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Voters Vote Yes, County Says No

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the what-part-of-yes-do-you-not-understand dept.

Politics 645

Khyber writes in with a story from Montana, where residents of Missoula County voted in a referendum intended to advise county law-enforcement types to treat marijuana offenses as low-profile. The referendum would not have changed any laws, but was advisory only. After voters approved it, county commissioners overturned it by a 2-to-1 vote. They were swayed by the argument of the county attorney, who had a "gut feeling" that Missoula's electorate had misinterpreted the ballot language. The move has resulted in a flood of disaffection among voters, especially young voters. "Is there even a point to voting any more if the will of the people can so easily be subverted by two people?" one voter posted on a comment blog.

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Link? (4, Interesting)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474523)

I think they forgot something...

Re:Link? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18474537)

tis a problem with heavy pot smokers, they tend to forget things ;-)

Re:Link? (4, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474771)

tis a problem with heavy pot smokers, they tend to forget things ;-)

Are you referring to the poster, or the slashdot editors?

http://www.kcfw.com/montana_news.php?id=01723a93ff e12ca09070c26c8713da13 [kcfw.com]

The big problem many people said they have with last night's decision is that it undermines what the voters said they wanted last November.

During last night's hearing, a number of people protested the amendment saying commissioners don't have the power or the right to change the initiative but they did anyway. County Commissioner Bill Carey was the one dissenter in last night's vote. He said the commissioners do have the power to amend the initiative but he doesn't think they should have. He said it should have been given a chance. "I believe we should have implemented the initiative the voters approved. I suggested we should have given the initiative the voters approved a chance and if after a year or so, there really were problems, we should make amendments then," he said.

Carey said he hopes voters aren't too discouraged by last night's vote and he urges them not to give up on the democratic process.

I hear that everyone else was going "like .... bummer, dude!"

Re:Link? (2, Informative)

BW_Nuprin (633386) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474545)

As a former Missoulian, I can absolutely guarantee the officials that the people of Missoula did NOT misinterpret the language on the ballot :)

It's not like there is really there much else to do in Montana, anyway.

Here's a link (4, Informative)

GuyMannDude (574364) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474569)

I found this story [newwest.net] doing a Google search. From TFA:

The tone of the hearing shifted when Van Valkenburg said that he had proposed the amendments because of a "gut feeling" that Missoula voters were not "detail-oriented" enough to understand the complete scope of the initiative.

I think the only ones who failed the "detail-oriented" test are the slashdot editors who posted a story that references an article and a blog but failed to provide any links.

GMD

Re:Link? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18474611)

Google found this [missoulian.com] .

No, just optimizing for typical /. readers :-) (5, Funny)

Eternal Vigilance (573501) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474719)

That node was flagged by the new /. content analyzer as unreachable and optimized out.

Fascinating technology, really. Here's a link to how they do it:

WTFA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18474525)

How do you expect us to RTFA if there's no FA?

Here goes my karma, I guess (-1, Flamebait)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474527)

What on *earth* does this have to do with "news for nerds"?

Re:Here goes my karma, I guess (1)

alphamugwump (918799) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474553)

Exactly. IMHO, slashdot should have an "offtopic" section for stuff like this.

Re:Here goes my karma, I guess (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18474779)

They do. They call it the "Politics" section.

Re:Here goes my karma, I guess (2, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474559)

One could argue that voting issues certainly fall under 'Stuff that matters'.

Re:Here goes my karma, I guess (0, Troll)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474749)

I think that the notion of "Stuff that Matters" is "Stuff that Matters to Nerds," not "politics of some small town."

Re:Here goes my karma, I guess (4, Funny)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474773)

I think that it certainly matters more to many of us here than whether or not some dinosaurs dug burrows.

Re:Here goes my karma, I guess (5, Informative)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474793)

One could argue that voting issues certainly fall under 'Stuff that matters'.

I'd suggest that the only thing that "matters" for anyone keen on the subject is good music and lots of brownies. ;-) That said, there was a recent program on The History Channel on the subject that I found interesting. From a Wiki article on the Legal Issues of Cannabis [wikipedia.org] :

Until 1937, consumption and sale of cannabis was legal in most U.S. states. In some areas it could be openly purchased in bulk from grocers or in cigarette form at newsstands, though an increasing number of states had begun to outlaw it. In that year, federal law made possession or transfer of cannabis without the purchase of a by-then-incriminating tax stamp illegal throughout the United States by passing the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act. This was contrary to the advice of the American Medical Association at the time.[2] Legal opinions of the time held that the federal government could not outlaw it entirely. The tax was $100 per pound of hemp, even for clothes or rope. The expense, extremely high for the time, was such that people stopped openly buying and making it. The decision of the United States Congress was based in part on testimony derived from articles in newspapers owned by William Randolph Hearst, who had significant financial interests in the timber industry, which manufactured his newsprint.


