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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 18, 2012
One heck of a way to get some sweet backlinks to your blog...
 
 
Oct 18, 2012
I agree with your reasoning. However, you realize there are other choices... Gary Johnson, Dr. Jill Stein, Virgil Goode, Rocky Anderson. We do have more than two parties in this country, so please consider ALL your options.
 
 
+7 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 18, 2012
I appreciate the content and the context of this blog post. The political landscape is far from clear-cut. I am thoroughly independent, having swung from rabidly democratic in my college years to staunchly republican in my middle-age, and now a senior citizen, I find myself looking, like Diogenes, for honest and moderate men and women who will help to build a world that works for everyone. The search, thus far, has not been fruitful, but I shall not dim my lamp.
 
 
Oct 18, 2012
I hate presidential elections everyone goes for the lesser of 2 evils demo or repub, just silly. Even worse once one jumps on the band wagon it starts to form opinions they otherwise would not have. On a completely off note... Scott, judging by your recent posts and replies you have been really bored or using those "brain enhancements" and getting stuck on what I call the 400mph sled... easy to accelerate but it's really difficult to steer that sucker once your going down the path.
 
 
Oct 18, 2012
@hankfu

[A vote for Obama means more government spending and the $1.1 trillion we are borrowing every year will be peanuts compared to if the liberals feel like they really have a mandate for more spending. The fiscal cliff will then be all but assured as Republicans will do everything they can to stop the spending freight train to include taking the train off the cliff. ]

Republican presidents tend to cut taxes and increase spending. Obama may or may not bring the deficit under control but he is more likely to than Romney.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 18, 2012
Just to clarify my stand on things: 1) I am voting against Obama, 2) I would fire the CEO. However, my reasons are purely economics based.

A vote for Obama means more government spending and the $1.1 trillion we are borrowing every year will be peanuts compared to if the liberals feel like they really have a mandate for more spending. The fiscal cliff will then be all but assured as Republicans will do everything they can to stop the spending freight train to include taking the train off the cliff.

On a separate level, the last thing you want is your CEO figurehead to be tainted with a crime like murder. That is bad for business in general even if he got off on all charges. Lawyers would salivate at suing the company as they have a greater chance of making frivolous lawsuits stick ("Your honor, I can prove my client was injured deliberately by this murderous organization..."). Employees wouldn't want to work for such a tainted company. Customers will leave in droves. All in all a bad situation for a profit-driven organization.
 
 
Oct 18, 2012
To those who replied to my post about the law: thank you for stating your positions without rancor and with reasoned thought. I think that's something exceptional about most of the participants in this blog.

Now, to the meat of your arguments, to wit: the law versus individual choice.

There are two things that undermine the rule of law, which undermines the framework of society: unreasonable, burdensome trivial laws, and picking and choosing which laws to follow.

To the second point, first: up until the '60's, most people realized that they had to live within the boundaries of the law. During the 60's, that attitude began to change. Do your own thing. If it doesn't hurt someone else, do it. This is a fairly recent development.

To the first point: Legislatures are paid to write laws, not to take them off the books. Passing laws results in needing to enforce them. That, in turn, requires hiring people in government to adjudicate and enforce the laws. More laws, more government workers, less freedom and liberty.

Taken together, we no longer have a context in which to adjudicate real problems between us. We rationalize, when we break the law, that the law isn't really fair, or it doesn't really apply to us, or that it doesn't really mean what it says. So we don't have to follow any law we don't agree with. After all, WE didn't write the law, so why do WE have to follow it?

Can't you see what a dangerous path that is? Rather than hold our legislatures accountable, or work to limit their power, we just let them roll along passing ridiculous laws that make problems worse and reduce our liberties and freedoms. Toilets that won't flush properly? No problem. Outlaw the evil incandescent light bulb? Fine with me. Let the EPA destroy whole industries with regulations that were never passed by Congress? Hey, it's saving the earth! Those evil polluters had better follow THOSE laws. . . unless they disagree with them? Hmmm.

Look, folks, my position is that government is too big and too powerful and eats too much of our money. But the answer to resolving these problems is not to ignore the law.

Now, I'm going to give an example that will cause controversy, but it is illustrative.

