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The White House Responds To We the People Petition

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the thank-you-for-contacting-citizen-support dept.

Politics 920

First time accepted submitter Nysul writes "The White House, aiming to gather the opinion (or marketing data) of the internet nation, asked for our thoughts by creating the We the People site and now it has responded to some of the more popular petitions, such as marijuana reform and separation of church and state. You probably won't be surprised at the answers."

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I stopped reading the responses after... (5, Informative)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890604)

...I read their claim that marijuana is addictive. You can lie to my face all you want, but don't expect me to vote for you.

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (2)

joaommp (685612) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890672)

Not being ironic or sarcastic here, not even defending your president's answer, just an honest question: is marijuana really proved to be totally non-addictive? Or is it something still up for debate and research?

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (2, Informative)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890692)

Anyone who has used it knows that there is no debate.

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (4, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890722)

Right. Those who smoke marijuana all know that they can stop any time they want!

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (5, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890780)

"Those who smoke marijuana all know that they can stop any time they want!"

Of course. Its just that they dont want to.

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (3, Informative)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890800)

Unless they do, then the really can. The problem is the overlap between pot smokers and slackers.

Its easier to quit smoking pot than it is to stop drinking soda.

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (5, Insightful)

pasv (755179) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890920)

Anything that can be psychologically addictive.. ANY substance. The problem is that the white house was vague about whether they were referring to psychological or _physical_ addiction. The latter meaning that when you quit your body shows sign of extreme withdraw. I guess you could also question the ambiguity of 'extreme' too tho

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (3, Informative)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890714)

As a former smoker, a coffee drinker, and a former marijuana user, I can promise you that both caffeine and nicotine are far more addictive than marijuana.

In fact, I've never in my life had a "marijuana craving", but I've had many pounding headaches from not giving in to nicotine cravings.

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37890752)

The first day after is kind of shitty. The day after and you forget you even quit.

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37890844)

I'll second that. Same thing happened to me, though quitting coffee is easily more difficult than nicotine was; and, of course, no side effects whatsoever when I finished with weed. Unless you count improved morning alertness, better standardized test performance, and increased concentration ability.

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37890898)

I'll second that. I never woke up in the middle of the night because my body needed me to choke down a joint, but tobacco kept me on a short leash. Dumping cigarettes was significant, prolonged effort; dumping dope was uncomfortable for a couple of days.

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (5, Informative)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890728)

In a zero to 100 scale, with nicotine being at the very top, cannabis is rated 21 - well below caffeine, alcohol, or valium. sauce [druglibrary.org]

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (3, Interesting)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890762)

I don't know if I buy that list... Considering they have heroin rated lower than nicotine. Quitting smoking was a bitch, but I didn't fucking die from it!

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (5, Informative)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890828)

You won't die from quitting heroin, either. The drugs that are actually physically dangerous to quit cold-turkey are alcohol, benzodiazepines (Valium, Xanax, Librium, etc.), and barbiturates (Quaalude/methaqualone, pentobarbital, phenobarbital, etc.).

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (1)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890876)

I've seen that list before - is there a better study than that? All they did was ask a bunch of experts which drugs they thought were the most dangerous to kick, which were the hardest to kick, which were the most addictive, etc... Not incredibly scientific.

Also, boiling their categorical estimates down to a single list is dubious. Was the integration weighted? Were the scales matched (since each scale was relative)?

I think it's possible marijuana is less addictive than nicotine, and possibly has lesser withdrawal side effects, but this "study" really isn't proof of anything.

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890968)

In a zero to 100 scale, with nicotine being at the very top, cannabis is rated 21 - well below caffeine, alcohol, or valium.

I'm scared to ask, but where does chocolate fit in?

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37890774)

It's not even about whether it's addictive or not. It's about the government telling you what you can and cannot do with your own body. It's not their choice to make. Everything else they argue is irrelevant, regardless of any truth in it.

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (1)

joaommp (685612) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890850)

Well, it's about that when I'm asking precisely about that because it was what the parent of my comment asked about.

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (0)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890810)

Then you perhaps should pay a visit to your nearest rehab center. Marijuana together with alcohol and tobacco should be freely sold, no problem, but as a poison, with clear skull and bones labeling and without any fancy logos etc. If you want those toxic substances in your system then you are a fool.

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (1)

Lord of the Fries (132154) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890854)

Even worse, what happens when you show up at the emergency room: "I've broken my body again. Fix it please. I don't even know why I'm saying please, you're legally obligated to do it anyway. It's my right to be provided health care. Can I pay for it? No. I spent the money on the skull stuff."

I will happily support drug legalization, allowing people to choose their own destiny responsibly or not so, when I too have the liberty to let you be accountable for your own decisions.

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37890990)

Marijuana won't send you to the emergency room. You're thinking of alcohol, tobacco, fried food. If we're going to have socialized medicine, we pretty much need to accept our tax dollars go to bail people out for bad lifestyle choices. I still think in the balance it's worth it, IF it's well implemented, i.e., a single payer system which is not beholden to large corporations. Despite clear successes in countries like Sweden, the chances of this happening in the US is pretty much zero until SCOTUS stops believing corporations are people and money is speech.

