Rantlets: Cocaine, Terrorism, Tea Parties and Separation of Powers

  • The Obama administration has come out in favor of eliminating the disparity in sentencing between crack and powder cocaine. Presumably this means lowering the penalty for the crack, what with the last two Presidents widely suspected of using the powder form and the current one an admitted former user. The real question is how something sold without harm in corner shops all over America without so much as a prescription until the early 20th century and that, apparently, doesn’t disqualify holding the highest office in the land as either a Republican or Democrat merits any prison time at all.
    End the cocaine disparity
  • Second, with appropriate apologies to Newt Gingrich, we ought to say flatly that if you enter the United States with the intention of committing mass murder, you will receive a tougher penalty than if you import a commercial quantity of illegal drugs, powdered or otherwise. But apparently, while importing drugs merits a death penalty under the old Gingrich plan, conspiring with al Qaeda terrorists in the days preceding the September 11 attacks merits “as many as 15 years in prison.” In Eric Holder’s book, this “reflects what we can achieve when we have faith in our criminal justice system and are unwavering in our commitment to the values upon which this nation was founded and the rule of law.” Hearing that, I almost want that humble Texan that harassed John Ashcroft on his sickbed back figuring out how to get around that damned piece of paper for his boss. Almost.
    Marri Admits Conspiring With Al-Qaeda Operatives; Faces Up to 15 Years
  • I haven’t commented on the tea party phenomenon, mostly because I think it came three years too late. Still, it’s interesting to see the embrace of the “tea party” movement by Republican leaders who last year were scared when the word “revolution” was uttered in reference to a conservative grassroots movement. I guess a revolution is out, but a tea party, well, that’s just fun, right? Do these folks not know what happened two and a half years after the Boston Tea Party? Well, probably not. After all, to anyone who can’t remember that in 1980 and 1994 “revolution” was a perfectly respectable word in Republican circles, 1776 really is ancient history. Of course, given the fact that those revolutions were largely betrayed from within, it’s little wonder that the bigwigs are a bit nervous.
  • A group of 20 Chrysler creditors may be doing us all a huge favor. Not the saving of a few piddling billion more taxpayer dollars going to Chrysler, but, with any luck, helping preserve one of the vital principles of the damned piece of paper – separation of powers. One of the lawyers, Tom Lauria, got right to the heart of the problem:

    I’ve never seen the President of the United States personally thrust himself into a bankruptcy case. The executive branch is going to be present in the court and it will really put pressure on the court to demonstrate to the people of this country that it’s watching what’s going on in an independent and unbiased way.

    30 to 60 days in bankruptcy? Maybe, if the executive branch hadn’t overstepped its bounds in the first place that would actually be possible. Instead, all the attempts to delay the inevitable are likely to create issues that will be resolved in the Supreme Court a few years down the road.
    Chrysler lender group plans objection to sale

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