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Why I’m ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ About Eric Holder’s Recent Marijuana Comments

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eric-holder-marijuanaOn his way out of office, United States Attorney General Eric Holder is being swooned over by many marijuana activists and organizations. Eric Holder expressed last month that he is open to marijuana rescheduling. Yesterday he said he is ‘cautiously optimistic’ about marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington. This set the marijuana social media world on fire, with so many people expressing their pleasure with Eric Holder. I am not one of those people. I find it sadly convenient that Eric Holder is changing his tone on marijuana policy only after he said that he is leaving his job. Below is an excerpt from an interview that Eric Holder did with CNN:

The outgoing U.S. attorney general said he is “cautiously optimistic” when it comes to Washington and Colorado’s experiment with marijuana legalization.

Eric Holder, who announced last month his plans to retire, is one of President Barack Obama’s longest-serving Cabinet members and has faced the delicate task of defining federal policy after a wave of marijuana legalization at the state level across the country.

“We don’t want to put into the federal system, low level people who are simply there for possessory offenses,” Holder said Monday in an interview with CNN’s Evan Perez.

What does ‘cautiously optimistic’ mean? Does it mean that he will fully endorse marijuana legalization, and stay out of Colorado and Washington’s business? Does it mean that he feels things are going well in those states, so he will let his replacement know that there’s no need to intervene? Or does it mean that he is throwing around political rhetoric, and that his words are empty? Because he also made the following statement in the same interview:

“What I’ve told the governors of those states is that if we’re not satisfied with their regulatory scheme that we reserve the right to come in and to sue them. So we’ll see,” Holder said.

It sounds to me like Eric Holder is ‘cautiously optimistic’ that he will still get a chance to go after people in those states. And by ‘sue them’ he really means potential SWAT raids. I leave you with an excerpt from an article I posted earlier this year, before Eric Holder started his semi-flip flopping. From Fire Dog Lake:

During a House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing today Rep. Steve Cohen (D) directly pointed out to Attorney General Eric Holder that the power to reschedule any drug, including marijuana, rests with his office.

When explicitly asked why he hasn’t even at least request the medical evaluation that would begin the rescheduling process Holder responded, “I’m satisfied with what we have done.”

What they “have done”  is actively stood in the way of change. Under Holder’s leadership the Department of Justice has not only refused to move forward with a petition from several sitting governors regarding the rescheduling of marijuana but has actually gone to court to fight against efforts to compel them to act.

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90 Comments

  1. Nope. As I said, we need to go after the criminals. Too many people want to spend time proving themselves right. What a waste.

  2. Well, you couldn’t do it with FDR. Wall Street and the corporations hated him. The military hated him for waiting so long to enter WWII. And Israel didn’t even exist yet.

    Now about this comment you never defended:

    “FACT that DeBlasio is on track to arrest MORE people for “simple possession” than did Bloomberg OR Giuliani.”

    Well? You going to back up your supposed fact? Or can we all just agree you were bullshitting?

  3. “These people have never had to struggle”

    Some of them most certainly have.

    There are all kinds of fights. Left and right is a good one. So is authoritarian vs libertarian. And “average Americans” include people on all sides of those arguments. There are people who work hard to provide for their families on ALL sides of these arguments. This is a result of people having different ideas of how to run things. Some people want to let states discriminate against gay people. Some people want to force women to give birth to rape babies. I can’t get along with those people on that, so I’ll fight them, thank you very much.

    But right now, our biggest problem, and LOTS of people will admit this on ALL sides, is that the Republicans are crazy. They’ve lost it. Look at long time DC writer Norm Ornstein’s now famous piece about the real problem being that the Republicans have gone crazy. Look at the research from the Vote View people that show just how very far right the GOP has moved, while the Democrats are right in their historic range.

    Look at the fact that people like David Brooks and GOP Governors are saying that we all agree this is a good time to invest in infrastructure. But if the GOP congress passed infrastructure spending bills, they know it would help the economy, which would make Obama look good, which would help Hillary get elected.

    So, the GOP refuses to pass infrastructure bills, and the whole country crumbles.

    So, if you want to find politicians to find common ground and work together, then I suggest you punish the side that refuses to do that.