Since getting people to stop doing drugs is laughably infeasible, your choices basically boil down to where you want your tax dollars to go. From a purely selfish perspective I'm in favor of legalization, as this is far cheaper than criminalization associated costs.

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37890826)

It's considered non addictive, but those of us who smoke it tend to look for it every day. It won't make us lose sleep, but given the choice of doing something useful or hitting it just before attempting to do something useful, we choose to hit it first... then sit around and do nothing day after day. I'm sorry, but it's usage becomes a part of one's life and can be detrimental. Does "habit forming" = addiction. I think so, but on the least side of a scale. It seriously isn't dangerous though. As with all substances, it has effects. Some are positive , some are negative.
I think people consider it non addictive because it is relatively easy to stop. The active chemicals can take a few weeks to clear out down to a non affecting level. So even when one stops smoking, the drug continues to stick around and work for a few days at least, and tapers off slowly. So there is never a big drop off from discontinued use. Stopping is possible, and with the right positive reinforcement, it is easy to give it up..... but without the positive nudging we tend to keep on it even when we can see the negative effects in ourselves.

But seriously, it is not bad enough to be worth locking people up.

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (1)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890846)

It depends what you mean by "addictive". The current arguments are that cannabis isn't physiologically addictive but it is psychologically addictive for certain groups of users. That means there is a lack of symptoms of physical dependence and withdrawal, but some people become obsessed with it, think about it all the time, etc. Kind of like women. Or the internet.

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890848)

Actually, the correct question would be "has marijuana been shown to be addictive?". That which has not been shown is assumed not to be.

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37890864)

Not being ironic or sarcastic here, not even defending your president's answer, just an honest question: is marijuana really proved to be totally non-addictive? Or is it something still up for debate and research?

The short answer would be "No" it is not totally non-addictive. But then again neither is smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol, or chocolate for that matter. Any unbiased study will come to the conclusion that alcohol and tobacco are certainly more dangerous/addictive over the long term as is America's issue with over-eating (another addiction).

The point here their reasoning is disingenuous, they insult our intelligence with their deceit. Honestly, "Why target marijuana ? Its less harmful than other legal "highs". By outlawing the drug we are direct those revenue dollars onto the black market and into the hands of gangsters and thugs who in turn do more evil than smoking a little pot.

This experiment failed just as did prohibition did back in the 20s and 30s. It has cost the American taxpayer billions of dollars and made narco traffickers who have cause immense pain and suffering immensely wealthy and powerful.

Regulate, tax and control is the answer.

Now pass that spliffy this way 8-)

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (1)

beltsbear (2489652) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890888)

It is addictive to the same level of chocolate, sex and a good TV show are. You do it again because you enjoyed it. It is not physically addictive like alcohol or cigarettes.

It's not at all addictive (5, Funny)

kawabago (551139) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890914)

I use it medically and I have to choose to take it every day. There is no compulsion to take it, it isn't addictive at all. My town is rather isolated physically so we have several rehab centers here and I meet patients regularly. I have never heard of anyone needing treatment to stop smoking pot. I have met people that stopped and none of them needed treatment or had any trouble stopping. The withdrawal from pot is the 'munchies' that you get when it's wearing off. That is easily treated with cookie therapy.

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37890972)

It has proven to be less addictive than Alcohol or Tobacco while being much healthier to the body than either of them so it should be no more illegal than alcohol or tobacco.

And this is coming from someone who doesn't drink, smoke, or do any drugs (except caffeine, damn you Mountain Dew).

I have judged this from every possible perspective I could think of. It would weaken organized crime both local and in mexico, it would keep hundreds of millions of dollars every year in the US economy instead of sending it elsewhere. It could be heavy taxed and regulated which would bring even more cash to the government while actually lowering the overall cost to most people allowing for an overall improvement in the economy with the increased spending elsewhere and it would force police to quit chasing pot heads so much and MAYBE actually get off their bum ass and do their jobs and actually go after crime for a change (Where I live I have had them ignore me on a theft report when a guy stole something from a store I was helping even though we had his name, phone number, description, witnesses, and even him on camera but I can't have a tire blow out without a cop stopping to circle my car to look inside of it to try and bust me for....)

So yes, legalize it, the only people it would hurt are those who profit from it being outlawed and maybe some butt hurt nuts who haven't done their homework. In most area where they legalized it, the number of actual users have gone down when it was from the reports I read. The fact it is illegal actually has increased its overall numbers.

I say legalize it, drop any charges from anyone based on it (except DUI's, some handle it, some don't, and we need to be consistent on drugs while driving stance), release anyone who is in jail based solely on them charges while knocking time off for them charges being removed from someone with multiple charges and absolve any fines, fees or taxes owed for possessing it (had a friend who actually sold it and got busted with 16 pounds, they hit him with $36,000 in TAXES for the pot). That would reduce mountains of paperwork while releasing hundreds back into society who shouldn't have been jailed to being with and reduce the costs of our prison system by leaps and bounds.