The key to criminalisation was the way in which Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 [wikipedia.org] was written and passed.

The act did not itself criminalize the possession or usage of cannabis, but levied a tax equalling roughly one dollar on anyone who dealt commercially in marijuana. It did, however, include penalty provisions. Violations of proper procedure could result in a fine of up to $2000 and five years' imprisonment. The net effect was to make it too risky for anyone to deal in the substance.

The bill was passed on the grounds that cannabis caused "murder, insanity and death". Today, it is generally accepted that these reasons were fictitious; in 1951, Anslinger himself claimed that he had no evidence to support such a thesis. However, new reasons had emerged by then, which pushed through a bill that superseded the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.

In 1969 in Leary v. United States, this act was found to be unconstitutional since it violated the Fifth Amendment, since a person seeking the tax stamp would have to incriminate him/herself.


To rephrase the above, if you wanted to deal in the stuff, you needed a tax stamp. Which required possession of the stuff. Which was ... wait for it ... illegal.

It's hardly surprising that in the decades since, the laws concerning cannabis are just as tortured and contradictory, especially when considered against the background of yet another new study that suggest alcohol and tobacco are more dangerous [guardian.co.uk]

Re:Here goes my karma, I guess (2, Funny)

jovetoo (629494) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474797)

exactly... especially when you get get caught in Missoula County with said "Stuff"

Re:Here goes my karma, I guess (1)

The Anarchist Avenge (1004563) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474587)

Not all geeks think that partying is evil... This is a topic that is quite relevant to young people these days.

Re:Here goes my karma, I guess (5, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474745)

Let me give you a hint: All voting irregularities are 'stuff that matters' and it's stuff that matters to geeks as well as everyone else. The war on drugs has been as absurd as the DMCA and the **AA's war in copyrights/fair use.

You might argue that this isn't a voting irregularity, but the vote result was 'irregularly' thrown out on bogus grounds. That is to say that our government is not listening to us, and THAT is something that matters! ... unless of course, you are only 12 and reading /. from your mom's basement?

Re:Here goes my karma, I guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18474893)

Other things that matter:

Iranians capture 15 brit soldiers.
Mine disaster in Russia.
More murders in Thailand.

Soldiers of the sea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18474953)

> Iranians capture 15 brit soldiers.

I think they were sailors and marines that were captured, not soldiers.

Re:Here goes my karma, I guess (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475011)

Let me give you a hint: All voting irregularities are 'stuff that matters' and it's stuff that matters to geeks as well as everyone else.

So do religion issues, how to get laid, and maximizing your 401(k) return. That's why we have (drum roll please) religion websites, hook-up tips websites, and investment websites. Here's a hint: it's called specialization of websites to particular topics.

It doesn't particularly bother me that ./ carried this story, I just thought it was off-topic. You don't have to get all cranky about it.

Re:Here goes my karma, I guess (4, Funny)

istartedi (132515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474925)

Well, you see it's like... oh hold on, I have to step away from the computer, I'm laughing so hard... OK, it's like don't worry about your karma because you see... hold on... I need to get some more of these cookies. These cookies are awesome and all of the sudden I just can't seem to get enough of... hold on, I think I'm going to have another laughing fit... umm... you see, oh, something about some "news for nerds" question. Dude, just chill out. Haven't you ever looked up at the stars and thought, that light is touching my face and it was touching a start? So thats why it's news for nerds.

Short answer: (4, Insightful)

Durrok (912509) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474533)

No and that is why voting among American citizens is extremely low.

Re:Short answer: (2, Informative)

linkedlinked (1001508) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474577)

If I recall, the exact same thing happened in Ann Arbor, Michigan, not too long ago. Marijuana is already decriminalized, and 57% voted for medicinal legalization. I went to one of the rallies (there were plenty) outside the courthouse to protest the city council's overturning of the matter.

WTF No Link?? (0)

dave1g (680091) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474535)

There are no links to the actual news story... surely this was covered in the local paper or something???

Re:WTF No Link?? (2, Informative)

saforrest (184929) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474579)

There are no links to the actual news story... surely this was covered in the local paper or something???

A Google News search revealed this story [newwest.net] which elaborates on the details in the article summary.

if you needed more proof your vote doesn't count (1)

jt418-93 (450715) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474539)

this is it.

the government is so far removed from the ppl they don't even try to make it look legit anymore.

it would not matter if an entire state voted to allow medical weed, the feds just ignore it.

they can not allow anything to subvert their insane war on a plant. but hey, enjoy that beer and a cig! they are much safer.

huh? (2, Informative)

AusIV (950840) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474713)

the government is so far removed from the ppl they don't even try to make it look legit anymore.

Do you have any idea what you're talking about? First, nobody told the voters they got to choose the law, they simply got to advise the council. If they're not happy with the way the council took their advice, next election they can replace the council.

it would not matter if an entire state voted to allow medical weed, the feds just ignore it.