    Unless, for some reason, you prefer to keep voting for them.

  4. Your passion for some of these issues is obvious, and I applaud that. I think what we’re failing to realize it’s that the fight is not between the left and the right. The fight is between us and them: average Americans working hard to provide for our families vs. people in power with money and influence. These people have never had to struggle, and they view us all as expendable. There are a few crusaders who make it to Capitol Hill, but the culture of corruption is so strong that many fall prey to it.

    I don’t know what the solution is, but I know we’d better start finding common ground and working together against these people. They do NOT have our best interests at heart.

  5. Get Corporate money out of politics and you will see BIG changes in both party’s! It will end a lot of corruption in politics and get the government back working for the people once again! Until we do that Cannabis will never be legal across the U.S. and politicians will continue to work for corporations instead of for the people, regardless of which party you believe in!

    Wolf-Pac.com

  6. It’s amazing how many politicians and law enforcement retirees will now come out in favor of legalization, but when they had the actual chance to do something about it, they chose not too in fear of backlash if they stood up for what is the right thing to do.

  7. I’ll comment whenever I want, thanks. What’s funny, though, is people like you trying to shut me up with no facts, no logical arguments, no substance or evidence. Just bullshit.

    No true progressive could get elected in this country because the way the electoral college works is that a bunch of neoconfederate Yahoos who love to put people, especially brown people, in prison for smoking weed get to have a LOT more say than the rest of us who gets to be President.

    And the idea that saying that is a White House talking point is so ignorant and false that I wouldn’t even put it in my compost pile.

  8. No, I think I’ll keep going, thank you.

    Hopefully, some people will read this and realize that if they truly believe in Civil Liberties, they need to stop voting for Republicans.

  9. “So again you say that we are better off than we were say 10 years ago or 20 or 30, how about 40?”

    Where did I say that? I say, and have said, and will say, the truth. Ronald Reagan started trickle-down economics, and it’s been screwing the little guy ever since. His successors kept doing it, even Clinton who practiced a “lite” version of it. And it’s kept leading to stagnant wages and low job growth.

    I say if we want to create jobs and make this a better place to live, we need to invest in it and us. We need to invest in education, instead we’ve been laying off teachers. We need to invest in infrastructure, and instead it’s crumbling. And every chance we’ve had to invest in this country, the Republicans in congress refuse to pass the bills.

    “SO if you are blaming all this on Bush and not Obamas lack of ability AS WELL”

    I blame people for what they should be blamed for. It’s not easy figuring out what’s what. I have to read a lot.

    And Obama did not create the Little Bush Depression. He got us out of it. One of my favorite data points on this is to try to be fair to them both, which means we wind up being a little more fair to W:

    GW Bush inherited a little recession from Bill Clinton, the result of the stock bubble crashing. So, let’s not include that in his job numbers.

    Obama inherited a big recession from Bush, so let’s not include that in the numbers.

    Now, to be extra fair to Bush, let’s drop the recession he caused at the end of his Presidency from his numbers too.

    Now, that means we’re looking at the average monthly job growth during non-recession months of Presidents Bush and Obama.

    Bush’s average was 68,000 jobs a month. That is so pitiful that even the Wall Street Journal said Bush was the worst President ever on jobs.

    Obama’s average is about double that now.

    And you want to blame Obama?

    “then you must blame all the other presidents for their failures, yet you blame the Bush legacy”

    As you can see, I do just that. When Eisenhower used the CIA to overthrow the democratically elected leader of Iran in the 50’s, in order to help the British Petroleum Company that didn’t want Iran to nationalize their oil, Ike unleashed a torrent of backlash that is still costing us to this day. And, Ike got us the Interstate system, which is still helping us to this day.

    So, yeah, I blame Presidents for what they should be blamed for and I praise them for what they should be praised for. But I sure as hell don’t put them on pedastals.

