Jeff Sessions Just Demonstrated Why We Need to Decentralize Government

January 5, 2018 in News by Slad

 

Source: Liberty Blitzkrieg | Michael Krieger 

Late last year, I wrote a series of posts where I highlighted three specific areas I thought the U.S. government might overreach and do something really stupid in 2018. Jeff Sessions didn’t waste any time making my first prediction look prescient.

Here’s an excerpt from that post, Expect Desperate and Insane Behavior From Government in 2018 – Part 1 (Cannabis):

Today’s topic is cannabis. This seems the least likely area for government action, specifically because it would be such a monumentally stupid move. That said, just because something’s idiotic doesn’t mean we should simply discount it, particularly with human fossil Jeff Sessions continuing to chirp on the issue every chance he gets.

If the Trump administration actually moves on this issue, we’ll know for sure how completely inept and desperate it is. Part of me almost wants to see them try, because the resulting monumental fail will demonstrate the power of the people and give a gigantic black eye to authoritarians in government.

Stuff like this is all part of the process we’ll be going through over the next few years, and we need to be mentally prepared for it. We the people will increasingly move to take sovereignty back in a variety of ways, and government will respond with panic. The good news is they’ll be reacting from a position of weakness, not strength.

Fast forward one month, and Jeff Sessions couldn’t help himself from doing something monumentally stupid and evil, both politically and ethically.

Here’s a brief summary of the changes from the AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Jeff Sessions has rescinded an Obama-era policy that paved the way for legalized marijuana to flourish in states across the country, creating new confusion about enforcement and use just three days after a new legalization law went into effect in California.

President Donald Trump’s top law enforcement official announced the change Thursday. Instead of the previous lenient-federal-enforcement policy, Sessions’ new stance will instead let federal prosecutors where marijuana is legal decide how aggressively to enforce longstanding federal law prohibiting it.

As I noted in last year’s post, in an incredibly toxic, divisive and insane political environment there are very few things Americans across the country and across partisan lines agree on. Cannabis legalization is one of them.

To give you a sense of just how strong the consensus is against what Sessions wants to do, take a look at some of the results from Gallup’slatest poll on the topic.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans continue to warm to legalizing marijuana, with 64% now saying its use should be made legal. This is the highest level of public support Gallup has found for the proposal in nearly a half-century of measurement.

Gallup first asked national adults about their views on the topic in 1969, when 12% supported legalization. Support had more than doubled by the end of the next decade but changed little throughout the 1980s and 1990s. By 2001, however, about a third of Americans favored legalizing marijuana, and support has steadily increased since. A majority of Americans have consistently supported legalizing marijuana since 2013.

Democrats and independents have historically been much more likely than Republicans to say marijuana should be legalized. In 2009, Democrats were the first partisan group to see majority support for legalization, followed by independents in 2010.

This year for the first time, a majority of Republicans express support for legalizing marijuana; the current 51% is up nine percentage points from last year.

If I were Donald Trump, furious wouldn’t even begin to describe how I’d feel right now. Not only is such a move incredibly unpopular across party lines, it’s patently ridiculous for him to prioritize such an issue given all the enormous problems facing the country. It also represents a clear and blatant attack against states’ rights, something Republicans claim to stand for. Finally, he’s giving the Democrats a winning issue on a silver platter for 2018. Dems can simply decide to rally around cannabis legalization, which will throw Trump into a corner and pave the way for a midterm sweep. Jeff Sessions just put Trump and the entire GOP in a terrible position for absolutely no good reason. Not only is he a petty fossil, he’s very, very stupid.

In fact, it’s so bad several Republican Senators immediately called him out on the move. Here’s what the Republican Senator from my state of Colorado had to say on Twitter.

This reported action directly contradicts what Attorney General Sessions told me prior to his confirmation. With no prior notice to Congress, the Justice Department has trampled on the will of the voters in CO and other states.

I am prepared to take all steps necessary, including holding DOJ nominees, until the Attorney General lives up to the commitment he made to me prior to his confirmation.

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, also a Republican, chimed in as well:

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) also weighed in on Thursday, stating in a Facebook post that she had “repeatedly discouraged Attorney General Sessions from taking this action.”

“Alaskans are waking up to media reports that the US Department of Justice is withdrawing the ‘Cole Memorandum,’ an Obama era policy statement that the federal government will respect state marijuana laws like Alaska’s,” she wrote. “My office can confirm that we received notification from the Justice Department this morning that they intended to withdraw the ‘Cole Memorandum.’ Over the past year I repeatedly discouraged Attorney General Sessions from taking this action and asked that he work with the states and Congress if he feels changes are necessary. Today’s announcement is disruptive to state regulatory regimes and regrettable.”

Then there’s Rand Paul:

“I continue to believe that this is a states’ rights issue, and the federal government has better things to focus on,” he said, according to Reason criminal justice reporter CJ Ciaramella.

As you can see, there’s a huge silver lining to all this. Sessions’ move is such a blatant attack on the will of the American public, it’ll remind many of us why states’ rights and local governance matter in the first place. In fact, this was a bedrock principle upon which this Republic was founded, despite the fact its application in practice has atrophied in recent decades. Personally, I think we’re going to see a major move toward political decentralization in the years ahead, and it’s actions like this one by disconnected, authoritarians like Jeff Sessions that will wake people of all political stripes up to the dangers of centralized government power.

For example, we also saw strong comments from Democratic politicians in cannabis friendly states.

The Hill reported:

Several state leaders said they would explore options to fight the decision.

“If news reports are accurate, today’s forthcoming announcement from Attorney General Sessions is the wrong direction for our state,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said in a statement. “Make no mistake: As we have told the Department of Justice ever since I-502 was passed in 2012, we will vigorously defend our state’s laws against undue federal infringement.” 

“My staff and state agencies are working to evaluate reports of the Attorney General’s decision and will fight to continue Oregon’s commitment to a safe and prosperous recreational marijuana market,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) said. 

Finally, here’s what the Colorado Attorney General, who was appointed by Sessions himself in November, had to say on the matter:

BREAKING: US attorney in Colorado says no change to marijuana enforcement despite Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ shift on pot policy.

Jeff Sessions is basically getting smacked down by the entirety of the American public for being a disconnected fool, and he’s reminding us “we the people” have local power that we can and will flex when necessary. This should be seen as a shot across the bow to those in Washington D.C. who think they can just boss around a diverse and sprawling population of 325 million people. Those days are coming to an end.

I shared some additional thoughts via Twitter earlier today. Here are a few:

Jeff Sessions is a perfect example of why centralized government power is so dangerous and evil.
Decentralize governance now.

The financial crisis showed us why we need a decentralized money system.
The coming years will show us why we need to decentralize government power.

We’re headed back to more local government.
It won’t happen overnight, but that’s where this is all headed.

Jeff Sessions inadvertently just did more for states’ rights than any other politician in modern U.S. history.

Thank you sir, your monumental idiocy will force Americans of all political leanings to rediscover the importance of freedom and the power of local government.

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In Liberty,
Michael Krieger