Boehner Joining Crusade To Legalize Marijuana is a BFD

Since before Trump’s poorly-attended inauguration, it was a monumental task to envision or find much good about the prospects for America in the foreseeable future. It is true there has been a dearth of good news over the past year-and-a-half, but with a little exploration, one did discover an incredibly encouraging bit of news. And believe it or not, it involves a well-known Republican many liberals have despised for years, former Speaker of the House John Boehner.

In what is being rightly labeled “a watershed event,” Acreage Holdings proudly announced that the former House Speaker has joined the organization’s advisory board and will be a significant spokesman for the United States of America’s legal marijuana industry. That’s right, Republican John A. Boehner who just nine years ago claimed “he was unalterably opposed” to cannabis legalization will be a spokesperson and serve in an advisory capacity to a “major company that cultivates, processes and dispenses cannabis in 11 U.S. states.”

Look, whether or not one uses the weed for its medicinal or entertainment value, this is, as Vice President Joe Biden once said, “a really BFD.” Over at Bloomberg, Jennifer Kaplan noted that with Boehner and former Massachusetts Governor William Weld (R) joining Acreage Holdings, “marijuana has gone mainstream.”

No doubt a sworn enemy of cannabis, Attorney General J. Beauregard Sessions suffered a minor shit fit at the announcement that two Republicans, one formerly third in line to the presidency of the United States, will be promoting a weed Sessions claims has no medical value, and that only “bad people” use it.

First, it is noteworthy that Messrs. Boehner and Weld claim to have never used marijuana and have no intention of starting. It is not uncommon for legalization advocates to have never used reefer for recreation or medicine.

Indeed, world renowned travel celebrity and author Rick Steves is an important and highly visible board member of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and he does not use weed. His advocacy for legalization, like one of the reasons John Boehner gave for joining the decriminalization crusade, is the abominable practice of imprisoning non-violent Americans convicted of either possessing, cultivating, using or dispensing cannabis. The point is that one does not have to use the weed to understand the absurdity of criminalizing a “medicine” that grandma and grandpa can grow in the backyard, or on their retirement home balcony.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Mr. Boehner explained why he is joining the Acreage Holdings advisory board and advocating for the weed’s decriminalization; and no, it is not because he has any pecuniary interest in the company. He said:

“Over the last 10 or 15 years, the American people’s attitudes have changed dramatically. I find myself in that same position. When you look at the number of people in our state and federal penitentiaries, who are there for possession of small amounts of cannabis, you begin to really scratch your head. We have literally filled up our jails with people who are nonviolent and frankly do not belong there.”

Boehner went on to explain that, like many Americans, his opinion of the weed shifted dramatically “after he saw the plant’s efficacy in helping a close friend deal with debilitating back pain.” He also said that besides studying the U.S. criminal justice system’s problems for years, the weed’s potential for treating the nation’s Veterans played a big part in helping to sway him.

Former Massachusetts governor Weld did not require any “swaying” because he has been an advocate for decriminalization since 1992 and supported the 2016 referendum that legalized recreational pot use in his home state. Weld also said that his “belief in the functionality of the plant has grown” since 1992; particularly with the weed’s use for “easing the opioid crisis.” He said, referring to marijuana’s success at treating opioid addiction:

“Cannabis could be perceived as an exit drug, not a gateway drug.”

Weld and Boehner both claim the core issue is a 10th Amendment matter; an argument that should satisfy even the most ardent Republican opposed to legalization. Mr. Weld said that, “If some states don’t want marijuana to be legal, that’s their prerogative. But that shouldn’t be dictated by the nanny state in Washington.”

Currently, it is Beauregard Sessions who is “dictating” to the states that cannabis is only used by “bad people” and that it has no medicinal value whatsoever. This is, in fact, after he was pilloried in the House by Republicans and Democrats alike for his “harsh” position on weed, and after he was presented with documented research demonstrating the plant’s medicinal value.

Regarding Sessions’ tough stance on marijuana, Boehner said Sessions’ harsh words for the weed, and his decision to roll back President Obama’s protections for states didn’t deter him or Mr. Weld from deciding to get on board with an industry set to record a healthy $75 billion within ten years and outpace the soda industry. Mr. Boehner said:

“When I saw the [Sessions] announcement, I almost chuckled to myself. I don’t know why they decided to do this. It could be that the attorney general is trying to force the Congress to act.”

No, Sessions is clear about his motive, and he is determined to keep marijuana listed as a Schedule 1 substance with heroin and much worse than cocaine. Remember, Sessions hates marijuana more than he loves being a racist which is why he complained about a group he really admired, the Ku Klux Klan because some of the white supremacists used marijuana.

NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri issued a statement regarding Mr. Boehner as an advocate for decriminalization saying in part:

“Former Speaker Boehner is still held in high regard by a large percentage of the GOP membership and voter base. We look forward to his voice joining the growing chorus calling for an end to cannabis criminalization. Anything that expedites the ability for patients to access this safe and reliable treatment alternative, and that facilitates an end to the practice of arresting otherwise law abiding citizens for the possession of a plant should be welcomed with open arms.”