State != feds. If a state has a law contradicting a federal law, the federal law overrules. By definition, the fed ignores state laws - it's not their job to enforce them, and federal laws take priority. This was a county level law. Corruption in one county (and I'm not saying this is a case of corruption) is hardly evidence of corruption on a state or federal level.

Re:huh? (3, Informative)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475001)

...nobody told the voters they got to choose the law,... State != feds. If a state has a law contradicting a federal law, the federal law overrules.
Please, allow me to direct you to the Bill of Rights. The 10th amendment states:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved for the States respectively, or to the people."

Now, the federal government claims all rights and allows the people to obey... But it isn't just the federal government, Governor Rick Perry tried to mandate the HPV vaccine to Texan girls without proper legislation... It's only natural for county government to follow the examples set by the larger government bodies... Why listen to the people when don't want to?

We've dealt with [wikipedia.org] this same problem before. So did the French [wikipedia.org] , and with a particularly nasty device [wikipedia.org] .

Re:if you needed more proof your vote doesn't coun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18474979)

it would not matter if an entire state voted to allow medical weed, the feds just ignore it.

I have this crazy insane fantasy that I know will never happen. California votes to legalize marijuana, and then of course federal agents come in to arrest some people to "make an example" but then, in my fantasy world, the governor of California mobilizes the national guard and has the federal agents arrested, and then goes on TV and says, "ok federal government, what are you going to do? You are NOT going to fight a civil war over this because you don't have the balls tha Lincoln had. So your choices are, 1: get over it, or 2: oh wait, there is no 2."

Well, welcome to a republic (1)

vivaoporto (1064484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474555)

Where the elected representative and not the people are the ones that, in the end, make the decision. While it is a surprise that it happens in such a low level in the power hierarchy, it is not like it doesn't happens all the time on Washington. Switzerland has a democracy, it suits better to their needs. America has a republic, used to be good when the representative to people ratio was around 30000, but not anymore.

You can change who is in charge, but they are the ones who will decide for you.

Re:Well, welcome to a republic (1)

vivaoporto (1064484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474573)

Err ... read that people/representative ratio. While it could be good to have 30000 representative for every single person on the country, it would be expensive to buy all those gold plated toilet seats.

Re:Well, welcome to a republic (1)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474917)

Switzerland has a democracy, it suits better to their needs. America has a republic
1) Please look up "democracy" and "republic" in a dictionary. Realize that "democracy" includes indirect democracy, which is effectively the same thing as a democratic republic. If you mean direct democracy, say direct democracy.

2) States, for the most part, govern themselves. They can set up their local governments however they like. Some states [iandrinstitute.org] and localities do allow direct democracy through ballot initiatives. That this one was able to be overturned is a quirk of local laws, not a necessity of "republic".

Re:Well, welcome to a republic (2, Informative)

SheldonLinker (231134) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474973)

Many states in the United States are replublics. Some (I have no idea how many) are hybrid republics and democracies. One such state is California. In California, one can petition to have a measure put on the ballot. Once sufficient signatures are gathered, the measure goes on the ballot. If the measure is submitted to the ballot as a proposed law, then 50%+1 voters can make it a law, although the law can still be overturned by a supermajority of the legislature, I think 75%. However, if the measure is sumbitted to the ballot as a proposed constitutional amendment, and it passes (I think the number then required is 60%, but I'm not sure), there's nothing the legislature can do about it. This is how, in the so-called "Proposition 13 revolution", we took away the legislature's ability to levy tax at all.

In California, legislators and the governor must also be wary of a second democratic power: The power to recall any or all of them. When ex-governor Grey Davis pulled a stunt similar to the one described above, his term as governor was terminated abruptly.

So, what can you do about it if you live in a republic? You can move to a democracy, or you can only vote for people who promise to turn the republic into a democracy.

Happens all the time (1)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474561)

Here in Oklahoma, we brought the lottery to a vote three times and it passed all three times, but we never got the lottery until about a year after the third time.
Could it be that the only reason this is being brought up is because it has to do with marijuana?

Re:Happens all the time (0, Troll)

SpaghettiCoder (1073236) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474659)

You guys have got no sense at all. When we complain about American imperialism, you say well our culture dominates the world get used to it (you mean McDonald's haha), call us leftists and then complain when you find out you aren't even the American empire you're just serfs in the control of the few. When something nerdy gets posted to Slashdot and someone like me replies with analysis and information we don't get modded up unless it's a banal one-liner. So what the hell. Bollocks to you all. We'd like to help you on this issue but you gave us Nixon and now GW Bush. Have fun.

Re:Happens all the time (2, Insightful)

technoextreme (885694) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474819)

You guys have got no sense at all. When we complain about American imperialism, you say well our culture dominates the world get used to it (you mean McDonald's haha), call us leftists and then complain when you find out you aren't even the American empire you're just serfs in the control of the few. When something nerdy gets posted to Slashdot and someone like me replies with analysis and information we don't get modded up unless it's a banal one-liner. So what the hell. Bollocks to you all. We'd like to help you on this issue but you gave us Nixon and now GW Bush. Have fun.