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (3, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890712)

Of course it is. There isn't even a question about it. The correct question to ask is "is it more addictive, or is addiction to it more harmful to the victim or others, than other legal substances?" For example, alcohol. Or for that matter, video games or gambling, both of which can be addictive.

That's where the answer is no, it's no more dangerous than alcohol, and may well be less. At the very least I see fewer violent responses to it. Definitely not worth the cost we spend to police it, when treating it as a health problem would be cheaper. But if you really think it's not addictive you need to get your head out of your ass, look at the medical literature. Or just look at how many people continue to smoke pot as they throw their lives away.

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37890954)

by your argument, water is the most addictive substance, since we will all physically die if we don't consume it. Let's treat people for water addiction now.

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (3, Interesting)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890978)

Of course it is. There isn't even a question about it.

Actually, there has been a debate over the last couple of decades. It has been traditionally agreed that substance dependence requires signs of withdrawal. However, with cannabis, signs of withdrawal only occur in some users. Compare that to 100% of heroin addicts who would show signs of withdrawal. What percentage of cannabis users would show signs of withdrawal? I don't know the figure, but the fact that the majority would show no signs at all means that, under the traditional classification, it would not be considered as a physiologically addictive substance. Quote:

"When human subjects were administered daily oral doses of 180-210 mg of THC - the equivalent of 15-20 joints per day - abrupt cessation produced adverse symptoms, including disturbed sleep, restlessness, nausea, decreased appetite, and sweating. The authors interpreted these symptoms as evidence of physical dependence. However, they noted the syndrome's relatively mild nature and remained skeptical of its occurrence when marijuana is consumed in usual doses and situations. Indeed, when humans are allowed to control consumption, even high doses are not followed by adverse withdrawal symptoms. "

- Lynn Zimmer, Associate Professor of Sociology Queens College and John P. Morgan, Professor of Pharmacology, City University Medical School [ukcia.org]

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (0, Offtopic)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890798)

I hate to burst your bubble, but marijuana is addictive. Not nearly as much as certain other drugs (including the legal ones: alcohol and nicotine), but it is addictive all the same. In fact, the White House article you're complaining about links to another site that says, "It is estimated that 9 percent of people who use marijuana will become dependent on it. The number goes up to about 1 in 6 in those who start using young (in their teens) and to 25-50 percent among daily users."

That seems like a completely honest statement of fact. Marijuana is addictive. If you use it sparingly, you probably won't get hooked. But you might.

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37890886)

even funnier

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (1)

TheRealGrogan (1660825) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890940)

Exaggerations of partial truths are still lies.

Yes, marijuana can be (mostly psychologically) addictive, but it is not a serious addiction. More of an irritation because you want it and don't have any. It certainly does not require medical treatment. There are also cases where cannabis provides relief (e.g. for gastrointestinal discomfort), and then when cannabis use stops they stop getting that relief. This happens all the time when people are using it medically, and the cops come and bust their grow room and confiscate their medicine.

Cognitive impairment. Yes, some individuals will experience that, particularly if they aren't experienced users. I do not believe that it causes "permanent cognitive impairment" to any significant degree, though. Certainly less than alcohol and benzodiazepine type tranquilizers, for example.

Voluntary admission to drug treatment programs. Just fuck off... it's the enforcement of the prohibition that causes most cannabis users to do that. There certainly would be some attention whoring, or psychologically defective individuals that would check themselves into a rehab program over anything I'm sure, but most that are there for cannabis alone seek to gain some sympathy from the courts or perhaps family members/employers etc. for being a fuck up. I'll bet the incidences of self admission for cannabis alone are higher in the U.S. than elsewhere.

What's important when you cut through the propaganda is that the harm that cannabis itself causes to individuals and society is mostly because it's illegal. It does a heck of a lot less harm where I live than it does in the U.S. Less harm yet if you go to the Netherlands. Funny how that works. The REAL harm that it causes is not severe enough to warrant it being criminally banned.

There are ulterior motives here that causes governments to continue their campaign against a beneficial plant, in defiance of a large percentage of the population.

Re:I stopped reading the responses after... (1)

priceslasher (2102064) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890980)

Lots of things are addictive. Coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, internets, gambling, video games..

It should be legal so that the FDA can check it for mold and pesticides. It should be produced locally so we can go after the real criminals selling low grade stuff processed by underpaid labor. Those taxes could fund addiction centers or some such.

Choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37890606)

Transparent government


Sex with a mare


Re:Choice (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37890804)

Is the mare transparent?

really? (3, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890618)

If marijuana is half as bad as they claim, shouldn't Barack Obama, former marijuana and cocaine user, resign immediately and be placed in a maximum security prison?

Re:really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37890676)

If marijuana is half as bad as they claim, shouldn't Barack Obama, former marijuana and cocaine user, resign immediately and be placed in a maximum security prison?

Excuse, but you seem to be thinking of the previous occupant of the White House.

Re:really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37890702)

Excuse me, but you seem to speaking of the majority of occupants of the White House in the past thirty years. Rich and powerful people in the lower part of the upper class culturally (if not always monetarily) generally have used at least some cocaine and pot. Which is not to say they've been addicted.

