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Let's say a CEO does a great job for stockholders; he increases profits five-fold, treats the employees well, and causes the stock price to skyrocket. He's a superstar. One day the public learns that the CEO killed a guy to get ahead in his career, but the CEO doesn't get convicted because his clever attorney gets him off on a technicality. Assume in this hypothetical situation that the public correctly believes the CEO killed a guy to advance his career. Should the board of directors allow the superstar CEO to keep his job? Or is killing a guy to advance your career always a firing offense?

Okay, keep your answer in mind.

The next question is for supporters of President Obama. Let's say your political views map closely to the President's positions. He's your guy. But suppose you found out he once killed an American citizen in the United States to help his reelection. And assume, as with the CEO example, that the facts of the killing are undisputed and the President found a legal means to avoid prosecution. In that hypothetical case, would you still vote for President Obama? Or would you say it is a firing offense for a President to kill a citizen to advance his career?

I predict that every one of you favored firing the hypothetical CEO for killing a guy to get ahead. My second prediction is that every Republican reader of this blog favored firing President Obama in the hypothetical and imaginary case of him murdering a citizen to get elected. My third prediction is that supporters of President Obama will quibble with the hypothetical example, or my comparison to the CEO, or say President Obama is still a better option than Romney. In other words, for most supporters of President Obama, I don't think there is such a thing as a "firing offense."

For the record, President Obama did not technically kill anyone to get elected. That was just a hypothetical example. But he is putting an American citizen in jail for 10 years to life for operating medical marijuana dispensaries in California where it is legal under state law. And I assume the President - who has a well-documented history of extensive marijuana use in his youth - is clamping down on California dispensaries for political reasons, i.e. to get reelected. What other reason could there be?

One could argue that the President is just doing his job and enforcing existing Federal laws. That's the opposite of what he said he would do before he was elected, but lying is obviously not a firing offense for politicians.

Personally, I'd prefer death to spending the final decades of my life in prison. So while President Obama didn't technically kill a citizen, he is certainly ruining this fellow's life, and his family's lives, and the lives of countless other minor drug offenders. And he is doing it to advance his career. If that's not a firing offense, what the hell is?

Romney is likely to continue the same drug policies as the Obama administration. But he's enough of a chameleon and a pragmatist that one can't be sure. And I'm fairly certain he'd want a second term. He might find it "economical" to use federal resources in other ways than attacking California voters. And he is vocal about promoting states' rights, so he's got political cover for ignoring dispensaries in states where medical marijuana is legal.

So while I don't agree with Romney's positions on most topics, I'm endorsing him for president starting today. I think we need to set a minimum standard for presidential behavior, and jailing American citizens for political gain simply has to be a firing offense no matter how awesome you might be in other ways.

[Update: Congratulations to Politico for being the first to take this post out of context. I'm a little disappointed in Jezebel, Gawker and Salon for being slow to the party. Are all of their context-removers on vacation or something?]

[Update 2: Nipping on the heels of Politico, Mediaite.com weighs in with their own out-of-context outrage. They managed to throw in some charges of racism and something about rape. Well done.]

[Update 3: Kudos to Reason.com for doing a good job preserving the context of this post while still quoting from it. Notice their story headline shows they understand the central point of my post. And since their readership probably overlaps a lot with mine, my writing makes sense in their environment too. That rarely happens. -- Scott]

[Update 4: Meanwhile, at Huffington Post, where context goes to die, a key point in my blog post has been summarized as: ". . . cartoonist Scott Adams said he's under the impression Romney would be softer on marijuana than President Barack Obama." Is that how you would interpret my sentence "Romney is likely to continue the same drug policies as the Obama administration"? If not, you can't write for Huffington Post.

[Update 5: Daily Kos takes the context destruction trophy by proudly quoting from the Politico article's out-of-context treatment. Daily Kos scored a rare "double" by taking out of context a piece that was already out of context. Their under-informed readers chimed in to point out that they are sure I don't believe in evolution, which I've often publicly said meets the tests to be called a scientific fact. Another commenter points out that I must hate women because the Alice character is getting less time in Dilbert. You can't get that kind of insight anywhere but Daily Kos."

[Update 6: Newser.com gets an "A" for reporting the story objectively and even mentioning that context is an issue and readers can come here to see it in its native context. Nicely done.]

[Update 7: A little late to the party, but Gawker finally weighed in with a snarky dismissal of their misinterpretation of what I wrote. It's not a party until you guys show up. Can Jezebel be far behind?]


