Monthly Archives: April 2009

A new libertarian line-of-attack when debating medical marijuana issues with Republicans

For years, activists have been trying to pass federal legislation which prevents the feds from arresting patients (or doctors, growing clubs, etc.) when they’ve been prescribed medicinal marijuana by a physician in the states where such prescriptions are allowed by law.  Libertarians have often made valid points about Republican hypocrisy regarding federalism when it comes to medical marijuana.

Loretta Nall provides a brand new argument to use with Republicans on the matter:

I am sick of hearing Republicans scream about ‘socialized medicine that would put the government between you and your doctor.’ Just what the hell is the difference here? The Republicans want to be involved in your health care decisions if they seek to prevent you and your doctor from discussing/using marijuana as medicine…and that is the same thing. Socialized medicine. HYPOCRITICAL FUCKS EVERY ONE OF THEM! […]

[…] Mention that it is socialized medicine for Republicans to stand between a doctor and patient….no matter what their ‘justification’. Human suffering shouldn’t be used as a political football.

Let’s take a look at some recent Republican stands on socialized medicine and compare them to the views of the very same people on medical marijuana.

“In any serious discussion of health care in our nation, this should always be our starting point — because the goal, after all, is to make the best care available to everyone,” said Senator John McCain in a 2008 presidential campaign speech. Later on, he added: “[With nationalized health care, ] we’ll have all the problems, and more, of private health care — rigid rules, long waits and lack of choices, and risk degrading its great strengths and advantages including the innovation and life-saving technology that make American medicine the most advanced in the world. The key to real reform is to restore control over our health-care system to the patients themselves.”

“Families also place a high value on quickly getting simple care, and have shown a willingness to pay cash to get it,” noted McCain, surely aware that the cost of home-grown marijuana is significantly less than the cost of Marinol. “Government can provide leadership to solve problems, of course. So often it comes down to personal responsibility — the duty of every adult in America to look after themselves and to safeguard the gift of life.”

When asked about medical marijuana on the very same campaign trail, McCain responded, “Right now my answer to you is no.”

On the same presidential campaign trail, Rudy Giuliani had a moment of libertarian lucidity when he stated that “government cannot take care of you. You’ve got to take care of yourself.”

Here are some of Giuliani’s views on socialized health care:

Charging that Democrats’ health care proposals would lead to “socialized medicine,” Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani said Tuesday he wants to give American citizens more control over their health care.

“We’ve got to do it the American way,” Giuliani said during a town hall forum in Rochester, New Hampshire. “The American way is not single-payer, government-controlled anything. That’s a European way of doing something; that’s frankly a socialist way of doing something.”

McCain and Giuliani weren’t alone on the GOP presidential campaign trail regarding these issues. No stranger to hypocrisy regarding health care issues, Mitt Romney piped in, as well:  “[Senator Clinton’s health care] plan is crafted by Washington; mine is crafted by individual states.”

Of course, Giuliani and Romney both opposed medical marijuana from both a federal and state perspective.

Let’s take it off the presidential campaign trail for a moment and pick on perhaps the most hated drug warrior in Congress.   Here’s Congressman Mark Souder’s take on health care (from his website):

Every American deserves affordable and quality health care, not government control. I support a patient-centered approach to health care reform that provides every American, regardless of health or financial status, access to the affordable health care coverage of their choice. Nobody should go bankrupt because they get sick.

I will continue to fight to make health care family-focused and patient-centered. I think that patients, in consultation with their doctors, should have control over the health care they receive. The government, your employer or a health care plan selected by your employer should not decide what health care you receive. The road to affordable health care for all is not easy or simple but, by implementing more consumer choice, cracking down on frivolous law suits and lessening the bureaucratic paper work it is achievable. Forcing Americans into a government controlled health care plan will not solve the problem. I believe that it will only make things worse.

Here’s Souder calling for a non-patient-centered “approach to health care” which is neither family-focused nor “patient-centered.”  Here’s a direct contradiction to “I think that patients, in consultation with their doctors, should have control over the health care they receive.”  Here’s a crystal-clear example of the hypocrisy to which Nall referred.