It is almost certain that most Americans who support decriminalizing cannabis, roughly 64 percent of Republicans and Democrats alike, are going to welcome both Mr. Boehner and Mr. Weld to the crusade to stop the absurdity of weed as either illegal or listed as a dangerous drug on par with heroin. What is amazing is that John Boehner is a dyed-in-the-wool conservative and has characteristically been resistant to change; that he evolved from being “unalterably opposed” to decriminalizing marijuana in less than nine years is remarkable. That the man is now an advocate for legalizing the weed is mindboggling, and “highly” encouraging for a majority of Americans.

Trump Lied – He Does Not Want Congress to Replace DACA

When Trump tasked his attorney general, racist Jeff Sessions, to announce to Dreamers that if Congress does not develop a replacement for the DACA program within six months they would be deported, he was treading a fine line. Of course he was sending a message to Trump’s white nativist supporters that he was taking another step to “make America white,” but he also pretended Trump was heeding advice from prominent Republican leaders. It was less than a week ago that several Republicans joined the business sector in appealing to Trump to either leave DACA in place or allow congressional Republicans to come up with a “humanitarian” solution to allow the Dreamers to remain in “their home country.”

However, if one listened to Jeff Sessions, Trump’s intent is clear;  there is no solution that doesn’t include deporting about 800,000 undocumented immigrants who ended up in America through no fault of their own. Trump has to conform to his angry base’s insistence that nothing less than mass deportations will please them.

That point was made crystal clear by a self-confessed “anti-Latino” Republican, Steve King (R-IA). King was livid at the thought of Trump delaying an end to DACA and he “tweeted” an opinion embraced by Trump and his nativist devotees. King tweeted:

Ending DACA now gives chance [to] restore Rule of Law. Delaying so [Republican] Leadership can push Amnesty is Republican suicide.”

First, it is unlikely the Republican leadership will find support to “fix DACA” because the extremist House Freedom Caucus (teabaggers) that Steve King is a member of are vehemently opposed to immigrants, documented or not. They are the alt-right.

Second, and more importantly, Sessions comments confirm that the administration is not concerned about a “humanitarian fix” based on a couple of lies typical of Trump and far-right xenophobes about the danger of Hispanic immigrants.

Sessions lied and said:

The effect of this unilateral executive amnesty, among other things, contributed to a surge of unaccompanied minors on the southern (sic) border that yielded terrible humanitarian consequences. It also denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same jobs to go to illegal aliens.”

A pathological liar like his boss Trump, Sessions’ claim that DACA “contributed to a surge of unaccompanied minors on the southern border” is patently false According to the Koch brothers’ Cato Institute. Sessions was parroting a tired and overused assertion touted by far-right xenophobes that immigrants pose a “terrible humanitarian consequences” to white people. However, according to a study published in a peer-reviewed academic journal, International Migration, any surge in unaccompanied minors actually began in 2008: President Obama’s executive action creating DACA was four-and-a-half years later, in June 2012.

There are quite a few reasons for the influx in unaccompanied minors from Latin American nations, but they had nothing to do with Barack Obama’s DACA program; a fact even a memory challenged idiot like Sessions knows to be a natural fact.

In the waning days of the 2008, one of the final pieces of legislation that passed both Houses of Congress without controversy and signed into law by President George W. Bush, was the “Willian Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008. It was named after a 19th Century British abolitionist and touted by George W. Bush as “very effecting in stopping human trafficking.” And it is noteworthy that not only was the legislation not controversial, White House spokesman Tony Fratto saidThis is a piece of legislation we’re very proud to sign.

As further proof that DACA had nothing to do with a “surge in unaccompanied minors,” any undocumented children who arrived in America after DACA’s implementation did not qualify for the program. According to President Obama’s executive order:

Only those individuals who have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007 and were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012 are eligible to receive DACA status.”

Sessions was also lying when he repeated a favorite nativistfalse narrative” that DACA has “denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans” by allowing those same jobs to go to undocumented immigrant children. The line is a favorite of anti-immigration crusaders who claim that besides bringing drugs, diseases, and death to white Americans, immigrant children have been sneaking across the Southern border specifically to participate in the DACA program with the express purpose of  “stealing Americans’ jobs.”

Like nearly everything Republicans, and particularly Trump Republicans claim; there is no real evidence that DACA recipients have taken any jobs from any Americans, much less “hundreds of thousands” of them.

However, there is overwhelming evidence that “killing DACA will do significant damage to America’s economy.” It is why the business sector warned Trump against rescinding DACA; a fact that Sessions knows to be true but he “conveniently omitted” that fact from his announcement.

