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posted by on Thursday March 02 2017, @05:44PM   Printer-friendly
from the ideology-vs-scientific-analysis dept.

The Center for American Progress reports

On [February 27], days after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters to expect stricter enforcement of federal pot law, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recycled discredited drug war talking points in remarks of his own.

"I believe it's an unhealthy practice, and current levels of THC in marijuana are very high compared to what they were a few years ago, and we're seeing real violence around that", Sessions said. "Experts are telling me there's more violence around marijuana than one would think and there's big money involved."

In reality, violent crime rates tend to decrease where marijuana is legalized.

Denver saw a 2.2 percent drop in violent crime rates in the year after the first legal recreational cannabis sales in Colorado. Overall property crime dropped by 8.9 percent [PDF] in the same period there, according to figures from the Drug Policy Alliance. In Washington, violent crime rates dropped by 10 percent [PDF] from 2011 to 2014. Voters legalized recreational marijuana there in 2012.

Medical marijuana laws, which have a longer track record for academics than recreational pot legalization, are also associated with stable or falling violent crime rates. In one 2014 study of the 11 states that legalized medical pot from 1990 to 2006, there was no increase in the seven major categories of violent crime and "some evidence of decreasing rates of some types of violent crime, namely homicide and assault."

[...] Elsewhere in his remarks, Sessions unwittingly made the case against treating pot activity like serious crime. "You can't sue somebody for drug debt". he said. "The only way to get your money is through strong-arm tactics, and violence tends to follow that."

Legalizing, regulating, and taxing the sale of marijuana is the surest way to remedying that exact tendency for pot commerce to trigger violent score-settling. Legalization invites pot business into the light, granting cannabusinesses at least partial access to official modes of recourse when they are defrauded.

8 states and the District of Columbia have legalised marijuana for recreational use.
Ever see anyone use cannabis and become more aggressive rather than more mellow?

Note: ThinkProgress redirects all accesses of their pages and will attach tracking numbers. I have made sure that those are not in the URLs.


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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by stretch611 on Thursday March 02 2017, @07:24PM (25 children)

    by stretch611 (6199) on Thursday March 02 2017, @07:24PM (#474026)

    Well, that's what America wanted, that's what America got.

    No, this is what the existing politicians want.

    The news media lies and tells everyone that it is a two party system and that all 3rd parties are a wasted vote. This becomes a self serving attitude and fewer people vote third party.

    As long as people only think that the choices are limited to two parties, the two parties in control do not have to field a good candidate... they only have to get a candidate slightly better than the other guy.

    Trump is not what America wants... He has a horrible approval rating... http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-lowest-approval-ratings-any-president-in-us-history-poll-cnn-a7563091.html [independent.co.uk]

    However, Trump beat Hillary Clinton. It was not because of election shenanigans... its because she was just as horrible a candidate as he was... and based on the election results, slightly worse.

    Until the voters in the US wake up and realize that 3rd parties can win, the two party system will just continue its race to the bottom with horrible candidates barely able to beat each other.

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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by TheGratefulNet on Thursday March 02 2017, @07:29PM (15 children)

    by TheGratefulNet (659) on Thursday March 02 2017, @07:29PM (#474034)

    I disagree. it had nothing to do with clinton.

    trump touched a nerve with redneck flyovers. he said shit that they have wet dreams over.

    you could have had jeebus christ as a D runner and they'd still pick the racist guy. he represents them!

    we don't want to say this, but its true. more than half of america is back-assward, dullard, non-thinking, walking in a haze, thinking that some sky daddy will give their useless lives some meaning. they are sold a bill of goods by their church leaders and it is so ingrained in them, it can't be easily removed.

    nothing to do with clinton. total red herring.

    middle america wanted a KKK racist style leader. they got one. its just that simple.

    --
    "It is now safe to switch off your computer."
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 02 2017, @07:39PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 02 2017, @07:39PM (#474044)

      Well you're correct in one sense, but it does have something to do with Clinton - she didn't really inspire anybody to go and vote for her out of those Americans who didn't want Klan-style leadership. In fact, many of them saw her as indirectly supporting the same kind of politics. Her campaign was just as prone to fallacy and hyperbole as was Trump's, it was just politically correct hyperboly and fallacy so it was political suicide for anyone but republicans to call her on it. I lost democrat friends even though I voted for Clinton, simply because I refused to shut off my critical thinking ability.