This country, as with every country on earth, has immigration laws. The attitude that some here are proposing is that it's OK for the executive branch of our federal government to ignore enforcement of those laws, as is their constitutional requirement to do. This has a measurable and significant impact on the nation and on our economy. I won't go into all the figures here, but feel free to google things like the number of illegal aliens in our federal prisons, or the ratio of taxes paid versus the cost of government services used by illegals. Look at the number of emergency rooms that have had to close because anyone, legal or not, can go to them for anything, regardless of whether the person seeking services can pay or not.

Now, I'm not blaming the illegals. They're just trying to find a better life for themselves and their families. But I do blame the government, and this new complacency about picking and choosing which laws to enforce and which to ignore.

The executive branch's response to this has been not only to ignore the law, but to give a back-door amnesty, overriding the law. The executive branch does not have the Constitutional power to override, rewrite or to not enforce the law; yet that's what they're doing, and we're letting them get away with it, through this moral relativism that says laws really don't matter if we don't want them to.

What's next? Let's ignore laws against bank robbery, if the person doing the robbery really needs the money. We'll re-label bank robbers as "undocumented withdrawers." After all, those big banks have too much money anyway. They s c r e w the little guy (trying to dodge that word censor, lol), so they should be more forthcoming and understanding. After all, it's not OUR money. Oh, wait, it is. Oh, well, the federal government can just borrow some more money from China and repay us through FDIC. You go, you undocumented withdrawers!

The answer is not to ignore the law, but to elect politicians who understand the problem and will work to fix it. Then, we all need to pay attention. If we don't like the law, work to get it thrown out.

I hope, even if you don't agree, you will consider this approach at least as an adjunct to your ignoring the laws you don't like. Thanks again for your reasoned response, and to Scott for bringing up a really great topic.

 
 
-6 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 18, 2012
The issue is part of Obama's job is killing people, whether it's through Federal policing or Military action. If he ordered Military action to look tough on Terrorism, then that might count under your description, but wouldn't make him necessarily a person not to vote for. Now say he ordered his campaign staff to assassinate Romney's best adviser, then yes, I would not vote for him. A good example of this was Richard Nixon. Part of his job was to facilitate spying on people, he probably ordered the CIA to do a lot of spying, some of it to help him get elected as looking like he was doing his job well, perhaps even when not needed. But then he ordered staff to break in and set up spying on Democrats, that was a totally different situation.
 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 18, 2012
I was surprised that this conviction is where you chose to go with the CEO/murder-for-career-advancement analogy. It is becoming clearer all the time that Ambassador Stevens was sent to Libya at the specific orders of Obama allegedly to effect a U.S. weapons return, to negotiate with people that he had already informed the State Department had him on a 'hit' list. The timing of this, right before the election, at such obvious risk to Stevens, and on top of that, the essential disarmament of the Consulate by this Administration, is almost assuredly politically motivated and the death of Stevens the result of a callous miscalculation. That was murder. Yes, let's blame the jihadists who killed him, but let's not let the jerk in the White House who uses and loses people with the wanton disregard of a Mafia Don. We may or may not ever find out what the hell they were trying to cook up to manufacture heroism for Obama, but the lies are flying thick and fast from the White House.
 
 
+10 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 18, 2012
Kuddos Scott, while I completely disagree with your candidate conclusion. You've managed to raise the profile of this issue to the best of a cartoonist's ability. If you had posted it another way it probably wouldn't have gotten picked up "out of context".
 
 
Oct 18, 2012
[You think "unlikely" is similar to "would"? -- Scott]

I think that people can be forgiven for focusing on the paragraph you wrote on why Romney might soften the governments marijuana policy and forget the one sentence you wrote saying he wasn't likely to.
 
 
Oct 18, 2012
[Here's a Tweet based on the Politico out-of-context post, from Eric Essagof ‏@ericessagof "Does the Dilbert creator honestly think that Romney's drug policy will be MORE lenient than Obama's? http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1012/82571.html … " That's a comment you only make if you see my quotes out of context. What I did say is that it was unlikely Romney would be different on this issue -- literally the opposite. -- Scott]

[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.]

Based on this part of your blog post I think Politico can be forgiven for thinking that you were suggesting Romney would reverse the policy in question. And so can those of us whose comments more or less said the same thing.

[You think "unlikely" is similar to "would"? -- Scott]
 
 
+31 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 18, 2012
I hope everyone can see the irony of a black president throwing a white person in jail over a minor marijuana offense.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 18, 2012
Politco updated their post. Seems like postly a reprint to me now.