According to research conducted by the Center for American Progress, when the DACA program is abolished, its former participants will lose their work permits and their jobs prior to being thrown out of the only country they know as home.  That works out to roughly 30,000 people losing their jobs every month that will reduce national GDP by $208 billion to $433 billion over the next decade. And, according to the libertarian belief tank the Cato Institute, the death of DACA will cost employers a little over $2 billion and cost the federal government about $60 billion.   Despite what the lying Trump administration claims, the racist decision to end DACA is not “a job-saver;” it is a job-killer.

The economic damage of killing off DACA is exactly why the business sector opposes putting an end to the program. But Trump’s feint of allowing Congress six months to replace DACA (he has no intention of preserving it) has nothing to do with the economy or humanitarianism; he wants it ended to sate his and his racist, nativist supporters’ lust for a “whiter” America.

It doesn’t matter one iota if Trump gave Congress six hours, six days, six months or six years to “replace DACA;” any effort will be stopped in its tracks by Republican extremists in the House Freedom Caucus and their teabagger cohorts in the Senate. Trump knows DACA, for all intents and purposes, is on its deathbed. If he thought anyone with a brain believed he was acquiescing to the appeals of a few Republicans and the business sector by giving Congress a six month window to fix DACA, he is stupider than his racist supporters.

Trump probably understands at this juncture in his failed presidency that the only support he maintains is from evangelical fanatics and racist nativists that comprise the Nazi “alt-right.” It is true he gave Congress six months to fix DACA before it “officially” expires, but he really ended the program because nothing will please him and his asshole devotees more than deporting 800,000 Hispanic immigrants.

Image: GoldenStateTimes

Sessions’ DOJ Defends Trump’s Constitutional Violations

After learning there is another lawsuit against Trump for using the office of the presidency for profit (self-dealing), it is curious whether or not the Trump-Sessions Department of Justice will rush to defend the corrupt swindler again. That is precisely what happened the last time, and if the Sessions-led DOJ repeats what it said just three days ago, it will prove there is a serious malignancy in Trump’s administration, and likely the majority of the Republican movement.

Yesterday the Attorneys General of Maryland and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit asserting that Trump’s well-documented failure to separate himself from his businesses has undermined public trust and violated constitutional bans against self-dealing. The Maryland and D.C lawsuits fairly reiterate the charges in a lawsuit filed a few months ago in New York by a legal watchdog. In fact, the Trump Department of Justice recently filed a motion to dismiss that earlier lawsuit after spending months concocting a defense.

The real outrage in this insidious affair is that Trump’s Department Of Justice is rushing to defend what it knows is a constitutional violation, and likely “illegal.”  DOJ lawyers attempted to prove that Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) had no “standing” to bring a lawsuit against Donald Trump because its claim of injury is unjustified.

CREW’s lawsuit was only filed to compel Trump to adhere to the U.S. Constitution and “divest” from his business empire and stop profiting from being in the White House. The legal watchdog is not seeking criminal charges or pecuniary damages; it just wants Trump to stop violating the Constitution by profiting from living in the White House.

The Department of Justice motion to dismiss also claimed that even if Trump “illegally” owns and profits from his business empire while in the White House, it is none of the courts’ business. Instead of the Judiciary Branch doing its job in deciding the merits of a lawsuit, the Justice Department lawyers say it is up to the GOP-controlled Congress to work it out.

The Trump DOJ also said that dealing with another lawsuit would be too much of an impediment on Trump’s ability to perform his presidential duties and would distract him from his busy schedule. The DOJ claims that one branch of government cannot force “such an impairment” on another branch.

CREW said it was still going forward despite the DOJ’s sleazy defense of Trump and its refusal to defend the Constitution. The group said:

It’s clear from the government’s response that they don’t believe anyone can go to court to stop the president from systematically violating the constitution. We heartily disagree and look forward to our day in court.

As CREW’s lawsuit noted, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Turkey and other countries have held state-sponsored events at Trump’s D.C. hotel, and other entities associated with foreign governments lend money to his businesses or lease space in his properties.

CREW asserted in its lawsuit,”because Trump-owned buildings take in rent, room rentals and other payments from foreign governments which may seek to curry favor with him, the president has breached the emoluments clause.”

It is noteworthy that Trump has indeed been very “favorable” to Kuwait, Turkey and particularly Saudi Arabia as of late;  including keeping them off his “Muslim majority nation” travel bans because there are mutual investments involved.

It is abominable that instead of upholding, supporting or defending the U.S. Constitution, the one Trump violated the day he swore to uphold the Constitution, the Sessions-Trump Justice Department is defending the violator. And it is attempting to interpret the Constitution by claiming the Emolument Clause just doesn’t apply to Donald Trump because he is a businessman.

The cancer in Trump’s administration is endemic in the Republican Congress; they willfully refuse to support, uphold, and defend the U.S. Constitution. One is hard-pressed to identify even one Republican who is defending the Constitution from Trump’s violations and it is particularly disheartening that the Justice Department, the one agency expected to defend the Constitution, is attacking its legitimacy by defending Trump.