Although the "maximum security prison" bit by GP is obviously silly. We overcriminalize drug use, but we don't go supermax on everyone.

Re:really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37890992)

It is pretty easy to get supermaxed. Get dumped into mainline, start getting bulldogged because you are not tatted up with a gang, start keeping a shank on you because you are tired of being the facility's love muffin, get ratted out to the COs by a spurned "lover", and, voila, there you are. Another fate is if you decide to join some prison gang for protection, someone rats you out and the COs think you are affilated, and off you go to a cell for 23 hours a day.

Some states have their supermaxes full and are building more.

Re:really? (0)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890918)

Back that up. Where did they claim that marijuana use was so awful? Or are you just talking out of your ass?

Good Fair Tax takedown. (2)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890624)

Pretty good read. [whitehouse.gov]

tl;dr version: Fair tax isn't fair.

NOT a good read - deceptive and typical (2)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890772)

The fair tax contains provision for allowing the basics to go untaxed. This is why it is NOT unfair to the middle and lower classes. Not mentioning this is paramount to bald faced deception.

Current tax mechanism in a nutshell [flickr.com]

Why the current tax system is hopelessly regressive [flickr.com]

Why a/the fair tax is FAIR [flickr.com]

Re:NOT a good read - deceptive and typical (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890956)

If you're waiving/reimbursing taxes for those with the lowest income then it's not exactly a flat tax anymore is it? I would only support a "fair/flat" tax system if it also had a guaranteed minimum income component to replace all other forms of welfare. You'd get some minimum yearly salary in exchange for going to school/back to school or training for a new job or for being legitimately disabled and having no prospect of ever being able to support yourself. For this to work health insurance would have to be single payer too.

So now your flat tax system is something ridiculous like 60%-70% in order to keep the same standard of living for the poor/middle class who'd normally be disproportionately screwed by it. You'll probably say, "We don't WANT the same level of government spending to support people! That's the point of the flat tax is to instantly and drastically cut government funding and 'starve the beast'!" which would then expose the real fundamental split; one side believes there is a positive role for direct action by government to better society, the other side does not.

So why not just have a graduated income tax anyway? I mean a real graduated income tax. Where the top marginal rate goes to 99%? I've never seen a compelling argument that high marginal rates harm investment or innovation. If anything they do the opposite. The top 1% of earners won't be so inclined to hoard their wealth if they know it's going to be slowly drained away if they don't do anything with it. There are other clever things you can do like give tax benefits ONLY to companies who stop or reverse their off shoring activities. Give tax breaks to companies AFTER they create jobs. Don't just cut their taxes and hope they take that extra money and hire people, because the last 30 years have shown that they won't. They'll just use that money for higher executive pay and bonuses.

In the long run, labor always is on the decline for any particular industry. Meaning that capital becomes more important to reaching higher levels of efficiency the higher you go. Eventually businesses will be entirely capital heavy with almost no labor requirements. This will happen globally, not just in Western nations. Off-shoring is just the leading edge of the wave of systematic unemployment. Those workers in China may have gotten US factory jobs, but they're going to be replaced by machines soon (and already are, Foxconn replaced something like 3 million workers with robots recently). So those jobs aren't going to get shunted around anymore, they're simply going to disappear. And the new industries will never be able to soak up all that excess labor.

It's a bleak future if we don't realize that capitalism will ultimately destroy itself with systematic unemployment.

Re:NOT a good read - deceptive and typical (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890982)

If you're waiving/reimbursing taxes for those with the lowest income then it's not exactly a flat tax anymore is it?

Again, that's not what is being suggested. The basic cost of living is determined; everyone gets it back. everyone. You get to spend $X without having to worry about taxes increasing those prices. For the poor, this eliminates the tax issue. For the middle class, it *also* eliminates it and now allows sensible choices about optional spending to be made. For the rich, they get what everyone else does, so there's no "unfairness", but you know as well as I do that the rich wont' give a damn as it will be meaningless to them. The only concern the rich have here is that this structure takes the *currently* unfair double-tax off the middle class, and taxes them (the rich) just as much as the middle class. Which is why Obama and his rich cronies lie about it.

Re:Good Fair Tax takedown. (1)

tsotha (720379) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890870)

Of course it's not "fair". The word has a 100% subjective meaning. The current system isn't fair; no tax system is fair. So yeah, "fair tax" isn't fair either.

not particularly Good Fair Tax takedown. (1)

CaptainOlimar04 (1789282) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890944)

It incorrectly states that tuition would be taxed under FairTax. It also says,

no household making over $1 million annually should pay a smaller share of its income in taxes than middle-class families pay

which, by putting requirements in terms of income, automatically dismisses any sort of consumption tax in the premise.

Replacing our current system with a national sales tax would produce a major increase in taxes for middle class families

There is no mention of the "prebate", which would more or less offset this imbalance. (Naturally, YMMV.) Of course a national sales tax with no "prebate" would increase taxes for middle class families. Why does that sentence not specifically say "FairTax" instead of "a national sales tax"? I smell a red herring, or at least a carelessness of word choice that adds unnecessary ambiguity.

