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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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+8 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 17, 2012
Regarding the CEO, I would say it depends on the evidence. How does the board know he killed someone? If they really have strong evidence of it, then I would say yes he should be fired. If not, I don't think you can justify terminating someone for something he was aquitted of in court. It doesn't matter if it was on a technicality.

As for Obama, I'm another person who voted for him last time and won't this time, so yes there are firing offenses and he committed several.
 
 
Oct 17, 2012
Whoops, just realized a typo in my response. I meant to say "I DON'T understand how you wound up blaming Obama"
 
 
Oct 17, 2012
>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...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.

First, let me state that I'm not voting for Obama (I still haven't decided yet if I'll give Romney my vote). But I read the article and saw the video and I understand how you wound up blaming Obama for the situation:

- While the state said dispensaries were legal, individual cities have chosen to ban them. When this particular grower fought the city, the city ASKED the Feds to step in and enforce the federal law. 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]

- I didn't see anywhere in there where it indicated Obama was personally involved or even knowledgeable about this prosecution. The Department of Justice guy was quoted years ago as saying we would be "surprised" to know that they agreed with Obama wouldn't procecute - so are you really surprised that they changed their minds when directly asked to step in?

[Pol Pot didn't know the names of all of his victims either. He just had some policies that didn't enjoy much popularity. -- Scott]

- I live in California and didn't know about this case, so I don't see how it's gaining Obama any supporters. If anything, it makes him look like he's waffling or pandering.

[If not for political reasons, why do you think he's targeting dispensaries? He couldn't think of a good reason for doing it before he got elected. I assume it has more to do with his sources of campaign funding than direct voter opinion. -- Scott]

- Historically, a 10 year to life sentence for a non-violent crime in California means about 3 years in jail - not the same as death.

[Maybe only 3 years if he gets the minimum sentence, which is just one possibility. But I think we agree that the length of the sentence doesn't change the principle involved. -- Scott]

All that said, when I started reading the blog, I assumed that you were going to compare Obama with the CEO for having Osama executed. Let's face it, no one believes that the Seals couldn't have taken him alive if they wanted to, and Osama's death was definitely a plus for Obama's career. To me, THAT is a direct analogy. Of course, the problem is that most Americans preferred that outcome.
 
 
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 17, 2012
"I predict that every one of you favored firing the hypothetical CEO for killing a guy to get ahead."

For what its worth, I didn't.

Well, morally, personally, of course I did.

But if we are asking about if a Board should or would I am not so sure. The Board are there to maximise shareholder value, and they might well try and weasel a way to keep a guy who can generate that much value. Morally its awful, but in terms of them doing their jobs, it might even be a win.

Of course, to turn the analogy back, Obama has two jobs. To run the country properly and to get re-elected. Whilst I don't know any other details, this sounds like blatant self-interest favouring the latter job. I imagine most people would rather he was being a good President.
 
 
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 17, 2012
I wouldn't fire the CEO. I would fire the politician.

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.
 
 
+14 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 17, 2012
Very interesting. It's clear that Obama does not have a problem with selectively refusing to prosecute certain Federal laws (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/06/15/remarks-president-immigration), so why is he choosing to enforce this one? Must be political reasons. I agree: firing offense.
 
 
+16 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 17, 2012
Obama actually did kill an American Citizen to further his reelection and is trying to use legal technicalities to escape prosecution:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/19/world/middleeast/us-officials-sued-over-citizens-killed-in-yemen.html
 
 
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
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.
 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 17, 2012
Doesn't this logic extend to firing everyone in congress? Also if you use the example of the CEO committing murder, if he were to claim justifiable homicide because his opponent (for the CEO position) was unjustly preventing him from achieving personal happiness would the president still be guilty of killing him if he were to prosecute him and send him to jail for life. Surely the pursuit of happiness cannot be illegal?

I am for legalizing marijuana, actually I don't believe there should be any illegal drugs. Let's say however that this medical dispenser fills a prescription for a patient. This patient then drives while impaired (falls asleep at the wheel, reacts slowly, let's go of the wheel why reaching for a sandwich, whatever) and runs over a mother and her two children. Well, looks like to me that the President saved 3 innocent lives for political gain. What a great American.
 
 
+11 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 17, 2012
I don't believe you. Specifically, I don't believe there is any chance of Romney reversing Obama's decision with regard to medical marijuana in California. Not only is it a hot button issue for his conservative base but I don't believe he could win California that way and he knows it. I also don't believe your suggestion that he doesnt really believe medical marijuana is wrong. So tell me, if thats the deciding issue for you is it better to have a president who is cracking down on medical marijuana for political reasons or a president who is cracking down because he believes its wrong? I believe the 'political reasons' president is more likely to reverse his stance at some future time.
 
 
Oct 17, 2012
I didn't necessarily think the hypothetical CEO should be fired, but I WOULD think that a candidate killing a citizen to get elected would be a firing offense. I don't mean to wreck your curve, but the CEO is a crafty SOB who's good at his job and is supposed to be good for the shareholders, not necessarily his coworkers (which is who I presume his victim was). A president is supposed to serve the people, not kill them. Of course, if the CEO somehow killed a shareholder... it gets murky.
 
 
 
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