The thing is that our government is supposed to be designed like this from the very begining because sometimes majority rule sucks and you get morons who try to use this very same referdums in other states to ban gay marriage and restrict the rights of other people.

Re:Happens all the time (1)

SpaghettiCoder (1073236) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474911)

Gee-whiz Captain America I didn't know majority rule sucks. Where in the Constitution does it say that? Hehehe, so when you guys vote for something, it's not supposed to be taken seriously. OK, I learned something...

Re:Happens all the time (5, Interesting)

scoove (71173) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474687)

Here in Oklahoma, we brought the lottery to a vote three times and it passed all three times, but we never got the lottery until about a year after the third time.

In Nebraska, we've voted in term limits for our state legislators three times. Because Nebraska has the nation's only unicameral (meaning only one congressional body, rather than two like a house and senate), the people's vote via referendum is considered the check and balance of "the other house."

In all three cases, the legislators threw the term limits out (which limit them to only a few terms). They refuse to leave, and have deemed the overwhelming majority vote of the people to be either caused by confusion reading ballets or just plain wrong.

Because the people kept on sending out petitions to get it back on the ballot and voted on, the legislature decided to fix that. They made all sorts of new rules on the petition process, cutting the time to circulate petitions in half, doubling the required amount of votes, using nefarious methods to reject signatures, etc.

Once you let someone be a full-time politician, the power goes to their head. The influence of lobbyists and the nice gifts they bring matters much more than any pathetic constituent. Show me someone who's a life-long politician and I'll show you a crook - party need not matter.

Re:Happens all the time (1)

SpaghettiCoder (1073236) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474769)

Wow! Insightful.. Hope you're insightful enough to tell your elected representatives to leave the building when they're voted out of office.

Take back the government. It was yours all along. (3, Insightful)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474837)

>The influence of lobbyists and the nice gifts they bring matters much more than any pathetic constituent.

Two possible reasons for this, both curable by voter action.

First possibility, the politician cares more about booze and hookers in the short term than about getting reelected to get more booze and hookers in his next term. Voters can fix that every time someone's term comes up.

Second possibility, the lobbyist gifts actually influence elections. In the US, literal vote-buying is rare. Politicians want money for their campaigns so they can buy TV ads. Voters can fix that problem too, by ignoring TV campaign ads and by talking politics with their friends to drown out the campaign ads ("Joe, Joe, who do you think is going to be good for your family? Are you going to believe me, or some ad agency from New York?").

When somebody does a bad job it's their fault. When you can fire them and you don't it's your fault.

Re:Take back the government. It was yours all alon (1)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474885)

Are you going to believe me, or some ad agency from New York?


Who are you? Some would be politician who's too lazy, or crazy, to get on the ballot? With your telling your friend how to vote as opposed to letting him make a decision on his own, one wonders.

Re:Take back the government. It was yours all alon (4, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475021)

With your telling your friend how to vote as opposed to letting him make a decision on his own, one wonders.

Yes, only those with the finances to have their opinions televised should be allowed to express opinions or influence people. We little people shouldn't think too hard or speak too loudly, it might cause us to forget our place.

Re:Happens all the time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18474847)

>Because the people kept on sending out petitions to get it back on the ballot
>and voted on, the legislature decided to fix that. They made all sorts of new
>rules on the petition process, cutting the time to circulate petitions in half,
>doubling the required amount of votes, using nefarious methods to reject
>signatures, etc.

Or maybe it's because the population is now so lopsided in favor of Omaha-Lincoln that the rest of the state is getting tired of being railroaded by the urban liberals.

Obligatory quote from Stripes (1)

Gary W. Longsine (124661) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474853)

"...and then, depression set in."

Simple solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18474861)

Stop voting them back in

Re:Happens all the time (1)

fyrewulff (702920) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474901)

I live in Nebraska too.. but I thought the Senate terms stuck? 20 senators were ineligible to run again.

http://www.ncsl.org/programs/legismgt/ABOUT/effect s0tl-2006.htm [ncsl.org]


The petition laws were changed because we had waaaay too many out-of-state interests and companies spamming us with petitions, especially the Casinos, because their bank account for spending on it is for all intents and purposes, bottomless. Half the people that you saw hawking petitions didn't even live in Nebraska and got paid per signature! I couldn't even take a walk in the Old Market in Omaha each night without someone bugging me to sign a petition.

use the last two boxes (0, Redundant)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474971)

soap,ballot,jury,ammo. you used the first two, try the third, and then go enforce your state's term limit. If nothing else the bad national PR should bring them down.