    “If I remember correctly it has been Democrats that have sold us out to overseas interests while Republicans have sold us out to big business interests”

    Oh, please, both sides have done their share of damage in both areas. LBJ lied about the gulf of Tonken so he could send 50,000 Americans to die in Vietnam. But a lot of progressive Democrats were against the war. Clinton stopped a genocide and a lot of progressive Democrats (and even some Republicans) opposed that action in the Balkans. And there were a LOT–a majority of elected Democrats–who opposed the Iraq war. So, if you want to help trim the sails on our bloated empire, vote for Democrats. Because, besides Rand Paul (for liberty unless you’re a pregnant woman and then he gets to force you to do what he wants), the GOP is interventionist. The Democrats, on the other hand, have a Blue Dog wing that’s hawkish, and a progressive wing that’s not. I’m trying to get more progressives into power.

    What are you doing? Voting for authoritarian hippie punching war mongers?

    “You are of the generation that trys so hard to see the shiny that you overlook the dull. ”

    I’m fifty. And I see plenty of dull. Mostly dull. It’s sad. But there are a few shining stars…

    “all I have seen from you is a reach around”

    I don’t like the drone war. I don’t like the other wars. I don’t like the big wet kiss to the health insurance industry called Obamacare–I prefer Medicare for all, or a public option. I don’t like the Patriot Act, which Obama signed because Republicans, not Democrats, gave him the votes he needed on that POS.

    Keep reading, and you’ll see me criticize this president for all kinds of things.

    “He has pushed the repair bill onto future generations in a way that makes the Bush era costs small by comparisons.”

    This is demonstratably false. The deficit, which was over a trillion when Bush left, has fallen a lot under Obama (interestingly, a poll showed that less than 10% of Americans knew that, and most wrongly thought it had grown). Health care spending, THE REASON FOR ALL FUTURE DEBT PROJECTIONS, is falling. We spend twice as much per person on health care than the rest of the civilized world. If we spent even close to what they spend, we’d have surpluses as far as we could calculate, even at current low tax levels and high pentagon spending.

    So, no… falling deficit. Falling health care costs… all good news for the future Americans who will STILL BE PAYING FOR THE IRAQ WAR. Of course, the real cost of the war is all the people still dying: people being killed by extremists we unleashed with deBathification and disbanding the Iraqi army (one of the bonehead moves of the century); soldiers and veterans with PTSD killing themselves; interest on the trillions Bush borrowed to blow in Iraq; crumbling infrastructure that money could have gone to fix… ALL BUSH’s FAULT. In fact, the debt that’s accrued under Obama is all Bush’s. Left overs from the upper class tax cuts, the war, TARP, the Little Bush Depression, all that wouldn’t have had to be spent if Bush hadn’t continued, and even put on steroids, the Reaganomics that’s been screwing us all for decades now.

    “He has done terrible by foreign policy and that is an understatement when compared to the previous administrations besides Carter.”

    You think Carter was good on foreign policy? OK… he was the only President who never killed a foreigner with the US military (although it could be argued that Washington didn’t). But other than that, Carter was screwed by having to deal with angry Iranians who had elected a leader that we overthrew and then replaced with the Shah they hated. So, Carter was screwed by Eisenhower. But Obama killed Bin Laden, which I consider a success that Bush never got, despite saying he would. Obama has continued to avoid any ground wars or invasions anything near the scale Bush did, or the Cheney people still want to do in Iran. And, by the way, all those Cheney people were working for Willard “What’s Hemp?” Romney, and we’d be watching our soldiers fight a counterinsurgency in Iran right now if he’d have gotten elected.

    So, no… Obama’s been pretty damn pragmatic. A little too hawkish for me, but considerably less hawkish than the alternatives or his predecessors.

    “Dude you can continue to stroke the guy but it wont make a difference.”

    Your creepy sex analogies aside, I will say it again: I blame people for what they should be blamed for, and I praise them for what they should be praised for. If you refuse to see me doing that, at least don’t lie about me because you lack the information necessary to make a coherent analysis.

  10. “Except that the people who’ve stopped looking for work in this hopeless economy still have to feed their families somehow”

    A lot of these people are people who wanted to retire early but couldn’t because of job lock in order for them to stay covered. Now that they can buy plans on the exchange, they CAN retire early.

    But, yes, there are people at the bottom of this economy who are struggling. But this isn’t new. It’s the direct result of the trickle down economics that’s been practiced by Republicans and Centrist Democrats since Reagan. From union busting to NAFTA, from a high dollar policy to keeping the supply of labor high compared to the available jobs, they’ve done their best to keep wages down, and they’ve succeeded.

