without question. She’s “kicked” the habit twice, only to relapse. Should her doctors be sent to jail?? How can you tell whether or not someone who’s been through hell and has the scars to show for it is actually in pain? Interestingly, based on her descriptions, I think she would have reduced “pain” (addiction and real) if HER INSURANCE WOULD PAY for psychological therapy.
Second case: another dear friend of mine was taking SERIOUS amounts of painkillers (literally more than addict friend) after recovering from mugging/being in a coma for 3 days. A very good doctor helped her gradually taper them off, and she doesn’t have addiction issues because she associates painkillers with being mugged. She also has had quite a lot of psychotherapy (paid for by her parents) to cope with the trauma. BUT her doctors are surprised that she doesn’t get random severe headaches due to the nature of the attack (her skull was literally crushed) — at any time, she could get a script for anything… So, I would conclude that proper treatment, therapy and well-trained doctors are much more needed in this world than stupid legistlation about drug relapse…
What is this relapse thing in the post. Everyone knows pot is NOT ADDICTIVE.
Talk about a bunch of bunk.