I have my own gripes about FairTax, but they aren't addressed in that White House response. But I do like a lot of things about FairTax, largely because I would prefer a consumption tax in place of an income tax. The details of consumption tax implementation, whether FairTax or otherwise, are still up for debate.

All a violation of Constitution & Bill of Righ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37890640)

Limited Liability at the barrel of a gun is all it amounts to.

If someone causes harm to yourself or your property,
file a claim in the common law at County small-claims Court.

To get this done properly before being coerced or sadistically presumed into the fold of a trustee from an administrative executive body presiding over your affairs,
just get someone to file in small claims "Breach of Trust" and "Unlawfull Detainer" and "Forcefull Detainer" to uphold your birthright that exists prior to the banker's monetized Birth Certificate trust artificial person.

Worked for the Montana Freemen, so maybe we should live equally brave in our own homes.

404 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37890644)

Clicking on "Read the response" button gives "404 Page Not Found".

But somehow I suspect that even if I could read it, it would be no more useful and no more listening to the people. We the people haven't mattered for a long time.

Re:404 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37890878)

Turn off your noscript, set phasers to stun!

Translation: (5, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890656)

The translation for most of these is really simple: The obvious political calculations don't support the petitions. The vast majority of people who support the decriminalization of pot are people who would vote for Obama anyways. (There might be some libertarians in the Tea Party but even bringing up legalization at their rallies had lead to booing. See e.g. http://ricochet.com/main-feed/Pot-Legalization-Brings-Boos-at-Tea-Party-Rally [ricochet.com].). The only one that's even more blatant than that is the petition answer about removing "under God" from the pledge of allegiance. The people who care about that definitely aren't going to vote for anyone other than Obama (well, if Huntsman won the Republican primary then maybe, but right now he's polling at 2% among registered Republicans...). That petition response is even more noteworthy for having a nice mix of trying to claim that non-believers make up an important part of the US even as Obama endorses the claim that God is important to nation. The worst part of all this is that his political calculation is correct: Next election I'm probably going to be voting for him. Because the other option will be a lot worse.

Re:Translation: (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890680)

That's largely what Obama is counting on, that whoever gets the Republican nod will be so damaged and/or tied up with the Tea Party that the only sensible alternative is Obama. It's cynical and brilliant, "vote for me, at least you know what kind fucking bastard I am."

Re:Translation: (0)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890802)

vote for me. I'm an asshole and can't be trusted but at least I'm not a born-again bible thumper.

that, sorry to say, is enough to get him reelected. I just cannot stand to have another thumper in executive power again. the amount of damage they do is seen for decades, later. we're still trying to dig out from the reagan years!

Re:Translation: (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890994)

I just cannot stand to have another thumper in executive power again. the amount of damage they do is seen for decades, later.

But it sure is fun watching the current crop of wannabes trying to out-kook each other.

Re:Translation: (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890996)

It fails to take into account that if you p*ss off someone enough, they may just sit on their hands and not vote.

That's looking more and more likely every day. You can't win if you can't get out the vote.

Re:Translation: (2)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890760)

The vast majority of people who support the decriminalization of pot are people who would vote for Obama anyways. (There might be some libertarians in the Tea Party but even bringing up legalization at their rallies had lead to booing. See e.g. http://ricochet.com/main-feed/Pot-Legalization-Brings-Boos-at-Tea-Party-Rally [ricochet.com].).

At least some pot--not necessarily the stronger strains--should be legalized because nearly all of the anti-nausea medication out there is completely ineffective and is massively expensive. Even if pot of traditional potency were as bad in terms of addiction as the naysayers suggest (personally, the stench of it is what bothers me), it should still absolutely 100% be available for people undergoing intense chemo. Even if you limit the people able to give prescriptions to oncologists with particular CME training. There are lot of people for whom no drug at all works, they're miserable, and the drugs that the docs prescribe are much more expensive than pot.

Re:Translation: (4, Insightful)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890948)

Throw out all other reasons for legalizing marijuana or keeping it illegal. It is quite plainly and simply at the same level or lower of harm and danger to the user as alcohol and tobacco. Is marijuana addictive? You know what? The answer doesn't even matter, because nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs available, and it's legal. At the very least, nicotine is easily and readily provable to be more addictive than marijuana.

The GP is right, while he may have asked people to draft policy based on science and not on politics and ideology, the problem is that as President you don't live in that power vacuum. What you decide to do is still influenced by politics, and the GP is right when he says that all of these disappointing answers won't be properly or well addressed, because the opposition to Obama (in the de facto dichotomy of US politics, even if it is a false dichotomy) is not going to get the votes of these people who are upset by these answers.

Oh noes! Obama supports having "under God" in the Pledge, and "In God We Trust" on our money, damn. I should vote him out of office.. and vote for whom? Who of the Republican candidates would not take religion more to heart and go out of their way to support a Christian religion? There is not a secular Republican candidate (except as noted maybe Huntsman, and I think Gary Johnson might be as well, but he has even less support than Huntsman).