If passed, this amendment would put people in danger of shysters and quacks willing to recommend a dangerous drug, marijuana, in place of federally approved safe and proven medicines. You can get Marinol. We have got other ways by taking a pill to treat this. There are multiple chemicals in marijuana. It is not medicine. Marijuana is just as much medicine as the carbolic smoke ball from the later 19th century was medicine…. The rhetoric about marijuana as a ‘treatment’ for medical purposes… probably was dreamed up at some college dorm…

[L]et me state that my mother and father-in-law both recently died of cancer as well. Compassion is not limited to either side, but there is science and there is not science. In fact, the Carbolic Smoke Balls and the snake oil is very similar; getting high is the same as getting splashed….

Furthermore, we have heard kind of a silly argument here on the House floor today that physicians should be making up FDA law. Physicians do not do trials of a different drug when they come to market. Physicians do not have big testing agencies. That is why we have a Food and Drug Administration. This is in effect asking to repeal the Food and Drug Administration.

Imagine being in the audience the next time a local Republican congressional candidate gives a speech.  When it comes Q&A time, it might be fairly easy to ask the following:

Congressman Smith, I applaud your view that the federal government shouldn’t be able to tell states what to do.  Furthermore, you are to be applauded for your views that the government shouldn’t stand between a patient and a doctor, that individuals should be empowered to make their own medical decisions, that federal bureaucracy harms the health care process, that when patients have the responsibility to make their own decisions health care costs are drastically reduced, and that health care choices should be made in a free market.  Since it’s so obvious that you agree with how I feel about these issues, I’m pleased that you’ll be supporting both the Hinchey-Rohrabacher bill and our state legislation to treat cancer victims and AIDS patients with a bit more compassion.

Disharmony @ #tcot, freedom @ #tlot

tlot-logoDespite all of the hullabaloo over #tcot (Top Conservatives on Twitter), there seems to a be a bit of a scrap brewing between TCOT co-founders Rob Neppell and Michael Patrick Leahy.  To date, the argument sounds more like a quarrel between gay lovers than one between some of the God-fearing, pro-torture fag-bashing Republicans who frequently tweet with the #tcot hashtag.  Here’s the first description of the spat I’ve found online:

This morning teabagger-in-chief and “Top Conservatives on Twitter” (TCOT) co-founder Rob Neppell posted this message on TopConservativesOnTwitter.org (which has since been removed) outlining his decision to shut down the site and encouraging fellow TCOT co-founder and notorious douchenozzle Michael Patrick Leahy to, essentially, eat a bag of dicks.

According to the note, Leahy also “was recently asked to leave the leadership team of Tea Party Patriots” “due to his inability to work in a group decision-making environment.” Oh, snap.

Revolution is never easy.

While their front page says it’s under construction, the message is still online and one can peek at it though the back door here. I haven’t seen any sort of response from Leahy, yet.

Over at 7mesh.com, thespaghetticat asks::

I wonder how this will affect #tcot frequent tweeter Karl “Turd Blossom” Rove (@Karl_rove)?

In the meantime, there is also Top Libertarians on Twitter (#tlot), where folks feel that even conservative homosexuals deserve equal treatment under the law.  If you are a libertarian on Twitter, be sure to sign up here.

While we are on the topic of social networking, feel free to follow The Liberty Papers on Facebook here and on Twitter here. Here’s where you can follow or friend some of the individuals at The Liberty Papers:

Chris Byrne

Twitter

Eric Cowperthwaite

Facebook Twitter

Stephen Gordon

Facebook Twitter

Doug Mataconis

Facebook Twitter

Jason Pye

Facebook Twitter

Brad Warbiany

Facebook

Feel free to leave your social networking links in the comment section if you’d like to expand your social networking with other like-minded people.

UPDATE: The old TCOT format and data seem to have survived and are available here.