    “which means public assistance and charity at best, and criminal activities at worst.”

    Basic economics: create a massive recession, larger than the last 4 combined, and a lot of people lose their jobs. The safety net expands to take care of them, we deficit spend on the safety net and infrastructure, which makes up for all the lost demand in the economy. The infrastructure investments more than pay for themselves in the long run, so we should be doing a lot more of that.

    If terrorists were killing as many Americans as our crumbling infrastructure, how much would the GOP be willing to borrow and spend on invading the wrong country?

    And, interest rates are low, the deficit is down, materials and labor costs are low, fuel prices are dropping… hell, the markets are screaming at us to invest in infrastructure, but the GOP–the guys who always preach about the wisdom of the markets–are ignoring them and calling for more invasions in the middle east.

    “Before you break open the “but, DUBYA!” whine cask, there’s something YOU, Steve Supak”

    I don’t know who Steve Supak is, but when did we stop blaming people for screwing up? People did things that really screwed us all, and somehow we’re at the point where we say, Oh, well, this guy’s in charge, so it must all be his fault. Hell, some people now say W was a great president. Honestly, who thinks this way? We were lied into a war that will cost many trillions by the time we pay for it all–like the health care of those who were wounded and the interest on all the money borrowed… all for what? An even more destabilized middle east that they tell us we need to borrow and spend more on fighting?

    “he issue IS NOT Right vs. Left, liberal vs. conservative. ”

    Go to politicalcompass.org. Take the test. See where you fall on the compass, and see that besides the left-right axis, which is basically about economics, there is a Y axis that measures authoritarianism vs libertarianism. As you might guess, I’m in the lower left quadrant, leftist-libertarian. With Ghandi.

    “The power struggle is between We the People and those who hold the reins of power in this country and in this world.”

    So, yes, I agree, that the authoritarians who run the world need an occasional (at least) reality check from the rest of us. That’s why I vote for Progressives who want to get the money out of politics. Bernie Sanders has a proposed Amendment that would do just that. Overrule Citizens United. I suggest we all ask the people running for office who want our votes if they’d support his amendment. And I suggest we vote for those people. It’s probably the most important thing we could do right now.

    “We ALL need to spend more energy finding COMMON GROUND”

    I’ve tried. I can’t find common ground with people who want more war, more prisons, more control by the government over people’s lives. I can’t find common ground with people who support prohibition, or the Patriot Act, or overturning Roe v Wade. I can find no common ground with people who, like Governor Brownback of Kansas, promise a wonderful world of job growth and abundance if we just cut taxes on the rich, and raise them on the poor; even when his “experiment” fails, he refuses to see the fact that it has failed, and he doubles down on the very thing that caused the failure.

    They need to get real, and come back toward the middle. They’re the ones who’ve refused to compromise. Mitch McConnell said, when Obama got elected, that his number one goal was to make him a one term president. He and his minions didn’t care about compormise. They turned their back on what had been their own proposals! And the data is clear… it is the right that has gotten extreme, not both sides. The left has tried to compromise all over the place to get some infrastructure spending, the GOP has refused it at every turn, and then elitists like David Brooks just lie and say BOTH sides want infrastructure spending.

    And, like so many others, despite being wrong time and time again, David Brooks gets to keep his cush job and big paycheck. Merit doesn’t matter.

  11. “We have two choices for Presidents in this country: Hippie punching Republicans who ALWAYS come down hard on the drug war, or moderate Democrats who occasionally do the right thing and slowly bend the moral arc of the universe toward justice.”

    Lol you’re hopeless. Comment again when you have something other than White House and state-run media talking points to bolster your assertions.

  12. Except that the people who’ve stopped looking for work in this hopeless economy still have to feed their families somehow…which means public assistance and charity at best, and criminal activities at worst.

    Before you break open the “but, DUBYA!” whine cask, there’s something YOU, Steve Supak, and every other American needs to know. The issue IS NOT Right vs. Left, liberal vs. conservative. The power struggle is between We the People and those who hold the reins of power in this country and in this world.