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Oct 17, 2012

[It's not about the specific topic or about betrayal. It's about jailing American citizens for political gain. Period. -- Scott]

[I don't even understand the McCain question. Do you think I'd be okay with McCain jailing Americans for political gain? -- Scott]

Sorry, I guess my last post WAS unclear. Allow me to post it again, this time hopefully making it clearer;

If it was McCain who had jailed someone for operating a medical marijuana clinic instead of Obama would you have reached the same conclusion? That he had done it for political reasons? I still find your suggestion that Romney would allow California to make its own drug laws to be highly unbelievable and can only suppose that you're rationalizing your support for the Republicans. And that the root cause for why you're doing this (and, I suppose, would not have had as much of a problem with a Republican jailing a medical marijuana dispenser) is you feel betrayed by the Democrats.

[Yes, I would have the same conclusion with McCain. It was a fair question though. -- Scott]
Oct 17, 2012

You have some beliefs I find bewildering.

The job of a politician is to get re-elected. (practical frame)
Anything a politician does to get elected is the job description. (rewriting definition of 'job description" to any and all behavior that is effectual--whatever you can get away with)
Cant fire someone for doing their job. (appeal to fairness--sanctifying concept of 'job description')

this string of reasoning is very interesting. you give the individual the power to write their job description. and you give the job description impunity to behave however it likes.

i imagine its an uphill battle for you to try to do what you think is right. Your powers of rationalization are formidable.

A lawyer once told me his creed, "Leave your morals on your doorstep when you leave for work". I told him that was the drugdealers creed. He didnt like that. In his mind that was an acceptable way to live his life, regardless what it authorized. he didnt want to consider what options that opened up, he was only concerned in justifying his brand of evil. Just because you dont explore the implications of your code doesnt mean you havent let the boogie man inside already. its a new dark room. check the closet. you authorized the entire room, not just the doorway.
Oct 17, 2012

[It's not about the specific topic or about betrayal. It's about jailing American citizens for political gain. Period. -- Scott]

If it was McCain who had done this instead of Obama would you have reached the same conclusion? That he had done it for political reasons? I still find your suggestion that Romney would reverse this policy to be highly unbelievable and can only suppose that you're rationalizing your support for the Republicans. And that the root cause for why you're doing this (and, I suppose, would not have had as much of a problem with a Republican doing this) is you feel betrayed by the Democrats.

[I don't even understand the McCain question. Do you think I'd be okay with McCain jailing Americans for political gain? -- Scott]
-3 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 17, 2012
I said I wouldn't post again, but this outrageous, lying calumny is enough to force me to make an exception.

Scott Adams has hit rock bottom. He's been utterly corrupted by his wealth and has become simultaneously a pimp and a prostitute for the Romney campaign.

He not only links President Obama, without a shred of jusitification, to this only recently publicized court case. He accuses the President of being directly, personally, and exclusively responsible for convicting and sentencing someone to ten years in jail. In reality, the President is busy with his campaign and probably doesn't even know about this case, let alone has been a participant in it.

Nobody else seems to be joining these dots. It's a meme that Adams has concocted for the pure sake of slandering President Obama.

There's various other calculated lies that litter this disgusting, slanderous post. Adams accuses Obama supporters -- without so much as a single particle of evidence to back up this astonishing charge -- of not believing that the President should be impeached even for murder. He equates manufacturing marijuana, which is the chief crime that Sandusky is being convicted of, with the President's use of marijuana in his youth -- as if it's a new concept invented by the Obama Administration that manufacture is punished far more heavily than use.

The last dregs of my respect for Adams have evaporated with this post. It's so calculated to smear President Obama, and for no other reason than for Adams to add to his pocket a little more. He's completed his descent into the gutter. He's joined his rich brethren on the pillory of the egocentric.

I predict that Adams will fade into irrelevancy hereafter, which is the typical consequence of selling out.

[When was I relevant? I'd like to hear more about that. -- Scott]
Oct 17, 2012
The view from this small section of the UK is terrified of Romney becoming president because he resembles so closely all those power crazed lying, sleazeball presidents in the films (movies). He is tall with good hair and leaps onto the stage grinning whilst pointing at some random person in the audience.
Oct 17, 2012
You make a leap in logic at the end. Your conclusion, that Obama is guilty of something that is unacceptable for a president, is not sufficient reason to support Romney.

[I wouldn't say I support Romney so much as I support limiting a President to one term if he decides to jail American citizens for political gain. If Romney follows suit, I'd favor limiting him to one term as well. -- Scott]
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 17, 2012
THAT is your deciding factor?!? Really?

I suspect that you have hypnotized yourself in some way and are now seeking a rationalization for a decision you made long ago for some other reason.

(P.S. If I've misunderstood hypnotism, its your fault since everything I know about it comes from this blog.)

[What would be a firing offense to you if not jailing American citizens for political gain? Seriously, what the fuck does it take? -- Scott]
Oct 17, 2012
I'm pretty sure you're the first person to endorse Mitt Romney on the grounds that he will change the nation's policy regarding the drug war. Well done!