Except for a few crapweasel holdouts, Arlen Specter unites the left and the right

crapweaselWhen Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Greens, progressives, conservatives, liberals, libertarians, and socialists can all agree on something political in nature, it’s a monumental occasion.  There seems to be a near consensus: Arlen Specter is a spineless crapweasel who now prefers to bottom-feed from a blue pond, as opposed to the red one he’s been polluting for quite some time. Here’s what they’re saying from the right, left and points in-between:

  • Specter: RINO no more by Robert Stacy McCain: ” Specter reminds me of the high-school slut trying to sleep her way to popularity — a weak reed, blown by the shifting winds.”
  • The RNC responds by Markos Moulitsas: “But as we’ve seen, Specter has no convictions he won’t betray in his naked efforts to remain in power.”
  • What did Specter represent besides himself? by Ed Morrissey: “But what core values does Specter represent? “
  • Arlen Specter, Democrat by Matt Welch: “Throat-clearing aside, this strikes me as no favor at all to the Democrats.”
  • Goodnight, Arlen by Scott Boykin: “We do not want Republican leaders like Specter who find their ‘political philosophy more in line with Democrats,’ and we will be happy to show them the way to the door.”
  • What Specter’s switch says about him, the Democrats and our political spectrum by Glenn Greenwald: “Arlen Specter is one of the worst, most soul-less, most belief-free individuals in politics.”
  • Arlen Specter makes it official; Flashback: Specter’s denial by Michelle Malkin: “Arlen Specter, we have just 10 words for you: Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
  • What will Democrats do about Arlen Specter? by Jon Henke: “So, by promising to give Specter the institutional support of the Democratic Party, it looks like the Democratic establishment has engineered a switch that advances their political control at the expense of the ideological agenda and ideals of the progressive movement.”
  • Arlen Specter’s Leapfrog Across the Aisle by watertiger: “Well played, suckers. Let me know when those wire transfers from that Nigerian bank finally come through.”
  • Specter of Absurdity by James Ostrowski: “Yet, today the MSM is obsessed with it and saying the GOP is dead now. That’s true, but the GOP was dead last week too.”
  • D., Himself by NRO‘s editorial staff: “But here’s hoping that Pennsylvania Democrats become the second party to turn down Specter’s dubious services.”
  • Arlen Specter switches parties by Megan McArdle: “I hope that Specter has better sense than Jeffords in titling his next self-serving autobiography. “
  • Unprincipled hack (D-PA) by Jonathan Chait: “When a politician switches parties, it’s customary for the party he’s abandoned to denounce him as an unprincipled hack, and the party he’s joined to praise him as a brave convert who’s genuinely seen the light. But I think it’s pretty clear that Specter is an unprincipled hack.”
  • Arlen Specter: The Democrat Most Deserving of a Primary Challenge by Chris Bowers: “He is joining our party purely for personal political survival. “
  • Did you give money to Arlen Specter? by Erick Erickson: “If so, and you want a refund, call him at (202) 224-4254 and demand your money back.”
  • Club for Growth press release: “Senator Specter has confirmed what we already knew – he’s a liberal devoted to more spending, more bailouts, and less economic freedom. Thanks to him, Democrats will now be able to steamroll their big government agenda through the Senate.”
  • Glenn Reynolds scribes: “TRUTH IN LABELING”
  • Rush Limbaugh via Hot Air: “Well, Specter, take [Sen. John] McCain with you. And his daughter [Meghan]. Take McCain and his daughter with you if you’re gonna…”
  • Al Franken‘s comedy routine: “Forget that he’s humorless and pasty-looking. He’s Jewish! See, I’ve been following the whole Colin Powell phenomenon, and it’s led me to an indisputable conclusion: The first Jew to be elected President of the United States will be a four-star general.”
  • Michael Steele‘s statement: “Republicans look forward to beating Sen. Specter in 2010, assuming the Democrats don’t do it first.”
  • Suzanna Logan hasn’t written anything about Specter and we certainly aren’t in agreement with every item of the conservative social agenda.  Sometimes I like linking her because she’s hot.

For the most part, Specter seems to be about as highly regarded as Bob Dole after he runs out of Viagra.  However, I’d be remiss not to mention this little crapweasel lovefest:

  • Ezra Klein gets a woodie because he thinks Specter may end up playing bottom for the Dem’s when they nationalize another industry.
  • Olympia Snowe gets her panties in a wad over losing one of her best socialist buds to the even darker side.
  • David Frum likes pitching tents.  Really big tents.  However, it seems that he’s poorly equipped ideologically for the job.