Re:Translation: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37890852)

Legalizing pot or removing "God" from the Pledge would surely be the nail in Obama's reelection coffin. Can you imagine the Teabaggers running ads calling Obama a godless, pot-smoking heathen? In fact, if I were a conspiracy theorist I would suggest that it was Republicans who were behind the petition in order to get the Dems out of the Whitehouse.

In fact, if the Dems really wanted it to happen, they would petition in a lame-duck term where doing something politically unpopular would not be immediate career suicide.


Re:Translation: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37891004)

Next election, I'll be voting for Nader, should he decide to run again. Show the Democrats that we can and will take our vote elsewhere. Remember, the only wasted vote is one for a candidate you don't like.

Government works can't even read 1st amendment (1, Insightful)

Mushukyou (739593) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890662)

...the first amendment says that the government won't do anything to RESPECT an establishment of religion. Of course the government shouldn't establish an official religion, but they are twisting it to mean something else so that they can pass it off. What worthless losers. They can't even FREAKIN' READ! Since they are not supposed to RESPECT any establishment of religion, then YES, the "under god" crap should come out of the stupid pledge, the "in god we trust" should come out of money... but no, the government is supported by corporations and special interest groups... namely a LOT of money from religious groups as well. That's why they aren't being logical. You know they could afford someone that actually took a critical thinking class to read FOR them.. they choose to interpret it differently to suit their needs. I'm sick of their crap.

Re:Government works can't even read 1st amendment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37890720)

Can't tell if troll or can't read.

Re:Government works can't even read 1st amendment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37890906)

From what I can tell, he is saying that the pope pays fat cat obama big bucks just to keep "in god we trust" on our money. I dont buy it.

That wall (1, Flamebait)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890946)

From the response:

Not every mention of God in public is a breach to the wall of separation - context matters.

No - but every mention of religion BY THE GOVERNMENT in a manner that incorporates governance or inter-govermental matters is a breach in the wall of separation. The ONLY reference to religion that should EVER be made by the government is by a judge and jury in order to punish government officials for bringing it up in the first place.

If private citizens -- not government employees -- want to speak about religion, that's fine. If those citizens want to put up religious icons or statements (or anti-religious) on their own land, or the land of another agreeable private citizen, that's fine too. But when the government puts religious symbols and sayings on the walls, desks, facades, and paperwork of its own, or gives tax breaks to the religions it "approves of", or throws a bible to "swear on" in the face of anyone in a courtroom, or stamps religious platitudes on the currency the citizens have to use... those are HUGE breaches in the wall of separation, specifically "respect" paid in some religious directions and not others - PRECISELY the thing the bill of rights forbids.

The arguments posted on the "response" page are for the 100-IQ and under crowd. It's like reading the essays of 9th graders who had a really bad civics instructor the previous year.

It's high time we held the judiciary, executive and congress to the oaths they swore. That's the biggest hole in our entire system of governance: the assumption that the government would consist of people of honor who would actually understand, much less obey, an oath.

Re:Government works can't even read 1st amendment (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37890958)

"Respecting" in the 18th century was commonly used where "with respect to", "with regard to", or "regarding" would be used now. The First Amendment does not mean that Congress shall make no law venerating a certain religion, but that it shall make no law which has as its object the establishment of a state religion.

Re:Government works can't even read 1st amendment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37890970)

The actual text "no law respecting an establishment of religion" is continually misinterpreted to mean "no law establishing a state religion", which is clearly far more specific.

Yet, we have many laws respecting established religions. We have a process for adding religions to the list of "official religions", and we have tax codes for essentially funneling money to anyone who affiliates themselves with anything on that list. All of this in flagrant violation of the establishment clause.

Health issues (3, Interesting)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890674)

I don't know how they can talk about legalizing marijuana and act like it's illegal because of health issues. if that was the case then shouldn't smoking and drinking alcohol also be illegal? It seems like they aren't open to serious discussion on any of these topics and just copy and pasted some default answers.

Re:Health issues (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890706)

They can't afford to be. The War on Drugs employs too many cops and gives too many excuses for projection of force into foreign lands (who also are the beneficaries of War on Drugs' largess). Having the Gong Sh... er the Republican candidates, making rude noises at you is acceptable, but have very cop in the land shouting for your head, well, no candidate can bear the thought of that.

Re:Health issues (2)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890830)

every 10 years its tested. in maybe 10 more of those decades, enough rednecks will die out that maybe sense will return to the land once again.

we are not ready to admit we were wrong. admitting it is too hard! we're americans. we don't admit we are wrong (not ever).

only solution is to wait it out; but that does not help us in our current lifetimes.

slavery took 400+ yrs to be corrected. WoD will be corrected but it might take such a long time.

just won't happy today because too many people make good coin from the pain and suffering of others.

Re:Health issues (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890816)

Bingo: You are a subject, not a citizen. You will do what the royals tell you. If you don't like the current royal, we'll let you replace them with one with exactly the same attitude. Move along now, before we tase you.

Re:Health issues (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890952)

shouldn't smoking and drinking alcohol also be illegal?