Where's the source? (1)

Kuroji (990107) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474567)

While I may agree with the sentiments expressed in the article... why on earth do we have an article posted in the first place without a link? Kind of defeats the entire purpose, doesn't it, if there's nothing we can read to verify any of this?

Re:Where's the source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18474891)

Considering hardly anyone around here actually reads the articles, it's not such a big deal.

Follow the money (4, Interesting)

pyite69 (463042) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474583)

The government taxes and spends a LOT of money to prosecute the war on drugs. Virtually every department gets a cut.

It is only logical that a county attorney would want to continue prosecuting these cases, otherwise he might have to cut staff and save the taxpayers a few bucks.

Some articles (4, Informative)

j1m+5n0w (749199) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474589)

There was no link in the story, so here's some that seem to be relevant.

An article [newwest.net]

relevant Google news search [google.com]

Democracy (5, Interesting)

xman6 (897911) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474637)

It's been said by Jean-Jacque Rousseau in the Social Contract that Democracy stops being Democracy (Democracy in the sense of Voting for Opinion vs the difference between Democracy and Republicanism) when the Government stops being a representative for the people. Once that happens it becomes an oppressive tyranical force something akin to a Dictatorship which is the ultimate end of Democractic rule, hence why its been said that every Democractic society needs to continuously reinvent itself and suffer a civil upheavel or it will become a Dictatorship in rule but a Democracy in name, this is the worst type of Dictatorship since it abuses not only the people it controls but also lies to the truth of its own existance. I would rather live under a Dictatorship which acknowledged it was rather than one who said it wasn't. Hence why I'm glad I live in Canada, although we still face many problems along the same lines but not as bad yet.

DO NOT CLICK THE LINK IN THE STORY - GOATSE LINK! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18474591)

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like TROLLING.

Re:DO NOT CLICK THE LINK IN THE STORY - GOATSE LIN (0, Offtopic)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474631)

OK, that was bizarre -- even coming from an AC...

Please post the link. (1)

Pinkfud (781828) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474601)

I'm glad to see this happens elsewhere. I thought maybe Arizona had a monopoly on that. Here, they hold a vote, then decide whether to follow the result or not. Whenever they choose not to, their excuse is usually "the voters didn't understand this".

Re:Please post the link. (1)

CristalShandaLear (762536) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474907)

That's exactly what happened here in Cincinnati, OH, specifically, Hamilton County.

Our County Commissioners (there are 3) decided that we need a new jail. However most people feel that the new jail is only to support a marijuana ordinance that no one likes and to keep people in jail longer instead of house arrest or court mandated treatment for drug offenses.

They put it on the ballot last November and it was overwhelmingly voted down. The County Commissioners stated, "This does not mean the voters don't want a jail, they just don't want a new tax." They've also said that the voters simply didn't understand the ballot or got hoodwinked into voting no on the jail when they really meant yes.

Nothing could be further from the truth. We said no, we meant no. There are several groups, a news blog committed to updating the status and another website that are dedicated to make sure the voters aren't shafted.

Seems to me that thanks to Bush, this is getting to be a trend no matter what State or County you live in. He simply passes whatever Congress puts out and says he doesn't have to follow the law. Likewise, the voters vote and the politicians find a way to do an end run around the voters.

It's a shame how our democracy gets hijacked and one more reason to get Bush and anyone who thinks like him out of public office.

And for the person who asked, "What does this have to do with 'news for nerds' well let me tell you: fledgling computer geek or no, I want to know when my civil liberties and fundamental right to suffrage are being threatened. That's news for geeks and anyone else who wants to salvage the shreds of democracy we still have left and put things back to rights.

References for this post:
The Cincinnati Beacon [cincinnatibeacon.com]
No Jail Tax website [nojailtax.org]

Link (4, Informative)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474605)

http://www.missoulian.com/articles/2007/03/24/news /local/news04.txt [missoulian.com]

Man -- and I thought *I* was lazy. But too lazy to Google it? Wow.

Re:Link (1)

charlieo88 (658362) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474787)

Marijuana will do that.

The Missing Link (1)

swimmar132 (302744) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474613)

One state at a time... (4, Interesting)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474629)

People can change things... especially if you start one state at a time.

Each state has 2% of the Senate vote.

Montana seems to have 2 Democrat senators... maybe they should start a groundswell by voting in some libertarians [lp.org] who wouldn't put up for that stuff.

Re:One state at a time... (1)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474741)

And that would change things how? This is at the county level, not the federal level.

Not only that, what would two Libertarians do? They would still be out voted by all the rest of the scum.

And one more thing, are Libertarians really the answer? What about a Green or a Socialist? That is if you think that politicians actually will do anything for anyone besides themselves and the people giving them money.

Do what I do, you will have as much affect on the political system as you do currently. Vote Anarchist.

Re:One state at a time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18474887)

Your website needs a FAQ that clearly states WTF you would want, in a perfect world.

Bear in mind that regular people live in the regular world, so becareful of what you wish for.