      The danger of ignorant voters extends beyond those who are actively ignorant.

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 02 2017, @07:51PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 02 2017, @07:51PM (#474053)

        > Her campaign was just as prone to fallacy and hyperbole as was Trump's,

        If you believe they were equally distorted, then your view of reality is so completely distorted itself that your opinion is beyond unreliable.

        Comparing Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump on the Truth-O-Meter [politifact.com]

        Furthermore, the single best predictor of voting for trump is an authoritarian personality. [washingtonpost.com] Even people who aren't normally authoritarian can be triggered to act like authoritarians when they feel under threat. Which is why Trump's entire campaign was about telling white people that black and brown people are a threat to them, either by lying about crime "mexicans are rapists" or more generally a threat to their culture "make america white again."

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 03 2017, @04:43AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 03 2017, @04:43AM (#474268)

          The bias there is hard core.

          Heck, one of the people they employ had actually run for office as a democrat. That should tell you something.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 04 2017, @06:01AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 04 2017, @06:01AM (#474785)

            Yes, facts do have a well-known liberal bias.
            That's why I prefer alt-facts, at least they are biased for conservatives. That's fair, fair and balanced.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 02 2017, @08:42PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 02 2017, @08:42PM (#474078)

      This is a way oversimplification and also just wrong. I'm sure racism played part of it (although in fairness, racism also goes the other way with black and minority voters voting for Democrats because "that's our team").

      Among other things, there was the "firewall" of Pennsylvania, Michigan, etc of staunch Democrat states that voted for Trump. Was it that in 2016 they woke up to their inner racism, or was it that Clinton never visited any of them throughout the campaign? You can blame the former, but I'll bet the latter contributed as well.

      Racism played a part... but there were numerous others (TPP, the death of coal, immigration policy, H1B abuses, timely exposure of Democratic and Clinton scandals, Democratic reaction to scandals, media coverage during the primaries, etc).

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 02 2017, @09:16PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 02 2017, @09:16PM (#474102)

        > Was it that in 2016 they woke up to their inner racism

        Yep.
        Racism isn't a binary state.
        Trump's entire schtick was about activating latent racism by making people feel threatened.

        > (although in fairness, racism also goes the other way with black and minority voters voting for Democrats because "that's our team").

        It is not the "other way" its the same way. Republicans keep telling minorities they aren't welcome. It isn't that minorities want to vote democrat, its that the republicans don't give them any other choice.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Phoenix666 on Thursday March 02 2017, @09:20PM (7 children)

      by Phoenix666 (552) on Thursday March 02 2017, @09:20PM (#474106) Journal

      we don't want to say this, but its true. more than half of america is back-assward, dullard, non-thinking, walking in a haze, thinking that some sky daddy will give their useless lives some meaning. they are sold a bill of goods by their church leaders and it is so ingrained in them, it can't be easily removed.

      That's dismissive, and incorrect. Trump did not win because of the evangelical vote. The evangelical vote preferred Cruz. Trump did not win because of the racist vote. KKK sympathizers are few.

      The balance of Trump's voters voted their pocketbooks. They are the formerly prosperous middle class who got wiped out by NAFTA and could feel the final nail in the coffin coming from the Trans-Pacific Partnership that they knew, just knew, that Hillary would instantly find a reason to support again once the election was over. They wanted somebody to do something about illegal immigrants being brought into the country to suppress wages in many of the sectors they were previously able to make livings in. Another portion wanted to feel good about being American again, after about 30 years of people dumping on the country and watching DC either apologize to or sell them out to. And bound up in all that was a burning desire to flip the bird to the Establishment.

      So I'd caution against smearing those people as, "back-assward, dullard, non-thinking, walking in a haze." It is incorrect and will lead to more error and failure.

      --
      Washington DC delenda est.
      • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 02 2017, @09:48PM (5 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 02 2017, @09:48PM (#474138)

        > The evangelical vote preferred Cruz.

        That is just false.
        During the primaries, the evangelicals still preferred Trump. [fivethirtyeight.com]

        And it should be no surprise. The evangelicals have always been about racism.