[Still out of context. Authors write for specific audiences. When you move the writing you create a mismatch. It also lacks the context of my other posts, which matters, and the comment section where most objections have been addressed, whether anyone agrees with them or not. -- Scott]

[Here's a Tweet based on the Politico out-of-context post, from Eric Essagof ‏@ericessagof "Does the Dilbert creator honestly think that Romney's drug policy will be MORE lenient than Obama's? http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1012/82571.html … " That's a comment you only make if you see my quotes out of context. What I did say is that it was unlikely Romney would be different on this issue -- literally the opposite. -- Scott]
 
 
Oct 18, 2012
[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]

...Umm...Scott, a lot of folks in the country believe Obama did the right thing there by all the criteria you just mentioned. You can't just go by what you and the folks you hang with think.
 
 
Oct 18, 2012
[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]

If all of this is true, if the majority of Americans agree with you that our federal laws are immoral, nonsensical and unjust and yet such laws cannot be changed through legal means and the only moral path available for our elected leaders to follow is to refuse to uphold the laws of the country that elected them, then you must believe that democracy is a failure and that the republic is already dead. And your answer to this is what? Take to the streets? Secede from the union? No, just vote for Mitt Romney. That will surely fix it. Scott, you radical extremist! Viva la revolucion! :D

[It's a timing thing. If trends hold, this dispensary operator will someday be rotting in jail for a crime that society decided to decriminalize during his jail terms. -- Scott]
 
 
Oct 18, 2012
I generally find your logic a bit strange (sometimes more than a bit), but I also find it to be entertaining and thought provoking. The same is true in this case. I think that, if one were to do a historical study (I'm not that one though :) ), one would find that basically every president has made political decisions that have at minimum ruined someones life for their own political gain, and often had more dire effects than that. When a President's words and deeds directly effect a few hundred million people, AND the words and deeds of the entire government are reduced to being seen as the President's words and deeds (as in the example you used), it is a given that someone will suffer for the President's either intentional or perceived benefit. Therefore, I think you need to look for a better reason.

Secondly, I am appalled that the self-appointed leader of the government-in-waiting that is supposed to be ready to take over as soon as the current mess blows itself apart would stoop to supporting a candidate in the present system. But I'll forgive you for that.

Thirdly, I would suggest adding the fact that you are a cartoonist to your warning, perhaps? I can only surmise by the drubbing you occasionally take for your blogs that some people must think that you are claiming to be some sort of political theorist, or commentator, or the head of the McGovern's Frozen Head for President Party or something. Or maybe its just a slow news day.

[It's a motive thing. Killing in self-defense is legal. Killing for financial gain is not. We expect presidents to make mistakes that harm innocent people because that risk comes with the job. We don't expect presidents to harm citizens for nothing but personal gain. -- Scott]
 
 
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 18, 2012
I just find it hilarious that Politico found and used a picture of Scott with a leafy green potted plant behind him for their "pot case" article.
 
 
Oct 18, 2012
There are moments when I find the madness of humans quite amusing, this would be one of them. Thanks for providing me with some much needed entertainment. I just hope you don't try to start charging or taxing me for this service.
 
 
Oct 18, 2012
"Congratulations to Politico for being the first to take this post out of context". Please say exactly how? They repeated your quotes verbatim, offered almost no editorial spin, explained your position correctly, etc. Having a disclaimer that anybody who disagrees with you is wrong doesn't, in effect, mean that people who disagree with you are factually wrong. How would someone who read the article be wrong in understanding your position?

If you think Romney is going to do anything about legalizing drugs because he flip flops a lot and therefore "might" that's laughably naive. Do you honestly think Republicans are more pro drug than Democrats?

Obama does a lot of stuff I don't care for, but the basic answer is, who's policies are as a whole worse? You say you disagree with a lot of Romney's policies, but you obviously agree with more than you do with Obama's. Saying your final support was due to this one incident is ridiculous. What about all the crazy God-politics that Rom's going to try and enact? What about your Science party? Which party right now do you think more exemplifies the goals of science, the democrats or the party that believes Mankind rode on Dinosaurs?

If this is what you were building up to for several months, why not just say "Romney = Tax breaks for rich me"? It would be more honest.

[First, I'm okay with taxing the rich if it makes sense for the country. I'm not qualified to know if it is. Second, if I thought there were large chunks of my post that didn't matter, I would have left them out the same way Politico did. Third, on this blog in particular, the comments, such as this one, also provide a lot of context. -- Scott]

 
 
 
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