There, proof that democracy doesn't work. (1)

FMota91 (1050752) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474633)

And seeing that communism isn't exactly the solution we're looking for, let's all convert to imperialism. ....What?!

Re:There, proof that democracy doesn't work. (2, Interesting)

SpaghettiCoder (1073236) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474803)

LOL. Exactly. You're already there with the 'imperialism'. Watch now as the idiots' faces fall when they realise this is how we saw them all along. Tyrannised. We ain't getting modded up for this either.. Maybe we should tell them they're 'free Romans' or something. LOL

I was there (5, Informative)

steampoweredlawngnom (996400) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474635)

That meeting just reinforced my opinion that voting is pointless. There were 30 or so people who implored the commitee and commissioners not to amend the initiative, and 5 people ask them to amend it, 3 of which were law enforcement, one man was very, very elderly, and one man who actually claimed that "it was much harder for me to get off pot than marijuana."

The county prosecutor opened the meeting by telling us that we did not understand the initiative, to which many of us, myself included, assured him that we read the initiative in its entirety, and did understand it. When everybody was done speaking, he came back up and told us that he disagreed with us, and that we still did not understand the initiative. In addition, he showed us a map showing how the votes were distributed, and told us that since most of the votes were centered around the "metropolitan" area of Missoula, and not so much in the surrounding areas of the county, that it was not fair to voters to have this initiative.

I really enjoy living in Missoula for a number of reasons, but the local government is not one of them.

For the record, I did vote, and will continue to, regardless of my opinion that voting is purely symbolic.

Missoula (5, Insightful)

Gary W. Longsine (124661) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474813)

I live in Missoula and discussed this initiative with quite a few people, none of whom are consumers of unregulated or illegal substances. They all voted for this, and they all understood it clearly. "The police should be investigating real crimes" was the most commonly cited reason. There are unsolved robberies every week in this town that receive, as far as anyone can tell, scant police attention. Police can build careers and the county can confiscate property (and generate revenue) "busting people for drugs" but investigating robberies is hard work and not glamorous in any way. The people of Missoula county understand this clearly. The people who overturned this will very likely be voted out of office next chance.

Re:Missoula (1)

Hektor_Troy (262592) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474975)

The people who overturned this will very likely be voted out of office next chance.
Of course they won't. You forget, you don't live in a democracy, you live in a republic. And as such, your votes means less than it otherwise would (as this so obviously shows) and the entire process will be labled as merely a guidance, and they'll stay in office.

Re:I was there (1)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474821)

Why don't you stop taking the lazy way out and instead of voting symbolicly, run for office.

Re:I was there (5, Insightful)

steampoweredlawngnom (996400) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474841)

Because I'm a 22 year old agnostic pothead without the type of connections to cover up the latter two reasons.

reason enough?

Re:I was there (1)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474895)

Being agnostic doesn't result in you turning blue. If you don't talk about it, nobody will know. And you can always stop with the pot. See, that was easy. Besides, if the county commisioners are wrong then stinking of weed will help you get elected.

you are contradicting your own point (3, Insightful)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474823)

a) You don't vote, "because it doesn't matter."

b) Elected officials don't do things the way you would.

Are you on the weed or what?

Why do you not vote for someone who thinks like you do? Don't tell me it doesn't matter, because you already told me you didn't vote, so we can't really know, now can we?

Personally, I think the problem is that we have ended up with a binary choice for elected officals; Assholes and Dimwits. The de-facto two party system just doesn't cover the real-world spectrum of opinion, including those who self-select to opt out of the system because, wah, wah, there is noone who exactly represents them exactly.

change is incremental, but if you don't vote you are stuck with no hope of change. If everyone who didn't vote "because it doesn't matter" voted for someone other than the two big parties it might give those of us who vote holding our nose a hint that other out there care too.

I always vote.

Sometimes "my guy" wins, sometimes he loses. I am almost always disappointed either way, by the policies that the guy in office advocates. Usually it seems like elected officials do something, just to be doing something, which is almost always wrong.

Hmm, maybe there isn't much difference, other than the fact that I can at least say "I tried".

Re:you are contradicting your own point (1)

nagora (177841) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474857)

a) You don't vote, "because it doesn't matter."

Er... he didn't say that.

Re:you are contradicting your own point (2, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474945)

I know it can be hard, but if you look at the words that he said in order, without deleting or inserting anything, the ones towards the end of the post say:

"For the record, I did vote, and will continue to, regardless of my opinion that voting is purely symbolic"

Looks like he voted to me.

Re:I was there (1)

Raven_Stark (747360) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474863)

I signed the ballot initiative and voted for it knowing full well what it said. I missed this meeting though. Is there any local pro-legalization group in Missoula that I could join?

Links to the full story (2, Informative)

steveness (872331) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474643)

Discussion of the initiative:

Article [missoulian.com] in local paper.
The actual initiative [missoula.mt.us]

The current story [missoulian.com] .