        The Southern Baptist Convention was formed explicitly to support the institution of slavery because the dominant evangelical convention at the time wouldn't have it, so they split off. And then for 150 more years they continued both explicitly and implicitly supporting racism. The last time "religious liberty" was a catch-phrase it was about religious based arguments to resist school desegregation as in Bob Jones University. [jbhe.com] BJ-U forbid interracial dating as recently as 2000.

        It was not until 1995 that the SBC officially denounced racism [sbc.net] Racism is still the biggest animating factor to evangelicals. If you had spent any time in the south you'd know it to, it oozes from them. They deny it with their words, but their actions say otherwise. Sure they aren't all white devils, some actually do follow Jesus' principles, but most of them pray to an explicitly white jesus. Just listen to runaway1956 if you need an example, he's just barely to the right of mainstream (white) evangelicals.

        > They are the formerly prosperous middle class

        Incorrect. They are the current prosperous middle class that are scared of a brown america. It was not economic anxiety, it was racial anxiety. Trump supporters are richer, not poorer, than average. In fact, the people most likely to support Clinton were those most affected by trade policies.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 02 2017, @09:53PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 02 2017, @09:53PM (#474141)

          In fact, the people most likely to support Clinton were those most affected by trade policies.

          The Missing Link: http://www.vox.com/2016/8/12/12454250/donald-trump-gallup-trade-immigration-study [vox.com]

          And an excerpt:

          Trump's base is not poor whites — it's way more complicated than that

          What Rothwell found was revelatory, to say the least. He finds that individuals who are struggling economically are not more likely to support Trump, nor are people living in areas that have suffered a loss of manufacturing jobs, an influx of immigration, or competition from China. By contrast, people in areas where whites are struggling health-wise, and in terms of intergenerational mobility (and in areas that are very racially segregated), do seem more likely to back Trump.

          Trump supporters are richer, not poorer, than average: For one thing, Rothwell found that both across the overall population and among whites, support for Trump is correlated with higher income, not lower. That’s not surprising; low-income people have always preferred Democrats. But it definitely contradicts the image of Trump as spokesman for the economically struggling.

          Rothwell also found that Trump supporters are no likelier to be unemployed or to have left the workforce. The problem of men dropping out of the labor force doesn’t seem to be a factor behind Trump’s rise.

          "The individual data do not suggest that those who view Trump favorably are confronting abnormally high economic distress, by conventional measures of employment and income," he concludes.

          Nonetheless, Trump supporters tend to be blue-collar and less educated: On the other hand, Rothwell also finds that Trump supporters are more likely to work in blue-collar fields and to have less education. This fact, however, sits uneasily with Trump’s greater support among the wealthy and lower support among the poor, and suggests that his sweet spot is less-educated people in blue-collar fields who are nonetheless doing pretty well economically.

          Trump does well in racially segregated areas: Turning to the geographic data, Rothwell finds that segregated, homogenous white areas are Trump's base of support. "People living in zip codes with disproportionately high shares of white residents are significantly and robustly more likely to view Trump favorably," he writes. "Those living in zip codes with overall diversity that is low relative to their commuting zone are also far more likely to view Trump favorably." Put another way: If you're in the whitest suburb in your area, you're likelier to back Trump.

          Trump doesn’t do well in areas affected by trade or immigration: This is perhaps the most surprising finding. Contact with immigrants seems to reduce one's likelihood of supporting Trump, as areas that are farther from Mexico and with smaller Hispanic populations saw more Trump support.

          Areas with more manufacturing are significantly less likely to support Trump. An increase in the level of manufacturing employment from 2000 to 2007 predicted higher Trump support — which is the opposite of what you'd expect, given the narrative around this campaign. While the finding isn't statistically significant, greater exposure to Chinese imports predicts lower support for Trump, despite his agitation for higher tariffs on the country.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 03 2017, @04:56AM (3 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 03 2017, @04:56AM (#474270)

          Both poor and rich went for Clinton. Trump grabbed the middle, and happened to end up with a slightly higher average because there are more poor people than rich people.

          Trump support is really high in the social range from "skilled trade" to "STEM BS degree". It's weak above that, and very weak with the poor. Trump voters tend to be people who are doing OK, but with reason to be nervous. The sort of people who may have seen friends and family lose jobs tend to vote for Trump.