    The criminals in power in this country and others want to keep you and I busy debating one another, so we won’t notice them passing laws and signing treaties that will, if they haven’t already, make our Constitution and Bill of Rights useless and meaningless.

    We ALL need to spend more energy finding COMMON GROUND. Until we do this, we can never move forward as a nation or even as a species. Until we recognize that WE’RE BEING PLAYED, our rights and freedoms will continue to deteriorate.

  13. “Oh you mean having ID so they cant vote twice or be illegals or dead?”

    Show me the examples of this happening.

    “Its so hard for a person of color to have an ID”

    It’s not just minorities. It’s older people, younger people. Lots of people never had any need for one, don’t get one, don’t like the government making them have one (some conservatives are that way).

    “Stand your ground laws, Ferguson???? Seriously???? ”

    Yes, we liberals are happy about the things he did on those subjects.

    “What about our border security?”

    What about it? That’s not the AG’s job, wingnut.

    “What about our gang problems? ”

    What about them? I bet if you dig, you could find some things he did on those issues. Just because you didn’t hear about them doesn’t mean they didn’t happen.

    “Fast and Furious”

    Bullshit rantings of right wing lunatics. And it was a Bush program.

    “The step back method of making changes in Washington and Colorado and all the other reform states is nice”

    And not something any Republican would have done.

    “to bad they did have the balls to actually back them up with legislation ”

    Too bad you don’t understand that your friends in the GOP run the House and they will not vote for any legislation helping those states. However, over 90% of Democrats voted with about 20% of Repulicans on legislation that keeps the DEA out of state medicinal programs, and allows banks to take deposits from Pot shops.

    But maybe you didn’t hear about that, even though I’ve mentioned it about a dozen times now.

  14. “You keep saying that you call him and his administration on his faults yet all I have seen from you is a reach around.”

    Stick around. I bitch about the droning, the compromising, the offer to cut social security… The support for the Patriot Act.

    All kinds of things you missed.

    “Obama inherited a mess but he did not make it better but simply worse”

    If Obama made things worse, then we’d have GDP lower than NEGATIVE 9% and job losses would be more than 800,000 a month. They are not. You’re a liar.

  15. So again you say that we are better off than we were say 10 years ago or 20 or 30, how about 40? I remember. do you? I was there, were you? SO if you are blaming all this on Bush and not Obamas lack of ability AS WELL !!!!! then you must blame all the other presidents for their failures, yet you blame the Bush legacy. If I remember correctly it has been Democrats that have sold us out to overseas interests while Republicans have sold us out to big business interests (which are now all over seas) If none of the presidents are responsible for their time in office and failures and its always there predecessors fault then who exactly is to blame. You are of the generation that trys so hard to see the shiny that you overlook the dull. You keep saying that you call him and his administration on his faults yet all I have seen from you is a reach around. As I have said over and over, yes Obama inherited a mess but he did not make it better but simply worse. He has pushed the repair bill onto future generations in a way that makes the Bush era costs small by comparisons. He has done terrible by foreign policy and that is an understatement when compared to the previous administrations besides Carter. Dude you can continue to stroke the guy but it wont make a difference. While some good has been seen the slimy underbelly will be what pulls us back down when all is said and done. Inflated everything eventually busts at the seems.

  16. Compared to you?

    Instead of asking yourself, “What’s good for me?” Do you ever ask,” What’s good for all of us?”

  17. The Republican Party of the 1/10 of a Percent has brought this great County to it’s knees by overseeing the destruction of the middle class, etc.. The Democrats cynically await Latino majority for their day in the sun. It’s all too ugly.

    We have been divided and conquered. We are now fractions of Americans. What happened to the solidarity?

  18. Do you really need to go there? Those are some wild comments. I wonder how many “Germans” died for resisting the Nazis?

  19. I also had a reply up to this crap that seems to have been lost…

    What does fabricating issues mean? I have posted the facts about how Democrats are INCREDIBLY BETTER BETS for getting better laws regarding marijuana. All you’ve done is bullshit.

    And what IS an independent anyway? Sometimes you vote Republican? Why? Because you want to keep weed illegal? Or because you find some other bullshit reason to vote for them? Like, you wrongly believe Democrats want to take your guns away? Maybe you like getting lied into $2 trillion dollar wars?

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