I’m not quite sure how to categorize this response:

  • A Children’s Treasury of Wingnut Responses To Arlen Specter Becoming Gay at Wonkette: “The 14 remaining wingnut Republicans are, of course, furious about Muslin-Communist and Pennsylvania shit monster Arlen Specter doing what they always knew he would do, with the becoming a DemonCRAP, because of course his whole plan all along from the day he was hatched, from a turd, was to stick an Arab Dagger in the backs of the Real Americans, right at the moment when there are basically no Real Americans left, which means … ?! … which means PURGE THE GOP OF OTHER NOT-WINGNUTTY-ENOUGH SENATORS, so that they have maybe 30 seats, maybe 25? Hoor — HUH?!”

Quote Of The Day

You know, Ford is looking rosier and rosier every day, especially now that they know Obama won’t become Chief Auto Designer for the company:

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson told NPR’s Michelle Norris yesterday: “The President has said, and I couldn’t agree more, that what this country needs is a one single national road map that tells automakers who are trying to become solvent again what kind of car it is they need to be designing and building for the American people.” Norris then asked: “Is that the role of Government though? That doesn’t sound like free enterprise.” Jackson responded: “Well it is free enterprise in a way.”

I don’t think they need a single national road map. I think they can just go ask Toyota and Honda, who seem to be doing a pretty good job designing and building cars that the American people are willing to pay for… And then they need to listen on how to do those things profitably, which is the real key. Americans buy GM cars, just not at a profitable price for GM.

Let’s Talk, Barack.

So Barack Obama has a few snide remarks for the tea partiers:

Asked about fiscal discipline and entitlements reform, Obama seemed to be repressing a smile as he jabbed critics of his spending plans.

“Those of you who are watching certain news channels on which I’m not very popular, and you see folks waving tea bags around, Obama said, “let me just remind them that I am happy to have a serious conversation about how we are going to cut our health care costs down over the long term, how we are going to stabilize Social Security.”

“But,” Obama continued, “let’s not play games and pretend that the reason [for the deficit] is because of the Recovery Act.”

Well, a few options… We’ve all written quite a few words here on healthcare and Social Security here. I’d welcome a serious conversation. But I don’t think Obama actually wants a serious conversation if it involves a discussion of the policy proscriptions I’d recommend. For healthcare, I support expanding the free market through severing the tax advantage of employer-based healthcare and thus returning to a model where the patient is typically both the insurance purchaser and payer, giving them a much wider choice of providers and plans than a typical corporate plan full of state-mandated coverages will offer. I think that will do a great job of bringing down costs. For Social Security, my first thought is means-testing the benefits. I’d forego guaranteed benefits in the future if it meant that my SS taxes dropped from 12% of my income to 6% of my income. The nice thing about means-testing is that if my personal investment and retirement plans don’t pan out, the SS plan would be a true “safety net” rather than “entitlement” program.

But his final challenge is worthy of its own response. Obama is projecting a $1.75T deficit. He inherited several hundred billion from Bush, and the economic collapse probably gave him several hundred billion more due to revenue drops. So let’s charitably call half of his deficit, roughly $900B, not his fault. The other $850B, though, is his fault. He’s taking a rough fiscal position for the government and throwing fuel on the fire. For those of us who already feel overtaxed, we know that the endgame of this spending must, by logical necessity, be increased direct taxation or increased indirect (inflation) taxation, probably both. The Recovery Act is a big portion of it. There is a factual argument to support blaming most of the obscene deficits on his spending proposals.

Now, your median tea party protestor may not be ready for this discussion. That protestor realizes simply that spending is going through the roof, and that spending will eventually need to be paid for — with money collected from taxpayers, not from Congress. That protestor may not have the time nor energy to devote to policy wonk analysis of healthcare or Social Security, nor of in-depth fiscal management of government. But that protestor knows that going from spending $3T to nearly $4T, while projecting a drop in revenues, leading to a deficit the size of the 2000 budget, will not end well.

But there are those of us out here who have been paying attention for the last 8 years and longer, and who know the score. Obama may believe that he can flippantly dismiss the grassroots protestors because they may not always be “sophisticated” enough and informed enough to stand and fight for their position. But any time Obama wants to have a chat with us (or more likely our intellectual forebears like the guys from the Reason Foundation or Cato Institute), tell him we’d love to have a “serious conversation”.

Hat Tip: Below the Beltway

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