I could point you to numerous articles showing how silly this is, but I'll just ask you to google one name: Mel Sembler.
my impression was that he based the supposition on the impunity with which a politician would use a private citizens life as a pawn in a his "Game of Thrones" and destroy it.

i saw it as a single issue decision (firable offense), but over abuse of power, not "drugs".

[Exactly. And I'm frankly appalled that anyone is okay with jailing American citizens for political gain. -- Scott]
Oct 17, 2012
I'm not certain if you mean Obama made a campaign promise to not enforce any federal laws or just this one, but not voting for a President because he upheld federal law is nonsensical, regardless of what you might think of him otherwise, even if you don't like the law. I can think of a million better reasons for not voting for a politician (like that you don't like his choice in ties). I don't think the election will be decided on this issue.

As far as states' rights to override federal law, what about counties' rights to override state law or cities' rights to override county law? Should I have the right to override local law on my own property? That would make things interesting...

[When morality, common sense, justice, economics, and the opinion of the majority conflict with the law -- and the leader agrees with that assessment -- do you want your leader to follow the law? -- Scott]
Oct 17, 2012
@swp, @Cube_Dweller

[And for the life of me I cannot fathom why you picked that relatively small issue when there are so many more from the continued atrocities in Darfur, for which Barry accepted a Nobel Peace Prize, to the current unrest in Syria and the rest of the middle east, to the arbitrary killing of civilians with drones in other sovereign nations, to the continued war in Afghanistan, etc. Don't get me wrong, I don't think Mitt is a saint either. But he didn't swear to protect and defend the Constitution either.]

[But after reading some of Scott's responses to the other comments, I now surmise he is hiding something he thinks he knows. Scott, what do you know, or think you know, about any specific sources of Obama campaign funding?]

I think I can help both of you understand whats going through Scotts head here because I interpret it as being similar to whats going through my head politically speaking.

Like Scott I have a great liking for some of the things both Democrats and Republicans stand for. And respect for some of the things they stand for. And a great dislike for some of the things they stand for. And once upon a time I too did not think it mattered which party came to power. And like Scott there was one issue that decided it for me, though it was a different issue from the one Scott raised.

Ten years ago the budget was in pretty good shape. Then the Republicans blew it on a lot of tax cuts. I could have respected them for that if they had, at the same time, done what they said they wanted to do; cut spending. Instead they increased it. On health care for seniors. That combined with their recent inability to compromise has persuaded me the Republicans are irresponsible.

I believe that Scotts reason for turning against the Democrats is pretty much the same as my reason for turning against the Republicans; betrayal. The Republicans betrayed their fiscal conservative principles and Scott believes the Democrats have betrayed the medical marijuana crowd. Yes there are many other important issues to consider but Im not prepared to give the Republicans another chance until they behave responsibly with the budget, so don't be surprised if Scott has it in for the Democrats until they come around on medical marijuana.

[It's not about the specific topic or about betrayal. It's about jailing American citizens for political gain. Period. -- Scott]
Oct 17, 2012
My first instinct was that Obama would not have had the dispensary operator jailed to potentially gain a few more votes in a clearly blue state.

But after reading some of Scott's responses to the other comments, I now surmise he is hiding something he thinks he knows. Scott, what do you know, or think you know, about any specific sources of Obama campaign funding?

[When a politician makes an unexpected change and refuses to explain it, you have to assume money/power is behind it somehow. I'm open to hearing other theories. I just can't think of one that is plausible. -- Scott]
Oct 17, 2012
See, you lost me in the first example. I consider myself a pragmatist, and I didn't consider the fact that the CEO is a known murderer to be a firing offence. Don't get me wrong, I don't believe killing is justified under any !$%*!$%*!$%*! but I also don't see a person's morality, or lack thereof, a necessary qualification for any profession but a minister of religion. The only reason to fire a person from a position is if they did not, or cannot, perform the expected duties associated with that job.

I should qualify this, that if the CEOs status as a murderer will prevent him in some way from doing the things that CEOs do (for example, if I couldn't hire other executives because they were uncomfortable being in the same room as this person), then of course that would be a firing offence. But if the value added by this CEO was more than the extra cost I would incur (like by providing bodygaurds to all the other executives) then I would be wrong to fire him.