There is too much money in the tobacco and alcohol industries. Too many lobbyists from those two industries greasing the butt holes of the 'representatives' in Washington. Too much money being made from the 'War on Drugs'. Follow the money, always follow the money to see why things are they way they are.

Not too bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37890678)

Overall, the responses aren't as bad as I expected. I'd say the worse is the one on marijuana. The one on student loans actually gives some helpful info. The other three don't read as full of PR bullshit, just normal PR.

COMMUNISM NOW!!!!!!!! (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890690)

Let the liars and hypocrites, the dull-witted and blind, the bourgeois and their supporters hoodwink the people with talk about freedom in general, about equality in general, about democracy in general.

We say to the workers and peasants: Tear the masks from the faces of these liars, open the eyes of these blind ones. Ask them:

âoeEquality between what sex and what other sex?

âoeBetween what nation and what other nation?

âoeBetween what class and what other class?

âoeFreedom from what yoke, or from the yoke of what class? Freedom for what class?â

Whoever speaks of politics, of democracy, of liberty, of equality, of socialism, and does not at the same time ask these questions, does not put them in the foreground, does not fight against concealing, hushing up and glossing over these questions, is one of the worst enemies of the toilers, is a wolf in sheep's clothing, is a bitter opponent of the workers and peasants, is a servant of the landlords, tsars, capitalists.

--LENIN http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1919/nov/06.htm [marxists.org]

Re:COMMUNISM NOW!!!!!!!! (0)

tsotha (720379) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890732)

You just reminded me why I'll take up arms before I allow the communists to run things.

Re:COMMUNISM NOW!!!!!!!! (1)

thepainguy (1436453) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890964)

I'd be far more comfortable with your running the world if you had mastered something as basic as a simple cut and paste into a web page.

Legal Fiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37890704)

Their suggestions only matter if you call yourself by your name, which they own. Grow up.

Alcohol (4, Insightful)

RobbieCrash (834439) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890730)

Everything on the Marijuana is bad list is probably doubly applicable to alcohol. Cigarettes, aside from the cognitive impairment, are infinitely worse than smoking pot is for you.

Regulate and tax it like cigarettes and booze. It's really not that complicated.

Wow, that site is useless (0)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890738)

About half of the open petitions are calling for sacking the drug czar because she won't individually respond to each of other bunch of pot legalization petitions. The petitions that aren't about drugs are poorly written, probably by people on drugs. This attempt at "transparent government" and "opening the process" just throws fuel on the fire for everyone who thinks those are bad ideas. I'm not saying i'm against transparency and whatnot, just that this sort of thing chips away and what faith I have left in humanity to try and better itself. Maybe its just that the people who have time to fill out online petitions have a significant overlap with the people who want to get stoned all the time.

Misquotes on the white house site, read the number (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37890740)

> We know [...] that marijuana use is a significant source for [...] visits to emergency rooms.

Based on the numbers in the linked report, marijuana use was a cause of 8% of all drug related visits to the emergency room. The statement is thus greatly misleading -- my guess is that the total number of emergency room visits are still significant. I don't have the time to look it up, but let's assume for a moment that as a rough estimate that there are just as many non-drug related emergency room visits. Then marijuana can be linked to only 4% of all emergency room visits -- far from being a "significant source" in my opinion.

Source: http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/2k10/DAWN034/EDHighlights.htm

Re:Misquotes on the white house site, read the num (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890892)

I don't know why you're guessing at numbers, as the linked study has them all in a handy table.

ER visits per 100k people:
Underage Drinking: 227.2
Pain Relievers: 194.0
Cocaine: 137.7
Marijuana: 122.6
Heroin: 69.4

Marijuana is a significant source of ER visits, with close to 400k visits per year across the country. Not as common as underage drinking or ODing on pain killers, but not small potatoes either.

What? (1)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890746)

"Preventing drug use is the most cost-effective way to reduce drug use and its consequences in America."

Huh? So preventing drug use reduces drug use?

they ignore us. (4, Interesting)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890750)

so, when is the revolution, guys?

how much proof do we need that they do not care about our needs or wants or even justice??

it would be one thing is there was a fair reply that held water; but this was a sham in every sense of the word.

since the system does not serve us, I say its time to start the revolution. we gave things a fair chance but they just don't want to listen to us.

time for REAL CHANGE. voting booths don't bring change, btw. they lull us into thinking we have a voice.

look at these lying replies to our issues. they don't care! in our faces, blatantly, they do not care!

I hope things get messy real soon. because that is the hope and change we can believe in.

Re:they ignore us. (2)

tsotha (720379) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890924)

how much proof do we need that they do not care about our needs or wants or even justice??

If there aren't enough people to vote for change, why do you think a revolution could succeed, or even start? This revolution talk I keep hearing from the left is laughably silly - there won't be a revolution because not many people agree with you. If they did, you'd get the change you want.

Re:they ignore us. (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890966)

how much proof do we need that they do not care about our needs or wants or even justice??