You're welcome.

Link to article and text of measure (2, Informative)

viking80 (697716) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474649)

Measure (This is actually short and readable. Maybe you will place it on the ballot in your county?)
http://www.co.missoula.mt.us/Election/Marijuana_Ii nit.pdf [missoula.mt.us]
Article
http://www.missoulian.com/articles/2007/03/24/news /local/news04.txt [missoulian.com]

A similar thing happened in my town (4, Interesting)

DrJimbo (594231) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474653)

The chairman of the Democratic party in my county pulled a trick to prevent a motion to initiate impeachment of President Bush [impeachbush.tv] from even getting voted on. There was great outrage among local Democrats. We had a county Democratic convention today. It was early Saturday morning but I showed up. It was the first convention I've ever attended but I was pissed off that the will of the people had been subverted.

A new more progressive chair and vice-chair were voted in unanimously. You can make a difference, especially by starting at the local level and working your way up.

must have been the jew. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18474663)

the jew is going around.

Words to think about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18474683)

From --
The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Democracy is a violation of human rights (1, Insightful)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474705)

Voting with a ballot is fundamentally flawed as the appeal of next-to-last resort in dispute processing. Voting with your feet is superior as it allows people to move to where their ballot means something -- but you can't allow people to vote with their feet unless their feet have territory to go to. That's why the whole idea of "democracy" limited by a laundry list of "minority rights" is merely a sham to let various nation states maintain their current territorial boundaries while they subject their populations to a tyranny of the managerial elites who "interpret the laws" for the rest of us. If people could simply say: "Bye. I'm taking my territory with me." this nonsense would stop fast.

We live under a defacto theocracy, with an entire canon of state enforced "morality" -- not just "anti-drug" but also "anti-racist [fairhousinglaw.org] " dogma, forced down the throat of an unwilling people by a managerial elite that think they're called by God or something to tell the rest of us how to live our lives.

There is only one fundamental human right from which all other options for living can be chosen:

The right to freedom of association with people of like mind upon land you have a natural right to occupy.

The rest is details or theocratic aggression.

Re:Democracy is a violation of human rights (2, Insightful)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474903)

One problem with your thesis. And that is there is no such thing as a "natural right". You have what rights are given to you by the community you live in. Unfortunately, the state has taken away the ability for the community to hand out rights, and now claims that to itself.

So, you don't have any natural right to occupy any land.

I'm not really disagreeing with you otherwise, just arguing a point.

(I don't believe in a god either. I'm so going straight to hell, except I don't believe in that either.)

Same behavior new state (5, Informative)

bhalter80 (916317) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474725)

This is the same behavior exhibited by the Massachusetts legislature in 2000 when the tax payers voted on a binding referendum to lower the state income tax rate from 5.3% to 5.0%. This time period was during a $1B annual surplus but the legislators stated that it was not finacially wise for the state to lower the tax rate and that the resulting decrease would not significantly benefit the tax payers in terms of cold hard cash. As it was a binding referendum the legislators simply passed a bill the next day to raise the tax rate back to 5.3%

Why I dont vote (5, Insightful)

Quzak (1047922) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474727)

This only confirms the reason why I and many others simply do not vote. Votes are simply subverted, and ignorance is usually cited by those in power.

The voters probably did not understand the wording of the ballot.
The voters probably did not understand what they are voting on.
The voters are too stupid to vote so just project the illusion that their votes matter.

I for one am sick and tired of the government and those in power who think they are above the voters. Government and those who work for the Government exist to serve the public, not the other way around.

Re:Why I dont vote (4, Insightful)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474935)

None of those are reasons not to vote. They're just excuses for being lazy.

Even if you believe that your vote doesn't matter what do you lose from voting besides time ?

On the other hand, if you're wrong, and your vote does make a difference then you've had some say in the politics that affect your every day life. If that doesn't matter to you then, by all means, stay home and jerk off while others who actually care go out and try to change things for the better.

Even if they're just wasting their time at least they're actually doing something.

The way I see it you have three options:

1) You vote and try to change things through the system (writing angry letters, protesting etc.)
2) You don't vote and instead gather a group of supporters and draw arms and try to overthrow your government by force.
3) You do nothing and justify it by saying how futile doing something would be.

It's Cannabis, not marijuana (5, Informative)

essence (812715) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474753)

The correct name is Cannabis. Marijuana refers to cannabis sativa strains originating in Mexico. There is also cannabis indica, which is lower in THC (the 'high') and higher in CBD (which is more beneficial in some medical cases, such as cataplexy).

There are also two other main strains, Industrial Hemp being one of them, but also another which i cannot remember the name of.

Re:It's Cannabis, not marijuana (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18475019)

The correct name is Cannabis. Marijuana refers to cannabis sativa strains originating in Mexico. There is also cannabis indica, which is lower in THC (the 'high') and higher in CBD (which is more beneficial in some medical cases, such as cataplexy).