          Clinton gets the people on government help and the minimum wage workers. She also gets what you might call the "guilty rich", people who might feel a sort of discomfort in the realization that others are much worse off. These people push up the average education level for Clinton voters, often with doctorates. Also pushing up the education level are people with generally impractical degrees.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 03 2017, @05:20AM (2 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 03 2017, @05:20AM (#474276)

            Nice theories. Do you have any evidence beyond wishful thinking?

            > Both poor and rich went for Clinton. Trump grabbed the middle,

            Trump got the rich and the white vote. [theguardian.com]

            Far from being purely a revolt by poorer whites left behind by globalisation, who did indeed turn out in greater numbers for the Republican candidate than in 2012, Trump’s victory also relied on the support of the middle-class, the better-educated and the well-off.

            Of the one in three Americans who earn less than $50,000 a year, a majority voted for Clinton. A majority of those who earn more backed Trump.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 03 2017, @08:06PM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 03 2017, @08:06PM (#474540)

              $50,000 a year is nothing special. If you draw the line there, and call everybody above it rich, then yeah Trump voters are rich. I guess that fits your narrative.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 04 2017, @05:55AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 04 2017, @05:55AM (#474783)

                Trump also got the majority vote of people making over $100K, and the vote of people making over $250K and those making over $500K all the way up.
                $50K was just where the break started.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 02 2017, @10:19PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 02 2017, @10:19PM (#474151)

        I have no account on here, but +1 Insightful, Phoenix.

    • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Friday March 03 2017, @03:55PM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 03 2017, @03:55PM (#474403) Homepage Journal

      "you could have had jeebus christ as a D runner"

      No, He wouldn't ever register as an R, or a D. Never happen.

      http://catholicexchange.com/deeper-meaning-story-jesus-moneychangers [catholicexchange.com]

      --
      Don’t confuse the news with the truth.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by meustrus on Thursday March 02 2017, @09:35PM (1 child)

    by meustrus (4961) on Thursday March 02 2017, @09:35PM (#474121)

    All election shenanigans and the candidates themselves aside, this election year was a pretty good shot for a Republican president no matter what. For the last 25 years the presidency has flip-flopped between parties after every 8 years, following a very similar pattern with congressional midterms as well. Democrats needed to field a vastly superior candidate to win. They believed they did, polling be damned.

    I prefer to think of the elections not in terms of how the ideologues talk past each other, but in terms of the undecided and unmotivated voters. There will always be voting Democrats and Republicans, and those groups are relatively balanced against each other. But the people who really swing elections are those two groups of people in the middle: the moderates who plan to vote but could actually be swayed either way on whom; and the voters who just won't show up unless a candidate really speaks to them.

    When you look at this group of people and try to explain the flip-flopping trend, there's one obvious answer: our government sucks. Think about it. The unmotivated voters would tend to vote for change, because if they didn't want change they would stay home. The undecided voters might swing either way without an incumbent, but with an incumbent they are more likely to vote for the devil they know, even if that choice doesn't excite them.

    So basically, the pattern of American democracy is that every eight years, we decide that the last guy didn't make anything any better, and elect somebody else who promises to dismantle everything that just happened. It's no wonder that things never get better.

    --
    If there isn't at least one reference or primary source, it's not +1 Informative. Maybe the underused +1 Interesting?
    • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Friday March 03 2017, @12:59PM

      by Thexalon (636) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 03 2017, @12:59PM (#474337)

      I agree that right now our government truly sucks. At the moment, according to Gallup polling, 47% of Americans approve of the Supreme Court, 45% of Americans approve of Donald Trump, and about 28% of Americans approve of Congress. That's abysmal leadership, and more importantly means that not a single branch of the federal government is operating with majority support. Congress in particular has had sub-50% approval ratings for most of the last 40 years, with only a brief respite between 1998 (probably due to the impeachment of Bill Clinton) and 2002 (after the spike of support of government post-9/11 wore off).