Almost by definition, the job of a politician is to get re-elected. This isn't how it should be, but it is how it is. So anything that a politician does to get elected is well within the job description - and so is not worthy of firing. If they break the law, they should be prosecuted, but failing legal action, any reprehensible thing a politician does to get elected is only doing their job. And you can't fire someone for doing their job, only doing their job poorly.
Oct 17, 2012
I would have fired the CEO & the Politician. I found your post a few weeks ago favoring Romney slightly, (in my mind) interesting (Picking a President, Sept 11). I think Romney would be able to do more than Obama concerning legislation. Obama's approach hasn't yielded much. If one thinks of Dem's being good & Repubs being bad (unless you are a 1%'er), then yes, Obama makes more sense. But I don't see a Democratic majority taking the house anytime soon. And realize that G.W. Bush caused most of the mess, and I often thought in 2008 that the Dems were insane to really try & win the presidency...they should let the Repubs dig themselves out the hole they made. A loss for the Dems would be very strategic right now...if it gets a lot worse, then the election will rebound on the Repubs, same way it rebounded on the Dems in 2008.
I've half a bicameral mind to vote Romney also.
Oct 17, 2012
>So you're saying it's ok for the state to chose to thumb their noses at the federal law, but the city can't chose to ask that it be enforced?

[It's okay if someone asked him to do it? I want you on my jury when I kill someone. -- Scott]

Yes, I'm saying it's ok for a Federal Prosecutor to enforce a federal law when representatives in an American city ask them to.

So if California ever enacts a law saying murder is legal, and your city votes in a law saying that it's not, I'll fully support the city's right to ask Federal Prosecutors to arrest you after you kill someone. And I'd say you wouldn't want me on the jury, but I'd have to let you off to ensure my continued supply of Dilbert strips : )
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 17, 2012
If he's more useful than not (and you can deflect/suppress public pressures to do otherwise, such as boycotts), keep the CEO; if he killed someone, fire the politician. There's no inconsistency in those statements, either.

Why? The purpose of the business retaining/promoting the CEO is to serve its own interests, and nobody else's. Therefore, the decision to keep/fire the person is entirely theirs. If someone helps you get ahead, you keep them.

But in politics, the politician is meant to be a servant of the people (all of them, despite their wildly contradictory interests) and should follow his oath of office. A trustworthy government (if such a thing is even possible) goes a long way towards promoting growth and stability (for example, where would you rather open a 7-11: unstable Iraq, corrupt Russia, or peaceful Canada?) And there are standing protections, Constitutional and otherwise, stating that when politicians violate their office, they should be tried and removed.

That CEO might have gotten away with murder once, but it's unlikely to be repeated (example: Scott Peterson, multiple wife murderer) When you let the government kill indiscriminately, you're going down the road to totalitarian dictatorship. They're two totally different things.

I'm not happy with what I've got, although residing in the bluest of blue states I'll be voting Gary Johnson. In a swing state, I would vote Romney, but as a protest vote. And I honestly do think Romney is an extremely pragmatic thinker vs. Obama being more ideological, which is a vast improvement if you don't agree with the ideological guy's ideology.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 17, 2012
I think Obama has stayed away from changing drug policy in his first term because it would have killed him in this election. Should he get re-elected, I suspect we'll see a very different approach to drug policy in his second term.
Oct 17, 2012
For what it's worth, there are certain scenarios where I would be OK with the CEO having killed to advance his career. It really depends on whether or not his intentions were good. Maybe he killed a pointy haired boss who performed countless evils so that he could take over that pointy haired boss's position and make things right. It's kind of a "lesser of two evils" situation which of course is widely regarded as a good comparison basis in politics. So, I see your analogy, but I don't agree with your assumption base.

Disclaimer: As a Canadian, I have no bias one way or the other in terms of the presidency. My decision criteria, if I had one, would depend on the candidates' hockey team leanings. I could never support a Leafs fan (this would be far worse than murder leading to career advancement).
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 17, 2012
Mark Naught

"Third, I don't have any reason to believe that jailing medical marijuana growers and/or users improves his standing with democrats, so I don't buy the analogy."

Obama doesn't need to worry about Democrats, its the other guys.

Seriously, if the Democarts aren't 99% on his side already, he may as well book the removals van from the White House.

What this is - if true - is a classic lurch to the centre ground to pick up the undedcided voters. The ones who will be more right-wing. The ones who are politically a bit Democrat and a bit Republican and could go either way. Mitt is doing the same thing in reverse - trying to soften his image, and look 10% more "Democrat-ey". The bet is your core support hate the other guy anyway, so you can afford to start sounding a little bit like him, you are still the better option.

[Also consider the possibility that President Obama gets more corporate campaign funding with this approach. Keep in mind that the President has never explained his change of position on this topic. Whatever the reason, he isn't proud of it. -- Scott]
Oct 17, 2012
First, I support Obama.

Second, I would not vote for him, and would want him impeached, if I found he had murdered someone to advance his career.

Third, I don't have any reason to believe that jailing medical marijuana growers and/or users improves his standing with democrats, so I don't buy the analogy.
+7 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 17, 2012
BTW, is this your ploy for taking an informal poll so you can place a big bet on the outcome of the election? Scott you magnificent, devious, artificially intelligent, rogue program. Good job.
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