There are also hybrid strains.

Most of the 'stuff' you get on the street would consist mostly of indica since it's much easier to grow, flowers in a shorter period of time, grows much shorter (and thus is easier to grow indoors) and has much higher yields.

It's also worth noting that sativa produces a very thought-provoking "in the head" kind of psychedelic high while indica produces the "pothead" high where you feel glued to the couch.

The vast majority of marijuana strains out there that are grown and sold (in North America, or places where it's illegal anyway) are hybrids. It's very rare to get a 'pure sativa' or 'pure indica' strain unless you go somewhere where people grow and breed the stuff selectively and legally (the Netherlands etc.) But growers who do so illegally and for profit generally prefer strains that are mostly indica for the reasons stated above.

Of course many growers have absolutely no idea what they're growing since the seeds were pulled out of a bag bought on the street, or they got a cutting/clone from a fellow grower. But thanks to the Internet you can now order seeds from breeders who tell you what you're getting.

Assuming the seed banks are giving accurate information about what they're selling, you can have a look through their ordering catalogues and you'll see that strains that are pure indica or pure sativa are almost non-existant, though there are some that come close.

Search for "marijuana seed bank" on Google and you'll get tons of seed banks.

freedom (1)

Todamont (1034534) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474801)

After so many countless Americans have fought and died to protect our freedom, we end up with fascist totalitarianism. It's like they all died in vane.

Re:freedom (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474879)

After so many countless Americans have fought and died to protect our freedom, we end up with fascist totalitarianism. It's like they all died in vane.
They did not die in vain so long as we still have the means to shoot the bastards in the head and overthrow the government. That day is still quite a long way off, but it's closer ever time some asshat throws out a popular vote because "they didn't understand what they were voting for".

To the rest of the world (4, Insightful)

Centurix (249778) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474815)

American democracy is a form of entertainment. A stage show, which certainly does not take requests from the audience.

Re:To the rest of the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18474905)

lol - this is closer to the truth than you think, many countries that America is trying to convert do not want Americas version of democracy because it is a sham.

That's why we have an Electoral College (2, Informative)

Fuyu (107589) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474869)

What happened in Missoula County is similar to how the Electoral College works. Voters in the US do not directly elect the President and Vice President, but choosing the electors. Electors are members of the Electoral College who actually elect the President.

From http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral -college/faq.html [archives.gov] , "In the early 1800's, the term 'electoral college' came into general usage as the unofficial designation for the group of citizens selected to cast votes for President and Vice President. It was first written into Federal law in 1845, and today the term appears in 3 U.S.C. section 4, in the section heading and in the text as 'college of electors.'"

"It is possible that an elector could ignore the results of the popular vote, but that occurs very rarely. Your vote helps decide which candidate receives your State's electoral votes."

Why do we have an Electoral College? Because back in the 1800's, it took too long to count the popular votes. In addition, from http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/thepoliticalsystem/a /electcollege_3.htm [about.com] "The Founding Fathers feared the direct popular election option. There were no organized national political parties yet, no structure by which to choose and limit the number of candidates. In addition, travel and communication was slow and difficult at that time. A very good candidate could be popular regionally, but remain unknown to the rest of the country. A large number of regionally popular candidates would thus divide the vote and not indicate the wishes of the nation as a whole.

On the other hand, election by Congress would require the members to both accurately assess the desires of the people of their states and to actually vote accordingly. This could have led to elections that better reflected the opinions and political agendas of the members of Congress than the actual will of the people.

As a compromise, we have the Electoral College system."

So much for representative democracy (1)

nikolajsheller (553835) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474931)

In Soviet Russia, you represent Democracy!

Anybody want an elected office in Montana? (3, Insightful)

iabervon (1971) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474949)

Ballot initiatives don't have much of a direct effect (although the actual news story [newwest.net] I found says that they're still deprioritizing non-felony possession), but one of the commissioners who voted to change the initiative needs to run for re-election in 2008. If anyone plausible wants her job, it probably wouldn't be hard to defeat her on a platform of not second-guessing the electorate and the pot declaration that voters already went for.

On a serious note (0, Flamebait)

SpaghettiCoder (1073236) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474959)

Ganja is in the dominion of Jah, and is not within the jurisdiction of the governments of men. Anyone who takes a stand against cannabis is putting themselves at war with their own soul. All of you smokers know this is true, but can't be explained or admitted in public.

Why I don't vote (0, Flamebait)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474983)

This is exactly why I don't vote, & never will.

Coincidentally... (2, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18474991)

You know, it was 75 years ago this month since marijuana was banned by the federal government. Use of this weed has risen every year since then. Could it be that the law just isn't working? Naw...

Ah! Ah! (1)

Chtulhu (1033546) | more than 7 years ago | (#18475003)

you were pwned!
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