      That said, the reason Trump won this last election had very little to do with attracting moderate voters, and a lot to do with a huge number of normally Democratic voters not voting for president. For example, in my home swing state of Ohio, Clinton got about 20% fewer votes than other Democrats have (including Obama, Kerry, Gore, governor candidates, senate races, etc). Which isn't all that surprising, when you realize that Clinton's entire campaign pitch in the general election amounted to "I'm not Donald Trump".

      --
      The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
  • (Score: 2) by meustrus on Thursday March 02 2017, @09:38PM (5 children)

    by meustrus (4961) on Thursday March 02 2017, @09:38PM (#474125)

    Did you see the third party candidates? They lost because they were batshit insane. Not that that stops some people.

    --
    If there isn't at least one reference or primary source, it's not +1 Informative. Maybe the underused +1 Interesting?
    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 02 2017, @09:58PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 02 2017, @09:58PM (#474145)

      Only people that were actively looking for them saw anything of the third party candidates. This is part of the problem. They get .01% of the airtime of the two major party candidates, and even then it's focused to be as negative as possible.

      Perot scared the shit out of the RNC and DNC, so they took over the Presidential Debates. Unless that's reversed, those two pretty effectively have third parties locked out no matter what else happens.

      • (Score: 2) by meustrus on Thursday March 02 2017, @10:24PM (2 children)

        by meustrus (4961) on Thursday March 02 2017, @10:24PM (#474154)

        The real problem is that Sanders couldn't run, because him running would have mostly hurt Hillary and there are enough die-hard Hillary supporters to keep him from winning. No high-quality candidate is going to run such a race; Theodore Roosevelt tried in 1908 in the Bull Moose party, which led to the election of Woodrow Wilson who would have lost under any other circumstances.

        The only way to make it work is if you can steal enough voters from both parties. Otherwise, the voters who love their party form a larger fraction of voters than the typical margin of victory. But this isn't going to happen, because the parties do more than just field candidates. They define the debate. Does it really make sense that political opinions around abortion and environmentalism are correlated? What about gun rights and free trade? Financial regulations? Warmongering? Both parties have tied all of these issues together in a very strange way that has made it so that whenever you talk to someone you agree with on one issue, they always agree on a whole bunch of issues as well.

        --
        If there isn't at least one reference or primary source, it's not +1 Informative. Maybe the underused +1 Interesting?
        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Thexalon on Friday March 03 2017, @01:08PM

          by Thexalon (636) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 03 2017, @01:08PM (#474342)

          Both parties have tied all of these issues together in a very strange way that has made it so that whenever you talk to someone you agree with on one issue, they always agree on a whole bunch of issues as well.

          There's a reason for that.

          Both major parties basically try to win votes on social issues like gay marriage or religion in schools, while winning donors with economic issues like refusing to renegotiate drug prices. This system keeps the people at each others' throats while the government helps the rich run away with all the money. And they also try to keep conservatives and liberals from interacting too much socially, so that they won't notice all the shared problems and areas of agreement they have.

          --
          The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 04 2017, @06:17AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 04 2017, @06:17AM (#474788)

          Does it really make sense that political opinions around abortion and environmentalism are correlated? What about gun rights and free trade?

          That's how tribalism works. And it isn't just political parties, that's just one manifestation of tribalism. Much of it is that people have to generally agree with each other in order to have trust in each other and societies run on trust because trust really means things like common agreements on implications of words (think of old "indian-giver" insult with its origin in the difference between western and native american understanding of land ownership).

          So anytime you get a group of people dedicated to working together they end up converging on common beliefs. It really puts the lie to this idea of people being pure individuals. As misanthrope myself I wish it were otherwise, but the whole ideal of "rugged individualism" is really more of a pernicious myth than a useful goal for making the world a better place.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 03 2017, @11:48AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 03 2017, @11:48AM (#474322)

      If candidates lost just by being batshit insane, pretty much none of the people who have been president would have won.

  • (Score: 2) by TheGratefulNet on Thursday March 02 2017, @11:40PM

    by TheGratefulNet (659) on Thursday March 02 2017, @11:40PM (#474180)

    its not the media's fault. the US system is designed (well, evolved, lol) into a two-party-only system.

    not the media's fault. the 2 existing parties do all they can to keep ONE of them in power.

    blame the existing guys, not the reporters.

    reporters often suck, but this time, its not their fault.

    --
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