Hmm, I'm not sure about anyone else, but I would want something more than just speculation from a foregone conclusion. Show us some actual evidence that the US government is not listening to US citizens as a whole (rather than evidence that they're just not listening to you). Until then, feel free to mount whatever revolution you want with whatever support you can muster. Just don't be surprised if you meet insurmountable resistance from your fellow man, and you end up with your ass in jail.

What a waste (2)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890766)

No one should have thought that this We the People thing would bring about any measurable change. It's an exercise in false hope of efficacy in the legislative/executive process. 150k signatures supporting marijuana legalization/reform and the best answer they could come up with is a bunch of scare tactics and anti-drug rhetoric based around studies that were ineffective and the lack of studies because of the nature of the substance being tested.

You want real change for marijuana policy? Run for local office, get people to support you, and defeat the incumbents who stand in your way. Get the local laws to support your goals and work your way up the chain.

As for the education funding reform response, it's just pushing the Obama administration's education agenda. The petition signed by 32k visitors called for a bailout of recent graduates as the best economic stimulus possible for that generation. The response is nothing more than what you'd expect to receive from a Congressperson when you write vehemently in favor of or opposing a piece of legislation: the Congressperson will summarize the bill, summarize their position, and essentially say "thank you for your feedback".

Again, if you want real reform, get elected and don't let yourself get corrupted. Good luck; you'll need it.

Copyright Term Reduction (5, Interesting)

CanEHdian (1098955) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890790)

I found a petition to stop software patents, but was unsuccessful in finding one that demanded a drastic reduction in copyright term in order to create a strong public domain for e.g. sound recordings.

Since I'm not a US citizen it wouldn't be right for me to create one, but it makes one wonder: did no one think about this, or have they been removed?

Re:Copyright Term Reduction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37890904)

You take our fake-direct-democracy way too seriously. It has all the legal status of a suggestion box. Since the site is already plied by spammers and astroturfers, why not a sensible human being that happens to be from Canada?

Why bother (2, Insightful)

Moof123 (1292134) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890794)

POTUS has failed on so many bold promises already, why should I care how he responds to petitions? Sort of worry about whether the fertilizer a serial killer is using in his garden is organic or not.

Gitmo is still open.

The Patriot Act is just about as strong as ever.

Wars are multiplying, though he does get credit for winding down Iraq (way too slowly) and Libya (bonus credit for keeping boots off the ground, but loses them for getting us involved in the first place).

The economy is still a wreck, and his limp wristed efforts have done nothing but embolden his detractors and sully the chances of trying a truly bold stimulus plan.

So yeah, I got about what I expected from a bozo who has long ago lost my vote. Not that I voted for him the first time, as I saw through his grandiose speeches by looking up his voting record on things I cared about.

Not surprising (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890838)

With millions of people testifying to the medical benefits of cannabis, it's pretty clear it's not a Schedule I drug.

However, the government in the US points to a lack of "proper studies", as do the Canadian medical associations. Yet both the US and Canadian governments put up every possible roadblock to proper, verifiable research, imposing restrictions like 30-day trials and then claiming there are no studies into "long term effects."

On the recreational side, over 50% of the population in both Canada and the US support regulation and taxation, the same as beer or wine, allowing home production.

Our governments aren't interested in learning the truth or discussing the issue. They're on a mission from God to protect us from "demon weed", and nothing will stand in their way -- not science, not the will of the people, not the economic arguments, and certainly not an electronic petition.

Poor answer (3, Insightful)

Edis Krad (1003934) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890872)

From the article:
"According to scientists at the National Institutes of Health- the world's largest source of drug abuse research - marijuana use is associated with addiction, respiratory disease, and cognitive impairment "

Well, if that's your standard for keeping marijuana illegal, may I suggest adding:

Tobacco: Also associated with nicotine addiction, respiratory disease and cancer
Alcohol: Also associated with addiction, liver disease and cognitive impairment

Oh wait, those have huge lobbists behind them. Nevermind.

They have the right viewpoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37890928)

Thank god the White House is taking a sensible position on the War on Drugs.

Eventually this fad will pass and the potheads will be dead. Until then we have to be vigilant.

Coincidence? Maybe not... (1)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 2 years ago | (#37890932)

Now that half the open petitions say "give us better answers to last week's petitions", the site's login process is fubarred for me. Is it just slashdotted, or has it been disabled intentionally?

All my suggestions for the government (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | more than 2 years ago | (#37891000)

1) You should not be able to legally bribe a politician. Buying a vote is illegal. It should be illegal for a lobbyist to drop a suitcase full of cash with legislation attached.

2) Paper trails on voting machines.

3) Tort Reform. The reason this nation does not have skate parks, or dirt bike tracks is because liability is out of control. Someone gets hurt, brings drugs or a gun to private property, the owner of the property loses it. This is also why car insurance is too expensive. A person could be paying 10% of their income into car insurance just because of out of control liability laws.

4) A very small tax on capital gains directly, and redo the tax code, trying to remove loop holes until they pop up again.

5) A 10% tax on real estate selling to prevent real estate to be hoarded like a stock commodity.

6) Nationalized Health Care done correctly.

7) Nationalized college tuition for students that keep up a high grade average.
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